693 Oceania Marina Cruise Reviews

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
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
Cruise date: March 14 to 28th, 2011Port: Miami, Florida12 Night Caribbean cruise - 8 Ports of Call. (This is a Man's observation!!). This review is more about the ship, its staff, service, food & beverage rather than the ports of ... Read More
Cruise date: March 14 to 28th, 2011Port: Miami, Florida12 Night Caribbean cruise - 8 Ports of Call. (This is a Man's observation!!). This review is more about the ship, its staff, service, food & beverage rather than the ports of call.. The weather was great and the seas were fairly calm most of the time.First of all I must say that the service and food was the best I have experienced in the 18 cruises I have taken in comparison to Norwegian, RCL, Celebrity, Holland America and Princess. I would say that Celebrity is a close second if you include their specialty restaurants ( Tuscan Grill & Murano).This was our first experience with Oceania and we boarded the Marina without having any high expectations, which we always do with any cruise line.Our balcony stateroom was nicely furnished. If there was any down side to the stateroom it was that the closet is situated beside the bed which is a bit awkward, especially for women, perhaps not men. But when your sharing, it is the man who is always in the way! (Just kidding!) Very nice large flat screen LCD/DVD TV. The bed, mattress & bedding was very comfortable. We did find however that being located near the front of the ship * (Deck 8 starboard side forward) , we found that we always had a very wet & salty balcony plus our two chair cushions were wet and covered in salt. I know that this is from the spray of the ocean but I found this quite interesting because of all the balcony rooms we have had in the past I have never seen the accumulation of thick salt like this. We advised our stateroom steward to please take in the cushions at night to keep them dry and salt free. However, this seemed to slip by most of the time which then ended up with our doubling up on towels to place on the cushions. Not a big deal.The washroom is very nicely appointed with a very large bathtub and separate shower. Unfortunately, I am not sure what the ship designers were thinking as the shower is so tight most people would (and did) have trouble manoeuvring around. It was a waste of space and the shower should have been in the tub area as in most other ships. The shower reminded me of the capsule that was used to free the poor Miners in Chile. No exaggeration. Everyone we talked to had the same opinion of the shower along with the poorly designed Toilet paper dispenser and shower soap dish. If you drop the soap be careful!! The elevators located at the front of the ship were very narrow in design. This was another common complaint. Should have seen it when it was busy, trying to get on and off the elevator. The four specialty restaurants (Toscana, Polo Grill, Jaques, and Red Ginger) were good to very good ( and no surcharge!!). Tried to go back to either Toscana or the Polo Grill but they were booked solid the rest of the trip. We were even on a cancellation waiting list. We dined in the Main dining room 3 times and we found that dining outside ( aft ) at the Terrace Grill ( 5 times) for dinner was one of our favourites!! Food & Service was great. P.S. Give the dining room a miss when it comes to lunch. Loved the Terrace for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The seating and small stage in the main entertainment theatre (forward) was not designed properly and provided poor viewing. The acts and performers were ok. but we did not expect anything more than what we experienced. We and others had to keep moving in our seats in order to see around the person sitting in front of you. Recommendation....sit in the front row!!Although we are not gamblers the Casino was very mundane with dark contrasts and no glitz. To an avid gambler they probably would not notice or care! I was quite surprised though at the lack of decorating that they put into the casino. Certainly does not match up to the casinos we have seen on other ships.Great Fitness center! I used the fitness center on 8 of the 12 days on board. Nicely equipped and the best for any mid sized ship that I have been on. Being a gym buff all my life I could see that it could use a few extra pieces of equipment but overall is was great for a cruise ship. I would rank it as second only to Celebrity's Millennium & Solstice class ships and who I think have the best fitness centers at sea.. Bonus..The Marina's fitness center had a fridge with complimentary bottled water, Gatorade & Vitamin water.The fitness center is kept constantly clean by staff. Plenty of disinfectant spray, hand dispensers and wipes. Lots of towels. Major points in this area!! Very impressed.Forgot to mention that all pop ( can ) and bottled water ("in room and around the ship") is complimentary. And the pop is not the fountain syrup type you get on most ships that you pay for! For coffee lovers...Check out Baristas overlooking the pool area and located next to the Library and internet. Lattes, Cappuccinos, Espressos etc. ( no charge!! & pastries) are complimentary!Went to Baristas almost every morning for a Latte, sometimes twice a day and the view is nice. Another plus is that the staff are not hustling you for drinks and there is very little in the way of noisy irritating out of tune bands playing, or those constant P.A. announcements. Pool and deck is nicely laid out. Lounge chairs are not only padded but covered in a very soft towel like material. I noticed how attentive the pool area staff is and how hard they work. A Major thank you to all the staff.If you want to save on drinks ( Cocktails ) make sure you go to Happy Hour ( 5pm to 6pm ) as they are all 2 for 1 on all their bar drinks ( Beer, Wines, good name brand spirits like Mount Gay & Bacardi rums, Tanquerey & Bamboo Sapphire gins, Gray Goose vodka etc.)I did have one minor complaint that I did voice with the bar staff in Horizons observation lounge (forward). On three occasions during Happy hour ( 5pm to 6pm) we found that the staff was very slow on noticing us before recognizing that we were waiting to be served despite our efforts to give them the high sign for service, which you should not have to do if the staff is experienced.On the third occasion I finally brought this to the attention of the cocktail server who finally arrived to take our order. The server was very apologetic. I pointed out that this was the third time in three visits to Horizons that we had poor service. This is also the first time I have ever had to complain about service on any cruise. We did not go back. I guess we should have sat right at the bar so we would be noticed. Health & Cleanliness is another good point for Oceania. Unlike other cruise lines we have been on, Oceania does not allow you to serve yourself. I think this should be an adopted policy throughout the cruise line industry as it reduces the risk of disease & the spread of influenza. Plus it cuts down on the waste of food. When it came to disembarking, Oceania should consider reviewing its procedures. It would really make sense and avoid the frenzy of anxious and crowding by allowing the passengers to wait in their staterooms until their colored number is called, which is the case for some of the other cruise lines. Also, for those cruises embarking and disembarking from a U.S. Port, why don't they explore the logistics with U.S.-DHS of having a pre screening program the last night of the cruise to expedite passengers ( especially NEXUS holders ) with disembarking in a more efficient manner. Oceania should also consider having a second disembarkation door as the one they have is too crowded. Several of the passengers we met had sailed on Oceania's smaller ships and preferred the smaller 600 passenger ships. Overall, our Oceania experience was great! Would I cruise with Oceania again? Yes! I would like to try their smaller class ships next time but would go back on their newest ship which is about to launch "the Riviera". We are heading off in May for a 7 day Coastal repositioning cruise on the Sapphire Princess, but in all fairness you just can not compare to Oceania. As with the Marina we do not have any high expectations with the Sapphire Princess.We are also looking forward to doing a 13 night TransAtlantic crossing on the new Celebrity Eclipse from Southampton to Miami in October 2011. The Eclipse is a Solstice class ship and we really enjoyed sailing on her sister ship the Equinox back in December of 2009. It will be interesting in comparing the two. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
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
I am home only two days but want to share what a wonderful experience we had on the Pearls of the Riviera cruise mainly because of the perfection of our experience on the ship itself. The ship is absolutely beautiful. It is a larger more ... Read More
I am home only two days but want to share what a wonderful experience we had on the Pearls of the Riviera cruise mainly because of the perfection of our experience on the ship itself. The ship is absolutely beautiful. It is a larger more sophisticated model of the smaller Oceania ships. Our cabin was about the same size as on the smaller ones with the exception of the bathroom which was bigger mainly due to bathtub. My husband loves the veranda and used it daily whereas I like the open outdoor spaces where others gather. My strongest kudos are for the quality of the food throughout the ship. I was able to find fabulous choices in all eating venues. I am one of those picky eaters who likes meat, chicken, pasta and vegetables. I was able to find divine choices everywhere. Having eaten in Polo and Toscana many times, I knew we would have wonderful meals there. As usual, I was correct!!!! I also ate at Jacques and Red Ginger. At the former I had a divine veal stew and the latter a sliced steak. I am not a lover of French or Asian Fusion but the choices were great!!! The biggest surprise was dinner at the Terrace Cafe while we were anchored at Amalfi. We ate dinner as the sun set. Insignia was in the area and came to view the Marina with those of us on each ship waving to each other. This was a unique experience. But, my real shock, since in all the sailings I had never had dinner in the Terrace Cafe was the absolutely outstanding food, cooked to my specifications. I had choices of three steaks - fillet mignon, rib-eye or sirloin at the grilling station. My husband had gigantic shrimp and lobster tails cooked to perfection. I had soup, salad, carved meat, and cannelloni before I started on the desserts, which are divine everyday in every venue. I am now sorry that in the past I did not take advantage of the Terrace for dining. It is extremely casual and we sat there for over 3 hours both dining and chatting with some of the other cruisers we had become friendly with because of cruise critic. We also had the pleasure of speaking to Frank Del Rio for about a half hour as his family was also dining in the Terrace Cafe. What a nice, down to earth person who is really hands on in running Oceania. He is extremely personable and approachable. As you can tell, I give the cruise on Marina a very, very high score. A 9 out of 10. My only corrective criticism was I thought we had a full line of drawers and shelved alongside the closet. I told my husband he could have the drawers on top and I would use the shelves in what I thought was a cabinet. Wrong, it is the side of the hidden refrigerator. So we had to share 4 drawers. In addition for some reason the drawers in the desk are very small although the desk is standard size. The drawers are only about 6 inches in length so it's only good for underwear or t-shirts you need to fold in quarters. My suggestion to Oceania for this is put the refrigerator backunder the desk and give us girls some really usable shelves!!!! The same with the two outlets. With all the new plug shapes for phones, Ipads, cameras, etc. We need Oceania to leave an extension cord in the room or to place another outlet somewhere. Perhaps near the couch so we can charge the electrical equipment on the coffee table. My final suggestion is with tendering. The color coded system can really be improved with a few tweaks. First, all passengers should have the opportunity to leave the ship at the same time as Oceania's shore excursions. So, some seats on all early tenders should be saved for those traveling with private tour guides. Second, the color coded cards should be used in a very specific order so all those working the disembarking procedure know exactly what comes next and colors like green and cream should not be one after the other. Additionally, the tickets should be numbered so that when a tender is not full, the staff at tender level can call up to those in the Lounge to say, for example, that "Blue #s one to ten can report to the tender." With about two hundred people sitting in the Lounge where we had waited about 50 minutes we were finally called and our tender left with at least 15 empty seats. Comfortable for us, but useless for getting cruisers off the ship in an expedient manner. Finally, one last suggestion, for finicky eaters like me. I would love to have the opportunity to select which of the four restaurants I want to select with my 4 pre-boarding choices. It would really be nice if I could pick to dine in the restaurants I want to eat in rather than being told I am entitled to one reservation in each. Or perhaps there should be a way to barter the choices on the Oceania website as I know people who, for example would have loved to have switched my Red Ginger reservation for their Toscana reservation. So now you can see why I can't stop raving about my experience on Marina. It is a perfect fit for cruisers who as Oceania says, "Your world, your way!!!!"Kudos to Oceania. We are already booked on Riviera for next June!!!!! We can't wait!!!!! Thanks Oceania for a great vacation. And thanks Cruise Critic for the wonderful new friends we have made as a result of the Roll Calls. We continue to meet some of the greatest people because of the opportunity to communicate with fellow travelrs through the website. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I planned this cruise one year prior to our departure. I saw the add in the Register travel section and thought it would be great to cruise on a new ship. We started in Rome for 4 nights and stayed at a very nice small hotel called the ... Read More
I planned this cruise one year prior to our departure. I saw the add in the Register travel section and thought it would be great to cruise on a new ship. We started in Rome for 4 nights and stayed at a very nice small hotel called the Mascagni near the train station. We decided to take the train to the port and it was very easy and very affordable. I booked an inside room because we would be in port every day so I thought we would be out most of the day. I wish I would of booked at least an outside cabin. The inside room was very nice but I prefer to be able to look outside and a balcony room is the best. The only complaint that I have with the inside room is that the shower is very small. The other rooms come with a bath tub also. The room had a lot of storage space and everything you need to be comfortable. The bed was wonderful!The ship is just beautiful! The decorations are very elegant and the sitting/lounge areas were plentiful. I never felt crowded on the ship and there were always lots of places to sit and visit. I had meet about 14 couples or so on cruise critic prior to our departure so we had meet several times for lunch and get togethers. It was fun running into many of the couples and having dinner together and we did many shore excursions with some of our new friends. I highly recommend going to the roll call on this site.The shore excursions that I booked through Oceania were okay. I will not book through them again for excursions. I prefer to go with a small group and book our own privately. The cost is much less and the quality is much better.The food was outstanding! I loved all the specialty restaurants. The Polo was our favorite, but they were all special in their own way. The Terrace cafe was very nice for breakfast and we did eat dinner there one night and it was very good too. I prefer to have service than the buffet style dining. The Waves was very good for lunch and the ice cream and milk shakes were yummy. You really need to loose about 5 pounds before you go onto the Marina for a cruise. The service was wonderful. I have not complaints on the food and selection and service.We had met some of our friends from cruise critic in the Horizons lounge before dinner for cocktails. The service was a little slow at times. We did have several free cocktail hours provided by the ship that was a nice touch. The drinks were reasonable priced and I liked being able to bring some wine on the ship from some of our ports to enjoy in our cabin or at dinner with a corkage fee. My overall experience was wonderful on the Marina. My only thought would be that next time I would like some sea days to enjoy the ship. It is so wonderful but we did not have enough time on the ship to take advantage of all the services she provides. I would like a cruise that had more over night stays in port. I felt like I did not get enough time on shore or on the ship. It is a good way to travel to see where you would like to go again and spend more time. I think we were one of the youngest couples on the ship. We are in our late forties to early fifties. It is for sure an older cliental. I will for sure travel on Oceania again in the future. I really can't imagine it being any better on any other cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
On our recent voyage on the Marina my wife and I were very pleased with the general layout of the ship as well as the dining choices. We found the steak house and the Italian specialty restaurants to be excellent. Two design flaws ... Read More
On our recent voyage on the Marina my wife and I were very pleased with the general layout of the ship as well as the dining choices. We found the steak house and the Italian specialty restaurants to be excellent. Two design flaws detracted from the experience. First, each cabin has a tub and a separate shower. That sounds like a benefit, except that making room for the tub necessitated making the triangular shower infinitesimal. Not one fellow passenger that I spoke with even considered using the tub. The designers should have omitted the tub and fashioned a decent size shower. Second, the wifi system (when used in the cabins) is very weak. Even the ship's computer guru admitted that guests needed to come to the computer center to get a good signal. For a brand new ship, such performance is very disappointing. Again, the designers should have done better.A last word about tours; Although not unique to Oceania, the prices of their tours are very high. For example, a tour of Florence and Pisa (admittedly a long, 8 hour day) that included NO admissions at all was over $200 per person. We had to pay our own admission fees to the church and baptistery in Pisa, as well as the one church in Florence that we had time (during lunch "on our own") to visit. Paying a premium price for a premium excursion is fine. Paying a premium price for a less-than-ordinary excursion is unacceptable. Read Less
Sail Date April 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
The public areas in the ship are beautiful. We particularly enjoyed the bar with the pianist (Mario, I think). All the dining rooms are beautiful. The dEcor in the rooms is beautiful. The main beds are very comfortable (but not the ... Read More
The public areas in the ship are beautiful. We particularly enjoyed the bar with the pianist (Mario, I think). All the dining rooms are beautiful. The dEcor in the rooms is beautiful. The main beds are very comfortable (but not the pull out couch).The ship is very stable.Ports were fabulous. Particularly Monemvasia, a pleasant surprise since the ship didn't hype it very much. It was probably the best stop.Library and workout room fabulous.Solid winelists. Great that ship is mostly non-smoking.Overall, the cruise was very nice.Cabins: The separate tub and shower makes for a very small shower.We don't use tubs and the shower was very small for a large man. The closet was too small for all our clothes and difficult to reach the far end of it near the bedside table. One of our suitcases didn't fit under the bed and we didn't realize until the cruise was over that we could have asked our attendant to store it. In the shower, we don't like rainshower heads. The holder for the handheld shower head is at your waist so you can't use that as your showerhead. Some men used the handheld shower head in the tub.Our 2 attendants did a marvelous job. However, friends of ours complained that their room was not ready at 6:30 p.m. and the attendant was rude. There was nail polish on the tub that was not removed. And the door to the balcony didn't work. There is only one electrical plug by the TV. Bring an extension cord.Laundry: great self-service laundry but 45 minutes is not enough time on high heat to get all the clothes dry. $2 per wash and dry., each. Grand Dining Room service was erratic. We had a wonderful lunch there when it was nearly empty; great service and food. We had a horrible dinner where it took 3 hours to get our meal start to finish, food was overcooked, and the waiters didn't pay attention to empty water glasses, etc. Outdoor Grill: same thing with service. Generally very good, but once it took 45 minutes to get a sandwich. We think they forgot us. Definitely some training and experience needed for the staff as this is a new ship.Quality of food overall was equal to Regent and slightly better than Celebrity. But the specialty French restaurant on our last Celebrity cruise was better than all of your specialty restaurants, including La Reserve. There were highlights but everything was not consistently outstanding. Service in the specialty restaurants was excellent in all cases.Room Service: On Regent, the Grand Dining Room menu was available for that night's room service during dining room hours. I'd like to see this added. And a few more appetizer options. Room service menu is quite limited.Tenders: Being a new ship, they don't have the tender process perfected.Last day in Mykonos, everyone waited 45 minutes to get off the ship which annoyed everyone. Not a pleasant way to end a luxury cruise.Entertainment: The auditorium is awful. You cannot see over the heads of people in front of you. Entertainment was only so-so. Best entertainment on the ship was in the bars.Shopping: Ridiculously limited and outrageously expensive. The only shops were high priced jewelry and boutique. On Regent, they brought in special vendors on different days. There was nothing reasonably priced on the ship and we didn't want to spend out time in port shopping. On Regent, we bought a black pearl and diamond pendant after a pearl presentation. They had sales on Regent branded goods the last few days at sea. And they had high end costume jewelry and a gold by the inch sale. Marina needs to add things like this. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
The Marina is a wonderful ship and a great addition to the Oceania fleet. After about 30 cruises, including previously on Insignia and Nautica, both of which we loved but I felt were just too small to guarantee me a sickness-free voyage, ... Read More
The Marina is a wonderful ship and a great addition to the Oceania fleet. After about 30 cruises, including previously on Insignia and Nautica, both of which we loved but I felt were just too small to guarantee me a sickness-free voyage, the Marina looked to be the perfect ship for us and, in all but one respect, it delivered perfection. I must explain here that DH travels with a small folding mobility scooter following a stroke 4 years ago and disabled access to the ship is the one area in which Oceania have made an enormous mistake, which will probably prevent us from sailing on Marina again. I will return to this at the end for anyone who is interested and no doubt it will be discussed on the disabled cruising board but on the assumption that 99% of readers will not even notice this problem, let alone encounter a difficulty with it, I really want to focus on what a wonderful ship it is for the able-bodied and give a bit of information about the ports of call, some of which are fairly unusual.The ship is definitely the most comfortable we have ever travelled on, from the beds to the sun loungers to the chairs in just about every location the emphasis is on luxury. The decor is fairly understated but very nice throughout. The food was even better than on the smaller ships, if that is possible. The Tapas on the Terrace idea (which had never tempted us) has been replaced by a full evening dining experience including cooked-to-order steaks, fish, even lobster some evenings. We would gladly have eaten there, although I must admit we loved the Grand Dining Room so much that we dined there on the evenings not booked at the specialty restaurants.Of the specialities I loved Red Ginger, my husband still preferred Polos (in line with our respective tastes in food). We both like Italian food but Toscana was perhaps our least favourite restaurant (although still wonderful). The service in Jacques was very slow, it took over an hour from arrival to even take our order and well over 3 hours to complete the meal, but my lobster thermidor was well worth missing the show for. Talking of shows, they are, typically for Oceania, entertaining without being exceptional, and the single performance takes place at 9.45pm each evening. To be sure of making it to the show you need to be eating by 7pm. We made all our reservations for 7.30pm and hardly ever got to see the show from the beginning, but really did not mind as the food and the company of the many lovely fellow passengers we shared it with was a very nice way to spend the evenings.My personal dislike on Oceania, which is the same on Marina as other ships, is that the Terrace Cafe is not truly a buffet, the crew serve you each item and it is very difficult to get a small portion to try several different things. Especially at breakfast time I would prefer to be left in peace to choose what I want rather than ambushed by a hundred renditions of "good morning Madame would you like some toast/cereal/bacon/coffee/juice etc etc " - OK I understand that it is "service" that justifies the price differential over the mass market lines, I am just antisocial and unappreciative of such service in the mornings !Waves has a wonderful new addition to its menu, Surf and Turf - yes really a fillet steak and a piece of lobster tail in a burger bun at the pool bar - which other line does that ! The ice creams, smoothies and milk shakes are still fabulous and included in the fare as are soft drinks now - sodas and juices as well as iced tea and American lemonade, and that includes cans from the mini bar in your cabin. As you leave the ship there was always a table from which to help yourself to small bottles of water, and there were 2 litre sized bottles in the cabin each day.Another fantastic addition for Oceania was free shuttle buses in ports of call where transport is needed into town. These were not advertised until the 'Currents' magazine arrived each evening but it was really useful not to have to worry about having small change in the right currency for local transport. Yes, Oceania are a bit more expensive than some lines but these little touches all help to justify the extra. Venice, ItalyArriving on an early morning flight from the UK gave us nearly 2 full days in Venice, one of our favourite cities, and we spent the time just wandering. There was a free shuttle bus from the port to Piazzale Roma but we walked back each time, it is mostly downhill coming back to the port and only takes about 10 minutes. The first evening we spent in St Marks Square listening to the various orchestras that play at the restaurants. The second day the square was cordoned off due to a visit by the Pope. We should have sailed past just as he was due at the outside altar on the square but our departure was delayed for 2 hours to avoid that occurring (sadly). Dubrovnik, CroatiaDocking at Gruz harbour a couple of miles from the old city meant another shuttle bus, there was rather a long wait as we did not arrive until 1pm and everyone one headed ashore at the same time, but again the bus was free so avoided the need to acquire local currency or agree a taxi fare, that is such a help. We had been to Dubrovnik before so knew that 2-3 hours is enough (unless you want to visit the various museums or walk the walls) but spent a nice sunny Sunday afternoon wandering around. A local brass band competition was going on which added to the atmosphere, all shops and museums were open but there was a surprising absence of tourists apart from those from the ship.Kotor, MontenegroThis old city is a real gem, yet I had barely heard of it when we booked the cruise. It's another walled city but has a far more genuine, lived-in feel than Dubrovnik and sits at the end of a long, deep fjord, that took 90 scenic minutes to sail out from, you could easily be in Norway. The port is right by the city wall, literally two minutes walk into the city. Just outside the wall is a market in one direction and the new town in the other, where there is a nice, if small, modern shopping precinct (free wifi). Accessibility had concerned me here but all the streets were well worn marble type surface, not really cobblestone as had been described, so no problem for the scooter. High above the city stands an old fortress, it costs 3 euros to enter the pathway up, apparently it is about 1500 steps but the bottom was cobble slopes rather than steps and rather slippery as it had rained. I decided against the walk but our table mates that evening had done it and said the view was wonderful. It drizzled on and off most of the day and became quite cold, but this is a port I would love to return to in better weather. To the left from the port, past the new town, there was long seafront walk and looked like little beaches a mile or so along, although I expect the fjord water would always be a bit chilly. Corfu, GreeceOnce again a free shuttle bus took us into town, this new innovation from Oceania is really welcome. It drops off by the "old fortress" (having passed the seemingly equally old "new fortress" en route !) which looked an interesting place to visit (4 euros, or 2 for over 65s). There is a large park through which you walk to the little streets of the old town, filled with fascinating little shops many selling local kumquats in candied or liqueur form. We found a very attractive Greek Orthodox church which was clearly an attraction as several tour groups were there, and generally enjoyed a day of wandering.Zakynthos (a.k.a. Zante)No need for a shuttle today as we tendered right into town. The tender operation seemed to work well even though the sea gave us a slightly rough ride. The town consists of a large square, several churches and a number of unremarkable shops and, along with most other passengers we spoke to, we considered it to be our least favourite stop on this itinerary. There are car hire shops along the harbour front so if we should ever find ourselves there again I think we will rent a car and get out of town to see the island. Apparently there are some nice beaches. In fact, after getting back on the ship, I noticed a small beach a short distance from the tender pier (turn right when leaving the pier rather than left into town). Monemvasia, GreeceWhat a wonderful surprise - a port we had never even heard of before booking this cruise and it was the highlight of the voyage ! It is a huge red rock, known as the "Gibraltar of Greece" joined to the mainland by a causeway. There are two tender piers, Marina used the one to the right of the causeway, looking from the sea, which was the closest to the Rock. Two smaller ships were tendering into a small harbour on the other side of the causeway, making their walk to the old city walls probably close to a mile whereas ours was about half that distance. There is a new Tarmac road leading around the rock and gently sloping upwards (fine for the scooter, would have been hard going pushing a wheelchair). On entering the old city through a gate in the huge thick old walls you go back several centuries. The streets are then narrow, steep and cobbled (no good for anybody with walking troubles - DH sat in the entrance gate and waited for me)but it is just so beautiful - easily as pretty as Santorini, in my opinion, but the buildings are earthy browns and reds instead of white, and I just cannot believe that it is not better known. It does seem that many of the houses are being restored and turned into holiday cottages so maybe tourism in just finding Monemvasia. From the lower part of the old city you can walk up to the ruined upper city on top of the rock. It is about 500 steps and I got about half way when the rain came down, as it had several times that day, so I aborted the climb and returned to look around the pretty little shops at the lower level. Sadly there had been very little information on board about Monemvasia and many passengers had been put off by the weather and missed out on seeing this lovely place, I am so glad we decided to risk a drenching to see it. In better weather it would be possible to use the pebbly beaches across the causeway in the new town (which is only really a few restaurants) or swim in a cut out rocky sea pool a short distance from the pier going towards the old city, where there are steps down into the water.Santorini, GreeceWe have been to Santorini before and know that it is completely inaccessible to us, but it is still a beautiful place to spend a day on the ship. It was very windy so not really suitable to sit on deck but the ship was being blown around giving us a continually changing view from the Horizon lounge, where we spent most of a lazy day.Kusadasi, TurkeyAlways one of our favourite ports, especially as it was warm and sunny, naturally a lot of people head off to Ephesus but there is plenty to do in the town, which begins virtually as you step off the ship, although better prices and less hassle are to be found by heading a few blocks back from the cruise terminal into the little streets packed with 'genuine fakes' of everything you can imagine, not to mention Turkish carpets, leather coats etc. For once we managed to resist any major purchases on this visit to turkey but returned to the ship loaded with Turkish delight as gifts for our friends and a year's supply of apple tea for me.Mykonos, GreeceThe ship made a morning stop at Delos but having visited on a previous Oceania cruise we did not go ashore but enjoyed a lovely sunny morning around the pool. After lunch tendering into Mykonos started but took nearly 2 hours before open tendering was announced. However, we were in port until 8pm and a couple of hours wandering around the pretty white & blue town was enough, as we had visited before. Athens, Greece8am was a little early to have to vacate the cabin but disembarkation went very smoothly. We always arrange our own flights and transfers but had used some on board credit to take Oceania transfers to Athens airport and it was lovely to have our luggage moved for us for a change. The journey took just over and hour and we arrived in plenty of time for our flight home. Accessibility Now for the problem area. The ship itself is completely accessible to scooters/wheelchairs and, having booked late on a 'guarantee' basis we were pleasantly surprised to have been allocated one of the few accessible cabins. Our scooter folds and fits under the bed of a standard cabin so it was not essential that we got an accessible cabin but the extra space and walk in shower are a great help. It lacked some of the innovative accessibility features we have found on other ships (eg downward swivelling mirrors or lower-able clothes rails) but had a huge shower area (just remember to remove the toilet paper before showering, as it is located inside the shower curtain !) with a large seat that folds down if needed and plenty of grab rails. Unusually the disabled cabins on Marina are midships rather than near the elevators but the corridor (on deck10) was reasonable in width so a standard wheelchair and a stewards trolley could probably just pass each other. So the ship is fine for disabled people IF you can get aboard. From numerous discussions with various crew members on board it seems that Marina's entrance doors are not suitable for the standard short flat/slightly sloped shore gangways that we have found on all previous cruise ships, so the passenger gangway leads to deck five and consists of about 30 steps that wobbled severely, especially in some of the windy conditions we encountered. On several occasions I had to carry the scooter up or down on my own as no crew members were available but I can manage that, the problem was DH's difficulty in keeping his balance on the moving steps. There was a second gangway, allocated to crew and leading to deck 4. When we first asked we were not allowed to use it but another time a helpful senior officer was present and agreed that we could do so. After completion of a mid-cruise comment card drawing attention to our problem the concierge also gave permission for us to use the crew entrance. This was a help for me or whoever carried the scooter, but for a disabled person it is really no better as there are several steps up to the gangway, which have no handrail at all, and the gangway itself has large raised footholds every few inches, obviously so that it can be used on a slope, but leaving no flat surface to walk on. After speaking to several other people on board who had varying disabilities (some of whom chose not to get off the ship because of the difficulty) I enquired what would happen if a passenger was unable to walk at all - the concierge's answer was that 4 strong crew members would have to carry their wheelchair up and down the steps !! Come on, Oceania, that is not a dignified or, probably even a safe, solution. One lady told us she had been carried down once but was so terrified that she never got off the ship again until the end of the cruise. If the Marina is going to advertise disabled accessible cabins there has to be a safe way for disabled people to get on and off the ship without the embarrassment of being carried down a stepped gangway. If anyone is concerned about this problem do email me k@justinheritance.co.uk and I can send you some photos of the gangways. If the powers that be at Oceania read this please do something about it - I can send you a photo of the normal, perfectly accessible, gangway on the ship that happened to dock next to us at one port to show you what is needed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
First time cruiser with Oceania. We were not disappointed. The service and food reminded me of when I first starting taking cruises. We enjoyed being on a smaller ship and the lack of climbing walls, skating rinks, etc. It was pure bliss ... Read More
First time cruiser with Oceania. We were not disappointed. The service and food reminded me of when I first starting taking cruises. We enjoyed being on a smaller ship and the lack of climbing walls, skating rinks, etc. It was pure bliss being on the pool deck and not having children running up and down, screaming as they splashed each other. The main dining room was not well populated for lunch and breakfast. I guess that was people were either off on tours or in a hurry to catch a tour. We found it quite relaxing to eat there when we were not in a rush to see the port. The Terrace Cafe was great if you wanted to eat in a hurry or simply wanted to be up on deck. Loved the sushi and sashimi. Breakfast omelets were cooked perfectly every time we had one. I was not impressed though with the pancakes or French Toast. Our favourite restaurants were the Red Ginger and Jacques. We had Toulon substituted for Marseille at the last minute due to a strike. The cruise director did a terrific job of giving information so that those not an organized tour could enjoy the port. The market was fascinating to walk through. We did ship tours and private tours and since we have done both now know that we will book our own private tours from here on in. The private tours allowed enough time to take pictures and you did not feel as if you were being herded around like a flock of sheep. The beds were fantastic. Great sleeps. The cabin crew could not have been more helpful. We liked the separate shower to the tub and must admit that we did not use the tub much and preferred the shower. Wish they would ban cigars on board the ship even in the smoking areas. We quickly learned which side of the ship to walk on so that we did not have to smell them. The only thing we did not like was that there was several large alumni groups on board and they tended to book up the lounges so that others could not use them. It would have been nice if they had announced in the daily newspaper that a certain lounge would be closed for a certain time to accommodate groups. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Marina Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 1.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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