21 Oceania Riviera Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to Caribbean - Southern

Embarkation easy. The first 3 days went well if you excluded the very poor entertainment. I found the cabin very dusty and the windows were filthy. Service is good in the specialty restaurants but spotty in the MDR and worse in the bar ... Read More
Embarkation easy. The first 3 days went well if you excluded the very poor entertainment. I found the cabin very dusty and the windows were filthy. Service is good in the specialty restaurants but spotty in the MDR and worse in the bar areas and by the pool. $5 wine sells for $48 on the ship but that is your choice. The shore excursions are the usual overpriced Oceania rip off but in 2 cases we actually used them we felt totally betrayed. We paid an extra $100 ($129 each) for a "luxury" 4X4 Land Rover 3 hour tour only to be shown to a old beat up Toyota pick up with beach seats. Complaint by several victims of this bait and switch fell on deaf ears. Returning from our last port of St. Barts, the tender operator lost control of the boat and smashed nose first into the hull of the Riviera at over 10 mph. Over 20 of the 50 people on board needed medical attention and many more woke up to sore backs and necks the next day. People had cuts and bruises and with strained backs and more prevalent whiplash symptoms. People were triaged by the doctor and patients we seen leaving the clinic with neck braces and bandages. The people with more minors problems were seen in a few hours with a promise to follow up. Oceania has not given an explanation whether mechanical failure or human error was responsible. We are just headed back to Miami now and I can't wait to get of this ship. The shelves in the store are almost totally empty from day one. I was told they will be replenished for the next cruise. What a shame considering the price of this cruise. We have enjoyed Oceania for 5 years but if the take over by NCL means the quality of this line is falling as has happened on this 10 day stint, it will be my last. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our 4th sailing with Oceania and our second sailing on Riviera (we have also sailed on her sister ship, Marina). This is the first sailing we have taken with Oceania that was not "port intensive". We had 5 stops in the ... Read More
This was our 4th sailing with Oceania and our second sailing on Riviera (we have also sailed on her sister ship, Marina). This is the first sailing we have taken with Oceania that was not "port intensive". We had 5 stops in the southern Caribbean that were very easy and simple and did not require any excursions to be booked. All the excursions were basically a trip around the island or transportation to a beach, which you could easily do on your own. A good way to avoid the very high prices Oceania charges for excursions. We used this trip as a way to recover from the holidays. We had a lovely, oversized veranda balcony (two lounge chairs, plus two sitting chairs and a table) on the 7th deck that we used a great deal to hang out on our 4 days at sea. We sailed 100% full - 1,280 passengers. We were concerned that the ship would seem crowded, but it was absolutely no problem getting a table for meals, a seat in the bar, and no lines waiting for an elevator. Service as always was exemplary on board. We had the premium drink package which made ordering and paying for liquor very simple. The wine stewards were very good at assisting us select appropriate wines to go with our courses at meals. Cocktails were much improved over prior sailings as free hand pouring now appears to be allowed. Our cabin stewards were, as in the past, absolutely perfect and gracious. We skipped Toscana and Red Ginger based on prior sailings, but had two dinners at Polo Grill (we like to get the whole Maine lobster) and Jacques - our absolute favorite. The food is superb at Jacques. I look forward to the Mille Fleur dessert each time I am on board. We do not go the entertainment in the theater (just not our thing), but enjoyed the Brazilian guitar/singer in the Horizons Lounge at cocktail hour and the string quartet that plays adjacent to the Martini bar each evening. Both added to the peaceful atmosphere on board. There were also four lectures presented on the days at sea. The ship itself is on of our all time favorites. We have sailed with Viking, Celebrity, Norwegian and many of the very small cruise lines. Riviera is a beautiful elegant ship with exciting art work and impressive furnishings done in very good taste. The Lalique staircase is magnificent. We will continue to book with Oceania in the future. We thoroughly enjoyed this relaxing cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We have taken several cruises previously on Holland America but we wanted something a little more upscale to celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary so we decided to try Oceania. We are so glad we did. We loved Oceania and will be ... Read More
We have taken several cruises previously on Holland America but we wanted something a little more upscale to celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary so we decided to try Oceania. We are so glad we did. We loved Oceania and will be booking our future cruises with them. Embarkation and disembarkation were well organized and were a breeze. For embarkation, within about 20 minutes after arrival at the terminal, around noon, we were on the ship. The 4 main things we were looking for on the Oceania cruise were i) excellent food, ii) excellent service, iii) a nice stateroom & ship facilities and iv) not constantly feeling "nickeled and dimed". Oceania delivered on all 4... i) Food - The food in the Main Dining Room (MDR) at dinner varied from very good to excellent. Presentation and service were fine. For dinner, we generally arrived at 6:30pm, when the MDR opened, and we never had difficulty getting a nice table for 2, which is our preference. We also had several luxurious breakfasts and two lunches in the MDR. We were very impressed by the selection and the quality of the food. We ate breakfast at the Terrace Café often. Having breakfast outdoors as the ship slowly docks in a new port is wonderful. There is a wide selection at the Terrace Café for breakfast and I was really impressed with the quality of the fresh fruit - would start each breakfast with a plate of fresh fruit that I selected. Moreover their pastries (almond croissants!) and bread are terrific. Kudos to the people responsible for the bakery on board. Unlike Holland, at the buffet you are served by Oceania staff, which is nice. They will even carry your plate to your table for you. We had several lunches at the Waves Grill, especially when we got back early to mid afternoon from an excursion. Waves Grill was delightful - very nice salads, lovely french fries and excellent selection of burgers and sandwiches, all cooked to order. My favorites were the surf and turf (a must!), the Angus burger and the Reuben. We both liked the smoothies and the milkshakes. The best dining experiences, however, were in the specialty restaurants. It was so nice having access one time during the cruise to each of the 4 specialty restaurants. We actually cheated - managed to go a 2nd time to Red Ginger by checking on the 1st day of the cruise at 6pm when the restaurant opened to see whether they had any extra space - they did. Red Ginger was our favorite specialty restaurant. The subtlety and combination of flavors in the dishes we ordered were terrific. My wife and I absolutely loved the crispy duck and watermelon salad as well as the miso-glazed seabass (served in a banana leaf). A "10" !!! Polo Grill and Toscana were fine too. We were a little disappointed with the signature French restaurant, Jacques, however. The menu was very traditional, the service was rushed and the food ordinary. Have definitely eaten at much better French restaurants. And we don't appreciate it when we are served the 1st course almost immediately after ordering, even before the wine steward has had a chance to come take our order. ii) Service - consistently very good to excellent. Were pleasantly surprised by nice little touches. For example, when a server in the Terrace Café greeted us & asked us how we were doing, I mentioned that my wife seemed to be coming down with a cold. The server, Melissa from Serbia, immediately offered to bring my wife some tea with lemon and honey for her throat, which was much appreciated. Our cabin stewards were excellent and in a few cases when we had a small request, they made sure we got what we asked for. Even for the muster drill we were directed to the dining room where we could sit down during the demonstrations, rather than standing in a large group for an interminable period of time on a ship deck. Ratio of staff to guests (800/1250) is higher than on Holland and it showed. iii) Stateroom/Ship Facilities - we really liked our Concierge verandah stateroom. It was clean, functional, had plenty of storage space & everything worked well. My wife particularly liked the bathroom, with separate bath tub & shower. In other reviews we saw complaints about the shower, which is very small, but I am quite tall and didn't have a problem with it. Liked very much being able to take a bath as well, so having the separate bathtub was a plus for us. The verandah was a bit small and only had 2 basic chairs & a small table but was OK. The ship is smaller than what we were accustomed to but had excellent facilities. I used the gym often. We also used the deck at the front of the ship in the spa area that Concierge rooms can access, with its own whirlpool and chairs, during the At Sea days - very nice & quiet & one of our favorite spots. The library is a nice place to relax & has a very good choice of books. Baristas coffee bar, right next to the library, was great. Would often go there for a morning cappuccino. So nice that this is included.....The main Riviera theater is comfortable and well laid out. We went to Horizons on the 15th floor for High Tea 3X during the cruise - listening to a string quartet while eating your scones, cream and jam (&/or small sandwiches and other pastries), with panoramic views in all directions, is simply wonderful! iv) Not being "nickeled and dimed" - no charge for specialty restaurants, bottles of water provided each time you leave the ship, free specialty coffees and all non-alcoholic drinks, including a stocked mini bar with water, sodas and juice in your stateroom. Bottles water and Gatorade available (for free) in the gym. Snacks and coffee available throughout the day in the Concierge Lounge. With O-Life, cost of excursions covered in the price of the cruise. Free Internet - slow & temperamental so don't get your expectations up but fine for sending emails & checking Sports scores. Even managed to Facetime back home once. Concierge class - we liked the concierge format and when we book next time we will stick with it. We appreciated the access to the Concierge lounge and used it almost daily. The bottle of champagne (real champagne btw) at the beginning of the cruise was a nice touch. We also really enjoyed the Concierge access to the spa whirlpool and deck at the bow of the ship. Being in Concierge class also meant a shorter embarkation, which was helpful. Entertainment - We only attended one show while we were on board but we enjoyed it very much - much better than similar "production" type shows we had seen on Holland America. Otherwise after dinner we were quite happy returning to our room & relaxing there. Excursions/Ports - We took 3 excursions with Oceania during this cruise - best by far was the Beach Break in Barbados. Beach was spectacular & facilities excellent. Island tour of Antigua was OK too but the beach stop at the end of the tour was disappointing - beach was small & very ordinary, nothing spectacular. Excursion to Virgin Gorda by catamaran, then bus in Tortola was a disappointment - small site was completely overrun with tourists and access to caves and baths was difficult, even though we are in decent shape & very mobile. Devil's Bay beach, with imposing boulders, is pretty but it is a small beach and there were too many people there. In St Lucia we just got off the ship briefly to look at the shops around the port but there was nothing in that area to get excited about. Tender at St Barts was a little long & not a great experience but once we got on the island we enjoyed our time there. Explored Gustavia on our own and then made our way to Shell Beach, a pleasant 10-15 minute walk from the tender port. Great place to beachcomb for shells & kept myself busy with a little snorkeling as well. Afterwards enjoyed a drink at Le Gustav with pretty views of the harbor & marina. Overall we thought this was an excellent cruise and liked it so much, we tried to book for the very next one, so we wouldn't have to leave the ship. Unfortunately the following cruise was overbooked and the Oceania Club Ambassador we dealt with was not helpful at all but that is another story. We were extremely happy with our 1st experience with Oceania and only regret not having tried them earlier. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
My husband and I chose this cruise because of the advertised reputation of Oceania and because it embarked in Venice, which was a place we wanted to return to, and it had a stop in Antibes that would allow us to see the French Riviera for ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because of the advertised reputation of Oceania and because it embarked in Venice, which was a place we wanted to return to, and it had a stop in Antibes that would allow us to see the French Riviera for the first time. We are not expert cruisers, having only cruised twice before, once with Royal Caribbean and once with Celebrity. We were also drawn to Oceania because of the smaller ship size. We felt like the price was reasonable, especially considering the perks being offered on our particular cruise. After we booked the cruise directly with an Oceania representative, we found all of the talk online about norovirus having been on this ship, the Riviera, 4 times during the period of November 2015 through April 2016. We were extremely upset at not having been informed of this prior to our booking, but we discovered the cruise line had no obligation to do so. We then worried ourselves sick about the possibility of not just getting sick, but about the changes aboard ship that would be occurring should other passengers or crew become ill with the virus. This is not a good way to begin what was supposed to have been a relaxing luxurious vacation. We sent numerous emails and questions concerning the outbreaks and asked what had been done by the cruise line to ensure the elimination of the norovirus to no avail. They would not even tell us if our assigned cabin had housed guests who had been diagnosed with norovirus during the recent outbreaks. They had our money, and we were stuck. To my knowledge, and according to the CDC, the Riviera has not had an outbreak since April 2, 2016, which was about 6 weeks prior to our cruise in May 2016. The Riviera was not full during our May 21--June 2 cruise, which was probably why we had been given such a good price. We found many return cruisers, so obviously this cruise line has a good reputation. Several of the return cruisers commented that the ship did not feel full. In the end, we were satisfied with the ship (beautiful and easy to get around), crew (top notch), and dining. (Room service was excellent as well.) Our Concierge level room was very nice, had plenty of room, and the beds were good enough to have at home. We thought the ports of call were weak overall--Venice, Zadar (Croatia), Kotor (Montenegro), Sicily, Rome, Florence, Antibes (France), Marseille (France), Port Vendres (France), and Barcelona. We had to cancel our full-day French Riviera tour from Antibes due to inclement weather; we lost another scheduled tour when the Captain chose another port over Port Vendres due to choppy seas. So that left only Venice, Rome, Florence, and Barcelona that had (in our opinion) something to offer on the 12-day cruise. We are a couple in our mid 60's and wanted to see things; we think that a lot of Oceania cruisers (on this cruise) had either already "been there." We may have been toward the lower end of the age bracket on this cruise, which did not matter to us at all. The entertainment was ok, but not as good as what we experienced on RC and Celebrity. A final note is that we packed for country club casual, but felt a little underdressed for dinner most nights. A lot of the customers chose to wear more cocktail attire than country club casual. The shore excursions offered by Oceania were over-priced and the transportation provided by the cruise line seemed disorganized in several ports, especially in Zadar, Croatia. All that said, we would probably cruise with Oceania again if the ports have more to offer. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We are 4 time cruisers on Oceania, 3 times on Riviera and 1 time on Marina. We LOVED Oceania! But this cruise was a huge disappointment!! First up was the food.. they advertise that its for foodies of which we are.. we did love their ... Read More
We are 4 time cruisers on Oceania, 3 times on Riviera and 1 time on Marina. We LOVED Oceania! But this cruise was a huge disappointment!! First up was the food.. they advertise that its for foodies of which we are.. we did love their food and thought is was truly the best of all the lines we travelled on. On the first day (embarkation) at the Terrace Buffet (one of my favourite places to dine on the ship) I noticed that instead of having 4 choices on the main buffet they had 4 of the same thing.. the service was unorganized in the Terrace, some of the servers just wandering around and not even looking to see if you are trying to call them (their were other servers at the other dining venues that were really great) I racked it up to first day embarkation but it was just the start of a bad situation.. don’t get me wrong the food is not bad.. but it has really really gone down hill since last year. I heard they were bought by Norwegian so maybe this is why?? I find it hard to believe that any of the wonderful french chefs are still aboard this ship... the food and presentation at most dining locations was mediocre.. Then there was NOROVIRUS!! We got sick on the 3rd day but pretty sure it was not from Noro, we felt it was food poisoning, we were sick just once and the runs for a few hours and then we were ok. Our cabin attendant found it necessary to report us to the ships infirmary on Tues, they took away our guest cards, basically locking us in the room for the next 48 hours (coming in with masks, rubber gloves, food was brought into us on paper plates, plastic knives and forks, plastic cups and the food was alway served cold, they fumigated our whole cabin, bed and all) Don’t get me wrong I understand the need to quarantine people that have NORO, but we were not diagnosed with NOGO. The “nurse” only came in the day later, we had no temperature taken, a couple of questions as to how we were, a bottle of immmodium and another pill for the nausea and she was gone, we never saw anyone from the infirmary again. We were treated as if we had leprosy..even fellow passengers were not admitting to anyone if they were part of the sick group or not, other passengers commented that we must have lied on our declaration at the airport and really were sick. For me, if you have NORO the last thing you would want to do or could do is fly and travel.. I realized now that a ship is the last place you want to be if you are sick, it’s a dictatorship and you have no rights. Now, we were on the list of sick people along with others that “maybe" had Noro. Once we were out of quarantine and given back our cards we were still on this list and could not get off in the first 3 ports.. of course the cruise line blamed it on the ports and did not take any responsibility for the outbreak or even our situation. Talking to officers on board the comment was “well some tourists must have been sick and brought it on the ship”. Just remember that this was the 3 sailing since Dec that Riviera had an outbreak. We were not notified by our travel agent or Oceania prior to sailing that this had taken place. When we asked Oceania what compensation we could be given the answer was NONE... When we asked out travel agent why they didn’t tell us, they claimed they didn’t know and they said when they called Oceania, they were also unaware there had been any outbreak before this, or even on this cruise... Like really??? I won’t bother to mention what others have on reviews before me.. the crew washing down walls, elevator buttons, railings, door handles, basically everything was wet and sticky. The Library was closed, the artists loft was closed, the cooking classes were cancelled.. and this is not a reasonably priced cruise, I would consider it fairly expensive compared to other lines, so the bar was high. Frank Del Rio and the others that envisioned Oceania as a wonderful Lux Lite line with amazing food must be so disappointed...Never again...... Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We have almost 300 days at sea with Cunard, Crystal, Hollande America, Celebrity, Royal Carribean, Princess, Norwegian and Oceania! This first Cruise with Oceania was a complete disapointment. Food was just ok not the ´best food at ... Read More
We have almost 300 days at sea with Cunard, Crystal, Hollande America, Celebrity, Royal Carribean, Princess, Norwegian and Oceania! This first Cruise with Oceania was a complete disapointment. Food was just ok not the ´best food at sea' as advertized by Oceania. Oil was used in the pastries instead of butter. Same sauce served with beef,veal and chicken, same vegetables served in the Terrace Café every lunch... Entertainment was poor. No activity to participe in since everything was closed - the norovirus was with us! CDC came on the ship to investigate , is it only norovirus ?? 10 spécimens were evaluated and are still under investigation by the CDC. One of our party of 4 was sick the second day at sea and there was no doctor visit, no temperature taken, no specimen taken, is it the norovirus? Minimum 48 Hours in your cabin with your spouse and no right to go out of the ship for the next 3 ports! We had no welcome glass of wine when we board the ship - thank you to Celebrity for doing it. Hat and jeans in the dining venues for men, no jacket for the Captain's evening - is it country club? Pricing of the wine questionnable - a $15 botte sold at $60 + 18% for the service! And the wine list is not long and not interesting. Will We recommand Oceania? NO. Will we repeat with Oceania? NO. And many other passengers on this cruise who were repeaters told us that they will not repeat again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our third cruise with Oceania, first on Riveria (probably our last), second with Marina. We were very excited about this cruise because the ports of call were different from any we had taken in the past, especially Aruba. Lo and ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Oceania, first on Riveria (probably our last), second with Marina. We were very excited about this cruise because the ports of call were different from any we had taken in the past, especially Aruba. Lo and behold, two days out, Norovirus was announced by the Captain and the ship went into quarantine mode and all of the niceties that we have come to expect from Oceania disappeared immediately. The tables were cleared, the buckets of disinfectant came out and hands had to be sanitized at least a dozen times a day. It was like being on a floating horror movie with disinfectant dripping down the walls, wallpaper lifting off the walls, railings, counters and doors all sticky and goopy to the touch so much so that you couldn't even hold the stair railings when you went up and down. It was serious overkill. There were passengers who had a bit of stomach upset who were reported by room stewards that were quarantined without being tested for Norovirus and then subjected to the same stigma as those that actually had the virus. We were not allowed to dock in Aruba by the port authorities. We were very upset as this was the main reason we chose this cruise in the first place. We had to show our world cards every time we entered any of the restaurants to make sure we were not one of the "infected" people as they took their cards away and taped their doors shut and took them food on paper plates and plastic cutlery; apparently cold food for at least 48 hours. There was no captains reception for returning guests as is the norm on Oceania, the culinary school was closed, library, anywhere that they thought could pass germs. As soon as you got up from a table, the cloth was whisked away and it was sloshed down, table and chairs with disinfectant and left for at least 10 minutes. You had to ask for cream and sugar or salt and pepper and they would bring it to you and pour the cream and give you a paper packet of sugar or salt and pepper. I felt like I was in a low class cafeteria not a luxury cruise ship. Lastly, this cruise was completely sold out. Full to the brim. We should have been told that this ship had had Norovirus not once but twice before this cruise so that we could have made an informed decision as to whether or not we wanted to put ourselves into this situation. Oceania did send an urgent email to my travel agent shortly before left but it was only to offer us an upgrade for an additional cost. They chose not to tell us about the Norovirus. Fortunately for us and fortunately for Oceania, we did not get sick. Had we been one of the many very elderly people with depressed immune systems on board, this could have gone very badly. One last thing. Oceania did not plan very well for a sold out cruise ship. They ran out of wine, Pellegrino water, several foods. I for one like blueberries in my blueberry pancakes. When you have a full ship, you plan accordingly, and clearly they did not. I was not impressed. The saving grace for us was we had a penthouse suite with a lovely butler named Hamesh that saw to our every need. He brought me my Pellegrino and lots of it to the room. I suffer from migraines and always had a full ice bucket for my ice pack thanks to Hamesh. We had dinner in our room which was wonderful and daily canapés and drinks on the veranda as we pulled out of port. The room was beautifully appointed and we would never book anything other than a penthouse suite. It is well worth the extra money you pay for it. We have always enjoyed sailing with Oceania and sing their praises to all of our friends and while we know Norovirus is not their fault, they could have behaved very differently at the end of the cruise to make us feel better about the whole thing. They never said the simple words we are sorry for this or that this has inconvenienced you or perhaps ruined your holiday and hope that it won't influence your decision to sail with us again. Simple words that would have made a big difference and perhaps made us feel better. Secondly, I think they should have provided a cruise refund for this cruise and a credit for a future cruise. This would have made us want to cruise with them again and give them another chance. This cruise was seriously ruined and we spent major dollars with this company. We have told our travel agent that we were tried and true Oceania'ers but we are now looking at other luxury cruise companies. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our second cruise on the Riviera and we were so looking forward to the food, playing tennis, golf and croquet on the forward sports deck and taking art and culinary classes when we were at sea. We also had high expectations for ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Riviera and we were so looking forward to the food, playing tennis, golf and croquet on the forward sports deck and taking art and culinary classes when we were at sea. We also had high expectations for the entertainment as it was better than average on our previous cruise. But, above all we booked the cruise for the food. Before I start, let me just say Oceania, unlike other cruiselines, DOES NOT require passengers to santitize their hands the first 48 hours of the cruise prior to going into a dining area. Due to this company policy, we feel strongly the 100+ passengers that caught the norovirus on this cruise as well as those of us that caught a solid case of bronchitis could have been minimized. What we found so amazing was this was the 3rd time CDC had been notified by the Riviera that over 2% of the passengers had come down with the virus since Nov 2015! If fact according to our room steward, it was actually the 5th time. I guess the other 2 times didn't reach the CDC notification level. Now, for the rest of the story, but I'll try to be brief. By the second day there were so many cases of the norovirus being reported, they cancelled the culinary and art classes for the duration of the cruise as well as all the sports equipment was put under lock and key. As far as access to dining areas, they started making everyone sanitize their hands and show their room cards before entering. The room card check stumped me until I found out they had confiscated the infected passengers room cards. They did that for the remainder of the cruise, which was fine, especially when it came to sanitizing hands. As far as the entertainment went, they only had 2 acts that boarded the 14 day cruise and stayed for a few days before leaving. The rest of the time there was a comedian, who was pretty good, that was married to the cruise director, 2 solo singing acts which were meager at best performed by the assistant cruise director and from one of the girls from the Oceania singer and dancer group. My point being saving money on entertainment appeared to be one of the goals of this now Norwegian-owned cruise line and it showed. Now, the reason we came on the cruise as I mentioned earlier was for the food! What a let down. When we went last spring on the Riviera we were definitely wowed! Not this time. It was still good and the specialty restaurants were still good, but they never reached the wow factor, except for maybe the Polo Grill and the Red Ginger. The rest of the time we ate outside up at the Terrace Cafe. However, most of the time we ordered from the grill because the prepared food was just so so. Again, nothing like the last cruise. As a final note Oceania did not compensate anyone on this cruise that we know of for their lack of being able to provide a quality cruise. It goes without saying this will be the last time we will sail on an Oceania cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
My husband and I were really looking forward to taking this trip because of the ease of leaving from Miami, and we live in Florida. We've been on the Riviera three times before so knew the elegance and luxury of this ship. ... Read More
My husband and I were really looking forward to taking this trip because of the ease of leaving from Miami, and we live in Florida. We've been on the Riviera three times before so knew the elegance and luxury of this ship. Unfortunately, the second day we started to hear rumors that people were getting sick. Then the captain announced that, yes, people were getting sick with suspected norovirus and CDC pocedures were put in place. That meant that the library was closed, also Baristas, no cooking classes and artist loft closed. Then they started to sanitize everything, and I do mean everything! The teak chairs in Waves Grill were sticky and clung to your back! No silverware was put on the table so everything looked sparse and empty. When you sat down in any restaurant, the table was empty. Then, the waiter came along and put down some plates and silverware, but no salt or pepper, or milk in the morning. The lounge tables were constantly wiped down and goopy, that's the only word I can think of. The atmosphere was completely lost! practically everyone we spoke to was afraid of getting sick. It ended up that 98 people were ill and had to be quarantined for four days. There were red tapes put on their doors so they couldn't leave, and their ocean cards were taken away so they couldn't go to the dining rooms. We had to show our cards every time we ate, even if it was an ice cream! And you couldn't go to the Terrace Café and bring anything back to your room because food was not allowed out of the café. Now, did we have a good time? Well, my husband and I enjoy each other and we met some really nice people so we had a good time. Aruba wouldn't let the ship dock so that port was cancelled. But, this was the second time out of our four cruises with Oceania that the virus has been in the ship and the last time we got sick! Norovirus isn't pleasant, to say the least. So bottom line, that is the end of Oceania for us. The only "compensation" anyone got was free drinks during dinner two days of the cruise and our waiter told us to keep quiet about it. We still don't know if only our table got the drinks or everyone did! How tasteless. There are many luxury lines in the cruising market and I just don't want t waste my money feeling afraid that I will get it. Pass on Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This is the first cruise I've been on in which it improved with each day. At first, I had misgivings & couldn't see any differences, but the overall service and attention to detail soon became apparent. The ship is ... Read More
This is the first cruise I've been on in which it improved with each day. At first, I had misgivings & couldn't see any differences, but the overall service and attention to detail soon became apparent. The ship is beautifully decorated with modern art and amphora vases throughout. It is kept immaculately clean. Our balcony cabin was very well appointed, the bedding was super soft and the marble bathroom had a stall shower in addition to a full size tub. Many thanks to Joel and Komong for your excellent service and ice deliveries each afternoon. The ship's library consisted of tall book cabinets making small cubicles within which comfy chairs and tables were placed. A reader could sink into a chair surrounded by books, enjoy a coffee and zone out. It was heaven!!! Dining was strictly done by servers at the Terrace Cafe. There was always a nice variety of food for breakfast and lunch, especially healthy ones which pleased me. Beverages were served tableside. The specialty restaurants were outrageously delicious. We did not try Red Ginger. The majority of passengers were 60+. We met many nice people from England, Canada and the midwest. Our trivia team BRITUS won the competition! It was a lot of fun and good times. Kudos to social director, Dottie Kolloso, who without a doubt, is the busiest social director on the seven seas. She can outperform the Energizer Bunny. We loved the casual dresscode, no photographers and no pushy sales people. It was a very laid back, lowkey cruise. We bumped into past Crystal cruisers who switched over because, according to them, Crystal had become too "stuffy". The in-room TVs never had good reception (satellite problems we were told), but we didn't care since we weren't on vacation to watch TV. I got my hair cut by JOSEPH. It was the best precision cut I ever received, so I rushed back to the cabin and took selfies so my stylist could copy it. Thanks, Joseph!!! The one complaint we had was the entertainment troupe was pretty bad. It amounted to a bunch of kids jumping around & screaming through their headsets. I suffered through two performances and opted to go to the casino after that. The magician, Greg Moreland, was good. He gave 2 magic tricks classes that were excellent. Also, harpist Shirley Dominguez, entertained us with her electric harp. In conclusion, the consistently very good food, specialty restaurants, relaxed dresscode, and lovely cabin amenities made it a cruise worth repeating. It truly is a "Your Cruise, Your Way" atmosphere. Skip this cruise if you are a family with kids because Oceania provides NOTHING in the way of Kidtertainment. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
CONS: Concierge Level is NOT worth it. There are no advantages to paying more for this privilege. A few upscale toiletries are about the extent of this level. The “Concierge Lounge” is nothing more that an inside stateroom, with a ... Read More
CONS: Concierge Level is NOT worth it. There are no advantages to paying more for this privilege. A few upscale toiletries are about the extent of this level. The “Concierge Lounge” is nothing more that an inside stateroom, with a blaring TV (CNN) a few newspapers, four computer terminals, and a mini-fridge with sodas. There is a “Concierge Person” available – sometimes. The “10% discount on internet services” was not honored and was repeatedly refused. Embarkation is no faster. Luggage does not arrive any sooner. Rooms may be entered only a few minutes (5 – 10 minutes) before other levels. “Tranquility Beds?” NOT! Our beds were the most uncomfortable beds we have ever encountered while cruising. There are no king-sized beds, only queens, and “queens” are actually two singles (small singles-think “camping cots”) put together. My husband is a little over six feet tall, and his feet hung over the end. To turn over, one must lift up and turn, or end up on the floor. I requested a foam pillow. Our room concierge-stewardess was not able to provide one. I received yet another lumpy, hard, pillow and was told, “This IS a foam pillow!” Entertainment was very poor Evening shows do not begin until 9:45 pm. Several were so disappointing (that) we left before the end. Most passengers are far past age 70. There are lots of walkers and motorized chairs and, at times, if you are stuck behind them, movement about the ship can be cumbersome. Wine and spirits are VERY EXPENSIVE. “Packages” are offered, but the sommelier may have the last laugh, as the vintages are foreign, and there is no way to know what you are getting. Wines by the glass are highly inflated, and an 18% gratuity is added on to the already outrageous cost. Room service coffee is abominable. Coffee in the restaurants is very good, but morning coffee on the balcony was so bad, it had to be sent back. Shore excursions were a joke and the joke was on us! We did the “Jungle ATV Adventure” and when, after the first few minutes we realized we were driving around in circles, we had to laugh at our own gullibility. The tour operators were ingenious. They were making big bucks for doing donuts in the jungle. Specialty restaurants What they do not tell you is that you may only dine in the four specialty restaurants ONCE. No more, only one time. You may request subsequent dining, but will be told you are “on the wait list” to no avail. PROS: The ship is lovely. Understated and elegant décor and soft, unobtrusive music. Some of the artwork is bizarre (What were they thinking?!) but overall the ship was very refined. Room service was lightening fast, and the pastries were divine. No extra charge for room service was nice. Embarkation was a breeze. We were on the ship in less than 10 minutes. The library was lovely and well appointed. Dining was fun with almost too many waitpersons in attendance. The food was no more special than the faire offered on other cruise lines. The china, crystal, and silver were superior. There was always plenty of lounge chairs poolside. Each one is covered with a clean white terrycloth covering. The cooking classes were fabulous. Our class began at 4:00 pm, and we were so full from the samples, that we had to forego dinner that evening. We came home with several great recipes and new skills. Oceania boasts that their staterooms at 282 sq.ft. are larger than most others. I was shocked upon entering our stateroom, as it was no bigger than what we have experiences on three other cruise lines. The elegant bathroom, however, was spacious with two showers, a full tub, and well appointed storage. We had a delightful cruise, but for the money, other cruise lines offer a better value. Oceania’s refusing to offer free internet, and then refusing to honor their own offer of a 10% discount on an internet package was petty. The nickel and dimeing for several little things, that should have been included, was offensive.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
For the last three years my DH has been trying to get me to try Oceania and when this one came up in a price point I was comfortable with doing, I agreed. We originally booked a 10 day cruise that would take place this month but O asked if ... Read More
For the last three years my DH has been trying to get me to try Oceania and when this one came up in a price point I was comfortable with doing, I agreed. We originally booked a 10 day cruise that would take place this month but O asked if we'd be willing to do the 14 day Southern Caribbean cruise (Nov 29 - Dec 13) instead.Both cruises began and ended in Miami.To do the change, we would be upgraded to a balcony from an oceanview - with both being around midship. Since we could change our airfare with no problem we agreed. Let me say in advance, overall I loved the experience and with a good price point and itinerary would definitely cruise O again. We've been on over 30 cruises and tried all the other mainline cruises including Crystal. We like the ships with under 1500 passengers. Next year we plan to try river cruising. The day of our cruise, there was a coast guard inspection so we were told not to arrive until around 3 pm. That's when we did our embarkation and found that at least 75% of the guests were already on board. This meant we got through the process quickly. What I didn't like is that our room was not yet available so we had to keep our carryon with us. Finally had approval to go to our cabin around 4 pm. Never had to wait that long with other cruise lines. Though it didn't seem like it at first, I found our room had a lot of storage space - especially when you add the rack space under the sink and over the commode. My only issue with the room was the TV. If we tried to watch a movie on TV the reception kept going out or the sound got garbled. Didn't seem to run into that issue with news channels. First impression of the ship was one of spaciousness and minimal crowds - even in the Terrace Grill. We had our late lunch out on the deck overlooking the city which was lovely. However, my first experience with the Grill - was less than stellar. Felt they were lacking for "lunch" options of salads and sandwiches. I don't want overcooked vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy with meat for lunch. My other issue was with in the salad dressing options. I've had better dressing options at cheap buffets. I was especially appalled by what they considered Caesar dressing - basically whipped mayonnaise with some Italian seasonings. Had a chat with one of the chefs about it and he said they would be tweaking it some to make it more traditional. Worked around the lunch options other days by ordering turf & surf solo or grilled ahi from Waves (which should not be missed) and having them bring it to the Terrace where I had a small salad with the balsamic vinaigrette and added some cheese and dried fruit. Loved the food options at Waves, but they had several problems with getting my order correct. Their fries are the hottest and crispest I've found on any cruise line. Tried all the specialty restaurants for dinner two or three times. This is where O excels. They had outstanding appetizers, pastas and desserts. Enjoyed the olive oil and vinegar menu at Toscana. Our favorite appetizer was the eggplant wrapped veal. Want to make that at home! We keep talking about it. Since I'm a big fan of teas, I loved the tea options at Red Ginger. My new favorite is the Ginger Pear White tea. Was not a fan of the standard teas found in all the other venues. Only option for herbal teas was chamomile and a lemon. I like herbals with a little more flavor. However, made up for that by having vitamin waters which I could pick up at the gym. Afternoon tea - tried it once and enjoyed a couple of their samplings which were pretty standard fare for cruise line teas. The disappointing part is they don't offer any different teas than those found in the grill or dining room.(Get the idea I like my teas.) Barista - My DH enjoyed the coffee options here and we both liked the mini- versions of the pastries they served here. Entertainment - went to a few shows which were what you'd typically find on any other ship of this size. I enjoy them though I know others say they are not Broadway caliber; but then I'm not paying Broadway ticket prices. We really liked listening to the live bands. My DH is a musician and he thought they were very talented. Ports - This is the reason we switched our cruise - the option to do ports not normally seen. Favorites were Grenada, St. Kitts, Columbia & Venezuela. The latter for the learning experience of what life is like under a despot. Tours in Grenada and St Kitts were independent and would highly recommend the tour operators. Debarkation - Had a leisurely breakfast in the dining room with few other in attendance which was surprising. Service was good as it was other mornings we dined there. Good choices for breakfast. I had one of my favorites of a hamburger with a fried egg. And it was served at the right temperature. We rarely have to catch an early plane as we often stay in the port an extra night. In many of the specialty restaurants we shared tables and enjoyed chatting with other avid cruisers. Also enjoyed the exercise of doing the mini-sports games with the fun-spirited singers and dancers. As usual did trivia daily and enjoyed the camaraderie of my team (many times a winner) and the other teams. Had lots of wonderful memories from this cruise and the ports. Would highly recommend it to others. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
With more than 60 cruises on all levels of cruise lines (from Carnival, Celebrity to Cunard) as a guideline for this review, my husband and I are not sure we would be enticed to cruise on Oceania again when considering the price of this ... Read More
With more than 60 cruises on all levels of cruise lines (from Carnival, Celebrity to Cunard) as a guideline for this review, my husband and I are not sure we would be enticed to cruise on Oceania again when considering the price of this cruise compared to our experience while on board. Driving over to Miami is nothing out of the ordinary for us, but pulling up to a small, unorganized porter area to drop off luggage and then a long wait in line to prepay for our garage parking was not the standard we expected from a luxury cruise port. The port employees park here as well and finding a place not under the top floor sun was difficult. Once we entered the check-in building, it was a breeze. Ship is elegant, lovely lounges surround pool and Terrace Spa area is perfect for afternoon whirlpool and nap. But, some guests do not respect the serenity and carry on as though it's a pool party area. Gym is well equipped but noticed no hands-on staff nearby to help with equipment. More than 3 machines had TV/Radio not working and no one to notify. The sanitary wipe containers were usually empty by mid-morning. Our penthouse suite was not ready when boarding near noon, so we went to the poolside bar to have a cocktail. Asking for Absolute for my Bloody took forever as the bar did not have it stocked. Husband asked for Bud and was told they do not carry that beer. For two days he drank Corona, at a higher price, and then saw another passenger with a Bud bottle. This was the normal level of service with the bars on board. Slow and not polished. Plus the drinks are more expensive than on other lines. The suite was lovely. The bed and linens were exceptional. Tons of storage and probably the best layout we've had on any ship. The bathroom was wonderful, too. Problems with A/C during night continued even after reported and supposedly repaired. Always got hot during the middle of night. The veranda was very salty when we arrived. Seriously...huge pieces of dried salt were on the deck and every chair and railing had salt residue. Not a great first impression. Finally cleaned the next day. Our butler, Gyan, was attentive without being annoying. Suite was always clean and our stewardess and assistant should be commended, too. The steam room did not work probably during the entire cruise. Repeated reports to spa manager, guest relations and finally a mid cruise questionnaire brought attention to the engineer. We were told it was clogged and new parts needed when returning to Miami. Food ranged from average to excellent. Polo was just OK, Ginger and Jacque's excellent. Toscana was very good, too. Grand dining room ranged from average to suburb. But, other than Ginger, all the service was slow. Entertainment was fine. Enjoyed the string quartet prior to dinner and also the piano in the martini bar. Saw a couple of shows and they were nice. Nothing exceptional, but entertaining. Only booked one Oceania 7 hour excursion while in St Lucia. For the high charge, all land transportation should have been Air Conditioned. When in parking lots, we noticed Royal Caribbean buses were more new, in better condition and with A/C. We both took the Italian cooking class and it was a great experience. Lots of fun and out of the ordinary. Would highly recommend any class. Heard lots of conversation from fellow passengers who had cruised on Oceania previous. Liquor is very expensive, food has gone downhill and service isn't what it used to be. At times the crowding on board seemed unbearable. Ship's muster caused stairway congestion and pushing. Finding pool lounges could be tedious for those who didn't come on deck early in morning. Disembarking was not smooth either. The halls were too narrow to accompany all the wheelchair and hovercrafts trying to get to a lounge to wait to be called. Passengers were "stuck" after exiting elevators as no one could move. Cruising on the Oasis of Seas seemed less populated than the Riviera when comparing wait for elevators or entering dining room. Think we'll continue to cruise on Celebrity or RCI where our club's level provides complimentary cocktails and will upgrade to at least a jr suite. We believe it to be a better value and equal experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We just got back from sailing for the first time on Oceania, it was marvelous. I see why they were awarded the ship of the year for 2013. The food in ALL the restaurants was top quality and so much variety. Dining in specialty restaurants ... Read More
We just got back from sailing for the first time on Oceania, it was marvelous. I see why they were awarded the ship of the year for 2013. The food in ALL the restaurants was top quality and so much variety. Dining in specialty restaurants without the upcharge was very nice. All the staff and crew were friendly and were greeting us by name by the second week. The cabins were spacious, comfortable and clean. Granite bathroom with bathtub and linens were top notch. We have never gone on Oceania before and now I am not sure we could ever take another line. I felt pampered the whole time. We did 9 ports, so it was a port intensive cruise, was happy to have two sea days at the end to just "chill". Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Do I recommend Oceania Riviera cruise? It depends. This CC forum is full of Oceania fans who rave about Oceania gourmet foods, their elegant ships (especially Riviera and Marina.) We are no different. After being on Oceania Cruise three ... Read More
Do I recommend Oceania Riviera cruise? It depends. This CC forum is full of Oceania fans who rave about Oceania gourmet foods, their elegant ships (especially Riviera and Marina.) We are no different. After being on Oceania Cruise three times, we have come to love Oceania’s gourmet foods; clean, elegant ships, and most of all its customer-focused happy crew and officers. For this particular cruise, I like to point out what stood out for us was the crew and the things they do. First, our background: There were 3 of us on this cruise: my husband, my sister and I. This is my husband and my third Oceania cruise, and first for my sister. My husband and I have cruised about 17 times before. The cruise lines are listed below chronologically: We have cruised on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America, Azamara, Paul Gauguin, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal Cruise, Oceania. After sampling different lines, different sizes, we realize we prefer smaller ships. We are in our 50, 60’s. We are active, and love to walk and hike. Interesting itineraries, food, and service are what we look for. Second, embarkation: Our red eye flight from Victoria, Canada arrived in Miami according to schedule, around 11:30 am. We went straight to the ship, and was on the ship in no time. The taxi ride was about 15 minutes; traffic was light. It costs us $25 fixed rate. I know that is higher than last year, when our taxi charge by meter. The embarkation was a breeze. I believe that time frame was perfect, no crowd, no wait. Our cabin was not ready. We went for a light lunch. We met many familiar faces; the staff greeted us like family. (We were on Riviera in August.) We wanted to put in a few hours of shopping. Dolphin Mall seemed the closest. However, by the time we finished lunch, we did not have the time we thought we had. In addition, the rush hour traffic may delay our return to the ship, and the thought of missing this beautiful ship chills our spines. We left our belongings in the cabin (the steward was kind enough for us to do that because the cabin was not completed yet.) We took a cab to the Bayside Mall. Even though the mall was only over the bridge, less than 10 minutes, the taxi had to go around and wait for traffic lights and costs $10. The mall did not have much. It resembles those "markets", usually located just outside the cruiseship terminals, selling mass-produced “made in China” trinkets. Unless you absolutely need something like sun protection, I would suggest you skip this mall. We walked back to the ship. It took us 24 minutes to get over the bridge, and 30 minutes to the terminal. Fortunately, we did not buy much; our backpacks were light. I recommend that if you like to walk, walk to the mall from the terminal, and take a taxi back. The road back is more direct, and would have cost less, and less to carry, if you have made purchases. Our cabin: We chose suite 8000, category B1, right at the forward. We share a wall with Vista Suite, and another wall with B1 balcony cabin 8001. We chose it because the deck seemed larger than other balconies. Pros: the deck is larger. With 3 deck chairs, 2 tables, we had room to maneuver. We also like the view. The view was expansive. We like sailing into and away from ports. And one morning, the sunrise was right in front of us, putting an amazing show, front and center. With this cabin, it is like being in the front row center seat! The sight of the sun rising from the big blue ocean is something we never get tired of. Magnificent! That alone was worth it. Cons: we do feel more movement in cabin 8000. We also hear more banging noise when the seas was rough. I am a sound sleeper, and I get woken up a few times. Also, as soon as it gets dark, we have to ensure no light emits from our cabin. It has something to do with navigation at night. Just something to keep in mind. If the itinerary is such the sea is calm, and the weather is pleasant, such as parts of Mediterranean, I would definitely select a forward cabin. If you are prone to motion sickness, and a light sleeper, forward cabin is not a good selection. Disembarkation: We rarely have any problem disembarking in Miami. There were 4 other ships at port, and yet our disembarkation process was smooth. We went through custom, got our luggage, without any incident. We shared a van with other Oceania guests, heading to the airport. Only when we arrived at the airport did we find out our flight has been delayed, due to the weather in Northeast region of North America. My sister who has a later flight was planning to visit the Dolphin Mall, chose not to go because she thought time was too tight. Her flight was scheduled for 3pm. However, 2 hours before her flight, she learned that her flight was also delayed. It ended up delayed for 3.5 hours. She could have visited Dolphin Mall or other Miami sights. Spending all that extra time at the airport was not fun. But that is beyond Oceania cruise control. Maybe planning to stay an extra day in Miami in December is a better plan. Next time! Customer Service: Besides food, we like Oceania’s service. Allow me to share with you our memorable experience and illustrate their great customer service. During Captain’s welcome party, we strike up a conversation with a crew member, Ante. This gentleman was enthusiastic, polite, and very personable. He is lighthearted, mirroring my husband’s. The second time we saw Ante, at the “Loyal Customer” event, he is like an old friends to us. We learned that Ante is a concierge in the executive lounge. Executive lounge is a private room exclusive to suites. Ante was very knowledgeable and culturally sensitive. Even though he jokes around, we felt he genuinely cares. The topic turns to specialty restaurants on Riviera, and how popular they are. He then offered to check for Red Ginger for us! He does not have to do this. We don’t have suites, we were not on his deck. We were not his responsibility. Also, it is toward the end of the cruise, he and the rest of the crew were busy preparing disembarkation and embarkation process for their guests. We appreciated his offer, and did not expect much. Yet, the next morning, he left a message about some openings. By the time I got back to him, the openings were gone. Instead of saying, “sorry, I tried”, he said, “I will continue to monitor the situation. You never know.” And sure enough, late in the day, he found an opening for us. Even though it was for 2 only (there were 3 of us), we took it. Talk about going out of your way to make guests happy! He was definitely going beyond his duty for guests. This is not the end of this story. There is more. Due to our respect for Ante, and the Red Ginger staff, 2 of us showed up on time. We did not want to inconvenience anyone or add any strain to Red Ginger’s well-oiled system. Katya, the maitre D, whom we have come to know from our previous 2 Oceania cruises, immediately noticed that my husband was absent. She managed to find an extra spot for him, without making it a big fuss. To us, it is big. We know it took effort to do that on their part too. We had our final cruise dinner in Red Ginger, together! We were so appreciative and impressed. For the service, we highly recommend Oceania cruise line to those who have never tried. Having said that, I do not recommend the Caribbean itinerary (right before Christmas) to those wanting to try Oceania for the first time. We encountered disgruntled guests and heard complaints more so on this cruise than our previous 2 on Oceania. And the complaints or issues were mostly weather-related and or minor, IMHO. As we know the weather is out of anyone’s control. For example, my husband and I found it amusing when we overheard and witnessed guests requesting the deck chairs be set up on the upper deck, as the guests themselves were holding on to their hats, jackets, and to the hand rails, in the gusty wind. (The upper decks had to be closed to guests numerous times due to high winds.) In my opinion, it would be irresponsible for the crew to abide the passengers’ wishes. Second example, the lines to make or change reservations in the very popular specialty restaurants are always long. At least this time, I knew to line up in the right queue. Make sure you are in the right queue, before lining up. You don’t want the frustration of waiting for an hour, and then realizing you had to go to another desk on another deck! The 3 reservation desks are placed in different restaurants, separated by the color of the sea card. I assume it is easier for one desk deals with only one category. I have witnessed many angry guests and the strain the reservation officers went through for the first 4 days of the cruise. We were fortunate. Even though we are in the B category; the staff still managed to change 3 of our 4 reservations to early dining time. For that we are grateful. Were we upset with late dining in Jacques? No. In fact, we got to know a lovely waitress who looked after us very well that night. We cannot comprehend how anyone not enjoy this cruise! 30C weather in the sun (occasional rain), water with 50 shades of blue, and no housework for 10 days! Any day with no housework is a great day for me! Quick note on other amenities on board: Perhaps you have noticed, I did not mention the nightly entertainment, the spa facilities, and the enrichment lectures. The only entertainment we watched was the fairwell performance from the entire (almost) officers and crew. We wanted to show support. We usually walked after dinner instead. My husband and I use the gym for stretching and yoga only. The room next to the gym (one used for yoga, pilate or spinning classes) was not opened until much later in the morning. We improvised and did our stretching and yoga out on the decks, when the wind was not too strong. Every yogi needs to experience the power and magic of sun salutation in the open sea, as the sun rises out of the dark blue ocean. As for the enrichment lectures, we missed because we wanted to enjoy the sun as much as we can. However, we do watch it in the stateroom at night. In closing, I bring back the question: do I recommend Oceania cruise. My answer was, “it depends.” If you love good food, appreciate excellent service and do not take things too seriously, especially on holidays, I think you will enjoy Oceania Cruise. And if you bring with you to Oceania Cruise your open mindedness, your positive outlook, and fun attitude, you will have an amazing time! In fact, I venture to say you will have a fantastic good time no matter where you go! Enjoy!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our first trip on Oceania but not our first cruise, we have 30+ on the traditional mass market lines. We did our own air using the credit from Oceania. Went down the day before and stayed in the Holiday Inn Port of Miami. Very ... Read More
This was our first trip on Oceania but not our first cruise, we have 30+ on the traditional mass market lines. We did our own air using the credit from Oceania. Went down the day before and stayed in the Holiday Inn Port of Miami. Very nice, basic hotel right by the Bay side Market. The credit was enough to cover the air, hotel and taxi's. Embarkation & Disembarkation: Very easy, we got to the terminal before our time of 12, got a group number. Right at 12 our group was called and in 15 min. we were on the ship. Getting off easy too, a form was sent around and we signed up for 8 am, at 8 our color was called and by 8:20 we were in a cab on our way to the air port. The cab was 25$ flat rate while the Oceania transfers were around 140$ to ride in a large bus, makes no sense. Some of the prices they charge are so out of line I feel insulted like they must think me a fool or something. Cabin: We started out in a ocean view and the week before the trip we took a up sell of 400$ to get a A1 Concierge cabin. Same cabin with some added perks and a nice size balcony. Cabin was large, well laid out with enough storage for us.Bed was great, lots of electric outlets, very clean and neat. Bath was very nice with good storage, tub and shower. I an 6'6" and just fit in the shower. As for room perks, loved the spa terrace, drank the wine. Did not use the concierge or lounge. Ship: Great, you can see it was built using upscale products, very neat and clean and well maintained. Good size with good people flow. Never felt crowded or had to wait in line. lots of public rooms to hang in. What I DID NOT like was there is no promenade deck at all, the show lounge in very small with poor sight lines because the stage is 1 foot high. seats are the most uncomfortable I ever sat in, saw people bring pillows. Service: All I can say is it was great, No matter where I went the staff were right there to help and do as I asked and there were lots of them. Entertainment: I felt it was very good. The ships singers and dancers were great, they were held back by the poor show lounge. Had one show each nigh, there was also the ships band, great, a singing duo, string group, great, and a piano man, great. There were no activities by the pool during the day, they had art auctions which were non-intrusive if you did not like them, Artist loft, my wife went each day and lover it, her pictures are all over the house. Also the cooking class. We took one, it was a lot of fun however for the price I would of expected to be able to keep the hat, instead they wanted to sell it to me for 25$. Shore Trips: We took two. They were the exact same trip that other lines offer in the port for twice the price. There was a NCL ship with us, same type of bus and same company tour guide. NCL 70$, Oceania 125$. I do not mind paying more if I get more but!!!! The plus was there were no crowds, I wonder why? Food: I an NOT a food critic, some I liked, some I did not. It is obvious Oceania has chosen Quality over Quantity. The choice is very large for a cruise ship with up scale items all around. Most of it is cooked to order. We never had a problem eating at the time we wanted with a table for two. Overall: We had a nice time and will return as I booked another trip on board. We also use other lines as we take our grandchildren and this is NOT for them. This line in NOT child friendly. We also like a little more action at times, even tho I am 66 I still enjoy young folks, you will not find them here. As for rating, if I was comparing this to a mass market line I would of given them a 5+, however they are not mass market in pricing so in the price point they are in they get a 4. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was our first cruise on Oceania. We were looking forward to the newness of the ship, the length of the itinerary, and the warmth of the Caribbean! The ship is gorgeous and very tastefully decorated, a dramatic difference from ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Oceania. We were looking forward to the newness of the ship, the length of the itinerary, and the warmth of the Caribbean! The ship is gorgeous and very tastefully decorated, a dramatic difference from Holland America, and less clubby than Azamara (Journey), which were the only other lines that we had to compare with Oceania. We were excited to spend fourteen days on board. However, if you adore star-gazing into the Caribbean night sky as much as I do, you would have been disappointed to find an overhang blocking our view from our Penthouse suite on Deck 11. If we are fortunate enough to set sail on Rivera again, I would only consider Deck 12 or one of the PH class staterooms in the aft of the ship on Deck 7, which have a more favorable view of the sky. As a matter of fact, I did catch a peek from the balcony of the Oceania Suite on Deck 12, as I had met a couple in the Internet Lounge who offered to give me a tour while we were chatting (thanks, Frank and Suzanne!) I vowed to set that little disappointment aside, and the remainder of our stateroom was attractive, well-equipped and comfortable. Storage, storage, storage ... almost too much, as I found myself backtracking through empty drawers and cabinets when I misplaced something. The walk-in closet was a dream, and the bathroom well-appointed. We were already prepared for the small-ish shower from previous reviews but it was plenty comfortable, especially with rain shower head. We loved the Bvlgari toiletries but suggested in our post-cruise survey that for a fourteen day cruise, full size bottles would produce less waste. Another comment for the cruise line about the reams of paper that appeared in the stateroom day after day: Why not take after Holland America and put a recycle bin next to the waste bin in each room? (Go green!) We promptly were greeted by our butler Pio and room steward Eniko. Pio was a nice enough fellow, but we consider ourselves fairly self-sufficient and aren't really "butler" people. I can only RAVE about Eniko. She was pleasant, efficient, and it was a joy to have her take care of our room throughout our stay, including ensuring that the water in our massive flower arrangement (a gift from me to me) was changed daily. I have to add that it was a nice touch to see an impromptu floral shop set up in the lobby on the 1st day @ sea. I selected my own arrangement of star-gazer lilies and Delphinium, and they lasted the duration of the cruise. I was also surprised at the quality of internet service on board ship. Lest my husband miss an email or a hockey score, we purchased the unlimited package @ $21.99 per day), and except for an unfortunate 36 hour unplanned outage, we easily connected with no issue from my husband's iPad for the duration of the trip. (Being in the IT industry myself, I felt a great deal of empathy for the poor fellow manning the Internet Lounge during the outage. People were not happy.) The specialty restaurants were all wonderful, but some of the highlights were the pumpkin soup at Jacques, the desserts at Polo Grille, the baguette bread at the Terrace Cafe and Jacques, the spicy shrimp appetizer at Red Ginger, and just about everything else at Red Ginger, for that matter. We only ate at the Main Dining Room one time, opting for al fresco dining at the Terrace Cafe for all breakfasts and most dinners. Having escaped the 20 degree cold of Western New York, it was always a delight to dine outside. For added ambiance, however, we brought along our flameless votive candles for dining after dark. (Another suggestion for the cruise line . . . why not have rechargeable candles outside for nighttime dining?) I hesitate to call the Terrace Cafe a buffet (or "boo-fay", as we heard it called). I would suggest that it be referred to as high end food stations, with much of the food cooked to order. Grilled Lobster, grilled fish, pastas, meats carved to order, hand tossed Caesar salads, fresh fruit, sushi, cheeses and meats, and the list goes on. One of my favorite light meals was a glass (or two) of red wine, bread, and blue cheese with a drizzle of honey. We attended three onboard cooking classes and thoroughly enjoyed every dish we prepared (and sampled) under the direction of Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly. The mood was light (and the wine was flowing), and with two person teams, there was plenty of hands-on time for everyone. All of the dirty dishes are magically whisked away and washed by someone other than yourselves. What could be better than that? We pan-fried, sauteed, poached, grav loxed and sauced our way to heaven. We learned new techniques and recipes that we have already adopted at home. (Who would have ever thought that pan seared prosciutto wrapped prunes stuffed with blue cheese and walnut would be such a hit at a dinner party?) For future cruises, I am hoping that they find local venues in the Carribean to incorporate the shopping and cooking excursions that are prevalent on some of the other itineraries. We decided to take ample advantage of the Spa Terrace and Canyon Ranch Spa and with only a minor exception, can say that service and services were terrific (it would be nice to have drink service out there, however, and people did bring their own cocktails despite the Spa's no alcohol policy). During our two weeks on board, I partook in a facial, multiple massages, manicure and pedicure. After his first massage my husband declared Louise the best massage therapist he had ever encountered. He specifically booked his 2nd appointment with her, only to find that they had switched therapists when he arrived at his second visit. Although the staff was able to book an appointment later in the day to accommodate Louise's change in availability, he felt that the front desk at the spa handled the incident badly and without apology for what was clearly their problem (all he wanted to hear was "I'm sorry" . . . would that have been so difficult?) The artist in residence at the Artist Loft during our cruise worked with paper in a crafty sort of way. I was surprised to enjoy my sessions as much as I did, but only had time to attend twice. There was just too much other stuff to do! Having traveled to the Caribbean on several other occasions, we were feeling comfortable enough to go off-grid and plan some of our own shore excursions. On Curacao, we met up with local resident Clarita Hagenaar who conducts culinary walking tours of her beloved island. A travel agent and KLM steward in a previous life, she conducts herself professionally but is playful, knowledgeable, and incredibly personable. We found ourselves sampling street food that we would have never tried on our own, including kala (made with black eyed peas and habanero pepers deep fried like a donut), tentalaria di kashew and tentalaria di pinda (sweets made of cashew nuts and peanuts), boiled peanuts (not my favorite thing), and goat curry and plantains served in the open air Old Market with fabulous onion and habenero relish. Our tour included stops at the floating market, New Market, Old Market, Parliament, the fort, the synagogue and museum (fascinating!) as well as a couple of stops not on her normal itinerary. We felt like, and were treated like, an extended member of her family. Thank you, Clarita! In Greneda, we hopped on a water taxi to Grand Anse Beach, right outside of the cruise port terminal. For an $8 round trip, it was a huge bargain, but you'll need to be prepared to fend off beach vendors and other relentless fellows who offer to deliver drinks or lunch to your beach chair all day. They were very friendly, persistent, and did take no for an answer (as well as a dollar) if you were direct with them. There were mostly locals on the beach, an outdoor market for a little light shopping, as well as casual or sit-down dining for lunch. A terrific way to spend the day on Grenada. Absolutely gorgeous. In St. Lucia, we connected with Spencer Ambrose Tours for snorkeling at Sugar Bay (formerly Jalousie Island), and were thrilled to find that we were only a party of six that day. Because Spencer's staff knows that the snorkeling site can get quite busy with other tour operators later in the day, they whisked us there first thing in the morning. The the water was clear and the fish were abundant (compared to later in the day, with close to 50 other people in the water). Our tour included a locally prepared lunch and was well worth the $85 per person charge. Our goal in Barbados was to celebrate my husband's birthday in style, so I treated him to lunch at Sandy Lane while we were in port. We were treated like royalty (but is was uber expensive!) The options offered in St. Barth's didn't interest us, so we opted for some walking and shopping. We had previously gone on the ATV Tour with Azamara and it is a fun way to see the island. For other shore excursions we stuck with the cruise line, knowing that although we would be paying a premium, there would be no risk of not getting back aboard on time. I believe that the quality of the excursions vary by island, so you are definitely taking a chance but I don't fault the cruise line for a less than spectacular shore excursion. In Aruba, I took a scuba excursion and would definitely recommend this for beginners. Our group felt safe at all times with two guides and two additional people onboard the boat looking after us. In Antigua and St. Vincent we took excursions on catamarans. Both trips were well run but the stop for snorkeling on Bequia (Antigua) was risky since the wave action was fierce that day (certainly not the cruise line's fault). We are early risers and only took advantage of the evening entertainment one time (didn't begin until 9:30), so I won't comment on the quality. Disembarkation was the area with room for most improvement, probably due to the crowd of 1,200 people, many of which not willing or able to follow instructions of when to line up to leave the ship. It was an entirely different experience from our trip last year from Barbados to Miami on Azamara Journey, where senior staff members were at the gangway to say one final goodbye. Ship's officers were not in evidence as far as I could tell, and not even the people who swiped our card for one last time as we stepped off board said goodbye. It was an awkward end to a wonderful trip. One final thought for the Port of Miami is that many senior citizens (not us) would have benefitted from Porter assistance once luggage was gathered. I felt that some people were left struggling. I guess it pays to pack light. Overall, I would describe this vacation as a dream vacation if you like to leave the cold weather in early March behind and spend two weeks island hopping. It was two weeks well spent! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My wife and I just returned from a very relaxing 10-day Caribbean cruise on the Oceania Riviera. While most of our reactions were thoroughly positive, there were a few negatives too. I'll start with the positives. The ship: Just ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from a very relaxing 10-day Caribbean cruise on the Oceania Riviera. While most of our reactions were thoroughly positive, there were a few negatives too. I'll start with the positives. The ship: Just a year old, the small-to-moderate size ship is beautiful throughout, with generally excellent facilities, including great staterooms with verandas, plenty of dining options (more below), lounges, bars, and public restrooms. Important to us, the ship has a state-of-the-art fitness center. We also loved the golf hitting cage and quite remarkable 18-hole putting course. The surface on the latter was the closest to a real golf green I've encountered, with the ball rolling fast and true. The pool is small (not suitable for swimming, as with most cruise ships). There is a well-staffed casino. We delighted in the fabulous art throughout the ship. Neither of us is an art connoisseur but we stopped often to marvel at the creativity and color in so many of the works. This was a major unexpected treat. Staterooms: We can only comment knowledgeably about the penthouse suites since we decided to splurge on one. The PH suites are essentially what would be called a junior suite in a hotel. Ours was a very attractive spacious 420 square feet, with a very comfortable bed (with elegant sheets), a nice sitting area, an incredibly large walk-in closet (an amazing asset, one not found in all of the PH suites), and a good-sized and well-designed bathroom with attractive vanity with plenty of storage space for toiletries and separate tub and shower (and stocked with Bulgari shampoo, etc.). The design of the shower was especially impressive. Although it was somewhat small, I never felt cramped when I showered. The rainforest showerhead was great, although I should note that if you are over 6'2", you will have to duck a bit. I'm 6'1" and I had no more than 1" clearance between my head and the showerhead. We particularly enjoyed our huge veranda, about 12' x 12' (I'm guessing), with 2 comfortable chairs, 2 chaise lounge chairs, and a small table...and plenty of space to roam. Our travel agent singled it out when we were booking, and it proved to be a blessing given the unavailability of lounge chairs throughout the open deck areas (more below). Our stateroom (7133) was one of only 4 PH suites on deck 7, the lowest of the passenger decks. 7135 was somewhat smaller than our room (with a smaller but still decent closet), but it had a veranda that wrapped around the ship, affording great access to sun and views. Note that all of the verandas on deck 7 are considerably larger than average. The verandas for other staterooms on higher decks are pretty typical of modern cruise ships -- large enough to accommodate a couple of chairs and a small cocktail table and no more. Restaurants: The food on the Riviera is superb and the options numerous. The Grand Dining Room is quite elegant and our first night dinner there was of a caliber we have experienced in the best restaurants in which we have dined around the world. The Terrace dining room had great buffets for all 3 meals, with seating both inside and out. Waves Grill had great burgers and the like (including mahi-mahi and tuna), a limited salad bar, and an always-in-demand ice cream bar. Waves was open for lunch until 4 pm, while the other restaurants closed around 2 pm. There are 4 specialty restaurants. Frankly, we were a bit disappointed in both Red Ginger and Jacques, the two for which we had the highest expectations. In contrast, we very much enjoyed both the Polo Grill and Toscana. The latter was especially impressive, with a wide-ranging menu of delicious and interesting Italian-themed dishes. We had two slightly negative experiences with service in the specialty restaurants. In two instances, we felt our food was brought much too fast, with no time at all in between courses. In one of the restaurants, the waitress knocked over my wife's glass of red wine toward where I was seated. I reacted quickly and caught most of the wine headed for my lap in my large cloth napkin. My (black) shirt felt a bit damp in one area, although I couldn't see any "damage", and remarkably I didn't see any spillage on my khaki trousers. The waitress apologized and reset the table. She put the wine glasses back on the table but didn't offer to have my clothes cleaned (she didn't even ask if they had been hit by the wine, despite having seen my wine-saturated napkin). Equally remarkably, she didn't refill my wife's glass, leaving it empty on the table! Service: The staff on the Riviera are amazing. They are incredibly attentive and always approach you with a great smile, one that seemed genuine, something you don't expect to see among so many staff. On several occasions we would make a request of one staff member for something that was not in his or her area of responsibility, but rather than saying that, they would go find the appropriate person and make it happen. For example, if we asked a busboy for some wine, he would instantly take our request to a wine steward. Our biggest "problem" with staff was disappointing our butler, Binod! PH suites are served by butlers. We are not accustomed to using butler services and, frankly, had little need for them, especially since we like going to restaurants rather than having meals served in our stateroom. Binod kept finding us and asking how he could be of service. We did have him serve dinner our last night at sea, and must say that we enjoyed the experience. Regarding service, we were also very impressed with the efficiency (and again staff friendliness) of the boarding and disembarkation processes, both at ports of call and at the beginning and end of the trip. Entertainment: We had heard that the entertainment wasn't equivalent to that found on much larger ships. While the quantity of entertainment might be substantially less, the quality couldn't have been any better. The song-and-dance troupe performed 4 nights, with different themed shows each night, and they were absolutely fabulous -- excellent voices (especially the lead singer, Lawrence) complementing astonishingly good dancing. The comedian/magician, who performed two nights, rivals the best such acts we have ever seen. Even Nolan, the cruise director, excelled in his song-and-comedy show after the main performance one night. Ports of call: We stopped in Tortola, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Barts. For 4 of the islands we simply booked taxis (including large open-air "safari" taxis in two cases) for 1- to 3-hour island tours and then we walked around on our own. As we had never been to 4 of the islands, we enjoyed the opportunity to see some new locales. Frankly, the islands per se were not what attracted us to the cruise. The demographics of the passengers: Given the size of the ship, the nature of the cruise, and the relative expense of Oceania, we expected a relatively older clientele. Even given these expectations, we were surprised by the age distribution of the passengers. We are 66 and 67 and we'd guess that that put us in the younger half of those onboard! There was no more than a handful of children, and I'd guess that passengers under 50 constituted no more than 5% of the total, if that. There is nothing wrong with this; it's just a point of interest. The international nature of the passengers was fun, with most of it accounted for by the 400 (?) folks from the UK (out of about 1200 total passengers), many of whom we enjoyed meeting. The reason for the large contingent of Brits is interesting and was a bit disquieting to many of the Americans onboard. This is discussed below. We did find a few aspects of the cruise disappointing. In describing them here, I want to emphasize that the overall experience was very positive. Excursions: The ship offers numerous excursions at each port of call. We had been forewarned that they were over-priced and didn't participate in any of them. Frankly, we found their pricing ridiculous. For virtually the identical island tours that we took for $15-25/person, the ship charged $85-115! My guess is that Oceania is missing an opportunity. If their prices were more reasonable -- no more than half of what they were charging -- we would have signed up for some of the trips. I wouldn't be surprised if the additional volume lower prices would generate would increase their profits. We found the current pricing extremely disappointing. Availability of chaise lounge chairs on deck: An Oceania cruise is a relatively expensive one. Under such circumstances, I would expect the ship to be designed such that it could be provisioned with an adequate number of lounge chairs to accommodate any passenger wanting one at any time. The opposite was the case. Especially during days at sea, if you didn't grab lounge chairs early in the morning, you had little chance of getting any until late in the afternoon. The ship has a policy of moving books and the like used to hold lounge chairs if the occupants do not return in a half hour. But whether it was enforced or not, demand so greatly exceeded supply that the situation was essentially hopeless. Our veranda with its two lounge chairs saved the trip for us. Without that, we would have been disappointed in the extreme. Food availability after hours: It's hard to be hungry on a cruise, but if you want a snack late in the evening, the only way to get it on the Riviera is to order room service, and that seems like overkill just for a snack. The ship ought to have a place where passengers can pick up a bag of chips or a cookie, even if it isn't staffed. Paying for alcoholic drinks: Riviera is not all-inclusive. Passengers have to pay for their drinks each time they order them ($9-12 each) or else pay $55/day for unlimited bar (and restaurant) drinks. This includes wine and beer at dinner. We prefer not to have to think about shelling out money every time we want a drink, so we bought the package. Even so, the bartenders or wine stewards had to swipe your card every time you ordered one. We found this annoying. We'd prefer that all beverages be included in the basic cruise price, although I can understand that non-drinkers wouldn't. Wireless charges: Wireless is available on the ship, and we had a laptop provided in our room. (I don't know if this is true of all rooms or just the PH suites and above.) There is a one-time connection fee of $4 and then -- ready for this? -- a charge of $1 for every 1 minute of use of their wireless! The alternatives were $28/day, which would be okay if I was spending my days working (!), or $160 for 200 any-time minutes. I can understand a charge for using wireless, but, as with the shore excursions, these charges are way off the charts. They contributed to our feeling that Oceania was trying to nickel-and-dime passengers to death (only it was $5 and $10 instead of nickels and dimes). I found this unclassy. Activities on board: Given the nature of this cruise and the passenger demographics, this criticism is almost certainly a bit unfair, but I like to have more physical "games" to play on board. The options on Riviera were the aforementioned golf facilities, shuffle board, a small paddle-board court, and croquet. When we docked next to the Carnival Breeze, I envied its passengers the huge water slide, the ropes course, basketball court, etc. Again, I appreciate that this is a reflection of my preferences and not this ship. But it's something to consider if planning to take a cruise. The British are coming: Finally, everyone was amazed to find about a third of the passengers (maybe more) being from the UK. Chatting with them we learned that Oceania had been publicizing the cruise heavily in the UK and offering outstanding discounted fares. Several of the Americans we met were discussing the fact that the Brits paid less than we did. I understand marketing, but this left us, and several of our fellow American passengers, with a slightly bitter taste. Having noted these few negatives, I want to conclude by reiterating that overall we thoroughly enjoyed the ship, its people, and the cruise itself. If we are to take another ship cruise in the future, we will certainly consider Oceania once more. 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Sail Date February 2013
You know you're in love with a ship when you log on to the Port of Miami webcam because the ship is preparing for yet another journey and you just want to see her off. In September I booked the Caribbean Hideaways January 3rd ... Read More
You know you're in love with a ship when you log on to the Port of Miami webcam because the ship is preparing for yet another journey and you just want to see her off. In September I booked the Caribbean Hideaways January 3rd Riviera cruise to celebrate a milestone event in my husband's life and it was a great excuse to throw caution to the wind and spend more than we ever had before on a Caribbean cruise. And then Oceania offered prepaid gratuities if you booked a cruise by 12/31 so unbeknownst to my husband I booked another cruise on the Riviera for January 2014. Usually this wouldn't be odd, but we hadn't even embarked on our first Oceania cruise. So on the first day of our cruise he said "This is an amazing ship; we have to do this again!" and I was able to reply with a smile ... "Good news!" In our entire time on the Riviera he couldn't find anything to complain about which made this wife a very happy woman. I recently read my CC review of our last cruise on Celebrity Solstice. While there were undertones of disappointment in my review, I tried to wrap our experience with pretty ribbons. But what I remember now is telling my husband a couple of months later that my cruising days were over, that the ships were too big, too splashy, that too many cutbacks had occurred first on Holland America a few years back and now on the Celebrity I so loved. Then along came a brochure from Oceania. And it's doubtful we'll ever cruise on any other line again. The passengers, the crew, our butler, the warm greeting at Reception and Destinations, the food in every venue ... all were nothing less than superb. I wrote on my comment form that the service was just the right blend of efficiency and a warm friendliness. Simply stated, we were guests, not cargo. We loved it. Embarkation: Because we booked a Penthouse Suite we could board at 12:00. We parked opposite the pier with incredible ease and literally breezed through check-in and onto the ship. This was just about the easiest, smoothest embarkation we've experienced and there was one thing missing: No photographers making us stand in front of a fake ship backdrop. Thank you, Oceania! Many such "extras" were missing on this cruise and we welcomed their absence. Who Was Onboard: Captain Gunnar Romtveit General Manager Thierry Tholon Cruise Director Nolan Dean Senior Executive Chef Christophe Belin Our Butler: Binod Stateroom: We were in PH3 Suite 7128. I chose this for the deeper balcony and location. We had quick access to everything except the Riviera Lounge located forward. Everything else is aft and it was an easy run down to the Grand Dining Room, Reception or to get off in the ports. The extra large balcony was wonderful, but for us unnecessary. I loved looking straight down to the sea with no decks or lifeboats in the way. There was nothing more relaxing than pulling our wonderfully comfy reclining 'wicker' deck chairs over to the railing, putting our feet up and just gazing out to sea or surrounding islands while in port. The PH3 suite is a very generous 420 sq. ft. with a large walk in closet. I could give up the space before the closet that made me virtually euphoric the entire trip. Any 'girl' out there can relate! I hung everything simply because I could yet there was also tons of drawer and cabinet space. My only complaint (if I have one at all) is the space taken from the shower in order to offer a bathtub. You can't shower in the tub without water everywhere and the shower was very tight. But other than that it was a splendiferous bathroom; granite and marble with a huge sink. I love the Bulgari products most especially the green tea body lotion ... to die for. The dead sea salt crystals worked magic on my hands ... simply luxurious. The entire cabin and balcony was spotless throughout the cruise and our cabin stewardesses were always smiling and so terribly sweet. And the bed. The "tranquility" bed, so aptly named, is Euro-top, custom made in France I believe (but who cares), topped with a decadent layer of memory foam with gel and fibers with chamomile to soothe you. All this is wrapped in 1000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets along with a down comforter. All puff and fluff and soft and luxurious ... yum. Be still my heart. I got into bed the first night and thought I might lie there forever. Dining: There are no words, but I always find them anyway. The first night we felt casual and went to the "buffet" in the Terrace Restaurant. Just toss any conception you may have about "buffets" and imagine yourself in a fine restaurant where you seat yourself wherever your heart desires and someone immediately appears to take your drink order and fill your glass with iced water. White tablecloths and crystal glasses adorn the table. Then imagine you're allowed to go into the kitchen of this fine restaurant and choose whatever your heart desires from whatever a variety of chefs have whipped up. We began with sushi and crab legs, green mussels, crusty breads and fine cheeses. And then, from the grill, lobster and baby lamb chops with mint jelly. I can't even go on ... we were in heaven. We also enjoyed dinner in Jacques (succulent Duck l'Orange and perfectly cooked Dover Sole), Polo for prime rib and steamed lobster, Red Ginger for Miso Glazed Sea Bass and Toscana for more lobster, pasta and veal chop. My husband preferred Toscana to the others, but I liked Polo the best with Jacques a close second. Red Ginger was not my favorite, truthfully, though it was everyone else's that we spoke to. I think I ordered the wrong things there, but I'll definitely give it another try. We loved the Grand Dining Room. The Eggs Benedict at breakfast were the best I've ever had, perfectly cooked. We always shared a table with 2 other couples and had the best time getting to know people from all over this country and beyond. And all the desserts in every venue were superb including the homemade ice cream, milkshakes, and a chocolate fountain with marshmallows and fruits to dip. And then there's Afternoon Tea at 4:00 in Horizons and scones with clotted cream and ..... I know I've lost you ... you've left me to book an Oceania cruise, right? Staff/Service: What can I say? Exemplary. We wanted for nothing. I know it seems like I'm fawning, but everyone working on that ship served us flawlessly and seemingly with no effort at all. I think what really rocked our world was after the last show when officers, chefs, butlers, stewards and other staff came into the lounge to salute US! And as we left they banked the sides applauding us as we applauded them. They made us feel that they were as happy to have us there as we were to have them. We chose the PH because this was a special celebration. But the Butler seemed superfluous. Ha!!! Within minutes of entering our cabin, Binod arrived at our door and told us he was there for no other reason than to make us happy. Each day when I opened the door at dawn to see his smiling face with steaming hot coffee and fresh croissants, I was indeed very happy. On our last day I remarked that I wish he could come home with me; I'm sure this is not a new request. I moaned "Binod, we have to disembark tomorrow! (woeful face)" to which he replied "But you are here now, this moment. Enjoy today. Now is all that matters". It's so simple; it is so true. Carpe diem. I really enjoyed working with Rosanna De Ria, our Oceania Club Ambassador. Both she and Sharon Miceli always had a friendly smile and Rosanna was so helpful even when I kept changing my mind about a future cruise. Tours: Call me stupid because I know that the cruise line tours cost more than booking privately, but I feel safer using them. I know that no matter what happens the ship won't leave without me. We've been to the Caribbean many times and visited most of the islands both by land and sea. So for us the Riviera was our destination, but we did book 2 tours. Antigua -- Lobster & Champagne Catamaran Cruise: This was a wonderful tour exploring the shores of Antigua, visited two beaches, and included lobster grilled off the stern of the catamaran along with delicious potatoes, salad, a rice dish we didn't really care for, and champagne. We don't drink alcohol, but it was fun to watch everyone kick back, relax and enjoy ... it's catching. The lobster was delicious which says a lot coming from this New Englander who honestly believes that there is no other lobster than Maine lobster. Maybe it was the ambiance, or the boat, or the magnificent turquoise waters, but that lobster tasted pretty darned yummy to me. All of us onboard really had fun on this tour and you can't put a price on a wonderful day you'll never forget. Barbados -- Photo Adventure: Barbados is really an exquisite island. In the 80's we stayed on the island and we've visited since by sea, but I looked forward to returning for a view from the "inside". I was not disappointed. The host of this tour was Ronnie Carrington, a Barbadian photographer. On our way to the spectacular "Scotland District" on the east coast of Barbados, he showed us a number of his photographs. As an amateur photographer, I was in awe of some of his work. Our last stop was at the charming Atlantis Hotel on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, white louvre shutters thrown open to an azure sea, breezes gently swaying the palms, magnificent views ... just wonderful. Here we enjoyed a cold rum or fruit punch before returning to the ship. I only hope I was able to capture some of the beauty along our route in my photographs. Barbados was just as I remembered. The only blemish on this day was dropping my brand new camera on a rock rendering it useless. How lucky was I to have brought along a "just in case" and had it with me on this tour. As in so many ports, you need to get away from Bridgetown to really experience the island. And while some islands are often better enjoyed from the water, Barbados is an island you really need to explore from within. Entertainment: The Jean Ann Ryan Company was the featured entertainment in the Riviera Lounge. We thought they were wonderful and saw all but one of their shows. I regret we missed some of the Entertainers onboard because we got so caught up in conversation at dinner that we couldn't tear ourselves away. But the entertainment we did see, we really enjoyed. What stood out for me was one of the Jean Ann Ryan singers performing " The Phantom of the Opera". She was as good, or better, than performers who have performed it on the New York stage. I want to mention here that Nolan Dean was probably by far the best Cruise Director we've ever had ... at least in recent memory. First, he was so funny which in itself is enough for me. His self-deprecating humor had me from moment one and I believe he held all of us in the palm of his hand from that day forward. Nolan seemed to be everywhere. Maybe he fooled us all with an identical twin stashed away, because it seemed no matter where we were he was there with a huge smile. The Passengers: We had a wonderful group anticipating this cruise on our CC Roll Call and we got more excited with every day. We had arranged to meet in Horizons our first morning at sea. Almost everyone showed up and my only regret is there wasn't more time to spend talking. We were a little rushed and in the way of an activity, but we were all in a pretty happy mood that morning and it was fun running into everyone throughout the cruise. We met so many wonderful people from all corners the world. I don't think I ran into one grump the entire cruise. Even my husband was at his best! I would love to join all the people we met and sail off again one day, get to know them better. A couple of our fellow cruisers are already booked on our next cruise and I'm looking forward to seeing them again. Disembarkation: We requested 8:30. We were told everyone would leave the ship between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. Our number was called about 8:20, we were off the ship and through Customs within 25 minutes. With our drive of 1 hour 20 minutes we were back in our home at 10:00 a.m. Having walked out of our suite at 8:00, this was just amazing. Last year we experienced the worst disembarkation ever and this was definitely the best ever. Final Thoughts: Our cruising days together began on the fun filled decks of the Cunard Countess in the early 80's and washed onto the Royal Viking Sea in the Mediterranean for our honeymoon. We sailed through the South Pacific waters on Wind Song and enjoyed the small feel of ships like Seawind Crown, Prinsendam and NCL's Windward (both formerly Royal Viking ships). I have been on 19 cruises, which for some may seem few, but neither are we cruise novices. For years we enjoyed Holland America and then Celebrity, but as those lines tried to keep their fares low and their ships full, we felt the decline yet not unlike a wife trying to excuse her husband's faults, or vice versa, we overlooked a lot. But looking back today at my last review of Solstice I now know how generous I was because the tarnish was greater than I acknowledged. So to board Oceania Riviera a few weeks ago, feel the luxury and the warmth that engulfed us, it really was like coming home and served as a reminder that you get what you pay for. And truth be known, even the lowest level on Oceania comes at a higher cost than the cruise lines we enjoyed in the past. But we've reached a time in our lives that if we're going to take ourselves out on the glorious ocean we so love, we're going to do it in style and we're going to do it on Oceania. I'd rather cruise less and do it on Oceania than accept anything less than what we experienced on the Riviera. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This was our 3 rd and 4th cruise with Oceania, as we took a two 10 days back to back Caribbean cruise package. Although we have tried a number of other cruise lines, we found, like everything else in life, you get what you paid for. If you ... Read More
This was our 3 rd and 4th cruise with Oceania, as we took a two 10 days back to back Caribbean cruise package. Although we have tried a number of other cruise lines, we found, like everything else in life, you get what you paid for. If you want a cruise where the dinner jacketed waiter brings the caviar on a silver plate while you are in the swimming pool, Oceania is not for you. Or if you are happy to line up at a summer camp type canteen to get your lunch and love to listen to loud electronic "music" blaring at you everywhere, Oceania is not for you. We found it amazing how some ships cater for different type of travellers, for example we saw a German ship which carried bicycles for passengers to tour the different ports. Our Riviera was more notable for the number of wheel chairs it carried. But if you appreciate superb food, outstanding service, and great ambiance, the Riviera will provide it, with abundance. Most of the passengers were senior or very senior citizens who not only had the time to cruise but who reached an age to be too old to be missed back home. Out of the 1200 passengers, 60% were repeat customers, and one couple celebrated their 50th Oceania cruise. The Riviera is very similar to her sister ship Marina, but we found that the artwork and decoration is less offensive to the eye than on the Marina. The ship launched in 2012 was made in an Italian shipyard, and we were sorry to see that the famous Italian flair had gone the same way as their economy. At least the pictures on the wall were signed by the "artists", indicating which way to hang the paintings. The cabins are comfortable and adequate for a short trip, provided you get on well with your travelling partner. The bathroom is well equipped, with a shower cubicle and for those who could not fit in, there was a full size tub, provided they were fit enough to step in. The cabins are kept clean and tidy by the ship staff, but we found it helps to give a $20 bill to the stateroom attendant as you board on the first day. Oceania charges $11 per person per day as gratuity, but if you shop around, you may find a travel agent who would prepay the gratuities from their commission. On the ship, the dress code is country club casual; there is no need to have formal ware days, like on other ship we have encountered. Judging by attire worn by some of the passengers on those ships, it is possible that the formal days were introduced to enhance one's appetite at meal times. The choice of entertainment on the Riviera is limited. This becomes important on sea days, or when docked at the few ports with little to offer, except the notorious International Diamond store, the Wallmart of jewellers in the Caribbean. The ship has a good library, otherwise only few activities are available during the day, unless you are interested in lectures on weighty subjects, such as napkin folding. Most evenings there was a late evening show, attended by approximately half the passengers, the rest must have retired, or did not fancy the type of entertainments offered. The variety shows ranged from class to crass, with scanty dressed young 6 ft 6 inch tall (without the high heels) dancing girls, their long legs reaching to the armpit gyrating, a routine more suited for an audience swimming in testosterone, instead they were reminding the old folks what they used to do long ago at their younger years, but horizontally, in bed. There was a good eight piece house band playing dance music in the evening, but the few couples who were fit enough to climb up the two steps to the dance floor did not exactly exhibit ballroom grace of motion. For shoppers, there are no Middle Eastern type bazaars on the Riviera, like on some ships. Instead the on ship boutiques are full of beautiful merchandise, but some of the jewelry may cost almost as much as your trip. Also, the journey is made more pleasant by having no onboard photographers pestering you and the constant bombardment of announcements and flyers on special sales of mostly junk. The tours offered by Oceania carry a large mark-up, but if you are interested in more than sightseeing, or are planning a longer duration tour, it is advisable to take a tour organized by the ship, to make sure that you have a knowledgeable guide and you are back safe and sound before the ship sails. It is advisable to do some research on the different tours before you book to avoid any disappointment. During the first 10 days Caribbean Hideaways trip the cruise stops at five different islands: Tortola, Antigua, Barbados, Saint Lucia and Gustavia. All lush in vegetation and the mountains provide breathtaking scenery overlooking the ocean. Some people say once you have seen one island you seen all, but we found that each island had some characteristics ranging from the majestic peaks of the Pitons on St. Lucia to the harbour of Augusta at St. Barth, which reminds one of Monte Carlo or Nice of the French Riviera. The second 10 day cruise called Mayan Mystique stopped at George Town, Cozumel, Belize, Santo Tomas, Costa Maya, but we could not dock at Roatan due to the stormy weather. We found the name of Mayan Mystique appropriate as we found it mysterious why Oceania chose some of those ports of call, such as Belize City and Santo Tomas in Guatemala. The Mayan ports appear to offer less sightseeing than the Caribbean ports, for example one of the Mayan tour we took involved 5 hours of bus ride through boring landscape, then spending one hour looking at three Mayan ruins, while standing in pouring rain. Some Mayan ports offer trips to beaches and various other water activities. The Mayan leg of the cruise should be advertised for young couples, and book or other lovers, as in case of inclement weather there is nothing else to do, until the next meal time. At every port there are shops after shops, selling various merchandise, some are junk, but somehow they survive proving that one man's junk is another's treasure. The good news is that some of the products were made locally and none of the merchandise I looked at had the label "Made in China". If one is inclined to keep up to date with all the bad news while travelling, there is a brief four page daily summary news sheet printed on the ship and delivered to your cabin. It is an embarrassing collection of mostly trivia news item, but sport fans are well served, as sport items are occupying more than 50% of the news sheets. Fortunately, there is TV in the cabin and for those who are interested in international and unbiased reporting can even watch the BBC news programs. The best shows are the meal times in the Grand dining room, or the 4 o'clock Tea and in the evenings in the four Speciality restaurants, where the presentation, flavours and ambiance produce and evening to remember. The Grand dining room on the Riviera is truly grand, serving food with exotic ingredients, in picture perfect presentation, resulting in mostly outstanding dishes. The other four smaller restaurants serve more specialized food, in intimate and elegant surroundings. You are entitled to dine once in each of these speciality restaurants. It is recommended to book your tables on the internet before you sail, to make sure you get a table, especially if you are not inclined the share the table with others. There is no extra charge for dining in these speciality restaurants. These restaurants serve French, Italian, Asian and steak dishes. When dining at the Red Ginger Asian restaurant it is advisable to have some help from the waiting staff, to navigate through the rather strange and exotic sounding dishes offered. The Red Ginger is not strictly a Chinese, Thai or Japanese restaurant, but it serves a fusion of Asian dishes. The show starts with a magic, hot water is poured on a small white pill in a plate, which acts as an instant Viagra, and grows suddenly into a large napkin to wipe your fingers with, after which you can go through the ceremony of picking the colour of your chopstick, I assume to match your outfits. One needs lots of willpower to moderate the amount of food one eats, otherwise while you board the ship as a passenger; you may be unloaded as cargo at the end of your trip. Great attention is paid to small items such as the daily bread, which is as good as anywhere in France, not like the bread on other cruise lines which tasted like pressed sawdust. For espresso lovers there is an all day barista service with real Italian coffee, expertly prepared for no extra charge. There is Internet connection on the ship but it is slow and expensive. Use it if you have some urgent business to take care of, or if you have money to burn. Otherwise at most ports you can find free Wi Fi connection, either at a public place or at a coffee shop or bar. In the port of Miami at the customs office while waiting for clearance I downloaded a book from my public library in Toronto. All in all we had a good time and would consider again going on an Oceania cruise, once we have shredded the extra weight put on during our past 20 days. We wish we could take one of the Oceania chefs home with us, or at least the one who baked our daily French baguette. Well seasoned traveller and a very senior citizen Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This was our fourth Oceania cruise. We sailed on the Marina when she was about 2 months old and decided on the Riviera because she was fairly new. New ships are our favorite for a variety of reasons. Our ages are 58 and 60. While we met ... Read More
This was our fourth Oceania cruise. We sailed on the Marina when she was about 2 months old and decided on the Riviera because she was fairly new. New ships are our favorite for a variety of reasons. Our ages are 58 and 60. While we met people who had been on 50+ cruises, we have been on about 20. Age of fellow passengers is irrelevant to us as older passengers have interesting stories, and younger passengers are often entertaining. We usually eat by ourselves and always have a balcony so we don't interact much. Many shipmates embark highly stressed, and that colors their experience. We always arrive at the port a day before to avoid problems with flight delays and luggage. We had some disappointments on Riviera, but were overall very pleased with the cruise. Ports were not important to us, we were there for the ship and food, so I won't review the ports. Our cabin was slightly better than on previous Oceania cruises, as it had a separate shower and tub. However, the LOCATION of cabin 11000 was TERRIBLE. There was a crew access door next to our cabin which slammed closed all night. Prior to sailing, I called Oceania to make sure the location would be quiet. I was told that there had been no complaints. After the first night, I called reception 3 times to ask to move, but the ship was sold out. Other minor problems were a overflowing shower drain, and a toliet that clogged for the first 3 days. Reception was efficient in getting the engineer to repair it, but it took 3 attempts to get it right. Our butler Raj was outrageously good, not invasive but providing all that we expected including many meals in our cabin. Oceania has not quite got it together on this cruise. I went looking for a bandaid and reception told me to go to the ships dr. The drs. office was closed as it was a port day. I found a medical officer who said reception had boxes of bandaids. I went back to reception and was told they didn't have any again. They sent me to the convenience shop area which was closed. I had to get off the ship to find a pharmacy to get a bandaid. They have also cut back on staffing at the grill and buffet. On a previous cruises a waiter had told us that they were trained to remove dirty plates within a minute of a diner putting down their silverware. On this cruise, tables were left uncleared, people were wandering around looking for tables. We were discouraged from self serving our juices/ water and there were rarely glasses available, we had to ask 3 or 4 times to get a glass of water or a clean fork. Dirty dishes were not cleared when we went for desserts. By the time were were done with our meals, the previous plates were piled up high. We have a minor complaint with the milkshakes. They were constantly out of glasses, and kept going back to the kitchen to get more. They must have been hot out of the dishwasher, as the malts were always warmish, not cold. Food was exceptional although a little inconsistent. We will sail Oceania again, but will be more careful in cabin selection. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
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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