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My review of Oceania Riviera.

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    My review of Oceania Riviera.

    I will also post this on the Reviews Section, but have posted it here so that those of you who have been following my 'blogs' & photos, can see it first!

    Our Luxury Escape on Oceania Riviera – six superb days & nights.

    I, or should I say we, have been very fortunate to be chosen by Cruise Dot and Oceania to cruise with them, try all the speciality restaurants (No hardship there) and write a daily blog. The full and detailed version of my daily blogs can be read here, as can the photos that I have posted so far! I took rather a lot! And still have more to put on!

    http://www.cruises.co.uk/1428-lizzies_luxury_oceania_escape


    Whilst I don’t want to repeat what I have written in the ‘blogs’, I suspect some repetition might be inevitable, due to my memory or lack of it!

    The Staff.


    So many smiles, so much friendliness, create an excellent atmosphere, warm & welcoming & you really feel they want you to enjoy their ship. We boarded mid-way through the 12 day cruise, taxi to the ‘gangplank’ our cases whisked away, two minutes with a very friendly lady in security & into Reception to check in! We have never boarded a ship so quickly! 10 minutes for the formalities & on our way to our stateroom, brilliant & our cases were already there.

    Whoever trains the staff, I ‘take my hat off to you’ a ‘can do’ attitude prevails everywhere, customer service is not easy, especially with some of the passengers we came across, but it was consistently good throughout our time on board. I am very critical, having once been a ‘customer service trainer’ in my early days of employment, amongst many other roles!

    Our Stateroom.

    We were allocated an A3- Concierge Veranda Stateroom, which was a delightful room, looked after by the highly competent Neelesh & his assistant. The bathroom was excellent, marble & granite, with bath and shower over, plus a separate shower with glass doors, not the dreaded curtain, which we both hate! Two types of shower head, neither of us tried the ‘super blast’ one!

    The stateroom was restful, though if you are not a fan of dark wood, it might not be, we loved it, not enough to take over, just enough to give it a ‘non MDF’ feel. The beds were the best ever & I really wanted to bring them home! Whilst the large soft pillows look attractive, we got them changed for firm ones, so much better, for us!

    As/when Oceania design another ship, might be worth looking at the switches on the left hand side of the dressing table, I needed to use an adaptor plug for my hot brush, but this in turn knocked out the middle switch for the light over the dressing table, it can be overcome, but it is ‘fiddly,’ a small point but might be important to some.

    The big advantage of a Concierge stateroom is the Lounge, where you can go & get freshly brewed espresso/tea in the morning,or at any other time, excellent! From a machine, but the coffee is really good if you have two shots of espresso & top it up with hot water! They also do excellent breakfast pastries including pain au raisin if you can’t face a proper meal.

    We tried room service but the coffee was pretty dire! Please could you also add Assam tea to the selection, the other teas just don’t ‘cut it’ for me, a very small point, but I am a Brit!

    The other advantage is a bottle of excellent champagne, not like the ‘Pol Aker’ fizz on Cunard which we can only drink with orange juice!

    Our veranda was small but the chairs very comfortable, enjoyed a drink or two out there, especially our ‘sail away’ from Monte Carlo; it was a mild night & the views stunning!

    The Restaurants.

    We were asked to try all of the speciality restaurants and report back, you will find my reports and photos at the link I posted earlier. They were each in their own way excellent, the staff, décor, food and ambiance just brilliant.

    We love Cunard, Princess Grill, when we can afford it, but this, for us, moved it up a ‘notch’. Such amazing choices & every meal, a real delight, my husband is the real foodie, as I do not eat meat, he truly was very impressed ( just in case you don’t think my ‘non meat’ views count for much) I should have captured his comments! Do look at the link if you have time, the food was truly brilliant! Oceania claim to have the best food at sea, I can’t comment on that as we have not been on all cruise lines. However we can say it’s the best food we have ever had at sea.

    We also loved the themed décor of each restaurant; it really did ‘fit the food served’, from the décor and art work to the table and glass ware, it all worked so very well, the designers clearly did an excellent job.

    We also struck lucky In Monte Carlo, breakfast outside on the Terrace, wonderful, in the sunshine, would love to cruise on Riviera in the summer & eat every breakfast on deck!
    The Grand Dining Room was also an excellent venue, the chandelier is amazing and so was the food! No wonder we need serious diets!!

    On that note, afternoon tea in Horizons with its great views is a must! Very civilised, listening to the string quartet playing. We only managed a few small sandwiches, a scone jam & cream & had to pass on the magnificent selection of cakes and pastries!

    A point of some concern for us was the hand gel or rather that most passengers ignored it! I appreciate that even in the Buffet, the staff serves you, but you can pick up a bug from many places & I do think Oceania need to push the need to use the gel more robustly, as we know, not all wash their hands after using the bathroom.

    The Lounges & Bars
    We loved the Martini Bar and its excellent cocktails! Very comfortable and relaxing room & they will bring you ‘nibbles’ to go with your drinks, we passed, there is only so much we could eat!

    Waves bar on deck was another favourite for a lunchtime drink, at times it was the only bar open at lunchtime, and we were the only customers, we didn’t mind.

    There were two other Lounges, Horizons a bar in the evenings and the Grand Bar plus the Riviera Lounge where the ‘shows’ were held.

    We only attended two shows, both musicals, one called ‘Rock on’ which I think was based on music of the 70/80’s which we were not keen on & the other from the 60’s which was really great! The highlight was when all the crew came on stage to applaud the guests on the penultimate night, a great atmosphere.

    Other acts in the Riviera Lounge were a comedian Dave Heenan, a vocalist Lee Bradley, and a violin virtuoso, Vincenzo Gentile.

    There is also musical entertainment in Martinis, the Grand Bar and Horizons in the evenings.
    We favoured the Casino when we weren’t too tired & enjoyed loosing at Poker!

    The Drinks Package

    We both decided to purchase the Prestige Select Package at $49.95 a day, including the 18% service charge. It was excellent value & included wines by the glass with frequent ‘top ups’, cocktails, beer (which we don’t drink!) and spirits including XO cognac.

    There were some exceptions as you would expect, such as a cognac at $125 a glass! But not many & three glasses of wine, a cocktail & a cognac each day and it’s paid for itself.

    For those who didn’t want to buy the package I noticed there were other offers 2 for 1 cocktails between 5-6pm, or cocktails of the day for $5 each.

    All soft drinks are included in the fare, there is a wide choice; the free bottled water to take with you as you left the ship was a great touch.

    The coffee in Baristas was just excellent and again included, with the option to drink it there or take it away.

    Activities
    We are not sunbathers, but if you are, the loungers looked great with their white covers & when the sun shone, they were well patronised.

    There are activities, but a limited choice, as all the days we were on board were port days. However, there was Shuffleboard, Croquet, Table Tennis, a Golf Putting Challenge, Canyon Ranch Spa Enrichment Seminars and Enrichment Lectures such as ‘The Middle Ages in Europe’.

    I would have loved to go to the classes in the Artist’s Loft, but not enough time! These took place generally during my ‘writing my blog time’ each day. ‘Organic Forms and Gaudi’, sounded particularly interesting!

    You can also attend the culinary classes held in the Bon Appétit culinary centre. We met a couple who had just been to the local Market with the chef & were preparing their purchases later that day, no doubt they got to eat them as well!

    There was also a trivia quiz and the usual meetings for the Friends of Bill W, no mention of ‘Dorothy’ on this trip. I have just reread the daily ‘Currents’ & found we missed the $15 Martini Tasting!

    So who is Oceania For?

    Those who love fine dining, elegant surroundings and excellent service would love this ship, as we did. Not a flow rider in sight!

    Some might be disappointed that there are no ‘formal nights’ & that the dress code is country-club casual, with many interpretations on that theme! However, in truth we didn’t miss not wearing our formal togs!

    We dressed smartly as you would for an elegant restaurant anywhere & my husband wore a jacket every evening, as did some others, however it was his choice and is not compulsory.

    I do think Oceania lives up to ‘Your World. Your way’ We can’t wait to do it ‘our way’ all over again, but next time I will get to those art classes!

    Many Thanks to Cruise Dot and Oceania for the chance to enjoy such a great six days in the Mediterranean.
    Last edited by Lizzie, Lymington; 21st November 2012, 04:11 PM. Reason: Layout.
    Lizzie sigpic

    #2
    Sounds absolutely wonderful Lizzie, have enjoyed your blogs and enjoying the photo's as you are posting them.

    Definitely one to try I think.
    Jo

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you for putting it on here first Lizzie!
      I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of your cruise along with many other forum members.
      One day, maybe one day we can experience some of that. A great review and I do hope you dont get the knockers on the review site.

      Well done all the way
      sigpic*Carol M*

      Comment


        #4
        Great review Lizzie, you have really brought Oceania Riviera to us with your daily blogs and lovely photos as well. I do think we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to try these free cruises courtesy of Cruisedot and I'm sure it must be a great advert for each of the cruise lines featured.

        Comment


          #5
          Fantastic review - we've twice "nearly" booked the ship but chosen Cunard instead; much as we loved those, I guess we really should go for it next time!!!

          Cheers,
          Lynn

          Comment


            #6
            I cannot wait now.Roll on 1st Feb !!

            Thanks

            Scotslizzy

            Comment


              #7
              You seem to have covered all aspects of the ship, which as far as a ship's review is concerned, is the main point of a review.

              Well done Cruise dot, Oceania and Lizzie L....and Mr Lizzie L for his carnivorous contribution.

              Comment


                #8
                An excellent review Lizzie. I totally agree with everything you've said about Riviera. Not that we've been on Riviera only Marina & Insignia but Marina & Riviera are very similar I understand. I'm not a foodie & like you I don't eat meat, I found that I had the best choice ever in all the restaurants.

                My only criticism of Oceania's ships are the pools. I love to swim, you can't on Regatta & Nautica. On Marina & Riviera you can but if there are more than 2 people in the pool you'll struggle. It's a minor criticism but as someone who hates gyms I miss my holiday swims!

                Thank you for comparing it to some other lines you've travelled with. It's great when people who have cruised a lot with other lines give us their views. We've not done many cruises and have been wondering whether to try Cunard or maybe Celebrity but after 2 Oceania cruises which we loved I'm a bit wary. At least now I know that I'm not going to get that food quality & won't have unrealistic expectations!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Dancing Queen, Chesterfield View Post
                  Sounds absolutely wonderful Lizzie, have enjoyed your blogs and enjoying the photo's as you are posting them.

                  Definitely one to try I think.
                  It certainly is DQ! It seems Marina, her sister ship will have some sailings from Southampton next year, I do hope so!
                  Lizzie sigpic

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Calgray, Yorkshire View Post
                    Thank you for putting it on here first Lizzie!
                    I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of your cruise along with many other forum members.
                    One day, maybe one day we can experience some of that. A great review and I do hope you dont get the knockers on the review site.

                    Well done all the way
                    I do hope you get to experience it Carol, as for the review site, I have posted it but it's not up yet!! I am 'standing by' wearing my best 'tin hat'!
                    Lizzie sigpic

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Hampshire Thorn, Fareham View Post
                      Great review Lizzie, you have really brought Oceania Riviera to us with your daily blogs and lovely photos as well. I do think we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to try these free cruises courtesy of Cruisedot and I'm sure it must be a great advert for each of the cruise lines featured.
                      Thanks HT, I agree very fortunate indeed & if a cruise line treats you well, they deserve a 'good press'. We truly felt like VIP'S but so much of that was down to the staff and the service, a credit to Oceania.

                      Originally posted by Mitchell Derby, Derby View Post
                      Fantastic review - we've twice "nearly" booked the ship but chosen Cunard instead; much as we loved those, I guess we really should go for it next time!!!

                      Cheers,
                      Lynn
                      Well worth a 'shot' Lynn! We both love Cunard, especially Princess Grill, but for us, this took the cruise experience up another 'notch'.

                      Originally posted by scotslizzy, glasgow View Post
                      I cannot wait now.Roll on 1st Feb !!

                      Thanks

                      Scotslizzy
                      I am jealous now Scotslizzy, have a great time & I look forward to your review!
                      Last edited by Lizzie, Lymington; 21st November 2012, 07:29 PM. Reason: Pressed send to soon!
                      Lizzie sigpic

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thank you Lizzie - I have really enjoyed your blogs, photos and the review too! Now I just need to persuade my other half that Oceania could be for us too !!!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Hi Lizzie thank you for the review and lovely photos. You have done a wonderful job. Sorry I missed replying to you earlier but we have had power cuts here and Internet was down three days so good to catch up on your adventure. Thanks again for the effort you put into this. I know it is not all plain sailing when you have to write your blogs each day. Lots of time and effort goes into it. Well done!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Mrs M View Post
                            You seem to have covered all aspects of the ship, which as far as a ship's review is concerned, is the main point of a review.

                            Well done Cruise dot, Oceania and Lizzie L....and Mr Lizzie L for his carnivorous contribution.
                            Thanks Mrs M, my mission was to review the ship, I have lots of pictures of the ports, but they will wait for another day. Mr Lizzie L says he is grateful his contribution was noted, I said he need look no further than his waistband

                            Originally posted by Fred Bloggs, Tyne and Wear View Post
                            An excellent review Lizzie. I totally agree with everything you've said about Riviera. Not that we've been on Riviera only Marina & Insignia but Marina & Riviera are very similar I understand. I'm not a foodie & like you I don't eat meat, I found that I had the best choice ever in all the restaurants.

                            My only criticism of Oceania's ships are the pools. I love to swim, you can't on Regatta & Nautica. On Marina & Riviera you can but if there are more than 2 people in the pool you'll struggle. It's a minor criticism but as someone who hates gyms I miss my holiday swims!

                            Thank you for comparing it to some other lines you've travelled with. It's great when people who have cruised a lot with other lines give us their views. We've not done many cruises and have been wondering whether to try Cunard or maybe Celebrity but after 2 Oceania cruises which we loved I'm a bit wary. At least now I know that I'm not going to get that food quality & won't have unrealistic expectations!
                            Thanks Fred, I don't use the pool, don't like getting my hair wet & having to redo it all over again! I honestly don't think you will get the variety of food on Cunard, although in Queens Grill, which we have not tried, you can eat 'off menu' but I still think you might miss the choice of venues!

                            Originally posted by Countrybumpkin, Humberside View Post
                            Thank you Lizzie - I have really enjoyed your blogs, photos and the review too! Now I just need to persuade my other half that Oceania could be for us too !!!
                            Tell him to go for it! The only thing he has to loose is his waistline!
                            Lizzie sigpic

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Lizzie, Lymington View Post
                              It certainly is DQ! It seems Marina, her sister ship will have some sailings from Southampton next year, I do hope so!
                              Now that does appeal Lizzie, we don't mind flying but do prefer to sail out of Southampton.
                              Jo

                              Comment


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