31 Oceania Riviera Luxury Cruise Reviews

Sixth Oceania cruise, just wanted a short escape before Christmas. We didn't care about the ports, we just wanted to relax and enjoy the ship. We were not expecting the worst service ever received on an Oceania cruise, and actually ... Read More
Sixth Oceania cruise, just wanted a short escape before Christmas. We didn't care about the ports, we just wanted to relax and enjoy the ship. We were not expecting the worst service ever received on an Oceania cruise, and actually some of the poorest service I've ever experienced on any of my past 25 or so previous cruises My guess is that between having management raided by Viking Ocean cruises and others, and higher than normal turnover in staff, and procedural changes caused by the merger/takeover by NCL that the hotel side of the ship's operation is in chaos. 1) Embarcation - We were supposed to have expedited embarkation (paid for last-minute upgrade). Total disaster, lobby jammed with passengers, computers said to be down, took more than 1 and 1/2 hours for so-called expedited service. I couldn't find anyone from the ship's management to discuss the problem. 2) Finally boarded the ship, crew at the gate was cordial and welcoming. We went to the lunch buffet and were surprised at the general attitude of the crew. Not one person said hello, welcome to our ship, or anything else. Got the feeling that we were an inconvenience to them, not the folks that paid their salary. Very different than the past. 3) Cabin was spotlessly clean, but also very warm. Adjusting thermostat was of no help, had to call for maintenance to reset the controls in our cabin. Serviceman was cordial and fixed the problem. 4) Service in the bars and areas surrounding them was poor. We almost always had to ask for help and for additional service. Given that they charge $12 for Canadian Club on the rocks I expected that they might pour a decent drink. I was wrong, could not have been more than a 1 oz. pour. Also, almost always seemed to be short-staffed and servers apparently had no idea what good customer service was. Cold at best, borderline rude at worst. Pianist on board the ship would have been better replaced by a player piano. NO personality, average ability and mostly annoying. 5) Specialty restaurants - Service was good, staff was attentive, food was excellent as in the past. I must say the overall quality of the food and it's preparation has not suffered with whatever else is going downhill. Food in the main dining room was good, service seemed fine, the nights we dined there the dining room seemed to be about 1/3 empty. 6) In conclusion, there is something terribly wrong with Oceania if our cruise is any indication. They have forgotten customer service, we've had better treatment on almost every other cruise line we've traveled in the past (25+). I doubt that we'll ever return to Oceania. It saddens me to say that, but it's become just a bit above average at luxury prices. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Told this USED TO BE a great cruise line. Times have changed tremendously!! Definitely a 3rd rate ship in need of professional leadership at the corporate level. The ship is run as though they going broke!! You pay for two ... Read More
Told this USED TO BE a great cruise line. Times have changed tremendously!! Definitely a 3rd rate ship in need of professional leadership at the corporate level. The ship is run as though they going broke!! You pay for two fares for you and your partner, then are told the so called free internet can only be used by one of you at a time??? Or you can pay an additional $270 for the other person. They allow one bar of shower soap for two people to last 2 weeks. The same with the small bottles of lotion and shampoo ! Of course, you can purchase more.... Food quality has definitely declined significantly!!!! And the portions are meager as you almost beg for more. Waiters have been ordered not to ask would you like another drink, unless it is one you are buying. We would never cruise with Oceania again. Caveat emptor.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our second cruise on the Riviera. The food quality and service quality have fallen significantly over the past year. We went on our first Oceania cruise in 2014 on the sister ship, Marina, for a Baltic cruise. We could not ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Riviera. The food quality and service quality have fallen significantly over the past year. We went on our first Oceania cruise in 2014 on the sister ship, Marina, for a Baltic cruise. We could not believe how wonderful and attentive the staff was. The shore excursions were great and fairly priced. The food and drink service was outstanding. Last year we took Riviera for the Greek Island cruise. The food quality in the main dining room had dropped. The service had lessened. The shore excursions were much more crowded and over priced. The entertainment offerings were poor at best. This year we decided to try the ship again with some friends we met on the last cruise. Had it not been for the passengers we engaged with and a few outstanding staff members, the cruise would have been a disaster. This was the Northern Allure cruise from Southampton to Reykjavik. The first night we found shards of a broken glass on the bathroom floor. We brought this to the attention of the staff and insisted they re clean the bathroom floor. After that the cabin attendants never acknowledged us. Never greeted us and made an effort to turn away as we passed by. Our bathrobes were taken, but not replaced. Our bath mat was taken, but not replaced. These incidents required us the call the supervisor. The cabin had dust on the glass shelves - never cleaned in 2 weeks. The bathroom vanity handles were loose. The in room safe had a taped on piece of paper for a door handle, the plastic on the buttons was worn off and several numbers would not work, and the inside battery cover was held in place with a band aide. One evening in Toscana, the Italian specialty restaurant, my desert glass was cracked through 2 sides. I spoke with the restaurant manager. I never received a formal apology, and offer to return to try them again - you could only book the 4 specialty restaurants once each on a 14 day cruise, or a free bottle of wine as an apology. In another specialty restaurant, the Polo Grill - the cocktail I ordered was not good. Instead of offering me another or something else, I was still charged for this. At the Waves outdoor grill, I asked for a simple smoothie of yogurt with milk and fruit. The staff informed me that they could only make the 3 combinations that were posted on the board. None of these were to my liking. One evening my wife requested pasta with only olive oil and cheese. She was told she could only have pasta with the sauces listed. How easy is this to make, especially since the pasta was in front of her and did not have sauce on it yet. The evening entertainment was hit or miss. Other less expensive cruise had far better shows, such as the Greek Crystal cruise from Montego Bay around Cuba. This time we booked our own shore excursions, except for the free included ones. They were less than half price and much less frenetic. Since NCL has taken over there appears to have been a precipitous decline in the care and attention to details. For over $7500.00/person for the cruise portion only, this is not inexpensive. At this price there are numerous other cruise lines. All of the above was written on the on line end of cruise review. We were informed that every review was to be read and considered for future enhancements?????? I seriously doubt we will every cruise with Oceania again. I would advise those reading this review to carefully consider other options before booking. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our second Oceania cruise. We took one about three years ago on the Marina in the Mediterranean. While we enjoyed Oceania the first time, we were disappointed this time. One of the main things that was bothersome was the ... Read More
This was our second Oceania cruise. We took one about three years ago on the Marina in the Mediterranean. While we enjoyed Oceania the first time, we were disappointed this time. One of the main things that was bothersome was the terrible internet service onboard. We experienced this last cruise, but thought that with time, they might improve it. Alas, they did not. Think of old school dial up. That is how bad it is to connect. And, if you are traveling with another person in the same room, you both can't use the internet at the same time. It's not like I want to surf the web all day, but we would like to stay connected with our family at home and our businesses. For this cruise, we had 2 days at sea (1 scheduled, 1 unscheduled) and just could not even get emails, text our friends or family or upload our photos. My phone got full and I was unable to take pictures the last day of the cruise! We weren't the only ones complaining, either. Almost every other passenger we talked to was irked by this issue. Also, we felt like the Marina was in dire need of a refresh. We do understand that it is coming by the end of the year, but we were shocked that the overall appearance of the ship and our room was not of the standard we have come to expect from Oceania. Third, if you are tempted to go on an Oceania cruise for the speciality restaurants, be prepared to have a hard time getting into them at a reasonable time. Within hours the reservation desk was open to reserve online (45 days prior to sail date), almost every 6:30 and 7:30pm seating was gone for 3 people. That means we ate very late in the specialty restaurants which is not desirable. Forget getting help with this onboard, either. If the computer didn't have the spot free, you were SOL. The reason, we were told, was that the reservations open to elite customers first. Hence, they take all the good spots. This is not very fair... Another pet peeve was that Oceania seems behind the times with excursions. Ex - the guides do NOT offer ear pieces. We are not hard of hearing, but it is great to have the tour guide speaking directly in your ear so that you are not on top of one another and can walk away to take pictures at your leisure. Plus, many of the guides have thick accents and it is difficult to understand them to begin with. Additionally, if you did not book an Oceania excursion, the staff is not helpful at all with information about the ports. Nobody at the excursions desk knew anything and were unwilling to give advice about the stops we were about to go to. For ex - I did my research online first, but we decided to try to lunch at one of the ports. Without internet access to vet choices, we had to rely on advice from Oceania folks. The only thing they did offer was a local person sitting at a desk near the door in the mornings after docking. But, it was so competitive to talk to these people. Many of us were in the same boat and yearning for information and maps about the port if we did not have a plan. To be fair, Oceania had a pre-recorded video on the tvs for the ports the next day, but they were so boring and not a live person to speak to, which is what would make sense. Finally, disembarking Marina at the end of the cruise was a nightmare and so competitive, many of us were stressed out. This shouldn't happen at the end of our vacation. Apparently, we got in late to port and they got behind in letting groups out. The entire lobby was filled with wayward people trying to understand what was happening, where we should go to wait and if we were going to make our scheduled pickups to the airport. My mother-in-law also is elderly and incontinent. With the delay and the crowd of people, she was unable to sit and had trouble finding a restroom... The things I will compliment Oceania about is the food and service. The main dining room was consistently good and the people who work the dining rooms and stewards who clean our rooms were also very friendly, humble and great people. We enjoyed speaking with them on a daily basis. But, it is not enough for us to overcome the other problems. We won't be sailing with Oceania again anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
When travelers rate a cruise, we can only compare it to others we've been on. For most of us, that means we have a limited perspective from which to judge a cruise, since none of us has traveled on all cruise lines, all ships, or all ... Read More
When travelers rate a cruise, we can only compare it to others we've been on. For most of us, that means we have a limited perspective from which to judge a cruise, since none of us has traveled on all cruise lines, all ships, or all itineraries. My limitation in this review of Oceania's Riviera July 4 - 12 cruise from Venice to Athens is that all my eight prior cruising experiences have been on Silversea ships (Spirit, Muse, Whisper and Shadow). In my case, I found that this Oceania Riviera cruise suffered badly in comparison to my Silversea experiences. This time, I was traveling with friends who persuaded me to join them. They were not cruising veterans and had imagined that a 5.5-rated cruise line would rival a 6.0 line like Silversea. Sadly, for me, it did not. Admittedly, I much prefer small ships, and the Riviera holds 1,250 passengers -- more than twice the capacity of the Spirit or the Muse and more than three times the capacity of the Whisper and the Shadow. I didn't think the difference would be as noticeable as it was, and I did not care for it. By comparison with Silversea's suites, the Riviera's were shabby, even seedy. I ordered room service once -- a Cobb salad for lunch -- and it was abominable, arriving with no salt/pepper, no silverware, and no dressing whatsoever (I'd ordered the dressing on the side). The buffet foods and table service in the Terrace Cafe and the Waves Grill were barely passable, where many wait staff seemed tired and avoided eye contact. I saw there little of the quality or geniality I'm accustomed to in all of Silversea's dining venues. Incredibly irritating was the fact that internet service promised by the Riviera for all guests was unreliable, unpredictable, and nearly half of the time simply unavailable -- something I was unprepared for, accustomed as I have been to Silversea's much better internet connectivity, even on transoceanic cruises. Most of all, the silliness involved in having one's room key checked for the level of beverage plan we'd been pressured to buy on top of the cruise fare whenever we ordered a cocktail or wine at dinner made me feel like I had "turned right" upon boarding the Riviera. In that vein, I observed a greater proportion of heavily inebriated passengers on the Riviera cruise than I've ever seen on a Silversea cruise, giving the impression that, after paying extra for a drinks package, some passengers were committed to "getting their money's worth." For the record, I prefer cruising with cultured people who've led interesting lives and can contribute to conversations on a wide range of topics, not hammer down drinks from morning to night. On the plus side, the food and service at specialty restaurants -- Red Ginger, Polo Grill, and Jacques -- were better than at the Terrace Cafe. The suite cleaners / butlers were competent and pleasant, as were all the reception staff. The two ship-sponsored excursions I chose were led by pleasant and knowledgeable guides. Nonetheless, I look forward to my return to Silversea. Going forward, I will appreciate the Italian small ship cruising experience even more than before. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We were excited to travel on Oceania with our family of 5 and booked 2 staterooms for my husband, myself and our three sons in a separate stateroom. We were told by our Oceania travel representative and also confirmed with Oceania's ... Read More
We were excited to travel on Oceania with our family of 5 and booked 2 staterooms for my husband, myself and our three sons in a separate stateroom. We were told by our Oceania travel representative and also confirmed with Oceania's website that there would be a Teen Club on board, a game room and a basketball / sports court on the top of the ship of which there was none of the above mentioned things for our teenage sons. There was NOTHING for my boys to do on this ship. The only game room is a casino and you must be 21 to enter. The sports court was in fact, miniature tennis (elderly sport) or shuffleboard. The food was okay at best. Red Ginger and Jacques were both very good and Toscana was above average. Polo Grill was terrible, truly terrible. The Grand Dining room was sub par as well and the Terrace Restaurant was a slightly upscale version of a Luby's cafeteria. The shore excursions were okay but one at Alicante, Spain to a beach at El Campello was terrible. We were literally dropped off a bus (after circling the block a few times) and pointed to the beach and then the bus drove away. It was supposed to be a resort beach but it was just a beach, no chairs, no umbrellas, no water sports, no bars, no nothing. We called to be picked back up and two hours later, we finally made it to a real beach to explore on our own. When we asked for a refund, we were offered 50% back only and told it was an outside company that does the excursions separate from Oceania and that is all they would refund. Unacceptable! The entertainment was all targeted to the over 75 crowd and was frankly bad. During the cruise one night, our stateroom toilet began to flush on its own and water began to pour over the top. I didn't see the drain in the floor so I was very concerned that water would begin to flow on to the carpet in our stateroom. I called the front desk and was told someone would come and take a look. After three minutes and no one coming, I called back as I was worried about the water and the receptionist literally scolded me and said "YOU CALLED ME 3 MINUTES AGO!". She was very rude. After the amount of money we spent, it was a sorely disappointing experience. I would not recommend Oceania nor will I ever travel with them again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My wife and I have cruised over 80 times in the last 10 years. Typically on Royal Caribbean-Diamond Plus; NCL-Platinum Latitudes; Celebrity and Princess. All have pluses and minuses, but we are not new to cruising. Lately, we have ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised over 80 times in the last 10 years. Typically on Royal Caribbean-Diamond Plus; NCL-Platinum Latitudes; Celebrity and Princess. All have pluses and minuses, but we are not new to cruising. Lately, we have cruised primarily NCL, due to knowledge of the staff and captains on the various ships. We decided to try the upscale Oceania cruise line for a trip to Tahiti this January/February 2018. Booked Penthouse suite with Butler and expected "great things" Cruise from Tahiti was late boarding due to Noro Virus. Service was about as bad as it gets on a cruise the first day-no announcements! Butler was not nearly as good as what we have on NCL or Celebrity-forgetful, and always rushed. None of the staff was friendly. On the plus side, Ship was beautiful inside, with excellent dining room food. Because it is a smaller ship-105' beam, it moves a great deal in minor seas. Absolutely a rocking mess in anything over 8'. In our opinion, it has no identity-not good at entertainment-service-excursions-staff interaction-casino. Everyone does what is expected and nothing more. Not at all like NCL, where Butler/Concierge will make you feel like royalty. If you want great service and great food, book on Celebrity, or a Penthouse on NCL. This cruise line is 3 times the price and 1/3 the value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Just 7 months ago I was on the Riviera and had noticed Oceania had slipped in almost every area since the 4 cruises I had previously with them. But now the Riviera has slipped out of "luxury cruises" into the mainstream. For ... Read More
Just 7 months ago I was on the Riviera and had noticed Oceania had slipped in almost every area since the 4 cruises I had previously with them. But now the Riviera has slipped out of "luxury cruises" into the mainstream. For the same money, I have been far happier in a full suite on Princess. We embarked in Barcelona easily and our concierge level room on deck # 10 was clean all week because of an excellent room steward. However the extra square footage seems wasted. It didn't seem any larger than a regular room on another line. Dining has suffered in the last year. Three specialty restaurants were excellent (Toscana the best) accounting for 4 of our meals but the wife was sick from something she had at Red Ginger during our last day in Santorini. The MDR was pathetic. Poor service and a ordinary selection of firsts, entrees and desserts continue to defy the talk of this being a "foodie cruise" The buffet has the same breakfast for 10 days straight. The breakfast in your cabin for Concierge people was actually quite good. Lunch and dinner up there was OK but the Terrace Cafe has the world's worst coffee. Even the lattes were cold or weak. The only alternative was to hike up to the barista on the 14th floor. Entertainment? Activities? While I did enjoy the $69 cooking course on last cruise, this had only 1 sea day. There was no activities. The casino was empty all the time. The entertainment is truly awful. The comedian was so bad the 1st night, I didn't meet a single person who saw him the 2nd. A small troupe of singers and dancers tried but its clear this is not an Oceania priority. Shore excursions are always a thorn in the side of an Oceania guest. Wanting to spend the OBC I thought I had, I signed up for a visit to 3 medieval villages and a tour in Santorini labelled Windmills and Akritori. The 1st did 2 villages then we were left in a run down area of some city to look at cheap ceramics for way too long. The 2nd was a nice tour of an ancient Minoan town but as to the windmills, the guide pointed to 1 about 800 yards away and that was it. They dumped us of at the bottom of a very steep hill, gave us a ticket to get down on a gondola and said goodbye. After a very steep climb we were confronted with a 2 hour wait to get off the cliff. I should mention that Oceania charges 50% than other lines for the same excursions. Most passengers I talked too were not happy with their excursions either. More hidden funnies. All items in the shops had a 20% tax added on. Similarly so did drinks and wine. Example. A $10 bottle at home would be about $50 on board. The and 18% for tip and 20% for Spain--for the entire cruise! There was no warning about this at all. That is an extra $19 a bottle! My suggestion is that when you go to France or Italy, buy a great bottle on shore and pay the $25 corkage at dinner or just savor the wine in the room and take a glass with you without the charge. More funnies. I bought the cruise with the O-Life option which included $600 of OBC and free internet, a $279 value. After coming back from my 1st shore excursion and trying to get online, I was told I had neither. After producing the papers to prove otherwise over and over. I was told they had to e-mail Miami head office. 4 times I tried, 4 times the head office denied the obvious. The purser is not allowed to phone head office. (or think for herself). With only 48 hours left in the cruise, I found a small card on my bed after dinner that I had $600. No call, no explanation. And little to spend it on. Champagne for the house? Back down to see the nodding fools and I was told still no internet and a credit of any sort is out of the question. I cannot tell if the takeover by NCL has anything to do with this but the bean counters have been busy and it is not good. Sadly, this was my 6th and probably last cruise with Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We just concluded Oceania's cruise from Venice to Athens on the "Riviera". Among over 1,000 passengers were only 5-6 young ones; the rest were senior citizens in their '70s. There were no poolside (or anywhere else) ... Read More
We just concluded Oceania's cruise from Venice to Athens on the "Riviera". Among over 1,000 passengers were only 5-6 young ones; the rest were senior citizens in their '70s. There were no poolside (or anywhere else) activities, nothing happening after dinner other than listening to old folks talking about the menu or their retirement. Awfully dull. The menu at the ship's restaurants was fine if eating is a passenger's sole reason for going on a cruise. The captain's (Captain Flokos) judgment was poor; upon arrival in Mykonos where the winds were strong in the morning (a very common occurrence in Mykonos), he simply elected to skip that port altogether and, instead, forced all passengers to 24 hours of ship confinement running around the sea/ Instead, he could have: a) Waited for the wind to die down (the local summer wind, called meltemi always dies down in the evening) and let the passengers out for a pleasant evening in Mykonos), or b) Gone to another nearby port (Athens was only three hours away,. and so were mahy other Greek islands), or c) Proceeded to the next scheduled stop in Santorinini for an extra day there. d) Have made arrangements ahead of time for the ship to have landed on the pier for direct access to the island without needing boats to transport passengers between the ship and land. "Excursions" at each of the ports visited were ill-conceived because passengers were required to be back on the ship by 3-4 pm, even though the next port of call was, in most cases, only 2-3 hours away and could be easily reached during the night. There was no good reason to force passengers to leave each Greek island visited at 3pm. Instead, passengers could have had the pleasure of spending much more time to each port of call (Santorini, Dubrovnik, etc.). Oceania company deserves all the blame for such poor planning. The ship's customer service staff were uniformly aloof and rude and self-righteous, as if they were doing passengers a favor by addressing passengers' concerns. They forgot that, in the final analysis, it was the passengers who paid their salaries. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
1. The state room was nicely appointed and our state room attendant was very good. 2. We did not participate in any of the ship board activities so can not comment on entertainment. 3. We were satisfied with the quality of all ... Read More
1. The state room was nicely appointed and our state room attendant was very good. 2. We did not participate in any of the ship board activities so can not comment on entertainment. 3. We were satisfied with the quality of all excursions. 4. We were very displeased with the concierge service. The concierge was not helpful at all. We felt that we paid for a service that was not really provided. 5. We were also very disappointed with the quality of food and service available in the Grand Dining Room. Breakfast and dinner service and food were the worst we have ever had on any cruise. Would not choose Oceania again for that reason alone. 6. The food and service in the specialty restaurants was much better but fell short of spectacular and was not as advertised "the best cuisine at sea". 7. Lastly, the cruise line failed to confirm a specialty restaurant reservation for the night requested to celebrate my birthday. At 5PM on May 26, we returned to our state room and did not have a confirmation for the restaurant as we had requested on the first day of our cruise. After calling the concierge and reservation desk, we were provided accommodations in one of the specialty restaurants, not the one I requested originally. The restaurant was not prepared to acknowledge my birthday that evening (a special cake was not prepared) and no other birthday acknowledgement was provided. We notified the ship of my birthday on several months prior to the cruise date and again reminded them a few weeks before embarkation. We also notified the onboard reservation agent of our preferred date to celebrate my birthday on May 26. 8. The ship has no customer service representative that is readily available to address and resolve complaints as they arise. All other cruise lines I have used have representative to speak with and the concierge also assists whenever necessary, but Oceania fails terribly in this area. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Recently returned from a Caribbean cruise on Oceania's Riviera. We chose Oceania mainly on the basis of its reputation for food and Riviera because of the relatively small size (about 1250 passengers). We had a stateroom with veranda. ... Read More
Recently returned from a Caribbean cruise on Oceania's Riviera. We chose Oceania mainly on the basis of its reputation for food and Riviera because of the relatively small size (about 1250 passengers). We had a stateroom with veranda. We are fairly experienced cruisers, having been on about a dozen or so cruises in the past on various-sized ships ( 600 to 2000+ passengers). This was our first Oceania cruise. We travelled as a party of four. Embarkation at Miami was a breeze. However, Oceania requested we surrender our passports for the duration of the cruise, something that we have never had to do on any cruise before. We had to ask for receipts for our passports. There was no welcome reception that we have become accustomed to with other cruise lines (Also, no sail-away party!). We were simply directed to the Waves buffet to await the readying of our stateroom. We found our own way there. Not an encouraging start, and first impressions are important! The Riviera is a beautiful ship, featuring walnut panelling with brass accents, compact fluorescent lighting with halogen highlighting and lovely LED/crystal centrepieces in public areas, with a particularly magnificent example in the Grand Dining Room. There are only a few shops on board and there is no duty-free store. Strangely, there is no promenade deck. Our stateroom was spacious, well furnished and with plenty of storage space. Our luggage was delivered promptly. We had requested separate beds but when we arrived it was set up as a queen-size bed; this situation was promptly rectified. The bathroom was smallish but included a separate shower as well as a tub. Bulgari toiletries were featured. The beds were wonderfully comfortable. The veranda was reasonably spacious with comfortable furniture. The flat screen TV was adequate but the promised DVD player was absent-- not that it mattered to us as we don't go on cruises to watch in-cabin movies. The stateroom service was fairly good, although our stewardess didn't introduce herself at the start of the cruise and show us how things worked. She had to be reminded sometimes to stock the refrigerator with the drinks we desired. Cleaning of the stateroom was always thorough. Room service was spotty; once I ordered a drink which took almost thirty minutes to arrive. The fridge cupboard door fell off and was promptly fixed, only to fall off again twenty-four hours later. Daytime activities on board were mainly run-of-the-mill (quizzes, bingo, etc.). Afternoon tea was okay. We were disappointed that the lectures did not cover ports of call -- they seemed inordinately concerned with such subjects as managing back pain and arthritis, or quack therapies like reflexology and acupuncture, which might be a reflection of Riviera's primary demographic. Oceania does however offer something unique -- culinary classes. Unfortunately, any of those of interest to us were fully subscribed. There was also painting tuition in the "artists' loft." The cruise director was affable but lacked the charisma that such a vocation demands. We were not expecting anything remarkable in the way of evening entertainment on a 1250-passenger ship, but surprisingly some of the shows were pretty good, especially the twelve singer/dancers and the comedian. Some other shows only mediocre, and the magician was pretty awful. There was also a string quartet that was very good, playing at afternoon tea and in the Grand Bar before dinner. The bars were quite well-appointed with good decor and comfortable seating, except for the Grand Bar which is really only a passageway to the Grand Dining Room with seats where you can have a drink. Bar staff serve promptly most times but aren't all knowledgeable about the drinks they serve. One waitress didn't seem to know what Ricard was and said it wasn't available -- I had to point it out on the drinks list. Martinis was a pleasant hangout except that we could almost never find a seat for a drink before dinner; Horizons is better in that respect. Many of the seats in Horizons had worn-out armrests. The pianist in Martinis was quite good, but could have done with bass/drums backup to make things swing a little more. There was a band in Horizons for dancing, but there is no disco for late night dancing and the ship shuts up pretty early. Smokers are accommodated by two smoking areas (one indoors). Curiously, cigar and pipe smoking wasn't allowed. I have yet to meet a cigarette smoker who objects to cigars or pipes. The food was nearly always very good, sometimes outstanding. We always ate in the Grand Dining Room for breakfast and lunch, which was sparsely populated; it seems most guests prefer the self-service of the Terrace Cafe or Waves for these meals. Breakfast was impressive, when you could enjoy a light breakfast or full English-style, choosing from a long menu including such delights as smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers, Finnan Haddie, kippers or eggs Benedict. Every day featured a special egg dish. Lunches were also excellent, with a good selection of soups, appetizers, main courses and desserts, or lighter fare such as a sandwich or burger if you so desired. Soups were sometimes served lukewarm and needed to be sent back for re-heating. Only unsalted butter was available throughout the ship. Service was impeccable. Why anyone would prefer the scramble of self-service to such refined dining and service remains a mystery to us. Dinner in the Grand Dining Room was invariably a pleasure. Again, sumptuous menus were on offer, covering the gamut from hot and cold appetizers, soups, salads, mains, side dishes and desserts (I won't go into further details about these as you can easily look them up on Oceania's web site), but suffice to say that every selection we chose was excellently prepared and presented. I was particularly impressed that the dessert list always included a cheese plate that varied daily; on every other cruise line I have experienced (Silversea excepted) I have had to specially request cheese as a dessert alternate. If by some chance the daily menu choice doesn't suit your palate, there was always a standard alternative offering for the main course, namely grilled steak, roast chicken or poached salmon. Here lies my only complaint; the steak, cooked medium rare, was quite tough, unlike all other beef offerings throughout the cruise. Possibly it might have been better well done, although this would not have been my preference. A small complaint also is that sometimes it was difficult to get the attention of a sommelier, and I like to have my wines available right at the start of a course. Now let's turn to the specialty restaurants, of which there were four, all accessible at no extra charge, which seems to be unique to Oceania. Reservations are essential for any of these restaurants. Oceania says you can make a reservation in advance through their web site after a certain date for your specific cruise. Anticipating a heavy demand, I did this on the FIRST DAY that became available for our cruise. In spite of my imagined promptness, I could only secure a reservation for four in all four restaurants for 9.00 pm (the last available time). Every other time was unavailable. My travel agent advised me that I should accept this time and then change it to something more suitable once on board. This I did -- as soon as we boarded, we went to the relevant ship's personnel and requested changes more suited to our preference for dining times. As such, we were only partially successful. We still had to accept one very early reservation in one restaurant (6.30 pm) and one at another for 8.30 pm. The other two were at more reasonable times. We considered this a major drawback to our dining experience. I suspect that the prime reservation times are firstly allocated to those passengers occupying more expensive accommodation (as those occupying suites are offered two opportunities to dine at each specialty restaurant, while more lowly passengers occupying veranda staterooms or below are offered only one crack at each restaurant). If my surmise is valid, this represents a nasty case of class distinction by Oceania. Anyway, what of these restaurants? Well, we enjoyed all four, to varying degrees. All four of us were unanimous about the excellence of the food in the Polo Grill. Service, not so much, since it took almost an hour before our first course was served. New England Clam Chowder and Lobster Bisque were judged delightful, while my Oysters Rockefeller were moist and delicious, as was my 20-oz medium-rare Porterhouse Steak accompanied by a beautiful Au Poivre sauce (This was the junior version -- a 32-oz steak was available). Caesar salad was prepared tableside. Both ladies really enjoyed their Steamed Maine Lobster gratinee with drawn butter. Various chops were on offer and grilled fish and seafood were available if you didn't care for red meat. If you were into desserts, the "Polo Quintet" was a fine choice, consisting of a selection of five mini-portions of the chef's favourites. Jacques is a French bistro-style restaurant. We actually had a French waiter who was excellent. The low ceiling makes the place very noisy. But the food is superb. I enjoyed my Escargots a la Bourguignonne while others pronounced the Gratine a l'Oignon delicious. My main was Filet d'Agneau en Croute, wonderful lamb with a Cabernet Sauvignon sauce. Canard a l'Orange was also said to be delicious. Red Ginger is an Asian restaurant serving Japanese/Vietnamese/Thai dishes. To my disappointment, No Indian or Chinese cuisine was on offer. I found the Bulgogi Ribeye Steak rather tasteless, but everyone else found their choices excellent. And finally, there's Toscana. The restaurant is beautifully appointed and quiet. Service is so-so; there's a lot of "Buona Sera's" but wait times were long even though we like a little time between courses. The olive oil waiter was perfunctory -- when we indicated that we had little knowledge of the ten oils on offer, he simply put the same one on each of our plates with some balsamic vinegar (and here there was a choice of three), saying that this was always a popular choice, without bothering to explain the differences of them to us. I, for one, would have liked to have been educated a little bit. The Dover Sole was judged to be superb, and my Osso Buco, served with Saffron Risotto, was delicious. Now we come to a major peeve: the price of drinks. It is noteworthy that although Oceania publishes its wine and drinks lists on its web site, unlike other cruise lines, NO PRICES are shown. There's a good reason for that; Oceania's drink prices must be the highest in the industry. Most wines are over $70 a bottle, while bar drinks are perhaps a little more reasonable averaging $12 for 1-oz. shots of popular liquors. To add insult to injury, a hefty 18 per cent service charge is levied on all drink purchases (10 to 12 per cent would be reasonable). So every drink will set you back around $14. The two-for-one happy hours twice daily help a bit. Bring your own bottle of wine into the dining room and there's a $25 corkage fee. In mitigation, Oceania offers three gratuity-included beverage packages of claimed "incredible value." Don't bother with the $40 per day package, which limits you to beer or wine at lunch or dinner. The $60 per day package is a better bet, being unlimited and including liquor. But you have to be a fairly heavy drinker (say six or more drinks a day) before realizing a benefit from this package. And the catch is that the package has to be purchased for EVERY SINGLE DAY of the cruise. You can't get it for single days (say just sea days) -- I was told that If I wanted it for just one day, I could wait until the last day of the cruise! I did purchase two of the wine bottle packages, where you get 7 bottles of wine per package for consumption at mealtimes for $47.50 per bottle. This is already quite steep. For instance, a bottle of Kendall-Jackson Reserve Chardonnay available in the package is priced at $12.50 in Miami Beach Wallgreen's. This represents a 380 per cent markup. Still, you benefit from buying a package since It'll cost you even more by buying from the regular wine list. And don't forget that 18 per cent gratuity! The cost of shore excursions is also high; some are in the hundreds of dollars per person. You could hire a private car and driver for a lot less in many instances. Disembarkation was not as smooth as embarkation -- most people faced a long wait to get off. One of us needed to have a wheelchair to disembark and this was only obtained after a lot of pleading. Summing up, although the Riviera is an attractive vessel and the food good, inconsistent service and general price gouging made this cruise poor value for money. We did not feel pampered on what was supposedly a luxury line and the entire cruise experience was so-so. We cannot recommend this cruise line and will never sail with Oceania again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Embarkation easy. The first 3 days went well if you excluded the very poor entertainment. I found the cabin very dusty and the windows were filthy. Service is good in the specialty restaurants but spotty in the MDR and worse in the bar ... Read More
Embarkation easy. The first 3 days went well if you excluded the very poor entertainment. I found the cabin very dusty and the windows were filthy. Service is good in the specialty restaurants but spotty in the MDR and worse in the bar areas and by the pool. $5 wine sells for $48 on the ship but that is your choice. The shore excursions are the usual overpriced Oceania rip off but in 2 cases we actually used them we felt totally betrayed. We paid an extra $100 ($129 each) for a "luxury" 4X4 Land Rover 3 hour tour only to be shown to a old beat up Toyota pick up with beach seats. Complaint by several victims of this bait and switch fell on deaf ears. Returning from our last port of St. Barts, the tender operator lost control of the boat and smashed nose first into the hull of the Riviera at over 10 mph. Over 20 of the 50 people on board needed medical attention and many more woke up to sore backs and necks the next day. People had cuts and bruises and with strained backs and more prevalent whiplash symptoms. People were triaged by the doctor and patients we seen leaving the clinic with neck braces and bandages. The people with more minors problems were seen in a few hours with a promise to follow up. Oceania has not given an explanation whether mechanical failure or human error was responsible. We are just headed back to Miami now and I can't wait to get of this ship. The shelves in the store are almost totally empty from day one. I was told they will be replenished for the next cruise. What a shame considering the price of this cruise. We have enjoyed Oceania for 5 years but if the take over by NCL means the quality of this line is falling as has happened on this 10 day stint, it will be my last. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
The mark of a good company isn't that it never makes a mistake. It's what it does when things go wrong. We recognize that bad things happen to good companies. But good companies find a way to try and achieve a sense of ... Read More
The mark of a good company isn't that it never makes a mistake. It's what it does when things go wrong. We recognize that bad things happen to good companies. But good companies find a way to try and achieve a sense of satisfaction. How disappointing Oceania did not do this in case. On this 14-day cruise, the noro-virus broke out one day after departure. The line, and ship, did many things right--the crew cleaned constantly and non-stop, extra medical professionals were brought aboard, quarantine procedures were put into place, and the "Code Red" protocol was rigorously followed. Many of the things which have helped make Oceania such a favorite were not available (library, culinary center, modified food presentation, etc.). Understandable, but still not the product as promised in the brochures and marketing. But the real disappointment came at the end of the cruise. No letter expressing regret, no offer of a discount on a future cruise, not even an apology. And what better, more loyal audience could any company have than its current customers? How much could an offer of a discount on a future cruise really cost the company, in out of pocket money? Oceania might argue the noro-virus wasn't its fault, and perhaps they could be right. But it wasn't my fault, either. At the end of the day, passengers paid for a premium experience that simply wasn't delivered, and there was no offer of compensation at the conclusion of the cruise. In essence, it was like paying for a Four Seasons but getting a Radisson experience. This has caused us to reject the "Let's do Oceania" instinct when one thinks about another cruise. Surely this can''t be what Oceania wants to hear, or the kind of reaction it wants to elicit in it's repeat customers, or future prospects. This was our (4 of us) 4th cruise on Oceania, three on the beautiful Riviera. And it saddens us that we now have to include other lines in our decision-making instead of what, for several years, was an automatic choice. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We selected this cruise for our 15th cruise on Oceania, looking forward to receiving our Oceania Club Gold status. In addition, this cruise would take us to a couple of new ports and back to others we had not revisited. To alleviate the ... Read More
We selected this cruise for our 15th cruise on Oceania, looking forward to receiving our Oceania Club Gold status. In addition, this cruise would take us to a couple of new ports and back to others we had not revisited. To alleviate the hassles of flying we drove to Miami. The first full day out of Miami, was a pleasant sea day. We booked a cabin with an extended veranda, and were pleased that we had two lounges in addition to two arm chairs on the veranda. The next morning, my wife woke up early vomiting and diarrhea. A call to the ship's medical department resulted with a visit to our cabin by the doctor's assistant and one of the ship's security guards. Without taking my wife's temperature, nor asking what were her prior medical history, she made an immediate diagnosis that my wife had the noro-virus and gave her some anti-diarrhea pills. Next, security took away our cabin keys and informed us that we both would be quarantined for the next 48 hour. I was not ill. No further explanations were given, only that we would have to order our meals from room service. We missed our first port of call, which was a new port for us. The pills that they gave my wife caused her to have server stomach pains. I called medical, and told them the situation and also gave them a list of her current medications and medical history which they did not originally ask for, but then they wrote them down.. Room service was a total disaster! The first meal (lunch) was 2 1/2 hour late. It was cold and the coffee and soup, which were served in plastic bathroom glasses, covered with saran wrap, spilled onto the tray, over the dishes of food. The salad was wilted with the oil and vinegar separated. It was disgusting! It wasn't until our last meal the following day that the liquids were served in Styrofoam cups with lids. To make the situation more unbearable, Aruba would not permit the Riviera to dock because of the norovirus. We had wanted to leave the ship in Aruba and fly back to Miami, but we could not land. The concierge advised us that we would not be able to leave the ship the day before. In the meantime, our cabin was fumigated that day and we both had to sleep on the veranda during the afternoon nap. We could not breathe. Fortunately, my wife had her prescription inhaler, as well as a more milder one, which I was able to use. We chose not to see the ship's doctor because we might get quarantined again. My wife contracted pneumonia and I had sever breathing problems so the rest of the cruise was spent resting on our veranda in the fresh air The next day, we were stopped by security at the gangway because Bonaire would not allow previously quarantined persons off the ship. Now we missed 3 ports. At least we were free to roam the ship. The service in the Terrace was worse at dinner time. We had to wait for our table to be set up with dished and utensils. They took our water order, but it never arrived. After a second request, we were served water. We never got our coffee. The staff was completely overworked and it was obvious that there was a work slowdown. Bar nuts were not available in the bars. The library was closed, but the casino was open! The next day was a sea day and we had our meals in the grand dining room. Service was much better, but the ambiance was missing. The next port was a port where we were to dock, but instead we anchored off shore and had to take a tender to port. There was no way we were going to cram ourselves into a small tender with passenger who might still be carrying the virus. There were close to 98 infected people on board in various contagious stages. We managed to get off the ship in 4 ports, but only to walk around the port and not take any tours. Upon reaching home, I began my letter writing campaign to Oceania to find out what chemicals were used to fumigate our cabin. After two requests, I was told to write to the CDC for this information. Oceania required my wife to sign a release so I could get her medical records. They would not let us know what chemicals we were exposed to in our cabin which prevented us from informing our own physician what we were breathing which resulted in my wife's pneumonia. All guests received a coupon for 25% towards our next Caribbean cruise on the Riviera. I wrote back that this was not acceptable, and they responded that this was all we were entitled to. I then wrote and asked that the offer be extended to us for our own destination and choice of ship, not what they dictated. That request was denied and that was their final offer. We did receive our Oceania Club medal. It was sitting on our bed placed there by our cabin attendants. We were not invited to any of their Oceania Club recognition parties where we would have normally been presented with our pins. Since the mergers between Oceania, Regency, and Norwegian, it appears that the service on Oceania has deteriorated, while Norwegian has improved. Our next cruise, which will be number 35, will NOT be on Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Horrible time aboard. One day after boarding we are informed about Noro. Apparently 4-5th time in last 4-5 months. More are still getting sick. People today have been sick in public restrooms and Spa. Everything is being constantly ... Read More
Horrible time aboard. One day after boarding we are informed about Noro. Apparently 4-5th time in last 4-5 months. More are still getting sick. People today have been sick in public restrooms and Spa. Everything is being constantly sprayed and wiped. The walls, rails, doors, and elevators have sticky on them and have gunk lines where the disinfectant runs down. The fabric on chairs are sprayed as soon as you get up. Our clothes smell from it. I begin choking in the halls from the cleaning spray and must stay in cabin or on veranda. We were denied docking in Aruba. The staff is very tired from lack of sleep. Service is slow as staff must salt and pepper your food, and poor your cream. The lounges close early and the coffee machines are removed. Most activities that we came for are cancelled. No culinary school, no artist loft, no munchies with drinks, no appetizers with Captain's party, one Oceania Club event cancelled. There are over 900 loyal Club members on board. This is our 15th Oceania cruise and 5th on Riviera. Our friend became sick today. No specimen was taken, so the virus keeps moving. It is not Oceania's fault all this is happening. But, we are only half way through the cruise and most of us would like to go home now. I am diabetic and need a little munchie sometimes for blood sugar. Ship is mostly devoid of anything. We ordered from room service and after more than hour waiting, we cancelled it. The staff is very pushed. We do not know how many of them are sick. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We have almost 300 days at sea with Cunard, Crystal, Hollande America, Celebrity, Royal Carribean, Princess, Norwegian and Oceania! This first Cruise with Oceania was a complete disapointment. Food was just ok not the ´best food at ... Read More
We have almost 300 days at sea with Cunard, Crystal, Hollande America, Celebrity, Royal Carribean, Princess, Norwegian and Oceania! This first Cruise with Oceania was a complete disapointment. Food was just ok not the ´best food at sea' as advertized by Oceania. Oil was used in the pastries instead of butter. Same sauce served with beef,veal and chicken, same vegetables served in the Terrace Café every lunch... Entertainment was poor. No activity to participe in since everything was closed - the norovirus was with us! CDC came on the ship to investigate , is it only norovirus ?? 10 spécimens were evaluated and are still under investigation by the CDC. One of our party of 4 was sick the second day at sea and there was no doctor visit, no temperature taken, no specimen taken, is it the norovirus? Minimum 48 Hours in your cabin with your spouse and no right to go out of the ship for the next 3 ports! We had no welcome glass of wine when we board the ship - thank you to Celebrity for doing it. Hat and jeans in the dining venues for men, no jacket for the Captain's evening - is it country club? Pricing of the wine questionnable - a $15 botte sold at $60 + 18% for the service! And the wine list is not long and not interesting. Will We recommand Oceania? NO. Will we repeat with Oceania? NO. And many other passengers on this cruise who were repeaters told us that they will not repeat again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our third cruise with Oceania, first on Riveria (probably our last), second with Marina. We were very excited about this cruise because the ports of call were different from any we had taken in the past, especially Aruba. Lo and ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Oceania, first on Riveria (probably our last), second with Marina. We were very excited about this cruise because the ports of call were different from any we had taken in the past, especially Aruba. Lo and behold, two days out, Norovirus was announced by the Captain and the ship went into quarantine mode and all of the niceties that we have come to expect from Oceania disappeared immediately. The tables were cleared, the buckets of disinfectant came out and hands had to be sanitized at least a dozen times a day. It was like being on a floating horror movie with disinfectant dripping down the walls, wallpaper lifting off the walls, railings, counters and doors all sticky and goopy to the touch so much so that you couldn't even hold the stair railings when you went up and down. It was serious overkill. There were passengers who had a bit of stomach upset who were reported by room stewards that were quarantined without being tested for Norovirus and then subjected to the same stigma as those that actually had the virus. We were not allowed to dock in Aruba by the port authorities. We were very upset as this was the main reason we chose this cruise in the first place. We had to show our world cards every time we entered any of the restaurants to make sure we were not one of the "infected" people as they took their cards away and taped their doors shut and took them food on paper plates and plastic cutlery; apparently cold food for at least 48 hours. There was no captains reception for returning guests as is the norm on Oceania, the culinary school was closed, library, anywhere that they thought could pass germs. As soon as you got up from a table, the cloth was whisked away and it was sloshed down, table and chairs with disinfectant and left for at least 10 minutes. You had to ask for cream and sugar or salt and pepper and they would bring it to you and pour the cream and give you a paper packet of sugar or salt and pepper. I felt like I was in a low class cafeteria not a luxury cruise ship. Lastly, this cruise was completely sold out. Full to the brim. We should have been told that this ship had had Norovirus not once but twice before this cruise so that we could have made an informed decision as to whether or not we wanted to put ourselves into this situation. Oceania did send an urgent email to my travel agent shortly before left but it was only to offer us an upgrade for an additional cost. They chose not to tell us about the Norovirus. Fortunately for us and fortunately for Oceania, we did not get sick. Had we been one of the many very elderly people with depressed immune systems on board, this could have gone very badly. One last thing. Oceania did not plan very well for a sold out cruise ship. They ran out of wine, Pellegrino water, several foods. I for one like blueberries in my blueberry pancakes. When you have a full ship, you plan accordingly, and clearly they did not. I was not impressed. The saving grace for us was we had a penthouse suite with a lovely butler named Hamesh that saw to our every need. He brought me my Pellegrino and lots of it to the room. I suffer from migraines and always had a full ice bucket for my ice pack thanks to Hamesh. We had dinner in our room which was wonderful and daily canapés and drinks on the veranda as we pulled out of port. The room was beautifully appointed and we would never book anything other than a penthouse suite. It is well worth the extra money you pay for it. We have always enjoyed sailing with Oceania and sing their praises to all of our friends and while we know Norovirus is not their fault, they could have behaved very differently at the end of the cruise to make us feel better about the whole thing. They never said the simple words we are sorry for this or that this has inconvenienced you or perhaps ruined your holiday and hope that it won't influence your decision to sail with us again. Simple words that would have made a big difference and perhaps made us feel better. Secondly, I think they should have provided a cruise refund for this cruise and a credit for a future cruise. This would have made us want to cruise with them again and give them another chance. This cruise was seriously ruined and we spent major dollars with this company. We have told our travel agent that we were tried and true Oceania'ers but we are now looking at other luxury cruise companies. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our second cruise on the Riviera and we were so looking forward to the food, playing tennis, golf and croquet on the forward sports deck and taking art and culinary classes when we were at sea. We also had high expectations for ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Riviera and we were so looking forward to the food, playing tennis, golf and croquet on the forward sports deck and taking art and culinary classes when we were at sea. We also had high expectations for the entertainment as it was better than average on our previous cruise. But, above all we booked the cruise for the food. Before I start, let me just say Oceania, unlike other cruiselines, DOES NOT require passengers to santitize their hands the first 48 hours of the cruise prior to going into a dining area. Due to this company policy, we feel strongly the 100+ passengers that caught the norovirus on this cruise as well as those of us that caught a solid case of bronchitis could have been minimized. What we found so amazing was this was the 3rd time CDC had been notified by the Riviera that over 2% of the passengers had come down with the virus since Nov 2015! If fact according to our room steward, it was actually the 5th time. I guess the other 2 times didn't reach the CDC notification level. Now, for the rest of the story, but I'll try to be brief. By the second day there were so many cases of the norovirus being reported, they cancelled the culinary and art classes for the duration of the cruise as well as all the sports equipment was put under lock and key. As far as access to dining areas, they started making everyone sanitize their hands and show their room cards before entering. The room card check stumped me until I found out they had confiscated the infected passengers room cards. They did that for the remainder of the cruise, which was fine, especially when it came to sanitizing hands. As far as the entertainment went, they only had 2 acts that boarded the 14 day cruise and stayed for a few days before leaving. The rest of the time there was a comedian, who was pretty good, that was married to the cruise director, 2 solo singing acts which were meager at best performed by the assistant cruise director and from one of the girls from the Oceania singer and dancer group. My point being saving money on entertainment appeared to be one of the goals of this now Norwegian-owned cruise line and it showed. Now, the reason we came on the cruise as I mentioned earlier was for the food! What a let down. When we went last spring on the Riviera we were definitely wowed! Not this time. It was still good and the specialty restaurants were still good, but they never reached the wow factor, except for maybe the Polo Grill and the Red Ginger. The rest of the time we ate outside up at the Terrace Cafe. However, most of the time we ordered from the grill because the prepared food was just so so. Again, nothing like the last cruise. As a final note Oceania did not compensate anyone on this cruise that we know of for their lack of being able to provide a quality cruise. It goes without saying this will be the last time we will sail on an Oceania cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Their are several reasons not to cruise with Oceania, especially on the Riveria. 1. Multiple norovirus outbreaks, 3 outbreaks since Dec. 2015. The latest one on March 20th. This is shortly after the massive CDC supervised cleaning ... Read More
Their are several reasons not to cruise with Oceania, especially on the Riveria. 1. Multiple norovirus outbreaks, 3 outbreaks since Dec. 2015. The latest one on March 20th. This is shortly after the massive CDC supervised cleaning that the ship underwent following the Feb. 12 outbreak. There is obviously a problem with the cleaning procedures on Riveria. Yes passengers or crew can bring the norovirus onto the ship, but that is true for all cruise lines, so why has the Riveria not been able to protect you as their guest from contracting this virus. See CDC website for the history of outbreaks on this ship and others. From now on this is the first website I check before picking a cruise ship. The second is Cruise Critic. 2. Very poor management response to these problems. We were on the cruise following the 2/12 outbreak. We were given no warning about the science experiment cruise we were to embark on. Oceania knew that crew was to be conscripted into cleaning chores versus providing the Exceptional Service that was promised in their brochures. The first three days were filled with chaos in the dining venues and stress filled ventures around the ship watching the crew apply massive amounts of disinfectant all over everything and I mean everything. Not relaxing. 3. No ships officers were seen during all this madness and management never acknowledged until the day before we arrived home that there many problems with service. They threw us a bone by offering a free drink. 4. The ethical way to have handled this situation would have been to contact the passengers before the cruise of (2/22 )since management knew at least 5 days before that the norovirus outbreak had occurred and offer us the option of not taking this cruise with a full refund since they could not guarantee that we would not be exposed to the norovirus. Or state that we would be sailing on a voyage that was less than promised in service and amenities and if we chose to take that chance offer a discount or not, but give the passengers a heads up. 5. Be aware that Oceania's response, if you are caught in one of the nightmare cruises, is I quote from a letter I received from Guest Relations "not a matter for which we can extend any form of compensation" even though they acknowledge that the circumstances on ship "was challenging for all involved". So to summarize Riveria has a history of Norvirsus outbreaks, Oceania has a poor response to this problem both in keeping you safe and in guest relations. Finally, when asked to compensate you as a passenger for less than what was promised even though they knew there would be problems on your cruise, their response is DECLINED, but come back and sail with us again. Fat chance of that Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Right before the cruise, we received a letter stating that a certain percentage of the people were sick on the previous cruise and we could expect embarkation delays. Oh Boy! That was only the HALF of it. Embarkation was ok, with only ... Read More
Right before the cruise, we received a letter stating that a certain percentage of the people were sick on the previous cruise and we could expect embarkation delays. Oh Boy! That was only the HALF of it. Embarkation was ok, with only minor delays. Once on the ship however, we sat on a lounge chair for 3+ hours until we were demanded to attend a life preserver demonstration. With carry on bags in tow (no stateroom as yet), we attended the demonstration and finally our stateroom was available. Ok, we have a stateroom, but no luggage. We had to have dinner at the buffet because we were inappropriately dressed to dine anywhere else. Our bags were waiting for us in the hall when we returned. Now the real fun begins. Next morning, we attempted to have breakfast in the Waves Grill. Because of the virus, ALL surfaces had to be slathered down with an awful chemical solution (walls, railings, tables, chairs, etc.). The tables were wet and we had to wait till the "sanitation in progress" was complete. Breakfast was like a Chinese fire drill...Our order came, but it was next to impossible to get a staffs attention to get silverware, coffee and juice. Want salt and pepper? Wait, packets will come...not allowed to have shakers on the table. Half the staff was slathering chemicals and the other half were clueless. We heard a lot of the staff had walked out on the last cruise and therefore we were lucky enough to get the clueless ones. This nonsense went on for 4 days. What was our compensation? 2 hours of free booze in any of the lounges. Whoopee!!! I was glad there was going to be a launderette available, no need to bring a travel iron. Too bad it was closed ( thank you virus) and I would be charged to have anything pressed. What? Free wifi? Great...too bad there was no signal. We did luck out though...a pipe burst in the wall on deck 12 and the very expensive suites were flooded; those folks had to relocate. For once I was glad I was a peon on deck 7. Overpricing was rampant...excursions, wine, etc. Speaking of wine, if you purchased a bottle of wine on shore and wanted to enjoy it with your meal in one of the dining rooms, they charged a $25 corking fee!! What?! Needless to say, this cruise was a waste of a lot of money. We will NEVER use Oceania Cruises again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Having cruised on NCL, Celebrity, Princess, Disney and Holland America LIne (cruise line of choice of late), we were looking forward to our experience on Riviera and our "step up" from mass market lines to Premier cruising on O. ... Read More
Having cruised on NCL, Celebrity, Princess, Disney and Holland America LIne (cruise line of choice of late), we were looking forward to our experience on Riviera and our "step up" from mass market lines to Premier cruising on O. We researched so that we would be familiar with Oceania and planned what we thought would be nice change from what we were used to on other cruise lines. Our embarkation was very smooth and rooms were ready at 1:00 p.m. Our room was very, very nice (PH), well laid out, tons of outlets, beautiful bathroom, huge walk in closet, etc. Everything you could ask for. The ship is very pretty as well. What we were to discover is that although the cabins and ship are lovely, it was all looks and no substance. Service was very inconsistent on the ship. While there were some good waiters and crew, the poor, uncaring ones outnumbered them. It could be difficult to find a table in the Terrace Grill as tables were not cleared off and left with dirty dishes. Service in the specialty restaurants was the same. The only waiter who asked if we were enjoying our meal was in Jacques (along with one waiter in the GDR). In the rest of the restaurants, we were ignored, left to sit with dirty plates for over 45 minutes on several occasions. (This included Polo where one of our table mates could not eat any of his meal and it sat there on his plate staring at him). Speaking to the restaurant managers did little to improve the situation. While we did not enjoy our meal in Red Ginger, our friends who had a different waiter did. Our food had most likely sat under a heat lamp far too long and suffered accordingly. Their service was far better than ours. So, you could be in the same restaurant at the same time and have a totally different experience because of the inconsistency in the service. Jacques was fabulous as was the service there. Highly recommend. We also did La Reserve and Privee and these were very good. Fabulous service and food. Both of these come at a cost, but the service and experience were certainly worth it. Overall, the ship does not deliver the gastronomy experience and service that it promotes. Other than the few exceptions mentioned, we have had better service on mass market lines. Sadly, Noro raised it ugly head on this cruise. Now, we have been on Noro ships before and it doesn't have to be the end of the world. It can put a bit of a damper on things but normally these outbreaks are handled well. This was not the case on our cruise. Management was non - existent. No communication other than to say we were over 2%. While the ship closed the self serve laundries, other than applying goop on surfaces, little else was done. Pool, hot tub, casino, computer room, library all remained open for everyone to touch. Worse, the silverware, cutlery, glasses were all out in the open at both Waves and the Terrace Grill. Food was placed out prior to 5:00 a.m. (Pastries, fruits, etc.) in Waves and the Terrace Grill uncovered and unprotected. Salt and pepper remained on the tables along with the sugar cubes in the GDR, etc. Tea cups in Horizons are out long before tea time for anyone to touch or handle. No wonder the ship couldn't defeat Noro. Looking back, I am not surprised at the Noro outbreak since the Culinary Class chef was allowing people who were coughing to take the class despite the health stipulation you must sign to take the class. Service continued to deteriorate to the point that when we received our mid cruise survey, a letter requesting a meeting with the GM was sent to discuss issues. We received a form letter back and were unsuccessful at a meeting. O's management stuck their heads in the sand and left the passengers in the dark. Had they communicated it would have improved things somewhat. A lot of new crew boarded in Barcelona and while the tendency is to blame the new crew, the ones we met were the ones giving the good service. Many of us were disappointed with the last minute announcement (at dinner time the night before we were to dock) that Bermuda's Ministry of Health had refused the Riviera permission to dock. (We were supposed to have a two day stay here.) That was more revealing than any information the ship had provided to us. This added two sea days to our Transatlantic crossing so instead of 5 days at sea, we were 7 days. There were no special events or additional activities planned for these two days. Same old, same old. There was no token apology as you see on other cruise lines. No opening of bars, not even a cheap glass of sparkling wine. It just appeared that no one in management cared, so why should the rest of the staff? In fact, passengers nearly got treated as nuisances as our cruise was drawing to a close. Disembarkation was horrific. I have never seen such a bad one. People came from every crevice on the ship trying to get in the line. There was little staff there to keep things organized so it took far longer than it should have. Inconsistency is a huge issue on this ship. If you luck into the right waiters, you can have a great experience on this ship. If you don't......beware - like us, you may feel you didn't get what you paid for. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We had an amazing experience on Marina in 2013 when we went to Brazil. The ship was fantastic and the service was first rate. Our butler was exceptional and kept in touch with us on a daily basis. I still have a little wooden parrot at ... Read More
We had an amazing experience on Marina in 2013 when we went to Brazil. The ship was fantastic and the service was first rate. Our butler was exceptional and kept in touch with us on a daily basis. I still have a little wooden parrot at home named in his honour. We therefore booked with Oceania again for a trip to Miami. Once agin we booked an Oceania suite and for nearly two years looked forward to the trip. Our first impressions at Barcelona were extremely good. At just after 11am we boarded the ship. The whole process of boarding took about twenty minutes and was completely hassle free. As Riviera is a sister ship to Marina we immediately felt at home and once again had a wow moment as we entered our suite. For the first few days all seemed well and we enjoyed our time. The only thing we could find to criticze was the new thelassa pool on the spa deck. It had little seating and the controls were hard to access and in anything but dead calm sea you tended to be sloshed from one end to another. The food was exactly as we had expected. Toscana was enjoyable as was Polo grill and Red Ginger was brilliant. Jacques we didn't like but that was mainly because the food was not really to our taste. Service in Jacques made up for that though and service was generally good in Polo and Toscana. I have to say though that the service in Red Ginger eclipsed all others. We also used Waves and the food was as before and what you would expect from a grill on deck. We had a sneaking suspicion that food at The Terrace was not as good and despite the huge selection often struggled to choose anything. The quality of the hot items often left a lot to be desired. We attended the "Rock the wok" cookery course. This consisted of us brushing a marinade onto salmon, chopping a few vegetables and cooking them and then assembling a couple of bits of sushi. It was a pretty poor experience that taught us nothing new..... In those first few days we noticed that we had little contact with our butler and on the occasions that we did contact him it wasn't a great experience. For example we ordered an in suite breakfast so that we could get out early for a tour. the breakfast was nearly twenty minutes late and ( I know this might seem a little petty) but he didn't bother to set it out. On another occasion we rang at 3.45 and asked for tea but he snapped back that we would have to wait until after 4pm as the scones had not been cooked. On another occasion I was leaving the cabin when I met the butler returning some items from the laundry. I told him my partner was in the cabin and he could knock despite the privacy sign. When he did so he told my partner that "Your friend said it was ok to knock". if he found our sexuality awkward he could have referred to us by name. I would say our super stewardess knew our names within minutes of first meting us and never failed to greet us when she encountered us Just before we arrived at Medeira we began to hear rumours about the Norvo virus and upon leaving the crew began in earnest to start disinfecting everywhere. Certain services were curtailed (particularly the laundrette) and the crew worked tirelessly to bring things under control. I would certainly not blame Oceania for the outbreak of this bug but I think they share responsibility for the following reasons. Firstly, when we embarked at Barcelona there was absolutely no effort made to get passengers to concentrate on hygiene such as using the sanitizer gels around the ship. Had this been done at an early stage the extent of the outbreak would probably have been much reduced. As it was we had five days in which there was no effort made to take control. Secondly, when precautions were implemented they were not consistent. For example, salt and pepper pots were not removed from tables until quite late into the cruise in certain venues. I used the gym every day and saw the most awful examples of personal hygiene there - it was not until the last three or four days of the cruise that I saw staff there supervising the gym to get people to wipe down the equipment. Given that cleanliness was key to combatting the bug it also was crazy that the laundrettes were closed making it harder for passengers to have clean clothing. I am not sure compensation would have been appropriate for what happened but I think letting passengers have at least one complimentary set of clothing to the main laundry would have been reasonable. We received no updates from anyone about the illness on board and it was only the day before we were due to get to Bermuda that we heard that we were not going there. The tone from those in charge was a little arrogant. It was as if they could not utter the word "sorry" in case they made themselves liable in some way. The ship then noticeably slowed down as we were told that we would head towards Bahamas for a two day stay. The extra sea days were difficult for crew and passengers alike. One day in Nassau is a day too many and two was exceptionally tedious. It is hard to see its charms and the tour we had of the "highlights" felt a little desperate and made the loss of Bermuda more keenly felt. By his time too we had had to get used to all meat being incinerated in all of the restaurants for health reasons apparently. As we neared the end of our cruise our butler was supposed to return our passports. Other butlers had contacted guests in the morning and organised things. Ours did not and when we found him at 11.50 am he told us we would have to queue at reception to retrieve it. His attitude towards us had made us feel uncomfortable and we effectively stopped using his services as a result some time before . At the point of disembarkation we also discovered that we had not had a form to complete from him which would have detailed our preference for disembarkation. We therefore were amongst the last to be called to leave the ship. I cannot say for certain why we had this experience with the butler. In the UK equality has become so entrenched that we hardly ever consider that we are different from anyone else. Perhaps we should be more aware that this is not always the same elsewhere. We met some wonderful people on the cruise and they made up for the shortcomings of the cruise in no small part. It is also true that the crew (on the whole) worked their socks off and we're delighted to be able to recognise some of those in the end of cruise questionnaire. With a heavy heart I am really sorry to say that I am not going to return to Oceania. I know all cruise lines have diehard adherents including Oceania and they will howl with outrage at my comments and seek to point to my failings rather than those of Oceania but I can only relate experiences from our viewpoint. I fully accept that others will have had very different experiences....... Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was our first and definitely our last Oceania cruise ever. After sailing several other cruise lines we opted for Oceania mainly because the deal was good and it gave us a great change to try this product. Unfortunately we were ... Read More
This was our first and definitely our last Oceania cruise ever. After sailing several other cruise lines we opted for Oceania mainly because the deal was good and it gave us a great change to try this product. Unfortunately we were extremely disappointed with the overall product and mainly the food quality and service level. In general we found the food very mediocre and sometimes even terrible. Very basic fair, bulk items and without creativity. You mainly find cheap, low quality ingredients. Buffet items were mostly lukewarm at their best. Don’t bother about the specialty restaurants. We were not impressed with either one of them. Asian food does not taste Asian. Italian is very basic and the grill does offer poor quality of tasteless meat. Service overall is lacking. Most of the staff seems uninterested and not very happy. Service at the pool is slow and you easily can wait for 1 hour without anyone offering you a drink. The overall cleanliness is ok, however room stewardess seems to have too many cabins to take care of resulting in spotty results. Entertainment is poor and not worth to see a show. Showtime is only at 21:45 and in my opinion too late, especially with tours leaving early. Tours are extremely expensive as are spa treatments. The cheap deal you might have will easily be wiped away by the overpriced services offered onboard. Cabins are nice and good size however the separate shower is totally useless and dysfunctional especially if you’re a little taller. We are extremely disappointed with what was offered and we surely will not return soon. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
The Good- Food and service in the Grand dining room and specialty restaurants were excellent and particularly in the Polo Grill, Red Ginger and Toscana restaurants. The Mediocre – Entertainment was very mediocre, save for the ... Read More
The Good- Food and service in the Grand dining room and specialty restaurants were excellent and particularly in the Polo Grill, Red Ginger and Toscana restaurants. The Mediocre – Entertainment was very mediocre, save for the show personally put on by Leslie Jon, the guest/entertainment manager which was excellent. The Poor – Service in other areas of the ship has deteriorated markedly since our 2014 cruise on the Riviera, particularly- Cabin service - on boarding, we found hairs in our shower that hadn’t been removed from the previous cruise; we also had to ask a number of times for shampoo and conditioner to be replenished, notwithstanding that empty bottles had been left on the floor of the shower; we also asked for 2 wine glasses to be placed in our cabin every day, and most days found only 1 glass present resulting in us having to continually request another. Pool deck service – sitting around the pool area, we were very seldom offered a drink, resulting in us having to often get up and go to the pool bar ourselves. Generally, other than the service in the dining rooms as previously noted, we felt as if many of the staff were in robot mode and them not really wanting to be on board. Also, we noted a real deterioration of staff friendliness, compared to past Oceania cruises. Certain port stops – with 4 sea days on this particular cruise, why does Oceania plan stops in Israel on a Saturday when the country virtually comes to a stop in most respects because of the Jewish Sabbath and a stop in Trapani when virtually everything is closed on Sundays? The Very Poor – Head office customer service: days before departure, we were informed that the stops in Egypt had been cancelled. I addressed an email to the CEO of Oceania/Norwegian in this connection through the Oceania email web server. To date, more than 5 weeks later, I have never received an acknowledgment nor the courtesy of a reply to this communication. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We have been sailing on the Riviera about 2,5 years ago and unfortunately we have to conclude there has been a huge decline in quality ever since. Perhaps due to the overtake by NCL? Especially the quality of food and service has gone ... Read More
We have been sailing on the Riviera about 2,5 years ago and unfortunately we have to conclude there has been a huge decline in quality ever since. Perhaps due to the overtake by NCL? Especially the quality of food and service has gone down dramatically. As I could spend pages on this review, I’ll try to stick to the main distractions. Quality of food is really terrible. Majority is bulk, poor and tasteless. The meat at the Polo Grill is a disgrace. Everyone ever tasted a real good quality of meat will immediately agree that the meat on-board is simply tasteless and Oceania tries to cover this with heavy sauces or too much salt. Simple dishes like “Caprese Salad” are making clear the unacceptable poor quality. For a good Caprese you just need 3 simple ingredients. But if you use poor quality tomatoes, poor quality mozzarella and poor quality basil, it is easily turned into a terrible dish. Egg station that makes your omelette drizzles all in overload of oil. Buffet items are mostly lukewarm and not really fresh. Good thing is the staff serving the buffet items (due to hygienic reasons) but most of them are busier with themselves instead of the guest in front of them. Selection of “free” soft drinks is limited to Coke, Sprite, Ginger Ale, Tonic and lemonade only. Anything else is not there and not available at all. In our opinion Oceania should be accused for claiming to have the best food on the high seas. Any foodie will immediately agree this is a false claim and Oceania should be ashamed for serving such poor quality and majority of products that are produced without love and not considering animal cruelty at all! As well the service provided is very amateurish by people who clearly do not like to be where they are. Poor labour from poor countries instead of professional employees with hospitality experience. Again Oceania should be accused for false claims. They do advertise that their staff is “carefully selected from the finest 5 star hotel around the world” Anyone who stayed in a decent 5 star hotel ever, will agree immediately that the majority of Oceania’s staff never has seen a 5 star hotel from the inside at all. The prices for their shore excursions are outrageous! For example, a tour in Tripani to a small village reached by cable car costs $ 159,= per person. We did the tour ourselves. For the taxi back and forth we paid $ 30,= and the cable car was $ 20,= per person. So we pain $ 70, = for the 2 of us while Oceania does ask $ 318,= for exactly the same thing. Which is over 450% more! Private transfer from Civitavecchia to the airport will cost $ 500,= when booked on-board. We paid for a very luxurious, private transfer $ 125, =. Again 400% more when booked on-board. The same goes for wine purchased on-board. Bottles that do cost around $ 4 to $ 5 (incl taxes) in stores around here are sold for $ 40 to $ 50 (excl. taxes) on-board. Outrageous! The majority of the passengers are old, very old. Picture wheelchairs and walkers, everywhere. If you’re under 50 you belong to the youngest on-board. Most people are far in their 60’s but a lot are over 80 in need of extra help and care. Consider long waits to get in and out busses! As well this does not contribute to a lively atmosphere on-board. Entertainment is poor. Only 1 show at 21:45 performed by B and C choice performers. We have been cruising over the past 17 years and have tried the majority of the (luxury) cruise lines. For us, Oceania does not belong to this “luxury” category in anyway. If you’re looking for a real, service minded, experience instead of a lip service line, there so many wonderful cruise lines out there. By skipping Oceania from your list, you do not miss a thing! On top the “service” from their head offices both in the UK and USA is really terrible. They most probably treat their products and staff in the same way as their passengers, which perhaps explain the poor standard of all. Not recommendable at all. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Riviera Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.5 3.2
Public Rooms 4.5 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 2.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.2
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.8

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