14 Oceania Marina First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

To put it in a nutshell before our cruise on Oceania's Marina in the South Pacific, I was vehemently "anti-cruise." No more. At least not a relatively small ship such as the Marina. I'd sail on the Marina again in a ... Read More
To put it in a nutshell before our cruise on Oceania's Marina in the South Pacific, I was vehemently "anti-cruise." No more. At least not a relatively small ship such as the Marina. I'd sail on the Marina again in a flash. I can't think of a thing about which to be critical. We had a concierge veranda room. It was clean and spacious. The stewardess for our room was superb. Our room was made up and turned down each day. And, talking about superb, I can't think of one thing negative about any of the crew: stewards/stewardesses, servers, matre-ds, people at the "destination desk," at the dining desk, at what I'll call the main help desk, the concierges, bar and barista tenders, and the boutiques sales personnel. Everyone! Everyone was hospitable and gracious, and willing to assist us at the drop of a hat. I never saw anything but smiles, always greeted graciously by any crew member we met, and never heard a disparaging word. We used room service--which is free--each morning without a hitch. We never waited very long for the food to be served. I especially found the passengers congenial, even during the long, hot, and humid wait for our flights in the airport. Our embarkment and disembarkment went smoothly. The tendering at each port to carry us between the ship and ports of call was marvelous. The food was exquisite throughout the ship: specialty restaurants, grand dining hall, and more informal venues. The LaReserve food/wine matching was an experience to behold. Not being heavy drinkers, we didn't buy the daily drink package and brought our own three bottles of wine on board. Corkage was a one-time $25 per bottle. Sure, the onboard entertainment in the Marina Lounge left a lot to be desired, but nothing is perfect. The ship did have a marvelous native show which in port at Niku Hiva. The land tours admittedly were a tad pricey, but certainly bearable. In any event, we made our own tour arrangements on some of the islands and just walked around on others. And, because of my wife's physical limitations couldn't take advantage of the snorkeling and diving opportunities. I can't comment on travel arrangements or transference between airport and ship since my wife and I went into Tahiti four days before the cruise and thus made our own hotel, touring, and air arrangements. In fact, we had 12 hours between the time we had to be off the ship and the time we had to be at the airport. So, we arranged to have a guide for the day who also took us to the airport. It was a fabulous way for my wife and I to launch our year-long celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary. If I could give the Marina a triple excellent rating, I would. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
My wife and I just completed a 12-night Baltic cruise on the Marina. Our previous cruise was a 12-night Med cruise in the summer several years ago on the Celebrity Solstice. I honestly have to say that the experience was as about the ... Read More
My wife and I just completed a 12-night Baltic cruise on the Marina. Our previous cruise was a 12-night Med cruise in the summer several years ago on the Celebrity Solstice. I honestly have to say that the experience was as about the same for both cruises. That is, until you compare prices. The Med cruise was about $2500 pp. This one was over $7000 pp. So, the price performance ratio was WAY out of whack. For this cruise, we were on the Concierge level, but didn't really see any substantial difference between what we just experience from what we had on the Med cruise. For this cruise, we had some friends on a lower level and, after comparing our room to theirs, didn't really see any difference, except for a few better toiletries. The food and wine were very good on both cruises. The on-shore excursions were, as per most cruises, a rip off. With a little homework and research, you can book any number of excursions on the internet for a lot less money. On the Med cruise, we often walked off the ship, jumped in a cab and had a great tour of a wide variety of sites for considerably less money. The last negative is the internet charges. This was true on both cruises. I heard this complaint from many of the passengers because they didn't understand why the charges were so high. If there is a hidden reason why there are charges, it would be nice to hear them. If it is because the ship is charged for satellite usage by the minute, then I might understand. The funny thing is that Oceania has published in their 2016 catalog that the internet would be "free". However, when comparing this year's pricing with next year's pricing, the costs have gone up. Hmmm... To answer the question if this cruise is 3X times better (based on price) than our Med cruise, the answer would have to be NO. Ocenaia has a really good marketing department which entices you to spend more than you really need to in order to have a great cruise to a lot of interesting destinations. The choice is yours. Buyer Beware. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We booked this cruise almost a year in advance to celebrate our both being retired and now able to travel The cruise itself was, for the most part, wonderful. However, the travel service left us down. The ship and cabin were ... Read More
We booked this cruise almost a year in advance to celebrate our both being retired and now able to travel The cruise itself was, for the most part, wonderful. However, the travel service left us down. The ship and cabin were beautiful. The cabin did need some maintenance such as the grout coming loose in the bathroom. All staff that we came into contact were exceptional, and they are a large asset for Oceania. Food was also exceptional, and we enjoyed both the specialty restaurants as well as the main dining room. Much appreciated not having set time for seating and not having any formal nights (one of the reasons we are returning to Oceania, see below) Although we did not expect high entertainment, what was offered was a disappointment. In addition to the evening shows being amateurish, the television choice was poor. The music available in the cabin was also poor. Even choosing "classic rock" or "favorites", many of the selections were some weird music. This is an area Oceania should work on. Loosely related to entertainment, the library was pleasant and had an adequate selection. Our disappointment with Oceania comes with communication and travel service. This cruise disembarks one at 8 AM and the flight home was at midnight. We wondered what to do with out luggage all day long. When we called Oceania guest services they basically said "You're on your own" - spent some time looking into storage, etc. and eventually thought we'd just slough it along to the airport and rent a car to carry it around all day. To our surprise, once we were on board, it seems that Oceania would transport luggage to air port and keep it. Would have been nice if their guest service would have told us that. HOWEVER, the biggest disappointment came in our flight arrangements home. We had upgraded to business class. (This MORE than DOUBLED the cost of the cruise, but felt this would be a once in a lifetime indulgence) Everything went well over to cruise and back until we landed in LA and were surprised that the remainder of our flight to Philadelphia and then Pittsburgh was booked in coach. When we had originally received our flight information, all legs were in business (or first) class. Shortly before our trip, the last leg time was changed and no class was listed, but we had no reason to think that it had changed. Our travel agent has acquired a return (as a credit) of a small portion of the fee of the home trip upgrade cost. We are beginning a part of our life with time for a lot of travel. While on the cruise, we had decided to just stay with Oceania. However, having a surprise (and kind of a bait and switch) on the trip home, we were about to look into many of the other cruise lines out there. Because the cruise itself was the type we appreciate and with the credit, we have now booked another Oceania cruise for one more try. Not sure if we can trust the travel service. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our first cruise. We travelled for more than 30 hours to reach Sydney and then were told that we could not board the ship for 5 more hours. We were exhausted and just wanted to get to our cabin and crash, not spend 4 hours on a ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We travelled for more than 30 hours to reach Sydney and then were told that we could not board the ship for 5 more hours. We were exhausted and just wanted to get to our cabin and crash, not spend 4 hours on a bus tour of Sydney. The ship was very good and offered a variety of activities and dining options. The cabin service was also very good and the staff was very hospitable. The restaurants had interesting menus; the wine lists were touted, but were limited. The onboard barista was terrific as were the chef instructor and cooking classes. The port and shore excursions were a BIG disappointment. Many were no better than field trips for elementary school children. The excursions usually included large groups of people herded onto buses for long drives with few stops and limited guidance/education regarding the activity. The shore excursions were NOT AS ADVERTISED. Most activities on the cruise were a la carte and the dollars added up quickly. Internet connectivity was a joke while on board. Airline connections were terrible and did not allow for different travel options. On the whole, we will probably not choose another cruise unless the size of the ship and passenger complement is much smaller. We do better with less structure and with making our own arrangements for excursions. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our first cruise ever. We subsequently went on four additional cruises in 2014. One with Celebrity, two with Viking (never again under any circumstance) and a final cruise on the Marina in the Mediterranean. I expected more on ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever. We subsequently went on four additional cruises in 2014. One with Celebrity, two with Viking (never again under any circumstance) and a final cruise on the Marina in the Mediterranean. I expected more on the Marina, but in comparison to the other cruises, it was far better than they were. The Suite (Penthouse) was huge in comparison, but we did pamper ourselves on the second trip on the Marina.The food was excellent (I react badly to High-Fructose Corn Syrup, & I only was in contact with it once at the milkshake bar). We went to Jacques Restaurant, the meal was superb, the Polish waiter was obnoxious (Only he, & he alone could select our meal.... it did not work). The Polo Grill served too much food, but it was soooo good. The food & service at the Terrace was wonderful. We spent a lot of time at the overpriced Spa, the land version of Canyon Ranch is superior. Mike Sterling from the London West-end is a terrific tenor and his duet partner Natasha Kemball was amazing as well, I only wish that we could hear them again. Perhaps we will as we are booked for another Oceania cruise. We did not partake in any of Oceania's onshore trips as we had arranged our own guide(s) and chauffeur(s). We only fly business or first-class & business class within Europe is pure garbage (Frankfurt to Stockholm). We spent four days in Stockholm in an executive suite at the Radison-Blu Waterfront in Stockholm prior to the cruise. We arranged this ourselves and will definitely go there again. (We subsequently found out that Oceania books there as well) Their breakfasts were terrific (& for those interested, they have gluten-free as well as lactose-free buffets). We disembarked in Copenhagen, and felt we were hurried off the ship (more like driven). I complained, and on the second Marina cruise disembarkation was friendly & efficient. We did not fly home immediately as we toured Copenhagen and eventually took the train to the Hook of Holland, a ferry to the UK and then a Celebrity Fjord cruise and then home. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Had sailed on Riviera, Marina's sister ship, last September in the Mediterranean. This cruise, which began in Copenhagen and visited Warnemunde, Germany (Berlin); Gdansk, Poland; Tallinn,Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, ... Read More
Had sailed on Riviera, Marina's sister ship, last September in the Mediterranean. This cruise, which began in Copenhagen and visited Warnemunde, Germany (Berlin); Gdansk, Poland; Tallinn,Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Stockholm, Sweden, appealed to us for its fascinating itinerary, and we knew from our previous experience that the ship would be superb. Although this is not within anyone's control, the weather was unbelievably beautiful every day - clear and sunny, calm seas. A total joy. About us and our expectations: we are not party cruisers, in fact, would hate a ship with that emphasis. We love reading, music, quiet reflection and conversation on the balcony, exercise walks around the deck, rejuvenating spa treatments, full-out touring during the day and a good meal and restful evening to prepare for the next day. We enjoy meeting friendly like-minded people who are mature and cultured. We didn't care about the casino or the lounge (though we did love listening to the charming and talented Romantica String Quartet from Belarus most evenings in the Grand Bar). In short, Marina's low-key ambiance, marvelous food, hospitable staff, refined (by this I do not mean stuffy, snooty or pretentious-- rather, gracious) fellow passengers, and beautiful appointments suited us just fine. Some reviewers have said that the shore excursions, hotels and airport transfers arranged through Oceania are overpriced -- we used them all and were pleased with the convenience and felt that we got good value. In St. Petersburg we did arrange an evening out with a local company, balletandopera.com, and attended a wonderful performance at the Mariinsky theater -- but the driver who took us there and brought us back was downright scary, raising thoughts of the fate of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. There is a measure of quality control and accountability when you use the ship's vendors that reassures new cruisers like my husband and me. You know, for instance, that you won't miss the ship if your tour runs late. However, it must be said that in Helsinki the shuttle bus arrangements made by the ship were disastrous, resulting in confusion about the pickup point and a queue that required an hour's wait at least - a huge waste of time given the short time we had in that port. Wonderful service, lovely stateroom, beautiful veranda. One quibble - I know that maintenance has to be done during the voyage to keep the ship in the top shape that it is, but when our balcony had to be varnished and painted on Day 9 it was a pain - looking at something on shore I stepped in the fresh blue paint at the edge of the balcony and tracked a little onto the teak. I was sorry about this but on the other hand felt that I should not have had to worry about freely using the balcony we had paid so much for. Our criticisms, thus, are very minor. Overall, good value and a memorable experience. I actually spent some time writing detailed port reviews below but a technical glitch eliminated them all - so, suffice it to say that all were memorable in a good way. St. Petersburg was mixed but fascinating - the dark Russian soul and legacy of Soviet oppression still evident - we'd rate it a 4 but paradoxically it was a highlight of the trip, esp. an independent outing to the Kirov Ballet at the fabled Mariinsky Theater.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
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
We're just home from 10-day Baltic cruise on Marina. As experienced and seriously independent travellers this was our first cruise other than a Rhine River trip. Here are my thoughts based on a lot of questions I see on this board: ... Read More
We're just home from 10-day Baltic cruise on Marina. As experienced and seriously independent travellers this was our first cruise other than a Rhine River trip. Here are my thoughts based on a lot of questions I see on this board: - The ship is fabulous. At 1200 pax it was just the right size. - I didn't go on a cruise for on-board shopping (?), TV programing or live shows so I have no comment on those things. - We took an upgrade to a PH suite with a butler and that was a real treat. Canapes delivered each afternoon, dinner reservations made for us, a kind and friendly guy. Nice. - The food it outrageous in terms of quality and quantity. Wow! The buffet in the Terrace is mind-boggling. - We liked the change of pace of the specialty restaurants. The only one that was mildly disappointing was Toscana - thought they could do better. - We like to dine, not rush so in the GDR we had to make sure to tell our server that we weren't in a hurry to eat and get out. - Fellow travellers were interesting and fun. You have to be prepared to just introduce yourself to people. If you don't gel, find someone else after dinner. - We went carry-on. You DON'T need two giant suitcases that guarantee a different outfit for every day; it's not that dressy unless you want to pretend you're at the Oscars. No one cares if you already wore that top/shirt/blazer. I'm happy to share my packing list. - At 48, hubby and I were among the youngest on board but business and travel interests span all ages so it didn't matter one bit except at the disco or karaoke nights where the lounge was almost empty and the (very funny) DJ was struggling to get involvement. However, when you've walked cobblestone streets for 5 hours, eaten canapes and then a wonderful meal along with a few of those glasses of wine, bed looks pretty good around 10 pm! - We didn't go to any shows - not our thing. After dinner one night we ambled into the theatre just as one of the singers broke out into "Memory" from Cats. Aaaak! I left immediately. - Go on, take a chance with a Share Table at dinner - you can meet some really neat people with whom you don't have to become new best friends. - The service is wonderful although there were staff everywhere which seemed kind of overkill. At the Terrace buffet the staff was literally bumping into each other behind the counters. - There's a ton to do and the Cruise Director was Willie Aames, the curly-headed kid from Eight is Enough (I thought he was a bit of a snob). - Beware: you gotta go early to get a seat and a team for the 5pm Trivia at Martini's Bar > now that was really fun! - Every morning and every night you receive in your room the little "What's On" pamphlet about today's town, weather, on-ship activities, when the freebies are , etc. There's no excuse for getting lost, missing an event or anything. Everything's politely laid out for you. - If you like a drink, TAKE THE PACKAGE. A glass of wine is either $8 or $10 so even if you have a beer/wine at lunch and a couple of glasses over dinner, you're ahead with the $30 package. Be advised, though, when you buy the package you MUST buy it for the entire cruise, not a day here and a day there. So before we even got to our suite we paid $500 for booze we hadn't yet consumed. Still, it's the better deal unless you're a wine aficionado and want to order bottles off the list. The package only allows you to buy "by the glass" but the list is pretty good, about five choices of each of red and white. - A couple of the restaurants seemed a little slow with the wine service and we wondered that they were slow on purpose in order to pour less (and pay less) once they realize you're going to drink more than one glass. - Still on the liquor package, remember that you probably won't be on the ship for lunch... - Take a cooking class - fun, fun, fun and yummy! If you don't book one ahead you'll likely find space on the day everyone else has gone to Berlin. - The specialty restaurants were great. Jacques was the best, in our opinion, and we ate there 3x. Try 'em all if you can. Don't be afraid of Red Ginger; the decor is amazing and the food was excellent. - On the day that everyone else attends night theatre in St. Petersburg or takes the 12-hour trip to Berlin, it's easy to get a specialty restaurant reservation! Even if you've already used up your allotted number of specialty rezzies, go and ask; odds are you'll get something. - For those obsessive planners who don't do shore-ex, there will be a map of the town you're visiting at Destination Services each morning and in some towns, local tourism reps were on board with proper maps and lots of terrific advice. - Plan your own trip in St. Petersburg. We used SPB and with just us two and the guide we paid a ton less and got in front of all the line-ups of the masses off the busses. The driver dropped us off in front of everything then went off to wherever while we toured and then he appeared at the front door and off we went - while all the bus people lined up and waited. And a car can take you through some back streets a bus can't manage. - Don't be afraid to book your own excursion through these boards. It's easy and reliable. There are only so many things you can do in these towns so it's not like you'll make the wrong choice of company or itinerary. - Unless you want to know the entire economic, socio-political and cultural history of any of these places, skip the shore-ex and just go walkabout. It's safe, easy and you won't have to stick to someone else's itinerary or line up with 46 other people on the bus (ugh!). - Everyone speaks English. - In Poland, the old town is a bit of a drive but you can easily hire a cab. You don't need a guide unless you want the history lesson. Just secure the price before you get in. This isn't the dog-eat-dog rip-off scenario most people imagine, and are afraid of. It's all very civilized. - Using info from these forums, I booked a 10-person trip to the Stutthof Concentration Camp and Gdansk and while it was worth it, the guide DID NOT STOP TALKING for the entire 8 hours. Yikes. - MY ONLY COMPLAINT is that the on-board internet service is terrible and outrageously expensive . Use your iPhone as a hotspot and get a good package if all you're going do is email or text the kids to say you're alive. There's a $3.95 activation fee. Prices range from 0.95/minute a la carte to $150 for 200 minutes. The signal is so bad in some places that you're eating up minutes trying to stay connected. The website and our Oceania rep gave me the confidence to believe I could easily keep in touch with business issues but I ended up spending $300 on internet services. Once you're on board, they "gotcha". I fully get that satellite service is sketchy in some countries but this was terrible. Be warned! - A massage was $182 ... but the spa is wonderful. Remember that "single sex" sauna means separate Men's and Women's so you don't end up naked with your husband in the MEN'S sauna when another man walks in ... (now THAT was funny!) - Bottom line: wonderful ship, staff, service, food, atmosphere Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We are a senior couple who have done quite a bit of traveling, both domestic and international, but have largely traveled independently and had never taken a cruise. However, we were interested in seeing a bit of the Baltic countries and ... Read More
We are a senior couple who have done quite a bit of traveling, both domestic and international, but have largely traveled independently and had never taken a cruise. However, we were interested in seeing a bit of the Baltic countries and in visiting St Petersburg, Russia. A cruise seemed like a good way to do it, so that we did not have to deal with language issues and making travel plans for each of the places we wanted to see. Having never taken a cruise, we were totally unfamiliar with any cruise lines, but had received some information regarding Oceania and its Baltic cruise, so began our investigations with it. Since it was our first cruise and might be our only one, we thought we wanted to select a ship with fewer passengers and a reputation for quality service and accommodations. We wanted to have a good experience and were willing to pay a little extra for it. Since we were unfamiliar with cruising and what types of things to ask, we elected to use a local travel agent, whom we had used a number of years before for a special situation. In retrospect, we will not do that again. Although she handled our initial booking efficiently, once she received her fee, we had very poor response to questions and issues that came up over the several months between booking and embarkation. After meeting other passengers on the cruise, we learned that they received much better service for no fees from other agents or online booking services. The Oceania cruise included airfare, but required them to handle the booking. We wanted to travel on our preferred airlines to earn miles for all that we were spending on this trip and Oceania agreed to do that. That eventually became the source of most of our pre-trip difficulties as Oceania of course wanted to use the cheapest flights which weren't always the best connections. We accepted that until Delta changed times on one of their flights, which made it impossible to use because of the ship's arrival time in port. Oceania switched us around to partially use a non-preferred airline and then when those flight times changed switched us totally from Delta, even though they and one of their partners had flights that would match our connecting requirements. Eventually, we were put on those flights, although by the time it was over, the choice seats were gone and we ended up paying for an upgrade in order to sit together. In the future, I would handle my own booking and just take whatever flight credit the cruise line would provide. Our departure date finally arrived and all went well. Our flights were on time and we arrived in Copenhagen at the expected time of 7:51 a.m. on July 21. Processing through immigration was a bit slow at first, but finally moved along pretty well and our bags were waiting when we finished. We were staying at the Copenhagen Marriott for the night and had considered taking the train from the airport as an economical transportation choice. However, we were tired from jet lag and just didn't feel like figuring out where and how to buy tickets, where to catch the train and how to recognize our stop. So, we just grabbed a cab, which took only about 15 minutes to reach the hotel and cost about $35, which we were able to charge to a credit card since we had no Danish kronor. For anyone who feels up to taking the train, it seemed like it would have been relatively simple. The access to the train was right from the main terminal and the stop for the hotel was only about 2 blocks from the hotel and immediately across the street from Tivoli, so undoubtedly would have been well-marked. We chose to use to arrive one day early to Copenhagen to make sure no travel difficulties would affect the start of our cruise. We also chose to use our Marriott points for a night at the Copenhagen Marriott. It is a large, very busy and expensive hotel. Our room was fine and we had access to the Executive lounge, which helped save a little, as they served a decent complimentary breakfast and appetizers at night. Their appetizers were not as extensive or as readily replenished as those at other Marriotts, but were still adequate. We had been told the hotel restaurant was not that great and very expensive. They did have free Internet, but you could only access it in the lobby. Supposedly it was available in the executive lounge, but it never worked for us. The Marriott is within walking distance of some of the tourist attractions, especially Tivoli Gardens. We had seen some of the attractions on a previous trip, so did not repeat those. We did, however, walk to Ny Havn, which is not far for people who like to walk. Much of the walk was along the canal, which was pleasant, although construction eventually forced us away to a less scenic route. We did repeat our visit to Tivoli, since it was so close. We had tried to avoid obtaining any Danish currency, since our time here was so short, but we ended up using an ATM at Tivoli to get a little cash for a snack, a souvenir gift and for the next day's taxi to the ship. The Marriott is also fairly close to the cruise ship port. Oceania had notified us that our embarkation time was 1:00 pm, so we caught a taxi at the hotel about 12:40 and reached the port in about 10 minutes. The cost was about $20. At the Marina, we were greeted promptly and pleasantly by the shore gang, who took our bags and directed us to the boarding line. We received a bottle of water and took our place at the base of the gangway in what seemed like a long line. It moved quickly, however, and we were soon on board and, after passing through scanners, were directed to the Marina Lounge, where workers with computers were set up to check in guests. We waited only a few minutes for our turn and were quickly checked in and given small folding wallets with a deck map and our room keycard. As we left the area, another person scanned our cards and checked the photo that had been taken at check-in to make sure we matched our photos. Since rooms were not expected to be ready until 3:00, we were invited to have lunch at a number of venues. We went to Deck 12 to the Terrace Cafe and enjoyed a delicious lunch from the buffet while sitting outdoors on the aft deck on a lovely sunny day. Afterwards, we wandered around, familiarizing ourselves with the features of the ship, until it was announced that all rooms were available (about 2:45 p.m.). We were pleasantly surprised to find our accommodations quite roomy with a nice veranda. Our bags were delivered about 4:45 and we proceeded to find places for everything. It was not difficult and we had plenty of empty drawers left over. The bathroom was spacious enough, although we would agree with some reviews that we have read by other guests, that we would have been happy to sacrifice the large tub, which we never used, to have a slightly larger shower. I had also read reviews about a lack of electrical outlets for charging electronic devices, but we found plenty for our use. The mandatory emergency drill was announced about 6:00 p.m. Instructions in our room told us to proceed to our mustering station, which A4 located in the Marina Lounge. It took about 20 minutes to assemble everyone. Then, we were given instructions for donning our life vests, which we had all been required to bring with us. After proving that we could do that and being checked that we had done so correctly, we were dismissed and allowed to return to our rooms or whatever. We enjoyed another meal at the Terrace Cafe buffet for dinner. On subsequent evenings during the cruise, we ate one time each at the specialty restaurants: Polo Grill, Red Ginger, Toscana and Jacques. We never did eat at the Grand Dining Room, but all of the restaurants were very good. Of the specialty restaurants, we enjoyed the food at Red Ginger the best. We had a hard time passing on the Terrace Cafe, as the buffet had so many choices and they varied every day. All were prepared very well and not overcooked from sitting on a steam table. Because of jet lag, we were in bed and asleep before the 10:00 p.m. ship departure and I never heard or felt the ship leaving port. Even when waking during the night, there was hardly any sensation of movement. Not knowing if I would experience any sea sickness, I came prepared for the cruise with various remedies, but never needed anything. The entire cruise was extremely smooth. The two weeks prior to the cruise, the area we were visiting had experienced unseasonably cold and rainy weather every day. We had packed expecting more of the same, but it had become unseasonably warm. We had rain one night, but all the days were sunny with temps in the 80s and even 90 in St Petersburg. We did not participate in any entertainment or shows, other than attending a lecture on St Petersburg, which was of an appropriate length and informative. Some reviewers for other cruises have noted embarkation gatherings of Cruise Critic members, but if this cruise had one, we were not aware of it. We found on board Internet access to be pricey, slow and not always dependable. We had thought we could use free internet on shore at some restaurants and other public areas, as is easy to do in the U.S. However, it is not readily available in Europe, although was available at a couple of McDonald's. To keep in touch via email, we found it necessary to purchase 100 minutes of time for $85. I think a lot of time was wasted with the poor transmission time. Although we have no other cruises with which to compare, we were pleased with how orderly the arrivals and debarkations were at each port, with a smooth procedure in place for the tour groups to exit and board buses. The only exception was St Petersburg, which probably was more of a mad house because 1) more passengers were going ashore than may have been the case at other ports and 2)the lengthy time it took for Russian immigration to process each visitor. The newsletters delivered to the room each evening were very informative and helpful regarding the next day's port and shipboard activities. If we were to cruise on this ship again, we would have no objection to the same room. It was quite comfortable and its location near the gangway made it interesting to just sit on the veranda and watch the goings-on. Watching the crew lower and raise the gangway was interesting, as was seeing other passengers coming and going and watching port activities. At Riga, as the ship pulled away from the dock, we observed several elderly Latvian ladies standing near the dock for a long time, waving to the departing ship passengers, until our ship was nearly out of sight. Other comments continue in the port reviews, except for Ronne on the Danish island of Bornholm. That was our second port of call and we chose to take an Oceania tour called "Taste of Bornholm". Although it did not include a brewery, as we had expected based on tour description, it still was interesting and by taking a bus around the island, we were able to get a better feel for the island than just going to the little town of Ronne. We gathered in the Marina Lounge on the ship at 8:45 and were soon dispatched to our waiting bus. Our local guide was Hans who did pretty well at speaking English although he stumbled occasionally on the pronunciation of a word. The first stop was a farm where the owner had a butcher shop. We had a close-up tour led by the owner and then had samples of various sausage products in the retail shop at the end of the tour. At the little harbor town of Svanake, we stopped at a hotel where tables were set up outside for us we were served a plate with grapes, a couple of slices of bell pepper, a few slices of the local, award winning blue cheese and some biscuits. Along with the snacks, we were given a sample two varieties of the local akavit. The last stop was Nexo where the first Danish vineyard was planted about 10 years ago. The owner and winemaker gave us a little tour and then let us sample a few varieties at tables in the winery. Will have to say that the wine was nothing to write home about. We returned to the ship about 1:00 and took a shuttle, arranged by Oceania, for a 5 minute ride to Ronne. There were some shops to visit, but would not have wanted to spend much time in town. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Mediterranean Tapestry from Athens to Barcelona - 10 days, departed on 5/2/12. We are 46 and 59 years old; the average age seemed to be a little older, maybe mid-60's. We are both extensively traveled, including all continents, ... Read More
Mediterranean Tapestry from Athens to Barcelona - 10 days, departed on 5/2/12. We are 46 and 59 years old; the average age seemed to be a little older, maybe mid-60's. We are both extensively traveled, including all continents, except Antarctica, but this was our first cruise of any sort. We arrived in Athens three days in advance and made our own airline, transfer, and hotel arrangements there. At the end of the cruise, we made our own arrangements to stay for five days in Barcelona, including apartment rental, transfers, and return flight. Embarkation was a breeze. The upper suites were allowed to board at 11am, and there was absolutely no line at all. We stayed in an owner's suite which was absolutely amazing. I've written a separate review for the suite itself, since it was the highlight of the cruise for us. As our first cruise accommodations ever, it set the bar very high for any future cruise. The ship is beautiful, as described by everyone else and in Oceania's literature. Interesting contemporary art, both paintings and sculptures, everywhere, including the stairwells; all of it was original. The pool was small and a little over-heated, but there were adequate loungers around. The ship never felt crowded anywhere. The dining was a bit of a disappointment, but I think that's because it's so over-hyped that the expectations are really high for everybody coming on board. All four specialty restaurants would have been essentially decent upscale restaurants, but they definitely fell short of routine upscale standards in Manhattan restaurants, for example. We were invited to a private dinner at La Reserve; twelve of us were there. This meal was more memorable than the others, including a fantastic Napoleon with the best mille feuille I've ever had. I thought that the food in the Main Dining Room was very good, again possibly because I expected less from the standard fare and was pleasantly surprised. We weren't drawn to the cruise line or the boat by activities, and we didn't participate in any events or attend any shows; can't comment on the quality. The staff was always pleasant. They were from a wide variety of countries, from Russia to South Africa to the Philippines. Their home country was on their name tags underneath their names -- a nice touch. We arranged for our own excursions. For a fraction of the price of Oceania's excursions, we rented cars at three ports and drove ourselves into the countryside in Italy. It took a fair amount of work to make the arrangements for our own self-guided touring, so if you're looking for an easier trip, or if you have any limited mobility, it would make sense to go with Oceania's excursions. Disembarkation was a breeze. We requested a late departure, were out of our suite at 8am, and off the boat at 9am, after a final leisurely breakfast in the main dining room. All in all, a very pleasant experience. The true highlight was the owner's suite itself, which I've reviewed separately. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We chose Oceania Marina for our first cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary(we are in our 40s) Using Oceania air arrangements we flew to Atlanta then to Barcelona on Delta. We arrived in Barcelona on time and easily found a cab to ... Read More
We chose Oceania Marina for our first cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary(we are in our 40s) Using Oceania air arrangements we flew to Atlanta then to Barcelona on Delta. We arrived in Barcelona on time and easily found a cab to the Hotel Art's where we stayed the 1st night. The Art's is located on the beach near many restaurants. We were on the 27th floor with a gorgeous view of both the city and beach. The hop-on-hop off bus gives you a quick method to see many "touristy" sites. Cabs are very easy to find. At noon we left for the port by taxi and arrived at 12:30. It took about 25 minutes to check our luggage pass through security and walk onto the ship. Service personnel were fast and friendly. The ship is new and beautiful with modern colors and free of the glitzy Las Vegas look of many cruise ships. (Wonderful art throughout) We ate lunch in the Grill near the pool. The lobster and filet mignon burger was delicious and perfectly cooked. The parmesan fries were addictive. Service was very attentive. Our PH2 was ready by 1pm. We meet with our butler Churchill at about 4pm. He discussed his service role and how he would work to make our cruise wonderful. How we utilized the butler; pressing clothes, breakfast in-suite every morning, in-suite specialty restaurant service (Toscana and Polo), evening canapies, wine service, port and tour advice, extra specialty restaurant reservations. The best kept secret on-board is the beautiful serenity deck, covered loungers, quiet and secluded. It is open to concierge and higher cabins, has 2 rarely used whirlpools and gorgeous views. We reserved 4 specialty restaurant reservations online and added two extra on-board. It was not hard to add reservations if you were flexible. All of the specialty restaurants were delicious, favorites include;duck and watermelon salad, seabass and scallops in Red Ginger, filet mignon, lobster bisque in Polo, everything in Jacques, minestrone, veal shank and spinach pasta in Toscana the bread was amazing in every venue(chocolate croissants!), steaks were tender and properly cooked as was lobster. We found the nightly menu specials to be of an especially high quality. (seeming to revolve around the fresh foods available in the port we were visiting) The main dining room offered open seating. We found there to be too few sommeliers in this venue. We waited 20 minutes to have empty wine glasses filled. Food was not hot when delivered, the waiter did keep up with our pacing and promptly removed each course and added the next. Wine lists were large with wines of varying price points and quality. Carry on alcohol policy is VERY liberal. The cooking class was fun and fast paced but very basic in technique. Oceania should advertise it in a way to let experienced cooks know it is intended for beginners. I cancelled my 2nd class. We never saw a walker or mobility scooter while on-board (a few wheelchairs). We expected a much older crowd but would say the average age was 60, with less than a dozen children on-board, a dozen honeymoon couples and many couples like ourselves celebrating important milestones. Cruisers were well traveled and very congenial. The CC "meet and greet" was well attended and I felt I knew 50 of my fellow cruisers by the 1st night. All of our tours were private shared-tours arranged on our roll call. Service standouts were our butler Churchill A+, Danny D. in the piano bar and Horizons, concierge Maria on deck 5, and Jose our cabin steward.The concierge in the executive lounge was helpful and knowledgeable. The ship was very clean and I saw service personnel constantly cleaning public areas, hand-rails etc. Our cabin was serviced 2 to 3 times daily and always well stocked and clean.The only friends against our 1st cruise being on Oceania stated that after setting the bar so high, other cruise lines would not measure up. Oceania met our very high expectations. We will definitely cruise Oceania again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
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
Just stepped off the Marina earlier today following 12 days of sheer gastronomic bliss and enough eye candy to fill a lifetime of photo albums. Without previous cruising experience, it was hard to imagine any cruise line meeting, never ... Read More
Just stepped off the Marina earlier today following 12 days of sheer gastronomic bliss and enough eye candy to fill a lifetime of photo albums. Without previous cruising experience, it was hard to imagine any cruise line meeting, never mind exceeding my expectations. After THOROUGH research comparing Oceania, Seabourn and the Celebrity Solstice class ships, the $/day rates, multiple dining venues, smaller ports of call, affiliation with Wine Spectator, and yes...terrific reviews found on Cruise Critic, the Marina quickly became the perfect "toe in the water" cruising experience. A few comments by category... Food: Simply put...spectacular. I heard passengers wih experience on Seabourn, Crystal and Silver Sea give Marina higher marks both in terms of quality and variety. If a tourine of duck foie gras from the kitchen of Jacques Pepin sounds intriguing, then read no further and book now! La Reserve (the co-op effort between Wine Spectator and Oceania) serves 2 separate 7-course tasting menu paired with specifically chosen wines. The venue only holds 24 and easily commands a $75/pp premium to partake. Our 2 dinners here were the highlight of the trip. Wine: I simply must call out the terrific quality and depth of the wine lists as well as the very fair pricing. Accustomed to "expense account" wine prices at dinner, we were pleasantly surprised at the pricing strategy used. We felt as though every bottle had terrific value. The sommelier staff is adeptly led by the cellar master (Craig), and their knowledge and palettes created oenophilic portraits as vivid as murano glass. Service: We stayed at the St. Regis in Rome prior to our departure. I'll keep this simple.... The St. Regis could learn a lot from the Marina team. One day early in the cruise I lost count (after 16) of the number of employees who made eye contact and greeted me. By day 3, Maria (restaurant reservations) knew our last name (among 1100+ guests) and the barristas knew our coffee preferences by heart. Bravo, Oceania! Staterooms: Bigger, more functional and better appointed han most business hotels. The beds are also better than advertised and we slept soundly each and every night. Entertainment: Ok, well, not everyhing can be perfect in this review....otherwise it might become suspect. Oceania needs help here....desperately. Both pop band and Martini Lounge pianist were straiht out of a Saturday Night Live skit. We either had to tune them out, or in a few cases, find other locations to linger. That said, the string quartet was exceptional, and the guest lecturer and artist in residence were inspiring. The management of Oceania and the crew of Marina are dialing in on an extremely compelling product which will no doubt establish lifelong customers who are simply unwilling to sail with anyone else lest they be disappointed. I, for one, fall into that category. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
As first-time cruisers, we chose a ship and line recommended by friends. The Marina is a new ship with penthouses that seemed to offer plenty of room, so we chose that. Our stateroom was large and very comfortable, with a big verandah ... Read More
As first-time cruisers, we chose a ship and line recommended by friends. The Marina is a new ship with penthouses that seemed to offer plenty of room, so we chose that. Our stateroom was large and very comfortable, with a big verandah and two desk spaces on a counter that stretched the length of the room. It also had a huge walk-in closet and very well designed, large bathroom. Our only regret was that we chose a stateroom at the very front of the ship (10002) and the view from our verandah was partially obstructed by a large white lighting fixture. Also, we were right under the bridge which was a bit intrusive. We had some rough seas and they were more apparent at the front of the ship than in the middle.Service was excellent in all areas: stewardess, butler, dining room, computer center, reception. The food, as we had heard, was really wonderful, on par with restaurants in San Francisco, near where we live, especially the four specialty restaurants. Although there was nightly entertainment and a casino, we didn't participate, but we heard others compliment them.Embarkation couldn't have been smoother, and our stateroom was ready soon after we boarded. In the meantime, lunch was served in two of the restaurants. Our bags arrived promptly. Disembarkation was equally efficient in Venice.We did not take any of the Oceania shore excursions, except the bus ride to Florence from the port of Livorno. We explored the ports on our own.As first-timers, we found we felt constrained by the schedule of ship life: a certain time of day to be back onboard, for example. There is no time to go into places in-depth. You get a quick look at highlights, if you've done your homework, and then it's back to the ship, with all its glitz and service.One of the surprises--and this may not apply to the older and smaller Oceania ships--is that the "country club" attire requirement for dinner is interpreted to by some to be pretty dressy, to the point of long dresses for some of the women. Men wear golf shirts or whatever, but women tend to dress up more than I expected. In a way, I felt as though I were being coaxed into a lifestyle I wasn't really comfortable with, between the intense level of service and the affluence of other cruisers. It's a matter of personal preference.The sommeliers really push bottles of wine at lunch and dinner, and I didn't see one bottle for under $50; you are able to have it at subsequent meals, though. The boutiques onboard are high-end, the wireless charges ridiculously high, but overall, if you like cruising, you'd probably really enjoy this ship. It's beautiful, new, staffed by young, enthusiastic staff from around the world, whom I really enjoyed.By the way, our cruise missed two ports: Amalfi and Taormina, because those were "tender" ports and the sea was rough. This was a big disappointment. I'd advise people to check on how many "tender" ports there are on a given cruise: we had three and missed two because of bad weather. Read Less
Sail Date April 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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