Oceania Cruises makes a bold claim in it’s advertising: “The finest cuisine at sea.” So a luncheon invitation to the Sirena, on her first visit to Sydney was not to be missed.

The 684-passenger ship has just undergone a US$50 million facelift and to show off her new look, Sirena entertained media and travel agents at the new Red Ginger Asian fusion restaurant all decked out in red chandeliers, red chairs, red glasses against dark ebony wooden walls.

And its kitchens certainly lived up to its reputation

The five-course meal had three entrees – sesame encrusted tuna tataki served with wasabi cream, signature dish spicy duck with watermelon and cashew nuts salad and Tom Kha Gai, a chicken lemongrass and coconut soup.

For mains, there was a choice of four – miso glazed seabass wrapped in hoba leaf, lobster pad Thai, bulgogi rub-eye steak and Thai vegetable curry. Dessert was a bounty cake filed with coconut and vanilla bean.

The presentation of the dishes was impressive and guests

even had a choice of eating with a selection of different chopsticks from red lacquer to ivory.

The chopsticks were personally selected by a waiter. Specialty tea was also available from a white Japanese tea made with pear and ginger to lemongrass and ginger tea.

It was an exceptional meal with big flavours and big serves.

French master chef Jacques Pepin has been the line’s executive culinary director since the start. He is still responsible for inspiring a team of chefs to produce a range of cuisines served across the fleet, in world-class restaurants that are all complimentary.

Sirena has two new dining venues, Tuscan Steak, which pairs Italian fine dining with fresh seafood, and Red Ginger, which serves spicy Asian cuisine.

The quietly elegant ship has a martini bar, a library stocked with 2000 books, a card room, an internet room with a manager to help you connect, a grand dining room, a terrace café which offers roasts, pasta, pizza and a wide selection of desserts and a horizon lounge for cocktails and late night dancing. There are also two speciality restaurants, the Tuscan Grill and Red Ginger.

“The Oceania brand resonates with Australian passengers as we have a very casual style. No jacket or tie is required for dinner. Australia is our second biggest market after the US – we beat the UK market a few weeks ago,’’ said Steve Odell, managing director of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

Sirena left for Brisbane last night with 60 Australians among the 670 guests on a 34-day circumnavigation itinerary around Australia.