We had some unusual circumstances occur in our family which ended up with Mom and Dad being able to finally take that long-awaited cruise to the Patagonia Region of South America. It was the first time we were solo over the holidays, and were not sure what to expect from a cruise line, any cruise line during this time of year. Oceania did not disappoint with their exceptional level of service and consistently delicious menus. Many of the shore excursions offered by the ship were fun and worthwhile. Embarkation and disembarkation were painless, even with an unplanned worker strike in Buenos Aires which lead to several late arriving passengers. The Marina is a beautiful ship, just like her sister ship the Riviera. We enjoyed all the ports, especially the Falkland Islands, Ushiaia, and Valparaiso. We could have done without Porta Este. Some of the others would have been spectacular if we had been favored by clearer skies and less rain.
They had a great pianist and female soloist onboard to entertain, as well as a talented comic musician to supplement their rather mediocre perform group. The comic who they picked up at the end of the cruise was in bad taste.
We especially enjoyed the on-bard lecture series and trubador performances. One disappointing factor was that Christmas Eve and Christmas were downplayed to the point that a few "love and peace" folk and pop songs were the focus and besides the beautiful tree and decorations in the main lobby not much was there for those of us looking for a more traditional Christmas atmosphere and activities.
Our overall experience was very memorable and we would go on either of these 2 ships again if the itinerary was one we were interested in. The level of concerned response and follow-up during the cruise was above anything we had seen in more than 30 years of cruising and has pretty much decided us on making Oceania our #1 choice when planning our next vacation.
Our cabin was a balcony level on the starboard side. We were disappointed that our view from the balcony was often blocked in port by storage containers and limited views the majority of the time. However the cabin itself was very nice and the steward service was excellent! So glad they have both a bathtub and shower that are separate as well as a variety of pillow softness to have as options.