We normally cruise on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We were invited to join a Wine Makers Cruise aboard Marina.
The embarkation for this cruise was like none we had ever experienced, it was fantastic.
There were no lines and the staff could not have been nicer.
When we booked we chose a balcony cabin and were told there were cabins available at the rear of the shift with an extended balcony. Research on Cruise Critic revealed these are very nice cabins to have. They are twice as big with 2 lounges and 2 chairs and a table.
Our friends had the cabin next to us so we were able to open the panel to allow access to both balconies.
The cabin was large with plenty of storage in the closet and many drawers. The temperature in the room could be adjusted to our liking. The bathroom was spacious and beautiful. My favorite thing is the bathroom has a light switch inside. On all other ships I have been on the switch is on the outside so you must turn it on and it lights up the whole cabin during the night. Great feature.
The dining was overall a "10" . The food was fantastic, especially in the specialty restaurants which are no additional fee. Service in these restaurants was perfection.
My only food complaint is the Terrace Cafe. This is a buffet with very good food but they must serve you the food and there is no queue for the lines. It is people jockeying for position and taking cuts without thinking about it. There is a beautiful back outdoor area to eat your food, very comfortable if not windy with great views. The Waves grill is very nice, you order and sit and they bring you your meal. Excellent food there. Afternoon tea in Horizons was lovely. Fantastic wait service and excellent food to pair with your tea.
The ship is overall in perfect condition. I only had a few complaints- a hair dryer with only low speed. Complained early on and by the end of cruise got one with two speeds. The bottle of VO I ordered came as a cheaper Seagrams 7. This error was fixed quickly. The toilets were out of order for a full day on a large portion of the ship. It smelled quite a bit that day. They made no announcement on it and no apologies were made. We know this can happen on cruise ships but please acknowledge the problem and let us know you are working on it. Also let us know which areas are not affected so we can use those facilities. The toilet in our friends cabin overflowed and the staff did nothing to apologize for this inconvenience.
The Entertainment is good, they had entertainers that sang and danced and they used them several nights in the showroom and spotlighted a few other nights in Horizons. I think they started the dance hour too late in Horizons, as with the travel we did it would be nicer to allow dancing at 9:00 for those who wanted to. There was trivia, golf putting, food classes and of note the casino was smoke free. That was literally refreshing as it kept the ship smoke free. My husband won money on the slot machines which for a cruise ship is rare.
I used the gym and while small it had wonderful equipment. I did not use the spa or salon due to the usual high cruise pricing. They did have the ceramic lounges and a steam/sauna available to all. The one day I went to use the steam, it was being worked on so not available.
Ty, the concierge, was a great help. We purchased OLife as we wanted Wi-Fi. So we picked excursions with it just to get the WiFi. After we booked I read there is now complimentary Wi-Fi. We complained that we in essence paid for something that was now free. Ty worked with us allowing us to cancel 2 of our 3 shore excursions and we were credited the charge for those. Very accommodating. The Wi-Fi on board was better than most ships. Only one person from your cabin allowed to be on at one time which is standard. You can purchase an additional person but it is costly.
The desktops and internet area were very nice. The library was excellent and was in constant use. The game room had lots of choices of games. There is ping pong, shuffleboard, croquet, a putting green, paddle board and a netted one person driving range. The pool is beautiful and there were at least two spas. The chaise lounges by the pool were comfortable and each covered with attached towels. The crew works so hard every morning get it to look great.
Oslo, Norway- It was quite crowded as traffic was President of Solvakia was visiting and we had trouble getting around. We visited the Ice Bar, I would say one and done. Probably not worth going to.
Copenhagen Denmark - Just beautiful. We took a wonderful canal tour and loved the sights. Later we stopped by an amazing Tivoli Gardens, what a fun place but not enough time to see it all.
Berlin- We took a tour with Alla Tours and had a great guide from Ireland. It was a long but pretty 3 hours bus ride. Our tour group was only 12 which made it easier. The Berlin Wall was amazing. Visited Checkpoint Charlie, stopped at a nice food court to eat and returned in time to the ship. Thank you guide Daniel Flaherty.
Visby - Visby is an island, so serene and beautiful. We took the ship's Excursion- Visby by Bicycle. It was a nine mile ride. We had a great time. There were some long hills and the bikes were heavier than we are used to. Overall everyone made it and it was very enjoyable and a great way to see a good portion of Visby, the only City on the island and a tourist destination for Scandinavians. We could see why it is so popular.
Helsinki - We began with a boat cruise which was just beautiful . After we walked to the Uspenski Cathedral. A nice walk and a beautiful place. We visited Senate Square and the building was closed for a wedding. Very beautiful. We missed Rock Church but saw unique photos from others. We ate lunch at a fabulous restaurant on the way back to the ship. Salutorget- a Scandanavian Bistro. Fabulous hamburgers and french fried potatoes, not to mention the best Gin and Tonics on our trip.
St Petersburg- Our port for 2 days. You must be on a guided tour to get off the ship. Our group signed up for a two day tour. Day one we visited Catherine's Palace and Peterhof Grand Palace and Fountains. An amazing sight to see. Our guide, Anna with TJ Travel, was fantastic. It is a crowded difficult place to get around but she made sure we got up close to things we wanted to see. Day Two - we decided to stay on the ship. Others in our group went to Hermitage Museum (it was three hours and I am not a huge museum person). I enjoyed the ship and relaxation. I must admit it was frustrating not to be able to go ashore from the ship due to Russian Restrictions. Also I thought we would be able to see the lighted bridges during the White Nights in Russia from the Ship. Due to were they dock this is not viewable. Highly recommend you take an evening tour of the canals. I sure would have if I had known. I think we really missed some beautiful views.
Tallin Estonia- A very unique beautiful port, but due to the size it is a extremely crowded. Old Town is the #1 destination and the streets are all cobblestone. The churches are very beautiful but getting in and out of them is a real challenge due to the crowds. We did the hop on hop off bus and enjoyed seeing the sights along the way.
Stockholm- We ended our cruise in Stockholm. We stayed on 3 days and are glad we did. What a wonderful city. I have never seen such great transportation (and I know London is good), but the artwork in the underground is amazing. The people are friendly and helpful. We visited the Vasa Museum, unique story here; Abba Museum (you must be a big fan) and it was wonderful. We got 3 day pass for the underground and the hop on hop off boats and bus. Great way to get around, exception: Hop on Hop Off bus just too crowded to even get on. We took a wonderful boat ride to Fjäderholmarna, which is only 25 minutes away. We spent an hour walking the island. I would recommend more islands if time allows.
The cabin was well designed and had plenty of storage. A reminder to all that the walls are metal so you can utilize the walls with magnets to hang up itinerary and your tour tickets etc.
The bed was extremely comfortable, the lighting was a bit weak. TV is limited, but for those interested there is a huge DVD library.
The bathroom was outstanding. Shower and also a shower/Tub combo.
The dress for this cruise is not as fancy as others. There are no formal nights. I appreciate that with this type of travel you can get back on the ship and not worry about dressing up for dinner. A nice dress or a pair of nicer pants and top are very acceptable.
Overall a more casual atmosphere than on a previous transatlantic cruise on Royal Caribbean. Also the question of bringing alcohol onboard. Appears if you are discreet you can bring your own. We purchased a Russian Vodka and carried it onboard to our cabin. This cruise line really treats its passengers with respect, something I am seeing less of on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Thank you Oceania.
If you have questions feel free to email me email@example.com
We spent 4 days in London on our own. Got an air B n B that we loved.
It was cheaper than most hotels. Centrally located and best concierge service there by David and Ben. We did our own touring. Had a fantastic not too expensive flight on Norweigan Airline direct from Oakland CA to London Gatwick. Easy train ride to our place in London. Hired a car service to get us to the cruise terminal at Southampton.
Would not do Ice Bar again, a "one and done" type of thing". Streets were crowded.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Checkpoint Charlie is cute, hard to imagine looking at it how threatening it was. Our guide had photos of it back then and found the photos extremely helpful.View All 24 Checkpoint Charlie Reviews
Once again our guide had many photos. We would reach a spot and Daniel would hold up a photo of what it looked like then, an amazing experience to walk along the whole area and feel how it was back then.View All undefined undefined Reviews
A delightful tour of a beautiful island. It was strenuous and some people did struggle a bit, but the guide was pretty good at waiting for people to catch their breath. He though could have been better at that. He was really an enjoyable guide to listen to. Had great stories. Loved this excursion.View All 3 Bicycle Tour Reviews
We did a River boat tour which was located at Market Square. It was great and after we enjoyed shopping at Market Square. Very nice items for sale. We then did our own walking tour. Saved money from not using Ships Excursion.View All 8 Market Square Reviews
We also visited Catherine's Palace. I was excited to see they were preparing in St Petersburg for the World Cup. Catherine's Palace started out amazing but then it became almost boring as each room looked the same. Loved our guide Anna.View All 226 Catherine Palace Reviews
Fantastic guide, Anna, led us to this beautiful palace and grounds. We enjoyed walking around it. Far cheaper to go with TJ Travel than the ships tour.View All 231 Peterhof Palace Reviews
We did Old Town on our own through Hop On Hop Off Bus. Great cobblestone streets but extremely crowded. We spent only half the day and returned to ship.View All 189 Old Town of Tallinn Reviews
We went to Tivioli Gardens on our own. Saved a lot of money rather than doing the cruise excursion. Had a great timeView All 64 Tivoli Gardens Reviews
Took the canal tour. It was fantastic. Highly recommend. Also saved a lot of money doing this on our own, not on a ship excursion.View All undefined undefined Reviews