Oceania Cruises, sometimes called “Oceania Cruise Line” or just “Oceania,” is a luxury cruise line based in Miami, Florida. It is owned by Apollo Global Management, the enormous American private equity firm that also owns (among many other things) another luxury cruise line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Oceania operates four vessels and is the largest luxury cruise line in the world. (Although the word “luxury” is somewhat imprecise, so perhaps a larger cruise line that calls itself “luxurious” – an attractive marketing word – is larger.) Like other luxury cruise lines, Oceania Cruises is less well-known than some of the giants of the cruise industry, so below we shed some light on the company and its cruises.
While Oceania Cruises is the largest luxury cruise line (at least according to a narrow definition of “luxury”), it is a small company compared to the cruise lines that are household names. These include many of the cruise lines owned by Carnival and Royal Caribbean (not least of which are each conglomerates’ namesake cruise line), as well as a few others that are owned by neither company, like Norwegian, MSC Cruises, and Disney. All of these cruise lines control over two percent of the cruise market, and many control considerably more. (Carnival Cruise Lines alone controls 21 percent of the market.) In contrast, Oceania Cruises has cornered only .5 percent of the industry. However, this is simply how luxury cruise lines operate. They offer upscale, highly customized ocean experiences, and then charge a premium for their services. They are not trying to attract tons of passengers – they are trying to attract the right (i.e., high-paying) passengers. Silverseas Cruises and Seabourn Cruise Line, for instance, which control .4 percent and .3 percent of the cruise market, respectively, do business with a similar philosophy. Of course, given the huge size of the cruise industry (it is estimated to be a little larger than $36 billion), controlling even a small fraction of the market is profitable, and hence the continued existence of cruise lines like Oceania Cruises.
The fact that Oceania Cruises controls a larger portion of the luxury cruise market can probably be attributed to the size of their ships. By cruise-industry standards, luxury cruise lines tend to operate small vessels, ones that accommodate hundreds of passengers instead of thousands. Two of Oceania’s ships – MS Regatta and MS Nautica, which make up the Regatta Class – fit with this tendency, although both of these ships, each of which have a gross tonnage of 30,277, can still accommodate 824 passengers. (By comparison, three of Seabourn’s six vessels only fit about 200 passengers each.) The other two vessels in Oceania’s fleet are nearly twice the size of the ships in the Regatta Class. Both the MS Marina and the MS Riviera, which make up the Oceania Class, have a gross tonnage of 66,084 and can accommodate 1,260 passengers. These are quite large ships in the world of luxury cruises. The size of the vessels, however, is of secondary importance. Luxury cruise ships are known for their service and the upscale accommodations they offer. If your room has a private balcony and butler service, the fact that your ship isn’t over three football fields in length probably isn’t a major concern.
As you can see, Oceania Cruises, along with the other luxury cruise lines, are a bit different from the cruise lines with which you are probably more familiar. Oceania does not serve millions of customers a year, nor do they aim to. Although Oceania is fairly large relative to other luxury cruises, it still follows this business philosophy. If you are one of the comparatively few who can afford to take a Oceania cruise, you probably won’t be disappointed with the size of the ship or its service.