Marina is a beautiful ship and the public areas are not only amazingly gorgeous in their decor but the entire ship is just a joy to behold. All the public areas have amazing and interesting furniture, works of art, soft furnishings, fabrics etc. The ports of call on this cruise were so interesting. We visited Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bari Italy, Corfu Greece, Zakynthos Greece, Valetta Malta, Catania Siciliy, Naples/Pompei and the cruise disembarked in Rome.
The veranda stateroom on level 8 was very acceptable with a comfortable bed and it was clean and well presented. All of the staff were lovely as usual and did an excellent job. Shore excursions were all wonderful and very interesting and 'destination services' staff who organise the booking of on shore excursions did an excellent job. Entertainment was fairly tame but we had chef Jacques Pepin on board which was enough entertainment on its own and we so enjoyed seeing his face around the ship and at the book signing.
Cruise Director and his male assistant were average and could have been more helpful with the following issue but I suspect he may have been unwell. Much to our disappointment this cruise was ruined by a mystery virus or food poisoning, which was reported the CDC. The captain made an announcement some days after the problem surfaced advising '...anyone who feels ill should remain in their room and notify the medical centre and the doctor would visit them in their room and the service would be complimentary (free)'. We soon discovered this was incorrect advice, the same incorrect advice was repeated a couple of days later in another announcement from the captain to our astonishment. The medical service was not free but was charged and the rates were quoted over the phone by a the nurse who would not send the doctor unless we agreed to be charged fees and reported certain symptoms. I had an extensive conversation with the general manager about the inconsistent advice from the captain. I was so glad that I had my own medical knowledge and carried medications with me for such events as I found the medical services on board rude and of no help at all. Obviously the hypocratic oath has a dollar value with the medical staff on this ship.
The television, which is inadequate at the best of times with limited channels and poor picture bombarded us with a cruise director from another ship (Dottie) singing to us with instructions about how to wash our hands - it was repetitive, annoying and one didn't even want to turn the TV on. We were treated like children with the repetitive messages on the TV and around the ship about cleaning our hands and instead of having a wonderful experience we began to hate the cruise. All the elegant trimmings and presentations were removed from any dining experience and were greeted with all the food displays in the Terrace cafe being wrapped in cling wrap (as in the actual glass covered enclosures). We were forbidden from touching any food, we were policed about using the antibacterial fluids upon entry to food serving areas so much so that my hands suffered a severe outbreak rash from an allergic reaction the product - if I objected to using it on my hands that had just been washed in the adjacent bathroom I was not allowed into the dining room. We were not allowed to touch or even use a salt and pepper shaker let alone cutlery on the table - we were given cutlery wrapped in a napkin onto a totally bare table minus all the lovely Versace china and wine glasses that are normally displayed at their dining venues.
We understood the precautions that they were taking but it was a horrid, policed, sanitary, unappealing cruise which soured our previously favourable view of Oceania and its management. We also lost faith in the ability of management to convey an accurate instruction to the passengers about medical care in the situation. They seemed to just be rubbing their hands together about charging people for a medical issue which was clearly out of control on board the ship. I was shocked to see a clearly unwell and exhausted staff member serving coffee in Baristas when he was clearly unwell and exhausted but someone must have signed him on as fit for duty. No wonder Oceania had a problem on board ship!
I had a great deal of on board credit on this cruise - in excess of $US1000 and as the cruise was so dreadful I did not spend much of my on board credit. On the 6th day I received a letter stating I should go to reception before disembarkation day to receive a cash refund. I still have this letter even though the reception staff tried to keep it. I want it as proof of their poor attitude and inept service. The letter advising a cash refund softened my frustration and anger about the unpleasantness of the cruise due to matters beyond our control. I considered that was the least that Oceania could do for us given I'd paid thousands of dollars to do the cruise and it had been a complete disaster as far as a pleasant experience goes.
When I took my letter to reception to collect the cash as per their instructions I was told that they wouldn't give it to me. It was non refundable. Having been refunded / reimbursed previously on another Oceania cruise that encountered a hurricane I had sincerely believe that they intended to do what they stated in their letter as a gesture of goodwill. (I stress that it was a voluntary refund and not requested). I felt humiliated and angry at being denied my money which they/Oceania told me to collect from reception desk. I was left on the last night of the cruise with a great deal of money not spent and refused a refund which Oceania put in writing and offered to give me. There were other passengers waiting in line who were being given the same news and they ushered them away to avoid a scene.
Needless to say I left the cruise the next morning furious with Oceania management. From the Captain through to the Medical Staff through to the General Manager I felt that they all needed some training regarding delivering a clear and consistent message, honouring what they put in writing, customer service and how to not treat passengers like 5 year olds!
Beautiful cabin. Comfortable bed. Maintained in excellent condition. Safe was a bit on the blink with sticky buttons. No complaints about the cabin.
Embarkation port. Beautiful port - cannot fault Venice itself. Stayed at Hilton hotel Oceania recommend. Refused transfer to port from Oceania staff as not booked through Oceania. Lengthy walk at port with no assistance from Oceania staff.
Visited Piran and Padna and sampled local foods and wine. You can walk to the old town from the ship at this port if you don't want to do an excursion. Long wait in line getting through Slovenian security to reboard ship after tour ended.View All 31 City Tour Reviews
Piran and Padna were visited. Tour was very nice. You can also walk to the old town on your own from the ship as its very close to where the ship docks. Slovenian security was horrendous upon return from tour and it was quite an ordeal removing shoes and clothing. Took about half an hour of longer to get through security.View All undefined undefined Reviews
One of the prettiest approaches to a port that you will experience every. Beautiful sail into Kotor. Honey coloured houses tumbling down the hillsides to the sea. Green water reflecting the mountains and hills beyond. Still waters, Sun shining. Wonderful tour on very winding narrow Serpentine Road through ragged mountains which was a little bit scary due to enormous heights and narrow hairpin turns.
So disappointed. There is no point touring the caves unless you do the longer tour. Very friendly shop owners around entrance to caves. Only given 1/2 hour to look around Polignano A Mare and most of that was spent walking in and out from the bus.
Makes you feel like you are in Genoa or Naples. English cricket square in town. Drive along west coast of island. Old Monastery founded in 1225. Roper Valley. Cumquat liquer at Kouat distillery. Drive to Bella Vista on winding narrow high road with hairpin bends. There is a shuttle bus to the edge of the port here and then a further shuttle bus to the town.View All 54 Panoramic Corfu Reviews
Medina is gorgeous and I would love to return to stay a few nights. Walking tour of Medina was relatively easy and so enjoyable. A very comprehensive tour which included the church at Mosta which I had visited on another trip and the Dingli Cliffs which I had also previously visited - very windy there! Lovely guide and tour.
Walk around Pompei is hard work! Worth it though. 122 acres and 2 1/2 hours of walking and standing. Very crowded at Pompei. Expect a visit to a shop selling Cameo jewellery.View All 505 Pompeii Walking Tour Reviews
Comfortable coach. Punctual. Don't care where they drop you at the airport though so had to walk back to another terminal for check in.View All undefined undefined Reviews