Riviera just completed her sea trials and is ready to begin full operation May 9, 2012
Oceania Cruises started as a sleeper hit with just three, small 700-passenger ships reclaimed from the bankrupt Renaissance Cruises. But Oceania took a giant leap forward when it presented the all new Marina in 2010, the first of two all new 65,000-ton ships built at the Sestri Ponente Fincantieri shipyard near Genoa, Italy - maker of the finest luxury ships.
Now Oceania is ready for the debut of Marina's sister; Riviera will arrive May 16, 2012. Like her sister, Riviera will be nine decks tall, 824 feet long, 104 feet wide and reach a cruising speed of 22 knots. Maximum passenger capacity is 1,260 guests in 640 cabins, almost all with an ocean view and 83 percent with a generous private balcony.
The ship just completed its sea trials and will begin cruising with passengers May 9th. CruiseMates will be aboard that cruise for a full report.
Designed by veteran ship creator Gunnar Åserud of Yran & Storbraaten, Riviera will have all the elements that made Marina a spectacular success; superb cuisine designed by culinary icon Jacques Pépin, alternative dining in intimate specialty restaurants with no (or limited) cover charges, including the eponymous "Jacques" restaurant with under 100 seats, and port-intensive itineraries to unusual destinations.
The grand lobby on Riviera will feature design accents by Lalique. La Reserve will be an intimate indoor-outdoor wine tasting venue for up to 24 guests. Full-service spa facilities and fitness centers will be provided by the famous Canyon Ranch SpaClub, and Canyon Ranch will also supply the spa culinary options for the main dining room onboard.
Oceania Cruises has always featured excellent cuisine, and Riviera will have 10 separate dining venues. Repeating on the success of Marina, Riviera will also feature the Bon Appétit Culinary Center with 24 individual cooking stations. Unlike other ships that have nothing more than demonstration kitchens, on Riviera (and Marina) guests participating in classes will actually have their own cook top, oven, pots, pans and utensils to create the recipes.
The Grand Dining Room will seat 566 and will repeat the elegant, contemporary look of the dining rooms on Marina. These are the two tallest single-story dining rooms at sea, ranging from 20 to 30 feet in height. Special acoustic insulation and floor materials will minimize noise.
Marina will feature 629 staterooms, which with combined square footage represent some of the largest staterooms at sea. The top suites are up to 2,000 sq. ft., with furnishings from Ralph Lauren Home and designs by Dakota Jackson and Tocar New York. There are also 124 penthouse suites measuring 420 sq. ft. apiece. The smallest staterooms are 174 sq. ft.
With a continuing focus on comfortable staterooms, Riviera's 282 sq. ft. Veranda Cabin is one-third larger than the standard balcony cabins on the line's smaller ships, with space added between the bed and the closet. Other features include floor-to-ceiling windows; the signature Oceania "Tranquility Bed," with 700-thread count linens; free, unlimited soft drinks and bottled water kept in a mini-refrigerator; a full-size bathtub; an LCD flat-screen TV; safe; hair dryer; cell phone service; and 110/220 volt outlets.
Guests in concierge-level veranda staterooms are provided with a laptop computer with Wi-Fi access - although regular Internet usage charges apply.
The ship has 124 Penthouse Suites measuring 420 sq. ft. These suites have a separate area for seating as well as dining, with a separate window for added light and views. Furnishings include a desk; an armoire with a built-in make-up area; and a wall-mounted flat panel TV. The bathroom has a marble floor and granite counter with a separate shower and tub. There is a large walk-in closet.
Riviera is the sister ship to Marina, and back in March, 2010, CEO Frank Del Rio commented, "There's only one thing better than one new ship and that's two new ships," but then he wryly added "They say great things come in threes." Oceania had an option with Fincantieri to build a third ship which had to exercised in 2010. They chose not to b uild the ship, and considering the putlook of the economy at the time it was the right chpice, however Marina has proven to be an extraordinary ship, and I have little doubt that a third similar vessel will arrive someday.
In her inaugural season, Riviera will present Culinary Discovery cruises that will visit 25 Mediterranean ports of call and offer special culinary tours to food markets, chocolatiers, wineries and dairies and then offer an opportunity to create dishes with those ingredients in the Bon Appetit Culinary Center.
Oceania's culinary enrichment director, Kathryn Kelly, suggested "A tour of Barcelona, for instance, will include visits to the Santa Caterina market in the old city followed by a Spanish olive oil and an Iberico jamon tasting in the market, and then a typical tapas lunch with a tasting of Spanish wines. After the tour, participants head back onboard for a class in tapas following recipes from Joyce Goldstein and Jose Andres."
It's no surprise that Riviera's godmother will be a well-known chef; The Food Network's "Iron Chef" Cat Cora will preside over a christening ceremony that will sacrifice a 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar of Veuve Clicquot Champagne. Cat Cora also operates restaurants in Orlando, Costa Mesa, California, San Francisco and Houston; and she produces her own olive oils, vinegars, sauces, tapenades, cookware and a collection of wines.
Riviera will next go to Asia, the Caribbean and South America during the 2012-2013 winter season where it will continue the Culinary Discovery theme.
Staterooms on Riviera will be very similar to Marina, so as a preview we present the Marina staterooms here:
|Verandah Stateroom||Penthouse Walk-in||Armoire|
|Penthouse Living Room area||Penthouse Bathroom||close up of chairs|
Riviera and Riviera Ship Facts
Riviera -- Debuts May 2012 Guest Capacity -- 1,256 (Double Occupancy) Tonnage -- 66,000 (estimated) Builder -- Fincantieri; Sestre Ponente, Italy Length -- 782 feet Width -- 105 feet Draft -- 24 feet Cruising Speed -- 20 knots Propulsion -- Diesel Electric, 2 controllable pitch propellers Restaurants -- Six Open Seating Restaurants:
- The Grand Dining Room -- Continental Cuisine
- Polo Grill -- Steak House
- Toscana -- Gourmet Italian
- Asian Restaurant -- Asian Cuisine
- Terrace Café -- Casual Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodations -- 628 Guest Staterooms and Suites:
- 4 Owner's Suites
- 6 Vista Suites
- 12 Oceania Suites
- 120 Penthouse Suites
- 440 Veranda Staterooms
- 20 Ocean View Staterooms
- 26 Inside Staterooms
- Horizons -- Observation lounge and nightclub
- Sports Deck
- Spa and Fitness Center
- The Patio
- Polo Grill -- Classic Steakhouse
- Toscana -- Gourmet Italian Restaurant
- Guest Suites
- Culinary Arts Center
- Enrichment Center
- Waves Bar
- Swimming Pool and Jacuzzis
- Waves Grill & Milkshake Bar
- Private Dining Rooms, Wine Cellar and Veranda
- Terrace Café -- casual buffet restaurant
Decks 11 through 7:
- Guest Staterooms and Suites
- Upper Hall
- Card Room
- Grand Bar
- Grand Dining Room -- Continental cuisine
- Main Lounge
- Reception Hall and Lounge
- French Restaurant -- Country French cuisine
- Asian Restaurant -- a fusion of Asian cuisines