Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 442 out of 500
Accommodation: 179 out of 200
Food: 335 out of 400
Service: 316 out of 400
Entertainment: 82 out of 100
Cruise: 328 out of 400
Overall Score: 1682 out of 2000
Size: Mid-size Ship
Cruise Line: Oceania Cruises
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9438078
Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)
Original Cost: $530 million
Entered Service: Jul 2012
Registry: Marshall Islands
Length (ft/m): 776.5/236.7
Beam (ft/m): 105.3/32.1
Draft (ft/m): 24.2/7.4
Passenger Decks: 11
Total Crew: 800
Passengers (lower beds): 1,258
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 52.5
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.5
Cabins (total): 629
Size Range (sq ft/m): 172.2-2,000/16.0-185.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 593
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 6
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 Volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 1
Hot Tubs (on deck): 2
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
A homey, comfortable, mid-size ship with a country-club feel
Overview. This ship suits mature-age adults who appreciate refined quality and style, plenty of space and comfort (no lines), and excellent cuisine and service, in a semi-casual setting with realistic pricing. Oceania Cruises has succeeded in keeping the warm, tasteful country house decor style for which its ships are known, as well as an uncomplicated layout.
The Ship. Riviera is the second newbuild (close sister to Marina) for this popular, small premium-ship cruise line. Its profile is quite handsome, with a nicely rounded front, and is topped by a swept-back funnel. Able to cruise at a speed 25 percent faster than Oceania Cruises’ smaller ships, Nautica and Regatta, the ship can operate more longer-distance cruises.
The interior focal point is a stunning wrought-iron and Lalique glass horseshoe-shaped staircase in the main lobby. Differences from Marina - there are reportedly 727 of them - include better steps on the main lobby staircase, a higher ceiling on one public deck, changes to drawer depth in cabins, a hand-held shower in suites with bathtub, and faster Internet speed.
Public rooms include nine bars and lounges. There is a 2,000-book library, set on the port side of the funnel housing, which also contains the staffed Oceania@Sea computer center, and Barista’s coffee bar/lounge (serving the excellent illy brand Italian coffee). The ship also showcases a collection of fine Latin artwork by some of the most renowned artists from Cuba’s Vanguard Movement (1927-50).
A Monte Carlo Casino is located between two bars - the Grand Bar and Martinis, with its own soft lavender-colored Casino Bar. Martinis houses a beautiful special-edition Steinway baby grand piano. There are also three boutiques, and several dining venues. There aren’t that many different lounges as such because most are drinking venues.
A Culinary Center comprises a cooking demonstration kitchen and 24 workstations, with various classes run in conjunction with the US-based Bon Appétit magazine - there’s a charge for these, but you get to eat your creations.
You can bring your paintbrushes to an Artist’s Loft that has constantly changing artists. Other classes may include photography, needlepoint, scrap-booking, drawing and quilting.
The dress code is ‘elegant country club attire’ - no pyjamas or track suits, but no ties either (so there’s no tie rack in the closets). A gratuity of 18 percent is added to all bar and spa accounts.
Accommodation. There are 17 price categories, including four suite grades and four cabin grades. Price depends on size and location, but all have one thing in common - a good-sized bathroom with tub and separate shower enclosure, plus his ’n’ hers toiletry cabinets. All suites/cabins have dark wood cabinetry with rounded edges. The decor includes chocolate brown, cream, and white - earthy colors that don’t jar the senses. Around 96 percent of all accommodation has teak-decked balconies.
Standard veranda cabins. These measure 282 sq ft (26 sq m). Veranda- and Concierge-level cabins have a sitting area and teak balcony with faux wicker furniture. Concierge-level grades get L’Occitane toiletries.
Penthouse Suites. These measure 420 sq ft (39 sq m) with living/dining room separate from the sleeping area, walk-in closet, and bathroom with a double vanity.
Oceania Suites. These measure about 1,030 sq ft (96 sq m) and have a living room, dining room, separate bedroom, walk-in closet, teak-decked balcony with Jacuzzi tub, main bathroom, and a second bathroom for guests.
Vista Suites. These range from 1,200 to 1,500 sq ft (111-139 sq m) and offer the same features as Oceania Suites plus floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the bow.
Owner’s Suite. At more than 2,000 sq ft (186 sq m), this spans the entire beam of the ship (about 105ft/32m). It is decked out in furniture, fabrics, lighting, and bedding from the Ralph Lauren Home collection with design by New York-based Tocar Inc. It is outfitted with a Yamaha baby grand piano, private fitness room, laptop computers, Bose audio system, and a teak-decked balcony with Jacuzzi tub.
Suite-category occupants get niceties like Champagne on arrival, 1,000-thread-count bed linen, 42in plasma TV sets, Hermès and Clarins bath amenities, butler service, and en suite delivery from any of the ship’s restaurants. Amenities include Tranquility beds, Wi-Fi laptop computer, refrigerated minibar with unlimited free soft drinks and bottled water replenished daily, personal safe, writing desk, cotton bathrobes, slippers, and marble and granite bathroom. Priority check-in and early embarkation and priority luggage delivery are extra perks.
Occupants of Owner’s, Vista, Oceania, and Penthouse Suites can have in-suite course-by-course dining from any restaurant menu, allowing private dining as a change from restaurant dining - a nice alternative on longer voyages.
Some grades get access to an Executive or Concierge Lounge. These are great little hideaways, with sofas, Internet-connect computers, Continental breakfast items, soft drinks, magazines, and more. Self-service launderettes are on each accommodation deck - useful for long voyages.
Dining. This really is a food lover’s ship that uses high-quality ingredients and has a number of dining venues, providing plenty of choice, even for long cruises. However, banquette seating in some venues does not evoke the image of premium dining as much as individual seating does. Particularly notable are the breads, rolls, croissants, and brioches - all made on board from French flour and d’Isigny butter.
The Grand Dining Room has 566 seats, and a domed, or raised, central ceiling. Versace bone china, Christofle silver, and fine linens are used. Canyon Ranch Spa dishes are available for all meals.
Jacques, with 124 seats, is the second seagoing restaurant for French celebrity chef Jacques Pépin, Oceania’s executive culinary director. It has antique oak flooring, antique flatware, and Lalique glassware, and provides fine dining in an elegant but informal setting, with roast free-range meats, nine classic French dessert items, and a choice of 12 AOC cheeses.
Polo Grill, with about 130 seats, serves steaks and seafood, including Oceania’s signature 32oz bone-in King’s Cut prime rib. The setting is classic traditional steakhouse, with dark wood paneling and classic white tablecloths, although the tables are close together.
Toscana is a 124-seat venue serving Italian-style cuisine (including some tasty desserts) and has Versace china.
Privée, with seating for up to 10 in a private setting, invites exclusivity for its seven-course dégustation menu.
La Réserve is the venue for wine and food, offering two different seven-course small-portion, wine-paired dégustation menus. With just 24 seats, it’s also really intimate.
The Terrace Café is the ship’s casual self-serve buffet-style venue. Outdoors, as an extension of the café, is Tapas on the Terrace, good for light bites - although the ceiling is low, so it can be very noisy.
Red Ginger is a specialty restaurant which offers ‘classic and contemporary’ Asian cuisine; the setting is visually refined, with ebony and dark wood finishes, but the banquette-style seating lets the venue down. You’ll be asked by the waiter to choose your chopsticks from a lacquered presentation box.
The poolside Waves Grill, shaded from the sun, is for burgers (including fishburgers and veggie burgers), seafood, and other fast food, cooked to order. Baristas coffee bar overlooks the pool deck and has excellent, free illy Italian coffee - though, sadly, it’s served in paper cups.
Entertainment. The 600-seat Marina Lounge, spans two decks, with tiered amphitheater-style seating. It’s more cabaret-style entertainment than big production shows, in keeping with the cruise line’s traditions.
Spa/Fitness. The Canyon Ranch SpaClub provides wellness and personal spa treatments. The facility includes a fitness center, beauty salon, several treatment rooms (including a couples room), sauna and steam rooms, and a large thalassotherapy pool. A jogging track is located aft of the funnel, above two of the specialty restaurants. All treatments incur an automatic 18 percent gratuity - almost one-fifth of the treatment price.