4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (21+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our fourth cruise with Oceania; the previous cruises were the northeastern seaboard, Bermuda, Cuba and India, the ... Read More
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (21+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our fourth cruise with Oceania; the previous cruises were the northeastern seaboard, Bermuda, Cuba and India, the Middle East and Europe . The 15-day South African Explorer Cruise started in Cape Town on January 5, 2019. Our trip actually started on December 31, with our flight landing in Cape Town on January 2. Our pre cruise Eastern Cape Safari started with a flight to Port Elizabeth and a two hour land drive to the Shamwari Game Reserve. This is a privately owned reserve. The Reserve Lodge was fantastic while the Reserve was primarily open range with little water and almost no trees; primarily big bushes. We saw the big five up close and personal, and many other wild animals. The Reserve isn't lush, but that's where the animals are living. A great pre cruise trip. We then flew back to Cape Town to start the cruise. Boarding the ship was very easy. Our room was at the rear of the ship on deck 7, room 7121. This was a good location as we were near the primary sources of food; decks 5 and 9. Most points of interest are on 5, dining room at the rear and the Nautica Lounge at the front. Deck 9 has the computer room, card room and spa. The ship is a few years old but was very nice; very clean. The staff was great and the food was excellent. Coffee, including specialty coffees, was available 24/7 on Deck 10 front and also, during select hours on Deck 5 rear. The ship provided complimentary water and soft drinks. The Program Director provided information about basically everything you needed to know on a timely basis. The ship had a cast of great entertainers on board and also a great band. They were very professional and excellent musicians. The cruise line provided speakers who covered a wide range of interesting topics on Africa and apartheid. The passengers and the crew were all very nice people from all walks of life. The people on the ship made the cruise interesting and enjoyable. The only real negative was the price of alcoholic beverages; they are a little pricey. We had a lot of fun playing games and competitions to earn Big O points. We earned almost 300 points which were cashed in on the last full day for Oceania merchandise. The visited Ports of Call follow. MOSSEL BAY – Our first port was located just east of Cape Town, Mossel Bay, a nice modern and clean city. We took the Discover Oudtshoorn and its Ostrich Heritage tour. This was a much more interesting tour than expected. We learned a lot about raising Ostriches and saw new born chicks through adult birds. RICHARDS BAY– We took the Dumazulu Cultural Village tour. The drive out to the village was very nice and the Village interesting. The Zulu people were very friendly and helpful in attempting to teaching us the Zulu language. They explained their heritage and customs very nicely. The tour ended with a dance program. MAPUTO – Maputo is located in Mozambique; visa required. We took the Glimpse of Maputo tour. This was primarily a tour of the city. It included a brief tour of a steel house designed by Eiffel (Eiffel Tower), a visit to a few markets, a Natural History Museum and a Fort. This really was a nice tour, much more interesting than it sounds. DURBAN – We are back in South Africa for two days in Durban. Our first tour was the Durban City Tour. The tour included a very nice market (good place to purchase locally made goods) and a visit to a beautiful botanical garden. By the time we got back to the ship, it was dark. Interesting tour. On the second day, we took the Valley of a Thousand Hills tour. This tour included a visit to a Zulu exhibit/show located on a beautiful mountain top. The views are out of this world. The Zulu show was entertaining and very well done. The people were friendly and open for questions and photographs. The local gift shop was outstanding and the tour included a snack. EAST LONDON – In East London, we took the Natural History tour. The museum tour was given by the curator and was very good. He highlighted the most interesting and valuable exhibits in the museum; some of which were very significant. This tour also included a drive along the coast to some beautiful areas. The museum tour was great. PORT ELIZABETH – We took the Local Townships and, Arts and Craft Center tour. The tour through the various neighborhoods was fantastic. We learned what apartheid meant to the various races and/or cultures. The tour included a visit to a craft shop in one of the metal clad building neighborhoods. The handcrafts were very nice and inexpensive. We also visited a private school and met with the principal. The visit included snacks and refreshments in addition to a brief concert by a singing group. This is a don't miss tour. WALVIS BAY – Walvis Bay, Namibia has a beautiful protected harbor that is very significant. We took the Dolphin and Seal Cruise with around 20 other people. We saw hundreds of seals, probably a dozen dolphins and a few jackles. One seal, a very friendly one, actually jumped up into the boat and allowed us to pet it. The cruise included beer and other refreshments and very nicely prepared snacks. The mini cruise was actually very nice …. we learned a lot about the area. Our second day in Namibia included a tour to the Swakopmund Township. This was an interesting tour of the desert, the country side and the various types of housing in Swakopmund. We also had a very nice lunch in Swakopmund at a local restaurant where a local singing group performed. This area of Namibia is mostly sandy desert. The tour stopped at a local sand dune (#7) to provide the opportunity to climb to the top. Some people did. This was again, a real education about life in Namibia. CAPE TOWN – We took two tours in Cape Town. The first one was the Cape Town and Table Mountain tour. This tour took us to the cable car to ride up to the top of Table Mountain. We were lucky that the weather was very nice, although a bit windy and cool at the top of the mountain. We had around two hours to walk around the area. It was an interesting walk. The mountain top is very beautiful and much more developed with plant life than expected. The tour also included a brief tour of the city. Our second tour was the Panoramic Cape Town by Night. This tour sort of repeated parts the earlier tour but in the dark (not Table Mountain). The darkness provided beautiful views of the city. Cape Town is impressive by night. We also extended our stay in Southern Africa by taking the Victoria Falls and Chobe Chilwero tour. This required leaving the ship around 5:30 am to fly to Johannesburg (Joburg), then connect to a flight to Victoria Falls. The drive from Victoria Falls airport to the Falls took around an hour. The Falls are in Zimbabwe which requires a visa ($45 US cash per person for a US citizen). Getting the visa took time, probably a hour or so. Things move slowly. You will get wet at the Falls; be prepared. The mist is warm. After the tour of the Falls, we continued on to the Sanctuary Lodge near the Chobe Game Reserve. This trip required leaving Zimbabwe to Botswana. Crossing the borders and driving to the Lodge is interesting and entertaining. Animals cross the two lane road along the way and border crossings will provide many new stamps in your passport. The Sanctuary Lodge is impressive. It is in a beautiful location just outside the National Park. On our first trip out to the Park, just as we entered the two lane highway, we spotted a herd of elephants crossing the road. We drove up to them and got many great photographs … up close and personal. We then entered the Chobe National Park which is located just south of a finger of Namibia and Zambia, and west of Zimbabwe. You have to see this on a map. The park is full of impalas, hippos, baboons, cape buffalo and many different types of birds. The Park was like a Garden of Eden. A beautiful and picturesque area. We took two game drives and a boat drive along the Chobe River. One of the game drives was on the morning we left, so it was a bit short. The previous drive was probably five hours long. The evening drives always appear to include wine, gin and tonics, and snacks. This tour should have had one more day at the Lodge. The time went by too quickly. We left the Sanctuary Lodge around 9 am, drove to Victoria Falls airport and flew to Joburg. The hotel in Joburg was very nice and in a great location. The hotel stay included a very nice dinner and also, breakfast. The next day we took the Hop on Hop Off bus to tour the city and also, Soweto. This is a great way to tour the city. The Soweto portion included a guide. That evening we flew to Germany and then the US. All of our tour guides were very good. They all spoke English well and were very approachable. The in country flights were a major step up from flights in the US. We always got a hot meal and drinks; even when the flight was only 90 minutes or so. On this cruise, you will learn a lot about apartheid, Nelson Mandela, the Zulu, the languages, the local governments and about the Southern African people. It was educational and enlightening … no security concerns. Overall, the cruise was great and the pre and post trips fantastic. You will see many metal clad houses and poor areas but the people are friendly and well dressed. You will meet many very nice people on the ship and also, tour guides and locals. Oceania really took good care of us; they were always there to make sure everything was taken care of during the cruise and also, during the pre and post trips. They really seemed to care. A great trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We had a balcony suite, 6017, on the starboard side, which we enjoyed. Overall, it was an excellent cruise experience, with an enjoyable itinerary. There were some bumpy seas on the coast of South Africa on the Atlantic side, so ... Read More
We had a balcony suite, 6017, on the starboard side, which we enjoyed. Overall, it was an excellent cruise experience, with an enjoyable itinerary. There were some bumpy seas on the coast of South Africa on the Atlantic side, so anti-nausea seabands or medications are recommended (the ship was kind enough to have some available). We had a combination of ship shore excursions (selected as a perk--they are expensive!), and independent excursions (found through Tripadvisor). The ship was delayed at more than one port, in part due to Customs in one instance. Embarkation was lovely. Service was excellent, with friendly staff: even the buffet Terrace Cafe was mostly not self-serve, which was a change from my experiences on larger ships and smaller riverboats. Pros: --sleep quality outstanding--best bed ever! --guest laundry facilities ($4 USD per load)-- value and convenience, detergent supplied --a well-stocked gym--machines, free weights, some complimentary classes --a decent room safe (fits a chromebook or small laptop) --in-room fridge with included soft drinks and water --nice Bvlargari shower toiletries and plush towels --shuttles to the shopping areas in many ports--convenient and comfortable --the friendly staff --electrical outlets including 3-pronged North American and 2-holed European --wonderful food! No added sugar options were available. Canyon Ranch spa cuisine choices included calorie and fat information. Cons: --a tiny shower (2 feet wide!) with a fabric curtain (unexpected for a luxury cruise) --smoking areas mostly for cigarette smokers (cigar smokers confined to an area on the pool deck shared with smokers), smoke enters the ship near the exit from the gym --expensive drinks packages (but did allow 6 bottles of wine per stateroom to be brought on board) --Canyon Ranch spa cuisine did not always follow the original health recommendations, in my opinion (often heavy on red meat, for eg., and included veal at times) Overall, if the opportunity to travel on Oceania arose again, I would likely go. But I prefer the larger and more value-conscious Celebrity cruises instead. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
My husband & I chose this trip so he could take some CE and do a safari!. We booked the pre-cruise safari at Lion Sands River Lodge. While Oceania did not really do a good job with communicating our hotel info or flight info to the ... Read More
My husband & I chose this trip so he could take some CE and do a safari!. We booked the pre-cruise safari at Lion Sands River Lodge. While Oceania did not really do a good job with communicating our hotel info or flight info to the bush, it all worked out & the Lodge was amazing! We had 4 game drives and 1 bush walk. Pre-Safari, we booked a night at the Residence Boutique Hotel. The Residence is a beautiful, intimate hotel that used to be the Chinese Embassy. It is in a gated compound, very safe. They arranged for their driver to pick us us from the airport, gave us a driving tour of Johannesburg the next day, and delivered us safely to 54th of Bath Hotel booked by Oceania. 54th on Bath is a very nice hotel basic. I think it is part of the Omni Group. Breakfast was included and we all had omelettes. There were 8 from the Nautica going on Safari. Flight was quick and soon we were on our way to Lion Sands. Our time there was the highlight of our trip! We wished it was longer. Soon we were on a flight to Cape Town. we did not have time to see any of CapeTown precruise. We sailed roughly 1 hour after boarding. We were tired! We were in a "penthouse" cabin 8065. It was of course very small compared to the Marina penthouse cabins. I wanted to upgrade all along but the reasonable price upgrade was not offered until we were on safari & my travel agent said it was gone within minutes. Our butler, Vinod was a Gem! He helped with some dining problems and was just overall the best we have ever had. The food was very good in the main dining. My favorite thing was in Toscana, the Carbonara, but you have to eat it quickly because it seems to harden up. We had to request escargot in the MD. It was perfect. The escargot in Polo is soupy and neither of us cared for it. I not sure when it asks about excursions, aside from the Pre-Cruise safari, we booked everything privately because I do not like tour buses or large groups. If you do this cruise and you feel the same consider booking something through the ship while in East London (a place I will be blocking from my memory soon). We booked through Kevin Agram. We did not have him as our driver. Our driver knew nothing and insisted on taking us to the "townships" for 2 hours and then segregated beaches! It was the lowlight of our trip, having already seen them in every town we visited in South Africa. We did do great excursion through Red Dunes safari in Namibia, but if you want to see seals, book a catamaran tour. I heard they jump right on the boat! Richard's Bay & Durban we used Trinity Tours, Brian High. We went to several game reserves and same things as the ship but cheaper and we had a lovely dinner at the Oyster Box Hotel in Durban - don't miss the curry bar. Also do not eat Curry unless you at the Pot & Kettle in the Valley of a Thousand Hills. Very good wine at Durbanville Sauvignon Blanc. $7 per bottle! In Mossel Bay, we used Tours for South Africa and went to Botlierskop Game Reserve (same as the ship) but much cheaper and included lunch. In Port Elizabeth, we used Afroventures Tours and had a wonderful day safari where we actually saw 3 lions!! When we came back to Cape Town we had a day tour to Stellenbosch to taste wines. It was late get started because of immigration problems or something. So we only got to see 1winery (Waterford - Excellent) and then we had dinner at the Wijnhose. I kept saying the winehouse & no one understood me! Excellent food and flights of wine. I would definitely go back to Stellenbosch. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our 2nd cruise on Oceania. My husband and I have wanted to travel to Africa for some time and felt this cruise was a good way to see quite a bit in 2 weeks. We flew into Cape Town on 1/1 and spent four nights there before ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise on Oceania. My husband and I have wanted to travel to Africa for some time and felt this cruise was a good way to see quite a bit in 2 weeks. We flew into Cape Town on 1/1 and spent four nights there before boarding the ship (we stayed at the Cape Hollow Boutique Hotel). We felt this was a good amount of time to see all the highlights of the area (we used PG Tops tours). Boarding the ship was very easy and took about 15 minutes (at most). We were in a PH1 cabin (8030) and loved the size (we had the same on our previous Oceania cruise) and location. Our ports of call were Mossel Bay, Maputo - Mozambique, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and Walvis Bay - Namibia. I booked all private excursions except for a city tour of Durban the afternoon we arrived. I highly recommend booking private excursions - you will save money and be in much smaller groups - the most people we had in one tour was 8. Just do your research ahead of time and then go to your CC roll call board to find some people to join you on your private excursions. We did not get off the ship in Maputo and did not hear anything positive from anyone who did. But, be forewarned - you will be charged for a visa regardless of whether you get off the ship or not. If you go to guest services ahead of time and specifically request it being removed they will do so - but we did not find this out until it was too late. They do not readily/easily share this information. This was truly the only thing that bothered me while on the ship for 2 weeks. We enjoyed joining other passengers for dinners in the main dining room and found the food to be very good. We also ate quite a few of our meals at the Terrace Cafe (buffet). We felt there was always a good selection and although I only ordered it once, grilled lobster was available every night. The only negative I have to say about the restaurants/food was that service was rather spotty in the Waves grill. It often took a long time for someone to come over to take our drink order and burger orders weren't always correct. We also ate in Toscana twice and Polo Grill once. We were going to go a second time but the seas were so rough I did not want a big meal that night. Overall - no complaints regarding food. We went to the afternoon high tea once and it was very nice with a varied and abundant selection of food and tea. It was also very well attended. I cannot comment on any shows because we always went to bed early - though we heard from other people that they really enjoyed them. We were definitely on the young side of the demographics. We are 52 and I'd say the average age was around 70. But, this did not bother us at all and we thoroughly enjoyed talking to everyone we met. We thought we were well traveled but the passengers on this ship have been just about everywhere! I could not find many reviews on African cruises before we left and one thing that surprised me was that I was expecting it to be much warmer. It was the middle of summer but because we were always near the shore, temperatures remained fairly mild - with high temps reaching upper 70's and maybe a couple days in the low 80's. We did have a few days of rough seas - mainly around the Cape of Good Hope. We actually left the ship the day we arrived back in Cape Town - though disembarkation wasn't until the next day. We then spent a night at the Cape Verde Hotel by the airport because we were headed to Victoria Falls the next morning for two nights and then on to Botswana for 3 nights for safari. In total we were gone for 28 days. It was a wonderful trip and highly recommended. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this cruise for its itinerary-UAE, Oman, India, Maldives, Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, and South Africa. The shore excursions left a lot to be desired. The stop in Abu Dhabi coincided with a marathon. ... Read More
I chose this cruise for its itinerary-UAE, Oman, India, Maldives, Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, and South Africa. The shore excursions left a lot to be desired. The stop in Abu Dhabi coincided with a marathon. The downtown area was completely shut down and our hop on/off bus driver had no idea what to do. We went around the same block three times and circled a round-about four times in succession. After an hour and a half, the bus stop at public toilets for us. Everyone was afraid to get off at the three stops he managed to get to for fear they'd never see another bus. Why did the shore excursion department not know about this and cancel this tour? In Nosy Be, Madagascar my shore excursion included a beach stop. Not a beach on the same side of the island as the pier (where other excursions went), but one that was 45 minutes down a crater filled road! By the time we got there, there was no time to swim (the beach had no changing or shower facilities) and the guide moved up departure time AFTER people headed to the shoreline. Almost every excursion included a "market" stop. How many times does a person need to smell fish and meat covered in flies while it rots in the sun? I chose an excursion to a Zulu "village" in South Africa expecting to visit a real residential village. An hour and a half ride to a hotel with a cultural entertainment area-a recreated "village." Heck, one of the women didn't even know the steps to the dance. In Durban, they didn't know the market would be closed on New Year's Day! So the guide tried to fill in time by taking us to the wealthy part of town and to the soccer stadium. Unfortunately, the tour bus didn't pull up on the stadium side of the street and one of the passengers was hit by a car crossing the street. I was a little surprised that none of the excursions on this cruise went anywhere near a jewelry store or upscale shopping area. Several of these countries are known for the gemstones they mine. The Nautica was fine and my cabin was good. I dined most of the time in the Buffet since the food was as good or better the the restaurant. I did try the restaurant once. The service was slow. My server replaced my standard silverware with a salad fork and a fish knife for a steamed salmon entree with green beans which I couldn't cut. I ate in both the alternative restaurants; food and service were excellent. The worst part of the cruise was embarkation. The documents said it was at 1pm so a lot of people showed up at 1pm. A LOT OF PEOPLE! Several hundred! They made no arrangements for the crowd-no chairs, no water, nothing! Like others, I stood in line for more than 2 hours while crew with gold bars on their shoulders smiled at us. I can understand that they might not know this could happen, but THEY COULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING once it did. What would it take to have a crew member unstack the chairs that were leaning against the wall? They could have handed out number tags (the ones used for shore excursion buses) to group us and call us up when it was our turn. We still would have waited 2 hours, but we could have been seated while waiting. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We cruised on Regatta (sister ship) a few years ago (Rio-Amazon-Miami) and had a very positive experience. This cruise (Dubai-Capetown) was disappointing in comparison. The ship is slightly aged, but kept in excellent condition. ... Read More
We cruised on Regatta (sister ship) a few years ago (Rio-Amazon-Miami) and had a very positive experience. This cruise (Dubai-Capetown) was disappointing in comparison. The ship is slightly aged, but kept in excellent condition. We upgraded to concierge verandah cabin for this trip so were prepared for the level of accommodation; no complaints. We're still not sure what "concierge service" means, though. The service was good but we didn't know what to expect above and beyond what we got on our previous cruise. We found the food and service to be excellent, especially in Toscana. I have difficulty hearing in noisy environments, so after our first meal in the Grand Dining room, I learned to request seating just inside the entrance, away from the busy waiters' serving stations. The entertainment was of average quality. A couple of the professionals were extremely talented; a couple were not. Some of the scheduled entertainers were no-shows or delayed due to travel or visa problems. One such delay resulted in an impromptu Passenger Talent Show: mildly entertaining but not what we hoped for. The String quartet was excellent -- highly professional, and the ship's band was super talented. The six young on-board performers were equally talented. They put on several very entertaining Broadway-type shows as well as separate performances. No disappointment there! With a number of sea days, there were activities like bracelet-making, embroidery, bingo, and other parlour games -- not of interest to us. Two "Enrichment" speakers helped fill in the days: one was well-informed and entertaining while the other was rather pedantic and didn't hold our interest. Surprisingly, there were no "Destination" Speakers. Adequate information about upcoming ports was very lacking and very missed! Activities (e.g., more and varied speakers) and more substantive entertainment would have helped the long sea days pass. In retrospect, the cruise itinerary could have been better thought-out. One or two of the four stops in India could have been skipped, with the time added to other stops. Sailing for a day or two (or more?) just to spend a few hours in the next port, now seems like a waste of time. For instance, we sailed west for about two days from Seychelles to Mombassa, then part of a day to Zanzibar, and then a day and a half back east to Nosy Be (Madagascar) where we anchored for only six hours! In our case, Madagascar was of more interest than four stops in India. After an hour delay in tendering plus 40-minute boat rides to and from Nosy Komba to see lemurs (a couple hours) there was no time left to go ashore in Nosy Be or any other part of Madagascar! Very disappointing! Being rather inexperienced with shore excursions, and concerned with being left behind if we were delayed returning to the ship, we opted for the security of booking through Oceania. Never again! The excursions we chose (based on brief, sometimes inaccurate or misleading descriptions) were mostly disappointments. Expensive disappointments. As an example, an excursion in Durban was described as "panoramic", which, to me, suggests there will be stops where photos of interesting places can be taken. The actual excursion was a half-hour drive to "Umhlanga Rocks" ( apparently not a natural formation, but a high-end residential community instead), another half-hour drive to "Ballito" (apparently a small beach town, popular with locals) where the guide disappeared to apparently look for restroom facilities, leaving us to wander on our own for 15 minutes, then another hour-long drive back to Durban, where we drove non-stop through the downtown area, trying to snap pictures of places like "...the Theatre, where they have plays...". As another reviewer remarked, too many excursions are made up of too many people: the guides are often too far from most of the group to be heard clearly (both on the buses and on walks). And even guides in "third-world" excursions should understand not to let their charges get strung out for a hundred feet in unfamiliar narrow streets and pathways. These examples reflect our (and others') experiences on a large percentage of our excursions. Assuming we ever do cruise with Oceania again, it's very unlikely we'll use their excursions. Many people we met aboard (some had multiple Oceania cruises) were equally disappointed and expressed strong doubts about using Oceania again. The general opinion was that after Oceania was acquired by Norwegian, cost-cutting and short-term profit-taking have caused a noticeable reduction in the level of service. Unfortunately, our many good experiences on this cruise (especially with the crew and staff members) were offset by the excursions and other disappointments; we don't expect to use Oceania in future. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The cruise was generally excellent mainly because of the the variety of food, the service, the gym and running track, and the itinerary. I will not go into detail on those factors because you can read about them in numerous other reviews. ... Read More
The cruise was generally excellent mainly because of the the variety of food, the service, the gym and running track, and the itinerary. I will not go into detail on those factors because you can read about them in numerous other reviews. Instead, I will discuss a few deficiencies aboard Nautica and suggest some ways to overcome them so that they will not interfere with your enjoyment of the cruise. The final week After seeing Petra, there are 4 days a sea, then a ½ day stop in Salalah, Oman, and then another day at sea before stopping for a day in Muscat, Oman. Salalah is a dead-zone as far as tourism is concerned. There is nothing to see in the industrial area that surrounds the gigantic port. Moreover, the taxi drivers’ union does not allow the ship to offer its usual free shuttle into the town. We heard numerous complaints from other passengers about the boring tours of Salalah offered by Nautica (at outrageous prices). On that day, we stayed onboard the ship even though it meant we went 6 full days without going ashore. My advice: Take some good books and projects to help fill the hours in that final week. Shore excursions Because we paid O-Life fares, we received 4 excursions each, which we used for tours that were only accessible by the ship's buses. We found the main problem on these excursions with 30+ people was that it was difficult to hear the guide unless you were standing right beside him or her. Oceania needs to take a lesson from Viking and provide Vox machines for all passengers on all tours. We found that for half the price of Nautica's shore excursions we could easily book better, small group tours using top-rated companies that we found on Tripadvisor. Then everybody could hear the guide and ask lots of questions. We used Love Egypt Tours in Luxor and Jordan Horizons for Petra. Specialty restaurants reservations Oceania does not reward loyalty; instead they give perks to passengers based on how much they pay for their staterooms. For example, someone who is a first time Oceania guest who buys a stateroom for $25000 gets to reserve specialty restaurants at least a month before someone who has been on several Oceania cruises and has spent over $50000 in total, but always on porthole staterooms on level 3. That's not fair. I booked the minute I was allowed to reserve specialty restaurants and did not get a single one of my choices because people in more expensive staterooms had taken all the available tables. However, when I embarked, I went immediately to the dining room and they exchanged all my (bad) specialty restaurant reservations for the times I wanted. Lesson learned: Oceania holds back a lot of times to satisfy unhappy customers like me who request changes when they are onboard. It's also worth noting that we received better meals and equal service in the Grand Dining Room. We will likely not bother reserving in the specialty restaurants on our next cruise. WiFi and Nautica’s computer lab With the O-Life fare, you get free WiFi. However, it’s not their premium WiFi and it’s slow. I can't understand why Oceania offers a service such as WiFi when it is clearly substandard. The two hours before dinner seem to be the worst. Moreover, if you go to the computer lab you may find that some external drives cannot be read by the ship’s computers. I suspect it’s because those computers are PCs and don’t read files that are made on Apple machines. Before you leave home, if you’re a Mac user, test your external drives to make sure they can be read by a PC (eg. at your local library). Also make sure all your files are saved in PDF or .doc format. Food Although the meals are generally excellent, we experienced 2 problems. First, chicken breasts or thighs were raw inside on 2 occasions. We sent them back and got well-cooked replacements. Make sure if you order chicken that you specify you want it well done. Undercooked chicken can be dangerous! A second problem is that the Terrace Grill (the buffet restaurant that you will probably use for most breakfasts and lunches) has the worst design of any cruise ship we have been on. Why? -- 90% of the food is crammed onto counter-tops on both sides of a very narrow aisle, about 50 feet long. You’re continually banging into other guests who are shoulder-to-shoulder trying to get food. The solution: Go very early or very late. Canyon Spa I listened to one of the hour-long health seminars given by the fitness trainer. It was about all the “terrible” health problems caused by the accumulation of toxins in the body. Since I have a biology degree, it soon became obvious that although there was some accurate anatomical and physiological information given out, the majority of the “facts” simply involved vague, misleading half-truths. The objective was to sell several months’ supply of Canyon Spa teas and a seaweed bath product that would supposedly rid the body of toxins. (The cost: over $1000 for a six month supply delivered to your home) It was the worst example of quackery and “snake oil” sales I have ever seen, with not a shred of valid medical research to support the use of those products. Oceania should be ashamed of allowing that kind of misinformation to be foisted on passengers, most of whom have low scientific literacy. My advice: Use the spa for massages if you want to pay their ridiculous prices, -- but skip the seminars. In summary, none of these problems affected our enjoyment of the cruise. I simply offer them as a warning to future passengers on Nautica or her sister ships. No cruise ship is perfect. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
The cruise had a fabulous itinerary and we chose it for that. We were not disappointed. The cruise was amazing and the ports were phenomenal. Everything was interesting and easily explored. Sometimes we had to travel a distance from port ... Read More
The cruise had a fabulous itinerary and we chose it for that. We were not disappointed. The cruise was amazing and the ports were phenomenal. Everything was interesting and easily explored. Sometimes we had to travel a distance from port to the points of interest but that is often to be expected with a cruise. We could not have been more pleased with the choice of ports. We arranged for private shore excursions and were so happy we did. In 2 ports we took ship tours because there were no private tours available. In Limassol, Cyprus, the tour was OK - not great, but interesting. In Salalah, Oman, the tour was absolutely terrible. The ship should have given everyone a refund of the money they charged. The tour was to be 4 hours and it ended up being 2 1/2 hours because of immigration problems. However, the tour was terrible, uninteresting and not worth even $25. Just horrible. We complained, as did many other people. My recommendation is to stay away from ship tours if at all possible. The ship was lovely and it was kept very clean. We had a problem, however, with service in the Grand Dining Room and in Waves Grill. Both seemed to be short-staffed. Many times there were tables that needed to be bussed at Waves. Since this is an outdoor venue and the weather was lovely, many people wanted to sit outside but we had to bus our own tables sometimes. The staff just couldn't keep up with it. The service in the GDR was excruciatingly slow most nights. We didn't find the wait staff overly friendly - certainly not as it had been on other Oceania sailings. Something was off on this sailing and it was noticeable to many. The menu in the GDR was unspectacular and often plain boring. Several nights there was nothing that any of us wanted. The Jaques Pepin menu never changed and was very tired by the end of the cruise. The specialty restaurants were much better, with better service and food. We found Toscana a bit more to our liking than Polo Grill because the wait staff was better. The food was more inconsistent in Polo Grill, too, but both were FAR better than the GDR. We were able to eat 6 times in the specialty restaurants and we were very glad we could b/c the GDR was just not up to Oceania's normal standards. Add poor service to that on some nights - a 15 minute wait for a waiter to even come to the table!! - and it was a recipe for dissatisfaction. We always went to Happy Hour in Horizons and had one server who was outstanding, Beverly. She was attentive, knew our drink selections after the 2nd day and was always cheerful. If we didn't sit in her section, she would come to us and ask us why we weren't sitting in her section. She really cared about us and proved that good service is still possible on Oceania. She made our evenings so very enjoyable. Our cabin was always kept clean, however, when we first arrived, we did not see our cabin steward until the next day! This is unheard of. We knew the name of our attendant but we never saw him. I called for extra hangers and they took forever to arrive. Poor service there on the first day. When we finally saw our cabin steward the next morning, we found out it was not the one who had been assigned to us. The steward originally assigned to us had left the ship in the embarkation port. We figured that there had been some personnel problems b/c surely they would not have assigned him to our cabins had they known he was leaving. Still, no word of explanation nor was there an apology for the replacement. And we still would not have met our new steward if it hadn't been for the fact that he was in the hall when we left the cabin the next morning. Another "off" thing about this sailing. The Cruise Director, Julie James, is a bit tired and long in the tooth. She was our Cruise Director once before and we didn't think she was all that great. She is friendly and bubbly but that's about it. She doesn't expend a lot of energy getting to know her crowd. We have had CDs who are much more engaged with the passengers. The production entertainment staff was engaging and the kids worked really hard but they were not all that good. They were as cute as they could be but they didn't seem to be that skilled. Sometimes off key in the singing. The dancers were very good and far more skilled. The hired entertainers (magician, musician, flautist) were excellent. They could not have been better and we enjoyed them tremendously. The professional lecturers were outstanding and we enjoyed their presentations. Since we were seeing so many foreign ports, their input and information was extremely valuable and helpful. All in all, we have loved Oceania and are willing to give this cruise experience in the cabin and dining room areas a pass. Perhaps something was going on that we were not aware of as passengers. Certainly, we have experienced a much better Oceania in the past. We hope that this is not becoming the standard because if it is, we will be turning our allegiance elsewhere. An outstanding itinerary cannot make up for some of the issues we found. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise primarily because of the itinerary and it did not disappoint. We made all our own tour arrangements at each port so I can not comment on the ships tours. Our room was fantastic and the service bar none. We found all ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily because of the itinerary and it did not disappoint. We made all our own tour arrangements at each port so I can not comment on the ships tours. Our room was fantastic and the service bar none. We found all the amenities great. We especially liked the Terrace Cafe just because of its variety of selection and casual atmosphere. We did enjoy Toscanas food as well, but did find the Polo fell short of our expectations. The entertainment in the evening was energetic and we were so impressed with the takent of the young enetertainers on the ship. The enrichment lectures were really informative and we tried not to miss any of them. We enjoyed the small ship atmosphere and the friendly staff. Our housekeeping staff went above and beyond any requests we had. The embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and we were quick to get off and on the boat to meet up with our tour groups. We will definitely use Oceania again. Thanks for a wonderful experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Nautica is one of 8 identical ships built for Rennaissance cruise line. Azamara have 3 and Oceania have 4. They are small enough to get into ports which larger ships cannot and therefor have better itineraries. the weather on this cruise ... Read More
Nautica is one of 8 identical ships built for Rennaissance cruise line. Azamara have 3 and Oceania have 4. They are small enough to get into ports which larger ships cannot and therefor have better itineraries. the weather on this cruise had several days of rough weather resulting in missing the first port which was changed to Naples. We did back to back cruises and the weather improved as we headed south. The food on this cruise was outstanding. The main dining room frequently produced meals the equal of the speciality restaurants. This included the lunch menu. Additional meals in the speciality restaurants could be booked at the desk in the terrace cafe every morning.The other outstanding feature was the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff from general manager to cabin steward. This attitude more than made up for the weather. We chose the excursions from the 3 choices of the "o" life choice before the cruise so we did not have to pay extra to the cruise fare. The excursions were standard and similar to what can be obtained on other cruise lines. If we had paid the prices extra we would have been overcharged by some margin. Similarly the prices for alcoholic beverages were very high. The cabins on the "r" class ships have small bathrooms. When the forthcoming upgrade of Oceania's ships takes place it would be money well spent if the shower cubicle were extended as well as putting on a folding door. This would be preferable to to cosmetic changes. We benefit from the excellent Oceania loyalty programme. We are disappointed that in November 2019 the higher grades may be penalised If the food service and itinerary are priorities Nautica is a good choice. Read Less
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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