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  02.07.2011  
 


The impeccably stylish decor aboard
Oceania Cruises' Marina


Marina - A New Class of Luxury

By Paul Motter

Oceania Marina, first announced at the SeaTrade convention in Miami in March, 2006,has just wrapped up the first inaugural cruise. Five years is a long wait, but she was worth it - she is a beauty.

The first thing to strike you is the exquisite décor - it competes with Celebrity for interior opulence. All walls are coated in soft tan suede. The dramatic central atrium has dark mahogany accents and the grand staircase in embedded with Lalique crystal plaques. There is more Lalique on this ship than Saks Fifth Avenue. Modern deep plum museum-design chairs fill the beige and tan carpetted rooms.

The structural design will be familiar to regular Oceania cruisers. The Polo Grill and Tuscany Italian Trattoria are in the same place, as well as the Terrace Café with the open veranda dining on the aft deck. The brand new restaurant Jacques is on a lower deck with a wall of windows filling the dining room with a bright French country feel, reminiscent of the yellow room in the home of Claude Monet in Giverney.

My first night's dinner was in Toscana, the Italian Trattoria. It began with a wonderful Amuse Bouche; Battuto di Patatine Novelle Tiepede con Caviale - translation; grated baked potato flakes slightly warmed in olive oil and topped with fresh caviar. My second course was artichoke and parmesan cheese timbale with black truffle sauce. My main course was a whole Maine lobster - cut in half and perfectly cooked but I had to request lemon and butter. The desserts; tiramisu and crème brulee, were delightful.

After dinner I tried the casino - surprisingly complete with blackjack, roulette, craps and all kinds of slots including pennies. I played video poker and actually won a jackpot, something that has not happened to me on a cruise ship in years - a big thumb up.

After that, the only apparent option seemed to be the main showroom. I took a front row seat, but while the singers were very good the material was a bit dated. This is Oceania's first stab at production shows, and I don't think they consider them to be of prime importance.

Day two lunch was in Red Ginger, the first Asian restuarant for Oceania. This restaurant will be a favorite. Again we started with caviar, over tuna tarta, followed by the most succulent sea bass with Asian peanut suace I have ever tasted. Amazing.

On night two I discovered the real late night place to be is "Horizons," the deck 14 forward looking "crow's nest" style lounge. Hundreds of people congregated here for dancing and drinking to DJ and live music. I had just missed mt mark the first night.

The bathroom is truly gorgeous with real granite counters, a full-size tub and a separate shower, but the shower is very small and the only mount for the hand wand is waist level. The alternative is a "rain shower" directly over your head, but you cannot step out of the flow which is a nuisance. You can tilt the rain-head a little which helps, but still, when you turn the water off it continues to drip straight down so you have to step out to dry off - and dry the floor when you finish.

Still, this ship is awesomely gorgeous, spacious and accommodating - and the cuisine is world-class. A little time for everything to meld is not unusual in a new ship, and I am sure Marina will soon be lauded as one of the best ships in the world; a home run for Oceania - despite the niggle things. As one company executive explained it - "this is a proto-type ship and as such there will always be surprises, but overall, we feel she turned out to be a fantastic ship." We couldn't agree more.

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