Sail Date: April 2019
Husband's Big 80 birthday - chose Oceania as previous experience on Riviera was very good. Love our food. Very nice itinerary, so we thought, out of Southampton finishing up in Barcelona. Ship - very similar to Riviera. ... Read More
Husband's Big 80 birthday - chose Oceania as previous experience on Riviera was very good. Love our food. Very nice itinerary, so we thought, out of Southampton finishing up in Barcelona. Ship - very similar to Riviera. Beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean. We had Penthouse Suite which was excellent. Very good design. Everything worked except WiFi which was dreadful and you could only have one device working (if it did!) at any one time. Cabin staff were excellent - always cleaned and ready for when we returned. Butler was helpful but we don't really use the Butler. Concierge was awful, rude, arrogant, ignorant both to me and about other guests. Overall the food was good as you would expect from the Cruise line that advertises "The best food at sea..." However........service was slow and seemed disorganised in the Grand Dining Room, the buffet area you had to have everything served to you, often not what you really wanted, which slowed down the process. Often plates were taken away before you finished your last mouthful which I hate! It was over busy at times - I think because the Grand Dining Room was certainly not up to standard. When we did go to the GDR for breakfast there were issues. The worst kipper and smoked haddock I have ever seen - so awful we walked out! Speciality restaurants were good but we were not keen on the Italian Restaurant. Polo Grill, Red Ginger and the French restaurant were all good. There was little coordination between the booking systems and the actual restaurants. Wine was very expensive. The added on gratuities plus another Spanish tax made it a ridiculous price. Entertainment was mixed - some excellent and some awful. Art loft..... well I've never seen such awful examples of a tutors work. The sessions were ok but overcrowded and chaotic. The Culinary Centre was good. Fun and informative . The Special Dining in Prive was an experience, interesting and the food delicious. There were some booking issues for other guests though - they were not happy! Gym was good, classes limited. Front Spa area not serviced, loungers uncomfortable, jacuzzi far too hot on one occasion and outside shower not working. Ports were very interesting - we do not do Ships excursions as we prefer to be independent. Transfers to the ship however were poor in a number of the ports and trying to get accurate info difficult. This did cause us issues as often long waits for buses without any seated waiting areas - my husband cannot stand for long. Some very long unnecessary walks off the ship into the port - little consideration for anyone with any disability. Other Cruise lines seem to have far better in port service. We had a number of Public Holiday days in ports which meant access to attractions was limited and shops closed. The 2 nights in Bordeaux was not 2 nights as they moved the ship on the second day making any independent excursions very difficult especially as it was a public holiday. We saw the Captain once during the whole cruise. He did not attend his drinks party nor did he attend the Thank you parade for the staff. Poor! Would we travel with Oceania again?. Sadly I very much doubt it. I think if we go 6 star again we will try another company. The rudeness of the Concierge was unacceptable. Oh and they got our final account wrong... so beware - we have never had that on a cruise before they are normally spot on! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I really tried to enjoy Marina she comes with a great reputation however overall I was disappointed. 1. The decor is very dated I know she was refurbished only a couple of years ago, but why make her look so dull, old fashioned and ... Read More
I really tried to enjoy Marina she comes with a great reputation however overall I was disappointed. 1. The decor is very dated I know she was refurbished only a couple of years ago, but why make her look so dull, old fashioned and over-done? 2.The enrichment and shore information was non existent. No lectures, no on screen information just an overview in the daily news letter. Every day the local TA would be available on the ship - that's it. 3.We were hoping to dance while on the cruise but we found the band in the horizons lounge to have a repetitive repertoire with a thin sound. They also looked most of the time pretty disinterested. 4.The shuttle buses were a disaster in most ports. Long queues, long waits, lots of frustrated guests, us included. Lots of statements that the shuttle buses are provided by the local authorities and Oceania takes no responsibility. It seems to me that if Oceania advertise that their ship is visiting a locatation then they should make it their business to ensure their guests are able to get there. 5. In in room information services whilst providing next to no information about the ports spend a lot of time advertising (paid) services at the spa, the shops. 6. We went to a couple of the stage productions and they were really good. The dancing music and singing were terrific. Other nights we would walk in to see what was playing and walk out again disappointed. 7 The food was overall of a high standard in the buffet restaurant. The wines offered on the most part were very good also. 8. The coffee in Barista's is terrible.I wouldn't care so much but they make such a big deal about having proper baristas on board 9. Of the specialty restaurants we had one fabulous dinner at Red Ginger, and the second time it was average. The Polo Grill was nothing special, we had a great Italian meal In Toscano however Jacques was a real disappointment. Was that dry chicken breast with thickened mushroom sauce meant to be coq au vin? I question the (french) waiter and he agreed with me and then said: "what can I say, the chef is Canadian!" 10. The staff everywhere on this ship are terrific, friendly, nothing too much trouble 11. Internet was painfully slow (2KB a sec) and only allowed one device at a time per cabin Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We have been to London many times, but have not been around the British Isles very much. We read the reviews and looked at the brochures and felt we would have great time. The first issue was the WiFi, speed less than 1Mbps and often ... Read More
We have been to London many times, but have not been around the British Isles very much. We read the reviews and looked at the brochures and felt we would have great time. The first issue was the WiFi, speed less than 1Mbps and often down, despite the recent "upgrades" A lot of people on the ship complained, but all we were give was excuses. The food was very good and decor nicely decorated. Cabins (Penthouse) a little smaller that we are use to, but the service was very poor. The tours from the ship were poorly handled and some of them involved a two hour bus ride to see the remnants of a roman wall or fort. Best tours were in Ireland and Scotland. The entertainment was poor to okay. It appears you have to go to the larger ships for entertainment, but that's not as important as the overall service which suffered. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose the British Isles as our itinerary this time on Oceania. We wanted to go in August so hopefully it wouldn't be too cold. We were lucky in that mother nature cooperated and it was only cold and rainy in Edinburgh. We had ... Read More
We chose the British Isles as our itinerary this time on Oceania. We wanted to go in August so hopefully it wouldn't be too cold. We were lucky in that mother nature cooperated and it was only cold and rainy in Edinburgh. We had take on other Oceania cruise three years ago, then two Azamara cruises in between. We remembered Oceania as having better food, so we went with them this time. Although we were disappointed by some aspects of the experience, we would cruise with them again. Unlike the first time we cruised Oceania, the food was average. My prime rib in Polo was inedible, a pink slab of meet no marbling, dry, virtually inedible. Other dishes aboard the ship were outstanding such as the sea bass in Red Ginger. We found few of the desserts to be very special, baked potatoes were served with watery sour cream, very little butter unless we asked for more. The captain didn't show for his cocktail party ( this NEVER happened on Silversea or Azamara. We rarely saw any ship's officers ( unlike Azamara), the only time I spied any was when there were 3 trying on sunglasses in the gift shop. The crew by and large were not very friendly. The servers in general had smiles on their faces and at least pretended they were glad to see us. The crew that were at the embarkation and disembarkation spots at the ports were not friendly at all. The staff serving drinks during the captain's cocktail party for the most part acted as if they'd rather be anywhere else! We saw two pretty decent shows, the string quartet grew tiresome after 12 nights, and the guy in the piano bar was average at best. All in all, not as good an experience as last time on the Nautica. I hope they try and improve their food and customer service. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
Oceania fouled up their shore operations again. Shuttles into Bilbao from ship around lunchtime were on a 40 minute to one hour schedule. We left our stateroom with sufficient time to debark, walk to the terminal and catch a shuttle. ... Read More
Oceania fouled up their shore operations again. Shuttles into Bilbao from ship around lunchtime were on a 40 minute to one hour schedule. We left our stateroom with sufficient time to debark, walk to the terminal and catch a shuttle. We were not informed that the gangway was being moved and we were held up for about ten minutes while the gangway was shifted to to tides. We missed the shuttle by 5 minutes. Next bus . . . 40 minutes later. We love the way they handle their on-ship operations but feel that they need to greatly improve everything about ground services. The food is superb. Waves grill has delicious lobster and steak surf and turf at lunchtime. the four specialty restaurants are each well worth dining at. Service for all ship based activities is top notch. Staff is as good as one could find anywhere. Oceania needs to improve the manner in which they coordinate the transition from ship to shore. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise because we have had great experiences on Oceania and liked the itinerary, Stockholm to Barcelona. On this cruise, the crew from the general manager on down was terrific. Attitude was "what can we do for ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have had great experiences on Oceania and liked the itinerary, Stockholm to Barcelona. On this cruise, the crew from the general manager on down was terrific. Attitude was "what can we do for you". Our cabin was perfectly maintained. Our major on board activity is dancing and there was plenty of opportunity everyday with music before and after dinner. The band in Horizons was great, played all kinds of music. No comments on shore excursions since we do independent touring but I will say Oceania is providing more and more information and assistance to independent travelers which we appreciate. Food has always been Oceania's strength. This was our 7th O. cruise and we thought the food in the main dining room was not as good or as varied as on previous cruises. It was not bad ( we are not discouraged from cruising again with O, we've signed up for 50 days in 2017) but it is not as good as it has been in the past. This was a port intensive cruise with one sea day so there were not many lectures. There was only one speaker who gave three lectures and he wasn't very good. On our previous cruises with O. the speakers were very good. Our one negative about the ship itself is about furnishings in public spaces. The tables in Horizons and the Terrace are much too close together. It is very difficlut to find a table where someone will not be bumped by servers or other guests. It is annoying. Also, the furniture in Martinis and Horizons, while looking great, is not user friendly. There is not a single chair (other than a barstool) we could sit on in Martinis. It is all low and soft. In Horizons all the window seating is big and soft. We found it uncomfortable and it also blocks the view from the more normal size chairs in the middle of the room. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We had not cruised with Oceania before and were pleasantly surprised. The size of the ship was perfect- not too big, easy to get around and never a line anytime or anywhere. Not even on an elevator.The service from everyone was stellar. ... Read More
We had not cruised with Oceania before and were pleasantly surprised. The size of the ship was perfect- not too big, easy to get around and never a line anytime or anywhere. Not even on an elevator.The service from everyone was stellar. The bedding was luxurious which provided a good nights sleep. A regular cabin with a veranda was spacious with abundant storage, large tub and a small shower. Even on this size ship they made sure to include many lovely common areas and niches for cozy conversation. Arrival and departure were a breeze. Free shuttles at certain ports were an additional bonus and very appreciated. The fine dining ambiance was exceptional and the food excellent but the space is extremely limited. You can make a few reservations prior to sailing but dining in these restaurants after that is almost impossible. The buffet is transformed into a lovely dining area with a grill station which includes fish, chicken and meat but unfortunately they repeat the actual buffet recipes. We did not dine in the main dining room nor did many others. The excursions were over priced and we opted not to take any thru the cruise. The evening entertainment was not very enjoyable although we went hoping it would improve- it did not. It was obvious that this was not a priority for the cruise line. The drink package was very overpriced. I hope corporate reads this and changes their policy. We were fortunate to get a very good price for the cruise and that made this an extremley good value. We would go again and are willing to pay even more to sail on Oceania Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Long-time cruisers, first time on Oceania. CABIN: We were in Penthouse Suite 11058. BEST cabin for size and amenities: huge walk-in closet, so much storage space we had empty drawers - even with all the winter clothes we dragged ... Read More
Long-time cruisers, first time on Oceania. CABIN: We were in Penthouse Suite 11058. BEST cabin for size and amenities: huge walk-in closet, so much storage space we had empty drawers - even with all the winter clothes we dragged along for the wet, cool British weather. Bathroom with shower & a separate tub (wish it had been a whirlpool) was large with plenty of his/her medicine cabinets & Bulgari products. Location of the cabin not so great - lots of overhead foot traffic. Thank goodness for our white noise machine. SHOPPING/ENTERTAINMENT: OK - not quite big ship style but adequate. Our favorite was the piano & quartet playing at various times around the ship. Very relaxing & enjoyable. Casino is small & limited but at least there is one. Few boutiques & shopping was mediocre. LIBRARY: BEST of any ship we have ever been on. Very extensive and comfortable places to sit & read. FOOD: Really? This is supposed to be the best ship for food? I have never eaten so much bland, tasteless food. We finally avoided the main dining room & just went to the Terrace Cafe so we could sample lots of different food til we could find something really enjoyable. Breakfast was very boring after a few days . . same food, everyday. Scrambled eggs are out of a package so you have to ask for real eggs. Limited choice of cold cereal and the bananas were stored in the refrigerator so were mushy. The fresh fruit, especially, the cantaloupe & honeydew were DELICIOUS & SWEET. SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS: The Polo Grill, Toscana & Jacques were favorites. Many choices & flavorful food. Doesn't make sense why this ship can offer great food in the specialty restaurants, which do not cost extra, and not provide the same flavor & quality in the dining room. SHORE EXCURSIONS: The most over-priced tours. As a result, booked all of our own private tours in each port. Ended up seeing twice as much driving around in Mercedes comfort. Two days we had to anchor & take the tender to port. Clearly, the staff has no idea how to handle distribution of tender passes. This was a debacle and something Oceania needs to remedy quickly. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
Oceania Marina, Cultural Connoisseur, September 27, 2013 – A Review About Us: My husband and I, both in our very early 50’s, booked this cruise aboard the Marina to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We have both cruised ... Read More
Oceania Marina, Cultural Connoisseur, September 27, 2013 – A Review About Us: My husband and I, both in our very early 50’s, booked this cruise aboard the Marina to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We have both cruised extensively on many different lines in the past, but this was our first “O” experience. We have usually cruised with our daughters and extended family. This was the first time in a very long time that we cruised with just each other. We initially had some reservations as to how we would fit in with the passenger demographics on the ship. I can now honestly report that, although we were probably among the youngest 10% or 15% of the passengers on the cruise, we never felt out of place and we met the most wonderful people onboard ... some of the most interesting people that we’ve had the pleasure of meeting in a long time. There was always a good conversation to be had, and we left the ship with many new friends who we hope to be able to travel with again in the future. We participated in the Roll Call for our cruise here on Cruise Critic (again, something we had never done before), and arranged, and/or took part in, private excursions in every port. We had incredible private guides in every port. It would be very hard to pick a favorite. I’ll go into more detail below. I recommend getting involved in your Roll Call thread. I can’t even begin to explain how much better of an experience it is to take part in small, private tours of 6-8 people, as opposed to the big bus tours that the cruise line sells. Not to mention that the private tours end up being less money. Pre-Cruise: We booked our air through Oceania, taking advantage of their air-included offer. We also paid the $150 per person deviation charge, in order to fly in a day early and fly home two days after disembarkation. We got to choose the exact flights we wanted, with no issues whatsoever. We arrived at Gatwick on Thursday, September 26 and took the train to Winchester, where we spent a leisurely day getting over the jet lag. We stayed at a great bed & breakfast, the Old Vine, and had a private transfer on Friday morning for our 30-minute ride to Southampton. Weather: We were blessed with beautiful weather throughout our vacation, with very little rain along the way. It ended up being warmer than we had anticipated, so most of our sweaters and such ended up being unused. The Ship: The 2 year-old Marina is impeccable. It is the most elegant and one of the most beautiful ships I have ever seen. And, I’ve seen A LOT of cruise ships. Day and night, you would find the crew hard at work, polishing and scrubbing, to make sure that Marina was always at her best. The ship’s crew is happy and friendly. They are genuinely happy to be there to help you have the most amazing cruise experience possible. Their friendly conversation never seems forced or fake. They seem to truly care about each passenger and remember you from day to day and from venue to venue. On our last morning aboard, when we were having breakfast at The Terrace, many of the servers who we had had the pleasure of meeting during the course of the cruise stopped by our table to wish us safe travels home and to ask how our cruise had gone. I was amazed that they remembered and touched by the gesture. Our Stateroom: This was our cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, and so we splurged on a Penthouse Suite. It’s a perfect stateroom and was extremely comfortable for us. The closet is a walk-in and provides ample storage. There are also plenty of drawers in the dressers in the stateroom. The bathroom is beautiful, although the shower could stand to be just a tad larger. We loved the Bulgari amenities. The bed!!! It’s the most comfortable bed we’ve ever slept in. Period. End of Story. All the linens in the bedroom and bathroom are awesome. Our stateroom attendants did a fabulous job of keeping our room very clean. There was never an occasion when we had to call them back in for something that was overlooked or forgotten. With the Penthouse comes a butler. I can’t say enough good things about Churchill, our butler. Friendly and full of information, he was able to give us the inside scoop on all the best dishes to sample at the restaurants. He also graciously and with a smile served us a full, hot breakfast in our stateroom on almost every morning of the cruise. And we had some pretty early starts because of all of our private tours. One night, we had dinner brought in to the stateroom from Toscana. He served it course by course. Wonderful! There are so many things that he did to make our cruise better. There’s no way to go into it all here. Suffice it to say that he spoiled us. And we loved it! Dining: The food quality and the dining experience onboard Marina are so far and above anything we’ve experienced on any other ship! A comparison to previous experiences is almost impossible. The only thing that is in the same league is our dinner at Remy aboard the Disney Fantasy. And that’s a $75 per person surcharge, without wine. Each and every venue aboard the Marina was outstanding, from Waves to The Terrace to the Grand Dining Room to the specialty restaurants. We also had the pleasure of dining one night at La Reserve. We had the Exploration Menu, which was wonderful! It’s the only surcharge restaurant aboard (not counting Privee, which is more of a dining room where food is brought in from other restaurants) and was well worth the additional fee. Course after course, each paired perfectly with wine. It was a three and a half hour experience that I would love to repeat again! Entertainment: We did not attend any of the shows on Marina. Our very enjoyable entertainment consisted of the wonderful dinner conversation we had with new friends in the varied restaurants onboard. Ports: This cruise was very port intensive and visited places that, for the most part, neither of us had been to before. Bruges: We joined the private taxi transfer arranged by another person on our Roll Call. I believe the company was Taxi Snel. We were picked up at the gate to the port at 9 AM and returned to the ship at 5 PM. Once in Bruges, we followed a walking tour that was posted online by Brentjes. It was a great tour, very detailed, with lots of information of what you are seeing and easy to follow. The tour as printed begins at the train station. We started it at Markt Square and followed it around backward. It was pretty much the exact tour being followed by the ship’s expensive walking tour of the city. Great day in a beautiful city. I’d love to return someday. Le Havre: I arranged for a private tour for 8 through Overlord Tours. Our guide was Oliver, and he was fantastic!!! We went to Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery, Point du Hoc, Saint Mere Eglise, Utah Beach, Angoville au Plain and to some secluded places that we would have never been able to find, or enter, had we ventured out on our own. Oliver made the landing beaches come alive for us. I can’t recommend Overlord or Oliver enough!! St. Malo: We joined a private tour arranged by another person on our Roll Call. The tour was with Westcapades and our tour guide was Marc. We went to Mont St. Michel, Dinan and had a very brief visit to St. Malo. There were six of us on the tour. Marc was very good. Mont St. Michel is fascinating! It’s a place that everyone should visit at least once. Dinan was beautiful! I enjoyed our time there and the local pastry, Kouign Amann, that we got to sample. I would definitely recommend Marc for a great day out of St. Malo. L’Orient: I had arranged a private tour with Marie-Laure at Brittany Visits. The plan was for us to visit Quimper, Pont Aven and Concarneau. The night before we arrived in L’Orient, I received a message from the Purser that Marie-Laure’s husband had been hospitalized and that she would not be coming the next day. I was sorry to hear that her husband was ill, and I truly hope that he has recovered. The timing of the cancellation really did not work well for us to be able to arrange anything else. We decided to take the free shuttle into town and explore. L’Orient is pretty much a regular mid-sized modern French city with not a whole lot to see and do. There is a U-Boat yard that was used by the Germans during WWII. After a little while in town, my husband and I chose to go back to the ship for lunch and a relaxing afternoon. Le Verdon: I arranged a private tour with Maryse at Bordeaux Excursions. She is fanastic!!! We visited 3 Chateaux (Gruaud-LaRose, Pichon-Longueville, and Lynch-Bages) with a brief stop at Chateau Mouton-Rothschild and a beautiful lunch at Chateau Pomys. The harvest was just getting underway in Le Medoc. It was a spectacular day, planned to perfection. I recommend Maryse wholeheartedly. I hope to visit the Bordeaux region again and will definitely book with Maryse to show me the other areas of the region. Bilbao: We took the free shuttle that Oceania provided into town. We visited the outside of the Guggenheim, and its gift shop and then walked along the riverfront to the “Casco Viejo”, or old town. It was very picturesque and it was nice to just wander the streets here. We enjoyed a very inexpensive lunch of pintxos (what tapas are called here) and the local wine, Txacoli. We took a taxi back to the ship from the old town. La Coruna: We booked a private tour to Santiago de Compostela and La Coruna for 6 through Luca Renzini of Best Private Tours. Our guide was Anton. He was excellent! Anton showed us all the sights in Santiago de Compostela. The star of the show, of course, is the cathedral. Unfortunately, we did not get to see the Butafumeiro swing in the church. We had a lovely lunch in the old town here. We then went on to La Coruna, which was a very nice place, too. The weather had cleared up and we had magnificent views from Hercules’ Tower. I was a bit nervous about our arrangements in this port, since there were no posted reviews of Best Private Tours or Luca. I would recommend booking with him in the future. He is able to arrange tours out of most European cruise ports. Had I had a few more hours of notice, I would have contacted him about booking something after our Lorient guide cancelled on us. Oporto: We joined a tour booked by one of the others in our Roll Call through Tours by Locals to the Douro Valley. Our guide was Orquidea. She was very good and very nice. This tour is beautiful, with jaw dropping sights at every turn. There is a lot of driving involved in getting down to the valley floor from Oporto. It took us over three hours to reach Pinhao. We had beautiful, clear weather. Had it been raining, it would have been a really scary ride. There are many, many curving narrow roads with sharp, hairpin turns. That being said, I loved this day! We had a spectacular lunch at Quinta do Portal. The setting for this lunch was beautiful! The food delicious, and the company of our guide and the others in our tour was lovely. We then went to the winery for a port tasting. Who knew that port wine came in three colors! They were all delicious, too! As long as you’re aware of all the driving, this is a very worthwhile tour. Lisbon: I arranged for a private tour with Alex at Top Ten Tours. Alex is a wonderful guide! Another best guide for this trip! We went to Sintra, Caiscais, and Lisbon. The van he used is brand new and has wi-fi! This was yet another day that we had spectacular weather! The Pena Palace above Sintra is a really beautiful place! Our pictures there are incredible. I think if I had it to do again, I would skip Caiscais and spend more time in Lisbon. I do want to go back to Lisbon again. If you have a chance to book a day with Alex, do it! He is really wonderful! Cadiz: We took the train from Cadiz to Seville with two others from our Roll Call. The train station is located right across the street and around the corner from the port. It couldn’t have been more simple. The people we travelled with arranged for a walking tour of Seville with Marta Casals. She was very good! We were with her for three hours and we visited the Plaza de Espana, the Cathedral, the Alcazar, and the Barrio Santa Cruz, among other places. Marta made the very most of our short time with her. She is another of our “very best” guides for this trip. Post-Cruise: Sadly, our time aboard Marina had to come to an end. We spent two nights in Barcelona, at the Catalonia Catedral Hotel in the Gothic Quarter that was located right across the square from the old Cathedral. We had been to Barcelona before, and this was our favorite part of the city. Our first day was spent wandering the curvy streets of the Gothic Quarter. On our second day, we booked a full day trip to Montserrat with Spanish Trails. They are awesome! Our guide, Dan, was yet another amazing guide. Montserrat is unbelievably beautiful! We had an amazing lunch at a restaurant in the national park at the foot of Montserrat. We then visited a vineyard for wine tasting. We ended our day at the overlook at Montjuic, with Barcelona spread out at our feet. Our day included all expenses. I recommend Spanish Trails very highly. I will be booking some of their other day trips when we return to Barcelona. Overall Impressions: The Marina is an exceptional ship and this itinerary was fantastic. We enjoyed every second of our vacation and have already booked our next trip aboard Marina.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2013
We decided to take this cruise specifically for the itinerary. It started on London went to Norwegian Fjords and Ireland (as well as other but wanted to see these ports. We have cruised 9 times on the "usual suspects" of cruise ... Read More
We decided to take this cruise specifically for the itinerary. It started on London went to Norwegian Fjords and Ireland (as well as other but wanted to see these ports. We have cruised 9 times on the "usual suspects" of cruise lines before this. People would always ask "so how was the food". For us, cruise food has always been mediocre - not many ways you can do a buffet. Oceania has set the bar when it comes to food. A+++. Where else can you get grilled lobster tails and huge shrimp at the casual grill every night. Service was also top notch. They failed us the same places so many have noted. Excursions. A total rip off for what you get and so far out of line when it comes to pricing. Entertainment - there really isn't any at night. One fellow guess who has sailed with Oceania in the past pointed out that the majority of entertainers and signers, etc are actually cruise ship workers. The person serving you breakfast in the morning will be the one signing and dancing for you tonight. And they are just plain bad. It is also clear that Oceania has made this a conscious choice.I did not a fellow cruiser on this trip that did not complain about the exact same things. Most all of them have also told them this on their feedback forms and yet they still do nothing about it. It is clear they made the trade off for excelling on the food and service areas and not wanting to be better in these other areas. Bottom line: If you want to go on a cruise where the food is world class and go to be after dinner ever evening then this cruise is probably for you. However, if you are interested in any form of night life or entertainment, then even the great food will not make up for this huge weak spot. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
We are an active middle aged couple, accustomed to traveling and relatively new to cruising. We find it an effective, comfortable & safe way to get from point A to point B. We have sailed exclusively on the R ships and wanted a change, ... Read More
We are an active middle aged couple, accustomed to traveling and relatively new to cruising. We find it an effective, comfortable & safe way to get from point A to point B. We have sailed exclusively on the R ships and wanted a change, so we booked this trip on the Marina. We were apprehensive about the size and style of the Marina possibly affecting the intimacy and quality of service that we enjoyed on the smaller ships. Marina did not disappoint us, on the contrary, we found the ship to be airy and stylish, beautifully appointed with interesting artwork and comfy, textured furnishing throughout. There were many places to lounge and relax and we never once felt the increase in passengers. We enjoyed having more specialty dining and we were able to get a nice table for 2 without exception. The lengthy discussions on CC regarding.....the small showers, uncomfortable chairs, strangely shaped library etc. etc.....really folks?? really??....It is a beautiful ship and we would not hesitate to book another cruise on the Marina. *RollCall:We had a very active RollCall, which is a great source of help and information. We shared most of our tours with persons on the R.Call. This is very cost effective and the people we toured with were fantastic. We had a Meet&Greet the 1st night, where we got acquainted with persons we spoke with for close to a year.. *Pre & Post Cruise: we booked our own hotels and transfers, much less expensive. Shared the London-Dover transfer with people from our R.Call. Used a private service from Heathrow to Westminster-35pounds. *Service: the Reception staff was excellent. Destination service set up a table each day with maps and useful port info. I would recommend doing your own research on the ports, most O passengers arrange their own tours, therefore the destination service is not elaborate. *Ports: Most ports (far from town center) had a shuttle bus service dropping us off at a tourist info center. There were 2 tender ports (StMalo&Concarneau) At these ports we had to queue up in the Marina Lounge to get early tender tickets, the system was very orderly. *Stateroom: Comfortable beds and nice linens. Ample storage in bathroom, clothes line in tub area convenient. The tub was a great luxury after a long day touring. The shower was NOT a problem. A magnifying mirror was lacking. The closets were a good size. If storage is a problem for you, you brought too much stuff! *Dining: This topic has been endlessly covered. We were glad to have fantastic menu choices & excellent service...we witnessed some of the worst passenger behavior at meal times ex: passenger berating the server at the omelet station for not preparing her eggs to her satisfaction, at Red Ginger someone turned away each course saying it was uneatable, a passenger insisting the Ginger ale was not real Ginger ale and to bring them the container it was poured from, passengers complaining that the sommelier left them waiting too long and so on....these were not random events (ruined our dining experience) therefore including them in our review. *Passengers: Over 60, active, well traveled, upper mid-class. Most were very interesting, well mannered people who are serious about travel. They come well prepared, having researched the itinerary and are eager to visit each port. More than half the passengers were Repeat Customers and some never missed the opportunity to recite the number of cruises they've taken, giving themselves a patronizing air of importance. This type of passenger pushes the 'Your World Your Way' cruising to the limit, they are pretentious, pompous cruisers who lament about every little thing. 'The Ship' is their destination and they want to be waited on. We found them to be to be only negative part of our trip. *Conclusion: Oceania delivers an excellent product, Marina is a beautiful ship and we hope to have the good fortune to sail with Oceania again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2012
Lovely ship: Marina is truly delightful. She can seem a little beige in places but that is offset by some very interesting and colourful artworks on the walls. And they weren't for sale! The Grand Dining Room is light and airy with ... Read More
Lovely ship: Marina is truly delightful. She can seem a little beige in places but that is offset by some very interesting and colourful artworks on the walls. And they weren't for sale! The Grand Dining Room is light and airy with a fabulous central crystal chandelier; the specialist restaurants interesting in their layout and appearance (loved the water wall in red Ginger), while a Lalique inspired staircase leading up from the Reception area expressed understated elegance. Great ambience. Terrace buffet tables are a little crowded together but the food service area was spacious. Cabins (sorry but being a Brit I struggle to call them staterooms) are spacious and well appointed. Entertainment was average. Cigarette smokers are catered for in one area on the pool deck and in a totally separate section of the Horizons lounge, which seems a reasonable compromise. Didn't try the Artist's loft or the cooking lessons but both were praised by those who did. Didn't even look for the gym or spa. Downsides are few: the Grand Bar is just a wide corridor that has comfortable seating but no bar, service being by wait staff. Drinks and excursions are quite expensive. Wi-Fi is the slowest we have experienced at sea, which was surprising considering it is the same system as on Regent Voyager, another vessel in the group, where it was just slow rather than snail-paced. Our cabin, a PH3 number 7130 at the stern, is slightly narrower than other PH cabins which proved problematical only when my wife was busy at the dressing table and I wanted to get past. It has a fantastic L shaped balcony that is possibly the largest on the ship, though the constant rain and wind sadly made it an area into which we rarely ventured. However the room is quite noisy when docking (putting a positive spin on it you could say it provides a free early morning wake-up service) and was dreadful when we were tendering in the Firth of Forth and the ship had to constantly use its engines to maintain station. Nice granite and marble bathroom with a full size tub; shame about the plastic walled shower cubicle. There was a crack in the washbasin when we moved-in and our cabin steward very efficiently arranged for it to be replaced when docked in Edinburgh (so we'd be out of the way). Unfortunately the very keen maintenance crew nipped in while we were still at breakfast and it was impossible to use the bathroom before leaving for our day in the city. Mildly annoying: efficient arrangement spoilt by poor communications. Great crew: staff on most cruise ships are good but you sometimes feel the smiles are forced. Not on Marina. The hotel crew on Marina were exceptional. I can even find praise for the Reception and Security staff, which is unusual as they are at the pointy end of customer relations. My wife and I had dinner one night with Dominique Nicolle, the General Manager. Just six people in total so not a grand affair, but very relaxing and informative. Never did discover why we were chosen. When we had to spend an extra day in Dublin because of poor weather at sea the Destination Services staff quickly arranged additional excursions at short notice. Very efficient. However it is beyond belief that anybody can charge up to $279 for a five hour walking tour around Dublin, even with a free glass of Guinness. Let's assume (the minimum) 10 participants: that's a total of $2,790. Deduct the cost of a guide (say $50 per hour for five hours) $250, and the price of a coach (I'm guessing) $500, plus ten pints of Guinness, $20. Profit $2,020. Wow. I suppose they have to make their profit somewhere. Our cabin was kept absolutely spotless by two attendants and what was particularly interesting was that the cleaning crew never bothered us while we were "at home" and had always finished by the time we returned from wherever. It was like a sixth sense. That may be why I didn't get their names (but they did get a tip). We had a butler, Bento, who was courteous and efficient, but does anybody actually need a butler? The only one who has actually provided added value by anticipating our needs to the point where he was able to remind us when we had forgotten things ("I brought some afternoon tea just in case you had forgotten to order it" -- which we had. Likewise white wine for my wife) was Pravin on Azamara Journey. Sadly I can't comment on the Deck crew. We met the Captain once, at his Welcome Reception. A short smiling Italian who could be everybody's favourite uncle. Never saw him again (which could be why I can't recall his name) or any of the other officers who drive the ship. They might have made appearances but not that we noticed. And we only heard one of the daily state-of-the-nation speeches that most ship's Masters make around noon, and that was brief and to the point. I don't doubt for one minute the Captain's abilities as a seaman - he is very experienced - but cruise lines that cater for mainly English speakers need people at the sharp end who can converse fluently and comfortably with their guests, because we have to face the fact that chatting with and schmoozing passengers is an important part of the Master's job description. Those who have sailed with John McNeil on a Regent vessel or Jason Ikiadis on Azamara will know what I mean. Excellent food: Best we have experienced, and we have sailed with Seabourn, Azamara, Regent, Princess and a few others. Whether in the MDR, four speciality restaurants, Waves or the Terrace buffet it was always of a very high standard with friendly service. Afternoon tea was to die for (actually with all that cream and fat it probably could kill you if you were on a world cruise). The wine selection "by the glass" was good but we usually chose bottles of French wines that we were comfortable with (must take a course in New World vintages). I was impressed that the sommelier knew why our Chapoutier Rhone wine had Braille on the label. Poor communications: Edinburgh in Scotland is served by two cruise ports. The handy one is Leith, which is a longish but direct walk from the centre of the city. The other is South Queensferry, which is a $30 taxi ride. Our itinerary said we would berth in Leith. The map on the ship said Leith. The Captain, in the only announcement we heard him make on the day before arrival, said Leith. However a note received from Destination Services prior to his announcement advised changes to some excursions because we would be arriving not at Leith but South Queensferry (which would also mean tendering). So I went to check. They confirmed the change. Following the Captain's noon announcement I rechecked. After all you expect the Captain to know where he is going. They said, though rather obliquely, that the Captain was mistaken. That night was the Captain's Welcome Reception. I mentioned to Willie Ames, the very amiable (note the play on words) Cruise Director, that there was some confusion about where we would dock in Edinburgh and if there was to be a change to the itinerary a full announcement should be made as many people would have private arrangements in Leith. Willie looked at me and said "But South Queensferry is still Edinburgh, isn't it?" No announcement was made and the next morning some passengers found they were 10 miles from where they had expected to be. Oceania didn't even provide a free shuttle coach but luckily a local entrepreneur saved the day by bringing one and charging £6 per person. Awful weather: Strong winds and heavy rain followed us around the UK and Ireland. Not the fault of Oceania, of course, and I have tried not to let it colour this review. It meant that the pool deck was mainly empty - there was certainly no hogging of loungers. Deck staff had little to do but I suspect it threw extra pressure onto wait and bar staff in the warmer and less moist parts of Marina. It also meant that as long as you wore a jacket, eating in Waves on deck was a pleasant and uncrowded experience. The pool deck didn't drain well so wet shoes became the order of the day. Tendering was "interesting". As mentioned earlier the foul weather caused the ship to spend an extra night in Dublin (where we had already spent two days) and so we missed our visit to Waterford. But the worst part had been earlier when visiting the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. The famous stones are a long way from the car park. Two small buses ferry people backwards and forwards the mile or so, but the queue for transport down to the stones was enormous. So we walked. When we got to them the skies opened. No shelter and an even longer queue for the return bus. So we squelched our way back up the hill. Not happy. CONCLUSION: Being British we knew the weather risks involved in taking a cruise around the UK and Ireland even in "flaming June", but worked on the principle that "It wouldn't happen to us". Well, it did. But the weather didn't seem to dent the enthusiasm of the hundreds of Americans and smattering of passengers from down under who had come to find their Scottish or Irish roots. Oceania Marina is now our favourite cruise ship. It just edges Azamara Journey into second place and Regent Voyager into third. We had been on Voyager only three months earlier and it was strange to see her moored across from Marina when both ships were in Kirkwall. We could see (through the raindrops on the window) from our present cabin the one we had inhabited on Voyager in April. Later this year we will be making our second Oceania cruise, this time on Nautica; again out from Dover but ending in what we hope will be a warm and dry Rome. With Nautica being an R ship it will be interesting to compare her with Azamara Journey, an identical former Renaissance vessel. And as we are looking closely at another Nautica cruise for 2013 I think you can take it we are now big fans of Oceania - despite the "constructive criticism" above. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
Service I have never had better service aboard ship or on land than I had on this cruise. The staff appeared to have been instructed never to say "no," even if the request had not been made. When a few couples were early for ... Read More
Service I have never had better service aboard ship or on land than I had on this cruise. The staff appeared to have been instructed never to say "no," even if the request had not been made. When a few couples were early for breakfast at the Terrace Cafe, the staff opened it up for us unasked. When a passenger dressed only in a swimsuit started eating at a table in Waves, a server came over with a towel and asked him if he wouldn't be more comfortable with that over his shoulders. It wasn't a shirt, but it did the job tactfully. The Marina has a few wheelchairs for use solely aboard ship, yet a staff member let an obviously irritated and out-of-line passenger take one wheelchair ashore because the passenger thought he could visit a venue that might not have wheelchairs. Ship On all the Cruise Director's announcements he referred to "the beautiful Marina." That grew repetitious, but the adjective is correct. The Marina is beautiful and has just enough glitz to make an impression. Most of the artwork was too abstract for me, but I recognize that it was all in good--if modernist--taste. Marina is still relatively new, and it was shiningly clean. I noticed no spots on the windows or furnishings, but there were signs of wear on the carpet near my bed. The stateroom had all the storage space needed and was a good place to relax. One closet door needed fixing, and a workman appeared promptly when summoned by the room steward. The fix took some time, but the door gave no further problems during the cruise. I have read a good deal on these boards about the showers on the Marina. I am tall and wear extra-large sizes, and yes the shower stall was a squeeze, but I could shower. On the other hand, I expect better from Oceania than a shower stall that is a squeeze. Embarkation and disembarkation The shore staff in Civitavecchia was ready for us. Embarkation formalities were brief, there were no lines to speak of, and within a few minutes we were aboard, followed promptly by our luggage. Disembarkation in Dover was different. We were tagged to get off at 8:00am, but our group was not called until 9:30am. Our fellow passengers who had close plane connections were visibly anxious, and there were some complaints when those on tight schedules were permitted off the ship out of order. Despite repeated requests, some persons whose groups had not been called congregated at the gangway exit slowing the departure of groups that had been cleared to leave. The Cruise Director was active and high-profile throughout the slowed debarkation, which he attributed to a shore-side conveyer being broken. "Fifteen wonderful days cruising will be forgotten, and the passengers will complain about this," he sighed more than once. In one minor snafu on the part of the ship's personnel it was at first announced that passengers could wait in the public spaces, then all passengers were asked to gather in the Marina lounge, and later this was reversed to let passengers return to the (more comfortable) public areas of the ship. Food and drink We ate well aboard the Marina. I cannot think of a single complaint about the food. My vote for the best dining venue is Red Ginger, closely followed by the Grand Dining Room. The best single dish I had aboard was the grilled seafood in Red Ginger followed by any number of entrees in the Grand Dining Room, including the Veal Oscar. We paid extra for a wine dinner at La Reserve and thought it was not worth the money. One ate (and drank) as well in the other ship's restaurants. I think the Baristas bar is under-appreciated. The coffee was the best on the ship, and the espresso is as good as the best ashore. Baristas had all the snacks that are in the concierge lounge, plus biscotti and other items. The coffee-flavored custard was excellent. Baristas has an outside view not found in the concierge lounge, the Grand Bar or Martinis. During our one day at sea Marina laid on an elaborate brunch buffet in the Grand Dining Room. It was as usual excellent, but I could find no fruit. What I took to be a purely esthetic display of food was in fact a serve-yourself section of berries, melons cut into forms, and artistically arranged slices of mangoes, pineapples, kiwis, and the like. I almost felt bad about heaping the fruit onto my plate. Almost. The Oceania Web site says the House Select beverage package includes beer when drunk with meals. That is true but inaccurate since the House Select package does not include the Asian beers served in Red Ginger, nor does it include the draft Heineken at Waves. The publicity should be clearer on this point. Entertainment I cannot recall the name of a quartet from Ukraine which played in the sixth deck lounge across from the grand bar, and also during some lunches in the Main Dining Room. They were talented players who chose well-known pieces from the classical repertoire. I am usually too tired from touring to go to the Marina Lounge at night, but having heard the quartet around the ship I went to a program they had and it was excellent. I felt the group's appearance in the Mariner Lounge in the evening should have been better publicized in the Cruise Director's morning TV program. Physician Dr. Ian Gardener, the ship's physician, gave me outstanding treatment after I had a mishap while ashore. I needed X-rays, stitches, analgesia, and a corticosteroid injection for my knee, which he provided. Dr. Gardener also successfully treated a rash I had picked up in Rome, and identified another potential problem that my internist is following up on. Dr. Gardener is an interesting and well-informed person who I would have liked to have dinner with. Meeting him mitigated the unpleasantness of stumbling over a curbstone in Barcelona. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2011
This will likely be one of the most memorable cruises of all of those we've ever taken. I wish to thank everyone at Oceania from Frank Del Rio on down. You guys are wonderful. Ship: Of course, the Marina was virtually brand ... Read More
This will likely be one of the most memorable cruises of all of those we've ever taken. I wish to thank everyone at Oceania from Frank Del Rio on down. You guys are wonderful. Ship: Of course, the Marina was virtually brand new-and quite beautiful. Very spacious-even more so than the Oceania R-Ships. We sailed with less than 1,200 on a 65,000 gross ton ship, so venues were very uncrowded and there was never really a line or wait for anything—Except the tenders in tender ports-which was fairly frustrating at times as those of us on private tours were delayed leaving the ship while they got all of the shore excursions off first. The Grand Dining Room was very ample with tables always open. Each of the four main specialty restaurants was very nicely done. Unlike the R-Ships, the Marina finally has a real dedicated theater-style showroom. Some people may like the lounge seating of the R-ships to this, but, to seat enough people for a ship this size, this is the right way to do it. The walkways in front of each row of seats was sufficiently wide enough to allow people to pass without forcing anyone seated to stand and the viewing angles were pretty good from most seats. The only questionable part, IMHO, were the desk-type tables that pulled up out of the armrests-a little too tight for most of us overeating cruise passengers. Of course, I never saw many people using these. Cabin: We were in one of the "Oceania Suites"--#12006. What can I say? One of the best and best thought-out suites I have ever seen on a ship. I could live in this suite. Living/Dining Room, TV Room, Bedroom, more than ample walk-in closet, two bathrooms (Though every husband we met said the same thing—the wife pretty much took over the "big" bathroom and the husbands all ended up permanently relegated to the "guest" bathroom!). Private (one-person) Jacuzzi on the balcony with a big screen TV over the Jacuzzi! Very nice-sized bar came fully stocked with a bottle of Bacardi Rum, Grey Goose Vodka, Black Label Scotch, a red and a white wine and a bottle of Gin (which I quickly traded for a second bottle of scotch!). My only real issue with the suite was that there were so many light switches that it usually took me 20 minutes to figure out how to turn off all of the lights. My wife's issue was that there seemed to be constant whistling from the bedroom sliding glass door on windy nights. Of course, I slept right through it. Service: The dining room and specialty restaurant service was even better than I recall from past Oceania cruises, if that is possible. Grand Dining Room staff was excellent, very accommodating—never a problem. Specialty restaurants, of course, were a step above. Our "team" taking care of us in our suite—Butler Ravi and the Assistant Butler (whose name suddenly escapes me) were always available to fill all requests, and our Cabin Steward, Jahaira and her two assistants were just flat-out excellent.. Food: Food, of course, was the highlight of the cruise. And, this, of course, was the "Jacques Pepin cruise". Jacques was staying just down the hall from us and we were invited one night to La Reserve for dinner with Jacques and his wife and his Sous Chef, Jean-Claude and his wife and a few other passengers. Absolutely the most incredible dinner experience. Appetizers and champagne, followed by six incredible courses with a wine paired to each one: Scallop, Risotto, a Fish dish, Chateaubriand, Pear and Goat Cheese and a Chocolate Mousse topped gateau. Three and a half hours of sheer pleasure and great conversation. We also had eight specialty reservations, two in each of the main four, and we managed to squeeze in an extra at Toscana for our final night—a very special final dinner onboard with two couples with whom we had shared most of our private tours. I think of all of the specialty restaurants (aside from La Reserve), Toscana was my clear favorite. Starting with the choice of Olive Oils and Balsamic vinegars and through the meal, everything was outstanding. And the Veal Scaloppine Marsala my favorite dish on the ship. And, the Pennette San Gimignano as a "side dish" was incredible—I could have eaten that as a full meal and been very happy. Of course, the other specialty restaurants were each very good in their own right. Red Ginger was a big hit with everyone. Very well done. Get the Sushi as an appetizer. Entertainment: Food, of course, was the high point—and, as usual with Oceania, Entertainment was the most disappointing area—Although, it was actually a considerable improvement from our past Oceania cruises. With the dedicated stage and showroom, they now had a troupe of singers and dancers (four of each) putting on actual "production shows" with costume changes and some variety. Not quite up to the par of the production shows one sees on other cruise lines, but definitely a worthy bit of entertainment. We especially enjoyed Jennifer, from New Jersey-one of the young singers. They did the "Welcome" show and three other full productions plus participated in other activities around the ship. The spotlight performers were a mixed bag: Artur Banaskiewicz - Violinist: He did two shows before leaving mid-cruise. He was good at what it is he does, but two full shows of gypsy music on the violin is far too much for me. I think I found his manner of speaking and accent more entertaining than the music. Danny Buckler - Magician/Comedian: As a magician, his act was fairly pedestrian. Small time magic starting with the trite and obvious "Indian Rope Trick". But, as a comedian, this guy was clearly the most entertaining act on the ship. Great rapport with the crowd, quick delivery and reaction. Absolutely charming. Two shows. Agata Sava - Soprano. Two shows. We missed her first show as we were in La Reserve for a long evening, but, after seeing her second show, we were more than happy that we missed the first. Absolutely excruciating—a soprano who had trouble hitting the high notes. And a style reminiscent of the Bride of Frankenstein in a full body cast. No movement, little expression—and an accent and delivery that made it sound as if she did not speak English—at all. Sounded as if she'd memorized the lyrics by sound or phonetics. The worst. Bruce Parker "California Soul Man": Two shows (we missed the second). He was actually quite good—very energetic. Sort of the Anti-Agata Sava. Moved around the stage, involved the audience. Really worked it. If there was a problem, it was in the material and the audience. This was, quite simply, not an R&B/Motown crowd. And, among all of the available R&B/Motown material, he tended to pick some of the more obscure songs—not good to do with a crowd who isn't into that style of music and only knows the "big hits". Don Bryan - Ventriloquist: I've seen his act before—must have been on Nautica. Decent Ventriloquist, funny enough act with a couple of entertaining twists The nights in Le Verdon, Cadiz and Livorno, there was no real show. Ports: HONFLEUR - 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.: We didn't really have an interest in doing a long D-Day beaches tour here and we'd been to Rouen and Giverny on a recent cruise stop, so we decided to just walk around Honfleur, visited the Boudin Museum and returned to the ship in the afternoon. Picturesque little town. SAINT-MALO - 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.: Here we did a private tour with a party of eight to Mont St. Michel, Dinan and Saint Malo with Westcapades for 80€ pp. Our guide was Marc, the owner of the company. He did a very nice job of providing commentary on the way to Mont St. Michel in the morning. Having left the ship promptly upon arrival, we beat most of the crowds to this site. Very impressive old monastery. Then it was on to Medieval Dinan. Very nice little town, free time and lunch, then back over to St. Malo, where we parted ways with Marc and walked through the walled city, then tendered back to the ship. One key here with the early start was to report to the showroom ahead of the time the first of the ship's shore excursions was to depart—so we were able to get tender tickets for the first tender while the shorex participants were still amassing. http://www.westcapades.com/english.php PONT AVEN - 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.: It was raining a good portion of the day, so we just spent some time wandering around Concarneau. Very touristy little town-walled medieval city—a short walk from the tender pier. LA ROCHELLE - 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.: This is one of only two ports where we took a shore excursion—"Saintes & Cognac", a full day tour for $199 per person—not bad as shorexes go—we had a nice little visit to La Rochelle, then Saintes and then a tour of the Hennessey Cognac distillery with tastings. Only real negative was 38 people on the tour. BORDEAUX - 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. -Here we had a simply marvelous tour with Maryse of Bordeaux Excursions, party of 8 for 118.75€ per person. Maryse picked us up at the pier in Le Verdon and drove us to two wineries in the morning-- chateau LOUDENNE www.lafragette.com - Crû Bourgeois of Medoc - also called the "Pink Chateau" for its outstanding XVIIth Century architecture and château LYNCH-BAGES in Pauillac, listed in the 1855 Classification Medoc Wines www.lynchbages.com, then lunch at "brasserie" LE CAFE LAVINAL www.villagedebages.com After lunch, we continued through Saint-Julien and Margaux vineyards with stops for pictures by the renowned chateaux (Pichon, latour, margaux, etc...) Then on to Bordeaux for a walking tour through the city. Maryse is one of the best guides we've had. http://www.bordeaux-excursions.com/-English- BIARRITZ - 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. - Actually, the port is St. Jean de Luz. We had nothing planned here. We thought we might take a taxi to Bayonne or Biarritz, but we found the town of St. Jean so charming that we spent the day here instead. Took the little tourist train (5€ per person) for an orientation of the city, then just walked around on our own. BILBAO - 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Here we decided to do the city on our own. A free Oceania shuttle took us to the center of town from where we walked to the "Casco Viejo"—The Old City, then around the riverfront to the Guggenheim Museum. There are three very interesting and distinct bridges across the river near the Guggenheim. We crossed the river on the first, then took the elevator to the top of the second and came back across the river on the third, getting some incredible photos on this route. LA CORUNA - 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.: Here we hired a private tour for six of us with Brendan Lowe of Guided Galicia. Brendan is an expatriate Kiwi living in Vigo—very nice guy. We went, in the morning to the Pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela through the church, market and town, then on to Cambados for lunch, then to the town of Betanzos then back to La Coruña and a visit to the Tower of Hercules -Cost for the tour was 91.67€ per person. http://guidedgalicia.blogspot.com/p/cruise-tours.html OPORTO - 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.: Here we were supposed to do our second shorex—"The Medieval City of Guimaraes" (half day, $119 pp), but the city was completely fogged in and they could not dock the ship—so, disappointingly, we missed this port altogether. CADIZ - 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.: We had a party of 10 here on a private tour to Seville with Cadiz and Beyond for 85€ per person. It was, by far, the hottest day of the cruise—46 Celsius/114 Fahrenheit. Our guide in Seville was excellent and the visit to the Cathedral and the Palace was quite interesting. No way we walk up the Giralda Tower in that heat though! Still, Seville is an enchanting city. http://www.cadizandbeyond.com/CruiseTourClubRollCall/tabid/167/Default.aspx/ CASABLANCA - 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Here we booked a private tour for six with travel exploration Morocco for a cost of $108 per person, payable in advance by credit card in US$. Our guide, Redouane, met us at the ship and took us to the Mosque, the Synagogue and an open air market and on a driving tour through the city. Both the Mosque and Synagogue were impressive, each in their own way, but most in our party were not thrilled with the market or the city itself—sort of filthy with crazy traffic. http://www.travel-exploration.com/page.cfm/About_Travel_Exploration BARCELONA - 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.: After several visits here, we know Barcelona so well that we did not see a need for a tour. This visit, we made it a point to visit a couple of sites we've neglected in last visits. We, basically, wandered through the Barri Gotic, visiting the Synagogue (Oldest in Europe and rediscovered only a few years ago) and the Cathedral, then a visit to El Corte Ingles and a stroll down Las Ramblas. MONTE CARLO - 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.: Here we did a private tour with a party of 8 visiting the towns of Grasse (and the Fragonard Perfume Factory), Gourdon and St. Paul de Vence. St. Paul is one of my favorite towns in France-incredibly picturesque. Cost was 65€ per person. privateshoretrips.com LIVORNO - 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.: This was our second shore excursion—"Pisa - Lucca - Puccini", approximately 10 hours for $179 per person. After an interesting visit to the home of the composer Puccini, we visited the beautiful walled city of Lucca and the wonderful Pisa with its Leaning Tower and other landmarks. Only 16 passengers on this tour and a very good guide, making it one of the better shore excursions. ROME - Here, we joined a group of eight for a tour of the main sights of Rome with Valerio Nacci of NCC. For only 50€ per person, he picked us up at the ship and took us to the Vatican, Trevi, Piazza Navona, Vittorio Emanuel, Pantheon and Coliseum, then dropped us off at our hotel and returned the others (who were doing back-to-backs) to the ship in Civitavecchia. Very much worth the price. http://www.nccportodicivitavecchia.it/en/index.asp http://it-it.facebook.com/people/Valerio-Nacci/100000180156934 Pre-Cruise: We flew into Heathrow several days before the cruise, rented a car and spent four nights in Canterbury, staying at the House of Agnes: http://www.houseofagnes.co.uk/ Excellent little bed and breakfast. It's a centuries-old B&B, but we had a very modern and newly built-out "stable room" for £80 per night. The place was very well run with an excellent breakfast. There was ample convenient on-site parking though the driveway was a little difficult to navigate. The location was right outside the main West Gate to the old walled city so everything was in close walking distance. Canterbury turned out to be an outstanding choice for a pre-cruise stay. Much nicer than the industrial Dover, yet within a half hour drive of the port. We took a charming river boat ride one morning, visited the Cathedral the next and took a drive out to the picturesque town of Sandwich the third. Other than that, we just relaxed, walked about the town, ate, shopped and enjoyed. Post-Cruise: We spent two nights in Rome post cruise at the Residenza Farnese: http://www.residenzafarneseroma.it/ A steal at 120€ per night. One of the absolute best locations in Rome. About a block from the Campo di Fiore and about three blocks from the Piazza Navona on a quiet side street. The Campo di Fiore is now one of my favorite piazzas in all of Rome. A vibrant piazza lined with several very reasonably priced restaurants with ample outdoor seating. We ate in two of them: Maranega: http://millerrome2011.blogspot.com/2011/04/new-addition-to-campo-de-fiori.html and Sloppy Sam's: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sloppy-Sams/101906753220836?v=info I had pasta in both and both were VERY good. It is hard to beat the outdoor tables on the Campo. My wife loved the Gelato at Blue Ice. They have not one, but two, locations within a block of each other on the road leaving the Campo in the direction of the Piazza Navona. All in all, this was an absolutely GREAT cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
This was our first Oceania cruise. We were treated like royalty from the moment we boarded. Our Penthouse 3 was as delightful as advertised. Only problem was "their" hairdryer didn't stay in the plug, but I had my own, so no ... Read More
This was our first Oceania cruise. We were treated like royalty from the moment we boarded. Our Penthouse 3 was as delightful as advertised. Only problem was "their" hairdryer didn't stay in the plug, but I had my own, so no problem. The bed was so heavenly, we are actively seeking where to buy one. The bathrooms are outstanding with actual storage for your "stuff." We were on Deck 10. Other reviewers have mentioned an issue with Deck 11 due to the overhang above it, and I agree. I would not book Deck 11 on Marina or the new Riveria. I had thought I wouldn't like having a butler - wrong! Bosco was terrific. He saw to it that we ate in the specialty dining venues as many times as we wanted. All were great, but I think we liked Toscano best. We took advantage of both "La Reserve" and "Privee." At $75 each, La Reserve is well worth it, both for the wines and the superb food. Privee, though pricey, is so over-the-top that a special occasion may warrant the $1000 for 8 that it costs. An additional 2 dinners were extra special for us: dinner with the captain one night, and with several of the performers another night. Without question, the personal attention of the crew was what made this cruise. The ship is gorgeous - tasteful but not ostentatious - but the attention to detail is what put it into the 6 star category for us. We opted for the ship's shore excursions, simply because we didn't know enough to make our own arrangements. Though pricey, we felt they were pretty good overall. Thanks to amazing weather, we were able to enjoy every excursion thoroughly. Kudos to the entertainment team. The 4 dancers were skilled, but also delightful performers and really fun to get to know off stage as well. The singers were all quite good, especially Heather and the operatic Chris. "Con Molto" was the best show, by far. We spent a week in England before the cruise and a couple of days after, highlighting cathedrals and the historic area around Sailsbury, Portsmouth and Canterbury. I used Tripadvisor to find all our boutique hotels and inns and was completely pleased. Renting a car is an experience. Driving on the left side is not an easy transition! I think we'll hire a driver next time :) We are in our mid-late 60's, and were fairly young for this cruise, or so it felt. Not many young people overall. Though we still work, most folks we met were retired. We did make some wonderful new friends - always a bonus. The "country club casual" dress code seems to have given way to a dressier look in the evenings for most women, and a high number of jackets for the men. Luggage arrived promptly and there was ample space to stow tons of clothes. We took advantage of the self-service laundry twice - very easy. Embarkation and disembarking was a snap. Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend Marina. Just wish Oceania would go the "all-inclusive" route. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
This was our first cruise with Oceania and we were very impressed. In particular, the food was several notches above any previous cruise we have taken. All four alternate restaurants were fantastic. We also enjoyed La Reserve, which is not ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Oceania and we were very impressed. In particular, the food was several notches above any previous cruise we have taken. All four alternate restaurants were fantastic. We also enjoyed La Reserve, which is not to be missed ! The Terrace Cafe is beyond belief. It is set up like a wonderful restaurant and not as a cafeteria. The food is outstanding and one would not be wrong to eat every meal here. Fabulous choices each meal. The main dining room is OK, but the choices are somewhat limited with some weird concoctions. We only ate two of our dinners there, since all the other restaurants were so fabulous. No extra charges except for the special Wine and Food at "La Reserve" The PH3 cabin we had was great. Feels like a 5 star European hotel room. Wonderful marble bathrooms and beds that are beyond belief. I have a serious problem with beds as I get backaches every night. Even at home, I have not found a bed to solve this problem. Well, I slept like a baby all 12 nights and never had a backache. I would give anything to have brought that bed home with me ! Makes other cruise lines feel like you are sleeping on a cot. The entire ship feels more like a hotel than a ship. Quality everywhere. The crew was outstanding and so was the entertainment. Every show, either production or outside entertainers was first class. The thing that impresses right off the bat is that nobody is trying to sell you anything. No photos, ( never had our picture taken once ), no soda specials and water charges, no hawking of boutique wares in the corridors, etc. The lack of formal nights is wonderful. Country club casual is the attire, but you do see many woman dressed up and even some gentlement in tuxes, but if you just want to wear a shirt and slacks, no problem. Everyone complied with the dress code. Even the internet worked very well. Our embarkation and debarkation went very smoothly. Our cabin came with a Butler, who seemed to know exactly what we wanted and when we wanted it. He was everywhere, but was not obtrusive at all. Port tours were OK, but nothing different than any other cruise line. They all use the same outside vendors. The port tours are more expensive than some other cruise line charge, but they were very well organized. We did miss two ports due to weather, the sea swells being too much for the tenders to safely operate. However, Oceania cruises are very port intensive and missing these two actually were enjoyable to a degree to have some more cruising time. All in all, a very impressive and enjoyable cruise. While on board, we booked another cruise for April, 2012. Highly recommend doing this as you get an additional 5% discount for booking on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We booked this cruise primarily to relax and enjoy good food. We were not disappointed. The cabin was very comfortable; good bed; balcony. The bathroom was ok, but the shower was rather small. The tub takes much space and was unneccessary ... Read More
We booked this cruise primarily to relax and enjoy good food. We were not disappointed. The cabin was very comfortable; good bed; balcony. The bathroom was ok, but the shower was rather small. The tub takes much space and was unneccessary for us. The food in all restaurants (4 speciality restaurants, dining room, terrace cafe, wave grill) was excellent; the best we ever had on a cruise. While non-alcoholic beverages are free, alcohol is rather expensive. The staff was friendly and helpful. We did not book any shore excursions due to their high price level. Two ports were cancelled due to bad weather conditions. We recommend this ship to anyone who likes good food and a comfortable cabin. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
Having read much about Oceania's newest ship, we decided to see for ourselves, and a cruise from dover, around the edges of the Bay of Biscay, seemed an ideal opportunity, visiting ports we knew well from land-based travel. ... Read More
Having read much about Oceania's newest ship, we decided to see for ourselves, and a cruise from dover, around the edges of the Bay of Biscay, seemed an ideal opportunity, visiting ports we knew well from land-based travel. Embarkation was swift and efficient, but rather disconcertingly we did not have to produce any ID until we were aboard the ship. We found our way to our cabin, wondering why there was no "welcome aboard" glass of fizz, and found ourselves in a delightful, elegant balcony cabin, with wonderfully comfortable bed, beautiful bed linen, comfy sofa and marble bathroom , complete with both showere and tub. Storage was not the best feature,as drawers were shallow, and wardrobe awkwardly placed alongside the bed. for a cruise line selling itself as 5* we were surprised to find no bottle of champagne on ice, basket of fruit or flowers, but the minibar wa stocked with soft drinks and bottled waters, which were replaced daily, and a plate of fruit was soon delivered, on request. The ship has wonderful decor,with a fabulous Laligue stairway, lalique vases and tables in bays off the main lobby, and delightful abstract sculptures in hallways and landings. The main dining room , large, well lit and airy, has an incredible central crystal chandelier, and touches of classy elegance abound throughout all loung areas. The large lounge areas had delightful sofas, comfortable chairs and love seats, softly lit by elegant crystal lamps Dining is a main event on Marina, with a choice of 7 dining venues which incur no extra charge, from the Grand Dining room, a grill and roomy Terrace cafe, serving huge choices of wonderful quality food, to 4 themed speciality restaurants, of which we liked the more atmospheric Asian -fusion Red Ginger the best. Each restaurant had its own chefs, and offered varied quality menus, and a reasonably efficient level of good service from teams of friendly waiters. If celebrating a special occasion, or as a treat, Marina offers wonderful tasting menus in La Reserve, a joint venture with Wine Spectator at a cost of $75, which we thought amazing, with dishes comparable to any Michelin restaurant in London. The one negative aspect to Marina is the low standard of entertainment, with shows delivered by an enthusiastic small team, doing their best with poor costumes and staging in a dull, low-ceiling-ed show lounge, which had absolutely no wow factor, no glitz, and was not very comfortable. the same entertainment team also organised the daily deck activities, tasks they did with good humour and good organisation. Alternative shows were offered by a poor comedian and a mediocre magician. Enrichment lectures, were often port lectures under another name, with, disappointingly, no well-known guest speakers, which we had hoped for on a ship of this calibre. A lovely library kept many passengers happy, with its club atmosphere, comfortable leather chairs, and huge choice of books, and it was a delight to find a busy coffee bar next door, offering lattes, cappuccino and juices. The nearby Internet centre was little used, due to the high cost Deck areas were lovely, with a decent size pool, two hot tubs, excellent sunbeds and curved rattan loungers, all laid with snowy towels. Atop the ship is a delightful, wide, forward facing Horizons lounge, with small dance floor, and ample seating, served by a busy bar, the place to which many passengers gravitated pre and post dinner, with live music provided for those wishing to dance. Also facing forward is an incredible, spacious spa, with many treatments on offer, gorgeous relaxing areas, including one outside, complete with hot tub, and well trained, discrete staff. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
Everything about this trip was outstanding. From the moment we landed at Heathrow things started rolling smoothly. We were driven the The Millennium Mayfair Hotel in a chauffer driven limo. Our hotel was very comfortable & wonderfully ... Read More
Everything about this trip was outstanding. From the moment we landed at Heathrow things started rolling smoothly. We were driven the The Millennium Mayfair Hotel in a chauffer driven limo. Our hotel was very comfortable & wonderfully located. All pre-cruise arrangements were made by Oceania. They did a fine job!!! The Mariner is a beautiful ship. The cabins are well appointed, roomy in fact, with plenty of storage space. The bathroom is large, with a shower that could be larger & an unnecessary tub. The shampoo, lotions, etc. are of excellent quality & beautifully presented. All of the public areas on Marina are attractive & comfortable. The Library is quiet, comfortable & very well stocked. All of the dining venues are attractive. I think the the weakest link in the operation is The Main Dining Room. They seem to get overwhelmed. I must admit that when I complained, the matter was given immediate attention. I think that the staff really wants to excell. The Terrace Cafe was wonderful as were all of the speciality restaurants. We enjoyed the evening entertainment - both speciality acts & production shows. I think that the ship tours are very pricey. We got together with some CC folks on our thread & did 2 tours for less than half the price. Our ports of call were every interesting & not too crowded. The weather prevented us from going into 2 ports. The sea days were welcome & the staff adjusted very quickly to a totally new schedule. Well done!!!!! We met some very nice folks, had a lot of fun, won $ on the penny slots & look forward to cruising again with Oceania.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
This may be a different style review. Our main point is to start by saying that we had a very good time and enjoyed the company of our friends and some unexpected surprises discovering old friends among those on the cruise. We however were ... Read More
This may be a different style review. Our main point is to start by saying that we had a very good time and enjoyed the company of our friends and some unexpected surprises discovering old friends among those on the cruise. We however were underwhelmed by this new ship and I really doubt we will ever book it again. We much preferred our previous three Oceania cruises on their smaller ships. So this is really a review of the ship more than that of the cruise which we fully enjoyed. The Marina is from beginning to end a design disappointment when you think the design team would have learned what it takes to improve things. This is just a minor list of disappointments: 1. Not enough elevators, to small for 1,200 people, long waits, every elevator has floor arrived at in different location. Only two elevators on back of the ship where everyone goes up and down to eat. Remember these are very heavy Senior and many disabled touring, one wheel chair and the elevator is taken. 2. The Library is the worst example of design failure. The smaller ships have great library where one could go and relax. This maze is crowed, poorly lit, and clearly an afterthought. (This leads to the question, where when its cold outside and you must remain inside the ship do you relax outside your stateroom? No single chair offered, and there are not many, is at all comfortable to sit and read for any length of time.) 3. Dinning: The food was okay, not up to standards of previous voyages especially in the terrace at lunch time. Breakfast in main dining room was the worst. But the big problem is to many people on small ship. The tables in all the restaurants, especially main dining room and terrace are placed so close together that one has a hard time getting up and returning to table. Several days at lunch NO tables were even available for the four of us to sit together. 4. Entertainment: How is it possible that Oceania can't get any entertainment worth watching. New theater is improvement. But if you compare to Celebrity for example... well Oceania get an F. They need to get inventive as more people attended history lectures than entertainment, which only plays once at 9:45. As to television the flat screen is poorly placed on wall and does not rotate. They do not offer CNN. Broadcasts are not in wide screen or in HD so quality of movies is poor to awful. 5. Shore Excursions: Book your own. Oceania's web page is a confusing. The confirm you, then say tour is canceled and refund your money. Then you find it was not canceled. Then no one can answer a question or return a phone call. And then at the last minute they offer the tour anyway. Three credit card charges, refunds later. Their large bus tours lack any local flavor and are far to expensive. We booked most tours independently and say far more at far less money. In Belfast we had a great tour with 20 Cruise Critic members for only $75 a couple, including admissions. The bargain of any tour compared to lessor tour on Oceania which would have cost over $300. 6. The crew: You always want to route for the crew. And this crew does a good job. But most told us they did not like working the ship and wanted to return to smaller ship where they could get to know passengers easier. I have no complains but do wish their was a way to enjoy better relationships with individual crew members. They all seemed so busy and rushed. 7. Specialty restaurants: Most were good and we enjoyed them. However, we had situation in Toscana where we had to ask were our main course was. We were told the order was lost and our meal would take an hour longer. The waiter took all the blame but we were surprised no one from the restaurant came by to say anything or offer any compensation (a bottle of wine or maybe a return visit). 8. Value: Really the bottom line is that Oceania has just gotten to expensive for what it is offering. We took a cruise along the coast of Norway two years ago on Celebrity's Century (just refurbished) and yes they have fixed dinner times, and dress up nights and all. But it cost, including air, some $6,000 less. For a room equally as good. One has to ask if Oceania is really worth it? At least on the Marina. 9. Luggage: Lastly when Oceania took one of our bags to dock upon departure they broke the pull handle on the bag. So far no one has responded to my request for payment. We had to buy a replacement bag while in London. (I found it interesting that they never gave us the parts...so someone knew what they had done but thought they would just slip it buy.) 10. Cabin: My wife did not like the overhead shower head. Or why so much space was used for a bath tub when it could have been used in the stateroom. The closet is in a strange space where two people can not stand in front of it at the same time, nor get out of bed on that side. 11. Laundry: This one they got very right. Coin Laundry is found on each deck. We used several time and no one else was using it. Also the ships laundry is very good and fairly priced. Overall we took this cruise because of our previous like of Oceania and the destinations. We were lucky on weather and really enjoyed all of the places we visited. Don't get my tell it like it is ship review convey the feeling that we did not have a good time, as we did enjoy the experience and all. Its just that in this competitive world others can offer the same or better for far less money. Our suggestion is to avoid the Marina and stick with one of the three remaining older ships. (And one further observation. We felt very young at 66 among the Marina's passengers and although I am happy to see those many years more senior traveling I would prefer a wider range of ages on board. I suggest you not consider if you taking children. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We took the Voyage of the Vikings that started on July 1st in Copenhagen and ended in Dover, England on July 15th. My wife and myself liked our cabin on deck nine concierge level 4. The cabin was large enough for us and had a nice balcony. ... Read More
We took the Voyage of the Vikings that started on July 1st in Copenhagen and ended in Dover, England on July 15th. My wife and myself liked our cabin on deck nine concierge level 4. The cabin was large enough for us and had a nice balcony. My only criticism about the cabin is that the shower was a little too tight for me, I'm 6'2"; I wish that they could have eliminated the bathtub, which we didn't use, and made the shower larger. We really liked the food; the best we have experienced on a cruise ship, and we have taken 16 cruises on various lines. The specialty restaurants were excellent and the service generally very good. We found the buffet to be way above average for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The dining room was also excellent. The lectures we attended were well done and the photography class was excellent. The cruise itself was very good with the ports interesting and the shore excursions generally were very good. The weather improved as the cruise continued which made the short excursions more enjoyable from Iceland onwards. Some criticisms: the embarkation was disorganized and we ended up having to take our large bags into the reception area when they should have been collected before we went in. The shuttle service at two of the ports, Reykjavik and Dublin, was poor because of the long waits for the buses. Overall, a very good cruise and we plan to cruise again next year with Oceania on the twin to the Marina, the Rivera. Read Less
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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