Not all cruises are holidays; some can be a penance, with their balloon-bursting competitions, their theme-nights with the idiosyncratic baked Alaska parade, their double sittings for dinner and their nightclubs dizzy with strobe lighting. They resemble a glitzy holiday camp, but with no prospect of escape.

Fortunately for more fastidious voyagers, Oceania Cruises defy the theme park at sea image. They resent the anonymity, uniformity and insensitivity of modern mass cruising and exude an ambiance of a seagoing country club; a status that cruise ships conveying more than a thousand souls can never hope to attain.

The brainchild of cruise industry veterans Frank Del Rio and Joe Watters – former head honchos of Renaissance Cruises and Crystal Cruises respectively – Oceania Cruises offer a destination-intensive, floating hotel experience with top-notch food and superior service.

The three 30,277-ton, 684-passenger vessels – Insignia, Nautica, and Regatta – reflect a triumph of good manners and style over modernist brusqueness. D