351 Oceania Nautica Cruise Reviews

We have sailed with ten cruise lines, and find Oceania to be the best for our needs and lifestyle. Our first experience was in 2010 on Insignia, Nautica's sister ship, from Buenos Aires to Barcelona. Our experience was superb. Crew ... Read More
We have sailed with ten cruise lines, and find Oceania to be the best for our needs and lifestyle. Our first experience was in 2010 on Insignia, Nautica's sister ship, from Buenos Aires to Barcelona. Our experience was superb. Crew service, including our butler, was excellent. Food is Oceania's strong suite. Every meal, in every dining room pleases the palate. Wine lists are a cut above the average cruise lines, a 35 day cruise, regardless of ports, ship, or cruise line can become monotonous. Oceania offered more than 20 ports on this itinerary, most of which were pleasant experiences. Nautica's food service staff goes out of their way to learn guest's preferences for drink, restaurant accommodations, and breakfast delivery times. We have booked an upcoming cruise in December on Riviera, in a concierge suite. We very much look forward to being pampered and well fed by Oceania and their superior staff. You can not go wrong with Oceania....... very classy, no formal nights, just elegant casual relaxing evenings aboard. Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
My husband and I purchased this cruise in July, 2011 while Myanmar was listed on the itinerary, along with Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and the remaining ports of call. All 3 of the aforementioned ports were deleted, and replaced with ... Read More
My husband and I purchased this cruise in July, 2011 while Myanmar was listed on the itinerary, along with Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and the remaining ports of call. All 3 of the aforementioned ports were deleted, and replaced with Mangalore, Cochin, and Trincomalee. All three of the latter were poor substitutes. BUT, it WAS Oceania, so we knew, having cruised on Insignia, that we were in for a pampered 35 days on the seas. We had previously inhabited a penthouse suite on Insignia, so the Concierge level suite was a bit small, but we made it work. Our first night at happy hour we had the pleasure of meeting Sasa from Croatia, and Philmar from Philippines, at the Martini Bar; both were delightful. When we encountered them a week later, each remembered our names and what we liked to drink. Impressive. We enjoyed our excursion in Cape Town atop Table Mountain, even though the wind and cold were at times unbearable. In Durban, we experienced an amazing game reserve, getting up close and personal with giraffes, rhinos, hippos, ostrich, zebras, wildebeast, etc. Madagascar was an uneventful stop, as was French Comoros. We enjoyed Mauritious well enough. In Seychelles we thoroughly enjoyed snorkeling at Coco Island, and found the Maldives to be attractive and picturesque. Enter Mangalore. Here is where things begin to go south. The excursions offered by Oceania proved similar to one another, in that all involved temples, churches, and shopping (par for the coarse on cruise ships), but the sheer poverty at every turn was saddening and a bit uncomfortable, what with trash everywhere, and the plight of the underclass so underscored by the itineraries of the expensive excursions. Sri Lanka, while much cleaner, appeared like an extension of India, and we were glad to get to Kuala Lumpur, Phuket (where we rode elephants), and Penang. We agree that 35 days was, for us, much too long on one ship, on one trip, with one group of 650 passengers. We met very interesting people, both on and off the ship, but each of us was more than ready to disembark to head for home when we reached Singapore. Having used Oceania's air itinerary, we flew for 34 hours to get to Cape Town and 49 hours to return home from Singapore. We will never again allow Oceania to book our air travel. Overall, Oceania is #1 for food qualilty and service, and crew. It is apparent they hire personalities, not just people. The friendliness and knowledge of the crew is Oceania's strong suit. We plan to sail on Marina later this year, and hope to try Riviera as well. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was our first cruise with Oceania and shortly after we boarded one of the staff commented that it was pretty brave to choose an unknown cruise line on which to pass the next 65 days. We choose our cruises based on the ports of call ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Oceania and shortly after we boarded one of the staff commented that it was pretty brave to choose an unknown cruise line on which to pass the next 65 days. We choose our cruises based on the ports of call first and then the size of ship. Of course one always has a preference to a known cruise company but our agent was certain we would enjoy what Oceania had to offer on board. Oceania did play around with the itinerary just before final payment was due and we had booked a back to back, so when Myanmar was slashed for "whatever" reason I did do a hmmmm but made the final payment and thought oh well, hopefully they don't slash any more ports. First Kenya, Tanzania and then Myanmar, basic reasons we did choose this cruise. They truly didn't "think about" the ports they put in place of those slashed, so corporate office get someone outside that little office to think about what to replace Myanmar with - not Trincomalee Sri Lanka! Anyhow on to the Nautica and I must say from the get-go the staff was excellent. Possibly one of the best bunch of crew we have had the privilege to sail with. Friendly, helpful always going out of their way to make sure our day was just that much better. From the Captain down each person was a pleasure to interact with. I have not come across a General Manager that was more human, helpful and thoughtful than Dominique a gem of a gentleman. If from here I continued to mention names of people that impressed me it would fill the page. The food fantastic! Imagine every day fresh berries (at least 2 varieties) and fresh tropical fruits like mangos and papayas alongside.. never missing a day. The Grand Dining room was just that, a slow, relaxed dining atmosphere. The 2 speciality restaurants and the management fantastic. The alfresco evening dinners in the Terrace were also a delight. Perhaps the best were the baguettes and French pastries, took me back to small bakeries in rural France, fresh out of the oven. The afternoon tea with the Florentines took me back to my younger days in Europe - thanks for the memories! There was a "situation" with the doctor, hired by Oceania, and eventually it could not be overlooked those in charge of the ship, brought it under control in a gentlemanly way as quick as they possibly could. It did mar the Dubai to Cape Town leg and gave for some worrisome times, I did even call Oceania's head office in Miami to lodge a personal complaint, which I never did hear anything from, another sweep under the corporate carpet. Before we sailed I had read 3 important/interesting things about Oceania. First, there are no activities for any child or even teen so don't expect to see many, if any, children on board. Second, Oceania is a port intensive cruise line so don't expect too much from the nightly entertainment, truly some of the entertainment sent by corporate office was questionable. Third expect the best beds in the cruise industry. True, true and true! The little touches of no charge on specialty coffees and non-alcoholic drinks and the free speciality restaurants were a nice touch. My only complaint was the lack of port talks. Yes we did get a verbal reading of what each port was like and what there was to see. But it was a "report" not a port talk. Nobody mentioned about the local dishes to try in different countries, or what to expect if we didn't take one of the very, very over priced tours. There are some people like my husband and myself, due to medical reasons, we cannot commit to the tours and then had to research or talk to others in order to glean something about the ports of call (remembering the speed and cost of the Internet we couldn't even search for ideas of what to do) Fortunately again the multi-country staff came to the rescue and gave us some ideas of what to expect. Other cruise lines I have sailed sell their ship tours but still give the independent traveler a lot of information and encouragement to enjoy the strange new countries they are about to see and experience. Many a passenger on this cruise had no idea of the poverty or the difficulties the countries were up against as that wasn't in the "manual". Perhaps some of the passengers would have appreciated things they saw more with a real port talk. On arrival in a port it was often heard, there is nothing to see here so guess we will go into port for a look-see. Even the names of the ports and important sights were so badly mispronounced it was hard to imagine what was being said. With the international crew on board one could have just asked around for correct pronunciations (that is what we did) to educate the passengers properly. With a little more enthusiasm during the port talks the guests would have been humming with delight for all the countries we were privileged visited. Will I cruise with Oceania again, hmm not sure. That is to say it is only the corporate office that is not getting my vote. Pricing of the cruise itself was very high. Pricing of the tours unreal. Spa prices hit the roof and the doctor prices (company quoted) were astronomical. I am writing this in comparison to the many other cruises we have taken. If I base it on my time spent on Nautica with the excellent staff - yes I'd sail with them again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was a Christmas and New Year cruise for us getting away from wet and weary England. With over 20 different ports of call -many at islands and other locations not regular cruise ship stops - this was fairly special and we have came ... Read More
This was a Christmas and New Year cruise for us getting away from wet and weary England. With over 20 different ports of call -many at islands and other locations not regular cruise ship stops - this was fairly special and we have came home with many wonderful memories. Service, food and general attention were well up to Oceania's normal high standard. However we feel that Nautica is beginning to gently show her age and facilities like the gym are falling behind modern ships. Nautica attracts well travelled, interesting fellow passengers - always courteous and well mannered. A spirit of great harmony was evident throughout this long cruise and we enjoyed excellent companionship throughout I have no time to list and describe the 22 ports of call.Cape Town is brilliant and well worth visiting for a few days in advance of a cruise starting there The Seychelles are stunningly beautiful islands and everywhere else on this cruise is,well, different! On the negative side, entertainment was poor.We don't ask much - just a good professional singer or instrumentalist every evening. We had some + local dancers on 2 occasions but this was inadequate. Other efforts were just cheap and evidence of miserably cut back budgets. The itinerary for this voyage endured a number of late changes with some poor substitutes in India and Sri Lanka for Burma. There was no apology from Oceania in Miami whose approach to criticism or challenge from passengers seems to be to ignore letters that they would find difficult to answer. This was a widespread feeling on board and is beginning to alienate previously loyal supporters. Oceania would do well to take note Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
After our first Oceania-cruise to Antartica with Ms Insignia we decided never to sail with Oceania again. Many reasons for that: 1. officers were invisible. 2. the food was not of constant quality. 3. the admosphere at the ship was ... Read More
After our first Oceania-cruise to Antartica with Ms Insignia we decided never to sail with Oceania again. Many reasons for that: 1. officers were invisible. 2. the food was not of constant quality. 3. the admosphere at the ship was terrible. 4. we missed the scheduled stop at the Falklands. During seven days we were told, this was because of the severe winds. But then the truth came out: we lost the biggest part of an anchor! The general manager told this while the concierge had not yet stopped lying about it. We took pictures when the rest of the old anchor was replaced by a new one, to prove that the old anchor was incomplete. Despite of this, when we send an email to Oceania, they continued denying the loss of the anchor again! No compensation for the skipped port. Why do I write this? Well, just because nothing has changed. When getting an offer from our travel-agency which looked attractive, we decided to try it one more time, because of the great itinerary: England, Iceland, Greenland. That was a serious mistake. This cruise started with long waiting before we were allowed to enter the ship. Unbelievable, but true: nobody there, exept a girl at the elevator at a distance of about 15 meters. What a difference with other cruise-companies, where you hear: "welcome, nice you are here, would you like a glass of champagne?" With Oceania only a girl at the elevator, who shows you the way to your cabin. No fresh fruit there and no flowers during the entire cruise. Our luggage arrived about 16.45! Breakfast: the same bread as a year before. No whole yeast bread, the baguettes already sliced some hours before and always dry. When you ask for fresh, an unfriendly rude girl says, she has to ask her boss. But okay, then you can get it at the end. Leaving that girl with a face that makes me think about acetic acid. Fresh Orange-juice is only available when you ask for it and after they say that the juice from the machine is also fresh, which is a lie. Ofcourse they often forget to bring it to you, but you are not forbidden to ask it again. Most of the time the fresh fruit is of good quality, but sometimes it is not ripe. Lunch at the buffet-restaurant: every day almost the same food; quality like the fastfood-restaurants back home which you thought to have escaped. Dinner at all restaurants: quality like the luch menu. Sometimes friendly servants, sometimes very unfriendly. The meat was often overcooked. The vegetables (if any) are hardly cooked at all and must have been discovered by a dentist. Most of the time the soup is to cold and the icecream is already melted when served. One guest at my table ordered cod-fish but got salmon. Not by accident, but just because the cod was not available anymore. Not a word from the waiter! Icecream at dinner is bad, but most sorbets are exellent. It never occurred that dinner was excellent from the start to the end. Always 1 or more errors. When you read in the Oceania-brochure about their "best cuisine at sea" I can only smile a little. (Trying not to get angry) Because of my first cruise with them, I did not expect very much, but the quality has even decreased. The food, we were told, would be outstanding. It wasn't. Overall, at most standard. The wines are not included as on Azamara-ships. They are much to expensive. For instance, a Gerard-Bertrand-chardonnay was about 60 dollars here. At home, as a private client, I pay about 6.5 euro! I brought some own bottles and even after paying a huge corkfee of 25 dollar that's a much better deal. But some wine-waiters are friendly at least. Activities on board: not many. The first day, I asked at the reception "do you have a bridge-teacher on board" "Yes" was the answer. I had my doubts, so I asked: "what's his name?" The girl looked at her computer and said " can't see it here". The first answer was a lie. I do trust the 2d answer. But I liked the lectures. A pity that because of the absence of other activities the lounge was always very crowded. But when no seat was available a crew-member said to me "there you can get a chair". On an Azamara-ship the crew would surely bring it to you. The Nautica left Edinburg 2 hours earlier then originally scheduled: 15.00 and not 17.00. Ofcourse a disappointment. When I asked the concierge for the reason, the answer was "because of tidal conditions". These conditions are known years in advance. So I asked the concierge why Oceania does not know them. You will not be surprised that I'm still waiting for the answer, though I asked it a second time after some days. The cabins are small, but for me good enough. The beds are to small (80x190 cm) but of good quality. The waterpressure was not enough to get the shampoo removed from your hear. We asked for repair. Though they tried to fix it, there was no result. Our windows were cleaned only once after we asked for that, because, due to much dirt and salt we could hardly see anything. Cleaning of the cabin is at most fair. Ofcourse we never booked an excursion, organized by Oceania, because they are much to expensive. What to think about 3 hours only walking for 90 dollar? Many passengers must have been thinking the same, for several excursions were private, organized via the cruise-critic website by other travellers. They were good and about 1/3 of the Oceania-prize. Prized at Oceania are extreme high: the excursions, the wines, the gratuities, the spa; just everything what is not included. The automatic daily gratuity was $13.50 and the bar tab added 18 per cent. When comparing prizes take care that you take in account the gratuities and the wines at lunch and dinner. That makes a big difference! Announcements at the ship were hard to understand, except the irritating announcements for the bingo, where Oceania earns money. Safety on board is not really guaranteed. (see also my remarks about the anchor!) Many days our luggage was not controlled when coming back in the ship. Sometimes it was scanned, but then nobody was looking at it. After coming back we like to drink an expresso, but here we miss the exellent Azamara-coffee-bar with good coffee and some snacks. At the Nautica you can try to get it in the empty restaurant and then take it with you to the bar. Ofcourse nobody serves any drink in the large room around the atrium. That's a big difference with the Azamara- and Princess sister-ships which have the same size. No atmosphere at all here for that reason. At the bar they refuse to give you a seven-up-light, saying they are not allowed to serve it here. You can take it with you from your mini-bar....... Flexibility is yet to be discovered here. As you can read the medical service is extremely expensive and not all doctors have a 2012 lisence as you can read in earlier revievs about this ship. Internet was not always available and very slow. The evenin-shows are horrible. A vibrato-soprano who was allowed to return a second time, a mediocre jugler, a violin-player who seemed to have had lessons of famous world-class players but unfortunately without much result and to make it worse with an electric violin bbrrrrrr. The last evening a guest-show. I was afraid that the guest-singer who seemed to be escaped from the alzheimer-hospital was singing again, so I did not go there. This man was sometimes singing in the bar, so we were warned. Lesley, the cruise-director was good, especially when compared with "silly Willy" a year before at the Insignia. The captain said about 15 words at the captains party for repeaters and hardly knew how quickly he could give the microphone backto. He seems not to like this part of his job. Maybe he is better at a cargo-ship. Shuttle-service is insufficient at places where it's organized by Oceania. Result: angry passengers who, in time for a scheduled bus,were banging on the doors when not allowed to enter. I was not really surprised that the ship lost an anchor. Again! How is it possible. The same as with the Insignia a year before. This time the reception lying about it: "No we did NOT loose an anchor", but when I came back with the picture of the the broken thing, the concierge agreed with me: "yes we lost an anchor". Last year a lying concierge and an honest general manager, this time a lying reception and an honest concierge.......... Oceania's maintenance of the ship seems to be not accurate. At least you would think so. Are there any inspections? Or do they just sail until it goes wrong? This time only one skipped port. They said because of icebergs. Maybe it was the truth; you can never know. Many passengers had complaints about Oceania, the crew, the food, in fact about everything. Remarkable that the only satisfied guests did not cruise with other companies before. They should! 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 not what one typically expects from a luxury cruise line. In fact it has nothing to do with luxury, unless you appreciate the free lessons in lying about everything. But I don't like them at all and for that reason my rating at this forum of the overall cruise-experience can't be higher then 1. (zero was not possible) I can add many other negative things, but this should be enough to warn every future guest: dont go here! At Azamara-ships I'm welcome. Here my money is welcome. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
The July 3, 2012 London to London Viking Expeditions Cruise did not live up to our expectations. When we completed this cruise, we had sailed on Nautica for 85 days. Each time, Oceania seems to have lowered the bar. On the positive ... Read More
The July 3, 2012 London to London Viking Expeditions Cruise did not live up to our expectations. When we completed this cruise, we had sailed on Nautica for 85 days. Each time, Oceania seems to have lowered the bar. On the positive side, the food continued to be excellent perhaps because of the the skill of Anthony, the Executive Chef and his staff, even better than our prior cruises. Along those lines, the High Tea and the string quartet were very good. The staterooms were as expected - small but comfortable - and our stateroom attendants did a great job. The cruise had a wonderful itinerary which included Iceland with an overnight in Reykjavik, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Dublin, Belfast and several other wonderful ports. So how could Oceania turn gold into straw? Very simply, if you can't wait for a large dose of trivia, bridge and snowball bingo (whatever that is) an Oceania cruise with six sea days in cold weather (too cold for pool for most normal people) is the cruise line for you. If you expect something better, look for a different cruise line. The cruise had an enrichment speaker and the destination speaker. Their lectures can best be described as painful. The Destination Manager served as the destination speaker and spent most of her lecture reading Oceania's shore excursion descriptions from its printed material. Consider that Oceania offered a 5 hour tour and a 7 hour tour that were identical except for a small component. She read both descriptions even though they were the same word for word except for the added 2 hour component. Bad, but the Enrichment Speaker, a retired coast guard officer, did a poorer job showing he got most of his local knowledge from Wikipedia. What happened Oceania, did you sell the rooms usually reserved for the naturalist (this was a cruise to Iceland and Greenland) and the professor of European History? We normally do private or independent tours. On this cruise did 5 private tours and 8 Oceania excursions. We chose the Oceania excursions because Oceania discounted the tours if you bought and paid 8 in advance and some of the ports had poor tourist infrastructure. Despite the discount, the Oceania excursions cost $115 per person per excursion. I would rate 5 of the 8 as good to excellent; 3 as poor or worse. However, my final conclusion, which shouldn't shock anyone who has sailed on Oceania, is that the Oceania excursions did not offer great value even when discounted 25%. Finally, the crew. This is the first Oceania cruise where we felt the crew seemed disinterested. We think it started from the top down. The Captain, General Manager and Cruise Director seemed distant and uninvolved. In fact, having cruised with Dotty and Willie Ames previously, we dubbed Leslie Jon, our Cruise Director, as the invisible man - hard to do but we saw him once in 13 disembarkations for excursions and for the entertainment he typically never appeared on stage. The Captain and GM were even less involved. Below this level, the crew seemed very inexperienced with many on their first contract. It seemed to us that Oceania has transferred most of its experienced staff to Riviera and Marina. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Hubby and I decided to do this at the last minute to celebrate my birthday. We had been looking at various cruise lines who included St. Petersburg in the itinerary for months, thinking of doing it next spring, when we found this trip on ... Read More
Hubby and I decided to do this at the last minute to celebrate my birthday. We had been looking at various cruise lines who included St. Petersburg in the itinerary for months, thinking of doing it next spring, when we found this trip on the internet on Oceania. They are the only ones we found that gave us a full two nights and (almost) three full days in St. Petersburg. We only booked this 10 days prior to sailing date, so did not have time to get visas and knew we would only be able to take ship excurions without one. We had some misgivings but decided to just go for it. Oceania did not disappoint us!! Their excursions turned out to include things we could never have scheduled on our own. The first morning, we visited Peter the Great Palace in Peterhof, which was pretty much a standard tour with thousands of other people filing through the palace at the same time (but still incredible). We returned to the ship, had lunch, took a nap, then went on our evening tour. This one, title "Grand Imperial Evening with the Tsars", was an excursion to Catherine's Palace in Pushkin. We were totally stunned to find out that somehow the Palace was opened afterhours just for our group, which turned out to be about two busloads (probably 60 people)!! After walking through the carriage house (which was also incredible) our little group was greeted at the Palace entrance by about a 10-piece brass band, and as we walked through all the gorgeous rooms, they had a flutist in one room, and a musician playing a vintage keyboard (maybe a clavichord?) wearing vintage costume in another room. After touring all the rooms, we were seated in a grand ballroom, where we were served champagne while a string orchestra played, then two people dressed as the tsar and tsarina entered, and the orchestra played while two more costumed dancers danced for us. We did indeed feel like royalty! After this we walked a short distance to a restaurant on the grounds and were served a Russian dinner while costumed musicians played Russian folk music while we clapped along with the music and shared a vodka toast. We returned to the ship around midnight totally awed by the incredible evening we had experienced. The next morning we took an excursion named "Highlights of St. Petersburg, which was enjoyable. That evening we had booked an excursion named "Musical Evening at the Hermitage" and were delighted to find that the Hermitage had been reopened just for our ship excursion group (about 75 people), so we again had a virtually private tour without the crowds. At the end, we were again treated to champagne then escorted into the beautiful The Majolica Room filled with more priceless artwork where we were seated and the State Orchestra of St. Petersburg performed a full concert for us. We returned to the ship around midnight again still in disbelief that we had been able to visit both Catherine's Palace and the Hermmitage without the crowds. Everyone we talked to later on the ship that visited these places during the day experienced the same huge crowds we experienced at Peter the Great Palace. Thank you, Oceania--I don't know how you pulled it off, but the two nighttime excursions we had in St. Petersburg were sosmething we could never have experienced any other way, and were worth the price of the entire cruise!! On the third day we slept in then took an afternoon excursion named "St. Isaac's Cathedral, Kazan Cathedral & Spilled Blood Cathedral" which was also very good. This was our second cruise on Oceania and were already impressed by the high levels of service, courtesy, and friendliness of all the staff. We were particularly impressed by our waiters at the bar in the Horizon and in Tapas on the Terrace, the friendly guy who was always at the customer service desk, and the excursion staff. We like the port-intensive itineraries offered by Oceania and the smaller size ships that can go into places usually only seen from riverboats. We previously sailed on the Insignia and were delighted to find the Nautica had an identical layout. We loved all the teak wood furniture and decks. We alternated most of our time onboard the ship between Tapas on the Terrace for the great views from the back of the ship and Horizons to enjoy the panoramic views from the front of the ship. I am so happy that we were lucky enough to book this cruise at the last minute and don't think we could have possibly seen more if we had planned our excurions and books months ahead of time!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
The Nautica welcomed us onboard with a faultless embarkation, and after a lunch in the bistro we settled down in the comfortable library with a good book until our room was ready at 3pm. The first few days of the cruise were cool,but ... Read More
The Nautica welcomed us onboard with a faultless embarkation, and after a lunch in the bistro we settled down in the comfortable library with a good book until our room was ready at 3pm. The first few days of the cruise were cool,but Honfleur was a pleasant fishing port and quite photogenic. Some people went on an excursion to Paris but complained that it was a very long and tiring day. St. Malo was very pleasant and a group of us hired a taxi to visit the mediaevil village of Dinan which was very interesting. Infortunately we had to miss Concarneau as the seas were too rough for tendering. Our next stop was Bordeaux. Who could ever forget the stunning sail into this port. We took the train along with 12 others from the ship to visit St. Emillion. This was a good day out, which involved a 20 minute walk from the railway station into the village but was well worth the effort. Bilbao was our next port and the Guggenheim Musuem was on everyone's list of things to do. On to Oport, very picturesque, we visited a bodega on the Douro River and sampled the ports...very drinkable. Lisbon was very walkable with lots to see. Cadiz was the port where most people took the opportunity to go to Seville. But we went on a photographic safari and to the botanic gardens. Then Motril the port for Granada. We had arranged a tour with Granada Picnic Tours and our car was waiting for us when e docked and we were whisked down the new highway to meet our guide Anne who took us through the Alhambra, the fort, the palace, the souk, and on a local bus to see Granada from the heights of Albaicin a village once occupied by cave dwellers. This was a magic day with a guide who was so knowledgeable. Valencia was a day when we were starting to feel that we needed a rest, we had a short walk in the morning, returned to the ship for lunch and had a delicious afternoon tea on Nautica. We woke to a fine sunny morning in Barcelona and we were berthed right in the city. We took the metro just two stops to Espanya Railway Station where we boarded the train for Monserrat, a Monastery and Museum built right on top of the mountains and only an hour from the City. It was a memorable experience. Marseille, was very disappointing being Sunday everything was closed, and after a short walk around the old city we returned to the ship. We debated about getting thebus to Aix en Provence but we heard later that everything was closed there too. Livorno was our one ships tour, to Cinque Terre! Oh! what a disappointment.. the weather we can't control, but it rained most of the day. We were not told onboard Nautica that the walking trails between the villages had been closed because of land slides, and we were not able to go between the villages by boat because of rough seas. So we spent the day on a bus, then between each village we were herded on to a local train. In the final village we had 3 hours for lunch, still pouring with rain, before we got another train to meet up with our coach back to the ship. A very expensive day out...... On arrival in Civitavechia we walked to the local station, only 250metres from the port and for 9 Euro each we traveled into Rome and our Hotel. We spent 3 days relaxing and winding down from the hectic pace of our cruise before our 19hours flight home. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
The Ship caters to the elderly in respect to entertainment and music on board. Music from the 1930-50. War time songs and big band sounds. This resulted in a negative experience for us. It was like being in a senior citizens home. The ... Read More
The Ship caters to the elderly in respect to entertainment and music on board. Music from the 1930-50. War time songs and big band sounds. This resulted in a negative experience for us. It was like being in a senior citizens home. The Shore excursions were overpriced and didn't provide the description. We booked ten tours prior to departure. 50% of these tours failed to deliver. Wrong venue in Mumbai not the 100 year old Regal Movie Theatre. Cochin we were supposed to have one about and fifteen minutes to explore Jew Town we had 10 minutes so were not able to visit a heritage site. The tour bus in Kenya described as a tour in comfort, had leaking air conditioning was unsafe and had a collision. The ship arrived in the Maldives late, it was 4.15 by the time we got to the second rate resort and travelled back by boat in the dark arriving at 7.15 pm. The following day we had to leave very early for Kudos Bandos as the ship was sailing. Although the itinerary is exceptional we would have had a better experience if we had arranged our own tours as did many of the passengers. The guest entertainers were good but the programming was wrong. Some nights no entertainment and many performances were by the ships on board musicians. The gym was excellent. The staff excellent. The food as expected on a ship of this class. The Concierge excellent. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
The itinerary is outstanding with visits to exotic ports and beautiful islands. The Nautica is the perfect ship for this cruise. The cruise is long but the days go fast. The days at sea are welcome for relaxing and getting a tan. The ... Read More
The itinerary is outstanding with visits to exotic ports and beautiful islands. The Nautica is the perfect ship for this cruise. The cruise is long but the days go fast. The days at sea are welcome for relaxing and getting a tan. The weather was generally warm and sunny. The Nautica is known for great food and friendly service. The entertainment was adequate. The negatives which are common to most cruise lines include expensive wine, excursions and internet, The bathrooms are small. Oceania has addressed this problem on it's newer ships. The exercise room was very good. The ports are the stars of this cruise. The ship provided shuttle service in Dubai. There are lots of taxis. We took 3 excellent tours with Arabian Adventures. The shuttle in Fujairah is to the Center City Mall which is not in the center of the city. There are lots of taxis. The shuttle in Muscat is to the souk. There are lots of taxis. Mumbai is hectic. We took an excellent tour to the Kanheri Caves with Mumbai Magic. In Goa, Mangalore and Cochin there are lots of taxis. The ship anchored in the Maldives. We had hoped to snorkel but the seas were a little rough and the weather was overcast. In the Seychelles we took a taxis and snorkeled at the beautiful Anse Royale Beach. A shuttle was provided in Mombasa. Taxis and Tuk Tuks were available. Shuttle was provided in Zanzibar. It is not necessary as you can walk in to Stone Town. We got a boat for $50 and went snorkeling at a nearby island. In Dar es Salaam we took an excursion to historic Bagamoyo. It was a little disorganized but this is Africa. We anchored in Madagascar. We hired a boat at the tender pier and went to the Lemur island. There were a few taxis in Maputo, Mozambique. We to an excursion to the St Lucia Wetlands from Richard's Bay. We saw lots of Hippos but only 1 croc. The weather was poor. We took an excellent excursion to the Tala Game Reserve from Durban. You can get really close to the animals as they are use to the 4 X $s. We had very rough seas from Durban to Cape Town. We arrived 8 hours late. This was very disappointing for most of the passengers. Cape Town is beautiful. The ship docks right at the waterfront. We had been here before. I went on a great white shark cage dive 2 hours out of Cape Town in Kleinbaai. Very thrilling. My favorite ports were Dubai, Muscat, Mahe in the Seychelles, Zanzibar, Madagascar and Cape Town. This is a cruise of a life time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We knew we were in for a special experience when we arrived at the Singapore Cruise Center. There were thousands of people lined up for the Holland America cruise leaving from the next berth, as we were waved past all of them, dropped off ... Read More
We knew we were in for a special experience when we arrived at the Singapore Cruise Center. There were thousands of people lined up for the Holland America cruise leaving from the next berth, as we were waved past all of them, dropped off our luggage, sped through customs, and directly onto the ship. Our inside stateroom was lovely, and quite spacious. Every member of the staff was friendly and gracious, and made a point of remembering our names. I have a culinary background, and asked if I could tour the galley. Sadly, the answer was no, because of security concerns, but the next morning, the Food & Beverage manager found me and made sure I met the Executive Chef. We booked most of our excursions through Oceania, since it was our first time in this part of the world, and found them generally satisfying. One exception was the tour to the ancient kingdom ruins in Thailand. We were promised a Thai luncheon, but our tour guide took us to a mediocre Chinese luncheon at a western hotel. And it was a bit wearing to have a "shopping opportunity" on each and every excursion, when you know that the cruise line and the shop have their hands in each others' pockets. But that's a small objection to an overall fantastic cruise. Lovely, cultured, well-traveled fellow passengers as well. We will seek out Oceania again for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
The adventure started in finding the right cruise terminal in Singapore -- there are two, and our cab driver got it right the second time. But cabs in Singapore are cheap, so no harm, no foul. A very large Holland America ship was boarding ... Read More
The adventure started in finding the right cruise terminal in Singapore -- there are two, and our cab driver got it right the second time. But cabs in Singapore are cheap, so no harm, no foul. A very large Holland America ship was boarding at the same time, so the queue seemed to wend its way for miles until we saw the Nautica personnel holding their signs up. We bypassed the queue completely, and breezed through the embarkation process like rock stars. Our inside room was larger than we had experienced on Princess. We were able to maneuver around one another without choreography (You Stand There While I Move Here, cha-cha-cha). Lots of storage, and a shower that you could actually turn around in. Really comfortable bed, and nice squishy pillows (unlike the foam logs you so often find.) Four electrical plugs, 2 European round prongs, and 2 American, with one of the American devoted to the obligatory night-light -- bring universal adapters if you travel with electronics. Loved the ambience on the ship, with the emphasis on adult travel. And really loved the small (600 passenger) ship. The food was uniformly excellent. The staff was lovely. The only hiccup in our cruise was dense fog in Canton. We parked about 24 nautical miles from port waiting to get in, and when it was evident that the fog wouldn't lift, we weighed anchor and headed to Hong Kong. Our pre-paid tours were refunded and we enjoyed another day at sea. Would i go again? Yep, in a heartbeat. Best comment heard: "Can't they clean up the garbage near their shacks?" Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Just completed a 25 day Pea rls of the Orient Cruise with Oceania. We booked the full package with Oceania to include flights which we were able to upgrade, hotel JW Marriott Beijing and Shangri La Bangkok at the end of the cruise. ... Read More
Just completed a 25 day Pea rls of the Orient Cruise with Oceania. We booked the full package with Oceania to include flights which we were able to upgrade, hotel JW Marriott Beijing and Shangri La Bangkok at the end of the cruise. Oceania provided transfers to hotels and to airport. Nautica is the sister ship of the Regatta a ship we have previously sailed on with Oceania however we noticed a difference in the service provided on the Nautica and this was mainly due to their ability to deal with my coeliac disease which requires a gluten free diet. On embarkation we were informed that a menu would be delivered to our stateroom the night previous and we should complete this so that my dinner the following day could be adjusted accordingly. This indeed happened. Where Oceania fell down was with the provision of gluten free items to include bread. When requesting gluten free bread the offer was always an inedible brown bread so therefore I asked whether there was any availability of white bread. This request was met in the Terrace Cafe and the Head waiter ensured that this was available for me . However the Main Dining Room did not pre-empt requirements. I always had to request gluten free bread if i wanted it, whereas my wife would be brought a basket of rolls pre dinner as expected. There were no alternatives other than the bread offering (ie no gluten free rolls, no gluten free biscuits to eat with a cheese platter and no speciality breads even in Polo or Toscana.) This culminated in my making a complaint towards the end of the cruise when I requested a poached egg on gluten free bread for breakfast and eventually received an egg on bread which had obviously been frozen and warmed up but not toasted. It was absolutely inedible and my wife told one of the senior waiters to tell the chef to taste it and see if he would like to eat it. Following this on the 22nd day of the cruise we learned that I could have had gluten free pizza made on request in the Terrace Cafe, which i then availed of but was very unhappy that this had not been clarified at the beginning of the cruise. The second complaint I had with the service on the Nautica was the inefficiency of the Sommeliers in the Main Dining Room. We had purchased the premium drinks package and thought that this was the reason that the Sommeliers took so long to serve us. But learned from other passengers that this was not just us. It was very noticeable that there was waiters filling glasses of water constantly but the same could not be said for the Sommeliers. Overall the cruise was very good in particular the itinery, however neither my wife or I felt that the service or indeed the food was of the same standard as our previous cruise on Regatta. As before the entertainment on Oceania leaves quite a lot to be desired. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We flew into Beijing on the morning of the cruise. We had spent several weeks in China previously. I had arranged a transfer for 12 cc members by Beijing Airport transfer to Tianjin. I had been assured that there would be plenty of room in ... Read More
We flew into Beijing on the morning of the cruise. We had spent several weeks in China previously. I had arranged a transfer for 12 cc members by Beijing Airport transfer to Tianjin. I had been assured that there would be plenty of room in the 22 seater bus for pax and luggage. We were packed in like sardines - why do some people take so much luggage?? The price was good but I would suggest that numbers be limited on future transfers. No-one that I am aware of did a tour in Tianjin. It seemed like a very ordinary place to visit. Most had done tours to the Great Wall and other interesting places in Beijing. Our first stop was in Seoul. We had booked 3 vans here - mainly vans of 8 pax. This was a fantastic tour and the guides were excellent. My contact was Rachel at Seoul City Tours rachel@seoulcitytour.net http://www.seoulcitytour.net/ We were met at the port and visited Blue House (Pass by ) - Gyeongbok Palace - Bukchon Hanok Village - Samcheongdong - Insadong - Cheongggyecheon Stream - Seoul N Tower before being taken back to the port. I can highly recommend this company. Cost was $81 per person without lunch. Next stop was in Shanghai. On the first day I organised a tour with a private guide for a small group to Zhouzhuang (water town) and Suzhou (famous for it's gardens). Both places were interesting and the highlight was our boat trip around Zhouzhuang - not quite like Venice but fun. I organized this with Qinqin http://www.synotrip.com/qinqin Qinqin was a knowledgeable guide. 50% payment before the cruise and 50% on the day with each couple able to make their own deposit. Next stop was in Nagasaki Japan. I organized a private tour here for eight of us with Shannon Lefebvre who met us at the ship. The guide an Australian married to a delightful Japanese lady gave us a wonderful tour. He treated us like long lost friends. We drove directly to Isahaya to visit the beautiful Spectacle Bridge before heading toward the Shimabara Peninsular then on up the mountain to Unzen. We walked around the Jigoku area (Hell ponds) and drove up to the volcano lookout point for a spectacular photo opportunity. Then to Shannon's home town of Obama (Hot Spring town), where we had snacks and drinks to relax our weary feet at the longest foot bath in Japan at 105m long. Shannon's wife met us here with a delightful picnic. We then passed the Tachibana Shrine and received a Shinto Blessing before heading back to the Nagasaki City area where we visited the Peace Park. Then we were taken back to the ship. Contact details http://tour-nagasaki.com/sample-page/ This was a fantastic tour and we felt like we had learnt so much about life in Japan. Next day we were in Kagoshima Japan. We took the ferry over to Sakurajima to see the Volcano. There is a sight seeing bus that takes you right around the island stopping off at points of interest. The ferry and the bus fares worked out at approx $10 per person but you need the local currency (yen). We were lucky to witness the volcano blowing it's top twice while we were there which lead to some great photo shots. Next stop was at Keelung Taiwan. We had a tour - Keelung Harbor - Taipei City - Martyrs (TM) Shrine - Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall - Taipei 101 Building -Confucius Memorial, Pao An Temple - Chung Cheng Park Keelung - back to Keelung Harbor It was an interesting tour which cost us approx $60 per person. My contact was Michael Yau at ALIDO Travel Taiwan. HONG KONG was next. On the first day we took the local bus to the Stanley Markets where we were able to buy everything that we wanted to bring back home. On the second day we had arranged a local tour with Gray Line Tours "The Land Between". We picked the tour up at the YMCA which was close to the port. Finally we arrived in Vietnam which was our main reason for booking the cruise. We had two nights in HALONG BAY. On the first day we went to Hanoi which was a long day but well worth the effort. While there is now only one Vietnam rather than North Vietnam and South Vietnam there is a marked difference between the two areas. To miss Hanoi would be to miss "North Vietnam". There were two highlights to this tour - the cyclo tour through the old quarter and the "water puppet" performance. The second day in Halong Bay we did a cruise on the magnificent bay of some thousand limestone islands emerging from clear blue water. We enjoyed a seafood lunch while on board. Our second stop in Vietnam was in Hue. Our private tour was to Hué. We visited the former Imperial Citadel and Forbidden Purple City. Hué was the capital of Vietnam until the early 20th century, and generations of royalty lived in the Forbidden Purple City, inside the walled exterior of the Citadel. We then took a houseboat boat trip to visit Thien Mu Pagoda, one of Vietnam's oldest and most beautiful Buddhist temples. The locals had lots of their well made wares available for sale on the boat and they did a good trade. We then visited the tomb of Minh Mang with their vast lovingly-tended, botanical gardens, beautiful open air pavilions and numerous shrines, were to provide the seven Nguyen Emperors noble burials as well as comfortable afterlives. This was also a very good tour. Our last two days in Vietnam were spent in the Mekong Delta. We took a boat on Ben Tre river " one of tributaries of Mekong river. There were lively activities along the river. We visited one of plenty of coconut processing worships located along canal where we sampled sweets and had lots of the local fruits for refreshments. We finally got off the boat, then we took a motor cart (xe loi) or cycle riding under tree shades, pass by green rice fields to get a feel of real life. Lunch at a local house was plentiful and delicious. In the afternoon we took a rowing-boat along water palm creek and cruise back to Hung Vuong Pier. We then drove back to the ship. On the second day we had a tour to Cu Chi tunnels. This was really a highlight of Vietnam. This gave us a better understanding of the Vietnam war. Everything was made very real. Some did not go on this tour because they were worried about entering the tunnels. Only some people choose to go inside the tunnels and it takes less than 10 mins so it is a chance for everyone else to have a short break and relax. In my opinion this tour is a MUST do. All of our Vietnam tours were organized through Ann Tours. www.anntours.com One more port before we disembarked was Sihanoukville, Cambodia. I had organized several vans with ANA Travel. (Note ANA not Ann tours as in Vietnam). This was a great tour with lunch. Ana set up the Travel Agency nine years ago. She met and married Mike (an English guy) who was backpacking in Cambodia. Mike now works for the British High Commission in Cambodia. I communicated with Mike and the company was easy to deal with and anxious to please. The tour was $45 with $5 extra for lunch which was yummy. A couple of the vans were taken to petrol/gas stations for bathroom stops - others only took us to eastern toilets. Highly recommend that you request the former. Contact anatravel@live.com We finally arrived at Bangkok. On the first day I had arranged a private tour to the palace. On disembarkment we were picked up and six of us did a tour of the Train Market and The Fishing Village organised through tourwithtong@gmail.com It was so hot in Bangkok that it was great to get outside of Bangkok on the water and see how the locals live. It was a great cruise with lots of interesting ports. We had a particularly friendly cc group. As usual the food on Nautica was great and we ate too much. If you wish to contact me re any of the ports you are welcome to do so. rosmerleg at hotmail dot com (usual format) Cheers Ros Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
First of all..we were docked at Klong Toey not way down in Laem Chabang which was a BIG plus as far as getting to the ship and for the day of shore excursions. We love travelling with Oceania..especially on the smaller ships, Nautica, ... Read More
First of all..we were docked at Klong Toey not way down in Laem Chabang which was a BIG plus as far as getting to the ship and for the day of shore excursions. We love travelling with Oceania..especially on the smaller ships, Nautica, Regatta and Insignia. They have almost a family feel and you get to know the staff and they know you after a few days. This ship was the perfect size (682) for a long voyage like this. We never tired of any of the meals, they constantly had fresh ideas and special nights of themed foods to try. Many of our dinners were themed around the part of the world where we were sailing. (We sailed from Bangkok to Dubai) This was wonderful as we were able to have regional foods without eating them onshore. We were specifically concerned about eating in some of the ports and getting sick so that we might miss another fabulous port! Nautica is a very comfortable ship to be on for this long a period. The staff was exceptionally friendly and helpful. We were surprised that we did not get tired of cruising during the whole 25 days as we always looked forward to the next port! The lectures helped us to appreciate the different waters that we went through and the heritage of the various countries. Going from Thailand, to India, to the Maldives, and then to the UAE ports of Oman, Dubai and Abu Dhabi was quite different. The contrasts were immense. We were very pleased with our choice of cabin. We were not far from the information and shore excursion desks and close by the disembarkation ramps for ports. We had a large window and felt that we didn't need a balcony in the heat that we would be experiencing. There were some days when a balcony would have been great but we could always go upstairs. We had requested the starboard side and were very glad that we had as we always had a view of the area while in port. The shore excursions that we took with the ship were all excellent and enabled us to see many things that were not generally available to the public. Since we had been to Bangkok previously and came in several days early there was not a lot that we hadn't seen. However, Nautica had a shore excursion that went to a private home to see his extensive art and sculpture collection which was fascinating. We did do a mixture of ships excursions and private excursions that I put together. The shore excursion desk was very helpful in all regards. Unfortunately we even had to take advantage of the medical staff on board and the doctor and all the assistants could not have been better. We felt we had better treatment than we would have had at home. To us, seniors, Nautica was the perfect ship for this long a cruise! We loved everything about her! We look forward to sailing with Oceania on one of the smaller ships again soon! Sherry & Kimber   Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Last June my family and I took the Oceana Nautica from Lisbon to South Hampton. I think we could sum up the whole shipboard experience in one word: Disappointing. The prior year we took Silverseas from Athens to Rome and had such a ... Read More
Last June my family and I took the Oceana Nautica from Lisbon to South Hampton. I think we could sum up the whole shipboard experience in one word: Disappointing. The prior year we took Silverseas from Athens to Rome and had such a wonderful experience on a smaller ship that we were hoping to have a similar experience with Oceania. Unfortunately, the similarities between the two often compared cruise lines ended at the size of their ships. While this is a review of the Oceanic ship Nautica, it's hard not to compare it with our Silverseas experience. The Ship: The overall condition of the Nautica was tired and worn. The cabin was poorly laid out compared to our Silverseas cabin (same class of cabin). The hallways looked like they needed new carpet and reminded me of a cheap hotel every time we went to our cabin. The rest of the ship was ok though the pool deck furniture was weathered and well past its prime. The Food: The specialty restaurants were over-rated, though nearly impossible to book undoubtedly because, as we quickly discovered, the other two dining options: Main Dining Room and Buffet were respectively mediocre and bad. To make matters worse, they put the more surly crew members at the buffet line to plop the overcooked, flavor challenged food on your plate. As you carried your plate away you were left with the feeling that you had somehow been through this before and then you remember oh yeah, my high school cafeteria. The dining on the Nautica was more like what I would expect on a Carnival cruise. To summarize, I would say that Silverseas stood head and shoulders above Oceania in every aspect of the cruise  Condition of the ship, cleanliness and food. I personally would not waste my money on Oceana again!   Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Overview: On July 4, we embarked on an 18-day cruise on Oceania Cruise Lines Nautica that traveled far north, spending 10 days above the Arctic Circle and visiting many ports in Norway (including Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen), and also ... Read More
Overview: On July 4, we embarked on an 18-day cruise on Oceania Cruise Lines Nautica that traveled far north, spending 10 days above the Arctic Circle and visiting many ports in Norway (including Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen), and also included a stop in Murmansk Russia. We journeyed over 4800 nautical miles on this trip to the very scenic Norwegian coast and Arctic north. Background information: This was our 22nd cruise overall and fourth on Oceania Cruise LInes and our first on Nautica. It was also the longest cruise we have taken. We have also cruised on Disney Cruise LInes, Cunard, Holland America, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Delta Queen/Majestic America and American Hawaii Cruises. We selected this cruise primarily because of its itinerary and also because it was on Oceania. Arrangements prior to the cruise: We booked our own flights on Icelandair and spent two days exploring Iceland prior to arriving in London the day before embarkation. We also booked our own private car transfers and hotel in London through our travel agent. We can highly recommend the Doubletree HIlton - Victoria as an accommodation. Ship info: Nautica is one of the three "R" ships in the Oceania fleet, accommodating approximately 650-700 passengers. The cruise was essentially full, with about 650 passengers. According to the staff, better than 90% of the passengers were repeat customers, many with more than 10 cruises with Oceania (that says something about Oceania). Although this was a small ship, it seemed crowded throughout much of the cruise because the pool deck and outdoor eating space at the Terrace Grill were not usable due to the cold outside temperatures and wind (we did have great weather at the beginning and end of the cruise). The decor on the ship is understated and elegant and the ship looks to be in good repair. Embarkation: Nautica sailed from Tilbury Docks on this cruise, located about 45 minutes east of the city. The embarkation process was very slow, due to the limited space at this facility. We arrived at the port around 12:45 pm and were finally on the ship after 2:00 pm. We considered this an artifact of the historical and small port facility and not a fault of the cruise line. Stateroom: For this cruise, we booked a B1 veranda cabin on deck six, near the aft elevators on the starboard side. The rooms are on the smallish side, with a queen-sized bed, a small couch and desk and a very small bathroom with shower. This was adequate, however, for this cruise. Our last two cruises on Oceania were in Penthouse Suites on Marina, so we did miss the space and the special butler service. We did not use the veranda very much due to the cold weather we encountered, but we were glad we had it for taking pictures and a quick look at ports after arrival. The starboard side was actually best on this cruise for seeing some of the sights (usually it does not make a difference). Dining: Oceania is renowned for their dining experiences and, for the most part, lived up to that reputation on this cruise, with a couple of exceptions. The Grand Dining Room had the best food overall and very quick and efficient service. The Waves grill was one our favorite places for lunch and we challenged ourselves to sit outside (a protected area on the pool deck) at ever-increasing latitudes as we went north. We dined often in the Terrace Cafe for breakfast and dinner and especially enjoyed the special buffets that included Russian and Norwegian specialties. Toscana, the specialty Italian restaurant, was excellent, although we only ate there once (we had two reservations, but canceled one because we had a late lunch and were not hungry). Now the exceptions: Polo Grill was very disappointing, especially the first time. We ordered 7-oz filets and the entrees took a long to prepare. We were at a shared table and when we finally got our steaks, we had to wait while the staff shelled lobsters for three other people. Our steaks were dry, at room temperature and flavorless, but we decided not to complain at the time because we didn't want to wait again. Other passengers also complained about Polo Grill and the inconsistency of the food preparations. At our other visit, our entrees were much better (lamb chops), but I ordered a beefsteak tomato and sweet onion salad that was prepared with raw red onion, not sweet onion (a culinary no-no). We also occasionally had the continental breakfast in the Horizons lounge and were surprised at the lack of flavor and variety in the breads offered and one day I had a muffin that was uncooked in the center. We did note these minor issues in our survey. I must reiterate that, overall, the food was very good to excellent. Service: The service throughout was good to very good, although they seemed a little short-handed in some areas. Our room attendants did a great job, although we did not meet them until four days into the cruise. On two occasions, they made our rooms up well after noon, although we did get up rather late on those days. The wait staff was good in all areas, but they seemed harried in Polo Grill. The bar staff was terrific, but obviously over-worked and under-staffed (one young man had to serve drinks by himself one evening in the large Horizons bar because other bar staff were at a repeat cruiser party). Packages: We bought both the Prestige drinks package and the unlimited internet packages (my DH had to do some work on the ship and I wrote to a travel blog and we wanted daily access to email). The drinks package was $55 per person per day; as we enjoy our wine, occasional cocktails and after-dinner drinks, this seemed reasonable. The internet package was $22 per day per person. We were refunded the cost for the two days we were out of range of the satellite internet (north of about 77 degrees latitude) and the speed and service was better than past cruises, although still subject to slow responses at times. Crew and staff: Our captain, Meinhardt Hansen, hailing from the Faroe Islands, was wonderful! He and the pilots did many amazing things with this ship, showing its capabilities in tight spaces and areas. His daily updates were full of good information and humor. Our cruise director, Nolan Dean, was excellent and had a great sense of humor. The reception staff was good. We did not work with the Destination Services staff while on-board. The crew takes safety drills very seriously and we did two lifeboat drills on this 18-day cruise, plus there were two full-up staff drills. Activities and entertainment: We really enjoyed being on a team that "clicked" for team trivia and we did very well at most of the trivia games, garnering the all-important Big-O points. We did not participate in other activities (spa/fitness center, lectures, shows, casino, other games). We were very sad to see that Oceania has brought back art auctions on their ships. The "art" that was being sold was quite schlocky, mostly giclee reproductions and the "gallery" takes up valuable space near the Martini's bar. Ports and excursions: The cruise began in London and ended in Copenhagen, Denmark. In between, we visited Oslo, Stavanger, Hellesylt/Geiranger, Honningsvaag, Murmansk (Russia), Hammerfest, Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen), Harstad, Bergen, and Kristiansand. We also had scenic cruising past Bear Island, into the Magdelenefjord (northwest coast of Spitsbergen), near the polar ice barrier, and along the Lofoten Islands south of Harstad. The ship docked overnight in Honningsvaag, the port for the North Cape. We took two ship excursions. The excursions offered by Oceania are very over-priced, even with some of the pre-cruise discounts. The first ship excursion was an 8-hour overland trip from Hellesylt to Geiranger, while the ship sailed the short distance between these two villages in the fjord. This excursion was excellent and worth the very high price. The other ship excursion was in Murmansk. This excursion was mediocre and the city was very depressing. We made arrangements with others on the Roll Call for independent tours in Honningsvaag (bird safari and North Cape) and Longyearbyen (dog cart ride). The latter ended up being overbooked, but it worked out in the end and we at least got to experience half the ride, which was extremely fun. Many of us on the ship independently booked the Rodne boat tour to the Lysefjord in Stavanger (for much less than the ship excursion). We used an Avis rental car in Harstad, sharing with another couple, allowing us to visit points of interest near this town, including the Adolf Gun. The agency is a short walk from the pier. Finally, we independently explored Oslo, Hammerfest, Bergen and Kristiansand, using hop-on/hop-off buses or other transports or walking. All of the Norwegian ports were extremely interesting and charming; Murmansk was a huge contrast. Anything purchased in the ports was very costly, with beers being sold for around $12 and wine for even more. Souvenir-buying was limited due to the prices, except we got two nice sweaters in Bergen for what we felt was a reasonable price. Hop-on/hop-off buses cost about $30 a person and museums were also a bit pricey for admission. We get our currencies before our trips from Travelex, so we don't have to waste time finding ATMs. The ship exchange rates are very high. Debarkation: We arrived on July 22 in Copenhagen and left the ship around 8:45 am. Our bags were easily found and the taxi queue was very quick. We had independently booked through our TA one night at the Marriott on the Inner Harbor (also recommended). Our flights on Icelandair were on-time on July 23, through Keflavik to our home town. While in Copenhagen, we did a hop-on/hop-off bus and a canal boat ride on a very hot and crowded day. Summary: This was easily one of the most memorable cruises we have ever taken. We enjoyed meeting many of our traveling companions, loved the itinerary, and came back thrilled that we approached within 650 miles of the North Pole and saw some amazing scenery and wildlife (many birds, whales, dolphins, reindeer, moose). This was not a deck cruise and many days required layers of fleece and warm jackets to be outside, but we knew that going in and prepared accordingly. The 24-hours of daylight (not necessarily sun) above the Arctic Circle was also a unique experience. Nautica (with its intrepid captain) is the "little ship that could" and we hope to cruise on her again.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Good points: * Boarding went smoothly except for malfunctioning credit card machine which required us to make extra trip to reception to resolve * Love the ability ship has to store half finished wine bottle for later use when dining * ... Read More
Good points: * Boarding went smoothly except for malfunctioning credit card machine which required us to make extra trip to reception to resolve * Love the ability ship has to store half finished wine bottle for later use when dining * Staff was efficient and mostly friendly * Stateroom was nice * Excursion guides were all good and professional * cabin staff was very efficient and kept room in great shape * plentiful ice cream but could have had more flavor Problems: * Bathroom was a joke, so small that you had to sit partially side-ways on toilet, no cup holder so Glass was free to fall into toilet * I expected food to be very good but four of eight main courses were overcooked, much of it was not adequately seasoned (I thought I had taste bud problem until I ate some food on-shore), had to spit out some very bad smoked salmon, buffet was badly laid out so that you were constantly bumping into people, * Worst issue were excursions: they were overcrowded and cattle calls, it was obvious they were pushing the max passengers to each venue in one case putting multiple bus loads into a small museum making it almost impassable * I found staff efficient and mostly attentive but two dinners took over two hours as we were ignored for long periods * About 2/3 of staff smiled as they worked but about 1/3 while working well were obviously not happy to be there (this is a management problem not the crew's fault) * out of space but could go on. Previous cruises: Paul Gauguin, Windstar (3), Skorpios (small ships in southern Chile) Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Thursday 15 August 2013 We had been given an official boarding time of 1pm but thought it wouldn't hurt to arrive early and we didn't mind waiting in the terminal if necessary. When we arrived at the terminal, very few other ... Read More
Thursday 15 August 2013 We had been given an official boarding time of 1pm but thought it wouldn't hurt to arrive early and we didn't mind waiting in the terminal if necessary. When we arrived at the terminal, very few other people were arriving and we walked straight in to check-in. Nice touches included the blue carpet at the entrance with Nautica and Oceania Cruises on and a table with complimentary orange juice and iced water. After check-in - passports were kept - and the usual credit card swipe, we were given our cruise cards (World Cards in Oceania speak) and a letter to say boarding would begin at 1pm and cabins would be ready at 3pm. As we went through security and I headed for the embarkation lounge, we were called and invited to board the ship. The ship's card machine was set up on the Promenade deck and crew were stationed at various points to direct us straight to the Terrace Restaurant (buffet). As we crossed the main pool deck I was impressed by rows of sun loungers, steamer chairs and twin steamer chairs, all with thick cushions and white towelling covers. We found a table on the open deck at the stern of the Terrace Cafe and then went to choose food. In the buffet all food is served to you at all times. Plates were also given to you from behind the counters and cutlery was on the tables, which were laid properly as at dinner. I chose a delicious vegetable lasagne followed by a strawberry concoction. I don't know what it was called but was heavenly - my first introduction to the renowned Oceania food. It was also very nice to be able to order any soft drink or sparkling water - it is all included on Nautica. My plates were carried to the table by a waiter. After lunch we wandered down to Reception to pick up the daily programme and then found a sunbed each and lazed until 2.30 when an announcement told us the cabins were ready. We had a standard twin outside stateroom on Deck 3 with a porthole. Unfortunately the bed was made up as a double though! A quick call to reception soon got it sorted with no fuss or bother. The mattresses are pocket sprung, and covered two inches of memory foam. The bedding is 1,000-thread-count Egyptian cotton linen and a down comforter. They were certainly the most comfortable I have had on a cruise ship. Cabin amenities include bath robes, slippers, soft drinks and small bottles of water in the fridge, two large bottles of water on a tray with glasses and bottle opener, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion, hand soap, bath soap (for the shower), shower cap, cotton wool, cotton buds, umbrella, shoe horn, shoe shine cloth, two hairdryers - one fixed in the bathroom and a hand held one, plug-in nightlight, TV and DVD player (DVD's available free from reception, catalogue in cabin). Best of all, the bedside lights had an ordinary lamp and an additional reading light on a flexible stalk, which could be switched independently so as not to disturb your cabin mate. Storage is not wonderful - one large double wardrobe, and one half robe with half hanging and four drawers. One side of the dressing table/desk is a cupboard with four more small drawers and the other side a cupboard with one shelf. Under the flatscreen TV is a corner cupboard with shelf and safe. We had a sofa, very comfy padded headboard and huge mirrors. Attention to detail was such that as you pushed the toilet lid down, it closed itself quietly - like soft-closing kitchen drawers! Having unpacked, we set off to explore the ship. As another R ship like P&O's Adonia, we were familiar with the layout and much seemed to be identical even down to the tartan carpet in Horizons (Crows Nest on Adonia). However, there was a huge casino (for the size of ship) and the buffet is very different indeed - more of that later. Muster drill was at 5.15. We assembled in Muster Station A, were checked off a list at the door and were assigned Lifeboat No.1. We were asked to wear our lifejackets and after the usual announcements were led, in boat groups, to our lifeboat so we knew exactly where we had to be in the event of an emergency. British are in the minority at around 10% but this just made a refreshing change and everyone was friendly. By then it was 7pm and time to go change for dinner (Nautica has no formal nights, but I wanted to freshen up). We headed for the Grand Dining Room and joined the short queue. When we got to the Maitre D' he asked if we would like to go to the Polo Grill as there was spare capacity there while we would have to wait for the MDR. All other dining venues are free/included but you are normally only allowed to book once per cruise so we had no problem heading up to Deck 10. I chose beetroot and Goats cheese starter, Caesar Salad, Jumbo Shrimp Scampi and New York Cheesecake with caramelised top! Dessert was accompanied by home-made jellies and coffee. Dinner ended about 10.30 and the ship died - we thought many were probably jet-lagged but this was normal throughout the cruise. As it was so port-heavy, most people rose early. Often we were in port until 8pm so it was natural we were all tired by 10.30. Friday 16 August - At sea This was one of our two sea days. We had breakfast in the Terrace Cafe - the plates carried to my seat by waiters who also served coffee and fresh orange juice (with bits). The range of fresh fruit alone was amazing - every day three different type of melon, papaya, mango, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries. It was lovely and warm outside in the sun, overlooking the wake. I went to the Destination desk to book a tour (the only official ship's tour I took) and pick up quiz sheets. After a browse around the library (open 24/7 - just take what you want within reason as there are other guests to consider, and return before end of cruise) I sat on deck in sun and did a puzzle. We had lunch on deck at Waves Grill - burgers, paninis, sandwiches and wonderful icecreams, smoothies and milkshakes. After lunch I was dozing in the cabin but was woken by an announcement from the captain. He said some of us may have noticed our change of course due west as we needed a helicopter evacuation for crew member with head injury. We stood and the watched the whole operation from the pool deck where we were allowed to stand. After lowering a paramedic etc the RAF Sea King flew alongside the ship and the pilot and winchman waved to us all. He circled a few times and then came back in to collect everything and everyone. We then had our first Oceania afternoon tea in Horizons - this was better than Cunard IMO - string quartet, sandwiches brought round on tray, three-tier cake trolley and a stunning all-round view to boot. Hot water arrived in a teapot, with another waiter holding a wooden box containing a huge selection of different teas from which to choose! By then it was time to go to cabin to get ready for the captain's welcome party. This was the only time the deck officers mixed with passengers. Drinks were free-flowing. We had dinner in the GDR and I still feel this was the best meal of my life so far - starter of caviar on blinis, the miso-glazed sea bass and a cappuccino dessert served in a chocolate cup. Went to see the Show before bed. There were five entertainment staff on board. The Cruise Director, Nolan Dean, was from the UK and probably the best CD I have had- always around the ship chatting etc. As on CMV, it was the CD who made all passenger announcements about going ashore etc. All five of the team not only ran sports tournaments, quizzes, needlepoint classes etc, but were also the show troupe, both singing and dancing in the shows. Nolan also did two one-man comedy and singing shows. Additionally we had Rick Thomas -an Illusionist. The cruise was a Music Festival at Sea to celebrate Oceania's 10 year anniversary and on board were the Fjord Cadenza Ensemble - a wonderful classical group. There was also the on-board show band, a cocktail pianist in Martinis and a string quartet who played at teatime and in the Atrium at cocktails. Saturday 16 August - Edinburgh I woke very early and got dressed to go up on deck to see my first ever glimpse of the Forth Bridge as we sailed under it into Rosyth. After breakfast (outside on the terrace) we prepared for a day in Edinburgh. The Tattoo was still on, as was the Fringe Festival. There was a free shuttle bus to Inverkeithing Station so we waited on the dockside and chatted with others in order to get the first bus and ashore quickly. At the station, we bought a £5.50 return ticket from the machine and crossed over the line to the far platform almost as soon as the train arrived. It took about 25 minutes into Waverley Station. Unfortunately it was drizzly so we found a taxi to take us up to the Castle where we started our day. The queue was not too bad so after buying our tickets we headed up to the Castle. The road slowly got windier and quite rough as we climbed up into the Castle Keep and joined the short queue to see the Scottish Crown Jewels. There was lots to see and worth the entrance money overall, but the jewels were probably not worth it if it meant a long wait. After working our way down again, we walked down the Royal Mile, filled with souvenir shops, mostly selling kilts, whisky and items with Scottie dogs on. We had a sandwich and a drink in the Festival Hub Cafe. Lots of Fringe entertainment happening on Market Street, and Cannon Gate etc. Went into St Giles Cathedral where a lovely concert was in progress - piano and saxophone. We got back to Waverley Station about 2.15 and then took ages to find out which platform we were supposed to be on. First told 11 (wrong), then 17 (wrong), then finally 2 so managed the 2.27 train to Aberdeen via Inverkeithing. We had a short wait for the shuttle bus but the sun was now out and quite hot! On our return to the ship I quickly changed before we went up for the wonderful afternoon tea again (I cannot make a habit of this - too much food!). Sailaway was very delayed presumably by the fierce gusting wind. A tug arrived and attached first at the bow, then moved to the stern. It took ages to slowly move the stern out and edge away from the berth before retracing our route under the two bridges. As Nautica sailed under each bridge the captain sounded the horn three times. Then it was time to go back down for a shower and to change for dinner. Sunday 17th August - Invergordon, We were not arriving until 12 noon so had a leisurely breakfast and then went to the Stitch & Chat. Oceania provide free needlepoint kits to make small items such as a spectacle case or bag. If you complete one during the cruise you can choose another. By 10.30 we thought it time to grab a bite to eat as Nigel, our private tour guide ( www.shorexcursions.co.uk) wanted us to be off the ship as soon as possible. Four of us were first off and we waited a short time for two more and then set off in Nigel's silver VW people-carrier towards Dunrobin Castle. Once there (amid a vintage car rally), Nigel spoke with Alistair, Lord Strathnaver, who directed us round the back into the private grounds. We walked through a tiny gate into the area where falcons and hawks were kept, guarded at the entrance by a beautiful, huge owl sitting on a flower pot! we wandered through the stunning grounds for around 40 mins before meeting everyone back at the falconry area. Alan, the falconer, then gave a public demonstration using three birds. An hour later we went up to the main castle and toured through some of its many rooms. At 3.45 we set off back towards the ship, driving along Loch Fleet in the hope of seeing seals (all on the opposite bank). We did see an osprey nest, swans, cormorants etc and then stopped at Millionaire's Viewpoint. Back in Invergordon we were driven past a number of murals and then back to Nautica, via a gift shop of course. Can thoroughly recommend the tour however, which was tailored to our time available. We were on board just in time to watch a show of Scottish song and dance put on by locals in the Nautica Lounge. At 7.30 we also had a marching pipe band on the quayside to send us on our way towards Lerwick. By now it was 8pm so we decided to eat dinner in the Terrace Cafe. I have always said I would not eat dinner in the buffet restaurants but on Nautica is was more akin to a proper dining room, serving the same dishes in fact. Monday 19th August - Lerwick Got the 9am free shuttle from the container dock (Holmsgarth) into Lerwick. Just after breakfast there was a torrential rain shower so it was not looking good, but after that it cleared dramatically and the sun came out making a nice day in the end. It was interesting to watch the crew of the oilrig supply ship berthed behind us go up onto their helipad to take photos of Nautica! As we went into the Tourist Information Centre we saw an advert for a boat trip - this was a cruise ship special (2 hours instead of their normal 3), so we booked. There were just six of us, plus skipper Alan and his wife Robbie - a marine biologist, who live on the boat throughout the summer. We first sailed round the harbour looking at the buildings (and a female seal who popped her head to look at us!), then set off through the main channel. Saw terns, common and grey seals, an Arctic Skua, cormorants, shags, eider drakes, guillemots, ravens and lots of gannets fishing. Later the boat was anchored over a wreck and they sent down an ROV and set up a TV screen so we could see what was under the boat. Robbie explained things in detail. Finally after 2 fascinating hours, we were dropped off at the pier and set off walking. Back on board, we went to the Trivia Quiz and joined with another team - all Americans so we were warmly welcomed for our UK knowledge! We came joint second so I got my first 2 Big O points! These are built up throughout the cruise and exchanged on the last day for various gifts - bookmarks, hats, t-shorts etc! We went back down to the cabin to wash and change for the dinner we had booked in the Polo Grill. We were not late going to bed as clocks went forward an hour that night. Tuesday 20th August - Alesund We arrived early and I rushed up on deck to watch us berth. I don't think I've ever seen a ship docked so fast - we appeared to race up towards the berth and then dead slow, a sideways thrust and we were there. I have to say the berthing and departures were all very sleek, swift and timely throughout the cruise. We never saw a queue to get off the ship - it was all efficient and quick. Our plan was to take the HoHo Bus - 200 NK - to the Sunnmore Museum. We did the full round trip first - the views from the high mountain viewpoint at Aksla were fabulous - then went round again as far as the Museum. Here were lots of turf-roofed old Norwegian country houses of various periods, boat houses etc. in a lovely woodland setting with streams. We had coffee and apple cake and then went back to wait for the HoHo bus. As we went back up to Aksla again I saw that while we were gone, Adventure of the Seas had arrived! We got off in town and wandered the shops. Back on board, we got up to Horizons just in time for afternoon tea. At 8.05, during dinner, we felt the engines power up and saw Nautica edging out from the quayside and swinging 180 degrees to sail back down the fjord. Wednesday 21st August - Geiranger I set the alarm for 5.45 am to watch the sail into Geiranger but we were already well into the Fjord by then. I made it up on deck just in time to see us sail past the Seven Sisters Falls and about 20 mins later we were there. The tendering operation was like any other - as independents we had to get tender tickets and wait in the Nautica Lounge, but we were called to board almost immediately. I got the Sightseeing bus to Flydal, and the two famous view points, wandered around, bought souvenirs, and then tendered back to ship. I had a quick lunch at Waves Grill as I wanted to watch our sail back down the fjord to pick up the overland tour passengers at Hellesylt. I wondered why one tender remained afloat as we hauled up our anchor but it soon became clear. Captain Ressa was going to give every passenger an amazing view of the Seven Sisters and the Suitors falls. With the tender acting as a range-finder for the ship, the captain did a slow 360 turn in the fjord. In the middle of the turn, we paused to one side to allow Artania and the Hurtigruten steamer Nordlys, to sail past us then continued to turn another 180 degrees before sailing to Hellesylt to pick up our tour people. Unfortunately it was very wet but standing on deck staring up at the huge mountains, with the wonderful music of Grieg coming through the speakers on deck - total magic. Thursday 22nd August - at sea. Our second and last sea day and it was lovely to finally get a lie in. It was warm enough to take advantage of the sun deck. As it became chilly, I asked for and was brought a thick woollen blanket by the pool boy and tucked in on the soft sun beds. A deck stewardess brought a cappuccino to complete the pampered feeling. We had lunch in Terrace Cafe before changing and going up to play shuffleboard. Since only six of us were playing anyway I won another Big O point for coming third! It was a lazy afternoon. Went to the Trivia quiz at 4.30 and our team won, then got dressed for dinner early as we wanted to go to the final recital by the Fjord Cadenza Ensemble. It was wonderful listening to the music of Grieg while remembering our sail through the fjords yesterday. Tomorrow the Platters are joining Nautica. We were then at a bit of a loose end as we had booked Toscana but not until 8.30 so we sat in the Library and watched us sail between the Inner and Outer Hebrides, before joining our table of six for a fabulous Italian meal - huge selection of breads, an olive oil menu etc. By the time we completed our meal it was 11pm so bed. Friday 23rd August - Belfast. We had a leisurely morning since Nautica wasn't due to berth until noon. Had breakfast and then went to needlepoint and chat. By then we were well in sight of Belfast docks so went up on deck. We had a good sight of the new Titanic Museum and the Harland & Wolff Gantries as well as an old WWI battleship. The day before I had filled in the mid-cruise comment sheet and as we went back to the cabin this morning, a knock at the door revealed the Asst. Housekeeping Manager regarding my comment that the cabin needed hooks for wet coats! Impressive! We berthed about 20 mins early so were ready and off the ship to meet Paddy as we had booked one of his Black Cab Tours of Belfast and the Giants Causeway. We had a short chat about what we wanted to see (happy to skip the Bushmills Distillery in favour of Dunluce Castle) and then set off into Belfast City. Our driver explained that, as a Catholic, there were areas he could not go. I was quite shocked as to how divided the city still was. The Protestant areas were adorned with flags, bunting and even the kerbstones were painted red, white and blue! A huge wall still divided the city into two. I asked why it was so high and was told to stop missiles! We drove along the Crumlin and Shankhill Roads where huge political murals had been painted onto houses, commemorating events various events. In one area the back gardens of the houses were all encased in wire to protect the inhabitants - horrendous. At checkpoints in the wall were heavy gates, closed at dusk in a kind of curfew. There were even Protestant and Catholic taxis, which could not travel in each other's areas! If you want to travel from one side of Belfast to another you have to change cabs! I had no idea it was still so segregated in the city. After this depressing start, we set off into the Antrim countryside - very English looking - up to a viewpoint to see the Carrick a Rede rope bridge. Unfortunately the weather had turned drizzly but we still had great views. Then to a little beach to see what is the smallest church in Ireland -St Gobbans. It is licensed for weddings - as long as you don't want more than 5 people! Next to it is a small cottage with portholes and steamer chairs that were spares intended for Titanic and her sisters. Next we drove to my highlight - the Giant's Causeway. After an hour there we went to Dunluce Castle. We just managed a few pictures before the rain set in in earnest and we repaired to the tea shop opposite for warm home-made scones, cream, jam and raspberries with tea. By then it was time to return to the docks. We made it back at 7pm so after a quick wash and change - to Martini's for a drink and their delicious nibbles - crisps, nuts etc. we decided on The Terrace Cafe for a light dinner (after the tea!). Saturday 24th August - Dublin I am not sure now if I have described breakfast properly. Having chosen a table, waiters bring coffee, juices, water etc. They also often carry your plate for you. The choices are large - lots of fresh fruit, a range of hot food - sausages, pancakes, scrambled eggs etc., cereals with hot, cold, whole or skim milk. Smoked salmon, cheeses and pastries to die for. You can have any coffee you like - latte, cappuccino etc. As we were doing our own thing in Dublin we didn't get up too early. I was up first so went up on deck to see where we were and was surprised to see we were berthed at the mouth of the Liffey, right beside the o2 arena. The ship couldn't get any closer if they tried. This was my second time in Dublin this year, but as the first was very wet we had only done the DUKW tour then. We caught the free shuttle bus into Kildare Street and had a stroll past the gift shops etc, to the statue of Molly Malone and the Tourist Information Centre, through Temple Bar and over the Ha'penny Bridge before catching the Hoho bus in Connell Street doing one complete circuit before getting off at Trinity College to see inside the buildings. I decided the queues were too long to see the Book of Kells so we then had a homemade soup and a Guinness in a nearby pub before picking up the HoHo bus again to Dublin Castle. After a quick walk around we got the Yellow Route HoHo back to the centre, a look around again and then the shuttle back to Nautica. Back on the ship, three Guarda officers were watching everyone come back on board. Went to Trivia before changing for cocktails in Horizons - there were choices of three different cocktails of the day each night at $5 (plus 18% gratuity). Otherwise cocktails were priced from $10, other drinks from around $8 although there was a Happy Hour between 5 and 6pm - buy one, get one free. All were accompanied by a little stand holding three different types of nibbles, plus canapes. We headed down to the Grand Dining Room for dinner where we were taken to table for 8 by the window. Sunday 25th August - Cork Woke up early as this was the one day I was taking a tour. I was ready just in time to watch us sail past Cobh and over the river to Ringaskiddy where Nautica was to berth. This was because Balmoral was supposed to be berthing in Cobh but in the event she arrived just as we left and we passed in the channel - Nautica blowing her whistle but no reply from Balmoral - which looked rather down at heel and a bit rusty. After breakfast I went to the Nautica Lounge for 8.45 and exchanged my tour ticket to Kinsale for a tour bus pass No.4. Tours on Nautica are rather like tendering operations in that respect. We were soon called and filed down to deck 4 and out to the waiting coaches. It was not long before we were on our way with guide Mary and driver Pat. We drove through rolling countryside not unlike Britain to Fort Charles overlooking Kinsale Harbour, and from where you could see the Old Head of Kinsale where Lusitania sank. Then to Kinsale itself where we went into a hotel for scones and tea before having 2 free hours to explore. It is a pretty town of coloured houses and narrow lanes. It was Sunday but most were open as the town was hosting the International Disabled Sailors Championships. As I sat by the harbour a seal popped its head up to see what was available to eat. We took a different route back, alongside the Bandon River where we had a brief stop for photos. We got back to the ship at 1.30 and I dashed up to Waves for a veggie burger before Shuffleboard - three more Big O points for winning! Nautica was put through a hard swing to starboard to clear the pier and then it was back downriver past Cobh again. We sailed very close to the town and hoards of people lined the waterfront to watch and wave at us and a fair was in full swing in the small seafront park. In the distance by the lighthouse, Balmoral was just arriving and we passed very close to each other. It is the big finale tonight, entertainment wise so headed up for cocktails in before dinner. I chose caviar on potato, chicken consomme and lobster tail followed by pistachio tartlet topped with orange and grapefruit segments. We finished at 9pm and went to get seats in the Nautica Lounge to watch The Platters. Their show was followed by the whole crew filing into the lounge so they could all be thanked - from Captain to cabin steward, and on the way out of the lounge they all lined the corridors. Monday 26th August - Portland Our last day! Since we were not arriving until 10am at Portland we had a leisurely breakfast and were able to watch us dock. Once we were ready we set off in the free shuttle to Weymouth. It is many years since I was last here and the town was, to all intents and purposes, new to me. Back on board I had a quick lunch outdoors in the Terrace Grill before going up to play shuffleboard. The weather was beautiful so it was a sun lounger in the sun for the rest of the afternoon until it was time for the Trivia Quiz where our team - The Bruins (UCLA) came joint first - again. So, I ended up with 20 Big O points - enough to redeem for a T shirt with 5 over! Back in the cabin I finished packing and changed for dinner. We had a cocktail each in Martinis before going out onto the promenade deck to watch the Weymouth Brass Band and some soldiers fire a three gun salute for us. Tuesday 27th August - Southampton Around the middle of the cruise we had been asked to complete a disembarkation form with onward travel arrangements and asking what time we wished to disembark - any time between 7am and 9am. We chose 8.30 then, but as independents it turned out we could disembark whenever we wished. The whole operation was very civilised and easy. Those travelling on airport transfers were directed to specific lounges so there was no-one hanging around the gangway as on most ships. After a nice breakfast out on the stern deck we collected our hand luggage and just disembarked. All in all, an interesting and enjoyable cruise - although I can't say relaxing! I am not a fan really of these very port-intensive cruises but Americans don't like sea days! The service and food, with a few exceptions, was excellent. Waves Grill became very busy especially if a tour had just returned and a burger could take 25 mins to come. For some odd reason, both we both felt we had just had a really long cruise, even though it was only 12 nights. Usually the time flies past when you are having fun, and we did have fun. My friend's theory is that, in some ports we arrived between 10am - noon so the morning was like a sea day, and then we had our port day from noon until 8pm - effectively two days for every one! Would we go again - like a shot, given the right itinerary and a similar bargain price. I think we would both like to try their two larger ships - Marina and Riviera, with 1100 pax, purely as there are more on-board activities like cooking and painting classes. Highly recommended!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Oceania has the most comprehensive itinerary for the Baltic, so be prepared to be tired. Every day but one, you are in port. But that was why we chose the cruise. Who would think we would visit places like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania ... Read More
Oceania has the most comprehensive itinerary for the Baltic, so be prepared to be tired. Every day but one, you are in port. But that was why we chose the cruise. Who would think we would visit places like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that so recently could reclaim their independence from Russia. Oceania's Nautica is such a comfortable ship . We had sailed on sister ship, Insignia and because they are identical, we immediately felt at home. Our stateroom was fine, clean, good bed, all the necessary items. It wasn't large but we were rarely in it except to sleep. There are so many lovely lounges and places to read, talk, etc. Food was excellent, Loved the wonderful fresh fruit, exciting appetizers and desserts. They get kudos for the terrific ice cream too. Being early to bedders, we can't comment on evening entertainment. However, listening to others, the shows were well received. We only booked 2 shore excursions through the ship. Unfortunately, their tours are expensive and groups too large. Found we got better value from using SPB tours and ToursbyLocals. Also, charges for Internet service are outrageous. There is no reason to charge so much. But we hope to cruise with Oceania again. Service is terrific; staff friendly and willing to go out of their way to help. Well organized too, embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Our first trip with Oceania and we loved it. Previous cruises include Seabourn, SeaDream, Le Ponant, Island Sky, Windstar, Star Clippers, Hapag-Lloyd's Hanseatic, Paul Gauguin, and others. Embarkation -- Seamless, speedy and we were ... Read More
Our first trip with Oceania and we loved it. Previous cruises include Seabourn, SeaDream, Le Ponant, Island Sky, Windstar, Star Clippers, Hapag-Lloyd's Hanseatic, Paul Gauguin, and others. Embarkation -- Seamless, speedy and we were sipping a glass of bubbly before we knew it. Luggage placed outside the door which was just fine by us. When the day comes that we can't move our cases a few feet, it's time to pack it in! We bought the booze package and never found it intrusive to have to show the card. In fact, the best waiters/bartenders (here's looking at you, "D" in the Grand Bar) memorized our cabin number so did not ask for it repeatedly. We had a PH cabin with a balcony and butler. We used the balcony only a couple of times as this was a port intensive cruise. We used the butler once. We loved our cabin category due to the size, but did not need the butler. Excursions -- did all private one with people we "met" on our roll call. Food -- nearly the best I have ever had at sea. The dining room took only 2 days to get my boiled eggs correct (and my odd way of breaking them into a bowl to eat). Other ships never did get the concept! The breads and especially the croissants were terrific. One night I commented how great the bay scallops were and the next thing I knew I had another order in front of me. Decor -- we loved it. Yes, I know it is not very nautical and is reminiscent of an English Country house, but it fit our tastes. Was it all perfect? No. Our room was not made up one night. Our first meal in Toscana was not the best (veal limone -- skip it), and we had an annoying problem with the Oceania Ambassador re a future cruise. Nothing is perfect but for us, Oceania comes close. We'll be returning and I heartily recommend Oceania to others Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This was our first Oceania Cruise. We picked it because of the itinerary Istanbul to Athens. Pros: We loved the smaller cruise ship with less then 700 passengers. Pick-up at the airport was prompt. Check-in and out was a ... Read More
This was our first Oceania Cruise. We picked it because of the itinerary Istanbul to Athens. Pros: We loved the smaller cruise ship with less then 700 passengers. Pick-up at the airport was prompt. Check-in and out was a breeze.Entertainment was Ok, nothing special due to the size of the lounge. The hot tubs were great temperature, we did not use the pool or the spa. Dining was excellent as we expected. Polo Grill was our favorite. The beef melted in your mouth. The buffet in Terrace Cafe was also of excellent quality. We ate breakfast and some dinners there with many great food choices. We met 18 other fellow cruisers and arranged a Meet and Greet with them. The staff was very willing to accommodate our needs. We also planned a farewell dinner in the main dining hall for 20, and again, the staff went out of their way to make it happen. I liked that Oceania gave us free bottled water when leaving or returning to the ship from side trips. Cons: Side trips were to expensive so we chose to do our own tours with private guides that met us at the ports. No free Wi-Fi. Really they should consider that option in this day and age. If it can be avoided never use the sick bay. My cousin was treated for a sinus infection and was billed $1700. When she was originally seen she asked what the cost would be. They would not give her an answer and just dropped the bill off at her door the following day. Outrageous! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This was only the second cruise that we have taken since we have always traveled independently in the past. Our first cruise was also with Oceania, but on the Riviera. I realize that it's not fair to compare the Nautica with the ... Read More
This was only the second cruise that we have taken since we have always traveled independently in the past. Our first cruise was also with Oceania, but on the Riviera. I realize that it's not fair to compare the Nautica with the Riviera which is brand new and wonderful, so I won't. We spent extra days in Barcelona before boarding our ship and all went smoothly. Our stateroom was just fine, nothing spectacular, but comfortable, with more than enough storage space. Having been to some of the port cities previously, we didn't select any ship excursions, just walked around by ourselves for most of our stops with the exception of an excellent tour of Lucca, near Florence and a privately booked tour with a local at Ephesus. Can't recommend that enough. We are not much for entertainment so I really can't comment on that aspect, but Oceania isn't known as a party ship anyway which was perfect for us. On at sea days, it was difficult to find a vacant chair and the pool was rather smallish and quite crowded. My only criticism would have to be the food. I know that the food on Oceania is regarded as excellent and in most cases it was, but the food prep at Waves near the pool and the selection of salads was not very satisfactory. Breakfast was also a disappointment in that the selection was rather limited (I know, I said I wouldn't compare) but compared to the Riviera, it was inadequate and no one could prepare a decent freshly cooked egg. The dining room staff, with the exception of the specialty restaurants, seemed to be a discontented lot with quite a few grim faces and at one point, a loud argument erupted between 2 of the staff members. All of the bar staff, though, was terrific. The negative comments would certainly not prevent us from taking another trip on the Nautica since, all in all, we enjoyed our 10 days very much.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We took our second Ocenia cruise this year from Istanbul visiting some Greek Islands and Turkish ports before ending up in Athens (Sept/Oct 2013). This followed our first cruise on the same cruise line from Vancouver to Alaska in May ... Read More
We took our second Ocenia cruise this year from Istanbul visiting some Greek Islands and Turkish ports before ending up in Athens (Sept/Oct 2013). This followed our first cruise on the same cruise line from Vancouver to Alaska in May 2013. Although for the Mediterranean cruise was on the Nautica, and the cruise to Alaska was on the Regatta, the two ships were so similar that sometimes, I forgot exactly which ship I was on! Having read some comments of passengers' experience of other cruise lines where not all staff were nice and pleasant, this is something which we take our hats off to Oceania - practically all the Ocenia crews and staff were very pleasant and friendly. They always smiled and greeted you when they passed by you. They worked so hard and always tried hard to please, and nothing seemed to be too much trouble. We were very impressed with the positive attitudes of staff and the good training from Oceania management.Our belief is that Oceania Cruises staff are really one of the key assets of the company, and that's why they are so popular and successful. We were met by an agent of Oceania Cruise at Istanbul Airport where a coach took us to the boat docked near the olden part of Istanbul city. The traffic was so bad it took us about two hours to reach the Nautica. Some of us felt it might have been quicker had we got off the coach and walked - however, it would have been a problem had we done so as we all had quite a lot of luggage with us! CUISINE We know a lot of people raved about the wonderful cuisine and high standard of cooking on Oceania. Yes, we agree with them to a degree, but we have to say eventhough the cooking on Oceania is generally very good, it's not perfect! (Sorry, sorry, we know, we are being rather picky here! Gulp!!). To us, the bread served on Oceania Cruises (both Nautica and Regatta) was not very nice - it tasted to us as if it was dry and some was quite hard - the exception was the selection of breads in the Toscana Italian restaurant. We were also disappointed by the roast lamb which was very tough , and the lamb curry with chewy meat, all were served in the Terrace (Buffet) restaurant. Their smoked salmon did not always taste fresh, it was as if it had been in the freezer for too long and the texture has gone past its best. Also, during their Asian-theme lunch in the buffet restaurant, their Asian dishes were not very authentic and some of their Asian dishes actually tasted pretty awful ! Being Asian, I dare claim to have some knowledge of how "good" Asian food should taste like! An exception to the poor quality of their Asian dishes was their sushi, which was very nice. Of course, as there was such a large choice of foods to eat, we never went hungry because if some dishes or food items were not to our tastes, there was always something else that we would enjoy. And we believe other passengers also would not have a problems finding something they liked to eat on board. It was a shame that in the buffet restaurant, passengers could not help themselves but had to be served by ship staff. Perhaps this might have something to do with hygiene. However, they covered so many of the hot dishes to the point we could not see what dishes were offered at meal times. The Nautica had five places to eat - the Main Dining Room, the Toscana (Italian Menu), the Polo Grill, the Terrace (Buffet for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) and the Waves which serves "high-class" burger-influenced lunch near the pool. In addition, for high tea and cakes, there is Horizons, which has a ceiling-to-floor window which gave us a wonderful view of the sea and horizon in front of the boat. There wais no charge for eating in their speciality restaurants but you have to book in advance. It was also very easy to find tables-for-two in all the restaurants if you were not in the mood to share tables and meet with other passengers. Soft drinks were complimentary but wines and other drinks had to be purchased. The wine and drinks prices were quite expensive, in our view, and this was made worse because like most American cruise lines, Oceania Cruise Lines added an extra 18 per cent on top of their already pricey drinks! ACCOMMODATION As some passengers commented the shower rooms were quite small, however, it is untrue that all cabins have the same small shower rooms. The largest rooms from penthouse suite upwards have bigger bathrooms. The beds in Oceania cabins had beds with luxury matteresses and comfy pillows- and there were several days when the weather was windy. The room had a fridge stocked with a selection of soft drinks and sodas and it was replenished every day. The rooms were cleaned twice a day and towels were replaced twice daily as well (if needed). The towels were not as luxurious as in some really nice hotels but they were adequate. We were not sure if Oceania cruises were trying to do some "cost-saving excercise" because the Bulgari toileteries which we had in the earlier Alaskan cruise were replaced by Oceania's own home-branded toileteries. Our cruise started from Istanbul, and it sailed to Kusa Dasi, followed by Marmaris ,Mykonos and Santorini. Before we sailed to Santorini, the Cruise Director whetted our appetites as he indicated Santorini was one of the most beautiful islands he had even seen. However, when we reached Santorini, we had an announcement that because the sea was too choppy, the captain had cancelled our stop there - it was too dangerous to take the tender boats to land on Santorini Island. We would have preferred that eventhough we could not land on Santorini , the captain could have at least sailed around the island. Instead, we sailed away into the seas without any fixed destination in mind, as if just to kill time and to pass the day/ So all we did was waste fuel and adding more carbon to the earth sailing almost aimlessly ! What a waste of time that was!! We had nothing much to do at sea that day and found ourselves eating even more of their delicious food out of boredom! At least, that was our excuse for eating more! Lol. Eventually, the boat headed for Agios Nikolaos on the island of Crete which we docked the following morning. Our last port of call before reaching Pireus (for Athens) was Nafpleon. All these places we visited were nice, but it was a shame we had to miss the "Jewel in the Crown" of Greek islands, Santorini. Still, nevermind. ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES There was a daily newsletter that keeps passengers informed of the activities on board. The cruise director also made regular annoucements and appearances on TV to keep us up-to-date on the cruise. As the Nautica was a medium-sized boat, it probably did not have as many activities as in the larger cruise ships. There was a small but comfortable library, an ultra-expensive internet room, a spa and sauna, destination talks, cocktail piano sessions, string quartet, and the evening entertainment in the Nautica Lounge . We were disappointed that the evening entertainment in the Nautica Lounge was not on every evening. The standard of their own home singers were just average - their song choices were not all very good -, but the ship had some guest entertainers who were actually better than we expected. There was a magician, a guest musician, and a guest singer. The African-American guest singer was really a class act and we wished he had done more shows on our cruise - he was great. There was also a couple of channels on the ship TV but that is one area we thought the company could improve on - the quality and choice of TV channels. PASSENGERS The majority of passengers appear to be north of 60 years old - but many seem to have aged so gracefully and they still looked very well, it must have been the good life they have had, or they took the trouble to take care of themselves ! DRESS CODE There were no formal nights but guest had been advised to dress "country smart casual". That was one of the things we liked about Oceania cruises, we could be in stylish surroundings and eat in elegant restaurants, yet the men did not have to dress up in formal costumes like penguins. Some of the women passengers did take the trouble to dress up very elegantly though, although they were not required to do so. EXCURSIONS From our previous Oceania cruise, we realised that the excursions offered by Oceania were very expensive and you could get better deals else where - instead of taking any excursions from Oceania, we checked for alternative and cheaper cruise excursions online. Also we believe that Oceania may be one of those few cruise lines that allow you to bring your own liquor to consume in your room. Please do not take our word for it. Please check with the cruise company yourselves about their policy on this before doing so, just to be sure - we do not wish to be responsible for your bottle of alcohol being confiscated ! CONCLUSION We really enjoyed our first Oceania cruise to Alaska, and although we enjoyed the second Mediterranean cruise as well, because pratically everything on board was the same as the boat on the first cruise - decor, cuisine, etc, etc .By the time our second cruise finished, we thought that we had a nice time but we have had enough of Oceania cruises for a litle while. The next time we would like to try going on another cruise line. The thing with Oceania is, you know what you are getting, but many things remain the same for a long time. The same menus, the same decor, the same rooms, etc, etc. Only the ports of call are different. I supposed you could say we were spoilt but you could get a bit too much of a good thing. Didn't someone say you could even get bored on champagne and caviar ??!!!. Oceania cruises may not be quite champagne and caviar yet but its standards are very high. We have already booked on a cruise middle of next year with the rival company to Oceania, Azamara Club Cruises. We wish to get a slightly "different" experience to Oceania cruises and hopefully we can compare the two companies to see which one is better!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
1. To start at the beginning: I have cruised many times with small and large vessels I have never had trouble stepping in to a bathroom. The first thing I noticed was a bathroom raised up far more than any other I recall making entry with ... Read More
1. To start at the beginning: I have cruised many times with small and large vessels I have never had trouble stepping in to a bathroom. The first thing I noticed was a bathroom raised up far more than any other I recall making entry with a knee replacement ver very uncomfortable 2. I use a very small and portable rollator (Spry). The Maitre D of the dining room made certain I knew that the dining room was not (I don not remember exact words but "ADA compliant) 3. The Nautica prior to booking or during the process never told us that the itinerary and ports of this cruise were very "rigorous" and not quite appropriate for a disabled individual, even though they knew I walked with a rollator 4.I had chosen to have private drivers in many ports so can not comment. I can say that Santorini involved a climb up about 18 stairs to a cable car to get to town The town was a very steep donkey trail. No cars can get in. Donkeys are used to move merchandise. On this kind of cobblestone I had to push my rollator 5. Rome is a separate issue. I had gotten permission in advance to join the tour to the Vatican. We had cleared everything in advance. We got to the bus to go to the Vatican, my rollator was stored. I had just gotten on the bus, my son had not, when some lady barges at me telling me I could not go on this bus, I could not go on this tour, that she was not going to watch out for a disabled individual, that I should get off the bus and I would not get my money back!! (PS I dont need anyone "watching out for me) 6.The morning of disembarkation I got my foot stuck (again) in the door to the bathroom.when I went to wash up. I was in pain and sat down to try to extricate myself..I yelled for help.. skip to the final behaviors of the crew: They must have come in to the stateroom when hearing me ... I found myself lifted up and placed on a wheel chair, dressed by someone and then carried down the gangplank and placed on the warf with our luggage. I heard people telling us never to come back on the Nautica that it was a ship for people to have fun, not disabled and sick people Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
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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