Marina Cruise Review by ShipShapely
- Sail Date: April 2019
- Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
- Cabin Type: Concierge Level
We flew in same day and left directly so utilized the ship transfers - they are expensive but it is not easy to get to Southampton.Two hours of crawling traffic all the way down. Other ppl we met booked driver on their own and got taken to the wrong port - taxi drove away and they had to find another way to the ship.
I was not happy with the way all of the luggage was tossed together by the airport porters and not supervised by Oceania staff.Our two bags were together and got separated. We get into our cabin took until well after four PM until my husband got his suitcase - mine came right away. So the perc of getting early access due to concierge level was moot - you cannot get unpacked without you luggage.
This time we opted for the Concierge level with a veranda. Last time we took one of the non-concierge level veranda rooms(they are very tiny verandas). on the 7th level (there are a few with extended verandas and that was awesome - I might do that again especially in a warmer climate). Two main reasons we chose concierge level was to be able to book the specialty restaurants earlier and to get the dates and times we wanted. Also, and people might not know this.....There is a difference in room service breakfast offerings. Concierge level includes hot breakfast options like omelets, pancakes, French toast and oatmeal. Non-concierge level gets continental breakfast only with only cold options. This was a port intensive trip with many early morning meet-up times for tours. We are not morning people and it is easier to get breakfast in the room then to trek up to the 12th floor, wait for elevators and such.
Also, we selected a room nearby the concierge lounge (9046) and near the elevator and stairs and it was very convenient. Concierge lounge is great to run in for quick coffees, teas, light snacks at any time of day. There are no coffee makers in the cabins and not all that convenient to get to the other places on the ship that have coffee. You can run in in your bathrobe and many ppl did. As for the concierge himself - we did not interract with him all that much - he did make us one extra restaurant reservation but the two reasons just cited are the main reasons we selected it. I am not sure I would spend the xtra again esp if you are on a Caribbean cruise without a lot of ports.
Considering the ship has been around since 2011 it looks extremely good - especially the common areas. The cabins are showing some wear and tear like bedskirts, carpet and drapes but overall ok. I am not a fan of the decorating or color schemes but I am not moving in permanently. There are no electric outlets in the bathroom so you have to dry your hair outside at the dressing table- hairs get all over the place ( I am a neat clean nut type) and did not like this. Another pet peeve is how they clutter up all of the counter areas and desktops etc with toiletries, papers, stuff we do not need or want - took it out and hid it inside our suitcases until we left - barely had room for our own stuff. The touted "Bulgari" toiletries were nothing special at all - just a name.
Food on Oceania is absolutely awesome for the most part - very few thing were less than a home run. We are foodies and live downtown in a very food-centric city. We dine out often at some ot the best restaurants in the area and even the country. Main dining room is always changing up their offerings. Presentation is outstanding. We loved Polo, Toscana, and Jacques.... not a huge fan of Red Ginger... It seems that Red Ginger doesn't know what it wants to be. Trying to mix too many types and styles of food - they should stick to one. Sushi there not great. Sea Bass - sauce too heavy - nothing all that awesome. I thought this on the first cruise also. They should maybe try to update it with Korean robatayaki skewers, Japanese Izakaya style food, updated Chinese (they need to do some serious R & D). Come to Philadelphia and go to Royal Izakaya or Double Know for example.
We mostly took excursions offered by the ship with one exception - (the tour to Alhambra from Granada was sold out and we went on this tour with Spain Day tours - it was very good). We selected the O life eight excursions as our option. We are not the type that like to spend so much time exploring and researching all these options. What some people might not realize when they complain that the Oceania tours are too expensive is the following. Once you have booked even six tours (three per person) - every tour you book after that is 25% off (If you book before sailing). The eight "free" tours satisfy this requirement - therefore if you take the eight tours as your O life Option (the include any tour up to and including $199.00 base price)... save some of the less expensive ones for those you will pay out of pocket and get them for 25% off. This is essentially a $1600 credit and a far better value in our opinion than only getting the $800 credit that was offered.
As far as the alcohol and spirits package - it is ridiculously expensive - you would have to be a borderline alcoholic to consume that much booze and we like to have cocktails, drinks and wine as much as the next person. We always book our own airfare - if they do it - they can route you in inconvenient ways unless you pay 75 dollars per person which allows you to select your own flights. We always use the same airline due to points and got a first class upgrade on the way over which is hard to negotiate on the with the cruise line doing it.
Common areas on the ship such as the pool area, barristas, library, etc are all really nice.We did not try the culinary center or painting classes but people seemed to lvoe it.
Entertainment is mixed - we don't care - we didn't go on the cruise for that reason. They had a comedian who was British and very very funny - saw him twice. Most of the music sounds like it is for our parents' generation in their nineties and kind of corny - like Peggy Lee.m(Seriously?) We grew up with rock and roll.
The sailaway parties are great and fun - but I think they should offer at least one free drink to all of the passengers that one time - they had drinks on trays but you had to pay for them.
The band and singer in Horizons was great (they also played at the sailaway party) - we would've liked to dance but no one was dancing. Part of the reason is the stage and dance floor is kind of lit up and you feel like you're on stage alone. Hardly anyone was up there in the evenings. We were on smaller river boat in the past (Uniworld - also awesome) and had a chance to do a lot of dancing- this is not a dancing type of crowd - a little disappointing. Same thing on last Oceania cruise.
All of the staff is pretty much friendly and very professional. However, on this cruise as compared to last one - it seemed some of the staff was very new and did not know certain things. The waiters in the past got to know us and connect with us and tell us some things about themselves - did not happen this time - they did not seem interested in engaging and were a bit more stiff and formal. That's fine.
Age group on this cruise seemed to be average late sixties and seventies with many much much older. Saw two kids the first day but none after that. (wonder where they went?!) There is nothing for kids to do on this cruise. It was a bit too chilly to swim but we did have a few warmer days and was lovely relaxing around the pool in the sunshine. Our fellow cruisers that we got to meet were mostly very friendly. They also seemed to be a lot better dressed and less frumpy than our last cruise. I even found some nice things in the shops on board. Had no idea it would be so cold in Bordeaux, etc - had to buy a pullover sweater - had not packed one. Two weeks was a long cruise for us - was glad to be getting off the ship - cannot really understand how ppl do much longer ones - I would be a fat blimp. Hard living in such close quarters after a couple of weeks also.
Also, we are not cruise-only type of ppl - we also enjoy going to hotels on land and having more time to explore at our own speed. With so many ports - no time to really dine ashore - never had a chance to get good tapas in Spain etc.
Oceania needs to offer more cruises that feature two nights in each port rather than a new one every day. The write-ups in the daily "Currents" (the daily cruise list of activities and port info) tells you about all the things a specific port is known for (looks like they copied and pasted out of pre-written tour books) and it is not realistic that you will be able to do much independently in just one day -especially if you take a tour - they do not allow very much free time during the excursions. In Porto (which is gorgeous) we had only thirty minutes to shop or get a coffee at the "Ribiera" - first twenty minutes spent finding a bathroom.
I would def sail with Oceania again but might also try Crystal - the latter includes everything other than excursions and has many shorter itineraries with multiple nights in port.
Ports - Too tired after flying - we did not visit Guernsey - was a warm sunny day (few others at the beginning were - was great relaxing around the pool. Bordeaux - took two excursions - one to the St. Emilion area and one to Bordeaux to visit vineyards and have tastings. Both very good. The first included plenty of time to shop and tour the city of Bordeaux and have a bite at a cafe - just great. Could not tender at Biarritz - sea was too rough. This cruise had some very rocky days on board - I took Bonine most of those sailing days - it works - non- drowsy formula. (even a half a tablet works but take it in advance by at least an hour before sailing). Bilbao was a wow - spent two days there - loved the Pinxtos(Basque style tapas) we had on our own at the Plaza Nueva (arcade NeoClassical Square) near the old town - don't miss it - fun to walk around; La Coruna - could have skipped this one other than Hercules tower. Porto and Lisbon both great - did ship tours both days and went for a port tasting. These are both ports that need an overnight stay. Cadiz we went on tour that included Flamenco (was great) and some tapas ( they were far from great - have had much better at Jose' Garces reataurants in our home town and the Sangria was not good either).
Overall, a wonderful fun cruise - did not get sick this time - had fun. Highly recommend Oceania.
250,000+ people have entered their email