Nautica Round British Isles 9 - 21st September 17
This is our third Oceania cruise. Our first two were on Riviera, but we have cruised on Nautica before when she was Princess’ Royal Princess many years ago.
We are English and live around two hours’ drive from Southampton. We arrived at around 2.30 pm at the terminal. Check in was pretty straight forward as there were no guests waiting and we were soon on board and in the Terrace Cafe having a bite to eat. Our bags were waiting when we got to our stateroom at 3pm.
Nautica was sailing from Southampton UK and visiting Newcastle, UK, Edinburg and Glasgow Scotland, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, Liverpool UK, Holyhead, Wales , Waterford, Ireland, Portland, UK and finally returning to Southampton. There were two sea days. We had not been to these Cities before.
Nautica is very “old fashioned” in the best possible way. Her decor is comfortable and inviting. No glitz. No loud music. Just cosy. There are two sets of lifts and they all face the same direction so you never turn the wrong way to get to your stateroom (well hardly ever), There were only 580 guests on board, short by nearly 100. The majority of guests were American, with the rest made up of Canadians, Australians and Brits with a few Italians, Germans and French. All the British guests we met on board had not visited the ports before!
We were in Veranda Stateroom 6084. This is the very last stateroom before the Owners Suits on the aft of deck six. The accommodation is small compared with Riviera. There is adequate drawer and wardrobe space, but the entrance, wardrobe and bathroom doors all open onto each other and when you exit the bathroom, you can easily “loose” your travelling companion inside the wardrobe!!
The bathroom is tiny and the shower cubicle even tinier. You learn to live with it, but it is not ideal.
Bed and bedding is wonderful, but bedside cupboard is ridiculously low and inaccessible. The general lighting needs modernising as it is quite gloomy. At certain speeds and/or wind direction this room is subject to quite lot of engine noise and vibration. I do not recommend it for that reason, even though most of the time it was quiet and comfortable.
I have read on here that service in the restaurant is not up to scratch; that there are queues at reception and long waits for room service. None of this happened to us. Restaurant service was exemplary. Jacqueline on the desk at the MDR remembered our name and room number within a couple of days. She was always charming. We always got a window table at breakfast. Alan a senior waiter was excellent. Irene was always smiling. There were others who impressed us, but I do not remember all the names.
Room service was astonishing. We counted two minutes from ordering our tea in the morning to it arriving in the stateroom……. every morning. The terrace cafe was never full. The cruise was not full to capacity, perhaps that helped.
We enjoyed every port but one. We did not take Oceania’s tours they are much too expensive and not value for money, in our opinion. We used the shuttle bus sometimes and arranged private tours on other occasions. Surprisingly the least enjoyable port was Dublin. After the shuttle bus we took a Hop on Hop off ride. Dreadful traffic, cold and windy quite “run down” in many areas. Nowhere we wanted to have a closer look at. Disappointing. Everywhere else we found interesting and absorbing. We are so pleased we took this cruise. The sea was kind. with only one lumpy day.
This was mediocre. We only tried three shows and walked away from two of them. Tuxedo was the only good one, and it was great. Generally our entertainment was a long leisurely dinner with interesting new friends. We were last in the dining room more than once!! I am sure the waiters were not amused, but of course, they never let us know.
To sum up. Excellent trip. Good weather. Oceania did not let us down.
Stateroom small. Drawer space adequate. Bedside table too low and inaccessible . General lighting could be better. Bed and bedding suburb. Bathroom tiny but towels and accessories very nice. Robes and slippers provided. Everything kept very clean and neat by the housekeepers.
Embarkation port. We drove from our home to the port
We loved Newcastle. Took the shuttle to a Metro station and travelled to the city. After exploring the shops, we went on the Metro to South Shields a journey of about thirty minutes. Unfortunately when we got there the heavens opened and we were unable to go by ferry to North Shields where our ship was birthed and had to return on the Metro. Had a nice day there.
The ship docks at Leith. We visited the Royal Yacht Britannia which is a short walk away from the ship. Lovely exhibition. Well worth the visit. Our Queen is surprisingly frugal! Even the "grand" rooms where she entertained foreign dignitaries were not that grand.
We took a short shuttle bus trip to Edinburgh but ran out of time to see very much. Climbed up Carlton Hill and took in the view over the city then back to the ship on the shuttle.
Took a private tour to Stirling Castle and the Trossachs with Timberbush. Just 12 of us with an excellent driver/guide. It was a lovely day.
Visited the Titanic Museum. It is necessary to take a taxi to the exhibition. The building is breathtaking. The tour is quite arduous and noisy but very interesting. Recommend it. The Discovery tour is even better. Do it.
Disappointing. Went on shuttle to city. Traffic horrendous. Took a Hop on Hop Off bus but saw nothing that made us want to Hop Off!! Weather cold and windy, the worst weather of the whole cruise. Returned to the ship for lunch. Unfortunately the bus driver was having his lunch too, so when we got back to Nautica the main restaurants were closed. We had a hamburger in Waves. Not really my thing.
Lovely day. Wonderful autumn sun. The buildings are specular. The docks have been renovated and museums opened. The shopping streets are good. Best of all you walk across the road from the ship to the city, so we were able to go out before lunch, return and then go out again. Our sort of Port.