I’m going to focus on just a few issues and explain our perspective, as that may help you decide how relevant our opinions are to you. This is by far the biggest ship we’ve ever cruised on. Our experience has been with expedition cruises, especially National Geographic Lindblad, and small luxury ships, especially Seadream. Some people might not think Riviera is large, but we do.
We were in a standard veranda stateroom, no butler. The stateroom was fine, no complaints at all. The stateroom service was excellent. We only went to a couple of shows and heard a few entertainers, and listened most often to the string quartet. All performers were professional and enjoyable, but you wouldn’t leave home to see them.
The food was good, but not as good as Oceania claim. At times it was excellent, at other times just OK, never poor. This may be a matter of opinion and comparison. The food last time we were on Seadream was slightly better than on Riviera, and that is notwithstanding Riviera’s four specialty restaurants, which - don’t get me wrong - add variety and are good. The wine prices struck me as exorbitant: nothing under $50 a bottle when the mandatory tip is included, but perhaps that’s because on Seadream all alcohol is included.
The majority of cabins are identical. You pay more to be higher up and amidships. We were low down and amidships. Deck 7 is the lowest deck with cabins. High enough gives butler service. Of course, there are also larger cabins.
Ours was plenty big enough and very well set up. A bathtub as well as a separate shower was a bonus.
The action is on Decks 5 and 6, and Decks 12 to 15, with two specialty restaurants on Deck 14 and two on Deck 5, so unless you want to be right near the pool, I can't see that it makes much difference where you are.