Launched: January 2011.
Number of passengers: 1,250 at double occupancy.
Where she cruises: Europe, The Mediterranean, South America.
Marina is Oceania Cruises’ first new-build, launching a new class and size of ship for the line, as well as a vessel which claims to be one for true travelling gourmands. Comfortably mid-sized and with a country club ambiance, she boasts big ship facilities, an unprecedented number of dining venues, and the style and elegance befitting many ships at the luxury end of the scale.
Who Should Go?
Things You Might Not Know
Marina’s godmother is the US legend of the television program, Entertainment Tonight. The ship has a Grand Staircase made by Lalique, and the Owners’ Suites are stylishly furnished by Ralph Lauren Home. It also has the only hands-on cooking school at sea, the Bon Appétit Culinary Centre.
More than twice the size of her siblings, Marina has a wide range of stateroom classes to choose from ranging from inside cabins to spacious suites. Starting with inside cabins, there are two types with a size of just over 16 square metres, all located on mid-level decks midships. Elegant in design, they have a decor of soft colours and dark warm wood, oversized bathrooms, extremely comfortable tranquility beds, and facilities including a refrigerator with unlimited soft drinks and bottled water, cotton robes and slippers, flat screen televisions and a hand held dryer.
Ocean view staterooms are 22.48 square metres in size and a similar decor with rich hues and wood, but benefit from floor to ceiling panoramic windows further enhancing the feeling of spaciousness. Additions include a breakfast table, a bathroom with a separate tub and shower, and the same laundry list of facilities. Veranda staterooms come in eight types, from standard to concierge. At just over 26 square metres they are spacious with a similar rich decor with a private teak veranda and all of the usual amenities.
Concierge staterooms, however, have added perks including exclusive access to a private lounge, the services of a concierge to make VIP dining reservations, a welcome bottle of Champagne, use of a laptop computer in your stateroom, and a complimentary tote back and lap blanket. Guests in these staterooms also have privileges including priority embarkation and check-in, priority restaurant reservations and complimentary shoe shine.
When it comes to suites, there are three categories of penthouse suites – Oceania Suites, Vista Suites and the very swish Owners Suites. These range from 39 square metres for a category C Penthouse, to a whopping 189 square metres for the Owners Suite. Penthouses reflect the design of an elegant five star hotel, and are large enough for proper in-suite dining and have a full living area. They also come with all mod-cons and access to the Executive Lounge staffed by a concierge.
But pick of the suites are undoubtedly the Owners Suites which are huge, lavishly appointed and furnished from Ralph Lauren Home. They feature a living room, full dining area, a marble and granite bathroom, a bedroom with a king size tranquility bed, a foyer and even a music room with ocean views. Facilities include three flat screen TVs, a Bose sound system, a private fitness room, two jacuzzis including one on the private terrace, and a butler.
Facilities and Entertainment
This ship has a strong focus on culinary pursuits, but for non-foodies, or gourmands in between meals, there is plenty to occupy guests both indoors and outside. When it comes to leisure facilities, there’s an elegant Canyon Ranch Spa with an all encompassing menu of body and facial treatments, a beauty salon, and a well equipped fitness centre for working off all the gourmet cuisine. There is a small pool with two jacuzzis on deck, plenty of outdoor deck space and two quiet sanctuaries for watching the landscape slip by – one with tables and chairs and the other with comfortable loungers.
For enrichment pursuits, the Artists Loft is the place to let your creativity unfold, the library is well stocked with books and comfortable leather chairs, and there’s a decent sized internet cafe for keeping in touch with the outside world. If learning to cook appeals to you, the Bon Appétit Culinary Centre, run by Kathryn Kelly, is the place to learn some new skills. For nightlife there are a number of bars and lounges including the Grand Bar, which doubles as a venue for light classical music, Martinis for a pre or post dinner cocktail, and the focus of live entertainment is the intimate, single story Horizons.
The Grand Dining Room is the ship’s primary dining venue, an elegant space on one level with the feel of a European-style restaurant, and plenty of windows for guests to enjoy the view. It serves an eclectic menu of international cuisine including a selection of specialties from some of the alternative restaurants. Terrace Cafe is the casual option for breakfast, lunch and dinner, combining indoor and al fresco dining from a wide range of stations. At Waves, on the pool deck, you can also opt for a sandwich or hamburger, a quick snack between meals or excursions, or just indulge in some gelato.
There are six alternative restaurants on board Marina, four of which do not incur any surcharge. Jacques is the sophisticated dining venue, and the first to bear the legendary Jacques Pépin’s name; resembling a Parisian bistro, it serves traditional French cuisine with his own unique twist. Red Ginger is the lavish and ambitious Asian-fusion venue which takes some of the great dishes of the Far East and combines them on one indulgent menu.
The other two no-charge venues are the stylish steakhouse, Polo Grill, and Toscana which serves Italian cuisine, both with a view. The two venues which do attract a surcharge include Privée, an opulent venue offering an ultimate menu – a seven-course degustation experience at US $1,000 for an evening for up to eight diners. The other is La Reserve by Wine Spectator, a dining event held a number of times during a cruise which pairs a seven-course dinner with premium wines for US $75 a head.
The Low Down
Marina is undoubtedly a ship which is quite different when compared to her three older siblings, both in terms of her size and her culinary offerings. She is elegant, big without feeling crowded, and if you love good food you will love this ship – just stay clear of the scales for a while once your cruise is over!
To view some images of Oceania Marina, click on the gallery below (images © Ben Hall):[nggallery id=91]