MARINA Double Decked!, Part One

This is part one of a Double Decked! feature offering a top-to-bottom look at Oceania Cruises 66,000 gross ton, 1,250 passenger MV MARINA — one of the most highly anticipated cruise ships in recent years.

Oceania Cruises

MARINA Del L.A. — MV MARINA’s Maiden Visit To Los Angeles

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Please click on image to see larger version. All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2011 unless otherwise noted.

MV MARINA

Owners: Oceania Cruises
Registry: Majuro, Marshall Islands
Builder: Fincantieri Sestri Ponente
Entered Service: 2011
Tonnage: 66,000 gross tons
Length: 785 feet
Beam: 106 feet
Draft: 24 feet
Passenger Capacity: 1,250
Number of Crew: 780
Propulsion: diesel electric powering two controllable pitch screws
Maximum Speed: 21 knots

MV MARINA at Los Angeles.

Oceania Cruises’ first newbuild is nearly twice the size of its other ships and represents a major milestone in the short history of the “upper premium” cruise line.

Founded in 2002 by Frank Del Rio of Renaissance Cruises and Joe Watters of Crystal Cruises, Oceania launched with a charter of the 1998-built former Renaissance “R class” vessel R TWO, which was initially named INSIGNIA and later REGATTA. That same year, the former 1998-built R ONE joined the fleet as INSIGNIA and was followed in 2005 by the 2000-built former R FIVE, which was renamed NAUTICA.

MV INSIGNIA at Portofino.

Mini prototypes of the MARINA, the 684 passenger former “R’s” are well laid out with a full deck of public rooms in the lower portion of the ship and an observation lounge, spa, buffet and specialty restaurants topsides. They feature a midships pool and lido area in addition to a glass-screened observation deck forward. Especially for their age (1998 — 2001), they have a high percentage of balconied cabins, although they are generally smaller than the industry average. Of the eight ships, three went to Oceania, three to Princess and two to Royal Caribbean-owned Azamara Cruises. The MARINA has expanded and improved most of the “R ship” features and added a few unique twists and extras of her own.

MARINA builder’s plate.

MARINA was built by the Sestri-Ponente division of the Italian state-operated Fincantieri shipyard. The facility, which is located to the west of Genoa, was originally Ansaldo, builders of renowned liners from REX and AUGUSTUS to ANDREA DORIA, GRIPSHOLM, FEDERICO C and LEONARDO DA VINCI. In 1993, it became a part of the Fincantieri group.

The structurally-complete MV MARINA ready for floating out at Finacantieri.

By February of 2010, the MARINA was ready to be floated out from her builder’s dock. Oceania hosted a special visit to the structurally complete ship to give media and the travel community a sneak peek of the work in progress.

The MARINA’s finely sculpted bulbous bow.

Since the MARINA was the first ship in her class, she had a generous ten month fitting out period before her maiden voyage on January 22, 2011.

Shipyard mock-up of a verandah cabin.

Three stateroom mock-ups were set up adjacent to the graving dock to give an exact representation of the floor plan and soft fittings in the ship’s accommodation.

Reception Lobby awaiting outfitting, facing forward from Deck 5.

The interior spaces were barely more than skeletal plates of steel, scaffolding and wiring. Artists’ renderings gave an impression of what was to come.

Midships Deck 12, facing aft.

Note the temporary railings around the terraces.

Facing forward from Baristas.

Even with just the basics intact, the MARINA promised to be a very special ship.

MV RIVIERA steel cutting.

As the MARINA was readied for her float-out, the first steel plate of her identical twin, the RIVIERA, was being cut in a nearby warehouse. The RIVIERA will enter service in 2012.

Godmother Mary Hart.

The MARINA underwent sea trials in early January of 2011 and then sailed to Barcelona where she embarked on her maiden voyage, a thirteen night transatlantic crossing to Miami, arriving on February 4. The ship was christened in Miami the next day by Mary Hart, the philanthropist and well-known former host of television’s “Entertainment Tonight” in a gala pierside ceremony.

MARINA at Los Angeles nighttime view.

After a three night preview cruise to Nassau, the MARINA embarked on an eighteen night transcanal cruise to the U.S. West Coast where she was shown off to the travel community before returning to Florida.

Reflections of MARINA at Los Angeles.

Upon her arrival in Los Angeles, the MARINA hosted hundreds of visiting travel agents.  Starting at the top, here is a look at MARINA’s outstanding facilities.

Deck 16:

Forward Deck 16, facing starboard.

Deck 16 is the MARINA’s top passenger deck. Fronted by an angled glass screen, it is home to an 18 hole putting course, a driving range and a netted-in games court.

Fwd Deck 16, facing forward from starboard.

St. Andrews detail.

Each of the putting greens is named for a renowned international golf course.

Aft from port Deck 16.

Aft from Deck 16.

A terrace runs along the aft portion of the platform, offering a vertiginous view of the MARINA’s midships pool and lido.

Aft Deck 16, facing starboard.

Deck 16 resumes aft of the funnel with a crew-only sunning area.

Deck 15:

Horizons, facing starboard from forward.

Deck 15 is fronted by Horizons, the MARINA’s 281 seat observation lounge featuring spectacular views over the spa deck and off to either side of the ship.

Horizons, facing aft from starboard.

Horizons has a plush brown, turquoise and mint green color scheme with stuffed chairs and comfortable sofas.  Banks of seating surround a large dance floor that also accommodates a buffet during the ship’s daily tea ritual.

Horizon bar, facing aft.

An elliptical bar serves the room from its aft/port corner.

Enamel paintings in aft Horizons.

Aft/port Horizons, facing forward.

Just behind the bar on the port side is a glassed-in smoking section.

Funnel, facing aft from Deck 15.

Deck 15 resumes aft of the pool area with a small jogging track that encircles the funnel.

Forward from aft Deck 15.

From here, there is another nice view of the midships pool and lido area.

Funnel, facing aft from Deck 15 at night.

The forward portion of MARINA’s funnel is a ribbed cone that fuses into a squared off hind section.

Aft Deck 15 Bowls Court, facing aft.

On the port side of aft Deck 15, there is a bowls court and a wedge of sunning space.

Aft starboard Deck 15, facing forward.

On the starboard side, there are two shuffleboard courts and more running/sunning space.

Deck 14:

Forward Deck 14, facing starboard.

Forward Deck 14, facing aft from port.

Deck 14 begins with the outdoor spa terrace, an expanded version of that found on the former “R ships”. Day beds surround a Thalassotherapy pool.

Spa port relaxation area, facing port.

In the Canyon Ranch Spa, there are relaxation areas…

Spa steam area, facing aft.

Steam room.

…and a thermal suite with sauna and steam rooms.

Spa, facing port.

The main spa passage is beautifully appointed with fountains, marble decking and mosaic-covered bulkheads.

Relaxation Room, facing starboard/aft.

Relaxation granite detail.

Before and after treatments, spa guests can enjoy the Relaxation Room, which features granite bulkheads.

Spa Treatment Room.

There is a wide variety of rooms for massage, aromatherapy and skin treatments.

Spa Entry, facing forward.

The entrance to the spa is via its aft/starboard side.

Beauty Salon, facing forward.

A beauty salon is located in the forward starboard corner of the spa at the end of the main entryway.

Aerobics, facing forward.

Just aft of the beauty salon, there is a dedicated aerobics and pilates studio.

Gym, facing forward.

There is also a well-equipped gym with cardio equipment, free weights and weight machines.

Sanctuary, facing forward.

The Sanctuary, a sheltered space with cabana seating, is located on the port side of Deck 14, just aft of the Spa.

Sanctuary glass detail.

The Patio, facing starboard.

Beautiful blown glass floral artworks by Beverly Albrets entitled “Sunset Series” are the main focal points of the Sanctuary and its starboard complement, the Patio.

Starboard Deck 14, facing forward.

Promenades continue aft along either side of the pool on Deck 14.

Granite encounters: Baristas, facing aft.

Baristas, facing starboard/forward.

Baristas, the semi-elliptical 12-seat coffee bar overlooks the aft portion of the pool. Rich marble surfacing and dark wood tones are offset by abundant daylight through its full length windows.

Library, facing aft.

On the port side, just aft of Baristas, there is the Library, which is broken into private alcoves with faux fireplaces, wing back leather chairs and dark paneling.

Library alcove, facing starboard.

Library passage, facing forward.

This handsome setting is quite a departure from the equally elegant, domed Edwardian libraries on the former “R ships”.

Oceania at Sea, facing aft.

On the starboard side just aft of Baristas, there is the Oceania at Sea internet center.

The Boardroom, facing forward.

And just beyond Oceania at Sea, there is the Boardroom card and conference room.

Model of SS ARGENTINA in the Boardroom.

The Boardroom boasts scale models of classic ships, including this representation of the SS ARGENTINA.

Polo Grill, facing aft.

In a setting that is reminiscent of the ex-R ships, the aft starboard portion of Deck 14 houses the Polo Grill steakhouse. The L-shaped space features mahogany veneers, leather seating and a palate of maroon and gold.

Polo glass details.

Polo Grill, facing forward.

The Polo Grill accommodates 137 guests and offers USDA prime choice cuts in addition to poultry and seafood. Reservations are recommended but there is no extra tariff.

Toscana, facing aft.

Reminiscent of the ex-R ships, the port side complement of the Polo Grill is Toscana, the reservations-recommended, non-tariff Italian eatery that seats 137 guests.

Privée, facing port/forward.

Entirely new and exclusive to MARINA is the 10 seat Privée, which is sandwiched between Polo and Toscana. The tariff is $1,000 in what is probably the most lavish sea-going dining experience where the menu is selected by the guest in collaboration with the chef. The table reputedly cost $120,000.00 and the alligator chairs each rang in at $15,000.00.

Privée molding.

No expense was spared in the creation of Privée.

Deck 12:

Bon Appetit Culinary Center, facing forward.

Deck 12 begins with suite accommodation, which leads aft via a wide central passage to the pool area. On the port side, there is the 18 station Culinary Center where guests can enlist for hands-on cooking sessions with chefs chosen from Bon Appetit magazine.

Artists’ Loft, facing port.

Artists’ Loft, facing starboard.

On the starboard side, there is the 24 seat Artist’s Loft, where guests can take courses in painting, drawing, scrapbooking and more from the MARINA’s artists in residence.

Waves Bar, facing port.

The forward port corner of the sheltered pool deck is home to the al fresco Waves Bar with stools that seat 8 guests.

Pool area, facing aft from Deck 12.

The saltwater pool is fronted by a small fountain and flanked by whirlpools on either side.

Midships port Deck 12, facing forward.

Rows of deck chairs line the shelter underneath the Deck 14 overhang.

Port Deck 12, facing aft.

As with the former R ships, the pool deck area is covered in handsome and enduring teak wood.

La Reserve, facing aft.

Aft of the pool on the port side, there is the 24 seat La Reserve, which is the ship’s dedicated wine bar.

La Reserve, facing forward.

La Reserve is open for wine-pairing dinners by reservation only and there are charges for the wines, which are selected in consultation with Wine Spectator magazine.

Waves Cafe, facing aft.

On the starboard side just aft of the pool, there is the Waves Cafe, a 92 seat open air eatery that is open throughout the day, offering breakfast, grilled items, a salad bar and an ice cream bar.

Terrace Cafe, facing forward from port.

The U-shaped Terrace Cafe is an enlarged version of those found on the former R ships. Occupying the aft portion of Deck 12, its inside portion seats 328 guests.

Terrace Cafe chandelier.

Cuisine in the Terrace Cafe tends to highlight regional specialties of places the MARINA visits as well as Canyon Ranch Spa fare. Among its most alluring decorative features are the orange blown glass Italian chandeliers.

Terrace Cafe buffet, facing starboard.

Terrace Cafe terrace, facing starboard.

The outdoor portion of the Terrace Cafe seats an additional 110 guests who can savor a view over the ship’s wake along with their meal.

Deck 11:

Wheelhouse, facing port.

Deck 11 begins with the MARINA’s fully-enclosed wheelhouse and continues with suite accommodation.

Executive Lounge, facing forward.

The Executive Lounge is located midships and caters to the MARINA’s top suite guests.

Deck 10:

Deck 10 is devoted to accommodation.

Deck 9:

Concierge Lounge, facing forward.

The Concierge Lounge caters to Concierge Level guests and is located on Deck 9, forward of the forward stairtower.

Deck 9 Laundry, facing starboard.

MARINA has five self-service laundry facilities, including this one on Deck 9. Others can be found on Decks 11, 10, 8 and 7.

Deck 8:

Deck 8 is devoted to accommodation.

Deck 7:

MARINA “Face”.

Deck 7 begins with the open fo’c’sle and continues with accommodation.

End of MARINA Double Decked!, Part One.

Very special thanks: Martin Cox, Gary Gerbino, Michael Hicks, Tim Rubacky

Click Here For MARINA Double Decked!, Part Two, featuring the public spaces of Decks 6 and 5, accommodation, artwork and random carpet shots…

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea.  With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications.  Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India.  He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
Peter Knego

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