My husband and I have taken many cruises on different lines, but had never cruised with Oceania before. The itinerary of the Nautica and the reduced fares enticed us to give this line a try.
The cruise line organized our flights from Vancouver B.C. to Dubai via Heathrow. We wanted to spend some time in Cape Town at the end of the cruise, so we did pay extra for this. We were pleased with our travel arrangements.
We embarked from Dubai after spending a day there on board. Our stateroom was attractive and small, with limited storage space for a 30 day passage. Also the bathroom, especially the shower was very small. However, it was a small ship with 600 or so passengers and this was most appealing to us.
Although the dining experience is not high on our list of considerations, we found that the food exceeded our expectations. In particular, we discovered that the speciality restaurants (which were not an extra fee), were not limited to 4 visits. More We enjoyed the cruise activities on board, as the putting, table tennis and shuffleboard matches allowed us to meet a small group of delightful passengers. In addition, we had a chance to meet the ship's four entertainers, whom we found delightful. Of special note, was the county fair with all sorts of booths and an afternoon specialty tea, both of which were well planned and executed.One of the speakers was exceptional in discussing the history of the regions we were visiting; the other was average in talking about ships.
We did not take any of the ship's shore excursions as they were overpriced for what was being offered. Instead, we explored on our own or with other passengers. I believe we had a better, much cheaper experience that way,
The detinations were the draw for us and we certainly enjoyed Portuguese Goa region of India, the beautiful islands of the south Indian Ocean-Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion and Madagascar as well as our destination South Africa.
In spite of all this, the trip was most seriously marred by the medical situation on board. My husband and I are both retired anaesthesiologists, licenced in British Columbia Canada and the state of California. We know about medical treatments and costs. Thus, we were appauled to hear of numerous cases in which passengers were given unnecessary tests and treatments for minor ailments. This resulted in bills of $2000 to $2500 per visit. Those who did not want such treatment were threatened with removal from the ship. Indeed, two healthy passengers were sent at their own expense and with no accompaying medical personnel to the local hospital in Mumbai as they were too ill to remain on board. When they returned to the ship with a letter of good health, they found their bags, security and the captain on the pier and only allowed to return when the letter was produced.As a result of this, a letter, signed by 30 of us, was sent to the Captain ,but this was ignored. Then we found that the doctor had had his licence revoked from the state of Tennessee in 2010. Another letter, signed by 40 passengers, was sent to the Captain and still no reply.After many days of protest about the lack of a licence, the doctor produced a "certificate" from a small college in India issued in 1979 as his "proof " of a licence.This is totally unsatisfactory by North American medical standards, particularly as he had malpractice suits awarded against him. We have written to Oceania customer services in Miami and have had no reply.
In summary, this was a very good cruise if you avoided the shore excursions and the medical office. As a result of this, I can not recommend Oceania cruises. Less
Nautica Cruises to Africa
We had not been to Cape Town for 10 years and it was interesting to see the change. The area near the Cape was worth of driving a rental car to visit, as was a trip to the wine country near Stellenbosh. It is a lively interesting place with good shopping sightseeing (Kirstenbosh Gargens, Table mountain) and friendly people. Security personnel are everywhere.
It was interesting to visit Dubai as it is an up and coming destination. For those interested in history, there is little to offer as it is so new.It is described as a union of Mecca and Los Vegas with glitzy skyscrapers in the desert. However, the economy has taken a severe beating in the recession and buildings and shopping malls are vacant.
Mumbai is a city of huge contrasts. There is the old decrepit central, former British area surrounded by large areas of poverty and filth. The markets were interesting but we found the people, especially the taxi drivers, pests and unhelpful. We had been there before and I really would not have returned had it not been a stop.