Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is aboard Oceania Regatta this week as she makes her way from Europe to North America. Here’s the first in a series of dispatches.
FUNCHAL, Madeira, Nov. 18, 2009 — Guests aboard the 684-passenger Oceania Regatta left this dramatic, sun-drenched Portuguese island outpost today primed to begin a Trans-Atlantic voyage to Miami.
Few cruise travelers, even in this modern era, ever get a chance to enjoy such a feat. Fewer still are afforded the opportunity on such an elegant vessel.
Guests aboard the 30,277-ton Regatta, this week and next, will accomplish both all the while enjoying the ship’s relaxed, country club ambiance. She will now spend the next six nights at sea en route to the pink-sand shores of Bermuda.
Since departing Barcelona, Saturday, guests have been busy exploring the ship’s nine-passenger decks, sizing up its nine bars/lounges or participating in a host of daily activities.
There are four gourmet restaurants onboard — Polo Grill (steak house), Toscana (Italian), Tapas on the Terrace and Grand Dining Room – under the culinary auspices of famed French chef Jacques Pepin. Each is outstanding.
The ship also features a Canyon Ranch Spa, complete with salon, gym and weight room. The pool deck includes a pool, two whirlpools, a grill and the ship’s guiltiest of pleasures: a milkshake station.
Also onboard: a casino, boutiques, library and Internet center. In-suite movies and DVDs are complimentary.
Regatta’s parent, Oceania Cruises, touts itself as a “premium’’ cruise line — a step or two above mass market and one below luxury — but it’s abundantly clear to all onboard that Regatta easily could give a host of luxury lines a run for their money . . . Trans-Atlantic crossing or otherwise.
Later this week: A closer look at Pepin’s mouth-watering cuisine.