Marina Review

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78% of cruisers loved it
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Why Choose Marina?

  • Pro: Newbuild offers line's signature top-notch food and drink, with more amenities.
  • Con: Entertainment options can be so so.
  • Bottom Line: Easy to navigate ship with just enough inclusions makes this a perfect cruise for foodies.
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Marina Overview

By Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief; John Deiner, Cruise Critic contributor

Editor Rating

A relative upstart among the cruise lines, having only been in existence since 2003, Oceania Cruises officially entered the big time in January 2011 with the launch of Marina, its first new-build. Sleek, spacious and oh-so-chic, Marina marks a giant step forward for the fledgling upper-premium line. (Riviera, Marina's nearly-identical sibling, launched in May 2012.)

Upper premium? Hmmm. After spending a few days aboard the 66,084-ton, 1,258-passenger vessel, you may begin to wonder if Marina has actually pushed Oceania across the line into luxury. Credit goes to the uber-fine dining (including super-chef Jacques Pepin's first namesake restaurant), amenity-packed cabins and abundance of artwork at every corner. Indeed, much of the inspiration for the ship's design came from such high-end establishments as Miami's Mondrian Hotel, the Palm Court at NYC's Plaza Hotel and Bouchon restaurant in Napa. Marina is not a true luxury ship, of course; its cruises sell at a more moderate price point and are significantly less inclusive (passengers will have to bring out their wallets for a range of fares charged a la carte, from cocktails to enrichment programs).

Of course, there are plenty of places to think about the distinction while chilling aboard the ship, whether you're getting a massage in the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, reading a good book next to the faux fireplace in the massive (yet surprisingly cozy) library or straddling one of the oversized padded lounges in the Sanctuary -- an aptly named touch o' the South Pacific near the pool that offers copious shade, swaying palms, ceiling fans and dedicated drink waiters.

Inasmuch as the ship offers double the capacity of Oceania's older vessels, it's no surprise Marina introduces a number of innovations to the line. One of the most touted is its Culinary Center, offering highly entertaining -- and practical -- hands-on cooking lessons from Culinary Institute of America instructors. Marina's culinary center is the most elaborate in cruising.

New restaurants include La Reserve, a 24-seat wine-themed eatery from Wine Spectator magazine; Jacques, for French country cooking; and Red Ginger, an Asian fusion mecca whose decor alone (a sea of deep reds, black and dark wood) will leave you smitten. In addition, cabins are larger, with an earthier palette and greatly expanded bathrooms.

Right out of the shipyard, Oceania Marina got most things right, but there were glitches. Service, generally superb in any venue we came across, didn't live up to the cruise line's standards in the Terrace Grill, the ship's casual restaurant, on a number of occasions (particularly when dining on the otherwise lovely alfresco terrace off the back). The bars and lounges laid out along the Deck 5 corridor, which passengers tramp through on their way to the Grand Restaurant, weren't particularly appealing or intimate. (Much nicer was the Horizon, the ship's top-deck bar and lounge.) Evening entertainment, never an Oceania strong point, was mediocre. Also, given the ship's port-intensive itineraries (with very few sea days), we found that activities often conflicted with time in port or were held at dinnertime. As a result, sometimes you had to make tough choices about what to do.

Despite these minor complaints, you can expect a ship that's fun to explore, focused on food and wine, easy to navigate and easy on the wallet when compared to luxury lines (hence that "upper-premium" designation).

Marina Fellow Passengers

Travelers tend to fall into the older age ranges (50 and up), are well traveled and hail mostly from the U.S. and Canada, with Brits and Australians making up the balance.

Marina Dress Code

Think casual-but-elegant throughout the ship, both day and night. Tank tops and swimwear are discouraged at all times from any of the restaurants, while shorts, jeans, T-shirts, sneakers and sandals are not allowed in most eateries at dinner. Men can't go wrong with blazers and slacks after sunset, while women will feel comfortable in dresses or skirts with blouses.

Marina Gratuity

Tips are automatically charged to your onboard account at the rate of $16 per person, per day. Passengers in suites with butler service (Penthouse, Vista and Owner's suites) are charged an additional $7 per person, per day. Room teams, favorite bartenders, the sommelier, the maitre d' and certain waitstaff members might be worthy of more, which can be offered at each passenger's discretion. It's expected that those bringing room service will be tipped (anywhere from $1 to $5, depending on what's ordered) as items are delivered.

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Marina Member Reviews

The food was great. Favorite restaurants were Toscana and Jacques. A little disappointed in Polo. The dinner buffet was excellent as were the breakfast and lunch buffets. Service was impeccable throughout the ship. Entertainment was good but ... Read more
We have sailed with Carnival, Celebrity. Royal Caribbean and Princess on various cruises previously. We had heard from many that Oceania was a favorite of theirs. We were ready for the "next level" and we were not disappointed. The ... Read more
This was our 8th Oceania cruise over 13 years. We saw this cruise line rise to excellence, then fall recently under the holding company to low levels, and now is back to it excellence. The food is by far the best on the seas. We recently did a two ... Read more
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Marina Ratings

Editor Rating 5.0 Member Rating
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