We Saw Customer Service Excellence In Good Times And Crisis
The staff and crew of Oceania Cruises Marina delivered customer service excellence in good times and crisis. We wanted to take this blog post to say thank you!
Throughout our South America cruise, the customer service aboard Marina was at the excellent level we had come to expect from Oceania Cruises. But when the world COVID-19 issues caught up with us, that level of service delivery excellence did not waver. Personalized professionalism service at every level continued. We know there are a very large number of crew still onboard Marina tied up in Miami. Now that we are home, we wanted to take a moment to say thank you again.
It was a cruise we will never forget!
A Cruise We Will Never Forget
We started our 53 day South America cruise in Miami in January. When we walked on board, we were delighted to find so many crew members we knew from previous cruises. There were smiles and hugs. It felt like we had come back to family.
We had the most amazing cruise around South America. The first segment took us through the Caribbean, down the Amazon and into Rio de Janeiro. On the second segment we sailed from Rio to Buenos Aires. And on the final segment, we visited some of my favourite places as we cruised from Buenos Aires to Lima. So many blog posts were written!
When we boarded the ship in January, the COVID-19 issue was a far away concern. As staff and passengers changed for each segment, the issue became bigger. But with so much of South America virtually virus free, we continued to cruise with no issues on land or on the ship. But then the COVID-19 pandemic situation caught up with us when we were denied landing in Peru. And then Chile. After 12 days at sea, we finally made it back to Miami. And home to Toronto. Along the way we learned so much about travel and cruising in a crisis situation.
When we left the ship in Miami, all of the crew remained onboard. Some were released in a few days to return home. But so many of crew remain on the ship awaiting news of when they will be allowed to travel back home. And home for so many of the crew is far away. In places locked down due to the virus. And planes just are not travelling to their homes.
This gave us a chance to quickly send out this message of thanks. We thank the leadership and crew of the Oceania Cruises Marina for an amazing cruise around South America. For taking such amazing care of us during all days onboard the ship. Every day we ate amazingly well – every 90 minutes if we wanted to. The entertainment crew kept us entertained from morning to night.
We were stranded away from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But we could not have been in a better place. Our friends and family worried about how and when we might get home. But they were all envious of the great luxury cruise ship we were on. And they knew we were cared for well! The Oceania team was delivering customer service excellence in good times and crisis!
The Leadership At The Top
We met the original leadership team of the Oceania Cruises Marina at the first Captains Party. Over the 3 segments that made up our South America cruise, some of the senior team changed. But the quality of service delivery never faltered with the smooth handoffs.
We started our trip with Captain Luca. He was often visible around the ship. And helped to unveil the new onboard Spa.
In Rio de Janeiro we got a new captain. Captain Leo took us south around Cape Horn and up the west coast of South America. He made sure we got to circumnavigate Cape Horn and took us on an amazing day trip to see the Amalia Glacier.
But Captain Leo’s challenge came when we were denied entry to Peru. And then after heading south for a day, refused entry to Chile. He worked ceaselessly with his leadership team and Oceania head office to find a route and timeline to get us home. Daily updates kept us as informed as we could be.
The General Manager (GM) Dominque was with us on the entire journey. He excelled at being visible at all times and everywhere on the ship. So many days we saw him on the gangway as we headed off for fun day. And we found him back on the gangway when we returned.
Below the Captains and the GM, there was an excellent leadership team. Maybe the best we have ever sailed with! While they had administration and staff management responsibilities, they spent many hours every day keeping their eye on every aspect of service delivery. They ensured everyone was delivering customer service excellence in good times and crisis!
We wrote many times about customer service excellence. Strong leadership that are passionate about delivering customer service excellence are essential to set the culture. This culture was evident at every level of crew we found onboard Oceania Cruises Marina. And the true mettle of leadership was demonstrated in crisis.
We were delighted to find such excellent customer service from crew throughout the first 50 days of our cruise. And then our 53 day cruise was extended to over 60 days when we were stranded at sea during the COVID-19 pandemic. But during that entire extended cruise, the staff and crew continued to deliver with the same smiles. And a high standard of customer service. We knew their lives were in tumult, many more than ours. But every day they showed up eager to make our final journey the best it could be.
We can’t say enough about the great leadership team onboard the Oceania Cruises Marina for our South America cruise. Through the good and the challenging times, we knew we could count on the team for an amazing experience. And a safe journey home! We could see they were delivering customer service excellence in good times and crisis!
We Never Really Needed To Leave Our Room
For this cruise we booked a larger butler room. It gave us space to spread out. And in the last week, it provided a safe place when we needed to be alone. We were already practicing the soon to be mandatory social distancing and self-isolation.
Our room stewards throughout the journey provided first class service several times a day. Even if some days all we wanted was papers and chocolates. And our Butler Ankit made sure our every need was met. He went above and beyond to exceed our expectations.
Thank you to our butler and room stewards for ensuring we experienced five star service for every day of our trip! Our day began and ended with superb customer service in good times and crisis!
We Ate And Drank So Well Onboard The Ship
From the Food and Beverage Directors (Laurent and then Freddy) to the Restaurant Managers (Boris and then Srdan with Hala) and on through the Maitre ‘Ds, every aspect of providing us with exquisite dining service delivery was managed with care. Chef Frederic and then Chef Farid managed a large culinary team that never failed to tempt us to eat far more than we needed!
Whenever we cruised with Oceania Cruises, it was easy to remember why Oceania was voted “Best Cuisine At Sea”. The food was plentiful and fresh, even when the guests may have been afraid we would run out of food! When possible the chefs shopped in the local ports for fresh food. At every restaurant, for regular or special meals, we ate so well!
Every morning we started at the cappuccino bar. Well David went and brought me handmade cappuccino and a treat. One of the butlers onboard called him my “other butler”.
If we needed a snack before dinner, Afternoon Tea was served every day. Whether it was a regular tea or one of the specialty teas, there was always a great selection of sweet and savoury delights. A pastry chef briefed the team every day so that every staff member could address our every question.
Throughout the South America cruise, there were many special wine tasting events. On other trips, we did many of the wine pairing sessions . On this cruise, the Executive Cellar Master Loredana offered a nightly wine bar. Oceania Cruises has a great wine list. But the wine bar provided an interesting range of different wines. Served with large plates of tapas for wine pairings.
We want to thank the entire Food and Beverage team. They are to be commended from the top to every person managing the restaurants to the waiters and chefs. Every day we were delighted to be presented with amazing choices and delicious food. Always served with a smile. We probably interacted with the food services team the most during our trip. And at every encounter they excelled at delivering customer service excellence in good times and crisis!
The Entertainment Team Kept Us Laughing And Dancing
There was entertainment available from morning to late night onboard Marina. The Cruise Director Paul kept his eye on every aspect of entertainment delivery. We had dinner with Paul one night when there was a sound issue in the main lounge. He would not rest until it was resolved.
There were sports games and intellectual challenges to keep the passengers entertained. Bean toss, crazy golf, shuffleboard and ping pong kept people moving. The Social Director Hillary hosted many of the social events. And kept us sharp with the daily Mensa challenges. Group trivia and games kept Paul very busy through the cruise.
There was music onboard in every venue. Whatever your taste of music, there was something for everyone. Our favourite was the Sync Session Band. They kept us dancing. Whether it was on the outside deck or in the Horizons Lounge.
We never got bored on our 60+ days at sea. There were just too many options for entertainment!
Special Sea Days Provided Unique Entertainment Options
Paul made sure to engage the leadership team in providing entertainment. While this was great fun, it was also the chance to see the leadership team in a more casual pose. Whether it was “Liars Club” or the “Friendly Feud”, these sessions never failed to make us laugh.
On a sea day, every crew department participated in fun sessions to engage with the passengers. Each department set up special games or skills to be completed. It was a great way to meet some of the people we didn’t see every day.
One sea day, the officers participated in an Officers Challenge. They competed with each other. All in the spirit of fun!
We crossed the equator the first time on an Oceania Cruise trip through the Middle East and into Africa. But on our trip south around South America, we participated in a second crossing the equator ceremony. It was fun to see the passengers be initiated with the “kiss the fish” rite. But when we ended up circumnavigating South America on our way back to Miami, we again crossed the equator. For this second ceremony, there was a slight change made. The ceremony now was about “disinfect the fish”. A tongue in cheek reminder about the COVID-19 situation we were in.
Whether it was a regularly planned entertainment event or a special session put on for a sea day, we were entertained every day of our South America cruise. We want to thank the entertainment crew of the Oceania Cruises Marina for making us dance and laugh. Even when there were days all of us might not have felt like it. We received customer service excellence in good times and crisis!
Thank You For Delivering Customer Service Excellence In Good Times And Crisis
We wanted to stay thank you to the staff and crew of the Oceania Cruises Marina for delivering service excellence in good times and crisis!
There were too many people to thank by name. But we hope you know who you are! We never ventured far on the ship without a camera in hand. And we wanted to remember the staff and crew!
From the top to the bottom, the Marina staff and crew was awesome! We had a cruise around South America we will never forget. And we learned so much about travel and cruising during a crisis!
The stops along the way were amazing. But the experience we had onboard the ship made every aspect of the journey special! And for that, we want to stay “Thank You” !!!
Thank you for delivering service excellence in good times and crisis! We wish all the staff and crew of the Oceania Cruises Marina safe journeys home. We hope to meet again on the high seas!
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