Marina features three Owner's Suites, eight Vista Suites, 12 Oceania Suites (a new category), 124 Penthouse Suites, 20 deluxe oceanview staterooms, 466 verandah staterooms and 14 inside cabins. Wheelchair-accessible accommodations are available in each category.
Representing the vast majority of the lodging, the 282-square-foot verandah staterooms are awash in a sea of warm brown and grays and feature comfortable couches, flat-screen TV's, inviting teak decks and beds topped in 1,000-thread-count sheets. Add in marble-and-granite-bedecked bathrooms with separate showers and tubs, and you've got a real haven. Note: One complaint about Marina's bathrooms, that the showerhead is too low for tall passengers, will be fixed during the ship's next scheduled dry dock.
Inside cabins, at 174 square feet, are only slightly larger than the tiny inside cabins on Oceania's older ships. Oceanview staterooms, at 242 square feet, are outfitted with floor-to-ceiling windows -- so while there are no verandahs, there's still a copious amount of light. Verandah staterooms on the Concierge Level include a welcome bottle of Champagne, complimentary clothes-pressing at embarkation, priority dinner reservations and use of a lovely interior lounge with computers, snacks and a designated concierge.
Decks 10 and 11 are home to the Penthouse Suites, offering a welcome 420 square feet of space, 24-hour butler service and the same earthy palette. The separate living area -- complete with a sofa, two super-comfy chairs and a lighted vanity table -- opens up to a spacious verandah, decorated with wide wicker chairs. (One complaint: these balconies are large enough for a real dining table but only offer a cocktail table.) A walk-in closet ensures you won't have to look at piles of dirty clothes while onboard.
Suite guests are entitled to use the Executive Lounge on Deck 11. It's set up like the Concierge Lounge, with a large flat-screen television, printouts of daily newspapers like The Wall Street Journal, Internet stations and a concierge.
The higher-end options are predictably opulent, with the Oceania Suites offering 1,000 square feet of space atop Marina, private hot tubs and outdoor flat-screen televisions on over-sized verandas, media rooms, butler service, and living/dining room combos. The Vista Suites, which come with a private workout room, are about 25 percent larger than these and overlook the bow, so you're in for some astounding views. Both are decorated by noted interior designer Dakota Jackson, known for a design philosophy that he describes as "the furniture has to be beautiful, it has to be provocative, it has to be meaningful." He nails it!
The Owner's Suites, which each measure 2,000 square feet (there are three onboard), are among the most elaborate and spacious at sea. Using furnishings from Ralph Lauren Home, each of the Owner's Suites spans the beam of the ship, and features a large living and dining room, bedroom with king-sized bed, his and hers walk-in closets, a music room complete with a grand piano, and even a media room with professional entertainment system. There's a whirlpool tub in the bathroom and on the veranda (the latter has a flat-screen television outdoors).
On a ship whose crew is so service-oriented, it could be argued that butler service is not all that necessary. But in our two stays in Penthouse-category cabins, the outstanding above-and-beyond efforts definitely made a difference. In one case, our butler loaned us his own computer power cord when we realized we'd forgotten ours.
One real plus to booking a Penthouse, Oceania, Vista or Owner's Suite: At dinnertime, you can order room service off any of the ship's restaurant menus, including those from Red Ginger, Toscana, Polo Grill and Jacques.
Pluses: near the rear of the ship, our cabin easily accessed the aft Terrace Restaurant. Minuses: maybe a bit more engine noise than a midship cabin, and far from the concierge lounge. But a quiet location. The soundproofing between cabins seems to be very good.
Our cabin, 9105 (an A3 Concierge level stateroom) was in an excellent location. Nothing to impede the wonderful views from our veranda, quiet and only a few doors from the aft elevators and stairs. Luxurious well-planned bathroom and excellent lighting throughout...continue