Upper-Premium Line To Debut Private Country Estate Aura On Marina
By Avid Cruiser Contributing Editor Susan J. Young, who operates the web site Southern Cruising (full credits and more about Susan at the bottom of this story)
After visiting Fincantieri Sestri Ponente yard in Genoa, Italy, I’ve changed my perspective about what to expect on Oceania Cruises’ new, 66,000-ton Marina. Frankly, I assumed the new design would simply replicate a pampering boutique hotel feel; that’s certainly trendy these days.
But not so, as I learned and as Oceania executives say. On Marina, they’re seeking to re-create the aura of a luxurious private estate.
Suites boast small pampering touches, like well-positioned reading lights and self-closing drawers, yet also have as bigger perks – including a media room in the Owners Suites and an exercise room within the Oceania Suites.
The overall goal is to assure guests feel they’re at home on their private estate. Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of Prestige Cruise Holdings, parent of Oceania Cruises, says the line is aiming for a “residential feel” to the onboard product. Brand-wise, the best word to describe Oceania’s onboard product is “taste,” he says.
We have no doubt that will be the case. But since Marina doesn’t set sail on its inaugural voyage until January 2011, the ship is essentially bare steel at this point. It’s currently undergoing interior outfitting with public spaces, accommodations, design elements and décor being added. But here’s a sneak peak at the Penthouse Suites (from model staterooms at the shipyard) and information about some of the other spaces for suite dreams onboard.
Located on Deck 7, 9, 10 and 11, Penthouse suites encompass 420 square feet of space. The bedroom area has a queen bed that can be converted to twins. We loved the “two-sided” duo of chairs and a small table at the foot of the bed. I found the configuration helpful for both relaxing and working on my laptop.
The bed as well those foot-of-the-bed chairs/table face a wall occupied by a dark brown toned armoire and dressing table area.
Wall appointments include a dressing table mirror as well as a flat-screen television. A curtain separates this bedroom area from the living room area.
The living room area for Penthouse suites consists of a couch, table that can double as a dining table and two plush chairs (according to the 3-D mockup the line uses on its Web site – but only one chair was present in the mock-up we toured).
Del Rio pointed out that the line also added a second small window next to the couch. It provides additional natural light and creates a more open feel to the suite.
In addition, the living area features a desk, desk chair and refrigerated mini-bar. Sliding glass balcony doors lead to a private veranda. Most balcony floors including those for suites on Marina are teak.
The walk-in closet is adequate with plenty of hanging space, plus a dark brown chest of drawers, a safe, and rack for hanging items but not ties (see Ralph Grizzle’s Q&A with Frank del Rio about the casual atmosphere of the ship).
Comprised of granite and marble the Penthouse Suite bathroom has one vanity with sink (as shown at left*). This bathroom also boasts a full-sized soaking tub, and a separate shower with a rainforest showerhead.
Colors in the Penthouse suite? We found them soft and cool in shades of light blue, gold and tan/brown.
You won’t find bold, in-your-face bright colors as seen on some cruise ships. Bright colors, at times, can hide dirt. Del Rio wants guests on Marina to feel they’re in a private home and to know immediately their suite’s carpets are clean and fresh.
Twelve Oceania suites of more than 1,000 square feet await guests; they’re offered both forward and aft on Decks 11 and 12. Each will offer a living room and dining room, walk-in closet, expansive private veranda and separate bedroom area with a king-sized Prestige Tranquility bed.
The suite also includes a Master Bath with all the bells and whistles, plus a second, guest bathroom. Those booked in this suite will enjoy both a private whirlpool overlooking the sea and a whirlpool tub in the master bath.
Perhaps most innovative is a state-of-the-art media center, which will include a 50-inch flat-screen television. “It will have everything you’d have in a home theater,” Del Rio says.
While the mock-up on the Web site shows a couch facing the screen, Oceania’s President Bob Binder talked of soft reclining chairs for viewing, so the interior appointments for this suite apparently are still under discussion.
Marina’s eight 1,200-to-1,500 square-foot Vista Suites overlook the bow and feature wraparound teak balconies. Guests might watch movies on a 42-inch LCD flat-screen television, enhanced by Bose surround sound. The bedroom, with a king-sized bed, also offers as second LCD flat-screen television.
Three opulent, elegant 2,000-square-foot Owner’s suites are located aft on Decks 8, 9 and 10; they span the entire “beam” or width of the ship.
Designed by New York-based Tocar Interior Design, these will be the first accommodations at sea totally furnished with the furniture, fabrics, lighting and bedding of the Ralph Lauren Home collection.
Entering the suite’s ivory marble foyer and music room, guests will discover walls of inset Georgian wood paneling finished in an ivory gloss.
On either side, art niche are framed with polished stone; mirrors reflect the statues. Black and camel mosaic tile insets are surrounded by plush black carpeting trimmed with a polished nickel metal edge.
Design features include a mahogany gloss bar with three ivory leather and chrome stools; armchairs covered in faux crocodile and brown-and-white faux zebra skins; and an ivory brocade and black satin chaise. The focal point, though, will undoubtedly be the ebony baby grand piano.
Beyond the foyer/music room, this suite boasts a large living room and private dining area. The suite also includes a marble-and-granite-clad bathroom; walk-in closet; spacious bedroom with a king-sized Prestige Tranquility Bed; a private fitness room; and a second bathroom for guests.
Three LCD flat-screen televisions and a Bose sound system are provided as well as two laptops with wireless access.
Bob Binder, Oceania’s president and CEO, sat next to me at dinner in Genoa last week, and talked about what type of exercise equipment was being considered. Fitness equipment has to be the latest and greatest but it also must be easily operable so guests don’t hurt themselves.
This is a private exercise facility within the guest’s own quarters so no trainer will be present most of the time. At present, the line is still evaluating what equipment to utilize.
In terms of the Ralph Lauren design detail for the suite (beyond the foyer/music room described above), the detailed design press release is so trendy it lost me in translation at times.
Let’s just say it’s clear this category of top-end suite will be opulent and elegant.
All suites feature 24-hour butler service, plus many other perks. Those include
In addition, suite guests also receive:
Owner’s, Vista and Oceania Suites also have a CD/DVD player with an extensive media library.
In addition to its selection of pampering suites, Marina will field 200 Concierge staterooms, 244 Veranda staterooms, 20 Oceanview staterooms and 18 Inside staterooms.
In Veranda staterooms, additional space has been added between the bed and closet in response to guest feedback. And, the cabin is 282 square feet, one third larger than balcony cabins on the line’s other ships.
An international crew of 800 serves guests onboard Marina. A happy crew leads to better service for guests, so Del Rio says the line has taken great care to utilize crew feedback and ideas for design of crew cabins.
During our time at the shipyard, we got a sneek peak at a mock-up of one crew cabin!
Each crew cabin has a private bathroom. Crew members also have a private closet for storing their personal belongings and clothing.
Florida-based Susan J. Young is a contributing editor for Avid Cruiser. A 20-year travel and cruise industry veteran, she’s the editor and publisher of SouthernCruising.com, a robust consumer Web site covering cruising from ports within the southern United States.
Young also serves as senior contributing editor-tours and cruises for a major U.S. travel trade publication. A member of the Society of American Travel Writers, she’s sailed on 70+ cruises within the past decade.
This article is reprinted with permission from SouthernCruising.com, which retains all rights to this story.