33 Miami to Caribbean - Southern Oceania Riviera Cruise Reviews

This was our 4th sailing with Oceania and our second sailing on Riviera (we have also sailed on her sister ship, Marina). This is the first sailing we have taken with Oceania that was not "port intensive". We had 5 stops in the ... Read More
This was our 4th sailing with Oceania and our second sailing on Riviera (we have also sailed on her sister ship, Marina). This is the first sailing we have taken with Oceania that was not "port intensive". We had 5 stops in the southern Caribbean that were very easy and simple and did not require any excursions to be booked. All the excursions were basically a trip around the island or transportation to a beach, which you could easily do on your own. A good way to avoid the very high prices Oceania charges for excursions. We used this trip as a way to recover from the holidays. We had a lovely, oversized veranda balcony (two lounge chairs, plus two sitting chairs and a table) on the 7th deck that we used a great deal to hang out on our 4 days at sea. We sailed 100% full - 1,280 passengers. We were concerned that the ship would seem crowded, but it was absolutely no problem getting a table for meals, a seat in the bar, and no lines waiting for an elevator. Service as always was exemplary on board. We had the premium drink package which made ordering and paying for liquor very simple. The wine stewards were very good at assisting us select appropriate wines to go with our courses at meals. Cocktails were much improved over prior sailings as free hand pouring now appears to be allowed. Our cabin stewards were, as in the past, absolutely perfect and gracious. We skipped Toscana and Red Ginger based on prior sailings, but had two dinners at Polo Grill (we like to get the whole Maine lobster) and Jacques - our absolute favorite. The food is superb at Jacques. I look forward to the Mille Fleur dessert each time I am on board. We do not go the entertainment in the theater (just not our thing), but enjoyed the Brazilian guitar/singer in the Horizons Lounge at cocktail hour and the string quartet that plays adjacent to the Martini bar each evening. Both added to the peaceful atmosphere on board. There were also four lectures presented on the days at sea. The ship itself is on of our all time favorites. We have sailed with Viking, Celebrity, Norwegian and many of the very small cruise lines. Riviera is a beautiful elegant ship with exciting art work and impressive furnishings done in very good taste. The Lalique staircase is magnificent. We will continue to book with Oceania in the future. We thoroughly enjoyed this relaxing cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Embarkation easy. The first 3 days went well if you excluded the very poor entertainment. I found the cabin very dusty and the windows were filthy. Service is good in the specialty restaurants but spotty in the MDR and worse in the bar ... Read More
Embarkation easy. The first 3 days went well if you excluded the very poor entertainment. I found the cabin very dusty and the windows were filthy. Service is good in the specialty restaurants but spotty in the MDR and worse in the bar areas and by the pool. $5 wine sells for $48 on the ship but that is your choice. The shore excursions are the usual overpriced Oceania rip off but in 2 cases we actually used them we felt totally betrayed. We paid an extra $100 ($129 each) for a "luxury" 4X4 Land Rover 3 hour tour only to be shown to a old beat up Toyota pick up with beach seats. Complaint by several victims of this bait and switch fell on deaf ears. Returning from our last port of St. Barts, the tender operator lost control of the boat and smashed nose first into the hull of the Riviera at over 10 mph. Over 20 of the 50 people on board needed medical attention and many more woke up to sore backs and necks the next day. People had cuts and bruises and with strained backs and more prevalent whiplash symptoms. People were triaged by the doctor and patients we seen leaving the clinic with neck braces and bandages. The people with more minors problems were seen in a few hours with a promise to follow up. Oceania has not given an explanation whether mechanical failure or human error was responsible. We are just headed back to Miami now and I can't wait to get of this ship. The shelves in the store are almost totally empty from day one. I was told they will be replenished for the next cruise. What a shame considering the price of this cruise. We have enjoyed Oceania for 5 years but if the take over by NCL means the quality of this line is falling as has happened on this 10 day stint, it will be my last. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We have taken several cruises previously on Holland America but we wanted something a little more upscale to celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary so we decided to try Oceania. We are so glad we did. We loved Oceania and will be ... Read More
We have taken several cruises previously on Holland America but we wanted something a little more upscale to celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary so we decided to try Oceania. We are so glad we did. We loved Oceania and will be booking our future cruises with them. Embarkation and disembarkation were well organized and were a breeze. For embarkation, within about 20 minutes after arrival at the terminal, around noon, we were on the ship. The 4 main things we were looking for on the Oceania cruise were i) excellent food, ii) excellent service, iii) a nice stateroom & ship facilities and iv) not constantly feeling "nickeled and dimed". Oceania delivered on all 4... i) Food - The food in the Main Dining Room (MDR) at dinner varied from very good to excellent. Presentation and service were fine. For dinner, we generally arrived at 6:30pm, when the MDR opened, and we never had difficulty getting a nice table for 2, which is our preference. We also had several luxurious breakfasts and two lunches in the MDR. We were very impressed by the selection and the quality of the food. We ate breakfast at the Terrace Café often. Having breakfast outdoors as the ship slowly docks in a new port is wonderful. There is a wide selection at the Terrace Café for breakfast and I was really impressed with the quality of the fresh fruit - would start each breakfast with a plate of fresh fruit that I selected. Moreover their pastries (almond croissants!) and bread are terrific. Kudos to the people responsible for the bakery on board. Unlike Holland, at the buffet you are served by Oceania staff, which is nice. They will even carry your plate to your table for you. We had several lunches at the Waves Grill, especially when we got back early to mid afternoon from an excursion. Waves Grill was delightful - very nice salads, lovely french fries and excellent selection of burgers and sandwiches, all cooked to order. My favorites were the surf and turf (a must!), the Angus burger and the Reuben. We both liked the smoothies and the milkshakes. The best dining experiences, however, were in the specialty restaurants. It was so nice having access one time during the cruise to each of the 4 specialty restaurants. We actually cheated - managed to go a 2nd time to Red Ginger by checking on the 1st day of the cruise at 6pm when the restaurant opened to see whether they had any extra space - they did. Red Ginger was our favorite specialty restaurant. The subtlety and combination of flavors in the dishes we ordered were terrific. My wife and I absolutely loved the crispy duck and watermelon salad as well as the miso-glazed seabass (served in a banana leaf). A "10" !!! Polo Grill and Toscana were fine too. We were a little disappointed with the signature French restaurant, Jacques, however. The menu was very traditional, the service was rushed and the food ordinary. Have definitely eaten at much better French restaurants. And we don't appreciate it when we are served the 1st course almost immediately after ordering, even before the wine steward has had a chance to come take our order. ii) Service - consistently very good to excellent. Were pleasantly surprised by nice little touches. For example, when a server in the Terrace Café greeted us & asked us how we were doing, I mentioned that my wife seemed to be coming down with a cold. The server, Melissa from Serbia, immediately offered to bring my wife some tea with lemon and honey for her throat, which was much appreciated. Our cabin stewards were excellent and in a few cases when we had a small request, they made sure we got what we asked for. Even for the muster drill we were directed to the dining room where we could sit down during the demonstrations, rather than standing in a large group for an interminable period of time on a ship deck. Ratio of staff to guests (800/1250) is higher than on Holland and it showed. iii) Stateroom/Ship Facilities - we really liked our Concierge verandah stateroom. It was clean, functional, had plenty of storage space & everything worked well. My wife particularly liked the bathroom, with separate bath tub & shower. In other reviews we saw complaints about the shower, which is very small, but I am quite tall and didn't have a problem with it. Liked very much being able to take a bath as well, so having the separate bathtub was a plus for us. The verandah was a bit small and only had 2 basic chairs & a small table but was OK. The ship is smaller than what we were accustomed to but had excellent facilities. I used the gym often. We also used the deck at the front of the ship in the spa area that Concierge rooms can access, with its own whirlpool and chairs, during the At Sea days - very nice & quiet & one of our favorite spots. The library is a nice place to relax & has a very good choice of books. Baristas coffee bar, right next to the library, was great. Would often go there for a morning cappuccino. So nice that this is included.....The main Riviera theater is comfortable and well laid out. We went to Horizons on the 15th floor for High Tea 3X during the cruise - listening to a string quartet while eating your scones, cream and jam (&/or small sandwiches and other pastries), with panoramic views in all directions, is simply wonderful! iv) Not being "nickeled and dimed" - no charge for specialty restaurants, bottles of water provided each time you leave the ship, free specialty coffees and all non-alcoholic drinks, including a stocked mini bar with water, sodas and juice in your stateroom. Bottles water and Gatorade available (for free) in the gym. Snacks and coffee available throughout the day in the Concierge Lounge. With O-Life, cost of excursions covered in the price of the cruise. Free Internet - slow & temperamental so don't get your expectations up but fine for sending emails & checking Sports scores. Even managed to Facetime back home once. Concierge class - we liked the concierge format and when we book next time we will stick with it. We appreciated the access to the Concierge lounge and used it almost daily. The bottle of champagne (real champagne btw) at the beginning of the cruise was a nice touch. We also really enjoyed the Concierge access to the spa whirlpool and deck at the bow of the ship. Being in Concierge class also meant a shorter embarkation, which was helpful. Entertainment - We only attended one show while we were on board but we enjoyed it very much - much better than similar "production" type shows we had seen on Holland America. Otherwise after dinner we were quite happy returning to our room & relaxing there. Excursions/Ports - We took 3 excursions with Oceania during this cruise - best by far was the Beach Break in Barbados. Beach was spectacular & facilities excellent. Island tour of Antigua was OK too but the beach stop at the end of the tour was disappointing - beach was small & very ordinary, nothing spectacular. Excursion to Virgin Gorda by catamaran, then bus in Tortola was a disappointment - small site was completely overrun with tourists and access to caves and baths was difficult, even though we are in decent shape & very mobile. Devil's Bay beach, with imposing boulders, is pretty but it is a small beach and there were too many people there. In St Lucia we just got off the ship briefly to look at the shops around the port but there was nothing in that area to get excited about. Tender at St Barts was a little long & not a great experience but once we got on the island we enjoyed our time there. Explored Gustavia on our own and then made our way to Shell Beach, a pleasant 10-15 minute walk from the tender port. Great place to beachcomb for shells & kept myself busy with a little snorkeling as well. Afterwards enjoyed a drink at Le Gustav with pretty views of the harbor & marina. Overall we thought this was an excellent cruise and liked it so much, we tried to book for the very next one, so we wouldn't have to leave the ship. Unfortunately the following cruise was overbooked and the Oceania Club Ambassador we dealt with was not helpful at all but that is another story. We were extremely happy with our 1st experience with Oceania and only regret not having tried them earlier. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Riviera is a perfect size ship being very easy to get around. Amazingly for it's relatively small size, it boasts a total of 14 musicians (excellent), 11 singers/dancers (all exceptional), and very entertaining shows. The 9:45 show ... Read More
Riviera is a perfect size ship being very easy to get around. Amazingly for it's relatively small size, it boasts a total of 14 musicians (excellent), 11 singers/dancers (all exceptional), and very entertaining shows. The 9:45 show time is perfect to have a pleasant dinner beforehand and not have to rush to see the show. We found the room, a standard balcony, a bit on the smallish side compared to our last cruise on Windstar´s Star Pride. They could have left out the bath tub, made the bathroom a bit smaller & gained room in the stateroom itself. However, it was really the width of the room that we found a bit restricting. We were on deck 7 which is just above the lifeboats. It is close enough to the waterline that if the sea is even a bit high, you can't go out on the balcony as you will be hit with spray. Having said that, we used the balcony often, particularly for a bit of reading after being in port for the day Food all around was very good as was the attention given by all the staff. The specialty restaurants are fun as an alternative to the main dining room and the food is exceptional. Exaggerated wine prices in all dining venues! Compared to other cruise lines, we paid approximately double what we would normally pay for an average wine. Count on spending at least $50 a bottle for a just so-so wine. And, a simple ladies hair wash/dry & comb came to $70+ for my wife, when she has never paid more than $35 on other cruise lines. Absolutely loved "Baristas", the coffee corner, where you could get a proper espresso at any time of the day, and the fellow working there was friendly and very good at giving you just the coffee you wanted. Then, oh my....the Norovirus! This was the 3rd. time Riviera had this problem in the last 4 months, so their telling us all that we brought it aboard was insulting, to say the least! Yes, the Captain actually said that! We knew they had had the problem twice already, but assumed this would be the cleanest ship on the seas for our cruise, However, they had obviously not solved the on-ship problem, and trying to put the blame on the passengers was beyond understanding. They worked very hard to control the virus, and were able to keep most of us healthy. What a shame for those that did become ill. Most passengers accepted the problem as well as can be expected, and everyone appreciated the extra work all the crew did with their cleaning duties. There must have been a mutiny or something in the kitchen one night as we waited 45 minutes between courses...each course, meaning a very long meal! The next night everyone was treated to free wine, although it wasn't particularly a nice wine! Still, I guess it was a nice gesture. It was a shame we weren't allowed to dock in Aruba. The Captain kept saying "just another 15 minutes", etc. After a 4 hour wait the rumors were flying around the ship, as you can imagine. That was at the beginning of the cruise, and little had been admitted publicly as to the problem on board. After that, the Captain made a statement every day at noon as to the status of the illness. Nevertheless, we had a great time on board Riviera, and highly recommend it for all the good things mentioned above. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We have almost 300 days at sea with Cunard, Crystal, Hollande America, Celebrity, Royal Carribean, Princess, Norwegian and Oceania! This first Cruise with Oceania was a complete disapointment. Food was just ok not the ´best food at ... Read More
We have almost 300 days at sea with Cunard, Crystal, Hollande America, Celebrity, Royal Carribean, Princess, Norwegian and Oceania! This first Cruise with Oceania was a complete disapointment. Food was just ok not the ´best food at sea' as advertized by Oceania. Oil was used in the pastries instead of butter. Same sauce served with beef,veal and chicken, same vegetables served in the Terrace Café every lunch... Entertainment was poor. No activity to participe in since everything was closed - the norovirus was with us! CDC came on the ship to investigate , is it only norovirus ?? 10 spécimens were evaluated and are still under investigation by the CDC. One of our party of 4 was sick the second day at sea and there was no doctor visit, no temperature taken, no specimen taken, is it the norovirus? Minimum 48 Hours in your cabin with your spouse and no right to go out of the ship for the next 3 ports! We had no welcome glass of wine when we board the ship - thank you to Celebrity for doing it. Hat and jeans in the dining venues for men, no jacket for the Captain's evening - is it country club? Pricing of the wine questionnable - a $15 botte sold at $60 + 18% for the service! And the wine list is not long and not interesting. Will We recommand Oceania? NO. Will we repeat with Oceania? NO. And many other passengers on this cruise who were repeaters told us that they will not repeat again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our third cruise with Oceania, first on Riveria (probably our last), second with Marina. We were very excited about this cruise because the ports of call were different from any we had taken in the past, especially Aruba. Lo and ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Oceania, first on Riveria (probably our last), second with Marina. We were very excited about this cruise because the ports of call were different from any we had taken in the past, especially Aruba. Lo and behold, two days out, Norovirus was announced by the Captain and the ship went into quarantine mode and all of the niceties that we have come to expect from Oceania disappeared immediately. The tables were cleared, the buckets of disinfectant came out and hands had to be sanitized at least a dozen times a day. It was like being on a floating horror movie with disinfectant dripping down the walls, wallpaper lifting off the walls, railings, counters and doors all sticky and goopy to the touch so much so that you couldn't even hold the stair railings when you went up and down. It was serious overkill. There were passengers who had a bit of stomach upset who were reported by room stewards that were quarantined without being tested for Norovirus and then subjected to the same stigma as those that actually had the virus. We were not allowed to dock in Aruba by the port authorities. We were very upset as this was the main reason we chose this cruise in the first place. We had to show our world cards every time we entered any of the restaurants to make sure we were not one of the "infected" people as they took their cards away and taped their doors shut and took them food on paper plates and plastic cutlery; apparently cold food for at least 48 hours. There was no captains reception for returning guests as is the norm on Oceania, the culinary school was closed, library, anywhere that they thought could pass germs. As soon as you got up from a table, the cloth was whisked away and it was sloshed down, table and chairs with disinfectant and left for at least 10 minutes. You had to ask for cream and sugar or salt and pepper and they would bring it to you and pour the cream and give you a paper packet of sugar or salt and pepper. I felt like I was in a low class cafeteria not a luxury cruise ship. Lastly, this cruise was completely sold out. Full to the brim. We should have been told that this ship had had Norovirus not once but twice before this cruise so that we could have made an informed decision as to whether or not we wanted to put ourselves into this situation. Oceania did send an urgent email to my travel agent shortly before left but it was only to offer us an upgrade for an additional cost. They chose not to tell us about the Norovirus. Fortunately for us and fortunately for Oceania, we did not get sick. Had we been one of the many very elderly people with depressed immune systems on board, this could have gone very badly. One last thing. Oceania did not plan very well for a sold out cruise ship. They ran out of wine, Pellegrino water, several foods. I for one like blueberries in my blueberry pancakes. When you have a full ship, you plan accordingly, and clearly they did not. I was not impressed. The saving grace for us was we had a penthouse suite with a lovely butler named Hamesh that saw to our every need. He brought me my Pellegrino and lots of it to the room. I suffer from migraines and always had a full ice bucket for my ice pack thanks to Hamesh. We had dinner in our room which was wonderful and daily canapés and drinks on the veranda as we pulled out of port. The room was beautifully appointed and we would never book anything other than a penthouse suite. It is well worth the extra money you pay for it. We have always enjoyed sailing with Oceania and sing their praises to all of our friends and while we know Norovirus is not their fault, they could have behaved very differently at the end of the cruise to make us feel better about the whole thing. They never said the simple words we are sorry for this or that this has inconvenienced you or perhaps ruined your holiday and hope that it won't influence your decision to sail with us again. Simple words that would have made a big difference and perhaps made us feel better. Secondly, I think they should have provided a cruise refund for this cruise and a credit for a future cruise. This would have made us want to cruise with them again and give them another chance. This cruise was seriously ruined and we spent major dollars with this company. We have told our travel agent that we were tried and true Oceania'ers but we are now looking at other luxury cruise companies. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our second cruise on the Riviera and we were so looking forward to the food, playing tennis, golf and croquet on the forward sports deck and taking art and culinary classes when we were at sea. We also had high expectations for ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Riviera and we were so looking forward to the food, playing tennis, golf and croquet on the forward sports deck and taking art and culinary classes when we were at sea. We also had high expectations for the entertainment as it was better than average on our previous cruise. But, above all we booked the cruise for the food. Before I start, let me just say Oceania, unlike other cruiselines, DOES NOT require passengers to santitize their hands the first 48 hours of the cruise prior to going into a dining area. Due to this company policy, we feel strongly the 100+ passengers that caught the norovirus on this cruise as well as those of us that caught a solid case of bronchitis could have been minimized. What we found so amazing was this was the 3rd time CDC had been notified by the Riviera that over 2% of the passengers had come down with the virus since Nov 2015! If fact according to our room steward, it was actually the 5th time. I guess the other 2 times didn't reach the CDC notification level. Now, for the rest of the story, but I'll try to be brief. By the second day there were so many cases of the norovirus being reported, they cancelled the culinary and art classes for the duration of the cruise as well as all the sports equipment was put under lock and key. As far as access to dining areas, they started making everyone sanitize their hands and show their room cards before entering. The room card check stumped me until I found out they had confiscated the infected passengers room cards. They did that for the remainder of the cruise, which was fine, especially when it came to sanitizing hands. As far as the entertainment went, they only had 2 acts that boarded the 14 day cruise and stayed for a few days before leaving. The rest of the time there was a comedian, who was pretty good, that was married to the cruise director, 2 solo singing acts which were meager at best performed by the assistant cruise director and from one of the girls from the Oceania singer and dancer group. My point being saving money on entertainment appeared to be one of the goals of this now Norwegian-owned cruise line and it showed. Now, the reason we came on the cruise as I mentioned earlier was for the food! What a let down. When we went last spring on the Riviera we were definitely wowed! Not this time. It was still good and the specialty restaurants were still good, but they never reached the wow factor, except for maybe the Polo Grill and the Red Ginger. The rest of the time we ate outside up at the Terrace Cafe. However, most of the time we ordered from the grill because the prepared food was just so so. Again, nothing like the last cruise. As a final note Oceania did not compensate anyone on this cruise that we know of for their lack of being able to provide a quality cruise. It goes without saying this will be the last time we will sail on an Oceania cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We are 4 time cruisers on Oceania, 3 times on Riviera and 1 time on Marina. We LOVED Oceania! But this cruise was a huge disappointment!! First up was the food.. they advertise that its for foodies of which we are.. we did love their ... Read More
We are 4 time cruisers on Oceania, 3 times on Riviera and 1 time on Marina. We LOVED Oceania! But this cruise was a huge disappointment!! First up was the food.. they advertise that its for foodies of which we are.. we did love their food and thought is was truly the best of all the lines we travelled on. On the first day (embarkation) at the Terrace Buffet (one of my favourite places to dine on the ship) I noticed that instead of having 4 choices on the main buffet they had 4 of the same thing.. the service was unorganized in the Terrace, some of the servers just wandering around and not even looking to see if you are trying to call them (their were other servers at the other dining venues that were really great) I racked it up to first day embarkation but it was just the start of a bad situation.. don’t get me wrong the food is not bad.. but it has really really gone down hill since last year. I heard they were bought by Norwegian so maybe this is why?? I find it hard to believe that any of the wonderful french chefs are still aboard this ship... the food and presentation at most dining locations was mediocre.. Then there was NOROVIRUS!! We got sick on the 3rd day but pretty sure it was not from Noro, we felt it was food poisoning, we were sick just once and the runs for a few hours and then we were ok. Our cabin attendant found it necessary to report us to the ships infirmary on Tues, they took away our guest cards, basically locking us in the room for the next 48 hours (coming in with masks, rubber gloves, food was brought into us on paper plates, plastic knives and forks, plastic cups and the food was alway served cold, they fumigated our whole cabin, bed and all) Don’t get me wrong I understand the need to quarantine people that have NORO, but we were not diagnosed with NOGO. The “nurse” only came in the day later, we had no temperature taken, a couple of questions as to how we were, a bottle of immmodium and another pill for the nausea and she was gone, we never saw anyone from the infirmary again. We were treated as if we had leprosy..even fellow passengers were not admitting to anyone if they were part of the sick group or not, other passengers commented that we must have lied on our declaration at the airport and really were sick. For me, if you have NORO the last thing you would want to do or could do is fly and travel.. I realized now that a ship is the last place you want to be if you are sick, it’s a dictatorship and you have no rights. Now, we were on the list of sick people along with others that “maybe" had Noro. Once we were out of quarantine and given back our cards we were still on this list and could not get off in the first 3 ports.. of course the cruise line blamed it on the ports and did not take any responsibility for the outbreak or even our situation. Talking to officers on board the comment was “well some tourists must have been sick and brought it on the ship”. Just remember that this was the 3 sailing since Dec that Riviera had an outbreak. We were not notified by our travel agent or Oceania prior to sailing that this had taken place. When we asked Oceania what compensation we could be given the answer was NONE... When we asked out travel agent why they didn’t tell us, they claimed they didn’t know and they said when they called Oceania, they were also unaware there had been any outbreak before this, or even on this cruise... Like really??? I won’t bother to mention what others have on reviews before me.. the crew washing down walls, elevator buttons, railings, door handles, basically everything was wet and sticky. The Library was closed, the artists loft was closed, the cooking classes were cancelled.. and this is not a reasonably priced cruise, I would consider it fairly expensive compared to other lines, so the bar was high. Frank Del Rio and the others that envisioned Oceania as a wonderful Lux Lite line with amazing food must be so disappointed...Never again...... Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
My husband and I were really looking forward to taking this trip because of the ease of leaving from Miami, and we live in Florida. We've been on the Riviera three times before so knew the elegance and luxury of this ship. ... Read More
My husband and I were really looking forward to taking this trip because of the ease of leaving from Miami, and we live in Florida. We've been on the Riviera three times before so knew the elegance and luxury of this ship. Unfortunately, the second day we started to hear rumors that people were getting sick. Then the captain announced that, yes, people were getting sick with suspected norovirus and CDC pocedures were put in place. That meant that the library was closed, also Baristas, no cooking classes and artist loft closed. Then they started to sanitize everything, and I do mean everything! The teak chairs in Waves Grill were sticky and clung to your back! No silverware was put on the table so everything looked sparse and empty. When you sat down in any restaurant, the table was empty. Then, the waiter came along and put down some plates and silverware, but no salt or pepper, or milk in the morning. The lounge tables were constantly wiped down and goopy, that's the only word I can think of. The atmosphere was completely lost! practically everyone we spoke to was afraid of getting sick. It ended up that 98 people were ill and had to be quarantined for four days. There were red tapes put on their doors so they couldn't leave, and their ocean cards were taken away so they couldn't go to the dining rooms. We had to show our cards every time we ate, even if it was an ice cream! And you couldn't go to the Terrace Café and bring anything back to your room because food was not allowed out of the café. Now, did we have a good time? Well, my husband and I enjoy each other and we met some really nice people so we had a good time. Aruba wouldn't let the ship dock so that port was cancelled. But, this was the second time out of our four cruises with Oceania that the virus has been in the ship and the last time we got sick! Norovirus isn't pleasant, to say the least. So bottom line, that is the end of Oceania for us. The only "compensation" anyone got was free drinks during dinner two days of the cruise and our waiter told us to keep quiet about it. We still don't know if only our table got the drinks or everyone did! How tasteless. There are many luxury lines in the cruising market and I just don't want t waste my money feeling afraid that I will get it. Pass on Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This is the first cruise I've been on in which it improved with each day. At first, I had misgivings & couldn't see any differences, but the overall service and attention to detail soon became apparent. The ship is ... Read More
This is the first cruise I've been on in which it improved with each day. At first, I had misgivings & couldn't see any differences, but the overall service and attention to detail soon became apparent. The ship is beautifully decorated with modern art and amphora vases throughout. It is kept immaculately clean. Our balcony cabin was very well appointed, the bedding was super soft and the marble bathroom had a stall shower in addition to a full size tub. Many thanks to Joel and Komong for your excellent service and ice deliveries each afternoon. The ship's library consisted of tall book cabinets making small cubicles within which comfy chairs and tables were placed. A reader could sink into a chair surrounded by books, enjoy a coffee and zone out. It was heaven!!! Dining was strictly done by servers at the Terrace Cafe. There was always a nice variety of food for breakfast and lunch, especially healthy ones which pleased me. Beverages were served tableside. The specialty restaurants were outrageously delicious. We did not try Red Ginger. The majority of passengers were 60+. We met many nice people from England, Canada and the midwest. Our trivia team BRITUS won the competition! It was a lot of fun and good times. Kudos to social director, Dottie Kolloso, who without a doubt, is the busiest social director on the seven seas. She can outperform the Energizer Bunny. We loved the casual dresscode, no photographers and no pushy sales people. It was a very laid back, lowkey cruise. We bumped into past Crystal cruisers who switched over because, according to them, Crystal had become too "stuffy". The in-room TVs never had good reception (satellite problems we were told), but we didn't care since we weren't on vacation to watch TV. I got my hair cut by JOSEPH. It was the best precision cut I ever received, so I rushed back to the cabin and took selfies so my stylist could copy it. Thanks, Joseph!!! The one complaint we had was the entertainment troupe was pretty bad. It amounted to a bunch of kids jumping around & screaming through their headsets. I suffered through two performances and opted to go to the casino after that. The magician, Greg Moreland, was good. He gave 2 magic tricks classes that were excellent. Also, harpist Shirley Dominguez, entertained us with her electric harp. In conclusion, the consistently very good food, specialty restaurants, relaxed dresscode, and lovely cabin amenities made it a cruise worth repeating. It truly is a "Your Cruise, Your Way" atmosphere. Skip this cruise if you are a family with kids because Oceania provides NOTHING in the way of Kidtertainment. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Our 9th Oceania Cruise (five on REGATTA, one on MARINA and three on RIVIERA) did nothing to dispel our opinion this is the best cruise product out there. Indeed, I rate it as perhaps our best in terms of the overall cuisine and service. I ... Read More
Our 9th Oceania Cruise (five on REGATTA, one on MARINA and three on RIVIERA) did nothing to dispel our opinion this is the best cruise product out there. Indeed, I rate it as perhaps our best in terms of the overall cuisine and service. I appreciate there is a lot of worry about standards slipping with Oceania now owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines (the antithesis of everything we like in cruising) but it sure hasn't happened yet. You'd have to be pretty picky, miserable or both to find serious fault with this ship or her crew. RIVIERA remains the most immaculate, perfectly maintained ship on the planet. It is impossible for one to be any cleaner and given the decor seems designed for difficult maintenance, it's even more impressive. This doesn't happen by accident so my top rating for the crew goes to the humble but ever so hardworking cleaners. Overall, the service remains astonishing yet reassuringly superb. We noticed fewer familiar faces this cruise than in the past but made new friends and found new favourites among the new ones or at least new to us. Everyone seems genuinely friendly, courteous and helpful, challenging the unfortunate preference among some for faceless service. These wonderful people, from all over the world, just seem to enjoy excelling at their jobs and exceeding our expectations in all they do. The cuisine, the heart of the Oceania experience... gosh can it get any better? New menu choices for breakfast and lunch, the best lido and informal dining afloat (we normally hate lido style dining on ships but this time we had every breakfast and lunch delightfully al fresco and loved it) and the Grand Dining Room seemed much improved in terms of overall service although it can still be a bit slow owing to the epic menu and open sitting. Toscana and Red Ginger remain our favourites among the specialty restaurants but we also had our best ever Polo experience thanks to a delightful steward. They do need to do more to cater to gluten free (my wife) diets and she got ill aboard after eating something she was told was gluten free and was not. Most shoreside restaurants can cater to gluten free a lot better and work needs to be done here for sure. Entertainment: never why we go on cruises in the first place but the bands aboard were just fantastic this time and a HUGE improvement over other Oceania cruises especially the "Best Seller Band" in Horizons for before and after dinner. They have improved the live music before and after meal times from previous years and this is most appreciated. We didn't really go to the "shows" and the comedian was, well shall we say, not the best... my wife had a wonderful nap through most of his routine! Three criticisms: Itinerary: odd for a line that boasts having midsized ships that can go where the big ships cannot, this cruise had us among SIX ships in St. Maarten (yuck!), five in Nassau and six in Antigua... we had to dock at the container pier at the later it was so packed and in all three places, elected to stay aboard to avoid the mobs. Oceania needs to return to calls at St. Kitts, Virgin Gorda etc. It's hard to find solitude in the Caribbean nowadays precisely because of mass cruising but they can and should do better to find it. RIVIERA shouldn't be in the same ports as OASIS OF THE SEAS and we were... twice! Spa Deck (Canyon Ranch): now available to anyone booked in Concierge and above cabins and risked being ruined by becoming just another lido deck pool area. The intended quiet relaxation was spoilt by too many loud passengers. They need to put signs up there indicating "Quiet Zone" and discouraging loud conversations, food and alcohol. We were not the only ones wondering what distinguished this area from any other cruise ship pool area. Recorded "music" around the pool: again, hard to reconcile being forced to listen to audio pap blaring from loudspeakers with Oceania's "Your World, Your Way" slogan. In an age of Mp3 players, why are we forced to listen to other people's idea of music?? But yep, this remains one superb cruise product and experience across the board. Thanks to everyone aboard RIVIERA for their hard work in making our too short time aboard so pleasant.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
CONS: Concierge Level is NOT worth it. There are no advantages to paying more for this privilege. A few upscale toiletries are about the extent of this level. The “Concierge Lounge” is nothing more that an inside stateroom, with a ... Read More
CONS: Concierge Level is NOT worth it. There are no advantages to paying more for this privilege. A few upscale toiletries are about the extent of this level. The “Concierge Lounge” is nothing more that an inside stateroom, with a blaring TV (CNN) a few newspapers, four computer terminals, and a mini-fridge with sodas. There is a “Concierge Person” available – sometimes. The “10% discount on internet services” was not honored and was repeatedly refused. Embarkation is no faster. Luggage does not arrive any sooner. Rooms may be entered only a few minutes (5 – 10 minutes) before other levels. “Tranquility Beds?” NOT! Our beds were the most uncomfortable beds we have ever encountered while cruising. There are no king-sized beds, only queens, and “queens” are actually two singles (small singles-think “camping cots”) put together. My husband is a little over six feet tall, and his feet hung over the end. To turn over, one must lift up and turn, or end up on the floor. I requested a foam pillow. Our room concierge-stewardess was not able to provide one. I received yet another lumpy, hard, pillow and was told, “This IS a foam pillow!” Entertainment was very poor Evening shows do not begin until 9:45 pm. Several were so disappointing (that) we left before the end. Most passengers are far past age 70. There are lots of walkers and motorized chairs and, at times, if you are stuck behind them, movement about the ship can be cumbersome. Wine and spirits are VERY EXPENSIVE. “Packages” are offered, but the sommelier may have the last laugh, as the vintages are foreign, and there is no way to know what you are getting. Wines by the glass are highly inflated, and an 18% gratuity is added on to the already outrageous cost. Room service coffee is abominable. Coffee in the restaurants is very good, but morning coffee on the balcony was so bad, it had to be sent back. Shore excursions were a joke and the joke was on us! We did the “Jungle ATV Adventure” and when, after the first few minutes we realized we were driving around in circles, we had to laugh at our own gullibility. The tour operators were ingenious. They were making big bucks for doing donuts in the jungle. Specialty restaurants What they do not tell you is that you may only dine in the four specialty restaurants ONCE. No more, only one time. You may request subsequent dining, but will be told you are “on the wait list” to no avail. PROS: The ship is lovely. Understated and elegant décor and soft, unobtrusive music. Some of the artwork is bizarre (What were they thinking?!) but overall the ship was very refined. Room service was lightening fast, and the pastries were divine. No extra charge for room service was nice. Embarkation was a breeze. We were on the ship in less than 10 minutes. The library was lovely and well appointed. Dining was fun with almost too many waitpersons in attendance. The food was no more special than the faire offered on other cruise lines. The china, crystal, and silver were superior. There was always plenty of lounge chairs poolside. Each one is covered with a clean white terrycloth covering. The cooking classes were fabulous. Our class began at 4:00 pm, and we were so full from the samples, that we had to forego dinner that evening. We came home with several great recipes and new skills. Oceania boasts that their staterooms at 282 sq.ft. are larger than most others. I was shocked upon entering our stateroom, as it was no bigger than what we have experiences on three other cruise lines. The elegant bathroom, however, was spacious with two showers, a full tub, and well appointed storage. We had a delightful cruise, but for the money, other cruise lines offer a better value. Oceania’s refusing to offer free internet, and then refusing to honor their own offer of a 10% discount on an internet package was petty. The nickel and dimeing for several little things, that should have been included, was offensive.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
For the last three years my DH has been trying to get me to try Oceania and when this one came up in a price point I was comfortable with doing, I agreed. We originally booked a 10 day cruise that would take place this month but O asked if ... Read More
For the last three years my DH has been trying to get me to try Oceania and when this one came up in a price point I was comfortable with doing, I agreed. We originally booked a 10 day cruise that would take place this month but O asked if we'd be willing to do the 14 day Southern Caribbean cruise (Nov 29 - Dec 13) instead.Both cruises began and ended in Miami.To do the change, we would be upgraded to a balcony from an oceanview - with both being around midship. Since we could change our airfare with no problem we agreed. Let me say in advance, overall I loved the experience and with a good price point and itinerary would definitely cruise O again. We've been on over 30 cruises and tried all the other mainline cruises including Crystal. We like the ships with under 1500 passengers. Next year we plan to try river cruising. The day of our cruise, there was a coast guard inspection so we were told not to arrive until around 3 pm. That's when we did our embarkation and found that at least 75% of the guests were already on board. This meant we got through the process quickly. What I didn't like is that our room was not yet available so we had to keep our carryon with us. Finally had approval to go to our cabin around 4 pm. Never had to wait that long with other cruise lines. Though it didn't seem like it at first, I found our room had a lot of storage space - especially when you add the rack space under the sink and over the commode. My only issue with the room was the TV. If we tried to watch a movie on TV the reception kept going out or the sound got garbled. Didn't seem to run into that issue with news channels. First impression of the ship was one of spaciousness and minimal crowds - even in the Terrace Grill. We had our late lunch out on the deck overlooking the city which was lovely. However, my first experience with the Grill - was less than stellar. Felt they were lacking for "lunch" options of salads and sandwiches. I don't want overcooked vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy with meat for lunch. My other issue was with in the salad dressing options. I've had better dressing options at cheap buffets. I was especially appalled by what they considered Caesar dressing - basically whipped mayonnaise with some Italian seasonings. Had a chat with one of the chefs about it and he said they would be tweaking it some to make it more traditional. Worked around the lunch options other days by ordering turf & surf solo or grilled ahi from Waves (which should not be missed) and having them bring it to the Terrace where I had a small salad with the balsamic vinaigrette and added some cheese and dried fruit. Loved the food options at Waves, but they had several problems with getting my order correct. Their fries are the hottest and crispest I've found on any cruise line. Tried all the specialty restaurants for dinner two or three times. This is where O excels. They had outstanding appetizers, pastas and desserts. Enjoyed the olive oil and vinegar menu at Toscana. Our favorite appetizer was the eggplant wrapped veal. Want to make that at home! We keep talking about it. Since I'm a big fan of teas, I loved the tea options at Red Ginger. My new favorite is the Ginger Pear White tea. Was not a fan of the standard teas found in all the other venues. Only option for herbal teas was chamomile and a lemon. I like herbals with a little more flavor. However, made up for that by having vitamin waters which I could pick up at the gym. Afternoon tea - tried it once and enjoyed a couple of their samplings which were pretty standard fare for cruise line teas. The disappointing part is they don't offer any different teas than those found in the grill or dining room.(Get the idea I like my teas.) Barista - My DH enjoyed the coffee options here and we both liked the mini- versions of the pastries they served here. Entertainment - went to a few shows which were what you'd typically find on any other ship of this size. I enjoy them though I know others say they are not Broadway caliber; but then I'm not paying Broadway ticket prices. We really liked listening to the live bands. My DH is a musician and he thought they were very talented. Ports - This is the reason we switched our cruise - the option to do ports not normally seen. Favorites were Grenada, St. Kitts, Columbia & Venezuela. The latter for the learning experience of what life is like under a despot. Tours in Grenada and St Kitts were independent and would highly recommend the tour operators. Debarkation - Had a leisurely breakfast in the dining room with few other in attendance which was surprising. Service was good as it was other mornings we dined there. Good choices for breakfast. I had one of my favorites of a hamburger with a fried egg. And it was served at the right temperature. We rarely have to catch an early plane as we often stay in the port an extra night. In many of the specialty restaurants we shared tables and enjoyed chatting with other avid cruisers. Also enjoyed the exercise of doing the mini-sports games with the fun-spirited singers and dancers. As usual did trivia daily and enjoyed the camaraderie of my team (many times a winner) and the other teams. Had lots of wonderful memories from this cruise and the ports. Would highly recommend it to others. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
With more than 60 cruises on all levels of cruise lines (from Carnival, Celebrity to Cunard) as a guideline for this review, my husband and I are not sure we would be enticed to cruise on Oceania again when considering the price of this ... Read More
With more than 60 cruises on all levels of cruise lines (from Carnival, Celebrity to Cunard) as a guideline for this review, my husband and I are not sure we would be enticed to cruise on Oceania again when considering the price of this cruise compared to our experience while on board. Driving over to Miami is nothing out of the ordinary for us, but pulling up to a small, unorganized porter area to drop off luggage and then a long wait in line to prepay for our garage parking was not the standard we expected from a luxury cruise port. The port employees park here as well and finding a place not under the top floor sun was difficult. Once we entered the check-in building, it was a breeze. Ship is elegant, lovely lounges surround pool and Terrace Spa area is perfect for afternoon whirlpool and nap. But, some guests do not respect the serenity and carry on as though it's a pool party area. Gym is well equipped but noticed no hands-on staff nearby to help with equipment. More than 3 machines had TV/Radio not working and no one to notify. The sanitary wipe containers were usually empty by mid-morning. Our penthouse suite was not ready when boarding near noon, so we went to the poolside bar to have a cocktail. Asking for Absolute for my Bloody took forever as the bar did not have it stocked. Husband asked for Bud and was told they do not carry that beer. For two days he drank Corona, at a higher price, and then saw another passenger with a Bud bottle. This was the normal level of service with the bars on board. Slow and not polished. Plus the drinks are more expensive than on other lines. The suite was lovely. The bed and linens were exceptional. Tons of storage and probably the best layout we've had on any ship. The bathroom was wonderful, too. Problems with A/C during night continued even after reported and supposedly repaired. Always got hot during the middle of night. The veranda was very salty when we arrived. Seriously...huge pieces of dried salt were on the deck and every chair and railing had salt residue. Not a great first impression. Finally cleaned the next day. Our butler, Gyan, was attentive without being annoying. Suite was always clean and our stewardess and assistant should be commended, too. The steam room did not work probably during the entire cruise. Repeated reports to spa manager, guest relations and finally a mid cruise questionnaire brought attention to the engineer. We were told it was clogged and new parts needed when returning to Miami. Food ranged from average to excellent. Polo was just OK, Ginger and Jacque's excellent. Toscana was very good, too. Grand dining room ranged from average to suburb. But, other than Ginger, all the service was slow. Entertainment was fine. Enjoyed the string quartet prior to dinner and also the piano in the martini bar. Saw a couple of shows and they were nice. Nothing exceptional, but entertaining. Only booked one Oceania 7 hour excursion while in St Lucia. For the high charge, all land transportation should have been Air Conditioned. When in parking lots, we noticed Royal Caribbean buses were more new, in better condition and with A/C. We both took the Italian cooking class and it was a great experience. Lots of fun and out of the ordinary. Would highly recommend any class. Heard lots of conversation from fellow passengers who had cruised on Oceania previous. Liquor is very expensive, food has gone downhill and service isn't what it used to be. At times the crowding on board seemed unbearable. Ship's muster caused stairway congestion and pushing. Finding pool lounges could be tedious for those who didn't come on deck early in morning. Disembarking was not smooth either. The halls were too narrow to accompany all the wheelchair and hovercrafts trying to get to a lounge to wait to be called. Passengers were "stuck" after exiting elevators as no one could move. Cruising on the Oasis of Seas seemed less populated than the Riviera when comparing wait for elevators or entering dining room. Think we'll continue to cruise on Celebrity or RCI where our club's level provides complimentary cocktails and will upgrade to at least a jr suite. We believe it to be a better value and equal experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Embarkation Well done. This is our 14th cruise so we knew what to expect (first with Oceania). We were on the ship very early—about 11:45. We couldn’t get into our room until about 2:45. One suitcase arrived before the safety drill ... Read More
Embarkation Well done. This is our 14th cruise so we knew what to expect (first with Oceania). We were on the ship very early—about 11:45. We couldn’t get into our room until about 2:45. One suitcase arrived before the safety drill and one shortly thereafter Stateroom We were in a B3, 7114 with the extended balcony. It was nice but other than the bathroom which was very nice, the cabin was similar to the mass market lines. The bed was comfortable. We did not care for the position of the closet (right alongside the bed). It was hard to get to everything. If you can afford it, a PH is the way to go! The closet is awesome.We enjoyed having cold water and sodas in the fridge. We did not meet our cabin steward until the second day. I asked for a lounger but did not get one. He made it seem like it was my fault for not hunting him down on day one. Otherwise, he and his assistant did a fine job. Food Loved the corned beef Rueben from the Waves Grill. Tried it on day one and had it for lunch two more times! The Roman burger was good too. We also liked their chocolate milkshake. I didn’t care for the lunch buffet in the Terrace Café very much but my husband always found something. We had dinner twice at the buffet and I really enjoyed the filet and strip steak with a side of béarnaise sauce—yum. I didn’t care for the grilled lobster tails. I prefer mine steamed. Jacques and Red Ginger were our favorite restaurants. Polo was our least favorite—maybe I made some bad choices. The steak was fine but my clam chowder and Waldorf salad where both kind of bland. We didn’t really give Toscana a fair chance. We came back from an excursion and were starving so we ordered room service (good food) fairly late in the afternoon on the day that we ate at Toscana. We were lucky enough to get a second reservation at Jacques and Red Ginger. Some of our favorite things; Pot of Chocolate, prime rib, and Dover Sole in Jacques; Sea Bass, Fried Calamari, Beef Carpaccio, tuna appetizer and Ginger cake in Red Ginger. Onion soup was delicious in Jacques and Polo. We tried the Exploration menu in LaReserve and did not enjoy the food but we had great company so it was a nice evening. The wine pairings featured too many white choices. There was one excellent burgundy that we liked very much. I wouldn't book LaReserve again. I have to say that the desserts were awesome. We tried to get the recipe for the chocolate safari cake but no luck. We also enjoyed the cooking demonstration in the theater and the Italian Table culinary class. We have made the Pasta Michelangelo at home. The food in the Grand Dining Room was hit or miss for me. The service in all of the venues was excellent. I have nothing but good things to say about the staff. Didn’t care for the afternoon tea. The scones were not as good as on Princess. On-Board Activities We are couch potatoes and don’t require much in the way of entertainment on sea days. I like to read on the balcony and my husband likes to catch up on the latest movies on TV. We spent one sea day at the pool. We also did a wine tasting and played mini golf. On the first sea day, we attended a Meet and Greet for our Roll Call. Oceania did not support it all. We were booted out of the venue when the Acupuncture class started. I did a bit of damage in the boutique; some new perfume and a few Fire CZ rings. Many people have complained about not being able to find a server to bring them a drink, we had not trouble getting a drink the few times that we wanted to order one. We did bring on our own wine and enjoyed that immensely! We attended 3 shows in the evening and I thought they were on par with other cruise lines. The casino is tiny and some of the machines seem really old which can’t be since the ship is only 2 years old. But, I did win $154.00! We did not listen to any of the acts playing in the bar. We met more people on this cruise than on our past cruises. My husband and I still work for a living and we were in the minority. Just about everyone we met was retired. Maybe that is why they were all so friendly! Or, it could be the fact that the size of the ship means that you run into the same people more often. We used the laundry room on one occasion. It was nice to have. Oceania provides a TV, bottled water and detergent. The irons are free. You pay $2.00 each for the washer and dryer. Shore Excursions: Only took one Oceania excursion to Jost Van Dyke. It was well run and the price was fair; we enjoyed it. All other excursions were private. Disembarkation We booked Quality Limo Service in advance and were waiting on the curb at the appointed time. The driver called to say that he was twenty minutes away due to traffic. Really? All of the other limo services were there on time. The reason we booked a private car was because we had a very early flight back home: 11:21 AM. We ended up taking a Quality van instead and they did give us a $60 credit but it was stress that I did not need at the end of our vacation. There was a wonderful gentleman working for the Miami Port Authority who did a great job of finding a van that would leave right away for Fort Lauderdale. Oceania did a fine job of sorting the luggage and having it available to us in the terminal. It was very crowded exiting the ship. Some passengers have mobility issues that slow down the process. Hopefully, I will be one of those folks someday—slowing down but still able to enjoy cruising! We booked our next cruise while onboard for June 2015, London, Ireland, Scotland.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We just got back from sailing for the first time on Oceania, it was marvelous. I see why they were awarded the ship of the year for 2013. The food in ALL the restaurants was top quality and so much variety. Dining in specialty restaurants ... Read More
We just got back from sailing for the first time on Oceania, it was marvelous. I see why they were awarded the ship of the year for 2013. The food in ALL the restaurants was top quality and so much variety. Dining in specialty restaurants without the upcharge was very nice. All the staff and crew were friendly and were greeting us by name by the second week. The cabins were spacious, comfortable and clean. Granite bathroom with bathtub and linens were top notch. We have never gone on Oceania before and now I am not sure we could ever take another line. I felt pampered the whole time. We did 9 ports, so it was a port intensive cruise, was happy to have two sea days at the end to just "chill". Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was our second cruise on the Riviera, we have been on 25+ trips on a mix of lines. We got to Miami a day early and stayed at the Sonesta in Connut Grove. Very nice hotel although pricey. Took a cab to the port, 20 minute ride. As we ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Riviera, we have been on 25+ trips on a mix of lines. We got to Miami a day early and stayed at the Sonesta in Connut Grove. Very nice hotel although pricey. Took a cab to the port, 20 minute ride. As we had a B1 cabin we got there at 1pm as the pre cruise docs advised and were on the ship in ten minutes. Oceania boards the ship in the order of your room type so we were last. We were in B1 cabin 8105. All the A and B cabins are the same as are the ocean view expect instead of a sliding door they have a floor to ceiling window. Our cabin was ready at 3pm as the boarding letter stated. Again Oceania gets the cabins ready by room type so we were again last. The cabin is very nice with plenty of storage, comfortable furniture and bed, nice size veranda with two comfortable chairs. Large bathroom with good storage. It was by the aft stairway, quite and convenient. The B cabins and below get Oceania brand bath products, no tote bag and no thanks for cruising gift. They also get no hot items for breakfast from room service. The room was always kept clean and still looked new. Service in all areas of the ship was excellent, the crew is very hard working, knew their jobs and seemed efficient. They all were pleasant however too busy to talk much. As an example we did not meet our room person until day 3. Her and her helper took care of 24 rooms, one of which was the owners suite. The ships officers showed little interest in the passenger's, in fact when one passed they seemed to go out of their way not to make eye contact. The ship still looks new, is very clean, easy to get around and never seemed crowded except around the pool. It is built and furnished with high quality products. A disappointment is the fact it has no promenade deck at all and the way the open decks are built the only was to sit outdoors by the rail and watch the sea go past is your veranda. We ate in all the restaurants expect La Reserve. I made my specialty restaurant reservations on the first day I could at midnight. I got what I wanted in all but Jocks, here I was locked out and had to share a table. Ok but not what I wanted. Oceania lets the better cabins have more reservations and get them earlier on line and once on the ship the better cabins can go to a separate place at 11am on the first day to make them, while to lower ones must wait till 1pm. We had a B cabin so again last. This is the Oceania class system at work. Food was good all around, personal tastes vary so what I will say is we never had a bad meal, very high grade products are used and things like steak, lobster, chops etc. are out every day cooked to order. Service in all the dinning rooms and the terrace was excellent and at a pace to match yours. There was a show each night at 9:45. I thought this was a little late as last time they were at 9:15. Between dinner and the show there is little to do so it can be boring. They had 4 large shows with the whole cast witch was 6 dancers, 4 singers, a lead singer and a dance couple. We found them to be very good. They also had a magician, singer who was the asst. cruise director and 2 different comedian's. They showed a movie by the pool on three nights and had late night music in Horizons. I felt it was all good to very good. The problem this ship has is the show lounge. It is small, the stage is one foot high, very poor sight lines and the most uncomfortable seats I ever sat in, reminds me of grade school. The age group on this trip was a disappointment. I am 66 years old and I feel 90%+ on board were my age or older. I really prefer to be with a cross section of age groups. By the end I felt I was at the senior center for two weeks!! We went to ten ports in the Southern Caribbean, all were good, just what you would expect. One was a tender port and that went fine. We did not use Oceania shore trips as they are 2 to 3 times the going price. There were two guest speakers on board, one did a talk on each island we visited and the Titanic, the other did a 4 part talk on the civil war. Both were top quality. My wife went to the artists loft each day for a two hour art class which she felt was great. We did not use the culinary class this time. Overall we had a very nice time. I will say that the things that are not included in the fare are, in my opinion, very overpriced. We are not locked into one line, I would use them again and I would recommend them to others. For now we will try a few other lines. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My wife and I did a 10 day cruise on the Riviera, celebrating our 11th anniversary. We had 4 wonderful sea days and 5 islands - Tortola, St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbados and St. Barts. We had done a similar cruise on Oceania's Regatta in ... Read More
My wife and I did a 10 day cruise on the Riviera, celebrating our 11th anniversary. We had 4 wonderful sea days and 5 islands - Tortola, St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbados and St. Barts. We had done a similar cruise on Oceania's Regatta in 2007 and it was extremely disappointing. Hence our reluctance to try Oceania again, but after 7 years and many other cruises on other cruise lines, we decided to give them another chance. They did not disappoint this time. The Riviera is the nicest ship we have ever been on. It has the best food, the best cabins and the best service we have ever encountered in over 20 cruises. Of course, being less than 2 years old, you would expect it to be in tip-top condition, but it is simply the most spacious and elegant ship in its price category. No doubt its sister ship Marina is also equally fantastic. Our cabin on the Concierge deck was just aft of the Concierge Lounge and self service laundry and just ahead of the forward elevators, so it was very conveniently located. Our room stewardess, Dayana, was terrific, responding to all requests, and the bed was the most comfortable we have ever encountered at sea. The bathroom was larger than normal, all marble and granite, with a full tub and shower combination, and there was a separate shower stall as well. We ate at all 4 speciality restaurants (no charge) and found them all excellent. My favourite was Polo Grill, but many people think Red Ginger is the best. Red Ginger and Jacques have very unique and beautiful decors, and you can easily forget you are at sea. The Grand Dining Room is also a beautiful room, with more tables for 2 than I have ever seen on any ship, and the food there was excellent as well. We did not eat much in the Terrace Café, but on those occasions when we did, it was also very good. The entertainment was probably the only real weak point, but only in a couple of respects. The onboard singers and dancers were very accomplished and were employed by the Jean Ann Ryan Company. It was their last cruise, so a new batch of performers would be there now. The vocalists all gave individual performances as well as being in the production shows, and they all were amazing - especially Patrick Dunn doing his Elvis show. The entertainers hired for this particular cruise were not so great. We have seen both before on other ships. In particular, the pianist, who would be fine for one show, if she did not talk so much, was overall annoying. Both the pianist and the comedian did two shows each - one too many in both cases. There was a Comedian/Magician who had been on board for a few cruises and we really liked him, but understand he was not everyone's cup of tea. He did magic classes on sea days which were a lot of fun. The Cruise Director was David Peterson, an industry veteran, who will soon be starting a new job as Director of Entertainment for Prestige Cruise Holdings, the parent company of Oceania and Regent Seven Seas. He was very professional and always present. I was very unimpressed with the Future Cruise/Oceania Club lady, who basically said she didn't care whether I ever cruised with them again. Two of our three shore excursions were excellent, the other one very disappointing, due to a poor tour guide. Weather was fantastic and overall this was a cruise to remember. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This was our 12th cruise, and our second on Oceania. Bottom line - it was a fantastic cruise! We left our home in the mid-west where the temperature was 0 F (without wind chill). We had enough frequent flyer miles for 2 free tickets on US ... Read More
This was our 12th cruise, and our second on Oceania. Bottom line - it was a fantastic cruise! We left our home in the mid-west where the temperature was 0 F (without wind chill). We had enough frequent flyer miles for 2 free tickets on US Airways - but still needed to pay $25/bag up and down. We arrived in Miami later than planned due to de-icing in Charlotte. We used Larry's Private Car and Limo service to take us to our hotel in Miami. Our driver Stan, couldn't have been more helpful or friendly. He contacted us as we were still on the jet bridge walking to the terminal to let us know he was there and waiting for us to retrieve our bags. After a 30 minute stress free trip to Miami/Brickell we arrived at our Hampton Inn. We were asked to pay Stan at that time (as planned) for the trip as well as the return trip to FLL after our cruise. The Hampton Inn was perfect. Clean, super-friendly and 3 blocks from a dozen+ restaurants. As reported on Trip Advisor the staff is super friendly. The front desk arranged ($8/person) for a third party shuttle to take us to the pier the next morning. Perfect location, great breakfast and free due to use of Hilton Honor Points. So far a great start to the vacation. The next morning the van arrived. It was a shared trip to the port - but we were the last stop. A quick tip to the porters outside and we were on our way to check in. There was a small line waiting to get checked in. Then we were off to the ship and headed to the Terrace Cafe for lunch. From the time we left the Hampton until we were seated in the Terrace Cafe was under an hour. The Terrace cafe was really crowded until about 2:00 when the suite staterooms were available. The remainder of the staterooms were available around 3 - at which time we also found our luggage waiting for us. We had a Veranda cabin on Deck 7. Our custom is to never take the stairs on a cruise (to help burn off all of the calories). Wish we had a cabin on deck 9 - but didn't want to pay for the Concierge upgrade. The first evening we ate in the Terrace Cafe. We found the food was just as good as in the specialty restaurants - but we really wanted to take advantage of eating outside on the deck after a long and cold winter in the mid-west. We did eat in the Grand Dining Room and each of the other 4 specialty restaurants. All 5 dining locations provided special memories - some for the service, some for the main course and some for the desserts. We were traveling with good friends from up-state NY - and all 4 of us had a favorite specialty restaurant. Some had A+ experiences, while others only had a lowly "A" experience. Our first two days were at sea - which was very relaxing. We did a different shore excursion at each port, and all with Oceania. It was just easier than arranging private excursions this trip. We were not disappointed. Tortola - We did the Escape to Jost Van Dyke. This was simply a catamaran taxi ride to the island where you could relax on the beach for 3 hours. It was a smooth ride - and we could simply walk down the front ladder of the catamaran and landed in knee high water to walk to the beach. No swimming of 30-50' required as stated in the brochure. We rented beach chairs ($10/each I think) and simply relaxed. After several visits to the Soggy Dollar bar (which had a booming business that day) to purchase a couple of liquid Pain Killers the vacation really kicked in. As an FYI - for us the walk to the catamaran from the ship was perhaps 100 yards. I would give this excursion a B, but with the Pain Killer beverages purchased at the Soggy Dollar, the grade improves to an A-. St John's - We did the Island Off-Road Safari and Beach tour. Our guide Reginald was very friendly - and although narrating while driving was sure to repeat himself so we could understand what he was saying. We stopped for a few photos during the tour - but mainly toured the island on/off road prior to going to a beach. Again - we rented beach chairs and simply relaxed in the sun/shade and in the ocean. There was a local gentleman selling colored jewelry out of a brief case at the beach. We saw one person on our tour purchase a necklace - after which the "color" on the color jewelry stained her neck and cover-up. Buyer beware. After a quick trip back to the ship and some 151 proof rum punch we went to the duty free stores. Only a few stores were open as it was Sunday. However, about every 20' a local would stop and ask you if you needed a taxi to the beach, or wanted to sell you something out of a bag. After the 10th request - it was time to walk back to the ship. I would give Reginald and the excursion an A .. but after being approached so many times on land the port gets a "C." Barbados - Luxury Catamaran and Champagne Sail - This was run by the TIAMI cruises. It was a short (5 minutes maybe) bus ride to their office where we boarded a catamaran. The crew of 5 took excellent care of us all day. We stopped for a quick dip/snorkel about 45 minutes out. Life vests and snorkel equipment was provided. There was at least 1 spotting of a sea turtle. We then headed for a beach and ate lunch on the way. There were plenty of food choices, to include steak grilled on the way. After lunch we arrived at our "naked" beach. Naked defined as no humans in sight. We spent about an hour at this beach before heading back to the ship. An A+ experience. Note - no alcohol was served until everyone was done snorkeling/swimming for the day. Apparently on previous trips there were numerous mermaid sightings as the rum was flowing. Castries - 4X4 Beach Safari - each of the 6 wheeled vehicles held about 10 guests. Each vehicle had a driver and a guide - and the guide sat with us in the back explaining what we were seeing and truly interacting with all of us. This was a great experience. We spent several hours touring the island both on/off road. Glad we had six wheels driving in several instances as we may have been stuck with only 4 driving. Before heading back to the ship we stopped at a VERY isolated beach. There were only about 12-15 people at the beach, and we stopped at for about an hour (all on the same tour - just different vehicles). A fabulous experience. An "A" experience. Would have been A+ but it rained on/off at times (obviously not the guides fault). St. Barts - For our last excursion we took the Sailing Adventure. This was another luxury catamaran - but only 2 crew on-board. This catamaran had a motorized mainsail and jib so fewer crew members were required. We sailed for about an hour, anchored and spent 45 min or so at a beach. Fortunately the catamaran and had some noodles as we anchored in about 20' of water. A quick and refreshing swim and back to the shore. Then it was time to sail back to the ship. A good and fun adventure. A solid B+ .. nothing wrong, just nothing spectacular. We enjoyed two more sea days before we returned to Miami. We once again used Larry's Private Car and Limo service - and Stan texted us while we were stilling eating breakfast at the Terrace cafe. After retrieving our bags and going thru customs we had perhaps a 20' walk before Stan drove up and picked us up. Other thoughts: We went to very few shows, as we simply relaxed and took our time at dinner and enjoyed the 80 F weather. We did see and enjoy the comedy/magic shows of Greg Moreland. We also did a culinary class (worldly crepes) with Annie Copps. She ensured everyone had a great time, set a very relaxed environment. After recently mastering the art of burning water and toast - Annie was able to teach 20+ people the art of making (and then eating) crepes. This was better than expected, and one of the highlights of the cruise. Sorry to say - no Olympics shown on any of the TV channels or in the bars. This was a disappointment - but then it was 80 F outside. Fortunately there was an extra insert every evening providing Olympic news in the daily Currents. Cruise Director - David Peterson - was certainly personable - was glad to see that he was at the stairs each morning as the various tours left. So bottom line grades: Oceania Riviera - A+ ..can't wait to cruise again with Oceania (itinerary and budget dependent). We're sold on this cruise experience Larry's Private Car and Limo service - Wouldn't hesitate to recommend - fabulous service Hampton Inn Brickell - perfect pre/post cruise location. Clean, friendly/helpful staff. US Airways - delayed flights down to Miami, missed connection (5 minutes!!) on the way home. Cutting up my Dividend Miles MasterCard. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Embarkation in Miami was smooth and efficient. We booked concierge cabin so bypassed the short line for embarkation. Room was not ready but we had lunch and afterwards our room was ready for our arrival. We attempted to modify one of our ... Read More
Embarkation in Miami was smooth and efficient. We booked concierge cabin so bypassed the short line for embarkation. Room was not ready but we had lunch and afterwards our room was ready for our arrival. We attempted to modify one of our specialty restaurant reservations and lines were fairly long for reservation support. Strongly advise booking all specialty restaurant reservations before embarkation and as soon as you are allowed to. Staff on ship advised us they only save 10% of the Time slots for on board reservations so choices on board are extremely limited. We reserved our specialty dining two months before the cruise on the first day allowed for concierge class cabins. Even then, choices were only available for late (8pm) or early (5:30/6pm) dining. Apparently higher level cabins scoop up the 7/7:30 reservations. However food is exceptional in all locations including the terrace cafe and main dining room. I had lobster in some fashion everyday. In the terrace cafe, crabs seems to be available each evening in some format, either claws or legs. We ordered room service for breakfast each day and food was promptly delivered and was great, including the lamb reb chops I occasionally ordered. Ports-in Tortola, we went to the baths, using the speedy ferry service. They had a package that included the ride to the baths beach and return which helped remove some uncertainty around transportation. Baths were scenic although there is a gap in ferry schedule in the early afternoon so we spent more time at the baths than we preferred. In Antigua, we browses around the skips at the pier which were very convenient. In Barbados, we did an island tour thru a local cab driver. Was pretty disappointing and might have been better off booking something in advance. He took us to what he claimed was the best beach on Barbados and boy, was that disappointing. In st Lucia, we caught the only rain showers on the cruise so we cancelled our prearranged tour. When weather cleared, we left the ship and were accosted by local entrepreneurs looking to sell us their services. They were the most aggressive we have ever come across and we quickly reboarded the ship. I recommend pre-booking for st Lucia so you can avoid the independent guides. When we got to Miami, we had a 11am flight so disembarked in one of the first groups. We found luggage, got thru customs, and after a short wait for a cab, were headed to the airport. From disembarkation until airport arrival, it was one hour total so no trouble making our flight. Service-service was generally very good. Oceania does a mid cruise cus sat survey and they will try to rectify any issues you flag in that survey. I give them credit for checking your satisfaction while they can still fix problems. Service in the terrace cafe during dinner is pretty sparse and finding someone to take a drink order during dinner in the terrace can be tough. During the day however, poolside service for drinks is prompt and available. Our cabin steward and service were great. We did find the many passengers abuse reserving pool chaises with books/hats and then disappear for maybe hours... Pool staff does not appear to police these abuses at all although Oceania has a stated policy of not allowing reserving for long periods of time. When I could not find an available chaise, I would ask the pool attendants to find me one. When they reported they were all taken, I asked them to clear some abandoned chaises and they got a supervisor who did find or clear a chaise for me. So they did oblige with some prompting. Cabin-well appointed and very comfortable. Full sized tub and separate shower in concierge cabins. Great, comfy bed!, Entertainment-staff singers/dancers were an experienced team and were fantastic. Showroom seating was never a problem with plenty of seats. Guest entertainers were varied. Overall-food quality is the real differentiator on Oceania and the food is absolutely great. Ship is very nice and still new. Itinerary was great as we had four days at sea to enjoy all the amenities. We will definitely be back on Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This was our 17th cruise, first time with Oceania, previously on Celebrity, Holland America, and Princess. Embarkation was easy and fast arrived at Terminal J at about 12 noon on the ship in less than 25 minutes. Lunch at the buffet was ... Read More
This was our 17th cruise, first time with Oceania, previously on Celebrity, Holland America, and Princess. Embarkation was easy and fast arrived at Terminal J at about 12 noon on the ship in less than 25 minutes. Lunch at the buffet was the beginning of a wonderful trip. Lifeboat drill done in bar area of the ship, was fast and appropriately done. Lugagge got to our room at about 3pm. Room 8077 was veranda room clean and immaculate. Our steward was one of the best we ever had and the entire ship staff does not know how to say "no" to anyone, they all go the extra mile in helping and serving you. The closet and drawer space makes it a challenge to unpack, but it all fit in. The bathroom is decorated beyond but there is limited counter space. The hot water is always HOT at all times of the day. The food in the main dining room was good, the speciality restaurants were excellent, getting early reservations for a first timer on this ship was not easy and we had no luck with trying to get a second reservation at these restaurants as there were just too many senior crusiers on the ship who had priority, that was disappointing. Polo Grill and Jacques were great venues, Red Ginger was excellent the beef teriayki was as advertised! The Waves Grill for diner has steaks and lobsters everynight ( not heavily advertised on the ship) be sure to try it. Enterainment contrary to some earlier reviews was pretty good, we did not see the comedian or juggler. After the shows end at about 1030pm there is really no place on the ship to sit and have a cup of coffee or sandwich? The ice cream bar makes free milkshakes/ malteds that were great also. NO pressure to buy drinks or photographs ( never saw a photographer). At some ports on return to the ship at the dock there were no cold towels or water or lemonade as other cruise lines provide. Disppointing that the ship did not use its big screen by the pool to show the NFL playoff games. But did show one movie and provided popcorn for a fun atmosphere. We had no children on the ship and the passengers were mostly over 60 and well mannered and a very nice grpup of people from around the world. Country club casual dress was welcomed by everyone on board. We were off the ship at 825am in Maimi and through Customs very fast. Our cruise had great weather through the islands, as we had been to all these islands before we did our own touring. On St. Barts we used JC Blanchard ( who someone ealrier had mentioned on CC) and he was just great. JC speaks English very well and can be found on the internet or at JC taxi 0690 490 297. Note if you go to Niki Beach on the public side there are no beach chairs or umbrellas , they do have them at the Niki Beach Bar but are expensive, had good lunch there also. Overall great trip and recommend Riveria highly.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
The Riviera is a wonderful ship. Our Veranda-Concierge-Level-Cabin was spacious, well made with finest materials and very quiet. Outstanding comfort. The most important thing you'll notice aboard is the great crew-passenger-ratio and ... Read More
The Riviera is a wonderful ship. Our Veranda-Concierge-Level-Cabin was spacious, well made with finest materials and very quiet. Outstanding comfort. The most important thing you'll notice aboard is the great crew-passenger-ratio and how spacious the vessel is. It never feels crowded, there was always free space poolside, at the gym and in the restaurants. Talking about the restaurants: The quality of the food is outstanding - in the regular restaurants as well as in the speciality restaurants. There is nothing more to say about it. Just great. Another advantage is the average passenger age. I'd say it's well above 60. Which made us (age 30) the youngsters aboard. And that was perfect for me, since I don't cruise to meet new friends. I just want to relax and enjoy the ship, my wife and the destinations. I don't want any loud, party loving teens and twens bullying at the buffet. I really prefer these well mannered, educated seniors. You can have delightful and interesting conversations, but you don't have to. We loved it! The only disadvantages I can think of are all about the money: The cruise is quite expansive from the beginning. But with a piece of luck and some patience you might find a good deal - espacially if you can book in Euro instead of Dollars. They charge a lot for alcohol, but it is not a big deal. They don't push it, you'll be perfectly fine ordering soft drinks and non-alcoholic cocktails (included) only. I spent the incentive onboard credit on a bavarage package and didn't worry at all. After the cruise I discovered in the FAQ that you're actually allowed to bring three bottles of wine from the port aboard, as long as you drink them in your stateroom. That should cover some nice hours on your private veranda. The shore excursions offered by oceania are of course way too expansive. Frankly I don't get why anyone would book them at all - and why you would complain afterwards. It's really not that hard to organize an interesting and safe trip on your own, for a fraction of the money you'd spend on an official tour. Last but not least: The internet-fees are shockingly high. But on some itineraries they offer free internet packages. And to be honest: I enjoyed 10 days without internet, email, twitter and Facebook. Just put your iphone in the safe and forget about the outside world. That's a great vacation experience, try it. And: You'll probably find a free wifi at some bar or shop during a shore excursion. After one month back home I already booked the next cruise with Oceania. It's fantastic!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Riviera Jan 13th to 23rd My opinions and observations. Embarkation day went smoothly. We arrived just before noon, were cleared by port reps to go to the registration desk in short order. The concierge line was short and moved quickly ... Read More
Riviera Jan 13th to 23rd My opinions and observations. Embarkation day went smoothly. We arrived just before noon, were cleared by port reps to go to the registration desk in short order. The concierge line was short and moved quickly ...we boarded the ship then went to The Terrace for lunch. Service seemed to be a bit disorganized even for the first day. The cabins were ready around 1:30pm. The luggage was already waiting at the door ...minus 1 lock. Not sure who or why someone needed in my suitcase but I am getting tired of buying new locks ...need shares in a lock company . We met our friend later in the day and arranged to meet for dinner in the GDR that night. Did a short tour of the ship to see some of the differences from Marina. At dinner the three of us were seated at a table near the chandelier very nice location. Now the trouble begins, we had our menus and water was poured...we then sat for quite some time. People that were seated about two minutes after us at the next table were eating their first course ...we were still waiting for someone to take our order. Finally DH went back to the entrance and spoke with Maitre'd ...seems some mis-communication on who was serving our table. Finally some service, dinner was very good once we got it. This not the Oceania service we know.....we put it down to embarkation day teething problems. Next day the invisibility issues continued for us, in the Terrace several waitstaff passed our table without asking if we want something to drink, they did ask other tables next to and behind us so not sure what the problem was but we were not impressed. Another issue was in Toscana ..we arrived shortly after our set time of 6:30pm. Seated at a large table for 7, two ladies joined us, we still had two seats to be filled. Well after 7 pm the other occupants were a no show but until one of the ladies asked to be served now.... not one of the staff could have thought of that on their own? The restaurants give you 15 min leeway after that they should just serve those that are at the table If people cannot be punctual when sharing a table then they can eat elsewhere JMO Red Ginger another fiasco, DH had chicken satay the chicken, it was not cooked in the centre, then the summer rolls tasted like someone had put some cleaning solution on them ..I had one small taste and could not get the taste out of my mouth for hours. Jacques ..My salmon was overcooked to the point it was so dry it was hard to eat, DH had the Dover sole ..he said it tasted & smelled fishy also over seasoned with lemon. More minor problems but it was getting depressing to think about them. There seems to be less staff or less training or both, it is not the Oceania service we have had on past cruises. This was a cruise to enjoy the ship and relax, we made very little plans for tours so spending more time on the ship these little things were more noticeable. The production shows were a great improvement over the ones in the past but the solo performers we gave a miss ...just not to our liking. We prefer the classical musicians like on the R-ships. The food and service in the GDR, The Terrace and Waves was very good with a few exceptions that we could overlook. One little nit pick..they put these mats on the floor next to the bed at night ...more than once I tripped on the darn things, finally just put them in the corner There is no backing on them to keep them from sliding around and are a hazard. They should save the money and forget about them. JMO We did not do any ship's tours so cannot comment on them. In Barbados we organized a tour to the Agapey Chocolate Factory there ..well worth the walk and the price. The owner explains how chocolate is made and the differences in the beans etc.. You got to taste the different types of chocolate and sugars used. Highly recommend this tour but you need to prebook and prepay in advance . Overall the cruise was good with the exceptions already mentioned above. We just seemed to have more bad luck on this cruise than any other we have done with Oceania . Will we book Oceania again? Time will tell! Watching future reports to see if the service improves.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Do I recommend Oceania Riviera cruise? It depends. This CC forum is full of Oceania fans who rave about Oceania gourmet foods, their elegant ships (especially Riviera and Marina.) We are no different. After being on Oceania Cruise three ... Read More
Do I recommend Oceania Riviera cruise? It depends. This CC forum is full of Oceania fans who rave about Oceania gourmet foods, their elegant ships (especially Riviera and Marina.) We are no different. After being on Oceania Cruise three times, we have come to love Oceania’s gourmet foods; clean, elegant ships, and most of all its customer-focused happy crew and officers. For this particular cruise, I like to point out what stood out for us was the crew and the things they do. First, our background: There were 3 of us on this cruise: my husband, my sister and I. This is my husband and my third Oceania cruise, and first for my sister. My husband and I have cruised about 17 times before. The cruise lines are listed below chronologically: We have cruised on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America, Azamara, Paul Gauguin, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal Cruise, Oceania. After sampling different lines, different sizes, we realize we prefer smaller ships. We are in our 50, 60’s. We are active, and love to walk and hike. Interesting itineraries, food, and service are what we look for. Second, embarkation: Our red eye flight from Victoria, Canada arrived in Miami according to schedule, around 11:30 am. We went straight to the ship, and was on the ship in no time. The taxi ride was about 15 minutes; traffic was light. It costs us $25 fixed rate. I know that is higher than last year, when our taxi charge by meter. The embarkation was a breeze. I believe that time frame was perfect, no crowd, no wait. Our cabin was not ready. We went for a light lunch. We met many familiar faces; the staff greeted us like family. (We were on Riviera in August.) We wanted to put in a few hours of shopping. Dolphin Mall seemed the closest. However, by the time we finished lunch, we did not have the time we thought we had. In addition, the rush hour traffic may delay our return to the ship, and the thought of missing this beautiful ship chills our spines. We left our belongings in the cabin (the steward was kind enough for us to do that because the cabin was not completed yet.) We took a cab to the Bayside Mall. Even though the mall was only over the bridge, less than 10 minutes, the taxi had to go around and wait for traffic lights and costs $10. The mall did not have much. It resembles those "markets", usually located just outside the cruiseship terminals, selling mass-produced “made in China” trinkets. Unless you absolutely need something like sun protection, I would suggest you skip this mall. We walked back to the ship. It took us 24 minutes to get over the bridge, and 30 minutes to the terminal. Fortunately, we did not buy much; our backpacks were light. I recommend that if you like to walk, walk to the mall from the terminal, and take a taxi back. The road back is more direct, and would have cost less, and less to carry, if you have made purchases. Our cabin: We chose suite 8000, category B1, right at the forward. We share a wall with Vista Suite, and another wall with B1 balcony cabin 8001. We chose it because the deck seemed larger than other balconies. Pros: the deck is larger. With 3 deck chairs, 2 tables, we had room to maneuver. We also like the view. The view was expansive. We like sailing into and away from ports. And one morning, the sunrise was right in front of us, putting an amazing show, front and center. With this cabin, it is like being in the front row center seat! The sight of the sun rising from the big blue ocean is something we never get tired of. Magnificent! That alone was worth it. Cons: we do feel more movement in cabin 8000. We also hear more banging noise when the seas was rough. I am a sound sleeper, and I get woken up a few times. Also, as soon as it gets dark, we have to ensure no light emits from our cabin. It has something to do with navigation at night. Just something to keep in mind. If the itinerary is such the sea is calm, and the weather is pleasant, such as parts of Mediterranean, I would definitely select a forward cabin. If you are prone to motion sickness, and a light sleeper, forward cabin is not a good selection. Disembarkation: We rarely have any problem disembarking in Miami. There were 4 other ships at port, and yet our disembarkation process was smooth. We went through custom, got our luggage, without any incident. We shared a van with other Oceania guests, heading to the airport. Only when we arrived at the airport did we find out our flight has been delayed, due to the weather in Northeast region of North America. My sister who has a later flight was planning to visit the Dolphin Mall, chose not to go because she thought time was too tight. Her flight was scheduled for 3pm. However, 2 hours before her flight, she learned that her flight was also delayed. It ended up delayed for 3.5 hours. She could have visited Dolphin Mall or other Miami sights. Spending all that extra time at the airport was not fun. But that is beyond Oceania cruise control. Maybe planning to stay an extra day in Miami in December is a better plan. Next time! Customer Service: Besides food, we like Oceania’s service. Allow me to share with you our memorable experience and illustrate their great customer service. During Captain’s welcome party, we strike up a conversation with a crew member, Ante. This gentleman was enthusiastic, polite, and very personable. He is lighthearted, mirroring my husband’s. The second time we saw Ante, at the “Loyal Customer” event, he is like an old friends to us. We learned that Ante is a concierge in the executive lounge. Executive lounge is a private room exclusive to suites. Ante was very knowledgeable and culturally sensitive. Even though he jokes around, we felt he genuinely cares. The topic turns to specialty restaurants on Riviera, and how popular they are. He then offered to check for Red Ginger for us! He does not have to do this. We don’t have suites, we were not on his deck. We were not his responsibility. Also, it is toward the end of the cruise, he and the rest of the crew were busy preparing disembarkation and embarkation process for their guests. We appreciated his offer, and did not expect much. Yet, the next morning, he left a message about some openings. By the time I got back to him, the openings were gone. Instead of saying, “sorry, I tried”, he said, “I will continue to monitor the situation. You never know.” And sure enough, late in the day, he found an opening for us. Even though it was for 2 only (there were 3 of us), we took it. Talk about going out of your way to make guests happy! He was definitely going beyond his duty for guests. This is not the end of this story. There is more. Due to our respect for Ante, and the Red Ginger staff, 2 of us showed up on time. We did not want to inconvenience anyone or add any strain to Red Ginger’s well-oiled system. Katya, the maitre D, whom we have come to know from our previous 2 Oceania cruises, immediately noticed that my husband was absent. She managed to find an extra spot for him, without making it a big fuss. To us, it is big. We know it took effort to do that on their part too. We had our final cruise dinner in Red Ginger, together! We were so appreciative and impressed. For the service, we highly recommend Oceania cruise line to those who have never tried. Having said that, I do not recommend the Caribbean itinerary (right before Christmas) to those wanting to try Oceania for the first time. We encountered disgruntled guests and heard complaints more so on this cruise than our previous 2 on Oceania. And the complaints or issues were mostly weather-related and or minor, IMHO. As we know the weather is out of anyone’s control. For example, my husband and I found it amusing when we overheard and witnessed guests requesting the deck chairs be set up on the upper deck, as the guests themselves were holding on to their hats, jackets, and to the hand rails, in the gusty wind. (The upper decks had to be closed to guests numerous times due to high winds.) In my opinion, it would be irresponsible for the crew to abide the passengers’ wishes. Second example, the lines to make or change reservations in the very popular specialty restaurants are always long. At least this time, I knew to line up in the right queue. Make sure you are in the right queue, before lining up. You don’t want the frustration of waiting for an hour, and then realizing you had to go to another desk on another deck! The 3 reservation desks are placed in different restaurants, separated by the color of the sea card. I assume it is easier for one desk deals with only one category. I have witnessed many angry guests and the strain the reservation officers went through for the first 4 days of the cruise. We were fortunate. Even though we are in the B category; the staff still managed to change 3 of our 4 reservations to early dining time. For that we are grateful. Were we upset with late dining in Jacques? No. In fact, we got to know a lovely waitress who looked after us very well that night. We cannot comprehend how anyone not enjoy this cruise! 30C weather in the sun (occasional rain), water with 50 shades of blue, and no housework for 10 days! Any day with no housework is a great day for me! Quick note on other amenities on board: Perhaps you have noticed, I did not mention the nightly entertainment, the spa facilities, and the enrichment lectures. The only entertainment we watched was the fairwell performance from the entire (almost) officers and crew. We wanted to show support. We usually walked after dinner instead. My husband and I use the gym for stretching and yoga only. The room next to the gym (one used for yoga, pilate or spinning classes) was not opened until much later in the morning. We improvised and did our stretching and yoga out on the decks, when the wind was not too strong. Every yogi needs to experience the power and magic of sun salutation in the open sea, as the sun rises out of the dark blue ocean. As for the enrichment lectures, we missed because we wanted to enjoy the sun as much as we can. However, we do watch it in the stateroom at night. In closing, I bring back the question: do I recommend Oceania cruise. My answer was, “it depends.” If you love good food, appreciate excellent service and do not take things too seriously, especially on holidays, I think you will enjoy Oceania Cruise. And if you bring with you to Oceania Cruise your open mindedness, your positive outlook, and fun attitude, you will have an amazing time! In fact, I venture to say you will have a fantastic good time no matter where you go! Enjoy!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our first trip on Oceania but not our first cruise, we have 30+ on the traditional mass market lines. We did our own air using the credit from Oceania. Went down the day before and stayed in the Holiday Inn Port of Miami. Very ... Read More
This was our first trip on Oceania but not our first cruise, we have 30+ on the traditional mass market lines. We did our own air using the credit from Oceania. Went down the day before and stayed in the Holiday Inn Port of Miami. Very nice, basic hotel right by the Bay side Market. The credit was enough to cover the air, hotel and taxi's. Embarkation & Disembarkation: Very easy, we got to the terminal before our time of 12, got a group number. Right at 12 our group was called and in 15 min. we were on the ship. Getting off easy too, a form was sent around and we signed up for 8 am, at 8 our color was called and by 8:20 we were in a cab on our way to the air port. The cab was 25$ flat rate while the Oceania transfers were around 140$ to ride in a large bus, makes no sense. Some of the prices they charge are so out of line I feel insulted like they must think me a fool or something. Cabin: We started out in a ocean view and the week before the trip we took a up sell of 400$ to get a A1 Concierge cabin. Same cabin with some added perks and a nice size balcony. Cabin was large, well laid out with enough storage for us.Bed was great, lots of electric outlets, very clean and neat. Bath was very nice with good storage, tub and shower. I an 6'6" and just fit in the shower. As for room perks, loved the spa terrace, drank the wine. Did not use the concierge or lounge. Ship: Great, you can see it was built using upscale products, very neat and clean and well maintained. Good size with good people flow. Never felt crowded or had to wait in line. lots of public rooms to hang in. What I DID NOT like was there is no promenade deck at all, the show lounge in very small with poor sight lines because the stage is 1 foot high. seats are the most uncomfortable I ever sat in, saw people bring pillows. Service: All I can say is it was great, No matter where I went the staff were right there to help and do as I asked and there were lots of them. Entertainment: I felt it was very good. The ships singers and dancers were great, they were held back by the poor show lounge. Had one show each nigh, there was also the ships band, great, a singing duo, string group, great, and a piano man, great. There were no activities by the pool during the day, they had art auctions which were non-intrusive if you did not like them, Artist loft, my wife went each day and lover it, her pictures are all over the house. Also the cooking class. We took one, it was a lot of fun however for the price I would of expected to be able to keep the hat, instead they wanted to sell it to me for 25$. Shore Trips: We took two. They were the exact same trip that other lines offer in the port for twice the price. There was a NCL ship with us, same type of bus and same company tour guide. NCL 70$, Oceania 125$. I do not mind paying more if I get more but!!!! The plus was there were no crowds, I wonder why? Food: I an NOT a food critic, some I liked, some I did not. It is obvious Oceania has chosen Quality over Quantity. The choice is very large for a cruise ship with up scale items all around. Most of it is cooked to order. We never had a problem eating at the time we wanted with a table for two. Overall: We had a nice time and will return as I booked another trip on board. We also use other lines as we take our grandchildren and this is NOT for them. This line in NOT child friendly. We also like a little more action at times, even tho I am 66 I still enjoy young folks, you will not find them here. As for rating, if I was comparing this to a mass market line I would of given them a 5+, however they are not mass market in pricing so in the price point they are in they get a 4. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Riviera Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.5 3.2
Public Rooms 4.5 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 2.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.2
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.8

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