Oceania: One Delicious Cruise Preview

A husband and wife from Houston write about (and take photos of) cruises, just like we do, so it will come as no surprise that we are friends. But we knew Harry and Joan Shattuck many, many years before any of us had been on a cruise ship, let alone written about one. Today, the fact that both couples do what we do is nothing more than coincidence.

The Shattucks have been at this longer than us so when they have something to say, we listen. What they have to say about sailing on an Oceania ship is pertinent, at least for us, because when its newest ship is launched early in May, we'll be on deck, reporting back to you.

In the words of our friends, Oceania is the "food-lovers' cruise line."

In our world of being lucky to enjoy the finest of food, and of knowing a little French, that makes this a creme de la creme preview.

"We have done almost 70 cruises, and we've never had better food on an across-the-board, consistent basis," says Harry. "There are 10 restaurants — and almost all are included in the cost of the cruise fare, a terrific bargain. Jacques Pepin oversees the culinary product [but not in person], and his first-ever namesake restaurant is on the Marina [and will also be on the Riviera]. Menus in Jacques and in the main dining room include several of Pepin's signature dishes."

This Jacques was on the Oceania Marina. In May, the Marina gets a new sister — the Riviera — and since these ships are carbon copies (or calorie copies), it's a safe assumption that we'll find what the Shattucks found.

More or less.

Among cruise lines, Oceania is considered "deluxe", and dining at most of its 10 restaurants is included with your fare. That includes Jacques, named after the famous French chef, who at 76 is Dean of Special Programs at the French Culinary Institute in New York.

Our advance party reports that Monsieur Pepin likes lobster.

"Within the complimentary restaurants, I counted 13 different lobster preparations every day, says Harry. "I had a steamed Maine lobster and caviar salad followed by lobster thermidor in Jacques; an avocado lobster salad and lobster pad thai in Asian-themed Red Ginger; lobster risotto and spicy lobster fra diavalo in Toscana, an Italian tratorria; and a pancetta-wrapped veal filet with a Bay lobster tail Oscar-style in the Polo Grill. Daily lunch menus at the poolside Waves Grill included a surf-and-turf sandwich combining Florida lobster medallions with sliced Black Angus filet mignon. Evening buffets in the Terrace Cafe offered unlimited lobster tails."

Over the years, we have been indebted to the Shattucks in many ways. Now we have another one…they've just whetted our appetities for the Oceania Riviera.

Photo courtesy Joan Shattuck

Holland America Zaandam
4 nights
October 23, 2012
Vancouver, Victoria, San Diego
Inside: $249
Cost per day: $62

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One Response
  1. Barbra Bishop says:

    Oh my goodness, sounds wonderful! Looking forward to reading all about it.  Lobster risotto, yum!

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