Having recently enjoyed sailings with both Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Gary Buchanan stopped by to give us the low-down on both lines, comparing their different takes on luxury cruising.
Both Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises have Prestige Cruise Holdings as their parent company, but there most of the similarities end. While few would dispute that Regent has a bigger presence in the U.K., Oceania are becoming a force to be reckoned with. Both have inherently different approaches to their on-board product and this is the differentiating factor.
Regent is undoubtedly a ‘luxury’ product and has a commensurate price-tag. Staterooms in the lead-in and mid-price categories are all-suite and are more generous than those on board Oceania ships – especially the three older vessels – Insignia, Regatta, and Nautica. However staterooms on Oceania Cruises’ new-builds – Marina and Riviera – are larger and beautifully appointed.
Another differentiating factor is the all-inclusive nature of Regent. Not only are all gratuities, drinks and wine included, so too are at least one shore excursion in every port – often a selection of tours are complimentary.
Whilst great value and are unquestionably at the pinnacle of the upper-premium class of ships, Oceania do charge for drinks and wine, all excursions and suggested gratuities are expected; but on a like-for-like basis their per diems are less than Regent. However when it comes to cuisine, Oceania are stealing a march on board their new ships with such delightful alternatives as the Asian Red Ginger, and the sublime Jacques. On the smaller ships there’s also Polo Grill and Toscana Restaurant in addition to the Grand Dining Room. Regent offer Prime 7 Steakhouses and Cordon Bleu Signatures on Mariner and Voyager, on Navigator there’s also a Prime 7 Steakhouse.
Smokers should be cautious when booking Oceania Cruises as on all their ships there’s only one very small area inside the vessels and one on-deck where smoking is permitted; Regent has a Connoisseur Club cigar room on Mariner and Voyager.
At the end of the day the two brands are distinctive. Regent has a very loyal following from British clientele, while Oceania is the newcomer and the Country Club ambiance is geared more towards American tastes. Both ships operate an elegant casual dress code, but where Oceania Cruises put great emphasis on dining as the highlight of each evening with dinner expected to be social affairs lasting around three hours, Regent also offer some after-dinner cabaret and show-lounge diversions.
Copyright. Gary Buchanan 2011.
Gary Buchanan is a regular contributor to World of Cruising magazine amongst other travel-related publications.