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Riviera Cruise Review by TheSuiteLife: Not Yet a Luxury Line

Riviera 3
Member Since 2011
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Not Yet a Luxury Line

Sail Date: November 2012
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami

We sailed on the inaugural Oceania Riviera on Nov 29th. Unfortunately, it was also the first US Coast Guard inspection of the ship. Due to this process guests could board the ship around 1:00pm, but didn't actually get into their cabins until at least 2-3 hours later. Luggage delivery was a huge problem. We finally went to the forward elevator and found many bags brought up and simply left in the floor. We battled our way into the area, and retrieved our bags. Keep in mind we were in a very expensive suite.

We are disappointed by the lack of entertainment on the ship. We prefer an early dining hour (6:30p) and there is only one showtime at 9:45pm. Needless to say, we were in bed by this time and never saw any of the entertainment production shows.

The four specialty restaurants were okay, but service and food could be much improved. The steaks at Polo Grill were simply "choice", not prime. The rib eye steak was so tough we couldn't cut half of it. We had More iced tea to drink, but a refill never was offered. In fact, we waited so long after finishing the meal, we departed without an iced tea refill nor event a dessert menu. Toscana was tasteless. And, the "French" onion soup in Jacques had the cheese and croutons at the bottom of the bowl.

The buffet was always outstanding, and the "Waves" grill was superb. These two restaurants were the best on the ship.

Prior debarkation was advertised to suite guests. Not so and the atrium and surrounding levels were packed with guests. You could not event walk through the area where our departure was announced. (Suggestion: use lounges for each various group).
So, getting off the ship is similar to a fire drill. Every place you can stand or sit is full well in advance of the assigned departure times.

Most of the guests were seniors - some much older than us. So, the shore excursions were more for people capable of much walking, or snorkeling. Not much selection. No free transportation to shopping in town like some cruiselines.

Housekeeping and butler service was superb.

We just did not believe that the experience and amenities were worth what we paid. And, this was our most expensive cruise ever. Oceania advertised 2-for-1 deposits, but not if you have a suite. The new Oceania Club Rewards program does not differentiate the least expensive cabin guest from the most expensive (like Celebrity). So if you cruise once or twice yearly in a suite - you might require years to reap rewards.

Like many travel agents state: Oceania is a premier cruise experience - and they are not a Luxury Cruiseline.In summary, we simply felt the cruise was overly expensive for the value received, compared to other options. Less

Published 12/30/12

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