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2 World Cruise First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

To put it in a nutshell before our cruise on Oceania's Marina in the South Pacific, I was vehemently "anti-cruise." No more. At least not a relatively small ship such as the Marina. I'd sail on the Marina again in a ... Read More
To put it in a nutshell before our cruise on Oceania's Marina in the South Pacific, I was vehemently "anti-cruise." No more. At least not a relatively small ship such as the Marina. I'd sail on the Marina again in a flash. I can't think of a thing about which to be critical. We had a concierge veranda room. It was clean and spacious. The stewardess for our room was superb. Our room was made up and turned down each day. And, talking about superb, I can't think of one thing negative about any of the crew: stewards/stewardesses, servers, matre-ds, people at the "destination desk," at the dining desk, at what I'll call the main help desk, the concierges, bar and barista tenders, and the boutiques sales personnel. Everyone! Everyone was hospitable and gracious, and willing to assist us at the drop of a hat. I never saw anything but smiles, always greeted graciously by any crew member we met, and never heard a disparaging word. We used room service--which is free--each morning without a hitch. We never waited very long for the food to be served. I especially found the passengers congenial, even during the long, hot, and humid wait for our flights in the airport. Our embarkment and disembarkment went smoothly. The tendering at each port to carry us between the ship and ports of call was marvelous. The food was exquisite throughout the ship: specialty restaurants, grand dining hall, and more informal venues. The LaReserve food/wine matching was an experience to behold. Not being heavy drinkers, we didn't buy the daily drink package and brought our own three bottles of wine on board. Corkage was a one-time $25 per bottle. Sure, the onboard entertainment in the Marina Lounge left a lot to be desired, but nothing is perfect. The ship did have a marvelous native show which in port at Niku Hiva. The land tours admittedly were a tad pricey, but certainly bearable. In any event, we made our own tour arrangements on some of the islands and just walked around on others. And, because of my wife's physical limitations couldn't take advantage of the snorkeling and diving opportunities. I can't comment on travel arrangements or transference between airport and ship since my wife and I went into Tahiti four days before the cruise and thus made our own hotel, touring, and air arrangements. In fact, we had 12 hours between the time we had to be off the ship and the time we had to be at the airport. So, we arranged to have a guide for the day who also took us to the airport. It was a fabulous way for my wife and I to launch our year-long celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary. If I could give the Marina a triple excellent rating, I would. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Embarkation was an orderly mess. We got to the cruise terminal before 11am, but boarded the ship around 2pm. Boarding was color-coded, and we were surprised that they were calling all the colors except ours -- 10 colors were called ahead ... Read More
Embarkation was an orderly mess. We got to the cruise terminal before 11am, but boarded the ship around 2pm. Boarding was color-coded, and we were surprised that they were calling all the colors except ours -- 10 colors were called ahead of ours, although the terminal had only a few hundred people when we arrived. And Windjammer was full when we went up for lunch, so it probably wasn't FIFO from the terminal. Debarkation was worse. Quantum wasn't sailing out the day we reached port, as they had an event at Royal Theatre with Shanghai government officials that night (so that's why we needed to get to Baoshan quickly, in spite of fog). The right thing for the hotel dept to have done was allow us to leave the rooms when they called our luggage tag numbers, and not force to crowd 4,239 guests in Royal Theatre and 270. They also closed out the food outlets an hour before we reached port, so Deck 5 public spaces were all crowded with nothing to do and standing room only for a lot of people. Upon reaching the terminal, many people who debarked ahead of us were still there. It was just fortunate that we booked our own Shanghai tour and I was able to update our guide constantly with our arrival info, so we were able to meet up at the offsite parking area in good time, in spite of private vehicles not being allowed to park near the terminal due to the Quantum event that night. Dynamic Dining (now Dynamic Dining Choice) is good for people who booked together, such as families and friends. It's just like going to a restaurant with reservations. If travelling alone, traditional dining (or Dynamic Dining Classic, for Quantum Class) would definitely be better. All our reservations were there, so I never experienced the "missing reservations" problem that other people had. It's also so much easier to modify reservations on the Royal IQ app than on the RCCL website. Lesson learned -- dine early to get to the shows that don't need reservations, and be at Royal Theatre 15 minutes before a show to avoid pillar obstructions. Windjammer after the show if you get hungry. The restaurants were a mixed bag. The only one we paid for was Jamie's for lunch ($15), and it was very much worth it. We usually had excellent food, a good server, and good service times, although it was rare that we got all three in one meal. The menus were changed twice -- menu A on the first 3 nights, menu B on the next 3, and back to menu A with additional Chinese dishes (but without many of the Signatures and Classics) on the last 3. One thing I was happy about was that we were able to get ice cream or sherbet at every restaurant, even when it wasn't on the dessert menu. North Star -- long lines whenever we passed by, so we didn't go. iFly -- did it twice, because fog on the last day made the captain open up a lot of activities. It might have also been possible to fly without reservations on the second to the last full day, as iFly personnel told me to come back on that day, although I didn't. Waverider -- sister says there were times that only two people were using it alternately, but there were always a lot of people when I passed by. Entertainment -- only Starwater was reservable, but I don't think everyone had a chance to watch because 270 was spacious, but had much fewer seats than Royal Theatre. Unlike earlier cruises where the entertainment was posted in the Royal website, we only knew the shows for the day when the Cruise Compass came out, which made it difficult to match reserved dining and going to shows. The Music Hall was a useful venue, but they seemed to have turned it into more casino space now. Guest Services -- laundry dept lost one of my underwear, and cost to replace was a little under $10. Chinese girl at guest services kept on saying that laundry dept couldn't find it anymore, so I would be credited $80. I thought that was impossible, because I was claiming $9+, and wash & fold was only $30, so I thought maybe she was saying $18. The next day, $8 was credited. Please practice your English more. Lesson learned -- have it in writing and signed. Now that I've been spoiled by Quantum, I'm not sure if I'll ever go on another class of ship again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015

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