101 Oceania Nautica Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise on this line. We previously have cruised with Radisson Seven Seas and Crystal. The ship is beautiful, and at first glance you would say it is a luxury cruise. But it does fall a bit short of our other luxury ... Read More
This was our first cruise on this line. We previously have cruised with Radisson Seven Seas and Crystal. The ship is beautiful, and at first glance you would say it is a luxury cruise. But it does fall a bit short of our other luxury experiences. There seems to be a lot of "nickle and dime" expenses. Not that it adds up to that much, but that it is annoying. I would rather have these items included in the price. For instance: Charges for the laundry room (there is only one on the ship-always crowded and a line to wash) charges to takes exercise classes, charges for soft drinks and bottled water. It seems when leaving for a shore excursion that water should just be given to the participants (just add another $10 onto the price of the tour). It also seems intrusive to be in the middle of a 6 star dinner (food was excellent!) and have a ticket to sign for your soft drink (small glass, 1/3 of a can of soda for about $3.50) SOmething about having this great meal served and at the same time have to sign a drink voucher, destroys the atmosphere. We were in a suite with a lot of nice amenities, but one was not a complimentary stocked mini bar. Soft drinks should be included as part of at least the suite amenities. I know a lot of other people were complaining of the same thing, so really, the line should charge a little more in the overall cost and just include these things. At that point, when attracting the luxury cruise "crowd" they will be happy. Otherwise service was good and again, the food was fantastic. I would suggest avoiding the pool food--or eat on shore-however. It is not even close to the quality that the other restaurants offer. Another comment I have is there is really no entertainment at night worth seeing. I have come to enjoy the production style shows on the other cruises we have been on and kind of missed it this time. I did enjoy one guest speaker and found him very interesting. But again, missed the Broadway level talent I have experienced on other lines. I hope that with time this line will come around and match their atmosphere with the experience and get rid of the little charges for things and give cruisers the sense of value for their money. I realize it is an illusion, but just include it in the price and we'll be happy! If this line included wine with dinner and complimentary soft drinks,add a little to the entertainment, they would be right up there with their other luxury competitors. In terms of the itinerary, we were in the Black Sea area. Ukraine and Russia, while interesting in there own historical right, are not really ready for tourists. Just "okay" and I think this was the general thought of most other people we were with. But, Nessebur, Bulgaria and of course Kusadasi and Istanbul, Turkey were fantastic. We had the pleasure of a fantastic guide for our Turkish stops. Lale Kosagan, of www.privatetoursinturkey.com, was a terrific guide and we achieved a great appreciation for the country and completely enjoyed our time there. We would return again. Overall, if you are considering this line, the cruise prices are good, the service is good (not quite as good Crystal) but workable and nothing to complain about, the food rivals other luxury ships we have been on, and found the grand dining room (as well as the two satellite restaurants) to be extraordinary. We arranged private guide/car through the ship for Ukraine and Russia and found this to be acceptable and easy for us. We found the room in good condition and enjoyed the suite amenities. We did however find the ride at night was often very bumpy, and we think this was because we were at the front of the ship and that the Black sea has a lot of current because of a number of factors. But it was never enough to make us sick. We just have always been midship. However on this line, if you want a suite, you are either at the very back or front of the ship. The exercise room has medium quality equipment. There is no room dedicated to classes. They just share the floor with the weight equipment. There were a few classes that I noticed, but not a big emphasis on this and the fact that they charge for yoga and perhaps others (I can't remember which classes were a fee) people were not interested. I have seen better exercise rooms on Crystal. But, if this is not important to you...who cares? The spa and restrooms with steam were very nice. So we would recommend the line with thought that you will have a lot of little silly expenses and just don't worry about it. Make sure you take water on the Ukraine tours because most of those countries only take their own currency and there was not money exchange available on the ship. SO in other words, you could be stuck with out anything to drink until you return to the ship, or are able to get to an ATM. Don't expect any fancy entertainment and make your own drinks in your room from liquor you buy onshore. Their drinks are expensive and not really a good value--like a soda is about two big sips, and that for $3.50. You'll see little ads in the daily brochure for "$4.99 martini day" and to me, this seems to not match the style of the ship. You don't go to a 5 star restaurant and see "today is pina colada day for $5.99!) But, hopefully over time they will get it and improve this one area. One last comment, this is not really a ship to bring the kids. Not much for them to do and the ship does not make an effort to get what kids are onboard together so they can make friends, like we have seen on other lines. If it is a port-intenisve itinerary, with only a few sea days, it does not really matter because your kids will be busy the whole time in port. But if there are a lot of sea days, then your kids will definitely be bored. I could not find a lot of reviews about this line before we booked, so hopefully this will help any of you luxury cruisers who are thinking about this line. Happy cruising. Read Less
Sail Date June 2006
First, at the risk of offending the diehard Oceania fans out there (who always seem to defend the line with a passion), I will try to be as accurate and even-handed as possible--so, please excuse me if I sound a little negative at times--I ... Read More
First, at the risk of offending the diehard Oceania fans out there (who always seem to defend the line with a passion), I will try to be as accurate and even-handed as possible--so, please excuse me if I sound a little negative at times--I honestly do not intend this to be a negative review. I only want to be honest. ALL cruise lines do some things well, others less well. All have areas where they can stand to improve. The criticism, in part, is in hope that the cruise line will recognize the deficiencies and improve. There is also the notion that EVERYONE has different criteria, different standards and put different weight to the importance of those criteria. There are no absolutes. There is no way for anyone to say ANY cruise line is better or worse in any area in any objective way and for it to mean the same thing to every reader. I might feel the entertainment is sub par, but someone else might love it--and to some people, they could care less as it is simply an unimportant part of the experience (Yes, we met people who never even went to a single show). I could say the food is excellent and someone else might think it poor--it's a matter of individual taste--perhaps influenced by what we're accustomed to eating back home or what we grew up with. So, basically, what follows are MY opinions--based on MY criteria, my experience and my weighing of importance. Istanbul: Spent 2 nights there plus the "overnight" on the ship. Fascinating city, great history. Stayed at the Conrad-which was absolutely first class all the way. If there's an issue at all, it's that the location is not in the heart of the tourist area (but maybe that's a good thing). Luckily for us, we had private tours arranged and people picking us up at the hotel so location was never a problem. I really recommend the Orient House Dinner/Show--really a highlight. Entertainment on the ship the night in Istanbul consisted of some EXTREMELY amateurish local dancers followed by a very good belly dancer. Next day was at sea. Then Kusadasi--Where we had a very fascinating private tour to Ephesus, Miletus and Didyma. Next Rhodes--Did a half day excursion to Lindos through the ship and wandered Rhodes on our own. Not sure I'd do Lindos again--a long drive and a lot of stair climbing for a few pictures--not as nice a town as Rhodes. Next was the bizarre day in Mykonos. We were supposed to have visited Delos until noon and Mykonos from 2 pm until 11 pm. Early in the morning we learned that we would not be anchoring at Delos due to high winds--but that we would be charged $69 (rather than the $49 originally charged) for our excursion to Delos since the extra $20 would go for small boats to bring us there from Mykonos. We were in the Nautica Lounge around 8 am waiting for them to call our tour when the announcement came that the Shore Excursions to Delos were cancelled completely. We could pay $20 for bus transfers into town if we liked--but, we figured that price was a bit steep and we'd find a taxi. But since no one expected the ship to be there that early, there were no taxis at the pier, so we opted to walk--about a 35 minute walk from the pier to town. We found an internet cafe, then some shopping, then stopped in a local cafe for a little lunch. Little did we know that by around 10 am, they were no longer letting ANYONE off the ship. Most of the passengers never even got into Mykonos! Around 1:30 pm, while we were eating lunch, I spotted a Nautica crew member informing some other passengers at a nearby table that they had to return to the ship immediately. Strangely, the guy didn't bother searching out to find there were another couple of tables of Nautica passengers at that restaurant!!! Luckily, I overheard and called him over. We were told to walk to a waiting bus and get back--that the ship was LEAVING, the winds were too high for them to stay anchored at the dock. We got back to the ship around 2:00--and the ship LEFT the dock at Mykonos, short 45 passengers still unaccounted for somewhere on the island (as they were located, they tendered them to the ship). Next was Athens. It was supposed to be Santorini next, but Oceania changed the order due to the number of ships in each port on each respective day--probably for the better, but it wreaked havoc with our prearranged private tour. We didn't find out until we boarded in Istanbul--and we had to call our driver, Spiros, by cell phone--and, as luck would have it, he was NOT available on the changed date. He sent a friend, but I'd guess, based on Spiros' reviews==and on our experience with the friend, Fotios, our tour was somewhat downgraded in the commentary and insight department. Still, it was a very interesting day of ancient sites in the Pelopennese--Corinth, Epidaurus, Mycenae, et al. Mycenae ranks among my wife's favorites. On Santorini, we took the cable car up and down and we rented a car and visited Ancient Thira on our own--an incredible site on a mountain top--the road and hike were both something we will not soon forget. Also did lunch on the far side of the island and some wine tasting. Next, another day at sea. Amalfi--We did a full day tour with Salvatore of the Amalfi Coast--EXCELLENT guide and driver. Taormina--We did a ship's excursion to Mt. Etna. A major change in pace from all of the ancient archaeological sites we had been visiting. We were a little disappointed--we had booked a FULL DAY Shore excursion to My. Etna and Taormina. But, when we got to the ship, there was a note awaiting us that it had been cancelled. The explanation we got was that the ship wasn't in port long enough for the entire tour. Didn't Oceania know this AHEAD OF TIME? Why hold our money for several months? The port times didn't change. Couldnt they have just slightly abridged it with a little bit less free time on the crater? As it was, after the Etna tour, we never got to Taormina--not that there wouldn't have been time--there definitely was, it's just the logistics of finding a taxi and knowing that we'd be able to find one to come back to the ship (It docked fairly far from Taormina) were pretty daunting. So we walked around and had lunch in Naxos instead. Had they told us earlier that this tour wasn't available, we would have hired a private driver for the day. Kotor--Surprisingly charming little town. We did a shore excursion to Sveti Stefan and Budva. Sveti Stefan was picturesque, but otherwise dull. Budva had much more charm to it. We walked through town and up and around the town walls (a bargain at 1 euro apiece). .Apparently, everyone in Budva is either going to or coming from a beach--and there must be some sort of local ordinance requiring all young women to wear skimpy bikinis. .Kotor itself was charming and picturesque--but it may take them some time to gear up to standard tourism--not a decent T-shirt to be bought in town. Friends, catch it now while it is still relatively unspoiled! For Dubrovnik, we had planned on doing it on our own, but they added an excursion that didn't waste time in Cavtat (We were bored with Cavtat last time). It was a brief tour of Dubrovnik, followed by a visit to a remote local farm for a very good and entertaining lunch--with wine, wine and more wine. Very good excursion. Venice, we'd been to several times before--we had three nights there, the "overnight" plus two more at a hotel, the Anastasia. Our hotel was a VERY WELL located and reasonably priced (130 Euro per night including breakfast) 17-room hotel--very close to San Marco and the Valaresso Vaporetti station, wedged between the Westin and the Violin d'Oro on a very quiet little courtyard--with elevator, air conditioning, etc. We ended up taking the Vaporetto there from Piazzale Roma--and were pleasantly surprised when we left to find that our Vaporetto pass (can be bought for 24 hours for 12 euro or 72 hours for 25 euro) INCLUDED the bus ride all the way to the airport! In Venice, we wandered at length for three days, including visits to the Ghetto, the Ca Rezzonico and to the island of Burano (absolutely beautiful). Okay, on to the ship. Cabin: Ample and well designed, comfortable bed, decent storage space. Public rooms: Grand Dining Room: A little crowded in places (They might as well remove the pretext of "tables for two"--and replace them with larger tables for six since they stack three "two-spots" close together in a row--so you're just as close to the next couples as if you were sharing a table)--not really a complaint--we LIKE eating with others. Toscana and Polo--much more intimate, very nice rooms, long and narrow with views from Deck 10. Terrace/Tapas on Terrace/Buffet--Buffet area (the food serving part) is a bit small and limited, the seating is adequate with some nice views from the outdoor tables on the rear deck--at least in the morning while it's still relatively cool. Horizons (lounge on Deck 10)--very nice as a bar, but horrendously laid out for other uses (for some inexplicable reason, they held Karaoke here for the two nights they had it)--the stage is small and not visible from MOST of the tables/seating--the bar is really designed to drink and gaze out the windows, not as an entertainment venue. Casino/Piano Bar ("Martinis")--The casino is quite small (a few slots, four blackjack or poker tables and a roulette wheel) but seemed to be the most (and only) crowded venue at night after the show. The piano bar is attached, meaning the sounds of one are infringing on the sounds of the other. Grand Bar: Nice little bar at entry to Dining Room, making it a little less amenable for drinking--mostly taken up by people awaiting their dinner dates. Nautica Lounge: A fairly nice, intimate venue for a "show room". I do like the "lounge/bar" style seating arrangements. Library: Very nice and most comfortable little room. Pool Deck: For those thinking they are avoiding "big ship" problems by going on a smaller ship, it's not necessarily so. All the same "chair hog" problems you'd find on Carnival, Princess or Royal Caribbean and not an unclaimed chair to be found after 8 am on an at sea day. I have one giant problem regarding the much-ballyhooed "Cabanas"--they seemed to be the one part of the pool deck that was underutilized. They're lined up along the front of the ship in a location that otherwise would have provided great viewing and photography area for, say, the sail into Venice. Food: On the whole, excellent. A few minor disappointments: The New York Steak in the Grand was not up to expected standards--and the "gratinated" Lobster in Polo was somewhat dry and tasteless. Otherwise, most entrees, appetizers and desserts were quite good--definitely not disappointing even the higher expectations. Service: Cabin Steward and assistant cabin steward were excellent. Dining Room staff was very inconsistent. Some days good, most days either slow, forgetful, impersonal. Several times, they got the orders wrong, one meal, they forgot my soup entirely. I'll go into my cruise line comparison a little later, but one very noticeable lacking is the "waiters who get to know you"--obviously, there are both good and bad points to "open seating", but for me, a major failing is in that lack of relationship between the waiters and customer. I drink a LOT of Iced Tea--and I like it replaced FREQUENTLY. That rarely seemed to happen on Oceania--sometimes I'd get a waiter or assistant waiter who would catch on--ONCE in 14 nights I got a waiter who finally recognized that I immediately remove the lemon wedge and he stopped bringing it with the lemon. But, most nights, I'd have to continually ask for refills and MAYBE get one or two refills. Entertainment: This is DEFINITELY NOT one of Oceania's strong points. We were prepared for a lack of "production shows", but it goes beyond that. I'm sure a lot of it is basic economics, but here's the rundown: In some order or another, the nightly "shows" consisted of: 1) The amateur Turkish dancers and Belly dancer 2), 3), 4) and 5) The four assistant cruise directors singing boring, unimaginative medleys of 80 songs in 45 minutes, trying to fit in a bland version of something for everyone (Note: Some of these kids were talented, for sure, but the productions lacked staging, style and variation) 6) and 7) A magician and his assistant--actually quite good. I'd say the best shows onboard 8) and 9) Oceania's Entertainment Director, Mark Friedman and his wife Rodi. Decent enough and professional enough for one good show 10) and 11) A singer who apparently sang somewhere in the background of the original pilot of the "Love Boat" -- Okay I guess, but I've seen a lot better. 12) The Piano Bar piano player moving his act to the "big room". He's not bad--but, on most ships, this is what you go to the piano bar for. 13) The "lecturer" giving a "prime time" talk with slides on the subject of.----Benny Hill (I guess you have to have been a Benny Hill fan)--and 14) The "finals" of the Karaoke contest (the "winner" being a 12 year old kid doing show tunes in a key other than his own). The bottom line is that it seems MOST passengers certainly don't sail Oceania for the entertainment. Other entertainment/activities/things-to-do: Again, scale and economics comes into play--smaller ship, fewer venues, less people translates to far less to do. Whereas on most cruise lines, the daily schedule, especially on "at sea" days takes up three pages with multiple activities in multiple venues going on at the same time, on Oceania, it's about half a page. There's the "Team Trivia" at 4:30 daily in the Grand Bar. Two nights had "Name That Tune" in the Piano Bar, two nights had Karaoke in Horizons. "Dancing" was often listed in the program but rarely seemed to materialize undoubtedly due to lack of interest.--or maybe musicians. Food, other than meals: Well, I guess they had "Tea" at 4 pm each day, but we were usually in port. Past there, there was scant little to be found, especially in the late night. We are accustomed to eating dinner before the show, then venturing out to other venues and capping off the night with a little late night pizza--or milk and cake or some fruit or whatever. But, on this ship, everything but room service is closed down after dinner and we really just like a small nosh and don't want to deal with room service. Cruise Director: David Shermet--a really nice guy and a Southern Californian. Overall, seemed to be a really hardworking guy. Other notes: Prices for goods and services onboard tended to be a little on the HIGH side. Oceania T-Shirts in the gift shop started at $35--though late in the cruise they put out some on a "Sale" table for a mere $20. Clothes, jewelry, purses, and gift items in the ship ALL tended toward the expensive end of the spectrum. Drink prices were high with "well" mixed drinks going for $7 AND UP and the drinks were not exactly "amply" poured. Often, I felt like sending it back and asking if they wouldn't mind filling the glass to at least the halfway mark! In the past on these boards, I've always scoffed at the folks who like to bring their own booze on board and pour their own--but, with the bars on Nautica, I'm beginning to see their point. Internet usage was an outrageous $0.95 per minute on a system slower than molasses with frequent disconnects. Dress code: For me, I particularly like not having formal nights. I hate schlepping a tux and having to get all decked out. On the other hand, my wife loves that and missed having it on this cruise. "Open Seating": I am sort of a traditionalist--I love having an assigned table and dedicated waiters and the same tablemates each night (hopefully we get assigned a good bunch). Even on traditional seating ships, we still get to meet a lot of folks at breakfast and lunch--which are usually open seating. But there are also a few advantages, especially on an itinerary such as this--If there are late hours in a particular port, going to dinner (except at Polo and Toscana where you have to reserve a specific time) is at your leisure--show up when you're ready. Of course, it seems like MOST people showed up around 7:30-7:45 (Dining hours went from 6:30 to 9:30 nightly, shows generally started at 9:45). Going at around 7:30 seemed to fit with most folks schedule--So, if you went to dinner at, say, 6:30 or 6:45, you'd be in a fairly empty dining room for awhile. We did a couple of times. Of course, the wait staff seemed to go at a particular pace no matter what time you started, so it seemed we ALWAYS ended up finishing at the same time, whether we showed up at 6:30, 7:00, 7:30 or 8:00. They seemed to just catch everyone up during the appetizers and by the time dessert came, we were all on the same schedule. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. As I kept saying "It is what it is". If what you want is a smaller, quieter cruise with a very slow pace and you really only want to tour the port, come back and have a drink and eat a slow-paced elegant dinner, then off to bed, it's a near perfect cruise. The ship is elegant, the food is excellent, the service is decent, the cabins are ample. It is very casual--both in terms of dress AND pace. The cruise itself is decent value for the money (so long as you don't drink too much or add on their overpriced hotel packages). The passengers were mostly upscale--very few families with kids. I'd say the bulk of the passengers were between 50-75. They really don't cater to younger folks at all--no kids programs (Heck, even older teens and college-aged kids would be bored--they like to stay up late on most ships, hanging out at the Pizza bar or buffet late into the night--and those just don't exist here). The people we met on the cruise were, overall, a really good bunch. Dinners and other meals were pleasant, conversation lively. The fellow passengers may have been one of the better aspects of this cruise. And the real highlight of this cruise was the itinerary itself--a truly outstanding collection of ports with decent hours in port for most of them. All in all, though I still prefer Celebrity for the greater variety of activities and off-hour food and better dining room service, we'd likely cruise with Oceania again--perhaps to the Baltic, where they often offer a three-night stay in St. Petersburg. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
Our cruise began May 10, 2009, in Istanbul, Turkey, went to Mitilini, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Delos, Mykonos, Santorini, Athens, Strait of Messina, Amalfi/Positano, Taormina, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice. We recommend the ship to any adults who want ... Read More
Our cruise began May 10, 2009, in Istanbul, Turkey, went to Mitilini, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Delos, Mykonos, Santorini, Athens, Strait of Messina, Amalfi/Positano, Taormina, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice. We recommend the ship to any adults who want good food, good company, and good experiences ashore.We spent a day in Istanbul  before  embarking Nautica. We had a private tour to the wonderful sites Topakapi Palace, Church of St. Sophia, Blue Mosque and Covered Bazaar. Enjoyed it very much. We had our arrangements through Transbalkan Tours (www.transbalkan.com) which we used them for Ephesus as well during the cruise. We overnighted in a boutique hotel located in the old city. Next day we took a cab to Nautica. Boarding process was simple and friendly. We were in our stateroom within 15 minutes of leaving the taxi and at the welcoming lunch buffet 10 minutes later. Most of the luggage arrived promptly. The final piece was delayed a couple hours.Overall, the ship was beautiful, very well decorated, traditional but not old-fashioned, and superbly maintained. You could hardly find a scuff mark anywhere. The ship carries only 680 passengers, which puts it on the small side these days. We, and everyone we talked to, liked the size, which was big enough but not too big. While cruising, the ship was stable. The swimming pool was small but adequate, with two whirlpools, and the deck area was adequate. There were a variety of places to sit in the sun or lean on the railing. There was a nice library, a good-sized fitness area, a small casino, and two shops. A string quartet frequently played, as did a pianist. The stage entertainment was typical of cruise ships. There were few children on our trip, and there should have been none.Nautica doesn't encourage children, and these kind of trips aren't suited for them. Food was usually very good, sometimes excellent, and a few times even superb. It would occasionally fall into the "okay" category. The elegant Grand Dining Room operates during specified periods as announced each day in the ship newsletter. You are not assigned a table or an eating time.There are no formal nights. You dress "country club casual." No tie or jacket is required for men. Some jackets but only a few ties were in evidence. You decide whether to eat with others or not. Service was good. The buffet, at the stern of the ship, has superb views and is called the Terrace Caf? for breakfast and lunch and Tapas for dinner. On three consecutive evenings, we sat at one of the outdoor tables at the buffet and watched the sun set over the Black Sea, an experience to treasure. Menu selection was varied, and presentation was excellent in both restaurants. Oceania advertises that "legendary chief" Jacques Pepin created some of the dishes on the menu. That seemed overrated to us. Near the pool was a grill, operating from about noon to 4 p.m., where you could get good hamburgers and hotdogs, a few other sandwiches, ice cream, and go through a salad buffet. There are two alternative restaurants, Toscana, featuring Italian, and the Polo Grill, featuring beef. You make reservations, but do not pay extra at them. While fine, they are over-hyped. The dining room and buffet were just as good. The Nautica does not scrimp on food. Prime rib was on the menu several nights, a roast sucking pig was served one day, and shrimp prepared in various ways was available almost every day.We met the captain once at a ship's party. Otherwise, he was not much in evidence. Tours of the bridge, kitchen and engine room were not advertised. A concierge is available during the day. When our room keys acted up, he quickly had the problem fixed. The staff comes from many countries, and most had good command of English and were very friendly.Shore excursions were as with many ships, terribly overpriced. Details about them, necessary to decide which ones to select, were hard to come by before we boarded. Calls to the 800 Oceania number were answered by dour, unhelpful individuals. For some of the port of calls we decided to pre-book private shore excursions through local tour operators before boarding to Nautica. We were very happy with the tours provided through them. Saw more and Saved a lot.Local Tour Operators we used:Santorini: www.santorinidaytours.comKusadasi:  www.transbalkan.comAthens: www.athenstaxi.netIn talking to many of our fellow passengers, we heard nearly-unanimous praise for the Nautica. A surprising number of them had been on Oceania two or three times before, although the company has existed only a few years. One woman, apparently a chronic complainer, said maintenance of her stateroom was lacking, crew were impolite, and food was not "phenomenal." It was difficult to believe her first two claims. As for the food, meals were always enjoyable and delicious; for "phenomenal," you go to gourmet restaurants. Several passengers got on board without their luggage. I suspect that was the fault of airlines. I would strongly advise against arriving in Europe on the same day your cruise ship departs - WAY too much opportunity for trouble. Service in the Nautica buffet was at times a little slow. The staff should also enforce the dress code. We had a few louts who came to the buffet in sleeve-less t-shirts and baggy shorts, and one who talked loudly on a cell phone. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Others have posted comments about this Nautica cruise, which sailed on 27 June from Barcelona, and I am not in total agreement with these comments, however everyone has their own views. My husband and I dined one night with one of the ... Read More
Others have posted comments about this Nautica cruise, which sailed on 27 June from Barcelona, and I am not in total agreement with these comments, however everyone has their own views. My husband and I dined one night with one of the other reviewers. Nautica was well-maintained and all the staff were very helpful and friendly. When you asked how they were, the reply 'excellent' did get a bit wearing, though. The staff and the ship are definitely the line's biggest assets. We found the dining room dinners unimaginative and only "so-so". Other cruise lines, including Princess will generally accommodate realistic "off-menu" orders, provided sufficient notice is given. My husband asked the dining room Manager one evening, for a repeat the following night of a main course of that evening's menu. The answer, ratified by the ship's Maitre'd, was that this was not possible due to "health and safety reasons". This is a nonsense as other cruise lines can do it and was clearly an excuse. Oceania's strap line is "let us exceed your expectations" - sorry Oceania, you fell at the first hurdle here. We were very disappointed with Toscana. If you don't eat veal, there is very little other choice, as so many dishes have veal in some form or another. I do not eat veal on principle because of the way the animals are kept in mainland Europe. In an half-empty restaurant, service was indifferent, with a wrong main course order one night. The lobster was tough and overcooked, then swamped in a chilli pasta mess. We heard of several other passengers cancelling their reservation in Toscana, after being disappointed on the first visit. Much better was the lobster in the Polo Grill, where we ate four times, Michael, the manager, being very accommodating. The food here was the best on the ship, especially the lamb rack. Dinner in the Terrace was also only so-so, with so many of the dishes being lukewarm. The dish of the day, cooked in the wok, was typically bland for the American palette; we have previously been told Americans dislike garlic and spice in their food. After the Cairo visit had laid low about half the ship, who went down with Pharoah's Revenge, all the dining venues were quiet. Even so, the ship was far from full, with only 610 passengers. The only swimming pool is sea water, which is changed regularly. This is far more hygienic than fresh water pools on other ships because we saw hardly anybody shower their sweat and sun cream off before getting into the pool, a really disgusting habit. Would you like to swim around in other peoples sweat residue? Another plus is that Oceania cover the sunloungers with white towelling which is changed daily. Other cruise lines take note about the hygiene benefits of this. My husband got ringworm off a sunlounger that must not have been clean. We partook of virtually no entertainment, so won't comment. What was annoying, though, was the repetitive announcements by cruise director, Dotty, whose booming voice echoed round the ship like a foghorn. The issue which really wound us up (and many others), surprisingly not commented on by any other contributors who were fellow passengers, was the Great Oceania Visa Rip-Off. I'm going to make a separate posting about this to warn future passengers. In short, Oceania charged us $49 for an Egyptian visa we didn't need, and which the Egyptian immigration staff we spoke to onboard said cost nothing. (I speak a little Arabic) This was just a money-making scheme by Oceania. We were also unhappy at the onboard price hikes since June 2008. Bar bills now attract 18% 'gratuity', whilst stewards' gratuities have also gone up around 20%, but I bet the staff haven't seen such a pay rise. Drinks prices were a deterrent too. A bottle of average Californian red cost $42 + 18%! Another "cutback" was the lack of "Britain Today", the daily page of news from the UK, with the excuse that there were not enough Brits on board to justify printing, there were 40 - it had been supplied last June when we had half that number. It was only due to the persistence of one of the passengers, that it was provided half way through the cruise. Another slight annoyance was the introduction of a flow impeder on the sink taps, apparently only a week before we boarded. If this was done, as someone suggested, to save water - why was it also not added to the shower? The only way to fill the sink without waiting for ten minutes was to use the shower head. The shore excursions are also inadequate and over priced, and the shore excursion department need to be brought into the 21st century. Their presentation on the ports to be visited are amateur and consist of slides of dubious vintage. They need to take a leaf out of Princess Cruises and show videos of all the ports. The daily programme for disembarkation day said that passengers had to be off the ship by 9.00 am at the insistence of Turkish immigration - utter rubbish!!! We disembarked at 09.45 and we were by no means the last and there was no sign of immigration questioning why we had not previously disembarked. This is clearly a ruse by Oceania to clear the ship, so don't get conned next time if it happens to you!! Despite getting everybody off the ship so early, they still cant make cabins available before 1.00 pm, or 3 pm (depending on cabin grade), unlike Princess where you can embark straight to your cabin from 12.00 noon or even earlier and with a passenger complement of at least triple. . Overall, the cruise was not as good as that on Nautica in June 2008. The service and the cleanliness of the ship were again excellent, however the food was not and the visa rip-off soured the atmosphere. We had cruised on Silversea in February. In the present climate, Oceania is poor value for money when set against the all-inclusive Silversea experience. I've decided there are two categories of cruise ship - those that play bingo and those that don't. Oceania play bingo, Silversea don't. One of our fellow passengers has complained about the Big O prizes or lack of, which I totally agree with, particularly as it is pushed daily. The comment made by the Cruise Director about what items were finally available for points redemption, was that their deliveries had not arrived!! What a weak excuse. By contrast Silversea took a very liberal view when our accumulated points were insufficient for the item we wanted -we got it anyway! - Bingo versus no Bingo! All cruise lines are making economies or trying to squeeze extra onboard revenue, when you're already hooked. Oceania's efforts show up badly and tarnish, what was supposed to be a quasi-luxury brand. Nautica's penny pinching and revenue generation ruining what had been a lovely experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
I will try to be as complete, candid and unbiased as possible.  I will not tell you everything is perfect or that everything is terrible. All cruises have good points and bad points. Hopefully, the good far outweighs the bad.Pre-cruise, ... Read More
I will try to be as complete, candid and unbiased as possible.  I will not tell you everything is perfect or that everything is terrible. All cruises have good points and bad points. Hopefully, the good far outweighs the bad.Pre-cruise, Barcelona: We arrived after a relatively simple two flight legsLAX to Heathrow, Heathrow to Barcelona around 7:45 pm and took the VERY EASY "Aerobus" from the airport to Placa Catalunyasteps from our hotel, the Hotel Continental. A taxi could not have been much simpler or easier and the cost was minimal.The Hotel Continental is both incredible AND disappointing. The incredible: The location. There could not be a better location in all of Barcelona. We had a Las Ramblas View Balcony Room on the "Third Floor" literally looking straight down on all of the action on Las Ramblas. Right out the front door was a choice of restaurants, shops, bars and more. It was NOT noisy when the doors were shut and the drapes drawn. There were electric shades, operated by a switch near the door, which closed the room off from the outside light. The disappointing: My wife hated the bedthought the mattress was too hard. The room was rather small and the reports were correct about the "plastic furniture". I was fine with it.  It's not like we had to live there for more than three nights and, to me, the location was unbeatable. To my wife, she would have preferred a more upscale five-star hotel with a big soft bed.There was free internet and a public computer down in the main lobby area. The 24 hour buffet was well stocked including free 24 hour beer and wine.  Of course, it wasn't exactly Napa Valley Cabernet they were servingbut free is free.Embarkation: We checked out of the hotel around 11 am and took a taxi right to the ship. Embarkation was well run and easy and we were on the ship in minutes enjoying a nice lunch at the buffet. First, of course, we stopped by Polo and made our reservations for our nights in Polo and Toscana.The Nautica: This was our second cruise on the Nautica. We were on it in 2006, just after Oceania acquired it and refurbished it. Three years later I can tell you the ship is in great conditionlooks brand new. Hard to believe it is a 10 year old ship. There is not a single instance where I noticed any material wear. Our cabin (#7051midship deck 7, category A1 Concierge level) was exactly as I remembered from last timespacious, well appointed.  King sized bed, small love seat type sofa, desk, small table, balcony with two deck chairs. Public areas are limited, but appropriate for this size shipnever felt crowded, always able to find a seat in any venueincluding deck chairs on at-sea days and reasonably located seating for the shows even when arriving barely on time.Dining: This cruise confirmed for me that this is one of the really strong points for Oceania. The food was consistently excellent, menus were varied and offered many choices. Service was good (We'll get to the few issues later on). We generally ate in the Main Dining Room for all meals except our two nights in Polo and two in Toscana and the two occasions we had room service breakfasts delivered to our cabin. Toscana, in particular, was excellent. Some of our friends found Polo a little disappointingmostly in the quality of the steak.  Of course, I ordered lobster both nights so I wouldn't know.Entertainment: As much as Dining is a strong point, entertainment is Oceania's weak link. Of course, if entertainment doesn't matter much to you, it is no big deal. As there is never more than one show per night (at 9:45) and there could not be more than half the ship there, obviously, over half the passengers really didn't care. There were basically only three "headline" performers on the ship: Comedian Tom Drake, Guitarist Vincenzo Martinelli and Magician Harry Maurer. Being a small ship, I actually had the opportunity to meet, socialize with and have drinks with both Tom and Vincenzo as well as Piano Bar pianist and part-time headliner Jerry Blaineand these are all great guys and wonderful performers. Tom is quite funnyand a perfect match for a cruise shiprelates well to the audience and really seems to love this job. Vincenzo is an amazing guitarist. We have had the opportunity twice now to enjoy Jerry's work and he almost seems like family. So, when I question Oceania's entertainment, it really isn't an aspersion aimed at these guys. They are all quite good. What Oceania lacks is in quantity and variety. On a 14 night cruise, with only three individual headliners to draw from, you end up overexposing all of them. as good as Vincenzo is, hearing flamenco and classical guitar for four shows gets to be a bit much. Some nights, there was no real main showthe time slot was replaced with "Movie Night".  Three nights, the show was staged as a singing show spotlighting one of the female assistant cruise directors, Joanne and Lucy and one night by Jerry moving his act to the "big room". If one is accustomed to the entertainment one finds on the big ship cruise lines, this line-up can be quite disappointing. That said, we still enjoyed the showsthough we always felt a little let down to find only "movie night" on the program.Activities, night life and at-sea days: More noticeable to us than the entertainment deficiencies is the relative lack of activitiesas much a result of ship size and passenger demographic as it is any fault of Oceania's. With a small ship, you simply have limited venues and limited staff. And a majority of passengers seemed to be in bed by 9, so even where activities were scheduled, they were sparsely attended. I am a night person and, I guess, relatively young compared to the overall ship demographics. At night, after the aforementioned show, there was typically only one activity on the agendathe "disco". On a typical night, there were more crew members than passengers in the disco.  I guess that's one reason I found myself socializing with as much of the crew and entertainers as I did. There was Karaoke only two nights and very few volunteer performers.  I actually found myself singing four times (CCR's "Lodi" and "Looking Out My Back Door", the Beatles' "Back in the USSR" and the Boxtops' "the Letter") and those who know me well know well that I can't carry a tune.  Of course, that's what usually makes Karaoke fun.  But, on the Nautica, there was hardly anyone there to enjoy it.  Again, the passengers' fault, not Oceania's. What was Oceania's fault was the dreadful selection of Karaoke choices.  I wanted to do the Kinks' "Lola"and it was on the list, but wouldn't work.  Past that, NOTHING by Jimmy Buffett (and this is supposed to be a cruise ship??).  They had a few Rod Stewart tunes, but NO "Maggie May"!!!Trivia: Okay, for me, this is a BIG item. I love triviaand never miss a session on an at-sea day or when returning from port on time. We had a team comprised of members of our CruiseCritic.com Roll Call and won virtually every trivia session, even trouncing the competition, including a team made up of Cruise Director Dottie and the Crew the one day she turned the quiz over to one of our members to host (thus taking a valuable member off of our team). All lots of fun. But, here is the "downer": All cruise long, they were hyping the "Collect 'Big O' points".  On other cruise lines, there is "instant gratification" for winning a trivia sessiona key chain, a t-shirt, a water wallet, a hat, a luggage tag, a ball point pen or some other meaningless logo trinket.  I do have a drawer at home filled with these itemssouvenirs of a sort from many wonderful cruises.  Most sort of worthless, but occasionally a really nice prize like a t-shirt or a tote bag. Now, last time on Nautica, we had this "points" thing and, at the end of the cruise, they put out a table with a variety of items. We were sort of expecting the same this time.  I figured I'd walk away with maybe a hat and a t-shirt or something of the sort based on how many Big O points I had collected. Imagine our surprise at the end of the cruise when the ONLY items offered in exchange for all those Big O points (in my case, over a hundred) were Oceania Mouse Pads or plastic screwdriver/penlight combos.  Who even uses a mouse pad nowadays?Here's the thing, Oceania: DROP THE "BIG O" POINT THING.  It only infuriates people. If you are not going to give out some sort of meaningful prize, don't tell people to collect "points" for 14 nights. Other cruise lines give out better "prizes" for winning a single trivia game or other activity.  You look really cheap giving a mouse pad to someone who's won every activity for 14 nights. Rather than do what you are doing, it would be better to tell everyone in advance that the activities are for the fun of it only and no prizes will be awarded.  For me, I'd likely play anyway.  I enjoy the "sport" of trivia and other contests and no reward is necessary to gain my participation.  The "Big O" points would be fun if they meant somethingbut, in this case, it was more insulting than anything. So, don't publish "Big O Points" multiple times in each day's "Currents" and stop announcing it on the ship.The funniest part was the night AFTER they had the Big O point redemption, they had the "Game Show" titled "Brain of the Nautica"sort of a 15 person trivia challenge where contestants were knocked out of the running after missing their third random question.  I won.  My prize??? Three more "Big O points"!!!The ports: Actually, the biggest attraction on this cruise was the itinerary. The ports were sensational.  Of course, some better than others.  If I were to tweak this itinerary, I'd actually do it by removing two portsCrete and Cyprusand trading them for more time in Egypt and Israel. In Crete, we visited the Palace at Knossos on a ship's shore excursionand, though an interesting archaeological site, it pales compared to what one finds in Egypt and Israel. My assumption is that by cutting out Crete, you could get into Alexandria sooner than noon, maybe even the night or afternoon before, allowing passengers to do a more complete two days in Cairo and Giza if they so wanted. Cyprus was pleasant, but really little worth seeing compared to the other ports. It would be great to replace it with a second day in Ashdod. Jerusalem was easily a full day's worth of touring and it would have been nice to also visit Masada and the Dead Seabut, not enough timeand we wouldn't have wanted to have given up our day in Northern Israel out of Haifa eitherwe hired a private guide and went to the incredible archaeological sites at Megiddo and Caesaria.We also really enjoyed Tunisia and Malta and Ephesus is always enchanting. This was our first opportunity to visit the Terrace Houses and I highly recommend them.   Ports:Barcelona: We have been here several times, so we didn't really need to see anything but we did tour some of our favorite placespretty much on our own. We visited the Picasso Museum, took the interior tour of the Sagrada Familia, then took the rear elevator up and walked down [Note: For those visiting the Sagrada Familia, there are two elevators. 2.5 euro per person. The one near the front usually has a line with waits up to half an hour or more. The one in the back typically has no line. The front elevator allows for a ride both up and down, the one in the rear, for some odd reason, up onlybut the walk down is pretty cool with great photo ops along the way.], Park Guellwhere we went inside Gaudi's house.  We also took in a tapas dinner and Flamenco show at Tablao de Carmen in El Poble Espanyol on Montjuic-pretty good dinner and show.Tunisia: Arranged for a tour for sixwith fellow CruiseCritic Roll Call membersthrough Chris Sheridan at TouringMalta.com http://www.tourinmed.com/index.htm. Excellent tourcovered several sites including Ancient Carthage, Sidi Bou Said and the Medina.Malta: Same thing as for Tunesiaa private tour for six arranged with Chris Sheridan. We went to Valletta, Mdina, Hagar Qim and Marasxlokk. Hagar Qim was really incredible.  Sort of a several thousand year old Maltese Stonehenge. Best guide of the tripChristine Muscat kristinmuscat@hotmail.com She is the President of the Maltese Tour Guide Unionan Anthropologist by education.  Excellent.Crete: We took an Oceania Shorex to the Palace at Knossosnot our favoriteokay archaeological site.  But it's a short day in Crete and not much else to see there.Alexandria: We took the Oceania Shorex entitled "Roman Influence on Alexandria". It hits the basic three ancient sites really left in this townPompey's Pillar, the Catacombs and the Roman Theater. Another short day as we arrived only at noon. some from the cruise chose to do an overnight in Cairo, but we figured the first days was sort of a waste anyway as we wouldn't have much time to see Cairo that day.  The Shorex was fine.Port Said: We joined a group of six for the private van tour booked through Oceania. Went to Sakkara, Memphis and the Pyramid/Sphinx.  Yes, it is a long drive back and forth.  But the tour was pretty goodbetter than doing it with 30-40 people in a big bus. When you add the entrance fees and cost of lunch, it doesn't really come out to any more $ than the shorex.  Lunch was at Felfelavery good.Ashdod: We booked a private tour with Joel Berman of jtours.com. Very knowledgable. Retired Israeli army officer born in South Africa. Went to Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Museum) in the morning, then a pretty exhausting tour of Jerusalem the rest of the day.Haifa: Joel met us again at the ship in Haifa and took us on a full day tour to Megiddo, Ein Shemer Kibbutz and Caesaria.  Megiddo and Caesaria are two incredible archaeological sites.  This was a pretty good choice of tours IMHO.Cyprus: We did another shorex to Paphos and Kourion. Paphos is pretty dull. Not really much there but some old mosaic floors. More of the same at Kourion.Kusadasi: We did a private tour for four of Ephesus including the Terrace Houses through Ekol Travel. Really good tour with a guide who stayed with us throughout. Terrace Houses should not be missed.Istanbul: We did a full day tour for four to the Cisterns, Spice Market and other sites along with another couple with Nejat Incedogan. [Note: Nejat does have some physical limitations, so if you want a fast paced tour, he may not be your guy.]. All four of us had been to Istanbul before, so this was really just to see some of the unusual sites we hadn't seen. Went to the Orient House at night for the Dinner/Showalways intriguing.Another day, we did a tour of the Dolambache Palace and visited the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaarthen vegged out the rest of the timewe were there four nights total including the overnight on the ship.  On the day of the overnight, we just hung out onboardnever left the shippretty quiet though. Post-cruise: By the end of the cruise, we were really exhausted.  So many full days of touringin hot weatherlots of walking and steps and dust and dirt. We were ready to just relax and wind down. Last time on Nautica, we stayed pre-cruise at the modern 5-star Conrad, so, this time, we wanted something completely different. We checked into the small 17-room Sari Konak. Room was very small, but nice. I walked out onto our balcony and realized we had the most incredible, completely unobstructed close-up view of the Blue Mosque. we stayed three additional nights post cruise and toured the Dolambache Palace, the Cisterns, the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar and other sites at a very leisurely pacea really nice wind-down from the cruise.  Ate at the Orient House for the Dinner show one night, ate a lunch at the "Pudding Shop"as we had done three years ago (I like the place).  Otherwise, ate in small restaurants in the Sultanhamet.  One night, we ate with some of our cruisemates at the "Family Restaurant"Great misprint on their business cards says "She does the cook" (sic)!!Assorted comments re dining:1) Whenever we asked to sit with other people (We're sort of "social" and like to meet and talk to people), the Maitre d' would tell us it was "slow" and they'd seat us at a table for twoeven when it clearly wasn't "slow".  This was a big deal to my wife and at one point she suggested it might keep her from wanting to go back to Oceania in the future.2) They never ask if you might want some Iced Tea and even when you ask for it, it tends to take a LONG time to get it, then they rarely refill it.  I drink LOTS of Iced Tea and this one is a big deal with me.3) I am "Type 2" Diabetic and should not be eating sugar. So, I go out of my way to order "SUGAR FREE" jam for my toast and "SUGAR FREE" syrup for my pancakes. Somehow, Oceania doesn't quite catch onto the idea.  Yes, they stock and deliver the sugar free jams and syrup.  BUT, they deliver the pancakes with heaps of POWDERED SUGAR on them.  You'd think if someone had ordered "sugar free" pancake syrup that maybe they wouldn't want the sugar loaded right onto the pancake??? One time, my wife made it a point to specifically tell the waiter that the pancakes should NOT come with sugarliterally, pulling him aside and going on about it for 3 or 4 minutes.  You guessed it, they were delivered with sugar anyway.Crew: I used to think that Oceania's top assets were 1) Food, 2) Itinerariesbut, from this cruise, I am thinking maybe the best asset they have is the people.  We really had a great opportunity to spend a lot of time with a number of the crew membersspecifically Joanne, Lucy, Terese and Ian from the Cruise Director's staff, entertainers Tom, Vincenzo and Jerry, as I had mentioned before, Rocky from the jewelry shop and others and found them ALL to be genuine, friendly, good peoplemore fun and sociable than some of the passengers.  For 14 nights, I felt like part of the familyand that is a tribute to nothing but these individuals.  Tom (who, as we all learned, is married to Dottie, the Cruise Director), is much more than an entertainerhe is a "true believer"Oceania should put him to work selling the cruises.   And Oceania should consider themselves lucky to have Jerrythe guy puts in first class job night in and night out. Ian and the girls really go out of there way to get to know the passengersat least the ones who take part in games and activities.  After two weeks I feel like I've known these kids for years.  If there is one thing that will bring me back to Oceania, it's these guys (okay, and maybe the food and itineraries).Sickness: Though I never got sick on this cruise, we kept hearing from a lot of our fellow passengers that something was going around. There seemed to be a much higher incidence of this on this cruise than any other I've been on. We had tourmates who had to miss multiple ports. I can't really blame Oceania. I know that when so many people are confined to a limited area and there is a lot of personal interaction that, if someone catches something, it tends to spread.  And, I am not a medical doctor, so I really know little about the causes of this particular epidemic. I do know that Oceania had a number of disinfectant hand cleaner dispensers around the ship, though I didn't see enough people using them. I don't know what more Oceania could have done, so I will leave that to others to comment on.Overall: Despite my nitpicks (Don't get the wrong ideaI am not bringing up those negatives to put down the cruise line or the experienceonly to be thorough and honest), the cruise was and overall very positive experience. Oceania is a heck of a good product. There are some things that can be improved upon (as with everything) and there are some things that are merely beyond their reasonable control.  But, for the most part, it's pretty goodWell run, clean, high quality, luxurious, elegant. The ship is extremely pleasant, uncrowded, nicely and tastefully decorated and well-maintained.  The food is excellent, the itinerary sensational. We really enjoyed our 14 nights onboard and really hated to see them come to an end. We will very likely be back, especially with these tempting itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We traveled on Oceania in its inaugural year and it was fabulous.  In many ways, it is still a notch above other lines but it also is less than what it was.  The food is decidedly less varied, with cheaper selections.  There are no ... Read More
We traveled on Oceania in its inaugural year and it was fabulous.  In many ways, it is still a notch above other lines but it also is less than what it was.  The food is decidedly less varied, with cheaper selections.  There are no fresh pancakes or waffles in the morning and precooked items could break windows.  Lunch was fine but the dining room dinners were boring and somewhat repetitive with little shell fish on the menu.  Polo restaurant has slipped.  The lobster bisque was horrible and the ship does not know how to make real Caesar salad.  The ports of call were handled well but the ship provides no free water like Azamara does.  It also has no comfort station upon return with cold drinks nor cold hand towels. Too many ports are only half day.  The hotel they used in Egypt made hundreds of people sick from the food and the line at the doctors was unreal as our cabin was right across the hall from the doctor.  Entertainment was lacking.  The magician did the same tricks he did inaugural year and they should fire him.  The comedian was fine as was the quartet.  There are also not enough chairs at the pool and they do not enforce the policy of not holding deck chairs for hours at a time and then not returning.  The ship is clean, the crew is exceptional and service is polite and prompt.  But the line is trading on it past and needs to fine tune.  Bean counters have gotten to it.  They had no flowers nor wine for past repeat cruisers, no ship board credit until cruising five times and with what they charge should be giving kids free soda, instead of 2.50 a can plus 18% gratuity.  They are penny pinching and it is distinctly unclassy. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
An Historical Voyage First of all, let me begin by telling you that I select my cruises on the basis of itinerary, so I have no loyalty to any one company. Thus, my review will be objective. I have taken more than 30 cruises and this is ... Read More
An Historical Voyage First of all, let me begin by telling you that I select my cruises on the basis of itinerary, so I have no loyalty to any one company. Thus, my review will be objective. I have taken more than 30 cruises and this is my second on the 'Nautica'. The appeal of this particular cruise was the ports of call, as 6 would be new to me. I booked my own flights, on line, and managed to obtain a better deal than the agents were quoting. The ordered taxi was waiting at Istanbul airport, and I would like to say that I was whisked away to the port, but we crawled along in the rush hour traffic, with the consequence that I didn't embark until 6.30 pm. Fortunately, we had an overnight in Istanbul, otherwise I would have flown in the day before. Registration was handled efficiently and I was on board quickly, but my late arrival meant I had missed the 'Singles Get Together', and I never did find the rest of the solo passengers. This was my third visit to Istanbul, so I had 'done' the mosques and Topkapi Palace and all the other 'must dos'. So, the following day, I decided to take the funicular to Taksim Square and walk back down Iskilal Cadessi, but many of the shops remained closed, as it was Sunday. I went to the top of the Galata Tower again, as I never tire of the view of this wonderful city. Folkloric dancers came on to the ship in the evening, and gave a live performance. I went to a CC meeting at 10 and met my fellow Cruise Critics and together we all watched the ship sail away, under the illuminated Bosphorus Bridge. The Ship The Oceania ships all flow well, and are easy to negotiate. Most of the evening activities are all on Deck 5 and, sooner or later, everyone passes through the piano (martini) bar, and usually stays to hear the pianist, Jerry Blaine, or join in one of his music quizzes. It's a very tastefully decorated ship and the library is one of the best afloat; certainly the only one I've come across that operates an honour system. Happy Hour is held there every afternoon, between 5 and 6 when drinks are sold at '2 for 1'. I think this should be changed to half-price, if they're going to have it at all, as it requires two people to order the same drink, at the same time; not ideal if you're travelling alone and fancy an occasional libation. There's a well-appointed fitness centre and (overpriced) spa. Pilates and Yoga are charged at $11 (+ 18% service charge) which probably why I saw only one person in the Pilates Class I looked in on. There are ample sun beds - some doubles - and private cabanas for hire, for those who want complete privacy. The standard cabins are fairly compact, but well-appointed. I would like to see the addition of a mirror on the inside of the bathroom door, or cabinet, so that one can see the back of one's head prior to stepping into the lift for a further inspection. I did attend a party in an Owner's Suite and it was spacious, and very luxurious. One thing I love about Oceania is their restricted smoking policy; I wish Crystal would adopt it. Food There are multifarious locations for piling on the calories. Apart from Room Service, breakfast is served every morning in the 'Grand' Dining Room (their word, not mine). I intended to try it, but couldn't tear myself away from the Terrace Cafe, with it's huge choice of fresh fruits and berries plus freshly squeezed orange juice. The coffee was a bit hit and miss, depending on the timing and location, so I preferred to make my own pot of tea each morning. The teabags stocked included Twinings English Breakfast - my favourite. Sometimes my teapot turned into a tug-of-war, as the attentive crew are horrified to see passengers lifting a finger. I tried lunch in the 'Grand' Dining Room once, but it was speedier and more convenient to eat on deck at Terrace Cafe or Waves Grill, both of which carried a good selection of ice creams. Highlight of the day was afternoon tea. The string quartet played while you chose from a selection of dainty sandwiches, scones and miniature pastries and tartlets. There was also some fruit being flambEed in alcohol each day. Dinner in the 'Grand' Dining Room was a fairly slow affair and if I particularly wanted to make an activity at 9 I had to be sure to get in early. It is nice, though, to have a drink with some new acquaintances and then toddle along to dinner with them, without the convention of a set time and table. I ate once in the two alternative restaurants, "Toscana" and "Polo Grill" and was disappointed on both occasions. I remember raving about the food on my last Nautica cruise but, since then, they have had a change of chef, and not for the better. There also seems to be a lack of communication between the wait staff and the kitchen, although all requests are written down. Some of the food was still terrific, (the carpaccio in Toscana, for instance) but I had tough calves' liver, duck and ostrich, which I can only think had been overcooked. Some of the vegetables were overcooked as well, in spite of being requested ' al dente'. And the creme brulee had only a passing acquaintance with the blow torch. Entertainment and Activities Oceania is not known for entertainment and, quite frankly, most of the people I spoke to were happy to do without the cheesy production shows. The Cruise Director, Dottie Kulasa, worked very hard, but would be well advised to dress in a more relaxed way. Her corporate trouser suits in stiff fabrics made it look as if she was about the attend a board meeting, and put a barrier between her and the passengers. Coincidentally, she was married to the resident comedian, Tom Drake, which no doubt saved on cabins. Tom appeared twice and, after the first appearance he admitted he was told to slow down his delivery, as the British audience couldn't follow his fast New Jersey patter. Consequently, he was better received on the second occasion. There was one appearance from a magician, Harry Maurer, who, while entertaining, did nothing original. Best of the bunch was Vincenzo Martinelli, a virtuoso of the Spanish/Classical guitar, who also appeared twice. His music was over-amplified, but I think this was a deliberate ploy to keep the soporific audience awake after dinner. Game shows were run by Dottie's sidekick, Ian, (Shane Ritchie on speed), and his deputy Dan. Lucy-Jo and Joanne completed this quartet. They played a silly version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" one evening, where clues were offered to artificially get the contestants to $1 million. This meant that there were only two participants and no suspense. When I've played it in the past, a wrong answer meant that the contestant was out of the game. Dottie was in charge of trivia each afternoon, with some fierce competition. My own team (which comprised eminent lawyers and doctors) erupted into a victory dance, on being told we were the overall winners. The "O" points collected for our efforts are a total waste of time - they might as well tell us it's for fun, not prizes. The minimum required is 30 points for a mouse mat. Who wants a mouse mat these days? They should invest in decent prizes, or abandon it altogether. Ports Nessebur, Bulgaria: This is a tender port. Do not bother with a tour here, as you can walk it quite easily yourself. There are an amazing number of churches and remains from the Hellenistic period. It's also interesting to see the wooden houses in the Eastern Rumelian style typical of the Bulgarian coast in the 19th century. It's very close to the resort town of Sunny Beach and you can take a boat or bus in fairly cheaply. Unfortunately, this resort has influenced Nessebur and the overall impression is of a small town full of little shops and stalls, all selling the same tat. Constanta, Rumania: I had pre-booked a private tour with other CC members with Modes. Our guide, Anneliese, was waiting promptly at 9, as arranged. We walked to the Peter and Pavel Cathedral, then the casino, along the esplanade. We then drove to Ovid Square, the centre of town. We were surprised to meet other passengers there who had come via the Oceania shuttle bus, and had been charged $20 for the privilege. We were escorted into the Archaeological Museum. Anneliese had words with the curator and told us the fee for photography and video would be waived. There were many interesting exhibits here which had been discovered during excavations. We went next door, to a public building which contains the remains of one of the longest mosaic pavements in the world.  Again, we were allowed to photograph. We drove out of the City to the beach resorts of Eforie and Neptun and had a wander around there, laughing at the menu translations - "crap" meat for crabmeat, for instance. We stopped at the Murfatlar Cellar for wine tasting with nibbles, and we were all so impressed that several bottles were purchased (and consumed). We had lunch there (and more wine) at the Crama Neptun, sitting at a long table on the shaded terrace. We drove back to Constanza, arriving at the ship around 3.30. Odessa, Ukraine: Here again, I had pre-arranged a private "Jewish Heritage" tour with ten other CC members with Intourist. Our lovely young guide, Natasha, was waiting and we drove the five minutes to the top of the Potemkin Steps. We strolled down Primorsky Boulevard, admiring the architecture, to the Opera House, where we reboarded the bus and drove to Shomrei Shabbat synagogue. There was a video conference taking place downstairs, so we were ushered up to the gallery, where a young man explained the history of the synagogue. We were fortunate to have Natasha, who conducted a simultaneous translation. We went on to the Holocaust memorial and then to the Jewish Museum (which was not part of the ship's tour.) We were scheduled to lunch at a kosher restaurant but we asked Natasha to take us to a typical Ukranian restaurant, which she did. We were entertained there by typical Ukranian folk singers and joined in the dancing. Fortunately, Natasha was able to provide translations of the menu, as we were concerned at eating 'Crazy Sheep' or 'Rabbit on the Lawn'. After lunch we walked through the park and shopping area, before returning to the ship at 4. Sevastapol, Ukraine: Another private tour with Intourist. Our guide, Eugenia, was every bit as good as Natasha, articulate and with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the city. We drove to the park and watched a naval exercise taking place in the harbour, then viewed the theatre, one of the few remaining original buildings. From there, we drove to Chersonesus to see the excavations of the ancient city and St. Vladimir Cathedral. We then drove to Balaclava, where we visited the Panarama museum at Malakhov Hill. It's a huge 360 degree re-creaction of the defence of Sevastopol, merging painting and models which draws one into the action. We had lunch on the terrace of the Balaclava restaurant, overlooking the harbour, full of luxury Russian-owned yachts. After lunch we visited a secret underground submarine depot, created by the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, carved out of a mountain and concealed behind huge camouflaged bomb-proof steel doors. Built in 1956 it now accommodates a Cold War museum filled with naval exhibits. It was amazing to discover this had been used until 1991. As we drove back to Sevastopol I read "The Charge of the Light Brigade" and we all felt we had learned more about the Crimean and Second World Wars. When we learned that Eugenia lived in Yalta, we begged her to try and arrange to be our guide there. The next day was, thankfully, a sea day. Sochi, Russia: This was the only port at which I booked a ship's tour - and lived to regret it. It was entitled "Sochi Highlights and Stalin's Dacha", but the highlights were few and far between. Although one needs a visa to visit Russia, any reputable tour guide will arrange this for you. We had 34 passengers on our bus and I counted at least 17 buses. We stopped at the Winter Theatre and strolled through a park. We then drove to the Matseta Springs and saw the sulphur springs, but the toilet stop took longer than the viewing. We then drove on the Stalin's Dacha which was, in fact, quite interesting, but very crowded. Returned to the ship at 2 pm, for a late lunch, after a disappointing morning. Yalta, Ukraine: We left the ship at 8.30 for a pre-arranged full-day tour and were delighted to see that Eugenia was once again our guide. She had asked the agency to switch her assignments as she had so enjoyed our company in Sevastapol. First stop was the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, then on to the Livadia Palace. It was built in 1911 as a summer residence for Czar Nicholas II and Alexandra and their children but, sadly, they were only able to visit on four occasions before they were assassinated. However, it is full of photographs and drawings from their time there. In February 1945 it was used as the site of the Yalta Conference, attended by Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. Roosevelt was, by then, a sick man, and was allowed to stay at the palace. From there we drove to the Vorontsov Palace, where Churchill stayed during the conference. This is a beautiful palace, built in the English style, with wood panelling. The gardens, extending down to the sea, are breathtaking. We continued on to the Swallow's Nest, a spectacular neo-Gothic castle perched high on a cliff overlooking the Black Sea. We stopped at a restaurant there, "Elena", where lunch on the terrace presented a perfect photo opportunity. We arrived back at the port at 3 and paid for all our tours at the office there. The next day was spent cruising the Bosphorus in the morning and the Dardanelles in the afternoon. The Cruise Director, Dottie, provided a live commentary as we passed sites, such as the Anzac memorial at Gallipolli. Kusadasi, Turkey: I had visited Ephesus before, so was happy to join others on a private tour from Sisan Tours to two villages in the hills. Our first stop was to Kirazli, where we visited the mosque and private houses, about 150 years old. The village children were attending Koran school and we were allowed to enter and became part of a lesson. The children were delighted to practice their limited English and ask questions about our respective countries. We, in turn, were able to have the opportunity to learn more about their village life, through our interpreter. We stopped for tea/coffee at a typical "Men only" cafe, then drove on to a Locomotive Museum. This was more interesting than I had expected, as it was a train graveyard for all the original 100 year old locomotives  (Stephenson and others) all set out in beautifully landscaped gardens. 'Health and Safety' hadn't reached here yet, and we were able to clamber all over these amazing engines, like kids. We continued to Sirince Village, visiting the orthodox church, before enjoying a meze-style lunch, being cooked, while we waited, over an open fire. We also sampled the local yogurt-based drink Ayran, which is an acquired taste. After lunch we browsed in the local market and sampled the local fruit wines. While we drove back to the ship, our lovely young guide serenaded us with Turkish folk songs. Santorini, Greece: This was a tender port and, unfortunately, there were four ships anchored that day. Who arranges these things? The wait for the cable car took 45 minutes, so I abandoned my plans to take a bus to Oia. The last tender left at 3.30 so I thought it safer to stay in Fira but the attractive little town was packed solid. I met others from the ship and, together, we walked to the next village, Firastefani, which was very pretty and afforded many photo opportunities. The queue for the cable car on our return was just as bad, so we decided to walk down. This was not easy, as one had to concentrate on avoiding the 'presents' the donkeys had left us, as well as the donkeys themselves, while staying upright. The aroma wasn't Chanel, either. We bought some souvenirs and returned to the ship. The next day we docked in Piraeus. I have visited Athens before, so decided to share a minivan to the airport, immediately upon disembarkation. There were 9 of us and it worked out at only $18 per person. We were the last to leave the ship at 9 am, so it was quick and easy to locate our suitcases. Unfortunately, the British Airways desks were not opening until 11 am, so there was a lot of hanging around. By then, of course, we were all one big jolly family, so it didn't matter too much. Summary: This was a fascinating itinerary and I would recommend anyone who is interested in European history to try it. Everyone has their favourite lines, and I don't think it would make much difference with whom you chose to travel. I, personally, prefer the small ships as I find them more conducive to forming friendships. Obviously, if you're travelling with a partner or friends, this is less of an issue. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Istanbul to Civitavecchia (Rome) August 4th 2009 on board ms Nautica Without doubt Oceania Cruises is certainly among the "better" companies in the cruise sector. I read here several reviews, mostly positive but also ... Read More
Istanbul to Civitavecchia (Rome) August 4th 2009 on board ms Nautica Without doubt Oceania Cruises is certainly among the "better" companies in the cruise sector. I read here several reviews, mostly positive but also several pointing less or even negative point, and I believe that both are right! Lets try to put this somewhat together: Let's start with the positive points: - With only 680 passengers for this size of ship and 400 crew members, these ships are absolutely in a good midsize and they have an exceptional ratio of passenger / crew of 1.71 to 1. - The vessels are clean, well maintained, even when you are looking for garbage, dirty floors etc... you will have difficulties to pin them down! - Their major asset is of course the high quality cuisine. The Grand Dining room can accommodate serious quantity of guests and there is enough well trained staff. You have free seating and plenty of choice in the daily menu. The food is excellent, very presented: simply delicious. Jacques Pepin who is giving a certain imprint of the high French cuisine has adapted also at a certain point to some American tastes. We had French Chief Pâtissier on board and the desserts and pastry were really a top. The image of Jacques Pepin is somewhat overdone perhaps, when you find on the menu every under his ... a New York Sirloin Steak! Also the Toscana and the Polo Grill much smaller are worth a visit. They are "unofficially" restrained in practise to the higher-level staterooms. But at least once a trip you can make a reservation in each. To get a second one is more as complicated! Cuisine is indeed more sophisticated and excellent. However I had the feeling that the staff was less trained and certainly fewer in number as in the Grand Dining room. Terrace Cafe combined with Tapas on the Terrace is a self - service restaurant having an opportunity to have your meal outside (if space is available of course). We used it mostly for breakfast ; At night they offer basically the same dishes as in the Grand Dining room but with some extra of different items. The Waves grill is "basic" for a small snack at noon. - There are several bars but only the spacious Horizons at the front and Martinis offer a "happy hour" between 5pm and 6pm. - The staterooms are nice and well maintained ... unless you are in the top layer, you do not have a fridge in your room. The bathroom is rather small of size. - Very useful for passengers who are arranging shore visits themselves is the fact that at arrival in the different ports, a local person from the tourist offices is at board to give useful information and maps. Also the daily information on your television screen about the next ports are quite interesting. - Excellent pre-voyage documents in a personalised booklet. Never seen such!! - Check in at the terminal is well done and even if you are earlier, you can get your stateroom if available. - The cruise ports and stops mostly good. Arrival and sailing hours are reasonably good. In our specific cruise there was only one worthless port: Olbia. Even the local church was not a pixel worth for a photo! What I do not understand is that even last year people found it bad. Simply changing this port with Bonifacio in Corsica (70 km) would be wonderful! These are strong point, however there are a few shadows: - Oceania seems to be building up rather hierarchic and bureaucratic when something is not within the book of the "company policy". Argument used each time the staff cannot scope with your question. It goes from even small items where some are close to a "comedy caper" up to more complicated such as the use of Fitness by adolescent teens from 15 - 18 even accompanied by their parent. As rather irritant and later comedy caper, not very "bad as such" I give you the "water problem". When checking is at the room there 2 complimentary bottles of still water. I simply ask to have sprinkling water in stead of it as we prefer this. Last year on board of Windstar, it took perhaps 15 minutes and the bottle was changed for a bottle of Perrier. You cannot believe it, but the same on Oceania took 3 to 4 days! I had the visit in my stateroom of 2 managers, before the 4th day there were 2 bottles of Perrier with a personal note of the General Manager!! I still question myself if authorisation has been asked in Miami! On the other hand in each restaurant they spoil still water with hundred litre a day when you see the number of full glasses that people do not drink. We had the difficulty to ... refuse the water! But if you want sprinkling they will charge you! - If the ship is at anchor you needs the tender. Another person pointed the same problem. You have to go to the 5th floor, taking a coloured ticket , in theory wait in the lounge to be conducted as "cattle" down the stairs to the 3rd floor! Again on Windstar you simply go and take the first available place! Even Dottie was standing on the 4th floor to stop people (mostly non Americans, a little less disciplined)! - A major item is the rates and prices charged on board. Even when the USD is less as the EUR, they are simply high and even outrageous: a. excursions are simply outrageous expensive! We arrange them ourselves but when you that even a the less expensive tour in small places are charged between 80 and 100 usd and some other simply at usd 109 or 139 per person. In many cases you arrange it for 10 pct of the rates if not less! b. Wines and drinks are expensive. The "cheapest" red wine is a Rioja at USD 29 plus 18 pct service charge!!!. On Windstar you found several at usd 21 / 23 plus 15 pct. c. Another overcharge is the Internet connection. It is not the rate as such, which is the problem but the incredible low very low extremely low speed! To get in my web mail it takes normally even abroad at an internet cafe not even a minute! On board it took more than 8 minutes (yes 8!) to only get in... and then you did not read even the first message! At the rate of the first volume package it cost already usd 6.40! To get into your web mail! Same applies to all sites! Before you printed your boarding pass of your airline, be sure that you will have paid between 15 and 20 usd! - Television is mainly destined for American public. On my remark on the mid voyage questionnaire, I mentioned that with satellite they could easily add a few other language chains such a French, Italian and Spanish ones. Received a phone call from Dottie in person that 85 pct are US, so it is not necessary to put other language chains. If they want to attract to the European market in such a way ?? - Disembarkation is quite different. Suitcases have to be put already at night outside the room. Convenient if you know that items you use in the morning such as shaving cream and other liquids are prohibited ... in your hand luggage on the plane. Nice to see in the terminal people kneeling on the ground opening their suitcases to transfer all the forbidden items! Class!!! Also breakfast before 08AM otherwise nothing! Conclusion: Overall the cruise was excellent and Oceania is certainly a good cruise line. The negative remarks should not be a "showstopper", except perhaps the extra charges that are expensive. The problem is that the small things mentioned are irritating and there is really no reason to be so narrow minded with "company policy" . Perhaps I compare too much with Windstar (180° different) much more flexible. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
My husband and I just returned from a 10 night cruise aboard Oceania's Nautica in the Mediterranean. We went on the cruise to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We had been to about half of the ports previously, but neither of us ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a 10 night cruise aboard Oceania's Nautica in the Mediterranean. We went on the cruise to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We had been to about half of the ports previously, but neither of us had been to Greece or Spain before. First, the pluses. The size of the ship was perfect for us, not too big or too small. The staff, with the exception of the "destination services" staff were wonderful. We dined in all of the restaurants and they were all fabulous. Our favorite was Toscana. Our stateroom was very nice. It was well laid out with ample storage. The bed was extremely comfortable. The outlets in the room accommodated standard plugs from the US, so we did not need to use converters or adapters. We loved the itinerary and the idea that we woke up each morning in a new place. We had three issues that prospective passengers should be aware of regarding the Internet, the excursions and the pre- and post-cruise arrangements. The Internet was important for us because my husband had to keep in touch with his office while we were gone. Using your cell phone is very expensive, especially when they add on maritime charges, so we thought that emails would be better. The Internet is very expensive and does not work well. We bought a package, so the cost was only 70 cents a minute. Unfortunately, many minutes were wasted trying to get to websites. The staff member in charge was very nice and credited us with some minutes to compensate, but it is still a ripoff based on what you get. You should look very carefully at the excursions. Most of them don't involve any real activities. Most of them involve you sitting on a bus with an occasional stop for a photo opportunity. They were very hit and miss. Some were fabulous and others a complete ripoff. We brought this up to the staff and they acted like they could care less. One of the biggest complaints we had was in Turkey. We paid $99 per person for a tour of Kusadasi. At the end of ALL of the excursions in Turkey was a "rug demonstration". The rug demonstration only took about five minutes, then they began to use high pressure sales tactics, similar to those you would get during a time share sales pitch, to try to sell you a rug. Mind you, the rugs were EXPENSIVE! They probably had some that were less, but most of them ranged in price from $10,000 to $40,000! I couldn't believe that we paid money to go on the excursion only to be lead to the rug merchants. My hunch is that Oceania gets a kickback on any rugs sold to their passengers. The last issue was with regards to the pre and post cruise hotel arrangements. Oceania charges WAY more than the hotel charges. Save your money and make your own arrangements. We made our reservations for the cruise and pre and post packages a year in advance. They only use two hotels in each city that we planned to stay in. We researched them before deciding. Long story short, when we arrived at the Hotel Arts in Barcelona, where we had pre-paid $2798 for three nights at club level, they did not have our reservation. The other four parties from our ship also had no reservations. The hotel was fully booked and we were taken elsewhere. This was after sitting for more than four hours waiting for the hotel and Oceania to try to sort it out. They told us the hotel they were taking us to was an equivalent five star hotel, though it is not one that they ordinarily use, but it wasn't. It paled in comparison. It wasn't near the beach, it didn't have a swimming pool and the lobby had not been updated since the hotel was built in 1919. I checked the rates through Expedia for the dates we were there. The junior suite we were in went for $426 per night. The club level room at Hotel Arts was $606 per night. We paid about $933 per night. The last comment I will make is regarding air arrangements. Oceania uses Delta for most of their passengers. Delta was horrible. They cancelled a flight when we were leaving Barcelona on a Tuesday morning. The flight we had the following day left three hours late because the crew was "stuck in traffic", therefore we and about 200 other passengers missed our connecting flights in Atlanta. We didn't get home until Thursday afternoon. Make your own arrangements and don't use Delta. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
This was our 15th cruise and our first time on Oceania. We felt we were ready to get away from the "bigger is better" cruise ships and lines and we were generally pleased with the Oceania experience. The Nautica is a well ... Read More
This was our 15th cruise and our first time on Oceania. We felt we were ready to get away from the "bigger is better" cruise ships and lines and we were generally pleased with the Oceania experience. The Nautica is a well maintained ship that was recently dry docked for refurbishment.All new teak wood throughout the exterior spaces with new chairs as well. The only area of the ship that looked "dowdy" was the buffet area. Loved the Tapas on the Terrace area at rear of ship for eating outdoors. Pros: a great itinerary with access to smaller ports, such as Portofino & Amalfi, due to the smaller ship size. With less than 700 passengers, ship never felt crowded, very few children (all well behaved), better quality of food and service. Nice group of travelers, mostly couples. Cons: Destination Services (tours) overpriced and poor quality. We went for almost $1500 in tours and not one was decent,let alone exceptional. Destinations Service staff on board ship gave us a $30 refund per person when we complained that the description of a tour in Montenegro did not in any way resemble the actual tour itself. We are currently demanding a full refund of $298 & haven't received a response to our letter of complaint to Oceania in Miami. No shuttle bus was provided in the ports to get us into the towns. This is something that Oceania needs to work on. The specialty restaurant Toscana was a major disappointment. We are from the NY area and are inundated with decent Italian restaurants and this wasn't even in the "decent" category. Nothing on the menu was overly exciting...what is everyone raving about? Polo Grill, on the other hand, was fabulous and we ate there twice. The food and service in the main dining room was also very good. Used the laundry room iron to touch up a few items and it was always crowded with lines waiting to get in when it opened at 8am. Much too small. Limited entertainment, the comedian was good but not much else to remember. We were generally pleased with the overall experience, but when we did the math, the trip cost us approximately $1,200 per day, which was much more pricey than a similar itinerary on Holland America's newest ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam. We're still trying to decide if it was worth the difference. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We picked this cruise because of the destination as well as the discounted price that included airfare. Air arrangements and first night's hotel in Rome we booked independently. We also booked our own transfer from our hotel in Rome, ... Read More
We picked this cruise because of the destination as well as the discounted price that included airfare. Air arrangements and first night's hotel in Rome we booked independently. We also booked our own transfer from our hotel in Rome, which was expensive (110 euro for a private car) but much less than if we had booked through Oceania. Embarkation at Civitavecchia was the smoothest of any of the 18 cruises we have taken—just walked on about 1:30pm and checked in. Within 30 minutes we were able to access our cabin and our luggage arrived in a timely fashion, too. We had been on a similar vessel (R-2) when previously owned by Renaissance which went bankrupt after 9-11, 2001, so we were basically familiar with the ship. The size is ideal—large enough to have a variety of entertainment but small enough to avoid lines or any wait whatsoever. Another feature we really appreciated was NO photographer constantly intruding to snap a picture. Nor, was there the constant selling of merchandise and extras. Oceania understands its guests! Passengers tend to be older adults and there were very few children aboard. Therefore, there are few programs specifically for children. Because we enjoy ballroom dancing, we look for ships that provide this option. On Nautica we were not disappointed. There were multiple opportunities for dancing but very few passengers took advantage of them. First, there was a duo that played in the Horizon lounge from 6:00-6:45 and again from 7:00 to 7:45. Then after dinner, the show orchestra played in the theater with its own dance floor prior to the evening's main entertainment so we could dance from about 8:45 to 9:30. We also enjoyed a 4-piece string quartet that played several times an evening, particularly the classic set from 8:00 to 8:45. We rarely attend the production review shows but did see the comedian who performed twice during our cruise; his routine was entertaining. As this was a port-intensive cruise with no sea days, there was only one lecture about a port. Instead, one of the TV channels described each shore excursion in detail. Several movies played each day, plus you could check out DVD's free from a list of literally hundreds. My problem was there was really no time to watch them between going ashore during the day and eating and dancing at night. The ports were generally well chosen and the shore excursions we signed up for were generally good. My favorites were The Walled City of Carcassone (a place I have always wanted to visit), Aix-en-Provence, and Monaco/Monte Carlo on your own. For half of the ports, we went ashore and explored on our own made easy by my pre-planning at home. The one excursion we did not particularly enjoy was the Costa Smeralda for our Sardinia stop. Service was variable. Our cabin stewardess was great. She introduced herself and told us how to reach her on the first day of our cruise but then was hardly seen. However, our cabin was always made up with fresh towels whenever we were out. If we happened to be in the cabin when she came, she always made arrangements to come back later. Service in the two free specialty restaurants (Polo Grill and Toscana) was impeccable but sometimes very slow in the main dining room. In addition, waiters got our orders wrong several times. And in the buffet cafe, service could be very attentive to the point of being intrusive or totally indifferent. I had expected better dining service so we adjusted our tips. Paying $12.50 per person per day for mediocre service seemed excessive. Our dining experiences were likewise variable. The best meals were in the Polo Grill and Toscana but we were allowed only one reservation in each based on our cabin category. We especially enjoyed Waves, the informal pool-deck grill and ice cream parlor. Whenever we did a half-day excursion, we returned here for lunch. Offerings included salads and sandwiches such as paninis, hamburgers, grilled chicken, and Reubens. You could get gelato, milk shakes, or a variety of smoothies. All were delicious. One of our favorite activities was to finish lunch then lounge in the shade on the pool deck with a smoothie, reading or listening to our MP3 players. Food in the dining room was fair to good but despite great presentation, flavor often fell short. However, the breads were always excellent. The weakest link in the menu choices was dessert. The cabin was adequate, a premium oceanview (no balcony). Storage space was ample, too. While both shampoo and conditioner were provided, when we ran out of conditioner the replacement was a different color and did not even feel like conditioner. Luckily the cabin stewardess' assistant had a supply of the original conditioner which we eagerly accepted. The bed was super comfortable but we did not need a down comforter, which was the only top covering offered, for this cruise in a hot climate. Free bottled water was provided both in the cabin and each day when we left the ship. Plus, the refrigerator in the cabin was stocked with free soft drinks. Non-alcoholic drinks throughout the ship were free as well—an added bonus compared to other cruises. Disembarkation was as easy as embarkation. We were asked to be out of our cabins by 8:00am and off the ship at 9:00. Early breakfasts were provided so we had time to shower, eat, finish packing our carry-on bags and we were off the ship by 8:15. We then took a taxi to our independently booked hotel in Barcelona, a fascinating city. In summary, Oceania is the perfect ship for individuals who like some entertainment but are more interested in the ports-of-call. Due to its smaller size there were no lines or waiting. No photographer and sales pitches made this cruise especially enjoyable. If you like music or dancing there are many opportunities but not much in the way of educational lectures. Providing unlimited water, soft drinks, juice, ice cream, etc. was another plus. However, quality of food and service was variable and could be improved. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We were on the Yacht Havens cruise that departed Rome on 8/05. Boarding was smooth. Cabin was at front of ship and slightly larger than cabins around the sides. But, the view might be better at the sides because the verandas are more open. ... Read More
We were on the Yacht Havens cruise that departed Rome on 8/05. Boarding was smooth. Cabin was at front of ship and slightly larger than cabins around the sides. But, the view might be better at the sides because the verandas are more open. In general, pleasant voyage. Dining satisfactory. Crew friendly and hardworking. Most ports interesting. We liked the ports where we tendered much more than the ones where we docked. Walking from the piers was not ever pleasant. Marseilles was a particularly smelly, distant, and unpleasant pier. Very disappointed that itinerary was changed from Sanary sur Mer to Toloun. Quite a let down from previous ports. Especially annoyed because little guidance was offered on what to do or how to get around at this port. Oceania intended to keep us safe. I understand that. But little was done to keep up the quality of the itinerary. One of the fitness machines was broken for the entire voyage. In general, we liked Oceania and Nautica. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Likes and dislikes are individual tastes and here are mine. There are many pluses about the Nautica. The staff is very good. The rooms are comfortable with marvelous mattress and bed linens, plenty of storage, and adequate 220 and ... Read More
Likes and dislikes are individual tastes and here are mine. There are many pluses about the Nautica. The staff is very good. The rooms are comfortable with marvelous mattress and bed linens, plenty of storage, and adequate 220 and 110 outlets. I could bring alcohol and wine on board. Water and sodas are complimentary and water is always on the gangway as one debarks. Also, my cell phone received a signal on days at sea and in most ports (I have a SIMM which has both a US and international number). The best things about the Nautica are the size of the ship and its itinerary. These were the two reasons I chose to sail with Oceania and in neither was I disappointed. Entertainment is not a big deal to me. I am focused on the ports, people and their culture. However, Nautica seems to do a good job trying to entertain as many people as possible with a veritable plethora of games, contests, trivia, projects and crafts, and some lecturers. Terry Bishop, a historical lecturer, was excellent. The bands, from what little I heard, were good. There are endless interest groups almost to the point of nausea. Our Captain Junica Brajcic of Dubrovnik Croatia is charming and quite the celebrity. He commanded the Nautica during a Somali pirate attack in the Nov 2008. However, there are some issues to consider before sailing with Nautica or Oceania. First, the ship excursions are expensive and rather shallow. Comments from those on the tours ranged from "great" to "rip-off." I arranged private tours for the ports, did twice as much yet paid about a quarter of what the ship charged. As an example, in Ghana, their 5 hours to Elmina and Cape Coast Castles cost $229, their 6 hours to Kakum Park and the canopy walkway cost $229. Our private tour of 8 hours to Elmina and Kakum cost $90. For those not wanting to be off the ship too long, or miss their trivia game, or uninterested in seeing as much of the port as possible, I suppose the ship's tours are adequate. Meeting people thru the online Cruise Critic, there is an opportunity to form small groups and independently tour the ports. And by the way, it would also help, for those not using Oceania for overpriced pre-cruise arrangements, if Oceania notified us the name of the port where we were to find the ship. Secondly, the Internet is slow and expensive. It has been a long time since I have had to use dialup. I purchased a 100-minute package for $80. However, when these minutes were used, the next time I signed in it cost .95 each minute. An answer is WIFI. Before sailing, unsubscribe to sites and ask friends not to send any attachments. I took my iTouch and logged directly into my GMail account. I could download my mail, send 2 or 3 messages, and publish my Blog in about 6-7 minutes. And I could get a signal both in my cabin and everywhere about the ship. I am extremely disappointed in the air arrangements. I paid the extra fee to leave early and fly through Chicago to pick up my sister who is asthmatic and mobility-challenged. I paid for both of our cruises on my credit card, we stayed in the same stateroom, and I could not have stressed more how important it was that our flights be coordinated. No such thing happened. While we were on the same flights, our seats were at opposite ends of the plane and each leg of the trip I had to find someone to exchange seats. We were told by the airlines that our reservations were not linked. The Nautica has recently been refurbished and most public areas are quite nice. However, there is a lack of quiet deck space. Chairs around the pool are in a noisy area and at times the area was too hot or windy to use. And rarely did anyone ever come around to see if I wanted refreshments. There is an area along both sides of Deck 5 but only a few lounges. We were able to occasionally get a staff person to bring more lounges. I am not overly impressed with the dining nor the wine. Toscana was a major disappointment because of its unremarkable decor and menu. Our first and only dinner there took over 3 hours to serve. We cancelled all future reservations. Polo Grill was better but steaks were not consistently grilled. The food and service in the Main Dining Room was generally better. The best however, was dining on the terrace at Tapas (inside is utilitarian). Probably the best food most nights was cooked-to-your-order specials. For lunch, Waves was great. The wine at a minimum of $30 a bottle was not that good (add 18% service to all alcohol). Hopefully the $75+ was better. A real drawback is there is no place to get something to eat 24/7. To call for room service to get a sandwich or piece of bread or cheese is silly. Whatever you do, try not to exchange money on the ship. The absolute worst was when a "bank" came on board after docking. Perhaps the worst, and most offensive, issue with Nautica is the different colored WorldCard used to signify level of stateroom booked. In fact, many things are tied into the level of stateroom booked, from boarding times, amenities, and dining arrangements. Forget pre-reserving a table to include friends unless your guests are traveling at the same level of accommodation. My travel mates upgraded to Deck 7, we were Deck 4. They could not reserve a table to include us but 4 of their 6 reservations. Forget doing it later on the ship as this is just not going to meet with success. And what is the reason for providing different colored WorldCards according to level of accommodation? Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We love Oceania, especially the smaller ships so we were excited to embark on this cruise - we were not disappointed, We had never been to Portugal, nor Spain and could not think of a better way to visit than by cruising. We went by ... Read More
We love Oceania, especially the smaller ships so we were excited to embark on this cruise - we were not disappointed, We had never been to Portugal, nor Spain and could not think of a better way to visit than by cruising. We went by train from London to Southampton - this was a breeze, spent a night there pre cruise and the cab fare to the port was quite cheap. Embarkation was a bit slow but we were allowed into our cabin not long after boarding and everything after that went without a hitch, The food was up to Oceania's usual high standard, we were offered an extra night's dinner at Toscana which is one of our favourite speciality restaurants. We thoroughly enjoyed the meals we ate at this restaurant - yum! We loved our cabin, bed so comfortable and we really loved sitting on our veranda with a glass of wine at sail away and with a coffee in the mornings. The bathroom was a bit cramped but we were expecting this and it was really no bother. The excursions we took with Oceania were okay but some did not quite live up to their advertised descriptions - our travelling companions sometimes got a better deal using the local "hop on hop off " bus. A couple of the ports of call seemed a waste of time and I notice one is not included in any similar 2016 cruises. We only went to one show, A Salute to Edith Piaf, we enjoyed it very much but were often too tired to bother with the onboard entertainment preferring to snuggle up with a good book or simply sit on our veranda after dinner. Service was excellent, our cabin stewards were absolutely brilliant but we did have reason to complain about one of the waiters and were satisfied with the response. Internet was expensive - free on our next cruise thank goodness. I hate disembarkment - always feel they can't wait to get rid of us. Overall we had a great cruise, and have already booked a 23 day cruise for early 2017. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I would like to break the cruise down in to various categories as it is important that I recognise the good and bad with Nautica/Oceania Cruise. It is also based on our experiences on other cruise lines and is my personal perspective from ... Read More
I would like to break the cruise down in to various categories as it is important that I recognise the good and bad with Nautica/Oceania Cruise. It is also based on our experiences on other cruise lines and is my personal perspective from a non-American perspective.Embarkation : Being Concierge certainly helped with an early and speedy check in in Hong Kong. Well organised. Disembarkation : In Dubai and the most organised we have have seen on any cruise vessel and they even had porters organised for us and which were paid for. Went as smooth as silk.Food : Firstly, a vessel who has pastry chefs who know how to make nice and fresh desserts and pastries. Apart from Croissants(however no-one on vessels seems to be able to do them correctly.Terrace/Tapas - was our main eating area. Great food and the evening meals were great. However, calling it Tapas is a mis-naming for the evening.Polo Grill was great and the meat was cooked exactly how I like it(french Blue). First Prime Rib I have had in some 15 years that had no fat in it.Toscanas - most meals were great except for the prosciutto(Not good and very unitalian).Grand Dining Room - only ate there a couple of times for dinner - Food was average and was just like any large restaurant in the USA. Get the order, serve it fast. Do not blame the chefs or waiters as it is the biggest restaurant on the boat and it is always full. Never ate b/fast or lunch there.Waves - Food was just OK - hamburgers were very bland - smoothies were greatService - generally extremely good - from cabin stewards to waiting staff to front desk and hospitality desks. They were absolutely brilliantThe mixture of nationalities of the crew is amazing and we found that talking to a lot of them was a most interesting experience especially regarding the ports were visiting.One very annoying thing was the speed at which plates were removed from your table with cutlery. Take the last morsel and a hand was there to take the plate away. When are people going to learn that we non-Americans(there a were a lot of non-Americans on this cruise) do not put everything on one plate we have a different plate for each course.One other thing is the coke tasted like diet coke. Found out why. It is served as a type of coke that is produced for maritime and air travel purposes only so a lot less caffeine.Also took a while for the staff to work out what an espresso coffee is.Alcohol - This is a rip off - $USD20 bottles of wine in Australia being S50 - $60 per bottle plus 18%. Not good. However, had some great wines from South America and Europe on the list which we did sample.Tours - we booked our own as most were only 50% - 60% of the cost of the boat tours and we had a private driver and guide with a vehicle. We did 2 small tours with Oceania(one on a large coach and one was for only 10 - 16 people). Take the 10 - 16 people one as it has more freedom. But if you can try and do your own thing.Passengers : Met some great people from USA, Canada, Europe and England who have travelled a lot also and this also made it an interesting trip. I mention this as most people we have met on RSSC are there for the looks and name and not interested in most places being visited. The international passengers(Non-Australian) on Nautica were great and very pleasant.I will apologise for some of the Australians who's behaviour I thought left me a little embarrassed.Also to the couple of Americans who say Australians do not tip. Our gratuities are included in our fare we pay for the cruise and also some Australians did pay tips to tours guides and drivers(EG we did)Cabaret- Did not go there as we go on these trips to visit places and we also tend to eat late.Entertainment - saw one act and that was not that good. One thing missing is a piano bar where we can listen to some music and have after dinner drinks in a quiet area and not near poker machines.Ports of Call - Most were very good and those that were not we were aware of anyway before we embarked onto Nautica(checked on the internet and with a local travel agent in each place we went to(used the net again). Yes, some ports were a bit out of the way or just industrial wharfs but this will happen as cruising into some of these ports is only just beginning on a regular basis.EG Chang May(Vietnam and backup for DaNang) is an industrial port with no facilities at all, no shops or townn there, roads are extremely bad but it is still easy to get to DaNang/Hoi An or Hue from there. Saigon(HCMC) cruise terminal is near city centre - great location - however for other very large cruise vessels they may berth at the new port some 90 minutes out of HCMC centre, Phuket again is out of the main town centre but taxis and tuk tuks(4 wheel variety) are cheap and get you there in 25 - 30 minutes, Yangon(Myanmar/Burma) wharf we berthed at is Thilawa some 60 minutes from Yangon Centre. Again no facilities there as an industrail/commercial wharf area but again you are not there for that. Muscat(Oman) was again a difficult port to get out of but we had shuttle buses for the 5 minute drive into the city area and from there do what you want in total safetyCabin. Yes it is a lot smaller than RSSC and we were concerned about it. However, after a few days we were OK with it and all went well. It was clean, the room stewards were brilliant. bathroom is a little small(especially the shower). Plenty of storage areas for things.Other nice features not on other vessels we have sailed on. Shuttle buses provide at many of the ports. Having a local tourist board person come on board in a number of portswas great. Having the local bank come on board to exchange USD to a local currencyand then take local currency back(incl. coins) and giving us USD back was a brilliant idea. Exchange rate was also very reasonable. Having organised and paid for porters at port of disembarkation made this process so much easier For a coffee drinker we had access to coffee on a 24/7 basis Using the Ships Laundry was so reasonable compared to other cruise linesAnnoyances Paying for the use of the laundrette on deck 7 There is the only one laundrette and it is small so very crowded If a presentation by the Oceania Ambassador is being made some idea of the make up of the passengers helps so that we can be told what the cost is w/o airfares as they are no use to non-Americans flying to say Hong Kong or Capetown or Buenos Aires or Rio De Janeiro I also think that Head Office and the vessel management need to know what each other is doing as once on board they knew what was being done(EG shuttle buses). Blame this on Floridian office of Oceania. A few more external power points in various lounges would be good so one can do trip reports, download photos etc. with a cup of coffee and pastry. Only found one in card room.Overall, the vessel was great, generally food was good, cruise was brilliant, staff/crew were great, well organised and yes we have booked another cruise with Oceania in 2012 as it meets our requirements and goes to those places we have on our bucket list to see whilst we still can. Very few other cruise boats do a lot of the cruises Oceania do and I suspect that is why we met a lot of very interesting people who had travelled a lot.Oceania, apart from some minor irritations, was great and provides a better value for the dollar than RSSC. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Getting on and off the ship was very professionally done. The room was smaller than I thought it would be. I know trick photography is used when taking pictures of the room, but a little more space for the price would be nice. Everything ... Read More
Getting on and off the ship was very professionally done. The room was smaller than I thought it would be. I know trick photography is used when taking pictures of the room, but a little more space for the price would be nice. Everything worked well in the room, tv, air, good mattress. No problems with the bathroom, plenty of supplies. The service was the best. 5+ for sure. The cruise entertainment director, Willie Aames, of 8 is Enough fame, was born for this job. A great job is an understatement. The food was very good for all meals, but the speciality restaurants, in my opinion, lacked the quality that the regular restaurants offered. The wine was reasonably priced with an excellent selection. They even hold a bottle for you until the next day and serve it in any restaurant that you go to. There was never an "at sea" day so we used the pool on only 2 occasions. Never a problem getting a place to relax. We didn't take any of the tours, which were extra; instead we opted to explore on our own. Even if they were free, it's not likely we would have taken them since many of them were too physical for us. Most tours went from 75-150 dollars. The ship often had courtesy buses in-town to take us to and from the ship. Nickel and dimeing is a problem. Charging 2 dollars for washing and 2 dollars for drying is ridiculous. So is having only 1 laundry room on the entire ship(700 passengers). The line starts at 7:00AM and planning a wash is not vacation time well spent. The Internet costs about 140 dollars for about 2 hours. Too expensive. All in all, the pluses exceed the minuses so it was a trip well worth it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Background Over the years we had fallen in love with the idea of cruising, and had initially decided on other cruise lines (Silversea, Crystal) but eventually settled on Oceania because we liked the idea of "Country Club ... Read More
Background Over the years we had fallen in love with the idea of cruising, and had initially decided on other cruise lines (Silversea, Crystal) but eventually settled on Oceania because we liked the idea of "Country Club casual" and felt that the mid-size ship was about right for us. We also wanted a chance to do some dancing (ballroom and latin) and the O ships seemed to have the biggest dance floors. This particular itinerary was not our dream list of ports, but it ticked enough boxes and the timing and duration were right for us. Pre-cruise we booked our own hotels (we actually stayed a few days in Milan before catching the train to Venice and staying a few extra days there as well). We arrived at the San Basilio dock via water taxi and were immediately greeted by Oceania staff and our luggage was whisked away. Embarkation was smooth and with a minimum of queuing and processing we found our way to our stateroom. Stateroom We were pleasantly surprised at the size of our stateroom - 6068 - a B1 balcony cabin. Other than the fact that there wasn't enough room to pass each other at the end of the bed, the layout was perfect and the amenities and facilities were great. Even the bathroom and shower were bigger than expected - it's amazing what they cram in to the available space. The balcony was fantastic. My wife had not been fussed on getting a balcony and we had tried to book a C1 window cabin but they had been sold out - what a blessing in disguise. We didn't spend a lot of time sitting out on the balcony but being able to throw open the doors and take in the fresh air, the views and the ambience adds an extra dimension to the whole experience - day and night. The bed was very comfortable - we both slept well right from the outset, and the stateroom was quiet, well located and efficiently serviced twice daily - I can't think of any negatives worth mentioning! Ship Info As mentioned above, for us the ship size / number of passengers was just right. The ship is small enough that you can become familiar with where everything is, but big enough that you still get lost trying to get to where you are going, and discover new areas. Every area of the ship was clean, well maintained and well staffed - nothing seemed too formal or too casual. We never experienced any real issues with over-crowding in any areas - not everyone wants to do the same thing at the same time. The daily newsletter ("Currents") was delivered to the stateroom each evening and gave a good summary of the activities for the following day, including timings for entertainment and special events, as well as the menu for the Grand Dining Room. We also enjoyed watching the Cruise Directors daily broadcast on one of the in-house channels each morning. Dining Expectations were fairly high as far as dining was concerned and were generally met although there were one or two disappointments. The Polo Grill (specialty restaurant) was a let-down, both from a service point of view (amateurish wait staff) and food wise (over-cooked lobster and mediocre steak). Our experience in the Polo Grill was echoed by other cruisers we had met via Cruise Critic. Tapas on the Terrace was a major disappointment. It was just a buffet (which was reasonable) with a few poorly executed and often mismatched tapas dishes each night. We had been looking forward to the tapas concept but quickly discovered it was one of the ship's few weak points and gave up on it. In contrast, Toscana (the Italian specialty restaurant) was a great experience (which we managed to arrange a second visit to). The maitre d' and head waiter, in particular, were so pleasant, and the food was great. Portions at all the restaurants were smallish, which enabled you to tackle three courses without having to waddle out of the room. But the real hero of the dining experiences was the Grand Dining Room. For some reason we avoided it until about the third day, only to discover that the food and service were of the highest standard - the execution and presentation was always spot on and the friendly wait staff operated with military precision. The Lunch and Dinner menu for the GDR was included in the daily "Currents" newsletter so you had plenty of time to make your mind up! Afternoon Tea (with the string quartet playing) was refined and relaxing and Room Service was also good. They were quite prompt (especially with Continental Breakfast) and all other items we ordered (e.g. Club Sandwich, Burger, Salmon main course etc) were well presented and fresh and clean flavours. Drinks were a little bit over-priced (Gin and Tonic for $8, featured wines by the glass for $9 and average wine by the bottle for $40). We took the opportunity to buy a bottle of spirits from a little duty free shop at Kotor to utilise for a few pre-dinner drinks. Your stateroom attendant will happily stock your bar fridge with your preferred mixer and ordering ice etc is not a problem. You can also buy wine and drink it in your stateroom but we preferred to have a drink at the bar or at the table in the restaurant so ended up with a small drinks bill at the end of the cruise. Activities We didn't find the time to participate in any of the organised on-board activities! Service The crew all wear badges which show their name, title and country of origin. The Nautica crew certainly were a "united nations" - with something like 45 countries represented (with surprisingly few from the USA). In general they were well trained, friendly and very eager to please - and there were many outstanding performers who really made you feel welcome. Some didn't really seem to have (yet) developed the right communication skills but you got the feeling it was a happy ship. Entertainment Everyone has heard the jokes about bad cruise ship entertainment and perhaps for these reasons expectations were fairly low but I have to say that many aspects of the onboard entertainment were a pleasant surprise. The resident band ("Marek") were very good and played two or three 45 minute sets a day as well as providing backing for any of the evening shows or sail away parties. When we got up to dance they were quick to ask for any requests and later on in the cruise they always threw in a Tango tune when they saw we were on the dancefloor. The string quartet were ok - neither particularly good or bad. The entertainment troupe (four of them), who doubled as "assistant cruise directors" were fun - no real standouts although JR's Phantom of the Opera during the "Showstoppers" production was simply outstanding. We could have done with more sail away entertainment up on the Pool Deck. The vegas style nightclub act, Perry Danos, was very good. He has a great voice and was very relaxed and seemingly enjoying the atmosphere himself. I'm not sure if the cruise director, Willie Aames, is supposed to be counted as an entertainer but my wife and I both found him both entertaining and endearing - although this opinion was not shared by all the cruisers we met! Port & Shore Excursions We didn't take any of the ships excursions. Instead we organised a number of small private tours via Cruise Critic which all worked out well - we saved money but that wasn't the prime motivator. We met some really great people and by travelling in a small group (up to 8) we felt like it was a private / personalised experience. We also used taxi drivers for ad-hoc tours at two ports (Kotor, Taormina) and they were both great experiences. Tendering is a necessary evil in some ports. The first day we had to tender was a bit of a disaster as they had a lot of trouble lower one of the life boats - thank goodness we weren't sinking at the time! After that everything went pretty smoothly, and in our experience we were able to get on an early tender even as "independents", simply by turning up early (before the first ship tours were due). Kotor (Montenegro) As this port is not listed in the port reviews menu I want to mention here what a surprise this place was. The views during the sail in and sail away for this port are simply stunning and the old town is nice. What a beautiful location. We took a chance on a taxi tour with one of the drivers touting for business at the customs gate and what a great decision it was. We spent 2 hours being shown many views and visited the town of Budva, which had a beautiful old town. Our driver gave us a very interesting talk on the royal family and Montenegro in general and told us about the "Wild Beauty" of his country. In the background we could see the mountains where they have ski resorts and there was vast swathes of land that looked like national park land but was simply "wild". They have beautiful lakes and rivers, idyllic beaches, medieval towns, modern resorts etc etc - something for everyone? Port Rating 4. Internet Access To be charged up to 95c for (slow) internet access in this day and age is simply not good enough. This is one aspect where Oceania has to lift its' game. The Oceania @ Sea room was often empty as no-one wants to pay through the nose for what many now take for granted as a basic necessity of life! We did spend a bit over $100 on internet access charges during the cruise - not a huge amount of money in the bigger scheme of things but it did feel like you were being taken advantage of. Disembarkation As we had our own plans (staying on in Rome for 4 nights) we opted for a late disembarkation and strolled off the ship around 8:30 AM to find the Cruise Director and the ship's captain waiting to farewell us personally, which was a nice touch. There were staff there to help us locate our luggage and take it to our transport - disembarkation was a breeze. Summary We will definitely be taking another cruise at some point in the future and as things stand we'll be sticking with Oceania and the R class ships. It's not really a cruise ship for children as there are no specific facilities for them, and most of the passengers seemed to be in the 60+ age bracket. If the thought of having to pack a penguin suit (tuxedo) turns you off and you feel comfortable at a nice golf / country club and you cringe at the thought of sharing your holiday with thousands of others then this is the right cruise line for you. There is a lot to do both on board and in port, and in our case barely enough time to do it all. It was a great all round experience and one that we thoroughly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
In a nutshell: perfect itinerary, outstanding service, and excellent food, but the ship is old & cramped. The entertainment & activities were way below par. With a starting port of Athens and and ending port of Istanbul, ... Read More
In a nutshell: perfect itinerary, outstanding service, and excellent food, but the ship is old & cramped. The entertainment & activities were way below par. With a starting port of Athens and and ending port of Istanbul, the itinerary was fabulous for extending our vacation. We learned that many others on the cruise did exactly the same thing. The embarkation process could not have gone more smoothly. We were super impressed compared to the torturous experiences with larger ships on Carnival. We arrived just when boarding began and our room was ready and luggage delivered. Yay! Our veranda stateroom was small and the bathroom tiny. An average person sits at a weird angle on the toilet and almost hits the ceiling in the postage stamp sized shower. However, there were towels galore and they were replaced at the slightest sign of use. The veranda held 2 chairs and a table. That's it. First day out, we ran into heavy winds at Mykonos and had to abandon that port to sail directly to Kusadasi, Turkey. Many passengers stayed in their rooms as the small ship was heavily buffeted by the wind & swells. By dinner time, things calmed and we enjoyed a great meal at the main dinning room. All the dinning areas (main, buffet, & 2 specialty restaurants) had outstanding 5 or more course meals. The service was impeccable. We made friends with some of the servers and their were smiles all around. So, this part of the cruising experience was excellent. The after dinner entertainment was very basic, mostly with 4 singers and 1 comedian. Yep, that's it. The entertainment & activities were targeted to 70 & 80 year olds. I'm hardly young but I found this was not nearly as much fun as that of bigger ships with more diverse passenger ages. The music included a show band, a string quartet, and piano bar. Other activities included bingo, trivia, 2 karaoke nights, and attempts as special events. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
In 2010, we cruised on the Azamara Journey which is an identical ship to the Oceania Nautica. Both ships and cruise lines are very, very good. Food and cabins were quite comparable on both ships - both were superb. Oceania crew might ... Read More
In 2010, we cruised on the Azamara Journey which is an identical ship to the Oceania Nautica. Both ships and cruise lines are very, very good. Food and cabins were quite comparable on both ships - both were superb. Oceania crew might have been very slightly better trained. Azamara provides complimentary wine with meals and gratuities are also included whereas both are extra on Oceania. Both cruise lines are recommended. Let itinerary be your deciding factor. We had veranda cabins on both ships and recommend that - very spacious. Oceania crew appeared to wake up with a smile on their face and stayed that way the entire day. Ship was very clean. Soft drinks are complimentary and cabin crew kept our refrigerator stocked with Diet Coke as we requested. Both specialty dining rooms are excellent. Main dining room is also very good. After some long days of touring, we chose to eat at the Terrace Cafe where we could dine in our shorts. Food is essentially the same as the main dining room but served buffet style. Eat outside on the rear deck if there is room - very nice eating out there. Waves Grill on the pool deck right outside the Terrace Cafe serves lunch until 4:00. This location make a good hamburger and an excellent panini. And their french fries are fantastic - your cardiologist would not approve but the fries sure taste good! In general, I recommend that you consider skipping all ship excursions and arrange your own private tours. With only two people, private tours are similar in price to ship excursions but more flexible. With two couples, price is cut in half. It is very easy to make all arrangements ahead of time via the internet. Note that most of these guides want to be paid in cash. Ship's first port was Nauplion (a.k.a. Nafplio). Patty Staikou (pstaikou@mail.gr) was recommended by Rick Steves' guidebook. She also agreed to give us tours of both Mycenae and Epidavros whereas ship excursions made you choose one or the other. Patty arranged for a taxi (we paid driver separately) to pick us up at the ship. Taxi was a very clean Mercedes and driver drove us to meet Patty. The latter is a superb guide. Zakynthos was next stop. We took ship excursion, Panoramic Zakynthos. Very disappointing. Can not recommend that excursion. Some friends took a private tour and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Monemvasia was another port. Here it is recommended that you walk to the town of Monemvasia. Lower city is quaint and easy to walk. If you are up for the hike, travel to the upper town. The latter is mostly ruins except for the 12th century Hagia Sophia. Now, if you are still energetic, you can continue up to the Citadel. Note that these "trails" are not particularly easy to traverse and you must be very careful coming back down. There are numerous very slippery rocks that must be negotiated and it is slow going. But the views are excellent. Kusadasi (Ephesus) is a great stop. You must go to Ephesus. We prearranged a tour through www.ephesusshuttle.com. The latter provided a very clean van with separate driver and guide. Haluk Caliskan was our guide and was quite good. This company was very flexible. Ship docks for a shorter time in Kusadasi than other ports and there is a lot to see. Ephesus Shuttle modified one of their standard tours in order for us to see what we wanted to see on the time we had. They are also reasonably priced and accepted credit cards. Other ports are discussed in the sections below this. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My husband and I have taken many cruises on different lines, but had never cruised with Oceania before. The itinerary of the Nautica and the reduced fares enticed us to give this line a try. The cruise line organized our ... Read More
My husband and I have taken many cruises on different lines, but had never cruised with Oceania before. The itinerary of the Nautica and the reduced fares enticed us to give this line a try. The cruise line organized our flights from Vancouver B.C. to Dubai via Heathrow. We wanted to spend some time in Cape Town at the end of the cruise, so we did pay extra for this. We were pleased with our travel arrangements. We embarked from Dubai after spending a day there on board. Our stateroom was attractive and small, with limited storage space for a 30 day passage. Also the bathroom, especially the shower was very small. However, it was a small ship with 600 or so passengers and this was most appealing to us. Although the dining experience is not high on our list of considerations, we found that the food exceeded our expectations. In particular, we discovered that the speciality restaurants (which were not an extra fee), were not limited to 4 visits. We enjoyed the cruise activities on board, as the putting, table tennis and shuffleboard matches allowed us to meet a small group of delightful passengers. In addition, we had a chance to meet the ship's four entertainers, whom we found delightful. Of special note, was the county fair with all sorts of booths and an afternoon specialty tea, both of which were well planned and executed.One of the speakers was exceptional in discussing the history of the regions we were visiting; the other was average in talking about ships. We did not take any of the ship's shore excursions as they were overpriced for what was being offered. Instead, we explored on our own or with other passengers. I believe we had a better, much cheaper experience that way, The detinations were the draw for us and we certainly enjoyed Portuguese Goa region of India, the beautiful islands of the south Indian Ocean-Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion and Madagascar as well as our destination South Africa. In spite of all this, the trip was most seriously marred by the medical situation on board. My husband and I are both retired anaesthesiologists, licenced in British Columbia Canada and the state of California. We know about medical treatments and costs. Thus, we were appauled to hear of numerous cases in which passengers were given unnecessary tests and treatments for minor ailments. This resulted in bills of $2000 to $2500 per visit. Those who did not want such treatment were threatened with removal from the ship. Indeed, two healthy passengers were sent at their own expense and with no accompaying medical personnel to the local hospital in Mumbai as they were too ill to remain on board. When they returned to the ship with a letter of good health, they found their bags, security and the captain on the pier and only allowed to return when the letter was produced.As a result of this, a letter, signed by 30 of us, was sent to the Captain ,but this was ignored. Then we found that the doctor had had his licence revoked from the state of Tennessee in 2010. Another letter, signed by 40 passengers, was sent to the Captain and still no reply.After many days of protest about the lack of a licence, the doctor produced a "certificate" from a small college in India issued in 1979 as his "proof " of a licence.This is totally unsatisfactory by North American medical standards, particularly as he had malpractice suits awarded against him. We have written to Oceania customer services in Miami and have had no reply. In summary, this was a very good cruise if you avoided the shore excursions and the medical office. As a result of this, I can not recommend Oceania cruises. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We enjoyed a lovely experience on board Oceania Nautica as we explored exotic destinations between Dubai and Capetown. This was our second time on the ship and she didn't disappoint. Our favorite thing about the ship is the lovely ... Read More
We enjoyed a lovely experience on board Oceania Nautica as we explored exotic destinations between Dubai and Capetown. This was our second time on the ship and she didn't disappoint. Our favorite thing about the ship is the lovely staff who are always smiling and never say no. They always do their best to please. We only took issue with the Food and Beverage Manager Kevin Bland, who always seemed as though he'd rather be anyplace else but working on the ship. I know he has a difficult job, but his disposition needs improvement. He rarely smiled and was constantly nit picking at the hard working crew for inconsequential things in front of the guests. Not once did I ever see him praise any of his staff for a job well done. This behavior is inconsistent with any of the other hard working managers I've met and observed on Oceania. While some other reviewers have complained about the ship's inconsistent service in the main dining room, they need to consider that at peak dining times, the kitchen is doing its best to keep up with the orders. Meals are made to order on Oceania and not prepared en mass and kept under heat lamps as is done on larger ships. This results in the meals arriving fresh and hot and in my opinion, always delicious. Dining on this ship is meant to be an unhurried, social affair. On evenings we didn't want to spend 2+ hours in the dining room, we ate upstairs at the Terraces Buffet, which always had fresh, delicious food as well. We found the quality of the meats in all dining venues to be of exceptional quality. The fresh fruits selection and berries everyday were another delight. We found plenty to do on board ship on sea days. For those who complain that activities are limited, they need to remember that small ship means fewer choices of things to do. However, we felt that the Cruise Director Leslie John and his staff did a great job of providing activities during the day. Expert guest lecturers did an excellent job of presenting topics on history, culture and politics of the areas we visited, on board sporting events were scheduled almost every hour, daily team trivia sessions, cooking demos by the Oceania Headquarters Executive Chef and outdoor activities such as the Country Fair, Officers Challenge and Equator Crossing ceremony were huge hits. We also found the library stocked with several new books and excellent reference resources. The shows were cabaret style entertainment and were put on by a cruise staff full of heart who really enjoy their jobs and a string quartet who played in various locations throughout the cruise. Jerry Blaine was at the piano who played soft, background music great for conversation in Martini's bar nightly and local entertainment troupes also came on in some ports. My only gripe was that on nights when the clock turned back an hour, there weren't always late night activities after the show other than the casino. The internet cafe has plenty of computers, however the satellite internet service on this cruise was way overpriced compared to other lines and rarely worked at all. I signed up for a $140.00 package for the 30-days that gave me 200 minutes plus a free 40-minute bonus. I tried logging on everyday, and most days it took 10 minutes just to connect to my gmail account. The service was so poor, I still had 65 minutes left on my account that went unused, and for which I did not receive any credit. The internet manager Igor, was not helpful at all. In fact, several guests I spoke to said they were afraid to ask him for help because he was so gruff. I had trouble connecting to the wi-fi one day and the only assistance he gave me was to tell me my computer was "broke", even though I was able to connect the day before and the day after on my own. With the majority of guests being in the senior age category, it might behoove Oceania to hire someone for that job who has more patience with the "computer challenged" guests. The Fitness Instructor, Maurizio, was fabulous. He offered several fitness classes a day and provided instruction in the proper use of the machines. The machines were new and in good working order. The pool area was always clean and spotless thanks to the tiring work of the deck stewards who were a delight. We thoroughly enjoyed the bar staff who were some of the smartest, funniest crew on the ship. The bar manager Siorban and Head Bartender Antonio did a great job of training their staff. A special shout out goes to "D" Demodar, I Made, Julie, Kathy, Sasa, Sai, Fillmore and Geoffrey from the bar department and Craig, the Cellar Master, and his excellent sommelier team. My only pet peeve with the bar is corporate's decision on how martinis are handled during Happy Hour. They tote Happy Hour as two for one, but when it comes to martinis, the 2 for 1 is offered in a glass half the size, or they will give you a "double" in the regular size martini glass. Simply put, martinis cost the same at Happy Hour as they do at other times. Overall, the ship is kept spotless by the unsung heroes of the house keeping team who usually go unnoticed. Our stateroom attendant Adithya did an outstanding job in servicing our cabin. We were in a category D porthole view stateroom on Deck 3. We loved our row of 15 cabins down there. The rest of the floor is crew areas. It was like our own private club, and one of the most stable areas of the ship since they are all located mid-ship, just above the water line. The stateroom layout was well designed and comfortable with adequate seating area and closet space. The beds were comfortable with pillow top mattresses and frette linens. A small, but adequate flat screen TV with news channels and cruise programming including movies, TV shows and documentaries. While the bathroom is tiny, it is functional. It would be nice to see them replace the "hugging" shower curtains, with sliding glass doors which is now prevalent on most of the other cruise line's newer ships. It was nice to see that Maia was recently promoted to Chief Purser. She and her staff did a great job of trying to be proactive with immigration forms for each port, mid-cruise billing portfolios and solving various problems presented to them by the guests. This resulted in flawless embarkation and disembarkation in each port. The shore excursions team were very helpful and friendly, but Oceania corporate really needs to reconsider the pricing on their tours. While cruise lines always charge more for tours than if you book on your own, I considered their offerings as price gouging for exotic ports where they knew many folks would be hesitant to book on their own. Charging 3 to 4 times more for the same tour arranged on your own was simply ridiculous. If they continue this practice, they will end up losing guests to Regent who include shore excursions in their pricing. When all is said and done, Regent turns out to be a better value if guests book Oceania's excursions in each port. This was a constant discussion among several guests. Ports visited on this itinerary were Dubai, Fujairah, Muscat, Mumbai, Mormugoa, Mangalore, Cochin, Maldives, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion Island, Richard's Bay, Durban and Capetown. It was fairly easy to arrange tours on your own in each port either before hand on-line, or at each port on arrival. The ship ran complimentary shuttle buses in each port except for Mumbai, Mormugoa, Maldives, Madagascar and Seychelles. The shuttle buses usually dropped you at a shopping mall area where you could arrange local taxi sightseeing or walk to other city sights. A local representative came on board in each port to provide maps and suggestions for things to see and do on your own. Some were very good, but a few offered little help or gave incorrect info. The ports that didn't run shuttle buses usually had local taxis available at the pier for tour hire. The shuttle buses usually ran well, except in a few ports where they needed additional buses during peak times, such as in Durban, Reunion Island, and Mauritius. I will provide a more extensive review under the port section for each port. Overall, we thought the cruise was a wonderful experience from start to finish with a few little hiccups as mentioned above. The staff were great, the service was very good and the food was fresh and delicious. The ports were exotic and the 30-days flew by too quickly. We will sail Oceania again and hope to see some of the same friendly staff . Ports of Call not covered below: Fujairah, UAE - shuttle bus dropped us at a mall where you could negotiate city tour rates with local taxis.. The city is quite new, so not much there to visit other than an old fort. We decided on a beach day at the Hilton hotel, but unfortunately, there were tar balls washing up on the beach. We were told by the hotel that this is a common occurrence due to the oil tankers that often flush their tanks off shore. Muscat, Oman - shuttle bus drops you at the old city souk which has some great shopping if you like to haggle prices. I got some great buys on Omani silver jewelry and hand embroidered silk shawls. There is a lovely waterfront promenade you can stroll along to the palace and the fish market. The souk is closed daily from noon to 4 PM and most of the day on Fridays. There are also taxis available at the souk you can negotiate with for a city tour and local museum visit. Mormugoa, India - There is no shuttle bus here, so it is a long walk to the gate entrance. There are several taxis there where you can negotiate for a tour of the surrounding areas. A friend of ours picked us up here and we toured Old Goa where they had an interesting festival taking place for St. Francis Xavier, and several of the beaches that have made Goa famous. We also had a delicious meal at one of the restaurants on the river near Mormugoa. Mangalore, India - shuttle bus drops you off at a shopping mall in the center of the city where there are several taxis and tuk-tuks. We hired a tuk-tuk for 5 hours for $15.00 per person to take us around the city to see the churches and temples. We had a great driver who explained all of the Hindu traditions at the temples and we even got to witness a couple of weddings which was very interesting. This is also the only shuttle bus stop in any of the ports that left us close to an internet cafe that cost less than 50 cents per 30 minutes computer use. Male, Maldives - We tendered here and got to spend an overnight. The tender dropped us in the center of town within walking distance of the large mosque, the very interesting fish market and local farmer's market. There were also several souvenir shops. The highlight of the Maldives, is the beautiful coral atolls and underwater sea life. It was easy to arrange a visit to one of the local islands or a snorkeling trip right at the tender pier for less than $50.00 per person. We were fortunate enough to have a friend at Sheraton, who sent a private boat to pick us up for a day trip at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and it was breathtaking with its white sand beach and azure turquoise waters. Mahe, Seychelles - We docked here and there were several taxis at the pier who were only interested in giving island tours for about $60.00 per person. We only wanted to go to one of the beaches, so we waited until the rush was over and managed to get a taxi to the beach for $15.00 for 4 people. You could also walk into the town in about 20-minutes where there were several shops, bars and restaurants. Praslin, Seychelles -- We tendered into the island and it was possible to catch a ferry here to La Dique which has some of the prettiest beaches in the world. Several guests did this excursion on their own by taking the ferry and hiring an ox cart for about $25.00 per person. I opted to do the very expensive ship's snorkeling tour to Coco Island. The trip was way over priced, but I had an amazing time on the beautiful white sand beaches with large boulders and the snorkeling was some of the best I've done. It was a good thing I signed up for this on the ship, because there was no on-site operators available to hire on your own. Nosy Be, Madagascar -- We tendered into the island where the ship ran a shuttle to the center of town which was very interesting. It had a nice local market, souvenir shops, restaurants and bars with free wi-fi. There were also boats and taxis for hire. Several guests hired a boat to go to Lemur Island for $15.00 per person, where those of us booked on the ship's tour paid $129.00 per person. While the tour was quite interesting, there were absolutely no safety standards practiced on these small boats and the small village where the lemurs are kept, is basically a tourist trap, albeit an interesting one. Some guests hired taxis for $20.00 per person and also got to see lemurs on the main island. Port Louis, Mauritius: Unfortunately, we had heavy rain here all day so opted to stick close to the downtown area. The ship ran a shuttle to the downtown shopping center or you can take a water taxi for $2.00. We opted to try the water taxi going into down town and it was quite the adventure. No safety standards whatsoever, and the step up from the boat to the pier at low tide was nearly impossible. This is not a trip to take if you are mobility impaired in even the slightest way. The downtown area was modern and filled with lots of shops, restaurants, bars and sidewalk cafes and had plenty of free wi-fi spots. There is also a large local crafts market that is worth a visit. A few blocks past the new shopping area, is an underground passage that takes you to the local's market that provided plenty of photo ops and lots of exotic spices for purchase. Point des Gallets, Reunion Island: The ship docks at the cruise terminal which is a distance from anything and there are few taxis and rental cars available. There is a local bus that stops right across from the cruise terminal that gets you into the central downtown area. Luckily, they did run a shuttle that either dropped you off at the local market or the main bus station. We decided to take a direct bus to St. Denis. The trip was scenic as it hugged the coast line for the 30-minute trip. We strolled through the main part of the town and pedestrian zone where most of the shops, restaurants and bars are located. Unfortunately, most of the shops were closed from noon to 4:00 PM for their lunch break, but we enjoyed strolling the streets and water front area. The entire day cost us less than $5.00 per person including a couple of local beers. Richards Bay, South Africa: The ship docks near a marina with cafes and bars and free wi-fi. It is a modern, scenic marina. They also ran a shuttle to a modern shopping mall. We pre-scheduled a private tour to the St. Lucia Wetlands Preserve located about 1 hour drive from the port. We were able to cruise through the Wetlands where we saw several hippo and birds, but were unable to get into the land reserve for a game drive because it was already full. There are several other private game reserves in the area within an hour's drive, but most of the tours occurred during the high heat of the day when most animals are out of sight. The schedule of tours would make more sense to do the game drives at dusk, especially since we were in port until 11 PM. Durban, South Africa The ship runs a shuttle to Shaka Marine Park which is close to the waterfront. It also offers an aquarium, water park, a shopping village and several bars and restaurants. You can also catch the local People Mover bus here to go to the Indian and Witch Doctor Markets. There are also taxis available you can negotiate with for a city tour. We opted to stroll along the waterfront and enjoy an alfresco lunch. Moya is a very nie restaurant that sits at the edge of the pier where you can enjoy a drink and watch the surfers. There also is a lovely waterfront promenade featuring street performers and is a great place to people watch. In the afternoon, before heading back to the ship, a local dance troupe put on a very interesting free display of Zulu Warrior Dancing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
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
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
Firstly, there was a lot of talk on our board, prior to the cruise regarding whether to have a Yellow Fever jab. It was a no brainer for us. Had the shot, only reaction was a sore arm. We were asked to show our International Vaccination ... Read More
Firstly, there was a lot of talk on our board, prior to the cruise regarding whether to have a Yellow Fever jab. It was a no brainer for us. Had the shot, only reaction was a sore arm. We were asked to show our International Vaccination Certificate as we boarded the ship, then again in South Africa and Australia on our return. A few notes that might help planning the 2014 cruise. Good luck. We had a fantastic time Dec 2013. Dubai. Complimentary shuttle from the ship to Dubai Mall which is huge and has an amazing aquarium in the centre. The drive from the port is also interesting. Fujairah. Complimentary shuttle to the City Center Mall. Interesting drive. Nothing special Muscat. Complimentary shuttle from the pier to the Muttrah Souq which was amazing. Well worth doing. Wall to wall schools on the drive to the Souq. Education of the young is top priority in Muscat. Mumbai. Shuttle between the ship and the port gate only. Didnt do the Taj trip. Have been there before. Some people did the independant trip and others went on the ship excursion. From what we heard, some positive comments from the ship tour. As always you get what you pay for. The independant people didnt have as much time at the Taj and stayed in Delhi instead of Agra, missing the early morning viewing. Goa. No shuttle We did the ships tour HIghlights of Goa for the morning. Very interesting. Mangalore. We used the complimentary ships shuttle to the City Center Mall 10 kl away. That was an interesting drive. Cochin. No shuttle. Did the ships day tour to Kerala Backwaters which was a beautiful part of India. The tour was excellent and value for money. Saw the fishing nets on the way back to the ship. Maldives. Tender into town. Try to get to one of the island resorts which you would have to organise before leaving home. There is nothing in the capital Male. Have stayed there at Club Med in the past. Beautiful. Some people did the ships tour to Kuda Bandos and were very dissappointed. Lots of coral inshore. Cut feet etc. Seychelles. No shuttle. Went snorkling. A waste of time. Water cloudy with poor visibility, probably due to the weather. Had visited a couple of years ago and did the drive around the island which is well worth doing. Mombasa. Complimentary shuttle. Visa cost from ship $50USD pp. We did an independant tour to Tsavo East national Park. Zanzibar. Tender into shore. Then complimentary shuttle to Kelele Square, where we walked into Stone Town. Picked up a guide for US10 who took us up to the Slave Market and local markets. Visa cost from ship $99USD pp Dar Es Salaam. There was a complimentary shuttle into town. We did an independant City Tour - Full Day. Very interesting. Visited the Tinga Tinga Co Operative Centre and came away with a small painting. Nosy B. Tendered in. Not much there unless you want to go to Nosy Komba to see the Lemurs. Ship has a complimentary shuttle up to the old town. Lots of canoes came out to greet us when we dropped anchor. They wanted to trade with you from the tender pick up. All good fun. Maputo. Complimentary shuttle to the Feima Craft Market. Visa charged to ship account $169pp if you want to leave the ship. Nice place. Richards Bay. Complimentary shuttle from the Pier to the Boardwalk Mall. We had organized a private overnight safari up to Hlulhewe which was excellent. Really enjoyed seeing all the big animals in the cool of the evening and early morning. The drive back down to Durban was beautiful. Just like northern Queensland. Sugar cane, rolling hills. Durban. Complimentary shuttle from the Pier to the UShaka Marine World. Lots went to the Tala Game Reserve by private safari. Cape Town. The ship docks right at the V and A Waterfront, a fantastic location. We organized with Sean Casey to take 6 pax up to Stellenbosch that afternoon. He then gave us a city tour on the way back to the ship. The next day he took four of us down to the Cape for a full day. Beautiful. Stayed at the V and A Hotel.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I just returned from a 30 day cruise from Cape Town to Singapore. I liked the itinerary, but I don't know how they decided what to included and what to skip. I was sorry they skipped Mauritius and the Comoros, I would say that the ... Read More
I just returned from a 30 day cruise from Cape Town to Singapore. I liked the itinerary, but I don't know how they decided what to included and what to skip. I was sorry they skipped Mauritius and the Comoros, I would say that the food, service, and decor were above average, but the excursions and entertainment were below average. Excursions were very expensive, yet it appeared they hired the lowest bidder without any control for quality. Buses were often broken down and lacking in air conditioning. Selections of excursions was poor--it appeared that the main consideration was profit margin. I was on the concierge level, with a veranda, yet the stateroom, bathroom, closet, etc. were really tiny. There was price gouging for use of the Internet--$600 for the 30 days. Corkage for wine was $25, as opposed to the $15 it is on other cruise lines.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
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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