There are those who say Oceania food is not what it once was including one review of this particular cruise. I must vehemently disagree. My wife and I both food the food to be outstanding in every venue. The only food criticisms we had was that we did not find the Thanksgiving night dinner to be to our taste or what we would have expected. Others thought it was fine. Every other meal we had was excellent in every regard save for one side dish that was not hot enough on one night, a minor issue. One could easily travel on Oceania just for the food experience. We enjoyed a wonderful meal in La Reserve on the second night of the cruise. If someone told me in advance that I would fully enjoy a three plus hour meal, I would have thought him crazy. But I enjoyed it immensely. The commentary about the food and accompanying wines was interesting and spot on. Watching the pastry chef construct the delicious dessert was fascinating. And we made great friends at our table (there are three tables of eight in La Reserve) who became our best cruise buddies on this trip. The four specialty restaurants were grand! If we were forced to pick a favorite, I guess we would choose Red Ginger just for the uniqueness of the menu choices. The duck was perfect. In Jacques I ordered a veal chop with trepidation because I am usually disappointed in veal chops. No worries as it was possibly the perfect veal chop. In the Polo Grill I had a rib eye that any luxury steak restaurant would proudly serve. We had solo tables in all the specialty restaurants. The Grand Dining Room was totally enjoyable. We were always seated promptly whether were sharing, dining alone, or arriving with a group of six to eat together. Service was excellent, both from waiters and wine stewards. And the food was of consistently high quality every night save for that one side dish that was not hot enough. The Terrace Cafe or Waves Cafe were our go to spots for breakfast and lunch every day. The breakfast and lunch specials at Waves were very enjoyable - order at the counter and have the food delivered to your table picked in advance. The pizza in the Terrace was good and I often had it for lunch along with a salad. I must also say that the Terrace Cafe is a great spot for dinner when it is set with white tablecloths. It's nice to be able to wander and pick your various courses without ordering from a menu. The sushi and sashimi were mainstays for appetizers as the quality and taste was excellent day after day. The variety of choices in the Terrace is almost unending, and we enjoyed everything we tried. I must add a few side notes: 1) The bread and the pastries throughout the ship were wonderful. We spent five days in France prior to boarding and I thought I would miss the French bread, but I did not. It was like still being in France. 2) The Caesar salad in all venues was done right and there was never a need to worry about anchovies without which it is NOT a Caesar salad. You can get as many or as few as you want. 3) The ice cream bar in the Terrace Cafe and at Waves is superlatively delicious. Often my dessert consisted of a two-scoop cone from the Waves ice cream bar. The bars were where we made the most friends of both passengers and crew. Bartenders Gregory, Daniel, Nikola, and Baptiste were a pleasure to deal with. The pina coladas (pre-lunch favorites of ours) were always smooth, creamy, and delicious with a topping of Myers dark rum. Kir Royales were expertly prepared. And they had my Grey Goose Gimlet down pat after one day. We had the unlimited beverage package and it worked out grand. There was no problem getting glasses of wine in any dining room (as bottles are not included in the package), and the choice of wines by the glass was more than adequate with five or six reds being delicious to our taste. We spent lots of time at the Waves Bar on the pool deck and at the Martini Bar before and after dinner. We also liked the Horizon Bar. The Casino Bar was too neony bright for our tastes. Getting drinks while seated on the pool deck was always easy and quick. We were in a penthouse suite, and our butler, Sonu, was a revelation. We don't ask for a lot as we prefer not to dine in cabin for any meals, and we certainly don't need the offered packing/unpacking service. Sonu was a fountain of information and was always on times with our canapes at 5:30 each day. When we were eating in specialty restaurants he was there at our cabin to escort us to the venue with my wife on his elbow, making us feel very special. Perhaps his presence announcing us to the maitre d' at the dining room helped to ensure that we got a great table (as we always did). He handled all questions and requests with aplomb, and we especially enjoyed seeing pictures of his new bride. Our cabin attendants were very friendly and very efficient and quickly learned when we would be gone so that they could make up the room morning and night. In the morning that is especially difficult as my wife and I go to the gym and eat breakfast on separate schedules. The suite itself was great - more than enough storage space for everything. The walk-in closet was big enough for both of us to be in at at the same time. I am 6'6", so the shower stall is small for me, but it was perfectly adequate, and the bathroom as a whole was plenty big enough. We spent lots of time sitting on our balcony as well. Controlling the room temperature, always a worry, was a non-issue -- we could make it as cool as warm as we liked. The gym was very well equipped and there were always machines ready for my use whenever I went in the morning. The library is well stocked and comfortable. We didn't utilize Barista's. The stores had the few items that we needed although we are not shoppers. We didn't take any culinary classes, but I think on our next cruise we will. Melanie, who ran the classes, was wonderful as we watched through the picture windows. Our friends from La Reserve took two courses, and they were allowed to invite friends to the Culinary Center after preparations were complete to taste the results. We enjoyed that both times we were invited. The music entertainment during the day and early evening in the various venues was very nice. The enrichment lectures were not particularly to our taste. We didn't attend night performances as we preferred to have discussions and drinks with new friends after dinner. Port information was more than adequate, and wherever needed, Oceania provided free shuttle buses from the dock to the center of town, a nice touch. We made frequent use the self service laundry and find it hard to understand why some people complained about the $2 charge for the washers and driers. We also used the ship laundry and dry cleaner once, and the results were as promised. The Executive Lounge was useful to take advantage of the full size computer-printers newspapers that were available each day or to review the specialty restaurant menus or to grab a quick Diet Coke. We don't do cruise line excursions on any cruise line so I have no comments on what was offered. I will say that the choices seemed to be very expensive. We also do our own air arrangements and transfers, so no comment on them either. Boarding was as easy as pie. We got on at 12:30 and our room was ready by 1:15 before we even finished our first pina coladas. Disembarking was a smooth as any process could be when over 1,000 people are getting off a ship in an hour's time. Getting a taxi to Miami Airport ($24) where we picked up a rental car took less than five minutes from when we gathered up our luggage. As a final note I will say that the whole experience on Oceania was outstanding as we have come to expect. We are already booked for Montreal to London (Southampton) in May and greatly looking forward to it.

Oceania Remains Top Notch

Riviera Cruise Review by saratojo

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2014
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Penthouse Suite
There are those who say Oceania food is not what it once was including one review of this particular cruise. I must vehemently disagree. My wife and I both food the food to be outstanding in every venue. The only food criticisms we had was that we did not find the Thanksgiving night dinner to be to our taste or what we would have expected. Others thought it was fine. Every other meal we had was excellent in every regard save for one side dish that was not hot enough on one night, a minor issue. One could easily travel on Oceania just for the food experience.
We enjoyed a wonderful meal in La Reserve on the second night of the cruise. If someone told me in advance that I would fully enjoy a three plus hour meal, I would have thought him crazy. But I enjoyed it immensely. The commentary about the food and accompanying wines was interesting and spot on. Watching the pastry chef construct the delicious dessert was fascinating. And we made great friends at our table (there are three tables of eight in La Reserve) who became our best cruise buddies on this trip.
The four specialty restaurants were grand! If we were forced to pick a favorite, I guess we would choose Red Ginger just for the uniqueness of the menu choices. The duck was perfect. In Jacques I ordered a veal chop with trepidation because I am usually disappointed in veal chops. No worries as it was possibly the perfect veal chop. In the Polo Grill I had a rib eye that any luxury steak restaurant would proudly serve. We had solo tables in all the specialty restaurants.
The Grand Dining Room was totally enjoyable. We were always seated promptly whether were sharing, dining alone, or arriving with a group of six to eat together. Service was excellent, both from waiters and wine stewards. And the food was of consistently high quality every night save for that one side dish that was not hot enough.
The Terrace Cafe or Waves Cafe were our go to spots for breakfast and lunch every day. The breakfast and lunch specials at Waves were very enjoyable - order at the counter and have the food delivered to your table picked in advance. The pizza in the Terrace was good and I often had it for lunch along with a salad. I must also say that the Terrace Cafe is a great spot for dinner when it is set with white tablecloths. It's nice to be able to wander and pick your various courses without ordering from a menu. The sushi and sashimi were mainstays for appetizers as the quality and taste was excellent day after day. The variety of choices in the Terrace is almost unending, and we enjoyed everything we tried.
I must add a few side notes: 1) The bread and the pastries throughout the ship were wonderful. We spent five days in France prior to boarding and I thought I would miss the French bread, but I did not. It was like still being in France. 2) The Caesar salad in all venues was done right and there was never a need to worry about anchovies without which it is NOT a Caesar salad. You can get as many or as few as you want. 3) The ice cream bar in the Terrace Cafe and at Waves is superlatively delicious. Often my dessert consisted of a two-scoop cone from the Waves ice cream bar.
The bars were where we made the most friends of both passengers and crew. Bartenders Gregory, Daniel, Nikola, and Baptiste were a pleasure to deal with. The pina coladas (pre-lunch favorites of ours) were always smooth, creamy, and delicious with a topping of Myers dark rum. Kir Royales were expertly prepared. And they had my Grey Goose Gimlet down pat after one day. We had the unlimited beverage package and it worked out grand. There was no problem getting glasses of wine in any dining room (as bottles are not included in the package), and the choice of wines by the glass was more than adequate with five or six reds being delicious to our taste. We spent lots of time at the Waves Bar on the pool deck and at the Martini Bar before and after dinner. We also liked the Horizon Bar. The Casino Bar was too neony bright for our tastes. Getting drinks while seated on the pool deck was always easy and quick.
We were in a penthouse suite, and our butler, Sonu, was a revelation. We don't ask for a lot as we prefer not to dine in cabin for any meals, and we certainly don't need the offered packing/unpacking service. Sonu was a fountain of information and was always on times with our canapes at 5:30 each day. When we were eating in specialty restaurants he was there at our cabin to escort us to the venue with my wife on his elbow, making us feel very special. Perhaps his presence announcing us to the maitre d' at the dining room helped to ensure that we got a great table (as we always did). He handled all questions and requests with aplomb, and we especially enjoyed seeing pictures of his new bride. Our cabin attendants were very friendly and very efficient and quickly learned when we would be gone so that they could make up the room morning and night. In the morning that is especially difficult as my wife and I go to the gym and eat breakfast on separate schedules. The suite itself was great - more than enough storage space for everything. The walk-in closet was big enough for both of us to be in at at the same time. I am 6'6", so the shower stall is small for me, but it was perfectly adequate, and the bathroom as a whole was plenty big enough. We spent lots of time sitting on our balcony as well. Controlling the room temperature, always a worry, was a non-issue -- we could make it as cool as warm as we liked.
The gym was very well equipped and there were always machines ready for my use whenever I went in the morning. The library is well stocked and comfortable. We didn't utilize Barista's. The stores had the few items that we needed although we are not shoppers.
We didn't take any culinary classes, but I think on our next cruise we will. Melanie, who ran the classes, was wonderful as we watched through the picture windows. Our friends from La Reserve took two courses, and they were allowed to invite friends to the Culinary Center after preparations were complete to taste the results. We enjoyed that both times we were invited.
The music entertainment during the day and early evening in the various venues was very nice. The enrichment lectures were not particularly to our taste. We didn't attend night performances as we preferred to have discussions and drinks with new friends after dinner. Port information was more than adequate, and wherever needed, Oceania provided free shuttle buses from the dock to the center of town, a nice touch. We made frequent use the self service laundry and find it hard to understand why some people complained about the $2 charge for the washers and driers. We also used the ship laundry and dry cleaner once, and the results were as promised. The Executive Lounge was useful to take advantage of the full size computer-printers newspapers that were available each day or to review the specialty restaurant menus or to grab a quick Diet Coke.
We don't do cruise line excursions on any cruise line so I have no comments on what was offered. I will say that the choices seemed to be very expensive. We also do our own air arrangements and transfers, so no comment on them either. Boarding was as easy as pie. We got on at 12:30 and our room was ready by 1:15 before we even finished our first pina coladas. Disembarking was a smooth as any process could be when over 1,000 people are getting off a ship in an hour's time. Getting a taxi to Miami Airport ($24) where we picked up a rental car took less than five minutes from when we gathered up our luggage.
As a final note I will say that the whole experience on Oceania was outstanding as we have come to expect. We are already booked for Montreal to London (Southampton) in May and greatly looking forward to it.
saratojo’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Penthouse Suite
Cabin PH2 11008
The penthouse suite is described above. It would be hard to ask for anything more than what was provided. With the balcony it was a wonderful haven for sleeping at night and for naps during the days at sea. And it was totally quiet! The bedding is wonderful.
Deck 11 Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins