Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 442 out of 500
Accommodation: 179 out of 200
Food: 333 out of 400
Service: 316 out of 400
Entertainment: 82 out of 100
Cruise: 327 out of 400
Overall Score: 1679 out of 2000
Size: Mid-size Ship
Cruise Line: Oceania Cruises
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9438066
Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)
Original Cost: $530 million
Entered Service: Jan 2011
Registry: Marshall Islands
Length (ft/m): 776.5/236.7
Beam (ft/m): 105.3/32.1
Draft (ft/m): 24.2/7.4
Passenger Decks: 11
Total Crew: 800
Passengers (lower beds): 1,258
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 52.5
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.5
Cabins (total): 629
Size Range (sq ft/m): 172.2-2,000/16.0-185.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 593
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 6
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 1
Hot Tubs (on deck): 3
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
Premium country club style for mature-age cruisers
Overview. Marina is really comfortable, although you will need to walk a little more. It will suit mature-age adults who appreciate quality and style, with plenty of space, plus excellent cuisine and service, in an informal setting with realistic pricing.
The Ship. Built in 55 blocks, Marina is the first newbuild for this growing small cruise line. Its profile is quite handsome, with a nicely rounded front and topped by a swept-back funnel. Able to cruise at a speed 25 percent faster than the other three ships in the fleet, it can operate cruises over longer distances.
Oceania Cruises has been careful to try to keep the warm and tasteful ‘country house’ decor style for which it has become known - the smaller ships were designed by the Scottish designer John McNeece - together with an uncomplicated layout that’s easy to master quickly.
The interior focal point is the stunning wrought-iron and Lalique glass horseshoe-shaped staircase in the main lobby. Public rooms include nine bars and lounges. There is a 2,000-book library, set on the port side of the funnel housing. The Monte Carlo Casino has its own soft lavender-colored Casino Bar.
Something new for Oceania Cruises is the Culinary Center, a cooking demonstration kitchen with 24 workstations run in conjunction with the US-based Bon Appétit magazine - there’s a fee for each of several cookery classes, but at least you get to eat your creations. An Artist’s Loft hosts constantly changing artists - bring your own paintbrushes. If you like art, look for the genuine Picassos on board; there are 16 of them, including six in the casino.
The dress code is country club - no pyjamas or track suits, but no ties, either. Despite uneven service in some of the dining venues, the ship just manages to squeeze into the Berlitz 5-Star Club. Note that a rather large 18 percent gratuity is added to bar and spa accounts.
In 2012, some of the modifications made when building its close sister Riviera were incorporated in its first drydocking. These include better lighting and and deeper drawers in suites and cabins, teak decking, plus hand-held shower hoses in suites with bathtubs, and chandeliers in public rooms.
Accommodation. There are several price categories, with four suite grades: Owner’s Suite; Oceania Suite; Vista Suite; Penthouse Suite - and four cabin grades: concierge-level veranda cabin; veranda cabin; deluxe ocean-view cabin; and interior cabin. Price depends on size and location, but all have one thing in common - a good-size bathroom with tub and separate but small shower enclosure.
Around 96 percent of all accommodation has teak-decked balconies. All suites/cabins have a bathtub and shower, and two toiletry cabinets. There’s no tie rack in the closets because the dress code is casual. The decor includes chocolate brown, cream, and white - earthy colors that don’t jar the senses. All suites and cabins have dark wood cabinetry with rounded edges.
Standard veranda cabins. These measure 282 sq ft (26 sq m). Veranda and concierge-level cabins have a sitting area and teak balcony with faux wicker furniture. Concierge-level grades get L’Occitane toiletries.
Penthouse Suites. These measure 420 sq ft (39 sq m) with living/dining room separate from the sleeping area, walk-in closet, and bathroom with a double vanity.
Oceania Suites. These measure about 1,030 sq ft (96 sq m) and have a living room, dining room, separate bedroom, walk-in closet, teak-decked balcony with Jacuzzi tub, main bathroom, and a second bathroom for guests.
Vista Suites. These range from 1,200 to 1,500 sq ft (111-139 sq m) and offer the same features as Oceania Suites but add floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the bow.
Owner’s Suite. At more than 2,000 sq ft (186 sq m), this spans the ship’s entire beam. It is decked out in furniture, fabrics, lighting, and bedding from the Ralph Lauren Home collection with design by New York-based Tocar, Inc. It is outfitted with a Yamaha baby grand piano, private fitness room, laptop computers, Bose audio system, and a teak-decked balcony with Jacuzzi tub.
Suite-category occupants get niceties like Champagne on arrival, 1,000-thread-count bed linen, 42in plasma TV sets, Hermès and Clarins bath amenities, butler service and en suite delivery from any of the ship’s restaurants. Amenities include Tranquility beds, Wi-Fi laptop computer, refrigerated minibar with unlimited free soft drinks and bottled water replenished daily, personal safe, writing desk, cotton bathrobes, slippers, and marble and granite bathroom. Priority check-in and early embarkation and priority luggage delivery are extra perks.
Occupants of Owner’s, Vista, Oceania, and Penthouse Suites can have in-suite course-by-course dining from any restaurant menu, making private dining possible as a change to being in the restaurants.
Some grades get access to an Executive Lounge or Concierge Lounge. These are great little hideaways, with sofas, Internet-connect computers, Continental breakfast items, soft drinks, and magazines. Self-service launderettes are on each accommodation deck - useful for long voyages.
Dining. Six open-seating dining venues provide plenty of choice, enough even for long cruises, although banquette seating in some venues does not evoke the image of premium dining as much as individual seating does. Also, it would be hard to describe some of the specialty dining venues as intimate. This is, however, a foodie’s ship, with really high-quality ingredients and effectively fancy presentation. Particularly notable are the delicious breads, rolls, croissants, and brioches - all made on board from French flour and d’Isigny butter.
The Grand Dining Room has 566 seats, and a domed, or raised, central ceiling. Versace bone china, Christofle silver, and fine linens are used. Canyon Ranch Spa dishes are available for all meals.
Other dining options. French celebrity chef Jacques Pépin, Oceania’s executive culinary director, has his first sea-going restaurant, Jacques, with 124 seats. It has antique oak flooring, antique flatware, and Lalique glassware, and offers fine dining in an elegant but informal setting, with roast free-range meats, nine classic French dessert items, and a choice of 12 AOC cheeses.
Polo Grill, with 134 seats, serves steaks and seafood, including Oceania’s signature 32oz bone-in King’s Cut prime rib. The setting is classic traditional steakhouse, with dark wood paneling and classic white tablecloths, although the tables are a little close together.
The 124-seat Toscana features Italian-style cuisine, served on Versace china.
Privée, with seating for up to 10 in a private setting, invites exclusivity for its seven-course dégustation menu.
La Réserve offers a choice of two seven-course small-portion dégustation menus (Discovery and Explorer), paired with wines. With just 24 seats, it’s really intimate.
The Terrace Café is the casual self-serve buffet-style venue; outdoors, as an extension of the café, is Tapas on the Terrace - good for light bites (although the ceiling is low and it can be very noisy).
Red Ginger is a specialty restaurant which offers ‘classic and contemporary’ Asian cuisine; the setting is visually refined, with ebony and dark wood finishes, but the banquette-style seating lets the venue down. Your waiter will ask you to choose your chopsticks from a lacquered presentation box.
The poolside Waves Grill, shaded from the sun, serves Angus beef burgers, fishburgers, veggie burgers, Reuben sandwiches, seafood, and other fast food, cooked to order.
Baristas coffee bar overlooks the pool deck and has excellent - and free - illy Italian coffee. However, in the bars the tonic mixed with gin and vodka is too sweet and of inferior quality.
Entertainment. The 600-seat Marina Lounge spans two decks, with tiered amphitheater-style seating. It’s more cabaret-style entertainment than big production shows, in keeping with the cruise line’s traditions, which suits the passenger clientele just fine.
Spa/Fitness. The Canyon Ranch SpaClub provides wellness and personal spa treatments. The facility includes a fitness center, beauty salon, several treatment rooms, thalassotherapy pool, and sauna and steam rooms. A jogging track is located aft of the funnel, above two of the specialty restaurants.