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

Excellent overall cruise only marred by bad weather

Riviera Cruise Review by keithm

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2018
  • Destination: the Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Verandah Stateroom

We decided to try Oceania for the raved about food. Being in the food industry & foodies we thought we'd try them out. Two days before the cruise, I got a e-mail asking if we'd upgrade from an interior cabin to a balcony cabin for $200pp. Of course I said yes. Getting on board was quick & easy as there's only about 1200 pax, as compared to 3000+ pax on larger ships. We still waited until 2:30 to get to our cabin. Seems they like to have your luggage outside your room waiting for you when you arrive.

Upon entering, Richard was overly delighted it was a veranda cabin. I kept the upgrade a secret knowing he'd love the room. The room is close to 300 sq. ft.(incl. balcony) I was surprised to see a tub as well as a separate enclosed shower. The enclosed shower is quite small, but we like the duel shower heads. One a "rain" head the other a hand held shower head. The tub has a shower as well, but it's tough to use the shower as it's only partially enclosed, so water can easily get on the floor. The room had abundant storage. Some of the storage is in drawers inside cabinets. For those, like me who have a CPAP machine there's an outlet next to the bed, so extension cords aren't necessary.

Food is the main attraction on Oceania. No disappointment here! The Grand Dining room(G/D)is an elegant venue with lots of Swarovski crystal. Meals here are very nice.

Food quality is like the way Celebrity was about 5 years ago, before the cutbacks. As the price of an Oceania cruise is about $1500pp more than Celebrity/Princess the attention to detail & the food is much better. You have several specialty rest. on board all but one are included in the cost. These are: Polo Grill(steaks/seafood etc.)Toscana(Italian food, but really highend)Red Ginger(Asian, obviously)Jacques(Jacque Pepin's on board rest. highend French Cuisine)La Reserve is the extra cost venue. Dinners range from $60pp-195pp for the "Connoisseur's" dinner. Tea service is offered daily in the Horizon's Lounge. The Tea service with Tea cakes/Scones/Tea sandwiches was excellent, accompanied by an excellent string quartet.

Entertainment takes a backstage to the food. It was what we expected a few good singers/dancers. A very talented small band. The Sax player was outstanding. There's also a String Quartet, which was excellent. We had a talented Ventriloquist, who was really quite funny. The Cruise director, Peter was top notch. Loved his wild outfits that highlighted the end of each show. He'd tell a joke or 2 some were really quite funny, some really bad(on purpose). There are really good education seminars & cooking demonstrations to be had.

The only downside were some of the excursions. Some of these were really quite pricey compared to similar excursions on Cunard/Celebrity/Princess. One excursion on Grand Cayman was new to the cruiseline, so we were Guinea Pigs, so to speak. It was not as good as the brochure claimed. We got 25% refunded back to us. If you have an excursion that is not good(be honest here!)upon returning, bring it to the attention of the excursion desk. Do BE polite about it! In most cases they will offer a partial refund. If many pax complain about it, the refund might be the full amount(not too often)

Our ports of call were Grand Cayman/Cozumel/Costa Maya/Roatas/Santo Tomas/Key West. The weather slowly clouded up as we headed from Costa Maya to Central America. Cloudy/showery weather was the rule from here until we got to Key West. We had a nice lunch at Louis' Backyard( a popular rest.)Key West, unfortunately is really been getting more trashy over the last 20 years. No longer a stop I really care to do.

Of all the ports of call, I'd say Santo Tomas is the least developed & ready for cruiseship tourism. There's a few nice beaches & small resorts a few miles from the ship, but otherwise I'd shop at the local port shopping mall & then just get back on the ship.

Roatan, Honduras has nice beaches but the weather precluded the enjoyment. There is a great golf/beach resort called Pristine Bay. Oceania should really offer excursions there. You can also go yourself as well. Overall a great ship/cruiseline Would definitely go on Oceania again.

keithm's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Verandah Stateroom
Cabin B1 8100

nice cabin close to mid ship. Plenty of storage & soft drinks/water are complimentary. The beds are very comfortable. Bathroom is quite large for the cabin size.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


Plenty of nice restaurants & plenty of entertainment in South Beach. We try to get a nice hotel near Lincoln Rd. mall. Great shopping/dining area.


Though the property(The White House)is very nice. The cost $249pp was really steep. It was all inclusive & they still expected you to pay $10 for the umbrella(included, so the description said. The beach was not really nice. You had to go off a pier into the water due to the coral rock at the shore line. The lunch provided was quite nice however. The price was still too high for what was offered.

View All 220 Beach Reviews

It's a beach about 2 miles from the port. We've been here before so we usually book it ourselves. Just take a cab to the beach. Nice sand, lots of wild life in the water(Sting rays/ many fish/Octopus/Moray eels)

View All 696 Beach Reviews

Always love this spot. The locals are friendly & some really funny. The hawkers are pretty aggressive, so be willing to barter a lot. We go to "Krazy lobster Beach Club" every time for a great Lobster lunch on the beach. There are lots of places to shop in the area.

View All undefined undefined Reviews

Should have been Beach break, but the rain stopped that. Nice tour bus tour of the island. Nice tour of the rainforest. Great stop at mountain top. Excellent view of the island below. Toured an Iguana farm & visited Pristine Bay. Pristine Bay should be offered as an excursion itself. Great Golf/Beach/pools.

View All undefined undefined Reviews
Santo Tomas de Castilla

There's little here, as it's not really on the tourist circuit yet. Locals were nice enough, however. Never felt unsafe. Small beach & resort about 2 miles away. Rain prevented anything but a cab tour of the area. Good shopping area in the port. Be ready to barter hard with the locals. They're professionals!

Harvest Caye

Did the Harvest Caye Cabana rental. At $500, it's pricey but really a nice cabin with shower & running water as well as A/C. Too bad the weather was crappy, it would have been our favorite excursion.

Key West

Key West has all these crappy T shirt shops/Cigar shops & tons of bars. A real Trailer Trash Jamboree/Alcoholic's paradise! It used to be nicer 20 years ago. We still got off the ship & walked to "Louie's Backyard" (a popular dining spot) The food is worth the walk. We've been there a few times. Had it been closed we'd probably just stayed on the ship. Really lots of trashy looking people in the town. Not really my idea of "charm"!

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