We arrived in Barcelona two days early. Took taxi to DuQuesa De Cardona, our hotel (5*) The night before the cruise there was a pre-cruise dinner for forty of us (CC roll call members). off to a great start with new friends. Embarkation was like living a dream, we had seen so many photos but here it was, live. No waiting, no lines, plenty of happy people. We were in cabin 8062, taken good care of by our two attendants. There were a few times we found the cabin quite warm and noted that on our review. The comforter was too warm and we were told there were no light blankets. The ship was one delight after another: look at the lamps, look at the painting, look at the chairs, look at the new restaurants and look at the GDR, what a spectacle of beauty. The library became on of our most visited public spots with many comfortable chairs and reading "coves" and the books were plentiful and brand new, latest editions of travel books, novels, non-fiction, etc. There are more than enough public spaces to sit and relax, read or visit with friends. The upholstery, the wall coverings, the draperies, the art, sculptures, carpeting, wood paneling, and of course the Lalique crystal. Very different from the other O ships and yet did not feel the presence of the larger number of passengers at any time or venue. The new restaurants were delicious for us although we did hear a few complaints the first few days. We still like Toscana best but will miss Jacques and Red Ginger on our next Regatta cruise. One highlight was La Reserve, a wonderful experience, well paced, beautifully presented food and wine pairings. A group of 12 at tables for two resulted in a quiet and friendly atmosphere for a three + hour meal. We did not experience much entertainment, only one evening (we retire early, sitting on our balcony, weather permitting, with a cocktail). The new entertainment was colorful and the orchestra that played for them very good. The seats in the lounge have a school type tray that rises from under one arm of the chair and was not comfortable for using when the person had a large waist (yes, overweight) so fine for a thin person. The days began a bit cool and there were a couple of rough sea days and as we traveled to Miami the weather was fine for swimming and sunning. Mid cruise the staff opened the doors to the verandas and washed all the furniture, railings, glass door windows and the deck itself, which had been salted quite well by that time. Embarkation day we enjoyed the welcome from all the Miami cheers and celebrations, sat on our deck for a couple of hours and then went to the pool area to sit and wait for our turn to leave (done by color coding luggage tickets and according to flight times). That is a strange time, no water, no iced tea, no snacks, just waiting (although not hard to do in that setting with a blue sky and sun shining). The disembarkation area was chaos and people were waiting for transport in just about any form, taxi's being very limited. We had planned a taxi but ended up taking a shuttle after waiting for a good half hour. It seemed everyone wanted to get on the same shuttle and there were some rude behaviors from some people. We had plenty of time for our flight and were able to relax again in the airport.
Although I remember all of our cruises, this one will always THE Maiden Voyage on Oceania's Marina. We have a reservation Jan. 2012 on Marina and will have the same cabin, will there be changes, wear and tear, lightweight blankets?
Thanks Oceania Marina (ship, staff, friends) for giving us more than we'd hoped for.
BTW, the one time only, complimentary alcohol and Internet spoiled us big time. Way more than we'd hoped for :-}