Luxury at Sea
As far as décor, service and cuisine are concerned, the Oceania ships come as close to "luxury" as possible. Here a champagne bottle is suspended over the hull during the christening while staff members watch from the ship.
The christening ceremony was held mid-cruise in Barcelona on May 12, with Cat Cora, the Food Network’s only female Iron Chef, as the godmother. Cat Cora is a fitting godmother, since culinary excellence is the new calling card for Oceania.
A Cruise for Foodies
Cuisine has always been important to the line, but Riviera and Marina are specifically designed to appeal to guests who not only love consuming gourmet food, but also talking about it and even cooking it. Here is the Terrine de Foie Gras de Canard (Duck Fois Gras Terrine) from Jacques Restaurant aboard the ship.
Jacques Pépin's authentic French onboard menu features classics like French black foot free-range chicken, warm pistachio and truffle sausage, pumpkin soup ladled from a real carved pumpkin, and Brittany-style Maine lobster (seen here).
Chief of the ship, Frank Del Rio, has never set foot aboard a competing cruise ship. Del Rio apparently doesn’t care about the “conventional wisdom” of other cruise lines. He would rather take his cues from his customers. “I just built the ship that I would want to take a cruise on myself,” he told us.
The Rafael Amargo & Company flamenco dance troupe perform during the Riviera's christening in Barcelona on May 12.
Where Everyone is a Chef
Everyone should try the ship's Bon Appétit Culinary Center - the only cooking classes at sea where not only the chef but also the guests have their own kitchen work-stations with sinks, induction heating elements, whisks, knives and real ingredients.
Cooking with the Pros
Other cruise lines only have show kitchens where you can watch the chef. On the Riviera, students cook along with the instructor. Here instructor Katherine Kelley makes a Frittata.
Inspirational Cooking Classes
On Riviera, I made my own frittatas, scones and poached eggs. Add this to some time watching the 24-hour Jacques Pépin channel on the stateroom TV and I feel ready to open my own restaurant.
Oceania's stage shows (produced by industry veteran Jean Ann Ryan) place more emphasis on artistic talent than on “special effects.” Here is a scene from the production "Up in Flames" - one of three shows on Riviera.
Sleep in Comfort
The staterooms are roomy and accommodating, with luxurious king-size beds and pillows featuring Ralph Lauren linens.
Beautiful and Exciting
Riviera is just a gorgeous ship, with beautiful décor, good entertainment and quiet but attentive service. Add the philosophy that exciting destinations are the primary reason to board a ship and Oceania is now among the best cruise experiences anywhere.
Art at Sea
Other Riviera onboard attractions include arts and crafts classes, with hands-on materials supplied, and an expansive library. For inspiration, both new ships come with an extensive multi-million dollar, all-original art collection, with the exception of a few limited-editions Picasso prints on each ship.
Welcoming the Riviera to the World
The author, Paul Motter, at the christening ceremony for the Riviera.
Riviera, the newest ship in the Oceania Cruises fleet, is now sailing on its inaugural cruise from Monaco to Venice, Italy. We give you a glimpse onboard the ship.