Day 4: The pros and cons of a shore excursion in Puerto Rico

ABOARD THE OCEANIA INSIGNIA — What an interesting mix of culture Puerto Rico presents. Pulling into San Juan, the pretty pastel buildings of the old city rise from the piers, their Spanish colonial architecture testifying to the island’s long history. But on closer look, we spot a CVS pharmacy, a Foot Locker store, Starbucks and a Subway. As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico is very Americanized. Our tour guide, Tony, told us the island has 14 Wal-Marts. …

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After two windy days at sea, we take an overview tour of Antigua

ABOARD OCEANIA RIVIERA, DAY 5 — After two days at sea in a wind tunnel, we are docked at St. Johns, Antigua. Population 80,000, it and its sister island, Barbuda, are part of the Leeward Islands, or the Lesser Antilles if you like. This is our first visit, and we have opted to take the “Best of Antigua” excursion and get acquainted. Oceania has this shore excursion business down to a science. We traded in our tickets …

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Regal Princess: Food, glorious food abounds

ABOARD THE REGAL PRINCESS — Let’s talk about food. Or better yet, let’s look at photos of food. The best would be to share together one of the fantastic meals I’ve had so far on the Regal Princess. However, looking at the food video I created is about as close as we can come. I will warn you that it is best not to look at the video if you are the slightest bit hungry. Even though …

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Day 3: Getting to know Oceania’s Insignia

ABOARD THE OCEANIA INSIGNIA — I love sea days. No shore excursions, no alarm clock to set. I can just wander the ship, popping in for any of the myriad activities scheduled night and day as outlined in the ship’s Currents daily program. In the Canyon Ranch SpaClub  a woman from Ontario and I got a complimentary lesson from the hairdresser on the best haircut for the shape of our face. I also learned that guests with …

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Day 2: Our first holiday at sea….Santa and all

ABOARD THE OCEANIA INSIGNIA — Santa Claus arrived at Oceania’s Insignia right on schedule on Christmas morning, but this being a luxury cruise line with no facilities or programs for children, there was only a handful of youngsters aboard. Still, each was called by name to meet the Jolly Old Elf seated in the stairway landing of the great hall surrounded by garlands and Christmas greenery. And each received a wrapped gift and was invited to sit …

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Day 1: Welcome aboard and fab dinner on Oceania’s Insignia

ABOARD THE OCEANIA INSIGNIA — Because Bill and I were confirmed on our cruise fairly late, our choice of flights to Miami for embarkation on Dec. 23 was quite limited–and expensive so close to the holidays. I made our air arrangements for us and found more flights, at less expense, flying into Fort Lauderdale on the day before. We decided to spend the night in a hotel near the airport, then transfer to the Port of Miami …

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Christmas day at sea: Festive inside, but blustery outside

ABOARD OCEANIA RIVIERA, DAY 4 — Today is Christmas — our first time to celebrate this special occasion at sea. Santa has already made a surprise visit to the atrium on Deck 5, and actually stopped by our room as well. There was a wrapped package on our bed, compliments of Oceania. Inside was a colorful glass ball and stand commemorating our cruise and marked with the date. Thank you Santa, and thank you Oceania! Later in …

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A blustery day at sea, but the Captain’s Cocktail Party is still a success

ABOARD OCEANIA RIVIERA, DAY 3 — You’ve heard about “Blow the man down”? That’s pretty much what you can expect on the outdoor decks today. We’ve encountered blustery headwinds as we motor toward Antigua. The pool on Deck 12 more resembles a giant hot tub as water swishes this way and that across the decks. It doesn’t deter determined sun worshipers who take it all in stride with a good book or beverage. The ship may be …

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Enjoying the ship while others enjoy Nassau

ABOARD OCEANIA RIVIERA, DAY TWO –– Today we are docked at our first stop: Nassau. A Disney ship is on one side of us, soon to be joined by Carnival Liberty and Norwegian Escape. It’s going to be a busy day at the port. If you are a late riser, as we often are, Riviera offers a very nice continental-style breakfast in the Horizons lounge. Tucked away in one corner is a selection of bakery items, cold …

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Today’s main event on the Oceania Riviera is dinner at La Reserve

ABOARD OCEANIA RIVIERA, DAY 2 — Today we are docked at our first stop: Nassau. A Disney ship is on one side of us, soon to be joined by Carnival Liberty and Norwegian Escape. It’s going to be a busy day at the port. If you are a late riser, as we often are, Riviera offers a very nice continental-style breakfast in the Horizons lounge. Tucked away in one corner is a selection of bakery items, cold …

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