We had the opportunity to visit Oceania Cruise ship Marina in Southampton, UK. This particular cruise line doesn’t frequent our shores that often, so this was a great chance to get to know this great brand. As I approached the cruise terminal I could see the top part of this great ship, not necessarily large but it was ready and waiting. Although I have been on another Oceania ship Insignia, albeit smaller, Marina was built with the Oceania cruiser in mind.
The day was warm and once we cleared security the cool air inside the ship was a welcoming relief. We were placed into three groups in one of the lounges accompanied by some light refreshments. It was very encouraging to see many GoCruise colleagues present including one with his own group of clients.
When you step on board a cruise ship you enter a different world, a world that is different and for the next few days this is going to be your home, a floating palace some will say. On Marina our prime objectives were viewing the staterooms and this area is well covered by Oceania cruises, clean, welcoming and comfortable. What struck me was the ample space and unique details that each stateroom has. We then headed to view the recreational parts and restaurants, as expected these areas were well kept and presentable.
One name in the world of cuisine is Jacques Pepin, head chef to former French President Charles De Gaulle. When Jacques moved to the US he turned down JFK as his head chef to pursue a career in his own right. With Oceania “Jacques” is the first restaurant to bear his name land or sea! Good food equals top standards. Oriental food is served at “Red Ginger”, so popular that a land based restaurant has been opened in Miami. Other great restaurants are “Polo Grill” & ”Toscana” which offer great food in their own right. For a more relaxed way to eat, whether its breakfast, lunch or a light dinner “Waves” and “Terrace café” offer both inside and Al Fresco experience. But for the ultimate serious diner “Privée”, unique to Oceania for parties of 10 at just $250. The custom made oval table gives the guest ample space and with a choice from Polo Grill, Toscana or a combination of both. Perched high on deck 12 you will find “La Reserve”, a hideaway for 24 distinguished guests. For a supplement you can either have 1) Daytime, a choice of wine parties held by the Head Sommelier. 2) In the evenings…”Finest cuisine at sea” is a good description.
Apart from Privee and La Reserve all other speciality restaurants are complimentary. On Marina’s grand dining hall we were greeted with pinpoint tableware and large crystal chandeliers, echoing a French 18th century Chateau. The beautiful china plates, richly decorated, have a secret clue to show the waiter where to place the plate.
Cuisine on Oceania is well known in the cruise industry with an array of awards but it’s the behind the scenes which explains why. Dollar for dollar Oceania spends more on food than any other line. Supplying meat from their own beef farm in the US guarantees that the customers on board any of their ships gets the best beef in town! Oceania’s lobster farm in New England provides fresh crustacean enthusiasts the best in the business. Sea Bass fish from the Chilean South Pacific is served. This is a stronger, bigger fish than its worldwide cousins, as it has to swim faster due to the strong currents by Chile. Whatever you like, the seven course meal will make you feel like a king or queen, well I did!
Deck life is relaxing with swimming pools at the ready and complimentary towels are at your disposal. Award winning Spa Canyon Ranch, one of the first lines to introduce this to their customers, has a great list of pampering. Gym, hair salons, internet, cuisine classrooms plus much more. Being the only Upper premium cruise line the price is lower than most luxury brands, this is your holiday after all and dress attire is relaxed.
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