COME CRUISE WITH ME

Hello,

In my last post I told you about celebrating my son’s 30th birthday at The Arizona Biltmore Hotel. As it happens, this is a really big year for big birthdays in our family. In addition to Nathan turning 30, in March my youngest offspring will turn 18, and in May I will be celebrating a BIG birthday too. We have a tradition in our family that whenever anyone celebrates a special birthday we take a cruise. For example, when my middle son Taylor turned 16 we went on a Viking Riverboat cruise on the Seine River from Normandy to Paris, France.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | #Riverboat Cruise From Normandy to Paris | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

COME CRUISE WITH ME | #Riverboat Cruise From Normandy to Paris | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

When our 2 oldest sons turned 18 we took a Mediterranean Cruise. And when my husband turned 50 we took a Northern European Cruise in the Baltic Sea, visiting Scandinavia and Russia. We like to cruise.

So, in honor of my upcoming birthday we have been in the throes of planning our next voyage, and after much study, we have finally settled on another Riverboat Cruise, this time down the Rhine River from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland. We will be traveling with Uniworld on the S.S. Antoinette.

#SSAntoinette | #Uniworld Cruises | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Ship Images Via Uniworld.com

#SSAntoinette | #Uniworld Cruises | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com#SSAntoinette | #Uniworld Cruises | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

And we will be staying in this lovely suite.

#SSAntoinette | #Uniworld Cruises | Suite 403 | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com #SSAntoinette | #Uniworld Cruises | Suite 403 | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I’m getting excited, and soon will give you lots more details on that trip. However, in the meantime I realized that when we took our last cruise, (for no particular reason, as there were no BIG birthdays to celebrate), I was not yet blogging at the time, so I have not shared the trip with you. It was an EPIC adventure and an Iberian Odyssey to 7 countries on the maiden voyage of Oceania’s beautiful, brand new ship, the Riviera.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

Since cruising is top-of-the-mind for me these days, I thought I’d take you on a sentimental journey. So, come cruise with me. Over the course of several blog posts I’ll be taking you to 7 European and African countries, and I promise you, it will be an amazing voyage.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

But before we sail I want to show you around the ship. So, welcome aboard the Riviera.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise LinesCOME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

Come on up the gangplank and I’ll show you around.  Because we were staying in a suite we had priority ship embarkation with priority luggage delivery which was very convenient. The Riviera is a mid-size ship catering to 1,250 guests. We found that we really liked the benefits of a smaller ship, which allows it to visit boutique ports and seaside villages that large ships can’t access. We also found that there was never a crowd, there was never any waiting in lines, and the service was beyond compare. With 1 crew member to every 1.5 passengers, we felt very much pampered. The cabin staff even greeted us with water and cold towels as we boarded the ship.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

This is the grand foyer with a staircase embellished with medallions and other ornamentation made of Lalique crystal.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

But before I show you the public spaces I wanted to invite you into our stateroom: Penthouse Suite #11008.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines | Penthouse Suite #11008

The elegant, spacious and sumptuously appointed Penthouse Suites onboard Riviera rival any world-class, five-star hotel for comfort and beauty. Their design is ingenious, fully maximizing the generous 420 square feet of space.

Oceania-Cruises-Penthouse-1

The special Prestige Tranquility Beds with plump, goose-down pillows and amazing 1,000-thread-count linens was ultra comfortable.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines | Penthouse Suite #11008

At the foot of the bed was a table and 2 comfortable chairs to enjoy in-room dining and the complimentary gourmet evening canapés that were brought to our suite each evening by our Butler. The table was even decorated with a live orchid plant, a nice touch I thought.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines | Penthouse Suite #11008

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise LinesCOME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

From time to time at various ports of call, we would return to our suite in the evening to find a lovely gift layed out on the bed. One night we received these beautiful Oceania luggage tags.  And every night we enjoyed Oceania’s Signature Belgian chocolates on our pillow with the nightly turndown service.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise LinesCOME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

Our suite had a separate seating area with a window that overlooked the large veranda.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines | Penthouse Suite #11008

Our wonderful travel agent, Laurel Leidner of Connection to Cruise had sent a beautiful flower arrangement and champagne.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines | Penthouse Suite #11008COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines | Penthouse Suite #11008

85% of the staterooms on Riviera have verandas. Ours had two really comfortable reclining chairs that we made very good use of. It’s not seen in this photo but they even provide cashmere lap blankets, perfect for relaxing on the veranda, which we did a lot of. In fact, in upcoming posts you won’t believe the incredible photos I’m going to share with you, taken from this very location.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines | Penthouse Suite #11008

Our veranda also gave us a bird’s eye view of the bridge of the ship, where we could watch the officers navigating the ship.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

Stepping back inside there was a writing desk that came complete with personalized stationery and a laptop computer with wireless internet access for our use during the voyage. They even provide iPads upon request. And it contained a direct-dial satellite phone and we even had cellular service.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines | Penthouse Suite #11008

Next to that was a vanity area with a handheld hair dryer and mirror. There was a large flatscreen TV with an entertainment system and live satellite news. There was also a refrigerated mini-bar inside that cabinet with free and unlimited soft drinks and bottled water that was replenished daily.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines | Penthouse Suite #11008

Our huge walk-in closet contained a complimentary Oceania Cruises logo tote bag that became a handy shopping bag during shore excursions. Not exactly designer chic but it was practical. There were also thick cotton robes, slippers, an umbrella and a safe. Our 24 hour butler service included complimentary shoeshine service, packing and unpacking upon request, and complimentary pressing of garments upon embarkation. There was a self service laundry just down the hall which also came in very handy throughout the voyage.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines | Penthouse Suite #11008COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines | Penthouse Suite #11008

The lavish bathroom came complete with a full-size bathtub/shower combination and another separate shower with a rain shower head…

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines | Penthouse Suite #11008COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines | Penthouse Suite #11008

and lots of plush cotton towels.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines | Penthouse Suite #11008

The vanity had a wide variety of Bulgari amenities that included bath salts to enjoy in the tub.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines | Penthouse Suite #11008

As guests in a suite we enjoyed exclusive access to the private Executive Lounge that was just down the hall and offered the services of a dedicated concierge.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

You could make yourself a coffee or tea, enjoy a fresh baked pastry or grab a yogurt, piece of fruit, juice or soft drink from the fridge 24 hours a day.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise LinesCOME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

Now let me show you around the ship. Riviera features a Culinary Center which I believe is the only hands-on cooking school at sea.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

In the Artist Loft, a sweet couple who were the ship’s “artists-in-residence” offered step-by-step instruction in everything from photography, to painting, to printmaking.  I wish I had made time for that, but regrettably, didn’t.  If you’re not busy with those activities you can take a walk on the upper deck, use the putting green, or take a dip in the pool or jacuzzi.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

Our suite category of travel gave us unlimited access to the Canyon Ranch SpaClub® and private Spa Terrace.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

The Canyon Ranch SpaClub with its signature treatments also had a state-of-the-art fitness center with yoga, Pilates (which I love and do at home), indoor cycling, aerobics, private and group fitness classes and personal training. We took full advantage of the private Spa Terrace featuring a thalassotherapy pool and whirlpool tubs. Just inside was a sauna and steam room and a relaxation room with heated ceramic lounge chairs. There is also a fitness track and a beauty salon. And for those watching their waistlines (who does that on a cruise?) they even serve Canyon Ranch cuisine in the Grand Dining Room and Terrace Café.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

Riviera offers guests multiple dining venues, of which six are open-seating gourmet restaurants with no surcharge. As you come along with me on this cruise I’ll take you to the various restaurants, all of which were outstanding.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

Plus, Riviera offers complimentary 24-hour room service with an extensive menu. And if you are in a suite, your Butler is happy to serve you a course-by-course, in-suite dining service from any of the restaurants.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

This voyage was nearly perfect in every way and was the trip of a lifetime. I’m having so much fun reviewing all the photos I took and look forward to sharing with you. Our cruise started in Lisbon, Portugal so stay tuned and in my next post we will visit Portugal.

COME CRUISE WITH ME | Onboard The Riviera | #Oceania #Cruise Lines

So there you have it: COME CRUISE WITH ME

Wishing you smooth sailing…

By the way, this was not a sponsored post and I have no affiliation with Oceania Cruise Lines. I just sincerely had a wonderful time cruising with them and wanted to share my experience with you.

Thanks for dropping in!  Do please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you!

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All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Unless otherwise credited, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission.

Comments

  • I have never had the slightest interest in going on a cruise but if I could cruise like that I would definitely be up for it! Fabulous ports of call as well!!

  • Loretta Turner

    Hello,
    I have been enjoying your blog very much and wanted to share some information with you. My husband and I will soon be cruising on The Riveria this April also in a Penthouse. Seeing the photos make me even more excited. We have done a lot of cruising but this is the first with Oceania and I think I’m going to be very spoiled.
    We have also used Uniworld for many river cruises and the last cruise was on the SS. Antoinette, it too is amazing in every way. The food and service is outstanding and gifts of French milled soaps and travel bags were left in the Suite. It was such a great experience, I know you will just love it.
    I’m looking forward to seeing more photos from your cruise and I enjoy reading your blog every morning.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Loretta Turner

  • Hi Loretta. Thank you so much for your comment. I can’t believe that you have sailed on the Antoinette and now plan to sail on the Riviera! What a coincidence! Where will you be sailing? You will indeed be spoiled on Oceania. We have sailed on many other cruise lines over the years and this was far-and-away the very best. I am so glad to hear that we will be equally impressed by Uniworld, which came highly recommended by our travel agent. Thanks so much for following my blog. I have much more to share with you about our voyage on Riviera!

  • Cindy, I can’t recommend cruising enough. It is the best way to see a lot in a short amount of time without the packing and unpacking that would be involved otherwise. You travel in comfort while you sleep and wake up to a beautiful new destination in the morning. You must try it one day.

  • m stratton

    This trip looks fabulous. It is similar to a trip that Dub and I took leaving from Lisbon (which I love, by the way) we took the Silverseas cruise and had a lovely room with a balcony similar to this. Such good memories, and your blog reminded me of them ☺️ Enjoy your blog and look forward to your Lisbon pics!

  • Thank you Maureen!

  • Cookie Mom

    Sorry to be so late to the party but wanted to say Thank You for this article (and others on Oceania, Celebrity, Uniworld and Princess). I’m wrestling with Oceania or Celebrity for next summer so I refer to your posts often as I weigh the pros and cons…decisions, decisions 😉