Imagine sitting on the top deck of the Oceania's Marina, sipping on a cup of Giovanni's coffee, looking in to the Mediterranean Sea while you glide over Adriatic Sea from Venice to Athens...Lucky Sue Grigg from Cruiseabout Ponsonby store did just that!
Oceania Cruiser's, 1,200 passenger ship Marina, which launched just last year (2011) as my home for 10 days. We began the Pearls of Aegean Cruise journey from the port of Venice, gliding through the Adriatic Sea towards Athens, sailing into ports in Croatia (Dubrovnik), Montenegro (Kotor), Turkey (Kusadasi) and Greece (Corfu, Monemvasia, Crete, Santorini, Delos, Mykonos).
The Marina is known to be a leader in providing luxurious comfort to the passengers, and it truly did stand up to it's reputation with it's SpaClub, Salon, Culinary Centre & Restaurants.
Oceania's Spaclub offers its guests (18years+) everything from acupunctures to body treatments, wraps and scrubs. Massages, healing and tanning treatments are also available onboard the Marina. Ladies (& gentleman) can pamper themselves at the Salon with a manicure, pedicure, makeover or even treat themselves to a new hair cut, colour or styles. Specialised exercise and Well-being programs are also on offer for those who are interested.
There is always room for a bit R&R on the Soft loungers by the pool and spas. The attendants spritz your feet with icy water when you looked too hot, and provided a fresh squirt of sunscreen. There is also a large heated pool for you to take a dip in or a choice of three whirlpool spa's for you to relax in.
The Marina offers a range of Bars, lounges, boutiques & a casino to keep you entertained whilst onboard. This is a great if you want to mingle with other passengers. However, if you are after a bit of peace and quiet, a very well stocked library is located next to the barrister, with lots of cosy corners and comfy chairs, you can curl up with a new book and a fresh coffee. Entertainment doesn't stop there, the Marina offers classical concerts under the stars, magicians and hilarious comedians. If you are looking for something different, you can partake in Martini tastings or immerse yourself in the joy of cooking gourmet cuisine at the Culinary Centre.
Oceania's Marina has the most fabulous choice of dining, most of which was included in your cruise fare. The Polo Grill has NZ lamb cooked to perfection, Red Ginger served mouth watering lobster Pad Thai, and Jacques, a French speciality restaurant dished up snail and frog legs that you had to try! There was also a 2 for 1 happy hour pre-dinner every evening. Drinking cocktails at the bar encouraged mixing with other guests. Oceania Cruises encourages the gathering of passengers. We even had an evening where we got to know our fellow cruisers from across the ditch and exchange the usual Aussie/Kiwi joke. The dress code on the ship was casual, so it was a very relaxed environment, perfect for us Kiwi's.
Offshore excursions included exploring the local sights, sampling a little a local vino and having lunch. Complimentary shuttles into town at each port of call was included in the fare. The highlights of my cruise had to be gliding along the Venice canals admiring the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica. Visit to the Rector's palace and Franciscan monastery in Croatia. Driving through the Montenegro country side, over roads that feature in Casino Royale. Embracing the breathtaking views and gorgeous beaches of Greece. However, the most memorable of all, was climbing the magnificent acropolis and standing in the awe of the Pantheon and taking in the panoramic views of Athens.
The Cruise fare included gratuities, and bottle waters and soft drinks were free of charge. Oceania Cruises have just introduced drink packages which you can purchase before departure.
I recommend the Pearls of the Aegean cruise for couples, singles, groups of friends and travellers without children (there are no kids club facilities on Oceania). This was one of my favourite Cruise holidays and is definitely a holiday experience to treasure for life!
Looking for more information on Oceania Cruises or Cruise Holidays? Contact Sue Grigg from Cruiseabout Ponsonby on 0800 867 667. Or call a Cruise holiday expert at a Cruiseabout store nationwide on 0800 22 11 14.