We enjoyed our January 3, 2017 cruise on Riviera (Eastern Caribbean) especially the food, enough that we decided to repeat the experience with Western Caribbean itinerary, and we were glad we did.
Embarkation was efficient; our names were not on the list, but the issue was resolved in a few minutes and we were accompanied upstairs to aid in our boarding.
We ate a bit at the Terrace, then relaxed on loungers on the pool deck with books and music until our cabin was ready a little after 2:30; our cabin was immaculate and was maintained that way throughout the cruise.
It is not usually a big concern for us but we noticed that the crew,officers and wait staff were always friendly.
We ate at each venue: once at Waves to try the surf and turf (decent but not special); 3 dinners at the GDR (hit and miss), 1 dinner at Polo (our least favorite specialty but the Lobster and Filet Mignon salad were quite good), and 2 at each of the others. Some very good dishes at all 3, especially lobster, but foie gras not so much. All breakfasts and most lunches at the Terrace, plus a few early dinner stops for sushi or a lobster tail to hold us until our real dinner.
The pastries on board were very very good, in fact much better than our previous cruise; flaky, buttery and tasty. Great fresh fruit, smoked salmon, herring, cold cuts and cheeses, good breads and rolls at all venues. Usually nice alternative entrees available at the Terrace. Very good coffee available around the ship.
We brought wine on board (a specialty shop in Miami and also in Cozumel) which we brought to our dining venues 5 bottles which lasted 2 days each. The $25 corkage fee worked for us and the wine stewards were always gracious.
We are not big on organized entertainment, and this time other than a scarf demonstration attended by DW we barely participated; the string quartet and pianist were not as good as the January cruise so we spent very little time with them. No shows for us.
Our fellow passengers seemed to be 10-15 years older than our last cruise, and those were no spring chickens. There were many people with walkers, carts, and a number of morbidly obese people. Clientele was about 85% American and maybe 10% Canadian with a smattering of others from England, Germany and South Africa. A relatively few passengers under 50.
Weather and seas were great; we did 3 fabulous private tours we set up (plus walking tours) and one eco hike through the ship: pricey, but a good tour with about 20 others - a nice workout in Belize.
We had limited interaction with the other passengers: some shared tables at dinner, and a few conversations both on shore and on the Ship; less than usual but it worked for us.
It may have been due to the older clientele but there were many more loungers available on this cruise on sea days than last January; of course, having our own loungers it was not an issue for us.
I am not a fetishist about new hips but the Riviera was very well maintained (including public rest rooms) and seemed in very good shape. Disembarkation was very smooth.
This cabin, two from the aft, had an extended balcony with two loungers plus a small table and chairs The chairs were in the front of the balcony and could be seen from the 8th floor; the loungers were completely private and along with the table received a lot of use. We moved the chairs to the side so we had an unobstructed view from the loungers. Bathroom had a bath and shower, sufficient storage space in the bath and the room, many hangers for the closet. Small fridge worked for our needs (water and wine); room steward got us wine glasses and opener on request. Nice bed, decent couch and front table.
Walking tour of Truman house, Hemingway house, and Butterfly conservatory; great lunch from a food truck (Bulgogi Taco) and another stop for ice cream. Very nice day.
Stayed pre-cruise at Yve a modern hotel on Biscayne Blvd; had a great dinner around the corner at Cvi.che105, great fun and good Peruvian food. Found a nice wine shop up Biscayne Blvd. $9 taxi to the dock.
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