30 Oceania Riviera Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

This was our 13th cruise and thankfully proved to be not that unlucky. We had sailed on the sister ship, Marina, on a transatlantic the previous year so knew what to expect regarding the layout of the ship and the facilities. Like last ... Read More
This was our 13th cruise and thankfully proved to be not that unlucky. We had sailed on the sister ship, Marina, on a transatlantic the previous year so knew what to expect regarding the layout of the ship and the facilities. Like last time we booked a concierge stateroom, this time on deck 9, which came with a few added extras. We flew from Glasgow via Heathrow to Miami with BA on the large A380 the day before and had a trouble free flight. Meals on board were better than expected as was the room to stretch out. In flight entertainment was about average but no where near the likes of Emirates. I think the main bonus was that our luggage arrived safely because several fellow passengers were not so lucky and were still waiting on their's several days into the cruise. We had an overnight in the Marriott at Biscayne Bay, near to the cruise terminal. Large clean room with comfortable bed. Not much else around the area though but fine for 1 night. Got a groupon deal before we left for the power boat ride that leaves next to the hotel for a 30 min ride around the bay. Enjoyable but not worth the full cost. The breakfast was expensive so went to the mall next door and found a deli which sold just about everything, including my wife's favourite wine, so happy wife!! Now, as many of you will know, Oceania do a staggered embarkation according to the class of accommodation,status etc. which on our previous cruise in Manhattan went extremely well. However a few days before leaving we all got an email letting us know that the ship was being inspected by the Coastguard in the morning. Unfortunately the letter was wrongly worded and gave the impression everyone had to arrive at a certain time. Needless to say this caused mayhem and, without labouring the point, was not Oceania's finest hour. {or in this case several hours!}. Anyway, once onboard, the ship was immaculate. I really love this size of ship compared to the large floating tower blocks that are becoming the norm. The fixtures and fittings are high end and the ship oozes class! We ate in the Grand dining room on 6 occasions and once each in the 4 speciality restaurants. My favourite was Polo Grill because they got my filet mignon just the way I like it. My wife preferred Red Ginger, but to be honest all the dining was very good and no complaints with the quality of the food. We did not do any Oceania shore excursions as, apart from the excessive price, we didn’t see many we liked. We booked with local tour operators in most and did car hire in St Barts. The entertainment on the ship was mixed. The string quartet were excellent musicians but the production shows were only average at best. The comedian lost her way on several occasions and had many people up and leave I believe principally because too much of her reference material made no sense to non American’s. The daily entertainment programme was fair but the best part was the Artists Loft which my wife loved from our time on the Marina and made full use of again. Gave me time to catch up with some reading and chill! Stateroom was excellent with plenty of storage space and a separate bath and shower. My wife really enjoys a bath and with the premium salts provided it was hard to get her back out in time for dinner. The bed is the best ever and we are seriously thinking of buying it for home as have never slept so well! Due to the sea swells we never made it to the Dominican Republic but we enjoyed our time at the other ports of call. Had an easy disembarkation and then 2 nights at Miami Beach, which was way better than expected, to relax before the overnight flight home to winter! Overall, had a very good cruise experience and will be booking with Oceania again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Cruised on Riviera previously. Onboard is fantastic. Cabins service food all 5 star plus. Relaxed atmosphere and no dressing up required. Public areas are luxurious. Lots of activities appropriate to the demographic of the clientele. (The ... Read More
Cruised on Riviera previously. Onboard is fantastic. Cabins service food all 5 star plus. Relaxed atmosphere and no dressing up required. Public areas are luxurious. Lots of activities appropriate to the demographic of the clientele. (The majority of passengers were clearly retired). Staff could not be more accommodating. Ports of call were uninspiring. I don't know about the excursions offered by Oceania - they are too expensive for my budget. The one we took independently on St Kitts was ok and no more. We took the cruise for the ship the food the service and the weather and we would do so again. However - embarkation in Miami was an absolute disaster. First time Oceania customers will have been put off for ever. There was no effective organisation or leadership shown at all. The elderly and disabled of whom there were many were (as far as I could see) left to fend for themselves. Quite shameful in fact. They had to stand in line for an unacceptable amount of time. I was fine - I'm a young 67 year old. I heard that it was the fault of Miami port services but I didn't pay big bucks to that body. I paid 5 grand plus to Oceania for our cruise and was expecting better. You can cruise more cheaply and you can cruise more expensively. Why would you? This is the best money can buy as far as I have experienced. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I would have rated the cruise and Oceana as a 5 if it wasn't for the cheap flight arranged with the olife option. 2 stops each way totally unacceptable. Rest of cruise wad fabulous with incredible food and excellant shows. Around the ... Read More
I would have rated the cruise and Oceana as a 5 if it wasn't for the cheap flight arranged with the olife option. 2 stops each way totally unacceptable. Rest of cruise wad fabulous with incredible food and excellant shows. Around the World with the singers and dancers might have been one of the best shows we have seen. Not being continually hounded to buy photos -priceless. Embarkation was a nightmare, but that was not the fault of the cruise line. Disembarkation was one of the smoothest ever. Dinners at the specialty restaurants were over the top. The Horizon lounge was warm, friendly and very comfortable. Shops are very low key with no pressure selling, although selection was limited. Our cabin was very well appointed and the bed was one of the most comfortable we have ever experienced at sea. Overall, the cruise was very memorable and we would not hesitate to recommend Oceana. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Oceania is still one of the best cruise lines and the Riviera is one of the best ships in the fleet. It's large enough to offer all the amenities and yet small enough to feel intimate in many ways. We once again had an Oceania suite ... Read More
Oceania is still one of the best cruise lines and the Riviera is one of the best ships in the fleet. It's large enough to offer all the amenities and yet small enough to feel intimate in many ways. We once again had an Oceania suite and this is one of the finest staterooms on any ship we've been on; large enough to live in long-term. There is a butler and a stateroom attendant to look after your every need; the suite is serviced at least twice a day. it also comes with a mini-fridge with soft drinks and beer, and the bar has six full bottles of premium liquor. We swapped the liquor for six bottles of wine that we drank in the restaurants and the suite. And the food remains to be some of the best - anyplace.There are four specialty venues aboard and there is no additional charge for using them. With the Oceania suite, you have two nights in each restaurant. Plus there is the Grand Dining Room, the Terrace Buffet and Waves Grill, plus a barista and the daily high tea. This ship is a foodie's delight! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose to book a Caribbean cruise on Oceania Riviera as we wanted to experience a luxury cruise ship and it was amazing. We loved the stylish decor, paintings, works of art, the Lalique staircase, comfortable lounge areas , ample seating ... Read More
We chose to book a Caribbean cruise on Oceania Riviera as we wanted to experience a luxury cruise ship and it was amazing. We loved the stylish decor, paintings, works of art, the Lalique staircase, comfortable lounge areas , ample seating up in Horizons bar/lounge...the anytime dining was great no pressures. We enjoyed meals in the Grand Dining Room we prebooked meals in Jacques and in Red Ginger all these are waiter service and you choose from menu .... however we did not enjoy our meals in Polo Grill and Toscana. The choice of food in the main Terrace Buffet restaurant was excellent - it is buffet style mostly food is all behind glass it's quirky as the Staff put your choice on your plate. Afternoon tea 4pm in Horizons was presented beautifully a lovely idea. Snacks available at pool area from the Waves Grill and at the Coffee Bar . Ships entertainment team was just about ok nothing very special one show at 9.30 pm . Service on board was excellent especially so on sunny sea days when poolside staff could be seen trying their very best to place loungers in the sunshine for those guests looking to settle in the sun for the day . Our cabin was Penthouse deck 11 - lovely room - the only negative on deck 11 was the large overhang above as it cut out a lot of our sky and sun ......also we had access to Executive Lounge just down corridor.... sounds like a bonus but very disappointing it is just a very quite room with sofa , coffee and biscuits, photocopied newspapers and some I pads ...not sure what it's trying to be it was just a shorter walk for us to go get an early morning takeaway coffee there for our cabin. This was a new experience for us , we boarded in Miami , the ships guests were mostly Adults and mostly Americans, we would recommend this ship so glad we did this cruise. Our only negative was regards our total on board credit of $600 we didn't realise that the gratuities for housekeeping and butler were fixed they are not discretionary or recommended amounts as is actually stated in our cruise ship brochure : our gratuities for 10 days were total of $460 which left us $140 for alcoholic drinks for 10 day cruise : 1glass of wine each with our evening meal cost around $25 : our cruising inexperience shows here maybe but nevertheless we really enjoyed the Riviera Cruise Ship and we would definitely recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date December 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
My overall impression of our first cruise aboard the an Oceania cruise was excellent. There were some issues that prevented me from giving the cruise an overall excellent rating. Here is a summary. Details later in my review. The ... Read More
My overall impression of our first cruise aboard the an Oceania cruise was excellent. There were some issues that prevented me from giving the cruise an overall excellent rating. Here is a summary. Details later in my review. The food, service and decor of the ship were outstanding. Our cabin and the public areas were always sparkling clean. Ports were typical Caribbean islands - beaches, shopping, excursions. Frankly, other than St. Barts, you could rubber stamp each island. But when you reserve an Oceania cruise, you are going for the amenities on the ship, not necessarily for the sightseeing. The quality of the food was way above any other cruise line we've sailed, as was the service. The decor of the ship was breathtaking with hundreds of art works that would be the pride of any museum. Now for details: Embarkation and disembarkation. Was a snap. Got right on. No lines. Would help if we were told we needed to show our cruise portfolio to security when we first entered the terminal. But this was a minor glitch. On disembarkation everyone was to be out of their cabins by 8:00 am. Finding someplace to sit in the public areas waiting for your number to be called was a challenge. Cabin. Yes the cabin is larger. BUT, the extra room is taken up by the larger bathroom to accommodate the bathtub. The shower was very small. While a number of passengers liked the bathtub, our personal preference would have been to give up the bathtub in lieu of more living space and a larger shower. Living area was no larger than any other cruise ship. Finding a place to store items was a challenge, but were able to find nooks and crannies to store everything. Also, one other minor issue. The safe is located on a high shelf next to the closet. Some of the shorter passengers found it difficult to reach. There's a refrigerator in every room with soft drinks and water free of charge. Its kept refreshed by the attendants. (By the way, soft drinks, coffee and tea are free throughout the ship during the entire cruise) "Free and Unlimited" Internet. This was an unmitigated disaster. First, it wasn't free or unlimited. I would almost call this "bait and switch." This perk was available to only one person on one device in one cabin. So if my wife was on the internet on her Ipad, internet was not available on her phone or to me on my phone or ipad. If you needed to switch, you needed to go through the laborious task of logging out on one device and logging in on another. Then if you were on the internet and went to another app or did not use the devise for ANY period of time (maybe 15 seconds), you had to log in again. And you also had the problem of the internet being VERY slow and not working in certain areas of the ship or just dropping you altogether. People were complaining constantly. Also some popular apps like Facebook never worked. And if you went to the online center on deck 14 to seek help, the tech was never there. Pool. For the first time on any cruise, we had no problem finding a deck chair in the pool area. And all the deck chairs were thickly padded with towels over the entire chair. VERY comfortable. No loud band playing Caribbean music. In fact, there was no music or activities in the pool area during the entire cruise. While most most liked that, we would have liked some quiet ambient music. Pool water was heated. Very nice. Like I said, plenty of deck chairs available in or out of the sun. Fitness center. Small but never had a problem finding a treadmill. In addition, there was other equipment available. Also, cold water and towels were always there for your use. Spa. Got a massage to use up my shipboard credit. Massage was nothing special. Frankly, I've yet to get any massage on any ship to compare with one I can get at home (at a much lower price), Service. Outstanding. Cabin was always clean with plenty of towels. At the Terrace Buffet you couldn't make a move without a staff member offering to take your plate and take you to an available table. At the pool, plenty of staff to help you. Never had to look for a waiter, waitress or pool boy. And throughout the ship staff was circulating to make themselves available for any questions you had. Entertainment. Outstanding. We heard from former passengers that the entertainment was just so-so. But to the contrary, every show was terrific from the ship's production staff to special guests. When there wasn't a show, there was a first run movie available. Casino. The casino was small - three blackjack tables, one 3-card poker table, a roulette table, one craps pit and, of course, lots of slot machines.The casino was dead. I don't fault the ship or the staff. This cruise just didn't have gamblers. One evening, I was the only one in the casino. Also, some advise on ANY cruise ship, Don't play the slots, They don't pay. Food. This was, by far, the highlight of the cruise. When Oceania advertises, the best cuisine on the high seas, they're not kidding. Let me detail the various eating venues: Terrace Cafe: This was the ships buffet. Breakfast was pretty mundane (as is every cruise ship). What more can you do with eggs? But lunch and dinner were a different story. At lunch there was always an extensive salad buffet and carving stations. While other ships offered processed meats such as slices of turkey, etc., this ship had whole turkeys, hams and prime rib beef that were carved in front of you. And the meats were all delicious. And dinner -OMG! You want steak, lobster tail, lamb chops, chicken, shrimp or salmon? All grilled right there with as much as you wanted and delicious. Waves Grill - Don't want to eat at the buffet? How about a huge Angus beef hamburger or 100% beef hot dog? Not to your liking? How about a salmon burger or better yet a "surf and turf" - filet minion and lobster sandwich! And the grill's handmade milkshakes are to die for. Main Dinning Room - Food was good, but service was slow. The times we went, it took us nearly 2 1/2 hours to finish. Specialty Restaurants. The specialty restaurants were all free. Now here is a little quirk and criticism. Since all the specialty restaurants were free, they were packed every night. So they were loud and crowded. While the staff was attentive, you didn't get the intimate dinning experience you expected. I almost wish you had to pay extra. Then these venues would be less crowded, quieter, much more personal and the staff could spend more time. Having said that, our experience was very satisfying: Toscono. Their Italian restaurant. OK. Nothing special. Veal was very fatty. I complained and the next day I received calls from major officers from the ship and Maitre' de apologizing and asking to come back. Very classy. Polo Grill. Their chop house. Steaks and chops were very good. Accompaniments were delicious. Their specialty was prime rib. But I heard from a number of guests that the meat was stringy and tough. Jacques. Named for Jacques Pepin, this is their French restaurant. This was probably our favorite specialty restaurant. Waiter was very friendly and attentive. Food was excellent. Red Ginger. Their oriental restaurant. Food was very interesting and presentations were fascinating. They offered some wonderful sushi and some specialty teas that were delicious, in addition to their regular menu. Now some general comments. In addition to the lack of intimacy, I noted that the menus in all these specialty restaurants never changed. So if you wanted to go back, you were presented with the same choices you had before. In addition, and this was a criticism of all the food venues - there were no sugar free offerings. Owing to the average age of the passengers, I was very surprised the ship did not offer any sugar free desserts to those passengers with diabetic issues. Yes, there was an entire list of :"No sugar added" desserts and ice creams, but as most of those with diabetic issues know, this is a far cry from sugar free. Ports. The ship visited, Turks and Cacos, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Tortola, St Barts, Punta Cana, and Nassau. For the most part, I need not review each port. I advise everyone to link to the Cruise Critic Board of ports in the Caribbean for a review. But some general comments: 1. Oceania's shore excursions are very expensive. If the cruiser would just do some homework, they'll find local tours that are just as interesting at a much lower price. One passenger told me they paid $129 per person for a "tour" that took them to a beach. For a lot less money they could have retained a taxi just outside the port and done the same thing for a lot less money. 2. Punta Cana was a disaster. We were the first cruise line to visit this port in the Dominican Republic and it showed. We used the tender and were taken by shuttle to a beach (if that's what you'd call it). Little sand, not enough beach chairs and little if any shade. There was one restaurant that the was crowded with the ships's passengers. Unfortunately, the waiters and waitresses could not understand or speak English. So try to order lunch or pay? I finally, took $30 out of my pocket and plunked on the bar and told them this was for our "lunch." 3. We traveled to Atlantis when we arrived in Nassau. Has that place gotten expensive! You can't go anywhere in and around the hotel, save the casino, without paying a day fee of $72 per person. And the casino had no tables with less than a $15 minimum. 4. St. Barts had a wonderful French flair. While the shops were expensive they offered some wonderfully interesting items - far form the typical shlock you get in other ports. We ate lunch at a little bistro on the main street facing the bay. I think the name was La Reserve. Typical French. We had the nerve to ask for our check and the waiter/owner took offense and continued to ignore us. So again, we plunked down our money and left. 5. The other islands were typical. You could rubber stamp the ports. Even San Juan was nothing more than row upon row of souvenir shops. I remember when old San Juan was so charming. Not anymore. Well, there you have it. My opinion of our first experience on an Oceania cruise. We'd certainly go again. In fact, the added ambiance makes it very intoxicating. The excellent food, freebees and attention made for a wonderful trip, save the issues outlined above. Perhaps, Oceania will read this and other reviews and make the changes necessary to give it an excellent rating. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
How much better can it get? This is the 16th cruise on Oceania, having done all their small and medium size ships over the years. we have sailed with them all through the Northern Hemisphere, east and West. We usually do a cruise in ... Read More
How much better can it get? This is the 16th cruise on Oceania, having done all their small and medium size ships over the years. we have sailed with them all through the Northern Hemisphere, east and West. We usually do a cruise in Europe or Asia And a Christmas cruise in the Caribbean. we prefer the eastern Caribbean because the ports are so much more Island like. The Western Caribbean is more central America and needs to be toured in the interior. As for the ship, the Riviera and her sister ship, the Marina have the largest staterooms per similar category than almost all of the luxury cruises available. The decor is exquisite with lots of wood, and art. The food is the best of any ship we have been on and that includes 2 of the major luxury lines. The choice of restaurants is large. a main dining room where you can always get something that is not on the menu. there is a Terrace cafe, buffet style at all meals indoors and outdoors, and a grill on the pool deck. PLUS 4 specialty restaurants that need a reservation ( at least one each restaurant for every passenger and usually a 2nd without a reservation on the same day. Plus, and there is more. A super special intimate dining venue, called the Wine Spectator, where they do 7 course plus 7 wines for a supplement ( 3 menus available on different days). Plus 24 hour service in your stateroom. Several other venues offer coffee, yogurt, muffins and the like at the espresso bar, and observation lounge on the 10th floor.. My wife loves the Canyon ranc spa, for massages and other feminine activities such as facials etc. The gym is spectacular, all glass windows with every machine available with lots of treadmills, bikes, ellipticals and weights galore. They have special fitness glasses several times a day in a large room including spinning bikes.There is a dedicated instructor for all of this. Since Norwegian cruises took over the ownership, the entertainment has vastly improved. The casino good and gets lively most evenings. New years eve , they did a spectacular show on the pool deck with hats, horns, ice sculptures, all sorts of entertainment to welcome in 2017. The internet is OK. I never had a problem getting my email with my iPad in my room. Sadly, it is a bit slower as the ship offers more unlimited WiFi to more passengers in the higher categories. In the internet lounge, lots of computers and faster connections. Lots of bars to quench your thirst. No charges for soft drinks, cappucino etc, including a minibar in the room. Alcoholic beverages have a charge, but very reasonable. Most drinks are under $10. Their excursions off the boat are pricey. in most places, if you want to tour the island, just work off the ship and hail a cab. there are some specialty things to do besides enjoying the scenery. Most islands are beachlovere paradises. My wife and i joined a group and raced on the original America's cup sailboats from the 80' and 90's in Sty Maarten. we also played with the dolphins up close in Nassau. It is an older crowd, but quite active. The ship is not very kid friendly. During the holiday break, we did have a bunch and the ship assigned a "counselor" for them, and they were never in the way of the other guests. Getting on the ship and leaving at the end of the cruise was super fast. All one needs is their passport and a credit card. The captain must feed the staff from the busboy to the cabin steward, nice pills. They all were so friendly and helpful. the ship is clean as a whistle. You can always see boat people washing the walls, swabbing the deck, vacuuming and wiping the banisters down with cleaning cloths. I am booked for next year for the almost identical cruise 9 a few different ports). This si the greatest floating resort hotel.. Read Less
Sail Date December 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 received a email one day before cruise that our boarding would be delayed 1 hour because the ship had experienced the norovirus on the previous cruise and they were going to sanitize the ship. After two days a sea, the ship had 119 ... Read More
We received a email one day before cruise that our boarding would be delayed 1 hour because the ship had experienced the norovirus on the previous cruise and they were going to sanitize the ship. After two days a sea, the ship had 119 passengers and 3 crew members sick. The cruise was scheduled for 10 days but we were informed on the 7th day that the ship would return to Miami for a more extensive sanitizing. During the 8 painful days of cruising: 1. We were subjected to constant sanitizing of all surfaces on the ship including tables, chairs, railing, elevators, elevator buttons. 2. With so many crew members sanitizing, dinning and bar service was terrible. Meals came late and not all people at the table were served at the same time. 3. We had delays at ports due to the port authorities issues with a contaminated ship at their port. 4. With so many people quarantined in their room, you had to show your room key to enter the dinning room. This ship should have never left port. Oceania's response, 25% off the cruise with an additional 25% off the next cruise. We should have received more. Additionally, the staff on the ship was rude and impatience to hear any complaints. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We left England on 20th Feb after an overnight hotel stay at Heathrow, flew to Miami for a stay in the Hilton Hotel which was a restful overnight stop before our cruise the next day. We have travelled on Riviera 2 years ago and had a ... Read More
We left England on 20th Feb after an overnight hotel stay at Heathrow, flew to Miami for a stay in the Hilton Hotel which was a restful overnight stop before our cruise the next day. We have travelled on Riviera 2 years ago and had a super, faultless cruise which is why we decided to book again this February. On the day of embarkation we were looking forward to joining the ship again, and were picked up from our hotel to travel to the port at 12.10 p.m. (a little earlier than 12.30, but where we expected to start embarking at 1.00 p.m.). However, on arrival we were informed that embarkation would not happen until 2.00 p.m. We had received no indication about this delay prior to the cruise, and the reasons behind it, so after eventually joining the ship it was extremely surprising to hear another announcement that we could not join our cabin until 4.00 p.m. So we sat on board with our carry-on bags. Again, at 4.00 p.m. there was a further announcement that access to cabins would still not be ready and we must wait. Just before 5.00 p.m. we were finally given the go ahead to join the cabins. We were relieved after this delay, and expected to start the cruise as normal but on arriving in the corridor accessing our our cabin everybody's luggage was lined up as far as we could see, and guests were trying to find their bags. On entering the cabin, it was not ready and very far from the usual very pleasant state we had previously experienced with Riviera. The bed was made but the cabin was lacking in many things and was quite a shock. As we had expected, we had to go for the usual safety lecture, still unaware of the whereabouts of our luggage, and the ship sailed at 6.00 p.m. After the lecture, we returned to the cabin and eventually found our 2 bags. We felt extremely sorry for the cabin and crew staff who were running around trying to produce the very large amount of luggage, which obviously neglected most of their usual duties. We are not blaming the cabin staff as they were doing two because of this problem. This totally unexpected and chaotic beginning to a fairly expensive holiday came out of the blue for us, and the fact that we were not informed prior to the trip was an extra problem. After querying this the next day with a senior member of staff, I was told that an e-mail was sent to travel agents late on 18th February (this we have not seen), and we do consider that Oceania should have also e-mailed guests directly in addition to contacting travel agents. We are regular cruisers and have travelled with other luxury cruise liners. The only indication we received about the virus problem, which had apparently affected 2 previous Riviera cruises before ours, was when we were actually on board - in the form of five A4 sheets of paper dated 22nd Feb about what to do, to keep on washing our hands, etc. etc. and the nature of Norovirus. Sanitation procedures were ongoing for 5 days with constant wiping of handrails, walls, lifts, tables, etc. and at lunchtime the buffet food area was protected by cling film. We realise that the crew had to do their best to provide the hygiene, but the fact that we were caught up in something that had happened before we arrived was not our fault. There was a note to all guests for a complimentary "happy hour" (cocktail, glass or wine, or beer) in the bars from 6.00-8.00 p.m. on 1st March to thank us for our "co-operation and understanding"! So, after arriving on the ship on Monday 22nd Feb, things were back to normal on Friday, 5 days after the start of a 10-day cruise. Throughout the cruise, we had a lovely cabin stewardess (plus an assistant) who worked very hard, during the first troubled period, and after the difficult event. The food remained very good throughout the cruise, even through the difficult first few days, and we booked four of the excellent A la Carte restaurants. We ate in the Grand Dining Room as well, where the food was also excellent. The only problem there was the system for allocating guests to tables, causing delays in seating. After requesting a table, guests wait in the lounge area and there is a strange system of the waiting staff trying to find the correct guests in the right order! I am sorry to start this review in a negative way but the problems were there, and it is difficult to rate the cruise overall because of the these problems, and I have given 4 points overall. This is because the food and staff service were very good, but it was just the initial disappointment of our arrival and disruption to services during the first 5 days, as well as the lack of prior knowledge. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was a follow on cruise from two previous cruises affected by Noro virus. This was my 15th cruise on a variety of cruise lines but my first on Oceania. We took this cruise on the recommendation of a relative who had previous ... Read More
This was a follow on cruise from two previous cruises affected by Noro virus. This was my 15th cruise on a variety of cruise lines but my first on Oceania. We took this cruise on the recommendation of a relative who had previous experience with Oceania and liked the line a lot. Their recommendation said " while " pricier than others the food is spectacular". Sad to say this was the worst of our 15 cruises and the so called great service does not compare with our trips on Regent, Celebrity and even Holland America. While some reviewers act as apologists for Oceania by claiming "nor virus can happen on any cruise"; there is no doubt that poor handling and communications of the crisis worsened the experience for almost ever objective traveller. To start with the communications were terrible. There was no advance notice from Oceania staff at our hotel who acted as if all was well. Next on arrival at the ship there was a major delay in boarding as the company provided busses to a shopping centre to pass time. When asked what the problem was we were told "there are issues". This was a lame attempt to diffuse the issue in spite of the fact that a letter had been sent to travel agents a few days earlier. Upon boarding there were further delays as the staterooms were not available for hours. When rooms were finally available they were not made up fully, lacked soap, shampoo another items. The room had not been properly vacuumed or cleaned. It was clear that am major undertaking under CDC supervision had taken place to ensure the trip was not cancelled.This ship should not have left port until it was fully scrubbed and cleared instead of doing it on the fly. Clearly a decision that put revenue ahead of customer satisfaction and value fro the price paid. It took four days to get the ship cleaned. It appeared that 15 % if the crew wandered around with disinfectant wiping down anything that did not move. This only made the task of customer service more difficult for the depleted crew members still doing their job. The sticky surfaces on tables, chairs and anything else made it very difficult to even think that the food was great. It took five days before the restrictions were lifted and salt shakers could appear on the tables. Compared to Regent ( Higher price but all inclusive) or Celebrity Aqua class ( priced a lot lower) the food was average to poor and the service average. The crew was clearly stressed and we saw numerous disagreements and testy interchanges amongst crew members. The captain appeared to go AWOL as he was not seen or heard except for the daily noon update and the special dinners with multi trip Oceania Alumni. As an example of how poorly they handled the crisis when the ship had to divert to disembark a passenger with a serious health issue no announcement was made that it had nothing to do with the Noro problem. This led to significant speculation that the ship was in trouble again. While we did not come down with the virus we did experience sickness and stomach issue fro most of the cruise. I suspect it was caused by the chemicals use because as the second day after we left the ship the pains disappeared. The crew tried to do their best under difficult circumstances but there were very few smiles and a lot of complaining. The specialty restaurants were hit and miss. Some were good and others poor. Food was average and service hit and miss. On cruises we usually choose to sit at tables with others so we can meet new people and share experiences. After five days we chose to eat most of our meals alone because we could no longer take the negativity. The cruise line tried to satisfy the anger by holding an open bar for 2 hours as an apology gift. This was far short of what they should have done and needed to do. Most people on board agreed that the cruise ship never should have left the port. A refund of 50% of the value should have been returned to all passengers because this was not the service or the quality people had paid for and expected. The company should appreciate that they have damaged their brand with not only the passengers on board who felt cheated but also with their hundreds of friends to whom the story and experience was shared with upon return. ( For example my email to friends asking how our vacation went had the headline : CRUISE FROM HELL ... WORST VACATION EVER) It is highly unlikely that most new cruisers, or first time cruisers will ever give Oceania another try. Shore excursions were compatible with other lines but somewhat pricier. Some excursions were missed because of stomach issue noted above from the chemicals on the tables. In St parts when my wife bought goods at a local store the sales lady commented : "Oh you are from the sick ship": Clearly she had heard the horror stories as well. The entertainment varied from very good to amateurish. The comedian was truly outstanding and offered a good escape from the terrible experience on the ship. The singer soloist who had appeared in the "love Boat " series many years ago was ver good and a pleasant surprise. The cast of dancers paying tributes to broadway and tribute to the music of was amateurish and singing off key most of the time. In fact I heard a passenger chiding his wife that they should have taken an aisle seat so they could escape. Another passenger was heard to sat he "heard better singing from drunken salarymen in a Japanese Karaoke bar." Needless to say we did not go to their other shows. Disembarkation was confused and hectic. I suspect that was because people could not wait to leave the ship and head home. I found it ironic that passengers paid hefty prices for a vacation cruise that did not meet the promises and or their expectations were anxious to go home and rest. Summary: All in all a terrible experience that left a bad taste. A feeling that profit and revenue took precedence over service and value for the fare paid. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Slightly apprehensive as I was somewhat immobile for this trip.... and we were reliant on what the ship had to offer because we could not do any excursions or even get off the ship unless we were moored up as opposed to having to tender in ... Read More
Slightly apprehensive as I was somewhat immobile for this trip.... and we were reliant on what the ship had to offer because we could not do any excursions or even get off the ship unless we were moored up as opposed to having to tender in by lifeboats. we have cruised with Oceania before and we had high expectations - which were fully met this time. We need not have worried about being restricted to the ship, the enrichment programme was excellent, both lecturers very informative entertaining and quirky. And terrific variety. Both did not use notes and were extremely knowledgable and very friendly. Some lecturers can be knowledgable, others read form notes they have clearly read many times before and other simply cannot perform. The entertainment was interesting, we particularly enjoyed the pickpocket expert and have decided to increase our personal security both at home and when we travel, as a result of what we learned, again in an amusing way. The painting classes however were a disappointment. The artist was pleasant but did not know how to teach and he needed more guidance. I have done painting classes before and again, it is not good enough to be able to do something yourself, you have to be able to explain it to others! Not doing the excursions gave us the unexpected bonus of having the ship pretty much to ourselves when we were in port - blissful! also loved the old fashioned gentleman's library and the adjacent coffee bar and internet room...all very handy..... Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Don't get me wrong we had a good time because we had 11 family members and a gang of friends onboard. We are all Crystal veterans giving Oceania a try because they had a much better Christmas itinerary than Crystal this year. ... Read More
Don't get me wrong we had a good time because we had 11 family members and a gang of friends onboard. We are all Crystal veterans giving Oceania a try because they had a much better Christmas itinerary than Crystal this year. Embarkation was a breeze, debarkation was unbelievably tedious, disorganized and my son missed his 11:00AM flight. We were told by Oceania (I called myself) that no matter how many children were onboard, there would be no programs or babysitters. We considered bringing a nanny, but decided the kids (5 & 8) could stay up some nights and the parents would turn in early some nights. Upon arrival, we were told there would be a kids orientation at 4:30. The kids club (what?) was amazing and getting a babysitter was not a problem. Such a big fuss about no kids, we hate kids, we don't want kids...on Oceania. Guess what...people don't leave their kids home at Christmas! Oceania get over it and say most of the year we don't encourage kids, but at the holidays we understand. Ship and cabins were nice. We had a Penthouse and it had a nice amount of space. Alternative restaurants, especially Jacques were very good. However, the dining room was not good at all. We began referring to it as the Mess Hall. Very inconsistent food and sometimes down right bad service. The first night our dover sole came with sauce on it and bones in it. Crazy! Terrace was great at breakfast and sometimes good at lunch. Waves, the service was ridiculous. Rarely got what we asked for. A glass of wine took forever. We did the prepaid drink package which was $5000 for our group. Very inconvenient having to give your card everytime we ordered a drink. Oceania has to figure out a less intrusive way to manage their drink inventory. Yes, that's what we were told it was for. There was no organized Bridge for my husband. Not happy. The advertised times of port debarkation were cut short at many ports. Leaving sometimes at 4:00 instead of 8:00. St. Barts, for instance. I made hair appt.s in advance throughout the trip. When I got onboard, they had no record of them. Not life threatening, but very inconvenient. The service on the pool deck was poor. No one made eye contact and offered nothing. Yes, if you asked, they got whatever it was for you, but no offers. Water???? We had booked two subsequent trips on Oceania. One for 35 days and another for 18 days. We have canceled both. We realized we are Crystal people. Until Oceania becomes All Inclusive and beefs up their service we're not going back. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Embarkation - This was horrific. At first all was being done orderly with numbers being announced. Mid way through the process this stopped and the announcement was made for everyone to board. The terminal was packed still with people and ... Read More
Embarkation - This was horrific. At first all was being done orderly with numbers being announced. Mid way through the process this stopped and the announcement was made for everyone to board. The terminal was packed still with people and the resulting line was terribly long. Instead of sitting and waiting to board we now were standing and waiting. Some folks got upset that others from the adjacent area were crashing the line. Reality was they were not. What bird brain decided to do this? The staterooms were not ready because on the previous voyage the norovirus struck and the crew was too busy washing down every surface on board. Cabins became available with the top deck first and the lower decks last. The Riviera was late departing Miami until it received clearance from the CDC. Life on Board - The ship is beautiful, elegantly appointed with no overboard obnoxious colors or art. There is no blasting music anywhere, photogs flashing strobes in your faces, nor obnoxious attendants begging you to buy drinks. In fact there are no photogs anywhere to be had. The poolside attendants were discrete and there are pool lounges enough for everyone even on sea days. The stateroom's bathroom is beautifully tiled in marble with a full tub and ultra tiny shower. If you are obese beware you will not be able to use it. Surprisingly, there were more than sufficient clothes hangers in the closet. This was a first for us on any cruise. If you are an early dinner diner you need to know all of the restaurants open at 630 and not before. There is only one show in the excellent theater usually very late. There are almost no columns in the theater to block your view and the seating aisles have sufficient room for you not to have to stand up to let people through. That was a relief. The service in the fine dining restaurants, at no extra charge, is outstanding along with the table set ups. The main dining room is up to the same standard. No reservations are accepted in the main dining room but we never had a problem with a table for 2. If you eat in the buffet this will not disappoint you either except the servers, and everything was served, did not always know what the food items were. The grill in the buffet served steak, shrimp, lobster and fish all made to order - all you can eat. Desserts were typical, they looked great and tasted not as good as they looked. My wife, who loves coffee, was disappointed in what was served but this is a personal opinion. The tables in the buffet were not always available for they had to be sterilized after each use. It took 10 minutes or more for the tables & chairs to dry. They could not be wiped down. Oh, even if the tables were ready it did not mean the chairs were. It was not comfortable sitting down only to realize your bottom was wet. Again, the sanitizing was due to the norovirus. There are no formal nights thank the lord. The 2 deck main staircase is adorned with elegant Lalique glass. At its bottom is an incredible Lalique table and vase. The mirrors in the area are also Lalique. Subtle elegance is the only way to describe this area. The shops on board are very limited in what they carry so make sure you bring everything you need with you. Even if you wanted to buy a gift the selection on board were very limited. If you have a walking issue keep away from cabins in the front of the ship. There are only two elevator banks, mid ship and aft. The elevators were fast and there never was a wait for them. The ship was under quarantine the entire 10 days we were on board. My wife could not handle the odor of the stateroom's sofa from the sterilization process. We were warned about this at boarding. Quarantine meant the self serve laundry facilities were closed and could not be used. The library is well stocked and frankly is like the rest of the ship, beautiful. The IT person we dealt with was outstanding in helping people connect their devices to the ship's internet system. Kudos to him. Disembarkation - It was one of the smoothest we experienced with our 2 pieces of luggage along side each other waiting for us. We assume this was done intentionally and if so it was much appreciated. Overall experience - The Riviera provides a comfortable, relaxing sailing experience. It's not for families with kids, there are no children's programs, nor is it a party animal, rah rah joe college ship (thank goodness). Smoking is extremely limited (another thank goodness). We enjoyed the cruise very much. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We arrive in Miami on 22nd February. Quite painless, considering some of the comments on Miami airport. It was rather a scramble to find our inclusive transfer but we were soon on our way to the Regency Hotel, which was also pre -booked by ... Read More
We arrive in Miami on 22nd February. Quite painless, considering some of the comments on Miami airport. It was rather a scramble to find our inclusive transfer but we were soon on our way to the Regency Hotel, which was also pre -booked by our travel agent. Next day we took the Hotel transfer to Riviera. We arrived earlier that advised but it wasn't a problem. We were soon on board with lunch supplied in the Restaurant, and sat in the sun until the stateroom was ready. We were allowed to bring our duty free drinks to the stateroom which was very nice. We cruised to Nassau in the Bahamas arriving in fog. This soon lifted, but it is a strange eerie sensation to hear the fog horn sounding. Some of the Islands were familiar to us, but as this was meant to be a lazy easygoing break we were quite happy. Enjoyed San Juan, and took the free tram around the town Next day we were in St Bart's. This was a new destination for us and it was beautiful. Fortunately for all the husbands on board, the majority of shops did not open until 4pm. We didn't have the currency as they use the euro on St Barts Saturday in St John Antigua. Just strolled around the town, and did some present buying.Temperature around 29c Sunday in St Lucia. Sailed at 11pm. The meal tonight was not up to the usual standard Monday in St Martin. It was so hot we took a tour with six other guests around the island The French side was very nice and the shops were very attractive. Our driver was great and for $25.00 each it was great value for money , even the unscheduled stop at a nudist beach! Tuesday and Wednesday were sea days and passed so quickly. Thursday we had to leave the stateroom at 8am and that was that. A very relaxing holiday, which we really enjoyed. Our pre arranged transport to the airport was not meant to pick us up until 1pm but there is nowhere to wait at the Port, so we were forced to cancel that and spent the morning on the hop on- hop off bus which, at the end of our trip dropped us off at the airport. This was a much better arrangement. On the whole, I did not think the food was quite as good as the previous two cruises with Oceania. I did enjoy dining in the four alternative restaurants, and attending the cookery demos on sea days. I missed the company of UK travelers as this was a mainly American clientele. We did meet some lovely people, but I like the mixture of people from all walks of life. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
I have sailed 8 times with the Oceania Line because of the itineraries. The service and the food in my opinion has always been superb. The wine and their excursions were overpriced, so we'd take a taxi along with another couple and ... Read More
I have sailed 8 times with the Oceania Line because of the itineraries. The service and the food in my opinion has always been superb. The wine and their excursions were overpriced, so we'd take a taxi along with another couple and see the sights for far less, plus buy wine to take back to our room. My husband and I were looking forward to a wonderful experience for our first time on the very beautiful Riviera. The first night on the ship we had dinner in the Polo Grille where we joined another couple. The food was fine but the other guests were rude to us, making uncalled for comments. I felt that if they didn't want us sitting with them they should have asked to be moved. The second night in the main dinning room, there was another guest who made some remarks to me but he did not appreciate my reply. I'm 100% sure that he complained to a manager and asked to never be seated with us again and the manager complied by notifying all of the staff not to seat us with any of the other guests. When we showed up for dinner at the Red Ginger we were greeted by the hostess who said that the folks who we were supposed to dine with had canceled so we were seated over on the other side of the room by ourselves. The food was very good so we didn't mind. The next time we were discriminated against was dinner at Toscana. My husband was seated ahead of me at a table for six. He had been served water and he had a glass of wine. When I arrived, I headed over to where he was, but was stopped as he was told that he couldn't sit at that table, he was almost yanked up and we were directed to a table for two. It was so obvious and hurtful that the staff would treat us differently because my husband is white but I am not. I explained to management once we'd returned home that I really do not care what the other guests think or how they treat me but I do care how Oceania treats me. It was not a nice experience at all and the reply I got back was how sorry they were and $400 off our next cruise. We will never sail on Riviera again and urge other mixed couples not to bother. We were never treated differently on any of the mid-sized ships. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Our very first cruise was on the Riviera 2 years ago. Everything was wonderful and we decided that this was the line for our cruises. We took 2 more cruises, one being ;on the Oceania's Nautica. Something happened between our first ... Read More
Our very first cruise was on the Riviera 2 years ago. Everything was wonderful and we decided that this was the line for our cruises. We took 2 more cruises, one being ;on the Oceania's Nautica. Something happened between our first cruise and the most recent one. Firstly, it was purchased by Norwegian which may or may not have had nothing to do with the decline in both food and service. In any case, the food, which used to be excellent was no longer so. There were several meals that were actually inedible. The quality of the food in the specialty restaurants and the Terrace Cafe buffet has declined and the same food for lunch was served every day with the exception of the hot dishes. Service was very spotty and more than once, I had to get up and seek out a staff member. Soiled glasses and dishes around the pool were picked up, eventually. Our cabin was very comfortable and kept immaculate. Plenty of storage, comfy beds etc., There was a need for the medical clinic and everyone there was exemplary. All in all, this cruise was a disappointment.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This I a review of our Mayan Mystique cruise on Oceania Riviera that departed Miami on January 14th and returned January 24th. This was my 4th cruise with Oceania. I admit to being a fan but that also makes me extra critical at times. I ... Read More
This I a review of our Mayan Mystique cruise on Oceania Riviera that departed Miami on January 14th and returned January 24th. This was my 4th cruise with Oceania. I admit to being a fan but that also makes me extra critical at times. I have previously cruised on Carnival, Star Clippers and Celebrity. This is a very lengthy review so if you do not want to read through the whole text (and I can understand that) I’ll give a short summary first… Riviera is a beautiful ship, well designed and built with very high quality materials. She has many big ship amenities and mostly succeeds in giving guests a personable small ship feel and service. Every public room and deck is gorgeous and so is the art you find throughout the ship. Walking around the ship is a pleasure. The layout is very similar to the smaller R-Class ships so everything feels familiar. Food is good to excellent and so is most of the service. Excursions and the Spa services are expensive and if you do a little research you can get a much better tour for half the price. Our ‘Penthouse Suite’ was gorgeous and more beautiful and spacious than many 4-star hotel rooms. Our stateroom attendants did their work perfectly fine, but either where either very economical with replenishing bath products or forgot to replace them on a regular basis. Our butler was very friendly but we barely used his services. The butler can be a nice perk but not for us. We are among the youngest guests on board and can pack, unpack and manage extra reservations and appointments ourselves. Guests in ‘Penthouse Suites’ get one reservation in each specialty restaurant just like the rest of the guests in other staterooms. It would really be a nice perk if ‘Penthouse Suite guests’ could get two reservations like those in ‘Oceania’, ‘Vista’ and ‘Owner Suites’. Although the design of the ship is very well executed there is a flaw. The pool deck and the outside deck of the ‘Terrace Café’ should have been larger. These areas can get really crowded on many occasions (breakfast, sea days et cetera) and those spaces then feel less luxurious than they could and should. This is partly because of the tables and chairs that are big, heavy (naturally when placed on a ship) and placed to close together. We loved the 4 specialty restaurants. The French themed restaurant ‘Jacques’ serves rich comfort food. It’s the type of food you always hope to find in a bistro in France, but almost never seem to get. The room is beautifully decorated and you feel like being in the countryside in France. ‘Toscana’ is the Italian restaurant and serves very taste dishes. Good to know that you can order almost everything on the menu in smaller portions. Great if you like to taste multiple items on the menu. I can highly recommend the artichoke and truffle starter and the freshly made pasta’s. Also the veal chop is very good. As a dessert the Tiramisu is a real treat. ‘Red Ginger’ is Asian themed and has a very attractive menu. The watermelon and duck salad is a special you should try. They have a very tasty lobster pad thai. If you like Asian you can’t go wrong in this restaurant although they keep the spices very limited and that makes some dishes less authentic in taste. ‘Polo Grill’ is a great seaworthy version of an upscale American steakhouse. You will find quality meats and seafood that are cooked to order and done exactly as requested. We liked this restaurant but the entrée portions are gigantic and would be even more enjoyable if done a little smaller. We prefer not to leave the table feeling like we will explode any minute. Also if you like meat you can also order steaks in all dining venues aboard. I hope they will update this restaurant menu a little to make this beautiful restaurant stand out just a bit more. The main dining room is one of the most stunning places on the ship. It’s bright and with high ceilings and warm hues of gold and soft whites a very nice place to have dinner. The room’s most iconic feature is the grand chandelier. From a distance it’s spectacular but the LED lighting within the chandelier makes sitting directly under it less romantic than it could be. The light emitted by the chandelier is so white that a plastic surgeon could perform his duties from the tables that are located in the center of the room. The food in the ‘Grand Dining Room’ is very good and the service is equally good. I would recommend Oceania for everybody who likes good food, art and an upscale setting that never feels stiff or rigid. Not packing a tux makes it even more attractive. It is a cruise line that attracts the more mature travellers and motorized scooters en wheelchairs are a familiar sight. There is nothing wrong with that but personally I would love if Oceania would spice up some aspects of their product so that the little less mature guests onboard also feel right at home. Not playing classical music and theatrical and movie themes performed on the pan flute around the pool 24/7 would be a nice start. Some menus in the specialty restaurants could also use a small rejuvenation without scaring away the loyal guests. The Internet is very slow and also very expensive ($27 per day) and that’s a wicked combo for people who use modern things like those nasty portable computers, smartphones and iPads. During our trip we noticed many crewmembers that looked or acted worn-out and many even told us that the had been working so hard that they were simply exhausted. I hope Oceania’s management can do something positive for them because the crew really makes the difference. As I said we love Oceania but also see points where O can improve their product. All in all Oceania is our preferred cruise line and we can’t wait to be back on board again. This was the ‘short review’ and for those who would like to know the day-by-day experiences from a 30 something couple please continue reading. Pre-Cruise Anglers Hotel, Miami Beach. We arrived in Miami 4 days before our cruise to get in to the vacation spirit. We choose the Angles Hotel and that was a good choice. What a great little big hotel in the center of South Beach. We enjoyed our stay in this boutique hotel tremendously. The staff was great! We had a small glitch with our reservation the first night, but that was more than made up for the next day. We loved the beautiful room, spacious bathrooms (yes we had two), patio and the wonderful jacuzzi. It was like having our own two-story luxury apartment in Miami. Breakfast was also very good. We can recommend the very rich Challah French Toast with vanilla sauce. The hotel got us a nice cab for a great rate to get us to the port of Miami. Cruise Day 1 We arrived all excited at the Port of Miami at around 11:30 and check-in could not have been easier. Our luggage was whisked away by the friendly porters and after filling out the health questionnaire and a few other formalities we walked straight on to the ship. This was all done in les than 15 minutes. I have sailed on Oceania 3 times before and on this ship ‘Riviera’ 2 years ago when she was almost brand new. This was my girlfriend’s first cruise and she was a little anxious to try a cruise. The ship is beautiful and still in great shape. It maybe was a little less sparkly than 2 years ago, but that’s understandable. The carpeting has some stains and is fading on a few spots, and there is noticeable wear and tear on the furnishings. Nothing bad but visible non the less. The thing that struck me was that part of the staff didn’t seem as welcoming as on previous trips. It’s not that they weren’t friendly, but we got the impression that many of them were fatigued. Normally everybody you see greets you with a smile, but this time around that was not the case. Luckily we were so excited that we didn’t mind. We had lunch on deck at the Terrace Cafe and it was as good as I remembered. An enormous selection of delicacies beautifully presented. I still think they have to little space with to many (big) tables packed to close together. For a luxury cruise ship carrying up to 1250 guests this area is just to small. Should Oceania/NCL ever decide to build a new O-class ship this space should be expanded! After lunch we were told that our staterooms were ready. Our luggage was already waiting for us. My girlfriend loved our Penthouse Suite. The layout is very good with a large walk-in closet, good-sized bathroom with lovely bathtub (that we used a lot) and even a separate shower. The bed is exceptionally comfortable with superb soft linens and good firm pillows. You also have a small sitting area, a writing desk that holds a complementary laptop and a balcony with nice furnishings consisting of two reclining lounge chairs and a small table. Dining on your balcony isn’t possible but enjoying a drink and watching the sun set is! The only design mistake is the location of the faucets on the bathtub. They are located behind a glass shower partition and difficult to reach when you are not sitting in the tub. So when you want to fill up the bath you need to be a little athletic. We did some unpacking until the safety drill started. We went to our assigned ‘Muster Station B’ that was located in Martinis and listened to the cruise director and crewmembers explaining what to do in the event of and emergency, the strict smoking policy et cetera. Again we noticed staff here that seemed unhappy. A flamboyant crewmember suddenly snapped at my girlfriend for having opened up her life vest a little. The thing was she didn’t do that herself, it was done by another crew member who was doing the same for other passengers, since the drill was almost over and people were getting hot sitting and standing (like us so that older people could sit) with their vests on tight for quite some time. He was really rude to her while she did nothing wrong. After the drill I showed my girlfriend around the ship. She was amazed and the art and public rooms impressed her. I was feeling very good about my decision to beg her to take a cruise with me! During the so called ‘sail away party’ on deck we ordered two glasses of sparkling wine and the server asked us why we didn’t order a bottle since that was so much cheaper. I explained that we already had a bottle of champagne waiting for us in the suite and just wanted to enjoy two glasses now while sailing out of Miami. Than a second crewmember came to us and said that it was really stupid (yes, stupid) of us not to order a bottle. After these very thoughtful comments we just gazed at the stunning scenery as the ship left Miami. We went to the spa deck at the front of the ship and got in to the jacuzzi pool. There were only a couple of people and that made the experience even more magical. After it got dark and a little cold we went back to our stateroom to finish unpacking and to get ready for our first dinner on board. The butler introduced himself and was very friendly. He didn’t seem to know that I already had done 4 cruises with Oceania and explained everything about his services, the ship and the stateroom to me. We had a reservation at Toscana and got a beautiful table there. I was very pleased to see the menu I have come to love so much hadn’t changed a lot. The only thing that was different wat the ‘Aragosta Fra Diavolo con Tagliolini‘. The Maine lobster had been changed to a lobster tail. (I know, I know first world problems) The food was very good, but maybe a little less well presented than before and the sauce of my ‘Linguine Choppino’ was nice but a little les refined than I remembered; still an excellent meal with great service by our well-informed Italian waiter. After dinner we walked around the deck and spent some time on our balcony watching the stars and letting in the fresh sea air. Before our cruise my girlfriend was worried about maybe getting seasick but with calm seas she felt great. We had a good night sleep in the best bed at sea. Day 2 at sea We woke up at sunrise and sat on our balcony and watched as the sun and world came to life. I got us both a cup of tea (and some tasty pastries) from the ‘Executive Lounge’ and afterwards we had a leisurely breakfast outside at the crowded ‘Terrace Café’. We went back to our cabin with a small stop at ‘Barista’s’ for a real strong Italian espresso and after that enjoyed the sunbeds at the pool. What a great way to start the day. I had some work to do and a real point of criticism concerns the Internet on board. At a whopping $27 dollars per day a decent connection is expected (as on other ships for far less). The internet on ‘Riviera’ was painfully slow and especially switching between devices like a laptop or different smartphones causes troubles. You have to logout with device 1 and login with device 2. This sounds simple but it isn’t… The system is slow and doesn’t notice when a device is logged out, even when you go to the special website for that and/or switch off your connection, you have to try and connect with the other device multiple times to get online again and even then you get error messages, loading screens that take forever to load and sometimes you have to repeat the whole process again and again or are thrown from the internet all together. Also each time you try to login you have to fill in if your are a new user or returning user, last name, first name, stateroom number and password. Very frustrating when you have to do it over and over again and than have a connection speed that is best described as a dial-up. At those prices please just let multiple devices use the same account at the same time. What I also noticed was that on our previous cruise the bottled water was all from premium brands like Evian, San Pellegrino and Perrier. This time we got bottles from let’s say ‘lesser-known brands’ that unfortunately had a different taste. Lunch at the ‘Terrace Café’ was again very good with attractive salads, meat, fish, fruit, flavorful Italian bruschetta and French bouillabaisse. Everything tasted fresh and was well prepared. Before and after lunch the pool area was packed with people. There weren’t enough chaises and sunbeds for all the people on this sunny day at sea. As soon as someone left their sunbed to go in to the pool, grab an ice cream or eat lunch a card was placed on the bed by the pool stewards telling them that items left unattended for 30 minutes would be removed. Although I totally understand that its very frustrating when people ‘reserve seats’ or leave their beds for an extended period of time it felt patronizing to us when we went to get a quick scoop of ice-cream and came back within a few minutes to find a card already placed on the beds warning us our stuff would be removed shortly. That evening was the ‘Captains Welcome Party’ with free booze for everyone. The bars were full of people talking to each other and having a good time. You could order every cocktail or drink you liked. Fantastic! We had dinner outside at the ‘Terrace Café’ and that was lovely as well. We had lamb chops, grilled shrimp, sushi, sashimi, salad, and excellent chocolate cake. Should I go on about all the delicious dishes? After dinner we went up to ‘Horizons’ to find it totally empty. We went back to the pool deck and had a drink there under the stars. A very nice way to end a beautiful day! When we arrived back in our stateroom the disembarkation forms were already waiting for us on the bed to be filled out a.s.a.p. Since this was a 10-day cruise I think day 2 is a little early for this. I try not to think about the end of my vacation when I just got to the ship. Day 3 Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands The ship anchored in front of the town of Grand Cayman. In the distance we observed three ‘Fun Ship’ funnels and that felt a little like a bad omen, but the weather was fantastic again with blue skies and a very slight breeze. After breakfast we got our tender tickets and got on the tender within in a couple of minutes. Naturally we had to wait for the tender to fill up with other guest and that took longer than anticipated and was somewhat of a challenge with the sun slowly roasting us in the boat. Grand Cayman itself is pretty much a tourist trap with jewelry stores selling every imaginable luxury brand ‘tax free’. A tip for fellow guests; do your research before buying since the so called ‘tax free’ or ‘special sale’ prices are still on the very high side. I checked the price of a watch I got couple if months earlier and the price in this ‘tax free heaven’ was significantly higher. We walked around the town, had a drink at a nice seaside café that was a little farther from the port but didn’t go to Stingray City, the world famous Turtle Farm or de Rumcake factory. We decided to return to the ship en had lunch on deck. The ship was almost empty and we had a great spot with a nice breeze and again fabulously prepared food with fresh humus, pita bread, Greek salad, succulent spare-ribs and so much more. We spent a few hours on the spa deck and experienced sailing away to our next stop from the jacuzzi. Next up was our reservation in ‘Polo Grill’ Most people comment that this restaurant is their favorite and I understand. They have delicious lobster bisque, shrimp cocktail, Kobe beef sliders, Maine lobster, big cuts of quality meat like prime-rib and sides as lobster mac & cheese, creamed spinach and green beans with almonds and garlic mashed potatoes. Everything was wonderful, good service and we drank the complementary bottle of champagne from our stateroom. Portions are big, maybe to big for us. It would be nice to order smaller cuts of meat. After dinner we decided to go down to the ‘Riviera Lounge’ to see a show. I wasn’t expecting much but our cruise director Nolan Dean put up a very good and funny show. We loved his humor and had great night. When we retired for the evening our room mas made up again, with small chocolates on the pillows and again a letter on the bed. This time it was not about debarkation but concerning our ESTA’s. It asked of us to head down to reception that same night with these documents so they could be inspected. It must be possible to give people a little more time for this (like the next morning instead of now?) or have this done as part of the embarkation process. We did what was asked and afterwards slept like babies, while the ship slowly rocked its way to Cozumel. Day 4 – Cozumel, Mexico We woke up early in the morning and went out on our balcony. There was some wind and rain. Now we felt like we were really sailing. My girlfriend still didn’t feel seasick so we got dressed and went for breakfast. Our timing matched that of almost all the other guests onboard; it was packed. We went out on the terrace to see that they partly cleared the deck and removed the cushions from the seats due to the rain. The cushions were stacked up near the entrance and blocked part of the already very small pathways in and out of the buffet area. We still had luck and found a nice table and got the best French toast ever and also fruit, almond croissants and a soft-boiled egg with salt. I’m almost sure that I’m not loosing weight this trip (again). In Cozumel we rented a Jeep that hadn’t seen a workshop or maintenance in the last 10 years, but it was fun to drive around the beaches and feel all adventurous. When it started to rain heavenly we returned to the ship. The ship was docked in an area with lots of jewelry shops and famous painters presenting their artwork involving cruise ships, Mayan ruins and car brands like BMW and Mercedes. They also had a few pieces that combined the car brands, Mayan structures and cruise ships in to one big work of art! It was all very tempting, but we decided not to buy. Back on the ship my girlfriend noticed that I forgot to place our form for ‘the evening canapés’ (a nice suite perk) in the holder outside the room. I called our friendly butler, who got her favorite chocolate covered strawberries right away. That evening we decided to give ‘The Main Dining Room’ a try. I’m happy to report that food and service were again very good. We had delicious carpaccio of tomato with mozzarella cream, crab cakes, the best tasting Caesar salad ever (stronger than the regular version onboard) and angel hair pasta with fresh tomato sauce, prime rib (that was as good or maybe even better than the one in Polo Grill) and a side of French fries. Everything tasted superb. After dinner we enjoyed our balcony with a glass of sparkling wine. Day 5 Belize City, Belize I woke up early in the morning and while my girlfriend was sleeping I continued reading a book from the huge collection from the library. We had our beloved breakfast on deck and decided to stay on the ship and relax by the pool since the weather was rainy and grey. We went up to Barista’s for a strong cappuccino and a delicious canelé pastry. I walked past the computer room and noticed that the gentleman in charge of ICT was there. I complained about the agonizing slowness of their system, the problems that occur when switching devices and the endless loading screens and waiting times for even the simplest websites. He assured me that this was the fastest Internet on any cruise liner he had worked on (his last position must have been on the White Star Line) and that their system was running perfectly fine. Of course we had been the only ones to complain about this… We had a very relaxing day at the deserted pool. It felt like we had the ship to ourselves. What a great way to unwind; just take a small nap and go for swim once in a while. If Oceania ever wants to attract a slightly younger demographic I would suggest not playing instrumental versions of musicals and movie themes every day on the entire voyage around the pool area. I love classical music but also would like some more modern, up and happy tunes at the pool. I do understand this is a matter of personal taste and when the ship sets sail there is band playing. Back in our stateroom our butler had my girlfriends favorite chocolate dipped strawberries waiting for her and some fruit skewers for me. In the evening we had our reservation in ‘Jacques’ the French restaurant named after celebrity chef Jacques Pepin. This restaurant has a very nice French looking décor and everyone from the staff greeted with a typically French ‘bonsoir’ pronounced in various and some very interesting ways. The temperature in the room was also very Côte d'Azur, in summer, without air-conditioning. We did have a lovely dinner with great service from our servers that also could perform as a comedy duo. We had goat cheese soufflé, onion soup, pumpkin soup, rotisserie chicken and pork chops accompanied by mashed potatoes and cauliflower with cheese from the oven. In short not a very low-calorie meal but it was delicious. We didn’t have any desserts but everything looked very good. We didn’t go to the show in the lounge but did spend time walking around on deck before heading back to our stateroom Day 6 – Santo Tomas de Castillia, Guatemala We arrived early at the port of Santo Thomas de Castillia in Guatemala under partly cloudy skies. It’s a busy industrial port with lots of cargo that’s loaded on and from ships. After our breakfast that included French toast (of course), sausages and soft-boiled eggs we decided to walk around the port area. There was a market with ‘original’ pieces of art, jewelry and clothing. There was a local group of dancers and musicians playing. Many passengers seemed to enjoy it. We decided to take a taxi to see a little bit more of the country. We had a very friendly driver, who spoke Spanish fluently and enthusiastically, but unfortunately we didn’t and so we made it work with a few words of English, Spanish, French and our hands and feet. He drove us around for 4 hours to various spots and along the Dulce River. It is really a country in development and it was a very interesting port, without many tourists and still fairly unspoiled. After our private tour we went back to the ship and had a very lazy afternoon. We had dinner in the ‘Main Dining Room’ and that was again good with grilled scallops, lobster and Dover sole. We had to look hard for a sommelier to order a drink and later to give our stateroom card for the charge. We waited for more than 20 minutes both times before our waiter finally found the sommelier. We left and enjoyed a cup of tea on deck at the terrace café before turning back to our stateroom. Day 7 Roatán, Honduras I visited Roatán a couple of years ago, when sailing on Celebrity Silhouette and back than it was a less visited port with not many tourists flocking the island. Today we noticed a ‘Fun Ship’ docked at the new pier and the ‘remarkably’ painted hull of NCL’s ‘Norwegian Sun’ docked at the older pier. The port felt like a mad house with taxi drivers, tour guides and other merchants shouting for attention. We got into a taxi and got a nice tour of the Island. Our driver took us to, according to him, a very secluded beach with only locals. On route he bumped in to another car, but he didn’t seem to mind. We walked up to the beach and noticed many hundreds of very non-local appearing guests packed together on a very small beach. We left after a few minutes and our driver happily showed us the rest of the island. It really is a very attractive island that still has a well-preserved Caribbean feeling to it. After returning to the ship we spent time around the now very busy pool. While writing this review, I also want to point out that the artwork throughout the ship is stunning (not the ones for sale by the ‘Artist in Residence’ that has his Venetian inspired pieces on display (for sale) and his infomercial that has been recorded on ‘Celebrity Cruises’ on a dedicated channel running in all staterooms). Also the attention to detail that went in to designing the public areas is very impressive, even the restrooms are noteworthy. Everything looks and feels luxurious. That evening we got to enjoy our second reservation in Toscana thanks to our butler. Great staff and fantastic food once again! We had artichokes with black truffle cream sauce, carpaccio di manzo, linguine with Maine lobster (yeah!), sautéed spinach and tiramisu. Everything was great. While the ship slowly sailed for Costa Maya we later sat on deck and were thankful for such a great experience. Day 8 Costa Maya We woke up early in the morning while the port of Costa Maya came into sight. It wasn’t hard to distinguish that a Princess Cruises ship was already there and a big RCL ship was in the process of docking. You know the moment you see a red tourist train on wheels making ‘train noises’ and carrying loads of people from and to the ships that you have arrived at a busy spot. We had a berth next to the RCL ship and looked at the people flocking the dock. It didn’t look promising. We had breakfast on deck and then proceeded to the gangway to check if we were wrong and that Costa Maya maybe was much nicer than we thought. We didn’t take the red train, did not get a pictures with ‘indigenous people’ wearing very ‘native clothing’. We walked in to the port area that had a striking resemblance with an amusement park that had seen better days. At every step vendors, tour guides and shop owners try to lure… no better shout you in to their shop or sell you a tour. It just wasn’t for us, but other people were very impressed by the ‘authentic’ architecture around the dock. We stood still at the dolphin pool that had barely living dolphins swimming in a water basin smaller than our ships pool, waiting for tourists to hug them to death just a little further. I’m no fan of keeping these beautiful creatures confined and in captivity for the pleasure of well-fed tourists. Since we loved the ‘Riviera’ itself so much we decided to head back and get a chaise by the pool and continue reading and catch up with work. We had a lovely and very lazy afternoon (again). We sailed at 6:00 pm and had the private sun deck at the front of the ship almost to ourselves. As the ship sailed towards Key West we got a little sad because our cruise would soon come to an end. We had dinner at the ‘Terrace Café’. We went in early and spend several hours there getting little bites from the buffet and relaxing outside with just a few other guests that liked the warm Caribbean air. Food and service again were wonderful. We had Pinot Grigio, Chianti and of course to much of all the dishes on offer. The cheesecake was especially tasty. To finish our day we both had a cocktail in the bar. Day 9 At Sea Calm seas and sun greeted us when we woke up. We stood out on the balcony and took in the view. There is nothing like being on open sea, with nothing but water surrounding you. Breakfast was busy but very nice as always. Since our cruise was nearing its end, we decided to just sit at the pool get some extra sun and read a book. The weather back home didn’t sound very promising so this was our last opportunity. It was a gorgeous day. We also had a good time on the spa deck and had a leisurely lunch at the ‘Terrace Café’. I finally sampled the ice cream that had been flirting with me the entire voyage. I wasn’t overly impressed but maybe because we have a very good Italian gelato shop a few blocks behind our home. Since I didn’t get any slimmer on this fit for foodies cruise I wasn’t saddened by the unimpressive ice cream. Dinner was in ‘The Main Dining Room’. We had a lovely meal but getting the attention of our sommelier proved to be difficult once again. When we finally got our glass of wine the first course had already been consumed. At the end of the meal the sommelier had disappeared completely. We had to ask someone else for the ‘wine check’. Instead of ordering a dessert in ‘The Main Dining Room’ we went op to the Terrace Café and found a nice table outside under the stars. The sweet Socrates from India provided us with green tea, while we got a few small pastries from the buffet. What a treat! Day 10 Key West Key West was on my bucket list for years since my family members know it very well and can’t stop talking about it. The ship was docked a few minutes walking from all the fun. When arriving in Key West you have to go through immigration. This is so much better than having to do that in Miami. It was well arranged and we loved it. We were excited about this port so decided to have an early breakfast and than had out to explore. Our butler came to the room to ask if we wanted him to place our suitcases on the bed. We told him that wasn’t necessary since we still had 24 hours before disembarking and were perfectly capable of grabbing our two empty suitcases ourselves. When we returned after breakfast our suitcases had been placed on the bed. We placed them back in the walk-in closet and left the ship to see our last port of call. I really liked Key West but it felt a little like walking in to Disney’s Main Street. We noticed more tourist trains on stand-by than tourists taking them. We walked around quite a bit and found many lovely spots, homes and shops. I also explored a museum near the port that had a fascinating exposition about pirates and slave ships. Of course I didn’t leave Key West without sampling a few Key Lime Pie items like the ice cream (very nice) and some cookies (a little less nice). While the ship slowly sailed to Miami we had our last experience in the pool on the spa deck. We were sad that our vacation was almost over. Dinner was at the Terrace Café and very good. We tried to maximize our last evening and walked around to enjoy our last hours on the ship. We returned to our cabin, packed our bags and placed them in the hallway. We slept like babies and floated the idea to try and fit the entire Oceania bed in to our hand luggage. It was a little to big. ;-) Day 11 Miami Our last morning on the ship had arrived. Oceania does a pretty descent job here. Every cruise line wants it’s guests to leave the ship as soon as possible to prepare for the new guests who arrive just a couple of hours later. Still we didn’t feel really rushed. We had our normal breakfast and then got the announcement that our group number was called to disembark. When we went down to deck 6 it was chaotic and there was a long line of people waiting to get out. But to soon we had to swipe our ‘Oceania World Card’ one last time at 08:45. We had a great cruise and hope to sail Oceania again in the very near future.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Ok I got your attention. First of all, no matter what cruise you are going on out of in Miami, at the airport it is like 50 steps from baggage claim to the taxi stand, for a $24 taxi ride(+tip) to the cruise port. Maybe 20 min ride at max. ... Read More
Ok I got your attention. First of all, no matter what cruise you are going on out of in Miami, at the airport it is like 50 steps from baggage claim to the taxi stand, for a $24 taxi ride(+tip) to the cruise port. Maybe 20 min ride at max. DON'T pay cruise line prices for a transfer! LOT's cabs. Check in was very quick, less than 10 min, except for the fill out the form that says you weren't sick, yeah right, I just dropped several grand and I am going to tell you I'm sick. Walked on board, room wasn't ready, no Mimosas, no pictures(a good thing), find your way around. Not a good first impression. Met some friends at the Waves. Waited 3 hours to get to our cabin. They are well appointed but smallish, with tub and shower. Actually you can take a shower in the tub too. Bath was darkish, but bed was excellent. Very small storage space, TV was very limited and with prime NFL season, no football!  Sail away, and the waiter brought watered down, melted drinks and ask if we wanted one. Not very many people on deck and we said sure, then "can I have your key card", just dropped $24. on drinks, I thought they were free. Let's talk about drinks, beer $5.50+18% tip, mixed drinks $10-$12+18%, don't even talk about overpriced wine. We did bring 3 bottles on board. With 8 of us, within 24 hours we said we would never go on Oceania again. Went to the main dining room, hope you are not in a hurry, it takes a good 2 hours for a meal. At the table we had at the back of the dining room, major vibration from the prop/engines. Never had that before. Overall passengers were over 70, lot's of walkers and scooters. If you are looking for entertainment, this is NOT the cruise for you. Band played on the pool deck from 12-12:45 while everyone was eating! Played a lot of sappy 70's music. If you are expecting Taylor Swift, Pit Bull, Katy Perry, over even a some 60's music, forget it. Typical Filipino band. No other entertainment by the pool. Pool layout for entertainment is not good anyway. Shore excursions: Most were good but far overpriced. We went to ports that most ships do not go to and I see why. Many of these ports have fantastic potential, but the politicians have screwed everything up. Not much to do on the ship during our 4 sea days. Good lectures about the islands, excellent food preparation courses(but pricey), and really overall very good food in all of the restaurants. The gym is excellent with a lot of underused equipment. Overall, the ship is a little dark and confining, but every one of the specialty restaurants are excellent. It was nice to have a laundry on each floor. It is a $2 token for each wash/dry(very nice laundry room). The entertainment was marginal at best and are very late starting (9:45). This is not an excitement cruise, lot's of old people, high prices, nice accommodations (but not any better than Celebrity for example). We had "concierge" level and that was worthless. If you want a quiet cruise, no hassles, fairly good staff, no excitement, relax, and be bored, this is the ship for you! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our 8th trip with Oceania. For the first time we found that the gourmet meals in the specialty restaurants and Main Dining room were less appetizing than on the earlier cruises. The company has under gone new management having ... Read More
This was our 8th trip with Oceania. For the first time we found that the gourmet meals in the specialty restaurants and Main Dining room were less appetizing than on the earlier cruises. The company has under gone new management having been acquired by NCL. This may account for the lowering of standards for the company. Compared to other cruises we have taken (29 to date) we are aware that Oceania cabins are smaller than those of Holland American, Celebrity and Princess. Because the ship was at capacity with passengers, we noted a drop in room service this time. We had to call on several occasions for ice service as well getting our current events publication which is a daily service for all cabins. The cabin workers are hard working, but with the higher demand for attending more staterooms, the services were often lacking. The entertainment was okay with Nolan Dean the cruise director being absolutely great. The ship has unique art work and decor which one can like and dislike according to one's taste. We will most likely not sail with Oceania again, as it has taken a turn towards being mediocre among the 5 Star Rating it use to hold. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My wife and I have cruised 20+ times with a variety of lines - most recently Silversea, Regent and Cunard QG. We have just returned from a 10day Eastern Caribbean cruise on Riviera - our first time on Oceania. We had one night pre-cruise ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 20+ times with a variety of lines - most recently Silversea, Regent and Cunard QG. We have just returned from a 10day Eastern Caribbean cruise on Riviera - our first time on Oceania. We had one night pre-cruise in the JW Marriott hotel in Miami and transfers arranged by Oceania. These all worked out very well and embarkation was very quick. Our Penthouse suite was spick and span and a chilled bottle of champagne was waiting. First impression was that the balcony was on the small side but this may have been due to our location - next to stern on Deck9.The ship is less than two years old and was immaculate. We did notice the lack of a wrap round promenade deck so if you wanted to walk on board, it was rather restricted. Like many other cruisers, I imagine, we were attracted by the write ups on the food on board. We tried all the restaurants and, on the whole, were impressed. Our favourites were Red Ginger and Jacques and the special meal we enjoyed in La Reserve was the highlight. The MDR was disappointing on two of the three occasions we went there, while Polo was good it was not up to the standard of a good steakhouse at home. Obviously, food is very subjective but we were rather disappointed on the two occasions we dined at Toscana. The Terrace kept up a very high standard for a self service eatery and the hamburgers and milk shakes at Waves were excellent. A special mention for Barrista - also excellent. We had four sea days and found it strange that there were virtually no lecturers. Also on sea days we found it extremely difficult to find two sun loungers together, either on the pool deck or on the Spa terrace. It was obvious that there was a lot of bed "hogging" taking place. This is a difficult one for the staff on any ship. There seemed to be a lot of wasted space round the pool, which, surprisingly to us, was a uniform depth - no deep/shallow end! We had purchased the drinks package which probably meant we drank too much. Ah Well! We did not do any ships tours as they were grossly overpriced. We thought that the entertainment was good - especially the singers and dancers. The ships officers were conspicuous by their absence (apart from stage appearances) and we could have lived very happily without the services of our butler. Disembarkation was well organised and we were back in the JW Marriott for a three day post cruise stay by 9.30am - and our Bayview room on Floor 32 was ready! Would we cruise with Oceania again? Possibly, if the price/itinerary were right but I suspect we will more likely return to Silversea or Queens Grill on Cunard.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This was our second cruise on the Riviera,the first one being the Western Carribean in January 2013. We were on deck 8 before but decided that deck 7 was just as nice and not as expensive. Service was the usual "Oceania ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Riviera,the first one being the Western Carribean in January 2013. We were on deck 8 before but decided that deck 7 was just as nice and not as expensive. Service was the usual "Oceania Standard' with a few minor exceptions. Our cabin attendant Gana and her assistant John were top notch and thoroughly cleaned our cabin twice a day-including the nightly turndown. Embarakation was a simple10 minute affair in Miami with a nice liesurly lunch at the buffet and a short 3/4 hr.wait until our rooms were ready. Luggage arrival was longer than last year and was not completed till after the Muster drill. I was impressed with the way the staff went out of their way to accomodate special requests. I had brought the sheet music for my wife's favorite song with us and The string Quartet rehearsed it and played it several times in the Grand Bar. The head Coincierge Adrienn Parej arranged for flowers to be brought on board in St. Maarten and delivered to our room for my wife's birthday which is also our anniversary. To say the least my wife was speechless and very appreciative. We looked at this cruise as a way to relax as the Carribean is very similar no where you go.We aren't water sports activists so small town exploring and relaxing and reading was fine with us. We didn't purchase the phone/wifi package on purpose.Folks know how to reach you if they need to. It was annoying being at a nice dinner at Toscana with a cell phone going off at the next table. We enjoyed the two cooking clases which we took on board and would highly recommend them[Hint-don't schedule a class that ends before you go to dinner as you get to eat alot in the class]. The food was generally very good and in particularly exceptional in Jacques,Toscana and the Polo Grill. Terrace Cafe has great Sushi and will try to accomodate you in any way they can. The entertainment,shows, concerts and jazz groups were professional quality and you can stay up as late as you want dancing and listening to music in Horizons. There are probably cruises for less but we enjoy the Oceania experience, the more mature guest demographic, the all inclusive pricing and juding by thier occupancy rates so do a lot of other folks. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
First I must preface this by stating two facts: first, we own a business and have traveled all over the world, staying in top resorts and hotels. Secondly, we have been cruising for over 20 years. These facts are stated not to brag, just ... Read More
First I must preface this by stating two facts: first, we own a business and have traveled all over the world, staying in top resorts and hotels. Secondly, we have been cruising for over 20 years. These facts are stated not to brag, just as a frame of reference when reviewing this ship. Travel agents do not seem to always be the best frame of reference, particularly within the cruise industry, since they are limited often to the only the world of cruising and aren't always in tune with the world of travelers at large. This ten day cruise with Oceania was selected because of their reputation for fine food and also for the itinerary which had 8 days in ports and only two days at sea. The ports included St. Barts, which is a favorite. First of all, the food. In a word: superb. When one considers the number of people who are served and the options available, Oceania, hands down, tops the food in the cruise industry when it comes to service, presentation and taste. They flawlessly deliver this experience with variety and something to please every palate. Lobster: both Florida and Maine, Foie Gras, Sushi, French bread and pastries made with French flour (interestingly, any gluten sensitivity was not an issue), fresh fruits and vegetables. The specialty restaurants were also very special with no up charge. How refreshing. The Captain's happy hour was exceptional as it included snacks and any drink you would like. The low key atmosphere was refreshing after having been on Royal's Allure of the Seas the month before with its non stop sensory overload. Music was never over the top, always pleasant and soothing or in touch with the occasion, i.e., sail away. Passengers with disabilities were graciously assisted. The two children on board were treated well, although it obviously was NOT a children's cruise. Our concierge class cabin was well appointed with a very large marble bathroom (tub and rainfall shower). Bvlgari toiletries/soaps, ample towels, great lighting. The concierge club was a bit of a waste. If it had included alcoholic beverages it may have been worth the extra price of the cabin. The cashmere lap robe and logo zip top tote, full size toiletries and lounge did not make it worth it. On the other hand, the bed was the most comfortable we've ever slept in on a cruise ship (and even most hotels). Our cabin attendants were thorough, unobtrusive and unfailingly friendly. So what was the problem? Due to the noise that our balcony door made while cruising, we never once slept through one night of the ten nights of the cruise. (It was a knocking noise similar to the constant drip drop of a leaky roof). After the second night, we complained to our concierge. She was lovely, really, but other than making followup phone calls to see if things had gotten better, and offering a cabin one deck up (that may or may not have the same noise), she did nothing. In fact, after a few days, the inquires stopped. There was no offer to help in other ways, maybe a spa treatment, a credit toward this cruise or a future cruise...nothing to offer. So odd. No resolution. We even explained the situation to the front desk and outlined it carefully in the questionnaire both mid cruise and post cruise. No contact. How does this affect our cruise? Well, there was obviously a huge disconnect. Between this noise and the rockiness of the ship in general, we honestly cannot see ourselves cruising on this line in the near future. Vacation includes resting. Resting includes sleep. If you sleep through anything and have no tendency toward seasickness; if you love great food and even greater service, cruise with Oceania. But if you have any problems, don't look for resolution. It isn't their strong suit. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
The embarkation was very easy, though it was busy. We dropped off our hand luggage in our cabin and then went to have a buffet lunch. Everyone smiles! A very nice atmosphere. The gym has excellent, modern equipment. There is an excellent ... Read More
The embarkation was very easy, though it was busy. We dropped off our hand luggage in our cabin and then went to have a buffet lunch. Everyone smiles! A very nice atmosphere. The gym has excellent, modern equipment. There is an excellent choice of DVDs to watch in the cabin. The library must be the largest on a small ship. Some quibbles: 1. $27.99 per day for wifi! Much cheaper off ship. e.g. in Grand Turk in the shopping area in the port go to "Froots" where it is free. In other ports we went to a café and for the cost of a drink were able to log on. In Castries, St. Lucia wifi in shopping centre in port area costs $5 per appliance for whole day. 2. Head phones at gym cost $9. Bring your own. 3. They add 18% to every liquor item from a drink to a bottle of wine. Why? Wine prices are similar to those in a good restaurant. The wine selection is good. 4. The food is very good with a good selection in the four speciality restaurants...difficult but not impossible to get additional reservations. 5. The buffet restaurant for dinner is nice with a good selection. Be aware! Though in all the other restaurants one can get to the restaurant at 9pm, at the buffet restaurant they start clearing the food away promptly at 9pm. We had arrived at 8:45pm, no one warned us that the food was about to disappear. 6. Polo, Toscana, and Jacques and well worth going to. The lobster in Polo is very good! If one does not enjoy water sports, there is not much to do in the Caribbean Islands. We did enjoy visiting George Washington's house on Barbados. This was more a "reading" holiday. The black and white chairs on Deck 14 are very comfortable. The music near the pool is not too loud...a blessing! We have cruised with Oceania 4 or 5 times now. The service is good, people smile, the afternoon tea is good. A lovely cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
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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