My partner and I have just returned from 20 days on Marina. We took back-to-back cruises, the first from Barcelona to Rome, and the second from Rome to Venice. This was my second time on Marina and I would return in a heartbeat.
I was first attracted to the ship because of the Bon Appetit Culinary Center. It offers hands-on cooking classes on a variety of themes. On this cruise, it was combined with shore excursions to allow participants to shop in local markets, experience local wineries, then return to the ship with the purchases. Back on board, we learned new recipes and techniques, using the items we had bought. At first glance, these were very expensive - $300 or more on average. But they turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip and worth every penny. Chef Annie proved to be an excellent host. Each guest was given Euros and a shopping assignment for the dishes we would prepare later. On one tour we visited behind the scenes in a local bakery where we were guided in filling our own cannolis, which we got to eat afterward. We had beautiful lunches at the wineries, along with generous servings of wine. The tours were always in immaculate modern buses with local guides who spoke excellent English. There was no skimping and we wound up wishing we had arranged for one of these tours in every port when they were available.
We spent a lot of time in the fitness center, part of the Canyon Ranch Spa. The equipment was modern and well maintained.
Crew was consistently warm, friendly and helpful. Food was beyond description. We ate mostly in the Terrace and Waves Grill (for lunch). Afternoon tea was magnificent and elegant.