Our 2nd Oceania Cruise with problems
Riviera Cruise Review to Caribbean
Sail Date: December 02, 2015
Cabin Type: Balcony
Cabin Number: 8069
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 2 years ago
We boarded the Riviera which is a magnificent ship Dec. 2nd. In the terminal the staff started announcing pre assigned numbers for boarding. All was going well until suddenly the loud speaker system announced "everyone may board". The terminal was packed still with people and the mass mayhem that resulted as everyone tried to board at the same time was a disaster. People with disabilities suffered. The logic to this cannot be explained.
After a not so pleasant embarkation we went straight to our room which was ready, a nice touch versus having to wait and wait before being able to enter. The balcony cabin 8069 was excellent; the marble bathroom had a full size tub. That came in handy - more about this in a moment. Typical of Oceania, the fridge is stocked with all water and soft drinks included in the cruise price. The bed was the exact one we had purchased after being on another Oceania cruise. For people like us with ailing backs it is a total blessing to sleep on. It is outstanding!
Everything on the Riviera is first class. Service is impeccable and the food - WOW. In the dinner buffet you can custom order grilled steak, lobster, shrimp and so on. It was delightful experiencing dining there. Book the specialty restaurants as early as you can before you ever board or you may never be able to dine in them. You'll enjoy them. For foodies, Oceania is a treat.
There are 2 banks of elevators and if you have any mobility issues do not take a cabin all the way at the front of the ship for you'll be further away from an elevator than if you were aft or mid ship.
The library is elegant and well stocked. For a ship this size it is large.
How can anyone fault this ship?
Here's how in one word - NOROVIRUS.
We were never informed the previous voyage had infected passengers. Upon boarding we were told of the sanitation program the ship was undertaking. This meant stringent washing of hands before entering any dining facility. That's aok. However in the restaurants the tables and chairs had to washed down and allowed to dry for approx. 10 minutes. If they weren't completely dry, as we found out, your bottoms got wet. Our cabin was sanitized prior to our boarding and my wife had problems with the unpleasant sanitizing odor coming from the sofa throughout our 10 day cruise.
As experienced cruisers we always plan on doing laundry on board thus cutting down our luggage weight. Because of the norovirus the self service laundry rooms never opened even though we were promised they would by mid cruise. We ran out of fresh clothing and had a choice, WASH OUR CLOTHES IN THE BATHTUB or use the ships expensive laundry service.
Because of the disaster of the embarkation along with the norovirus issue, for two nights the captain opened up the bar for free drinks. That was classy but for non drinkers like us this meant not a thing.
Now here is the real rub - we were on the Insignia the previous year when it caught fire and we had to abandon the ship. We were provided on that ship $500 in on board credit which we had not used, free internet service and another perk. Oceania refused to give us any of these when we booked this cruise saying all was lost. On board a tender going to port my wife struck up a conversation with someone she remembered who was on the Insignia. He said he asked Oceania for the perks (same ones we had) on the Insignia and they gave them to him. When we got back on board the ship I visited with the front desk and asked them to provide the same for me. They asked who the passenger was that told me this. Luckily I remembered his name. The desk checked with the Florida office and then offered us free internet and only $300 in on board credit. This was better than nothing but should I have had to ask for this or should Oceania come forward and be upfront? It sure would have made me feel more positive about Oceania than I do. Needless to say I am grateful to get these but not happy to have had to ask. The IT person surprised me with his knowledge & incredible aid he personally provided getting our tablet & laptop up to speed. He was impressive.
Forget about any decent entertainment on board this ship. We were floored by the limited theater entertainment.
Disembarkation was flawless.
Because we have had 2 not so pleasant cruises with Oceania I would be hard pressed to say we would sail with them again. Their strong points were top of the card and flawless but their errors were so egregious for a 5 star line they cannot be excused.