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Paul Motter February 3rd, 2011 09:17 PM

Marina Christening Ceremony
We will be in Miami Saturday for the Christening Ceremony.

Br sure to tune in here for updates and the latest pictures of this sure to be amazing ship.

We will be dining in Jacques on Monday night - just so you know. Yes, I am looking forward to it, too.

Link to pictures: CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums - Paul Motter's Album: Marina (Oceania) first pics!

This is a beautiful ship!

Colonel(ret.)wes February 3rd, 2011 10:13 PM

Hi Paul, in late October, we were also invited by Oceania to attend the Christening ceremony Saturday, but won't be able to make it. Soooo, we look forward to your on board reports.

Kuki February 4th, 2011 02:29 PM

Sounds like the ship is going to be a BEAUT! Give my regards to Tim. It's been ages since I met him on that one visit when he was in NY.

Trip February 4th, 2011 04:32 PM

Enjoy all the wonderful hullabaloo..can't wait to read it all.

Paul Motter February 5th, 2011 07:33 AM

Yes - many people do not realize that Tim Rubacky, SVP os Public Relations at Oceania got a career boost from CruiseMates as being our consumers affairs reporter for years - just before he joined Oceania as their Public Relations guy.

I soebt in the night in the BEAUTIFUL Intercontinental Hotel near the pier. I never knew this hotel was here. Now granted, it is a very big building, I have not had time to explore the grounds (nor will I get it), but it is certainly convenient to the pier, and it appears that Oceania plans to use this hotel as a staging area for cruises out of Miami.

The line has a guest relations desk here and a service to pick up your luggage at the hotel and take it to the ship (but they arrived at 7:00 a.m. - a bit too early for me),so I won't be using that. They also have shuttles going to the ship at 11:00 and 11:30.

Colonel(ret.)wes February 5th, 2011 09:25 AM

Hi Paul, please give Tim, Ida and my warm regards..he has been so gracious and generous to us...last March, we received a total surprise/warm invitation (from Tim) to sail on the Marina Shakedown (Genoa (shipyard location) to Barcelona (18-21 Jan) but in late Oct, after seven months we had to cancel our maiden voyage 22 Jan -4 Feb), and to decline the shakedown invitation(ouch). In fact ten days ago on the Oceania blog read that FDR (CEO) and President were leaving the maiden voyage in Tenerife, immediately sent an email to Tim offering to buy one of their cabins just for the crossing portion (eight days--Tenerife to FLL)..Tim thought for sure they would say yes, alas, a few hours later Tim found out that Fincantieri shipbuilding personnel were getting these two cabins (the only free cabins out of the 600+ on the Marina)--thus we missed out on the maiden .

Looking fwd to your impressions, posts and pix. Wonder if u will agree with other cruise pundits (USA Today's Gene Sloan, CC writer) that the Marina is a Game-Changer...IMO, it will blurr the line between the upper premium market and luxury market--Marina is not only a Game-Changer but a League Changer.

Kuki February 5th, 2011 10:34 AM

Paul... I love the Intercontinental in Miami! Used to stay there all the time when cruising out of Miami. Don't know if it's still on the list, as I haven't sailed from Miami for a couple of years now, but I used to get it on Priceline all the time, bidding 4 star hotels, for about $70.

lulu48 February 5th, 2011 11:02 AM

Say HI to FDR & Bob Binder ;)

enjoy the cruise
21 days to go for us

Paul Motter February 5th, 2011 12:59 PM

Aboard Oceania Marina
Aboard Oceania Marina!!!

I am onboard Marina and I have to say it is a beautiful ship. It is not stark like so many up-market, deluxe or luxury ships. To be clear, on the TV greet loop I have running in my room CEP Frank Del Rio does refer to this as a “five-star luxury cruise experience.”

This ship is actually very much a blown up version if the existing Oceania ships, however every room is more opulent, spacious and grander. There are additional restaurants, public rooms and a state of the showroom. The pool space has plenty of deck chairs including plush queen size chaise lounges.

But even better, there are many coffee and wine bars around, the public spaces are all perfectly set, like a showroom house. There are art noveau chairs, flowing drapes, hard woods, marble and granite.

We see the same restaurants; Toscana, Polo Grill, Terrace Café, but on this ship they are much, much bigger and more opulent. Beautiful surroundings and table settings set the mood the perfect meal.

We also see the brand new “Jacques,” which is much lighter and brighter than we ever expected. It is reminiscent of the yellow room in home of Monet in France; bright and invigorating with absolutely nothing staid about it.

Yes, I do have pictures but I am just waiting for a better Internet connection before I send them.

There is a game room, a huge Internet café, a library and a coffee bar, all set together in a single area to make a fun section of the ship where I could easily spend all day.

The shopping area and casino are bright and obviously luxurious, made for the well-healed to have a little fun.

My stateroom is roomy, especially the bathroom. The room is simply a largish veranda stateroom, with a king-size bed, a seating area, a writing desk and best of all, a bathroom with a large tub as well as a separate shower. The counter is granite and there is plenty of storage space. The desk has two U.S. plugs for computer, etc as well as one European one.

Most of the wood is dark wood, like mahogany, throughout the ship. I suspect this was a difficult choice for the cruise line. It feels a little dated (and is certainly the only thing on the entire ship that does) exactly as it does on the smaller Oceania ships. I guess it is a trademark now. I can get used to it, no problem.

I have not had a chance to try the food, but I am anticipating something truly special, especially my dinner in Jacques coming on the last night I am here.
Later on today we have the naming ceremony with Mary Hart. I am sure I will have a better Internet connection soon and will be able to bring you the pictures I have already taken.

Paul Motter February 5th, 2011 06:37 PM

Inaugural Ceremony Video
We just had the naming ceremony with Mary Hart. Unfortunately, I can’t upload picture right now because the satellite is acting up.

The ceremony was touching, with grandchildren, someone singing the National Anthem and Frank Del Rio talking about how long it has taken to build this ship, the first newbuild for Oceania. Even Jacques Pepin spoke, receiving hhis master commodores jacket from Frank Del Rio.

The Champaign bottle hit a ship with high accuracy and literally exploded. It was a good shot and had been planned right, with a cherry picker almost 100 feet in the air told the extra large champagne bottle back from the ship. When it let go, that bottle went flying.

I have also uploaded many photos and I have more to come - this isa beautiful ship. Many of the accents are Lalique Crystal which I didsnt realize. Furthermore, all of the walls are cobvered in suede (!). This is such a classy ship - it is like what Crystal would build if they buil a new ship.
Here is a link to the first photo albums:

lulu48 February 5th, 2011 07:13 PM

What deck are you on? Cabin cat?

The wood paneling is much nicer than the plastic look of some other ships ;)

Kuki February 6th, 2011 10:58 AM

GREAT pics Paul! She looks like a beauty.

Paul Motter February 6th, 2011 12:02 PM

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…

lulu48 February 6th, 2011 12:47 PM


Originally Posted by Paul Motter (Post 1350137)
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.

AHHH no cat ;)

Actually you are in the Concierge deck have you checked out the lounge there ? what do they have in it?
Nice photos ..cannot wait for our turn to come

Paul Motter February 6th, 2011 04:23 PM

Ah - yo are correct, I did see the concierge lounge ands I herad the wireless works in there.

It had a cooler full of sodas, a large screen TV, games & snacks. I had a few pics in there, I will see I can identify them.

Sunday afternoon…

After lifeboat drill and a good round of room service coffee (my first of the day) and my earlier post – we were invited to have lunch in a new restaurant for Oceania called Red Ginger.

According to Frank Del Rio, during the transatlantic sailing which precluded this cruises (there were something like 1000 guests onboard) this restautant became the favorite of them all. I have to say my food was delicious.

More caviar – this time atop smoked salmon – was just as delicious as last night. Now, just in case you don’t know, there is no actual caviar as it is traditionally known available in the word today as it all comes the Caspian Sea between Russia and Iran. Well, the sea was virtually fished out for it, and so all the countries put a ban on until the sturgeon have had a chance to recover as a species. There is said to still be a sime bkack market caviar out there in the world, but if you are cought with it the Russians take it very seriously and you should go to prison.

So, most of what is called caviar these days is farm-raised sturgeon roe from the U.S. or Europe, and in fact it is quite passable and similar to the original – unless you have had the original and know the difference. I had brought home real caviar from Russia a few times and even I have a hard time telling the difference. This morning they had a caviar breakfast buffet, but I was busy writing and uploading my update for you.

The second dish we had in Red Ginger was a delicious Carpaccio – raw beef treated with lemon to make it germ-free. There was still lemon on it with large chucks if sea salt and a few candied pecans, tiny rings of shallot and cilantro. It was delicious. Next I had a glazed sea bass with a Thai-style peanut sauce and jasmine rice. My gosh, this was absolutely delicious, too. A wonderful meal all the way around.

After lunch they started setting up the Bon Appétit culinary center. As I said before this is the only shipboard culinary center where passengers actually get the necessary ingredients and a workstation with a sink and induction (hotplate-type) heating element where they can practice what they are being shown. This is evolutionary since most ships only have a demonstration kitchen and the best a passenger can do is take notes.

I also popped in on a painting class which was overflowing with participants. Okay, this seems a little bit too “summer camp” to me also, but it seemed popular. Later on we have the super bowl, and since there are no laws against gambling at sea there are running a Superbowl pool. It just makes the game more interesting even if you chance of winning is one in 100 (wow, did I write that? I wonder if I can get my money back?) I don’t even know who is playing.

Stay tuned – tomorrow we eat in Jacques. I just had a chance to meet the master chef and he is very nice. I hope to get more pictures online soon as well.

Paul Motter February 6th, 2011 04:27 PM

FYI - Internet is VEY expensive, about $.95 / minute, ecven with packages. You can get it in Crystal for about $.33/minute. Plus - it is not very fast, either.

Paul Motter February 6th, 2011 05:05 PM

More pictures - Inaugural ceremony from yesterday

PLUS dining pictures in Red Ginger from today. Worth seeing!!

CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums - Paul Motter's Album: Marina (Oceania) Inaugural Ceremony

lulu48 February 6th, 2011 05:11 PM

Glad you are enjoying the ship for the most part
You can have my share of caviar I have never acquired a taste for it
we had the real Russian caviar many years ago ..did not like it either

We are looking forward to dining at Red Ginger sounds like it is a hit


Paul Motter February 7th, 2011 04:22 PM

Tonight we dine in Jacques - the ultimate cruise ship restaurant ever? perhaps, i will let you know. The promise is certainly there.

We just toured the suites today - absolutely magnificent. I cannot imagine a better ship for the well-heeled than this one. Amazing food and accommodations.

This ship is everything I expected, and with Riviera I would say a lot of luxury lines are going to need to up their standards.

Paul Motter February 7th, 2011 04:23 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Myself & Jacques Pepin

Colonel(ret.)wes February 8th, 2011 09:41 AM

Hi Paul, your Marina article (front page of cruisemates) is outstanding. Maybe the bestI' ve read so far; u even included a niggle I also heard from a maiden voyage passenger that she hopes Oceania fixes for the Riviera--the small shower and inescapable flow from the Rain shower head.

drib February 8th, 2011 11:55 PM


Originally Posted by Paul Motter (Post 1350200)
FYI - Internet is VEY expensive, about $.95 / minute, ecven with packages. You can get it in Crystal for about $.33/minute. Plus - it is not very fast, either.

A couple of tips, or maybe reminders:

If you are on your own laptop (ipad, or whatever), or if the ship's computer allows to use it offline, you should do all your writing and reading of emails while you are not logged into your ship account. If you know how to do this offline, then you probably only need an hour of connect time to get your mail everyday for a two week trip.

If your photo host allows you to use your own ftp program (like cuteftp or filezilla), it's probably faster and has better recovery from disconnects than using their web-site. Also good is to rename your photo files offline to something descriptive, and upload them with the new names.

There. That was my first post!

Paul Motter February 9th, 2011 04:46 AM

Thanks Drib....

Those are all excellent ideas. And I agree with you.

What tends to happen on these fast press trips, however, is that we journalists get caught up in a competitive spirit to be the first to post pictures and comments, so we tend to log in and just upload pictures.

I tried the FTP idea but our site does not allow the listing of files in a directory - so no one could see them.

I regret I had a bad link in the newsletter that just went out, when I should have linked here for comments.

Drib - you are absolutely right, though. Now that I am home and have all the time I need I will do things the way you recommend.

Paul Motter February 9th, 2011 04:47 AM

Jacques was impeccably good, by the way. more updates coming today as I have a chance to settle in. (Traveling between Miami and PHX is a full-day affaire for me).

Paul Motter February 9th, 2011 09:26 PM

Okay - on the last day I had a chance to look at the spa - which is beautiful.

Dining in Jacques is very special. It is amazing how huge his menu is. MOst gourmet restaurants limit the choices to a few entrees, and few appetizers and a few desserts.

he has four meat dishes, four fish dishes, eight side dishes, eight appetizersm two salads and two soups.

I had the veal chop. This is not something I normally order but I know top restaurants do it well so I want to try it. It was outstandingly good. It was tender and very flavorful and juicy.

Fotr an appetizer I had the sausage with truffle and pistachio. It sounded better than it was - cold slices of thick sausage are a little bland. I think it is important to remember that Jacque's "thing" is simple food. That is what his PBS show was about.

Now, he had fois gras and escargot on the menu, but those can be sinple as well. I was going to order the frogs legs with gnocchi, but I forgot.

eroller February 11th, 2011 10:50 AM

I enjoyed the reports, although I'm curious about one thing. On the Cruisemates home page why is there is a picture of the MSC FANTASIA posted with the article on Oceania's MARINA? Also, there is a second article about MARINA and listed next to it is a picture of Regent's SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER.

Cruisemates is a site about cruise ships. Lets at least get a picture of the right ship to go along with the article.


Paul Motter February 11th, 2011 11:53 AM

Hey Ernie - you must have FAR better eyes than I do.

You are right that one of them was Splendida - although it is so small you cant even count the lifeboats let alone read the name.

All I can say is that sometimes we miss changing the pics, and it was so small I didnt notice it was the wrong ship.

But on the other one you say is something else, it may be but I know I received the pic identified as a pic of marina and I used it because i thought the person knew their ships.

eroller February 11th, 2011 01:03 PM

Thanks Paul! You have the right ship now. I'm one of those ship-spotters that can recognize a ship, or at least the class of ship pretty much instantly. I am always disappointed when a cruise line publicizes a picture of 'their' ship and it's not correct. I feel they should know their own ships.


Paul Motter February 11th, 2011 03:13 PM

Well, I didn't say I got it from the cruise line, just to be clear. Thanks for the correction although I am not sdure how many spotted it.

I think you will enjoy Marina - I certainly didn't hear many complaints.

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