11 posts categorized " Artist Loft "

February 4, 2015

Artist Spotlight: The Globally-Inspired & Multilayered Work of Frank Hyder

Artist Spotlight: The Globally-Inspired & Multilayered Work of Frank Hyder

The colorful images of koi fish, an archetypal symbol of good fortune and natural harmony, can often be found in Frank Hyder’s award-winning paintings – many of which are on display aboard our ships. Hyder, an accomplished artist that has showcased his work throughout North, South and Central America, has become known for translating simple images, such as heads and fish, into intricate constructions that hint at the innate complexity found in nature.  

Hyder’s vibrant works can be found throughout our ships, such as his triptych, Variegated Float, near Terrace Café on Marina. These and many of Hyder’s other unique works have origins deep in Venezuela in a cloud forest, a fascinating ecosystem noted for its pervasive and consistent cloud cover which creates a misty, and often surreal, environment. When Hyder was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 2001, he and his family moved to a cloud forest in Venezuela where they lived for 15 months – a life-changing experience, he noted.

Variegated Float, Marina’s Terrace Café corridor, courtesy of Frank Hyder
Variegated Float, Marina’s Terrace Café corridor, courtesy of Frank Hyder

“It was there that I became interested in layers, depth—and the illusion of depth and layers—and interproximal space,” Hyder recalled. “It was transformational for all of us.”

Two of Hyder’s paintings on the pool deck of Riviera, courtesy of Frank Hyder
Two of Hyder’s paintings on the pool deck of Riviera, courtesy of Frank Hyder

Hyder explained that this focus led him to develop a special process that enabled him to explore these concepts more deeply. The process involves gold, silver and other metal leaf materials, a clear epoxy resin, along with layers of transparent colors, usually embedded in additional coatings of resins. The pouring of several layers of resin provides the effect of floating – the colors appear to be perpetually suspended in liquid. The special process frequently requires months to complete a work, and is a culmination of nearly 30 years of painting experimentation. The end result creates a shimmering multi-dimensional realm that calls to mind water, but also perhaps that of the intangible – the illusory, ethereal and otherworldly.

Hyder leading a workshop in Artist Loft, courtesy of Frank Hyder
Hyder leading a workshop in Artist Loft, courtesy of Frank Hyder

Drawing on global sources for his personal inspiration, Hyder similarly enjoys focusing his workshops in Artist Loft – calling on the destinations for inspiration.

“I like to offer experiences that connect to the travel experience,” Hyder noted.

For example, during a South Pacific voyage with Oceania Cruises, Hyder collected sand from Papeete, Bora Bora and several other islands—gathering sand in a range of colors and textures.

Variegated Tide, near Marina’s Terrace Café, courtesy of Frank Hyder
Variegated Tide, near Marina’s Terrace Café, courtesy of Frank Hyder

Then during a workshop, Hyder led the guests in tracing transfers of location images with the sand.

“The guests were really excited about it—we created something meaningful, rooted in the place and the experience,” Hyder said.

With over 30 of Hyder’s paintings showcased among our five ships, we invite you to discover his enchanting and thought-provoking artwork during your next voyage. 

May 8, 2014


Pool Deck(New)
An exciting and emotional day for the entire Oceania Cruises family, today we welcome our beloved Insignia back to the fleet. We are especially excited because her return from a two-year charter marks Oceania Cruises’ first season with a five-ship fleet. But that isn’t the only reason Insignia is generating such excitement. She arrived in Barcelona today with even more style, grace and elegance than ever before, fresh from a multimillion-dollar makeover.

With $50 million in renovations distributed among the three sister ships, Insignia is the first to undergo the most massive refurbishment in Oceania Cruises history. Four weeks from now, Regatta and Nautica will also have completed their bow-to-stern transformation.

Upon Insignia’s arrival in Barcelona this morning, we received a few photos that capture the stunning renovations, and we are thrilled to be sharing them here. You can see Insignia still possesses the same elegance and charm but now glows with a new polish and shine, courtesy of luxurious new fabrics and furnishings, as well as many new amenities.

Penthouse Suite

All of the suites and staterooms have been appointed with stylish new furnishings, and a new color palette in soothing shades of the sea, sun and sky completely transforms the Penthouse Suites. The Owner’s and Vista Suites are outfitted with lavish new oversized showers that are as big as an entire bathroom at home!

Public spaces also embody the new look. The expansive windows of Horizons lounge continue to offer spectacular sunsets, while the interior now features shades of sea blues, cocoa brown and mint, freshly complementing the view. And be sure to check out the new digs of Martinis and enjoy – what else? – a signature Big O Martini. For those who thought the Canyon Ranch SpaClub® on board couldn’t possibly be any more serene, don't miss the beautiful new mosaics that enhance the sense of tranquility even further.


Rich new decor isn’t the only renovation on Insignia. Innovative features unveiled with the launch of our newest ships, Marina and Riviera, generated unprecedented excitement, so Oceania Cruises has taken this opportunity to add several of these features to Insignia, with Nautica and Regatta soon to follow. You can now enjoy an illy® cappuccino in Baristas on any ship in the fleet, and with the new specialty grill in Terrace Café, you can savor succulent surf and turf or grilled-to-order chops any night of the week. You can also take in fantastic views from the upper decks as you play nine holes of miniature golf, a feature found on no other ships in this class.


Perhaps most exciting of all, the return of Insignia means that you can explore more of your world than ever before. Oceania Cruises wholeheartedly embraced this opportunity by debuting two never-before-offered 180-day World Voyages, which Insignia will sail beginning in January 2015 and again in July 2015. These amazing journeys are sure to inspire your inner artist, which is why the Artist Loft, another popular feature on Marina and Riviera, has been added to Insignia exclusively for these special voyages. Express your creativity with the world as your muse and artists-in-residence as your guide.

For those of you who set sail from Barcelona this afternoon on board the newly renovated Insignia, we’d love to hear your impressions in the comments here on the blog. Welcome home, Insignia, and bon voyage!

April 3, 2012


Marina Art1
It’s no secret that Oceania Cruises has created the first ships at sea designed especially for foodies. Fine cuisine has always been one of our hallmarks, but did you know that Marina and the new Riviera are also havens for art lovers?

Oceania Cruises’ founder, Frank Del Rio, has a passion for fine art. He and Vice Chairman Bob Binder hand-selected the masterpieces currently featured onboard Marina, and Del Rio took a special interest in the works selected for Riviera as well. In fact, we are anticipating an exciting announcement later this week about the artists to be featured on Riviera, which debuts next month.

Marina Art4Marina and Riviera feature paintings, sculptures and prints to suit every taste, from the classic to the contemporary and from the referential to the abstract. Del Rio claims he wants the art to “spark conversation and contemplation” among the guests onboard. Based on my observations as Blogger-at-Large, he has certainly succeeded in this goal. One evening I was in Martinis lounge onboard Marina discussing a painting that myself and a guest found particularly fascinating. A few minutes later another guest approached the painting and commented, “The guy must have been on drugs when he painted that.” Some works are simply beautiful, and others are more provocative, but they all inspire conversation. 

Many of us who enjoy contemporary artists have an equal passion for creating art ourselves. While our efforts may not be museum worthy, we can certainly appreciate the need to express our creativity. And when traveling on a voyage with Oceania Cruises, the beautiful ships and marvelous ports of call provide ample inspiration for anyone with an inner artist clamoring for recognition.


Artist Loft - Anne B11
That is why Oceania Cruises created the Artist Loft enrichment center, currently featured onboard Marina and soon to be unveiled on the new Riviera as well. In the Artist Loft, talented artists-in-residence teach classes on everything from photography to needlepoint to painting to creating your own t-shirts and postcards.

Artist Loft - Anne B01

Artist Loft - Anne B03

Award-winning watercolorist Annelein Beukenkamp was just onboard Marina sharing her skills with a packed house of aspiring artists. I was able to enjoy some of Annelein’s classes, such as ABC’s of Drawing and Paint a Tropical Sunset Scene. Marina was sailing her final Caribbean itinerary, so there was no shortage of vibrant tropical sunsets to inspire our paintings.

For the ABC’s of Drawing class, Annelein gathered everyone around to observe as she created a still life drawing of a wine bottle, an apple and a teacup. As she progressed, Annelein pointed out the choices an artist is constantly making regarding position, perspective, light and shading. Guests then created their own masterpieces with Annelein’s guidance. Annelein also offered open studio hours when guests could experiment in any medium they wished – pigments, graphite, pastels, pencils – or they could continue work on a project begun earlier in the voyage.

Artist Loft - Anne B06
It’s hard to say what the guests enjoyed more – expressing themselves in the Artist Loft or gazing at the masterworks throughout Marina that make her feel like a floating museum. Whether you’re an aficionado or an amateur, a cruise onboard Marina or Riviera is a treat for any art lover. Be sure to check our Facebook page later this week for the exciting announcement about the collection to be featured onboard Riviera.

August 11, 2011


Dan Welden - Jan 2011
Oceania Cruises and the Artist Loft are proud to welcome master printmaker Dan Welden onboard Marina. The "Tastes of Europe" itinerary sailed last night from London and will conclude on August 26th in Rome. During the cruise, Mr. Welden will be teaching his revolutionary printmaking technique known as the Solarplate method. Marina is the first and only ship in the world to offer instruction in this innovative art form. Guests onboard will have numerous opportunities to meet Mr. Welden and participate in the Artist Loft.

Dan Welden 2 An internationally acclaimed artist, innovator, teacher and author, Mr. Welden brings a unique experience to Marina guests. He is the originator of the Solarplate method of printmaking that uses the sun to develop pieces of art. The process does not use traditional acids or chemicals and is thus a safer and greener method of printmaking that also allows artists more versatility.

The Mediterranean sun is no stranger to Mr. Welden’s printmaking technique. He has taught at the Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy, in addition to conducting workshops throughout the world each year. Prints and paintings from Mr. Welden’s portfolio have been featured in hundreds of exhibitions around the globe, and many pieces have found homes in both public and private collections. In 2001 Mr. Welden and Pauline Muir coauthored “Printmaking in the Sun,” the comprehensive manual to Solarplate methods. 

We are thrilled to welcome Mr. Welden onboard Marina!




June 30, 2011



Mola 1
Novices and experts alike have been enjoying classes in the Artist Loft enrichment center onboard Marina. Whether you’re a budding artist looking to dabble in arts and crafts or an experienced photographer seeking to hone your skills, this exciting venue offers the opportunity to express your creativity under the guidance of professional artists-in-residence.

Anna and DaveHusband and wife duo, David and Anna Smith, spent several weeks teaching classes in the Artist Loft. Frequent world travelers, they’ve visited over 65 countries. They say, “The only reason we come home from our travels is to change our clothes and see our 5 grandchildren.”

David Photography 2David is a professional photographer, travel writer and keynote speaker whose travel images have been published worldwide in magazines, books, websites and newspapers. He is a professional member of the Editorial Photographers Association and past president of the North Shore Photographic Society of West Vancouver, British Columbia, where he resides.

David Photography 1David teaches classes on everything from low-light and nighttime photography to photo editing to the production of travel multimedia shows.

Mola 2Anna has a passion for color and creating new designs from world fabrics gathered in her travels. Her works have been exhibited internationally in art galleries, offices, stores and museums. When not traveling, Anna instructs classes in fabric arts, quilting and photo transfer at art galleries and quilting guilds in West Vancouver. 

Mola 3
Anna has taught several classes in the Artist Loft, including one on mola design. Mola is an appliqué art form that originated with Kuna women of Panama and Colombia. The panels can be framed as art or made into blouses, pillows or other craft projects.

Charm Dolls 1
Guests especially enjoyed a class in how to make charm dolls.

Charm Dolls 2Charm dolls are said to bring luck and good fortune and to ward off evil and negativity.

T-shirt 1
 T-shirt transferring was also a popular class.

T-shirt 2
Teacher and student display a lovely finished product.

Artist Loft Contest4
Guests who've enjoyed the Artist Loft often gather at the end of the cruise to give awards for each other's artistic endeavors. Guests who create the most popular piece, or who are the most prolific, or whose work best represents the theme of the cruise may receive Big O points that can be redeemed onboard.

Anna David Mykonos
If you have a chance to enjoy a class in the Artist Loft with this fun-loving couple, be sure to take advantage of their expertise. You can enjoy exchanging stories of your world travels as well!

April 11, 2011



Geri and Guest
Travel to alluring destinations has always been a great source of artistic inspiration. From Hemingway to Gaugin, famous artists in every genre have found their muse in
AnnaAppliqueClass01 exotic lands worldwide. This is certainly one of the many reasons that the Artist Loft enrichment center onboard Oceania Cruises' Marina has met with such resounding success. 

Since Marina's debut earlier this year, guests have been enjoying onboard classes in every artistic medium imaginable, from painting to photography to applique to needlepoint. Several gifted artists have shared their talents, and guests have flocked to the Artist Loft to learn from the instructors' expertise and to celebrate their own creative impulses. 

Anna Smith says of her t-shirt painting class, "The guests sure had a ton of fun using everything from paints, fabric pens, steam-a-seam, photo transfer and tons of embellishments. There was no end to their creative and amazing energy and excitement (and a lot of laughter)."


Inspiration certainly abounds — from the stunning landscapes of Marina's ports of call...

Postcards from the Caribbean
to the beauty of Marina herself...

Marina Portrait

Guests even found inspiration in the mirror during a class in self portraiture taught by Geri Gventer.

Self Portraits

Geri discusses the structure of the human face.

Facial Structure Instruction

Still life was another subject of an Artist Loft class.

Still Life Instruction

One guest begins her sketch.

Woman Sketching

Another prepares his paints.

Man with Paints
The class is certainly focused on the task at hand.

Getting Started
And the instructor is pleased with the results.

Instructor Surveys

Oceania Cruises obviously has some very talented guests onboard our ships.

Path Close Up
Portrait Close Up
Tree Painting Close Up
But the best part was how much fun guests had while creating these beautiful works of art!

More Finished Products

March 25, 2011



Grand Cayman Panarama

Tomorrow Marina will spend the day in Grand Turk before bidding adieu to South America and the islands of the Caribbean. Having transited the Panama Canal, ventured as far north as San Francisco, and then returned through the Canal again, guests onboard have experienced stunning natural beauty, impressive architecture, and a vast array of local culture and cuisine. Marina will now sail briefly up the eastern seaboard of the U.S., stopping into Savannah, Charleston and New York City before crossing the Atlantic once again to begin her inaugural season in Europe. 


Before Marina leaves the Americas, we wanted to share some photos from her amazing journey. Curtis Hustace has been offering classes in photography in the Artist Loft onboard and has found no end of outlets for his artistic expression during his travels. Earlier this month, just before her second transit of the Panama Canal, Marina was in Costa Rica, home to a spectacular diversity of wildlife.


After passing through the Panama Canal, Marina arrived in Cartagena, Colombia and lingered late into the evening to allow her guests time to see all of its beautiful people, places, and parrots!

Colombia Dancer
Colombia Church
Colombia Parrot

Next it was on to Grand Cayman, which provided a stunning backdrop for Marina's portrait.

Grand Cayman Bay

Marina in Grand Cayman

Magnificent views were captured in the British Virgin Islands.

Road Harbor BVI 4

Meandering through the charming town or fishing from the pier are popular pastimes in lovely St. Barts.

St. Barts Red Yellow

St. Barts Fishing

More natural beauty awaited discovery in Roseau, Dominica.

Roseau Caterpillar

Roseau Pool

Roseau was a spectacular vision of all that one would imagine a beautiful Caribbean island to be. Whether guests joined Marina for her final Caribbean itinerary of the season or traveled with her all along the coasts of the Americas, they have been sure to find amazing experiences awaiting them on every day of their journeys. 

Roseau Swimmers

If you're interested in a DVD of Curtis Hustace's photos from his 90 days onboard Marina, you can email him at sales@chphoto-video.com.


March 4, 2011



Santa Fe
For Americans like me who have an innate desire to travel the world, it is sometimes nice to be reminded of the extraordinary sights to be seen right here in the good ol' USofA. As a nation, we don't have thousands of years of history behind us that other destinations may have, but we still have plenty of spectacular cities and magnificent landscapes to experience.

Santa Fe Inside

If you follow the blog, you know that Curtis Hustace has a gift for capturing these fascinating experiences on film. When he is not teaching photography classes in the Artist Loft onboard Marina, he is zealously exploring both the ship and her ports of call to document each moment of his journey. Above you see his photos of the Santa Fe Train Depot in downtown San Diego, one of Marina's recent destinations. Below is a more modern contrast in the NBC building, as well as a great shot of a San Diego trolley.


SD Trolley

Of course, San Diego offers endless opportunities for beautiful photos of the bay.

SD Sail Boat

For those of you who have traveled with Marina on her inaugural sailings, or for those of you who have not yet had the pleasure, or for those of you who simply enjoy Curtis' photos, you'll be happy to hear that he is putting together a DVD slideshow. It will encompass all the photos of his 90-day journey onboard Marina from Genoa to San Francisco and then all the way back to Barcelona. The DVD will also include some wallpapers for both PC and Mac. For one more sneak peek, take a look at the beautiful shot of Marina in Cabo San Lucas below:

Marina Cabo San Lucas
Thank you Curtis for sharing your amazing journey with us. If you are interested in his DVD, contact information is below, and of course, keep checking the blog to see more of his fabulous photos!


Email Curtis at sales@chphoto-video.com. DVD's are $34.95, including shipping worldwide.

Curtis Hustace, CH Photography/Video

P. O. Box 27, Inglefield, IN  47618




February 16, 2011



Marina Metal Art
It's been said many times already, but as Blogger at Large, please allow me to repeat it once more: Photographs simply can't do justice to Marina. You have to be onboard to truly comprehend the full extent of her splendor. On Marina's Christening Cruise, I realized the truth of this time and again as I would take a photo, look at the result, and be sadly disappointed at my failure to capture her exquisite detail.

Having said that, words are my primary occupation, and I am at best an amateur photographer, so there is a flip side to this coin. For the professional or the aspiring novice, the breadth of detail encompassed in Marina's stunning design is nothing short of a photographer's paradise. And while it may not be possible to capture the actual experience of sailing on Marina, a gifted photographer has infinite opportunities to create brilliant interpretations of Marina's beauty. The photo above is a perfect example and also an illustration of why photographer Curtis Hustace is currently onboard Marina leading photo workshops for guests at the Artist Loft.

So Marina is at once beauty beyond capture and beauty that demands capturing, as is perhaps the goal of any artistic design. (You will most likely be struck by the former in photos of mine that follow and the latter in photos from Curtis.)

Any discussion of Marina's design immediately brings to mind Dakota Jackson, the visionary behind Marina's Oceania and Vista Suites. The talented touch of this famed designer is evident in these suites everywhere you turn. Below are some shots of one of the Oceania Suites.

Oceania Suite Chair

Oceania Suite Living Room
Oceania Suite Bath-2

Mr. Jackson was onboard for the Christening Cruise, and I had the privilege of meeting him during my tour of the Oceania Suite. 

Blogger and Jackson

Jackson says, "The furniture has to be beautiful, it has to be provocative, it has to be meaningful."  I can attest that these suites are all of that and so much more.  And it's worth noting that every space is not only strikingly elegant, but also immensely comfortable, as illustrated below by Oceania Cruises' senior vice president of marketing, James Rodriguez, taking a moment to lounge in the cozy Entertainment Room. 

James on Couch

You will most definitely want to host friends in a suite this spectacular, so even the ensuite wet bar has been designed to impress.

Oceania Suite Bar

There are thousands more examples of Marina's stunning design to be discovered, and if you wish to develop the skills to capture this beauty on film, you can do so in the Artist Loft. And let's not forget that Marina's exquisite design goes even beyond the bounds of her hull, for ultimately, her entire design has been conceived as a vessel to explore the most alluring ports of call the world over. While one could spend days on end just enjoying the amenities and activities onboard Marina, she is meanwhile sailing to exotic destinations that also demand exploration. 

Yesterday Marina called on Puntarenas, Costa Rica, and Curtis Hustace led his Artist Loft class on an excursion to discover the art and design of this lovely city on the Pacific Coast. Below are some of the impressive images he captured during the group's experience.

White Faced Monkey Costa Rica

Costa Rican Flower

Costa Rican Pigeon - Green Parrot

Of course, a group from the Artist Loft could not visit Costa Rica without seeing one of the famed oxcart factories where local artists create some of Costa Rica's most splendid designs. 

Ox Cart Artisan

Ox Cart Painter 2

A local sculptor was also kind enough to invite the Artist Loft group into his shop to observe his technique. It was the first time he had been observed by tourists.

Costa Rican Sculpture

The artistic excursion culminated in a lunch hosted at a local Costa Rican home.

Lunch at Costa Rican Home

You can see that for anyone interested interior design, exquisite architecture, natural beauty, or artistic exploration in general, a voyage onboard Marina is a must. When attempting to convey the beauty of the ship or the stories of your journeys ashore, you may or may not achieve your desired results, but the process is always a joy - even just capturing the view of a Costa Rican sunset from your veranda. I hope you have the opportunity to sail onboard Marina soon. 

Costa Rican Sunset


February 13, 2011



Bob at Panama Canal

Yesterday Marina made her Inaugural Passage through the Panama Canal. I've heard that some of you watched the transit live via the Panama Canal webcam, so I'm happy to hear that some of our guests ashore were able to share in the exciting journey. It was amazing to experience this feat of engineering and overwhelming to imagine the work that went into its construction over an entire decade.

Below is a shot of Panama City, which is larger than I imagined.

Panama City

We are lucky enough to have onboard with us photographer Curtis Hustace, who is teaching photography classes in the Artist Loft. If you haven't already heard, Marina features talented artists-in-residence who teach classes in various media in the Artist Loft enrichment center. You can learn everything from photography to water color painting to needlepoint.

Curtis was kind enough to share some of his photos of Marina's Inaugural Passage through the Panama Canal. I hesitate to share Curtis's stunning photos right next to my amateur ones, but this will certainly highlight his talent and provide an example of techniques you could learn in the Artist Loft. I hope to take a class soon!

Canal Transit 1

Marina Canal Transit 1 Bow

Marina Canal Transit 1 Aft Suspension Bridge

The adventures onboard Marina continue. Thank you again for following the blog and sharing your comments!

January 24, 2011

MARINA SAILS! ...and sails....and sails!


Hustace Photo-1-Barcelona Pano
We've said "bon voyage" to Barcelona, and what an eventful couple of days it has been! It is such a thrill for Frank and I to welcome all of our guests onboard and to get to talk with so many of you. After sharing so much on the blog and hearing all of your comments, it has been wonderful to meet so many of you in person and experience Marina together. Below is a shot of lovely Marina in port in Barcelona before sailing on the Maiden Voyage.

Marina-Barcelona Port

And a spectacular shot of Marina at night.

Hustace Photo-12-Upper Deck Night
Apparently Marina is fond of the seas, because she has decided to enjoy another sea day! Inclement weather prevented us from calling at Malaga today, so as an alternative we tried for Gibraltar. But that did not work out because they closed the port, so we are off to Morocco. Frank and Marcia Del Rio were supposed to disembark today in Malaga, but instead they will be sailing on with us to Casablanca. So much for my taking some time off when Frank wasn't around!

Despite the rough seas, Marina is handling them very well. Mother Nature can cause some challenges though, so we are staying on our toes. Tonight will be the premier one of our new shows - Con Molto. We were supposed to do River Rhapsody, but those costumes are still in Malaga.

This afternoon's Chocolate Decadence class in the Bon Appetit Culinary Center should be a sweet spot on a sour day! As we suspected it would be, every day is a new adventure onboard Marina. 

Hustace Photo-9-Grand Staircase

You may have noticed that the quality of today's photos is quite impressive. No, my photography skills have not improved that much, but it appears that they would if I took classes onboard at the Artist Loft from Curtis Hustace, our Photo Coach. He captured today's photos, and we thank him so much for sharing!  We can't wait to learn from your expertise.

Hustace Photo-7-Vase

Hustace Photo-8-Terrace Chandelier

The first rave reviews are also coming in. Below I've shared some comments from David on the Cruise Critic message boards. It's his first voyage with Oceania Cruises, and if his impressions are any indication, we're meeting with great success! The links to the Cruise Critic pages are also included below if you'd like to read more:

The sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
It is beautiful.

It is more than you can imagine.

It is Marina….and before I’ve even had my first night on board, I can tell you that you will want to be onboard. 

Work is still being done….minor things and only to be expected.

First Impressions:

1. The public spaces are more grand and beautiful than any picture you’ve seen so far.
2. Even the carpet is more plush..every step is cushioned.
3. Staff is very friendly, but do not seem harried.
4. Everything is designed with an emphasis on home or perhaps an upscale boutique hotel.
5. The penthouse rooms are VERY nice…if you need more space than that, please feel free to donate to me!
6. Our balcony room is quite adequate. Slightly smaller than the R & S class balcony rooms on Holland.
7. The gel bed feels fantastic and you literally sink in slowly to a comfortable level.
8. They have crammed a lot into a little space.
9. Jacques and Red Ginger standout in terms of design..the designers did a great job creating great atmosphere there.
10. Small touches like soft close drawers are quite nice. In other words, there is a “cushion” feel to closing them.
11. Horizon’s lounge is REALLY nice. The smoking area is glassed off and to the port side. It’s a very expansive space.
12. The library is BEAUTIFUL, beautiful, beautiful. My wife will get lost in there.
13. Lunch service was paced well and very fresh in taste and appearance. Dishes everywhere are gorgeous.

Okay..I’ll be sending some photos of menus, etc. along the way (don’t want to show you EVERYTHING on the first day  I have to have some reason for you to come back to read more!

First shocker: house wines and spirits…FREE this first cruise for those who enjoy such a thing. Even mixed drinks, etc.

We are promised more surprises as we go along.

Dinner was great. The Grand Dining room at night was like gold spun butter poured into a crystal mould. There were bites of steamed dumplings, shrimp, wonderful salads and great entrees. Our favorite was definitely the Veal Oscar. We arrived at 630pm before the pre-dinner drinkers arrived (i.e. noisy/loud). I caught a glance of FDR patrolling the dining room.

I’ll post a few pics each day. I’ll certainly try to keep the menus coming!

In summary, this is a ship for adults with all the trappings of someone’s home. Even in public spaces we were met very few people and nothing seemed crowded.

Marie in the dining room was efficient, Anton the sommelier was quite engaging..and Mia and Dannielle from the entertainment staff were so so friendly.

Tomorrow, the menu at Waves grill looks GREAT…and I’m at the Bon Appetit culinary center in the afternoon.

Toscana for dinner tomorrow night.

By the way, they were handing out extra specialty dining venue reservations this afternoon on a first come first serve basis. 

We were delayed on our sail away for a few moments(didn’t bother us) as they were looking for a few folks…all were found.

In summary, if you haven’t booked your Marina trip, do it now! I can safely say that based on the first day experience. I look forward to more reports as we go.



Daddy Sang Bass, Mamma Sang Tenor

Me and little brother just joined right in!

I finally got it last night. I got the fascination with O.

Prior to dinner time last night, the ship hosted a special toast to the maiden voyage. Several venues were full of merry makers as staff were moved in to the area to deliver wine, champagne, mimosas, and rum punch drinks. Additional staff flooded, and I mean flooded, the area with hot and cold bites. The puff pastries with warm, melted cheese were my favorite. 

They were coming around at an average of one every 90 seconds to offer bites. I’ve been on other lines and have not been nearly so impressed with the service when it was time to do something like this. O made sure everyone was taken care of in this respect. I do not know if this is standard on most voyages or just because of the nature of this one.

Dinner was in Toscana. I have taken several pictures of the different dishes we ordered and will post them soon enough. I am not one to give away everything  So you won’t see all of them.

The waiter was appropriately from Italy. We liked the olive oil and balsamic vinegar choices..but it would have been nice to have had a menu, much like the dessert menu, to be able to read/see the descriptions. This would have been especially true of the olive oils. That being said, lemon, chili, rosemary, garlic, basil, were just some of the flavors.

ALL of the dishes were good, but if you are looking for room in the cavern called your stomach, you might want to skip the salads.

Some of the favorites: the eggplant stuffed with veal, the Trio Toscana and the Veal Marsala.

I need to clarify another issue. It is more than just Mr. Binder and Del Rio taking care of business. There are obviously engineers and the man responsible for the ship building running around. They are ALL working hard and attending to details. However, to the untrained eye, I haven’t the foggiest notion what those might be. If I didn’t know any better, Riviera, is probably getting a few adjustments planned because of this sailing.

Now, I started this post with an interesting observation. Daddy Sang Bass & Momma sang tenor. I believe I now get it. I know why Oceania doesn’t want to be a luxury line. Luxury implies self indulgent opulence. Premium means one places a high value on something. From the design of the ship to the nature of the approach to dining and spaces, this is all about family. The ship is meant to be home, not a resort. You don’t spend all day at your home trying to 1000 activities. In fact, especially from a man’s perspective, home is where you relax and have peace/calm.

I’m sure 90% or more of the passengers are repeat O cruisers. If I didn’t know any better, they are here to support Oceania! That’s what family does. They help each other during birth pangs and departures, through graduations, and moves to bigger houses.

Thus, Daddy does sing bass here and mamma does sing tenor. Because in the familiar words of the Johnny Cash tune, the circle won’t be broken. 
Thus, I think that is the real reason we refer to the line as “O”.

David C



Hustace Photo-11-Pool Night
Thank you again to Curtis for the fabulous photos and to David for sharing his experiences on Cruise Critic. And of course, I will continue to keep you posted here on the blog as Marina's Maiden Voyage continues!