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.
The room was comfortable and roomy. The veranda was large enough for both of us to sit with our feet up and read our iPads. The bathroom had a bath and a shower stall with rain shower and hand held shower options. Both worked well, but the tub faucets could not be reached from outside the tub, extremely clumsy. The toilet was in a slot between the shower and the sink, also clumsy. Toilet paper had to be removed from the roll to be reached. The bed was wonderful. Plenty of storage space.