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Slideshow: Oceania's Marina Celebrates Major Building Milestone

When Oceania Cruises celebrated the floating out of the 65,000-ton, 1,252-passenger Marina at Fincantieri's Sestri shipyard in Genoa, Italy, the symbolism of the event was as meaningful as any other float out we've ever covered. But there was a difference to this one. Marina is more than just the latest new addition to the fleet. It's the first brand-new, designed-from-scratch Oceania ship.

Any time a cruise line builds a new ship there's excitement around the milestone that's called "floating out," the ceremony that hails a ship's transition from mere construction site to an actual ship that floats. A vast door that keeps the sea away from the dry-dock -- which has contained the ship (perched on blocks) until this point -- is slowly opened. Water begins to pour into the dock until the ship floats on its own.

This event was extra special because, when Oceania was founded in 2003, it started by acquiring three ships that were built in the late 1990's. Its now much-loved Nautica, Regatta and Insignia have proven an amazing success for this young line, and will continue as staples of the fleet. But it has never designed its own -- until now.

At the ceremony, which also included a hard-hat tour of the ship, what was most intriguing was how familiar the half-built vessel feels. And that's because the design really celebrates the style and facilities that already are components of an Oceania cruise. It's just … better. There are more restaurant choices, a superb state-of-the-art culinary workshop, a vastly expanded library, and a spa with far more bells and whistles. The layout, though, is familiar. The Titanic-esque staircase, such a staple of Oceania's trio, returns. And Oceania's able to build on the one aspect of its existing ships that just about everybody would like to see improved: bigger, more contemporary and more comfortable cabins.

Whether you're as excited to see Marina as we are -- or you just want to experience a hard-hat new ship tour -- please join us in our virtual slideshow.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief

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