Riviera Cruise Review by Lkowen001
- Sail Date: November 2018
- Destination: Transatlantic
- Cabin Type: Verandah Stateroom
We specifically chose the Barcelona to Miami transatlantic crossing for its more numerous stops (6) and especially those in Canary Islands. The second night on board, we were informed by captain that due to weather system they had been monitoring for days /weeks ahead expected to hit Tenerife we would divert to Gibraltar post Malaga, Spain...implying we would stop in Gibraltar which we are NOT doing. (We were not given any advance notice of weather before embarkation although Florida head office had been monitoring with Captain for days/ weeks out...).
We are now stuck on board this ship for 8 days straight and have been told there will be no accommodation financially for TWO missed ports although the cruise line is saving significantly in not making these stops! We were also told by several frequent Oceania cruisers that they have been previously accomodated for missed ports in Bermuda (for example). Why not this cruise?.....
The excursions we are now out are being credited back at 2/3 value with Oceania keeping the 1/3. Because this apparently happens often, we are told this is the “policy and there is nothing anyone on board can do about it. It’s the way it is”. I suggest any future cruisers either avoid taking the “OLife 8 free excursions or go for a $400 pp shipboard credit instead. This will give most maximum hard value should “Florida” head office decide to change cruise course and not accomodate passengers.
We were asked to surrender our passports last night for stamping by Spanish Officials today. When we went to retreive them this evening, we were first told after sailing we could pick up. Tonight, reception employees said they needed to keep them due to immigration law. Couldn’t tell us which country’s law required this and neither could a level up in chain of command.....Florida (head office) told them to do it.
A further tip from our first Oceania experience — book your own air fare. We paid premium for business class to Barcelona and were given a three flight routing despite there being direct and single stop options out of our Charlotte, NC home city. No option to confirm or reject- this is it and there is nothing that can be s is sooo different than previous experiences with true luxury cruise lines that seek your feedback, agreement on flight selection.
Lastly, when we embarked, our safe did not work - it needed new batteries. On evening two, our veranda stateroom bathroom flooded and the TV remote works if turned upside down, depressed and held for quite some time. Also needed toilet maintenance mid cruise.
In terms of excursions, there have been two. The first was a half day. We arrived to Guadeleste too early before museum opening and there were no public facilities on board or in the town. The entire bus (35 persons) got to use a single toilet in a bar!
We went to Ronda today. No facilities on board and we stopped at a bar after 1.5 hrs. No lunch included in full day tour from 8:30-4:30. Great guide, driver. The tour cost was $149 pp for two hours there, back and 2 hr walking tour with free time / lunch on our own.
Hopefully San Juan and Nassau will go as planned. There are a number of excursion cancellations / updates made once we were on board. Some excursions cancelled or changed.
There is a broad range of dining options- Terrace Cafe buffet and grill is best. Service, temperature, variety. We have not been to Grand Dining Room b/c we could not get reasonable dining time - wanted 6:30...only 8:30 available. (Shows start at 9:30; they don’t do two.)
Went to specialty restaurant Red Ginger. Everything was very good, but not spicy at all. All staffers were OVERLY concerned we might find something too spicy. We had to ask for chili sauce to spice it up.
Toscana, Italian themed specialty restaurant, was not up to par. Our table of six had very little positive to say - food not hot, risotto overcooked, lobster chewy, pasta warm, not hot.
Polo Grill (think steakhouse) and Jacques (french) next.
One thing to note on specialty restaurants - it is nearly impossible to get a table for two. You get stuck with 2-4 other guests you may or may not have anything in common with. Politics came up at our table last night....We went to reservations desk today to ask for table for two going forward. Standard response received - you can have it if you want to eat at 9 pm....see above comments on times for Grand Dining Room....
Happy hour from 5-6 pm in main lounges with BOGO drinks. We took advantage on several nights. Happy hour often seranaded by piano player with niblles served ranging from nuts, chips, pretzels to cheese cubes, sausage puffs, olives.
Enrichment activities vary greatly. There is a big emphasis on bridge plus trivia, mensa, two lecturers - a “dna expert” and naval historian. There are PAID enrichment activities as well - two hour culinary institute cooking classes at $69 per class and also paid (fee unknown) art classes with resident artist ...ie painting Mediterranean landscapes, apple studies, etc....
Fitness center is large with plenty of cardio machine variety, free weights, weight machines. While a range of FREE exercise classes taught by an inflexible instructor. Specifically, he did not want to modify classes to accomodate rough seas prefering to cancel them instead.
We did finally convince him and he did modify begrudgingly.
Nice outdoor walking tracks...I walked thirty miles so far.
The staff on board....results are mixed. Our cabin attendant and Terrace Cafe grill team, wait staff are really fantastic.
The reception, excursion, concierge, reservation desks and officers are the most non customer focused lot I have ever come across. The cruise line does not empower their employees to make anything right at the time of the occurence which is really a basic customer service principle and particularly found with real luxury brands. Oceania has a long way to go to realize their aspirations to become a REAL luxury cruise line.
Scotty, beam us up, please.
250,000+ people have entered their email