Background: Married, 60's with about 50 cruises including 6 Oceania and this same cruise and ship 2 yrs ago. Summary and Oceania update: This line has rightfully held the reputation for the best cuisine on the seas since it formed 11 yrs ago, but it has been through 2 ownership changes in the last several years and now belongs to NCL. The once great food is gone both in terms of high quality product procurement and consistently outstanding preparation. We would now choose Celebrity over this food, especially the specialty venues. Also, interest in the client concerns or desires is now just average for the industry. Ship: Nice, well maintained ship, but it offers nothing over other newer ships in the 1200-2400 size. No lower or good walking deck. The only enclosed level for general passenger use is part of level 6 which has no windows that you can see anything from but a lifeboat. Their R ships are much nicer. Stateroom: Veranda room was very nice and slightly larger than some ships. Excellent sleeping comfort and linens. No issues. Free water and soda in room. Dining: As above. Highly erratic quality. There has clearly been a large cut in the food procurement budget or abilities. The veal would not qualify as veal in Europe and was tough with no veal flavor. Some fish was OK, but most was fishy and clearly not fresh or flash frozen fresh. Avoid the beef because it is only Choice at best and quite tough even when medium rare when you could get properly prepared. Most meats ordered rare came medium to medium well. Specialty restaurants were no better except Toscano, but avoid the veal chop there. Lamb was generally mutton. I know IBP quality is above budget, but at the price of the cruise you would expect the beef and lamb to be at least Cosco/Sam's quality. They do warn you that the chicken may be tough and dry by generally using the descriptive euphuism "free range". Wines: Mark ups with extra gratuity are now $40 or more against wholesale cost, and they clearly stock wines that are past vintage excess. Selection is not very good at all. They have several decent wines on the package that works out at $42/bottle, but you have to buy 7, 14, or 21 bottles. I guess that is "The World" NCL's way. Beer: They have not recognized the changing the world here. They have may be 10 old time regular beers in bottles with no craft beers. Not a problem for us, but it would keep my kids and their middle age friends off. Shore excursions: The prices were so out of line, even for a high end line, that even the suite clientele resisted and complained. You could pay nearly $100 for a walking tour from the dock with no admissions. Only one person we dined with over the 14 days took a single tour. Pools: I knew going on that Oceania uses bromine rather than chlorine in some of its pools, and I am one of the 10% of the population with a bromine allergy so I cannot utilize. Most people with this allergy have no other allergies, so they assume pools are infected and just stay away from them. I only saw a rare person in the pool, so it does not seem to be a cruiser attraction anyhow. Clientele: I would guess the average to be 10 years older than our last Oceania cruise, so I suspect some of our concerns are on the social networks. Entertainment: Lots of very good entertainment, but only one show per night at 9:45. Best part: If you like working with real art, the Artist Loft is very good and included. The hands on cooking is also good, but about $50/hour. Internet access: At $1 per minute, I did not test it. They clearly are not interested in the under 70 group, but we get along fine without it.  

Update from long time Oceania cruisers

Riviera Cruise Review by oceanpath

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2014
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Verandah Stateroom
Background: Married, 60's with about 50 cruises including 6 Oceania and this same cruise and ship 2 yrs ago.
Summary and Oceania update: This line has rightfully held the reputation for the best cuisine on the seas since it formed 11 yrs ago, but it has been through 2 ownership changes in the last several years and now belongs to NCL. The once great food is gone both in terms of high quality product procurement and consistently outstanding preparation. We would now choose Celebrity over this food, especially the specialty venues. Also, interest in the client concerns or desires is now just average for the industry.
Ship: Nice, well maintained ship, but it offers nothing over other newer ships in the 1200-2400 size. No lower or good walking deck. The only enclosed level for general passenger use is part of level 6 which has no windows that you can see anything from but a lifeboat. Their R ships are much nicer.
Stateroom: Veranda room was very nice and slightly larger than some ships. Excellent sleeping comfort and linens. No issues. Free water and soda in room.
Dining: As above. Highly erratic quality. There has clearly been a large cut in the food procurement budget or abilities. The veal would not qualify as veal in Europe and was tough with no veal flavor. Some fish was OK, but most was fishy and clearly not fresh or flash frozen fresh. Avoid the beef because it is only Choice at best and quite tough even when medium rare when you could get properly prepared. Most meats ordered rare came medium to medium well. Specialty restaurants were no better except Toscano, but avoid the veal chop there. Lamb was generally mutton. I know IBP quality is above budget, but at the price of the cruise you would expect the beef and lamb to be at least Cosco/Sam's quality. They do warn you that the chicken may be tough and dry by generally using the descriptive euphuism "free range".
Wines: Mark ups with extra gratuity are now $40 or more against wholesale cost, and they clearly stock wines that are past vintage excess. Selection is not very good at all. They have several decent wines on the package that works out at $42/bottle, but you have to buy 7, 14, or 21 bottles. I guess that is "The World" NCL's way.
Beer: They have not recognized the changing the world here. They have may be 10 old time regular beers in bottles with no craft beers. Not a problem for us, but it would keep my kids and their middle age friends off.
Shore excursions: The prices were so out of line, even for a high end line, that even the suite clientele resisted and complained. You could pay nearly $100 for a walking tour from the dock with no admissions. Only one person we dined with over the 14 days took a single tour.
Pools: I knew going on that Oceania uses bromine rather than chlorine in some of its pools, and I am one of the 10% of the population with a bromine allergy so I cannot utilize. Most people with this allergy have no other allergies, so they assume pools are infected and just stay away from them. I only saw a rare person in the pool, so it does not seem to be a cruiser attraction anyhow.
Clientele: I would guess the average to be 10 years older than our last Oceania cruise, so I suspect some of our concerns are on the social networks.
Entertainment: Lots of very good entertainment, but only one show per night at 9:45.
Best part: If you like working with real art, the Artist Loft is very good and included. The hands on cooking is also good, but about $50/hour.
Internet access: At $1 per minute, I did not test it. They clearly are not interested in the under 70 group, but we get along fine without it.
 
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Cabin Review

Verandah Stateroom
Cabin B4 7028
Staterooms are very nice. Bathroom/closet layout could be better for us. The good sized tub results in the smallest shower I have had on a ship, and forces a closet arrangement that is not too convenient. Small frig is nice. Bed and linens are excellent. Staff is worked hard but rooms are well serviced.
Deck 7 Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins