We are active, mature, independent experienced travelers who've been on 10 cruises or so. We had booked Oceania's Lima-Miami cruise, which they must have oversold because they kept sending emails inviting us to voluntarily switch to other cruises. We eventually swapped for this and were awarded an amazing Vista Suite at the front of the boat. That set a fabulous, luxurious tone for this, our second voyage with Oceania. It had a spacious living room with dining table, bedroom, large bath and a guest bath, plus generous veranda, butler service, premium benefits like 6 bottles of alcohol and Bulgari toiletries. We didn't want to ever leave the suite! Friends in the "penthouse suite" were extremely disappointed with their tiny bathrooms and said that would fit into our guest bath. We enjoyed this itinerary, returning to some of our favorite cities (Athens, Barcelona--both of which we extended before and after the cruise), and getting to Israel and Pompeii/Herculaneum for the first time. Would have been ideal to add Santorini instead of one of the lesser Greek ports. However, as others have said, the level of quality is not the same as our first cruise with Oceania five years ago. Food was good but not scrumptious including in the two specialty restaurants. We heard multiple complaints about rubbery lobster and tasteless meats. We were surprised that nearly everything shut down at 10 or earlier so if you wanted something sweet for a nightcap, you had no options (except room service). There were three major flaws that marred the cruise for us, with one that put our health at risk. 1. After embarking, everyone was hustled into the terrace cafe while the rooms are still being prepared. That means you have the largest crowd you'll ever have in one place at one time. When we arrived, it was a zoo. There were no seats and no one to help direct traffic or offer alternatives. This was a poor welcome and should be immediately fixed. 2. The quality of the excursions were uneven, with some very poor guides and only a few fabulous ones. Unacceptable for the prices we were charged. 3. One such excursion to Masada and the Dead Sea in Israel put the entire bus at risk. The air conditioning did not work as we rode for one hour 45 minutes after having been in the Dead Sea, in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The guide and driver were not quickly responsive or apologetic. This same bus had to be "fixed" at lunch because its engine could barely putter over any rise. We were told the bus had been fine the previous day. In fact, my husband and I were on this exact same bus the day before and it already was rattling along. Another bus in the same excursion actually had to back down several rises because it could not make it up--that was also "fixed" during a lunch break. So clearly this tour company requires more stringent oversight. The passengers on our excursion all struggled with the heat and dehydration; one nurse on board was pondering how she was going to help so many people in distress. We were extremely fortunate no one suffered a catastrophic health issue before we were finally transferred to another bus. We all filed complaints the next day. A week later, on our last night,we received notice we would get a 50% rebate--presumably because we did get our full excursion after all. We found that response to be insulting, as if the risk to our health was not that big of a deal. We wrote a letter to Oceania to follow-up. We were told we would hear from guest relations. It's been three weeks now. No word. So much for your world your way. Hard to recommend them as much as I would like to. And, we wonder: are they still using the same tour company in Israel?!

Amazing Vista Suite, but...

Nautica Cruise Review by chirk

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2017
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Vista Suite
We are active, mature, independent experienced travelers who've been on 10 cruises or so. We had booked Oceania's Lima-Miami cruise, which they must have oversold because they kept sending emails inviting us to voluntarily switch to other cruises.

We eventually swapped for this and were awarded an amazing Vista Suite at the front of the boat. That set a fabulous, luxurious tone for this, our second voyage with Oceania. It had a spacious living room with dining table, bedroom, large bath and a guest bath, plus generous veranda, butler service, premium benefits like 6 bottles of alcohol and Bulgari toiletries. We didn't want to ever leave the suite! Friends in the "penthouse suite" were extremely disappointed with their tiny bathrooms and said that would fit into our guest bath.

We enjoyed this itinerary, returning to some of our favorite cities (Athens, Barcelona--both of which we extended before and after the cruise), and getting to Israel and Pompeii/Herculaneum for the first time. Would have been ideal to add Santorini instead of one of the lesser Greek ports.

However, as others have said, the level of quality is not the same as our first cruise with Oceania five years ago. Food was good but not scrumptious including in the two specialty restaurants. We heard multiple complaints about rubbery lobster and tasteless meats. We were surprised that nearly everything shut down at 10 or earlier so if you wanted something sweet for a nightcap, you had no options (except room service).

There were three major flaws that marred the cruise for us, with one that put our health at risk.

1. After embarking, everyone was hustled into the terrace cafe while the rooms are still being prepared. That means you have the largest crowd you'll ever have in one place at one time. When we arrived, it was a zoo. There were no seats and no one to help direct traffic or offer alternatives. This was a poor welcome and should be immediately fixed.

2. The quality of the excursions were uneven, with some very poor guides and only a few fabulous ones. Unacceptable for the prices we were charged.

3. One such excursion to Masada and the Dead Sea in Israel put the entire bus at risk. The air conditioning did not work as we rode for one hour 45 minutes after having been in the Dead Sea, in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The guide and driver were not quickly responsive or apologetic. This same bus had to be "fixed" at lunch because its engine could barely putter over any rise. We were told the bus had been fine the previous day. In fact, my husband and I were on this exact same bus the day before and it already was rattling along. Another bus in the same excursion actually had to back down several rises because it could not make it up--that was also "fixed" during a lunch break. So clearly this tour company requires more stringent oversight.

The passengers on our excursion all struggled with the heat and dehydration; one nurse on board was pondering how she was going to help so many people in distress. We were extremely fortunate no one suffered a catastrophic health issue before we were finally transferred to another bus.

We all filed complaints the next day. A week later, on our last night,we received notice we would get a 50% rebate--presumably because we did get our full excursion after all. We found that response to be insulting, as if the risk to our health was not that big of a deal.

We wrote a letter to Oceania to follow-up. We were told we would hear from guest relations. It's been three weeks now. No word. So much for your world your way. Hard to recommend them as much as I would like to. And, we wonder: are they still using the same tour company in Israel?!
chirk’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Oceania Nautica price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Vista Suite
Cabin VS 7004
OH MY GOODNESS. This is high living indeed, like a five-star hotel suite but on a boat! The closet, drawer and cabinet space was amazing. The bath was lovely with a regular shower and a Swedish shower head. Unlike all other cruise cabins, this had no jarring metal curbs at each door upon which you would stub your toes or the harsh door latches for stability.

Plus you get a birds-eye view of the horizon--you see what the captain sees and you get to watch the workers put down anchor and set off to sea.

The negative is that it is very noisy when they do release the anchor first thing in the morning upon docking. And it can be pretty bumpy up front when the seas are rough.

It's hard to imagine paying full price for this but I would return in a heartbeat for the right price!
Deck 7 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Athens (Piraeus)
    Love this living-history city. Best view of the Acropolis is from Filopapou Hill. Do take an "underground" tour of the Colosseum--not only do you skip the massive lines, but you get to three areas that are not open to the public.
    View All 1,261 Athens (Piraeus) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Athens (Piraeus) Cruise Port Review
  • Crete (Heraklion)
    Nice little town to walk about. Not much to it. We've been here before and drove around and were not impressed then, either.
    View All 267 Crete (Heraklion) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Crete (Heraklion) Cruise Port Review
  • Bethlehem Walking Tour
    We had a very long day that included the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the site where Jesus was born, then to Jerusalem to see the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (where Jesus was crucified and resurrected), the Church of all nations (built on the rock upon which Jesus prayed his last night), the Wailing or Western wall, and the overview of the city.

    It's a lot to cram into one day, with many crowds and lines and confusing jumble of history, religions and cultures.

    We were fascinating by the long drive, admiring the ingenious agriculture throughout the largely arid country. We hadn't realized that Bethlehem was contained within the Palestinian zone, which means it's partitioned off by barbed wire and walls and guarded at checkpoints by soldiers with serious guns. What would our Lord have thought of that?
    View All 7 Bethlehem Walking Tour Reviews
  • Jerusalem Old City
    We had a very long day that included the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the site where Jesus was born, then to Jerusalem to see the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (where Jesus was crucified and resurrected), the Church of all nations (built on the rock upon which Jesus prayed his last night), the Wailing or Western wall, and the overview of the city.

    It's a lot to cram into one day, with many crowds and lines and confusing jumble of history, religions and cultures.

    We were fascinating by the long drive, admiring the ingenious agriculture throughout the largely arid country. We hadn't realized that Bethlehem was contained within the Palestinian zone, which means it's partitioned off by barbed wire and walls and guarded at checkpoints by soldiers with serious guns. What would our Lord have thought of that?
    View All 20 Jerusalem Old City Reviews
  • Masada Walking Tour
    A joint excursion with the Dead Sea and Masada. Both were fascinating. Got about an hour to float in the Dead Sea--some folks got the mud treatment but it wasn't obvious to us how to do that.

    Masada is massive with remarkable construction that included plentiful water up to this outcrop in the middle of nowhere that became King Herod's winter palace. Alas, the heroic tale of this being the last bastion of the Jewish freedom fighters who ended their own lives rather than become enslaved by the Romans is not supported by archaeological evidence.

    This is the excursion that put our health in jeopardy due to the poor condition of the bus including no air conditioning as we drove back to the port. We endured one hour 45 minutes of stress and dehydration before being switched to another bus. We were disappointed by Oceania's lukewarm and belated response to a near-catastrophe with a tour company that obviously has issues.
    View All 10 Masada Walking Tour Reviews
  • The Dead Sea
    A joint excursion with the Dead Sea and Masada. Both were fascinating. Got about an hour to float in the Dead Sea--some folks got the mud treatment but it wasn't obvious to us how to do that.

    Masada is massive with remarkable construction that included plentiful water up to this outcrop in the middle of nowhere that became King Herod's winter palace. Alas, the heroic tale of this being the last bastion of the Jewish freedom fighters who ended their own lives rather than become enslaved by the Romans is not supported by archaeological evidence.

    This is the excursion that put our health in jeopardy due to the poor condition of the bus including no air conditioning as we drove back to the port. We endured one hour 45 minutes of stress and dehydration before being switched to another bus. We were disappointed by Oceania's lukewarm and belated response to a near-catastrophe with a tour company that obviously has issues.
    View All 9 The Dead Sea Reviews
  • Paphos
    This would have been great except our guide had a shrill voice and spoke incessantly: without personal "whisper" mikes, so she kept herding people around her, not grasping that some of us didn’t WANT to be near her.

    We stopped at the Petra tou Romiou, the rock where Aphrodite was born from the foam of the sea. Then Pafos, to the House of Dionysos featuring numerous pretty mosaics: greek legends, hunting, geometric patterns (the excavated part is only ¼ of the original size). Next to a beach-side inn at Kourion for lunch around 2, having driven through the 99 square miles still occupied by the British. Finally another mosaic house of Eustolios, and a Greco-roman theater built in the 2nd century BC still being used.
    View All 3 Paphos Reviews
  • Lindos Walking Tour
    It was a nice scenic hour-long drive to a wonderful acropolis set against the sea. You walk down from the parking lot, then up to the site, which has a number of ruins both original and restored.They added a stop at a ceramic shop, which we dreaded but was fairly short and sweet. The founder, now 81, is still working at hand inscribing images into the damp clay.

    The boat docks right outside the lovely medieval walled town, known for the occupation of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem for 200 years, and its beautifully preserved wall. .

    After the half-day excursion, we had plenty of time to roam the town and the palace of the grand master, which was originally a Byzantine fortress, then the administrative center of the order. Only the basement is original but the rest was very nicely restored in 1936 after a massive fire.
    View All 48 Lindos Walking Tour Reviews
  • Colosseum
    Well worthwhile to skip the line and get into exclusive areas!

    There’s some waiting around before we get going and the group is pretty big: 24, which is the max they claim.

    First we go to the main level surface, which is just above the underground; then go underground where the slaves handled the animals and the gladiators got ready, and finally up to the terrace for a wonderful overview. All these areas are off limits to regular guests and it was especially fun to see the guide take out keys and unlock gates to allow us in.
    View All 177 Colosseum Reviews
  • Herculaneum
    First we’re taken by small bus up a very steep narrow road to a bus depot and transferred to our tour bus for Herculaneum and Pompeii.

    The drive is so pretty with many views (though too fast) of the famed Amalfi coast. And then we’re at the astoundingly preserved Herculaneum!
    Wow!
    The Mt Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD destroyed the coastline and covered the area under 13-20 feet of ash and pumice, basically preserving everything due to lack of air and moisture.

    Herculaneum was a smaller village, with 4000 people on 49 acres. Only a quarter is open. Pompeii was a prosperous port town with 11,000 people on 163 acres, most of which has been excavated.

    The structures, mosaics, sense of life frozen in place, the casts of bodies and skeletons are astonishing.

    We went quickly through most of Herculaneum but only had time to do a portion of two sections of Pompeii. Loved seeing both in the shadow of Mt Vesuvius still.
    View All 6 Herculaneum Reviews
  • Pompeii Walking Tour
    First we’re taken by small bus up a very steep narrow road to a bus depot and transferred to our tour bus for Herculaneum and Pompeii.

    The drive is so pretty with many views (though too fast) of the famed Amalfi coast. And then we’re at the astoundingly preserved Herculaneum!
    Wow!
    The Mt Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD destroyed the coastline and covered the area under 13-20 feet of ash and pumice, basically preserving everything due to lack of air and moisture.

    Herculaneum was a smaller village, with 4000 people on 49 acres. Only a quarter is open. Pompeii was a prosperous port town with 11,000 people on 163 acres, most of which has been excavated.

    The structures, mosaics, sense of life frozen in place, the casts of bodies and skeletons are astonishing.

    We went quickly through most of Herculaneum but only had time to do a portion of two sections of Pompeii. Loved seeing both in the shadow of Mt Vesuvius still.
    View All 29 Pompeii Walking Tour Reviews