Port intensive, great service, wonderful food: Marina Cruise Review by dundeene
Overall Member Rating
Port intensive, great service, wonderful food
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Using Oceania air arrangements we flew to Atlanta then to Barcelona on Delta.
We arrived in Barcelona on time and easily found a cab to the Hotel Art's where we stayed the 1st night. The Art's is located on the beach near many restaurants. We were on the 27th floor with a gorgeous view of both the city and beach. The hop-on-hop off bus gives you a quick method to see many "touristy" sites. Cabs are very easy to find.
At noon we left for the port by taxi and arrived at 12:30. It took about 25 minutes to check our luggage pass through security and walk onto the ship. Service personnel were fast and friendly.
The ship is new and beautiful with modern colors and free of the glitzy Las Vegas look of many cruise ships. (Wonderful art throughout) We ate lunch in the Grill near the pool. The lobster and filet mignon burger was delicious and perfectly cooked. The More parmesan fries were addictive. Service was very attentive.
Our PH2 was ready by 1pm. We meet with our butler Churchill at about 4pm. He discussed his service role and how he would work to make our cruise wonderful.
How we utilized the butler; pressing clothes, breakfast in-suite every morning, in-suite specialty restaurant service (Toscana and Polo), evening canapies, wine service, port and tour advice, extra specialty restaurant reservations.
The best kept secret on-board is the beautiful serenity deck, covered loungers, quiet and secluded. It is open to concierge and higher cabins, has 2 rarely used whirlpools and gorgeous views.
We reserved 4 specialty restaurant reservations online and added two extra on-board. It was not hard to add reservations if you were flexible. All of the specialty restaurants were delicious, favorites include;duck and watermelon salad, seabass and scallops in Red Ginger, filet mignon, lobster bisque in Polo, everything in Jacques, minestrone, veal shank and spinach pasta in Toscana the bread was amazing in every venue(chocolate croissants!), steaks were tender and properly cooked as was lobster.
We found the nightly menu specials to be of an especially high quality. (seeming to revolve around the fresh foods available in the port we were visiting)
The main dining room offered open seating. We found there to be too few sommeliers in this venue. We waited 20 minutes to have empty wine glasses filled. Food was not hot when delivered, the waiter did keep up with our pacing and promptly removed each course and added the next. Wine lists were large with wines of varying price points and quality. Carry on alcohol policy is VERY liberal.
The cooking class was fun and fast paced but very basic in technique. Oceania should advertise it in a way to let experienced cooks know it is intended for beginners. I cancelled my 2nd class.
We never saw a walker or mobility scooter while on-board (a few wheelchairs). We expected a much older crowd but would say the average age was 60, with less than a dozen children on-board, a dozen honeymoon couples and many couples like ourselves celebrating important milestones.
Cruisers were well traveled and very congenial. The CC "meet and greet" was well attended and I felt I knew 50 of my fellow cruisers by the 1st night. All of our tours were private shared-tours arranged on our roll call.
Service standouts were our butler Churchill A+, Danny D. in the piano bar and Horizons, concierge Maria on deck 5, and Jose our cabin steward.The concierge in the executive lounge was helpful and knowledgeable.
The ship was very clean and I saw service personnel constantly cleaning public areas, hand-rails etc. Our cabin was serviced 2 to 3 times daily and always well stocked and clean.The only friends against our 1st cruise being on Oceania stated that after setting the bar so high, other cruise lines would not measure up. Oceania met our very high expectations. We will definitely cruise Oceania again! Less