This was the first time that we cruised on the Riviera and the third time on Oceania. The ship is beautiful and comfortable, but not perfect. The staterooms, even the smallest ones, are much larger than the smaller Oceania ships, and very well appointed. If I were designing them, the showers would have been larger but, still, that is a small problem. I always try to be on the lowest outside passenger level in the center of the ship. This is the largest ship on which we have sailed at 1250 passengers, the next largest being 750 passengers. For a port-intensive cruise, we would look for a smaller ship, but this was perfect for the trans-Atlantic cruise. It was very stabile and it was a very smooth crossing, except between Madeira and Tangier, which we were told is always rough. I will say that the cruise line handled the shore excursion that we took through them well. Even at that number of passengers, the staff remembers your name, what you like or don't like to eat, where you like to sit in the dining room. We had sailed with some members of the staff on past cruises both with Oceania and Regent. We were always treated extremely well. The specialty restaurants are excellent, especially Red Ginger and Jacques. We would have eaten in Red Ginger every night if we could have. We ran into some passengers with whom we had sailed before, and thanks to Cruise Critic, were able to book a private tour in Tangier, and made some new friends.
The string quartet, who played outside the main dining room in the evening, got better as the cruise continued. We were told that they had not met before the first day of the cruise so they took a few days to get used to each other, but they were pretty good by the end of the cruise. A major problem with the string quartet was that the area in which they played was really a wide hallway between a bar near the casino and the dining room. It was an area where people met before dinner to talk, and so it was often difficult to hear the music.
There were two enrichment speakers on this cruise. In the past, some of the best speakers we have heard have been on Oceania cruises. However, that was not the case with this one. The talks given by one speaker speaker were very shallow (one of the other passengers called it "History for Dummies") and the other gave good information but his delivery put us to sleep.
If you are accustomed to sailing on larger ships, you will love this one. I think the speakers on a cruise ship are hit or miss, but that does make a difference to us. All-in-all, the Oceania experience is a good one.