My wife and I did a 10 day cruise on the Riviera, celebrating our 11th anniversary. We had 4 wonderful sea days and 5 islands - Tortola, St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbados and St. Barts. We had done a similar cruise on Oceania's Regatta in 2007 and it was extremely disappointing. Hence our reluctance to try Oceania again, but after 7 years and many other cruises on other cruise lines, we decided to give them another chance. They did not disappoint this time.
The Riviera is the nicest ship we have ever been on. It has the best food, the best cabins and the best service we have ever encountered in over 20 cruises. Of course, being less than 2 years old, you would expect it to be in tip-top condition, but it is simply the most spacious and elegant ship in its price category. No doubt its sister ship Marina is also equally fantastic. Our cabin on the Concierge deck was just aft of the Concierge Lounge and self service laundry and just ahead of the forward elevators, so it was very conveniently located. Our room stewardess, Dayana, was terrific, responding to all requests, and the bed was the most comfortable we have ever encountered at sea. The bathroom was larger than normal, all marble and granite, with a full tub and shower combination, and there was a separate shower stall as well.
We ate at all 4 speciality restaurants (no charge) and found them all excellent. My favourite was Polo Grill, but many people think Red Ginger is the best. Red Ginger and Jacques have very unique and beautiful decors, and you can easily forget you are at sea. The Grand Dining Room is also a beautiful room, with more tables for 2 than I have ever seen on any ship, and the food there was excellent as well. We did not eat much in the Terrace Café, but on those occasions when we did, it was also very good.
The entertainment was probably the only real weak point, but only in a couple of respects. The onboard singers and dancers were very accomplished and were employed by the Jean Ann Ryan Company. It was their last cruise, so a new batch of performers would be there now. The vocalists all gave individual performances as well as being in the production shows, and they all were amazing - especially Patrick Dunn doing his Elvis show. The entertainers hired for this particular cruise were not so great. We have seen both before on other ships. In particular, the pianist, who would be fine for one show, if she did not talk so much, was overall annoying. Both the pianist and the comedian did two shows each - one too many in both cases. There was a Comedian/Magician who had been on board for a few cruises and we really liked him, but understand he was not everyone's cup of tea. He did magic classes on sea days which were a lot of fun. The Cruise Director was David Peterson, an industry veteran, who will soon be starting a new job as Director of Entertainment for Prestige Cruise Holdings, the parent company of Oceania and Regent Seven Seas. He was very professional and always present.
I was very unimpressed with the Future Cruise/Oceania Club lady, who basically said she didn't care whether I ever cruised with them again.
Two of our three shore excursions were excellent, the other one very disappointing, due to a poor tour guide.
Weather was fantastic and overall this was a cruise to remember.