I have not yet had a chance to see the Marina, Oceania’s first newly built ship, so I have been waiting for a report from others. Here are some impressions from Ross Spalding, president of Crown Cruise Vacations, who recently sailed on a preview cruise.
According to Spalding, “She’s a beautiful, sophisticated and stylish ship, and offers unrivaled cuisine, luxurious accommodations, exceptional personalized service and extraordinary value. Oceania Cruises redefined the upper-premium cruise ship market with the christening of Marina.”
He listed seven reasons he loves the ship:
1. As the first Oceania ship designed for lovers of fine dining and travel experiences, Marina offers guests a total of 10 dining venues, of which six are open-seating gourmet restaurants with no surcharge. Everything prepared was worth consuming, but Spalding’s favorite treat was a caviar brunch (on sea days, in the main dining room during brunch hours, then during lunch hours in the Terrace Café).
2. Jacques, Master Chef Jacques Pépin’s first namesake restaurant at sea, offers cuisine that is masterful in taste and presentation and the Bon Appétit Culinary Center offers hands-on cooking instruction under the guidance of master chefs.
3. La Reserve by Wine Spectator is an intimate venue that hosts tastings and seven-course pairing dinners with premium wines, selected in consultation with Wine Spectator editors. Guests can learn about and sample fine wines selected by the connoisseurs at Wine Spectator magazine, if they so desire.
4. With 629 guest staterooms and suites, the accommodations in every category are incredibly spacious, including lavish bathrooms, floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows or oversized balconies. All outside staterooms have both full bath plus a shower stall and the LCD flat-screen TVs are very large.
5. The full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center, swimming pool and hot tubs offer delicious spa meals, indulgent services, enlightening presentations and an extensive fitness program.
6. Artists-in-residence teach fine arts in The Studio, a new enrichment center. You might learn how to paint with watercolors, do needlepoint or create phenomenal arts and crafts.
7. And the last, but not least, reason is a Lalique grand stairway that is a treat to the eye and the touch.
Entered into service in January 2011, Marina is the line’s first newly built ship measuring 66,000 tons and accommodating 1,250 guests.
Marina operates a 12-day Caribbean cruise, round-trip from Miami, departing March 16, before sailing along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and on to Europe to begin her inaugural Mediterranean season. For more information, go to www.oceaniacruises.com.