We took in a 12 day cruise from Miami to Miami, and explored several Caribbean islands, with two sea days on either end.
If you're new to cruising from Miami, I would recommend arriving a few days early and spending the time to take in the city. I can imagine that summer is pretty hot, but in December it was balmy. Highlights included South Beach, downtown, a harbour cruise and the visit to the Everglades. We stayed downtown, but the port is easy to get to, so any decent hotel should not be an issue.
Is easy and painless. All told, it probably took less than 10 minutes. It does help to arrive early, even if your stateroom is only accessible later in the day, as this enables you to avoid the crowds. It's easy to see that Miami knows how to handle cruise crowds.
This is our second Oceania cruise, with the first being on Riviera's sister, the Marina. We like the upmarket yet casual atmosphere, the food, as well as the gym/spa. Oceania does not cater for children, but does not forbid them. There were no children on our cruise, however.
While the vessel remains upmarket (but not luxurious), Riviera is shown a few signs of wear and tear. Most of the loungers on the private spa terrace were broken, and it's clear that some of the bar stools have been scratched and not repaired over the years. Look beyond this, and you will most certainly have an amazing experience.
One tours with Oceania for, among other things, the food. There are three restaurants for breakfast and lunch, and an additional 5 for dinner (if one includes La Reserve.) During a cruise, you should definitely make an effort to dine at each of the speciality restaurants. During this cruise, our favourites were Toscana while Jacques and Red Ginger are a close second tie. Polo Grill is also superb and difficult to fault, but if one has to make a choice... Sadly, the Grand Dining Room did not live up to expectations on this cruise. We dined here twice for breakfast, and while the setting is grand indeed, the service falls short. Dinner at the Grand Dining Room remains exceptional, however.
If you do it only once, afternoon tea is a must. It's a lovely setting in Horizons with the quartet playing. One feels very sophisticated.
If you like a glass of wine with your meal, or a cocktail around the pool, it's worth taking the beverage package. It makes the surprise at the end of the cruise a little less unknown!
On this cruise, Oceania treated us to a few outside entertainers. Both were exceptional, while the standard crew are also very good. In addition, make time for the string quartet playing in the evenings near the casino.
For the most part, service is very good. We had a butler, being in a penthouse suite, and this eases logistics somewhat. Waiters are extremely attentive in all the establishments. Sometimes, however, we found ourselves straining as it's clear that English is not their first language. Sommeliers are generally good, but sometimes are a little scarce during lunch in the Terrace Cafe aft.
This was our first time in a Penthouse Suite. It's recommended for two reasons - the ability to dine in-suite from one of the speciality restaurants as well as the large walk-in closet. We specifically chose a cabin that was below the 12th floor cabins, and not the sun deck, and are grateful we did.
We specifically wanted a Penthouse Suite for the space and in-room dining and don't regret the choice. Having the butler was an added benefit.