24 Oceania Marina Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Marina is a beautiful ship and the public areas are not only amazingly gorgeous in their decor but the entire ship is just a joy to behold. All the public areas have amazing and interesting furniture, works of art, soft furnishings, ... Read More
Marina is a beautiful ship and the public areas are not only amazingly gorgeous in their decor but the entire ship is just a joy to behold. All the public areas have amazing and interesting furniture, works of art, soft furnishings, fabrics etc. The ports of call on this cruise were so interesting. We visited Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bari Italy, Corfu Greece, Zakynthos Greece, Valetta Malta, Catania Siciliy, Naples/Pompei and the cruise disembarked in Rome. The veranda stateroom on level 8 was very acceptable with a comfortable bed and it was clean and well presented. All of the staff were lovely as usual and did an excellent job. Shore excursions were all wonderful and very interesting and 'destination services' staff who organise the booking of on shore excursions did an excellent job. Entertainment was fairly tame but we had chef Jacques Pepin on board which was enough entertainment on its own and we so enjoyed seeing his face around the ship and at the book signing. Cruise Director and his male assistant were average and could have been more helpful with the following issue but I suspect he may have been unwell. Much to our disappointment this cruise was ruined by a mystery virus or food poisoning, which was reported the CDC. The captain made an announcement some days after the problem surfaced advising '...anyone who feels ill should remain in their room and notify the medical centre and the doctor would visit them in their room and the service would be complimentary (free)'. We soon discovered this was incorrect advice, the same incorrect advice was repeated a couple of days later in another announcement from the captain to our astonishment. The medical service was not free but was charged and the rates were quoted over the phone by a the nurse who would not send the doctor unless we agreed to be charged fees and reported certain symptoms. I had an extensive conversation with the general manager about the inconsistent advice from the captain. I was so glad that I had my own medical knowledge and carried medications with me for such events as I found the medical services on board rude and of no help at all. Obviously the hypocratic oath has a dollar value with the medical staff on this ship. The television, which is inadequate at the best of times with limited channels and poor picture bombarded us with a cruise director from another ship (Dottie) singing to us with instructions about how to wash our hands - it was repetitive, annoying and one didn't even want to turn the TV on. We were treated like children with the repetitive messages on the TV and around the ship about cleaning our hands and instead of having a wonderful experience we began to hate the cruise. All the elegant trimmings and presentations were removed from any dining experience and were greeted with all the food displays in the Terrace cafe being wrapped in cling wrap (as in the actual glass covered enclosures). We were forbidden from touching any food, we were policed about using the antibacterial fluids upon entry to food serving areas so much so that my hands suffered a severe outbreak rash from an allergic reaction the product - if I objected to using it on my hands that had just been washed in the adjacent bathroom I was not allowed into the dining room. We were not allowed to touch or even use a salt and pepper shaker let alone cutlery on the table - we were given cutlery wrapped in a napkin onto a totally bare table minus all the lovely Versace china and wine glasses that are normally displayed at their dining venues. We understood the precautions that they were taking but it was a horrid, policed, sanitary, unappealing cruise which soured our previously favourable view of Oceania and its management. We also lost faith in the ability of management to convey an accurate instruction to the passengers about medical care in the situation. They seemed to just be rubbing their hands together about charging people for a medical issue which was clearly out of control on board the ship. I was shocked to see a clearly unwell and exhausted staff member serving coffee in Baristas when he was clearly unwell and exhausted but someone must have signed him on as fit for duty. No wonder Oceania had a problem on board ship! I had a great deal of on board credit on this cruise - in excess of $US1000 and as the cruise was so dreadful I did not spend much of my on board credit. On the 6th day I received a letter stating I should go to reception before disembarkation day to receive a cash refund. I still have this letter even though the reception staff tried to keep it. I want it as proof of their poor attitude and inept service. The letter advising a cash refund softened my frustration and anger about the unpleasantness of the cruise due to matters beyond our control. I considered that was the least that Oceania could do for us given I'd paid thousands of dollars to do the cruise and it had been a complete disaster as far as a pleasant experience goes. When I took my letter to reception to collect the cash as per their instructions I was told that they wouldn't give it to me. It was non refundable. Having been refunded / reimbursed previously on another Oceania cruise that encountered a hurricane I had sincerely believe that they intended to do what they stated in their letter as a gesture of goodwill. (I stress that it was a voluntary refund and not requested). I felt humiliated and angry at being denied my money which they/Oceania told me to collect from reception desk. I was left on the last night of the cruise with a great deal of money not spent and refused a refund which Oceania put in writing and offered to give me. There were other passengers waiting in line who were being given the same news and they ushered them away to avoid a scene. Needless to say I left the cruise the next morning furious with Oceania management. From the Captain through to the Medical Staff through to the General Manager I felt that they all needed some training regarding delivering a clear and consistent message, honouring what they put in writing, customer service and how to not treat passengers like 5 year olds! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We will never travel on Oceania again. Rampant sickness -- the previous sailing of the Marina also had sickness involving the crew and passengers. It carried over to our cruise. My wife was violently ill for more than 18 hours. The ... Read More
We will never travel on Oceania again. Rampant sickness -- the previous sailing of the Marina also had sickness involving the crew and passengers. It carried over to our cruise. My wife was violently ill for more than 18 hours. The response from the medical center was terrible. My wife never saw or spoke to the doctor, who nonetheless prescribed a course of treatment that involved taking antibiotics that had the same side effects that she was already experiencing. The nurse could not have been more dis-interested, except to make sure that we were quarantined. Oh yes, and please sign these releases authorizing Oceania to charge you for the medical services even though the nurse told us that the costs would be covered by Oceania .... and please sign this release authorizing Oceania to release medical and other information to such organizations as the FBI (I am not making this up!!!!). I refused to sign. Poor service -- a waiter in one of the restaurants made a sarcastic and demeaning comment to my wife when she was inquiring about a menu item. It ruined our evening and we ended up leaving the restaurant and eating elsewhere. Dealt with Reception Services on 3 separate occasions. First expressed concern about being charged for a particular service, given assurances that it would not be charged, then having to deal with them to get it removed from our bill. When my wife was ill I went to the medical center (closed of course!), then read the sign that said go to Reception Services if an emergency. Reception Services response -- "we are not medical people, wait until the medical center opens up and get in line". Why have a sign that refers you to Reception Services for help if no help is available? Because we believed that the ship remained unsafe (sickness continued to grow in numbers), we decided to leave the ship at the next available port of call after quarantine was lifted. I was presented with a bill that included payment for shore excursions that were part of the original cruise package, including ones that we were not able to take because of quarantine and ones that were scheduled after we left the ship. I was also charged for other items that were not supposed to be included. It took some effort to have them removed, but not without "attitude" on the part of the Reception Services staff. Poor Communications It was difficult to get information about what was going on around the ship with the sickness. There was both the "official" announcements and the information provided by individual crew members. The information from crew members proved to be more reliable (the "official" announcements only gave the bare information and only what they wanted you to hear). Some services were "temporarily closed", but in fact never opened. Even Poorer Response When we told them we were getting off the ship because it was unsafe (because of the sickness) we asked for compensation. We were referred to "Guest Relations" in Miami. What a joke that is. Guest Relations does not talk to guests. You have to write them and they will get back to you within 3 weeks (maybe). Well, it took a lot longer than 3 weeks and of course the response was we will give you the equivalent of 2 days cruise credits so long as you use them in the next 12 months. Everyone who was affected received a letter from the ship's Master with this offer (except us of course). In short, we paid good money, and Oceania offered us something of no value in return. Oh yes, it took more than 7 weeks before anyone even offered an apology. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Having cruised before mostly on Celebrity we thought we would try Oceania for a different experience. The idea of a smaller ship "best food at sea" and some ports in the Mediterranean that we hadn't visited before. The food ... Read More
Having cruised before mostly on Celebrity we thought we would try Oceania for a different experience. The idea of a smaller ship "best food at sea" and some ports in the Mediterranean that we hadn't visited before. The food was Excellent, there were a couple nights its was ok in the Grand dining room but in comparison to Celebrity the food was definitely a step up in comparison. (Jacques Especially excellent). We are a couple in our early 40's no kids so we enjoy being on a boat with no children while on vacation. Oceania definitely met that expectation. This Voyage was definitely an older crowd (mid 60's and up) and the energy level was very low key. There was not as many entertainment options as other lines and would have liked a bit more energy and feel that we may have been on Oceania 25 years too early. We did make the best of it but overall I am not convinced the extra cost was worth the good food and less crowded ship considering for the same money we could have booked a suite on another line and had a few more options of things to do. We never do any ship excursions on any line so this was not an issue. One more thing that Oceania Advertises is their shuttle service to city centers where other lines charge. However they do not mention that sometimes its limited service that runs every 45 minutes, so in some port we heard others saying they waited for 3 buses but the line was so long people got angry and were shoving and trying to board the bus obviously frustrated after waiting an 1 1/2 hours and still not being able to get on. We saw the line and realized we wouldn't make the bus and had to take a cab back. A couple of nice things about Oceania, No constant up selling. On Celebrity it seems like every time you turn the corner someone is trying to sell you on a specialty restaurant or a photograph. No such thing on Oceania. The service was excellent Plenty of nice towels and they change your bedding regularly. Never seems crowded although if you don't make your reservations for the specialty restaurants before you go good luck getting in one they are packed every night and when we inquired about visiting one again we were told many guests have not even been able to try them because they did not make reservations pre-cruise. Also embarkation and de-embarkation are a breeze. Since there are so many less passengers you can get right on and get right off. It was nice the last day to still get room service to help get us going before we got off the ship and then just be able to walk off when you wanted and not have to sit in some area and wait for your group to be called. So to sum things up All in all it was a good time. We did get free gratuities and free internet and a $500 shipboard credit with Oceania but it was still $2000 more than a Celebrity Cruise we did 5 months ago for the same time frame in a Concierge level balcony cabin, where we also got 2 free drink pkgs, free gratuities and a $250 shipboard credit. Sometimes you just have to try things and see if its a good fit for you. Hopefully this review helps you make your decision Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We travelled as a party of four and spent 2 nights in Istanbul before the cruise. Booked all elements independently and had good connections via Lufthansa both ways via Munich. Stayed at Erboy Hotel and would highly recommend - they even ... Read More
We travelled as a party of four and spent 2 nights in Istanbul before the cruise. Booked all elements independently and had good connections via Lufthansa both ways via Munich. Stayed at Erboy Hotel and would highly recommend - they even arranged to collect us from the airport (which can be chaotic) for €25 which we paid to reception on arrival. After two days sightseeing we caught a taxi to the ship for 20 Turkish Lira (£7.50) and arrived around 12.30pm Embarkation was a breeze and we were on board within 10 minutes of arrival. First impressions of the ship were excellent with an opulent entrance area with the Lalique staircase making quite a statement. We proceeded to the Terrace Cafe for lunch were the attentive service set the scene for the rest of the cruise. Cabins were available from 3pm and this was another great first impression with well appointed furnishings and a superb bathroom with virtually full length bath and separate shower. Storage was more than adequate and size overall was excellent @ 242ft2. Whilst we didn't have a balcony the full length windows let plenty of light in. Bed, pillows and linens excellent contributing in a good nights sleep. Due to Hurricane Sandy we were advised that we would be staying an extra night in Istanbul to allow US passengers chance to meet the ship. The result was that the port of Volos was sacrificed. Unfortunately this was the only port where we had booked an independent excursion to Meteora and the cruise line advised they were willing to contact any companies concerned. We simply e-mailed our contact and explained the situation. We had pre-booked 3 of the 4 speciality restaurants and were due at Red Ginger on the first night. With the change in itinerary we cancelled and proceeded to the Terrace Cafe. Selection, service and quality of food was excellent, so much so that we ate here every night with the exception of visits to Polo Grill and Toscana both of which were great dining experiences. Our friends who have been on a limited number of cruises were simply amazed by the overall cruise experience. Whilst the cruise itinerary was aimed at 'cultural' experiences we aimed to use to simply relax. Weather was superb (mid 70's+) and we never had problem getting sunbeds. Entertainment was mixed with some mediocre shows by the ships singers and dancers but there were two excellent Guest acts in Bob Posch and crooner singer Jamie Michael Stewart. With the strike in Athens, thankfully we had made arrangements for a private transfer so made the airport in good time for our return flights. Overall a great cruise experience and if we could get a good price again we will definitely look to cruise with Oceania again. Only negatives (which didn't affect us) were the very high excursion costs and pretty slow internet access and cost which we only used to print off our return boarding passes. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
As this was our first cruise, we had no expectations other than what we read here on cruisecritic. We were offered an up-sell from a PH3 to an Oceania Suite, which I quickly took Oceania up on! VERY nice room (actually rooms), and even ... Read More
As this was our first cruise, we had no expectations other than what we read here on cruisecritic. We were offered an up-sell from a PH3 to an Oceania Suite, which I quickly took Oceania up on! VERY nice room (actually rooms), and even though I had never been on a ship before I could tell this was something very special. If you ever get the chance, take it! Most of the specialty restaurants were excellent. Our only exception was Toscana, which I am certain we caught a bad night. Nothing bad, just not up to par with the rest. Terrace Cafe became the hang out for most other meals, and they do a terrific job! Barista's was a perfect way to start each morning and the string quartet was an excellent way to end each evening. We did not attend any of the shows as we turn in rather early. Due to Sandy hitting the east coast, Oceania decided to spend an extra day in Istanbul to let the 700 passengers that were delayed catch up. Good call on their part to allow those delayed to get there. We missed out on Vollos, which was one destination we were very much looking forward to, but stuff happens. Only negatives were some of the other passengers not understanding that baseball caps on backwards or Cabela's gear at the specialty restaurants were not really country club casual, and our butler couldn't seem to get it that we really were not going to drink that bottle of champagne (took till mid week to get it out of the room....). Our cabin steward was fantastic and most of the staff we met were outstanding. The culinary center was a hoot! I made 3 of the classes and had a ball at each one. We missed out on the final one, which was a full day culinary excursion as DW was not feeling well. The 2 excursions we went on with Oceania were just fine for a group tour. I have no negatives on either one, and felt the cost was in line with how easy everything was. Overall we were very happy with everything. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
My husband and I had booked this cruise because it visited some different places. I particularly wanted to visit Volos because it offered a trip to the Meteora Monasteries in central Greece, which are otherwise hard to reach. So we were ... Read More
My husband and I had booked this cruise because it visited some different places. I particularly wanted to visit Volos because it offered a trip to the Meteora Monasteries in central Greece, which are otherwise hard to reach. So we were more than disappointed when told on boarding the ship that this stop was cancelled. Because of the problems with Superstorm Sandy, the ship was staying an extra night in Istanbul to wait for some US passengers having difficulty to catching the ship. As we had already spent 2 nights in Istanbul and it was our 3rd visit, this was of no benefit to us. Then, to add insult to injury, Oceania would not refund the full cost of the tour!!! We had taken out an Unlimited Collection pack which allows as many tours as you want - this was primarily because the tour to Meteora was $259 each. Oceania would only refund $198 each, as they apportioned a lower amount per day!! I am sure this is why Volos was cancelled instead of the other ports - it saved Oceania money - we met lots of other passengers doing the same tour as us! So far from offering compensation for our loss of this port, Oceania made money from us!!!!!! 3 days later we visited Rhodes and again Lindos was somewhere I had always wanted to visit. We had booked a trip to Ancient Lindos including the Acropolis there but, because of a strike, it was closed. So Oceania offered a trip to a village plus snacks (available on the ship for free!) and ouzo (which I wouldn't have as a gift!). We said we would like a refund but were told WE had cancelled the tour so would not receive any compensation!!!!!! Eventually, after lots of argument from us and others, they offered an alternate tour to Rhodes Town - not as good but at least something for our money! But what stress - we don't need it when on holiday. Other comments about cruise: Cabin nice, good bed, good bathroom Staff generally very friendly and helpful Food very average. The menu was exactly the same as Regatta in both the main dining room and the speciality restaurants - exactly the same dishes in the same combinations - I assume this means that they circulate the same menus every two weeks, as it can't have been a coincidence!! Red Ginger was excellent - good interesting dishes - and nice extra touches. Jacques OK but no ambience and lots of tables next to serving areas and very loud because of wood floor. Toscana OK but not as good as on Regatta - the dover sole was covered in a kind of soggy flour mixture! Polo Grill good but not exceptional steaks. Public areas not as good as Regatta - library and coffee areas both were on corridors - nowhere good to sit. Nowhere on ship is there forward visibility so no chance of viewing ports as you arrived- never seen a worse designed ship from this point of view - the staff don't seem to think anyone looks over the side - never any information on when we were going to see nice entries into port eg Crete and Rhodes, you had to find out by accident! Also, we sailed in and out in darkness several times when they could have adjusted the timings slightly to see the views For a supposed luxury line, no luxury eg no damp cloths or cool drinks when you get back on board (all the other ships we saw were doing this, even the lower cost ones). In fact, no little extras at all. On the last night, they removed the bathrobes to clean them. (As we use a robe when we put out our luggage, we weren't sure how we were supposed to do this!!!) When we insisted, they replaced the robe but it shouldn't be an issue - of the 6 cruise lines we have used, none of them do this! Altogether, ship and offerings very average. We could not recommend Oceania to anyone, and their attitude when there are difficulties (like with the tours above) is not our problem - the small print allows to change what we like at your expense! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
What an exciting concept see Istanbul with all its highlites and chance to see the Eastern Roman Empire and the changes that took place when Constanople became Istanbul...We arrived 3 day early so as to experience the city on our own...We ... Read More
What an exciting concept see Istanbul with all its highlites and chance to see the Eastern Roman Empire and the changes that took place when Constanople became Istanbul...We arrived 3 day early so as to experience the city on our own...We booked our own room and transportation and we very pleased with the hotel and its location with its proxsimity to the highlites of the city... What I am going to disscribe in my following comments was sent on to the President of Oceania Lines in an attempt to get a refund for what was a disaster on board the ship which included all phases of food, service, and advertised features of the ship. To begin with we were delayed one day in port to pickup delayed passangers who were straned on the East coast due to a hurricane...So we missed a port and the ship steamed nowhere. Once on board we meet the butler on our floor and he promptly told us what he wouldnt do, that being the last we saw of him during our cruise. We bought a drink package, non-refundable, as we could see why based on the service we received by the staff once they saw we didnt have to have a service charge on our order, so they in most cases ignored us. And you would have though they drinks were coming out of their pockets. The various resturants were excellent (Red Ginger) to poor the (Terrace Dining) service was slow the food marginal and in the case of the Terrace we just picked up our drinks on the way in and on occasion set our own table...The staff was short handed, and in some cases didnt understand 'English. The Spa which we were to have exclusive access to in parts of it, was not helpful and were to the point of ignoring you if you didnt have a schedualed appointment for a treatment. We were suppost to have access to the exclusive reading room for our level of room and our pass card never worked...When we would go to the desk down on the main deck usually there was no one who could help us with the problem so we went throughout the cruise without access. The dress code was never inforced and on one particular occassion one of the passangers wore a tee shirt with F/U on it all over the boat... There was no offer from the company after numerous complaints through Visa and with correspondence to the company..There letters never fully addressed our complaints and no offer of a refund was offered due to a lost sailing day...We have travel with this line 4 times and this is the final one, hence the title of my review...NEVER AGAIN Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We had very high expectations for our first Oceania cruise, although we have cruised before. We were told we would never cruise another line again and that the food would be like eating in a five star nyc restaurant every night. Both ... Read More
We had very high expectations for our first Oceania cruise, although we have cruised before. We were told we would never cruise another line again and that the food would be like eating in a five star nyc restaurant every night. Both turned out to be false in our case. We arrived in Istanbul 2 days prior and stayed at the hotel nena which was in the old section of the City. It was a very reasonably priced hotel with a great location and a great view from their roof top Restaurant. It was in walking distant of the sights and also near the tram which was fairly easy to use. The hotel arranged a guide for us and we pretty saw what we wanted to see. We arranged for the hotel to drop us off at the ship. Embarkation- was easy and quick and we went to our room and then had a bite at the terrace grill. I had the surf and turf sandwich, which was medallions of lobster and steak. The steaks,was,delicious but the lobster not so much. Our bags arrived at our cabin which was an Inside. It was very comfortable, although we were surprised that the desk was so scratched up The carpet looked It was ready for a cleaning and even the threads on the pillowcase were shredding. I expected high standards. Ship - was beautiful, but low key, and many interesting sculptures and art work, the main dining Room was beautiful. We loved the lounges around the pool. The auditorium was small, and the entertainment was geared towards the late sixties and seventies which was the average age of the Ship. The gym was nice although I only visited it once as this was a very port intensive cruise. They did offer classes, ile yoga, stretch, spin. We did not use the spa but did tour it and it was Nice, but small. Activities- they seem to have some. Ice cooking classes and art classes, but I can't comment as I did not participate. Service - this is where we were disappointed... The staff worked hard , but definetly were not outstanding. Food- favorite restaurant was red ginger ((the lobster pad Thai, was great) and we did like all the other specialty restaurants , although we felt that toscanno was understaffed. The dining room Was good. Our disappointment was at the terrace grill where it took 40 minutes to get a hamburger. After 20 minutes I was told they were very busy and then had to wait another 20 minutes. As this was on our second day of the cruise at lunch, I wondered how oceania could claim to have such a hi ratio to passenger staff. Ports - we did not take Oceania excursions because we like do it our selves. I will review the ports Which I could not find much information on Cc. Also they had a cruise lecturer who was excellent and Gave great info on the ports Mittilini (lesbos) we were there on a Saturday and many locals were at the waterfront tavernas enjoying their day off. We went to the castle which is very close to the dock, then strolled thorough the town, and did some shopping and then ate lunch at a taverna facing the water. It was very Picturesque . Marmaris, turkey - we walked through the market to the boats and for $25 pp we had a 3 hour boat Tour. We stopped at a cove a jumped into the Aegean . It was great. Before boarding we stopped for Turkish bagels and bread some cheese and drinks and had a picnic on board.. Antalya , turkey - the ship provided a shuttle from the port which was about a 25 minute ride. We went to the anatalya museum and rented their audio guide which was very good. We also saw Hadrian gate and went to the. Market. Kusadasi - used Ephesus shuttle and were very pleased. Ephesus was amazing. We did not like The market in kusadasi as they were very aggressive. Disembarkation - easy and quick. We had a taxi arranged to pick us up and bring us to the airport. It was half the price of oceanias transfers for 2. Marina was a great ship with a few blemishes. Oceania goes to great ports, we were very lucky with the weather it was An average of 70's to 80's with one day 92 degrees Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This back to back combination of two journeys from Barcelona via Istanbul to Athens was our fist experience with OCEANIA. With some 20+ cruises on board of ships from Cunard (QM2), Hapag-Lloyd (Europa) Regent and Seabourn our curiosty was ... Read More
This back to back combination of two journeys from Barcelona via Istanbul to Athens was our fist experience with OCEANIA. With some 20+ cruises on board of ships from Cunard (QM2), Hapag-Lloyd (Europa) Regent and Seabourn our curiosty was piqued to OCEANIA's new ships and the disgner-styled large suites there. Pre-Cruise Arrangement: Unfortunately we booked a pre-cruise arrangement with OCEANIA, what we never would do again! The Boutique-style hotel (1898) was really nice, but the small room with nearly absence of any day-light which was booked for us reminded to be more a broom-closet than a stateroom. With lack of any further assistance or support, except a small general information sheet, the guaranteed transfer to the port did not happen. Hence we organized our transportation to the ship by ourself. Embarkation: Smooth, efficient, fast and no lines! After arrival at 11.30 am our Suite was ready for occupation without any delay. The downside: from Pier to Suite our luggage made a 5 hours journey. This is really not "prority delivery within one hour" as advertised! Suite: The Owner's Suites on Marina are an Interiors Designer's delight and absolutely marvellous and to die for! Spanning from one side to the other at the ship's stern it is all about space and style and guarantees the privacy of a large yacht as well. Travelling in such a phantastic setting is hardly to beat. The most spacious and best equipped Suite we ever enjoyed on baord of a ship! Our Cabin-Stewards Joseph and his young assistant did a phantastic job. Charming, smiling, friendly, always just in time: perfect! Ravi, our Butler, first had some minor problems as he tended to forget his orders. But by the end of the cruise his service was really much more improved and we had been rather more satisfied. With Suite 10111 there is only one problem: the fall-out of carbon black out of the ships chimney (unbelivable for a 'Green Ship')and, much more, the garbage thrown down from the Terrace-Cafe two decks above. Nearly every second morning our balconies had been covered with napkins, paper, fruits, korks, crackers and even broken bits of glass(!)and fixing pins. If you prefer having breakfast on your private terasse, it has to be cleaned first. Sometimes you had to be careful if the Terasse-Cafe was cleaned after Lunch: without any warning some water splashed down. For our next cruises on 'Riviera' we booked the Owner's Suites on Deck 8 and 9 which - as it was told - are not as problematic as Suite 10111. Restaurants: Famous for its dining expierience, OCEANIA fullfilled all our exspectations. The quality of meals in all of the restaurants we tried was - with one exeption - of top quality. Even in the Grand Dining Room the the kitchen worked excellent. Not our style, we did not try 'Waves' and the 'Terrace' for dinner. Service ranking: 'Polo Grill' and 'Jacques': excellent, 'Toscana', 'Red Ginger' and 'Grand Dining Room': very well, 'Terrace Cafe'(for lunch): sometimes ok, sometimes poor. The service at 'La Privee' seems a little bit over exposed - you do not have a chance for private conversation without beeing interrupted by the waiter. Shore-Excutions: We booked onboard two private cars with guide for Israel and one for Istanbul: perfectly organized but extremely expansive. Otherwise we made our private arrangements, which worked extremely well. Disembarkation: We booked onboard a private car to the Aiport. Even with 4(!)cruise ships arriving at the same time and regardless the hughe crowds we never expirienced such a well organized disembarkation before. After leaving the ship at the scheduled time a personal guide and a porter exspected us with our luggage, showed us the way and accompanied us right to the waiting car: perfect! Summary: The 'Marina' is a marvellous ship: spacious, elegant and stylish. Regarding the pictures, sculptures and some decoration this is not only pure Interior Disigner's routine: you feel, that there must be an OCEANIA excecutive, who personally tooks care of it. Having some fears about the size of the ship, as - with the exception of a Transatlantic Crossing with QM2 - we never sailed on such a large vessel,it was really a surprise: the 'Marina' absorbes its 1200 Passengers very, very well. One never had a cramped feeling or the atmosphere of beeing in a hughe crowd. At some places the ship feels homy and intimate. Even the tender-service works extremely well and is better organized than on all smaller ships we travelled. Only in terms of individual attention, the 'Marina' lacks the personal atmosphere of smaller ships. This applies not for the restaurants, where you mostly are personally wellcomed by name. Otherwise at the reception you feel more treated with the unpersonal routine of a call-center (we apologize, we double-check, we try...). Regarding our 'garbage' problem, absolutely nothing happend! Trying to get an appointment with the Marina's GM was such a hard task, that I gave it up! It seems to be easier to get a reception with the Emperior of China than with Monsieur Lacroix himself! After nearly four weeks onboard 'Marina' the GM was only virtually excisting. Observing how some of the decks personal are operating and with quite a little experience on board of other ships, you get a feeling, that the attention to details and guests could be improved by the 'Marina's management. Overall: this was a very good experience, which we highly recommand. Maybe it will be even better next time: we are looking forward to our next three journeys onboard 'Riviera'. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
As with anything everyone has a different taste so what appeals to one may not please another, so this is our personal opinion of the cruise. To us it appears Oceania's target market is somewhat older than us and less mobile (average ... Read More
As with anything everyone has a different taste so what appeals to one may not please another, so this is our personal opinion of the cruise. To us it appears Oceania's target market is somewhat older than us and less mobile (average age on our cruise was announced at 72) this influences everything on the cruise from setting the pace for excursions, food selection and preparation , entertainment and the constant Muzak played on deck. We put some of the fault on our Travel Agent as well as the cruise industries brochures. It would be a good idea to adopt some of the practices of the Coach Tour brochures and have a true indication of who a particular cruise line would appeal to. For example, a fair disclosure on this cruise would be that Oceania is geared to appeal to non-independent travelers in the over 65 age range who prefer a leisurely pace. As soon as we arrived home we sent emails to Oceania requesting we be removed from all their mailing lists as it's obvious we aren't in their market. Stateroom Our stateroom was very spacious for a cruise ship and very comfortable. There were more than enough drawers and hangers for our clothes. We would have preferred a larger shower stall as we didn't use the bathtub. The ship staff was very pleasant and efficient but no better or worse than we have experienced on NCL or Carnival (not as good as Uniworld) who tend to be our benchmark). We probably expected more from Oceania given their supposed premium rating and price. We found the laundry room on each deck to be a pleasant surprise and feel it should be mentioned more proximately in the brochure Dining Our meals were often served not hot, entrees marked as spicy were mild at best. Red Ginger was the best for a change of pace but even there I had to send back an entree that was supposed to be spicy and served not even mild. Finally our server brought out a portion of the spices used and I was able to make it more to my taste. The only choices of vegetables offered at any of the dining rooms are steamed variety of broccoli, carrots and cauliflower or green beans and shallots. This became quite boring after a while. They had the same cuts of meat at all the dining rooms just prepared differently. Wine prices are very outrageous for example a bottle of $7.00 California wine was $54.00 on Marina. We found the house wine from Chile to be acceptable and only selected wine by the bottle on occasion. Since they allowed you to have wine in your cabin purchased off the ship we purchased several fine local wines while in port that we sipped on our balcony. We really enjoyed Baristas and it wasn't long before the barista knew what we wanted before we asked. Unfortunately it closed at 6PM and there was nowhere to have a coffee or tea outside of picking it up in the Terrace Cafe or a bar, we didn't always feel like room service and sitting in our cabin. Ports Stops in Egypt were our main reason for choosing this cruise so its cancellation was a major disappointment. I contacted Oceania by phone upon being informed of the change of port, while I realize the decision to change ports had to be made in advance I feel the port chosen was a very poor substitute. I don't think very many people would look and say "I have to take this cruise it stops in Antalya." Also it took us well off the original course resulting in really only a half extra day in Ashdod. A stop in one of the Greek islands or Piraeus (Athens) would have kept the ship closer to Israel. Other than that the ports were pretty much as advertised. Shore excursions and the Destinations desk on the ship We found the excursions while expensive were pretty much hit and miss. We had very good guides in Ibiza and Istanbul, not so much in Israel. People who commented on the guides who didn't go in the museums should realize that some museums have their own guides would have been paid separately from the tour guides, we didn't have enough time to warrant hiring one so I don't think looking by yourself at your own pace was a bad choice. We didn't use Oceania's excursions in several ports or our pre-cruise in Barcelona. If you weren't buying an excursion the staff at the desk was not helpful at all nor was the representative in Barcelona. We had planned Barcelona but still had a few questions the only thing they offered was a coach tour of Barcelona on the morning of the day we sailed. When we declined her attempt to up sell us, suddenly we were the last people arriving and she was going home. The receptionist in the hotel was very helpful and gave us maps and directions as well as pointing out some significant landmarks we could use if we lost our way. When we asked at shore excursions for information on Antalya once again the only thing offered were the Oceania excursions, we had decided with some research to just take the shuttle bus and sight see ourselves. We were surprised that as soon as we declined the excursions the Destination staff's reply was that it was the first time they had stopped there and they really had no other information except the excursions. As it turned out there was a tourist information booth as soon as we got off the shuttle bus and we found our way around and saw everything that was on the walking tour. As well we had 2 hours to spend in the Archeological Museum ( audio headsets were available at a reasonable price so we had a good explanation of the displays as well) while an Oceania tour that arrived while we were there was whisked through in a minimum of time. Entertaiment and Activivities We only attended the show on the first night and only stayed for about fifteen minutes. The entertainment appeared to be aimed at a target market older than us, watching the highlights of the shows on the TV in our room confirmed this simply not our thing. There was nothing else offered in this time period and we felt that it would have been a good time to offer some lectures on the ports of call or repeat some of the day's activities that were only offered while active people were ashore. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This was our first cruise and Oceania & the Marina have set a really high standard. There was some apprehension on our part about going on our first cruise & certainly a high level of expectation. One of the reasons for choosing ... Read More
This was our first cruise and Oceania & the Marina have set a really high standard. There was some apprehension on our part about going on our first cruise & certainly a high level of expectation. One of the reasons for choosing this cruise was the number of destinations & their locations. We need not have been at all concerned as the staff on the Marina soon made us at home. The embarkation in Venice was not plain sailing & due to a computer meltdown, there was a reasonable delay. It wasn't the smoothest starts but it was forgotten by the second day. OUR STATEROOM The room was beautifully finished and there was adequate room for three adults (our adult daughter travelled with us). It was a bit squishy with the divan down at night but daytime was fine & having the balcony was a big plus, especially when we were in port. The bed was exceptionally comfortable. There was sufficient space for all of us to store our clothes. We had read reviews about the bathroom & shower but really it didn't worry us. The design & fittings are first class. Our room was towards the front of the ship and was quiet & smooth & rarely would you know you were at sea. Everything was spotless. The air-conditioning was also just right. THE STAFF What ever Oceania are doing with their staff they are doing it right! The staff were incredible. No matter where you were they made an effort to be polite & pleasant to you. Nothing was too much trouble. Maria who looked after our room always had a smile & made sure the room was always ready. The waiters in all the dining areas were super & genuinely seemed to enjoy their jobs. THE FOOD Unbelievable! No matter where we ate & we experienced all the options it was first class. I have never experienced anything like it. The speciality restaurants provided experiences that are hard to forget. eg a two page menu of different olive oils for your bread in Toscana, the Italian restaurant. Or the birthday cake brought out for my daughter in the Polo Grill.I liked the less formal arrangements & at no time did we ever have to wait to be seated. The wait time for courses was also very reasonable for such a large number of diners. I also liked the fact that the staff served guests at the buffet as this was a health precaution THE SHIP Not having had the experience of sailing on other ships I can't compare but we choose a mid size ship & it didn't disappoint.It was modern, clean & the pool area & other public areas were a good size. Saftey was also a bit issue & the life jacket & emergency drills were taken very seriously. All tenders were done in avery organised & safe manner. The washing facilities, close to our room were very good & also appreciated THE DESTINATIONS This was one of the reasons we choose this cruise & we weren't disappointed. We were also blessed with unbelievable weather. To arrive in a different destination each morning was magic. Who could forget docking in Kotor? Everyone of the places had a different setting but that's why you go. We enjoyed them all-Dubrovnik, Kotor,Corfu,Monemvasia,Crete,Santorini, Kusadasi and Mykonos.SHORE EXCURSIONS We went on one to Ephesus & found it well organised & are glad we did it. Most of the excursions were a little pricey & we prefer at times to do our own thing, for instance in several ports we booked local taxis for several hours & did our own tours. ENTERTAINMENT We went to several show and enjoyed them but due to our high level of physical activity during the day, we were too tired and usually went to bed early. My only criticism would relate to the internet usage. It was too slow & too expensive. SUMMARY We had a wonderful time. Everything about the ship was fantastic & the fine weather was a bonus. Would we sail with Oceania again? Of course! Highly recommended & would do it all again, tomorrow, if possible! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Disclosure - This is our 13th cruise - we have cruised on Princess, NCL, Royal Caribbean, Disney, and Holland America in the past and enjoyed every single one of them!! Embarkation - No problem - not the fastest or slowest - after ... Read More
Disclosure - This is our 13th cruise - we have cruised on Princess, NCL, Royal Caribbean, Disney, and Holland America in the past and enjoyed every single one of them!! Embarkation - No problem - not the fastest or slowest - after taking the train from Rome, walk a few hundred yards and go inside the port - catch the shuttle to the ship at the bus stop near the (closed at the time) tourist info booth. Public Rooms - Not my personal taste in decorating and art, but nice. Cabin - Despite being near the elevator and stairs on Deck 10, our cabin was clean, comfortable, and quiet. Oceania provided robes, slippers and a cashmere throw to use inside or out. Our supplies (frig and bathroom) were kept well-stocked. Great location for getting around the ship. Some raters have complained about the shower size, however, neither one of us thought it was small and personally I thought it was somewhat bigger than on other cruise ships. Fitness Center - Did not use the spa, but used the fitness center - had no problem getting a treadmill or using the weights. However, it was not easy to find the toilet around there - it seemed like a maze to me - they hide it in a changing room. Enrichment - Attended a couple of lectures from a professor (sorry - forgot her name) on Roman History - not heavy, but entertaining and informative. Also attended a talk given by a well-known sportscaster - again, funny and entertaining. Dining - Excellent cuisine with the caveat that we did not eat in the Grand Dining Room, just the Terrace Cafe, Waves, and specialty restaurants. Also enjoyed the afternoon teas with live music. Entertainment - Con Molto was the best ship show by their singers and dancers; we also enjoyed the comic Tom Drake. Shore Excursions - We took three ship shore excursions - they were all very enjoyable and informative. In fact, on the day we were supposed to dock at Amalfi, the port was changed to Naples due to rough seas - the only ship excursion to actually go to the Amalfi coast (although not Amalfi itself) was the one we booked - Food and Wine Trails. Due to the rain we did not go the vineyard as planned, but had the wine tasting at the restaurant with that vineyard's wines and we were able to see the coast due to the drive to the small town we visited. The other two excursions were to Florence/Pisa and Taormina/Mt Etna. (Hint - if you are in concierge level, they usually had maps for the next port in the evenings in the lounge.) Debarkation - No problems here either. (Hint - if you are leaving out of Marco Polo/Venice and aren't able to check in for your flight when you arrive, there are very, very few places to sit, unless you want to buy something in a restaurant - be prepared to stand until check in.) Value for the Money - Overall just a little pricey - I don't mind paying higher gratuities on any cruise line for good service, and the cuisine was excellent, although not more than the cuisine "used to be" the few years we were cruising from about 1989 - 2000 or so. We would definitely go on Oceania again - just be prepared to pay a little more. Overall - A FABULOUS CRUISE - GO AND ENJOY YOURSELVES!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Oceania's Marina was a joy. We went on their 10 day excursion, Pearls of the Aegean from Venice to Athens with a different port every morning. It was a fabulous ship with excellent food and service. All the employees couldn't do ... Read More
Oceania's Marina was a joy. We went on their 10 day excursion, Pearls of the Aegean from Venice to Athens with a different port every morning. It was a fabulous ship with excellent food and service. All the employees couldn't do enough for you and seemed genuinely happy which is not the case on all other lines. We travelled with2 other couples,one of which have been on inumerable cruises and said Marina has raised the bar. Let me break it down: FOOD- Above average to excellent. Besides the Main Dining Room which is beautiful and the food and decor "above average" you have a choice of 3 "speciality" restaurants: French(great), Italian(great),Asian(very good), and Steak/Lobster(great). Advce: Make reservations 45 days in advance. Terrace Grill on pool deck was great also for casual buffett, both lunch and dinners. CABINS- Beautiful and quite spacious(282 sq.feet) with nice veranda. Drawer space numerous but narrow. Beautifully maintained. Despite some choppy seas the ship has good stabilizers and very little "rocking" to and fro. EXCURSIONS- Overpriced. We only took one and arranged all others in advance online. You can do much better especiallyif travelling in a group by checking out Trip Advisor or other sites. CONCIERGE LEVEL- Not worth the price. We were offered upgrade 5 days before cruise for $200 and were on 2 decks higher and midship which was worthwhile but don't waste extra $$ at time of booking. Service throughout ship was so good you don't need a concierge loung or free pressing of 4 garments on arrival. ENTERTAINMENT- Remember it's a mid-sized ship and you're not going to get Vegas quality entertainment but it's fine to sit and be entertained a bit after dinner. The casino on 6th floor was good if you enjoy gaming.INTERNET- This was the only criticism everyone agreed on. It was slow and quite costly(85 cents a minute) and hard to log on and off. Use a smart phone and purchase extra memory and don't use at sea, only in a port. Overall it was a wonderful cruise and ship. I can't see how anyone could complain about this ship unless they are complainers by nature. There were very few children and the crowd was in the 50-70 year old range for the most part but that varies by season, I suppose. Bravo, Oceania. I wouldn't hesitate to cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
This cruise began in Istanbul and ended in Athens. Because of the unrest in the middle east, Egypt was cancelled 6 months ago- a disappointment and I believe premature and wrong but I understand that Oceania has to try and protect their ... Read More
This cruise began in Istanbul and ended in Athens. Because of the unrest in the middle east, Egypt was cancelled 6 months ago- a disappointment and I believe premature and wrong but I understand that Oceania has to try and protect their customers. A coworker just got back from Cairo and had a great time, there was no problems and because of all of the cancelled tours and cruises the monuments were the least crowded in probably over 50 years. Just as the ship was starting boarding passengers we found out that the port we anticipated docking at in Ashdod was changed to Haifa over safety concerns. Again, frustrating and messed up our private tours we had scheduled months before but a safety decision. Aside from that, the cruise was as expected. Food was too good with only a few only mediocre dishes, service was very good and I believe Oceania does a great job in screening their staff to appear happy and customer oriented. PH3 was an offered upgrade and gave us the opportunity to have in suite dining from the specialty restaurants as well as an additional amount of room in the suite and bathroom. The space was nice, the walk in closet was really nice because it really felt much more like a nice hotel room than a cabin. I had no issues with the shower, none at all. The rain head was nice, and the water wand was a good feature. The shower is not the size of modern American showers, and it is probably a bit short for those passengers well over 6 ft tall. I personally enjoyed the bath tub. My wife didn't use it, but I like to soak in a tub, and found it to be a nice addition. The bathroom was laid out very well and had plenty of storage. The bed, as advertised was Heavenly and the bedding was very nice. Because we did use the in suite Butler delivered food the small table and odd chairs at the end of the bed made perfect sense and worked much better than traditional chairs for getting up and out. ( you can probably find pics of the chairs to see what I mean. The television selection was OK, the DVD library was OK-but to be honest with the port intensive itinerary Oceania has, there is little time for TV anyway. Internet in the computer lounge is slow and expensive, but anticipated that . Wife purchased 100 minutes for $80 and used it for coordinating changes in the tours and checking back home. I do remember the old days of paying very high fees for calling home from Italy or France in the 1970's and 1980's so to be honest instead of calling we email and it is really much more convenient because of the time difference. Again, just what we anticipated. Embarkation was smooth and easy, and so was exiting from the ship. Very well organized and efficient. I have no suggestions at all for improvements in this area.I felt the ship was well organized. I saw a man writing in his comment card that he thought the signage was"terrible" and have no idea what his rationale for this was. You could put signs up everywhere and really mess up the atmosphere or you could just read the signs and remember where things are. IMO too many signs detract from the ambiance of the ship. The artwork was really a plus. All of it modern, some of it fascinating, some of it from major names, Miro, Picasso and some of it just colorful. But all was well done. The ship was spotless and the only criticism was because the ship uses the laundered cloth hand towels, they seem to run out of these as opposed to paper towels. But I love the cloth towels, they just need to track them more frequently. The round granite sinks in the washrooms were really nice looking with the rough hewn exterior and fit in very well with the polished black decor. But the bowl is small and water routinely splashed out. The neatness freak in me kept wiping up the spills because the washrooms looked so cool I didn't want to spoil it for the next person. Adequate amounts of alcohol gel dispensers in front of the restaurants, but they may consider adding more to the public areas. I never had any service problems with Reception or Destination Services. We had one shipboard tour with Nikki D'Souza who was our destination coordinator and she was very involved in coaching the Oceania assistant and checking to see how to tour progressed and trying to get passengers involved in the tour. Kudos to her. Entertainment was OK, but didn't see a lot of it- too tired by 9:45pm. The Marina Lounge was nicer than the Regatta, and the enrichment lectures were good. On board shopping was nothing special, but the attendants were nice. Fortunately didn't need medical services. We tendered into one port, and leaving the ship we used a tender from the port and not the Marina boat, on the way back the waves had picked up and the tender was more of an experience. I had heard that some CC members thought the tenders were poorly designed. They are small and cramped, but using public transportation in Chicago we are used to that and I didn't have an issue with it.Food and Restaurants Red Ginger was beautiful, I didn't get the decor at Jaccques. Polo looked nicer on Marina than on Regatta, and Toscana was OK. Red Ginger had one dish that wife and I loved, the duck and watermelon salad was WONDERFUL. Other dishes didn't excite me like other reviewers. Jacques had a lamb in pistachio and puff pastry that was incredible. Had a great steak at Polo. The specialty restaurants were all good to very good. I think we had better meals in the GDR on this trip than the last on Regatta. One morning went down and got the lamb chops for breakfast, yet another decadent treat I will be paying for over the next 6 months. Waves Grill knocks out a good burger, really good fries and exceptional milk shakes and malts. The problem is that when they have peak time, they have to begin some of the sandwiches ahead of time and found on occasion they were either not hot or a bit soggy on the bottom. I expect this is done because there are people who I sat next to, who were going nuts because there meal wasn't delivered to them in about 7 minutes. So at peak time the staff either have to have people wait 10 minutes for sandwiches or they can prepare some a bit ahead. Terrace Cafe was a good experience again. The change in ports ended up with many passengers coming back very late, missing their scheduled specialty restaurants and everyone ending up in Terrace Cafe at the same time. That was the only time I saw crowds and had to wait in line for anything. This was understandable and I felt acceptable. I think the grilling thing is overrated. The foods again are par cooked and essentially just grilled enough to reheat and put some grill marks on them. So again, the balance of better preparation vs speed of service. The salads were very good, the deserts were very good. In comparison between the smaller and larger ships on Marina.....I would select the ship based on itinerary . The Marina is newer and nicer and offers more amenities and never really felt crowded. The smaller ships are a bit more intimate and able to get in some ports that the larger ships cannot. The newer larger ships have two more specialty restaurants, but overall the quality of food IMO is the same. The library is designed very differently on the Marina than the Regatta. Much more like a library and less like a club room. I don't know if I would say it is better or worse than Regatta, just different, maybe a bit more difficult to get around. Overall a happy experience with Oceania, good service, good food, great beds. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
The Marina ship is well appointed and comfortable. We are "destination" cruisers and enjoy cruises that offer comfortable spacious accommodations, fine dining with elegant ambiance along with plenty of seating for 2, and well ... Read More
The Marina ship is well appointed and comfortable. We are "destination" cruisers and enjoy cruises that offer comfortable spacious accommodations, fine dining with elegant ambiance along with plenty of seating for 2, and well organized port excursions and embarkation and disembarkation protocols. On board entertainment and other activities are not as important except for a work out space that is not cramped and has access to plenty of natural light. Oceania's Marina ship exceeded our expectations. The Penthouse suite along with Butler service kept us very comfortable. The walk-in closet was big enough to organize our clothes, store shoes, and get dressed inside the closet. The bathroom was spacious and had two vanity drawers and two 4 shelf medicine cabinets. A makeup dresser and mirror in the cabin was much appreciated. Space for room service dining was also very good. There were plenty of drawers for storage as well. A lot of thought went in to planning Marina's suites. Housekeeping was unobtrusive and kept our cabin spotless. The Butler's room service timing and presentation was excellent as well. The Marina destination staff were very good. Efficient, friendly and capable. Marina staff accompanied the tours. On some tours we paid the extra fee for a smaller sized tour. This was worth the money if you want more contact with the tour guide for explanations etc. The food is excellent in the main dining room and the 4 specialty restaurants as well as buffet style Terrace restaurant. Service is really quite something. The Restaurant Managers know how to train their staff and are always around overseeing what is going on. Not only did we enjoy the food it was a pleasure to watch dining staff in action. The fitness area is large, well equipped and has outside views. We attended only one entertainment function and it was enjoyable. The port review presentations were good. We attended two or three one hour presentations that were helpful in getting ready for the next day activities. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
First of all, this cruise was a wonderful trip and I had hoped that previous comments given to us by others on the Marina were not so or at least the time had past for Oceania to rectify and change some situations. All the ports of calls ... Read More
First of all, this cruise was a wonderful trip and I had hoped that previous comments given to us by others on the Marina were not so or at least the time had past for Oceania to rectify and change some situations. All the ports of calls were wonderfully selected and we had no trouble in each port to disembark and embark. The port of Cyprus was not too interesting and would have liked another day in Istanbul or Israel. The staff was always polite and obliging. The entertainment was fair to good. The cruise director Nolan Dean was funny, light and entertaining. The concierge service on the 9th left little to be desired. He never had an answer and when he did, it was incorrect. So we learned not to rely on his judgement. All services for our cabin was excellent and always met with a smile. We filled out our comment cards and hope that they will be read well and change the following: The food was not what we expected at all. The majority of cruisers were 50 plus and healthy dishes should have been available. The Terrace Cafe staff often did not know what they were serving.(ingredients). They should have been informed to properly inform the cruisers when asked. Too many pork dishes and not enough variations of soup (always creamed or consomme). On one lunch I witnessed the staff put in at least a half cup of butter in the risotto. Needless to say, we did not touch this dish. The signature dishes of Jacques Pepin in the Grand dining (salmon) was so bland and without spices that it looked liked it had been washed and dried out. Red Ginger was absolutely the best. Toscana's Italian dishes were also without spice and flavour. The chefs needed to make a few variations and make tasty food and healthy without the butter and salt. This is very possible.All in all it was a great 24 days and lots of friends made. We do have other cruises with Marina and I hope they can improve on the food. I shall look for comments from others before returning to Marina. One more comment is not to wear white and sit on the deck chairs. There is a lot of soot to be found on the deck floor and on the chairs. Attendants were often brushing off the chairs. Not sure if this can be changed or ajusted for their new ship Riviera. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
In March this year we tried Oceania for the first time on Marina. Immediately it was clear to us that this was a very good choice. Now we just returned from our second cruise on marina and we have to say it was even a better ... Read More
In March this year we tried Oceania for the first time on Marina. Immediately it was clear to us that this was a very good choice. Now we just returned from our second cruise on marina and we have to say it was even a better experience than the first time. In a lot of areas I noticed significant improvement (mainly due to fact the staff was more used to the new ship). The embarkation was very smooth and very quick. Within 10 minutes we were on board. The food is really something special. Highlights for me were The spicy duck and water melon salad at Red Ginger, La Reserve (again money well spend)and the lobster thermidor at Jacques. On our first cruise we did not go for the Terrace Cafe for dinner but after reading so many good reviews we tried it and it was a delight. Great selection on the Grill form rib eye to lobster every evening. The cabin was similar to our last cruise except this time we had a veranda. The first time I had some difficulty with the shower. I am 6.4 and the shower was really small. Now for the second time I did not mind so much as I knew what to expect. Overall very nice cabins and more than enough space. We cannot comment on the entertainment as we only went to 2 shows. The shows we saw were very entertaining but then again some magic and some good jokes and we are happy. The ports were very nice with as highlights Kotor and Athens. Where necessary shuttle services were provided. We did not book any shore excursions with Oceania as the prices were extremely high. It was very easy to arrange our own tours even on the destination itself. Disembarkation in Istanbul was quite chaotic because in total 3 ships were disembarking and the parking space for the shuttles, buses and private transfers was completely gridlocked. We took a taxi and that was by far the quickest way. If you like excellent food, no kids, great service, great itineraries and no hassle this is definitely the ship for you. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Review of Marina for CruiseCritic Our eastern Mediterranean cruise on Oceanias Marina was our second O. cruise. The first was an Asian cruise on the Nautica. We used an online travel agency to reserve, four months before the departure ... Read More
Review of Marina for CruiseCritic Our eastern Mediterranean cruise on Oceanias Marina was our second O. cruise. The first was an Asian cruise on the Nautica. We used an online travel agency to reserve, four months before the departure date. The original itinerary included Egypt, which was later canceled unfortunately. We decided to take the cruise anyway, and upon our request, the TA was able to persuade O. to rebate back to us a substantial price reduction. Note that this was due to our taking the initiative, thanks to another CCers prompting. We arrived in Istanbul 6 days prior to embarkation and made independent travel arrangements. We used Delta Airlines direct flight to Istanbul from JFK and returned on a direct flight from Athens. This allowed enough time to see the major sights in Istanbul, as well as take a 2 day, 1 night jaunt to Cappadoccia, via Turkish Airlines. In Cappadoccia, we took day tours, the highlight of which was a hot air balloon ride during the early morning, of the second day. Our Istanbul hotel was the Ademar, a good choice in terms of its Sultanahmet (Old Town) location, small but comfortable rooms, airport pick up included if 3 days were reserved, rooftop terrace with great views, and helpful locked luggage room, used to store our large bags when we went to Cappadoccia. The Istanbul embarkation was efficient and painless. We arrived by taxi and boarded at about 11:30 a.m. Since our cabin was not ready, we were permitted on deck 9 to use the laundry room to do our laundry, which was very helpful. The stateroom on deck 9, Concierge Level was considerably larger than the one on the Nautica. The cabin and verandah were meticulously clean and generally comfortable. The room steward and helpers did an excellent job keeping everything tidy and replenishing supplies when necessary. As many have noted, the shower was claustrophobic and very poorly designed. The bathroom configuration is a major faux pas. Also, a number of the drawers and shelves in the cabin were too shallow for clothing and poorly designed. Everything else was top notch. The Marina itself was very attractive, everything being new and polished. It was a lovely environment for a 12 day cruise. Compared to the Nautica, however, it seemed large and contained too many passengers. I prefer the smaller ship. The Marinas captain was often visible around the ship and was very friendly and approachable, which was a plus, in my view. The little touches like complimentary water provided at each port, the lack of pesky photographers and the classier atmosphere on the Marina were welcome. The charges to use the internet remain exorbitant, in my opinion. I realize that it is a profit center, but they are outrageously high. The food was generally outstanding, especially in two of the specialty restaurants Jacques and Red Ginger. Service was very nice in Polo, but Toscana was not quite up to par in either food or service. The Terrace Grill buffet was excellent, with abundant choices, most very well prepared. The downside was that by the time the food arrived back at the table, it was often cool. Having plate covers available, might ameliorate that problem. The Waves Grill was also excellent. The Grand Dining Room was often very good but not outstanding or as consistent in terms of quality. Dinners also lasted way too long, in my opinion. Other than the limited room service menu, there was really no food service in the mid to late afternoon, when a snack or small meal would have been welcome, after returning from a tour. The two shows that we attended were not stellar entertainment. The first was like a mediocre, high school musical production. The second was considerably better but still not great. Both the string quartet and the pop music band were very enjoyable. We took only one O. shorex, to Caesarea, Tel Aviv and Jaffa. The rest were either private tours or exploring on our own. The O. shorex was enjoyable but spent too much time at Caesarea, resulting in not enough time to see much of Tel Aviv, which was disappointing. Docking in the port of Haifa on a Saturday meant that the options were very limited, in terms of visiting Jewish sights. That was unfortunate scheduling by O. Also, the last minute port change from Kusadasi to Izmir, resulted in our being much further away from Ephesus, another unfortunate decision or problem caused by O. One other quibble, when taxis all over Greece went on strike the day that we were in Crete, we were not informed by anyone on Marina. We had to do our own internet research to confirm that information. That is info that should have been available to all of the passengers. Our disembarkation in Athens went smoothly. Fortunately, there was no taxi strike that day. We had taken the precaution of pre-arranging taxi transportation through Athens Walking Tours. They also had access to a bus, if a taxi strike occurred. Buses apparently are not bound by a taxi strike. We stayed 3 more days in Athens, at the Athens Gate Hotel. It was an excellent hotel, located near the pedestrian walkway leading to most of the sights, comfortable rooms, excellent buffet breakfast, great rooftop terrace views of the Parthenon, and free internet use. We took a city and Acropolis tour with Athens Walking Tours which was also excellent and highly recommended. We would definitely cruise with O. again but prefer the smaller ships, for a more intimate atmosphere and also would prefer more days at sea during a port intensive cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We booked this cruise using an internet travel agency we have used before approximately 14 months before departure. At that time, it included Israel and Egypt. In April of 2011, the schedule was changed to avoid Egypt and it changed the ... Read More
We booked this cruise using an internet travel agency we have used before approximately 14 months before departure. At that time, it included Israel and Egypt. In April of 2011, the schedule was changed to avoid Egypt and it changed the dates of the Israeli visit. We thought about cancelling and, to be fair, Oceania offered us a full refund or credit if we did. Instead, we stayed with it, although disappointed, because we had blocked out the time and had pre-paid our pre and post cruise travel. We were not offered any credit or upgrade. We later found out others had received some consideration for not cancelling and the prices were dramatically reduced for later booking passengers. With that as background, I will say that the Marina and its crew met all expectations. The embarkation in Istanbul was efficient and we had our luggage delivered to our room within an hour. The room was sparkling clean and kept that way throughout the cruise. Like others, we thought the bath tub was a waste of space and the shower a little too compact. The food was, no doubt, the highlight on board. We had outstanding meals at all the specialty restaurants, except Jacques. The Escargots, Frog's legs appetizer and Duck were served in a different manner from what we were used to and left us disappointed. The dinner buffet was vastly superior to any other buffet we have experienced, including unlimited lobster tails every night. The main dining room was more than adequate, but not that much superior to other, less classy cruise lines. The entertainment was limited and never crowded. We would have preferred a more lively piano bar and the dance band playing beyond 10:30 each night. The show started at 9:30 and ended right about 10:30 so if you ate dinner at 7 or 8, there was no time to get to the dance floor. The stage entertainment was similar to other cruise line fare. We booked all private tours on-line before we left so we can't comment on the quality of the Oceania tours. But the cost was about half the Oceania tours, with smaller groups and knowledgeable guides we could actually hear. However, when the cruise dates changed, it put us into Haifa on a Saturday morning, Sabbath, and some of the Jewish sites were closed. Don't know whether this was an oversight on Oceania's part or unavoidable. Plus, we were switched from Kusadasi to Izmir at the last moment, making our trip to Ephesus about an hour longer each way. The things we really noticed and appreciated were the absence of nickel and diming and uninvited solicitation. All bottled water and specialty coffees were free, the towels for shore excursions were freely available and the waiters and waitresses in the bars, pools and lounges only responded to passenger interest. Disembarkation in Athens was efficient and we were in Syntagma at our hotel within 45 minutes of walking off the ship. All in all, we were pretty happy with the quality of the cruise and will look to Oceania again. However, it will be a port specific cruise, given the paucity of entertainment options, and a last minute booking to avoid the changes in ports and pricing that we experienced. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We have done six enjoyable cruises and booked on the September Oceania Marina cruise in December 2010 as we thought it would be good to try a new ship and bookings might sell quickly. On boarding the ship we had many discussions with ... Read More
We have done six enjoyable cruises and booked on the September Oceania Marina cruise in December 2010 as we thought it would be good to try a new ship and bookings might sell quickly. On boarding the ship we had many discussions with passengers, some had only booked less than a month before it sailed and all paid a fraction of the price we paid plus a large onboard credit. We paid a premium price for a verandah stateroom and were very upset as we saw the price decreasing month by month. Oceania and our Sydney travel company Cruiseco did not bother to help us with an up-grade or extras. My cabin card caused endless trouble which we had mentioned to staff. I was treated very rudely by the reception staff when we took it to them after the security on leaving and boarding the ship also had trouble with my key card. We were very disappointed with the standard of the food on the Marina. The Grand Dining room choice, service and standard of meals was way below other cruises we have enjoyed. As the port tours were quite expensive we only booked two-the Ancient Olympia from Patras was an enjoyable tour aided by a very good guide but the Corfu tour was disappointing. The Cruise Director was most unfriendly and not at all interested in interacting with passengers. The Marina was not a well designed ship. One of the most disappointing features was the fitness track which was on a high deck out in the open with no cover or shelter from the hot sun or wind. The shower cubicle in the cabin was poor. Our cruise on the Marina was a most unhappy, expensive mistake and we would not recommend Oceania to anyone, in fact the opposite. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Introduction: We are veteran cruisers and travelers, having taken 19 cruises on a variety of cruise lines over 30 years, including Disney, Oceania, RCI, Princess, Cunard and Holland America. We are in our mid-fifties, with no children. In ... Read More
Introduction: We are veteran cruisers and travelers, having taken 19 cruises on a variety of cruise lines over 30 years, including Disney, Oceania, RCI, Princess, Cunard and Holland America. We are in our mid-fifties, with no children. In recent years, I have had some disabilities due to arthritis, requiring the use of a cane or a travel wheelchair. Our cruise on Marina that embarked in Venice on September 7 is our second on OCL. The cruise called at Koper, Slovenia; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Patras, Zakynthos, Athens and Chios, Greece; and Kusadasi and Istanbul, Turkey. Other than Venice, this cruise took us to five new countries that we have not visited before (one of the reasons we selected the cruise). Pre-cruise hotel and flights: We booked our own flights using frequent flyer miles, electing to spend a night in Frankfurt before arriving in Venice and again on our way back to the US from Istanbul (our disembarkation port). In Venice, we stayed at the delightful Westin Europa and Regina; although quite expensive, this beautiful hotel had excellent service and views of the Grand Canal and Lagoon that were worth the price of admission. Embarkation: Using a water taxi service, we traveled from our hotel to the terminal. We were on board within a few minutes of our arrival at the terminal (very efficient service). Stateroom: Our stateroom, a PH2 (Penthouse) suite on the 11th deck forward port side was ready when we boarded at 1:30 pm. Our original booking for this cruise was in an A3 concierge veranda. A month prior to the cruise, OCL made a very good offer on an upgrade to the PH2 category. The saddest aspect of our decision to upgrade is that it will be very, very difficult to ever go back to a "regular" veranda stateroom again!. This suite was magnificent and is the best room we have ever had on a cruise. We had so much space, including a walk-in closet (great for storing my collapsible wheelchair) and a large sitting area, a large desk and vanity stand, plus a huge bathroom with tub and shower. I have read previous reviews of Marina and the concerns for the rain head shower space, but we loved this shower (apparently the suites have a larger shower stall). The room was elegantly decorated and very quiet. The bed was incredibly comfortable. Other reviews have noted that deck 12 has a large overhang over the deck 11 verandas, but we did not find this to be a problem and it often served to block the direct sun. We spent many hours on that veranda because we had such warm weather on our cruise. Ship: The public spaces on Marina are elegant and understated. Although I'm not a big fan of abstract art, which predominates. the decor is restful and unobtrusive. The seats in some areas were a little too low (most of them in Horizons lounge), but we found other options that were more comfortable. Our biggest complaint about the ship design would be the difficulty getting on and off the ship, whether docked or anchored, for a person who doesn't walk very well. The normal egress when docked is from deck 5, down many stairs to the dock area; I did this once, taking each step one at a time, and was shocked to have a fellow passenger waiting at the bottom to come up berate me for taking so long (can't pick your fellow passengers, I guess). Other times we used the deck 4 crew exit, ramp but even this ramp was very steep at times and we looked at other ships docked nearby with nearly flat ramps leading onto the docks and wondered what happened when they designed Marina. Tender access was also challenging, requiring us to go down many steps from deck 4 into the tender. The tenders were strangely designed, with most passengers required to go down additional narrow steps once on board into seating areas across from other passengers. I certainly would not want to be on these tenders for an extended period of time in an emergency situation. Dining: The food on Marina was absolutely outstanding and is, of course, one of the big reasons that customers come back to OCL. We ate in all four specialty restaurants and could not honestly say which one was the best and we would eagerly try all four again if given the opportunity. The Terrace cafe was also a top choice and most of our non-reservation dinners were in this buffet option. We only visited the Grand Dining Room once; although this is a lovely space, we much preferred the specialty restaurants and the outdoor experience at the Terrace. Waves had the usual complement of excellent sandwiches and salads (Kobe beef burger - yum!) and we liked having a light continental breakfast at Barista's on many early mornings; we didn't try the specialty coffees, being die-hard "American" coffee drinkers. The ultimate experience, however, was our night at La Reserve. This seven-course trip to culinary heaven was accompanied by some excellent wines and was certainly worth the premium charge of $75 per person. Service: Service on Marina was impeccable, with a couple of minor exceptions. The wait staff in the specialty restaurants were superb, especially the staff in Toscana and Red Ginger. The bar staff and wine stewards were delightful and we had great conversations with many of them. The staff at Barista's and the Terrace cafe was wonderful. Our butler was a terrific guy who found us to be somewhat perplexed on how to use his services, so he took it upon himself to bring us some canapes every evening and he worked out a change to a specialty restaurant reservation without any issues. Our room attendant was extremely efficient and kept our suite in top condition. Crew members, including ones that normally don't interface with the passengers, were very helpful getting me on and off the ship (not easy in any case, whether docked or anchored, as noted above). The only exceptions to our glowing reports on service are the staff at the reception desk and the wait staff in the Grand Dining Room, whom we barely recall seeing (although they did serve food promptly). The reception desk left us a very tersely worded letter at our stateroom about getting our passports turned in immediately for Turkish customs processing halfway through the cruise (we needed them with us for Slovenia and Croatia), but we never heard any announcements about this request or saw it in the daily newsletter. Other passengers complained about the letter and its language as well. The reception staff were also quite unfriendly. The destination services desk did take down information from us on a very disappointing shore excursion and sent us a letter thanking us for our input; although no reimbursement was offered. Activities: We signed up for one of the Bon Appetit culinary classes on board and really had a blast! Chef Kelly and her staff were a lot of fun to work with and our end results were delightful (Italian favorites). Unfortunately, the class was interrupted by the mandatory life boat drill, but that almost added to the experience when we showed up in the Marina Lounge in our aprons! We didn't do any other activities on board. We did not use the spa services and we usually don't use the pool. Shopping: Marina has some beautiful boutiques, but the products, for the most part, did not appeal to us. There was a very limited selection of logo wear, which we like to purchase on cruises and there were no items that were from our ports of call. I usually don't go on a cruise to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on jewelry or clothing that I can get at home. Internet access: As usual, Internet access was expensive and slow, although not as slow as some other cruises we have been on. We used our own equipment for access (iPads and laptop). I stretched my 300 minutes through almost the entire cruise; my hubby, who had to keep in touch for his business, used 800 minutes. Entertainment: We are notorious entertainment avoiders on cruise ships and have been for years (even on Disney, which has remarkable entertainment). We prefer sitting in a quiet lounge or on the veranda, sipping a drink and reading. We did not see any of the shows on board, but we did get some laughs at Karaoke night in the Horizons lounge one night. In fact, we never even turned on the TV in our room! Port and shore excursions: We booked two excursions through OCL and did private tours or our own explorations in all other cases. The two ship excursions were overpriced and the experiences were mediocre or downright disappointing. In Slovenia, we did an excursion to Lake Bled, an admittedly gorgeous location, that was advertised as "wheelchair accessible". What this meant was that my travel wheelchair got to spend the entire excursion in the luggage compartment of the bus! The stops on this excursion were not accessible and i ended up sitting 45 minutes on the bus while others explored the castle overlooking the lake and also sat on a bench on the shore on the lake island because the famous church was "only" 99 steps above me Our other excursion was in Istanbul and it was acceptable, but certainly not worth the price. All of our private tours were excellent, however. We used Dubrovnik Private Tours, Corfu Taxi Tours, George the Taxi Driver (Athens) and Kusadasi Tours (Turkey Explorers) and certainly had no real complaints. We also rented a car on Chios and had a marvelous day and only spent $70 for the experience!. After many cruises where we played it "safe" and signed up for ship tours in most places, this cruise reinforced my opinion that those tours should be the last option of choice. Our favorite ports were Dubrovnik, Chios, Kotor and Kusadasi (plus we love Venice). Greece is unfortunately showing many signs of its financial difficulties, particularly in Patras and Athens. Disembarkation: We disembarked in Istanbul; it was nearly gridlock leaving the port area due to so many ships in port, but we did to the airport in plenty of time with our ship transfer for our flight to Frankfurt. Summary: Our cruise was an excellent experience, with the minor exceptions noted above. We have already booked another OCL cruise next year (on Marina again) and just bit the bullet and upgraded to a PH2 category again. We have not tried any other premium or luxury cruise lines, so we have no basis of comparison, but we are generally quite pleased with the Oceania experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
The public areas in the ship are beautiful. We particularly enjoyed the bar with the pianist (Mario, I think). All the dining rooms are beautiful. The dEcor in the rooms is beautiful. The main beds are very comfortable (but not the ... Read More
The public areas in the ship are beautiful. We particularly enjoyed the bar with the pianist (Mario, I think). All the dining rooms are beautiful. The dEcor in the rooms is beautiful. The main beds are very comfortable (but not the pull out couch).The ship is very stable.Ports were fabulous. Particularly Monemvasia, a pleasant surprise since the ship didn't hype it very much. It was probably the best stop.Library and workout room fabulous.Solid winelists. Great that ship is mostly non-smoking.Overall, the cruise was very nice.Cabins: The separate tub and shower makes for a very small shower.We don't use tubs and the shower was very small for a large man. The closet was too small for all our clothes and difficult to reach the far end of it near the bedside table. One of our suitcases didn't fit under the bed and we didn't realize until the cruise was over that we could have asked our attendant to store it. In the shower, we don't like rainshower heads. The holder for the handheld shower head is at your waist so you can't use that as your showerhead. Some men used the handheld shower head in the tub.Our 2 attendants did a marvelous job. However, friends of ours complained that their room was not ready at 6:30 p.m. and the attendant was rude. There was nail polish on the tub that was not removed. And the door to the balcony didn't work. There is only one electrical plug by the TV. Bring an extension cord.Laundry: great self-service laundry but 45 minutes is not enough time on high heat to get all the clothes dry. $2 per wash and dry., each. Grand Dining Room service was erratic. We had a wonderful lunch there when it was nearly empty; great service and food. We had a horrible dinner where it took 3 hours to get our meal start to finish, food was overcooked, and the waiters didn't pay attention to empty water glasses, etc. Outdoor Grill: same thing with service. Generally very good, but once it took 45 minutes to get a sandwich. We think they forgot us. Definitely some training and experience needed for the staff as this is a new ship.Quality of food overall was equal to Regent and slightly better than Celebrity. But the specialty French restaurant on our last Celebrity cruise was better than all of your specialty restaurants, including La Reserve. There were highlights but everything was not consistently outstanding. Service in the specialty restaurants was excellent in all cases.Room Service: On Regent, the Grand Dining Room menu was available for that night's room service during dining room hours. I'd like to see this added. And a few more appetizer options. Room service menu is quite limited.Tenders: Being a new ship, they don't have the tender process perfected.Last day in Mykonos, everyone waited 45 minutes to get off the ship which annoyed everyone. Not a pleasant way to end a luxury cruise.Entertainment: The auditorium is awful. You cannot see over the heads of people in front of you. Entertainment was only so-so. Best entertainment on the ship was in the bars.Shopping: Ridiculously limited and outrageously expensive. The only shops were high priced jewelry and boutique. On Regent, they brought in special vendors on different days. There was nothing reasonably priced on the ship and we didn't want to spend out time in port shopping. On Regent, we bought a black pearl and diamond pendant after a pearl presentation. They had sales on Regent branded goods the last few days at sea. And they had high end costume jewelry and a gold by the inch sale. Marina needs to add things like this. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
The Marina is a wonderful ship and a great addition to the Oceania fleet. After about 30 cruises, including previously on Insignia and Nautica, both of which we loved but I felt were just too small to guarantee me a sickness-free voyage, ... Read More
The Marina is a wonderful ship and a great addition to the Oceania fleet. After about 30 cruises, including previously on Insignia and Nautica, both of which we loved but I felt were just too small to guarantee me a sickness-free voyage, the Marina looked to be the perfect ship for us and, in all but one respect, it delivered perfection. I must explain here that DH travels with a small folding mobility scooter following a stroke 4 years ago and disabled access to the ship is the one area in which Oceania have made an enormous mistake, which will probably prevent us from sailing on Marina again. I will return to this at the end for anyone who is interested and no doubt it will be discussed on the disabled cruising board but on the assumption that 99% of readers will not even notice this problem, let alone encounter a difficulty with it, I really want to focus on what a wonderful ship it is for the able-bodied and give a bit of information about the ports of call, some of which are fairly unusual.The ship is definitely the most comfortable we have ever travelled on, from the beds to the sun loungers to the chairs in just about every location the emphasis is on luxury. The decor is fairly understated but very nice throughout. The food was even better than on the smaller ships, if that is possible. The Tapas on the Terrace idea (which had never tempted us) has been replaced by a full evening dining experience including cooked-to-order steaks, fish, even lobster some evenings. We would gladly have eaten there, although I must admit we loved the Grand Dining Room so much that we dined there on the evenings not booked at the specialty restaurants.Of the specialities I loved Red Ginger, my husband still preferred Polos (in line with our respective tastes in food). We both like Italian food but Toscana was perhaps our least favourite restaurant (although still wonderful). The service in Jacques was very slow, it took over an hour from arrival to even take our order and well over 3 hours to complete the meal, but my lobster thermidor was well worth missing the show for. Talking of shows, they are, typically for Oceania, entertaining without being exceptional, and the single performance takes place at 9.45pm each evening. To be sure of making it to the show you need to be eating by 7pm. We made all our reservations for 7.30pm and hardly ever got to see the show from the beginning, but really did not mind as the food and the company of the many lovely fellow passengers we shared it with was a very nice way to spend the evenings.My personal dislike on Oceania, which is the same on Marina as other ships, is that the Terrace Cafe is not truly a buffet, the crew serve you each item and it is very difficult to get a small portion to try several different things. Especially at breakfast time I would prefer to be left in peace to choose what I want rather than ambushed by a hundred renditions of "good morning Madame would you like some toast/cereal/bacon/coffee/juice etc etc " - OK I understand that it is "service" that justifies the price differential over the mass market lines, I am just antisocial and unappreciative of such service in the mornings !Waves has a wonderful new addition to its menu, Surf and Turf - yes really a fillet steak and a piece of lobster tail in a burger bun at the pool bar - which other line does that ! The ice creams, smoothies and milk shakes are still fabulous and included in the fare as are soft drinks now - sodas and juices as well as iced tea and American lemonade, and that includes cans from the mini bar in your cabin. As you leave the ship there was always a table from which to help yourself to small bottles of water, and there were 2 litre sized bottles in the cabin each day.Another fantastic addition for Oceania was free shuttle buses in ports of call where transport is needed into town. These were not advertised until the 'Currents' magazine arrived each evening but it was really useful not to have to worry about having small change in the right currency for local transport. Yes, Oceania are a bit more expensive than some lines but these little touches all help to justify the extra. Venice, ItalyArriving on an early morning flight from the UK gave us nearly 2 full days in Venice, one of our favourite cities, and we spent the time just wandering. There was a free shuttle bus from the port to Piazzale Roma but we walked back each time, it is mostly downhill coming back to the port and only takes about 10 minutes. The first evening we spent in St Marks Square listening to the various orchestras that play at the restaurants. The second day the square was cordoned off due to a visit by the Pope. We should have sailed past just as he was due at the outside altar on the square but our departure was delayed for 2 hours to avoid that occurring (sadly). Dubrovnik, CroatiaDocking at Gruz harbour a couple of miles from the old city meant another shuttle bus, there was rather a long wait as we did not arrive until 1pm and everyone one headed ashore at the same time, but again the bus was free so avoided the need to acquire local currency or agree a taxi fare, that is such a help. We had been to Dubrovnik before so knew that 2-3 hours is enough (unless you want to visit the various museums or walk the walls) but spent a nice sunny Sunday afternoon wandering around. A local brass band competition was going on which added to the atmosphere, all shops and museums were open but there was a surprising absence of tourists apart from those from the ship.Kotor, MontenegroThis old city is a real gem, yet I had barely heard of it when we booked the cruise. It's another walled city but has a far more genuine, lived-in feel than Dubrovnik and sits at the end of a long, deep fjord, that took 90 scenic minutes to sail out from, you could easily be in Norway. The port is right by the city wall, literally two minutes walk into the city. Just outside the wall is a market in one direction and the new town in the other, where there is a nice, if small, modern shopping precinct (free wifi). Accessibility had concerned me here but all the streets were well worn marble type surface, not really cobblestone as had been described, so no problem for the scooter. High above the city stands an old fortress, it costs 3 euros to enter the pathway up, apparently it is about 1500 steps but the bottom was cobble slopes rather than steps and rather slippery as it had rained. I decided against the walk but our table mates that evening had done it and said the view was wonderful. It drizzled on and off most of the day and became quite cold, but this is a port I would love to return to in better weather. To the left from the port, past the new town, there was long seafront walk and looked like little beaches a mile or so along, although I expect the fjord water would always be a bit chilly. Corfu, GreeceOnce again a free shuttle bus took us into town, this new innovation from Oceania is really welcome. It drops off by the "old fortress" (having passed the seemingly equally old "new fortress" en route !) which looked an interesting place to visit (4 euros, or 2 for over 65s). There is a large park through which you walk to the little streets of the old town, filled with fascinating little shops many selling local kumquats in candied or liqueur form. We found a very attractive Greek Orthodox church which was clearly an attraction as several tour groups were there, and generally enjoyed a day of wandering.Zakynthos (a.k.a. Zante)No need for a shuttle today as we tendered right into town. The tender operation seemed to work well even though the sea gave us a slightly rough ride. The town consists of a large square, several churches and a number of unremarkable shops and, along with most other passengers we spoke to, we considered it to be our least favourite stop on this itinerary. There are car hire shops along the harbour front so if we should ever find ourselves there again I think we will rent a car and get out of town to see the island. Apparently there are some nice beaches. In fact, after getting back on the ship, I noticed a small beach a short distance from the tender pier (turn right when leaving the pier rather than left into town). Monemvasia, GreeceWhat a wonderful surprise - a port we had never even heard of before booking this cruise and it was the highlight of the voyage ! It is a huge red rock, known as the "Gibraltar of Greece" joined to the mainland by a causeway. There are two tender piers, Marina used the one to the right of the causeway, looking from the sea, which was the closest to the Rock. Two smaller ships were tendering into a small harbour on the other side of the causeway, making their walk to the old city walls probably close to a mile whereas ours was about half that distance. There is a new Tarmac road leading around the rock and gently sloping upwards (fine for the scooter, would have been hard going pushing a wheelchair). On entering the old city through a gate in the huge thick old walls you go back several centuries. The streets are then narrow, steep and cobbled (no good for anybody with walking troubles - DH sat in the entrance gate and waited for me)but it is just so beautiful - easily as pretty as Santorini, in my opinion, but the buildings are earthy browns and reds instead of white, and I just cannot believe that it is not better known. It does seem that many of the houses are being restored and turned into holiday cottages so maybe tourism in just finding Monemvasia. From the lower part of the old city you can walk up to the ruined upper city on top of the rock. It is about 500 steps and I got about half way when the rain came down, as it had several times that day, so I aborted the climb and returned to look around the pretty little shops at the lower level. Sadly there had been very little information on board about Monemvasia and many passengers had been put off by the weather and missed out on seeing this lovely place, I am so glad we decided to risk a drenching to see it. In better weather it would be possible to use the pebbly beaches across the causeway in the new town (which is only really a few restaurants) or swim in a cut out rocky sea pool a short distance from the pier going towards the old city, where there are steps down into the water.Santorini, GreeceWe have been to Santorini before and know that it is completely inaccessible to us, but it is still a beautiful place to spend a day on the ship. It was very windy so not really suitable to sit on deck but the ship was being blown around giving us a continually changing view from the Horizon lounge, where we spent most of a lazy day.Kusadasi, TurkeyAlways one of our favourite ports, especially as it was warm and sunny, naturally a lot of people head off to Ephesus but there is plenty to do in the town, which begins virtually as you step off the ship, although better prices and less hassle are to be found by heading a few blocks back from the cruise terminal into the little streets packed with 'genuine fakes' of everything you can imagine, not to mention Turkish carpets, leather coats etc. For once we managed to resist any major purchases on this visit to turkey but returned to the ship loaded with Turkish delight as gifts for our friends and a year's supply of apple tea for me.Mykonos, GreeceThe ship made a morning stop at Delos but having visited on a previous Oceania cruise we did not go ashore but enjoyed a lovely sunny morning around the pool. After lunch tendering into Mykonos started but took nearly 2 hours before open tendering was announced. However, we were in port until 8pm and a couple of hours wandering around the pretty white & blue town was enough, as we had visited before. Athens, Greece8am was a little early to have to vacate the cabin but disembarkation went very smoothly. We always arrange our own flights and transfers but had used some on board credit to take Oceania transfers to Athens airport and it was lovely to have our luggage moved for us for a change. The journey took just over and hour and we arrived in plenty of time for our flight home. Accessibility Now for the problem area. The ship itself is completely accessible to scooters/wheelchairs and, having booked late on a 'guarantee' basis we were pleasantly surprised to have been allocated one of the few accessible cabins. Our scooter folds and fits under the bed of a standard cabin so it was not essential that we got an accessible cabin but the extra space and walk in shower are a great help. It lacked some of the innovative accessibility features we have found on other ships (eg downward swivelling mirrors or lower-able clothes rails) but had a huge shower area (just remember to remove the toilet paper before showering, as it is located inside the shower curtain !) with a large seat that folds down if needed and plenty of grab rails. Unusually the disabled cabins on Marina are midships rather than near the elevators but the corridor (on deck10) was reasonable in width so a standard wheelchair and a stewards trolley could probably just pass each other. So the ship is fine for disabled people IF you can get aboard. From numerous discussions with various crew members on board it seems that Marina's entrance doors are not suitable for the standard short flat/slightly sloped shore gangways that we have found on all previous cruise ships, so the passenger gangway leads to deck five and consists of about 30 steps that wobbled severely, especially in some of the windy conditions we encountered. On several occasions I had to carry the scooter up or down on my own as no crew members were available but I can manage that, the problem was DH's difficulty in keeping his balance on the moving steps. There was a second gangway, allocated to crew and leading to deck 4. When we first asked we were not allowed to use it but another time a helpful senior officer was present and agreed that we could do so. After completion of a mid-cruise comment card drawing attention to our problem the concierge also gave permission for us to use the crew entrance. This was a help for me or whoever carried the scooter, but for a disabled person it is really no better as there are several steps up to the gangway, which have no handrail at all, and the gangway itself has large raised footholds every few inches, obviously so that it can be used on a slope, but leaving no flat surface to walk on. After speaking to several other people on board who had varying disabilities (some of whom chose not to get off the ship because of the difficulty) I enquired what would happen if a passenger was unable to walk at all - the concierge's answer was that 4 strong crew members would have to carry their wheelchair up and down the steps !! Come on, Oceania, that is not a dignified or, probably even a safe, solution. One lady told us she had been carried down once but was so terrified that she never got off the ship again until the end of the cruise. If the Marina is going to advertise disabled accessible cabins there has to be a safe way for disabled people to get on and off the ship without the embarrassment of being carried down a stepped gangway. If anyone is concerned about this problem do email me k@justinheritance.co.uk and I can send you some photos of the gangways. If the powers that be at Oceania read this please do something about it - I can send you a photo of the normal, perfectly accessible, gangway on the ship that happened to dock next to us at one port to show you what is needed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Having made all our own flight and hotel arrangements (we stayed one night at the excellent Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice before embarking the ship), my comments are all about Marina and the cruise.We travelled with friends from home who ... Read More
Having made all our own flight and hotel arrangements (we stayed one night at the excellent Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice before embarking the ship), my comments are all about Marina and the cruise.We travelled with friends from home who had never cruised before. Fortunately they were delighted with the experience. The service on board Marina was outstanding - probably the best I have encountered on some 40 or more cruises spanning the last 30+ years. The food was also consistently excellent.The itinerary was good, although port-intensive. This suited our 'newcomer' friends. At most ports we arranged our own sightseeing (this is a part of the world I am quite familiar with) but we did take organised shore excursions at Monemvasia (to see Mystras) and Kusadasi (to visit Didyma and Miletus). Both were excellent with good local guides - important when visiting ancient sites. Good weather throughout (apart from a rainy day in Kotor Fjord) also helped. The Eastern Mediterranean in Spring is breathtakingly beautiful with carpets of wild flowers everywhere. Also the Summer crowds were yet to arrive. Daytime temperatures hovering around 20 degrees (68degF) were perfect for walking and sightseeing.To return to the ship. There are serious design faults. We had cabins on Deck 11 designated 'Penthouse Suites' at the PH1 grade. When we walked into our cabin I wondered why it was so dark (the day outside in Venice being brilliantly sunny). The reason became clear when I opened the balcony door. There is an enormous overhang (I estimate about 20 feet wide) which runs all around the deck caused by Deck 12 above (the pool deck) being so much wider. The ship's architect has made a big mistake in siting the best cabins on Deck 11 rather than lower down on the ship. I would recommend readers to avoid this deck at all costs and go for a cheaper cabin. Sunlight does not fall on the Deck 11 balconies other than in the very early morning or late evening. Incidentally, the balconies are not teak (as trumpeted in the brochure) but a rather unpleasant laminate designed to look like teak!The other mistakes are in the design and location of two of the bars. The 'Grand Bar' - located by the main dining room - is just a wide corridor with chairs and tables either side. People pass through in constant procession and I cannot imagine wanting to sit there (though a few did). It is utterly devoid of atmosphere. The adjacent bar 'Martinis' is ruined by being very dark and having windows which overlook the lifeboats! This leaves only one nice bar - 'Horizons' - up on Deck 15 forward. This is a lovely room for drinks before or after dinner and where the best afternoon tea afloat was served daily at 4pm. However, the bar is not open during the day for lunchtime drinks! Also the furniture is over-large which makes for difficult ease of movement by passengers and stewards alike. This could be rectified by removing 10% of the tables and chairs.The pool deck is lovely and properly finished in teak, but other outside decks either have that nasty faux teak laminate (like the cabin balconies) or a blue rubberised flooring. A great mistake. Both are unbearably hot to the feet on sunny days. This could be put right at a future refit.Turning now to the restaurants, we ate in Toscana (Italian), Jacques (French) and the Grand Dining Room. None of us are big eaters of red meat so we eschewed the Polo Grill, and we could not get a sensible dining time in Red Ginger (Asian) so we did not bother. The Dining Room, Toscana and Jacques were excellent. The food and service were of the highest standard. Menus were wide and varied and international in appeal. Service was seamless, attentive and friendly without being over-familiar. The crew were immaculately groomed and could have graced any hotel or restaurant on land, however grand.Breakfast and lunch in the Terrace Cafe was also most enjoyable and rarely did we have any difficulty finding a table. On most days we had breakfast or lunch (or both) outdoors on the Terrace Cafe verandah.We had a 'butler' but really did not need him. The restaurants on board are so lovely that I cannot imagine wanting to eat meals in the cabin (unless you are ill, which we fortunately were not), and over-elaborate 'canapes' seem to be unnecessary and difficult to fit in between the excellent tea and dinner. We just needed our 'butler' to bring early morning tea, and glasses and ice for drinks before dinner - which he did perfectly!We went to one 'production show' after dinner in the Marina Lounge but it was so amateurish and bad that we all got the giggles and had to leave! Thereafter we made our own entertainment. The lack of good organised entertainment does not bother us.So, all in all, apart from the design faults (which will be difficult for Oceania to do anything about), we were well satisfied. The passenger profile is still predominantly American, but Oceania are starting to realise the danger of being over-reliant on one market (remember the impact on the travel industry post '9/11') and are now marketing their cruises more widely in Europe, Asia and Australia.I shall be happy to return to this ship. But not to Deck 11. Read Less
Sail Date May 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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