1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2011
I have been asked by several Oceania board regulars to post a cruise review regarding my June 11 Marina Baltic cruise. I have sailed three times since Fall 2008 on the "R" ships, and I was very happy with my first cruise on this ... Read More
I have been asked by several Oceania board regulars to post a cruise review regarding my June 11 Marina Baltic cruise. I have sailed three times since Fall 2008 on the "R" ships, and I was very happy with my first cruise on this lovely newbuild. Embarkation. Smooth, fast and efficient. As our Copenhagen taxi rolled up to the narrow quay around 3:30 PM, the driver popped the trunk, and while we still were paying our fare, two men in clean white overalls pulled our bags out the car and directed us to a manned table under the covered awning in front of the ship; we stated our names, and then were directed up the gangway to be escorted to a waiting area. We were intercepted in the central lobby and taken directly to the Marina Lounge to check-in, while I gasped at my first glimpses of the stunning Lalique staircase. We had our photos taken, were presented with our Oceania cards and went off to our cabin, Oceanview C Cabin 7069, where we left our carry-on bags and went aft and up for our late lunch before the 4 PM closing of the Terrace Cafe. First impression: beautiful cabin hallways, nice classy wood and brass touches outside each cabin entrance. Our luggage was waiting for us by the door after we finished lunch, and I just had time to unpack before our 5:45 muster drill (postponed for some reason from the announced 5:15 PM). Cabin. Location: Great location, front mid-ships (always chosen due to my squeamish stomach), close to the staircases: one floor down to Martinis and the Grand Dining Room on deck 6, and two floors down to the Reception Desk, Marina Lounge, Jacques and Red Ginger on deck 5. Also for all of our ports, the exit gangway always was on Deck 5 across from Reception and near the local destination experts desks for us to grab local maps on our way out for the day. Furnishings and DEcor: Restful colors, fantastically comfortable beds, a lot of lighting options, small bed lamps you can beam to read in bed, nice lighting all around the mirror hanging above the desk for make-up help, extra desk lamp, stable and comfortable desk chair, closets mysteriously placed about 15 inches from my side of the bed and only 2/3 of the size on the "R" ships (double rather than triple doors) requiring a bit of jockeying when we both were using them around the same time, safe placed ridiculously too high for many to reach within its depths, desk drawer space too shallow for useful clothing storage, and magnificent bathroom. That bathtub (yes, we also never used it) really used up a lot of cabin space that I would have preferred space. We travel with only one 25" suitcase each, and barely unloaded their contents both in the drawer and closet space available, so I cannot imagine where those who bring more placed their clothes. On the other hand, I adored everything else about the new larger bathroom with granite countertops, quite a lovely upgrade from "R" ships. The rainhead shower was a wonderful luxury - I had no problem ducking my head to apply shampoo and conditioner while keeping the water on - and combined with the spray from the wand, all my showers were heavenly decadence. It was a big step down to return to our regular showerhead at home. And last but not least, the floor to ceiling room windows were lovely, although I stupidly was surprised that there was a large metal bar running down the middle of this grand window. A cabin on the starboard always works well for us in ports, and it did so again on this trip. The many layers of curtains did an excellent job of blocking the almost continuous daylight on our Baltic cruise, and due to the cool temperatures, I did not miss having a balcony for even one minute. Public Spaces. Two words: simply stunning. Also supplying a very spacious and elegant feel. The best part was that although the ship is so much bigger than the "R" ships, I never felt that way onboard because the design spread people out beautifully. We never felt crowded anywhere. I thought the Marina Lounge was comfortable, with a lot of nice legroom (although I would have liked more depth to the seat cushions) and the sightlines were fine; IMO a big improvement over the "R" ships. I never missed a chance to descend the Lalique staircase when going from my cabin on deck 7 to deck 5, even though I had to detour from the regular staircase when I got to 6. I thought the dEcor and layout of the Grand Dining Room was lovely, with much more privacy for the tables. I loved the lobster-style chandeliers in the Terrace Cafe. I enjoyed the quiet Sanctuary to the side of the pool deck on the day that became our sea day when we missed Visby due to rough seas. The pool is much bigger, enough to swim laps in it, as one gentleman did daily, but unfortunately I never even dipped my toe in because of the cool Baltic breezes and temperatures. The artwork was very contemporary, and some need better lighting, but I did discover some Miro's in the short hall leading to the Casino bar. I also love blown glass so got to enjoy it in many of the public venues. The furniture both in Horizons and Martinis is too low to the ground; Martinis chairs were too deep for comfort as well, strange choices for these two popular spots which makes one wonder who tried these furnishings out!Food. Food remains a superior product on Marina, and I enjoyed trying many of the new Marina offerings, including many recommended to me by Jim: lobster thermidor at Jacques, calamari and the duck and watermelon salad at Red Ginger. Because my spouse does not eat seafood, we never dined at the Terrace Cafe in the evening, but I stopped once for the grilled lobster tails and grilled shrimp before our GDR meal, and can attest that these foods are a wonderful addition. I also tried the amazing lobster and filet "sandwich" with truffles on the fries in the late afternoon at Waves twice, and it was a delight. The new system of someone taking your order and then bringing it over to you is an excellent improvement, particularly because we only ate there immediately after a full day of sightseeing when spouse did not want to stop for a lunch break. We also went twice to afternoon tea on this trip, and the scones with jam and clotted cream are even better than ever. We drink a lot of iced tea, which always tastes freshly brewed.Specialty Restaurants: Jacques, which we booked for my "significant" birthday dinner, is a stand-out in terms of the complete package of excellent food (great sauces and flavors) and excellent service, a perfectly-paced and presented meal, the best meal I ever have had on a ship, rivaling the top NYC restaurants I have enjoyed. Red Ginger also has excellent service and the dEcor is stunning. The chopsticks and tea offerings were a delight. We thought the appetizers, salad and desserts were top-notch and very creative but that the main dishes were a bit bland for those of us who favor a bit of pizzazz in our Asian food. A quick shout-out to charming Bodi from Bali, the perfect server for this restaurant; I will never forget this gracious caring man. Polo Grill retains its excellent food billing, with me still loving the prime rib and Gerry inhaling the superb Porterhouse but IMO the service needs a tad of improvement, probably due to a lot of new young staff. Toscana: the special pasta with mushrooms and truffles is a dish worthy of mentioning over and over but our meal was spoiled by our server from South America who apparently believes that women are to be seen and not heard. Fortunately, my husband dealt with the situation calmly and completely, and we left as soon as possible, having our dessert in the GDR. I have written about this event elsewhere on the Oceania board and now have put it behind me. Grand Dining Room: Our dinners in the Grand Dining Room were enhanced by the beauty of this room; the first time I entered, I actually stopped in awe to ogle as we were escorted to our table. One of the captains recognized us from a prior cruise, and it was nice to revive the connection, one of the things harder to do on this larger ship with a lot of new staff. The portion sizes are great for those of us ordering several courses, the food was very good, the appetizers offered often interesting, and the service more than adequate for the most part. The ethnic offerings, particularly the Asian ones, are appreciated. We enjoyed dining there so much that this year, for the first time in my four Oceania cruises, I never tried to return to any of the specialty dining venues, letting our one meal at each stand out alone in my memory.Terrace Cafe: Breakfasts in the Terrace Cafe were excellent as usual, with three omelette makers every day, so short lines and little waiting. On Marina, the fabulous sticky buns were available every day, so tasty that I had to switch my allegiance and carbs to them from my usual daily chocolate croissant! The staff did a great job handling the rush for our Berlin and St. Petersburg days. Kudos to friendly Anique from Brazil, who always had a smile and a special spirit when we encountered her serving here and in the GDR in the evenings.Serving Staff: We encountered a lot of staff still needing training, particularly in the Grand Dining Room. Many of the sommeliers working in various venues are too inexperienced to be working alone, and other staff needs to work on their English skills or summon someone whose English is more advanced to help. We had several incidents where there was a clear language barrier in the GDR. Also, any bottle of wine not finished is stored with your room number to be retrieved at another meal, a plus for us because I drink little wine (preferring to eat rather than drink my calories!), but my husband enjoys a nice bottle. Unfortunately, on this trip, the wine staff lost a very expensive bottle ordered in Polo and only half-finished. The GDR sommelier made a hash of this incident by insisting for more than an hour that it would be found; she finally conceded it was lost and gone forever when Gerry almost was finished with his steak, too late for us to order another. How dumb was that? (Gerry kept joking how come they never lost a cheap bottle all these years, but only the three-figure one I urged him to enjoy in Polo!) Regardless of these service issues, we never had to wait for a table, which was a problem on our Regatta cruise last year, a clear improvement in our opinion. Also, when eating with others in the GDR, the meals still were served promptly; on prior cruises, the larger the party, the longer it took to dine, and we did not find this to occur on this cruise, so kudos to Oceania to cleaning up this annoying problem.Shipboard Daytime Activities. We are intense sightseers so we did not participate in many daytime activities on board. But Enrichment Lecturer Terry Bishop, a British expat now living in Andalucia, was a wonderful speaker, imparting a lot of information with a large dose of humor, an engaging combination. I attended and enjoyed all five of his lectures on the Vikings, Napoleon's General Bernadotte (who became King of Sweden), Waterloo, Songs of the Sea, and the Last Tsar of Russia. With humor, song and lovely, fun Power Point presentations, it was a delight and truly enhanced our cruise.Gerry and I enjoy team trivia and played a couple of times in the afternoon and the evening but frankly found it not as fun as on past cruises because everyone from the entertainment staff leading it to the other participants simply were too intense for us. Especially at the Martinis trivia in the evening, I feel it should be a bit of fun. Absolutely none of the trivia on this cruise included any music. We both know a lot of trivia and won a lot of points playing, but we want to have fun and joke around a bit during these events (without revealing any answers), but could not do so with this lot. I guess that brings me to my opinion of the entertainment staff. David Shermet does a great morning show, with a lot of useful information, and seems like a very nice guy, but he and all of his staff simply seemed too forced, not very engaging. I missed Leslie, Ian and others from our prior cruises who exude true joie d'vive. Entertainment. I am delighted to report that the entertainment at the evening show in the Marina Lounge exhibited a vast improvement over our prior cruise. Clearly, Oceania has put some thought and money into what many considered its biggest weakness, and that has paid off. The group of four singers and four dancers who performed for us three times was enthusiastic with a nice stage presence, with one of the men exhibiting an absolutely fabulous voice. We also enjoyed the talented Polish classical pianist, whose comments and program were very engaging, as well as the Polish gypsy violinist, who entertained us on a prior cruise. A nice addition was British magician and his dancer wife, Dez and Cherry, who were so charming, amusing and just plain fun in both their shows. We also enjoyed the string quartet who played at tea and around mealtimes.Destination Services. We did not take any of the ship's excursions because we prefer to tour independently and not be bused around on the schedule of the slowest of 35 people. However, at every port, Oceania had a local tourism person on board for the first few hours after arrival, and that person provided excellent maps, which I always obtained and were very useful (I am a happy map enthusiast, the more detailed the better!), and also sightseeing advice and directions to local transportation for those who needed it . I organized a group of 16 from our roll call to go to Berlin from Warnemunde with SPB-Tours and used them for a tour for four for our two days in St. Petersburg and highly recommend their excellent services to you all. For the rest of the ports, Rick Steves' Scandinavia (and Eastern Europe for Gdansk) guidebook, plus the excellent advice provided by you on these boards, worked great for us.We really appreciated the shuttles provided by either Oceania or the port authorities in Ronne, Gdynia (for Gdansk), Tallinn, and Helsinki, all of which we used. The one-page Port Guides on a separate sheet provided in your Currents daily newsletter by Destination Services needs to be reviewed because serious misinformation is included, such as that Riga is located 2-1/2 miles from the cruise pier (really only an easy 10-minute walk) and that Estonia has its own currency (it switched to the Euro on January 1).Reception. A super bunch of people, very friendly and helpful, particularly Thomas from Germany. He was very patient with me when I was angered by the broken hairdryer in our cabin which I discovered when my hair was soaking wet at 11:15 PM the first night, and when I had to call several times to get the closet door fixed so that the stupid automatic light did not shine in my eyes when the electric contact was not engaging on nights 1 and 2 onboard. Shout out to Marlon from The Philippines who fixed this annoyance. Fellow Passengers. Perhaps because there were many alumni groups on board, or perhaps because we were cruising the Baltics, the average passenger age on this cruise was much older than on our Mediterranean cruises. They also dressed up a lot more, with about 1/3 of the men wearing jackets and ties to dinner. (Gerry no longer brings even a jacket on these cruises.) I just celebrated a significant birthday, but we certainly were at the younger end of the demographic onboard! About 1/3 of the passengers were previous Oceania cruisers. Although an older crowd, people were having fun and very active. I was able to meet many of the people from our roll call early in the cruise. Yorkiemom (Judy) organized a Meet and Greet cocktail hour right after our Muster Drill in Horizons, which was a lovely way to put faces to many of the names, and Oceania served some nice munchies to the group gratis, a very nice touch. Sixteen from our roll call traveled to Berlin the next day for an excellent SPB-Tour that I organized, so with five+ hours on the bus to and from, friendships were forged. What an educated, friendly and good group with which to enjoy this amazing city and the rest of the cruise. We dined with several couples we met through our roll call and would be happy to cruise with them again.Disembarkation. We had pre-ordered a taxi for 9:15 AM for our arrival in Stockholm and left our cabin before 8 AM to enjoy our final breakfast in the Terrace Cafe. We disembarked around 8:45 AM, and joined the large crowd in the terminal seeking their luggage. The taxi arrived right on time, just a few short minutes after picked up some maps from the tourist information people in the terminal, retrieved our luggage and went outside, where there was a huge line of passengers waiting for taxis. Thanks to Al Fresco and others on the Baltic board, I knew that few taxis come out to Frihamnen port, so I was very glad to cut through this tremendous line and set out for our four wonderful days in lovely Stockholm at the Sheraton. BTW, thanks to Paulchili for this excellent hotel recommendation. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
We took the 10 day cruise on the Marina from Stockholm to Copenhagen via the Baltic. We extended the stay on each end of the trip by 3 days making it 16 days overall. Yes it was a great trip and one that we would do again ... BUT with some ... Read More
We took the 10 day cruise on the Marina from Stockholm to Copenhagen via the Baltic. We extended the stay on each end of the trip by 3 days making it 16 days overall. Yes it was a great trip and one that we would do again ... BUT with some adjustments. Pros >The Marina is a beautiful ship that is just the right size, not one of those floating cities with 3000+ passengers. >Stateroom cabin was very nice with a granite bathroom and nice size. The veranda was somewhat useless though because of the weather on this particular cruise. >Specialty restaurants: Jacques ... superb and memorable. Would have liked to go back again but could not get reservations. Polo ... very nice but not memorable. Red Ginger ... also very nice. The plate presentation in particular was very interesting. Toscana ... somewhat disappointing compared to our previous Toscana experience on the Oceania Regatta. >Regular Dining ... The buffet was surprisingly good with a changing menu of well prepared and fresh food. The main dining room was satisfactory but nothing special. >Staff was very well trained and managed. Generally speaking they were enthusiastic, competent, and personable. >Entertainment ... the two shows that were 'productions' from the singers and dancers were actually very enjoyable. They were well rehearsed and very well performed. The other nights were 'time fillers' at best. >Whirlpool, gym, spa ... very nice. Spent a lot of time in this area. Cons >WiFi in the room was not working. We had to use the internet center. >Concierge was disappointing. We tried three times to have the concierge resolve various issues (dinner reservations, shore excursion change, etc). All were unsuccessful as he kept referring us to other desks or phone numbers. >Shore excursions were generally ok and ran the gamut depending on the guide for that day. However the two days in St Petersburg were extremely disappointing. The tour to Catherine's Palace can best be described as a good old fashioned cattle drive. Hordes of people pushed through narrow halls...ugh. Then the next day we booked the tour of L'Hermitage. It was billed as a four hour tour. Well not quite ... 45 minutes to get there ... 45 minutes waiting in line to get in ... once inside 20 minutes to let everyone go use the facilities ... then 90 minutes for a guided tour of the L'Hermitage ... then 45 minutes back to the ship... and then the afternoon was free! Why couldn't the tour be 6 or 8 hours? Bottom line is we had 90 minutes touring L'Hermitage. This is totally unacceptable. Recommendation for future travelers ... SPEND THE TIME TO GET YOUR RUSSIAN VISAS AND THEN BOOK PRIVATE TOURS IN ST PETERSBURG! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
Oceania's new Marina is a fine addition to its small fleet. The enhancements are impressive; two new dining concepts, spacious bathtubs, an excellent performance space, bigger pool, wonderful artworks and a culinary school set it ... Read More
Oceania's new Marina is a fine addition to its small fleet. The enhancements are impressive; two new dining concepts, spacious bathtubs, an excellent performance space, bigger pool, wonderful artworks and a culinary school set it apart from its smaller siblings. But not everything has gone to plan.For example, the library area borrowed from the smaller ships has been split into a new reading area and coffee bar and neither work.But what Marina gains in the excellence of its facilities, it loses in hospitality and service excellence. It accommodates almost twice as many passengers as its other ships and this seemed to me to be the source of its problems. The pinch points that all cruise ships encounter as passengers congregate was never an issue on Insignia. It's a major problem on Marina. We never had to queue on Insignia. On Marina queuing was the norm for the Terrace Cafe breakfast, Grand Dining Room dinner and tendering.Transporting 650 passengers by tender or bus was largely hassle-free on Insignia but seemed a huge logistical issue on Marina. The tenders themselves are badly cramped and ill-designed. On Insignia there was a constant relay of tenders but on Marina the policy seemed to be to fill a tender to capacity and only then, send out another. Port side buses were the same. Passenger queues just to board the infrequent buses at the container ports sometimes took an hour. In time, Oceania may find itself squeezed. It is pretty dismissive of independent travellers in terms of convenience and meaningful information. And at the same time, punishing those wishing to book excursions with excessive pricing. An Oceania excursion around Guernsey costs $100. A local bus costs just £1.Oceania also seems to be playing a dangerous game in its literal descripton of destinations. Dover is described as London; Bordeaux is Le Verdon - 100 km away.Passengers become irritated on realising they are stranded a distance from their perceived port of call. Sometimes disembarking did not take place until 11am and naturally pre-booked excursions had priority. Therefore independent travellers sometimes did not get off the ship until an hour later, constricting time at the destination.In most instances the ports were not attractive harbours. They were featureless container/car ferry ports with little appeal. Perhaps the smaller Oceania ships can access more attractive ports more easily for either docking or fast tendering.The result of all these compounded frustrations seemed to generate a general exasperation amongst passengers, which in turn affected the crew who seemed lacking in confidence. Each was comfortable in their own narrow sphere of work, but could not respond to issues outside their responsibility.In the smaller Oceania ships there was a real sense of community, amongst both crew and passengers. On Marina this was not apparent and relationships that would naturally develop, were absent.Marina is therefore an unbalanced ship. It is much improved and more elegant than its smaller siblings but nothing like as satisfying. My advice would be to stick to those smaller vessels until Marina is able to redress its service delivery. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We boarded Marina in Dover on the above cruise and were looking forward to sailing on this new ship after some reasonable reviews and reports from fellow sailors. Our embarkation in Dover was fabulous and we went to our cabin ... Read More
We boarded Marina in Dover on the above cruise and were looking forward to sailing on this new ship after some reasonable reviews and reports from fellow sailors. Our embarkation in Dover was fabulous and we went to our cabin immediately and found it extremely nice. Unfortunately we did not meet our stewardess for a day or so and then only found her by accident. We found several faults with design and also the policy on Marina is much different to Insignia who we had sailed with a few days earlier. The bathroom is a shocker with a huge bath and the most tiny shower. I am of average build but with the massive shower head (8inches diameter) and the hand rails made it a terrible task to shower. The bathroom itself is a good size and there is no need to have such a small shower recess. The cabins are nice and the beds are very comfortable. We were very disappointed in the Staff, the cruise director was rarely heard only announcements over the ships TV and none in the cabin, the Captain came on at midday when everyone was ashore and many of the staff are poorly trained. The food was good and the specialist restaurants are quite good too. We found the French restaurant the best. The Terrace was a nightmare always full of people and the way Oceania serve their meals would suit some but not all. The Itiniery was good and very busy there wee only 2 sea days which didn't allow much shipboard time if you were going ashore each day. Oceania's dress code is good but we found that that is the reason why most cruisers on this line love the Line and do not consider the others. The prices on Marina were much more expensive than on Insignia and both ships charge a very high rate on drinks and laundry. I doubt we will cruise on Oceania again we love the Seabourn and Crystal ships for their personal rate of service and inclusions. Overall it was a good cruise but I think Oceania needs to look very closely at their staff training, they are very friendly but lack in many other ways. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We took the Voyage of the Vikings that started on July 1st in Copenhagen and ended in Dover, England on July 15th. My wife and myself liked our cabin on deck nine concierge level 4. The cabin was large enough for us and had a nice balcony. ... Read More
We took the Voyage of the Vikings that started on July 1st in Copenhagen and ended in Dover, England on July 15th. My wife and myself liked our cabin on deck nine concierge level 4. The cabin was large enough for us and had a nice balcony. My only criticism about the cabin is that the shower was a little too tight for me, I'm 6'2"; I wish that they could have eliminated the bathtub, which we didn't use, and made the shower larger. We really liked the food; the best we have experienced on a cruise ship, and we have taken 16 cruises on various lines. The specialty restaurants were excellent and the service generally very good. We found the buffet to be way above average for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The dining room was also excellent. The lectures we attended were well done and the photography class was excellent. The cruise itself was very good with the ports interesting and the shore excursions generally were very good. The weather improved as the cruise continued which made the short excursions more enjoyable from Iceland onwards. Some criticisms: the embarkation was disorganized and we ended up having to take our large bags into the reception area when they should have been collected before we went in. The shuttle service at two of the ports, Reykjavik and Dublin, was poor because of the long waits for the buses. Overall, a very good cruise and we plan to cruise again next year with Oceania on the twin to the Marina, the Rivera. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
Having read much about Oceania's newest ship, we decided to see for ourselves, and a cruise from dover, around the edges of the Bay of Biscay, seemed an ideal opportunity, visiting ports we knew well from land-based travel. ... Read More
Having read much about Oceania's newest ship, we decided to see for ourselves, and a cruise from dover, around the edges of the Bay of Biscay, seemed an ideal opportunity, visiting ports we knew well from land-based travel. Embarkation was swift and efficient, but rather disconcertingly we did not have to produce any ID until we were aboard the ship. We found our way to our cabin, wondering why there was no "welcome aboard" glass of fizz, and found ourselves in a delightful, elegant balcony cabin, with wonderfully comfortable bed, beautiful bed linen, comfy sofa and marble bathroom , complete with both showere and tub. Storage was not the best feature,as drawers were shallow, and wardrobe awkwardly placed alongside the bed. for a cruise line selling itself as 5* we were surprised to find no bottle of champagne on ice, basket of fruit or flowers, but the minibar wa stocked with soft drinks and bottled waters, which were replaced daily, and a plate of fruit was soon delivered, on request. The ship has wonderful decor,with a fabulous Laligue stairway, lalique vases and tables in bays off the main lobby, and delightful abstract sculptures in hallways and landings. The main dining room , large, well lit and airy, has an incredible central crystal chandelier, and touches of classy elegance abound throughout all loung areas. The large lounge areas had delightful sofas, comfortable chairs and love seats, softly lit by elegant crystal lamps Dining is a main event on Marina, with a choice of 7 dining venues which incur no extra charge, from the Grand Dining room, a grill and roomy Terrace cafe, serving huge choices of wonderful quality food, to 4 themed speciality restaurants, of which we liked the more atmospheric Asian -fusion Red Ginger the best. Each restaurant had its own chefs, and offered varied quality menus, and a reasonably efficient level of good service from teams of friendly waiters. If celebrating a special occasion, or as a treat, Marina offers wonderful tasting menus in La Reserve, a joint venture with Wine Spectator at a cost of $75, which we thought amazing, with dishes comparable to any Michelin restaurant in London. The one negative aspect to Marina is the low standard of entertainment, with shows delivered by an enthusiastic small team, doing their best with poor costumes and staging in a dull, low-ceiling-ed show lounge, which had absolutely no wow factor, no glitz, and was not very comfortable. the same entertainment team also organised the daily deck activities, tasks they did with good humour and good organisation. Alternative shows were offered by a poor comedian and a mediocre magician. Enrichment lectures, were often port lectures under another name, with, disappointingly, no well-known guest speakers, which we had hoped for on a ship of this calibre. A lovely library kept many passengers happy, with its club atmosphere, comfortable leather chairs, and huge choice of books, and it was a delight to find a busy coffee bar next door, offering lattes, cappuccino and juices. The nearby Internet centre was little used, due to the high cost Deck areas were lovely, with a decent size pool, two hot tubs, excellent sunbeds and curved rattan loungers, all laid with snowy towels. Atop the ship is a delightful, wide, forward facing Horizons lounge, with small dance floor, and ample seating, served by a busy bar, the place to which many passengers gravitated pre and post dinner, with live music provided for those wishing to dance. Also facing forward is an incredible, spacious spa, with many treatments on offer, gorgeous relaxing areas, including one outside, complete with hot tub, and well trained, discrete staff. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
A few of weeks have elapsed since we disembarked m/v Marina with a nostalgic view of the White Cliffs of Dover, marking the end of a wonderful voyage, "The Route of the Vikings." This was our fourth "O" experience so ... Read More
A few of weeks have elapsed since we disembarked m/v Marina with a nostalgic view of the White Cliffs of Dover, marking the end of a wonderful voyage, "The Route of the Vikings." This was our fourth "O" experience so our review is, in some areas, a comparative one with the line's "R" vessels. We have sailed on many cruises over the past 40 years, both main line and luxury, so feel very qualified to present this review. This voyage represented the first part of a celebration of our diamond wedding, (60 years). We have some mobility issues but are not dependant on walking aides. Our air transportation to Copenhagen and return from LHR was arranged by "O" with extensions on both ends. Their arrangements were very convenient and well planned. On our arrival at the dock in Copenhagen at the suggested boarding time, we were greeted with a smile by "O" baggage handlers; our cases quickly unloaded from the taxi and were promptly given directions to a pathway which led to a desk where we were given numbered tickets representing the order in which we would be escorted to the registration desks. After waiting about 10 minutes in the tented area our number was called. After a short wait we were directed to one of the many computer stations where all the formalities of registration were quickly accomplished. The first challenge we faced was the boarding ramp. At a 40-45° angle this was to prove a little difficult for us to navigate. Crew quickly took our carry-on baggage and assisted us to ascend the ramp. As has been suggested in a previous review of Marina, why is there not a boarding ramp to deck 4 for those with mobility challenges? As soon as we boarded and were greeted with the always smiling faces of the welcoming crew we were directed to the Terrace Cafe on deck 12. A sumptuous buffet awaited us, served by staff who welcomed us to the ship. A short time after eating a PA announcement advised us our room on deck 9, an A3 concierge stateroom close to the aft elevator which gave us easy access to the main restaurants, was ready for us. Our room seemed a little larger than a comparative stateroom on the "R" ships with a larger balcony. (Unfortunately not to be used too many times on this voyage.) There was ample storage for hanging garments but the design of the drawers we thought was a little strange. Their shapes were not really conducive to storing folded garments. We were able to use the shower with no problem, loved the water wand and the rain shower head was really nice. Our only complaint was the soap dish. You would think that having spent $1/2B on designing and building this beautiful ship the designers of the soap dishes could devise one which actually holds the soap. As soon as the bar of soap had been used a few times it fell through the front of the container! In comparison to the "R" ships, the bathroom is a great improvement but, because of the wasted space for the tub and the lousy soap dish design, only a B rating. We had the opportunity of dining in all 4 of the specialty restaurants, the GDR, the Terrace and Waves. We were of the opinion that the offerings in the GDR were not as varied as we remember from previous voyages on the "R" ships and on several nights we opted for the very wide offerings in the Terrace restaurant which we rated as excellent in all respects, food, service, (assistance in carrying one's plate from the buffet to the table,) and friendly placement of tables enabling, if desired, conversation with nearby fellow cruisers. As food is such a subjective topic all we can say that except for an overcooked filet steak in Polo and two undercooked veal chops in Toscanna, (very quickly and with apology replaced,) our gastronomic experience aboard Marina we would rate an A. As usual, aboard Oceania ships we were not at all impressed by the entertainment. Having third rate vaudeville acts from the Ukraine just doesn't make it. The boys and girls of the song and dance team, rather overdressed for the occasions that they performed, (too many times, IMHO) did a credible job but many US HS groups could have performed equally. Again, a subjective opinion is the ever-present "O" string quartet. In our opinion not the sort of music we either enjoy or find necessary on a luxury cruise. We will give the orchestra an A rating. They provided a good dance tempo for the several of us who enjoyed their sessions and supported the rest of the shows very well. The destinations on this cold weather cruise were excellent for viewing some spectacular scenery and visiting some interesting ports in N. Europe. Thanks to fellow passenger, David Ribnick, (a self acclaimed weather guru,) whose influence with the weather gave us sunny skies, calm seas and dry conditions on 80% of the cruise. Apart from the Flam train excursion, we planned private tours at most destinations and had several CC members join us. We were most fortunate that all of these tours, eagerly anticipated by both us and our new friends, proved to be more than expected. There is a considerable monitory saving in pre-planning these excursions over the ship sponsored ones. Together with the personal attention of excellent guides, easier access to vehicles, more flexibility of destinations there is the opportunity to discuss local issues with the guides. In the ports we had shared tours, all the guides were local people who knew the territory well. The destination was also the ship itself. Looking at pictures of the beautiful Marina it looked awfully large as compared with the "R" ships with a pax load almost twice as large. We were pleasantly surprised at the lack of crowds in any location, (with the exception of the Terrace at lunch on one sea day.) We had especially reserved a stateroom close to the aft elevators so we were in easy walking distance to dining areas. Yes, at times the elevators gave some frustration but no more than usual. The washing machines were available each time we needed to use them. We were always able to get the dining accommodation we sought with no waiting; extra specialty restaurant reservations from the very accommodating restaurant concierge in the main lobby and seating in the show room with no problem. Disembarkation was a breeze with no crowding or rushing. All in all the ship's planners did a good job in eliminating crowed areas. The key question! Would we want to cruise aboard the Marina again? Yes, yes, yes! How does it compare with the "R" ships? It's newer, it has more facilities to offer, but whenever we have the opportunity to sail on "O" it will depend on the destinations not the ship. We will recommend them to our friends and our recommendation will be unconditional. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
Everything about this trip was outstanding. From the moment we landed at Heathrow things started rolling smoothly. We were driven the The Millennium Mayfair Hotel in a chauffer driven limo. Our hotel was very comfortable & wonderfully ... Read More
Everything about this trip was outstanding. From the moment we landed at Heathrow things started rolling smoothly. We were driven the The Millennium Mayfair Hotel in a chauffer driven limo. Our hotel was very comfortable & wonderfully located. All pre-cruise arrangements were made by Oceania. They did a fine job!!! The Mariner is a beautiful ship. The cabins are well appointed, roomy in fact, with plenty of storage space. The bathroom is large, with a shower that could be larger & an unnecessary tub. The shampoo, lotions, etc. are of excellent quality & beautifully presented. All of the public areas on Marina are attractive & comfortable. The Library is quiet, comfortable & very well stocked. All of the dining venues are attractive. I think the the weakest link in the operation is The Main Dining Room. They seem to get overwhelmed. I must admit that when I complained, the matter was given immediate attention. I think that the staff really wants to excell. The Terrace Cafe was wonderful as were all of the speciality restaurants. We enjoyed the evening entertainment - both speciality acts & production shows. I think that the ship tours are very pricey. We got together with some CC folks on our thread & did 2 tours for less than half the price. Our ports of call were every interesting & not too crowded. The weather prevented us from going into 2 ports. The sea days were welcome & the staff adjusted very quickly to a totally new schedule. Well done!!!!! We met some very nice folks, had a lot of fun, won $ on the penny slots & look forward to cruising again with Oceania.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We sailed on the Treasures of the Continent 12-day cruise embarking and returning to Dover (London) on July 29-August 10. Ports were: Amsterdam, Zeebrugge, Le Havre/Honfleur, Guernsey Island, St. Malo, La Rochelle, Le Verdon and Santander. ... Read More
We sailed on the Treasures of the Continent 12-day cruise embarking and returning to Dover (London) on July 29-August 10. Ports were: Amsterdam, Zeebrugge, Le Havre/Honfleur, Guernsey Island, St. Malo, La Rochelle, Le Verdon and Santander. Two ports were omitted due to seas and weather, those being Concarneau and St. Jean de Luz/Biarritz. The cruise was to celebrate a special birthday and it was a magnificent way to do so. We did book the optional 2-night pre-cruise stay in London through Oceania and stayed at the Millenium Mayfair hotel. It was a lovely option including a half-day bus tour of London (it was our first time there, so we appreciated this offering). The hotel was comfortable and in a quiet location adjacent to Grosvenor Square. Their in-house restaurant was honestly fantastic (we had heard the horror stories of food in London). We stayed in for dinner the first night due to jet-lag and had an Italian meal we're still talking about. Their breakfast buffet was varied and delicious. the hotel is several blocks from a tube station, but is a pleasant walk in good weather. As for our cruise, Oceania left us very impressed. Our travel and transportation was flawless and effortless from the time we left Boston and arrived in Heathrow. Oceania has everything down to a science and we had no wait nor confusion transferring from airport to hotel to port. Once at the port, we had expected to wait to board, but were on the ship within 45 minutes of arrival at the port. We expected long lines, but there were none. Once aboard, we were given our Oceania Cards and never had to handle money except when using the guest laundry center as the machines use US quarters. Nearly everything we could want except wine & alcohol or gift shop purchases was included in our fare. It was really nice to not have to worry about what was included and what wasn't. Marina is a lovely ship which felt just the right size to us. The staff seemed to genuinely take pride in everything that they did....as though they were welcoming you into their own homes. The food was amazing in ALL venues. Sadly, unless you are in an Owner's Suite, you are only given the ability to reserve one meal in each of the 4 specialty restaurants. However, the main dining room and the Terrace Cafe buffet were excellent. We especially liked that the passengers DO NOT handle the food at the buffet. It is served to you by a staff member, thereby reducing the transmission of foodborne illness. There are plenty of places to find a quiet nook to read and relax besides your cabin and we rarely felt like we were on board with 1200 people. Also, there were probably fewer than 10 ten children onboard, which was very nice. Oceania states that they do not have offerings for children, but does not refuse them. We did not avail ourselves of any of the entertainment offered, but there was quite a bit. My husband did take one class in the Bon Appetit cooking center and enjoyed it very much. I used some of the Canyon Ranch spa services and was quite pleased. We were disappointed with the shore excursions offered by Oceania and will not book them on our next cruise. We did not feel that we got our money's worth, especially when paying extra for a small group "Oceania's Choice" tour in Brugge, Belgium. We had a chatty, opinionated tour guide who spent more time espousing his politics than telling us about his city. This left us only minutes to shop and no time to enjoy the city on our own. However, this was really the only negative during the whole trip. We did "miss" two ports. The first was Concarneau/Pont Aven, France due to bad weather and the inability to safely tender off the ship. And the second being St. Jean de Luz/Biarritz, France due to rolling seas and the inability to safely tender again. The first weather issue was obviously not within the control of Oceania. However, in St. Jean de Luz, it was a lovely day. But, the waves were rolling into the shore at 5-10ft. They launched and attempted to board the tenders but could not safely do so. I later overhead a "local" who was working on the ship state that it was very doubtful that they would be able to get into this port as the seas are always like this here. He said cruise ships never visit this port for that reason. After all, Biarritz is known for surfing. It was disappointing to miss this port and it will be interesting to see if Oceania continues this port in their itineraries. Our veranda cabin was very comfortable and quiet. Plenty of closet and storage space was available. The bathroom was well appointed but without an outlet for my blow dryer. The desk/vanity was were I sat to dry my hair. We are both tall 5'10" & 6'2" and we found the shower to be a bit short, though the water pressure was excellent. They are small corner showers and we've read other passengers had issue with them. They were tight, but certainly kept you from losing your balance if the seas were rough. Unfortunately, the large, gorgeous bathtub has no shower doors or shower curtain, so it became our drying space or dirty towel receptacle. We are not bath people, so it was wasted space for us. Overall, we really enjoyed our first experience with Oceania and are already looking to sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
Think of a new shopping mall - dazzling architecture - quality construction - fabulous press reviews - then when you get there you find the same old stuff for sale by the same old 'can't be bothered' sales staff. That sums ... Read More
Think of a new shopping mall - dazzling architecture - quality construction - fabulous press reviews - then when you get there you find the same old stuff for sale by the same old 'can't be bothered' sales staff. That sums up Marina for us although to be fair I must say most crew members were exceedingly nice, friendly and helpful - it was the supervisors, managers and crew that were not up to scratch. Pre-cruise communication with head office was poor - unacceptable would be a better word. Once on board, and the boarding process was excellent, we liked the ship and liked our suite. We'd read prior complaints about small showers, lack of power points, 'plastic' teak on the balconies, etc but overall we'd rate the suite at something like 98 out of 100. Regarding the size of the shower stall - I'm 6ft 200# and found it adequately sized - in fact in any degree of rolling sea I'd be glad it was the size and shape it was. Wearing a tail coat does not a butler make. Nuff said. Silly marketing idea. Restaurants - generally good food but ineffective service. Plenty of wait staff 'running' around but not achieving the basics of attentive service. Choice of food on menu decreased as cruise went on. We were promised "priority booking" in the specialty restaurants with our suite but our so-called butler could not get any booking earlier than 8.30pm, the latest available time, on any day. Twice we just turned up early and were accepted straight away. On one of the others we had to wait over 15 minutes, to 8.45pm, to get anyone to greet-and-seat us and did not get any food until after 9.30pm. General Dining Room was a disaster - tried it twice - never went back. Best service was in the self-service Terrace Cafe - that about says it all. Shore excursions - expensive and nothing special. We've certainly had much better on other cruise lines. Oceania's attitude towards shuttle bus services to the local towns was interesting - Head Office denied having any at all - but once on board the attitude was something like "We understand the local tourist office might have arranged something but you're on your own if you want to risk it". In fact they were run by the same bus companies as the formal tours. Hmmm! The ship is big enough that it could not enter three of the scheduled ports. (So why schedule them?) At two of them there was a slight swell so using tenders was considered too dangerous. Let me emphasize that again - a SLIGHT swell was considered too dangerous. The situation in both places would have been quite acceptable to any normally active person - senior citizen or not. I and others concluded that the small number of physically challenged and/or senile passengers on board affected the decision for all of us. Why could Oceania not manage it better so that the 20 or so who would have had problems did not ruin the day for the 1000 and more who could have handled it? Bottom line? Nice ship - nice staff - poor management - and with all the extras more expensive than a true luxury cruise ship. Read Less
Marina Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 0.0
Dining 4.5 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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