The newest ship in the Oceania fleet isn't actually new — the 684-passenger ship was built in 1999, and most recently sailed as the Ocean Princess. Fresh from a $50 million upgrade, the ship has more than just a new name. Sirena is classy, intimate, and attractively Old World — think floating Ritz-Carlton hotel. Dark woods, faux fireplaces, and plush furnishings make you feel like you're in someone's fancy living room, while colorful art, mostly by Miami-based artists, adds a contemporary edge.
What We Love
Red Ginger: Specialty dining is included in the cruise fare, and this sexy, ocean-view pan-Asian restaurant, with its red and black décor, particularly shines. The miso-glazed sea bass is a melt-in-your-mouth must.
The Size: There's no getting lost (the ship only has two main staircases). You never feel part of a crowd, but you never lack for space either — desirable hangout spots include double daybeds at the pool and cushy couches in the large library.
Best Known For
Jacques Pépin: The well-known French chef and PBS TV star is culinary advisor to the line (his daughter, Claudine, is godmother of Sirena), and you can sample his Jacques Bistro menu daily at lunch in the Grand Dining Room. The escargot and Dover sole are both worth the caloric splurge.
The Canyon Ranch SpaClub: The light-filled, ocean-view gym is equipped with the latest and greatest, but it's the range of treatments that caught our attention. We had our chi balanced in an Abhyanga Massage ($169). Bonus: There's no charge for the steam rooms.
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Who It's Best For
Sophisticated Cruisers: Most passengers are age 60-plus, attracted by the longer, well-planned itineraries and don't particularly care about organized activities. The ship's intimate size and non-stuffy atmosphere encourages camaraderie.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Bathrooms Are Tiny: Oceania added plush beds and tasteful stateroom décor, but the bathrooms are tiny with curtained showers. Splurge on one of the 52 penthouses if you want a bigger space with a large, glassed-in shower.
Drinks Are Expensive: Alcohol is not included in the cruise fare and there's a big markup — a bottle of Corona is $8.25 (including service charge).
Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.
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Oceania Sirena at a Glance
- Line: Oceania
- Number of Passengers: 684
- Ship Size: Medium
- Launch Date: 1999
- Refurbish Date: 2016