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CruiseCompete Currents
Cruise News and Information
November 4, 2013

Oceania Cruises, the Reviews & the Art of Their Offerings,
A Day Trip to Sandals on St. Lucia, How to Finance Your Next Cruise,
and A Guide on What to Expect from the Luxury Cruise Lines’ Wine Lists

How to Finance Your Cruise—Without Interest
Research tells us that vacations are essential for unwinding and de-stressing from the grind of daily life. It also suggests that those who vacation regularly come back to work invigorated, with more creativity and new ideas. Without a doubt, taking a vacation is a good idea, and cruises provide a fantastic value for your vacation. More………………

All about Oceania
Formed in 2002, Oceania Cruises is the world’s largest upper premium cruise line. The finest cuisine at sea, award-winning itineraries and outstanding value define Oceania Cruises’ five-star product and have positioned the company as the cruise line of choice for travelers seeking a truly refined and casually elegant travel experience. Five intimate and luxurious ships allow guests to explore the world in the unequaled style and comfort. More…

Read Review about the Lovely Insignia, Marina, Nautica, Regatta & Riviera
Oceania Reviews may be found here:

Voyages offered:

Looking for access to deck plans for various ships? We have them for you to view.

Click on browse ships here:

Click on the ship of interest for instance Oceania Riviera

And from there you will see specials, shore excursions, reviews and deck plans.

To See Fabulous Deals on Oceania Cruises:
Enjoy 2 for 1 Cruise Fares, FREE Airfare, Early Booking Savings up to $5,000, FREE Pre-Paid Gratuities, FREE Unlimited Internet Package, Business Class Air Upgrade from $799 plus up to$1,500 Shipboard Credit

Wonder about the amenities offered on the various ships? We have the most comprehensive chart detailing what is included with each line:

Dining Options
There are so many dining options on all of the cruise lines, from steak houses to sushi, to BBQ, to Mongolian, to seafood, burgers and pizza. And so many different ways to enjoy those deliquesces from all over the world, mouthwatering buffets, cabin service, fine dining, casual dining,

See the dining options here

Oceania Cruises unveiled its new 2014 curriculum for the Bon Appétit Culinary Center onboard the Marina and Riviera.
More than 20 different classes are offered, ranging from regional cuisines to secrets of homemade pasta, with each session expanding guests’ knowledge and appreciation of local flavors. The multi-million-dollar, ground-breaking culinary centers feature individual work stations with induction.

Oceania’s Alcohol beverage policies:

About Oceania’s Weddings at Sea or Vow Renewals at Sea:

Shore excursion of the week
Exclusive St. Lucia Sandals Resort Day Pass
Take a break from cruising to experience pleasure and comfort at the World’s Leading All-Inclusive (adult only) Resort; filled with amazing St. Lucian cuisine and fantastic non-motorized watersport activities, Sandals offers the best St. Lucia experience.

You will first journey to a Sandals resort located just 15-30 minutes from the Point Seraphine or Le Place Carenage cruise ship pier. There you will be greeted by the warm smiles of the friendliest people in the world who will provide you with a brief tour, highlighting all the included amenities you may enjoy this day. The only question you will be asking yourself is where to start!

You will have at your disposal water activities that include kayaking, Hobie Kats, snorkeling, tennis, and wind surfing --just to name a few, as well as beach chairs. Like any resort, all equipment, gear, chairs are on a first come basis. (Scuba may be available at an extra charge). Later on you can head to one of the many bars where you can sample St. Lucia’s world renowned rum or any other concoctions the bartenders have up their sleeves. All bars serve rum, gin, vodka, bourbon, frozen beverages --just to name a few. Once your thirst has been quenched you will be able to sample any of the restaurants that are open. If you cannot wait you will be able to indulge in all the offerings the grill can provide. At the grill you will be able to enjoy hamburgers, BLT’s, jerk chicken, jerk pork, or any special running on that day.

Your day will be filled with amazing activities; you can begin by resting on the beach or taking a Hobie Kat out into the beautiful Caribbean Sea --the choice is yours. You will soon realize why Sandals Resorts have been voted one of the best in the world in service and quality inclusions! Come and experience pleasure and comfort in a way that only Sandals St. Lucia can offer.

Use of equipment or sign up for optional tours is on a first come basis. Please check availability upon arrival to avoid disappointment.

Shore excursions by ship
Find out which excursions are available for your next cruise. Here you will find them by ship.

Shore excursions by port of call
Just enter a port of call to see what shore excursions are available there.

The newest ships
What’s in store for new ships? We listed them just for you.

Cruise diaries
Our writers have vast experience with cruising and land travel. Take a look at their latest diaries.

Wine Offerings and the Luxury Lines - CruiseCompete’ s Guide on What to Expect from the Luxury Cruise Lines’ Wine Lists: Crystal Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club, SilverSea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Seabourn Cruise Line

(Bob Ecker, a well-known Napa, California based travel/wine writer and wine judge examined the wines presented aboard popular, luxury All Inclusive Cruises. Here is his detailed report.)

All inclusive luxury cruises are about enjoying the very best of cruising without worrying about extra fees, bills and tips. Luxury cruise lines really do try and please their cruisers and typically the all-inclusives offer top notch cuisine, a good variety of dining options, entertainment, educational opportunities, gorgeous presentations and stellar service.
(Want to know more about the alcohol policies on all the cruise lines? Please click here. For detailed information about the cruise lines’ included amenities, please visit

But what about wine?
Are all inclusive complimentary wines adequate, good or even superb? Are there enough choices for the luxury traveler? Since the price of a bottle of wine can vary greatly, do the all inclusive cruisers get what they expect when it comes to wine?

Here is what is actually offered and some suggestions on how to enjoy the best wines onboard.
First of all, cruisers must realize that although their cost for an upscale all inclusive cruise may be expensive, the lines still do have to be cost conscious in what they provide. The free caviar at the Sunday brunch isn’t cheap and neither is the fine champagne offered in your room, such as that fabulous bottle of Cuvee Louise by Pommery in a Silversea suite. Both the quality and quantity are factors that the cruise lines consider. For instance, for every person who enjoys a two glasses of complimentary wine at dinner, there are probably others who are enjoying eight to ten glasses per day. When it comes to paying as you go as on standard cruises, this isn’t a problem yet since the all inclusives have to plan ahead and wine can be a wild card. So like many businesses, cruise lines look for value in presenting excellent wines while keeping their costs down. This might translate into purchasing lesser known bottles from smaller, yet-in-the-know, wine regions. For instance, famous Bordeaux might be nice, but a ship alternatively may provide a hearty red blend wine from France’s Languadoc region. Instead of a high-priced Napa Cabernet, one might enjoy a fine complementary wine from California’s Livermore Valley. There might be surprises, like wines from Lebanon, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Canada, Uruguay and even Long Island. Be adventurous – after all if you don’t like it, try another. It’s free. Never really tried rosé wines? How about the eminently delectable Domaine Mas Neuf Rosé, from Compagnie du Ponant's wine selection. A fine rose wine is well suited to a gorgeous day by the pool at sea.

Crystal Cruises usually has about 20 complimentary wines on any given sailing. The overriding philosophy is to offer good quality and variety, with a nod to regional producers where possible. The Tête de Cuvée Domaine Laroche is a classic lovely Chardonnay offered on all Crystal vessels.

Next, find out what is available. Each specialty restaurant, along with the main dining room will be tailoring wines toward the cuisine being served; i.e., French, Italian, Asian or Steak house. Seadream Yacht Club’s complimentary wines have been selected at tastings. The wines represent a selection of old and new world varieties and are selected for their taste and quality. The wines do vary according to voyage regions and availability. Chefs and sommeliers will attempt to create successful food-wine matches but keep in mind that, as a guest, you can try and select any of the all inclusive wines served anywhere onboard. You may have to wait a bit, as they source the bottle from elsewhere, but it is important to know that if you don’t care for one or more of the wines there are plenty of other choices.

Wish for something different? You just have to ask.

The restaurants and bars onboard do have a pre-chosen selection of wines and would prefer that most cruisers follow their well thought out suggestions. Remember, if the offering doesn’t suit one’s taste, they will find a wine on the all inclusive list for you, guaranteed.

Silversea Cruises offers the excellent Banfi Centine, a Super Tuscan (Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend); a medium bodied fruity wine with lasting finish that goes well with pasta and other dishes at La Tirazza, the Italian Restaurant. Onboard sommeliers are an excellent resource to find out about the wines on the all inclusive list. Ask about the wine’s region, style and body. Is it a blend, if so, of what? Your waiter, sommelier or friendly bartender will be happy to help.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises carries over 40 wines on their collective all inclusive lists so cruisers will definitely find wines to their liking. One to seek out on Regent’s list is the Estancia Reserve Pinot Noir, from California’s Santa Lucia Highlands. It’s a sumptuous and well balanced new world style Pinot that will pair very well with varied types of cuisine.

What about wines for a special occasion? You might want to spring for an expensive, exclusive or rare find. Here the ships have you covered, as they all carry scores and in some cases hundreds of exclusive wines, champagnes and premium spirits. This list is often called Connoisseurs list, a La Carte, Premium or similar. These lists will include some very expensive wines, but not all. Actually the prices charged for higher-end wines on most vessels are quite reasonable and in many cases less than those charged in a top-flight land-based restaurant. Again, ask your sommelier for suggestions. However on these voyages it is estimated that less than 20% of passengers opt for these wines and the all inclusive lists can be as satisfying. Save your extra money for a first class flight.

Ships may also be collecting and offering wines from the regions they are visiting.
Seabourn Cruise Line also offers a selection of wines with limited production. In addition, on sailings where Seabourn visits popular wine-producing regions, they feature wines from those areas, such as and including Australia, New Zealand, France and more. Special wine tastings, local wine programs and wine dinners are frequently featured (for an added fee) on these types of cruises.

What about bringing your own special bottle from home aboard? Most ships do let you bring special bottles aboard without a corkage fee and will even arrange for special storage if desired. Bring one if you like. Conversely if you’ve loved a wine sampled aboard, definitely ask your sommelier or even your butler for information about procuring that wine back home. It will not always be available.

All in all the all inclusive luxury cruises offer cruisers an excellent way to enjoy wines with meals, on your own, in your cabin or with newfound friends onboard. Take a little time and tasting through them all, or at least the ones of interest. Better yet, gather up a few new friends and make it a wine tasting party.

(Want to know more about the alcohol policies on all the cruise lines? Please click here. For detailed information about the cruise lines’ included amenities, please visit

For more information on cruise deals, visit the CruiseCompete blog at

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