Fans of Oceania Cruises won't like this review, of our first with this line after more than 30 cruises with other companies. My opinion: Oceania is for people who want to pay a significant premium for a pretty standard product in exchange for the ability to say they cruised with a higher class of company. For them, it's worth it.
This itinerary, close to perfect, took us to a number of places on our bucket list: Israel, Suez Canal, Upper Egypt, Jordan, Oman and Dubai. When the price was reduced from astronomical to merely very expensive, we signed up. Since we don't expect to come to these places again and wanted a quality experience, we also signed up for overnight ship's tours in Israel and Egypt and a two-night package in Dubai at an added cost of $3,994 for two. So we paid a whole lot and expected a whole lot.
Some Oceania devotees we met swear up and down that they hate big-ship cruising. Well and good, but they also ruefully acknowledge that the Nautica's small size (we had 637 passengers in all) means there is much less variety of things to do and places to be than on a larger ship. Lineups aren't common but we had a number of them.
Deluxe outside cabin, at 160 sq. ft., is smaller than comparable cabins on other lines. The two-seat couch shown on the web site is actually a single-seat chair. Bathroom and shower are even smaller than usual on ships; storage space is only just adequate for a cruise of 18 days. Bed configuration means view through the window is appealing.
Cabin 4021 is right above the pilot's entry door (and, often, gangway) and so can be noisy for short periods. It's also well located for getting off thye ship and close to the main lounge up one flight of stairs.