We have cruised on different cruise lines and are Princess platinum members.
We are celebrating a special anniversary and based on the Oceania marketing decided to spend twice as much money as any other cruise line would charge to experience the “above and beyond” the Oceania offers. And in my mind the first thing would be exceptional service and attention from the cruise staff. So, here is what we experienced:
1. Disorganized boarding. Partially due to the necessity to rely on the locals. You have to be transported from the check in to the ship by a small bus. That bus has been waiting until it was bursting at the seams with passengers and carry on luggage until it took you to the ship. However, one would expect that there will be a cruise staff helping organize those bus transfers. There were none. You were on your own, all those who paid lots for suites and those who paid a lot less for insides. We were neither, but I am giving this as an example of the promise of pampering the guests.
2. Ok, finally on the ship. If you expect ANYTHING different from any other cruise line, lower your expectations. NOTHING is different. Oh, yeah, the exception and the claim to fame is that you get free soft drinks that we haven’t touched. And free water and coffee throughout. But after doing a simple math and assuming you pay for every bottle of water and specialty coffee cup on any other cruise line, it will not amount to thousands you have to pay for an Oceania ticket.
3. The “real” breakfast, not continental, is ceased by 10 am. So, if you are a late sleeper, you have to have an alarm wake you up to make it to the same boring and limited menu in the dining room before 9.30am. Or, you can run up to the Terrace Cafe before 10 where you can find more and better variety. Of course, it’s completely crowded, but the service is very nice.
But wait... The Terrace Cafe has doors to the outside that are kept open and from the moment you step out of the elevator until you get inside the cafe, you are propelled by drafts.
Of course, Oceania has no control over the weather outside, but they have total control of the inside conditions and assuring that every minute you spend on board their “ luxurious “ vessel is comfortable and you are not exposed to the horrible condition when the wind is blowing into your face and back because they don’t keep the doors outside closed. You call it caring for your guests’ well being, comfort and health? So, if you don’t want to get sick, you can exclude the Terrace Cafe from your itinerary and become prisoner of the dining room if you want to eat.
5. Exceptional food and specialty restaurants. The only memorable occasion was not the exceptional food ( because it was not), but ordering decaf cappuccino that lead to my husband’s sleepless night, that leads me to believe it was caff and not decaf. Aside from that, don’t expect above ordinary. Very unimaginative and boring average food.
6. They give you free WiFi for ONE device only. But don’t worry, it works very, very poorly anyway.
4. No activities to speak of, laughable so called “ entertainment “
5. Disorganized disembarkation.
Having said that, this is MY experience and the conclusion that Oceania Marina may not be for everyone, but may satisfy those who love smaller vessels ( 1300 passengers) who are not interested in entertainment and simply don’t like a lot of people. Case in point: lots of tables for two ( that’s a good thing, though, if you want to be on your own). Many tables for 2 along the windows that differentiates Marina from other cruise lines tables for 2 that are practically next to each other.
Bottom line: no matter how you look at it, it’s highly overrated and overpriced. They don’t offer ANYTHING above and beyond. I found better and much more organized service at Holland and Princess. The Oceania advertising is not just exaggerated, it’s simply not true. Not true at all...