The Riviera cruise (Oceania) was very satisfying on a number of levels, because of what they call ‘enrichment experiences’.
On a culinary level, there is a choice between speciality restaurants serving some exceptional food (at no extra cost) to the grand dining room that caters to the bulk of the passenger compliment. (The mass market)
Service is attentive and exemplary but not the unobtrusive ‘British’ type of service that I prefer. Instead it is more of the false “how ya all doing, how was your day” introduction accompanied with an ear-to-ear smile. Dentistry on board, for the crew, must be of a high level???
On an emotional level it was satisfying. I know that I am over weight and am carrying 7 – 10 kg more than I should. The demographic on board makes me feel anorexic and there is no need to refuse that rich dessert. Yummy
On a cultural level, there are all those ‘enrichment’ opportunities. An art school, a cooking school, educational guest speakers, karaoke (if that can be called enrichment), Trivia and a host of entertainment performances ranging from the exceptional to the ……. well let’s just say less than exceptional, with the opportunity of experiencing both giving the audience the opportunity of making their own judgement call.1
On a sight seeing level. Some tours started at 8:00 am and others as late as 12:00. This mix meant that on some days the alarm went off as the sun rose, and on other days one could enjoy a more relaxed morning. With all tours that we took, we were able to enjoy a scrumptious, not weigh limiting, afternoon tea. A custom that I could easily become accustomed to.
No tour was full. (Very important) Busses were never more than about 50% full, by design. Some tours had multiple busses all only half full. This is important as the tour guides could talk to the group whilst out and about, without having to resort to having to use radio transmitters and earphones. This also reduces the risk of participants wandering off, causing delays for the rest of us.
On an organisational level. ‘Herding’ over one thousand people can be an issue. At no time did I ever get that part of a herd impression. Boarding cruises as well as boarding the vessel initially, were all very well managed.
On a financial level. They do not have a hand in your wallet at every turn. Most things are free with the exception of alcoholic drinks. (which are not cheap) Soft drinks, tea and scones, bottled water and entertainment are all available at no extra charge.
On a relaxational level. My late mother had an expression ‘half baked’. Any person who came up with a dumb idea was ‘half baked’ Fortunately the ship provides ample opportunity for passenger to complete the baking process on sun loungers around the pool. Originating from colder northern hemisphere climes, perhaps they are not as much aware of the consequences as are passenger from Australasia.
For those who prefer a more strenuous activity, there is a gym that I promised myself that I would visit frequently, but did not, as well as the usual deck games and golf putting.
One afternoon, there was an on-selling promotional activity where guest were invited to listen to a presentation about future tours. One was ‘around the world in 180 days’ Six months of on-board life style would kill me! But a back to back cruise of perhaps 18 to 21 days? Well that is something to add to the bucket list.
1) During a song and dance routine, I had the impression that one of the dancers very nearly dropped another dancer. Not the way to ‘reject’ a lady’s advances in front of hundreds of on-lookers.
Comfortable. Shower could be bigger.