We were up at 5:00 a.m. for the long trip, made longer because we (in an effort to save some money) took three planes to get to Venice, having two- to three-hour layovers in both Dallas and Madrid. Oddly enough, it was kind of nice to have the stop in Dallas, which allowed for a real lunch and some light-duty shopping. And in Madrid, it gave us more than enough time to go through another (required) security check and enjoy the architecture.
While we were in an airport shop, all of a sudden music and dancing broke out! The people of Madrid really know how to perk up the souls of weary travelers!
We had a pleasantly uneventful taxi ride from the Venice airport to the dock. The driver quoted €40 inclusive of tip. Even though the meter was slightly higher than that, he only asked for the 40 -- very refreshing! (For price comparison, a water taxi would have been €100 [about $150] for the two of us from the airport to the pier, and the cruise line’s transfer would have cost $139 per person.)
So after one limo ride, 3 planes, 2 inter-airport busses, 1 taxi and a short walk, we were on Oceania’s newest ship, the beautiful Marina. Embarkation was quick and simple, and we were in our veranda cabin in no time, with a chilled bottle of champagne waiting for us to pop the cork. There is just something about coming to an end of all that travel and finally being on the ship…surrounded by water…in Venice…and sipping champagne. It’s almost a definition of perfection.
The granite bathroom had a separate tub and shower, both with hand-held wands (as well as a rainhead in the shower). The tub was nice and deep for soaking after a day of walking cobblestone streets!
Sometimes people who are used to 4- and 5-star hotel properties (and the space they provide) are surprised when it isn’t the same on a cruise. It’s important to remember that this is a ship. And for a ship, this is a fairly large bathroom. (Admittedly, it looks smaller in this photo than the one above it.)
For more space, however, one can upgrade to a suite. At the pinnacle is the 2,000 square foot Owner's Suite (photographed on an earlier ship tour in San Diego).
(For more of our photos from that ship tour, click here.)
Figuring we’d be tired from the trip, we’d planned to call room service for dinner and eat on the veranda – there’s no charge for room service on Oceania – but once we were onboard, we felt invigorated and wanted to explore the ship. We decided to eat in the Terrace Café, which was much like an upscale cafeteria. That allowed us to pick and choose and eat odd combinations of things, the way one likes to pick and choose and eat odd combinations after flying for so many hours and across so many time zones. (And they were quite happy for us to bring along our glasses of champagne from our room. Things are wonderfully different that way on a cruise!)
The service was exceptional everywhere on the ship, and I like that the servers all wear name tags that also include their nationality. It’s a very international group!
We wondered what it would feel like to be on a ship and imagined more of an up-and-down sensation. What it felt like instead was more of a jiggling. If you remember those massage beds that some motels had in the 1960’s, where you put a quarter into a box on the headboard to start the motion, that’s sort of what the ship felt like, especially when lying down. But we didn’t have to put in our quarters. (We didn't hear of anyone getting seasick on the entire 10-day cruise.)
It really felt good to hit the sack for an early bedtime. Marina’s mattresses are the perfect combination of firm underneath with a cushy top, and I’m not kidding, those 1000-thread-count linens are fabulous!