Having been independent travelers for most of our adult lives my husband and I really did not think we would ever want to travel with lots of other people, but, upon reaching our sixties, we began to think that letting someone else do the "driving" just might be a more relaxing way to go. Having made that decision, we decided to go to a local travel agency who had invited an Oceania representative to make a presentation on their cruiseline. After looking at many itineraries and determining, with the help of our travel agent, that Oceania was a good fit for us we booked our first cruise ever--and are we glad we did! Our itinerary would begin in Athens and conclude in Rome.
We decided to go into Athens three days early in order to tour this amazing part of the world. We stayed at the perfect hotel, the Ava Hotel, located right in the Plaka and close to all the historical areas of interest to us. We found exactly what we wanted in the Ava--great air conditioning, fabulous location, cleanliness, and a good breakfast. When it was time to go to the port of Piraeus the hotel called a cab and our cab driver had us at the port in 20 minutes. Upon arrival, we were warmly met by Oceania staff, taking our luggage, and inviting us to have a seat in the lounge to wait for our 11:00 boarding time. At the appropriate time, we were invited to board with embarkation being quick and smooth. All passengers were then invited to a lovely lunch in the Terrace Cafe. How delightful to find the Nautica beautiful in every way. We found the place to make our dinner reservations for the specialty dining rooms for the entire trip, and, with that out of the way, we proceeded to tour the ship. Everything was clean and spotless and we found ourselves excited from the very beginning. At 1:00 we received an announcement that our rooms were ready. We knew our stateroom would be small but it just worked. We had a place for everything and the suitcases were easily stored under the beds. We received our luggage promptly, unpacked, opened our bottle of champagne in our stateroom, and let the vacation begin.
My husband and I enjoy good food and the Nautica far exceeded our expectations. The food was wonderful, the presentation was beautiful, and the service impeccable. The open seating with many tables for two coupled with excellent service was amazing. We found ourselves eating all our meals on the ship as we knew we could find no better in the ports. The staff always greeted us warmly and professionally and we found they could not do enough for us. All the dining venues were exceptional and we never felt the need to try to get additional evenings in the specialty restaurants.