November 2006 Destination:
It is hard to realize that a year has passed since we boarded Oceania's Nautica for our cruise from Istanbul to Singapore. We had heard good things about this line, and our every expectation was met on this cruise. Upon boarding we were met by refreshments and a string quartet - and the mood of casual elegance was set and lasted for the full 25 days we were aboard. The ship is very well appointed and its size is perfect, so that faces quickly become familiar and friendships established. This was the first time we had cruised Freestyle - without being designated a table in the dining room for dinner. At the outset of the cruise we wondered how this would work, since we had been in the habit of socializing primarily with our table mates in the past. We quickly learned that people bonded with those with similar interests - so that the trivia teams or the ping pong players toured and ate and socialized together. The cabins were very comfortable and the suites sumptuous. The food was great More
and varied - the best we had experienced in our total of 6 past cruises. The tours were pricey, but most were well done. The overnight at Luxor was worth the handsome charge, but tea at that opulent hotel in Dubai was not worth the money. The service at that hotel was marginal and you could tell that they wanted to rush these lookie loos through their splendid setting, give them little for their bucks and bid them farewell as quickly as possible. Service aboard the Nautica was in direct contrast. The cruise was advertised as gratuities included, so the service personnel changed from room to room and were universally pleasant and attentive. The fact that they seemed happy and said they were well treated was appreciated. Their affect certainly seemed to confirm their claims. The only complaint we ever heard about the ship or the cruise, was that the wait and the line-ups for prizes at the end of the cruise was too long and very cumbersome. We would sail on Oceania again in a heartbeat, especially now that Orient lines - with which we enjoyed less luxurious but bloody marvellous cruises - is about to disappear. Can hardly wait to put to sea again - and hopefully it will be with Oceania. They flew us to Europe on British Air - and we booked extended stays on both ends of cruise. BA arranged our hotels with good rates and very fine accommodation (save for the Tavistock in London which we would avoid in future). The whole wonderful experience is flooding back to us now that we are addressing Christmas cards to friends we met aboard - some of whom are on Oceania adventures over this holiday season. Less
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