Author Archives: Paul Gilowey

Dialogue at the Dogwatch #1

Dialogue at the Dogwatch
You'll find the sculptures in my next few posts at UCT's Alma Mater plaza.

Known as Dialogue at the Dogwatch, they were commissioned from David Brown in 1994 by a UCT alumnus, Charles Diamond. The pieces are made from bronze, copper, brass, Cor-ten and stainless steel, and together weigh about 7 tons.

Dogwatch, fwiw, is a navy term that refers to the watch time between late afternoon and night time, which is probably a time of day when the low angle of the sun and the increasingly-dim light makes the watch particularly difficult. Read a little more about the term and why it was coined over here on Wikipedia.

A crusing fleet made for dining

Ship's restaurant
While other companies direct money towards presenting extravagant shows, hosting formal evenings, and supplying other entertainment, Oceania spends your money on food. Fresh food collected at ports along its route.

Other cruise companies may have you pay extra at certain restaurants, or for certain dishes - not Oceania. You could have fresh lobster (or anything else that tickles your fancy on their menus) free of charge, every day at any of their speciality restaurants (with the exception of one particularly extravagant one, La Reserve). You could have room service every day, again free of charge, if you prefer.

Ship's restaurant
Imagine enjoying a sunset dinner at the table above, watching the sky turn yellow and orange as you slowly work your way through your Maine Lobster Baked in Shell with Mushroom Cream Sauce, Served with Crispy Parmesan. To get a better idea of the restaurants aboard their ships, take a look at this page and click through to read the menus... then start saving for your trip. ;)

Ship's restaurant
Each of the many restaurants aboard the Oceania Marina has different decor and serves from a different menu. Many of the dishes in their repertoire were designed by former French president Charles de Gaulle's personal chef, Jacques Pepin... which seems fitting for a fleet that prides itself on the quality of the food they serve.

Ship's restaurant
As I mentioned in a previous post, Oceania Cruises place a great deal of emphasis on food and service. What I found astonishing is that the Marina (and Riviera) have 800 staff members aboard to take care of only 1250 guests! That's a ratio of about one and a half staff members to two guests... pretty hectic hey? Sure, some of those staff are manning the rowing oars, but you'll find most of the others taking care of your needs in the spa, gym, dining rooms, culinary center, and pool area. ;)

Ship's restaurant
Our tour guide aboard the Marina mentioned an interesting fact about Oceania's fleet of mid-sized ships: Because their ships are smaller than other very big liners, they're able to dock in smaller harbours along, say, the Mediterranean coast. Not only are they able to dock inside those harbours (instead of out at sea), but they're able to dock close to the centre of town so that guests don't have to travel far to get to where the action is. Imagine taking a 10 day voyage, starting in Barcelona, and each day disembarking to wander the cities of Marseille, Monte Carlo, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Sicily, Zakynthos, Santorini, and ending up in Istanbul? Sounds pretty amazing, right?

Ship's restaurant
I really wish I'd get commission for leading you to book a trip, but alas, I won't. So, just go ahead and find a travel agent to book your trip, or visit Cruises International to check what they have on offer. I have to mention though, don't look at the first price you get - Kerry-Anne found a few beautiful deals on the Web. ;)

Take a look inside Oceania’s Marina cruise ship

Staircase inside the Oceania Marina cruise ship
When seeing this I couldn't help thinking of the scene in the '97 Titanic movie where Kate Winslet came walking down the staircase in her evening gown to join Leonardo DiCaprio. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Oceania intentionally tried to recreate that feeling of opulence aboard this, one of their finest cruise ships.

Space comes at a premium aboard ships. This next next photo is of one of their more expensive rooms. Notice the extra lounge area with room divider next to the bed? In addition to the extra space, and a balcony, this room comes with it's own butler that'll be at your beck and call for whatever you may need. I'm pretty sure he'll even serve you grapes one by one if that's what you desire. :)
A room on the Oceania Marina

On our way to the pool deck I noticed this little lounge area off to the one side, just over the way from where a lone pianist sat softly stroking a set of pearly-white keys. Imagine sitting here for an afternoon, talking with interesting people from far-away lands while enjoying high tea. I have a feeling it wouldn't take much for me to get used to that kind of life!

Lounge aboard the Oceania Marina

Leading from the buffet restaurant (I'll tell you about the food in my next post) we came across the library in the next photo. You can't see a great deal of it from this view, but isn't what you can see beautiful? The narrow library stretches along for about 30 or 35 meters and is lined with books. Interspersed are small seating areas, each with three or four comfy chairs like the one in this photo. I'm pretty sure you could imagine sitting in silence, reading a book, while enjoying the freshly-brewed illy coffee from the barista station conveniently located right next to the library. ;)

Library aboard the Oceania Marina

You can imagine spending 7 or 14 days aboard the Oceania Marina, can't you? Just in case you're in two minds about it - consider this: NO CHILDREN. Well, not "no children", not really. Oceania tends to cater more for sophisticated adults. They try to create a quiet environment, free from loud music, frequent announcements, and screaming-running-playing-crying children. While they don't mind having kids aboard, they don't offer special entertainment or facilities for kids. And given that they don't have many kids as passengers the kids that do find themselves tagging along with their parents are normally the quiet and reserved kinds - you know, like the adorable Evan Taylor that Freddie Highmore played in the 2007 film August Rush. :)

Holiday in luxury with Oceania

Holiday in luxury
"The staff are the best" were the first words I heard from a passenger as our little tour group walked past him on the pool deck of the Oceania Marina, a luxurious mid-sized cruise ship docked in Table Bay this past weekend.

Cruises International invited us to take a tour of the mid-sized-yet-enormous vessel on Friday evening. I'd never actually been aboard a luxury liner before, and if you have, I'm sure you can imagine the awe and near-disbelief that we felt while wandering its decks.

For those of you who haven't yet had the pleasure to see a luxury liner in person: imagine the most elegant hotel you know of, combine that with the a few of the most up-market restaurants you've seen, place those on a bed of floating iron and add a splash of the most considerate staff you can imagine - and voila, you have the Oceania Marina.

I'll show you a few more photos and tell you a little more about cruising aboard Oceania's ships, but let me leave you with that opening quote: "The staff are the best". That has to say something about the experience one should expect aboard the Marina. :)

Table Mountain
Swimming Pool
Pool Deck
Signal Hill

Supertube!

Supertube!
As a kid I used to love sliding down the supertube at the camper park we used to visit during school holidays. As that one did me, I'm sure in it's day this long winding piece of fibreglass enthralled thousands of kids. Today it lies deserted, holding only memories for the kids who from time to time reminisce about their childhood.

A cold Cape Town summer

A cold Cape Town summer
It's been cold and wet in Cape Town - and I have to say, it's getting us down. Where are you summer? Where are those weeks of golden early morning rays?

At this rate, we're all going to be on vitamin D supplements soon...