OOPS! When I put together the blog yesterday, I missed some important likes, so I will start from there.
One thing that is often missing on a cruise ship is adequate storage for your stuff. Such is not the case on the Riviera, a very well thought out set of cabinetry is used throughout your cabin. And you know how all those pesky drawers like to slam shut, these close softly no slams. The closet is lighted automatically when opened, giving a good view of the contents.
The veranda is not huge, but it offers more than some cruise ships, two padded chairs and a small table are provided. I also liked the lack of that blue armoured glass that has been used for years below the railing. They are nearly always salt and water coated anyway, not on this ship.
When it comes to the bed, one is often treated to a thin slab of undetermined origin for a mattress. It’s OK if you like a firm bed, but like most things, one size does not fit all. We had the queen configuration and the mattress was a very deep regular mattress! The linens used are right up there as well.
The big one I missed yesterday was the fact that one need not bring a suit on this ride! Sport shirts and polo shirts were the order of the day, and I only took that kind of shirt, and it was acceptable throughout the ship. Shorts are prohibited from the main dining room, and so they should be. While saying that, I did somehow miss the formal nights when we all gussied up for what seemed to be a kind of special occasion. On our cruise prior to this one, we had one couple at our fixed dining who felt proud that she had brought no formal wear, and wore her pink hooded sweat suit. She came for Casual Friday every night. Personally I would have denied her access to the formal dining.
Which brings me to anytime dining. I kind of liked it, we could eat alone if we wished, or with a group. This way I was not stuck with the woman in the pink sweat suit for the entire cruise! (One can always ask to be moved, of course) The other side of this is that one can meet some very nice people which we did. Except for one obnoxious couple from, I hate to say, Canada.
So, now I wish to go over some of the things, I felt were not quite what they should have been.
I must say that I consider their marketing scheme to be a bit misleading. I cannot understand why they cannot simply price the cruise with a realistic price, and if they wished to spiff the deal, they could always toss in an add-on. But no, they offer a price and it is always a two for one. And it always includes the airfare. In my case I had to take 2 flights, stopping in Toronto, when I could have flown direct, Calgary to Miami and saved about 600 miles of flying, and about 6 hours of hanging out in airports. To do a deviation was going to cost a penalty if we declined their air.
Even with all the deductions the cruise is still more costly than many of the other main stream cruise lines.
One other thing that we took advantage of, and we liked, was that within an hour of contacting Oceania, we were contacted by a travel agent offering a further discount of almost a $1000.00! While we were on the cruise we had occasion to speak with an official on the cruise on another issue, and we were advised that our travel agency was actually a division of Oceania! That brought the price of the cruise down to something approaching reasonable, but that was still higher than a similar cabin on Celebrity, or Princess. After taking the cruise, I could not connect the value in taking Oceania over a lower priced cruise line.
In the main dining room the menu offers a plethora of choices. All well and good, but much of the offering seemed to have been deliberately over done or over fancied with sauces, unlikely combinations and the like. Some things do not need to be over worked to make them good, A case in point. I live in Alberta oil and beef country. When I was transferred here in 1960, I was introduced to something I had never heard of. It was a “Steak Sandwich”. It is simple food, and for a reason. It consists of a 6 ounce steak, on top of a slab of garlic toast and a side of French Fries. One of these with a cold beer is to die for. My wife’s brother came to visit, and we went to a local upscale restaurant, that offers a beef menu, so why not a steak sandwich. It arrived and not only did it have mushrooms on it, gravy was poured over the whole thing. I have never gone back there! I found that was a kind of problem for me in both the main dining and the specialty restaurants. The original food was masked over by all the additional sauces and mixtures. I was not impressed. But that was just me.
One drawback I think with any time dining is never having the same waiters twice. You never get to know them nor they you. I found that to be a disappointment.
In keeping with what we eat and drink, I was quite disappointed in the cost of any alcoholic beverage, wine or liquor. For instance the least costly “House Wine” was $9.50, plus the obligatory 18%. Pretty costly for a half glass of so called house wine. Prices for a drink were the same. It was a rip off in my opinion.
Oceania offers a way around this by offering 2 Beverage Packages. The least costly will give you selected house wines by the glass and beer for a mere $39.95 per person per day! If that is not to your liking Oceania offers a “Prestige Select Package” that will cover a selection of house wines, by the glass, beer and selected items from the bar menu. This ups the price to $59.95 per person per day! I bought only 2 glasses of wine and 1 drink for the 2 of us for the trip. I had brought a bottle of vodka with me when we arrived, the bar frig was stocked with tonic, so we had our own happy hour each night. $20.00 for the vodka, and free tonic. Big difference.
Want to get connected to the internet? Oceania has a deal for you! But not for me, and I like to stay connected. The first one offered is the Unlimited Cruise Package. It is $27.99 per person per day! There will be a $3.95 one time activation fee on top of the plan fee. The second choice is 200 anytime minutes for a mere$160.00. Finally there is an A La Carte option for $.99 per minute. That is just for ship to shore any call is extra.
Then there are the Shorex tours. I consider those offered to be expensive. We searched out a few on our own, and while we were able to get just one, it was just over half of what the ship wanted. We found it on the Internet, and we were quite happy with the one we got. Pricing on the ones that were sold out was less than half what Oceania wanted.
So, there you have it, my impression is that the overall cruise while very good was not enough better to justify the higher costs.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
"Aging" by George Carlin"
Do you realize the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids?
If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions.
"How old are you?" "I’m four and a half!"
You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five! That’s the key.
You get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead. "How old are you?" "I’m gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you are going to be 16.
And then the greatest day of your life…you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony… YOU BECOME 21 YESSSS!!!
But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk. He TURNED, we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now, you’re just a sour-dumpling.
What’s wrong? What’s changed? You BECOME 21, you TURN 30… then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, It’s all slipping away!!! Before you know it, you REACH 50… and your dreams are gone.
But wait, you MAKE IT to 60 You didn’t think you would! So you: BECOME 21 TURN 30 PUSH 40 REACH 50 and MAKE IT to 60.
You’ve built up so much speed that you… HIT 70! After that it’s a day-by-day thing; You HIT Wednesday!
You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle: You HIT lunch You TURN 4:30 You REACH bedtime.
My grandmother won’t even buy green bananas! It’s an investment, you know, and maybe a bad one!! And it doesn’t end there…
Into the 90s, you start going backwards: "I was JUST 92."
Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I’m 100 and a half!"
May you all make it (healthily) to 100 and a half!
Have a Great Day, and be nice to everyone.