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Goldring Travel Blog – Making Waves

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Oceania Cruises: Goldring Travel is Finally Checking Them Out!

I have had sort of a Love/Hate relationship with Oceania Cruises. I love the itineraries (some of the best around), the newer ships, the culinary focus, the overall quality of the cruise, and the country club casual approach. 

In fact, one thing that has always baffled me is how, once the cruise starts, Oceania (NCLH’s premium brand) seems to outperform Regent Seven Seas (NCLH’s luxury brand) on itineraries, cuisine, and overall satisfaction as expressed by my clients and many others. 

What I have struggled with are the “Let’s Make a Deal” offers to downgrade or move off of a cruise my clients booked, the inability to simply have a near all-inclusive experience, and the lack of customer service at a level that I believe a premium cruise line should be providing.

As Goldring Travel has significantly increased the breadth of our expertise…and sales!…in the luxury and upper premium markets (as well as expeditions), a mutual desire to expand our relationship with Oceania Cruises has arisen. And with that, those words I hear frequently were said: “We have to get you on our ships!

Oceania’s desire is that I sail on either the new Vista or the newly refurbished (2022) Riviera.  Between the sailings with the best of those wonderful itineraries being highly booked, my desire to avoid a short Caribbean cruise at all costs, and my already busy schedule, we finally settled on a fascinating Riviera sailing on March 20, 2024, Roundtrip Yokohama, sort of circumnavigating Japan(As I mentioned, Oceania’s strongest itineraries sell out, and that is the case with this cruise…and it is a year away!)

This cruise affords me a few important features that matter: 

  • Comparing an Upper-Premium experience to the newest Luxury ones
  • Creative and Unique Itinerary
  • An Overnight in Kobe, Japan (so I can see how Oceania handles them)
  • Three Sea Days (so I can see the diversity of what is offered onboard when not in port)

Oceania’s Riviera is a mid-sized, upper-premium, ship, carrying 1,238 guests with a 1.56 guest-to-crew ratio. She is 785 feet long and 66,084 gross tons (a measure of volume, not weight). By way of comparison, the new luxury Explora Journey’s Explora I is about the same volume at 63,900 gross tons, carrying 900 guests (about 30% less) with a 1:1.25 crew-to-guest ratio. Oceania’s sister cruise line, Regent Seven Seas Grandeur, launching later this year, is slightly smaller at 735 feet and 55,5498 gross tons carrying 750 guests. 

Clearly, how Oceania delivers service and cuisine will be at the forefront of my thoughts, acknowledging that Oceania attends to a variety of guests, and is not an “all-inclusive” product, though packages and add-ons can get you pretty close, as discussed below. (One thing I hear from some luxury lines is that their guests are “like-minded”. While I don’t buy into that theory, where – as with Oceania, Azamara, Celebrity, etc. – the ship has everything from inside staterooms to large suites, there will be some commonality, but definitely not like-mindedness.)

Riviera Veranda Staterooms
Riviera Veranda Stateroom

Riveria staterooms are a mix of inside 174 sq ft), oceanview (240 sq ft), and veranda staterooms (291 sq ft), penthouses (440 sq ft), and premium suites (Oceania, Vista, and Owner’s).  

I will be sailing in a B3 Veranda Stateroom, which has a Tranquility bed, marble/granite bathroom with a single sink and large walk-in shower (Bulgari amenities), a small desk area, a single closet with hanging space and drawers, as well as mini-fridge stocked with complimentary soft drinks.  The veranda has two comfortable chairs and an occasional table.

Riveria Veranda Stateroom Diagram

Internet is included on Oceania, but you can upgrade to Streaming for $9.99 per day, add a second login for $24.99 per day, or $34.98 with streaming.  If you need to attend Zoom meetings or make VOIP calls, the streaming upgrade can be a real plus.  I will see how it works…at least while in Japan.

There are four Bars and one larger Lounge onboard.  While soft drinks are included, Spirits and Wines are offered in three different ways, including two Beverage Packages:

  •  Ala Carte
  •  House Select (Unlimited house champagne, wine, and beer at lunch and dinner – $39.95 per guest
  • Prestige Select (Unlimited premium spirits, champagne, wine, and beer) – $69.95 per guest

If you purchase one of the packages you receive a 20% discount on the La Reserve wine pairing dinners. (More on that below.)

Adding the Prestige Select package to my cruise costs $839.40, which considering the average price of a glass of wine or cocktail on Oceania, around $12,  would seem to be the way to go for most. Honestly, I don’t understand the value of the House Select package unless you are a significant drinker at lunch and dinner…and only then.

Riviera's Grand Dining Room
Riviera’s Grand Dining Room
One of Oceania’s signature callings is the cuisine. On Riviera, there are nine (9) Dining Venues plus room service (as well as Baristas for coffee and snacks): 
  • The Grand Dining Room
  • Polo Grill (Steakhouse)
  • Toscana (Northern Italian)
  • Jacques (French with an homage to Jacques Pepin, Oceania’s culinary visionary)
  • Red Ginger (Asian)
  • Terrace Cafe (Casual Lunch and Upscale Dinner)
  •  Waves Grill (Burgers, etc., by the pool)
  • La Reserve by Wine Spectator (Exclusive Wine & Culinary Experiences)
  • Privee (Private Dining for up to 10 Guests)
Reservations are required at Polo Grill, Toscana, Jacques, and Red Ginder (one per 7 night cruise/2 per 8-17 days, etc.) La Reserve and Privee are separate charges.
I am looking forward to trying La Reserve at least once on this cruise. There are, apparently, three different opportunities, each being a seven-course affair: Odyssey, Cuisine Bourgeoise, and Dom Perignon. As I have found Dom Perignon to be fine, but overall not really an amazing wine nor one I want to pair for an entire meal, I’ll try to book one or two of the others.
Speaking of Culinary Experiences, Oceania Riveria has a Culinary Center where cooking classes are given. There are a variety of classes, from simple cooking techniques to wine pairings to how to prepare a few dishes offered onboard.  I have to try this, so I signed up for Passport to Asia, “Familiarize yourself with the ingredients of the “The Asian Pantry” and learn unique culinary techniques that have been used in Eastern cooking for generations“.
There is also an Artist Loft for painting classes. It is not why I go on a cruise, but I am sure it is popular; especially on cruises where, as here, there are a number of sea days.
Oceania Riviera does have a Casino and Onboard Shows. As you may know, these are not two of my favorite things, but I may stop in just to get an idea of what is offered.
There is also a full-service Spa and a large Fitness Center

I will be taking more Shore Excursions than normal for a couple of reasons. First, I want to experience the quality of Oceania’s tours and, being that it is Japan and I know from my prior travels that English is not spoken by many and logistics can be challenging, so it is the most judicious way to travel.  I am sure I will find a few private guides and do some wandering as well!
Interestingly, Oceania offers tours in three different ways on this sailing:

  • Ala Carte Pricing
  • Fixed $1,299 Oceania (certain expensive tours do have a discounted cost)
  • 25% Discount on 6 or more tours
As I am writing this, I feel like I am already experiencing the difference between a premium and a luxury cruise. However, once things are organized with my Beverage Package, Pre-Paid Gratuities, and required Dinner Reservations, plus purchasing La Reserve and my Cooking Class, things should settle down. Alas, one can get caught up in the arrangements or do them early, be done with them, and board Oceania’s Riviera stress-free and, hopefully, with a near-luxury experience.
The ship offers a lot and for many different desires. I am looking forward to my first Oceania experience to see if it fulfills mine!
Interested in an Oceania cruise? Give me a call, drop me an email, or message me via text, Messenger, or WhatsApp!

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 US: (877) 2GO-LUXURY (877-246-5898)
  UK: 020 8133 3450
 AUS: (07) 3102 4685
Everywhere Else: +1 530 562 9232

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