Riviera has all the benefits of a large cruise ship while being small enough to visit places the big ships can’t reach. Indeed, Riviera has itineraries stretching from the far east to remote polar regions. On board, guests are spoilt for choice with eight dining venues, as well as a wide range of refurbished staterooms and suites.
The Riviera deck plan is easy to get around and it never feels crowded. There are lots of lounges and public spaces for relaxing, and the open decks are a treat. However, there are things worth knowing; like what your cruise fare includes, which restaurants are the best and how your choice of accommodation can change the cruise experience.
Riviera is an Oceania-class cruise ship built in Italy and launched in May 2012. It is larger than most other ships in the Oceania Cruises fleet. Indeed, Riviera is 239 m. / 785 ft. long with 15 passenger decks. It’s worth noting that Deck 13 does not exist on Riviera.
The cruise ship has room for 1,250 guests, that is the same number as Marina and the newer Vista. By contrast the smaller R-class ships like Nautica and Regatta carry just 656-guests.
Riviera was entirely refurbished in 2022. Oceania Cruises boast every surface of every suite and stateroom is entirely new.
Many of the public spaces also have a fresh new look, including restuarants like The Grand Dining Room. The decor is inspired by the palette of the ocean. I think it strikes just the right balance; Riviera looks luxurious, but it never feels pretentious.
Food on Oceania’s Riviera
The food on Riviera is central to the cruise experience. Indeed, the cuisine is given a reverence rarely found on a ship this size. As if to underscore that point there are no fewer than eight dining venues to choose from.
Riviera has a main dining room, a buffet, a poolside grill and a cafe for light bites. What’s more there are also six speciality restaurants, four of which are free-of-charge. Indeed, they are among the main reasons for choosing a Riviera cruise vacation.
There is classic French fare in Jacques which serves an excellent Lobster Thermidor as well as succulent Carré de Porc – Iberian Pork Rack with Oven Roasted Red Delicious Apple. The Polo Grill steakhouse has a delightful Roasted Beetroot & Garlic Goats Cheese Napoleon as well as prim steaks, chops and seafood from the grill. The Italian Toscana restaurant prepares delicious al dente pasta along with northern Italian specialties.
There is also La Reserve with a food and wine pairing experience as well as private dining in Privée, both for an additional fee.
It’s worth noting that you must have a reservation to dine in one of the specialty restaurants – walk-ins are usually not admitted.
Insider’s tip: Speciality dining can be booked at the restaurant reservation desk in the foyer on deck 5. We could often make same-day bookings at the reservation desk any time after 3:00pm; so long as we took a late sitting.
The magnificent Grand Dining Room retains a classic charm, not to mention an impressive menu which changes each night. That said, we thought the quality of the cuisine was, on occasion, inconsistent.
If you prefer a more casual dining experience there is a buffet in the Terrace Cafe, as well as poolside pleasers like burgers and hot dogs at Waves Grill.
Light snacks as well as tea and coffee are available at Baristas cafe. In-room dining is also available 24-hours a day.
You can see cast shows in the Riviera Lounge theatre. Though it’s worth noting these can have a hint of cruise ship cliche about them. On the other hand, the guest entertainers were thoroughly enjoyable. Showtime is usually 9:30pm.
There is also late-night entertainment in Horizons bar with hosted karaoke and performances by the Riviera band.
Staterooms and suites
All of Riviera’s staterooms and suites were entirely refurbished in 2022. They are bright and airy with a decor that reflects the tone and palette of the sea.
Riviera has a wide range of staterooms and suites to choose from. There are Inside Staterooms – these are the least expensive rooms on board. Deluxe Oceanview Staterooms have a lovely picture window. These can be a good choice for cold climate voyages when poor weather can make a veranda unpleasant.
That said, Riviera’s Veranda Staterooms are a delight. So too are the near identical Concierge Level Staterooms which come with extra perks like laundry allowances.
It’s worth noting that the bathrooms in the Veranda and Concierge Staterooms have been entirely remodelled. The bathtub has been removed making way for a large walk-in, rain-water shower.
For those who like more space there are also four large suite categories on Riviera. The Penthouse Suite is the most popular of these. It is like a junior suite in a hotel. However, the one-bedroom Oceania Suite is our preference, especially those with enviable midship positions. The extra spacious Vista Suites are even larger while the palatial Owner’s Suites are perched high at the stern and span the entire beam.
Fitness and recreation
Keeping fit and looking good on Oceania’s Riviera is easy. There is a large gym with free weights and exercise machines, as well as pilates and yoga classes. You can play shuffleboard, practice your golf swing in the driving nets or enjoy the views from the jogging track on the top deck.
Riviera has a large outdoor swimming pool surrounded by a glorious teak deck with lots of comfortable sun loungers.
Also, there are wellness treatments in the Aquamar Spa + Vitality Center as well as a steam room, a spa terrace and a full service salon.
Riviera’s shore excursions
There are shore excursions for people of all abilities and interests on Oceania’s Riviera. They range from panoramic bus tours to small group cultural explorations.
There are cooks tours of local markets, hiking trips and journeys to white sand beaches. On my review voyage I went whale watching in Iceland and also visited a prize-winning Norwegian garden on a small group tour.
Activities on Riviera
Oceania’s Riviera has some unique on board activities like cookery classes in the Culinary Center. On my review voyage these were enormously popular. There are also painting lessons in The Artists Loft with the ship’s artist-in-residence.
In addition, the usual shipboard activities are also available including lectures from guest speakers, bridge, trivia, mar jongg, table tennis and a Mensa Daily Quiz. Other activities include dance classes, Diamond Parties in the boutique, Wine Tasting (for a fee) and a free Captains Cocktail Celebration.
Riviera also has get-togethers for friends of Dorothy, friends of Bill W and solo cruisers.
All the activities are posted in the daily Currents newsletter.
Riviera has a popular and well stocked library with cozy nooks for reading. Next to the library is a games room with chess, backgammon, Scrabble, Monopoly and more.
There are also boutiques on Riviera selling jewellery, designer clothing and travel essentials.
What’s included on Riviera
A basic Oceania Cruises fare on Riviera includes all meals, even in the specialty restaurants. Soft drinks, bottled water, coffee, tea and juices are also included.
At the time of writing Oceania Cruises Simply More fares also included a House Select Beverage Package as well as a shore excursion credit of between USD600 – 1,600 per stateroom or suite.
However, gratuities are no longer included for most people. Interestingly, residents from Australia and New Zealand will continue to have gratuities included in their cruise fares.
In addition, Riviera usually has a free shuttle bus service between the port and downtown.
There is also a self-service laundry, although guests staying in Concierge Level staterooms and Suites get a free laundry allowance.
Oceania Riviera dress code
The Riviera dress code is described as ‘country club casual’. In other words, smart casual wear is ideal.
During the day guests wear shorts, jeans and T-shirts. However, it is important to note that tank tops or swimsuits should not be worn in any of the restaurants.
After 6:00pm the Riviera dress code steps up a notch. Men wear slacks and a shirt (jacket optional). Women wear slacks or a skirt, and a blouse.
Riviera does not have formal nights.
Riviera is a popular cruise ship. Indeed, on my review voyage many guests had sailed on Riviera before.
Guests generally range in age from 35 to 75-years old. However it’s worth noting that there can be families on board too, especially on warm weather voyages.
Most guests come from the U.S.A, but there are usually Britons, Canadians and Australians as well.
Oceania Riviera is gay-friendly.
Riviera review conclusion
Riviera is a great choice for those who like a mid-sized ship with lots of dining options and on board activities. It is also well suited to people who want unique excursions ashore.
However, Riviera’s larger size means some guests might find it a little bit impersonal. Also, on busy voyages the service can occassionaly be patchy.
That said, we think Riviera offers a very good cruise vacation experience.
Read the accommodation section of this Oceania Riviera review by clicking the images below.
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