24 posts categorized " Insignia "

July 23, 2014

GO BEYOND YOUR WILDEST DREAMS: AROUND THE WORLD IN 180 DAYS 2016

Just about everyone has experienced that moment when you’re watching a travel show or reading a magazine and you see your dream destination — the place that instantly makes you feel, “I want to go there.” One dream destination grows to two, then three, and soon you find yourself with a lengthy list of intriguing locales around the world that you want to visit. The challenge becomes determining which ones you’ll cross off your list first.

A year ago, Oceania Cruises conceived a dream-come-true cruise that lets you do it all — a 180-day journey that circumnavigates the globe. It spurred such excitement that a second 180-day cruise was released soon after. Now Oceania Cruises is announcing the newest voyage in this series of world exploration cruises, Around the World in 180 Days 2016.

Setting sail on January 4, 2016, this once-in-a-lifetime voyage will visit five continents, 45 countries and 57 UNESCO World Heritage Sites while traversing over 47,068 nautical miles. You’ll set foot on 45 different islands, pass the equator six times, marvel at 19 national capitals and cross all 24 time zones and the International Date Line.

Departing Miami, sail for the Caribbean and South America where you visit ports in Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana and Brazil. Then head to Africa and the spectacular scenery of countries such as Angola, Namibia, South Africa and Mozambique. After traveling around the African continent, you sail for Asia to enjoy two-night stays in Rangoon, Burma (Yangon, Myanmar), and Shanghai, China, as well as visits to countless exotic and alluring locales. Insignia then makes a number of stops in the South Pacific, including Oceania Cruises’ first call on the Australian port of Cooktown, serving as a gateway for the Great Barrier Reef and the Aboriginal community of Hopevale. Sail on to the lush islands of Hawaii and continue to Los Angeles before heading down the west coast of the Americas through the Panama Canal and returning to Miami on July 1, 2016.

For seasoned travelers and novice explorers alike, perhaps the greatest appeal of this globe-circling adventure is that it offers the most cherished luxury of all: time. One of the reasons for the immense success of Insignia’s 180-day journeys is that the destination specialists of Oceania Cruises recognize the value of time to explore, time to experience, and time to relax and savor the moment. This is what inspired the 180-day itinerary that visits 92 ports of call and includes 14 overnight stays, ranging from Beijing to Bali and from Singapore to Sydney.

Of course, when you’re eagerly anticipating the moment at which you can reserve your dream voyage, you wish time would pass more quickly. Bookings for Around the World in 180 Days 2016 will open at 8:30 a.m. EST on July 30, 2014. In this case you’ll be rewarded for acting fast, because guests reserving their suite or stateroom by October 31, 2014, will receive 2 for 1 cruise fares, free First Class roundtrip airfare from major U.S. and Canadian gateways, and early booking savings of up to 71 percent. In addition, guests will receive the Exclusive Prestige Package, which includes perks ranging from free pre-paid gratuities — a value up to $8,300 — to free exclusive shoreside events, free unlimited Internet, a free visa package, free onboard medical services and more.

What ports of call would you most like to visit on the voyage of your dreams?

July 14, 2014

AROUND THE WORLD IN 12 BOOKS

For every traveler, an around-the-world journey embodies the ultimate travel experience. The longevity and vastness of an around-the-world trip open the door to more meaningful explorations, unparalleled cultural discoveries, pursuing your passions — in essence, life-changing experiences — just not feasible on shorter trips. With Oceania Cruises' inaugural Around the World in 180 Days voyage, you can experience just that: Your World. Your Way.®

Around the WOrld in 80 DaysWhile everyone takes the plunge for different reasons, the same bubbling anticipation takes place the weeks and months before your trip. What better way to feed your travel anticipation than to dive into books that transport you to places all around the globe you’ll soon see?

Here are a few of our favorites:

Around the World in Eighty Days, Jules Verne: This timeless travel adventure follows Phileas Fogg and Jean Passepartout around the world by rail and by steamer after Fogg accepts a ₤20,000 bet that he can tour the world in 80 days.

Where you’ll go: London, Bombay, Hong Kong and Yokohama, among others

Full Circle: One Man’s Journey by Air, Train, Boat and Occasionally Very Sore Feet Around the 50,000 Miles of the Pacific Rim, Michael Palin: Serving as the written counterpart to the 10-part PBS series, this day-by-day recount of Palin’s fascinating journey visits 17 countries around the world’s largest ocean.

Round About the EarthWhere you’ll go: Russia; throughout Vietnam, Japan and China; Australia; New Zealand; and Tierra del Fuego, just to name a few

Round About the Earth: Circumnavigation from Magellan to Orbit, Joyce E. Chaplin: History buffs will especially love this immersion into the history of around-the-world travel, a tradition nearly 500 years old.

Where you’ll go: Historical global circuits of every kind, even the first via bicycle, balloon and submarine

Time Among the Maya, Ronald Wright: Wright explores the ancient roots of Mayan culture, encompassing history, anthropology, politics and religion to provide a thorough study on the enduring civilization.

Where you’ll go: Guatemala, Belize and Mexico

Brazilian AdventureBrazilian Adventure, Peter Fleming: Fleming goes on a loosely planned 1932 expedition into once-unexplored areas of Brazil on a quest for missing English explorer Colonel P.H. Fawcett.  

Where you’ll go: 3,000 miles of wilderness and rivers in central Brazil

The Tree Where Man Was Born, Peter Matthiessen: During trips over the course of a dozen years, Matthiessen captures vivid scenes and firsthand accounts that create a timeless portraiture of East Africa.

Where you’ll go: Maasailand,Tanzania, the Kenyan Highlands and Mt. Kilimanjaro, among others

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela: Written in large part during Mandela’s imprisonment, this powerful autobiography traces Mandela’s path to becoming president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, offering deep insight into the political and social forces that contributed to the oppression of black people in South Africa.

Where you’ll go: South Africa

An Area of Darkness, V.S. Naipaul: A classic modern travelogue, this stunningly perceptive account of Naipaul’s first travels to India tells of how he grapples with profound ancestral questions and disillusionment. 

The Quiet AmericanWhere you’ll go: Bombay, Kashmir, Himalayan caves and Madras, among others

The Quiet American, Graham Greene: A celebrated anti-war novel written in 1955, the lyrical narrative masterfully weaves together a romantic encounter with a political parable in a charged portrayal of the conflict between the Communists and French colonial powers in Vietnam.

Where you’ll go: Saigon

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, Jung Chang: In this story of three generations in 20th century China, Chang blends history and memoir to portray Chinese social history during the decades preceding the Communist revolution.

Where you’ll go: Yibin and throughout the province of Sichuan, and later London 

The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia’s Founding, Robert Hughes: In a sweeping historical account of Australia, Hughes sites diaries, letters and other original sources to meticulously explore the historical, political and sociological reasons that led to England’s infamous convict transportation system.

Where you’ll go: Norfolk Island, Moreton Bay and Tasmania; Sydney, Port Macquarie and throughout New South Wales

In the South Seas, Robert Louis Stevenson: Published in 1896, this South Pacific classic fuses the culture, traditions and history of Polynesia and Micronesia with Stevenson’s personal impressions.

Where you’ll go: Tahiti, Samoan Islands and Kiribati, to name a few

Stay tuned for part two, when we’ll take you around the world in movies. Happy reading!

May 8, 2014

INSIGNIA RETURNS TO THE FLEET WITH A MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR MAKEOVER

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.

PenthouseSuite(New)
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.

Horizons(New)
Horizons

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.

Baristas(New)
Baristas

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!

May 5, 2014

SIGNATURE SAILINGS: YOUR WORLD AND BEYOND

As if visiting the world’s most fascinating destinations weren’t enticing enough, Oceania Cruises also offers several Signature Sailings with guest celebrities and special events to enhance your remarkable vacation.

In a recent blog, I wrote about the Viking Passage Signature Sailing, featuring hall of fame broadcaster Verne Lundquist. But he won’t be the only special guest on board this transoceanic voyage. Barbara Seagram, an American Contract Bridge League accredited master instructor, will be on board to conduct classes and tournaments.

If bridge is your passion, there are eight other opportunities to see the world and improve your bridge game with American Contract Bridge League instructors on board between May and December. 

Jaques PepinWorld-renowned master chef Jacques Pépin, who is the executive culinary director for Oceania Cruises, will be on board the Explore the Isles sailing, which departs July 23 and sails roundtrip from London. Guests will enjoy special signature menus, engaging lectures, culinary demonstrations and much more.

Departing June 10, Historic Holy Lands will be an especially noteworthy Signature Sailing as it celebrates the return of Insignia to the Oceania Cruises INSIGNIA_008fleet. Founding Chairman Joe Watters will host this gala voyage aboard the newly refurbished Insignia with his wife, Virginia, who is Insignia’s godmother. Guests will be treated to a number of exclusive events and festivities, including a momentous rechristening ceremony in Istanbul.

 

OceaniaClubCrestLargeAlways a special occasion for Oceania Cruises’ valued past guests, the 11th Oceania Club Reunion Cruise promises a memorable Signature Sailing when Riviera departs on the Gems of Antiquity voyage on July 29. Reunion cruises honor our cherished Oceania Club members, and this year’s cruise will feature a private cocktail reception hosted by the Captain as well as exclusive shore excursions in Istanbul, Santorini and Kusadasi, among other celebratory events.

From Europe to Africa and South America to the South Pacific, don’t miss your opportunity to explore your world and beyond on one of Oceania Cruises' special Signature Sailings.

April 28, 2014

CULINARY DISCOVERIES IN NICE AND ÈZE

I cannot imagine a more glorious reception than the one we had in Monte Carlo. Everyone on board Riviera awoke to a beautiful spring morning, and I opened my drapes to a blue sky that took my breath away. Soon we were all happily preparing for the day’s adventures in another magical port of call.

Several guests joined me for a Culinary Discovery Tour to two of my favorite destinations, Nice and Èze. We started the morning in the Bon Appétit Culinary Center, using my trusty map as a guide to review the various influences on the cuisine of Nice. We discussed the ancient spice trade that brought flavors from lands as distant as Asia and Africa, and we also looked at culinary trends from the regions of Savoy and northern France that migrated into Provence, all influencing the cuisine of Nice in subtle yet distinctive ways.

Traveling to the market in Nice, we discovered the usual eye-popping rainbow of colors, made even more spectacular by the fresh flowers available this time of year. Lilacs were in bloom and paired with white roses in elegant bouquets, and my personal favorite, peonies, were overflowing in all shades of pink, including a tangerine color I had never seen before.

Nice Flowers

Nice Lilacs Nice Peonies

After stopping to smell the flowers, we were on to the produce, where we found an abundance of asparagus, peas, fava beans and artichokes. We also shopped for olive oils before making a requisite stop at my favorite chocolate shop, Maison Auer, to see the last of their exquisite Easter eggs. 

Nice Market Guest

Nice Market guests

Nice Aspargus

Nice Veggies Nice Chocolate

We then savored a bite of peppery socca, the Nice specialty made with chickpea flour and olive oil, fried like a pancake and served in paper cones with lots of salt and pepper. We were disappointed to learn that our favorite socca vendor had retired, but happy to discover that her replacement was making a creamy socca that was equally delicious.

After a refreshing snack, we headed to Èze, a medieval town perched at the top of a mountain overlooking the Côte d’Azur. This is our third year offering a Culinary Discovery Tour to Èze in which we visit the grand Château Eza. Today the chef of Château Eza prepared seasonal favorites: a salad of baby lettuces atop a mousse of garden greens, a cream of asparagus soup, and an entrée of sea bass with braised fennel and artichoke purée. The dessert was a mille-feuille of chocolate mousse with a hint of citrus. As always, it was an impeccable meal served with local wines and enhanced by unparalleled views. Everyone always loves coming here, and I love sharing this unforgettable experience with our foodie guests.

Eze 3

Eze 2

CE Salad CE Soup CE Sea Bass

CE Dessert CE View

We returned to port with time to spare, so we all headed in different directions to explore Monte Carlo. I stopped by the gardens of Princess Margaret, where I called my mom and relived a few memories from our 2008 trip on Insignia to celebrate her 80th birthday. Oceania Cruises has been such an important part of so many people's lives and travel memories, and my family is no exception. As I strolled through the gardens, I saw many familiar flowers of spring and one that I had never seen, the black petunia, majestic and sensuous! I love discovering new things when I travel!

PM Garden

PM Garden 2 PM Black Petunia

What an amazing day of culinary discoveries in Nice and Èze, topped off by a lovely jaunt through Monte Carlo! Next we head to the Pitti winery and the market in Livorno for a day of pizza, focaccia and biscotti in the Tuscan countryside. It doesn't get any better than this!

March 24, 2014

NATURAL WONDERS AND SCENIC CITYSCAPES OF VIETNAM

Springtime has arrived, and the ships of Oceania Cruises are gearing up for another amazing summer season. Excitement is in the air as we prepare to welcome Insignia back to the fleet, fresh from her multimillion-dollar renovations. In the meantime, guests on board Nautica aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to a wonderful winter spent exploring the coasts of Asia. This week Nautica makes her final calls on Vietnam for the season.

Today Nautica sails into Ha Long Bay, just a three-hour drive from the capital city of Hanoi. Whether guests choose to explore the natural wonders of Ha Long Bay or the city sights of Hanoi, there is no shortage of fantastic adventures in store.

The 1,600 islands and islets in Ha Long Bay form a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars, most of which are largely untouched by humans due to the precipitous nature of the rocky islands. Because of its outstanding scenic beauty as well as its geological importance, Ha Long Bay has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The arches, caves and lakes that compose the limestone karsts are the result of a unique combination of geography and climate that sculpted this distinctive landscape over millions of years.

Ha Long Bay-1

Ha Long Bay-3

A beautiful drive through the Vietnamese countryside from Ha Long Bay, Hanoi is an enchanting blend of traditional Vietnamese traditions with a French flair. The capital of Vietnam for over 1,000 years, Hanoi has long been the cultural center of the country. From the local artisans and merchants that have historically lined the streets of the Old Quarter to the French colonial architecture to the many picturesque lakes, the city has much to offer visitors.

One of its more famous landmarks tells darker tales of the city’s history. Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” was originally used by French colonialists to house political prisoners and, due to the terrible conditions, became a symbol of colonialist exploitation. During the Vietnam War, it was once again turned into an infamous prison, where the North Vietnamese Army housed and interrogated American POWs, including its most famous inmate, Senator John McCain. Though the prison was demolished in the 1990s, the gatehouse remains as a museum.

Hanoi Hilton-1

Another highlight of the city is the Presidential Palace, designed in the Beaux-Arts style favored by French architects of its time. Built between 1900 and 1906, the palace was home to French governors until the end of French occupation. When Ho Chi Minh moved into the palace estate, it is said that he eschewed the lavish setting and lived in the servants’ quarters until he built a traditional Vietnamese stilt house with a carp pond on the grounds. While the interior of the palace is closed to the public, visitors can wander the expansive gardens and compare the distinctive styles of the two residences.

Hanoi Presidential Palace

Both Nautica and Insignia will visit Ha Long Bay in 2015, and now is the perfect time to reserve your Asian cruise for next season. Each of these itineraries features an overnight stay in Ha Long Bay, so you will have plenty of time to experience the natural beauty of the bay as well as the fascinating sights of nearby Hanoi.

Photos by Peter Pretty

March 5, 2014

2015 SUMMER SEASON OPENS FOR BOOKINGS

A recent study suggests that the planning stages can be one of the most pleasurable parts of a vacation. When it comes to a voyage with Oceania Cruises, nothing can possibly beat the vacation itself, but I do love all the steps leading up to the vacation. Perhaps the most exciting is the initial planning as I dream of what part of the world I might explore next. That is why this is one of my favorite times of year, because today Oceania Cruises unveils its new 2015 Summer Collection, a whole new array of itineraries that will inspire all of us to begin planning our next Oceania Cruises adventure.

Summer is always an exciting season for Oceania Cruises as the ships explore all corners of the globe, from Alaska to Scandinavia and from New England to the Mediterranean. And 2015 is no exception with 24 new ports, 40 new itineraries in Europe, five new itineraries in Alaska and autumn cruises up and down the Eastern Seaboard during the height of the beautiful fall foliage. The season’s itineraries sail from April through November, and I was thrilled to discover that a few itineraries for the 2015-2016 winter season are being unveiled early and will also be available for bookings today!

The first thing I like to do when new itineraries are released is research the new ports to find out what fascinating places have been added to an already enormous list of destinations that Oceania Cruises visits. It would be impossible to pick a favorite from the array of new destinations, but I did find myself particularly excited about Liverpool. Here in the hometown of one of history’s greatest rock bands, The Beatles Story exhibition offers a walking tour narrated by John Lennon’s sister. More distant history is revealed at the Liverpool Cathedral, which looks positively stunning in the photos I’ve seen, and I’ve read that the views from the bell tower are unbeatable.

Liverpool Cathedral
Liverpool Cathedral

If you read my recent blog on Barcelona, highlighting several works by Gaudí, you can probably guess that I’m a big fan of art nouveau architecture. So I was also happy to see that Glasgow, birthplace of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, will be a new port of call in the British Isles. His buildings can be found throughout the city, the most famous and perhaps the most beautiful being the Glasgow School of Art.

Another new port that caught my eye was the Solovetsky Islands, located in the White Sea off the coast of Northern Russia. After learning about Russian history on my amazing visit to St. Petersburg, I feel drawn to this isolated archipelago just a hundred miles south of the Arctic Circle, as it is home to one of the most powerful monasteries of the Russian Empire. If the history isn’t enough to intrigue you, the islands’ natural beauty alone will make this an unforgettable call.

Solovetsky Islands Monastery
Solovetsky Monastery

Of course, while I may be Oceania Cruises’ Blogger-at-Large, I have not yet lived enough years to visit all of the marvelous destinations to which the ships sail. So beyond the new ports, there are also several other places the ships visit regularly that remain on my bucket list. I’ve already mentioned my fascination with Russia, and the recent Winter Olympics have showcased the beauty of Sochi, framed dramatically by the Caucasus Mountains. Departing September 7, 2014, Riviera’s Black Sea Sojourn offers the opportunity to explore this picturesque city as well as other enchanting ports along the coasts of Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.

The voyages to Iceland and Greenland have always called to me as well, and I can only hope that 2015 may be the year I make the trip. I like to venture off the beaten path, and the pristine wilderness of these northern treasures is sure to offer an experience like no other on board the luxurious – and newly renovatedNautica. If the raw beauty of nature appeals to you as well, you’ll have a tough time choosing between the icy grandeur of the Arctic and the untamed majesty of Alaska. There is no better way to experience Mother Nature at her best than to explore Alaska on board Regatta, also newly renovated.

Glazier Lake - Fire and Ice - Wrangell
Glacier Lake near Wrangell, Alaska

One of the most exciting things about the new 2015 summer season is that Oceania Cruises will be offering Grand Voyages in Europe. These extended voyages have been very popular in Africa, Asia and the South Pacific during recent winter seasons, and now guests will have the opportunity to linger in Europe and beyond on voyages of up to 39 days. One of the most irresistible aspects of these longer voyages is that they offer additional savings and Exclusive Prestige Package amenities, such as a one-night pre-cruise hotel stay, free laundry service and other great offers.

On the heels of the overwhelmingly positive response to Oceania Cruises’ first-ever world expedition unveiled last summer, Insignia’s 180-Day World Odyssey was announced in November, and individual cruises within the 180-Day World Odyssey are now open for bookings with the launch of the 2015 summer season. Also available are another series of Grand Voyages featuring combinations of these itineraries ranging from 35 to 70 days.

With all of these extraordinary voyages being released, your biggest challenge (and greatest pleasure!) will be choosing which one you wish to sail on. You may find your choice influenced by the Culinary Discovery ToursTM offered on select sailings on board Marina and Riviera. These unique excursions offer an in-depth look at the culinary culture of destinations worldwide, with the opportunity to dine in local restaurants, take cooking classes with renowned chefs, and visit local markets, farms and wineries. We’re thrilled to be offering several new Culinary Discovery Tours in the 2015 summer season, so be sure to check out which ones are available.

Reservations are now open, so you can begin the ever so pleasant process of selecting your cruise right away. I’ve found it’s always a good idea to book early for the best fares and availability. Following are links to some cruises that include the ports I mentioned here, and you can view the entire 2015 Summer Collection by clicking the Promotions link at the very top of this page.

 

January 31, 2014

REGATTA, INSIGNIA AND NAUTICA: IMPROVING ON PERFECTION

As Blogger-at-Large for Oceania Cruises, I have had the great fortune to sail on Regatta, Insignia and Nautica several times over the past few years. With only 684 guests on board, these ships feel as warm, welcoming and intimate as smaller vessels while also offering the conveniences and amenities of the larger ships. In other words, they are perfect. So it was hard for me to imagine how Oceania Cruises could improve on perfection.

But the folks at Oceania Cruises never stop striving to improve and innovate, and they will soon further enhance the already beloved Regatta, Insignia and Nautica by implementing the largest refurbishment program in the company’s history. The award-winning ships will undergo a $50 million transformation during the second quarter of 2014.

For those who, like me, feel the ships are perfect as they are, no need to worry. They will retain all the warmth, intimacy and charm that guests have come to cherish, but they will shine even brighter thanks to elegant new decor throughout the ships. And having received an overwhelmingly positive response to the innovations featured on board Marina and Riviera, Oceania Cruises will add many of those best-loved amenities and design elements to Regatta, Insignia and Nautica during the refits.

When the updates are complete, all guests will be welcomed with rich new decor in their suite or stateroom, imbuing their home away from home with a new sense of style, elegance and flair. Specific changes include new bathrooms with a lavish oversized shower and new onyx and granite vanities in the Owner's and Vista Suites. The Penthouse Suites will be transformed into virtual replicas of those on Marina and Riviera. All staterooms will feature luxurious new fabrics and furnishings.

Swatches

Penthouse Suite

Veranda Stateroom

Inside Stateroom

One of my favorite haunts on board is Horizons, the perfect place for socializing, relaxing or simply taking in the stunning views, and this lounge will also undergo a transformation with a new color palate and new furnishings. The Main Lounges will be completely refurbished with new carpeting, chairs and elegant new fabrics and upholstery. Martinis and the Pool Deck will both receive new furnishings, and the Canyon Ranch Spa Club® will have new steam rooms and changing rooms decorated with dramatic new mosaics and intricate custom tile work.

The Terrace Café will feature all new decor as well as a new state-of-the-art grill similar to the one on Marina and Riviera, so guests can dine on made-to-order specialties like juicy steaks, succulent lobster tails and mouthwatering chops any night they wish. As a coffee drinker, I was especially thrilled to hear that Baristas will be added in the Grand Bar area. This coffee bar is a guest favorite on Marina and Riviera and will certainly be a welcome addition to the other ships. Here master baristas prepare complimentary illy® espressos, cappuccinos and lattes and also serve fresh pastries and finger sandwiches throughout the day.

Baristas

The upper decks of the ships offer some of the greatest views of the sea, sky and coastlines, so what better place to enjoy an array of new deck games? Guests can take in the lovely vistas during a rousing game of shuffleboard or while playing a round of miniature golf on the 9-hole putting green, a feature unique to ships in this class.

Miniature golf

Fortunately we won’t have to wait long to experience these fabulous changes. Insignia will debut on May 8, 2014, in Barcelona for her 7-day Jewels of Europe cruise, and we’ll be especially excited not only to see her splendid new refurbishments but also to welcome her back to the fleet after her two-year charter. Nautica will be unveiled on May 16, 2014, in Civitavecchia for the 10-day Cliffs & Coves cruise, and Regatta will debut on June 7, 2014, in Vancouver for the 10-day Majesty of Alaska cruise. We hope to welcome you on board these refreshed, rejuvenated and resplendent ships very soon!

November 29, 2013

A MESSAGE FROM KUNAL S. KAMLANI: THE STORY BEHIND THE ODYSSEY

SELECT_Kunal1 tan copyOn behalf of everyone at Oceania Cruises, we hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving yesterday and continue to enjoy spending time with friends and family. 

In this season of giving thanks, I reflect on many things for which I am grateful and one of them is being a member of the Oceania Cruises family.  I not only get to work with the most talented and professional individuals both on land and at sea, but I also exchange ideas on a daily basis with guests and travel partners, many of whom have become close friends. The 180-Day World Odyssey cruise is a classic example of an idea that comes to life when guests and travel agents keep pushing us to create something new. We check the world map all the time and we haven’t found a new city or island. But, trust me, this wasn’t going to stop us. 

As Destination Specialists, if anyone was going to find out if there was a group of people who truly wanted to explore the world without constraints, it was going to be us. We began by sitting around a table with the objective of creating a fantasy voyage that will excite and inspire. We ignored all the conventional wisdom that typically constrains itinerary development; in particular we ignored the element of time.  The final product was a collection of destinations that encourage exploration and discovery – Around the World in 180 Days.  Even with the ultimate itinerary in hand, we were nervous. In our 10-year history, Oceania Cruises had never offered a world cruise and did not know what to expect. But within the first hour of opening the sailing for reservations, it became apparent that our passion for travel had come through loud and clear in the itinerary. And eight hours later, we sold out the entire sailing.

As you can imagine, this unprecedented response gave us a great deal to be excited about. But at the same time it left many guests and travel partners asking for another epic journey.

A few weeks later, we found ourselves sitting around the conference room table once again. This time, with a different task: Create another unique journey that will break the mold we just set.

During the brainstorming for the Around the World in 180 Days cruise, we focused on sailing to the most exciting ports while circumnavigating the globe. Now that we had accomplished this feat, we focused on just the destinations without requiring the “around the world” component. To further break from industry tradition as it relates to world cruises, we considered the possibility of scheduling our new fantasy voyage in the summer season, and suddenly we realized that we had found the formula to create another truly differentiated itinerary. Immediately, we focused on how the warmer weather opened the door to new destinations – most notably two of them in Greenland, Nuuk and Paamiut. Then, we shifted our attention to the number of iconic places that we collectively had traveled to or remain on our bucket lists. As our itinerary came together, we noticed that made it possible for our guests to visit more than 100 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

With all of the logistics in place, the only thing left was to give it a proper name - a name fitting of a new grand adventure.

And that’s how the 180-Day World Odyssey cruise was born.

180 World odyssey_COVER HR copy
This extraordinary voyage aboard Insignia will visit five continents, 52 countries and 100 ports of call and will feature 14 overnight stays plus 2 two-night calls in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) and Mahé, Seychelles. I hope you take a moment to visit OceaniaCruises.com/180day for the complete itinerary and details. We are very proud of this voyage and hope that we have piqued your interest in exploring the world.

Although the 180-Day World Odyssey cruise will be difficult to outdo, we never stop dreaming of exciting new voyages because your desire to experience the world’s wonders never wanes.

And for that we are grateful.

September 18, 2013

OCEANIA CRUISES UNVEILS THE 2014-2015 WINTER COLLECTION

Today, Oceania Cruises announced its 2014-2015 Winter Collection, the largest winter launch in the company’s history. As Blogger-at-Large for Oceania Cruises, this is one of my favorite times of year as the future becomes full of new opportunities to see the world! And on Insignia’s Around the World in 180 Days voyage, you can, quite literally, sail around the entire world.

With new ports in Asia, Africa and the Americas, Oceania Cruises’ five ships—Riviera, Marina, Nautica, Insignia and Regatta—will visit five continents. The launch features a record-breaking 86 voyages, 44 of which are new itineraries, plus 19 all-new Grand Voyages ranging from 24 to 71 days and 15 Around the World itinerary combinations as part of Insignia’s epic Around the World in 180 Days cruise.

As always, luxury meets value with Oceania Cruises, and all 2014-2015 Winter Collection voyages feature two-for-one cruise fares and free airfare. Guests who book a veranda or higher category by December 31, 2013, will enjoy the added value of free pre-paid gratuities, free unlimited Internet and early booking savings of up to $5,000.

Riviera in the Caribbean 

Riviera offers 12 itineraries exploring the lovely islands of the Caribbean. Relax on one of my favorite beaches, Cane Garden Bay on Tortola, or take a shore excursion from Tortola to Virgin Gorda and the famous Baths during the new 10-day cruise, Heart of the Caribbean.

Cane Garden Bay Tortola The Baths Virgina Gorda
 

Marina in Paradise

Marina begins the season in Rio de Janeiro with two South American voyages before heading to the South Pacific and Australia. Quickly making it onto my wish list for 2015 is the new 10-day cruise Picturesque Polynesia, which leisurely explores the Polynesian islands, including an overnight in Papeete, two overnights in Bora Bora and calls on other idyllic isles such as Moorea and Huahine.

Moorea
 

Nautica from Africa to Asia

Nautica returns to Africa and Asia with eight itineraries ranging from 15 to 35 days, stopping in ports from Cape Town to Beijing and Dubai to Tokyo and featuring two new ports in South Africa: Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth. One of the best things about visiting Africa and Asia onboard Nautica is the abundance of overnight stays. You’ll especially appreciate the extra time when exploring the grand metropolises of Asia and savoring spectacular views like the Hong Kong skyline at night.

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The Panama Canal & South America on Regatta

Regatta spends the season exploring the Caribbean and South America with several cruises through the Panama Canal. If you have never sailed across the engineering marvel that is the Panama Canal, this is the perfect opportunity to check this astounding experience off your bucket list.

Around the World with Insignia

INSIGNIA_008After a Caribbean and an Amazon cruise, Insignia departs on Oceania Cruises’ first-ever Around the World in 180 Days cruise. This extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime voyage sails round-trip from Miami and circumnavigates the globe, visiting five continents, 44 countries and 89 ports of call.

Around the World itinerary combinations, ranging from 34 to 128 days, will open for bookings with the 2014-2015 Winter Collection launch, offering a unique array of exotic ports in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia and the South Pacific.

Guests booking these combinations will receive complimentary amenities from the Exclusive Prestige Package. Depending on the length of the voyage reserved, amenities include a one-night pre-cruise luxury hotel stay, access to exclusive shoreside events, a comprehensive visa package, laundry service, luggage delivery, round-trip transfers, Internet service and pre-paid gratuities.

All New Grand Voyages

Included in the unveiling of the 2014-2015 Winter Collection are 19 new Grand Voyages that blend multiple itineraries for in-depth exploration. These voyages feature two-for-one cruise fares and free airfare as well as Exclusive Prestige Package amenities, depending on the length of the voyage reserved. For bookings made by December 31, 2013, these voyages also offer free pre-paid gratuities and free unlimited Internet for all suite and stateroom categories.

For more information on the 2014-2015 Winter Collection, visit OceaniaCruises.com or call 800-531-5658. We look forward to welcoming you onboard one of these fantastic sailings!

July 17, 2013

OCEANIA CRUISES ANNOUNCES ITS FIRST-EVER AROUND THE WORLD CRUISE

The year 2013 marks Oceania Cruises’ 10th anniversary, and we have been celebrating with a number of signature sailings and special events. Today we look forward to our next decade at sea with a new milestone: Around the World in 180 Days. The first-ever around the world cruise in Oceania Cruises history, this unprecedented, port-intensive voyage onboard the elegant Insignia sets sail from Miami on January 10, 2015, and circumnavigates the globe.

Insignia’s 180-day journey begins by visiting boutique ports in the Caribbean and then steers south to South America and east to Africa before heading to Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Hawaii. Via the Panama Canal, Insignia returns to Miami on July 8, 2015. This extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime voyage will visit five continents, 44 countries and 89 ports of call and will feature 11 overnight stays plus 4 two-night calls in Cape Town, South Africa; Yangon, Myanmar (Burma); Singapore, Singapore; and Shanghai, China.

 

“As the leading specialist in destination cruising, we wanted to create a unique port-intensive voyage that reflects the dreams of the true explorer, rather than speed across the seas racing to the next convenient port as is the norm in a typical 100- to 110-day world cruise,” says Oceania Cruises President Kunal S. Kamlani. “By eliminating the 100-day time constraint, we freed ourselves to conceive a remarkable dream voyage designed to visit the world’s most fascinating destinations.” 

In addition to crossing the equator four times and sailing through all 24 time zones, the Around the World in 180 Days cruise will traverse three oceans and 10 seas, call on 45 islands and offer the chance to visit 47 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Of the 89 ports visited on this extraordinary cruise, 13 are new to Oceania Cruises, including Corinto, Nicaragua; El Guamache (Isla Margarita), Venezuela; Langkawi, Malaysia; Santa Marta, Colombia; and Xiamen, China.

Bookings for the Around the World in 180 Days cruise open today and feature two-for-one cruise fares, free FIRST CLASS round-trip airfare and free pre-paid gratuities. Additionally, guests will receive free visa packages including visas for 16 countries, unlimited Internet and laundry service, luggage delivery, round-trip transfers and free onboard medical service, a first for the industry. Guests will also enjoy a one-night pre-cruise luxury hotel stay in Miami and free exclusive shoreside events in Walvis Bay, Namibia; Myanmar; Bangkok; Beijing and Honolulu. 

Early Booking Savings of up to 70 percent will be available through September 17, 2013. We hope you will join us on this journey of a lifetime!

February 25, 2013

OCEANIA CRUISES LAUNCHES FIRST-EVER TV ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN

Today Oceania Cruises reaches another milestone in the company’s history. We are launching our first ever television advertising campaign. Airing on national networks in cities on the East and West coasts, the new 30-second spot begins running today and showcases the brand’s pillars of destinations, cuisine, onboard experience and value. 

The first scene opens on an Oceania Cruises ship at sea and highlights the experiences guests can “wake up” to every day, like visiting the Taj Mahal in India or the Meteora monasteries in Greece, whale watching in Alaska or a gondola ride in Venice. The ad transitions to the onboard experience and Oceania Cruises’ extraordinary cuisine, focusing on the freedom guests have to decide when, where and with whom they will dine.

 

The ad campaign is timed to coincide with the launch the 2014 Summer Collection, the largest offering in Oceania Cruises’ history. Unveiled on February 13th, the collection encompasses 90 voyages, an almost entirely new line-up of European itineraries and the highly anticipated return of Insignia. The five ships in the fleet – Marina, RivieraRegatta, Insignia and Nautica – will sail to more than 330 destinations throughout the world.

The Oceania Cruises family is always growing, and with this television campaign, we hope more people than ever will hear about the fascinating destinations, luxurious ships, exquisite cuisine and extraordinary value of the Oceania Cruises experience.

February 13, 2013

OCEANIA CRUISES ANNOUNCES 2014 SUMMER COLLECTION

Insignia Copenhagen-96It is one of the most exciting days of the year in the offices of Oceania Cruises, as today we unveiled our 2014 Summer Collection, featuring 90 voyages, 10 new ports of call and an almost entirely new line-up of European itineraries. Perhaps most exciting, Insignia will return to the fleet in the summer of 2014 after a two-year charter. All five ships in the fleet – Riviera, Marina, Regatta, Insignia and Nautica – will sail to more than 180 destinations throughout the world. The 2014 cruise collection features 70 European cruises, 93 percent of which are new itineraries, plus 10 Alaska voyages, seven all-new Canada/New England cruises and three Panama Canal voyages. 

Oceania Cruises President Kunal S. Kamlani said he is thrilled about the new line-up of itineraries. “Our newest cruise collection is the largest in the company’s history with five ships visiting Europe, Alaska and Canada/New England,” he said. “Our guests will love the new and exciting options for exploring the world with a wide range of seven- to 24-day cruises, a mix of overnight and extended stays, and new ports of call in Albania, France and Greece, to name a few. 

“Bookings open today, and we are encouraging travelers to act quickly to secure the suite or stateroom of their choice. In addition to our two-for-one cruise fares, free airfare and bonus savings, guests who book by May 31, 2013, receive the added value of complimentary pre-paid gratuities on every sailing,” Kamlani added.

We hope to welcome you onboard for a wonderful voyage with Oceania Cruises in the summer of 2014!

February 12, 2013

USHUAIA: A TRIP TO THE END OF THE WORLD

According to ancient human fossils found in Tierra del Fuego dating back 8,500 to 11,500 years ago, humans lived in this remote region long before it became known as the “Land of Fire.” The name “Tierra del Fuego” was coined by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1520 when his ships arrived at this southernmost tip of South America. It is thought that, in the mists of dawn, the dispersed fires and columns of smoke from the native populations seemed to float on the water, thus giving this archipelago its name.

Beagle channel (2)

Regatta recently called on Ushuaia, the capital city of the Tierra del Fuego province. Ushuaia is the southernmost urban center in the world and the closest city to the South Pole. In December and January, the region enjoys 17 hours of daylight. Despite its isolation and harsh conditions during the colder months of the year, or perhaps because of these things, there is a lot to see and do in and around Ushuaia. During Regatta’s recent visit, guests took an unforgettable trip on the Southern Fuegian Railway, also known as the End of the World Train, through Tierra del Fuego National Park to Lapataia Bay.

End of the World Train (14) End of the World Train (15)

End of the World Train (2) End of the World Train (9)

Completely cut off from the rest of South America, Tierra del Fuego was developed in the 19th century as a penal colony where Argentina sent its worst criminal offenders because escape was virtually impossible. The prisoners were expected to take care of themselves, and a railway was built to transport wood from the forests for heating and building.

End of the World Train (4)

Now a tourist attraction through this remote national forest, the unique train transports guests across rivers and peat bogs, the beautiful formations of peat moss for which this region is known. There was a brief stop at the Macarena Waterfall Station, where guests saw the lovely falls and also heard about Tierra del Fuego’s indigenous people, the Yamana.

End of the World Train (6) End of the World Train (11)

End of the World Train (10)

Arriving at Lapataia Bay, the group was met by a catamaran and treated to a cruise through Beagle Channel. These waters are among the best in the world for trout fishing, but on this day the cormorants, sea lions and seals were the stars of the show.

Beagle channel (14) Beagle channel (17) Beagle channel (15)

The cruise visited Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse, which is also known as the Lighthouse at the End of the World. Put into service in 1920, it guards the entrance to Ushuaia and is now controlled remotely.

Beagle channel (4)

Quite comfortable with tourists, the seals and sea lions on Seal Island and Isla de los Lobos went about their business of napping and playing, unaffected by the arrival of spectators.

Beagle channel (18)

Beagle channel (19)

Island of the Birds is home to cormorants and other sea birds and a few seals and sea lions as well.

Beagle channel (8)

Beagle channel (7)

Beagle channel (9)

There are numerous other thrilling adventures to be had at the end of the world for those looking to explore the majestic wilderness of South America. Marina will stop in Ushuaia on South American Holiday, which departs on December 8, 2013, as will Regatta on the February 3, 2014 sailing, Mystical Andes & Majestic Fjords.

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October 20, 2011

A Visit to the Charming and Historic Greek Island of Patmos

Insignia visited the Greek Island of Patmos recently and docked in this gorgeous bay at the port village of Skala. As with many of the Greek islands, Patmos offers beautiful panoramic views from the high cliffs surrounding the bay. One of the most popular shore excursions in this port includes a visit to the Cave of St. John. According to Christian tradition, St. John resided here during his time on Patmos, and it was here that he wrote the Book of the Apocalypse.

Open Patmos

Patmos 2

Patmos 3

Patmos 4Just south of Skala lies the village of Chora, the capitol of Patmos. While exploring the town, guests discovered the rich history and varied architectural and cultural influences that have shaped Patmos over thousands of years. Whether welcomed or not, Greeks, Romans, Turks, and Italians have all contributed to the fabric of the island.

Patmos 7     Patmos 9
Patmos 10   Patmos 11
Patmos 14 Patmos 8

The town of Chora was built up around the Monastery of St. John, which is perched high on a cliff overlooking the island.

Patmos 5This monastery was the Byzantine Empire's most significant contribution to the island and was fortified to repel outside threats from pirates and other rogue forces. Today the monastery houses the Theological School of Patmos, which was founded in 1713, as well as five chapels and museum artifacts dating back hundreds of years.

Patmos 6
After the visit to the monastery, the excursion group was welcomed at a local taverna where they enjoyed some traditional Greek food and drink. It was a beautiful day to explore the treasures of Patmos, and a stroll along one of the sandy beaches finished the day on the perfect note as the group headed back to the ship.

Last Patmos


September 30, 2011

A Journey through Provence - Romance and Beauty Abound

Marseille
As Nautica and Insignia continue to cruise the Mediterranean Sea, both Oceania Cruises ships will be visiting the port of Marseille and the neighboring areas of Provence this fall. The skyline of Marseille is dominated by the landmark basilica, Notre Dame de la Garde, which overlooks the Old Port.

Cassis (3)

A mere 12 miles to the east of Marseille is Cassis, a delightful fishing village that unites the sea with the French countryside. A journey through the lovely landscapes of Provence brings you to this vision enhanced by the scent of fresh herbs wafting through the air.

Cassis (6)Exploring the quaint village of Cassis, one finds an array of boutique shops featuring the modern fashions of the French Riviera, while additional stores focus on the regional and cultural charms of Provence.   

  Cassis (2)
  Cassis (4) Some of the most tempting "local charms" are the delicious pastries that beckon you from the windows of the many pâtisseries lining the streets. 

Cassis (5)
Considering the delectable treats, fabulous shopping opportunities and beautiful scenery to be found in Provence, it comes as no surprise that this region has become a favorite destination of Oceania Cruises ships.

April 5, 2011

REGATTA AND NAUTICA SEND POSTCARDS FROM EXOTIC LANDS

 

DSC_1059 (Medium)

While Insignia just crossed the Atlantic to begin her summer sojourn along European shores, Regatta and Nautica are exploring opposite sides of the globe. Regatta spent the first of April in Parintins, Brazil, and guests were treated to a taste of Amazonian folklore and festivities during an exclusive excursion to a Boi-Bumba celebration. 

DSC_1083 (Medium)

The people of Parintins, known for their exuberance and rich cultural traditions, put on a mesmerizing display of revelry with colorful costumes and the sounds of samba. The performance told the captivating story of two families involved in a historic dispute, which was resolved not by combat, but by song and dance.

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DSC_1098 (Medium)

Meanwhile, Nautica was exploring the vibrant metropolis of Saigon. Guests were able to experience all the charms of the city via pedi-cab.

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Known as the "Pearl of the Orient," Saigon is an eclectic mix of old and new, with steel and glass skyscrapers towering over French colonial villas, and imposing Soviet-style facades standing beside ancient pagodas. Guests touring the city got a feel for the hectic pace of people's daily lives.

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And other's lives were not so hectic.

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No matter what corner of this amazingly diverse planet appeals to you most, with Oceania Cruises you can certainly experience Your World, Your Way.®

March 23, 2011

OCEANIA CRUISES PREVIEWS NEW 7-DAY ITINERARIES

Roman Bridge
If you've always dreamed of an Oceania Cruise, but have been unable to find the time for one of our 10-, 12- or 14-day voyages, your ship has come in! Oceania Cruises' guests will now have the chance to enjoy 7-day Mediterranean itineraries as early as the fall of 2011. Inspired by the strong response
Florence Duomo Ceiling we received to our new 7-day itineraries for 2012, we've created two week-long Saturday departures perfectly timed to experience the fall foliage of Tuscany and the French Riviera this autumn.

Tuscan Charms sails from Barcelona on October 29, 2011, to Rome, visiting Provence (Marseille), Monte Carlo, Portofino, Florence/Pisa/Tuscany (Livorno) and Sorrento/Capri en route. Two-for-one cruise fares start at $2,999 per guest, with free round-trip economy class air transportation. Guests will enjoy plenty of time to explore the amazing art and architecture of Italy, such as the Duomo in Florence pictured left, thanks to an overnight stay in Livorno. Besides offering the opportunity to explore the Tuscan countryside, the voyage offers the additional pleasure of a late evening departure from Monte Carlo (pictured below), so that guests can not only experience the scenic beauty of the yacht-strewn port but can also venture along the Monte Carlo equally impressive coastline of the French Riviera and still enjoy an evening game of chance in the famous Grand Casino.

Italian Treasures, from Rome to Venice, departing November 5, 2011, calls at Amalfi/Positano, Taormina, Corfu, Bari and Dubrovnik. Guests enjoy an overnight onboard ship in Venice at the end of the cruise. Two-for-one cruise fares start at $2,799 per guest, with free round-trip economy class air transportation. This voyage also focuses on some of the classic destinations of Italy, while stopping into charming ports of call such as enticing Dubrovnik.

As both itineraries call on Rome, each offers the chance to see the fabled monuments of this iconic city and Vatican City as well, including St. Peter's Basilica pictured below.

President Bob Binder pointed out, “These two cruises depart on Saturdays so that our working guests can enjoy a week in Europe. Fall is one of the best times to visit the destination because there are no crowds and the weather is pleasant.”

Vatican

If you'd like to take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy seven days in the Mediterranean onboard Insignia this fall, please call Oceania Cruises at 800-531-5658 or contact your travel agent.




 

February 24, 2011

FEBRUARY ADVENTURES ONBOARD REGATTA, INSIGNIA & NAUTICA

      

The inaugural season of our new ship Marina has been such an exciting time for our Oceania Cruises family. So exciting, in fact, that Marina has been monopolizing the spotlight as of late, and with good reason. However, we must not forget the three equally stunning, elegant ships that are responsible for making Oceania Cruises the success it is today. Regatta, Insignia, and Nautica have

Prasart-Bangkok-Entry also been sailing azure seas this February, and guests onboard are likewise enjoying the fine cuisine, impeccable service, and fascinating destinations that are the hallmarks of Oceania Cruises.

Nautica has been exploring the exotic coasts of Asia, from Hong Kong to Saigon to Bangkok. In Bangkok guests enjoyed an excursion to the renowned Prasart Museum, which houses one of the most spectacular private art collections in Asia. The vast array includes art from prehistoric times to the late 19th century and features Buddha images, exquisite porcelain and pottery, traditional Thai paintings, and impressive Chinese furnishings.

Prasart-Bangkok-Gold Detail Prasart-Bangkok-Bird Detail Prasart-Bangkok-Dragon


Prasart-Bangkok-Bridge

Also located on the grounds is the magnificent Garden of Serenity, a horticultural treasure that contains an exceptional variety of rare and unusual trees and shrubs, many of which were selected for their association with Thai literature. The garden is intertwined with meandering pathways, tranquil pools and priceless stone statues.

 

While Nautica has been experiencing the history and beauty of Thailand, China and other fascinating nations of the East, Regatta has been exploring the Western Hemisphere. On the other side of the world, Regatta sails the vivid blue seas of the Caribbean and visits its many lovely islands, from Virgin Gorda to Antigua to the Bahamas. 

 

Sailboat Nassau

Guests onboard Regatta faced some big challenges this month, having to decide whether to view the vibrant colors of diverse marine life on a snorkeling venture, sail impossibly blue waters under the power of a gentle wind, or simply lie on beautiful beaches and watch the waves roll into the shore. You can tell from the photo of Nassau above and St. Barts below, guests could rest assured that any decision they made was the right one. Many guests played it safe and chose "all of the above."

Shell Beach St. Barts

Torres Waterfall Insignia took a southerly route this February, sailing from Chile through the magnificent Chilean fjords, around the southern tip of South America, stopping in to the Falkland Islands and continuing up the Eastern seaboard to Brazil. Natural wonders abound in this beautiful continent, and guests onboard Insignia explored them at length.  

One of the most spectacular regions in the world and certainly one of South America's major attractions is Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. The park was granted the status of Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978. Guests on the Oceania Cruises excursion, Scenic Torres del Paine, experienced the landscape by plane, boat and motorcoach, finding each stunning vista more magnificent than the last.  

To the left is Salto Grande Waterfall. The volume of water and its tremendous power is astounding. 

Below is another breathtaking view captured by a guest. The peaks, horizons, and the still blue waters of the immense interconnected lakes are awe inspiring. The granite spires of many of the mountaintops have a unique shape sculpted by glacial erosion. The park is a feast of natural phenomena — glaciers, rivers, lakes, forests and abundant wildlife. 

Torres Mountain

Historical, cultural or natural, the astonishing beauty of the destinations on Oceania Cruises' itineraries never fails to impress. Whether you sail on Regatta, Insignia, Nautica, or Marina, you are certain to have the experience of a lifetime both onboard and ashore. Thank you so much to our wonderful guests who shared with us these photos of their amazing experiences.

January 28, 2011

INSIGNIA EXPLORES THE MAGNIFICENT BEAUTY OF ANTARCTICA

    

Paradise Bay (75)
When one hears of “Paradise Bay,” images of sandy beaches, palm trees, and the bright summer sun probably come to mind. But there is an equally beautiful paradise to be found along the coast of Antarctica. Insignia has been sailing these coasts, and her guests have captured stunning photos of the magnificent glaciers and seascapes that grace this southernmost continent.

Paradise Bay (36)

Paradise Bay (129)

Paradise Bay (56)

Paradise Bay (8)

Insignia also cruised along Half Moon Island and Deception Island in the South Shetlands. Since the early 19th century, Deception Island was a favorite refuge of sailors escaping storms and icebergs. This unique island offers one of the safest harbors in Antarctica and has been used as a base for sealers, whaling companies and naval operations. Its center is a caldera formed by an enormous volcanic eruption and since flooded by the sea to form a huge bay. Thus the "Deception" as the entrance, known as Neptunes Bellows, is very narrow and tricky to navigate, but once inside the sheltered harbor is revealed.

The most spectacular result of these natural phenomena is awe-inspiring scenery. Below you see guests on Insignia enjoying the view.

 

Half Moon Bay  Deception Island (10)

Half Moon Bay  Deception Island (72)

  Half Moon Bay  Deception Island (58)

 Thank you to our guests for sharing these beautiful photos for the blog!

September 7, 2010

Two explorers spend six splendid weeks onboard Insignia this summer

Randy Jeff Geirangerfjord Hike

Jeff, Randy, and Oceania Club Ambassador Per Orren overlooking Geirangerfjord, Norway. (Insignia is a speck in the fjord far below.) 

Two guests of Oceania Cruises enjoyed an amazing six-week voyage this summer onboard Insignia. Our featured guests, Randy and Jeff, embarked in Barcelona on June 27th and traveled around the Iberian Peninsula and up through Scandinavia before disembarking in Copenhagen on August 10th. This was their eighth voyage with Oceania Cruises. They say that Oceania Cruises is their “favorite cruise line, by far, because of the small size and beauty of the ships, the outstanding cuisine, top-notch service, the interesting and port-intensive itineraries, and frankly the fellow travelers.” Many of the people they have met onboard Oceania Cruises have become friends, including other guests and members of the staff and crew as well. 

Randy Jeff BrugesRandy is a financial planner and Jeff is a high school music teacher, but their favorite thing to do when not traveling is to plan their next trip. “When we board an Oceania ship,” says Randy, “we feel immediately welcomed and at home. There is a sense of comfort mixed with spirit of adventure that, for us, is quite unique to Oceania Cruises. It keeps us coming back again and again.”  

Randy and Jeff are most certainly adventurous spirits who like to experience everything a port has to offer. While in Bordeaux, they enjoyed wine tastings at St. Emilion and Medoc. After visiting Mont St. Michel in Saint-Malo, they sat outdoors at a small cafe and savored a delicious lunch of mussels accompanied by rosé wine. They rented bikes in Bruges and rode north along a windmill-lined canal, and visited fantastic art museums in Bilbao, Amsterdam, Gothenburg, and Oslo. Norway offered ample hiking opportunities, so they explored the mountain paths and glacial lakes from Hellysylt to Geiranger, and even a steep mountain in Longyearbyen, far north of the Arctic Circle, with a guide who carried a rifle in case they encountered a hungry polar bear. (They did not.)  

Jeff Guggenheim
Jeff enjoys an audio guided tour of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

Randy Barbary Ape
In Gibraltar, Randy and Jeff were both surprised when the Barbary Apes jumped on their heads!

While onboard, Randy and Jeff savor the simple pleasures of cruising: Afternoon tea in Horizons, reading in the library - which Randy describes as “the most beautiful at sea” - or just sipping champagne on Deck 10 and watching the world sail by. Dinner is certainly a highlight of any day. If the ship is anchored off a particularly beautiful port such as Sorrento or Monte Carlo, Randy and Jeff dine al fresco at Tapas on the Terrace with the lovely view as a Randy Jeff Windmillsbackdrop. As foodies, they always enjoy fine dining at Polo and Toscana. Jeff is a big fan of the Canyon Ranch spa cuisine, which is why he didn't gain a single pound during their travels. (Alas, Randy did.) When forced to name a favorite, they chose the Grand Dining Room, as they love the variety, the flavors and the presentation. They also sang the praises of Carlos Salvador, Corazon, and the entire wait staff for their excellent service. 

In fact, Randy and Jeff say that their fondest memories of this summer onboard Insignia are of the staff and crew. “The service they provided was beyond compare,” says Randy. “We were treated like kings. Everyone knew our names, greeted us with smiles of genuine warmth, and went out of their way to help us. We cannot compliment highly enough the hospitality provided by General Manager Rafael Cinque and his outstanding team. It was difficult to say goodbye to so many new friends after six weeks on Insignia.”

Randy Supports Insignia
Randy can't resist the opportunity to show his support for Insignia. 

Randy and Jeff will soon reunite with old friends and make more new ones, as their next cruise is already booked for June 2011, a voyage onboard Nautica exploring the Black Sea. Perhaps you will run into them on one of your own adventures with Oceania Cruises!

August 22, 2010

Onboard and Ashore with Master Chef Jacques Pépin

Pepin and Chefs

Joining our journey from Copenhagen to Lisbon these past two weeks, Master Chef Jacques Pépin has once again treated guests onboard Insignia to the cruise experience of a lifetime. He has hosted cooking demonstrations, given lectures, signed autographs, and of course created culinary masterpieces. While in Bordeaux, Pépin savored the opportunity to shop the Marche des Capucins, a local farmers' market that is the place to go for those seeking fresh seafood, produce and other wares. He is pictured above with Chef Jean-Claude Szurdak and Insignia's Executive Chef Renald.

Pepin at Marche du Capucins  

The market offered an immense array of choices.

Pepin Picks Peaches
Choosing the best of the best from the selection of peaches 

Pepin Oyster Lunch
After a strenuous day of shopping, Pépin and company enjoy a delicious lunch of fresh oysters on the half shell at a local seafood restaurant. 
 

A lovely day in Bordeaux came to an end, and Insignia sailed for St. Jean de Luz. Meanwhile, Chefs Pépin and Szurdak made good use of their fresh finds, which inspired a special poolside patio dinner for guests of Insignia's Vista and Owner's Suites. As evidence that his talents extend beyond the kitchen, Pépin designed and hand-painted the menu for the evening. 

Pepin Pation Menu

The event was of course a rousing success. Exquisite food and pleasurable company were enjoyed by all.


PepinPatioDinnerPlate
The lovely place settings for the patio dinner

Patio Dinner Prep
Our chefs put the finishing touches on the first course.  

Anthony Serves Hors D'oeuvres
Anthony serves hors d'ouevres. Past guest John Caplan described Anthony as "one of the best butlers on Oceania Cruises' fleet."

Patio Dinner Wine
Select wines were chosen by Jean-Michel Gammariello to complement the evening's menu. 

Pepin and Guests
Master Chef Jacques Pépin with two of his guests  

While some have followed the work of Master Chef Pépin for years, others may not be as familiar with the storied history of this culinary legend. Pépin's passion for cooking began at a very young age in his parents' restaurant. By age thirteen, he had quit school and become a chef's apprentice. In the 1950's Pépin cooked for French President Charles de Gaulle. On the evening of May 12, 1958, when the French government was in crisis, Pépin was asked to stay and cook for the politicians who would spend the entire night negotiating the future of France's democracy. In the 1960's Pépin came to New York where he continued to work in restaurants, earned a degree from Columbia University, and was soon acquainted with the most influential names in American cuisine, including Julia Child and James Beard. Pépin went on to become a teacher, writer, television personality and an advocate, along with Julia Child, for the development of culinary programs in academia, particularly influencing the creation of a masters program with a concentration in gastronomy at Boston University. His celebrated La Technique is used to this day as a textbook for teaching the fundamentals of French cuisine. Several of his books have launched acclaimed television series, such as The Complete Pépin, Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way, and Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, in which he costarred with Julia Child.

Needless to say, Oceania Cruises has been honored to have Master Chef Jacques Pépin onboard Insignia, and we've been thrilled to have him in the role of Executive Culinary Director. With such talent behind our culinary design, it is no wonder that Oceania Cruises continues to serve cuisine that rivals the best restaurants ashore.

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August 10, 2010

Fascinating Photos from the Norwegian Fjords and Polar Ice Barrier

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Insignia just finished exploring the Norwegian Fjords and even ventured as far north as the Polar Ice Barrier, the nearly vertical seaward edge of the ice cap at the North Pole. Beautiful and fascinating photos were the result. Above and below you see the fjords and glaciers of Magdalene Bay and the town of Spitzbergen.

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As Insignia cruised ever closer to the North Pole, the temperature became quite chilly. Crewmen were lowered into the icy waters in a tiny boat, so they could collect ice to serve in Insignia's cocktails! It's an age-old tradition and certainly demonstrates the commitment of our crew.

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A successful voyage and a safe return to Insignia. Cheers! 
  
  
  
 
 
 
 

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June 23, 2010

Meet Lisa Pancake Fossland, Oceania Cruises’ Blogger-at-Large


Pancake on Steps in Crete

Meet Lisa Pancake Fossland, Oceania Cruises’ Blogger-at-Large

I should probably begin by addressing the question foremost on everyone’s mind. Yes, “Pancake” is my real name. It’s my maiden name, which I kept as my middle name when I married. Hyphenating might have worked if I had married Kevin Bacon, but unfortunately he was taken. If it makes it easier, feel free to think of me as simply “Pancake.”

So who is this woman blathering on about nomenclature, and what does she have to do with Oceania Cruises? The answer is that I am Oceania Cruises’ Blogger-at-Large. I love everything about Oceania Cruises, and I also happen to be a writer, so the powers that be thought I would be a great contributor to the blog. After all, no one ever accused a blogger of being unbiased.

I’ve cruised on all three of Oceania Cruises’ ships — Insignia, Regatta, and Nautica — and I can’t wait to get onboard Marina and Riviera. I’ve explored the Mediterranean, the Aegean, and the Baltic seas. I’ve visited Athens and Istanbul and St. Petersburg. I will continue exploring the world with Oceania Cruises, and I’ll share every escapade with anyone who wishes to follow along. I hope you’ll enjoy my stories of life onboard the ships and explorations ashore. If you’re a fan of fine cuisine, exotic destinations, and relaxing days at sea…well really, who isn’t a fan? Feel free to share your own experiences with us here as well. We’d love to hear from all the fans of Oceania Cruises.


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