I should note before beginning this review that I am not Oceania's target audience. My husband and I are 30, and were some of the younger people on the boat. This doesn't mean that we didn't enjoy the cruise--we did, but the areas we found lacking were something that we expected knowing Oceania's reputation. I should also mention that we were traveling with my parents (50-60) so the opinions below reflect our group's thoughts. My husband and I have both cruised before--with Carnival and Royal Caribbean. This was our first luxury cruise. We were most impressed with the stateroom and service as they were far above any we've received on other cruises and either other resorts/hotels. The staff was very friendly (EVERYONE stopped to say hello, asked about our day, had a smile) and went out of their way to accommodate. As an example, one night my husband spilled his drink and they got him another one--no charge! The entertainment options we found to be as we expected. The cruise director mentioned as we boarded that we should keep in mind it's a small cruise--and the entertainment is good considering. I will say that the shows were entertaining, though there were a few cringe-worthy moments. I don't think I'll be buying any CDs to commemorate any of the artists, to say the least. Despite some off-key singing, the production crew had fun and the audience seemed to enjoy it. We must have spoken to the cruise director 5-10 times during our time on the boat. Not sure if that's what it's like being on a smaller ship or if he just made it a point to speak to everyone. We were disappointed in the options onboard--trivia was offered at 4:30 (often too early to be back from touring) and 8:45 (often interfered with dinner timing) and was conducted quickly--typically lasted 15-20 minutes. Other than that, there was nothing to interest us. But, that being said, there weren't many people at trivia when we were there so I guess it doesn't interest the Oceania demographic. The other thing we noticed is that when you came back on the ship in the afternoon, it was hard to find snack food. Now I'm not one of those cruisers that goes onboard and eats and eats and eats, but after a long day of walking in the sun I'll often want a snack or an ice cream. The ice cream station closed at 4pm everyday--which honestly seemed ridiculous. So we never got to indulge. Yes, there is room service, but it took 20 minutes or so and sometimes I just want a quick gelato! :) Speaking of the food, I kept hearing that this was the cruise for foodies. Because I had high expectations, I was disappointed. The food was good, not great. Some of the specialty restaurants were better than others. I had the highest expectations for Red Ginger, and was the most disappointed. Our entire table felt their food was okay at best, and incredibly salty. The ambiance for all restaurants was great, and the selection was great too (my husband and I don't eat meat and didn't lack for options!) By the end of the trip we found ourselves opting for the Terrace Cafe (we tried the specialty restaurants and the Grand Dining Room earlier in the cruise) because of the selection and efficiency. Lastly, we did not take any Oceania sponsored excursions. We did run into several while we were exploring on our own (doing the same thing we were) and were struck at how easy it was to organize your own at a fraction of the cost.

Happy

Riviera Cruise Review by corbinam

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2015
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Verandah Stateroom
I should note before beginning this review that I am not Oceania's target audience. My husband and I are 30, and were some of the younger people on the boat. This doesn't mean that we didn't enjoy the cruise--we did, but the areas we found lacking were something that we expected knowing Oceania's reputation. I should also mention that we were traveling with my parents (50-60) so the opinions below reflect our group's thoughts.

My husband and I have both cruised before--with Carnival and Royal Caribbean. This was our first luxury cruise.

We were most impressed with the stateroom and service as they were far above any we've received on other cruises and either other resorts/hotels. The staff was very friendly (EVERYONE stopped to say hello, asked about our day, had a smile) and went out of their way to accommodate. As an example, one night my husband spilled his drink and they got him another one--no charge!

The entertainment options we found to be as we expected. The cruise director mentioned as we boarded that we should keep in mind it's a small cruise--and the entertainment is good considering. I will say that the shows were entertaining, though there were a few cringe-worthy moments. I don't think I'll be buying any CDs to commemorate any of the artists, to say the least. Despite some off-key singing, the production crew had fun and the audience seemed to enjoy it. We must have spoken to the cruise director 5-10 times during our time on the boat. Not sure if that's what it's like being on a smaller ship or if he just made it a point to speak to everyone.

We were disappointed in the options onboard--trivia was offered at 4:30 (often too early to be back from touring) and 8:45 (often interfered with dinner timing) and was conducted quickly--typically lasted 15-20 minutes. Other than that, there was nothing to interest us. But, that being said, there weren't many people at trivia when we were there so I guess it doesn't interest the Oceania demographic.

The other thing we noticed is that when you came back on the ship in the afternoon, it was hard to find snack food. Now I'm not one of those cruisers that goes onboard and eats and eats and eats, but after a long day of walking in the sun I'll often want a snack or an ice cream. The ice cream station closed at 4pm everyday--which honestly seemed ridiculous. So we never got to indulge. Yes, there is room service, but it took 20 minutes or so and sometimes I just want a quick gelato! :)

Speaking of the food, I kept hearing that this was the cruise for foodies. Because I had high expectations, I was disappointed. The food was good, not great. Some of the specialty restaurants were better than others. I had the highest expectations for Red Ginger, and was the most disappointed. Our entire table felt their food was okay at best, and incredibly salty. The ambiance for all restaurants was great, and the selection was great too (my husband and I don't eat meat and didn't lack for options!) By the end of the trip we found ourselves opting for the Terrace Cafe (we tried the specialty restaurants and the Grand Dining Room earlier in the cruise) because of the selection and efficiency.

Lastly, we did not take any Oceania sponsored excursions. We did run into several while we were exploring on our own (doing the same thing we were) and were struck at how easy it was to organize your own at a fraction of the cost.
corbinam’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Verandah Stateroom
Cabin B1 8017
The best cabin I've stayed in on a cruise. Fairly spacious for a ship, clean, comfortable. Bed/mattress were very comfortable. Loved the multiple options (shower/bath) in the bathroom as well as the dual shower heads.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Kotor
    Get up early to enjoy the sail-in. Our cruise director said it's on his list of Top 5 sail-ins! The view is lovely and you can get some great pictures.

    We did not do an organized tour as the town is very small. Loved the medieval feel and the fact that it was built to confuse enemies in case of attack was really neat--lots of twisty, turny alley ways. Despite that, it was easy to walk in a few hours.

    We did not choose to walk up to the church/castle as we were told it was like climbing to the top of the Empire State Building and would take around 3 hours. I imagine the views were lovely but it was hot and that did not sound like my idea of fun!
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  • Rome (Civitavecchia)
    Took our own transportation from the airport to Civitavecchia. We arrived fairly early but still got on the ship earlier than predicted. Embarkation was simple and quick.
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  • Sorrento
    We took a ferry from the port to the island of Capri. In Capri we took an around the island tour. Unfortunately the water was too choppy to enter the Blue Grotto, but I had read previously that that's a common occurrence so we weren't super disappointed. Even without the grotto entry, we felt that the boat cruise around the island was completely worth it. We got some beautiful photos.

    Since we didn't stop at the grotto the tour only lasted about an hour, leaving us time to walk up to the top of the city (we started the trek before we realized how long and tiring the walk was--straight uphill). Views from the main part of the city were lovely, but in retrospect I would have taken the bus next time!

    In the earlyafternoon we took the ferry back and then took the Oceania shuttle to the main center in Sorrento. We spent an hour or two walking around, had a bite to eat, and headed back to the ship.
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  • Taormina (Messina)
    My husband I had both been to Taormina before, so were pleased when my parents decided to schedule a private tour. We started with the Godfather tour where we had a driver take us along the coast (lovely!) to a small town to Savoca up in the hills. Here we saw Bar Vitelli (where Michael speaks with Apollonia's father in the movie) as well as the church where they were married. It was a lovely town that has not been modernized so we enjoyed the short walk around.

    After that we drove to another small town called Agostiniana. Here there is another church from the Godfather movies (3, perhaps?). Again, a small town with cute walking paths and small rocky roads. Very picturesque.

    After that, we drove back down the hill/mountain to see Taormina. We briefly stopped at the Greek Amphitheater which is always worth seeing--though it was getting hot at that point. We walked through the main road a bit (most things sold here are very touristy) and headed back to the ship.

    Long story short--really enjoyed the short excursion out of town to see something different. Taormina and the Greek Amphitheater are worth seeing, but it isn't really an all day thing and since we had been there before we were more than happy to push that to a short trip at the end of the day.
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  • Venice
    I had never been to Venice before so it was amazing to see. You think you understand how it's built, but you really have to see it. There are no roads! I know, I know, we've read it in books before but it's really interesting to experience.

    My biggest complaint was that it took over an hour to get from the ship (port area) to St. Mark's square via vaporetto. I wish that the cruise line had offered a shuttle bus at least to the closest public transportation area, but no such luck. We ended up walking to the tram station, taking it to a public transportation hub (Piazzelle Roma) and then taking a forever-long vaporetto from there. I know you can take a taxi but I believe it was around $80 for the taxi alone--eek! We traveled all day long via vaporetto for around $25.
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  • Zadar
    Took the Oceania shuttle to the old town--probably took over 30 minutes due to traffic. The entrance with the Roman Forum was really neat. Found it very surprising as people were standing on, climbing over and in all of the ruins. Made me a little sad to think that because of this the ruins will not be around forever.

    We walked around a little bit and had a really GREAT lunch. Enjoyed Pag cheese (local specialty--very mild) and a delicious wood-fired pizza. We were able to pay in Euros, too, which was nice since we preferred not to change our money just for the one port.

    Overall, this was one of my least favorite ports. The old town was interesting in the square with the forum, but there didn't seem to be much else to see in that section of town. The town also seemed to be suffering the most (out of all the ports we saw) from its history of having been oppressed.
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