What's Coming Up: Plush, posh and positively alluring, Oceania Cruises' Marina will be christened Saturday, February 5, in Miami. Cruise Critic Managing Editor John Deiner will be pier-side and onboard for four days to capture all the excitement as Oceania's first new-build is introduced to the world.
Why It's Important: Since Oceania burst onto the scene in 2003 with its chartered fleet of now-refurbed vessels, the line has made a name for itself among cruisers looking for classy, hotel-like flourishes on a smaller ship. Now, with the arrival of the 66,084-ton, 1,258-passenger Marina, the maverick signals it means business. Ramping up the luxe quotient level a few more degrees, Marina features elegant cabins with the line's signature Tranquility Beds, opulent owner's suites awash in Ralph Lauren Home furnishings, a Canyon Ranch SpaClub and the Artist Loft "enrichment center," where a team of artists-in-residence will be offering instruction on everything from painting to needlepoint.
But foodies, in particular, are rejoicing: Marina will be home to the industry's first Bon Appetit Culinary Center, produced in concert with the magazine and geared toward budding chefs looking to get some hands-on instruction while afloat. Add in Jacques -- famed chef Jacques Pepin's first restaurant on land or sea -- and a bevy of other gourmet restaurants, and it's clear that Oceania is looking to take a big bite out of the competition.
What We'll Be Doing: Besides a full account of Marina's christening (and if case you haven't heard, TV personality Mary Hart will serve as the ship's godmother), Deiner will be filing daily reports in this space and on Cruise Critic's Facebook page from all parts of the ship -- from the restaurants, entertainment and public areas to, well, anything else he stumbles across. Look for his take on the ship's massive Super Bowl party at sea, and see what happens when a clod in the kitchen finds himself taking a cooking lesson from a master chef.
Questions? E-mail Deiner now or any time through Monday, February 7, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he'll try to get back to you with an answer. He will, really.