Photo Courtesy Oceania Cruises
Once upon a time, there was Renaissance Cruises.  With a fleet of eight identical sister ships all built between 1998 and 2001 operating popular European and South Pacific itineraries, things looked rosy for Renaissance and its CEO, Frank Del Rio.

Then 9/11 happened.  Demand for travel, particularly international travel, bottomed out.  Renaissance, which had built its business model on selling cruises directly to the customer with no travel agent involvement, suffered heavily.  It ceased operations on September 25, 2001 and its beautiful fleet of ships sold at auction.

But Frank Del Rio was undeterred.  Together with industry vet Joe Watters, they immediately set out to launch a new cruise line and began by chartering back  the former Renaissance R Two from Cruiseinvest, renaming her InsigniaOceania Cruises was officially born.

Since then, Oceania has re-acquired a total of three of the former R-class vessels, naming them Regatta, Insignia, and Nautica.  In 2007, the line was acquired by New York based Apollo Management, which has since also bought Regent Seven Seas cruises, and gained controlling interest in NCL.

Shortly after, Oceania announced ambitious plans for a new class of ship to be built at Fincantieri Shipyards near Venice, Italy.  Carrying 1,260 passengers apiece, the twin 66,000 GRT ships are due to launch in September 2010 and July 2011.  The first vessel will be known as Marina.

Marketed as an upper-premium cruise line, Oceania specializes in providing travelers with a refined and casually elegant travel experience.  The onboard experience revolves around outstanding service, first-class culinary delights, and onboard enrichment programs.  In fact, as much emphasis is placed on the unique destinations Oceania sails to as the ships themselves. 

For more information on Oceania, including itineraries and virtual ship tours, visit the Oceania Cruises website.



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