Keel-laying ceremony held for Oceania’s new Riviera cruise ship

A keel-laying ceremony to mark the start of construction for Oceania Cruises’ 1,258-guest m/s Riviera was held June 3 at the Fincantieri shipyard near Genoa.

At the ceremony Frank Del Rio, the line’s founder and chairman and CEO of its parent company, Prestige Cruise Holdings, and Oceania Cruises President Bob Binder, welded four U.S. silver coins onto the keel. The welding of coins into a ship’s keel is an age-old maritime tradition believed to solicit good fortune for the ship, its crew and its passengers.

The four coins – dated 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2009 – represent the years when keels were laid for the four other vessels in Oceania Cruises’ upper-premium fleet: Insignia, Regatta, Nautica and Marina, respectively.

Once the coins were welded, the first of 55 steel blocks that will eventually comprise Riviera was lowered into the dock, thus marking the official start of the building process. The ship is scheduled to debut in April 2012.

“Today is a special day for Oceania Cruises,” stated Binder. “We are grateful to Fincantieri, our loyal guests and travel partners, and the entire Oceania Cruises team at sea and shore-side for all of their efforts to make this new ship come to fruition.”

Riviera is a sister ship to Marina, which launches in February 2011. She will feature 10 dining venues – six of which are open-seating, gourmet restaurants – including one by Master Chef Jacques Pépin. Facilities will also include a Canyon Ranch SpaClub® and gym, Bon Appétit Culinary Center, swimming pool and hot tubs.

Interior design highlights include a Lalique-designed grand lobby, luxurious accommodations by Dakota Jackson as well as Owner’s Suites furnished exclusively in Ralph Lauren Home.

The preliminary cruise schedule for Riviera will be released in the coming months. For more information, call a travel professional or Oceania Cruises toll-free at 800-531-5658 or visit

About Cynthia Boal Janssens

Cynthia Boal Janssens is the editor and chief blogger for She is a former national president of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). She has sailed on over 40 cruises all over the world.


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