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Marina Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
713 Reviews

Buyer Beware!!

Marina Cruise Review by AZAdventurer

16 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Apr 2016
  • Destination: the South Pacific
  • Cabin Type: Concierge Level

We chose this cruise primarily because the itinerary included Easter Island, but also because of Oceania's reputation for upscale cruising and wonderful food. What a disappointment this turned out to be! Although the food more than lived up to the hype, there were so many other major and minor issues, I will not cruise with Oceania ever again.

I'll start with the positives:

* The embarkation process was about the smoothest I've experienced on a cruise so far.

* The ship is lovely and easy to find your way around, and there were plenty of places to relax, both in and out of the sun.

* The spa services, although quite expensive, were wonderful.

* As mentioned, the food was wonderful! A great variety of well-prepared options at every meal, specialty restaurants that were truly special, and outstanding buffets, The wine pairing dinner we attended in the La Reserve dining room was nothing short of fabulous in every respect.

* The ports in French Polynesia were excellent, with one exception I will describe below.

* Much of the service was good, with some staff members who were very accommodating.

* The cabin for the most part was comfortable and spacious, but there were also exceptions, as noted below.

* The Jacques Pepin cooking class was excellent.

Sadly, the above positives are outweighed by the negatives:

* We enjoyed Tahiti and Moorea very much. However, when we were on our way to Bora Bora, we learned the excursion we had signed up for was canceled - with no explanation. Because everything was booked up by then, they offered a poor excuse for the tour we wanted to go on. Instead of a half day experience with sharks and stingrays, we ended up with a 90-minute glass bottom boat ride. The tour guide was excellent and did what he could to make it a good experience, but had we known the other tour would be unavailable, we would have made a different choice early on. It would also have been nice if Oceania had offered a more comparable substitute.

* Overall, the excursions were expensive compared to other cruises I've taken and most were pretty forgettable and not of the same quality as others offered by Oceania's competitors.

* The entertainment, with two exceptions (the local Polynesian dancers at Moorea and the comedian) was simply awful and amateurish, with mediocre dancing, and singers who sang off key.

* There were craft classes that we tried to take, but even arriving 15 minutes early, the room was already filled to capacity, with one exception, where we arrived 30 minutes ahead of time.

* The service varied greatly. For the most it started out as excellent, but gradually declined over the course of the trip, as evidenced by less attention to the cleanliness of the stateroom, and inattention of the wait staff. It also started on a sour note. There were four adults in our party, and when we went up for lunch at the buffet after we embarked, naturally we wanted to sit together. When we asked for a table for four, the maitre'd told us we were being "picky" because we did not want to sit at two separate tables.

* As mentioned, the cabin was nice. However, one of the lights alongside the bathroom mirror would not stay on. It would come on at first, and then (typically while I was in the middle of doing my hair and makeup) go ff and stay off. I called housekeeping and they said someone would come by to fix it. Although we were told it was fixed, the next time I turned it on it behaved exactly the same way. Although I requested it be fixed numerous times during the cruise, it was not.

* In contrast to embarkation, debarkation was disorganized, with staff running around trying to herd people where they needed to go. Communication was somewhat lacking. We had a car picking us up to take us to our day room in Lima but we did not know if they would be able to come to the ship or if we needed to meet them outside the gate. We ended up as the absolute last people sitting at the dock in the hot sun. (People were already boarding the ship for the next cruise.) Someone from the crew finally took the time to let us know that we needed to meet our car outside the gate. During the time we sat there, almost every crew member we tried to get to help us was short-tempered and bordering on rude.

* The biggest negative of the cruise came during our last week. We knew beforehand that we would not be able to tender in to Pitcairn Island, but they more than made up for that with interesting lectures and the majority of the islands 46 residents on board to talk with and buy from. However, Easter Island (one of the main reasons we chose this itinerary) was a completely different story. We were unable to go ashore there because of rough waters. I later learned that this has happened many times in the past, and they have since taken this port off the itineraries to the South Pacific. The captain said they were going to circumnavigate the island in the hope that they'd be able to get us ashore, but it was obvious that this was a delaying tactic; it was clear the waters were much too rough.

After we completed the circuit around the island, they informed us that we would be heading directly to Callao. Thus continued an awful, agonizing, and boring 8 days straight in rough seas. The pool was closed most of the time because it was sloshing over the sides and unsafe to swim in. It was so terribly windy on deck that it was not feasible to lie out there unless you were in the sun, but with everyone on board at the same time, there were usually not enough lounges to do that.

There was no apology, no offers of compensation, no indication that Oceania even cared that the highlight of the trip was canceled. Although the crew tried to make up for it to some extent, it was clear they were unprepared for the situation.

We expected that Oceania would head directly to Callao (which was scheduled on the itinerary to take four days) and that we might have an extra day or two in Lima - and perhaps have time to take a day trip to Macchu Pichu. Instead, we were informed that we would arrive as scheduled (in other words, five and a half days later). We proceeded at a snail's pace until, sadly, a crew member was injured and they sped up to get us there a day ahead of schedule so he could receive medical attention.

* Perhaps the worst part of this is that despite attempts to communicate with Oceania, in the survey form completed on board the ship, an email communication, and through our travel agent, there has been no response from Oceania, not even an acknowledgement. Perhaps this has to do with their acquisition by Norwegian, but I believe there is no excuse for what we experienced, and shameful for Oceania to not even respond.

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