The good news—Marina is a pretty ship. Our room, a penthouse suite, was great. Lots of room,walk in closet,well laid out, good bathroom. Hard to beat. Our butler, Ghosh, was fantastic. He took good care of us as as we did of him.
Now dear Cruise Criticer, comes the bad news. How bad is the news? Let me count some of the problems.
1-Food-Lame. Runs from adequate to unacceptable. The food on Regatta some years ago was far better. A company extolling its food in its brochures comes up very short. To wit: A veal chop in Toscana is very fatty. The chef said come back I'll take care of you. We came back. All he could do was cut the fat, half the chop, out. We did not order it. Toscana was saved for us by the Maitre' D, Giuseppe, who gave us the best dishes available.
2-Restaurant staff, though extremely nice, are novices for the most part making service slow and choppy. The few professionals on board are frustrated and burned out.
3-Polo Lounge. Filet Mignon ordered sliced came back cut width wise. A novel approach that can only be learned at Mc Donalds. Terrible strip steak which is overcooked. Never heard of a steak house that did not have a NY sirloin. I have now. We did not return to Polo.
4-Red Ginger-Beautiful restaurant with bad food. Stick with the Sushi. Unlike the meats the sushi quality was fine.
5-Jacques- Best of a poor group. The cassoulet, though strange, was good. All else adequate.
6- Main dining room was adequate. They try but service is poor because of lack of training. Maitr' D's try very hard but it is a Sisyphisean job.
7-All the restaurants put things on the menu that are not there. Order Udon noodles one gets spaghetti, Coquille St. Jacque brings you scallops and potato in a butter sauce, cassoulet sans any confit. Koulibiac turns out to be a fish loaf not a hot fish, salmon, in puff pastry. Etc.etc. etc.
8-Very limited and grossly overpriced wine list. Especially since there are no taxes at sea. Found a pretty good value on the list and lo and behold they were out of it the next night. Much complaining resulted in them finding it. Very petty.
9-Overall attitude at reception not good. Generally you can get service but you need to fight for it. Lots of rules to be ignored. Tipping policy is outrageous. Mandatory tipping always results in poorer service. I eschew it and tip according to service. Oceania does not make that easy.
10-The days that tender service is necessary are a horror . Those paying exorbitant prices for tours through the ship are boarded first. This leaves a majority of people sitting around and waiting to board the tenders.
11-Management availability is nil. I wrote two letters to the CEO before leaving. Both went unanswered. Our luggage, which was supposed to be "priority delivery" did not show up in a timely way. Many calls to the General Manager were answered by robotic staff. Nothing was accomplished nor any apologies tendered. Sort of like a 2 star hotel.
My take is that Oceania views its customers as the travel agent not the people who pay full fare. They are better at crowd control than service. There were an astounding number of travel agents on this cruise. My guess is that this business plan will fail ultimately. In any case I do not feel that I received value for my money so I will not be returning to Oceania. I know that many of the non-cognizanti will jump on this review and defend the lame services of Oceania. That is just fine. Please remember this review is MINE and reflects MY very well considered views.
This particular Emperor is in need of a really good tailor. He is so naked he should be freezing. I suggest that Oceania allow the people who wrote their brochure run the cruise line. The difference between reality and the brochure is in line with The Emperor's new clothes.
Ports: Reyjavik,Dublin,Isle of Man very worthwhile. Belfast and the Bird Island of Vigur are losers.