25 Rome (Civitavecchia) Oceania Marina Cruise Reviews

Cruising OCEANIA is always a great pleasure. We left Civitavecchia for a 14-night cruise to the Mediterranean, with unique ports of call ( Naples, Sicily, Haifa (Israrel), Cyprus, Rhodes, Gytheon, Malta, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona ), ... Read More
Cruising OCEANIA is always a great pleasure. We left Civitavecchia for a 14-night cruise to the Mediterranean, with unique ports of call ( Naples, Sicily, Haifa (Israrel), Cyprus, Rhodes, Gytheon, Malta, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona ), – what made us choose this cruise in particular. Four specialty restaurants – Red Ginger ( Asian food ), Toscana (Italian ), Polo Grill ( meats ) and Jacques ( French ) offer superb food and service. You feel like having a fabulous dinner in a starred restaurant. With only four sea days, there is a chance of getting to know places one would not normally choose to go. Since embarkation until the last good-bye, you feel welcomed and cared for. It´s a good feeling, no doubt about it! The crew works hard, and apparently with pleasure, to provide us with the time of our lives. It is NOT a ship for children, it aims adults. I was surprised to know that, with less than 15 years of existence, there is a great number of passengers that have travelled more than 20 times with Oceania Cruises. I know why ! :-) Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We chose this cruise on Oceania (Ancient Footsteps) because of the itinerary and our prior outstanding experience on a past Oceania cruise. The facilities, room, service and cuisine were outstanding. Also, most of Oceania's shore ... Read More
We chose this cruise on Oceania (Ancient Footsteps) because of the itinerary and our prior outstanding experience on a past Oceania cruise. The facilities, room, service and cuisine were outstanding. Also, most of Oceania's shore excursions were outstanding. Especially excellent were the shore excursions at Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Ancient Lindos on Rhodes. (In addition, the weather was also outstanding, with balmy days and calm seas, except for one day of rain and mildly rough seas.) After reviewing the Oceania excursion selections for Israel and Barcelona, we opted to do private tours. In Israel, we used "Guided Tours of Israel" (two day tour). In Barcelona, we used "Spain Day Tours" (half day tour). Both were outstanding and exceeded first-class service. We have been using private tours for years, and Guided Tours of Israel was the best private tour we have ever experienced in all of our travels. There were two major Oceania problems (deficiencies) regarding the cruise. 1. Oceania promised internet service but didn’t deliver. They promised “unlimited” internet. What we got was unlimited frustration, anxiety, and stress. This opinion seemed to be universally shared among the passengers trying to use the service. I try to minimize my internet use on a vacation. However, when an office need arises, I have to be connected. To my detriment, I believed their promise of unlimited internet. I have traveled the world on business and vacation, and experienced many forms of internet service over the years. However, the service on the ship was the worst internet service I have experienced in many years. It was very slow, prone to disconnect, and erratic. 2. In Israel, Oceania should have docked the ship at Ashdod instead of Haifa. Haifa was hours by car or bus to and from the major Israeli attractions, such as Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethlehem, the Negev Desert, the Dead Sea, Qumran, and Masada. The port at Ashdod is much closer to such attractions. We opted to schedule a two-day private tour and spend Sunday night in a hotel in Jerusalem, thereby maximizing our excursion time. But we spent over two hours driving from Haifa to Jerusalem on Sunday (12 Nov.) and over three hours driving from Masada to Haifa on Monday (13 Nov.). That is not unusual for Israeli traffic. Many of our ship companions spent long hours in buses traveling to and from the ship in Haifa on both days, and in some cases having limited time at sites and arriving back at the ship late at night. Extremely poor internet service and docking in Haifa instead of Ashdod were not the signs of a "commitment to excellence." Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We loved the itinerary and booked it with 16 friends, Fabulous time had by all. Dining was exceptional and we were able to have many premium dining experiences in the premium restaurants. Staff were attentive and outstanding, service is a ... Read More
We loved the itinerary and booked it with 16 friends, Fabulous time had by all. Dining was exceptional and we were able to have many premium dining experiences in the premium restaurants. Staff were attentive and outstanding, service is a 10! Oceania is our cruise line of choice, love the small ships and luxury accommodations. The amenities are great and being a multi time cruiser has earned us some special benefits. In the lux plus market they are the best and the standard. Cruising on other lines means you are just going on a cruise, on Oceania you are definitely cruising in style and experiencing the finest cuisine at sea. It may cost a bit more than the Princess's and Celebrity's but the Value exceeds the cost, the best hands down. The staff makes you feel like family and you leave the ship looking forward to your next trip with your new family. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We are a couple in our mid to late fifties having cruised on many different lines with thirty plus cruises under our belt, we were highly anticipating this cruise as it was a visit to the "Holy Land". We cruised on the Oceania ... Read More
We are a couple in our mid to late fifties having cruised on many different lines with thirty plus cruises under our belt, we were highly anticipating this cruise as it was a visit to the "Holy Land". We cruised on the Oceania Riviera last December in the Caribbean and had a great cruise and became converts! Our go to cruise line has been Celebrity for years but Oceania has got it figured out! There is no comparison necessary, Oceania takes it to a new level! How both Riviera and Marina ships which are almost identical in every way could be so different blows my mind. We were happy with the Riviera last December but after cruising for 15 days on the Marina...my goodness, the food, service, management and staff are to be congratulated on the job they are doing. The restaurant staff as well others on board new our names by the second day. Always greeting us with professional courtesy. The wine stewards, even if they were not serving us would come up to us and greet us as they remembered us the night before in the restaurant. The Phillipino and Indonesian staff are the best, always greeting us with a smile and politeness seldom experienced. If there was an issue, they quickly corrected it. The staff and management on this ship could not do enough to make sure everything was right. There was also a lot of South American hosts and wine stewards that were simply awesome! The ironic part to this cruise was the heavily anticipated visit to Israel which we have been trying to visit for the last several years. It actually turned out to be the disappointment of all the ports. We enjoyed, Sicily as usual, Cypress, Rhodes, Malta for Gozo and Palma de Majorca. The only port we missed due to high swells was Gythion. The weather was excellent throughout the cruise, very comfortable, not short weather but light clothes was all you required. Great touring weather. We enjoyed all the specialty restaurants, favorites being Jacques and Toscana with Red Ginger and Polo Grill very close. We only ate in the main dining room for dinner twice, one night was great the other a disappointment. Breakfast was always excellent in the main dining room as well the occasional lunch. It is befitting of a dining room in some 5 star hotel in Europe..simply beautiful. The Terrace Cafe and Wave Grill was always very good. The ship has a capacity of 1250, but the ship only had approximately 1000 persons on board. The ship has been maintained well however the rooms are in need of a refreshing as wear and tear is somewhat noticeable. We would certainly consider a Penthouse suite next time as the extra space would be welcomed especially in the clothes closet as in the staterooms it is an annoyance trying to access and move around. Cabin stewards were pleasant and were efficient. Concierge was helpful to us and followed up when there was an issue. The gym and spa area were excellent with sauna and steam rooms. Never busy, the Terrace deck was a private sanctuary which we enjoyed! The only difference with this private enclave is the Riviera has an Infinity type therapy pool as opposed to the Marina with two separate whirlpools. We enjoyed La Reserve by Wine Spectator, Food wine pairing event one night. The Odyssey menu, we had tried this on the Riviera and was blown away and the repeat experience lived up to our original encounter. A special treat for sure! All in all a great cruise, one of our best! Looking for our next Oceania cruise or two for next year. Enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, only. The reviews of the food on board did not interest us, after all, we could eat great food at home. The reviews of the service did not interest us because we stay in 5 star hotels and receive ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, only. The reviews of the food on board did not interest us, after all, we could eat great food at home. The reviews of the service did not interest us because we stay in 5 star hotels and receive plenty of great service. This was our thought. And our last few cruises had disappointed us so greatly that we had turned to private expedition land travel. So, our expectations were low and we simply wanted to see the ports, etc. What a wonderful surprise. It turns out the food was so exceptional that we were able to eat at the buffet when we chose. The specialty restaurants were an adventure in themselves. The service was the quiet, excellent service we fell in love with on safari in Africa. Imagine our shock when the ship offered free transfers into the center of the port towns, rather than making things as difficult as possible for the independent travelers. It turns out it does make a difference. It was a pleasure to simply cruise. Anywhere. Everything and everyone showed consideration for the passengers. Rather than elaborate, I think I can best explain by saying that we have now booked another cruise with Oceania and will book another for 2019 when the cruise information is made available. Yes, it really is that good. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was our third time on Marina and fifth with O. Service and food slipping a bit since they were bought by Norwegian. Food very inconsistent even in each restaurant. Still good but a little less so. Great itineraries make it first ... Read More
This was our third time on Marina and fifth with O. Service and food slipping a bit since they were bought by Norwegian. Food very inconsistent even in each restaurant. Still good but a little less so. Great itineraries make it first choice though. Will give hard look at others or next cruise. Size of ship just right although we prefer their smaller ones like Regatta. Starting to hsell junk watches and such in public lobby, a definite downgrade for a lux ship. Entertainment is sparse and since we had to be up early each day for the ports, most were 8 or 9 AM we did not bother with many. No smoking policy is wonderful. Good selection of alcohol brands and experienced bartenders. Choice of ports outstanding but as with most cruise lines excursions offered should be passed in favor of arranging independent excursions and posting them on Cruise Critic. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Bath was exceptional for a cruiseship stateroom in cabin 9058 (balcony stateroom concierge level). Dining was ok. Favorite specialty restaurant was actually Red Ginger (sea bass was great - and NOT the same cut and preparation you will ... Read More
Bath was exceptional for a cruiseship stateroom in cabin 9058 (balcony stateroom concierge level). Dining was ok. Favorite specialty restaurant was actually Red Ginger (sea bass was great - and NOT the same cut and preparation you will find elsewhere on the ship. I'd shy away from anything lobster in any of the restaurants... usuallly disappointing. Entertainment... not the line's strong suit. Service was generally quite good. The cruise preceding ours had a gastro virus issue and I thought Oceania did an excellent job with cleaning and precautions. Probably could have addressed an Ebola outbreak with the thoroughness and not much inconvenience to passengers at all, IMO. The Magical Mediteranian ports were all great, though the captain elected to skip the first port of Tuscany (Livorno) due to inclement weather and I'm sure that was a big disappointment for some. Internet connection was awful. Would repeat if internet connectivity and wifi were improved but very frustrating if you expect a reasonable connection to research ports and stay in touch with loved ones. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We sailed for the first time with Oceania Marina, the reason being we wanted to try a smaller ship. One of the difference we noticed right away, that we were not pestered to have our Photo taken and no Art Sales. It is a beautiful ... Read More
We sailed for the first time with Oceania Marina, the reason being we wanted to try a smaller ship. One of the difference we noticed right away, that we were not pestered to have our Photo taken and no Art Sales. It is a beautiful ship. The drinks are a bit expensive, but there was a Happy Hour each day between 5:00 & 6:00PM. Afternoon Tea at 4:00 PM in the Terrace on deck 15 was very nice with either listening to the String Quartet or the Piano Player. Very enjoyable. Everyone was able to dine in their Specialty Dining Rooms free of charge, which was great. You did have to make a reservation ahead of time, as we were in a Penthouse Suite the butler made the reservations for us. The only objection we have as Canadians that their Cruise Prices are in US Dollars. When we paid our Down Payment the exchange rate was app. 1.28 when the time for the final payment was due our Dollar was quite a bit lower closer and the exchange rate was 1.38. We think if Oceania want to have more Canadian Passengers, they should start pricing their Cruises in Canadian Dollars for the Canadians. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I am going to give nothing but good stuff to Oceania. Staff is extremely attentive, ship is spotless, the officers are the best, food is top line, and the excursions are about the best that can be offered. Ship: The Marina is a great ... Read More
I am going to give nothing but good stuff to Oceania. Staff is extremely attentive, ship is spotless, the officers are the best, food is top line, and the excursions are about the best that can be offered. Ship: The Marina is a great size 1200+ guests, staff ratios were almost too many staff for the guests. Which is a good thing rather than the other way around. Cabins: Most are small. Bathrooms are smaller. I suggest spending the extra money for a Penthouse Suite, just for size reasons. Also, if you are over 6 foot 4 inches you are going to have trouble standing in the shower since the ceiling and shower head is 6 foot 4 inches from the floor. But, storage space is plenty. We took a lot of stuff and still did not use all of the drawers provided. Dining: Starting from the lessor and going to the top. The waves provides a quick breakfast menu (grab and go) and great lunch sandwiches and drinks. The terrace buffet is a good bet for quick meals of a high class and standard fare. The grand dinning room serves all three meals and provides excellent choices and extremely tasty (dinning four courses) selections. Then there are four specialty restaurants which are the very best. Service Is probably too much in the buffet, (too very waiters) but the other places it is outstanding. Entertainment: In our opinion was very good considering the numbers of guests do not bring enough money to allow "A" class of entertainers, but they were very good. Ports and Excursions: I find that Oceania provides outstanding tour guides and opportunities to see the best of the ports they visit. Since Oceania has smaller ships they can dock at the port dock and visit smaller towns and locations that the larger ships cannot consider. Summary: Since my wife and I do not drink much alcoholic beverages and do not have a huge need to be entertained we do not feel it is cost effective to utilize the small all inclusive top of the line ships and get relatively the same experience you will receive from Oceania Cruise Line. Most Important Item: No Oceania ship is set up for kids. If you are a family with kids under twenty you should consider a mega ship because the kids are going to be board. Also these ships are set for people who just like to get away from it all and relax and see new places. If you like extreme sports, and all the excitement, and crowds you need to choose a mega "city on the seas" ship for all the things they offer. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our first cruise but the couple we were with have cruised 17 times. From the initial contact to our disembarkation the experience was an absolute positive one. Our flight from Montreal to Rome was long but uneventful and was ... Read More
This was our first cruise but the couple we were with have cruised 17 times. From the initial contact to our disembarkation the experience was an absolute positive one. Our flight from Montreal to Rome was long but uneventful and was completely organized. our arrival at the Marriott Flora was expected and we were greeted at the entrance by an Oceania Representative. The next day we were transported to the Marina which was such a positive and exciting event. Once we received all the necessary accreditation we went to the Grand Dining awaiting the final prep of our Stateroom. The room itself was large with a very large balcony; it remained spotless the entire cruise. The staff maintaining our stateroom exceeded our expectations. From the Capitan Leo, General Manager, Damien Lacroix, Cruise Director, Peter Roberts, Food and Beverage Director, Marc Walter, Chris Rogan Development and Head Chef Alexis every single person to the deck staff were so helpful and accommodating. The Ports of Call and the organized tours were excellent and even the tours we coordinated on our own great. Thank you Marina for a holiday Adèle will never forget. (Thanks Diane and Louis). The food was exceptional and exceeded all our expectations. i cannot say enough about the Entertainment Team headed by Jason and the Social Director, Katie. One of our favourites on the Ship were the Bellissimo String Quartet with Sasha, Inna, Kristina and Polina; we looked forward to hearing you every day. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My husband and I are in our early 60's and just returned from our second Oceania Cruise in Europe. This was our sixth cruise having been on Royal Carib and Princess to destinations in the Caribbean. Oceania is a much more ... Read More
My husband and I are in our early 60's and just returned from our second Oceania Cruise in Europe. This was our sixth cruise having been on Royal Carib and Princess to destinations in the Caribbean. Oceania is a much more luxurious and low key experience than the others we've been on. There were only 900 guests. The boat holds 1200. Plus 800 employees. So obviously the service was extremely attentive. If you're looking for late night partying with big splashy shows this is not the cruise line for you. However, the entertainment that they did have was certainly fun and enjoyable. There are no zip lines or fake surfing but there was a concert pianist who was terrific and other offerings we enjoyed. The passengers are mature and hail from all over the globe. We enjoyed sharing our dinners with others we met and especially our dinner at La Reserve. It costs extra but is a very special evening involving a tasting menu and wine pairing. But all the restaurants are excellent. Going to La Reserve is just an extra special treat especially if you are celebrating a big life event such as a milestone birthday or anniversary. The excursions we took with Oceania were very good. Our day in Capri was awesome. I was a bit disappointed with the winery excursion in Sicily. When you go on a bus tour you spend too much time getting on and off the bus and making stops to the rest rooms. This cannot be helped I suppose. Our best day was in Marseilles where we hired an outside company called Provence Connections. We were the only two on the tour. Fabrizzio was our guide and he was awesome. I think hiring a local tour rather than using the ships excursions is probably less expensive and more meaningful and I will do more of that on subsequent voyages. We were in stateroom 7063. Being in the center of the ship is best if you get seasick. But try to be on the 8 or 9th decks. The 7th deck is okay but a bit higher up is preferable. The spa is small but I had the best facial! Expensive but worth it. My husband said his massage was just okay. Embarkation and debarkation were a breeze. Very orderly and quick. I LOVED our trip and can't wait to plan my next cruise on Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We had high expectations for our Oceania Cruise on the Marina. We had heard many wonderful things about this cruise line and were excited to finally be sailing with them. This cruise did not meet our expectations. We have been fortunate ... Read More
We had high expectations for our Oceania Cruise on the Marina. We had heard many wonderful things about this cruise line and were excited to finally be sailing with them. This cruise did not meet our expectations. We have been fortunate to sail on many different cruise lines, of all different classes; Carnival, Norwegian; Royal Caribbean; Celebrity, Princess. Azamara & Uniworld. We have enjoyed them all, some of which exceeded our expectations. What we truly enjoyed on Oceania: The itinerary & the friends we sailed with. Our stateroom, Veranda, was awesome. The bed was best ever. Our cabin stewards, quite pleasant and did a good job. We had a wonderful time and certainly did not suffer but for the price that we paid, we expected to be wowed and we weren't. It was good but not great. We expected over the top as we had experienced on Azamara & Uniworld. The food was good but again not great. We found the dining room food & overall service to be the most disappointing. We enjoyed the specialty restaurants. The most enjoyable was the Terrace Buffet! The food was very good, plenty of choices and the service was consistently good, with the exception of the sommeliers. Some were fantastic, others not so much. We found the service in the dining room as well as the specialty restaurants to be hit and miss. Some were excellent and some staff were like robots. The room service breakfast menu was limited but the service was very good. Great burgers at the Wave & the milkshakes were also quite good but not always, depended who made them. Oceania claims to have the best food on the seas, they did not prove that to us. The wine package with 7 bottles did not seem to make sense on a 10 day cruise. There was so much confusion around the wine package but maybe it had just been introduced. It also seemed to take forever for our bottle of wine to arrive. I am not sure I would buy the package again. They do have an excellent wine selection. Wine and alcohol certainly not cheap! The entertainment was quite good for a ship this size. We did do excursions with the ship in 4 ports. The size of the groups was close to 40 people which I thought was way too many for one guide. Only one of the guides had a "whisper" box. A sound system so we could all hear the details of what the guide wastelling us. This means that 3 of the excursions you had to be right beside the guide in order to hear any commentary. One of the couples that we traveled with had sailed with Oceania 3 times before and once on the Marina. They were very disappointed and assured us this had not been their experience in the past. They were in Concierge Class and 5 days in a row they had problems with their toilet. No one ever apologized to them, but stated that there were 5 other staterooms on their floor that had the same problem. Really? Somehow this was suppose to make this better? There were other little "things" that happened that I witnessed that I did not think were handled very well considering the upper premium class & certainly higher price of Oceania. I can honestly say that the service we had received in the past even with Carnival and Norwegian was just as good as our experience with Oceania. Embarkation and disembarkation were worry free and very smooth. Nice decor and very comfortable furniture in their public areas. Overall as mentioned despite my complaints we enjoyed our cruise with our friends but we will not sail with Oceania again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We sailed on the Marina from Rome to Lisbon in early November, staying in a concierge level veranda stateroom. This was our first Oceania cruise, and overall the ship and the cuisine were excellent quality, and fairly good value for ... Read More
We sailed on the Marina from Rome to Lisbon in early November, staying in a concierge level veranda stateroom. This was our first Oceania cruise, and overall the ship and the cuisine were excellent quality, and fairly good value for money. This was the last Mediterranean sailing before the repositioning to the Americas, so Oceania filled the ship with two-for-one cruise fares, free airfare, free onboard Wi-Fi internet, included gratuities and $100 shipboard credits. Airfare, transfers and excursions. While the on-board charges weren’t out of line, the off-ship costs were exorbitant. We didn’t take the “free” airfare and received an additional $1600 discount instead. In our experience, cruise-arranged airfare often uses indirect routes to fill available seats that are heavily discounted by the airlines for the cruise companies. As well, we don’t live in a “gateway” city, so the additional costs of getting to and from the nearest gateway city cancels out any airfare advantage the cruise line can provide. We arranged our own transfers between airports, city hotels and the cruise port in Rome and Lisbon. For two people, the Oceania charges for transfers are several times the cost of booking a private car (this is not an exaggeration). A private car is also much more convenient. In Rome we booked a car to take us from our hotel in the city to the cruise port. It dropped us right outside the terminal and we got there before the cruise company busses arrived carrying passengers who paid several times as much and endured long lines to check in. We were on the ship having lunch 15 minutes after we arrived. For hotels, the Oceania cost is about double. For example, in Lisbon we booked two nights for $360 total. Oceania charges $400 per person for two nights at the same hotel. For excursions, we purchased the “Unlimited Passport” for $500 each. We booked five half-day excursions in five ports, and the passport saved us $300 each over paying for the excursions individually. Overall, the excursions were mediocre and provided very poor value for money. One of the excursions was very good, and one was awful. The excursions are detailed later in this review. The key factor in the value of excursions is the performance of the guide. After all, if you don’t care about the guide you can book a taxi to take you to the excursion destinations for a fraction of the Oceania excursion cost. Onboard “pirate” GSM cellular system. Since cellular data has become commonly available at a reasonable price (at least on your “home” cellular network), people have known to keep “data roaming” switched off in their smart phone settings because data charges while roaming on another carriers network are generally not reasonable at all. In the last couple of years, carriers have twigged to the fact they can get more business from the travelling public by offering roaming at rates reasonable enough to convince people to buy in. This requires “data roaming” to be enabled on smart phones, but if you purchase a roaming package there are not unpleasant surprises in your bill at the end of your trip. We were in London prior to the cruise, and purchased a prepaid O2 package that included roaming in Europe for $3/day, which included 50MB of data (quite sufficient for email and google maps). When we boarded the ship, we both had data roaming switched on to enable use of our O2 roaming package on land. Unbeknownst to us, the ship has its own GSM cellular system which switches on when the ship leaves port and automatically connects to any device (phone, tablet, etc.) that has data roaming enabled. Unlike the land-based carriers, the ship system does not participate in any roaming agreements. It charges $10/megabyte for data (billed to you via your home cellular carrier) and starts processing data and billing at that rate as soon as it connects to your device. You are not informed that any roaming agreements you have will not be honored, and you are not given an opportunity to accept or decline the data service (and associated $10/MB charges). We have two issues with this. First, nowhere in the Oceania guide does it state that the ship system is unlike all the land-based carriers and does not honor roaming agreements. Second, because of this, Oceania owes it to its customers to warn them to disable data roaming when they board the ship. However, there is no mention of this anywhere. In our case, the ship system drained the $30 balance on one of our phones in a very short period of time (it doesn’t take long for background data to use 3MB of data). The other phone was connected to the ship’s Wi-Fi system and was therefore not affected. This is why I refer to the ship’s system as a “pirate” GSM system. First, who in their right mind would agree to pay $10/MB for data—that is 166 times what O2 was charging with our roaming packages! That is probably why guests are not offered the opportunity to accept these charges—few, if any, would do so. Second, these charges are levied silently, and the absence of any mention of roaming packages not being honored is downright deceitful by omission. On day two of the cruise when we discovered one of our phones was dead (O2 sent a message saying the balance was zero and it could not apply the $3 charge for roaming in Italy). We did some digging and discovered what had happened. We discussed the situation with the concierge in the lounge and subsequently with the executive concierge. Both of them were extremely defensive, and their responses bordered on arrogant. The concierge in the lounge cited “page 44” of the cruise guide where the ship system is mentioned. It’s interesting that he had that page reference of the top of his head—it’s a 60 page book, does he have it memorized, or does he find himself discussing this with guests frequently? I pointed out that the cruise guide describes the system, but not that it doesn’t honor roaming agreements, which is a pretty important aspect. We went back and forth on this for a while. I asked for a second Wi-Fi access for the balance of the cruise, which was refused (claiming it’s technically not possible, to which I say “BS”). The executive concierge finally conceded that I had a point about the roaming issue and agreed to place a $30 credit on our ship account to compensate for the O2 balance being drained. During the rest of the cruise we talked to several couples who had left their phones on with data roaming, and they quickly disabled them. I’d be curious to know how much Oceania earns from this scam-like behavior of its ship system. As mentioned above, this is a situation that has arisen in the last few years as data roaming packages at a reasonable cost have become available, and more people are taking advantage of them (and getting stung by companies like Oceania). Like to drink? Prepare to pay. Like a lot of people, eating fine food and drinking good wine is an important factor in enjoying our vacations. We were not sure how to approach the Oceania beverage package ($60/day per person) for unlimited beer, wine and cocktails on the ship, so we didn’t purchase it in advance. However, one look at the drinks menu when we boarded the ship convinced us that we should purchase it. We figured that one bottle of wine between the two of use at dinner, and two cocktails each would amount to $120 including the automatic 18% gratuity. You don’t have to be a habitual binge drinker to exceed that on a cruise—after all, you’ve paid thousands of dollars to cruise and eat fine food, so why would you deny yourself an after-dinner special coffee or some extra wine or another cocktail? Having bought the beverage package, we did not experience any reluctance on the part of the staff to serve us (as reported by some other cruise critic contributors). On the contrary, at dinner the wine steward would refill our wine glasses without being asked. It was very nice from a customer service perspective. Food quality—five stars. The quality of the food on the ship was excellent. We dined in each of the four specialty restaurants, and in the main dining room three times. On the last morning before disembarkation the Terrace café was jammed, so we went to the main dining room for breakfast. That was a smart move—it was half empty and we had a really nice, relaxed breakfast before leaving the ship. Customer service—workers good, managers generally poor. One thing that became apparent on the cruise is that Oceania management don’t take criticism well. Their first response to complaints is bewilderment (“I don’t understand”), followed by denial (“you were warned—see page X of the cruise guide or excursions book”), followed by obvious “in one ear, out the other” behavior that makes it clear they don’t intend to acknowledge your issues in any way. The working staff, on the other hand, were unfailingly courteous and customer-service oriented. My hat goes off to them—they are the guests’ most frequent point of contact with Oceania and they did a great job. The only exception to this was one evening in the Red Ginger restaurant our table was assigned a rude and unhelpful wine steward. We complained to the maître d’ who immediately assigned a different (and very courteous and capable) wine steward. The maître d’ then returned to our table several times during the dinner to ask if everything was satisfactory. The next day we received a call from the restaurant manager who reported that the wine steward in question had admitted the rude behavior and the matter had been dealt with. Stateroom and “Concierge Level” We originally booked a veranda stateroom, but were offered an upgrade to “concierge level” for $100 each. This included access to the spa deck (normally $25/day each) which was the reason we accepted the offer. The staterooms are identical, but there is access to the “concierge lounge” which is a pretty small space with a few chairs, coffee, tea and juice, and various snacks throughout the day. It was mainly convenient for getting coffee first thing in the morning. The concierge himself was pretty useless (see comments above about the pirate GSM system) and only there for a few hours per day. Unless you calculate that your spa deck usage will justify the extra cost, I wouldn’t recommend concierge level over a normal veranda stateroom. The veranda staterooms are well equipped. I believe Oceania made a serious design error by including both a tub and a shower in the bathroom. The tub is too small to be comfortable, but it takes up a lot of space which could have been used to make the shower less restricted, and perhaps provide more vanity counter space. As it is, all aspects of the bathroom are compromised in size. The stateroom service was beyond reproach—the cabin was made up twice each day and was always done promptly when we left the room. Excursions Hills of Lucca and Wine Tasting (5.5 hours, $195 per person if purchased separately) This tour was pretty good, especially because we only paid $100 using the $500 Unlimited Passport (and booked five excursions). The guide was interesting and engaging. I think $195 is excessive for what it is—a bus trip to Lucca, a brief guided tour, some free time, and then a bus trip to a winery with some wine tasting. Scenic St. Paul de Vence (4 hours, $195 per person if purchased separately) This tour was excellent, again because we only paid $100 using the Unlimited Passport. The guide was interesting and engaging, and the destination was very interesting indeed. Discover St. Remy de Provence (5 hours, $165 per person if purchased separately) This tour was absolutely awful—a complete waste of time and money. The guide spoke poor and broken English (operating a tour he knew would be exclusively English-speaking tourists) and he actually admitted he didn’t know much about the destination. The tour consists of a two hour bus ride to St. Remy, which is a boring little French village with a few cafes, an old church and a lot of traffic. Its claim to fame is the artist Van Gogh spent some time there. Big deal. After an hour wandering around St. Remy wondering what to do, we had a two hour bus ride back to the ship. The guide’s monotone broken English put everyone to sleep on the way there and back. Upon return to the ship we complained at the reception desk, providing detailed information on the shortcomings of this excursion. The clerk read back what she had written down and promised to send the information to a manger responsible for excursions. We received a call later from that manager who refused to acknowledge any of the issues, saying the tour length was described in the cruise guide so we should have known it would consist of 4 hours on a bus and one hour in a remote French village. In fact, the guide suggest there is substantially more than one hour at the destination. This manager was in complete denial about the shortcomings of this excursion, and his attitude bordered on rudeness. Montjuic Treasures & Cable Car Ride (3 hours, $125 per person if purchased separately) This tour was moderately interesting. The guide and destinations were interesting. Highlights of Cartagena (4 hours, $115 per person if purchased separately) This tour should have simply been on foot. We boarded a bus which drove for less than five minutes before letting us off at an elevator to go up to a castle. After visiting the castle, we re-boarded the bus to drive for about three minutes to the center of the town for a walking tour (which was literally across the street from the cruise terminal). It was pretty well impossible to hear the guide on this part of the tour so we broke off, and hiked back to the ship (walking time: 5 minutes). The castle was moderately interesting, but we could have walked there from the ship and boarded the elevator for $10 each. As a $115/person excursion, this was a real rip-off.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was a popular cruise that was overbooked and several, maybe forty, stateroom bookings had to be upgraded to similar cruises at a later date. We were in a penthouse PH3 suite on deck ten and travelling with a solo guest in a B grade ... Read More
This was a popular cruise that was overbooked and several, maybe forty, stateroom bookings had to be upgraded to similar cruises at a later date. We were in a penthouse PH3 suite on deck ten and travelling with a solo guest in a B grade cabin on deck eight. The penthouse suite was well designed with a generous walk-in wardrobe and more than enough storage. The bathroom, which looked identical to ones we have had on various Silversea voyages, had a walk in shower that was a perfectly good size as well as a tub with shower. The toiletries were Bulgari. The beds were superbly comfortable, the best in the business, and passengers can order the same mattress to be made in Italy and delivered to their homes. Comparing our penthouse suite with the B grade cabin we noticed that that was narrower so could not include the walk-in wardrobe and there was a little less seating space but it was adequately spacious and we felt we would have been comfortable in there. Our suite gave us access to the Executive Lounge sited inboard on deck eleven. It was small and a bit claustrophobic and rarely had more than four or five passengers there. It was a privilege we did not have much time for. Boarding in Rome was the easiest boarding experience we have ever enjoyed. We were on board enjoying lunch minutes after arriving at the Citavecchia terminal at noon. Our companion in B who was travelling separately was already on board. Staterooms were released for occupation serially during lunch and all were available by the time we had finished. Oceania prides itself on its dining experience and it is justified. On our seven night cruise we ate dinner in each of the four specialty restaurants, the terrace buffet restaurant, the main restaurant and once ashore. The specialty restaurants get booked up early so that by departure date there is limited availability in any of them. We would rate Red Ginger and the Polo Grill as excellent, Toscana as very good and Jaques as disappointing. It was odd that Jaques rated poorly because it is listed as their signature dining experience. Jaques lost out because of several small faults. The much-vaunted bread rolls with Jaques Pepin's name fired into them were tough and heavy, too many of the hot dishes including the onion soup were served far from hot and usually on cold plates and the beef prime rib was far too big, (quite gross by UK standards if not US ones) but tasteless and almost cold on a cold plate as well. My suspicion is that it had been cooked to order but held back too long before being served at table. Toscana in our third place as very good fell just short of excellent because we were seated in an area that was too chilly. We were later moved to a more comfortable table but could still see the former area and other passengers moving from their tables or the ladies looking for shawls or coats to cover bare shoulders. It will have been obvious to the staff that too many passengers were uncomfortable at those tables. The Terrace (buffet) restaurant was a far better experience than on many of the larger ships we have sailed on. There were no surging crowds with overloaded plates. At dinner the tables were set with table cloths and linen napkins, food locations were uncrowded and the staff would carry your choice to the table. This was a port-intense cruise, one every day. However, on day four poor weather forced the cancellation of the day in Saint Tropez where landing is by tender and the ship sailed out into the Mediterranean to find fine sunny conditions. Most on board probably enjoyed the unscheduled sea day. We took no Oceania tours. They are too expensive but if you have done your homework you know this and we are well enough experienced to organize our own. I did not subscribe to the ship's internet service. Cafes in every port have WiFi where you can download everything you want for the price of a cup of coffee but our third guest had an internet package that frustrated him on a daily basis. Service was unavailable for two days and too slow to download his newspaper on the others. Sitting in the Executive Lounge on one of my infrequent visits I could overhear the concierge receiving one internet complaint after another and deflecting these with improbable excuses. Compensation for lost and inadequate service was not on offer. With days ashore followed by fine dining we did not have time to see what the entertainment on offer was like. I did notice that the bars were fairly quiet most of the time and nowhere on board was ever crowded even though the ship was at full capacity. We had a package that included gratuities and premium alcohol service. The choice of wines and spirits was extensive and there were some fine quality wines on the list so there was never the need to order from the extended list to get a more drinkable wine. Our stateroom account at the end of the cruise was for $35. I have only one suggested improvement. Hot food should be served on hot plates. Overall we would rate this as a very satisfactory week. Oceania run a tight ship and deliver a product to be proud of.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We had a nice trip and found the Oceania Marina ship not as nice as we anticipated. We tried each of the four restaurants and was extremely unhappy with the Polo Grill when our Lobster was served under-cooked. It was sent back but at that ... Read More
We had a nice trip and found the Oceania Marina ship not as nice as we anticipated. We tried each of the four restaurants and was extremely unhappy with the Polo Grill when our Lobster was served under-cooked. It was sent back but at that point my husband was already done eating his dinner and my appetite was long gone. This should never happen at any restaurant. We found the excursions to be wonderful, fun, and informative and it is worth purchasing the unlimited excursion package to see what you want with a wide variety of choices. The excursions were not too long which left you time to rest later in the day. We upgraded our room for $100 per person and have to wonder why I did. Our room was in terrible shape, lacking in regular maintenance, stained carpet and sofa, bed duster tattered, ceiling panels ready to fall down, and one side of the double bed well worn where I almost ended up on the floor by morning, bathtub in desperate need of caulking. Overall, the room looked old and worn and not elegant in any way. We ordered room service for breakfast each morning while we got ready for our daily outings. The room service was good and always arrived on time and they even called when they were on their way with it. The wait staff was excellent, always greeting you with a smile. They worked hard to make you comfortable. The ship's evening shows were not headliners and could use some expert consulting work. There were a few excellent dancers and singers but overall the shows were low class and not worth writing about. I took a drawing class on board each day which was fun and the instructor Noel Saurez was excellent and highly motivated. Now that I did my first still life drawing I may even do some more with the knowledge he shared he inspired me to move forward in this medium of art. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze and very well organized. No lines at all, everything ran on time and they took the stress away when not knowing what to do or where to go.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We had an overall nice experience with Oceania Marina , although we did find there were certain areas fell below our expectations. .Embarkation and Disembarkation were much quicker and smoother than our previous experience with the larger ... Read More
We had an overall nice experience with Oceania Marina , although we did find there were certain areas fell below our expectations. .Embarkation and Disembarkation were much quicker and smoother than our previous experience with the larger cruiseships. Upon checking at noon we were told our cabin number as we booked a guaranteed cabin verandah) and it wouldnt be ready until 3 pm , this was a bit late compared to our last experience with Celebrity and Princess. Also since no stateroom number was printed on the luggage tag provided by Oceania , it turned out that our luggage only arrived in full by 430pm , whereas it were sitting outside our cabin with Celebrity and Princess after we had checked in in noon time. Also normally you will get to meet your maid on embarkation day who would show up to greet you, but not on Oceania. Nevertheless we understood it was extremely busy hours for housekeeping staff. Our stateroom was generally better than the other two cruise lines we tried before , given all were balcony cabin.Facilities in the room were same as what we learned in Oceania website such as heavenly plush bedding , spacious bathroom and mini bar filled with free soft drinks and soda water Prior to joining this cruise my expectation is service level from Oceania will be higher than my previous experience with the larger cruiseship , however this was not the case from our encounter with personnels on Reception Desk , Destination Desk or Dining Reservation Desk. Somehow the staff were simply there to answer your question but you wouldnt feel their willngness to help at all. For example when we tried to make reservation on specialty dining , it was a totally frustrating experience as like many other fellow passengers we tried to book a few times and everytime we were turned down ,the reason given by the Dining Reservation Desk was some others guests had not signed up to try ,however throughout the cruise I also overheard many fellow passenger were not happy with this booking system, I actually had sympathy with the Dining Reservation Desk fellow as it was not easy to deal with so many upset faces everyday. While in Grand Dining Room and Terrace Cafe food quality was definitely the best we had so far, nevertheless except a few , most servicing staff failed to show their passion and barely had smile on their faces, this fell short of the kind of sevice standard one expect in any other 4.5 star or above cruiseship . Also while most review had a high rating for Jacques and Red Ginger, we found both the ambience /decor of restaurant and food presentation not quite as good as the other specailty restaurants in our previous cruises. Polo Grill was good , Tuscany was okay. One particular criticism I had on this cruise was the shuttle arrangement in Dubronik. We went back to the pick up point to line up 3 hours before boarding time, however unlike another cruise line no designated person were there to maintain the order. Meanwhile shuttle buses from other cruiseship (Cunard)arrrived one after another, their fellow passengers were assisted by designated person to board the bus. we had waited for over 30 minutes and still no bus arrived , the line was not a line anymore as more fellow passengers arrived and joined the queue randomly, finally when bus arrived after 40 minutes or so, people started to rush in front and it became a complete chaos, pushing and yelling were seen and it was not nice. We thought this could be avoided if Oceania had been more proactive in maintaining a good shuttle service. A lot of comments on Oceania excursion fare had been published, We didnt know how well those excursion got sold as we did most excursion on our own ,most cruise line made money on excursion so if one wanted to save money he had to do his homework. Nevertheless quite a few fellow passengers we talked to expressed the excursion fares were too expensive. Similary ,last cruise we disembarked in Venice we compared the coach transfer charges to airport between the two cruse lines, there was a significant difference in which one would have to pay a lot more on Oceania term. Once again one had to do his homework. Finally ,We were particularly pleased with disembarkation as Oceania had deployed quite a few staff to assist guests in the luggage area as well as outside the cruise terminal.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We just returned from a 10 day Mediterranean Cruise aboard the Marina. The overall cruise was great, but traveling on Oceania before, there were some areas of disappointment we experienced on this ship compared to our last voyage on the ... Read More
We just returned from a 10 day Mediterranean Cruise aboard the Marina. The overall cruise was great, but traveling on Oceania before, there were some areas of disappointment we experienced on this ship compared to our last voyage on the Regatta. I would first like to start off saying the ship is beautiful. The staterooms are well appointed, the bathrooms wonderful and spacious with bathtubs and a separate shower, the beds plush and comfortable, and nice size balcony with the ability to open so we can share the balcony with friends in the adjacent cabin. Our cabin steward Jonathan was fantastic as was room service. The public areas are beautifully decorated from the Lalique crystal to the custom furnishings and the Murano glassing lighting. The spa was very nice, tranquil and serene and had a great massage by Dina. The specialty restaurants were great, and the service at Chez Jaques was perfection. In all of the food venues the food was excellent, but the atmosphere and service of the specialty restaurants were far superior then the main dining room or upstairs Terrace Café. The cooking classes are great, if you get a chance book one. Our previous cruise on Regatta was an incredible trip and we couldn't wait to come back on another Oceania cruise and we were excited to sail on their new ship. This was our 25th cruise and we have sailed on everything from small luxury ships to the mega ships. We prefer the intimacy, the personal touch, and higher level of service of the smaller ships and was one of the reasons we loved Oceania so much. The intimacy, the personal touch, and higher level of service was just not there on Marina. The ship felt huge and more then 1250 passengers. The crew was not overall happy and not very service oriented. We booked a concierge cabin and this concierge service was the major disappointment of the voyage. Michelle was the concierge for the concierge balcony cabins and not only was she non-accomidating, but rude. We left multiple messages without a return call. On day 4 we called the front reception desk and let them know of the issue. Only after reception emailed Michelle did she finally call back and was very unpleasant. She did not assist with any requests of dining reservations and told me to call dining reservations myself or go to each specialty restaurant and check in with each maitre d. What is the point for paying extra if they do absolutely nothing and give a bad attitude. Do not pay the extra for these class of balconies, as there is no extra service to justify the cost. The tender service was a complete disaster and so unorganized it took hours to get passengers off the ship while we were docked in Sorrento. It took 3 hours of waiting. They did not run enough tenders and were calling the paid ship excursions and allow them to disembark while most of the passengers who did not book an excursion wait until the very end and waste most of the day and miss the opportunity to go to Capri and miss prearranged tours booked on own and not through the ship. One of the major reasons to book this cruise was because of the ports and nothing is more frustrating then being stuck on a ship and know you are missing a beautiful day. Oceania cannot handle the amount of passengers for tender service on this ship and should either figure it out from the larger ships and their policies and run more tenders or only go to destinations where they can dock and not tender in to port. Shore excursions were very overpriced and better off booking on your own. Bigger is not always Better and for Oceania this seems to be true for the Marina in comparison of their smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
ARE OCEANIA MARINA & CRYSTAL SYMPHONY UNLIKELY COMPARISON? My husband and I love cruising. We have been fortunate to have cruised with Carnival, Princess, Celebrity, Azamara, Royal Caribbean, HAL, Paul Gauguin. And in 2012, we ... Read More
ARE OCEANIA MARINA & CRYSTAL SYMPHONY UNLIKELY COMPARISON? My husband and I love cruising. We have been fortunate to have cruised with Carnival, Princess, Celebrity, Azamara, Royal Caribbean, HAL, Paul Gauguin. And in 2012, we added Regent Seven Seas Voyageur in April, Crystal Symphony in October (with Hurricane Sandy), and Oceania Marina in November. Even though this review contains comparison of Oceania Marina to Crystal Symphony, the review emphasis will be more on Oceania Marina. (reviews on RSSC and Crystal Symphony have been posted.) Before embarking on these cruises, I read CC reviews. I wanted to get a sense of what each line meant to their fans, why they are fans of their cruise line. I am amazed fans for both lines are equally passionate, and extremely loyal. Maybe it is not 'proper' to compare these 2 cruise lines; they are not of the same class? Oceania is categorized as a premium line, edging up to luxury, where Crystal is a all-inclusive luxury line. Since we cruised these 2 lines almost back to back, and these 2 lines have been much anticipated, we felt we naturally compared the 2. To travelers like us, we view luxury and premium in terms of value for our dollar. It is in this line of thinking that we rule out Regent Seven Seas as a comparison, and focus on Crystal Symphony and Oceania Marina instead. For our money, we would choose between Oceania and Crystal. And the reasons are the following: FOOD We placed food first and foremost, ultra important part of cruising. And our expectations were high for both lines. For us, quality, taste, "local" ingredients, are valued more than the "ambience" of the dining environment. I confess we have choosy and demanding tastebuds, very spoiled in the food department. Both Crystal and Oceania rate high in our book. Due to the ship size, Marina offers 4 specialty restaurants, at no extra charges: Red Ginger, Polo Grill, Chez Jacques, and Toscana. Crystal Symphony has 2. We were pleasantly surprised Oceania Marina placed high importance on food, and it delivered: Oceania Marina's ingredients, taste, and presentation were topnotch. Crystal cruise has solid and consistent reputation for superb food quality. Red Ginger and Silk Road each has its own distinct character and signature dishes. We love both. That is why we dined in Red Ginger 4 times throughout our 18-day journey. And each time, we ended up ordering the same dishes, which is unusual for me. We often like variety. I think because the 4 visits were spread out during the 18 days, we were able to enjoy the signature "melt-in-your-mouth" miso seabass without getting bored. The other specialty restaurants were wonderful dining experiences. The entrees were rich, (as in calories). It is unfair for me to dislike any because each specialty dining is to be different. And the joy of cruising and be on Marina is enjoy each one for its distinctive difference. The Waves Grill and Terrace cafe are equally wonderful places, for lunch, or dinner a la carte. Variety to choose from. Marina's famous grilled lobster delight many guests. Now coming to dining room. Dining room is a beautiful grand place for elegant meals. We put on our best behaviour in this room! However, after 2 nights dinner in the dining room, my husband and I preferred Terrace Cafe. Terrace Cafe is a great meeting place and a great dining restaurant. Atmosphere is casual, and self-serve. Most of the time, food was plentiful, and prepared quickly. The grill lamb chop was one of my favorite: Perfect portion size, Delicious and grilled right and fast for me! Fresh crab legs, rolled-right-there sushi, hot entrees, theme foods spoiled us guests continuously. I broke many of my own rules about eating on this cruise. I was afraid I developed new 'just-one-more' eating habit. Our body and tastebuds were in withdrawal mode when we were back to our normal life and diet! The following is not to complain, but to explain what didn't work for us: The Main Dining Room. Dinner (any meal in the Main Dining Room) dragged on too long for our liking and digestive process. We like to have our dinner within 2 hours, preferably under 1.5 hour. Not an easy task on MDR; we tried 4 times and consistently slow. Each entree seemed an elaborate Broadway production, with long and uncomfortable pauses in between. The pauses and gaps between the entrees were consistent in dinner, lunch as well as breakfast. I can understand if the crew was co-ordinating among 8 guests on the table. But when there are just the 2 or 4 of us, this waiting became unbearably long. In addition, the food quality suffered. Maybe the entree had to sit and wait for the rest to catch up? The crew took a long time to get or change anything. Breakfast in the dining room is definitely not recommended if you have early disembarkation time! Dinner on Crystal Symphony's main dining room was quite different. It was fixed dining time, at the same table. We thoroughly enjoyed the same table mates, the same waiter, every night. The food, the pace, the tempo, the quality were fabulous. In this regard, I prefer fixed time dining, more consistent food and service. The draw back of fixed time dining is time and table mates. With this itinerary (more sea days), the time was not an issue. And our table mates turned out more times than not to be very pleasant and interesting company! Tea time is a wonderful experience. Both Oceania Marina, and Crystal Symphony orchestrated one spectacular afternoon TEA during our voyage. The elaborate tea event is very different from the normal. Both were Dramatic; Both were Feast for sight, taste, sounds, and touch. And judging from the crowds, and I mean crowds, both were very well-received. In my opinion, they are highly recommended. Both worthy of your time. Do get there early for a spot, for there will be literally not even a standing room. SERVICE As I am writing this review, I am surprised how SERVICE has become no. 2 on my list! I sincerely hope it is not because of age per se! Let's just say, as we "mature", we understand ourselves more. I like to think that service is what helps us get comfortable being us. Yet, service, similar to food, is a matter of opinion, and is largely based on one's past experience and raised expectation level. Coming off Crystal, one cannot help but expect excellent service! As explained in our Crystal review, the encounter with Hurricane heightened our awareness of Crystal's service. We were very impressed how they all worked together to make us guests as comfortable and safe as possible. Even though the voyage on Oceania Marina was less dramatic than hurricane Sandy provided, the service was no less impressive. Generally, we found throughout the voyage, Oceania staff go out of his or her way to accommodate the guest's request. An example: Our luggage was delivered to us, with a broken handle. Our room steward simply took the luggage, no discussion or debate whether the handle was broken to begin with (it wasn't.) or who was to blame (the local luggage handlers? Or Oceania Marina crew?) He took the luggage and returned to us a few days later, with a new handle. It is the personalized touches that stay with us. Michael, a server at Red Ginger, became a familiar face to us. His smiles and positive attitude stay with us, as with other staff onboard. He made us comfortable when we ordered Lobster Pai Thai without the lobster! The servers behind the counters in Terrace Cafe delight us by their enthusiasm, regardless what they were serving. And those serving deserts ever so gently suggest we try just a small piece of everything. On Marina, after 18 days, I do feel like it is one big family! From guests to servers, to concierge to officers, to the captain, we feel like a family on this special journey together. It may be because out of 1200 guests onboard, just over 800 are from North America. One area I did not enjoy was making dining reservations in the specialty restaurants on Marina. I have heard many disgruntle regarding this process. The online reservation, prior to sailing did not work as well as it was intended. By the time we were allowed to make reservations online, not many time slots were available. And because we upgraded to Concierge Class just a week before sailing, we were not able to take advantage of the advance reservations. On the first day onboard, many passengers like us, lined up to make reservations. We all tried to get in those specialty restaurants earlier in the journey rather than the last 4 days to disembarkation. After lining up all the way to the front, I was told I was in the wrong line up. The lineups, to my surprised were separated, according to cabin class, into 4 lines, at different locations. After that first day, after the rush, the reservation process was much more pleasant. They did try to accommodate our additional requests. It is understandable they want to make sure every guest has an opportunity to reserve at least once in each restaurant. I think that is fair. (of course passengers in the special grand suites have their own process, privileges, also understandably.) As we journey on, we find the crew became more relaxed, and we were able to enjoy more of their personality and appreciate their dedication and service. Service is a personal experience and appreciation. My husband thought the service on Marina is comparable to Symphony. I prefer Crystal Symphony. Crystal service was a notch more customized to me. ITINERARY & SHIP ACTIVITIES This was our first transatlantic cruising. We always view this type of itinerary too laid back for us. We like to see as many interesting and new places as possible. And this itinerary included ports we have never been: (Cartegena, Gibraltar, Lanzarote, Canary Island, Santa Cruz of Tenerife, Cape Verde, Salvador, Buzios, and Rio), plus 9 sea days. Yeah, 9 sea days! What do you do on a stretch of sea days? Surprisingly we loved it. I myself was surprised how the sea days were not idle, in fact they were activities-packed! Interesting educational lectures (really enjoyed Kathleen Wulf's presentations on sea explorers), packed photography classes by David Smith of Vancouver, BC (I learned EV and functions I never knew my camera has!); craft classes by Anna Smith; bridge classes; etc. filled most of my days. And these are FREE, no charge. There were other "enrichment" lectures, promoting services on board, one can attend with no obligation to purchase. And of course there were those fee-based activities such as wine tasting, casino, BINGO, etc... There were also special events such as the Ceremony of crossing the Equator, and the huge Country Fair. The participating guests were laughing, along with the crew, engaging in fun activities, celebration, and good time. Marina Oceania's creativity and organizational acumen deserve our applause. My husband and I completely changed our view on transatlantic cruising. Keeping physically active and fit is always a challenge with bounty of gourmet foods. My husband and I and many others find plenty of tracks on upper decks to power walk, to run, or practice yoga. The swimming pool was open and ready for the guests to take advantage of. The indoor yoga classes every morning was always full or over capacity. With limited mats and floor space available, over capacity was not comfortable. Some guests did not know they had to sign up before the class. I was told the process was to sign up every day for the next class. I found out that not everyone has to go through that process. I am not sure why some of us need to do that, and some don't. My recommendation is, ask and sign up on the day of embarkation, if you are interested. Were the classes worth it? The quality was superior than those on bigger ships but do not expect the instructor as a yoga or Pilate expert. I think the classes were worth the time, during those sea days when we are likely to be most temptated. SHIP AMENITIES AND STATEROOMS CONCIERGE CLASS--IS IT WORTH IT TO US? We took the upsell and upgraded to Concierge A3. Our cabin was 9059. We wanted to find out if Concierge class was worth the extra cost. For this itinerary, and for my husband and I, it was not. Let me share why: Even though our suite location was very convenient, right off the stairs and elevators, and in between Deck 5 hub and deck 12+, our cabin size is the same as any balcony staterooms. On Starboard side, this suite did not get much sun, on this itinerary. We did not use the balcony as much as we normally do. I suggest Port side cabins for similar itinerary, if you like sun and heat. The chilled bottle of champagne upon arrival was nice. We don't drink champagne. You can give it away, which we did. The Concierge lounge is a cozy room, staffed to serve non-alcoholic drinks and snacks. We can read many different daily newspapers and current, trendy lifestyle magazines. The oversized sofas and chairs are plush and irresistibly comfy. That may explain why they are often occupied. When there are more than 4 people in the room, it feels crowded to me. With the big screen TV in the center of the room always on, guests discussing politics, (US presidential election looming) and the Concierge assisting guests at the corner, in this tight quarter spending time in this lounge seemed to lose its appeal for us. One main benefit of Concierge class is a Concierge, dedicated to assist with guest requests. I guess we could have used her service more often. Of the 18 days, we used her service once. One of the services she could have helped was making reservations for us in the specialty restaurants. We managed to do that without the Concierge. Concierge class did not help me secure a spot in the popular yoga classes without signing up, before 8am the day before the class. The staff at the Spa reception seemed very reluctant in signing me up for yoga classes. I stopped going after 3 classes. I practiced on my own, on the upper deck. To us, we found we don't use the extra services enough to justify the cost. I am not enthralled with class differentiation outside our staterooms. Should there be segregation in the common areas of the ship? This brings me to a debate I read on CC. One CC (who cruise in penthouse suites only) opposes the "segregation" of classes in common areas on the ship. The viewpoint was that: once we are outside our staterooms, be it penthouse, or inside cabin, we can enjoying the same facilities the ship offers. There are special privileges for those penthouse guests, such as anytime reservations in those specialty restaurants, but once outside their suites, we commoners enjoy the same space as the penthouse guests. That makes sense to me. The opposite view point is that if guests on Penthouse suite pays more, it is reasonable to receive more privileges and space. This may work on those mass market cruiseline, and on those gigantic ships. Cruiselines such as Crystal, Oceania, Paul Gauguin, Silversea, have their own distinctive travelers. They are different. With the limited space these ships offer, it is difficult to allocate more space out of the common areas to a further segregated group. Also, one of priceless joy of our travelling is meeting and appreciating people of different cultures, backgrounds, different beliefs, and yes, different economic classes. To further segregate fellow passengers to different physical locations due to their cabin class tarnish that joy and diminish the harmony we try to emulate. We enjoyed the company of passengers who had inside cabins, as well as those who had grand penthouse suites. I understand the cruise line's effort to increase "value" for guests and thus revenue for the cruiseline. It is a huge and competitive business. Oceania has created a unique fan base, and if the people we encountered on this cruise are representative, I am not sure class segregation is the way to go. Hey, what do I know? I just love cruising, places and people. Interestingly enough, we had an Ocean-view cabin on Crystal. We enjoyed our journey as much as the Concierge balcony in Marina. SPA and FITNESS One of the area exclusive to the Concierge class and above is the spa deck. I admit the comfortable lounge chairs, towels, cold beverages delivered to the chairs were nice touches. However, any space, exclusive or not, it is the people in the space determine the atmosphere and the enjoyment of the space. 2 ladies decided to use the hot tub, chatted away in high-pitched voices, though not deliberately, shattered the serenity of the space. Both my husband and I left after 10 minutes. We went to the pool deck instead. The spa enrichment presentations were a soft sell. (Thank goodness they did not present "How to Lose Weight by EATING!") They intertwined helpful information with self-promotions. And I think they worked. Many guests signed up for spa services after the presentation. What I like both Crystal and Oceania is that the "selling" was subtle. The fashion show, illustrating the wear as well as the jewelry, was entertaining as well as a subtle promotion. I think we will see more of that on cruise ships. WHICH ONE? Crystal or Oceania? Both have fantastic food quality, taste, and presentation. Ship activities, enrichment lecturers, educational classes were stimulating on both. Service standard is high. If I have to choose, I prefer Crystal service, whereas my husband thought Oceania was excellent. If you like to socialize, Oceania is it. We find it extremely easy striking up conversations with fellow guests. We had the largest CC get together I have ever been to. This leads to sharing tours, meals, and making long time friends... If you refer more quiet times, occasional conversation with others, Crystal will be perfect. Mind you, we encountered lovely travelers on both. We enjoy meeting people. Oceania cruise fares are attractive. The included airfares appeal to us Canadians. And when you can get gratuities included, the final total is very attractive. Watch out for the alcohol add ons...(easy to get carried away if used to Crystal's all inclusive.) Crystal, if you take their air offer, there is really nothing else you need to do. Crystal takes care of everything: from airport pick up to the port, and port transportation, etc... or in my case, change of arrangements due to Hurricane Sandy. We need not worry. Crystal took care of everything. Even though I am not a drinker, the All-Inclusive has its appeal. If it was your first time with Oceania, I would try the bigger and newer Riviera or Marina. They offer more amenities than Regatta and Nautica. Oceania has many interesting itinerary to choose from, and many without sea days. If you like active itinerary, Oceania is preferable. Crystal has more sea days because their guests enjoy services onboard. I agree. If I want to be pampered and not worry a thing after I get onboard, I would choose Crystal. In summary, I think it comes down to this: if you have the time and means, try both. And I recommend try at least 10-day voyages. Anything less I feel will not be sufficient time to experience what both cruise ships have to offer. I wish you pleasant voyage which ever cruise line you try. Try Both! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We put together (back-to-back) Oceania's Rome - Rio de Janeiro, Rio - Valparaiso and Valparaiso - Tahiti itineraries. This combination was almost twice as long as our previous longest cruise, but we never got tired of it. It was also ... Read More
We put together (back-to-back) Oceania's Rome - Rio de Janeiro, Rio - Valparaiso and Valparaiso - Tahiti itineraries. This combination was almost twice as long as our previous longest cruise, but we never got tired of it. It was also the first time in 400 days of cruising that we cruised over Christmas and New Year. It wasn't a bad experience! As usual, the food was exceptional... well-prepared, well-presented and served with a flair. We continue to enjoy Oceania's 100% smart casual ambiance, especially when cruising in warm locales. And we have become big fans of "as you like it" dining, with no fixed table assignment. The Marina is a gorgeous ship, well laid-out, with lots of deck space for sunbathing, etc. The public rooms are all comfortable. Bar service, especially during Happy Hour" in the Crows Nest was exceptional. There was a "sameness" to the days' calendars which we found off-putting. We would rather they moved events around rather than have the same event at the same time every day. All-in-all, a great cruise. Dealing with Oceania beforehand was another story. Their computer systems are a disaster, or at least they were at that time. For the past 7 years, we have been alternating back and forth between Oceania and Holland-America (almost 100% Holland-America before that). Although we have to admit that Oceania is clearly a step up from Holland-America, I'm not sure that step is worth the significant additional cost in most cases. Especially since we have so many perks as long-time Holland-America passengers. Which one will we pick next time? It really depends on who has the most appealing itinerary.... or if similar, who has the best "deal!" A comment about Easter Island: This was clearly the highlight of our cruise. If you can get there, DO IT! Our stop was for 2 days which we thought before the cruise was way too long, and the only private excursion we could book was for both days (which we also expected to be way too much). It was NOT. Two days there, with the same local Rapa Nui guide, was the experience of a lifetime. I strongly recommend Easter Island and in particular, Marama Tours. Read Less
Sail Date November 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
Just stepped off the Marina earlier today following 12 days of sheer gastronomic bliss and enough eye candy to fill a lifetime of photo albums. Without previous cruising experience, it was hard to imagine any cruise line meeting, never ... Read More
Just stepped off the Marina earlier today following 12 days of sheer gastronomic bliss and enough eye candy to fill a lifetime of photo albums. Without previous cruising experience, it was hard to imagine any cruise line meeting, never mind exceeding my expectations. After THOROUGH research comparing Oceania, Seabourn and the Celebrity Solstice class ships, the $/day rates, multiple dining venues, smaller ports of call, affiliation with Wine Spectator, and yes...terrific reviews found on Cruise Critic, the Marina quickly became the perfect "toe in the water" cruising experience. A few comments by category... Food: Simply put...spectacular. I heard passengers wih experience on Seabourn, Crystal and Silver Sea give Marina higher marks both in terms of quality and variety. If a tourine of duck foie gras from the kitchen of Jacques Pepin sounds intriguing, then read no further and book now! La Reserve (the co-op effort between Wine Spectator and Oceania) serves 2 separate 7-course tasting menu paired with specifically chosen wines. The venue only holds 24 and easily commands a $75/pp premium to partake. Our 2 dinners here were the highlight of the trip. Wine: I simply must call out the terrific quality and depth of the wine lists as well as the very fair pricing. Accustomed to "expense account" wine prices at dinner, we were pleasantly surprised at the pricing strategy used. We felt as though every bottle had terrific value. The sommelier staff is adeptly led by the cellar master (Craig), and their knowledge and palettes created oenophilic portraits as vivid as murano glass. Service: We stayed at the St. Regis in Rome prior to our departure. I'll keep this simple.... The St. Regis could learn a lot from the Marina team. One day early in the cruise I lost count (after 16) of the number of employees who made eye contact and greeted me. By day 3, Maria (restaurant reservations) knew our last name (among 1100+ guests) and the barristas knew our coffee preferences by heart. Bravo, Oceania! Staterooms: Bigger, more functional and better appointed han most business hotels. The beds are also better than advertised and we slept soundly each and every night. Entertainment: Ok, well, not everyhing can be perfect in this review....otherwise it might become suspect. Oceania needs help here....desperately. Both pop band and Martini Lounge pianist were straiht out of a Saturday Night Live skit. We either had to tune them out, or in a few cases, find other locations to linger. That said, the string quartet was exceptional, and the guest lecturer and artist in residence were inspiring. The management of Oceania and the crew of Marina are dialing in on an extremely compelling product which will no doubt establish lifelong customers who are simply unwilling to sail with anyone else lest they be disappointed. I, for one, fall into that category. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Background Info This was a very special cruise for us; we were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary, which obviously puts us in the age group where you celebrate one of those :) This was the longest cruise we've ever sailed ... Read More
Background Info This was a very special cruise for us; we were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary, which obviously puts us in the age group where you celebrate one of those :) This was the longest cruise we've ever sailed plus our first on Oceania. I, however, have sailed many many times before on many different cruise lines. Hubby has only been on a handful of cruises. Disclaimer: Yes, I work here at Cruise Critic, but this was totally a vacation for us. My opinions do not reflect the view of our company in any way. This was a very port-intensive sailing. 13 ports in 12 days, if you include our embarkation port of Rome. There were no seadays on this sailing. Travel Info We had a direct flight from Newark International to Rome (FCO) which arrived on time at 7:25am. It was a quick pickup of our luggage and we were on our way We spent the better part of the day in Rome sightseeing, and arrived at the port of Civitavecchia at 4 pm. I found check-in very unusual. We were ushered through the port terminal, and directly onto the ship. It was in the Marina Lounge where we were officially "checked into" our cruise and received our Oceania World card. Stateroom We were in stateroom 10081, a Concierge category verandah on Deck 10. This location was very close to the aft elevators, which is my preferred location on ANY ship. I definitely liked the overall styling of the stateroom. The champagne/beige/blue colors paired with the dark woods of the furniture were very soothing and classy. The beds, as reported by many, were extremely comfortable. I also thought the couch in the room was the most comfortable seating on board this ship for a short person. Ditto the desk chair. (If I could have dragged that desk chair everywhere I'd be one happy camper. More about being a short person on Marina later). There was plenty of storage for our clothing (and I'm an overpacker), but mostly because I choose to hang the majority of what we wear. The drawers in the desk area are really useless for clothing other than socks etc. They are not deep enough or they don't pull out far enough. Plus, the drawers near the closet must be for the Jolly Green Giant -- the top two (and the safe as well) required my husband to access. (Again, more about being a short person on Marina later in this review.) The bathroom is everything you've heard. Marble everywhere, spacious, lovely tub and amenities. Nice fixtures in the shower -- but don't dare drop anything! You'll have to open the door to be able to bend down! Also, there was discussion on board about an outlet in the bathroom. There is one -- simply remove the nightlight. The bathroom gets very foggy during a hot shower. If there was a fan we were never able to locate the switch to turn it on. We used our balcony a great deal on this sailing. The weather was just lovely (12 days of warm sunshine -- I kid you not). Evenings were balmy; the balcony furniture is extremely comfortable. Other amenities: Hairdryer, shoeshine kit, shoehorn, sewing kit, umbrella (golf sized), robes, slippers, "pashmina-type" shawl, mini-bar, Bvlgari soaps, shampoos and lotions, shower cap, "amenity kit", bath salts, clock, safe, and laptop (which never worked once on this sailing). The Ship One word: stunningly beautiful. OK, that's two words and this ship deserves that and much more. I loved the colors, the opulence and the overall "feel" of just about every venue on board. From the decor in the specialty restaurants right down to the interior of the elevators --you can see the attention to detail in selection of products, fabrics and furnishings. The Concierge Lounge on Deck 9 was especially lovely -- very traditional and bright. You'd swear there was outside natural sunlight here! I know the ship is only a few months old, but that's more than enough time for disrepair to set in but you won't find it here! Go ahead -- poke around drapes (a notorious spot for collection of dust and such) -- you'll find nothing. No spills on the carpeting outside the Terrace Cafe, not a one. They are taking spectacular care of this vessel. One of my favorite places was the outdoor seating area of the Terrace Cafe. I absolutely love to eat outside on cruise ships! The weather was just perfect for this on our sailing -- even at night. Warm, balmy and calm. The Service Very friendly and attentive staff the majority of the time, no matter what you ask for or where you are, with one exception I'll get to shortly. I'll admit to being a bit "gunshy" in the Terrace Cafe with regard to the attention lavished on guests. There are so many staffers there -- perhaps just over the top a bit -- I made a game of catching the waiters watching so closely for that last morsel to enter your mouth so they can take your plate! I quickly became accustomed to not serving myself at the buffet but still would rather take my own portions. Our stateroom attendants were very thorough and any request was quickly accomplished. Mind you, we aren't very needy cruisers at all. I think the only thing we asked for was a lighter blanket for the bed! Still they were very pleasant all the time. The one exception was the Destination Services staff. They seemed to disappear when port disembarkation started -- and seemed disinterested whenever asked any question. It really was a mystery, because the entire ship's personnel is totally the opposite! Special note about the young gentleman who works in the Internet café. He has the patience of a saint. The internet service was pretty dismal -- wifi never worked in the staterooms or anywhere else on board that I tried. This young man -- faced with passengers who were annoyed by the slow access PLUS many of them seemed to be in the early stages of a learning curve re: all things email or computer -- handled it all with a smile and grace. I think expectations regarding internet speed could be clarified. I overhead more than one passenger state they were promised 'high-speed internet access". That just doesn't exist on any cruise line, and I tried to find one word of promotional material that states as such but could not, so there's a bit of misinformation out there somewhere! A funny service conversation I overhead: "I'm irritated that they haven't replaced the lotion in my bath. My skin is VERY dry and I need it." Hmm. A couple of thoughts ran through my mind, I'll let you let them run through yours! Dining I'll start off by saying we are not main dining room types. We did venture in twice -- once for regular dinner service and again for their Grand Brunch. The brunch started at 9am, and I could not find one egg on the buffet. There were lots of fishy-salad creations and other items not normally associated with a brunch. Based on my experiences elsewhere on the ship, I really thought I'd find staff making fresh waffles, omelets, eggs, etc. If you wanted any of that, you had to order them off the menu. I enjoyed what I ate in the MDR but once was enough. The Terrace Cafe, and Waves Grill, are simply outstanding venues. Best I've ever experienced on a cruise line. Standouts in the Terrace Cafe: handmade sushi, nightly cheese selections, hot appetizers, freshly made ice cream and of course the grill area in Terrace Cafe. We loved being able to select just about any type of meat or the nightly fish and have it cooked to our specifications. My husband really enjoyed the lamb chops and ordered them many nights. Lobster tails, swordfish, grilled shrimp and filet mignon (medium please!) were my favorites. Another fave is the nightly pasta creation, made fresh while you wait. I think most popular was the night they had fresh-carved turkey with all the fixings. Turkey after turkey came out -- and it was one of the few times there was a line at the carving station. It was simple, perfectly-cooked, delicious food that I think everyone appreciated after being on board for 9 days or so! I also have to rave about Waves Grill. The sandwiches, the burgers, the steak fries -- all cooked to order -- outstanding! You choose a numbered table, and go up and place your order. While you are waiting for your food to be delivered, you can start with a small, freshly made salad. Perfect! This venue was very popular. We loved it. Hubby and I argue over which is the best sandwich -- the Cubano or the Reuben. Try them both! The Specialty Dining Venues We tried three of them: Toscano, Polo Grill and Red Ginger. I really enjoyed Toscano, hubby liked Red Ginger. The "surprises" during the Red Ginger service makes it a "must". Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well for our Red Ginger dinner -- hubby made up for it though! The miso-glazed swordfish was excellent, I ordered the Lobster Pad Thai and it was tasty -- hubby finished it for me. The breads and olive oil starters in Toscano are right up my alley. The minestrone soup tasted just like my grandfather used to make (he was an Italian cook). We both shared the lasagna. Great meal! Polo Grill reminded me of an upscale steak house. All meats were prepared as ordered, and the service was excellent -- in all venues. Activities & Entertainment Since every single day was a port day, we really didn't have any time for daytime activities, and to be truthful we were so tired after dinner -- we opted for a stroll on board before retiring and that was it. We often heard the "band" playing on deck at times. On a beautiful sunny day by the pool, they were playing -- When the Saints Come Marching In -- at least three times in a row. A nice touch were the outdoor movies set up by the pool, fresh popcorn and all! One night, it was Mama Mia (Corfu night I believe) On another night -- The Godfather -- while we were in Sicily. The Culinary Center I booked this for myself. The class I took was called 'Pizza With a Twist". It was very popular, and "standing room only" for my class. They did let some people who weren't able to book to just observe. If they would have only just observed, it would have been appreciated. They were noisy and getting in our way. The culinary center, by the way, Is well-equipped and very nice. Stainless and granite throughout. Excellent sound system, etc. I was looking forward to this class -- I've always want to learn how to make pizza dough! But, that wasn't to be. We were all given pre-made dough. And then were coached through the steps to make three different kinds of pizza. Everything was pre-chopped for us -- there was no cooking or food preparation involved. Once we rolled out our pre-made dough, we queued up and put on the toppings. They took the mini-pizzas from us, and baked them. Everything came out overcooked, for the most part. Still, it was fun and I'd try it again. Shops & Casino The shops are very nice with a great selection of high end goods. Not your typical cruise trinkets, although I was able to buy a mug for my son and a magnet for my collection. I almost think I caught a slight eyeroll from the staffer when I brought up my purchases! It was funny! We walked through the casino a few times but did not make a deposit on this trip. I did enjoy the look and feel, very tasteful! Miscellaneous Demographics - The demographics on this cruise were different than any other I've ever experienced: very upscale and full of folks who have the time to sail for 12+ days and the pocketbook to pay for it! We met some great people and to be honest we truly enjoyed the low-key atmosphere on board. There were many many nationalities -- lots of foreign languages being spoken. Oceania does a great job with their onboard communications It did take me awhile to figure out that you needed to put the TV on a certain channel in order to listen in on the daily announcements from the Cruise Director and Captain! We kept sticking our heads out into the hallway! Seating/Sofas/Chairs -- Whomever selected the seating on board must be REALLY tall. With the exception of the seating in our stateroom, every venue had very uncomfortable chairs for short people. I'm 5 feet tall (ok, I'm lying I'm actually a bit shorter than that), and if I sat back on any of these chairs my feet would be sticking out straight in front of me. If I kept my feet on the floor, I'd be a foot away from the back of the chair. Internet Cafe -- Because of my job, I often find myself in the Internet Cafe. As I mentioned, the WiFi just didn't work, perhaps the ship is just too well-built! I dragged my iPad around with me everywhere for the first day or so, and kept trying to access from different areas on the ship. The connection in the cafe is just like most cruise ships, is very very slow. And very expensive. One thing I noticed is that they have links to online "communities" on their portal -- I'd like to suggest they include Cruise Critic! (hint hint). Resort Casual -- This is a hit, especially with my husband. I didn't miss formal night(s) at all. Everyone dressed very nicely on this ship, more like what you'd wear to an upscale country club. Many men wore jackets to dinner in the dining venues; I saw virtually no jeans at dinner anywhere. A Word About Our Roll Call I'm probably biased but one of the best things about Cruise Critic is our ROLL CALL feature on the message boards, where you can meet your fellow cruisers before you sail -- and perhaps set up a meeting on board or maybe even share a few shore excursions. We met some great Cruise Critic members on board this sailing, and did, in fact, end up sharing some shore excursions with them. This made all the difference in our cruising experience; both on board and on land. I really recommend that everyone participate in your ship's ROLL CALL for your sailing; you'll be glad you did! Summary We absolutely loved our cruise on Oceania Marina! She's a show-stopper! My husband still talks about the ship, and that almost never happens. As I mentioned, he's been on a few cruises, but never has he said he'd like to go on a specific ship, and he has said that numerous times about Marina! So, ok, I may have picked on the chairs a teeny bit (and for good measure I had to add my vote on the small showers) but really -- you'd have to with a microscope to find something to REALLY complain about. The food, the service, the ship, the ambiance -- almost perfect in every way. I would sail on Oceania again in a heartbeat -- maybe try one of the smaller ships. Hubby says he'd like to sail Riviera; who wouldn't! The only thing I would change about this cruise would be to add a seaday or two, so that we could have time to relax and experience all this fantastic ship has to offer! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
I planned this cruise one year prior to our departure. I saw the add in the Register travel section and thought it would be great to cruise on a new ship. We started in Rome for 4 nights and stayed at a very nice small hotel called the ... Read More
I planned this cruise one year prior to our departure. I saw the add in the Register travel section and thought it would be great to cruise on a new ship. We started in Rome for 4 nights and stayed at a very nice small hotel called the Mascagni near the train station. We decided to take the train to the port and it was very easy and very affordable. I booked an inside room because we would be in port every day so I thought we would be out most of the day. I wish I would of booked at least an outside cabin. The inside room was very nice but I prefer to be able to look outside and a balcony room is the best. The only complaint that I have with the inside room is that the shower is very small. The other rooms come with a bath tub also. The room had a lot of storage space and everything you need to be comfortable. The bed was wonderful!The ship is just beautiful! The decorations are very elegant and the sitting/lounge areas were plentiful. I never felt crowded on the ship and there were always lots of places to sit and visit. I had meet about 14 couples or so on cruise critic prior to our departure so we had meet several times for lunch and get togethers. It was fun running into many of the couples and having dinner together and we did many shore excursions with some of our new friends. I highly recommend going to the roll call on this site.The shore excursions that I booked through Oceania were okay. I will not book through them again for excursions. I prefer to go with a small group and book our own privately. The cost is much less and the quality is much better.The food was outstanding! I loved all the specialty restaurants. The Polo was our favorite, but they were all special in their own way. The Terrace cafe was very nice for breakfast and we did eat dinner there one night and it was very good too. I prefer to have service than the buffet style dining. The Waves was very good for lunch and the ice cream and milk shakes were yummy. You really need to loose about 5 pounds before you go onto the Marina for a cruise. The service was wonderful. I have not complaints on the food and selection and service.We had met some of our friends from cruise critic in the Horizons lounge before dinner for cocktails. The service was a little slow at times. We did have several free cocktail hours provided by the ship that was a nice touch. The drinks were reasonable priced and I liked being able to bring some wine on the ship from some of our ports to enjoy in our cabin or at dinner with a corkage fee. My overall experience was wonderful on the Marina. My only thought would be that next time I would like some sea days to enjoy the ship. It is so wonderful but we did not have enough time on the ship to take advantage of all the services she provides. I would like a cruise that had more over night stays in port. I felt like I did not get enough time on shore or on the ship. It is a good way to travel to see where you would like to go again and spend more time. I think we were one of the youngest couples on the ship. We are in our late forties to early fifties. It is for sure an older cliental. I will for sure travel on Oceania again in the future. I really can't imagine it being any better on any other cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
As first-time cruisers, we chose a ship and line recommended by friends. The Marina is a new ship with penthouses that seemed to offer plenty of room, so we chose that. Our stateroom was large and very comfortable, with a big verandah ... Read More
As first-time cruisers, we chose a ship and line recommended by friends. The Marina is a new ship with penthouses that seemed to offer plenty of room, so we chose that. Our stateroom was large and very comfortable, with a big verandah and two desk spaces on a counter that stretched the length of the room. It also had a huge walk-in closet and very well designed, large bathroom. Our only regret was that we chose a stateroom at the very front of the ship (10002) and the view from our verandah was partially obstructed by a large white lighting fixture. Also, we were right under the bridge which was a bit intrusive. We had some rough seas and they were more apparent at the front of the ship than in the middle.Service was excellent in all areas: stewardess, butler, dining room, computer center, reception. The food, as we had heard, was really wonderful, on par with restaurants in San Francisco, near where we live, especially the four specialty restaurants. Although there was nightly entertainment and a casino, we didn't participate, but we heard others compliment them.Embarkation couldn't have been smoother, and our stateroom was ready soon after we boarded. In the meantime, lunch was served in two of the restaurants. Our bags arrived promptly. Disembarkation was equally efficient in Venice.We did not take any of the Oceania shore excursions, except the bus ride to Florence from the port of Livorno. We explored the ports on our own.As first-timers, we found we felt constrained by the schedule of ship life: a certain time of day to be back onboard, for example. There is no time to go into places in-depth. You get a quick look at highlights, if you've done your homework, and then it's back to the ship, with all its glitz and service.One of the surprises--and this may not apply to the older and smaller Oceania ships--is that the "country club" attire requirement for dinner is interpreted to by some to be pretty dressy, to the point of long dresses for some of the women. Men wear golf shirts or whatever, but women tend to dress up more than I expected. In a way, I felt as though I were being coaxed into a lifestyle I wasn't really comfortable with, between the intense level of service and the affluence of other cruisers. It's a matter of personal preference.The sommeliers really push bottles of wine at lunch and dinner, and I didn't see one bottle for under $50; you are able to have it at subsequent meals, though. The boutiques onboard are high-end, the wireless charges ridiculously high, but overall, if you like cruising, you'd probably really enjoy this ship. It's beautiful, new, staffed by young, enthusiastic staff from around the world, whom I really enjoyed.By the way, our cruise missed two ports: Amalfi and Taormina, because those were "tender" ports and the sea was rough. This was a big disappointment. I'd advise people to check on how many "tender" ports there are on a given cruise: we had three and missed two because of bad weather. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Our first experience with Oceania was at the Insignia. Then we missed the main attraction of the journey and the officers did not tell the truth about the reasons. See the review.Nevertheless we decided to try this company once more. This ... Read More
Our first experience with Oceania was at the Insignia. Then we missed the main attraction of the journey and the officers did not tell the truth about the reasons. See the review.Nevertheless we decided to try this company once more. This time a 10-day cruise in the Mediterranean. This time even 2 ports were canceled because of so called "swells". Again doubts if this was really necessary.We made two very nice excursions: Saint Paul and Lucca. The so called walking tours are much too expensive and you can easily do them on your own.Venice, Florence and Dubrovnik are so beautiful.....Then the ship Marina:The atrium and other public rooms are more beautiful and less kitsch than at other ships. Alas the cabin was smaller then expected. Also the beds are too small, but the quality is excellent. The bathroom is big enough, but the big bathtub takes too much room. Therefore the showerstall is too narrow.Breakfast and lunch are surely below standard level for xxxx-ships. Fresh orange-juice it not standard and fresh brown bread not available at breakfast.Very little variation at lunch and dinner. Quality of food in the diningroom is just poor. It's much better at the specialty restaurants, but then often served too fast and/or too cold.Oceania at its best moments can be compared to Azamara. The difference is that on Azamara this level is standard.Ths cruise-director was good, especially when compared to the irritating W.Aames on Insignia, who also kept back important information about the schedule of the ship.All together: I would not advise anybody to choose Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Marina Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 1.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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