After spending her inaugural season cruising the Mediterranean, the Riviera will soon cross the Atlantic to her new homeport of Miami. The newest of four ships in the upper-premium Oceania Cruises’ fleet, the Riviera will arrive in Miami on November 29, 2012. From here, the Riviera will sail a series of five different Caribbean voyages with twelve departure dates throughout the winter. Similar to her older sibling, the 1250-guest Marina, the new Riviera was purpose-built for guests who fancy a bit of epicurean pleasure while cruising the seas. With no less than six specialty restaurants plus the main dining room and two fee-based restaurants, the Riviera aims to please the palate no matter what your food preferences.
Bon Appétit Culinary Center
For those that can’t wait to don an apron, the Riviera (and Marina) boast the only hands-on cooking school at sea. The state of the art twelve cooking stations each accommodate two people, and for a fee of $69 per person (as of July 2011), guests can choose from a variety of master chef-led classes which could range from Pizza, Pizza, Pizza to learning basic culinary skills.
“Since her introduction, Riviera has been praised for her beautiful design, exceptional cuisine and outstanding service, consistently surpassing expectations,” said Kunal S. Kamlani, Oceania Cruises’ president. “With Miami as Riviera’s home port this winter, our guests will have the opportunity to enjoy this truly outstanding ship while experiencing all that the Caribbean has to offer.”
After the Riviera completes the fourteen-day transatlantic crossing, from Barcelona to Miami, the first voyage in North America will be an eleven-day southern Caribbean itinerary, stretching as far south as Bridgetown, Barbados.
- Idyllic Isles – 11 days round-trip from Miami, visiting Philipsburg, St. Maarten (new port for Oceania Cruises);St. John’s, Antigua;Bridgetown,Barbados;Castries,Saint Lucia; Gustavia, St. Barts; and San Juan,Puerto Rico. Departure: Nov 29.
- Mayan Mystique – 10 days round-trip from Miami. Ports include George Town, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; Santo Tomas, Guatemala; Roatan, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Key West, Florida. Departures: Dec 10, Jan 13, Feb 22, Mar 18.
- Island Holiday – 14 days round-trip from Miami, calling at Charlestown, Nevis; St. John’s, Antigua; Kingstown, St. Vincent (new port for Oceania Cruises); Bridgetown, Barbados; St. George’s, Grenada; Gustavia, St. Barts; Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Departure: Dec 20.
- Caribbean Hideaways – 10 days round-trip from Miami, with visits to Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. John’s, Antigua; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, Saint Lucia; and Gustavia, St. Barts. Departures: Jan 3, Jan 23, Feb 2, Feb 12, Mar 28.
- Ultimate Southern Caribbean – 14 days round-trip from Miami. Ports include Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao; St. George’s, Grenada; Bridgetown, Barbados; Kingstown, St. Vincent; Castries, Saint Lucia; St. John’s, Antigua; and Gustavia, St. Barts. Departure: Mar 4.
Bored with all those gorgeous white sand beaches? Foodies will flock to the new Culinary Discovery Tours. Accompanied by an expert chef, guests will go ashore and explore local Caribbean food markets and even visit an organic farm,when in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
Meanwhile, motorcycle enthusiasts will can put on a helmet and hop onto a Harley Davidson for the Harley in Paradise Tour in Phillipsburg, St. Maarten. If something a bit esoteric is more appealing, guests can sign up for the Artist Loft Tours. When visiting Barbados, they’ll take part in the Barbados Photo Adventure; in Saint Lucia it’s the Saint Lucia for Art Lovers program and Antigua offers Art in Antigua.
When the Riviera finishes her winter season in Miami, she’ll return to Barcelona, departing Miami on April 7, 2013 and after a fourteen day crossing, arrive in Barcelona on April 21 for her second Mediterranean cruise season.
Photo credit: Oceania Cruises
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com and self-appointed “expert” on cruises, trains and solo travel. By sharing news and reviews plus my cruise and travel experiences, I hope to entertain, inform and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Be sure to enjoy a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.