Think of a new shopping mall - dazzling architecture - quality construction - fabulous press reviews - then when you get there you find the same old stuff for sale by the same old 'can't be bothered' sales staff. That sums up Marina for us although to be fair I must say most crew members were exceedingly nice, friendly and helpful - it was the supervisors, managers and crew that were not up to scratch.
Pre-cruise communication with head office was poor - unacceptable would be a better word.
Once on board, and the boarding process was excellent, we liked the ship and liked our suite. We'd read prior complaints about small showers, lack of power points, 'plastic' teak on the balconies, etc but overall we'd rate the suite at something like 98 out of 100. Regarding the size of the shower stall - I'm 6ft 200# and found it adequately sized - in fact in any degree of rolling sea I'd be glad it was the size and shape it was.
Wearing a tail coat does not a butler More
make. Nuff said. Silly marketing idea.
Restaurants - generally good food but ineffective service. Plenty of wait staff 'running' around but not achieving the basics of attentive service. Choice of food on menu decreased as cruise went on. We were promised "priority booking" in the specialty restaurants with our suite but our so-called butler could not get any booking earlier than 8.30pm, the latest available time, on any day. Twice we just turned up early and were accepted straight away. On one of the others we had to wait over 15 minutes, to 8.45pm, to get anyone to greet-and-seat us and did not get any food until after 9.30pm.
General Dining Room was a disaster - tried it twice - never went back. Best service was in the self-service Terrace Cafe - that about says it all.
Shore excursions - expensive and nothing special. We've certainly had much better on other cruise lines. Oceania's attitude towards shuttle bus services to the local towns was interesting - Head Office denied having any at all - but once on board the attitude was something like "We understand the local tourist office might have arranged something but you're on your own if you want to risk it". In fact they were run by the same bus companies as the formal tours. Hmmm!
The ship is big enough that it could not enter three of the scheduled ports. (So why schedule them?) At two of them there was a slight swell so using tenders was considered too dangerous. Let me emphasize that again - a SLIGHT swell was considered too dangerous. The situation in both places would have been quite acceptable to any normally active person - senior citizen or not. I and others concluded that the small number of physically challenged and/or senile passengers on board affected the decision for all of us. Why could Oceania not manage it better so that the 20 or so who would have had problems did not ruin the day for the 1000 and more who could have handled it?
Bottom line? Nice ship - nice staff - poor management - and with all the extras more expensive than a true luxury cruise ship. Less
Marina Cruises to the British Isles & Western Europe