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Guest Solent Richard

Digital Postcards from Oceania Riviera

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Guest Solent Richard

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My wife and I recently completed a 10 day cruise on board Oceania's Riviera...

 

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It was an around outstanding cruise, killing two birds with one stone - experiencing Oceania's full range of speciality restaurants while clocking up 8 new port visits...

 

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The underlying theme of the cruise was to allow passengers to explore the Mayan culture that expended through what we now know as Mexico, Nicaragua and Honduras...

 

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We have previously sailed with Oceania on board their smaller ship Nautica and found Riviera much more to our taste despite the increased passenger numbers. 

 

This was the second time in two months that we experienced a cruise line with impeccable administration standards and one that could certainly not be accused of 'cutting corners' or 'lowering standards'.

 

From the moment we received our 'individual. yes individual personalised cruise vacation guides we knew this was to be a cruise with high standards...

 

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Each personalised guide contained 57 pages of cruise detail that even included a deck indicating the position of plan of our suite, a plan of the suite and, hey presto, even a photograph of our accommodation...

 

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Guest Solent Richard

Talking of pre-cruise information, I also found their on-line cruise personaliser equally awesome.

 

As an occupant of a suite we were allowed to make one advanced reservation at each of the four speciality restaurants...

 

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...as well as select any possible shore excursions from their range of offerings...

 

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Also to Oceania's credit they offered varying discounts on shore excursions depending on the number you purchased in advance.

 

Generally this worked out at a 25% discount on four excursions.

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Guest Solent Richard

Riviera was a truly elegant ship to sail on. From the moment we boarded we had that feeling of, in Oceania's words, a luxurious yet relaxed country club atmosphere...

 

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Lovers of grand atriums would be truly impressed at the splendour of Riviera's...

 

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...which features two spiral stairs decorated with Lalique crystal pillars and a hand crafted chandelier sporting 380 crystal spheres.

 

(more to follow)

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Guest Solent Richard

And so to have a look at the speciality restaurants available on Riviera. Not forgetting that there is no additional charges for these.

 

 

Red Ginger

 

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...and their offering of a Bay Scallop Trilogy...

 

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Polo Grill

 

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and their 16oz Prime Rib...

 

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Jaques

 

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and his interpretation of Lobster Thermidor...

 

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...and finally Toscana

 

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and their Milk-Fed Veal Chop...

 

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Guest Solent Richard

So what about the bars on Riviera?

 

The largest by far was Horizons which was up forward on a high deck (Deck 15)...

 

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It had a great dance floor and was used for late evening cabarets, the Captain's Cocktail Party and the Oceania Club Party.

 

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Those last two functions were excellent. Not many parties dispense with the introductions early on and then leave you with an 'open' bar of r two hours.

 

The most sophisticated, and great if one's forte is people watching, was The Grand Bar...

 

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Each evening the outstanding 'String Quartet' played in this particular bar...

 

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Martinis was also a large bar, it covered the width of the ship, had very comfortable seating, and was where the pianist performed each evening...

 

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Our favourite though was The Casino Bar...

 

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far enough from the gaming tables to shut out their noise yet close enough sit and still listen to the String Quartet without having to watch the stream of early diners heading for the Grand Dining Room.

 

Cheers, another round of Hugos...

 

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Guest Solent Richard

One thing one doesn't seem to have to worry about on Riviera is the availability of sun beds...

 

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Plenty available on both the Pool and Sun Decks...

 

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For guests staying in Suites there was also keycard access to the 'private' Spa Terrace...

 

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At each end of the Sun Deck there were also areas where one could just get away from the sun but still benefit from fresh air...

 

'The sanctuary'

 

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'The patio'

 

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Sailed on Oceania a few times. Loved it for all the key points you identify Richard. BUT for me it didn't get 100%. Nothing wrong with anything except I love dressing up and have the wardrobe to prove it. How often do you get that chance in a world that seems to love being ever more casual, my kids think ripped jeans, albeit designer (what designer feels ripped jeans are a fashion/if not haute couture statement??). I really missed the opportunity to add a wonderful ship and food to a chance to get into a lovely cocktail dress, formal dress. My first Oceania cruise pointed me to the error of my ways, I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb.

 

Maybe it's being a female of a certain age thing, it won't stop me booking Oceania, I'm cruising on Rivera very soon but strange to some I'll need to get a Cunard Grills booking in (May) and a trip on P & O (cheaper and longer) in October/November to ensure that I get my formal dress fix, its a part of cruising that I love. Whatever folks may say Azura is my "guilty" pleasure, if you are careful where you are and where you eat, it meets my needs. I can wear a posh frock every night, manage my food and drinks experience and still have change after 6 weeks on Azura from what I spend on Oceania/Cunard Grills in 2-3 weeks. Like you, I always have a good time on every cruise, I make sure I do, never moan and like you adjust, adapt the experience to make sure I do. Wish there were more of us.

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One thing one doesn't seem to have to worry about on Riviera is the availability of sun beds...

 

23999736843_20443c9a00_z.jpg

 

Plenty available on both the Pool and Sun Decks...

 

24626554555_b27ff2b6d0_z.jpg

 

For guests staying in Suites there was also keycard access to the 'private' Spa Terrace...

 

24410199290_20173f90d3_z.jpg

 

At each end of the Sun Deck there were also areas where one could just get away from the sun but still benefit from fresh air...

 

'The sanctuary'

 

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'The patio'

 

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Looks good but where is everyone?

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Guest Solent Richard

Looks good but where is everyone?

 

Mainly one of the joys of a priority embarkation.

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Guest Solent Richard

Now who'd have thought, on a ship like Riviera, that you would find a self-service laundrette...

 

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And on what other ship would you ind a TV, sofa and chilled cabinet of soft drinks in the laundrette?

 

The ship certainly has a degree of style.

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Well I suppose if you travel light with the clothes, you could spend a while in there, so all credit to them it's better than watching the washing go round.

I think I would prefer to be on deck in the sun and let someone else do my laundry, after all you are on holiday!!

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Guest Solent Richard

Silly question with no offence meant but why aren't the photos put into the photo gallery?

 

Silly answer with no offence intended but when I write a review of a ship or port visit I like to illustrate them with photographs so folk can see what I'm talking about. It also saves me an inordinate amount of time - I don't actually live on the forum -  not having to describe every detail. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

 

Galleries are fine but how often are they viewed?

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brilliant review SR.  Shop looks amazing

 

I find the Mayans fascinating, if I had more time I would research more about them i think.  It started when I live in Tenerife and visited the

pyramids of Guimar and then seeing sites in Mexico.  Very advanced race or visited by spaceships

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Guest Solent Richard

brilliant review SR.  Shop looks amazing

 

I find the Mayans fascinating, if I had more time I would research more about them i think.  It started when I live in Tenerife and visited the

pyramids of Guimar and then seeing sites in Mexico.  Very advanced race or visited by spaceships

 

They certainly were fascinating HT and I learnt so much about them by taking the excursions and attending the port lectures...

 

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Take for instance their method of counting with a base 5. 

 

It was more simplistic, yet equally as good, as the Roman system.

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Guest Solent Richard

I see Bolsover added this thread, along with a number of other threads, to their emailed newsletter so I'd better say something about the itinerary.

 

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Having sailed from Miami our first port of call was Key West...

 

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A great cruise visit port, easy to navigate by oneself, lots of attractions and some great 'all American' bars like 'Sloppy Joes'...

 

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A day at sea followed before we arrived at Costa Maya on the Mexican coast...

 

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here we had booked a full day ship's excursion to visit two mayan sites...

 

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The following day we were in Belize City. Another ship's excursion, this time by coach and boat to get to the Lamanai ruins... 

 

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Surprisingly there were no restrictions on climbing most of the monuments, couldn't resist this...

 

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The cruise was port intensive and the next day found us at Santo Tomas, Guatemala. You guessed it, another ship's excursion but this time a break from Mayan Ruins and another boat ride to the old Spanish defensive fort at Rio Dulce...

 

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The island of Roatan is next up but for the moment my breakfast is on the table. 

 

More to follow.wink.png

 

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