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Old February 6th, 2011, 12:02 PM
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Paul Motter Paul Motter is offline
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I am on deck 9 (9115) standard verandah, but there is no cat in there.


(ha! seriously, I am in a standards verandah cabin which is beautiful and spacious for its size, I believe over 250 sq ft. The extra space mostly goes to the bathroom with a full tub and show. The verandah is also very roomy.) here is my update below.


I have been having trouble uploading pics - the Internet tends to time out.


Onboard Oceania Marina
We had a beautiful inaugural ceremony featuring Entertainment Tonight star, Mary Hart, in Miami last night.

The first thing that strikes you about the ship is the beautiful décor. All of the walls are coated in soft beige suede. They feel nice to the touch like a new suede jacket. The dramatic central atrium has dark mahogany wood railings and the side panels on the staircase are made of Lalique Crystal. How classy can you get, seriously? It is everywhere. There is more Lalique on this ship than in Saks Fifth Avenue. deep Add deep plum color Modern chairs of museum-style design a over beige and tan carpet and the ambience just spells luxury.

After the inaugural ceremony we set sail for our two-day cruise to Nassau. Last night was us our first chance to experience the cuisine. My first dinner was in Toscana, the Italian Trattoria. The alternative dining restaurants, like the main dining room, are all open seating and carry no cover charge, although reservations are recommended.

My dinner began with a wonderful Amuse Bouche; Battuto di Patatine Novelle Tiepede con Caviale; translation; grated baked potato flakes slightly sautéed in olive oil, stuffed into an egg shell topped with a dollop of caviar. The caviar was as delicious as expected. For my second course I had artichoke and parmesan cheese timbale with black truffle sauce. This was essentially three ravioli with a red sauce on the side. The problem was that the plates arrived a little cold, which I chalked up to waiters getting used to a new restaurant. Indeed, service could have been better for the entire meal, but I always give a new ship the chance to get broken in.

My third course was a perfectly cooked whole Maine lobster, and as described I got the entire crustacean cut perfectly in half. It was cooked just right -not chewy - which to me is the definition of a perfectly cooked lobster. The only problem was that in this Italian restaurant it was not served with lemon and butter, rather it was coated in breadcrumbs. And so I requested the lemon and butter, three times before it finally arrived. When the butter arrived it was hard, as if they expected me to put it on a roll. It seems to me that if someone is serving lobster they might think about having melted butter on hand, but no. And by now the lobster was so cold it didn’t melt the butter a bit. Oh well, a potentially wonderful meal which didn’t live up to its promise once again because of slow service. A shame, but one I am sure they will work out. The desserts; tiramisu and crème brulee, were perfect as expected.

For a ship with almost 1200 passengers onboard there were a surprisingly limited number of activity options after dinner. No karaoke, no sing-along piano bar and no dance music. The ship was eerily quiet almost as if they almost expected you to go to bed. I suspect this is a throwback to the smaller ships and their destination packed itineraries. I should qualify this by saying most two-day sample inaugural cruises have lots of younger than average cruisers who generally like to stay up late and have a good time. But I feel Oceania will have to think of more nighttime activities with this ship as it is far more likely to attract younger people.

I tried the casino, which was very busy. For what I am sure will soon be categorized as a luxury-product ship. The casino is surprisingly complete with blackjack, roulette, craps and all kinds of slots including nickels. I played video poker and actually won a jackpot, something that has not happened to me on a cruise ship in years – a major thumbs up.

After that, the only option seemed to be the stage show in the main showroom. I took a front row seat, which was a mistake as the material soon had me bobbing my head in an effort to stay awake. Unfortunately, while the singers were very good the material was standard pop songs from the 80s and the costumes and choreography were dreadful; with the suits looking like someone had gone rag picking and sewn together bits of clothes from old draperies and Halloween costumes. The repetitive dances steps were reminiscent of a fifth-grade ballet glass. The dancers also had this incongruous habit of smiling and winking at the audience constantly even if the theme of song was tragic.

After the show there was nothing to eat available on the entire ship. I went back to my cabin and eventually decided to call room service well after midnight (OK, I admit I am prone to late night food raids even at home). Why would room service require 25 minutes to deliver a cheese tray and one piece of apple pie?

I have now discovered yet another problem – the wireless Internet access is not working in my stateroom. Thank goodness – I just found out it is a temporary problem on just my deck forward, but it means I have to go to the web café to post every time.

Once again, growing pains. This is a beautiful ship but I think it will take it a few months before they get the staff onboard caught up with what the passengers are likely to expect. The staterooms are gorgeous, spacious and very comfortable. The décor of the ship throughout is just beautiful, and the cuisine is top-notch. 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.

This morning I tried the shower for the first time (first days onboard are always hectic and I was already dressed for the inaugural so I was not going to undress, shower and put the same clothes back on. The bathroom is gorgeous, really, granite counters, a full-size tub (in a regular verandah cabin) and a separate shower. But the shower is small and the hand wand is mounted at about waist level. The alternative is a “rain shower” head directly over your head. The problem is that there is very little room to step out of the flow (do you want a shower where you can’t step out of the flow? I don’t). I found you can tilt the rain-head a little which helps, but still, when you turn the water off it continues to drip and you have to step out to dry off. Ah well, things you learn to live with – you just have to dry the floor when finished with your shower.

I slept so well last night even my 8:00 room service call did not wake me (I also use earplugs). The beds are so comfortable with fine linens and pillows for perfect you could eat them. It’s my next day at sea now. Checking the program there is precious little to do – but this is a “small ship.” There are sponsored games and shopping lectures, but that is about it. But this is intended to be a destination oriented ship. The 32-inch flat panel TV has good programming and there is an expansive library. Maybe I’ll hit that casino again…
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