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

Transatlantic Trip for Cruising Newbies

Riviera Cruise Review by BG Traveler

0 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Mar 2018
  • Destination: Transatlantic

My husband has always wanted to do a transatlantic crossing and the timing of the Oceania cruise was right. We both love food and wine and that was definitely a selling point to sail with Oceania, as was the relatively smaller ship size.

We had a fun couple of days in Miami before leaving; no problems getting to the terminal or our cabin once on board.

We found everyone on the staff to be extremely helpful and friendly. I work in the hospitality/events business so that means a lot to me.

It was our first cruise and I didn't really know what to expect; I just definitely knew that I didn't want to be on a cruise where we had to spend a lot of time being sociable with strangers (get enough of that at work!) or deal with over-the-top food buffets or formal nights.

We especially liked the library and the opportunities to hang out in quiet spots, including our veranda.

I enjoyed the access to the spa deck and using the spa services. The pool deck was nice and I loved lounging around watching the waves with a book in my hand and a glass of bubbly or one of the frozen coffee drinks from the espresso bar.

I have to say that there are worse things to do than spend three weeks reading, eating and drinking in the middle of the Atlantic.

We both liked the specialty restaurants very much, especially Red Ginger. We usually had breakfast and lunch in the Terrace Cafe, which was fine, and dinner in the Grand Reserve, which was very good. I say this as someone who's managed a fine-dining restaurant for the last 15 years. I did find it a little odd that it was hard to get wine service before placing a dinner order and I finally learned how to out-smart the wine stewards by insisting on ordering my wine before food.

I was a little concerned about not having a drinks package but felt the wine prices were very reasonable and liked that we didn't have to finish a bottle but could take it back to our cabin or have it stored for another night, even in another dining venue.

Our cabin was fine and our cabin attendants extremely helpful and friendly. I don't remember the cabin number but we upgraded to the Concierge level, which scored a bottle of champagne for me and free laundry service for my husband.

It did seem as though the carpets got rolled up pretty early every night, especially on deck. As others have mentioned, it would have been nice to be able to hang out after dark and enjoy a drink or cup or coffee or tea. And many days the Terrace Cafe terrace was closed for dining; more outdoor dining and relaxation options would be a big plus.

The shore excursions were okay; we missed the Azores because of rough water and high winds but that was understandable.

I think we only made it to one night of entertainment; it was okay but that wasn't really a priority with us anyway.

We made our own pre- and post-trip arrangements in both Miami and Barcelona, which worked out great for us.

Worst part of the whole trip was getting home from Barcelona, due to issues with American Airlines and late/canceled flights. But that's not an Oceania issue and we got there eventually.

Overall, it was a great experience and I'd recommend Oceania to others. Don't know if we'll ever cruise again but if we do, we'd definitely consider Oceania.


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