352 Oceania Nautica Cruise Reviews

We picked this cruise because of the destination as well as the discounted price that included airfare. Air arrangements and first night's hotel in Rome we booked independently. We also booked our own transfer from our hotel in Rome, ... Read More
We picked this cruise because of the destination as well as the discounted price that included airfare. Air arrangements and first night's hotel in Rome we booked independently. We also booked our own transfer from our hotel in Rome, which was expensive (110 euro for a private car) but much less than if we had booked through Oceania. Embarkation at Civitavecchia was the smoothest of any of the 18 cruises we have taken—just walked on about 1:30pm and checked in. Within 30 minutes we were able to access our cabin and our luggage arrived in a timely fashion, too. We had been on a similar vessel (R-2) when previously owned by Renaissance which went bankrupt after 9-11, 2001, so we were basically familiar with the ship. The size is ideal—large enough to have a variety of entertainment but small enough to avoid lines or any wait whatsoever. Another feature we really appreciated was NO photographer constantly intruding to snap a picture. Nor, was there the constant selling of merchandise and extras. Oceania understands its guests! Passengers tend to be older adults and there were very few children aboard. Therefore, there are few programs specifically for children. Because we enjoy ballroom dancing, we look for ships that provide this option. On Nautica we were not disappointed. There were multiple opportunities for dancing but very few passengers took advantage of them. First, there was a duo that played in the Horizon lounge from 6:00-6:45 and again from 7:00 to 7:45. Then after dinner, the show orchestra played in the theater with its own dance floor prior to the evening's main entertainment so we could dance from about 8:45 to 9:30. We also enjoyed a 4-piece string quartet that played several times an evening, particularly the classic set from 8:00 to 8:45. We rarely attend the production review shows but did see the comedian who performed twice during our cruise; his routine was entertaining. As this was a port-intensive cruise with no sea days, there was only one lecture about a port. Instead, one of the TV channels described each shore excursion in detail. Several movies played each day, plus you could check out DVD's free from a list of literally hundreds. My problem was there was really no time to watch them between going ashore during the day and eating and dancing at night. The ports were generally well chosen and the shore excursions we signed up for were generally good. My favorites were The Walled City of Carcassone (a place I have always wanted to visit), Aix-en-Provence, and Monaco/Monte Carlo on your own. For half of the ports, we went ashore and explored on our own made easy by my pre-planning at home. The one excursion we did not particularly enjoy was the Costa Smeralda for our Sardinia stop. Service was variable. Our cabin stewardess was great. She introduced herself and told us how to reach her on the first day of our cruise but then was hardly seen. However, our cabin was always made up with fresh towels whenever we were out. If we happened to be in the cabin when she came, she always made arrangements to come back later. Service in the two free specialty restaurants (Polo Grill and Toscana) was impeccable but sometimes very slow in the main dining room. In addition, waiters got our orders wrong several times. And in the buffet cafe, service could be very attentive to the point of being intrusive or totally indifferent. I had expected better dining service so we adjusted our tips. Paying $12.50 per person per day for mediocre service seemed excessive. Our dining experiences were likewise variable. The best meals were in the Polo Grill and Toscana but we were allowed only one reservation in each based on our cabin category. We especially enjoyed Waves, the informal pool-deck grill and ice cream parlor. Whenever we did a half-day excursion, we returned here for lunch. Offerings included salads and sandwiches such as paninis, hamburgers, grilled chicken, and Reubens. You could get gelato, milk shakes, or a variety of smoothies. All were delicious. One of our favorite activities was to finish lunch then lounge in the shade on the pool deck with a smoothie, reading or listening to our MP3 players. Food in the dining room was fair to good but despite great presentation, flavor often fell short. However, the breads were always excellent. The weakest link in the menu choices was dessert. The cabin was adequate, a premium oceanview (no balcony). Storage space was ample, too. While both shampoo and conditioner were provided, when we ran out of conditioner the replacement was a different color and did not even feel like conditioner. Luckily the cabin stewardess' assistant had a supply of the original conditioner which we eagerly accepted. The bed was super comfortable but we did not need a down comforter, which was the only top covering offered, for this cruise in a hot climate. Free bottled water was provided both in the cabin and each day when we left the ship. Plus, the refrigerator in the cabin was stocked with free soft drinks. Non-alcoholic drinks throughout the ship were free as well—an added bonus compared to other cruises. Disembarkation was as easy as embarkation. We were asked to be out of our cabins by 8:00am and off the ship at 9:00. Early breakfasts were provided so we had time to shower, eat, finish packing our carry-on bags and we were off the ship by 8:15. We then took a taxi to our independently booked hotel in Barcelona, a fascinating city. In summary, Oceania is the perfect ship for individuals who like some entertainment but are more interested in the ports-of-call. Due to its smaller size there were no lines or waiting. No photographer and sales pitches made this cruise especially enjoyable. If you like music or dancing there are many opportunities but not much in the way of educational lectures. Providing unlimited water, soft drinks, juice, ice cream, etc. was another plus. However, quality of food and service was variable and could be improved. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We were on the Yacht Havens cruise that departed Rome on 8/05. Boarding was smooth. Cabin was at front of ship and slightly larger than cabins around the sides. But, the view might be better at the sides because the verandas are more open. ... Read More
We were on the Yacht Havens cruise that departed Rome on 8/05. Boarding was smooth. Cabin was at front of ship and slightly larger than cabins around the sides. But, the view might be better at the sides because the verandas are more open. In general, pleasant voyage. Dining satisfactory. Crew friendly and hardworking. Most ports interesting. We liked the ports where we tendered much more than the ones where we docked. Walking from the piers was not ever pleasant. Marseilles was a particularly smelly, distant, and unpleasant pier. Very disappointed that itinerary was changed from Sanary sur Mer to Toloun. Quite a let down from previous ports. Especially annoyed because little guidance was offered on what to do or how to get around at this port. Oceania intended to keep us safe. I understand that. But little was done to keep up the quality of the itinerary. One of the fitness machines was broken for the entire voyage. In general, we liked Oceania and Nautica. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We sailed on 10 day Rome to Barcelona cruise that departed on August 5th. The Nautica is a lovely ship that carries just under 700 passengers so the atmosphere was intimate and country club casual just as they had promised. Men did not ... Read More
We sailed on 10 day Rome to Barcelona cruise that departed on August 5th. The Nautica is a lovely ship that carries just under 700 passengers so the atmosphere was intimate and country club casual just as they had promised. Men did not need to wear jackets to dinner. We had a cabin with balcony which was very nice. Being able to sit outside is a real plus. The food is generally very good on the ship. The two specialty restaurants that require reservations are quite good. The Dover sole at Toscana is really good. Having a concierge level room allows you to dine at these restaurants 4 times during the voyage. Tapas on the Terrace, another restaurant, open breakfast,lunch and dinner is not great. Sitting outside is nice, but the cafeteria like food is unfortunate on a ship of this caliber. Tapas on the Terrace needs a complete overhaul and needs to offer better food (better quality). The Wave Grill by the pool is also in need of higher quality meat for the burgers and more salads. While dessert is available during the lunch hour, only ice cream is available after lunch. Being able to get a cookie with to enjoy with a latte or a fresh piece of fruit would be nice. Afternoon tea should be available by the pool so that those of us in a swimsuit could also enjoy it. I never did make it to the Horizons cafe for afternoon tea because we were always at the pool around 4p.m. It took me a few days to realize that you can order practically anything to your room. That is, you don't have to stick to what's on the menu. I enjoyed a fresh bowl of mixed berries on more than one occasion. The staff on the Nautica are very friendly, helpful and professional. Dinner service can be a little slow, but being on vacation you don't really mind the wait. Getting on and off the ship is very we(i.e., Marseille) a shuttle into town would have helpful. You can't get a taxi at the port and the walk into town to the bus or train station took just under an hour in the scorching heat. One area for improvement for Oceania is the quality of information provided to passengers about the ports. You get the feeling that they really want you to take one of their tours. Asking for information at the Destination desk is a waste of time as the staff don't have a clue about the ports or the surrounding towns, etc. The evening edition of the Currents provides little useful information for people going ashore (no map, no suggestions how to get to the center of town, no listings of suggested lunch spots, shopping areas, etc.). Evening entertainment is ok. The comedian was enjoyable and the music provided at different venues was also pretty good. This is a cruise that creates a very relaxing atmosphere where you can enjoy great ports, a nice pool area and deck, good food and opportunity to meet some very nice people. We enjoyed every port with the exception of Sete France and Cinque Terre. We thought the cruise was good value for the money and we would sail with Oceania again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Greek Isles Odyssey, 10-22 Sep, 2010 onboard Oceania ship, Nautica 3 days in Athens pre-cruise and 3 days in Istanbul post-cruise This is the "executive summary" or should I say, well expanded ES of our cruise. It will ... Read More
Greek Isles Odyssey, 10-22 Sep, 2010 onboard Oceania ship, Nautica 3 days in Athens pre-cruise and 3 days in Istanbul post-cruise This is the "executive summary" or should I say, well expanded ES of our cruise. It will be a combination of "here's what we did and liked/didn't like" and lessons learned from first timers (it may be worth exactly what you are paying for it ?)) Diane and I are not cruisers per se having only been on one 4-day NCL cruise in 2005. I am a retired navy guy so this is like a busman's holiday for me. Don't get me wrong, I love being at sea and the Nautica spoiled the heck out of both of us! (Okay, I've just finished this Executive Summary and found myself on page 6. So the first part will be a bullet point of key items. If you care to drudge through the full write up be forewarned that I did say 'drudge'. I don't mind answering direct questions and will read the Oceania board on Cruise Critic every so often should you have a question. Here goes.... Pre-cruise: • Join and absorb Cruise Critic boards about Oceania, ports of call and the roll call for your specific cruise. • Check out Tripadvisor dot com for city restaurants, hotel and site recommendations • Open up a separate checking account with an ATM card. Deposit funds for the cruise - protects your main bank account funds. • Use a 4-digit PIN for your cards. Do not start the PIN with a zero • Learn some language words and phrases. Audio books In Flight {Greek} Learn Before You Land and great • Pre-pack two weeks before the trip. Guys - no sports jacket is needed On board the ship • Concierge stateroom - 216 Sq. Ft including veranda; lots of storage space. Veranda a must • Board early especially if this is your first time on the ship. Lots of activities that first day • Get the small floral arrangement if you plan on ordering one • Future Cruises presentation - don't waste your time • Coffee available 24/7 in Terrace Cafe, starboard side. Machine makes single cups of coffee, cappuccino or latte. Horizons coffee and Danish service opens at 6:15ish. Room service is QUICK! Enjoy the coffee while sitting on your veranda. • In-room frig: you can get it stocked with your favorites Restaurants: • Toscana was favorite; Polo Grill excellent with unwavering menu. Grand Dining Room also excellent. • Food was well prepared and presented well. Service was fantastic with one experience in the Polo Grill being a bit too much. • Maximum time we ever waited to be seated was 3-4 minutes. Portion sizes were great. • Tapas on the Terrace was most often the choice for breakfast buffet. • Fruits and vegetables always fresh and plentiful • Can order a bottle of wine and have it available in any restaurant. • Additional reservations are made in Terrace Cafe at the start of breakfast. Line up early for better chance. • Pastries & cake were uniformly dry. Off ship activities: Port tours: Ship tours are good but don't cover as much as most privately arranged ones and are usually more expensive for what you get. Go with private tour guides who have been recommended on CC boards. Tendering: Ship tour folks have priority boarding of tenders but usually space is available from the first tender on for DIYers Get tender pass in Nautica Lounge - try and be there about 15 minutes before first ship's tour group is to arrive On board comments and general demeanor by ship's staff. • Problems and requests are handled very, very expeditiously. The entire crew is warm, welcoming and eager to be of service to make your trip the best it can be. Diane and I would rate the cruise 5 + stars Pre-cruise Planning help: I joined Cruise Critic and absorbed every bit of information that I could about the ship and the different ports that we were going to. A world of experience is available for the taking (ask your question - you'll get an answer! (in retrospect, I really don't understand anyone who complained loudly about shipboard stuff - it wasn't perfect but darn near) The roll call for our trip wasn't as active as I thought it would be but those of us who did communication were able to set up our private tours very quickly and nicely. I also reviewed TripAdvisor dot com and found that the ratings of the hotels, restaurants, etc. were fairly spot-on. Use of ATM on holiday On the advice of a CCer (Cruise Critic blogger), we opened up a separate checking account at our bank, transferred funds to meet our ATM needs while on the trip and felt much more comfortable knowing that our primary checking account was safe. !Use a 4 digit PIN that does NOT start with zero for use with European bank machines! Other stuff Learn a few language words & phrases. In-Flight Greek (& Turkish) Learn Before You Land audiobooks (under $12 through Amazon) are an easy way to learn a few key phrases in {Greek and Turkish}. Simply learning how to say Please, Thank you, good morning (and for me, "Beer") will bring you much warmth from those you come in contact with. Prepack Two weeks before our trip we pre-packed. Our goal was to travel with one (count 'em) ONE medium sized suitcase each and a reasonably sized carry-on. Pre-packing gave us an unhurried opportunity to figure out what goes where, what was missing and what we needed to take out. We made our goal! Guys, you really don't need a sports jacket! I took one but only wore it once. Next time it will stay home!! Shipboard stuff Stateroom Stateroom 7063 (starboard {right} side amidships was our concierge home-away-from home for the 12 day trip. The size was reasonable as we didn't spend very much time in it. What is nice - and I wouldn't do it any other way - is the veranda. Now I know there are lots of folks who would rather spend the $$ ion something else on the trip but having that veranda to view the waves, watch the sun rise or set and other out-of-ship experiences while sipping coffee in the morning or a cocktail at night makes it all worthwhile. We slept most nights with the slider ajar and the soothing sounds of the ship and sea along with the fresh ocean breeze was priceless. Our trip was a celebration of several milestones (we stretched the truth a tad on how close in time we were to those events}: Diane's x0 birthday; our 25th wedding anniversary and two or three other minor occasions. In addition to receiving a Happy Birthday card and a Happy Anniversary card (and celebratory dinner in the Polo Grill complete with a special cake and singing wait staff) I ordered a floral arrangement for the room. It was a beautiful bouquet which livened up the room with color and fragrance but...after 3 days it simply was in the way. At 216 sq. ft. of floor space, including veranda, the floral arrangement assumed a disproportionate amount of space as time went by. (If you are going to get an arrangement for the room - get the small one) Boarding time Next time, we are going to board earlier. On the day of embarkation, we took a private tour of Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon and planned it so that we would arrive at the port of Piraeus about 3:30. Boarding and check in was quick and painless. When the limo pulled up to the pier area we were greeted by a Nautica staffer and a crew of stevedores (I think the Greeks call them that too). The luggage was checked against the manifest, tagged (I forgot to attach the ship's luggage tags...oops) and whisked away within a minute. Carry-ons over shoulder, the security and passport check was perfunctory and the bus to take us to the gangway (FYI: It's NOT a gang-plank...that's whats ya gotta walk when yur feed to the fish...arrrgh, matey} Had we known the 10 minute wait on the bus, the 10 second bus start up and door closing and the 23 second ride to the ship could have been avoided by walking...another "next time". Before actually boarding, our passports were checked again against the manifest, another package scan and we were escorted up from the deck 3 entry to deck 5 and the Nautica Lounge. There were 3 lines for checking in: Owner's Suite Vista Suite guests (1 couple in line); Concierge level guests (3 couples in line) and all other staterooms (10-12 couples). Pictures taken, "World Cards" made and given - along with a nice amount of shipboard info to read (no test on the material was ever given). The World Card is a combination ID, room pass and charge card. (WARNING - make sure you keep the World Card from magnetic stuff or whatever causes them to go flat. We had to get new ones 4 times! What's worse, if one person needs a new one both must get new ones.). The Nautica Lounge check-in took no more than 10 minutes. Up two levels to deck 7, turn left then right to head aft on the starboard side to room 7063. A quick check out of the room and read of some of the info we were given along with more papers that awaited us in the room. Champagne was cooling in the ice bucket and the floral arrangement was beautiful. As luggage had not yet arrived our plan was to tour the ship top to bottom. Forward and up the stairs (on naval vessels those things which you climb taking you from one level to another are called ladders. On the Nautica they were STAIRS - too ornate to be plain 'ole ladders.) to deck 11 - sun deck and cabanas - down the steps to deck 10, u-turn to walk forward and into the Horizons Lounge; back across the fitness track and visit the library and peruse the vast selection of books. Chatted with another couple we had met in Athens for a few minutes as we walked out to view the pool deck partial filled with passengers who were enjoying the sunshine and water in the pool... It had been about an hour since we boarded and so we skipped the rest of the self-guided tour and returned to 7063. Our luggage had arrived and was waiting impatiently for us in the passageway. Unpacking time! There was plenty of room for all of our stuff. In fact the plastic hanging shoe bag that we were going to hang over the bathroom door wasn't needed. Lots of wooden hangers in the closet, a safe for valuables and we were set. There were dual electric outlets: 110 & 220 on the desk and another in the bathroom so using the3-slot extension cord I brought it made recharging all of my electronics relatively easy (I had fried my outlet strip in Athens so I did need to change items to be charged every night). Just as we were wrapping up the distribution of clothes the call went out for the mandatory lifeboat drill. The Orange (lifejackets) stored in the closet were donned and all passengers made their way to the Grand Dining Room. A short presentation about how to put on the lifejacket was given and we trundled off to our lifeboat station on the outboard walking area of deck 5. There we listened while Leslie Jons, our fantastic cruise director, gave the "In case of emergency" lecture to all. By the time we scurried back to our stateroom it was time to dress for dinner which was preceded by our Cruise Critic party held up in Horizons Lounge. This was a no-host event that one of the bloggers set up with the concierge ahead of time. Nautica provided us with simple snacks and the wait staff was very attentive to our need for much needed beverages. Dinner in the Grand Dining Room followed on the heels of the CC get together. Bill & Vickie from Palm Desert, California shared a table with us that first night (I was delighted to see that they were both beer drinkers!!). This night, like every night eating in the GDR there was absolutely no wait for a table. But we did linger over the scrumptious meal and waddled out about 9:30 fully sated and satisfied. It was perfect timing as the ship got underway about 10 and we watch Piraeus harbor fade from sight from the comfort of Tapas on the Terrace, aft on deck 9. As both of us were quite tired by then we shuffled off to our room and readied for bed. Our heads were spinning with all of the constant activity that had gone on since we boarded! As we paused on the veranda - Diane with her evening tea and I with a final cocktail - we both agreed that "Next time" we will board earlier so that we can enjoy the ship and the day as a much more leisurely pace. Other stateroom related info Bashi, our room attendant, was great! Never did we see him without a smile or a warm hello. He (as well as a number of the staff) was kind enough to let us into his life. We learned about his home in the Philippines, he's family and some of his life's detail. It made us feel very welcomed. Bashi made up the room twice each day. (and even worriedly asked us if he could when we had the "do not disturb" sign on the door just so that he wouldn't need to). The room temperature/humidity was higher at night than we normally like. That was easily corrected by leaving the slider to the veranda ajar. That had the additional benefit of serenading us with the sounds of the ocean while we slept. Room service is 24/7. The last day was the only time we used it for anything other than morning coffee. Which leads me to one of the absolute necessities - morning coffee. The first night neither of us slept particularly well. I finally gave up trying to return to the land of Morpheus, grabbed my Kindle and went looking for coffee. In the Terrace Cafe on the starboard (right) side just aft of Waves Grill there is a new coffee machine which makes decent single cups of your favorite hot beverage: coffee, cappuccino or latte. I wasn't the only one who couldn't sleep. If you want coffee and Danish about 6:15ish then the urns of caffeinated, decaffeinated and hot water (for tea drinkers) are set up in the back of Horizons Lounge on the starboard side (sorry about the starboard/port thing.. I just can't bring myself to say left side and right side on a ship) But there is an even better way! Room Service! Here's how to: Arise groggily from your deliciously comfortable bed, pick up the telephone handset, feel around on the floor to find the handset because you dropped it; press #02 on the telephone keypad -the metallic voice will tell you to wait a few seconds while it's paging room service; hang up the phone and about 5 seconds later it will ring. A -much too cheery for this time of the morning - voice will say, "Good morning" and you can hoarsely mumble, "Two pots of coffee, quick"; hang up the phone and go put your bathrobe on. You'll need to do that quickly because it never took more than 4 minutes (usually 2) for a smiling waiter to be at our door with our two carafes of coffee! THAT was well worth the 1 Euro tip that we gave him. In-room frig The under-desk refrigerator is stocked with an assortment of things: water, soda, wine; beer, hard alcohol, etc. You can ask your room attendant to stock it with your own personal choices. The water is free and the alcoholic beverages are a price similar to that which you pay on an airline. As has been described on the CC blogs you can bring your own booze or soda aboard and drink it in the room (or in a lounge area if you don't flaunt it). Restaurants For us the choice of where to eat {I was going to list the 3 main meals but there are other times that you can eat/dine/sup that it begins to sound like Shire-like {as in Lord of the Rings}: "breakfast and then seconds, 3rd breakfast, 11 o'clock snack, lunch, tea......")...our choice of dining venue was mostly driven by the day's activities. Breakfast was usually in Tapas on the Terrace (7:00-9:00) and the buffet line. There are two sides to the main hot buffet area, both mirror images. Between the sides is the daily specialties; French toast, omelets, pastries. On the aft side of the room the food choices are the fruits, cereals nuts and berries, yogurts, etc. Fill the plate and head out to the alfresco area (or indoors) to select an empty table and await others to ask if they can join you or select a table already in use and join them for conversation. The wait staff will get you coffee, tea, juice, etc. Diane always has fruit for breakfast and the selection of fresh fruit in Tapas was extraordinarily good & fresh. I occasional tried a pastry and quite frankly found them to be very dry. This was uniformly true in all dining venues for all pastries and cakes - the only real disappointment in eating on the Nautica. The Grand Dining Room was my choice 3 times as I absolutely needed to have the grilled lamb chops - I was in heaven. The GDR is sparsely used for breakfast. Most days we were ashore at lunch time but we did eat in Tapas and Waves. Waves has burgers and good milkshakes and smoothies. My favorite sandwich was the Mahi Mahi burger with a side of French fries. Truth be told I found the fries to be a bit saltier than I like and the shakes to be a bit on the thin side. Never did eat lunch in the GDR. Like the fruit, the salad and fresh vegetables were excellent and always crisp and fresh. Dinner time is an adventure that we savored. Most of the time at home we are very plain eaters: grilled chicken (occasional fish or meat) and steamed veggies or pasta with a snippet of sauce. Dinner is over in about 20-25 minutes, max. On board the Nautica we lingered. Drawn by the multiple courses of the meal and conversation with new found friends resulted in supper being a 1 ½ - 2 hour event. We made reservations in the Polo Grill and Toscana on line before the cruise. Choosing nights early on in the cruise would, hopefully, give us a better opportunity to snag additional meals in these specialty restaurants. Our favorite restaurant by far was Toscana. The setting is soothing, the service was impeccable and the food on both occasions was done and served to perfection. The first meal in Toscana was, in our minds, one of the top dining experiences of our life. The bread basket delivered to the table was a work of art and the breads were crisp on the outside and tender, moist and warm on the inside. Our largest challenge was the olive oil and vinegar choices. The condiment cart was wheeled up to us and there was a choice of 8 different varieties and flavors of olive oil. {I need to go back to school and take a course in oils!). Salad, appetizer and main course were all perfectly size - thankfully. The menu is reasonably stable but there are nightly specials. The choice of pasta (capellini?) with crab salad was heaven on a plate. Diane had it as an appetizer and I for the main course. The place settings on the table are beautiful and very much enhance the meal. (however, while at school studying up on olive oils I am going to take a refresher in which of the 47 knives, forks and spoons to use when). I did mention the service being impeccable. Between the head waiter, 2 or 3 wait staffers assisting, the sommelier and the maitre 'de being unobtrusively attentive we felt well cared for yet not hurried. The Polo Grill has an Englishman's den feel to it. Leather upholstered chairs and china that evokes visions of fox-hunting pay compliment to the wood paneled room. We ate here three times (third visit was a gift from the Maitre 'de, Georgios (sp??). The food was good but first meal porterhouse steak was gristly . As I mentioned before, we found the portion sizes in the restaurant venues to be a good size (un-American like because the sizes weren't gigantic). In the Polo Grill it was a bit different. The steak was put in front of me and I took one look at it and said, "This isn't a Porterhouse steak, it's a porter mansion!" and I ordered a small one. I simply can't even imagine trying to wrestle with a 32oz steak! The first dinner in the Polo Grill also felt somewhat rushed. We were seated promptly (good) a menu was ready to be handed to us even before we sat down, drink order taken, and immediately the waiter was there to take our order. Bread, salad and main course seemed to come before we were finished with the previous course. Both issues turned into positives, as far as I'm concerned: On our mid-cruise comment card I made mention of both negatives from our visit to Polo. That card was turned in at the reception desk on deck 4 in the morning. By that afternoon we had received a call from the Polo Grill chef and Georgios, the Maitre 'de. The chef said he was glad to hear of our problem and assured us it would be looked into and taken care of - all future cuts of meat were excellent. We didn't get a chance to talk with Georgios about the rushed feeling but during our second meal in the Grill, 3 nights later, he stopped at our table and spoke to us at great length about our concerns. He apologized and then offered us another reservation, which we took. During the second evening in Polo the service was much better, less hurried. By the third visit we are positive that Michael, our head waiter, had been told to ensure that we were well cared for. We enjoyed Michael all three times there as he was very personable and very good at his job! The Grand Dining Room dining was also very high quality. Naturally the room is a bit noisier than the smaller venues but still within reason. The wait staff was usually prompt and took good care of their charges. There was only once when it was necessary to ask about our food delivery. Food was generally very tasty, well presented and the right temperature. Twice we couldn't decide between two entrees and opted to have both delivered together...made for a crowed table. Room service meals - The only time we had room service for other than our morning coffee was the last day. While packing we ordered some cheese and crackers. It was delivered within about 10 minutes and was a nice arrangement of several types of crackers and a good assortment of cheese - including, as our video showed - Limburger. I haven't tried Limburger since I was a pre-teen when my grandfather and I would take cheese and pistachio nuts down into the basement to share. It definitely is an acquired taste which we still have yet to accomplish....and really are not going to try. While we are on the subject of dining: There are several things which, in my opinion, make dining onboard Oceania Lines even nicer and one that's not so great: • You can order a bottle of wine with a meal and have it available later in most of the ding venues: Toscana, Polo, GDR and even Tapas. • Tip is automatically included with drinks and, of course, there's no tipping in the restaurant. It is very nice that when you are finished with a meal or a drink at the bar you simply get up and leave • Michael the head waiter in the Polo Grill • Making additional reservations in Toscana and the Polo Grill is cumbersome. The ONLY way to get additional reservations above and beyond your room's allotment is to go up the Terrace Cafe and wait in line before breakfast starts. I tried it twice arriving each time about 15 minutes before the restaurant opened and was about the 7th to 8th person in line. Didn't get additional seating either time. There's got to be a better way. Other shipboard related stuff Tours at each port It is not difficult to learn a great deal of information about most places that the ship will stop. Googling the name of the city/area will reveal a wealth of information. Tripadvisor dot com is a good site to find out information about restaurants, hotels and even places to visit. Of course, the tried and true book guides: Frommer's, Rick Steves (excellent!) But the best spot is the Cruise Critic boards. There you can ask very specific questions and learn from the experience of well-seasoned travellers (ya might say that some are...wait for it...old salts!) We decided, after extensive research on the various ports to do some DIY, some with a privately arranged tour and, to gain the experience of it, some shipboard tours. Most private tours that we took were much, much better than ships tour because we saw more sites, learned a greater amount of detail, could customize the tour to suit the tastes of the fewer number in the group and for the most part were less expensive that the ship's offerings. With a ship's tour there is always the necessity to ensure that ALL of the tourists in the group are on the bus or with the group as you explore. This means that the pace is CONSIDERABLY slower than a small group. Of course, due diligence must be taken when setting up the private tours: ensure the extent of the services that will be provided by you guide: transportation, dialogue while riding; qualified (and licensed) tour guides at major sites (Or at least arrangements for such a guide); itinerary and naturally the price. Confirm the arrangements about a month before the date of your tour AND confirm a day or two before. Using a cell phone is easy and relatively cheap in most places and well worth the dollar or two it costs to use. The use of tenders by those who are DIYing it or taking a private tour is painless. As can be expected, these on a ship's tour have first priority on the tender. However, if there are extra seats on a tender others may use them. We never found a day when we weren't able to get on the first tender leaving the ship. In the daily bulletin the ship's tours will be listed along with the time to report to the Nautica Lounge to pick up the tender tickets. If you are taking a ship's tour the voucher(s) for that tour will be in your stateroom when you board. Take the voucher to the Nautica Lounge at the appropriate time and trade it for a tender ticket that has on it the number of the tender to which you are assigned and bus pass. Wait in the Lounge until your tender is called (A nice Swedish voice will gently call out, "Those on tender #1 may now proceed to deck 3". Follow the leader down to the debarkation deck, deck 3. If you are DIYing or private touring and you want to get off the ship as early as possible be in the Nautica Lounge about 15 minutes before the first ship's tour people. Go up to the check in desk and they will give you a tender pass. If there are seats on tender #1 that's when you'll go. We took private torus in 4 or 5 ports and were always able to get on the first tender. Most of the time when we DIYed it we didn't leave the ship until an hour or two after the first wave of tenders departed so there was never any wait. In fact, the cruise director will announce when open tendering starts so you don't even need a pass. Returning to ship is even easier. Hopefully you've remembered where the boat pulled in (suggestion - take several pictures of the surrounding area so that on return from a long day of walking/shopping the location can be confirmed) There was always a welcoming Oceania umbrella with a table that had cool drinks of water or juice and a few chairs. Ship staff is on hand and greet you with a nice smile. The shore based staff will check your World Card to ensure that you are headed to the correct ship. Of course, if the ship is pier side there is no restriction on when any passenger can disembark. Other minutia and opinions: Cost of "extras" onboard. DIY vs. Laundry service. Opinion - we were on vacation we did not want to spend our time in the Laundromat. Even with sending out underwear to be cleaned and several loads of shirts/slacks/dresses our total laundry bill wasn't any more that $50 {yes we did rinse out our socks in tour bathroom}. Booze: No more costly than could be found at a decent bar/restaurant. $4.50 for a 'standard' beer and $6.00 for the two or three premium ones (Guinness, Grolsche). $9-10 for a martini. {I recently went into a local bar complete with pool tables and one or two patrons drinking shots & beers (NOT a high class joint). My bourbon on the rocks cost $8} Shipboard booze cost is really not excessive. 18% gratuity automatically included: I'll ask you this: If you got out to dinner at a nice restaurant and wait for your table at the bar with a martini or two, what will the bill be and how much tip will you leave? I see a $20 tab, I'm probably going to add 3-4 dollars - 15-20%. $12/day/person added to your ship's invoice: Again consider what would it cost if you would eat breakfast and dinner at a restaurant (the adjective 'nice' is assumed). Breakfast would cost $15-20 and dinner $60-80 at a minimum. Total per day would be $75-100. A 15% tip would then amount to between $11 & $15. Considering all of the other services rendered $12 ain't half bad. Port touring: I had meticulously planned a combination of ship & private tours and several stops where we DIYed it. Those DIY days were to be lighter on the shore based activities. Alas we didn't follow through with that plan. Reflecting back, we wished we did have more time on board the ship to lounge by the pool, join in some of the activities and just relax. NEXT TIME Future Oceania Cruises presentation: If it is anything like the one they gave on our cruise, don't bother. It was simply a reading of the list of cruises coming up. (If one of my students had made a presentation like that I would have flunked him/her) Response to 'suggestions' (read: problems). Whenever there was an issue that was brought to the attention of a staff member it was addressed immediately. You will notice that I didn't say "most of the time" because it was dome EVERYTIME. This is an extraordinarily superior service (and obvious mandated goal) of the ship and by extension the company... (The response was so good that one needed to be mindful of off handed comments because it may result in an unnecessary immediate response). Cases in point: Mid-cruise comments. This was filled out about the 5th day of the cruise and turned in to the reception desk before going ashore about 9 AM. When we returned in mid-afternoon, the door in our room was fixed; there was a note about reusing towels on our bed and a message from both the chef and the maitre 'de from the Polo Grill on our telephone's voice mail. The chef spoke to us about the quality of the meat cut and assured us it would be watched - never had a problem in the next two visits there. We missed being able to take immediately to the Maitre 'de, Georgios (from Corfu) but he came to our table 3 nights later and we spoke at length about the service. This concern was attended to and we were offered an extra reservation in the restaurant - which we took. A mention to Bridget, the trainer in the gym about missing towels brought an instantaneous supply; a question about use of the equipment launched a full blown demonstration on the equipment and some good info on work out routines. Bridget, by the way, was delightfully upbeat and pleasant any time we saw her in the gym or elsewhere on the ship. General ship's crew demeanor: The treatment and pleasant willingness of ALL of the crew was another very strong point of the ship. Especially those with whom you have numerous contact; room attendant, waiter, bar tender they were not only pleasantly polite but genuinely happy in their positions. Learning about their lives and families made the trip even more special because you felt a bit like you were with your own family. Was the entire ship-board experience perfect? NO, but then again perfection wasn't expected. But overall, 99% of the time we felt pampered and felt that whatever we wanted we could have. It was delightful to be spoiled and for us... NEXT TIME will definitely be Oceania Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We began the cruise by sailing out of Istanbul, Turkey, at night surrounded by lights of all colors on buildings and bridges and the overwhelming sounds of prayers from minarets nearby and up into the hills. We ended the cruise by sailing ... Read More
We began the cruise by sailing out of Istanbul, Turkey, at night surrounded by lights of all colors on buildings and bridges and the overwhelming sounds of prayers from minarets nearby and up into the hills. We ended the cruise by sailing into one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town, South Africa. In between we visited small villages to large cities in emerging nations to established nations, and through our experienced tour guides or our inexperienced- but- so- excited tour guides we learned about the people, transportation, foods, and religions of so many very different cultures. Generally the seas were smooth, two rainy days, warm to humid, hot weather. We prefer a ship the size of Nautica. The staff is into service, captain so congenial and cruise staff very talented. The cruise director, Dottie, was great, and there was talented entertainment including a comedian, fantastic pianist and the group,The Olympic Duo. Margaret was the best dance instructor and entertainer. Super cooking demos and samples. Special guest speakers were very good. We think Nautica has the best library at sea with extremely comfortable couches and chairs, computer access and abundant book collections. Our cabin was fine with plenty of storage space, good TV and was supplied with slippers and comfy robes and wonderful bedding. The food consisted of daily delicious, fresh baked goods, light salads, fresh fruits, vegetables and fish, wonderful cheeses and freshly cooked poultry and meats. There were free sodas and bottled water -especially needed when touring in Africa. Enjoyed all the restaurants but preferred eating on the outside deck, Terrace Cafe. Depending on the port, local representative(s) came onto the ship to provide maps, tour info, stamps and mail service, postcards, and/or currency exchange. This was in addition to info provided by the ship's tour experts. In Africa musical groups and dancers in costumes performed on the piers and often many local products were available for purchase. Mostly we took ship's tours for reasons including health issues and that we were in areas of the world we didn't know. Not inexpensive, but all were good or excellent except one and Nautica satisfied our serious complaint. Other times we took free shuttle buses that the ship had running into towns.Complaints: Too few deck chairs on the "promenade deck" deck 5. We were very disappointed in that the special guest speakers did not talk about Africa although this was the focus of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Likes and dislikes are individual tastes and here are mine. There are many pluses about the Nautica. The staff is very good. The rooms are comfortable with marvelous mattress and bed linens, plenty of storage, and adequate 220 and ... Read More
Likes and dislikes are individual tastes and here are mine. There are many pluses about the Nautica. The staff is very good. The rooms are comfortable with marvelous mattress and bed linens, plenty of storage, and adequate 220 and 110 outlets. I could bring alcohol and wine on board. Water and sodas are complimentary and water is always on the gangway as one debarks. Also, my cell phone received a signal on days at sea and in most ports (I have a SIMM which has both a US and international number). The best things about the Nautica are the size of the ship and its itinerary. These were the two reasons I chose to sail with Oceania and in neither was I disappointed. Entertainment is not a big deal to me. I am focused on the ports, people and their culture. However, Nautica seems to do a good job trying to entertain as many people as possible with a veritable plethora of games, contests, trivia, projects and crafts, and some lecturers. Terry Bishop, a historical lecturer, was excellent. The bands, from what little I heard, were good. There are endless interest groups almost to the point of nausea. Our Captain Junica Brajcic of Dubrovnik Croatia is charming and quite the celebrity. He commanded the Nautica during a Somali pirate attack in the Nov 2008. However, there are some issues to consider before sailing with Nautica or Oceania. First, the ship excursions are expensive and rather shallow. Comments from those on the tours ranged from "great" to "rip-off." I arranged private tours for the ports, did twice as much yet paid about a quarter of what the ship charged. As an example, in Ghana, their 5 hours to Elmina and Cape Coast Castles cost $229, their 6 hours to Kakum Park and the canopy walkway cost $229. Our private tour of 8 hours to Elmina and Kakum cost $90. For those not wanting to be off the ship too long, or miss their trivia game, or uninterested in seeing as much of the port as possible, I suppose the ship's tours are adequate. Meeting people thru the online Cruise Critic, there is an opportunity to form small groups and independently tour the ports. And by the way, it would also help, for those not using Oceania for overpriced pre-cruise arrangements, if Oceania notified us the name of the port where we were to find the ship. Secondly, the Internet is slow and expensive. It has been a long time since I have had to use dialup. I purchased a 100-minute package for $80. However, when these minutes were used, the next time I signed in it cost .95 each minute. An answer is WIFI. Before sailing, unsubscribe to sites and ask friends not to send any attachments. I took my iTouch and logged directly into my GMail account. I could download my mail, send 2 or 3 messages, and publish my Blog in about 6-7 minutes. And I could get a signal both in my cabin and everywhere about the ship. I am extremely disappointed in the air arrangements. I paid the extra fee to leave early and fly through Chicago to pick up my sister who is asthmatic and mobility-challenged. I paid for both of our cruises on my credit card, we stayed in the same stateroom, and I could not have stressed more how important it was that our flights be coordinated. No such thing happened. While we were on the same flights, our seats were at opposite ends of the plane and each leg of the trip I had to find someone to exchange seats. We were told by the airlines that our reservations were not linked. The Nautica has recently been refurbished and most public areas are quite nice. However, there is a lack of quiet deck space. Chairs around the pool are in a noisy area and at times the area was too hot or windy to use. And rarely did anyone ever come around to see if I wanted refreshments. There is an area along both sides of Deck 5 but only a few lounges. We were able to occasionally get a staff person to bring more lounges. I am not overly impressed with the dining nor the wine. Toscana was a major disappointment because of its unremarkable decor and menu. Our first and only dinner there took over 3 hours to serve. We cancelled all future reservations. Polo Grill was better but steaks were not consistently grilled. The food and service in the Main Dining Room was generally better. The best however, was dining on the terrace at Tapas (inside is utilitarian). Probably the best food most nights was cooked-to-your-order specials. For lunch, Waves was great. The wine at a minimum of $30 a bottle was not that good (add 18% service to all alcohol). Hopefully the $75+ was better. A real drawback is there is no place to get something to eat 24/7. To call for room service to get a sandwich or piece of bread or cheese is silly. Whatever you do, try not to exchange money on the ship. The absolute worst was when a "bank" came on board after docking. Perhaps the worst, and most offensive, issue with Nautica is the different colored WorldCard used to signify level of stateroom booked. In fact, many things are tied into the level of stateroom booked, from boarding times, amenities, and dining arrangements. Forget pre-reserving a table to include friends unless your guests are traveling at the same level of accommodation. My travel mates upgraded to Deck 7, we were Deck 4. They could not reserve a table to include us but 4 of their 6 reservations. Forget doing it later on the ship as this is just not going to meet with success. And what is the reason for providing different colored WorldCards according to level of accommodation? Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We've sailed Oceania before and think they provide an excellent experience. Even so, a thirty day cruise was a log time and a lot of money, so we debated about it. The itinerary convinced us, with fifteen ports, most places we'd ... Read More
We've sailed Oceania before and think they provide an excellent experience. Even so, a thirty day cruise was a log time and a lot of money, so we debated about it. The itinerary convinced us, with fifteen ports, most places we'd never been that are difficult to get to any other way, sailing the West Coast of Africa. There were twelve sea days - interspersed nicely with the ports, to make for a very relaxing cruise, mostly through tropical waters. Midway through the cruise, I got to my 100th country. The Nautica is a beautiful ship - we discovered on a Renaissance cruise over a decade ago. The public rooms are nicely decorated, the cabins are reasonably roomy and easy to live in. Oceania beds are among the most comfortable we've experienced. Oceania is outstanding for service - friendly, helpful crew that always great you, even as you pass in the hallway. The crew was from 44 countries, making my custom of saying thank you in the right language a challenge, but one always met with a smile of appreciation. Food onboard was a highlight of the trip - the Grand Dining Room serves a four course lunch and a six course dinner with a variety of options that changes daily. Passengers are seated when they arrive, at a table for two or a bigger table for groups or those who want to share (a great way to meet new people). The Terrace Cafe offers cafeteria style (with someone to carry your plate and someone to spoon on the cottage cheese), convenient for breakfast and open three meals a day, with plenty of outdoor seating. The two specialty restaurants were there for dinners grander than the six course Grand Dining Room, with specialty olive oils and balsamic vinegar, larger portions and even more elaborate service. They required reservations, but we had no problem making them before departure and during the cruise. The breads are baked three times daily, special requests are honored easily, and wine follows you to the next meal if you don't finish the bottle. Several items were memorable from the dover sole at Toscany to the cold fruit soups that appeared regularly to the oversized roast beef at the Polo Grill. The entertainment staff were welcoming and friendly. Good enrichment speakers regularly provided at-sea day talks (unfortunately not on West Africa), the comedians were great, services were held every Friday night and all through Chanukah for the Jews on board - even latkes. The reception staff was helpful in solving problems. The disappointment was in destination services, where they couldn't tell us the location of the Modern Art Museum in Istanbul (it was a quarter mile away on the dock), were totally useless for travelers not booking on an excursion, and almost as useless for those investing in the badly planned and badly operated excursions (forced non-stop march through the market in Tunis). I actually tried the gym, a radical move for me. I preferred the library, but I signed up for three hours of trainer who helped me learn how to use all those exercise machines. She was delightful, but didn't overcome decades of inactivity. The West African ports were not ready for prime time - we were pioneering in stops in The Gambia, Togo and Benin. They did not have the tourist infrastructure to deal with 684 tourists arriving at once, staying eight hours, and leaving - things like money changing, taxis, even maps and materials. The people were delightful, happy to see us, ready to sell everything (good price - special for you). Their crafts and fabrics were wonderful, and we brought home many great memories and souvenirs. Dakar and Takoradi, Ghana were better organized, but still difficult. The tour of Goree Island and it's slave transit facilities was moving. The other stops, Crete, Malta, Tunis, Valencia, Casablanca, Canary Islands, Namibia and Cape Town are far better equipped to deal with tourists, and the four wheel drive through the Namibian desert was fabulous. We were not bothered by the thirty day cruise, although I'm not sure I could have taken the back-to-back cruise to Singapore that went for another forty days, as several of the people on the ship did. I was disappointed that it was over. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We love Oceania, especially the smaller ships so we were excited to embark on this cruise - we were not disappointed, We had never been to Portugal, nor Spain and could not think of a better way to visit than by cruising. We went by ... Read More
We love Oceania, especially the smaller ships so we were excited to embark on this cruise - we were not disappointed, We had never been to Portugal, nor Spain and could not think of a better way to visit than by cruising. We went by train from London to Southampton - this was a breeze, spent a night there pre cruise and the cab fare to the port was quite cheap. Embarkation was a bit slow but we were allowed into our cabin not long after boarding and everything after that went without a hitch, The food was up to Oceania's usual high standard, we were offered an extra night's dinner at Toscana which is one of our favourite speciality restaurants. We thoroughly enjoyed the meals we ate at this restaurant - yum! We loved our cabin, bed so comfortable and we really loved sitting on our veranda with a glass of wine at sail away and with a coffee in the mornings. The bathroom was a bit cramped but we were expecting this and it was really no bother. The excursions we took with Oceania were okay but some did not quite live up to their advertised descriptions - our travelling companions sometimes got a better deal using the local "hop on hop off " bus. A couple of the ports of call seemed a waste of time and I notice one is not included in any similar 2016 cruises. We only went to one show, A Salute to Edith Piaf, we enjoyed it very much but were often too tired to bother with the onboard entertainment preferring to snuggle up with a good book or simply sit on our veranda after dinner. Service was excellent, our cabin stewards were absolutely brilliant but we did have reason to complain about one of the waiters and were satisfied with the response. Internet was expensive - free on our next cruise thank goodness. I hate disembarkment - always feel they can't wait to get rid of us. Overall we had a great cruise, and have already booked a 23 day cruise for early 2017. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We recently travelled on a cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong on the Oceania's Cruise Line Ship Nautica. This is a 6 star ship which did not quite live up to the hype.Firstly this ship is strangely a class ship. If you have a cabin on ... Read More
We recently travelled on a cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong on the Oceania's Cruise Line Ship Nautica. This is a 6 star ship which did not quite live up to the hype.Firstly this ship is strangely a class ship. If you have a cabin on decks 7 and 8 you have butler service and excellent suites and are able to eat in the 2 excellent speciality restaurants almost at will. Also you appear to have identification which is different from the rest and of course you pay the premium. This top level is perhaps just 6 star provided the clients do not use the rest of the ship, the rest is anything but and is far worse than the same sized Ocean Princess and not in the same league as Crystal Cruises. The lower decks get one opportunity at each of the specialty restaurants but the rest of the time you eat in the Grand Dining room or the Tapas restaurant. The food in all is generally good but having said that we both had food poisoning which lasted for nearly a week. I was unable to eat at all for some 3 days and came back 5 pounds lighter. We ate or drank nothing that was not supplied by the ship but I believe the problem was probably from eating out on shore excursions arranged by the ship. I politely talked to the reception as I thought they may wish to check their kitchens because although I suspected the food from the shore excursions (Raffles, Pnom Penn and a luxury restaurant on the Mekong Delta) I could not be certain. I was rung by the Concierge minutes later with the words that nobody else had the problem and we must have licked our fingers whilst out. This was an unfortunate lie as my wife was sitting behind a similar patient in the doctors and we met at least 14 other suffers (all from the same trips) and a crew member had told me that there were many with my problem. Unfortunately this is a cruise line that is extremely difficult if you want to do your own thing on shore and you have to do the shore excursions. Unfortunately I like to do a mixture with excursions so that I do not have to eat out or go to the obligatory souvenir shops but the choice of landing times and cruise ports make this difficult and mostly impossible. This ship should have landed at Da Nang but landed at a jetty 30 miles from it with only a dirt road to it and absolutely nothing else for miles, in Guangzhou it landed 40 miles from the city in the industrial port and in Hong Kong it landed at the end of the island where there were no taxi's or anything else. With great opportunism the cruise line offered to take people to the airport in a bus at a cost of 107$ each instead of a taxi at 40$ total. It was claimed that the ship was bumped out of the main dock by the Star ferry but the Ocean Princess, Seabourn and Aquarious had no trouble and there was one completely empty cruise dock. Ports seemed to change regularly at the last minute. The cost of excursions was excessive even in the cruise world for trips that included the usual souvenir shop visits. The young crew are excellent throughout always with a smile and very efficient. Officers and managers often seemed to have a major problem and whilst they worked hard they smiled little and the atmosphere was not good and I guess they were at the end of a long stint although the assistant cruise director and chef were excellent and they did at least say hello without the typical fixed smile through gritted teeth. The Cruise Director was banging on about departure 6 days from the start. The accommodation was good and stewards superb and unfortunately we saw too much of the cabin. Entertainment is OK but limited, lectures were solely on American finance, politics and Wikileaks effect in the USA by a lovely Professor but of limited interest to non Americans (probably50%) or to anybody who came to get away from this. I would have loved to have heard about the region and places we visited. There was a USA pilot who spent 6 years in prison in the "Hanoi Hilton" who gave a talk to a few US friends but they were not allowed to publish it. We would have liked to go for a drink before dinner but as everybody goes to dinner at the same time it is impossible to get a seat in really the only useable Martini's bar (It only usually holds 30 maximum and usually 20) but only managed to get a seat once so stayed in our room. After the meal the same problem occurred and most people wandered off to bed before the show. It was like a ghost ship from around 9.00pm. Most times the show had a hardy 70 souls attending although one or two were better attended and the crew party was the highlight. The whole of deck 5 needs a rethink as a superb quartet played by the staircase but there were a few chairs to sit on and the position was uncomfortable. The rest is occupied by a sad looking casino and 2 equally sad boutiques. It would have been nice to have had a good coffee bar and a comfortable bar or bars. I unfortunately expected that people would at least dress up smartly for the Grand Dining Room but basically a pair of trousers and a Polo shirt was good enough and people generally came in as dressed on the tours or from the deck and the Tapas casual restaurant was strangely better dressed. The sun deck only had about 15 loungers each side not in the sun and these were booked (by books) although rarely were many used. There were only a few on the promenade decks and I actually retreated to my room on some occasions a balcony is essential on this cruise line. I finally gave up on the pretence when a Sommelier explained the finer merits of a bottle of wine that came out at 45$ which I had bought in Tesco for 6$ (£4.50) a few weeks previously. If you charge good prices at least give good product. Maybe the line has lost sight of its present cash generator in its rush to get its new cruise ship going but I was fed up of meeting people with a complaint that had been upset further by the ships attitude to it. The cruise is poor in comparison to the other cruises that we have been on (double figures) except for the food and might just be 3 star for those in the lower class( Somebody we met actually said that it did not stand up to a Thompson Cruise). We enjoyed our holiday in spite of Oceania as we saw the places we wanted to see and they should be credited for that. We were invited to join some N. American friends(not on this cruise) on an Oceania cruise next year just prior to going on this one but we fortunately waited to see what this was like and have now said no and they will no doubt are having second thoughts. This line could offer so much and they get A for effort and Z for application. If they were not bringing on new ships I would honestly have thought they had money troubles such was the level of "Nickel and Diming" as some Americans put it. Seabourn may have been a better option and I doubt if it would be more expensive all in but Princess or any of the others are a much better bet. I wrote to the line but unsurprisingly have not had a reply. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
I just completed Oceania's Asian Wonders cruise on Nautica January 15-30, 2011. I am an Oceania groupie and love the ambiance, excellent service, exceptional food, and the type of clientele attracted to Oceania. I have cruised on all ... Read More
I just completed Oceania's Asian Wonders cruise on Nautica January 15-30, 2011. I am an Oceania groupie and love the ambiance, excellent service, exceptional food, and the type of clientele attracted to Oceania. I have cruised on all three small ships over a period of 6 years. I chose Asian Wonders because I specifically wanted this itinerary, and was not disappointed. Be aware that going to Hanoi is a long 3 ½ hour drive from the port each way making a long day and a long drive. Destination Services offered an overnight in Hanoi -- a better time management option. Otherwise proximity from port to city was not excessive. When shipboard changes occurred in the past it was usually a positive change and often not noticed by guests. However, I was disappointed to experience the change in management of Oceania@Sea. I immediately expressed my feelings to the concierge about this. It seems Oceania has contracted out the services, thus no service is offered, except use of the PC's. For returning guests, this is a big change. No longer is it possible to download photos and cut CD's, or provide computer classes. For most of the older generation, it was very confusing to use the PC's, as there were 2 logins; one for Oceania cruise mail and the other for internet. Emails were $3.95 per each incoming and outgoing, but internet time was exorbitant per minute. You had to login to internet just to use Microsoft Word to create your messages, so you ended up creating online. Thus no way to economize the costs. To reply to emails, you had to login to internet. Even the folks with personal PC's had problems in their rooms, and had to consult with the lone (that's right - only one) person for the whole ship. This happened often when they were composing emails and they lost all their content and had to start over. To sum it up, it wasn't pretty and the contractor wasn't especially nice. (I reported this also, and thereafter, I tried harder and he was nicer.) A suggested change for Oceania: Get rid of smoking in Horizons! It is a blight on the beauty of this gorgeous room and impossible to rid the smoke smell. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
I would like to break the cruise down in to various categories as it is important that I recognise the good and bad with Nautica/Oceania Cruise. It is also based on our experiences on other cruise lines and is my personal perspective from ... Read More
I would like to break the cruise down in to various categories as it is important that I recognise the good and bad with Nautica/Oceania Cruise. It is also based on our experiences on other cruise lines and is my personal perspective from a non-American perspective.Embarkation : Being Concierge certainly helped with an early and speedy check in in Hong Kong. Well organised. Disembarkation : In Dubai and the most organised we have have seen on any cruise vessel and they even had porters organised for us and which were paid for. Went as smooth as silk.Food : Firstly, a vessel who has pastry chefs who know how to make nice and fresh desserts and pastries. Apart from Croissants(however no-one on vessels seems to be able to do them correctly.Terrace/Tapas - was our main eating area. Great food and the evening meals were great. However, calling it Tapas is a mis-naming for the evening.Polo Grill was great and the meat was cooked exactly how I like it(french Blue). First Prime Rib I have had in some 15 years that had no fat in it.Toscanas - most meals were great except for the prosciutto(Not good and very unitalian).Grand Dining Room - only ate there a couple of times for dinner - Food was average and was just like any large restaurant in the USA. Get the order, serve it fast. Do not blame the chefs or waiters as it is the biggest restaurant on the boat and it is always full. Never ate b/fast or lunch there.Waves - Food was just OK - hamburgers were very bland - smoothies were greatService - generally extremely good - from cabin stewards to waiting staff to front desk and hospitality desks. They were absolutely brilliantThe mixture of nationalities of the crew is amazing and we found that talking to a lot of them was a most interesting experience especially regarding the ports were visiting.One very annoying thing was the speed at which plates were removed from your table with cutlery. Take the last morsel and a hand was there to take the plate away. When are people going to learn that we non-Americans(there a were a lot of non-Americans on this cruise) do not put everything on one plate we have a different plate for each course.One other thing is the coke tasted like diet coke. Found out why. It is served as a type of coke that is produced for maritime and air travel purposes only so a lot less caffeine.Also took a while for the staff to work out what an espresso coffee is.Alcohol - This is a rip off - $USD20 bottles of wine in Australia being S50 - $60 per bottle plus 18%. Not good. However, had some great wines from South America and Europe on the list which we did sample.Tours - we booked our own as most were only 50% - 60% of the cost of the boat tours and we had a private driver and guide with a vehicle. We did 2 small tours with Oceania(one on a large coach and one was for only 10 - 16 people). Take the 10 - 16 people one as it has more freedom. But if you can try and do your own thing.Passengers : Met some great people from USA, Canada, Europe and England who have travelled a lot also and this also made it an interesting trip. I mention this as most people we have met on RSSC are there for the looks and name and not interested in most places being visited. The international passengers(Non-Australian) on Nautica were great and very pleasant.I will apologise for some of the Australians who's behaviour I thought left me a little embarrassed.Also to the couple of Americans who say Australians do not tip. Our gratuities are included in our fare we pay for the cruise and also some Australians did pay tips to tours guides and drivers(EG we did)Cabaret- Did not go there as we go on these trips to visit places and we also tend to eat late.Entertainment - saw one act and that was not that good. One thing missing is a piano bar where we can listen to some music and have after dinner drinks in a quiet area and not near poker machines.Ports of Call - Most were very good and those that were not we were aware of anyway before we embarked onto Nautica(checked on the internet and with a local travel agent in each place we went to(used the net again). Yes, some ports were a bit out of the way or just industrial wharfs but this will happen as cruising into some of these ports is only just beginning on a regular basis.EG Chang May(Vietnam and backup for DaNang) is an industrial port with no facilities at all, no shops or townn there, roads are extremely bad but it is still easy to get to DaNang/Hoi An or Hue from there. Saigon(HCMC) cruise terminal is near city centre - great location - however for other very large cruise vessels they may berth at the new port some 90 minutes out of HCMC centre, Phuket again is out of the main town centre but taxis and tuk tuks(4 wheel variety) are cheap and get you there in 25 - 30 minutes, Yangon(Myanmar/Burma) wharf we berthed at is Thilawa some 60 minutes from Yangon Centre. Again no facilities there as an industrail/commercial wharf area but again you are not there for that. Muscat(Oman) was again a difficult port to get out of but we had shuttle buses for the 5 minute drive into the city area and from there do what you want in total safetyCabin. Yes it is a lot smaller than RSSC and we were concerned about it. However, after a few days we were OK with it and all went well. It was clean, the room stewards were brilliant. bathroom is a little small(especially the shower). Plenty of storage areas for things.Other nice features not on other vessels we have sailed on. Shuttle buses provide at many of the ports. Having a local tourist board person come on board in a number of portswas great. Having the local bank come on board to exchange USD to a local currencyand then take local currency back(incl. coins) and giving us USD back was a brilliant idea. Exchange rate was also very reasonable. Having organised and paid for porters at port of disembarkation made this process so much easier For a coffee drinker we had access to coffee on a 24/7 basis Using the Ships Laundry was so reasonable compared to other cruise linesAnnoyances Paying for the use of the laundrette on deck 7 There is the only one laundrette and it is small so very crowded If a presentation by the Oceania Ambassador is being made some idea of the make up of the passengers helps so that we can be told what the cost is w/o airfares as they are no use to non-Americans flying to say Hong Kong or Capetown or Buenos Aires or Rio De Janeiro I also think that Head Office and the vessel management need to know what each other is doing as once on board they knew what was being done(EG shuttle buses). Blame this on Floridian office of Oceania. A few more external power points in various lounges would be good so one can do trip reports, download photos etc. with a cup of coffee and pastry. Only found one in card room.Overall, the vessel was great, generally food was good, cruise was brilliant, staff/crew were great, well organised and yes we have booked another cruise with Oceania in 2012 as it meets our requirements and goes to those places we have on our bucket list to see whilst we still can. Very few other cruise boats do a lot of the cruises Oceania do and I suspect that is why we met a lot of very interesting people who had travelled a lot.Oceania, apart from some minor irritations, was great and provides a better value for the dollar than RSSC. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Getting on and off the ship was very professionally done. The room was smaller than I thought it would be. I know trick photography is used when taking pictures of the room, but a little more space for the price would be nice. Everything ... Read More
Getting on and off the ship was very professionally done. The room was smaller than I thought it would be. I know trick photography is used when taking pictures of the room, but a little more space for the price would be nice. Everything worked well in the room, tv, air, good mattress. No problems with the bathroom, plenty of supplies. The service was the best. 5+ for sure. The cruise entertainment director, Willie Aames, of 8 is Enough fame, was born for this job. A great job is an understatement. The food was very good for all meals, but the speciality restaurants, in my opinion, lacked the quality that the regular restaurants offered. The wine was reasonably priced with an excellent selection. They even hold a bottle for you until the next day and serve it in any restaurant that you go to. There was never an "at sea" day so we used the pool on only 2 occasions. Never a problem getting a place to relax. We didn't take any of the tours, which were extra; instead we opted to explore on our own. Even if they were free, it's not likely we would have taken them since many of them were too physical for us. Most tours went from 75-150 dollars. The ship often had courtesy buses in-town to take us to and from the ship. Nickel and dimeing is a problem. Charging 2 dollars for washing and 2 dollars for drying is ridiculous. So is having only 1 laundry room on the entire ship(700 passengers). The line starts at 7:00AM and planning a wash is not vacation time well spent. The Internet costs about 140 dollars for about 2 hours. Too expensive. All in all, the pluses exceed the minuses so it was a trip well worth it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Background Over the years we had fallen in love with the idea of cruising, and had initially decided on other cruise lines (Silversea, Crystal) but eventually settled on Oceania because we liked the idea of "Country Club ... Read More
Background Over the years we had fallen in love with the idea of cruising, and had initially decided on other cruise lines (Silversea, Crystal) but eventually settled on Oceania because we liked the idea of "Country Club casual" and felt that the mid-size ship was about right for us. We also wanted a chance to do some dancing (ballroom and latin) and the O ships seemed to have the biggest dance floors. This particular itinerary was not our dream list of ports, but it ticked enough boxes and the timing and duration were right for us. Pre-cruise we booked our own hotels (we actually stayed a few days in Milan before catching the train to Venice and staying a few extra days there as well). We arrived at the San Basilio dock via water taxi and were immediately greeted by Oceania staff and our luggage was whisked away. Embarkation was smooth and with a minimum of queuing and processing we found our way to our stateroom. Stateroom We were pleasantly surprised at the size of our stateroom - 6068 - a B1 balcony cabin. Other than the fact that there wasn't enough room to pass each other at the end of the bed, the layout was perfect and the amenities and facilities were great. Even the bathroom and shower were bigger than expected - it's amazing what they cram in to the available space. The balcony was fantastic. My wife had not been fussed on getting a balcony and we had tried to book a C1 window cabin but they had been sold out - what a blessing in disguise. We didn't spend a lot of time sitting out on the balcony but being able to throw open the doors and take in the fresh air, the views and the ambience adds an extra dimension to the whole experience - day and night. The bed was very comfortable - we both slept well right from the outset, and the stateroom was quiet, well located and efficiently serviced twice daily - I can't think of any negatives worth mentioning! Ship Info As mentioned above, for us the ship size / number of passengers was just right. The ship is small enough that you can become familiar with where everything is, but big enough that you still get lost trying to get to where you are going, and discover new areas. Every area of the ship was clean, well maintained and well staffed - nothing seemed too formal or too casual. We never experienced any real issues with over-crowding in any areas - not everyone wants to do the same thing at the same time. The daily newsletter ("Currents") was delivered to the stateroom each evening and gave a good summary of the activities for the following day, including timings for entertainment and special events, as well as the menu for the Grand Dining Room. We also enjoyed watching the Cruise Directors daily broadcast on one of the in-house channels each morning. Dining Expectations were fairly high as far as dining was concerned and were generally met although there were one or two disappointments. The Polo Grill (specialty restaurant) was a let-down, both from a service point of view (amateurish wait staff) and food wise (over-cooked lobster and mediocre steak). Our experience in the Polo Grill was echoed by other cruisers we had met via Cruise Critic. Tapas on the Terrace was a major disappointment. It was just a buffet (which was reasonable) with a few poorly executed and often mismatched tapas dishes each night. We had been looking forward to the tapas concept but quickly discovered it was one of the ship's few weak points and gave up on it. In contrast, Toscana (the Italian specialty restaurant) was a great experience (which we managed to arrange a second visit to). The maitre d' and head waiter, in particular, were so pleasant, and the food was great. Portions at all the restaurants were smallish, which enabled you to tackle three courses without having to waddle out of the room. But the real hero of the dining experiences was the Grand Dining Room. For some reason we avoided it until about the third day, only to discover that the food and service were of the highest standard - the execution and presentation was always spot on and the friendly wait staff operated with military precision. The Lunch and Dinner menu for the GDR was included in the daily "Currents" newsletter so you had plenty of time to make your mind up! Afternoon Tea (with the string quartet playing) was refined and relaxing and Room Service was also good. They were quite prompt (especially with Continental Breakfast) and all other items we ordered (e.g. Club Sandwich, Burger, Salmon main course etc) were well presented and fresh and clean flavours. Drinks were a little bit over-priced (Gin and Tonic for $8, featured wines by the glass for $9 and average wine by the bottle for $40). We took the opportunity to buy a bottle of spirits from a little duty free shop at Kotor to utilise for a few pre-dinner drinks. Your stateroom attendant will happily stock your bar fridge with your preferred mixer and ordering ice etc is not a problem. You can also buy wine and drink it in your stateroom but we preferred to have a drink at the bar or at the table in the restaurant so ended up with a small drinks bill at the end of the cruise. Activities We didn't find the time to participate in any of the organised on-board activities! Service The crew all wear badges which show their name, title and country of origin. The Nautica crew certainly were a "united nations" - with something like 45 countries represented (with surprisingly few from the USA). In general they were well trained, friendly and very eager to please - and there were many outstanding performers who really made you feel welcome. Some didn't really seem to have (yet) developed the right communication skills but you got the feeling it was a happy ship. Entertainment Everyone has heard the jokes about bad cruise ship entertainment and perhaps for these reasons expectations were fairly low but I have to say that many aspects of the onboard entertainment were a pleasant surprise. The resident band ("Marek") were very good and played two or three 45 minute sets a day as well as providing backing for any of the evening shows or sail away parties. When we got up to dance they were quick to ask for any requests and later on in the cruise they always threw in a Tango tune when they saw we were on the dancefloor. The string quartet were ok - neither particularly good or bad. The entertainment troupe (four of them), who doubled as "assistant cruise directors" were fun - no real standouts although JR's Phantom of the Opera during the "Showstoppers" production was simply outstanding. We could have done with more sail away entertainment up on the Pool Deck. The vegas style nightclub act, Perry Danos, was very good. He has a great voice and was very relaxed and seemingly enjoying the atmosphere himself. I'm not sure if the cruise director, Willie Aames, is supposed to be counted as an entertainer but my wife and I both found him both entertaining and endearing - although this opinion was not shared by all the cruisers we met! Port & Shore Excursions We didn't take any of the ships excursions. Instead we organised a number of small private tours via Cruise Critic which all worked out well - we saved money but that wasn't the prime motivator. We met some really great people and by travelling in a small group (up to 8) we felt like it was a private / personalised experience. We also used taxi drivers for ad-hoc tours at two ports (Kotor, Taormina) and they were both great experiences. Tendering is a necessary evil in some ports. The first day we had to tender was a bit of a disaster as they had a lot of trouble lower one of the life boats - thank goodness we weren't sinking at the time! After that everything went pretty smoothly, and in our experience we were able to get on an early tender even as "independents", simply by turning up early (before the first ship tours were due). Kotor (Montenegro) As this port is not listed in the port reviews menu I want to mention here what a surprise this place was. The views during the sail in and sail away for this port are simply stunning and the old town is nice. What a beautiful location. We took a chance on a taxi tour with one of the drivers touting for business at the customs gate and what a great decision it was. We spent 2 hours being shown many views and visited the town of Budva, which had a beautiful old town. Our driver gave us a very interesting talk on the royal family and Montenegro in general and told us about the "Wild Beauty" of his country. In the background we could see the mountains where they have ski resorts and there was vast swathes of land that looked like national park land but was simply "wild". They have beautiful lakes and rivers, idyllic beaches, medieval towns, modern resorts etc etc - something for everyone? Port Rating 4. Internet Access To be charged up to 95c for (slow) internet access in this day and age is simply not good enough. This is one aspect where Oceania has to lift its' game. The Oceania @ Sea room was often empty as no-one wants to pay through the nose for what many now take for granted as a basic necessity of life! We did spend a bit over $100 on internet access charges during the cruise - not a huge amount of money in the bigger scheme of things but it did feel like you were being taken advantage of. Disembarkation As we had our own plans (staying on in Rome for 4 nights) we opted for a late disembarkation and strolled off the ship around 8:30 AM to find the Cruise Director and the ship's captain waiting to farewell us personally, which was a nice touch. There were staff there to help us locate our luggage and take it to our transport - disembarkation was a breeze. Summary We will definitely be taking another cruise at some point in the future and as things stand we'll be sticking with Oceania and the R class ships. It's not really a cruise ship for children as there are no specific facilities for them, and most of the passengers seemed to be in the 60+ age bracket. If the thought of having to pack a penguin suit (tuxedo) turns you off and you feel comfortable at a nice golf / country club and you cringe at the thought of sharing your holiday with thousands of others then this is the right cruise line for you. There is a lot to do both on board and in port, and in our case barely enough time to do it all. It was a great all round experience and one that we thoroughly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Even though I have been on 50+ cruises, this was my first cruise on Oceania. On most levels, they met or exceeded my expectations. The ship was beautifully maintained. The staff was engaging and friendly. Food was very good, often ... Read More
Even though I have been on 50+ cruises, this was my first cruise on Oceania. On most levels, they met or exceeded my expectations. The ship was beautifully maintained. The staff was engaging and friendly. Food was very good, often excellent. Afternoon tea was beautiful. Specialty restaurants were outstanding. I was booked in a penthouse suite, 8035, and found it spacious and well appointed. Bedding was comfortable. Balcony area was adequate with two relaxing chairs, two ottomans and a small cocktail table. Bathroom space is smaller than Seabourn, but larger than SeaDream. Bulgari amenities, Q-Tips, cotton pads etc were provided. Erik, the butler, provided great service without being intrusive. Even cashmere "throws" were provided in the stateroom in case you needed a cozy wrap. Champagne was iced down upon arrival and complimentary soda and H20 was refreshed throughout the cruise. The gym/spa was large for a "small" ship. It had all of the usual equipement...treadmills, bikes, elipticals, free weights and Precor stations. Classes (spin, yoga etc) were offered, often requiring and extra charge of $11.00 per class. The locker room was nice...razors, shaving cream, shampoo, conditioner, combs and body lotion were provided gratis. The steam-room in the men's locker room was large and rarely used. All in all, you could get in a great workout. Embarkation/disembarkation was simple with NO wait time. The only time I encountered any lines were on tender days but even then wait time was brief. Shore excursions were well organized, but overpriced. Better to go on your own. Drinks could also be on the pricier side, but happy hour was offered daily from 5pm-6pm. One important note is that Oceania deals with a bank located in Ireland. This means ALL purchases charged to your credit card may incur a foreign transaction fee. If you contact Oceania, they will refund this charge, though it is easier to use a fee free card (ie:Capital One). It was a very enjoyable cruise and I wouldn't hesitate to book with Oceania in the future. I did miss the marina on Seabourn/SeaDream. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
In a nutshell: perfect itinerary, outstanding service, and excellent food, but the ship is old & cramped. The entertainment & activities were way below par. With a starting port of Athens and and ending port of Istanbul, ... Read More
In a nutshell: perfect itinerary, outstanding service, and excellent food, but the ship is old & cramped. The entertainment & activities were way below par. With a starting port of Athens and and ending port of Istanbul, the itinerary was fabulous for extending our vacation. We learned that many others on the cruise did exactly the same thing. The embarkation process could not have gone more smoothly. We were super impressed compared to the torturous experiences with larger ships on Carnival. We arrived just when boarding began and our room was ready and luggage delivered. Yay! Our veranda stateroom was small and the bathroom tiny. An average person sits at a weird angle on the toilet and almost hits the ceiling in the postage stamp sized shower. However, there were towels galore and they were replaced at the slightest sign of use. The veranda held 2 chairs and a table. That's it. First day out, we ran into heavy winds at Mykonos and had to abandon that port to sail directly to Kusadasi, Turkey. Many passengers stayed in their rooms as the small ship was heavily buffeted by the wind & swells. By dinner time, things calmed and we enjoyed a great meal at the main dinning room. All the dinning areas (main, buffet, & 2 specialty restaurants) had outstanding 5 or more course meals. The service was impeccable. We made friends with some of the servers and their were smiles all around. So, this part of the cruising experience was excellent. The after dinner entertainment was very basic, mostly with 4 singers and 1 comedian. Yep, that's it. The entertainment & activities were targeted to 70 & 80 year olds. I'm hardly young but I found this was not nearly as much fun as that of bigger ships with more diverse passenger ages. The music included a show band, a string quartet, and piano bar. Other activities included bingo, trivia, 2 karaoke nights, and attempts as special events. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
In 2010, we cruised on the Azamara Journey which is an identical ship to the Oceania Nautica. Both ships and cruise lines are very, very good. Food and cabins were quite comparable on both ships - both were superb. Oceania crew might ... Read More
In 2010, we cruised on the Azamara Journey which is an identical ship to the Oceania Nautica. Both ships and cruise lines are very, very good. Food and cabins were quite comparable on both ships - both were superb. Oceania crew might have been very slightly better trained. Azamara provides complimentary wine with meals and gratuities are also included whereas both are extra on Oceania. Both cruise lines are recommended. Let itinerary be your deciding factor. We had veranda cabins on both ships and recommend that - very spacious. Oceania crew appeared to wake up with a smile on their face and stayed that way the entire day. Ship was very clean. Soft drinks are complimentary and cabin crew kept our refrigerator stocked with Diet Coke as we requested. Both specialty dining rooms are excellent. Main dining room is also very good. After some long days of touring, we chose to eat at the Terrace Cafe where we could dine in our shorts. Food is essentially the same as the main dining room but served buffet style. Eat outside on the rear deck if there is room - very nice eating out there. Waves Grill on the pool deck right outside the Terrace Cafe serves lunch until 4:00. This location make a good hamburger and an excellent panini. And their french fries are fantastic - your cardiologist would not approve but the fries sure taste good! In general, I recommend that you consider skipping all ship excursions and arrange your own private tours. With only two people, private tours are similar in price to ship excursions but more flexible. With two couples, price is cut in half. It is very easy to make all arrangements ahead of time via the internet. Note that most of these guides want to be paid in cash. Ship's first port was Nauplion (a.k.a. Nafplio). Patty Staikou (pstaikou@mail.gr) was recommended by Rick Steves' guidebook. She also agreed to give us tours of both Mycenae and Epidavros whereas ship excursions made you choose one or the other. Patty arranged for a taxi (we paid driver separately) to pick us up at the ship. Taxi was a very clean Mercedes and driver drove us to meet Patty. The latter is a superb guide. Zakynthos was next stop. We took ship excursion, Panoramic Zakynthos. Very disappointing. Can not recommend that excursion. Some friends took a private tour and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Monemvasia was another port. Here it is recommended that you walk to the town of Monemvasia. Lower city is quaint and easy to walk. If you are up for the hike, travel to the upper town. The latter is mostly ruins except for the 12th century Hagia Sophia. Now, if you are still energetic, you can continue up to the Citadel. Note that these "trails" are not particularly easy to traverse and you must be very careful coming back down. There are numerous very slippery rocks that must be negotiated and it is slow going. But the views are excellent. Kusadasi (Ephesus) is a great stop. You must go to Ephesus. We prearranged a tour through www.ephesusshuttle.com. The latter provided a very clean van with separate driver and guide. Haluk Caliskan was our guide and was quite good. This company was very flexible. Ship docks for a shorter time in Kusadasi than other ports and there is a lot to see. Ephesus Shuttle modified one of their standard tours in order for us to see what we wanted to see on the time we had. They are also reasonably priced and accepted credit cards. Other ports are discussed in the sections below this. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We were originally scheduled to take the NYC-Montreal cruise, but we received an offer we could not refuse! Our September 19 - October 1 cruise (Greek Isles - Istanbul) on the Nautica was probably the best cruise we have ever taken. We ... Read More
We were originally scheduled to take the NYC-Montreal cruise, but we received an offer we could not refuse! Our September 19 - October 1 cruise (Greek Isles - Istanbul) on the Nautica was probably the best cruise we have ever taken. We used O's air, transfer and hotel in Athens due to the possibility of unrest. We upgraded to business class and were extremely pleased with our flights. A driver was waiting in the airport with our name on a sign as well as an O rep. Couldn't have been smoother! Arrived at the Hotel Grande Bretagne to find an O information center and our room waiting. Quite comfortable and we could view the parliament building (changing of the guard) from our balcony. Had dinner reservations for the rooftop restaurant. It was very crowded, but our "special anniversary" table was waiting for us with a view of the Acropolis. Spectacular! Food and service were both great, but as discussed on this board, a little pricey. Being from NY, we were prepared for that! A small demonstration in the street below broke out during dinner but was quickly contained. Slept well and had breakfast (included) in the same restaurant the next morning. The lobby was a little packed the next morning as post cruise passengers and new cruisers were coming and going. It was very organized and when our luggage was loaded, we left for the pier. Embarkation was smooth, but different from our last Athens departure. We checked in at the pier and headed for the lounge on 5 for actual check-in. Rooms were not ready yet, so lunch at the Terrace was next. Our suite was amazing. The wrap around balcony had a table and four chairs as well as two full sized lounges. Long stemmed roses were on the coffee table. The bathroom was enormous, and even better, the guest bathroom was ready and waiting for my husband's toiletries! The closet space was never ending, but I did manage to fill them up. I could see myself feeling right at home for 12 days! Our butler, Iljco came to greet us and ask what we needed to make our cruise special. It already was! We enjoyed full breakfast in our suite most days and had dinner from Toscana "en suite" 3 times. We changed and went to the cabana, where our attendant, Aung, introduced himself and asked what we would need. He always seemed to know what we needed before we did! We often enjoyed lunch from WAVES, ice cream, afternoon tea and drinks while in our cabana. Worth every penny! We dined in Polo 3 times and were always pleased with our meals and the service. The GDR was our favorite. The service was amazing (Brandon, Ron and Ernesto)and we always requested to be in their section. One nite, we even passed on the GDR when a table in their section was not available, that's how great they were! Did not make use of the spa except for the sun deck. Being a port intensive cruise and using the cabana daily, we never really had the time. While it is no secret that entertainment is not the reason to choose O, we often enjoyed snippets of a show or performance. I think we were just too tired after an early rise, an excursion, a big dinner, etc. The show rooms were always packed, though, and many people enjoyed the performances. O shore excursions were great this time. We purchased a number of "Oceania's Choice" excursions (10 - 16 people max) and they really worked for us. Tours were efficiently dispatched from the lounge, buses were always clean and guides knowledgeable and friendly. Ship was clean and well maintained. The staff seemed extra friendly. When I mentioned this to anyone, they always answered that the Captain sets the tone. Captain Rye, who renewed our vows on a previous cruise, was always friendly. It was fascinating to watch him work on the bridge. He took the helm and allowed all of his crew to answer our questions and demonstrate their duties. What a treat! Ports were amazing. We had been to some of them on a previous cruise, but Rhodes is my new favorite. We bypassed Delos and Mykonos due to weather, but having been there before, we welcomed the sea day. Kusadasi and Istanbul were exciting. Ephesus was special for us, allowing us to spend time at Mother Mary's house and enjoy the ruins as well. Our guide that day, Sibel, was very interesting and knowledgeable. It is never fun to disembark, but I must say that this disembarkation was the smoothest we have ever experienced. Kudos to Sonja and her staff! Not only was it efficient getting off the ship and getting to the airport, O reps even helped us off of the bus, got all luggage identified,loaded and scanned and escorted us to the check in desks. This is a chore we always dread, but it couldn't have been smoother or more pleasant. I can't wait for my next O cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Having returned last month from a 12-day Oceania Mediterranean cruise aboard the ship Nautica, I can attest to the fact that this cruise line is extraordinary. The cruise was entitled Greek Isles Odyssey, which sailed from Athens to ... Read More
Having returned last month from a 12-day Oceania Mediterranean cruise aboard the ship Nautica, I can attest to the fact that this cruise line is extraordinary. The cruise was entitled Greek Isles Odyssey, which sailed from Athens to Istanbul and visited Nauplion, Zakynthos, Corfu, Katakolon, Monemvasia, Crete, Rhodes, Santorini, Delos, Mykonos, and Kusadasi along the way. Overall, this trip was nothing short of spectacular. Oceania strikes the right balance of luxury without stuffiness that allows guests to feel unbelievably pampered but in a friendly, relaxing and elegant atmosphere. This welcoming attitude must be a part of Oceania corporate culture as it was evident from every single member of the crew and staff, from Captain Jahn Rye right on down. Oceania clearly has a wealth of experience in catering to the many and varied needs of their customers. The entire on-board experience works like a well-oiled machine and nothing is left to chance. From the seamless embarkation procedure to the comprehensive safety drill to the incredibly efficient tendering process, its evident that they have ALL the bugs worked out! In addition, we booked our flights and pre- and post-cruise hotels via Oceania and everything went incredibly smoothly. The airport-to-hotel and hotel-to-ship transfers were effortless and the hotels spectacular. Since this review is long, Ive categorized it by topics of potential interest Choosing a Stateroom: Our stateroom, although a modest size, was beautifully appointed and impeccably clean with all the amenities a traveller could wish for. If at all possible, it is well worth choosing a stateroom with a balcony as the beautiful views while entering and leaving port made for some memorable moments. Although we did not experience seasickness, others who had staterooms at the bow or the stern did, during a few days of moderately high seas. Some travellers told us that a stateroom mid-ship is your best bet if youre prone to motion sickness along with ginger lozenges, wristbands, scopolamine patches and Gravol. Pre- and Post-Cruise Hotels: As mentioned, we booked our flights, hotels and all transfers through Oceania and the entire process was flawless. In Athens, we stayed at the beautiful, very upscale Hotel Grande Bretagne, which has a wonderful central location and outstanding amenities. Be sure to visit the glorious Rooftop Garden Restaurant at least once during your stay. A word of caution though, this hotel is located directly across from the Parliament buildings where many of the current political demonstrations are focused. Immediately following the cruise, we stayed at the equally lovely Ceylan Intercontinental Istanbul. This hotel is exquisite although it is located in the new section of the city, about a 20-minute cab ride away from the old section of the city where the markets and primary tourist sites are located. This isnt necessarily a problem but it advisable to a) ask the hotel Concierge what the going rate would be for your planned cab trip; and b) use a cab that is endorsed by the hotel; and c) negotiate the cab fare with the driver before you set off. Most of these suggestions are just common sense though, no matter where in the world you are. Dining Aboard the Nautica: On other cruises that we have taken (NOT Oceania!) the emphasis was on eating morning, noon, and night but it was all about quantity, not quality. Aboard the Nautica however, the meals were exquisite. Each one was truly a fine-dining experience with a remarkable array of menu choices. For dinner, reservations can be made at either of two specialty restaurants Toscana or the Polo Grill. Depending on your stateroom level you are automatically entitled to a certain number of reservations. Nevertheless, we learned that if you go directly to the restaurants, additional reservations can sometimes be procured depending on availability that evening. DO NOT be disappointed, however, if you end up dining frequently at the Grand Dining Room! The meals there were equally fabulous with the same wonderful menu choices and an attention to detail that is beyond compare. Truly, it amazed us that such a high level of quality could be consistently maintained when preparing food for a large number of people. The policy of no assigned seating for meals encourages interaction amongst fellow travellers although you always have the option of dining privately. While on the topic of dining, it should be mentioned that the breakfast and lunch buffets, the casual Tapas on the Terrace restaurant, poolside grill, ice-cream bar and sumptuous afternoon tea all live up to the same high standards as the main dining restaurants. Shore Excursions: During the 12-day cruise we booked three shore excursions through Oceania and arranged three independent shore excursions prior to leaving home. Although the Oceania excursions were very nicely done and were relatively small groups, we still felt like sheep being rapidly herded from one site to the next. In one particular instance (Kusadasi), the tour ended with a Turkish carpet-making demonstration which was, in fact, a high-pressure sales tactic. Oceania excursion participants were virtually held hostage in a sales situation that was both uncomfortable and infuriating. Despite this glitch, in some cases, such as visiting downtown Istanbul, the organized Oceania tours may be desirable because there is a great deal to see and one needs to be able to find the highlights quickly and efficiently. For other destinations, such as on the island of Santorini, it is essential to be able to take your time and focus on the things that are important to you. Even though the Oceania buses were immaculate and the tour-guides friendly and knowledgeable, on subsequent trips we will likely make our own arrangements and eschew the organized excursions. Even though it is inherently riskier, it is also significantly less expensive (especially if you share the trip with others) and offers you unlimited flexibility. We had excellent success with private tour operators that we found on Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic, namely: George Letsios Taxi Katakolon; Jackie Boots-Gklavas Nefis Travel on Zakynthos; and Dimitris Nikolaidis OceanWave Tours on Santorini. Onboard Entertainment: To present a balanced perspective on the cruise overall, I would have to say that the weakest link of the trip was some of the onboard entertainment particularly the Enrichment Lectures. One presentation on the geologic features above and below the Mediterranean Sea was completely unsatisfactory and Im a science geek. The PowerPoint presentation was disorganized and antiquated and call me crazy but people *might not* want to sit through a talk about giant rogue waves and tsunamis whilst at sea! As for the rest of the entertainment, it ranged from very, very good (the on-board Entertainment Team and an excellent singer/impressionist) to disturbing (a brilliant concert pianist attempting to do a comedy routine that wasnt the least bit funny). However, it is reasonable to assume that people do not go cruising for Broadway-calibre productions and as such, the evening musical numbers seemed to be very well received. The very talented Marek Orchestra in the Horizons Lounge (and elsewhere onboard) offered a great finale to each day and, even though the late evening activities were often not well attended, the band continued to play until about midnight every evening. Certainly this was not a cruise for serious party-goers but for the vast majority of the primarily over-50 crowd, the entertainment and bar/lounge/casino options seemed to be absolutely fine. Additional onboard pastimes, organized by the Entertainment staff, included team trivia, Scattergories, bridge, shuffleboard, table tennis, golf driving and putting, magic shows, meet & greets, and many other fun, light-hearted activities. We all enjoyed the variety that was offered and no one was ever bored or dissatisfied. Be sure to check out the lovely Nautica library as well. Shipboard Staff: There are not enough superlatives to describe the amazing staff that makes cruising aboard the Nautica so special. The housekeeping personnel and the servers who work in the restaurants and bars are truly remarkable. They manage to uphold standards of excellence that are unparalleled while maintaining a cheerful attitude despite the very, very, VERY long hours that they work. The tipping policy of Oceania is that each guest is charged a set fee of approximately $12. per day, which is automatically added to the final bill at the end of the cruise. Apparently, a guest can decline to participate in this system although I truly cannot imagine anyone begrudging these hard-working individuals this small recognition. Fortunately, additional tipping is permitted at your discretion. We are absolutely THRILLED by the prospect of cruising with Oceania again in the future. When it comes to high standards, beautiful surroundings, well-chosen itineraries, and value for the money, in our opinion it is unsurpassed. Helpful Tips: - A stateroom mid-ship seems to be your best bet if youre prone to motion sickness. - Book your dinner reservations online on the Oceania site well before your embarkation date. - Once aboard, visit the specialty restaurants in the morning to see if additional reservations are available. - Most men preferred to wear sports jackets to dinner (without a tie). Most women chose to wear nice, day-length dresses with a light sweater or wrap, since it can be chilly and windy walking on deck afterwards. - If you decide that a full bottle of wine over dinner is too much, ask the staff to hold the remaining wine for you in a wine locker, ready to be enjoyed at your next lunch or dinner. - Arrange your own tours before you leave home or book organized Oceania tours, depending on your comfort level with the destination but avoid the carpet demonstrations! - When the Oceania brochures advise wearing sensible shoes to sites such as the Parthenon/Acropolis, pay attention. The walkways and steps of ancient marble are SOOOO slippery, even when dry, that sticky rock-climbing shoes would be a good idea. - If you choose to book additional vacation days at the beginning and/or end of your cruise, be aware that you will be expected to transfer to the ship quite early on the day of embarkation (11 am pickup at our hotel to transfer to the ship). Had we known this, we would have booked several extra days, not just one at each end. Remember, this is only one person's opinion (actually two, since my husband agrees with everything I say).... That's it folks. Bon Voyage!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was our first Oceania cruise and we were looking forward to comparing it to the other cruise lines we have used, from Silverseas to NCL. It was excellent and a very good value for the money. Food, especially in the specialty ... Read More
This was our first Oceania cruise and we were looking forward to comparing it to the other cruise lines we have used, from Silverseas to NCL. It was excellent and a very good value for the money. Food, especially in the specialty restaurants, was excellent. Good variety and well prepared. As will smaller ships, the nightly shows are not Broadway extravaganzas but they were very good. We thought we would miss the formal nights but we didn't. This 12 day cruise had no sea days. It was a different island every day and when we returned to the ship we were glad we didn't have to dress formally for dinner. We will be on Oceania again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Oceania Cruises M/S Nautica Athens to Dubai Review How many ways can one cruise go wrong? Theoretically, an infinite number, but ours fell just slightly short. To coin a word, the "lowlights" consisted of the following: A ... Read More
Oceania Cruises M/S Nautica Athens to Dubai Review How many ways can one cruise go wrong? Theoretically, an infinite number, but ours fell just slightly short. To coin a word, the "lowlights" consisted of the following: A cruise director who never did much more than read from "Currents" - the daily ship's information paper. His bearing, manner, monotone delivery and overall personality were dull, uninspiring and impersonal to the point of detachment. If it is his job to set the tone, he was successful in that every day we heard it- the kind of dull thud that could only be a bell without a clapper being struck by a toy doll's head wrapped in a towel. To avoid him, one would have to turn off the TV- because he appeared at too many times, just after a far too loud NBC-type chime. But that was not much of a sacrifice- the TV offerings- including the DVD library were years out of date, and all 6 news shows were about as good as each other- which was not very. One could try to seek refuge in the library, if one could find one recent novel from hundreds of ancient ones and cast-offs from departed guests. The room staff was good, but the wait-staff seemed poorly organized. Often, I had to have my order brought to me by a second waiter. I have the feeling that the seasoned staff was transferred to Oceania's new ship, the The Marina, leaving Nautica with a bunch of newbies. So many different people asked me if I wanted fresh-ground pepper at the same meals, that I considered getting it as an entre'! In any event, all the food (which was good) could be washed down with beer and wine offered ala carte. (Azamara Cruises gives all the ber and wine you want free). The onboard "entertainment" which was all the ship offered during the extremely lengthy stretches at sea, consisted of not much more than the old standbys of shuffleboard, bingo, pingpong, putting contests,needlepoint and flower making and a few other less-than stellar offerings. Nighttime entertainment fared little better- the ships band didn't make it to high-school quality, and the "shows" were all amateurish to a high degree. A magician performed, but all his tricks were off-the-rack old standbys. (The cut-and-restored idiot could have been used, but I don't believe the Cruise Director had the intelligence to participate). Thankfully, there was no art auction with dr's office junk. The casino was small but probably adequate for the few who used it. There was one lecturer on world history whio was quite good - for those who enjoy this sort of thing. The pianist played nightly, and was fine if you enjoy upgraded elevator music. All drinks and wine when purchased, had an 18% gratuity was added to their already inflated costs. An flat $20 corkage fee applied to any alcohol brought aboard for personal consumption in public areas. The daily "gratuity" for the staff was an automatic $27 per day per couple Upon questioning the staff, I was told that it was not a gratuity, but in fact was their actual salary! I had independent corroboration of this from 3 different staffers. Of course, the Concierge claimed everyone had a base salary. I believe he was talking about room and board. But then, given his demeanor, I think the Israelis missed him when they captured Eichmann. Excursions deserve a special treatment here. The ideal epithet-given the penny-pinching attitude of this cruiseline toward it's guests, would be "sewage disposal" . In all our years of travel, we have never seen such poor planning or treatment of guests. After touring the Holocaust Museum and having a buffet-style lunch, we were bussed to a commercial diamond store with probable kick-back ties to Oceania, where we were forced to spend upwards of an hour of our precious time. We were then taken to the old section where we made about a 100 yard loop, while our self-absorbed guide wasted our time with historical minutiae of no interest. We could have shopped and seen much more during this utter waste. Other excursions (some of which exceeded $800 for one day for 2) included Petra (a high-point); Dubai by bus with high tea at a 5 star hotel and a trip in Israel to Masada and the Dead Sea where we could float away some of our general dissatisfaction with this over-priced (total with excursions, base costs and "gratuities was near $1000/day for 2) rip-off. Final word: AVOID Oceania at all costs and use Azamara instead if you like smaller ships. Or at least, use any other line (except Carnival). You will at least get most of your money's worth. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
My husband and I have taken many cruises on different lines, but had never cruised with Oceania before. The itinerary of the Nautica and the reduced fares enticed us to give this line a try. The cruise line organized our ... Read More
My husband and I have taken many cruises on different lines, but had never cruised with Oceania before. The itinerary of the Nautica and the reduced fares enticed us to give this line a try. The cruise line organized our flights from Vancouver B.C. to Dubai via Heathrow. We wanted to spend some time in Cape Town at the end of the cruise, so we did pay extra for this. We were pleased with our travel arrangements. We embarked from Dubai after spending a day there on board. Our stateroom was attractive and small, with limited storage space for a 30 day passage. Also the bathroom, especially the shower was very small. However, it was a small ship with 600 or so passengers and this was most appealing to us. Although the dining experience is not high on our list of considerations, we found that the food exceeded our expectations. In particular, we discovered that the speciality restaurants (which were not an extra fee), were not limited to 4 visits. We enjoyed the cruise activities on board, as the putting, table tennis and shuffleboard matches allowed us to meet a small group of delightful passengers. In addition, we had a chance to meet the ship's four entertainers, whom we found delightful. Of special note, was the county fair with all sorts of booths and an afternoon specialty tea, both of which were well planned and executed.One of the speakers was exceptional in discussing the history of the regions we were visiting; the other was average in talking about ships. We did not take any of the ship's shore excursions as they were overpriced for what was being offered. Instead, we explored on our own or with other passengers. I believe we had a better, much cheaper experience that way, The detinations were the draw for us and we certainly enjoyed Portuguese Goa region of India, the beautiful islands of the south Indian Ocean-Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion and Madagascar as well as our destination South Africa. In spite of all this, the trip was most seriously marred by the medical situation on board. My husband and I are both retired anaesthesiologists, licenced in British Columbia Canada and the state of California. We know about medical treatments and costs. Thus, we were appauled to hear of numerous cases in which passengers were given unnecessary tests and treatments for minor ailments. This resulted in bills of $2000 to $2500 per visit. Those who did not want such treatment were threatened with removal from the ship. Indeed, two healthy passengers were sent at their own expense and with no accompaying medical personnel to the local hospital in Mumbai as they were too ill to remain on board. When they returned to the ship with a letter of good health, they found their bags, security and the captain on the pier and only allowed to return when the letter was produced.As a result of this, a letter, signed by 30 of us, was sent to the Captain ,but this was ignored. Then we found that the doctor had had his licence revoked from the state of Tennessee in 2010. Another letter, signed by 40 passengers, was sent to the Captain and still no reply.After many days of protest about the lack of a licence, the doctor produced a "certificate" from a small college in India issued in 1979 as his "proof " of a licence.This is totally unsatisfactory by North American medical standards, particularly as he had malpractice suits awarded against him. We have written to Oceania customer services in Miami and have had no reply. In summary, this was a very good cruise if you avoided the shore excursions and the medical office. As a result of this, I can not recommend Oceania cruises. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
The M/S Nautica This 684 passenger ship is well appointed, very clean, and well maintained with a crew and staff that are extremely helpful, friendly, and competent. With its dark paneling and heavy raised moldings it has the feel of an ... Read More
The M/S Nautica This 684 passenger ship is well appointed, very clean, and well maintained with a crew and staff that are extremely helpful, friendly, and competent. With its dark paneling and heavy raised moldings it has the feel of an elegant 19th century hotel. Oceania caters to an affluent and mature group of travelers so that there are no children running around. It sometimes feels, however, like a home for the aged. The staterooms seem a bit cramped and bathrooms are very small. This is particularly true of the space devoted to the shower. There are no "paparazzi" aboard with their intrusive cameras. No formal nights and a casual dress code makes packing for a long cruise much less burdensome. Itinerary From the perspective of the traveler, the itinerary on both legs of the cruise was very good. They could be excellent with some minor changes. The stop at Salalah, Oman, during the first leg could be eliminated since that port of call offers very little for the traveller. Much more significant was the very short time available in Cape Town, South Africa. Arriving mid-afternoon and disembarking before 9:00 am the next morning leaves little time to explore. A relatively simple fix would be to eliminate the stop at Fujairah, Oman, and add the time saved to Cape Town. Dining Dining experience in the Grand Dining Room was disappointing. Although the food itself was very good and nicely presented, it seems that the wait staff and galley are understaffed. Often there were long delays between courses. Many times maitre d's and sommeliers were used to help serve and clear tables when the wait staff fell behind. On occasion, diner's requests were misinterpreted or galley errors made because of the rush. The dining staff works extremely hard, but in their attempt to serve 24 guests per waiter, they were forced to rush about in ways that did not contribute to the relaxed and elegant dining experience expected. During the final week of the cruise, the situation in the Grand Dining Room improved somewhat. The dining experience in other venues on the ship was much better. Non-alcoholic beverages, bottled water, and most specialty coffees are free, but wine, beer, and all alcoholic beverages are very expensive. Entertainment While I fully appreciate the limitations of space on a small ship, the Nautica Lounge with its poor sight lines is not a very good venue for entertainment. Except for the two violin soloists, the quality of evening acts was acceptable but, in most cases, far from remarkable. On the other hand, the two enrichment speakers, Don Campbell and Terry Bishop, were excellent and added greatly to the cruise experience. The attempt to bring native and local entertainment aboard the ship was laudable, but more care should be taken in the selection of performers. At the very least an interpreter should be present to explain the performances of singers and dancers. The group from Reunion Island was most entertaining, the others much less so. Medical Service There were several complaints among guests about the high cost of medical treatment aboard. For example, our visit to the medical center for a minor bronchial infection resulted in charges of $1221.00. Others complained of unneeded and high priced medications. There was also some question as to the current credentials of the Doctor on board, since in 2009 his medical license was revoked by the State of Tennessee. As of December 19, 2011, neither the Doctor nor Oceania Cruises had produced evidence of a current license to practice medicine. Over 40 passengers concerned with this issue submitted a written protest to Oceania to which the Company has not responded. Until this question is resolved, many passengers who received medical services on board plan to dispute the charges made to their credit card on the basis that the charges are based on fraud. Despite Oceania's stated concern for the health and safety of their guests, they did not, it seems, sufficiently examine the credentials and background of the only person on board whose primary job is, indeed, the health of guests and crew. Internet Services The Wi-Fi service is much slower and much more expensive than comparable services on other cruise ships. It makes more sense to use the free, and considerably faster, internet service found in some cruise terminals (e.g. Dubai) or ashore at internet cafes. Tours promoted by the ship A number of sightseeing tours finished after sunset. They were very disappointing. It was difficult enough to view sights from a moving bus, and next to impossible to see anything of value after dark. Taking photographs at "photo stops" occurring after dark was futile. Tours sponsored by the ship are becoming prohibitively expensive, particularly those that are popular or have a unique or special destination. Pre-Cruise Information While the individualized Cruise Vacation Guide sent to passengers was very complete and useful, pre-cruise info was confusing and inconsistent even to travel agents. This was particularly true in regard to the need for yellow fever shots. On three pre-cruise calls to Oceania, I received three different answers. Oceania's use of an Irish bank resulted in a foreign transaction fee charged to my credit card when I made payments for the cruise. Nowhere does Oceania make mention of its off-shore bank and, in fact, the only business address given is in Miami, Florida. Summary It appears that Oceania Cruises is attempting to reduce its operating costs in many areas in order to cover its expenses and still remain competitive. The result is that the quality of its cruise experience has been diminished and it is no longer what one typically expects from a luxury cruise line. I would not recommend sailing with Oceania unless the projected itinerary was extremely compelling. There are many other cruise lines that provide more value for the dollar. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We enjoyed a lovely experience on board Oceania Nautica as we explored exotic destinations between Dubai and Capetown. This was our second time on the ship and she didn't disappoint. Our favorite thing about the ship is the lovely ... Read More
We enjoyed a lovely experience on board Oceania Nautica as we explored exotic destinations between Dubai and Capetown. This was our second time on the ship and she didn't disappoint. Our favorite thing about the ship is the lovely staff who are always smiling and never say no. They always do their best to please. We only took issue with the Food and Beverage Manager Kevin Bland, who always seemed as though he'd rather be anyplace else but working on the ship. I know he has a difficult job, but his disposition needs improvement. He rarely smiled and was constantly nit picking at the hard working crew for inconsequential things in front of the guests. Not once did I ever see him praise any of his staff for a job well done. This behavior is inconsistent with any of the other hard working managers I've met and observed on Oceania. While some other reviewers have complained about the ship's inconsistent service in the main dining room, they need to consider that at peak dining times, the kitchen is doing its best to keep up with the orders. Meals are made to order on Oceania and not prepared en mass and kept under heat lamps as is done on larger ships. This results in the meals arriving fresh and hot and in my opinion, always delicious. Dining on this ship is meant to be an unhurried, social affair. On evenings we didn't want to spend 2+ hours in the dining room, we ate upstairs at the Terraces Buffet, which always had fresh, delicious food as well. We found the quality of the meats in all dining venues to be of exceptional quality. The fresh fruits selection and berries everyday were another delight. We found plenty to do on board ship on sea days. For those who complain that activities are limited, they need to remember that small ship means fewer choices of things to do. However, we felt that the Cruise Director Leslie John and his staff did a great job of providing activities during the day. Expert guest lecturers did an excellent job of presenting topics on history, culture and politics of the areas we visited, on board sporting events were scheduled almost every hour, daily team trivia sessions, cooking demos by the Oceania Headquarters Executive Chef and outdoor activities such as the Country Fair, Officers Challenge and Equator Crossing ceremony were huge hits. We also found the library stocked with several new books and excellent reference resources. The shows were cabaret style entertainment and were put on by a cruise staff full of heart who really enjoy their jobs and a string quartet who played in various locations throughout the cruise. Jerry Blaine was at the piano who played soft, background music great for conversation in Martini's bar nightly and local entertainment troupes also came on in some ports. My only gripe was that on nights when the clock turned back an hour, there weren't always late night activities after the show other than the casino. The internet cafe has plenty of computers, however the satellite internet service on this cruise was way overpriced compared to other lines and rarely worked at all. I signed up for a $140.00 package for the 30-days that gave me 200 minutes plus a free 40-minute bonus. I tried logging on everyday, and most days it took 10 minutes just to connect to my gmail account. The service was so poor, I still had 65 minutes left on my account that went unused, and for which I did not receive any credit. The internet manager Igor, was not helpful at all. In fact, several guests I spoke to said they were afraid to ask him for help because he was so gruff. I had trouble connecting to the wi-fi one day and the only assistance he gave me was to tell me my computer was "broke", even though I was able to connect the day before and the day after on my own. With the majority of guests being in the senior age category, it might behoove Oceania to hire someone for that job who has more patience with the "computer challenged" guests. The Fitness Instructor, Maurizio, was fabulous. He offered several fitness classes a day and provided instruction in the proper use of the machines. The machines were new and in good working order. The pool area was always clean and spotless thanks to the tiring work of the deck stewards who were a delight. We thoroughly enjoyed the bar staff who were some of the smartest, funniest crew on the ship. The bar manager Siorban and Head Bartender Antonio did a great job of training their staff. A special shout out goes to "D" Demodar, I Made, Julie, Kathy, Sasa, Sai, Fillmore and Geoffrey from the bar department and Craig, the Cellar Master, and his excellent sommelier team. My only pet peeve with the bar is corporate's decision on how martinis are handled during Happy Hour. They tote Happy Hour as two for one, but when it comes to martinis, the 2 for 1 is offered in a glass half the size, or they will give you a "double" in the regular size martini glass. Simply put, martinis cost the same at Happy Hour as they do at other times. Overall, the ship is kept spotless by the unsung heroes of the house keeping team who usually go unnoticed. Our stateroom attendant Adithya did an outstanding job in servicing our cabin. We were in a category D porthole view stateroom on Deck 3. We loved our row of 15 cabins down there. The rest of the floor is crew areas. It was like our own private club, and one of the most stable areas of the ship since they are all located mid-ship, just above the water line. The stateroom layout was well designed and comfortable with adequate seating area and closet space. The beds were comfortable with pillow top mattresses and frette linens. A small, but adequate flat screen TV with news channels and cruise programming including movies, TV shows and documentaries. While the bathroom is tiny, it is functional. It would be nice to see them replace the "hugging" shower curtains, with sliding glass doors which is now prevalent on most of the other cruise line's newer ships. It was nice to see that Maia was recently promoted to Chief Purser. She and her staff did a great job of trying to be proactive with immigration forms for each port, mid-cruise billing portfolios and solving various problems presented to them by the guests. This resulted in flawless embarkation and disembarkation in each port. The shore excursions team were very helpful and friendly, but Oceania corporate really needs to reconsider the pricing on their tours. While cruise lines always charge more for tours than if you book on your own, I considered their offerings as price gouging for exotic ports where they knew many folks would be hesitant to book on their own. Charging 3 to 4 times more for the same tour arranged on your own was simply ridiculous. If they continue this practice, they will end up losing guests to Regent who include shore excursions in their pricing. When all is said and done, Regent turns out to be a better value if guests book Oceania's excursions in each port. This was a constant discussion among several guests. Ports visited on this itinerary were Dubai, Fujairah, Muscat, Mumbai, Mormugoa, Mangalore, Cochin, Maldives, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion Island, Richard's Bay, Durban and Capetown. It was fairly easy to arrange tours on your own in each port either before hand on-line, or at each port on arrival. The ship ran complimentary shuttle buses in each port except for Mumbai, Mormugoa, Maldives, Madagascar and Seychelles. The shuttle buses usually dropped you at a shopping mall area where you could arrange local taxi sightseeing or walk to other city sights. A local representative came on board in each port to provide maps and suggestions for things to see and do on your own. Some were very good, but a few offered little help or gave incorrect info. The ports that didn't run shuttle buses usually had local taxis available at the pier for tour hire. The shuttle buses usually ran well, except in a few ports where they needed additional buses during peak times, such as in Durban, Reunion Island, and Mauritius. I will provide a more extensive review under the port section for each port. Overall, we thought the cruise was a wonderful experience from start to finish with a few little hiccups as mentioned above. The staff were great, the service was very good and the food was fresh and delicious. The ports were exotic and the 30-days flew by too quickly. We will sail Oceania again and hope to see some of the same friendly staff . Ports of Call not covered below: Fujairah, UAE - shuttle bus dropped us at a mall where you could negotiate city tour rates with local taxis.. The city is quite new, so not much there to visit other than an old fort. We decided on a beach day at the Hilton hotel, but unfortunately, there were tar balls washing up on the beach. We were told by the hotel that this is a common occurrence due to the oil tankers that often flush their tanks off shore. Muscat, Oman - shuttle bus drops you at the old city souk which has some great shopping if you like to haggle prices. I got some great buys on Omani silver jewelry and hand embroidered silk shawls. There is a lovely waterfront promenade you can stroll along to the palace and the fish market. The souk is closed daily from noon to 4 PM and most of the day on Fridays. There are also taxis available at the souk you can negotiate with for a city tour and local museum visit. Mormugoa, India - There is no shuttle bus here, so it is a long walk to the gate entrance. There are several taxis there where you can negotiate for a tour of the surrounding areas. A friend of ours picked us up here and we toured Old Goa where they had an interesting festival taking place for St. Francis Xavier, and several of the beaches that have made Goa famous. We also had a delicious meal at one of the restaurants on the river near Mormugoa. Mangalore, India - shuttle bus drops you off at a shopping mall in the center of the city where there are several taxis and tuk-tuks. We hired a tuk-tuk for 5 hours for $15.00 per person to take us around the city to see the churches and temples. We had a great driver who explained all of the Hindu traditions at the temples and we even got to witness a couple of weddings which was very interesting. This is also the only shuttle bus stop in any of the ports that left us close to an internet cafe that cost less than 50 cents per 30 minutes computer use. Male, Maldives - We tendered here and got to spend an overnight. The tender dropped us in the center of town within walking distance of the large mosque, the very interesting fish market and local farmer's market. There were also several souvenir shops. The highlight of the Maldives, is the beautiful coral atolls and underwater sea life. It was easy to arrange a visit to one of the local islands or a snorkeling trip right at the tender pier for less than $50.00 per person. We were fortunate enough to have a friend at Sheraton, who sent a private boat to pick us up for a day trip at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and it was breathtaking with its white sand beach and azure turquoise waters. Mahe, Seychelles - We docked here and there were several taxis at the pier who were only interested in giving island tours for about $60.00 per person. We only wanted to go to one of the beaches, so we waited until the rush was over and managed to get a taxi to the beach for $15.00 for 4 people. You could also walk into the town in about 20-minutes where there were several shops, bars and restaurants. Praslin, Seychelles -- We tendered into the island and it was possible to catch a ferry here to La Dique which has some of the prettiest beaches in the world. Several guests did this excursion on their own by taking the ferry and hiring an ox cart for about $25.00 per person. I opted to do the very expensive ship's snorkeling tour to Coco Island. The trip was way over priced, but I had an amazing time on the beautiful white sand beaches with large boulders and the snorkeling was some of the best I've done. It was a good thing I signed up for this on the ship, because there was no on-site operators available to hire on your own. Nosy Be, Madagascar -- We tendered into the island where the ship ran a shuttle to the center of town which was very interesting. It had a nice local market, souvenir shops, restaurants and bars with free wi-fi. There were also boats and taxis for hire. Several guests hired a boat to go to Lemur Island for $15.00 per person, where those of us booked on the ship's tour paid $129.00 per person. While the tour was quite interesting, there were absolutely no safety standards practiced on these small boats and the small village where the lemurs are kept, is basically a tourist trap, albeit an interesting one. Some guests hired taxis for $20.00 per person and also got to see lemurs on the main island. Port Louis, Mauritius: Unfortunately, we had heavy rain here all day so opted to stick close to the downtown area. The ship ran a shuttle to the downtown shopping center or you can take a water taxi for $2.00. We opted to try the water taxi going into down town and it was quite the adventure. No safety standards whatsoever, and the step up from the boat to the pier at low tide was nearly impossible. This is not a trip to take if you are mobility impaired in even the slightest way. The downtown area was modern and filled with lots of shops, restaurants, bars and sidewalk cafes and had plenty of free wi-fi spots. There is also a large local crafts market that is worth a visit. A few blocks past the new shopping area, is an underground passage that takes you to the local's market that provided plenty of photo ops and lots of exotic spices for purchase. Point des Gallets, Reunion Island: The ship docks at the cruise terminal which is a distance from anything and there are few taxis and rental cars available. There is a local bus that stops right across from the cruise terminal that gets you into the central downtown area. Luckily, they did run a shuttle that either dropped you off at the local market or the main bus station. We decided to take a direct bus to St. Denis. The trip was scenic as it hugged the coast line for the 30-minute trip. We strolled through the main part of the town and pedestrian zone where most of the shops, restaurants and bars are located. Unfortunately, most of the shops were closed from noon to 4:00 PM for their lunch break, but we enjoyed strolling the streets and water front area. The entire day cost us less than $5.00 per person including a couple of local beers. Richards Bay, South Africa: The ship docks near a marina with cafes and bars and free wi-fi. It is a modern, scenic marina. They also ran a shuttle to a modern shopping mall. We pre-scheduled a private tour to the St. Lucia Wetlands Preserve located about 1 hour drive from the port. We were able to cruise through the Wetlands where we saw several hippo and birds, but were unable to get into the land reserve for a game drive because it was already full. There are several other private game reserves in the area within an hour's drive, but most of the tours occurred during the high heat of the day when most animals are out of sight. The schedule of tours would make more sense to do the game drives at dusk, especially since we were in port until 11 PM. Durban, South Africa The ship runs a shuttle to Shaka Marine Park which is close to the waterfront. It also offers an aquarium, water park, a shopping village and several bars and restaurants. You can also catch the local People Mover bus here to go to the Indian and Witch Doctor Markets. There are also taxis available you can negotiate with for a city tour. We opted to stroll along the waterfront and enjoy an alfresco lunch. Moya is a very nie restaurant that sits at the edge of the pier where you can enjoy a drink and watch the surfers. There also is a lovely waterfront promenade featuring street performers and is a great place to people watch. In the afternoon, before heading back to the ship, a local dance troupe put on a very interesting free display of Zulu Warrior Dancing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Booked with Oceania after our already paid cruise on a different line dropped all Middle East ports(Arab spring concerns). This itinerary was similar to our original booking but 2 days longer with more ports. We like booking way in ... Read More
Booked with Oceania after our already paid cruise on a different line dropped all Middle East ports(Arab spring concerns). This itinerary was similar to our original booking but 2 days longer with more ports. We like booking way in advance, so a new search with only a few months to travel date was not what we wanted. The fact we had already purchased airfare, further complicated matters. One day I received an e-mail from our TA about a sale on Oceania. The time frame was right and required only one additional flight(much cheaper than making changes to our existing ones). We are 3 adults and were able to obtain an inside cabin that would accommodate us. The sq ft. was the smallest we had ever been in, but surprisingly the layout was great and had workable room to move about. Room stewards friendly, efficient and responsive. From the moment we checked in, the service was outstanding. No long lines for embarking, obtaining and returning passports, disembarking, pursers desk etc. We always found available deck chairs, seats during the shows, tables for lunch and breakfast. What a great relaxing atmosphere! The ship was not glitzy but comfortable. Great library. Pool was small but acceptable. Casino also small, but sufficient considering only 650 passengers on board. Specialty restaurants were very nice with lovely china,crystal,and real silverware,and the food was good(not phenomenal). The quality and abundance of fresh fruits and ice cream was outstanding(best raspberries!) and served stylishly (no plastic forks, spoons, glasses anywhere). The wait staff kept asking if we liked the food, how they could better serve us, and overall pampered us to no end. Texas burgers and Cuban sandwiches were awesome. When returning from an overnight tour the red carpet was out and room stewards greeted us at the gangway with "Welcome Home"! Ship excursions were pricey so we connected with fellow cruise critic members for nice private tours. Love kids but glad there weren't any on-board. The gym was very nice and the most utilized ever. There was a never-ending supply of FREE cold bottled water in the room and upon exiting and entering the ship. Everything was immaculate and staff super attentive. Country club casual dress code is great, and though we enjoy dressing up, lugging all the extra clothes on long overseas trips is a hassle. This was by far the most relaxing ship experience we've ever had. Oceania's rates are higher than mid range lines (Xbrity, Holland etc.)so we'll keep looking for their special sales as we would love to cruise with them again. Thanks Oceania, have more sales! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Fans of Oceania Cruises won't like this review, of our first with this line after more than 30 cruises with other companies. My opinion: Oceania is for people who want to pay a significant premium for a pretty standard product in ... Read More
Fans of Oceania Cruises won't like this review, of our first with this line after more than 30 cruises with other companies. My opinion: Oceania is for people who want to pay a significant premium for a pretty standard product in exchange for the ability to say they cruised with a higher class of company. For them, it's worth it. This itinerary, close to perfect, took us to a number of places on our bucket list: Israel, Suez Canal, Upper Egypt, Jordan, Oman and Dubai. When the price was reduced from astronomical to merely very expensive, we signed up. Since we don't expect to come to these places again and wanted a quality experience, we also signed up for overnight ship's tours in Israel and Egypt and a two-night package in Dubai at an added cost of $3,994 for two. So we paid a whole lot and expected a whole lot. Some Oceania devotees we met swear up and down that they hate big-ship cruising. Well and good, but they also ruefully acknowledge that the Nautica's small size (we had 637 passengers in all) means there is much less variety of things to do and places to be than on a larger ship. Lineups aren't common but we had a number of them. Nautica has small cabins and the tiniest shower compartment I've seen on a cruise ship. Public spaces are poorly planned and even more poorly used: the pre-dinner bar has but 50 seats; the only lounge with a panoramic view is tied up daily for bingo and afternoon tea; the show lounge has terrible sight lines; there are very few good places to sit and read; as someone on CC commented, a balcony is almost a necessity on this ship. Nautica is very nicely decorated, however: it really does feel like the English country-house the line aspires to emulate. The beds were very comfortable, the bedside reading lights excellent, the in-cabin hair dryer ditto, and the presence of hand-sanitizer stations all over the ship most welcome. However, activities seemed limited in scope and badly scheduled, entertainment was summer-stock-style enthusiastic but not compelling; as we'd read here on CC, the ship pretty much goes to sleep after nine p.m., no real surprise when Happy Hour stops at 6 p.m. and video rentals are free. The crew ratio (1.7) is high; sometimes so high that they bumped into each other. Friendliest crew we've sailed with, though. Unfortunately, the service itself failed to match: we avoided the whole central section of the dining room because the service there was so slow. Our stateroom attendant was willing enough but never seemed to comprehend our daily routine; she kept interrupting us doing one thing or another. Front-desk staff were intelligent and helpful. Bar and wine service was uneven, but always provided with a smile. The food, we were told, would be outstanding. It wasn't. Overall, fairly standard. The no-extra-cost alternative restaurants were good, but not good enough to rave about them. Open-sitting dining meant a larger dining room than the ship needs plus the requirement to introduce yourself to new people meal after meal. And the prices! Bottles of wine ran about 30 per cent higher than we've paid recently on other cruise lines, laundry service was of good quality but outrageously expensive; likewise virtually everything else you could buy on board. The automatic daily gratuity was $13.50 and the bar tab added 18 per cent. Surprisingly, we met a number of people on board who either thought this kind of thing was normal or hadn't thought about it at all. Either they were rich enough not to be concerned about value or not quite as sophisticated as some might imagine. Most egregious prices of all: shore excursions. Not physically comfortable going to Petra with its miles of walking, I reserved an Aqaba city tour, thinking that at $115 for a half-day, it must be pretty special. Not so: just a standard tour available from local operators for less than $50. A ripoff, basically. The Petra-plus-Wadi Rum tour offered by the ship cost a staggering $415 per person; my wife went with a group organized on CC and paid $199, though the dinner in a Bedouin camp provided on the ship's version wasn't included. The excursion manager seemed to have a script from which she never deviated. Information about tours was sketchy and not very helpful. Warnings about uneven ground or steps were enough to scare you off but not detailed enough to give real guidance. Our overland tour in Israel, for which we paid $699 each, was outstanding -â€" great guide, nice bus, fascinating places, opportunity to gain insight -â€" until we checked in at the Crowne Plaza in Jerusalem. Our room, like those of others in the group, was a complete disaster. When I book an overland tour with a cruise line I expect to pay more than I would doing it on my own; for that I want to have a thoroughly positive experience. I expect good quality in the hotels where we stay. On this count, Oceania failed miserably; reason enough by itself to avoid trusting this company in future. My outraged letter of complaint, demanding a rebate, has so far yielded nothing beyond some pretty words from the onboard manager. I have to say, though, that our overnight tours in Egypt and Dubai were excellent, just what I expected. The itinerary attracted us and it was just great. So, overall, wonderful places but a cruise line which failed to live up to its reputation. I doubt very much we'll be back. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
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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