The décor of Oceania Marina is not a ship that relies on traditional clichés of luxury, it is a ship that took chances and succeeded. The décor is daringly modern yet still accommodating. It is the best cruise ship at sea, unequaled, at least until her sister ship, Riviera, arrives in May, 2012. But by far, the best thing about Oceania Marina is the cuisine.
There are five restaurants onboard, but even just a visit to the buffet will have you wondering how any ship can be so different. How many cruise ships make their own pasta in front of the guests, kneading the dough, in red green and white, before putting it through the various machines to create linguini, capellini and tortellini?
But when you add the dining in the specialty restaurants Jacques and Red Ginger (no additional cover charge), and when you see the Bon Appétit Culinary Arts Center where every passenger actually gets her own full workstation with sink, stove, cutting board and utensils, you realize you are on a vessel that goes above and beyond the ordinary in every sense.
2013 Summer Bookings Now Available
Oceania just announced its 2013 itineraries for these two new extraordinary ships - which will undoubtedly book up early, so right now the prices are likely as low as they will ever be. Bookings just opened yesterday, March 7th for voyages from April through September, 2013.
Oceania is offering two-for-one cruise fares and free air transportation to the cruise ship in Europe for all summer 2013 voyages booked by June 30, 2012. This equals a bonus savings of up to $3,500 per stateroom.
As these cruises fill up, and they will do so quickly, the fares will undoubtedly go higher. So we suggest for anyone even thinking about trying out these beautiful new vessels that you should put a deposit down right away. And here is especially good new; bookings made by March 31, 2012 qualify for two-for-one deposits.
Marina and Riviera, as well as one of the older and smaller Oceania ships, Nautica, will be deployed in Europe in 2013. The line is changing the focus towards new itineraries and offering more days at sea, especially important on these newer ships with so much more onboard enrichment to enjoy during the cruise.
Oceania is (remarkably) not generally considered to be in the luxury category, although I prefer these ships to some luxury cruise lines I have taken, so they are not "all-inclusive" like most luxury cruise lines. However, Oceania recently introduced beverage packages, priced from $29.95 per guest, per day, and new shore excursion options with savings up to 40 percent for an unlimited package of tours. Compare this to Celebrity Cruises' drink package of $45 per day, or $54 for premium brands.
Mediterranean & Black Sea
Riviera, which makes her debut in Europe in May 2012, returns in 2013 to explore the Western and Eastern Mediterranean with new 7-, 10- and 12-day cruises, from Barcelona to Istanbul. Featured itineraries include the 10-day Italian Escapade (July 3 and August 28, 2013) from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Venice with stops in Florence (Livorno), Sorrento and Amalfi along the Amalfi coast, Taormina (Sicily), Corfu, Montenegro and Dubrovnik (Croatia) and a full day at sea before reaching Venice for an overnight stay.
Marina offers a new 10-day Treasures of the Ancients itinerary, that sails round-trip from Barcelona (November 10) calling at Valencia and Palma de Mallorca in Spain; Algiers, a new port for Oceania Cruises; Palermo, Rome (Civitavecchia) and Florence (Livorno), Italy; Monte Carlo and Provence (Marseille).
Northern Europe & Baltic Capitals
Marina and Nautica venture throughout Scandinavia and the Baltic, including a visit to the Polar Ice Barrier. Marina's Baltic Odyssey, a new 10-day itinerary from Stockholm to Copenhagen with visits to Helsinki, St. Petersburg (three full days), Tallinn, Gdansk, and Berlin, departs June 25, July 5 and September 3, with a special Oceania Club Reunion Cruise on August 24.
On July 4, Nautica will offer an 18-day Voyage of the Midnight Sun from London to Copenhagen visiting 12 ports in Norway with overnight stops in Honninsvag (North Cape) and four sea days. Nautica's July 22 Medieval Marvels, a 10-day cruise from Copenhagen to Stockhom, features the new port of Klaipeda, Lithuania, a picturesque seaside city at the mouth of the Dange River and Baltic Sea.
Continental Europe in Grand Style
Rounding out the European itineraries, Marina and Nautica feature 7-, 10- and 12-day itineraries that capture "the best of the best" ports of call. "Cultural Connoisseur" - which departs September 27 - on Marina is a 12-day voyage from London to Barcelona, and on June 6, European Treasures on Nautica is a 14-day cruise from Rome to London.