Trans-Atlantic cruise

Five Faves: Sea Days on Oceania Cruises’ Riviera

Savor Your Sea Days

Five Favorite Things to do During a Trans-Atlantic Cruise

I never thought I would enjoy a trans-Atlantic cruise. I envisioned a version where my budget would restrict me to steerage class (whatever that is); waltzing to big bands and high tea at 4 p.m. didn’t exactly ring my bell; and, having worked aboard cruise ships for 15 years, I’ve always needed some exciting port or destination to bolster my reluctance to leave terra firma.

The adage, “you’ll never know until you try” seemed acceptable, so an appealing 14-day trans-Atlantic scenario aboard Oceania Cruises’ Riviera stamped the cruise dance card. I could easily chronicle the square footage of the idyllic stateroom, wax poetic on the origins of glittering chandeliers, and extol the virtues of the exquisite linens that grace an exceptional bed. But what about those seven days at sea?

Of course, there are the traditional standby activities such as shuffleboard, golf putting, trivia quizzes, and the like, but this ship serves up some exclusive game changers. You can count me in for these five favorite onboard activities that will shake anyone out of high seas cruise sedation.

  1. La ReserveOceania has teamed up with Wine Spectator to feature La Reserve by Wine Spectator, a classy and elaborate venue for educational wine tastings by day and exclusive dinner and wine pairing events by night. You’ll never find me doing crossword puzzles or playing shuffleboard on deck, but offer me a wine tasting and I’m front row and center. I consider this as part of my extended adult education.
  2. The Bon Appétit Culinary Center, under the tutelage of master chefs, provides participants with exclusive cooking classes at sea, preparing a variety of dishes at individual cooking stations. These actual culinary lessons go beyond a simple demonstration and showcase the high standards of the food preparation on board.
  3. The indulgent spa facilities of the Canyon Ranch SpaClub boast life’s grand pleasures. Consummate nurturing, fitness classes, and an endless list of opportunities for rejuvenation are a natural complement to the luxury cruise experience. I can’t even pronounce some of the therapies offered, but I know if they have them, I must need them.
  4. Artist LoftThe ship’s Artist Loft is hosted by a renowned artist who will seek out and assist your inner Picasso. Paints, canvas, and all related supplies are furnished to all artistic dreamers. I’ve always felt that somewhere inside of me is a latent talent just waiting for discovery and this may well be the path to opening my very own gallery.
  5. In respect to the parameters of the title of this blog, “Five Faves,” I have to be creative to pay homage to the following contributions to my cruise ADD.
    • 5a. Six à la carte restaurants, all with no supplemental charge, means nonstop indulging.
    • 5b. Outdoor public areas that are proportionately more spacious than other ships this size.
    • 5c. A balconied stateroom so resplendent I feel guilty leaving it.
    • 5d. Fourteen nights of polished entertainment.


Riviera goes well above the expected in regards to organized activities, and the onboard vibe was far more spirited than I had imagined a trans-Atlantic cruise to be. Who knows? Maybe I’ll learn to like waltzing and high tea at 4 p.m. after all.

— Steve Leland

Photos: Oceania Cruises, Steve Leland(2)

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As a former Cruise Director, Steve has been cruising the world for the past forty years. Bringing a new dimension to cruise journalism, he continues to spin the globe searching for off the grid cruise adventures and unplugged destinations to share with Porthole Cruise Magazine readers.