At least that’s what George Bernard Shaw claimed and I’m inclined to agree with him. It would also appear that I’m not alone as the people at Oceania Cruises also take their food very seriously indeed. They reputedly spend more on food than any other cruise line and having recently spent a couple of indulgent days aboard Oceania Insignia as it made its way up from Bordeaux to Dublin, I can attest to that claim! The 200 or so awards that have been garnered over the course of the past 15 years since Frank Del Rio, Joe Watters and Bob Binder formed the upper premium cruise line in 2002 also offer something of a clue!
Imagine checking in to your favourite Relaix & Chateau country hotel — that’s exactly what it feels like when you step aboard Insignia. Think luxury. Think intimacy. Think relaxation and indulgence. Like their R&C counterparts, Oceania ships have a distinctive ‘feel’ and character that differentiates them from most of the other major cruise lines and if that’s what you’re looking for, then Oceania is for you! Above all though, it is about the food — the quality, the diversity, the presentation and most importantly — the taste!
Like my old pal Mr. Shaw, I love my food and whilst I think I’m easily pleased (my wife would vehemently disagree with me on that score) I can also be hard to impress and tend to critique every restaurant I visit and if you don’t believe me, check out my Trip Advisor reviews! I can honestly say that over the course of my four days aboard Insignia, there was not a single aspect of any breakfast, lunch or dinner that did not bring a smile to my face. Indeed, if I had to make one small criticism, it would be that the menu options were so mouth-wateringly delicious — particularly at dinner each evening — that I found it difficult to limit myself to any single selection. Rarely for me, I confined myself to just one main each evening but of course, this being the world of cruising, you could elect to eat two or more dishes off the menu and not only at dinner. Oceania staff are justly proud of the cuisine served on board that they love it when guests indulge themselves a little!
Of course, there’s a lot more to Oceania than just food and given the smaller size of vessels such as Insignia which tips the scales is just over 30,000 tonnes like its three sisters Regatta, Nautica and Sirena — guests get to experience ports that the larger vessels simply can’t access. Boasting a passenger capacity of just 684 guests at maximum capacity and served by 400 crew, service levels are high but without ever being intrusive. Oceania’s two larger ships Marina and Riviera are roughly twice that size and can accommodate twice as many guests and crew.
Like other upper premium cruise lines, Oceania overnights in many of the 400 or so ports it visits around the world and if you really want to indulge yourself and tick off most of those iconic destinations on your bucket list, you could do a lot worse than book a place on one of their famous world cruise itineraries which take around 180 days to complete! Prices start from €35,379 which, when you do the calculations, works out at an impressively low cost of just €196 per day.
I know how I’ll be spending part of my retirement!