My wife and I sail on either Oceania or Azamara. We sailed on the Riviera last year. We noticed the staff made a concerted effort to be friendly this time.
Embarkation was very easy. It would have been nice to have been welcomed on board by a crew member and a glass of champagne but that’s a minor point. A nice feature is there are no bothersome ship photographers on board. The food is outstanding but wine should be included with dinner. Both the cabin attendants and the restaurant staff provided excellent service. Gratuities, internet and an onboard credit were part of the cruise fare promotion this year. Because of this, we didn’t feel like we were being nickeled and dimed to death like last year.
The problems in the Ukraine caused the ports to change, and might have been the reason for the fare promotion as we booked the cruise after the changes were made. The main reason we took this cruise was because it spent two days in Romania. This allowed us to take an overnight tour to Transylvania. There really wasn’t much to see in the other ports with the exception of Kusadasi. The port of Sinop can be dropped as there’s nothing to see, and there’s very little shopping. On the tours we took, at best we only had a few minutes to shop for souvenirs.