By Gayle Keck
Cruise Critic Contributor
3.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Regatta Entertainment & Activities

Shore Excursions

None of Regatta’s shore excursions are included in the fare -- and they tend to be overpriced compared with other lines and independent tour operators. One plus is the ship offers a number of tour packages meant to provide cost savings to those who book several tours. The OLife booking option also includes an option for a shore excursions package.

Excursions range from bus tours and destination overviews to specialized options, like biking, nature or food tours. Pricier small-group options, such as flight-seeing tours are also available on some itineraries. We liked that there were often several different departure-time options for the larger group tours.

Daytime and Evening Entertainment

Regatta isn't a ship for the party crowd -- or for those looking for big, flashy production shows. If you're a card player, needlepointer, golf putter or bingo aficionado, you'll find plenty of kindred spirits attending scheduled daytime get-togethers for these activities onboard. Evening entertainment highlights tend to be individual guest performers or an intimate gathering listening to Gershwin tunes in the piano bar. And, while plenty of bridge players are cutting cards in the daytime, few passengers are cutting the rug in the evening.

Regatta's main entertainment venue is the Regatta Lounge, on Deck 5. Nighttime shows usually kick off at 9:30 p.m., with one performance per night. On our cruise, there were several production shows featuring a cast of four singers and two dancers, as well as two guest performers who did solo shows -- a female singer with great pipes and fun patter, and a male singer-guitarist who had a Vegas lounge-style act. We enjoyed both guest performers, but the production singers had some weak moments -- though they were troupers to go on in rough seas. On one occasion, the cruise director brought a local comedian/singer onboard for early evening entertainment.

The hard-working show band plays for Regatta Lounge performances and also provides pre-dinner and late-night music on some nights. In addition, there’s a piano lounge (Martinis) with evening music and sing-alongs, as well as a string quartet that performs for afternoon tea and other occasions. There are themed nighttime dance parties (“Mama Mia and the Movies,” “Motown,” “70s”), plus late-night dancing to a DJ iPad jukebox -- though Regatta’s passengers aren’t typically late-night party animals.

The Regatta Lounge is home to popular daytime bingo games and demonstrations by the ship’s executive chef and Italian chef, who put on a great, bantering show, each creating several dishes; recipes are provided on handouts. Other indoor daytime activities include needlepoint-and-chat sessions; wine, single-malt Scotch or martini tastings (fee charged); team trivia; dancing lessons; and a daily quiz. On some cruises, there is a bridge host onboard, so lessons are available. There is also a card room, and specialty restaurants are used for overflow bridge players. Outdoor activities include putting, shuffleboard, beanbag toss and Ping-Pong tournaments. These tournaments and trivia contests provide the opportunity to earn Big O Points, which can be exchanged for Oceania merchandise at the end of the cruise.

The smoke-free casino, located on Deck 5, adjacent to Martinis Lounge, is open in international waters, with 36 slots (including poker and multigame machines), three blackjack tables, one roulette table and one poker table. It hosts blackjack, slots and Texas Hold’em tournaments.

Enrichment

We have attended some of the most fascinating lectures at sea aboard Oceania ships. Although our most recent cruise (an Alaska itinerary) carried only one lecturer, he was endlessly fascinating, and delivered eight talks during the 10-night cruise.

Destination staff also provide shore briefings combined with shore excursion information. There is generally good port information provided with the daily briefing and handouts.

Boutique staff offer daytime lectures on jewelry and gems, while spa staff lecture on various health issues and treatments. As on most ships, these lectures are as much sales pitch as they are informational.

Regatta Bars and Lounges

Regatta offers bars and lounges throughout the ship; most have a country-club ambiance. If you're looking for hip, late-night party venues, you're probably on the wrong ship. There are two-for-one happy hours nightly from 5 to 6 p.m. in Horizons and Martinis, as well as a late-night happy hour from 10:30 to 11:30 p.m. in Horizons. Both wine-by-the bottle, limited and unlimited beverage packages are available. Tip: You are allowed to bring up to three bottles of wine aboard at embarkation, to be consumed in your stateroom only.

Reception Lounge (Deck 4): The little-used seating area adjacent to Reception offers a quiet and little-used lounge area with sofas, tables and chairs. Some tables have backgammon board tops.

Baristas and the Grand Bar (Deck 5): Just outside the Grand Dining Room, this corner space resembles a classy den. It offers a menu of espresso drinks and boozy coffee concoctions during the daytime; during lunch and dinner, it also serves as a waiting area for the dining room. There is a curved, marble-topped bar, sofas and armchairs, plus a couple of round tables with leather club chairs and a faux fireplace. In the morning, you’ll find a selection of breakfast pastries here; in the afternoon, there are sandwiches, cookies and mini-desserts.

Martinis (Deck 5): This semi-circular bar straddles the casino and a seating area with wing chairs, sofas, a few tables and chairs, swag curtains and dark cabinetry, creating a country club atmosphere. A piano player entertains in the evenings. The bar menu features more than a dozen martinis, plus a choice of six gins and a dozen vodka brands. You can also order all the usual bar beverages.

Regatta Lounge (Deck 5): The site of Regatta’s main entertainment, this lounge has a gently raked floor, with seating mostly provided by bucket chairs, along with a few banquettes. Cocktail tables are spaced among the seating. At the rear of the room, a slightly raised area of seating surrounds the bar. The color scheme is golds and greys, with lovely panels of embossed leather lining the entranceway. During evening shows, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to find a seat if you arrive at the last minute.

Waves Bar (Deck 9): This five-stool bar serves the pool area and Waves Grill. Waiters materialize quickly when you’re seated in either space.

Horizons (Deck 10): This is the place for glorious wraparound views over the ship’s bow, port and starboard. It’s popular for happy hour and pre-dinner drinks, when there’s live musical entertainment, plus bar snacks and canapes. Decor is dark cherry woodwork, with chairs, sofas and banquettes in shades of blue and gray. There's also a small dance floor and bandstand, a bit oddly decorated with a video screen showing the ship's sailing route. Large blown-glass pieces add drama. Coffee, tea and a self-serve automatic espresso machine are available during opening hours, and this is also the venue for afternoon tea. Horizons is the designated spot for late-night dancing, but on nights we visited, dancers were rare to nonexistent. One corner of Horizons is a glassed-in smoking area.

Regatta Outside Recreation

Regatta’s pool is located on Deck 9. On either side of the blue-and-white mosaic-tiled pool area, there’s a raised hot tub; in one corner, there’s an open-air shower. Battalions of cushioned, terry-covered loungers face the pool -- some in sun and some in shade. There are also 14 double Balinese-style bed loungers, with striped, overstuffed cushions. These are in high demand on sunny sea days. Sofas, armchairs and a coffee table are tucked into one shaded corner of the pool deck. The forward starboard corner of the pool deck is a designated outdoor smoking area.

Lounge chairs are also available on Deck 10, forward, where two outdoor showers are available to cool off. You’ll find a nine-hole putting course (clubs provided) on this deck, as well as a shuffleboard court. A running/walking track loops around Deck 10, with 13 laps equal to 1 nautical mile (6,070 feet).

Regatta Services

Reception, the shore excursions desk and the concierge desk are located on Deck 4. An Oceania representative selling future cruises has a desk on Deck 5.

The library is a cozy refuge on Deck 10, with walls lined in lovely dark-wood cabinets filled with a fine selection of books. Picture windows on three sides let light flow in, while leather club chairs with footstools are the perfect spot to settle in with a good book. A faux fireplace and beautiful trompe l’oeil painting of a solarium roof on the recessed-ceiling complete the effect.

There are two boutiques on Deck 5; one sells sundries, costume jewelry, Ralph Lauren and Pia Rossini resort wear, and Oceania swag; the other features fine jewelry, watches and perfumes.

An elegant, wood-paneled card room with six tables can be found on Deck 9. When bridge hosts are onboard, play also takes place in the Toscana specialty restaurant.

Next to the card room is the equally elegant Oceania @ Sea internet center, with 11 flat-screen monitor computers. At certain posted times, an internet manager is on duty. A la carte internet and Wi-Fi usage is $.99 per minute; 200 anytime minutes are $160; both carry a $3.95 activation fee. An unlimited plan is $27.99 per person, per day. Printing is $.25 per page.

For $6.50 per newspaper per day, you can have a full-format daily newspaper printed and delivered to your cabin. You can choose among 1,790 newspapers from 94 countries.

A self-service laundry with four washers, four dryers and two ironing boards with irons is located on Deck 7. Tokens to operate the washers and dryers are sold at Reception. Tokens cost $2 each, and one is needed to operate a washer or dryer.

Laundry and dry-cleaning price lists and bags can be found in staterooms. Clothes picked up by 9 a.m. are returned by 7 p.m. the following evening. Same-day service is available for a 50 percent surcharge.

The Medical Center is located on Deck 4. Unlike on some ships, it is surrounded by passenger cabins. Call us hypochondriacs, but we couldn't help thinking that we wouldn't want a cabin in its vicinity. The front desk offers free seasickness tablets in the case of rough seas.

Regatta Spa & Fitness

The Canyon Ranch spa is located on Deck 9, and operates from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on sea days, with port-day hours extended to 9 p.m. It contains five treatment rooms (four for massage and one for skin care), and is staffed by four therapists. One nail technician and one hairdresser are housed in a separate salon space. Body care product lines include Ankara, Red Flower and Voya; hair care products include Wella and Keratase. The spa has a steam room that’s open to all; it also has a Thalassotherapy pool and sun deck, which is included with treatments, or for a $25 per person, per day pass. Concierge Level cabins and higher have free access to this area.

A variety of massages includes hot stone, lymphatic and Ayurvedic treatments. There are body buffs and wraps, as well as facials for both women and men. There are six types of manicures and eight pedicures, including one for men, and others using hot stones, warm paraffin and exfoliating hydroxy acids. Special, multi-treatment “rituals” focus on themes like “detoxifying,” “revitalizing” and “euphoria.”

Specials are offered on port days particularly later in a cruise.

The fitness center is adjacent to the spa on Deck 10. It’s open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., but staffed from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Equipment includes a rowing machine, two seated stationary bikes and two recumbent bikes, five treadmills, four elliptical machines and TechnoGym circuit machines. There’s also an assortment of free weights and weight benches. Many of the machines face windows, which makes for a pleasant workout. You’ll also find a fridge stocked with water and sports drinks -- and a scale, should you dare to weigh yourself after Regatta’s fabulous food.

Fitness classes (no charge) include morning stretch, Pilates, total tubes, walk a mile, energize your soles, get on the ball, buff booty, ABS express and yoga. A personal training session is available for a fee.

A running/walking track loops around Deck 10, with 13 laps equal to 1 nautical mile (6,070 feet).

Regatta For Kids

Regatta is not a particularly child-friendly ship, aside from the large number of cabins with sofa beds. Infants must be 1 year of age as of the first day of the cruise to sail on Regatta. Any passenger under the age of 18 must be accompanied by -- and occupy the same stateroom as -- an adult 18 years of age or older. Children under 12 are not allowed to operate elevators by themselves. You even need to be aware if you’re expecting: The ship will not accept passengers who will have entered their 24th week of pregnancy by the beginning of, or at any time during, a cruise.

The cruise line expressly states that it does not provide for the care, entertainment or supervision of children. An exception to this is the summertime Alaska Explorer Youth Program, offered only on Regatta. Cruise dates when the program is available are listed on the Oceania website. It accepts kids between ages 5 and 12, and the two onboard counselors (or more, if there is a large number of children on a cruise) lead games, activities and Alaska-inspired special events. The program meets in various places, including the card room, Toscana specialty restaurant and the screened-off forward starboard section of the Terrace Cafe.

Program participants are divided into two groups: ages 5 through 8 and ages 9 through 12. Activities include making pizza and cookies, backstage tours, kids’ karaoke, sports and competitions, scavenger hunts, youth trivia, bingo, movie nights, arts and crafts and more.

The program meets on sea days from 9:30 a.m. to noon; 2 to 5 p.m.; and 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. On port days, it meets 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; 3 to 5 p.m.; and 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Kids must be signed in and out by a parent or guardian.

There are 16 pairs of connecting cabins; and more than 100 cabins can accommodate one or two extra passengers on a sofa bed or pull-down bed (see Cabins section for details). Two to three cribs are available onboard Regatta, so it’s best to work with the line in advance to reserve one. The third and fourth passengers in a cabin are charged 50 percent of the cruise fare paid by the first and second passengers occupying the same cabin, but they may not be eligible for special offers.

Oceania Regatta Ship Stats

  • Crew: 400
  • Launched: 2003
  • Decks: 9
  • Passengers: 684
  • Registry: Marshall Islands
  • CDC Score: 89

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