We've sailed several times, and are great fans of Oceania. We'd heard other stories of cruises on the Marina and wanted to try the new ship. Most of the destinations we were attracted to were served by the three older ships, which we love, but we wanted one of the new ones. During the winter, the Riviera alternates between a very traditional Eastern Caribbean cruise, Miami-Miami and a Western Caribbean cruise that goes down the Caribbean coast of Central America as far as Guatemala. The Central American posts were attractive, and a mid-winter escape from New Jersey was an added attraction.
Our major goal on this cruise was to try the new restaurants available only on the Marina ad Riviera, Jacques and Red Ginger. Oceania specialty restaurants don't have a surcharge, but require a reservation. They also don't require formal dress - ever. These two restaurants were fabulous - serving us three hour dinners that were memorable and delicious. The wasabi crusted rack of lamb was wonderful. Fortunately, you could make one reservation at each restaurant online, so we were booked up when we boarded. The concierge was useless for getting us additional reservations but pleas at the reservation desk did work for one additional reservation. The two other specialty restaurants were as good as we remembered them from our last Oceania cruise. Meals in the Grand Dining Room were also leisurely and elaborate. Sharing tables remains a great way to meet others. The Terrace Cafe was better than I remembered it, but still a place for a quicker meal.
The other highlights of the ship were an Artist's Loft with an artist in residence where my wife learned about acryllic painting daily, a teaching kitchen with stations for actual cooking, as well as demo facilities that were well televised for easy watching. We took a delightful Italian cooking class. The coffee bar was another new feature we enjoyed.
Internet service remains a problem - slow and expensive. We had a concierge level cabin that came with a laptop, useable only for internet access - we couldn't even view pictures on it.
The theater was roomy, but the on board entertainment was loud and amateurish. We enjoyed liesurely dinners instead.
The posts of call varied from Costa Maya, a souvenir market in the wilds of southern Yucatan to San Thomas Guatemala, an interesting spot on the coast with a river trip to a school for local middle schoolers that we enjoyed. We skipped the stop in Honduras due to docking conditions. Visits to the Mayan ruins were all cumbersome and expensive, and we'd been to Chichen Itza, Tulum and Uxmal, so we skipped them. I felt bad about missing Tikal, which required a flight and a long ride. We enjoyed swimming with the rays in the Cayman Islands, and enjoyed snorkeling the reef in Belize. Key West was a waste.