Oceania's Sirena christened in Barcelona

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Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, with Sirena godmother Claudine Pepin prior to the ship’s christening.
Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, with Sirena godmother Claudine Pepin prior to the ship’s christening. Photo Credit: Jamie Biesiada

BARCELONA — Oceania Cruises’ newest ship, the Sirena, was christened Wednesday afternoon by its godmother, chef and author Claudine Pepin.

The 672-passenger Sirena, the former Ocean Princess, was acquired from Princess Cruises and underwent a refurbishment before sailing for Oceania.

Like three other Oceania vessels (the Regatta, Insignia and Nautica), the Sirena is an R-class ship that was originally built for Renaissance Cruises, a line that ceased operations in 2001.

“I really love these R-class ships. They're regal. They're elegant,” said Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Oceania's parent company). Del Rio also is the founder of Oceania Cruises and one-time CEO of Renaissance.

Del Rio said Oceania spent $50 million refurbishing Sirena, and that the cruise line’s goal with any of its refurbishments is to give each ship a “new-car smell” and make it better than when it initially went into service.

Sirena’s refurbishment was a quick one, noted Jason Montague, president of Oceania Cruises, taking place in the 35 days since it was acquired from Princess.

While Sirena is similar to its sister ships, it offers several new dining options. Specialty restaurant Red Ginger, Oceania’s popular Asian restaurant on the Marina and Riviera, is located on Deck 10. It is the first time Red Ginger has been located on one of Oceania’s R-class ships.

Restaurants Polo Grill and Toscana, found on other Oceania ships, were removed and essentially combined into specialty restaurant Tuscan Steak, also on Deck 10. The restaurant combines a traditional steakhouse with an Italian trattoria.

Each afternoon at lunch, the Grand Dining Room will transform into Jacques Bistro, serving dishes inspired by the family recipes Oceania’s executive culinary director, Jacques Pepin (the father of Sirena's godmother, Claudine Pepin).

Oceania prides itself on its culinary offerings. Del Rio claims that the cruise line “spends more money per guest, per day, on food than any other cruise line in the world.”

Sirena's inaugural voyage will sail from Barcelona to Venice over the course of 14 days.

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