Stan and I took the Prestige Beverage Package on our recent Riviera Cruise, and I must say that it more than met our expectations.
A good overview would be that virtually all alcoholic drinks, throughout the ship, were covered. This includes top shelf pours, doubles, triples, as well as frozen and specialty cocktails of every description.
Macallan and Highland Park Scotch are included, for those who enjoy Whiskey, as are all manner of Brandy, Cognac, Schnapps and various liqueurs and digestife (it was a nightcap paradise, I can tell you).
Exceptions to that rule were some very high end Cognacs (Louis XIII anyone?) and.....inexplicably, some very low quality Sake in Red Ginger (this was such a glaring error that I am sure that the Sommelier was mistaken), and wines by the bottle.
All of the wines that Oceania serves by the glass in any venue are included (there are about twenty on the list), and each day there was a different "suggested" red and white wine" printed on the grand dining room menu, which are also included in the package.
On one memorable evening, when we were in the Grand Dining Room with Hondorner and his wife Betsy, Oceania was pouring a Pahlmeyer Chardonnay and a Chateau De Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-pape.
Naturally, not all of the wines are of that caliber, but they can (and do) soar to those heights. I've long said that Oceania has the best Cellar-Masters at Sea, and the selection of wines that were offered through the Package were really top drawer. I was shocked that they were able to do it at this price point.
Throughout the ship, cocktail service was exemplary, particularly in Martinis where bartender Michael Tapia could not have been more accommodating if I had adopted him.
We have sailed with Michael twice before, and it has been a pleasure to watch him mature into the seasoned professional that he is today.
Knowledge that we had "booked the package" (which presumably changes the 18% tipping structure) did not effect the service that we received by one iota, in fact it was better than ever.
One area where I did run into trouble was in the Specialty Restaurants, where the Sommelier need more training as to how the Package works. One particularly recalcitrant fellow in Jacques insisted that a Sauternes that I'd enjoyed the night before in the GDR was not included, although I knew that it was.
Not wishing to make an issue of it at the table, I let it go, but I feel strongly that a printed wine menu, specific to the Beverage Package Client, should be provided in every restaurant, if only to forestall this type of confusion.
In fact, it would be a very nice touch if the restaurants had one on the table when "Prestige Clients" arrive at their table
And now, I'd like to propose a toast.....
Our World, Our Way
Contact Jim & Stan