By Paul Motter
The newest ship from Oceania, Marina, is close to completion at the Fincantieri Sestri Ponente ship yard in Genoa, Italy. She will debut in Barcelona next January 22 - and I can't remember a new small ship with as many new features I am dying to see.
Marina has much larger staterooms on average, and a selection of excellent alternative restaurants at little to no extra cost. We predict a very comfortable and accomodating ship that will take everything you already know and love about the Oceania experience to the next level.
Marina Oceania has always featured great food with menus designed by the world famous chef Jacques Pepin - and Marina will have 10 eateries onboard. For those of you who do not know, Pepin had a PBS television show with Julia Childs for a several years back in the 1960s. The dining concept on Marina has always been open-seating in a country club casual atmosphere. You could argue they were doing "free" style cruising long before other cruise lines made it a big deal. Even better - Oceania has always featured at least three alternative dining venues onboard each of their ships, a grill and an Italian trattoria, where they serve delectable food at no extra cost to the cruiser.
Marina will have those dining options, and more. Most anticipation is coming for the new restaurant said to be the darling of Jacques Pepin himself, "Jacques." People who know the chef say he is more excited about this project than any he has done in years. The tiny restaurant will only serve about 80 guests per night, so reservations are required, but there is no service charge to dine there.
Menu items already mentioned include an appetizer of Pumpkin Soup a l'Anglaise served in a pumpkin shell, Mussels Mariniere, roasted chicken, duck and lamb. This is the first time Jacques Pepin has ever attached his own name to any restaurant, and it is said that he even designed the look of the actual menus and placed his own artwork upon the walls.
Oceania has also teamed up with one of the best Spas in the country, Canyon Ranch of Tucson, Arizona, to not only provide the spa services onboard the ship, but to also create a selection of healthy spa-oriented cuisine to be served as menu options in all of the restaurants onboard Marina and the other Oceania ships.
Marina's selection of suites includes a number of generously sized staterooms which on average add up to the largest in the cruise industry. There will be 124 Penthouse suites of 420 square feet apiece - an amazing number of suites this size. Each has a separate seating area away from the bed along with a writing desk, refrigerator, large balcony and a walk-in closet.
There will be twelve Oceania Suites of over 1000 square feet; and the eight Vista Suites ranging from 1200 to 1500 square feet.
All of the suites come with large, flat-panel televisions enhanced by Bose surround sound systems. The linens are all by Ralph Lauren, and the beds have "tranquility mattresses" that are said to be extremely comfortable and supportive.
Most impressive will be the three "Owner's Suites" of 2000 square feet - each will span the entire beam (side to side) of the ship on decks eight, nine and ten. These suites have chandelier lighting, all soft products by Ralph Lauren, a chaise lounge, writing desk, king-size beds, ivory-colored leather and chrome bar stools and to top it all off - a baby grand piano.
With every suite comes priority check-in, a "welcome" bottle of champagne, access to a concierge lounge, free and unlimited water and soft drinks in your mini-fridge and a free loan of a laptop computer to access the Internet (access charges extra).
Other staterooms onboard Marina includes 200 Concierge Suites, 244 verandah staterooms, 20 oceanview and 18 inside cabins. The 1640 guests will be served by 800 crewmembers. The verandah stateroom average 282 square feet, about one-third larger than the average balcony stateroom on most cruise ships.
The sister ship to Marina, Oceania Riviera, will debut in April of 2012.
Discuss the Oceania Marina here: Are you ready for Oceania Marina?