Accommodating 1,250 passengers, Riviera is the right size with the right amenities to provide 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.
A recent renovation to Riviera updated some of the public areas and suite categories as part of the OceaniaNEXT program during an early 2019 dry-dock in Marseille. 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; the Owners Suites are Ralph Lauren branded.
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.
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 varies between live bands in the Horizons lounge to musical revues in the Riviera Lounge.
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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. Special requests and personal preferences are a hallmark of the staff in restaurants. The notable exception is poolside, where there don't seem to be enough cocktail servers to keep up with passenger demand.
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.
Daytime: Casual, with shorts and Polo shirts on most excursions and bathing suits and cover-ups common on the pool deck. Shorts, tees, jeans, capris, and casual dresses are appropriate in all public spaces.
Evening: 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. 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.
Not permitted: Passengers aren't permitted to wear tank tops or swimsuits in restaurants, regardless of the time of day. Jeans, t-shirts, and tennis shoes are discouraged in public areas after 6 p.m.
For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Oceania.
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Riviera Says Goodbye to the Caribbean
A little disappointed
Excellent, but a few snafus