I fell in love with Oceania in 2013 on the Marina going from Sydney to Papeete (and have never seen that same itinerary again); which was glorious. The staff knew our names within the first few days, the rooms were spacious (granted, we had concierge level with normal sized bathrooms with tubs; as I said, it was glorious).
The following year, we went on the Riviera to the Caribbean. Still enjoyed the rooms, most of the staff knew us in the first week...
Then we went on a Mayan cruise, again on the Riviera... staff never knew our names...
Not sure when ownership has changed, or what has made each trip slightly more disappointing, but this last trip is likely our last with Oceania for awhile. Nothing terrible, but for what we pay, for what we were treated to the first cruise, it's time to try other lines and see. And book our own guides; without question. NEVER will we book excursions through Oceania (just like we will NEVER book our flights through Oceania either - learned the very hard way).
Yes, the Nautical is smaller than the Riviera and Marina... and it felt like it. The cabin space was much tighter (Concierge, Deck 7), the bathroom was shockingly tiny - barely bigger than an airline toilet, except stick a one person shower in.
Fewer passengers, more attention by staff? No, not really. Very hit and miss. The first few days, we wondered if we were on the same line as we'd been before, as we were frequently ignored by staff, particularly in the Terrace Cafe (which is often very crowded, and as it's smaller, you are forced to push through the middle to get anywhere) as we would sit and sit, waiting to be approached, and then once we finished our food, our plates sat for some time. At one point someone in our party asked the server if she could please get a smoothie that we saw someone else had at another table. "You have to go outside to Waves Grill to get a smoothie; we don't have them here." Huh? We know where they're made; and not to sound spoiled, but again, the level of service which we were treated to initially ("of course I will get one for you; which flavor would you like?"), this was a bit shocking. One elderly member of our party, who had been helped instantly in the past with carrying her plates from the buffet to her table, was frequently brushed by staff hurrying to get by.
On occasion in the dining room (the GRAND DINING ROOM!!), we literally set our timers to see how long it would take the waiters to remove our dishes from our finished main courses. 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes, we sat, as waiters and assistants bustled around us, filling glasses at the tables around us, as well as changing the table clothes at the other TWO EMPTY tables near us. The maitre d' even passed by, asking all the OTHER tables how their meal was... and turned his head as he passed by us. We figured we were in the invisible zone. It was bizarre.
THEN. We complained. We expressed our disappointment, and frankly, surprise, at the low level of service. We were not angry, merely saddened by the decline in service.
Like a magic wand had been waved (or, a memo went out to everyone?), BAM! From that point on, we were greeted by name, someone appeared to help with carrying plates, asked if we would like this or that... it was a complete 180; it was lovely. And it was much appreciated. But - why did it take us complaining?
I can only say great things about the housekeeping and room service staff; always they were delightful and followed through on any request.
The shows? Meh. Not my type. Again, I get it's not a big ship. I'm not interested in a Broadway or Vegas show, but I'm also not interested in cheesy glitz and spotlight singers (not much depth). Again, the first cruise, the comedians in particular, were fantastic. This time, old jokes, tried and ... acceptable. No big laughs. Talented singers and dancers, but, felt like I was watching a grad revue.
Excursions - from ok to awful. Too much of a costly risk to ever do again. The best, was our guide in Kusadasi, who actually did what I asked... to have patience with some of us, as we might be a bit slow, but we will do what we can to keep up, and she made sure she went at a reasonable pace that we could, but more so, frequently asked if we were ok, if the pace was ok, and if we had any questions or could here ok. Much appreciated.
The worst? Getting on a brand new bus in Cyprus, the guide, whom again I asked to please keep an eye out for our slower group etc., only to realize hours later that the A/C on the bus did not work. Never. Did our guide call for another bus? No. Did she wait for those of us in my party? No. She didn't wait for anyone. Some could not make the steps into the amphitheater at one of the ruins, so they waited in a shady spot while the rest of us went. As we left the site, the person who hadn't gone asked, "what is that building?" as we passed by the other side of the amphitheater, and over the mic for all to hear, the guide snapped "it's the AMPHITHEATER!? Where we JUST WERE?!" Um, not all of us were, including the person who just asked that question. When we arrived at the old village, she popped off the bus and starting walking briskly, never pointing out the bathrooms that many of us needed. The bus driver showed me. I yelled out to another member of my party who was practically running to catch her to ask about the bathrooms, to let him know they were back here... I caught up to them, and the guide said, "Did something happen? I heard yelling." I replied "I was trying to get yours and others' attention to point out the bathrooms that you just walked by, as I know some of us need them." She responded, "Oh. Is that it? Can I go on then?" "Yeah, sure. You go on." And off she went. We sat around on our own, doing a bit of wandering, but not too much as to get lost... very disappointing.
Overall: Ok. And if I'm paying this much, to go away for this long, I want better than OK.
Lovely room; though the layout is not great (have to squeeze by the foot of the bed to get from one side to the other; including the phone, which there is only one, on the far corner of the desk. Forget about it if you're in the bathroom, or on the bathroom side of the bed. I was sick for 24 hours and could not get out of bed; it would have been helpful to have the phone by the bed to let people know.). Good amenities. Great bed, decor.
Extensive security checks. Men separated from the ladies, who each get to go into a dressing room type area to get an extra pat down, even after going through the standard detector. I get it, but after a long day of hot travel...
The guide was ok. Walked a bit fast. Showed us where to go for toilets without steps, but when we got there... had to go down steps. Hmmm.View All 13 Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque Reviews
Well, it's Petra. And pretty much THE reason we booked this cruise.
We hired a private guide who was very good.
Misogynistic guide (I know what part of the world we're in, but he is a tour guide) who repeated himself many times over, and walked far too fast ahead, then made us stand for a very long time while he repeated many facts he had already told us.View All undefined undefined Reviews
If you have to drive 4 1/2 hours each way, you should not have it as a stop. Particularly in excruciating heat. Not worth it.
Would much prefer to see Luxor by land (I know an overnight was offered, but it really should be the only offer).
Too many fascinating directions to go to comment on any one thing. A pain with security and passports getting in (very disorganized; by both the ship and port staff), but once through, Jerusalem is about 2 hours away, Nazareth 45 minutes... we appreciated having two days here.
See my review. Worst guide ever.View All 4 Kourion Reviews
Tough, but completely worth it to see the stunning view from the Temple of Athena.View All 51 Lindos Walking Tour Reviews
Not too hot; not too far to go. Good guide. Lots of walking around the port area.View All 257 Ephesus Reviews
Far too crowded; would have been nice to be there after the other ships had left - which could have been possible, as we didn't leave until 11pm and the other ships were gone by 4pm. Good guide.View All undefined undefined Reviews
BEAUTIFUL. All of it. The Malta Experience is a film we were shown at the end of our walking tour. All good. Very good guide.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Would have liked to walk more; not much near the port, but tons in the main part of town. Beautiful churches, squares... lots to see.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Our guide showed us where to go, but didn't give us much history. Took us up to Ana Capri, which was lovely (MUST go to the Church of San Michele; lovely tiled floor), then met us and took us down to Capri Village, advised where to have lunch and where to meet to take the funicular down to the dock. Ana Capri - do your shopping there; do not wait to go to the Village of Capri, which is more designer shops and WAY more crowded.View All 6 Island of Capri Reviews