This was our 4th cruise with Oceania and we were just on the Riviera in February for a Caribbean cruise. Oceania is our cruiseline of choice because we like the size of the ship and the excellent food and service.
Pre-Cruise: We flew into Venice a day early and stayed at a hotel near the Piazza Roma and enjoyed the sights of Venice. We had a private tour of Venice the morning of boarding so we did not get to the ship until mid-afternoon so there was no line for checkin and the Terrace Cafe was empty when we went for a quick lunch.
Cabin: We were in a PH2 on deck 10 (#10035) which was right next to the elevators but there was no problem with noise and we really liked the convenience of being close to the elevators. The cabin was big enough for us and had plenty of storage space. I especially like the walkin closet and all the drawers.Our butler was great and whenever we called for extra ice or sparkling water it was delivered quickly. We only did 1 breakfast in the room and it came on time and was hot.
Dining: We found the dining and food on the Riviera to be just as good as on previous cruises. We had most of our breakfasts in the main dining room and the staff were always very pleasant and the food was good, We usually had lunches ashore. Dinners were mainly in the specialty restaurants and we were fortunate to get an extra reservation in both Red Ginger and Jacques (our 2 favourites). We enjoyed all the food and the only time we had an issue was when we brought a bottle of wine we had bought onshore to the Terrace Cafe for dinner and they could not locate it. They did eventually find it but then the wine steward was not around very often so we had to ask for service to get our glasses refilled. Service was good in all the other restaurants.
Shipboard Activities: This was a port intensive cruise so we did not get to many of the shipboard activities.We did enjoy the pool and spa deck, the string quartet before dinner and afternoon tea. The pool was very busy most days since it was very hot out. The spa deck was really hot so we didn't stay up there for very long. We noticed the demographics were very different on this cruise with a lot more families and children and generally a livelier crowd. The bars were very busy! We didn't go to any of the evening shows but noticed that the musical productions were the same as what we saw in February.
Excursions: We did mostly private excursions not through Oceania and they were very good. We did 2 excursions with Oceania. The first was to Murano & Burano and we enjoyed the boat ride to the islands and the tour guides gave a good description of the lagoon and the islands. The glass blowing demonstration in Murano was interesting and there was enough free time to walk around afterwards. In Burano we skipped the lace demonstration and had a nice lunch instead.
The second excursion was in Corfu to the Acheillion Palace. This was an OE excursion so it was quite a bit more expensive but with a smaller group(12 people) in a van. However, we went to the same places as the large group so it was just as crowded. The tour guide was good and we had the earpieces so we could hear her, but I did not think it was worth the extra dollars.
Ports: We enjoyed all the ports but found them to be very crowded with tourists and it was very hot while we were there. This took away from our enjoyment , especially in Santorini, but this is not a fault of Oceania. We usually found a nice cafe or restaurant near the water and spent a few hours there eating and people watching!
Disembarkation: This was the easiest and fastest disembarkation I have ever experienced. They made the announcement, we walked off, got our luggage and were off on our tour of Athens in about 5 minutes. Fantastic!
Overall, we enjoyed this cruise and are happy with Oceania and the Riviera. We are looking forward to our two future cruises!