Agents say Oceania made Sirena seem like a new ship

Agents say Oceania made Sirena seem like a new ship

Culinary
experiences — including having Red Ginger aboard an R-class ship — stood out for agents who were aboard the inaugural sailing of Oceania Cruises’
Sirena last week.

“We
all like great food, and obviously Oceania is known for that, but for me Red
Ginger is a dining experience,” said Ryan Hansen, vice president and COO of Bon
Voyage Travel in Tucson, Ariz.

The
Asian-style restaurant on Deck 10 is making its first appearance aboard one of
Oceania’s R-class ships. The restaurant is also located on the larger Marina and Riviera.

Vicky
Garcia, COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel
Representative, also praised Jacques Bistro, a restaurant open in the Grand
Dining Room each day at lunch.

Sirena
is the first ship to feature the lunchtime pop-up, which was inspired by the
family recipes of executive culinary director Jacques Pepin (his daughter,
Claudine, is the godmother of the ship).

“The
selection for lunch is just insane,” Garcia said. The bistro offers both a
fixed menu (that changes seasonally) and a daily menu of specialties. “It’s
impressive.”

The
agents and, anecdotally, cruisers, were also pleased with the ship’s
renovation. In less than 40 days, Oceania acquired Sirena and completed a $50
million renovation.

Brad
Anderson, co-president of Avoya Travel, said it felt more like the ship had
been in drydock undergoing renovations for hundreds of days, not dozens.

“From
the moment we stepped on board — actually, from the moment we got to the cruise
terminal in Barcelona — it’s hard to believe that this was its first cruise,”
Anderson said.

Garcia
agreed. She called the ship’s atmosphere “charming.”

“I
think it has that old-world charm, but yet it still feels new,” she said.
“They’ve done a really nice job in terms of renovating it.”

She
also noted the ship is comfortable, with the lounge areas feeling more like
living rooms, inviting interactions between both friends and strangers.

“I
think Oceania did a nice job with making it feel like a newbuild,” Hansen
said. “That’s obviously the biggest hurdle in bringing a refurbished ship into
the fleet — to make it feel like it and look like it from the outside.”

There
were a fair number of first-time Oceania cruisers aboard, which was surprising
to Hansen, considering it was an inaugural sailing.

Garcia
attributed that to the “country-club feel” that Oceania exudes. Its guests are
encouraged to wear “country-club casual” clothing, and that “resort casual”
feel is appealing to first-timers, Garcia said.

“It’s
just that comfort zone,” she said.

The
size of the ship is also appealing to first-time and veteran cruisers alike,
she said.

Carrying
less than 700 passengers, the ship is non-intimidating and easily navigable.
Its crew is also particularly attentive, friendly and responsive to guests, the
agents said.

Garcia
said agents can sell Sirena “confidently.”

“Do
it,” she said simply.

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