Marina Review

Marina
Marina
2019 Best for Cabins
2019 Best for Dining
2019 Best for Fitness & Recreation

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Marina
4.5 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
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Pros

Food-focused ship emphasizes quality dishes, culinary enrichment and dining variety

Cons

Entertainment is limited; service and fare inclusions are not at luxury levels

Bottom Line

A beautiful ship for those looking for an intimate cruise without a true-luxury price tag


About

Passengers 1,250
Crew 800
Passenger to Crew 1.56:1
Launched 2011
Shore Excursions 1,189
Carolyn Spencer Brown
Cruise Critic Chief Content Strategist

Marina Overview

If you're wondering what exactly an "ultra-premium" cruise ship is, look no further than Marina, the first new-build Oceania built back in 2011.

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It's the kind of ship where you can book an inside cabin, but still enjoy four specialty restaurants with no additional fees and never have to wait in a long queue. Where you can book a luxurious suite designed by Dakota Jackson or Ralph Lauren, but choose whether you want to pay for a beverage package or shore excursions rather than having those inclusions bump up your base fare. It's a ship that carries multiple types of French flour to make daytime and evening baguettes, devotes lots of onboard space to galleys and dining venues and serves a proper afternoon tea with white-glove service, scones with clotted cream and a string quartet. Where you can order a vegan smoothie or energy bowl after your morning workout, down wine during a cooking class and order multiple desserts after a long sea day of lying in the sun.

The 1,250-passenger Marina is ultimately a hybrid, balancing luxurious amenities with less-inclusive fares than the luxury lines. With Marina, Oceania expanded what its older, R-class ships do so well: food, intimacy, destinations and an egalitarian spirit. The ship looks high-end, with an extensive art collection reflecting the personal tastes of the line's co-founders Frank del Rio and Bob Binder, and lounge seating that could come straight from a five-star hotel. You won't lack for high-end ingredients like whole Maine lobsters and foie gras. Yet, the atmosphere is not stuffy or snooty, and plentiful daytime activities from art or cooking classes to Ping-Pong and beanbag toss tournaments, mean sea days aren't snooze fests (unless you want them to be).

The cruise line is at its best on longer itineraries, 10 nights and up; look for plenty of overnights and a minimum of sea days on many sailings. The line's culinary tours are not to be missed if you are interested in the interplay of food and culture, and appreciate small-sized tour groups.

Cabins are spacious and nicely appointed -- a welcome change from the R-class's tight fits -- and the suites are gorgeous. Four specialty restaurants -- French, Italian, Asian and steak -- supplement the main restaurant nicely and provide welcome dining variety. A Culinary Center and Artist Loft are designed specifically for enrichment classes; the library is a sleeper hit with inviting leather chairs and quiet nooks adjacent to a coffee shop. The pool deck is beautiful, with just the right number of soft padded loungers to accommodate everyone on a sunny sea day.

Marina does have its weaknesses. Its dining system doesn't work so well on weeklong cruises, forcing passengers to miss out on the much-touted specialty restaurants or eat rather late. While we enjoyed every meal and loved the variety, we weren't always blown away by main courses (though some are standouts), and desserts were lacking. Spa treatments and shore excursions seem overpriced for the industry, and service is not as proactive as one might expect on so small and nice a ship. Many on our cruise complained about long waits for service for food and drink.

At the end of the day, though, the ship has the right vibe for its clientele. You meet all types of people on Marina: frequent luxury line cruisers taking a chance on a bigger ship for the right itinerary; past mega-ship passengers looking for a more inclusive experience, fewer kids and a more intimate vessel; first-timers wanting to explore. Most seem to be enjoying the sailing, whether or not it's the ship for them. It's hard to stay grouchy when a plush mattress topped with 1,000-thread-count sheets is waiting in your cabin or when a comforting soup or milkshake is always close at hand. Or an amazing destination is at your doorstep, and there's not an enormous queue standing between you and that next adventure ashore.

Fellow Passengers

Travelers tend to fall into the older age ranges (50 and up), are well traveled (and often avid cruisers) and hail mostly from the U.S. and Canada, with Brits and Australians making up the balance. On our school break sailing, we did see a handful of kids and younger adult travelers. We found folks to be friendly, and the atmosphere not at all stuffy.


Oceania Marina Dress Code

Think casual-but-elegant throughout the ship, both day and night; you won't find formal nights on Marina. Tank tops and swimwear are discouraged at all times from any of the restaurants, while shorts, jeans, T-shirts, sneakers and sandals are banned from all dinner venues except the Terrace Cafe. Men can't go wrong with blazers and slacks after sunset, while women will feel comfortable in dresses, nice pants outfits or skirts with blouses. On our Caribbean cruise, we found that people generally looked nice, but not overly fancy or fashionista at dinner; we saw more skirts or slacks with blouses than little black dresses at night.

Marina Inclusions

Unlike many upscale cruise lines, Oceania's fares are not overly inclusive. Bottled water, soda and coffee drinks are free of charge, whether ordered at a bar or stocked in your cabin's mini-fridge. Nearly all specialty restaurants (minus La Reserve) do not have a cover charge. You will need to pay for alcoholic drinks, self-service laundry, shore excursions, Wi-Fi and gratuities.

Tips are automatically charged to your onboard account at the rate of $16 per person, per day (half to housekeeping and half to dining staff). Passengers in suites with butler service (Penthouse, Vista, Oceania and Owner's suites) are charged an additional $7 per person, per day. You are welcome to give additional tips to individuals who go above and beyond at your discretion. It's expected that those bringing room service will be tipped (anywhere from $1 to $5, depending on what's ordered) as items are delivered. An 18 percent gratuity is automatically tacked on to bills for spa services, bar drinks and dinner at La Reserve.


Oceania Marina Awards

Cruisers’ Choice Awards

2019 Best for Cabins
2019 Best for Dining
2019 Best for Fitness & Recreation
2019 Best for Public Rooms
2019 Best for Service
2018 Best Overall
2018 Best for Cabins
2018 Best for Dining
2018 Best for Embarkation
2018 Best for Fitness & Recreation
2018 Best for Public Rooms
2018 Best for Service
2018 Best for Value
2017 Best Overall
2017 Best for Cabins
2017 Best for Dining
2017 Best for Fitness & Recreation
2017 Best for Public Rooms
2017 Best for Service
2017 Best for Value
2016 Best Overall
2016 Best for Cabins
2016 Best for Dining
2016 Best for Public Rooms
2016 Best for Service
2015 Best Overall
2015 Best for Cabins
2015 Best for Dining
2015 Best for Public Rooms
2015 Best for Service
2013 Best Overall
2013 Best for Cabins
2013 Best for Dining
2013 Best for Embarkation
2013 Best for Public Rooms
2013 Best for Service
2013 Best for Value

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Oceania Marina Member Reviews

JamieNancy
Sail Date: Jul 2018
The Marina is a wonderful ship with exemplary service and dining geared toward adult travelers. We spent four pre-cruise days in Amsterdam and a week post-cruise in London. Be sure to make your own arrangements...Read More
Retired Independent
Sail Date: Mar 2019
I would like to highlight the positives first for this trip on Marina, from Lima to NYC. I am gluten-free. I told Roger, the Specialty Diet Coordinator that I pick cruises based on food and desserts...Read More
mountainclimber1
Sail Date: Jan 2019
at sea, unless you are health conscientious. Overweight and obese passengers were in pig heaven on Marina. We personally found the food way too salty, too heavy with too much butter and too much sweet stuff...Read More
noncorporeal2048
Sail Date: Aug 2019
2019 Oceania Cruise Line - Celtic Kingdoms (MNA190804) on the Marina Dates: August 4, 2019 through August 17, 2019 Ports of call: Embark at Southampton UK Edinburgh(Newhaven) Scotland Invergordon...Read More

Oceania Cruises Fleet