We chose this cruise for a chance to try Oceania, who has a great reputation, especially for foodies. We had cruised on Celebrity several times, a mainstream line known for good dining, and Princess to Alaska.
Oceania seems to really have honed in on their target audience, with many travelers we met haven taken 10+ cruises with the line and some even 20+ (and many Oceania cruises are more than two weeks). My wife and I are in our early 70s and most of the passengers seemed a bit older than we were. Many were from England, Australia, etc and most were very well traveled. In general, they were a friendly bunch
The ship is pretty in a subdued sort of way, mostly decorated in a traditional way. We preferred Celebrity’s more contemporary looks, but it certainly was nice and easy to navigate. The public rooms are showing a bit of wear and tear, however, although nothing dramatic.
Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze, possibly because of the relatively small number of passengers.
Service was always cheerful, although not always as high a professional standard as you might expect. For example, waiters were great about greeting you and efficient about removing plates and silverware, etc., but often were unaware of how the food was prepared. To compound the problem, menu items were sometimes inadequately described or not what one would expect (deep fried veal picatta anyone?).
The food in the main dining room was generally good to very good, although two nights we did not find any dishes to our liking.
The specialty restaurants were better, with Jaques being our favorite. Be aware, however, that even initial reservations at the specialty restaurants are given first to those in the most expensive cabins/suites, so you must share a table with strangers unless you wish to eat at 8:30 or later.
Lunches and breakfasts were about equal to those on Celebrity, but the dinners were better on the Marina. Chilean sea bass was spectacular in Red Ginger and the other restaurants as well
Entertainment was mostly just OK, especially the production evenings and they were sparsely attended, compared to those on larger ships. We did two cooking classes on board and both were great.
I guess one of the biggest pluses for passengers onboard Marina, was what the was NOT on board. No constant announcements or forced joviality poolside. No photo ops of passengers or small children running around. It’s pretty quiet on board, with most people just reading on sea days. Unfortunately we had cold, cloudy weather on our days at sea and several other days as well, so the pool was not used. This cruise was very port intensive, however, so we did not spend that much time aboard the ship during the day. Another thing Oceania does not do and is appreciated by their passengers, is stop at the regular main cruise ports, which can be a madhouse! Instead you get to see many places you may only be vaguely familiar with.
As far as the ship’s excursions, we did not use them. They seemed to be 2-3x the price of the local ones and the tour groups were larger than the local ones. We used Spain Day Tours and thought they were excellent.
So the question is, would we do Oceania again? The answer in “maybe”. We liked the smaller ship size and passenger mix on the ship and the food was very good, if not consistently excellent. Crystal and Silversea,etc., are quite a bit more expensive and it seems that Oceania’s main competition is Viking Sea. It probably would depend on the itinerary as to which line we would prefer for our next cruise.
Happy sailing, everybody!
Clean , comfy bed, both tub and small shower. Has extra large balcony, which we were unable to use because of bad weather, but is near the stern of the ship and was very rocky during rough seas (which were frequent). Would not choose this cabin again, which was strongly recommended by Oceania rep) if any chance of rough seas, especially in the Atlantic
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