Some cruise lines appeal to those with high-end desires, while others tap into their sense of adventure. And then there’s the cruise line, Oceania Cruises that’s chasing people’s taste buds.

Oceania Cruises’ Hansel & Gretel approach to cruising (with less gingerbread and more fine dining) is successfully luring cruisers, according to the line’s Vice President, so-much-so that it’s even attracting those who have never boarded a ship.

Speaking at a media lunch in Sydney last week, Steve McLaughlin said that while mass market ships were once the launch pad for many new-to-cruise, the brand’s reputation for good food is “working well” in getting them to start somewhere new, such as Oceania’s more intimate ships.


“Focusing on food is certainly working very well for us. We’re getting people that are new to our brand and people who have never cruised before coming for the food.”

Steve McLaughlin, Oceania Cruises Vice President

Chasing people’s taste buds is what Steve also credits to “exceptionally well” 2019 bookings, which are particularly strong from the world’s biggest foodies – the Australian market.

According to Oceania’s figures, Australia is the second largest market cruising with Oceania, just behind North America.


Although food has served the cruise line well, Steve said the brand is cooking up something new that’ll excite former and future guests, and it’s a multi-million dollar ship renovation program called OceaniaNEXT.

The revitalisation project begins when Insignia emerges from drydock this month with a completely different interior from new designer suites and staterooms, fresh restaurant decor, as well as lounges and bars inspired by the cruise line’s 450 ports of call.

As a food-focused brand, the onboard menus will also be reimagined to feature more authentic regional colours, flavour and local wines.


Steve Odell, the Asia Pacific Senior Vice President & Managing Director of Oceania Cruises’ parent brand Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said he can’t wait to share the ships “elegant new look” with Australian guests when she makes her way to Australia in March next year via the South Pacific.

“One of the many reasons Oceania Cruises enjoys one of the highest repeat cruise rates of any brand is the fact we’re constantly refreshing our offering and investing in our fleet, with the OceaniaNEXT initiative encompassing the most extensive suite of enhancements we have ever embarked upon.”

Steve Odell, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Senior Vice President & Managing Director Asia Pacific

Insignia‘s R-class sister vessels will undergo the OceaniaNEXT makeover throughout 2019, followed by O-class ships Riviera and Marina.


Have you dined on an Oceania ship?