Oceania Marina - Caribbean Pearls - 23 January 2012
Our 12 day Caribbean cruise on the Oceania Marina was everything we expected - beautiful, well run ship, fine food and good company. So what might be of interest to people reading this are the little bits of knowledge that make the difference.
I had read on various websites that Oceania’s drinks were expensive. This is not so, their cocktails were the same price as we have found on other ships, there are always cocktails of the day and you can usually buy 2 for the price of 1 before 6 pm. There is a very reasonably priced wine package of 2 or 3 bottles which follow you very efficiently wherever you end up dining. They also offer 2 different drinks packages but we were disappointed to find we could not purchase it for just one of us - it had to be both or nothing. I can see why but disappointing nonetheless.
We had a Concierge class cabin (which was well appointed and much the same as other ships) and found the Concierge lounge a surprisingly useful place. It had a good coffee machine, fresh orange juice and pastries and/or biscuits and snacks depending on the time of day, together with daily papers and lots of magazines. Our cabin was close by which was even better. Having booked Concierge class, we could book 4 speciality restaurants in advance. This was well worth doing and although you can’t book any more in advance, if you go to the desk at 8 a.m. any morning, you can book restaurants for that night if there are any tables left. We only ate in the main diring room one night - it was much the same as any other ship - but all 4 speciality restaurants are excellent as indeed is the Terrace restaurant in the evening.
Internet access is not particularly good, as it isn’t on any cruise ship, but why bother with that - most of the cafes ashore have wifi and there are many open spaces as well with wifi - just look to see where everyone is using their iphones and computers. We often used our iphone to do Facetime with our family - we showed them beautiful beaches and they showed us rain and snow back home! We didn’t do any of the ship’s tours but booked a couple independently before we left home.
If you are visiting Dominica, do arrange a tour with Donaldson Magloire of Nature Isle Explorers. It was the best tour we have ever done (4 of us plus Donaldson and a driver) and we came away with an insight into the island besides seeing wonderful sights and doing amazing snorkelling. It was also half the price of the not so comprehensive ship’s tour. On the way back, Donaldson asked if we were travellers or tourists. I thought about it and said I would like to be thought of as a traveller but maybe as I was off a cruise ship, I would have to class myself as a tourist. It’s made me think though!
Written by MargaretHosegood