We have a special place in our heart for Oceania. Look at the photos of Oceania's ship, Marina (taken on both a tour and, subsequently, a Mediterranean sailing), and perhaps you will see why. P.S., it also has some of the best food at sea. We've included the following photo galleries below: Marina's Owner's Suite, Paradise for Foodies, and Tour Marina.
Marina's Owner's Suite
Paradise for Foodies
In addition to the Grand Dining Room and the more casual options of the Terrace Cafe and Waves, Oceania's Marina and sister ship Riviera have five specialty restaurants, the first four of which (below) have no surcharge. Oceania's smaller ships—Insignia, Nautica, and Regatta—have the first two listed below, as well as the Grand Dining Room, Terrace Cafe, and Waves.
TOSCANA. With its Roman shades raised, the restaurant provided a memorable occasion, as we watched the sunset over the bow of the ship. Imagine an Italian restaurant with a separate, two-page menu just for the olive oils! There were plain olive oils of different varieties, others that were infused with rosemary and assorted herbs, and still others that were mixed with vinegars. The uninitiated almost needed a class to be able to choose.
POLO. Like Toscana, this overlooks the bow of the ship, so we had another great view of the sunset. It was wonderful. My appetizer was a tower of beet root layered with garliced goat cheese and topped with assorted little green sprigs. For an entree I had filet mignon and truffled mashed potatoes. Yum!
RED GINGER. Soon we discovered why the other passengers were raving about Red Ginger. Everything was out-of-this-world good. And like Toscana's two-page menu for olive oils, there was a little something extra at Red Ginger, as shown in the photo gallery below.
JACQUES. Jacques is the French-themed restaurant, named after Chef Jacques Pépin, the Executive Culinary Director for Oceania Cruises. For me, the little surprise there was the edible labels on the loaves of French bread (see photo gallery). The real treat, though, was the Baba au Rhum dessert. Without exaggeration, it was one of the two best desserts I've ever eaten in my life, the other being a very similar concoction, called a Sacher Savarin, at the Sacher Hotel in Salzburg.
LA RESERVE. The crème de la crème is the 7-course wine-pairing dinner in La Reserve by Wine Spectator. They started us off with a glass of sparkling wine in a private patio lounge. For each course of the dinner, the chef and sommelier visited each table, explaining both the food and its wine pairing. Our dessert was garnished with gold leaf. The whole experience was simply amazing. Though there is a cover charge—and it's not insignificant—it's definitely worth it. And as this restaurant serves only 24 guests per night, reservations fill up very quickly.
PRIVEE. Privee is a luxurious dining room that can be rented for small private parties of up to 10 guests. The décor includes white baby crocodile chairs, backlit onyx-clad walls, and a white Venini glass chandelier (see photo in gallery).