The parade of new cruise ships in Florida keeps going as the Oceania Marina debuted in Miami this week.
The Marina, a 1,250-passenger ship that is nearly double the size of the cruise line's other three ships, arrived at the Port of Miami on Feb. 4, 2011.
The christening ceremony featuring the ship's godmother, 'Entertainment Tonight' host Mary Hart, was performed on Saturday, Feb. 7. The highlight was the smashing of a 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar of champagne against the hull.
The Marina joins Oceania's fleet of three other ships while a sister ship to the Marina, the Riviera, remains under construction in Italy, and will debut in April 2012. The Marina and Riviera are the line's first ships built from scratch. The Regatta, Insignia and Nautica were refurbished ships by Oceania.
Among the notable features of the Marina are the Bon Appétit Culinary Center, Master Chef Jacques Pépin's first namesake restaurant at sea, Ralph Lauren Home-furnished Owner's Suites, a Wine Spectator wine program and a Lalique grand stairway.
"Marina is not just another ship, she is special in so many ways," stated Bob Binder, Oceania Cruises' president. "When we set out to design and build our first new ship, we wanted it to set new standards for comfort, service and culinary excellence."
The Marina debuted in January sailing from Barcelona. She will now depart on the first of two 18-day Panama Canal transits that visit San Francisco and San Diego, both new ports for Oceania Cruises. Marina then operates a 12-day Caribbean cruise, round-trip from Miami, departing March 16, before sailing along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and on to Europe to begin her inaugural Mediterranean season.
The Marina is the latest new cruise ship to arrive at Florida ports in the last year. Among the major debuts have been the Cunard Queen Elizabeth and Disney Dream this past January, the Celebrity Eclipse, Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam, Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas and Norwegian Epic in 2010.
Richard Tribou is a senior editor for the travel sections of OrlandoSentinel.com and Sun-Sentinel.com. He can be reached at email@example.com or 407-420-5134.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun