Oceania Regatta Destinations
In December of 2019 the Oceania Regatta took us on an exquisite journey from Sydney, Australia to Bali, Indonesia. The ports of call for the Regatta included Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Cairns, Alotau, Port Moresby, Darwin and Komodo Island. The destinations provided immense diversity. The voyage showed us the poverty of Papua New Guinea, the isolation of Komodo Island in Indonesia, the excitement of Great Barrier Reef and the bustle of modern cities like Brisbane and Sydney. You can read about these destinations starting with my Sydney blog. The information that follows is an Oceania Regatta Review of my experiences onboard the ship.
Oceania Regatta Staterooms
Oceanview stateroom 4056 was our home for 15 nights aboard the Regatta. The entire ship had been recently refitted. The decor was lovely in all respects. Our stateroom had modern white high gloss cabinetry. The room was small but extremely functional. The shower was one of the best I’ve seen at sea despite its small size. No problem taking a shower and no risk of water on the bathroom floor afterward. The location near the center of the ship was also a big benefit, both for a smooth ride and easy access to the rest of the ship.
I’d definitely consider an ocean view stateroom again because there are so many times when it’s too sunny, too cold or too windy on a balcony. You can alway head to the pool area or the Horizons Lounge on the Oceania Regatta instead. You will find a seat no matter what the time of day.
Small Ship Cruising on the Regatta
The Regatta made small ship cruising my new favorite. With only about 600 passengers on board, embarkation is easy. Just make sure you arrive in the mid afternoon if you want to go straight to your stateroom. Many ships have a problem tendering passengers ashore at tender ports, but the Regatta doesn’t. You can book an independent shore excursion without worrying that the tender will delay you. The lack of crowds also applies to the Waves Grill, the Terrace Cafe and the daily afternoon tea. During sea days, it’s not hard to find a lounge chair around the pool.
The Oceania Dining Experience
Oceania offers one of the best dining experiences at sea. The Regatta provided top quality meals which were readily available to everyone. In addition to traditional dining for breakfast lunch and dinner, Oceania also provides a number of other options. Waves Grill offers sandwiches and fries, but you can have fillet mignon and lobster in that sandwich. The Terrace Cafe is open for 3 meals a day and provides great service. Plus the Regatta offers two specialty restaurants by reservation. Oceania pricing always includes specialty restaurants, in-stateroom dining and all non-alcoholic beverages, like lattes and soft drinks.
Oceania Regatta Review – Specialty Dining
The Oceania Regatta is such a small ship, so it can only offer two specialty restaurants. Both of them are great. I preferred Toscana, the Italian restaurant, over Polo, the steak house. Toscana made me a bread lover with their lavish selection of breads, olive oils and balsamic vinegars. The pace for staff is more relaxed at specialty restaurants, so you can enjoy brief conversations with your servers and the maitre’d. You get two specialty restaurant reservations guaranteed for each stateroom, but you can also cash in on cancellations each day. Most often others will cancel their reservations on shore excursion days, so we were able to visit Polo twice and Toscana 3 times on our 15 day cruise.
Oceania Regatta Review – The Terrace Cafe
I don’t really want too many people to catch on to this, but I think the best place to eat on the Oceania Regatta is the Terrace Cafe. The Grand Dining Room is a busy place and it takes a while to get your meal. Meanwhile Oceania has taken the extremely intelligent approach of supplying basically all the same dining room meals in the Terrace Cafe each evening as well. That means if there are 4 main dishes in the dining room, you can sample them all in the Terrace Cafe and then double down on the one you like best.
In addition to serving the same meals as the dining room, the Terrace Cafe always has the option for meat or seafood cooked to order on the grill. The standard grill offering each night was lamb chops, jumbo shrimp, lobster and / or 3 types of steak. Just place your order for as many as you want of each. Some nights all I ate was steak, seafood and a baked potato. Seems like it might be a wasted opportunity with so many other amazing choices, but it was delicious.
Afternoon Tea on the Oceania Regatta
My Oceania Regatta Review needs to cover their afternoon tea, because it’s become a trademark for Oceania. I’m not a tea drinker, but the 4 pm daily tea service changed all that for me. Every afternoon it’s easy to find a table with a view in the Horizons Lounge and enjoy white gloved tea service. The 4 piece string quartet makes afternoon tea even more enjoyable. Sandwiches, fancy desserts and tea are delivered to your table. So, I became a convert to Earl Grey Tea, scones and clotted cream. My addiction was so extreme that I would rush back from shore excursions so that I wouldn’t miss afternoon tea.
Something for Everyone
During sea days, Oceania offers something for everyone. Some people read in the library. Others spend time near the pool. Lectures inform you of each upcoming port. Organized activities like golf, poker, cards, bingo etc aren’t intrusive. Each group tended to repeat the things that they enjoyed most.
One day I noticed a man who had previously been bragging of his success at the poker table. The woman beside him at the poker table said, “What does ‘check’ mean?”. Either he was going to have a field day or she was setting him up for a very big fall 🙂
The small size of the Regatta means they don’t have a large cast for entertainment productions, but for me I’ve moved past that stage of cruising. I didn’t see one show during the cruise. If you are desperate for high end entertainment productions, try one of the 5,000 passenger cruise ships instead.
My Daily Routine on the Oceania Regatta
Along with two friends, we soon developed a daily routine on the Oceania Regatta, especially on sea days. The day began with a latte and croissant at Baristas. Then laps around the deck before the sunshine made things too hot. After a shower it was time for the Terrace Cafe for breakfast. Next spend some time in the chilly air of the Library. Lunch in the Terrace Cafe was followed by a milkshake and a short rest in the stateroom.
Suddenly it’s 4 pm and time for afternoon tea. At 6 pm the 4 piece string quartet was a must. You could easily find seating a few feet away. Then it’s off to open air dining on the terrace of the Terrace Cafe. To top off the evening, we spent time at the pool chatting and enjoying a glass of wine. At the pool in the evenings, our group of 4 were often the only ones on the deck. It truly felt like we owned the entire ship.
Our debarkation was amazingly simple compared to other ships. The instructions were simple – leave your stateroom by 8 am, choose any public area of the ship after that and leave whenever you like. So refreshing not to be corralled into assigned rooms waiting for permission to leave. On the Oceania Regatta every passenger feels like they have priority.
Oceania Regatta Review – Conclusion
My Oceania Regatta experience changed the way I look at cruising forever. You can probably cruise with another line for less than half as much, but the Regatta will always be the better choice for a retired person like me. Even people we met who had cruised with the more expensive Regent line said they liked Oceania better. If you have a family to entertain, head to the Caribbean on one of the many less expensive cruise lines. If you want to feel like you own a yacht, choose the Oceania Regatta.