Oceania’s brand new ship the “Marina”
This is an partial excerpt from a review by Matt Hannafin writing for Frommer’s which was posted on February 7, 2011 while aboard Oceania’s Brand new ship the Marina. Great Information, Photos, and Review of a Luxury Cruise accommodations ship. Check out the Video on this new vessel. You can also check out all of my Marina Photos posted on flickr here.
So here I sit in my very comfortable concierge-level stateroom aboard Oceania Cruises’ new 66,000-ton, 1,250-passener Marina. The eight-year-old line christened the ship at a stylish Miami ceremony on Saturday afternoon, after which she hightailed it out to sea with 1,000-plus media types, travel agents, vendors, and assorted industry people aboard, to show off.
And the verdict is? Marina is really nice, built with the same boutique-hotel feel as the line’s first three ships (Regatta, Insignia, and Nautica) but with more space, more dining options, more fun (think big spa, cooking classes, art workshops), and a more showy sense of style.
Here’s a quick list of her high points:
- Space. With a passenger-space ratio of 52.8, Marina is, by the numbers, one of the most spacious ships in the cruz biz (with her smallest balcony staterooms weighing in at a whopping 282 sq. ft. of space), behind only the luxury Silversea, Crystal, and Regent Seven Seas vessels, Seabourn’s new Odyssey and Sojourn, and Cunard’s QueenMary 2. Some areas you must check out include: The Sanctuary (cozy nook located near the Main Deck Pool Area), The Grand Staircase (one look will tell you why they named it that). Be sure to check out the fabulous boutiques and shoppes on Deck 5 in The Galleria, offering some of the finest shopping at sea!!
- A sense of calm. Like the older Oceania ships, Marina evinces a sense of unrushed, take-things-at-your-own-pace leisure. By design, there aren’t many activities aboard, and the ship is full of little nooks and hideaways where you get be on your own. The lovely library, positioned on one of the top decks next to the Barista’s coffee bar, is designed almost like a series of country-club cubicles, with dignified leather armchairs fronting faux fireplaces, ship models, and case after case of books.
- Super restaurants. Clearly, Oceania intended Marina to be distinguished by her restaurants. My top pick so far is Red Ginger, a pan-Asian restaurant with a very hip, contemporary design. Two other restaurants, the Polo Grill steakhouse and Mediterranean Toscana, are carry-overs from Oceania’s earlier ships, clearly intended to provide a sense of continuity for repeat guests. The 566 seat main Grand Dining Room (featuring both Continental and American Cuisines) was, like so many aboard cruise ships, designed to look like something out of a 1930s Hollywood movie, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it really is a knockout, with a sloping entranceway that’s one of the most effective I’ve ever seen—you feel as if the room is opening up the farther you walk in. And finally there’s Jacques, created by and named for the line’s culinary consultant, the legendary Jacques Pépin. It’s a beautiful room, mimicking a traditional French bistro with its oak floors and intimate size. However, you will have to be the ultimate judge in the final analysis as to which venue was your personal favorate, as they are ALL included in the price of your cruise. No extra charges here, in any of the dining venues. Bon Appetite!
- Comfortable and smartly designed staterooms. I’ve been knocked out by Oceania’s beds since the line sailed its first cruises back in 2003, and things have only gotten better aboard Marina, where super-plush beds are the centerpiece amid dark, traditional wood wall panels and desks, comfortable sitting areas and balconies, and spacious and elegant marble bathrooms. The rooms all have a real sense of space too, though closet space could be a bit more generous considering the line’s generally long itineraries.
- Super-stylish suites. Owners Suites aboard Marina are over-the-top, designed with furniture, fabrics, bedding, and other accouterments from the Ralph Lauren Home collection and accented by evocative mid-20th-century glamour photos. To start, there are 12 Oceania Suites which contain approximately 1030 square feet of pure luxury Including its very own seperate media room, how cool is that? Then there are the Vista Suites that get their name from their sweeping panoramic (floor to ceiling window) vistas from the front of the ship. Each of these elegant marvels contain from 1200 to 1500 square feet of posh layout including their very own workout room. That should help with working off those extra five star calories taken on board. Then the Ultimate in Cruise Luxury and Sophistication is the highly sought Owners Suite which contains approximately 2000 square feet of everything the discerning entertaining host/hostess could desire with large living and sitting room, complete with bar/serving area and baby grand piano. Don’t forget about the enormous wrap around veranda’s which come complete with hot tub, and flat screen tv. Certainly fit for kings, or presidents (whether country or corporate).
- Hands-on cooking classes. The ship’s Bon Appetit Culinary Center is the first full instruction kitchen at sea, with 12 stations where 24 students can prepare full meals over the course of two hours.
- Excellent service. As has been true of Oceania from the beginning, service is top-notch, balancing precision with friendliness and skewing close to the kind of understated professionalism you see on the much more pricey luxury lines.
- Canyon Ranch Spa. Talk about relaxing, talk about Marina’s spa, which sits way up on Deck 14 and offers a large menu of massages, scrubs, wraps, skin treatments and facials, acupuncture, etc., as well as Zen-like relaxation rooms and a private sundeck with two hot tubs.
- Chocolate croissants. Americans, in my opinion, always overdo their chocolate croissants, adding so much chocolate that it overbalances the pastry. Not on Marina, which serves some of the best I’ve had outside of France. A personal bugaboo of mine? Oh, definitely, but sometimes new ships succeed on the big stuff and come up short on the details. Not here.
Marina’s is certainly able to deliver the goods with style, elegance, and some seriously fine five-star cuisine. And she has some very special pricing opportunities during her maiden voyage season. Be sure to check her out! How about a wonderful 10 Night “Pearls of the Riviera” Cruise from Barcelona to Rome, offering 2 for 1 cruise fares+free air+$1000 on board credit starting at only $3799pp. Or, how about a spectacular 16 night “Trans-Atlantic Odyssey” from Rome to Miami, including 2 for 1 cruise fare+free air+ $1000 on board credit starting from a mere price of only $1799pp.
For more information on this special new “Marina” cruise ship, or to reserve your vacation-of-a-lifetime on this marvelous luxury floating resort, you can contact Mike via email firstname.lastname@example.org . You can tweet (or follow) Mike at http://www.twitter.com/cruisewithmike . You can “Join” our Travel Club at http://meetup.com/Sun-Cities-Travelers-Group/ Mikes web site can be found at www.mberryhill.cruiseholidays.com . You can follow this blog (or subscribe to it) at http://www.cruisewithmike.com (or merely click on the subscribe button above to have daily delivery to your email). View all of Mikes uploaded Flickr Photo Galleries at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cruisewithmike/ . Mike also is editor of his own twice daily e-newspapaer called “The Compass Headings” you can see (or subscribe to) it free! at http://paper.li/CruisewithMike
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