INSIGNIA Double Decked!, Part Two

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This is one of many posts that were lost in transition to MaritimeMatters new server, each of which is gradually being restored to the site.  This second of a two-part Decked! feature about Oceania Cruises’ MV INSIGNIA was published in 2008, before the ship was chartered to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, for whom she is currently sailing as COLUMBUS 2. Here, you will see all the public spaces and deck areas on Decks 9 through 4 as they appeared at the time. In 2014, the ship will be given a major refit before returning to the Oceania fold as INSIGNIA, once again.

Originally published: August 14, 2008. Updated August 2013.
All photos and text copyright Peter Knego 2008.

Keep up to date with Peter Knego on Twitter by clicking here

THE SANDS OF ALANG: Peter Knego’s new DVD about shipbreaking in Alang, India

MV INSIGNIA (ex R ONE, REGATTA)
Oceania Cruises
Built 1998
30,277 gt
593.7 by 83.5 feet
19.5 foot draft
684 passengers (double occupancy)
400 crew
18.5 knots
Fully air conditioned and stabilized
Propulsion Machinery: Four 12-cylinder Wartsila diesels, twin screws
Builders: Chantiers de l’Atlantique, St. Nazaire, France (hull #H31)
Registry: Majuro, Marshall Islands

Deck Eight:

Wheelhouse, facing starboard.

Wheelhouse, facing starboard.

Port bridge wing, facing aft.

Port bridge wing, facing aft.

Deck Eight begins with the wheelhouse, which features open bridge wings. Aft of the officers’ accommodation, the passenger cabins begin with 26 Penthouse Suites, continuing with 4 Verandah Suites, 10 Category F Insides and 2 Owners Suites..

Deck Seven:

Deck Seven laundry room, facing starboard.

Deck Seven laundry room, facing starboard.

Deck Seven is fully devoted to accommodation, beginning with 2 Vista Suites, 100 Verandah Staterooms, 2 Category C outsides, 10 Category F insides, 2 Category G insides and 2 Vista Suites. A self-service laundry room features four washers, four dryers and ironing facilities.

Deck Six:

Deck Six, facing aft from fo’c’sle head.

Deck Six, facing aft from fo’c’sle head.

Deck Six begins with the upper level of the fo’c’sle head, a rim of decking encircling the Deck Five mooring area. Inside, it contains 2 Vista Suites, 2 Category C outsides, 66 Category B verandah staterooms, 18 partially obstructed (due to lifeboats) Category E outsides.

Deck Five:

Insignia Lounge, facing aft.

Insignia Lounge, facing aft.

Insignia Lounge, facing foward from port.

Insignia Lounge, facing foward from port.

Starboard Insignia Lounge entrance, facing aft.

Starboard Insignia Lounge entrance, facing aft.

The 345-seat Insignia Lounge starts the lineup of public rooms on Deck Five. It features a sunken inlaid marquetry dance floor, slightly terraced seating and a large bar area. It is the setting for enrichment lectures, art auctions, and nightly shows. This is an extremely attractive space with comfortable modern seating, a bright white ceiling, rich blue and gold soft fittings and dark wood paneling.

Port Deck Five promenade, facing aft.

Port Deck Five promenade, facing aft.

Starboard Deck Five promenade, facing aft.

Starboard Deck Five promenade, facing aft.

Just aft of the Insignia Lounge, a vestibule leads to two finite promenades, which feature cushioned deck chairs for those seeking a low key, off-the-beaten track spot to unwind or relax in the fresh sea air.

Starboard Deck Five Passage, facing aft.

Starboard Deck Five Passage, facing aft.

A passage along the starboard side, the center portion of which is the ship’s photo gallery, leads from the Insignia Lounge past the Casino and Martinis to the Boutiques area.

Casino, facing forward.

Casino, facing forward.

INSIGNIA has a small casino with roulette and card tables as well as slot machines. Decorated in Edwardian style, it adjoins the similarly-appointed Martinis.

Martinis, facing aft.

Martinis, facing aft.

Seating 50 guests, Martini’s is yet another intimate, sophisticated venue that is often the setting for trivia quizzes, cabaret style entertainment or, in the wee hours, a quiet drink. Tartan carpets, mahogany and walnut wood tones, wingback chairs and plush “sofettes” continue the ship’s Edwardian decorative theme.

Midships Deck Five passage, facing aft.

Midships Deck Five passage, facing aft.

A faux stone and marble passage leads from Martini’s through the modern Boutique area to what is possibly the most Edwardian (or at least TITANIC) influenced space on the ship, the Upper Hall.

Grand staircase, facing port from Deck Five.

Grand staircase, facing port from Deck Five.

Upper Hall, facing forward/port.

Upper Hall, facing forward/port.

The Upper Hall’s main focal point is the grand staircase that leads down in a T-formation to the Deck Four Lobby. With its domed skylight, hammered tin ceiling, wrought iron balustrades, gilded mirror and crimson carpet, the stairs are among the first features seen by embarking passengers and make a bold first impression.

Grand Bar, facing aft.

Grand Bar, facing aft.

The 30-seat Grand Bar is more subdued than the Upper Hall it merges with on the aft starboard side, although it is still evocatively Edwardian. The ante spot for the Grand Restaurant, it’s main focal points are the recessed, frescoed ceiling and faux fireplace.

Grand Dining Room, facing forward.

Grand Dining Room, facing forward.

In my two weeks spent aboard INSIGNIA, there was no vibration at the stern, making the lovely 330-seat Grand Restaurant all the more enjoyable for its views over the ship’s wake. The food and service here was among the best on the seven seas and could easily hold its own against the ship’s specialty restaurants. The dark wood tones are softened by natural light from the panorama of windows surrounding the room. More frescoes adorn the bulkheads and ceiling and the Art Nouveau-styled table settings are by Versace.

Deck Four:

Grand staircase, facing aft/up from Deck Four.

Grand staircase, facing aft/up from Deck Four.

Reception Desk, facing forward/port.

Reception Desk, facing forward/port.

Destination Services desk, facing aft.

Destination Services desk, facing aft.

Deck Four concierge area, facing port.

Deck Four concierge area, facing port.

INSIGNIA’s Deck Four Lower Hall features the Destination Services Desk on the aft port side; the Reception at the foot of the stairs and a Concierge desk on the port side of the lobby with seating for 16 guests.

Deck Four is also home to 52 Category C outside cabins.

Deck Three:

Deck Three has the tender embarkation platform and 15 Category D outside cabins on the starboard side.

End of INSIGNIA Double Decked!  Last updated: August 18, 2013

With very special thanks to Martin Cox, Bianca LeMouel, Tim Rubacky

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea.  With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications.  Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India.  He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
Peter Knego

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