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Riviera Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
691 Reviews

Oceania, not exactly what we expected

Riviera Cruise Review by cmackpmp

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2015
  • Destination: the Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Verandah Stateroom

We embarked on our honeymoon cruise after being told this cruise would have a higher percentage of older people and no kids. We thought this sounded great. We signed up for prepaid gratuities, free airfare from LA, onboard credit, a $750 hotel credit, and free WIFI. We are 35 and 40 and arrived to find that everyone is over 60 and the average is more like 75 with many being as aged as 100. It was a shock to us although seemed fine until we got to the entertainment. The entertainment and daily activity on this boat is 100% geared to someone older than 60. There was nothing for anyone under 40 for sure which was a bit disappointing for us.

Pre-embarkation materials were sent early and the information was correct. The website was pretty cumbersome for booking excursions and dinner reservations as the website needs some help. Embarkation went very smoothly except for the fact that our flight booked by the cruise line had us arriving hours before we could embark so we ended up hanging out in the airport for 6 hours waiting until we could embark. Do yourselves the favor and pay the $100 to change your flights so you aren't waiting so long. Also, be aware that they book with American Airlines. On our return, we ended up getting stuck in Miami for 7 hours waiting for a plane to be replaced. It was a complete waste of a vacation day due to American Airlines poor customer service and promptness standards. No such thing as a free airline ticket...

If you are taking this cruise in December, I highly recommend Bonine or the Scopolamine patches. We went on an excursion in Key West and it was so rough that 20 out of the 40 people on the snorkeling "Fury Catamaran" (huge boat) were throwing up the entire time we were out that day. It was so rough that we couldn't even snorkel! It rained the entire time as well so be prepared for that...

Costa Maya as a port seems fine, we did Discover Scuba and had the dive boat to ourselves. It was a very nice excursion and a pleasant day although our fellow dive boat friends from the boat who went on the 2 tank dive reported that they got stuck free floating for quite some time on the return from their dive because the dive master lost his fancy dive computer and the dive team spent a considerable amount of time looking for it so...I guess it was a mixed bag.

Belize was very interesting...we went on the cave tubing adventure and my advice is to get the Repel with 100% Deet. The people who did not have this got eaten up in the walk to the river and caves. This was a pleasant day but be aware that it is a long hike and stenuous for anyone with any kind of disability whatsoever. Several people had to have their tube carried and were miserable. The tubes are also very small so if you are over 200 lbs or a larger person in any way then you will be hanging uncomfortably off of the tubes the entire time. Not so comfortable. Bring a change of clothes with you as you'll definitely want to change. Water shoes came in very handy on this excursion.

Guatemala - we researched ahead of time and decided we weren't even getting off the boat. It was so hot the day we arrived, like 90 degrees and 95% humidity so that goes without saying...most people who did get off the boat turned around within 5-10 minutes of walking off the dock from the boat.

Roatan has absolutely beautiful glass bottom kayak and snorkeling. The best snorkeling of this entire trip. The resort at Gumbalimba has a very nice pool you can take a dip in as well and you will want to do it...it is humid and hot here as well but worth it. Again Repel with 100% Deet is your friend! Water shoes also came in very handy on this excursion.

Cozumel - this port was raining and most all of the excursions were cancelled so we ended up going to Starbucks and then to Hooters. I had the most unbelievably delicious cheeseburger at Hooters. Best Burger of the trip actually! Several people went on their excursions and reported they had fun, we just weren't lucky enough to be one of them...

We hit a major storm this night and everyone was feeling sick - the Scopolamine patch or some Bonine is in order...just in case of these types of events. We had 20 foot waves which rocked the boat and came up to our 8th deck balcony. scary!

Grand Cayman - we did a 2 tank dive on this trip and the dive crew was amazing. We saw an Eagle Ray and did a 100' reef dive and a 65 foot dive at Stewie's Crevasse. A great day on the water even though our port time was reduced due to the cruise line.

A note on the excursions, they turned out to be the same as other cruise lines but were marked up around 3 times as much as the very same excursion on other cruise lines. Shame Shame Oceania!! We compared with other cruise line passengers on several excursions and were appalled.

We ate at Red Ginger and had amazing food, the Sea Bass is to die for!

Polo Grill is your normal carnivore hangout, nothing special.

Toscana is amazing, the gnocchi and Osso Bucco were spot on

We didn't try Jacques although everyone raved about it

We didn't try the Grand Dining Room as the menus didn't seem appealing whenever we had the inclination to go to this restaurant.

The Buffet is where we ate most of our meals and overall we found the seafood overcooked unless you arrived early in the meal and by the end of the week we realized we could order from the Waves Grill to be delivered in the buffet. I highly recommend this! The Surf and Turf sandwich is very good!

The prevention practices for Norovirus made the serving of all food by the servers, even at the buffet really annoying. NO salt and pepper shakers, you had to ask for everything you needed. Annoying but we did not get sick so I guess we can't complain about that.

Overall, if you are 60+ this is probably something for you although the service seemed to be lacking for me as compared to what I experienced on Norwegian. Our stateroom attendant was on the ball although we never had ice which is weird to me for an upscale cruise line.

ROOM SERVICE WAS ATROCIOUS - nothing good there at all. We ordered once on each meal and it was sad at best. Nothing but bread and minced fruit for breakfast. Burnt burgers, fettucine alfredo that was basically watery sauce on pasta with a few sprinkles of parmesan. gross!

PROS:

Perfect for older people

Service is good when it's good

Shower heads are great (dual showers so both can shower at once)

Restaurants are very good

Embarkation is smooth

Afternoon tea is an amazing experience, top notch!

Unlimited beverage package is very nice and worth it if you drink more than 3 drinks per day

CONS:

Not geared at all for people under 60 - zero entertainment options day or night

Pool is salt water

Spa is overpriced

Disembarkation was a nightmare

Buffet is not self serve - you must wait to be served

Beer selection is very lacking

Crew seems overworked and not knowledgeable

Excursions are very overpriced

Tender/Port process is not well executed (need tender tickets the night before instead of waiting around in the lounge to get them) We waited close to 2 hours one day which could have been spent in bed or having breakfast

Laundry was closed for the majority of the cruise so we had to use expensive laundry service for $25 a bag

Casino was closed for first several days due to switchover of machines


cmackpmp's Full Rating Summary
Cabin
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
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Cabin Review

Verandah Stateroom
Cabin B1 8077

The cabin was great, a nice comfy bed. Adequate storage for us to put away 4 suitcases worth of stuff including scuba equipment for two people. Lighting is very good, balcony is the normal space. Bathroom was great. One shower has dual heads and the other has a bathtub so both people can shower at once and had good water pressure. Good storage in the bathroom as well.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Miami

Miami has a lot to offer, I highly recommend coming in early and staying an extra day or two to enjoy a few outings in town before the cruise or before you head home. South Beach in particular.

Snorkeling

It was too rough to snorkel after attempting 3 spots and half of the 40 people on the boat throwing up all day. It rained on us and everyone was sick so not a very good excursion. Compared pricing with other cruise line passengers and learned ours was 3 times more expensive through the cruise line. My advice is to book your own through a local guide.

View All 61 Snorkeling Reviews
Cave-Tubing

Mosquitos, slow hike, small tubes, uncomfortable for larger people (if you are 200 lbs plus or over 5'10" you will be miserable. Pretty view once you get there but it's a long walk and a long ride.

View All 375 Cave-Tubing Reviews
Scuba Diving

This was a nice trip, excellent dive crew. Shame we didn't have more time to enjoy the area when we returned. Port times are very short.

View All 15 Scuba Diving Reviews

Excellent day at Gumbalimba Park, excellent snorkel, swim in freshwater pool, ocean kayaking, it was really a great day. Also, huge iguanas can be seen here.

View All undefined undefined Reviews

We couldn't go on our excursion due to weather, ended up at Hooters drinking all day.

View All undefined undefined Reviews
Scuba - Certified

Excellent dive crew and experience. Port time was reduced so no time to do anything after.

View All 46 Scuba - Certified Reviews

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cmackpmp
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