Day 3: Oceania features high tea and exceptional entertainment


ONBOARD THE OCEANIA RIVIERA – Yesterday is what I consider a perfect sailing day. We spent the morning at sea and then the afternoon and early evening docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Because the Riviera is small in size – just 1,250 passengers – it can dock close in and we were in very good company as the Silver Wind was next to us (Silversea Cruises). We could walk right off the ship and into Old San Juan.

El Morro citadel marks the entrance to San Juan harbor
El Morro citadel marks the entrance to San Juan harbor

The weather has been peculiar in that it has been extremely windy, far windier than I ever recall it being in the Caribbean. And the mixture of high wind and high humidity makes it very uncomfortable, particularly if you are in the direct sun. We spent about an hour in San Juan – which we have visited many times – and spent much of that time looking for shade.

The needlers gather for coffee and chatting during our morning at sea.
The needlers gather for coffee and chatting in the Horizons Lounge during our morning at sea.

Back on ship we headed back to the Horizons Lounge, which has become our favorite spot for reading and we were just in time for afternoon tea. They serve this on almost every cruise ship but Oceania does it right with white tablecloths, sparkling glassware, blue and white bone china and white-gloved service. In addition to the usual desserts and tea sandwiches you can also get a proper “Devonshire tea” complete with scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam.

Entertainment has been a high point

Entertainment on smaller ships is usually iffy but the Riviera’s main show offerings have been exceptional. Thus far we have seen a musical show by the ship’s performers, a lively concert by British singer Sofia Selbie and last night we thoroughly enjoyed American comedian Cory Kahaney.

The ship also showcases its ensemble performers by featuring them in individual shows. For example, last night singer Eric Potter sang cabaret-style in the Horizons in a late-night performance and pianist Sergiy performed Gershwin tunes before the main show. The Riviera orchestra and the four-piece string quarter also perform admirably.

Last night's dinner companions were Miranda and Kirsten from Frankfurt, Germany
Last night’s dinner companions were Miranda and Kirsten from Frankfurt, Germany

However, I do believe the main shows are quite late for American audiences and especially this particular group of passengers, which is definitely tracking older on this cruise. The main show is at 9:45 p.m., which is definitely late if you eat between 6:30 and 7. It would be nice if they offered some earlier performances, perhaps even before dinner, so that more passengers could enjoy these skilled entertainers.

Norovirus cleanup update: The captain finally made an announcement today explaining what has been going on with the norovirus cleanup. We remain at “Level 2” status and activities will not return to normal until the ship goes 72 hours without a new case being diagnosed. So, if the ship remains clear, normal operation will resume on Tuesday when we are in Tortola (day 7 of this 10-day cruise). However, if a case occurs in the meantime then the 72-hour clock begins ticking again. This means that the Culinary Center remains closed, the guest laundries remain closed, etc. Passengers have been pretty good sports about this thus far, but there is grumbling.

December 4, 2015












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