692 Oceania Marina Cruise Reviews

This was our 18th cruise but the first with Oceania.Oceania's new ship Marina has the look and feel of an upscale boutique hotel and at 66,000 tons she is not too big or too small. The majority of the public areas are very elegant in ... Read More
This was our 18th cruise but the first with Oceania.Oceania's new ship Marina has the look and feel of an upscale boutique hotel and at 66,000 tons she is not too big or too small. The majority of the public areas are very elegant in appearance with the exception of the main theatre which is very gloomy with extremely poor sight lines and the extremely tacky looking Martini Bar that would be more at home on a Carnival ship. She will probably be costly to maintain as the dark finishing on the walls etc tend to show the nicks and scratches. The balcony stateroom was very nicely furnished with a wall mounted flat screen TV, love seat couch and extremely comfortable beds. The bathroom features a full size bath tub as well as a very small shower stall. Many passengers felt that the tub took up too much valuable space resulting in limited and awkward closet space.The dining experience was the best part of the cruise. The 4 specialty restaurants (no add'l charge) offered a truly 5 star dining experience rivaling the finer dining restaurants on land. The service in the main dining room was inconsistent resulting in 2.5 hrs for dinner one night. We ate many meals in the Terrace Cafe which features a very extensive buffet and a lovely area at the rear for open air dining.While we usually have wonderful service on all cruise lines, the crew on Marina was without a doubt the most attentive, responsive, outgoing, interactive and friendly that we have ever had. Everyone that we encountered from the Captain to the cleaning staff seemed to make a special effort to inquire as to how our day was going etc.As far as negatives go; there is nowhere to get a snack from 4-6PM or after 10PM other than through room service. Oceania charges an exorbitant 18% gratuity on the bar bill while most cruise lines charges 15%. This is not a ship for night owls as everything seemed to shut down by midnight.Overall we had a wonderful cruise experience and can't wait to sail with Oceania again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Our first experience with Oceania was at the Insignia. Then we missed the main attraction of the journey and the officers did not tell the truth about the reasons. See the review.Nevertheless we decided to try this company once more. This ... Read More
Our first experience with Oceania was at the Insignia. Then we missed the main attraction of the journey and the officers did not tell the truth about the reasons. See the review.Nevertheless we decided to try this company once more. This time a 10-day cruise in the Mediterranean. This time even 2 ports were canceled because of so called "swells". Again doubts if this was really necessary.We made two very nice excursions: Saint Paul and Lucca. The so called walking tours are much too expensive and you can easily do them on your own.Venice, Florence and Dubrovnik are so beautiful.....Then the ship Marina:The atrium and other public rooms are more beautiful and less kitsch than at other ships. Alas the cabin was smaller then expected. Also the beds are too small, but the quality is excellent. The bathroom is big enough, but the big bathtub takes too much room. Therefore the showerstall is too narrow.Breakfast and lunch are surely below standard level for xxxx-ships. Fresh orange-juice it not standard and fresh brown bread not available at breakfast.Very little variation at lunch and dinner. Quality of food in the diningroom is just poor. It's much better at the specialty restaurants, but then often served too fast and/or too cold.Oceania at its best moments can be compared to Azamara. The difference is that on Azamara this level is standard.Ths cruise-director was good, especially when compared to the irritating W.Aames on Insignia, who also kept back important information about the schedule of the ship.All together: I would not advise anybody to choose Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
As experienced cruisers, we enjoyed many aspects of our first Oceania cruise on the Marina in March, 2011. The food, the service, and the decor of the ship are much as described by other travellers. We were surprised to enjoy the nightly ... Read More
As experienced cruisers, we enjoyed many aspects of our first Oceania cruise on the Marina in March, 2011. The food, the service, and the decor of the ship are much as described by other travellers. We were surprised to enjoy the nightly entertainment as much and even more than many other, larger ships we've sailed on. The ports were fantastic, although we booked almost everything independently due to the limitations and the cost of the offerings of the ship. We would like to advise that cabin 9005, a concierge-level cabin, was extremely noisy at night with so many thumps, bumps, crashes and jolts that we finally had to move to another cabin on a lower floor. The seas were not exceptionally rough and certainly we have been in a variety of weather in our nearly 20 cruises, but we suspect that since cabins are put into a ship, during construction, as a whole unit, there must be something structurally lacking in 9005. We had never experienced anything like it and sleep was out of the question. We made our concerns known after the first night and happened to hear someone from another deck, voicing the same complaint to the registration desk -- the noises and jolts were enough to bring one up out of bed! We were all met with limited concern and the advice that if it happened again, we should call the desk right then and there. Not particulary reassuring. The second night we experienced an identical problem, called the registration desk at midnight, were met with casual concern but persisted, and were finally successful in getting moved on the third day. Our new stateroom did not have any of those sound and movement issues. Despite the luxury of the ship and its many good points, the rooms are not that well constructed, with chips in the "wood" of the closets and cupboards already (our cruise was in the second month of Marina's existence), bathroom tiles that let water seep through the grout of the floors and walls (noticed that in both staterooms and our room steward said it was a problem ship-wide), and flimsy walls that do nothing to keep the next room's conversations inside that room -- especially if you happen to be in a stateroom that could be an adjoining room. The closets rattled, the showers have been discussed enough already, and the balcony doors did not always open easily or close completely, despite a lot of effort. We especially wanted to warn people away from choosing cabin 9005. We enjoyed the rest of our cruise, but the construction issues are probably enough for us to avoid taking another chance on Marina. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Overall the ship was new and attractive. The stewards, wait staff, and all crew members were extraordinarily friendly and helpful. The food was really wonderful, in all outlets...from the specialty dining rooms to the main dining room to ... Read More
Overall the ship was new and attractive. The stewards, wait staff, and all crew members were extraordinarily friendly and helpful. The food was really wonderful, in all outlets...from the specialty dining rooms to the main dining room to the casual deck breakfast and lunch spots. The Pastry chef is a genius!! The ship did make a lot of noise, especially at the back end of the Grand Dining Room. The two times we were seated there we could barely carry on a conversation without talking very loudly. The cabins were good, with comfortable beds and good lighting except over the dressing/makeup table, and with only one plug usable for a hair dryer. No plugs in the bathroom except for a shaver outlet! With the exception of transiting through the Panama Canal, most of the ports were pretty boring and the two tours we purchased were really bad. Didn't hear much good comment on the sightseeing tours and the Destination Services desk left much to be desired!!! Not very knowledgeable or helpful! Our big complaint was the "Concierge level" which we thought was a big rip off!! We had to seek out the concierge and the concierge lounge, which was not on our deck only to find that the "services" she was supposed to provide were at best, minimal. The library was very well stocked and a great spot on the ship as was the coffee bar. Also lots of nice little nooks on the decks to read quietly. Just wish they would do away with the feeling of various classes of the ship. Even had a special deck for Canyon Ranch participants. Really!! On most of the luxury ships I've sailed on every one is treated equally, this is not an Atlantic crossing on the Queen Mary! Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
From the moment I boarded Marina I began to compare it to all the other lines with whom I have traveled. This was an adult experience with all the amenities of a fine hotel. If you compare the amenities of Oceania with other lines, ... Read More
From the moment I boarded Marina I began to compare it to all the other lines with whom I have traveled. This was an adult experience with all the amenities of a fine hotel. If you compare the amenities of Oceania with other lines, it quickly makes you aware of Oceania's commitment to excellence. From the Bulgari skin products, 1,000 thread count sheets, included mineral water and soft drinks, beyond comparison cuisine in the main dining room and speciality restaurants, the luxury concierge lounge, the handy self-use laundry room, complementary rain umbrellas to borrow, and the expanded library which was run on an honor system , every aspect of sailing had been planned for the cruisers so they would feel like they were in their own home. The staff was at least 1.5 per passenger making all the difference. There was a team of two people assigned to clean each room. Never have I had individual servers in the cafeteria area on a cruise. This enhances the level of cleanliness on board. Embarkation and disembarking were effortless. No long lines were encountered during the cruise. Being able to go to the main dining room at your own leisure was a treat. When unable to stay our scheduled two days in Bermuda due to weather, a visit to the Azores was included in the trip. It was interesting to hear fellow passengers comment that they enjoyed the smaller Oceania ships more in comparison to the new Marina. I have booked the Miami to Panama trip in November on the Regatta and will be able to make my own decision. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
When we checked in at the San Francisco ship terminal for 18 nights on our first Oceania cruise, we had high expectations - and we weren't disappointed. We liked almost everything about the Marina: the furnishings, art work, ... Read More
When we checked in at the San Francisco ship terminal for 18 nights on our first Oceania cruise, we had high expectations - and we weren't disappointed. We liked almost everything about the Marina: the furnishings, art work, fittings, attentive and friendly service, and, of course, the food. Oh, there were some small shortcomings, like the small shower and the small bathtub (we thought that combining the two into a larger shower with a place to sit down would have been better), but to us, these were very minor.We traveled with my alumni group of 25 and enjoyed their company, but also went to the Cruise Critic M&G (thanks, Lyn) and met several new folks. In Cartagena, Colombia, we went on a fun tour of the city organized by Deb and posted on the Cruise Critic thread for our cruise (thanks, Deb).Other thoughts on this cruise:Excursions - We only signed up for two of the ship's excursions. In Huatulco, there's not much to see as this port is still in the early stages of development by the Mexican government. Puerto Chiapas was much more interesting as we toured the ancient Mayan/Olmec site of Izapa. This experience was enhanced for us by a marvelous Olmec exhibit we had seen at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco the night before we embarked. At Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, our Alumni Group tour director had arranged for a marvelous private party in one city and and a private tour in the other. In Cost Rica, I had booked with Okey Dokey Tours for eight of us to see a coffee plantation and other sights. Unfortunately, we encountered a blockage of the main highway to San Jose and had to take a detour to see the coffee plantation. The delay caused a cancellation of the other sights. However, Charlie Soto, owner of Okey Dokey, made it right by giving us a discount. The tour guide, Ray, was outstanding.Food - It wasn't all perfect but it was very, very good. In the GDR, we initially had slow service a couple of nights and the food was lukewarm when it was finally served. However, after commenting on this in the mid-cruise evaluation form (and being telephoned by food service for more details on the problem), we noticed that attention to dining room service improved greatly. This was only the third cruise for Marina and the wait staff was obviously still learning. But we were impressed by the efforts to fix any problem. We had several really memorable meals, especially in Polo (steamed lobster)and Red Ginger (excellent sea bass). But, we saved the best for last. On the next to last night,a group of 17 of us went to La Reserve: seven marvelous courses, each described by the chef, and a matching wine with each course, all in a very pleasant and comfortable private dining room. The $75 pp plus tip was worth it. Highly recommended.Other - Every member of the crew was sincerely friendly and would stop to help if we had a question. We enjoyed the very nice Concierge lounge on Deck 9 with its comfortable chairs, Internet workstation, and mini-sandwiches available during the afternoons. We noticed that the art in the reception area was changed every few days. The closet and drawers in our stateroom were adequate for our belongings for the long cruise, but with no room to spare (however, we brought more clothes than we really needed). The library was a great place to relax and its collection of new books seemed very appropriate for cruisers (included many travel books). My wife enjoyed the Intermediate Bridge lessons and we both thought the enrichment lecturer was well prepared and informative (though not dynamic). As for entertainment, we saw those performances featuring the singers, dancers, the main band, and the Grand Bar piano player, and thought they were all excellent for a ship this size. But shipmates who saw some of the other performers weren't impressed. In Miami, we had a long wait before Immigration/Customs released the ship to begin disembarking. Not a real inconvenience for us because we had an afternoon flight. The problem was never explained.All in all, it was our best cruise experience of the seven we have had so far. We now want to do another Oceania cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We have been looking forward to the Inaugural sail with the brand new Marina from Miami to San Francisco, through the Panama Canal. Our trip followed closely a Caribbean trip with Holland America, so it gave us an opportunity to compare ... Read More
We have been looking forward to the Inaugural sail with the brand new Marina from Miami to San Francisco, through the Panama Canal. Our trip followed closely a Caribbean trip with Holland America, so it gave us an opportunity to compare the two ships. Embarkation on the Marina was easy, no crowds, or line-ups. The first thing you notice when you board the ship is the smell of fresh paint and polish. It is a mid-size ship and in spite of the ship being almost full, somehow we never ran into any line-ups or crowds. The decor is very modern, although the ship was built in Italy, apart from the beautiful Murano glassware, the decoration, furnishing and the extensive paintings on the wall showed little of the customary Italian flair. Many of the modern paintings consisting of geometric shapes were unsigned by the artists. It made us wonder whether the artists were reluctant to sign their name however; this must have made it difficult to decide which way to hang the paintings. The rather Spartan looking Atrium, which normally occupies the ship's focal point where everybody poses for photos while descending on beautiful curved staircase, was deserted; during our 18-day trip, we have not seen a single person taking photos. The main dining room is very elegant and can sit approximately half of the passengers at a time. There are numerous tables for two available for those not wanting to share their meal with others. In addition, there are four speciality restaurants, catering stakes, Italian, French and Asian dishes, where advance booking is required, but no additional fees are charged. For those who prefer buffet type meals there is also an additional eating place, although it is self service, once you selected a dish, staff will jump and insist to carry it to your table. There are number of nice touches on the ship: for example for lovers of good coffee, you can have the best coffee prepared by Italian baristas, all day, for no extra charge, or there is a welcome absence of pushy ship photographers, or lack of aggressive sales pitch by the small but expensive boutiques, or health spa. The quality of the entertainment varied from average to very good. The entertainment lounge could seat half the number of total passengers, and although normally there was only one performance at 9:45 PM, the lounge was never full. The only act attracting two full houses was a group calling themselves Platters, a familiar name to old timers. This group must have been one of the four recognized acts permitted to use "Platters" in their billings, although there are a number of other un-authorized ones. The sparsely attended shows could be either an indication of the quality of the entertainment, the lack of interest, or the late starting time. There were also the obligatory young dancers, girls with long legs reaching to their armpit; unfortunately, the same person who chose the ship's artwork must have selected their costumes. The piano bar had an outstanding pianist, hidden behind large columns, but most of the time at least he could be heard, if not seen. Unfortunately, he only played 45 minutes at a time, but once you have tried sitting in one of the couches in the bar, even 45 minutes seemed eternally long. Extremely powerful lights with glowing blue colours lighted the main bar. Those who braved to sit at the bar without dark glasses had the double pleasure of enjoying their drinks and gazing at the Picasso nudes hanging on the opposite wall. Perhaps one of the highlights of the trip was the outstanding food exquisitely served in elegant surroundings by efficient and attentive staff. During the entire 18-day trip, we did not have one single meal, which was not outstanding in presentation and flavour. The bread on the ship surpassed anything one can find in North America and it rivalled the best bread one can find in France or Italy. In absence of obese people wondering around in tight psychedelic shorts, there was no need for formal- ware dinners, as the evening attire consisted mainly of casual elegance. The staterooms were spacious, and nicely furnished. The bathroom surprisingly included a bathtub with shower and an additional shower stall. One would wonder how many of the elderly people travelling on the ship would or could climb into the bathtub. This made the bathroom rather tight, and it would be advisable if Oceania would provide a maximum hip measurement one could still negotiate both the toilet seat and the shower stall. It will take some time before the ship becomes “ship shaped,” for instance our stateroom creaked badly so we had to rely in the beginning on earplugs at night. Although we were offered another stateroom, it turned out to be similarly cursed. After the third attempt, hammering in a dozen wooden wedges in the balcony doorframe, the maintenance crew managed to eliminate the noise.During our trip, one of the two engines had to be stopped because the propeller hit some floating object. As a result, the ship could only travel half its normal speed for more than one day skipping one port in order to limp in to Acapulco, where a diver managed to repair the propeller so we could continue our trip, as scheduled. We are still waiting to receive an apology from Oceania for the inconvenience of missing one Mexican port. During the trip, there were the usual activities found on other ships, but in addition, there were some very interesting and intelligent talks by an economist, environmentalist, and historian. Overall, we had a great trip. We had fantastic weather and visited some interesting ports, but the emphasis on the Marina was not the destination but making our trip enjoyable while getting to those places. So if you are looking for a cruise with no crowds, outstanding food and service, and are willing to spend approximately twice as much as some of the other cruises, take a trip on the Marina, or her sister ship Riviera to be launched sometime next year, but wait until the new ships are well run in. In the mean time start saving. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
The Marina is a wonderful ship - attention to detail is amazing along with the craftsmanship. The food, as usual for Oceania is first class - and the staff in the restaurants are so nice. The trip through the Panama Canal is something that ... Read More
The Marina is a wonderful ship - attention to detail is amazing along with the craftsmanship. The food, as usual for Oceania is first class - and the staff in the restaurants are so nice. The trip through the Panama Canal is something that everyone should do once in a lifetime - it was worth it, even though the previous ports in Mexico were not outstanding for us.The cabin staff, again as usual, were fabulous - they could not do enough for us and kept trying to make sure that everything was OK.Of course, there were a few nits - but they are the usual Oceania, - Internet cost, expensive tours, so-so entertainment.We met a lot of nice people, and enjoyed the dining experience with different folks most of the time.Terrace cafe is our favorite, next the main dining room. The speciality restaurants were fine.We arrived in Miami with instructions to get out of our cabins by 8am and be off the boat starting at 8.30am - then we were all held hostage for about an hour. (Does anyone know why??) We missed our flight back to California - needless to say we were not happy. Disappointing first outing on Marina. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We arrived at the terminal in SFO to a small line -up about 2 -pm ...line moved fairly quickly Onboard our cabin was ready so dropped our carry-on, our luggage was there so off we went to see what the ship was like Everyone was ... Read More
We arrived at the terminal in SFO to a small line -up about 2 -pm ...line moved fairly quickly Onboard our cabin was ready so dropped our carry-on, our luggage was there so off we went to see what the ship was like Everyone was taking photos of the ship; travel agents were touring the cabins & other parts of the ship. The ship is beautiful as already noted by others on the two previous sailings Lots of marble, granite, glass & teak everywhere The casino bar (?) was a little out of place with the purple disco feel. Cabin We have one of the cabins on deck 7 with the larger balcony approximately 8 X 12 with 2 chairs and a small table. Cabins are very similar in size to the R-ships but laid out slightly different. Bathroom is larger with tub & separate shower with glass door, no friendly curtain to contend with, granite floors, and walls. Nice vanity lights Lots of drawers, some in night table, desk & closet Very nice reading lights bedside Sofa is much more comfortable and a bit larger than the R-ships Nice coffee table but might be a bit large for the space Nice chair at the desk with a back unlike the stools on the R-ships CONS The showers seem smaller than the R-ships, kept hitting my elbow on the grab bar, tub is wasted space would be better to use the space there for a larger shower. Soap kept slipping through the soap dish they need an extra bar on the front of the dish or you need to press the soap into the slats to keep it form falling out Drawers in the desk are smaller than on the R-ships hard to put a shirt in without folding it to a quarter of the size One drawer under safe is too high to see what is in there if you are not 6' tall Lounge chairs would be nice for these B4 Balcony cabins One thing that may bother people is that you are overlooked by those above you Dining room Very light and airy feeling, higher ceilings make the room less noisy that the small ships Lovely lighting CONS Some tables are very close together making if difficult to get in & out, the wait staff has trouble serving people at these tables. Some tables are too close the serving stations & the trays with dirty dishes are right near you Terrace Cafe Larger serving stations and much better traffic flow Two nice self serve stations for coffee, tea & juices CONS Too may tables close together...hard to get in/out in some areas, some of the forest gets in your way when going to & from your table Waves Grill Lots of tables & larger area Pool area Lovely pool with steps making it easier to enter the pool Lots of loungers CONS The new day beds are a bit low & some may have trouble getting up Deck 5 & shops Seems to be in a world of their own. Casino A bit larger with many more machines & black jack tables; another section is on the other side of the bar Grand Bar Is like a hallway with chairs. The quartet plays there in the evenings CONS Not as conducive to the music as on the small ships but more seating Again some of the seating is very low Ceiling is too low and the acoustics suffer Sanctuary Very nice loungers there but the wind seems to whip around in there There is something in the area that is squeaking so not very peaceful The door there to the inside bangs every time someone enters or exits, maybe one of the automatic doors openers would work better there If they had taken the glass all the way up and had a few sliding windows it may have cut down on the breeze Baristas Very nice place to grab a coffee & cookie Maybe a bigger space would be better it is a popular area CONS They use paper cups without any heat shield so they can be very hot to carry any distance A choice between paper or china cups would be an improvement Library Very nice nooks with lovely chairs but hard to see in the cabinets the lighting in some is not very good The area is not as nice as the small ships, books are hard to find and seem to be discombobulated Horizons Lovely large room Seating is very low. Not sure who they used as a model for the chairs but I am not tall at 5' 4" and I had trouble getting up from the chairs Smoking area is nicely partitioned off & never smelled any smoke unless you were standing in the doorway there Marina Lounge Very large room with lots of seating Chairs are comfortable CONS Could be raised a bit more so those in the back can see the stage Tables & chairs outside Terrace & La Reserve Nice area, nice chairs but need a back cushions & maybe a bit higher, very low Red Ginger Lovely dEcor, staff very attentive Toscana Light & bright, chairs very comfortable Gym Lots of nice equipment to use with sports drinks /water available to keep you hydrated Walking Track Very nice area but can be very windy when underway They seem to get the soot from the funnel there & it is then tracked through the ship leaving black marks in the carpeting Laundry Room DECK 7 Three washers/dryers Two ironing boards the store nicely up in a cabinet when not in use CONS You need to have coins to operate machines, $2. in quarters for each load (prefer the token method) Soap dispenser on the wall, push the button for the cup to fill then pour into dispenser on machine carefully No sink to rinse things or get water for the irons if you want steam Overall impressions Lovely ship very nice dEcor, high end furnishings and fixtures Not sure on the Purple bar Lots of public space gives you a spacious feeling Very smooth sailing Some vibration when in reverse throughout the ship. Might be too big for some people's tastes, you do not seem to see the same people very often Lots of walking from one end to the other so you need to be fit We prefer the R-ships with the more intimate feeling Lots of nice things on the ship to keep you busy or not Something for everyone Still a work in progress Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Our personal observations from our 18 day cruise on Oceania's Marina inaugural voyage Miami to San Francisco February 2011. Ship-board public areas were beautifully appointed, interesting artwork abounds everywhere. Everything is ... Read More
Our personal observations from our 18 day cruise on Oceania's Marina inaugural voyage Miami to San Francisco February 2011. Ship-board public areas were beautifully appointed, interesting artwork abounds everywhere. Everything is brand spanking new. Antonio at the reception desk was especially helpful to us through out the cruise. Everyone on board, staff, crew, and fellow cruisers were very friendly, it was as if we knew them all our lives. The staterooms we saw and stayed in, were similar in shape and design. The designers utilized low maintenance materials for the cabinetry, lots of plastic laminates that look like dark wood grained surfaces. The bedding was so comfortable all we needed to do was look at it and fall asleep. Our bathroom was nicely done in real-marble as were all of the facilities on board. I wonder if there is any marble left in Italy after seeing this ship. There was a bathtub and a shower in all staterooms. We found them more than adequate for our needs. The shelving and draws were not deep enough to our liking. Folks 5 foot and under may have difficulty reaching the safe and top shelf of the cabinetry. The verandah is a great amenity and we used it frequently for reading and private sunbathing. The more luxurious suites with even larger accommodations have similar bright work and lots more space and amenities even on their verandahs. Some even had walk-in closets. Ours was a bit smaller but adequate. The food presentation, service and quality are more than magnificent. The cooking classes by CIA chef Kelly and foodie entertainment by the executive chefs Franeck and Wolfgang all exceeded our expectations. The specialty restaurants have menus that draw you back for more and more. We ate in Tuscano four evenings, as it was our favorite. Besides having a menu for the main courses they offered an olive oil and balsamic vinegar menu from the various regions of Italy. We also dined at Red Ginger and Jacques which were equally exquisite. Meat eaters love Polo and the huge prime ribs offered there. These specialty restaurants were not extra expense. It was just a matter of making an advance reservation. Getting a walk in was almost impossible. The wine selection would be hard to beat. I think we had the best wine parings for every meal. On other evenings we ate frequently at the Terrace just to pick and choose this and that out in the open air. It was of no use as we each gained ten pounds on the trip even with regular trips to the fitness center and working out. Our favorite hang out in between activities was at the Barista's for the best coffee and friendly company. All the folks we met on the Cruise Critic Roll Call were wonderful new friends once we met face to face on at the meet and greet the beginning of the cruise. All our excursions were really fine. We used Lee Miles, Rosie's Tours and Rica Surf, & Super Shuttle in addition to the ship tours. I think we made new lasting friends from our experience. I think it would be hard to replicate the experiences we had on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Oceania MARINA Inaugural Cruise Feb. 8 -26, 2011 Miami to San FranciscoOften the anticipation of a trip is a good part the enjoyment. In our case, we did extensive "homework" on MARINA, and can report back that the cruise ... Read More
Oceania MARINA Inaugural Cruise Feb. 8 -26, 2011 Miami to San FranciscoOften the anticipation of a trip is a good part the enjoyment. In our case, we did extensive "homework" on MARINA, and can report back that the cruise far outweighed any anticipation of it. Our Marina adventure was an excellent experience.On February 8th, after meeting several interesting and friendly cruise mates in the Port of Miami terminal, boarding went smoothly and we were soon having lunch at TERRACES. The buffet was stunning, with many choices, and so tastefully displayed. It was difficult to choose from the varied selections. However, choose we did, and we enjoyed our lunch on the open fantail, on a sunny Miami day. When our penthouse stateroom was ready, we ventured to #11001. We had had some concerns over its location, right behind the bridge, but that proved no problem on this trip. The stateroom was attractively appointed, with a large bathroom, walk-in closet, side reading area, and good-sized balcony. The welcoming bottle of sparkling wine was cooling, and there was a tray of welcoming treats on the table. Storage space was ample, not only in the huge closet, but all throughout the cabin. It was obvious that much thought had gone into the design. The stateroom was well-lit , and the room size was comfortable.Our butler, Ravi, came to introduce himself, as did our cabin attendant, Carolina. Both would prove to be friendly, courteous, and very helpful during this cruise. After unpacking, we began our exploration of Marina.We had previously cruised on Regatta and Nautica, and were concerned that the small ship tone would be lost on a ship double the size; however, this proved not to be the case. Somehow MARINA kept the intimacy and warmth that we enjoyed on the R ships, and this is due to a large part by the excellent staff that we encountered onboard.Wandering around the ship, we noticed many clever nooks and crannies where one could curl up and read, or chat, have a coffee, or just sit and watch the scenery. We were always coming upon a new spot, and saw that other passengers sought them out, too.Barista's was a treat not found on the R ships. We wish it could be transferred to them, and bring along Matteo who concocted such delicious coffees and biscotti.The library was interestingly constructed, and seemed a maze at first; however, the comfortable chairs and wide selection of books made it a favorite of many.The new cooking school and artist's loft were a welcome addition, particularly the photography courses that were offered by Curtis Hustace. We especially enjoyed the two new specialty restaurants that have been added: Red Ginger and Jacques. We had several chances to eat at both of them, and cannot say enough about the quality and presentation of food, especially in Red Ginger. The menu there was unique, and well-received. We saw passengers who stated that they never enjoyed Asian cuisine wolfing down the lobster PadThai and sole tempura, much to their surprise. I particularly enjoyed the Tom Kha Gai, a coconut/chicken/lemongrass soup (divine!) Elegant touches such as the tea menu (awesome selections of fragrant and unusual teas served in clear glass individual teapots,) and a chopstick selection were brilliant ideas. And, the place settings, glassware, decorative artwork and wonderful ambience made Red Ginger a favorite with many folks on this cruise.The dEcor in Jacques was country French, and the menu had lovely pates, as well as a notable duck cassoulet. Not to be missed was the sole Grenobloise. It was Dover sole in a lemon/caper sauce. Delightful!Toscana and Polo were certainly up to their usual high standards as well. The Grand Dining room proved to have not only an impressive setting, but excellent cuisine as well. Terraces, though,really shined, whether it was the breakfast or lunch buffet, or when it became TAPAS at night. Their menus were mind-boggling and so tasty. And kudus to the Oceania bakery: the best baguettes outside France, not to mention the multitude of other delightful pastries that graced menus and trolleys in Horizons.. One comment about the Marina staff: they were superb representatives of the line. Everyone, no matter where you encountered them, was polite and friendly, without appearing to be forced. They just seemed to be a happy staff, intent on making the passengers feel relaxed and content. We were surprised to be recognized by several staff members from previous cruises. It was nice to be remembered! The Concierge Lounge was located on deck 11, and we made good use of it. It appeared to be quite popular, especially during the day. Hot tea/coffee/ cappuccino, snacks, sodas, water, etc. were available, as was a television, magazines, computers, etc., and of course, a concierge. Oceania's policy of providing complimentary soda, water, coffees, and teas was appreciated.Shopping was quite a bit more extensive than on the R ships. Jewelry, cosmetics, clothing, etc, were of very high quality and there was a good selection of items.The cruise director was Leslie Jon, an energetic, approachable fellow who we felt did a very good job. We'd like to see him again on future cruises.Early in the cruise a large group from Cruise Critic got together for a meet and greet in Horizons. It was fun to put faces to those screen names, and to make some new friends.Reading this so far, it appears that we have no criticisms. Wrong. No ship is perfect, but Marina comes close. The suggestions we will note here are given ONLY in hopes of the management reading them, and considering some changes. Nothing was of a crucial nature. Just thoughts that could make an already outstanding experience even better: --adding a magnifying mirror in the bathroom (hey, women need these for makeup) and more outlets, please! --install a reading light in the penthouses over the loveseat (the only light is from the window and isn't enough)---rethink the amount of furniture in the penthouse suites; perhaps eliminate the coffee table/chair arrangement; or move the table at the foot of the bed nearer to the loveseat and eliminate those square half-chairs---allow passengers to use the Canyon Ranch Spa deck for the Panama Canal crossing day; many passengers were crammed on the upper decks while the spa deck was virtually empty--perhaps in RIVIERA, consider making the bathrooms smaller in the penthouses, and eliminate the tub entirely, or make it a tub/shower combination with a half-glass door; most passengers we spoke with would rather have the additional room added to the stateroom. Yes, this is a major redesign, but the tubs don't seem to be that utilized, especially with older folks who may fear getting in and out of them safely. We heard several people mention that they used the tub only to hang personal laundry.--consider changing the decorative curtain in the PH suites to a real curtain so that the loveseat/desk area can be shut off from the bed area. If it closed entirely, one could read while the other slept.---perhaps adding some additional prime time tv series, perhaps "Law and Order," "Bones," "NCIS," especially on the longer cruises, and please please put back on the JACQUES PEPIN cooking episodes. They were wonderful!Excursions: we took two Oceania excursions, one in Cartagena and the other in PuntaArenas. Both were satisfactory, if pricey. In Acapulco, we took a private tour with other CC members, and in Los Angeles we arranged for the SuperShuttle to pick us up at the port and drop us at the Getty, where we spent several hours. They then picked us up for return to the ship.When we arrived in Los Angeles, many tour agents came aboard to become acquainted with Marina. We saw Mr. Del Rio several times, and were impressed with his close attention to even the smallest details. While we did not have the opportunity to speak with him personally, we did get the feeling that he and his staff are very open to passenger opinions, both pro and con, about Marina, Riviera, and the R ships; hence the comments found in the paragraphs above.One thing that Mr. Del Rio has said is that Oceania budgets more for food than any other cruise line. As he put it, "Some spend money on stage shows and dancing girls. We put it on the plate. The food IS the show, and the dining experience IS the entertainment." We couldn't agree more.Disembarkation in San Francisco went smoothly, and our luggage was easily found on the pier. We used the SuperShuttle again for transport to SFO.Others have gone into detail about Marina's pool areas, entertainment, Canyon Ranch spa, etc. We take Oceania cruises because we very much enjoy our stateroom "home away from home," and the wonderful pampering we receive from the caring staff. The port-intensive itineraries are another reason, not to mention the excellent cuisine . We never expected to call ourselves "cruisers," but with Oceania, we are greatly enjoying this luxurious lifestyle at sea, and have already booked O cruises for December 2011 and April 2012. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
First off - it is a beautiful boat - the public areas are gorgeous - as usual the cabin staff and wait staff are exceptional. The food is amazing, - even though we are not foodies. The four special restaurants are top class - we ... Read More
First off - it is a beautiful boat - the public areas are gorgeous - as usual the cabin staff and wait staff are exceptional. The food is amazing, - even though we are not foodies. The four special restaurants are top class - we enjoyed the main dining room which is a lovely room - big and light and airy. We enjoyed the dining in the terrace - especially outside. The waitstaff there are so nice and really take care of you. The cabins are very comfortable - the bathrooms are much bigger than in the R boats, have a bath tub - which didn't do anything for us - we didn't use it. The shower seemed to be about the same size as on the R boats (small). Usual Oceania issues - Internet and excursions ridiculously expensive! Entertainment limited (difficult to bring in really good entertainers with only 1200 people paying the freight.) Senior staff somewhat "aloof" Getting off in Miami was a nightmare - we were held "hostage" for about an hour - no idea why - no proper explanation. Oceania really upset their clients - especially us - we missed our flight back to California and had to standby all day to finally get out at 8pm - getting home about 1.30am! Overall the cruise was great - pity about the end - we left the ship mad! Lymebdr Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
From the moment we boarded the Marina, we were treated to the finest of service that can be imagined. All of the staff on the ship have to be commended and the management to be congratulated for having put together such an outstanding ... Read More
From the moment we boarded the Marina, we were treated to the finest of service that can be imagined. All of the staff on the ship have to be commended and the management to be congratulated for having put together such an outstanding group. The food was superb in all of the venues. And we tried them all. The entertainment, headed by the Platters, was excellent. Music going all the time. The ship itself is outfitted beautifully and the cabin sizes are large and more than comfortable. Our travel agent was on the cruise. The things that she was able to do for us on the ship were simply amazing. Her ideas and contacts really put the trip "over the top." We're really looking forward to the inaugural cruise on the Riviera. Hopefully, it will be a repeat performance of excellence. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We arrived in Barcelona two days early. Took taxi to DuQuesa De Cardona, our hotel (5*) The night before the cruise there was a pre-cruise dinner for forty of us (CC roll call members). off to a great start with new friends. Embarkation ... Read More
We arrived in Barcelona two days early. Took taxi to DuQuesa De Cardona, our hotel (5*) The night before the cruise there was a pre-cruise dinner for forty of us (CC roll call members). off to a great start with new friends. Embarkation was like living a dream, we had seen so many photos but here it was, live. No waiting, no lines, plenty of happy people. We were in cabin 8062, taken good care of by our two attendants. There were a few times we found the cabin quite warm and noted that on our review. The comforter was too warm and we were told there were no light blankets. The ship was one delight after another: look at the lamps, look at the painting, look at the chairs, look at the new restaurants and look at the GDR, what a spectacle of beauty. The library became on of our most visited public spots with many comfortable chairs and reading "coves" and the books were plentiful and brand new, latest editions of travel books, novels, non-fiction, etc. There are more than enough public spaces to sit and relax, read or visit with friends. The upholstery, the wall coverings, the draperies, the art, sculptures, carpeting, wood paneling, and of course the Lalique crystal. Very different from the other O ships and yet did not feel the presence of the larger number of passengers at any time or venue. The new restaurants were delicious for us although we did hear a few complaints the first few days. We still like Toscana best but will miss Jacques and Red Ginger on our next Regatta cruise. One highlight was La Reserve, a wonderful experience, well paced, beautifully presented food and wine pairings. A group of 12 at tables for two resulted in a quiet and friendly atmosphere for a three + hour meal. We did not experience much entertainment, only one evening (we retire early, sitting on our balcony, weather permitting, with a cocktail). The new entertainment was colorful and the orchestra that played for them very good. The seats in the lounge have a school type tray that rises from under one arm of the chair and was not comfortable for using when the person had a large waist (yes, overweight) so fine for a thin person. The days began a bit cool and there were a couple of rough sea days and as we traveled to Miami the weather was fine for swimming and sunning. Mid cruise the staff opened the doors to the verandas and washed all the furniture, railings, glass door windows and the deck itself, which had been salted quite well by that time. Embarkation day we enjoyed the welcome from all the Miami cheers and celebrations, sat on our deck for a couple of hours and then went to the pool area to sit and wait for our turn to leave (done by color coding luggage tickets and according to flight times). That is a strange time, no water, no iced tea, no snacks, just waiting (although not hard to do in that setting with a blue sky and sun shining). The disembarkation area was chaos and people were waiting for transport in just about any form, taxi's being very limited. We had planned a taxi but ended up taking a shuttle after waiting for a good half hour. It seemed everyone wanted to get on the same shuttle and there were some rude behaviors from some people. We had plenty of time for our flight and were able to relax again in the airport. Although I remember all of our cruises, this one will always THE Maiden Voyage on Oceania's Marina. We have a reservation Jan. 2012 on Marina and will have the same cabin, will there be changes, wear and tear, lightweight blankets? Thanks Oceania Marina (ship, staff, friends) for giving us more than we'd hoped for. BTW, the one time only, complimentary alcohol and Internet spoiled us big time. Way more than we'd hoped for :-} Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Forget "Upper Premium"...this is Exceptional Cruising We took the opportunity last Winter to dive head first into the Oceania waters by grabbing a couple of rooms. A balcony and a penthouse. We traveled to Barcelona in ... Read More
Forget "Upper Premium"...this is Exceptional Cruising We took the opportunity last Winter to dive head first into the Oceania waters by grabbing a couple of rooms. A balcony and a penthouse. We traveled to Barcelona in style via Continental Airline's BusinessFirst product via IAH to FRA and then connecting onward via Lufthansa. I had booked the Eurostars Grand Marina in hopes that the ship would be docked out of the back door, but alas, Marina would be elsewhere close by. We were upgraded at the hotel and had nice rooms with comfortable showers, bedding, and niceties. The Continental breakfast was HUGE. I would order just one if you do this anytime soon. Transfer to the ship was 5 minutes from the Eurostars. Marina was very proud in her stately, but temporary residence, at the port in Barcelona. As this was the Maiden Voyage, there were some balloons and festivities going on at the check in hall. It took all of 2 minutes to complete check in before being directed onto the ship. This ship is understated elegance throughout. Where gimmicks abound on other ships, Marina's designers prefer to make exceptional choices in fabrics and furnishings. Gaudy is replaced by grand. Chrome is relegated to the backseat while crystal takes the driver's seat. Even the carpet says upscale home underneath your feet. More than once, I wanted to walk through the Grand Bar area barefooted. As this ship is essentially non-smoking, the air is clean and the upholstery will undoubtedly stay fresh for a very long time. Areas typically associated with smoke on a ship (bars and casinos) were equally bright and fresh and should stay that way for a long time. Attention to detail is everywhere. Instead of rolling off a litany of those experiences, I'd point you to a cruise critic thread where this was discussed in detail: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1339111 Service was fantastic throughout the voyage whether in the "buffet" area or the Grand Dining Room or the specialty dining spots. Service was always with a smile from a dedicated crew of hard working people from all parts of the world. There was very little out of sync with the service even though this was the maiden voyage. Compared to other cruises, the service was exceptional. Rooms were quite nice. I love the size and general layout of the R and S class Holland ship balcony rooms. Our balcony cabin did have a bit of a noise issue at times in rougher water as well as coming and going out of a crew cabin area just down the hall, but overall the room was nicely furnished and the bathroom was the definition of elegant. Very little plastic can be found in an Oceania Marina cabin. The penthouse cabin had an even larger bathroom space and a well appreciated walk in closet. In both rooms, the bedding and mattress were exceptional. Great food was a signature of this line and significant reason we chose to take this cruise. Each dining spot had fantastic dishes and service. I know some people think gathering up specialty dining reservations is as precious as panning for gold in California, but I will say that the Grand Dining Room did a great job each and every night. Additionally, the menu changes there and can offer some real surprises. The menu descriptions are understated for what comes out on the plate. Also, the nighttime Terrace Cafe is a treasure that should really be tried for variety and beauty. All in all, the dining experience on Marina met or exceeded anything we have experienced at the upper end/luxury hotels in Vegas. Again, exceptional dining is the standard onboard. No matter where you go, you would have a hard time having a bad meal. Unfortunately, you may suffer from the same malady many of us cruisers on Marina had...... 'O'mania. We felt that when we knew our cruise was about to end. Very few vacations meet the expectations of the persons making the journey. Marina exceeded our expectations. For that reason, I rate the Marina 'exceptional'. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
It's been a while since I have taken a cruise and so decided to do it in style on a new ship for a well respected cruise line notable for their level of fine dining and overall service. The cruise we (my wife and I) booked and ... Read More
It's been a while since I have taken a cruise and so decided to do it in style on a new ship for a well respected cruise line notable for their level of fine dining and overall service. The cruise we (my wife and I) booked and took was the Oceania Marina inaugural voyage from Jan 22 to Feb. 4 from Barcelona to Miami. The embarkation went incredibly smoothly with minimal congestion and dining available the minute we stepped on the ship. We boarded at about 1:30 PM and immediately had lunch at Tapas on the Terrace. Rooms were available earlier than expected so as soon as we finished our lunch. We had very high expectations for the food on an Oceania cruise and so were a little disappointed at the quality of some of the items at this first buffet luncheon. The mahi-mahi was dry and some other selections were good but nothing special. On the other hand the food was immediately available with a nice variety, and so very appropriate for making a transition from either staying in Barcelona or transferring from an airport. Walking to our cabin, we were impressed by the beauty and elegance of this ship. When we got into our room, we found a complimentary bottle of Brut champagne and found the cabin (Veranda) to be well laid out, accessible, functional and aesthetically pleasing. The only oddity was the bathroom, which has a very large bathtub but a very small shower. Talking later to other guests, it seems many of us passengers would have sacrificed the bathtub for a bigger shower. One guest noted that if they dropped the soap the shower was too small for them to bend down to pick it up. Perhaps, if the architect had simply made the bathtub space into a combination bathtub shower, the bathroom would not only have been perfect for us but would have worked from the vast majority of guests. I left the room to get a glass of water at the bar, and found out that for this trip that all but the more expensive wine and drinks were complimentary. Neither my wife nor I are big drinkers (generally only having wine on family get-togethers or special occasions) but because of this unexpected bonus we ended up having quite a bit of alcohol: a glass or two of wine for lunch and dinner each and every day and a few beers or cocktails here and there over the course of the two weeks. That first day at about 6:30, we went to dinner. It was quite good but not at the level we had mentally prepared ourselves. Fortunately, after the first couple of days, the dining room quality improved considerably so that every single lunch and dinner was a special dining experience. Of special note were the fish entrees, which were cooked to perfection: moist, tender, fresh, succulent and full of flavor. One could always order asparagus and mushrooms on the side as well as mashed potatoes which were cooked perfectly with nutmeg and liberal amounts of cream and butter. Tapas at the Terrace was also much better after the first day and the dinner buffets at Tapas at the Terrace were generally quite good. We didn't visit Tapas for breakfast until later in the cruise, and found the Norwegian gravlax (Gravad laks - similar to lox) to be exceptional and loved the abundance of tropical fruits (papaya, mango) and berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries.) The sushi and sashimi at night was quite good. Often there was a correspondence between some of the items offered in the main dining room and at Tapas, and on those occasions when we visited Tapas before or after a visit to the main dining room, we found the quality of the main dining room considerably better for those items we sampled that we available at both. A visit to Tapas could be a short or as long as you wished - one could get in and out of Tapas in 15 minutes. The dining room was generally at 1 ½ to 2 hour experience. Service was amazingly prompt, with just the right amount of time between courses and a staff to guest ratio that left the illusion that one had their own private service. It seemed that either the waiter or their assistant was always there exactly at the right time. During the entire 2 weeks, there was only one instance of a delay during our set of visits to the main dining room. The delay was very minor, and one which was the waiter apologized profusely for even though it was very inconsequential to us. The specialty restaurants were superb. We started with Jacques on the third night of the cruise and were very pleased. I ordered the roasted chicken, which was for me tasty but a bit dried out. Fortunately, everything else was excellent. The escargot was a special treat. Our second specialty restaurant was Polo Grill. My wife had the grilled lamb and I had the Prime Rib. Both were top quality. The appetizers and dessert were also especially good. We both loved the crabmeat cake. Toscana was great and we were wowed by the choice of one of several olive oils (with balsamic vinegar) for our bread. The bread was delicious and it was easy to fill up on just bread. For appetizers, all we tried were good and the fried calamari was particularly good. Both our entrees were great. My sea bass was fresh and cooked perfectly. Red Ginger was also a real treat. I generally prefer real Asian cooking over fusion Asian cooking, but was very happy with the choices and quality offered even though it was more European and less Asian then what aligns with my personal preferences. The specialty restaurants are at no additional charge and one is able to visit each one at least once and possibly more if you wish to try to follow-up with the reservation desk for any openings that occur on a given night. These restaurants were all at a couple of levels above the regular dining room and along with the exceptional service of the staff onboard the Marina, were a highlight of the trip. Wherever one went, the chocolate mousse was irresistible. I have not been a fan of mousse in the past, but that changed completely with Marina's offerings. The bread offered in the main dining room was quite good, but the only non-white bread was a somewhat boring whole wheat roll. I suggested they add multi-grain or rye and a few days later I was exclusively offered a really good dark bread roll - very fresh and still warm. This was the best bread on the ship and it was a shame that it was not available to all the other guests. Tea was a special treat with the Marina String Quartet (very high level of musicianship.) It was too challenging for us to have that much rich, sweet food every day, so we skipped several tea times, making those we attended even more special. Important to emphasize that the service was excellent all around the ship: dining, housekeeping, tea, cocktails, etc. The staff come from all over the globe, with pretty good representation from Ukraine, Russia, Indonesia, Philippines, South Africa, Honduras and Portugal. We particularly were impressed with Diana and Alex in dining and the many sommeliers particularly Florentina. To our delight, a large portion of the staff treated you as if they were your friends, being attentive to service requirements, of course, but avoiding the extremes of being either subservient or aloof. Our gratuities were pre-paid, but we felt only fair to add to the normal amount. This was easy to do: we just transferred money from our room account to gratuities at the end of the trip. We were scheduled to stop in 3 ports, but couldn't make one of them (Malaga) because of weather. We went on our own to Loro Parc (Parrot Park with other animals) in Tenerife and explored Casablanca on our own. In both cases there was a free shuttle to take out of the port area. For Loro Parc we took a convenient local bus, which was fun. The Park had well over a hundred different varieties of parrots and was very much worth the visit for that alone. Because of all the great dining I spent my share of time in their Fitness area. They had top quality treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, etc and I was able to pretty painlessly justify adding at least 1200 extra calories per day to what I ate. Overall, this was a great experience, with food matching our high expectations. Dining was a little off at first, but soon came up to a level matching our expectation. It's appropriate to call this a "shake-out" cruise, but management was particularly quick to fix problems. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
The Maiden Voyage of Marina is now behind us. That's hard to believe, after a year of planning and heightening excitement. We had high hopes and expectations of Marina (this was our second O cruise), and overall she not only met, but ... Read More
The Maiden Voyage of Marina is now behind us. That's hard to believe, after a year of planning and heightening excitement. We had high hopes and expectations of Marina (this was our second O cruise), and overall she not only met, but exceeded, all our expectations. First, let me say, since this was a maiden voyage, we understood we would be responsible for the "shake out" of the ship. We expected to experience a work in progress, as over 800 staff and crew (25-50% of those new to Oceania) began entertaining and caring for over 1,200 passengers, ten new restaurants, expanded bars, lounges, etc. We tried to keep our expectations reasonable - if the plumbing and heat worked and we had enough to eat, everything else would be a bonus. And what a bonus Marina delivered! I will not review the ports (Barcelona, Casablanca, Santa Cruz/Tenerife and Miami) because this cruise was really about the Marina, and I know that is what CC members want to hear. Embarkation: We arrived at the pier at 11:00, our designated embarkation time, to find the line of people to the street. We were booked in a PH suite, so I was a little dismayed by this line, but it was primarily to pass through security, a fairly quick and seamless passage. After we were inside the terminal, we only had three couples in line ahead of us to check in. Our check-in only took about two minutes, with a swipe of our credit card, a photo for ship security, and issue of our Marina card/key. Some new friends we met the day before were not as lucky. The electricity in the terminal went out just about the time we finished, and others had to wait some time before Marina staff could re-boot the computers and resume check-in. Numerous Marina staff were stationed along the gangway to greet and guide passengers. We were told our room was not yet available, to keep our carry-on luggage and to proceed to lunch. Lunch in Terrace Cafe was fresh and certainly adequate, although it was only a glimpse of what we would encounter in the coming days. Exploring Marina: We walked around the ship, drinking in all the areas we'd been so excited to finally experience. Staff were available in all the venues to welcome exploration and to answer questions. Even the Spa, La Reserve and Privee were open to inspection. La Reserve is like a large, private dining room from a home, with dark wood tones, but light available from the outside as well. Privee is very special-stark whites and reds, with a lush white carpet, white alligator seat coverings for the chairs and crisp reflective white and red oval table. Privee is another, but very different, private dining room which offers wonderful trailing views of the ship's wake. The ship is more beautiful than we expected, with restful and muted colors accented by vivid art and fabrics. The varied textures and high quality of the materials throughout the ship was obvious at just a glance. Almost no plastic or chrome visible anywhere. Rich wood tones, plush custom designed carpets, varied and high end fabric and furniture, Murano and Lalique glass accents were set throughout the ship. I was impressed by the amount of light Marina allows in most public areas. I find her to be a lighter and brighter ship than her fellow R-class ships (we've sailed Nautica), which makes her more modern in my mind. Interestingly enough, the ship definitely feels larger than the R ships, but it is also familiar, since the layout of the ship is similar to her older sisters. It is also generally more luxurious, in my opinion. The two new specialty restaurant venues, Red Ginger and Jacques, are luxurious theme restaurants very different from one another. Both have a curtained window to the kitchen which can be opened at appropriate times to reveal the final flourishes of meal preparation. Pollo and Toscana are updated and modern, but they have a very similar feel to their R sisters. The Grand Dining Room feels lighter and brighter (the chandelier in the raised ceiling is even more beautiful in person than in the advertising photos)and more open feeling than her R sisters because it is a single level dining room with higher ceilings which steps down fairly quickly from the entrances on both sides. However, I did find the tables a bit crowded together for comfort when the room was full. Terrace Cafe feels very similar to the R ships, but gone are the pizza and stir-fry stations, and added is a large "a la minute" cooking station - a wonderful addition, especially at breakfast and lunch. I was least enchanted by the decoration in Terrace Cafe, as the colors were a bit to garish compared to the rest of the ship for my taste, and tables also feel crowded together, especially during busy times. Waves Grill is much larger than on the R ships, and it offers a self-service salad bar as well as a sandwich menu. Gone is the ice cream cart, rather there is a fully stocked station where one can order milkshakes, smoothies and other decadent frozen goodies. Waves Bar has been moved to the far side of the pool area from Waves Grill, but staff is happy to bring drinks from there if you wish and service is fairly quick. Baristas, the computer room and the library are just up the stairs from Waves Grill. The deck surfaces around Baristas were not yet finished when we sailed, so one side, then the other, was closed off for about 2 days as shipbuilder workmen transformed the bright blue rubberized surfaces to the teak colored surface visible around the pool. The exterior deck is not wood, rather a rubberized material which should require much less maintenance in Marina's harsh salt sea climate and was not as slippery as wood in the frequent showers we encountered on the maiden voyage; but you will have to get on your hands and knees to tell the difference visually. Baristas became one of my favorite places because of the wonderful views available from the encircling windows and the rich, the coffee colored decoration, and Giovanni, the expert, friendly and outgoing barista. I'm a tea drinker, and O doesn't offer chai, my favored morning drink, but Giovanni's cappucino could convert me to a coffee drinker! Marina now uses Illy coffee from Italy, and although there are several cappucino machines around the ship, none are as good as Giovanni's with his magic "pouring cream" froth added liberally at the appropriate time. The computer room is open, so you can just stroll by and any slip into any open computer station. Computer service was not yet fully functional during the maiden voyage. It seems the company who installed the equipment somehow messed up and only made available a router with 250 IP addresses for the entire ship, so as a result the computers were not installed in the suites and internet service was pretty poor for the maiden voyage. Because of this inconvenience, Marina gave all passengers complimentary internet for the entire cruise, certainly a fair compensation in my estimation. We found wi-fi to be intermittent at best; I was only able to log on, and stay online with my I-pad a couple times during the week in our PH suite. The new router with over 3,000 IP addresses is to be installed in Miami, so I hope the internet service will improve for future cruises. The library was controversial, with two distinct thoughts by passengers. Some hated the space; the computer room is a series of alcoves with chairs you stroll past which could certainly distract someone reading in one of the chairs in the alcoves. Also there is music piped into the library, providing further distraction for a serious reader, and soft lighting makes reading in areas other than the chairs and benches somewhat difficult. Books are arranged on a series of glassed shelves which snake through the alcoves, organized by topic and category, with seating areas in each alcove and two fireplaces in the space. Dedicated O passengers who loved the R-ship libraries were disdainful of this new library. However others who simply went to the library, browsed for a book and took it away were enchanted. I happen to fall into the latter category, myself, but respect the complaints of the serious readers. Maybe if O could kill the music, close off both ends by doorways so people became aware quiet was needed in a library and added some additional lighting, the objections could be overcome. Horizons is also much larger than on the R-ships. The colors are a soft teal blue with high and low-backed chairs and soft green sofas. The effect is beautiful, but I found the high-backed chairs and sofas to have been built for much taller people and they were not really comfortable for shorter folks. This was also true in the Grand Bar spaces as well. The bandstand has been moved so the area is much more open and accessible, a very smart move, and the smoking area on the port side is enclosed except for the entry; if you simply timed your breathing correctly you never even noticed it was there walking by (the same is true of the outside smoking area on the starboard side of the pool. The culinary center was busy all week, and Chef Kelly indicated it was booked up for three months. Therefore, if you want to take a class, you should definitely book on line as soon as possible (after you make your final payment). The classes were interesting and fun. I was kind of surprised since you worked in teams of two, but it actually worked out fine. Kelly is very knowledgeable and professional, and the pasta classes I took were definitely worth their cost. The art loft is a large space, and the classes were interesting, but I won't comment on the artist in residence, since he will only be on board a couple months, and then someone else will take the reins. The space is somewhat dark for an art loft, with shutters over the windows to the ocean, and the space is still a bit sterile, but since not all the equipment arrived in time for this cruise, I'm sure that will change as the space develops it's own character. We were in a PH3 cabin and loved it! The cabin offers excellent storage, the chairs and table at the end of the bed ended up being where we spent most of our time rather than the love seat, and the bath was very functional, attractive and had plenty of enclosed storage. Interestingly, the rain shower is directly overhead, and because we also had a light there we were able to step out from under to shampoo our hair, but passengers in verandah category cabins indicated their showers were smaller and that was not possible. There is a handheld wand too, so that is not really a problem, but the passengers said it did take some time to learn how to most efficiently shower. My only complaint about the bath is the handheld hair dryer socket does not fit into the one outlet in the bath, so you have to go into the bedroom area to dry your hair. I understand that is for safety sake, but it's not convenient if one or the other likes to sleep in. There was no wall-mounted hairdryer in our cabin. The bed is comfortable, although it took us a few days to regulate the heat so we were comfortable at night under the duvet and those luscious sheets, and even then I woke up very hot during the night several times (don't know if that was Marina or me). We saw the verandah cabins and they were also lovely, but maybe not quite as well-organized as the R-ship cabins for two passengers; the closet is alongside the bed without enough room for two people to pass and get clothes at the same time, and the shower issue noted above. We enjoyed all the food onboard, which ranged from good to excellent. Our favorite was the sea bass in Red Ginger, the frogs legs in Jacques, and a wonderful truffle ravioli special in Toscana. Pollo was also good, but we both ordered the same steak, prepared the same way, and my husbands' was properly cooked while mine was overcooked; even so it was very tender and good. The crew onboard Marina is very well-trained, as one would expect. Some of the new crew were a bit nervous the first couple of days, which manifested as stiffness, but as time went along they relaxed and the service improved. Service for some meals early in the cruise was slow, but later in the cruise the timing of the meals was normal and comfortable as the start-up jitters calmed. Our butler was newly promoted, but he was friendly and helpful, and we appreciated his efforts. I do think he may have too many cabins to care for, because two mornings we called for coffee he was unable to respond until the afternoon. I only attended one evening entertainment venue, but while the Marina Lounge is small the space feels intimate. The four singers and four dancers and eight-person orchestra made the "Groovin" production show a joy. They are talented young people, the production was of good quality, if not Vegas glitzy, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My husband saw several of the evening programs and enjoyed nearly all of them. The quality of entertainment has definitely risen several notches. Marina did exceptionally well on the maiden voyage, braving up to 25' waves and 60 mph winds one day with substantially less rocking and rolling than most similar-sized ships, according to more seasoned cruisers than us (this was the highest we've ever seen the seas). By about day 10 the seas were quite calm, and you'd find yourself reading, or visiting with friends and suddenly remember you were at sea. That's how calm the ship was in calm seas. Well, this is getting very long, and you're probably getting bored reading my drivel. But I wanted to let you know my thoughts. While not 100%, the Marina is a gem in the making, we enjoyed our crossing, and I urge anyone looking at a transatlantic crossing on Marina, to take the plunge. You will be pleased. We certainly were! Thank you FDR and Bob Binder for giving us this memorable experience on your baby, the lovely lady Marina. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Marina Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 1.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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