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Riviera Review - March 6-16, 2019 - Oceania novice


Nachosdelux
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Oceania Riviera review - March 6-16, 2019

 

We are a married couple in our late 40’s, on our first Oceania Cruise.  We have done 2 Seabourn, 2 RCCL,  and 12+ Celebrity cruises.  I have also cruised once on Princess with my family.

 

I will make some comparisons to other cruises because that is my experience.

 

We were one of the youngest on the cruise, but we expected that.  Slightly younger crowd than Seaborne.

 

We are foodies and just like to relax and enjoy the nice weather.

 

Flew into Fort Lauderdale and took an Uber to the JW Miami Marquis.  Beautiful hotel, right next to a Whole Foods if you want to shop for wine.  We used points for the stay, but the nightly rate was $450 or so otherwise.  Frankly I would not pay that much for a pre-cruise stay, but the rates are much lower off-season.

 

Took an Uber to the port about 12:00 noon, the Riviera was the only ship in port (Wednesday) so no traffic.  There was a line for check-in of about 100 people, but since we had booked a PH1, we did not have to wait in it!  We were checked in, through security, and on the ship in about 15 minutes.

 

We wandered around a bit, and went to our room at 1pm when it became available.  We were mid-ship on deck 11.  Room is about 360 square feet, plus a 60 square feet balcony.  Great storage, large walk-in closet, very comfortable bed.

 

Ship was in very good condition, only a few spots with worn/stained carpet.  Our shower floor had some wear/tear but the rest of the room was fine.

 

Ship is really pretty, with beautiful artwork all over.  Easy to get around but could use 4 elevators both fore/aft (only has 4/2).  Not a huge atrium like the mega-ships, but the flow was fine and always a place to sit. 

 

Staff was friendly and helpful.  I felt the staff’s language (English) skills were not as good as Seaborne’s.  Our cabin attendants and butler did a great job.

 

We are not huge drinkers so we brought some wine/alcohol on the ship, and sailed without the beverage package.  We had a couple drinks at a bar one evening, and a bottle of wine at one dinner, and the selection and service was good.

 

We pre-booked our 4 specialty restaurants and “ordered in” specialty 3 more nights.  Loved Jacque, Toscana, and Red Ginger.  We thought Polo Grill was just OK.  The appetizer salad (BLT with cheddar and tangy dressing) was just odd and not good.  The steaks were cooked fine but nothing special.  We thought the steak in Toscana was much better.

 

We never made it to the MDR.  The rest of our meals were room service, the buffet, or Waves grill (loved it).  One day I ordered the "Alaskan", which is a salmon patty sandwich.  When I first got the plate, it reminded me of the Costco salmon patties.  Boy was I wrong - it was delicious! 

 

Best deserts and ice cream of any ship we have been on.  Afternoon tea very nice, better than Seabourn.

 

We have been to the Caribbean many times, so we just booked (not with Oceania) a Mayan Ruins tour, which we enjoyed.  The ship bypassed Costa Maya due to winds.  Weather for the cruise was great, generally calm seas and a little breezy.

 

We did not go to any shows, but we don’t expect much on smaller ships.  My wife went to the photo classes every day and enjoyed them, learned a lot.  The string quartet was good.  The house band was not (female singer pitchy)

 

Getting off the ship was relatively painless.  We had a 3pm flight out of Miami so no hurry.  We were scheduled to get off at 9:05 but got off about 30 minutes lated due to an Immigration delay in clearing the ship.  Found our bags right away, and (luckily) got into the Global Entry line.  I say luckily because different (port) staff members gave inconsistent information about whether or not we could use that line.  I think we waited 10 minutes, and the regular Immigration line looked really long.

 

Outside I tried to get an Uber but after 10 minutes of waiting (and it not getting any closer) we got back in the taxi line and after 5 minutes were on our way to Miami Airport ($27 flat fee).

 

Overall we really enjoyed our first Oceania Cruise, and we are planning our next one.  We still feel “at home” on Celebrity (usually book a suite) and feel the food in Luminae is some of the best at sea, although the menu is limited.  I do wish Oceania had more Indian/Asian offerings at the buffet, but they do have Red Ginger, which is hard to beat.  We like Seabourn as well, but will probably try their larger ships next time.  

 

until next time….

 

Bon Voyage!

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Thanks for taking the time to write your review.

Glad that you enjoyed your first Oceania cruise.

Jacques is our favorite as well. Dining in when in a PH is nice when you just want to be comfortable or cannot get that extra Jacques reservation 🙂

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Just what do you mean by "the female singer was pitchy"?  I'm guessing you meant she sang "off-pitch", which would drive me (as a singer myself) crazy.

 

The few times we've been in Horizons when there was a singer/band, I was impressed with their performances (not necessarily on Riviera, I mean on all the ships) -- and I'm a classical singer.

 

Enjoyed your review!

 

Mura

 

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5 hours ago, Mura said:

Just what do you mean by "the female singer was pitchy"?  I'm guessing you meant she sang "off-pitch", which would drive me (as a singer myself) crazy.

Enjoyed your review!

 

Mura

 

Yes, I did mean off-pitch. 

 

 

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Thanks for your review. I was also on the cruise. Correction: The ship missed Harvest Caye which is Private island in Belize due to high winds. Wish we had docked there. We did dock in Costa Maya..it was a crowded zoo,. Our ship and six others...made for a very congested day in that port. 

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2 hours ago, edgee said:

Thanks for your review. I was also on the cruise. Correction: The ship missed Harvest Caye which is Private island in Belize due to high winds. Wish we had docked there. We did dock in Costa Maya..it was a crowded zoo,. Our ship and six others...made for a very congested day in that port. 

 

thanks for correcting that.  I also wish we had docked in Harvest Caye.  I have never been and it sounds relaxing.  Costa Maya was where we did our Mayan ruins tour. We used Native Choice for the 1/2 day Chacchoben Ruins tour and it was great.

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Thank you for your review.  We board Riviera a week from today and had friends on your cruise.  They talked about the high winds and the disappointment in missing Harvest Caye.  I love reading the perspective of a new Oceania cruiser and especially one who has been on Celebrity so much.   We started cruising Oceania in 2013 and never went back to Celebrity.  I'd be interested in your favorite Celebrity ship right now because we have considered trying it again one of these days.

 

Thank you for your review!  We can't wait to board and head up to Waves Grill for my favorite Surf 'n' Turf sandwich.

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14 hours ago, HeatherInFlorida said:

 I'd be interested in your favorite Celebrity ship right now because we have considered trying it again one of these days.

 

 

 

We like the Equinox and the Millennium, but they were our favorites because we cruised them several times and got to know some of the crew.  Unfortunately, that was a while ago so I'm sure things have changed.  We are considering an Oceania Med in late summer, and a Celebrity Equinox Caribbean as well.   The only limits are time off from work and $$$!!!!

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2 hours ago, Nachosdelux said:

 

We like the Equinox and the Millennium, but they were our favorites because we cruised them several times and got to know some of the crew.  Unfortunately, that was a while ago so I'm sure things have changed.  We are considering an Oceania Med in late summer, and a Celebrity Equinox Caribbean as well.   The only limits are time off from work and $$$!!!!

 

Many thanks.  We loved the Millennium years ago ... many!  Enjoy the sea wherever you go and whatever ship you're on!

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