I think that Oceana Cruises has identified an interesting -- and probably quite substantial -- niche in the cruise market, and that Oceana Cruises has very little direct competition. Consider the following aspects of Oceana's offerings.
>> 1. "Premium" Segment of Market. Not competing directly with luxury lines like Radisson, Silversea, etc., or with "mainstream" lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line.
>> 2. 100% Casual - No Formal Nights; Open Seating in All Restaurants. Certainly not competing directly with Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, or Holland America Lines, which maintain traditional formality.
>> 3. No Children. Not competing with Disney Cruise Line.
>> 4. Itineraries. Both of Oceana's ships are small enough to go into many ports that cannot accommodate the larger ships of the major lines. These vessels allow the company to offer innovative itineraries to destinations that the major lines simply do not serve.
Now, take a look at the number of posts from folks who say that they simply don't want to dress for formal evenings in the threads about such matters on this board. Those people have every right to go on a cruise line that offers a product tailored to their preferences -- and Oceana is offering just such a product. There are also a lot of people who don't care one way or the other about the traditional formality, so they will be just as happy to cruise with Oceana as to cruise with, say, Celebrity or Princess. The innovative itineraries also will attract many seasoned cruisers who have seen all of the more standard ports of call.
On the other side of the fence, it certainly does appear that the founders of Oceana Cruises are not repeating the mistakes that they made with Renaissance Cruises in terms of trying to cut out the travel agent community in favor of direct marketing. Rather, Oceana Cruises seems to be recruiting travel agents to market their product -- and those travel agents can steer a lot of business their way.
The only real issue is whether the company's capitalization is sufficient to get through the start-up phase to the point of profitability -- and I see no indication of any inadequacy in this score.
But are we sure it isn't just the same renissance people mis-manging another cruise line?
Mismanaging in what way?
Everybody to whom I have talked who had been aboard a Renaissance ship has indicated that the ships were well run and that the shipboard experience was quite good -- so it sounds like Renaissance was doing something right. The company's missteps appear to have been in other areas -- (1) offering short cruises combined with hotel stays in exotic destinations rather than longer cruises and (2) trying to cut out the travel agents who might have steered some business their way. Renaissance later started offering longer cruises, but few people noticed because they had already established the "short cruise plus hotel" product. They also tried marketing through travel agents when direct marketing proved unsuccessful, but had already so alienated the travel agents that the travel agents did not want anything to do with them. The new company appears to have avoided both mistakes, offering instead a "cruise only" product and marketing through travel agents.
Overall, the fact that the founders seem to understand where they went wrong before and are doing those things differently this time is a very positive sign.
P.S. They really shoud have a spell checker on this board.
Yes, I need it as much as anybody.
Actually, a grammar checker would be even better. It would catch misuse of "here" and "hear," "there" and "their," "its" and "it's," etc, in addition to catching spelling errors.
What's the pricing like on Oceania? If it is the same as what's on HAL, Princess, and Celebrity I expect their quality to be very temporary. If they have 170 or so plus a day per diems they may at least provide good quality. But in today's market, I don't know if they'll make it because I don't know how much people want to pay for quality over cheap prices on new big ships with tons of balconies.
Babette - these are the "published" rates, right? One would expect them to be lower in reality?
I had a most enjoyable R4 cruise in Tahiti before Ren. was bought out, and based on my own experience, figure the mismanagement mentioned was not in terms of on-board, but rather, was probably the other aspects (TAs, itinerary, etc.)