The brainchild of cruise industry veterans Frank Del Rio and Joe Watters, the two former heads of Renaissance Cruises and Crystal Cruises, respectively, Miami-based Oceania Cruises emphasizes a destination-intensive floating-hotel experience with top-notch food and superior service.
In February 2011, the line's first new-build, Marina, was christened, and a nearly identical sibling, Riviera, debuted in May 2012. Holding myriad original artworks, as well as the Bon Appetit Culinary Center and mega-chef Jacques Pepin's first namesake restaurant, the vessel sets an even higher standard for the line.
The company in 2014 spent more than $50 million to refurbish acquired late-1990's vessels, and it shows. Public rooms, including restaurants, are graceful and elegant. The redone pool area is surfaced in teak and framed by gorgeous mosaics, and it boasts teak furnishings that include fabulous double sunbeds. Cabins have been tweaked and feature more comfortable bed linens and some of the most comfortable mattresses at sea.
In 2007, Oceania was acquired by New York-based Apollo Management, L.P., an investment company that specializes in private equity, debt and capital markets. Quickly following the acquisition, the line placed orders with Italy's Fincantieri shipyard for its first new-builds, a pair of 1,258-passenger vessels -- the aforementioned Marina and Riviera.
Overall, Oceania has managed to create what we call a luxury lite experience, defined as offering luxury-level food and service with fewer inclusions (such as liquor, shore tours and pre-cruise hotel stays) in its base fares.