My wife and I are veteran cruisers, but this was our first cruise with Oceania. The ship was, at first glance, a bit underwhelming, especially as compared to the larger, and glitzier mass market megaships. But we quickly discovered that the Marina has a certain elegance that is not found on larger ships. And we appreciated this more with each passing day.
We arrived at Southampton around 1 PM on departure day and quickly checked in and were shown to our cabin on the port side of Deck 9, Concierge Level. Our cabin attendant introduced himself as soon as we arrived, and his service, throughout the 12-day cruise was outstanding. The Concierge lounge was just down the corridor and served coffee, sodas, and snacks (small sandwiches/croissants and cookies) throughout the day. Daily newspapers from both London and the U.S.A. were available every day. Internet service, though free and unlimited for O-Life Choice guests, was often slow and sometimes not available at all.
We had a number of shore excursions booked. Most were pretty good, but the exception was our trip to the Edinburgh Castle. The guide on the tour bus was not very informative, and she escorted us into the castle (thus bypassing the long queue for tickets) and basically left us there. And it was raining quite hard at the time.
We really liked the port call at Kirkwall, in the Orkney islands, and the five ports in Norway, where we had unusually good weather, and spectacular scenery.
However, not all was perfect. The shows were of varying quality. The casino was very small, and the craps table was often not open. Onboard activities, for which one could earn "Big O" points (redeemable for merchandise at the end of the cruise) were plentiful. We actually had a good time with Trivia contests, Name That Tune, Cornhole, and golf putting and earned enough points to get two moisture-wicking Oceania T-shirts.
Food was very good, but not "fabulous," as we were lead to believe. The menus in the Grand Dining Room were varied, but there were times when I felt I had to settle for something that I might not otherwise have ordered. We dined in four of the specialty restaurants (at no extra charge) and they were all good. But Polo and Jacques were much better than Toscana and Red Ginger. The Terrace Cafe (buffet style) was great, with lots of choices. We especially liked that lobster tails were available EVERY night at the buffet, and they were delicious. Also, at the buffets, guests had to ask for everything they wanted, rather than reaching in and serving oneself. I had no problem with this as it seems the best way to avoid spreading Norovirus. Only the servers were allowed to put food on plates.
Lunch at the Waves Grill was also very good--great burgers and sandwiches.
Overall, we had a great time, but, considering the price difference between Oceania and other cruise lines, we're not so sure the cruise was worth that difference in cost.
Nice cabin. Lots of room for all of our clothing in numerous drawers and one very large sliding-door closet. The cabin attendant did a great job keeping everything nice and neat and keeping the ice bucket always filled.
Heavy rain that day. Tour guide escorted us into the castle, then left us on our own. Disappointing. We opted to remain longer in Edinburgh and took a cab back to the cruise port in Newhaven.View All 37 Edinburgh Castle Reviews
Beautiful scenery, and a very knowledgeable tour guide made this a very enjoyable excursion. We had a lot of time to wander around Kirkwall at the end of the excursion.
Did Bergen on our own using the Hop-on, Hop-off bus, which was a lot cheaper and more convenient than the cruise operated shore excursion. Lots of shopping in Bergen as well.
Great train ride through spectacular scenery. Also had a nice waffles and coffee lunch at the top of the mountain before returning to Flam.View All 212 Flam Railway Reviews
The waterfall was viewed as a stop on the Flam Railway trip. Impressive waterfall with a young lady dancing and singing on the hill above. Nice touch.View All 9 Kjosfossen waterfall Reviews
Beautiful ride to the 1500 meter summit of Mt. Dalsnibba. Awesome views of the Geirangerfjord and surrounding mountains and lakes. Also, a waffles and coffee lunch was included here as well.View All 75 Mount Dalsnibba Reviews
Very knowledgeable tour guide made this a great tour. Unfortunately, the length of the tour left us NO time to explore the town of Alesund at all. Looked nice from the bus, and disappointed that we were not able to walk around the town as the tour got back to the ship just a few minutes before we were due back on board.View All 27 The Path of the Trolls Reviews
Great boat tour of Lysefjord and Pulpit Rock. Stops were made to feed the mountain goats and catch some water from a local waterfall for all to sample. Also, a final opportunity for waffles and coffee. The scenery on this tour was unbelievably spectacular.View All 68 Lysefjord Reviews