We took our first cruise on the Nautica in 2018, and found it to be an elegant and pleasant way to travel. We were looking forward to taking another cruise, but our carefully thought-out plans were delayed for several years, along with everyone else in the world.
After several wonderful days at our embarkation port, Lisbon, we were excited to be back on board a ship. Although the Riviera holds about twice as many passengers, it didn't feel like it was very much larger. There are additional amenities, including an artist's studio, where you can sign up for lessons, and a culinary center, where you can take cooking classes for an additional fee. One of the cooking teachers/chefs had worked with Julia Child for many years, and gave a delightful presentation about that experience. Being more interested in being off the ship at the ports than being occupied inside (our voyage had no scheduled sea days) we didn't sign up for any classes, but I peeked in a couple of times, and it looked like they were having a great time, so next time, I think I would try a cooking class.
Food: Same basic cafes/restaurants: Grand Dining Room, Terrace Cafe, Waves Grill, Barista's; the specialty restaurants: Toscana, Polo Grill, plus Red Ginger, Jacques, and La Reserve and Privee. Our cabin level included one reservation at each of the four basic specialty restaurants, all of which we booked as shared tables. You are rarely alone on a cruise ship, and we craved a little less conviviality after a few days, and asked for a private table at times, which was accommodated when possible. The food, like on the Nautica, was terrific. We ate most of our meals at the Terrace, because we liked being able to eat outside when possible, getting our food quickly, and having the most variety. Portions are small-medium sized, which allows one to try lots of different things. The menu changes every day, and the standouts were the days of Spanish Market dinners, which included paella, suckling pig, and impressive arrays of sausages and breads. I thought the best specialty restaurant dinner we had was at Jacques, where the Dover sole, onion soup and pistachio creme brulee were outstanding. Baristas is the place to get a cappuccino or latte, conveniently located near the library. We had warm weather, which meant we enjoyed a crema, a frozen slushy coffee drink which I had not had before.
Our cabin was spacious and comfortable, with all the amenities we needed: hair dryer, magnifying make up mirror, tub & shower, bathrobes, slippers, basic toiletries, plus cotton swabs, shoe horn and a mini sewing kit. The closet, night tables and desk drawers had enough room for all our clothes and incidentals (note: we are low maintenance, non-makeup people, so YMMV.)
The beds are very comfortable, not overly laden with pillows. There is a nightlight in the bathroom, so there was no need to bring our own. (Oceania also provides laundry soap in the free passenger laundrettes, so you don't need to bring that, either). I used a little of our own laundry soap sheets to wash our swimsuits, but the shampoo/shower gel would have worked for that purpose.
The outlets were sufficient for our needs, most are US style, so we used an adaptor for one of them. After reading lots of tips about what to pack, we were glad to have brought magnets and post-it notes. The magnets let you put up your excursion tickets and dinner reservations on the wall where they are easily found, and the post it notes help to let each passenger know where the other one has gone off to, or to leave a note on a new friend's door. We brought the smallest size, post its, I wish we'd brought a larger size. There were no pens in the desk, I was glad to have brought several of my own, as we lost a few, here and there. There was a memo pad in the desk, too, but we found the post-it notes handier. The outlet in the bathroom can't power the blow dryer, it must be used at the desk.
Because the access to the closet is narrow, being on one side of the bed, I found it easier to keep my shoes under the bed next to my suitcase. In that way I didn't have to bend over to get down to the closet floor.
Our friendly cabin crew, who make up the room twice a day, kept everything meticulously clean.