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Paul Motter May 4th, 2012 02:32 PM

Riviera - Virtual Cruise
I will be on the inaugural voyage of Oceania's new ship: Riviera -

I am very excited about seeing this brand new ship. I believe its sister ship, Marina, which debuted a little over a year ago, is the most beautiful ship I have ever seen.

Sometimes sister ships get better, sometimes they are almost exactly identical, and sometimes they get better. I doubt that Oceania would let this ship be anything less than Riviera - and if it is the same that is more than enough.

I will be sending CruiseMates updates on the ship starting on Monday. And just to be clear, they do not call it "Oceania Riviera" - it is just "Riviera."

lulu48 May 4th, 2012 03:51 PM

Enjoy the cruise
Some small changes on Rivieria different chandelier over the grand staircase
additions to the tubs in lower CAT
New art works

Looking forward to your photos

Paul Motter May 6th, 2012 04:40 PM


One change is that you can actually use the shower nozzle in the tub on Riviera without it getting the entire bathroom wet. On Marina they (and Riviera) they have both a shower and tub in thE bathroom, and the tub also has a wand, but you can't use the wand very well because there is no shower curtain over the tub.

On Riviera they have added a piece of glass - supposedly to make it possible to use the shower wand, but it is only about a foot wide - not really much help - or maybe I just don't undestand shower wands (anything is possible).

The truth is that I do not have much about the ship yet to say except that I am onboard - I flew from Phoenix to Chicago, on to Munich, and then on to Nice where we waited 40 minutes for someone whose luggage as lost and then we had to drive to Monte Carlo - I only got onboard about 4:00 pm.

I settled in for a nap - only to hear we had a lifeboat drill at 5:00 - (boo, but new CLIA rules!) So, I barely got any sleep last night or today. We were also scheduled for dinner on the Polo Grill after a 6:00 cocktail party.

I just got home from that dinner. as I write this, so, I am exhausted to the max, but filled with wonderful food.

I had the steamed, whole Maine lobster for dinner in thhe Polo Grill. I just want to say this..

I took a 12-day cruise to New England Canada on Seabourn just so I could eat a truly fresh Maine Lobser - and I never got one onboard. They went ashore in Bar harbor and picked up and brought aboard 450 lobsters (same as the passenber load) on that Seabourn cruise - but they NEVER ANNOUNCED the dinner plans to serve them to the general passenger contigen (meaning me) - not even putting it in the daily schedule.

So, I missed that fresh lobster - after fying 4000 miles and paying airfare. When I complained to passenger services onboard I never got a makeup dinner, or even an apology. They barely admitted they had not done a good job in telling people the fresh lobster was onboard. When I pointed out it was not mentioned in the daily schedule, etc, the cruise director said "well, II guess, we could have done a better job of getting the information out." Fie!!!!!!

Well, I just had a FANTASTIC FRESH STEAMED MAINE LOBSTER - here on Oceania, in Europe and it was perfect. Too band for you Seabourn, yes, I still hold it against you that I took a 12-day cruise on Odyssey specifIcally to experience Maine and the lobster and I never got one, or an apology.

And this really explains why Oceania is such a hit with cruisers - because they deliver the goods - and you don't have to be in the right place at the right time (by pure luck) or else miss it completely, their excellent cuisine is part of the package here on Oceania.

This ship (Riviera) so far seems just as lovely as Marina (not a big difference yet as far as I can tell, and that is OK) when you have something close to perfection why toy with it?

It is now 10:00 and I am just exhausted. It feels like on long day that lasted 36 hours - and I was awake for most of it, but in reality I lost a day in crossing the Atlantic. So, I need to get a good night's rest and try to be normal tomorrow. Hopefully I will have more to report.

I am in a concierge stateroom, deck 9 forward, with the concierge lounge nearby. The rooms come with a laptop and wireless Intermet acccess, so you don't have to bring a laptop if you don't want to... that is handy.

If you have not yet heard me say this - 2012 is a FANTASTIC YEAR to sail to the Mediterranean, especially on top quality ships like Oceania Marina and Riviera. There are tons of bargains out there - so book early AND GET THE BEST POSSIBLE DEALS - while they last!

Trip May 6th, 2012 04:46 PM

Looking forward to seeing all the luxury..enjoy!

Marc May 6th, 2012 07:35 PM

Wow! Press night in the Polo Grill and they serve the Maine Lobster and Paul is blown away. I want to see Paul travel incognito once on a non-subsidized sailing to get a real feeling for Oceania or other cruise lines.

Sorry, Paul; I am one of your big supporters; but this last post was a little overboard.


BTW, you can get Maine Lobster every night in Prime 7 on Regent ships just as I imagine you can get in Polo on Oceania ships every night; no big deal.

Paul Motter May 7th, 2012 05:22 AM

To be clear, I have already sailed upon Marina last year, and this is the sister ship. The tendency of Oceania is to make the ships almost identical.

I haven't had a chance to go through the ship and compare decor yet, but I know some of the most important design elements are the same. The shows will be different and there are a few small improvements in the showers, etc.

Al I have had time to do so far is sleep and eat dinner, I just woke up this morning after a futfull sleep because my clock is off - anyway... I am looking foward to bringing you more pictures soon.

Paul Motter May 7th, 2012 05:23 AM

Sorry Marc... maybe I was feeling a bit "tired and emotional" from lack of sleep. I just can't seem to get the other experience off my mind.

Unfortunatey, I didn't have much else to report from last night as I got to the ship and did not have time for anything else but dinner and bed.

Today we are docked in Marseilles - I had a very fitful night of sleep because my internal clock is all off - but I hope to be able to say more soon. I just woke up as of now.

But by the way, the food really is that good here AND it is because it has been overseen by the same person who is ultimately responsible for the food on your Regent Seven Seas - Frank Del Rio - president of Prestige Cruises LTD, the parent company for both Oceania and Regent Seven Seas.

There is a story in the industry about Frank taking Regent in about 2007 - just after Apollo Management acquired control of both cruise lines (they had taken over Oceania first) and that Frank found teh food on Regent to be"surprisingly" less than stellar - so he had it revamped much in the style of Oceania. According to sources it has become much better in recent years.

Both of them use an outsourced shipboard catering company called Apollo, which means they use most of the same purveyors and training of staff in food prep, plating and service.

I don't know if you have tried Oceania lately, but I guessing you would see many similarities between them and Regent Seven Seas.

Paul Motter May 7th, 2012 10:41 AM

The Subtle Differences
Here are the tiny detail differences in decor between Marina and Riviera...

Rivieria is sightly more subdued. The artwork is almoost completely different, and the furniture is bit quieter - mostly just in color, however, not in form. The beautiful stylings are still here, but the colors are mostly more subdued.

from a distance...

Fresh tuna at the buffet ....

One of the public seating areas

I used this scene from Marina many tiimes, but the sofa was a striking red color. Here it is a more subdued beige

lulu48 May 7th, 2012 11:07 AM

Paul Thanks for the photos
I think they are introducing some new dishes on the Riveira then will go fleet wide

Marc ...your claws are showing :rolleyes:

Paul Motter May 7th, 2012 04:03 PM

Marc is all right - I agreed it was not my best post, but I am just NOW starting to recover fron the trip overseas, This is just my frst full day onboard, and my three-plane journey from PHX to Monte Carlo was grueling....

I have more pics in this gallery: Cruise Ship Pictures - CruiseMates Cruise Photos Gallery would have more online but ship poloads are always pretty slow.

i am about to go to something rare, a stage show on an Oceania ship. This is a Jean Ann Ryan production with eight cast members, including a russian "dag" (short for "addagio dance duet). It is a tribute to Elton John & Billy Joel called Up in Flames.

Tomorrow is my big day with a cooking class inthe Bon Apetit cooking center and lunch i "Jaxques" the epononymous restaurant of the executive chef for Oceania Cruises; Jacques Pepin.

Marc May 7th, 2012 09:20 PM

Paul, everything I have heard about the food on Oceania is top knotch. One "rumour" that surprised me, though, is that they won't make special orders; can you ask around and see if that is true?

The reason I haven't tried Oceania is I haven't found the value yet; I like the larger cabin and I drink way too much while cruising. Now that Oceania has started an alcohol package the pricing may be more competitive.

As always, I am looking forward to your reports.

lulu48 May 8th, 2012 12:43 AM


Originally Posted by Marc (Post 1427759)
Paul, everything I have heard about the food on Oceania is top knotch. One "rumour" that surprised me, though, is that they won't make special orders; can you ask around and see if that is true?

The reason I haven't tried Oceania is I haven't found the value yet; I like the larger cabin and I drink way too much while cruising. Now that Oceania has started an alcohol package the pricing may be more competitive.

As always, I am looking forward to your reports.

It is true they do not do special orders ....maybe if you have a severe food allergy then they may

Food is always subjective but a lot of people consider it to be top notch

I understand the drink packages are a good deal at $50 pp pd if you like to have several drinks a day

Marc May 8th, 2012 11:16 AM


Originally Posted by lulu48 (Post 1427797)
It is true they do not do special orders ....maybe if you have a severe food allergy then they may

Food is always subjective but a lot of people consider it to be top notch

I understand the drink packages are a good deal at $50 pp pd if you like to have several drinks a day

Lulu, so I would have to give up my standing order for seared foie gras? :(

No Grand Marnier souffles for a special dinner? No lobster tails for appetizer? No special steak tartare lunch for ten? That is a lot to give up.

I am glad they have the drink package as that is a big cost savings.

lulu48 May 8th, 2012 05:37 PM

You can have lobster tails every night from the grill in the buffet then just go for dinner in one of the dining venues ;)

Marc May 8th, 2012 05:43 PM


Originally Posted by lulu48 (Post 1427858)
You can have lobster tails every night from the grill in the buffet then just go for dinner in one of the dining venues ;)

Funny you should mention this; a group of us did this quite often last year on Seven Seas Navigator. :)

Paul Motter May 9th, 2012 03:29 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I have not been able to get online for a few days - sorry! a day at sea with rough weather.

Marc, I will ask about special requests. I do understand the desire for that, but I can't help aying this is one of those ships where ike a fine restaurnt, you would be just as happy, if not happier, just going with the che's recommendations.

I have had three different kinds f fois gras so far, each completely different nd delicious (and you all know how easy it is for fois gras to be unpalatable).

Cruise Ship Pictures - CruiseMates Cruise Photos Gallery

that is a link to a photo gallery I started. But I will attach a pic of the fois gras I just had in Jacques for lunch yesterday. It is a very thin layer surrounded by a bed of artichoke heart.

Paul Motter May 9th, 2012 04:13 AM

Yesterday during our day at sea I took a culinary lesson at the Bon Apetit kitchen.

I just have to say, the instructor, Katherine Kelley was so outstnding. Frank Del Rio was telling us that she has a PhD in medicine as well as being an accomplished chef - her specialy is health, and so she is constantly thinking nutrition" along with her cooking.

We worked in pairs, and condensed whar woukd normally be a 2-hour class into just 45 minutes so they could fit more people in - but the lesson was learned. I will have more about this later - but what fun and how instructional this all was - so much more than just watching a cooking demonstration - you realize how easy and yet exceptional well-prepared food can be.

Following that we had unch at Jacques. I mentioned the CEO of Oceania and Regent, Frank Del Rio. I sat at a table with him during that three hour lunch and really got to lern about the man behind all this - fascinating.

Much of it was off the record - but he told one thing that amazed me - he has never seen the ships of his competition and he says he has no interest in seeing them. Can you imagine owning some of th most beautiful ships at sea and never havbg seen a Joe Farcus decor? Or never seeing the Indoor Promenade on Oasis? It baffles me, but he says he has no interest.

Of course, those are entirely different ships than Oceania - but still, the curiousity would kill me. Along the same lines, he has never invited another company president to come and see his ships (although as a courtesy most cruise lines do host other lines - which I believe is aa civil and smart busiiness practice). I don't think it is bad thaat Frank does not participate in this - I just find it unusual that it doesn't enter into his curiousity.

Rather, he just believes that what other lines do is not his style of cruising and so he just does not care.

Now, I met Frank for the first time in 1999, and I recall from back then that he said to me he is not personally concerned with the "overall" cruise industry. His concern is his own ships. He does not copy anyone else (yet has just created some of the most amazing ships). He is happy to carve out his own niche within thhe cruise industry - aand leave it at that.

So - while other cruise lines are competing for the Australian market, or to capture the emerging European cruise market, Frank continues on his course of providing destiination oriented cruises - generally for Americans who want to see Europe and other exotic locales.

US, Canadian aand Australian passengers make up 91% of Oceania clientele (while Royal Caribbean is now saying the majority of its passengers come from outside the U.S.) - That means less tht 10% come from Great Britain, and the rest of Europe, South America, Asia, etc.

The biggest revelation he had this year was that with his beautiful new ships he had to add a day at sea to every cruise. He had many 2012 itineraries with each day in port (something I personally like in a cruise), but he realized that the new Oceania ships, as opposed to the older and smaller ones, demand time onboard.
H says he figured it out when he took a sampling of who was off the ship on night in Monte Carlo - at 8:00 pm - only 11% of passengers.

That is the atttraction of these new ships. And I understand it, although I have been on more "luxury ships" where I was bored stiff by days at sea, with this ship I certaily do understand the need to just relax for a day.

lulu48 May 9th, 2012 12:03 PM

I have never met FDR but he is one smart man
He does read the cruise forums especially one of the larger cruising forums (probably yours as well)
He listens to his passengers

we have met Mr Binder a few times & they have their eye on the prize & it seems to be working

The cooking classes are a big hit on the O class ships

Are you staying on for the next leg of the cruise or flying home/
enjoy the rest of your time on Riveria

Marc May 10th, 2012 11:17 PM

Paul, if you cross paths with FDR again, ask him about timing for Regent new build.

lulu48 May 11th, 2012 12:28 AM


Originally Posted by Marc (Post 1428114)
Paul, if you cross paths with FDR again, ask him about timing for Regent new build.

I heard it will be in the next couple of years ;)

Paul Motter May 11th, 2012 01:40 AM


We were kidding around with FDR about new ship. If you recall whn he announced the first new shio at the 2005 Seatrade he said something like :two is nice but greta packages come in threes" - so he hinted there would be a thrid Oceania ship...

But as well all know the option for he third ship was canceled, so when i jut asked he said :It is very likely he next new shio will be for Regent, but he didn;t have a tie frame.

Ship builds are very complicated agreements involving getting a shipyard with open time - negotiating the changes and any price, and then getting financing.

Hi didn't say, but I got the impression he would be looking at it much more seriously as soon as they get some visiility into 2013. If I were shipbuilder I would want to know where the eonomy is going, how Europe is doing, et. Look at the recent election in France - that coul affect the STX shipyard in Nantes a great deal, in either a good or a bad way for the cruise lines.

But I got the impression they would be making a decision early next year.

Paul Motter May 11th, 2012 01:58 AM

Today we are in Barcelona - we arrived yesterday and had a free day here whie the shoreside pople assemble all the tages, etc, required for the christening ceremony.

That will happen today at about 3:00. The GodMother is lady iron chef Cat Cora.

Okay, I like th food netwok OK, I love Hell's Kitchen as show, but lately we have been changing our diets so i have nevr watched "Iron Chef." Therefore i had never heard of this woman. Hey, last week I was at a launching with Priscilla Prsley - that is more my speed, but anyway...

Cat Cora was picked because she is a woman (godmothers must be women), and she is the only woman Iron Chef - an honor bestowed by the Food Network.

Shecomes from a Greek Family - which is persect symbiosis for this cruise line which will be featuring the best cuisiine in Eyrope, espeiially along the Mediterranean . She graduated frm he CIA in New York (Culinary Inst, Of Am) in the 1990s and she has chefed at many New York restuarants. Today she is about to start a new sshow on Bravo Network.

The ceremony will kick off about 3:00 pm. We are moving off the ship to a hotel right after the ceremony where we will stay tonight and fly hme tomorrow.

The ship has been so much fun with a ton of great food and cameraderie. I ate at Red Ginger again last night but had different food.

I had the tempura vegetables, and the tempura sole - both delicious. But then everyone at the table went crazy on the desserts. - From an excellent pineapple/lemin sorbet to grean tea ice cream with a clear cane-sugar sauce. There was ginger cake, crem brulee, coconut tapioca, we went nuts.

The last Oceania ceremony was beautiful and inspiring with beautiful lady violinists placed throughout the crowd and people rapelling off the ship. Who knows what is in store for this celebration.

The last time I atttended christening in Barcelona (MSC Cruises) it went on until 1:00 am - and we had not yet eaten dinner. We started eating at 1:30 a.m. - most people had flights home the next day so they just stayed up. I went to bed.

Marc May 13th, 2012 11:33 PM

Paul, did they fix the issue you identified with the showers on the Marina?

Did you have a chance to check out various cabins? Oceanview, standard verandah, penthouse? Do you have some advice on cabin selection?

lulu48 May 14th, 2012 10:52 AM


Originally Posted by Marc (Post 1428422)
Paul, did they fix the issue you identified with the showers on the Marina?

Not Paul but I am sure he will confirm
The showers on Riviera have been modified from the ones on Marina
They installed a glass splash guard on the tubs on Riveria but someone did not follow FDR's plans so they will be replaced on the fly ;)

Marina will go into drydock in Nov to get the changes made to the shower heads & put longer shower wands in the tub area as well as the shower glass splash guard

Cabins A to C Cat are all the same size is whether you want a balcony or not & the location is the only difference ;)

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