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144 Oceania Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

We took the Oceania Regatta July 5-17 Athens to Istanbul Black Sea cruise primarily for the interesting itinerary. It is one of the few cruises visiting 10 Black Sea ports. Oceania is rated as a deluxe cruise line, but we were ... Read More
We took the Oceania Regatta July 5-17 Athens to Istanbul Black Sea cruise primarily for the interesting itinerary. It is one of the few cruises visiting 10 Black Sea ports. Oceania is rated as a deluxe cruise line, but we were disappointed in almost all services the ship provided except the food which was usually very good. As it turned out the most deluxe part of the cruise was the price. We had assumed that because of the historical significance of the area, and the fact that most people on board were experienced travelers, live port talks or lectures related to the area would be a highlight. However, the cruise director apologized for his lack of knowledge regarding the Black Sea ports and not one lecture or port talk was provided. Fortunately, with the help of a fellow passenger we had arranged for private tours in three ports including Sochi, Russia. Oceania tours are outrageously expensive, around $169 for a partial day tour and sometimes $200 or $300 for a day tour. Oceania told passengers that they would be unable to get off the ship in Sochi, Russia unless they had previously arranged for a Russian visa or were on an Oceania tour and none of that was true. Arranging for a tour with a licensed guide is all that is required for a short stay in Russia. Oceania's only interest is selling their own tours. Very little assistance was provided for those wishing to tour on their own. In most ports a single local representative came o board with area maps, and dozens of passengers would line up for individual help. This was a huge waste of passenger's time! The Regatta has a beautiful library with nothing to read. The books remind me of the discarded free book section in my home library. No new books or magazines were available. When I complained the cruise director agreed, and said they hoped to get a new shipment of books soon. Our cabin was extremely small, 144 sq ft with a partially blocked window. The steward service was extremely poor as we often had to ask to get the room made up. Entertainment on the ship was minimal. we understood that because Regatta is a comparatively small ship, entertainment would not be the same as a large ship, however, it could have been much better. Internet connectivity was very slow and outrageously expensive at .95 per minute. Topping it off when we arrived in Istanbul, Turkey, our final destination we discovered that Oceania had charged $49 each for the $20 Turkish visa. When we questioned the price we were told that the additional money was an administrative charge! How cheap is that! Needless to say we will not be cruising with Oceania-no matter how many expensive flyers and catalogs they send. Oceania might consider spending some of that catalog money for passengers benefit. One idea might be buying more washing machines. They have one laundry room with 4 washing machines for 700 passengers and one broke while we were there. Needless to say, on a 12 day cruise in mid summer the laundry room was an extremely popular spot with a lot of tension over who would be next in line for a washing machine. Of course, that would mean giving up another tiny cabin for an additional laundry room. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We have travelled both on Oceania Marina ( +1,200 passengers) last year and this year on Regatta (+600 passengers). On both Cruise the standard of the Cabins , cabin staff, and restaurant staff was excellent, very difficult to improve on ... Read More
We have travelled both on Oceania Marina ( +1,200 passengers) last year and this year on Regatta (+600 passengers). On both Cruise the standard of the Cabins , cabin staff, and restaurant staff was excellent, very difficult to improve on this. The food in our view was slightly better on Marina, a wider choice. We preferred Regatta as it was a smaller ship and felt it was less jazzy than Marina, of choice would not go on the larger ship again. As noted the standard well deserves the 5 1/2* as rated. BUT however then Oceania are determined to take as much money as possible from you when on board. Excursions are very expensive for example a 3 hour trip from port could cost at least $149 EACH. We adapted our own method of having a taxi, then going for a similar run around on a personal basis ( usu-ally with driver speaking English ) at a total cost of up to 70 Euro. We did this a number of times on this years trip. Last year we tended to hire a car when required around a total cost of £75 each day. If one asked the Destination services to book a taxi, they showed no interest at all. Internet charges are extreme requiring from 99c per minute of for the whole voyage $1,500, this for a slow service of about 1.5mbps. The opening day of the Olympics was the first day on board. Oceania did not nothing to ensure we could see this, in spite of precruise requests. The final annoyance was the cost of transfer from Venice Cruise terminal to Airport, Oceania offered this by coach for $139 EACH. We arranged for a booked taxi at a cost of 40 Euro total. We feel it is a pity that Oceania take this method of extracting money from passengers. WE would ra-ther pay a bit more on the fare and not have the above aggravation. It spoils an otherwise excellent cruise. Derek Grossmark Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Regatta is a beautiful ship. We were on a 12 day Italian Interludes out of Rome ending in Venice. We stopped in Monaco, Capri, Sorrento, Sicily, Greece, Dubrovnik, and Venice. We were a group of 8 people flew in from the US 2 days before ... Read More
Regatta is a beautiful ship. We were on a 12 day Italian Interludes out of Rome ending in Venice. We stopped in Monaco, Capri, Sorrento, Sicily, Greece, Dubrovnik, and Venice. We were a group of 8 people flew in from the US 2 days before the cruise. Very easy embarking- we waited maybe 30 minutes and got straight aboard. The service was excellent. It was nice seeing the same staff members every day. I have previously cruised with RCI, Princess, and Celebrity. Celebrity being my favorite line. Oceania had maybe 700 people, which was great with dining- but nightlife was terrible. The "night club" was an on air jukebox where you could pick songs you wanted to play. The entertainment was in a small ballroom where chairs are set out for guests to sit. This is not by any means an auditorium. The Entertainment staff was very talented, however, the shows were lacking in appeal as I would see many people leave halfway through them. Oceania truly targets an older audience. Even on board activities were limited to wine/ liquor tastings (hey- didn't have much else to do)or late night bingo (8pm) and the pool was always crowded. Food was outstanding. The visit to the Steakhouse was one on my best experiences I have ever had. The ports were incredible. Being that she was such a small ship, we were able to tender to smaller ports like Capri. ( Previously sailed Solstice for Greek Isles cruise and we had to go through Naples to get to Amalfi- so from a convenience standpoint it was great) We did have one issue. In Dubrovnik, Oceania literally reserves 1 bus for 700 people to ferry them into Old town. We found that people were pushing and shoving to get on the bus. We waited 45 minutes in a puddle of people ( no line/ tickets etc for those who came first) and were ultimately shoved off the coach. Thus, we never made into our port. It was most disappointing and frustrating considering this was one of the highlight ports. The buses only came back every hour and we were only in port for 6. Also, there were several other cruise ships in port so traffic was insane as for what I understand. Other than that mishap and lack of appeal for a younger crowd- Oceania is a great deal. Airfare was included in our cruise price as well as all beverages minus alcohol. If you are a younger demographic- I would bring a big group along as to enjoy yourself. Go for the itinerary and the price- do not go for the nightlife or activities available on board. Would I sail Regatta again? With the right people and the right itinerary- absolutely- Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We chose the Regatta's Istanbul to Rome cruise because of the ports visited, smaller ship and the month we were available to travel. Embarkation: This could not have been easier. We were dropped off at the dock and within 15 ... Read More
We chose the Regatta's Istanbul to Rome cruise because of the ports visited, smaller ship and the month we were available to travel. Embarkation: This could not have been easier. We were dropped off at the dock and within 15 minutes had handed over our luggage, gone through security, filled out a two question form (basically stating that we arrived in Turkey healthy), got in line to provide a credit card number and have our pictures taken, passed through passport control and onto the ship and in the Terrace cafe. Our room: Because this was our 25th anniversary cruise we splurged on a PH suite. We were in room 8058 -- port side -- I believe 3 rooms from the back. The room was very spacious -- lots of storage and tastefully decorated -- all blues, whites and dark wood. Another reason I chose a PH was, I admit, I wanted the bigger bathroom -- with an actual tub/shower. And I am happy to say, that for me, it was well worth it. I enjoyed the space to shower and even take a couple baths with the lovely Bvalgari bath salts left every day. All the Bvalgari products were wonderful and smelled so good. We were able to get into our room right away after boarding the ship (at 1:00) and our bags were waiting for us as was our butler. He was very nice and I'm sure would have done anything we asked but we really had no need for his services. The only thing we asked him to do was swap out our welcome bottle of champagne for a bottle of red wine (which was kept with the wine -- somewhere behind the scenes) and get us a deck of cards. We also had breakfast in our cabin a few times and afternoon canapes a couple of times. Our housekeeper was extremely cheerful. Dining: Food is rather subjective so I will just mention some things that we especially liked. The eggs benedict were very good (and a little surprisingly) we thought they were better prepared in the Terrace Cafe as opposed to the Grand Dining room. I also loved my beef Carpaccio in Toscana. My husband had a delicious sandwich of the day on our sea day from Waves Grill. It was a roasted pork on a great baguette. One of the main dishes in the dining room one night was spinach and ricotta gnocchi, which I had as an appetizer and it just melted in your mouth. Steaks on the whole were always well prepared. Also the Osso Bucco in Toscana was delicious. Our first meal in Toscana was good though we had a little problem with the light above our table. We were seated along the back window in one corner and we did not notice that the light above didn't work until the sun set. At that point it was quite dark on our table, especially compared to the tables all around us. We asked about the light and more than one person came over to fiddle with it, but to no avail. What surprised us was that not one person said they were sorry. When I filled out the mid cruise questionnaire I commented on just that and lo and behold someone from Toscana called our cabin to apologize -- so they do read the comments. And then later in the day the manager of Toscana called and wanted to know if we would like to eat there another night (in addition to our current 2 reservations) and was very sorry and appreciated our filling out the comment card. We declined though said we were looking forward to our next meal there and appreciated his calling. Spa: After three days of walking in Ephesus, down all those steps in Santorini and then up and down to see the Acropolis in Athens I was ready for some type of spa treatment on our sea day. I waited to make an appointment until the afternoon of the day before and things certainly fill up quickly. My only time choices were 8 am for the Ohana Circulation Polish (50 minutes at $159) and 5:00 pm for the Canyon Stone Pedicure (80 minutes at $135). Yes, the polish was overpriced but it felt wonderful and I enjoyed it, so I considered it money well spent. High Tea: Every day in the Horizons lounge from 4 -- 5. Just pick any table and someone will come over with a large box of different teas to choose from. Then there is also a dessert cart where you can choose some treats and someone else walking around with a variety of little "tea" sandwiches, all while the string quartet plays. It was very nice and very popular. Entertainment on board: We went to the first cast show called "Maestro" on the day we left Istanbul. The four members of the Regatta cast were quite impressive. We both thought they all got better the more they sang and harmonized quite well together. We did not go to the evening of comedy/song with our cruise director Nolan Dean but we heard many people say it was a fun evening and he was very entertaining. We also went to the cast's second and final shows -- "Hot Vegas Nights" and show tunes (can't remember the exact title). They were both fun. We attended a wine tasting on our second day and thought it was a very good value - $15 a person. There were about 40 or so people that participated and we were each given 4 wines (two red, two white) and one taste of champagne. There was also a plate of crackers and cheese for every two people. The head sommelier was very knowledge though his assistant, though pleasant was not quite as assured of herself. They were very generous with their pours and would have gladly given anymore more of anything they wanted. We also attended two lectures from guest lecturer Terry Bishop. These were very well attended and he was an engaging speaker in every way. Ports: Istanbul: We spent 2 nights in Istanbul before boarding the ship. On the day of our arrival we went to the Underground Cistern, walked through a huge park and to the Spice Market on our own. We then had a full day tour and 1/2 day tour with EKOL tours. The sites are actually very easy to see on your own and part of me thinks we should have done that, but it was nice to have someone directing us where to go, handing us our tickets and explaining things being a bit jet lagged. We saw the Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, a Bosphorus river cruise, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia, and Chora Church. Hagia Sophia and the Chora Church were our favorites Kusadasi: We again booked a tour with EKOL and went straight to Ephesus. It was about 110 degrees and we started touring around 1:00. We loved Ephesus, though please be sure to stay hydrated while touring during the summer months. I was obviously not doing a good job and actually fainted while touring the Terrace Houses - and we live in Dallas and have been to hot places like Phuket and Bali. We then went to the House of the Virgin Mary. This a a very peaceful site and we are glad we stopped there. We also went to the Basilica of St. John. There is actually not much to see, though the site is quite large and there were not many people there. When our guide dropped us off she recommended a local restaurant for these "pancake" type dishes that we really liked. We stopped in and had a delicious snack before getting back on the ship. Also, the shops at the dock had all their prices listed in Euros instead of Turkish Lira - the only place we saw this. Santorini: As everyone knows there are 3 ways to get to the top - cable car, donkeys or walking the 500+ steps. We choose donkeys. We waited in line for about 5 minutes and for 5 euros enjoyed our ride to the top. It was not scary and a fun thing to do. We walked through Fira and straight to the bus stop. Tickets were bought on the bus (1.60 euro each) and the busses are well marked. They arrive every 20 - 30 minutes and they were always packed to the gills. We took the bus to Oia, walked around, took lots and lots of pictures and had a lovely lunch with wonderful views. Athens: We took a food walking tour in the morning, which we enjoyed. The owner of the company was our guide (Despina) and she was very knowledgable, kind and entertaining. We made 6 stops and there were 6 adults on the tour (along with one toddler and one child). The other couples then went on their way and Depsina and the two of us went on to the Acropolis. It's another long walk up and after seeing Ephesus was a bit of a letdown. But, we are very glad to have seen it as well as the huge "rock" from which Paul preached to the Athenians. Malta: I had bought tickets to the Hypogeum months ago, which was a good thing because the sign inside said tours were booked through August 25th. It is an underground burial site from 6000 years ago. They only allow 11 people per hour to tour the site. That, along with the nearby Tarxien temples (the first known mad made structures - also 6000 years old) were quite fascinating. We then went to Mdina - charming medieval city. I also love taking pictures of all the colorful doors. To get to the Hypogeum we just got a taxi right at the port. We asked if he would come back to pick us up after our Hypogeum tour and he was more than happy to do so. He then brought us where we wanted to go for 2 hours for the cost of 50 euros. We also walked around Valleta - touring St. John's Co-Cathedral and the armory. The walk back to the ship was not exactly clear cut but we eventually found our way. Trapani, Sicily: We had rented a car but at the last minute decided to cancel and just take a taxi to the cable car and the cable car to Erice. The destinations services person on board made it sound like the bus/taxi stand was right when you got off the ship. We must have missed something because we never saw it. We did eventually find another taxi "stand" and got a taxi to the cable car. The cost was 11.60 euros but when we were searching for coins for the 1.60 our driver just told us that 10 was enough. He then gave us his business card and said to call him when we came back down. The cable car costs 6 or 7 euros (for both ways). The town of Erice is also very charming and SO much cooler being 2000+ feet above sea level. Unfortunately is was a bit of a rainy, overcast day but we still really enjoyed our time there. We called the taxi guy as we made our way back down by cable car and within 15 minutes he had arrived to take us back to the port. Sorrento: We had been to Sorrento before as well as Pompeii and Capri so we decided to book a driver (in advance) to take us back to Positano (my husbands favorite place in the whole world) for the day. Tendering on the Regatta is so easy. We got our tender ticket at 9:00 from the lounge and within minutes were on a tender. We first stopped at a ceramics factory in Positano because we love the pottery from that area. We bought a small round table, picking out the pattern, one platter and one bowl - which will arrive in October. Our driver than dropped us off so we could wander around Positano for a little over an hour. We then went to La Tagliata - back up the mountain for lunch. It is a wonderful restaurant with outstanding views. We had about 7 different appetizers, a bottle of wine, a bottle of water, a plate with 4 different types of pasta for our main dish, a plate of fruit and a plate of desserts (all enough for two to share) for 25 euros a person. It was a wonderful day. Sardinia: We decided to stay on the ship this day. From what we heard (and from my research) it seemed the only thing to do was to go to a beach, which are supposed to be beautiful. We talked to some people who took the free shuttle into town and they said there really wasn't anything to see and do there. Rome: We were in Rome ten years ago and saw all the main sites then but still spent two nights here after our cruise. We shared a ride into Rome with two other couples from our roll call board, which worked out great. I had booked a catacombs and crypts tour for that afternoon and it was very interesting. We went to three sites and the tour lasted about 3 hours. There were about 25 people on the tour with two guides. In the day and a half we were there we walked to the Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, just strolled around the city in general, had lots of gelato and some delicious meals. Overall, we loved the cruise and would be more than happy to sail with Oceania again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
The disappointment started in Barcelona we wanted to spend a day and a half of sightseeing in Barcelona we asked Oceania to get us a room at a hotel they suggested the Rey Juan Carlos This was a terrible choice because of its non ... Read More
The disappointment started in Barcelona we wanted to spend a day and a half of sightseeing in Barcelona we asked Oceania to get us a room at a hotel they suggested the Rey Juan Carlos This was a terrible choice because of its non desireous location a long distance from any central Location. Secondly the cruise line charged us 2 1/2 times the published rate of the hotel. the Biggest aggravation was that we had to be out of our rooms by 8:30 am to take bus to the ship Which we could not get to our cabins till after 3:00 pm. It seems that the entire reason for that was To sell us an overpriced 4 hour tour of Barcelona. The ship itself was beautiful but how bad can a new ship be. The thing that was touted by Oceania Was the food and for the most part it was very acceptable. the buffet food was plentiful but I kinda Like my food served hot and this was impossible. The famous restaurant Jaques was a total dissapointment the food was good but not exceptional . The thing that disturbed me most was the French onion soup gratinee a total dissapointment I have had better at a local diner. The two venues that were good were Red Ginger(good service,hot food good presentation and very satisfying, The other was Polo also good service, hot food, good presentation. Also the main dining room was Quite adequate but not outstanding. Thing that also seemed that every aspect of the trip was only for the convenience of Oceania On the day of debarkation we were told to have our luggage out in front of our cabins by 8:00 am and Had to be out of our cabin by 9:00am . We were bussed to the Istanbul airport at 9:30 am and We had to wait at the airport with our luggage for over 2 hours we could not check in to our flights untill 2 hours before flight time. The thing I recommend to every one do not bring your computer for the Wi Fi is so slow that it is aggravating and they charge a fortune for the service $21.95 per day plus one time install charge of $3.95. Also do not book a hotel through the cruise line, also book your flights on your own to your own convenience. And book your own tours they are much less expensive usually better more comfortable and more convenient you will save as much as 75% Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Instead of the standard/usual review, I try to focus on some main issues/points and mainly towards the treads/questions I ran into on the several boards before we sailed our first Oceania cruise. Boarding: Boarding was a breeze. With a ... Read More
Instead of the standard/usual review, I try to focus on some main issues/points and mainly towards the treads/questions I ran into on the several boards before we sailed our first Oceania cruise. Boarding: Boarding was a breeze. With a small ship and few passengers it all went very fast. Until we board the ship. Despite the travel documents that stated we were welcome as from 12:00pm. The rooms/suites were not ready for hours after. Only at 14:30 the concierge class was called and more than 1 hour later at 15:45 the "regular" staterooms. With little to nothing to do on-board, except for a lunch buffet it's not a very pleasant and warm welcome to drag your bags around for 3 hours in 40 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit) Rooms: We opted for a Concierge Class. Despite the fact this is a very beautiful cabin, it does not differ from the standard non-concierge class cabins with the exception of a few amenities. In our opinion the monies asked extra are absolutely not worth the upgrade to a concierge class. Unless you're dying for some Bulgari toiletries. The bathroom is somewhat small due to the fact Oceania opted for both a separate shower and bathtub. I would have preferred a large walk in shower and no bathtub instead. The shower cabin is small and we found it very hot/sticky and humid to stay in for a nice long shower. The balcony is of an OK size with, unfortunately, very uncomfortable chairs. The Beds are the absolute PLUS PLUS. We honestly can say (being in the bedding business for decades) that Oceania really surpasses any other cruise line in the world on this. Although it's surely not the wonderful, great, tranquillity that is advertised and promised, this is by far the best bed on any cruise ship in the world. Please note that you do NOT have a teak veranda despite advertising so. The only thing teak is the handrail. The rest is plastic and metal. Staff: Overall we found the crew on board the most unhappy and non-smiling bunch we have ever encountered on any cruise ship or cruise line. Not that they were unfriendly or so, but they just don't seemed happy to work for Oceania. As if the company was not treating them very nice or pleasant. During the cruise we spoke with several of them and the majority indeed confirms that they're not too happy to work for Oceania. Unfortunately this shows and makes the overall atmosphere a little tamed and unpleasant at times. Food: Calling her selves "the Cruise Line for foodies" surely created some expectations. And unfortunately due to that it was some kind of disappointment. We thought the food was every time a matter of Hit or Miss. Some dishes were wonderful while others were total miss. Although Oceania advertises every dish is prepared to order, this surely is not the case at all. All is prepared in advance and the majority is just waiting under the heater in the kitchen to be served. Due to this some arrive lukewarm of even almost cold, downgrading the taste. Drinks: Free soft drinks is really not conform the reality. Yes, they do offer free soft drinks but only a very extremely limited selection of 5 choices. You can opt for Coke, Diet Coke, Ginger Ale, Tonic and Sprite. That's it. On top there are a few mineral water selections like Pellegrino and Perrier. So, if you want a Cassis, Fanta, Coke Zero, Red Bull, Arizona Ice tea, you name it, it's not there! Your choice is the 5 mentioned. Further, please note that the staffs is trying very very hard to have your glass filled with the chlorine filled iced tap water instead of the complimentary mineral water. So if you do want mineral water instead be sure you "hit" them before your glass is full with ice water already. Some kind of challenge, I promise. Another challenge is to get a drink served at all at the pool. Whether it's busy or quiet, Oceania lacks the quality of catering enough staff. 2 day's it took us over 1 hour to trace someone to get a drink. Best and fastest way is to walk up to the bar and get it yourself. For the others, we found the prices exorbitant and on the very high end moneywise. Specialty Dining: This is really the point were Oceania creates a complete failure and mess. Please note that the specialty restaurants are not that special at all. Yes, they do offer a difference from the Main Dining room food wise, but the quality and "specialty" is not really there. It's the same menu over and over again and all is pre cooked, pre prepared, basic and not memorable at all. Yes, the meat quality in Polo Grill is great, so are a few other things. But we did not find anything really memorable. Please believe me that the best food and the best service can be found in the main dining room. Due to the reservation policy, Oceania tries to make the specialty restaurants even more "special" and it's very very hard to get in. Unless you're willing to extra tip the people responsible for the restaurants generously. So IMHO the Specialty restaurants are not worth the fuss and struggle to get in at all. Stick with your guaranteed reservations and enjoy the difference from the main dining room for the change. Free Shuttles: Another point where Oceania totally creates a complete failure and mess. Despite their advertisement and promises they offer FREE shuttles in most port with a value up to US$ 50, = per person, per day, this is an absolute lie. The shuttles offered are nothing more than the ones offered by the port authorities and this creates a total mess. First the availability is very limited. With little people booking the overpriced shore excursions the demand for shuttles is way higher that what is offered. Creating long lines and waits. Secondly the port authorities use their time schedule without any agreement between them and Oceania. Due to the fact that the ship is in port till late (11 pm) but the shuttles stops at 4:30pm in Sorrento for example, there is really no way to get into town after that unless your willing to climb up the hill in the heat. Marseille, a long drive into town (25 min) and only 2 busses makes waits for 45 minutes for an available shuttle "normal" At a certain point we were really done with these miserable arrangements and the long waits, so we decided to address our concerns to the Hotel Manager. After 5 staff members really tried hard to get him away from us (strange, as the management should be easily available) we persisted and there he was. We requested for monies to cover our travel expenses into town. This as we found that we were entitled to the US$ 50,= value service as promised. And guess what, he advised us that he was fighting for this for over 7 years already with Miami head office and having major and many complaints towards the shuttle services from many guests. But because of this statement there was not really a way back for him, so he agreed on reimbursing the travel expenses made. And these we reimbursed to our on-board account thereafter. So I strongly advise anyone to complaint about the shuttle service and request for your monies back. This might perhaps change this odd, unorganised and unacceptable "shuttle policy" by Oceania. All in all we feel that Oceania grew way too fast over the past 1,5 year, doubling in size passenger and crew wise, but she did miss the opportunity to manage this growth very well. All the raves, whistles and bells that she gained over the years since her birth seemed to have gone to their heads in Miami. The most certainly feel that they create a wonderful and special product, but the reality differs from that. Please note, we have cruised over 70 times. From RCCL to Silversea, and all in between. Some cruises were magnificent while others were ok. On a scale from 1 to 10, being 10 the best, we feel that Oceania barely disserves a 1. Not because they offer a terrible product, but just because they really miss the point when it comes to customer service., friendliness, management, exclusivity, luxury and above all offer value for money. With so many wonderful cruise lines out there and competition running high, we honestly doubt all the raves concerning Oceania are still there in 1,5 or 2 years from now. Unless they will put the finger where the pain is, it might be very well true Oceania will descend from a luxury line to a standard 5 star line competing with Princess or Costa cruises instead. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
This was our first cruise and Oceania & the Marina have set a really high standard. There was some apprehension on our part about going on our first cruise & certainly a high level of expectation. One of the reasons for choosing ... Read More
This was our first cruise and Oceania & the Marina have set a really high standard. There was some apprehension on our part about going on our first cruise & certainly a high level of expectation. One of the reasons for choosing this cruise was the number of destinations & their locations. We need not have been at all concerned as the staff on the Marina soon made us at home. The embarkation in Venice was not plain sailing & due to a computer meltdown, there was a reasonable delay. It wasn't the smoothest starts but it was forgotten by the second day. OUR STATEROOM The room was beautifully finished and there was adequate room for three adults (our adult daughter travelled with us). It was a bit squishy with the divan down at night but daytime was fine & having the balcony was a big plus, especially when we were in port. The bed was exceptionally comfortable. There was sufficient space for all of us to store our clothes. We had read reviews about the bathroom & shower but really it didn't worry us. The design & fittings are first class. Our room was towards the front of the ship and was quiet & smooth & rarely would you know you were at sea. Everything was spotless. The air-conditioning was also just right. THE STAFF What ever Oceania are doing with their staff they are doing it right! The staff were incredible. No matter where you were they made an effort to be polite & pleasant to you. Nothing was too much trouble. Maria who looked after our room always had a smile & made sure the room was always ready. The waiters in all the dining areas were super & genuinely seemed to enjoy their jobs. THE FOOD Unbelievable! No matter where we ate & we experienced all the options it was first class. I have never experienced anything like it. The speciality restaurants provided experiences that are hard to forget. eg a two page menu of different olive oils for your bread in Toscana, the Italian restaurant. Or the birthday cake brought out for my daughter in the Polo Grill.I liked the less formal arrangements & at no time did we ever have to wait to be seated. The wait time for courses was also very reasonable for such a large number of diners. I also liked the fact that the staff served guests at the buffet as this was a health precaution THE SHIP Not having had the experience of sailing on other ships I can't compare but we choose a mid size ship & it didn't disappoint.It was modern, clean & the pool area & other public areas were a good size. Saftey was also a bit issue & the life jacket & emergency drills were taken very seriously. All tenders were done in avery organised & safe manner. The washing facilities, close to our room were very good & also appreciated THE DESTINATIONS This was one of the reasons we choose this cruise & we weren't disappointed. We were also blessed with unbelievable weather. To arrive in a different destination each morning was magic. Who could forget docking in Kotor? Everyone of the places had a different setting but that's why you go. We enjoyed them all-Dubrovnik, Kotor,Corfu,Monemvasia,Crete,Santorini, Kusadasi and Mykonos.SHORE EXCURSIONS We went on one to Ephesus & found it well organised & are glad we did it. Most of the excursions were a little pricey & we prefer at times to do our own thing, for instance in several ports we booked local taxis for several hours & did our own tours. ENTERTAINMENT We went to several show and enjoyed them but due to our high level of physical activity during the day, we were too tired and usually went to bed early. My only criticism would relate to the internet usage. It was too slow & too expensive. SUMMARY We had a wonderful time. Everything about the ship was fantastic & the fine weather was a bonus. Would we sail with Oceania again? Of course! Highly recommended & would do it all again, tomorrow, if possible! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Oceania's Marina was a joy. We went on their 10 day excursion, Pearls of the Aegean from Venice to Athens with a different port every morning. It was a fabulous ship with excellent food and service. All the employees couldn't do ... Read More
Oceania's Marina was a joy. We went on their 10 day excursion, Pearls of the Aegean from Venice to Athens with a different port every morning. It was a fabulous ship with excellent food and service. All the employees couldn't do enough for you and seemed genuinely happy which is not the case on all other lines. We travelled with2 other couples,one of which have been on inumerable cruises and said Marina has raised the bar. Let me break it down: FOOD- Above average to excellent. Besides the Main Dining Room which is beautiful and the food and decor "above average" you have a choice of 3 "speciality" restaurants: French(great), Italian(great),Asian(very good), and Steak/Lobster(great). Advce: Make reservations 45 days in advance. Terrace Grill on pool deck was great also for casual buffett, both lunch and dinners. CABINS- Beautiful and quite spacious(282 sq.feet) with nice veranda. Drawer space numerous but narrow. Beautifully maintained. Despite some choppy seas the ship has good stabilizers and very little "rocking" to and fro. EXCURSIONS- Overpriced. We only took one and arranged all others in advance online. You can do much better especiallyif travelling in a group by checking out Trip Advisor or other sites. CONCIERGE LEVEL- Not worth the price. We were offered upgrade 5 days before cruise for $200 and were on 2 decks higher and midship which was worthwhile but don't waste extra $$ at time of booking. Service throughout ship was so good you don't need a concierge loung or free pressing of 4 garments on arrival. ENTERTAINMENT- Remember it's a mid-sized ship and you're not going to get Vegas quality entertainment but it's fine to sit and be entertained a bit after dinner. The casino on 6th floor was good if you enjoy gaming.INTERNET- This was the only criticism everyone agreed on. It was slow and quite costly(85 cents a minute) and hard to log on and off. Use a smart phone and purchase extra memory and don't use at sea, only in a port. Overall it was a wonderful cruise and ship. I can't see how anyone could complain about this ship unless they are complainers by nature. There were very few children and the crowd was in the 50-70 year old range for the most part but that varies by season, I suppose. Bravo, Oceania. I wouldn't hesitate to cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Disclosure - This is our 13th cruise - we have cruised on Princess, NCL, Royal Caribbean, Disney, and Holland America in the past and enjoyed every single one of them!! Embarkation - No problem - not the fastest or slowest - after ... Read More
Disclosure - This is our 13th cruise - we have cruised on Princess, NCL, Royal Caribbean, Disney, and Holland America in the past and enjoyed every single one of them!! Embarkation - No problem - not the fastest or slowest - after taking the train from Rome, walk a few hundred yards and go inside the port - catch the shuttle to the ship at the bus stop near the (closed at the time) tourist info booth. Public Rooms - Not my personal taste in decorating and art, but nice. Cabin - Despite being near the elevator and stairs on Deck 10, our cabin was clean, comfortable, and quiet. Oceania provided robes, slippers and a cashmere throw to use inside or out. Our supplies (frig and bathroom) were kept well-stocked. Great location for getting around the ship. Some raters have complained about the shower size, however, neither one of us thought it was small and personally I thought it was somewhat bigger than on other cruise ships. Fitness Center - Did not use the spa, but used the fitness center - had no problem getting a treadmill or using the weights. However, it was not easy to find the toilet around there - it seemed like a maze to me - they hide it in a changing room. Enrichment - Attended a couple of lectures from a professor (sorry - forgot her name) on Roman History - not heavy, but entertaining and informative. Also attended a talk given by a well-known sportscaster - again, funny and entertaining. Dining - Excellent cuisine with the caveat that we did not eat in the Grand Dining Room, just the Terrace Cafe, Waves, and specialty restaurants. Also enjoyed the afternoon teas with live music. Entertainment - Con Molto was the best ship show by their singers and dancers; we also enjoyed the comic Tom Drake. Shore Excursions - We took three ship shore excursions - they were all very enjoyable and informative. In fact, on the day we were supposed to dock at Amalfi, the port was changed to Naples due to rough seas - the only ship excursion to actually go to the Amalfi coast (although not Amalfi itself) was the one we booked - Food and Wine Trails. Due to the rain we did not go the vineyard as planned, but had the wine tasting at the restaurant with that vineyard's wines and we were able to see the coast due to the drive to the small town we visited. The other two excursions were to Florence/Pisa and Taormina/Mt Etna. (Hint - if you are in concierge level, they usually had maps for the next port in the evenings in the lounge.) Debarkation - No problems here either. (Hint - if you are leaving out of Marco Polo/Venice and aren't able to check in for your flight when you arrive, there are very, very few places to sit, unless you want to buy something in a restaurant - be prepared to stand until check in.) Value for the Money - Overall just a little pricey - I don't mind paying higher gratuities on any cruise line for good service, and the cuisine was excellent, although not more than the cuisine "used to be" the few years we were cruising from about 1989 - 2000 or so. We would definitely go on Oceania again - just be prepared to pay a little more. Overall - A FABULOUS CRUISE - GO AND ENJOY YOURSELVES!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
This cruise began in Istanbul and ended in Athens. Because of the unrest in the middle east, Egypt was cancelled 6 months ago- a disappointment and I believe premature and wrong but I understand that Oceania has to try and protect their ... Read More
This cruise began in Istanbul and ended in Athens. Because of the unrest in the middle east, Egypt was cancelled 6 months ago- a disappointment and I believe premature and wrong but I understand that Oceania has to try and protect their customers. A coworker just got back from Cairo and had a great time, there was no problems and because of all of the cancelled tours and cruises the monuments were the least crowded in probably over 50 years. Just as the ship was starting boarding passengers we found out that the port we anticipated docking at in Ashdod was changed to Haifa over safety concerns. Again, frustrating and messed up our private tours we had scheduled months before but a safety decision. Aside from that, the cruise was as expected. Food was too good with only a few only mediocre dishes, service was very good and I believe Oceania does a great job in screening their staff to appear happy and customer oriented. PH3 was an offered upgrade and gave us the opportunity to have in suite dining from the specialty restaurants as well as an additional amount of room in the suite and bathroom. The space was nice, the walk in closet was really nice because it really felt much more like a nice hotel room than a cabin. I had no issues with the shower, none at all. The rain head was nice, and the water wand was a good feature. The shower is not the size of modern American showers, and it is probably a bit short for those passengers well over 6 ft tall. I personally enjoyed the bath tub. My wife didn't use it, but I like to soak in a tub, and found it to be a nice addition. The bathroom was laid out very well and had plenty of storage. The bed, as advertised was Heavenly and the bedding was very nice. Because we did use the in suite Butler delivered food the small table and odd chairs at the end of the bed made perfect sense and worked much better than traditional chairs for getting up and out. ( you can probably find pics of the chairs to see what I mean. The television selection was OK, the DVD library was OK-but to be honest with the port intensive itinerary Oceania has, there is little time for TV anyway. Internet in the computer lounge is slow and expensive, but anticipated that . Wife purchased 100 minutes for $80 and used it for coordinating changes in the tours and checking back home. I do remember the old days of paying very high fees for calling home from Italy or France in the 1970's and 1980's so to be honest instead of calling we email and it is really much more convenient because of the time difference. Again, just what we anticipated. Embarkation was smooth and easy, and so was exiting from the ship. Very well organized and efficient. I have no suggestions at all for improvements in this area.I felt the ship was well organized. I saw a man writing in his comment card that he thought the signage was"terrible" and have no idea what his rationale for this was. You could put signs up everywhere and really mess up the atmosphere or you could just read the signs and remember where things are. IMO too many signs detract from the ambiance of the ship. The artwork was really a plus. All of it modern, some of it fascinating, some of it from major names, Miro, Picasso and some of it just colorful. But all was well done. The ship was spotless and the only criticism was because the ship uses the laundered cloth hand towels, they seem to run out of these as opposed to paper towels. But I love the cloth towels, they just need to track them more frequently. The round granite sinks in the washrooms were really nice looking with the rough hewn exterior and fit in very well with the polished black decor. But the bowl is small and water routinely splashed out. The neatness freak in me kept wiping up the spills because the washrooms looked so cool I didn't want to spoil it for the next person. Adequate amounts of alcohol gel dispensers in front of the restaurants, but they may consider adding more to the public areas. I never had any service problems with Reception or Destination Services. We had one shipboard tour with Nikki D'Souza who was our destination coordinator and she was very involved in coaching the Oceania assistant and checking to see how to tour progressed and trying to get passengers involved in the tour. Kudos to her. Entertainment was OK, but didn't see a lot of it- too tired by 9:45pm. The Marina Lounge was nicer than the Regatta, and the enrichment lectures were good. On board shopping was nothing special, but the attendants were nice. Fortunately didn't need medical services. We tendered into one port, and leaving the ship we used a tender from the port and not the Marina boat, on the way back the waves had picked up and the tender was more of an experience. I had heard that some CC members thought the tenders were poorly designed. They are small and cramped, but using public transportation in Chicago we are used to that and I didn't have an issue with it.Food and Restaurants Red Ginger was beautiful, I didn't get the decor at Jaccques. Polo looked nicer on Marina than on Regatta, and Toscana was OK. Red Ginger had one dish that wife and I loved, the duck and watermelon salad was WONDERFUL. Other dishes didn't excite me like other reviewers. Jacques had a lamb in pistachio and puff pastry that was incredible. Had a great steak at Polo. The specialty restaurants were all good to very good. I think we had better meals in the GDR on this trip than the last on Regatta. One morning went down and got the lamb chops for breakfast, yet another decadent treat I will be paying for over the next 6 months. Waves Grill knocks out a good burger, really good fries and exceptional milk shakes and malts. The problem is that when they have peak time, they have to begin some of the sandwiches ahead of time and found on occasion they were either not hot or a bit soggy on the bottom. I expect this is done because there are people who I sat next to, who were going nuts because there meal wasn't delivered to them in about 7 minutes. So at peak time the staff either have to have people wait 10 minutes for sandwiches or they can prepare some a bit ahead. Terrace Cafe was a good experience again. The change in ports ended up with many passengers coming back very late, missing their scheduled specialty restaurants and everyone ending up in Terrace Cafe at the same time. That was the only time I saw crowds and had to wait in line for anything. This was understandable and I felt acceptable. I think the grilling thing is overrated. The foods again are par cooked and essentially just grilled enough to reheat and put some grill marks on them. So again, the balance of better preparation vs speed of service. The salads were very good, the deserts were very good. In comparison between the smaller and larger ships on Marina.....I would select the ship based on itinerary . The Marina is newer and nicer and offers more amenities and never really felt crowded. The smaller ships are a bit more intimate and able to get in some ports that the larger ships cannot. The newer larger ships have two more specialty restaurants, but overall the quality of food IMO is the same. The library is designed very differently on the Marina than the Regatta. Much more like a library and less like a club room. I don't know if I would say it is better or worse than Regatta, just different, maybe a bit more difficult to get around. Overall a happy experience with Oceania, good service, good food, great beds. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
The Marina ship is well appointed and comfortable. We are "destination" cruisers and enjoy cruises that offer comfortable spacious accommodations, fine dining with elegant ambiance along with plenty of seating for 2, and well ... Read More
The Marina ship is well appointed and comfortable. We are "destination" cruisers and enjoy cruises that offer comfortable spacious accommodations, fine dining with elegant ambiance along with plenty of seating for 2, and well organized port excursions and embarkation and disembarkation protocols. On board entertainment and other activities are not as important except for a work out space that is not cramped and has access to plenty of natural light. Oceania's Marina ship exceeded our expectations. The Penthouse suite along with Butler service kept us very comfortable. The walk-in closet was big enough to organize our clothes, store shoes, and get dressed inside the closet. The bathroom was spacious and had two vanity drawers and two 4 shelf medicine cabinets. A makeup dresser and mirror in the cabin was much appreciated. Space for room service dining was also very good. There were plenty of drawers for storage as well. A lot of thought went in to planning Marina's suites. Housekeeping was unobtrusive and kept our cabin spotless. The Butler's room service timing and presentation was excellent as well. The Marina destination staff were very good. Efficient, friendly and capable. Marina staff accompanied the tours. On some tours we paid the extra fee for a smaller sized tour. This was worth the money if you want more contact with the tour guide for explanations etc. The food is excellent in the main dining room and the 4 specialty restaurants as well as buffet style Terrace restaurant. Service is really quite something. The Restaurant Managers know how to train their staff and are always around overseeing what is going on. Not only did we enjoy the food it was a pleasure to watch dining staff in action. The fitness area is large, well equipped and has outside views. We attended only one entertainment function and it was enjoyable. The port review presentations were good. We attended two or three one hour presentations that were helpful in getting ready for the next day activities. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
First of all, this cruise was a wonderful trip and I had hoped that previous comments given to us by others on the Marina were not so or at least the time had past for Oceania to rectify and change some situations. All the ports of calls ... Read More
First of all, this cruise was a wonderful trip and I had hoped that previous comments given to us by others on the Marina were not so or at least the time had past for Oceania to rectify and change some situations. All the ports of calls were wonderfully selected and we had no trouble in each port to disembark and embark. The port of Cyprus was not too interesting and would have liked another day in Istanbul or Israel. The staff was always polite and obliging. The entertainment was fair to good. The cruise director Nolan Dean was funny, light and entertaining. The concierge service on the 9th left little to be desired. He never had an answer and when he did, it was incorrect. So we learned not to rely on his judgement. All services for our cabin was excellent and always met with a smile. We filled out our comment cards and hope that they will be read well and change the following: The food was not what we expected at all. The majority of cruisers were 50 plus and healthy dishes should have been available. The Terrace Cafe staff often did not know what they were serving.(ingredients). They should have been informed to properly inform the cruisers when asked. Too many pork dishes and not enough variations of soup (always creamed or consomme). On one lunch I witnessed the staff put in at least a half cup of butter in the risotto. Needless to say, we did not touch this dish. The signature dishes of Jacques Pepin in the Grand dining (salmon) was so bland and without spices that it looked liked it had been washed and dried out. Red Ginger was absolutely the best. Toscana's Italian dishes were also without spice and flavour. The chefs needed to make a few variations and make tasty food and healthy without the butter and salt. This is very possible.All in all it was a great 24 days and lots of friends made. We do have other cruises with Marina and I hope they can improve on the food. I shall look for comments from others before returning to Marina. One more comment is not to wear white and sit on the deck chairs. There is a lot of soot to be found on the deck floor and on the chairs. Attendants were often brushing off the chairs. Not sure if this can be changed or ajusted for their new ship Riviera. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
In 2010, we cruised on the Azamara Journey which is an identical ship to the Oceania Nautica. Both ships and cruise lines are very, very good. Food and cabins were quite comparable on both ships - both were superb. Oceania crew might ... Read More
In 2010, we cruised on the Azamara Journey which is an identical ship to the Oceania Nautica. Both ships and cruise lines are very, very good. Food and cabins were quite comparable on both ships - both were superb. Oceania crew might have been very slightly better trained. Azamara provides complimentary wine with meals and gratuities are also included whereas both are extra on Oceania. Both cruise lines are recommended. Let itinerary be your deciding factor. We had veranda cabins on both ships and recommend that - very spacious. Oceania crew appeared to wake up with a smile on their face and stayed that way the entire day. Ship was very clean. Soft drinks are complimentary and cabin crew kept our refrigerator stocked with Diet Coke as we requested. Both specialty dining rooms are excellent. Main dining room is also very good. After some long days of touring, we chose to eat at the Terrace Cafe where we could dine in our shorts. Food is essentially the same as the main dining room but served buffet style. Eat outside on the rear deck if there is room - very nice eating out there. Waves Grill on the pool deck right outside the Terrace Cafe serves lunch until 4:00. This location make a good hamburger and an excellent panini. And their french fries are fantastic - your cardiologist would not approve but the fries sure taste good! In general, I recommend that you consider skipping all ship excursions and arrange your own private tours. With only two people, private tours are similar in price to ship excursions but more flexible. With two couples, price is cut in half. It is very easy to make all arrangements ahead of time via the internet. Note that most of these guides want to be paid in cash. Ship's first port was Nauplion (a.k.a. Nafplio). Patty Staikou (pstaikou@mail.gr) was recommended by Rick Steves' guidebook. She also agreed to give us tours of both Mycenae and Epidavros whereas ship excursions made you choose one or the other. Patty arranged for a taxi (we paid driver separately) to pick us up at the ship. Taxi was a very clean Mercedes and driver drove us to meet Patty. The latter is a superb guide. Zakynthos was next stop. We took ship excursion, Panoramic Zakynthos. Very disappointing. Can not recommend that excursion. Some friends took a private tour and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Monemvasia was another port. Here it is recommended that you walk to the town of Monemvasia. Lower city is quaint and easy to walk. If you are up for the hike, travel to the upper town. The latter is mostly ruins except for the 12th century Hagia Sophia. Now, if you are still energetic, you can continue up to the Citadel. Note that these "trails" are not particularly easy to traverse and you must be very careful coming back down. There are numerous very slippery rocks that must be negotiated and it is slow going. But the views are excellent. Kusadasi (Ephesus) is a great stop. You must go to Ephesus. We prearranged a tour through www.ephesusshuttle.com. The latter provided a very clean van with separate driver and guide. Haluk Caliskan was our guide and was quite good. This company was very flexible. Ship docks for a shorter time in Kusadasi than other ports and there is a lot to see. Ephesus Shuttle modified one of their standard tours in order for us to see what we wanted to see on the time we had. They are also reasonably priced and accepted credit cards. Other ports are discussed in the sections below this. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Having returned last month from a 12-day Oceania Mediterranean cruise aboard the ship Nautica, I can attest to the fact that this cruise line is extraordinary. The cruise was entitled Greek Isles Odyssey, which sailed from Athens to ... Read More
Having returned last month from a 12-day Oceania Mediterranean cruise aboard the ship Nautica, I can attest to the fact that this cruise line is extraordinary. The cruise was entitled Greek Isles Odyssey, which sailed from Athens to Istanbul and visited Nauplion, Zakynthos, Corfu, Katakolon, Monemvasia, Crete, Rhodes, Santorini, Delos, Mykonos, and Kusadasi along the way. Overall, this trip was nothing short of spectacular. Oceania strikes the right balance of luxury without stuffiness that allows guests to feel unbelievably pampered but in a friendly, relaxing and elegant atmosphere. This welcoming attitude must be a part of Oceania corporate culture as it was evident from every single member of the crew and staff, from Captain Jahn Rye right on down. Oceania clearly has a wealth of experience in catering to the many and varied needs of their customers. The entire on-board experience works like a well-oiled machine and nothing is left to chance. From the seamless embarkation procedure to the comprehensive safety drill to the incredibly efficient tendering process, its evident that they have ALL the bugs worked out! In addition, we booked our flights and pre- and post-cruise hotels via Oceania and everything went incredibly smoothly. The airport-to-hotel and hotel-to-ship transfers were effortless and the hotels spectacular. Since this review is long, Ive categorized it by topics of potential interest Choosing a Stateroom: Our stateroom, although a modest size, was beautifully appointed and impeccably clean with all the amenities a traveller could wish for. If at all possible, it is well worth choosing a stateroom with a balcony as the beautiful views while entering and leaving port made for some memorable moments. Although we did not experience seasickness, others who had staterooms at the bow or the stern did, during a few days of moderately high seas. Some travellers told us that a stateroom mid-ship is your best bet if youre prone to motion sickness along with ginger lozenges, wristbands, scopolamine patches and Gravol. Pre- and Post-Cruise Hotels: As mentioned, we booked our flights, hotels and all transfers through Oceania and the entire process was flawless. In Athens, we stayed at the beautiful, very upscale Hotel Grande Bretagne, which has a wonderful central location and outstanding amenities. Be sure to visit the glorious Rooftop Garden Restaurant at least once during your stay. A word of caution though, this hotel is located directly across from the Parliament buildings where many of the current political demonstrations are focused. Immediately following the cruise, we stayed at the equally lovely Ceylan Intercontinental Istanbul. This hotel is exquisite although it is located in the new section of the city, about a 20-minute cab ride away from the old section of the city where the markets and primary tourist sites are located. This isnt necessarily a problem but it advisable to a) ask the hotel Concierge what the going rate would be for your planned cab trip; and b) use a cab that is endorsed by the hotel; and c) negotiate the cab fare with the driver before you set off. Most of these suggestions are just common sense though, no matter where in the world you are. Dining Aboard the Nautica: On other cruises that we have taken (NOT Oceania!) the emphasis was on eating morning, noon, and night but it was all about quantity, not quality. Aboard the Nautica however, the meals were exquisite. Each one was truly a fine-dining experience with a remarkable array of menu choices. For dinner, reservations can be made at either of two specialty restaurants Toscana or the Polo Grill. Depending on your stateroom level you are automatically entitled to a certain number of reservations. Nevertheless, we learned that if you go directly to the restaurants, additional reservations can sometimes be procured depending on availability that evening. DO NOT be disappointed, however, if you end up dining frequently at the Grand Dining Room! The meals there were equally fabulous with the same wonderful menu choices and an attention to detail that is beyond compare. Truly, it amazed us that such a high level of quality could be consistently maintained when preparing food for a large number of people. The policy of no assigned seating for meals encourages interaction amongst fellow travellers although you always have the option of dining privately. While on the topic of dining, it should be mentioned that the breakfast and lunch buffets, the casual Tapas on the Terrace restaurant, poolside grill, ice-cream bar and sumptuous afternoon tea all live up to the same high standards as the main dining restaurants. Shore Excursions: During the 12-day cruise we booked three shore excursions through Oceania and arranged three independent shore excursions prior to leaving home. Although the Oceania excursions were very nicely done and were relatively small groups, we still felt like sheep being rapidly herded from one site to the next. In one particular instance (Kusadasi), the tour ended with a Turkish carpet-making demonstration which was, in fact, a high-pressure sales tactic. Oceania excursion participants were virtually held hostage in a sales situation that was both uncomfortable and infuriating. Despite this glitch, in some cases, such as visiting downtown Istanbul, the organized Oceania tours may be desirable because there is a great deal to see and one needs to be able to find the highlights quickly and efficiently. For other destinations, such as on the island of Santorini, it is essential to be able to take your time and focus on the things that are important to you. Even though the Oceania buses were immaculate and the tour-guides friendly and knowledgeable, on subsequent trips we will likely make our own arrangements and eschew the organized excursions. Even though it is inherently riskier, it is also significantly less expensive (especially if you share the trip with others) and offers you unlimited flexibility. We had excellent success with private tour operators that we found on Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic, namely: George Letsios Taxi Katakolon; Jackie Boots-Gklavas Nefis Travel on Zakynthos; and Dimitris Nikolaidis OceanWave Tours on Santorini. Onboard Entertainment: To present a balanced perspective on the cruise overall, I would have to say that the weakest link of the trip was some of the onboard entertainment particularly the Enrichment Lectures. One presentation on the geologic features above and below the Mediterranean Sea was completely unsatisfactory and Im a science geek. The PowerPoint presentation was disorganized and antiquated and call me crazy but people *might not* want to sit through a talk about giant rogue waves and tsunamis whilst at sea! As for the rest of the entertainment, it ranged from very, very good (the on-board Entertainment Team and an excellent singer/impressionist) to disturbing (a brilliant concert pianist attempting to do a comedy routine that wasnt the least bit funny). However, it is reasonable to assume that people do not go cruising for Broadway-calibre productions and as such, the evening musical numbers seemed to be very well received. The very talented Marek Orchestra in the Horizons Lounge (and elsewhere onboard) offered a great finale to each day and, even though the late evening activities were often not well attended, the band continued to play until about midnight every evening. Certainly this was not a cruise for serious party-goers but for the vast majority of the primarily over-50 crowd, the entertainment and bar/lounge/casino options seemed to be absolutely fine. Additional onboard pastimes, organized by the Entertainment staff, included team trivia, Scattergories, bridge, shuffleboard, table tennis, golf driving and putting, magic shows, meet & greets, and many other fun, light-hearted activities. We all enjoyed the variety that was offered and no one was ever bored or dissatisfied. Be sure to check out the lovely Nautica library as well. Shipboard Staff: There are not enough superlatives to describe the amazing staff that makes cruising aboard the Nautica so special. The housekeeping personnel and the servers who work in the restaurants and bars are truly remarkable. They manage to uphold standards of excellence that are unparalleled while maintaining a cheerful attitude despite the very, very, VERY long hours that they work. The tipping policy of Oceania is that each guest is charged a set fee of approximately $12. per day, which is automatically added to the final bill at the end of the cruise. Apparently, a guest can decline to participate in this system although I truly cannot imagine anyone begrudging these hard-working individuals this small recognition. Fortunately, additional tipping is permitted at your discretion. We are absolutely THRILLED by the prospect of cruising with Oceania again in the future. When it comes to high standards, beautiful surroundings, well-chosen itineraries, and value for the money, in our opinion it is unsurpassed. Helpful Tips: - A stateroom mid-ship seems to be your best bet if youre prone to motion sickness. - Book your dinner reservations online on the Oceania site well before your embarkation date. - Once aboard, visit the specialty restaurants in the morning to see if additional reservations are available. - Most men preferred to wear sports jackets to dinner (without a tie). Most women chose to wear nice, day-length dresses with a light sweater or wrap, since it can be chilly and windy walking on deck afterwards. - If you decide that a full bottle of wine over dinner is too much, ask the staff to hold the remaining wine for you in a wine locker, ready to be enjoyed at your next lunch or dinner. - Arrange your own tours before you leave home or book organized Oceania tours, depending on your comfort level with the destination but avoid the carpet demonstrations! - When the Oceania brochures advise wearing sensible shoes to sites such as the Parthenon/Acropolis, pay attention. The walkways and steps of ancient marble are SOOOO slippery, even when dry, that sticky rock-climbing shoes would be a good idea. - If you choose to book additional vacation days at the beginning and/or end of your cruise, be aware that you will be expected to transfer to the ship quite early on the day of embarkation (11 am pickup at our hotel to transfer to the ship). Had we known this, we would have booked several extra days, not just one at each end. Remember, this is only one person's opinion (actually two, since my husband agrees with everything I say).... That's it folks. Bon Voyage!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We were originally scheduled to take the NYC-Montreal cruise, but we received an offer we could not refuse! Our September 19 - October 1 cruise (Greek Isles - Istanbul) on the Nautica was probably the best cruise we have ever taken. We ... Read More
We were originally scheduled to take the NYC-Montreal cruise, but we received an offer we could not refuse! Our September 19 - October 1 cruise (Greek Isles - Istanbul) on the Nautica was probably the best cruise we have ever taken. We used O's air, transfer and hotel in Athens due to the possibility of unrest. We upgraded to business class and were extremely pleased with our flights. A driver was waiting in the airport with our name on a sign as well as an O rep. Couldn't have been smoother! Arrived at the Hotel Grande Bretagne to find an O information center and our room waiting. Quite comfortable and we could view the parliament building (changing of the guard) from our balcony. Had dinner reservations for the rooftop restaurant. It was very crowded, but our "special anniversary" table was waiting for us with a view of the Acropolis. Spectacular! Food and service were both great, but as discussed on this board, a little pricey. Being from NY, we were prepared for that! A small demonstration in the street below broke out during dinner but was quickly contained. Slept well and had breakfast (included) in the same restaurant the next morning. The lobby was a little packed the next morning as post cruise passengers and new cruisers were coming and going. It was very organized and when our luggage was loaded, we left for the pier. Embarkation was smooth, but different from our last Athens departure. We checked in at the pier and headed for the lounge on 5 for actual check-in. Rooms were not ready yet, so lunch at the Terrace was next. Our suite was amazing. The wrap around balcony had a table and four chairs as well as two full sized lounges. Long stemmed roses were on the coffee table. The bathroom was enormous, and even better, the guest bathroom was ready and waiting for my husband's toiletries! The closet space was never ending, but I did manage to fill them up. I could see myself feeling right at home for 12 days! Our butler, Iljco came to greet us and ask what we needed to make our cruise special. It already was! We enjoyed full breakfast in our suite most days and had dinner from Toscana "en suite" 3 times. We changed and went to the cabana, where our attendant, Aung, introduced himself and asked what we would need. He always seemed to know what we needed before we did! We often enjoyed lunch from WAVES, ice cream, afternoon tea and drinks while in our cabana. Worth every penny! We dined in Polo 3 times and were always pleased with our meals and the service. The GDR was our favorite. The service was amazing (Brandon, Ron and Ernesto)and we always requested to be in their section. One nite, we even passed on the GDR when a table in their section was not available, that's how great they were! Did not make use of the spa except for the sun deck. Being a port intensive cruise and using the cabana daily, we never really had the time. While it is no secret that entertainment is not the reason to choose O, we often enjoyed snippets of a show or performance. I think we were just too tired after an early rise, an excursion, a big dinner, etc. The show rooms were always packed, though, and many people enjoyed the performances. O shore excursions were great this time. We purchased a number of "Oceania's Choice" excursions (10 - 16 people max) and they really worked for us. Tours were efficiently dispatched from the lounge, buses were always clean and guides knowledgeable and friendly. Ship was clean and well maintained. The staff seemed extra friendly. When I mentioned this to anyone, they always answered that the Captain sets the tone. Captain Rye, who renewed our vows on a previous cruise, was always friendly. It was fascinating to watch him work on the bridge. He took the helm and allowed all of his crew to answer our questions and demonstrate their duties. What a treat! Ports were amazing. We had been to some of them on a previous cruise, but Rhodes is my new favorite. We bypassed Delos and Mykonos due to weather, but having been there before, we welcomed the sea day. Kusadasi and Istanbul were exciting. Ephesus was special for us, allowing us to spend time at Mother Mary's house and enjoy the ruins as well. Our guide that day, Sibel, was very interesting and knowledgeable. It is never fun to disembark, but I must say that this disembarkation was the smoothest we have ever experienced. Kudos to Sonja and her staff! Not only was it efficient getting off the ship and getting to the airport, O reps even helped us off of the bus, got all luggage identified,loaded and scanned and escorted us to the check in desks. This is a chore we always dread, but it couldn't have been smoother or more pleasant. I can't wait for my next O cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was our first Oceania cruise and we were looking forward to comparing it to the other cruise lines we have used, from Silverseas to NCL. It was excellent and a very good value for the money. Food, especially in the specialty ... Read More
This was our first Oceania cruise and we were looking forward to comparing it to the other cruise lines we have used, from Silverseas to NCL. It was excellent and a very good value for the money. Food, especially in the specialty restaurants, was excellent. Good variety and well prepared. As will smaller ships, the nightly shows are not Broadway extravaganzas but they were very good. We thought we would miss the formal nights but we didn't. This 12 day cruise had no sea days. It was a different island every day and when we returned to the ship we were glad we didn't have to dress formally for dinner. We will be on Oceania again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We have done six enjoyable cruises and booked on the September Oceania Marina cruise in December 2010 as we thought it would be good to try a new ship and bookings might sell quickly. On boarding the ship we had many discussions with ... Read More
We have done six enjoyable cruises and booked on the September Oceania Marina cruise in December 2010 as we thought it would be good to try a new ship and bookings might sell quickly. On boarding the ship we had many discussions with passengers, some had only booked less than a month before it sailed and all paid a fraction of the price we paid plus a large onboard credit. We paid a premium price for a verandah stateroom and were very upset as we saw the price decreasing month by month. Oceania and our Sydney travel company Cruiseco did not bother to help us with an up-grade or extras. My cabin card caused endless trouble which we had mentioned to staff. I was treated very rudely by the reception staff when we took it to them after the security on leaving and boarding the ship also had trouble with my key card. We were very disappointed with the standard of the food on the Marina. The Grand Dining room choice, service and standard of meals was way below other cruises we have enjoyed. As the port tours were quite expensive we only booked two-the Ancient Olympia from Patras was an enjoyable tour aided by a very good guide but the Corfu tour was disappointing. The Cruise Director was most unfriendly and not at all interested in interacting with passengers. The Marina was not a well designed ship. One of the most disappointing features was the fitness track which was on a high deck out in the open with no cover or shelter from the hot sun or wind. The shower cubicle in the cabin was poor. Our cruise on the Marina was a most unhappy, expensive mistake and we would not recommend Oceania to anyone, in fact the opposite. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
In March this year we tried Oceania for the first time on Marina. Immediately it was clear to us that this was a very good choice. Now we just returned from our second cruise on marina and we have to say it was even a better ... Read More
In March this year we tried Oceania for the first time on Marina. Immediately it was clear to us that this was a very good choice. Now we just returned from our second cruise on marina and we have to say it was even a better experience than the first time. In a lot of areas I noticed significant improvement (mainly due to fact the staff was more used to the new ship). The embarkation was very smooth and very quick. Within 10 minutes we were on board. The food is really something special. Highlights for me were The spicy duck and water melon salad at Red Ginger, La Reserve (again money well spend)and the lobster thermidor at Jacques. On our first cruise we did not go for the Terrace Cafe for dinner but after reading so many good reviews we tried it and it was a delight. Great selection on the Grill form rib eye to lobster every evening. The cabin was similar to our last cruise except this time we had a veranda. The first time I had some difficulty with the shower. I am 6.4 and the shower was really small. Now for the second time I did not mind so much as I knew what to expect. Overall very nice cabins and more than enough space. We cannot comment on the entertainment as we only went to 2 shows. The shows we saw were very entertaining but then again some magic and some good jokes and we are happy. The ports were very nice with as highlights Kotor and Athens. Where necessary shuttle services were provided. We did not book any shore excursions with Oceania as the prices were extremely high. It was very easy to arrange our own tours even on the destination itself. Disembarkation in Istanbul was quite chaotic because in total 3 ships were disembarking and the parking space for the shuttles, buses and private transfers was completely gridlocked. We took a taxi and that was by far the quickest way. If you like excellent food, no kids, great service, great itineraries and no hassle this is definitely the ship for you. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Introduction: We are veteran cruisers and travelers, having taken 19 cruises on a variety of cruise lines over 30 years, including Disney, Oceania, RCI, Princess, Cunard and Holland America. We are in our mid-fifties, with no children. In ... Read More
Introduction: We are veteran cruisers and travelers, having taken 19 cruises on a variety of cruise lines over 30 years, including Disney, Oceania, RCI, Princess, Cunard and Holland America. We are in our mid-fifties, with no children. In recent years, I have had some disabilities due to arthritis, requiring the use of a cane or a travel wheelchair. Our cruise on Marina that embarked in Venice on September 7 is our second on OCL. The cruise called at Koper, Slovenia; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Patras, Zakynthos, Athens and Chios, Greece; and Kusadasi and Istanbul, Turkey. Other than Venice, this cruise took us to five new countries that we have not visited before (one of the reasons we selected the cruise). Pre-cruise hotel and flights: We booked our own flights using frequent flyer miles, electing to spend a night in Frankfurt before arriving in Venice and again on our way back to the US from Istanbul (our disembarkation port). In Venice, we stayed at the delightful Westin Europa and Regina; although quite expensive, this beautiful hotel had excellent service and views of the Grand Canal and Lagoon that were worth the price of admission. Embarkation: Using a water taxi service, we traveled from our hotel to the terminal. We were on board within a few minutes of our arrival at the terminal (very efficient service). Stateroom: Our stateroom, a PH2 (Penthouse) suite on the 11th deck forward port side was ready when we boarded at 1:30 pm. Our original booking for this cruise was in an A3 concierge veranda. A month prior to the cruise, OCL made a very good offer on an upgrade to the PH2 category. The saddest aspect of our decision to upgrade is that it will be very, very difficult to ever go back to a "regular" veranda stateroom again!. This suite was magnificent and is the best room we have ever had on a cruise. We had so much space, including a walk-in closet (great for storing my collapsible wheelchair) and a large sitting area, a large desk and vanity stand, plus a huge bathroom with tub and shower. I have read previous reviews of Marina and the concerns for the rain head shower space, but we loved this shower (apparently the suites have a larger shower stall). The room was elegantly decorated and very quiet. The bed was incredibly comfortable. Other reviews have noted that deck 12 has a large overhang over the deck 11 verandas, but we did not find this to be a problem and it often served to block the direct sun. We spent many hours on that veranda because we had such warm weather on our cruise. Ship: The public spaces on Marina are elegant and understated. Although I'm not a big fan of abstract art, which predominates. the decor is restful and unobtrusive. The seats in some areas were a little too low (most of them in Horizons lounge), but we found other options that were more comfortable. Our biggest complaint about the ship design would be the difficulty getting on and off the ship, whether docked or anchored, for a person who doesn't walk very well. The normal egress when docked is from deck 5, down many stairs to the dock area; I did this once, taking each step one at a time, and was shocked to have a fellow passenger waiting at the bottom to come up berate me for taking so long (can't pick your fellow passengers, I guess). Other times we used the deck 4 crew exit, ramp but even this ramp was very steep at times and we looked at other ships docked nearby with nearly flat ramps leading onto the docks and wondered what happened when they designed Marina. Tender access was also challenging, requiring us to go down many steps from deck 4 into the tender. The tenders were strangely designed, with most passengers required to go down additional narrow steps once on board into seating areas across from other passengers. I certainly would not want to be on these tenders for an extended period of time in an emergency situation. Dining: The food on Marina was absolutely outstanding and is, of course, one of the big reasons that customers come back to OCL. We ate in all four specialty restaurants and could not honestly say which one was the best and we would eagerly try all four again if given the opportunity. The Terrace cafe was also a top choice and most of our non-reservation dinners were in this buffet option. We only visited the Grand Dining Room once; although this is a lovely space, we much preferred the specialty restaurants and the outdoor experience at the Terrace. Waves had the usual complement of excellent sandwiches and salads (Kobe beef burger - yum!) and we liked having a light continental breakfast at Barista's on many early mornings; we didn't try the specialty coffees, being die-hard "American" coffee drinkers. The ultimate experience, however, was our night at La Reserve. This seven-course trip to culinary heaven was accompanied by some excellent wines and was certainly worth the premium charge of $75 per person. Service: Service on Marina was impeccable, with a couple of minor exceptions. The wait staff in the specialty restaurants were superb, especially the staff in Toscana and Red Ginger. The bar staff and wine stewards were delightful and we had great conversations with many of them. The staff at Barista's and the Terrace cafe was wonderful. Our butler was a terrific guy who found us to be somewhat perplexed on how to use his services, so he took it upon himself to bring us some canapes every evening and he worked out a change to a specialty restaurant reservation without any issues. Our room attendant was extremely efficient and kept our suite in top condition. Crew members, including ones that normally don't interface with the passengers, were very helpful getting me on and off the ship (not easy in any case, whether docked or anchored, as noted above). The only exceptions to our glowing reports on service are the staff at the reception desk and the wait staff in the Grand Dining Room, whom we barely recall seeing (although they did serve food promptly). The reception desk left us a very tersely worded letter at our stateroom about getting our passports turned in immediately for Turkish customs processing halfway through the cruise (we needed them with us for Slovenia and Croatia), but we never heard any announcements about this request or saw it in the daily newsletter. Other passengers complained about the letter and its language as well. The reception staff were also quite unfriendly. The destination services desk did take down information from us on a very disappointing shore excursion and sent us a letter thanking us for our input; although no reimbursement was offered. Activities: We signed up for one of the Bon Appetit culinary classes on board and really had a blast! Chef Kelly and her staff were a lot of fun to work with and our end results were delightful (Italian favorites). Unfortunately, the class was interrupted by the mandatory life boat drill, but that almost added to the experience when we showed up in the Marina Lounge in our aprons! We didn't do any other activities on board. We did not use the spa services and we usually don't use the pool. Shopping: Marina has some beautiful boutiques, but the products, for the most part, did not appeal to us. There was a very limited selection of logo wear, which we like to purchase on cruises and there were no items that were from our ports of call. I usually don't go on a cruise to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on jewelry or clothing that I can get at home. Internet access: As usual, Internet access was expensive and slow, although not as slow as some other cruises we have been on. We used our own equipment for access (iPads and laptop). I stretched my 300 minutes through almost the entire cruise; my hubby, who had to keep in touch for his business, used 800 minutes. Entertainment: We are notorious entertainment avoiders on cruise ships and have been for years (even on Disney, which has remarkable entertainment). We prefer sitting in a quiet lounge or on the veranda, sipping a drink and reading. We did not see any of the shows on board, but we did get some laughs at Karaoke night in the Horizons lounge one night. In fact, we never even turned on the TV in our room! Port and shore excursions: We booked two excursions through OCL and did private tours or our own explorations in all other cases. The two ship excursions were overpriced and the experiences were mediocre or downright disappointing. In Slovenia, we did an excursion to Lake Bled, an admittedly gorgeous location, that was advertised as "wheelchair accessible". What this meant was that my travel wheelchair got to spend the entire excursion in the luggage compartment of the bus! The stops on this excursion were not accessible and i ended up sitting 45 minutes on the bus while others explored the castle overlooking the lake and also sat on a bench on the shore on the lake island because the famous church was "only" 99 steps above me Our other excursion was in Istanbul and it was acceptable, but certainly not worth the price. All of our private tours were excellent, however. We used Dubrovnik Private Tours, Corfu Taxi Tours, George the Taxi Driver (Athens) and Kusadasi Tours (Turkey Explorers) and certainly had no real complaints. We also rented a car on Chios and had a marvelous day and only spent $70 for the experience!. After many cruises where we played it "safe" and signed up for ship tours in most places, this cruise reinforced my opinion that those tours should be the last option of choice. Our favorite ports were Dubrovnik, Chios, Kotor and Kusadasi (plus we love Venice). Greece is unfortunately showing many signs of its financial difficulties, particularly in Patras and Athens. Disembarkation: We disembarked in Istanbul; it was nearly gridlock leaving the port area due to so many ships in port, but we did to the airport in plenty of time with our ship transfer for our flight to Frankfurt. Summary: Our cruise was an excellent experience, with the minor exceptions noted above. We have already booked another OCL cruise next year (on Marina again) and just bit the bullet and upgraded to a PH2 category again. We have not tried any other premium or luxury cruise lines, so we have no basis of comparison, but we are generally quite pleased with the Oceania experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We booked this cruise using an internet travel agency we have used before approximately 14 months before departure. At that time, it included Israel and Egypt. In April of 2011, the schedule was changed to avoid Egypt and it changed the ... Read More
We booked this cruise using an internet travel agency we have used before approximately 14 months before departure. At that time, it included Israel and Egypt. In April of 2011, the schedule was changed to avoid Egypt and it changed the dates of the Israeli visit. We thought about cancelling and, to be fair, Oceania offered us a full refund or credit if we did. Instead, we stayed with it, although disappointed, because we had blocked out the time and had pre-paid our pre and post cruise travel. We were not offered any credit or upgrade. We later found out others had received some consideration for not cancelling and the prices were dramatically reduced for later booking passengers. With that as background, I will say that the Marina and its crew met all expectations. The embarkation in Istanbul was efficient and we had our luggage delivered to our room within an hour. The room was sparkling clean and kept that way throughout the cruise. Like others, we thought the bath tub was a waste of space and the shower a little too compact. The food was, no doubt, the highlight on board. We had outstanding meals at all the specialty restaurants, except Jacques. The Escargots, Frog's legs appetizer and Duck were served in a different manner from what we were used to and left us disappointed. The dinner buffet was vastly superior to any other buffet we have experienced, including unlimited lobster tails every night. The main dining room was more than adequate, but not that much superior to other, less classy cruise lines. The entertainment was limited and never crowded. We would have preferred a more lively piano bar and the dance band playing beyond 10:30 each night. The show started at 9:30 and ended right about 10:30 so if you ate dinner at 7 or 8, there was no time to get to the dance floor. The stage entertainment was similar to other cruise line fare. We booked all private tours on-line before we left so we can't comment on the quality of the Oceania tours. But the cost was about half the Oceania tours, with smaller groups and knowledgeable guides we could actually hear. However, when the cruise dates changed, it put us into Haifa on a Saturday morning, Sabbath, and some of the Jewish sites were closed. Don't know whether this was an oversight on Oceania's part or unavoidable. Plus, we were switched from Kusadasi to Izmir at the last moment, making our trip to Ephesus about an hour longer each way. The things we really noticed and appreciated were the absence of nickel and diming and uninvited solicitation. All bottled water and specialty coffees were free, the towels for shore excursions were freely available and the waiters and waitresses in the bars, pools and lounges only responded to passenger interest. Disembarkation in Athens was efficient and we were in Syntagma at our hotel within 45 minutes of walking off the ship. All in all, we were pretty happy with the quality of the cruise and will look to Oceania again. However, it will be a port specific cruise, given the paucity of entertainment options, and a last minute booking to avoid the changes in ports and pricing that we experienced. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Review of Marina for CruiseCritic Our eastern Mediterranean cruise on Oceanias Marina was our second O. cruise. The first was an Asian cruise on the Nautica. We used an online travel agency to reserve, four months before the departure ... Read More
Review of Marina for CruiseCritic Our eastern Mediterranean cruise on Oceanias Marina was our second O. cruise. The first was an Asian cruise on the Nautica. We used an online travel agency to reserve, four months before the departure date. The original itinerary included Egypt, which was later canceled unfortunately. We decided to take the cruise anyway, and upon our request, the TA was able to persuade O. to rebate back to us a substantial price reduction. Note that this was due to our taking the initiative, thanks to another CCers prompting. We arrived in Istanbul 6 days prior to embarkation and made independent travel arrangements. We used Delta Airlines direct flight to Istanbul from JFK and returned on a direct flight from Athens. This allowed enough time to see the major sights in Istanbul, as well as take a 2 day, 1 night jaunt to Cappadoccia, via Turkish Airlines. In Cappadoccia, we took day tours, the highlight of which was a hot air balloon ride during the early morning, of the second day. Our Istanbul hotel was the Ademar, a good choice in terms of its Sultanahmet (Old Town) location, small but comfortable rooms, airport pick up included if 3 days were reserved, rooftop terrace with great views, and helpful locked luggage room, used to store our large bags when we went to Cappadoccia. The Istanbul embarkation was efficient and painless. We arrived by taxi and boarded at about 11:30 a.m. Since our cabin was not ready, we were permitted on deck 9 to use the laundry room to do our laundry, which was very helpful. The stateroom on deck 9, Concierge Level was considerably larger than the one on the Nautica. The cabin and verandah were meticulously clean and generally comfortable. The room steward and helpers did an excellent job keeping everything tidy and replenishing supplies when necessary. As many have noted, the shower was claustrophobic and very poorly designed. The bathroom configuration is a major faux pas. Also, a number of the drawers and shelves in the cabin were too shallow for clothing and poorly designed. Everything else was top notch. The Marina itself was very attractive, everything being new and polished. It was a lovely environment for a 12 day cruise. Compared to the Nautica, however, it seemed large and contained too many passengers. I prefer the smaller ship. The Marinas captain was often visible around the ship and was very friendly and approachable, which was a plus, in my view. The little touches like complimentary water provided at each port, the lack of pesky photographers and the classier atmosphere on the Marina were welcome. The charges to use the internet remain exorbitant, in my opinion. I realize that it is a profit center, but they are outrageously high. The food was generally outstanding, especially in two of the specialty restaurants Jacques and Red Ginger. Service was very nice in Polo, but Toscana was not quite up to par in either food or service. The Terrace Grill buffet was excellent, with abundant choices, most very well prepared. The downside was that by the time the food arrived back at the table, it was often cool. Having plate covers available, might ameliorate that problem. The Waves Grill was also excellent. The Grand Dining Room was often very good but not outstanding or as consistent in terms of quality. Dinners also lasted way too long, in my opinion. Other than the limited room service menu, there was really no food service in the mid to late afternoon, when a snack or small meal would have been welcome, after returning from a tour. The two shows that we attended were not stellar entertainment. The first was like a mediocre, high school musical production. The second was considerably better but still not great. Both the string quartet and the pop music band were very enjoyable. We took only one O. shorex, to Caesarea, Tel Aviv and Jaffa. The rest were either private tours or exploring on our own. The O. shorex was enjoyable but spent too much time at Caesarea, resulting in not enough time to see much of Tel Aviv, which was disappointing. Docking in the port of Haifa on a Saturday meant that the options were very limited, in terms of visiting Jewish sights. That was unfortunate scheduling by O. Also, the last minute port change from Kusadasi to Izmir, resulted in our being much further away from Ephesus, another unfortunate decision or problem caused by O. One other quibble, when taxis all over Greece went on strike the day that we were in Crete, we were not informed by anyone on Marina. We had to do our own internet research to confirm that information. That is info that should have been available to all of the passengers. Our disembarkation in Athens went smoothly. Fortunately, there was no taxi strike that day. We had taken the precaution of pre-arranging taxi transportation through Athens Walking Tours. They also had access to a bus, if a taxi strike occurred. Buses apparently are not bound by a taxi strike. We stayed 3 more days in Athens, at the Athens Gate Hotel. It was an excellent hotel, located near the pedestrian walkway leading to most of the sights, comfortable rooms, excellent buffet breakfast, great rooftop terrace views of the Parthenon, and free internet use. We took a city and Acropolis tour with Athens Walking Tours which was also excellent and highly recommended. We would definitely cruise with O. again but prefer the smaller ships, for a more intimate atmosphere and also would prefer more days at sea during a port intensive cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
In a nutshell: perfect itinerary, outstanding service, and excellent food, but the ship is old & cramped. The entertainment & activities were way below par. With a starting port of Athens and and ending port of Istanbul, ... Read More
In a nutshell: perfect itinerary, outstanding service, and excellent food, but the ship is old & cramped. The entertainment & activities were way below par. With a starting port of Athens and and ending port of Istanbul, the itinerary was fabulous for extending our vacation. We learned that many others on the cruise did exactly the same thing. The embarkation process could not have gone more smoothly. We were super impressed compared to the torturous experiences with larger ships on Carnival. We arrived just when boarding began and our room was ready and luggage delivered. Yay! Our veranda stateroom was small and the bathroom tiny. An average person sits at a weird angle on the toilet and almost hits the ceiling in the postage stamp sized shower. However, there were towels galore and they were replaced at the slightest sign of use. The veranda held 2 chairs and a table. That's it. First day out, we ran into heavy winds at Mykonos and had to abandon that port to sail directly to Kusadasi, Turkey. Many passengers stayed in their rooms as the small ship was heavily buffeted by the wind & swells. By dinner time, things calmed and we enjoyed a great meal at the main dinning room. All the dinning areas (main, buffet, & 2 specialty restaurants) had outstanding 5 or more course meals. The service was impeccable. We made friends with some of the servers and their were smiles all around. So, this part of the cruising experience was excellent. The after dinner entertainment was very basic, mostly with 4 singers and 1 comedian. Yep, that's it. The entertainment & activities were targeted to 70 & 80 year olds. I'm hardly young but I found this was not nearly as much fun as that of bigger ships with more diverse passenger ages. The music included a show band, a string quartet, and piano bar. Other activities included bingo, trivia, 2 karaoke nights, and attempts as special events. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Getting on and off the ship was very professionally done. The room was smaller than I thought it would be. I know trick photography is used when taking pictures of the room, but a little more space for the price would be nice. Everything ... Read More
Getting on and off the ship was very professionally done. The room was smaller than I thought it would be. I know trick photography is used when taking pictures of the room, but a little more space for the price would be nice. Everything worked well in the room, tv, air, good mattress. No problems with the bathroom, plenty of supplies. The service was the best. 5+ for sure. The cruise entertainment director, Willie Aames, of 8 is Enough fame, was born for this job. A great job is an understatement. The food was very good for all meals, but the speciality restaurants, in my opinion, lacked the quality that the regular restaurants offered. The wine was reasonably priced with an excellent selection. They even hold a bottle for you until the next day and serve it in any restaurant that you go to. There was never an "at sea" day so we used the pool on only 2 occasions. Never a problem getting a place to relax. We didn't take any of the tours, which were extra; instead we opted to explore on our own. Even if they were free, it's not likely we would have taken them since many of them were too physical for us. Most tours went from 75-150 dollars. The ship often had courtesy buses in-town to take us to and from the ship. Nickel and dimeing is a problem. Charging 2 dollars for washing and 2 dollars for drying is ridiculous. So is having only 1 laundry room on the entire ship(700 passengers). The line starts at 7:00AM and planning a wash is not vacation time well spent. The Internet costs about 140 dollars for about 2 hours. Too expensive. All in all, the pluses exceed the minuses so it was a trip well worth it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Having made all our own flight and hotel arrangements (we stayed one night at the excellent Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice before embarking the ship), my comments are all about Marina and the cruise.We travelled with friends from home who ... Read More
Having made all our own flight and hotel arrangements (we stayed one night at the excellent Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice before embarking the ship), my comments are all about Marina and the cruise.We travelled with friends from home who had never cruised before. Fortunately they were delighted with the experience. The service on board Marina was outstanding - probably the best I have encountered on some 40 or more cruises spanning the last 30+ years. The food was also consistently excellent.The itinerary was good, although port-intensive. This suited our 'newcomer' friends. At most ports we arranged our own sightseeing (this is a part of the world I am quite familiar with) but we did take organised shore excursions at Monemvasia (to see Mystras) and Kusadasi (to visit Didyma and Miletus). Both were excellent with good local guides - important when visiting ancient sites. Good weather throughout (apart from a rainy day in Kotor Fjord) also helped. The Eastern Mediterranean in Spring is breathtakingly beautiful with carpets of wild flowers everywhere. Also the Summer crowds were yet to arrive. Daytime temperatures hovering around 20 degrees (68degF) were perfect for walking and sightseeing.To return to the ship. There are serious design faults. We had cabins on Deck 11 designated 'Penthouse Suites' at the PH1 grade. When we walked into our cabin I wondered why it was so dark (the day outside in Venice being brilliantly sunny). The reason became clear when I opened the balcony door. There is an enormous overhang (I estimate about 20 feet wide) which runs all around the deck caused by Deck 12 above (the pool deck) being so much wider. The ship's architect has made a big mistake in siting the best cabins on Deck 11 rather than lower down on the ship. I would recommend readers to avoid this deck at all costs and go for a cheaper cabin. Sunlight does not fall on the Deck 11 balconies other than in the very early morning or late evening. Incidentally, the balconies are not teak (as trumpeted in the brochure) but a rather unpleasant laminate designed to look like teak!The other mistakes are in the design and location of two of the bars. The 'Grand Bar' - located by the main dining room - is just a wide corridor with chairs and tables either side. People pass through in constant procession and I cannot imagine wanting to sit there (though a few did). It is utterly devoid of atmosphere. The adjacent bar 'Martinis' is ruined by being very dark and having windows which overlook the lifeboats! This leaves only one nice bar - 'Horizons' - up on Deck 15 forward. This is a lovely room for drinks before or after dinner and where the best afternoon tea afloat was served daily at 4pm. However, the bar is not open during the day for lunchtime drinks! Also the furniture is over-large which makes for difficult ease of movement by passengers and stewards alike. This could be rectified by removing 10% of the tables and chairs.The pool deck is lovely and properly finished in teak, but other outside decks either have that nasty faux teak laminate (like the cabin balconies) or a blue rubberised flooring. A great mistake. Both are unbearably hot to the feet on sunny days. This could be put right at a future refit.Turning now to the restaurants, we ate in Toscana (Italian), Jacques (French) and the Grand Dining Room. None of us are big eaters of red meat so we eschewed the Polo Grill, and we could not get a sensible dining time in Red Ginger (Asian) so we did not bother. The Dining Room, Toscana and Jacques were excellent. The food and service were of the highest standard. Menus were wide and varied and international in appeal. Service was seamless, attentive and friendly without being over-familiar. The crew were immaculately groomed and could have graced any hotel or restaurant on land, however grand.Breakfast and lunch in the Terrace Cafe was also most enjoyable and rarely did we have any difficulty finding a table. On most days we had breakfast or lunch (or both) outdoors on the Terrace Cafe verandah.We had a 'butler' but really did not need him. The restaurants on board are so lovely that I cannot imagine wanting to eat meals in the cabin (unless you are ill, which we fortunately were not), and over-elaborate 'canapes' seem to be unnecessary and difficult to fit in between the excellent tea and dinner. We just needed our 'butler' to bring early morning tea, and glasses and ice for drinks before dinner - which he did perfectly!We went to one 'production show' after dinner in the Marina Lounge but it was so amateurish and bad that we all got the giggles and had to leave! Thereafter we made our own entertainment. The lack of good organised entertainment does not bother us.So, all in all, apart from the design faults (which will be difficult for Oceania to do anything about), we were well satisfied. The passenger profile is still predominantly American, but Oceania are starting to realise the danger of being over-reliant on one market (remember the impact on the travel industry post '9/11') and are now marketing their cruises more widely in Europe, Asia and Australia.I shall be happy to return to this ship. But not to Deck 11. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
The public areas in the ship are beautiful. We particularly enjoyed the bar with the pianist (Mario, I think). All the dining rooms are beautiful. The dEcor in the rooms is beautiful. The main beds are very comfortable (but not the ... Read More
The public areas in the ship are beautiful. We particularly enjoyed the bar with the pianist (Mario, I think). All the dining rooms are beautiful. The dEcor in the rooms is beautiful. The main beds are very comfortable (but not the pull out couch).The ship is very stable.Ports were fabulous. Particularly Monemvasia, a pleasant surprise since the ship didn't hype it very much. It was probably the best stop.Library and workout room fabulous.Solid winelists. Great that ship is mostly non-smoking.Overall, the cruise was very nice.Cabins: The separate tub and shower makes for a very small shower.We don't use tubs and the shower was very small for a large man. The closet was too small for all our clothes and difficult to reach the far end of it near the bedside table. One of our suitcases didn't fit under the bed and we didn't realize until the cruise was over that we could have asked our attendant to store it. In the shower, we don't like rainshower heads. The holder for the handheld shower head is at your waist so you can't use that as your showerhead. Some men used the handheld shower head in the tub.Our 2 attendants did a marvelous job. However, friends of ours complained that their room was not ready at 6:30 p.m. and the attendant was rude. There was nail polish on the tub that was not removed. And the door to the balcony didn't work. There is only one electrical plug by the TV. Bring an extension cord.Laundry: great self-service laundry but 45 minutes is not enough time on high heat to get all the clothes dry. $2 per wash and dry., each. Grand Dining Room service was erratic. We had a wonderful lunch there when it was nearly empty; great service and food. We had a horrible dinner where it took 3 hours to get our meal start to finish, food was overcooked, and the waiters didn't pay attention to empty water glasses, etc. Outdoor Grill: same thing with service. Generally very good, but once it took 45 minutes to get a sandwich. We think they forgot us. Definitely some training and experience needed for the staff as this is a new ship.Quality of food overall was equal to Regent and slightly better than Celebrity. But the specialty French restaurant on our last Celebrity cruise was better than all of your specialty restaurants, including La Reserve. There were highlights but everything was not consistently outstanding. Service in the specialty restaurants was excellent in all cases.Room Service: On Regent, the Grand Dining Room menu was available for that night's room service during dining room hours. I'd like to see this added. And a few more appetizer options. Room service menu is quite limited.Tenders: Being a new ship, they don't have the tender process perfected.Last day in Mykonos, everyone waited 45 minutes to get off the ship which annoyed everyone. Not a pleasant way to end a luxury cruise.Entertainment: The auditorium is awful. You cannot see over the heads of people in front of you. Entertainment was only so-so. Best entertainment on the ship was in the bars.Shopping: Ridiculously limited and outrageously expensive. The only shops were high priced jewelry and boutique. On Regent, they brought in special vendors on different days. There was nothing reasonably priced on the ship and we didn't want to spend out time in port shopping. On Regent, we bought a black pearl and diamond pendant after a pearl presentation. They had sales on Regent branded goods the last few days at sea. And they had high end costume jewelry and a gold by the inch sale. Marina needs to add things like this. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
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