We got back from our cruise last week, Southernmost Wonders from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso, and although I am not in a position to write a real cruise review due to some unforeseen circumstances, I do want to say a few words about my ... Read More
We got back from our cruise last week, Southernmost Wonders from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso, and although I am not in a position to write a real cruise review due to some unforeseen circumstances, I do want to say a few words about my experience on board the Marina.
We boarded the ship the 22nd of Dec and in the middle of the night I woke up in excruciating pain, ending up on the floor writhing in pain (I never before understood that expression - now I do! ) so the doctor and the nurse came (it was 330am) to take care of me. I will not go into what ailed me, but it was all about pain and they did everything they could to make me comfortable for the rest of the night until they could get me to a hospital the next day (we were still in Buenos Aires).
The next morning, the port authority agent was there the minute we docked and he was amazing. He drove my husband and me to the hospital (for X-rays), stayed with us the entire time to help translate, and made sure we got back to the ship safe and sound. Doctor Andrew and nurse Psyche (from the ship) were there for me and could not have been more caring and concerned. Psyche truly is an Angel.
Sadly, my situation did not get better so I was unable to take the excursions I had planned on for over a year - missing the penguins at Falkland Island was an especially big disappointment. However, I was made as comfortable as possible by my cabin stewardess , Krisztina, from Hungary, another Angel, who went beyond her duties to see that I had what I needed. I mostly needed ice cream.
We were fortunate to be in a penthouse and our butler was nice and did what I asked but he did not have that something extra that makes for a great butler. Luckily for me, our butler from two cruises ago, Churchill, found out we were on board and came to visit me and hold my hand and made sure I was looked after; he showed a caring and concern for which I am very grateful. Also, our favorite waiter from past cruises, Robert, was now the head in the Grand Dining Room and one of the times I could actually get out of the cabin to eat, made sure I had a fabulous table and the quickest service imaginable. Every waiter was kind and helpful and just thinking about how tenderly they treated me brings tears to my eyes (yes, I am crying as I write this).
So my cruise did not turn out as planned. However, we did meet some wonderful people who showed a stranger such caring and compassion that I will always remember them with great fondness. I had some fun and funny moments that still bring a smile to my face. I have some lovely new jewelry bought for me by my husband. I loved lying in the best bed in the whole world with the veranda door open, smelling the sea air, listening to the sounds of the ocean as the Marina effortlessly glided through the waters. I loved seeing the Christmas full moon from the Terrace Cafe patio. I loved having most breakfast, lunch and dinners in bed - well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but having the ability to have wonderful food brought to my bedside was a blessing. I did manage to eat at Jacques twice - the first night before the pain and the last night as the pain was easing - and the food, the service, and the people with whom we shared the table - all were stellar.
Everytime Krisztina changed the sheets and I crawled back into that bed, it felt like heaven. Really, the bed alone makes traveling on the Marina worth any cost. And of course, the ice cream.
What else can I say? Before the cruise I focused on the weather - a bit worried we might miss some tender ports due to rough seas or bad weather, so I kept visioning blue skies and calm seas. I am happy to say my weather programming was a huge success - not one port was missed and the heavy coats and hats were never needed. My husband said the excursions we had booked were excellent. You could say it was the perfect cruise for that part of the world and despite my disappointment, I am happy for everyone who was able to benefit from my focused programming - you are welcome!
The two weeks on board are a bit of a blur, I must admit. I was under the influence of drugs (manna from heaven) but I was clear headed enough to know that I was blessed to have the care and attention of some amazingly wonderful people. Even the guest lecturer, a well-known neurosurgeon and expert on South America, took it upon himself to give me an exam and correspond with the doctors at the hospital in Puerto Montt! I am grateful to every one who took the time to look in on me and make sure I was doing as well as possible under the circumstances. Having the ship's doctor and nurse become your best friends while cruising is never anyone's ideal goal, but boy oh boy, did I ever get lucky that Dr. Andrew and Psyche were there for me. Of course, I hope no one ever has to meet them but I highly recommend them and the ship's medical facility - absolutely top notch all the way.
When we got to Puerto Montt, we had another port authority agent who was equally as wonderful as the agent we had in Buenos Aires. He got me to the hospital for an MRI and stayed with us the entire time. Before this cruise, I never gave much thought to port agents but now I know what they do and I am so grateful to them and for what they did for me.
I could say more but I think I am beginning to ramble. My point in writing this "review" is just that I wanted to put out there that my experience on the Marina was made more than just tolerable, despite everything, it was made memorable, and in a good way by some very good, caring people. The quality of a cruise is determined by more than just the ports visited or the amenities provided, it is the people you meet and the staff that is there to assist you in every way possible. In my book, the Marina gets a 10+. I want to give a personal shout out to Krisztina, to Dr. Andrew, to nurse Psyche and to Damiano, our concierge (he was very helpful to my husband). After 6 cruises on the Marina, I now consider myself an official Oceania cheerleader!!
I am already excited about our next cruise and cannot wait to re-book this cruise. The longer you live the more you understand that things go wrong, plans have to be changed, and accidents happen, not everything always works out for the best. However, with the right attitude and a great support team, the best can always be made out of whatever happens!!
Bottom line is do not hesitate to book a cruise with Oceania - no matter the circumstances, they will take good care of you! Read Less