I’m onboard Oceania cruise line’s Insignia. A beautiful luxury cruise ship sailing the lands of the midnight sun!
When one pictures Russia, it conjures an image of mystery shrouded behind an iron curtain. however, the people are warm and welcoming to visitors. I’m in Murmansk, Russia on the Arctic Ocean, a rarely visited port. Certainly when it comes to exotic cruises, an Arctic cruise itinerary like this provides exploration and adventure not typical of most destinations. Murmansk is Russia’s only year around ice free port in the area. It’s a place that looks exactly what you picture of the U.S.S.R.. Large apartment buildings dominate the landscape – cold and imposing, yet fascinating at the same time. There are monuments to the fallen heroes of the wars throughout the city, some on a giant (over 140 feet tall) scale that recall the days of the former Soviet empire. The highlights are the cathedral and the museum, both must-see sights when you visit.
The dining onboard Oceania Cruises is phenomenal, with service to match. I have had opportunities now to try all of the options: The Grand Dining Room which is strictly open seating; the by-reservations-only Polo Grill for steaks and seafood; and my favorite, Toscana, a beautiful Italian trattoria. For those wanting something more casual, there is the Terrace Café that even offers sushi and sashimi.
Oceania Cruises is one of the top cruise lines and they did a wonderful job today taking us through Murmansk on a Russian vacation package.