Oceania Cruises launches the remarkable Riviera

Oceania Cruises’ new ship, Riviera, will embark on her 10-day maiden voyage today, 16 May, from Venice to Athens.

Riviera, the newest entry in Oceania Cruises’ upper-premium category, is one of the most beautiful, elegant and sophisticated ships to debut in the past 50 years, revealing a seamless blend of the line’s signature country club casual atmosphere with the sophisticated elegance of a private yacht.

Sister ship to the magnificent Marina which launched early last year, Riviera, at 66,000 tonnes, can carry up to 1,250 passengers and takes on a Cuban influence reflecting the line’s founder, CEO and chairman, Frank Del Rio’s heritage.

From 16 May through 29 November 2012, Riviera will offer 12 distinctive itineraries on a total of 20 voyages, calling on ports in France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Turkey as well as Israel, Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro, Morocco and Monaco, with maiden calls in Cephalonia (Argostoli), Motril (Granada) and La Palma in the Canary Islands.

“When asked, I've repeatedly said that it was going to be hard to improve on Marina's perfection, but I didn't say it would be impossible. And we have done just that – improved on perfection. Riviera is a work of art herself, and designed to bring the beauty of the world to our guests,” said Del Rio.

Riviera’s gala christening ceremony was presided over by her godmother, US celebrity chef and co-host of new TV series “Around the World in 80 Plates,” Cat Cora in Barcelona on 11 May. A 15-litre bottle of Champagne was commemoratively smashed against the hull in celebration.

Two of Riviera’s most noteworthy design features are visible from the moment guests embark in the ship’s reception area – a specially commissioned two-story Lalique Grand Staircase and a custom-crafted Italian chandelier accented by 380 crystal spheres.

Riviera also echoes Oceania’s commitment to providing the best food and wine at sea with 10 dining venues overseen by celebrated French-American chef and Executive Culinary Director of Oceania Cruises, Jacques Pepin, as well as a hands-on cooking school and dedicated wine tasting room, La Reserve.

Each of Riviera’s 625 suites and staterooms are imbued with a warm and smart contemporary look. Veranda and concierge staterooms – at 26 square metres are among the most spacious at sea – feature a defined sitting area and balcony furnished with a chaise lounge, armchair and table. The 124 penthouse suites measure an industry-leading 39 square metres. The layout includes a living/dining room separate from the sleeping area, walk-in closet and bathrooms with a double vanity.

Oceania Cruises partnered with pre-eminent American designer Dakota Jackson, who fashioned more than 40 exquisite pieces of furniture and lighting to lend the Vista and Oceania suites the feel of a chic city apartment. Exuding style and innovation, they feature surfaces combining glass, stone, wood and metals together with rich, weighty fabrics such as mohair and silk chenille. Three Owner’s Suites measure more than 186 square metres, spanning the beam of the ship, and feature furnishings from the acclaimed Ralph Lauren Home collection.

Though Riviera mirrors her sister ship Marina in many ways, she has several distinctive design details that set her apart, including:

· The spa deck at the Canyon Ranch Spa Club now features a new thalassotherapy pool as well as expanded changing areas.
· The ship will showcase more than 100 works by some of Latin America’s most accomplished and admired contemporary artists, a collection personally curated by Frank Del Rio.

Other offerings on the Riviera include:

· A total of 10 dining venues, of which six are open-seating gourmet restaurants with no surcharge. La Reserve by Wine Spectator offers enlightening wine and food pairings.
· The new Bon AppĂ©tit Culinary Centre – the only hands-on cooking school at sea.

Riviera 2012 European highlights include:

19 July – Barcelona to Istanbul: Lands of Time – Barcelona, Ibiza, Malta, Crete, Alexandria (Egypt), Cairo, Jerusalem, Haifa (Israel), Cyprus, Ephesus, Istanbul

13 August – Venice to Rome: Accent on Italy – Venice, Dubrovnik, Kotot (Montenegro), Corfu, Sicily, Positano, Sardinia, Florence/Pisa, Monte Carlo, Rome

14 October – Athens to Rome: Bon Appetit Wine & Food Festival – Athens, Ephesus, Monemvasia (Greece), Argostoli (Cephalonia), Sicily, Capri, Florence/Pisa, Marseille, Rome

The latest "Explore Your World" offers are out now for sales through to 30 June 2012. Contact your travel agency today.

Follow the Oceania Cruises blog, including the building of Riviera on www.oceaniacruisesblog.com or visit www.OceaniaCruises.com.au.


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