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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We choose this as our first experience with Oceania, as it offered an itinerary to match an anniversary celebration. Travelling on a newly refurbished ship, and the marketing around service and food were deciding factors also. Up to now, ... Read More
We choose this as our first experience with Oceania, as it offered an itinerary to match an anniversary celebration. Travelling on a newly refurbished ship, and the marketing around service and food were deciding factors also. Up to now, we had only cruised Seabourn (4), Silversea (3), Crystal (1), Sea Dream (1). We enjoyed the cruise very much, but unfortunately some areas did disappoint. The marketing of this brand is excellent, but in my opinion, over promises in some areas, and under delivers in reality. THE SHIP The ship refurbishment in most areas was beautiful, but it was just a pity that they seemed to miss some areas. Specifically the Terrace restaurant which we found cramped in the buffet area, and the furniture and lighting is dated. The ambience was dreary. The serving areas very dated too. We would not sit inside, and were lucky to always find a space outside, albeit often sharing a table. All other dining venues were very pleasant on the whole, although personally we felt that the main dining room would have benefited from lighter window treatments, to make it a little more contemporary. Our penthouse suite was beautiful and I much preferred it to similar size accommodation on Seabourn/Silversea. You may have a smaller bathroom and no walk in closet, but storage was ample, and never using the bath, I appreciated the larger shower. We really enjoyed the width of the cabin and the light. All appointments were excellent. We visited a verandah concierge suite which was extremely cramped in my opinion. You have to remember that these ships are 20 years old, and even after refurbishment, they still don't come close to the modern style and layout of say the modern Seabourn and Silversea ones, with their wider spaces, light and modern stylish spaces. THE SERVICE We found the vast majority of staff to be cheerful and helpful The predominant asian waiting staff were efficient and cheerful, but sometimes things got lost in transition, and culturally it was not possible to build rapport over the week as we were able to do with the higher ratio of European staff on Seabourn/Silversea. Our butler was excellent and efficient. The cruise director - well.... he just made announcements and opened/closed the entertainment, and to be honest little else. A waste of a salary in my mind. I think that we must have been on auto pilot for much of the time also, because I have never been on a cruise with such invisible officers, if they actually existed. In fairness we did not go to the introduction evening, but usually officers interact, or are at least visible, throughout the cruise. This certainly did not happen. THE FOOD Ranged from average to excellent, but I'm sorry, Oceania most certainly does not offer the finest cuisine at sea. The Terrace restaurant was the biggest disappointment. Breakfast felt chaotic, and variety was lacking. We gave up on fresh egg orders, and those from the griddle. As with breakfast, the lunch variety was lacking. It looked good, until you realised that the buffet was a mirror image in parts with items repeated each side. I commend any attempt to reduce waste in buffet restaurants, but I also don't expect to be served basically everything and to be asked how many prunes I want, how many pieces of melon etc, not at the price we paid. This was annoying, and slowed everything down, adding to the chaos at times. Dining at the speciality restaurants was very enjoyable and we managed to change and secure extra reservations. Main dining room, was good - service extremely efficient. Waves grill was good, but again, lacked variety with the same menu board on the wall each day. Afternoon tea was excellent. In our opinion, the Terrace Restaurant should stay open 30 minutes longer for lunch and dinner. It would make a big difference to the feeling of being rushed, and having to rush in to get dishes before they closed. On the food side, I expected a lot more I'm afraid. PORTS All good and arrival/departure was handed well. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION All efficient and quick. On reflection, we would possibly choose Oceania again, but only in a penthouse suite, and with more realistic expectations around service and food. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We booked this trip because each day we were visiting a different port which we had not been to before. Embarkation was relaxed and very straight forward in Monaco. Our penthouse suite was beautiful. We normally book larger suites on ... Read More
We booked this trip because each day we were visiting a different port which we had not been to before. Embarkation was relaxed and very straight forward in Monaco. Our penthouse suite was beautiful. We normally book larger suites on similar ships but found the size, bathroom with large shower and wardrobe space more than adequate. I believe the ship had been recently refurbished and looked lovely throughout. We ate in Red Ginger and Tuscan both of which were really good. We took afternoon tea on a few afternoons where we enjoyed trolley service for sandwiches, cake and tea along with the string quartet. We found dining in the main dining room a little disappointing. The menu choice was not as good as other cruise lines we have used. Quite often the service was slow for food and drinks. We felt that the waiting staff seemed to have little direction, and we were normally not aware of any management involvement. We enjoyed lunch and breakfast buffet dishes. Once again the service was not consistent. We also noticed that the better wines/champagne appeared to start running out on day 2 which was disappointing. Perhaps we could understand this towards the end of a cruise but not at the beginning. Our room stewards and butler did a great job of looking after us and kept the suite immaculate. We enjoyed the entertainment and felt they did a good job and there was a fair amount of variety for a small ship. We did not do any port excursions as it was so easy to wonder around seeing the sights on our own. Disembarkation was the quickest and easiest we have ever experienced. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The food in the main dining room was never hot and disappointing. Definitely not up to the standards we expected from a cruise line that is supposedly known for its food. Salmon which is a Pepin specialty was cool and tasteless. Paying ... Read More
The food in the main dining room was never hot and disappointing. Definitely not up to the standards we expected from a cruise line that is supposedly known for its food. Salmon which is a Pepin specialty was cool and tasteless. Paying $800 for concierge compared to a B2 was a rip off. There is no concierge lounge so therefore we paid $800 for a bottle of champagne and free laundry which took 4 days to return The room is the same size as a B1 B2 with only two feet between the bed and the wall. Seville was cancelled as Oceania shortened the stay in Cadiz and therefore there was not sufficient time to to Seville Oceania started three months before departure changing times in ports and also cancelled Porto Veecho to Propriano where only Costa goes and there is nothing to do or see. The cruise is definitely not worth the money Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Food, glorious food. Oceania’s claim to serve the finest cuisine at sea is not exaggerated. We have cruised with 12 other lines and the food on Riviera surpassed them all. Choice, presentation and quality was exceptional in the open ... Read More
Food, glorious food. Oceania’s claim to serve the finest cuisine at sea is not exaggerated. We have cruised with 12 other lines and the food on Riviera surpassed them all. Choice, presentation and quality was exceptional in the open seating Grand Dining Room, Terrace Buffet and four speciality restaurants for which there is no additional charge. Room service is also complimentary. In the buffet, food was served to you by friendly, cheerful staff and one of the many waiters would carry your food to the table if you wished and always poured water and brought tea and coffee. In addition to the dishes on display, which always included a carvery roast, there was also a grill area where lobster, giant prawns, swordfish, salmon, various steaks and chops were always available and cooked to order. Elegant afternoon tea featuring the Ocean String Quartet was served in Horizon’s Lounge, by waiters who offered sandwiches, cakes and scones with clotted cream and a choice of teas. Embarkation at Monte Carlo was very smooth and civilised. After passing through port security we walked straight onto the ship where there was no queue to complete boarding formalities in the theatre. A delicious buffet lunch was served and cabins were available by 2 pm. Our concierge level cabin was spacious and comfortable with plenty of storage. Bathroom was small but luxurious with separate bath and shower and Bulgari toiletries. We had access to the nearby concierge lounge where tea, coffee, orange juice and a selection of biscuits, sandwiches and cakes were always available together with full size daily newspapers and useful information. When we docked in Genoa due to being unable to tender into Portofino, the concierge printed out train and ferry times so that we were able to visit this beautiful little port for only £23. He also printed our boarding passes for the return journey. We had access to the private spa terrace with shaded sunbeds and a large jacuzzi type of pool, but did not use it. We were also were entitled to 3 bags of washed and folded laundry. As it took three days to process, it was of questionable value on a 7 night cruise. Wifi was free but very slow. We had the option to book the speciality restaurants online 6 weeks before sailing. The only times available were 9.00 or 9.30 pm. However shortly after embarkation we were able to change these bookings for 7.30 and 8.00. The main entertainment consisted of one show at 9.30. The Riviera Production cast shows were not to our taste but there was a very good comedian, flautist and piano/cello duo which we enjoyed. There was late musical entertainment in the Riviera lounge which we did not experience. Artwork around the ship was stunning. A dramatic Lalique Grand Staircase with balustrades of crystal medallions provides a striking welcome on embarkation. Large metal or marble sculptures sit on landings, amethyst encrusted lamps adorn a lounge and colourful glass installations abound. The library is a quiet haven where you are trusted to select and return books. In the evenings, dress code is described as country club casual. Most men wear long trousers and shirts but not jackets, although sadly, we did see a few in the buffet wearing flip flops, shorts and tees. All the ladies wore dressy separates or dresses and some wore gowns- so it appears that whatever is comfortable for you is acceptable. We chose the cruise primarily for the itinerary which included Monte Carlo, Antibes, Portofino, Livorno, Ajaccio, Palma and Valencia, all of which we enjoyed, except Palma where it was simply too hot for us and, very unusually, we stayed on board, enjoying the pool, deck games, tea and trivia. Tourist information and maps for the area were provided by hospitality representatives who boarded soon after docking at each port. Free shuttles were provided where needed. We were not aware of any facilities for children apart from high chairs. Ages of guests ranged from babes in arms to young adults and fellow silver sailors. We saw two people in wheelchairs for whom access throughout the ship was provided by automatically opening doors. Boutiques stocked the usual designer clothing, jewellery and cosmetics and there were the ubiquitous daily sales of watches etc. There is a spa, fitness centre and casino, none of which we used. In common with all cruise lines, excursions were extremely expensive and we did not book any. For £25 each in Livorno we took a minibus trip to Lucca and Pisa which would have cost £230 each via the ship’s excursion. Alcohol was also expensive - a small glass of wine cost £12. However, guests are allowed to take their own alcohol on board for consumption in their cabins and to take their own wine into the dining room for a £25 corkage fee. Flights are included in the cruise price but unusually, transfers from airport to ship are an expensive extra charge. From Barcelona port to the airport, a 15 minute journey, the cost was £61 each. A taxi for two would have been around £36. Each Oceania cruise includes their Olife Choice Offer which, depending on the length of the cruise includes free internet plus at least 400 dollars shipboard credit, a free house beverage package or 4 free shore excursions. Some itineraries come with the extra benefit of pre-paid gratuities worth between 16 and 23 dollars per night. Room service breakfast was available from 6 am on morning of departure prior to vacating cabin by 8 am. We enjoy good company, good food, friendly personal service and an interesting port intensive itinerary on small to medium sized ships. We prefer to make our own arrangements ashore and are not big drinkers, night owls or spa enthusiasts. Riviera ticked all the boxes we wanted and we heard no complaints from other guests. There were the usual incentives to book a future cruise onboard, including a 100 dollar shipboard credit on the current cruise. Were we tempted? You bet we were! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Best cruise ship with the best staff and by far the best food. Glorious ship with everything you need from sports, to swimming pools to coffee bistros to the best restaurants. Just one incredible luxury cruise ship. The staff were ... Read More
Best cruise ship with the best staff and by far the best food. Glorious ship with everything you need from sports, to swimming pools to coffee bistros to the best restaurants. Just one incredible luxury cruise ship. The staff were impeccable going the extra mile around every corner. The rooms were perfect, big enough, well appointed, perfect balcony and super bathroom. The WiFi worked perfectly. The overall comfort of the vessel was just perfect and the size and control perfect. I would recommend this cruise ship over and over again. I do not have one negative comment regarding the Oceania Riviera. Fro the boarding process, to the luggage handling to the movement on and offshore with the tender boats every touchpoint was taken care of with absolute professionalism and a-plume. The maintenance of the Oceania Riviera is exemplary. The onboard speciality restaurants were out of this world. This is the cruise liner to go with! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose Riviera because we were looking for an upmarket cruise and they were offering a special rate. We didn’t want to be on board a huge ship and we wanted a beautiful cabin to enjoy while on board. The fine dining was ... Read More
We chose Riviera because we were looking for an upmarket cruise and they were offering a special rate. We didn’t want to be on board a huge ship and we wanted a beautiful cabin to enjoy while on board. The fine dining was attractive to us as was the general ‘look’ of the ship and what it promised as far as sedate, romantic, yet fun travel. This was our first ever cruise and we didn’t know what to expect. We weren’t convinced that we would cruise again - but after this experience, we certainly would. The service on board the Oceania is excellent - they strive to please and on the whole, they got it right. The only criticism I do have is that they seem to want their guests in bed by 11 - they could work on that dance floor of theirs and perhaps even a disco - don’t underestimate the agility or ability of your guests, Oceania! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
For our first cruise, Oceania was a good choice. Embarkation was well organized and while there was a wait for our rooms, we were provided with a welcome lunch and later relaxed by the pool. Our room was ready by 1:30. We opted for a ... Read More
For our first cruise, Oceania was a good choice. Embarkation was well organized and while there was a wait for our rooms, we were provided with a welcome lunch and later relaxed by the pool. Our room was ready by 1:30. We opted for a veranda room on the concierge level. The room size appears larger on the web site photo but the space was adequate. Access to the concierge suite was located directly across our room. Staff was available for assistance and refreshments were provided throughout the day. It was worth the extra cost. Bathroom had everything we needed. Liked that there was a separate shower and bath. Shower was a bit tight for my husband but there is also a shower in the bath which we did not use. Good closet and drawer space. Room was clean upon arrival and throughout our stay. The steward service was excellent. The overall service throughout the ship was excellent. Liked that this was not a large ship which allowed for personal attention from staff. The food was very good. My dietary restrictions were given special attention. We ate at three of the specialty restaurants and they were all very good. Red Ginger was my favorite. Only ate once in Grand Dining room and the food and service was very good. Terrace Cafe was quick and easy with lots of choices. Good policy that staff serve the guest in this buffet style restaurant. Observed one improper food practice at the grille station but reported it to staff. Ship Excursions were decent but the best excursion was one that I booked on line. Heath club was nice but a little warm. Fans would help. I did not care for the “cashmere blankets”. They felt more like over sized scarves and were too thin for cool days on the veranda. We had an early flight and left before the crowd so no problems with embarkation. Overall, it was a great cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
The ship was the main reason as we have been on the Riviera before & the standards were excellent as usual. The itinerary also gave us a cruise visiting a couple of new ports that we haven’t visited, some good some bad, along with ... Read More
The ship was the main reason as we have been on the Riviera before & the standards were excellent as usual. The itinerary also gave us a cruise visiting a couple of new ports that we haven’t visited, some good some bad, along with ports that are always nice just to wander around. Our Travel Agent organized our flights & transfers in order to save a little on costs & we were able to embark as soon as we arrived in Monte Carlo with no delays at all. Our cabins weren’t ready until 2.00 so we went up to the Terrace Café on Deck 12 where the start of the culinary treat began & didn’t stop until we got off in Rome. The food & the Staff throughout the ship were marvelous, always wanting to assist you & always with a smile and a chat. The cabin, 9055 was excellent however my only minor complaint would be that in the corridor at this location is the secure door which has a metal threshold which means every time room service goes over the threshold you get a noise from the trolley & its contents. Apart from that the room was impeccable. The bed was very comfortable & the bathroom beautiful with all the marble & even a bath which my wife loves. It is s huge bonus having the specialty restaurants included in the cruise costs however with the food being excellent throughout the ship it makes choosing where to eat very difficult. The shows that we saw were very good especially the guest violinist & guest singer. We didn’t see Oli Nez, who we had seen on our last cruise & was very good, due to eating times in the Specialist Restaurants. The Crew finale show is very good; however this hasn’t changed from our last cruise about a year ago. We had two excursions included in our cruise package & these were good however the price of the excursions on board are expensive & we would choose to do our own trips rather than book on the ship. After the last show the ship always does the parade of staff that have been working on the ship during the cruise & this always brings a tear to the eyes & huge applause from the audience in their appreciation of the wonderful staff. The final morning also provided us with a full buffet breakfast to feast on with disembarkation by 9.00 all handled in their usual professional manner. Another unforgettable cruise on The Riviera. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
First timers and we had a blast! The cabin was so spacious and we had no problem putting all our stuff away and suitcases fitted under the bed no problem. The ship is impeccably clean and the restaurants are too. Staff are always gloved ... Read More
First timers and we had a blast! The cabin was so spacious and we had no problem putting all our stuff away and suitcases fitted under the bed no problem. The ship is impeccably clean and the restaurants are too. Staff are always gloved and do all the food serving, I.e, you cannot serve yourself at the buffet. We ate in the specialist restaurants which were all fantastic, seriously the food on this ship is amazing. We did find the entertainment a bit below average and personally would have liked more to choose from. We were booked in for 6pm dinners and there is a real gap until quite late in the evening before any more entertainment. Don’t get me wrong we still had a great time at the casino, the trivia (twice a day), and earning Big O points on other activities around the ship. No Bingo, isn’t this a standard on a cruise?? Anyway the ports were mostly good, we did our own thing the whole time but next time I would look at the actual day in Port I.e, the Spain Port was a Sunday, not much open. Next time I’d book something if a Sunday. Would I choose Oceania again, for sure I would, I liked the space on the ship, the staff are incredibly friendly and I really like the fact there are hardly any children that go. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
After nine Celebrity cruises on four different ships, my husband and I took advantage of an amazing discount to “upgrade” to Oceania on an itinerary we liked. We arrived in Nice the morning before the cruise and enjoyed exploring the ... Read More
After nine Celebrity cruises on four different ships, my husband and I took advantage of an amazing discount to “upgrade” to Oceania on an itinerary we liked. We arrived in Nice the morning before the cruise and enjoyed exploring the city (which deserves more than a day). Stayed at La Villa du Victor Hugo, which was well located for walking to both Vieux Nice and the waterfront, and not far from the train station. We took the train to Monaco (an easy trip for 6 euros each ) and got a taxi to the ship. Oceania gets top marks for embarkation; it was the fastest and most efficient boarding we have experienced. (i did miss the welcome champagne that we are used to on Celebrity.). We had lunch at the buffet and were able to get into our stateroom at 3:00; our bags were delivered an hour or two later. We had a category B3 veranda stateroom (I booked a B4 Guarantee), which was perfectly fine and had one advantage over Celebrity: the bathtub. My husband likes soaking in the tub after a day of sightseeing, so appreciated this enhancement. We found the bed to be somewhat uncomfortable: a little too soft and with a definite and distinct crack in the middle that made cuddling difficult. What surprised us was that our cabin attendant never (I mean never in the whole 8 night trip) greeted us, introduced him/herself, or asked if we needed anything. We are used to the attendant introducing him/herself on the first day, giving a tour of the room and any quirks, and leaving a number to contact him/her. This was certainly a flaw in the service. In addition, on a couple of occasions our dirty glasss were not replaced when the room was cleaned, and we never had enough soap to serve the tub, shower and sink. Since Oceania’s main claim to excellence is its cuisine, we were expecting to be wowed in the dining room. Unfortunately, we found it no better than Celebrity. We generally dined between 7:45 and 8:30, and had no problem getting a table for two in a good location (kudos to the maitre d’s). The wait staff and somneliers were friendly and competent, and the food was fine, but not outstanding. We ate in three of the four specialty restaurants as well, but were never able to get a reservation for Jacques, even though I tried to reserve online the day we were eligible and checked every day onboard. The fact that Oceania guarantees one reservation in each specialty restaurant does not mean that you can get a reasonable time or a table for two. We were offered 6:00 at a shared table (this was at 5:50 when we had just come back on board from a port visit; the reservation agent said we could get there as late as 6:15 if we needed to shower and dress.). I had my best meal at Red Ginger, which I expected to like the least, and we enjoyed the Polo Grill (though the lighting at our table was so bad that I could not read the menu). We thought Tuscano was okay, but no better than Tuscany on Celebrity. Breakfast in the bufffet was fine, though I would have liked some good hearty multigrain bread and bolder coffee (the coffee throughout the ship was too weak for my taste). We prefer being able to help ourselves, choosing our own ingredients and determining portion size, rather than having the staff do it. Because we were in port every day, we did not have lunch on the ship. I would have liked to try Waves Grill, as their menu was very inviting, with grilled fish as well as burgers. We used room service twice (just for coffee and tea) and delivery was prompt and friendly. Our biggest disappointment was the entertainment. We love to dance, and I had checked before booking to make sure that the ship offered dancing, She does, in fact, have a very nice venue in Horizons, with a sizable dance floor and good seating surrounding it. The band Ardor, however, was a flop.. They played almost exclusively Latin jazz, which is fine for listening but not good for dancing, as the songs are too long, too similar, and feature jazz riffs which highlight the individual band members but mess up the tempo of the music. As a result, the audience for their two pre-dinner sets (5:45-6:30 and 6:45-7:30) dwindled each day until the room was all but empty on the last few evenings. They also played a late night set of livelier music, but again, there was little variety—pretty much all the same tempo. The ship’s show band filled in a few times and was better but still leaned toward jazz rather than dance music, The piano player in Martinis was talented but had no personality. He appeared not to take requests, didn’t encourage singalongs, and didn’t engage the audience at all. What could have been a fun spot ended up being sedate. Another problem is the scheduling: rather than stagger the musical performances so that when one takes a break you can go to another, they are all scheduled at the same time, with all performers (there was also a classical quartet which we saw only briefly) taking their breaks at once, and with a long period (7:30-10:30) of no music. We checked out a few of the shows; there was a violinist who played two nights and was outstanding, a piano player whom we didn’t catch, and the usual young show cast singing broadway and round-the-world songs. They were no better or worse than others we’ve seen. An ongoing annoyance was that we found table service in the bars and buffet to be quite slow, and ordering at the bar didn’t help since we were not allowed to carry the drinks to our table. The itinerary was port-intensive with no sea days, so we didn’t experience the ship during the day. While we enjoyed all the ports, we did miss having an on-board day in the mix. We did not take any ship excursions, which are grossly overpriced (e.g. a bus trip to Lucca from Livorno through the ship was 99 euros per person, whereas the train we took on our own was 5.60 round trip plus 1.20 bus fare to the station). In addition to the train from Livorno, we also took a train to Aix en Provence from Marseilles (14 euros round trip) and we rented a car in Civitavecchia and explored the area (63 euros). Otherwise, we explored the port villages by foot. In the two ports that required tendering, we found the process to be smooth and efficient. We had early flight home from Barcelona, so were in the first group to deboard the ship (7:30). We were amazed at how quickly and smoothly the process went—less than ten minutes from our stateroom to riding in the taxi. Again, Oceania overprices their transportation options. They wanted $178 for two for a bus ride to the airport; we took a waiting cab right outside the terminal for 39 euros. Faster, more efficient, and a quarter of the cost. I realize that all cruise lines make money on their excursions and transport, but it appears that Oceania is particularly greedy in that regard. To sum up, Riviera is a beautiful ship and has some advantages over the Celebrity ships we have sailed: embarkation and debarkation were much faster and easier than we have experienced before, and the bathtub is a bonus. We also appreciated the absence of those pesky photographers and the lower volume of hype. For a ship whose reputation is built primarily on cuisine, we found the food to be equal to but not significantly better than what we’ve had before. We also did not perceive a higher level of personal service. But the kicker for us was the poor quality of the bands for dancing which is a main reason we like to cruise. I recognize that this is a personal preference and irrelevant to most people deciding whether to book Riviera. What I think is a broader concern is the value, and for us, Celebrity is a much better value, especially when they are running (as they often do) their 3-for-free promotions. We enjoyed our cruise on the Riviera, we’re glad we experienced it, but we’ll stick with Celebrity for the dancing and the value. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise on Oceania Riviera because we had read so many excellent reports regarding food etc. and we saw it at a good price for a very early booking. The cruise started from Monte Carlo so we flew out a day early and booked ... Read More
We chose this cruise on Oceania Riviera because we had read so many excellent reports regarding food etc. and we saw it at a good price for a very early booking. The cruise started from Monte Carlo so we flew out a day early and booked into a airport hotel in Nice and booked a transfer for the next day to the ship.The transfer was excellent and arranged via Get transfer..com.We were collected from our hotel and transferred arriving at the terminal at 12.30.Bag security was done on the quayside then check in was done on the ship in the concert lounge very quickly. We then were allowed to go and dine in the terrace restaurant until our cabin was ready at about 2.45pm. The cabin we reserved was a ocean view which has floor to ceiling windows ,A very nice good sized cabin ,it also had a full size bath and a shower and could not be faulted in any way.Our cabin steward was excellent all of the time. The ship is beautifully maintained and seemed to be being painted every day keeping looking perfect. Riviera is a medium sized ship but as it only carries 1200 passengers it never feels crowded,it was always easy to find sun beds on deck or seats in restaurants. The sun beds were lined with comfortable towels and in immaculate condition. As we were first timers on Oceania we were allowed 1 visit to each of the speciality restaurants which on Oceania do not carry any surcharge. Our favourite was Polo followed closely by Jacques,the food and service was excellent. We ate in the Grand dining room for breakfasts and some evening meals.here we found service varied from day to day sometimes excellant other times staff needed a bit more training . With regard to excursions this is what let's Oceania down.We have been on many cruises and we were astounded by the high prices this line charges. A seat on the coach to visit Florence and do your own thing was priced at 179US dollars per person,this is extortionate and is a influence as to whether we would travel with Oceania again as we normally go on excursions with Celebrity or P &O and they are never anything near Oceania's prices We new Oceania were not noted for entertainment and we see why. One of the problems is unless you dine before 19.30 you have very little chance of seeing the shows as there is only one show at 21.30 Disemarkcation was very well organised in Barcelona All in all we enjoyed the experience sailing on Oceania Riviera and would say several aspects we prefer Oceania to Celebrity but as we like to visit cities on excursions this will have to be considered with Oceania's sky high excursion prices. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Let's start with the boat. Elegant and tasteful with contemporary artwork throughout, I found nothing lacking in design and certainly, not the "glitzy" look! We did end up getting a suite (penthouse, I believe) so I do ... Read More
Let's start with the boat. Elegant and tasteful with contemporary artwork throughout, I found nothing lacking in design and certainly, not the "glitzy" look! We did end up getting a suite (penthouse, I believe) so I do have a jaded view in that regard! The room was lovely, with a walk in closet, plenty of storage both there and in the bedroom and the bath as well. With the suite came our own butler and room service maid. The butler was the best! He got us in for reservations when we needed at the restaurants, got our laundry done, when we had not submitted in the required time frame, had a jacket which could have been ruined, cleaned perfectly and came every morning with our coffee in bed! The ship had some great restaurants but when I had two entrees that were not good, I quickly learned that you can reorder and get something that you enjoy! The ports were almost all divine (not sure why they go to Sete, France--truly unmemorable). We found something we loved about each. And lastly, we took two excursions and both were good, the one in Rome was the better of the two. That was a farmhouse with a cooking lesson and lunch. AWESOME! Only negative was slow internet. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Great ports, not were a lot of the supersize cruises would dock. We used the tenders at two ports. The food was outstanding, First class and the buffet was as good as the dining room. Lobster everyday! We got to use four of The specialty ... Read More
Great ports, not were a lot of the supersize cruises would dock. We used the tenders at two ports. The food was outstanding, First class and the buffet was as good as the dining room. Lobster everyday! We got to use four of The specialty restaurants at no extra cost. The red ginger was our favorite,the French restaurant was my least favorite, good but I don’t like frence food. The bathrooms were better than other lines upgradges(suites) Staff were there when you needed and get this no phots or pushing drinks, so classy! What cheap go carn...al etc. best boarding and departure sysyem. Excursions were expensive, book our own, they didn’t pressure you to use their services. Wish other cruise lines would get back to service at this level. P/S we have cruised at least 25 times.love oceanic! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose Oceania based on their reputation for great cuisine, and we were not disappointed. The Riviera is beautiful, the staff impeccably trained, and the food almost uniformly excellent. We stayed two nights in Nice before we sailed, ... Read More
We chose Oceania based on their reputation for great cuisine, and we were not disappointed. The Riviera is beautiful, the staff impeccably trained, and the food almost uniformly excellent. We stayed two nights in Nice before we sailed, and there was lots to see and do there. Embarkation went smoothly; we were allowed on early, so that might have made it less crowded. Our cabin was well-appointed and reasonably spacious. We found enough drawers and cubbyholes for all of our stuff, once the bags were stowed away under the bed. The bed is incredibly comfortable! Dining is wonderful almost everywhere; we loved the food at both Jacques and Toscana, were less delighted by Red Ginger, and although my husband's steak at Polo was fabulous, mine was a bit tough - surprising given the cut and age of the meat. Many people on the ship didn't even bother going to the specialty restaurants, however, since the food at the buffet was great. The evening entertainment was quite good; I'm not sure why people are critical of it, since it's pretty much on par with that which we've seen in lots of resorts. The service is amazing; every staff member makes eye contact, greets you in a friendly way, and is very attentive. We didn't use Oceania's shore excursions since we found them expensive, so I can't comment on that. Disembarkation was a weak point; we had to wait in a very long line to collect our bags. Even though we were called in groups, I suspect that process could be improved. We will definitely sail with Oceania again! Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I chose this cruise as a result of the extremely good reviews and marketing by Oceania. It was also a special birthday being 80yrs young on the 15th August. There were plusses and negatives. Wait staff, Deck staff and especially bar staff ... Read More
I chose this cruise as a result of the extremely good reviews and marketing by Oceania. It was also a special birthday being 80yrs young on the 15th August. There were plusses and negatives. Wait staff, Deck staff and especially bar staff were excellent. I have to commend the head bar tender Mikhael in Martinis as the best I have come across. Room staff were noticeable by their absence. The restaurants did not come up to overall expectations with the exception of the continuously good quality and variety of food in the Terrace Buffet. We dined in all the speciality restaurants and did have the occasional good or very good dish but service was rushed and not consistent. Jacques our last dining experience was no more than 3*, wine was not offered to taste, amuse bouchee came after the appetiser, children were running around and making excessive noise for what was advertised as a 5* restaurant dining experience. Finally the one breakfast we had in the main dining room was a disaster and could have resulted in a medical problem as we both chose fish, one item had not been filleted and resulted in mouthfuls of bones, the other was salted to the extreme. Facilities, state room bedding and deck furniture were again excellent. I have travelled many times previously, mainly on Celebrity and consider the Oceania experience to be no different other than as described above Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Food is still great and the strong suit of Oceania. Service was overall-great, however, the destination services people need to be reminded that cruisers paid premium prices to go on excursions and should be treated a bit nicer. Smile and ... Read More
Food is still great and the strong suit of Oceania. Service was overall-great, however, the destination services people need to be reminded that cruisers paid premium prices to go on excursions and should be treated a bit nicer. Smile and be courteous- it doesn't take any extra time! We stayed in Oceania suite and our butler Binoy was outstanding. Everybody on the ship's staff was friendly ( beside the above mentioned and one pool bar manager). The real reason I even decided to post this was to mention the large increase of families who brought young ( infants through 9/10 year olds) on this trip. When reading Oceania brochures and materials, I believe you'd have to be daft to not realize this is a cruise line that caters to adults. Sorry to those who think that I'm "anti kids", I'm not, at all. However if I spend thousands of dollars to go on an adult themed cruise I don't want your children splashing me while I read quietly by the pool or running around the pool deck with dripping ice cream. I also don't need to hear them screeching and howling in Polo Grill while my wife and I try to enjoy a special dinner. All in all a lovely time but as all too frequently in our world today people think , " not our kids" or "my money my way". Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this cruise and cruise line because of the itinerary. The reviews closed the deal. The standard room and bathroom are "big," the stateroom attendants were great. The air conditioning worked great. The ship is ... Read More
We chose this cruise and cruise line because of the itinerary. The reviews closed the deal. The standard room and bathroom are "big," the stateroom attendants were great. The air conditioning worked great. The ship is comfortable, not too large, not crowded for the most part. Feels like a country club. The dress code is country club casual at all times, so no need for men's jackets or ties. Embarkation and disembarkation could not have been easier. There were crew members to help you find your luggage upon leaving. The restaurants offer plenty of variety. The food is good but not better than you can find at good restaurants in the big cities. The service is great except for the end of the meal. The coffee service is sporatic, sometimes non-existant. The main dining room coffee is awful, so get a cappucino or have the waiter get the americano from the machine. The room service breakfast quality was not so great. We gave up and ate at the buffet. We tried the dining room for breakfast, but it was just too slow and nothing special. Besides, a blueberry in the pancake I ordered in the dining room exploded on me and my shirt, the ship cleaned the shirt for free. The cruise directors were great. The few shows we saw were forgettable but the band was always good. There is only one show seating, so if you eat late, you will miss most of the entertainment. The crew, under questioning, say people go on Oceania for the food, not the shows. We went to one trivia contest, it was fun. Since this cruise was port-intensive, there was no time for the mundane shipboard activities. The guest lecturer was great. The onboard internet was slow, if it worked. When in port, better to use your phone data plan. There were some decent and some really bad port excursions. If you go to Ibiza, stay on the ship. "Overview" tours can be slept through. Better to concentrate on one particular aspect. What really makes this ship and cruise line are the passengers. They are predominately well-off, educated, and sociable, and older. It is easy to meet people and make friends. While this ship is a cut above the big lines like Holland and Celebrity, it is not quite perfect. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
As a frequent guest of the Oceania Cruise Line, our two-week visit to the Mediterranean was our first experience outside of the Caribbean. We arranged to spend two full days in Monte Carlo before departure. For the record, Le Meridien ... Read More
As a frequent guest of the Oceania Cruise Line, our two-week visit to the Mediterranean was our first experience outside of the Caribbean. We arranged to spend two full days in Monte Carlo before departure. For the record, Le Meridien hotel is the only option for a beachfront venue. Unless you have money to burn, avoid it. Very expensive, with rooms that are similar to those at airport Ramada Inns. Nice views of the ocean. As for the cruise, Oceania met every standard for which they are known. Incredible food, the highest level of service that we've ever experienced, attention to hygiene and cleanliness that would make your grandmother proud, and a nice variety of on-board entertainment and activities. For those who haven't sailed on Oceania, the main dining options include the Terrace Cafe (a misnomer, since this is a full-service buffet that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner; special offerings are cooked to order, and the menu varies daily), a Grand Dining Room (popular place to sit and order off a menu), and four specialty restaurants (Asian, Steak, Italian, and French). Be sure to book these venues early, since all are extremely popular for the simple reason that they're fabulous. The Polo Grill (steak, but also lobster and other premium dishes) is especially popular. The couple traveling with us -- true "foodies" -- said that their meal at the Polo was the best food they'd ever eaten. There are also afternoon "teas" in the Horizons (a very large lounge with panoramic views), a coffee bar on the 14th floor, Wave Grill (for high-quality hamburgers, salads, desserts, etc.), and other offerings (e.g., special buffets to celebrate "occasions", such as national holidays). The staterooms are cleaned TWICE per day, and the service staff almost appears to outnumber the guests. Again, the quality of service is a 10+. Insofar as entertainment is concerned, they try. A group of singers and dancers performed several nights each week, and they were decent. There are also a string quartet, a swing/jazz band, lecturers, a popular music ensemble, and other offerings. The only are that might foster a complaint is the shore excursions. This is true on all cruise lines (even Viking), but deserves to be mentioned. From our experience, you can do much better by getting off the ship and making your own tour arrangements. Either walk around and explore the ports, prearrange a tour with a reputable company, or go ashore and negotiate with one of the many service providers who'll be eager to show you their home for a fraction of the price charged by Oceania. Also, do NOT use Oceania's transfers until you've explored options. For example, Oceania charged $89/person for transportation from the Lisbon port to the airport (a distance of about 10 km). We simply disembarked on the morning of our departure, walked up to one of the many vans and taxis waiting at the curb, and were promptly driven to the airport for 50 Euros (4 people with lots of luggage). Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We chose Oceania because of the itinerary and fares. The cruise was very good. The food and service were excellent. I was somewhat disappointed on the size of the concierge veranda suite. The suite was somewhat smaller than the suite we ... Read More
We chose Oceania because of the itinerary and fares. The cruise was very good. The food and service were excellent. I was somewhat disappointed on the size of the concierge veranda suite. The suite was somewhat smaller than the suite we had on a previous Seaborne cruise, but the service and food was as good, I would probably take another Oceania cruise but would spend more and get a Penthouse level suite so we could have more room. Our package allowed us to take three excursions, 2 were excellent and one was boring and very long, on the boring excursion the guide was full of dates and names but did not peak my interest or curiosity. The ship itself was clean and very well maintained and the entertainment was very good. I would recommend Oceania for cruising but carefully select your cabin category if you are wary about cabin size and also carefully research the ports the ship is stopping at. Barcelona was listed as a port but it turned out to be a port about an hour and a half from the actual port of Barcelona which required an excursion on a bus to reach. All in all it was a very nice cruise but fell a little short of our previous Seaborne Cruise. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We chose the cruise, as we always do, because of the itinerary and because we love Oceania's larger ships with the 4 specialty restaurants and larger bathrooms. Oceania included 6 free excursions and though we have rarely taken ship ... Read More
We chose the cruise, as we always do, because of the itinerary and because we love Oceania's larger ships with the 4 specialty restaurants and larger bathrooms. Oceania included 6 free excursions and though we have rarely taken ship excursions, we did do so on this cruise. Only 2 out of the 6 were enjoyable, with one being particularly awful. The good excursions were in Palma de Mallorca to Valldemossa & the excursion to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar. The worst was to the lovely town of Mojacar near Almeria where the guide, though very pleasant, was inexperienced, spoke English poorly, shortened our free time from 1 hour to 15 minutes, and then the National Park which was the 2nd part of the excursion offered nothing but driving for 2 uninteresting hours with nothing special to see before reaching the visitor's center. Just a small exhibit, nothing to see in the park itself and the movie we were supposed to view was inoperable. Oceania should re-think this excursion. We used Spain Day Tours for Valencia & Seville & had a private guide in Lisbon to see Sintra & Cascais through A Different Portugal. Both excellent companies. Went to Cassis easily on our own by train & took a 2 hour boat ride there. Loved it. Some of the ports we had looked forward to turned out to be disappointing (it seems we were not on the most beautiful side of Sardinia). Our tours were mostly in the morning and afternoons were spent around the pool. I much preferred our British Isles cruise last summer where the ports filled most of the day & the temperatures were a welcome change from the hot summer. But my husband loved the warm, sunny afternoons on this cruise so it is a personal preference. Food & service are always excellent on Oceania. The ship is lovely. Entertainment seemed more professional than on past cruises. There was a resident lecturer who did talks about the various ports, but since he basically read from his notes, I did not find him too stimulating. Some people sign up for what seemed to be very interesting cooking courses. Since Oceania is very itinerary-oriented, there isn't a whole lot to do beside the spa & fitness center, but that is fine. There is also a library on board. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This was our first cruise. We chose this cruise line and this particular cruise based on a recommendation of my college alumni association (through a brochure we received in the mail. The travel company they used for this cruise was ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We chose this cruise line and this particular cruise based on a recommendation of my college alumni association (through a brochure we received in the mail. The travel company they used for this cruise was GoNext). Based on their endorsement, we had traveled with a different tour company (Orbridge) to Africa in 2014 and then to the the Nat'l Parks and Lodges of the Old West (USA) in 2015 , so when we got this opportunity and could fit it into our schedule, we jumped on it. It was amazing. Many will say we have nothing to compare it to as it was our first cruise, but every single person we told aboard that had cruised before, that it was our first, said you are now "spoiled." Everything about it - including the prices - were great. The food was extra special with four specialty restaurants and the standard grand dining room and buffet restaurant (as well as the pool terrace grill). The rooms were awesome, as were the excursions, the entertainment and the overall feeling aboard - there's even a cooking school on board. Most impressive of all was the service, with only 1250 passengers and 730 crew. And the ship was pristine. We didn't buy an alcohol package but didn't need it. Had a couple bottles of wine with dinner and also brought wine aboard at port calls. No issues. Happy hour was twice a day (like 5:30-6:30 PM and 1030:-11:30 PM) with all drinks half-price, along with the travel company cocktail party and then the Captain's Party. We also got drinks while ashore at the ports. Certainly not the fuss I've seen on many of the boards about alcohol on cruise ships and people sneaking it aboard, etc., unless they wanted to be drunk the entire time. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Pre-Cruise This cruise began in the south of France, where we’ve visited often. Rather than fly directly to Nice, we decided to spend several days in Paris prior to beginning the cruise. We used Oceania’s Air Deviation option, ... Read More
Pre-Cruise This cruise began in the south of France, where we’ve visited often. Rather than fly directly to Nice, we decided to spend several days in Paris prior to beginning the cruise. We used Oceania’s Air Deviation option, which allows you to either extend your pre/post cruise stays in the beginning/ending ports when using Oceania air, or to purchase your own air (and deduct the air portion of your cruise fare) – for a small extra fee. This gives us the time to explore the destination cities while choosing our own hotels – a much less expensive option than buying the Oceania pre/post packages! The cruise on Marina began in Monte Carlo. Our last Oceania cruise (on Riviera) docked in the Port Hercule marina. This is an easy walk into town and ground transportation, and the Marina was docked in the same berth. We took the airport bus from Nice airport non-stop to Place d’Armes in Monte Carlo avoiding an expensive cab trip. We’d planned to take a cab for the short trip to the dock, but it was such a short downhill walk that we arrived at the marina before we could hail a cab. Departure Check-in was simple; staff took our bags as we boarded, we were quickly issued our keycards onboard, and headed off to lunch in the Terrace Café overlooking the beautiful harbor. Our penthouse suite was ready with our luggage delivered after lunch. A delightful start to the cruise! Cabin Previous cruises were in a verandah, so we were excited about our first cruise in a penthouse suite. Though it was larger, the extra space really didn’t make that much difference to us. The luxurious baths on Riviera and Marina are the same in Verandah and Penthouse suites with a tub/shower plus separate shower, and plenty of storage. This trip, I had purchased a cosmetics bag with a hook (and five separate zippered pockets) to hang in the bath – wish I’d done this years ago. It makes cruise life so much easier! The living area in the Penthouse is larger, but we don’t spend much time in the cabin so it wasn’t important to us. The exceptionally comfortable queen bed was jut as comfortable in both suites. The walk-in closet was the only asset for us. It’s wonderful to have plenty of space to unpack and hang clothes. But the safe in the closet was located about shoulder-height in the above the clothing drawers. I can’t count the number of times I hit my head on the open safe door until I finally wedged in a piece of cardboard to keep it shut. The penthouse suite also ‘entitled’ us to a [rude] butler, who was of little help; mostly telling us what we could not do. The ‘Executive’ lounge was a whole lot like the Concierge lounge. The concierge for our previous verandah was more helpful than our butler and the lounge staff was equally useless in both lounges. Our first night at sea was a bit rough, and we discovered the first maintenance issue with the cabin. The magnetic latch on the closet door didn’t work, and all night long the door slid open – which turned on the bright closet light – and then slammed shut. Despite the comfortable bed, it was a long sleepless night. The second night, the closet had been repaired, but there was a shrill siren sound all night long from the blowing wind. The glass slider to the balcony would not fully shut, and the wind shrieked through the narrow crack. It took 3 visits (and restless nights) for this to be fully repaired. Food We choose Oceania in large part because of the food and restaurants. The food on this cruise was excellent – though service was not up to the standards set on previous cruises. The only consistently excellent service was in Waves, but the food was good everywhere. Ports Portofino/Genoa: All the guests seemed excited about our first scheduled stop at Portofino. We discovered this when we made our unscheduled stop at Genoa, as the weather was too rough to tender at Portofino. Genoa wasn’t as bad as we expected; neither was it as pleasant as we hoped. There were NO taxis available at the dock; it was a 1.5 mile walk through gritty dock area to the nearest transportation. Only a few pre-scheduled ship tours allowed guests to avoid this walk. Sadly, this would prove to be a theme for the remainder of the cruise. Livorno: Having had problems getting out of the port (which is huge and distant from anything) in the past, we paid for the ship’s “Florence on You Own” tour which was not much more expensive than independent tours. Arriving on a Sunday, I could not book a rental car at the online locations – though when we arrived there were rental companies set up on the dock. The tour was fine; we had a lovely day on in Florence. Civitavecchia: The huge, distant port of Rome was next. I have used Rome Cabs on many cruises, and they were just as flexible and reliable as on past occasions. We assembled a group of 6 from the ship; we all went separate ways and met to return from a central location in Rome. A really relaxed and cost-effective way to visit Rome for those who don’t want another guided tour. Sorrento: We’d spent much time in this port because the Capri ferries couldn’t run due to rough seas on past trips. This trip, we were blessed with a beautiful day and went directly from the tender to purchase hydrofoil tickets to Capri. Though we arrived early, the lines for the funicular were already long, so we decided to take a cab to Anacapri and take the bus/funicular down. It was a great decision; completely avoiding the crowds until we were leaving the island. We returned with ample time before the last tender – simply a wonderful day! And the cost of the ferry tickets and cab were a lot less than the ship tour! Palma de Mallorca: On a previous visit, we had docked near Palma, with a long but doable walk to car rental and many cabs. This cruise, we were docked far from Palma. There were few cabs. There was free shuttle bus service to Palma, but the lines were extremely long and waits were over an hour both to depart the dock and to return from town, disrupting many guest’s independent tour arrangements. Sete: This was the Oceania “new port” disaster of this cruise. I had reserved a car to drive to Carcassonne…but the car rental agencies were not within walking distance and there were NO CABS in the town, nor seemingly any tourist infrastructure. We walked a couple miles (no cabs at dock or in town) to Tourist Information; they could not call a cab. Called the car rental agency – they could not provide a cab. So we spent the day walking through a dirty uninteresting town with no sights. Oceania had done a similar trick on a previous cruise in a Spanish town called Motril, where there was no infrastructure and nothing to see. Word to the wise – if it’s a new port for Oceania, it means the only excursions available may be those provided by Oceania. San Tropez: A beautiful, walkable town with excellent restaurants. We tendered to the port and had a wonderful stroll and lunch. Marseille: Another example of Oceania’s unpleasant new dock locations. Previously, on Riviera (the Marina sister ship) we docked right in town. I had made arrangements to take the train to Avignon assuming we would dock in the same location. But I found out the night before that Marseille would be a 45 minute bus ride from our dock location – which left too little time in port for the train trip. We booked a ship tour at the last minute rather than spending hours waiting for buses to and from Marseille. We were told that ships of Marina’s size could not dock in Marseille – though we knew that we had done so on the exact same sized Riviera. Barcelona: This was the disembarkation point, and our third visit here. Like other ports, the Marina was docked much farther from town than on our previous visits. At least cabs were plentiful, though the cab ride was expensive compared to previous visits. For those who have not visited Barcelona: book entry tickets in advance to see the interior of the Sagrada Familia. It is simply one of the world’s greatest spaces, and most tours only pass the exterior. Some on our cruise had not booked advance tickets (timed entry) and were unable to obtain tickets. We have visited there each time in Barcelona, and it never fails to awe us. Observations There’s been much discussion in Cruise Critic of what changes may have been made with the new owners. What seemed to change for us: New distant docking locations. if a town is shown in parentheses on the itinerary, it seems to indicate that you will be a long distance from the ‘name’ town. For instance, we cancelled a cruise we booked on board when we saw that the port for Bordeaux was actually a 75 minute drive away. Long lines for “free” shuttles to distant ports seems to be the new normal. More careless service. Servers in all the restaurants as well as butlers/concierges seemed lack experience and/or incentive to provide good service. Gratefully, cabin stewards still made sure cabins were spotless and always greeted guests cheerfully. Maintenance: Our suite showed a clear lack of maintenance, and much of the rest of the ship looked a little worn and in need of refreshing. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
Prelude: Because this website has been so helpful to me, I finally decided it was time to pay it forward by posting a review. Hope you all find it helpful likewise! I've included a lot of detail in part because reading other ... Read More
Prelude: Because this website has been so helpful to me, I finally decided it was time to pay it forward by posting a review. Hope you all find it helpful likewise! I've included a lot of detail in part because reading other posters' detailed comments really helped me prepare for my first Oceania cruise. Cruise: Sun-Splashed Riverias, 29 Sep - 12 Oct 2010 Cabin: A1 Veranda, Concierge Level Air/transfer to/from port: We made our own air/travel arrangements, which included spending 1 night in Nice at the Le Grimaldi Hotel before the cruise. The hotel provided good service, arranging airport and port transfers for us as well as making recommendations for restaurants etc. We shared a smooth, private transfer with two other couples we met through the board and arrived at the Monaco pier about noon. Disembarkation in Venice also went smoothly, and we were glad to have a 9 a.m. departure from the ship even as we had to exit our stateroom by 8 a.m. (Note: take that time to check out other cabin categories!) We booked a ship transfer to the airport but the air was by our own arrangement. Embarkation: A breeze. Our luggage was turned over to the baggage handlers, we filled out a brief health survey, and then made our way directly (with no xray screening!) onboard Regatta and into the Regatta lounge for check in. Concierge level was guaranteed to board from 11 a.m. onward; however, the checkin staff was processing all cabin levels even if the lower levels weren't guaranteed checkin until later in the day. I applaud this move especially for an 11 p.m. sailing like ours because it allows everyone to get transferred onboard, get a meal and arrange cruise matters like restaurant reservations, and still have some time to visit the port before sailing. Our cabin became available by 1 p.m. while those in the lower levels opened at 3 p.m. This allowed us to stow our hand luggage (and that of some fellow-cruisers with rooms ready later) and head off to the Monaco Oceanography Museum, which was very enjoyable. One note: Always re-check any restaurant reservations made online when you get onboard. Four of us walked confidently into Polo that night, and after waiting for a bit, were pointed toward Toscana, where they had reserved 2 tables for two vice a single table for four. This was promptly remedied, but Our Bad for not taking a more careful look at our confirms! Cabin: Is Concierge worth the extra $$$? Depends. All cabin levels got checked in early from what I could tell (which I applaud), but our room was ready a couple hours earlier. We got a tote that came in handy once or twice, but doesn't matter much to me. Our cashmere lap blankets were only really useful as head scarves on an autumn cruise, as they are paper-thin -- we'd have been much better served by the blankets they offer up at the Terrace Cafe. You can order a hot room service breakfast, which we didn't use even once. You get a bottle of champagne, which (shame on us!) we never drank. That leaves one floor up (could care less, it's bumpier the higher you go) and two reservations in each specialty restaurant. For me it was this latter that made the splurge worthwhile, but Just. Otherwise, while smaller than those you would find on even Crystal, for example, the cabins were well laid out and comfortable. The bathrooms are tiny, but the shower is rectangular in shape so that there is in principle just adequate room for a woman to shave her legs. No tub; you only get that if you spring for a penthouse. Perhaps the nicest part of the cabin is that it was very well soundproofed, and I slept very well while aboard. Dining: In general the food is excellent and always beautifully presented. I loved the single-seating dining and having Tapas as a casual alternative. High marks to Polo for their filet mignon; also enjoyed some excellent local fish, and the ethnic cuisine, particularly the sushi and Indian-inspired preparations. Toscana was also fun, less memorable. It was great to have espresso available throughout the ship. Afternoon tea was a great pleasure with tasty canapEs, lovely cakes and cookies, and those scones with jam and clotted cream. Favorite fruit: papaya every morning. Hubby's favorite treat: smoked salmon for breakfast every day. Favorite ice cream: cinnamon. Best coffee, but had it only once: a double latte with breakfast in the Main Dining Room. (We loved eating breakfast al fresco at Terrace.) Best wine: an Alto Adige Gewurztraminer. Best lunch: a hamburger and fries from Waves - almost never got lunch onboard! Best guilty pleasure: room service French fries with mayo eaten out on my balcony along with some Limoncello (on ice) that we bought in Sorrento. Service: This is where the line shines, in my opinion. The staff and crew work ceasingly to make us feel warmly welcomed and cared for. This was a cross-over cruise - we migrated most recently from Crystal. While perhaps two 'O' staff ever called me by name (as opposed to many staff members doing this onboard Crystal Serenity), each 'O' staff member put her or his best effort into giving attentive and personal service. Service is perhaps the no. 1 reason I enjoy cruising, and these folks did it extremely well. It became hard to single out individuals because collectively everyone did a top-notch job. That said, I think the Terrace Cafe deserves special mention, because I don't think I've ever had such attentive 'Lido Deck' service - and I'm comparing to 5 and 6 star lines. Ambience: Regatta is kept bright and clean everywhere you go, and it is true that some of her fittings are wearing a bit - this most evident in the carpets, in my opinion. We heard they were re-outfitting soon, and it is timely. Biggest surprise: passengers dressed nicer that I expected given what I'd read on the CruiseCritic board. Next time (!) I'd pack slightly fancier evening attire. Median age on our trip was roughly mid- to late-60s, and we were on the young end of that curve but never felt unwelcome. Passengers on the whole were a convivial lot: well-heeled and a pleasure to meet. Itinerary: Exhausting! No sea days, and many of us wished for at least one. I would have settled even for a couple more days of daylight sailing (aka departures by 4 or 5 p.m.). Otherwise you end up on a floating hotel with no sense of being at sea. For example, I'd have gladly nixed Cannes for a sea day. Quite a few folks wore themselves out doing all the headline ports (e.g. Florence & Rome) at the beginning, and had little left for the lovely ports at the end (e.g. Kotor, Dubrovnik and Koper). Kotor was a delight, both to approach at sunrise and then to view from the high point of the old city walls. Excursions: Took only a few 'O' tours, and most were good to very good. Staff worked hard to make right an issue that came up for us regarding the advertized itinerary. I still, however, rankle at the inflated prices, especially for port transfers. I booked a port transfer for our Venice disembarkation in a weak moment because I hadn't done my usual level of pre-departure research. We could have saved $200 had I been more on top of my game. So Do Note: do your homework before you leave home and you can save a wad in this regard. You can also set up private tours, which while expensive, can be customized to your party's needs. We had an awesome all day tour of Rome courtesy of Fabrizio and his AllAroundItaly touring company (http://www.allarounditalys.net/). Highly recommended! Entertainment: Can't comment except for enjoying the string quartet at tea (tea is not to be missed if you can manage to be aboard at that time) . We were out exploring every day and retired early every evening - so I was quite content with the limited evening options. Biggest frustration: lack of a full walk-around promenade, and worse, not even a single, unobstructed 180 degree viewing area forward or aft out in the open air. I think the private cabanas should be junked and returned to a viewing area for those of us who want to see the (often) spectacular coastal scenery. For example, as a lover of nature, scenery and fresh air, I would never choose to take this ship to Alaska to see the glaciers. 2nd biggest frustration: Almost no port shuttles, paid or otherwise. For example, it irritated me to see MSC running passengers into Corfu town but not 'O.' Note: do your port homework before you leave, and make arrangements accordingly. Know whether you will need to get a taxi, use public transport (and have the appropriate currency on hand or know where to get it), or arrange a private or ship tour - as much as you can ahead of sailing, and you'll have a much more enjoyable time on your vacation. Minor annoyance: the constant peddling of Happy Hour and other Booze events (since you had to pay for alcohol on these ships). We found the two-for-one drinks to taste roughly like the alcohol portion had been split between the two glasses, for example. I'd rather order one really well-made cocktail, and will remember this in the future. 3rd biggest frustration: For most people, the absolutely inadequate self-service laundry. I never used it but came prepared based on advice from these boards. Thus, I washed clothes in my sink nearly every day. I heard a rumor that the Cruise Director assured a passenger that the broken washer would be fixed within 3 days -- he should have done her laundry himself when that assurance failed to be delivered. In fact, I've read so often about a broken machine on the ship that I'm beginning to believe it is a "marketing" for the ship's laundry service. Big ship amenities I actually missed: the separate movie/lecture theater, the wraparound promenade, and the Asian cuisine in Nobu on Crystal Serenity. 6 Star amenity I missed: staff saying "Why certainly, Mrs. Guest." OK, I'm a total sucker for that one... Did I miss this or does it just not happen? Any Champagne sailaway from any port on the trip. Any champagne party at all, sponsored by the ship. Apparently first-timers just get an invitation to go hear about how to sign up for the next cruise. Brightest moment: a tie between sailing into Kotor at dawn and watching a sunset out on my balcony that nearly brought tears to the eyes. Next brightest moments: returning after long touring days to a cabin beautifully tidied by our steward Egerton and his Jamaican assistant (drat, one of many names I never managed to catch). Best missed opportunity: massage and thalasotherapy and steam in the spa. No sea days, no time, $$$ saved!!! Niche: It will be interesting, between the new Marina and the refitting of the older ships, to see where this line will position itself. This is not a 6 star ship (in my opinion because of the limits on the staff-passenger and space-passenger ratios), but certainly in the range of 5 stars in many respects. I think they may be redefining their target clientele, however. Based on discussions during the cruise as well as reading comments on the boards, it seems as if prices may be on the rise - and this appears to be causing folks to reconsider the affordability of the line. While they can attempt to match the service standard of Crystal staff, Regatta can't offer the space and staff ratios that you get on a Crystal or other 6 star ship. So 'O' potentially can capture a market for people seeking great food and service but willing to forgo things like port shuttles, entertainment, an opulent stateroom, free fitness classes (yep, even these come with a 'nominal' fee), and decent laundry service. I'd have to think a bit to come up with my list of must-haves vs can-do-withouts, but for sure in contemplating my next cruise, I'd ask my TA for quotes from Crystal, Regent, Silversea and 'O', do some calculations to estimate overall price including transfers, air, alcohol, laundry, excursions, etc. If 'O' can deliver a good itinerary at a cheaper price, it makes a compelling booking argument. Toughest moment onboard: when they took away my bathrobe the night before disembarkation. The first sign that the love was ebbing! I'm glad I read about this on CruiseCritic ahead of time. You know how good it was when the time comes to disembark and you feel bereft to leave! Read Less
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