Marina makes her British debut

//Marina makes her British debut

IMG_4686.jpgOn the day that Oceania’s newest cruise ship, Riviera, met the water for the first time at a shipyard in Italy, sister ship Marina was paying her first ever visit to British shores.
There were very few Brits among the 1,250 passengers boarding the 65,000-ton vessel in Dover on Friday for a 14-night voyage around the UK and Ireland (and a couple of days in Norway). Most were well-heeled Americans who enjoy the casual country-club style of Oceania cruising – there’s no need to dress formally to enjoy some of the finest food at sea.
Marina has 10 restaurants, more than many much larger ships, and they include the Polo Grill with its 28-day aged beef; the Red Ginger Asian fusion extravaganza, and Jacques, named after celebrity French chef Jacques Pepin.
All the speciality restaurants on Marina are included in the fare – there are no extra charges except for the extraordinary Privée dining room (top), a red-and white chamber at the stern of the ship, where $1,000 buys the table for eight for an evening. My favourite was the casual al fresco Terrace Cafe (below), but it would have to be warmer and calmer than it was in breezy Dover to make the most of a relaxing lunch or dinner.
The ship’s central staircase is fitted with Lalique glass; there’s a sparkling Swarovski chandelier in the Grand Dining Room, and the best (and most expensive) suites have interior decor designed by Ralph Lauren.
There’s a dedicated Artist Loft for painting classes, and a culinary centre for small groups of passengers to receive hands-on cookery lessons from top chefs.
UK and Europe managing director Bernard Carter will be hoping to increase the number of British passengers in the next few months, and now has his own dedicated sales team for the first time. A TV special introduced by Julie Peasgood, to be broadcast on The Travel Channel (Sky channels 251 and 252) between now and July 27 will no doubt help their efforts.
Marina will be back in Dover on July 29, when she will host a group of travel agents specialising in selling luxury cruises. Riviera will be launched next April, and will spend the summer in the Mediterranean sailinga total of 21 voyages calling on ports in France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Turkey as well as Israel, Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro, Morocco and Monaco.
IT’S A DIFFERENT story for another Marina – Costa Crociere has confirmed that the 21-year-old Costa Marina will be leaving its fleet in November. The 25,500-ton vessel, originally built as a container carrier, will be replaced on scheduled Red Sea itineraries by Grand Voyager, currently being operated by subsidiary company Iberocruises. No announcement has yet been made about Marina’s future.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:04+00:00 17 July 2011|Cruise Ships|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

Leave A Comment