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144 Oceania Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

We joined the Riviera at Pireaus on the 06-Aug and couldn't wait to get on board, and as we had a concierge level state room then our embarkation was rapid. Although there weren't that many people at the check-in desks at noon. ... Read More
We joined the Riviera at Pireaus on the 06-Aug and couldn't wait to get on board, and as we had a concierge level state room then our embarkation was rapid. Although there weren't that many people at the check-in desks at noon. Once aboard we made immediately for the Waves Grill and I had a surf n turf burger along with some food from the Terrace Cafe. Excellent as ever! All in all the food is great and we rarely have anything to moan about, let alone complain. The staff, almost without exception, are very highly trained and nothing seems too much trouble. Our suite was excellent and very well kept by the housekeeping team, these people are the unsung heros and deserve any extra gratuities that comes their way. The itinerary of the cruise was very good, although I think 3 days in Haifa was a little long and arriving on a Friday meant that most things were closed for a day or two due to the Sabbath. We didn't go into Limassol as it didn't really appeal but did do a quick tour of the port to stretch our legs :) Rhodes is a great stop and the old city is impressive but beware of bar owners ripping you off with their prices. We finished up in Istanbul after a sail in at 11:00 am, it is such an impressive city and we loved walking around the city for a few hours later on. The only negative points really were that occasionally some of the eastern european staff could be a bit abrupt or unhelpful. This, we were told, was a known problem and the management were working on it. Also, the internet charges are way to high for the level of service, the PCs are old and the network connection not the fasted, and the computer centre always seemed abandoned to me Overall, it was a great cruise and we highly recommend Oceania. This is affordable luxury cruising and must be tried. Well done Oceania, we can't wait to come back!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Summary: I have to say we were a little apprehensive of the "O" class ships (Marina and Riviera) as we have only cruised on the 3 other R class ships. We thought we would be overwhelmed with the numbers of persons. We both were ... Read More
Summary: I have to say we were a little apprehensive of the "O" class ships (Marina and Riviera) as we have only cruised on the 3 other R class ships. We thought we would be overwhelmed with the numbers of persons. We both were pleasantly surprised that is not the case. Oceania has a winning product with their new ships. Service - Excellent Food - Excellent Staterooms - Nice and spacious and better overall than the R ships. Crowded feel - NOT AT ALL. All of the dining venues always had plenty of empty space. Not very many lines and we did not have any issues when tendering. Only pet peeve was the elevators. There are not enough - especially AFT where the restaurants were. This was compounded the last few days when two of them broke. Bars - this was not a drinking crowd. Bars including Martinis were empty even during happy hour. Usually you have to fight for a seat in Martinis on the R ships. Air and Venice: We booked our own air using FF miles - MCO-EWR-FRA-Venice. Almost like an Oceania routing with lots of connections. Crew was late in EWR missed our connection in FRA so instead of getting to the hotel at noon we arrive at 6pm. We did not have any issues with luggage as we both did carry-ons to Venice. Booked into the Hotel Londra Palace in San Zaccaria for two nights. We used the Alilaguna shuttle and this was crowded but OK. Hotel was a bit pricey but certainly better than Oceania's price and about the same if booking the Hilton directly (about 300 Euro). Advantage --close to San Marco and excellent service. Embarkation: We took the Alilaguna from San Zaccaria to the Martima Station. Riviera was using Terminal 107 as Oceania usually does. Arrive at 11:30 and we were checked in an up in the terrace for lunch in 15 minutes. Very efficient. Did not get the clear to go to rooms until 2pm (a little tardy but understandable) Stateroom: Concierge in 10092. Found the room roomy compare to the R class. Mattress and linens by far the best of ANY cruise line. Our impression was good usual complaints. Shower - too small. Not enough storage,. The number of drawers was really tight and we did only carry on. Food: Of course Oceania excels here and no exception. Excellent 5* all the way - from the MDR to the Terrace no issues with food or service. Best was La Reserve. Food and pairings were excellent - we did the Discovery Menu. Surprised about the availability of seats (no issues) 1  tables were filled for the first and we even considered doing a second as there was availability for the last one. Toscana was excellent - my wife usually rates this one low but she enjoyed it. Red Ginger - surprised as this was everyone's favorite -it was not ours. Found the food lacking as maybe I used to eating excellent Asian cuisine and this "fused" Asian was just not real. Service: I have read in the past about complaints on Riviera about service in the Terrace. No such issue during our cruise. The service was good the Head masters were certainly doing a good job of supervising the staff. Service in the rest of the ship was also great. Our favorite Assistant Waiter on Nautica (Mr. Chua) was promoted to a Full Waiter and was working in Red Ginger - again he treated us like his parents and certainly was surprised he recognized us. Entertainment/Enrichment: No comment as we generally find anything here as lacking. Only exception was the String Quartet and our favorite Gavin the Piano player in Martinis. He was funny and personable - much better showman than any of the dancers, singers and comedian/magician on the ship. Guest Lecturer - where does Oceania find these people? We had a PHD in History who expertise is Russian and Alaskan History giving talks on the Byzantine, Venetian, and Turkish Empires and did not know the basic facts on where the Venetian's stole the body of St Mark from. Complaints and Pet Peeves: (and there were few) 1. Elevators. Poorly designed with long waits for elevators. Should have 4 in the AFT many were using that way to get to MDR, Terrace, Toscana, Polo, and La Reserve. This was further complicated toward end of cruise when 1 elevator in Mid Ship and 1 elevator in aft (that serves the dining) were broken. Also the elevators design is poor with a control panel only on 1 side. Certainly Oceania should have paid the extra few bucks to have a second panel on each elevator. Makes it difficult for guests when crowed to select the floor. 2. Windows - the ships windows were always dirty. (only two tendered ports so there was no excuse for this) 3. Terrace cafe - Seating there is too tight. Restaurant was never full but the table layout and number of them made dining uncomfortable. Disembarkation: Departed in Istanbul at 0830h. Many passengers had Oceania air and had to leave the ship at 3am to catch there 5:30AM flights. Disadvantage in booking without a deviation is you have to connect through Europe and you need an early flight.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
This was our first time sailing with Oceania. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Our last two European cruises were on Azamara, so that's the basis for our comparison. We loved the cruise and the ship, but a few things ... Read More
This was our first time sailing with Oceania. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Our last two European cruises were on Azamara, so that's the basis for our comparison. We loved the cruise and the ship, but a few things could be improved. Embarkation: We arrived by water taxi at the cruise ship terminal which is how many passengers do if they've spent a day or two in Venice prior to the cruise. Once we found an Oceania representative, I had to take the luggage out of the port and to the street where Oceania had a tent set up to drop the luggage off. While this is convenient if you're arriving by car (which most people don't) it would have been nice if Oceania at least had porters at the water taxi dock to assist with the luggage if they're not allowed to have a luggage tent set up inside the port. Checking in was quick and easy. However, we weren't greeted with a glass of champagne when boarding the ship as Azamara does. This would have been a nice touch. Ship and Clientele: The ship is really nice and roomy with lots of art work. Except for the last few days of the cruise, the ship didn't feel like there were 1200 other passengers on board, even in the restaurants. It was nice that there wasn't a bothersome photographer on board. Our fellow passengers were really nice. The few children on board were very well behaved.Cabin: We stayed on the concierge level. Our cabin was very nice and our room steward was very good but it's not worth the extra cost and the lounge is nothing special. We only received a form introduction letter from the concierge. If I didn't go to the lounge, I never would have seen him. We had a very nice bathroom with both a tub and a separate shower. The doorknob to the bathroom was very loose but, after reporting it, it was quickly fixed, as was the refrigerator (the contents weren't cold). My wife said the hair dryer was very cheap and didn't work well. It wouldn't plug into the bathroom outlet because of the outlet configuration. I had the same problem with other outlets when using my battery recharger. Food: As expected, the food is very good. I enjoyed the opportunity to have lobster daily. The lobster with a creamed mushroom sauce that was baked in the shell at Jacques was the best I've ever had. Unless you eat in the Terrace Cafe, it takes about two hours for dinner, though, which is a bit too long for me, although my wife enjoys it. Getting additional specialty restaurant reservations is difficult, even though we saw empty tables at all the restaurants. The Terrace Cafe closes at 2:00 for lunch, which I think is too early. The selection of food is very good. The milkshakes at the Waves Grill are excellent. Room service was excellent. The staff was always professional and friendly. Most importantly, the food was always delivered on time. Staff: The staff on the ship was very friendly and the restaurant staff was very attentive. The deck hands were very nice and provided excellent service. We never saw the captain, and the passengers who did said he was a cold fish but the ship didn't sink and that's what's really important. Shore excursions: The shore excursions are expensive. The ones we went on were good, except for the one in Kavala. We prefer to save money by arranging to have our own private guide which we did in a number of ports. Prices: They nickel and dime you to death. The pre and post-transfers and hotel prices are exorbitant so we booked our own and saved hundreds of dollars. We also booked our own flights because of the air deviation fees. Almost everyone I talked to booked their own flights for the same reason. We didn't use the internet due to the very high cost. A number of other cruise lines have special pricing arrangements with AT&T when at sea. Oceania doesn't. I suspect it's to generate more revenue. The wine packages are really expensive. There are no other drink packages offered and the individual drinks tend to be on the pricey side. Disembarkation: The biggest disappointment was the change in our arrival time at Istanbul. We were initially scheduled to dock at 11:00 a.m. Half way into the cruise we were told it was changed to 3:00 p.m.. We actually docked and were cleared by Turkish Immigration around 4:15 p.m. Because of this, we lost a half day in Istanbul. There was a narrative over the PA system by the cruise director as we were arriving in Istanbul. It was a joke. Someone more knowledgeable should have done it. Everyones passports were collected midway into the cruise. We were told we would get them back the night before we arrived in Istanbul. When I went to pick them up, I was told I had to wait until the ship was cleared by immigration the next day because we were ending the cruise, along with 27 other people, a day early. I talked to several staff members at the reception desk and no one could give me any worthwhile information about getting off the ship, other than to come back to the reception desk the next afternoon to collect our passports. Getting off the ship was chaotic. Since we were late docking, the reception lobby and stairwells were wall-to-wall with people anxious to get off the ship. When I went to the reception desk to get our passports, no one knew where our passports were. To make a long story short, on my own, I had to find a crew member to find them. He finally discovered them in the immigration arrival hall, so we finally ended our cruise at 4:45 p.m. To save time, we followed another early disembarking passengers suggestion and took our luggage to the gangway on deck 4 (this is difficult to do even when the hallways arent crowded with people) to speed up the process. The whole disembarkation was very disorganized with very poor communication. Comparison to Azamara: Azamaras food is good but Oceanias is excellent. The cabin, especially the bathroom, on Oceania is better than Azamara. The Riveria is a newer and nicer ship with about twice as many passengers. Tips are included in Azamaras pricing. On Oceania, theyre not unless its part of a special promotion. Wine is complimentary at meals on Azamara. Oceanias wine package prices are very pricey. Theres no complimentary shuttle service offered in every port like Azamara. Oceania adds an 18% tip to every drink. The shipboard sales were disappointing on Oceania compared to Azamara. Only a very small amount of cheap, local souvenirs were available for sale from just a few of the ports . I was told Oceania charged passengers .25 cents, yes a quarter, to print a boarding pass. The staff is very friendly though we were never referred to by name on the Riveria. On Azamara, it seemed we always were. Disembarking on Azamara is easy. I spoke with other Oceania passengers who disembarked at the regular time, and they told me it wasnt easy for them either. Perhaps it was the Turkish officals. Both cruise lines are very good. We feel you get more for your money on Azamara. Summation: We would sail with Oceania again in an instant but wed pass on the concierge level as we dont feel its worth the extra cost, and were now aware of how they try to nickel and dime you. Considering the price of the cruise, I wish the cost would include tips, shuttle service and wine with meals even if its hidden in the cruise fare. A drink package for cocktails would also be nice.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Kudos for Oceania for really delivering on the promise of a "no hassle" cruise experience. Aboard Riviera, you dine when you like, embark and disembark without (significant) line-ups (including at ports), and experience a minimum ... Read More
Kudos for Oceania for really delivering on the promise of a "no hassle" cruise experience. Aboard Riviera, you dine when you like, embark and disembark without (significant) line-ups (including at ports), and experience a minimum of announcements and hassles. Unlike other ships we have cruised, we were not reminded from about day 3 that we would eventually have to leave; all "administrative details" and interruptions of our vacation were kept to a minimum. Both my husband and I really appreciate this style, and feel that Oceania does it remarkably well. The activities are available if you want them, but you are not pressured to participate and your relaxation isn't interrupted by them (eg. no "pool volleyball" etc). The environment really does reflect the "country club" idea, from relaxed (but not sloppy) dress code to the general sense that one is treated as an adult and not a kid on spring break. Incidentally, there were few actual kids and those few seemed to be well supervised. Travel and hotel: we arranged independently since the O air service could not deliver a direct flight. Great hotel in Istanbul (Pera Palace) where we stayed 4 nights before cruising - hardly enough time to experience this superlative port. Embarkation: "concierge" class gave us early embarkation - it was well organized but I am not sure this was so much of a perk since the entire concierge floor showed up at the same time, so there was about a 30 min lineup. Once on the ship, lunch was ready and the staterooms & luggage were to us within about an hour, so very well done. Staterooms were fine - "concierge" is identical to the regular verandah state room, but with different toiletries and cashmere lap blankets (not needed in summer). Like Marina, Riviera has very nice, fresh and contemporary decor which we did enjoy. Full bathtub too! Dining: The "Grand Dining Room" is spacious and open with many windows, and those seeking tables for two can usually have a window seat. We like this a lot. Never pressure to share a table (though if you wish, you can). Food excellent, service just OK. Servers were often a bit rushed and there is generally "title inflation" on board - the fellow may be called a sommelier but don't expect him to actually know about wine. Even in the marquee French restaurant, Jacques, it was difficult to have a really relaxed experience as the servers seemed to be instructed to "move you along" to the next course. There are 4 specialty restaurants and we enjoyed them all. Definitely book reservations online as soon as you can ("concierge" gets to go ahead of regular staterooms) as they are always full. Second visits to the venues can sometimes be arranged but we found the best bet was going to the venue & talking directly to the manager there - our concierge was not helpful and the central reservations desk was only slightly helpful in trying to do this. We found the buffet restaurant OK for breakfast/lunch but its generally chaotic and noisy atmosphere was not conducive to a relaxed evening meal. The pool grill does surprisingly great lunches and "healthy" dining is possible here if careful choices are made (eg. Surf and Turf minus bun and fries is actually a great lunch!). I was very disappointed that the ice cream bar closes at 4:00 - returning from a hot a tiring day ashore I would have loved an ice cream (we typically don't dine until 7;30 or 8). Activities: We had 11 ports scheduled in 12 days so had few opportunities, but did take in one dance class which was very very basic, but fun; had tea one day (pretty standard, not special), and otherwise avoided group activities. We enjoyed the well stocked library and relatively easy access to deck chairs, and we spent a lot of time walking on deck. This ship lacks a promenade deck, and the glass "protection" over the railings comes quite high up, which is disappointing for shorter women who cannot see over it. The exercise track at the top of the ship is fine but the loop is quite short. The gym is nice & equipment is in good condition. Open access to sauna & steam room is great. "Concierge" gave us access to the spa deck which has its own hot tub and the nicest deck chairs (with shade for reading), and it was never crowded. Smoking: On paper, Oceania has one of the most restrictive smoking policies. On a prior Marina sailing we did not have problems with second hand smoke, however this sailing seemed to have a much higher proportion of smokers and it did become a real issue. Although the policies say very clearly that smoking is allowed in only 2 areas, in fact staff members smoke above the jogging track (!) which does not make for very healthful exercise. Also, one of the permitted smoking areas is in the main lounge, Horizons, and is NOT ENCLOSED, so by the evening the whole room and hallways outside (even the floor below) fill up with smoke. We had to miss out on entertainment in this venue when it got too bad. Pretty much all developed nations don't allow indoor smoking in public venues without separate ventilation now, so Oceania really needs to look at complying with these safety regulations. Shore excursions: we only did 2 with the ship, in Sochi (due to Russia's horrendous visa process) and in Constanta, Romania (due to safety concerns). In Constanta, we had an amazing guide (Cosmin) who made an otherwise rather mundane visit to the ruins of the Greek colony Histria a great experience due to his stories & information. In Sochi we had an average guide and a rather dull visit to Stalin's Dacha, complicated by the horrible traffic snarls in the city (everything is under construction as they prepare for the olympics). Value for money in these excursions really is not good; in other ports we arranged private guides and had better tours for much less money. However, the tours were well organized and ran smoothly. Entertainment: Not a highlight of this ship! Despite talented young performers, the choreography and costumes for the 4 main shows was really not to our liking (I'm not a prude generally, but I thought all the performers deserved more fabric than they were given). We attended the "cabaret" performances of 2 of the singers and enjoyed these much more. One "headliner" was a Celtic musician and she was fantastic but the others were pretty disappointing (many people walked out of the shows). The piano bar on this ship is really terrible - it's badly designed (the same as Marina) so only about 4 tables can really see the pianist - this doesn't lead to the right kind of environment to promote the fun singalongs we've enjoyed on other ships. The bands were all very talented, but we like to ballroom dance and found the opportunities very limited as after dinner, the only band that played focused more on country and 70's rock music. Service: here we were really let down, as we were celebrating an important event, and this was communicated & logged in our file (we later checked), but not acknowledged in any way on board. I later discussed this with the service manager and he apologized but it was a pretty big disappointment (and dramatically different than we have experienced on other lines/ships when celebrating a special occasion). General service was otherwise average, although I am not sure the happiness/mood of the employees was as positive as on our own favourite "best service" ships (Crystal Symphony & Serenity). Disembarkation: could not have been smoother - we made our own arrangements and simply walked off the ship when we were ready, and our luggage was at the terminal. No waiting in the lounge, colour groups, etc as we have sometimes experienced elsewhere. Summary: we like the style of this cruise very much, but were disappointed that our special event wasn't acknowledged, and found the training of some of the staff (eg. sommeliers, dining room service staff) was not up to the experience promised. Food was more of a highlight than the entertainment. At the end of the day, we chose this ship for the itinerary, which was in fact stellar (even though we missed our call at Mykonos due to high winds the last day), and we enjoyed the cruise. For the safety of passengers and crew, the smoking regulations need to be adhered to and brought on par with those on land in developed countries.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We usually pick our cruises by selecting places we would like to visit and then looking which lines go there. This means that we have travelled with a fair variety of the major cruise lines but this was the first with Oceania. They market ... Read More
We usually pick our cruises by selecting places we would like to visit and then looking which lines go there. This means that we have travelled with a fair variety of the major cruise lines but this was the first with Oceania. They market this as six star cruising and in many ways it is - so what were our impressions and experiences? Check in at Athens was a breeze, we went straight to the counter and on the boat. To be fair it was mid afternoon so perhaps we missed the rush. First thing we noticed was that there were no photographers trying to snap you before you boarded - in fact there were none at all on the cruise which makes a refreshing change! The boat is lovely, as I suppose it should be because it's so new, but it really is beautiful. Our veranda cabin was the best that we have ever had, better than some suites on other lines. The wardrobe was full of coat hangers! The bathroom is out of this world with a good sized bath (although the taps are a bit awkward to reach) and a wonderful large shower with a glass door and a large rain effect shower head. We could have stayed in for ages!! The room was serviced well but we did have a bit of trouble with shower gel not being replaced. After we had twice chased up David (steward)for more he left us four at once so no further trouble. Service throughout the whole boat really was excellent - nothing seemed too much trouble and it was always with a smile. Full marks for this.Oceania sells these cruises on the dining options and we did try them all. We enjoyed this but also liked the main dining room with its wonderful chandelier. I don't know if it was just us but the waiters did get our orders a bit mixed up (or wrong) quite a few times. Although there were a reasonable amount of hand gel machines their use was not promoted too much, however all the food in the buffet was served to you - no self service - and we never heard of any illness on board. Activities were not so hot. The band was good but mainly used for backing the shows. The resident entertainers were good and in their last week so were well rehearsed! They were restricted by the rather small stage and some of their high jumps almost grazed the stage lights above them. There was other music available from mid afternoon but there didn't seem a lot and the ship was very quiet with large empty areas after 9.30pm. There was a lot of non-hosted events in the daily programme and the art work on board was given the hard sell with previews, auctions, last chance to buy etc! David Shermet the Cruise Director took a mostly low profile and the only time we really saw him was introducing the shows and at the pool party. There was also three guest lectures about the Economic Situation in Greece and the EEC. Yes, well I went to one but was surprised that as the voyage was about Antiquities this didn't feature in the lecture programme more.The complimentary tea, coffee and soft drinks were very nice, but the alcoholic drinks were a bit pricey with 18% service charge added. Gratuities were added to your bill at $14.50 per person per day but you could adjust them or even remove them if you so desired. The shore excursions were pretty much a rip - off. For example we arranged a 7 hour tour of Istanbul with a private guide in a large air conditioned mini bus for four of us for £44 each (Smart Price Tours). The same trip on the boat in a group of 10 - 16, seeing exactly the same sights was sold at $385 pp !! Another major rip off was wanting to charge us $49 for a Turkish visa. When we docked at Kusadasi there was a visa office on the dock where the visa could be obtained for £10 or $20. We were told about this by another passenger and when we went to reception to get our passports back we asked them if it was possible to get the visa on the dock they told us of course it was. Any announcements to the passengers? Of course not! This left a bad taste in the mouth. So in conclusion - lovely boat, excellent staff, beautiful ports. Six star cruising? Well not quite but well on the way. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
When we were booking our first cruise we knew we wanted a more upscale cruise line. We had been planning a trip to the Greek islands for many years and wanted to do it right. We were fortunate enough to plan and save, so we were able to at ... Read More
When we were booking our first cruise we knew we wanted a more upscale cruise line. We had been planning a trip to the Greek islands for many years and wanted to do it right. We were fortunate enough to plan and save, so we were able to at the last minute upgrade to a Vista Suite, which made the cruise even more enjoyable. Having the Vista suite gave us the privilege to board early and have our stateroom ready. Within minutes of being in the room, our butler (Anthony) arrived to introduce himself, give us a tour of the suite, and let us know he was available for our needs. Anthony was absolutely wonderful, he made our trip even better! Soon after our stewards (Miriam and Danny) arrived and again we were very impressed, they were also both wonderful through the entire trip. The suite was amazing. No need to go into details here, you can see them on the Oceania website. We loved everything about it. Our favorite part was having the amazing deck to enjoy as you are heading in and out of the ports. The views are unbelievable. We had the luxury of having breakfast delivered each morning as we enjoyed the beautiful views of each port. Because of the distance the food is being brought, it was never very hot, but it was still very good. We had all of our dinners at the specialty restaurants and the Grand Dining Room. We were very pleased with all of our meals, with Red Ginger being our favorite. The wine list is excellent. We did buy several bottles of wine, at a discount when boarding. They leave the bottles in the wine cellar under your room number. Each restaurant will retrieve which bottle you would like for the evening. They will also re-cork and put back for future evenings. Entertainment in the evening was good, basically what we were expecting . You are made aware going into Oceania that it will not blow you away. We opted to only attend a few of the shows.My husband did use the gym, it had all the equipment you would expect. We did walk through the spa, which is lovely but pricey. We have a Canon Ranch near home so we were expecting that. We did not use the services.We did a few private tours that we planned prior to arriving. We also did a few of the ship tours. While they are on the pricey side, we did enjoy them. The guides were all very knowledgeable. Mykonos, Rhodes, and Marmaris we wandered on our own and loved every bit of it. My husbands favorite stop was Santorini and mine was Mykonos. The captain had to make the tough decision that we could not go into the Crete port. Winds were too high and he felt it dangerous. While we were disappointed, we were glad he made a smart decision.We met many people that had cruised other lines, but once on Oceania they stated they will only sail with Oceania again. While this is only our first cruise, I do not see us needing to try any other line. The ship, the staff, the food and wine made it a trip of a life time for us. Thank you to all! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
RIVIERA CRUISE MAY 15TH TO May 25th, 2013This was our third cruise on Oceania Riviera in the past twelve months.This time we embarked in Athens and left the ship in Istanbul.Flight to Athens was very comfortable, all in the cruise price ... Read More
RIVIERA CRUISE MAY 15TH TO May 25th, 2013This was our third cruise on Oceania Riviera in the past twelve months.This time we embarked in Athens and left the ship in Istanbul.Flight to Athens was very comfortable, all in the cruise price with British Airways, again from London Heathrow. We stayed the night before our flight at the Sofitel at terminal 5 so that it was only a short walk from the hotel to the terminal on the morning of our flight.All bookings were done through Lee Johnson and everything went very smoothly.On arrival in Athens we had booked a private car to take us to Piraeus to join Riviera.Once we arrived at the port our bags were taken from us and the next we were to see them was in our cabin. On arrival at check in there were no queues and we were soon through security and on board, from leaving the taxi to our cabin took approx 20 minutes.As we knew the ship quite well there was no need for the usual wander around to see where things were, so we just chilled on the balcony to await our cases. It was not long before our cases and our stateroom attendant arrived and we were unpacked and ready for the Muster drill.Our itinerary consisted of :-Piraeus. Nauplion, Aghios Nicolas, Santorini, Marmaris, Rhodes, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Cruising the Dardanelles, and Istanbul for two days.Unfortunately we did not go to Aghios Nicolas, but had a sea day, because of very high winds and we could not dock.One thing before the cruise there was a lot of discussion about Turkish Visas, you will need one if you are over night in Istanbul but you can now get one on line as an E Visa. This is far cheaper than letting Oceania do it for you.Another thing we have found with Oceania is that their excursions are very expensive, we therefore find it more convenient and cheaper to do our own thing in ports.Because of the fact that we had sailed on the ship less than six weeks ago, we found that staff remembered us from our previous cruise, which was very nice. -2-We managed to get more bookings in the speciality restaurants than we were allowed. We found that if we went down to the reservations desk in a morning that people had cancelled and we took advantage of this. Overall we eat on 7 of the 10 days in the speciality restaurants.Regarding the food, again it was very varied my only concern, and I put this in the mid cruise questionnaire, is that the food is not Hot but only warm.And yet again I mentioned this each evening to the Maitre’d before we ordered. In fact we had one very good meal in Toscana, when we pointed out to Enzio, that our food had been a disappointment, regards the heat of the food.I would hope that Oceania really look into this, as we found many passengers we spoke to had the same opinion, food not Hot but warm.People who we thought should need a mention are. Dominique Nicholl, General Manager, only on for part of the cruise, a great asset to Oceania, also Miko one of the section heads in the MDR. The lady manager of the spa, could not do enough and went out of her way to be helpful. Also our Steward.A very good cruise yet again and we look forward to booking a cruise on Nautica this coming September. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Arrived back from this cruise yesterday so here's a quick review whilst things are still fresh in my mind. We're not so experienced as many of you who visit this site. This was our fifth cruise overall and our first time on ... Read More
Arrived back from this cruise yesterday so here's a quick review whilst things are still fresh in my mind. We're not so experienced as many of you who visit this site. This was our fifth cruise overall and our first time on Oceania, so I'll try to make some comparisons with what I've experienced elsewhere. Getting there.... Flights were included in the deal from London Heathrow. We live in North Wales so this necessitated a drive down to London the day before. Booked in to the Park Inn and got a room for the night and up to 15 days' parking. Left the car at the hotel and took the Hotel Hoppa bus to Terminal 1 the following morning. We booked the cruise quite late and couldn't get a direct flight to Venice; instead we were routed via Dusseldorf. Only an hour's wait there to change planes and everything ran on time. My major concern when changing planes is whether the luggage will make the change too. Our bags were among the last on the carousel so I was getting nervous, but thankfully they made it. Transfers were not included (more about that later) and we took a taxi from the airport to the cruise port at a cost of 46€. No delays at check in, arrived in our stateroom at 15:00 and the luggage was there 5 minutes later! Marvellous start to the holiday. The Stateroom.... We booked a Penthouse Suite -- 11025 right in the middle of the ship. Included in the deal is a bottle of chilled champagne which was waiting for us. This was the real thing -- Jacquard. Suited my wife because she doesn't like champagne which is bone dry, and this is a very pleasant drink indeed. If you book a suite with Princess they bring you a glass of "champagne" on embarkation. With Holland America you can go to the Neptune Lounge and have a glass or two there. However, it's not the real thing. With a HAL it's a palatable sparkling wine. With Princess it's a not very pleasant one! It's the real stuff on Oceania. The butler came along to introduce himself. We never use room service so we hardly saw him after that. The maid came along too, and she kept the suite pristine all the time we were on the ship. The Ship.... Absolutely beautiful. It's only a year old so everything is still sparkling, and it's finished everywhere with marble and polished wood. There's a marvellous feeling of space. I got the impression that the dining rooms and public areas were as spacious as on the bigger ships but with half the number of passengers. We never had to queue in any of the restaurants, we could always get a seat in a bar or lounge, and there were always plenty of sunbeds -- well padded with loads of towels. There are no onboard photographers so you are not repeatedly having a camera thrust in your face when you leave the ship. The Staff.... Relentlessly cheerful and couldn't do enough to please. Happy to share a joke and very friendly indeed. In my limited experience on other ships there has always been a preponderance of Filipinos and others from the far east. Oceania is different. There were lots of Europeans and a smattering of staff from India, the Caribbean and Africa. I'm not trying to imply a preference of one to the other, but I found it interesting to talk to staff from Russia, Croatia, Zimbabwe, Myanmar and Jamaica as well as staff from further east. The food.... We were attracted to Oceania by the promise of "the best food at sea". We weren't disappointed. Every meal was superb. Not Michelin starred standard perhaps -- there are too many guests for the degree of fussiness which such cuisine demands -- but very good indeed. The contrast between the four speciality restaurants is terrific but the main dining room is also excellent. I have read complaints in these pages that the food was sometimes tepid. It didn't happen to us. If there is any better food at sea please let me know -- I want to try it! Drinks prices.... Similar to what you might pay in a top class restaurant. For example, we had a bottle of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2012 which cost $72 plus 18% tip. This is around 2.5 times what I would expect to pay if I bought it from a wine merchant in the UK. This markup is not out of line with that of a good restaurant on land. Soft drinks are complimentary throughout the ship. Even non-alcoholic cocktails such as a Virgin Colada are free, and they take as much effort to mix as the alcoholic equivalent. The entertainment.... This cruise was a "Jazz cruise". I didn't know this when I booked, and it wouldn't have made any difference. I'm not a fan of Jazz but I could see that the musicians were talented. As far as the resident company is concerned, the singers could sing and the dancers could jump around energetically, but the productions hadn't had the same amount of investment in scenery and stage sets as you get on the bigger ships. If you want razzamatazz, loud music on deck and a sense that there is always something going on then stick to the bigger ships. The general ambience was quiet and peaceful. I remember a large MSC ship pulling in to port at the next dock part way through the cruise with loud music blaring and it felt quite intrusive. Shore excursions.... We don't like to be herded and much prefer to do our own thing. We only took one Oceania excursion and this was to Ephesus from Kusadasi. It was perfectly pleasant and well organised. As with other cruise lines, the prices are ridiculous. The journey home.... We were scheduled to fly home from Athens and we needed to get from Piraeus port to Athens airport. Oceania offered to book us a taxi for $219, or a place on a coach for $99 each. They should be ashamed of themselves for trying to charge these prices. We simply walked off the ship, collected our luggage and jumped into a taxi at the taxi rank immediately outside the terminal. The driver took us to the airport and charged us 49€ - approximately 30% of the price Oceania wanted to charge. Overall impression.... Would we cruise with Oceania again? Yes, tomorrow if we could! Would I recommend them? Yes, without hesitation. Just organise your own excursions and transfers! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This was our first time on Oceania, previously cruising with RCI, Seabourn and Crystal. We were on a 10 night cruise of the Adriatic and I must say our ports of call were idyllic! Embarkation in Venice was extremely smooth, the Port ... Read More
This was our first time on Oceania, previously cruising with RCI, Seabourn and Crystal. We were on a 10 night cruise of the Adriatic and I must say our ports of call were idyllic! Embarkation in Venice was extremely smooth, the Port Terminal only being a 10 minute cab ride from the airport. In fact we were the only passengers at the terminal at that time. We were escorted to our A1 cabin, which was centrally located on the 11th deck. We had been aware that some reviews had mentioned the large overhang above this deck which admittedly made the cabin quite dark at times, but overall we were very pleased with the facilities. We were also pleased that it was mid ship as fellow passengers above the engines at the rear complained about vibrations. We had toyed with the idea of upgrading to a PH level to give us extra storage but found the space and storage perfectly adequate. I appreciated the separate bath tub as I love a long soak at the end of the day, although I must say that turning on the taps wasn't the easiest of tasks, given you had to twist to the inside corner of the bath around a static shower screen. The separate shower was quite small and doesn't avail itself to someone who is 6ft3in! We had decide to take a Concierge Class of cabin but question whether there are any benefits. The concierge lounge was located 2 decks below on deck 9 and consisted merely of tea and coffee making facilities, cold drinks (available from your mini bar) a tv and computer. We only went in once. We also understood that the Canyon Ranch Spa sundeck was for exclusive use to suite and concierge level guests but there was no monitoring of guests so this "perk" doesn't actually exist. I would save my money and not book concierge. The ship itself is absolutely stunning. There are beautiful sculptures and works of art at every turn. The furnishings have been designed by Ralph Lauren and this has given the ship an extremely luxurious feel. The guests were mainly American and as the cruise was very port intensive, this meant that the pool was deserted most days and getting a sunbed was certainly not a problem! We managed to eat in all 4 speciality restaurants and in fact during the course of our 10 nights at sea we only ate in The Grand Dining Room once. Waiers and sommeliers were very attentive in all the restaurants with June and Geraldine being our personal favourites. On one occasion we were intrigued to see a waiter bring a selection of reading glasses to the table in a wooden display box to assist a guest who had forgotten her glasses. This was a very nice touch. Of the four specialty restaurants I would say that Red Ginger was our favourite and Maria the Maitre d' did a great job. Jacques was probably our least favourite but this might have had something to do with our late reservation and the fact that it was the final night of our cruise and we were looking forward to plain food without a jus! We went to afternoon tea a couple of times which was quite pleasant but this was mainly due to the fact that once back onboard there is actually no food available from 4-6, unless you take room service. I'm sure that food wastage is a problem for most cruise lines but I do question why they put out full baskets of bread, containing enough for a table of 6, when there is just two of you. And are we really going to eat 12 flavoured jellies before dessert in Polo Grill? We decided to take the drinks package at $54.95 per person per day. For us this proved to be good value as although the drinks were reasonably priced by the time 18% gratuity was added you only needed to have a pre or post dinner drink, and a couple of glasses of wine over dinner to break even. However, as far as wine is concerned, on the package you are limited to the house wines by the glass ( although we found them very palatable!) We particularly enjoyed the Martini Bar ( Austin did a great Big O martini!) and the casino bar with Chadwell was excellent. Our main criticism is the lack of entertainment after 10.30pm. The Cruise Director was virtually invisible and the worst we have encountered. This particular cruise turned out to be a Jazz cruise, which we were not told about in advance. This certainly impacted on the amount of entertainment laid on for non jazz enthusiasts! Whilst I appreciate that the majority of the guests are over 60 and after a long day on tour they just want an early night, this isn't true of everyone! At times we felt as if we were in the way, especially in Horizons one night when 30-40 guests were still at the bar when we were told it would close at 12.20. One waitess even kept looking at her watch and if looks could kill.....On the final night of the cruise all bars onboard closed at 11.30 and whilst we didn't want to stay up too late I found this unacceptable. The Riviera has facilities for cookery classes, art classes and those wanting to play bridge but are missing a trick by ignoring guests who would appreciate a bit of entertainment beyond 10.30. There was a 'disco' on one night but this consisted of a jukebox on the Horizons dance floor. This would be the only reason why we wouldn't consider sailing with Oceania again. The only compensation is that we met like minded people (some in their 70's) whose conversation was entertainment in itself. If you're looking for entertainment on a luxurious cruise line then you need to look elsewhere. If you manage to find it could you please let me know.... Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We had a wonderful cruise onboard Oceania’s MS Riviera. Since I love reading all the comments and reviews on this website, I decided to write down my thoughts on this cruise for others to read. I have also compared Oceania’s small ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise onboard Oceania’s MS Riviera. Since I love reading all the comments and reviews on this website, I decided to write down my thoughts on this cruise for others to read. I have also compared Oceania’s small ships (R-Class) to their newest and notably larger ship Riviera that is almost identical to the Marina (both the new O-Class). We have previously sailed on the ‘small’ ships Nautica and Insignia and had been anxious to try one of the new ships. Riviera exceeded our expectations on most points, but we also had a few disappointments. This is a lengthy review so beware… The M.S. Riviera is a beautiful ship, especially the interior design and amazing artwork that you find throughout the ship. Food When cruising the itinerary is a decisive factor for us, but the gastronomy is equally important (maybe even more…). After our culinary experiences onboard Nautica and Insignia we had very high expectations. We had been a little worried that the quality and preparation on Riviera (double the amount of guests) wouldn’t be as good as on the smaller ships, but I can honestly tell you that the food on Riviera was extraordinary. It may well be the best we have ever experienced on a cruise ship. The variety of restaurants is superb with Toscana (Italian), Red Ginger (Asian), Polo (steaks and seafood), Jacques (French), Waves (burgers), Terrace Café (buffet) and Grand Dining room. Red Ginger and Jacques aren’t available on the smaller ships and are not to be missed when sailing on Riviera or Marina. Since we love food so much this review will focus primarily on that. Grand Dining Room On the ‘small’ ships we weren’t very fond of the main dining room, but on Riviera it’s a beautiful and spacious restaurant, that serves innovative dishes with exclusive ingredients like caviar, main lobster, fresh scallops and prime rib. The food was excellent and the menu changes daily. Most of the dishes are also served buffet-style in the casual Terrace Café for those who prefer a more laidback atmosphere or like al fresco dining. In the Grand Dining Room we enjoyed delicious caviar, bouillabaisse, risotto with main lobster, slow roasted prime-rib and many more fabulous dishes. It was always difficult to choose from the menu, since there were so many attractive options. Service was good but sometimes felt a little rushed. One point of criticism however… Although the crystal chandelier is absolutely stunning the light (probably LED) is so bright, that whenever sitting near or under it, you feel like being in the doctors or dentists office. Maybe they could dim the lights a little, so that after dark the room feels more friendly, warm and intimate. Toscana It was our favorite restaurant on the small ships and on the Riviera it is also a very good restaurant. The décor is light and fresh with stunning views. The menu is almost identical to the small ships and they have specials every night. We enjoyed our dinners and loved the fresh pasta with scallops, fried calamari, melanzana, veal chop, dover sole and many more. The service was also very good with knowledgeable waiters and nice touches like the olive oil menu and fresh Parmesan cheese. We really loved Giovanni who also makes the best espressos and cappuccinos in the coffee bar Baristas. Red Ginger This Asian themed restaurant is only found on Riviera and Marina and it is wonderful. The room is a little dark and the windows are blocked by curtains (so unfortunately no view), but it’s very nicely decorated and the lovely Italian Maitre’d was one of the best crewmembers on the ship. We had mouthwatering lobster pad thai, miso glazed sea bass, caramelized chicken, seared tuna and many more delicious dishes. Please don’t forget to try the watermelon and duck salad, its fabulous. This restaurant also has a nice touches like being able to select your choice of chopsticks out of a wooden presentation box Polo This restaurant serves delicious steaks and seafood. The décor is very similar to the same restaurant on the small ships, but the room feels even more upscale. The food is very good, but you can get lobster and steaks in almost al the other dining venues on the ship. I wouldn’t mind if Oceania would change the menu a little and put some other specials on it. The dining chairs can be challenging when wearing smooth clothes, as you tend to slide from the polished leather. Service was good and the views are again marvelous. We had lobster bisque, waldorf salad, tender prime-rib and grilled jumbo shrimps. Everything cooked to perfection. Jacques This restaurant has menu’s inspired by the famous French chef Jacques Pepin, who is a culinary advisor for Oceania. We loved the décor and the food in this restaurant. It really feels like sitting in a French bistro. Service was good and knowledgably. The pumpkin soup, artichoke with foie gras, Dover sole and Canard a l’orange were all fabulous. The Crêpe Suzette was made fresh and also very tasty and rich. I wish we had eaten there a second time, because there were a lot of dishes on the menu I would have liked to try. Oceania did a great job with this restaurant. Waves This venue serves ‘limited’ breakfast and hamburgers and hotdogs for lunch. The food is good with juicy burgers, salads and ice cream. The restaurant and tables are covered completely by the deck above and this makes it feel a little dark and it can get warm. Serves can be quite chaotic at times, with people standing in line, ordering food and waiters bringing the food to the tables but sometimes unable to locate guests. You can also get milkshakes and gelato at Waves. This venue is the best (and only) spot for people who return later from shore excursions. Terrace Café The Terrace Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casual atmosphere. The location high on the stern of the ship gives you a magnificent view. To bad this area is somewhat poorly designed. The outdoor space is ridiculously small for such a big vessel. Tables and chairs are big, bulky and placed very close together. Navigating and finding a free table can be quite a challenge. The food is delicious with a big variety. We liked the grilling station that serves lamb chops, jumbo shrimp, salmon and steaks. There is a dedicated pasta stations that serves pasta of the day that is sometimes freshly made. The lunch and dinner menu changes daily. Service can be hit and miss. Sometimes very good and sometimes messy with tables not cleared and cleaned. If you like dining al fresco this restaurant is the spot for you. We enjoyed a couple of nights sitting outside and getting great services from our waiter Raja. What surprised us is that all the restaurants close early. Except the main dining room (9:30) all other dining venues close at 9:00. When getting back late from a shore excursion you sometimes really have to hurry to get something to eat. The Terrace Café staff is very motivated to close down and prepare for breakfast. They started cleaning tables well before 9:00 and that doesn’t give you a very upscale feel. Nightlife If you’re not that in to food but like an active nightlife, Oceania might not be for you. They have a show in the Riviera Lounge every evening, but that’s about it. The shows are in my opinion somewhat mediocre, due to the lack of having really good singers and dancers. I prefer one really talented/professional vocalist, musician or comedian performing, instead of group that really tries hard but just lacks the quality (or training). After the show in the lounge ends, there is music and a ‘disco’ up in the Horizons lounge. We tried a couple of times but the place is deserted after 10:00 in the evening. Cocktails and drinks The prices for wine and cocktails are fairly high especially when you calculate the additional 18% gratuity that you pay for each and every drink. I don’t mind paying for good quality and most of the wines and spirits are fine. The cocktails however are a different story. They use fruit concentrate (cheap concentrate) for everything and even the promised ‘fresh’ limejuice comes out of a bottle. Cocktails like strawberry daiquiri, piña colada or margarita al taste chemical. Stateroom We had a wonderful Penthouse Suite located on deck 10. The stateroom was beautifully decorated with a large marble and granite bathroom with soaking tub and separate shower, huge walk-in closet, furnished balcony and Oceania’s Tranquility beds. There is a small couch and a writing desk. We loved our room and spend a lot of time out on the balcony. Unfortunately our room wasn’t properly cleaned on embarkation day. We found a lot of dust and a dirty handkerchief in the closet. The space under the desk hadn’t seen a vacuum cleaner in quite some time. Our stateroom attendant quickly resolved the issues, but it wasn’t a nice first impression. Guests who reside in suites (Penthouse, Oceania, Vista and Owner) get a butler. We don’t use the butler a lot, but it’s a nice feature when he (or she) is good at his job. Although our butler was friendly and helpful (he got as extra reservations in Toscana and Red Ginger) he was also somewhat intrusive. He would nock on the door and just let himself in, even when my wife was changing clothes or came out of the bathroom (naked). It didn’t matter if we told him not to enter the room he just came barging in and then apologizing telling us that he really needed to polish the wine cooler or bring our evening canapés. This happened more than once and got bothersome. Whenever we would see him in the hallway he would always try and start a conversation. It didn’t matter if we were already having a conversation with each other or with other guests; he would just start talking and kept asking questions about our day, dinner or what we were planning tomorrow. I understand he means well, but it made us feel uncomfortable. Our bathroom had a faulty (and cracked) shower dial. It took 2 days to get a new knob installed (the cracked part stayed). We had to request new shampoo and bath gel bottles multiple times because our stateroom attendant forgot to replace the used ones. Pool The pool is wonderful with good services, but the deck space felt cramped. There were to many sun beds placed to close together. People ‘reserved’ their beds for hours without being there. The pool deck got to crowded at times. During the evening the pool looks beautiful with great lighting and sometimes the show movies on the big screen with fresh popcorn. We had some bad winds during our voyage but otherwise it would have been a nice place to hang out after dark. Spa deck We loved the spa deck and thalasso pool on the forward deck near the spa. It has comfortable double sun beds, a commanding view and it’s so peaceful compared to the crowded pool area. This space is available to guests staying in suites but other guests can obtain a day pass. It’s a serene heaven and the perfect way to enjoy sailing. Gym / Spa The gym is excellent with all the machines you could wish for. The sauna and Turkish bath are also fabulous. The CanyonRanch SpaClub is amazing although a little to expensive. Weather We had a bit of bad luck on this cruise with strong winds at night. The ship is new, state of the art and has stabilizers, but still you could feel it pitching and rolling a lot. The seas weren’t that rough and I’m used to sailing on ships big and small, but the motion you felt on the Riviera surprised me. Ports Istanbul Great city with so many sights to see and enjoy that you don’t get tired of it even after spending days walking through the city. We went to Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque and up to the Galata Tower. We dined at the rooftop terrace of the Richmond Hotel. It has a magnificent view but the prices are very high and the food is mediocre at best. The best food can be found in small restaurants. We loved getting a drink on a terrace and watching the buzzeling city life. Kusadasi Street vendors are very active in trying to sell their goods. We didn’t like walking around on the market near the port, because some people get very nasty when you friendly tell them that your not interested in their watches, bags or other products. Ephesus however is beautiful and well worth the trip. The excavations are stunning. Rhodes We like this island a lot and it’s nice that you can walk from the port to the old city. It’s very nice to wander around, enjoy a coffee and get some souvenirs. We would recommend taking a cab and let the driver show you around the island. Taxi’s are located just steps from where the ship docks. Crete The harbor and the town are nice spots on the Island, but if you take a cab you can find beautiful beaches and town. We also enjoyed the shops around the port and had a nice drink. Santorini The ships anchors and guests may use the tenders to get ashore. There is a cable cart that takes you up to the old town, you can also hop on a donkey or just walk. I wouldn’t recommend walking all the way up to the town. It’s a long and steep climb. We took the donkey going up (next time we will use the cable car) and walked back down. The town itself is very nice with sweeping views. It can get busy when there are more cruise ships in the area. Sicily This Island is one of our favorites. The ship anchors near the old town of Taormina that is positioned high above the sea giving you great views, nice restaurants and cosy little shops. We also took the ships tour to Mt Etna. We were disappointed with the tour. The bus ride was fine but when we finally arrived at the parking lot we only had about 30 minutes to walk around and enjoy the magnificent views. There was no time to take the cable car up to the mountain, walk to the different viewing spots et cetera. This ship tour was expensive and it actually only consisted of a bus ride to a parking spot. Sardinia The ship was docked at the port of Olbia a busy industrial harbor. The shops and restaurants in the city center were all closed and you really needed a cab to take you to one of the nice towns like Porto Cervo. Rome We stayed an extra night in Rome before flying home and love this city. We went to the Vatican, walked to the Spanish steps, Coloseum and many other beautiful sites throughout the city. Debarkation When on vacation the last thing you want to think about is the end of your well-earned holiday. The crew on Riviera makes sure you are reminded that there is and end to your lovely cruise. It started already two days in to the 12-night cruise. We were asked to fill out the debarkation forms for the number of suitcases, departure time and transport. A little early but fair enough. Then 4.5 days prior to disembarkation day we were already given our debarkation tickets, ‘thank you for sailing with us’ letters and final comment cards. It felt very strange to have this so early and with so many days ahead of us. When we came back to our suite on our last full cruise day our suitcases were already placed on the bed. I know every cruise line want passengers to get their luggage outside of the cabin on the last evening and have everybody leave the ship as early as possible the next morning, but this was a little to much for our taste. We have cruised before. We know the drill. Conclusion We have now experienced the big O-Class ships and the smaller R-Class ships. I would sail the bigger O-class ships again when the itinerary is good, but I prefer the level of service spaciousness and intimacy of the smaller ships Nautica, Insignia and Regatta. For us the cruise on Riviera felt more like being on a big cruise ship with waiting times, lines, cramped spots and a lack of personal attention. At the end of the day we prefer the feeling of being on a yacht better that sailing on a cruise ship. What we liked + Variety of specialty restaurants + Food + Beautiful staterooms + Décor + Artwork + Public spaces + Spa deck What we didn’t like + Big ship feeling + Small pool (to many beds placed to close together) + Small outside deck (terrace café + pool) + Stateroom cleanliness / cleaning + Stateroom maintenance (broken shower dial/scratches on the door) + Somewhat intrusive butler + Restaurants that close at 9:00   Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
My husband and I had booked this cruise because it visited some different places. I particularly wanted to visit Volos because it offered a trip to the Meteora Monasteries in central Greece, which are otherwise hard to reach. So we were ... Read More
My husband and I had booked this cruise because it visited some different places. I particularly wanted to visit Volos because it offered a trip to the Meteora Monasteries in central Greece, which are otherwise hard to reach. So we were more than disappointed when told on boarding the ship that this stop was cancelled. Because of the problems with Superstorm Sandy, the ship was staying an extra night in Istanbul to wait for some US passengers having difficulty to catching the ship. As we had already spent 2 nights in Istanbul and it was our 3rd visit, this was of no benefit to us. Then, to add insult to injury, Oceania would not refund the full cost of the tour!!! We had taken out an Unlimited Collection pack which allows as many tours as you want - this was primarily because the tour to Meteora was $259 each. Oceania would only refund $198 each, as they apportioned a lower amount per day!! I am sure this is why Volos was cancelled instead of the other ports - it saved Oceania money - we met lots of other passengers doing the same tour as us! So far from offering compensation for our loss of this port, Oceania made money from us!!!!!! 3 days later we visited Rhodes and again Lindos was somewhere I had always wanted to visit. We had booked a trip to Ancient Lindos including the Acropolis there but, because of a strike, it was closed. So Oceania offered a trip to a village plus snacks (available on the ship for free!) and ouzo (which I wouldn't have as a gift!). We said we would like a refund but were told WE had cancelled the tour so would not receive any compensation!!!!!! Eventually, after lots of argument from us and others, they offered an alternate tour to Rhodes Town - not as good but at least something for our money! But what stress - we don't need it when on holiday. Other comments about cruise: Cabin nice, good bed, good bathroom Staff generally very friendly and helpful Food very average. The menu was exactly the same as Regatta in both the main dining room and the speciality restaurants - exactly the same dishes in the same combinations - I assume this means that they circulate the same menus every two weeks, as it can't have been a coincidence!! Red Ginger was excellent - good interesting dishes - and nice extra touches. Jacques OK but no ambience and lots of tables next to serving areas and very loud because of wood floor. Toscana OK but not as good as on Regatta - the dover sole was covered in a kind of soggy flour mixture! Polo Grill good but not exceptional steaks. Public areas not as good as Regatta - library and coffee areas both were on corridors - nowhere good to sit. Nowhere on ship is there forward visibility so no chance of viewing ports as you arrived- never seen a worse designed ship from this point of view - the staff don't seem to think anyone looks over the side - never any information on when we were going to see nice entries into port eg Crete and Rhodes, you had to find out by accident! Also, we sailed in and out in darkness several times when they could have adjusted the timings slightly to see the views For a supposed luxury line, no luxury eg no damp cloths or cool drinks when you get back on board (all the other ships we saw were doing this, even the lower cost ones). In fact, no little extras at all. On the last night, they removed the bathrobes to clean them. (As we use a robe when we put out our luggage, we weren't sure how we were supposed to do this!!!) When we insisted, they replaced the robe but it shouldn't be an issue - of the 6 cruise lines we have used, none of them do this! Altogether, ship and offerings very average. We could not recommend Oceania to anyone, and their attitude when there are difficulties (like with the tours above) is not our problem - the small print allows to change what we like at your expense! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
What an exciting concept see Istanbul with all its highlites and chance to see the Eastern Roman Empire and the changes that took place when Constanople became Istanbul...We arrived 3 day early so as to experience the city on our own...We ... Read More
What an exciting concept see Istanbul with all its highlites and chance to see the Eastern Roman Empire and the changes that took place when Constanople became Istanbul...We arrived 3 day early so as to experience the city on our own...We booked our own room and transportation and we very pleased with the hotel and its location with its proxsimity to the highlites of the city... What I am going to disscribe in my following comments was sent on to the President of Oceania Lines in an attempt to get a refund for what was a disaster on board the ship which included all phases of food, service, and advertised features of the ship. To begin with we were delayed one day in port to pickup delayed passangers who were straned on the East coast due to a hurricane...So we missed a port and the ship steamed nowhere. Once on board we meet the butler on our floor and he promptly told us what he wouldnt do, that being the last we saw of him during our cruise. We bought a drink package, non-refundable, as we could see why based on the service we received by the staff once they saw we didnt have to have a service charge on our order, so they in most cases ignored us. And you would have though they drinks were coming out of their pockets. The various resturants were excellent (Red Ginger) to poor the (Terrace Dining) service was slow the food marginal and in the case of the Terrace we just picked up our drinks on the way in and on occasion set our own table...The staff was short handed, and in some cases didnt understand 'English. The Spa which we were to have exclusive access to in parts of it, was not helpful and were to the point of ignoring you if you didnt have a schedualed appointment for a treatment. We were suppost to have access to the exclusive reading room for our level of room and our pass card never worked...When we would go to the desk down on the main deck usually there was no one who could help us with the problem so we went throughout the cruise without access. The dress code was never inforced and on one particular occassion one of the passangers wore a tee shirt with F/U on it all over the boat... There was no offer from the company after numerous complaints through Visa and with correspondence to the company..There letters never fully addressed our complaints and no offer of a refund was offered due to a lost sailing day...We have travel with this line 4 times and this is the final one, hence the title of my review...NEVER AGAIN Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
As this was our first cruise, we had no expectations other than what we read here on cruisecritic. We were offered an up-sell from a PH3 to an Oceania Suite, which I quickly took Oceania up on! VERY nice room (actually rooms), and even ... Read More
As this was our first cruise, we had no expectations other than what we read here on cruisecritic. We were offered an up-sell from a PH3 to an Oceania Suite, which I quickly took Oceania up on! VERY nice room (actually rooms), and even though I had never been on a ship before I could tell this was something very special. If you ever get the chance, take it! Most of the specialty restaurants were excellent. Our only exception was Toscana, which I am certain we caught a bad night. Nothing bad, just not up to par with the rest. Terrace Cafe became the hang out for most other meals, and they do a terrific job! Barista's was a perfect way to start each morning and the string quartet was an excellent way to end each evening. We did not attend any of the shows as we turn in rather early. Due to Sandy hitting the east coast, Oceania decided to spend an extra day in Istanbul to let the 700 passengers that were delayed catch up. Good call on their part to allow those delayed to get there. We missed out on Vollos, which was one destination we were very much looking forward to, but stuff happens. Only negatives were some of the other passengers not understanding that baseball caps on backwards or Cabela's gear at the specialty restaurants were not really country club casual, and our butler couldn't seem to get it that we really were not going to drink that bottle of champagne (took till mid week to get it out of the room....). Our cabin steward was fantastic and most of the staff we met were outstanding. The culinary center was a hoot! I made 3 of the classes and had a ball at each one. We missed out on the final one, which was a full day culinary excursion as DW was not feeling well. The 2 excursions we went on with Oceania were just fine for a group tour. I have no negatives on either one, and felt the cost was in line with how easy everything was. Overall we were very happy with everything. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We travelled as a party of four and spent 2 nights in Istanbul before the cruise. Booked all elements independently and had good connections via Lufthansa both ways via Munich. Stayed at Erboy Hotel and would highly recommend - they even ... Read More
We travelled as a party of four and spent 2 nights in Istanbul before the cruise. Booked all elements independently and had good connections via Lufthansa both ways via Munich. Stayed at Erboy Hotel and would highly recommend - they even arranged to collect us from the airport (which can be chaotic) for €25 which we paid to reception on arrival. After two days sightseeing we caught a taxi to the ship for 20 Turkish Lira (£7.50) and arrived around 12.30pm Embarkation was a breeze and we were on board within 10 minutes of arrival. First impressions of the ship were excellent with an opulent entrance area with the Lalique staircase making quite a statement. We proceeded to the Terrace Cafe for lunch were the attentive service set the scene for the rest of the cruise. Cabins were available from 3pm and this was another great first impression with well appointed furnishings and a superb bathroom with virtually full length bath and separate shower. Storage was more than adequate and size overall was excellent @ 242ft2. Whilst we didn't have a balcony the full length windows let plenty of light in. Bed, pillows and linens excellent contributing in a good nights sleep. Due to Hurricane Sandy we were advised that we would be staying an extra night in Istanbul to allow US passengers chance to meet the ship. The result was that the port of Volos was sacrificed. Unfortunately this was the only port where we had booked an independent excursion to Meteora and the cruise line advised they were willing to contact any companies concerned. We simply e-mailed our contact and explained the situation. We had pre-booked 3 of the 4 speciality restaurants and were due at Red Ginger on the first night. With the change in itinerary we cancelled and proceeded to the Terrace Cafe. Selection, service and quality of food was excellent, so much so that we ate here every night with the exception of visits to Polo Grill and Toscana both of which were great dining experiences. Our friends who have been on a limited number of cruises were simply amazed by the overall cruise experience. Whilst the cruise itinerary was aimed at 'cultural' experiences we aimed to use to simply relax. Weather was superb (mid 70's+) and we never had problem getting sunbeds. Entertainment was mixed with some mediocre shows by the ships singers and dancers but there were two excellent Guest acts in Bob Posch and crooner singer Jamie Michael Stewart. With the strike in Athens, thankfully we had made arrangements for a private transfer so made the airport in good time for our return flights. Overall a great cruise experience and if we could get a good price again we will definitely look to cruise with Oceania again. Only negatives (which didn't affect us) were the very high excursion costs and pretty slow internet access and cost which we only used to print off our return boarding passes. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We had very high expectations for our first Oceania cruise, although we have cruised before. We were told we would never cruise another line again and that the food would be like eating in a five star nyc restaurant every night. Both ... Read More
We had very high expectations for our first Oceania cruise, although we have cruised before. We were told we would never cruise another line again and that the food would be like eating in a five star nyc restaurant every night. Both turned out to be false in our case. We arrived in Istanbul 2 days prior and stayed at the hotel nena which was in the old section of the City. It was a very reasonably priced hotel with a great location and a great view from their roof top Restaurant. It was in walking distant of the sights and also near the tram which was fairly easy to use. The hotel arranged a guide for us and we pretty saw what we wanted to see. We arranged for the hotel to drop us off at the ship. Embarkation- was easy and quick and we went to our room and then had a bite at the terrace grill. I had the surf and turf sandwich, which was medallions of lobster and steak. The steaks,was,delicious but the lobster not so much. Our bags arrived at our cabin which was an Inside. It was very comfortable, although we were surprised that the desk was so scratched up The carpet looked It was ready for a cleaning and even the threads on the pillowcase were shredding. I expected high standards. Ship - was beautiful, but low key, and many interesting sculptures and art work, the main dining Room was beautiful. We loved the lounges around the pool. The auditorium was small, and the entertainment was geared towards the late sixties and seventies which was the average age of the Ship. The gym was nice although I only visited it once as this was a very port intensive cruise. They did offer classes, ile yoga, stretch, spin. We did not use the spa but did tour it and it was Nice, but small. Activities- they seem to have some. Ice cooking classes and art classes, but I can't comment as I did not participate. Service - this is where we were disappointed... The staff worked hard , but definetly were not outstanding. Food- favorite restaurant was red ginger ((the lobster pad Thai, was great) and we did like all the other specialty restaurants , although we felt that toscanno was understaffed. The dining room Was good. Our disappointment was at the terrace grill where it took 40 minutes to get a hamburger. After 20 minutes I was told they were very busy and then had to wait another 20 minutes. As this was on our second day of the cruise at lunch, I wondered how oceania could claim to have such a hi ratio to passenger staff. Ports - we did not take Oceania excursions because we like do it our selves. I will review the ports Which I could not find much information on Cc. Also they had a cruise lecturer who was excellent and Gave great info on the ports Mittilini (lesbos) we were there on a Saturday and many locals were at the waterfront tavernas enjoying their day off. We went to the castle which is very close to the dock, then strolled thorough the town, and did some shopping and then ate lunch at a taverna facing the water. It was very Picturesque . Marmaris, turkey - we walked through the market to the boats and for $25 pp we had a 3 hour boat Tour. We stopped at a cove a jumped into the Aegean . It was great. Before boarding we stopped for Turkish bagels and bread some cheese and drinks and had a picnic on board.. Antalya , turkey - the ship provided a shuttle from the port which was about a 25 minute ride. We went to the anatalya museum and rented their audio guide which was very good. We also saw Hadrian gate and went to the. Market. Kusadasi - used Ephesus shuttle and were very pleased. Ephesus was amazing. We did not like The market in kusadasi as they were very aggressive. Disembarkation - easy and quick. We had a taxi arranged to pick us up and bring us to the airport. It was half the price of oceanias transfers for 2. Marina was a great ship with a few blemishes. Oceania goes to great ports, we were very lucky with the weather it was An average of 70's to 80's with one day 92 degrees Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
I've really thought about this review, and I'm trying hard to be fair. There was not much to object to, but I was underwhelmed. I paid a premium price, and in the end it wasn't worth the extra to me. Destinations. Not ... Read More
I've really thought about this review, and I'm trying hard to be fair. There was not much to object to, but I was underwhelmed. I paid a premium price, and in the end it wasn't worth the extra to me. Destinations. Not O's fault, but there were usually four other ships in every port, with thousands of cruisers in every port. The destination ports were often small places (Dubrovnic, Kotor, Santorini, Mykonos, for example) and there was no pleasure for me in sharing such small venues with several thousand other people. I quickly decided that in any port, whatever the highlights were supposed to be, I would head in exactly the opposite direction. That worked for me, as I enjoyed exploring a quiet beach after a local bus ride in Santorini, for example, but if you wanted to see the highlights, you were going to share them with hundreds or even thousands of other people. Food. Yeah, well I just can't eat this way for 10 days, and it eventually became a struggle to avoid the fatty, creamy, overblown food in the dining room, the specialty restaurants and even the buffet. It's gorgeous, it's awesome, it's everything you want to eat all the time, but shouldn't. I found it difficult in the buffet, the dining room and the specialty restaurants to get a big attractive salad I could chow down on so as to curb my appetite before eating way too much fatty, creamy stuff I knew I would regret and would make me blow up like a beach ball later. Ship Experience. This was too homogeneous for me: absolutely everybody was old, white, and comfortable. I don't particularly like screaming kids and bellyflop contests, but I also don't like an environment where everybody is exactly the same as me. There was no energy on this ship. There was nobody doing something else, being a different way, looking for and having a different experience. Boring. Big snooze. Luxury Experience. Well, yes, I guess it was. The ship and our cabin were gorgeous, the staff were great (though not better than other cruises I've been on). We lacked for nothing and were frequently surprised by extra touches. But I noticed the Grand Bar was deserted most of the time, and if the Artists' Loft ever had anything going on I missed it. Normally the daily newsletter is so packed with things I want to do I can't pick. Not on this ship. If I wasn't on shore, I was snoozing, like everybody else. Entertainment. The theatre is really too small and with too shallow a pitch to be a theatre. God knows the entertainers tried, but really, the venue made it seem like the show was in a gym. The last night we had a show that seemed to be a nostalgia pitch to the sixties or seventies - guess they thought us old duffers would like homage to our youth, or we would be upset by anything more modern. It just made me feel old and boring. Health. There was a cold going around this ship - I talked to a woman who'd had it on the b2b leg before ours. Two days after we boarded, I started hearing rumors about a cold going round, and two days after that, I got the disease. I drugged myself so as not to lose my cruise, and began hearing echoes of my own hacking cough all over the ship wherever I went. But here's the thing. There was no strict handwashing protocol enforced on this ship, anywhere, at any time I was on it. I am now, three weeks later, getting over the walking pneumonia that developed from the cold I got on that ship. They should have been making people disinfect their hands everywhere, all the time. So sure, I am very glad I went on this cruise. It allowed me to see a part of the world I really wanted to go to. The food was opulent, if you can eat that way day after day. I can't complain about anybody's behavior on the ship, as mostly I think they were sleeping or at least taking it easy. The staff were great(as they are on every cruise I've been on). The ship was gorgeously decorated, although for my taste, the artwork leaned way too much toward weird, avant-guard (I don't want to puzzle out why the artist decided to place an eyeball or a breast somewhere surprising, or why the mermaid has a hole in her tail, or some such, in every piece of art I look at). And finally, I don't need a shower and a separate bathtub in my cabin, even if I'm sharing - we can take turns. I'd rather have a bigger cabin. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
The Ports were an outstanding selection of the Greek Isles and surrounding area. We usually arrived early and was able to beat the crowds that were still in force at this late part of the tourist calendar. Sometimes we were the only ... Read More
The Ports were an outstanding selection of the Greek Isles and surrounding area. We usually arrived early and was able to beat the crowds that were still in force at this late part of the tourist calendar. Sometimes we were the only ship, other times there were 4 or 5. What can you do? A representative was always available to help the morning of the departure into the ports. Found them very helpful..and reliable. We either did the ports on our own or had booked on the internet. Most could be done with some advanced preparation on our own. Food..was just amazing. You could choose from the very fancy to very simple. Eat as much as you like, or as little. Lots of choices. The specialty restaurants had impeccable service and superb cuisine. The Bon Apetite Culinary center was a delight. My wife and I took a Mediterranean food course and found it to be well taught and a worthwhile part of the trip. Ship...the top of the line! Interiors were decorated with such taste and kept immaculate. Service was beyond helpful. Crew went out of their way to be of assistance. Since we walked all day touring the ports, did not attend the shows. There was so much to see and do, just did not make it to the theater. This was a real walking cruise! Though there were no children, the cruisers all seem to get around well...whether they had black hair or silver. The majority were 50+ in years, but this was not a problem. Cabins were fine. Information on bed in the evening was perfect explaining the next day's port. Never the less, one must do studying on your own, since there is so much to see and do in each port. In summary, this was an outstanding cruising experience. We have river cruised in Europe and cruised the Caribbean, and Alaska. This was tops in service, food, ports and ship . I would highly recommend this cruise without reservations! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Our first cruise with Oceania and we were really impressed with efficiency, productivity, service, "classiness", the sophistication of our fellow passengers, really everything was a notch above other cruise lines. Riviera, as ... Read More
Our first cruise with Oceania and we were really impressed with efficiency, productivity, service, "classiness", the sophistication of our fellow passengers, really everything was a notch above other cruise lines. Riviera, as new ship, was fantastic. Cruise personnel were fantastic (everyone - from embarkation to room attendant to the lady cleaning the handrails). It was obvious that they've been properly trained to be up-beat, outgoing, friendly, helpful, nice to all passengers, all the time. So refreshing and pleasing to have happy helpful people on the ship no matter the situation or time of day. In ports where we used tours from Oceania, the tour was great, allowed us to see the most stuff in the time allotted as well as get lots of background and information that would have been hard to get without lots of up front studying. We downloaded Ricks Steves audio tours for several ports (Venice, Dubrovnik, Mykonos) and thought they were great. Yes, we'd have liked more time in some of the ports, but that's the thing about cruising - you don't get to do 100% of everything, but if done well, you get a sense of what is there and whether you'd like to go back. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
As with anything everyone has a different taste so what appeals to one may not please another, so this is our personal opinion of the cruise. To us it appears Oceania's target market is somewhat older than us and less mobile (average ... Read More
As with anything everyone has a different taste so what appeals to one may not please another, so this is our personal opinion of the cruise. To us it appears Oceania's target market is somewhat older than us and less mobile (average age on our cruise was announced at 72) this influences everything on the cruise from setting the pace for excursions, food selection and preparation , entertainment and the constant Muzak played on deck. We put some of the fault on our Travel Agent as well as the cruise industries brochures. It would be a good idea to adopt some of the practices of the Coach Tour brochures and have a true indication of who a particular cruise line would appeal to. For example, a fair disclosure on this cruise would be that Oceania is geared to appeal to non-independent travelers in the over 65 age range who prefer a leisurely pace. As soon as we arrived home we sent emails to Oceania requesting we be removed from all their mailing lists as it's obvious we aren't in their market. Stateroom Our stateroom was very spacious for a cruise ship and very comfortable. There were more than enough drawers and hangers for our clothes. We would have preferred a larger shower stall as we didn't use the bathtub. The ship staff was very pleasant and efficient but no better or worse than we have experienced on NCL or Carnival (not as good as Uniworld) who tend to be our benchmark). We probably expected more from Oceania given their supposed premium rating and price. We found the laundry room on each deck to be a pleasant surprise and feel it should be mentioned more proximately in the brochure Dining Our meals were often served not hot, entrees marked as spicy were mild at best. Red Ginger was the best for a change of pace but even there I had to send back an entree that was supposed to be spicy and served not even mild. Finally our server brought out a portion of the spices used and I was able to make it more to my taste. The only choices of vegetables offered at any of the dining rooms are steamed variety of broccoli, carrots and cauliflower or green beans and shallots. This became quite boring after a while. They had the same cuts of meat at all the dining rooms just prepared differently. Wine prices are very outrageous for example a bottle of $7.00 California wine was $54.00 on Marina. We found the house wine from Chile to be acceptable and only selected wine by the bottle on occasion. Since they allowed you to have wine in your cabin purchased off the ship we purchased several fine local wines while in port that we sipped on our balcony. We really enjoyed Baristas and it wasn't long before the barista knew what we wanted before we asked. Unfortunately it closed at 6PM and there was nowhere to have a coffee or tea outside of picking it up in the Terrace Cafe or a bar, we didn't always feel like room service and sitting in our cabin. Ports Stops in Egypt were our main reason for choosing this cruise so its cancellation was a major disappointment. I contacted Oceania by phone upon being informed of the change of port, while I realize the decision to change ports had to be made in advance I feel the port chosen was a very poor substitute. I don't think very many people would look and say "I have to take this cruise it stops in Antalya." Also it took us well off the original course resulting in really only a half extra day in Ashdod. A stop in one of the Greek islands or Piraeus (Athens) would have kept the ship closer to Israel. Other than that the ports were pretty much as advertised. Shore excursions and the Destinations desk on the ship We found the excursions while expensive were pretty much hit and miss. We had very good guides in Ibiza and Istanbul, not so much in Israel. People who commented on the guides who didn't go in the museums should realize that some museums have their own guides would have been paid separately from the tour guides, we didn't have enough time to warrant hiring one so I don't think looking by yourself at your own pace was a bad choice. We didn't use Oceania's excursions in several ports or our pre-cruise in Barcelona. If you weren't buying an excursion the staff at the desk was not helpful at all nor was the representative in Barcelona. We had planned Barcelona but still had a few questions the only thing they offered was a coach tour of Barcelona on the morning of the day we sailed. When we declined her attempt to up sell us, suddenly we were the last people arriving and she was going home. The receptionist in the hotel was very helpful and gave us maps and directions as well as pointing out some significant landmarks we could use if we lost our way. When we asked at shore excursions for information on Antalya once again the only thing offered were the Oceania excursions, we had decided with some research to just take the shuttle bus and sight see ourselves. We were surprised that as soon as we declined the excursions the Destination staff's reply was that it was the first time they had stopped there and they really had no other information except the excursions. As it turned out there was a tourist information booth as soon as we got off the shuttle bus and we found our way around and saw everything that was on the walking tour. As well we had 2 hours to spend in the Archeological Museum ( audio headsets were available at a reasonable price so we had a good explanation of the displays as well) while an Oceania tour that arrived while we were there was whisked through in a minimum of time. Entertaiment and Activivities We only attended the show on the first night and only stayed for about fifteen minutes. The entertainment appeared to be aimed at a target market older than us, watching the highlights of the shows on the TV in our room confirmed this simply not our thing. There was nothing else offered in this time period and we felt that it would have been a good time to offer some lectures on the ports of call or repeat some of the day's activities that were only offered while active people were ashore. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This back to back combination of two journeys from Barcelona via Istanbul to Athens was our fist experience with OCEANIA. With some 20+ cruises on board of ships from Cunard (QM2), Hapag-Lloyd (Europa) Regent and Seabourn our curiosty was ... Read More
This back to back combination of two journeys from Barcelona via Istanbul to Athens was our fist experience with OCEANIA. With some 20+ cruises on board of ships from Cunard (QM2), Hapag-Lloyd (Europa) Regent and Seabourn our curiosty was piqued to OCEANIA's new ships and the disgner-styled large suites there. Pre-Cruise Arrangement: Unfortunately we booked a pre-cruise arrangement with OCEANIA, what we never would do again! The Boutique-style hotel (1898) was really nice, but the small room with nearly absence of any day-light which was booked for us reminded to be more a broom-closet than a stateroom. With lack of any further assistance or support, except a small general information sheet, the guaranteed transfer to the port did not happen. Hence we organized our transportation to the ship by ourself. Embarkation: Smooth, efficient, fast and no lines! After arrival at 11.30 am our Suite was ready for occupation without any delay. The downside: from Pier to Suite our luggage made a 5 hours journey. This is really not "prority delivery within one hour" as advertised! Suite: The Owner's Suites on Marina are an Interiors Designer's delight and absolutely marvellous and to die for! Spanning from one side to the other at the ship's stern it is all about space and style and guarantees the privacy of a large yacht as well. Travelling in such a phantastic setting is hardly to beat. The most spacious and best equipped Suite we ever enjoyed on baord of a ship! Our Cabin-Stewards Joseph and his young assistant did a phantastic job. Charming, smiling, friendly, always just in time: perfect! Ravi, our Butler, first had some minor problems as he tended to forget his orders. But by the end of the cruise his service was really much more improved and we had been rather more satisfied. With Suite 10111 there is only one problem: the fall-out of carbon black out of the ships chimney (unbelivable for a 'Green Ship')and, much more, the garbage thrown down from the Terrace-Cafe two decks above. Nearly every second morning our balconies had been covered with napkins, paper, fruits, korks, crackers and even broken bits of glass(!)and fixing pins. If you prefer having breakfast on your private terasse, it has to be cleaned first. Sometimes you had to be careful if the Terasse-Cafe was cleaned after Lunch: without any warning some water splashed down. For our next cruises on 'Riviera' we booked the Owner's Suites on Deck 8 and 9 which - as it was told - are not as problematic as Suite 10111. Restaurants: Famous for its dining expierience, OCEANIA fullfilled all our exspectations. The quality of meals in all of the restaurants we tried was - with one exeption - of top quality. Even in the Grand Dining Room the the kitchen worked excellent. Not our style, we did not try 'Waves' and the 'Terrace' for dinner. Service ranking: 'Polo Grill' and 'Jacques': excellent, 'Toscana', 'Red Ginger' and 'Grand Dining Room': very well, 'Terrace Cafe'(for lunch): sometimes ok, sometimes poor. The service at 'La Privee' seems a little bit over exposed - you do not have a chance for private conversation without beeing interrupted by the waiter. Shore-Excutions: We booked onboard two private cars with guide for Israel and one for Istanbul: perfectly organized but extremely expansive. Otherwise we made our private arrangements, which worked extremely well. Disembarkation: We booked onboard a private car to the Aiport. Even with 4(!)cruise ships arriving at the same time and regardless the hughe crowds we never expirienced such a well organized disembarkation before. After leaving the ship at the scheduled time a personal guide and a porter exspected us with our luggage, showed us the way and accompanied us right to the waiting car: perfect! Summary: The 'Marina' is a marvellous ship: spacious, elegant and stylish. Regarding the pictures, sculptures and some decoration this is not only pure Interior Disigner's routine: you feel, that there must be an OCEANIA excecutive, who personally tooks care of it. Having some fears about the size of the ship, as - with the exception of a Transatlantic Crossing with QM2 - we never sailed on such a large vessel,it was really a surprise: the 'Marina' absorbes its 1200 Passengers very, very well. One never had a cramped feeling or the atmosphere of beeing in a hughe crowd. At some places the ship feels homy and intimate. Even the tender-service works extremely well and is better organized than on all smaller ships we travelled. Only in terms of individual attention, the 'Marina' lacks the personal atmosphere of smaller ships. This applies not for the restaurants, where you mostly are personally wellcomed by name. Otherwise at the reception you feel more treated with the unpersonal routine of a call-center (we apologize, we double-check, we try...). Regarding our 'garbage' problem, absolutely nothing happend! Trying to get an appointment with the Marina's GM was such a hard task, that I gave it up! It seems to be easier to get a reception with the Emperior of China than with Monsieur Lacroix himself! After nearly four weeks onboard 'Marina' the GM was only virtually excisting. Observing how some of the decks personal are operating and with quite a little experience on board of other ships, you get a feeling, that the attention to details and guests could be improved by the 'Marina's management. Overall: this was a very good experience, which we highly recommand. Maybe it will be even better next time: we are looking forward to our next three journeys onboard 'Riviera'. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Having just completed an 10 port cruise from Athens, around the Black Sea to Istanbul on Oceania Cruises "Regatta," I was tremendously impressed with the seamanship demonstrated by its master, Vitaliy Silvachynsky, and his crew. ... Read More
Having just completed an 10 port cruise from Athens, around the Black Sea to Istanbul on Oceania Cruises "Regatta," I was tremendously impressed with the seamanship demonstrated by its master, Vitaliy Silvachynsky, and his crew. He made an unassisted docking at Sochi in Russian so perfectly that an egg suspended between the dock and the ship would not have even been cracked. And it had to have given our master, a native Ukranian, a special thrill to do this with his family on board while two Russian tugs hung around uselessly, who could only watch in admiration. And watching our master battle his way into our final port Istanbul, when his docking space was being hogged by a competitor who had overstayed his berthing schedule, ESTour's creaky rehabbed Carnival liner redubbed "Aegean Paradise," and fight with the harbor master for being allowed tender service to keep faith with his passengers' tour schedules was enlightening. Enroute, the meal service, quality, and attentiveness of the crew on every level were absolutely superb. The staterooms delivered clean, useful, and well-maintained space at a competitive price. And the entertainment was adequate with a good comedian and an extraordinary Polish Tatra quartet who could play anything from Jerome Kern to an obscure movement of a Dvorak quartet. And like most cruises, the drinks were overpriced and the sluggish internet service was an invitation to bankruptcy with every use plan optimized to trade your expense and inconvenience in favor of Oceania. Several scholars on board gave some excellent background on our ports of call at no cost to Oceania. But the real surprise was how poor the over 50 land tours arranged enroute by Oceania's "Destination Services" department were. They sure weren't cheap. Some gave the passenger 5 hours crowded into a bus with a guide who knew little more about where they were going than a paragraph in any guidebook-- for the price of a weekend in NYC with a Broadway show. One I took gave me a four hour trip to construction sites in what is left of the Russian Riviera in Sochi, Russia, a trip to a dried up stream bed smelling like rotten eggs which supplied a "famous spa" (which we weren't allowed in) and a trip to a Botanical Gardens in which our Oceania guide could barely distinguish between the grass and the trees, and while any other visitor got an illustrated guide to the collection, none of us on the tour did... and all for a mere $338. My complaints about this particular tour were complimented by John Mortensen, the Regatta's "Destination Services Manager" as "positive and constructive feedback" and I (and others who had complained) were given the same unctuous assurance that "we stand by the quality of our staff and shore excursion program" common to morticians and bureaucrats the world over.... But not enough to refund the fee having admitted lousy service. Some tours went well, but 2/3 of mine were a total waste of money. I learned that when the ship docked far better tour guides showed up at a lot lower cost, some on foot only, others with cabs. And if they didn't, there was still plenty of time to book an Oceania tour and take a chance. And the internet today gives a lot of flexibility in finding tour guides abroad in advance. As Cruise Critic readers know. It can't be as easy to arrange top guides in 10 ports as it is to arrange top prices, but it would be nice if one felt Oceania was making an effort to do so. Seemed to me like the Destinations Services crew was so busy servicing destinations that they were allowed no time to properly research its guides on site. If the cruise prices make sense to you, expect any site excursions will be up to you. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Our Cruise On Oceania Riviera. 23.8.12 to 2.9.12 We booked this cruise as a last minute deal, it was a guarantee outside cabin, we did not find out about our cabin till two days before we sailed, we were getting a little worried in that ... Read More
Our Cruise On Oceania Riviera. 23.8.12 to 2.9.12 We booked this cruise as a last minute deal, it was a guarantee outside cabin, we did not find out about our cabin till two days before we sailed, we were getting a little worried in that we had heard that they had overbooked the cruise. Anyway we got a great upgrade to Concierge Class and we were more than pleased. We flew to Rome and we had booked the flight and taxi on the web, our taxi was waiting for us at the airport. A fairly swift journey to Civitavecchia and no wait for check in at the port, and we were soon in our cabin. Because it was a Concierge Stateroom we had a bottle of Champagne on ice and we were informed that we could use the Concierge Lounge, here you could have coffee and snacks throughout the day, plus they had a lady that would take bookings for excursions and speciality restaurants onboard. We had already done this via their web site before we boarded. You were allowed one booking in each of the four speciality restaurants. You choose if you wanted a table for two or company, which we thought was a good idea. The speciality restaurants, Polo Grill, Red Ginger, Tuscana, and Jacques were all included in the fare, no additional fees for eating in them. We did all four during the cruise and our favourite was Jacques, which is the signature restaurant of Jacques Pepin the Executive Culinary Director for Oceania Cruises. Also you could eat at the Grand Dining room, which had a spectacular chandelier in the centre of the room. Other places to eat were the Waves Grill, breakfast and lunch, Terrace Cafe, breakfast, lunch, and casual dinner. They also did afternoon tea, which was served by white gloved waiters. Our only observation here was that the tea came in tea bags, not loose tea, which we thought would have been better, but the selection of fruit scones and sandwiches were great. Our only disappointment was that the food was never Hot, but only served warm, even after asking waiters for Hot food. The only time they achieved this was on the last night, when I made a point of asking the Maitre'd for the Entree to be Hot, he served the meal himself, and we got a hot meal. I really think that Oceania should try to achieve this as the food was very good all round. We spoke to many passengers during the cruise, and the temperature of the food was a topic that came up very often. I have also read other Reviews of Riviera and this was mentioned many times. All non alcoholic drinks are also free of charge, the only thing we felt was that the alcoholic drinks were rather pricey. A single measure of say, Gin, or Rum was 9 dollars and then they added 18% gratuity which made a drink 10.62 dollars. But they did make Virgin Cocktails, Milk Shakes, which were nice. The ship in general was very stylish with lots of sitting areas, you never felt crowded in any of the areas. Also being Concierge class meant that we could use the Private Spa Terrace at the front of the ship. They had a Thalassotherapy pool and great sun beds with canopies over to shield the sun from you. A Spa Butler came round with non alcoholic drinks and served Fresh Fruit Kebabs, a really nice touch. Even on the normal pool area they had sun beds with thick sponge beds and white towelling throws, with Oceania Cruises, printed on them. Plenty of towels and the Pool Butlers kept the place spotless. Entertainment was mixed, we had four production shows in the 10 days, these were very good to excellent. Also a violinist, which was not to our taste, he performed on two of the nights, and a English Comedian, again performed two of the nights. We felt that the Comedian and the violinist should have only been on once, as once seen then you did not want to see them again. They had a coffee bar called Baristas, but here again they served coffee in small paper cups, so if you wanted an Iced Coffee, they could not do it. So many people were taking their own glass to the Coffee Bar so that they could make an Iced Coffee. This was mentioned in the mid cruise questionnaire and they said that they would try to accommodate this during the next cruise. Why they could not have done it during our cruise we do not know.!! Our cabin stewardess, Sandra, could not have done more, she kept the cabin spotless and refilled the fridge with non alcoholic drinks when they were consumed. Would we cruise with Oceania again, the answer is a definite yes. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This was our third cruise with Oceania. The Riviera is their newest ship. Everything was bright and shining. The staff are so helpful and cheerful. Embarkation: We flew from London to Venice and were taken directly to the ship. ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Oceania. The Riviera is their newest ship. Everything was bright and shining. The staff are so helpful and cheerful. Embarkation: We flew from London to Venice and were taken directly to the ship. Check-in was very easy and someone showed us to our cabin. Our luggage arrived quickly. We had some light lunch on arrival. The washers and dryers are at the other end of the ship. Everything seemed to be at the other end so if you do not want a long walk, get a cabin with a lower number. Cabin: We chose a cabin that has concierge services and Bosco, our butler, was all that one could ask for. Dining reservations? No problem. Fruit? No problem. DVD not working? No problem. Restaurants: We had pre-booked three of the four restaurants. Oceania would not allow us to book for the same restaurant twice. We did not want to eat in the Asian one. A minor complaint, I admit, but still as we were entitled to pre book four why not allow us that? The main dining room is vast. That one and the buffet do not require reservations. We actually preferred the buffet because one could overindulge in grilled lobster tails! The other three, French, Steak House, and Italian are a bit pretentious but fun none the less. Loved the selection of olive oils in Toscana and that and their bread basket would have been a perfect meal! They serve tea every afternoon at 4pm. Sandwiches and cakes and a string quartet playing Bach as well as popular tunes. Lovely. We had breakfast every morning and lunch as well in the buffet restaurant. We like sitting outside. The breakfast had practically everything you could desire to eat if you were from the West. What the Chinese and Japanese guests thought of the breakfast I do not know. Perhaps Oceania could cater for them at breakfast and then the rest of us could have dim sum instead of eggs! Passengers: On our two previous Oceania cruises, the passengers were almost 90% American. On this cruise this was definitely not the case. It was a much more international group and we met people from many different European countries as well as Asian countries. It made the cruise seem much more cosmopolitan. Pool Area: There are many lounge chairs though in the afternoon it would be difficult to find a place to sit. There are places to sit to avoid the sun with very comfortable chairs. The staff are ever helpful in bringing drinks. Our only complaint was that they did insist on playing music, and sometimes music with words, which makes it almost impossible to read. We used the fitness room in the afternoon. It is small with very up-to-date equipment. It got very crowded in late afternoon. They provide you with water and towels. I loved the newness of the bikes which enabled me to play Patience while doing my exercise. The 30 minutes flew by! I am quite spoiled now. There is an extensive library there. Very quiet with cosy chairs. We had access to the Executive Lounge where they had current copies of The Times and other papers. I liked going there for a cup of tea. We did not go on any organised tours. The places we were visiting did not warrant such an extravagance, as the tours are very expensive and the places are easy to see on one's own. Disembarkation: We left the ship at Civitavecchia which is about an hour away from Rome by car. They close breakfast at 8am and expect you to be off the ship by 8:30am. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We have cruised 6 times before, mainly with Celebrity and having now been on Riviera we have definately been VERY spoilt and will certainly not be sailing on any ship other than Riviera (or equivalent). We were away with friends who felt ... Read More
We have cruised 6 times before, mainly with Celebrity and having now been on Riviera we have definately been VERY spoilt and will certainly not be sailing on any ship other than Riviera (or equivalent). We were away with friends who felt the same way. The ship itself is fabulous - it's a perfect size . We had a concierge cabin which had with a lovely marble bathroom with a bath and separate shower and a decent size balcony. Very comfortable bed! We loved the use of the concierge lounge with coffee/tea available 24/7 and nibbles all day too - such as mini pastries and bagels in the morning, mini filled rolls from lunch onwards and always delicious cookies. Also, the concierge herself was so nice and very helpful,giving plenty of information on stops etc. The food and service on the ship was fantastic. We could not fault any staff, they were always there to help you and it was lovely to sit down at breakfast(even at the buffet) and have coffee and pots of tea brought to you or what ever you drink you wanted. We liked having soft drinks included and really enjoyed the milk shakes, smoothies or daiquiris they served as part of this. In the evening, you have to pre-book their speciality restaurants and we especially enjoyed Red Ginger and Toscana. The Grand Dining room excelled itself with fantastic service and food. As we always ate about 9pm we were able to sit in the same place therefore having the same waiting staff who were so good. In all the restaurants, all the different dining rooms were so lovely, each being very different and the china was so beautiful with no expense spared. We did not go to any shows as we preferred to make the most of the early evening sunshine and go to dinner later. However, we did enjoy the magician who would be around the martini bar late evenings and do close up magic - he was brilliant. On deck, all the sunbathing areas were so comfortable with double and single beds available and always plenty of towels. We loved being able to sit round the edge of the pool in about 6" of water to just cool of but still be able to read a book. It was a very interesting itinerary and very easy getting on and off the ship. We did our own thing when off the ship. (ship's tours seemed expensive) We absolutely loved Riviera - she is going to be very hard to beat and are looking to book for next year and can't wait to sail with her again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Just returned from Mediterranean cruise on new Riviera. Way beyond our expectations in each category, and our expectations were high. Elegantly designed ship, colors, furnishings, lighting of cabins and public rooms take your breath away. ... Read More
Just returned from Mediterranean cruise on new Riviera. Way beyond our expectations in each category, and our expectations were high. Elegantly designed ship, colors, furnishings, lighting of cabins and public rooms take your breath away. Chandeliers of Lalique crystal everywhere are awesome. Food in each venue a true class above any previous cruise. Specialty restaurants each have a unique personality and are beyond "first class". Even nightly buffet in casual restaurant offers lobster, steak, lamb chops every night. Main dining room is a white/gold masterpiece. Service is impeccable in all areas. Staff helpful, professional, friendly. Entertainment much better than prievious Oceania trips. Now several production shows per cruise. Complimentary extras (specialty coffees, soft drinks etc.) are nice touch. Concierge lounge a nice plus. Spa facility beautiful. Pool area a wonderful design. It's all way more than good! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
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