I would like to highlight the positives first for this trip on Marina, from Lima to NYC.
I am gluten-free. I told Roger, the Specialty Diet Coordinator that I pick cruises based on food and desserts. He introduced me to Pastry Chef Bruno, who then made sure I got a different dessert every day, to my liking. Everyone one of them was an art of work. Felt very pampered. The Terrace Cafe chef Viktor was also super nice and patient. He walked me through the food, and made me special dishes when asked. Yes, I am looking for Marina future cruises, see if I can enjoy the service of those 3 again.
On a whole. (1) They seem to have centralized the operation so one gets same stuff in the Cafe and the Main Dining Room. A lot of people now prefer the Cafe (more choices, less time). (2) They changed some of the Specialty Restaurants’ menu. Red Ginger used to be the draw to sail on Marina. Now Favorite dishes are gone. The same with Jacques. No more incentive. (3) Wave Grill is still a major draw! Ate their food a lot. Very nice and accommodating staff.
Deeno, who cleaned our room, was super too. Did everything we asked for, even chasing down our missing survey last minute. Now, he knew how to use persuasion and gentle touch.
We stayed in a Concierge Veranda. No butler service, only gave us access to the Lounge. Concierge service was only available 8am-12, 4-8 pm, when we were mostly out or having dinner. How about longer hours? “The Concierge got to sleep some time!” was the answer. For a company bragging about service, that is down right bad. Add another person is my answer.
As usual, the lectures were great! Loved those on Panama Canal.
Oceania was known for their land tours, nice sites, classy, buses only 60-70% full, etc. But on this cruise, not sure if it was because the towns were just developing their tourism, or because of security concerns, some of the tours were down right terrible or lame. Cancelling Norfolk due to weather was really disappointing too. The Destination Staff, instead of being apologetic and accommodating, were pretty defensive in their attitudes.
The sanitation lock down did not help either. Some of the staff members were down right hostile as though we brought them the disaster. Highly recommend that the management teach their staff how to gain the passengers’ cooperation with persuasion rather than enforcement. That is, if the Management knows how themselves.