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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2010
This was our third cruise on Oceania. We have cruised Istanbul to Athens and the Baltics. This cruise, Vikings/Castles/and Kings was full of interesting ports. We had two sea days to rest up. After boarding in Dover we went to lunch. ... Read More
This was our third cruise on Oceania. We have cruised Istanbul to Athens and the Baltics. This cruise, Vikings/Castles/and Kings was full of interesting ports. We had two sea days to rest up. After boarding in Dover we went to lunch. Pizza was served that was dry and hard. We were shocked. My comment was is the "bloom off the rose at O?". Thank goodness a few days later the pizza was up to snuff as far as being moist and tender. It still was not as good as on other lines we have sailed. Dining in the specialty restaurants was a mixed bag. We had rather tough and dry lobster served two time. Fillet Mignon in Polo was indeed a great steak. We enjoyed the staff and food in the Grand Dining Room. Our B1 cabin was limited to continental breakfast - no eggs or breakfast meats. When I asked about a full breakfast I was told this was an "amenity" reserved for the higher cabins and suites. Personally I do not feel that having paid a handsome sum for a B1 veranda that I should be denied eggs and bacon on my room service tray. O can save the tablecloth and flower in a vase for the higher priced cabins and serve me some protein in the morning. Entertainment was not up to snuff. The on board entertainers - band, male and female singers were adequate. We had a magician/mentalist who was IMHO boring. The comedian was pretty good. Prom Night, the final of the World Cup soccer game and the all crew review were pretty bad offerings. One can only guess that entertainment is where O has made cuts in order to sail in the black. We loved our B1 veranda cabin and had sailed in 6065, 6067 and 6069. We don't mind that these cabins are smaller then those on HAL. We don't mind that they have a small shower vs a tub/shower on HAL. The size and layout are fine with us. This cruise O provided free water and soft drinks. We used 2 or 3 cans of soda as mixers and really appreciated the unlimited supply of water. Crew as usual was exceptional. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
This was our first Oceania cruise. We were treated like royalty from the moment we boarded. Our Penthouse 3 was as delightful as advertised. Only problem was "their" hairdryer didn't stay in the plug, but I had my own, so no ... Read More
This was our first Oceania cruise. We were treated like royalty from the moment we boarded. Our Penthouse 3 was as delightful as advertised. Only problem was "their" hairdryer didn't stay in the plug, but I had my own, so no problem. The bed was so heavenly, we are actively seeking where to buy one. The bathrooms are outstanding with actual storage for your "stuff." We were on Deck 10. Other reviewers have mentioned an issue with Deck 11 due to the overhang above it, and I agree. I would not book Deck 11 on Marina or the new Riveria. I had thought I wouldn't like having a butler - wrong! Bosco was terrific. He saw to it that we ate in the specialty dining venues as many times as we wanted. All were great, but I think we liked Toscano best. We took advantage of both "La Reserve" and "Privee." At $75 each, La Reserve is well worth it, both for the wines and the superb food. Privee, though pricey, is so over-the-top that a special occasion may warrant the $1000 for 8 that it costs. An additional 2 dinners were extra special for us: dinner with the captain one night, and with several of the performers another night. Without question, the personal attention of the crew was what made this cruise. The ship is gorgeous - tasteful but not ostentatious - but the attention to detail is what put it into the 6 star category for us. We opted for the ship's shore excursions, simply because we didn't know enough to make our own arrangements. Though pricey, we felt they were pretty good overall. Thanks to amazing weather, we were able to enjoy every excursion thoroughly. Kudos to the entertainment team. The 4 dancers were skilled, but also delightful performers and really fun to get to know off stage as well. The singers were all quite good, especially Heather and the operatic Chris. "Con Molto" was the best show, by far. We spent a week in England before the cruise and a couple of days after, highlighting cathedrals and the historic area around Sailsbury, Portsmouth and Canterbury. I used Tripadvisor to find all our boutique hotels and inns and was completely pleased. Renting a car is an experience. Driving on the left side is not an easy transition! I think we'll hire a driver next time :) We are in our mid-late 60's, and were fairly young for this cruise, or so it felt. Not many young people overall. Though we still work, most folks we met were retired. We did make some wonderful new friends - always a bonus. The "country club casual" dress code seems to have given way to a dressier look in the evenings for most women, and a high number of jackets for the men. Luggage arrived promptly and there was ample space to stow tons of clothes. We took advantage of the self-service laundry twice - very easy. Embarkation and disembarking was a snap. Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend Marina. Just wish Oceania would go the "all-inclusive" route. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
Think of a new shopping mall - dazzling architecture - quality construction - fabulous press reviews - then when you get there you find the same old stuff for sale by the same old 'can't be bothered' sales staff. That sums ... Read More
Think of a new shopping mall - dazzling architecture - quality construction - fabulous press reviews - then when you get there you find the same old stuff for sale by the same old 'can't be bothered' sales staff. That sums up Marina for us although to be fair I must say most crew members were exceedingly nice, friendly and helpful - it was the supervisors, managers and crew that were not up to scratch. Pre-cruise communication with head office was poor - unacceptable would be a better word. Once on board, and the boarding process was excellent, we liked the ship and liked our suite. We'd read prior complaints about small showers, lack of power points, 'plastic' teak on the balconies, etc but overall we'd rate the suite at something like 98 out of 100. Regarding the size of the shower stall - I'm 6ft 200# and found it adequately sized - in fact in any degree of rolling sea I'd be glad it was the size and shape it was. Wearing a tail coat does not a butler make. Nuff said. Silly marketing idea. Restaurants - generally good food but ineffective service. Plenty of wait staff 'running' around but not achieving the basics of attentive service. Choice of food on menu decreased as cruise went on. We were promised "priority booking" in the specialty restaurants with our suite but our so-called butler could not get any booking earlier than 8.30pm, the latest available time, on any day. Twice we just turned up early and were accepted straight away. On one of the others we had to wait over 15 minutes, to 8.45pm, to get anyone to greet-and-seat us and did not get any food until after 9.30pm. General Dining Room was a disaster - tried it twice - never went back. Best service was in the self-service Terrace Cafe - that about says it all. Shore excursions - expensive and nothing special. We've certainly had much better on other cruise lines. Oceania's attitude towards shuttle bus services to the local towns was interesting - Head Office denied having any at all - but once on board the attitude was something like "We understand the local tourist office might have arranged something but you're on your own if you want to risk it". In fact they were run by the same bus companies as the formal tours. Hmmm! The ship is big enough that it could not enter three of the scheduled ports. (So why schedule them?) At two of them there was a slight swell so using tenders was considered too dangerous. Let me emphasize that again - a SLIGHT swell was considered too dangerous. The situation in both places would have been quite acceptable to any normally active person - senior citizen or not. I and others concluded that the small number of physically challenged and/or senile passengers on board affected the decision for all of us. Why could Oceania not manage it better so that the 20 or so who would have had problems did not ruin the day for the 1000 and more who could have handled it? Bottom line? Nice ship - nice staff - poor management - and with all the extras more expensive than a true luxury cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
Don't jump to sail the new Marina. unless you prefer an itinerary on the Marina to one on the Regatta or Insignia, or other smaller Oceania. Having Cruised Oceania often, , we were disappointed with the Marina.But first, we have ... Read More
Don't jump to sail the new Marina. unless you prefer an itinerary on the Marina to one on the Regatta or Insignia, or other smaller Oceania. Having Cruised Oceania often, , we were disappointed with the Marina.But first, we have to applaud the STAFF.. They are fantastic, respectful, and bend over backwards to solve any problem you have. Our Penthouse cabin was spacious,,but under cafeteria.. couldn't sleep before midnight, nor after 5 AM due to hearing the noise of set up and clean up above. We were given another cabin on 10Th floor just to sleep in. ASK what is above you before you book the 11Th floor. and ask for a guarantee!! The penthouse is worth the difference in cost if you mind sleeping right next to the sliding closet door (as in the much smaller veranda rooms) with a light that goes on when opened. I get up earlier than my hubby so I would have had to be sure to get all my clothes ready at night so I wouldn't need the closet.in the morning. As it was, I could just sneak out of the veranda room and up to my PH suite in the morning. Or if you don't mind a bathroom for one. The shower, even in the PH is tiny.. Not one person on our ship appreciated the unused tub instead of a larger shower. (except for hanging clothes to dry) Then, the shower has a large celling rain spray.. Forget it if you are very tall, or want to keep your hair dry. You can't move away from it. Although, outside of the shower, , the bathrooms in the PH suites are comfortably larger for two to use. at the same time. The Staff was fantastic!! I can't rave enough about the way they try to make you happy. We did get a second, quiet room to sleep in.. but still can't believe that the most costly cabins PH are the noisiest. We did not make use of the butler.. To us, his being around so much is kind of a bother. If you like to eat snacks before dinner.. or have meals in your room, maybe he is for you..than he can bring that to you. We also had a couple bottles of wine and champagne gifted. they exchanged them for whatever we wanted when we brought them to dinner. We don't drink so we shared with table mates. All in all, we greatly preferred the newer Celebrity Solstice as far as PH cabins, food and night life. The itinerary is the itinerary, which ever ship you take. But for a newer ship, there is no comparison.The Solstice , in early 2010, had fabulous entertainment all night long, incredible theatre and performers, also late night entertainment is great.. Never wanted to go to bed..and we are site seers in our 70's. And don't' drink or gamble, or stay up late. As for the Oceania, we started cruising many years ago on the Renaissance.. we have to say, we GREATLY preferred the originals, Regatta, Insignia, etc. smaller Oceania ships, to the Marina. As did everyone we spoke to on our ship. NOT ONE person said they liked the Larger Marina. better. nor were impressed with anything about the newer version of the ship except for the glossy pamphlet sent out. Happy sailing!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We boarded Marina in Dover on the above cruise and were looking forward to sailing on this new ship after some reasonable reviews and reports from fellow sailors. Our embarkation in Dover was fabulous and we went to our cabin ... Read More
We boarded Marina in Dover on the above cruise and were looking forward to sailing on this new ship after some reasonable reviews and reports from fellow sailors. Our embarkation in Dover was fabulous and we went to our cabin immediately and found it extremely nice. Unfortunately we did not meet our stewardess for a day or so and then only found her by accident. We found several faults with design and also the policy on Marina is much different to Insignia who we had sailed with a few days earlier. The bathroom is a shocker with a huge bath and the most tiny shower. I am of average build but with the massive shower head (8inches diameter) and the hand rails made it a terrible task to shower. The bathroom itself is a good size and there is no need to have such a small shower recess. The cabins are nice and the beds are very comfortable. We were very disappointed in the Staff, the cruise director was rarely heard only announcements over the ships TV and none in the cabin, the Captain came on at midday when everyone was ashore and many of the staff are poorly trained. The food was good and the specialist restaurants are quite good too. We found the French restaurant the best. The Terrace was a nightmare always full of people and the way Oceania serve their meals would suit some but not all. The Itiniery was good and very busy there wee only 2 sea days which didn't allow much shipboard time if you were going ashore each day. Oceania's dress code is good but we found that that is the reason why most cruisers on this line love the Line and do not consider the others. The prices on Marina were much more expensive than on Insignia and both ships charge a very high rate on drinks and laundry. I doubt we will cruise on Oceania again we love the Seabourn and Crystal ships for their personal rate of service and inclusions. Overall it was a good cruise but I think Oceania needs to look very closely at their staff training, they are very friendly but lack in many other ways. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
This was our first cruise with Oceania and we were very impressed. In particular, the food was several notches above any previous cruise we have taken. All four alternate restaurants were fantastic. We also enjoyed La Reserve, which is not ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Oceania and we were very impressed. In particular, the food was several notches above any previous cruise we have taken. All four alternate restaurants were fantastic. We also enjoyed La Reserve, which is not to be missed ! The Terrace Cafe is beyond belief. It is set up like a wonderful restaurant and not as a cafeteria. The food is outstanding and one would not be wrong to eat every meal here. Fabulous choices each meal. The main dining room is OK, but the choices are somewhat limited with some weird concoctions. We only ate two of our dinners there, since all the other restaurants were so fabulous. No extra charges except for the special Wine and Food at "La Reserve" The PH3 cabin we had was great. Feels like a 5 star European hotel room. Wonderful marble bathrooms and beds that are beyond belief. I have a serious problem with beds as I get backaches every night. Even at home, I have not found a bed to solve this problem. Well, I slept like a baby all 12 nights and never had a backache. I would give anything to have brought that bed home with me ! Makes other cruise lines feel like you are sleeping on a cot. The entire ship feels more like a hotel than a ship. Quality everywhere. The crew was outstanding and so was the entertainment. Every show, either production or outside entertainers was first class. The thing that impresses right off the bat is that nobody is trying to sell you anything. No photos, ( never had our picture taken once ), no soda specials and water charges, no hawking of boutique wares in the corridors, etc. The lack of formal nights is wonderful. Country club casual is the attire, but you do see many woman dressed up and even some gentlement in tuxes, but if you just want to wear a shirt and slacks, no problem. Everyone complied with the dress code. Even the internet worked very well. Our embarkation and debarkation went very smoothly. Our cabin came with a Butler, who seemed to know exactly what we wanted and when we wanted it. He was everywhere, but was not obtrusive at all. Port tours were OK, but nothing different than any other cruise line. They all use the same outside vendors. The port tours are more expensive than some other cruise line charge, but they were very well organized. We did miss two ports due to weather, the sea swells being too much for the tenders to safely operate. However, Oceania cruises are very port intensive and missing these two actually were enjoyable to a degree to have some more cruising time. All in all, a very impressive and enjoyable cruise. While on board, we booked another cruise for April, 2012. Highly recommend doing this as you get an additional 5% discount for booking on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We booked this cruise primarily to relax and enjoy good food. We were not disappointed. The cabin was very comfortable; good bed; balcony. The bathroom was ok, but the shower was rather small. The tub takes much space and was unneccessary ... Read More
We booked this cruise primarily to relax and enjoy good food. We were not disappointed. The cabin was very comfortable; good bed; balcony. The bathroom was ok, but the shower was rather small. The tub takes much space and was unneccessary for us. The food in all restaurants (4 speciality restaurants, dining room, terrace cafe, wave grill) was excellent; the best we ever had on a cruise. While non-alcoholic beverages are free, alcohol is rather expensive. The staff was friendly and helpful. We did not book any shore excursions due to their high price level. Two ports were cancelled due to bad weather conditions. We recommend this ship to anyone who likes good food and a comfortable cabin. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
Having read much about Oceania's newest ship, we decided to see for ourselves, and a cruise from dover, around the edges of the Bay of Biscay, seemed an ideal opportunity, visiting ports we knew well from land-based travel. ... Read More
Having read much about Oceania's newest ship, we decided to see for ourselves, and a cruise from dover, around the edges of the Bay of Biscay, seemed an ideal opportunity, visiting ports we knew well from land-based travel. Embarkation was swift and efficient, but rather disconcertingly we did not have to produce any ID until we were aboard the ship. We found our way to our cabin, wondering why there was no "welcome aboard" glass of fizz, and found ourselves in a delightful, elegant balcony cabin, with wonderfully comfortable bed, beautiful bed linen, comfy sofa and marble bathroom , complete with both showere and tub. Storage was not the best feature,as drawers were shallow, and wardrobe awkwardly placed alongside the bed. for a cruise line selling itself as 5* we were surprised to find no bottle of champagne on ice, basket of fruit or flowers, but the minibar wa stocked with soft drinks and bottled waters, which were replaced daily, and a plate of fruit was soon delivered, on request. The ship has wonderful decor,with a fabulous Laligue stairway, lalique vases and tables in bays off the main lobby, and delightful abstract sculptures in hallways and landings. The main dining room , large, well lit and airy, has an incredible central crystal chandelier, and touches of classy elegance abound throughout all loung areas. The large lounge areas had delightful sofas, comfortable chairs and love seats, softly lit by elegant crystal lamps Dining is a main event on Marina, with a choice of 7 dining venues which incur no extra charge, from the Grand Dining room, a grill and roomy Terrace cafe, serving huge choices of wonderful quality food, to 4 themed speciality restaurants, of which we liked the more atmospheric Asian -fusion Red Ginger the best. Each restaurant had its own chefs, and offered varied quality menus, and a reasonably efficient level of good service from teams of friendly waiters. If celebrating a special occasion, or as a treat, Marina offers wonderful tasting menus in La Reserve, a joint venture with Wine Spectator at a cost of $75, which we thought amazing, with dishes comparable to any Michelin restaurant in London. The one negative aspect to Marina is the low standard of entertainment, with shows delivered by an enthusiastic small team, doing their best with poor costumes and staging in a dull, low-ceiling-ed show lounge, which had absolutely no wow factor, no glitz, and was not very comfortable. the same entertainment team also organised the daily deck activities, tasks they did with good humour and good organisation. Alternative shows were offered by a poor comedian and a mediocre magician. Enrichment lectures, were often port lectures under another name, with, disappointingly, no well-known guest speakers, which we had hoped for on a ship of this calibre. A lovely library kept many passengers happy, with its club atmosphere, comfortable leather chairs, and huge choice of books, and it was a delight to find a busy coffee bar next door, offering lattes, cappuccino and juices. The nearby Internet centre was little used, due to the high cost Deck areas were lovely, with a decent size pool, two hot tubs, excellent sunbeds and curved rattan loungers, all laid with snowy towels. Atop the ship is a delightful, wide, forward facing Horizons lounge, with small dance floor, and ample seating, served by a busy bar, the place to which many passengers gravitated pre and post dinner, with live music provided for those wishing to dance. Also facing forward is an incredible, spacious spa, with many treatments on offer, gorgeous relaxing areas, including one outside, complete with hot tub, and well trained, discrete staff. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
Everything about this trip was outstanding. From the moment we landed at Heathrow things started rolling smoothly. We were driven the The Millennium Mayfair Hotel in a chauffer driven limo. Our hotel was very comfortable & wonderfully ... Read More
Everything about this trip was outstanding. From the moment we landed at Heathrow things started rolling smoothly. We were driven the The Millennium Mayfair Hotel in a chauffer driven limo. Our hotel was very comfortable & wonderfully located. All pre-cruise arrangements were made by Oceania. They did a fine job!!! The Mariner is a beautiful ship. The cabins are well appointed, roomy in fact, with plenty of storage space. The bathroom is large, with a shower that could be larger & an unnecessary tub. The shampoo, lotions, etc. are of excellent quality & beautifully presented. All of the public areas on Marina are attractive & comfortable. The Library is quiet, comfortable & very well stocked. All of the dining venues are attractive. I think the the weakest link in the operation is The Main Dining Room. They seem to get overwhelmed. I must admit that when I complained, the matter was given immediate attention. I think that the staff really wants to excell. The Terrace Cafe was wonderful as were all of the speciality restaurants. We enjoyed the evening entertainment - both speciality acts & production shows. I think that the ship tours are very pricey. We got together with some CC folks on our thread & did 2 tours for less than half the price. Our ports of call were every interesting & not too crowded. The weather prevented us from going into 2 ports. The sea days were welcome & the staff adjusted very quickly to a totally new schedule. Well done!!!!! We met some very nice folks, had a lot of fun, won $ on the penny slots & look forward to cruising again with Oceania.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
This was our first experience of Oceania Cruises and we were attracted by their claim to provide itinerary rich cruises with the best food and service at sea. We were not disappointed with Marina, she is a beautiful ship with some ... Read More
This was our first experience of Oceania Cruises and we were attracted by their claim to provide itinerary rich cruises with the best food and service at sea. We were not disappointed with Marina, she is a beautiful ship with some wonderful rooms and very comfortable accommodation. Pity about the poor build quality, finishes and some lack of attention to detail. The balcony cabin was very comfortable, although not much bigger than others. There was adequate storage and the bathroom worked fine for us. We did not make much use of the bath but neither did we have any real problems with the shower. It is compact but it has two shower heads and is easy to use. At least there is no curtain to fight off! The food was well above the standard that we have experienced anywhere before in all areas except La Reserve. La Reserve was a disappointment when compared with all of the other dining venues. The Grand Dining Room was wonderful, more like a 5* restaurant than a cruise ship dining room. Red Ginger was exquisite, Jacques provides a wonderful dining experience, Polo Grill was very good but the service in Toscana was disappointing. Afternoon tea was a real treat with the white glove service and a very tasty selection of temptations. The pool side grill and the Terrace cafe raise the bar considerably. One real delight for us was the included quality freshly ground coffee at every dining venue and all bars. The free unlimited coffee, mineral waters and soft drinks add up to a sizable bill on most lines so this was a real value add. With the exception of our Toscana experience, the accommodation and food and beverage staff were all exceptionally courteous and helpful, a real pleasure to engage with. The Horizon Lounge was our favourite. The library and Barista's coffee bar were very well equipped and offered a great escape. The deck space was very well managed with high quality furnishings, plenty of loungers and very attentive pool butlers keeping everything ship shape. There was never a problem getting a lounger and the freshly laundered covers and thick towels were very comfortable. The entertainment was not great, but we did not expect it to be. The chef demonstrations were by far the best entertainment! The Canyon Ranch Spa was wonderful both in terms of facilities and service. The reception and Destinations staff were not anywhere near as accommodating and in general their answers were not helpful and they took a lot of prompting to resolve issues. This was particularly associated with the shuttle services which were provided at 2 of the ports with very long disorganised queues which caused some discomfort to some of the less able passengers. The quay side organisation was noticeable by its absence which at times was a little worrying from a security point of view. You cannot get away with blaming the port agent! The shore excursions were a serious rip off and we did not use them. It was easy to venture ashore on your own in most ports and where tendering was achieved (we missed 2 ports through the sea conditions) it was very well organised. Guernsey is another old favourite and it was a great pleasure to spend some time in St Peters Port. We took the best value for money island tour ever - 1.5 hour round island tour on the number 7 bus, all for £1!!! And they leave every 20 minutes. St Malo is a wonderful city that we have visited a number of times before but a wonderfull sunny day and time to stroll the city walls and beaches was followed by a very enjoyable lunch. La Rochelle had not captivated us in the past but a very well run shuttle service gave us plenty of time to explore the old town and harbour on foot. Another vey enjoyable day. La Verdon for Bordeaux. This place is isolated at the end of a peninsula with very little to do and miles from anywhere. A waste of a day, especially as it rained most of the day. Santander in Spain was a real joy. We were berthed right in the centre of the city, the location of which is spectacular. Overall we felt that Marina was a much nicer size than the former "R" ships and it provided a very comfortable cruise. At the price that we paid and with $1,000 on board credit is was also good value. At full price it would probably not compare in terms of value for money with the excellent rounded experience provided by Celebrity, but at the right price, we will be back on Marina or Riviera. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We sailed on the Treasures of the Continent 12-day cruise embarking and returning to Dover (London) on July 29-August 10. Ports were: Amsterdam, Zeebrugge, Le Havre/Honfleur, Guernsey Island, St. Malo, La Rochelle, Le Verdon and Santander. ... Read More
We sailed on the Treasures of the Continent 12-day cruise embarking and returning to Dover (London) on July 29-August 10. Ports were: Amsterdam, Zeebrugge, Le Havre/Honfleur, Guernsey Island, St. Malo, La Rochelle, Le Verdon and Santander. Two ports were omitted due to seas and weather, those being Concarneau and St. Jean de Luz/Biarritz. The cruise was to celebrate a special birthday and it was a magnificent way to do so. We did book the optional 2-night pre-cruise stay in London through Oceania and stayed at the Millenium Mayfair hotel. It was a lovely option including a half-day bus tour of London (it was our first time there, so we appreciated this offering). The hotel was comfortable and in a quiet location adjacent to Grosvenor Square. Their in-house restaurant was honestly fantastic (we had heard the horror stories of food in London). We stayed in for dinner the first night due to jet-lag and had an Italian meal we're still talking about. Their breakfast buffet was varied and delicious. the hotel is several blocks from a tube station, but is a pleasant walk in good weather. As for our cruise, Oceania left us very impressed. Our travel and transportation was flawless and effortless from the time we left Boston and arrived in Heathrow. Oceania has everything down to a science and we had no wait nor confusion transferring from airport to hotel to port. Once at the port, we had expected to wait to board, but were on the ship within 45 minutes of arrival at the port. We expected long lines, but there were none. Once aboard, we were given our Oceania Cards and never had to handle money except when using the guest laundry center as the machines use US quarters. Nearly everything we could want except wine & alcohol or gift shop purchases was included in our fare. It was really nice to not have to worry about what was included and what wasn't. Marina is a lovely ship which felt just the right size to us. The staff seemed to genuinely take pride in everything that they did....as though they were welcoming you into their own homes. The food was amazing in ALL venues. Sadly, unless you are in an Owner's Suite, you are only given the ability to reserve one meal in each of the 4 specialty restaurants. However, the main dining room and the Terrace Cafe buffet were excellent. We especially liked that the passengers DO NOT handle the food at the buffet. It is served to you by a staff member, thereby reducing the transmission of foodborne illness. There are plenty of places to find a quiet nook to read and relax besides your cabin and we rarely felt like we were on board with 1200 people. Also, there were probably fewer than 10 ten children onboard, which was very nice. Oceania states that they do not have offerings for children, but does not refuse them. We did not avail ourselves of any of the entertainment offered, but there was quite a bit. My husband did take one class in the Bon Appetit cooking center and enjoyed it very much. I used some of the Canyon Ranch spa services and was quite pleased. We were disappointed with the shore excursions offered by Oceania and will not book them on our next cruise. We did not feel that we got our money's worth, especially when paying extra for a small group "Oceania's Choice" tour in Brugge, Belgium. We had a chatty, opinionated tour guide who spent more time espousing his politics than telling us about his city. This left us only minutes to shop and no time to enjoy the city on our own. However, this was really the only negative during the whole trip. We did "miss" two ports. The first was Concarneau/Pont Aven, France due to bad weather and the inability to safely tender off the ship. And the second being St. Jean de Luz/Biarritz, France due to rolling seas and the inability to safely tender again. The first weather issue was obviously not within the control of Oceania. However, in St. Jean de Luz, it was a lovely day. But, the waves were rolling into the shore at 5-10ft. They launched and attempted to board the tenders but could not safely do so. I later overhead a "local" who was working on the ship state that it was very doubtful that they would be able to get into this port as the seas are always like this here. He said cruise ships never visit this port for that reason. After all, Biarritz is known for surfing. It was disappointing to miss this port and it will be interesting to see if Oceania continues this port in their itineraries. Our veranda cabin was very comfortable and quiet. Plenty of closet and storage space was available. The bathroom was well appointed but without an outlet for my blow dryer. The desk/vanity was were I sat to dry my hair. We are both tall 5'10" & 6'2" and we found the shower to be a bit short, though the water pressure was excellent. They are small corner showers and we've read other passengers had issue with them. They were tight, but certainly kept you from losing your balance if the seas were rough. Unfortunately, the large, gorgeous bathtub has no shower doors or shower curtain, so it became our drying space or dirty towel receptacle. We are not bath people, so it was wasted space for us. Overall, we really enjoyed our first experience with Oceania and are already looking to sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
This may be a different style review. Our main point is to start by saying that we had a very good time and enjoyed the company of our friends and some unexpected surprises discovering old friends among those on the cruise. We however were ... Read More
This may be a different style review. Our main point is to start by saying that we had a very good time and enjoyed the company of our friends and some unexpected surprises discovering old friends among those on the cruise. We however were underwhelmed by this new ship and I really doubt we will ever book it again. We much preferred our previous three Oceania cruises on their smaller ships. So this is really a review of the ship more than that of the cruise which we fully enjoyed. The Marina is from beginning to end a design disappointment when you think the design team would have learned what it takes to improve things. This is just a minor list of disappointments: 1. Not enough elevators, to small for 1,200 people, long waits, every elevator has floor arrived at in different location. Only two elevators on back of the ship where everyone goes up and down to eat. Remember these are very heavy Senior and many disabled touring, one wheel chair and the elevator is taken. 2. The Library is the worst example of design failure. The smaller ships have great library where one could go and relax. This maze is crowed, poorly lit, and clearly an afterthought. (This leads to the question, where when its cold outside and you must remain inside the ship do you relax outside your stateroom? No single chair offered, and there are not many, is at all comfortable to sit and read for any length of time.) 3. Dinning: The food was okay, not up to standards of previous voyages especially in the terrace at lunch time. Breakfast in main dining room was the worst. But the big problem is to many people on small ship. The tables in all the restaurants, especially main dining room and terrace are placed so close together that one has a hard time getting up and returning to table. Several days at lunch NO tables were even available for the four of us to sit together. 4. Entertainment: How is it possible that Oceania can't get any entertainment worth watching. New theater is improvement. But if you compare to Celebrity for example... well Oceania get an F. They need to get inventive as more people attended history lectures than entertainment, which only plays once at 9:45. As to television the flat screen is poorly placed on wall and does not rotate. They do not offer CNN. Broadcasts are not in wide screen or in HD so quality of movies is poor to awful. 5. Shore Excursions: Book your own. Oceania's web page is a confusing. The confirm you, then say tour is canceled and refund your money. Then you find it was not canceled. Then no one can answer a question or return a phone call. And then at the last minute they offer the tour anyway. Three credit card charges, refunds later. Their large bus tours lack any local flavor and are far to expensive. We booked most tours independently and say far more at far less money. In Belfast we had a great tour with 20 Cruise Critic members for only $75 a couple, including admissions. The bargain of any tour compared to lessor tour on Oceania which would have cost over $300. 6. The crew: You always want to route for the crew. And this crew does a good job. But most told us they did not like working the ship and wanted to return to smaller ship where they could get to know passengers easier. I have no complains but do wish their was a way to enjoy better relationships with individual crew members. They all seemed so busy and rushed. 7. Specialty restaurants: Most were good and we enjoyed them. However, we had situation in Toscana where we had to ask were our main course was. We were told the order was lost and our meal would take an hour longer. The waiter took all the blame but we were surprised no one from the restaurant came by to say anything or offer any compensation (a bottle of wine or maybe a return visit). 8. Value: Really the bottom line is that Oceania has just gotten to expensive for what it is offering. We took a cruise along the coast of Norway two years ago on Celebrity's Century (just refurbished) and yes they have fixed dinner times, and dress up nights and all. But it cost, including air, some $6,000 less. For a room equally as good. One has to ask if Oceania is really worth it? At least on the Marina. 9. Luggage: Lastly when Oceania took one of our bags to dock upon departure they broke the pull handle on the bag. So far no one has responded to my request for payment. We had to buy a replacement bag while in London. (I found it interesting that they never gave us the parts...so someone knew what they had done but thought they would just slip it buy.) 10. Cabin: My wife did not like the overhead shower head. Or why so much space was used for a bath tub when it could have been used in the stateroom. The closet is in a strange space where two people can not stand in front of it at the same time, nor get out of bed on that side. 11. Laundry: This one they got very right. Coin Laundry is found on each deck. We used several time and no one else was using it. Also the ships laundry is very good and fairly priced. Overall we took this cruise because of our previous like of Oceania and the destinations. We were lucky on weather and really enjoyed all of the places we visited. Don't get my tell it like it is ship review convey the feeling that we did not have a good time, as we did enjoy the experience and all. Its just that in this competitive world others can offer the same or better for far less money. Our suggestion is to avoid the Marina and stick with one of the three remaining older ships. (And one further observation. We felt very young at 66 among the Marina's passengers and although I am happy to see those many years more senior traveling I would prefer a wider range of ages on board. I suggest you not consider if you taking children. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We took the Voyage of the Vikings that started on July 1st in Copenhagen and ended in Dover, England on July 15th. My wife and myself liked our cabin on deck nine concierge level 4. The cabin was large enough for us and had a nice balcony. ... Read More
We took the Voyage of the Vikings that started on July 1st in Copenhagen and ended in Dover, England on July 15th. My wife and myself liked our cabin on deck nine concierge level 4. The cabin was large enough for us and had a nice balcony. My only criticism about the cabin is that the shower was a little too tight for me, I'm 6'2"; I wish that they could have eliminated the bathtub, which we didn't use, and made the shower larger. We really liked the food; the best we have experienced on a cruise ship, and we have taken 16 cruises on various lines. The specialty restaurants were excellent and the service generally very good. We found the buffet to be way above average for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The dining room was also excellent. The lectures we attended were well done and the photography class was excellent. The cruise itself was very good with the ports interesting and the shore excursions generally were very good. The weather improved as the cruise continued which made the short excursions more enjoyable from Iceland onwards. Some criticisms: the embarkation was disorganized and we ended up having to take our large bags into the reception area when they should have been collected before we went in. The shuttle service at two of the ports, Reykjavik and Dublin, was poor because of the long waits for the buses. Overall, a very good cruise and we plan to cruise again next year with Oceania on the twin to the Marina, the Rivera. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2011
This will likely be one of the most memorable cruises of all of those we've ever taken. I wish to thank everyone at Oceania from Frank Del Rio on down. You guys are wonderful. Ship: Of course, the Marina was virtually brand ... Read More
This will likely be one of the most memorable cruises of all of those we've ever taken. I wish to thank everyone at Oceania from Frank Del Rio on down. You guys are wonderful. Ship: Of course, the Marina was virtually brand new-and quite beautiful. Very spacious-even more so than the Oceania R-Ships. We sailed with less than 1,200 on a 65,000 gross ton ship, so venues were very uncrowded and there was never really a line or wait for anything—Except the tenders in tender ports-which was fairly frustrating at times as those of us on private tours were delayed leaving the ship while they got all of the shore excursions off first. The Grand Dining Room was very ample with tables always open. Each of the four main specialty restaurants was very nicely done. Unlike the R-Ships, the Marina finally has a real dedicated theater-style showroom. Some people may like the lounge seating of the R-ships to this, but, to seat enough people for a ship this size, this is the right way to do it. The walkways in front of each row of seats was sufficiently wide enough to allow people to pass without forcing anyone seated to stand and the viewing angles were pretty good from most seats. The only questionable part, IMHO, were the desk-type tables that pulled up out of the armrests-a little too tight for most of us overeating cruise passengers. Of course, I never saw many people using these. Cabin: We were in one of the "Oceania Suites"--#12006. What can I say? One of the best and best thought-out suites I have ever seen on a ship. I could live in this suite. Living/Dining Room, TV Room, Bedroom, more than ample walk-in closet, two bathrooms (Though every husband we met said the same thing—the wife pretty much took over the "big" bathroom and the husbands all ended up permanently relegated to the "guest" bathroom!). Private (one-person) Jacuzzi on the balcony with a big screen TV over the Jacuzzi! Very nice-sized bar came fully stocked with a bottle of Bacardi Rum, Grey Goose Vodka, Black Label Scotch, a red and a white wine and a bottle of Gin (which I quickly traded for a second bottle of scotch!). My only real issue with the suite was that there were so many light switches that it usually took me 20 minutes to figure out how to turn off all of the lights. My wife's issue was that there seemed to be constant whistling from the bedroom sliding glass door on windy nights. Of course, I slept right through it. Service: The dining room and specialty restaurant service was even better than I recall from past Oceania cruises, if that is possible. Grand Dining Room staff was excellent, very accommodating—never a problem. Specialty restaurants, of course, were a step above. Our "team" taking care of us in our suite—Butler Ravi and the Assistant Butler (whose name suddenly escapes me) were always available to fill all requests, and our Cabin Steward, Jahaira and her two assistants were just flat-out excellent.. Food: Food, of course, was the highlight of the cruise. And, this, of course, was the "Jacques Pepin cruise". Jacques was staying just down the hall from us and we were invited one night to La Reserve for dinner with Jacques and his wife and his Sous Chef, Jean-Claude and his wife and a few other passengers. Absolutely the most incredible dinner experience. Appetizers and champagne, followed by six incredible courses with a wine paired to each one: Scallop, Risotto, a Fish dish, Chateaubriand, Pear and Goat Cheese and a Chocolate Mousse topped gateau. Three and a half hours of sheer pleasure and great conversation. We also had eight specialty reservations, two in each of the main four, and we managed to squeeze in an extra at Toscana for our final night—a very special final dinner onboard with two couples with whom we had shared most of our private tours. I think of all of the specialty restaurants (aside from La Reserve), Toscana was my clear favorite. Starting with the choice of Olive Oils and Balsamic vinegars and through the meal, everything was outstanding. And the Veal Scaloppine Marsala my favorite dish on the ship. And, the Pennette San Gimignano as a "side dish" was incredible—I could have eaten that as a full meal and been very happy. Of course, the other specialty restaurants were each very good in their own right. Red Ginger was a big hit with everyone. Very well done. Get the Sushi as an appetizer. Entertainment: Food, of course, was the high point—and, as usual with Oceania, Entertainment was the most disappointing area—Although, it was actually a considerable improvement from our past Oceania cruises. With the dedicated stage and showroom, they now had a troupe of singers and dancers (four of each) putting on actual "production shows" with costume changes and some variety. Not quite up to the par of the production shows one sees on other cruise lines, but definitely a worthy bit of entertainment. We especially enjoyed Jennifer, from New Jersey-one of the young singers. They did the "Welcome" show and three other full productions plus participated in other activities around the ship. The spotlight performers were a mixed bag: Artur Banaskiewicz - Violinist: He did two shows before leaving mid-cruise. He was good at what it is he does, but two full shows of gypsy music on the violin is far too much for me. I think I found his manner of speaking and accent more entertaining than the music. Danny Buckler - Magician/Comedian: As a magician, his act was fairly pedestrian. Small time magic starting with the trite and obvious "Indian Rope Trick". But, as a comedian, this guy was clearly the most entertaining act on the ship. Great rapport with the crowd, quick delivery and reaction. Absolutely charming. Two shows. Agata Sava - Soprano. Two shows. We missed her first show as we were in La Reserve for a long evening, but, after seeing her second show, we were more than happy that we missed the first. Absolutely excruciating—a soprano who had trouble hitting the high notes. And a style reminiscent of the Bride of Frankenstein in a full body cast. No movement, little expression—and an accent and delivery that made it sound as if she did not speak English—at all. Sounded as if she'd memorized the lyrics by sound or phonetics. The worst. Bruce Parker "California Soul Man": Two shows (we missed the second). He was actually quite good—very energetic. Sort of the Anti-Agata Sava. Moved around the stage, involved the audience. Really worked it. If there was a problem, it was in the material and the audience. This was, quite simply, not an R&B/Motown crowd. And, among all of the available R&B/Motown material, he tended to pick some of the more obscure songs—not good to do with a crowd who isn't into that style of music and only knows the "big hits". Don Bryan - Ventriloquist: I've seen his act before—must have been on Nautica. Decent Ventriloquist, funny enough act with a couple of entertaining twists The nights in Le Verdon, Cadiz and Livorno, there was no real show. Ports: HONFLEUR - 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.: We didn't really have an interest in doing a long D-Day beaches tour here and we'd been to Rouen and Giverny on a recent cruise stop, so we decided to just walk around Honfleur, visited the Boudin Museum and returned to the ship in the afternoon. Picturesque little town. SAINT-MALO - 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.: Here we did a private tour with a party of eight to Mont St. Michel, Dinan and Saint Malo with Westcapades for 80€ pp. Our guide was Marc, the owner of the company. He did a very nice job of providing commentary on the way to Mont St. Michel in the morning. Having left the ship promptly upon arrival, we beat most of the crowds to this site. Very impressive old monastery. Then it was on to Medieval Dinan. Very nice little town, free time and lunch, then back over to St. Malo, where we parted ways with Marc and walked through the walled city, then tendered back to the ship. One key here with the early start was to report to the showroom ahead of the time the first of the ship's shore excursions was to depart—so we were able to get tender tickets for the first tender while the shorex participants were still amassing. http://www.westcapades.com/english.php PONT AVEN - 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.: It was raining a good portion of the day, so we just spent some time wandering around Concarneau. Very touristy little town-walled medieval city—a short walk from the tender pier. LA ROCHELLE - 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.: This is one of only two ports where we took a shore excursion—"Saintes & Cognac", a full day tour for $199 per person—not bad as shorexes go—we had a nice little visit to La Rochelle, then Saintes and then a tour of the Hennessey Cognac distillery with tastings. Only real negative was 38 people on the tour. BORDEAUX - 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. -Here we had a simply marvelous tour with Maryse of Bordeaux Excursions, party of 8 for 118.75€ per person. Maryse picked us up at the pier in Le Verdon and drove us to two wineries in the morning-- chateau LOUDENNE www.lafragette.com - Crû Bourgeois of Medoc - also called the "Pink Chateau" for its outstanding XVIIth Century architecture and château LYNCH-BAGES in Pauillac, listed in the 1855 Classification Medoc Wines www.lynchbages.com, then lunch at "brasserie" LE CAFE LAVINAL www.villagedebages.com After lunch, we continued through Saint-Julien and Margaux vineyards with stops for pictures by the renowned chateaux (Pichon, latour, margaux, etc...) Then on to Bordeaux for a walking tour through the city. Maryse is one of the best guides we've had. http://www.bordeaux-excursions.com/-English- BIARRITZ - 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. - Actually, the port is St. Jean de Luz. We had nothing planned here. We thought we might take a taxi to Bayonne or Biarritz, but we found the town of St. Jean so charming that we spent the day here instead. Took the little tourist train (5€ per person) for an orientation of the city, then just walked around on our own. BILBAO - 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Here we decided to do the city on our own. A free Oceania shuttle took us to the center of town from where we walked to the "Casco Viejo"—The Old City, then around the riverfront to the Guggenheim Museum. There are three very interesting and distinct bridges across the river near the Guggenheim. We crossed the river on the first, then took the elevator to the top of the second and came back across the river on the third, getting some incredible photos on this route. LA CORUNA - 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.: Here we hired a private tour for six of us with Brendan Lowe of Guided Galicia. Brendan is an expatriate Kiwi living in Vigo—very nice guy. We went, in the morning to the Pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela through the church, market and town, then on to Cambados for lunch, then to the town of Betanzos then back to La Coruña and a visit to the Tower of Hercules -Cost for the tour was 91.67€ per person. http://guidedgalicia.blogspot.com/p/cruise-tours.html OPORTO - 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.: Here we were supposed to do our second shorex—"The Medieval City of Guimaraes" (half day, $119 pp), but the city was completely fogged in and they could not dock the ship—so, disappointingly, we missed this port altogether. CADIZ - 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.: We had a party of 10 here on a private tour to Seville with Cadiz and Beyond for 85€ per person. It was, by far, the hottest day of the cruise—46 Celsius/114 Fahrenheit. Our guide in Seville was excellent and the visit to the Cathedral and the Palace was quite interesting. No way we walk up the Giralda Tower in that heat though! Still, Seville is an enchanting city. http://www.cadizandbeyond.com/CruiseTourClubRollCall/tabid/167/Default.aspx/ CASABLANCA - 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Here we booked a private tour for six with travel exploration Morocco for a cost of $108 per person, payable in advance by credit card in US$. Our guide, Redouane, met us at the ship and took us to the Mosque, the Synagogue and an open air market and on a driving tour through the city. Both the Mosque and Synagogue were impressive, each in their own way, but most in our party were not thrilled with the market or the city itself—sort of filthy with crazy traffic. http://www.travel-exploration.com/page.cfm/About_Travel_Exploration BARCELONA - 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.: After several visits here, we know Barcelona so well that we did not see a need for a tour. This visit, we made it a point to visit a couple of sites we've neglected in last visits. We, basically, wandered through the Barri Gotic, visiting the Synagogue (Oldest in Europe and rediscovered only a few years ago) and the Cathedral, then a visit to El Corte Ingles and a stroll down Las Ramblas. MONTE CARLO - 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.: Here we did a private tour with a party of 8 visiting the towns of Grasse (and the Fragonard Perfume Factory), Gourdon and St. Paul de Vence. St. Paul is one of my favorite towns in France-incredibly picturesque. Cost was 65€ per person. privateshoretrips.com LIVORNO - 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.: This was our second shore excursion—"Pisa - Lucca - Puccini", approximately 10 hours for $179 per person. After an interesting visit to the home of the composer Puccini, we visited the beautiful walled city of Lucca and the wonderful Pisa with its Leaning Tower and other landmarks. Only 16 passengers on this tour and a very good guide, making it one of the better shore excursions. ROME - Here, we joined a group of eight for a tour of the main sights of Rome with Valerio Nacci of NCC. For only 50€ per person, he picked us up at the ship and took us to the Vatican, Trevi, Piazza Navona, Vittorio Emanuel, Pantheon and Coliseum, then dropped us off at our hotel and returned the others (who were doing back-to-backs) to the ship in Civitavecchia. Very much worth the price. http://www.nccportodicivitavecchia.it/en/index.asp http://it-it.facebook.com/people/Valerio-Nacci/100000180156934 Pre-Cruise: We flew into Heathrow several days before the cruise, rented a car and spent four nights in Canterbury, staying at the House of Agnes: http://www.houseofagnes.co.uk/ Excellent little bed and breakfast. It's a centuries-old B&B, but we had a very modern and newly built-out "stable room" for £80 per night. The place was very well run with an excellent breakfast. There was ample convenient on-site parking though the driveway was a little difficult to navigate. The location was right outside the main West Gate to the old walled city so everything was in close walking distance. Canterbury turned out to be an outstanding choice for a pre-cruise stay. Much nicer than the industrial Dover, yet within a half hour drive of the port. We took a charming river boat ride one morning, visited the Cathedral the next and took a drive out to the picturesque town of Sandwich the third. Other than that, we just relaxed, walked about the town, ate, shopped and enjoyed. Post-Cruise: We spent two nights in Rome post cruise at the Residenza Farnese: http://www.residenzafarneseroma.it/ A steal at 120€ per night. One of the absolute best locations in Rome. About a block from the Campo di Fiore and about three blocks from the Piazza Navona on a quiet side street. The Campo di Fiore is now one of my favorite piazzas in all of Rome. A vibrant piazza lined with several very reasonably priced restaurants with ample outdoor seating. We ate in two of them: Maranega: http://millerrome2011.blogspot.com/2011/04/new-addition-to-campo-de-fiori.html and Sloppy Sam's: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sloppy-Sams/101906753220836?v=info I had pasta in both and both were VERY good. It is hard to beat the outdoor tables on the Campo. My wife loved the Gelato at Blue Ice. They have not one, but two, locations within a block of each other on the road leaving the Campo in the direction of the Piazza Navona. All in all, this was an absolutely GREAT cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2012
After our first Oceania-cruise to Antartica with Ms Insignia we decided never to sail with Oceania again. Many reasons for that: 1. officers were invisible. 2. the food was not of constant quality. 3. the admosphere at the ship was ... Read More
After our first Oceania-cruise to Antartica with Ms Insignia we decided never to sail with Oceania again. Many reasons for that: 1. officers were invisible. 2. the food was not of constant quality. 3. the admosphere at the ship was terrible. 4. we missed the scheduled stop at the Falklands. During seven days we were told, this was because of the severe winds. But then the truth came out: we lost the biggest part of an anchor! The general manager told this while the concierge had not yet stopped lying about it. We took pictures when the rest of the old anchor was replaced by a new one, to prove that the old anchor was incomplete. Despite of this, when we send an email to Oceania, they continued denying the loss of the anchor again! No compensation for the skipped port. Why do I write this? Well, just because nothing has changed. When getting an offer from our travel-agency which looked attractive, we decided to try it one more time, because of the great itinerary: England, Iceland, Greenland. That was a serious mistake. This cruise started with long waiting before we were allowed to enter the ship. Unbelievable, but true: nobody there, exept a girl at the elevator at a distance of about 15 meters. What a difference with other cruise-companies, where you hear: "welcome, nice you are here, would you like a glass of champagne?" With Oceania only a girl at the elevator, who shows you the way to your cabin. No fresh fruit there and no flowers during the entire cruise. Our luggage arrived about 16.45! Breakfast: the same bread as a year before. No whole yeast bread, the baguettes already sliced some hours before and always dry. When you ask for fresh, an unfriendly rude girl says, she has to ask her boss. But okay, then you can get it at the end. Leaving that girl with a face that makes me think about acetic acid. Fresh Orange-juice is only available when you ask for it and after they say that the juice from the machine is also fresh, which is a lie. Ofcourse they often forget to bring it to you, but you are not forbidden to ask it again. Most of the time the fresh fruit is of good quality, but sometimes it is not ripe. Lunch at the buffet-restaurant: every day almost the same food; quality like the fastfood-restaurants back home which you thought to have escaped. Dinner at all restaurants: quality like the luch menu. Sometimes friendly servants, sometimes very unfriendly. The meat was often overcooked. The vegetables (if any) are hardly cooked at all and must have been discovered by a dentist. Most of the time the soup is to cold and the icecream is already melted when served. One guest at my table ordered cod-fish but got salmon. Not by accident, but just because the cod was not available anymore. Not a word from the waiter! Icecream at dinner is bad, but most sorbets are exellent. It never occurred that dinner was excellent from the start to the end. Always 1 or more errors. When you read in the Oceania-brochure about their "best cuisine at sea" I can only smile a little. (Trying not to get angry) Because of my first cruise with them, I did not expect very much, but the quality has even decreased. The food, we were told, would be outstanding. It wasn't. Overall, at most standard. The wines are not included as on Azamara-ships. They are much to expensive. For instance, a Gerard-Bertrand-chardonnay was about 60 dollars here. At home, as a private client, I pay about 6.5 euro! I brought some own bottles and even after paying a huge corkfee of 25 dollar that's a much better deal. But some wine-waiters are friendly at least. Activities on board: not many. The first day, I asked at the reception "do you have a bridge-teacher on board" "Yes" was the answer. I had my doubts, so I asked: "what's his name?" The girl looked at her computer and said " can't see it here". The first answer was a lie. I do trust the 2d answer. But I liked the lectures. A pity that because of the absence of other activities the lounge was always very crowded. But when no seat was available a crew-member said to me "there you can get a chair". On an Azamara-ship the crew would surely bring it to you. The Nautica left Edinburg 2 hours earlier then originally scheduled: 15.00 and not 17.00. Ofcourse a disappointment. When I asked the concierge for the reason, the answer was "because of tidal conditions". These conditions are known years in advance. So I asked the concierge why Oceania does not know them. You will not be surprised that I'm still waiting for the answer, though I asked it a second time after some days. The cabins are small, but for me good enough. The beds are to small (80x190 cm) but of good quality. The waterpressure was not enough to get the shampoo removed from your hear. We asked for repair. Though they tried to fix it, there was no result. Our windows were cleaned only once after we asked for that, because, due to much dirt and salt we could hardly see anything. Cleaning of the cabin is at most fair. Ofcourse we never booked an excursion, organized by Oceania, because they are much to expensive. What to think about 3 hours only walking for 90 dollar? Many passengers must have been thinking the same, for several excursions were private, organized via the cruise-critic website by other travellers. They were good and about 1/3 of the Oceania-prize. Prized at Oceania are extreme high: the excursions, the wines, the gratuities, the spa; just everything what is not included. The automatic daily gratuity was $13.50 and the bar tab added 18 per cent. When comparing prizes take care that you take in account the gratuities and the wines at lunch and dinner. That makes a big difference! Announcements at the ship were hard to understand, except the irritating announcements for the bingo, where Oceania earns money. Safety on board is not really guaranteed. (see also my remarks about the anchor!) Many days our luggage was not controlled when coming back in the ship. Sometimes it was scanned, but then nobody was looking at it. After coming back we like to drink an expresso, but here we miss the exellent Azamara-coffee-bar with good coffee and some snacks. At the Nautica you can try to get it in the empty restaurant and then take it with you to the bar. Ofcourse nobody serves any drink in the large room around the atrium. That's a big difference with the Azamara- and Princess sister-ships which have the same size. No atmosphere at all here for that reason. At the bar they refuse to give you a seven-up-light, saying they are not allowed to serve it here. You can take it with you from your mini-bar....... Flexibility is yet to be discovered here. As you can read the medical service is extremely expensive and not all doctors have a 2012 lisence as you can read in earlier revievs about this ship. Internet was not always available and very slow. The evenin-shows are horrible. A vibrato-soprano who was allowed to return a second time, a mediocre jugler, a violin-player who seemed to have had lessons of famous world-class players but unfortunately without much result and to make it worse with an electric violin bbrrrrrr. The last evening a guest-show. I was afraid that the guest-singer who seemed to be escaped from the alzheimer-hospital was singing again, so I did not go there. This man was sometimes singing in the bar, so we were warned. Lesley, the cruise-director was good, especially when compared with "silly Willy" a year before at the Insignia. The captain said about 15 words at the captains party for repeaters and hardly knew how quickly he could give the microphone backto. He seems not to like this part of his job. Maybe he is better at a cargo-ship. Shuttle-service is insufficient at places where it's organized by Oceania. Result: angry passengers who, in time for a scheduled bus,were banging on the doors when not allowed to enter. I was not really surprised that the ship lost an anchor. Again! How is it possible. The same as with the Insignia a year before. This time the reception lying about it: "No we did NOT loose an anchor", but when I came back with the picture of the the broken thing, the concierge agreed with me: "yes we lost an anchor". Last year a lying concierge and an honest general manager, this time a lying reception and an honest concierge.......... Oceania's maintenance of the ship seems to be not accurate. At least you would think so. Are there any inspections? Or do they just sail until it goes wrong? This time only one skipped port. They said because of icebergs. Maybe it was the truth; you can never know. Many passengers had complaints about Oceania, the crew, the food, in fact about everything. Remarkable that the only satisfied guests did not cruise with other companies before. They should! It appears that Oceania Cruises is attempting to reduce its operating costs in many areas in order to cover its expenses and still remain competitive. The result is that the quality of its cruise experience has been diminished and it is not what one typically expects from a luxury cruise line. In fact it has nothing to do with luxury, unless you appreciate the free lessons in lying about everything. But I don't like them at all and for that reason my rating at this forum of the overall cruise-experience can't be higher then 1. (zero was not possible) I can add many other negative things, but this should be enough to warn every future guest: dont go here! At Azamara-ships I'm welcome. Here my money is welcome. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
Service I have never had better service aboard ship or on land than I had on this cruise. The staff appeared to have been instructed never to say "no," even if the request had not been made. When a few couples were early for ... Read More
Service I have never had better service aboard ship or on land than I had on this cruise. The staff appeared to have been instructed never to say "no," even if the request had not been made. When a few couples were early for breakfast at the Terrace Cafe, the staff opened it up for us unasked. When a passenger dressed only in a swimsuit started eating at a table in Waves, a server came over with a towel and asked him if he wouldn't be more comfortable with that over his shoulders. It wasn't a shirt, but it did the job tactfully. The Marina has a few wheelchairs for use solely aboard ship, yet a staff member let an obviously irritated and out-of-line passenger take one wheelchair ashore because the passenger thought he could visit a venue that might not have wheelchairs. Ship On all the Cruise Director's announcements he referred to "the beautiful Marina." That grew repetitious, but the adjective is correct. The Marina is beautiful and has just enough glitz to make an impression. Most of the artwork was too abstract for me, but I recognize that it was all in good--if modernist--taste. Marina is still relatively new, and it was shiningly clean. I noticed no spots on the windows or furnishings, but there were signs of wear on the carpet near my bed. The stateroom had all the storage space needed and was a good place to relax. One closet door needed fixing, and a workman appeared promptly when summoned by the room steward. The fix took some time, but the door gave no further problems during the cruise. I have read a good deal on these boards about the showers on the Marina. I am tall and wear extra-large sizes, and yes the shower stall was a squeeze, but I could shower. On the other hand, I expect better from Oceania than a shower stall that is a squeeze. Embarkation and disembarkation The shore staff in Civitavecchia was ready for us. Embarkation formalities were brief, there were no lines to speak of, and within a few minutes we were aboard, followed promptly by our luggage. Disembarkation in Dover was different. We were tagged to get off at 8:00am, but our group was not called until 9:30am. Our fellow passengers who had close plane connections were visibly anxious, and there were some complaints when those on tight schedules were permitted off the ship out of order. Despite repeated requests, some persons whose groups had not been called congregated at the gangway exit slowing the departure of groups that had been cleared to leave. The Cruise Director was active and high-profile throughout the slowed debarkation, which he attributed to a shore-side conveyer being broken. "Fifteen wonderful days cruising will be forgotten, and the passengers will complain about this," he sighed more than once. In one minor snafu on the part of the ship's personnel it was at first announced that passengers could wait in the public spaces, then all passengers were asked to gather in the Marina lounge, and later this was reversed to let passengers return to the (more comfortable) public areas of the ship. Food and drink We ate well aboard the Marina. I cannot think of a single complaint about the food. My vote for the best dining venue is Red Ginger, closely followed by the Grand Dining Room. The best single dish I had aboard was the grilled seafood in Red Ginger followed by any number of entrees in the Grand Dining Room, including the Veal Oscar. We paid extra for a wine dinner at La Reserve and thought it was not worth the money. One ate (and drank) as well in the other ship's restaurants. I think the Baristas bar is under-appreciated. The coffee was the best on the ship, and the espresso is as good as the best ashore. Baristas had all the snacks that are in the concierge lounge, plus biscotti and other items. The coffee-flavored custard was excellent. Baristas has an outside view not found in the concierge lounge, the Grand Bar or Martinis. During our one day at sea Marina laid on an elaborate brunch buffet in the Grand Dining Room. It was as usual excellent, but I could find no fruit. What I took to be a purely esthetic display of food was in fact a serve-yourself section of berries, melons cut into forms, and artistically arranged slices of mangoes, pineapples, kiwis, and the like. I almost felt bad about heaping the fruit onto my plate. Almost. The Oceania Web site says the House Select beverage package includes beer when drunk with meals. That is true but inaccurate since the House Select package does not include the Asian beers served in Red Ginger, nor does it include the draft Heineken at Waves. The publicity should be clearer on this point. Entertainment I cannot recall the name of a quartet from Ukraine which played in the sixth deck lounge across from the grand bar, and also during some lunches in the Main Dining Room. They were talented players who chose well-known pieces from the classical repertoire. I am usually too tired from touring to go to the Marina Lounge at night, but having heard the quartet around the ship I went to a program they had and it was excellent. I felt the group's appearance in the Mariner Lounge in the evening should have been better publicized in the Cruise Director's morning TV program. Physician Dr. Ian Gardener, the ship's physician, gave me outstanding treatment after I had a mishap while ashore. I needed X-rays, stitches, analgesia, and a corticosteroid injection for my knee, which he provided. Dr. Gardener also successfully treated a rash I had picked up in Rome, and identified another potential problem that my internist is following up on. Dr. Gardener is an interesting and well-informed person who I would have liked to have dinner with. Meeting him mitigated the unpleasantness of stumbling over a curbstone in Barcelona. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2012
Lovely ship: Marina is truly delightful. She can seem a little beige in places but that is offset by some very interesting and colourful artworks on the walls. And they weren't for sale! The Grand Dining Room is light and airy with ... Read More
Lovely ship: Marina is truly delightful. She can seem a little beige in places but that is offset by some very interesting and colourful artworks on the walls. And they weren't for sale! The Grand Dining Room is light and airy with a fabulous central crystal chandelier; the specialist restaurants interesting in their layout and appearance (loved the water wall in red Ginger), while a Lalique inspired staircase leading up from the Reception area expressed understated elegance. Great ambience. Terrace buffet tables are a little crowded together but the food service area was spacious. Cabins (sorry but being a Brit I struggle to call them staterooms) are spacious and well appointed. Entertainment was average. Cigarette smokers are catered for in one area on the pool deck and in a totally separate section of the Horizons lounge, which seems a reasonable compromise. Didn't try the Artist's loft or the cooking lessons but both were praised by those who did. Didn't even look for the gym or spa. Downsides are few: the Grand Bar is just a wide corridor that has comfortable seating but no bar, service being by wait staff. Drinks and excursions are quite expensive. Wi-Fi is the slowest we have experienced at sea, which was surprising considering it is the same system as on Regent Voyager, another vessel in the group, where it was just slow rather than snail-paced. Our cabin, a PH3 number 7130 at the stern, is slightly narrower than other PH cabins which proved problematical only when my wife was busy at the dressing table and I wanted to get past. It has a fantastic L shaped balcony that is possibly the largest on the ship, though the constant rain and wind sadly made it an area into which we rarely ventured. However the room is quite noisy when docking (putting a positive spin on it you could say it provides a free early morning wake-up service) and was dreadful when we were tendering in the Firth of Forth and the ship had to constantly use its engines to maintain station. Nice granite and marble bathroom with a full size tub; shame about the plastic walled shower cubicle. There was a crack in the washbasin when we moved-in and our cabin steward very efficiently arranged for it to be replaced when docked in Edinburgh (so we'd be out of the way). Unfortunately the very keen maintenance crew nipped in while we were still at breakfast and it was impossible to use the bathroom before leaving for our day in the city. Mildly annoying: efficient arrangement spoilt by poor communications. Great crew: staff on most cruise ships are good but you sometimes feel the smiles are forced. Not on Marina. The hotel crew on Marina were exceptional. I can even find praise for the Reception and Security staff, which is unusual as they are at the pointy end of customer relations. My wife and I had dinner one night with Dominique Nicolle, the General Manager. Just six people in total so not a grand affair, but very relaxing and informative. Never did discover why we were chosen. When we had to spend an extra day in Dublin because of poor weather at sea the Destination Services staff quickly arranged additional excursions at short notice. Very efficient. However it is beyond belief that anybody can charge up to $279 for a five hour walking tour around Dublin, even with a free glass of Guinness. Let's assume (the minimum) 10 participants: that's a total of $2,790. Deduct the cost of a guide (say $50 per hour for five hours) $250, and the price of a coach (I'm guessing) $500, plus ten pints of Guinness, $20. Profit $2,020. Wow. I suppose they have to make their profit somewhere. Our cabin was kept absolutely spotless by two attendants and what was particularly interesting was that the cleaning crew never bothered us while we were "at home" and had always finished by the time we returned from wherever. It was like a sixth sense. That may be why I didn't get their names (but they did get a tip). We had a butler, Bento, who was courteous and efficient, but does anybody actually need a butler? The only one who has actually provided added value by anticipating our needs to the point where he was able to remind us when we had forgotten things ("I brought some afternoon tea just in case you had forgotten to order it" -- which we had. Likewise white wine for my wife) was Pravin on Azamara Journey. Sadly I can't comment on the Deck crew. We met the Captain once, at his Welcome Reception. A short smiling Italian who could be everybody's favourite uncle. Never saw him again (which could be why I can't recall his name) or any of the other officers who drive the ship. They might have made appearances but not that we noticed. And we only heard one of the daily state-of-the-nation speeches that most ship's Masters make around noon, and that was brief and to the point. I don't doubt for one minute the Captain's abilities as a seaman - he is very experienced - but cruise lines that cater for mainly English speakers need people at the sharp end who can converse fluently and comfortably with their guests, because we have to face the fact that chatting with and schmoozing passengers is an important part of the Master's job description. Those who have sailed with John McNeil on a Regent vessel or Jason Ikiadis on Azamara will know what I mean. Excellent food: Best we have experienced, and we have sailed with Seabourn, Azamara, Regent, Princess and a few others. Whether in the MDR, four speciality restaurants, Waves or the Terrace buffet it was always of a very high standard with friendly service. Afternoon tea was to die for (actually with all that cream and fat it probably could kill you if you were on a world cruise). The wine selection "by the glass" was good but we usually chose bottles of French wines that we were comfortable with (must take a course in New World vintages). I was impressed that the sommelier knew why our Chapoutier Rhone wine had Braille on the label. Poor communications: Edinburgh in Scotland is served by two cruise ports. The handy one is Leith, which is a longish but direct walk from the centre of the city. The other is South Queensferry, which is a $30 taxi ride. Our itinerary said we would berth in Leith. The map on the ship said Leith. The Captain, in the only announcement we heard him make on the day before arrival, said Leith. However a note received from Destination Services prior to his announcement advised changes to some excursions because we would be arriving not at Leith but South Queensferry (which would also mean tendering). So I went to check. They confirmed the change. Following the Captain's noon announcement I rechecked. After all you expect the Captain to know where he is going. They said, though rather obliquely, that the Captain was mistaken. That night was the Captain's Welcome Reception. I mentioned to Willie Ames, the very amiable (note the play on words) Cruise Director, that there was some confusion about where we would dock in Edinburgh and if there was to be a change to the itinerary a full announcement should be made as many people would have private arrangements in Leith. Willie looked at me and said "But South Queensferry is still Edinburgh, isn't it?" No announcement was made and the next morning some passengers found they were 10 miles from where they had expected to be. Oceania didn't even provide a free shuttle coach but luckily a local entrepreneur saved the day by bringing one and charging £6 per person. Awful weather: Strong winds and heavy rain followed us around the UK and Ireland. Not the fault of Oceania, of course, and I have tried not to let it colour this review. It meant that the pool deck was mainly empty - there was certainly no hogging of loungers. Deck staff had little to do but I suspect it threw extra pressure onto wait and bar staff in the warmer and less moist parts of Marina. It also meant that as long as you wore a jacket, eating in Waves on deck was a pleasant and uncrowded experience. The pool deck didn't drain well so wet shoes became the order of the day. Tendering was "interesting". As mentioned earlier the foul weather caused the ship to spend an extra night in Dublin (where we had already spent two days) and so we missed our visit to Waterford. But the worst part had been earlier when visiting the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. The famous stones are a long way from the car park. Two small buses ferry people backwards and forwards the mile or so, but the queue for transport down to the stones was enormous. So we walked. When we got to them the skies opened. No shelter and an even longer queue for the return bus. So we squelched our way back up the hill. Not happy. CONCLUSION: Being British we knew the weather risks involved in taking a cruise around the UK and Ireland even in "flaming June", but worked on the principle that "It wouldn't happen to us". Well, it did. But the weather didn't seem to dent the enthusiasm of the hundreds of Americans and smattering of passengers from down under who had come to find their Scottish or Irish roots. Oceania Marina is now our favourite cruise ship. It just edges Azamara Journey into second place and Regent Voyager into third. We had been on Voyager only three months earlier and it was strange to see her moored across from Marina when both ships were in Kirkwall. We could see (through the raindrops on the window) from our present cabin the one we had inhabited on Voyager in April. Later this year we will be making our second Oceania cruise, this time on Nautica; again out from Dover but ending in what we hope will be a warm and dry Rome. With Nautica being an R ship it will be interesting to compare her with Azamara Journey, an identical former Renaissance vessel. And as we are looking closely at another Nautica cruise for 2013 I think you can take it we are now big fans of Oceania - despite the "constructive criticism" above. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
We are an active middle aged couple, accustomed to traveling and relatively new to cruising. We find it an effective, comfortable & safe way to get from point A to point B. We have sailed exclusively on the R ships and wanted a change, ... Read More
We are an active middle aged couple, accustomed to traveling and relatively new to cruising. We find it an effective, comfortable & safe way to get from point A to point B. We have sailed exclusively on the R ships and wanted a change, so we booked this trip on the Marina. We were apprehensive about the size and style of the Marina possibly affecting the intimacy and quality of service that we enjoyed on the smaller ships. Marina did not disappoint us, on the contrary, we found the ship to be airy and stylish, beautifully appointed with interesting artwork and comfy, textured furnishing throughout. There were many places to lounge and relax and we never once felt the increase in passengers. We enjoyed having more specialty dining and we were able to get a nice table for 2 without exception. The lengthy discussions on CC regarding.....the small showers, uncomfortable chairs, strangely shaped library etc. etc.....really folks?? really??....It is a beautiful ship and we would not hesitate to book another cruise on the Marina. *RollCall:We had a very active RollCall, which is a great source of help and information. We shared most of our tours with persons on the R.Call. This is very cost effective and the people we toured with were fantastic. We had a Meet&Greet the 1st night, where we got acquainted with persons we spoke with for close to a year.. *Pre & Post Cruise: we booked our own hotels and transfers, much less expensive. Shared the London-Dover transfer with people from our R.Call. Used a private service from Heathrow to Westminster-35pounds. *Service: the Reception staff was excellent. Destination service set up a table each day with maps and useful port info. I would recommend doing your own research on the ports, most O passengers arrange their own tours, therefore the destination service is not elaborate. *Ports: Most ports (far from town center) had a shuttle bus service dropping us off at a tourist info center. There were 2 tender ports (StMalo&Concarneau) At these ports we had to queue up in the Marina Lounge to get early tender tickets, the system was very orderly. *Stateroom: Comfortable beds and nice linens. Ample storage in bathroom, clothes line in tub area convenient. The tub was a great luxury after a long day touring. The shower was NOT a problem. A magnifying mirror was lacking. The closets were a good size. If storage is a problem for you, you brought too much stuff! *Dining: This topic has been endlessly covered. We were glad to have fantastic menu choices & excellent service...we witnessed some of the worst passenger behavior at meal times ex: passenger berating the server at the omelet station for not preparing her eggs to her satisfaction, at Red Ginger someone turned away each course saying it was uneatable, a passenger insisting the Ginger ale was not real Ginger ale and to bring them the container it was poured from, passengers complaining that the sommelier left them waiting too long and so on....these were not random events (ruined our dining experience) therefore including them in our review. *Passengers: Over 60, active, well traveled, upper mid-class. Most were very interesting, well mannered people who are serious about travel. They come well prepared, having researched the itinerary and are eager to visit each port. More than half the passengers were Repeat Customers and some never missed the opportunity to recite the number of cruises they've taken, giving themselves a patronizing air of importance. This type of passenger pushes the 'Your World Your Way' cruising to the limit, they are pretentious, pompous cruisers who lament about every little thing. 'The Ship' is their destination and they want to be waited on. We found them to be to be only negative part of our trip. *Conclusion: Oceania delivers an excellent product, Marina is a beautiful ship and we hope to have the good fortune to sail with Oceania again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2012
We embarked on our 20th cruise overall, and third on Oceania Cruise lines, on September 12, 2012. We sailed on Marina from Dover to Barcelona, hitting many interesting ports on the Atlantic coast of Europe and disembarking in Barcelona on ... Read More
We embarked on our 20th cruise overall, and third on Oceania Cruise lines, on September 12, 2012. We sailed on Marina from Dover to Barcelona, hitting many interesting ports on the Atlantic coast of Europe and disembarking in Barcelona on September 27. We are middle-aged (mid-fifties) and enjoy many types of trips, especially cruising. Our original itinerary included the ports of Zeebrugge (Bruges), Le Havre, Saint Malo, Concarneau, La Rochelle, Le Verdon, Bilbao, La Coruna, Oporto, Lisbon, and Casablanca, before ending in Barcelona. Our call at Oporto was cancelled due to dock strikes in that town and the unrest across northern Africa led to the substitution of Gibraltar for Casablanca. We appreciate Oceania making the right decisions for the security of their passengers. Pre-cruise arrangements: We received a "free" London hotel night through Oceania when we booked this itinerary. We started our arrangements directly with the cruise line, and then transferred the booking to a new travel agent; she was able to get us $600 of shipboard credits. We paid for transfers from London Heathrow to the hotel; transfers to Dover were included with the hotel booking. We made our own flight arrangements on United and Lufthansa airlines. The hotel was the Hyatt Regency "The Churchill", near Portman Square. It was a very nice hotel and they had a room available when we arrived so we could nap and shower. Embarkation: We arrived at the port of Dover before 1:00 pm after leaving our hotel at 10:30 am and embarkation was pretty fast. Our PH2 suite was available immediately upon boarding. We stowed our bags and valuables, had lunch, and signed up for the Prestige drink package ($50 per person per day) and the unlimited Internet package ($25 per person per day). Our bags were rather late getting to our room, with the second bag arriving only a few minutes before the lifeboat drill. Our butler Xavier was great for getting stuff resolved, however and he found that bag a few minutes after we asked about it. We met our Roll Call group (over 100 folks) in Horizons lounge after the lifeboat drill. Suite and ship information: Our PH2, deck 11 forward, starboard side, was fantastic and very roomy. We had the mirror image PH2 on deck 11 (port side) last September. Marianne and Hilda meticulously maintained the room. One minor complaint: Used wine glasses often sat in the room for a day or two before being removed. The ship is very beautiful ad understated, with interesting art works and lovely public spaces and still looks brand new. We like the size for the most part, although this became a topic of "hot discussions" with other passengers. Activities: We don't do many activities on-board, but we did sign up for two culinary classes and enjoyed those immensely. We were supposed to have a culinary excursion in Casablanca, Morocco, but that port call was cancelled. We did use the Sanctuary spa area and enjoyed this location. Dining: Oceania is, of course, famous for its dining experiences. We had excellent meals, overall, especially our dinners in Red Ginger and Toscana and our special Explorations menu experience at La Reserve (definitely worth the up-charge). We never ate in the Grand Dining Room once during our voyage; on nights where we did not have a specialty restaurant reservation, we much preferred the buffet-style Terrace Cafe, with its incredible grill, salads, appetizers, side dishes, pastas and desserts. We had two dinners in Jacques; the first one was excellent. Unfortunately, the second dinner (arranged by our butler on my husband's birthday) was very disappointing. I had a steak that was so salty it was inedible. My hubby agreed with my assessment. They were quite apologetic and offered me something else on the spot. The Polo Club was very good, but didn't seem to be as sharp in terms of service as Toscana. We also loved the Waves grill on deck 12, but their system of ordering and delivering to tables often resulted in hilarity and mixed-up orders. It seemed like every time we found an empty table, it did not have a number on it so it took a while for them to find us. We often had the continental breakfast in Horizons before an early trip ashore -- a perfect place for a quick and quiet breakfast. Service: Service was very good to excellent, with a few minor exceptions. The bar staff at the Waves bar seemed to be difficult to flag down. They also closed this bar quite early, regardless of the weather on deck. One issue that occurred that was not a fine moment on the behalf of their staff happened one evening when we were sitting at a table near the Waves bar and apparently, they were going to rehearse in the same area for a show for a deck party later that night. The Cruise Director assured us we could stay put, as they would be close to us, but the rehearsal would not require us to move. We were working on uploading photos to our travel blog when a young cruise staff officer from Romania came over and told us rudely to "move it, right now", with no apology, no offer of a drink, nothing. We were a little irked, to say the least as we lost our internet connection when we moved and we wrote this guy up on the final survey as someone in need of much better people skills. However, one bad apple cannot ruin a good experience overall. Our room staff, as noted above, was very good and we enjoyed chatting with our butler, Xavier, who was from Mumbai, India. The celebration for my husband's birthday was very nice, with two cakes. The laundry service was also excellent and very quick. Entertainment: The pianist in the Martini's bar was superb and the string quarter was very good. We avoid shows on ships like the plague, so we cannot report on their quality. We never turned our TV on in our suite so we have no idea what was offered. We did not go to any entitlement programs or lectures. Internet service: We were pleased to see that they had a new unlimited Internet package on-board for $25 a day. The speed was pretty good and we didn't have to worry about minutes accumulating. Shore excursions: The shore excursions for Oceania cruises are ridiculously priced and of a mediocre quality and are probably one of their biggest weaknesses. We did three ship excursions. Two were advertised as "on your own", but we were quite annoyed that they had to treat us like children and march the busload of passengers across the towns of Bruges and Seville to "meeting points", rather than trusting us to find the buses again. A last-minute excursion we booked in Gibraltar was actually rather good, thanks to the antics of our driver/tour guide. In all the other ports (we visited 12 ports in total, including our debarkation port of Barcelona), we booked private excursions for just the two of us or did our own thing, did small independent tours with Roll Call members, and even rented cars in two ports (Le Havre and Saint Malo). Port summary: Many of our ports of call are not on the list for port reviews because they are small and unique. Every port had something that was very memorable for us. Our private tours in La Rochelle (to Cognac) and Le Verdon (to the Medoc region) were outstanding. Our Lisbon port review notes our excellent experience there with a private tour. We also had good private tours in La Coruna and in Barcelona. We did our own thing in Concarneau and Bilbao and had a nice day in both ports. Disembarkation: Disembarkation in Barcelona was extremely fast. From the time we left the ship to getting our bags and hailing a taxi to our post-cruise hotel (booked independently), it was a matter of minutes. Summary: I would say that this was an excellent experience, overall. One more comment: One thing that a cruise line can't control is the caliber of the passengers, sadly. Many of our fellow travelers were the most annoying, entitled, snobbish brats we have encountered on any cruise. They complained about everything and many of them walked around with perpetual frowns on their faces (the complaints included the weather, the tide being out ruining their photos (no joke), the changes in itinerary, the size of the ship, the speed of service in a restaurant, you name it). It is depressing to see so many people take for granted the wonderful opportunity to do a nice cruise like this. It became so tiresome to strike up a conversation and immediately have to listen to a litany of what I would call "first world" complaints. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2013
Last June my family and I took the Oceana Nautica from Lisbon to South Hampton. I think we could sum up the whole shipboard experience in one word: Disappointing. The prior year we took Silverseas from Athens to Rome and had such a ... Read More
Last June my family and I took the Oceana Nautica from Lisbon to South Hampton. I think we could sum up the whole shipboard experience in one word: Disappointing. The prior year we took Silverseas from Athens to Rome and had such a wonderful experience on a smaller ship that we were hoping to have a similar experience with Oceania. Unfortunately, the similarities between the two often compared cruise lines ended at the size of their ships. While this is a review of the Oceanic ship Nautica, it's hard not to compare it with our Silverseas experience. The Ship: The overall condition of the Nautica was tired and worn. The cabin was poorly laid out compared to our Silverseas cabin (same class of cabin). The hallways looked like they needed new carpet and reminded me of a cheap hotel every time we went to our cabin. The rest of the ship was ok though the pool deck furniture was weathered and well past its prime. The Food: The specialty restaurants were over-rated, though nearly impossible to book undoubtedly because, as we quickly discovered, the other two dining options: Main Dining Room and Buffet were respectively mediocre and bad. To make matters worse, they put the more surly crew members at the buffet line to plop the overcooked, flavor challenged food on your plate. As you carried your plate away you were left with the feeling that you had somehow been through this before and then you remember oh yeah, my high school cafeteria. The dining on the Nautica was more like what I would expect on a Carnival cruise. To summarize, I would say that Silverseas stood head and shoulders above Oceania in every aspect of the cruise  Condition of the ship, cleanliness and food. I personally would not waste my money on Oceana again!   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
Thursday 15 August 2013 We had been given an official boarding time of 1pm but thought it wouldn't hurt to arrive early and we didn't mind waiting in the terminal if necessary. When we arrived at the terminal, very few other ... Read More
Thursday 15 August 2013 We had been given an official boarding time of 1pm but thought it wouldn't hurt to arrive early and we didn't mind waiting in the terminal if necessary. When we arrived at the terminal, very few other people were arriving and we walked straight in to check-in. Nice touches included the blue carpet at the entrance with Nautica and Oceania Cruises on and a table with complimentary orange juice and iced water. After check-in - passports were kept - and the usual credit card swipe, we were given our cruise cards (World Cards in Oceania speak) and a letter to say boarding would begin at 1pm and cabins would be ready at 3pm. As we went through security and I headed for the embarkation lounge, we were called and invited to board the ship. The ship's card machine was set up on the Promenade deck and crew were stationed at various points to direct us straight to the Terrace Restaurant (buffet). As we crossed the main pool deck I was impressed by rows of sun loungers, steamer chairs and twin steamer chairs, all with thick cushions and white towelling covers. We found a table on the open deck at the stern of the Terrace Cafe and then went to choose food. In the buffet all food is served to you at all times. Plates were also given to you from behind the counters and cutlery was on the tables, which were laid properly as at dinner. I chose a delicious vegetable lasagne followed by a strawberry concoction. I don't know what it was called but was heavenly - my first introduction to the renowned Oceania food. It was also very nice to be able to order any soft drink or sparkling water - it is all included on Nautica. My plates were carried to the table by a waiter. After lunch we wandered down to Reception to pick up the daily programme and then found a sunbed each and lazed until 2.30 when an announcement told us the cabins were ready. We had a standard twin outside stateroom on Deck 3 with a porthole. Unfortunately the bed was made up as a double though! A quick call to reception soon got it sorted with no fuss or bother. The mattresses are pocket sprung, and covered two inches of memory foam. The bedding is 1,000-thread-count Egyptian cotton linen and a down comforter. They were certainly the most comfortable I have had on a cruise ship. Cabin amenities include bath robes, slippers, soft drinks and small bottles of water in the fridge, two large bottles of water on a tray with glasses and bottle opener, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion, hand soap, bath soap (for the shower), shower cap, cotton wool, cotton buds, umbrella, shoe horn, shoe shine cloth, two hairdryers - one fixed in the bathroom and a hand held one, plug-in nightlight, TV and DVD player (DVD's available free from reception, catalogue in cabin). Best of all, the bedside lights had an ordinary lamp and an additional reading light on a flexible stalk, which could be switched independently so as not to disturb your cabin mate. Storage is not wonderful - one large double wardrobe, and one half robe with half hanging and four drawers. One side of the dressing table/desk is a cupboard with four more small drawers and the other side a cupboard with one shelf. Under the flatscreen TV is a corner cupboard with shelf and safe. We had a sofa, very comfy padded headboard and huge mirrors. Attention to detail was such that as you pushed the toilet lid down, it closed itself quietly - like soft-closing kitchen drawers! Having unpacked, we set off to explore the ship. As another R ship like P&O's Adonia, we were familiar with the layout and much seemed to be identical even down to the tartan carpet in Horizons (Crows Nest on Adonia). However, there was a huge casino (for the size of ship) and the buffet is very different indeed - more of that later. Muster drill was at 5.15. We assembled in Muster Station A, were checked off a list at the door and were assigned Lifeboat No.1. We were asked to wear our lifejackets and after the usual announcements were led, in boat groups, to our lifeboat so we knew exactly where we had to be in the event of an emergency. British are in the minority at around 10% but this just made a refreshing change and everyone was friendly. By then it was 7pm and time to go change for dinner (Nautica has no formal nights, but I wanted to freshen up). We headed for the Grand Dining Room and joined the short queue. When we got to the Maitre D' he asked if we would like to go to the Polo Grill as there was spare capacity there while we would have to wait for the MDR. All other dining venues are free/included but you are normally only allowed to book once per cruise so we had no problem heading up to Deck 10. I chose beetroot and Goats cheese starter, Caesar Salad, Jumbo Shrimp Scampi and New York Cheesecake with caramelised top! Dessert was accompanied by home-made jellies and coffee. Dinner ended about 10.30 and the ship died - we thought many were probably jet-lagged but this was normal throughout the cruise. As it was so port-heavy, most people rose early. Often we were in port until 8pm so it was natural we were all tired by 10.30. Friday 16 August - At sea This was one of our two sea days. We had breakfast in the Terrace Cafe - the plates carried to my seat by waiters who also served coffee and fresh orange juice (with bits). The range of fresh fruit alone was amazing - every day three different type of melon, papaya, mango, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries. It was lovely and warm outside in the sun, overlooking the wake. I went to the Destination desk to book a tour (the only official ship's tour I took) and pick up quiz sheets. After a browse around the library (open 24/7 - just take what you want within reason as there are other guests to consider, and return before end of cruise) I sat on deck in sun and did a puzzle. We had lunch on deck at Waves Grill - burgers, paninis, sandwiches and wonderful icecreams, smoothies and milkshakes. After lunch I was dozing in the cabin but was woken by an announcement from the captain. He said some of us may have noticed our change of course due west as we needed a helicopter evacuation for crew member with head injury. We stood and the watched the whole operation from the pool deck where we were allowed to stand. After lowering a paramedic etc the RAF Sea King flew alongside the ship and the pilot and winchman waved to us all. He circled a few times and then came back in to collect everything and everyone. We then had our first Oceania afternoon tea in Horizons - this was better than Cunard IMO - string quartet, sandwiches brought round on tray, three-tier cake trolley and a stunning all-round view to boot. Hot water arrived in a teapot, with another waiter holding a wooden box containing a huge selection of different teas from which to choose! By then it was time to go to cabin to get ready for the captain's welcome party. This was the only time the deck officers mixed with passengers. Drinks were free-flowing. We had dinner in the GDR and I still feel this was the best meal of my life so far - starter of caviar on blinis, the miso-glazed sea bass and a cappuccino dessert served in a chocolate cup. Went to see the Show before bed. There were five entertainment staff on board. The Cruise Director, Nolan Dean, was from the UK and probably the best CD I have had- always around the ship chatting etc. As on CMV, it was the CD who made all passenger announcements about going ashore etc. All five of the team not only ran sports tournaments, quizzes, needlepoint classes etc, but were also the show troupe, both singing and dancing in the shows. Nolan also did two one-man comedy and singing shows. Additionally we had Rick Thomas -an Illusionist. The cruise was a Music Festival at Sea to celebrate Oceania's 10 year anniversary and on board were the Fjord Cadenza Ensemble - a wonderful classical group. There was also the on-board show band, a cocktail pianist in Martinis and a string quartet who played at teatime and in the Atrium at cocktails. Saturday 16 August - Edinburgh I woke very early and got dressed to go up on deck to see my first ever glimpse of the Forth Bridge as we sailed under it into Rosyth. After breakfast (outside on the terrace) we prepared for a day in Edinburgh. The Tattoo was still on, as was the Fringe Festival. There was a free shuttle bus to Inverkeithing Station so we waited on the dockside and chatted with others in order to get the first bus and ashore quickly. At the station, we bought a £5.50 return ticket from the machine and crossed over the line to the far platform almost as soon as the train arrived. It took about 25 minutes into Waverley Station. Unfortunately it was drizzly so we found a taxi to take us up to the Castle where we started our day. The queue was not too bad so after buying our tickets we headed up to the Castle. The road slowly got windier and quite rough as we climbed up into the Castle Keep and joined the short queue to see the Scottish Crown Jewels. There was lots to see and worth the entrance money overall, but the jewels were probably not worth it if it meant a long wait. After working our way down again, we walked down the Royal Mile, filled with souvenir shops, mostly selling kilts, whisky and items with Scottie dogs on. We had a sandwich and a drink in the Festival Hub Cafe. Lots of Fringe entertainment happening on Market Street, and Cannon Gate etc. Went into St Giles Cathedral where a lovely concert was in progress - piano and saxophone. We got back to Waverley Station about 2.15 and then took ages to find out which platform we were supposed to be on. First told 11 (wrong), then 17 (wrong), then finally 2 so managed the 2.27 train to Aberdeen via Inverkeithing. We had a short wait for the shuttle bus but the sun was now out and quite hot! On our return to the ship I quickly changed before we went up for the wonderful afternoon tea again (I cannot make a habit of this - too much food!). Sailaway was very delayed presumably by the fierce gusting wind. A tug arrived and attached first at the bow, then moved to the stern. It took ages to slowly move the stern out and edge away from the berth before retracing our route under the two bridges. As Nautica sailed under each bridge the captain sounded the horn three times. Then it was time to go back down for a shower and to change for dinner. Sunday 17th August - Invergordon, We were not arriving until 12 noon so had a leisurely breakfast and then went to the Stitch & Chat. Oceania provide free needlepoint kits to make small items such as a spectacle case or bag. If you complete one during the cruise you can choose another. By 10.30 we thought it time to grab a bite to eat as Nigel, our private tour guide ( www.shorexcursions.co.uk) wanted us to be off the ship as soon as possible. Four of us were first off and we waited a short time for two more and then set off in Nigel's silver VW people-carrier towards Dunrobin Castle. Once there (amid a vintage car rally), Nigel spoke with Alistair, Lord Strathnaver, who directed us round the back into the private grounds. We walked through a tiny gate into the area where falcons and hawks were kept, guarded at the entrance by a beautiful, huge owl sitting on a flower pot! we wandered through the stunning grounds for around 40 mins before meeting everyone back at the falconry area. Alan, the falconer, then gave a public demonstration using three birds. An hour later we went up to the main castle and toured through some of its many rooms. At 3.45 we set off back towards the ship, driving along Loch Fleet in the hope of seeing seals (all on the opposite bank). We did see an osprey nest, swans, cormorants etc and then stopped at Millionaire's Viewpoint. Back in Invergordon we were driven past a number of murals and then back to Nautica, via a gift shop of course. Can thoroughly recommend the tour however, which was tailored to our time available. We were on board just in time to watch a show of Scottish song and dance put on by locals in the Nautica Lounge. At 7.30 we also had a marching pipe band on the quayside to send us on our way towards Lerwick. By now it was 8pm so we decided to eat dinner in the Terrace Cafe. I have always said I would not eat dinner in the buffet restaurants but on Nautica is was more akin to a proper dining room, serving the same dishes in fact. Monday 19th August - Lerwick Got the 9am free shuttle from the container dock (Holmsgarth) into Lerwick. Just after breakfast there was a torrential rain shower so it was not looking good, but after that it cleared dramatically and the sun came out making a nice day in the end. It was interesting to watch the crew of the oilrig supply ship berthed behind us go up onto their helipad to take photos of Nautica! As we went into the Tourist Information Centre we saw an advert for a boat trip - this was a cruise ship special (2 hours instead of their normal 3), so we booked. There were just six of us, plus skipper Alan and his wife Robbie - a marine biologist, who live on the boat throughout the summer. We first sailed round the harbour looking at the buildings (and a female seal who popped her head to look at us!), then set off through the main channel. Saw terns, common and grey seals, an Arctic Skua, cormorants, shags, eider drakes, guillemots, ravens and lots of gannets fishing. Later the boat was anchored over a wreck and they sent down an ROV and set up a TV screen so we could see what was under the boat. Robbie explained things in detail. Finally after 2 fascinating hours, we were dropped off at the pier and set off walking. Back on board, we went to the Trivia Quiz and joined with another team - all Americans so we were warmly welcomed for our UK knowledge! We came joint second so I got my first 2 Big O points! These are built up throughout the cruise and exchanged on the last day for various gifts - bookmarks, hats, t-shorts etc! We went back down to the cabin to wash and change for the dinner we had booked in the Polo Grill. We were not late going to bed as clocks went forward an hour that night. Tuesday 20th August - Alesund We arrived early and I rushed up on deck to watch us berth. I don't think I've ever seen a ship docked so fast - we appeared to race up towards the berth and then dead slow, a sideways thrust and we were there. I have to say the berthing and departures were all very sleek, swift and timely throughout the cruise. We never saw a queue to get off the ship - it was all efficient and quick. Our plan was to take the HoHo Bus - 200 NK - to the Sunnmore Museum. We did the full round trip first - the views from the high mountain viewpoint at Aksla were fabulous - then went round again as far as the Museum. Here were lots of turf-roofed old Norwegian country houses of various periods, boat houses etc. in a lovely woodland setting with streams. We had coffee and apple cake and then went back to wait for the HoHo bus. As we went back up to Aksla again I saw that while we were gone, Adventure of the Seas had arrived! We got off in town and wandered the shops. Back on board, we got up to Horizons just in time for afternoon tea. At 8.05, during dinner, we felt the engines power up and saw Nautica edging out from the quayside and swinging 180 degrees to sail back down the fjord. Wednesday 21st August - Geiranger I set the alarm for 5.45 am to watch the sail into Geiranger but we were already well into the Fjord by then. I made it up on deck just in time to see us sail past the Seven Sisters Falls and about 20 mins later we were there. The tendering operation was like any other - as independents we had to get tender tickets and wait in the Nautica Lounge, but we were called to board almost immediately. I got the Sightseeing bus to Flydal, and the two famous view points, wandered around, bought souvenirs, and then tendered back to ship. I had a quick lunch at Waves Grill as I wanted to watch our sail back down the fjord to pick up the overland tour passengers at Hellesylt. I wondered why one tender remained afloat as we hauled up our anchor but it soon became clear. Captain Ressa was going to give every passenger an amazing view of the Seven Sisters and the Suitors falls. With the tender acting as a range-finder for the ship, the captain did a slow 360 turn in the fjord. In the middle of the turn, we paused to one side to allow Artania and the Hurtigruten steamer Nordlys, to sail past us then continued to turn another 180 degrees before sailing to Hellesylt to pick up our tour people. Unfortunately it was very wet but standing on deck staring up at the huge mountains, with the wonderful music of Grieg coming through the speakers on deck - total magic. Thursday 22nd August - at sea. Our second and last sea day and it was lovely to finally get a lie in. It was warm enough to take advantage of the sun deck. As it became chilly, I asked for and was brought a thick woollen blanket by the pool boy and tucked in on the soft sun beds. A deck stewardess brought a cappuccino to complete the pampered feeling. We had lunch in Terrace Cafe before changing and going up to play shuffleboard. Since only six of us were playing anyway I won another Big O point for coming third! It was a lazy afternoon. Went to the Trivia quiz at 4.30 and our team won, then got dressed for dinner early as we wanted to go to the final recital by the Fjord Cadenza Ensemble. It was wonderful listening to the music of Grieg while remembering our sail through the fjords yesterday. Tomorrow the Platters are joining Nautica. We were then at a bit of a loose end as we had booked Toscana but not until 8.30 so we sat in the Library and watched us sail between the Inner and Outer Hebrides, before joining our table of six for a fabulous Italian meal - huge selection of breads, an olive oil menu etc. By the time we completed our meal it was 11pm so bed. Friday 23rd August - Belfast. We had a leisurely morning since Nautica wasn't due to berth until noon. Had breakfast and then went to needlepoint and chat. By then we were well in sight of Belfast docks so went up on deck. We had a good sight of the new Titanic Museum and the Harland & Wolff Gantries as well as an old WWI battleship. The day before I had filled in the mid-cruise comment sheet and as we went back to the cabin this morning, a knock at the door revealed the Asst. Housekeeping Manager regarding my comment that the cabin needed hooks for wet coats! Impressive! We berthed about 20 mins early so were ready and off the ship to meet Paddy as we had booked one of his Black Cab Tours of Belfast and the Giants Causeway. We had a short chat about what we wanted to see (happy to skip the Bushmills Distillery in favour of Dunluce Castle) and then set off into Belfast City. Our driver explained that, as a Catholic, there were areas he could not go. I was quite shocked as to how divided the city still was. The Protestant areas were adorned with flags, bunting and even the kerbstones were painted red, white and blue! A huge wall still divided the city into two. I asked why it was so high and was told to stop missiles! We drove along the Crumlin and Shankhill Roads where huge political murals had been painted onto houses, commemorating events various events. In one area the back gardens of the houses were all encased in wire to protect the inhabitants - horrendous. At checkpoints in the wall were heavy gates, closed at dusk in a kind of curfew. There were even Protestant and Catholic taxis, which could not travel in each other's areas! If you want to travel from one side of Belfast to another you have to change cabs! I had no idea it was still so segregated in the city. After this depressing start, we set off into the Antrim countryside - very English looking - up to a viewpoint to see the Carrick a Rede rope bridge. Unfortunately the weather had turned drizzly but we still had great views. Then to a little beach to see what is the smallest church in Ireland -St Gobbans. It is licensed for weddings - as long as you don't want more than 5 people! Next to it is a small cottage with portholes and steamer chairs that were spares intended for Titanic and her sisters. Next we drove to my highlight - the Giant's Causeway. After an hour there we went to Dunluce Castle. We just managed a few pictures before the rain set in in earnest and we repaired to the tea shop opposite for warm home-made scones, cream, jam and raspberries with tea. By then it was time to return to the docks. We made it back at 7pm so after a quick wash and change - to Martini's for a drink and their delicious nibbles - crisps, nuts etc. we decided on The Terrace Cafe for a light dinner (after the tea!). Saturday 24th August - Dublin I am not sure now if I have described breakfast properly. Having chosen a table, waiters bring coffee, juices, water etc. They also often carry your plate for you. The choices are large - lots of fresh fruit, a range of hot food - sausages, pancakes, scrambled eggs etc., cereals with hot, cold, whole or skim milk. Smoked salmon, cheeses and pastries to die for. You can have any coffee you like - latte, cappuccino etc. As we were doing our own thing in Dublin we didn't get up too early. I was up first so went up on deck to see where we were and was surprised to see we were berthed at the mouth of the Liffey, right beside the o2 arena. The ship couldn't get any closer if they tried. This was my second time in Dublin this year, but as the first was very wet we had only done the DUKW tour then. We caught the free shuttle bus into Kildare Street and had a stroll past the gift shops etc, to the statue of Molly Malone and the Tourist Information Centre, through Temple Bar and over the Ha'penny Bridge before catching the Hoho bus in Connell Street doing one complete circuit before getting off at Trinity College to see inside the buildings. I decided the queues were too long to see the Book of Kells so we then had a homemade soup and a Guinness in a nearby pub before picking up the HoHo bus again to Dublin Castle. After a quick walk around we got the Yellow Route HoHo back to the centre, a look around again and then the shuttle back to Nautica. Back on the ship, three Guarda officers were watching everyone come back on board. Went to Trivia before changing for cocktails in Horizons - there were choices of three different cocktails of the day each night at $5 (plus 18% gratuity). Otherwise cocktails were priced from $10, other drinks from around $8 although there was a Happy Hour between 5 and 6pm - buy one, get one free. All were accompanied by a little stand holding three different types of nibbles, plus canapes. We headed down to the Grand Dining Room for dinner where we were taken to table for 8 by the window. Sunday 25th August - Cork Woke up early as this was the one day I was taking a tour. I was ready just in time to watch us sail past Cobh and over the river to Ringaskiddy where Nautica was to berth. This was because Balmoral was supposed to be berthing in Cobh but in the event she arrived just as we left and we passed in the channel - Nautica blowing her whistle but no reply from Balmoral - which looked rather down at heel and a bit rusty. After breakfast I went to the Nautica Lounge for 8.45 and exchanged my tour ticket to Kinsale for a tour bus pass No.4. Tours on Nautica are rather like tendering operations in that respect. We were soon called and filed down to deck 4 and out to the waiting coaches. It was not long before we were on our way with guide Mary and driver Pat. We drove through rolling countryside not unlike Britain to Fort Charles overlooking Kinsale Harbour, and from where you could see the Old Head of Kinsale where Lusitania sank. Then to Kinsale itself where we went into a hotel for scones and tea before having 2 free hours to explore. It is a pretty town of coloured houses and narrow lanes. It was Sunday but most were open as the town was hosting the International Disabled Sailors Championships. As I sat by the harbour a seal popped its head up to see what was available to eat. We took a different route back, alongside the Bandon River where we had a brief stop for photos. We got back to the ship at 1.30 and I dashed up to Waves for a veggie burger before Shuffleboard - three more Big O points for winning! Nautica was put through a hard swing to starboard to clear the pier and then it was back downriver past Cobh again. We sailed very close to the town and hoards of people lined the waterfront to watch and wave at us and a fair was in full swing in the small seafront park. In the distance by the lighthouse, Balmoral was just arriving and we passed very close to each other. It is the big finale tonight, entertainment wise so headed up for cocktails in before dinner. I chose caviar on potato, chicken consomme and lobster tail followed by pistachio tartlet topped with orange and grapefruit segments. We finished at 9pm and went to get seats in the Nautica Lounge to watch The Platters. Their show was followed by the whole crew filing into the lounge so they could all be thanked - from Captain to cabin steward, and on the way out of the lounge they all lined the corridors. Monday 26th August - Portland Our last day! Since we were not arriving until 10am at Portland we had a leisurely breakfast and were able to watch us dock. Once we were ready we set off in the free shuttle to Weymouth. It is many years since I was last here and the town was, to all intents and purposes, new to me. Back on board I had a quick lunch outdoors in the Terrace Grill before going up to play shuffleboard. The weather was beautiful so it was a sun lounger in the sun for the rest of the afternoon until it was time for the Trivia Quiz where our team - The Bruins (UCLA) came joint first - again. So, I ended up with 20 Big O points - enough to redeem for a T shirt with 5 over! Back in the cabin I finished packing and changed for dinner. We had a cocktail each in Martinis before going out onto the promenade deck to watch the Weymouth Brass Band and some soldiers fire a three gun salute for us. Tuesday 27th August - Southampton Around the middle of the cruise we had been asked to complete a disembarkation form with onward travel arrangements and asking what time we wished to disembark - any time between 7am and 9am. We chose 8.30 then, but as independents it turned out we could disembark whenever we wished. The whole operation was very civilised and easy. Those travelling on airport transfers were directed to specific lounges so there was no-one hanging around the gangway as on most ships. After a nice breakfast out on the stern deck we collected our hand luggage and just disembarked. All in all, an interesting and enjoyable cruise - although I can't say relaxing! I am not a fan really of these very port-intensive cruises but Americans don't like sea days! The service and food, with a few exceptions, was excellent. Waves Grill became very busy especially if a tour had just returned and a burger could take 25 mins to come. For some odd reason, both we both felt we had just had a really long cruise, even though it was only 12 nights. Usually the time flies past when you are having fun, and we did have fun. My friend's theory is that, in some ports we arrived between 10am - noon so the morning was like a sea day, and then we had our port day from noon until 8pm - effectively two days for every one! Would we go again - like a shot, given the right itinerary and a similar bargain price. I think we would both like to try their two larger ships - Marina and Riviera, with 1100 pax, purely as there are more on-board activities like cooking and painting classes. Highly recommended!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2013
We decided to take this cruise specifically for the itinerary. It started on London went to Norwegian Fjords and Ireland (as well as other but wanted to see these ports. We have cruised 9 times on the "usual suspects" of cruise ... Read More
We decided to take this cruise specifically for the itinerary. It started on London went to Norwegian Fjords and Ireland (as well as other but wanted to see these ports. We have cruised 9 times on the "usual suspects" of cruise lines before this. People would always ask "so how was the food". For us, cruise food has always been mediocre - not many ways you can do a buffet. Oceania has set the bar when it comes to food. A+++. Where else can you get grilled lobster tails and huge shrimp at the casual grill every night. Service was also top notch. They failed us the same places so many have noted. Excursions. A total rip off for what you get and so far out of line when it comes to pricing. Entertainment - there really isn't any at night. One fellow guess who has sailed with Oceania in the past pointed out that the majority of entertainers and signers, etc are actually cruise ship workers. The person serving you breakfast in the morning will be the one signing and dancing for you tonight. And they are just plain bad. It is also clear that Oceania has made this a conscious choice.I did not a fellow cruiser on this trip that did not complain about the exact same things. Most all of them have also told them this on their feedback forms and yet they still do nothing about it. It is clear they made the trade off for excelling on the food and service areas and not wanting to be better in these other areas. Bottom line: If you want to go on a cruise where the food is world class and go to be after dinner ever evening then this cruise is probably for you. However, if you are interested in any form of night life or entertainment, then even the great food will not make up for this huge weak spot. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
Oceania Marina, Cultural Connoisseur, September 27, 2013 – A Review About Us: My husband and I, both in our very early 50’s, booked this cruise aboard the Marina to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We have both cruised ... Read More
Oceania Marina, Cultural Connoisseur, September 27, 2013 – A Review About Us: My husband and I, both in our very early 50’s, booked this cruise aboard the Marina to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We have both cruised extensively on many different lines in the past, but this was our first “O” experience. We have usually cruised with our daughters and extended family. This was the first time in a very long time that we cruised with just each other. We initially had some reservations as to how we would fit in with the passenger demographics on the ship. I can now honestly report that, although we were probably among the youngest 10% or 15% of the passengers on the cruise, we never felt out of place and we met the most wonderful people onboard ... some of the most interesting people that we’ve had the pleasure of meeting in a long time. There was always a good conversation to be had, and we left the ship with many new friends who we hope to be able to travel with again in the future. We participated in the Roll Call for our cruise here on Cruise Critic (again, something we had never done before), and arranged, and/or took part in, private excursions in every port. We had incredible private guides in every port. It would be very hard to pick a favorite. I’ll go into more detail below. I recommend getting involved in your Roll Call thread. I can’t even begin to explain how much better of an experience it is to take part in small, private tours of 6-8 people, as opposed to the big bus tours that the cruise line sells. Not to mention that the private tours end up being less money. Pre-Cruise: We booked our air through Oceania, taking advantage of their air-included offer. We also paid the $150 per person deviation charge, in order to fly in a day early and fly home two days after disembarkation. We got to choose the exact flights we wanted, with no issues whatsoever. We arrived at Gatwick on Thursday, September 26 and took the train to Winchester, where we spent a leisurely day getting over the jet lag. We stayed at a great bed & breakfast, the Old Vine, and had a private transfer on Friday morning for our 30-minute ride to Southampton. Weather: We were blessed with beautiful weather throughout our vacation, with very little rain along the way. It ended up being warmer than we had anticipated, so most of our sweaters and such ended up being unused. The Ship: The 2 year-old Marina is impeccable. It is the most elegant and one of the most beautiful ships I have ever seen. And, I’ve seen A LOT of cruise ships. Day and night, you would find the crew hard at work, polishing and scrubbing, to make sure that Marina was always at her best. The ship’s crew is happy and friendly. They are genuinely happy to be there to help you have the most amazing cruise experience possible. Their friendly conversation never seems forced or fake. They seem to truly care about each passenger and remember you from day to day and from venue to venue. On our last morning aboard, when we were having breakfast at The Terrace, many of the servers who we had had the pleasure of meeting during the course of the cruise stopped by our table to wish us safe travels home and to ask how our cruise had gone. I was amazed that they remembered and touched by the gesture. Our Stateroom: This was our cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, and so we splurged on a Penthouse Suite. It’s a perfect stateroom and was extremely comfortable for us. The closet is a walk-in and provides ample storage. There are also plenty of drawers in the dressers in the stateroom. The bathroom is beautiful, although the shower could stand to be just a tad larger. We loved the Bulgari amenities. The bed!!! It’s the most comfortable bed we’ve ever slept in. Period. End of Story. All the linens in the bedroom and bathroom are awesome. Our stateroom attendants did a fabulous job of keeping our room very clean. There was never an occasion when we had to call them back in for something that was overlooked or forgotten. With the Penthouse comes a butler. I can’t say enough good things about Churchill, our butler. Friendly and full of information, he was able to give us the inside scoop on all the best dishes to sample at the restaurants. He also graciously and with a smile served us a full, hot breakfast in our stateroom on almost every morning of the cruise. And we had some pretty early starts because of all of our private tours. One night, we had dinner brought in to the stateroom from Toscana. He served it course by course. Wonderful! There are so many things that he did to make our cruise better. There’s no way to go into it all here. Suffice it to say that he spoiled us. And we loved it! Dining: The food quality and the dining experience onboard Marina are so far and above anything we’ve experienced on any other ship! A comparison to previous experiences is almost impossible. The only thing that is in the same league is our dinner at Remy aboard the Disney Fantasy. And that’s a $75 per person surcharge, without wine. Each and every venue aboard the Marina was outstanding, from Waves to The Terrace to the Grand Dining Room to the specialty restaurants. We also had the pleasure of dining one night at La Reserve. We had the Exploration Menu, which was wonderful! It’s the only surcharge restaurant aboard (not counting Privee, which is more of a dining room where food is brought in from other restaurants) and was well worth the additional fee. Course after course, each paired perfectly with wine. It was a three and a half hour experience that I would love to repeat again! Entertainment: We did not attend any of the shows on Marina. Our very enjoyable entertainment consisted of the wonderful dinner conversation we had with new friends in the varied restaurants onboard. Ports: This cruise was very port intensive and visited places that, for the most part, neither of us had been to before. Bruges: We joined the private taxi transfer arranged by another person on our Roll Call. I believe the company was Taxi Snel. We were picked up at the gate to the port at 9 AM and returned to the ship at 5 PM. Once in Bruges, we followed a walking tour that was posted online by Brentjes. It was a great tour, very detailed, with lots of information of what you are seeing and easy to follow. The tour as printed begins at the train station. We started it at Markt Square and followed it around backward. It was pretty much the exact tour being followed by the ship’s expensive walking tour of the city. Great day in a beautiful city. I’d love to return someday. Le Havre: I arranged for a private tour for 8 through Overlord Tours. Our guide was Oliver, and he was fantastic!!! We went to Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery, Point du Hoc, Saint Mere Eglise, Utah Beach, Angoville au Plain and to some secluded places that we would have never been able to find, or enter, had we ventured out on our own. Oliver made the landing beaches come alive for us. I can’t recommend Overlord or Oliver enough!! St. Malo: We joined a private tour arranged by another person on our Roll Call. The tour was with Westcapades and our tour guide was Marc. We went to Mont St. Michel, Dinan and had a very brief visit to St. Malo. There were six of us on the tour. Marc was very good. Mont St. Michel is fascinating! It’s a place that everyone should visit at least once. Dinan was beautiful! I enjoyed our time there and the local pastry, Kouign Amann, that we got to sample. I would definitely recommend Marc for a great day out of St. Malo. L’Orient: I had arranged a private tour with Marie-Laure at Brittany Visits. The plan was for us to visit Quimper, Pont Aven and Concarneau. The night before we arrived in L’Orient, I received a message from the Purser that Marie-Laure’s husband had been hospitalized and that she would not be coming the next day. I was sorry to hear that her husband was ill, and I truly hope that he has recovered. The timing of the cancellation really did not work well for us to be able to arrange anything else. We decided to take the free shuttle into town and explore. L’Orient is pretty much a regular mid-sized modern French city with not a whole lot to see and do. There is a U-Boat yard that was used by the Germans during WWII. After a little while in town, my husband and I chose to go back to the ship for lunch and a relaxing afternoon. Le Verdon: I arranged a private tour with Maryse at Bordeaux Excursions. She is fanastic!!! We visited 3 Chateaux (Gruaud-LaRose, Pichon-Longueville, and Lynch-Bages) with a brief stop at Chateau Mouton-Rothschild and a beautiful lunch at Chateau Pomys. The harvest was just getting underway in Le Medoc. It was a spectacular day, planned to perfection. I recommend Maryse wholeheartedly. I hope to visit the Bordeaux region again and will definitely book with Maryse to show me the other areas of the region. Bilbao: We took the free shuttle that Oceania provided into town. We visited the outside of the Guggenheim, and its gift shop and then walked along the riverfront to the “Casco Viejo”, or old town. It was very picturesque and it was nice to just wander the streets here. We enjoyed a very inexpensive lunch of pintxos (what tapas are called here) and the local wine, Txacoli. We took a taxi back to the ship from the old town. La Coruna: We booked a private tour to Santiago de Compostela and La Coruna for 6 through Luca Renzini of Best Private Tours. Our guide was Anton. He was excellent! Anton showed us all the sights in Santiago de Compostela. The star of the show, of course, is the cathedral. Unfortunately, we did not get to see the Butafumeiro swing in the church. We had a lovely lunch in the old town here. We then went on to La Coruna, which was a very nice place, too. The weather had cleared up and we had magnificent views from Hercules’ Tower. I was a bit nervous about our arrangements in this port, since there were no posted reviews of Best Private Tours or Luca. I would recommend booking with him in the future. He is able to arrange tours out of most European cruise ports. Had I had a few more hours of notice, I would have contacted him about booking something after our Lorient guide cancelled on us. Oporto: We joined a tour booked by one of the others in our Roll Call through Tours by Locals to the Douro Valley. Our guide was Orquidea. She was very good and very nice. This tour is beautiful, with jaw dropping sights at every turn. There is a lot of driving involved in getting down to the valley floor from Oporto. It took us over three hours to reach Pinhao. We had beautiful, clear weather. Had it been raining, it would have been a really scary ride. There are many, many curving narrow roads with sharp, hairpin turns. That being said, I loved this day! We had a spectacular lunch at Quinta do Portal. The setting for this lunch was beautiful! The food delicious, and the company of our guide and the others in our tour was lovely. We then went to the winery for a port tasting. Who knew that port wine came in three colors! They were all delicious, too! As long as you’re aware of all the driving, this is a very worthwhile tour. Lisbon: I arranged for a private tour with Alex at Top Ten Tours. Alex is a wonderful guide! Another best guide for this trip! We went to Sintra, Caiscais, and Lisbon. The van he used is brand new and has wi-fi! This was yet another day that we had spectacular weather! The Pena Palace above Sintra is a really beautiful place! Our pictures there are incredible. I think if I had it to do again, I would skip Caiscais and spend more time in Lisbon. I do want to go back to Lisbon again. If you have a chance to book a day with Alex, do it! He is really wonderful! Cadiz: We took the train from Cadiz to Seville with two others from our Roll Call. The train station is located right across the street and around the corner from the port. It couldn’t have been more simple. The people we travelled with arranged for a walking tour of Seville with Marta Casals. She was very good! We were with her for three hours and we visited the Plaza de Espana, the Cathedral, the Alcazar, and the Barrio Santa Cruz, among other places. Marta made the very most of our short time with her. She is another of our “very best” guides for this trip. Post-Cruise: Sadly, our time aboard Marina had to come to an end. We spent two nights in Barcelona, at the Catalonia Catedral Hotel in the Gothic Quarter that was located right across the square from the old Cathedral. We had been to Barcelona before, and this was our favorite part of the city. Our first day was spent wandering the curvy streets of the Gothic Quarter. On our second day, we booked a full day trip to Montserrat with Spanish Trails. They are awesome! Our guide, Dan, was yet another amazing guide. Montserrat is unbelievably beautiful! We had an amazing lunch at a restaurant in the national park at the foot of Montserrat. We then visited a vineyard for wine tasting. We ended our day at the overlook at Montjuic, with Barcelona spread out at our feet. Our day included all expenses. I recommend Spanish Trails very highly. I will be booking some of their other day trips when we return to Barcelona. Overall Impressions: The Marina is an exceptional ship and this itinerary was fantastic. We enjoyed every second of our vacation and have already booked our next trip aboard Marina.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
(I´m Swedish. More of a 2*-man, than 5*) Cruising ranks low, when I plan holidays. Nevertheless I now and then cruise. Hithertho always with different lines (RCCL,HAL, Costa, NCL). Oceania was a step up. In many aspects. From outside ... Read More
(I´m Swedish. More of a 2*-man, than 5*) Cruising ranks low, when I plan holidays. Nevertheless I now and then cruise. Hithertho always with different lines (RCCL,HAL, Costa, NCL). Oceania was a step up. In many aspects. From outside Nautica looks rather plain. Inside impressing. Beautiful public areas, cabins, and dining rooms. I was very surprised that on this little ship had more space for myself outside my cabin, than on any of the three to five times larger ships I have been on. You could always find place to sit wherever you wanted. Now bit for bit: 1. Standard balcony cabin. Very, very attractive. I loved it. Really not large, but enough for us. Especially the bathroom gave limited space. But I prefer that than an even smaller cabin. The beds 110%. From hell to heaven compared to NCL, with their sweaty pillows. Free non-alcoholic in the fridge. The TV was an example of the opposite to HD. But that I count out. A tip: Try to get a cabin where you move forward sitting in the sofa. Not for example our 6025. 2. Public areas gave astonishing space. Used to crowded rooms on other ships. Elegant everywhere. 3. Sundeck: Lots of extremly comfortable sunbeds. Always empty available. Pool very small. The 2 bubble-pools very popular. 4. Walking-track very short. But it was so wide, that you could even jogg, same time lots of walkers were there. Strange: All the much larger ships I cruised on, gave less opportunity for jogging. 5. Gym. Super. 6. Dining: The dishes always served hot. And tasty. Especially in Toscana. Our favorite. The only dissappointment was the steaks in Polo-grill. But perhaps americans like that kind of meat. Thick and absolutely non-tasting. Second to Toscana, we prefered the self-service Terrace-café. Nice to see what you put on your plate. Wines: The cheap ones were not cheap, neither good. The more expensive were ok, but far too expensive. And the offered packages were also very high-priced. Stay sober on Nautica. Or drink in yuor cabin. (Bottles allowed to bring aboard.) 7. Bars: drinks very expensive, and contained only ice and soft drinks. Perhaps a hint of alcoholic. I took one, and just laughed. 8. Evening-shows: Very high standard for such a small ship. And varied. 9. Day-lectures in the theatre: Don Campell talked around the history in ports to arrive. For me, and I believe for many others, this was the best hours on the cruise. I will never forget him. And his lectures. 10. Excursions. We took 5. That was exactly 5 too many. Guides, dull, duller, or even duller. We envy those smart people who went out on their own in every port. 11. Staff: On former cruises they have been very nice. Here they were fantactic. As I began, I´m not a cruiser. But if I cruise again, it will be on a ship of this size. Worth every extra buck you pay. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
We are the sort of cruisers who bring our own water bottles, a 12 pack of water and flavored drink packets to avoid the $4.50+ bar charge most cruise lines impose on passengers for just a bottle of water. Oceania is a different ... Read More
We are the sort of cruisers who bring our own water bottles, a 12 pack of water and flavored drink packets to avoid the $4.50+ bar charge most cruise lines impose on passengers for just a bottle of water. Oceania is a different "animal". We were delighted to find that bottled water, smoothies, malts & shakes, espresso and latte were all part of the cruise price. The Ship was clean, well maintained and easy to navigate around. We really enjoyed the speciality dining and the food portions were perfect. Our inside cabin was adequate in size, beds comfortable and the shower just a little too small for my Texas size husband. Cabin service was excellent. We never felt the ship move. All staff were very well trained and friendly. We met the most interesting people who were well traveled, mostly retired and primarily Canadian or American. Many of them had been on the ship on the New York to Dover cruise, were doing the Dover to Copenhagen, and then continuing on into the Baltic Sea. This not a ship for families with teens or younger as they have no scheduled activities. We will definitely cruise with Oceania again, but will opt for a larger cabin. Read Less
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