This comprehensive tour of the Riviera includes links to articles on the dining and accommodations, and photo galleries with over 100 pictures from around the ship.
The layout of the cabins and suites on the Riviera and Marina are identical. Based on passenger comments, an American-style electrical outlet was added next to the bed and the desk drawers are deeper on the Riviera. Oceania also replaced some of the drawers found on the Marina with shelves.
More on the Cabins and Suites on the Riviera
- Inside Stateroom - Categories F and G
- Oceanview Stateroom - Category C
- Veranda Stateroom - Category B
- Concierge Veranda Stateroom - Category A
- Penthouse Suite - Category PH
- Oceania Suite - Category OC
- Vista Suite - Category VS
- Owner's Suite - Category OS
All of the dining venues are excellent, and the food quality and presentation on the "upper premium" class Riviera is as good as I've seen on "luxury" cruise ships. Most dishes are prepared a la minute, and quality wines are featured.
More on Dining on the Riviera Riviera Dining Options Photo Gallery - 24 pictures of the venues and cuisine
Canyon Ranch Spa and Fitness Center
Those who have sailed on the Marina will notice a difference in the spa. The Marina has two hot tubs at the outdoor spa terrace, whereas the Riviera has a thallasotherapy pool. Both ships have indoor and outdoor relaxation areas.
The Riviera fitness center has all the latest exercise equipment that you would find at home, plus it has a feature you wouldn't find at home--a great view of the sea! Complimentary stretching and circuit training classes are held each day. Pilates, spinning, and yoga classes are available for a small fee.
Bon Appetit Culinary Center
Classes range from beginner techniques to an in-depth curriculum that consists of a series of classes. Since the Riviera is visiting some of the world's best food cities, class participants sometimes go ashore with the chef to find the perfect ingredients for their dishes. Participants can learn to properly chop and dice, or even how to bone a chicken.
Here are some examples of the classes in the Riviera culinary center:
- Flavors of the Sea - Proper techniques for sauteeing, poaching, and pan-frying seafood
- Trendsetting World Cuisines - Classes focused on the hottest cuisines and cooking techniques
- Elegant Egg - Techniques and recipes for delicious and healthy egg recipes
- Joy of Grilling - Tips and techniques for successful grilling
- Cook Like a Professional - Improve your kitchen and pantry knowledge
- Mexican Fiesta - New ingredients and techniques for cooking Mexican food
- Healthy Cooking - Flavor and techniques from Canyon Ranch executive chef
The Bon Appetit Culinary Center is not the only place onboard that guests can learn, expand their horizons, or just have fun. Each Riviera sailing will have an onboard artist in residence and/or photography instructor. The Artist Loft seen at the left is used for these classes. On our Mediterranean christening cruise, the resident artists led classes in mixed media, drawing bold designs, t-shirt painting, how to make wine bottle aprons, how to transfer photos to fabric, and jewelry-making.
Almost anyone can become a good photographer with a digital camera, and the Riviera has classes in several levels from beginner to advanced. You can learn how to get those photos from your camera to the computer, edit them, and then share them with friends. In addition, classes are sometimes offered in composition.
Not everyone is into organized learning activities. Like her sister ships, the Riviera has an excellent library, which is right next to the computer center and Barrista's coffee bar.
The Riviera sails world-wide itineraries, and Oceania has expert guest lecturers who will speak on the politics, culture, history, and geography of the ports of call. There might even be a vintner onboard to help you learn more about how to appreciate wines.
Although most of the interior of the Riviera looks just like the Marina, guests will notice that the decor and furniture is different in the Grand Bar that stretches from Martini's to the Grand Dining Room.
Those who enjoy outdoor sports will be happy to see the sports court and miniature golf course.
Itineraries and ConclusionThe Riviera spends the spring, summer, and fall in the Mediterranean, sailing 7 to 15-day itineraries to ports of call all around the Sea. Since the itineraries are usually different, cruise travelers can book back-to-back cruises without repeating many ports of call. Our Mediterranean christening cruise had a modified itinerary--Monte Carlo to Marseille to Valencia to Barcelona to Venice. All the shore excursions were well run and efficient--particularly surprising for a first cruise!
In the late fall, the Riviera moves to Miami to sail the Caribbean for the winter season. Since the ship alternates western and eastern Caribbean itineraries, these cruises can also be easily combined into back-to-back cruise vacations.
Oceania Cruises' Riviera is a gorgeous ship, both indoors and out, and the quality and creativity of the cuisine, along with the excellent service and exciting itineraries, make the ship popular with cruise lovers. In addition, adding more onboard activities like the culinary center and artist in residence attracts those who previously have chosen only large ships for their cruise vacation. Starting with 2013, the Riviera features at least one sea day on its itineraries, and the cruise line is adding more overnights in popular ports.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary cruise accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.