65 Barcelona Oceania Marina Cruise Reviews

We had a great time on this cruise. The ship is beautiful and the food, as expected, is what differentiates Oceania from the others. The entertainment was better than we expected. We enjoyed it almost every night. There was one ... Read More
We had a great time on this cruise. The ship is beautiful and the food, as expected, is what differentiates Oceania from the others. The entertainment was better than we expected. We enjoyed it almost every night. There was one entertainer who's claim to fame was the "happy days" jingle. It was way overdone. Get over the 80's already! Food was excellent in all venues. This was a very port intensive cruise so we probaby did not get to enjoy all this gorgeous ship had to offer. The only tacky thing was that despite their marketing, Oceania did not offer really any complementary tranfers to town. In fact in one port, we could not get to the designated port so we docked elsewhere and Oceania bussed us to the port. Then we were abandonned! They published a bus schedule. We took one bus to town. Then we arrived for our return bus 15 minutes early. The local contact advised us the return bus had already left as it filled up early. Next bus was in two hours!! some folks took a return cab. So again, there is no complementary bus/transfer! Same thing with complentary clothes pressing. forget it! We booked a concierge cabin. The complementary pressing covers one article per person. Hardly worth the print cost in the marketing material. So again, don't count on it. Overall the ship and the food made this trip worthwhile. Regarding the shore excursions, way overpriced! Organize on cruisecritic and do your own! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
This was a great cruise for my 60 th birthday. My wife and i were going to be back in Italy and we were told that Jacques Pepin was going to be teaching some cooking classes.This was great news since he is my wife favorite as well as mine. ... Read More
This was a great cruise for my 60 th birthday. My wife and i were going to be back in Italy and we were told that Jacques Pepin was going to be teaching some cooking classes.This was great news since he is my wife favorite as well as mine. This did not happen he did make a few appearance's in 1 or 2 classes and did do a cooking demo and signed books.Our room was fantastic as well as thestaff. The best restaurants were Red Ginger, Toscana,Terrace Cafe and Waves. The worst were Polo Grill bad service, Jacques good service ,food OK at best, Grand dining room OK food.The ports of call were great except for Livorno looking at a container ship for two days not a great view one day world have been enough. More time was needed at Sorrento, not enough time to see Carpi or Pompeii. The Bon Appetit Culinary Center was very hard to get a booking into. The people at Oceana did not have a clue at to what was going one , talk to five people get five different answers.The cooking classes if you do get in are great and worth all of the grief. The total experence was Great and overall well worth the price. If you are like my wife and i ,you might be bored because most of the people act their age, unlike those of us that 40 years old stuck in 55 year old plus bodies Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Recently returned from first Oceania Cruise aboard Marina and was greatly disappointed. This was the May 12 cruise from Barcelona to Rome heavily promoted by Oceania as a tremendous culinary trip with Bon Apetit chefs and the noted Jacque ... Read More
Recently returned from first Oceania Cruise aboard Marina and was greatly disappointed. This was the May 12 cruise from Barcelona to Rome heavily promoted by Oceania as a tremendous culinary trip with Bon Apetit chefs and the noted Jacque Peppin. I signed up for many of the cooking classes and was told early that some of market tours and classes were reserved for a special group...so did not get those. But I did sign up for four of the Peppin classes in the Culinary Kitchen, paid the fees, but was notified only on the day of arrival with a not in the cabin that the classes were canceled. I never received an explanation or apology. The food aboard the ship was good but not great. Red Ginger and Toscano were very good but Jacques (served a spoiled and rotten shrimp) and Polo Grill were only fair. The other dining areas did not match the quality of the dining that we enjoyed on Celebrity or Windstar. Windstar was clearly superior. Oceania touts room service but beware. While we enjoyed hot breakfasts on Celebrity and even Royal Carribbean the fare on Marina consisted of bread, coffee, juice, cereal or yogurt. The day time room service was no better. What Oceania is best at is over hyping their products and offerings. Don't believe anything they print without checking customer reviews. I believe their publications and largely gross exaggerations. Entertainment aboard Marina is second-rate. I have seen and heard better high school performances. On two occasions for us, customers were forced to wait in the steaming sun so crew members could wait for more paying customers. Disembarkation was a zoo. It was raining in Rome and Oceania was totally disorganized and of no help. We had to drag our bags through the pouring rain with our any direction from the crew. We wandered around to find the bus with no help from the crew. On the other hand, Celebrity in a similar situation placed our bags on the bus and unloaded them at the airline counters in Amsterdam. Oceania is not a top rate cruise line. More than half of the cruisers were talked with had complaints about other issues. I will not sail with Oceania in the future. Celebrity and Windstar remain higher on the list. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Perhaps our expectations were too high but being our first supposed "luxury" cruise line we were disappointed with the overall quality of food and service we received from Oceania. First the positives. The ship itself is ... Read More
Perhaps our expectations were too high but being our first supposed "luxury" cruise line we were disappointed with the overall quality of food and service we received from Oceania. First the positives. The ship itself is gorgeous. The decorating is understated but very rich and elegant looking. We loved the size of the ship (1200 passengers). It was very quiet and never seemed crowded in any area. The room staff was very pleasant as were the wait staff in the dining rooms. Oceania is known for its specialty restaurants and we ate in all four of them. Unfortunately, with the exception of Red Ginger we sent food and/or drink back in the other three. We are not "foodies" and I can't remember the last time I sent food back before this. The quality was fine (not exceptional)but the food was not hot. My potatoes in Jacques (their signature restaurant) were actually cold in the middle. We were continually sending back cappuccino because it was usually lukewarm to cool. The main dining room was worse. Twice we received the wrong food and while the waiters argued at their station about the order the correct order was still with them getting cold. Twice we were placed between two tables of twelve who were loud and over-served and when they tried to put us there a third time I refused and said I would wait for a window table. The wait staff was very pleasant but the maitre d's and hostesses were quite cool and disinterested. We found the same attitude at the Destination Services desk and the Dining Reservations desk. These staffs were professional but not personable and no one seemed interested in going out of their way to help. The standard answer was "everything is booked and there's nothing we can do. In talking to a number of passengers on the various tours we went on we found most felt the same way. Based on this experience, while I liked the size and ambiance of the ship I would not book with Oceania again. Their food quality and level of service was no better than I've experienced on Celebrity or Royal Caribbean and at Oceania' price point I expect more. I do like the smaller ships and will explore the other luxury/near luxury lines because Oceania did not meet that level on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We were in Barcelona on May 10, although we weren't invited to the christening of the Riviera a we did depart May 12, 2012 on the Marina, the sister ship of the Riviera for France and Italy. It is our opinion Oceania has the best ... Read More
We were in Barcelona on May 10, although we weren't invited to the christening of the Riviera a we did depart May 12, 2012 on the Marina, the sister ship of the Riviera for France and Italy. It is our opinion Oceania has the best price point for the mid size ships positioned in the high end of the middle price range. Our suite 12006 was 1000 square feet and was outstanding. We departed from Barcelona, Spain then on to Provence (Marseille), France, Saint-Tropez, France, Cannes, France, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Cinque Terre (La Spezia), Italy, Florence/Pisa/Tuscany (Livorno), Italy, Sorrento/Capri, Italy, Amalfi/Positano, Italy Cruising the Mediterranean Sea Oct to Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy. Everything imaginable is provided in your Oceania Suite, even a second bathroom for guests. SUITE PRIVILEGES Priority 11am check-in and early embarkation with priority luggage delivery Exclusive access to private Executive Lounge staffed by a dedicated Concierge and 24-hour Butler service. Complimentary in-suite bar setup featuring 4 full-size bottles of premium spirits plus wine Welcome bottle of Champagne Priority online specialty restaurant and shore excursion reservations Unlimited access to Canyon Ranch SpaClub® private Spa Terrace Laptop computer with wireless Internet access+ New for 2013! - Exclusive discounts on Internet usage plans New for 2013! - Complimentary iPad® available for your enjoyment on-board+ Bulgari gift set and toiletries Full-size whirlpool tub Choice of daily printed newspaper Customized entertainment system with integrated sound system and media library+ Complimentary Oceania Cruises logo tote bag Cashmere lap blankets, perfect for relaxing on your veranda rates apply BUTLER SERVICES Course-by-course in-suite dining+ “Order in” from any of our specialty restaurants Coordination of shore-side dinner and entertainment reservations Priority shore excursion reservations Packing and unpacking upon request Last minute luggage collection Complimentary garment pressing+ Complimentary shoe shine service Gourmet evening canapés Special services upon request. Click here to go to the Oceania website. YES, we are doing Oceania again and again. Oceania has recently updated their 3 smaller ships with larger suites like the Marina. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Almost Perfect... We had the pleasure of sailing w/the Marina on the 'Tuscan Artistry' sailing (Jacques Pepin sailing). By no means are we seasoned cruisers (only 2 previously w/Regent and 1 with a now defunct European line), ... Read More
Almost Perfect... We had the pleasure of sailing w/the Marina on the 'Tuscan Artistry' sailing (Jacques Pepin sailing). By no means are we seasoned cruisers (only 2 previously w/Regent and 1 with a now defunct European line), but we do love to travel internationally and do so frequently. Initially I was concerned that going from Regent (6*, all inclusive) to Oceania (5*, not all inclusive) may be a step down to what we have experienced previously but Oceania was pretty much fantastic and in some ways, better than Regent. Here's a summary of our experience. Food -- living in the NYC metro area has its advantages, one of which is access to a plethora of excellent dining choices (both fancy and simple). I was really looking forward to the cuisine and it did not disappoint. All meals were good to excellent. Hubby's favorite was Red Ginger by a long shot, mine was Jacques, where I felt the theme was simplicity at its best. While Red Ginger gets the edge for artistic interpretation, I felt it was trying too hard to be creative and make it all work, for example, the chocolate lemongrass crème brulee. For me personally, the dessert combo didn't work, I think they would have been better off combining lemongrass w/vanilla as the chocolate was strong enough of a flavor to compete and detract from the subtle flavor of lemongrass. I did try the duck and watermelon salad and that hit the spot -- excellent albeit a bit salty. Polo and Toscana, while very good, were nothing special to us since we have very similar restaurants in our local area. I've read many blah reviews about the Dining Room (food and slow service) and while the meals weren't out of the world great, they were still very good and I was surprised how quickly everything was served (only one night we had to wait a bit for our dishes and that was the last evening when the dining room was jammed). Perhaps I had low expectations since I read so many complaints prior, who knows, but we enjoyed our time there. The wonderful thing about the dining room was that I truly felt welcomed as the staff were so especially hospitable and seemed happy to have some diners. The Terrace Grill and Waves were consistently good and the Terrace Grill in particular had a very good variety of dishes (breakfast was the same every day though). Don't miss the Baristas, I enjoyed enough cappuccinos and lattes to last me several months. Staff -- Oceania's staff are wonderful -- every one of them! We would be greeted each time we were seen in the hallway returning to our stateroom and after a while, I felt guilty telling them about our splendid adventures since they obviously were stuck indoors working. Kudos to the entire dining and housekeeping staff for their excellent service and hospitality -- they made our stay great. I didn't see much presence of the officers but that is not something that is important to me so I didn't mind. The staff are what make Oceania great, I hope Oceania realizes this and rewards them accordingly. Excursions/Entertainment -- we pretty much did our own thing by taking advantage of the roll call and met some really great people. I discovered that even with a private tour, we were still paying about half of what Oceania would charge for a whole busload of people. We couldn't stay up late enough to take advantage of most of the entertainment but from what I understand, did not miss much based on Oceania's reputation in this area. We managed to catch 'Beatle Mania' which was fun and thankfully offered at the beginning of our cruise when we had more energy to stay up! Ports -- we really liked this itinerary (Barcelona, Sanary-Sur-Mer, Marseilles, St. Tropez, Monte Carlo, Portofino, Florence, Amalfi, Sorrento/Capri, Rome) and took a ½ day private tour w/Dream Tours while in Monte Carlo to visit Eze, Nice, and St. Paul de Vence. I thought Dream Tours was just ok -- by all means, the guide was very friendly but I was expecting him to go w/us to the actual villages of Eze/St. Paul de Vence and tell us about them. Instead, he dropped us off at the villages and allowed us free time to roam/do shopping -- I do believe parking is a challenge and this could be one reason for this. He did talk about the villages briefly in the car so it's not as if he didn't do his job so it was just me not realizing how the tour would flow. There was another group using Dream Tours as well but their tour was all day. Turns out that guide also dropped off the passengers at the villages rather than accompanying them so just be aware of this if you book with them. Our itinerary was also supposed to have included a stop at the famous flower market in Nice but we ran out of time. I wish we would have known that upfront. When I liaised w/Dream Tours, I was under the impression that this itinerary could easily been accommodated in a 4 hour tour. The villages by the way are quite charming and worth the visit. The biggest surprise for me personally was Nice -- I didn't realize how beautiful the water is, it has the same aqua hue of the Caribbean!! The other tour was with Rome in Limo for the Amalfi drive arranged by a fellow CC member and that was one was great. Our driver/guide was friendly and engaging and made a good recommendation for an authentic lunch that wasn't a tourist trap. Cabin -- we had an ocean view statement and it was very nice. I thought they could have included more outlets as a few of our charges took up so much room that you could only fit one at a time. I did bring an extension cord which worked out well. Ocean view rooms have the tenders immediately below so while they don't technically block the view, as soon as you walk over, you will see them and at times, a worker will be standing on the tender and will have full access to your cabin so do cover up! The shower was indeed quite small as others have commented, but we managed just fine...just don't drop the soap! Our cabin location was midship and normally I wouldn't expect the Mediterranean to have very rough seas, but on one night, it was very bad and one couple commented that the screws on their safe were knocked out since the rocking was so bad. This is when I was extremely grateful I didn't give in to the upsell to pay more for a balcony (assuming it would be aft or forward since it was near to our sail date) since I am usually very prone to seasickness and I was ok during the rough seas. Fellow passengers -- I have to admit, being that we were on the younger age bracket for the typical passenger (40 & 48), I thought we might be feel like we were in a nursing home after hearing a comment about Oceania making HAL look like a college campus! On our particular sailing, yes, the typical age was over 60 however there was definitely a smattering of younger guests (30s/40s) and many that were over 60 were actually in better physical shape than their younger counterparts. We found that for the most part, everyone is very friendly, highly educated and non-pretentious. The fellow CC passengers were especially fun to be around. I was very dismayed, however, by some guests who felt the need to be first or who rudely expected others to give up their seats (or take another seat where the view was poor) so that they could sit together for a cooking demo rather than plan ahead better so they could arrive on time. Honestly at their age, I expected better social graces, but unfortunately experience and age are not necessarily synonymous with good manners. Oceania did fall short, however, when it made one very serious mistake on our trip. We happened to be in a situation where we needed to call the emergency number while in Italy. Passengers are given a newsletter with all the port information as well as emergency contact numbers if you run into a problem. Well, we ran into a problem and needed help and guess what? Neither numbers that were provided did not work! I work in a global function and know how to dial international numbers, but assumed I must have been flustered and couldn't dial correctly, so had the local police dial, both from their cell phones and also from the local station and again, they could not reach the emergency contact either! The first number was to the local Italian affiliate's office and we got a recording in Italian saying the number was discontinued. The other number was a local representative's mobile/cell number and that kept ringing and ringing with nobody picking up. Can you imagine if someone were truly in a medical or other serious emergency? Thankfully we were able to make do but as soon as we were onboard (whew, just made it!), we went to the excursions desk and told a rep of our experience. If anything, having an accurate emergency contact is a critical detail all cruise lines need to get right, but with Oceania's high standards, their mistake was simply unacceptable. One last thing....as I mentioned, this was a Jacques Pepin sailing and the reason I booked this was since I (wrongly) assumed he would be hosting cooking classes. Apparently many others felt the same way since both of my culinary classes were cancelled due to overbooking. I attended the culinary center open house and the chef told me right away that she was teaching the classes and not him (which I knew before the start of the cruise) and I'm sure many were disappointed. He did have one general cooking demo but I was surprised as the choice of dishes since the recipes were on the simple side, as if it were for people who had very little cooking experience. Nevertheless, the session was entertaining enough and there is an opportunity to purchase a book for him to autograph. The cruise was indeed popular (sold out) and more expensive than a similar sailing (w/out Jacques Pepin) so for those contemplating whether or not a JP cruise is worth it....well, a similar itinerary will probably be just as good and you can save yourself some money. Hope you found this review helpful and happy sailing, you may be spoiled once you sail with Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We chose Oceania Marina for our first cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary(we are in our 40s) Using Oceania air arrangements we flew to Atlanta then to Barcelona on Delta. We arrived in Barcelona on time and easily found a cab to ... Read More
We chose Oceania Marina for our first cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary(we are in our 40s) Using Oceania air arrangements we flew to Atlanta then to Barcelona on Delta. We arrived in Barcelona on time and easily found a cab to the Hotel Art's where we stayed the 1st night. The Art's is located on the beach near many restaurants. We were on the 27th floor with a gorgeous view of both the city and beach. The hop-on-hop off bus gives you a quick method to see many "touristy" sites. Cabs are very easy to find. At noon we left for the port by taxi and arrived at 12:30. It took about 25 minutes to check our luggage pass through security and walk onto the ship. Service personnel were fast and friendly. The ship is new and beautiful with modern colors and free of the glitzy Las Vegas look of many cruise ships. (Wonderful art throughout) We ate lunch in the Grill near the pool. The lobster and filet mignon burger was delicious and perfectly cooked. The parmesan fries were addictive. Service was very attentive. Our PH2 was ready by 1pm. We meet with our butler Churchill at about 4pm. He discussed his service role and how he would work to make our cruise wonderful. How we utilized the butler; pressing clothes, breakfast in-suite every morning, in-suite specialty restaurant service (Toscana and Polo), evening canapies, wine service, port and tour advice, extra specialty restaurant reservations. The best kept secret on-board is the beautiful serenity deck, covered loungers, quiet and secluded. It is open to concierge and higher cabins, has 2 rarely used whirlpools and gorgeous views. We reserved 4 specialty restaurant reservations online and added two extra on-board. It was not hard to add reservations if you were flexible. All of the specialty restaurants were delicious, favorites include;duck and watermelon salad, seabass and scallops in Red Ginger, filet mignon, lobster bisque in Polo, everything in Jacques, minestrone, veal shank and spinach pasta in Toscana the bread was amazing in every venue(chocolate croissants!), steaks were tender and properly cooked as was lobster. We found the nightly menu specials to be of an especially high quality. (seeming to revolve around the fresh foods available in the port we were visiting) The main dining room offered open seating. We found there to be too few sommeliers in this venue. We waited 20 minutes to have empty wine glasses filled. Food was not hot when delivered, the waiter did keep up with our pacing and promptly removed each course and added the next. Wine lists were large with wines of varying price points and quality. Carry on alcohol policy is VERY liberal. The cooking class was fun and fast paced but very basic in technique. Oceania should advertise it in a way to let experienced cooks know it is intended for beginners. I cancelled my 2nd class. We never saw a walker or mobility scooter while on-board (a few wheelchairs). We expected a much older crowd but would say the average age was 60, with less than a dozen children on-board, a dozen honeymoon couples and many couples like ourselves celebrating important milestones. Cruisers were well traveled and very congenial. The CC "meet and greet" was well attended and I felt I knew 50 of my fellow cruisers by the 1st night. All of our tours were private shared-tours arranged on our roll call. Service standouts were our butler Churchill A+, Danny D. in the piano bar and Horizons, concierge Maria on deck 5, and Jose our cabin steward.The concierge in the executive lounge was helpful and knowledgeable. The ship was very clean and I saw service personnel constantly cleaning public areas, hand-rails etc. Our cabin was serviced 2 to 3 times daily and always well stocked and clean.The only friends against our 1st cruise being on Oceania stated that after setting the bar so high, other cruise lines would not measure up. Oceania met our very high expectations. We will definitely cruise Oceania again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
I will begin by saying I have not cruised 50-100 times like many of the cruisers on cruise critic. But I like and know luxury and quality. Agree with some of the good things said about Marina, but also agree with weaknesses that when you ... Read More
I will begin by saying I have not cruised 50-100 times like many of the cruisers on cruise critic. But I like and know luxury and quality. Agree with some of the good things said about Marina, but also agree with weaknesses that when you leave always seem to stand out. I traveled with 2 other couples in a transfer back to Rome after the cruise and we all felt the same exact way, so I do not think I was being demanding or my expectations being too high for Oceania.. We literally walked on the ship alone. First time this ever happened. Was happy to not have the lines (we boarded after the rush, of course), but agree that no one was there to greet when you did board and provide some quick information (or champagne, perhaps). As others stated, cabins nice, small. Liked the granite bathroom and beds. Otherwise, amenities standard by our expectations. Do agree, the bed was most enjoyable after each full day of touring. Once boarded, we went to get a bite to eat after reading the elevator and picking a floor. No dining available. In between meals. We found this consistent on our ENTIRE cruise. We would tour most of the days since this was a port intensive cruise and by the time we would return (around 9 pm-9:30) were told every night to order room service. Not my style for luxury. We had a suite on Equinox and could have a lovely serving any time of day. This was consistent with our schedule every time we wanted a bite to eat. Room service is an option once in a while, but the rooms are small and confining and you get tired of eating in it because Marina was "in between". This even happened on short tour days. Right at 2:00 pm. Were unable to change or add to specialty reservations. They like the word NO on Oceania. Heard it ALL week, too. Like other reviewers here. Also agree that the staff seems to be more enthusiastic about the entrees. Lobster was tough every time I ordered it (3 times, then gave up). Did not like the effort of communicating to get food served to you at the buffet in the Terrace and agree that rude cruisers would just step in and demand while others waiting to be served. Change the policy. Service was poor many times and then excellent at others. Sporadic, not consistent. Excursions---plan your own. you will be disappointed and frustrated. Considering cost and what we heard from so many people on the ship. Felt sad for them. Always witnessed upset cruisers at the destinations desk. Very sad to see on such a cruise line! Entertainment-Better on the TV in your stateroom. Understanding that they are not know for their entertainment. I get it. Cabin Butler-Excellent. Room always prepared upon entering and spotless cleaning. This expectation fully met. Lidvidia was very accomodating, even though we are the easiest of travelers. Do not require much attention. One last observation-We had charges on our bill from a culinary class that was overbooked and we could not get in. We instead planned a private tour for this day and when we went to the desk to question, we were told to go to destination desk. Ok, no problem. Well, they made it seem like it was our fault and that they would start an inquest to see if the charges could be credited. Are you kidding me? The clerk made us feel like we were at fault. Even after clarifying and re-clarifying that it was their mistake. This is how we felt every time we asked for something. It was not like this ever on Celebrity, or Royal Carribean. Will try Crystal next time and, of course, continue the Aqua Spa Suite Class on Celebrity. They have it right. Fortunately, we like people and do not turn our nose up to having more friendly people on board with us as long as the service level does not suffer. Spa- No indoor pool or inside "relaxation/meditation" area on the pool deck. We like to use the spa amenities whenever we travel. Couples massage is one of our favorites. Steam, sauna, aromatherapy, together. No co-ed on this ship. We were intimidated by the extremely high prices charged for services at the spa. Understanding that is "Canyon Ridge". But, $400.00 something dollars for a couples massage (50 minute??), manicures, upwards of 80-90.00?? this we cannot understand. Nor, would I subject ourselves to the overpayment. We, instead, waited for the Waldorf-Astoria Cavaleiri Hotel in Rome and indulged in our "spa fix" at a much more reasonable charge for all services. Perhaps, this subsidizes the cost of sending 16 brochures/marketing pieces each month to your home address. not sure. All in all, nice cruise. Not the best ever, not the worst ever. Unimpressed. We did stay at the Rome Cavelieri for a few days after the cruise and was able to experience at the Imperial Club level what impeccable service levels should be. And what a view off the balcony!!! Worth every penny! We do not mind spending the money when expectations are met and exceeded. First time reviewer. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We've sailed Oceania before on their R-Class ships, but this is the first time on the Marina. We have been in Barcelona before, so we just came in the day of the cruise. The ship's connection via bus was a little clunky; ... Read More
We've sailed Oceania before on their R-Class ships, but this is the first time on the Marina. We have been in Barcelona before, so we just came in the day of the cruise. The ship's connection via bus was a little clunky; we'll just hire a car if we return there in the future (cheaper, faster and more comfortable). Boarding was smooth; Oceania registers folks in three classes (Penthouse & up, Concierge and all others), but the process was smooth (except for some language barriers with our person) for all, and everyone was boarding by about 1200-1230. The ship is beautiful; its feel will be comfortable to previous Oceania cruisers (doesn't repeat, but does rhyme, and getting around is quickly learned). High-end English Country Manor feel, excellent artwork, very good touches throughout the ship that are low-key but elegant. The Concierge and Exec Lounges were more useful than we might have thought; great place to get a snack, a map or to get info without trudging down to reception. Service staff was top notch and responsive to our needs. We did mostly private excursions, but when we did the ship tours, they were well-organized. The wait for tours in the show lounge, though, was hot, humid and less comfortable than we would want. Oceania may want to consider assigning a few other locales for groups to meet and wait, thus avoiding the stampede when a tour number is called. Food is rightfully one of the reasons to sail Oceania. The four specialty restaurants were very good; our favorite was Red Ginger. The Terrace Cafe, especially with the addition of the grill, is a good option any night you didn't feel like waiting or dressing up. For breakfast, though, it got pretty hectic, and seems as though they should consider removing some of the tables to create a better flow. The wait staff also seemed to get overwhelmed at times (not being timely with requested items) due to the crush. The Waves Grill is one of the best locales at which to eat an excellent casual lunch; their array of foods and options would be hard to beat. The Baristas is also a hit, although a redesign of the library would allow us to take our coffee into a nice quiet area without the passing throngs meandering by. Of course, we would also have wanted 2-3 more nights in one of the specialty restaurants... We also ate in La Reserve one night. The wines were quite good, although the food wasn't significantly different than elsewhere on the ship, so we're not sure if we would do it again. Not so much that it was not good, but the meals throughout the ship are excellent, so it is tough to move another notch up for the locale. Entertainment was acceptable, better than on the R ships, but not that much better IMHO. The show lounge also has a "low roof" feel and fixed row seats, which makes it difficult to sit if you're late. We would advocate they move to a small table/bankette configuration to make it more like a Vegas lounge. Another issue is the fixed show times around 9:45. With about a dozen ports, we were out most days, and didn't want to rush dinner, so we did not attend many of the shows. Perhaps they might, especially on sea days, consider an early show time, or two shows, so people could either eat early and see a show or vice versa. The string quartet played each evening, and we usually sat in on their mini-concerts. The location wasn't the greatest (in the big hallway leading to the main dining room), but people were respectful of those listening as they trundled by. Disembarkation was smooth, and the transit to the airport went without a hitch. Oceania also provided port shuttles at 3 stops, and we tendered into the small Biscay ports (tendering is more efficient than on the R ships, but the wait in the lounge, once again, made for a mad dash for the tender line more than once). Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I am home only two days but want to share what a wonderful experience we had on the Pearls of the Riviera cruise mainly because of the perfection of our experience on the ship itself. The ship is absolutely beautiful. It is a larger more ... Read More
I am home only two days but want to share what a wonderful experience we had on the Pearls of the Riviera cruise mainly because of the perfection of our experience on the ship itself. The ship is absolutely beautiful. It is a larger more sophisticated model of the smaller Oceania ships. Our cabin was about the same size as on the smaller ones with the exception of the bathroom which was bigger mainly due to bathtub. My husband loves the veranda and used it daily whereas I like the open outdoor spaces where others gather. My strongest kudos are for the quality of the food throughout the ship. I was able to find fabulous choices in all eating venues. I am one of those picky eaters who likes meat, chicken, pasta and vegetables. I was able to find divine choices everywhere. Having eaten in Polo and Toscana many times, I knew we would have wonderful meals there. As usual, I was correct!!!! I also ate at Jacques and Red Ginger. At the former I had a divine veal stew and the latter a sliced steak. I am not a lover of French or Asian Fusion but the choices were great!!! The biggest surprise was dinner at the Terrace Cafe while we were anchored at Amalfi. We ate dinner as the sun set. Insignia was in the area and came to view the Marina with those of us on each ship waving to each other. This was a unique experience. But, my real shock, since in all the sailings I had never had dinner in the Terrace Cafe was the absolutely outstanding food, cooked to my specifications. I had choices of three steaks - fillet mignon, rib-eye or sirloin at the grilling station. My husband had gigantic shrimp and lobster tails cooked to perfection. I had soup, salad, carved meat, and cannelloni before I started on the desserts, which are divine everyday in every venue. I am now sorry that in the past I did not take advantage of the Terrace for dining. It is extremely casual and we sat there for over 3 hours both dining and chatting with some of the other cruisers we had become friendly with because of cruise critic. We also had the pleasure of speaking to Frank Del Rio for about a half hour as his family was also dining in the Terrace Cafe. What a nice, down to earth person who is really hands on in running Oceania. He is extremely personable and approachable. As you can tell, I give the cruise on Marina a very, very high score. A 9 out of 10. My only corrective criticism was I thought we had a full line of drawers and shelved alongside the closet. I told my husband he could have the drawers on top and I would use the shelves in what I thought was a cabinet. Wrong, it is the side of the hidden refrigerator. So we had to share 4 drawers. In addition for some reason the drawers in the desk are very small although the desk is standard size. The drawers are only about 6 inches in length so it's only good for underwear or t-shirts you need to fold in quarters. My suggestion to Oceania for this is put the refrigerator backunder the desk and give us girls some really usable shelves!!!! The same with the two outlets. With all the new plug shapes for phones, Ipads, cameras, etc. We need Oceania to leave an extension cord in the room or to place another outlet somewhere. Perhaps near the couch so we can charge the electrical equipment on the coffee table. My final suggestion is with tendering. The color coded system can really be improved with a few tweaks. First, all passengers should have the opportunity to leave the ship at the same time as Oceania's shore excursions. So, some seats on all early tenders should be saved for those traveling with private tour guides. Second, the color coded cards should be used in a very specific order so all those working the disembarking procedure know exactly what comes next and colors like green and cream should not be one after the other. Additionally, the tickets should be numbered so that when a tender is not full, the staff at tender level can call up to those in the Lounge to say, for example, that "Blue #s one to ten can report to the tender." With about two hundred people sitting in the Lounge where we had waited about 50 minutes we were finally called and our tender left with at least 15 empty seats. Comfortable for us, but useless for getting cruisers off the ship in an expedient manner. Finally, one last suggestion, for finicky eaters like me. I would love to have the opportunity to select which of the four restaurants I want to select with my 4 pre-boarding choices. It would really be nice if I could pick to dine in the restaurants I want to eat in rather than being told I am entitled to one reservation in each. Or perhaps there should be a way to barter the choices on the Oceania website as I know people who, for example would have loved to have switched my Red Ginger reservation for their Toscana reservation. So now you can see why I can't stop raving about my experience on Marina. It is a perfect fit for cruisers who as Oceania says, "Your world, your way!!!!"Kudos to Oceania. We are already booked on Riviera for next June!!!!! We can't wait!!!!! Thanks Oceania for a great vacation. And thanks Cruise Critic for the wonderful new friends we have made as a result of the Roll Calls. We continue to meet some of the greatest people because of the opportunity to communicate with fellow travelrs through the website. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
On our recent voyage on the Marina my wife and I were very pleased with the general layout of the ship as well as the dining choices. We found the steak house and the Italian specialty restaurants to be excellent. Two design flaws ... Read More
On our recent voyage on the Marina my wife and I were very pleased with the general layout of the ship as well as the dining choices. We found the steak house and the Italian specialty restaurants to be excellent. Two design flaws detracted from the experience. First, each cabin has a tub and a separate shower. That sounds like a benefit, except that making room for the tub necessitated making the triangular shower infinitesimal. Not one fellow passenger that I spoke with even considered using the tub. The designers should have omitted the tub and fashioned a decent size shower. Second, the wifi system (when used in the cabins) is very weak. Even the ship's computer guru admitted that guests needed to come to the computer center to get a good signal. For a brand new ship, such performance is very disappointing. Again, the designers should have done better.A last word about tours; Although not unique to Oceania, the prices of their tours are very high. For example, a tour of Florence and Pisa (admittedly a long, 8 hour day) that included NO admissions at all was over $200 per person. We had to pay our own admission fees to the church and baptistery in Pisa, as well as the one church in Florence that we had time (during lunch "on our own") to visit. Paying a premium price for a premium excursion is fine. Paying a premium price for a less-than-ordinary excursion is unacceptable. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We arrived in Barcelona two days early. Took taxi to DuQuesa De Cardona, our hotel (5*) The night before the cruise there was a pre-cruise dinner for forty of us (CC roll call members). off to a great start with new friends. Embarkation ... Read More
We arrived in Barcelona two days early. Took taxi to DuQuesa De Cardona, our hotel (5*) The night before the cruise there was a pre-cruise dinner for forty of us (CC roll call members). off to a great start with new friends. Embarkation was like living a dream, we had seen so many photos but here it was, live. No waiting, no lines, plenty of happy people. We were in cabin 8062, taken good care of by our two attendants. There were a few times we found the cabin quite warm and noted that on our review. The comforter was too warm and we were told there were no light blankets. The ship was one delight after another: look at the lamps, look at the painting, look at the chairs, look at the new restaurants and look at the GDR, what a spectacle of beauty. The library became on of our most visited public spots with many comfortable chairs and reading "coves" and the books were plentiful and brand new, latest editions of travel books, novels, non-fiction, etc. There are more than enough public spaces to sit and relax, read or visit with friends. The upholstery, the wall coverings, the draperies, the art, sculptures, carpeting, wood paneling, and of course the Lalique crystal. Very different from the other O ships and yet did not feel the presence of the larger number of passengers at any time or venue. The new restaurants were delicious for us although we did hear a few complaints the first few days. We still like Toscana best but will miss Jacques and Red Ginger on our next Regatta cruise. One highlight was La Reserve, a wonderful experience, well paced, beautifully presented food and wine pairings. A group of 12 at tables for two resulted in a quiet and friendly atmosphere for a three + hour meal. We did not experience much entertainment, only one evening (we retire early, sitting on our balcony, weather permitting, with a cocktail). The new entertainment was colorful and the orchestra that played for them very good. The seats in the lounge have a school type tray that rises from under one arm of the chair and was not comfortable for using when the person had a large waist (yes, overweight) so fine for a thin person. The days began a bit cool and there were a couple of rough sea days and as we traveled to Miami the weather was fine for swimming and sunning. Mid cruise the staff opened the doors to the verandas and washed all the furniture, railings, glass door windows and the deck itself, which had been salted quite well by that time. Embarkation day we enjoyed the welcome from all the Miami cheers and celebrations, sat on our deck for a couple of hours and then went to the pool area to sit and wait for our turn to leave (done by color coding luggage tickets and according to flight times). That is a strange time, no water, no iced tea, no snacks, just waiting (although not hard to do in that setting with a blue sky and sun shining). The disembarkation area was chaos and people were waiting for transport in just about any form, taxi's being very limited. We had planned a taxi but ended up taking a shuttle after waiting for a good half hour. It seemed everyone wanted to get on the same shuttle and there were some rude behaviors from some people. We had plenty of time for our flight and were able to relax again in the airport. Although I remember all of our cruises, this one will always THE Maiden Voyage on Oceania's Marina. We have a reservation Jan. 2012 on Marina and will have the same cabin, will there be changes, wear and tear, lightweight blankets? Thanks Oceania Marina (ship, staff, friends) for giving us more than we'd hoped for. BTW, the one time only, complimentary alcohol and Internet spoiled us big time. Way more than we'd hoped for :-} Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Forget "Upper Premium"...this is Exceptional Cruising We took the opportunity last Winter to dive head first into the Oceania waters by grabbing a couple of rooms. A balcony and a penthouse. We traveled to Barcelona in ... Read More
Forget "Upper Premium"...this is Exceptional Cruising We took the opportunity last Winter to dive head first into the Oceania waters by grabbing a couple of rooms. A balcony and a penthouse. We traveled to Barcelona in style via Continental Airline's BusinessFirst product via IAH to FRA and then connecting onward via Lufthansa. I had booked the Eurostars Grand Marina in hopes that the ship would be docked out of the back door, but alas, Marina would be elsewhere close by. We were upgraded at the hotel and had nice rooms with comfortable showers, bedding, and niceties. The Continental breakfast was HUGE. I would order just one if you do this anytime soon. Transfer to the ship was 5 minutes from the Eurostars. Marina was very proud in her stately, but temporary residence, at the port in Barcelona. As this was the Maiden Voyage, there were some balloons and festivities going on at the check in hall. It took all of 2 minutes to complete check in before being directed onto the ship. This ship is understated elegance throughout. Where gimmicks abound on other ships, Marina's designers prefer to make exceptional choices in fabrics and furnishings. Gaudy is replaced by grand. Chrome is relegated to the backseat while crystal takes the driver's seat. Even the carpet says upscale home underneath your feet. More than once, I wanted to walk through the Grand Bar area barefooted. As this ship is essentially non-smoking, the air is clean and the upholstery will undoubtedly stay fresh for a very long time. Areas typically associated with smoke on a ship (bars and casinos) were equally bright and fresh and should stay that way for a long time. Attention to detail is everywhere. Instead of rolling off a litany of those experiences, I'd point you to a cruise critic thread where this was discussed in detail: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1339111 Service was fantastic throughout the voyage whether in the "buffet" area or the Grand Dining Room or the specialty dining spots. Service was always with a smile from a dedicated crew of hard working people from all parts of the world. There was very little out of sync with the service even though this was the maiden voyage. Compared to other cruises, the service was exceptional. Rooms were quite nice. I love the size and general layout of the R and S class Holland ship balcony rooms. Our balcony cabin did have a bit of a noise issue at times in rougher water as well as coming and going out of a crew cabin area just down the hall, but overall the room was nicely furnished and the bathroom was the definition of elegant. Very little plastic can be found in an Oceania Marina cabin. The penthouse cabin had an even larger bathroom space and a well appreciated walk in closet. In both rooms, the bedding and mattress were exceptional. Great food was a signature of this line and significant reason we chose to take this cruise. Each dining spot had fantastic dishes and service. I know some people think gathering up specialty dining reservations is as precious as panning for gold in California, but I will say that the Grand Dining Room did a great job each and every night. Additionally, the menu changes there and can offer some real surprises. The menu descriptions are understated for what comes out on the plate. Also, the nighttime Terrace Cafe is a treasure that should really be tried for variety and beauty. All in all, the dining experience on Marina met or exceeded anything we have experienced at the upper end/luxury hotels in Vegas. Again, exceptional dining is the standard onboard. No matter where you go, you would have a hard time having a bad meal. Unfortunately, you may suffer from the same malady many of us cruisers on Marina had...... 'O'mania. We felt that when we knew our cruise was about to end. Very few vacations meet the expectations of the persons making the journey. Marina exceeded our expectations. For that reason, I rate the Marina 'exceptional'. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
It's been a while since I have taken a cruise and so decided to do it in style on a new ship for a well respected cruise line notable for their level of fine dining and overall service. The cruise we (my wife and I) booked and ... Read More
It's been a while since I have taken a cruise and so decided to do it in style on a new ship for a well respected cruise line notable for their level of fine dining and overall service. The cruise we (my wife and I) booked and took was the Oceania Marina inaugural voyage from Jan 22 to Feb. 4 from Barcelona to Miami. The embarkation went incredibly smoothly with minimal congestion and dining available the minute we stepped on the ship. We boarded at about 1:30 PM and immediately had lunch at Tapas on the Terrace. Rooms were available earlier than expected so as soon as we finished our lunch. We had very high expectations for the food on an Oceania cruise and so were a little disappointed at the quality of some of the items at this first buffet luncheon. The mahi-mahi was dry and some other selections were good but nothing special. On the other hand the food was immediately available with a nice variety, and so very appropriate for making a transition from either staying in Barcelona or transferring from an airport. Walking to our cabin, we were impressed by the beauty and elegance of this ship. When we got into our room, we found a complimentary bottle of Brut champagne and found the cabin (Veranda) to be well laid out, accessible, functional and aesthetically pleasing. The only oddity was the bathroom, which has a very large bathtub but a very small shower. Talking later to other guests, it seems many of us passengers would have sacrificed the bathtub for a bigger shower. One guest noted that if they dropped the soap the shower was too small for them to bend down to pick it up. Perhaps, if the architect had simply made the bathtub space into a combination bathtub shower, the bathroom would not only have been perfect for us but would have worked from the vast majority of guests. I left the room to get a glass of water at the bar, and found out that for this trip that all but the more expensive wine and drinks were complimentary. Neither my wife nor I are big drinkers (generally only having wine on family get-togethers or special occasions) but because of this unexpected bonus we ended up having quite a bit of alcohol: a glass or two of wine for lunch and dinner each and every day and a few beers or cocktails here and there over the course of the two weeks. That first day at about 6:30, we went to dinner. It was quite good but not at the level we had mentally prepared ourselves. Fortunately, after the first couple of days, the dining room quality improved considerably so that every single lunch and dinner was a special dining experience. Of special note were the fish entrees, which were cooked to perfection: moist, tender, fresh, succulent and full of flavor. One could always order asparagus and mushrooms on the side as well as mashed potatoes which were cooked perfectly with nutmeg and liberal amounts of cream and butter. Tapas at the Terrace was also much better after the first day and the dinner buffets at Tapas at the Terrace were generally quite good. We didn't visit Tapas for breakfast until later in the cruise, and found the Norwegian gravlax (Gravad laks - similar to lox) to be exceptional and loved the abundance of tropical fruits (papaya, mango) and berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries.) The sushi and sashimi at night was quite good. Often there was a correspondence between some of the items offered in the main dining room and at Tapas, and on those occasions when we visited Tapas before or after a visit to the main dining room, we found the quality of the main dining room considerably better for those items we sampled that we available at both. A visit to Tapas could be a short or as long as you wished - one could get in and out of Tapas in 15 minutes. The dining room was generally at 1 ½ to 2 hour experience. Service was amazingly prompt, with just the right amount of time between courses and a staff to guest ratio that left the illusion that one had their own private service. It seemed that either the waiter or their assistant was always there exactly at the right time. During the entire 2 weeks, there was only one instance of a delay during our set of visits to the main dining room. The delay was very minor, and one which was the waiter apologized profusely for even though it was very inconsequential to us. The specialty restaurants were superb. We started with Jacques on the third night of the cruise and were very pleased. I ordered the roasted chicken, which was for me tasty but a bit dried out. Fortunately, everything else was excellent. The escargot was a special treat. Our second specialty restaurant was Polo Grill. My wife had the grilled lamb and I had the Prime Rib. Both were top quality. The appetizers and dessert were also especially good. We both loved the crabmeat cake. Toscana was great and we were wowed by the choice of one of several olive oils (with balsamic vinegar) for our bread. The bread was delicious and it was easy to fill up on just bread. For appetizers, all we tried were good and the fried calamari was particularly good. Both our entrees were great. My sea bass was fresh and cooked perfectly. Red Ginger was also a real treat. I generally prefer real Asian cooking over fusion Asian cooking, but was very happy with the choices and quality offered even though it was more European and less Asian then what aligns with my personal preferences. The specialty restaurants are at no additional charge and one is able to visit each one at least once and possibly more if you wish to try to follow-up with the reservation desk for any openings that occur on a given night. These restaurants were all at a couple of levels above the regular dining room and along with the exceptional service of the staff onboard the Marina, were a highlight of the trip. Wherever one went, the chocolate mousse was irresistible. I have not been a fan of mousse in the past, but that changed completely with Marina's offerings. The bread offered in the main dining room was quite good, but the only non-white bread was a somewhat boring whole wheat roll. I suggested they add multi-grain or rye and a few days later I was exclusively offered a really good dark bread roll - very fresh and still warm. This was the best bread on the ship and it was a shame that it was not available to all the other guests. Tea was a special treat with the Marina String Quartet (very high level of musicianship.) It was too challenging for us to have that much rich, sweet food every day, so we skipped several tea times, making those we attended even more special. Important to emphasize that the service was excellent all around the ship: dining, housekeeping, tea, cocktails, etc. The staff come from all over the globe, with pretty good representation from Ukraine, Russia, Indonesia, Philippines, South Africa, Honduras and Portugal. We particularly were impressed with Diana and Alex in dining and the many sommeliers particularly Florentina. To our delight, a large portion of the staff treated you as if they were your friends, being attentive to service requirements, of course, but avoiding the extremes of being either subservient or aloof. Our gratuities were pre-paid, but we felt only fair to add to the normal amount. This was easy to do: we just transferred money from our room account to gratuities at the end of the trip. We were scheduled to stop in 3 ports, but couldn't make one of them (Malaga) because of weather. We went on our own to Loro Parc (Parrot Park with other animals) in Tenerife and explored Casablanca on our own. In both cases there was a free shuttle to take out of the port area. For Loro Parc we took a convenient local bus, which was fun. The Park had well over a hundred different varieties of parrots and was very much worth the visit for that alone. Because of all the great dining I spent my share of time in their Fitness area. They had top quality treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, etc and I was able to pretty painlessly justify adding at least 1200 extra calories per day to what I ate. Overall, this was a great experience, with food matching our high expectations. Dining was a little off at first, but soon came up to a level matching our expectation. It's appropriate to call this a "shake-out" cruise, but management was particularly quick to fix problems. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
The Maiden Voyage of Marina is now behind us. That's hard to believe, after a year of planning and heightening excitement. We had high hopes and expectations of Marina (this was our second O cruise), and overall she not only met, but ... Read More
The Maiden Voyage of Marina is now behind us. That's hard to believe, after a year of planning and heightening excitement. We had high hopes and expectations of Marina (this was our second O cruise), and overall she not only met, but exceeded, all our expectations. First, let me say, since this was a maiden voyage, we understood we would be responsible for the "shake out" of the ship. We expected to experience a work in progress, as over 800 staff and crew (25-50% of those new to Oceania) began entertaining and caring for over 1,200 passengers, ten new restaurants, expanded bars, lounges, etc. We tried to keep our expectations reasonable - if the plumbing and heat worked and we had enough to eat, everything else would be a bonus. And what a bonus Marina delivered! I will not review the ports (Barcelona, Casablanca, Santa Cruz/Tenerife and Miami) because this cruise was really about the Marina, and I know that is what CC members want to hear. Embarkation: We arrived at the pier at 11:00, our designated embarkation time, to find the line of people to the street. We were booked in a PH suite, so I was a little dismayed by this line, but it was primarily to pass through security, a fairly quick and seamless passage. After we were inside the terminal, we only had three couples in line ahead of us to check in. Our check-in only took about two minutes, with a swipe of our credit card, a photo for ship security, and issue of our Marina card/key. Some new friends we met the day before were not as lucky. The electricity in the terminal went out just about the time we finished, and others had to wait some time before Marina staff could re-boot the computers and resume check-in. Numerous Marina staff were stationed along the gangway to greet and guide passengers. We were told our room was not yet available, to keep our carry-on luggage and to proceed to lunch. Lunch in Terrace Cafe was fresh and certainly adequate, although it was only a glimpse of what we would encounter in the coming days. Exploring Marina: We walked around the ship, drinking in all the areas we'd been so excited to finally experience. Staff were available in all the venues to welcome exploration and to answer questions. Even the Spa, La Reserve and Privee were open to inspection. La Reserve is like a large, private dining room from a home, with dark wood tones, but light available from the outside as well. Privee is very special-stark whites and reds, with a lush white carpet, white alligator seat coverings for the chairs and crisp reflective white and red oval table. Privee is another, but very different, private dining room which offers wonderful trailing views of the ship's wake. The ship is more beautiful than we expected, with restful and muted colors accented by vivid art and fabrics. The varied textures and high quality of the materials throughout the ship was obvious at just a glance. Almost no plastic or chrome visible anywhere. Rich wood tones, plush custom designed carpets, varied and high end fabric and furniture, Murano and Lalique glass accents were set throughout the ship. I was impressed by the amount of light Marina allows in most public areas. I find her to be a lighter and brighter ship than her fellow R-class ships (we've sailed Nautica), which makes her more modern in my mind. Interestingly enough, the ship definitely feels larger than the R ships, but it is also familiar, since the layout of the ship is similar to her older sisters. It is also generally more luxurious, in my opinion. The two new specialty restaurant venues, Red Ginger and Jacques, are luxurious theme restaurants very different from one another. Both have a curtained window to the kitchen which can be opened at appropriate times to reveal the final flourishes of meal preparation. Pollo and Toscana are updated and modern, but they have a very similar feel to their R sisters. The Grand Dining Room feels lighter and brighter (the chandelier in the raised ceiling is even more beautiful in person than in the advertising photos)and more open feeling than her R sisters because it is a single level dining room with higher ceilings which steps down fairly quickly from the entrances on both sides. However, I did find the tables a bit crowded together for comfort when the room was full. Terrace Cafe feels very similar to the R ships, but gone are the pizza and stir-fry stations, and added is a large "a la minute" cooking station - a wonderful addition, especially at breakfast and lunch. I was least enchanted by the decoration in Terrace Cafe, as the colors were a bit to garish compared to the rest of the ship for my taste, and tables also feel crowded together, especially during busy times. Waves Grill is much larger than on the R ships, and it offers a self-service salad bar as well as a sandwich menu. Gone is the ice cream cart, rather there is a fully stocked station where one can order milkshakes, smoothies and other decadent frozen goodies. Waves Bar has been moved to the far side of the pool area from Waves Grill, but staff is happy to bring drinks from there if you wish and service is fairly quick. Baristas, the computer room and the library are just up the stairs from Waves Grill. The deck surfaces around Baristas were not yet finished when we sailed, so one side, then the other, was closed off for about 2 days as shipbuilder workmen transformed the bright blue rubberized surfaces to the teak colored surface visible around the pool. The exterior deck is not wood, rather a rubberized material which should require much less maintenance in Marina's harsh salt sea climate and was not as slippery as wood in the frequent showers we encountered on the maiden voyage; but you will have to get on your hands and knees to tell the difference visually. Baristas became one of my favorite places because of the wonderful views available from the encircling windows and the rich, the coffee colored decoration, and Giovanni, the expert, friendly and outgoing barista. I'm a tea drinker, and O doesn't offer chai, my favored morning drink, but Giovanni's cappucino could convert me to a coffee drinker! Marina now uses Illy coffee from Italy, and although there are several cappucino machines around the ship, none are as good as Giovanni's with his magic "pouring cream" froth added liberally at the appropriate time. The computer room is open, so you can just stroll by and any slip into any open computer station. Computer service was not yet fully functional during the maiden voyage. It seems the company who installed the equipment somehow messed up and only made available a router with 250 IP addresses for the entire ship, so as a result the computers were not installed in the suites and internet service was pretty poor for the maiden voyage. Because of this inconvenience, Marina gave all passengers complimentary internet for the entire cruise, certainly a fair compensation in my estimation. We found wi-fi to be intermittent at best; I was only able to log on, and stay online with my I-pad a couple times during the week in our PH suite. The new router with over 3,000 IP addresses is to be installed in Miami, so I hope the internet service will improve for future cruises. The library was controversial, with two distinct thoughts by passengers. Some hated the space; the computer room is a series of alcoves with chairs you stroll past which could certainly distract someone reading in one of the chairs in the alcoves. Also there is music piped into the library, providing further distraction for a serious reader, and soft lighting makes reading in areas other than the chairs and benches somewhat difficult. Books are arranged on a series of glassed shelves which snake through the alcoves, organized by topic and category, with seating areas in each alcove and two fireplaces in the space. Dedicated O passengers who loved the R-ship libraries were disdainful of this new library. However others who simply went to the library, browsed for a book and took it away were enchanted. I happen to fall into the latter category, myself, but respect the complaints of the serious readers. Maybe if O could kill the music, close off both ends by doorways so people became aware quiet was needed in a library and added some additional lighting, the objections could be overcome. Horizons is also much larger than on the R-ships. The colors are a soft teal blue with high and low-backed chairs and soft green sofas. The effect is beautiful, but I found the high-backed chairs and sofas to have been built for much taller people and they were not really comfortable for shorter folks. This was also true in the Grand Bar spaces as well. The bandstand has been moved so the area is much more open and accessible, a very smart move, and the smoking area on the port side is enclosed except for the entry; if you simply timed your breathing correctly you never even noticed it was there walking by (the same is true of the outside smoking area on the starboard side of the pool. The culinary center was busy all week, and Chef Kelly indicated it was booked up for three months. Therefore, if you want to take a class, you should definitely book on line as soon as possible (after you make your final payment). The classes were interesting and fun. I was kind of surprised since you worked in teams of two, but it actually worked out fine. Kelly is very knowledgeable and professional, and the pasta classes I took were definitely worth their cost. The art loft is a large space, and the classes were interesting, but I won't comment on the artist in residence, since he will only be on board a couple months, and then someone else will take the reins. The space is somewhat dark for an art loft, with shutters over the windows to the ocean, and the space is still a bit sterile, but since not all the equipment arrived in time for this cruise, I'm sure that will change as the space develops it's own character. We were in a PH3 cabin and loved it! The cabin offers excellent storage, the chairs and table at the end of the bed ended up being where we spent most of our time rather than the love seat, and the bath was very functional, attractive and had plenty of enclosed storage. Interestingly, the rain shower is directly overhead, and because we also had a light there we were able to step out from under to shampoo our hair, but passengers in verandah category cabins indicated their showers were smaller and that was not possible. There is a handheld wand too, so that is not really a problem, but the passengers said it did take some time to learn how to most efficiently shower. My only complaint about the bath is the handheld hair dryer socket does not fit into the one outlet in the bath, so you have to go into the bedroom area to dry your hair. I understand that is for safety sake, but it's not convenient if one or the other likes to sleep in. There was no wall-mounted hairdryer in our cabin. The bed is comfortable, although it took us a few days to regulate the heat so we were comfortable at night under the duvet and those luscious sheets, and even then I woke up very hot during the night several times (don't know if that was Marina or me). We saw the verandah cabins and they were also lovely, but maybe not quite as well-organized as the R-ship cabins for two passengers; the closet is alongside the bed without enough room for two people to pass and get clothes at the same time, and the shower issue noted above. We enjoyed all the food onboard, which ranged from good to excellent. Our favorite was the sea bass in Red Ginger, the frogs legs in Jacques, and a wonderful truffle ravioli special in Toscana. Pollo was also good, but we both ordered the same steak, prepared the same way, and my husbands' was properly cooked while mine was overcooked; even so it was very tender and good. The crew onboard Marina is very well-trained, as one would expect. Some of the new crew were a bit nervous the first couple of days, which manifested as stiffness, but as time went along they relaxed and the service improved. Service for some meals early in the cruise was slow, but later in the cruise the timing of the meals was normal and comfortable as the start-up jitters calmed. Our butler was newly promoted, but he was friendly and helpful, and we appreciated his efforts. I do think he may have too many cabins to care for, because two mornings we called for coffee he was unable to respond until the afternoon. I only attended one evening entertainment venue, but while the Marina Lounge is small the space feels intimate. The four singers and four dancers and eight-person orchestra made the "Groovin" production show a joy. They are talented young people, the production was of good quality, if not Vegas glitzy, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My husband saw several of the evening programs and enjoyed nearly all of them. The quality of entertainment has definitely risen several notches. Marina did exceptionally well on the maiden voyage, braving up to 25' waves and 60 mph winds one day with substantially less rocking and rolling than most similar-sized ships, according to more seasoned cruisers than us (this was the highest we've ever seen the seas). By about day 10 the seas were quite calm, and you'd find yourself reading, or visiting with friends and suddenly remember you were at sea. That's how calm the ship was in calm seas. Well, this is getting very long, and you're probably getting bored reading my drivel. But I wanted to let you know my thoughts. While not 100%, the Marina is a gem in the making, we enjoyed our crossing, and I urge anyone looking at a transatlantic crossing on Marina, to take the plunge. You will be pleased. We certainly were! Thank you FDR and Bob Binder for giving us this memorable experience on your baby, the lovely lady Marina. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Marina Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 1.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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