Oceania Cruises

Oceania Insignia - Cruise Ship Review - Passenger Reviews

Oceania cruise shipOriginally built in 1998 for now-defunct Renaissance Cruises, Insignia was one of the original two ships in the Oceania fleet, when the line got started in 2003. Measuring in at 30,200 gross tons and carrying just 684 passengers, she’s a classic midsized cruiser, offering understated decor; a comfortable, laid-back atmosphere; great service and dining; and some great itineraries.

Right from the start, Insignia and sister-ship Regatta set the tone for Oceania, with a style that defines the line to this day. Like all the former Renaissance vessels, they’re comfortable and spacious ships, decorated with a clubby, old-school style, with lots of dark-wood paneling, gilt-framed paintings, Oriental-style carpets, and deep-hued upholstery. They’re traditional but casual, and perfect for travelers who want an atmosphere that’s more about relaxing, reading a good book, and chatting with friends than about flashy excitement.

There aren’t a lot of public rooms — just enough to keep things interesting. In the bow on Deck 10, the spacious Horizons lounge is used for various activities during the day and for dancing at night. Down on Deck 5, the main show lounge is big enough to seat about half the guests on board, and hosts musical recitals, cabaret acts, comedy, magicians, and other headliners. Farther aft, Martinis is the ship’s coziest lounge, with a pianist playing standards before dinner, a jazz band at night, and a long, long martini list.

There’s also a small but comfortable casino, and an even more comfortable library, decorated in traditional English style.

Grand Dining Room on Regatta Class shipLike all the Oceania ships, Insignia is casual and laid back at dinnertime. Guests can choose between the elegant, single-level Grand Dining Room, whose entrance is through a cozy bar that’s perfect for pre-dinner cocktails and/or waiting for the rest of your party to arrive. When you’re ready, just tell the maitre d’ and he’ll find you a table.

Up in the stern on Deck 10, the ship’s two specialty restaurants sit side by side. To port there’s Toscana, serving classic Italian meals amid Mediterranean-inspired decor. To starboard, the Polo Grill steakhouse is suitably dark and woody, graced with photos of Hollywood legends who look as if they enjoyed a good a steak. There’s no extra fee for either of these specialty restaurants, but just so everybody gets a chance, there’s an initial limit of two specialty reservations per voyage for guests in Concierge-level staterooms and suites and one reservation per voyage guests in regular staterooms. If you want more, just get on the waitlist and see if you get lucky.

Other dining options include a buffet restaurant that does breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the latter ratcheted up into a real dinner experience, and offering alfresco dining on a bow-facing terrace.

There’s also Waves Grill on the attractive, teak Pool Deck, which offers a pool, a pair of hot tubs, and deck chairs and large daybeds for sunbathing. The Patio, a shaded outdoor lounge, offers thickly cushioned chairs and daybeds and a nap-inducing atmosphere. For the ultimate, guests can rent one of the eight private cabanas on Deck 11, each offering great sea views, a retractable shade roof, white drapes that can be drawn for privacy, a plush daybed for two, and the services of an attendant who can fetch drinks, chilled towels, and other luxuries. You can even arrange to get a massage here, courtesy of a therapist from the Canyon Ranch SpaClub on Deck 9, run by the legendary resort spa company.

Veranda cabin on Regatta Class shipOr, you could just relax in your cabin — and who would blame you? Though Insignia’s standard cabins aren’t innovative or exceptionally large, they’re classy and comfortable — especially the beds. Part of Oceania’s draw has always been its branded Tranquility Beds, each an oasis of perfect mattress, Egyptian cotton sheets and covers, down duvets, and wonderful pillows. New “Prestige Tranquility Beds” being installed fleetwide in 2011 raise the bar even further.

Almost all cabins measure in the 165-square-foot range, with two thirds of them adding on an average-sized, teak-decked private balcony. Concierge-class staterooms are the same size, but add on a bunch of luxury amenities and onboard privileges, including a welcome bottle of champagne, a DVD player (with movies), priority embarkation and luggage delivery, and the opportunity to book more reservations at the ship’s specialty restaurants.

If you need more space, Insignia’s suites range from the 322-square-foot Penthouse Suites to the 1,000-square-foot Owner’s Suites, which have separate living rooms and bedrooms, wrap-around balconies, and niceties like 42-inch plasma flat-screen TVs, Bose sound systems, and Hermès and Clarins bath products.

All suites include butler service.

In April 2012, Insignia will leave the Oceania fleet temporarily to sail a two-year charter with Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, during which time she’ll be renamed Columbus 2. She’s scheduled to rejoin the Oceania fleet in April 2014.

Ship Information
The Insignia is a comfortably sized deluxe ship with large ship amenities. This elegantly charming ship offers every luxury you would expect, from open seating dining in any of the ship's four restaurants to the Canyon Ranch Spa.

Dining on Oceania always receives the highest marks, with menus carefully created by renowned Master Chef Jacques Pepin. The Country Club-Casual atmosphere onboard makes this the cruise line of choice for those who prefer a casual, yet elegant, cruise vacation.

Martini BarShip Facts
Year Built 1998 ♦ Ship's Class: Regatta Class ♦ Year Refurbished 2010 ♦ Country of Registry Marshall Islands ♦ Tonnage 30,000 metric tons (a volume measurement, not weight) ♦ Length 594 ft - 181 m ♦ Cruising Speed 18 knots ♦ Passenger Capacity (double occupancy) 684 ♦ Passenger Decks 9 ♦ Officers and Crew 400 ♦ Officer's Nationality European ♦ Crew and Hotel Staff Nationality European ♦ Passengers to Staff Ratio 1.71 to 1

Cabins
Total 343 ♦ Suites with Balcony 62 ♦ Oceanview with Balcony 170 ♦ Oceanview without Balcony 83 ♦ Inside 27 ♦ Accessible Cabins (all categories) 3 ♦ Oceania Cruises' cabins are among the most elegant one can find, with thoughtful and comfortable design. Amenties in all cabins include Oceania's Tranquility Bed, refrigerator, satellite TV programming, and complimentary room service.

Cabin Amenities
TV with music channels ♦ In-Cabin Movies ♦ In-Cabin Internet Access ♦ Private Safe ♦ Minibar ♦ Hair Dryer

Dining
Open Seating Dining allows you to be seated any time the Grand Dining Room or the specialty restaurants are open ♦ Specialty Restaurants: Toscana, Polo Grill, Tapas on the Terrace ♦ Unlike other cruise lines, there is no charge in the specialty restaurants ♦ Menus created by Master Chef Jacques Pepin ♦ There is no traditional 1st and 2nd sitting on Oceania cruise ships ♦ There are no formal nights - atmosphere is always country club casual ♦ 24 Hour Food Service Available

Public Rooms
Bars and Lounges ♦ Library ♦ Internet Center

Entertainment
Showlounge ♦ Casino ♦ Disco/Nightclub ♦ Card Room/Game Room

Sports and Activities
Outdoor Pool ♦ Fitness Center ♦ Outdoor Fitness Track

Spa and Wellness
Full Service Spa ♦ MedSpa Services ♦ Sauna or Steam Room ♦ Beauty Salon ♦ Yoga ♦ Pilates ♦ Fitness Assessment ♦ Health and Nutrition Evaluation

Children and Teens
There are no organized activities for children and teens

Other Facilities and Services
Duty Free Shops and Boutiques ♦ Dry Cleaning and Laundry Service ♦ Medical Center