My wife and I (our two children 12 & 16 yrs old), decided to take a special vacation. Against my better judgement to take a cruise vacation; we were recommended to take a cruise on the Mediterranean. We have experienced several cruise around the Caribbean, and were not terribly excited about the island ports as so many of the islands are so alike. We decided to splurge and go international.
After speaking with several friends and travel agents regarding their cruising experience; we elected to try Oceania's newest cruise ship Riviera. The ship caters to 1200 passengers with approximately 800 crew.
I can tell you that without reservation, we gave an A+ rating regarding our experience while on Oceania Riviera. The food was excellent, the cabins were roomy and beautifully decorated, the staff was second to none as one crewmate was nicer and more accommodating than another. The cruise director Jon Leslie was always updating the passengers with the latest goings on - on board the ship or regarding interesting things to do in port.
Oceania has done an excellent job at selecting interesting and exciting ports to explore. One port was more exciting than the other! Monte Carlo, Marseille, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Almafi Coast, etc. There is so much to do! Francis our steward made our trip so enjoyable for both us and our children.
The specialty dining which comes with the cost of the cruise was very good. We especially liked the size of this ship versus the larger ships which accommodate 3000 plus passengers. Of course with more passengers comes more children and with that comes more things for children to do. Oceania really does not cater to kids, although on our cruise; they told us that this ship set a record for more kids than in the past 10 years. My son 12 met a new friend from Toronto and are now best friends. My daughter - 16 yrs old also met some kids her age and was very happy.
We were thoroughly satisfied with this cruise and would highly recommend it for all who like more intimate cruises without having to worry about large masses of people waiting in the buffet line to get very average food as many cruises offer. If traveling with kids; go for right after schools get out during early summer.
Only complaint would be that Oceania's shore excursions are marked up and a better move would be to arrange private tour excursions (which cost less and offer a more private experience). Also when exchanging Dollars for Euros or any other denomination; it is better to go to the local banks at port as their rates are much lower with less fees.
My kids loved the 24 hour room service. The shows were pretty good, but with a smaller audience, the ship did not have as high a quality of talent as other larger ships offer as they can afford more costly shows. The comedian and magician were very entertaining. The show girls were fun to get to know as our kids developed relationships with them and made new friends with them (via facebook, etc).
The social director - Natalie was so warm and welcoming and took to my son. We couldnt help but to gravitate to her infectious smile and wonderful English accent! Oxana in the grand dining room was fantastic. I hope I have not forgotten anybody, but if I did - hats off - great job.
I know that we really enjoyed our cruise as when we were in Rome at our hotel, we all had the same feeling...we all already missed the Oceania Riviera and its staff...oh, by the way, we slept better than ever as Oceania offers their Prestige Tranquility beds and excellent bed linens.