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Oceania Riviera review

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    Oceania Riviera review

    As some of you know from my recent posts we have been on Oceania Riviera on a Mediterranean cruise, and I promised a review to forum members.

    The package was put together by Cruise.co.uk and included parking at Manchester, flights (From Oceania), Mercedes transfer in Rome, 9 nights cruise in an inside cabin, Unlimited Internet Package, $600 OBC and Transfer to Nice. – All for about £1200 each, which compared well to the new MSC Inside Yacht Club cabins. (Like Yacht Club there are only a few inside cabins and they sell within days of release – balconies on both can cost double this).

    Note Oceania offer included flights but not transfers and their cost for Monaco to Nice A/P would almost pay for a scheduled return flight from Leeds to Nice.

    Almost all our previous cruises have been on large ships, our smallest previous cruises were a taster Azamara and the P&O Oriana, The Riviera was something new to us. She is 66000 ton, has 1250 passengers and 800 crew. When compared with MSC Preziosa (our last cruise) at 140000 ton, 4000 passengers and 1350 crew, where we travelled in the Yacht Club, we weren’t sure what to expect.

    First impression was that the whole ship is one giant Yacht Club (without a butler). It is very elegant, has attentive service and you experience amazing food in all the venues. All passengers are allowed at least one complimentary meal per cruise in each of the speciality restaurants – all 4 of them, so add in an excellent fully flexible MDR and the terrace café (buffet) and the Waves Grill (The pool deck Barbie) and in 9 days you barely see the same place twice.

    There are only 4 bars on the ship, plus several pop-up service hatches in the dining venues. The strange thing was the pool bar closed about 6pm, despite warm nights, so in the evening the only 3 venues open were the Casino Bar, the Martini Bar and the Horizons Lounge. Although we didn’t have a drinks package, all soft drinks and coffees are complimentary and simply taking advantage of the 2 happy hours (one before the evening meal and one after the show) we enjoyed ourselves without breaking the bank.

    Drinks are priced from $8 to $15 (inc 18% service charge) and it is 2 for one at happy hour (you don’t have to drink them in happy hour). A full drinks package would have been well over £1000 for two - our alcohol bill was only £200.

    As you would expect, the cabin was reasonable sized, well equipped, comfortable bed, good linens and Bulgari toiletries. There was plenty of storage and the housekeeping was excellent.

    So, given the excellence of the ship and the slightly “over the top” level of service, not to mention the amazing amount of free sun beds at any time and nearly empty bars, why were we not wowed by the cruise?

    The simple answer is that after a few days the limited entertainment, the long periods of the day with nothing happening, the limited boutiques (with 22% VAT to add) and the lack of variety in venues was boring. In addition the majority of passengers were retired Americans and it was like being on a different planet – almost like the set of Murder She Wrote – the only things missing were Jessica Fletcher and the murder.

    The ports of call were OK but we had been to most of them several times. The new to us ports were Palamos, a small Spanish resort near Barcelona with very little of note, St Tropez, which was OK for a few hours but nothing like we expected and Valencia which was a jewel. Worth noting that Oceania offer free shuttles in most ports and extortionately priced excursions.

    So in summary if you like a relaxed cruise on a beautiful ship, the OTT American service offer (They even insist on putting your buffet products on the plate AND then a waiter carries your plate to the table) and the limited Americanised entertainment then Oceania would be a good choice.

    If however you want lots of people, plenty of choice of venues and activities, large promenades (inside and out) then go for a mainstream large ship.
    The perfect option (to us) is still MSC Yacht Club where you get both in one package.

    Cheers

    Tony B

    #2
    I found your review most interesting and honest compared to other reviews of the same ship.

    Comment


      #3
      Very interesting Toshtosh. We have only sailed with Oceania once,on Nautica. Although the ship was beautiful, service and food very good, we didn't enjoy it very much. Reading your comments, it came to me that it was quite boring and certainly lacked "atmospher". We wouldn't be in a hurry to book with them again. Beryl

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for the review, Oceania has been on our radar but we have not yet booked anything, and they seem to have slipped down our potential list.

        We have a couple of MSC Yacht Club booked and a Viking Ocean so that will keep us busy for the next 15 months or so

        John

        Comment


          #5
          I enjoyed reading your review. We have sailed on Riviera in a penthouse suite as we got a good deal but there is really no need to upgrade as we later all the cabins have similar amenities. Well done finding the cruise for that price. We had 500 pounds cruise credit with Oceania which has now expired as every time I enquired about the advertised prices for an inside cabin I was told there was a wait list. I agree about the lack of things to do on board but I did enjoy the art studio.
          Rather than pay the price for their transfer to Nice from Montenegro Carlos it is worth considering a helicopter. We did this for a Regent cruise and it was less than they wanted to charge for a car and not much more than our budget flight from Manchester.

          Comment


            #6
            One thing I didn't mention was the enrichment lectures. An american university professor gave 3 lectures over the cruise.

            OH went to first lecture on the Spanish Civil War - she learned a lot about the link to WW2.
            We both went to last 2;

            Given all my posts on Brexit I couldn't resist the second lecture - The troubled EU - an american perspective.

            Given OH's job in medical research the third lecture, selling his latest book, was all about Big Data and how there is a multi billion industry in collecting and selling medical data. Highly relevant when you consider the NHS questions on sexuality.
            An american university has now demonstrated that much of the anonymised data can often be retro-identified to individuals by cross referencing databases with names, including facebook posts, allowing targeted activities. (maybe worth a thread?)

            Well that was one activity that was complimentary, most others such as art classes, spa treatments and cookery classes were all charged at Oceania prices.

            Cheers

            Tony B
            Last edited by toshtosh, Guiseley; 18th October 2017, 07:36 AM.

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks for posting the review ,surprising how different ship's attract there core passengers, not to surprised at the lack of something to do on a small ship, Which would be an attraction for some....Taffy
              ​Taffy

              Comment


                #8
                I enjoyed reading your review. We have sailed on Riviera in a penthouse suite as we got a good deal but there is really no need to upgrade as we later all the cabins have similar amenities. Well done finding the cruise for that price. We had 500 pounds cruise credit with Oceania which has now expired as every time I enquired about the advertised prices for an inside cabin I was told there was a wait list. I agree about the lack of things to do on board but I did enjoy the art studio.
                Rather than pay the price for their transfer to Nice from Montenegro Carlos it is worth considering a helicopter. We did this for a Regent cruise and it was less than they wanted to charge for a car and not much more than our budget flight from Manchester.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I found your review most interesting Tosh Tosh as Oceania had been at the top of my ‘Must Do’ list for a number of years, so when a lunch invite from cruisedot for their new ship Marina was offered, I jumped at the chance, even though it was a pain of a drive from the Midlands to Dover.
                  The ship was stunning, the lunch was superb and the very professionally orchestrated tour was immaculately executed.
                  I love my food, but after just visiting and listening to the cuisine on offer left me feeling quite exhausted without even sampling a bite. It seemed to me the cruise was about food, food and food and little else.
                  I came away feeling wowed with the ship, but my enthusiasm for cruising Oceania somewhat waned, as I think I would be somewhat bored with the whole experience………..Wilba
                  Wilba

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks for the review. I think this would suit us very well. I only wish I could cope with an inside cabin so as to make it more affordable. As it is, Oceania's balcony prices are prohibitive, unfortunately.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by toshtosh, Guiseley View Post
                      One thing I didn't mention was the enrichment lectures. An american university professor gave 3 lectures over the cruise.

                      OH went to first lecture on the Spanish Civil War - she learned a lot about the link to WW2.
                      We both went to last 2;

                      Given all my posts on Brexit I couldn't resist the second lecture - The troubled EU - an american perspective.

                      Given OH's job in medical research the third lecture, selling his latest book, was all about Big Data and how there is a multi billion industry in collecting and selling medical data. Highly relevant when you consider the NHS questions on sexuality.
                      An american university has now demonstrated that much of the anonymised data can often be retro-identified to individuals by cross referencing databases with names, including facebook posts, allowing targeted activities. (maybe worth a thread?)

                      Well that was one activity that was complimentary, most others such as art classes, spa treatments and cookery classes were all charged at Oceania prices.

                      Cheers

                      Tony B
                      We when we sailed on Riviera the art classes were free. I am surprised they have started charging as they are even free in cunard and p&o apart from the cost of materials if you don't have your own.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Very good review Tony, Sounds lovely but a little quiet, However at the right price I would be tempted. Jan.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Sorry I was wrong - the art classes were free on a first come free served basis. Our resident artist was an oil by palette knife specialist.

                          I got grade 9 O level art and can't draw a straight line with a ruler so never checked on cost etc, just assumed that as cookery was chargeable so would art classes.

                          One other chargeable activity was a "chef's table" experience with paired wines. It is held in a glass sided room as you exit the buffet - great entertainment to watch the sommelier making one bottle go between 8 diners - at least for a few minutes - similar to the Yacht Club restaurant on Fantasia class ships by the public infinity pool.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thanks for your review it confirms what I have always thought that Oceania would not be for me, I am in no way a foodie and I do love a variety of day & evening entertainment.
                            Retired American's would also be a no no, I have a enough problems with the retired British.
                            Delboy


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                            Comment


                              #15
                              We have likes and dislikes for different cruise lines and ships. Honest reviews are helpful to decide whether it's worth trying out, thanks.

                              Comment


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