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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
WE decided on this ship because we wanted something not too big and not too small. WE were 3 people cruising as they has the buy 2 get one child free. It was my mom and my 13 year old daughter. We chose a veranda suite concierge level. ... Read More
WE decided on this ship because we wanted something not too big and not too small. WE were 3 people cruising as they has the buy 2 get one child free. It was my mom and my 13 year old daughter. We chose a veranda suite concierge level. At first we thought the cabin was small, but grew to love it. Amenities were fine, towels and linens fabulous, and the veranda perfect. The crew was amazing! Super friendly, always smiling, tripping over themselves to help/ Our cabin steward was so attentive, always anticipating our needs. He knew our schedule and was in and out while we were gone. The food!! OMG I can't understand any bad food reviews. We are a culinary family, in the food biz. The meals were outstanding in all the restairants and the buffet was wonderful too. The Grand dining room was beautiful and the wait staff was extremely well trained and professional. They learned our names and preferences very quickly and always had smiles on their faces. They seemed to really enjoy what they were doing. One delicious, well presented meal after another. Perfectly seasoned and hot if it was supposed to be and well chilled if that was the appropriate. The entertainment was what you'd expect. Most;y, the cruise director Corey stole the show. He was so fun. My suggestion here is to lower the volume. Goodness, it was so so loud several people had their fingers in their ears. I did not understand the need for an evening dedicated to the LGBTQ community though. I don't like any groups being singled out like that. WE did not take advantage of any shore excursions as we tend to go it on our own, takinga bus or cab out of the pert to explore. But other travelers seemed thrilled with theirs. The public rooms were always near empty..giving us the feeling that we had the whole place to ourselves. We spent most of our time in Horizons, but also would sit for a cappuccino in the various other public spaces. Very elegant and beautiful. The artwork on this ship id fabulous. Whoever picked the artists to showcase did an amazing job. Thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the pieces. One negative for us was the cruise Ambassador..the woman helping you book future cruised. I was excited to talk to her about bookibg a trip for me and my husband this fall but she was dismissive, un-helpful and unfriendly. She pretty much just handed me a brochure and told me to look at it. Thanks a lot, there was one in my cabin already. I did not book with her. Other than that, the service was exceptional, the food divine and the crew just fantastic. Loved the cruise, can't wait to see Regatta again! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We picked this cruise because it was short and fit our timeline and our desire to go back and visit Spain after attending a wedding there a few years ago. The Marina was beautiful, very similar to the other Oceania ship we had been on ... Read More
We picked this cruise because it was short and fit our timeline and our desire to go back and visit Spain after attending a wedding there a few years ago. The Marina was beautiful, very similar to the other Oceania ship we had been on (Regatta) but larger and had more options. We went to Red Ginger (B plus), Toscana (A minus) and Jacques (A++++) for Specialty restaurants, they were all delicious and the service was great. The Grand Dining Room, Waves restaurant and Terrace Cafe were all great too, I will say the quality of the breakfast in Terrace Cafe seemed to be not as good as the Regatta, but still fine. Our P Cabin was large and comfortable, I think it would be fine for an extended cruise. We didn't partake in any of the entertainment or Oceania excursions, we did our own thing. The service was very good, our room was always kept in great shape and our butler/room steward were very friendly and helpful. My whole family fell in love with the staff at the pool area bar that week (Maya, Maria and Valentina made us feel so welcome). They were so fun and always had a great crowd hanging out and talking to each other, we wished we had more time on the ship. I can't say enough about how great these three ladies were and how they really made our trip. My only slight complaint was just the rigamarole getting in and out of the ports, but I don't think that was an Oceania thing as opposed to just a logistics thing around the Mediterranean. The ports were all very popular and I think in the future I would make more of an effort to book private tours vs. getting stuck on shuttles for a large part of the day. Overall, another wonderful Oceania experience- we converted our family members who had been anti-cruise and they are going again next year. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are not normally cruisers but were travelling with another more senior couple who appreciated the practical benefits of cruising. In particular, we wanted to visit St. Petersburg and this cruise offered three nights there. So we ... Read More
We are not normally cruisers but were travelling with another more senior couple who appreciated the practical benefits of cruising. In particular, we wanted to visit St. Petersburg and this cruise offered three nights there. So we selected the Oceania Marina based on itinerary and its strong reputation for good food. The food was excellent across the board. The four specialty restaurants as well as the Grand Dining Room and the buffet-oriented Terrace Cafe offered outstanding cuisine regardless of venue. Service both in and out of the dining venues was 5 star day and night. Can't speak much about shipboard activities as we really didn't avail ourselves of much of that. The string quartet that played daily in the main lounge before dinner was very accomplished and a pleasure to listen to. The guest pianist one evening was outstanding although we were only able to catch the latter portion of his show because of the timing of our dinner reservation that night. Wish he could have played more than one evening. In every port except St. Petersburg we did not hire a guide or take any group excursions. Talinn, Riga, Helsinki, and certainly Klaipeda are all small enough to navigate on ones own. The long Sunday at Klaipeda we mostly spent on board. Most places are closed on Sundays and the Klaipeda downtown can be covered in about an hour. Everywhere we went people spoke English. The long day we were docked at Warnemunde, we went to Lubeck -- which was brimming with medieval buildings dating back to the 13th century. We rented a car but there is public transport that will get you there as well. In St. Petersburg we toured with Dancing Bear Tours. They were fabulous. They were flexible, accommodating, and our guide spoke perfect English and was a source of so much history and information. Our driver provided door-to-door service at every stop. Great value and pleasant people to deal with. We took a canal boat ride one morning which was a wonderful way to see the city. We saw a number of churches but our favorite was St. Isaacs without a doubt. We are also culture vultures so highlights for us included the Russian Museum, the General Staff Building wing of the Hermitage, and of course the Hermitage proper. Could easily have spent whole days or even weeks in them. We enjoyed our outing to Peterhof as well, although the weather was not the sunniest. For something completely different, check out the royal bath house there if you go. I have no other cruises to compare the Marina to but would definitely recommend Oceania to anyone who is interested in exploring this part of the world. Both the ship and port experiences were grand. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We signed up for the cruise the end of March because of a great sale. We were a group of 4 couples; 2 veteran, 2 novice. The two new couples to cruising on Oceania had their expectations far exceeded ( we all took the O Life option ). The ... Read More
We signed up for the cruise the end of March because of a great sale. We were a group of 4 couples; 2 veteran, 2 novice. The two new couples to cruising on Oceania had their expectations far exceeded ( we all took the O Life option ). The two veteran had our expectations met. All had a great time in spite of one of the novice couples being pick pocketed in Barcelona upon arrival at the airport ( cash and passports ). The crew has always cheerful and helpful. Don't forget that the dining is the best on the seven seas ( although we were somewhat disappointed in Red Ginger this time ). Great cruise, great value! We shared wine brought in from the daily port of call with the group in one of our cabins , before heading out to our dinner venue of the evening. Between the four couples we must have brought on a total of 20 bottles. From what I understand, this is the only cruise line that will tolerate this. We really did cruise our way. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This cruise was planned to celebrate DH's 90th birthday and was to include the entire family -- our four children, their spouses, if any, and six grandchildren. Altogether, 13 family members participated: DH and me,our four children, ... Read More
This cruise was planned to celebrate DH's 90th birthday and was to include the entire family -- our four children, their spouses, if any, and six grandchildren. Altogether, 13 family members participated: DH and me,our four children, one daughter-in-law, 5 granddaughters aged from 19 to 23, and one grandson of 15. Our son-in-law could not attend. Most of us came to the port of Seattle on Friday before a Monday cruise departure for the Awe of Alaska cruise on the Oceania Regatta. We really enjoyed Seattle. We stayed in the Best Western Executive Inn which was ideally located just 2 blocks from the Space Needle and walking distance for everyone but DH and me from Pike's Place and a host of other attractions. On Monday my daughter arranged with the hotel for a van to take us to the port. It was not quite big enough for all of us and our luggage -- I have a mobility scooter -- but in two minutes a limousine appeared to take DH and me -- and we all arrived at the port within a couple of minutes of each other. Boarding the ship was painless and we enjoyed lunch at the Waves Café before going to our cabins. The cabins are definitely small for concierge level accommodations and the bathrooms are really tiny. .But there was lots of storage space which swallowed up all our belongings. Two of the cabins had to accommodate three people each, but nobody complained after they put their belongings away, and everybody learned quickly how to shower in the tiny shower. The food was mainly very good. We had made advance reservations in the two special restaurants, the Polo Grill and Toscana, and everybody enjoyed the meals there. But I think everybody except DH and me preferred the meals in the Terrace Café where you could be out and done in less than two hours. We enjoyed the food in the Grand Dining Room more than the food in the Terrace Café. Our last cruises were on Seabourne and on Viking River Cruises and we felt they had more and better salads for lunch. We prefer to eat salads rather than meat for lunch. I also missed the complementary wine flowing like water on those two lines. But we used our $400 per cabin OBC to cover wine at dinner plus most of us got in some spa time. We had signed up for a bunch of shore excursions long before we sailed. In Ketchikan, our children and grandchildren loved the Neets Bay Float Plane Bear Watch trip. We took a cruise to Misty Fjords which was not misty and we saw no wild life so it was somewhat of a disappointment. One son and his family also did the Saxman Village and Lumberjack Show and enjoyed them. In Sitka most of us took the Sea Otter and Wildlife cruise and we did see sea otters, seals and sea lions, and a bear. One son, his kids and another granddaughter went hiking. In Prince Rupert that same son went hiking again while the rest of us went on a whale watch and saw lots of whales. Our 15 year old grandson could have found other male teens on board but stayed with his older cousins and made no effort to make other friends. We thought the entertainment was disappointing, but it was not great on Seabourne either. We went to two lectures and would have enjoyed a few more. Overall, everybody had a great time and it was a very good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
Loved the Ports! There were 11 of us. All our family. Had a wonderful time, the kids are teenagers and enjoyed, St. Tropez and Ibiza. We had great dinners at the restaurants, and the help was fabulous. With the exception of the ... Read More
Loved the Ports! There were 11 of us. All our family. Had a wonderful time, the kids are teenagers and enjoyed, St. Tropez and Ibiza. We had great dinners at the restaurants, and the help was fabulous. With the exception of the Vista Suite my wife and I had taken, it was wonderful. We were over the thrusters and the anchor and it was miserable early morning awakened by the noise of coming into port, and when we left port late at night we would have to wait until they departed before we went to bed. I would have taken a lesser room mid ship had I known that was going to happen. We enjoyed the ports, and again, it was an amazing family vacation. The weather was great in every port, the kids worked out in the gym, we are planning another trip on the Marina to Russia next year, and I will make sure our suite is not on top of the anchor or Thrusters. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My two Sisters and their Spouses and my Brother and his Spouse and my Wife and I went on the Regal Routes Cruise on the Oceania Marina for 10 days beginning June 2nd. This was our first Cruise with Oceania. We have traveled with ... Read More
My two Sisters and their Spouses and my Brother and his Spouse and my Wife and I went on the Regal Routes Cruise on the Oceania Marina for 10 days beginning June 2nd. This was our first Cruise with Oceania. We have traveled with Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean in the past. Our embarkation went smoothly. The Cruise was darn near perfect. My Wife and I had room 7008, it had an extra large balcony that was great and my Sisters had almost identical rooms in 7006 and 7004. The Bathroom was amazing. You had your choice of a shower or a shower in a bathtub. Storage was fine. The weather was pretty good, it could have been warmer, but, we really only had 1 day for a couple of hours where we had to use our umbrellas in Kristiansand, Norway. The ship was great in great condition. We couldn't complain about a thing. Many people in past reviews complained about the entertainment. We went every night and it was very good every night. The comedian, Chas Burnett was great ! I saw him the next night and told him how funny he was without having to use profanity. He seemed very appreciative. The singers and dancers were very good as was the magician. The Cruise Director, Nolan Dean was a little quieter than most C.D.s, but, he put on a show one night with his assistant(his Girlfriend). It was kind of like a Sonny and Cher show, it was great. Their singing was very good and their comedic skills were just as good. We were pleasantly surprised. We had 5 dinners in the specialty restaurants out of 10 days. We ate 1 night at the Buffet. The large prawns and lobsters were perfect in the Buffet. I really couldn't complain about any of our dinners. Everybody that waited on us were amazing, but, then again we treat people the way we want to be treated, so, maybe, if you treat people with respect, you get treated better. We had a great time at all the ports and we appreciated that if the port wasn't right in town, Oceania supplied a shuttle free of charge. Our air was included from Oceania and though we were a little worried on the connection in Amsterdam flying over on KLM everything worked perfect. Our flight home was, also, fine. The one excursion we took from Oceania to the Breendonk SS Transit Camp in Antwerp was very good. So, it was a great Cruise with 2 little things that weren't perfect. We had Free Internet, but, if I had had to pay for it, I would have been living at Front Desk ! The poor Computer Guy can't be paid enough for all the people complaining to him. I couldn't use their computers, they wouldn't work. He told me to try my tablet in my room for better reception. It worked a little after 11 o'clock at night ! We didn't use it much, but, if we had and were paying for it I would have been upset. The other thing and it wasn't Oceania'a fault really. Because of windy conditions, we couldn't get into Amsterdam. My Sisters and my Brother had never been there, so, it was very disappointing for them. We had plans to take the train and go to the Hague and Rotterdam, so we were disappointed, too. Was the weather really that bad ? We got an extra day in Hamburg instead. Should Oceania have offered us something ? A bottle of wine or something ? It wouldn't have hurt. But, one other AMAZING thing for Oceania ! Our last port before debarking in Copenhagen was Gothenburg, Sweden. My Sister and her husband missed the last shuttle at 4 and couldn't find their way back, no one spoke English or knew where the ship was docked. They spent over $100 on cabs. Oceania called me at 5:20 and said they had to leave at 6. After a scary half hour they were able to locate the Cab company and give them directions to the port. The Port was at least a half hour away from downtown. Fortunately and gratefully they waited 5 minutes for my Sister to get back. Thank you very much Oceania. My Sister missing the ship would have definitely ruined the Cruise, no fault of Oceania. Our disembarkation was flawless except our shuttle never showed up, but, had no problem catching a bus to the airport. We will definitely travel with Oceania again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was our first Oceania cruise and the Riviera certainly met our expectations. Embarkation was smooth and quick. Our cabin was ready shortly after we boarded and the luggage appeared right afterwards. Dining was superb. The ... Read More
This was our first Oceania cruise and the Riviera certainly met our expectations. Embarkation was smooth and quick. Our cabin was ready shortly after we boarded and the luggage appeared right afterwards. Dining was superb. The Terrace Cafe buffet bettered other ships' main dining room. We tried each of the specialty restaurants and the Grand Dining Room (twice). Every offering was excellent. We especially enjoyed Toscana, which some have denigrated -- sorry we couldn't get a return visit the last night but the only available time was a little late for a last night with packing. Afternoon tea was amazing! We took only five ship excursions. A sixth was cancelled because the G7 summit closed Taorima. Four were excellent; the other just good. We toured on our own in Messina, Rome and Amalfi with Italian operators. Every one of those worked out perfectly. They were definitely cheaper than ship excursions. Entertainment was just OK. About what you can expect on a smaller ship like Riviera. And we enjoyed the enrichment lectures. The only disappointment was the internet access. Our suite included "unlimited" WiFi for one device. It was awful. From Thursday to the end of the cruise Sunday morning, I never got mail. We had paid Verizon a ransom to use our cellphones and relied instead on those in ports. Also found free WiFi at cafes in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. If I'd paid for WiFi, I would have asked for a refund. Other than the nonexistent WiFi, it was the best cruise experience we've had. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Started in Mumbai, India and then stopped in Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Patmos, Rhodes and Santorini before ending in Athens, Greece. We had two days in both Egypt and Israel. All ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Started in Mumbai, India and then stopped in Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Patmos, Rhodes and Santorini before ending in Athens, Greece. We had two days in both Egypt and Israel. All the port tours were very good and the ship was friendly with great service. Our balcony cabin was very small but was fine as we spent very little time in it. And of course the food was outstanding, as Oceania is known for its delicious food. We are used to bigger ships with better entertainment, but this group was very nice and they were lots of fun in helping with the shipboard games. Spending a day going through the Suez Canal was another interesting experience. The captain of the Nautica was extremely personable and gave us lots of good information; we even had a pirate drill. Would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose this cruise for a birthday celebration. It was mostly great, but food service at times wasn't. Oceania's Marina was making a stop in Havana, Cuba. We couldn't resist. The ship is beautiful. Our cabin, 9080, was kept ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a birthday celebration. It was mostly great, but food service at times wasn't. Oceania's Marina was making a stop in Havana, Cuba. We couldn't resist. The ship is beautiful. Our cabin, 9080, was kept clean and neat by the attendant. Never had to ask for ice. It just magically appeared. Embarkation went smoothly but disembarkation took a little longer. There was an excellent choice of food at the restaurants. We were not happy with the very slow service in Polo. We came in at 6:30 pm and walked out at 8 pm without finishing dinner.We are early diners and couldn't handle the long waits.There are 4 specialty restaurants, the Terrace Cafe and the Grand Dining Room. We enjoyed the service from Roy so much that we asked for him each time. We enjoyed the 4 o'clock tea in Horizons. We didn't always make it there but looked forward to going. We did not make it to the evening shows but others said they were enjoyable. We cruise a lot on RCL and I was surprised at how pleasant most of my fellow cruisers were. There are no children's programs but there were children on the cruise. One woman had a toddler in a stroller. As I mentioned earlier, the service on board is unlike any I've had lately.Everyone is so helpful! Our first port of call was Havana. Six of us hired a guide for the two days. Traveling around in the old cars was amazing. We did a walking tour and then visited some very interesting sights, among them Fusterlandia.The other Caribbean ports were Guatemala, Grand Cayman, a private beach in Belize and a Mexican stop. I can't remember the name. The usual tourist attractions. Havest Caye, the beach stop in Belize is new. Finished in Nov. it has a beach, a pool, shops and active attractions. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone heading to the Caribbean! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I would like to start this review by thanking a great couple I met, on the NCL Jade in April 2014, who first introduced me to this great resource “Cruise Critic”. Their names are Catherine and Michael from Edinburg, Pennsylvania. My ... Read More
I would like to start this review by thanking a great couple I met, on the NCL Jade in April 2014, who first introduced me to this great resource “Cruise Critic”. Their names are Catherine and Michael from Edinburg, Pennsylvania. My best wishes to them both! She practiced nursing and he was somehow linked with the local university. ** The Riviera is a mid-sized, beautiful ship. It has 15 decks and holds 1250 passengers, it is an easy ship to get very quickly familiar with it, in general it feels uncrowded (even being full) except when passengers are back from touring (as happens in any other cruise ship) especially if you want to have lunch at the Terrace Café or the Waves Grill. **Stateroom was of good size and in good shape with the exception of the carpet which needed a deep cleaning or replacement. Comfortable and well-appointed bathroom but with a rather small shower stall. Cabin lighting in general is not up to standard, especially when looking at yourself in any of the mirrors. The attendant, Gede and his un-named assistant were very prompt, respectful and reliable; it was also very nice not having them around your door expecting for you to leave to make up the room! - as it happens on other cruise lines. Storage was acceptable though the closet was too narrow having problems closing the doors because they got caught up on my jackets. Also the space between closet and bed was a bit tight. ** The Library (Deck #14), was exceptional. It is divided into several small rooms according topic of book and furnished each with comfortable arm-chairs and a low table at center. Very private and very peaceful indeed. Those rooms open onto big windows with great views and the location close by Baristas is perfect because there you can grab great cappuccinos, small biscotti or a piece of cake, pick up a book and enjoy the whole experience. If you like a good cup of coffee, Baristas on deck # 14 is the place and not to be missed! ** The Concierge lounge was too small considering the amount of people using it – they went in, sat down and spent a very long time there, many talking nonstop. Granted that there you can make your own preferred coffee, have some eats offered, read newspapers or use the computer but the TV is on blasting all the news during the cruise that you are trying to avoid, so the possible peacefulness of the Library doesn’t exist here. The only advantage is that if your cabin is on deck # 9, is within easy reach. Very close to the Concierge Lounge you will find the Launderette Room, with top notch washer & dryer and there is a fee for the use for both of them of $2US; there is also a steam Iron and Ironing board (free). It is a very roomy place and impeccably kept. **The Canyon Ranch SpaClub located forward on deck 14, has all the amenities and staff to make it a must see and used place; the rooms for Pilates, stretching, etc. that are supervised by an Instructor are ample with floor to ceiling windows with great views The Gymnasium has top of the line equipment and like all of this area with great views. There you can find all the things you need to enjoy working out like bottles of water, Gatorade, juices, etc. plus large number of spongy towels. Excellent place. **Officers, staff and crew in general were excellent, always ready to help and make things better. Of course there were a couple of exceptions which on this cruise involved the service staff of the Grand Dining Room, coincidentally both at lunch time but different days, two waitresses, though efficient, were quite rude and were doing their jobs with a total lack of good will. The strange thing is that in the Terrace Café or the Waves Grill, the workers were always extremely busy but regardless of all that, ALL OF THEM were an example of friendliness, warmth and good will! I have to say that in general the staff coming from the Philippines, Indonesia, Russia, Ukraine, Croatia, Serbia and Europe in general, behaved in the same appropriate way and it was a pleasure to have them around because you knew they were on the ready to assist you in any way. **Unfortunately the Latin American staff, though efficient, completely lack what the mentioned nationalities have a plenty. Non-existent at all, they were cold, curt with not even a hint of a smile. Not a welcoming bunch. **The passengers though the majority were of “certain age”, was very nice to see they were in very good shape in comparison to the many out of shape you find on other cruises. In general they kept to themselves but were nice, social and civilized anyway. Of course there were others that for sure were the opposite and indeed ignored by us. **Food wise, there is nothing to complain about, to the contrary! Overall quality, variety of menu and presentation of cuisine were all excellent. We experienced all of the dining venues on the ship and they were all extremely enjoyable. There were one or two misses but overall the food was superb. Very difficult to choose which one is the winner but Red Ginger gets the prize for this cruise on Riviera. It was a pleasure to have dinner at Toscana and be able to speak Italian! For the first time ever (more than 30 cruises already) I was able to speak the language of the theme restaurant. Almost the same I could say when having dinner at Jacques, though with only three of them from France (Richard from Lille was one of them - outstanding!). In general all these restaurants are well designed with good taste and environment – especially so was the stunning Grand Restaurant – service with first class china and silver but the crystal was quite plain – I was quite surprised that not one of the venues had cut glass crystal. Although each setting had a cluster of at least 4 different sizes, being of so simple design they looked like an unmatched set. On embarkation day, if you don’t like big crowds and fighting for a table do not eat in the Terrace Café or the Waves Grill instead head to the Grand Restaurant and you will be introduced to the Riviera in the way it should be, with amazement and joy. **Room Service was impeccable, always on time and much attention to details, they even offered to set the table for us! And I am not talking about a butler here, okay? Choices are quite ample for breakfast as much it was for dinner. Concierge and Suites have the option of a hot breakfast. **Some warnings; all the specialty restaurants can be reserved prior to boarding the ship but each category of cabin has a timetable when you can do it (find out accordingly), so if you like to have a table just for two, I recommend to do it the moment your allowed to, for this cruise they started taking reservations on line just after midnight of allotted booking day. **Regarding drinks packages; Oceania offer free three options for you to choose from, one of them the ‘House beverage package”, this includes wine, beer and soft drinks served at dinner & lunch ONLY, meaning that whenever you would like to have any of these items outside of those times, you have to pay for it and in general they are not cheap. So it might pay to get their package at the higher level that costs 59.95US per day per person (you can do this on embarkation day at the Reception Desk area) so you can have wherever you like including alcoholic beverages any time any place. Almost every night, through room service, we ordered premium brands of double scotches with ice on the side, at no cost except the occasional tip for the room service delivery. Forewarned is forearmed! **The afternoon tea (High Tea?) in The Horizons (Deck#15) was clearly disorganized and the service did not match the fare offered. All servers were impressively dressed but do not have the appropriate manners (demeanor) to pull it all off. In a way it was a disappointment after reading so many good revues on C.C.; the highlight was the Ocean String Quartet, four beautiful young girls playing magnificently to a room full of noisy people more absorbed with the food they were eating than paying attention to their performance. **The entertainment shows I’ve seen with the exception of one (That’s Entertainment; the Marilyn Monroe sketch was pathetic) were up to standard, namely Colleen Williamson (singer) and Roman & Svetlana (ballroom dancers) the two most outstanding acts. Both were really super stars! I already mentioned the Ocean String Quartet and how excellent they were at the High Tea service but at night the group seemed out of place in the Grand Bar and even more so on one occasion when all four wore white ghost-like gowns. **A few comments about the embarkation process. We were first in line in the Concierge cue right beside the Suites cue which was empty and were told we were next to go to the registration desk and all of a sudden a Suites passenger came rushing up. The girl in charge stopped us and said they must go first. This happened 3 times without explanation every time and each time it was very upsetting. What Oceania should do to avoid this kind of insulting experience is to have specific desks for the Suites and Concierge class, sort of like airports do for the Business class check in. If no Business class passengers are waiting then the desk is available for general check in. **Port lectures were very informative and useful. The shore excursions were a mixed bag. The one taken in Tortola (Virgin Gorda &The Baths) was overpriced at $99 and should have been less than $60. There was only one tour guide for about 100 people and the refreshment at the end was about 4 oz. of miserable punch with nowhere to sit down. The transport to the site was by a very long boat ride and then a cramped safari bus ride up the hill. This was followed by an extremely not only strenuous (we were warned ahead of time about that) but also very dangerous long trek downhill to the beach over slippery rocks, very high and low steps (no railings anywhere) with surfaces on angles and covered at times with slippery sand. Should anyone have lost their balance the probability of cuts and head trauma was very high. Luckily we heard of no one falling. The tour guide was a complete zero and we decided not to continue on to the other serviced beach and returned on our own well before the appointed time. Later we learnt that there was another path to the beach and that’s why we did not see anyone going up the way we came because they took the easy walk back. Had the tour Guide informed us of this and other key info we would have skipped the Devil’s Beach and gone only to the serviced beach etc. **Oceania staff assistance finding the shuttle to downtown Barbados would have avoided us the unpleasant pestering of the numerous taxis drivers at the port – each and every one trying to get us to go with them. Furthermore, once we found the special shuttle that was it, no return trip was available (we learnt that after waiting by the department store until one of the clerks told us we better look for a taxi). All this uncertainty and hassle was not appreciated and takes away from the pleasure of discovering a new tropical city centre and is certainly not what passengers expect from the Oceania experience. This comment was corroborated by many other passengers. **As you can see nothing is perfect and it is impossible to satisfy everyone but without a doubt Oceania Riviera is very, very close to perfection! It was a pity that St. Barts was bypassed due to a medical emergency. **The artwork throughout was like walking through a museum and the Murano Glass behind the Reception Desk a real masterpiece! Needless to say, if I have the chance, without thinking twice I will cruise with Oceania again! Thank you all for so much beauty!! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We were a group of 9 family and friends traveling together. My DH and I had been to French Polynesia before but the others had not. We chose this itinerary because we're avid snorkelers and family members like to get out of Wyoming ... Read More
We were a group of 9 family and friends traveling together. My DH and I had been to French Polynesia before but the others had not. We chose this itinerary because we're avid snorkelers and family members like to get out of Wyoming Winter in February! Most of our cruising has been on Regent or Silversea so I'm sure that has biased my observations some. Other family members have mostly done Celebrity. Consider that as you read this review. Ship: Overall ship was very nice. Only surprise was several of the common area restrooms are configured for only one person at a time (for privacy you had to lock the door on the way in). While the public restrooms outside the MDR and Terrace Café could service multiple users, I still found this a bit odd. Cabin: We were in 4044, a Deluxe Oceanview. The location is really excellent! Close to Reception and MDR, amidships and low (DH gets seasick sometimes), and nothing that makes late night or early morning noise above or below. Cabin was viewed by everyone as small (even though I tried to manage everyone's expectations). That said, everything fit nicely and bathroom, while small was fine for two. We have tripled up on Regent and Silversea in the past, but this would not be possible here. Everything in the cabin worked and our room steward was excellent. Dining: Everyone's favorite was Red Ginger. Second favorite was Terrace Café. Overall everyone thought food was excellent. Only issue with MDR was that it took about 2 1/2 hours to have dinner. Several in our group are big lobster fans, so being able to have "All You Can Eat" lobster was a big hit for the Terrace Café. I liked the "All You Can Eat" sushi; so Terrace was a Group hit. The surf and turf sandwich at Waves was also a big hit. Brother even took to ordering Surf and Turf, hold the turf and hold the bread! In my opinion the best steak I had on the trip was the turf part of the Surf and Turf sandwich. Only "real" negative comment regarded the Ice Cream/Milkshake bar next to Waves. While it opened at 0630 (who eats Ice Cream or a milkshake at 0630?), it closed at 1600. So, if you came back from an excursion after 4PM and wanted a milkshake you couldn't get it. Wasn't available from room service either. Even though "creamed spinach" (my personal favorite) was not on the MDR menu, I was able to get it every nite we ate in the MDR. A special shout out to Gluten Free folks. My DH is GF so we let O know before hand. This worked out really nicely. Most dishes in the MDR and Red Ginger could be prepared GF with the one day notice using the menu provided in our cabin.. DH was even able to have a "standing order" for GF Escargot for lunch in Jacques. DH could always get GF bread in the MDR, and at the Terrace Cafe (though it took a few minutes longer there) and thought was good! DH even insists on making GF bread at home as we don't care for most "store bought." So I considered this a significant endorsement of O's GF products. Though Home Office couldn't tell me before hand, they do have GF soy sauce available at Red Ginger, but only in the Red Ginger. Brought our own for use in Terrace Café. Not sure why if GF Soy Sauce was available in Red Ginger why it wasn't available at MDR. Entertainment: The production show staff were solid, maybe voices weren't as strong as I would have liked, but generally solid. The guest entertainers: comic, magician/comic, and singer were OUTSTANDING! All three were great in their craft and talented showmen. Activities. The "usual" putting, shuffleboard, ping pong, bean bag toss and trivia games were all well executed and fun. One of the Guest Lecturers was mediocre at best. O would have done better to find someone local (like Polynesian Anthropologist Mark Eddowes) than lawyer/professor from DC. That said, the ship's Navigator gave a lecture on navigation that was just OUTSTANDING. Could have used one or two more from him. Service in all venues was generally outstanding. There were occasional lapses but they were generally rare. All pre-arranged requests were honored (GF, Diet Mt. Dew or Coke Zero). Special requests in Dining Venues (see above) were met (except my brother's request for beef Wellington every night.). Ports and Excursions: I agree O's excursions are overpriced; but, we did opt for the 4 included excursions per person and enjoyed them. That said, I'm sure glad I didn't pay list price for them! As expected, the ports made this trip. We had "private" tours in Fakarava, Bora Bora and Raiatea. The Bora Bora and Fakarava snorkel trips were the highlights of the cruise. Truth Teller: We booked another O cruise while on board. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2016
This is our 2nd time aboard the Marina. In 2015 we traveled the Baltics for 10 days. Because of that experience, Oceania was chosen again. What an amazing trip! Overall, service was exceptional. The Cruise Director, Peter, was upbeat ... Read More
This is our 2nd time aboard the Marina. In 2015 we traveled the Baltics for 10 days. Because of that experience, Oceania was chosen again. What an amazing trip! Overall, service was exceptional. The Cruise Director, Peter, was upbeat and hilarious! Every time we saw him, he was wearing a different, amazing suit. The entertainment was... ok.... but the effort was there. The food was spectacular and other than one night, the service was exceptional. Being on a ship for 17 days, they recognize you and know what you like and want. The Hostess at the Grand dining room was AMAZING!!! The first night we dined there... as we were leaving she thanked us by name! Next time we came back, not only did she remember our names, but also room number! There were 5 rooms and 7 people in our party. That's beyond impressive. The only problems we had were with the internet. Yes, you're in the middle of the ocean and at the end of the world, but with satellites etc we expected better service. Plus, you had to constantly log in. The tv stations were not that good either. While you're there to vacation, I go to sleep with the tv on. I had trouble finding something to watch. It was news and one tv show. Usually, Elementary. You can only schedule one specialty restaurant per person and there are 4. But, if you go to the reservation desk early in the morning they can usually get you into a restaurant of your choice. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We chose Oceania for the timing of the cruise. As we sailed and completed our cruise on 12/22 just before Christmas. First the ship: The Riviera is a beautiful ship. Well appointed public areas. Nice pool deck and fitness center. If you ... Read More
We chose Oceania for the timing of the cruise. As we sailed and completed our cruise on 12/22 just before Christmas. First the ship: The Riviera is a beautiful ship. Well appointed public areas. Nice pool deck and fitness center. If you want a rock climbing wall or are traveling with kids, Oceania is not for you. Cabin: We had a veranda cabin. We found it well appointed and spacious, with probably one of the biggest bathrooms we have ever had at sea. The room at 28 sq/ft is as large as a mini suite on many other lines. Restaurants: The four speciality restaurants were outstanding, enough said there. The main dining room was very good, no complaints. Entertainment is definitely the weak spot on the Riviera. The string quartet and piano player are fine. The larger entertainment was marginal at best. Casino is big enough for most and was generally busy. The only complaint I have with Oceania was on our bill. We had $600 ship credit that we had to use. We took $200 cash and were told that this was not part of ship credit...OK fine, I understood that. A day before the end of cruise we got a preliminary bill and it showed the $200 being deducted from our on board credit. We inquired and were told our bill was accurate. We even asked twice. At the end of the cruise our bill was $210 and they said we had an unused credit of $157. I feel that there was a bit of "bait and switch here". We'll be smarter next time. All in all highly recommend. At 57 I was one of the younger people on the ship, so know that in advance, it is definitely an older cruise line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
It is our favorite line and this cruise with the great cruise director and her fabulous husband enhanced the experience. Sirena's crew were great the dining venues superb and the cabin attendants were wonderful. The extra sea days ... Read More
It is our favorite line and this cruise with the great cruise director and her fabulous husband enhanced the experience. Sirena's crew were great the dining venues superb and the cabin attendants were wonderful. The extra sea days were great as a result of the a recent hurricane The Captain was aware of possible dangerous conditions and made sure our safety came first. General manager was attentive and pro active. As a frequent cruiser we felt at home and there were many familiar faces from the crew. Food was fabulous as always. Panama canal crossing was quite inspiring. When you think that the btechnolgy is over a 100 years old it amazes. The new restaurants are excellent additions to the culinary experience you experience on Oceania. All in all it was one of our best cruises we have ever had on Oceania and we booked two more while on board. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We loved everything about this cruise except for the wifi. So let me get that out of the way first. Oceania, you MUST upgrade the wifi. Really a shame that you are charging for this, and it doesn't work about half the time. A real ... Read More
We loved everything about this cruise except for the wifi. So let me get that out of the way first. Oceania, you MUST upgrade the wifi. Really a shame that you are charging for this, and it doesn't work about half the time. A real rip off, and not up to your standards. MANY guests were complaining about it, remarking it was the only negative on an otherwise perfect trip. It was particularly important to us because we were traveling with teens, and needed it to communicate locations on board. We were unable to do so. Whew, got that out of the way! Everything else was wonderful. Service is terrific. The servers are friendly and attentive. The meals are very good. Of particular note is Toscana and Red Ginger -- spectacular meals. The ship is beautiful and clean and maintained perfectly. We had a penthouse suite, and really enjoyed the extra space and the butler. We used two Oceania excursions. One was great, and the other was pretty bad. They probably need to improve the quality of their tour guides. But we loved almost everything, and e will definitely travel on Oceania again! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We have sailed on Oceania 5 times on their smaller ships and loved them. We were a bit nervous about the bigger ships, thinking it might lose that personal touch, but it was great. Even with 1000 people, nothing ever seemed crowded. The ... Read More
We have sailed on Oceania 5 times on their smaller ships and loved them. We were a bit nervous about the bigger ships, thinking it might lose that personal touch, but it was great. Even with 1000 people, nothing ever seemed crowded. The staff was outstanding and the food was wonderful. Oceania always has slightly more imaginative itineraries than the other luxury lines, like Seabourn and Silversea. All of the specialty restaurants were excellent and Jacques was especially delicious.I had lobster Thermidor and crepes Suzette - utter decadence. The cooking stations are a super addition to the ship. The regular veranda cabin was very comfortable - we usually opt for the penthouse cabins on the smaller ships, but we're fine in the regular veranda cabin. There was a great mix of passengers on board and an equally nice mix of staff. The Riviiera as a beautiful ship,, the art work isn't to my taste, but that is personal. All in all, a great cruise Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We had never travelled on Oceania but our travel agent recommended this cruise as we were going with our parents who are older people and need help in many ways. She said the service was great and the food was excellent and the itinerary ... Read More
We had never travelled on Oceania but our travel agent recommended this cruise as we were going with our parents who are older people and need help in many ways. She said the service was great and the food was excellent and the itinerary was also interesting for all our age ranges (from 10 to 82). Since we embarked the cruise we felt a personal service, we went to have lunch at the buffet and the waiters were ready at any moment to help my parents carry their plates or ask them if they needed something else. Before the drill someone from the crew came to my parents cabin and told them he was in charge of taking them to the drill station, help them put on their life jackets etc.. very nice of Oceania to do that. The cabins are very spacious and the shower is great. The cabin attendants great and the laundry area in each floor very useful. The food is simply fabulous either at the buffet or at any of the dinning rooms. You have many options to choose from. What I really liked is only the staff serves you the food from the buffet, you are not allowed to serve yourself which is good because you reduce the risk of transmitting viruses. We loved the ports, and the excursions were great. The Destinations crew was very professional and open. We were lucky that is was not too hot. The pool area is also very nice and the afternoon tea was great. My mom hurried us every day from the excursions so she could arrive in time for tea. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
Always enjoy sailing with Oceania. We sailed from Venice to Barcelona. Staff were most courteous and friendly as on our prior experiences with Oceania. Food was excellent at all meals, it is truly a cruise for Foodies! Their ... Read More
Always enjoy sailing with Oceania. We sailed from Venice to Barcelona. Staff were most courteous and friendly as on our prior experiences with Oceania. Food was excellent at all meals, it is truly a cruise for Foodies! Their "Lido" restaurant at dinner time is turned into another foodie event with choice of steaks (cooked as you order), lobster, shrimp, sushi, and many other great selections. Their specialty restaurants are a delight for the taste buds. Each restaurant has it's own identity with food choices to match. Best, though, there is no extra charge. Rooms are clean and very comfortable. CON: From where u arrive in Venice, there is a long, long walk to water taxis with your luggage. Oceania should warn their guests of this because it could be a brutal walk in the summer months. Better yet, they should hire transportation to the "water taxi" area! This is something Oceania should do, as a great deal of their guests are up in age and find it very, very unpleasant. We would never do it again unless these changes are made. Just to explain, we flew in 1 day early and were going to Molino hotel. After recovering from a very exhausting trip from airport to hotel, we enjoyed the rest of our cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The Riviera cruise (Oceania) was very satisfying on a number of levels, because of what they call ‘enrichment experiences’. On a culinary level, there is a choice between speciality restaurants serving some exceptional food (at no ... Read More
The Riviera cruise (Oceania) was very satisfying on a number of levels, because of what they call ‘enrichment experiences’. On a culinary level, there is a choice between speciality restaurants serving some exceptional food (at no extra cost) to the grand dining room that caters to the bulk of the passenger compliment. (The mass market) Service is attentive and exemplary but not the unobtrusive ‘British’ type of service that I prefer. Instead it is more of the false “how ya all doing, how was your day” introduction accompanied with an ear-to-ear smile. Dentistry on board, for the crew, must be of a high level??? On an emotional level it was satisfying. I know that I am over weight and am carrying 7 – 10 kg more than I should. The demographic on board makes me feel anorexic and there is no need to refuse that rich dessert. Yummy On a cultural level, there are all those ‘enrichment’ opportunities. An art school, a cooking school, educational guest speakers, karaoke (if that can be called enrichment), Trivia and a host of entertainment performances ranging from the exceptional to the ……. well let’s just say less than exceptional, with the opportunity of experiencing both giving the audience the opportunity of making their own judgement call.1 On a sight seeing level. Some tours started at 8:00 am and others as late as 12:00. This mix meant that on some days the alarm went off as the sun rose, and on other days one could enjoy a more relaxed morning. With all tours that we took, we were able to enjoy a scrumptious, not weigh limiting, afternoon tea. A custom that I could easily become accustomed to. No tour was full. (Very important) Busses were never more than about 50% full, by design. Some tours had multiple busses all only half full. This is important as the tour guides could talk to the group whilst out and about, without having to resort to having to use radio transmitters and earphones. This also reduces the risk of participants wandering off, causing delays for the rest of us. On an organisational level. ‘Herding’ over one thousand people can be an issue. At no time did I ever get that part of a herd impression. Boarding cruises as well as boarding the vessel initially, were all very well managed. On a financial level. They do not have a hand in your wallet at every turn. Most things are free with the exception of alcoholic drinks. (which are not cheap) Soft drinks, tea and scones, bottled water and entertainment are all available at no extra charge. On a relaxational level. My late mother had an expression ‘half baked’. Any person who came up with a dumb idea was ‘half baked’ Fortunately the ship provides ample opportunity for passenger to complete the baking process on sun loungers around the pool. Originating from colder northern hemisphere climes, perhaps they are not as much aware of the consequences as are passenger from Australasia. For those who prefer a more strenuous activity, there is a gym that I promised myself that I would visit frequently, but did not, as well as the usual deck games and golf putting. One afternoon, there was an on-selling promotional activity where guest were invited to listen to a presentation about future tours. One was ‘around the world in 180 days’ Six months of on-board life style would kill me! But a back to back cruise of perhaps 18 to 21 days? Well that is something to add to the bucket list. 1) During a song and dance routine, I had the impression that one of the dancers very nearly dropped another dancer. Not the way to ‘reject’ a lady’s advances in front of hundreds of on-lookers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
I wanted just to get away and see something that I hadn't seen before. We did a pre-cruise to Machu Picchu and it was awesome! On board the ship was small and intimate. There was a variety of dining areas that were included in the ... Read More
I wanted just to get away and see something that I hadn't seen before. We did a pre-cruise to Machu Picchu and it was awesome! On board the ship was small and intimate. There was a variety of dining areas that were included in the price, Italian, Chinese etc. The Red Ginger (Chinese ) was the best. Had a lovely coffee bar. We had been up graded to a penthouse suite which was great except came with a butler, therefore extra gratuities. On the whole it was nice and roomy, good size closet and cupboards, nice sized balcony. We travelled through the Panama Canal, great. Stopped At Honduras, Cape Canveral, Miami then NYC---which was an over night, so we went and saw Matilda on Broadway, lovely. The service on the ship was fantastic. All polite and helpful. The entertainment was OK. Lecturers were great---lot of info for next port of call. Good excursions. Great cruise! I travelled with my sister for the first time. She is a bit younger and was therefore more energetic than me ( I have back issues). I would definitely travel with Oceania again---I like the size of their ships. You get to know more people and can arrange dinners or outings with them. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We travel with a group of eight, both family, and friends. It was our third time on Riviera, and we requested our butler, Sonu, from the prior cruises. He met us as we boarded, and asked what we would be needing that first day. Great ... Read More
We travel with a group of eight, both family, and friends. It was our third time on Riviera, and we requested our butler, Sonu, from the prior cruises. He met us as we boarded, and asked what we would be needing that first day. Great service from the very start. The ship was pretty full, with groups from Maui Jims, and four university affiliated tour groups. The cruise was shorter than our usual selection, but was destination intensive, a different port or island each day, and ending in Athens. We bought the premium liquor package, as it is a value if you are even a modest consumer of wine, and spirits. Entertainment has been vastly improved by adding the entrainment troupes from their new Norweigen cruise line partner, and we always spent time in our favorite venue, Martini's, listening to the excellent piano player. The food, service, and selection of ports was excellent, and we dined with the Captain one night, and found him to be a delightful dinner companion. We had so much fun, that we booked two more cruises while on board. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Hello all! It's been a while since I posted much of anything on Cruise Critic, but read others reviews and comments quite frequently so thought it was time to contribute. Funny enough one of my old posts from Seabourn from almost 2 ... Read More
Hello all! It's been a while since I posted much of anything on Cruise Critic, but read others reviews and comments quite frequently so thought it was time to contribute. Funny enough one of my old posts from Seabourn from almost 2 years ago seems to have surfaced again with some Seabourn loyalist animosity about my dislike of the cruise and pool area. Comments were also made about my "limited" cruise experience which are comically inaccurate. To qualify this review, I am in my mid forties, married, have 2 children and have been fortunate to have cruised extensively (just returned from #78) since age 13. In recent years the taste of me and my family has changed from that of the mass market lines to smaller more intimate ships with an emphasis on food and service. Lack of crowds and ability to enjoy off the beaten path ports has also been some of the appeal. We realized that nice accommodations on a line such as Celebrity and Holland America when coupled with upcharges for liquor, dining etc. make more premium and luxury lines actually equally affordable and a great value in our opinion. Having gratuities, drinks etc. included is a real game changer in the overall experience. In the last 4 months we have cruised on Oceania Insignia, Oceania Riviera, Oasis of the Seas (Owner's Suite to qualify point of view) and Regent Seven Seas Navigator. Now on to the intended review after the forward. This review will focus on our July 25, 2015 sailing on the Oceania Riviera. This was an 11 night Venice to Barcelona sailing. I will not be focusing on the ports, but rather the on board experience. EMBARKATION: As has consistently been our experience with Oceania embarkation was a breeze. Those expecting some type of celebration that they have boarded will be disappointed. Walking on board is akin to walking into a fine hotel. The Oceania Riviera and Marina have the finest and most visually appealing an beautiful main entrance halls at sea in my opinion. The grand staircase and fixture above it are adorned with Lalique that took thousands of man hours to create (according to the ship's staff). There are no escorts to your stateroom and no champagne or welcome drinks. Very quiet and understated. SHIP AND STATEROOMS: I find Riviera to have some of the most well appointed staterooms at sea. In terms of bang for the buck the Penthouse category staterooms are like beautiful small hotel rooms with a walk in closet, marble bathroom with both a shower and bath/shower combo. The shower has a European rain head and removable body washer. The beds (like Regent Seven Seas Cruises) are some of the most comfortable we have experienced beating out Azamara, Seabourn, Crystal, Holland America and Celebrity. Sheets are heavenly and it's amazing how the duvet and sheets and perfectly crisp without a wrinkle. Apparently, there is a massive laundry facility on board with large ironing machines for the bedding. The balcony was very generous in size with two lounger type chairs. The cushions are taken in at night and when the ship is underway with windy conditions. Riviera recently underwent a 10 day dry dock in Marseille despite only being three years old/new. Carpeting was replaced throughout the vessel. The whole ship looked brand new and gorgeous as ever. Every public space was adorned with the finest furnishings and fabrics which were not only easy on the eyes, but comfortable and practical. Specialty restaurants are beautiful and understated. The Grand Dining Room is a stunning space that always had tables available and provides a spectacular view of the sea or ports which of course changes daily. The Grand Dining Room is on par with a grand ballroom at a fine landside hotel. The pool area on Riviera (and other Oceania ships) is always a pleasure and delight. Loungers are usually easy to come by and the lack of obnoxious pool games and music that probably would not appeal to all tastes is a refreshing change from many other lines. The raw lounges themselves are no different - and in fact identical - to Seabourn and Holland America. However, they are dressed with comfy cushions covered in terry cloth covers and then finished with always available large and soft terry cloth towels which make for a very posh poolside experience. The pool and spas are always remarkably clean and quite large for a ship that only accommodates 1200 passengers. There are plenty of shaded loungers for those who want to enjoy the outdoors without the UV rays. One of my favorite outdoor areas onboard Riviera is the forward thalassotherapy pool which is part of the Canyon Ranch Spa. Unfortunately, many cruises have now discovered this heavenly area complete with always available complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and loungers with large cushions and built-in umbrellas. This area is available complimentary for Concierge, Penthouse and Suite passengers and for a fee for all others. There are 3 indoor bars which are Horizon on Deck 15 forward, Martinis on Deck 6 mid ship and the Grand Casino bar on Deck 6 a bit more aft near the Grand Dining Room. Happy hour is daily from 5-6 and all drinks (other than specialty martinis) are half price or 2 for 1 (have a double for the cost of a single). The fourth bar is the pool bar on Deck 12 and usually open late and quite busy in the late afternoon hours. Pre-dinner drinks are accompanied by the very talented string quartet at the Casino Bar and a pianist/singer at Martinis. The Oceania orchestra often plays pre-dinner music in Horizons. FOOD & BEVERAGE/SERVICE: My family and I are "foodies", yet appreciate healthy choices. We live lifestyles with an emphasis on fitness and attention to our overall well being. Watching those on cruises or elsewhere who overindulge in wrong choices and live sedentary lifestyles which result in obesity and poor health is an appetite suppressant. Some cruises seem to be magnets for these types. People are people, but on Oceania we have consistently noticed that most passengers are those who are active, health conscious, non-pretentious and appreciate good cuisine without gorging themselves. This provides for a very comfortable, dignified and humane dining experience wherever you go on the ship and contributes to an atmosphere conducive to "dining" without the bonus of whale watching. We all have seen the passenger who orders 3 entrees and eats 4 lobsters etc. Gross! My apologies to those of you who may take offense. Just stating an opinion and not an attack on the larger subset of our population. After 11 days on board I can say we never experienced a bad meal. In fact, ALL meals were outstanding. The four specialty restaurants, Jacques, Toscana, Red Ginger and Polo Grill are consistently outstanding as is the Grand Dining Room. Service is always excellent with a smile. Food is served hot and made cooked to order. Steaks were always delivered exactly as requested with appropriate attention to "how would you like your steak cooked". One of the most pleasant venues to dine on Oceania is in the Terrace Café on the aft of the ship where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. On most ships, the "back of the ship buffet" is a downgrade from other options for dinner, but not on Oceania. The Terrace Café ha a grill where one can enjoy fresh grilled fishes, lamb chops, lobster, filet mignon and other special choices nightly! Additionally, the buffet at Terraces reminds me of a Four Seasons buffet - small, but with many fine choices. For breakfast, the choice of berries and fruit at Terraces is terrific and mind boggling how fresh. Some of the most pleasant evenings are those docked in a warm port and enjoying dinner at Terraces while enjoying the sunset. Lastly, Waves Grill near the pool remains an Oceania staple where terrific burgers, grilled fish, and amazing steak fries are serviced daily for lunch. There is also a light breakfast buffet - continental style - served at Waves. For coffee enthusiasts Baristas is a terrific spot overlooking the pool and attached to the library and internet center to enjoy an illy coffee. I recommend taking some time to have your coffee there as opposed to "take away" as the take away cups might be 3 ounces at most and awkward. Baristas are typically the Italians on the ship who also are wait staff at Toscanova. The baristas are terrific and on day #2 already remembered my coffee preference (grande non-fat, no whip, mochhachino, extra hot with quarter inch of foam and one sweet and low!). Just kidding on the coffee, just an Americano please! The adjacent library is a gorgeous room that is well stocked and quite a cozy place to sit down and do business on your laptop or enjoy one of the many books on board. Service was consistently excellent throughout the ship with wait staff often remembering your name and addressing you by such. Service was always with a smile and the crew really seemed to be in sync. It is remarkable to me that on so many cruise lines room service is a joke and there always seems to be something off or wrong. For example, eggs ordered over hard come sunny side up and runny or you order a burger with fries and they don't bring ketchup because "it was not requested". Not on Oceania! Room service was used only a handful of times, but always on the mark and exactly as ordered with an emphasis on common sense with regards to customary condiments etc. A terrific feature on the Riviera are the immaculate laundry facilities (tokens required and $2.00/load) with Speed Queen machines that do a terrific job. From talking with other passengers it seems most passengers take advantage of the plentiful facilities to always have a stash of clean clothes. The send out laundry service is also terrific and they have yet to damage or ruin a piece of our clothing (even the drycleaners at home do this). Of interesting note on the dining front Apollo Catering has the Oceania contract until 2019. After that we were advised NCL will be taking the dining "in house". Not sure if that will have any impact for better or worse, but time will tell. ENTERTAINMENT: I did not personally to more than one show. Of note the Jean Ann Ryan (spelling?) production company previously contracted with has lost their contract and entertainment is transitioning to NCL productions. My wife and children (teenagers) went to a few more shows than I did and were impressed with the production quality and the talent. As a point of reference we are from Los Angeles and frequent the theater so given the frame of reference for my family to have enjoyed the entertainment this much is notable. The cruise director Ray Michaels was terrific, had his own schtick and was kind and always visible. We have also enjoyed Oceania cruise directors Dottie and Les in the past. INTERESTING NOTE: My teenage kids - both very well cruised on many lines - prefer Oceania even to the likes of Royal Caribbean for a variety of reasons. A few months prior we were on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas at my son's request for his Spring break. He was so excited about all the sports and activities. We traveled with some other families and there were 5 teenagers with us. Remarkably, none of them really loved Royal Caribbean. Why? Lines, lines and more lines and "too crowded everywhere". Additionally, due to the number of kids on board Royal Caribbean they are cordoned off from many of the otherwise adult areas and treated as second class citizens. All 5 kids also recognized that the food was "awful" on the Royal Caribbean Cruise. Some of the benefits of being a child or teenager cruising on Oceania is that you can be included in the adult ping pong tournament, sit with a parent at the bar and even enjoy the Canyon Ranch Spa and thalassotherapy pool without being humiliated and kicked out. Our experience of 5 Oceania cruises is that the children are typically well traveled and VERY well behaved, quiet and non-obtrusive. Although Oceania does not formally cater to families or have a youth program there were approximately 100 passengers on board out of 1200+ who were below 18 and a delight to have on board. You didn't know they were there. Oceania is not for all adults or all children. If you are someone who enjoys constant action, pool games, an action packed kids program, upsells like photographs and drinks left and right I would not encourage trying Oceania as you might find it bland, boring and unappealing. However, if you are one who enjoys quality, service, great food and a refined non-crowded relaxing atmosphere with great attention to detail Oceania is perfect. Keep in mind Oceania is "country club casual" so if you enjoy dressing in a tuxedo in 90 degree Mediterranean weather for a Titanic reenactment Oceania is also not for you. Passengers consistently look great for dinner in their elegant and casual attire and I have not seen abuse of the casual policy. Of note, is that shorts are acceptable at Terraces Café for dinner and many gentlemen exercise this option, but again always looked nice to me as shorts were usually worn with a nice button down or polo with appropriate loafers. CLOSING: Again, I apologize for being a Cruise Critic voyeur and not a big contributor recently, but hop you have found this review of Oceania Riviera enjoyable and informative. Bon voyage! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Marina is exceptional for what it does not have. It does not have photographers bothering you, art auctions, charge for espresso or specialty coffee, charge for cans of soft drinks. What it does have is exceptional food, fine specialty ... Read More
Marina is exceptional for what it does not have. It does not have photographers bothering you, art auctions, charge for espresso or specialty coffee, charge for cans of soft drinks. What it does have is exceptional food, fine specialty dining rooms; complementary; most pleasant staff of our 30 plus cruises and excellent entertainment. Our large balcony cabin had a beautiful marble bathroom with huge tub plus shower. The bed was something you would like to take home with you and concierge deck had a very nice lounge, plus private sunning area in the bow accessible with key card. The minus were the overpriced wine bottles topped with an 18% gratuity and very overpriced shore excursions. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
There are not enough superlatives to describe our 10-day cruise on Oceania Regatta to Alaska. The quality of service would have made a five star hotel anywhere in the world envious. This was a cruise for foodies as every meal onboard was a ... Read More
There are not enough superlatives to describe our 10-day cruise on Oceania Regatta to Alaska. The quality of service would have made a five star hotel anywhere in the world envious. This was a cruise for foodies as every meal onboard was a gourmet experience. For 675 passengers there were 66 chefs, and the only thing that was not prepared fresh daily were the milk, eggs, and butter. The night life was excellent as there was something for all ages and interests. The attention to detail by the cruise director, Ray Carr, was superb. The ship recently underwent a major refurbishing and it was spotless. After a couple of tender excursions, the crew were out polishing the brass propellers to make them shine. At the Hubbard Glacier, the captain parallel parked the ship to ensure everyone had a spectacular view. The atmosphere was that of a happy family, and the staff and crew were there to ensure your vacation was the epitome of pleasure and enjoyment. If you are contemplating a cruise, look nowhere beyond Oceania anywhere in the world. I have been onboard other ships from other ocean lines, and they do not compare to the quality of Oceania. Read Less
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