We had been looking forward to seeing aboard Marina – an O-class ship for Oceania Cruises. Oceania operate R-Class and O-Class ships, with Marina and Riviera being the larger O-Class, whilst Regatta, Insignia, Nautica and Sirena are the smaller R-Class.
Our overall impression was of high-quality and luxury, with a strong culinary emphasis and perhaps less space dedicated to general activities – as the main features and talking points on board, apart from the itinerary and destinations are likely to be of a culinary nature!
Marina was built in 2011 and refurbished in 2015, though there is a constant refreshment programme throughout the fleet ensuring that standards are maintained. Guest capacity is 1,250 and a staff of 800 are onboard.
The emphasis on Marina is clearly towards Oceania’s Finest Cuisine At Sea which is the line’s trade mark reputation. There are lots of restaurants to ensure that you get chance to experience the full variety of flavours and range of ingredients. The Grand Dining Room is a stunning large space with a huge centerpiece chandelier of $400,000 Swarovski crystals. The food we experienced was exquisite – the sauces, accompaniments and presentation enhanced the main ingredients – which seemed to have been cooked with full attention as if only one person was being served.
The speciality Red Ginger restaurant provides the Eastern theme, Jacques (after Jacques Pepin, Oceania’s signature chef) serves to a traditional French ambience. Polo Grill is a top American Steakhouse style of delivery in an attractive traditional style. Toscana provides lighter style and elegance from an Italian Tuscan heart.
The only charging restaurants on board Oceania’s Marina are the private dining room Privee which has a stunning contemporary design at the rear of Deck 14 and can accommodate 10 guests; and La Reserve which must be an incredible experience with wine-pairing for every course.
There are some very cleverly used spaces onboard which give some real character – such as the Library area with lots of comfortable seating placed in alcoves between the books. The Baristas Café is a small but delightful speciality coffee area, looking out over the Sun Deck and the pool. A large Canyon Ranch SpaClub sits at the fore of Deck 14 and includes fitness centre, aerobics, styling, steam room and sauna as well as a calming Spa Terrace.
The Artist Loft and the Culinary Centre are venues on Deck 12 of Marina which host their respective tutorial and participatory activities. Learn to prepare a variety of exquisite dishes, or attend an art workshop with the artist-in-residence.
Corners of the Sun Deck are dedicated to Sanctuary and Patio which provide more secluded seating for those not wanting to spend their time on the sun loungers. There is generous space for outside living, but it is not what Oceania is all about – the food is the clear priority for this line in terms of how space is allocated, the variety and the quality.
Accommodations onboard Oceania’s ship Marina are predominantly large Veranda Staterooms with sofas, though there are some spacious Ocean View rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, and a small number of more compact Inside Staterooms.
The Suite categories of Marina are truly luxurious: Penthouse Suites at 420 sq. ft. are a notably larger than the Veranda Staterooms, providing that welcome extra space for longer voyages especially. The Oceania Suite though moves into a different class, with more than double the space of the Penthouse Suites and with distinct living areas. At this level you also have exclusive access to an Executive Lounge on Deck 11. The Vista Suites are 1,200 to 1,500 sq. ft and overlook the bow of the ship and have external whirlpool baths and small private fitness room. The stunning Owner’s Suite though spans the width of the ship at the rear and has over 2,000 sq. ft of space with large living room, a music room with Baby Grand Piano and bar, and a large bedroom area.
Entertainment and relaxation spaces on board include Horizons on Deck 15 fore – this is a dancing, music and social space which feels a little under-stated and dare we say it duller than it could be. However, were sure that time spent up there will be far from dull.
The reception atrium with its Grand Staircase is however the height of elegance. On embarkation day a string quartet was playing on the Staircase! A special introduction. The atrium is a delightful space with Martinis piano bar connecting to the Upper Hall at the top of the Staircase. There are good lounge areas around the ship such as the Grand Bar near to the Grand Restaurant. Then there’s the Casino and Casino Bar – possibly the most contemporary style with its purple neon. At the front of the ship on Deck 5 is the single story expansive Lounge theatre – well designed for enjoyable evening performances.
Oceania’s Marina is an elegant ship, which the emphasis on fine cuisine. The quality of the furnishings and finishings on-board is generally very high indeed and a feeling of luxury permeates the ship. With excellent staff to passenger ratios service should be some of the best at sea – and the range of accommodations can suit the most discerning passengers.