By: Alissa Ashley, Senior Travel Consultant (CTA)
I had a wonderful relaxing time on my Oceania Cruise aboard the Riviera. Unfortunately, the main port of the cruise was Bermuda and was canceled due to bad weather and 30 Ft waves. Oceania did their best to accommodate by adding a stop at Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas which was also canceled due to the currents being too dangerous to boat passengers from the ship over to the island. Oceania then reported that the itinerary changed to 3 days at sea, 2 days in Jacksonville, FL, 2 days in Charleston, SC and 1 day Port Carnival As you can imagine there were some very upset passengers upon boarding and with the port replacement of Jacksonville. I was very impressed with how Oceania did their best to address the passengers, empathize and tried to add some additional activities. At the end of the day mother nature has a mind of her own and therefore out of Oceania’s control with the main priority being safety.
I decided to travel alone which was a great experience. For the first 3 nights they offered a single traveler gathering where passengers could get to know each other. However, I had no problem making friends with passengers traveling together. All of my shared tabled guests were inviting and fun to sit with.
The veranda cabin I was staying in felt like I was at a very high end hotel. Rooms were very contemporary, lots of rooms with a sitting area, large bathrooms with a rain shower and the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in. I’m actually thinking of ordering their beds.
For only having 1150 passengers and 800 staff, I have to say that I saw more staff than passengers. The boat never seemed crowded except for embarking and disembarking at the ports. There was always plenty of seating around the ship and in dining areas. The ship is decorated in art and paintings everywhere. It actually felt like you were in a museum in certain areas.
The Ship Crew and service was impeccable. I never saw one crew member not in an upbeat mood or willing to assist a passenger with questions or needs. My 2 attendants Soe Soe and Jaun made me feel very welcomed and anything I needed they were able to assist.
Most of the excursions I had paid for were in Bermuda but I did do the Full Day private Island with Lunch in the Bahamas and a city tour of Charleston. Charleston was a very charming town and I walked everywhere within the city admiring the houses, trees and architecture. All were very organized and Oceania did a great job keeping all the passengers together.
The offered a wide range of entertainment from comedy shows, listening to the string quartet, wildlife educational talks, yoga classes, karaoke and more. My favorite activity was High Tea with the string quartet at 4 pm daily. It was a nice day to relax and view the ocean.
I was able to try all 4 of the Specialty Restaurants, but my favorite was Jacques, the atmosphere made me feel like I was in France. The courses were beautifully presented, delicious and consistent across all courses. My morning ritual was the coffee bar, Barista’s, where I had lots of friendly conversations with other passengers and staff. The juice bar was also one of my regular stop bys to make sure I got my greens for the morning. The Terrace which was the buffet always had a variety of choices for every kind of eater. I did hear several past passengers say that they felt that the food was not as good as it was before COVID.
Best Learning Tip:
The biggest learning that came from the cruise was not only experiencing the ship itself but actually listening to the passengers talk about their prior experience with Oceania, the other itineraries they have taken and other competitor cruise lines that they enjoyed.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to experience Oceania Cruise of the Riviera. Thank you so much for allowing me to go. I definitely would like to take another cruise with them and actually experience the set itinerary of ports.