Oceania’s Riviera makes inaugural call, need for European vessels stressed

Oceania Cruises’ Riviera, a 1,250-passenger cruise ship, made her inaugural call to St. Maarten on Sunday. Her arrival at Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facilities is a boost for the country’s cruise number, particularly from the European market.


Riviera arrived at the Port of Miami from Barcelona, Spain on Thursday for the first time. The ship will be sailing 10-, 11-, and 14-day cruises to Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe out of Miami. St. Maarten is on her itinerary. The next stop on the present cruise is St. John’s in the US Virgin Islands.

Harbour Affairs Minister Romeo Pantophlet, St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies CEO Mark Mingo and representatives of the Harbour’s Commercial Department Ichel Moeslikan and Hector Peters were welcomed aboard the ship by its captain for the traditional plaque exchange.

Mingo says the inaugural call of Riviera is a good one for the country. More vessels catering to European passengers are needed to boost the arrival numbers and cruise passenger spending. We all know the euro is high and Europeans are being enticed to take their holidays and explore more.

The Harbour Group has had as a core task for more than half a decade now to meet and encourage cruise lines catering to European travellers to add St. Maarten to its itinerary. Our efforts are steadily paying off. We need more calls like Riviera, though, says Mingo.

Riviera, part of the Miami-based Oceania Cruises, has 15 decks, selected suites furnished in Ralph Lauren Home. This ship debuted in May 2012, making it one of the newest cruise ships on the ocean today.

Riviera’s new Bon Appétit Culinary Center is the only hands-on cooking school at sea. Similarly, artists-in-residence teach fine arts in Artists Loft, a new enrichment centre. For specialty coffees and snacks, there is Baristas Coffee Bar. Intimate lounges abound. Accommodations in every category are incredibly spacious, especially with regard to the lavish bathrooms.