My husband and I chose this cruise because it was long (25 days) and the ports of call were interesting. We chose Oceania because it is almost all-inclusive but so that we are not paying for things that we don't need, i.e. we do not need an all-inclusive beverage package (we don't drink that much), nor do we need shore excursions included (we prefer to find our way).
We were not disappointed. Highest honors go to the staff. We were so impressed with the professional, optimistic, experienced staff. Cannot say enough good things about the staff in every component of the ship.
The food did not disappoint. What a luxury to go to the grill for unlimited lobster tails, rib eye steaks. It is not that we wanted unlimited, but it was good to know. On one particular evening I asked to speak with the chef from The Terrace who came out to speak with me. I lauded his lemon meringue tarts, they were so good. I'm a baker. Imagine how delighted I was to find, the morning we disembarked, the recipe outside my door!
The other thing that surprised me about the Marina was the very high quality of the hands-on cooking instruction at the 24 cooking stations on the ship. The curriculum was all developed by the Culinary Institute of America (right down the road from our home). What could be better than being at your cooking station, gazing out at the bank of windows as we navigated the ocean, with great music in the background and a glass of wine in your hand? Kudos to Oceania for pulling this off.
Another aspect my husband and I enjoyed was sharing a table at meal time. A bit awkward at first, but we met so many interesting people from so many parts of the world. Fascinating to get so many different perspectives and where else would you get an experience like that?
I enjoyed the daily 4 pm afternoon high tea, accompanied by a string quartet more than I expected to. Just elegant and delightful.
I was disappointed in the Artist's Loft with the artistic residence's approach. It wasn't paint-by-number, but pretty close. I had expected watercolor supplies to be provided for everyone. Perhaps that was unrealistic on my part. Next time I'm bringing my watercolors and I suspect I can go into the Loft and hang out.
Managing a balance between caloric intake and exercise was a bit of a challenge. I did join early morning yoga/exercise classes. That was a nice start to the day.
I also wish Oceania would include free laundry service through the cruise. It was really a pain to walk down the hall to do laundry. Now they do offer free laundry on a limited basis: too limited to my liking.
We didn't book for the entertainment but we did really gain a lot from the resident regional historian, and gaining insight to our various ports of call.
Our room was just below concierge level and next time we will sail at the concierge level. Most importantly, pick a room that is residential above so you don't hear deck furniture and vacuums constantly. Getting a room near an elevator is not a problem; there is enough sound proofing that you won't hear the traffic, plus being near an elevator is convenient as you move around the ship.
Bob and I are Oceania Cruise Line people. We will look no further. This line is meeting all our needs. We look forward to our Australia/New Zealand 14 day sail beginning 1/6/20 and our 21 day Miami/Athens sail beginning 4/9/21.
We were disappointed on our previous sail with Holland America mainly because of the roaming photographer and the pressure of that, as well as the really, really bad art they were constantly auctioning.
So, for those of you considering Oceania, we highly recommend for a thoroughly elegant experience. They took good care of us.
This cabin category was more than adequate. Loved the granite in the bathroom.