4 Barcelona to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Oceania Nautica Cruise Reviews

We traveled on Oceania in its inaugural year and it was fabulous.  In many ways, it is still a notch above other lines but it also is less than what it was.  The food is decidedly less varied, with cheaper selections.  There are no ... Read More
We traveled on Oceania in its inaugural year and it was fabulous.  In many ways, it is still a notch above other lines but it also is less than what it was.  The food is decidedly less varied, with cheaper selections.  There are no fresh pancakes or waffles in the morning and precooked items could break windows.  Lunch was fine but the dining room dinners were boring and somewhat repetitive with little shell fish on the menu.  Polo restaurant has slipped.  The lobster bisque was horrible and the ship does not know how to make real Caesar salad.  The ports of call were handled well but the ship provides no free water like Azamara does.  It also has no comfort station upon return with cold drinks nor cold hand towels. Too many ports are only half day.  The hotel they used in Egypt made hundreds of people sick from the food and the line at the doctors was unreal as our cabin was right across the hall from the doctor.  Entertainment was lacking.  The magician did the same tricks he did inaugural year and they should fire him.  The comedian was fine as was the quartet.  There are also not enough chairs at the pool and they do not enforce the policy of not holding deck chairs for hours at a time and then not returning.  The ship is clean, the crew is exceptional and service is polite and prompt.  But the line is trading on it past and needs to fine tune.  Bean counters have gotten to it.  They had no flowers nor wine for past repeat cruisers, no ship board credit until cruising five times and with what they charge should be giving kids free soda, instead of 2.50 a can plus 18% gratuity.  They are penny pinching and it is distinctly unclassy. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Others have posted comments about this Nautica cruise, which sailed on 27 June from Barcelona, and I am not in total agreement with these comments, however everyone has their own views. My husband and I dined one night with one of the ... Read More
Others have posted comments about this Nautica cruise, which sailed on 27 June from Barcelona, and I am not in total agreement with these comments, however everyone has their own views. My husband and I dined one night with one of the other reviewers. Nautica was well-maintained and all the staff were very helpful and friendly. When you asked how they were, the reply 'excellent' did get a bit wearing, though. The staff and the ship are definitely the line's biggest assets. We found the dining room dinners unimaginative and only "so-so". Other cruise lines, including Princess will generally accommodate realistic "off-menu" orders, provided sufficient notice is given. My husband asked the dining room Manager one evening, for a repeat the following night of a main course of that evening's menu. The answer, ratified by the ship's Maitre'd, was that this was not possible due to "health and safety reasons". This is a nonsense as other cruise lines can do it and was clearly an excuse. Oceania's strap line is "let us exceed your expectations" - sorry Oceania, you fell at the first hurdle here. We were very disappointed with Toscana. If you don't eat veal, there is very little other choice, as so many dishes have veal in some form or another. I do not eat veal on principle because of the way the animals are kept in mainland Europe. In an half-empty restaurant, service was indifferent, with a wrong main course order one night. The lobster was tough and overcooked, then swamped in a chilli pasta mess. We heard of several other passengers cancelling their reservation in Toscana, after being disappointed on the first visit. Much better was the lobster in the Polo Grill, where we ate four times, Michael, the manager, being very accommodating. The food here was the best on the ship, especially the lamb rack. Dinner in the Terrace was also only so-so, with so many of the dishes being lukewarm. The dish of the day, cooked in the wok, was typically bland for the American palette; we have previously been told Americans dislike garlic and spice in their food. After the Cairo visit had laid low about half the ship, who went down with Pharoah's Revenge, all the dining venues were quiet. Even so, the ship was far from full, with only 610 passengers. The only swimming pool is sea water, which is changed regularly. This is far more hygienic than fresh water pools on other ships because we saw hardly anybody shower their sweat and sun cream off before getting into the pool, a really disgusting habit. Would you like to swim around in other peoples sweat residue? Another plus is that Oceania cover the sunloungers with white towelling which is changed daily. Other cruise lines take note about the hygiene benefits of this. My husband got ringworm off a sunlounger that must not have been clean. We partook of virtually no entertainment, so won't comment. What was annoying, though, was the repetitive announcements by cruise director, Dotty, whose booming voice echoed round the ship like a foghorn. The issue which really wound us up (and many others), surprisingly not commented on by any other contributors who were fellow passengers, was the Great Oceania Visa Rip-Off. I'm going to make a separate posting about this to warn future passengers. In short, Oceania charged us $49 for an Egyptian visa we didn't need, and which the Egyptian immigration staff we spoke to onboard said cost nothing. (I speak a little Arabic) This was just a money-making scheme by Oceania. We were also unhappy at the onboard price hikes since June 2008. Bar bills now attract 18% 'gratuity', whilst stewards' gratuities have also gone up around 20%, but I bet the staff haven't seen such a pay rise. Drinks prices were a deterrent too. A bottle of average Californian red cost $42 + 18%! Another "cutback" was the lack of "Britain Today", the daily page of news from the UK, with the excuse that there were not enough Brits on board to justify printing, there were 40 - it had been supplied last June when we had half that number. It was only due to the persistence of one of the passengers, that it was provided half way through the cruise. Another slight annoyance was the introduction of a flow impeder on the sink taps, apparently only a week before we boarded. If this was done, as someone suggested, to save water - why was it also not added to the shower? The only way to fill the sink without waiting for ten minutes was to use the shower head. The shore excursions are also inadequate and over priced, and the shore excursion department need to be brought into the 21st century. Their presentation on the ports to be visited are amateur and consist of slides of dubious vintage. They need to take a leaf out of Princess Cruises and show videos of all the ports. The daily programme for disembarkation day said that passengers had to be off the ship by 9.00 am at the insistence of Turkish immigration - utter rubbish!!! We disembarked at 09.45 and we were by no means the last and there was no sign of immigration questioning why we had not previously disembarked. This is clearly a ruse by Oceania to clear the ship, so don't get conned next time if it happens to you!! Despite getting everybody off the ship so early, they still cant make cabins available before 1.00 pm, or 3 pm (depending on cabin grade), unlike Princess where you can embark straight to your cabin from 12.00 noon or even earlier and with a passenger complement of at least triple. . Overall, the cruise was not as good as that on Nautica in June 2008. The service and the cleanliness of the ship were again excellent, however the food was not and the visa rip-off soured the atmosphere. We had cruised on Silversea in February. In the present climate, Oceania is poor value for money when set against the all-inclusive Silversea experience. I've decided there are two categories of cruise ship - those that play bingo and those that don't. Oceania play bingo, Silversea don't. One of our fellow passengers has complained about the Big O prizes or lack of, which I totally agree with, particularly as it is pushed daily. The comment made by the Cruise Director about what items were finally available for points redemption, was that their deliveries had not arrived!! What a weak excuse. By contrast Silversea took a very liberal view when our accumulated points were insufficient for the item we wanted -we got it anyway! - Bingo versus no Bingo! All cruise lines are making economies or trying to squeeze extra onboard revenue, when you're already hooked. Oceania's efforts show up badly and tarnish, what was supposed to be a quasi-luxury brand. Nautica's penny pinching and revenue generation ruining what had been a lovely experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
By the time I added the cruise cost and my final bill, I could have cruised the luxury lines for very little extra.  I would have had a suite almost twice the size and and forgotten how to sign my name.  Not to mention having to order ... Read More
By the time I added the cruise cost and my final bill, I could have cruised the luxury lines for very little extra.  I would have had a suite almost twice the size and and forgotten how to sign my name.  Not to mention having to order doubles to taste the booze.On the plus side, the staff was very attentive (though only one or two staff took the time to learn our names in two weeks, remember our desires (like real creamas we sat at the same tables with the same wait staff).  Destination staff was really lacking in attentiveness, responsiveness to problems with tours and general demeanor.Polo and Toscana were saviors as the dining room was at best hit or miss.  HAL and Princess do a better job at mass dining with no special orders allowed:  not even shrimp cocktail when not on the menue.Itineraries seem to be the saving grace for Oceania.   They are unique compared to others and the ship size for the money (though not cheap by any means) allows docking at smaller ports.Sea Dream II docked along side in Kusadasi.  A breath of fresh air.  I took some friends for a tour (having sailed SD many times, I knew the Captain, Christophe, Frank, and others).  Christophe took us on the tour and while in the spa treated us to a 10 minute massage.  I honkered down at the Top of the Yacht for at least one complimentary champagne (it was noon somewhere).  We almost jumped ship as there were a few cabins available and they were on their day 2 of 9.  Alas, the dog would not have appreciated us.  SD II....now we are talking small and wonderful!!Having done a few two week and longer curises, this was the first that I could not wait to get home.  Enough was enough.OH!!  We received a gift early in our cruise on our bed one evening:  a small tube of sanitizer....was that a clue or what.  No other notification from the ship but several cruisers had to have IV's due to dehydration.  I think the greatest profit center on our cruise was the doctors office!!OH!! The internet computer program on Oceania "sucks".  At amost a $1.00 per minute and slow as mollasses.  Silversea is only 40 cents a minute and twice as fast.  Oh, Well there is a Starbucks at almost every port with free WiFi.And to my predecessor's comment about the magician, Harry Maurer and the "lovely" Carol Ann, they were delightful and entertaining.  Besides, I wanted to see the 3 ring trick and the rope trick again and again.  The certainly outshined the social hostess singing (good voice lousy program).Speaking of quality, the cruise director Dotti, was always entertaining except for her growner joke about the 3 legged dog...(I gave that to her and she used it !!!) and her husband Tom, the comedian, were spectacular.  OK!  That should be enough flavor for one cruise and one review.ASHDOD AND HAIFA Israel is one of the most interesting countries I have sailed to. A full day walking tour of Jerusalem didn't even scratch the surface. When you go a local guide on a personal tour is an absolute necessity. Haifa is the gateway to the Golan Heights. GO GO GO! We actually left the ship in Ashdod overnighted at the Crown Plaza in Haifa and rejoined the next night. The local color in Haifa and the added touring time was well worth the cost of the hotel. Alexandria and Port Said in Egypt were overkill. They both are about 3 hours from Cairo and the National Museum (a must) and Giza to see the pyramids (once is enough and once is necessary). Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Travelled in a group of 10, only 2 of whom had cruised before. We had an extraordinary experience onboard Oceania. The food in all dining areas was exceptional. Ate twice in Toscana and had the lobster. The Polo Grill has a great ... Read More
Travelled in a group of 10, only 2 of whom had cruised before. We had an extraordinary experience onboard Oceania. The food in all dining areas was exceptional. Ate twice in Toscana and had the lobster. The Polo Grill has a great Porterhouse steak. We mostly ate in the Grand Dining Room for breakfast and dinner. (no reservations required). Highly suggest the creme brulee for dessert. Ate a couple of breakfast in the buffet which were also nice, with a view, but we preferred the catering of the sit down meal. Only 1 day at sea, so we were busy. In Marseilles, we walked to town (about 10 min) and took "Hop on/off Bus" around town. 17 Euros each. Great view atop the Notre Dame de la Guard, but be prepared for lots of walking up the stairs. Then on to Monaco, again we walked to Castle area & took open tram around the town. 7 Euros each. Then we took a local bus (#100) to Nice, France. 1.30 Euro each way. Scenery of the French Riviera was spectacular. Took about 45 min each way. Destination Services were very helpful in handing out maps & highlighting routes. Next day, we pre-arranged a driver with "Driver in Rome" and toured Rome. Tour Guide was very knowledgeable took us to all the major sites, including the Catacombs, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was nice to be a small van with only 10 people getting on & off, as compared with a larger group of people. For Florence, we booked "Bob's Limo Service" & highly recommend as well. For the Amalfi Coast, most of group went with "DriveAmalfi" and went to Pompeii and found it to be a great experience. The rest of us took the ferry to Positano (right next to where our tender docked). It was 12 Euros return and well worth it. Scenery from the boat along the coast is breathtaking. Great shopping in Positano, including a shoemaker who made me a pair of sandals while I waited. You could also find lots to do in Amalfi, just by walking around and visiting the unique shops with plenty of ceramics. We didn't do much in Sicily, other than to walk to main square and shop. Some on the ship went on an excursion to Taormina and raved about it. Then it was off to Malta, one of my favorite stops. Took a bus from beside dock (1 Euro) to centre of town. Big fountain there. Toured St.John's Co-Cathedral, which is a must see! Then strolled Republic Street (pedestrian street). Again lots of unique stores & a few internet cafes. There were also stores on the pier itself, including duty-free & Hard Rock Cafe. Finally a day at sea to enjoy the ship. The pool was always crowded so we didn't spend much time there. There were usually ample lounge chairs to be found. We tried to make it for "High Tea" each day. I would highly recommend that as well. We also did the team trivia most days and met lots of great people there. The library is probably the most beautiful room on the ship. The casinos were always full at night. A few of our group would 'donate' nightly. The computer room had about 20 computers. I did take a few complimentary classes on photo downloading. Our final stop was in Santorini. We were tendered to shore and some took donkey to top (you end up walking 1/4 of the way); we rode the cable car (4 Euro each way). Lots to see just in Fira, but we took local bus to Oia (1.20 Euro each way) and had great view from higher up. About a 30 min ride. Would highly recommend the trip to Oia. Found a great bakery in Fira for baklava (ZOTOE). Next day we embarked in Athens. Very organized! Room service provided prior to leaving. In conclusion, this was a wonderful experience. We found the other passengers to be friendly and well dressed for dinner (some men in jackets). The median age seemed to be 45-60's. Ship was easy to navigate and all the staff went out of their way to acknowledge you. p.s. forget to mention the laundry; there were 4 washers & dryers and a very busy spot. Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
Nautica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.9
Dining 5.0 4.3
Entertainment 3.0 3.3
Public Rooms 5.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.0
Enrichment 5.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 5.0 3.5
Rates 5.0 3.9

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