Riviera Cruise Review by SugSug: Gorgeous Riviera
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
We have 20 cruises under our belts, this being our first on Oceania. As others have noted, this ship is absolutely the most elegant one by far. It was like being in a county club at sea. Everywhere you looked there were dark wood, tan carpets and Stravorsky crystal lighting. WOW! Our Concierge cabin on deck 9 was very roomy with enough storage for all of our things. The bathroom, again, was beautifully appointed with marble and granite, a full-size tub with shower plus an additional separate shower (on the small size). Wonderful fragrant Bulgari toiletries were provided. Our balcony was ample for the two of us - two chairs and a small table. The downside was that on Deck 9, while standing on the balcony, one can not look towards the front of the ship due to an obstruction caused by the ship's design. You can not tell that there is an obstructiion by viewing the deck plans on line or from Oceania's own brochure! A little bit of deception there. So, if it is important to watch the ship More
come into port, maybe you should do your homework first.
Dinning: We had made our reservations at the 4 special restaurants before boarding the ship. Our favorite was Red Ginger - the miso sea bass and the chocolate lemongrass cream burlee are to die for. While on board we lucked out by getting a second reservation for Red Ginger. Toscana was our second favorite, followed by Jacques and then Polo Grill. Service at Red Ginger was top of the line and with the others it was OK. The Grand Dinning Room had nice choices on those nights that we didn't eat at a specialty restaurant. Service was OK there. We ate at the Terrace Cafe one evening and it was really good. We had heard that it was a "buffet" like none other and it lived up to that. We never had grilled lobster, lamb chops or salmon at the buffets on the other cruise lines! Most of our lunches and breakfasts were also in the Terrace Cafe. A few lunches at Waves Grill. One thing that Oceania needs to consider is - they need to have an eatery opened around the clock. If you get back from an excursion later then 3:30 PM you really don't have anyplace to get something to eat until dinner, unless you want to go to Afternoon Tea from 4:00 -5:00. Other cruise lines you can grab a piece of pizza or hot dog anytime. Baristas was opened from 6:30 AM - 6:30 PM and served wonderful specialty coffees, pastries and small sandwiches. Every evening (from 5:00 to 6:30) in the bars was Happy Hour. A good deal. Two of the same drinks for the price of one ($11.21 with tip). We would have a glass of wine before dinner. We saw a lot of people taking their second drink with them to dinner.
Excursions: We booked all of them through Oceania because we feel safer with participating in a ship sponsored tour then doing indepentent tours. The really big problem is the exorbintant cost of doing this through Oceania. They really sock it to you. We had a few bad tours that were not worth the high cost. Oceania has received our feed back on those tours and hopefully they will change somethings around - I doubt it. I have been reading members comments about the high cost of Oceania's tours on Cruise Critic for sometime now and they must not care what we think, because they have made no effort in reducing their prices.
Embarkation was a breeze - on the ship by 11:30 AM and in our cabin by 1:20 PM with all luggage waiting.
Disembarkations was the worse ever. What a cluster. Everyone congregating in the halls and stairs leading to the Gangway on Deck 6. They did not enforce people staying in one of the lounges or in the theater until their luggage color/number were called. Last year it was a breeze disembarking 6000 passengers on Royal Caribbean's the Allure of the Seas. Oceania needs to take some notes.
This ship was made up of mostly elderly passengers some with canes, walkers etc. We are use to a more lively crowd with more to do in the evenings. There was no Caribbean music - a string quartet and piano music was all that there was to listen to.
One evening they had "Movies Under The Stars". They played "Gravity". Oceania's take of this concept is a joke. If you are accustom to the huge screens that Princess or Carnival use for movies under the stars please we aware of what Oceania has. It is a really small screen that is tucked under the deck by the pool and they use these most uncomfortable hard back chairs to sit on! No comfy lounge chairs to sprawl out on. Oceania take note again.
It was a cruise that had good and bad - mostly good. We did book our next cruise to Tahiti on Oceania, we'll see. Less
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