I took a 12-day Caribbean cruise, “Sun-Splashed Holiday,” on the Regatta of Oceania Cruises (Miami, FL; 800/531-5619), Dec. 22, 2010-Jan. 2, 2011. Sailing out of Miami, the ship called at Turks & Caicos, Dominican Republic, British Virgin Islands (Tortola), Antigua (St. John’s), Martinique and St. Croix. We didn’t get into St. Barts because the seas were too rough.
Booked through Didi Menendez of White Glove Cruises (Dania Beach, FL; 954/885-6015), the total cost of our trip for two, including airfare Dallas/Miami, was $9,598.
The line has three identical ships, Regatta, Insignia and Nautica, each 593.7 feet long, with a staff and crew of 400 and carrying 684 passengers. Each trip I’ve made on their ships has been very satisfactory, but this cruise was outstanding.
The embarkation process went quickly. Our stateroom, on deck six, had a balcony and was equipped with flat-screen TV, DVD player and ice in an ice bucket. Smoking was limited to two areas, one outside and one in the top lounge area, with no smoking in cabins.
There were the usual spa, pool with hot tubs (two), casino, library, card room and two boutiques.
The food was outstanding, with meals in the grand dining room, Terrace Café, Waves Grill, Toscana (Italian) and Polo Grill (steaks and seafood). There was no extra charge for dining in Polo or Toscana. The seating was “open” at each place, and at the grand dining room we were asked if we preferred company or wished to sit separately.
The brochure plainly states, “Oceania Cruises… are designed for adults and do not provide for the care, entertainment or supervision of children.”
On New Year’s Eve, an excellent party was held on deck with free champagne! Enrichment lectures were held frequently, and there also was Bingo and twice-a-day Trivial Pursuit games, which drew large crowds and much competition between teams. Evening shows included a comedian, a magician, two singers and a former Cirque du Soleil performer.
Shabbat services were held each Friday, and AA meetings were available daily at 5:30 p.m.
The thing that impressed me most was Oceania’s policy of not charging for any beverages other than alcohol. Bottles of water and soft drinks in the cabins were free, as were after-dinner cappuccinos, etc. There was no “nickel and diming” or extra charges for incidentals.
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