We chose this itinerary, back to back cruises, from Athens to Venice, Venice to Barcelona since we wanted to do both the Eastern and Western Mediterranean. Even though we stopped twice in Dubrovnik & Kotor, it was well worth it to have the second day to explore on our own (after gaining familiarity w/ both cities). We are big Viking fans, both the river and ocean. Just did the Baltic w/ Viking Ocean in May and loved it. However, Oceania Rivera rates highly as well. To be honest, I really didn't like the ship Rivera as much as the Viking Ocean ships. The decor is heavy and dark, not very bright or light. However I was extremely impressed w/ our standard ocean view cabin. We did not have a veranda but the window is from floor to ceiling so we had great views. It would have be nice to have had a French Door to open like on the Viking River cruises but it was fine. The cabin was very spacious, 242 sq ft.; that little bit extra made the cabin feel so much bigger. Also the bathroom is large, the configuration made it feel more spacious than both Crystal Symphony & Viking Ocean bathrooms (which are long & narrow) - the Rivera bathroom is wide as you enter, the single sink ahead of you, a bathtub w/ shower on one side, shower stall & toilet on the other side, plenty of storage on either side of the sink, the center of the bathroom being open. I felt like I was in a normal bathroom, not one on a cruise ship. Service by all crew staff was excellent, similar to Viking. What separates Oceania from both Viking & Crystal is the food. It is exceptional, even in the Terrace Cafe, the casual buffet area. The coffee is outstanding in all dining areas in addition to the barista. There are four specialty dining venues, Toscana, Jacques, Polo Grill are exceptional. Red Ginger is fine, not as stellar as Crystal's Nobu. Both Crystal & Viking only offer two specialty restaurants. So for the eight day segment of the cruise, we dined four times at a specialty restaurant; then four more times in the second twelve day segment. The ice cream, though made fresh daily, does not compare to Viking's gelato. Rivera's pizza was almost like real pizza. We only ate in the main restaurant once. We liked the casual atmosphere of the Terrace Cafe. And if you were not interested in any of the offerings on the buffet, every night (unless it was a 'special' buffet) the Terrace grill offered fresh salmon, jumbo shrimp, fresh Maine lobster tails, lamb chops, beef rib-eye or NY strip steaks grilled to order. Every specialty restaurant offers Maine lobster in some dish(not sure about Toscana since I didn't have lobster there) - I actually got tired of eating Maine lobster! If you are not a drinker, Oceania will suit you fine. All non-alcoholic beverages are included and you can order them from the bar with no charge. This is nice if you wanted a club soda or a Coke while sitting up in Horizons or by the pool, or if you want a virgin pina colada. Only if you are served alcohol is there an additional charge. For us, to have three occasions when alcoholic drinks are free (the two captain's welcomes & the Oceania member event(you are a member on your second cruise)) during a 20 day cruise is more than enough for us. There is entertainment by dancers & singers and they were extremely good. Some yoga, Pilates, stretching classes are offered by the fitness center. They are free, no extra fee. However I was not impressed w/ the fitness instructor - he was not particularly friendly and was the exception compared to the rest of Oceania's staff. I was worried about the quality of the excursions since I had heard Oceania is lacking in this area but I was pleasantly surprised. For the most part, the excursions were great and the excursion staff ran the operation very effectively and efficiently. We embarked on Rivera in Athens; this was the smoothest and most efficient embarkation that we have ever experienced. Oceania and the Piraeus Port had plenty of personnel on hand to direct you and handle your luggage immediately. Disembarkation in Barcelona was a breeze as well. Even though our next three trips are with Viking, we would definitely consider Oceania if there was an itinerary that we are interested in.
See my comments above. At 242 sq ft, the oceanview cabin is very spacious. Also found the cabin to very quiet and being in the middle of the ship, it was very stable.
We arrived in Athens two days before embarkation. We used Michael's Amazing Tours to have a private tour of Athens and also booked our airport to hotel transfer & our hotel to Piraeus transfer. Best decision ever, covered a lot of ground in an all day tour of Athens & to the Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion. Really glad that we had a driver meet us at the Athens airport and also to take us to the Piraeus Port; made our transfers so much smoother.
We had to skip this port due to a medical emergency that had us turn back to Piraeus and also bad weather in the Aegean Sea.
We had a wonderful tour of Knossos Palace.
Easy to walk to Argostoli from the cruise dock. Nice town to walk through