One of the best cruise ships in the world - fantastic food and lovely comfortable staterooms, a luxury-style value
Best For People Who Want
A casual experience on a medium-sized ship cruise; a port-intensive itinerary; a focus on fine cuisine; open seating dining; no additional charge alternative restaurants; a strict smoking policy
Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Mainstream cruise lines with singing waiters
Designed by veteran ship creator Gunnar Åserud of Yran & Storbraaten, Riviera has all the elements that already make Oceania so popular already - superb cuisine designed by culinary icon Jacques Pépin, alternative dining in intimate specialty restaurants with very reasonable cover charges and port-intensive itineraries to unusual destinations. But also features a more elegant and contemporary interior and additional food options such as the eponymous "Jacques" restaurant with under 100 seats.
A definite step up from the original Oceania Ships which are mostly upgraded original Renaissance decor - Riviera is a remarkably beautiful ship with stunning furniture and appropriately tasteful finishings throughout.
There is an actual theater showroom on the ship, plus a larger casino and a beautiful dining room. The alternative restaurants are lavishly appointed in the themes to which they aspire. The main staircase is covered in Lalique Crystal which you might overlook if you did not know it is there. Understated elegance is the keyword for Riviera decor.
The ship also boasts an art collection that could be apprised at well over $1-million.
The service on Oceania is top-notch, with butler service in the suites. Waiters are knowledgable and attentive.
Since Oceania has a flexible dining program, gratuities of $11.50 per person per day (including children) are automatically added to the shipboard account for all dining room and stateroom personnel. An additional $3.50 per passenger per day is added for suites where Butler Service is provided. Tipping is at the passenger's discretion, however, so the amount may be increased, decreased, or all gratuities can be removed, by contacting the front desk. Gratuities of 18 percent are automatically added to bar charges and spa services.
Riviera has a fine onboard orchestra, a string quartet and pianist. Each evening you can enjoy shows in the Cabaret Lounge. Oceania will tell you frankly that entertainment is not high on their list of priorities as most people find a long day in port followed by haute cuisine to be more than enough for a satisfying day. But Riviera is a larger ship and so special production shows have been created and appear alternatively with guest artists in the main showroom nightly.
The most important aspect of Riviera is the Bon Apetit Culinary Center, designed in conjunction with the magazine. Here guests not only see demonstrations on cooking techniques, they actually get to try them, each pupil wth a complete working work station of his own with burner, utensils, sinks, knives, etc.
The casino is smaller than most, with tables for blackjack and roulette. Depending upon itinerary, standard shipboard activities like bingo, bridge and dance lessons are limited, since you're in port most of the time. The incomparable cyber-cafe offers instruction, but classes fill up quickly, so don't dawdle.
The staterooms on Riviera are roomy and very comfortable, with Ralph Lauren linens and towels. The staterooms on Riviera and Marina are larger on average than the original Oceania ships. They have large screen flat panel televisions and mini-bar refrigerators.
The fitness center has treadmills, bikes, and several weight machines and free weights. A walking/jogging track circles the top of the ship. Several aerobics classes are scheduled each day.
With no ties required and "country club casual" recommended at night, you'll see women in everything from blouses with pants and skirts to much more elegant attire.
Well heeled people who are down to earth and know smart buyers when they meet them