We went on our second Oceania cruise two weeks ago on the Marina. We had taken an Oceania cruise to Cuba on the Sirina about a year ago. We had heard such wonderful things about the Marina, large cabins, great service and great food. We have been consistent Crystal cruisers. (18 over the years)
The Marina is a small ship, the type we like and the cabins are a bit larger than Crystals. Bathrooms are large with a shower and a bathtub. Quite nice. The embarkation onto the Marina in Rome (Civitavecchia) was awful. No longer can your driver pull up to the ship but one has to take a bus with all your luggage in hand from the port entrance to the ship’s dock. Quite a shlep and very uncomfortable. Once we checked in, we were greeted with a bottle of champagne ( which we never drank) You get the feeling that Oceania tries to be friendly and caring but they fall short in many areas. The cabin stewardess was excellent. If one is in an A cabin you get free wi-fi for the entire cruise which is very nice. The unfriendly crew member who sets up the wi-fi on your IPad and IPhone is another story.
The Marina has 4 dining specialty restaurants, which are quite good. The main dining room is something else. Not having the same wait staff each nite does pose some problems. The food in the main dining room is mediocre, at best. We eat a bit late, around 8pm, and on two occasions when we went to the main for dinner for 2, the dining room was mostly empty, the head waiter put us at a table for 2 next to the waiters bus station. I pointed out that maybe there was not a two by the window but there was a 4 nearby. The supervisor’s answer was “if you don’t mind sharing this table with another couple if they come then it is yours”. At that point I was furious. I went to the maître d and not so quietly explained the situation and that we were not leaving the table for 4 nor will we agree to eat with another couple (Again the dining room was mostly empty at this point.) Of course the Maitre ‘d took care of this situation. This happened on two occasions. Inexcusable! The wait staff in the main dining room were fair, at best.
Lunch in the main dining room takes forever and they explain that most of the waiters are upstairs at the buffet restaurant. Oh well.
Breakfasts were more than fine.
The entertainment, as before on the Sirina, was awful. The friendly Oceania concierge explained that they put most of their money in food and not entertainment. Well, it almost shows.
The shore excursions were a ripoff. We used WithLocals to meet us at each major port and they gave us wonderful personal tours in each city, for ¼ of the Oceania prices. We took an Oceania shore excursion in Provence (to St Remy) and this was quite a ripoff.
While, I admit, Oceania is not Crystal, there is quite a big difference in attitude of crew, dining room, quality of entertainment and front office personnel. It’s just a feeling I got. And, the costs are not that great a difference to save anything.
This was a learning experience. I must say it was nice but next time, I would pay the difference and cruise with Crystal every time.
very large, very nice and large bathroom with shower and separate bathtub