Fodor’s Expert Review
Originally built in 1998 as the first of a series of eight ships for Renaissance Cruises, which ceased operations in 2001, the former R1 was acquired by Oceania Cruises and launched as Insignia in 2003. After refurbishment in 2010, the ship retained its original midsize ambience with an increased emphasis on cuisine and enrichment programs.Read More
Carefully furnished to impart the atmosphere of a private English country manor, these midsize ships are casual yet elegant, with sweeping central staircases and abundant flower arrangements. Brocade and toile fabrics window coverings, overstuffed sofas, and wing chairs create a warm and intimate feeling throughout.
Authentic-looking faux fireplaces are adjacent to cozy seating areas in the Grand Bar, near the martini bar’s grand piano, and in the beautiful libraries—some of the best at sea, with an enormous selection. The casinos are quite small and can feel cramped, and smoking is prohibited. You may have to wait for a seat at a poker table, but there are enough slot machines to go around.
Oceania offers itineraries to smaller ports megaships can’t reach and a near-luxury cruise experience for fares much lower than you would expect. The line first set sail in 2003, carving a unique niche in the cruise industry by offering a sophisticated vacation best suited to inquisitive, well-traveled passengers. Its midsize ships carry fewer passengers than popular mainstream lines. Varied, destination-rich itineraries are an important characteristic of Oceania Cruises, and most sailings are in the 10- to 12-night range.
Intimate and cozy public spaces reflect the importance of socializing on Oceania ships. Indoor lounges feature numerous conversation areas, and even the pool deck is a social center. The Patio is a shaded slice of deck adjacent to the pool and hot tubs. Defined by billowing drapes and carpeting underfoot, it is furnished with plush sofas and chairs ideal for relaxation.
Thickly padded single and double loungers are arranged around the pool, but if more privacy appeals to you, private cabanas are available for rent. Each one has a double chaise longue with a view of the sea; overhead drapery can be drawn back for sunbathing, and the side panels can be left open or closed. Waiters are on standby to offer chilled towels or serve occupants with beverages or snacks. In addition, you can request a spa service in your cabana.
- 9 passenger decks
- 2 specialty restaurants (3 on Sirena), dining room, buffet, pizzeria
- Wi-Fi, safe, refrigerator, DVD (some)
- fitness classes, gym, hot tubs, spa, steam room
- 4 bars, casino, dance club, library, showroom
- dry cleaning, laundry facilities, laundry service
- Internet terminal
- no-smoking cabins
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
What to expect on board
Staterooms & Cabins
Private balconies outfitted with chairs and tables add additional living space to nearly 75% of all outside cabins. All have a vanity-desk and a seating area with sofa, chair, and table, a generous closet, drawer/shelf storage, and bathroom shelves. Owner’s and Vista suites have a separate living-dining room and powder room. Concierge-level accommodations and above include an iPad for use during the cruise. Several cabins accommodate third and fourth passengers, but few have connecting doors.
Owner’s and Vista suites have an entertainment center, a small refrigerator, and a second TV in the bedroom; the main bathroom has a combination shower-whirlpool tub. Penthouse suites also have refrigerators and bathtubs. Butlers are on hand to coordinate reservations and serve evening canapés and dinner ordered from any of the ship’s restaurants.
Dark-wood cabinetry, soothing blue decor, mirrored accents, a safe, Prestige Tranquility Beds, 350-thread-count linens, goose-down pillows, and silk-cut duvets are typical stateroom features. Bathrooms have a hair dryer, shampoo, lotion, and bath gel, plus robes.
Three staterooms are designed for wheelchair accessibility.
Food & Drink
Oceania passengers enjoy the flexibility of open seating restaurants. The Grand Dining Room, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, serves Continental cuisine. Alternative, reservations-required dinner options are Toscana, which serves gourmet Italian dishes, and Polo Grill, the steak house. Sirena also features Red Ginger, the Asian restaurant, which debuted on Marina and Riviera. Terrace Café, the buffet restaurant, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is transformed into Tapas on the Terrace after dark for a relaxed atmosphere and alfresco dining. All dining venues have nearby bars, and there’s no additional cover charge for dining. A coffee bar serves complimentary specialty coffees and teas; soft drinks and bottled water are included in the fare. In addition, a poolside grill serves hamburgers and a variety of sandwiches and salads at lunchtime, and there is a pizzeria in the buffet area. Afternoon tea is an elaborate affair served in Horizons, the observation lounge. Room service is available 24 hours.
Bars and lounges have an intimate quality, from the martini bar, where piano music is played, to the show lounge that offers small-scale cabaret-style entertainment ranging from headline acts and concerts to comedians and magicians. The observation lounge is a late-night hot spot with music for dancing and even karaoke led by the entertainment staff.
Spa & Fitness
The Canyon Ranch SpaClub offers a long menu of body wraps, massages, conditioning body scrubs, skin care and tanning treatments, and acupuncture. Thermal suites include complimentary single-sex aromatic steam rooms. A highlight of the tranquil open-air Spa Terrace is a therapy whirlpool, to which all Concierge-level and suite guests have unlimited complimentary access; all other guests must purchase passes.