This back to back combination of two journeys from Barcelona via Istanbul to Athens was our fist experience with OCEANIA.
With some 20+ cruises on board of ships from Cunard (QM2), Hapag-Lloyd (Europa) Regent and Seabourn our curiosty was piqued to OCEANIA's new ships and
the disgner-styled large suites there.
Unfortunately we booked a pre-cruise arrangement with OCEANIA, what we never would do again! The Boutique-style hotel (1898) was really nice, but the small room with nearly absence of any day-light which was booked for us reminded to be more a broom-closet than a stateroom. With lack of any further assistance or
support, except a small general information sheet, the guaranteed transfer to the port did not happen. Hence we organized our transportation to the ship by ourself.
Smooth, efficient, fast and no lines!
After arrival at 11.30 am our Suite was ready for occupation without any delay.
downside: from Pier to Suite our luggage made a 5 hours journey. This is really not "prority delivery within one hour" as advertised!
The Owner's Suites on Marina are an Interiors Designer's delight and absolutely
marvellous and to die for! Spanning from one side to the other at the ship's
stern it is all about space and style and guarantees the privacy of a large yacht as well. Travelling in such a phantastic setting is hardly to beat. The
most spacious and best equipped Suite we ever enjoyed on baord of a ship!
Our Cabin-Stewards Joseph and his young assistant did a phantastic job. Charming, smiling, friendly, always just in time: perfect!
Ravi, our Butler, first had some minor problems as he tended to forget his
orders. But by the end of the cruise his service was really much more
improved and we had been rather more satisfied.
With Suite 10111 there is only one problem: the fall-out of carbon black out of
the ships chimney (unbelivable for a 'Green Ship')and, much more, the garbage thrown down from the Terrace-Cafe two decks above. Nearly every second morning our balconies had been covered with napkins, paper, fruits, korks, crackers and even broken bits of glass(!)and fixing pins. If you prefer having breakfast on your private terasse, it has to be cleaned first. Sometimes you had to be careful if the Terasse-Cafe was cleaned after Lunch: without any warning some water splashed down. For our next cruises on 'Riviera' we booked the Owner's Suites on Deck 8 and 9 which - as it was told - are not as problematic as Suite 10111.
Famous for its dining expierience, OCEANIA fullfilled all our exspectations.
The quality of meals in all of the restaurants we tried was - with one exeption - of top quality. Even in the Grand Dining Room the the kitchen worked excellent. Not our style, we did not try 'Waves' and the 'Terrace'
Service ranking: 'Polo Grill' and 'Jacques': excellent, 'Toscana', 'Red Ginger' and 'Grand Dining Room': very well, 'Terrace Cafe'(for lunch): sometimes ok, sometimes poor.
The service at 'La Privee' seems a little bit over exposed - you do not have a chance for private conversation without beeing interrupted by the waiter.
We booked onboard two private cars with guide for Israel and one for Istanbul: perfectly organized but extremely expansive. Otherwise we made our private
arrangements, which worked extremely well.
We booked onboard a private car to the Aiport.
Even with 4(!)cruise ships arriving at the same time and regardless the hughe crowds we never expirienced such a well organized disembarkation before. After leaving the ship at the scheduled time a personal guide and a porter exspected us with our luggage, showed us the way and accompanied us right to the waiting car: perfect!
The 'Marina' is a marvellous ship: spacious, elegant and stylish. Regarding the pictures, sculptures and some decoration this is not only pure Interior Disigner's routine: you feel, that there must be an OCEANIA excecutive, who personally tooks care of it.
Having some fears about the size of the ship, as - with the exception of a Transatlantic Crossing with QM2 - we never sailed on such a large vessel,it was really a surprise: the 'Marina' absorbes its 1200 Passengers very, very well. One never had a cramped feeling or the atmosphere of beeing in a hughe crowd. At some places the ship feels homy and intimate. Even the tender-service works extremely well and is better organized than on all smaller ships we travelled.
Only in terms of individual attention, the 'Marina' lacks the personal atmosphere of smaller ships. This applies not for the restaurants, where you mostly are personally wellcomed by name.
Otherwise at the reception you feel more treated with the unpersonal routine of a call-center (we apologize, we double-check, we try...). Regarding our 'garbage' problem, absolutely nothing happend! Trying to get an appointment with the Marina's GM was such a hard task, that I gave it up! It seems to be easier to get a reception with the Emperior of China than with Monsieur Lacroix himself! After nearly four weeks onboard 'Marina' the GM was only virtually excisting.
Observing how some of the decks personal are operating and with quite a little experience on board of other ships, you get a feeling, that the attention to details and guests could be improved by the 'Marina's management.
Overall: this was a very good experience, which we highly recommand. Maybe it will be even better next time: we are looking forward to our next three journeys onboard 'Riviera'. Less