Cruise Deals, Information and Cruise Updates

Oceania Marina

The big event for cruisers who love any kind of upscale food and wine experience is Oceania Cruises brand new ship, Marina, setting sail in early 2011.

And what an experience it is going to be. Think of the finest cuisine at sea served in SIX (that's right, six) open-seating, gourmet restaurants – each one with its own look and feel. The culinary artist behind this world class dining adventure is none other than Master Chef Jacques Pepin working in conjunction with Marina's staff of culinary experts. The Marina will also offer a new wine tasting center in conjunction with Wine Spectator Magazine, where guests can learn about and sample fine wines selected by Wine Spectator’s connoisseurs.

The Terrace Café, infused with natural sunlight from floor-to-ceiling windows and the option of dining inside or al fresco is a marvelous place for a sumptuous breakfast, lunch that features an international menu or dinner with a Mediterranean flair.

The Grand Dining Room, fashioned to look like a 5-star European restaurant, will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner (with a minimum of six appetizers and nine main courses) in elegant surroundings.

Feel like a journey to France? Then visit the stunning French bistro Jacques, named for Jacques Pepin. The menu is a unique take on classic French cuisine, served amid an intimate décor that can only be described as 'magnifique'!

Red Ginger sends you and all your senses to Southeast Asia. In a stunning setting that unfolds in perfect harmony, this restaurant offers a striking menu of Asian classics.

If it's the timeless elegance of a private club setting that you seek, then opt to dine in the Polo Grill, the classic definition of a steakhouse at sea offering menu classics such as Caesar salad prepared tableside and beef that has been aged a minimum of 28 days.

If your senses yearn for an evening in Italy, then dine in Toscana, where Tuscan cuisine is served in an elegant Italianate setting. Many of the recipes used here originated with the grandmothers and mothers of Marina's own Italian culinary staff. Similarly, the sommeliers are from long lines of wine-producing families. Best of all, there is no additional charge for any of these memorable dining experiences.

For the grandest afternoon tea of all, complete with freshly made scones and real clotted cream, head for Horizons at 4:00 PM to savor an excellent cup of tea in gracious surroundings with strong music playing softly in the background.

In the mood for a gourmet hamburger, hand-cut French fries or homemade gelato? Head for the casual laid-back ambience of Waves Grill located just steps away from the pool.

The Marina offers two very private retreats at an additional cost – La Reserve and Privée – lavish venues where a few privileged guests can gain an appreciation for the infinite pleasures of food and wine.

At La Reserve, guests may sample a flight of wines hand-selected by the sommelier, often reflecting the areas of the world where Marina is sailing, or simply to highlight the wine's own special characteristics. Other days, La Reserve will host premium wine tastings or exclusive food and wine pairing dinners for a maximum of 24 very fortunate guests.

Then, there is Privée – perfectly named to describe the most exclusive dining experience at sea. Privée may be reserved for a single party of up to 10 privileged guests per evening. Lavishly decorated with leather and crystal, Privée transforms dining into a truly memorable occasion, with a 7-course degustation menu exclusively designed just for that evening by the Executive Chef. For culinary drama at sea, Privée has no equal.

After all of this extraordinary food and wine, if you still want more, then join the Bon Appetit Culinary Center's classes for some hands-on instruction. Expert, Master Chefs provide classes in a professional kitchen atmosphere complete with individual cooking stations. On each cruise itinerary, shoreside events and market tours allow guests to expand their knowledge and appreciation of local cuisines. And, you can choose from a curriculum of classes or a la carte instruction.

Endless luxury, endless oceans, endless elegance coupled with extraordinary food and wine – that’s the ultimate cruise experience found only on Oceania Cruises Marina.

Many people ask how to make sure that they are getting the best deal on a cruise. There are a number of steps that can be taken to make sure that you are getting the best deal.

Be Flexible: If you can be flexible on your sail date you may be able to save money. Cruise pricing tends to be higher during holiday weeks and school vacation times. Sometimes going a week or two before or after your ideal cruise date can save you money. Also, sailing from different departure ports on similar itineraries may also help you to save.

Compare Rates: Look at different cruise lines and ships that have similar itineraries. One cruise line may be offering a special on one of the sailings. Keep in mind that all ships are not the same. Newer ships may have a slightly higher price point than older ships. You also have to consider what is included in the pricing as some departures offer special amenities and higher end cruise lines include a lot of extra amenities that are not normally included in standard cruise pricing. Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples.

Guarantee Categories: Cruise lines often offer what they call "Guarantee Cabins" in a certain category or location. Pricing for guarantee cabins tends to be lower. The only catch is that you are not given a cabin assignment until just before embarkation. You are guaranteed to be assigned a cabin that is in that category or higher. The plus is that there is a possibility of being upgraded. However, you shouldn’t select a "Guarantee Cabin" if you have any special needs or requests. If you must be near an elevator, on a specific deck, next to the people you are traveling with or have other special needs then you should not confirm a “guarantee cabin” as specific requests cannot be made when booking one of these rates.

Resident Specials, Senior Rates and Military Rates: Many cruise lines will offer special pricing if your home residence is in a certain state. Special pricing is also sometimes offered for senior citizens or military personnel. Always be sure to ask for these discounts.

Sign up for Email Blasts: Many specials are offered in the market place for a short time frame. If you are considering a future cruise you should sign up to receive special email notifications which highlight special savings.

Most importantly when you find a good deal be prepared to book it as the offer may not last long. In most cases, when you book early and the rate goes down most cruise lines will honor the lower rate or offer a value add such as an on-board credit as compensation for the lower rate. Booking early also gives you the prime choice of cabins.

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