Sioux Shelton reveals the Oceania difference

The dream of almost every luxury cruiser is to sail on a ship that opens up a world of new experiences – to get closer to the sights and to delve deeper into the local culture. 

Oceana Cruises are passionate about making that dream come true, as Oceania Club Ambassador, Sioux Shelton told me onboard the intimate Oceania Regatta. “The Oceania difference is the size of our ships. We’re able to get into those little ports that other ships can’t.”

Oceania Regatta restaurant review.

Oceana Cruises have a unique fleet of luxurious cruise ships. Most have a capacity of just 684-guests and they are perfectly suited to the task of making vacation dreams come true.

Sailing on one of Oceania Cruises small ships is like staying in a floating boutique hotel where everybody knows your name. There’s a warm sense of hospitality, as well as fine dining and the amenities of a luxury resort. 

Read our Oceania Nautica review.

The teak pool deck was rejuvenated just before my Nautica review in 2017.
There are beautiful teak decks and resort-style pools.

But what makes it extra special is the different places where you wake up each morning. Indeed, Oceania ships get you so close to town you can often smell the coffee from the cafes in the cobblestone squares.

“We sail right down the river in Bordeaux so you can get off the ship in the middle of the wine country. The cafes and the restaurants are right there, and so are the chateaux! It’s the same in St. Petersburg. We sail up the river and dock just one block from the Hermitage Museum”, said Sioux.

Sail inside the Bora Bora lagoon, that's the Oceania difference.
Sail inside the Bora Bora lagoon, that’s the Oceania difference.

When I sailed on Regatta we visited the idyllic island of Bora Bora in the South Pacific. The ship was small enough to take us right inside the famous lagoon where we were whisked away on speed boats to enjoy lunch and some local hospitality on a private motu. 

Oceania’s itineraries span the globe, from the Amazon to Asia. In fact Japan is one of the most popular destinations, with the 2020 voyages selling out within hours. “We’ve added five new ports of call in Japan”, Sioux told me. There is Shimizu in the shadow of Mt. Fuji as well as the ancient capital of Kyoto. “But I recommend seeing the cherry blossoms in Tokyo. It is breathtakingly beautiful”, she said.

Witness the cherry blossoms bloom in Tokyo.
Witness the cherry blossoms bloom in Tokyo.

In a first for Oceania Cruises, the final Japanese voyage in 2020 will sail all the way from Tokyo to San Francisco. The 25-day voyage on board the newly refurbished Insignia will call at Hakodate on the rarely visited north island of Japan before setting out for Alaska and North America.

Oceania Cruises can take you to the Hubbord glacier in Alaska.
Oceania Cruises can take you to the Hubbord glacier in Alaska.

Indeed, Oceania Cruises are Alaska specialists and Sioux Shelton is passionate about the destination. “Hubbord glacier is the reason one goes to Alaska. It’s the largest tidewater glacier in North America”, she told me. “Regatta goes right around those big ships and we get so close you can hear the glaciers carving. Sometimes you feel like the glacier is only a few inches away. It’s a unique Oceania experience.”

Sioux Shelton is in the business of making those experiences happen for her guests – making dreams come true. But what’s her dream destination?

“My favourite place is onboard with my friends and my favourite guests”, she quipped! “But if I had to choose I’d say Jordan, Israel and Egypt – I love the excitement of the Middle East. I also adore the Mediterranean. It’s chaotic and I love that… not to mention the food! But what I really like is feeling the difference when I visit places, and that’s the Oceania difference.”

Visit the Oceania Cruises website to learn more.

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