We arrived in Istanbul four days early to enjoy the city with local friends. The city is lovely, the people are wonderful and we had a great time. It was hard to break away to board ship - for about the first 15 minutes. That's how long it took for us to get aboard and to our stateroom, a concierge level room with veranda.
Our greeting was by our room steward, who had worried about us because we hadn't spent the first night on board (the ship was in Istanbul 2 days). What a lovely personal touch.
We met our cruising friends on board and we all promptly made our reservations for specialty restaurants and set about enjoying the ship.
Nautica is small enough a couple hours was enough to familiarize ourselves with the ship, and we had no problems finding our way around, even the first evening. People were friendly, the ship was lovely and spotlessly maintained and we were duly impressed.
Sailing out of Istanbul with the city lights glimmering was amazing! We awoke in the morning to sunshine, beautiful skies, and a new port to explore. This was our experience for the next 12 days. Almost heaven!
We visited a total of eleven ports on our trip. All were fascinating and fun. We only took a ship's tour to Rome, and that was just a bus ride in, free time, and a ride back, because of the length of time it took to get to Rome from the port.
Our only observation about the cruise was we wish we had an extra day or two at sea because we had a great time on board, and it allowed us to recharge our batteries and rest our aching feet!
I highly recommend Nautica to adult cruisers. The ship is great, the crew is extremely friendly, helpful and professional. Oceania has the best selection of ports I've seen, and many are smaller ports not accessible to large ships. The food is always good, sometimes terrific. Fellow cruisers are mostly American. I'd hoped to meet more passengers from other countries, but our fellow passengers were also friendly, courteous and interesting. This isn't a ship for children since there is nothing geared for children or teenagers, but that's a plus for us. It's quieter that way.
We enjoyed our Nautica cruise so much we have booked a cruise on the maiden voyage of Oceania's Marina in January, 2011. I expect great things from Oceania, and I have no question my expectations will be exceeded.
Oh, and I always wondered how the gentleman celebrating his 85th birthday on the Nautica, and travelling along on the next leg of the cruise as well, felt about the pirate encounter. Anyone know?