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Shagreen and Chandeliers

rivieralounged1.jpgThe aforementioned Oceania Riviera may be less for old-timers than most cruise ships, but what really sold me on the boat was its attention to decor. No vertigo-inducing carpet patterns, no stuffy staterooms with unflattering lighting, and no tacky artwork in the hallways (well, mostly, at least). Rather, a perfect mixture of stylishly of-the-moment and classically grand details made for a swimmingly successful design. Highlights included the Red Ginger restaurant with its explosion of color and chain chandeliers, a Lalique grand staircase, and an art collection that requires its own catalog. Sure, a few over-the-top details—like the funky LED-lit bar that my mom and I just couldn’t seem to stop hanging out in—scream “cruise ship!” but with just the right amount of gaudiness that every seafaring sanctuary needs. more»

Ships Ahoy!

final_dwwnewcruise-1.jpgThe first time I went on a cruise, I disembarked with the mostly-correct notion that ocean liners are for old people with more interest in the 3 o’clock waffle station by the pool than the daily ports-of-call. So when I agreed to write a piece for Robb Report about the return of luxury to cruising, I first had to convince myself that it was even true. My plan of action included reading David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (well, maybe that part was just for kicks), followed by jumping on board the new Oceania Riviera for its maiden voyage from Monaco to Barcelona. Somewhere between the ship’s Canyon Ranch Spa, its Wine Aficionado wine cellar, ten restaurants, a Bon AppĂ©tit culinary school, and yes, a plethora of ridiculous poolside snacks and cocktails with umbrellas, I decided that my first cruising foray—along with its geriatric guests—wasn’t the only ship experience out there. Rather, my second go-round was totally age appropriate and, yes, even luxurious. By the time we docked in Barcelona I was a convert—maybe not for every trip, but at least a few more before I hit retirement. more»