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The ‘R Ships’ All Alive And Popular

When we ventured into the waters of the cruise world, the infamous “R Ships” were already history. Consequently, we have neither much knowledge nor appreciation for what they were, but every once in a while we hear about one of the R Ships, and what great ships they were when Renaissance Cruises was in business.

Or…what great ships they are.

The R Ships are still around, under pseudonyms. When Oceania set a one-day record for selling cruises this month, it was for one of the former R Ships, soon to be re-named (again) as the Oceania Sirena. Clearly, its history with seasoned cruisers had something to do with how anxious they were to sail on her again.

At the moment, the Sirena is still the Ocean Princess, which she will remain until Oceanundergoing a $40-million refurbishment one year from this month. Before she was the Ocean Princess, she was simply “R Four.”

There were eight R Ships, starting with R One in 1998. In case you’re wondering what became of them all, or even if you aren’t, here’s the list.

R One — After Renaissance went bankrupt, she became Oceania’s Insignia, then Hapag-Lloyd’s Columbus 2 and last year returned to Oceania as the Insignia again.

R Two — Chartered to Oceania, she was the Insignia before the Insignia was, and later Regattabecame what she is today, the Oceania Regatta (above).

R Three — Since 2002, she’s been the Pacific Princess.

R Four — See above.

R Five — Despatched to Pullmantur Cruises to become the Blue Dream and now with her Oceania brethren as the Nautica.

R Six — Another Pullmantur acquisition, the Blue Star, then the Blue Dream and R Five abdicated the name and went to Oceania and now, since 2007, the Azamara Journey.

R Seven — Chartered to a line called Delphin Seereisen and named the Delphin QuestRenaissance, then to Pullmantur as the Blue Moon and now, since 2007, the Azamara Quest (above).

R Eight — First became the Minerva II for Swan Hellenic Cruises, then sold to Princess to become the Royal Princess and now with P&O Cruises as the Adonia.

The fact that these eight ships — all of them exactly 30,277 tons in size, all of them carrying about 684 passengers — are still popular today is a testament to their design.

In fact, maybe they’ve improved with age. They certainly did when it came to their names.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Costa Fascinosa
7 nights
May 10, 2015
Savona (return): Rome, Palermo, Valletta, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $57

Oceania Cruises: The Twins Are Alright


Only in the family of cruise ships can siblings be born 15 months apart and be called twins. As parents of boys born 14 months apart, it seems like a reasonable time to have an addition to the family, although we do recall the comments of well-meaning individuals that it was, er, a little soon.

In the ship world, much like the people world, families expand as the parents can afford it. In the Oceania family, it was time for Marina to have a kid sister…and last week Riviera emerged from the safety of the shipyard in Italy.

The Riviera is an identical twin in almost all respects, and in 10 days she will have a bottle of bubbly broken on her bow in front of hundreds of onlookers, which surely beats being exposed to (or in) a diaper change. It will happen in Barcelona, as good a place as any to break bubbly on a bow. Among the celebrities will be Cat Cora, she of Iron Chef fame and a fitting choice for the Riviera's Godmother as the flagship of an upscale cruise line that appeals to people who enjoy cuisines of the world…and who doesn't?

The introductory cruise, not to be confused with the inaugural cruise, starts Sunday in Monte Carlo and ends nine days later in Venice where, as a medium-sized cruise ship it will be more popular than the large ocean liners that are eroding the fragile ground that supports all those canals.

That cruise, which you'll be reading more about here at Cruising Done Right, will be followed by 20 more in the waters of the Mediterranean, featuring a dozen different itineraries between now and November.

That Oceania Cruises has doubled its fleet (a fifth ship, the Insignia, is on a two-year charter to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises) is a testament to the attraction of what the cruise line calls the "upper-premium category" of cruising, and a testament to what the Oceania family can afford when it comes to offspring.

And it's okay that they're only 15 months apart, and okay to call Marina and Riviera "twins."

Norwegian Dawn
7 nights
June 1, 2012
Boston (return): King's Wharf (Bermuda)
Inside: $649
Cost per day: $92

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