5 Oceania Nautica Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Baltic Sea

We took an Athens-Rome Mediterranean cruise on Marina in 2017. Loved the ship and the experience. We purchased this cruise on board. Nautica is much smaller than Marina but is dated and lacks the feeling of space and luxury of Marina. ... Read More
We took an Athens-Rome Mediterranean cruise on Marina in 2017. Loved the ship and the experience. We purchased this cruise on board. Nautica is much smaller than Marina but is dated and lacks the feeling of space and luxury of Marina. Embarkation at Stockholm was quick but there was no welcome cocktail. Our room (B2) on deck 6 was adequate. The bathroom was tiny and had only a shower protected by a cheap shower curtain (no bathtub as on Marina). Storage space was adequate. Our room was cleaned spotlessly every day. One person commented that a verandah is unnecessary on cruises to northern climates and during cooler seasons, and I agree, even though we had spectacular weather (Europe had its warmest weather on record). Our stateroom was near the rear elevator (closer to the restaurants) which was convenient. Nautica has only two specialty restaurants, so we were only allowed two such meals on a 12-day cruise (no surcharge). Oddly, each time we went, there were many empty tables. It should be noted that Nautica and the other three smaller (older) ships are being "reimagined" over the next year or two and the design looks attractive. Try to hold off until the ships are done. The interiors of Nautica are dated and frumpy. For example, on Marina there were real Picasso and Miro prints, and some delightful avant-garde works of art. On Nautica, the art looked like it came from a neighbourhood art show. Yes, this is a "first world" problem, but Oceania are among the most expensive cruises on the market. PA announcements were appropriate and brief and the cruise director was excellent on them. I was also impressed by the performers. The shows were appropriately scaled and tasteful, like a nightclub rather than Vegas. On Oceania, apart from a promotional package (cabin credit, 6 excursions/cabin, etc.) everything is extra. The wine lists are extensive and extremely expensive, starting generally at US$50 (one or two bottles) and shooting up from there. There is a 7-bottle wine package for US$350.00 and the choices were decent, but I did some research and found the majority of them cost in the range of US$10-20. Huge markup. Oceania permits bringing alcohol on board, as long as it is consumed in your cabin (there is a $25.00 corkage fee if you want to bring your bottle into a restaurant). Excursions are ridiculously expensive. Imagine 30 people paying US$300 each to board a bus for a day excursion. Typical. In St Petersburg, Russia, we went on one such excursion but were allowed only to get out of the bus at certain stops to take exterior pictures. The Hermitage, which we were looking forward to as a highlight, was too brief (actually only about 2.5 hours viewing) and of course it was massively overcrowded, which is not Oceania's fault. Tour guides were generally good, except in one case we signed up for a tour of modern Scandinavian architectural landmarks in Copenhagen but the tour was a disaster because the guide was subbed in at the last minute (with apologies) and had no time to prepare, so she showed us a few buildings near where she lived and in central Copenhagen then reverted to a tour of historic buildings because the time allotment was not used up. You would think these tours would all be pre-planned so anyone with some background could step in. We were also promised a tour of a "design factory" but were taken to a retail outlet instead which lasted about 10 minutes. Having said that, the food really is, with minor exception, the best of the cruise lines. One day the head chef made his rounds in the restaurant and I had a suggestion, which he implemented. The median age of the guests on oceania is probably about 70, and the food selections especially in the buffet area were appropriate. There were a few theme days, but most guests didn't seem to take advantage. Compared to Marina, Nautica's staff were a little too relaxed and familiar for my taste. Service can be personal but it should be deferential and non-intrusive. This is trivial, but one waiter asked me as a joke if I wanted ground pepper in my dessert, which was a bit of sarcasm over always having to offer ground pepper. We laughed but I had never experienced that on Marina. There is a merit/reward system for staff, and some of them seemed a little over-anxious about making an impression. My main complaint is with their marketing and sales. Oceania spends a lot of time trying to induce people to book on board, but the actual discounts are only about 5% for cruises that may be a year or more away. They also try to pressure you with the threat of "price increases" and are not flexible dealing with repeat customers. (Our travel agent enquired about how much an upcoming price increase would be, which was refused. That's not respectful of a customer who is looking at laying out $10-$20,000.00 per cabin and up.) Their online published prices are also misleading; when we enquired about a future cruise, they quoted the price for a stateroom two levels higher than the one we specified; when our travel agent enquired we were told it was for the "extra" package that was previously complementary. These cruises generally fill up and I don't see why they need to engage in high-pressure tactics. They tout their "loyalty" programme a great deal but benefits don't really accrue until you are over 10 cruises, and even then it might amount to free laundry. We each got a lapel pin worth about $5.00 and a free cocktail at a Captain's reception for our second cruise (22 cruise days total). The rest is window-dressing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
It was a last minute deal for us and had a an itinerary that ticked quite a few boxes. The itinerary was great, Baltic, followed by around the UK. We had sailed the Regatta so expected the same on the Nautica and hoped their cuisine had ... Read More
It was a last minute deal for us and had a an itinerary that ticked quite a few boxes. The itinerary was great, Baltic, followed by around the UK. We had sailed the Regatta so expected the same on the Nautica and hoped their cuisine had expanded to include simple, tasty dishes. The meals were far too rich for us and service was very spasmodic. Getting a simple meal was almost impossible. We managed to get a few on the first leg after a personal interview with the Manager but he left after that leg and the new Manager did not seem to care and some of the staff were disdainful and rude towards the end of the journey. They ask for feedback but do not seem to enjoy working with the clients to achieve a positive outcome. It will be interesting to see if head office gives us any feedback on the final comments form! We have booked another for next year and will try to clarify what plain wholesome food means before sailing. Again it has been chosen for the itinerary and that we are able to couple it with a river cruise, which helps justify the airfare and air times from Australia. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
WE chose the Baltic cruise because we liked the itinerary and wanted to try Oceania Cruiseline. We like the smaller ships and this fit the need. The ship itself is well maintained and the common areas are nice. I am a blackjack player so ... Read More
WE chose the Baltic cruise because we liked the itinerary and wanted to try Oceania Cruiseline. We like the smaller ships and this fit the need. The ship itself is well maintained and the common areas are nice. I am a blackjack player so I did enjoy the casino on this ship. Our cabin was nice we were on the concierge Veranda which gave us 4 nights in the speciality restaurants, there was a bottle of champagne waiting in our room and we could access our room earlier than others. The food was exceptional in the Speciality restaurants however we were disappointed in the Dining Room menus and the buffets. They had some featured nights of different cultures, one being Indian Food which is definitely not one of my favorites. The service was very slow in the main dining rooms, you could easily spend 2 hours just getting through dinner. We have sailed on Azamara and Seabourn and this ship definitely did not measure up to them. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Oceania is well-known as the upper premium class cruise line with excellent gourmet food. indeed, the appearance of the buffet restaurant could compete with fine dining serviced restaurants on other vessels. The food was really extremely ... Read More
Oceania is well-known as the upper premium class cruise line with excellent gourmet food. indeed, the appearance of the buffet restaurant could compete with fine dining serviced restaurants on other vessels. The food was really extremely "dangerous" with a high extra-weight-potential. You could tell just by looking at the ingedients: lemon sole, finest filet, mussels, prawns. The passenger mix was too mono-national for me. The majority US citizens, a few Aussies, very few europeans. Since I'm in my fifties I felt way too young for this kind of ship, I estimate the average age of passengers at 73+. The service was excellent, the cabin steward knew our complicated family name in a second and always addressed us by our name when we met her on the corridor. When you put down the cutlery in the buffet or serviced restaurant it took only seconds and the dish was taken away, just amazing! I liked the type of a smaller vessel a lot. Everything seemed to be so familiar, then I found out: have been sailing on Ocean Princess, one of the other Renaissance Class ships before! The interior was very classic, just like an old fashioned country style from England. We had booked a few shore excurisons for Saint Petersburg, Russia, to avoid buying this very expensive visa. All three tours were very interesting and the local tour guides were excellent, explained everything with great enthousiasm. Overall, a high class product with fantastic cuisine, very much recommended for the elderly passenger who prefers a quieter surrounding. Since Nautica carries only 680 passengers or so and 400 crew members it has also a superduper pax-crew-ratio. Finally: the smaller the vessel the more unique are the itineraries, Nautica and her sister ships go to places bigger ships have no access to. If you expect a quiet and relaxing classic cruise with excellent food, don't expect too much of entertainment and "WOW-features", then go for it! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
As virgin ocean cruisers, but experienced river cruisers, we were not sure what to expect. We chose this particular cruise mainly because of the reputation of Oceania, the cruise had only one sea day, a relatively small number of ... Read More
As virgin ocean cruisers, but experienced river cruisers, we were not sure what to expect. We chose this particular cruise mainly because of the reputation of Oceania, the cruise had only one sea day, a relatively small number of passengers (684), many destinations that we had not visited and a competitive price. Getting on and off the ship was easy at all times of the cruise which was one of concerns about ocean cruising, although our luggage took a long time to appear even though we were one of the first to board. The ship itself was also pleasantly fitted out and with many activities to participate in, although the only ones that we took advantage of were the daily trivia (good fun), lectures (excellent) and the evening shows (average). We preferred the informality of the buffet meals in the Terrace Cafe to the formality of the speciality restaurants (Toscana & Polo Grill) and the Grand Dining Room. The food and service in all locations was good with the best choice at the Terrace Cafe. We took three of the four free excursions in St Petersburg due to the visa restrictions and took the other one in Visby. The remaining eight locations were all 'do-able' on our own, using complimentary coaches, local tourist reps on board, internet research, local transport and a willingness to walk a bit. The exception was Berlin where we had stayed on the way to joining the ship in Copenhagen. We also took a few extra days in Copenhagen before the cruise and Southampton at the end of the cruise. We would recommend both these locations. The size of the Nautica meant it could get close in to most cities so we were never left struggling in a remote commercial port. The highlights of the cruise were the approach and departure from Stockholm plus the (short) time St Petersburg. Transiting the Kiel Canal was also interesting for us as it had a bit of a river cruise feel about it. The negatives were : 1) the alcohol pricing policy with wine starting at US$47 per bottle off the wine list or US$27 corkage per bottle for BYO. 2) the price of optional excursions which were several times the price which we could purchase them on the internet. 3) the claim of free unlimited Internet access which is actually limited to one login per cabin at any time, limited by the number of users at any time, limited by quality of signal and limited by where you were on the ship. We think that Oceania should reconsider this pricing policy (the heart of their 'O-Life' sales pitch) as it distorts the true cost of a cruise if clients pay the price of the add-ons. Overall we enjoyed our first ocean cruise as it met most of our expectations. Would we take another Ocean cruise? - Yes provided it went to places we want to go with minimal sea days. Would we go with Oceania again? - Yes provided that the prices were competitive. Is River better than Ocean cruising? - We prefer the intimacy of the smaller boats but if you have certain places on your bucket list (eg Alaska, Norwegian Fjords) then Ocean cruising is the only way to go. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
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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