Oceania Cruises’ first new-build, luxury ship Marina is destined to be a “game changer” in the luxury sector.

The claim came from company founder and chairman and chief executive of parent company Prestige Cruise Holdings Frank Del Rio ahead of the 1,250-passenger vessel being named in the US.

“Marina is unlike any ship built in the past 50 years and is destined to be a game-changer in the industry,” he said. “The superb gourmet restaurants and exquisite residential interiors reflect the best of what makes Oceania Cruises such an unrivalled experience.”

The ship, handed over to the company on January 19 from the Fincantieri shipyard near Genoa, is the fourth in the fleet, joining Regatta, Insignia and Nautica.

Sister ship Riviera is being built in the same shipyard and is due to enter service in April 2012. Described as a ship for epicureans, Marina features 10 dining venues, including six open-seating gourmet restaurants; bars and lounges; a Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness centre, swimming pool and hot tubs.

The Bon Appétit Culinary Centre is claimed to be the first hands-on cooking school at sea. The new flagship fleet set sail on its maiden voyage from Barcelona, Spain, on January 22 and is set to arrive in Miami on February 4.

US TV’s ‘Entertainment Tonight’ presenter Mary Hart will name the ship the following day before departing on February 8 on the first of two 18-day Panama Canal transits that visit San Francisco or San Diego.

Marina then operates a 12-day Caribbean cruise in March before sailing along the US eastern seaboard and on to Europe to begin its inaugural Mediterranean season.