Special Celebration at Sea – Oceania Cruises Style

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a pink balloon on a white towel
Our First Towel Animal Aboard Oceania Cruises

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What’s a special celebration – like a Birthday at Sea – Oceania Cruises Style like?  Let me share with you my experience.

Commemorating a birthday, anniversary, or another major life event with a cruise may provide the extra nudge to book that trip and hop on board.  We tend to book trips, including cruises around our birthdays and wedding anniversary, though we take into account our work schedules and places we really want to visit or ships we want to sail.  So often these trips are near the actual dates, but don’t always fall on a day we’re onboard.  Well during our last Oceania Cruises sailing in Vista, my birthday occurred in the middle of our trip.

Now I’m not one that really likes the attention of a birthday in public.  I don’t love the singing and candles and the entire restaurant looking at me.  If you’re one of those people, that’s GREAT!  I’ll clap for you from my table in the corner.  It should then come as no surprise that I did not tell anyone on board that it was my birthday, including our attentive butler, for fear that he would make a big deal about it.  It wasn’t one of those birthdays that ends in a 0 but it did end in a 5 making it a mid-milestone birthday of sorts.  I had mused with my wife wondering if Oceania and their amazing crew would acknowledge my birthday because they obviously had my birthday in their system.

Well the day came and no mention from anyone on board.  We had booked my favorite specialty restaurant on board – Toscana, for that evening.  We were looking forward to their amazing gluten-free breadbasket, the olive oil and Balsamic vinegar cart, and the new dishes introduced by Giada De Laurentiis, Vista’s Godmother, and a consulting chef for Toscana.

a plate of food on a table
Our Two Favorite Dishes at Toscana – Ossobuco and Lemon/Dover Sole

We split Giada’s lemon pasta to start and I had the ossobuco and my wife had the lemon sole.  We were feeling very full and were debating the merits of a liquid dessert when a chocolate birthday cake arrived at our table with a small candle.  There was no singing, but the maitre d’, sommelier, and our server all stopped by to wish me a very happy birthday.  There was just one problem, the chocolate cake was not gluten free.

a chocolate cake with strawberries on top
The First Birthday Cake

Sidebar – one of the reasons I really love cruising and in particular cruising with Oceania Cruises is just how well they deal with our dietary restrictions.  They take the anxiety out of dining on vacation by ensuring that everything I’m served is prepared gluten-free and in many cases especially for me.  I’ve covered this topic here in our Oceania Cruises Vista Dining Review.  

Back to the chocolate cake.  Our waiter immediately understood the issue and apologized for the mix-up.  She offered to bring us any of the gluten free desserts on the menu and glasses of prosecco.  We were very appreciative of the gesture anyway and thanked them.  We might have also taken them up on the prosecco…

Returning to our room we found that it had been decorated for the occasion with balloons, a towel animal, and a card signed by our butler and housekeeping team.  All-in-all this exceeded my expectations by a wide margin.

balloons on a bed with a stuffed animal on it
Our Penthouse Suite Decorated for My Birthday
a pink balloon on a white towel
Our First Towel Animal Aboard Oceania Cruises

The next day the balloons were taken down while we were at breakfast and things returned to normal.  That is, until we came back from an excursion to find that we had a voicemail from the maitre ‘d at Toscana.  They had made a special gluten free cake and they really wanted to bring it to our room at our earliest convenience.  We called back and made arrangements to have it delivered.  At the designated time the vanilla gluten-free cake was delivered by the matre ‘d himself.  We were headed out to dinner and thought that we could enjoy it that evening after dinner and a stop at Founders Bar (this quickly became an after dinner tradition during this sailing).

Well we ended up at Founders Bar and were talking with a number of friends we’d made who had heard that it had been my birthday the night before.  Drinks began to arrive and so we thought that it might be fun to share the cake with friends.  A quick trip to the room and we all tucked into the cake along with the delicious craft cocktails on order.

a cake on a plate
The Second Birthday Cake – The Gluten Free One!

The Oceania Cruises crew were simply amazing! My birthday at sea – Oceania Cruises style was definitely one to remember!  – Michael

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2 COMMENTS

    • @dee – It sometimes feels like that. For me it started over 15 years ago; before that I was a complete omnivore.

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