Riviera Review

2019 Best Overall
2019 Best for Cabins
2019 Best for Dining

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4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
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Colleen McDaniel
Cruise Critic Editor-In-Chief

Riviera Overview

Accommodating 1,250 passengers, Riviera is the newest ship in Oceania Cruises' fleet, which is made up of mostly older but beautifully refurbished and maintained vessels. (Riviera, launched in 2012, and twin Marina, launched in 2011, are the exceptions, purposefully built for the line.) Riviera, while not all-inclusive, provides an upscale cruise into ports that are difficult for larger cruise ships to reach. The ship includes a wide range of cabins, which all feel luxurious thanks to premium fabrics and materials such as Italian marble.  

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About Oceania Riviera


Emphasis on food and wine pays off with some of the best dining at sea


Entertainment is lackluster, and the ship shuts down pretty early

Bottom Line

The ship is a perfect fit for foodies and those who want a deeper dive into ports

It's impossible to talk about Riviera without mentioning food. That's because dining and cuisine are deeply entwined with the ship and its programming. Cuisine is an art form onboard, with attention given to even the smallest details, from idea to execution. Menus are vast and balanced; even people who don't think of themselves as foodies will be happy with the selection.

Oceania smartly leverages partnerships and branding with the likes of Jacques Pepin and Wine Spectator to ensure tours and enrichment include cuisine as well. This is evident at Riviera's Culinary Center, at meals at La Reserve (a wine-pairing dinner) and in ports as passengers try out the line's unique Culinary Destination Tours. Everyone associated with the ship understands the importance food plays in the overall experience and treats dining with reverence.

That's not to say Riviera is only about food. Its cabins are beautifully designed yet feel comfortable and sensible at the same time. The top-tier suites can only be described as opulent, with marble detailing and lush fabrics practically everywhere.

Art onboard makes a statement, and we found ourselves pausing to take in the big, bold pieces, from the marble or metal sculptures that sit on the stair landings to the large, mostly modern or abstract canvases that line the walls in all the public spaces. Riviera hosts an artist in residence who not only teaches passengers new art skills but also displays -- and sells -- his works.

The ship visits new ports almost every day, so the schedule onboard is designed to accommodate early mornings. Consequently, the pace is a bit slow at night, and entertainment is mostly adequate, with a few moments of great.

Working around busy port schedules also means passengers might have to sacrifice entertainment or enrichment options for the sake of dining; only one show is offered at night, and dining times often conflict with those, so passengers have to make decisions that might leave them feeling like they missed out.

Service, for the most part, is excellent. Crew members are professional and polite, and they know their product and customers thoroughly. The notable exception is poolside, where there don't seem to be enough cocktail servers to keep up with passenger demand.

Fellow Passengers

Passengers on Riviera are older -- expect most to fall into the 65-plus category, though the age skews younger when itineraries are shorter. Most of them are American, with Canadians, Brits and Australians rounding out the mix, but passengers from many other countries often sail. You'll also find a few families onboard during the summer and around the holidays, when kids are free from the shackles of school. 

Oceania Riviera Dress Code

Passengers on Oceania Riviera go for comfort in the daytime, where swimsuits and cover-ups are the norm poolside, and shorts, tees, jeans, capris and casual dresses are appropriate in all other public spaces. (Passengers aren't permitted to wear tank tops or swimsuits in restaurants, regardless of the time of day.)

At night, the dress code is similar to what you'd find at a country club or resort on land. Men wear dress pants or khakis and button-down or collared shirts, while women might wear dresses or blouses with skirts, capris or dress pants. Jeans, T-shirts and tennis shoes are expressly prohibited in public venues after 6 p.m. Riviera doesn't have a formal night, so glitzy dresses or jackets and ties aren't required, though some passengers do dress for dinner, especially in the specialty venues.

Riviera Inclusions

A cruise on Riviera includes dining at all specialty restaurants (except La Reserve), which means passengers can dine fee-free at excellent options such as Asian restaurant Red Ginger and French venue Jacques.

Your cruise fare also will cover unlimited soft drinks, bottled water, cappuccino, espresso, teas and juices. Beer, wine, cocktails and spirits are extra. Oceania offers a variety of beverage packages, including a wine-by-the-bottle package priced per bottle and house or premium beverage packages, priced per person per day.  (Passengers who purchase any beverage package get 20 percent off at La Reserve, the ship's wine-pairing dinner experience.)

For passengers staying in Concierge Level cabins or higher, varying amounts of Wi-Fi are included, generally for one device per cabin, which is a nice perk but cumbersome in an age when passengers travel with multiple devices. Those staying in Concierge Level Staterooms and Penthouse Suites receive 200 and 500 minutes (or the equivalent data amount), depending on the cruise length. Passengers staying in Owner's, Vista and Oceania Suites get unlimited Wi-Fi for one device.

Shore excursions aren't included, but passengers can purchase excursion packages that provide pretty solid savings for those booking all their excursions through the ship.

Gratuities are not included, and the ship recommends passengers tip $16 per person, per day. Those staying in suites that include butler service are encouraged to tip $23 per person, per day. Passengers can pay gratuities in cash or by credit card; they will be added to onboard accounts automatically, though they can be removed or adjusted up or down. An 18-percent gratuity is added to spa services, dinner at La Reserve and all beverage purchases. Room service is included, but tips are not: Plan to tip a couple of dollars if you order.

The U.S. dollar is the currency onboard.

Oceania Riviera Awards

Cruisers’ Choice Awards

2019 Best Overall
2019 Best for Cabins
2019 Best for Dining
2019 Best for Embarkation
2019 Best for Fitness & Recreation
2019 Best for Public Rooms
2019 Best for Service
2019 Best for Value
2018 Best Overall
2018 Best for Cabins
2018 Best for Dining
2018 Best for Embarkation
2018 Best for Fitness & Recreation
2018 Best for Public Rooms
2018 Best for Service
2018 Best for Value
2017 Best Overall
2017 Best for Cabins
2017 Best for Dining
2017 Best for Fitness & Recreation
2017 Best for Public Rooms
2017 Best for Service
2017 Best for Shore Excursions
2017 Best for Value
2016 Best Overall
2016 Best for Cabins
2016 Best for Dining
2016 Best for Embarkation
2016 Best for Fitness & Recreation
2016 Best for Public Rooms
2016 Best for Shore Excursions
2016 Best for Value
2015 Best Overall
2015 Best for Cabins
2015 Best for Dining
2015 Best for Embarkation
2015 Best for Entertainment
2015 Best for Fitness
2015 Best for Public Rooms
2015 Best for Service
2015 Best for Shore Excursions
2015 Best for Value
2014 Best Overall
2014 Best for Cabins
2014 Best for Dining
2014 Best for Embarkation
2014 Best for Public Rooms
2014 Best for Service
2014 Best for Value

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Oceania Riviera Member Reviews

Kristi B.
Sail Date: Mar 2019
We went on the Oceania Riviera because we wanted top of the line service, a smallish ship, and to see a different part of the Caribbean. As soon as we went to the buffet after embarkation, I knew we...Read More
Sail Date: Feb 2019
We like the atmosphere on Oceania cruises. The Riviera was our second Oceania cruise this year. We were in the Caribbean and liked having a larger ship on this itinerary. We do prefer the smaller...Read More
Sail Date: Mar 2019
that I can always have a safe breakfast and dinner in every port. This was our second time on Riviera and we really love this ship. The size works for us with the additional restaurants, cooking school...Read More
Sail Date: Dec 2018
The oceania riviera desperately needs dry dock updates & upgrades. The same carpet stains from last year's cruise were still there a year later. The carpet is in horrible condition and the wood on the...Read More

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