This was our third cruise with Oceania. The Riviera is their newest ship. Everything was bright and shining. The staff are so helpful and cheerful.
Embarkation: We flew from London to Venice and were taken directly to the ship. Check-in was very easy and someone showed us to our cabin. Our luggage arrived quickly. We had some light lunch on arrival.
The washers and dryers are at the other end of the ship. Everything seemed to be at the other end so if you do not want a long walk, get a cabin with a lower number.
Cabin: We chose a cabin that has concierge services and Bosco, our butler, was all that one could ask for. Dining reservations? No problem. Fruit? No problem. DVD not working? No problem.
Restaurants: We had pre-booked three of the four restaurants. Oceania would not allow us to book for the same restaurant twice. We did not want to eat in the Asian one. A minor complaint, I admit, but still as we were entitled to pre book four why not allow us that?
The main dining room is vast. That one and the buffet do not require reservations. We actually preferred the buffet because one could overindulge in grilled lobster tails!
The other three, French, Steak House, and Italian are a bit pretentious but fun none the less. Loved the selection of olive oils in Toscana and that and their bread basket would have been a perfect meal!
They serve tea every afternoon at 4pm. Sandwiches and cakes and a string quartet playing Bach as well as popular tunes. Lovely.
We had breakfast every morning and lunch as well in the buffet restaurant. We like sitting outside. The breakfast had practically everything you could desire to eat if you were from the West. What the Chinese and Japanese guests thought of the breakfast I do not know. Perhaps Oceania could cater for them at breakfast and then the rest of us could have dim sum instead of eggs!
Passengers: On our two previous Oceania cruises, the passengers were almost 90% American. On this cruise this was definitely not the case. It was a much more international group and we met people from many different European countries as well as Asian countries. It made the cruise seem much more cosmopolitan.
Pool Area: There are many lounge chairs though in the afternoon it would be difficult to find a place to sit. There are places to sit to avoid the sun with very comfortable chairs. The staff are ever helpful in bringing drinks.
Our only complaint was that they did insist on playing music, and sometimes music with words, which makes it almost impossible to read.
We used the fitness room in the afternoon. It is small with very up-to-date equipment. It got very crowded in late afternoon. They provide you with water and towels. I loved the newness of the bikes which enabled me to play Patience while doing my exercise. The 30 minutes flew by! I am quite spoiled now.
There is an extensive library there. Very quiet with cosy chairs.
We had access to the Executive Lounge where they had current copies of The Times and other papers. I liked going there for a cup of tea.
We did not go on any organised tours. The places we were visiting did not warrant such an extravagance, as the tours are very expensive and the places are easy to see on one's own.
Disembarkation: We left the ship at Civitavecchia which is about an hour away from Rome by car. They close breakfast at 8am and expect you to be off the ship by 8:30am.