21 Oceania Nautica Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to Africa

It is probably important for you to know my wife and I are seasoned cruisers. Over the past 25 years we’ve sailed a total of 31 times on Celebrity, Azamara, Viking Ocean, Holland America, Cunard, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, ... Read More
It is probably important for you to know my wife and I are seasoned cruisers. Over the past 25 years we’ve sailed a total of 31 times on Celebrity, Azamara, Viking Ocean, Holland America, Cunard, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL, and MSC. This was our first sailing with Oceania. We picked this cruise largely because of the itinerary and the price, which was moderate for an upscale line at $523 a day for both of us, not including air. From my research it seemed Oceania’s closest competitor in size of ship, amenities, and on-board experience is Azamara. Both lines appeal to the same type of passenger who is looking for an all-inclusive, upscale cruising experience. Having sailed Azamara before, I was curious how Oceania compared with them. Overview The Oceania Nautica is one of the smaller ships on which we’ve sailed holding around 680 passengers. One of the more noticeable differences in sailing on a small ship is the lack of public areas from which to choose, less entertainment choices, and smaller cabins. Those deficiencies were somewhat mitigated by the smaller ports the ship can dock at, flexibility, more personalized service, attention to detail, and inclusive amenities. I can’t really say there is any more or less feeling of crowdedness on the smaller ships than with a larger ship. It seems to be all relative to the space per person. Where we notice a difference from sailing on larger ships was embarking or disembarking the ship. The smaller number of passengers reduced the lines and wait times considerably. Also, the smaller ships are more nimble than their larger brethren allowing them to alter their itinerary or add a fresh local food to the menu. On this cruise, the chef added fresh Hake, which was amazingly delicious. They also featured an African night with a lot of local meats (crocodile being one) and produce. The public rooms are nicely done on the Nautica and have a feel of warmth and elegance. The ship was exceedingly clean and well maintained. There are four dining options aboard the Nautica making it equal to or a step above larger ships. While the state rooms are small, the appointments and linens are a step above what you would expect from the more major cruise lines. We missed not having any status on Oceania (as we do on other lines) so we received no discounts usually granted to more frequent travelers. However, there wasn’t much need for the Elite status as all guests enjoy the same privileges as Elite travelers on other lines, which include fancy coffees, a few free happy hours, a daily 2:1 happy hour, use of the steam sauna, and the best one -- no charge in the specialty restaurants. It appeared to me that Azamara includes more inclusive perks like some free shore excursions, well drinks, house wine, spa memberships, and laundry. By my calculations the inclusions on Oceania amount to an added value over non-inclusionary ships of $60 a day ($10 spa, $5 soft and juice drinks, $15 specialty restaurant costs, $20 internet, $10 coffee). I estimate the value of Azamara’s slightly higher because of the inclusive laundry, shore excursions and alcohol at $90 a day. Embarkation The embarkation experience was one of the best in our 31 sailings. It took about ten minutes from start to finish. There were no lines, no customs, no waits, and no hassle. I only wish all our embarkations were this easy (see my 2013 review of Celebrity’s Infinity). Evaluation This isn’t something I have ever included in a review, but the Nautica’s evaluation process was the strangest I’ve encountered at sea. The good news is that in an attempt to save trees and be up to date, it’s a digital evaluation. The bad news is that it’s very user unfriendly. It’s so unfriendly, the staff had to schedule a time to explain to passengers how to fill it out. There are three major issues with the form, all of which seem fairly easy to solve, but apparently the home office has turned a deaf ear to making improvements. I figured it out on my own, but not after some frustration. The Ship The ship has had minor refurbishing every three years, but no major refurbishing since it went into service in 2000. Even so, the public areas were well maintained, all the elevators worked continuously, and the décor was traditional with lots of wood. There were a lot of places to sit and read a book, or write a cruise review, while enjoying a cup of espresso or a drink. The Nautica is scheduled for a major two-week refurbishment in June 2020. The color scheme will go from traditional dark woods to modern cool gray and blue with a chandelier above the entry staircase. My art-loving wife is hoping they get rid of some of more dreadful modern art. The public decks were Decks 5, 9 and 10. Getting lost was not easily done! Deck 5 is the location of the show lounge, small casino, piano lounge, two small shops, coffee bar, and main dining room. Entrance on the ship was on Deck 4 and involved a gangway of very low steps making a bumpy ramp basically. This is easier than big steps on larger ships. There were many people on-board with mobility issues who seemed to be doing okay getting around. One benefit is that the elevators were usually available without a long wait. Dining If food is your thing, like it is mine, then you will be reasonably satisfied on the Nautica. The specialty restaurants offer passengers a specific cuisine apart from the main dining room with a quality of fare a slight step above the main dining room. Tuscana features Italian fare while Polo is a steakhouse. All of the dining rooms feature “anytime” seating. While the main dining room doesn’t accept reservations, we never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a table for two. We tried to eat as much as possible in the specialty restaurants, Tuscana and Polo, but getting reservations was very difficult. I am guessing the huge demand is largely because there was no surcharge for them. It is very unusual for a specialty restaurant at sea not to charge a small fee, which is the good news. The bad news if since there is no charge, the demand is high and it’s difficult to get a table for two, or even sharing on sea days. Because of the demand, guests are only allowed to make one reservation in each ahead of time and then cue up daily for a cancellation. Personally, I would rather pay a surcharge and have more access to the specialty restaurants than to pay nothing and have limited access. All of the waiters and waitresses who served us were extremely personable, helpful, and attentive. We enjoyed the service in the main dining room as much as that in the specialty restaurants. However, finding a knowledgeable wine steward was difficult. Polo is set in the décor and menu of the 40’sand 50’s. The quality of this specialty restaurant wasn’t quite up to that of others we’ve dined in. The presentation of the food was excellent. The service was good. The item to eat here are the steaks. The two fillets I had were done to perfection. We were not as impressed with the starters, soups, or salads. We tried Polo twice and that was enough. Tuscano’s service and food seemed to be a bit better than Polo. The menu is extensive so it will take several visits to completely explore it. Everything we tried was very good. We tried to eat at Tuscano’s as much as possible, which meant dining there about four times in 14 days. Unlike most other cruise lines, Nautica didn’t offer any Chef’s dinners. With the talented chef’s aboard the Nautica, this was disappointing. I would have loved to have paid a significant surcharge for a unique dining experience. This is something that I hope Nautica will consider going forward. Some lines make free juice available only in the mornings and charge for all espresso and soda drinks. One thing we appreciate about Oceania is the fact that juice, sodas, and espresso coffee drinks are available anytime during the day at no charge. There was a happy hour every day from 5pm to 6 pm that allowed guests to buy 2:1 drinks. However, their policy is rather ridged in what 2:1 means, which is the second drink must be exactly the same drink as the first, not just the same price, and it cannot be shared by another person. We felt this strict policy didn’t make a lot of sense when a person may have wanted two different drinks costing exactly the same. It also encourages over consumption of alcohol, especially when there are two people just wanting one drink each. Speaking about over-consumption of alcohol, the “all you can drink” beverage packages also encourage over-consumption. I realize that “over consumption” is a relative term. Still, we have always found we do far better buying alcohol, wine, and beer by the glass or bottle than getting a beverage package. Wine I am an oenophile, so I am admittedly more interested in the wine experience on a ship than the average passenger. That said, there are much better wine experiences at sea than with Oceania. Unlike the Azamara, Oceania is not as friendly to oenophiles. The most notable wine friendly lines are Azamara and Princess, which encourage you to bring on you own wine and don’t penalize you with high corkage fees for bringing wine on board. Oceania limits how much of your own wine you can bring onboard and charges a stiff corkage fee of $25 per bottle, making it among the highest of any line at $25 a bottle. The more wine friendly lines only charge $10 per bottle. Another perennial complaint of mine on most cruise lines is the high price of their onboard wines, which are priced about 4x’s or more over retail. For example, a $15-$20 bottle of La Crema Chardonnay goes for $86. That’s simply unreasonable. They more wine friendly lines have mark ups of 2 ½ to 3 times. Because of the steep corkage and markups on the wine, we chose not to bring our bottles on board and limited our wine consumption to beer or wine “by the glass.” The Nautica had three wine tasting events during our 14 day cruise. The cost was $75 to $125 per person, which the highest charge of a wine tasting I’ve encountered at sea. We did attend two wine tastings and found them to be very informative. The bottles tasted were in the $80 to $200 range, but keep in mind of the significant mark up. While the presentation was certainly informative, I didn’t feel the cost of the tasting represented a good value. Fitness and Spa This is an area in which the Nautica is above average. They have a good selection of weight machines and free weights. There an adequate number of cardiovascular machines (stationary bikes, elliptical machines, and treadmills). They also had seven stationary bikes used for a spinning class on sea days. Be sure to sign up early for these as the classes fill quickly. I only had to wait for a machine once in 14 days. Notably, and unusual for most lines, every cardio machine was working for length of the cruise. Another pleasant abnormality, the men’s lockers worked perfectly and there were a sufficient number of lockers which were all keyed. There was always a locker available, never forcing you to leave your belongings unprotected. The men’s locker room featured a steam sauna that was reasonably hot and in perfect working order for the cruise. On many other cruise lines the saunas just don’t get hot enough to break much of a sweat, but this is not the case on the Nautica. And an extra bonus was the steam room did not have a daily charge, which can cost around $10 to $20 a day on other lines. The locker rooms are incredibly maintained and cleaned. Every time that I used the locker room and sauna there was an attendant cleaning it up. The Nautica does not have a spa bar featuring a lighter, healthier fare or fresh fruit juices and smoothies. This would be a wonderful addition to their spa area. You can get fruit smoothies, however, at the grill by the pool. Entertainment We thought the entertainment was a step below larger ships. This is more probably due to the lack of a theater than the talent of the entertainers. Generally speaking, the shows were not highly innovative and featured the normal array of comedians, singers, and instrumentalists. That said, we still found them worth attending and looked forward to most of them. The ships company featured some very good vocalists and dancers. It was refreshing that the Nautica had a a very good live orchestra rather than rely on sound tracks, which is becoming common on other cruise lines. The theater is not a theater at all, but rather a large lounge which unfortunately makes viewing the show especially challenging. If viewing the show is important, you will want to be sure to snag a front row seat. The on-board entertainment found in the lounges was adequate. There was a string quartet that was very good, the ships band, and a piano player. Enrichment The enrichment and port talks were disappointing. First, there simply were no port talks, which we found highly unusual. There was a delightful South African lady who told personal stories about growing up in South Africa and her world adventures. The second lecture was a Hollywood writer who gave talks on Hollywood, and while they were interesting, we much rather would have learned more about the history, religion, and politics of the countries we were visiting since one of our goals for traveling is learning about the world. I expected much more in this area from a luxury cruise line catering to a more upscale and informed clientele. Internet I run a small business and being connected to my staff is imperative, even on vacation. I depend on having a functioning Internet while on board any ship. Signing up was incredibly easy. Included in the fare was one free, unlimited Wi-Fi access. Additional devices were $25 a day. Between us we had four devices, so since we were unwilling to pay an additional $75 per day, we had to coordinate and share our login, which often was a logistical challenge. The Internet connectivity and speed was acceptable, but not great. I got access 70% of the times I attempted to get online. When I did get online I had chronic issues getting emails and websites to down load. In addition, the Wi-Fi signal is not consistent around the ship and there are many spots where you can’t get the Wi-Fi signal. Unfortunately Verizon did not have a repeater on board (unlike other lines) so using my smartphone for data while at sea was not possible. I have previously learned to forgo the expensive Internet packages and just go with my smartphone when there is a repeater on the ship and when there are a lot of days in port. Shopping The shopping experience is on par with most every other cruise line, boring! There is nothing exceptional to highlight here. Ports of Call, Port Talks and Shore Excursions Our cruise started and ended in Cape Town, stopping at Walvis Bay, Namibia, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, East London, South Africa, Richard’s Bay, South Africa, Maputo, Mozambique, and Durban, South Africa, debarking at Cape Town, South Africa. There were no port talks given on the Nautica. While there was some prerecorded information covering the excursion packages on the television, there wasn’t any useful information about the port if you wanted to go it alone. It would have been so helpful to know about the safety of taxis, availability of Uber, if walking to town through the port area is even allowed, best sights to see, what areas to avoid, etc. They also did not provide maps of the harbor or surrounding area, which is a first in our cruising experience. We found the hourly shuttle service helpful, but not frequent enough. We would have preferred a departure or pick up every 30 minutes As a result, we were totally on our own to gather whatever information we could from guests and the Internet. Had we been visiting ports in developed countries this probably would be more forgivable than when the ports are in a third world country. The lack of a port talk is a significant flaw in the Oceania experience and would keep me from booking with them in the future if a competing line was offering the same itinerary. If the strategy behind limiting information on the ports was to drive passengers to book the ship’s shore excursions, it worked. We uncharacteristically opted for the ships excursions. Typically we save 25 to 75% off the ship’s prices by making our own arrangements. On this cruise, we didn’t have time prior to the cruise to do our normal research. We also found that the African tour companies were unusually unresponsive by email. We typically have good luck using tour companies that are highly rated by www.TripAdvisor.com. Another great place to book private tours prior to departure is by looking under “Tours” and on the chat boards on www.CruiseCritic.com. We’ve never been disappointed following the advice of previous travelers. A new website to us is www.toursbylocals.com. We found this to be a very responsive and wonderful way to find independent guides. Walvis Bay is a difficult port to negotiate as the dock is a mile or more from the city center. The town can be easily done on your own. There isn’t a whole lot to see, so I suggest you book a tour to Sandwich Bay. The scenery of the dunes coming down to the ocean and the drive along the beach are unique. See if they will also take you out to Pelican Point to see the hundreds of thousands of seals. We overnighted here so we were also able to go visit Moon Valley, which is similar to the Badlands of South Dakota. We were able to climb Dune #7, which was the highlight of that outing. Port Elizabeth is a place with more touring options. There is a nice mall there if you want to stay in town. There are a number of day trips that can be taken to surrounding sites. We opted to visit Addo Elephant reserve. We found it to be a worthwhile excursion. If you are booking excursions off-ship, give yourself plenty of time to disembark. The local authorities insist on face-to-face immigration that can take up to an hour after docking to clear. East London is a pretty sleepy stop. We were warned about walking around much. There is a mall about 5 miles from the ship that is probably safe. We chose to visit a Xhosa village constructed for tourists. There they had women and children singing and dancing. They separated the men from the women and gave each group talks on the Xhosa culture and a taste of homemade beer, brandy, and a traditional meal. The food and drink were “interesting” and we were very grateful for getting back on the ship and having a meal and a beer more familiar to us. Durban is the third or second largest city in South Africa, depending on what source you reference. Getting around is very easy and secure as Uber operates there. We elected to go visit a replica Zulu village with some singing and dancing via a ship’s tour. While it was “ok”, the drive up to the village and the views from their coffee/tea shop were almost worth the trip alone. We had a very good guide who kept us entertained up and back with useful information on life in the city. The other point of entertainment is that the pilot which joins the ship to guide it in and out of port arrives and departs by helicopter. It was a show in itself. Richard’s Bay is a bit of a sleepy stop. I would recommend getting a guide and heading off to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Park. It takes about 1:15 minutes each way, depending on traffic. We were able to spend about 4:30 hours in the park. Typically, going to game parks in the middle of the day is the absolute worst time to see the animals, but when you are on a cruise there are no other options. That said, we really were lucky. We saw several dozen elephants in the park, twice as many as we did at Addo and at closer range. We also saw seven grey rhinos, four water buffalo, four giraffes, and scores of impala and warthogs. It was certainly worth the $200 USD per person that we paid an off-ship tour company we booked through East Coast Safari (www.ecsafari@iafrica.com). Maputo About the only redeeming quality of visiting this port is that you get to say you’ve been to Mozambique. There is really nothing here. We took a city tour that could easily have been done individually at almost no expense. To support the local economy (which has a 50% unemployment rate), Oceania uses local people who are not trained tour guides. While we really applaud the company for their social concern, the quality of the tour is not surprisingly substandard. All the points worth seeing are within an easy walk of where the passenger ships dock. Those sights are the train station, the iron house, the botanical gardens, and the old fortress. Then if you want to shop for local crafts, the ship usually runs a shuttle out a market where there are several blocks of vendors. The local beer is 2M, which is worth a try. In Summary So, back to the question I posed earlier. How does the Oceania experience compare with Azamara? All things being equal in price and itinerary, the nod would go to Azamara. On the positive side for Oceania, the wonderful service and friendliness of the crew, the lack of a charge for the specialty restaurants and free Wi-Fi for one device was a definite plus and unique in my cruising experience. The entertainment was also very good for a small ship. The weaknesses with Oceania as compared to Azamara are the lack of informative and relevant port talks, the weakness of the enrichment talks, the lack of any included beverages like wine, beer, or well drinks, the high markup on wine, no chef’s table events, and the lack of any included shore excursions. Certainly, the Oceania is one of the better cruising experiences. The dining is undoubtedly one of the better at sea. The ability of a smaller ship to get into, or nearer, ports the large ships can’t may be reason enough to pay the extra fare. For me, I will certainly sail the Oceania Nautica again when I find an itinerary at a cost equal to or slightly higher than that of a larger ship. I figure the inclusions are on Oceania are worth about $60 a day, which brings the cost down in comparison to larger ships. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
After all previous cruises we sailed, we select this one since it had an appropriate itinerary for us. Our cabin was well kept throughout the cruise. Excursion Destination Staff did a good job. Reception desk staff were friendly and ... Read More
After all previous cruises we sailed, we select this one since it had an appropriate itinerary for us. Our cabin was well kept throughout the cruise. Excursion Destination Staff did a good job. Reception desk staff were friendly and helpful. Medical clinic staff was professional and excellent. Food and beverage staff service was ok but management for this service must learn what to improved from Regent Seven Sea Cruise Management. On board Nautica, we had one and only one free Captain cocktail during the 31 day cruise. Cheap. For Christmas Day at sea and New Year, nothing from cheap Nautica Oceania. Even their cheap wines were expensive. Oceania Nautica has to improve on their "fine cuisine". Food was ok for the money we paid for. Toscana has a large menu but food is only good Italian food. I had to return my plate and the Chief Cook visited me. Polo Grill was fine. The Grand Dining Room was as just great and we appreciated the food there. The Staff was very friendly and provided an excellent service. (Vijay and Mady) What a chaotic experience during disembarking Nautica on the wharf in Cape Town. No Nautica staff to help.They had our money already...who cares! We and other passengers had to carry our luggages about 1500 feet from the terminal building to outside the terminal. No real taxi available at the terminal building for disembarking passengers, and they were many of us. Outside taxis were scum people. 50usd for a 15usd trip to a local Cape Town hotel.(total rip-off) Oceania staff let me suggest to you: "First impression is important but the last one is just as important". So we speak now to our friends about this rip-off rather the overall cruise. We would NOt recommend Oceania Cruises to any of our friends and have all ready informed our travel agent accordingly. Selecting an itinerary first with Oceania was a mistake for us and value for money was not there. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Third time on Oceania, first time on the R-Class Nautica. Had a great time on this 30-day cruise up the east coast of Africa and then Asia seeing some out of the way places but meeting some great people onboard. The biggest detractor on ... Read More
Third time on Oceania, first time on the R-Class Nautica. Had a great time on this 30-day cruise up the east coast of Africa and then Asia seeing some out of the way places but meeting some great people onboard. The biggest detractor on this cruise was time and how long it takes to get from point A to point B. Itinerary Planning - This is a shared responsibility between Oceania Corporate and the Captain of the ship. These itinerary’s are made years in advance and must be executed by the Captain at the helm. Durban - 3 hours late, Maldives - 5 hours late, Phuket - 5 hours late - Unacceptable. The reason given, currents were bad or wind was high. This tired ship can only do about 18,5 knots, we didn’t have high seas or storms to contend with, this was an example of poor planning and not having enough time reserve between ports of call. The skip of Mombasa for terrorist threat is understandable but could have been communicated sooner, the add of Praslin in the Seychelles deserves an “At a boy”. Ship - Loved the size of the ship and the old world charm but its time for an upgrade. The common areas were in good shape and are still receiving the TLC they deserve. Would like to see Toscana and Polo combined to make room for Red Ginger with the scheduled refurbishment. The Nautica Lounge has a nice layout to it but when the entertainment uses the dance floor instead of the stage it can be difficult to see what is going on. Didn’t see a lot of activity in the casino, this space could get better utilization. Enjoyed the spa deck on the front, a quiet space for reading, and the hot tub there was great. Dining - Ate in all the venues and service level was top notch. This was really evident in the Terrace Grill. During the morning rush there were countless “Good Mornings”, tables were reset quickly, and beverage servers ever present. Enjoyed the regional specialty nights especially the game night of Kudu, Springbock, Crocodile, and Impala. For the GDR did not experience the same quality as previous sailings, the deserts were routine. Saw the same menus in Toscana and Polo as year prior, shouldn’t these change a bit. Entertainment and Activities - You can’t expect the same performance level that is received on a 2500+ passenger ship. With that said this group or entertainers and dancers held there own and then some. You got to know these performers throughout the 30-day cruise as they were the ones hosting the various activity games onboard. I think you will see Paulina and Luke have their own headline acts soon. John’s comedy/magic show should become a regular act. He was pretty darn good at having fun at the daily trivia forum. Was glad to see bridge lessons being offered as corporate had said they wouldn’t prior to the cruise. Bridge should be expected on a cruise of this duration. The string quartet every evening in the atrium was well received and glad to see them get two headline shows. The off-board entertainers and lecturers were pretty good. Ports and Shore Excursions - Took this cruise mainly for the itinerary and was not disappointed. Arranged mostly private tours with the CC forum prior to embarkation. These were well done and received a more intimate experience than the Oceania sponsored trips. The tendering process was orderly with a sensitivity to private excursions. Oceania needs to cut their fees in half to be competitive. Met some interesting fellow travelers from various points of the world. By sharing evening dinner or Happy Hour you get to exchange in some great conversations. We enjoy Oceania and will return. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Staff, Cruise Director, Chefs, food and service absolutely first rate, and not just for a few days...it was 35 days of pampering. FANTASTIC... keep it up Oceania. CONS: The drinks were pricey, but we could have picked a drink ... Read More
Staff, Cruise Director, Chefs, food and service absolutely first rate, and not just for a few days...it was 35 days of pampering. FANTASTIC... keep it up Oceania. CONS: The drinks were pricey, but we could have picked a drink package. Casino was very quiet slots extremely tight, but Manager explained Oceania has just taken contract back from previous independent operator and will be making improvements and changes... PROS: Superb food in all venues. Best shellfish and steaks at sea without question. Most nights a local or specialty offering available on top of regular menus. All desserts and home baked breads delicious. Service was tops. Bar, room, cabin, butlers, restaurants.... always a smile and a greeting, day after day... a happy and delightful team working connected by pride in their work. SUPERB Entertainment good, stand outs : the Bellissimo Quartet with classical strings, then did a wild rock show on strings too!! Cruise director, John E. With his own hilarious show, also extra crew shows such as Beat the Chef , party undet the stars in Seychelles. Clever, fun and innovative fresh ideas. Great team No more to say... back with Nautica, next we go! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We LOVED Oceania's ms Nautica! Only 650 passengers (maximum possible = 684), and a huge, very international crew. An older but well-maintained intimate ship, full of beautiful art; fabulous food (the best we have ever savoured ... Read More
We LOVED Oceania's ms Nautica! Only 650 passengers (maximum possible = 684), and a huge, very international crew. An older but well-maintained intimate ship, full of beautiful art; fabulous food (the best we have ever savoured afloat); excellent singers and dancers; a personable cruise director (he made up for the humourless captain); and great cabin/dining service in every respect. Very comfortable (if small) cabin and adequate (if miniscule) bathroom. Bellíssimo, a most talented Ukrainian string quartet (from the Putin-menaced Donets region) played classical and popular music for hours ever day; good evening entertainment, especially the specially invited singers and comedians; a daily MENSA quiz, puzzles, and challenging games of trivia and an art scavenger hunt; reasonable enrichment program, delivered by a knowledgeable astronomer and an egocentric Canadian biologist who attempted to introduce the history and culture of the ports of call, but was out of his depth whenever he strayed from his narrow speciality; FREE internet with superb connectivity; a good library (but lacking almanacs, a good dictionary, and an encyclopedia). All this comes at a cost which tests the limits of our cruising budget. However, it illustrates the old adage, "You get what you pay for." When we look back at about 60 nights of cruising with Celebrity; 300+ nights with Holland America; and single cruises with Princess, Royal Caribbean, Swan-Hellenic (now bankrupt), and MSC, we would say that Oceania is superior to all of them. When we did not purchased any of the rather high-priced (and often mediocre) ship-organized excursions, we simply took the shuttle bus, which the Shore Excursion desk almost always organized, and went to wherever it took us. They were always safe spots, even in Durban, from where we could walk without fear of being mugged. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My husband & I chose this trip so he could take some CE and do a safari!. We booked the pre-cruise safari at Lion Sands River Lodge. While Oceania did not really do a good job with communicating our hotel info or flight info to the ... Read More
My husband & I chose this trip so he could take some CE and do a safari!. We booked the pre-cruise safari at Lion Sands River Lodge. While Oceania did not really do a good job with communicating our hotel info or flight info to the bush, it all worked out & the Lodge was amazing! We had 4 game drives and 1 bush walk. Pre-Safari, we booked a night at the Residence Boutique Hotel. The Residence is a beautiful, intimate hotel that used to be the Chinese Embassy. It is in a gated compound, very safe. They arranged for their driver to pick us us from the airport, gave us a driving tour of Johannesburg the next day, and delivered us safely to 54th of Bath Hotel booked by Oceania. 54th on Bath is a very nice hotel basic. I think it is part of the Omni Group. Breakfast was included and we all had omelettes. There were 8 from the Nautica going on Safari. Flight was quick and soon we were on our way to Lion Sands. Our time there was the highlight of our trip! We wished it was longer. Soon we were on a flight to Cape Town. we did not have time to see any of CapeTown precruise. We sailed roughly 1 hour after boarding. We were tired! We were in a "penthouse" cabin 8065. It was of course very small compared to the Marina penthouse cabins. I wanted to upgrade all along but the reasonable price upgrade was not offered until we were on safari & my travel agent said it was gone within minutes. Our butler, Vinod was a Gem! He helped with some dining problems and was just overall the best we have ever had. The food was very good in the main dining. My favorite thing was in Toscana, the Carbonara, but you have to eat it quickly because it seems to harden up. We had to request escargot in the MD. It was perfect. The escargot in Polo is soupy and neither of us cared for it. I not sure when it asks about excursions, aside from the Pre-Cruise safari, we booked everything privately because I do not like tour buses or large groups. If you do this cruise and you feel the same consider booking something through the ship while in East London (a place I will be blocking from my memory soon). We booked through Kevin Agram. We did not have him as our driver. Our driver knew nothing and insisted on taking us to the "townships" for 2 hours and then segregated beaches! It was the lowlight of our trip, having already seen them in every town we visited in South Africa. We did do great excursion through Red Dunes safari in Namibia, but if you want to see seals, book a catamaran tour. I heard they jump right on the boat! Richard's Bay & Durban we used Trinity Tours, Brian High. We went to several game reserves and same things as the ship but cheaper and we had a lovely dinner at the Oyster Box Hotel in Durban - don't miss the curry bar. Also do not eat Curry unless you at the Pot & Kettle in the Valley of a Thousand Hills. Very good wine at Durbanville Sauvignon Blanc. $7 per bottle! In Mossel Bay, we used Tours for South Africa and went to Botlierskop Game Reserve (same as the ship) but much cheaper and included lunch. In Port Elizabeth, we used Afroventures Tours and had a wonderful day safari where we actually saw 3 lions!! When we came back to Cape Town we had a day tour to Stellenbosch to taste wines. It was late get started because of immigration problems or something. So we only got to see 1winery (Waterford - Excellent) and then we had dinner at the Wijnhose. I kept saying the winehouse & no one understood me! Excellent food and flights of wine. I would definitely go back to Stellenbosch. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise for its itinerary. We could “Safari” without sleeping in tents! We also wanted to escape the winter weather in the US. Ports were interesting except for Maputo, Mozambique. Oceania should skip it...very 3rd ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary. We could “Safari” without sleeping in tents! We also wanted to escape the winter weather in the US. Ports were interesting except for Maputo, Mozambique. Oceania should skip it...very 3rd world. We didn’t feel safe and was the only port that required us to take malaria medicine. We were surprised Oceania offered a 2 hour walking tour. DON’T TAKE IT! Street vendors aggressively follow you and pressure a sale. Streets are dirty. We were only allowed to take photos when given permission. Definitely not worth stopping. As for ship: Food and service were outstanding. Loved the “dine anytime” arrangement. It was fun to share a table and meet other guests but we always had the opportunity to dine alone. Being in the Owners Suite gave us special privileges and we were able to eat in specialty restaurants whenever we requested to do so. Stewards were exceptional! Entertainment not quite as elaborate as other cruises but I suppose that’s due to size of ship. On shore: the Belmont property, Mount Nelson Inn, is fabulous! If you are staying in land pre or post cruise, make a reservation! And don’t miss Table Mountain and The Cape. Two spectacular sites in Cape Town. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I chose this cruise for its itinerary-UAE, Oman, India, Maldives, Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, and South Africa. The shore excursions left a lot to be desired. The stop in Abu Dhabi coincided with a marathon. ... Read More
I chose this cruise for its itinerary-UAE, Oman, India, Maldives, Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, and South Africa. The shore excursions left a lot to be desired. The stop in Abu Dhabi coincided with a marathon. The downtown area was completely shut down and our hop on/off bus driver had no idea what to do. We went around the same block three times and circled a round-about four times in succession. After an hour and a half, the bus stop at public toilets for us. Everyone was afraid to get off at the three stops he managed to get to for fear they'd never see another bus. Why did the shore excursion department not know about this and cancel this tour? In Nosy Be, Madagascar my shore excursion included a beach stop. Not a beach on the same side of the island as the pier (where other excursions went), but one that was 45 minutes down a crater filled road! By the time we got there, there was no time to swim (the beach had no changing or shower facilities) and the guide moved up departure time AFTER people headed to the shoreline. Almost every excursion included a "market" stop. How many times does a person need to smell fish and meat covered in flies while it rots in the sun? I chose an excursion to a Zulu "village" in South Africa expecting to visit a real residential village. An hour and a half ride to a hotel with a cultural entertainment area-a recreated "village." Heck, one of the women didn't even know the steps to the dance. In Durban, they didn't know the market would be closed on New Year's Day! So the guide tried to fill in time by taking us to the wealthy part of town and to the soccer stadium. Unfortunately, the tour bus didn't pull up on the stadium side of the street and one of the passengers was hit by a car crossing the street. I was a little surprised that none of the excursions on this cruise went anywhere near a jewelry store or upscale shopping area. Several of these countries are known for the gemstones they mine. The Nautica was fine and my cabin was good. I dined most of the time in the Buffet since the food was as good or better the the restaurant. I did try the restaurant once. The service was slow. My server replaced my standard silverware with a salad fork and a fish knife for a steamed salmon entree with green beans which I couldn't cut. I ate in both the alternative restaurants; food and service were excellent. The worst part of the cruise was embarkation. The documents said it was at 1pm so a lot of people showed up at 1pm. A LOT OF PEOPLE! Several hundred! They made no arrangements for the crowd-no chairs, no water, nothing! Like others, I stood in line for more than 2 hours while crew with gold bars on their shoulders smiled at us. I can understand that they might not know this could happen, but THEY COULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING once it did. What would it take to have a crew member unstack the chairs that were leaning against the wall? They could have handed out number tags (the ones used for shore excursion buses) to group us and call us up when it was our turn. We still would have waited 2 hours, but we could have been seated while waiting. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We cruised on Regatta (sister ship) a few years ago (Rio-Amazon-Miami) and had a very positive experience. This cruise (Dubai-Capetown) was disappointing in comparison. The ship is slightly aged, but kept in excellent condition. ... Read More
We cruised on Regatta (sister ship) a few years ago (Rio-Amazon-Miami) and had a very positive experience. This cruise (Dubai-Capetown) was disappointing in comparison. The ship is slightly aged, but kept in excellent condition. We upgraded to concierge verandah cabin for this trip so were prepared for the level of accommodation; no complaints. We're still not sure what "concierge service" means, though. The service was good but we didn't know what to expect above and beyond what we got on our previous cruise. We found the food and service to be excellent, especially in Toscana. I have difficulty hearing in noisy environments, so after our first meal in the Grand Dining room, I learned to request seating just inside the entrance, away from the busy waiters' serving stations. The entertainment was of average quality. A couple of the professionals were extremely talented; a couple were not. Some of the scheduled entertainers were no-shows or delayed due to travel or visa problems. One such delay resulted in an impromptu Passenger Talent Show: mildly entertaining but not what we hoped for. The String quartet was excellent -- highly professional, and the ship's band was super talented. The six young on-board performers were equally talented. They put on several very entertaining Broadway-type shows as well as separate performances. No disappointment there! With a number of sea days, there were activities like bracelet-making, embroidery, bingo, and other parlour games -- not of interest to us. Two "Enrichment" speakers helped fill in the days: one was well-informed and entertaining while the other was rather pedantic and didn't hold our interest. Surprisingly, there were no "Destination" Speakers. Adequate information about upcoming ports was very lacking and very missed! Activities (e.g., more and varied speakers) and more substantive entertainment would have helped the long sea days pass. In retrospect, the cruise itinerary could have been better thought-out. One or two of the four stops in India could have been skipped, with the time added to other stops. Sailing for a day or two (or more?) just to spend a few hours in the next port, now seems like a waste of time. For instance, we sailed west for about two days from Seychelles to Mombassa, then part of a day to Zanzibar, and then a day and a half back east to Nosy Be (Madagascar) where we anchored for only six hours! In our case, Madagascar was of more interest than four stops in India. After an hour delay in tendering plus 40-minute boat rides to and from Nosy Komba to see lemurs (a couple hours) there was no time left to go ashore in Nosy Be or any other part of Madagascar! Very disappointing! Being rather inexperienced with shore excursions, and concerned with being left behind if we were delayed returning to the ship, we opted for the security of booking through Oceania. Never again! The excursions we chose (based on brief, sometimes inaccurate or misleading descriptions) were mostly disappointments. Expensive disappointments. As an example, an excursion in Durban was described as "panoramic", which, to me, suggests there will be stops where photos of interesting places can be taken. The actual excursion was a half-hour drive to "Umhlanga Rocks" ( apparently not a natural formation, but a high-end residential community instead), another half-hour drive to "Ballito" (apparently a small beach town, popular with locals) where the guide disappeared to apparently look for restroom facilities, leaving us to wander on our own for 15 minutes, then another hour-long drive back to Durban, where we drove non-stop through the downtown area, trying to snap pictures of places like "...the Theatre, where they have plays...". As another reviewer remarked, too many excursions are made up of too many people: the guides are often too far from most of the group to be heard clearly (both on the buses and on walks). And even guides in "third-world" excursions should understand not to let their charges get strung out for a hundred feet in unfamiliar narrow streets and pathways. These examples reflect our (and others') experiences on a large percentage of our excursions. Assuming we ever do cruise with Oceania again, it's very unlikely we'll use their excursions. Many people we met aboard (some had multiple Oceania cruises) were equally disappointed and expressed strong doubts about using Oceania again. The general opinion was that after Oceania was acquired by Norwegian, cost-cutting and short-term profit-taking have caused a noticeable reduction in the level of service. Unfortunately, our many good experiences on this cruise (especially with the crew and staff members) were offset by the excursions and other disappointments; we don't expect to use Oceania in future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was the longest cruise I have ever taken, and I never traveled as a solo traveler (age 52) before. From 650 guests on board, 450 knew my name during my adventure. I have met endless wonderful people who I exchanged e-mails with. ... Read More
This was the longest cruise I have ever taken, and I never traveled as a solo traveler (age 52) before. From 650 guests on board, 450 knew my name during my adventure. I have met endless wonderful people who I exchanged e-mails with. Giuseppe, the general manager, solved an issue I had with my cabin and resolved this matter quickly and to my absolute satisfaction. The food was excellent, but the wine selection could use some improvement. I chose the "magic card" which allowed me to drink any alcohol beverages. Knowing that each glass of wine plus an 18% gratuity on top of it was "not knowing the price" well worth it for me. However, some wines I could not choose with my unlimited beverage card because it did not allow for bottled wines, only the ones by glass. Otherwise, I enjoyed 99% of all excursions I had chosen. The entertainment was wonderful even though I think it could improve a little. What I missed was yoga or meditation classes. I would have been perfect offering those for sunrise or sunsets. I loved this cruise so much that I booked the world cruise directly on board and I am looking forward to many more adventures. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We are aboard the Nautica right now on the Cape Town to Cape Town trip. I wanted to let you all know a few things so you may not be as crushed as I am feeling right now. First, the pre-cruise tour has been the absolute highlight of this ... Read More
We are aboard the Nautica right now on the Cape Town to Cape Town trip. I wanted to let you all know a few things so you may not be as crushed as I am feeling right now. First, the pre-cruise tour has been the absolute highlight of this trip. Otherwise, I am feeling cheated by a line that we have loved in the past. Cheated out of the holidays as there isn't a single decoration on the ship (a first for a Christmas cruise for us....the ships are usually wonderful) which we had looked forward to in lieu of having anything up at home. Cheated out of money....promises were made about concierge class when we upgraded and the amenities they promised do not exist on this ship. We could have stayed with oceanview and been fine....can't use the balcony as they seas have been rough. The hot tubs are not hot. The food is beyond bland even in the specialty restaurants. Jacques Pepin should be embarrassed to have his name on this. Entertainment is the worst of any Oceania ship we have been on....we don't expect much but this has been terrible and exacerbated by several ports being cancelled. We missed Mossel Bay because the seas were too rough to tender in yet somehow despite having all that extra sailing time we were late to Richards Bay so our game drive was cut short and our guide took the fact that he waited all morning for us out on us by talking to everyone he passed on the road, stopping to watch dung beetles, stopping for a potty break nobody wanted or needed given that we has less time to tour and then said "You could have seen more if you had been on time". Seriously??? Like we had any say in the matter? Then we got to Maputo, where the last time they called there it took 5 hours to clear the ship through immigration (they want to fingerprint and photograph everyone on the ship), the customs people showed up late and then couldn't process people so we left. This appears to be an ongoing problem so I am not sure why Oceania keeps going to this port. Got to Durbin about 1.5 hours early (again, despite having extra sailing time) and went on our scheduled coastal and city tour which was driving in a bus down the highways and interstates with no views to have a 5 minute stop at a beach and a 5 minute stop at a vacant lot in a neighborhood overlooking the city to take pictures of the city through a barb wire fence and then drove through the slums of Durbin. If you scheduled this tour, I suggest you skip it and take a shuttle to the marine park/shopping area. You cannot walk out of the port...must have a bus or taxi though there were few of those around so we couldn't go out in the evening. The tour of Tala Game Reserve was wonderful! Do this! So, that brings us to now. Last night they announced that bad weather is expected so we will overnight in New London and miss Port Elizabeth....don't know why we couldn't stay at New London all day the second day so we could do another excursion or go shopping....anything off the ship but we will leave at 10 a.m.. So, we get one more day on land and three more excruciating days at sea. If you booked your excursions via O Life, you do not get any credit for ones you miss due to cancellations of ports so you cannot even use credits to drink or spa. Our much anticipated African adventure has become a feeling of being held hostage at sea. We started with Oceania on our honeymoon when then the line was new. 15 years later, this will be our last trip with them. I thought this would be a luxurious way to sample Africa but all we are seeing is the inside of a ship. Maybe we will get to see Namibia but I am not holding my breath. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I had never spent this kind of money for a cruise before and was expecting that the cruise would match the dollars I had spent. It came no where near what I had paid. The cost worked out to $436 Canadian ($333 US) each a day for the ... Read More
I had never spent this kind of money for a cruise before and was expecting that the cruise would match the dollars I had spent. It came no where near what I had paid. The cost worked out to $436 Canadian ($333 US) each a day for the cruise. That is a lot of money when I started to figure out what each segment of the cruise would cost if I had arranged my own transport. So I expected top notch service. I have cruised on six other cruise lines and Oceania is only marginally better than the other cruise lines. I have complained on other cruise lines of being nickeled and dimed but Oceania hundred and fifty dollars you. They were charging $99 each to go from Capetown Airport to the cruise ship. I paid $28 for two by arranging it myself. The cost of going from the ship to Singapore Airport from Oceania was $99 each. We paid a cab picked up at the terminal $18 Singapore dollars for two. The cheapest bottle of wine was $45 for a wine we found in South Africa for $8. Now Oceania did allow us to bring all the wine we wanted on board. First time I have ever experienced that. The tours were also very expensive and could be found for much less privately. At $250 a pop for tours we arranged for $125 or less that covered twice was the Oceania tour covered. The food while other passengers raved was mediocre. It was beautifully presented but not a great flavour palette. Found out the chef on our ship didn't believe in using salt. It showed in flavour. The buffet will not allow you to serve yourself. You have to tell the server how many pieces of watermelon, orange slices etc you want. When asked why we were told it was the policy of the ship to serve clients. It took forever to get food. My biggest complaint was the ports. I hadn't done a lot of research ahead of time and the ports were minimally interesting at best. The only interesting port was Penang. We spent two days in the Maldives and I have no idea why. It is an hour tour at best. Sadly I got off the ship questioning why I cruise. I spent 76% of the cruise on the ship. If I had planned to do it all privately I would have spent more time on shore instead on a lounge chair waiting. Oceania is all hype. Yes it is a bit more higher end but does not match the price paid. I felt ripped off. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was a destination specific cruise. Lecturer Mike Boll was fabulous giving histories of the countries visited. All nationalities were onboard which was a great mix. Entertainment was average & the so called "pool deck ... Read More
This was a destination specific cruise. Lecturer Mike Boll was fabulous giving histories of the countries visited. All nationalities were onboard which was a great mix. Entertainment was average & the so called "pool deck party" was a real disappointment - lacked food, poor music selection & no ambience or time given in setup. NCL takeover of Oceania is evident...cost cutting....toiletries not replaced in concierge room & had to be requested, room not serviced appropriately upon embarkation & wine prices (+18% gratuity!) expensive, wait service thin. The Horizon room was empty usually by 9:30-10 pm! Shore excursions were overpriced as usual. Food was above average, particularly in the specialty restaurants. The whirlpool private area available to concierge & above staterooms lacked lounges & chairs for those wanting to visit, & were taken by the same people regularly, as were the lack, & hogging, of lounges on deck 5. Concierge rooms are not worth the extra money on the smaller Renaissance class ships. The cruise director was corporate in presentation & too formal, & lacked the necessary social interaction for all levels of clientele. The most appealing aspect of the cruise was that staff recognised returning passengers & were very friendly & obliging. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary, which is different from most of the cruises in this area. Firstly, before booking, we had consulted the reviews, and knew roughly what to expect. I get fed up with listening to some of ... Read More
We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary, which is different from most of the cruises in this area. Firstly, before booking, we had consulted the reviews, and knew roughly what to expect. I get fed up with listening to some of the professional whingers who seem to revel in complaining about some detail or other. READ THE REVIEWS FIRST BEFORE BOOKING, then you won't be disappointed. Yes Oceania Cruises are more expensive than some of the other cruise lines, the question is whether the extra expense is value for money.. We were certainly very happy with what we got for what we paid. We were already aware that the cabins were more compact than some other ships, and yes,the bathrooms were a bit cramped. But the food was excellent, and NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE for the specialty restaurants . Also there is free soft drinks available all day long, and on sea days the deck attendant continuously came round with a trolley of soft drinks , in addition to the bar servers. The evening entertainment was very limited, but we were already aware of this. We saw a few shows and the individual artists were good. The ship's entertainers were enthusiastic , making up for lack of experience. They are young, probably starting off in the business, learning the ropes the hard way! I was impressed with the professionalism of the crew, cabin attendants and many of the waiting staff remembering your name after just a couple of days. All of the crew of whatever grade or department showed good training, by acknowledging you, rather than ignoring you. All serving staff showed the training and standards required by serving correctly, e.g. drinks always being served off a tray as opposed to being handed to you. The captain's midday announcement was always entertaining and informative, even though some people choose to be ignorant of others and talk through the announcements. Such is life! I would comment that the drinks, other than soft drinks were ferociously priced, but we opted for the drinks package which worked out to be a much better option. We did go on some excursions, which as usual are pricey, but the ones we went on in East Africa and Kuala Lumpur were worth doing. Many ports , again after research can be done on the "open top bus", or by clubbing together and hiring a taxi for a few hours. At least that way, you avoid the obligatory stop for shopping at some mall that is favourable to the cruise company. Overall we enjoyed the cruise, thought it worth the money, the little details making the difference. Yes the ship is a bit quiet at night, but that suited us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose the Oceana Nautica because of the itenery we had never been to South Africa and it was on our bucket list,The fact it was going over Christmas and New Year and because of its claim to being the best ,best,best. We love good food ... Read More
We chose the Oceana Nautica because of the itenery we had never been to South Africa and it was on our bucket list,The fact it was going over Christmas and New Year and because of its claim to being the best ,best,best. We love good food the Nautica deffinitely told us that we would find it on board. The Cruise was expensive but we always say you get what you pay for unfortunately the Nautica proved us wrong. Having read reviews about the entertainment onCruis Critic we felt sure they would have rectified it ,we love shows and didn't expect big Las Vagas events as on wonderful previous cruises we have had(33)to date,but having been on smaller ships k we had not been disappointed,until the Nautica. The resident singers and dancers made everything sound the same we normally never miss a show but we gave up. We thought we would try the trio in the bar area where there was a small dance area. We shouldn't have bothered. No atmosphere, people had given up, why,because the band had no personallity no expression on their faces except boredom and gave a robotic type performance. We complained about our junior suite having such an old shower with a shower curtain............When my husband dropped his soap there was no room to bend down to pick it up,we were told nothing could be done for us. We complained about the dried up food and bad service. We were told that a lot of staff were changing at the end of the cruise not sure how that was supposed to help us.One night we had to wait two hours before being served in a speciallity Restaurant. We were told to give them another chance. The cruise Director was only interested in being on the TV the entertainment factor was minimal the saving grace was the lectures on the Politics of South Africa. People that had been on Board time and time again were saying that it had changed and not for the better. When we were told we couldn't dock at one of our Ports of call,we were taken to a Port with nothing but a Mall in,the sort of place you see people getting off and getting back on the bus asap. The tours were extremely expensive and some of the tour guides were students that didn't want to use a mike. So I think you get the message that we will not be going back on the Nautica despite the Head Office saying we should give them another chance,we think £11,000.00.is a bit much for second chances. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The itinerary is outstanding with visits to exotic ports and beautiful islands. The Nautica is the perfect ship for this cruise. The cruise is long but the days go fast. The days at sea are welcome for relaxing and getting a tan. The ... Read More
The itinerary is outstanding with visits to exotic ports and beautiful islands. The Nautica is the perfect ship for this cruise. The cruise is long but the days go fast. The days at sea are welcome for relaxing and getting a tan. The weather was generally warm and sunny. The Nautica is known for great food and friendly service. I only decided to pick this cruise ship after a good review from my family friend and i was really looking into Africa as it has been my dream place to be particularly Kenya and i was happy to pay a visit to the place. Keron safari made it special to our group and we all enjoyed the excursion of the old town and the forty Jesus,Heller park and the Akamba carving . a very interesting place to visit. Thank you Nautica for the best services and i will always recommend anyone this cruise line. The guest entertainers were good but the programming was wrong. Some nights no entertainment and many performances were by the ships on board musicians. Food is Oceania's strong suite. Every meal, in every dining room pleases the palate. Wine lists are a cut above the average cruise lines, a 35 day cruise, regardless of ports, ship, or cruise line can become monotonous. Oceania offered more than 20 ports on this itinerary, most of which were pleasant experiences. Nautica's food service staff goes out of their way to learn guest's preferences for drink, restaurant accommodations, and breakfast delivery times. The gym was excellent. The staff excellent. The food as expected on a ship of this class. The Concierge excellent. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This is a very personal view of the cruise based on our previous experiences. This cruise ship is very smart. Very well looked after and spotless clean. Posh. Upper class. Pretentious. It seemed to me that it was trying very hard to be ... Read More
This is a very personal view of the cruise based on our previous experiences. This cruise ship is very smart. Very well looked after and spotless clean. Posh. Upper class. Pretentious. It seemed to me that it was trying very hard to be something it is not. Everything is very, very expensive. For instance: Bus shuttle from port to airport. $109. (Taxi. $20)! Small bottle beer. 330ml. $7.5 Single spirit. $11 Small glass cheap wine. $11 (Including the 18% service charge) Etc.etc. Staff were the best I have come across. They seemed genuinely cheerfull and very helpful. Service was excellent. The food, as advertised by Oceania, is the best at sea! I agree, it is generally excellent. Particularly in the main restaurants. However the buffet I found disagreeable in its content. The breakfast was particularly poor, well, for a Brit anyway! The desserts seemed to be mushy, and very small. All food is given to you by buffet staff. You cannot help yourself! All tea, coffee and soft drinks were free. However I only saw one coffee machine on the whole ship. Also, restaurant times were quite short. The buffet servery area was poorly laid out with poor passenger flow, scrum. Often waiting for a table. How come a GPS based computer system can guide the 27000 ton ship to all of its ports automatically, yet they can't build a machine that can provide decent toast. Eggs cooked to order by a person using just two small pans. Not a griddle. 15 mins wait for an egg some mornings. The ports of call all looked fantastic on paper. In reality some of them were quite poor, almost a waste of a day! If you were to arrange tours in all these ports, particularly to the myriad of "game reserves", then ok. But the decision to explore the ports themselves sometimes led to a tedious few hours ashore. This was very evident when the shuttle buses provided by Oceania took all passengers using them to a shopping mall in most ports. These malls were mostly in urban fringe. We arranged private tours via internet in 4 of the ports and had a great time. We did not leave the ship in Maputo!! Right, now for the entertainment. Concert Flautist twice. Virtuoso Mandolin player twice. String quartet every evening and afternoon. 2 Film shows, both on port days? Comedy musician twice. Another comedy musician twice. Zzzzzzzz. Enrichment lectures. Zzzzzzzzzz. Photo show. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Pretentious. Too posh to have a good time. Everything aimed at a demographic with musical taste, fine gourmet foodies, wine buffs, and money! Almost forgot the "piped music". Very quite, everywhere, all the time. The same music tracks everyday. Zzzzzzzz. Free style jazz. Zzzzzzz. Rat pack. Zzzzzzzzzzz. Freestyle piano. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I could go on, and on. But I must learn from my experience! We did not really enjoy the experience of Oceania cruising. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
When I discovered the cruise in June 2015 for nov/dec 2015 around South Africa and a reasonable rate, I did not hesitate , certainly that a few years ago we were already on the Nautica and for once there is an interesting program for this ... Read More
When I discovered the cruise in June 2015 for nov/dec 2015 around South Africa and a reasonable rate, I did not hesitate , certainly that a few years ago we were already on the Nautica and for once there is an interesting program for this area. If fact after dep from Cape Town we went to Walvis Bay Namibia (2days) and then Port Elisabeth, East London, Durban (2d), Maputo (former Lorenço Marques) , Richards Bay, Mossel Bay and back to Cape Town. I have been surprised by the visiting possibilities to several excellent Parks rather close ( 50- 70 km) from the different ports. (Addo Elephant Park, 1000 Hills Valley, Bantou and Zulu Villages, St Lucia Wetland Park, Botelierskop Private Reserve, etc) Not having "experience" in this continent, we took the majority of excursions with Oceania. Yes perhaps a bit more expensive but well organized and interesting. (In Port Elisabeth we used a local operator Pembury Tours). As Oceania has the advantage to stay correct time in the ports, it was without problem. We have a an excellent souvenir of the quality of this cruise. The Nautica has been renewed since our previous cruise. Quality of the food in the different restaurants is above the levels. Honestly Oceania is proud to have the best food on sea and I agree. There are no extra costs or reservation fees for the different restaurants. Now, the non alcoholic drinks are included. OK wines are a bit more expensive as on some other cruise lines (exemple HAL) but ok it is still within norms. The service on board was excellent. The ship is comfortable, clean, nice. We stayed a few days before sailing in Cape Town Double Tree Hilton. The disembarkation was early 8H en our flight late (past midnight) but we arranged a full day trip with Pembroke Tours in the Wine Yards to end in the evening at the airport. During seadays we were lucky with the weather already nice in this season. (Pool facilities). Cape Town is a nice city and is reasonably safe (of course always with the normal precautions) The port is in fact in the middle of Cape Town center (Waterfront). The airport not to far out. You have of course to check the medical requirements for South Africa. There have been some discussions about the Yellow Fever which Oceania required, and which is however NOT required by International Tropical Institute of Antwerp it is clearly mentioned that this vaccination is NOT required for South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique!! Finally they accepted this official rule. I really recommend it this cruise. More other companies are also offering is such as Regent Seven Seas and also Compagnie du Ponant. Regarding Ponant the cruise is only 7 days which is too short! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Went with Oceania from Capetown to Singapore . Don't do it sounds exotic but African ports other than Capetown not worth doing . Maldives and Seychelles were good but not enough to warrant this expense and time . As far as Oceania ... Read More
Went with Oceania from Capetown to Singapore . Don't do it sounds exotic but African ports other than Capetown not worth doing . Maldives and Seychelles were good but not enough to warrant this expense and time . As far as Oceania goes the food was very good and the general staff were excellent , but that's as far as it went . The cruise director was terrible as was the lack of entertainment and activities . The seas were rough which was not the ship's fault but being smaller it moved a lot and I don't believe stablerlizers were used . We paid $900 US for tips but had no say in how they were distributed . To make matters worse , their baggage handlers managed to break a full bottle of rum securely wrapped in the middle of my suitcase just moving it from our cabin to the dock . How is beyond me they must have thrown it from the deck . I didn't realize until we got to our hotel and I had rum through everything as well as broken pieces of glass . Two letters that we paid the ship to post never arrived to our relatives . . A letter to their so called customer service has gone unanswered .I hopoe this report helps other people to not make the mistake we did .All this is fact and the first time I have ever written a complaint about a cruise line . Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We have sailed with ten cruise lines, and find Oceania to be the best for our needs and lifestyle. Our first experience was in 2010 on Insignia, Nautica's sister ship, from Buenos Aires to Barcelona. Our experience was superb. Crew ... Read More
We have sailed with ten cruise lines, and find Oceania to be the best for our needs and lifestyle. Our first experience was in 2010 on Insignia, Nautica's sister ship, from Buenos Aires to Barcelona. Our experience was superb. Crew service, including our butler, was excellent. Food is Oceania's strong suite. Every meal, in every dining room pleases the palate. Wine lists are a cut above the average cruise lines, a 35 day cruise, regardless of ports, ship, or cruise line can become monotonous. Oceania offered more than 20 ports on this itinerary, most of which were pleasant experiences. Nautica's food service staff goes out of their way to learn guest's preferences for drink, restaurant accommodations, and breakfast delivery times. We have booked an upcoming cruise in December on Riviera, in a concierge suite. We very much look forward to being pampered and well fed by Oceania and their superior staff. You can not go wrong with Oceania....... very classy, no formal nights, just elegant casual relaxing evenings aboard. Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We've sailed Oceania before and think they provide an excellent experience. Even so, a thirty day cruise was a log time and a lot of money, so we debated about it. The itinerary convinced us, with fifteen ports, most places we'd ... Read More
We've sailed Oceania before and think they provide an excellent experience. Even so, a thirty day cruise was a log time and a lot of money, so we debated about it. The itinerary convinced us, with fifteen ports, most places we'd never been that are difficult to get to any other way, sailing the West Coast of Africa. There were twelve sea days - interspersed nicely with the ports, to make for a very relaxing cruise, mostly through tropical waters. Midway through the cruise, I got to my 100th country. The Nautica is a beautiful ship - we discovered on a Renaissance cruise over a decade ago. The public rooms are nicely decorated, the cabins are reasonably roomy and easy to live in. Oceania beds are among the most comfortable we've experienced. Oceania is outstanding for service - friendly, helpful crew that always great you, even as you pass in the hallway. The crew was from 44 countries, making my custom of saying thank you in the right language a challenge, but one always met with a smile of appreciation. Food onboard was a highlight of the trip - the Grand Dining Room serves a four course lunch and a six course dinner with a variety of options that changes daily. Passengers are seated when they arrive, at a table for two or a bigger table for groups or those who want to share (a great way to meet new people). The Terrace Cafe offers cafeteria style (with someone to carry your plate and someone to spoon on the cottage cheese), convenient for breakfast and open three meals a day, with plenty of outdoor seating. The two specialty restaurants were there for dinners grander than the six course Grand Dining Room, with specialty olive oils and balsamic vinegar, larger portions and even more elaborate service. They required reservations, but we had no problem making them before departure and during the cruise. The breads are baked three times daily, special requests are honored easily, and wine follows you to the next meal if you don't finish the bottle. Several items were memorable from the dover sole at Toscany to the cold fruit soups that appeared regularly to the oversized roast beef at the Polo Grill. The entertainment staff were welcoming and friendly. Good enrichment speakers regularly provided at-sea day talks (unfortunately not on West Africa), the comedians were great, services were held every Friday night and all through Chanukah for the Jews on board - even latkes. The reception staff was helpful in solving problems. The disappointment was in destination services, where they couldn't tell us the location of the Modern Art Museum in Istanbul (it was a quarter mile away on the dock), were totally useless for travelers not booking on an excursion, and almost as useless for those investing in the badly planned and badly operated excursions (forced non-stop march through the market in Tunis). I actually tried the gym, a radical move for me. I preferred the library, but I signed up for three hours of trainer who helped me learn how to use all those exercise machines. She was delightful, but didn't overcome decades of inactivity. The West African ports were not ready for prime time - we were pioneering in stops in The Gambia, Togo and Benin. They did not have the tourist infrastructure to deal with 684 tourists arriving at once, staying eight hours, and leaving - things like money changing, taxis, even maps and materials. The people were delightful, happy to see us, ready to sell everything (good price - special for you). Their crafts and fabrics were wonderful, and we brought home many great memories and souvenirs. Dakar and Takoradi, Ghana were better organized, but still difficult. The tour of Goree Island and it's slave transit facilities was moving. The other stops, Crete, Malta, Tunis, Valencia, Casablanca, Canary Islands, Namibia and Cape Town are far better equipped to deal with tourists, and the four wheel drive through the Namibian desert was fabulous. We were not bothered by the thirty day cruise, although I'm not sure I could have taken the back-to-back cruise to Singapore that went for another forty days, as several of the people on the ship did. I was disappointed that it was over. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Nautica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.9
Dining 5.0 4.3
Entertainment 3.0 3.3
Public Rooms 5.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.0
Enrichment 5.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 5.0 3.5
Rates 5.0 3.9

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