We choose Oceania on the recommendation of some friends who had taken their cruise in Alaska. In looking at the itinerary I saw that on Nautica's August 28, 2016 itinerary, there were some ports we had not been to so that is why I choose Oceania.
Everything (food, cabin, staff, ports, etc.) about it was excellent!!! The ratio of passengers to staff makes for very personal service.
We liked the idea of going to breakfast, lunch, or dinner when we wanted instead of having to have reservations or a particular time....of course during operating hours. However, there were 2 speciality restaurants where you had to make reservations. One was the Polo Grill and the other Toscana. These were a little less casual (& many men didn't wear jackets) & more refined (for lack of another word), because there was "wait staff" so there wasn't passengers walking to & fro, getting up & down, etc. This was nice once in a while, although we found we also liked eating "casual" after walking around a port or touring.
Although small, which is to be expected on a cruise ship, the closets, draws, shelves, etc. were very functional. The bathroom was quite small, but smaller than expected. Once again, we knew it would be small, but.... Slippers & robes were provided. Love the informational write ups we got on each port & the weather - very informative.
Loved Tallinn. Easy 15 minute walk from the port. Beautiful old town. Quite a change from the modern construction work going on surrounding the "old town." Some hills, but as long as one doesn't have a major walking issue, getting to the top is not a problem. There are stalls to purchase "souvenirs" (hats, mittens, hand towels, sweaters, magnets, & the usual things) right before getting on the ship.
We had been to Stockholm before, so we just walked around Gamla Stan then met relatives at the Grand Hotel for coffee & pastry which were excellent.
Stockholm is a beautiful city.
The approach to the city & then leaving is an experience not to be missed. There are soooo many islands.
This was an interesting stop. We learned a lot about the Vikings & the Hanseatic League. The wall around Visby is still pretty much in tact after all these years. There is a very interesting Viking Museum located here. It takes about 15 mins. (easy walk) to get to the town from where Oceania Nautica docked. We were there on a Sunday, so the stores were closed.
Beautiful city. Lots & lots & lots of bikes. It's an easy city to walk around in. Loved the trip on some of the canals. About a15-20 easy walk from the ship to the city. Took a HOHO bus which was interesting & went to a diamond factory.
Love Brugge & all the chocolate shops that there are. It has a lot of history & around every corner there seems to be another lovely or historical spot. Great canal boat rides. Although I loved Brugge, I didn't like the fact that Oceania did not have transportation to the city, unless you had booked a tour. We ended up taking a bus to the center of Zeebrugge (the port we docked in) which was about a 20 min. or so ride, then we had to catch a train (I think also about 20 mins.) to Brugge. I think the train runs once an hr., so if you just missed one then..... Same with the return. I would have paid extra to take a bus provided by Oceania. We had been to Brugge before so we didn't need to take a tour. Plus it's small enough so you can read about various sights to see.