cruises

Oceania Cruises Riviera Cruise Review

Oceania’s Riviera is the newest upscale cruise ship in the market. It’s a splurge—does it deliver the goods?

December 23, 2013

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A good deal of thought seems to have gone into designing the 629 cabins on Riviera. A generous 94 percent have balconies. There are just 18 Inside cabins, and no cabins suffer views obstructed by lifeboats. About half of the cabins overall accommodate three guests (utilizing a sofa bed); only six pair have connecting doors.

Choices fall into four general categories. Inside cabins, the most economical option, are located on decks 8 through 10. Lacking any view, Oceania says they measure a fairly compact 174 square feet, and the bathrooms have a shower stall only, no tub. There are 20 Ocean View cabins, all found at midship on Deck 7 and, with a larger bathroom and floor-to-ceiling window, these represent a significant step up from Inside units.

We stayed in one of the Veranda cabins, located on decks 7 through 11. Though all are the same size, these come at various price points based on location (higher decks being more expensive). A majority of the Veranda cabins (decks 9 and higher) are designated as Concierge Level, and although square footage is the same, extras include early check-in and embarkation, a welcome bottle of Champagne, priority restaurant and shore excursion reservations, unlimited access to the Spa Terrace, in-room laptop computer and discounted internet, iPad for use onboard, Bulgari toiletries, and other extras. There are also four types of Suites, described below.

There was a lounge on Deck 9 for guests in Concierge level cabins. TVs, reading materials and refreshments were available. Guests occupying Owner’s, Vista, Oceania and Penthouse suites could utilize an Executive Lounge on Deck 11.

Our Cabin: Veranda Cabin

Tastefully appointed with a generous use of dark walnut wood hues, our Veranda cabin was slightly larger than a typical balcony cabin on a mainstream cruise line (more on that below). With a bathroom featuring a full tub and a balcony decked in teak flooring—a rarity on newer ships—it was a very comfortable space to reside in. Speaking of contented, our bed was sumptuous, engulfed by quality linens that left us snug as a bug in a rug. Oceania says these are a “custom designed mattresses with 700-thread count cotton linens.” Hyper-allergenic pillows were available on request. Our photos below show the bed configuration in both queen-sized and twin layouts.

Cabin lighting was discrete, with recessed lights in the ceiling plus adjustable reading lights on either side of the bed—combined we had sufficient illumination. Fronting the balcony doors were three curtains—one that was a sheer, the other two completely blocked out light. Next to the sofa was an oval coffee table, and facing these was a small desk with a lamp and chair. Between the bathroom and beds was the closet, fronted by sliding doors. The closet measured 41 inches in width and contained 31 wood clothes hangers (plus two for robes). Next to the closet was a cabinet with three drawers and a shelf for the safe; one of the drawers contained a hair dryer. While we heard a few guests grumble about storage space being constrained, we found closets and drawers more than adequate for a trip of longer than a week (it’s not a suite, after all)—then again, we don’t travel with steamer trunks! Next to the drawers was the minibar and ice bucket, and above these were a couple slender shelves for glasses.

Our cabin had a marble- and granite-lined bathroom that was somewhat larger than what we usually get on mainstream cruise ships, however the additional space was devoted to a full-size bathtub (56 inches long, 17 inches deep). This is a terrific amenity for those who take baths, but for those of us who don’t it would have been nice to utilize the square footage toward a less-cramped bathroom (the floor of the shower stall was a fairly average 31 by 37 inches, though this is larger than showers on Oceania’s R-class ships). The shower and bathtub each had handheld showerheads on adjustable poles, and there was a rain showerhead in the shower stall.

Oceania says all Veranda cabins measure 282 square feet, including the balcony, but we take issue with this generous assessment. The inside of our cabin and bathroom came to 210 square feet; our balcony measured 110 inches by 66 inches, or 50.5 square feet. We can only assume that the extra 21 square feet Oceania claims represents unusable space behind walls (i.e., counting the space between cabins, plumbing areas, and between our cabin and balcony). While our cabin was larger than that of a typical mainstream cruise liner, it was not comparable in size to those of most upscale lines. Veranda cabins on Riviera (and Marina) are, however, a good bit larger than veranda units on the line’s three older, “R-class” ships.

The balcony was a decent sized space for two to hang out, with woven synthetic “wicker” chairs, each with a cushion. There was a small table, sufficient for coffee or drinks, but not much else.

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Cabin Amenities

Our cabin came with a pair of plush robes and slippers—the bathrobes were available for purchase ($75). Our stocked mini-fridge included complimentary sodas; there was a charge for other items. A corkscrew and bottle opener was provided, along with an ice bucket that was refilled twice daily. Above the fridge were two 100ml bottles of Oceania branded mineral water, replenished as needed.

There was a safe, but it wasn’t large enough for a typical laptop (13.5 inches wide, 8.5 inches deep). A hair dryer and sewing kit were located in a drawer next to the closet. The Oceania branded bathroom amenities included shampoo, conditioner, bath gel and body lotion—above-average products by our estimation. There were, however, no bath salts, and when we called the front desk to request these we were transferred to the spa—a jar of salts was available for $52. Fortunately, when we checked again with our cabin attendant he swiftly delivered a bowl of salts that were ample for a couple soaks.

The TV in our room was a good quality, high-definition 32-inch Insignia model, a smart TV with a built-in Blu-ray player. However not all channels were available with a high-def signal. The problem was probably with the monitor adjustments; some channels appeared in standard definition, some were incorrectly sized for the monitor dimensions. For the ship’s movie channel the grainy image was cropped on the sides, meaning the picture was not displayed as it was meant to be (see photos below).

The channel selection was detailed in a printed guide valid for the whole cruise. There was a typical range of news and sports channels, and channels dedicated to Oceania programming (shopping and shore excursions got the usual plugs). There were five movie channels that played about 100 different movies during the cruise. Some played a few times on one day, others repeated a second or third day, but the range was pretty solid, with some of the biggest commercial hits from the past six months, plus a few unexpected classics, like “Tom Jones” and “Midnight Cowboy.” There was also a DVD library maintained at the reception desk in the lobby. With more than 600 titles encompassing oddities such as the TV show Bewitched (13 discs), as well as both classic and current movies, children’s fare and TV shows, there was something for pretty much everyone.

Other Cabins

We did not stay in the rest of these cabins, but we have summaries here provided by Oceania Cruises. Note that photos below have been provided by the cruise line and not our reviewer.

Inside Cabin
Wonderful sanctuaries unto their own, these 174-square-foot staterooms boast beautiful designs and handsome furnishings that add to the serenity. Highlights include an oversized bathroom resplendent with marble and granite, and thoughtful touches such as a refrigerated mini-bar, vanity desk, breakfast table and a choice of a queen-size or two twin beds.

Deluxe Ocean View
These spacious 242-square-foot staterooms with floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows feel even more commodious with the curtains drawn back, the ocean in full view and natural light streaming in. The rich hues, custom-designed furnishings and stylish fabrics are equally enchanting. Queen or twin bed accommodations, a spacious seating area, vanity desk, breakfast table and oversized marble and granite-clad bathroom with separate tub and shower, are among the many conveniences.

Penthouse Suite
Our collection of elegant Penthouse Suites rivals any world-class hotel for comfort. The design of each suite is ingenious, which maximizes its generous 420 square feet of space and puts every creature comfort at your fingertips. At its heart is a spectacularly luxurious queen-size Prestige Tranquility Bed that can be converted into two twin beds, if you wish. Commodious enough for private en-suite dining, the living area features a table and comfortable seating, refrigerated mini-bar and lighted vanity desk. The large marble and granite-clad bathroom features an indulgent, full-size bathtub and separate shower and is conveniently located next to the full-size walk-in closet. For the ultimate view, simply open the sliding glass door and relax on the exquisitely furnished private veranda.

Oceania Suite
This new category of suite accommodation combines exquisite elegance with a premier location high atop Marina and adds in a wealth of amenities and copious space for good measure. Sprawling more than 1,000 square feet, each offers a living room and dining room, walk-in closet, expansive private veranda and much more. Enjoy a brisk morning workout followed by a therapeutic whirlpool in either your private Jacuzzi overlooking the sea or in the Jacuzzi tub in your Master Bath. Spend an evening screening first-run movies on your 50-inch LCD flat-screen television in your state-of-the-art media room. Indulge in course-by-course en-suite dining in your dining room or with the caress of a soft sea breeze on the expansive veranda. Wake up refreshed and rested on the king-size Prestige Tranquility Bed. Open the floor-to-ceiling glass doors, walk out on the private teak veranda and take in the stunning panoramic views from the comfort of the resort-style lounge furniture. Everything imaginable is provided in your Oceania Suite, even a second bathroom for guests.

Vista Suite
Among the most spacious and luxurious of accommodations at sea, the eight Vista Suites surely will be in high demand. That is no surprise given their premier location overlooking the bow and that every inch of their 1,200 to 1,500 square feet (depending on location) has been meticulously designed for your enjoyment. Indulge in a relaxing soak in one of your suite’s two Jacuzzis – on your private veranda or in your lavish Master Bath. Watch first-run Hollywood films on the 42-inch LCD flat-screen television, enhanced by Bose® surround sound, or view them from the comfort of your bed on a second LCD flat-screen television. Access the Internet with the laptop computer that’s provided for up-to-the-minute news, to research upcoming ports, and to email friends. Wake up refreshed and rested on the king-size Prestige Tranquility Bed. Draw back the curtains from the floor-to-ceiling glass doors, walk out on the wraparound teak veranda and take in the panoramic views from the comfort of the resort-style lounge furniture. Everything imaginable is here in your suite, including a walk-in closet, a second bathroom for guests and your own private fitness room.

Owner’s Suite
Even the most lavish superlatives fail to adequately describe the three Owner’s Suites onboard. With rich furnishings from Ralph Lauren Home, each spans the entire beam of the ship and measures more than 2,000 square feet. Boasting a large living room and dining room, spacious bedroom with a king-size Prestige Tranquility Bed, sumptuous bathroom, his and hers walk-in closets, and a dramatic entry foyer and music room overlooking the sea, they are truly palatial. A professional entertainment system with flat-screen televisions, 3D movies, and media library is provided as well as a laptop and iPad® with wireless access. Indoor and outdoor whirlpool spas beckon you for a relaxing soak – the latter has a flat-screen television for alfresco viewing. Enjoy en-suite gourmet dining from any of our six restaurants, served course-by-course by your Butler. No expense has been spared to ensure your total satisfaction.

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  1. Introduction
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  3. Dining
  4. Drinks
  5. Recreation & Entertainment
  6. Kids, Services & Other Details

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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