We had an overall nice experience with Oceania Marina , although we did find there were certain areas fell below our expectations.
.Embarkation and Disembarkation were much quicker and smoother than our previous experience with the larger cruiseships. Upon checking at noon we were told our cabin number as we booked a guaranteed cabin verandah) and it wouldnt be ready until 3 pm , this was a bit late compared to our last experience with Celebrity and Princess. Also since no stateroom number was printed on the luggage tag provided by Oceania , it turned out that our luggage only arrived in full by 430pm , whereas it were sitting outside our cabin with Celebrity and Princess after we had checked in in noon time. Also normally you will get to meet your maid on embarkation day who would show up to greet you, but not on Oceania. Nevertheless we understood it was extremely busy hours for housekeeping staff.
Our stateroom was generally better than the other two cruise lines we tried before , given all were balcony cabin.Facilities in the room were same as what we learned in Oceania website such as heavenly plush bedding , spacious bathroom and mini bar filled with free soft drinks and soda water
Prior to joining this cruise my expectation is service level from Oceania will be higher than my previous experience with the larger cruiseship , however this was not the case from our encounter with personnels on Reception Desk , Destination Desk or Dining Reservation Desk. Somehow the staff were simply there to answer your question but you wouldnt feel their willngness to help at all. For example when we tried to make reservation on specialty dining , it was a totally frustrating experience as like many other fellow passengers we tried to book a few times and everytime we were turned down ,the reason given by the Dining Reservation Desk was some others guests had not signed up to try ,however throughout the cruise I also overheard many fellow passenger were not happy with this booking system, I actually had sympathy with the Dining Reservation Desk fellow as it was not easy to deal with so many upset faces everyday.
While in Grand Dining Room and Terrace Cafe food quality was definitely the best we had so far, nevertheless except a few , most servicing staff failed to show their passion and barely had smile on their faces, this fell short of the kind of sevice standard one expect in any other 4.5 star or above cruiseship . Also while most review had a high rating for Jacques and Red Ginger, we found both the ambience /decor of restaurant and food presentation not quite as good as the other specailty restaurants in our previous cruises. Polo Grill was good , Tuscany was okay.
One particular criticism I had on this cruise was the shuttle arrangement in Dubronik. We went back to the pick up point to line up 3 hours before boarding time, however unlike another cruise line no designated person were there to maintain the order. Meanwhile shuttle buses from other cruiseship (Cunard)arrrived one after another, their fellow passengers were assisted by designated person to board the bus. we had waited for over 30 minutes and still no bus arrived , the line was not a line anymore as more fellow passengers arrived and joined the queue randomly, finally when bus arrived after 40 minutes or so, people started to rush in front and it became a complete chaos, pushing and yelling were seen and it was not nice.
We thought this could be avoided if Oceania had been more proactive in maintaining a good shuttle service.
A lot of comments on Oceania excursion fare had been published, We didnt know how well those excursion got sold as we did most excursion on our own ,most cruise line made money on excursion so if one wanted to save money he had to do his homework. Nevertheless quite a few fellow passengers we talked to expressed the excursion fares were too expensive. Similary ,last cruise we disembarked in Venice we compared the coach transfer charges to airport between the two cruse lines, there was a significant difference in which one would have to pay a lot more on Oceania term. Once again one had to do his homework.
Finally ,We were particularly pleased with disembarkation as Oceania had deployed quite a few staff to assist guests in the luggage area as well as outside the cruise terminal.