Regatta offers country club ambiance at sea
It may have been the stand-out Jacques Pepin-inspired cuisine or a Canyon Ranch Spa Club massage. Perhaps it was the personable service or the elegant, country club ambiance.
Maybe it was the Trans-Atlantic itinerary from Barcelona to Miami or the port calls themselves in Morocco, Madeira and Bermuda.
Whatever “it’’ was, passengers recently concluding a 14-night Trans-Atlantic voyage from Barcelona to Miami aboard Oceania Regatta have a host of memorable experiences to reflect upon.
The 684-passenger, 30,277-ton ship has been consistently creating wow moments for passengers since debuting in 2003 (her maiden voyage was in 1998 as a ship in the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises fleet).
And while Regatta and parent company Oceania Cruises bills itself as the word’s first upper premium cruise line, it was abundantly clear to guests during the crossing that she could easily give a number of luxury lines a run for their money.
She features an atmosphere of warmth and elegance complete with many of the amenities one would expect to find at the luxury cruise travel level: excellent service, high-end bedding, open seating dining and multiple, no-charge specialty restaurants.
It is here, in the culinary department, where the ship exceeds even the highest of expectations. Look for four reservations-only onboard gourmet restaurants — Polo Grill (steak house), Toscana (Italian), Tapas on the Terrace and Grand Dining Room – under the culinary auspices of master chef Pepin.
Polo features a King’s Cut, 32-ounce bone-in Prime Rib but lesser mortals opt for a host of USDA Prime steaks (dry-aged a minimum of 28 days) or seafood offerings. Look for whole Maine lobster or Pepin’s signature dish: a herb-roasted rotisserie free range chicken. Starters include shrimp, oysters, escargot, crab or warm Foie Gras followed by soups and salads. Pepin dessert’s are not to be missed.
In Toscana, look for more menu choices than in any of Regatta’s restaurants. Fresh pastas, veal, steaks and Maine lobster are prepared with an Italian flare and purpose.
Tapas, meanwhile, features sushi, salads, pastas and carving stations, nightly. Guests can opt to dine inside or on the aft veranda.
The Grand Dining Room, meanwhile, features an ever-changing menu although steak, salmon and chicken can be ordered, nightly.
A vast onboard collection of vintages from around the world complement Pepin’s varied offerings.
Rounding out the culinary journey is 24-hour room service, a pool grill with standard American fare (Pepin’s freshly-prepared rolls make the choice for a standard hamburger or hot dog a gourmet affair), and a busy pool-side milkshake station. Tea is served promptly at 4 p.m., daily.
Regatta features nine bars/lounges. Horizons offers the most sweeping of views on Deck 10 forward and Polo Bar serves premium, single malt scotch and full-grain whiskeys.
The ship also features a casino, boutiques, fitness center, library and Internet center.
Among Regatta’s appealing other amenities: in-suite movies and DVDs are complimentary. Her best kept secret? Lounge chairs on the teak deck off Deck 5 are hardly ever used.
Regatta and her identical sisters, Insignia and Nautica, will soon welcome a new ship into their fold. The 1,250 passenger Marina, designed for epicureans in mind (she’ll feature 10 dining venues including six open-seating, gourmet restaurants) debuts in winter 2010.
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