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BigNance

Still on the Riviera (yay!)

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We embarked from Piraeus yesterday (Wednesday Oct 24th) at 6 PM.

Our pre stay at the Grand Bretagne was amazing. The rooftop bar and the view of the Acropolis at night was phenomenal (drinks were great also, although pricey). We REALLY liked this hotel. It is beautiful, the service was great, and the location was outstanding. It overlooks Syntagma Square and the Hellenic Parliament. 

We did our own tours there. We self toured walking around Athens and it was easy. We saw the ancient sites (it is so awesome how you can just walk in and around these places) and went through the Plaka and Monastaraki areas. Great shopping and lunch at All That Jatz. We met cousins that live in Athens and they took us to Seychelles restaurant for dinner. Traditional Greek food that is absolutely amazing!! Prices are very reasonable. If you are there, try it, but make reservations. It is very casual and very popular with the locals. 

Embarkation was easy and organized. We boarded a bus at the hotel at 11:30, were T the port a little after noon, and were on the ship upgrading our beverage package by 12:20. 🍷🍾🍹

gotta go, bar time. 😁

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It sounds wonderful! I hope you have a fantastic voyage and safe travels.

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1 hour ago, BigNance said:

 

Embarkation was easy and organized. We boarded a bus at the hotel at 11:30, were T the port a little after noon, and were on the ship upgrading our beverage package by 12:20. 🍷🍾🍹

 

 

Well played.

Have a great cruise.

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Thanks! We are having a great time!

i forgot to mention our second day in Greece. We used PGT (Private Greek Tours) runny Nikos Loucas. Great outfit! Promptly returned emails, very informative, reasonable. Our guide was Lambros, who picked us up in a Mercedes van. It was just the 4 of us and we went to Corinth (the canal and the ancient Corinth site), Nemea ruins and a very good winery there, and Mycenae ruins. It was an amazing tour. Lambros was informative and a great guy. He is not a guide, so he did not accompany us into the sites and museums. It was not a problem, since there are descriptions all around. 

 

More on the Riviera and cruise tomorrow!

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On 10/25/2018 at 3:43 AM, BigNance said:

We embarked from Piraeus yesterday (Wednesday Oct 24th) at 6 PM.

Our pre stay at the Grand Bretagne was amazing. The rooftop bar and the view of the Acropolis at night was phenomenal (drinks were great also, although pricey). We REALLY liked this hotel. It is beautiful, the service was great, and the location was outstanding. It overlooks Syntagma Square and the Hellenic Parliament. 

We did our own tours there. We self toured walking around Athens and it was easy. We saw the ancient sites (it is so awesome how you can just walk in and around these places) and went through the Plaka and Monastaraki areas. Great shopping and lunch at All That Jatz. We met cousins that live in Athens and they took us to Seychelles restaurant for dinner. Traditional Greek food that is absolutely amazing!! Prices are very reasonable. If you are there, try it, but make reservations. It is very casual and very popular with the locals. 

Embarkation was easy and organized. We boarded a bus at the hotel at 11:30, were T the port a little after noon, and were on the ship upgrading our beverage package by 12:20. 🍷🍾🍹

gotta go, bar time. 😁

Will be on her doing a TA. When you boarded can you tell me where you went to up grade bev package? Enjoying your blog. We love Athens especially the history

and architecture! 

Denise😒

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The last time we boarded Marina there was a desk selling the package as we exited the Lounge (where we had checked in).  (Well, the desk wasn't selling the package but the person sitting there WAS).  It was hard to miss.

 

If you should check in to the ship in the Terminal, probably you could get the package in Reception.  They do NOT make it difficult for you to fork over your cash.

 

Mura

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On 10/25/2018 at 6:43 AM, BigNance said:

We embarked from Piraeus yesterday (Wednesday Oct 24th) at 6 PM.

Our pre stay at the Grand Bretagne was amazing. The rooftop bar and the view of the Acropolis at night was phenomenal (drinks were great also, although pricey). We REALLY liked this hotel. It is beautiful, the service was great, and the location was outstanding. It overlooks Syntagma Square and the Hellenic Parliament. 

 

 

LOVE the Grand Bretagne.  Only place I stay in Athens. That rooftop is amazing. 

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Hi Deeni,

when we walked through the door into the ship, there was a drink package sign up right in front of us. There was also another one off to the left. I was serious when I said the first thing we did was upgrade our booze package😁🍷🍹🍾

the stations were also at all of the bars and the waiters and waitresses asked if you were interested. 

Some people who had purchased drinks decided to go with the package. They were told the previous charges would be cancelled and included as part of their packages. 

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Day 1 

as previously stated, we upgraded our drinks package and then I had to re arrange one of specialty dinner packages. Once that was accomplished, we headed up to the Terrace cafe and Waves Grill for lunch. 

 

I have to say, that is some impressive buffet. That Waves Grill is also pretty outstanding. ( hello, filet and lobster medallion sandwich. With truffle fries😱)

although this is only our 5 th Cruise (in 2 years), we are big foodies. We appreciate good food, and although taste is subjective, these places are superior. 

 

After placing my order, I could FINALLY hit the bar. I ordered my usual frou frou tequila drink, or maybe it was a vodka drink... who remembers. 

Once DH and GFM (good friend male) discovered the caliber of scotch and cognacs, there was no stopping them. 

 

We made sure we took took full advantage of our first day on the ship. Adult beverages, vacation, poolside, food. And I didn’t have to clean anything up!!

 

We checked with reservations, and there was some availability at Red Ginger that night for an extra “special” reservation. They tell you to check the desk at 4/45 to see if anything had freed up. It had.  8 PM at Red Ginger!!

after reading about the Miso Sea Bass, I wanted 2 chances at that baby!  

 

But, with dinner sooo late, DH, GFM, GFF, and myself, decided we should “ look” at the dinner buffet. “Just to see”

yeah. 

Right

much eating of lobsters, shrimp, and steaks ensued. At 6:30. 

With dinner reservations at 8. 

 

If you look up Gluttony in the dictionary (I’m showing my age), you should see our pictures. 

 

The Miso Sea Bass lived up to its highly touted rep. It was outstanding!! And, that’s what I’m ordering when we go for our regular reservation!  I also had the Tuna tataki, delish!

 

i forgot to mention our room. We were in the B category. (I think it is 283 sq ft) The room is pretty big and the bathroom is a lot bigger than we have been in before. Standard size balcony. Admittedly, we do not stay in Suites or penthouses. Mainly we stay in balconies and some OV. 

We loved the bathroom. Full tub and separate shower. 

 

All the staff has had been very friendly, accommodating, cheerful, and smiling. 

 

We are greatly enjoying this ride!

 

I will continue. I have to go finish my grand Marnier in my balcony in the moonlight😍

 

 

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19 minutes ago, BigNance said:

Day 1 

as previously stated, we upgraded our drinks package and then I had to re arrange one of specialty dinner packages. Once that was accomplished, we headed up to the Terrace cafe and Waves Grill for lunch. 

 

I have to say, that is some impressive buffet. That Waves Grill is also pretty outstanding. ( hello, filet and lobster medallion sandwich. With truffle fries😱)

although this is only our 5 th Cruise (in 2 years), we are big foodies. We appreciate good food, and although taste is subjective, these places are superior. 

 

After placing my order, I could FINALLY hit the bar. I ordered my usual frou frou tequila drink, or maybe it was a vodka drink... who remembers. 

Once DH and GFM (good friend male) discovered the caliber of scotch and cognacs, there was no stopping them. 

 

We made sure we took took full advantage of our first day on the ship. Adult beverages, vacation, poolside, food. And I didn’t have to clean anything up!!

 

We checked with reservations, and there was some availability at Red Ginger that night for an extra “special” reservation. They tell you to check the desk at 4/45 to see if anything had freed up. It had.  8 PM at Red Ginger!!

after reading about the Miso Sea Bass, I wanted 2 chances at that baby!  

 

But, with dinner sooo late, DH, GFM, GFF, and myself, decided we should “ look” at the dinner buffet. “Just to see”

yeah. 

Right

much eating of lobsters, shrimp, and steaks ensued. At 6:30. 

With dinner reservations at 8. 

 

If you look up Gluttony in the dictionary (I’m showing my age), you should see our pictures. 

 

The Miso Sea Bass lived up to its highly touted rep. It was outstanding!! And, that’s what I’m ordering when we go for our regular reservation!  I also had the Tuna tataki, delish!

 

i forgot to mention our room. We were in the B category. (I think it is 283 sq ft) The room is pretty big and the bathroom is a lot bigger than we have been in before. Standard size balcony. Admittedly, we do not stay in Suites or penthouses. Mainly we stay in balconies and some OV. 

We loved the bathroom. Full tub and separate shower. 

 

All the staff has had been very friendly, accommodating, cheerful, and smiling. 

 

We are greatly enjoying this ride!

 

I will continue. I have to go finish my grand Marnier in my balcony in the moonlight😍

 

 

Outstanding!!

Can’t wait. Thank you for the detailed info on where to replace our bev pack to prestiege👍👍

Love The Cruise your on very much! Will be doing our Panama cruise from our home in San Diego with HAL. Wanted to continue on doing a TA over to The Med like the year before but believe it or not HAL didn’t have anything after we disembarked!

so Oceania came up and sure enough YAH we continue on from Miami!

we are 4 Star Mariners with perks but O has such a better program, so glad we are onboard!

Ill be following your Journey, enjoy all aspects! Smooth Sailings 

Denise😊

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks! I hope you enjoy your upcoming cruises! I think I would really like a TA, but the thought of crossing the ocean gives me the willies. I have to overcome that and then try to talk DH into it! 

 

N

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I used to think I wouldn't like a TA until we took one.  Now they are my favorite ...

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So nice to read such an enthousiastic report! We will board Riviera in Barcelona for the TA on November 13th and can hardly wait. So we much appreciate your reports about everything Riviera. Thank you for taking the time during your precious vacation time to write these. 

I hope the remainder of your cruise will be as enjoyable as the first day!

Mirjam

Edited by CruisingCleo

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34 minutes ago, CruisingCleo said:

So nice to read such an enthousiastic report! We will board Riviera in Barcelona for the TA on November 13th and can hardly wait. So we much appreciate your reports about everything Riviera. Thank you for taking the time during your precious vacation time to write these. 

I hope the remainder of your cruise will be as enjoyable as the first day!

Mirjam

Exactly what I was going to say. So nice to read a positive post. I board the Nautica from Athens Nov 16. 

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Thank you both! 

I did forget to mention that on Day 1, we ended up with a medical emergency on board. I do not know what happened, but about 1 1/2 hours after we departed, the captain announced that we had to return to port for the emergency. We were on the starboard side and did see them taking an individual off the ship on a gurney and put into an ambulance. Hopefully, that person is OK. Annndddd, that leads to day 2😁

 

Day 2 

We wake up to an early morning announcement (well, early for vacation), that due to the 6 hour delay and “severe weather”

in Rhodes, we were not going there and would have a sea day. 

We were disappointed not to see Rhodes, but we made the best of a sea day. Putting contests, baggo contest, pool time, frequent visits to the bars comparing who makes the best drinks, trying to make it to trivia contests, meals.... we kept very busy! 

About noon or so ( and I could be off on the time) the winds started blowing. Seems like the ‘severe weather’ in Rhodes didn’t stay there. The pool was sloshing around, the wind was blowing the water all over, it was like a hose spraying people next to the pool. (There is an extra advantage to hanging at the bar...)

 

Oh yes, then we found the Tea Time in Horizons. 😍🥐🍰🌰🍪🍾🍹

DH and GFM were Pooh poohing the idea of “tea”. Until I (and GFF) coaxed them up there. The myriad of snacks made them very happy. It didn’t hurt that the bar stays open and they could have some XO with their tea and treats. 

 

As an additional time occupier/crowd control, Corey, the CD, offered an Art Scavenger Hunt.  I got sucked in...

When I showed DH what I was doing,  he got sucked in too!  We canvassed the ship that evening looking for items. It has been a lot of fun!! (We still aren’t done, there are several elusive items..) We were roaming around the ship til about midnight, with stops at bars for libations. 

 

The 4 PM tea is VERY nice! Beautiful layout of desserts and small sandwiches, great scones, tea, champagne, and a string quartet. I recommend checking it out. It is better if you do NOT have dinner reservations at 6 PM when you go to tea. 

 

Yes, dinner that night was at the Polo Grill. GFF and I both had the Maine lobster. I thought it was very good and served with a flair!  DH and GFM both ordered the 32 Oz Porterhouse.  I believe that I mentioned that we over indulged at tea just 2 hours prior... 

Anyway, DH said his steak was very good. I tried a few bites and agreed. GFM said his steak was barely lukewarm and he was not thrilled with it. The soups were just OK, but our sides were very good. Creamed spinach and truffle mashed potatoes. 

 

The bartenders have all been very friendly and accommodating, and a few are comedians. We have had some very good drinks on board. 

The bar menu at th pool (Waves Bar), has a menu with fruitier (and sweeter) drinks than some of the others. I managed to work my way through most of the drinks already.   

Martinis (Deck 6) has a fascinating array of martinis, as well as the standards.  Their drinks are quite good. There is a piano player in the evening who we enjoyed listening to while hanging out in that bar with friends. This was probably our favorite bar. 

Horizons has a nice bar with a bunch of chairs and tables for lounging around. It is quiet during the day, unless there is a scheduled activity. The Smoking Room is up there also. 

The Casino bar we have not used that often. It’s next to the casino (duh) and kind of in a hall way area.  The drinks we got there were usually Scotch, Grand Marnier, XO, or something along those lines, so I can’t evaluate their capabilities. 

 

I am running on in too long and will put all of you to sleep! Gotta go!

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I’m wide awake in my kitchen ready to cook looking out at the ocean at sunset.

Of course I’m getting hungry from your review of the Polo Grill😉 

you mentioned smoking area. Where on the Riviera can my husband enjoy his cigar and a fine XO Outside ? So glad your having a great time! This time of year it can get pretty windy with high swells in the ocean! We have had to miss Rhodes for the same reason.

go enjoy a cocktail! I’ll have some wine now while I cook!

live your energy and enthusiasm too!

Denise😊

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The outdoor smoking area is on Deck 12 (pool area) starboard side. More forward. We went there last night so he could have a cognac and a Cohiba!

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Day 3 

(we are actually on day 5😜, I’m just behind. Too busy during the day!!)

We sailed into Crete about 8 ish and met our guide, Panos Kritikos, at the area where th shuttle busses from the ship to the terminal drop you off. He was on time and whisked (sp?) us off in a very nice Mercedes mini van. We headed straight to Knossos so that we would miss the crowds. He is an archeologist and very knowledgeable about his island and the Knossos site. It was amazing! 

 

After about an 1 1/2 of admiring the remains of Minoan civilization, we dashed off for a visit to a winery. The Lyrarakis family has a beautiful winery with some excellent wines. Our host, Eva, was terrific and passionate about the place. The owners have re introduced some of the older, indigenous grapes back into wine production and market those as well as some”international” grapes 

we had a very nice tasting and headed out to tour around the countryside a little before returning to Iraklian for a walking, shopping, eating tour🐷

we had a great day with Panos and I recommend using him if you would like a guide. 

 

We returned to the ship for dinner at the Terrace Buffet. What a treat! The grilled lobster was very good, as were the shrimp.  I also tried various menu items, all of which were well prepared, hot, and delicious. I really liked the cuttlefish risotto with the spicy shrimp ragout. There was also a porcini mushroom timbale with a Parmesan cream sauce. (Oh mama😍)

 

Someone had recommended the carmenere from the wine list, but I like heavier reds, so I stuck to the Wente cab for most of our meals. And the white burgundy, if I felt like it. But, mostly Indrink resmwith everythimg. To me, a good red

goes with anything! Redder is better😜

 

I think we hit either Horizons or Martinis for an after dinner adult beverage while checking out the art scavenger hunt items. We then went to the Riviera lounge for the magician/comedian. Mel Mellars. He was quite hilarious. Avoid the first couple of rows if you don’t want to be a target!!

 

After that, I dragged my DH up to Horizons for the band. He was willing, only because he knew he could have a brandy and a cigar 🙄

Headed for bed, because tomorrow is Santorini!!!!

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Hey,,,I like your style,,, my princess and I are on this ship for a fortnight over Xmas and new year,,,pls keep up all your tips on how to enjoy!!,,

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Thanks! It is a great ship!

I’ll probably do Day 4 tonight after our Day 5 specialty dinner. We are currently inMartinis Bar, running through the menu and competing in Baggo for O points. 

 

Life does NOT suck!

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Thanks BigNance!

Glad to know the area outside for cigars! Wow inside Horizons also for cigars? Thought that was for cigarettes only! Glad to know.

Love Santorini! Enjoy your time! Great restaurants are there.

Denise😊

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2 hours ago, LHT28 said:

According to  the FAQ's

Cigar and pipe smoking is only permitted on the forward, starboard corner of the Pool Deck. The use of electronic cigarettes is allowed within designated smoking areas only.

 

https://oceaniacruises.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360005405774-Can-I-smoke-on-board-

LHT28,

Thank you ! That is what we thought before, but thought it changed.

Denise😊

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IHmmm good to know. Someone was smoking a cigar in that Horizon smoking room when we were up there, so DH went in with his little  Cohiba. 

Everytime we have been by there, people have been smoking regular cigs. 

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