6 comments on “Who Will Be Onboard Regatta for the 2010 Oceania Club Reunion Cruise?”

Who Will Be Onboard Regatta for the 2010 Oceania Club Reunion Cruise?

If you’ve traveled with Oceania Cruises before, you know
that making new friends is always a part of the Oceania Cruises experience. The
end of a cruise inevitably involves the exchange of contact information with
newfound friends, hoping that your paths will cross again in the near future.
Unfortunately, life ashore can be hectic, and it is often difficult to keep in
touch. So what better way to reunite with friends from past cruises than on the
Oceania Club Reunion Cruise? This year the Reunion Cruise departs from London
on September 16th and explores nearly a dozen fascinating ports throughout
France, Spain and Portugal before concluding in beautiful Monte Carlo.

4 comments on “Regatta Cruises Into St. Petersburg”

Regatta Cruises Into St. Petersburg

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On Wednesday, Regatta will cruise into the port of St. Petersburg. Most every Oceania Cruises’ itinerary that includes St. Petersburg also thankfully features an overnight in this fascinating city. In both name and history, the city has come full circle. Originally named St. Petersburg after the patron saint of Tsar Peter I, it was changed to Petrograd, to Leningrad and then back to St. Petersburg. The city has seen the wealth of tsars, the ravages of war, the cries of revolution, near economic collapse and recent rebirth — and this is just in the last century.

I found St. Petersburg to be one of the prettiest, most colorful cities I’ve ever visited. Most of the historic buildings are painted in beautiful shades of green, pink, blue, or gold set against brilliant white moldings. While many cities have street vendors selling their art, here is where I chose to purchase a few watercolors, as St. Petersburg is a city that demands to be painted. (My husband chose the famous nesting matryoshka dolls — created in the images of Russian leaders. Putin is inside Gorbachev inside Stalin inside Lenin, an amusing and novel souvenir, which I believe currently resides in our hall closet.)

Numerous rivers, channels, and bridges also contribute to the city’s beauty and have earned it the nickname, “Venice of the North.” While Moscow is distinctly Russian, St. Petersburg does have a more Western European feel. It also has a very low skyline, as a law has been in place for centuries that dictates that no building shall be taller than the Winter Palace. However, just last month a Russian court gave the controversial go-ahead for construction of a 403-meter skyscraper in the heart of the city. So keep your eyes on the skies here. The view may soon be changing.

If forced to label two highlights as “must see,” the first I would choose is the Hermitage. If you took one minute to look at each piece in the museum, it would take eleven years to see them all. Needless to say, I recommend booking an excursion with Oceania Cruises for this visit. I don’t think we would have even made it through the line to get in without our esteemed guide and her special privileges. But thanks to our tour guide, we bypassed the line and were quickly but gently guided to some of the museum’s greatest gems. The Hermitage has the largest collection of paintings in the world, from famous Madonnas by Da Vinci and Rafael to works of Picasso and Matisse, not to mention the sculpture, the jewelry and the prehistoric artifacts. Even the museum itself is a work of art, as the main collection is housed in the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian Tsars.

Arriving Catherine Palace
I’m excited to arrive at Catherine Palace.

The Hermitage began with the private collection of Catherine the Great, bringing me to my next must-see — the Catherine Palace. The palace was largely destroyed during World War II but has been restored to its former glory through immense restoration efforts. I joined the Oceania Cruises’ excursion, Grand Imperial Evening of the Tsars — a heady title no doubt — and I was curious to see if it would live up to its billing. We began with a private after-hours tour of the palace. Our group felt quite exclusive as we toured through the quiet halls undisturbed. We even had an escort of Royal Guards, who appeared silently and at attention from moment to moment. I was unsure whether it was appropriate to take their picture, so as you can see I was quite stealthy in sneaking a photo. I’m sure the guard didn’t even notice.

Lisa and Guard
It can be difficult to find historic sites that are in truly original condition, so having seen many reconstructions, I have to say one of the most impressive is certainly the Amber Room in Catherine Palace. The effort and expense to reconstruct this famous room, over a period of almost 25 years, have created a current incarnation that must be as stunning as the original. The entire room glows with amber and gold leaf. Add to this the history (and mobility) of the room — how it was constructed in Prussia, gifted to Peter the Great, installed in the Winter Palace, moved to the Catherine Palace, then looted and lost in World War II — and you have a thing of legend. Yes, the entire room disappeared, and the fate of the original Amber Room remains a mystery, one you’ll often find referenced in fiction, television and film.

After the tour we were treated to a visit from Catherine the Great herself (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) in full regalia, welcoming us to her ballroom for champagne and a display of Russian dance. As I sipped my champagne, I was struck by how just over 100 years ago, dignitaries from all over Asia and Europe were being hosted in this very spot by Russia tsars. And just 30 years ago, as a child during the Cold War, I never imagined I would even be allowed to visit this country. Now here I was, learning its history and culture first hand. It most certainly was a grand imperial evening.

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1 comment on “Marina’s Owner’s Suites are First at Sea Appointed with Ralph Lauren Home”

Marina’s Owner’s Suites are First at Sea Appointed with Ralph Lauren Home

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Work has officially begun on Marina’s three luxurious Owner’s Suites, each measuring more than 2,000 square feet and spanning the entire 105-foot beam of the ship. Oceania Cruises will feature the first suites at sea designed by Tocar and completely appointed, from furniture and fabrics to lighting and bedding, using the acclaimed Ralph Lauren Home collection. To appeal to the most discerning travelers, we wanted the best suites on Marina to feel like an opulent estate home. We insisted on the finest craftsmanship and sought out the most talented residential designers.

OSFoyer
The grand foyer features an ivory marble entryway, walls of inset Georgian wood paneling, and a mahogany gloss bar. You may find your muse on the ebony baby grand or lounge on the chaise and enjoy sweeping ocean vistas from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

OSLivingRoom
The spacious living and dining room exudes the rich, refined elegance of a world-class yacht. The wraparound teak veranda features stylish pieces custom-crafted from Ralph Lauren.

OSBedroom
Enjoy restful nights at sea in the sumptuous sleeping quarters. The centerpiece is the distinctive, Bel Air bed in a deep, library mahogany with steel-blue mohair and polished nickel nail-head accents.

OSBathroom
The finishing touch on the grand boudoir is the marble-clad, six-fixture master bathroom, which has both a large soaking tub and a separate shower.
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0 comments on “Ceremony Celebrates Laying of the Keel for Oceania Cruises’ Riviera”

Ceremony Celebrates Laying of the Keel for Oceania Cruises’ Riviera

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Bob Binder welds the coins into the keel of Riviera.
Bob Binder welds the coins into the keel of Riviera.

Welding is not a skill I use frequently in my position as President of Oceania Cruises, but when I do, the occasion is an important one. The welding of coins into a ship’s keel is an age-old maritime tradition believed to solicit good fortune for the ship, its crew, and its passengers. Last Thursday when we celebrated the keel-laying ceremony for Riviera, I found myself in charge of the welding of the coins. I think I performed my duty well, considering my extremely limited experience. (Welding the coins into Marina’s keel last year is about it.) Frank also took his turn at welding a coin, but I think my lines were straighter.

There were four U.S. silver coins in all, dated 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2009, to represent the years the keels were laid for Riviera’s sister ships – Insignia, Regatta, Nautica, and Marina. After the coins were welded, the first of fifty-five steel blocks that will eventually comprise Riviera was lowered into the dock, thus marking the official start of the building process. Riviera is set to debut in April 2012 as a sister ship to Marina, whose January 2011 launch grows ever closer. I think it’s safe to say the excitement is mounting daily here at Oceania Cruises!

Jason Montague - Senior Vice President of Planning, Franco Semeraro - Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations, Frank Del Rio - Chairman & CEO, Bob Binder - President, and Robin Lindsay - Executive Vice President of Vessel Operations
Jason Montague – Senior Vice President of Planning, Franco Semeraro – Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations, Frank Del Rio – Chairman & CEO, Bob Binder – President, and Robin Lindsay – Executive Vice President of Vessel Operations

Marina Next to Riviera
Riviera’s sister, Marina, looking pretty across the way.

The Vessel Operations Team
The Vessel Operations Team in Miami takes time to celebrate their latest achievement – Riviera!
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3 comments on “Marina Launches Oceania Cruises’ Blog”

Marina Launches Oceania Cruises’ Blog

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Marina in dry dock in Genoa, Italy.

Inaugural Post By Bob Binder, President

With all the excitement surrounding the upcoming debut of our new ship, Marina, we at Oceania Cruises have decided it is time to launch our blog, as the more I talk about all the exciting things happening at Oceania Cruises, the more I’m encouraged to share my thoughts online. Oceania Cruises now has Facebook and Twitter accounts, and it’s been wonderful to see guests, staff, travel agents, and others all sharing their experiences with us. The loyalty and passion of our followers has inspired me to engage in the conversation. As we launch our blog, it seems appropriate to remark on the launch of our new ship, Marina.

Bob Binder and Frank Del Rio enjoy the first toast onboard Marina.
Bob Binder and Frank Del Rio enjoy the first toast onboard Marina.

Several weeks ago members of the Oceania team visited the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy, where we celebrated the float-out ceremony for Marina. As Marina is the first ship built exclusively for Oceania Cruises, we have carefully attended to every detail of her design. From creating the ship’s overall structure and flow to selecting the perfect lamps for the staterooms and suites, it has been a fascinating process. I admit I got a little emotional watching the dry dock begin to fill and witnessing the ship touching water for the first time. It was amazing to see her emerge as such an incredible feat of architecture, and we all felt a bit like proud parents.

As if that weren’t enough excitement for the day, I had a surprise to share after the float-out ceremony. I was privileged to reveal the name of our next new ship – Riviera – and to announce that construction would begin very soon. Everyone was quite shocked when I clarified that “very soon” meant ten minutes from now! We all moved directly from the float-out ceremony for Marina to the steel-cutting ceremony for Riviera. Several of us signed our names in the first piece of steel to be cut and then watched as an enormous blade began the cutting process underwater. As our CEO Frank Del Rio commented, “There is only one thing that’s better than one new ship, and that’s TWO new ships.” It was a day of two huge milestones for Oceania Cruises and a day I won’t soon forget.

Today I am already back in Genoa for the laying of the keel of Riviera. It is amazing how quickly these ships evolve. While on our previous visit, Marina’s interior was a stark décor of steel and insulation, she is now coming together with the staterooms, restaurants, spas, and other beautiful spaces that will bring Marina to life. I will keep you updated here on the progress of both Marina and Riviera. Frank and I will share other Oceania news and anecdotes as well, and we’re looking forward to hearing from other members of our staff and crew. We’ll also follow the adventures of our Blogger at Large, Lisa Pancake Fossland. There is great excitement on the horizon for Oceania Cruises. I hope you will join us on our journey here, and taste the wonderful world of Oceania Cruises.

Bob Binder signs the first piece of steel cut for Riviera.
Bob Binder signs the first piece of steel cut for Riviera.

Members of the Oceania Cruises' team.
Members of the Oceania Cruises’ team celebrate the laying of the keel for Riviera.
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