The ship is lovely and the employees are wonderful - we are experienced cruisers and we thought most of the staff on board the ship rated five stars plus - maybe the best we have ever enjoyed on the seas. Very professional. We loved our experiences with the staff in most every area of the ship - truly extraordinary! Oceania seems to have a very old clientele - average age seemed around 70 - so make note of the lack of activity on the ship. Perfect if all you want is relaxation and like to be around mostly (polite and quite interesting) seniors. Not much going on at night and ship is asleep by about 10:30 or 11:00. Food is delicious and the interior decor and maintenance of the ship are exceptional. Very clean and lots of attention to detail. Shows are good - if the leads were stronger singers, I would even say they shows were great ... especially for a smaller sized ship. Good production team and sets. As for excursions, I would say definitely plan ahead and take your own private excursions. Either from the ship concierge (more expensive) or have your credit card company or travel agent set them up ahead of time - or just grab taxis at the ports, when you land in areas more developed for tourism such as in Turkey. Do not waste the extra money and time on ship excursions - most of the passengers on our ship did not like the cost and quality of the shore excursions arranged for the groups - even though I think the staff tries very hard to make guests happy. This is a management or pre-cruise issue they need to address. We wished for a more lively and enthusiastic cruise director, but the lady in charge was certainly nice, seemed qualified, organized and professional - but perhaps a bit tired or maybe had other issues distracting her during our cruise. The front desk staff was the only weak spot - not always so friendly or helpful to us and I noticed the same with other passengers.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We caught an illness - thankfully not severe - on the ship and I do not think they handled that very well for our sake or the other people on the ship - they would not give us statistical information that would have been helpful. The front desk was especially troubling in their response. I must say that the doctor and nurse were outstanding and we were so grateful to have them present to help us. Seems like the management just wants to keep quiet about illness aboard the ship. Maybe not the case, but that was my impression. Quickly went on line to review - with the slight chance that it might help someone to know to use extra precaution aboard Riviera ... particularly in common areas and with shared computers, etc. I suppose we all have to be careful aboard cruises and the ship always makes an effort to sanitize things, but the response given to us made me a little uncertain about their policies.