Marina Cruise Review by travelinjudy: Disappointed in the Oceania Marina
Overall Member Rating
Disappointed in the Oceania Marina
Destination: South America
We took our 7th cruise on Oceania,(I've taken 47 cruises all tolled) and our first on the Marina. Though we prefer the smaller ships, we were curious to see if the Marina was as exceptional as many said. We had a concierge balcony cabin on the 9th floor. Although the cabin was bigger than on the small ships, it was poorly laid out. We had a twin bed configuration, which put one bed so close to the closet you practically stepped into it if you got up at night in the dark. Also, only one person could access the closet area at a time. The 2 power outlets in the desk area were so close together that you could only use one at a time. The bathroom although larger than on the Regatta (etc.) was a joke. The tub was useless, except to hang laundry. Older people generally have trouble stepping over the side of the tub, and if there is any ship movement it could be a disaster waiting to happen.
The shower enclosure was as small as on the small ships, only less convenient to move More around in or exit. The area in the cabinwhere the couch was located was about the same size as on the smaller ships. In short, it did not feel like a more spacious stateroom, with the exception of the balcony, which did feel a bit larger.
The public rooms weren't much better, as far as furniture and configuration were concerned. Horizons was like a barn with extra heavy chairs that were difficult to move around--much like the chairs in most of the bars. The color schemes left me cold, and the venues couldn't hold all the people who wanted to use them if there was a large function. The Marina Lounge design was a disaster as far as sight-line was concerned. The library was another problem--if people were sitting in the chairs it was hard to access the book shelves behind them. And the coffee bar was next to the library, so you often heard loud conversations when you were trying to quietly read.
As for the food, we ate almost all meals in the Terrace cafe and found the food to be mediocre at best. The salads were boring and unimaginative, the entrees were repeated over and over, and with the exception of the grill food -steaks, lobsters and hamburgers, much of the meats were tasteless. It was apparent they were using cheaper cuts of meat. It seems Oceania is much more concerned with presentation rather than taste.
Oceania's policies and practices are also a source of disappointment. They are still nickle and diming passengers to death--things like paying $3.95 for a "setup fee" for the internet, when you set it up yourself and they do nothing; or $4.00 for using the washers and dryers. They're excursions are so overpriced, no one in their right mind would take them, and their 18% gratuity is about 3% too high, especially since you pay gratuities on the ship anyway.
I caught bronchitis on the cruise, and began taking antibiotics that I had brought with me for that purpose, but my throat was extremely sore for 3 days, so I thought I'd better get a strep test, in case I had it--I didn't want to infect the rest of the ship. I went to the Medical clinic, and asked only for a strep test. They insisted I had to see the doctor, for a charge of $145 just to walk through the door. When I told the doctor I had bronchitis and was taking Biaxin for it, he said "who diagnosed you?" I told him I have chronic bronchitis, and I diagnosed myself. He said I had to have 2 tests before he would give me a strep test. One was a CBC test, the other a test for "the type of Bronchitis", which I had NEVER had in all my years of treatment. I refuse to take the second test, and questioned the need for both tests, other than to charge me more money. He got furious with me. They finally did the strep test (which was negative) and tried to give me some medication--some of which I already told the Doctor I was taking - (he said I wasn't taking the right medicine--then prescribed the generic version of the SAME medication.) He also gave me some medication I said I would rather buy at the farmacia in town, but he said I needed what they were giving me. I was charged $193 for 6 Claritin D pills, an Robitussin -equivalent cough medicine and the same antibiotic I already possessed. This medication sans antibiotic would have come to about $20 in the farmacia. My total bill came to $495! I was livid, and complained loudly to the Executive Concierge who finally intervened, and after another confrontation with the doctor, I received a phone call saying there had been a "mistake" in the charges for the medication, and if I returned the antibiotic which I hadn't taken, the medication charge would be adjusted to $26.00. Still overpriced, but I accepted it. My total bill was reduced to $326. Needless to say, the whole experience left a very bad impression on me, especially since the medical personnel are Oceania employees.
Overall, the rest of the service on the ship was excellent, the concierge lounge as very nice, and the ports were great. But this will be our last Oceania cruise--there are other cruise lines that are a MUCH BETTER value for the money, have equally as good or better food and service, and are more passenger-oriented than food-oriented. Less
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