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Hope Starts Here Hurricane Relief Program

As islands across the Caribbean clean up and begin to recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, you may be wondering what you can do to support the region. We have been in touch with our friends and business partners from Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, St. Barts, Tortola, and Dominica and they have all said the same thing, “we will rebuild.” Their resilience is an inspiration as many are already working hard to return their islands to their radiance and charm. Now it’s our turn give them a well-deserved helping hand.

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Rebuilding Hope

During this time of great need, we have banded together to contribute to the recovery of the region. We have joined forces with our sister companies to raise at least $2.5 million on behalf of All Hands Volunteers, a non-profit relief organization dedicated to rebuilding communities impacted by natural disasters. The funds will be used toward rebuilding damaged schools across the Caribbean and we have committed to matching up to $1.25 million of our guests’ donations made to All Hands Volunteers through our Hope Starts Here program.

Hope Starts Here Voyages
Thankfully, many Caribbean islands have been spared severe damage and can help bolster tourism in the islands, which as you know, is a vital economic lifeline for millions across the region. Between now and November 15th, when you book any of the thirteen voyages below that are part of our Hope Starts Here program, we will make a donation of $500 per stateroom to All Hands Volunteers and also will provide you with an additional savings of $500 off of your veranda stateroom fare. The $500 donation will go toward our goal of matching $1.25 million of our guests’ donations, and meeting or exceeding our $2.5 million goal. You can rest assured that your generous donation will be making an impact locally in the areas hit the hardest.

Some of our Caribbean itineraries have been revised due to the impact, while we have been able to preserve the majority of our calls. Puerto Rico and St. Maarten were the hardest hit and will need ample time to recover – we’ve replaced them with calls in Punta Cana and Basseterre for the season. Our partners in the islands are resilient and are rebuilding quickly – St. Barts, Martinique, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Kitts, Key West, and the balance of the Caribbean are open to travelers and are eager to showcase their hospitality – and thanks.

Visit OceaniaCruises.com/HopeStartsHere for more information on how you can help those in need. 

Hope Starts Here Voyages

Riviera | December 12, 2017

Marina | December 17, 2017

Riviera | December 22, 2017

Riviera | January 3, 2018     

Riviera | January 13, 2018   

Riviera | January 23, 2018               

Riviera | February 6, 2018   

Riviera | February 16, 2018             

Riviera | February 26, 2018

Riviera | March 8, 2018

Riviera | March 18, 2018     

Sirena | April 23, 2018

Regatta | April 26, 2018

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AN UNEXPECTED ADVENTURE IN MONTE CARLO

PB080041Regatta recently called on the glittering city of Monte Carlo in the tiny principality of Monaco. When I think of Monte Carlo, I think of James Bond and movie stars in tuxedos and gowns. Monaco is where the rich and famous convene to play high-stakes poker, or race fast cars, or simply lounge on lavish yachts. Monaco certainly lives up to its reputation as a playground for the wealthy, but what really impressed me was how charming it was and how much there is to do for people like me. (Unfortunately, my role as Blogger-at-Large has not yet catapulted me into international fame.)

Granted, when Regatta docked in the famed Monte Carlo harbor, the million-dollar yachts were hard to miss, and the view was spectacular. There are several cafés on the docks near these impressive vessels, and if you linger there a while, you may spot a celebrity or two.

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Also living up to its hype is the opulent Monte Carlo Grand Casino – there is a reason all those films were made here. Decorated with marble, onyx, frescoes and sculptures, this casino was clearly built for high rollers.

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For those who don’t fare so well at the tables, they can find a peaceful retreat in the stunning garden that leads up the hill to the casino.

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Oceanic MuseumWhile Monte Carlo was certainly everything I’d ever imagined, I soon realized there was far more to Monaco than glitz and glamour. Perched atop the sheer cliff face at a height of 279 feet is the Oceanographic Museum, which was founded in 1901 by Monaco’s Prince Albert I, and where Jacques Cousteau served as director for many years. The building itself took 11 years to build using over 100,000 tons of stone. There are several live exhibits as well as impressive skeletons of marine mammals.

PB080164 St Nich CathedralNear the Oceanographic Museum is St. Nicholas Cathedral, which contains the tombs of the Monaco royal family, including Princess Grace and Prince Rainier. It remains a pilgrimage site for fans of actress Grace Kelly, who became the princess of Monaco after her fairytale marriage to Rainier in 1956.

PB080053 St CharlesAlthough much smaller than the cathedral, the Church of St. Charles makes up for in beauty what it lacks in size. Its bell tower reaches a height of 108 feet above sea level and is purported to be the highest bell tower in the area.

 

PB080154 Armory PalaceThe Palace of the Prince is an impressive compound with wonderful views of Monaco and the surrounding seas. While much of the palace grounds are open to the public, the royal family does maintain a private residence here, as evidenced by the sentries standing guard. If you can get to the palace by 11:55 am, you can watch the changing of the guard, a popular attraction.

Monte Carlo is a wonderful place to just wander the streets and get a sense of the city’s personality. Beneath the resort façade is a culture of centuries-old traditions and deep spirituality. During my meanderings, I stumbled upon Sainte-Dévote Chapel, an adorable little church tucked into the cliff face overlooking the harbor. I soon learned that the church is quite literally adored, as it is one of the most venerated religious sites in Monaco. Dating from before 1070, the church is dedicated to Saint Dévote, the patron saint of Monaco. By tradition, the bride of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco leaves her bouquet here after the wedding ceremony.

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Venez-decouvrir-villa-paloma-monaco-L-1I was so charmed by the architecture, the city streets and the stunning views of the Mediterranean that the waning daylight took me by surprise. As I began to head back to the ship, I realized I had not visited the new modern art museum or the Jardin Exotique, a beautiful garden with one of the most extensive cactus collections in Europe. It quickly became clear that I would need to visit Monte Carlo again on another Oceania Cruises voyage! Until then, I would treasure the memory of my day here, which came to a perfect ending as I watched the moon rise over the sparkling lights of the city.

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REGATTA AND NAUTICA SEND POSTCARDS FROM EXOTIC LANDS

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While Insignia just crossed the Atlantic to begin her summer sojourn along European shores, Regatta and Nautica are exploring opposite sides of the globe. Regatta spent the first of April in Parintins, Brazil, and guests were treated to a taste of Amazonian folklore and festivities during an exclusive excursion to a Boi-Bumba celebration.

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The people of Parintins, known for their exuberance and rich cultural traditions, put on a mesmerizing display of revelry with colorful costumes and the sounds of samba. The performance told the captivating story of two families involved in a historic dispute, which was resolved not by combat, but by song and dance.

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Meanwhile, Nautica was exploring the vibrant metropolis of Saigon. Guests were able to experience all the charms of the city via pedi-cab.

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Known as the “Pearl of the Orient,” Saigon is an eclectic mix of old and new, with steel and glass skyscrapers towering over French colonial villas, and imposing Soviet-style facades standing beside ancient pagodas. Guests touring the city got a feel for the hectic pace of people’s daily lives.

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And other’s lives were not so hectic.

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No matter what corner of this amazingly diverse planet appeals to you most, with Oceania Cruises you can certainly experience Your World, Your Way.®

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FEBRUARY ADVENTURES ONBOARD REGATTA, INSIGNIA & NAUTICA

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The inaugural season of our new ship Marina has been such an exciting time for our Oceania Cruises family. So exciting, in fact, that Marina has been monopolizing the spotlight as of late, and with good reason. However, we must not forget the three equally stunning, elegant ships that are responsible for making Oceania Cruises the success it is today. Regatta, Insignia, and Nautica have

Prasart-Bangkok-Entry also been sailing azure seas this February, and guests onboard are likewise enjoying the fine cuisine, impeccable service, and fascinating destinations that are the hallmarks of Oceania Cruises.

Nautica has been exploring the exotic coasts of Asia, from Hong Kong to Saigon to Bangkok. In Bangkok guests enjoyed an excursion to the renowned Prasart Museum, which houses one of the most spectacular private art collections in Asia. The vast array includes art from prehistoric times to the late 19th century and features Buddha images, exquisite porcelain and pottery, traditional Thai paintings, and impressive Chinese furnishings.

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Also located on the grounds is the magnificent Garden of Serenity, a horticultural treasure that contains an exceptional variety of rare and unusual trees and shrubs, many of which were selected for their association with Thai literature. The garden is intertwined with meandering pathways, tranquil pools and priceless stone statues.

 

While Nautica has been experiencing the history and beauty of Thailand, China and other fascinating nations of the East, Regatta has been exploring the Western Hemisphere. On the other side of the world, Regatta sails the vivid blue seas of the Caribbean and visits its many lovely islands, from Virgin Gorda to Antigua to the Bahamas.

 

Sailboat Nassau

Guests onboard Regatta faced some big challenges this month, having to decide whether to view the vibrant colors of diverse marine life on a snorkeling venture, sail impossibly blue waters under the power of a gentle wind, or simply lie on beautiful beaches and watch the waves roll into the shore. You can tell from the photo of Nassau above and St. Barts below, guests could rest assured that any decision they made was the right one. Many guests played it safe and chose “all of the above.”

Shell Beach St. Barts

Torres Waterfall Insignia took a southerly route this February, sailing from Chile through the magnificent Chilean fjords, around the southern tip of South America, stopping in to the Falkland Islands and continuing up the Eastern seaboard to Brazil. Natural wonders abound in this beautiful continent, and guests onboard Insignia explored them at length.

One of the most spectacular regions in the world and certainly one of South America’s major attractions is Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. The park was granted the status of Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978. Guests on the Oceania Cruises excursion, Scenic Torres del Paine, experienced the landscape by plane, boat and motorcoach, finding each stunning vista more magnificent than the last.

To the left is Salto Grande Waterfall. The volume of water and its tremendous power is astounding.

Below is another breathtaking view captured by a guest. The peaks, horizons, and the still blue waters of the immense interconnected lakes are awe inspiring. The granite spires of many of the mountaintops have a unique shape sculpted by glacial erosion. The park is a feast of natural phenomena — glaciers, rivers, lakes, forests and abundant wildlife.

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Historical, cultural or natural, the astonishing beauty of the destinations on Oceania Cruises’ itineraries never fails to impress. Whether you sail on Regatta, Insignia, Nautica, or Marina, you are certain to have the experience of a lifetime both onboard and ashore. Thank you so much to our wonderful guests who shared with us these photos of their amazing experiences.

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MEET THE CREW: Regatta’s Chief Butcher, Everal Morris

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The success of Oceania Cruises can be largely attributed to our fantastic team of crew members. We could not create the Oceania Cruises experience were it not for the skill, talent and dedication of our staff. Impeccable service is one of our hallmarks, and to achieve this high standard, we rely on not only the people who greet you with a smile each day, but also those whose smiles are behind the scenes. Even though you may never see Chief Butcher Everal Morris during your cruise onboard Regatta, you enjoy the results of his attentive service every time you dine.

Everal hails from Jamaica and has been with Oceania Cruises since the very beginning when our fleet debuted. He truly loves his job and says his biggest challenge is coming to the end of a contract! “That’s the biggest challenge, when you have to leave all of this. It’s a nice life onboard.”

Everal especially likes the atmosphere in the galley – people of all different cultures working together in a fast-paced environment to achieve a common goal – service, service, service. He started as a roast man in the galley, but back in 2002, the ship he was onboard had no room for him in the galley, so he found himself working on the deck instead. One day a hiring manager came by and saw him on deck and asked, “Aren’t you my roast man?” Everal told him that yes, he had been, but now there was no room for him in the galley.  The manager talked to the food and beverage department, and by four o’clock that afternoon, he was offering Everal a position as a butcher. Everal said that he’d never done that kind of work, but he would sure give it a try! And he’s been working in the galley ever since.

Everal began as a utility butcher and then moved up to assistant butcher and on to chief butcher. He’s a quick study, and he enjoyed each new challenge along the way.  “Once you show me stuff one time, you don’t have to show me two times,” he says. “I just like to challenge myself. It doesn’t take me long to adapt to things.”

At different ports the ships acquire various meats – beef, fish, poultry – and Everal is in charge of getting these cuts of meat into the refrigerator, and then cutting and portioning each consistently and distributing the product to the various restaurants and galleys onboard. He underwent special training on the use of a band saw, but otherwise he says his only tools are his knives and his knowledge.

Everal has high praise for all of his fellow crew members and says that the way the crew all works together is one of the things he admires most about Oceania Cruises. At the end of their work days, everyone comes together to relax, listen to music, and enjoy conversations with their friends. And when you combine happy team members with a positive, supportive environment, you cannot help but achieve great success.