Oceania Cruises' trio of R-class ships—Insignia, Nautica, and Regatta—have always been favorites of savvy cruisers who seek value in a luxury vacation. The ships are small, welcoming just 684 passengers per cruise and 400 well-trained crewmembers to cater to the whim of those guests. And the vessels themselves are beautiful, with expansive atriums punctuated by a sweeping staircase, a variety of spacious suites and staterooms, and several open-seating restaurants and lounges that feature gourmet cuisine and fine wines from around the world.
The ships—which were all built in 1998—were last refurbished in 2010 and 2011. Now, Oceania Cruises is committing $50 million to rejuvenate the sister ships once again during the second quarter of 2014. The line is committed to keeping all the aspects of the ships that Oceania loyalists love, but company execs are excited to infuse the best parts of Marina and Riviera, Oceania's two largest and newest cruise ships, into its original R-class fleet.
What bits of Marina and Riviera can guests look forward to seeing on Insignia, Nautica, and Regatta? Baristas coffee bar—featuring complimentary Illy espresso, cappuccinos, and pastries—will be installed during the refresh program. Likewise, the Terrace Café, with its state-of-the-art grill, is a big hit on Oceania's larger ships. That space on the trio will be updated with a new look and the fantastic grill that chefs and gourmands rave about. Steaks, chops, and lobster will feature regularly on the menu.
In addition to those changes, Oceania has drafted an army of interior designers and decorators who will swoop in to transform all staterooms with new decor. Penthouse Suites will benefit from new furnishings, while Owner's and Vista Suite bathrooms are being completely renovated to include oversize marble showers and granite vanities.
Several public spaces will get makeovers and new furniture, and tile work will revamp the vibe of the Pool Deck. New to the sports deck is a mini-golf course, a variety of deck games, and shuffleboard courts.
Book Insignia's Jewels of Europe 7-night sailing out of Barcelona on May 8, 2014, and you'll be the first to enjoy her transformation. This is also her first cruise back in the Oceania fleet after a two-year charter. Nautica makes her upgrade debut in Civitavecchia (Rome) on May 16, for a 10-night Cliffs & Coves itinerary, and Regatta will show off her new look in Vancouver on June 7 as she departs for a 10-day Majesty of Alaska voyage.
Andrea M. Rotondo is a freelance writer based in New York City. She covers cruise news and luxury travel trends for Fodors.com and writes for a variety of outlets, including her website Luxury Travel Mavens. Follow her on Twitter: @luxtravelmavens.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Oceania Cruises