Riviera visited Amsterdam for the first time at the 30th of august in 2019. She is seen here passing the village of Velsen Zuid on her way back to the North Sea at the Northsea Canal.
Founded in 2002, Oceania Cruises was in fact the continuation of the defunct Renaissance Cruises and so it was no co-incidence that their first ship was going to be one of the former Renaissance Cruises ships, the R Two. This ship was re-named Insignia for Oceania, then still chartered from Cruise Invest. This company had been formed by the builders of the ships, Chantiers de L'atlantique in France, to get some money back by chartering them to other companies after the ships had been seized by the creditors. Two other ships of the former Renaissance Cruises were added to the fleet of Oceania Cruises, R One in 2003 under the name of Insignia (the first Insignia having be re-named to Regatta after a charter to TMR) and R Five in 2005 under the name of Nautica. In 2006, Oceania Cruises was able to buy the ships from Cruise Invest and also they were now able to plan and order two new cruiseships from the Sestri Ponente Yards of Fincantieri, Italy. A thirth ship was also planned as an option, but this ship was never built eventually. The class was dubbed the Oceania-class and the first of the duo to be built was the Marina. The both newbuilds made clear that Oceania Cruises was a solid cruisesompany now with faith in their future.
Construction and general statistics
Riviera was the second sister to be built and her keel was laid at the Italian wharf at the 7th of june in 2010. In the ceremony, Oceania Cruises' president Bob Binder and the line's founder and CEO of the parent company Prestige Cruise Holdings welded four US silver coins to the ships keel to wish her good luck. The four coins were dated on 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2009 and represented the years in which the keels for the earlier four Oceania cruises ships had been laid.
Riviera was then built out of 55 blocks and she was launched at the 16th of july in 2011. She then measured 66.084 tons and had space aboard for 1250 passengers on 16 decks, of which 11 were accessible to them. In total, also 800 crewmembers were later going to find a job aboard the new Oceania Cruises ship. The ship was 239,27 meters long, 32,31 meters wide and her draft measures 7,32 meters. Her diesel-electric engines can produce a speed of around 20 knots for her and the ship is driven by two controlable pitch propellers. The ship flies the flag of the Marshall Islands, home-ported in Majuro.
During the fitting out of the ship, labour troubles and strikes at the wharf caused a very inconvenient delay and because of this, the ship was delivered later then expected. This caused the company to cancel the planned first cruise, supposed to depart at the 24th of april in 2012.
Overall, the ship was designed very much in the classic style of the line's other ships of the R-class and she was designed by the Oslo-based Yran & Storbraaten company. This is one of the foremost cruiseship designers since they started designing the first ships of Norwegian Caribbean Lines in the late 1960's. Maybe not a co-incidence because Oceania Cruises' mothercompany Prestige Cruises Holdings are now part of the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
The 625 cabins of the ship are very elegant and luxurious, with furnishings that were designed by Ralph Lauren and overall designs from the New York-based Dakota Jackson and the Greenwich-based SB Long Interiours. The Owner's Suites are iconic to Ralph Lauren and use for example red white and blue striped designs on the fabrics for the cushions, reminding his label as "America's Designer". All cabins though are very spacious and feature a large bathroom, a minibar with soft drinks, flatscreen TV and DVD-player with an extensive media library.
A Lalique-designed Grand Lobby, ten dining venues of which six are gourmet-style but with no extra charge, a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center next to the Bon Appetit Culinary Center are also part of the package. This culinary center is named the first hands-on cooking school at sea that offers many cooking classes from master chefs. The Artist Loft is used by artists-in-residence that offer lessons in photography, painting and printmaking. Of course there is also a large library and a well laid-out toplounge offering magic and comedy shows, although it also has a dancefloor, an orchestra and a bar.
The ship really is an enlarged version of the smaller 30.000-ton R-class ships with a very warm and luxurious, classic interiour design. Although modern, it can be traced back to the times of the grand oceanliners and the ships really feel like a very relaxing and personal home away from home.
Riviera sailing into the sunset above the IJmuiden locks on her way to the North Sea.
Originally planned, the ship was to be named at Monte Carlo at the 19th of april in 2012, but due to the shipyard delays this had to be cancelled. The ship was finally christened in Barcelona at the 11th of may in 2012 by Cat Cora, the celebrity chef known from the Bravo televison series "Around the world in 80 plates". She christened the ship by sending down a 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne weighing in at 114 kilos. The ships delayed Maiden Voyage now started at the 16th of may 2012 from Venice and took her passengers to the Adriatic and Aegean Seas, calling in at ports to the likes of Dubrovnik, Corfu, Santorini, Kusadasi and ending in Athens on a ten-day voyage named the 'pearls of the Aegean'. She then settles in for a diverse cruisingscedule that took her all over the world. Like all Oceania Cruises' ships, she is not limited to just one particular region. In her first year, the ship sailed the Mediterranean before crossing the Atlantic for a series of cruises in the Caribbean.