Mediterranean Cruise on the Marina: Marina Cruise Review by BerkCruiser

Marina 5
Member Since 2011
9 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Mediterranean Cruise on the Marina

Sail Date: April 2011
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
As first-time cruisers, we chose a ship and line recommended by friends. The Marina is a new ship with penthouses that seemed to offer plenty of room, so we chose that. Our stateroom was large and very comfortable, with a big verandah and two desk spaces on a counter that stretched the length of the room. It also had a huge walk-in closet and very well designed, large bathroom. Our only regret was that we chose a stateroom at the very front of the ship (10002) and the view from our verandah was partially obstructed by a large white lighting fixture. Also, we were right under the bridge which was a bit intrusive. We had some rough seas and they were more apparent at the front of the ship than in the middle.

Service was excellent in all areas: stewardess, butler, dining room, computer center, reception. The food, as we had heard, was really wonderful, on par with restaurants in San Francisco, near where we live, especially the four specialty restaurants. Although there More was nightly entertainment and a casino, we didn't participate, but we heard others compliment them.

Embarkation couldn't have been smoother, and our stateroom was ready soon after we boarded. In the meantime, lunch was served in two of the restaurants. Our bags arrived promptly. Disembarkation was equally efficient in Venice.

We did not take any of the Oceania shore excursions, except the bus ride to Florence from the port of Livorno. We explored the ports on our own.

As first-timers, we found we felt constrained by the schedule of ship life: a certain time of day to be back onboard, for example. There is no time to go into places in-depth. You get a quick look at highlights, if you've done your homework, and then it's back to the ship, with all its glitz and service.

One of the surprises--and this may not apply to the older and smaller Oceania ships--is that the "country club" attire requirement for dinner is interpreted to by some to be pretty dressy, to the point of long dresses for some of the women. Men wear golf shirts or whatever, but women tend to dress up more than I expected. In a way, I felt as though I were being coaxed into a lifestyle I wasn't really comfortable with, between the intense level of service and the affluence of other cruisers. It's a matter of personal preference.

The sommeliers really push bottles of wine at lunch and dinner, and I didn't see one bottle for under $50; you are able to have it at subsequent meals, though. The boutiques onboard are high-end, the wireless charges ridiculously high, but overall, if you like cruising, you'd probably really enjoy this ship. It's beautiful, new, staffed by young, enthusiastic staff from around the world, whom I really enjoyed.

By the way, our cruise missed two ports: Amalfi and Taormina, because those were "tender" ports and the sea was rough. This was a big disappointment. I'd advise people to check on how many "tender" ports there are on a given cruise: we had three and missed two because of bad weather. Less

Published 06/02/11

Cabin review: PH310002 Penthouse Suite

Penthouse Cabin 10002/Marina: Avoid! Too close to the front of the ship, bad in rough seas. A huge white light fixture hangs over part of the verandah obstructing the views. This is a PH3 level cabin, and for the same money you can get one much closer to the middle of the ship. The interior of the cabin was very nice, well-worth paying more for. Very spacious,huge closet, really well-designed bathroom.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Corfu is an easy port to visit. It's easy to take the port shuttle to the cruise terminal and then an Oceania bus to Corfu Town. We elected to have a taxi drive us to places we wanted to see, and we lucked out with "George," who spoke excellent English, was born in Corfu, and seemed to know the history of Corfu (and everyone on the island) like the back of his hand. He drove us to the Achillion Palace, well worth seeing. Then to see Mouse Island, to various points to see views, including one near the airport runway where there is actually a Starbuck's on a lush hillside, and he finally dropped us at Mon Repo, a neglected property within walking distance of Corfu town. We didn't spend much time in town, though it is very appealing. Back to the ship via bus/shuttle, a very pleasant experience overall.
Read 508 Corfu Reviews

Dubrovnik Old Town is charming, but VERY crowded and tourist-oriented. It didn't help that two other cruise ships, one with 3000 people, also docked that day. We walked the top of the Old Town wall, for which you pay 70 kuna, the Croatian currency, which is easy to get from an ATM. This walk gives you fabulous views of ocean and town. It's disturbing to see the obvious bullet holes on buildings from the 1991-92 war, but the town seems alive and thriving now. We went through the Dominican Museum, which wasn't worth it. What would have been is the Sponsa Palace Memorial Room of Dubrovnik Defenders, a visual tribute to more than 300 people who were killed in that war. We ran out of time. Alas, one of the pitfalls of cruising, lack of control over your schedule.

Florence is fabulous, but trust me, if you're going in order to look at the churches, the cathedral, gardens, and museums, one day is NOT enough time. We ran around looking at these things pretty superficially, and returned to the ship exhausted. We took the ship-sponsored bus ride from the port of Livorno into Florence, and an Italian guide who spoke very good English oriented all of us on the "do Florence on your own" bus before we arrived. Very helpful. We walked everywhere, even across the Arno to the Pitti Palace. Worth seeing: the cathedral (we found no line, excellent bookshop in basement); Boboli Gardens, Uffizi Gallery (buy tickets ahead on-line).

I wouldn't attempt the trip from port to Florence on my own: the traffic is terrible, and if you pay for the ship bus, you'll be sure of getting back to the ship on time. It took 45 minutes to get through the rush hour traffic out of Florence.

Monaco is a pleasant place to visit, small and easy to get around via public transportation. We took public bus to the Jardin Exotique de Monaco up in the hills, which was fascinating. Then, also via bus, we went to "The Rock," where we toured the Palace, saw the changing of the guard, visited the Monaco Cathedral, and took the seaside garden walk back to the ship. Very do-able on your on.

Venice is unique and deserves to be seem. But tourists are so numerous that the experience is really compromised. That was our experience in early May. We took Rick Steves's suggestion that taking the vaporetto all the way down the Grand Canal to St. Mark's Square is a good way to see the city. This was easy to do because the ship ran free shuttles to the Piazzale Roma, where you can buy tickets on the public water taxis, the vaporetto. Get a window seat, sit back, and marvel. It cost us 26 euros for two, round-trip. We got off near the Doge's Palace, which is at the second St. Mark's Square (San Marco) vaporetto stop. We toured the Doge's Palace (14 euros each). After that, we visited the cathedral, which I'd bought tickets for online for 1 euro each so we could avoid long lines, but there were no lines that day.

St. Mark's Square was unbelievably crowded, so we headed off down alleys and side-canals which get less touristy the farther you go. We had a pizza lunch that cost about 60 DOLLARS (with a beer each), and decided against a gelato shop that offered scoops starting at 11 euros. The prices are crazy, but that's just part of the experience.

We walked across the Grand Canal to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, but saw only the very pleasing shop, not the museum, due to crowds.

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