2 Oceania Riviera Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to Transatlantic

Having cruised on NCL, Celebrity, Princess, Disney and Holland America LIne (cruise line of choice of late), we were looking forward to our experience on Riviera and our "step up" from mass market lines to Premier cruising on O. ... Read More
Having cruised on NCL, Celebrity, Princess, Disney and Holland America LIne (cruise line of choice of late), we were looking forward to our experience on Riviera and our "step up" from mass market lines to Premier cruising on O. We researched so that we would be familiar with Oceania and planned what we thought would be nice change from what we were used to on other cruise lines. Our embarkation was very smooth and rooms were ready at 1:00 p.m. Our room was very, very nice (PH), well laid out, tons of outlets, beautiful bathroom, huge walk in closet, etc. Everything you could ask for. The ship is very pretty as well. What we were to discover is that although the cabins and ship are lovely, it was all looks and no substance. Service was very inconsistent on the ship. While there were some good waiters and crew, the poor, uncaring ones outnumbered them. It could be difficult to find a table in the Terrace Grill as tables were not cleared off and left with dirty dishes. Service in the specialty restaurants was the same. The only waiter who asked if we were enjoying our meal was in Jacques (along with one waiter in the GDR). In the rest of the restaurants, we were ignored, left to sit with dirty plates for over 45 minutes on several occasions. (This included Polo where one of our table mates could not eat any of his meal and it sat there on his plate staring at him). Speaking to the restaurant managers did little to improve the situation. While we did not enjoy our meal in Red Ginger, our friends who had a different waiter did. Our food had most likely sat under a heat lamp far too long and suffered accordingly. Their service was far better than ours. So, you could be in the same restaurant at the same time and have a totally different experience because of the inconsistency in the service. Jacques was fabulous as was the service there. Highly recommend. We also did La Reserve and Privee and these were very good. Fabulous service and food. Both of these come at a cost, but the service and experience were certainly worth it. Overall, the ship does not deliver the gastronomy experience and service that it promotes. Other than the few exceptions mentioned, we have had better service on mass market lines. Sadly, Noro raised it ugly head on this cruise. Now, we have been on Noro ships before and it doesn't have to be the end of the world. It can put a bit of a damper on things but normally these outbreaks are handled well. This was not the case on our cruise. Management was non - existent. No communication other than to say we were over 2%. While the ship closed the self serve laundries, other than applying goop on surfaces, little else was done. Pool, hot tub, casino, computer room, library all remained open for everyone to touch. Worse, the silverware, cutlery, glasses were all out in the open at both Waves and the Terrace Grill. Food was placed out prior to 5:00 a.m. (Pastries, fruits, etc.) in Waves and the Terrace Grill uncovered and unprotected. Salt and pepper remained on the tables along with the sugar cubes in the GDR, etc. Tea cups in Horizons are out long before tea time for anyone to touch or handle. No wonder the ship couldn't defeat Noro. Looking back, I am not surprised at the Noro outbreak since the Culinary Class chef was allowing people who were coughing to take the class despite the health stipulation you must sign to take the class. Service continued to deteriorate to the point that when we received our mid cruise survey, a letter requesting a meeting with the GM was sent to discuss issues. We received a form letter back and were unsuccessful at a meeting. O's management stuck their heads in the sand and left the passengers in the dark. Had they communicated it would have improved things somewhat. A lot of new crew boarded in Barcelona and while the tendency is to blame the new crew, the ones we met were the ones giving the good service. Many of us were disappointed with the last minute announcement (at dinner time the night before we were to dock) that Bermuda's Ministry of Health had refused the Riviera permission to dock. (We were supposed to have a two day stay here.) That was more revealing than any information the ship had provided to us. This added two sea days to our Transatlantic crossing so instead of 5 days at sea, we were 7 days. There were no special events or additional activities planned for these two days. Same old, same old. There was no token apology as you see on other cruise lines. No opening of bars, not even a cheap glass of sparkling wine. It just appeared that no one in management cared, so why should the rest of the staff? In fact, passengers nearly got treated as nuisances as our cruise was drawing to a close. Disembarkation was horrific. I have never seen such a bad one. People came from every crevice on the ship trying to get in the line. There was little staff there to keep things organized so it took far longer than it should have. Inconsistency is a huge issue on this ship. If you luck into the right waiters, you can have a great experience on this ship. If you don't......beware - like us, you may feel you didn't get what you paid for. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We had an amazing experience on Marina in 2013 when we went to Brazil. The ship was fantastic and the service was first rate. Our butler was exceptional and kept in touch with us on a daily basis. I still have a little wooden parrot at ... Read More
We had an amazing experience on Marina in 2013 when we went to Brazil. The ship was fantastic and the service was first rate. Our butler was exceptional and kept in touch with us on a daily basis. I still have a little wooden parrot at home named in his honour. We therefore booked with Oceania again for a trip to Miami. Once agin we booked an Oceania suite and for nearly two years looked forward to the trip. Our first impressions at Barcelona were extremely good. At just after 11am we boarded the ship. The whole process of boarding took about twenty minutes and was completely hassle free. As Riviera is a sister ship to Marina we immediately felt at home and once again had a wow moment as we entered our suite. For the first few days all seemed well and we enjoyed our time. The only thing we could find to criticze was the new thelassa pool on the spa deck. It had little seating and the controls were hard to access and in anything but dead calm sea you tended to be sloshed from one end to another. The food was exactly as we had expected. Toscana was enjoyable as was Polo grill and Red Ginger was brilliant. Jacques we didn't like but that was mainly because the food was not really to our taste. Service in Jacques made up for that though and service was generally good in Polo and Toscana. I have to say though that the service in Red Ginger eclipsed all others. We also used Waves and the food was as before and what you would expect from a grill on deck. We had a sneaking suspicion that food at The Terrace was not as good and despite the huge selection often struggled to choose anything. The quality of the hot items often left a lot to be desired. We attended the "Rock the wok" cookery course. This consisted of us brushing a marinade onto salmon, chopping a few vegetables and cooking them and then assembling a couple of bits of sushi. It was a pretty poor experience that taught us nothing new..... In those first few days we noticed that we had little contact with our butler and on the occasions that we did contact him it wasn't a great experience. For example we ordered an in suite breakfast so that we could get out early for a tour. the breakfast was nearly twenty minutes late and ( I know this might seem a little petty) but he didn't bother to set it out. On another occasion we rang at 3.45 and asked for tea but he snapped back that we would have to wait until after 4pm as the scones had not been cooked. On another occasion I was leaving the cabin when I met the butler returning some items from the laundry. I told him my partner was in the cabin and he could knock despite the privacy sign. When he did so he told my partner that "Your friend said it was ok to knock". if he found our sexuality awkward he could have referred to us by name. I would say our super stewardess knew our names within minutes of first meting us and never failed to greet us when she encountered us Just before we arrived at Medeira we began to hear rumours about the Norvo virus and upon leaving the crew began in earnest to start disinfecting everywhere. Certain services were curtailed (particularly the laundrette) and the crew worked tirelessly to bring things under control. I would certainly not blame Oceania for the outbreak of this bug but I think they share responsibility for the following reasons. Firstly, when we embarked at Barcelona there was absolutely no effort made to get passengers to concentrate on hygiene such as using the sanitizer gels around the ship. Had this been done at an early stage the extent of the outbreak would probably have been much reduced. As it was we had five days in which there was no effort made to take control. Secondly, when precautions were implemented they were not consistent. For example, salt and pepper pots were not removed from tables until quite late into the cruise in certain venues. I used the gym every day and saw the most awful examples of personal hygiene there - it was not until the last three or four days of the cruise that I saw staff there supervising the gym to get people to wipe down the equipment. Given that cleanliness was key to combatting the bug it also was crazy that the laundrettes were closed making it harder for passengers to have clean clothing. I am not sure compensation would have been appropriate for what happened but I think letting passengers have at least one complimentary set of clothing to the main laundry would have been reasonable. We received no updates from anyone about the illness on board and it was only the day before we were due to get to Bermuda that we heard that we were not going there. The tone from those in charge was a little arrogant. It was as if they could not utter the word "sorry" in case they made themselves liable in some way. The ship then noticeably slowed down as we were told that we would head towards Bahamas for a two day stay. The extra sea days were difficult for crew and passengers alike. One day in Nassau is a day too many and two was exceptionally tedious. It is hard to see its charms and the tour we had of the "highlights" felt a little desperate and made the loss of Bermuda more keenly felt. By his time too we had had to get used to all meat being incinerated in all of the restaurants for health reasons apparently. As we neared the end of our cruise our butler was supposed to return our passports. Other butlers had contacted guests in the morning and organised things. Ours did not and when we found him at 11.50 am he told us we would have to queue at reception to retrieve it. His attitude towards us had made us feel uncomfortable and we effectively stopped using his services as a result some time before . At the point of disembarkation we also discovered that we had not had a form to complete from him which would have detailed our preference for disembarkation. We therefore were amongst the last to be called to leave the ship. I cannot say for certain why we had this experience with the butler. In the UK equality has become so entrenched that we hardly ever consider that we are different from anyone else. Perhaps we should be more aware that this is not always the same elsewhere. We met some wonderful people on the cruise and they made up for the shortcomings of the cruise in no small part. It is also true that the crew (on the whole) worked their socks off and we're delighted to be able to recognise some of those in the end of cruise questionnaire. With a heavy heart I am really sorry to say that I am not going to return to Oceania. I know all cruise lines have diehard adherents including Oceania and they will howl with outrage at my comments and seek to point to my failings rather than those of Oceania but I can only relate experiences from our viewpoint. I fully accept that others will have had very different experiences....... Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
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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