Our cruising days started in 1999, sailing with P & O and Princess. In the last three years we have hanged our allegiance to the luxury lines (Seabourn, Regent and Oceania to date), and are enjoying the difference!! We returned from ... Read More
Our cruising days started in 1999, sailing with P & O and Princess. In the last three years we have hanged our allegiance to the luxury lines (Seabourn, Regent and Oceania to date), and are enjoying the difference!! We returned from our first Oceania cruise a couple of weeks ago. We went to the Black Sea starting from Istanbul, Turkey and ending in Athens,Greece. 22nd September to 2nd October.
Unfortunately, due to the Troubles in Crimea and Ukraine the company had to cancel the ports of Yalta, Sabastopol and Odessa, ports we have visited before. We had booked this cruise after the changes were made, so no complaints there. A couple of the replacement ports were however, not the best so we stayed on board.
CHECK IN… We stayed overnight in Istanbul and had a taxi to the port, arriving at about 1.00pm. We had to show our passports and tickets to a port officer, outside the port gate and it was a bit of a scrum but after depositing our luggage and going to the ship’s check in desks in the (sort of) terminal, the procedure was quick and hassle free although we did have our our passports looked at, three separate times!!
THE SHIP.. Riviera is beautiful
The art work throughout the ship is interesting and eclectic. The furnishings and carpets are presented in delightfully soft colours.
There is plenty of space. in the public areas. She is not small, but carries only 1200 passengers. (Compared with P & Os Aurora, which is the same size, and carries 1800 passengers.) so Riviera is never crowded. We could always find a sun lounger in the right place. Never a problem getting a drink at the bars, or in Baristas coffee lounge.
THE CABIN.. Ours was a balcony cabin on deck Seven Aft. Rather smaller than either Seabourn's or Regent’s equivalent cabin level, but as a bonus we had a double depth balcony. More of that later. The drawers and cupboards were plentiful but not all at a convenient height for a little short person like me! The wardrobe doors were not very easy to access. The bathroom? Small, only room for one person at a time! but well appointed and had bath with shower over, shower cabinet with glass door, one basin, good lighting, marble and mirror fittings. Super thick towels and nice toiletries. The good exceeded the not so good.
DINING…. The best cuisine at sea? Probably. The Grand Dining Room is very Grand indeed decorated in gold and cream with a magnificent large crystal chandelier in the ceiling. There is no fixed time dining. The service was perfect for us, certainly not slow, but at proper dining speed. All the staff were attentive, they were well trained and charming. The restaurant Managers were on hand all the time and made sure everything ran smoothly. We are not wine connoisseurs and so had no complaints about the wine offered on the package. We were always able to have a table for two if we chose to.
There is no extra charge for dining in the alternative restaurants but you must book in advance. We ate in all four having made reservations on line prior to the cruise. Toscana was my favourite, and the Polo Grill surprised me,(I thought the portions would be to big for my small appetite) Jacques was a great pleasure. We dined with lovely people at each venue. I enjoyed Red Pepper food the least, but my husband thought it was the best!
The internet connection was the best we have ever had on a ship.
EXTRA NOTE.. A little anecdote to illustrate the care Oceania takes …… As mentioned before, our balcony was double depth. On the Interim Questionnaire, I wrote that the balcony furniture was rather small and the chairs did not recline. I suggested that on such a large balcony, a sun lounger might be nice. The next morning, on opening the curtains, we found a sun lounger on the balcony, which must have been delivered while we were having our dinner the evening before. That’s attention to detail, and proof that the questionnaire was not only read but acted upon without delay! Thank you.
The only criticism we have of Oceania Cruises, (apart from the mean balcony furniture), is the cost of the Tours. Very, very expensive. We only took one tour ( a boat trip along the Danube Delta) and it was only OK and not value for money. Even so we had an enjoyable time with our fun fellow passengers!!
Did we have a good cruise? Yes. Would be go with Oceania again? Definitely.