My wife and I sailed on Nautica from Barcelona to Dubai October / November 2017
This was our 3rd time with Oceania, having already sailed on Riviera and Marina. This was our first time on one of Oceania’s smaller ships but we knew what to expect in terms of size and layout as we had previously sailed with Azamara on Quest, which also being one of the original Renaissance ships, is the same design and layout. On balance we preferred the added intimacy of these smaller ships
Standard cabins are not large but adequate and the en-suite is it has to be admitted a bit on the small side. They are however beautifully furnished with very nice bedding and toiletries
From start to finish we had a great time. The ports of call were mostly very interesting, the highlights being Israel for Jerusalem, Egypt for The Temples of Karnack and Jordan for Petra, amazing
The things though that make this so enjoyable were the ship’s staff, who were without exception so very friendly and helpful. We do not remember a single moment when we were not greeted with a warm smile and a hello, even when just passing the staff in one of the corridors
And then there was the food. The Terrace buffet restaurant was good if not excellent, but we did enjoy taking our breakfast and lunch out on the open rear deck most days. We did actually eat here on two occasions in the evening and were quite happy with the food
But it was the main restaurant and the two speciality restaurants where the ship excelled. I saw a couple of past reviews where folk complained about the food which makes me wonder what ship they were really on, have they got mixed up ? My wife and I eat regularly in some top London restaurants and on all three cruises we have done with Oceania, the food and the restaurant service compares very favourably and can only be described as excellent. In fact it is indeed like dining in a top notch restaurant every evening
The main restaurant served consistently good food with excellent service. We avoided eating too early as the queue was quite long due to the theatre show times creating a rush to eat early. We preferred to eat later after a quick pre-dinner drink in Martini’s Bar so we never had a problem and basically were able to get a table straight away.
This ship only has two speciality restaurants (Polo Grill & Toscana) whereas the large ships Riviera and Marina have four, Polo Grill, Toscana, Red Ginger and Jacques. Hence we were delighted that Nautica’s main restaurant menu often featured some of our favourite dishes that we had previously enjoyed while on our earlier cruises on both Riviera and Marina. For example, the fantastic Miso Glazed Sea Bass we had enjoyed in Red Ginger
We had three superb meals in the Polo Grill, the Rack of Lamb was my favourite, while Toscana was also memorable. Four times we ate here and I have to say for me the Veal Chop with Porcini was just so, so good, I had to have it again, three times in fact !
Also well worth the cost is the Prestige drinks package if you like a glass of wine or two and may be a Martini before or a Cognac after dinner. An excellent range and again the bar staff were so very friendly
Our fellow guests were mainly very friendly and interesting so we struck up a few friendships with several couples which made for many a convivial evening
If we have any issues with Oceania it’s the cost of the ship’s shore excursions, they can be very expensive
Apart from that, we had a fabulous holiday
Smaller than on a larger ship but very well furnished with nice bedding and toiletries