Our Cruise On Oceania Riviera. 23.8.12 to 2.9.12
We booked this cruise as a last minute deal, it was a guarantee outside cabin, we did not find out about our cabin till two days before we sailed, we were getting a little worried in that we had heard that they had overbooked the cruise. Anyway we got a great upgrade to Concierge Class and we were more than pleased.
We flew to Rome and we had booked the flight and taxi on the web, our taxi was waiting for us at the airport. A fairly swift journey to Civitavecchia and no wait for check in at the port, and we were soon in our cabin.
Because it was a Concierge Stateroom we had a bottle of Champagne on ice and we were informed that we could use the Concierge Lounge, here you could have coffee and snacks throughout the day, plus they had a lady that would take bookings for excursions and speciality restaurants onboard.
We had already done this via their web site before we boarded. You were allowed one booking in each of the four speciality restaurants. You choose if you wanted a table for two or company, which we thought was a good idea.
The speciality restaurants, Polo Grill, Red Ginger, Tuscana, and Jacques were all included in the fare, no additional fees for eating in them.
We did all four during the cruise and our favourite was Jacques, which is the signature restaurant of Jacques Pepin the Executive Culinary Director for Oceania Cruises.
Also you could eat at the Grand Dining room, which had a spectacular chandelier in the centre of the room. Other places to eat were the Waves Grill, breakfast and lunch, Terrace Cafe, breakfast, lunch, and casual dinner. They also did afternoon tea, which was served by white gloved waiters. Our only observation here was that the tea came in tea bags, not loose tea, which we thought would have been better, but the selection of fruit scones and sandwiches were great.
Our only disappointment was that the food was never Hot, but only served warm, even after asking waiters for Hot food. The only time they achieved this was on the last night, when I made a point of asking the Maitre'd for the Entree to be Hot, he served the meal himself, and we got a hot meal.
I really think that Oceania should try to achieve this as the food was very good all round. We spoke to many passengers during the cruise, and the temperature of the food was a topic that came up very often. I have also read other Reviews of Riviera and this was mentioned many times.
All non alcoholic drinks are also free of charge, the only thing we felt was that the alcoholic drinks were rather pricey. A single measure of say, Gin, or Rum was 9 dollars and then they added 18% gratuity which made a drink 10.62 dollars. But they did make Virgin Cocktails, Milk Shakes, which were nice.
The ship in general was very stylish with lots of sitting areas, you never felt crowded in any of the areas. Also being Concierge class meant that we could use the Private Spa Terrace at the front of the ship. They had a Thalassotherapy pool and great sun beds with canopies over to shield the sun from you. A Spa Butler came round with non alcoholic drinks and served Fresh Fruit Kebabs, a really nice touch. Even on the normal pool area they had sun beds with thick sponge beds and white towelling throws, with Oceania Cruises, printed on them. Plenty of towels and the Pool Butlers kept the place spotless.
Entertainment was mixed, we had four production shows in the 10 days, these were very good to excellent. Also a violinist, which was not to our taste, he performed on two of the nights, and a English Comedian, again performed two of the nights. We felt that the Comedian and the violinist should have only been on once, as once seen then you did not want to see them again.
They had a coffee bar called Baristas, but here again they served coffee in small paper cups, so if you wanted an Iced Coffee, they could not do it. So many people were taking their own glass to the Coffee Bar so that they could make an Iced Coffee. This was mentioned in the mid cruise questionnaire and they said that they would try to accommodate this during the next cruise. Why they could not have done it during our cruise we do not know.!!
Our cabin stewardess, Sandra, could not have done more, she kept the cabin spotless and refilled the fridge with non alcoholic drinks when they were consumed.
Would we cruise with Oceania again, the answer is a definite yes.