Riviera Eastern Med Pearls Not For Me: Riviera Cruise Review by wassup4565

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Riviera Eastern Med Pearls Not For Me

Sail Date: October 2012
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Venice
I've really thought about this review, and I'm trying hard to be fair. There was not much to object to, but I was underwhelmed. I paid a premium price, and in the end it wasn't worth the extra to me.

Destinations. Not O's fault, but there were usually four other ships in every port, with thousands of cruisers in every port. The destination ports were often small places (Dubrovnic, Kotor, Santorini, Mykonos, for example) and there was no pleasure for me in sharing such small venues with several thousand other people. I quickly decided that in any port, whatever the highlights were supposed to be, I would head in exactly the opposite direction. That worked for me, as I enjoyed exploring a quiet beach after a local bus ride in Santorini, for example, but if you wanted to see the highlights, you were going to share them with hundreds or even thousands of other people.

Food. Yeah, well I just can't eat this way for 10 days, and it eventually became a struggle to More avoid the fatty, creamy, overblown food in the dining room, the specialty restaurants and even the buffet. It's gorgeous, it's awesome, it's everything you want to eat all the time, but shouldn't. I found it difficult in the buffet, the dining room and the specialty restaurants to get a big attractive salad I could chow down on so as to curb my appetite before eating way too much fatty, creamy stuff I knew I would regret and would make me blow up like a beach ball later.

Ship Experience. This was too homogeneous for me: absolutely everybody was old, white, and comfortable. I don't particularly like screaming kids and bellyflop contests, but I also don't like an environment where everybody is exactly the same as me. There was no energy on this ship. There was nobody doing something else, being a different way, looking for and having a different experience. Boring. Big snooze.

Luxury Experience. Well, yes, I guess it was. The ship and our cabin were gorgeous, the staff were great (though not better than other cruises I've been on). We lacked for nothing and were frequently surprised by extra touches. But I noticed the Grand Bar was deserted most of the time, and if the Artists' Loft ever had anything going on I missed it. Normally the daily newsletter is so packed with things I want to do I can't pick. Not on this ship. If I wasn't on shore, I was snoozing, like everybody else.

Entertainment. The theatre is really too small and with too shallow a pitch to be a theatre. God knows the entertainers tried, but really, the venue made it seem like the show was in a gym. The last night we had a show that seemed to be a nostalgia pitch to the sixties or seventies - guess they thought us old duffers would like homage to our youth, or we would be upset by anything more modern. It just made me feel old and boring.

Health. There was a cold going around this ship - I talked to a woman who'd had it on the b2b leg before ours. Two days after we boarded, I started hearing rumors about a cold going round, and two days after that, I got the disease. I drugged myself so as not to lose my cruise, and began hearing echoes of my own hacking cough all over the ship wherever I went. But here's the thing. There was no strict handwashing protocol enforced on this ship, anywhere, at any time I was on it. I am now, three weeks later, getting over the walking pneumonia that developed from the cold I got on that ship. They should have been making people disinfect their hands everywhere, all the time.

So sure, I am very glad I went on this cruise. It allowed me to see a part of the world I really wanted to go to. The food was opulent, if you can eat that way day after day. I can't complain about anybody's behavior on the ship, as mostly I think they were sleeping or at least taking it easy. The staff were great(as they are on every cruise I've been on). The ship was gorgeously decorated, although for my taste, the artwork leaned way too much toward weird, avant-guard (I don't want to puzzle out why the artist decided to place an eyeball or a breast somewhere surprising, or why the mermaid has a hole in her tail, or some such, in every piece of art I look at). And finally, I don't need a shower and a separate bathtub in my cabin, even if I'm sharing - we can take turns. I'd rather have a bigger cabin. Less

Published 11/03/12

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