Oceania sets the stage for growth

OCEANIA Cruises last month announced an order for its first ever newbuilds, with two 1200-passenger ships set to join the fleet in 2022 and 2025. The so-called “Allura-class” vessels will retain all the warmth, popular design elements and signature amenities of the existing fleet, promised Oceania President and CEO Bob Binder — who happened to be in Australia on the day that the fleet expansion was announced.

“This new class of ships will represent an evolution of the Oceania Cruises experience with all the elements our guests treasure — a warm, intimate, residential style, the most spacious standard staterooms afloat, amazing suites, and of course the finest cuisine at sea,” Binder told travelBulletin during an exclusive Sydney Harbour cruise with some of the line’s key Australian travel agents. Binder’s passion for food and wine is a strong driver of the Oceania product, which offers an astounding attention to culinary detail on all of the ships. Frank Del Rio, CEO of Oceania’s parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), said the Oceania orders reflected ongoing strong demand for “upscale culinary- and destination-focused cruise vacations around the globe”.

The expansion comes amid a major makeover project for the existing Oceania vessels, under the OceaniaNEXT program. Australians and New Zealanders will be among the first to see the fruits of this initiative, with the arrival this month of Insignia in local waters during her 2018/19 world cruise. OceaniaNEXT includes a bow-to-stern re-imagining of the four ships in the fleet, including all staterooms, restaurants and public areas. The next to undergo the refurbishment is Sirena this coming May, followed by Regatta in Sep and finally, Nautica in June 2020.

Ben Angell, NCLH VP Marketing Asia-Pacific; Bob Binder, Oceania Cruises CEO; Steve Odell, NCLH Senior VP Asia Pacific; and Steve McLaughlin, Oceania Cruises Head of Sales Asia Pacific.