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


Sthrngary
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On 11/3/2023 at 10:39 AM, 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!

Second that. You did not like your cruise.......we get it. Go somewhere else. 

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22 minutes ago, mexicobob said:

Second that. You did not like your cruise.......we get it. Go somewhere else. 

What a short sighted view! 
 

Grasp this, if possible. We are travelers, cruising for the ports. It’s the itinerary that is important to us. Period. Stop. 
 

We have had excellent meals on Oceania, mediocre meals, and only very occasionally poor meals. We don’t buy into the marketing hype of “ best cuisine at sea”, however the food is generally quite good. We find our greatest delights as being wonderful lunches, or occasional dinners on overnights,  ashore.

 

We’re long past cruising for marketing hype. To suggest we cruise elsewhere because we value itinerary over marketing hype is ludicrous. 
 

When the itineraries start to falter, we might take your suggestion. Until then, enjoy your cruise and we’ll enjoy ours.

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22 minutes ago, pinotlover said:

Grasp this, if possible. We are travelers, cruising for the ports. It’s the itinerary that is important to us. Period. Stop. 

Allow me to (not) argue with you. Perhaps some complainers aren't port-focused. (We sure are.) Perhaps those people put more emphasis on the ship than they should . Do you have a wise way of saying that?

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4 minutes ago, Harry Lake said:

Allow me to (not) argue with you. Perhaps some complainers aren't port-focused. (We sure are.) Perhaps those people put more emphasis on the ship than they should . Do you have a wise way of saying that?

I have no wise way of saying it. I have meet delightful fellow cruisers that never ( or rarely) get off the ship on extended cruises. They are there for the ship and the experiences aboard. Period. Stop. Fine.

 

Doesn’t mean I dislike or disrespect them. Their money, their cruise. 
 

Just saying we don’t cruise for that reason. Not nearly as enamored with the food as some. Just saying we can choose Oceania for our purposes while they choose Oceania for theirs. I would never suggest that the Cruisers choose other lines, why should they tell we travelers that? 

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6 hours ago, pinotlover said:

What a short sighted view! 
……..

 

We’re long past cruising for marketing hype. To suggest we cruise elsewhere because we value itinerary over marketing hype is ludicrous. 
 

 


Pinotlover. Not sure if you read Georgina’s posts about the food on Oceania but we exchanged several, good natured, posts earlier on this thread.

 

I lightheartedly suggested Georgina find another cruise line if Oceania was no longer her cup of tea!

 

Mexicobob was just agreeing.

Please let’s not turn  lighthearted banter into something less pleasant.

 

 

Edited by Vallesan
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Wednesday, November 8, 2023:

 

Arrived in Athens, Greece 45 minutes early.  Customs took 20 minutes.  Yet seamless. The "Athens Airport Taxi" Mercedes Sprinter Van was waiting for us outside of luggage claim.  Took us to our Hotel $82.00 total for four people. 

 

Hotel "Hotel Grande Bretagne" did not have our rooms ready until 02:00 PM. Lovely hotel.  No issue.  We went for a walk, had a really nice lunch and went to the Parthenon. The weather is OUTSTANDING.  The goal was to stay up until 03:00 PM, then take a short three hour nap, and go out for dinner.  I love it when a plan comes together.

 

Met folks on our cruise on the flight to Athens, and at lunch.  Kind of nice.

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment. 

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20 hours ago, Sthrngary said:

OMG, we are all from New York. All we wanted was Nathan‘s hotdogs. They had a stand in the Delta sky club. They were so good!!!!

 

 

You made me laugh!  As a fellow cruiser born in NYC, I worked at a Nathan’s between HS and College.  Still enjoy a Nathan’s hot dog after so much time cooking them for customers!

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A word of advice. We booked A lovely restaurant that was on the highest mountain overlooking Athens, Greece. I booked it over a year and a half ago. Yet with a full day of sightseeing and a massive amount of Jetlag we decided to cancel the reservation. I never have a problem doing that as long as it was my decision to cancel. My advice is the hotel that we stayed in, go up to the top floor and have a drink. The weather was fantastic, we had a small meal of meat and cheeses, and the view was out of a travel guide. I don’t get impressed very easily, but Athens at night is spectacular.

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment.

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2 minutes ago, Sthrngary said:

A word of advice. We booked A lovely restaurant that was on the highest mountain overlooking Athens, Greece. I booked it over a year and a half ago. Yet with a full day of sightseeing and a massive amount of Jetlag we decided to cancel the reservation. I never have a problem doing that as long as it was my decision to cancel. My advice is the hotel that we stayed in, go up to the top floor and have a drink. The weather was fantastic, we had a small meal of meat and cheeses, and the view was out of a travel guide. I don’t get impressed very easily, but Athens at night is spectacular.

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment.

 
Can’t wait to see what you think of the ship!

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@Sthrngary

 

Glad all went well up to now.  So sorry you did not go to the restaurant on Mt. Lycabetus.

 

You were so much looking forward to that.  However, such a very long day of travel makes one very tired, especially losing 7 hours.  You all would have been to exhausted to properly enjoy the experience.

 

Your plan B sounded like an excellent substitution.

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On 11/2/2023 at 7:56 AM, Sthrngary said:

@BSR Oceania seems to be getting a lot of new guests from NCL/Haven and Celebrity/Retreat. Both you and I included.  I promise to make comparisons because as with trying any new brand, you only know what you get, after you got it. So far, the pre-cruise communication for me is a lot better on Oceania. I got a call, a booklet with information and luggage takes. All very professional. More to come. 

Gary I hope that you, your lovely bride, and your friends have a FABULOUS trip!  We are trying out our first O cruise in February after Haven, Retreat, and Yacht Club.  (We did Regent's Seven Seas at tail of Covid, loved it, but hard to swing those prices.)  Fingers crossed it is worthwhile for all.  My usual mantra for cruising is the trip is what you make it.  Things will go wrong, but hopefully not so wrong that it can't be laughed about later.  And if it is a bust, then lesson learned.

Maybe your bride will hit the jackpot again....or is there any gambling even available?

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3 hours ago, Hearthosesteeldrumsplayin said:

Gary I hope that you, your lovely bride, and your friends have a FABULOUS trip!  We are trying out our first O cruise in February after Haven, Retreat, and Yacht Club.  (We did Regent's Seven Seas at tail of Covid, loved it, but hard to swing those prices.)  Fingers crossed it is worthwhile for all.  My usual mantra for cruising is the trip is what you make it.  Things will go wrong, but hopefully not so wrong that it can't be laughed about later.  And if it is a bust, then lesson learned.

Maybe your bride will hit the jackpot again....or is there any gambling even available?

Very small casino.  Not sure there is a slot event. If so, Lady Luck will be participating. So kind of you to ask.

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment.

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Thursday, November 9, 2023--Morning of Embarkation

 

Disclaimer: My writing style is not for everyone. I tend to be redundant at times, usually on topics I personally think are important. I am extremely long-winded, which is made worse because of very bad grammar and spelling. This is just who I am.  I like to write with stories rather than just bullet point facts.  If you don’t like my writing style, comments, information, please move on to another thread.  If the approach is acceptable to you, I want to personally thank you in advance for joining me on this journey with my group.

 

Introduction:

It has been a little under a year and a half since I made the decision to cruise with Oceania Cruises. My first attempt was before covid-19 and that cruise got cancelled. This blog will be a “Semi-Live Blog” posting of the actual experience on Oceania’s Riviera.  I selfishly was not going to do a “Semi-Live Blog” so my guest, wife and I could simply focus completely on our long-awaited vacation. However, others who have done a live blog, gave me great benefits so I wanted to return the favor.  This is my way of saying “thank you” to them all. Now full disclosure. 

 

I will put our vacation first and if I find the time, I will post on this stream.”

 

To me, the experience starts when you leave your home and go to the airport. The reason is many of the decisions made, pre/post cruise comes from the research uncovered about the brand, ship, and itinerary.  We make decisions based on knowledge so we can avoid many issues others have shared.  Therefore, all the heavy lifting has been done, well before you leave your home. My recommendations are, realizing that “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

 

“Learn from others’ great decisions and mistakes.

This allows you not to make the same mistake in the future.”

 

A very wise decision was to fly in the day before and stay at a nice hotel.  The hotel we choose was, "The Hotel Grande Bretagne".  I have not stayed in a nicer hotel in my life of traveling for business.  The quality of the hotel, the room, the service of the staff and the amenities is quite remarkable.  The view from the roof top bar/restaurant is spectacular at night.  I woke up early this morning which is my way.  I went to the roof, got two cups of coffee for my bride and I.  The staff could not do enough for me.  

 

Last night after we had a few drinks and light dinner, I was done.  Jetlag has a plan and my plan was time to go to sleep.  However my guests and wife wanted to walk around the area.  I should have gone. They found what we lovingly call, "Street Meat".  A Gyro in Athens which unfortunately I missed.  Never fear, I will make up for it at our first port.  

 

While getting coffee early this morning, I took a tour of the Breakfast Buffet at the roof restaurant. It was everything plus some that I remembered traveling on business to Europe over the many decades I did that.  It took every bit of discipline simply to eat early instead of our agreed upon time of 09:00 AM.  I was good and did not cave in on the temptation. 

 

My initial feelings are Athens, it everything I expected and then some.  The quality of the food is a new level.  Everything from Coffee to bread has been a new and grand adventure.  The importance of this to me is for close to a year, my wife and I have dieted, lost weight and exercised.  We both made our goals.  This makes the food that much better. That is it for now, looking forward to the Embarkation Experience in a few hours.

 

 Cruise well and enjoy every moment. 

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My first embarkation on an Oceania ship was in Athens. 

 

It was a very good start to the cruise and a breath of fresh air from what I had experienced on other lines. 

 

Nice small terminal, very quick, a lovely little walk to the ship. 

 

Enjoy embarkation 🙂

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@Sthrngary

OK Gary and friends, you will have embarked and begun your O Riviera experience. We did your same cruise on Riviera coming out of Covid and you will really enjoy your ports of call and tours, I am sure. Let me offer a suggestion for another great way to enjoy Riviera. Head down to the Reservation Desk or send your Butler and book a Private evening in Privee and pick a night with a later sailing so you can watch the port fade away as you sail on to, “what’s next”.  I know there are the four of you and Privee has room for up to 10 so you can add some new found Oceania family of friends or just make it an unbelievable dinner for you and BFF’s. Privee will cost you $300 for the night and there are at least four menus to choose from so enjoy. Every time we are on Riviera or Marina we have booked Privee for all those special occasions like 🎂 and Anniversary’s or perhaps a trip of a lifetime with friends. IMHO, it is a MUST.

 

Have a FABULOUS cruise and we look forward to reading of your experiences. 
Mauibabes

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5 hours ago, mauibabes said:

Privee will cost you $300 for the night and there are at least four menus to choose from so enjoy. Every time we are on Riviera or Marina we have booked Privee for all those special occasions like 🎂 and Anniversary’s or perhaps a trip of a lifetime with friends. IMHO, it is a MUST.

How does that work? $300 extra for the room, or $300 per person for the meal, or $300 for....? Thanks.

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On 11/5/2023 at 5:46 PM, pinotlover said:

Pizza is a funny thing. I love pizza.

 

We were given a supposed margarita pizza on Vista. No tomatoes, no heaps of mozzarella cheese, and zero fresh basil leaves. Ours had some cheap indescribable cheese ( if it was actually cheese) and no herbs, no less fresh basil. Was told it was Oceania’s expression of margarita pizza! 🙄 

 

Perhaps we have a difference in opinion of definition. I can love great lobster, while passing on overcooked rubbery lobster. Same with bizzare definitions of people. If they wanted to call it their cheese pizza, well OK. Margarita pizza, not a chance. Ike calling hamburger fillet mignon.

A Margarita pizza shouldn't have tomato sauce at all, but rather lime sauce with salt on the rim of the crust. 😄 Tomato sauce on a Margherita pizza, on the other hand, is absolutely essential and I think in Italy leaving it off is a crime punishable by 10 years in prison, eating nothing but McDonald's.

Edited by JYDCruise
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14 hours ago, mauibabes said:

@Sthrngary

OK Gary and friends, you will have embarked and begun your O Riviera experience. We did your same cruise on Riviera coming out of Covid and you will really enjoy your ports of call and tours, I am sure. Let me offer a suggestion for another great way to enjoy Riviera. Head down to the Reservation Desk or send your Butler and book a Private evening in Privee and pick a night with a later sailing so you can watch the port fade away as you sail on to, “what’s next”.  I know there are the four of you and Privee has room for up to 10 so you can add some new found Oceania family of friends or just make it an unbelievable dinner for you and BFF’s. Privee will cost you $300 for the night and there are at least four menus to choose from so enjoy. Every time we are on Riviera or Marina we have booked Privee for all those special occasions like 🎂 and Anniversary’s or perhaps a trip of a lifetime with friends. IMHO, it is a MUST.

 

Have a FABULOUS cruise and we look forward to reading of your experiences. 
Mauibabes

@mauibabes Thank you.  I will take this under advisement.  Right now, I am so overwhelmed like a kid in a candy shop.  I want to excitement to reduce and maybe I can think straight.  Thank you again.

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment. 

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Morning of November 10, 2023:

 

Hello everyone.  Please remember my comments will be random, no specific order.  My impressions are based on my own past experience so they may not agree with yours.  Luxury to me is a better experience than I have have had on other cruises.  My cruises have been on NCL Mega Ships in the Haven area.  

 

Embarkment: Besides my wife and gets getting nervous when we dropped off the luggage, the embarkment was easy.  No matter what I shared about putting luggage tags on at the port, they were all worried doing it right.  First time on any new brand is a bit scary.  As mentioned, security was a breeze and we entered the moment they let folks in at the Athens Port.  As normal for me, I was the one that got the pat down.  It was great and I tipped the security guy two euro's and asked if he had an appointment for later.  

 

We went to get our key cards, again simple and easy then right on the ship.  I know this is redundant but it sets me up. 

 

Vista Suite: Ready immediately and everything I say on line plus some.  The deck was fantastic.  Yet the Hot tub on the Deck works just fine.  I upgraded my two internet wifi devices for $69.00 each for streaming and so far the good connections which is surprising to me.  On the Internet front, my friends who booked before the Simply More program in a Penthouse (PH2) got did indeed get two devices.  They are very happy about that. Announcements in stateroom.  Most are in the hall.  The really important ones are in your stateroom.  The Vista Suite has blue tooth music off your phone and it works GREAT.  I ordered three bottles of spirits out of the six you get from being in the Vista Suite and they came after the ship departed.  They are LITRE's which are HUGE bottles.  CRAZY.  My request for the soda's were filled prior to leaving the port. 

 

Food/Dining: I wanted our friends to join us for dinner the first night at the Italian Restaurant.  I went to the desk and it was done.   I will talk about the food their in a bit. I had breakfast in the Grand Dining Room day one.  Service 10 out of 10.  Food 8.5 out of 10.  Coffee was 6 out of 10.  I should have followed my own rule to get my coffee at the Barista's before breakfast. We did have our butler bring Barista coffee to the stateroom at 07:45 AM and it was waiting for us when we got up. Lovely. Eggs benedict exactly the way I told them I wanted it. For all my NCL Haven Fans, the pastry's especially the Almond Croissant were over the top GREAT and available to everyone on the ship, not just those in the Haven.  Tomorrow we will eat breakfast at the Buffet.  

 

Toscana: Service 10 out of 10.  Wine and drink service, 10 out of 10.  Food 8.5 out of 10.  I had the bone in Veal Chop, cooked perfectly.  Excellent choice however the meat was a 8 our of 10 from a quality stand point.  My wife got the sea bass and thought the sauce was a bit bland and also got a side order of Spinach Ravioli so she dipped in that sauce and it was perfect.  I got the beef carpaccio and loved it. The bread was great but the olive oil was a nice presentation but no one liked it.  The deserts we a pass and none of them were good but the cookies they provided with specialty coffee were excellent. 

 

Martini's Bar: This is my kind of place.  The "O" martini was a favorite. The Expresso Martini was a disappointment.  Let's just say, I "THINK" I have a few "O" martini and was feeling no pain. We meet Bubba and Lisa (sthrnlisa) from MS, at Martini's and they made or visit their special. We went back to Martini's before dinner.  

 

Sail Away:  We were on our deck in the front of the ship with our friends and it was spectacular.  They have never seen this before and from our vantage point this is as good as it gets and I have done sail aways many times.  I saw some other guest just down the haul and offered for them to join us.  They have done many Oceania Cruises, both were from UK.  They came in and all six of us had such a nice time.  

 

The Aquia Spa Terrace: This area was very impressive and has my name all over it.  To my Haven Friends.  This is like the Vibe Beach Club and the Haven Sundeck combined.  No bar but very nice and the hot tub is huge.  Just the way I like it.  Just saying.  

 

OK, that is all for me.  I am going for a walk on the deck, then maybe go the the port for a walk.  We are at Kavala, Greece today.  Lovely place.  

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment.

 

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1 hour ago, Sthrngary said:

Morning of November 10, 2023:

 

Hello everyone.  Please remember my comments will be random, no specific order.  My impressions are based on my own past experience so they may not agree with yours.  Luxury to me is a better experience than I have have had on other cruises.  My cruises have been on NCL Mega Ships in the Haven area.  

 

Embarkment: Besides my wife and gets getting nervous when we dropped off the luggage, the embarkment was easy.  No matter what I shared about putting luggage tags on at the port, they were all worried doing it right.  First time on any new brand is a bit scary.  As mentioned, security was a breeze and we entered the moment they let folks in at the Athens Port.  As normal for me, I was the one that got the pat down.  It was great and I tipped the security guy two euro's and asked if he had an appointment for later.  

 

We went to get our key cards, again simple and easy then right on the ship.  I know this is redundant but it sets me up. 

 

Vista Suite: Ready immediately and everything I say on line plus some.  The deck was fantastic.  Yet the Hot tub on the Deck works just fine.  I upgraded my two internet wifi devices for $69.00 each for streaming and so far the good connections which is surprising to me.  On the Internet front, my friends who booked before the Simply More program in a Penthouse (PH2) got did indeed get two devices.  They are very happy about that. Announcements in stateroom.  Most are in the hall.  The really important ones are in your stateroom.  The Vista Suite has blue tooth music off your phone and it works GREAT.  I ordered three bottles of spirits out of the six you get from being in the Vista Suite and they came after the ship departed.  They are LITRE's which are HUGE bottles.  CRAZY.  My request for the soda's were filled prior to leaving the port. 

 

Food/Dining: I wanted our friends to join us for dinner the first night at the Italian Restaurant.  I went to the desk and it was done.   I will talk about the food their in a bit. I had breakfast in the Grand Dining Room day one.  Service 10 out of 10.  Food 8.5 out of 10.  Coffee was 6 out of 10.  I should have followed my own rule to get my coffee at the Barista's before breakfast. We did have our butler bring Barista coffee to the stateroom at 07:45 AM and it was waiting for us when we got up. Lovely. Eggs benedict exactly the way I told them I wanted it. For all my NCL Haven Fans, the pastry's especially the Almond Croissant were over the top GREAT and available to everyone on the ship, not just those in the Haven.  Tomorrow we will eat breakfast at the Buffet.  

 

Toscana: Service 10 out of 10.  Wine and drink service, 10 out of 10.  Food 8.5 out of 10.  I had the bone in Veal Chop, cooked perfectly.  Excellent choice however the meat was a 8 our of 10 from a quality stand point.  My wife got the sea bass and thought the sauce was a bit bland and also got a side order of Spinach Ravioli so she dipped in that sauce and it was perfect.  I got the beef carpaccio and loved it. The bread was great but the olive oil was a nice presentation but no one liked it.  The deserts we a pass and none of them were good but the cookies they provided with specialty coffee were excellent. 

 

Martini's Bar: This is my kind of place.  The "O" martini was a favorite. The Expresso Martini was a disappointment.  Let's just say, I "THINK" I have a few "O" martini and was feeling no pain. We meet Bubba and Lisa (sthrnlisa) from MS, at Martini's and they made or visit their special. We went back to Martini's before dinner.  

 

Sail Away:  We were on our deck in the front of the ship with our friends and it was spectacular.  They have never seen this before and from our vantage point this is as good as it gets and I have done sail aways many times.  I saw some other guest just down the haul and offered for them to join us.  They have done many Oceania Cruises, both were from UK.  They came in and all six of us had such a nice time.  

 

The Aquia Spa Terrace: This area was very impressive and has my name all over it.  To my Haven Friends.  This is like the Vibe Beach Club and the Haven Sundeck combined.  No bar but very nice and the hot tub is huge.  Just the way I like it.  Just saying.  

 

OK, that is all for me.  I am going for a walk on the deck, then maybe go the the port for a walk.  We are at Kavala, Greece today.  Lovely place.  

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment.

 


Lovely to hear that everything so far is good.

Just to let you know you can ask for any coffee in GDR in the morning and they will bring it for you. You don’t have to drink the stuff they pour. I usually have a double expresso with a little warm milk on the side … never a problem.

ENJOY!

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