I'm excited to write this review because I haven't seen a lot of them posted since the inaugural sailing of the Riviera, and she definately deserves a review. We were 1st time cruisers with Oceania, and it really exceeded our expectations! We loved our pre-cruise hotel (Hotel Saturnia), and the location couldn't have been more convenient! The rooms were comfortable, and the staff very friendly and helpful. Oceania had an info desk set up in the lobby to answer any questions one might have. We were transferred to the ship on the day of sailing by a water taxi, and embarkation was a breeze!
We loved our A4 category room which was very well appointed and had plenty of room...even the beautiful bathroom which had a nice tub and separate shower. The only negative on the bathroom is that the shower is a little constricting to tall people, as my husband is 6'5" and had to tilt his head quite a bit in order to wash his hair....not really a big deal to him though. The ship is elegant and 1st class all the way! Very tastefully decorated and classy. Everyone went out of their way to make us feel special and appreciated....with the exception of the Destination Services Desk which, when asked simple destination questions, made us feel like we were being intrusive.
The restaurants were outstanding!!! The food preparation and presentation was impressive, with Jacques, Toscana, and Red Ginger being our absolute favorites. We also enjoyed the Terrace Cafe a couple of evenings to take in the beautiful views of various ports. We participated in a La Reserve/Wine Spectator evening of food/wine and were really pleased with the wine pairing and menu! First class all the way. The spa/services were very good, and the ports/tours were all well organized and everything ran smoothly. The port stop of Monte Carlo was cancelled due to windy conditions which prevented the tender from operating safely, but the staff quickly regrouped to make sure there were enough things for passengers to do to make the day as enjoyable as possible. It is evident, though, that these smaller ships tend to have port intensive itineraries, because the ship can feel a little crowded during an "at sea" day when everyone is trying to sun & swim at the pool.
We were initially concerned that this cruise might cater only to a much older clientele, but we were pleased to see a good mix of various age groups, including families (without infants or toddlers). Oh, the entertainment on the ship included musical reviews (which were ok), and a comedian (which was very good), and the magician Mio (which was outstanding). Our overall rating of this ship/cruise experience is EXCEPTIONAL!