The High Seas – In High Style
with Martha Chapman

Oceania Cruises’ Bob Binder and Michael Hirsch

The very popular event filled the restaurant of the Windsor Arms

If the desserts on the Marina are as elegant as those served by the
Windsor Arms, clients are in for a treat

Forget “casual Fridayâ€. It was more ladies-who-lunch garb as some of T.O.’s highest profile retailers turned up in well-dressed numbers to attend the Gala Premiere of the Oceania Cruises’ Marina.

As Oceania president Bob Binder put it: “This is the event to be at.â€

Held at the tony Windsor Arms hotel in chichi Yorkville, the luncheon featured not only much air-kissing and fab food, but a series of enthusiastic senior execs from Oceania to show and tell us about their newest baby.

“We’ve been talking about this ship for five years,†said James Rodriguez, the Vice-President of Marketing. “Our number one brand characteristic is fine cuisine – and it’s been said the Marina is not a cruise ship but a floating galley.†Each of the six restaurants has its own galley – and world-famed chef Jacque Pépin has lent his trademark expertise to the onboard French bistro.

As Oceania President Bob Binder explained, the company’s goal is to have the best food afloat. From the choice of 25 olive oils to the 28-day aged beef and the so-who-needs-a-waistline Normandy high fat butter, the Marina will not be a ship on which you should start a new regime of self-denial.

For those who enjoy cooking as much as they do eating, there will be classes in the culinary centre, which will boast 24 cooking stations for students – each with its own prep centre and stove. Add La Reserve with its wine tastings, the elegant coffee bar in the library and the Canyon Ranch Spa Club with 16 treatment rooms, and the Marina sounds like a great reason to run away to sea.

Oh, and the three captain’s cabins feature baby grand pianos, and cashmere (yes, cashmere) on the walls. 

Ensemble Travel’s Franca Iuele loves Oceania because “They are so forward looking and so easy to promote,†while Myrna Collins of New Wave told me that Oceania ships “have all the components people want: they’re sophisticated but not stuffy.â€

The 1,258 passenger Marina will have its inaugural season next January to April. So far, Oceania enjoys 20 per cent Canadian passengers…maybe a few more, after this delicious preview of the Marina.

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