8 Barcelona to Mediterranean Oceania Nautica Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise for the itinerary (wanted to visit Florence, Rome, Pompeii, and Venice) and time of year (not summer busy season). Oceania turned out to be a great choice. The ship is smaller than most. We never waited long for ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary (wanted to visit Florence, Rome, Pompeii, and Venice) and time of year (not summer busy season). Oceania turned out to be a great choice. The ship is smaller than most. We never waited long for an elevator and could easily find seating at the pool or in the dining rooms, even though we were told it was fully booked. We enjoyed the 24-hour coffee service in Horizons Lounge. What a great place to watch entry into ports or just relax with a book! This is a VERY port-intensive cruise. Plan on being tired after busy days on shore. We had one scheduled full day of sailing, plus one more because weather prohibited docking at one port. The staff huddled to create activities for the extra sailing day. Embarkation was not as smooth as we hoped it would be. We had significant delays at the airport waiting for another couple and then waiting for the van. Not the best first impression. Re Ports: Monaco - Tender was difficult. Scheduled HOHO tour on my own; can also purchase from bus driver. We rode all the way around before deciding where to stop during second round. Check out side streets near the palace - enjoy gelato. Easy to find the bus, not too busy (but remember we were not there during peak season). Florence - Used an “included” tour for transfer only. You do not need a tour guide. Just download audio file from Rick Steve’s web site (pack headphones) and pre-order tickets to The Accadamia if you want to see The David. Lines to buy tickets are WAY too long. The statue is amazing, esp when compared to unfinished sculptures located in the same room (can even see chisel marks on those). Rome - After MUCH research, I scheduled a private tour with RomeInLimo. This was the ONLY company that said we could see BOTH the interior of the Coliseum and the Vatican. We did both of those and more by having a highly experienced driver and having pre-purchased tickets. Standing in line for ticket purchase would have taken hours. Find out when tickets go on sale for the date you need and mark your calendar. They sell out, even during the non-peak months. Using RomeInLimo was worth every penny! They even have a web site where you can advertise for others to join you (decreases your expense). And use your CruiseCritic Roll Call to share info. Naples/Pompeii - Used an Oceania tour that included tickets, transportation, and a guided tour. Tiring but so interesting. Not recommended if you have problems walking. Probably miserable during hot weather. Kotor - Could not dock due to high winds. Zadar - Oceania provided transportation into town. Sea Organ is unique. Koper - Not our favorite. Could have stayed on the ship. Venice - Oceania excursion that included Murano and gondola ride; quite memorable. Wanted more time in Venice, so took public ferry back to the terminal instead of returning with tour group. Convenient and inexpensive, but be sure you catch the last ferry to avoid $$$$ transportation expense. Oceania staff was very helpful with disembarkation. We bought transfers. As is undoubtedly true with other cruise lines, be sure to READ THE FINE PRINT, especially concerning cancellation of pre-cruise packages. We were unable make the flight due to a medical emergency. In spite of the reason, Oceania would not refund the hotel charge, because the date was too close to our embarkation date. My advice is to schedule such packages on your own. I think the hotel would have credited at least part of the fee if I had booked directly with them. I hope that our travel insurance will cover this, the cost of rebooking flights ($1600), and a tour we missed. Entertainment - Not their strong suit, but usually too tired to attend. Service was OUTSTANDING! Everyone was courteous and helpful. Our flights home were cancelled due to an airline strike, and Oceania made all rebooking arrangements for us. Dining - We went to the buffet most nights. We were surprised to see lobster and grilled shrimp offered every night. Offerings not as extensive as those on larger ships, but we always found menu items we liked. Favorite meal was the Osso Bucco and Tiramisu at Toscanna. Enrichment - I attended the cooking demo. Informative and entertaining! Educational programs re upcoming ports were recorded and could be viewed on tv. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Many people told us about the great food and service on Oceania. The service was very good. The staff, for the most part, went out of their way to say hello and help in any way they could. This was the best part of the service. ... Read More
Many people told us about the great food and service on Oceania. The service was very good. The staff, for the most part, went out of their way to say hello and help in any way they could. This was the best part of the service. Unfortunately, the rest of the cruise was quite bland, including the food. We had one really great dinner in the steakhouse. Most of the other dinners were quite forgettable. More emphasis was put on the "presentation" instead of on the "substance". Buffet breakfast was okay, but they didn't seem to have enough servers to efficiently dish out the food during the buffet breakfast and lunch. I do have to admit that the hot cinnamon buns are incredibly addictive. Breakfast in the dining room was very good. Buffet lunches were very disappointing. We were fortunate to be off the ship for most lunches. "Tea time" was actually very nice to come back to the ship for after touring at 4:00. The string quartet music was very pleasant and the snacks were very nice. Entertainment in the evening was actually quite good. It only lasted about 45 minutes each night and this was fine, considering that we'd been touring during the day and likely had another early morning the next day. The entertainment was usually musical and humorous . Cabins were okay. We had a balcony cabin with about 215 square feet of space. Space was well used. We have been on a number of other cruise lines. This experience was not really any better overall than the others (Celebrity, Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean). Oceania promotes itself as an upscale cruise line. I pity the poor soul who paid full price for any of their cruises, considering they are almost always advertising 2 for 1 pricing. That practice in itself should be outlawed. This is just misleading advertising. In summary, the cruise was nice. Nothing special. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I have to laugh when I see other reviews of cruises. This is NOT your typical gargantuan ship with entertainment to please everyone. It is a "small ship" experience. The restrooms are tight and it's not trying to be ... Read More
I have to laugh when I see other reviews of cruises. This is NOT your typical gargantuan ship with entertainment to please everyone. It is a "small ship" experience. The restrooms are tight and it's not trying to be opulent. We selected the upgrade to the concierge level veranda rooms and got a great cabin near the back...most of the remaining doors in the hallway went to much larger suites. We rarely ran into any other guests in the hallway. The boat is scheduled for an overhaul soon, so I think it's not as flashy right now, the bathroom and closets were not luxurious in any way, but we didn't really care. A super comfortable large bed, comfy couch, desk and private veranda were our requirements and it was great. Best features of the upgrade...3 days of free laundry service, 24 hour free room service, access to the canyon spa private deck area. We would order room service for a cheese and fruit tray to be delivered about the time we'd be returning to the ship. We'd buy local wines in port and drink a bottle nightly as we pulled out of port! The spa deck had a salt water jetted water spa kept at body temperature. I relaxed in it daily after touring and only once had another guest make use of it as well. I liked the fact that no one else was walking around looking at people sunbathing or in the hot tub! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We have just returned from a wonderful cruise from Barcelona to Dubai, visiting Malta, Rhodes, Cyprus, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Oman over 21 days. This was our 10th Oceania cruise although we have cruised on other lines as well and it ... Read More
We have just returned from a wonderful cruise from Barcelona to Dubai, visiting Malta, Rhodes, Cyprus, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Oman over 21 days. This was our 10th Oceania cruise although we have cruised on other lines as well and it included an itinerary that was hard to beat. Sure some days were long but it also included plenty of recuperative sea days. Nautica had clearly just experienced a refresh because carpets and soft furnishings in many locations were new. We found the service very good at all venues and really enjoyed the opportunity a longer cruise gives to really settle into the cruising life. Our fellow cruisers were wonderful and having 21 days to meet so many people and share so many incredible places was fantastic. We probably prefer the larger Oceania class ships, but there is still much going for the R class ships like Nautica and the more intimate smaller ship experience, plus the itineraries they offer. It seemed a cruise popular with well travelled and experienced cruisers who knew the ropes and made good use of the specialty restaurants making it a little challenging to get extra bookings. But the food across the ship was very good and we enjoyed the Grand Dining room more than we have in the past. Entertainment was the usual Oceania fare, although the inclusion of a classical pianist for two performances was much appreciated, and a string quartet at Oceania's signature (daily) afternoon tea was delightful. The enrichment lectures were informative and we enjoyed a number of excellent wine tasting classes conducted by the Head Sommelier. My wife enjoyed bridge lessons, but that seemed like too much hard work for me. Other activities included Trivia (hotly contested), needle work, Bingo, sporting events and others. All in all a cruise I would highly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We sailed Oceania 5 years ago and loved it. This time we felt something different. We found out that it was bought out by Norwegian Cruise Lines. That explains it all. When we entered the room we had to get housekeeping to come back ... Read More
We sailed Oceania 5 years ago and loved it. This time we felt something different. We found out that it was bought out by Norwegian Cruise Lines. That explains it all. When we entered the room we had to get housekeeping to come back and clean the room. The service was not consistent throughout the ship. There were some wonderful people, trying very hard to please us and there were some that were actually rude. Many times I got up to ask for water or coffee. In the main dining room, had to wait for tea, or dessert. Sometimes we were served our meals at different times. The specialty dining was good but the main dining room and the buffet food varied. The food lacked the consistency that it had before when everything was delicious. The shuttles at the port were not run well. Sometimes they only provided service every hour and if that shuttle was full, you had to wait for the next one. We took taxis from the ports. When I told someone on board the problems with late shuttles or shuttles not coming--they said it was the ports problem not theirs. Going from a dedicated Oceania customer who adored the trip 5 years ago, I will no longer travel or recommend Oceania cruises. I must say, however, that there were some lovely employees on board who tried their best but there were some that really needed to be retrained (or trained or let go). I also feel that they may have cut back on staff to save money. IT JUST WASN'T THE SAME. The buyout could be the explanation. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
After having just read the review by Shoko I feel like we shared the exact same experience! I, too, discovered that Oceania was bought out by NCL and also found out that NCL is trying to 'come up' to Oceania's high ... Read More
After having just read the review by Shoko I feel like we shared the exact same experience! I, too, discovered that Oceania was bought out by NCL and also found out that NCL is trying to 'come up' to Oceania's high standards. Well, in dong so, I often felt that Nautica was going DOWN to NCL! My husband and I were always promoting Oceania to our friends in EVERY area from service to food to the way that we were taken care of when we landed in the ports, etc. After this cruise we won't be able to do so and will have to consider whether we will take our next cruise on Oceania or pick a different line! While embarkation did go smoothly and I was greeted by our darling room attendant who was most eager to know what she could do to make sure we had everything we wanted exactly as we desired for our stay, I was amazed that something as simple as not having the Kleenex box filled in the cabin had been overlooked; Then we were to disembark it was almost as if we were to be literally thrown out as quickly as possible since items in the fridge had been disposed of the night before our departure. While most of the servers in the various dining venues went above and beyond to be charming and helpful (and I've mentioned them in my review sent directly to Oceania) there were the occasional who were close to downright rude; this would never have happened on a past Oceania cruise. For the most part the food was good and occasionally excellent but when one orders a Jacques Pepin signature dish (steak/frites) and gets an inedible piece of meat that is overcooked it makes one wonder. The final disappointment was the manner in which we were treated when it came to the ports. In the past there have always been shuttles when we didn't get off within EASY walking distance to the town/city. Here we either didn't have a shuttle (Gibralter) OR the shuttle came every hour and if it was filled you had to wait for the next one! When asked, we were told that Oceania had decided not to pay for the shuttle services! IF we were paying for an inexpensive cruise line I could understand being nickel and dimed but Oceania is NOT an inexpensive line so this seems to be a clear case of NCL thinking, yes? In conclusion, we'll consider our options for the future...something we never did before as we went directly to Oceania without a second thought. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Friends recommended oceania cruises because of the good food. The food was good, but compared to the other cruiselines where we booked balcony huts in Europe since 2010, this was by far the worst in size, also the bathroom was far too ... Read More
Friends recommended oceania cruises because of the good food. The food was good, but compared to the other cruiselines where we booked balcony huts in Europe since 2010, this was by far the worst in size, also the bathroom was far too small. The service was very good and the ship is very quiet compared to MSC, Norwegian, Costa. The food was good, but not exceptional. Dinner in the Polo restaurant was disappointing, The ship did embark in city centres, which was very convenient. The prices are ridiculous, especially prices of the wine at table and the prices of transfers. Book your own transfers! Because we did not like to be on a waiting list for dinner in the grand ding room, we went there around 9, when there was no waiting list. Therefore each night we saw only the last 10 minutes of the entertainment. The library is big, very quiet and 24/7 open. We will consider cruising again with oceania, but not with the old ships like the Nautica. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We just returned from our fourth Oceania cruise, this one aboard Nautica, which was also our first "O" ship back in 2008. Things are only getting better. The ship, built in 2000 and refurbished in 2010, is due to go into dry ... Read More
We just returned from our fourth Oceania cruise, this one aboard Nautica, which was also our first "O" ship back in 2008. Things are only getting better. The ship, built in 2000 and refurbished in 2010, is due to go into dry dock next spring for major refurbishment to bring her to the more contemporary theme from the nearly-new Marina and Riviera, but she has been immaculately maintained and is still in excellent condition. Yes, she does look a bit dated by today's ship standards, and, yes, there minor wear is visible here and there, but the continuous maintenance on the ship has kept her in immaculate condition. All hard surfaces in both the public areas and in our penthouse cabin were clean and polished, and all soft surfaces were in excellent condition and comfortable. This cruise was a 24-day repositioning cruise running from Barcelona to Dubai, the longest we have ever taken. Since Nautica hosts only 684 passengers, I thought we might get bored. However, O provided many onboard activities, including enrichment lectures by two very competent speakers (discussing the oceans of the world and the Middle East), and the extended length of the cruise made it easy to meet and get to know many wonderful people (both passengers and crew), and to relax fully during 9 sea days. Passengers on this cruise skewed older than other O cruises we've taken (probably the average age was north of 70), but that's to be expected due to the length of the cruise and its cost. Fellow passengers were well travelled, congenial and most were quite active despite not being young anymore. Ports included Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples, Patmos, Rhodes, Kusadasi (Ephesus), Haifa (Holy Land), Aqaba, Salalah, Muscat and Dubai. The best ports/sites to visit, in my opinion were Rome, the Holy Land and Aqaba. Rome (visited Vatican this time) is always amazing, and is easy and inexpensive to access via train from Civitavecchia, Petra (accessible via a 2-hour ride from Aqaba) is amazing due to its scope (the well-known Treasury is only the tip of the iceberg), and 3 days in Haifa provide excellent access to Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River, Nazareth, and other emotionally powerful historic and religious sites. Because of the continuing political troubles in Egypt, we missed Egypt, one of my top "bucket list" sites, but O let us know well in advance and added an additional day in both Israel and Aqaba, which provided a more leisurely tour schedule, so the loss of Egypt was amply made up. O is known for its food, and this cruise did not disappoint. The quality and variety of the products were excellent, and preparations were usually creative and properly prepared. I've been on a diet, and there were always plenty of healthy low-calorie options, as well as the more elaborate preparations with buttery and creamy sauces, up to 32 oz. prime rib dinners, etc. The Terrace Café buffet has added two a-la-minute cooking stations, as well as a fresh pasta station since our last cruise on Nautica. Sushi was available every night, and there were several themed meals several days during the cruises (ie., Italian, Mideastern, Thanksgiving, etc.). Breakfast was a special pleasure due to the variety of fresh fruits and berries, but of course the more typical eggs, bacon/sausage, etc. were also available (eggs freshly cooked to order if you chose). O's excellent bread was made daily was almost impossible to pass up, but because of the variety of other options, I managed to only gain 3 pounds during a 24-day cruise! Yahoo!!! Toscana, which serves Italian food, was our favorite specialty restaurant, but Polo, which serves steaks/seafood was also very good. The quality of meats was high, up to O's claim they serve only dry-aged premium cuts in the specialty restaurants. Waves Grill near the pool has been upgraded to include the menu originated aboard Marina, including a Koby beef hamburger and a surf/turf sandwich with alternating slices of filet and lobster. The ice cream bar includes a yummy selection of healthy smoothies with just fruit and ice blended if you wish to go low-cal. The malt I allowed myself the last day of the cruise was wonderful too (it was a good thing I hadn't given in earlier, or I'd have gained several more pounds). The menu did repeat after about two weeks, but the variety was wide enough you could avoid repetition, or enjoy a previous favorite, if you chose. If I have a criticism of the food, it is that it was under-seasoned for my taste. However, since we live in an area where spicy food is the norm, I expect that is criticism is just my taste, since a few passengers complained that dishes we found very mild were over-spiced. Given the fact they serve about 650 meals during each meal, I am impressed with the high quality of the food. Is it as good as a 5-star restaurant on land? No. But it is the best food I've tasted at sea. We upgraded to a penthouse cabin for this cruise, from the verandah cabins from our previous cruises, and it was worth the money we spent. The Nautica penthouse cabins are 1.5 times the size of the standard verandah cabins and include a marble bath with a tub/shower, instead of just the shower in the standard verandah cabins, and the bath is nearly double the size of the verandah cabins. There was plenty of storage space, a mini-frig which the staff will stock with your preferred non-alcoholic beverages upon request, and O has stopped stocking them with the expensive alcohol minis no one ever uses. In penthouse level cabins a variety of hot and cold canapés were offered in the afternoon, but they were the one food option item I found to be less than stellar quality; they tasted pre-made and not particularly fresh. Our butler was wonderful; he was well trained and professional; while he took his job seriously, he had a good sense of humor and congenial attitude. Our cabin stewards were equally well trained, competent and friendly. Cabins were promptly serviced morning and afternoon, and beds were turned down when we returned from dinner. O's crew was almost universally good natured, and smiles and "good morning, Madam/Sir" were always present. O's alcohol policy is liberal, as long as people do not abuse alcohol, and we had no problems bringing both wine and spirits aboard at embarkation and after port visits later; the butler/cabin steward were happy to provide additional ice, wine glasses, and even limes as we asked. The only caveat is alcohol brought aboard must be consumed in the cabin, or there is a corkage fee if wine is consumed in the restaurants with meals. Premium drinks in the public lounges started at around $10, but with a half price happy hour and daily specials every day, we found no need to buy the alcohol package offered. Entertainment, which is not one of O's areas of excellence, was certainly adequate if not great. The classical quartet was excellent, the 8-piece band generally quite good and the staff and specialty entertainers competent, if not great. The staff entertainers were better than the material they were given; the Gary Musack productions were often pretty corny and were over-choreographed, resulting in stiff variety productions. Something about entertainers in their 20's singing and dancing material from the 1930's to 1970's is just a little off-kilter. Overall, my impression is that O has maintained its high standard of service and product since our first cruise five years ago. We were sad to leave, knowing we were seeing Nautica in her current "clothes" for the last time, but looking forward to the improvements which are coming after her refurbishment next year. This was the best cruise we've ever taken, truly the trip of a lifetime. Thanks O! We'll book again soon. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Nautica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 5.0 4.3
Entertainment 3.0 3.3
Public Rooms 5.0 4.4
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 5.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.5
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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