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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
This was the first cruise of the Insignia after being overhauled and brought back into the Oceania fleet. There were a few hicups but nothing major. Our room was beautiful and you could tell that the carpet was brand new. We did need to ... Read More
This was the first cruise of the Insignia after being overhauled and brought back into the Oceania fleet. There were a few hicups but nothing major. Our room was beautiful and you could tell that the carpet was brand new. We did need to call house keeping to vacuum out the closet as there was still carpet reminents in there left over from the installation. We also had a light fixture in the bathroom and over our bed that flickered but they did come and fix right away. You could still tell that ship was old despite the overhaul however, the food on board and the service was really very good. The ports of call on this journey were also very good. It started in Barcelona Spain, went to Palma De Mallorca,Antibes France, Marseille France, Monte Carlo, Portafino Italy,Rome. We loved all of the ports of call except for Marseille which we found to be dirty and full of people trying to pick your pocket. Overall I would recommend Oceania Cruises if you are looking for a more laid back, adult experience (there were no kids at all on this cruise). We are both in our 50's and were amongst the youger crowd agewise. We still met some really great and fun people and had a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
We just returned from our fourth Oceania cruise, this one aboard Nautica, which was also our first "O" ship back in 2008. Things are only getting better. The ship, built in 2000 and refurbished in 2010, is due to go into dry ... Read More
We just returned from our fourth Oceania cruise, this one aboard Nautica, which was also our first "O" ship back in 2008. Things are only getting better. The ship, built in 2000 and refurbished in 2010, is due to go into dry dock next spring for major refurbishment to bring her to the more contemporary theme from the nearly-new Marina and Riviera, but she has been immaculately maintained and is still in excellent condition. Yes, she does look a bit dated by today's ship standards, and, yes, there minor wear is visible here and there, but the continuous maintenance on the ship has kept her in immaculate condition. All hard surfaces in both the public areas and in our penthouse cabin were clean and polished, and all soft surfaces were in excellent condition and comfortable. This cruise was a 24-day repositioning cruise running from Barcelona to Dubai, the longest we have ever taken. Since Nautica hosts only 684 passengers, I thought we might get bored. However, O provided many onboard activities, including enrichment lectures by two very competent speakers (discussing the oceans of the world and the Middle East), and the extended length of the cruise made it easy to meet and get to know many wonderful people (both passengers and crew), and to relax fully during 9 sea days. Passengers on this cruise skewed older than other O cruises we've taken (probably the average age was north of 70), but that's to be expected due to the length of the cruise and its cost. Fellow passengers were well travelled, congenial and most were quite active despite not being young anymore. Ports included Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples, Patmos, Rhodes, Kusadasi (Ephesus), Haifa (Holy Land), Aqaba, Salalah, Muscat and Dubai. The best ports/sites to visit, in my opinion were Rome, the Holy Land and Aqaba. Rome (visited Vatican this time) is always amazing, and is easy and inexpensive to access via train from Civitavecchia, Petra (accessible via a 2-hour ride from Aqaba) is amazing due to its scope (the well-known Treasury is only the tip of the iceberg), and 3 days in Haifa provide excellent access to Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River, Nazareth, and other emotionally powerful historic and religious sites. Because of the continuing political troubles in Egypt, we missed Egypt, one of my top "bucket list" sites, but O let us know well in advance and added an additional day in both Israel and Aqaba, which provided a more leisurely tour schedule, so the loss of Egypt was amply made up. O is known for its food, and this cruise did not disappoint. The quality and variety of the products were excellent, and preparations were usually creative and properly prepared. I've been on a diet, and there were always plenty of healthy low-calorie options, as well as the more elaborate preparations with buttery and creamy sauces, up to 32 oz. prime rib dinners, etc. The Terrace Café buffet has added two a-la-minute cooking stations, as well as a fresh pasta station since our last cruise on Nautica. Sushi was available every night, and there were several themed meals several days during the cruises (ie., Italian, Mideastern, Thanksgiving, etc.). Breakfast was a special pleasure due to the variety of fresh fruits and berries, but of course the more typical eggs, bacon/sausage, etc. were also available (eggs freshly cooked to order if you chose). O's excellent bread was made daily was almost impossible to pass up, but because of the variety of other options, I managed to only gain 3 pounds during a 24-day cruise! Yahoo!!! Toscana, which serves Italian food, was our favorite specialty restaurant, but Polo, which serves steaks/seafood was also very good. The quality of meats was high, up to O's claim they serve only dry-aged premium cuts in the specialty restaurants. Waves Grill near the pool has been upgraded to include the menu originated aboard Marina, including a Koby beef hamburger and a surf/turf sandwich with alternating slices of filet and lobster. The ice cream bar includes a yummy selection of healthy smoothies with just fruit and ice blended if you wish to go low-cal. The malt I allowed myself the last day of the cruise was wonderful too (it was a good thing I hadn't given in earlier, or I'd have gained several more pounds). The menu did repeat after about two weeks, but the variety was wide enough you could avoid repetition, or enjoy a previous favorite, if you chose. If I have a criticism of the food, it is that it was under-seasoned for my taste. However, since we live in an area where spicy food is the norm, I expect that is criticism is just my taste, since a few passengers complained that dishes we found very mild were over-spiced. Given the fact they serve about 650 meals during each meal, I am impressed with the high quality of the food. Is it as good as a 5-star restaurant on land? No. But it is the best food I've tasted at sea. We upgraded to a penthouse cabin for this cruise, from the verandah cabins from our previous cruises, and it was worth the money we spent. The Nautica penthouse cabins are 1.5 times the size of the standard verandah cabins and include a marble bath with a tub/shower, instead of just the shower in the standard verandah cabins, and the bath is nearly double the size of the verandah cabins. There was plenty of storage space, a mini-frig which the staff will stock with your preferred non-alcoholic beverages upon request, and O has stopped stocking them with the expensive alcohol minis no one ever uses. In penthouse level cabins a variety of hot and cold canapés were offered in the afternoon, but they were the one food option item I found to be less than stellar quality; they tasted pre-made and not particularly fresh. Our butler was wonderful; he was well trained and professional; while he took his job seriously, he had a good sense of humor and congenial attitude. Our cabin stewards were equally well trained, competent and friendly. Cabins were promptly serviced morning and afternoon, and beds were turned down when we returned from dinner. O's crew was almost universally good natured, and smiles and "good morning, Madam/Sir" were always present. O's alcohol policy is liberal, as long as people do not abuse alcohol, and we had no problems bringing both wine and spirits aboard at embarkation and after port visits later; the butler/cabin steward were happy to provide additional ice, wine glasses, and even limes as we asked. The only caveat is alcohol brought aboard must be consumed in the cabin, or there is a corkage fee if wine is consumed in the restaurants with meals. Premium drinks in the public lounges started at around $10, but with a half price happy hour and daily specials every day, we found no need to buy the alcohol package offered. Entertainment, which is not one of O's areas of excellence, was certainly adequate if not great. The classical quartet was excellent, the 8-piece band generally quite good and the staff and specialty entertainers competent, if not great. The staff entertainers were better than the material they were given; the Gary Musack productions were often pretty corny and were over-choreographed, resulting in stiff variety productions. Something about entertainers in their 20's singing and dancing material from the 1930's to 1970's is just a little off-kilter. Overall, my impression is that O has maintained its high standard of service and product since our first cruise five years ago. We were sad to leave, knowing we were seeing Nautica in her current "clothes" for the last time, but looking forward to the improvements which are coming after her refurbishment next year. This was the best cruise we've ever taken, truly the trip of a lifetime. Thanks O! We'll book again soon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2013
Throughly enjoyed the ship, the destinations, the cruise and the staff were fabulous. We were fortunate enough to have the wonderful Willie Aames as our Cruise Director and he went above and beyond to engage with all the passengers from a ... Read More
Throughly enjoyed the ship, the destinations, the cruise and the staff were fabulous. We were fortunate enough to have the wonderful Willie Aames as our Cruise Director and he went above and beyond to engage with all the passengers from a simple hello whilst eating in breakfast at Waves by the pool to being at the end of the steps when leaving the ship to go on shore and ensuring we didn't trip. No other cruise director ever since then has done so much to engage with people and ensure a safe and happy trip. I only wish we could have him as a cruise director on every ship. This was magnificent cruise in terms of destinations and experiences. We embarked in Barcelona which is a beautiful city and port with the port being right in the city. We then sailed quickly across the Mediterranean overnight to Rome - it was quite rough at sea as there were storms about and it felt like being in a washing machine - I was filled with some dread that the entire cruise would be the same but the rough weather only lasted that first night. We then visited Naples and Pompei, Patmos Greece, Ephesus in Turkey and it was wonderful time of year to go there as the weather was mild. Then followed Rhodes in Greece where we encountered a rainy day and then Limassol in Cyprus which was so interesting and I have fond memories of sitting in the square having coffee. Then an amazing 3 days in Israel where we visited Haifa, Jaffa and Caesaria. The Suex Canal transit was beyond amazing and we saw some incredible ships travelling back and forth and enjoyed the Egyptians waving to us from shore. Cruising the Red Sea we then sailed to Jordan and spent two days in Aqaba. Then we cruised the Red Sea for 3 peaceful days of smooth sailing before beginning the cruise of the Gulf of Aden and spent our time trying to spot the pirates - we found none. The Captain has reassured us that he was in touch with international forces all the way. Salalah in Oman was the next port of call followed by Muscat in Oman and we visited the Sultan's palace. The cruise ended in Dubai in the UAE and we did an amazing troy from dawn till dusk of Dubai covering so much of the city. We disembarked in Dubai the next day after experiencing an incredibly memorable journey. Unlike some other Oceania cruises the entertainment on this cruise was quite good with some solo performers. Thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2013
Oceania has done it again... best service -nicest staff and great cuisine.The culinary classes to art classes-always something going on. The four restaurants Jacques,Red Ginger, Toscanna and Polo make one feel that you are not even on a ... Read More
Oceania has done it again... best service -nicest staff and great cuisine.The culinary classes to art classes-always something going on. The four restaurants Jacques,Red Ginger, Toscanna and Polo make one feel that you are not even on a ship but at 5 star experiences elsewhere. These are also not at an additonal charge. Just love Oceania and probably could not ask for more. The excursions are exspensive and some better than others-cabins beautiful-embarkation a breeze and so well done and same with leaving the ship. I still get the feeling of the class system as preference for dining and using a private deck is only for the penthouse and concierge level. People complained about using their card for every drink and found the other plans confusing and exspensive. Others found the two dollar washing machines ridiculous and using tokens. They felt the cruise line should just charge a little more and eliminate some of the nickle and diming! Overall though, a wonderful ship-did Marina last time and loved it. Oceania should work on their website though as hard to use many times. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
My husband and I chose this cruise to meet two requirements– he wanted to go to Rio and I wanted to go on a cruise! Based on that requirement and the time we were able to go, only Oceania and Regent had itineraries that worked (and they ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise to meet two requirements– he wanted to go to Rio and I wanted to go on a cruise! Based on that requirement and the time we were able to go, only Oceania and Regent had itineraries that worked (and they were identical). So based on our TA’s recommendation and our own preferences based on what we’d read on Cruise Critic about both lines, we chose the Marina for our cruise. Before boarding the ship, we spent a few days in Paris and a few days in Barcelona. In Paris we stayed at the Best Western Premier L’Horset Opera, conveniently located close to the Opera Garnier and the Louvre. Advice: go to the Louvre first thing in the morning, and use the entry that is in the shopping center below the museum. You get in quick, and if you are lucky, as we were, you can see the Venus de Milo in a completely empty room, and the Mona Lisa with only 50 other people rather than 1,000. In Barcelona, we stayed at the Renaissance Barcelona Hotel on Pau Claris, again, really nicely situated for many sights, and shopping. Also easy access to the Metro. A must see in Barcelona was La Sagrada Familia. We made prior reservations online for entry and for a tower climb, but the weather was bad and the towers weren’t open. But we didn’t have to stand in line in the rain to buy tickets. Highly recommend getting tickets in advance. Embarkation to the ship was a breeze – we got there at around 10.30am, and were in our suite by 11.15am, with our luggage by 11.30. Super easy. The ship is everything that has already been said about it – beautiful and classy. And the staff is amazing. We were onboard for 19 days, and I can’t think of one time when service was below excellent. We had some issues with technical equipment in our suite, which was resolved by the ship buying new equipment in Gibraltar, since it turned out the glitch was because we were trying to use new technology and the ship is two years old (and therefore out of date!). But the efforts of our butler (Lector), the GM (Dominique) and the Concierge (Javier) were outstanding. We never felt unheard. Some observations on the ship: Clientele – upscale, well travelled. We heard some comments from long time Oceania cruisers that this itinerary had attracted some “overly entitled” folks, and we did see a bit of that, especially when it came to seating and access on the tour buses. A large contingent of more senior folks that sometimes behaved like high school kids without a chaperone…pushing and shoving and cutting in line. But overall, a relaxed, country club atmosphere. There was also a large number of LGBT on this cruise, including us, and we never had any concerns. The clientele is sophisticated, smart and accepting…..and we felt totally at home. The spa is fantastic, but the steam room is very small. The gym is great, but got very crowded on sea days. As is normal on ships, massages and other treatments were very expensive, but we enjoyed them anyways. Entertainment – we didn’t ever go to the Marina Lounge except to disembark for excursions. The Casino is small, and the selection of games is a bit weak. But the staff is very friendly and Nico did a great job making me feel at home. Food – there is little to say here except I want the cookbook. Red Ginger is amazing, Toscana and Polo are wonderful, Jacques is enjoyable. However, the lack of rotation on the menus at the specialty restaurants meant the choices got a bit repetitive. The Grand Dining Room – we ate there twice. The second time was for Thanks Giving Dinner, and I have to say it was the worst meal on board. I don’t think the chefs “got the concept”. We never ate at Waves Grill, and we regret that. We were told on our last day that it’s one of the highlights. Who knew? The Terrace Buffet was adequate, apart from never being able to find a table and sometimes the service was slow to non-existent, especially if you were seated inside towards the entry doors to the Grill. Butler service – if you are blessed to have one, USE it. We did course by course in suite dining, we did last minute reservations at Red Ginger, we did a cocktail party with canapés….we got advice and information on ports of call, we got laundry expedited…..you name it. Let the butler do his/her job. At first, it was a bit weird to have a hovering attendant during meals, but by the mid-point of the trip, he was becoming a highlight! Lector made a huge difference in our enjoyment of the cruise. Suite – an amazing space. We were in 12009 Oceania Suite. Glorious indulgence. The media room separate from the bedroom meant my husband and I could indulge in our different rest/entertainment needs without any issues. The balcony and Jacuzzi were an indulgence that we used a lot. The only issues I’d have with the suite was the overly complicated lighting (we never did work out what switch did what, and in the middle of the night trying to turn on one bathroom light, we sometimes got a Vegas style light show instead), and the glass doors which negated the isolation of the bedroom from the rest of the suite (particularly during said Vegas light shows). Some observations on the itinerary: Cartagena – didn’t really do much here. Went ashore and walked around. Gibraltar – wonderful experience. Did the “Walking Tour of the Upper Rock” excursion, and the guide (Karen) couldn’t have been better. We got so much out of this tour, we forgot the outrageous cost for excursions that Oceania charge. Lanzarote – it was raining, and our submarine tour was cancelled due to lack of interest. Also, scheduling a port stop on a Sunday in a place that closes down on Sundays was never a good idea. The place was shut. Tenerife – amazing tour “Canadas del Tiede”. The bizarre Martian landscape of the volcano was worth every penny, and the House of Balconies in La Oratavia was wonderful. The lunch we could have skipped. Cape Verde – don’t get off the ship. Really. Recife – unless you go to Olinda, another “why?” port. Again, this port stop was scheduled for a Monday, a day that all the museums in the city are closed. Bad timing by Oceania since this information is publically available. Salvador de Bahia – we enjoyed this very much, and will return. We did the “Highlights of Salvador” tour, and it was worth it to get a sense of place and geography, so that on the second day, we wandered around on our own and got a more in depth look at some of the places on the tour. Buzios – we did the “Swim by Schooner” tour….but the water was too cold for real enjoyment. Afterwards, we took a cab to a different beach away from the town, and had a relaxing beach afternoon. Beautiful. Rio de Janeiro – we did the “Best of Rio” 8 hour tour. Again, the lunch could have been skipped. Sugarloaf and the Corcovado was basically the rest of the tour. We had two more days in Rio, and went back to Corcovado again, when it was sunny. It was a lot less expensive and pretty simple to do by ourselves, but probably again partly due to the fact that we had some familiarity from doing the tour. Disembarkation – we were off the ship by 9am, and we organized our car service through our hotel – a cost of about $100, compared to Oceania asking for $395. We stayed two days at the JW Marriott at Copacabana – which was great, but after being away for a month, we were both a bit “tired of touring” so we stayed inside and watched movies for the most part! Flights – all arranged with Delta, not using Oceania. We used points and flew Business Elite – and now we can never do coach again. Overall observations: Oceania is not for you if you want exciting entertainment and partying. It’s not for you if you have young kids. If you want an upscale resort experience, excellent service and food, to return home feeling relaxed and rejuvenated….and maybe a little wiser about the destinations you’ve been to….then Oceania is a good choice.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
For us, this was a alternate Oceania cruise because of medical problems that occurred just before a Oceania Cruise we had book three years ago. We used Oceania air deviation and flew via BA through Heathrow to Barcelona. We spent two ... Read More
For us, this was a alternate Oceania cruise because of medical problems that occurred just before a Oceania Cruise we had book three years ago. We used Oceania air deviation and flew via BA through Heathrow to Barcelona. We spent two evenings there at Jazz Hotel (great price through Hotel.com and great Hotel, buy the breakfast when booking). We did a day trip to Montserrate which was worthwhile. We then flew independently via Easyjet to Geneva to spend a weekend with friends we had meet last year Alaska back to back cruise. Weather was perfect for sightseeing (Guyeres chees Factory, Caillers Choclate Factory, and Frieberg Castle, and the Toblerone Mountain all great sites.. We then flew back to Barcelona and again stayed at Jazz for two nights. In Barcelona we saw the La Sagrada Familia church via Viator and took both hop-on hop-off bus tours of the city. The hotel is a 7 minute walk from the Airport Bus drop point. On the 20 we headed down to the Dock via cab (15 euros with tip) and were on Marina within 25 minutes. They send you to Horizons to eat while your room is prepared. We toured the Ship after unpacking and had heard that you should attempt to get a specialty restaurant booking as there are usually available the first night. We were easily able to. We had Concierge Suite 9010. Our Room Seward Rita was suburb during the cruise. Room had more that enough room and the balcony was comfortable when we used it which was about 5 hours over the length of the cruise.. We often used the concierge lounge for snacks, reading the Canadian National Post, and the services of Michelle our concierge. She was most helpful in providing answers to port questions, ship policies, and booking additional specialty restaurants. We had bought 4 bottles of Spanish wine on board, left them in the open and were never questioned. We did buy six bottles of Organic Chardonnay with meals, making most bottles last two meals. FOOD: Reviews we read before did not do justice. Food as beyond wonderful. Special requests were never rejected. If it were not for the walking in ports, we would have put on a lot of weight. The specialty restaurants are equal to the Grand Dining Room and the Buffet meals, just they had a different menu. We actually believe the grill in the Buffet does better Lobster on demand then the other restaurants. The Portions are enough for the Largest eater, and you can always get seconds. Main meals also on request can be ordered as appetizers. EXCURSIONS We prearranged most of our port tours through CRUISE CRITIC roll calls or with other CRUISE CRITIC members on board. Cartagena: We walked with other CC members to see the museum and roman coliseums. A lot of steps to maneuver but the views are breath taking. Take the elevator down or up to cut down on the walking. Gibraltar: A private CC tour that covered almost all the sights possible. I never knew how many tunnels had been created in the rock over the last 300 years. Arrecife/Lanzarote: Another CC tour took us around the Canary volcanic island with almost no vegetation. The use of the private tour had the ability to reverse the normal tour agenda which avoided the rain on the mountain for those who took the ship tour. A must see is the Cesar Manrique Museum, a home built in the volcanic air bubbles. Santa Cruz de Tenerife: Another Canary island and another CC tour. While Lanzarote was barren, this island was so lush it was overwhelming. Due to weather, we did not see the volcano here, but instead our tour guide arranged for a typical lunch which was impressive and filling. Our guide covered the normal tourist points but was also had a hidden talent as a horticulturalist which several members of the group appreciated. Mindelo/Cape Verde: Using the free ship shuttle we went into town and walked. We saw the unsanitary (to North American or European standards) fish market, the flea markets, vegetable market, and West African market. We were back on the ship in three hours. Not a great tourist site, but a nice break after a few sea days. The worst seas encounter during our trip were 8.5 feet (2.5 meters) so almost no side to side ship movement. Recife, Brazil: We arranged for a CC tour during the next 3 sea days. We ended up going to Olinda and it was worth while. Churchs appear to be the major tourist draw in all Brazil. Salvador Brazil: Day one we did a walking tour with one other couple, taking in the market, elevator and upper city. Day two we took a CC van tour and covered most of the tourist highlights Buzio, Brazil: Our only anchor port on this cruise. After breakfast on board, we only had to wait 8 minutes to get into the tender to be taken ashore. Walked around town, actually bought a few jewelry items and then headed back to the ship. Rio De Janeiro: We had arranged with two different CC tours for the last two days of our trip. We saw the usual tourist sights. The Redeemer and Sugar Mountain are worth the visits. We had arranged with tour on second day to store our luggage and deliver us and the luggage to the airport. ENTERTAINMENT: The on board entertainment is targeted to the 50+ demographic. Overall we felt it was good to very good. We thought the regular signing/acting group was good. They had a Woman Fiddler who was excellent and a bit of a comedian. The Juggler and Magic couple were very good. Almost all evening shows started at 9:45 and were over by 11:15. ACTIVITIES We got addicted to the twice daily trivia game. The Old Time Fair was wonderful. Crossing the Equator event was well done. We also took two cooking classes (our son's a chef) and actually learned new skills. Casino has limited games, but the poker games paid off for us. DISEMBARKATION Was very smooth and efficient. Our requested slot was provided and we were on the port shuttle 5 minutes after our time slot. RIO AIRPORT One of the worst international airports I have gone through. We flew back AA and they have no one at airport until 7:00 pm for a 10:45 flight. We waited around the airport from 5 pm with all our luggage. To make things worst, Dallas was closed and all those going through Dallas were being rerouted to AA so the line ups was terrible. Once in the gate lounge, the only food was a small shop whose prices seemed to be 4 times the normal. OVERALL Loved the trip and would go Oceania again. Loved the ambiance and the other guest on board. We usually eat with others at sharing tables and never meet anyone who was not friendly.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Recently returned from Treasures of the Ancients cruise from Barcelona, Spain. Very impressed with Oceania and Marina as it was our first cruise with this carrier. Prices were very good and dealings with the Oceania staff very ... Read More
Recently returned from Treasures of the Ancients cruise from Barcelona, Spain. Very impressed with Oceania and Marina as it was our first cruise with this carrier. Prices were very good and dealings with the Oceania staff very satisfactory. The hotel included in the package was vastly overpriced. Would make own arrangements for hotel in future. Used the flight deviation option and travel agent arranged very satisfactory flights with British Airways and KLM. Would definitely recommend this option. Flights very long. This was our first "overseas" flight and we would certainly do another differently. Stops along the way, more days in first port before embarkation, would ease the jet lag. As we flew from Western Canada, there was an 8 hour difference in time zones and miles and miles of travel. Very exhausting for us (60's age). Cruise was wonderful. Each port was unique and so interesting for us as we come from an area where nothing is really "old" except our Rocky Mountains. So much to see. As a result, it was very tiring. We wanted to see everything we could, so took excursions at every stop. As I say, wonderful, but a lot to take in. Weather at this time of year, mid-November is iffy. Spain was warmer than usual with temps in high 20s C. But cooler as we got into Italy. Still nice, just had to adjust our clothing and be prepared. Prices of excursions were high, but we still preferred to have them in place before going as we are totally unfamiliar with this area and we were very pleased with the tours and the tour guides. The ship ... well, what shipboard experience is not wonderful. Oceania met our expectations and more. Was great to have free water and soft drinks. Alcoholic beverages prices were high, but also expected that. Also, nice to have laundry room available. Dining experiences were wonderful. Great variety and service in specialty areas and always consistent in general areas. The internet service was not adequate. Ours was free along with a laptop, but we used our own laptop as it was easier for us. Service was VERY SLOW! Would not pay for this service. Other areas on the ship were not used much as we were off each day and then tired in evenings. Would maybe have taken in more shows were they not so late. Shows did not start until 9:45 pm, and we were ready for bed by then. Did use the spa, nice to have access to sauna and steam room complementary. The boutique area was very expensive, only very top end merchandise so did not use that. We had upgraded to Concierge and would recommend this also ... just a few nice added perks. Service by all staff was impeccable. Cannot say enough about the way we were pampered. Would definitely cruise with Oceania again. But maybe closer to home next time! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
This was our first cruise with Oceania, and we couldn't be more thrilled with them. From the moment we were greeted at our hotel in Barcelona, we only experienced outstanding customer service. The embarkation process was smooth. Our ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Oceania, and we couldn't be more thrilled with them. From the moment we were greeted at our hotel in Barcelona, we only experienced outstanding customer service. The embarkation process was smooth. Our stateroom with a balcony was huge, especially by typical cruise ship standards. There was ample closet and drawer space. The bathroom had not only a shower, but also a full size bathtub! Throughout our 10 days onboard, every single staff member of Oceania truly made us feel like welcome and honored guests. We can't say enough about the unbelievably high quality food that was served in every dining venue. Lobster tails, filet mignon, sushi, eggs Benedict, lamb chops and decadent desserts were among the daily offerings, among many other choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The four specialty restaurants were particularly excellent in both service and food quality. An example: I was wearing black outfits in two of the restaurants. When the wait staff first came to our table, they asked if I would prefer a black napkin rather than the standard white (to avoid white lint on my outfits)!! With Jacques Pepin as the cruise's top chef, you know food will be outstanding, but this so exceeded our expectations. The average age of this cruise was about 60, which was perfect for us as a couple in the same age group. Other passengers we encountered were very friendly. This cruise was well worth the expense, and we would eagerly cruise Oceania again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
My partner & I are seasoned cruisers. We like to swop around the various cruise companies but always search for venues. Oceania cruise on this occasion were chosen just on venues being visited. We boarded in Barcelona after short ... Read More
My partner & I are seasoned cruisers. We like to swop around the various cruise companies but always search for venues. Oceania cruise on this occasion were chosen just on venues being visited. We boarded in Barcelona after short flight from UK. As the cabins were not ready for release we were invited on board to lunch. My immediate reaction was how pleasant the staff were and the quality of the buffet. The 4 speciality restaurants on board this ship are available to all without extra charge, we were on a B2 Veranda Stateroom and were allowed one booking at each restaurant. We took up two bookings one in Polo and one in the Italian themed Toscana. The Quality of the food & service were 5 Star and without fault. I have a catering background and believe me I know good food when on offer. Most of our other meals were in The Grand Dining Room, The Grill and the buffet.. The quality of service in every venue is first class as is the food. I have never heard of a Beefburger being made with KOBI Beef dressed with Truffle Sauce, Had two they were so good. Menu's in Grand Dining Room changed daily, Lobster & Fillet Steaks were in abundance. The Staterooms are really large compared to other ships we have been on. Full sized bath with shower and a separate shower cubicle opposite bath. The cabin was as big as any five star hotel room. Plenty of luggage space although the position of the wardrobe made us dance around each other when access was required. The public rooms and bars are beautiful with artwork everywhere. Had drinks package which appeared exspensive but if you drank Champagne turned out cheap in the end. Only gripe was price of excursions. You really need to research the places being visited before you commit to any trips. We only used two bookings for trips due to venues. All the rest we used Hop On Hop Off buses at ports and bargained with local firms to go to other places. Good example of this is Naples. For 220 Euro's for two a private car will take you to Almalfi, Positano & Sorrento for a whole day out. Stay as long as reasonable and ended with tour around Naples. Had we chosen trips on board that would have cost three times as much. Overall I will say that Marina & Oceania Cruises can be very proud of themselves we were both very sad to leave such a lovely ship & crew. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
My partner and I have just returned from 20 days on Marina. We took back-to-back cruises, the first from Barcelona to Rome, and the second from Rome to Venice. This was my second time on Marina and I would return in a heartbeat. I was ... Read More
My partner and I have just returned from 20 days on Marina. We took back-to-back cruises, the first from Barcelona to Rome, and the second from Rome to Venice. This was my second time on Marina and I would return in a heartbeat. I was first attracted to the ship because of the Bon Appetit Culinary Center. It offers hands-on cooking classes on a variety of themes. On this cruise, it was combined with shore excursions to allow participants to shop in local markets, experience local wineries, then return to the ship with the purchases. Back on board, we learned new recipes and techniques, using the items we had bought. At first glance, these were very expensive - $300 or more on average. But they turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip and worth every penny. Chef Annie proved to be an excellent host. Each guest was given Euros and a shopping assignment for the dishes we would prepare later. On one tour we visited behind the scenes in a local bakery where we were guided in filling our own cannolis, which we got to eat afterward. We had beautiful lunches at the wineries, along with generous servings of wine. The tours were always in immaculate modern buses with local guides who spoke excellent English. There was no skimping and we wound up wishing we had arranged for one of these tours in every port when they were available. We spent a lot of time in the fitness center, part of the Canyon Ranch Spa. The equipment was modern and well maintained. Crew was consistently warm, friendly and helpful. Food was beyond description. We ate mostly in the Terrace and Waves Grill (for lunch). Afternoon tea was magnificent and elegant. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
This was only the second cruise that we have taken since we have always traveled independently in the past. Our first cruise was also with Oceania, but on the Riviera. I realize that it's not fair to compare the Nautica with the ... Read More
This was only the second cruise that we have taken since we have always traveled independently in the past. Our first cruise was also with Oceania, but on the Riviera. I realize that it's not fair to compare the Nautica with the Riviera which is brand new and wonderful, so I won't. We spent extra days in Barcelona before boarding our ship and all went smoothly. Our stateroom was just fine, nothing spectacular, but comfortable, with more than enough storage space. Having been to some of the port cities previously, we didn't select any ship excursions, just walked around by ourselves for most of our stops with the exception of an excellent tour of Lucca, near Florence and a privately booked tour with a local at Ephesus. Can't recommend that enough. We are not much for entertainment so I really can't comment on that aspect, but Oceania isn't known as a party ship anyway which was perfect for us. On at sea days, it was difficult to find a vacant chair and the pool was rather smallish and quite crowded. My only criticism would have to be the food. I know that the food on Oceania is regarded as excellent and in most cases it was, but the food prep at Waves near the pool and the selection of salads was not very satisfactory. Breakfast was also a disappointment in that the selection was rather limited (I know, I said I wouldn't compare) but compared to the Riviera, it was inadequate and no one could prepare a decent freshly cooked egg. The dining room staff, with the exception of the specialty restaurants, seemed to be a discontented lot with quite a few grim faces and at one point, a loud argument erupted between 2 of the staff members. All of the bar staff, though, was terrific. The negative comments would certainly not prevent us from taking another trip on the Nautica since, all in all, we enjoyed our 10 days very much.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2013
Our cruise went Barcelona to Lisbon via Casablanca. The Spain section consisted of daily drop-ins to several Spanish Holiday islands followed by a day in Gibraltar. Then it was off to North Africa and Morocco. The lure of Casablanca was ... Read More
Our cruise went Barcelona to Lisbon via Casablanca. The Spain section consisted of daily drop-ins to several Spanish Holiday islands followed by a day in Gibraltar. Then it was off to North Africa and Morocco. The lure of Casablanca was strong and turned out to be completely different to other parts of Southern Europe. WE also went to see the old city of Rabat mainly to visit the souks and old forts. The it wa soff to Lisbon as the final port. We would strongly recommend Lisbon and Portugal - great sights as a discounted cost to Spain. The trams in Lisbon are magical. The Riviera is a top class ship with all the bells and whistles. We found the food and dining room service exceptional and other facilities enough to keep us happy for the time we were actually on the boat. Evening entertainment starts late and is hard work if you have spent the day sightseeing on land. The only major gripe was the cost of Internet facilities. The cost was real penny pinching considering the quality of other services and the cost of the cruise in general. P.S. Ricks Café was shut. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2012
Having done a TA on the Marina in March 2012 we decided to try the inaugural crossing of the Riviera in Nov 2012. I guess we liked it because we've already booked for a 10-day cruise on the Riviera in March and another TA in Nov ... Read More
Having done a TA on the Marina in March 2012 we decided to try the inaugural crossing of the Riviera in Nov 2012. I guess we liked it because we've already booked for a 10-day cruise on the Riviera in March and another TA in Nov 2013. The Riviera and the Marina are almost identical - a few improvements on the Riv. Some of the crew from the M have transferred over to the Riv to add experience to the mix. We enjoyed every one of the 14 days. The ship was not full and getting specialty restaurant reservations, deck chairs and space in the pool was never a problem. We liked Polo Grill the best and Jacques the least, but all of the dining venues are excellent. We actually enjoyed the Grand Dining Room the most. There were 3 lecturers, all of whom were very informative and entertaining. I'm a musician and I most enjoyed the string quartet from Poland. Their repertoire was amazing and the quality excellent. The evening entertainment was generally good. I attended two of the song and dance big production performances wearing musician's earplugs (decibel reduction with no distortion). After that I skipped them. That's just a matter of taste I think, not a serious complaint. My wife found a group of knitters who got together in the commodious Horizon Lounge each morning. The food is great, the staterooms are comfortable, the crew is friendly and accommodating. Most of the passengers were repeat Oceania cruisers, so what's that tell you. Having heard from those who've cruised on other lines I think I'll stick with Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
This back to back combination of two journeys from Barcelona via Istanbul to Athens was our fist experience with OCEANIA. With some 20+ cruises on board of ships from Cunard (QM2), Hapag-Lloyd (Europa) Regent and Seabourn our curiosty was ... Read More
This back to back combination of two journeys from Barcelona via Istanbul to Athens was our fist experience with OCEANIA. With some 20+ cruises on board of ships from Cunard (QM2), Hapag-Lloyd (Europa) Regent and Seabourn our curiosty was piqued to OCEANIA's new ships and the disgner-styled large suites there. Pre-Cruise Arrangement: Unfortunately we booked a pre-cruise arrangement with OCEANIA, what we never would do again! The Boutique-style hotel (1898) was really nice, but the small room with nearly absence of any day-light which was booked for us reminded to be more a broom-closet than a stateroom. With lack of any further assistance or support, except a small general information sheet, the guaranteed transfer to the port did not happen. Hence we organized our transportation to the ship by ourself. Embarkation: Smooth, efficient, fast and no lines! After arrival at 11.30 am our Suite was ready for occupation without any delay. The downside: from Pier to Suite our luggage made a 5 hours journey. This is really not "prority delivery within one hour" as advertised! Suite: The Owner's Suites on Marina are an Interiors Designer's delight and absolutely marvellous and to die for! Spanning from one side to the other at the ship's stern it is all about space and style and guarantees the privacy of a large yacht as well. Travelling in such a phantastic setting is hardly to beat. The most spacious and best equipped Suite we ever enjoyed on baord of a ship! Our Cabin-Stewards Joseph and his young assistant did a phantastic job. Charming, smiling, friendly, always just in time: perfect! Ravi, our Butler, first had some minor problems as he tended to forget his orders. But by the end of the cruise his service was really much more improved and we had been rather more satisfied. With Suite 10111 there is only one problem: the fall-out of carbon black out of the ships chimney (unbelivable for a 'Green Ship')and, much more, the garbage thrown down from the Terrace-Cafe two decks above. Nearly every second morning our balconies had been covered with napkins, paper, fruits, korks, crackers and even broken bits of glass(!)and fixing pins. If you prefer having breakfast on your private terasse, it has to be cleaned first. Sometimes you had to be careful if the Terasse-Cafe was cleaned after Lunch: without any warning some water splashed down. For our next cruises on 'Riviera' we booked the Owner's Suites on Deck 8 and 9 which - as it was told - are not as problematic as Suite 10111. Restaurants: Famous for its dining expierience, OCEANIA fullfilled all our exspectations. The quality of meals in all of the restaurants we tried was - with one exeption - of top quality. Even in the Grand Dining Room the the kitchen worked excellent. Not our style, we did not try 'Waves' and the 'Terrace' for dinner. Service ranking: 'Polo Grill' and 'Jacques': excellent, 'Toscana', 'Red Ginger' and 'Grand Dining Room': very well, 'Terrace Cafe'(for lunch): sometimes ok, sometimes poor. The service at 'La Privee' seems a little bit over exposed - you do not have a chance for private conversation without beeing interrupted by the waiter. Shore-Excutions: We booked onboard two private cars with guide for Israel and one for Istanbul: perfectly organized but extremely expansive. Otherwise we made our private arrangements, which worked extremely well. Disembarkation: We booked onboard a private car to the Aiport. Even with 4(!)cruise ships arriving at the same time and regardless the hughe crowds we never expirienced such a well organized disembarkation before. After leaving the ship at the scheduled time a personal guide and a porter exspected us with our luggage, showed us the way and accompanied us right to the waiting car: perfect! Summary: The 'Marina' is a marvellous ship: spacious, elegant and stylish. Regarding the pictures, sculptures and some decoration this is not only pure Interior Disigner's routine: you feel, that there must be an OCEANIA excecutive, who personally tooks care of it. Having some fears about the size of the ship, as - with the exception of a Transatlantic Crossing with QM2 - we never sailed on such a large vessel,it was really a surprise: the 'Marina' absorbes its 1200 Passengers very, very well. One never had a cramped feeling or the atmosphere of beeing in a hughe crowd. At some places the ship feels homy and intimate. Even the tender-service works extremely well and is better organized than on all smaller ships we travelled. Only in terms of individual attention, the 'Marina' lacks the personal atmosphere of smaller ships. This applies not for the restaurants, where you mostly are personally wellcomed by name. Otherwise at the reception you feel more treated with the unpersonal routine of a call-center (we apologize, we double-check, we try...). Regarding our 'garbage' problem, absolutely nothing happend! Trying to get an appointment with the Marina's GM was such a hard task, that I gave it up! It seems to be easier to get a reception with the Emperior of China than with Monsieur Lacroix himself! After nearly four weeks onboard 'Marina' the GM was only virtually excisting. Observing how some of the decks personal are operating and with quite a little experience on board of other ships, you get a feeling, that the attention to details and guests could be improved by the 'Marina's management. Overall: this was a very good experience, which we highly recommand. Maybe it will be even better next time: we are looking forward to our next three journeys onboard 'Riviera'. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
I can't believe I am the first to review this fabulous cruise! Been home four days, and am still glowing. Background information: I am a mobility challenged traveler, but very adventurous. Being dissatisfied with Oceania shore ... Read More
I can't believe I am the first to review this fabulous cruise! Been home four days, and am still glowing. Background information: I am a mobility challenged traveler, but very adventurous. Being dissatisfied with Oceania shore tours on two previous cruises, I arranged private tours for us in most ports, but my husband did take 2 Oceania tours that I did not. Getting to the port of embarkation, Barcelona from our lovely quiet Hotel Gaudi was a snap of a short taxi ride. Embarkation was handled smoothly, including getting our luggage to our room in good shape promptly. No fuss; no hassle, great lunch awaiting us 12 ish. Our Stateroom, 8125 was not far from the rear elevator, which turned out to be a big plus for me: most dining spots, the bridge/card room were located in that end of the ship. This was the largest, nicest stateroom of our three Oceania tours, and we didn't even use all the storage space for a change.Dining? As close to perfection as you can get, including the Terrace Cafe, all four specialty dining rooms, and the Grand Dining Room.For a foodie to make that statement is saying a lot. Tasty, varied menus, consistency, hot food hot, cold food cold; from soup to dessert the food was top notch. We enjoyed eating alone sometimes, but whenever we wanted a table for 4 or 6, we met interesting fellow travelers. Service was outstanding in all respects. The ports on this cruise were much to our liking: Malta, Rhodes, Barcelona, Israel, Crete, Cyprus, and the crown jewel: Istanbul, where we spent 4 days on our own, post cruise. I'm going to mention the private guides we had in most of those ports before I get to the criticism of the Oceania shore tours. Ram_dreng@yahoo.com made Istanbul come alive for us; can't recommend him highly enough. (Ramazan Guloglu)We took taxis everywhere in Istanbul, and they were comfortable, very inexpensive and fun. In Malta: Rita Fsadni: ritafsadni@gmail.com; in Rhodes: Nicholas of Rhodes (taxi) nick-ax@rho.forthnet; in Israel: Mickey of info@guidedtoursisrael.com all did a super job of catering to my mobility limitations while giving grand tours for our small groups we put together, using cruise critic to get other passengers to join us. A quick word about our one complaint: my husband's Oceania tours in Emphasis and Knossis in Crete were sadly lacking. Other passengers complained bitterly about the ship's tours in other ports. One Canadian friend we met muttered "never again!" after an extensive tour of Istanbul at the end of the cruise. There were so many complaints about the quality of the tours that the expensive side of them didn't get as much mention as the poor quality. Back to the positives:a new feature on this cruise were the Culinary Center programs. I took two, and enjoyed the chef/intructor, the recipes, the facility, the reasonable cost of 69/small group hands-on instruction. Other passengers were very pleased with the entertainment; we were just too tired by the end of dinner to partake. String quartet aboard was excellent; we enjoyed the tea most afternoons. Tiny complaint: the chairs in the Marina Lounge were too low and could use replacement. Service on this ship was outstanding in all respects: friendly, helpful, cheerful. We had a prepaid gratuity credit from our travel agent, but we did tip in addition due to total satisfaction with our cabin attendants. Disembarkation handled smoothly on the ship, but it was a madhouse waiting for taxis that we were not involved with, as our Istanbul arranged for a private pickup for us. A caution re Israel: Jerusalem is quite far from Ashdod port; private tours with small vans can get into places the large buses cannot. The Egyptian ports were cancelled due to caution on Oceania's part, but Cairo is VERY far from Port Said, and imho only Oceania tours would be a good idea for future Lands of Time sailings. We've done about 15 cruises previously, but for us, this was the best overall. The ports were wonderful without exception, and no tender service was required. Oceania's Marina crew had its act together, and that added to the experience. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
And a great time was had by all! Just returned from our cruise on Oceania Riviera - itinerary was Barcelona-Majorca-Valencia-Motril (Granada)-at sea-Funchal (Madeira)-Santa Cruz de la Palma-Arrecife (Lanzarote)-Agadir ... Read More
And a great time was had by all! Just returned from our cruise on Oceania Riviera - itinerary was Barcelona-Majorca-Valencia-Motril (Granada)-at sea-Funchal (Madeira)-Santa Cruz de la Palma-Arrecife (Lanzarote)-Agadir Morocco-Casablanca-Cadiz (Seville)-Lisbon with an overnight in Lisbon on board. We had a lovely time. Was our first time on such a large ship - previously had been on a 110-ish passenger expedition ship in Alaska and 250-ish passenger ship in the Baltic. Best for: folks who want to explore ports & be pampered on board Spouse is particular & he gave Oceania the seal of approval! Itinerary/ports: great. We didn't use any Oceania tours; port info people on board were generally very good and shuttles quite helpful (shuttles are provided by the ports but coordinated with Oceania). Schedules were clear & adhered to (if using port shuttles, beware of driver lunch breaks!). We had a wonderful time and even without much pre-trip port research it was easy to find activities that interested us. Hint: we didn't bring computers & used our smart phones for email through wifi in the various ports; the port/tourism representatives were generally very helpful in directing us to wifi spots. Not sure if it was because it was a Sunday, but the port/tourism person in Arrecife (Lanzarote) was not up to the other ports. Cabin: wonderful. We were in a B-4 (lowest "Veranda" category) and it was appointed nicely. We had an extra-deep balcony and our steward brought us a second pair of chairs when we asked - 4 chairs meant we could entertain guests easily. The shower is compact, but there is also a shower in the tub (shower head in tub is adjustable/mounted on vertical bar/detachable with hose). Plenty of storage, total of 20 clip/pants/skirt hangers and 20 shirt/blouse/jacket hangers (er, "regular hangers"). Plenty of hooks in bathroom & entryway, compact but useful desk, coffee table just big enough for 2 people to dine. 3 sets of curtains (sheer, blackout, decorative) can move independently, and the curtain ties can hold any combination of the curtains that you wish. Electrical asides: the light switch with a little light in it (entry, each side of the bed) toggles through the general lighting. The 110 outlets at the desk are designed so that a large plug (ie phone charger) may turn on the light around the mirror. Our steward was great!! Food & Wine: very good. We are foodies, so our standards are (perhaps oddly) high. Food in GDR (grand dining room), casual spots (Terraces & Waves), specialty restaurants and room service all very well done for a large volume operation. Quality generally quite consistent from one spot to the next (that is, GDR food isn't really 'below' specialty restaurants). In each case where we requested a given done-ness, the meat came done just right (this is quite a trick on a ship). Hint: fish is done to an 'American' doneness (opaque/flaky), if you like 'French' (a bit glossy), request it when ordering. One of the executive chefs explained that much more of the ship is dedicated to food/food service & storage than on other lines. We didn't eat at La Reserve but heard rave reviews from fellow foodies - hint: the same chef told us that the connoisseur menu at La Reserve is the most technically advanced on the ship. They handled my gluten-free restriction very well. Service can be a bit varied, some staff are more experienced than others. Wine list is a bit inconsistent on prices (some good deals, most quite reasonable, a few oddly high vs. retail). Wine service generally good, the 'follow you' bottle service a nice touch (if you don't finish a bottle it will find you at your next dinner or you can request it anytime/anywhere - well, except 3-5:30pm the cellar is closed one sommelier told us). Ability to bring on & drink your own alcohol in your room for no fee & just $25 corkage for your own wine in restaurants a GREAT feature. Room service very accommodating, we were always requesting specific glasses (4 brandy snifters, 6 red wine, etc) in our room and they appeared cheerfully & promptly. Note: for dinner, specialty restaurant & La Reserve menus are set & unchanging. GDR has nightly specials in addition to base menu, these specials are also available at Terraces. Even got nuts with my yogurt one morning thanks to a write-in request! On-Board amenities/activities: excellent. We spent a lot of time at the pool & one day in the spa. Pool deck has plenty of chaises & lounge beds, these can get quite popular after 3 most afternoons and starting about noon on our sea day. The pool temp is perfect (not too hot or cold), it is salt-water (so easy on the skin) and it is big enough for mini-laps (better in the morning unless you like swimming in traffic). If you want to eat poolside, you can walk over to Waves (breakfast or lunch) and walk food back to your chaise. They may ask gently 'where are you sitting' if you are in your robe, as that doesn't quite make even the casual dress code for sitting in Waves - but if you answer 'by the pool' there is no problem! Spa we enjoyed very much. Our cabin category did not include spa terrace access but we did get massages one day (which include terrace access). Note that *everyone* gets unlimited locker/exercise/steam/sauna access. Your in-room spa menu has no prices, ask at the spa desk and you will get prices *and* the schedule for all the free & fee exercise classes for your entire cruise. Spa staff excellent. Steam & sauna quite nice. Our massage day was a port day, we went early (9ish) and didn't see another guest until *after* our noon massages. We moved a double-chaise across the deck to get the shade...was quite the private retreat. 3 chilled water choices (plain, cucumber, melon, strawberry & pineapple, etc) and a samovar for tea are always on offer. Activities, we didn't do too much beyond eat/drink/swim, but the few things we did attend were very well done. There were certainly plenty of things to choose from every day. It's a nice touch that the lectures are re-broadcast on one of the tv channels. An in-the-know travel agent on board mentioned that on TA cruises the level of activities really ramps up. On board email seemed to be not working 100%, so we didn't try to use it. The ship had just had a satellite system upgrade the prior week (according to someone on a B2B) and there may have been some lingering issues. Many folks were grumbling about internet, the in-the-know travel agent said it was fine and actually better than most ships, but that the more people were logged in the slower it got & you were better off using it first thing in the morning. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
This was a great cruise for my 60 th birthday. My wife and i were going to be back in Italy and we were told that Jacques Pepin was going to be teaching some cooking classes.This was great news since he is my wife favorite as well as mine. ... Read More
This was a great cruise for my 60 th birthday. My wife and i were going to be back in Italy and we were told that Jacques Pepin was going to be teaching some cooking classes.This was great news since he is my wife favorite as well as mine. This did not happen he did make a few appearance's in 1 or 2 classes and did do a cooking demo and signed books.Our room was fantastic as well as thestaff. The best restaurants were Red Ginger, Toscana,Terrace Cafe and Waves. The worst were Polo Grill bad service, Jacques good service ,food OK at best, Grand dining room OK food.The ports of call were great except for Livorno looking at a container ship for two days not a great view one day world have been enough. More time was needed at Sorrento, not enough time to see Carpi or Pompeii. The Bon Appetit Culinary Center was very hard to get a booking into. The people at Oceana did not have a clue at to what was going one , talk to five people get five different answers.The cooking classes if you do get in are great and worth all of the grief. The total experence was Great and overall well worth the price. If you are like my wife and i ,you might be bored because most of the people act their age, unlike those of us that 40 years old stuck in 55 year old plus bodies Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
We had a great time on this cruise. The ship is beautiful and the food, as expected, is what differentiates Oceania from the others. The entertainment was better than we expected. We enjoyed it almost every night. There was one ... Read More
We had a great time on this cruise. The ship is beautiful and the food, as expected, is what differentiates Oceania from the others. The entertainment was better than we expected. We enjoyed it almost every night. There was one entertainer who's claim to fame was the "happy days" jingle. It was way overdone. Get over the 80's already! Food was excellent in all venues. This was a very port intensive cruise so we probaby did not get to enjoy all this gorgeous ship had to offer. The only tacky thing was that despite their marketing, Oceania did not offer really any complementary tranfers to town. In fact in one port, we could not get to the designated port so we docked elsewhere and Oceania bussed us to the port. Then we were abandonned! They published a bus schedule. We took one bus to town. Then we arrived for our return bus 15 minutes early. The local contact advised us the return bus had already left as it filled up early. Next bus was in two hours!! some folks took a return cab. So again, there is no complementary bus/transfer! Same thing with complentary clothes pressing. forget it! We booked a concierge cabin. The complementary pressing covers one article per person. Hardly worth the print cost in the marketing material. So again, don't count on it. Overall the ship and the food made this trip worthwhile. Regarding the shore excursions, way overpriced! Organize on cruisecritic and do your own! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
We were in Barcelona on May 10, although we weren't invited to the christening of the Riviera a we did depart May 12, 2012 on the Marina, the sister ship of the Riviera for France and Italy. It is our opinion Oceania has the best ... Read More
We were in Barcelona on May 10, although we weren't invited to the christening of the Riviera a we did depart May 12, 2012 on the Marina, the sister ship of the Riviera for France and Italy. It is our opinion Oceania has the best price point for the mid size ships positioned in the high end of the middle price range. Our suite 12006 was 1000 square feet and was outstanding. We departed from Barcelona, Spain then on to Provence (Marseille), France, Saint-Tropez, France, Cannes, France, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Cinque Terre (La Spezia), Italy, Florence/Pisa/Tuscany (Livorno), Italy, Sorrento/Capri, Italy, Amalfi/Positano, Italy Cruising the Mediterranean Sea Oct to Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy. Everything imaginable is provided in your Oceania Suite, even a second bathroom for guests. SUITE PRIVILEGES Priority 11am check-in and early embarkation with priority luggage delivery Exclusive access to private Executive Lounge staffed by a dedicated Concierge and 24-hour Butler service. Complimentary in-suite bar setup featuring 4 full-size bottles of premium spirits plus wine Welcome bottle of Champagne Priority online specialty restaurant and shore excursion reservations Unlimited access to Canyon Ranch SpaClub® private Spa Terrace Laptop computer with wireless Internet access+ New for 2013! - Exclusive discounts on Internet usage plans New for 2013! - Complimentary iPad® available for your enjoyment on-board+ Bulgari gift set and toiletries Full-size whirlpool tub Choice of daily printed newspaper Customized entertainment system with integrated sound system and media library+ Complimentary Oceania Cruises logo tote bag Cashmere lap blankets, perfect for relaxing on your veranda rates apply BUTLER SERVICES Course-by-course in-suite dining+ “Order in” from any of our specialty restaurants Coordination of shore-side dinner and entertainment reservations Priority shore excursion reservations Packing and unpacking upon request Last minute luggage collection Complimentary garment pressing+ Complimentary shoe shine service Gourmet evening canapés Special services upon request. Click here to go to the Oceania website. YES, we are doing Oceania again and again. Oceania has recently updated their 3 smaller ships with larger suites like the Marina. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We chose Oceania Marina for our first cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary(we are in our 40s) Using Oceania air arrangements we flew to Atlanta then to Barcelona on Delta. We arrived in Barcelona on time and easily found a cab to ... Read More
We chose Oceania Marina for our first cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary(we are in our 40s) Using Oceania air arrangements we flew to Atlanta then to Barcelona on Delta. We arrived in Barcelona on time and easily found a cab to the Hotel Art's where we stayed the 1st night. The Art's is located on the beach near many restaurants. We were on the 27th floor with a gorgeous view of both the city and beach. The hop-on-hop off bus gives you a quick method to see many "touristy" sites. Cabs are very easy to find. At noon we left for the port by taxi and arrived at 12:30. It took about 25 minutes to check our luggage pass through security and walk onto the ship. Service personnel were fast and friendly. The ship is new and beautiful with modern colors and free of the glitzy Las Vegas look of many cruise ships. (Wonderful art throughout) We ate lunch in the Grill near the pool. The lobster and filet mignon burger was delicious and perfectly cooked. The parmesan fries were addictive. Service was very attentive. Our PH2 was ready by 1pm. We meet with our butler Churchill at about 4pm. He discussed his service role and how he would work to make our cruise wonderful. How we utilized the butler; pressing clothes, breakfast in-suite every morning, in-suite specialty restaurant service (Toscana and Polo), evening canapies, wine service, port and tour advice, extra specialty restaurant reservations. The best kept secret on-board is the beautiful serenity deck, covered loungers, quiet and secluded. It is open to concierge and higher cabins, has 2 rarely used whirlpools and gorgeous views. We reserved 4 specialty restaurant reservations online and added two extra on-board. It was not hard to add reservations if you were flexible. All of the specialty restaurants were delicious, favorites include;duck and watermelon salad, seabass and scallops in Red Ginger, filet mignon, lobster bisque in Polo, everything in Jacques, minestrone, veal shank and spinach pasta in Toscana the bread was amazing in every venue(chocolate croissants!), steaks were tender and properly cooked as was lobster. We found the nightly menu specials to be of an especially high quality. (seeming to revolve around the fresh foods available in the port we were visiting) The main dining room offered open seating. We found there to be too few sommeliers in this venue. We waited 20 minutes to have empty wine glasses filled. Food was not hot when delivered, the waiter did keep up with our pacing and promptly removed each course and added the next. Wine lists were large with wines of varying price points and quality. Carry on alcohol policy is VERY liberal. The cooking class was fun and fast paced but very basic in technique. Oceania should advertise it in a way to let experienced cooks know it is intended for beginners. I cancelled my 2nd class. We never saw a walker or mobility scooter while on-board (a few wheelchairs). We expected a much older crowd but would say the average age was 60, with less than a dozen children on-board, a dozen honeymoon couples and many couples like ourselves celebrating important milestones. Cruisers were well traveled and very congenial. The CC "meet and greet" was well attended and I felt I knew 50 of my fellow cruisers by the 1st night. All of our tours were private shared-tours arranged on our roll call. Service standouts were our butler Churchill A+, Danny D. in the piano bar and Horizons, concierge Maria on deck 5, and Jose our cabin steward.The concierge in the executive lounge was helpful and knowledgeable. The ship was very clean and I saw service personnel constantly cleaning public areas, hand-rails etc. Our cabin was serviced 2 to 3 times daily and always well stocked and clean.The only friends against our 1st cruise being on Oceania stated that after setting the bar so high, other cruise lines would not measure up. Oceania met our very high expectations. We will definitely cruise Oceania again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2011
We've sailed Oceania before on their R-Class ships, but this is the first time on the Marina. We have been in Barcelona before, so we just came in the day of the cruise. The ship's connection via bus was a little clunky; ... Read More
We've sailed Oceania before on their R-Class ships, but this is the first time on the Marina. We have been in Barcelona before, so we just came in the day of the cruise. The ship's connection via bus was a little clunky; we'll just hire a car if we return there in the future (cheaper, faster and more comfortable). Boarding was smooth; Oceania registers folks in three classes (Penthouse & up, Concierge and all others), but the process was smooth (except for some language barriers with our person) for all, and everyone was boarding by about 1200-1230. The ship is beautiful; its feel will be comfortable to previous Oceania cruisers (doesn't repeat, but does rhyme, and getting around is quickly learned). High-end English Country Manor feel, excellent artwork, very good touches throughout the ship that are low-key but elegant. The Concierge and Exec Lounges were more useful than we might have thought; great place to get a snack, a map or to get info without trudging down to reception. Service staff was top notch and responsive to our needs. We did mostly private excursions, but when we did the ship tours, they were well-organized. The wait for tours in the show lounge, though, was hot, humid and less comfortable than we would want. Oceania may want to consider assigning a few other locales for groups to meet and wait, thus avoiding the stampede when a tour number is called. Food is rightfully one of the reasons to sail Oceania. The four specialty restaurants were very good; our favorite was Red Ginger. The Terrace Cafe, especially with the addition of the grill, is a good option any night you didn't feel like waiting or dressing up. For breakfast, though, it got pretty hectic, and seems as though they should consider removing some of the tables to create a better flow. The wait staff also seemed to get overwhelmed at times (not being timely with requested items) due to the crush. The Waves Grill is one of the best locales at which to eat an excellent casual lunch; their array of foods and options would be hard to beat. The Baristas is also a hit, although a redesign of the library would allow us to take our coffee into a nice quiet area without the passing throngs meandering by. Of course, we would also have wanted 2-3 more nights in one of the specialty restaurants... We also ate in La Reserve one night. The wines were quite good, although the food wasn't significantly different than elsewhere on the ship, so we're not sure if we would do it again. Not so much that it was not good, but the meals throughout the ship are excellent, so it is tough to move another notch up for the locale. Entertainment was acceptable, better than on the R ships, but not that much better IMHO. The show lounge also has a "low roof" feel and fixed row seats, which makes it difficult to sit if you're late. We would advocate they move to a small table/bankette configuration to make it more like a Vegas lounge. Another issue is the fixed show times around 9:45. With about a dozen ports, we were out most days, and didn't want to rush dinner, so we did not attend many of the shows. Perhaps they might, especially on sea days, consider an early show time, or two shows, so people could either eat early and see a show or vice versa. The string quartet played each evening, and we usually sat in on their mini-concerts. The location wasn't the greatest (in the big hallway leading to the main dining room), but people were respectful of those listening as they trundled by. Disembarkation was smooth, and the transit to the airport went without a hitch. Oceania also provided port shuttles at 3 stops, and we tendered into the small Biscay ports (tendering is more efficient than on the R ships, but the wait in the lounge, once again, made for a mad dash for the tender line more than once). Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
I am home only two days but want to share what a wonderful experience we had on the Pearls of the Riviera cruise mainly because of the perfection of our experience on the ship itself. The ship is absolutely beautiful. It is a larger more ... Read More
I am home only two days but want to share what a wonderful experience we had on the Pearls of the Riviera cruise mainly because of the perfection of our experience on the ship itself. The ship is absolutely beautiful. It is a larger more sophisticated model of the smaller Oceania ships. Our cabin was about the same size as on the smaller ones with the exception of the bathroom which was bigger mainly due to bathtub. My husband loves the veranda and used it daily whereas I like the open outdoor spaces where others gather. My strongest kudos are for the quality of the food throughout the ship. I was able to find fabulous choices in all eating venues. I am one of those picky eaters who likes meat, chicken, pasta and vegetables. I was able to find divine choices everywhere. Having eaten in Polo and Toscana many times, I knew we would have wonderful meals there. As usual, I was correct!!!! I also ate at Jacques and Red Ginger. At the former I had a divine veal stew and the latter a sliced steak. I am not a lover of French or Asian Fusion but the choices were great!!! The biggest surprise was dinner at the Terrace Cafe while we were anchored at Amalfi. We ate dinner as the sun set. Insignia was in the area and came to view the Marina with those of us on each ship waving to each other. This was a unique experience. But, my real shock, since in all the sailings I had never had dinner in the Terrace Cafe was the absolutely outstanding food, cooked to my specifications. I had choices of three steaks - fillet mignon, rib-eye or sirloin at the grilling station. My husband had gigantic shrimp and lobster tails cooked to perfection. I had soup, salad, carved meat, and cannelloni before I started on the desserts, which are divine everyday in every venue. I am now sorry that in the past I did not take advantage of the Terrace for dining. It is extremely casual and we sat there for over 3 hours both dining and chatting with some of the other cruisers we had become friendly with because of cruise critic. We also had the pleasure of speaking to Frank Del Rio for about a half hour as his family was also dining in the Terrace Cafe. What a nice, down to earth person who is really hands on in running Oceania. He is extremely personable and approachable. As you can tell, I give the cruise on Marina a very, very high score. A 9 out of 10. My only corrective criticism was I thought we had a full line of drawers and shelved alongside the closet. I told my husband he could have the drawers on top and I would use the shelves in what I thought was a cabinet. Wrong, it is the side of the hidden refrigerator. So we had to share 4 drawers. In addition for some reason the drawers in the desk are very small although the desk is standard size. The drawers are only about 6 inches in length so it's only good for underwear or t-shirts you need to fold in quarters. My suggestion to Oceania for this is put the refrigerator backunder the desk and give us girls some really usable shelves!!!! The same with the two outlets. With all the new plug shapes for phones, Ipads, cameras, etc. We need Oceania to leave an extension cord in the room or to place another outlet somewhere. Perhaps near the couch so we can charge the electrical equipment on the coffee table. My final suggestion is with tendering. The color coded system can really be improved with a few tweaks. First, all passengers should have the opportunity to leave the ship at the same time as Oceania's shore excursions. So, some seats on all early tenders should be saved for those traveling with private tour guides. Second, the color coded cards should be used in a very specific order so all those working the disembarking procedure know exactly what comes next and colors like green and cream should not be one after the other. Additionally, the tickets should be numbered so that when a tender is not full, the staff at tender level can call up to those in the Lounge to say, for example, that "Blue #s one to ten can report to the tender." With about two hundred people sitting in the Lounge where we had waited about 50 minutes we were finally called and our tender left with at least 15 empty seats. Comfortable for us, but useless for getting cruisers off the ship in an expedient manner. Finally, one last suggestion, for finicky eaters like me. I would love to have the opportunity to select which of the four restaurants I want to select with my 4 pre-boarding choices. It would really be nice if I could pick to dine in the restaurants I want to eat in rather than being told I am entitled to one reservation in each. Or perhaps there should be a way to barter the choices on the Oceania website as I know people who, for example would have loved to have switched my Red Ginger reservation for their Toscana reservation. So now you can see why I can't stop raving about my experience on Marina. It is a perfect fit for cruisers who as Oceania says, "Your world, your way!!!!"Kudos to Oceania. We are already booked on Riviera for next June!!!!! We can't wait!!!!! Thanks Oceania for a great vacation. And thanks Cruise Critic for the wonderful new friends we have made as a result of the Roll Calls. We continue to meet some of the greatest people because of the opportunity to communicate with fellow travelrs through the website. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
It's been a while since I have taken a cruise and so decided to do it in style on a new ship for a well respected cruise line notable for their level of fine dining and overall service. The cruise we (my wife and I) booked and ... Read More
It's been a while since I have taken a cruise and so decided to do it in style on a new ship for a well respected cruise line notable for their level of fine dining and overall service. The cruise we (my wife and I) booked and took was the Oceania Marina inaugural voyage from Jan 22 to Feb. 4 from Barcelona to Miami. The embarkation went incredibly smoothly with minimal congestion and dining available the minute we stepped on the ship. We boarded at about 1:30 PM and immediately had lunch at Tapas on the Terrace. Rooms were available earlier than expected so as soon as we finished our lunch. We had very high expectations for the food on an Oceania cruise and so were a little disappointed at the quality of some of the items at this first buffet luncheon. The mahi-mahi was dry and some other selections were good but nothing special. On the other hand the food was immediately available with a nice variety, and so very appropriate for making a transition from either staying in Barcelona or transferring from an airport. Walking to our cabin, we were impressed by the beauty and elegance of this ship. When we got into our room, we found a complimentary bottle of Brut champagne and found the cabin (Veranda) to be well laid out, accessible, functional and aesthetically pleasing. The only oddity was the bathroom, which has a very large bathtub but a very small shower. Talking later to other guests, it seems many of us passengers would have sacrificed the bathtub for a bigger shower. One guest noted that if they dropped the soap the shower was too small for them to bend down to pick it up. Perhaps, if the architect had simply made the bathtub space into a combination bathtub shower, the bathroom would not only have been perfect for us but would have worked from the vast majority of guests. I left the room to get a glass of water at the bar, and found out that for this trip that all but the more expensive wine and drinks were complimentary. Neither my wife nor I are big drinkers (generally only having wine on family get-togethers or special occasions) but because of this unexpected bonus we ended up having quite a bit of alcohol: a glass or two of wine for lunch and dinner each and every day and a few beers or cocktails here and there over the course of the two weeks. That first day at about 6:30, we went to dinner. It was quite good but not at the level we had mentally prepared ourselves. Fortunately, after the first couple of days, the dining room quality improved considerably so that every single lunch and dinner was a special dining experience. Of special note were the fish entrees, which were cooked to perfection: moist, tender, fresh, succulent and full of flavor. One could always order asparagus and mushrooms on the side as well as mashed potatoes which were cooked perfectly with nutmeg and liberal amounts of cream and butter. Tapas at the Terrace was also much better after the first day and the dinner buffets at Tapas at the Terrace were generally quite good. We didn't visit Tapas for breakfast until later in the cruise, and found the Norwegian gravlax (Gravad laks - similar to lox) to be exceptional and loved the abundance of tropical fruits (papaya, mango) and berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries.) The sushi and sashimi at night was quite good. Often there was a correspondence between some of the items offered in the main dining room and at Tapas, and on those occasions when we visited Tapas before or after a visit to the main dining room, we found the quality of the main dining room considerably better for those items we sampled that we available at both. A visit to Tapas could be a short or as long as you wished - one could get in and out of Tapas in 15 minutes. The dining room was generally at 1 ½ to 2 hour experience. Service was amazingly prompt, with just the right amount of time between courses and a staff to guest ratio that left the illusion that one had their own private service. It seemed that either the waiter or their assistant was always there exactly at the right time. During the entire 2 weeks, there was only one instance of a delay during our set of visits to the main dining room. The delay was very minor, and one which was the waiter apologized profusely for even though it was very inconsequential to us. The specialty restaurants were superb. We started with Jacques on the third night of the cruise and were very pleased. I ordered the roasted chicken, which was for me tasty but a bit dried out. Fortunately, everything else was excellent. The escargot was a special treat. Our second specialty restaurant was Polo Grill. My wife had the grilled lamb and I had the Prime Rib. Both were top quality. The appetizers and dessert were also especially good. We both loved the crabmeat cake. Toscana was great and we were wowed by the choice of one of several olive oils (with balsamic vinegar) for our bread. The bread was delicious and it was easy to fill up on just bread. For appetizers, all we tried were good and the fried calamari was particularly good. Both our entrees were great. My sea bass was fresh and cooked perfectly. Red Ginger was also a real treat. I generally prefer real Asian cooking over fusion Asian cooking, but was very happy with the choices and quality offered even though it was more European and less Asian then what aligns with my personal preferences. The specialty restaurants are at no additional charge and one is able to visit each one at least once and possibly more if you wish to try to follow-up with the reservation desk for any openings that occur on a given night. These restaurants were all at a couple of levels above the regular dining room and along with the exceptional service of the staff onboard the Marina, were a highlight of the trip. Wherever one went, the chocolate mousse was irresistible. I have not been a fan of mousse in the past, but that changed completely with Marina's offerings. The bread offered in the main dining room was quite good, but the only non-white bread was a somewhat boring whole wheat roll. I suggested they add multi-grain or rye and a few days later I was exclusively offered a really good dark bread roll - very fresh and still warm. This was the best bread on the ship and it was a shame that it was not available to all the other guests. Tea was a special treat with the Marina String Quartet (very high level of musicianship.) It was too challenging for us to have that much rich, sweet food every day, so we skipped several tea times, making those we attended even more special. Important to emphasize that the service was excellent all around the ship: dining, housekeeping, tea, cocktails, etc. The staff come from all over the globe, with pretty good representation from Ukraine, Russia, Indonesia, Philippines, South Africa, Honduras and Portugal. We particularly were impressed with Diana and Alex in dining and the many sommeliers particularly Florentina. To our delight, a large portion of the staff treated you as if they were your friends, being attentive to service requirements, of course, but avoiding the extremes of being either subservient or aloof. Our gratuities were pre-paid, but we felt only fair to add to the normal amount. This was easy to do: we just transferred money from our room account to gratuities at the end of the trip. We were scheduled to stop in 3 ports, but couldn't make one of them (Malaga) because of weather. We went on our own to Loro Parc (Parrot Park with other animals) in Tenerife and explored Casablanca on our own. In both cases there was a free shuttle to take out of the port area. For Loro Parc we took a convenient local bus, which was fun. The Park had well over a hundred different varieties of parrots and was very much worth the visit for that alone. Because of all the great dining I spent my share of time in their Fitness area. They had top quality treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, etc and I was able to pretty painlessly justify adding at least 1200 extra calories per day to what I ate. Overall, this was a great experience, with food matching our high expectations. Dining was a little off at first, but soon came up to a level matching our expectation. It's appropriate to call this a "shake-out" cruise, but management was particularly quick to fix problems. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
The Maiden Voyage of Marina is now behind us. That's hard to believe, after a year of planning and heightening excitement. We had high hopes and expectations of Marina (this was our second O cruise), and overall she not only met, but ... Read More
The Maiden Voyage of Marina is now behind us. That's hard to believe, after a year of planning and heightening excitement. We had high hopes and expectations of Marina (this was our second O cruise), and overall she not only met, but exceeded, all our expectations. First, let me say, since this was a maiden voyage, we understood we would be responsible for the "shake out" of the ship. We expected to experience a work in progress, as over 800 staff and crew (25-50% of those new to Oceania) began entertaining and caring for over 1,200 passengers, ten new restaurants, expanded bars, lounges, etc. We tried to keep our expectations reasonable - if the plumbing and heat worked and we had enough to eat, everything else would be a bonus. And what a bonus Marina delivered! I will not review the ports (Barcelona, Casablanca, Santa Cruz/Tenerife and Miami) because this cruise was really about the Marina, and I know that is what CC members want to hear. Embarkation: We arrived at the pier at 11:00, our designated embarkation time, to find the line of people to the street. We were booked in a PH suite, so I was a little dismayed by this line, but it was primarily to pass through security, a fairly quick and seamless passage. After we were inside the terminal, we only had three couples in line ahead of us to check in. Our check-in only took about two minutes, with a swipe of our credit card, a photo for ship security, and issue of our Marina card/key. Some new friends we met the day before were not as lucky. The electricity in the terminal went out just about the time we finished, and others had to wait some time before Marina staff could re-boot the computers and resume check-in. Numerous Marina staff were stationed along the gangway to greet and guide passengers. We were told our room was not yet available, to keep our carry-on luggage and to proceed to lunch. Lunch in Terrace Cafe was fresh and certainly adequate, although it was only a glimpse of what we would encounter in the coming days. Exploring Marina: We walked around the ship, drinking in all the areas we'd been so excited to finally experience. Staff were available in all the venues to welcome exploration and to answer questions. Even the Spa, La Reserve and Privee were open to inspection. La Reserve is like a large, private dining room from a home, with dark wood tones, but light available from the outside as well. Privee is very special-stark whites and reds, with a lush white carpet, white alligator seat coverings for the chairs and crisp reflective white and red oval table. Privee is another, but very different, private dining room which offers wonderful trailing views of the ship's wake. The ship is more beautiful than we expected, with restful and muted colors accented by vivid art and fabrics. The varied textures and high quality of the materials throughout the ship was obvious at just a glance. Almost no plastic or chrome visible anywhere. Rich wood tones, plush custom designed carpets, varied and high end fabric and furniture, Murano and Lalique glass accents were set throughout the ship. I was impressed by the amount of light Marina allows in most public areas. I find her to be a lighter and brighter ship than her fellow R-class ships (we've sailed Nautica), which makes her more modern in my mind. Interestingly enough, the ship definitely feels larger than the R ships, but it is also familiar, since the layout of the ship is similar to her older sisters. It is also generally more luxurious, in my opinion. The two new specialty restaurant venues, Red Ginger and Jacques, are luxurious theme restaurants very different from one another. Both have a curtained window to the kitchen which can be opened at appropriate times to reveal the final flourishes of meal preparation. Pollo and Toscana are updated and modern, but they have a very similar feel to their R sisters. The Grand Dining Room feels lighter and brighter (the chandelier in the raised ceiling is even more beautiful in person than in the advertising photos)and more open feeling than her R sisters because it is a single level dining room with higher ceilings which steps down fairly quickly from the entrances on both sides. However, I did find the tables a bit crowded together for comfort when the room was full. Terrace Cafe feels very similar to the R ships, but gone are the pizza and stir-fry stations, and added is a large "a la minute" cooking station - a wonderful addition, especially at breakfast and lunch. I was least enchanted by the decoration in Terrace Cafe, as the colors were a bit to garish compared to the rest of the ship for my taste, and tables also feel crowded together, especially during busy times. Waves Grill is much larger than on the R ships, and it offers a self-service salad bar as well as a sandwich menu. Gone is the ice cream cart, rather there is a fully stocked station where one can order milkshakes, smoothies and other decadent frozen goodies. Waves Bar has been moved to the far side of the pool area from Waves Grill, but staff is happy to bring drinks from there if you wish and service is fairly quick. Baristas, the computer room and the library are just up the stairs from Waves Grill. The deck surfaces around Baristas were not yet finished when we sailed, so one side, then the other, was closed off for about 2 days as shipbuilder workmen transformed the bright blue rubberized surfaces to the teak colored surface visible around the pool. The exterior deck is not wood, rather a rubberized material which should require much less maintenance in Marina's harsh salt sea climate and was not as slippery as wood in the frequent showers we encountered on the maiden voyage; but you will have to get on your hands and knees to tell the difference visually. Baristas became one of my favorite places because of the wonderful views available from the encircling windows and the rich, the coffee colored decoration, and Giovanni, the expert, friendly and outgoing barista. I'm a tea drinker, and O doesn't offer chai, my favored morning drink, but Giovanni's cappucino could convert me to a coffee drinker! Marina now uses Illy coffee from Italy, and although there are several cappucino machines around the ship, none are as good as Giovanni's with his magic "pouring cream" froth added liberally at the appropriate time. The computer room is open, so you can just stroll by and any slip into any open computer station. Computer service was not yet fully functional during the maiden voyage. It seems the company who installed the equipment somehow messed up and only made available a router with 250 IP addresses for the entire ship, so as a result the computers were not installed in the suites and internet service was pretty poor for the maiden voyage. Because of this inconvenience, Marina gave all passengers complimentary internet for the entire cruise, certainly a fair compensation in my estimation. We found wi-fi to be intermittent at best; I was only able to log on, and stay online with my I-pad a couple times during the week in our PH suite. The new router with over 3,000 IP addresses is to be installed in Miami, so I hope the internet service will improve for future cruises. The library was controversial, with two distinct thoughts by passengers. Some hated the space; the computer room is a series of alcoves with chairs you stroll past which could certainly distract someone reading in one of the chairs in the alcoves. Also there is music piped into the library, providing further distraction for a serious reader, and soft lighting makes reading in areas other than the chairs and benches somewhat difficult. Books are arranged on a series of glassed shelves which snake through the alcoves, organized by topic and category, with seating areas in each alcove and two fireplaces in the space. Dedicated O passengers who loved the R-ship libraries were disdainful of this new library. However others who simply went to the library, browsed for a book and took it away were enchanted. I happen to fall into the latter category, myself, but respect the complaints of the serious readers. Maybe if O could kill the music, close off both ends by doorways so people became aware quiet was needed in a library and added some additional lighting, the objections could be overcome. Horizons is also much larger than on the R-ships. The colors are a soft teal blue with high and low-backed chairs and soft green sofas. The effect is beautiful, but I found the high-backed chairs and sofas to have been built for much taller people and they were not really comfortable for shorter folks. This was also true in the Grand Bar spaces as well. The bandstand has been moved so the area is much more open and accessible, a very smart move, and the smoking area on the port side is enclosed except for the entry; if you simply timed your breathing correctly you never even noticed it was there walking by (the same is true of the outside smoking area on the starboard side of the pool. The culinary center was busy all week, and Chef Kelly indicated it was booked up for three months. Therefore, if you want to take a class, you should definitely book on line as soon as possible (after you make your final payment). The classes were interesting and fun. I was kind of surprised since you worked in teams of two, but it actually worked out fine. Kelly is very knowledgeable and professional, and the pasta classes I took were definitely worth their cost. The art loft is a large space, and the classes were interesting, but I won't comment on the artist in residence, since he will only be on board a couple months, and then someone else will take the reins. The space is somewhat dark for an art loft, with shutters over the windows to the ocean, and the space is still a bit sterile, but since not all the equipment arrived in time for this cruise, I'm sure that will change as the space develops it's own character. We were in a PH3 cabin and loved it! The cabin offers excellent storage, the chairs and table at the end of the bed ended up being where we spent most of our time rather than the love seat, and the bath was very functional, attractive and had plenty of enclosed storage. Interestingly, the rain shower is directly overhead, and because we also had a light there we were able to step out from under to shampoo our hair, but passengers in verandah category cabins indicated their showers were smaller and that was not possible. There is a handheld wand too, so that is not really a problem, but the passengers said it did take some time to learn how to most efficiently shower. My only complaint about the bath is the handheld hair dryer socket does not fit into the one outlet in the bath, so you have to go into the bedroom area to dry your hair. I understand that is for safety sake, but it's not convenient if one or the other likes to sleep in. There was no wall-mounted hairdryer in our cabin. The bed is comfortable, although it took us a few days to regulate the heat so we were comfortable at night under the duvet and those luscious sheets, and even then I woke up very hot during the night several times (don't know if that was Marina or me). We saw the verandah cabins and they were also lovely, but maybe not quite as well-organized as the R-ship cabins for two passengers; the closet is alongside the bed without enough room for two people to pass and get clothes at the same time, and the shower issue noted above. We enjoyed all the food onboard, which ranged from good to excellent. Our favorite was the sea bass in Red Ginger, the frogs legs in Jacques, and a wonderful truffle ravioli special in Toscana. Pollo was also good, but we both ordered the same steak, prepared the same way, and my husbands' was properly cooked while mine was overcooked; even so it was very tender and good. The crew onboard Marina is very well-trained, as one would expect. Some of the new crew were a bit nervous the first couple of days, which manifested as stiffness, but as time went along they relaxed and the service improved. Service for some meals early in the cruise was slow, but later in the cruise the timing of the meals was normal and comfortable as the start-up jitters calmed. Our butler was newly promoted, but he was friendly and helpful, and we appreciated his efforts. I do think he may have too many cabins to care for, because two mornings we called for coffee he was unable to respond until the afternoon. I only attended one evening entertainment venue, but while the Marina Lounge is small the space feels intimate. The four singers and four dancers and eight-person orchestra made the "Groovin" production show a joy. They are talented young people, the production was of good quality, if not Vegas glitzy, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My husband saw several of the evening programs and enjoyed nearly all of them. The quality of entertainment has definitely risen several notches. Marina did exceptionally well on the maiden voyage, braving up to 25' waves and 60 mph winds one day with substantially less rocking and rolling than most similar-sized ships, according to more seasoned cruisers than us (this was the highest we've ever seen the seas). By about day 10 the seas were quite calm, and you'd find yourself reading, or visiting with friends and suddenly remember you were at sea. That's how calm the ship was in calm seas. Well, this is getting very long, and you're probably getting bored reading my drivel. But I wanted to let you know my thoughts. While not 100%, the Marina is a gem in the making, we enjoyed our crossing, and I urge anyone looking at a transatlantic crossing on Marina, to take the plunge. You will be pleased. We certainly were! Thank you FDR and Bob Binder for giving us this memorable experience on your baby, the lovely lady Marina. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
We arrived in Barcelona two days early. Took taxi to DuQuesa De Cardona, our hotel (5*) The night before the cruise there was a pre-cruise dinner for forty of us (CC roll call members). off to a great start with new friends. Embarkation ... Read More
We arrived in Barcelona two days early. Took taxi to DuQuesa De Cardona, our hotel (5*) The night before the cruise there was a pre-cruise dinner for forty of us (CC roll call members). off to a great start with new friends. Embarkation was like living a dream, we had seen so many photos but here it was, live. No waiting, no lines, plenty of happy people. We were in cabin 8062, taken good care of by our two attendants. There were a few times we found the cabin quite warm and noted that on our review. The comforter was too warm and we were told there were no light blankets. The ship was one delight after another: look at the lamps, look at the painting, look at the chairs, look at the new restaurants and look at the GDR, what a spectacle of beauty. The library became on of our most visited public spots with many comfortable chairs and reading "coves" and the books were plentiful and brand new, latest editions of travel books, novels, non-fiction, etc. There are more than enough public spaces to sit and relax, read or visit with friends. The upholstery, the wall coverings, the draperies, the art, sculptures, carpeting, wood paneling, and of course the Lalique crystal. Very different from the other O ships and yet did not feel the presence of the larger number of passengers at any time or venue. The new restaurants were delicious for us although we did hear a few complaints the first few days. We still like Toscana best but will miss Jacques and Red Ginger on our next Regatta cruise. One highlight was La Reserve, a wonderful experience, well paced, beautifully presented food and wine pairings. A group of 12 at tables for two resulted in a quiet and friendly atmosphere for a three + hour meal. We did not experience much entertainment, only one evening (we retire early, sitting on our balcony, weather permitting, with a cocktail). The new entertainment was colorful and the orchestra that played for them very good. The seats in the lounge have a school type tray that rises from under one arm of the chair and was not comfortable for using when the person had a large waist (yes, overweight) so fine for a thin person. The days began a bit cool and there were a couple of rough sea days and as we traveled to Miami the weather was fine for swimming and sunning. Mid cruise the staff opened the doors to the verandas and washed all the furniture, railings, glass door windows and the deck itself, which had been salted quite well by that time. Embarkation day we enjoyed the welcome from all the Miami cheers and celebrations, sat on our deck for a couple of hours and then went to the pool area to sit and wait for our turn to leave (done by color coding luggage tickets and according to flight times). That is a strange time, no water, no iced tea, no snacks, just waiting (although not hard to do in that setting with a blue sky and sun shining). The disembarkation area was chaos and people were waiting for transport in just about any form, taxi's being very limited. We had planned a taxi but ended up taking a shuttle after waiting for a good half hour. It seemed everyone wanted to get on the same shuttle and there were some rude behaviors from some people. We had plenty of time for our flight and were able to relax again in the airport. Although I remember all of our cruises, this one will always THE Maiden Voyage on Oceania's Marina. We have a reservation Jan. 2012 on Marina and will have the same cabin, will there be changes, wear and tear, lightweight blankets? Thanks Oceania Marina (ship, staff, friends) for giving us more than we'd hoped for. BTW, the one time only, complimentary alcohol and Internet spoiled us big time. Way more than we'd hoped for :-} Read Less
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