Marina Cruise Review by flydc: Baltic Marvels on Oceania Marina
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Baltic Marvels on Oceania Marina
This was our second cruise with Oceania - both on the Marina. (This was my 12th cruise overall.)
This is a beautiful ship. Still very well taken care of. No real signs of aging anywhere. They take very good care of it - especially in high traffic areas.
The front line staff are amazing. Very, very friendly and many recognized us from our last cruise (8 months prior). They really do whatever they can to make sure you are happy. That being said, I didn't find the officers or supervisory staff (maitre d's, etc) to be friendly at all. They were very standoffish. I had an issue and needed help from the Oceania Club Ambassador. As soon as she found out I wasn't there to book a future cruise and had an issue with the program, she lost all interest in me. (We had sailed a few times with Azamara and found all their officers, etc to be amazingly personable. They would never walk past you without saying hello or starting a conversation.)
This time we booked a Penthouse More Suite. Very spacious. Great walk in closet. Love the bathroom - with plenty of marble everywhere. Bulgari amenities are very nice - including the Bulgari bath tea bag. Afternoon canapés were ok - nothing special. Butler service was nice. The butler couldn't do enough for us. We had bought some caviar on shore and the butler brought us all the fixings to go with it (crackers, cream cheese, onions, capers, etc.). He even toasted bread we bought in Russia to go along with it!
The Executive Lounge was a nice touch. Always available for coffee, sodas (although you already had them in your mini fridge in your cabin), and snacks. The concierge in the lounge wasn't particularly helpful but they tried.
Food on the ship continues to be the best I've had. Three of the four specialty restaurants were outstanding and one was just ok. Toscana - the Italian one - was the best. Artichoke Parmesan Timbale appetizer was amazing. Polo Grill surf and turf did not disappoint. Red Ginger beef teriyaki was most tender beef ever. Didn't really care for Jacques. Had the lobster thermidor and it was just ok. Grand Dining Room was mixed reviews. Three nights on this cruise. Had an amazing Beef Wellington cooked perfectly! This was only a 7 night cruise - so could only get into each specialty restaurant once - which was disappointing. We wanted to eat at Toscana a second time but no luck!
The spa was disappointing. We booked two massages in advance via Canyon Ranch. Once onboard found that they changed our times. When I asked why, they said that Canyon Ranch corporate doesn't have a clue about the staffing on each ship, capabilities, etc. Facility is nice - as is the gym. The only issue with the "private" spa deck is it seems like nobody is responsible for it. The spa staff doesn't do anything with the towels but the pool deck staff doesn't come through there at all either.
In many ports, there were shuttle busses. Most went ok but there were issues in a few ports (Warnemunde and Helsinki) and Oceania didn't care about the issues at all. They say they are provided by the port and they have nothing to do with it. I don't believe that for a second. I've been on ships when the port provides the shuttle bus. They are shared among all the ships in port, etc. These were for Oceania only - so Oceania should have taken a more active approach in making sure they worked as planned. Instead, they just wanted to distance themselves and wouldn't even hear about the issues. Kind of concerning.
While I really enjoyed Oceania - there are some issues that continue to bother me. Little things, but enough that I would look at Silversea or Azamara before booking Oceania. First, Oceania segments their customers more than the two other lines I mentioned. For example, regular cabins get limited breakfast room service, concierge level gets continental breakfast room service, and Suites get full, hot breakfast room service. Canapes only in suites and higher. Second, they make little things sound like they are big things. "Signature" chocolates are mints like you would get at a Marriott but they are stamped with the Oceania logo (I guess that's what makes them signature). Finally, they advertise suites have special check in lines. Not the case. One long line for everyone. Less
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