Marina: the beauty of Oceania Cruises

The Marina, a 66,084 tonne ship launched in January 2011, was the first unit of the new generation of ships to renew the Oceania Cruises fleet.

Built by Fincantieri, the first O-Class ship for Oceania has a maximum capacity of 1258 passengers and 629 cabins. The Marina is distinguished by the elegance of the rooms and by the precision of service. It is also known for the variety and excellence of its gastronomic offers.

The areas dedicated to passengers start on deck 5, with the exception of the Medical Center and the lance boarding area which are located on deck 4. The concierge, reception and excursion office are arranged around the main atrium, characterized by a large, modern style staircase. The bow of the ship opens into the Lounge and the Belle Epoque-style theater dedicated to conferences and evening shows. In the center of the ship, on both sides and in front of the reception, there are the boutiques, with clothing, jewelry and various objects.

Moving towards the stern of the ship you will find two of the four free special restaurants on board. The Red Ginger is an oriental alternative that offers both land and sea dishes inspired by Asian traditions. The atmosphere recalls typical Japanese restaurants where you can taste real delicacies accompanied by infusions and herbal teas and use a wide selection of chopsticks of every shape and material.

At the Restaurant Jacques, on the other hand, France is the host. Jacques Pepin, renowned French chef, manages not only this small French corner on the sea but all the cuisine of the Oceania Cruises fleet. Here you can enjoy traditional transalpine dishes, delicious cheeses and truly sensational presentations.

On deck 6 there are other spaces dedicated to passengers and entertainment. Aft of the ship is the Grand Dining Room, the main restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Maitre d’ will await you at the entrance and will accompany you to your preferred table. This restaurant offers wonderful mise-en-place with porcelain and silverware, windows that overlook the sea, excellent service and truly satisfying dishes. Despite the wide choice of restaurants, it is always a pleasure to return to the Grand Dining Room where you can breathe quiet elegance and an atmosphere of yesteryear. Leaving the restaurant, you will find the elegant and luminous Grand Bar on the right, which also acts as a comfortable corridor towards the central area of the ship.

On the left you will find the much more eccentric Casino Bar, characterized by pink and purple lights, with inserts of small mirrors and shiny tiles. From here you can access the Casino Montecarlo, large and equipped with all the main games, from slots to black jack, from dice to roulette.

At the centre of the ship, still on deck 6, is one of the main bars and meeting places, the Martinis. It is the ideal place to savor one of the many cocktails offered to the sound of the piano. A little further on, you reach the Upper Hall, which surrounds the main staircase of the atrium, and continues to the offices of the Ocean Club Ambassador. Here you can check your loyalty level and buy future cruises with great benefits.

The decks from the seventh to the eleventh and part of the twelfth, are dedicated to the cabins. There are a variety of cabin choices on board from internal rooms, external with large windows down to the ground rooms, cabins with balconies and various types of suites. One class of accommodation is on the Concierge level, with little extra spoils and access to the Concierge Lounge (deck 9). Also available for selected suites is The Executive Lounge (deck 11).

The basic amenities include a bathroom with separate shower and bathtub, Bulgari toiletries, a minibar with free soft drinks, bathrobe and slippers, free 24-hour room service. The Concierge level adds bath salts, free ironing of selected items and a specialized cabin breakfast menu. The Suites have a butler and free access to all restaurants on board.

In the bow sector on deck 12 there are selected Suites on both sides of the ship. In the central area, accessible from the bow lifts, there are two specialty workshops. The first, on the straight side, is dedicated to cooking and the various lessons that are planned during the cruise. The second is dedicated to creativity and design, with colors and materials of various kinds available.

The twelfth deck is also the Swimming Deck. Although not particularly large, a very beautiful swimming pool opens at the centre of the ship with two Jacuzzis on the sides and the Wave Bar that serves the entire swimming area. A small stage is located at the level of the aft elevators. Music is played live on sailing days and at the time of departure from stopovers.

Proceeding towards the stern on the left hand side is the Le Reserve Restaurant. It is the ideal place to test the wine and food pairings proposed by Wine Spectator. You dine informally on stools and common tables but the level of cuisine is very high, as are the wines made available. Sometimes tastings are also offered in the afternoon.

On the opposite side of the ship is The Wave Grill. It is the place with the most flexible opening hours and where you can enjoy dishes of all kinds, from breakfast to through to dinner. Burgers and other grilled specialties are served until late in the afternoon. The smoothies and artisanal ice creams are delicious, available until mid-afternoon.

From both sides of the ship there is access to the buffet restaurant, the Terrace Cafe. You can choose this informal setting for any meal of the day. It also has a very suggestive outdoor terrace where you can take your plate and be served with a view to the sea or the port of the day. The choice of the buffet is generally wide and all the dishes are elegantly displayed on trays around various islands where there are never queues or waits. A section is dedicated to the grill and to first courses. Always present are meats, chicken and fish fillets cooked according to your preferences. There is also good pizza and, in the evening, raw fish and sushi prepared on the spot.

Going up to deck 14, always aft of the ship, there are two other free special restaurants. On starboard side is the Polo Grill, dedicated to grilled meats and fish but also able to amaze with appetizers and desserts, all delicious. On the opposite side of the ship is where you’ll find traditional Italian cuisine.

The Tuscan Restaurant, in fact, offers the most famous recipes from all over the peninsula, from meat to fish to fresh pasta, without neglecting the importance of good olive oil and balsamic vinegar, both offered from a wide selection. Here some of the staff are Italian and will truly make you feel at home.

Between the two specialty restaurants, in the extreme stern of the ship, there is a special room, Le Priveè, where you can enjoy a “private” dinner for a rental of 200.00 dollars. The menu can be composed by drawing on both those offered at the Polo Grill and at The Tuscan Restaraunt.

Still on deck 14, leaving the restaurants and walking towards the center of the ship, you will find the card room on the starboard side, ‘The Board Room’ with board games and drinks available in an elegant setting with model ships and mahogany-colored display cabinets. A little further on, still on the starboard side, is the Oceania@Sea internet center, with numerous PC stations and frequent staff assistance.

Continuing along you will come across the Baristas, a small bar where you can enjoy the best coffee on board. For most of the day the baristas are young Italians and the quality of the espresso is undoubtedly the closest to what they are used to in their home bars. Finally, on the left side there is a spectacular library equipped with over 2000 volumes of all kinds of subjects. There is also a good supply of travel guides, useful for planning one’s itineraries on board. A sense of elegance is given by the large leather armchairs and by fake fireplaces, and by paintings and models of ancient ships.

Deck 14 also represents the Sun Deck, which is the place to enjoy the sun on the comfortable loungers available around the pool. Returning towards the bow, two pleasant and comfortable rooms open on both sides of the ship where you can breathe open air but be sheltered from the sun. The Patio, on the starboard side, consists of round tables and armchairs, while the Sanctuary, on the left hand side, has comfortable sofas where you can relax and read, or watch the sea flow by from the large, bright windows.

The bow part is then dedicated to wellness with the Canyon Ranch Spa Club. On the straight side, the Fitness Center offers a weights area, several treadmills and bicycles as well as body building equipment. A separate room is reserved for courses and aerobic activity. Further on, the Styling Salon takes care of passengers’ hair, as well as manicure and pedicure services. On the left of the ship there are various areas for treatments and massages. In the extreme bow there are also a double Turkish bath and sauna, to be used separately between the sexes. Finally, the Spa Terrace which opens on to the bow, and offers numerous relaxation beds and a large Jacuzzi.

Sports can continue to be practiced outdoors on deck 15. In the stern area, a wide path around the funnel represents the Fitness Track. On both sides there is space for bowls and for shuffleboard. For mini-golf and tennis, on the other hand, the bow of the ship on deck 16 is where you’ll find them.

At the bow of the fifteenth deck, is the Horizon, a beautiful and large Lounge with a beautiful 270° view around the ship. It is an environment to be enjoyed all day, where elegant afternoon tea is served to the sound of violins, where you can play bingo, or dance in the evening to live music.

The Marina is a ship of great elegance in a modern style, capable of transmitting charm and relaxation without any imposition of clothing codes or other formalities. It offers truly sensational gastronomic quality and variety, combined with a great choice of wines and spirits and friendly, professional staff. The length of the stops in port and the frequent overnight stays also make Oceania Cruises a company to pay attention to, also by virtue of the variety of itineraries offered. OLife offers are ever richer in the charm of their classy but informal environments.

Information, offers and Reviews of the Marina and of Oceania Cruises in Cruising Journal.

Gabriele Bassi