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Semi-Live Review of Oceania Riviera November 9-19, 2023 from a New Oceania Guest


Sthrngary
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1 minute ago, Vallesan said:


Georgina was it just the eggs benny??  I agree if they can’t cook a dish to a decent standard they shouldn’t serve it!

 

I’ve never been on a ‘mass market’ ship so have nothing other than Oceania, Seabourn and Silversea as comparisons. Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that I’m rich, entitled or anything else, I’m not, but I do have mobility problems so need a small ship. Physically the Riviera size ships are about as big as I can manage.

 

I always think it’s dangerous to take others on your favourite cruise lines. Firstly, everyone has different tastes. Secondly, we always ‘rave’ about our holidays to others and maybe when they decide to join us we become more critical, just in case they don’t see what we saw. Finally, I have found that food varies according to the area you’re sailing in mainly because the passengers differ so much and have different expectations. 

 

And maybe that’s the crux of the whole matter …. expectations vary!

I can never understand why Mac & cheese is served in a decent steak restaurant on a ship…. but then I’m from the UK and would never eat such a dish at anytime! Some people eat pizza for dinner! We all have different tastes and expectations. 

 

We all need to keep our expectations ‘real’ and then we won’t be disappointed, and of course food is only one aspect of a ‘cruise’!

No, not just the eggs benny was mediocre but it stood out because it was the worst I have ever eaten. The english muffin was stale, the meat was tasteless, thin and unidentifiable, the sauce was okay.  After meeting with the head chef, I tried again a couple of days later and it wasn't much better.  The muffin was at least fresh the second time.

 

Both cruises were in the same general area ('21 Venice to Provence, '23 Haifa to Rome), both in October.  Main differences - Riviera vs Nautica and 2021 with half capacity/covid restrictions vs full ship/no restrictions. Well, I suppose another main difference was being evacuated from Israel! But that was, imo, handled well and not an excuse for poor food/service days later.

 

Yes we all have different tastes and expectations but having sailed on two NCL cruises within a year, one mass market, the other premium, I truly didn't expect to pay more for worse food on a cruise line that bills itself as best cuisine at sea.  We all started saying 'what happened Oceania?'. Same 4 travel companions on all those cruises.

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7 minutes ago, Vallesan said:

Sorry the food was generally poor on your last trip.

Georgina I guess you know the answer!!

If Oceania is no longer your cup of tea, or coffee, you need to try another line!

It could have been a one off experience so I am following this thread to read the review!  

 

I have only been on two Oceania cruises and was surprised at the difference.  Not just between the two Oceania cruises but between the NCL cruise at xmas and this trip. 

When the food wasn't the best tasting on the NCL cruise, I didn't complain because it was a mass market cruise, others were lining up for items I deemed not worth it (so it was obviously me being picky) and it saved me calories.  On the second O trip, I wasn't the only one disappointed. One is paying a lot more for an O cruise over NCL so it's expected to be better.

 

So does one write off a cruise line based on one experience? Or read more reviews and reassess when it comes time to book one's next trip?

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18 minutes ago, GeorginaSpica said:

It could have been a one off experience so I am following this thread to read the review!  

 

I have only been on two Oceania cruises and was surprised at the difference.  Not just between the two Oceania cruises but between the NCL cruise at xmas and this trip. 

When the food wasn't the best tasting on the NCL cruise, I didn't complain because it was a mass market cruise, others were lining up for items I deemed not worth it (so it was obviously me being picky) and it saved me calories.  On the second O trip, I wasn't the only one disappointed. One is paying a lot more for an O cruise over NCL so it's expected to be better.

 

So does one write off a cruise line based on one experience? Or read more reviews and reassess when it comes time to book one's next trip?


I would say reassess.

 

For me if I were on a ‘mass market’ ship and the food was bad I would probably just vote with my feet/wallet too!

 

Other people’s reviews are so subjective. For example everybody raves about the miso glazed sea bass in Red Ginger but I really don’t like it because it’s far too sweet for me. I just choose other dishes.

 

We also love the crispy duck and watermelon salad but on our last Riviera cruise October 22 it just wasn’t up to scratch. We mentioned it to the chef and he told us they were using different duck.

 

Would that stop me going on another O cruise?

No!

I just eat other dishes.

 

Not everybody enjoys the same food and I’m maybe as ‘picky’ as you but whilst I enjoy good food there are so many other aspects of cruising and I think O hits the brief for me.

 

We have sailed 9 times with Oceania with several longer cruises of 19-22 days. We are on the Riviera in January, if she makes it through the Suez Canal!, and the Marina in May post refurbishment. I’m just happy to be waited on hand and foot and the odd dishes that don’t live up to my expectations I will just put down to experience!

 

Unless 100% of the reviews are 100% bad don’t let other people’s expectations colour you own!

 

 

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Thank everyone so far for their comments.  I promise I will do a good review.  I will be fair and balanced.  To some contributors points, it will still be somewhat subjective.  My approach is to compare and contrast my personal experience because that is all I have to reference.  Everything said on social media needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  My comments included.  

 

Request: If someone comments here that there experience has been poor, please allow them the space to express themselves.  If something I eventually say focuses on a poor experience, I would hope the member in CruiseCritic.com would give me some space as well.  

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1 hour ago, GeorginaSpica said:

It could have been a one off experience so I am following this thread to read the review!  

 

 

It can vary  from cruise to cruise  depending on who is doing the cooking

Different cooks may not  follow the recipe as exactly as it should be

JMO

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9 minutes ago, GeorginaSpica said:

From my recent experiences, the cutbacks were more noticeable on Oceania than Norwegian. 

Yeah, saw that. Sorry. My only post COVID cruise was excellent from a food standpoint.  Just as good or better than pre COVID for us at least. 

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47 minutes ago, YourWorldWithBill said:

We are boarding the Riviera the day that @Sthrngary disembarks. Having chosen Oceania partially because of what we heard about the food, I'm remaining optimistic and hoping it is at least comparable to Viking and better than HAL.

Hope you have meals that would make a chef proud, Gary!

@YourWorldWithBill Bill, I am a foodie also.  I am also very particular. I have been taking notes for what folks said online about different foods.  If I only saw one person say something was good or bad, it was simply a note.  If several folks said the same things, it would be emphasized.  In my family, I am the one that has no hesitation to send food back that is simply not good, over or under cooked. My wife on the other hand, HATES when I do that.  I think folks going on a cruise vacation  fall into those two categories (I know it is more then three but humor me).  Send it back and don't sweat it. Wait for your new items to come out.  OR, eat it, say little to nothing and call it out after the fact. I say, handle it as it happens and don't lose your cool. You never will go hungry on any cruise. 

 

I am quite positive I will love most of the foods serviced and there will be an occasional miss here and there.  We will see. 

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment. 

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9 hours ago, Vallesan said:

I can never understand why Mac & cheese is served in a decent steak restaurant on a ship

It actually became popular about 25 years ago.

But if the spirit ever moves you maybe this BBC link will help you out 🙂

 

9 hours ago, Vallesan said:

Some people eat pizza for dinner!

I think you've led a sheltered life. LOL. Pizza has become truly high end (and not thankfully). Certainly not on a cruise ship where I'm guessing they can't get the oven up to 1000F.

 

What are the pizza flavor trends for 2023?
 
 
 
Delicious Pizza Trends for 2023: Symrise In-Sight
 
In the fastest-growing pizza flavors, we find cilantro at 13.1% and Indian flavors at 9.5%. Interestingly, sharp flavors — think aged asiago, goat cheese, arugula, or pickled red onions — are inching their way up, as are garden vegetables, truffles, and buttery flavors.Sep 7, 2023
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Just now, Harry Lake said:
9 hours ago, Vallesan said:

I can never understand why Mac & cheese is served in a decent steak restaurant on a ship

 

Oh, and steak houses are always in search of non-meat dishes that cost a lot! and taste good. I had it on Marina and it was lovely. Rich but lovely.

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2 hours ago, Sthrngary said:

In my family, I am the one that has no hesitation to send food back that is simply not good, over or under cooked.

I know what you're saying and used to be that way, until one time I sent a breakfast back, and once it came back saw the cook watching me eat it with a smirk on his face. Kind of lost my appetite. Made me wonder just what he did to it. 

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Just now, ORV said:

I know what you're saying and used to be that way, until one time I sent a breakfast back, and once it came back saw the cook watching me eat it with a smirk on his face. Kind of lost my appetite. Made me wonder just what he did to it. 

I've sure heard those stories.

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1 hour ago, ORV said:

I know what you're saying and used to be that way, until one time I sent a breakfast back, and once it came back saw the cook watching me eat it with a smirk on his face. Kind of lost my appetite. Made me wonder just what he did to it. 

Years ago someone I worked with told me how when she was in school and had worked in a restaurant, she had horror stories about what they did to food from "problem" diners. I think a lot depends on the way you deal with it and the discussion with the waiter. Sending something back is unavoidable at times.

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2 minutes ago, YourWorldWithBill said:

Years ago someone I worked with told me how when she was in school and had worked in a restaurant, she had horror stories about what they did to food from "problem" diners. I think a lot depends on the way you deal with it and the discussion with the waiter. Sending something back is unavoidable at times.

This^ Also does "not good" just mean that you don't like it? Not a good reason to not eat it. Cooked incorrecty, then yes. And how it's done? You bet.

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9 hours ago, Harry Lake said:

It actually became popular about 25 years ago.

But if the spirit ever moves you maybe this BBC link will help you out 🙂

 

I think you've led a sheltered life. LOL. Pizza has become truly high end (and not thankfully). Certainly not on a cruise ship where I'm guessing they can't get the oven up to 1000F.

 

What are the pizza flavor trends for 2023?
 
 
 
Delicious Pizza Trends for 2023: Symrise In-Sight
 
In the fastest-growing pizza flavors, we find cilantro at 13.1% and Indian flavors at 9.5%. Interestingly, sharp flavors — think aged asiago, goat cheese, arugula, or pickled red onions — are inching their way up, as are garden vegetables, truffles, and buttery flavors.Sep 7, 2023

 

Maybe I have led a sheltered life! But actually I adore cheese but am not fond of that terrible rubbery stuff they call ‘cheese’, which  can be found on some cheap pizzas! Maybe it’s the cooked cheese element that also puts me off mac & cheese! Either way I can think of far nicer accompaniments to a good steak!

 

As it so happens Silver Dawn (and I’m guessing other Ssea ships) has a pizzeria on board and the pizzas are great …. for lunch!

Oceania also has a pizzeria now. In the evenings  the Waves Grill on the Vista turns into a pizzeria. I also think I heard that the Marina will  have a pizza oven in Waves after her refurbishment in May 24. Not sure about the Riviera.

 

That pizza above looks amazing … but…  still wouldn’t eat pizza for dinner!

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11 hours ago, Harry Lake said:

Huge difference between "not good" and "over or under cooked." 

Sometimes it is hard to share when we receive a meal, in a nice restaurant that is sub-par. Does one eat it, send it back, or just leave it on their plate and later YES get some really cheezy pizza???  

 

This third world problem will have to be dealt with in a serious way.  I am just the "Fat Guy" to do it.  But I will do it with a kind tone in my voice and a pleasant look on my face.  If the cheif is looking at me from a far when the new food is delivered, I will force him/her to take the first bit. Problem solved.

 

Cruise Well and order something else if you don't like what you got.  It is a Cruise. 

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Sunday, November 5, 2023: Pre-Cruise Communication

 

Summary: Flight leaves 06:33 am, November 7, 2023.  Pre-Cruise Hotel is on November 8, 2023. Cruise departs on November 9, 2023 out of Athens, Greece.  This final preparation allows for excitement to build.  Your vacation should have a Before, During, and After element of joy. 

 

  • Pre/Post Cruise Hotels:  Both hotels have sent information sheets and confirmations this morning. I am always afraid I booked the wrong dates.  
  • Travel Insurance: We used Allianz Insurance Company, full coverage including cancel for any reason. This morning a final confirmation was sent.  I noticed the return date was off by one day and fixed it. 
  • Packing:  All bags are packed.  My wife has packed three times, changing items each time.  I was FORCED to go clothing shopping and YES I have an jacket for dinner. The luggage is in the SUV already.
  • Money:  I had my bank order me both types of currency for our itinerary to cover little inexpensive items on the street. Easier to do than I thought. 
  • Journey Document: Final version is at the Printer for pick up tomorrow.  A work of art that no one will read or look at including myself.  However really helps me when you check in to hotels and the ship. It was fun to do. 
  • Butler Letter: Final version was printed, and sealed.  This letter is far less detailed and lengthy as I have done in the past.  I did one for our guests as well. 

Conclusion: Basically all checks and cross checks are done.  The biggest challenge we have is staying on our diets until we leave.  It is so easy to go off the deep end even before you are on vacation.  If you never had a weight problem, I envy you. 

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment. 

 

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I do enjoy those delicious few days before a trip. So close they so far. I am lucky as i enjoy all the precruise planning and like to have all my ducks nicely in a linear fashion. I love being at the airport, the flight and every aspect before stepping foot on the ship.

 

Marital Unit is sadly exactly the opposite, and he has confessed to me that he is a grumpy sod until he steps foot in the cabin. 

 

He’s a terrible packer - I once watched almost three episodes of Stranger Things on the day we were leaving for the pre flight hotel as his “this will take me 45 minutes to pack” turned into “I can’t fit anything else in my case and I forgot to wash my jeans”… He has no idea about the facilities on the ships we go on unless he has been on them before and generally has no interest in the details of where we are and when.

 

So I have to be a good planner, and make sure I can keep him out of ultimate grump mode til he can manage to become his normal wonderful self. 

 

I don’t over plan though, there is a fine line - we know where we are and when and if its a port we have a tour in we get off the ship and see where the adventure takes us. Of it’s a sea day the only thing we know we are doing is playing poker in the afternoon. 

 

Plan how to get there and get back, but leave a little room for spontaneity. 

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1 hour ago, Sthrngary said:

Sunday, November 5, 2023: Pre-Cruise Communication

 

Summary: Flight leaves 06:33 am, November 7, 2023.  Pre-Cruise Hotel is on November 8, 2023. Cruise departs on November 9, 2023 out of Athens, Greece.  This final preparation allows for excitement to build.  Your vacation should have a Before, During, and After element of joy. 

 

  • Pre/Post Cruise Hotels:  Both hotels have sent information sheets and confirmations this morning. I am always afraid I booked the wrong dates.  
  • Travel Insurance: We used Allianz Insurance Company, full coverage including cancel for any reason. This morning a final confirmation was sent.  I noticed the return date was off by one day and fixed it. 
  • Packing:  All bags are packed.  My wife has packed three times, changing items each time.  I was FORCED to go clothing shopping and YES I have an jacket for dinner. The luggage is in the SUV already.
  • Money:  I had my bank order me both types of currency for our itinerary to cover little inexpensive items on the street. Easier to do than I thought. 
  • Journey Document: Final version is at the Printer for pick up tomorrow.  A work of art that no one will read or look at including myself.  However really helps me when you check in to hotels and the ship. It was fun to do. 
  • Butler Letter: Final version was printed, and sealed.  This letter is far less detailed and lengthy as I have done in the past.  I did one for our guests as well. 

Conclusion: Basically all checks and cross checks are done.  The biggest challenge we have is staying on our diets until we leave.  It is so easy to go off the deep end even before you are on vacation.  If you never had a weight problem, I envy you. 

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment. 

 

Bon Voyage!!  It has been a pleasure to read all your posts as you prepared for this cruise.  I have learned some things along the way and  for that I thank you.  Safe travels to you and your entire group. Enjoy every moment!

 

 

 

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24 minutes ago, ToxM said:

Plan how to get there and get back, but leave a little room for spontaneity.

This is so very true.  The hard part is making sure you get there and get back.  From there, for me, it is how to get from the port to city central.  I have a list of potential places and never really make the final decision until just before.  Usually it is how I feel.  This trip, I leave this up to the other four guests.  I turn my planning brain off as soon as they get onboard.  My job is completed and I go into Vacation Mode.  It starts with a smile, then drink, some food, then smile.  Repeat until the vacation is over. 

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment. 

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