There may be higher-level accommodations aboard Oceania Cruises’ Marina but my way-more-affordable Concierge-Class stateroom and all its perks knocked my socks — or should I say flip-flops — off during my amazing 12-day French Polynesia sailing.
Let’s begin with my Marina cabin itself: 282 square feet with balcony, sitting area and enough storage space to stash a steamer trunk full of stuff (and if that stuff should wrinkle or get dirty, some free ironing and laundry service will set things right). My bed is divine, with a pillow-top Tranquility mattress dressed in 1,000-count Egyptian-cotton linens, and there’s not a towel animal in sight. The marble bathroom has a glassed-in shower stall and a full bathtub, something that makes me giddily happy even though I haven’t taken a bath in 30 years. I’ve no idea what to do with the little pots of Bokek Dead Sea Salt and Himalayan Pink Bath Salt crystals that sit on the tub’s rim, but oddly, I love that they’re there. On the vanity, I spy a collection of Bulgari soaps, shampoo, lotion and conditioner and I know already that I’ll be swiping whatever remains of them at journey’s end — I’m all about toiletries.
I heartily toast my cabin’s extraordinary charms — and do so with a flute of Champagne from the chilled bottle that welcomes me to the glorious world of Concierge Class … and the digs are only the beginning.
Sheer genius is the furnished Concierge-Class Lounge on board Marina, a private, key-card-accessed hangout that’s filled 24/7 with coffee, tea, snacks (love the smoked salmon mini sandwiches), soft drinks, computer stations (with free unlimited internet), newspapers, books and a huge TV screen which, on this sailing, often broadcasts Olympics coverage. The lounge is just a few steps away from my cabin and manned by the lovely Liezel (the concierge of Concierge Class) who at one point moved heaven and earth to track down the single safety pin I needed to bring modesty to an overly-plunging neckline.
The special Concierge-Class treatment doesn’t stop on Deck 9 where most of Marina’s 202 Concierge-Class cabins are located. Look at me now: Luxuriating at the private and oh-so-serene Canyon Ranch Spa Terrace, a key-card-accessed oasis of plush blue and white sunbeds, hot tub and an outdoor shower stocked with Canyon Ranch’s intoxicating shampoo, conditioner and body wash (there I go with the toiletries again). I’m not usually one of those Zen types, but almost daily I find I bypass the main pool in favor of the Spa Terrace, its seclusion, and the serenade of hypnotic melodies piped in at the perfect unobtrusive volume.
When I sail, I don’t need thousands of feet of living space or a guest bathroom. I don’t long for a vast dining area or a private fitness room and, unless Elton John drops by, I have no need for a grand piano in my entry foyer. My ideal cruise category aboard Marina is Concierge Class — superb accommodations and meaningful extras that make me feel like I’m sailing way, way, way above my means.
— Judi Cuervo
Photos: Oceania Cruises (3), Judi Cuervo