Looking for a cruise with personalised service, attentive staff and loyal, happy guests? Consider checking out Oceania Cruises.
“Around 80 per cent of the guests on this cruise are repeat customers,” Shawn Carter, Oceania Cruises Cruise Director, told me when I hopped aboard a recent mini cruise on Oceania’s MS Regatta from Sydney to Brisbane. “Our customers come from all over the world. They are incredibly loyal and they value what we offer, so they tend to come back time and again.” Carter, who has spent an impressive 28 years at sea, said it is not unusual for Oceania guests to clock up more than 1,000 days cruising the world over.
He’s not kidding. During my trip, I meet an enthusiastic traveller from the US who confides she has done 50 trips with Oceania. “I know Regatta is getting ready to have a facelift later in the year [scheduled for September 2019] but I hope they don’t change too much. I love her just the way she is,” she beams.
With the capacity for 684 guests, Regatta is a mid-size cruise ship featuring several on-board eateries that have won a number of onboard dining awards. It’s not hard to see why. The Grand Dining Room is furnished in traditional, classic English style and offers formal-style dining where you can either dine alone or with your travelling companions, or be seated at a larger table with potential new friends. The other eateries include Toscana, which offers delicious nouvelle-style Italian cuisine; Polo Grill – heaven at sea for carnivores; the buffet-style Terrace Café – great if you want to try a little of everything; the poolside Waves Grill where burgers and fresh fruit smoothies are de rigeur while reclining on comfortable loungers; Baristas coffee bar for fresh lattes and sweet treats; and English-style Afternoon Tea at the Horizons Lounge. Of course, if you value your privacy, there is also 24-hour room service.
During our two-day cruise, we took part in a Team Trivia competition (and came a respectable third!) where it seemed most of the 600 people on board joined in; worked out in the ship’s gym; kicked back in the two poolside spa pools; listened to the sublime String Quartet that played each evening around dinner time; hit the walking track encircling the upper deck and enjoyed browsing through the ship’s three boutiques. We could also have listened to enlightenment talks on sharks and ‘biohacking your metabolism’, played blackjack at Casino @ Sea, enjoyed some quiet time in the well-stocked Library, or booked in for some pampering at the Canyon Ranch Spa.
Nowhere ever felt crowded as the ship is big enough and offers enough facilities that everywhere is comfortable to spend time.
The ratio of one staff member for every two guests is perfect. There is inevitably a friendly staff member around every corner to help or offer advice, and the consistent congeniality of the international staff is most welcoming. Hop aboard and see for yourself. You won’t be sorry.