Like her older fleet mates and her sister Marina, Oceania Cruises 1,250-passenger, 66,084-ton Riviera offers a calm, adult cruise experience, with none of the flashy theme-park attractions you increasingly find on the big mainstream ships, and no concessions made to kids at all (literally: she offers no children’s center or children’s programming whatsoever).
From stem to stern, Riviera’s vibe is upscale, mature, and unhurried. Activities and announcements are few, and guests are mostly left alone to do what they like. She is what Oceania has always been: a midpoint — experientially and price-wise, Riviera’s also very roomy, with one of the most generous passenger-space ratios in the business — higher than on any mainstream or premium ship.
Inside, Riviera goes for a classic look: part club, part cruise ship, part upscale home. Even the ship’s most consciously showy space, the two-story atrium, is done with a kind of jewel-box sensibility: Its centerpiece double-stairway was created by French crystal and glassware designer company Lalique, which embellished it with a crystal chandelier, pillars, medallions and a central flower vase.
Public rooms tend to be understated and comfortable, and the ship is designed with a number of little nooks perfect for hiding out and reading. The lovely library, tucked away on a top deck behind the Barista’s coffee bar, is designed like a classic home library, with wooden bookcases, a faux fireplace, leather club chairs, and elaborate ship models.
Martini’s, a piano lounge and cocktail bar carried over from the earlier Oceania ships, is laid out with widely spaced cocktail tables, chair and sofas perfect for quiet conversation.
Riviera’s staterooms all have a real sense of space too, and are designed with traditional wood wall panels and desks, comfortable sitting areas, spacious and elegant marble bathrooms, and (in all but a handful of cabins) balconies.
Each room is centered around a super-comfortable “Prestige Tranquility Bed,” whose pillow-top mattress is wrapped in 1,000-thread-count Egyptian cotton linens and topped with a plush down comforter. The only downsides to the standard staterooms are that closet space could be a little more generous (though there’s plenty of extra storage under the bed), and that the ceiling height in the shower is too low for really tall people, of whom I’m one. I joked that I was clean from the nose down, although with a slight tilt of the head, I could get all 6’5″ of me under the showered.
The ship’s Owners Suites take a detour from the “classic” look, and instead go for a “yacht meets 1930s safari movie” feel. Spreading out across the whole 105-foot beam of Decks 8, 9, and 10, they’re designed with furniture, fabrics, and bedding from the Ralph Lauren Home collection, and include showy touches like Art Deco furniture, zebra-print upholstery, 1930s and 40s glamour photos, a full bar, baby-grand piano, and chrome Kleig lights on wooden tripods. In all, the suites include a dramatic entry foyer and sitting room, a separate bedroom, a large living room, a private fitness room, an enormous balcony with Jacuzzi tub, and a marble-and-granite bathroom with another Jacuzzi.
Less showy and less spacious but more sleekly stylish are the ship’s Oceania and Vista Suites, designed by American furniture icon Dakota Jackson, who also designed the exterior of the custom Steinway baby-grand in Martini’s.
In addition to the standard stateroom amenities, suite guests enjoy the added luxury of Champagne upon arrival, 1,000-thread-count linens, 42” plasma TV, Hermès and Clarins bath amenities, butler service, and en-suite delivery from any of the ship’s restaurants.
Other stateroom amenities include a flat-panel TV, lap-top computer with wireless access, refrigerated mini bar, security safe, writing desk, plush terry robes, bed slippers, and marble and granite bathroom.
Rich woods, marble and granite, fine wool carpets and lustrous leathers adorn public rooms. Facilities include 10 dining venues – six of which are open-seating gourmet restaurants, an array of bars and lounges, a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center, swimming pool and hot tubs.
Riviera shines when it comes to her restaurants. The four specialty restaurants require reservations but come with no additional charge — a nice perk that differentiates Marina from the mainstream and premium lines, all of which tack on an extra fee for their best dining options.
The most high-profile of the specialty restaurants is Jacques, the first restaurant ever created, on land or sea, by celebrity chef Jacques Pepin. Designed with the feel of a French country bistro, the restaurant focuses on traditional French country cuisine. Decor offers a light, airy atmosphere with traditional oak floors, antiqued furniture, and paintings by the chef himself. See Dinner At Jacques.
Other specialty restaurants include the Mediterranean Toscana and the Polo Grill steakhouse (both carry-overs from the line’s earlier ships) and Red Ginger, an excellent pan-Asian spot with a hip urban design.
See related post: Red Ginger: Yum A ‘Licious | Cruise Reviews, Ship Reviews by The …
Oceania Riviera also features La Reserve, seating 36 for the tasting menu or 24 for the seven-course pairing dinners. Surcharges do apply in La Reserve.
There’s also the main Grand Dining Room, designed with a classic Hollywood grandeur and operating on an open-seating basis — just drop in whenever you get hungry during its open hours.
For folks who like to cook their own meals, Riviera offers the only hands-on teaching kitchen in the cruise business, created in collaboration with Bon Appétit magazine and outfitted with 12 cooking stations (each with burners, a cutting board, and sink). Classes accommodate 24 guests (two at each station), cost $49 per person, and cover topics like modern Greek cuisine, Southwestern cuisine, American classics, homemade pasta and more. See What’s Cooking On Oceania Riviera? Scones & Frittatas That We Made At The Bon Appetit Culinary Center
Other activities and entertainments on board are low-key, tending toward casual art classes at the Artist Loft, enrichment lectures by visiting experts, the occasional Ping-Pong tournament, and just lounging around the restful pool deck.
Guests can also get treatments at the beautiful Canyon Ranch SpaClub, a 10,000-square-foot facility that offers a variety of Asian therapies, various massages and facials, a Thermal Suite with specialized saunas and steam rooms, a thalassotherapy pool, a private sundeck, a salon, and a small gym where guests can take group or private fitness classes, or exercise on their own. See Staying Fit On Oceania Riviera: The Canyon Ranch SpaClub
At night, there’s dancing at Horizons nightclub, a pianist at Martini’s, gambling in the casino, and a string quartet in the atrium, plus magicians, comedians, and other guest entertainers at the main Marina Lounge — all low-key and classy, the way Oceania’s passengers like it.
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