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Oceania Cruises

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Oceania Cruises fleet

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Oceania Cruises (oceaniacruises.com) is a Miami -based passenger shipping company operating a fleet of upper-premium, mid-sized vessels. Between April 2007 and September 2014, Oceania was owned by Apollo Management. The company's owner since 2014 is NCLH (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings) - also the owner of NCL-Norwegian Cruise Line and RSSC-Regent Seven Seas Cruises , Oceania as a cruise line brand offers a luxury product with relatively shorter itineraries but is also well-known for its Around The World voyages lasting up to 180 days.

Since January 2023, Oceania's President and CEO is Frank A. Del Rio (Frank Del Rio Jr/former NCLH's President's son), who succeeded Howard Sherman. The latter succeeded (in January 2022) Bob Binder (Oceania's co-founder, currently NCLH's Vice Chairman). Between 2016-2021, Howard Sherman was NCLH's Executive VP (Onboard Revenue and Destination Services). Oceania's and RSSC-Regent's Presidents both report to NCL's President (currently Harry Sommer).

As a travel brand, Oceania is widely recognized for having the finest cuisine at sea.

Company history and changes

The Oceania cruise line was founded in 2002 by travel industry veterans Frank Del Rio (former VP of Renaissance Cruises/1989-2001- defunct ) and Joseph Watters (Independent Director of the brokerage company MarineMax).

Oceania initially chartered the ex-Renaissance vessel "R Two" (from Cruiseinvest), which in October 2002 was renamed Insignia . In April 2003, the boat was 3-month chartered to TRM France (travel agency), and during that period Oceania had no fleet. On June 15, 2003, the company restarted services with 2 vessels - Insignia (renamed Regatta ) and a new vessel (R One, sistership of Regatta, also chartered from Cruiseinvest) that debuted as the current Insignia.

Oceania Cruises logo

At the end of 2005, a third (ex-Renaissance) vessel entered Oceania's fleet when from CruiseInvest was chartered R-Five (renamed Nautica ). At the naming ceremony, Frank del Rio announced a plan to add a fourth boat ( Marina ) in July 2007. However, this didn't come to pass.

The majority of Oceania's stock was sold in February 2007 to the NYC -based Apollo Management. The next month Oceania made a memorandum agreement with the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to construct two 1260-passenger newbuilds . The contract was finalized in June 2007, with delivery dates scheduled for January and July 2011. The contract also included an option for a 3rd unit of the same design/sistership to be delivered in May 2012, but Oceania declined that option.

After being leased out to Hapag-Lloyd (as Columbus 2) for two years, Insignia returned to Oceania in 2014. In May 2014, Oceania and Fincantieri were close to making a deal on two additional ships. On September 2, 2014, NCLH purchased "Prestige Cruise Holdings" (the parent company of Oceania and RSSC-Regent) for USD 3,025 billion, thus becoming the official owner of all vessels in both fleets.

On November 25, 2014, NCLH revealed an agreement with Princess Cruises to purchase Ocean Princess (now Sirena ) for Oceania, upon delivery in March 2016. The ship underwent a 35-day drydock refit (US$40 million) in Marseille France and was renamed "MS Sirena".

In September 2018, Oceania partnered with Luggage Forward (USA-based luggage shipping company). The new service allows passengers to ship their luggage doorstep-to-stateroom (and back home again), thus truly traveling light. Luggage Forward provides premier door-to-door shipping services to 200 countries worldwide (including over 150 cruise ports). The company's own team of Customs specialists handles the country-specific paperwork to ensure on-time deliveries. Travelers can track the shipment in real-time. Luggage Forward service can be booked online or via phone. Rates are fixed, without additional charges or fees applied. Luggage's arrival on time and safety is guaranteed. Luggage Forward offers money-back plus US$500 on-time guarantee.

On June 6, 2022, NCLH announced an expansion of its fleetwide sustainability program "Sail & Sustain". Extending its animal welfare policy, the shipowner is now fully committed to responsible animal food sourcing practices (regarding pork, chicken, eggs, and seafood) within the global fleet's supply chain. The goal is by the year 2025, fleetwide (NCL, Oceania, Regent) to be sourced only cage-free eggs, crate-free pork, certified sustainable seafood, and chicken purchased from American and Canadian suppliers who meet GAP (Global Animal Partnership) standards.

In April 2023, Oceania signed a partnership with the 2014-established premium brand "Chapter 7 Whisky" to create an exclusive 20-year aged Chapter 7 special cask whisky (batch of a total of 304 bottles) to celebrate its 20th anniversary as well as the launch of the Vista ship. The exclusive bottles are available for onboard purchase (via Harding+/part of Harding Retail UK) only during Oceania Vista's inaugural season (2023).

In June 2023 Oceania introduced fleetwide a rare collection of premium vintage wines (80 new labels) from winegrowing regions in France, Italy and Chile. The new collection includes varieties like Moet & Chandon Cuvee Dom Perignon (from Epernay), Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1er Cru Classe (from Pauillac), Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore (from Tuscany), Vina Errazuriz Kai Carmenere (from Chile's Aconcagua Valley). The rare wines can be tasted at all shipboard restaurants and bars as well as in the staterooms (fleetwide).

In August 2023, Jason Worth was appointed VP of International Sales (newly created position) who reports to Nikki Upshaw (Oceania's Senior VP of Global Sales since 2011, in 2001-2011 employed as Director of Global Sales and Marketing for ResidenSea The World . Jason Worth is with Oceania since 2011, and in the period 2019-22 served as VP of Sales for Australia and New Zealand.

All Oceania-operated ships are currently Marshall Islands - flagged and registered in Majuro .

On January 8, 2019, Oceania's parent company NCLH announced a shipbuilding order with Fincantieri for two units planned for Oceania. Both vessels are of the new ALLURA-Class - the next stage of the fleet expansion project OceaniaNEXT. The new boats are designed and built by Fincantieri (in Ancona Italy ), with scheduled deliveries in 2023 ( Vista ) and 2025 ( Allura ).

Each of the 67000 GT-ton ALLURA-Class vessels (Vista, and Allura) has max capacity 1470 passengers plus 800 staff/crew. These are mid-sized ships similar in design and amenities to Oceania's 2011-2012-built Riviera and Marina .

The contract price for each of the newbuilds is ~EUR 575 million (per unit). NCLH obtained export credit financing with favorable terms to fund 80% of the total contract price, subject to certain Italian government approvals.

As of 2019, NCLH had 10 ship orders with planned deliveries thru 2027. Of those, 7x units were for NCL-Norwegian, 2x for Oceania, 1x for RSSC-Regent.

Cruising experience

The Oceania cruise line serves the industry's upper-premium market, and as a brand is positioned between its luxury and premium segments. The shipboard experience is country club-like, the atmosphere is elegant and relaxed, never formal or stuffy. The company's customers are well-traveled, looking for top-class cuisine, personalized service, destination-focused travel experience.

Oceania offers exotic itineraries to remote destinations worldwide. Often, port calls are with overnight stays so passengers can enjoy local cuisine, nightlife, culture.

Oceania's current Executive Culinary Director is the renowned master chef Jacques Pepin. He created a premier menu of gourmet delights which are highlighted during each onboard dinner. Oceania ships serve an extensive vegan menu and offer smoothie bars with cold-pressed raw juices at Lido Deck.

Pool Deck's raw juice and smoothie bar serve a variety of healthy drinks - like cold brew lattes, green smoothies, chia cashew yogurt bowl, acai berry bowl. Oceania's new vegan menu has over 250 dishes and is featured in Main Dining Rooms of all ships. It includes appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, and desserts. Vegetarian, kosher and gluten-free meals are also offered.

The vegan menu has 5 dishes and 4 sides offered at each breakfast, such as Spanish tortilla dish (tofu, potatoes, onions), vanilla waffles (fresh berries), cream of wheat or oatmeal, apricot and pistachio muffins, sides (Lyonnaise potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, vegan sausage). At lunch are offered Italian salad (assorted greens), Tuscan-style bean soup, toasted garlic bread, spinach-stuffed involtini (with pasta and tapenade sauce), tofu, chocolate ricotta pie. The dinner menu is 5-course and include truffle-flavored parsnip soup, quinoa salad, vegetable tartare, Thai red curry with rice, shortbread dessert (strawberries, passion fruit cream).

OceaniaNEXT ship refurbishments (fleet-renovation project)

In August 2018 was announced OceaniaNEXT fleet renovation project budgeted USD 100 million. It includes drydock refurbishments of all four R-Class liners - Regatta (September 2019), Insignia (December 2018), Sirena (May 2019) and Nautica (June 2020).

As supervision company for the project was contracted Studio DADO Inc (Miami-based designer firm). Other contractors include Baker and Donghia (furnishings), and Rubelli and Kravet (fabrics, custom-made carpets). As result, the fleet was expanded with 1368 new staterooms, and all shipboard restaurants, bars, and lounges will be redesigned and redecorated. New public spaces on these ships include open-floor designed Lobby with Reception Hall (lower level) with Upper Hall (2nd level). They are connected with Grand Staircase (decorated with railings and balustrades) and featuring a large crystal chandelier (with hanging pieces of hand-painted glass).

Grand Dining Room (aft restaurant on Deck 5) on each ship received new premium dining furniture (leather chairs with metallic bronze threading) and new crystal chandelier. Martinis (piano bar lounge on Deck 5) was redesigned, new silver-white marble bar top and walnut paneling were added.

All staterooms were completely overhauled (redesigned and re-furnished) and upgraded with custom-made furniture, polished wood, stone finishes, designer accessories, smart HDTVs (infotainment system with movies-on-demand and Internet), USB ports, LED lighting. All cabin bathrooms were overhauled and received new tiling, surfaces, fixtures, designer accessories, vanities, glass shower enclosures. Penthouse-Vista-Owner suite bathrooms were enlarged and upgraded with Carrara marble tops, onyx, polished granite.

Works on the fleetwide refurb project involved over 1000 artisans and craftsmen and resulted in 1368 new cabins, 8000 new light fixtures, 12000 new sofas and chairs.

In September 2018, as part of OceaniaNEXT program, the company's website was redesigned and upgraded. Now customers (travel agents and cruise passengers) can use shipboard credits before departure. OBC can be used for purchasing tours/excursions and shipboard activities and amenities (culinary classes, drink packages, specialty dining at the Privee and La Reserve).

As part of OceaniaNEXT, on January 31, 2019, the company announced its partnership with Vero Water (eco-friendly bottled water supplier) to eliminate plastic water bottles fleetwide. In the period April-June 2019, all Oceania liners were outfitted with Vero Water systems eliminating around 3 million plastic bottles annually. By 2020, all Oceania cruise customers are provided complimentary with re-useable Vero Water bottles (Oceania-branded, 1 per person) to be used ashore and after the voyage to take home as a souvenir. The new water bottles will be available on each ship since April 2, 2019 (Riviera), April 19, 2019 (Marina), May 1, 2019 (Regatta), May 19, 2019 (Sirena), May 30, 2019 (Nautica), and June 19, 2019 (Insignia).

In May 2019, by the OceaniaNEXT program were introduced fleetwide 200+ plant-based dining menus. The new items are available (upon request) in "Grand Dining Room" and "Terrace Cafe" at breakfast-lunch-dinner, and also dinner-only in all specialty restaurants.

  • Breakfast items include Banana-Oatmeal Pancakes, Muesli with Pistachios, Avocado Toast on Rustic Bread.
  • Lunch items include Chilled Melon Soup, Korean Kimchi Soup, Wakame-Sesame Salad, Poke Bowl, Penne au Pistou.
  • Dinner items include Green Papaya Kelp Noodle Salad, Roasted Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato-Oat Tarte (with Mushrooms and Truffle Cheddar Sauce), Falafel Fritters, Crespelle alla Fiorentina (with Mushrooms), Green Curry Stir Fry.
  • Pnat-based desserts include Vanilla Mango Ice, Romanoff Vodka-Marinated Strawberries, Berry Pudding with Chantilly Cream, Shortbread (with Cream Cheese and Raspberries).

In 2019, Oceania's new website has greatly improved navigation via groups of 4 tabs (at page top) - "Plan Your Cruise", "Onboard Experiences", "Explore Ashore" and "Ultimate Value". The website's "Travel Agent Center" was also updated (marketing tools, tips, and training, travel advisor benefits). Oceania also launched new pre-cruise savings program, allowing customers booking within 30-days prior departure to receive in advance savings and "Best Price Guarantee". Repeat travel agency bookings are credited back automatically.

Why choose Oceania ships?

  • Cuisine: Oceania's chefs prepare noteworthy cuisine in all onboard restaurants.
  • Destinations: Oceania itineraries offer overnights in top ports and are destination-oriented.
  • Midsize Ships: The deluxe ships of Oceania are quite manageable in size: even the largest one has fewer than 1,300 guests.
  • No Smoking: Oceania vessels are almost entirely smoke-free. There are small, designated areas for smokers.
  • Surprisingly Affordable: Oceania cruises approach true luxury in style, but are quite affordable when it comes to fares.

The sophisticated ambiance of Oceania extends to the entertainment provided onboard. Guests can listen to a jazz band or 12-piece orchestra, watch a cabaret show or enjoy regional entertainment from the ports of call. The line regularly hosts guest lecturers, from former ambassadors to famous authors. Oceania cruises combine the best of new and old, preserving classic traditions, such as afternoon tea while offering contemporary services like 24-hour Internet access.

Oceania voyages are adult-oriented. These are not a good pick for families, particularly those sailing with infants and toddlers. There are no dedicated kids' facilities available onboard, and parents are completely responsible for children's behavior and entertainment. Some teenagers who don't mind the absence of video arcades might enjoy the unique ports of call.

Other advantages of Oceania include:

  • Many Oceania cruises include airfare in pricing.
  • Pre-/postcruise Hotel Collection Packages include private group transfers.
  • There is no dining charge on Oceania Cruises ships, but wine and cocktail prices are relatively high.
  • Guests may bring up to 3 bottles of wine per stateroom from ports of call, but have in mind the corkage fee - it is $25 per bottle to bring wine to the restaurant.
  • Oceania offers shore excursion collections. These have to be reserved prior to sailing and save a lot.
  • Oceania Cruises was the first line to upgrade bedding to the highest standard. Passengers can count on a good sleep on these ships.

Early-booking cruise discounts (OLife Advantage)

Since September 2015, Oceania Cruises offers an extended early booking program (OLife Advantage). Discounts and benefits by this incentive program are available to all Oceania customers booking itineraries in Europe, Alaska and Canada-New England.

OLife Advantage rewards all booked passengers, regardless of stateroom category. The list of bonus perks (complimentary amenities) may include unlimited internet, pre-paid gratuities, onboard credit, free cabin upgrades. The OLife Advantage program also provides free (complimentary) shore excursions per cruise, depending on itinerary's length: 3 tours (itineraries up to 9 days), 4 tours (itineraries 10-13 days) and 5 tours (itineraries 14+ days).

Wavenet (free, high-speed Internet) fleetwide

In April 2018, Oceania Cruises introduced the Wavenet (high-speed internet) fleetwide / on all ships. The service allows faster uploading/downloading of big files, watching Netflix movies, social media sharing, music, and video live streaming (Spotify Facetime, Skype).

Oceania's new Wavenet Internet service is free of charge and unlimited. As for amenities, it is included in the ticket prices for all staterooms (suite and cabin categories) and on all itineraries.

The "Wavenet Prime" (Internet upgrade) is available for purchase at USD 10 pp per day. It allows passengers to stream music, videos, movies.

(Coronavirus crisis) passenger shipping pause 2020-2021

Due to the COVID pandemic, NCLH's entire fleet (all vessels of the brands NCL-Norwegian, RSSC-Regent and Oceania) is with an expanded cancellation policy. All bookings on pre-scheduled itineraries (departures March 15, 2020, through May 31, 2021) were given the option to cancel (up to 48 hours prior departure) without penalties.

Eventually, NCLH canceled all Oceania cruise itineraries leaving between March 14, 2020, and September 2021.

Operations resumed in 2021-2022 with the ships MARINA (August 29, 2021/Europe-Baltic from Copenhagen), REGATTA (March 7, 2022/French Polynesia from Papeete Tahiti), NAUTICA (February 24, 2022/Southeast Asia from Singapore), RIVIERA (Oct 18, 2021/Europe-Mediterranean from Istanbul), INSIGNIA (January 6, 2022/World Cruise from Los Angeles), SIRENA (March 29, 2022/Transatlantic from Bridgetown Barbados to Barcelona).

  • All affected bookings received a full refund (100%) transferred as FCC (future cruise credit) with rebooking made within 1 year (any itinerary, fleetwide) departing between March 17, 2020, and December 31, 2022.
  • In early-May 2020, Oceania Cruises launched "The Ultimate Sale" promotion, with significant booking price reductions (~70% lower than the brand's regular rates). Promo's fares per person started at USD 999 (inside cabin) and USD 1399 (balcony cabin).

NAUTICA's program for 2021-2022 (fall-Mediterranean, winter-spring-Asia) was canceled. The ship restarts operations in April 2022 (Mediterranean-Europe) following an extensive drydock refurbishment.

REGATTA's "World Cruise 2021" (Los Angeles to Sydney Australia) was canceled. The ship restarts operations in March 2022 (Tahiti French Polynesia) following an extensive drydock refurbishment.

Itinerary of Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises ship itineraries visit 300+ ports in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The company's cruise vessels stand apart from other midsized liners with low (1-to-2) crew-to-passenger ratios and unique voyages.

During warm weather months, Oceania Cruises ships ply the waters of Eastern and Western Mediterranean, Western Europe and the British Isles, Northern Europe's Baltic Sea and Norwegian Fjords. During the winter, Oceania spans the globe with sailings to Asia, Australia, South America, Panama Canal , and the Caribbean.

Oceania Cruises appeals to affluent retirees who look for a no-frills and refined experience. That said, the sophisticated atmosphere of the line also attracts solo travelers and young couples who are looking for an experience sans kids. Regardless of which voyage you choose, expect to sail with the American crowd.

Itineraries 2024-2025

Oceania's 2024-2025 "Tropics & Exotics Collection" features 300+ ports (7 continents), 157 voyages of which 123 with 451 port overnights. The itineraries range from 7- to 200 days in length (70x Grand Voyages/world cruises and longer segments) and include 14 new ports for Oceania (like Camarones Argentina, Champagne Bay Vanuatu, Hambantota Sri Lanka, Hualien Taiwan).

2024-2025 fleet schedule includes popular regions and destinations like South America (Amazon River, Uruguay's and Brazil's coasts, Patagonia), Arabian Peninsula, Southeast Asia, Japan, Caribbean, Mexico, Panama Canal transits , circumnavigation of Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific Islands, French Polynesia, Melanesian islands.

In August 2023 was announced 2024-2025 program which includes 100 voyages in the Caribbean and the Pacific visiting 60+ different ports, including lesser-known islands.

The sailings were planned for the ships Marina , Nautica , Sirena , and the Vista , with departures from PortMiami Florida , Cartagena Colombia , NYC New York , Los Angeles CA , Bridgetown Barbados , Panama City , and Papeete Tahiti .

The itineraries range between 7 and 16 days, some transit the Panama Canal during daylight.

The featured destinations include the Caribbean's Barbuda , Dominica, and BVI/British Virgin Islands as well as French Polynesia's Moorea , Raiatea , and Rangiroa .

Nautica ship has scheduled 10-day itineraries in French Polynesia, and a 31-day journey to Sydney NSW Australia via New Zealand, departing on February 19th, 2024.

The new Allura ship 's inaugural cruise program was announced in September 2023. For the inaugural season (2025) Allura is deployed in Europe/Mediterranean. Allura's schedule (opened for booking on September 13, 2023) listed a total of 26 voyages (7- to 43-day long itineraries) visiting a total of 92 different ports/destinations.

Allura's Maiden Voyage is a 7-day Eastern Mediterranean/Aegean itinerary (departure June 8, 2025) from Piraeus-Athens (Greece) to Istanbul (Turkey). The Mediterranean program features popular port cities like Cádiz-Sevilla, Cagliari (Sardinia), Messina and Palermo (Sicily), Palma de Mallorca (Majorca Island), the Italian Riviera (Cinque Terre). Overnight ports are Istanbul, Monte Carlo (Monaco), Quebec City and Montreal ((Canada) and NYC (New York USA).

After the 43-day Transatlantic crossing from Europe to North America (August 27th, from Civitavecchia-Rome to NYC) starts the mini-season in Canada and New England, followed by the winter 2025-2026 Caribbean season. In the Caribbean, Allura is homeported in Miami (starting December 21st, 2025) and visits destinations like The Netherlads' ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao), Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Dominica, Antigua, St Maarten.

In September 2023, Oceania announced 7 new summer 2025 voyages to French Polynesia and Hawaii scheduled for the Regatta ship . The summer 2025 program (August, September, October) encompasses destinations like Bora Bora, Tahiti, Raiatea , Nuku Hiva/Marquesas , and the Hawaiian archipelago.

Departing from either Papeete or Honolulu, the 7 new voyages range 10 to 18 days, with the accessibility facilitated by direct flights to Papeete and Honolulu from major cities like NYC , Los Angeles , Paris , London , Sydney NSW . For instance, direct flights from LA to Papeete take ~8 hours, flights from Auckland NZ to Papeete are ~5 hours. Honolulu is reachable via a direct 6-hour flight from LA and an 8,5-hour direct flight from Auckland.

Oceania Regatta in 2024-2025 also offers various itineraries throughout the South Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand.

The new summer 2025 itineraries include:

  • Polynesian Dreams: A 15-day voyage from Honolulu to Papeete, visiting various enchanting destinations, departing on August 1 and September 15, 2025.
  • Tahitian Legends: A 10-day journey from Papeete to Papeete, featuring visits to idyllic locales, with departures on August 16, 26, and September 5, 2025.
  • Divine Pacific Oases: A 15-day itinerary from Honolulu to Papeete, offering an array of experiences, departing on September 30, 2025.
  • Song of Polynesia: An 18-day expedition from Papeete to Los Angeles, allowing for extensive exploration of the region, departing on October 15, 2025.

Oceania's 2025 summer program consists of 100+ different itineraries and encompasses 70 voyages in Europe (Mediterranean and Baltc) planned for 3 ships ( Marina , Vista , and Allura ) as well as ~50 Grand Voyages.

The European itineraries include 10 new for Oceania ports of call - Cesme (Turkey) , Kemi (Finland) , Lulea (Sweden) , Maniitsoq (Greenland) , Pozzallo (Sicily Italy) , Samos (Greece) , Scrabster (Scotland) , Sibenik (Croatia) , Sundsvall (Sweden) , and Vaasa (Finland) .

In 2025, the Riviera ship makes a debut in Alaska, offering 7 to 12 days itineraries. In July and August, Oceania has 16-19-day sailings to Iceland and Greenland, followed by 11-15 day voyages departing from NYC, Boston , and Montreal , with overnights in Montreal, Quebec , and NYC.

Regatta ship 's maiden season in French Polynesia and Hawaii (August-October) has 7 itineraries spanning 10-18 days.

Oceania's Grand Voyages include ports across Europe (Southern and Northern), all with extended evening and overnight port stays.

World Cruises 2025

In September 2022 were announced World and Grand Voyages for 2025. The "Around the World in 180 Days" voyage for 2025 is an east-to-west itinerary. Oceania also introduced 7x Grand Voyages (ranging between 50-111 days), including the 111-day expedition across the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Europe-Mediterranean.

(December 22, 2024 - March 6, 2025) "The Ultimate Odyssey" (74 days, 2 ships, 5 countries, 3 continents) starts with a 50-day circumnavigation of Indonesia-Australia-New Zealand (roundtrip from Sydney NSW ). The itinerary visits South America (Antarctica, Patagonia/Chilean Fjords ). Linking the 2 extraordinary voyages are 2 overland tours that passengers will get to choose from - 6 days in the Blue Mountains of Australia/6 days in the Andean Lakes District of Chile and Argentina. The journey stretches to Ushuaia Argentina , Antarctica and Patagonia.

(January 5, 2025 - July 3, 2025) The "Around The World in 180 Days" voyage visits 89 ports in 32 countries (5 continents). Leaving from PortMiami, Oceania Insignia heads south to Brazil's Amazon before crossing the Atlantic for Africa. En route to South Africa, the Atlantic crossing visits Tristan da Cunha . Insignia then continues to Asia visiting Indian Ocean islands (French Comoros, Seychelles, Maldives), Southeast Asia's Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan. Follows cruising along Western Australia's coast, the South Pacific islands (Vanuatu, French Polynesia), then north to the Hawaiian Islands to conclude the global journey.

Grand Voyage segments include:

  • 79-day Ultimate Pacific Traveler from Los Angeles to Sydney (October 3 - December 22, 2024)
  • 50-day South America Kaleidoscope from Miami to Rio de Janeiro (December 7, 2024 - January 26, 2025)
  • 78-day Grand Eastern Reflections from Abu Dhabi to Singapore (December 22, 2024 - March 10, 2025)
  • 111-day Epic Continental Explorer from Papeete to Barcelona (February 25 - June 17, 2025)
  • 63-day Patagonia to Iberia Mosaic from Santiago de Chile to Barcelona (March 6 - May 8, 2025)
  • 72-day Asia & Oceania Odyssey from Tokyo to Honolulu (May 22 - August 1, 2025).

New shore excursions and land tours

In mid-November 2018, Oceania introduced 86x pre-, post-, and mid-cruise land tours in Asia, Australia, Africa, Egypt and Holy Land, South America, Europe, Canada, and Alaska. Ranging from 1 to 5 nights in length, the new excursions options offer overnights in metropolises, overland explorations in Southeast Asia, luxury safaris in premium private reserves in Africa, the Italian and Swiss Alps, the Arabian Desert, even expeditions to the Himalayan Mountains (Mount Everest and Kathmandu). Program's highlights include:

  • "The Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal and Mount Everest" is a 4-night expedition centering on Mumbai and Kathmandu. It includes flightseeing over Mt Everest and visits to Bhadgaon City, Bodhnath Stupa, Pashupatinath, Patan, visiting a Tibetan monastery, evening prayer ritual, and private audience at the Living Goddess.
  • "Taj Mahal: Eternal Masterpiece" is available with 2- and 3-night packages. Tour's highlights include visits to Agra Fort and Itmad-Ud-Daulah, Kathak dance performance (at the hotel in Agra).
  • "Luxury Safari: White Elephant Safari Lodge" is an overnight at White Elephant Lodge and features guided nature walks, 2 game drives, afternoon tea, sundowners, dusk birdwatching or Lake Jozini boat cruise.
  • "Luxury Safari: Belmond Eagle Island Lodge" in Okavango Delta offers game drives and wildlife viewing (hippos, elephants, crocodiles, big cats). The luxury lodge is included with 2 overnights, plus 2 overnights (in Johannesburg and Cape Town ).
  • "Glaciers, Lagoons, and Waterfalls" is an Iceland tour visiting Langjokull Glacier's ice cave, ice-walk at Solheimajokull, Hraunfoss and Barnafoss waterfalls, Deildartunguhver's hot springs, Blue Lagoon bathing. There is also a culinary tour of Reykjavik and overnights in Husafell and Stracta.
  • "Royal London and The English Countryside" combines historic London with England's countryside (Cotswolds, Burford, Bibury). The 3-night tour visits Tower of London, viewing of Crown Jewels along with Changing of the Guard and Thames River cruise.
  • "Rome and Tivoli Treasures" is a 3-night tour in Rome, plus an insider tour with private access to Vatican Museum and St Peter’s Basilica, plus Tivoli and Villa D'Este.
  • "Canadian Rockies by Rocky Mountaineer" are exclusive tours of Sulphur Mountain, Banff, and Vancouver . Rocky Mountaineer is the world's largest private train. Along the way, Oceania cruise tourists enjoy Silver Leaf Service with gourmet meals and snacks.

Oceania Cruises to Cuba

In December 2016, the company's owner NCLH (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings) received permission to operate cruises to Cuba, with two Oceania ships - Marina (starting at the end of 2016) and Regatta (starting in 2017). Cuba currently lacks the infrastructure to support large cruise ships, so the 684-passenger Regatta and 1,258-passenger Marina are small enough to work with what exists there now. Both ships sail a variety of itineraries, including a circumnavigation of Cuba (with stops in Cienfuegos and Havana) and visiting Cuba as part of some Panama Canal transition cruises .

The company offers a number of departures from PortMiami in 2019, including the “Timeless Cuba” itinerary, sailing 7 days with visits to Havana, Santiago de Cuba, and Cienfuegos. A twice-offered 10-day cruise adds a visit to Great Stirrup Cay.

The list of passenger shipping lines offering cruises to Cuba included:

  • Carnival Paradise leaving from Tampa Florida - cheapest prices (from USD 480 pp)
  • Royal Caribbean (ship Empress of the Seas , leaving from Miami Florida)
  • Holland America (ship Veendam ) leaving from Fort Lauderdale since December 2017
  • NCL (ship Norwegian Sky , 4-day itineraries with Havana overnights - starting May 2017.
  • MSC Cruises (ship MSC Opera , leaving from Havana)
  • Azamara Cruises (ship on Azamara Quest from Miami)
  • Thomson UK / Marella Cruises (ship Marella Dream ) 7-day, leaving roundtrip from Jamaica (Montego Bay) to Havana
  • Ponant Cruises (superyacht Le Ponant , leaving from Miami Florida)
  • Pearl Seas Cruises (ship Pearl Mist , leaving from Fort Lauderdale Florida)
  • Lindblad Expeditions (chartered sailing ship MS Panorama II, leaving from Havana)
  • Celestyal Cruises (ship Celestyal Crystal , leaving from Havana and Montego Bay Jamaica)
  • Grand Circle Cruise Line (ship MV Clio / ex Tere Moana ) one-way from Miami to Havana, or the reverse from Havana to Miami (embarkation/disembarkation in port Cienfuegos ).
  • International Expeditions (leaving from Havana, charter flights out of Miami)
  • Victory Cruise Lines - MS Victory I - fly-cruises from Miami to Havana (homeport Cienfuegos /departures)

Note: According to the current Cuban law, US citizens of Cuban origin (born in Cuba) are not allowed to visit the island country (including on cruise ships). Regardless of their US citizenship status, Cuban-born Americans were denied booking on cruise itineraries visiting ports in Cuba. However, the situation changed in April 2016, after Carnival Corporation negotiated with the Cuban government to allow ships with Cuban-born passengers, as such US citizens are allowed to visit the country on USA-Cuba charter flights. The Carnival-fathom line started Miami to Cuba cruises in May 2016.

Alaska Airlines offers regular nonstop flights to Havana from Los Angeles (California USA). An 80-min ling JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale (Florida) to Havana costs less than USD 100. Previously, air travel from the USA to Cuba was thought charter flights only.

IMPORTANT: On June 4, 2019, the US Government announced new regulations (economic sanctions) that ended group travel to Cuba, including via US-homeported cruise liners, effective immediately. The ban relates to "private and corporate aircraft, cruise ships, sailboats, fishing boats, and other similar aircraft and vessels". The US travel restrictions impacted hundreds of pre-scheduled cruise itineraries, which were adjusted to no longer stop in Cuban seaports.

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The 5 best destinations you can visit on an Oceania Cruises ship

Gene Sloan

Among major cruise lines, Oceania Cruises is particularly known for its diverse array of itineraries.

Despite operating just seven ships, the upscale brand offers voyages in every corner of the world, from North America and Europe to Africa, Asia and Australia. Its vessels visit more than 450 different ports.

For more cruise guides, tips and news, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

Oceania has a particularly large footprint when it comes to Europe itineraries, with five or six of its seven ships spending at least parts of their spring, summer and fall in Europe in a typical year.

Oceania also typically deploys at least one of its vessels to Alaska in the summer.

In the winter, Oceania moves at least two of its vessels to the Caribbean (sometimes more) while basing one ship in Asia and one ship in South America. Yet another vessel will be sent on an around-the-world voyage during winter.

The line typically also offers one or two sailings each year out of Cape Town.

Among the line's voyages, there's everything from seven-night cruises in the Caribbean to 200-day globe-circling voyages. The company generally doesn't do very short sailings of just three or four nights, unlike mass-market lines.

Overwhelmed with the choices? Here are our picks for the five best Oceania cruise destinations.

Northern Europe

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Some of Oceania's most interesting itineraries are around the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea.

Each year from April through as late as October, the line sends at least two ships to the region (sometimes more) and offers itineraries ranging from just nine nights to a whopping 51 nights.

The voyages will take you to such Northern European countries as Germany, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, all in a single 10-night vacation. Or you could spend 10 nights visiting multiple ports in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Other voyages focus on Scotland and England.

Related: The ultimate guide to picking the right cruise line for you

Note that Oceania voyages in the Baltic traditionally have included a multinight stay in St. Petersburg, Russia, considered the highlight of any Baltic cruise. But in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Oceania pulled all St. Petersburg stops indefinitely. Whether St. Petersburg will return as a call on Baltic sailings in coming years will depend on whether there is a resolution to the conflict.

In the meantime, Oceania has cut back on Baltic sailings and changed up its port list for the Baltic sailings it has kept.

In Northern Europe, Oceania ships mostly sail out of Southampton, England; Amsterdam; Hamburg, Germany; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Copenhagen; and Oslo.

The Mediterranean

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Many of Oceania's most popular itineraries are in the Mediterranean, where it sometimes deploys as many as five ships during parts of the summer.

The Mediterranean trips typically range from about 10 nights to as many as 22 nights, though there occasionally are Mediterranean voyages as short as seven nights. They include voyages focused specifically on the Western Mediterranean or Eastern Mediterranean and some that include stops across both areas.

Typical of the latter is the line's 12-day "Mediterranean Splendors" routing, a one-way trip between Istanbul and Lisbon, Portugal, that brings stops in Turkey, Greece, Malta, Spain and Portugal.

More focused Mediterranean itineraries include the line's nine-day "Cultural Crossroads" voyages between Athens, Greece, and Civitavecchia, Italy (the port for Rome), which mostly concentrate on stops along the west coast of Turkey and the west coast of Italy.

In the Mediterranean, the line's main hubs are Barcelona; Monaco; Valletta, Malta; Civitavecchia and Venice, Italy; Piraeus (the port for Athens), Greece; and Istanbul.

Related: The best Mediterranean cruise for every type of traveler

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Oceania typically sends one of its seven ships to Asia every winter for Asia-focused sailings out of such cities as Bangkok, Singapore and Tokyo.

The line also typically sends a second ship on an around-the-world cruise that includes multiple segments in Asia, resulting in two of the line's ships sailing in Asia during the winter.

The vessels typically offer a relatively wide mix of itineraries, never staying in the same part of Asia for too many voyages in a row.

Asia itineraries that Oceania offers include 10-night voyages between Bangkok and Singapore with stops at Ko Samui, Thailand; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; and Nha Trang, Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City.

Related: The best cruise lines for elegance and exclusivity

The line also typically offers several 10-night "Japanese Immersion" sailings each winter out of Yokohama, Japan (the port for Tokyo), with stops at Nagoya, Kobe (for Kyoto), Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Kochi and Shimizu in Japan, as well as Busan, South Korea.

Longer Asia itineraries include 18-night "Spiritual Shrines" sailings from Bangkok to Tokyo that include calls in Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan.

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Oceania isn't a huge player in Caribbean cruises, unlike its sister company Norwegian Cruise Line . But it typically sends two vessels to Miami every winter to operate warm weather-focused getaways to well-known Caribbean ports. It also offers some Caribbean sailings from other regional ports, including Panama City, Panama.

Typically, Oceania's Caribbean sailings are either 10 or 12 nights, with a typical 10-night voyage featuring stops in St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Dominica, St. Barts, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

A few shorter, seven-night Caribbean itineraries are also available, with routings generally focusing on the Western Caribbean and bringing stops in Mexico, Belize and Honduras.

Among the line's most far-flung Caribbean itineraries for the coming year is a 12-night voyage out of Miami that brings visits to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, St. Barts, Dominica, Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia and Antigua.

South America

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Oceania typically bases just one ship in South America each year and only for about five months in the winter. However, it also often has a second ship visiting the region briefly as part of an around-the-world cruise.

As a result, the line typically offers around a dozen South America cruise departures in any given year out of such cities as Rio de Janeiro; Santiago, Chile; Buenos Aires; Lima, Peru; and Miami.

Many of Oceania's South America sailings are lengthy, with some extending for as many as 24 to 30 nights.

Among these longer sailings are 24-night trips between Lima and Buenos Aires that include a visit to Antarctica, as well as stops in Chile (including in the Chilean fjords), Argentina and Uruguay.

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Oceania Cruises

World’s leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line.

The Finest Cuisine at Sea®, Destination Specialists and Small & Luxurious Ships are the pillars that define Oceania Cruises’ five-star product, positioning the line as the cruise company of choice for travelers seeking a truly refined and casually elegant travel experience. Featuring a fleet of small, luxurious ships, Oceania Cruises offers a vacation experience renowned for its gourmet culinary program inspired by Master Chef Jacques Pépin and its array of destination-rich itineraries spanning the globe. Seasoned world travelers are drawn to Oceania Cruises’ diverse voyages, which call on more than 400 ports across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and the Americas.

Oceania Cruises at a Glance

Allura Class Ships on Order

Allura Class Ships on Order

Destinations visited globally.

Our seven small, luxurious ships allow you to sail to the far corners of the globe while always feeling like you’re coming home to family.

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2019 Best Dining

2019 best cuisine.

Travel Weekly Reader’s Choice Award

Virtuoso Travel award for Best Cuisine

2019 Best Ocean Cruise Line

USA Today Reader’s Choice

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Porthole Magazine Editor’s Choice

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A Cruise for the Senses

Voyages aboard Oceania Cruises invite you to discover your next travel story and reignite your passions. Experience faraway places that you have always dreamed of. Encounter new ways of looking at the world and travel to the far corners of the globe. Savor your experience with imaginative insider tours that immerse you in the heart of the destination’s culinary and cultural traditions.

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The 9 best northern lights alaska cruises for 2024 & beyond.

Consider one of these trips for a chance to see this mesmerizing natural wonder.

The Best Northern Lights Alaska Cruises

Northern lights over Alaska landscape.

Getty Images

There's no other experience on Earth quite like witnessing the northern lights. Also known as the aurora borealis, this spellbinding phenomenon – when brilliant hues of green, yellow and purple dance across the night sky – is visible in Alaska from late August to late April. Clear, dark evenings away from the ambient light of cities provide prime viewing opportunities.

Alaska is one of the best places in the world to see the aurora borealis – especially locations in the Interior and Arctic regions, such as Coldfoot, Wiseman, Utqiagvik (Barrow) and Nome. Fairbanks is regarded as a top location due to its position directly under the auroral oval, a ring-shaped area in the far north where aurora activity is generally concentrated. The Southcentral region of Alaska, where you'll find Anchorage, Talkeetna and the Mat-Su Valley, also offers basecamps for northern lights viewing.

If you're hoping to see the magic aboard an Alaska cruise in 2024 or 2025, then you just might be in luck. Experts predict the next few seasons will be particularly good for northern lights sightings, due to increased solar activity. While seeing the northern lights is never guaranteed, your best chance of seeing them is during these high-activity solar cycles, which occur about every 11 years.

Find your perfect cruise

When to take a cruise to view the northern lights

The Alaska cruise season falls between May and September, with a few cruise lines extending the season from April to October.

Holland America Line recommends booking a cruise or cruisetour (a combined sea and land package) during the autumnal equinox, or the official start of autumn, which falls around Sept. 22 in the Northern Hemisphere. Disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field are more likely around the autumn and spring equinoxes, which could increase your chances of seeing the aurora. For the best views, Holland America advises heading to higher ground in Anchorage , to vantage points like Glen Alps, the Knit River Valley and Point Woronzof.

Princess Cruises also suggests booking your vacation in the fall. September is an ideal month to watch for the spectacle in the sky as the nights start getting longer and darker. The elusive display is most likely to appear on crystal-clear evenings between midnight and 4 a.m. While you can see incredible light shows in Anchorage, consider an extended tour of Fairbanks or the Interior that takes you away from light pollution (such as to Denali National Park & Preserve).

U.S. News has compiled a list of the nine best cruises and cruisetours to give you the optimal chance of viewing these whimsical lights in the sky, with a focus on sailings around the autumnal equinox in 2024 and later dates in September 2025. We've also included an early sailing in April, before the end of the aurora season. (Keep in mind: Many of these trips and itineraries are also available on other dates during the season. Cruise fares were accurate at the time of publication.)

Holland America Line

Princess cruises, celebrity cruises, norwegian cruise line, royal caribbean international.

Man standing under the northern lights in Canada.

Thierry Guenez | Courtesy of Holland America Line

9-Day Denali: Tour D8l

This nine-day land and sea tour on Nieuw Amsterdam includes an opportunity to search for the northern lights in Fairbanks, one of the best places to see them in Alaska (and in the world). Holland America offers a four-hour aurora borealis viewing tour outside the city in a yurt; it operates between the last week of August and mid-September.

If you'd like more options, there's no shortage of tour operators in town that can take you on a northern lights adventure in Fairbanks. You can even fly into town early to stay in the wilderness in an igloo with clear views of the night sky at Borealis Basecamp, located less than 30 miles from Fairbanks. Be sure to notify your hotel that you'd like a wake-up call or a knock on the door if the northern lights are on display.

You'll have more opportunities to see the aurora when you head to Denali National Park & Preserve for a stay at Holland America 's exclusive 60-acre McKinley Chalet Resort, located near the entrance to the park. After a full day exploring the park by ATV or a bucket list flightseeing adventure over Denali, you'll have another chance to see the colorful light display in Alaska's wilderness after midnight. The rest of the cruisetour itinerary includes scenic cruising days, with one spent in beautiful Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve. You'll also call on Juneau , Skagway and Ketchikan before disembarking in Vancouver .

14-Day Denali: Tour D3c

This 14-day adventure includes scenic cruising of the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve and College Fjord, with stops in the ports of Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Whittier and Seward. You'll then have nearly a week on land in Anchorage, Denali National Park & Preserve and Fairbanks to go aurora hunting. If you spend an extra night or two in Fairbanks at the end of the trip, you'll be in town for the autumnal equinox, maximizing your northern lights viewing opportunities.

With the extra time in town, plan to book the Arctic Circle Air Adventure with Northern Alaska Tour Company. This unforgettable journey takes you on a flight over the Yukon River and Brooks Range, just east of the Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve. You'll then land 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle in the community of Coldfoot and receive an Arctic Circle Adventure Certificate before your return flight to Fairbanks.

7-Day Glacier Discovery Northbound

If you're interested in a cruise-only option and would prefer to arrange the land portion independently, consider this seven-day voyage on Nieuw Amsterdam. The itinerary includes three scenic cruising days, with one day in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, and calls on the ports of Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway before disembarking in Whittier, which sits roughly 60 miles south of Anchorage.

From Whittier, there are many options to transfer to Anchorage (by rail or by road), including the iconic Glacier Discovery Train. Plan to stay a few evenings in Anchorage with a multiday guided aurora tour, or reserve a spot on an evening outing in search of the northern lights.

Princess Cruises ship in Skagway, Alaska.

Courtesy of Princess Cruises

11-Day Denali Explorer – Tour DA4

This 11-day cruisetour begins with a seven-night voyage embarking from Vancouver on Royal Princess or Sapphire Princess . The itinerary includes three sea days, two of which are dedicated to scenic cruising through Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve and College Fjord. You'll make stops in the coastal towns of Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Anchorage (Whittier) before disembarking to depart for the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge via the line's direct-to-the-wilderness rail service.

Spending three nights at the lodge – located just outside the entrance to the park – in mid-September will offer excellent opportunities for aurora viewing. Keep your fingers crossed for high solar activity and clear, dark skies. Throughout your trip, learn photography tips to capture the mesmerizing display through Princess' North to Alaska Program. After your stay in Denali, you'll take a motor coach to Anchorage and stay overnight in a hotel there to finish up your voyage.

10-Day On Your Own – Tour BBX

The 10-Day On Your Own cruisetour with Princess Cruises begins with three nights on land, including overnights in Fairbanks, the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. While at the Mt. McKinley resort, be sure to check out the lodge's treehouse. Designed by Pete Nelson of Animal Planet's "Treehouse Masters," this vantage point offers impressive views of Denali – the highest peak in North America at 20,310 feet above sea level.

Before heading off to bed, get an update on aurora activity from the tracker on your smartphone, especially if you have clear skies that night; the app My Aurora Forecast & Alerts has excellent reviews. Request a wake-up call to have the Princess lodge staff call your room if the dazzling bands of light begin to dance in the sky. The next day, after traveling to Whittier by motor coach, you'll embark on your cruise to Vancouver aboard Royal Princess or Sapphire Princess.

The voyage from Whittier includes three sea days for relaxing activities on board the ship, with two days of scenic cruising around Hubbard Glacier and in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve. During your time in Glacier Bay, park rangers will board the ship to offer commentary about this captivating wilderness area's pristine glaciers and abundant wildlife. Younger cruisers and teens will also appreciate learning about this spectacular place through the Junior Ranger program, which features interactive games, activities and presentations. (All cruise ships visiting the park participate in this program with the National Park Service.) Ports of call for the rest of the journey include Icy Strait Point or Skagway (depending on the cruise), then Juneau and Ketchikan. The voyage ends in Vancouver.

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Tips on Trips and Expert Picks

Travel tips, vacation ideas and more to make your next vacation stellar.

Balcony of the Celebrity Suite on the Celebrity Summit.

Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

The Great National Parks Expedition Cruisetour

Celebrity's pre-cruise national parks adventure takes guests on a wildlife viewing quest to destinations in the north and the Interior where you can watch for the aurora. The 12-night trip begins in Fairbanks with a free day to explore.

Consider a trip to the University of Alaska Museum of the North, which features exhibits on Arctic dinosaurs, diverse wildlife, Alaska Native cultures and 2,000 years of Alaska art. You could also visit the impressive collection of antique cars and clothing at the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, or take a walk with the reindeer into the woods at Running Reindeer Ranch. The second day in town includes a Riverboat Discovery ride and a tour of the city, as part of the cruisetour.

On the third day, you'll board the Wilderness Express (a glass-domed railcar) for the ride to Denali. Then, you'll embark on the Tundra Wilderness Tour in search of the park's grizzly bears, moose, Dall sheep and other wildlife. Be sure to put your name on the list before bedtime to get a wake-up call for aurora activity. You'll also have one evening in Anchorage, where you can arrange for a northern lights tour, and one night in Seward before setting sail on Celebrity Summit the next morning. Highlights of the voyage include cruising Hubbard Glacier and the Inside Passage as well as stopping in Juneau, Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan. You'll disembark in Vancouver.

The Norwegian Bliss on the water at sunset with mountains in the background.

Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

13-Day Denali Explorer – Pre-Cruise Cruisetour

Norwegian Cruise Line's six-day pre-cruise adventure begins with overnights in Fairbanks, Denali and Anchorage, where you'll have the best chances to view the northern lights. Other highlights for the first part of the trip include a deluxe dome car rail journey from Talkeetna to Anchorage on the Alaska Railroad and a private tour to an Iditarod sled dog musher's kennel. You'll also have plenty of time in Denali National Park to book a flightseeing tour, go whitewater rafting, or take a hike with a park ranger to look for bears, moose, Dall sheep, wolves and other local wildlife before starting your cruise in Seattle .

Norwegian Encore will call on Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchikan (Ward Cove) in Alaska. The Mill at Ward Cove near Ketchikan is a newly built cruise ship port that serves as a jumping-off point for outdoor activities in the Tongass National Forest, from hiking and biking to kayaking and sea cycling. You can even pick up souvenirs, grab a bite to eat and sample a cold Alaska brew at the mill. The cruise itinerary also includes one day at sea and a stop in Victoria, British Columbia, before you disembark in Seattle.

7-Night Alaska: Dawes Glacier, Juneau & Ketchikan

Consider this seven-day cruise on Norwegian Bliss if you prefer to travel early in the spring and take your chances at catching the northern lights toward the end of aurora season, which falls around April 21. This round-trip itinerary from Seattle is one of the earliest sailings of the year to visit the Great Land and features two sea days, with one day of scenic cruising in Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier. You'll also visit Sitka, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan (Ward Cove) and Victoria before disembarking in Seattle.

Juneau will offer one of the best opportunities during the cruise for seeing the northern lights, although chances are dependent on the weather and solar activity. There are several apps and websites with real-time updates for aurora tracking, including My Aurora Forecast & Alerts. If the skies are clear in the evening and the forecast looks promising, ask guest relations if there's a sign-up sheet to get a call or a knock on the door in the event of aurora activity.

Exterior of Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas.

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

12 Night Mountain Panorama Adventure Cruisetour 5B (Pre Tour)

This 12-night cruisetour with Royal Caribbean International begins with an overnight in Anchorage before boarding the Wilderness Express, where you'll have a glass-domed rail car for the journey to Talkeetna. The quirky community of Talkeetna is said to be the inspiration for the fictional Alaska town of Cicely in the 1990s show "Northern Exposure." It's also an excellent base for chasing the aurora – especially at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, where you'll be staying.

After an overnight at the lodge, your tour moves on to Denali, where you can search for wildlife by day and look for the aurora at night. Another evening on land at Hotel Alyeska in the remote town of Girdwood affords more opportunities to chase the finnicky lights before heading to Seward to board your ship, Radiance of the Seas .

Ports of call on this voyage include Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan. There are also two days of scenic cruising through Hubbard Glacier and the Inside Passage before disembarking in Vancouver. While there are plenty of activities, dining venues, bars and lounges on board to keep you entertained all night long, be sure to save up enough energy to wake up in the middle of the night should you get a call to see the magical natural wonder that is the northern lights.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Gwen Pratesi is a U.S. News & World Report contributor and an avid travel adventurer who fell in love with Alaska on her first visit to the state many years ago. She's returned several times both by land and sea to view wildlife and chase the northern lights in one of the best places on the planet to view them. She's even considered moving to The Great Land as a full-time resident. Pratesi used her deep knowledge of Alaska and the cruise industry to write this article.

You might also be interested in:

  • Alaska Cruise Packing List: Must-Have Items
  • The Best Alaska Cruise Lines
  • The Best Time to Cruise to Alaska
  • The Best Alaska Shore Excursions
  • How to See the Northern Lights in Iceland

Tags: Travel , Cruises , Alaska Vacations

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Bluff, New Zealand

Located on the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, Bluff is one of the oldest European settlements in New Zealand and is a gateway to Stewart Island and Invercargill, the capital of the Southland region. Bon vivants won’t want to miss the chance to sample deep-water Bluff oysters, grown in the cold waters of Foveaux Strait and recognized as some of the best in the world. Stewart Island is a natural paradise with 85% of the island designated a national park, while Invercargill charms visitors with Victorian, Edwardian and art deco architecture and several museums. Farther north, the Fiordland National Park is awe-inspiring with glass-like alpine lakes and spectacular fjords. Closer to port, Bluff Maritime Museum features exhibits on oystering, Bluff Harbour and local history.

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Castro (Chiloé Island), Chile

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Coron, Philippines

Situated in the northern region of the island province of Palawan – often billed as one of the best island destinations in the world – Coron is blessed with towering limestone karsts, gorgeous beaches and incredible coral reefs. You can explore old-growth rainforests, snorkel in picturesque lagoons and even dive World War II wrecks. Kayangan Lake offers sweeping views of limestone towers draped in lush vegetation, and visitors are welcome to swim and snorkel in the crystal-clear waters. You’ll quickly understand why this mountain lake is among the most photographed places in the Philippines. Just a short drive from the port, the mangrove-shrouded Maquinit Hot Springs is one of the few saltwater hot springs in the world and is the perfect location to take a restorative dip.

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Heimaey, Iceland

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Kingston (Port Royal), Jamaica

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Kumamoto (Yatsushiro), Japan

Located on the island of Kyushu, Kumamoto has long been one of the most influential cities in the region. The city is renowned for its castle, a beautiful samurai fortress that takes you on an intriguing 400-year historical journey. Those in need of a refreshing escape should head to Ueki Hot Springs, which has been inviting visitors to soak up the therapeutic benefits of its silky alkaline water since 1895. For a relaxing stroll, visit Suizenji Jojuen Park, which dates to the 1600s and features traditional Japanese gardens, shrines and a teahouse. Kumamoto happens to be a bit of a foodie city too. Try Kumamoto ramen, a local spin on the dish that features a creamier pork broth and is topped with fried garlic chips.

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Limerick (Shannon), Ireland

On the banks of the Shannon River, Shannon is an ideal gateway to the medieval castles, verdant landscapes and cities of western Ireland. Nearby, the cultural heritage and history of Limerick beckon. The 13th-century King John’s Castle; the iconic Milk Market, one of the oldest markets in Ireland; the 12th-century St. Mary’s Cathedral; and the picture-perfect village of Adare with its thatched cottages are all top choices. Walk the coastal pathways of the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, a UNESCO Global Geopark that also includes the fossil-rich limestone landscape of the Burren. The 15th-century Bunratty Castle, which offers beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, provides a fascinating look at how the lords and ladies of the era lived.

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São Francisco do Sul, Brazil

One of Brazil’s oldest towns, São Francisco do Sul was founded in the early 16th century and shows off its history in its cobblestone streets and colonial buildings, many of which are listed on the national historic registry. As you sail toward the island, enjoy some of the best views of the town, which showcase pastel homes with arched windows and elegant balconies, while the twin towers of the old church hover above the historic city center. Home to the only museum of boats in Brazil, the Old Town reveals the country’s seafaring history. Nearby are miles of beaches and coves where you can spend the day swimming and soaking in the sun.

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Seydisfjordur, Iceland

Squarely in the middle of the Eastfjords and literally located at the base of a long and narrow fjord, picturesque Seydisfjordur quickly makes an impression on visitors upon arrival. It’s at the heart of some of Iceland’s most unsung treasures. Waterfalls, mountains, fjords and peaceful hiking trails stretch out all around. Discover the local flora and fauna at Skalanes Nature Reserve, which is home to diverse wildlife such as reindeer, arctic foxes and more than 40 different species of birds, or soak in soothing geothermal waters at Vok Nature Baths. Seydisfjordur features ornate wooden architecture with a Scandinavian influence and boasts a flourishing arts scene too. You won’t want to miss two iconic photo opportunities – the quaint Blue Church and the Rainbow Road that leads there.

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Szczecin, Poland

Lively Szczecin, one of Poland’s largest cities and the capital of the West Pomerania region, has endured a colorful and multifaceted history that’s revealed in its architecture. Art nouveau mansions, ornate gothic-style buildings and baroque-style gates and fountains coexist with new glass and steel structures being erected such as the award-winning Szczecin Philharmonic Hall, which appears to glow with its innovatively lit glass façade. Szczecin’s Old Town is an excellent starting point – it’s full of cafés, bustling restaurants, and top attractions such as the Castle of the Pomeranian Dukes, the Waly Chrobrego elevated riverfront promenade and several museums. With parks aplenty, Szczecin is also known for being green and lush. The Jasne Blonia Square and neighboring Kasprowicz Park are the most popular, and the nearby Szmaragdowe Lake features an observation deck that offers lovely views of the Lower Oder River and Szczecin.

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Taranto, Italy

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Best of Moscow by high speed train

By shuguley , February 15, 2014 in Regent Seven Seas Cruises

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Sure would appreciate someone who has taken "Best of Moscow by high speed train" from St. Petersburg could please share their impressions of this shore excursion. From the description this sounds like a very long day.

Wondering how the 4 hour train trip was in terms of accommodations, etc. Also what time did you leave the ship and what time at night did you return? Were both legs of the trip on the high speed rail (I read that slower trains also travel the same tracks)?

My wife and I are considering this excursion. We thought that if we are making all the effort to go to Russia then how could we pass up going to Moscow, walking in Red Square, seeing St. Basil, etc.

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If you are considering this on the 2015 June Baltic cruise on Voyager; my suggestion is don't. There is so much to do in St. Petersburg and although a train is one of my favorite ways to travel the time would be far better spent in St. P.

Thanks for the advice. Yes, this would be on the Voyager during the 2015 season but not yet sure exactly which cruise.

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We did the Moscow excursion "on a different luxury line", but from your brief description it sounds very much like the same trip, so I will operate on that assumption. It is a VERY long day! We left the ship at 5:30 AM and returned at 12:30 AM. The highspeed train trip is comfortable, and while they call it "Business Class" it does not compare well to the equivalent class on say Rail Europe. When we did it in 2011, we did have highspeed both ways, and the trip back seemed much longer as the adrenaline and excitement had worn off!:D

Moscow itself is not that terribly different from any other big city in the world, but this Cold War kid never thought he would ever stand in Red Square, never mind walk the grounds of The Kremlin, or tour The Kremlin Palace, or see (but not visit) Lenin's Tomb, or visit The Armoury. But he did, and he loved every minute of it! Yes, it is a long day, and you barely scratch a scratch on the surface, but it is worth it. There is a tremendous amount to see in St. Petersburg, but every Baltic cruise goes to St. Petersburg, so you can go back if you choose to. Not every cruiseline offers you the chance to see Moscow.


I have not personally done this tour, but our last time in St Petersburg, the private guide that we hired for a day was leading the regent tour to Moscow on the high speed train the next day. He said it was way better than the previous alternative, which was flying to Moscow and back. He said that you actually got to Moscow faster because you didn't have to deal with airline checkin etc. it did seem like a very long day to me, and there is so much to see and do in st. Petersburg that I didn't consider doing it.



We toured to Moscow from St. Petersburg via the hi-speed SAPSAN train last September, from a Baltic cruise on the Oceania Marina. You need to have a two-night, three day port call in St. Petersburg to take this tour because the tour typically leaves the ship around 5:00 - 5:30 AM and doesn't return until after midnight the next day. We didn't take the ship's tour; we made private arrangements with TravelAllRussia for three days of touring, the first and third days in St. Petersburg and the second day the tour to Moscow by train. Our cost for the private tour for three days was about the same as what the ship charged for the excursion to Moscow alone. There are a number of private tour agencies that operate in St. Petersburg and offer the Moscow train tours; we would strongly recommend them over the ship's tours.

All three days had private guides with car and driver. The second day, the driver picked us up at the ship and took us to the train, but we were alone on the train, and met in Moscow by the guide on the station platform. After our tour and dinner, we were brought back to the train and after the return train trip met by the driver and taken back to the ship. Because you are alone on the train you must have your own Russian visas.

If this is your first visit to St. Petersburg, I would agree there is much more to see there. We found Moscow somewhat a disappointment, particularly Red Square. The Kremlin and the cathedral in Red Square were also worth seeing. But the best thing we saw was the Moscow subway! I worked for the Washington Metro system back in the 1980s as it grew from 40 to 80 miles and although I was in the computer area, I learned a lot about the challenges of running a subway system. We used the Moscow system to get across the city from where we had dinner to the train station, and I was amazed at the cleanliness', speed of operation, the short headways maintained, and the courtesy of everyone involved. A very impressive experience!

We had been to St. Petersburg before, and so had the time to take a day and go to Moscow. Also, I really like trains, and the SAPSAN is a German train set running on Russian rails. Seats are like first class domestic air, spacious but not too plush or comfortable, but with enough room. Not too much recline, and almost 8 hours on the train in two shots is a lot for an old man. They come through and sell drinks, candy, etc. but the sellers don't speak English and no one around us helped, so we had just poor coffee once coming, and brought stuff with us for the trip back. Not too much to see from the train either, particularly on the return when it is night the whole way.

If you decide to go, take a private tour and avoid the overly expensive ship's tour. I'm glad we did it, but wouldn't bother to repeat the tour; we've seen Moscow.

Thanks so much to all of you for the thorough and thought insight. Yhe information you have provided is most helpful.

countflorida: Your detailed post is very helpful. We are not quite ready for a Baltic cruise but should do so within a year. Time enough to do our pre travel research, bookings and visa gathering.:) Thank you!

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Sure would appreciate someone who has taken "Best of Moscow by high speed train" from St. Petersburg could please share their impressions of this shore excursion. From the description this sounds like a very long day.   Wondering how the 4 hour train trip was in terms of accommodations, etc. Also what time did you leave the ship and what time at night did you return? Were both legs of the trip on the high speed rail (I read that slower trains also travel the same tracks)?   My wife and I are considering this excursion. We thought that if we are making all the effort to go to Russia then how could we pass up going to Moscow, walking in Red Square, seeing St. Basil, etc.

I did this on Seabourn. IMO DONT. Take Aeroflop (er Aeroflot). The train has non folding seats where you are literally knee to knee with your fellow passenger (facing each other). Further they don't believe in air conditioning. It's also the worlds slowed bullet train. I think I would have found more enjoyment wandering around the St. Petersburg and Moscow airports.


This is a little off topic,, however we had planned a river cruise in Russia but decided we would rather stay on land and have booked about two weeks with Travel-All-Russia using the private guide and driver. I'm curious as to how you found them as a tour company.

The guides they provided were fine. We had a different guide each of the days in St. Petersburg, but both were flexible, pleasant, knowledgeable and spoke English very well, as did the guide in Moscow, incidentally. She was a bit aloof, distant, not too friendly, but otherwise fine. In fact, she was the one who suggested taking the Metro, which unexpectedly became one of the highlights of the Moscow excursion. If I have a complaint with AllTravelRussia, it is with their plan and its execution (more later).

I had requested emphasis on World War II (in Russia, the Great Patriotic War) sites and info. In scheduling us, they weren't careful about dates and a couple of the sites we wanted to see were scheduled on the third day, after we'd been to Moscow. But both sites were closed that day of the week, and that info was readily available, right on web sites describing them. Also, the included meals (lunches in St. Pete, dinner in Moscow) were not what we asked for: light meals with some choices, so we could avoid things we didn't like and choose things we did like. My request was ignored; we were given full Russian meals with a fixed menu, no choice. On the first day, a fish dish was the entre, but I am allergic to fish. Fortunately, I had the e-mail I'd sent with me and showed it to the guide, and she was able to change my entre to chicken, which was very good actually. But we didn't want a 3-4 course lunches or dinner (in Moscow). We had the guide drop the lunch the third day, although we never got any credit or refund. But, particularly in contrast to the ship's tours, the prices were so reasonable we didn't worry too much about it.

The people who were on the ship's tour to Moscow saw us boarding the same train for which they were forced to queue up and wait on the way back, and asked us what we had done. I was candid and open so they were not happy when I explained what we had arranged and particularly what it had cost. Also, when we returned to the ship, we found they had laid on a late supper for those who had gone to Moscow, so up we went and had something. Well, it turns out the late supper was supposed to be just for those on the ship's tour, but we and others on 'independent' tours, there were a dozen or more of us, crashed the party, actually got there first, and they didn't realize it until the larger group arrived and there weren't enough tables/places set. By that time, the 'independents' had all gotten served and were eating; what could they do?

A couple from the larger group sat down with us and asked us about our tour, and they were the ones I told about our arrangement and its cost. They turned to others who’d been with them and announced the details, loudly enough so the whole room heard, which started a lot of bitching and complaining. I gathered they weren't very happy with the ship's tour to begin with, and this was the straw that broke the camel's back. We finished up and beat it out of there, but overheard later that one of the excursion staff came to check on something and ran into a real mess. I caught a cold on the trip, which forced me to bed the second day following in Tallinn, so by the time we reappeared we heard about the contretemps' but apparently no one recalled who started it, thankfully.

Because of what happened to us, I would probably not use AllTravelRussia if I were to go again, or if I did, I would be sure to get confirmation of every detail of the tour. They do have good reviews generally, and we were certainly helped by their visa department and liked the guides and drivers. Their weakness, I say now with full 20:20 hindsight, is that once the sales person who plans the tour, sells it to you and collects your money, he (or she) transfers the plan to their Russia office for implementation; there is no follow-up to make sure it gets done right. And that is where our problems arose; we paid for a custom tour but got a standard package with a few destinations switched, and no one checked them out, even to see when they were open the day we were scheduled to go. If you check every detail that’s important to you, it should be OK, but that’s a hell of a way to have to do business, in my opinion.

Thank you for the 20/20 hindsight observation on your Russian tour operator, and better priced than the ship's excursion cost.

Thanks very much for the feedback.

We had the same experience as you so far as price. We originally booked a Viking Cruise but, hearing some things about the river cruises that made us unhappy, looked into other options. T-A-R cost the same or less than a cruise and had us in hotels for 11 days. We opted for the private tour. They have three tour levels, based on hotels. We originally opted for the four star as it did not cost much more than the three star hotels. Finally we decided to throw it all in and upgraded to five star. In Moscow we will be at the newly opened Kempinsky which is two blocks from Red Square. In St. Petersburg it is the Grand Hotel Europe, one of the most vaunted luxury hotels in Russia. Location is important for us as the tours use up only part of the day so being in the center of everything for our independent touring is important. As with many other cities, the less you pay, the farther out of the center of town you are.

We have been working with our salesman in D.C. and he seems to get back to us with the changes we want. He recently returned from Russia so is up on everything. When I asked they said they paid the full TA commission if I wanted so I got my usual TA on board so he is watching our back and giving us that extra level of comfort. He also set up our air, which I know pays him little or nothing, and got us business class for much less than T-A-R wanted for economy, though it took working for a while with a consolidator. He's happy to get his 10 percent on this trip without having booked it. He also took care of the trip insurance. We've been doing a lot of research on the CC sister site Trip Advisor and will write a report there. We will, I guess, become a source of info for CC members after having spent 5 days in Moscow and 6 in SP.

  • 4 months later...



Anybody considering a day trip to Moscow from St. Petersburg on the Sapsan may want to look at our travelogue filled with pictures.



Very informative. Thanks dor sharing. Jeff

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Alaska Rocky Mountaineer Land Program

Land Programs

Our Alaska Pre- and Post-Cruise Land Programs invite you to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty and stunning natural wonders of this region. These multi-day, in-depth Land Programs include exclusive tours , premium hotel stays, airport transfers when arriving and departing the day your program begins and ends, and oftentimes locally inspired meals and porterage too.

Alaska Land Programs

Canadian Rockies by Rocky Mountaineer

Rocky Mountaineer: Wonders of the West

Travel through the Canadian Rockies in luxury aboard the Rocky Mountaineer while gazing at the majestic wilderness through the train’s oversized glass-dome windows. Natural beauty and engineering feats like the Spiral Tunnels serve as a prelude to the adventures ahead. Journey across Athabasca glacier in an Ice Explorer. Zip to the summit of Sulphur Mountain in a gondola. And marvel at the stunning turquoise waters of glacier-fed Lake Louise, while eye-opening tours of Banff and Calgary add an unexpected urban flair.

  • Meet and greet at Calgary Airport
  • Shuttle transfer from Calgary airport to Calgary hotel
  • One night in Calgary at the Fairmont Palliser or similar
  • Two nights in Banff at the Moose Hotel & Suites or similar
  • One night in Kamloops at a three-star hotel
  • One night in Vancouver at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver Hotel or similar
  • Breakfast each morning
  • Shared transfers to or from the stations in Banff, Kamloops and Vancouver
  • Two days on the award-winning Rocky Mountaineer with breakfast, lunch, snacks and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks included – GoldLeaf Service
  • Gratuities for the onboard train hosts
  • Oceania Cruises private group tours of Banff and Lake Louise including Banff Gondola with driver-guide
  • Visit to the Calgary Heritage Park, including cowboy lunch
  • Icefields Experience with Ice Explorer ride and buffet lunch
  • A dedicated professional tour director for the entire journey
  • Coach transfer between Vancouver and Seattle for embarkation


Discover Denali

It’s one show-stopping vista after another as you travel by domed railcar and on scenic byways through the iconic wilds of Alaska. North America’s highest peak lords over its namesake Denali National Park, the first created specifically to protect wildlife. What a success as grizzlies, caribou and Dall sheep thrive in this natural wonderland. See glacial-fed rivers, watch an Alaskan native presentation on the history of the land and see the original ranger’s cabin, once the only outpost in the 6-million-acre park.

  • Two nights at the Marriott Hotel Anchorage or similar
  • One night at the Denali Park Village or similar
  • Denali Natural History Tour in Denali National Park
  • One reception and lecture on Denali
  • Deluxe Dome Rail tour
  • Tours and sightseeing as per the program
  • Full breakfast daily
  • Fully escorted
  • Survival pack for each tour room
  • Luggage handling and all associated gratuities
  • Airport transfers as applicable
  • Economy class flight from Anchorage to Seattle

Alaska Explorer Youth Program

For guests who travel with children, this program offers the opportunity for everyone to experience the excitement of exploring the Northwest Coast and Alaska in a meaningful, enriching way. Designed for children between 5 and 12 years of age, the program is supervised by experienced and enthusiastic youth counselors and features interactive and culturally focused games and activities.

Today’s Featured Alaska Cruises

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From the Oceania Cruises Blog

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