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

Wonderful cruise, but for a luxury line it leaves things a bit lacking

Riviera Cruise Review by RTPGiants

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Aug 2017
  • Destination: the Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Concierge Level

On the whole, the cruise was very very good and the itinerary (which I credit Oceania with putting together) was excellent. However, for a line and ship that bill themselves as a luxury line, I just don't think they lived up to it. Our most recent cruises prior to this were with Celebrity on Solstice class ships and I found the ship experience on those better, and not necessarily because of the size.

We were in a concierge veranda cabin. It was well appointed with a wide variety of storage locations to accommodate even long cruises. The double tub setup of the bathroom leaves me scratching my head a bit. It would seem that for most a larger singular shower might be more appropriate for a cabin of this size. This didn't create a negative experience, but it seems...redundant.

As we were sailing next door to my parents, they requested the balconies be opened to each other which you could tell can physically be done. However, Oceania apparently has a policy preventing this. It wasn't a huge deal (though my father ran it up the chain), but is this something that only Oceania does? We have (admittedly a long time ago) had balconies opened together.

Oceania bills itself as a food line, and for the most part they're correct. We ate at Toscana, Polo Grill, Jacuqes, and La Reserve. With the exception of Polo, they were great. Polo wasn't bad, but for a steak place, the steak was the poorest part of the meal which just shouldn't happen. Their buffet is also very well done and the quality (including made to order items) was fine there.

Though food does blend itself into drink. We had booked the standard drink package as our perk and upgraded on day 1. For the most part this was great. It even lets you sample things that might be $25+ on the menu for "free". However, where it got a little odd was with wine by the glass. For the most part at the buffet (and at Toscana) it worked well. However, on the first day we visited the grand dining room. There, when greeted by the sommelier he tried to sell us on the value of bottles wine that "follows you around the ship". When we told him we were just going to drink by the glass, you might as well have thought we shot his dog.

Now to be fair, that gentleman did fill our glasses reasonably well a few times, but (and I'm speculating here) the compensation for wine by the glass must not be anything to write home about. Some servers wouldn't even bother to swipe our card and they certainly wouldn't per-glass. This one guy though earned the nickname of "mean wine guy". It wasn't a huge thing, but because we saw him day 1 it left a bit of a bad taste in our mouths (so to speak). Other sommeliers who we talked to seemed to know exactly who we meant when we brought it up in conversation later.

As far as ports go, Oceania got us there, and then we did it all ourselves. Shore excursions are overpriced from the line, so get yourself private tours instead. There were a few tender ports early in the cruise and when done port-side (as in Santorini) it worked well. When the ship was in charge, they ran out of water at the waiting line in 95 degree heat and waited 5-10 minutes for more people as we baked within the tender. They could look into a little more customer service.

Related to excursions, the destination services folks were a chore to deal with. When I first talked with them about our post-cruise Oceania-booked hotel they said they didn't have anything listed for us, but that more information was "in the back". This caused us to contact our TA who called Oceania who said all was fine and that the desk people have "bad data". Sure, maybe...but isn't it their job not to have bad data? And hey, guess what, when we got to the hotel post-cruise, they couldn't find our reservations. It got sorted out (name spelling issues), but...come on.

A separate issue was related to canceling an excursion after a port change. It was eventually handled by a supervisor, but the desk was less than helpful. And then later when actually getting refunds for the cancellation, the desk was abandoned during hours they were open. There was also the minor issue where they credited a refund to 2 different accounts, but again it got sorted out.

Now, with all that said, everything above was a nitpick. The vacation was fun. The cruise was a great experience. I would go again. I might or might not sail Oceania again. I don't really feel the price premium is worth it (even after factoring in the food bonuses). All I'm saying is careful consider what you're looking for before you assume that the word luxury means better.

RTPGiants's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Cabin Review

Concierge Level
Cabin A3 9097

Cabin was good, great storage, but the extra tub seems to eat bathroom space. See my full review for more.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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