Forget "Upper Premium"...this is Exceptional Cruising
We took the opportunity last Winter to dive head first into the Oceania waters by grabbing a couple of rooms. A balcony and a penthouse.
We traveled to Barcelona in style via Continental Airline's BusinessFirst product via IAH to FRA and then connecting onward via Lufthansa.
I had booked the Eurostars Grand Marina in hopes that the ship would be docked out of the back door, but alas, Marina would be elsewhere close by. We were upgraded at the hotel and had nice rooms with comfortable showers, bedding, and niceties. The Continental breakfast was HUGE. I would order just one if you do this anytime soon.
Transfer to the ship was 5 minutes from the Eurostars.
Marina was very proud in her stately, but temporary residence, at the port in Barcelona. As this was the Maiden Voyage, there were some balloons and festivities going on at the check in hall. It took all of 2 minutes to complete check in before being directed onto the ship.
This ship is understated elegance throughout. Where gimmicks abound on other ships, Marina's designers prefer to make exceptional choices in fabrics and furnishings. Gaudy is replaced by grand. Chrome is relegated to the backseat while crystal takes the driver's seat. Even the carpet says upscale home underneath your feet. More than once, I wanted to walk through the Grand Bar area barefooted.
As this ship is essentially non-smoking, the air is clean and the upholstery will undoubtedly stay fresh for a very long time. Areas typically associated with smoke on a ship (bars and casinos) were equally bright and fresh and should stay that way for a long time.
Attention to detail is everywhere. Instead of rolling off a litany of those experiences, I'd point you to a cruise critic thread where this was discussed in detail: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1339111
Service was fantastic throughout the voyage whether in the "buffet" area or the Grand Dining Room or the specialty dining spots. Service was always with a smile from a dedicated crew of hard working people from all parts of the world. There was very little out of sync with the service even though this was the maiden voyage. Compared to other cruises, the service was exceptional.
Rooms were quite nice. I love the size and general layout of the R and S class Holland ship balcony rooms. Our balcony cabin did have a bit of a noise issue at times in rougher water as well as coming and going out of a crew cabin area just down the hall, but overall the room was nicely furnished and the bathroom was the definition of elegant. Very little plastic can be found in an Oceania Marina cabin. The penthouse cabin had an even larger bathroom space and a well appreciated walk in closet. In both rooms, the bedding and mattress were exceptional.
Great food was a signature of this line and significant reason we chose to take this cruise. Each dining spot had fantastic dishes and service. I know some people think gathering up specialty dining reservations is as precious as panning for gold in California, but I will say that the Grand Dining Room did a great job each and every night. Additionally, the menu changes there and can offer some real surprises. The menu descriptions are understated for what comes out on the plate. Also, the nighttime Terrace Cafe is a treasure that should really be tried for variety and beauty. All in all, the dining experience on Marina met or exceeded anything we have experienced at the upper end/luxury hotels in Vegas. Again, exceptional dining is the standard onboard. No matter where you go, you would have a hard time having a bad meal.
Unfortunately, you may suffer from the same malady many of us cruisers on Marina had......
'O'mania. We felt that when we knew our cruise was about to end.
Very few vacations meet the expectations of the persons making the journey. Marina exceeded our expectations. For that reason, I rate the Marina 'exceptional'.