At recent trade presentations attended by Cruise Week, Oceania Cruises Senior VP Sales Nikki Upshaw updated travel professionals on the transformation of Regatta-class ships.
"The first of our OceaniaNEXT initiatives is our huge transformation for Regatta, Insignia, Nauticaand Sirena,” she said. "These are classic ships. They're warm, they're inviting, but it's time to do something a little different."
That "little different" adds up to a total of US$100 million to update its four 684-guest ships.
Upshaw explained that Oceania's target market of 50-70-year-olds want a fresh new look. "We're not looking to have a big change that will actually affect our current client base but a change that will help us attract new-to-cruise while keeping those that are coming with us today."
How do the actual changes meet the stated goals? Cruise WeekCorrespondent Art Sbarsky visited Insignia, the first of the line’s four ship to undergo changes, to find out. The following is his report.
Lighter Look Rarely does the colour palette become the biggest part of the story, but in the case of Insignia, it really is a major part of the change.
Gone are virtually all of the darker colours -- whether wood or paint, fabric or wall covering. The only exception are some dark woods that accentuate rather than dominate. The new palette is delightfully lighter and more soothing to the eye.
There’s plenty of variation within the calm theme of Grecian blues, mellow greens and the like. The varying mild patterns for the new carpeting all around the ship work together from one public room to another.
Main Staircase, Main Dining Room The main staircase continues to be a great photo stop. The featured pieces are now a patterned glass wall and a lovely chandelier with hanging pieces of smoked and hand-painted glass. Like many of the other changes, the result is a lighter and warmer feel than what was there previously.
The main dining room features buttery soft, creamy leather dining chairs accented with metallic bronze. The new glass chandelier is appropriately sized without being overwhelming. The only dining area on ship with dark colouring is the Polo Grill, which still has the dark leather seats appropriate for a clubby steak house.
Staterooms & Suites The staterooms and suites were stripped down to the studs to be modernized. They’re warm and comfy, with padded headboards for the beds, stone and polished wood finishes, and new bedding and linens.
Clients will appreciate the new USB ports (to go with USA and European electrical outlets) and state-of-the art TVs with live stations, movies, itinerary info, and weather updates.
On the upper decks, the tile for the pool area has all been changed, and the wood decking has gone through a combination of refreshing and replacement as needed.
While there weren't many hardware changes, there were updates. For instance, on a sailing about 18 months ago on Insignia, I found there to be some issues with indoor temperatures, so it's good to see Oceania has replaced or overhauled all the system chillers in the air conditioning system. Problem solved!
Up next for re-inspiration, to use Oceania's term, is Sirena in May 2019, followed by Regatta in September 2019, finishing with Nautica in June 2020.