I am home only two days but want to share what a wonderful experience we had on the Pearls of the Riviera cruise mainly because of the perfection of our experience on the ship itself. The ship is absolutely beautiful. It is a larger more sophisticated model of the smaller Oceania ships. Our cabin was about the same size as on the smaller ones with the exception of the bathroom which was bigger mainly due to bathtub. My husband loves the veranda and used it daily whereas I like the open outdoor spaces where others gather. My strongest kudos are for the quality of the food throughout the ship. I was able to find fabulous choices in all eating venues. I am one of those picky eaters who likes meat, chicken, pasta and vegetables. I was able to find divine choices everywhere. Having eaten in Polo and Toscana many times, I knew we would have wonderful meals there. As usual, I was correct!!!! I also ate at Jacques and Red Ginger. At the former I had a divine veal stew and the latter a sliced steak. I am not a lover of French or Asian Fusion but the choices were great!!! The biggest surprise was dinner at the Terrace Cafe while we were anchored at Amalfi. We ate dinner as the sun set. Insignia was in the area and came to view the Marina with those of us on each ship waving to each other. This was a unique experience. But, my real shock, since in all the sailings I had never had dinner in the Terrace Cafe was the absolutely outstanding food, cooked to my specifications. I had choices of three steaks - fillet mignon, rib-eye or sirloin at the grilling station. My husband had gigantic shrimp and lobster tails cooked to perfection. I had soup, salad, carved meat, and cannelloni before I started on the desserts, which are divine everyday in every venue. I am now sorry that in the past I did not take advantage of the Terrace for dining. It is extremely casual and we sat there for over 3 hours both dining and chatting with some of the other cruisers we had become friendly with because of cruise critic. We also had the pleasure of speaking to Frank Del Rio for about a half hour as his family was also dining in the Terrace Cafe. What a nice, down to earth person who is really hands on in running Oceania. He is extremely personable and approachable.
As you can tell, I give the cruise on Marina a very, very high score. A 9 out of 10. My only corrective criticism was I thought we had a full line of drawers and shelved alongside the closet. I told my husband he could have the drawers on top and I would use the shelves in what I thought was a cabinet. Wrong, it is the side of the hidden refrigerator. So we had to share 4 drawers. In addition for some reason the drawers in the desk are very small although the desk is standard size. The drawers are only about 6 inches in length so it's only good for underwear or t-shirts you need to fold in quarters. My suggestion to Oceania for this is put the refrigerator back
under the desk and give us girls some really usable shelves!!!! The same with the two outlets. With all the new plug shapes for phones, Ipads, cameras, etc. We need Oceania to leave an extension cord in the room or to place another outlet somewhere. Perhaps near the couch so we can charge the electrical equipment on the coffee table. My final suggestion is with tendering. The color coded system can really be improved with a few tweaks. First, all passengers should have the opportunity to leave the ship at the same time as Oceania's shore excursions. So, some seats on all early tenders should be saved for those traveling with private tour guides. Second, the color coded cards should be used in a very specific order so all those working the disembarking procedure know exactly what comes next and colors like green and cream should not be one after the other. Additionally, the tickets should be numbered so that when a tender is not full, the staff at tender level can call up to those in the Lounge to say, for example, that "Blue #s one to ten can report to the tender." With about two hundred people sitting in the Lounge where we had waited about 50 minutes we were finally called and our tender left with at least 15 empty seats. Comfortable for us, but useless for getting cruisers off the ship in an expedient manner.
Finally, one last suggestion, for finicky eaters like me. I would love to have the opportunity to select which of the four restaurants I want to select with my 4 pre-boarding choices. It would really be nice if I could pick to dine in the restaurants I want to eat in rather than being told I am entitled to one reservation in each. Or perhaps there should be a way to barter the choices on the Oceania website as I know people who, for example would have loved to have switched my Red Ginger reservation for their Toscana reservation.
So now you can see why I can't stop raving about my experience on Marina. It is a perfect fit for cruisers who as Oceania says, "Your world, your way!!!!"
Kudos to Oceania. We are already booked on Riviera for next June!!!!! We can't wait!!!!! Thanks Oceania for a great vacation. And thanks Cruise Critic for the wonderful new friends we have made as a result of the Roll Calls. We continue to meet some of the greatest people because of the opportunity to communicate with fellow travelrs through the website.