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Australia, New Zealand & Tahiti: Adventures Not to Miss

Whether you’re sailing Down Under, to the land of the Kiwis or to the far corners of the South Pacific, we’ve got the perfect blend of meaningful, unique and thrilling shore excursions that will make your cruise all the more unforgettable. Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti each have their own special allure and compelling cultural offerings. Between the Great Barrier Reef, the blue lagoons of French Polynesia and the fjords of Milford Sound, there’s also the sheer abundance of natural beauty in this part of the world that makes traveling here such a delight. Here’s what our Destination Specialists recommend when planning your cruise.

Moorea
Spend the day with the French Polynesian breeze on your face as you sail Moorea’s dreamy lagoons on a catamaran or while the day away with an island-style picnic on a private motu. Prefer to explore the island itself? Hike the Three Coconuts Trail for stunning vistas from Belvedere Lookout. You’ll get bragging rights with the eye-popping photos you capture. With nearly a dozen offerings, you’re certain to find the Moorea excursion that suits your travel personality.

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Bora Bora
This iconic island is the place many long dream of visiting. Make your experience all the more enchanting with a sundown cruise on the lagoon that surrounds Bora Bora. Those looking for an exciting way to experience the lesser-known parts of the island might opt for an ATV tour or off-road adventure that explores the gorgeous, lush countryside and offers spectacular views. You can also discover firsthand the exquisite beauty and fascinating undersea denizens of Bora Bora’s lagoon during a shark and stingray snorkeling safari.

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Australia
Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne offer all the cosmopolitan pleasures of world-class cities: fine dining, excellent wineries, compelling museums and unique shopping options. Of course, more nuanced adventures abound – explore Tambourine Mountain from Brisbane and its unique arts enclave; board the Puffing Billy, a vintage steam engine train, in Melbourne for a journey through the Dandenong Mountains; or reconnect with your center in Sydney as you practice tai chi at the Royal Botanic Garden, a serene setting overlooking Sydney Harbour.

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New Zealand
Uncover the dramatic landscapes and unique Maori culture on explorations that span both the North and South Islands. From Napier, discover iconic vineyards in Hawkes Bay or from Auckland, the esteemed wineries of Waiheke Island. Auckland also offers the chance to experience the famed Waitomo Glowworm Caves where millions of bioluminescent glowworms hang in the cave. In Rotorua, get a firsthand look at movie locations from “Lord of the Rings” in Matamata; discover the geysers, mud pools and steaming volcanic lakes at the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland; or soak up Maori’s rich heritage at Te Puia’s Maori Arts & Crafts Institute. Those looking for an exhilarating adventure need look no further than Akaroa where you can journey into the high country of the Southern Alps via a custom-built 4×4 touring vehicle.

Inspired? Start planning your Australia, New Zealand or Tahiti cruise now.

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Alaskan Recipe: Baked Halibut in Sour Cream with Dill

Bringing the spirit of the local culinary culture on board, our Chef’s Market Menus in Terrace Café at dinner feature delicious regional recipes and traditional ingredients of the destinations where we sail. This special Alaskan recipe happens to have been discovered by one of our chefs while in port in Juneau and was shared by an Alaskan native, Cady Ganty. It’s now become a guest favorite on board and is a simple recipe you can enjoy at home.

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Serves 4

Ingredients

2 pounds halibut fillet, cut into 6 pieces
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 bunch green onions, chopped

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
Lemon or fresh dill – optional, for garnish

Directions
Preheat the oven to 475˚F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Season halibut with salt and ground black pepper. Place halibut in the greased baking dish. Combine green onions, mayonnaise, sour cream and dill in a bowl. Spread green onion mixture evenly over each halibut piece.

Bake in the preheated oven until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh dill or a slice of lemon, and enjoy.

Looking for more than just a taste of Alaska? Explore our Alaska cruises now.

 

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9 Uniquely Alaskan Moments

Alaska is so vast, so raw and so wild that it immediately evokes an emotional response. To hear the word “Alaska” is to hark back to the days when America was not yet settled, to a time when boundless opportunity was a way of life and the future was a brilliant blur of limitless vistas and extraordinary moments. Oceania Cruises’ Alaska voyages aboard the intimate Regatta honor this vision, but bring a subtle and most welcome refinement to the surroundings in which Alaska weaves her fascinating tale. Those who travel with us to America’s Last Frontier do so with an expectation of experiences which are wholly unique and utterly Alaskan. We’ve culled through dozens of shore excursions to offer our suggestions for the nine most unforgettable ways to explore Alaska like a native.

Go Whale-Watching and Ride a Rainforest Zip Line
Whale watching and Alaska are synonymous, with few better places to catch a glimpse of the world’s biggest mammals than Icy Strait Point, home to one of Alaska’s largest whale populations. Join just 24 other lucky fellow travelers on a dedicated excursion vessel specially designed to place you near water level to maximize the ease of viewing. In addition to whales, you might also see harbor seals, sea lions and even an eagle circling overhead or a brown bear ambling along the coast. Follow Your sublime immersion in nature with a supercharged journey through the treetops of an Alaskan rainforest on a zip line that begins 1,550 feet up a lush mountainside. Dash above the rainforest canopy back to water’s edge at highway speeds, taking in spectacular views of Icy Strait and, in the distance, Glacier Bay.

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Explore a Glacier on Foot and by Helicopter
Majestic and impressive Mendenhall Glacier, just outside Alaska’s capital city of Juneau, is a slow-moving river of ice that has enchanted naturalists such as John Muir since the late 19th century. Board a modern five to six passenger turbine helicopter and lift off for adventure, flying high above rugged terrain as you quickly approach the glacier. Soar over indigo blue crevasses, fanciful ice spires, intriguing icefalls and jagged rock sentinels such as Mendenhall Towers, which rise thousands of feet into the sky like daggers. Upon landing, walk the surface of the glacier with boots specially designed for comfort and traction. Hike to nearby fascinating features, accompanied by a guide who will steer you along the safest and most interesting path, providing enlightening information on glacial formation, life cycles and the impact of glaciers on the landscape. Where else but Alaska can you hike a glacier from your helicopter?

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Savor an Authentic Alaskan Salmon Bake
Juneau holds more surprises than just helicopter rides and glacial hikes, however. Alaska is inextricably associated with salmon, and the Gold Creek Salmon Bake is an authentic experience that offers a taste of life in a Klondike-era gold rush camp yet with distinctly modern touches, such as translucent domes rather than canvas tents and a menu that would make any prospector jealous. As you approach, you’ll relish the aroma of wild Alaskan-caught salmon grilling over an open alder wood fire, crackling flames providing a rustic serenade. Amid a pristine forest, dine on salmon cooked to perfection as well as succulent chicken, Gold Rush-style potatoes, baked beans, a wild rice pilaf, clam chowder, cornbread and lighter fare such as fresh salads. Blueberry cake tops off a memorable meal served beside Salmon Creek, the melodies of a local musician and the sounds of a nearby waterfall as a soothing backdrop. Be sure to follow the short trail to the Salmon Creek waterfall and roast marshmallows over the comforting campfire. A salmon bake is a quintessential taste of Alaska that will linger in your memory for years.

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Go Crabbing in the Bering Sea
From Ketchikan, embark on the Aleutian Ballad, one of the legendary crab boats featured on the Discovery Channel series Deadliest Catch. Unlike the tribulations of the show, you’ll sail only in calm, protected coastal waters, taking in the stunning scenery of southeastern Alaska, tiny islands dotting the straits, mountains soaring from sea to clouds and the light dancing across the primeval waters. In a comfortable and heated on-deck amphitheater, hear stories of the men who have plied these seas and given their lives. Below, the crew haul up crab pots and long lines from deep beneath the waves, bringing to light not just crab but shark, octopus, prawns and rock fish. The bounty is carefully placed into an on-deck aquarium so you can view and interact with these creatures of the deep before they are returned, unharmed, to their natural habitat.

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Partake in Russian Tea Time
Alaska seems to be a thoroughly American destination today, yet it was once part of Russia before its purchase in 1867, and though Sitka was the former Russian capital, the Russian influence extends throughout the state in both architecture and traditions. In Kodiak, the Russian legacy lives on at the Kodiak Inn, where traditional Russian tea, a variation on the English classic, is a beloved staple. Rather than scones and finger sandwiches, enjoy borscht, Russian teacakes and pirozhkis while entertained by the Balalaika Players, a local band performing traditional music from the mother country. While the tour includes visits to Cannery Row, the heart of Kodiak’s fishing economy, as well as a Russian Orthodox Church and local art gallery, Russian tea time is the undisputed highlight.

Observe Sea Otters, Raptors and Bears
Alaska’s diversity of flora and fauna is a draw for most of those who choose to journey through the 49th State. But the chance to both see animals in the wild as well as in rehabilitation facilities is a unique opportunity to understand the Alaskan commitment to the creatures that share the land, sea and sky. Spend a few hours aboard a catamaran cruising the waters around Sitka, looking for stately whales and, nearer the coast, sea otters, sea lions and seals frolicking with childlike abandon. Eagles soar overhead and you might even catch a glimpse of brown bears and black-tailed deer near the water’s edge. After experiencing the essence of nature, visit the nearby Alaska Raptor Center and learn how injured birds of prey such as bald eagles are lovingly treated with hopes of returning them to the wild. From a raised platform at the Fortress of the Bear rescue facility at Silver Bay, view and photograph brown bears that have been caught in conflict with their human neighbors and rather than be euthanized, have been provided a place to live out their days, roaming at peace.

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Mush a Dogsled and Soar Over an Icefield
Discover Alaska’s untouched wilderness with a helicopter flightseeing tour and then dive into the world of dogsledding with the chance to go on a memorable ride. See Skagway from the air, appreciating its isolated location nestled among soaring peaks and expansive glaciers. Next, visit a dog camp on Denver Glacier and meet the professional mushers and adorable, friendly dogs that symbolize the rugged majesty of the famed Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, an epic 938-mile adventure undertaken every year in early March. Learn the captivating, surprisingly difficult art of dogsledding and see how the dogs become part of the mushers’ families. You’re free to observe the process or try your hand at standing on the sled and mushing. Enjoy approximately a half hour darting across the glacier, pulled by a team of up to 16 dogs who seem to be having just as much fun as those riding the sleds.

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Jetboat Glacial Lakes and Rivers
While Wrangell provides a slice of traditional Alaskan life, a jetboat ride through the surrounding 500,000-acre Stikine-LeConte Wilderness is a distinctly contemporary escapade deep into an area revered by famed American naturalist John Muir. The Stikine River is the fastest flowing navigable river in the United States and your customized, purpose-built jetboat, thoughtfully heated and covered, is the perfect vehicle for exploration. Look for passing moose, bear or deer as you enjoy spectacular views of distant mountain peaks, spy on spawning salmon and listen to thundering waterfalls. Follow the river to Shakes Lake, a narrow strip of water cradled by soaring granite crests featuring diamond-bright icebergs dotting its sparkling topaz waters. Come ashore at a specially selected wilderness location and absorb the true grandeur of your surroundings before reboarding your jetboat for a jubilant wine and cheese interlude and an exhilarating return to Wrangell.

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Kayak Icy Strait Point
Push off from the beach along Icy Strait Point in a two-person kayak and paddle the protected waters around Port Fredrick. Float along for two hours in bays and coves so unspoiled that you’ll feel as if you’re the first to ever explore the region. From a kayak in Alaska, the air is purer, the shoreline greener, the sea more soothing and the profusion of wildlife more thrilling. As you kayak the calm waters accompanied by a guide, you’ll discover the secret to finding the humpback whales that feed along the same route you’ll be traversing. Search for a whale’s fluke as it begins its dive or catch one in the act of spy-hopping, which is when a whale pokes just its head out of the water to look around. The nutrient-rich waters of Icy Strait are also home to orcas, sea lions, porpoises, sea otters and seals. During your excursion, you’ll also paddle to an even more serene area frequented by bald eagles. There are few sights more visually arresting than following the flight of one of these majestic creatures as it rides the wind until swooping down to catch a fish with its talons.

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Introducing Dom Pérignon Champagne Dinners

Champagne. It’s a word that evokes a smile, an anticipation of something special and the warm glow of celebration. Like no other beverage before or since, Champagne has come to define the most captivating, jubilant and extraordinary moments of our lives. While we serve ample amounts of Champagne aboard our ships while roaming the globe, we knew there was more to the story. How, we asked ourselves, do we take the pure, glorious and unfettered joy of Champagne and create a culinary event worthy of the bubbly nectar itself? Oceania Cruises is proud to introduce the Dom Pérignon Experience at La Reserve, an inspired partnership with Dom Pérignon, a brand not just synonymous with the finest Champagne on earth, but also whose namesake is often credited with inventing this heavenly libation in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

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A Partnership Over 300 years in the Making
While it’s a bit of a myth that the reclusive monk Dom Pérignon actually invented Champagne, the idea that he perfected the process by which it comes to life is undisputed. Such was the holy man’s dedication that Moët & Chandon, keepers of the Dom Pérignon legacy, is universally regarded as the premier producer of sparkling wines in the Champagne region of France. From tackling the challenges of refermentation to pruning vines to ensure higher quality harvests, Dom Pérignon’s passion for sparkling wine is legendary. While Oceania Cruises’ peerless commitment to offering the Finest Cuisine at Sea™ is also well-known, it took an inspired partnering of Oceania’s corporate chef Franck Garanger and the executive chef of Moët & Chandon’s La Maison Dom Pérignon, Marco Fadigo, to combine both superlative experiences into a six-course gustatory indulgence that is working its way onto the bucket list of those who appreciate and celebrate the finer things in life.

Selecting the Best Vintages
After debuting this January in La Reserve aboard Marina and Riviera, the Dom Pérignon Experience has already become a must-have meal for every connoisseur of Champagnes and all true gourmands. The evening is so extraordinary, it is offered only once per voyage. The concept is simple, but the execution is divine. First, we have selected three of Moët & Chandon’s most acclaimed vintages. Unlike lesser sparkling wines, Dom Pérignon is a Champagne renowned for vintages which only improve with age. After careful consultation with our partners in France, Dom Pérignon vintages from 2009, 2006 and 2004 are the stars, the latter an intriguing and immensely satisfying rosé.

Celebrating the Nuances of the Grape
The Dom Pérignon Experience is a six-course tasting menu, shared with no more than 24 enthusiasts in La Reserve for $295 per person plus gratuities. Each of the three Champagne vintages is effortlessly paired with two courses which are specifically crafted to bring out the nuances of the grapes and the ratio of the blend, playing off every aspect from subtle, effervescent nose to lively, satisfying finish.

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An Intricate Dance of Flavors
Each dish of the tasting menu is prepared à la minute and lovingly created to complement the Champagne with which it is paired. Imagine scallops Rossini, mole negro and roasted pineapple accompanying Dom Pérignon 2009, the mole sauce lending extra body to the bubbly while the Champagne itself cuts through the richness of the dish. In celebration of the varied personality and many moods of the 2009 vintage, it complements the refreshing sixth course composed of sakura tea “geisha flower” ice cream and lemon caviar which, in turn, brings out the Champagne’s surprising finish with its hint of saltiness and delightful undertones of caramel.

Each Course a Triumph
Imagine a Dom Pérignon 2006 paired with Brittany blue lobster in yellow curry broth as well as coco foam and then, to show the diversity and universal appeal of the vintage, balanced in the next course with black truffle risotto and aged parmesan. In the former, the Champagne honors the shellfish selection while in the latter, the crispness of the vintage soothes the palate’s response to the richness of the risotto.

A Rosé for the Ages
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the tasting menu is the Dom Pérignon 2004, a playful rosé that tempers the boldness of a course of seared wagyu beef prepared sashimi-style that is served with sautéed arugula, blood orange-soya jus and caviar perlita. However, this delicate rosé is not as subtle as it might seem, more than holding its own when served with a French A.O.C cheese plate presented with black currant-pepper paste and a thyme flower.

Overflowing Bounty
Unlike many tasting menus which offer petite portions more akin to an amuse-bouche, the Dom Pérignon Experience offers appropriate servings that allow for enhanced enjoyment of the flavor pairings and Champagne characteristics. Much more than a novelty, our Champagne-pairing dinners are a hearty and elegant fête of earthly pleasures. Glasses are refilled without the need for even a nod to the attentive staff, creating a value proposition second to none. While individual glasses of these Dom Pérignon vintages might carry a price tag of $40 or more, their generous inclusion in the overall tasting experience are a refreshing and welcome discovery.

Dom Pérignon Remains the Gold Standard
In a world where even luxury goods are mass-produced, the bespoke nature of Dom Pérignon stands apart. Other Champagnes, which by definition hail from what is possibly France’s most celebrated wine region, are blends of up to five grapes and are produced each year, year in and year out. Dom Pérignon is produced not just from the blend of only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, in fact it won’t be produced at all in any given year if, in the estimation of Moët & Chandon, that year’s grapes are not up to the high standards that have defined Dom Pérignon for three centuries. Commercial production always takes a backseat to perfection at Moët & Chandon.

 

A Night to Remember
La Reserve is a charming, cozy and welcoming space with flashes of sophistication and sparkle, the perfect venue to host the Dom Pérignon Experience. It is also a reminder of Oceania Cruises’ dedication to making ordinary events extraordinary, of taking an everyday routine and turning it into once-in-a-lifetime moment. While our paired Champagne tasting menu is not just cause for celebration but the perfect complement to any merry occasion, it transcends even this lofty role. Champagne itself is a celebration and in true French spirit, the bubbling, satisfying manifestation of joie de vivre. At Oceania Cruises, we believe it is life itself that is worthy of a flute of Champagne.

 

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Re-Inspiration of Classic Elegance

Sometimes even the best isn’t quite good enough. That’s why Oceania Cruises recently launched Oceania NEXT, a comprehensive fleetwide program to raise the bar of excellence in ship design, décor, culinary programs, service and destination exploration. This January, we were thrilled to introduce a shining example of our commitment with a stem to stern and keel to funnel refurbishment of our beloved Insignia, the first of our four most intimate ships to receive a makeover so comprehensive she is virtually a new ship. It is a transformation that we call, appropriately, a re-inspiration.

Embracing the Essence of Insignia

We believe that each of our ships has a personality, so even as we sought to re-inspire the interior decor and create a new sense of place, honoring the unwavering essence of the Insignia was top of mind. She is still unreservedly the same elegant, playful and comforting ship she has always been, but with her finest features enhanced. Her journey is akin to that of transformation from chrysalis to butterfly, becoming significantly livelier and refreshingly more sophisticated. Every suite and stateroom boasts new surfaces while public rooms have been replenished with new furniture, fabrics and wall coverings. A color palette that celebrates the world’s oceans and her global destinations brings in muted colors of sea and sky. From the Grand Dining Room’s hand-blown Italian chandelier and Martinis’ wall of custom artwork to the cosmopolitan style of the Grand Hall and the organic verre églomisé glass panel incorporated into the Grand Staircase, the Insignia has been thoroughly and tastefully rejuvenated.

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Entirely New Staterooms and Suites

Every surface of each of Insignia’s 342 suites and staterooms has been renewed with the contemporary and residential feel of a Newport cottage, chic Parisian apartment or sleek Amalfi villa. A lighter and brighter color palette embracing soothing taupes, silvery greys, the soft blue of the heavens and comfortable greens of the earth make each haven feel as if it is larger, while splashes of emerald and sapphire create a sense of excitement and discovery.

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The Practical is Made Perfect

Bathrooms in suites and staterooms are entirely new, not just re-clad with marbles, granites, glass and glittering fixtures, but also redesigned in many suites to create a more contemporary layout. But in a world where custom light fixtures, bespoke carpets, Carrara marble, silky onyx, tufted headboards and custom-crafted European furniture create a sense of luxury, the practical shines as well. Commodious closets with new storage systems and thoughtfully placed USB ports for recharging electronic devices bring every convenience of home.

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A Grand New Welcome

The first hint that Insignia is entirely new is whispered in your ear as you enter the lobby beneath a show-stopping chandelier that, although tiered in honor of the traditional silhouettes of yesteryear, is fused with a contemporary aesthetic with reeded glass elements that harmoniously play with the redesigned crystal-accented balustrades of the Grand Staircase. The heart of Insignia is airy and crisp, boasting linen millwork and fabrics from Rubelli and Kravat in soft blues, restful creams and bold charcoals. Behind the Grand Staircase, a dramatic verre églomisé wall rises, embracing a noble tree-inspired theme that subtly references prosperity and growth.

 

A Venue Worthy of the Cuisine

Whether a past or future guest, you no doubt have come to understand Oceania Cruises’ unwavering passion for cuisine, and after its re-inspiration, the Grand Dining Room has become the ultimate showcase for the culinary arts. The inviting room’s dazzling centerpiece is a gleaming chandelier designed by acclaimed Studio DADO with hand-blown teardrops of Italian glass. Chic new chairs are even more comfortable than those they have replaced and Rubelli fabrics, new carpeting and fresh window coverings reveal a lighter, brighter palette.

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The Art of Cuisine

In addition to the physical surroundings taking on new life, re-inspired menus offer artisanal local ingredients and curated regional wines in a bold move to enhance our cuisine with the flavors, spirit and joy of our destinations. Dishes are both familiar and innovative, inspired by our quest to present The Finest Cuisine at Sea™. Fresh coconut from Bora Bora makes its way into a delightful dessert, local French cheeses magically appear tableside and salmon caught that morning is transformed into a blackened Cajun dish with peach and saffron chutney in Polo Grill that evening. A fruity Australian Riesling holds court with soy roasted pork while a bold and hearty port finishes a meal enjoyed in view of the twinkling lights of a Portuguese fishing village.

An Inviting Club

Martinis, the beloved gathering spot for cocktails, conversation and camaraderie, has taken on a refined and refreshed look with a unique angular lighting fixture, custom-milled carpets and updated European furniture. Designers were inspired by the stunning coastline of Santorini with deep Grecian blue and volcanic sienna tones enlivening rich chocolate leather and stately pewter. The warm walnut paneling remains, highlighted by the bar’s new tobacco quartz and splashes of pearlescent, smoky white marble accents. A hand-blown glass wall, representing the distinctive silhouette of barnacles, was hand-installed by Artist Michael Skura, who created each unique piece in his California studio.

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New Touches and a New Look

New touches abound, from furnishings by Baker and Donghia to striking new art, fabrics and carpets. For example, Toscana, our specialty restaurant celebrating Italy’s passion for the palate, has been updated with deep ruby reds, contemporary black and white artwork and a soothing rustic brown, all of which combine to evoke a fiery sunset washing across San Gimignano’s medieval towers.

Preserving Perfection

While most of Insignia has been imbued with a new look, we have preserved that which was already perfect in its prior form. The Library, a cherished enclave reminiscent of an English country house, has been left untouched save for a renewal of fabrics here and there. While sleeker furniture and an airier atmosphere emanates from the use of lighter colors in the public spaces, the classical form of the intricate millwork remains as a tribute to the timeless elegance of Insignia’s destinations and the comforting brilliance of her original design.

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More to Come

While Insignia is the first of our ships to be re-inspired, she certainly isn’t the last. Both Regatta and Sirena will take on a new, breezier personality in 2019 with Nautica joining the party in 2020. In one sweep, our four coziest vessels will move from a warm, gentle glow to a sophisticated and inviting sparkle.