- Pro: Oceania has best food at sea, with no-fee specialty restaurants and vast menu choices.
- Con: Popular itineraries sell out quickly, and longer sailings may not appeal to time-constrained travelers.
- Bottom line: Nautica offers plenty of amenities in the more intimate setting of a mid-sized ship.
Nautica's 342 cabins are plush and well organized -- comparable to the feel of a high-end hotel room, like you'd find at a Fairmont or Ritz-Carlton. Nearly 70 percent of the cabins have verandahs, and there are 62 suites in three different configurations. There's also the option to choose a stateroom with "Concierge Level" benefits, which adds extra perks to some verandah cabins and all of the suites.
All of Nautica's cabins were redecorated in 2014. The color palette mixes royal blue with neutrals like gray, brown and beige. Ample dark woodwork (no faux stuff) adds a refined note, while floor-to-ceiling mirrors make the space feel more expansive. Beds have upholstered headboards, and they can be configured as twins or combined as one queen. They're the kind of beds you'll dream of long after you're back home, with 1,000-thread-count sheets, down duvets and mattresses that have both a memory foam layer and a pillowtop filled with gel and wrapped in chamomile-infused fiber. That all sounds a bit gimmicky, but bottom-line: These beds are pure bliss.
Cabins have two bedside cabinets, and reading lamps are attached to the wall on either side of the headboard. Attached to the regular shaded reading lamp is a mini "snorkel" lamp with a pinpoint light that lets you read with less light disruption to a sleeping cabinmate.
Most cabins each have a loveseat (or a sofabed in some cabins) and a small round glass-topped table at dining height. There's a desk/vanity with two cabinets and a stool; a large cabinet below the flat-screen TV that contains the safe, which operates by sliding your ship card; a cabinet that houses the minifridge (with nonalcoholic beverages that are complimentary); and a closet with two sections. One closet section holds four drawers and a short hanging space. The other, wider section is for full-length clothes, with a shelf on top that's mostly taken up by life jackets. The closet is equipped with ample wooden hangers, terry robes, slippers and an umbrella.
In each cabin, the phone is atop the desk, and electrical outlets are in the wall just above the desk (but no outlets next to the beds). There are two U.S.-configured 110V outlets and two European-configured 220V outlets. (U.S. appliances would need a converter for the latter two, unless they have a built-in transformer.) A hand-held hair dryer is stashed in the closet. The TV offers eight news-oriented satellite channels, three movie channels, episodic TV shows and 12 music channels, plus a daily activities rundown by the cruise director, replays of the enrichment lectures, shore excursion videos and other ship-centric channels. If that's not enough, cabins also have DVD players, and there's a 9,000-DVD library located at reception.
There's an original painting over the sofa, which adds to the cabin's general upscale atmosphere. In keeping with that, there's twice-daily maid service, and a different type of Belgian chocolate will appear on your pillow each night with the turndown service. Our cabin was in excellent condition, showing no wear on the upholstery or dings in the woodwork.
If there's one quibble we have with the non-suite cabins, it's their compact bathrooms. There are no towel racks near the sink; rather, you have to reach across the toilet to grab a towel. The narrow showers are a claustrophobic two feet at their widest, growing even smaller the further you get from the fixtures. Water pressure was good, although temperature varied on occasion. Oceania makes up for it by providing luxe amenities like abundant, thick towels, with a chic chevron pattern and large bottles of Bulgari shampoo, conditioner and body lotion, as well as substantial Bulgari bar soaps, all in a refreshing "white tea" scent. A shower cap, vanity pack and tissue dispenser complete the amenities. The bathroom is decorated in beige tones with some wooden accents, and a cabinet with three shelves provides space for personal items. There's additional space on a narrow shelf below the sink, which also holds the built-in wastebasket and a sharps container. A second hair dryer is attached to the wall.
All of the suites and one deck of verandah cabins are designated "Concierge Level." This upgrade brings occupants added amenities and privileges, including early embarkation and priority luggage delivery, a welcome bottle of Champagne, garment pressing at embarkation, shoe shine service and a tote bag. It also enables you to make one advance reservation at each of the two specialty restaurants prior to boarding, and to book shore excursions in advance of non-Concierge passengers. One big benefit is unlimited access to the glorious private spa terrace, a sun-drenched space at the front of the ship, with loungers and a thalassotherapy pool. A limited number of iPads is available for loan and, starting in winter 2015-16, Concierge Level will also include a free Internet package, with the number of minutes varying by the length of the voyage.
There are 12 available pairs of connecting cabins in various classes, plus six options for connecting suites (four with another suite and two with a regular cabin). Fifty-six cabins come with sofa beds for one person, and 30 suites are equipped with sofa beds that sleep two. Four inside cabins are triples, each with a Pullman bed, while eight inside cabins are set up to sleep four with Pullman beds.
There are three accessible cabins -- all interior staterooms, located on Deck 4.
Interior: Nautica has only 28 inside cabins, scattered among four decks. They are 160 square feet, with all the standard amenities described above. If you happen to be a group of three or four that wants to share a cabin, some of these staterooms offer Pullman beds.
Oceanview: There are 82 oceanview cabins. Eleven of them on Deck 6 have views blocked by lifeboats, and they're a bit smaller, coming in at 143 square feet; the remainder measure 165 square feet. The lower-priced Deck 3 rooms have portholes, while the Deluxe Oceanview models have picture windows and are mostly located on Deck 4. Otherwise the floor plans and amenities are the same. There are also two Deluxe Oceanview rooms each on decks 6 and 7.
Balcony: Known as Veranda Staterooms, these cabins are primarily located on decks 6 and 7. On Deck 6, you'll find 66 of them with standard service and amenities; on Deck 7 there are 100 with Concierge Level service and amenities, plus an additional four Concierge cabins on Deck 8. All are 216 square feet, and that extra space comes with a different configuration that puts the desk and seating area next to the glass-walled balcony entrance, rather than near the cabin's main entrance, as it is in most of the Oceanview cabins. A sliding-glass door in each stateroom leads to the teak deck, equipped with chairs and a low table. The railing is made of wood, with a thick glass panel below it. Smoking is not allowed on balconies. For regular Veranda Staterooms, the balcony is 43 square feet (with four lucky exceptions -- two cabins with 73-square-foot verandahs and two with 92-square-foot verandahs). For Concierge Level Veranda Staterooms, the balcony is about 41 square feet (with six more lucky exceptions -- two cabins with 72-square-foot verandahs, two with 94-square-foot verandahs and two with 96-square-foot verandahs). Concierge cabins also receive expanded toiletries in a different Bulgari scent (green tea), including a bath tea bag, aftershave emulsion and eau de cologne.
Minisuite: The 52 Penthouse Suites are all located on Deck 8 and were redecorated in a 2014 refurbishment. At nearly twice the width of two regular cabins, these minisuites come in at a spacious 322 square feet. Balconies are each about 55 square feet and include two reclining chairs, along with footstools and a small table. The interior decor is in soothing shades of sea green, gold and beige, with a full-sized sofa and the addition of two upholstered chairs arranged around the small glass-topped dining table. Bathrooms are decorated in granite and have full-sized bathtubs, plus the same upgraded Concierge Level amenities.
Suites come with all the Concierge Level amenities, plus even earlier embarkation; 24-hour butler service; a laptop computer and iPad; a free printed daily newspaper (a $6.50 item for non-suite dwellers); and personalized stationery.
Butler services include course-by-course room-service dining, the ability to have food delivered from the specialty restaurants, coordination of onshore dinner and entertainment reservations, packing and unpacking services, evening canapes and last-minute luggage collection.
Suite: There are two types of suites to choose from: four Vista Suites, located at the front of decks 6 and 7 and six Owner's Suites, located aft on decks 6, 7 and 8. Besides all the amenities of the Penthouse Suites, these suites also include a bar setup, with six full-sized bottles of your choice of premium spirits and wines. There's also a fruit basket that's replenished daily. Passengers in these suites choose from three Bulgari scents for their toiletries and also receive a Bulgari gift basket.
The 786-square-foot Vista Suites are decorated in sea green and beige tones, and they have views over the bow from both the separate bedroom and living room. Swagged curtains can close off the opening between the two rooms, and there's also a curtain treatment at the head of the bed. The living room is furnished with a contemporary beige sofa, a coffee table, two upholstered armchairs, two side-tables and a lovely classical-style wood dining table with three chairs. The suite has two flat-screen TVs, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. In addition to the main bathroom (redone in 2014 with an oversized shower), there is also a guest powder room. The balcony covers just slightly more than 190 square feet and is furnished with two loungers, two chairs and two low tables. Two of the Vista Suites can be combined with an Oceanview Suite to make an even larger suite.
The 962-square-foot Owner's Suites include similar furnishings in an even more spacious layout with a 262-square-foot wraparound teak verandah. You get panoramic views off the stern from both the living room and bedroom. The color palette there is deep rose, gold and beige, with a bit of a country French feel. The living room holds an L-shaped sofa bed, an armchair, coffee table, credenza, two side tables and a dining table with four chairs. The bathroom was redone in a 2014 refurb, with an oversized shower; there's also a separate guest powder room. The balcony is furnished with two loungers, two chairs and two low tables.
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