Sail Date: February 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: 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: May 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
Having made all our own flight and hotel arrangements (we stayed one night at the excellent Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice before embarking the ship), my comments are all about Marina and the cruise.We travelled with friends from home who ... Read More
Having made all our own flight and hotel arrangements (we stayed one night at the excellent Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice before embarking the ship), my comments are all about Marina and the cruise.We travelled with friends from home who had never cruised before. Fortunately they were delighted with the experience. The service on board Marina was outstanding - probably the best I have encountered on some 40 or more cruises spanning the last 30+ years. The food was also consistently excellent.The itinerary was good, although port-intensive. This suited our 'newcomer' friends. At most ports we arranged our own sightseeing (this is a part of the world I am quite familiar with) but we did take organised shore excursions at Monemvasia (to see Mystras) and Kusadasi (to visit Didyma and Miletus). Both were excellent with good local guides - important when visiting ancient sites. Good weather throughout (apart from a rainy day in Kotor Fjord) also helped. The Eastern Mediterranean in Spring is breathtakingly beautiful with carpets of wild flowers everywhere. Also the Summer crowds were yet to arrive. Daytime temperatures hovering around 20 degrees (68degF) were perfect for walking and sightseeing.To return to the ship. There are serious design faults. We had cabins on Deck 11 designated 'Penthouse Suites' at the PH1 grade. When we walked into our cabin I wondered why it was so dark (the day outside in Venice being brilliantly sunny). The reason became clear when I opened the balcony door. There is an enormous overhang (I estimate about 20 feet wide) which runs all around the deck caused by Deck 12 above (the pool deck) being so much wider. The ship's architect has made a big mistake in siting the best cabins on Deck 11 rather than lower down on the ship. I would recommend readers to avoid this deck at all costs and go for a cheaper cabin. Sunlight does not fall on the Deck 11 balconies other than in the very early morning or late evening. Incidentally, the balconies are not teak (as trumpeted in the brochure) but a rather unpleasant laminate designed to look like teak!The other mistakes are in the design and location of two of the bars. The 'Grand Bar' - located by the main dining room - is just a wide corridor with chairs and tables either side. People pass through in constant procession and I cannot imagine wanting to sit there (though a few did). It is utterly devoid of atmosphere. The adjacent bar 'Martinis' is ruined by being very dark and having windows which overlook the lifeboats! This leaves only one nice bar - 'Horizons' - up on Deck 15 forward. This is a lovely room for drinks before or after dinner and where the best afternoon tea afloat was served daily at 4pm. However, the bar is not open during the day for lunchtime drinks! Also the furniture is over-large which makes for difficult ease of movement by passengers and stewards alike. This could be rectified by removing 10% of the tables and chairs.The pool deck is lovely and properly finished in teak, but other outside decks either have that nasty faux teak laminate (like the cabin balconies) or a blue rubberised flooring. A great mistake. Both are unbearably hot to the feet on sunny days. This could be put right at a future refit.Turning now to the restaurants, we ate in Toscana (Italian), Jacques (French) and the Grand Dining Room. None of us are big eaters of red meat so we eschewed the Polo Grill, and we could not get a sensible dining time in Red Ginger (Asian) so we did not bother. The Dining Room, Toscana and Jacques were excellent. The food and service were of the highest standard. Menus were wide and varied and international in appeal. Service was seamless, attentive and friendly without being over-familiar. The crew were immaculately groomed and could have graced any hotel or restaurant on land, however grand.Breakfast and lunch in the Terrace Cafe was also most enjoyable and rarely did we have any difficulty finding a table. On most days we had breakfast or lunch (or both) outdoors on the Terrace Cafe verandah.We had a 'butler' but really did not need him. The restaurants on board are so lovely that I cannot imagine wanting to eat meals in the cabin (unless you are ill, which we fortunately were not), and over-elaborate 'canapes' seem to be unnecessary and difficult to fit in between the excellent tea and dinner. We just needed our 'butler' to bring early morning tea, and glasses and ice for drinks before dinner - which he did perfectly!We went to one 'production show' after dinner in the Marina Lounge but it was so amateurish and bad that we all got the giggles and had to leave! Thereafter we made our own entertainment. The lack of good organised entertainment does not bother us.So, all in all, apart from the design faults (which will be difficult for Oceania to do anything about), we were well satisfied. The passenger profile is still predominantly American, but Oceania are starting to realise the danger of being over-reliant on one market (remember the impact on the travel industry post '9/11') and are now marketing their cruises more widely in Europe, Asia and Australia.I shall be happy to return to this ship. But not to Deck 11. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2011
This is a review of the Oceania Marina Baltic Treasures Cruise, which departed Stockholm on June 21, 2011. My wife and I (who were traveling with another couple) were quite excited about traveling on this new ship. We've never cruised ... Read More
This is a review of the Oceania Marina Baltic Treasures Cruise, which departed Stockholm on June 21, 2011. My wife and I (who were traveling with another couple) were quite excited about traveling on this new ship. We've never cruised with Oceania before but had numerous recommendations from friends who enjoy it. Unfortunately, having reflected on our experience on the ship we have mixed feelings about the cruise. There were many highs and a few lows, which put a damper on our feelings and made us question the value proposition of this cruise. EMBARKATION: We stayed at the Stockholm, Sheraton, which turned out to be an easy 15 minute drive to the port. We arrived around 12:30 PM, given that we had been assigned a 1 PM embarkation time and we did not know what to expect in terms of crowds when we arrived. Much to our surprise, there was hardly anyone there and our bags were quickly taken by a longshoreman. We were directed to a counter where our passport was checked against a passenger manifest. Within a minute or two, we were further directed to board ship. (Our friends who were traveling with us, but we're not staying in concierge class as we were, were advised to arrive at the port at 3 PM. However, they came with us, and had no problem checking in). Once on board we were directed to a lounge, where, within five minutes we were called to the reception area to formally check-in. (Our friends came just a few minutes later.) Since our state room was not going to be ready for a half-hour or so, we were advised to have lunch in the Terrace Cafe. Without any question, this was the easiest and most civil check-in we have ever experienced. STATEROOM: Our concierge state room, 9120, port side, aft, was well located just a few cabins away from the aft elevators and staircase. This elevator bank led directly to the main dining room, the Terrace Cafe and the Polo Grill and Toscana specialty restaurants. The ninth floor deck had the concierge lounge and a laundry facility forward. Physically the room was quite beautiful, with dark wood appointments a nice large king bed that was comfortable. A laptop computer was provided, however, since we brought our own we did not use the one provided. There was a flat screen TV with Fox and MSNBC, but no CNN, which was missed. The bathroom had a large tub which we did not use and a small shower. The countertop was a bit small, but provided enough room for most of our toiletries. Two mirrored cabinets on the side gave us ample extra space. In addition there were a few other drawers and shelves for storage. The towels were large and fluffy and Bulgari soaps, lotions and shampoos were provided. Based on previous reviews, we were worried about storage space but the drawers, closet and cabinet proved adequate. So physically the cabin met our expectations, though I would have preferred a larger shower without a bathtub since we never used it. (I'm sure a big tub is a good marketing tool for certain groups.) Now for a few negatives. When we arrived, the cabin was clean, but not spotless. We quickly found a cabin attendant on the floor (not ours), who took care of our issues. While I am not sure, I believe that in order to get cabins ready, deck by deck, a team approach is used to prepare the rooms. Thus we are not sure if our cabin attendant actually cleaned our stateroom. Indeed, our attendant, Ebner, was the best attendant and we have had on any of our cruises. He and his assistant seemed to be always there, out of sight, except when we needed him. So despite the slightly sour first impression, we were extremely satisfied with the cleanliness of the room. The big negative for the room became obvious for us when we were docking in St. Petersburg at 6 AM. Our cabin shook and shuttered, not vibrated, in our opinion excessively. The clothes in the closet and shelves shook, glasses rattled and it woke us up, which to say the least, upset and annoyed us a lot. We complained on our mid-cruise evaluation and met with an officer the executive concierge who told us that it was normal for the thrusters to operate like that. We had them follow up and come by our cabin when we were departed another port, but again we were told it was normal. If that was normal, it was unacceptable to us. We were offered another cabin farther aft that we declined, since we felt it could be worse and not worth the trouble. We were most recently on Celebrity Solstice class ships (once in a corner stern cabin and twice aft in regular cabins), and never felt such shuttering. Sure there was vibration, but this felt as if someone was pushing an accelerator and brake at the same time, causing the ship to buck. I don't know whether of the Marina is propelled by a pod system or a regular propeller with side thrusters. I would expect that such a new ship would have the latest in technology, which I think is the pod system, and be reasonably smooth. This whole experience really disappointed us and put a damper on the whole cruise. If we were to ever choose Oceana Marina again, we would stay mid ship, away from the thrusters near the bow and stern. SHIP COMMON AREAS: Without getting into details, everything in the common areas was done tastefully and comfortably. The reception area is beautiful, the theater was warm and inviting, the library was innovatively designed and the pool deck was quite nice. There were ample elevators with rarely a wait. The Horizons Lounge was big, but didn't seem to be used too much except for teatime. DINING: As expected this was where the ship excels, however we did not get off to a good start. Our first dinner was in the Grand Dining Room a beautiful room with views along the stern. We were seated portside in an elevated area near the door. This area must be where they put their starting waiters. While I can no longer remember all the details, service was slow, I think there was a language problem with the waiter and busboy understanding us, and the waitstaff inadequately responded to an issue with our friend who had a food allergy. A headwaiter was brought over to make sure that the allergy was properly addressed in the kitchen. And then another supervisor (we think) came over, took more notes and assured our friend that all kitchens would be advised of her allergy, she would be given a daily menu from the restaurant where we were having dinner so that the chefs could prepare a suitable meal. The result was that on that first night, the dish prepared for our friend apparently was mediocre, and no one ever followed up regarding the allergy on subsequent nights. Why say something if it was not going to be followed up? I should note that our friend did not want to be treated differently and therefore simply advised each waiter of the allergy so that it could be addressed, which it was. Other than that first night, the food and service was probably the best we've had at sea. Jacques was especially nice, and the food excellent. In addition, the waiter brought a nice birthday cake for our friend and sang a personal song for him. The Polo Grill service was superb, the room, beautiful, and the food very good. I had a ribeye and was a little disappointed (maybe due to my very high expectations), but it was of high quality and prepared properly. Next time I would get the filet mignon. Toscana was also very good, and the service almost overbearing, but not. But the real surprise was Red Ginger as they prepared Asian food in a way that was a little different, but absolutely delicious. Of course, the service, there was excellent as well. We also ate at La Reserve, a specialty restaurant with a fixed menu with wine pairings, that charged $75 per person. It was quite an experience. We started with sparkling wine and appetizers and that was served before we sat down. Since only 16 people can be accommodated at once at two tables, the atmosphere was very personal. Before each wine and dish was served it was described to us by our waiter. It seemed like the chef was allowed to use some originality is preparation and presentation, and it showed. We had the "Exploration Menu" that included 7 courses with Scallops, Foie Gras, Risotto, Wild Salmon, Chateaubriand, cheese and desert all with wine pairings. This dinner was a highlight. We went back to the dining room once for dinner and sat towards the rear of the room and the service and food were quite good. We also went to the Terrace Cafe, on a number of occasions, and it was the best buffet at sea we ever had. Not only were the food selections wonderful, including lobsters and steaks, but the presentation was very attractive. We also appreciated the fact that guests did not take their own food but was served by staff. We liked not having hundreds of hands reach for food. If desired, staff would also carry the food to your table. We also ate at was the Wave's Grill on the pool deck. After coming back from a shore excursion we had a late lunch and enjoyed the hamburgers, fries etc. There were other interesting items on the menu but they were not tried. I'm sure they were very good. On balance, the Marina excels when it comes to dining choices, and presentation and quality. SERVICE: As mentioned above, our cabin stewards were excellent. Wait Staff, especially in the specialty restaurants and buffet, were excellent; in the main dining room it was a little uneven. I think the entire crew liked working on the ship, were very proud of it and it showed. ENTERTAINMENT: This was one area that was disappointing, though truthfully we did not take the time to see and do everything offered. Even though our expectations were not very high, because we knew that the ship was not huge, had an older crowd, and we had a port a day, we were disappointed. We thought the show entitled "Groovin" was amateurish, and did not take full advantage of the singers and dancers talents. River Rhapsody was much better. We were insulted by the performance of the Great Desmondo and Cherry... it seemed like 1950s corn and therefore a dated show. We also listened to the "Smooth Jazz Sounds of the Andy Band" and while they were good, it was a shame there are only six people listening at the Martini Bar. So while we weren't expecting great entertainment, and frankly didn't go out of our way to find it, what we did see was just fair. Probably the best part of the entertainment staff were the singers and dancers who are very talented and engaging individuals. We met a few of them around the ship working venues other than the Marina Lounge, where the shows took place. I should note that as active members of the entertainment staff, unlike other ships, where the singers and dancers just performed, on the Marina they were involved in various other entertainment capacities. We really like that, as it made show performances that much more personal. PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: This cruise was port intensive, with no sea days. Every day we were busy on a shipped organized shore excursion or on our own. Helsinki, Finland: We chose to take the Oceania Choice "Highlights of Helsinki" tour made available by the ship. The Oceania Choice tours have smaller groups on smaller buses. The tour took about three hours, and we saw these three major tourist attractions: the Senate Square, the Rock Church, and Sibelius Park. While interesting, it seemed like the tour filled in time, and we could have seen these sights in an hour or so. My recommendation is to do it on your own... take a taxi downtown. Then walk around and get a feel for the city. We did not have that opportunity as we saw the sights and headed back to the ship. St. Petersburg, Russia: With two days in the city, we decided to arrange for our own private guide. A friend of ours recommended Elena Ulko of Ulko tours. I then looked up her company on Trip Advisor and found some ambiguous negative remarks that apparently were posted by her competition who in my opinion were upset about getting new competition. To her credit, she responded forcefully and frankly: I liked her spunk. After reading the reviews, we actually had the opportunity to meet and interview her in St. Petersburg, Florida (where she was vacationing) several months before our trip and really liked her. We booked and found Elena to be excellent. We ordered a Mercedes Sprinter van because the four of us wanted some extra room, and it was well worth it. She responded to our many questions via e-mails, arranged for ballet tickets at a price that was less than what we saw online and, of course, provided our entry documents and instructions so there was no problem when we got off the ship. We were expecting Elena to personally be our guide but when we arrived we were greeted by Ekaterina (who we called "Katia"). I have to say that initially I was a little disappointed, because we had such a good rapport with Elena and expected her to guide us, though she had warned me in advance that she might have a problem doing so. The good news however is that Katia was fabulous. Elena had planned out a wonderful two day trip including the Jewish synagogue, the Hermitage, Peterhof (which we took a hydrofoil to get to) and then we saw a ballet at the Mikhailovsky Theater. The ballet proved to be the highlight of the day and was in a theater that was recently remodeled and performed by a privately supported production company. We saw Le Corsaire which had wonderful staging, scenery, costumes, performers and orchestra. (Extra advice: the theater only takes rubles for programs and refreshments, so make sure you have some.) The next day we went to Pushkin to see Catherine's Palace, had lunch in the city and then saw the Peter and Paul Cathedral. I must say having a private guide in a private van made seeing St. Petersburg easy and a lot more comfortable than sitting on a bus. There is a lot to see in a short period of time and with only four people we were able to move about very quickly. Katia knew her way around and moved us to the front of certain lines, got us the best seats on the hydrofoil and was very knowledgeable, answering our questions about history and life in St. Petersburg. I would highly recommend Ulko tours and especially Katia as a guide. Tallinn Estonia: We took the ship's tour "Tallinn & Old Town" that started at upper town and we walked to lower town and then returned to the ship. Tallinn is a nice small city worth seeing but could probably have been done on our own with the information available from the ship and on the Internet. A shuttle bus runs between the port and the lower town. Riga, Latvia: We took the ship's tour "Riga-Jewish Heritage tour". This proved to be a very interesting tour, with stops at the site of the destroyed "Great" Synagogue, the Rumbula Memorial and the New Ghetto museum. Our guide was most informative, explaining the atrocities of the Holocaust as it related to his city. The mood of the trip was somber, but it was worthwhile . Visby, Sweden: I took the ship's tour "Visby by Bicycle", a tour that went out of the town of Visby to explore a slice of the island of Gotland. Our guide was a native of the island, and she ably guided us by bike around some of the most interesting attractions. We were able to go up some country roads that a big bus could not easily negotiate. We also had a refreshment break at Fridhem, a former royal summer cottage that is now a country inn and restaurant. In general seeing a tour by bike, to me, is a better way than by bus since you get a better feel for the place you are visiting and it is fun. In addition, you get to meet people with a similar interest (biking). My wife and our friends took Oceania Choice "Medieval Visby". I was told that the tour was informative but bear in mind the island is more a vacation resort than a real tourist destination. Gdynia, Poland: Gdynia is the entryway to Gdansk , Poland. We chose to see Gdansk on our own by hiring a taxi cab at the port. The taxi situation was a little unnerving. There were taxis next to the pier after we got off the gangway and other taxis just outside the gate to the port which was in walking distance. Only a few drivers on the pier spoke English, and we assumed that even fewer would speak English outside the gates. So, we hired a taxi on the pier. He took us to Gdansk, pointed us in the right direction to see some sights, and took us back. We felt that was the best way to see the city in a short period of time. The main square in old town was attractive enough, but frankly, when we found out it was all rebuilt after the war and were not the original buildings (since they were destroyed in World War II), it took some of the some of the sizzle out of it. Nevertheless, the Polish people are very proud of their old town, and I'm glad we went. Ronne, Denmark: I took a ship's tour, "Discover Bornholm by Bike". Bornholm is the name of the island where the town of Ronne is located. We took a ride through a forest to a smokehouse then saw a round church in a small town and rode back to Ronne. It was a nice way to see a little piece of a pretty island. There really were not many tourist sites and the island is primarily a vacation spot for Danes. Were it not for the biking, I would have been happy spending a day at sea. My wife and our friends took the ship's "Walking Tour of Ronne" which was a tour of the town that discussed its long history. But again, this island is, like Visby, a vacation destination. Warnemunde, Germany: Warnemunde is the port serving Berlin. We arranged for another private tour with a professor from a university in Berlin who was recommended by a friend of ours. I do not believe he seeks out tour groups, so I am not going to name him. He was however an expert on the Holocaust, and while we did not have time to go to the Holocaust Museum we did go to a few sites that would not be on everybody's list of things to see. We went to the Holocaust Memorial, Brandenburg Gate, the Jewish neighborhood, Checkpoint Charlie and saw some of the remains of the Berlin Wall. In addition, we visited some smaller sites of Jewish interest, including the New Synagogue. We actually saw a lot in a short time, but the truth of the matter is we really didn't have enough time to see the city adequately. Traveling a total of six hours to and from the ship and touring for another five hours makes for a very long day. It was worth it, but I think one must expect that they are only getting their tongue whetted for another visit. Copenhagen, Denmark: Unfortunately, we had to catch a plane to Paris and did not have time to tour Copenhagen. From what we saw from the taxi, we will be going back. Disembarkation: When we were in Tallinn (six days before the end of the cruise) we were given a questionnaire regarding our disembarkation preferences when we arrived in Copenhagen. One of the options was to arrange a private car transfer to the airport at a cost of $279 per vehicle for two people. In addition, there was a warning that "taxi availability on the pier is limited and you may expect lines" but that the fare would be around $50. Not wanting to pay $279 or take a bus, I stopped by the Destination Desk to ask their advice. They reiterated that taxis are scarce, and because of that we decided to get off the ship as early as possible since we had a plane to catch and wanted to take a taxi. After a good, unharried breakfast in the Dining Room, we got off around 7:30 AM, found our bags very quickly and went to the taxi stand, where there was a taxi waiting with no line. So for us it was no problem but I did hear that there were lines later in the day. Nevertheless, the disembarkation experience was excellent and pain-free. Rambling thoughts: While we continue to have mixed thoughts about the cruise and rebooking on Oceania, there were a few things of note that we really liked. Water and soft drinks are free, the wine list was very good and reasonably priced, laundry and dry cleaning were fast and priced fairly, a full breakfast was available from room service in our concierge cabin, there were no formal nights, there wasn't a cruise photographer in our face all the time, the spa and gym were very well equipped and clean and my massage was great, though typical cruise pricey. On the negative side, the internet is slow and expensive with a 200 minute plan costing $140. The ship can provide faster service if it wants to pay for the bandwidth. I note that Celebrity did speed things up on the Equinox when I last traveled...Oceania should do the same. When booking a cabin, bear in mind that there is a subtle caste system. Reservations for the specialty restaurants are accepted first for those in suites, then concierge and then the remaining cabins. As a result you may not get the best times for your reservations if you don't take a concierge level cabin or suite. In addition, the same cabin order apparently is used for boarding the ship. I assume that being an Oceania Club member may help making reservations early, but I don't know. Finally, while there were a lot of things to like about the ship, I am not sure if we'll soon book again with Oceania. It probably will depend on a specific itinerary and what the alternatives are. As mentioned above, it will also depend on the value proposition offered versus the competition. 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
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: October 2011
First of all, this cruise was a wonderful trip and I had hoped that previous comments given to us by others on the Marina were not so or at least the time had past for Oceania to rectify and change some situations. All the ports of calls ... Read More
First of all, this cruise was a wonderful trip and I had hoped that previous comments given to us by others on the Marina were not so or at least the time had past for Oceania to rectify and change some situations. All the ports of calls were wonderfully selected and we had no trouble in each port to disembark and embark. The port of Cyprus was not too interesting and would have liked another day in Istanbul or Israel. The staff was always polite and obliging. The entertainment was fair to good. The cruise director Nolan Dean was funny, light and entertaining. The concierge service on the 9th left little to be desired. He never had an answer and when he did, it was incorrect. So we learned not to rely on his judgement. All services for our cabin was excellent and always met with a smile. We filled out our comment cards and hope that they will be read well and change the following: The food was not what we expected at all. The majority of cruisers were 50 plus and healthy dishes should have been available. The Terrace Cafe staff often did not know what they were serving.(ingredients). They should have been informed to properly inform the cruisers when asked. Too many pork dishes and not enough variations of soup (always creamed or consomme). On one lunch I witnessed the staff put in at least a half cup of butter in the risotto. Needless to say, we did not touch this dish. The signature dishes of Jacques Pepin in the Grand dining (salmon) was so bland and without spices that it looked liked it had been washed and dried out. Red Ginger was absolutely the best. Toscana's Italian dishes were also without spice and flavour. The chefs needed to make a few variations and make tasty food and healthy without the butter and salt. This is very possible.All in all it was a great 24 days and lots of friends made. We do have other cruises with Marina and I hope they can improve on the food. I shall look for comments from others before returning to Marina. One more comment is not to wear white and sit on the deck chairs. There is a lot of soot to be found on the deck floor and on the chairs. Attendants were often brushing off the chairs. Not sure if this can be changed or ajusted for their new ship Riviera. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
This is a late posting however, it somehow fell between the cracks in my schedule. We are long time Crystal Cruisers and we enjoy the uncrowded Crystal ships with their very personalized service and attention to detail. We decided on ... Read More
This is a late posting however, it somehow fell between the cracks in my schedule. We are long time Crystal Cruisers and we enjoy the uncrowded Crystal ships with their very personalized service and attention to detail. We decided on this cruise to both try Oceania and the timing was right for our schedule. We did the transatlantic crossing on 11/24/2011 from Rome to Miami, a 16 day voyage. I see Oceania as a Crystal quality wannabe but they have a long way to go. Although the ship has wonderful appointments and outstanding specialty restaurants, most of this is only of value to the passengers when the service matches the environment. Their specialty restaurants were all very good, main dining room was huge and we felt lie we were sitting down in a hole. Open seating was excellent and we met lots of nice folks. The staff had to constantly hustle due to the passenger: crew ratio and it showed in their response to passenger needs. Squeezing 1100 some people on the Marina is not exactly luxury. The Terrace restaurant allows for about 20% of the seating outside so on poor weather days, everyone is holding a tray looking for a table. Tables we seldom cleaned during breakfast quickly and it was obvious they were understaffed. The staff in the Terrace worked hard but there was no way they could handle the number of people on a rainy day. Too many times we saw nice window tales vacant with dishes and napkins piled on them forcing us to choose an inside table with no view. This brought back memories of army basic training but the food was much better. The rooms offered large couches and a few more square feet then Crystal but noticeably less storage space and only one sink in the bathroom. Each room came with a laptop computer so I decided to leave my laptop home and I brought my work on a memory stick. Surprise, there is no software on the Oceania provided laptop; no MS Word, excel, not even a text editor to type a brief message we could put in an email. Add $500+ for your internet bill on a 16 day cruise. We could use the laptop only to access the internet via their wireless network which only worked in the main computer room and a few select locations throughout the ship. Publishing this laptop in their brochures is purely a marketing ploy and has no functional value to the passengers. When using the internet, we needed to be logged on to simply type a text message or reply to an email. It became very expensive to communicate with the outside world while traveling on the Marina. This is not a cruise I would recommend for a business person who needs to get some work done while cruising. Better for a senior citizen who doesn't know how to use email yet. The tour advisors were clueless about many of the tours, had no idea what you would see other than the info published in the brochure. As a Rotarian, I called the front desk to ask about a service meeting on board. She had never heard about service meetings. I went to the front desk, asked again and found front desk personnel struggling to answer basic questions as they were in training. I finally found the service meeting as it appeared in a daily bulletin. . Lounge chairs around the pool were usually fully occupied during sunny days. Our first day at the pool, we waited for one hour before a waiter offered us a drink. After the first 30 min, my wife finally went and got her own hot chocolate. The lanes of chairs we lined up with little space between the lanes requiring passengers to walk carefully when moving around the lounge chairs. One day a women, I'm guessing in her 50's, tripped on the rear legs of the lounge chair and broke her foot or ankle. The medical team was quick to respond and she was taken to the medical room. We had lunch at the Grille; again we had to find a waiter to clean the table. Hamburgers were delivered lukewarm with no chocolate chip cookies to be found. The gelato was excellent. The cruise director was very annoying announcing every little thing, shades of our one and only Carnival cruise. We arrived at the Captain Welcome party 20 minutes late. There were no seats available and they ran out of wine glasses, hence no wine and we stood up along with about 50 other passengers. 11/26 Barcelona and the cattle call began as we stood waiting 30 minutes for the 2nd buss. Very poor planning. 1100 passengers and not enough buses. 11/27 -- Breakfast in the Terrace, better food than Carnival and the army but everything else was the same. Lunch in the Terrace was mobbed. We could not find two seats as we carried our trays of food. I finally asked the manager to help us. He walked the entire restaurant and finally found 2 seats at a table for four and asked the other passengers if we could join them. We asked 3 waiters for water before one of them finally got 2 glasses of water for us. 12/4 -- we had to call for soap. Our cabin steward forgot to leave soap for us. 12/5 -- Our room did not get cleaned until after 11AM. At 5PM today, as we were getting ready for dinner, our AC vent in the ceiling fell down from the ceiling missing me by one foot. It is a shame to see the staff try so hard, were well intentioned but just poorly trained. My advice to Oceania would be to start at the top and hire some top notch service executives and they could then deliver the service they profess in their brochures. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We just returned from a 26-day cruise on the Oceania Marina (back-to-back Athens to Civitavecchia and Civitavecchia to Miami). We've sailed on more than two dozen ships, but it was our first on Oceania. When we boarded the Marina, ... Read More
We just returned from a 26-day cruise on the Oceania Marina (back-to-back Athens to Civitavecchia and Civitavecchia to Miami). We've sailed on more than two dozen ships, but it was our first on Oceania. When we boarded the Marina, we were immediately impressed with the luxurious appearance of the ship and of our cabin (Concierge-level veranda). The bed was the most comfortable we've ever had on a ship and, together with its elegant headboard, could have held its own in a fine hotel. The bathroom was beautifully appointed with gray marble on the floor and the walls, and it had both a full-size bathtub and an extremely uncomfortable diminutive shower stall, smaller than a phone booth. The shower head is mounted directly above and may work well for shorter people. However, if you are tall, you will have to learn to contort your body and especially your neck to avoid hitting the shower head. Oceania's unquestionable strength is in its attention to food quality. From the baked goods at breakfast (comparable to those in a good boulangerie in France) to the top-notch specialty restaurants that carry no surcharge, we were dazzled by Oceania's culinary offerings. The service in all the restaurants is unfailingly attentive and efficient. Even the various chefs walk around the dining rooms periodically to make sure excellence reigns supreme. Add to the high quality of the cuisine a full Starbucks-style barista set up serving all sorts of specialty coffees at no charge and you get an idea of Oceania's strongest points. The food at the Terrace Cafe is superb as well. Next to it, yet another eatery, Waves, serves up made-to-order Kobe burgers and grilled pannini. We particularly enjoyed the traditional high tea service every afternoon accompanied by the sounds of an extremely talented string quartet, the Tatra Strings. We wish we could give equally high praise to the rest of the entertainment on board, but time and again the shows were disappointing. The small theatre is quite comfortable with ample leg room between the rows but lacks a state-of-the-art stage. In fact, Oceania calls the theatre a lounge which is probably more appropriate than calling it a theatre. Unfortunately, the quality of the performers is the poorest we've ever seen on a ship. On the other hand, the onboard activity program was quite good: language classes, photography classes, etc. There are other bizarre problems with the Marina. For some reason, the designers of the ship decided to put four elevators in the front of the ship and only two in the back. Can you guess where all the restaurants are? Yep, in the back. You can imagine the long waits at 6:30 PM when all the restaurants open and hundreds of passengers try to take one of two elevators to have dinner. To make matters worse, one of the two is periodically out of service for repairs. The cabin door locks have a nasty habit of resetting themselves randomly and they need someone from security to come and reprogram the lock completely. This is not a problem of cards getting demagnetized since it happened more than once to several cabins in our area simultaneously, including ours. Imagine getting back to your cabin at 6 PM to change for dinner only to find that you cannot get in. You go down, get new cards, and they don't work either. Then someone comes to take a look and leaves. Then security comes and reprograms your lock. Then someone else comes up with new cards. Now you've spent a half hour waiting to have the lock on your door fixed and you no longer have time to change for dinner because your reservation is for 6:30 PM. The Internet service on board is also frustrating. It is not only the most expensive we've ever encountered (as much as 95 cents per minute), but it also has a maddening habit of disappearing while one is on line, making it impossible to log out. The Internet manager tried his best to help during the limited hours he was on duty, but there were way too many instances when Internet service crashed for several hours. One of the oddest of Oceania's practices is the confiscation of all passports, allegedly for "immigration reasons." Nobody on the staff was able to explain to me why Celebrity, HAL, Princess, and other cruise lines don't see a need to confiscate all passports at boarding. The concierge on deck 5 became ornery (unusual among the generally ultra-polite staff) when I asked for my passport back, throwing all sorts of nonsensical excuses and scoffing at my point that no cruise line had ever taken my passport in over a dozen transatlantic crossings. I protested (in writing) and the head concierge contacted me and admitted that the passport confiscation was Oceania policy rather than governmental policy, but he could offer no logical explanation for the practice either. There are laundry facilities on every deck and each is equipped with a large-screen TV and with a comfortable couch and chilled mineral water. Speaking of water, all mineral waters are complimentary in both the dining rooms and the cabin. Passengers also get complimentary bottled water as they get off the ship at the various ports they visit. The ship has one small pool that is hardly used. Why? Because the water is ice-cold even on warm and sunny days. Shopping on board is limited and Oceania makes no claim that the prices are better than one would find back home. Draw your own conclusions. In a departure from other cruise lines, there are no photographers snapping pictures and then trying to sell them at exorbitant prices. However, Oceania does charge lofty prices for its excursions and for post-cruise transfers ($199 for a transfer from the port of Miami to Miami airport!). The bottom line? The Oceania Marina is a great ship if you are a foodie, but it falls short in many other areas: dismally bad elevator service, uncomfortable showers, and a lame entertainment program. And for me personally, the confiscation of the passports for the duration of the cruise is also a strong negative, particularly when Oceania staff either lies about the reason ("it's for immigration") or cannot provide a coherent explanation. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Have cruised all my life but never on a high end ship. First time on the Oceania Lines and Marina. Pros: Beautiful ship , friendly staff, nice balcony, bedding, cleanliness of the ship, Embarkation, enrichment activities for pay. ... Read More
Have cruised all my life but never on a high end ship. First time on the Oceania Lines and Marina. Pros: Beautiful ship , friendly staff, nice balcony, bedding, cleanliness of the ship, Embarkation, enrichment activities for pay. Restaurant options. Cons: Poor bathroom design in the veranda suites as well as the size and depth of the closet for your clothes, shipboard activities, entertainment,enrichment activities for free.clanking in the hallway or pipes (never figured out) all times of the evening.Debarkation. Pro's a little more in depth. The ship is beautiful and kept very clean. The staff for the most part is friendly and helpful. It seems like the crew was more friendlier then the officers passing by. The verandas have a nice balcony with 2 cushion chairs. Very relaxing and comfortable. The veranda rooms have nice comfortable bedding as a well as a top notch bed(s). Embarkation was a breeze. 15 minutes and we were on the ship.No waiting whatsoever. We didn't participate in any of the wine tasting or culinary classes but we heard that they were informative, interesting and worth the money. The food without question was the highlight of the trip except for the Grand Dining room. Don't get me wrong the Grand Dining room was okay it is just that from the Terrace Cafe to all the specialty restaurants each one of them were superb. Service-Room steward was excellent and was attentive to our needs. Waiters and Wait staff.. Never had any bad experiences in any specialty restaurants involving the wait staff. They all were excellent. Terrace Cafe- Best buffet on the high seas. Exceeded our expectations in every way. Had a few instances of poor service but for the most part everyone tried hard and went the extra yard to satisfy all the customers. Cons a little more in depth: Bathroom was designed by a midget. Figured most people that take a cruise would be 5'4" or shorter and weigh less then 100lbs.They tried to do to much in to little of space. The shower is not high enough and there isn't enough room to move around. Spoke with the captain and he told me that he agreed..oops they goofed. Hard to believe this could happen on a high end shipping company like Oceania. Hardly any room on the vanity counter space and the doors open out so you have to be careful that no toiletries are in the way or they will fly off the counter. Had 2 twin beds that were not twin beds but 2 single beds. If you end up in this situation you need to be careful if you tend to turn when you sleep you could end up on the floor. Free activities.... same ole same ole... Putt putt golf, Table Tennis, paddle tennis, shuffleboard... Couldn't remember if they offered even 1 free cooking class or wine tasting or anything else interesting. Grand Buffet in the Grand Dining room... worse venue on the ship.. unorganized, not enough help, had menus and a buffet. Sat for 15 minutes no service...went up to get something to eat and still no bus boy or waiter came by... 10 minutes later I ordered a pancake and it arrived 25 minutes later... No refills on coffee and the entire meal was a bust. Debarkation: Said everybody had to be off the ship by 9 am. But docked way before 6:00 am. We signed up for late debarkation because we had a driver picking us up. Debarkation was unorganized and people were cutting the lines from all over the ship. There was one line to exit but 3 or 4 feeder lines from all over the floor. We didn't exit until almost 9:30 am. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Let me start by saying that we did enjoy our vacation. That said, we have cruised at least once a year for the past 22 years on several different lines. Because of the price point, we were definitely expecting a higher-end cruise ... Read More
Let me start by saying that we did enjoy our vacation. That said, we have cruised at least once a year for the past 22 years on several different lines. Because of the price point, we were definitely expecting a higher-end cruise experience. Unfortunately, several factors left us wondering why we spent the extra money for Oceania. Our cabin, a category B3, was nice, but no better than a Concierge Class on Celebrity. It had a bathtub and a separate shower, but the shower was so small, it was almost unusable (and I'm a small woman). The rest of the cabin and balcony were nothing special and actually creaked a bit during rougher seas. Cabin service was excellent. We have sailed on ships with 100 to 3000 passengers and the Marina, with 1200+ was a very nice size ship. We never felt crowded in any space, and they really have some nice spaces to hide away in if you want to be alone. The food was excellent and the best part of this cruise line - in my opinion. I'm not a "foody" by any means, but I did enjoy the dinners in the specialty restaurants as well as the Grand Dining Room. The highlight of the cruise was the culinary class where we learned to cook specialties of the various dining rooms. This is definitely something different and not to be missed. The missing part on our cruise was the service, particularly in the Terrace Cafe, where breakfast and lunch are served. I think they are trying to make it an upscale experience where the passengers are "served", instead of a true buffet line, but it just didn't work. With a casual meal, it seems that people would rather get their own meal items than have people serve them. Particularly when the servers do not really understand (in this case) English. Plus there was no line, per se, but people just butting in to ask for something. It just didn't work, and I would suggest that Oceania reconsider their serving options in the Terrace Cafe. That said, the food was still good. As mentioned previously, I have cruised a lot. I don't think I am a demanding customer, though do enjoy the experience of being catered to on a cruise - but am very grateful for the service. I will say that I have never experienced so many "no's" on a cruise as I did with Oceania. Its just not what I expected of a cruise line offering "luxury" cruising. I will stick with Celebrity or SeaDream or try someone else from now on. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Embarkation was very well handled on the south side of the Port of Miami away from the larger ships leaving that day. The Marina is less than a year old and is truly beautiful. The artwork and Murano glass throughout is stunning. The ... Read More
Embarkation was very well handled on the south side of the Port of Miami away from the larger ships leaving that day. The Marina is less than a year old and is truly beautiful. The artwork and Murano glass throughout is stunning. The pool is surprisingly small but it was sparingly used and the pool deck was very comfortable and never overcrowded. The library was very impressive, second only to the QM2. 2 little quirks I found. They had a boring 9 hole mini-putt in a prime location high forward and then more bothersome to most passengers was the elevators aboard. Four in the front was adequate for over 1200 guests but only 2 aft meant very long waits to go for dinner especially with a large percentage needing walkers or scooters for mobility. The staterooms had the best bed on the high seas. Bathrooms were fine and included nice shampoos, soaps, etc. and the storage space was adequate. Maria turned out to be a great room stewardess. The food was fabulous with ONE glaring exception. The buffet is simply the best in the business. Although Oceania could change the choices for breakfast at least once, especially the pastries, the quality of fare was outstanding. The luncheons here or just outside at Waves was equally as good. The dinner menus were always excellent and the ratio of staff to help was very high. The specialty dining rooms were spectacular. We ate 5 nights in these 4 venues and were amazed at the quality and presentation. Sadly the MDR was not as well done. 4 dinners and one lunch were so bad , it qualifies as the worst MDR in 35 cruises including budget lines. Only 1 meal was even acceptable. The seafood was so overdone it went back to be replaces by tough lamb. The service, unlike the rest of the ship was sullen and slow. Avoid the MDR and you'll have a fine culinary experience. The wine on the ship was even more expensive than the QM2 which means 50% than all other cruise lines. However all soda and specialty coffees are included and they do the coffee right. The shore excursions were an absolute rip off. For example, their sedan to MIA-$199. My towncar to FLL, an extra 25 miles-$75. Other ports were similar, many times they were twice the price of other lines fare for the exact same excursion. Entertainment on smaller ships is always weak and these started very late, although Drake was a very funny man. The Casino staff was very nice but saw little action. It may be the age of the passengers. The disembarkation was also a breeze but the lack of cabs presented a small delay in leaving. Finally a word to the wise. This ship had a lot of well off seventy year olds from the south who were escaping the Florida primary but brought their politics with them. How sad it is to be on a vacation and not let these disagreements stay at home were they belong. I thought it was an unwritten rule about discussing religion, gun control and politics that this was not proper behavior. Its expensive and I'm not sure its worth the extra cost but I would not sail out a southern port on this line again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2012
This was our first Oceania Cruise. We booked it because we were curious about the Western Caribbean ports as well as the new mid-sized ships with Oceania. Despite delaying embarkation by a couple of hours due to a coastguard inspection, ... Read More
This was our first Oceania Cruise. We booked it because we were curious about the Western Caribbean ports as well as the new mid-sized ships with Oceania. Despite delaying embarkation by a couple of hours due to a coastguard inspection, things went quickly and smoothly. We found the decor very pleasing and relaxing. The calm and quiet of this ship is beyond anything we have ever experienced. The age of fellow cruises is probably an influence. The cabins are spacious with adequate storage, flat screen TV complete w/dvd. Large bathrooms, however with bathtub, the shower gets "cheated" a bit, and w/shower head directly in the middle we found the shower a little difficult at times. Would have preferred tub/shower combo like on the Princess Mini-suites. Enjoyed the Bvulgari toiletries. Food and Dining: The Terrace Cafe is a self-service venue offering great breakfast selections (although we noted they did not have a waffle station). We didn't fine the mid-day selections as enticing, and tended to enjoy the Waves grill mid-day. They had great pannini, burgers, hot dogs, salads and an adjacent ice cream station. We tried all the specialty restaurants except red ginger (not asian fare fans). Pollo was good, but my husband had the worst prime rib he'd ever had there. Jaques was great with impeccable service. Toscana has a menue that is nearly overwhelming, the room is odd, lighting is off, and where we were seated, staff were running in to the slanted windows/curtains to serve us. Service there was a bit iffy, with some of our dishes arriving a little cooler than we would have liked. Service in the Grand Dining Room was excellent. The food choices there varied and were unusual--they have three selections offered every night--New York Strip, Rotissiere Chicken, and Poached Salmon, and I substituted those on several nights. Overall rating of the food would be good to very good. The dessert selections left us wanting for something else. At times we felt like staff in each of the dining venues were trying to remove our table service before we had finished eating--if you didn't have fork in hand they assumed you were finished. Staterooms: Our attendants introduced themselves the first day. After that, we rarely saw them. I left a note asking for a foam pillow which arrived promptly. Our room was tidy. Turn-down service was a little late for us on a couple of occassions. It was amazingly quiet--I have to say most of the time we didn't realize we were at sea, and we rarely heard any commotion/movement around our cabin. The beds are beyond wonderful, and the linens are impeccable. Entertainment: Hate to say it, but we did not indulge. We enjoyed the peace and quiet of our stateroom, watched several DVDs, and retired early each night. Pool: For the first time in my cruising life, I could always find a suitable pool side lounge chair when I wanted one. Pool area also quiet/subdued; pool staff attentive/available. Internet Service: We booked concierge level partly because of the in-room computer; however--the wireless service is not adequate to use the computer in the staterooms. Internet service was fair to good in the computer lab and in several common areas on the ship, but stateroom service is essentially not existant, and we feel it shouldn't be advertised as an amenity. Cell Phone Service: Worked great all the time on the ship. Important to us as we are self-employed and need to stay in touch w/our business. Disembarking: Went OK. We were delays slightly by non-US citizens not showing up to clear customs at 7am as they were instructed, and Oceania kept paging them overhead. Once we were cleared, we were off the ship and through customs with our luggage in less than 20 mins. Getting a cab was a little dicey as there were 6 ships disembarking the same morning, but we got to the airport in plenty of time. This also caused a huge backup in check-in at the airport, it took 45 mins+ to clear security. Fortunately, we were not pressed for time as others were--word to the wise, allow plenty of time for a flight out of MIA. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2012
Having previously cruised in the owner's suite on both the Regatta and Insigna my wife and anticipated a new dimension in cruising as we booked an Eastern Caribbean voyage on the Marina. Since our last Oceania cruise the company ... Read More
Having previously cruised in the owner's suite on both the Regatta and Insigna my wife and anticipated a new dimension in cruising as we booked an Eastern Caribbean voyage on the Marina. Since our last Oceania cruise the company become apart of Apollo Management LP along with the Regency Seven Seas. With the exception on the Ikea inspired dorm like furniture in the stateroom, the ship is truly lovely. The library can only be imagined - wonderful. The furnishing the size/comfort of the seating in the public areas are perhaps the finest afloat. The crew was helpful and personable. The ships officers were aloof and offered no ship's tour of the kitchen or bridge so popular on other cruise ships like Silver Sea. The cruise director and many members of the staff were recovering from a sever case of bronchitis which quickly spread to the passengers including ourselves and traveling companions. Each bar check had to be individually signed with a common pen which was probably one of the ways in which the infection was transmitted between staff and passengers. Holland America doesn't require each chit to be signed and also had a staff member at the maitre d stand who would offer a hand sanitizer to each diner upon entering the restaurant. Our bout lasted almost a month and required a doctor's visit at home. Perhaps cruising during the winter flu seasons isn't advisable. The shows were apparently well produced by an independent company from Nashville, but only one was performed as a late afternoon matinee. The normal shows started after 9:30 pm which was too late for us as we wanted to participate in morning shore excursions. The matinee was almost filled to capacity and one would wonder why more aren't offered which would cater to the ages ( 60-80 ) of the ships passengers. Oceania is attempting to follow Cristal with optional all inclusive beverage and gratuity packages. We chose not to purchase the beverage package as we felt that it would be difficult to be identified by the wine servers in the dining room. We did take the gratuity package. Our room staff were fabulous and I inquired at the reception how much of our pre-paid was allocated to them. I was told that that was confidential. Not wanting to short change them, we gave them additional gratuities. Oceania should be all inclusive. Country Club Causal - My wife likes to dress up when we dine in the main dining room which is elegant and has the staff in formal style uniforms. Jackets are no longer required for the main dining room. We typically prefer to share a table with others, and many of the other passengers dressed as they were attending bingo night at the local Elks club. Shirts without collars, suspenders, sweaters without shirts, shorts, you name it. Not for us . Perhaps a section of the dining room could be reserved for those who want to dress down market. Other cruise lines have a blend of causal and more formal. Perhaps Oceania will be able to figure out their identity as a premium cost cruise line with a down market clientele. The food was exceptional. We enjoyed all venues with the exception of the evening meal on the Terrace grill where there was often a long line for the grill item of the night. I would be in line for 5-10 minutes while my wife would be at the table having her food getting cold. They should have wait staff take orders for grill items and serve them at the individual's table. The Muster Drill Given the Costa Concordia tragedy, I will finish with a few comments on the importance of muster drills. As a former holder of a US Coast Guard Masters License I have observed these drills with a critical eye. In recent years I have cruised on Crystal, Oceania and Silversea and all ships had full muster drills prior to departure. Having only been aboard only a few hours, the muster drill gives the passenger the opportunity to locate their life jackets, get familiar with them and become knowledgeable with the location and procedures of the life-boat stations. A critical aspect of the drill is that the crew station themselves on the stairways and hallways to give directions to the passengers. Since everyone is wearing a life jacket, the crew ware brightly colored hats which distinguish them from the passengers. The crew on Crystal and Silversea took their duties seriously and were easily identifiable by their hats. On the Marina during muster drill the crew were more casual about wearing their caps. The ships officers need to enforce this requirement and if the crew objects they should be replaced. The muster drill on the Marina did not assemble the passengers at life boat stations but in the main dining room. Apparently this was due to the fact that the ship doesn't carry enough life boat capacity for the guests and crew and instead relies on life rafts in canisters to supplement the life boats which will deploy upon contact with the water. I asked many officers and crew members how one was to enter a life raft and my questions were evaded. My guess is that once the guests have assembled in the main dining room a ship's officer will determine who gets to go the life boats - and depending on the sea state who will attempt to enter a life raft from the water (jumping fgrom the ship) or directly from the ships boarding ramp. Both the Nautica and Regatta muster drills assemble on deck at a designated life boat. Now in my seventies, I am not anxious to go thru a life raft drill and will chose smaller ships with full life boat capacity. If we cruise with Oceania again it will be on their smaller ships. We will look to Holland American for a up market value package and SilverSea for our all inclusive voyages. Oceania seems to be almost pregnant - it should be an all inclusive cruise line like Crystal or SilverSea or return to being an add on cruise. Hopefully Oceania will discover it's identify once again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2012
Let me start by saying that we had a wonderful vacation; and most hotels and restaurants could learn a lot from Oceania. That said, my husband and I took a 10-day cruise aboard Oceania's Regatta last year. (Western Caribbean) It was ... Read More
Let me start by saying that we had a wonderful vacation; and most hotels and restaurants could learn a lot from Oceania. That said, my husband and I took a 10-day cruise aboard Oceania's Regatta last year. (Western Caribbean) It was the vacation of a lifetime. The experience was unforgettable and we found Oceania to be "Perfection," as I entitled my review. For a year, we have told people that we would never consider any other cruise line. The 10-day cruise ended way too soon, so this year we booked a 12-night cruise aboard Oceania's newest ship, the Marina. (Eastern Caribbean) If you don't know: Oceania targets an older demographic and offers no activities or facilities for children. (YAY!) Its ships are mid-sized, carrying from 650 - 1250 passengers, so we experienced unbelievable personalized service last year. Dress attire is ostensibly country club casual (although it's amazing how many people don't seem to understand what that means). For these reasons, we selected Oceania last year. Because our experience was "perfection," we did not even consider any other cruise line for this year's vacation. Oceania's biggest failing is shore excursions. The descriptions provided are apparently written by the shore excursion companies. What we found is that the descriptions are often inaccurate. As an example: The desciption for the "Sail Away to Savannah Bay" says that, after a 45-minute catamaran ride to an island, you can snorkel or swim or relax on the beach. I booked the excursion thinking my husband and I would frolic on the beach and splash in the shallow water, while others snorkled. When we arrived at the snorkel location, we anchored far from shore. It was then that we learned that, to get to the beach, we would have to swim ashore! And back! My husband doesn't swim; had we known that, we would have chosen a different excusion. I got in the water and swim the length of the catamaran a couple of times and came to the conclusion that, although I could probably make it to shore, I was not at all confident I could make it back. Too, we would have to leave our personal belongings (cash, credit cards and a new digital camera) unattended on the boat (no lockers were provided), as we had no way to carry them with us as we swam to shore. Oceania says it "stands behinds its shore excursions" but they don't. We had fun, but weren't able to do what we had planned: frolic on the beach together and enjoy the shallow water of the beautiful Caribbean sea together because the description was not accurate. Therefore, we asked Oceania for a 50% refund and were denied. The other problem with the shore excursions: Oceania's lack of control over the quality of the excursion. In Dominica, we had booked "Dominica's favorites," as did many of our fellow passengers. So many guests booked that tour, that several buses were provided. With one exception, the buses looked fairly new, nice and clean. We had the exception. Our bus was filthy, old and poorly designed for adults -- especially seniors with all of our physical ailments. We were the second ones to board the bus. We chose a metal bench seat directly across from the door, thinking that the cross-breeze would keep me comfortable. We immediately realized our error, but passengers kept up a steady flow, filling the bus. By the time we were able to get up and move, all the seats had been filled so we were stuck. Here's the problem: The mechanics of the bus caused the floor to be stepped. (Think of where the transmission used to cause a big hump in the middle of your cars. No one wanted to sit in the middle because the floor rises up.) The floor had three levels to accomodate what lies beneath. The first step was where our feet where, not allowing sufficient space for the length of our feet! (We needed to have our toes amputated in order to fit.) I was able to stretch out my left foot, resting it on the next tier up, but our other three feet did not have sufficient room to accomodate the length of our feet. There was not adequate space for our legs, either. (I'm only 5'4; my husband is 5'9.) I have to wonder if the bus was designed for children. WE SPENT THE ENTIRE TOUR IN PHYSICAL PAIN! We took turns shifting hips; at one point, we changed seats: I moved to the outside and my husband took the aisle. At that point, I could no longer write in my journal (I had been taking notes of what the Tour Guide told us about the island), as there wasn't enough shoulder space. I had to sit with my arms forming a V and resting on the metal bar in front of our metal bench seat. This is an example of Oceania not having any control over the quality of the tour. Dominica seems to be a poor country. You can't expect them to give up the revenue associated with a bus load of tourists just because they don't have enough appropriate buses available -- but I can expect Oceania to inspect the buses and say "No, this is not acceptable." But they don't do that, so we spent the entire three hours in physical pain (less the time we were hiking up to the water falls). Again, Oceania claims they stand behind their shore excursions. They don't. I asked for a full refund -- we didn't spend $13,000 on a cabin plus liquor plus tips plus shore excursions plus plus plus so that we would experience hours of unnecessary physical pain. They did not respond to my request, nor offer an apology. (I know my end-of-cruise Survey was received.) In summary: Shore excursions are Oceania's weakness. I would advise against booking them. Go ashore and make your own arrangements. Last year, by the second day of the cruise, all of the pretty female drink servers at the bar knew my husband by name and what he drank. "Here's a cold Heineken for you, Mr. Bird." "Would you like another Heineken, Mr. Bird?" This year, most of the drink servers were male; they never (in 12 days) learned my husband's name or what he drank; and service at the pool was very inconsistent. Sometimes, they were attentive; other times, we would finally get up and get our own drinks. This holds true for the bar at the pool as well. One time, I asked for the check. The bartender acknowledged my request. I never got it. So I moved to a deck chair while my husband waited for the check. It was half an hour before he finally got the check for our two drinks - after asking a second time. We met our Butler the first day. We asked him to keep a carafe of iced tea in our suite for me at all times, as well as a bucket of ice. He did so. We also told him that we only need two things in the refrigerator: Diet Coke and Heineken. We asked him to make sure there is always cold Diet Coke and cold Heineken in the refrigerator. We ended up going to the Executive Lounge to get Diet Coke more often than not. Our butler went MIA on the third day; turns out, the rough waters made him "green around the gills." We also found that we're less than enamored with the guests this year. Because Oceania caters to an older demographic, a lot of guests are infirm. We too have walking challenges but are considerate enough (on the ship, at work, in public) to step to the side rather than hold up people behind us who can and want to walk faster than we can walk. Very few of Oceania's guests were considerate in this regard. A group would take up the entire passageway, moving excruciatingly slowly, and not step to the side to allow us to pass. Obviously, Oceania has no control over this; but one should be aware of this fact when selecting cruise lines. After sharing the pool at Margaritaville in the Grand Turks with a ship from Crystal Cruise Line, we decided "No more old people cruises." It was so fun to share the pool and bar with people of various ages; to see younger people actually play in the pool; young women on men's shoulders (ah! memories); beautiful tanned bodies; a few young children laughing as only children do. Again, we had a good time. Most hotels and restaurants could learn from Oceania. BUT: Service aboard the Marina was inconsistent and Oceania does NOT (regardless of what it claims) stand behind the shore excursions to the extent that guests might expect. For these reasons, among others with which I will not bore the reading public, we will consider other cruise lines in the future. Various guests consistently named Regent Silver Seas (which is all-inclusive, by the way) and Crystal as their preferred cruise lines. Next time, we'll check them out. Bon voyage! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
The ship is gorgeous -- decorated in very elegant but striking gold and glass. It sounds kind of glitzy but every day I would notice a new spot on board that was just exquisite. The ports that we visited on Mediterranean Tapestry were are ... Read More
The ship is gorgeous -- decorated in very elegant but striking gold and glass. It sounds kind of glitzy but every day I would notice a new spot on board that was just exquisite. The ports that we visited on Mediterranean Tapestry were are great. There is so much to do that, in each place that even if you have been to them before you could find someplace new to discover. Go book this cruise now! It was wonderful! Dining Food was pretty good. We dine out a lot and I enjoy cooking so I know what good food is and I also know what institutional food is. I went on this cruise with fairly high expectations because of other reviews but tempered with the understanding that I was on a cruise ship with 1200 paying passengers plus crew. The specialty restaurants delivered good food AND service that compared to many restaurants in the states. I must confess however if the service could be tweaked just a tiny bit (more on that later) in the Terrace Grill one of my favorite meals would be breakfast in the Terrace. Chocolate Croissants, a wonderful bowl of perfectly ripened berries (ok and maybe a slice or two of bacon on a couple days) along with a great cup of coffee made for such a great way to start the day I gave up room service just to come up and enjoy. We ate in each of the specialty restaurants and I would encourage everyone to take the time to make reservations ahead so that you are not disappointed. They each are very special. My favorite was Jacques but my husband liked Red Ginger. It's very minor but the weak link I found in the restaurants was starches. I love potatoes and honestly, the best potatoes I had on board were the fries on the Waves Grill. I had frits in Jacques and the ones in Waves were better. I can't tell you what I had in the main dining room but across the board the potatoes were under seasoned and disappointing -- I'm guessing these are the most often pre-prepared dishes. Speaking of pre-prepared, cruise ships should just realize that beef Wellington is not something they will be able to do well and quite trying. I watched a tablemate grimace a bit when he found the soft (not crispy) pastry wrapped around a nice piece of beef. My service concern in the Terrace is just a training issue that Oceania should address because I'm not the first person to notice. The staff is very well trained to greet everyone who comes thru the door. However, in the morning I don't need 8 people saying "Good Morning Madam" as I walk in. I just want my coffee. AND, I want my coffee to stay warm and at the table while I am in the dining area. In addition to being trained to greet everyone in their path the staff in the Terrace must be trained to remove anything and everything that isn't being consumed at the moment. One day a server actually interrupted a conversation in order to remove a small little piece of paper (empty tea bag maybe?) I saw more that one person have their wine or beer removed while they went to the buffet line at lunch or dinner. It frequently took too long to get coffee. If they can have staff standing around for half consumed drinks they can have staff roaming thru dining area with a pot of coffee. Culinary Center If you are interested in cooking by all means sign up for a cooking class in the incredible culinary center. I had experienced cooking classes on other ships where the instructor was more concerned about being entertaining than instructing so I was a little leery of trying again but I couldn't have been more pleased. Chef Noelle is passionate about cooking and sharing her cooking skills with others. I definitely came away with a few ideas I wanted to try when I came home which is why one would take a class. Concierge? We had used Concierge lounge on other cruise lines because it was the one place onboard where we could reliably find fresh fruit and vegetables and friendly, helpful service. The food and service on Marina were so good it wasn't necessary to use the concierge lounge and quite honestly, the food there (in CL) was not all that interesting or plentiful. We were in cabin 11064. This is a regular outside veranda sandwiched in between penthouse staterooms. I didn't really enjoy it. Because we were not "penthouse" guests we had to walk past the penthouse concierge lounge (which seemed very seldom used) on our level to go down to the regular concierge lounge. It would have been very convenient to do laundry and use lounge while waiting. In addition, every afternoon when I returned to my cabin (which was lovely) I walked past carts of chocolate dipped strawberries and all kinds of yummy looking snacks that were not available to me because I wasn't a "penthouse" guest. I don't know why but the staff seemed to use the space right outside our room as a parking spot. If I had been on the 8 floor with all of other veranda staterooms, I'm sure I would not have thought about the snacks but walking past them every afternoon became a nagging little irritation. On the few occasions I did look for concierge help the person at the desk was very helpful. Tours We booked all of our tours thru private operators prior to boarding. It only takes one time of sitting on a large bus of tired tourists waiting for one inconsiderate passenger to stroll slowly up to the bus and feign any understanding of why everyone on the bus is irritated to convince me there is a better way to travel. We had great professional guides in most ports and I wouldn't do Europe any other way. (feel free to contact me directly if you want info on any of the services we used -- Pre/Post Hotels We booked our pre and post hotels thru Oceania. Because we were on this cruise to celebrate major anniversary my husband wanted to be sure we were in nice hotels and not stressed by trying to find our way in cities we had not visited before. The thought was nice and the hotel properties were lovely (physically) but not at all convenient. We had booked just one extra day at each end (Athens & Barcelona) because I thought it would be a shame to see only the port and airport of these two great cities. Both of the O hotels were quite a distance away from anything. The Rey Juan Carlos in Barcelona wasn't even within walking distance of good restaurants and the people at the front desk were arrogant. Having to fit sightseeing into the very constricting Oceania schedule along with the fact that the hotels were not well situated actually ended up adding more stress than if we had just booked a convenient hotel that offered good front desk service. (friends stayed at the Athens Gate -- check them out on Trip Advisor) No Ship Photographers There are no annoying ship photographers lurking around or slowing you down as you leave/arrive the ship. It took me a day to realize they were not there but once I did it was wonderful. What I did love was the staff at a few of the tender ports greeting us with lemonade! Other Ship Features The library was well stocked and wonderful. We only spent a few minutes in the casino but it seemed as though the few folks who were there were enjoying it. (I lost!) My husband used the workout facility regularly and seemed happy with it. We attended one of the enrichment lectures (by Dr. James Curtis) and left feeling enlightened. Thank you! The art work on board is amazing -- sometime during your cruise just take a walk to enjoy! There is a wonderfully decorated pink glitzy bar near the casino that you need to enjoy. It is a small but special place. We were on this cruise to enjoy the ports so mostly we skipped the entertainment and either turned in early or enjoyed some time in the lounge with friends. This is not a ship with big production reviews. This is a port intensive cruise - not much time to enjoy the ship.It would be nice if there would be an extra day at sea or maybe 2 days in Rome to see all that there is to see there. I came home pretty tired. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
Perhaps our expectations were too high but being our first supposed "luxury" cruise line we were disappointed with the overall quality of food and service we received from Oceania. First the positives. The ship itself is ... Read More
Perhaps our expectations were too high but being our first supposed "luxury" cruise line we were disappointed with the overall quality of food and service we received from Oceania. First the positives. The ship itself is gorgeous. The decorating is understated but very rich and elegant looking. We loved the size of the ship (1200 passengers). It was very quiet and never seemed crowded in any area. The room staff was very pleasant as were the wait staff in the dining rooms. Oceania is known for its specialty restaurants and we ate in all four of them. Unfortunately, with the exception of Red Ginger we sent food and/or drink back in the other three. We are not "foodies" and I can't remember the last time I sent food back before this. The quality was fine (not exceptional)but the food was not hot. My potatoes in Jacques (their signature restaurant) were actually cold in the middle. We were continually sending back cappuccino because it was usually lukewarm to cool. The main dining room was worse. Twice we received the wrong food and while the waiters argued at their station about the order the correct order was still with them getting cold. Twice we were placed between two tables of twelve who were loud and over-served and when they tried to put us there a third time I refused and said I would wait for a window table. The wait staff was very pleasant but the maitre d's and hostesses were quite cool and disinterested. We found the same attitude at the Destination Services desk and the Dining Reservations desk. These staffs were professional but not personable and no one seemed interested in going out of their way to help. The standard answer was "everything is booked and there's nothing we can do. In talking to a number of passengers on the various tours we went on we found most felt the same way. Based on this experience, while I liked the size and ambiance of the ship I would not book with Oceania again. Their food quality and level of service was no better than I've experienced on Celebrity or Royal Caribbean and at Oceania' price point I expect more. I do like the smaller ships and will explore the other luxury/near luxury lines because Oceania did not meet that level on this cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2012
Almost Perfect... We had the pleasure of sailing w/the Marina on the 'Tuscan Artistry' sailing (Jacques Pepin sailing). By no means are we seasoned cruisers (only 2 previously w/Regent and 1 with a now defunct European line), ... Read More
Almost Perfect... We had the pleasure of sailing w/the Marina on the 'Tuscan Artistry' sailing (Jacques Pepin sailing). By no means are we seasoned cruisers (only 2 previously w/Regent and 1 with a now defunct European line), but we do love to travel internationally and do so frequently. Initially I was concerned that going from Regent (6*, all inclusive) to Oceania (5*, not all inclusive) may be a step down to what we have experienced previously but Oceania was pretty much fantastic and in some ways, better than Regent. Here's a summary of our experience. Food -- living in the NYC metro area has its advantages, one of which is access to a plethora of excellent dining choices (both fancy and simple). I was really looking forward to the cuisine and it did not disappoint. All meals were good to excellent. Hubby's favorite was Red Ginger by a long shot, mine was Jacques, where I felt the theme was simplicity at its best. While Red Ginger gets the edge for artistic interpretation, I felt it was trying too hard to be creative and make it all work, for example, the chocolate lemongrass crème brulee. For me personally, the dessert combo didn't work, I think they would have been better off combining lemongrass w/vanilla as the chocolate was strong enough of a flavor to compete and detract from the subtle flavor of lemongrass. I did try the duck and watermelon salad and that hit the spot -- excellent albeit a bit salty. Polo and Toscana, while very good, were nothing special to us since we have very similar restaurants in our local area. I've read many blah reviews about the Dining Room (food and slow service) and while the meals weren't out of the world great, they were still very good and I was surprised how quickly everything was served (only one night we had to wait a bit for our dishes and that was the last evening when the dining room was jammed). Perhaps I had low expectations since I read so many complaints prior, who knows, but we enjoyed our time there. The wonderful thing about the dining room was that I truly felt welcomed as the staff were so especially hospitable and seemed happy to have some diners. The Terrace Grill and Waves were consistently good and the Terrace Grill in particular had a very good variety of dishes (breakfast was the same every day though). Don't miss the Baristas, I enjoyed enough cappuccinos and lattes to last me several months. Staff -- Oceania's staff are wonderful -- every one of them! We would be greeted each time we were seen in the hallway returning to our stateroom and after a while, I felt guilty telling them about our splendid adventures since they obviously were stuck indoors working. Kudos to the entire dining and housekeeping staff for their excellent service and hospitality -- they made our stay great. I didn't see much presence of the officers but that is not something that is important to me so I didn't mind. The staff are what make Oceania great, I hope Oceania realizes this and rewards them accordingly. Excursions/Entertainment -- we pretty much did our own thing by taking advantage of the roll call and met some really great people. I discovered that even with a private tour, we were still paying about half of what Oceania would charge for a whole busload of people. We couldn't stay up late enough to take advantage of most of the entertainment but from what I understand, did not miss much based on Oceania's reputation in this area. We managed to catch 'Beatle Mania' which was fun and thankfully offered at the beginning of our cruise when we had more energy to stay up! Ports -- we really liked this itinerary (Barcelona, Sanary-Sur-Mer, Marseilles, St. Tropez, Monte Carlo, Portofino, Florence, Amalfi, Sorrento/Capri, Rome) and took a ½ day private tour w/Dream Tours while in Monte Carlo to visit Eze, Nice, and St. Paul de Vence. I thought Dream Tours was just ok -- by all means, the guide was very friendly but I was expecting him to go w/us to the actual villages of Eze/St. Paul de Vence and tell us about them. Instead, he dropped us off at the villages and allowed us free time to roam/do shopping -- I do believe parking is a challenge and this could be one reason for this. He did talk about the villages briefly in the car so it's not as if he didn't do his job so it was just me not realizing how the tour would flow. There was another group using Dream Tours as well but their tour was all day. Turns out that guide also dropped off the passengers at the villages rather than accompanying them so just be aware of this if you book with them. Our itinerary was also supposed to have included a stop at the famous flower market in Nice but we ran out of time. I wish we would have known that upfront. When I liaised w/Dream Tours, I was under the impression that this itinerary could easily been accommodated in a 4 hour tour. The villages by the way are quite charming and worth the visit. The biggest surprise for me personally was Nice -- I didn't realize how beautiful the water is, it has the same aqua hue of the Caribbean!! The other tour was with Rome in Limo for the Amalfi drive arranged by a fellow CC member and that was one was great. Our driver/guide was friendly and engaging and made a good recommendation for an authentic lunch that wasn't a tourist trap. Cabin -- we had an ocean view statement and it was very nice. I thought they could have included more outlets as a few of our charges took up so much room that you could only fit one at a time. I did bring an extension cord which worked out well. Ocean view rooms have the tenders immediately below so while they don't technically block the view, as soon as you walk over, you will see them and at times, a worker will be standing on the tender and will have full access to your cabin so do cover up! The shower was indeed quite small as others have commented, but we managed just fine...just don't drop the soap! Our cabin location was midship and normally I wouldn't expect the Mediterranean to have very rough seas, but on one night, it was very bad and one couple commented that the screws on their safe were knocked out since the rocking was so bad. This is when I was extremely grateful I didn't give in to the upsell to pay more for a balcony (assuming it would be aft or forward since it was near to our sail date) since I am usually very prone to seasickness and I was ok during the rough seas. Fellow passengers -- I have to admit, being that we were on the younger age bracket for the typical passenger (40 & 48), I thought we might be feel like we were in a nursing home after hearing a comment about Oceania making HAL look like a college campus! On our particular sailing, yes, the typical age was over 60 however there was definitely a smattering of younger guests (30s/40s) and many that were over 60 were actually in better physical shape than their younger counterparts. We found that for the most part, everyone is very friendly, highly educated and non-pretentious. The fellow CC passengers were especially fun to be around. I was very dismayed, however, by some guests who felt the need to be first or who rudely expected others to give up their seats (or take another seat where the view was poor) so that they could sit together for a cooking demo rather than plan ahead better so they could arrive on time. Honestly at their age, I expected better social graces, but unfortunately experience and age are not necessarily synonymous with good manners. Oceania did fall short, however, when it made one very serious mistake on our trip. We happened to be in a situation where we needed to call the emergency number while in Italy. Passengers are given a newsletter with all the port information as well as emergency contact numbers if you run into a problem. Well, we ran into a problem and needed help and guess what? Neither numbers that were provided did not work! I work in a global function and know how to dial international numbers, but assumed I must have been flustered and couldn't dial correctly, so had the local police dial, both from their cell phones and also from the local station and again, they could not reach the emergency contact either! The first number was to the local Italian affiliate's office and we got a recording in Italian saying the number was discontinued. The other number was a local representative's mobile/cell number and that kept ringing and ringing with nobody picking up. Can you imagine if someone were truly in a medical or other serious emergency? Thankfully we were able to make do but as soon as we were onboard (whew, just made it!), we went to the excursions desk and told a rep of our experience. If anything, having an accurate emergency contact is a critical detail all cruise lines need to get right, but with Oceania's high standards, their mistake was simply unacceptable. One last I mentioned, this was a Jacques Pepin sailing and the reason I booked this was since I (wrongly) assumed he would be hosting cooking classes. Apparently many others felt the same way since both of my culinary classes were cancelled due to overbooking. I attended the culinary center open house and the chef told me right away that she was teaching the classes and not him (which I knew before the start of the cruise) and I'm sure many were disappointed. He did have one general cooking demo but I was surprised as the choice of dishes since the recipes were on the simple side, as if it were for people who had very little cooking experience. Nevertheless, the session was entertaining enough and there is an opportunity to purchase a book for him to autograph. The cruise was indeed popular (sold out) and more expensive than a similar sailing (w/out Jacques Pepin) so for those contemplating whether or not a JP cruise is worth it....well, a similar itinerary will probably be just as good and you can save yourself some money. Hope you found this review helpful and happy sailing, you may be spoiled once you sail with Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
My wife and I have been on four Oceania cruises on the smaller ships. My first impression of the Marina was that this is a large floating Vegas hotel. I learned to love the ship as the cruise progressed. The embarkation was efficient. ... Read More
My wife and I have been on four Oceania cruises on the smaller ships. My first impression of the Marina was that this is a large floating Vegas hotel. I learned to love the ship as the cruise progressed. The embarkation was efficient. We arrived at noon and we were having lunch at 12:30 PM. Our room wasn't ready until 3 PM. There is a class system on this ship. People in higher category rooms have their rooms prepared first. They also get first choice of restaurant reservations. The layout of the Marina is very similar to the smaller ships. Oceania has tried to keep most things the same as on the smaller ships. The food is very good and in most cases excellent. I had an excellent fillet in Polo, an excellent osso buco in Tuscana and an excellent meso seared sea bass in Red Ginger. The service is very good. The beds are great. Oceania has corrected some of the problems with the smaller ships. The bathrooms are bigger and better. I liked having four specialty restaurants. The elevators are great. The lounge is much better. The entertainment is better but don't expect much. I didn't take any of the ships excursions. They were very expensive. I booked a 2 day deluxe tour of Saint Petersburg with SPb tours. I was very happy with their tour which was very reasonably priced. The ship provided a shuttle service in Helsinki and Tallin. The port provided a shuttle in Gdynia. We got a taxis in Gdynia and saw Gdansk and the Stutthof concentration camp. We walked off the ship tp see Riga, Ronne and Warnemunde. We missed the stop at Visby. The sea was too rough for safe tender operations.The internet seemed expensive. There was a long wait for a taxis in Copenhagen. My only major disappointment was the weather. It was far colder and wetter than I had expected. We had several cloudy days and a full day of rain in Saint Petersburg. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We had very high expectations for our first Oceania cruise, although we have cruised before. We were told we would never cruise another line again and that the food would be like eating in a five star nyc restaurant every night. Both ... Read More
We had very high expectations for our first Oceania cruise, although we have cruised before. We were told we would never cruise another line again and that the food would be like eating in a five star nyc restaurant every night. Both turned out to be false in our case. We arrived in Istanbul 2 days prior and stayed at the hotel nena which was in the old section of the City. It was a very reasonably priced hotel with a great location and a great view from their roof top Restaurant. It was in walking distant of the sights and also near the tram which was fairly easy to use. The hotel arranged a guide for us and we pretty saw what we wanted to see. We arranged for the hotel to drop us off at the ship. Embarkation- was easy and quick and we went to our room and then had a bite at the terrace grill. I had the surf and turf sandwich, which was medallions of lobster and steak. The steaks,was,delicious but the lobster not so much. Our bags arrived at our cabin which was an Inside. It was very comfortable, although we were surprised that the desk was so scratched up The carpet looked It was ready for a cleaning and even the threads on the pillowcase were shredding. I expected high standards. Ship - was beautiful, but low key, and many interesting sculptures and art work, the main dining Room was beautiful. We loved the lounges around the pool. The auditorium was small, and the entertainment was geared towards the late sixties and seventies which was the average age of the Ship. The gym was nice although I only visited it once as this was a very port intensive cruise. They did offer classes, ile yoga, stretch, spin. We did not use the spa but did tour it and it was Nice, but small. Activities- they seem to have some. Ice cooking classes and art classes, but I can't comment as I did not participate. Service - this is where we were disappointed... The staff worked hard , but definetly were not outstanding. Food- favorite restaurant was red ginger ((the lobster pad Thai, was great) and we did like all the other specialty restaurants , although we felt that toscanno was understaffed. The dining room Was good. Our disappointment was at the terrace grill where it took 40 minutes to get a hamburger. After 20 minutes I was told they were very busy and then had to wait another 20 minutes. As this was on our second day of the cruise at lunch, I wondered how oceania could claim to have such a hi ratio to passenger staff. Ports - we did not take Oceania excursions because we like do it our selves. I will review the ports Which I could not find much information on Cc. Also they had a cruise lecturer who was excellent and Gave great info on the ports Mittilini (lesbos) we were there on a Saturday and many locals were at the waterfront tavernas enjoying their day off. We went to the castle which is very close to the dock, then strolled thorough the town, and did some shopping and then ate lunch at a taverna facing the water. It was very Picturesque . Marmaris, turkey - we walked through the market to the boats and for $25 pp we had a 3 hour boat Tour. We stopped at a cove a jumped into the Aegean . It was great. Before boarding we stopped for Turkish bagels and bread some cheese and drinks and had a picnic on board.. Antalya , turkey - the ship provided a shuttle from the port which was about a 25 minute ride. We went to the anatalya museum and rented their audio guide which was very good. We also saw Hadrian gate and went to the. Market. Kusadasi - used Ephesus shuttle and were very pleased. Ephesus was amazing. We did not like The market in kusadasi as they were very aggressive. Disembarkation - easy and quick. We had a taxi arranged to pick us up and bring us to the airport. It was half the price of oceanias transfers for 2. Marina was a great ship with a few blemishes. Oceania goes to great ports, we were very lucky with the weather it was An average of 70's to 80's with one day 92 degrees Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
I have just returned from a 10 day cruise on Oceania Marina. A bit of background, I am a working health care professional, Scottish and have cruised a few times before. My first experience with Oceania was aboard Regatta on the Med, a ... Read More
I have just returned from a 10 day cruise on Oceania Marina. A bit of background, I am a working health care professional, Scottish and have cruised a few times before. My first experience with Oceania was aboard Regatta on the Med, a great cruise which impressed me with the service, quality of food & good (if a bit pricey) tours. Based on this, my husband and I booked to go on Marina for our 20th wedding anniversary, a larger ship holding twice as many passengers as Regatta but still smaller than many other cruise ships. The salient feature of this cruise is supposed to be luxury, but without the sky-high price tag & dressing-up / finery required by other cruise lines - 'country club casual' is the dress code. There is also little for young children, so there are usually no little people screaming and running around, which I love to get away from - don't get me wrong, I love kids, but it's nice to get a break! We did not use the Canyon Spa, but we did go to Marina Lounge a few nights, the entertainment was ok - favourite was Jamie Michael Stewart, a singer of high calibre who got a standing ovation. However, this time with Oceania I had occasion for the very first time to complain. Firstly, let me stress, I had a great holiday - the cabin, an A1 Concierge level on deck 10, was in my opinion, great. Perfectly fine, nice bathroom, yes the shower is small, buy hey - you're on a ship and you have a bathroom, tiled and marble with bath & shower replete with Bulgari toiletries. The service from the hard-working staff in bars & restaurants, was excellent. The food was way above average, the Grand Dining Room offered a fabulous range of choices, from a simple (but beautifully presented) lunch sandwich to a full 4 course option if wished. I had Beef Wellington one night to die for, and one other dinner consisted of Norwegian Salmon which was exquisite. The speciality restaurants were also very good - Red Ginger was, without a doubt, the favourite with everyone - try the white pear & ginger tea with your meal, I loved it. Jacques... I found disappointing, the chicken was over-salted. Polo Grill was great, always excellent steak, but a wee bit spoiled as they forgot to switch on the air-conditioning and my husband over-heated! Toscana was good too, my second favourite. One small point, if you are not a wine lover, the sommeliers make you feel guilty if you don't order from the expensive wine list, and I'm not a huge wine lover, but just ignore them! Now to my complaint. I read the brochure sent before my holiday, and it said we needed a visa for Turkey. The travel agent told me it was a formality - £10 and it would be easily done when in the country itself. We came back from a lovely tour of Jerusalem to find a letter in our stateroom - asking for $49 (approx £32) PER PERSON for Oceania to get these visas!!! When I asked at the service reception about this, they were less than helpful & directed me to the concierge. When I complained to him, an English couple overheard me & added their voice to the complaint. I requested an alternative method of getting the visas myself. By the time the word had gotten around, lots of UK passengers complained too, even those who had signed the form to be charged the $98 per couple asked to have the charge cancelled & get the visa themselves. The purser eventually called everyone who complained & told us we could get the visas in Kusadasi port, information that had not been forthcoming as an alternative to Oceania's super-charged alternative. When asked about the charges Oceania were trying to make, we were advised this was 'an administration fee'. I asked how Oceania get the visas - 'we phone ahead'. All this extra charge for one phone call?! Rip-off is more like it! We all got our visas in Kusadasi, a mere formality - and one English couple told us if they had not checked their bill at the end of the cruise, Oceania tried to charge them the $98 even although they had cancelled it days earlier. Poor show, Oceania! My second minor complaint was regarding the people occupying the state room next to ours. Crashes and banging, like someone was re-arranging the furniture, sometimes at 11pm. It turned out we saw an Asian couple were in this room - with their mother! In a room rated for 2 people only! There was a rumour onboard that Oceania could not fill the cabins, so they were offered cheap to an Asian travel agent who then sold them off cheaply. This meant that the 'country club casual' ambiance of the ship was ruined by an influx of Asian guests with faded jeans & tatty t-shirts in the main dining areas. I am not a snob, but we didn't pay over £4000 (inclusive of tours booked) to witness this, or to be disturbed by the people in the cabin next to us, to the point we were banging the walls to tell them to let us sleep!!!! One other thing, I like to keep in touch with family, and Oceania charge something like $249 for internet access for 10 days - another rip-off considering at the end of the cruise, they announced internet access was free for everyone to check flights were not cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy affecting New York. In this day & age, internet access should be free in my opinion, and it wasn't that fast anyway, certainly not worth that amount of money. If anyone from Oceania reads these reviews, they need to sit up & take notice. Customers like me will remember these smaller points for a longer time than the good points, and why? Because it should not be the case that a holiday advertised as a high-class vacation should be spoiled by points like these - I used to recommend Oceania to friends & relatives, now I will be taking a look at other cruise companies too. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
Our second Oceania Cruise, same ship, Marina. We were on Marina when it was first introduced, new. However, for some reason this cruise seemed different. The staff were not as friendly as previous, a little down perhaps, but they still ... Read More
Our second Oceania Cruise, same ship, Marina. We were on Marina when it was first introduced, new. However, for some reason this cruise seemed different. The staff were not as friendly as previous, a little down perhaps, but they still took care of all our concerns. After cruising with Oceania the first time I loved it more after Azamara. For some reason, I think I like Azamara for the little things. Oceania is however a very luxurious ship and we enjoyed the Happy Hours. We did not however enjoy some of the ports in Fiji. We thought that they had cut back and picked these ports that were depressing and ugly. We chose this itinerary because we wanted to visit Fiji. We are also disappointed that our ship anchored elsewhere in Vanatua (if I am spelling that correctly) whereas another ship was anchored at Champagne Beach one of the most beautiful beaches of the world. So we had to get a taxi from the other side of the island to visit this magical place. The ships dining was superb but we found Red Ginger was not as good as the first cruise, there was way too much sauce on the entree. And Toscana was very salty. Talking to fellow passengers they all felt the same. There is no smoking in the cabins but I know that someone close to us was smoking either in the cabin or on the veranda. I wondered how much they paid their room steward to keep a closed mouth. Embarkation was a nightmare, for some reason we were able to board as visitors while the previous cruise passengers were still onboard. It was crazy! However, disembarkation was much better. We made our own tour arrangements off ship, outside the port for a fraction of the cost of the cruise. Since our departing flight was not until late in the evening for the same price as the cruises transfers we booked a private day tour and they even took us to the airport with our luggage. We also liked the fact that we could bring liquor, beer and wine onboard to enjoy in our cabin. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2013
Third cruise on the Marina. I love a new ship no smells or mold. Penthouse 1 a perfect size for a longer cruise. Butler and cleaning staff were excellent. Room under Waves Grill a bit too much noise at times. Gym and trainer excellent. ... Read More
Third cruise on the Marina. I love a new ship no smells or mold. Penthouse 1 a perfect size for a longer cruise. Butler and cleaning staff were excellent. Room under Waves Grill a bit too much noise at times. Gym and trainer excellent. Good equipment and nice selection of classes at the gym. Was a wine cruise, with good lectures on wine. Food not the best. The special wine dinner at $95./person was exceptional. Food service and wine were 1st class. The specialty restaurants are okay, but you need patience, service is slow. Main dining room good food, slow service. The Terrace Grill(serve yourself) okay, but food selection limited. Not a very friendly atmosphere, excepting our butler and cabin cleaners. Cruise director it very good and friendly. Officers kind of cold. Biggest complaint are the outrageous excursion costs. These are over the top. Get off ship and get your own tours or book online before leaving home. I wouldn't use their airfare or transfers. I like direct flights and I have at least 4 days before and after cruise in hotels of my choice. I would sail with them again, book most of my own tours, airfare, transfers, etc. The staterooms, room service meals, and the gym are the main reasons. Read Less
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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