Recognized throughout the travel agent community as a creative and innovative leader with global experience, Nikki F. Upshaw has been with Oceania Cruises as Vice President of Field Sales since September of 2011. She notes that she was first attracted to Oceania Cruises for its great vision and potential for growth. Below our very own travel industry veteran shares her favorite regions to visit, where first-time cruisers should visit (it’s not where you might think!) and more.
As a cruise industry veteran, you must sail quite a bit. About how many cruises have you been on? I have sailed on over 50 cruises – but mostly for business. Somehow, I have not found the time to sail for vacation as much as I would like to!
What is your favorite region to visit?
Well, that’s a tough one since I have many favorites. My top choice is the Mediterranean — specifically, the Eastern Mediterranean and sailing along the Adriatic. You can get a taste of Italy (and who doesn’t love Italy?) by starting in Venice, and then take in the stunning Adriatic coastline and visit Montenegro and Croatia with their historic walled cities, and then get a taste of Greece and Turkey.
My second choice is South America and the breathtaking Chilean Fjords. I enjoy the vibrant cosmopolitan cities such as Buenos Aires, Lima and Rio with their fantastic architecture and visual appeal. Being able to enjoy those cities and then the rugged grandeur of the fjords along with the wildlife and an extended stay in Patagonia – it’s just the best of all worlds!
Which region would you recommend to someone going on a cruise for the first time?
Many would recommend something close to home for the first time, but my recommendation would be to go to a destination where visiting by ship really adds to the travel experience. Your first cruise should be to a region that can best be appreciated by sea – Alaska, the Norwegian Fjords or Greece.
Would your recommendation change for someone who has taken many cruises?
If you have sailed almost everywhere, I would encourage you to take a longer cruise which traverses various continents. Even if there are some areas you have already visited, it will allow you the opportunity to link history and learn the connection between cultures and civilizations.
When is your next cruise, and to where?
I am hoping to take my children to Alaska next summer.