This may be a different style review. Our main point is to start by saying that we had a very good time and enjoyed the company of our friends and some unexpected surprises discovering old friends among those on the cruise. We however were underwhelmed by this new ship and I really doubt we will ever book it again. We much preferred our previous three Oceania cruises on their smaller ships. So this is really a review of the ship more than that of the cruise which we fully enjoyed.
The Marina is from beginning to end a design disappointment when you think the design team would have learned what it takes to improve things. This is just a minor list of disappointments:
1. Not enough elevators, to small for 1,200 people, long waits, every elevator has floor arrived at in different location. Only two elevators on back of the ship where everyone goes up and down to eat. Remember these are very heavy Senior and many disabled touring, one wheel chair and the elevator is taken.
2. The Library is the worst example of design failure. The smaller ships have great library where one could go and relax. This maze is crowed, poorly lit, and clearly an afterthought. (This leads to the question, where when its cold outside and you must remain inside the ship do you relax outside your stateroom? No single chair offered, and there are not many, is at all comfortable to sit and read for any length of time.)
3. Dinning: The food was okay, not up to standards of previous voyages especially in the terrace at lunch time. Breakfast in main dining room was the worst. But the big problem is to many people on small ship. The tables in all the restaurants, especially main dining room and terrace are placed so close together that one has a hard time getting up and returning to table. Several days at lunch NO tables were even available for the four of us to sit together.
4. Entertainment: How is it possible that Oceania can't get any entertainment worth watching. New theater is improvement. But if you compare to Celebrity for example... well Oceania get an F. They need to get inventive as more people attended history lectures than entertainment, which only plays once at 9:45. As to television the flat screen is poorly placed on wall and does not rotate. They do not offer CNN. Broadcasts are not in wide screen or in HD so quality of movies is poor to awful.
5. Shore Excursions: Book your own. Oceania's web page is a confusing. The confirm you, then say tour is canceled and refund your money. Then you find it was not canceled. Then no one can answer a question or return a phone call. And then at the last minute they offer the tour anyway. Three credit card charges, refunds later. Their large bus tours lack any local flavor and are far to expensive. We booked most tours independently and say far more at far less money. In Belfast we had a great tour with 20 Cruise Critic members for only $75 a couple, including admissions. The bargain of any tour compared to lessor tour on Oceania which would have cost over $300.
6. The crew: You always want to route for the crew. And this crew does a good job. But most told us they did not like working the ship and wanted to return to smaller ship where they could get to know passengers easier. I have no complains but do wish their was a way to enjoy better relationships with individual crew members. They all seemed so busy and rushed.
7. Specialty restaurants: Most were good and we enjoyed them. However, we had situation in Toscana where we had to ask were our main course was. We were told the order was lost and our meal would take an hour longer. The waiter took all the blame but we were surprised no one from the restaurant came by to say anything or offer any compensation (a bottle of wine or maybe a return visit).
8. Value: Really the bottom line is that Oceania has just gotten to expensive for what it is offering. We took a cruise along the coast of Norway two years ago on Celebrity's Century (just refurbished) and yes they have fixed dinner times, and dress up nights and all. But it cost, including air, some $6,000 less. For a room equally as good. One has to ask if Oceania is really worth it? At least on the Marina.
9. Luggage: Lastly when Oceania took one of our bags to dock upon departure they broke the pull handle on the bag. So far no one has responded to my request for payment. We had to buy a replacement bag while in London. (I found it interesting that they never gave us the parts...so someone knew what they had done but thought they would just slip it buy.)
10. Cabin: My wife did not like the overhead shower head. Or why so much space was used for a bath tub when it could have been used in the stateroom. The closet is in a strange space where two people can not stand in front of it at the same time, nor get out of bed on that side.
11. Laundry: This one they got very right. Coin Laundry is found on each deck. We used several time and no one else was using it. Also the ships laundry is very good and fairly priced.
Overall we took this cruise because of our previous like of Oceania and the destinations. We were lucky on weather and really enjoyed all of the places we visited. Don't get my tell it like it is ship review convey the feeling that we did not have a good time, as we did enjoy the experience and all. Its just that in this competitive world others can offer the same or better for far less money.
Our suggestion is to avoid the Marina and stick with one of the three remaining older ships. (And one further observation. We felt very young at 66 among the Marina's passengers and although I am happy to see those many years more senior traveling I would prefer a wider range of ages on board. I suggest you not consider if you taking children.