2 Oceania Marina Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to South Pacific from Santiago (Valparaiso)

First time on Oceania but about 25 cruises under our belt ranging from Azamara, Celebrity, Princess, etc. We had really looked forward to this cruise based on the itinerary (Tahiti) and the Oceania's reputation for excellent food. ... Read More
First time on Oceania but about 25 cruises under our belt ranging from Azamara, Celebrity, Princess, etc. We had really looked forward to this cruise based on the itinerary (Tahiti) and the Oceania's reputation for excellent food. Unfortunately we found the menus to be repetitive, not too extensive and in many cases just plain mediocre. Indeed, we have experienced better food and choices on many other cruise lines. This was unfortunate as we are our lovers of good food and discerning but not snobbish critics. Even the specialty restaurants weren't that special, with a lot of too rich and over salted items. The steaks in all venues were not the prime one would expect and the lobster, fish and shrimp was usually stringy and either under or overcooked. I guess Jacques was the best but after our 4th visit there, we'd had enough. The Terrace is a nice alternative dining area but again the food choices were skimpy and on occasion quite poorly prepared. Top side by the pool is Waves which could always be counted on for a decent Kobe beef hamburger. On the other hand, the Marina is a classy, perfectly sized, clean and comfortable ship with large veranda cabins. Our only complaint was that, although only a few steps to the elevator and stairs, we were close to a service door that was constantly slamming shut at all hours. We pasted a notice on the offending door (that came in the daily activity sheet warning passengers be considerate about slamming doors), spoke nicely to a steward and finally mentioned the problem in a nice way to the Reception staff, all to no avail. Not the biggest problem. We arranged all our own excursions prior to sailing and as so many others have pointed out, these were better and much less expensive than the ship tours. Some highlights of the cruise include the daily High Tea accompanied by a talented string quartet and an accomplished concert pianist who played nightly in the Martini Lounge (and on one night, at his own special concert). We also found the crew to be the most friendly, capable, and genuinely happy group we've ever had the pleasure of serving us, from the stateroom staff to waiters and even deck hands, all smiling and saying hello. Our travel agent found a special deal for this cruise so everything considered, it was a very good time, especially meeting so many well traveled cruisers from so many different countries. Surprised though that for such a nice cruise line, we found many passengers very poorly, evenly sloppily dressed, and of course there are the ubiquitous clods who wear hats in the dining rooms. But because of the food issue which we said was a major surprise and disappointment for us, we're not sure we'd travel on this ship again. Oceania's recent involvement with Norwegian Cruise Line may be indicative of possibly lower standards in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
The Marina is a beautiful ship with large open areas. Even when the ship is completely full, as it was for us, you do not feel crowded anywhere. On the top of the ship is a running track and below it and above the pool another walking ... Read More
The Marina is a beautiful ship with large open areas. Even when the ship is completely full, as it was for us, you do not feel crowded anywhere. On the top of the ship is a running track and below it and above the pool another walking area. Unfortunately, both are without cover and provide the only options for walking outside since there is no promenade deck on this ship. Also, on the top deck you will find an 18 hole putting course, a golf driving net and a very nice coquet and shuffleboard courts. The showroom is lovely, but aside from 4 good ship company singers, the shows were not exceptional. The ship has one pool which could be larger for the number of passengers Marina carries, 1200. Unfortunately for us, this ship had no photo department nor any photographers to take pictures other than your own. Had it not been for a crew member loaning us a camera cord, we might have been very restricted in the number of digital pictures we could take and not download to our laptop. There are seven different restaurants; five are specialty which require reservations. Only one of the five, La Reserve, requires an additional charge; the rest are included in your cruise fare. The Grand Dining room and Terrace Café are both dine at any time restaurants. The Terrace Café, being the ships buffet restaurant, had a good selection most days and most selections were changed daily except there is little change at breakfast. A good and different experience was his ship's staff serve you at the buffet rather than each passenger serving themselves. We like the fact that several hundred people do not touch serving utensils but instead the ship's staff do with hands in protective gloves. Added to this protection is this ship has more than the usual number of antibacterial dispensers. Of the four specialty restaurants that do not charge extra, the Red Ginger is the only one that is not located on the ship's perimeter; it is an inside restaurant. It, like the other specialty restaurants, is nicely decorated to match the restaurant's theme which in this case is Asian. It is not a Chinese restaurant. Jacques is not a French restaurant either but it does have French dishes on the menu. The Polo Grill has the lamb, steak and some seafood items you would expect. It was very good but the meat was not cooked to order twice. Toscana, the Italian restaurant was great, and like 4 other restaurants on the ship, has many tables for two along the window walls - very romantic. The Grand Dining room was our favorite and had good menu selections almost every day. Service in all restaurants was the best we have had on any ship to date. And we enjoyed the fact that restaurants were not loud; you could even hear the overhead music. One evening we did have a couple of issues in the Grand Dining room, aside from another steak that was not cooked to order. The supervisory staff handled and resolved the problems very quickly and did more than we expected. Again, it was great service. But the food was not to that level. We found the entrées at times with little taste. The bread and deserts were exceptional, however. Oceania charges more than we are accustom to for its mixed drinks, wine by the glass and bottled wine. Sodas and bottled water are free. It also charges a lot more for its excursions vs. Cunard and Princess which were the last two cruises we took this past year before Oceania. The veranda cabin we booked on the seventh floor was a nicest cabin we can remember. It was tastefully decorated and that, combined with a large granite bathroom with tub and shower gave us daily a feeling of space that made our trip more relaxing. We had an exceptional cabin stewardess. Every day our sliding glass door was washed so we could have a good view every day. Unfortunately, upon arriving at the ship on the first day we found that our deck had an obstruction which blocked the view on the lower 14 inches of the railing. We had booked an unobstructed cabin and Oceania assured us in making our booking that it was unobstructed. This was a big issue for us because a few years ago we booked and paid for another Oceania cruise in an unobstructed cabin and when we arrived at the ship found our cabin had 40% of its balcony obstructed by decorative sheet metal. In that case Oceana did nothing for us and we were stuck with a situation. In this cruise Oceana did give us a shipboard credit, but it did not make up for 18 days looking at the obstruction and again we were stuck with it. This really impacted our enjoyment of the trip for again the ship was full and we could not move. The trust factor was lost with Oceania as a result. On this particular cruise we have a few more comments to pass on. Two days out on our 28 day cruise we were told the ship ran out of small US currency. It also did not have Chilean currency so we were in a little trouble for our stop at Easter Island because we had mostly large currency. Next, the ship's store is small for items such as toothpaste and suntan lotion. It was running out of items before we get on our 28 day cruise and we were told that it would not be replenished until the ship reached Sydney Australia; that's several cruises after ours. They had an art company on board providing art auctions on sea days. We purchased a couple of pieces and when we arrived home Oceania called us and said they were refunding our money as it canceled its agreement with the art company. We wish they would have advised us of this while we were on ship. On a positive note, there was a lot of tendering off the ship during our stops in the islands. The service was very well handled, efficient and safety was always the first order of business. From our perspective, Oceania promotes itself as a luxury cruise line and prices its cruises accordingly. During our cruise the ship's staff tried very hard to measure up to a luxury line but Oceania is not there yet. Although the service and food were good, the price for the cruise and the higher costs for alcoholic beverages and excursions did not provide good value compared to other cruise lines taken recently.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
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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