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26 Oceania Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Loved the ship, and the crew extended themselves to make certain we were comfortable. A few glitches with the transfer from Rome airport to ship, hopefully future passengers won't have to endure a 3 hour bus ride with no bathroom ... Read More
Loved the ship, and the crew extended themselves to make certain we were comfortable. A few glitches with the transfer from Rome airport to ship, hopefully future passengers won't have to endure a 3 hour bus ride with no bathroom breaks after getting of overseas flights. Food was perfect, lots of choices.We did not take advantage of entertainment , were too tired after long days in port. The ship provided good information about each port, I researched the ports and was able to negotiate without pricey excursions. Even in the unexpected stop in Dubrovnick, the ship provided a free shuttle to the old city, just perfect for walking and exploring. I traveled solo, and the social director went above and beyond to connect the solo travelers. Hated paying double for the cabin though. Value of the trip was great,prices were greatly reduced and almost everyone got an upgrade of some sort. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We decided to try Oceania, normally we travel on Celebrity or one of the Royal Caribbean ships. We enjoyed the experience. It was more expensive that our other cruises. One couple felt that our cabin category should have had a larger room ... Read More
We decided to try Oceania, normally we travel on Celebrity or one of the Royal Caribbean ships. We enjoyed the experience. It was more expensive that our other cruises. One couple felt that our cabin category should have had a larger room size My husband and I enjoyed the specialty restaurants. The service in Jacques and the Italian restaurant was outstanding. We weren't that happy with the food in the Grand Dining Room. Polo Grill was ok for us. Enjoyed the spa treatments. Manicure and Pedicure and massage on different days. Specials are available during the cruise. Entertainment on the next to the last night was very good. Try to make that show if you only can go to one! Waves Grill my husband and I enjoyed breakfast there. Smoothies are good. If you want to eat lunch outside - you will enjoy it. The staff at Waves provides excellent service. For dinner we went to the buffet and had lobster along with various seafood and sushi. So plan to eat there at least one night for dinner. Service was excellent and you can eat on the back deck. Land excursions make sure you read the details. We should have just enjoyed going into the port and walking around instead of boarding buses for tours - bus rides took up too much of our valuable time. Before you book the cruise ask your travel agent what is the best deal that they can get for you....we got a great one and that is why we took the cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Oceania offered a trip to ports which interested us, with a reputation for fine service. In most aspects, we were very satisfied. The cabin was commodious and well furnished, with a full bed, love seat, desk, two large closets, and a ... Read More
Oceania offered a trip to ports which interested us, with a reputation for fine service. In most aspects, we were very satisfied. The cabin was commodious and well furnished, with a full bed, love seat, desk, two large closets, and a large bathroom tiled in granite which included both spacious shower and a tub. The Riviera had an elegant, low key color scheme of beige, gold, tan, and black accents, unlike the bright, gaudy decor on some other ships. Dining service differed from what we had experienced elsewhere: servers behind the glass counters dish out food at passengers' requests. Passengers may not help themselves to any food at the buffet. Often, ship employees offered to carry food and drinks to tables, so that passengers did not carry their own plates or cups. We had not been told our cabin number at the time of boarding, so we could not tag our luggage with cabin numbers. As a result, it took several hours, longer than for most other passengers, for us to receive our luggage. The staff had to consult the office to look up the number. That was frustrating. Quality and variety of food varied. Lunches offered the least variety for those of us who do not eat meat or shellfish. The hot vegetables were always steamed carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli medley. At the outdoor grill, we found freshly grilled fish with limited salad offerings. Dinners were generally good, although we would have liked more pasta choices and greater variety of local fish, especially when sailing in the Mediterranean. Very plain salmon was available daily. Seasoning was also generally plain Continental, except in the specialty restaurants. We did appreciate access to the specialty restaurants. Jacques, the French restaurant, disappointed. Dover sole was delicious, but the night's special entree, sea bream, tasted very fishy and over cooked. Salads and appetizers were also disappointing at Jacques. Tuscany, the Italian specialty restaurant, served Manhattan caliber food, with excellent service. Red Ginger had decent food, but not on a par with the Asian food that we enjoy in New York. The waiter was also brusque. Wines were overpriced. The seven bottle wine package included mainly fair choices, with high markups. Most of the ports were very worthwhile: Alicante, Algeria (Granada disappointed), Cadiz (ship biking excursion was great!), Casablanca (terrible waste of time, dirty), Gibraltar ( extremely worthwhile), Lisbon (lovely city). Many passengers were older, as we are in our mid- 50's. We noticed that the ship accommodated those who used wheelchairs. Ship entertainment was fairly standard, pleasant. The comedian was very good. Disembarking had better service than at most ships. Ship staff took our luggage from the dock to the area of waiting taxis. That ended our vacation on a very satisfactory note. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We joined the ship in Istanbul. Embarkation was quick and smooth. Don't expect any kind of welcome in board; no senior staff or welcome drink. The ship is beautiful and the service and house staff really do a great job. Senior ... Read More
We joined the ship in Istanbul. Embarkation was quick and smooth. Don't expect any kind of welcome in board; no senior staff or welcome drink. The ship is beautiful and the service and house staff really do a great job. Senior staff are conspicuous by their absence. For a ship of this size you would expect them to be more visible, but they are not. The food was excellent in all venues. The entertainment was generally ok too, except the "night club". Handing round an iPad for people to choose their own music lead to a haphazard playlist that resulted in a mostly empty dance floor and club. Whilst we had a thoroughly enjoyable cruise, we did have an issue with wine availability. We took out the wine package, but from day 3 certain wines became unavailable. By day 4, they ran out of three of the wines and we struggled to get prosecco in some of the bars. This situation lasted until the penultimate day of the cruise!! We have never been on a cruise where they have run out of wine!! In addition to running out of some of the wines, they also run out of breakfast tea and some cereals?! You really do have to question their back office supply chain process. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Before the cruise, I read some negative reviews of the quality going down after the NCL acquisition of Oceania. And the quality of their tours is not that always good. In our case, thankfully, the crew in this cruise is the best out of ... Read More
Before the cruise, I read some negative reviews of the quality going down after the NCL acquisition of Oceania. And the quality of their tours is not that always good. In our case, thankfully, the crew in this cruise is the best out of our 3 experience. And the Oceania tour we took in Jerusalem + Bethlehem was fine. Excellent wait staff at Polo Grill and Toscana. Our stateroom attendants were very good. Made to order pasta chef at the buffet was very friendly. The staff, who took the orders, at the made to order grill at the buffet was very friendly too. Food is in general good, but not always the best. On a full day at sea, there was roast pig at buffet, fresh pasta at buffet. Port Said and Port Alexandria were canceled a few days before the embankment! In their place, Oceania chose Limassol, Cyprus and Alanya, Turkey. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was our first cruise on Oceania (we have previously cruised with Disney, Silversea, P&O, Regent Seven Seas, Celebrity and Princess) and we were so looking forward to it, having seen such positive reviews. Embarkation ran very ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Oceania (we have previously cruised with Disney, Silversea, P&O, Regent Seven Seas, Celebrity and Princess) and we were so looking forward to it, having seen such positive reviews. Embarkation ran very smoothly and it was good to be able to get on to the ship as early as 11am and have the suite ready at this time. We stayed in Athens the previous night and booked this ourselves, along with transfers from the airport and to the ship. Accommodation We were celebrating our 30th Wedding Anniversary so treated ourselves to one of the three Owners Suites, which span across the whole back of the ship. The suite is huge and beautifully decorated, albeit with a few slight signs of wear and tear. We personally did not feel comfortable having a real zebra skin rug on the floor and asked for it to be removed for the duration of our cruise. The suite comprises of an entrance hall with a door to a shower room, bar (stocked with 6 full size bottles of your choice of spirits or wine, along with champagne on embarkation) and electronic grand piano. There are also floor to ceiling windows which split the balcony in two. There is a main bathroom with Jacuzzi bath, twin sinks and doors to a shower and separate toilet. The balcony can also be accessed through the bathroom, which we found very handy. There is a huge walk-in wardrobe between the bathroom and bedroom, as well as another of the same size off the bedroom. Both have safes. The bedroom has a very large bed with a selection of your choice of pillows from the ‘Pillow Menu’, and also access to the balcony. There is a large lounge with dining table for 8, a huge corner sofa and access to the second balcony. Both balconies wrap around the side of the ship (bathroom side has a second Jacuzzi bath with TV and the other side a sofa and chairs. The balcony itself isn’t very deep and when the sun loungers are being used, it’s a struggle to get past them. A real shame that it wasn’t made another metre deep and the inside space made slightly smaller, as we personally use our balcony a great deal. The furniture (whilst fairly comfortable) is a very heavy wooden design with very thick arm rests and due to the difficulties with having to climb over it to get past, this resulted in both of us having quite a selection of bruises where we bashed into it numerous times. We found the air conditioning was far too cold at night and despite turning it up to the warmest setting, still resulted in me sleeping in 2 robes and socks one particularly chilly night. After this we slept with the balcony doors open to let some warm air in. Everything was kept very clean and ice, soft drinks etc. replenished regularly. We had the services of the Head Butler who was extremely efficient and delivered everything with a smile. Nothing was too much trouble and we really valued his help. Dress Code In the main very American – polo shirts, chinos etc. for men and casual dresses/trousers for the ladies. We personally enjoy dressing up in an evening would have loved to have a formal evening, but this appears to be going out of fashion, which is in our opinion a great shame. Fellow Passengers Passengers were of all ages & nationalities, and included a number of children, probably due to the time of year we travelled. All we saw were well behaved but some did look rather bored, probably due to the fact whilst Oceania welcomes children, there are no specific activities/clubs for them as on many other lines. Smoking As non-smokers, in the main we avoided the smoking areas but the smell was still noticeable in the surrounding areas. We were also very concerned that even though smoking is prohibited on cabin balconies due to safety issues, some passengers seemed to think the rule didn’t apply to them and took absolutely no notice. This was duly reported. Dining The majority of reviews we have read have been very positive about the food on board. We are both vegetarian (myself practically vegan), so had a very different experience to other passengers. The evening menu in the main dining room had just one dish marked as ‘vegetarian’, however this should have in fact been labelled ‘meat/fish free’ as it usually contained a non-vegetarian cheese such as Parmesan which is NEVER vegetarian as it contains animal rennet. To ensure a suitable dish was available we had to let the chef know 2 days in advance what we wanted and it was sometimes difficult to come up with something without putting them to too much trouble. On other cruise lines we have been given a specific vegetarian/vegan menu which didn’t change throughout the cruise but always had plenty of choice and we should imagine is easier for the kitchen to deal with, in that they always have the ingredients to hand. It also became apparent that you need to be absolutely specific about what you require – for example I said 'a nice salad with baked potato would be good' and I was served a dish of plain lettuce (no dressing), tomato and cucumber topped with a microwaved but nearly cold jacket potato. It was pretty dire! My husband asked for the ‘vegetarian’ option of the day which was a potato waffle topped with asparagus and spinach but asked for a minor change to be made to accommodate our diet. It came to the table without the change being made and very much resembled a child’s meal, as the way it had been plated made it look like a smiley face. Fine if you’re 5. The asparagus had sadly been so badly overcooked it was inedible. We most definitely did not have smiley faces ourselves that evening! The two best meals on-board were in the Main Dining Room courtesy of a collaboration between our Indian Head Butler and an Indian chef, who produced the most amazing Indian meals (vegetable curries, Biryani, naan bread etc). Both meals were absolutely delicious, and made us wonder why on earth there isn’t an Indian speciality restaurant on board, as this chef’s talents were clearly not being utilised. Terrible, terrible shame. As there is always steak available on the menu as a matter of course, it would be fantastic if the Polo Grill (least popular of the speciality restaurants) were closed and an Indian restaurant opened. We would have been in there every night if we possibly could have. Breakfasts We always had breakfast delivered by our butler and served on the balcony. There is the usual selection of hot/cold drinks, cereals, toast, pastries etc. plus when you are in a suite you can also select items from the main dining room breakfast menu, which included hot dishes. Lunchtime Buffet We struggled most with our special diets at lunchtime. There were always salads available but it was very difficult to make up a meal of bits and bobs which never really worked very well together and only ended up on your plate because there was nothing else suitable. There were always two pizzas available - one meat and one cheese and tomato. If you are a vegetarian who is happy to eat non-vegetarian cheese you still couldn’t actually have pizza as the two sets of tongs used to serve it were used for BOTH pizzas. An absolute no-no as far as we’re concerned and extremely bad practice. The burger bar has one veggie burger described as ‘grilled’. Having been alarmed by the manner in which the pizzas were cross contaminated, we checked that the burgers weren’t grilled on the same area as the meat ones and were told ‘no, they are deep fried’!!! My husband gave one a go but they were very greasy and the chips had quite an odd taste (which we thought tasted like the oil was old and needed changing). Due to these difficulties we then ordered from the room service menu which was hit and miss. For example we ordered the veggie burger, chips and coleslaw, in the hope it would be better from RS. The chips were lovely and beautifully crisp and the burger wasn’t greasy, but sadly both were cold. The only thing on the plate which was actually warm was the coleslaw which amused us somewhat as to how they had managed that. The afternoon canapés were usually very good and it was nice to have a menu to choose two items from each day. Speciality Restaurants We only booked for Toscana and Red Ginger as we had looked at the on-line menus and thought they were the only two which could accommodate us. This was correct and fine for us. The meal in Toscana was very good. We enjoyed the food in there and were appreciative of the trouble they had gone to, to accommodate us and told them so. Red Ginger however, was another story! Think Carry On film when we describe our experience….. We discussed our requirements with our butler several days in advance to be sure they could accommodate our requirements, as the night we had booked was for our 30th Anniversary and of course we wanted this to be a special evening. We went through the menu dish by dish, as we are aware this type of cuisine uses a great deal of fish sauce and what may appear to be vegetarian on the surface, often isn’t so. We chose tempura vegetables but asked for the dip it was served with to be changed (due to the fish sauce it contained) and the Asian greens (again asked for the dressing to be changed due to fish sauce). I ordered the miso soup (again asked them to omit fish sauce) and my husband asked if they could do a soup similar to the chicken one of the menu, but omit fish sauce/chicken and use mushrooms instead. If this wasn’t possible we said we would skip this course. We both chose the Thai curry which we had been assured was completely vegetarian by design and didn’t require any changes. We checked the day before that there wouldn’t be any problems as we would rather have cancelled if we were going to cause any problems with our requirements, but was reassured all was well. We sat down and were served some delicious edamame beans and teas from the wonderful menu. We were most impressed and thought we were in for a real treat. The tempura veg arrived but the sauce didn’t seem to be what we had asked for but trusted them due to the reassurance we had been given. The batter was a little greasy for me which was a shame but not a bad dish overall. Then the ‘Asian’ greens arrived with the peanut dressing over them but was quickly whisked away as it should have been served after the soup. Soup was duly delivered and we started to eat. On eating the first mouthful my husband immediately realised there had been a huge mistake in the kitchen and fished out a large piece of chicken. We explained to the waiter what the problem was and he reassured my husband it was definitely vegetarian. Then when he was shown the piece of chicken he realised it most definitely wasn’t. I knew not to eat my soup and that the dip with the tempura had indeed had fish sauce in it, as our requirements had not in fact been noted. Whilst we can appreciate that to many meat eaters this wouldn’t be a huge issue but when you haven’t eaten meat or fish for over 30 years it was an appalling experience. We could see the panic ensue in the kitchen and this was followed by a procession of visitors to our table to apologise (Maitre ‘D, Head Chef, our butler, waiters etc.). To be honest we just wanted to leave there and then but stuck it out so as not to cause a scene. The ‘Asian’ greens were then served (basically lettuce) with a now changed peanut oil dressing instead of the usual peanut dressing. The curry wasn’t particularly pleasant and had an overpowering taste of coriander, which I found quite unpleasant. Of course we will never know for sure what caused it, but at the airport the next day my husband took ill and spent time backwards and forwards to the toilet both in the airport and on the plane, being violently sick. Whilst we appreciated the apologies and concern shown by the staff, we were quite amazed that under the circumstances they still charged us for our glass of wine each! Summary We arranged our own transfer to the airport in Istanbul as the Oceania ones were extortionately priced. It was considerably cheaper to pre-book a private cab than to travel by Oceania coach. The latest you can get of the ship is 9am and resulted in a rather long wait at the airport for check-in to open, which is sadly typical of most cruise lines. Whilst we enjoyed our time on board, the issues with the food are a deal-breaker for us. We were quite shocked that they serve items such as milk-fed veal and fois gras, despite the known cruelty involved in their production. We’ve obviously been spoilt on all our previous cruises, in that our diets have never been an issue and we have been catered for without any fuss or problem. For a cruise line that prides itself on its food we thought it was pretty poor.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Having cruised before mostly on Celebrity we thought we would try Oceania for a different experience. The idea of a smaller ship "best food at sea" and some ports in the Mediterranean that we hadn't visited before. The food ... Read More
Having cruised before mostly on Celebrity we thought we would try Oceania for a different experience. The idea of a smaller ship "best food at sea" and some ports in the Mediterranean that we hadn't visited before. The food was Excellent, there were a couple nights its was ok in the Grand dining room but in comparison to Celebrity the food was definitely a step up in comparison. (Jacques Especially excellent). We are a couple in our early 40's no kids so we enjoy being on a boat with no children while on vacation. Oceania definitely met that expectation. This Voyage was definitely an older crowd (mid 60's and up) and the energy level was very low key. There was not as many entertainment options as other lines and would have liked a bit more energy and feel that we may have been on Oceania 25 years too early. We did make the best of it but overall I am not convinced the extra cost was worth the good food and less crowded ship considering for the same money we could have booked a suite on another line and had a few more options of things to do. We never do any ship excursions on any line so this was not an issue. One more thing that Oceania Advertises is their shuttle service to city centers where other lines charge. However they do not mention that sometimes its limited service that runs every 45 minutes, so in some port we heard others saying they waited for 3 buses but the line was so long people got angry and were shoving and trying to board the bus obviously frustrated after waiting an 1 1/2 hours and still not being able to get on. We saw the line and realized we wouldn't make the bus and had to take a cab back. A couple of nice things about Oceania, No constant up selling. On Celebrity it seems like every time you turn the corner someone is trying to sell you on a specialty restaurant or a photograph. No such thing on Oceania. The service was excellent Plenty of nice towels and they change your bedding regularly. Never seems crowded although if you don't make your reservations for the specialty restaurants before you go good luck getting in one they are packed every night and when we inquired about visiting one again we were told many guests have not even been able to try them because they did not make reservations pre-cruise. Also embarkation and de-embarkation are a breeze. Since there are so many less passengers you can get right on and get right off. It was nice the last day to still get room service to help get us going before we got off the ship and then just be able to walk off when you wanted and not have to sit in some area and wait for your group to be called. So to sum things up All in all it was a good time. We did get free gratuities and free internet and a $500 shipboard credit with Oceania but it was still $2000 more than a Celebrity Cruise we did 5 months ago for the same time frame in a Concierge level balcony cabin, where we also got 2 free drink pkgs, free gratuities and a $250 shipboard credit. Sometimes you just have to try things and see if its a good fit for you. Hopefully this review helps you make your decision Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Sacred Sanctuaries, August 2013. Embarkation etc. The cruise started in Piraeus, which shares the dingy, seedy atmosphere of many ports. That said, it is worth coming earlier if you want to visit any of the closer islands on a day-trip. ... Read More
Sacred Sanctuaries, August 2013. Embarkation etc. The cruise started in Piraeus, which shares the dingy, seedy atmosphere of many ports. That said, it is worth coming earlier if you want to visit any of the closer islands on a day-trip. There are countless ferries; the cheaper ones, open-air, take a little longer, but you get good views and fresh air. The area of Piraeus marina (on the other side of the city) is quite attractive, with caf's, bars and restaurants. If you dine outside, you get a good view of the Attic Peninsula at sunset, which is charming. Getting on aboard Riviera was no problem; it just took a couple of minutes. Our stateroom (on deck 10) was ready at 13.30. Stateroom There's little to add which hasn't already been widely discussed, but I would insist there is more than adequate cupboard space; the bathroom is fine. A few niggles though, the table is not big enough for room-service breakfast, and unless you are of completely different heights, with one person on the armchair and the other on the sofa, you look at each other from completely different levels, like a monarch looking down at a subject. The veranda has chairs and a table, but perhaps a lounger would have been more attractive. The actual service of room service was always very punctual and polite. The housekeeping service was excellent. The itinerary 'was indeed one of the major reasons for the choosing this cruise. The long days in port, such as Rhodes, and the overnight stops, in Istanbul and Haifa, make the cruise a much more rewarding experience that I could have imagined. In short, if you are used to briefer stops, you would be surprised at the difference this makes. Israel was the major attraction of the cruise, though Oceania might think twice about the actual days spent there, as Friday to Sunday make public transport less available, though it might help sell more shore excursions. There is a train station just outside Haifa dock arrivals hall. Restaurants On the whole, the standard is very high, though I am sure everyone has their particular preference as to which speciality restaurant they prefer. We found Red Ginger to be the weakest by far, basically because the food was bland, often lacking in adequate use of spices, which doesn't mean chilli only. The famous sea bass, for example, just had a slightly caramelized flavour and consisted of a tiny portion served in a big leaf held together by a tiny clothes-peg. The Polo Grill was OK, but if you are not a habitual carnivore and don't think a thirty-two ounce portion of beef represents culinary Heaven, then you might have to look thoughtfully at the menu. The food is basically basic' We found Toscana and Jacques to be more interesting and more flavoursome, despite ' again ' a tiny portion of fish, brill this time, on one occasion. The red mullet salad and the fillet of lamb en croute were really worth the visit. The cheese choice was limited, but the quality was high. In Toscana, apart from the ma'tre, it would be curious to know how many staff really spoke Italian, as the heavily accented greetings were a little tiresome. The risotto was exceptional, but I don't think offering chocolate parpadelle as today's special was wise. The MDR was variable, sometimes really good, sometimes average. Service there tended to be slow at breakfast-time, as the poor waiters seemed to have to walk a mile to fetch the food. The terrace caf' was much busier than the MDR at those hours, perhaps because of the slowness of the service downstairs, perhaps because there was much more on offer in all departments. As a dinner venue, it also works perfectly; the grill department, tuna, lobster, shrimps etc. was excellent. Waves has its adepts. The hamburgers are fine, but 140-pound-plus-sweaty-bellies waiting for ice cream with butterscotch sauce hardly enhances the flavour of the food. We missed out on afternoon tea ' not really the weather ' but Baristas was a daily pilgrimage. On the whole, in the debate on who cooks better, the only relevant comparison I can make is with Celebrity Blu. There, despite the suspect 'healthy' line, the food is sometimes more adventurous, whereas Oceania is more traditional. In Blu, as you are always in the same place, a certain rapport between staff and cruisers develops; in Oceania, if you move around, you will probably never be served by the same person twice. Both options are fine; they are just different. Shore excursions We took none. Apart from one or two to Jerusalem, we found them over-priced, especially as tour operators offer the same or very similar tours at half or a third of the price. This must be a minority opinion, to judge from the lines of awaiting coaches in each port. Two possible alternatives for future visitors to these destinations. First, in Rhodes, hire a car. There are a couple of operators at the port entrance who charge 50 euros a day; booking ahead through other operators is another option. To visit most of the sites of the island: Lindos is outstanding both for its beauty and the number of visitors; the Valley of the Butterflies is truly a curiosity, as well as spending a long time on a quiet beach, is easily doable in one day and relatively stress-free. After all, there aren't that many roads (no pun intended). Having visited Ephesus before, we hired a taxi for the day ' 85 euros '' to visit the ancient cities of Didyma, Miletos and Prienne. The Oceania tour only visited the first two; other operators require the whole day for the three sites. The option we took allowed us to visit all three comfortably within the time at port. Other facilities Entertainment was a little weak, and, as usual on cruises, a terrible sense of d'j' vu creeps in after a couple of days. They tried hard, but perhaps on a mid-size ship, the 'show' requires a re-think. The Spa terrace was a quiet place to visit, but also a very windy one, once Riviera was at sea. The gym was excellent, with plenty of new equipment which, hurrah, all worked. The swimming-pool quickly became a hot bath. Worse than that is the pandemic of lounger-grabbing. The pool attendants do their best, but if they 'or any other cruiseline' really took this seriously, a mutiny would develop and they would be thrown overboard to the sharks. Apart from just leaving a towel to mark territory, there are two variations. The 'briefcase syndrome' familiar to all commuters: a passenger leaves his case of shopping bag on an empty seat beside his or hers. Anyone who dares ask whether it is occupied is often prevented by a glassy stare' Now there is also the 'partner syndrome', when an apparent empty place is apparently taken by a partner, child, etc'who rarely turns up. Why all this still carries on beats me. The library is quiet, an excellent retreat next to Baristas. (Some companies have piped music in their libraries, which is a self'defeating exercise). Wanting to disconnect, the internet package was never an option. We used the Concierge lounge a couple of times. The concierge himself was extremely helpful and effective with dinner reservations. However, the only other service we required, printing out our boarding-card for our flight back was not on the list. We hadn't an internet connection, and they must use expensive paper if it costs 25 cents a sheet. This is annoying, as most hotels I have been in recently do this for free. Leaving' Istanbul. This has nothing to do with Oceania but affects many of its passengers. There seems to a taxi war between those parked on the left and those parked on the right. The latter turned out to be cheaper; they are hassled by their rivals for being so. Istanbul airport in mid-August can't cope with the number of passengers. It took us the best part of an hour to get through security, and clearly there were considerable hold-ups, evident in ground staff heading towards the security area looking for 'any passengers to '' You certainly need plenty of time. The airport shops and caf's are as expensive as anywhere else in the world; in short, not worth it. On the whole' This was an excellent cruise, with good food, a good itinerary, and courteous staff. Would we choose Oceania again? That depends to a certain extent on their marketing strategy, which is much in evidence; special offers are delivered to your stateroom each night. But as they are oriented towards North-American clients using Oceania's flight programme, those of us living on the other side of the Atlantic find this not very helpful and in the end annoying. But that shouldn't detract from an overall judgement of 'excellent.'   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Kudos for Oceania for really delivering on the promise of a "no hassle" cruise experience. Aboard Riviera, you dine when you like, embark and disembark without (significant) line-ups (including at ports), and experience a minimum ... Read More
Kudos for Oceania for really delivering on the promise of a "no hassle" cruise experience. Aboard Riviera, you dine when you like, embark and disembark without (significant) line-ups (including at ports), and experience a minimum of announcements and hassles. Unlike other ships we have cruised, we were not reminded from about day 3 that we would eventually have to leave; all "administrative details" and interruptions of our vacation were kept to a minimum. Both my husband and I really appreciate this style, and feel that Oceania does it remarkably well. The activities are available if you want them, but you are not pressured to participate and your relaxation isn't interrupted by them (eg. no "pool volleyball" etc). The environment really does reflect the "country club" idea, from relaxed (but not sloppy) dress code to the general sense that one is treated as an adult and not a kid on spring break. Incidentally, there were few actual kids and those few seemed to be well supervised. Travel and hotel: we arranged independently since the O air service could not deliver a direct flight. Great hotel in Istanbul (Pera Palace) where we stayed 4 nights before cruising - hardly enough time to experience this superlative port. Embarkation: "concierge" class gave us early embarkation - it was well organized but I am not sure this was so much of a perk since the entire concierge floor showed up at the same time, so there was about a 30 min lineup. Once on the ship, lunch was ready and the staterooms & luggage were to us within about an hour, so very well done. Staterooms were fine - "concierge" is identical to the regular verandah state room, but with different toiletries and cashmere lap blankets (not needed in summer). Like Marina, Riviera has very nice, fresh and contemporary decor which we did enjoy. Full bathtub too! Dining: The "Grand Dining Room" is spacious and open with many windows, and those seeking tables for two can usually have a window seat. We like this a lot. Never pressure to share a table (though if you wish, you can). Food excellent, service just OK. Servers were often a bit rushed and there is generally "title inflation" on board - the fellow may be called a sommelier but don't expect him to actually know about wine. Even in the marquee French restaurant, Jacques, it was difficult to have a really relaxed experience as the servers seemed to be instructed to "move you along" to the next course. There are 4 specialty restaurants and we enjoyed them all. Definitely book reservations online as soon as you can ("concierge" gets to go ahead of regular staterooms) as they are always full. Second visits to the venues can sometimes be arranged but we found the best bet was going to the venue & talking directly to the manager there - our concierge was not helpful and the central reservations desk was only slightly helpful in trying to do this. We found the buffet restaurant OK for breakfast/lunch but its generally chaotic and noisy atmosphere was not conducive to a relaxed evening meal. The pool grill does surprisingly great lunches and "healthy" dining is possible here if careful choices are made (eg. Surf and Turf minus bun and fries is actually a great lunch!). I was very disappointed that the ice cream bar closes at 4:00 - returning from a hot a tiring day ashore I would have loved an ice cream (we typically don't dine until 7;30 or 8). Activities: We had 11 ports scheduled in 12 days so had few opportunities, but did take in one dance class which was very very basic, but fun; had tea one day (pretty standard, not special), and otherwise avoided group activities. We enjoyed the well stocked library and relatively easy access to deck chairs, and we spent a lot of time walking on deck. This ship lacks a promenade deck, and the glass "protection" over the railings comes quite high up, which is disappointing for shorter women who cannot see over it. The exercise track at the top of the ship is fine but the loop is quite short. The gym is nice & equipment is in good condition. Open access to sauna & steam room is great. "Concierge" gave us access to the spa deck which has its own hot tub and the nicest deck chairs (with shade for reading), and it was never crowded. Smoking: On paper, Oceania has one of the most restrictive smoking policies. On a prior Marina sailing we did not have problems with second hand smoke, however this sailing seemed to have a much higher proportion of smokers and it did become a real issue. Although the policies say very clearly that smoking is allowed in only 2 areas, in fact staff members smoke above the jogging track (!) which does not make for very healthful exercise. Also, one of the permitted smoking areas is in the main lounge, Horizons, and is NOT ENCLOSED, so by the evening the whole room and hallways outside (even the floor below) fill up with smoke. We had to miss out on entertainment in this venue when it got too bad. Pretty much all developed nations don't allow indoor smoking in public venues without separate ventilation now, so Oceania really needs to look at complying with these safety regulations. Shore excursions: we only did 2 with the ship, in Sochi (due to Russia's horrendous visa process) and in Constanta, Romania (due to safety concerns). In Constanta, we had an amazing guide (Cosmin) who made an otherwise rather mundane visit to the ruins of the Greek colony Histria a great experience due to his stories & information. In Sochi we had an average guide and a rather dull visit to Stalin's Dacha, complicated by the horrible traffic snarls in the city (everything is under construction as they prepare for the olympics). Value for money in these excursions really is not good; in other ports we arranged private guides and had better tours for much less money. However, the tours were well organized and ran smoothly. Entertainment: Not a highlight of this ship! Despite talented young performers, the choreography and costumes for the 4 main shows was really not to our liking (I'm not a prude generally, but I thought all the performers deserved more fabric than they were given). We attended the "cabaret" performances of 2 of the singers and enjoyed these much more. One "headliner" was a Celtic musician and she was fantastic but the others were pretty disappointing (many people walked out of the shows). The piano bar on this ship is really terrible - it's badly designed (the same as Marina) so only about 4 tables can really see the pianist - this doesn't lead to the right kind of environment to promote the fun singalongs we've enjoyed on other ships. The bands were all very talented, but we like to ballroom dance and found the opportunities very limited as after dinner, the only band that played focused more on country and 70's rock music. Service: here we were really let down, as we were celebrating an important event, and this was communicated & logged in our file (we later checked), but not acknowledged in any way on board. I later discussed this with the service manager and he apologized but it was a pretty big disappointment (and dramatically different than we have experienced on other lines/ships when celebrating a special occasion). General service was otherwise average, although I am not sure the happiness/mood of the employees was as positive as on our own favourite "best service" ships (Crystal Symphony & Serenity). Disembarkation: could not have been smoother - we made our own arrangements and simply walked off the ship when we were ready, and our luggage was at the terminal. No waiting in the lounge, colour groups, etc as we have sometimes experienced elsewhere. Summary: we like the style of this cruise very much, but were disappointed that our special event wasn't acknowledged, and found the training of some of the staff (eg. sommeliers, dining room service staff) was not up to the experience promised. Food was more of a highlight than the entertainment. At the end of the day, we chose this ship for the itinerary, which was in fact stellar (even though we missed our call at Mykonos due to high winds the last day), and we enjoyed the cruise. For the safety of passengers and crew, the smoking regulations need to be adhered to and brought on par with those on land in developed countries.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We usually pick our cruises by selecting places we would like to visit and then looking which lines go there. This means that we have travelled with a fair variety of the major cruise lines but this was the first with Oceania. They market ... Read More
We usually pick our cruises by selecting places we would like to visit and then looking which lines go there. This means that we have travelled with a fair variety of the major cruise lines but this was the first with Oceania. They market this as six star cruising and in many ways it is - so what were our impressions and experiences? Check in at Athens was a breeze, we went straight to the counter and on the boat. To be fair it was mid afternoon so perhaps we missed the rush. First thing we noticed was that there were no photographers trying to snap you before you boarded - in fact there were none at all on the cruise which makes a refreshing change! The boat is lovely, as I suppose it should be because it's so new, but it really is beautiful. Our veranda cabin was the best that we have ever had, better than some suites on other lines. The wardrobe was full of coat hangers! The bathroom is out of this world with a good sized bath (although the taps are a bit awkward to reach) and a wonderful large shower with a glass door and a large rain effect shower head. We could have stayed in for ages!! The room was serviced well but we did have a bit of trouble with shower gel not being replaced. After we had twice chased up David (steward)for more he left us four at once so no further trouble. Service throughout the whole boat really was excellent - nothing seemed too much trouble and it was always with a smile. Full marks for this.Oceania sells these cruises on the dining options and we did try them all. We enjoyed this but also liked the main dining room with its wonderful chandelier. I don't know if it was just us but the waiters did get our orders a bit mixed up (or wrong) quite a few times. Although there were a reasonable amount of hand gel machines their use was not promoted too much, however all the food in the buffet was served to you - no self service - and we never heard of any illness on board. Activities were not so hot. The band was good but mainly used for backing the shows. The resident entertainers were good and in their last week so were well rehearsed! They were restricted by the rather small stage and some of their high jumps almost grazed the stage lights above them. There was other music available from mid afternoon but there didn't seem a lot and the ship was very quiet with large empty areas after 9.30pm. There was a lot of non-hosted events in the daily programme and the art work on board was given the hard sell with previews, auctions, last chance to buy etc! David Shermet the Cruise Director took a mostly low profile and the only time we really saw him was introducing the shows and at the pool party. There was also three guest lectures about the Economic Situation in Greece and the EEC. Yes, well I went to one but was surprised that as the voyage was about Antiquities this didn't feature in the lecture programme more.The complimentary tea, coffee and soft drinks were very nice, but the alcoholic drinks were a bit pricey with 18% service charge added. Gratuities were added to your bill at $14.50 per person per day but you could adjust them or even remove them if you so desired. The shore excursions were pretty much a rip - off. For example we arranged a 7 hour tour of Istanbul with a private guide in a large air conditioned mini bus for four of us for £44 each (Smart Price Tours). The same trip on the boat in a group of 10 - 16, seeing exactly the same sights was sold at $385 pp !! Another major rip off was wanting to charge us $49 for a Turkish visa. When we docked at Kusadasi there was a visa office on the dock where the visa could be obtained for £10 or $20. We were told about this by another passenger and when we went to reception to get our passports back we asked them if it was possible to get the visa on the dock they told us of course it was. Any announcements to the passengers? Of course not! This left a bad taste in the mouth. So in conclusion - lovely boat, excellent staff, beautiful ports. Six star cruising? Well not quite but well on the way. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We had very high expectations for our first Oceania cruise, although we have cruised before. We were told we would never cruise another line again and that the food would be like eating in a five star nyc restaurant every night. Both ... Read More
We had very high expectations for our first Oceania cruise, although we have cruised before. We were told we would never cruise another line again and that the food would be like eating in a five star nyc restaurant every night. Both turned out to be false in our case. We arrived in Istanbul 2 days prior and stayed at the hotel nena which was in the old section of the City. It was a very reasonably priced hotel with a great location and a great view from their roof top Restaurant. It was in walking distant of the sights and also near the tram which was fairly easy to use. The hotel arranged a guide for us and we pretty saw what we wanted to see. We arranged for the hotel to drop us off at the ship. Embarkation- was easy and quick and we went to our room and then had a bite at the terrace grill. I had the surf and turf sandwich, which was medallions of lobster and steak. The steaks,was,delicious but the lobster not so much. Our bags arrived at our cabin which was an Inside. It was very comfortable, although we were surprised that the desk was so scratched up The carpet looked It was ready for a cleaning and even the threads on the pillowcase were shredding. I expected high standards. Ship - was beautiful, but low key, and many interesting sculptures and art work, the main dining Room was beautiful. We loved the lounges around the pool. The auditorium was small, and the entertainment was geared towards the late sixties and seventies which was the average age of the Ship. The gym was nice although I only visited it once as this was a very port intensive cruise. They did offer classes, ile yoga, stretch, spin. We did not use the spa but did tour it and it was Nice, but small. Activities- they seem to have some. Ice cooking classes and art classes, but I can't comment as I did not participate. Service - this is where we were disappointed... The staff worked hard , but definetly were not outstanding. Food- favorite restaurant was red ginger ((the lobster pad Thai, was great) and we did like all the other specialty restaurants , although we felt that toscanno was understaffed. The dining room Was good. Our disappointment was at the terrace grill where it took 40 minutes to get a hamburger. After 20 minutes I was told they were very busy and then had to wait another 20 minutes. As this was on our second day of the cruise at lunch, I wondered how oceania could claim to have such a hi ratio to passenger staff. Ports - we did not take Oceania excursions because we like do it our selves. I will review the ports Which I could not find much information on Cc. Also they had a cruise lecturer who was excellent and Gave great info on the ports Mittilini (lesbos) we were there on a Saturday and many locals were at the waterfront tavernas enjoying their day off. We went to the castle which is very close to the dock, then strolled thorough the town, and did some shopping and then ate lunch at a taverna facing the water. It was very Picturesque . Marmaris, turkey - we walked through the market to the boats and for $25 pp we had a 3 hour boat Tour. We stopped at a cove a jumped into the Aegean . It was great. Before boarding we stopped for Turkish bagels and bread some cheese and drinks and had a picnic on board.. Antalya , turkey - the ship provided a shuttle from the port which was about a 25 minute ride. We went to the anatalya museum and rented their audio guide which was very good. We also saw Hadrian gate and went to the. Market. Kusadasi - used Ephesus shuttle and were very pleased. Ephesus was amazing. We did not like The market in kusadasi as they were very aggressive. Disembarkation - easy and quick. We had a taxi arranged to pick us up and bring us to the airport. It was half the price of oceanias transfers for 2. Marina was a great ship with a few blemishes. Oceania goes to great ports, we were very lucky with the weather it was An average of 70's to 80's with one day 92 degrees Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
First of all, this cruise was a wonderful trip and I had hoped that previous comments given to us by others on the Marina were not so or at least the time had past for Oceania to rectify and change some situations. All the ports of calls ... Read More
First of all, this cruise was a wonderful trip and I had hoped that previous comments given to us by others on the Marina were not so or at least the time had past for Oceania to rectify and change some situations. All the ports of calls were wonderfully selected and we had no trouble in each port to disembark and embark. The port of Cyprus was not too interesting and would have liked another day in Istanbul or Israel. The staff was always polite and obliging. The entertainment was fair to good. The cruise director Nolan Dean was funny, light and entertaining. The concierge service on the 9th left little to be desired. He never had an answer and when he did, it was incorrect. So we learned not to rely on his judgement. All services for our cabin was excellent and always met with a smile. We filled out our comment cards and hope that they will be read well and change the following: The food was not what we expected at all. The majority of cruisers were 50 plus and healthy dishes should have been available. The Terrace Cafe staff often did not know what they were serving.(ingredients). They should have been informed to properly inform the cruisers when asked. Too many pork dishes and not enough variations of soup (always creamed or consomme). On one lunch I witnessed the staff put in at least a half cup of butter in the risotto. Needless to say, we did not touch this dish. The signature dishes of Jacques Pepin in the Grand dining (salmon) was so bland and without spices that it looked liked it had been washed and dried out. Red Ginger was absolutely the best. Toscana's Italian dishes were also without spice and flavour. The chefs needed to make a few variations and make tasty food and healthy without the butter and salt. This is very possible.All in all it was a great 24 days and lots of friends made. We do have other cruises with Marina and I hope they can improve on the food. I shall look for comments from others before returning to Marina. One more comment is not to wear white and sit on the deck chairs. There is a lot of soot to be found on the deck floor and on the chairs. Attendants were often brushing off the chairs. Not sure if this can be changed or ajusted for their new ship Riviera. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
In 2010, we cruised on the Azamara Journey which is an identical ship to the Oceania Nautica. Both ships and cruise lines are very, very good. Food and cabins were quite comparable on both ships - both were superb. Oceania crew might ... Read More
In 2010, we cruised on the Azamara Journey which is an identical ship to the Oceania Nautica. Both ships and cruise lines are very, very good. Food and cabins were quite comparable on both ships - both were superb. Oceania crew might have been very slightly better trained. Azamara provides complimentary wine with meals and gratuities are also included whereas both are extra on Oceania. Both cruise lines are recommended. Let itinerary be your deciding factor. We had veranda cabins on both ships and recommend that - very spacious. Oceania crew appeared to wake up with a smile on their face and stayed that way the entire day. Ship was very clean. Soft drinks are complimentary and cabin crew kept our refrigerator stocked with Diet Coke as we requested. Both specialty dining rooms are excellent. Main dining room is also very good. After some long days of touring, we chose to eat at the Terrace Cafe where we could dine in our shorts. Food is essentially the same as the main dining room but served buffet style. Eat outside on the rear deck if there is room - very nice eating out there. Waves Grill on the pool deck right outside the Terrace Cafe serves lunch until 4:00. This location make a good hamburger and an excellent panini. And their french fries are fantastic - your cardiologist would not approve but the fries sure taste good! In general, I recommend that you consider skipping all ship excursions and arrange your own private tours. With only two people, private tours are similar in price to ship excursions but more flexible. With two couples, price is cut in half. It is very easy to make all arrangements ahead of time via the internet. Note that most of these guides want to be paid in cash. Ship's first port was Nauplion (a.k.a. Nafplio). Patty Staikou (pstaikou@mail.gr) was recommended by Rick Steves' guidebook. She also agreed to give us tours of both Mycenae and Epidavros whereas ship excursions made you choose one or the other. Patty arranged for a taxi (we paid driver separately) to pick us up at the ship. Taxi was a very clean Mercedes and driver drove us to meet Patty. The latter is a superb guide. Zakynthos was next stop. We took ship excursion, Panoramic Zakynthos. Very disappointing. Can not recommend that excursion. Some friends took a private tour and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Monemvasia was another port. Here it is recommended that you walk to the town of Monemvasia. Lower city is quaint and easy to walk. If you are up for the hike, travel to the upper town. The latter is mostly ruins except for the 12th century Hagia Sophia. Now, if you are still energetic, you can continue up to the Citadel. Note that these "trails" are not particularly easy to traverse and you must be very careful coming back down. There are numerous very slippery rocks that must be negotiated and it is slow going. But the views are excellent. Kusadasi (Ephesus) is a great stop. You must go to Ephesus. We prearranged a tour through www.ephesusshuttle.com. The latter provided a very clean van with separate driver and guide. Haluk Caliskan was our guide and was quite good. This company was very flexible. Ship docks for a shorter time in Kusadasi than other ports and there is a lot to see. Ephesus Shuttle modified one of their standard tours in order for us to see what we wanted to see on the time we had. They are also reasonably priced and accepted credit cards. Other ports are discussed in the sections below this. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
In a nutshell: perfect itinerary, outstanding service, and excellent food, but the ship is old & cramped. The entertainment & activities were way below par. With a starting port of Athens and and ending port of Istanbul, ... Read More
In a nutshell: perfect itinerary, outstanding service, and excellent food, but the ship is old & cramped. The entertainment & activities were way below par. With a starting port of Athens and and ending port of Istanbul, the itinerary was fabulous for extending our vacation. We learned that many others on the cruise did exactly the same thing. The embarkation process could not have gone more smoothly. We were super impressed compared to the torturous experiences with larger ships on Carnival. We arrived just when boarding began and our room was ready and luggage delivered. Yay! Our veranda stateroom was small and the bathroom tiny. An average person sits at a weird angle on the toilet and almost hits the ceiling in the postage stamp sized shower. However, there were towels galore and they were replaced at the slightest sign of use. The veranda held 2 chairs and a table. That's it. First day out, we ran into heavy winds at Mykonos and had to abandon that port to sail directly to Kusadasi, Turkey. Many passengers stayed in their rooms as the small ship was heavily buffeted by the wind & swells. By dinner time, things calmed and we enjoyed a great meal at the main dinning room. All the dinning areas (main, buffet, & 2 specialty restaurants) had outstanding 5 or more course meals. The service was impeccable. We made friends with some of the servers and their were smiles all around. So, this part of the cruising experience was excellent. The after dinner entertainment was very basic, mostly with 4 singers and 1 comedian. Yep, that's it. The entertainment & activities were targeted to 70 & 80 year olds. I'm hardly young but I found this was not nearly as much fun as that of bigger ships with more diverse passenger ages. The music included a show band, a string quartet, and piano bar. Other activities included bingo, trivia, 2 karaoke nights, and attempts as special events. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Getting on and off the ship was very professionally done. The room was smaller than I thought it would be. I know trick photography is used when taking pictures of the room, but a little more space for the price would be nice. Everything ... Read More
Getting on and off the ship was very professionally done. The room was smaller than I thought it would be. I know trick photography is used when taking pictures of the room, but a little more space for the price would be nice. Everything worked well in the room, tv, air, good mattress. No problems with the bathroom, plenty of supplies. The service was the best. 5+ for sure. The cruise entertainment director, Willie Aames, of 8 is Enough fame, was born for this job. A great job is an understatement. The food was very good for all meals, but the speciality restaurants, in my opinion, lacked the quality that the regular restaurants offered. The wine was reasonably priced with an excellent selection. They even hold a bottle for you until the next day and serve it in any restaurant that you go to. There was never an "at sea" day so we used the pool on only 2 occasions. Never a problem getting a place to relax. We didn't take any of the tours, which were extra; instead we opted to explore on our own. Even if they were free, it's not likely we would have taken them since many of them were too physical for us. Most tours went from 75-150 dollars. The ship often had courtesy buses in-town to take us to and from the ship. Nickel and dimeing is a problem. Charging 2 dollars for washing and 2 dollars for drying is ridiculous. So is having only 1 laundry room on the entire ship(700 passengers). The line starts at 7:00AM and planning a wash is not vacation time well spent. The Internet costs about 140 dollars for about 2 hours. Too expensive. All in all, the pluses exceed the minuses so it was a trip well worth it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Having made all our own flight and hotel arrangements (we stayed one night at the excellent Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice before embarking the ship), my comments are all about Marina and the cruise.We travelled with friends from home who ... Read More
Having made all our own flight and hotel arrangements (we stayed one night at the excellent Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice before embarking the ship), my comments are all about Marina and the cruise.We travelled with friends from home who had never cruised before. Fortunately they were delighted with the experience. The service on board Marina was outstanding - probably the best I have encountered on some 40 or more cruises spanning the last 30+ years. The food was also consistently excellent.The itinerary was good, although port-intensive. This suited our 'newcomer' friends. At most ports we arranged our own sightseeing (this is a part of the world I am quite familiar with) but we did take organised shore excursions at Monemvasia (to see Mystras) and Kusadasi (to visit Didyma and Miletus). Both were excellent with good local guides - important when visiting ancient sites. Good weather throughout (apart from a rainy day in Kotor Fjord) also helped. The Eastern Mediterranean in Spring is breathtakingly beautiful with carpets of wild flowers everywhere. Also the Summer crowds were yet to arrive. Daytime temperatures hovering around 20 degrees (68degF) were perfect for walking and sightseeing.To return to the ship. There are serious design faults. We had cabins on Deck 11 designated 'Penthouse Suites' at the PH1 grade. When we walked into our cabin I wondered why it was so dark (the day outside in Venice being brilliantly sunny). The reason became clear when I opened the balcony door. There is an enormous overhang (I estimate about 20 feet wide) which runs all around the deck caused by Deck 12 above (the pool deck) being so much wider. The ship's architect has made a big mistake in siting the best cabins on Deck 11 rather than lower down on the ship. I would recommend readers to avoid this deck at all costs and go for a cheaper cabin. Sunlight does not fall on the Deck 11 balconies other than in the very early morning or late evening. Incidentally, the balconies are not teak (as trumpeted in the brochure) but a rather unpleasant laminate designed to look like teak!The other mistakes are in the design and location of two of the bars. The 'Grand Bar' - located by the main dining room - is just a wide corridor with chairs and tables either side. People pass through in constant procession and I cannot imagine wanting to sit there (though a few did). It is utterly devoid of atmosphere. The adjacent bar 'Martinis' is ruined by being very dark and having windows which overlook the lifeboats! This leaves only one nice bar - 'Horizons' - up on Deck 15 forward. This is a lovely room for drinks before or after dinner and where the best afternoon tea afloat was served daily at 4pm. However, the bar is not open during the day for lunchtime drinks! Also the furniture is over-large which makes for difficult ease of movement by passengers and stewards alike. This could be rectified by removing 10% of the tables and chairs.The pool deck is lovely and properly finished in teak, but other outside decks either have that nasty faux teak laminate (like the cabin balconies) or a blue rubberised flooring. A great mistake. Both are unbearably hot to the feet on sunny days. This could be put right at a future refit.Turning now to the restaurants, we ate in Toscana (Italian), Jacques (French) and the Grand Dining Room. None of us are big eaters of red meat so we eschewed the Polo Grill, and we could not get a sensible dining time in Red Ginger (Asian) so we did not bother. The Dining Room, Toscana and Jacques were excellent. The food and service were of the highest standard. Menus were wide and varied and international in appeal. Service was seamless, attentive and friendly without being over-familiar. The crew were immaculately groomed and could have graced any hotel or restaurant on land, however grand.Breakfast and lunch in the Terrace Cafe was also most enjoyable and rarely did we have any difficulty finding a table. On most days we had breakfast or lunch (or both) outdoors on the Terrace Cafe verandah.We had a 'butler' but really did not need him. The restaurants on board are so lovely that I cannot imagine wanting to eat meals in the cabin (unless you are ill, which we fortunately were not), and over-elaborate 'canapes' seem to be unnecessary and difficult to fit in between the excellent tea and dinner. We just needed our 'butler' to bring early morning tea, and glasses and ice for drinks before dinner - which he did perfectly!We went to one 'production show' after dinner in the Marina Lounge but it was so amateurish and bad that we all got the giggles and had to leave! Thereafter we made our own entertainment. The lack of good organised entertainment does not bother us.So, all in all, apart from the design faults (which will be difficult for Oceania to do anything about), we were well satisfied. The passenger profile is still predominantly American, but Oceania are starting to realise the danger of being over-reliant on one market (remember the impact on the travel industry post '9/11') and are now marketing their cruises more widely in Europe, Asia and Australia.I shall be happy to return to this ship. But not to Deck 11. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
The public areas in the ship are beautiful. We particularly enjoyed the bar with the pianist (Mario, I think). All the dining rooms are beautiful. The dEcor in the rooms is beautiful. The main beds are very comfortable (but not the ... Read More
The public areas in the ship are beautiful. We particularly enjoyed the bar with the pianist (Mario, I think). All the dining rooms are beautiful. The dEcor in the rooms is beautiful. The main beds are very comfortable (but not the pull out couch).The ship is very stable.Ports were fabulous. Particularly Monemvasia, a pleasant surprise since the ship didn't hype it very much. It was probably the best stop.Library and workout room fabulous.Solid winelists. Great that ship is mostly non-smoking.Overall, the cruise was very nice.Cabins: The separate tub and shower makes for a very small shower.We don't use tubs and the shower was very small for a large man. The closet was too small for all our clothes and difficult to reach the far end of it near the bedside table. One of our suitcases didn't fit under the bed and we didn't realize until the cruise was over that we could have asked our attendant to store it. In the shower, we don't like rainshower heads. The holder for the handheld shower head is at your waist so you can't use that as your showerhead. Some men used the handheld shower head in the tub.Our 2 attendants did a marvelous job. However, friends of ours complained that their room was not ready at 6:30 p.m. and the attendant was rude. There was nail polish on the tub that was not removed. And the door to the balcony didn't work. There is only one electrical plug by the TV. Bring an extension cord.Laundry: great self-service laundry but 45 minutes is not enough time on high heat to get all the clothes dry. $2 per wash and dry., each. Grand Dining Room service was erratic. We had a wonderful lunch there when it was nearly empty; great service and food. We had a horrible dinner where it took 3 hours to get our meal start to finish, food was overcooked, and the waiters didn't pay attention to empty water glasses, etc. Outdoor Grill: same thing with service. Generally very good, but once it took 45 minutes to get a sandwich. We think they forgot us. Definitely some training and experience needed for the staff as this is a new ship.Quality of food overall was equal to Regent and slightly better than Celebrity. But the specialty French restaurant on our last Celebrity cruise was better than all of your specialty restaurants, including La Reserve. There were highlights but everything was not consistently outstanding. Service in the specialty restaurants was excellent in all cases.Room Service: On Regent, the Grand Dining Room menu was available for that night's room service during dining room hours. I'd like to see this added. And a few more appetizer options. Room service menu is quite limited.Tenders: Being a new ship, they don't have the tender process perfected.Last day in Mykonos, everyone waited 45 minutes to get off the ship which annoyed everyone. Not a pleasant way to end a luxury cruise.Entertainment: The auditorium is awful. You cannot see over the heads of people in front of you. Entertainment was only so-so. Best entertainment on the ship was in the bars.Shopping: Ridiculously limited and outrageously expensive. The only shops were high priced jewelry and boutique. On Regent, they brought in special vendors on different days. There was nothing reasonably priced on the ship and we didn't want to spend out time in port shopping. On Regent, we bought a black pearl and diamond pendant after a pearl presentation. They had sales on Regent branded goods the last few days at sea. And they had high end costume jewelry and a gold by the inch sale. Marina needs to add things like this. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was our 15th cruise and our first time on Oceania. We felt we were ready to get away from the "bigger is better" cruise ships and lines and we were generally pleased with the Oceania experience. The Nautica is a well ... Read More
This was our 15th cruise and our first time on Oceania. We felt we were ready to get away from the "bigger is better" cruise ships and lines and we were generally pleased with the Oceania experience. The Nautica is a well maintained ship that was recently dry docked for refurbishment.All new teak wood throughout the exterior spaces with new chairs as well. The only area of the ship that looked "dowdy" was the buffet area. Loved the Tapas on the Terrace area at rear of ship for eating outdoors. Pros: a great itinerary with access to smaller ports, such as Portofino & Amalfi, due to the smaller ship size. With less than 700 passengers, ship never felt crowded, very few children (all well behaved), better quality of food and service. Nice group of travelers, mostly couples. Cons: Destination Services (tours) overpriced and poor quality. We went for almost $1500 in tours and not one was decent,let alone exceptional. Destinations Service staff on board ship gave us a $30 refund per person when we complained that the description of a tour in Montenegro did not in any way resemble the actual tour itself. We are currently demanding a full refund of $298 & haven't received a response to our letter of complaint to Oceania in Miami. No shuttle bus was provided in the ports to get us into the towns. This is something that Oceania needs to work on. The specialty restaurant Toscana was a major disappointment. We are from the NY area and are inundated with decent Italian restaurants and this wasn't even in the "decent" category. Nothing on the menu was overly exciting...what is everyone raving about? Polo Grill, on the other hand, was fabulous and we ate there twice. The food and service in the main dining room was also very good. Used the laundry room iron to touch up a few items and it was always crowded with lines waiting to get in when it opened at 8am. Much too small. Limited entertainment, the comedian was good but not much else to remember. We were generally pleased with the overall experience, but when we did the math, the trip cost us approximately $1,200 per day, which was much more pricey than a similar itinerary on Holland America's newest ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam. We're still trying to decide if it was worth the difference. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
My husband and I just returned from a 10 night cruise aboard Oceania's Nautica in the Mediterranean. We went on the cruise to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We had been to about half of the ports previously, but neither of us ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a 10 night cruise aboard Oceania's Nautica in the Mediterranean. We went on the cruise to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We had been to about half of the ports previously, but neither of us had been to Greece or Spain before. First, the pluses. The size of the ship was perfect for us, not too big or too small. The staff, with the exception of the "destination services" staff were wonderful. We dined in all of the restaurants and they were all fabulous. Our favorite was Toscana. Our stateroom was very nice. It was well laid out with ample storage. The bed was extremely comfortable. The outlets in the room accommodated standard plugs from the US, so we did not need to use converters or adapters. We loved the itinerary and the idea that we woke up each morning in a new place. We had three issues that prospective passengers should be aware of regarding the Internet, the excursions and the pre- and post-cruise arrangements. The Internet was important for us because my husband had to keep in touch with his office while we were gone. Using your cell phone is very expensive, especially when they add on maritime charges, so we thought that emails would be better. The Internet is very expensive and does not work well. We bought a package, so the cost was only 70 cents a minute. Unfortunately, many minutes were wasted trying to get to websites. The staff member in charge was very nice and credited us with some minutes to compensate, but it is still a ripoff based on what you get. You should look very carefully at the excursions. Most of them don't involve any real activities. Most of them involve you sitting on a bus with an occasional stop for a photo opportunity. They were very hit and miss. Some were fabulous and others a complete ripoff. We brought this up to the staff and they acted like they could care less. One of the biggest complaints we had was in Turkey. We paid $99 per person for a tour of Kusadasi. At the end of ALL of the excursions in Turkey was a "rug demonstration". The rug demonstration only took about five minutes, then they began to use high pressure sales tactics, similar to those you would get during a time share sales pitch, to try to sell you a rug. Mind you, the rugs were EXPENSIVE! They probably had some that were less, but most of them ranged in price from $10,000 to $40,000! I couldn't believe that we paid money to go on the excursion only to be lead to the rug merchants. My hunch is that Oceania gets a kickback on any rugs sold to their passengers. The last issue was with regards to the pre and post cruise hotel arrangements. Oceania charges WAY more than the hotel charges. Save your money and make your own arrangements. We made our reservations for the cruise and pre and post packages a year in advance. They only use two hotels in each city that we planned to stay in. We researched them before deciding. Long story short, when we arrived at the Hotel Arts in Barcelona, where we had pre-paid $2798 for three nights at club level, they did not have our reservation. The other four parties from our ship also had no reservations. The hotel was fully booked and we were taken elsewhere. This was after sitting for more than four hours waiting for the hotel and Oceania to try to sort it out. They told us the hotel they were taking us to was an equivalent five star hotel, though it is not one that they ordinarily use, but it wasn't. It paled in comparison. It wasn't near the beach, it didn't have a swimming pool and the lobby had not been updated since the hotel was built in 1919. I checked the rates through Expedia for the dates we were there. The junior suite we were in went for $426 per night. The club level room at Hotel Arts was $606 per night. We paid about $933 per night. The last comment I will make is regarding air arrangements. Oceania uses Delta for most of their passengers. Delta was horrible. They cancelled a flight when we were leaving Barcelona on a Tuesday morning. The flight we had the following day left three hours late because the crew was "stuck in traffic", therefore we and about 200 other passengers missed our connecting flights in Atlanta. We didn't get home until Thursday afternoon. Make your own arrangements and don't use Delta. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Sadly, I need to report it was very difficult to deal with the home office of Oceania because we had booked this cruise through an internet agency. Once they were aware of that, they did not want to provide requested information, and we ... Read More
Sadly, I need to report it was very difficult to deal with the home office of Oceania because we had booked this cruise through an internet agency. Once they were aware of that, they did not want to provide requested information, and we essentially felt like second class citizens. WE boarded a plane out of DC for Munich. That was nice. We like Lufthansa. Then it was Munich to Vienna. Nice flights. However only my baggage arrived, my husband's did not. We made our way to the ship via bus, not a bad connection. Then a short water bus ride to the ship. We had, of course filed a report of missing baggage with Lufthansa, and were told it would arrive. However, the plane leaving Munich was too small to carry the "lost" luggage (more than l) and regular passenger luggage to Vienna. His luggage instead had to go to Frankfurt where they have bigger planes. Oh, the joys of air travel! It was with some trepidation we boarded the Regatta in Venice. If not for other cruise critic members, we may have given it up ahead of time. (thank you cruise critic) It was Saturday when we arrived on the ship; no luggage Saturday. No luggage Sunday, we EMBARK AT 3:00 pm. The Oceania staff was made aware of our dilemma. As we understand it, the "manager" of such things went to Vienna airport himself and we received the luggage at 2:00PM. Yeah Oceania! We had previously cruised to Venice. We hated it! Never wanted to go back; however, this cruise offered wonderful ports, etc. Now we realize why we hated it; it was July, it was 95 degrees, it was crowded in St. Marks square and walking through the shopping area. Not so in October, less people and we made full use of the water taxis, that in itself is a wonderful experience viewing the grand buildings from the canals on Sunday, watching the pilots of the gondolas, have team races down the canal. Prior to our arrival in Dubrovnik, Croatia, the cruise critic group met sharing ideas and gathering information. Our balcony room was lovely and we made use of it throughout the trip even tho there was a cloud that formed when we left Vienna and followed us the entire trip, sometimes dumping rain, sometimes, wind. However, I can understand getting a lesser cabin on this most intesive port venue. Remember, our luggage was late; well our darling room attendant said we could get free laundry any time. OK a few days later we compiled our laundry. And sent it on. Lovely returned all on hangers, etc. Then a few days later we received a preliminary bill for charges on the cruise thus far. $58 for laundry. We were perplexed. The laundry ticket clearly said, no charge. However, calls to the laundry billing resulted in no return phone calls to clarify this matter. What to do???? By chance my husband ran into the General Manager of the ship at breakfast buffet. He asked how things were going. My husband related the laundry story. He said, "I'll check into it". Within an hour we received a call from Dennis in charge of laundry who did not call us back previously. He said, there was a mistake, there will be no charge. Yeah Oceania! Speaking of breakfast, it was delicious as were all the meals on board. The specialty restaurants were especially delightful, but grand dining room great too. It was the best food we have enjoyed on a cruise. Yeah Oceania! We did not go to much of the entertainment. It is not a Princess ship with extravaganzas. However, a wonderful group from Russia playing classical music, just lovely. Summary: wE'RE REALLY GLAD WE ATTENDED WHISPERS OF ANTIQUITY Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We traveled on Oceania in its inaugural year and it was fabulous.  In many ways, it is still a notch above other lines but it also is less than what it was.  The food is decidedly less varied, with cheaper selections.  There are no ... Read More
We traveled on Oceania in its inaugural year and it was fabulous.  In many ways, it is still a notch above other lines but it also is less than what it was.  The food is decidedly less varied, with cheaper selections.  There are no fresh pancakes or waffles in the morning and precooked items could break windows.  Lunch was fine but the dining room dinners were boring and somewhat repetitive with little shell fish on the menu.  Polo restaurant has slipped.  The lobster bisque was horrible and the ship does not know how to make real Caesar salad.  The ports of call were handled well but the ship provides no free water like Azamara does.  It also has no comfort station upon return with cold drinks nor cold hand towels. Too many ports are only half day.  The hotel they used in Egypt made hundreds of people sick from the food and the line at the doctors was unreal as our cabin was right across the hall from the doctor.  Entertainment was lacking.  The magician did the same tricks he did inaugural year and they should fire him.  The comedian was fine as was the quartet.  There are also not enough chairs at the pool and they do not enforce the policy of not holding deck chairs for hours at a time and then not returning.  The ship is clean, the crew is exceptional and service is polite and prompt.  But the line is trading on it past and needs to fine tune.  Bean counters have gotten to it.  They had no flowers nor wine for past repeat cruisers, no ship board credit until cruising five times and with what they charge should be giving kids free soda, instead of 2.50 a can plus 18% gratuity.  They are penny pinching and it is distinctly unclassy. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Others have posted comments about this Nautica cruise, which sailed on 27 June from Barcelona, and I am not in total agreement with these comments, however everyone has their own views. My husband and I dined one night with one of the ... Read More
Others have posted comments about this Nautica cruise, which sailed on 27 June from Barcelona, and I am not in total agreement with these comments, however everyone has their own views. My husband and I dined one night with one of the other reviewers. Nautica was well-maintained and all the staff were very helpful and friendly. When you asked how they were, the reply 'excellent' did get a bit wearing, though. The staff and the ship are definitely the line's biggest assets. We found the dining room dinners unimaginative and only "so-so". Other cruise lines, including Princess will generally accommodate realistic "off-menu" orders, provided sufficient notice is given. My husband asked the dining room Manager one evening, for a repeat the following night of a main course of that evening's menu. The answer, ratified by the ship's Maitre'd, was that this was not possible due to "health and safety reasons". This is a nonsense as other cruise lines can do it and was clearly an excuse. Oceania's strap line is "let us exceed your expectations" - sorry Oceania, you fell at the first hurdle here. We were very disappointed with Toscana. If you don't eat veal, there is very little other choice, as so many dishes have veal in some form or another. I do not eat veal on principle because of the way the animals are kept in mainland Europe. In an half-empty restaurant, service was indifferent, with a wrong main course order one night. The lobster was tough and overcooked, then swamped in a chilli pasta mess. We heard of several other passengers cancelling their reservation in Toscana, after being disappointed on the first visit. Much better was the lobster in the Polo Grill, where we ate four times, Michael, the manager, being very accommodating. The food here was the best on the ship, especially the lamb rack. Dinner in the Terrace was also only so-so, with so many of the dishes being lukewarm. The dish of the day, cooked in the wok, was typically bland for the American palette; we have previously been told Americans dislike garlic and spice in their food. After the Cairo visit had laid low about half the ship, who went down with Pharoah's Revenge, all the dining venues were quiet. Even so, the ship was far from full, with only 610 passengers. The only swimming pool is sea water, which is changed regularly. This is far more hygienic than fresh water pools on other ships because we saw hardly anybody shower their sweat and sun cream off before getting into the pool, a really disgusting habit. Would you like to swim around in other peoples sweat residue? Another plus is that Oceania cover the sunloungers with white towelling which is changed daily. Other cruise lines take note about the hygiene benefits of this. My husband got ringworm off a sunlounger that must not have been clean. We partook of virtually no entertainment, so won't comment. What was annoying, though, was the repetitive announcements by cruise director, Dotty, whose booming voice echoed round the ship like a foghorn. The issue which really wound us up (and many others), surprisingly not commented on by any other contributors who were fellow passengers, was the Great Oceania Visa Rip-Off. I'm going to make a separate posting about this to warn future passengers. In short, Oceania charged us $49 for an Egyptian visa we didn't need, and which the Egyptian immigration staff we spoke to onboard said cost nothing. (I speak a little Arabic) This was just a money-making scheme by Oceania. We were also unhappy at the onboard price hikes since June 2008. Bar bills now attract 18% 'gratuity', whilst stewards' gratuities have also gone up around 20%, but I bet the staff haven't seen such a pay rise. Drinks prices were a deterrent too. A bottle of average Californian red cost $42 + 18%! Another "cutback" was the lack of "Britain Today", the daily page of news from the UK, with the excuse that there were not enough Brits on board to justify printing, there were 40 - it had been supplied last June when we had half that number. It was only due to the persistence of one of the passengers, that it was provided half way through the cruise. Another slight annoyance was the introduction of a flow impeder on the sink taps, apparently only a week before we boarded. If this was done, as someone suggested, to save water - why was it also not added to the shower? The only way to fill the sink without waiting for ten minutes was to use the shower head. The shore excursions are also inadequate and over priced, and the shore excursion department need to be brought into the 21st century. Their presentation on the ports to be visited are amateur and consist of slides of dubious vintage. They need to take a leaf out of Princess Cruises and show videos of all the ports. The daily programme for disembarkation day said that passengers had to be off the ship by 9.00 am at the insistence of Turkish immigration - utter rubbish!!! We disembarked at 09.45 and we were by no means the last and there was no sign of immigration questioning why we had not previously disembarked. This is clearly a ruse by Oceania to clear the ship, so don't get conned next time if it happens to you!! Despite getting everybody off the ship so early, they still cant make cabins available before 1.00 pm, or 3 pm (depending on cabin grade), unlike Princess where you can embark straight to your cabin from 12.00 noon or even earlier and with a passenger complement of at least triple. . Overall, the cruise was not as good as that on Nautica in June 2008. The service and the cleanliness of the ship were again excellent, however the food was not and the visa rip-off soured the atmosphere. We had cruised on Silversea in February. In the present climate, Oceania is poor value for money when set against the all-inclusive Silversea experience. I've decided there are two categories of cruise ship - those that play bingo and those that don't. Oceania play bingo, Silversea don't. One of our fellow passengers has complained about the Big O prizes or lack of, which I totally agree with, particularly as it is pushed daily. The comment made by the Cruise Director about what items were finally available for points redemption, was that their deliveries had not arrived!! What a weak excuse. By contrast Silversea took a very liberal view when our accumulated points were insufficient for the item we wanted -we got it anyway! - Bingo versus no Bingo! All cruise lines are making economies or trying to squeeze extra onboard revenue, when you're already hooked. Oceania's efforts show up badly and tarnish, what was supposed to be a quasi-luxury brand. Nautica's penny pinching and revenue generation ruining what had been a lovely experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Our cruise began May 10, 2009, in Istanbul, Turkey, went to Mitilini, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Delos, Mykonos, Santorini, Athens, Strait of Messina, Amalfi/Positano, Taormina, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice. We recommend the ship to any adults who want ... Read More
Our cruise began May 10, 2009, in Istanbul, Turkey, went to Mitilini, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Delos, Mykonos, Santorini, Athens, Strait of Messina, Amalfi/Positano, Taormina, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice. We recommend the ship to any adults who want good food, good company, and good experiences ashore.We spent a day in Istanbul  before  embarking Nautica. We had a private tour to the wonderful sites Topakapi Palace, Church of St. Sophia, Blue Mosque and Covered Bazaar. Enjoyed it very much. We had our arrangements through Transbalkan Tours (www.transbalkan.com) which we used them for Ephesus as well during the cruise. We overnighted in a boutique hotel located in the old city. Next day we took a cab to Nautica. Boarding process was simple and friendly. We were in our stateroom within 15 minutes of leaving the taxi and at the welcoming lunch buffet 10 minutes later. Most of the luggage arrived promptly. The final piece was delayed a couple hours.Overall, the ship was beautiful, very well decorated, traditional but not old-fashioned, and superbly maintained. You could hardly find a scuff mark anywhere. The ship carries only 680 passengers, which puts it on the small side these days. We, and everyone we talked to, liked the size, which was big enough but not too big. While cruising, the ship was stable. The swimming pool was small but adequate, with two whirlpools, and the deck area was adequate. There were a variety of places to sit in the sun or lean on the railing. There was a nice library, a good-sized fitness area, a small casino, and two shops. A string quartet frequently played, as did a pianist. The stage entertainment was typical of cruise ships. There were few children on our trip, and there should have been none.Nautica doesn't encourage children, and these kind of trips aren't suited for them. Food was usually very good, sometimes excellent, and a few times even superb. It would occasionally fall into the "okay" category. The elegant Grand Dining Room operates during specified periods as announced each day in the ship newsletter. You are not assigned a table or an eating time.There are no formal nights. You dress "country club casual." No tie or jacket is required for men. Some jackets but only a few ties were in evidence. You decide whether to eat with others or not. Service was good. The buffet, at the stern of the ship, has superb views and is called the Terrace Caf? for breakfast and lunch and Tapas for dinner. On three consecutive evenings, we sat at one of the outdoor tables at the buffet and watched the sun set over the Black Sea, an experience to treasure. Menu selection was varied, and presentation was excellent in both restaurants. Oceania advertises that "legendary chief" Jacques Pepin created some of the dishes on the menu. That seemed overrated to us. Near the pool was a grill, operating from about noon to 4 p.m., where you could get good hamburgers and hotdogs, a few other sandwiches, ice cream, and go through a salad buffet. There are two alternative restaurants, Toscana, featuring Italian, and the Polo Grill, featuring beef. You make reservations, but do not pay extra at them. While fine, they are over-hyped. The dining room and buffet were just as good. The Nautica does not scrimp on food. Prime rib was on the menu several nights, a roast sucking pig was served one day, and shrimp prepared in various ways was available almost every day.We met the captain once at a ship's party. Otherwise, he was not much in evidence. Tours of the bridge, kitchen and engine room were not advertised. A concierge is available during the day. When our room keys acted up, he quickly had the problem fixed. The staff comes from many countries, and most had good command of English and were very friendly.Shore excursions were as with many ships, terribly overpriced. Details about them, necessary to decide which ones to select, were hard to come by before we boarded. Calls to the 800 Oceania number were answered by dour, unhelpful individuals. For some of the port of calls we decided to pre-book private shore excursions through local tour operators before boarding to Nautica. We were very happy with the tours provided through them. Saw more and Saved a lot.Local Tour Operators we used:Santorini: www.santorinidaytours.comKusadasi:  www.transbalkan.comAthens: www.athenstaxi.netIn talking to many of our fellow passengers, we heard nearly-unanimous praise for the Nautica. A surprising number of them had been on Oceania two or three times before, although the company has existed only a few years. One woman, apparently a chronic complainer, said maintenance of her stateroom was lacking, crew were impolite, and food was not "phenomenal." It was difficult to believe her first two claims. As for the food, meals were always enjoyable and delicious; for "phenomenal," you go to gourmet restaurants. Several passengers got on board without their luggage. I suspect that was the fault of airlines. I would strongly advise against arriving in Europe on the same day your cruise ship departs - WAY too much opportunity for trouble. Service in the Nautica buffet was at times a little slow. The staff should also enforce the dress code. We had a few louts who came to the buffet in sleeve-less t-shirts and baggy shorts, and one who talked loudly on a cell phone. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
First, at the risk of offending the diehard Oceania fans out there (who always seem to defend the line with a passion), I will try to be as accurate and even-handed as possible--so, please excuse me if I sound a little negative at times--I ... Read More
First, at the risk of offending the diehard Oceania fans out there (who always seem to defend the line with a passion), I will try to be as accurate and even-handed as possible--so, please excuse me if I sound a little negative at times--I honestly do not intend this to be a negative review. I only want to be honest. ALL cruise lines do some things well, others less well. All have areas where they can stand to improve. The criticism, in part, is in hope that the cruise line will recognize the deficiencies and improve. There is also the notion that EVERYONE has different criteria, different standards and put different weight to the importance of those criteria. There are no absolutes. There is no way for anyone to say ANY cruise line is better or worse in any area in any objective way and for it to mean the same thing to every reader. I might feel the entertainment is sub par, but someone else might love it--and to some people, they could care less as it is simply an unimportant part of the experience (Yes, we met people who never even went to a single show). I could say the food is excellent and someone else might think it poor--it's a matter of individual taste--perhaps influenced by what we're accustomed to eating back home or what we grew up with. So, basically, what follows are MY opinions--based on MY criteria, my experience and my weighing of importance. Istanbul: Spent 2 nights there plus the "overnight" on the ship. Fascinating city, great history. Stayed at the Conrad-which was absolutely first class all the way. If there's an issue at all, it's that the location is not in the heart of the tourist area (but maybe that's a good thing). Luckily for us, we had private tours arranged and people picking us up at the hotel so location was never a problem. I really recommend the Orient House Dinner/Show--really a highlight. Entertainment on the ship the night in Istanbul consisted of some EXTREMELY amateurish local dancers followed by a very good belly dancer. Next day was at sea. Then Kusadasi--Where we had a very fascinating private tour to Ephesus, Miletus and Didyma. Next Rhodes--Did a half day excursion to Lindos through the ship and wandered Rhodes on our own. Not sure I'd do Lindos again--a long drive and a lot of stair climbing for a few pictures--not as nice a town as Rhodes. Next was the bizarre day in Mykonos. We were supposed to have visited Delos until noon and Mykonos from 2 pm until 11 pm. Early in the morning we learned that we would not be anchoring at Delos due to high winds--but that we would be charged $69 (rather than the $49 originally charged) for our excursion to Delos since the extra $20 would go for small boats to bring us there from Mykonos. We were in the Nautica Lounge around 8 am waiting for them to call our tour when the announcement came that the Shore Excursions to Delos were cancelled completely. We could pay $20 for bus transfers into town if we liked--but, we figured that price was a bit steep and we'd find a taxi. But since no one expected the ship to be there that early, there were no taxis at the pier, so we opted to walk--about a 35 minute walk from the pier to town. We found an internet cafe, then some shopping, then stopped in a local cafe for a little lunch. Little did we know that by around 10 am, they were no longer letting ANYONE off the ship. Most of the passengers never even got into Mykonos! Around 1:30 pm, while we were eating lunch, I spotted a Nautica crew member informing some other passengers at a nearby table that they had to return to the ship immediately. Strangely, the guy didn't bother searching out to find there were another couple of tables of Nautica passengers at that restaurant!!! Luckily, I overheard and called him over. We were told to walk to a waiting bus and get back--that the ship was LEAVING, the winds were too high for them to stay anchored at the dock. We got back to the ship around 2:00--and the ship LEFT the dock at Mykonos, short 45 passengers still unaccounted for somewhere on the island (as they were located, they tendered them to the ship). Next was Athens. It was supposed to be Santorini next, but Oceania changed the order due to the number of ships in each port on each respective day--probably for the better, but it wreaked havoc with our prearranged private tour. We didn't find out until we boarded in Istanbul--and we had to call our driver, Spiros, by cell phone--and, as luck would have it, he was NOT available on the changed date. He sent a friend, but I'd guess, based on Spiros' reviews==and on our experience with the friend, Fotios, our tour was somewhat downgraded in the commentary and insight department. Still, it was a very interesting day of ancient sites in the Pelopennese--Corinth, Epidaurus, Mycenae, et al. Mycenae ranks among my wife's favorites. On Santorini, we took the cable car up and down and we rented a car and visited Ancient Thira on our own--an incredible site on a mountain top--the road and hike were both something we will not soon forget. Also did lunch on the far side of the island and some wine tasting. Next, another day at sea. Amalfi--We did a full day tour with Salvatore of the Amalfi Coast--EXCELLENT guide and driver. Taormina--We did a ship's excursion to Mt. Etna. A major change in pace from all of the ancient archaeological sites we had been visiting. We were a little disappointed--we had booked a FULL DAY Shore excursion to My. Etna and Taormina. But, when we got to the ship, there was a note awaiting us that it had been cancelled. The explanation we got was that the ship wasn't in port long enough for the entire tour. Didn't Oceania know this AHEAD OF TIME? Why hold our money for several months? The port times didn't change. Couldnt they have just slightly abridged it with a little bit less free time on the crater? As it was, after the Etna tour, we never got to Taormina--not that there wouldn't have been time--there definitely was, it's just the logistics of finding a taxi and knowing that we'd be able to find one to come back to the ship (It docked fairly far from Taormina) were pretty daunting. So we walked around and had lunch in Naxos instead. Had they told us earlier that this tour wasn't available, we would have hired a private driver for the day. Kotor--Surprisingly charming little town. We did a shore excursion to Sveti Stefan and Budva. Sveti Stefan was picturesque, but otherwise dull. Budva had much more charm to it. We walked through town and up and around the town walls (a bargain at 1 euro apiece). .Apparently, everyone in Budva is either going to or coming from a beach--and there must be some sort of local ordinance requiring all young women to wear skimpy bikinis. .Kotor itself was charming and picturesque--but it may take them some time to gear up to standard tourism--not a decent T-shirt to be bought in town. Friends, catch it now while it is still relatively unspoiled! For Dubrovnik, we had planned on doing it on our own, but they added an excursion that didn't waste time in Cavtat (We were bored with Cavtat last time). It was a brief tour of Dubrovnik, followed by a visit to a remote local farm for a very good and entertaining lunch--with wine, wine and more wine. Very good excursion. Venice, we'd been to several times before--we had three nights there, the "overnight" plus two more at a hotel, the Anastasia. Our hotel was a VERY WELL located and reasonably priced (130 Euro per night including breakfast) 17-room hotel--very close to San Marco and the Valaresso Vaporetti station, wedged between the Westin and the Violin d'Oro on a very quiet little courtyard--with elevator, air conditioning, etc. We ended up taking the Vaporetto there from Piazzale Roma--and were pleasantly surprised when we left to find that our Vaporetto pass (can be bought for 24 hours for 12 euro or 72 hours for 25 euro) INCLUDED the bus ride all the way to the airport! In Venice, we wandered at length for three days, including visits to the Ghetto, the Ca Rezzonico and to the island of Burano (absolutely beautiful). Okay, on to the ship. Cabin: Ample and well designed, comfortable bed, decent storage space. Public rooms: Grand Dining Room: A little crowded in places (They might as well remove the pretext of "tables for two"--and replace them with larger tables for six since they stack three "two-spots" close together in a row--so you're just as close to the next couples as if you were sharing a table)--not really a complaint--we LIKE eating with others. Toscana and Polo--much more intimate, very nice rooms, long and narrow with views from Deck 10. Terrace/Tapas on Terrace/Buffet--Buffet area (the food serving part) is a bit small and limited, the seating is adequate with some nice views from the outdoor tables on the rear deck--at least in the morning while it's still relatively cool. Horizons (lounge on Deck 10)--very nice as a bar, but horrendously laid out for other uses (for some inexplicable reason, they held Karaoke here for the two nights they had it)--the stage is small and not visible from MOST of the tables/seating--the bar is really designed to drink and gaze out the windows, not as an entertainment venue. Casino/Piano Bar ("Martinis")--The casino is quite small (a few slots, four blackjack or poker tables and a roulette wheel) but seemed to be the most (and only) crowded venue at night after the show. The piano bar is attached, meaning the sounds of one are infringing on the sounds of the other. Grand Bar: Nice little bar at entry to Dining Room, making it a little less amenable for drinking--mostly taken up by people awaiting their dinner dates. Nautica Lounge: A fairly nice, intimate venue for a "show room". I do like the "lounge/bar" style seating arrangements. Library: Very nice and most comfortable little room. Pool Deck: For those thinking they are avoiding "big ship" problems by going on a smaller ship, it's not necessarily so. All the same "chair hog" problems you'd find on Carnival, Princess or Royal Caribbean and not an unclaimed chair to be found after 8 am on an at sea day. I have one giant problem regarding the much-ballyhooed "Cabanas"--they seemed to be the one part of the pool deck that was underutilized. They're lined up along the front of the ship in a location that otherwise would have provided great viewing and photography area for, say, the sail into Venice. Food: On the whole, excellent. A few minor disappointments: The New York Steak in the Grand was not up to expected standards--and the "gratinated" Lobster in Polo was somewhat dry and tasteless. Otherwise, most entrees, appetizers and desserts were quite good--definitely not disappointing even the higher expectations. Service: Cabin Steward and assistant cabin steward were excellent. Dining Room staff was very inconsistent. Some days good, most days either slow, forgetful, impersonal. Several times, they got the orders wrong, one meal, they forgot my soup entirely. I'll go into my cruise line comparison a little later, but one very noticeable lacking is the "waiters who get to know you"--obviously, there are both good and bad points to "open seating", but for me, a major failing is in that lack of relationship between the waiters and customer. I drink a LOT of Iced Tea--and I like it replaced FREQUENTLY. That rarely seemed to happen on Oceania--sometimes I'd get a waiter or assistant waiter who would catch on--ONCE in 14 nights I got a waiter who finally recognized that I immediately remove the lemon wedge and he stopped bringing it with the lemon. But, most nights, I'd have to continually ask for refills and MAYBE get one or two refills. Entertainment: This is DEFINITELY NOT one of Oceania's strong points. We were prepared for a lack of "production shows", but it goes beyond that. I'm sure a lot of it is basic economics, but here's the rundown: In some order or another, the nightly "shows" consisted of: 1) The amateur Turkish dancers and Belly dancer 2), 3), 4) and 5) The four assistant cruise directors singing boring, unimaginative medleys of 80 songs in 45 minutes, trying to fit in a bland version of something for everyone (Note: Some of these kids were talented, for sure, but the productions lacked staging, style and variation) 6) and 7) A magician and his assistant--actually quite good. I'd say the best shows onboard 8) and 9) Oceania's Entertainment Director, Mark Friedman and his wife Rodi. Decent enough and professional enough for one good show 10) and 11) A singer who apparently sang somewhere in the background of the original pilot of the "Love Boat" -- Okay I guess, but I've seen a lot better. 12) The Piano Bar piano player moving his act to the "big room". He's not bad--but, on most ships, this is what you go to the piano bar for. 13) The "lecturer" giving a "prime time" talk with slides on the subject of.----Benny Hill (I guess you have to have been a Benny Hill fan)--and 14) The "finals" of the Karaoke contest (the "winner" being a 12 year old kid doing show tunes in a key other than his own). The bottom line is that it seems MOST passengers certainly don't sail Oceania for the entertainment. Other entertainment/activities/things-to-do: Again, scale and economics comes into play--smaller ship, fewer venues, less people translates to far less to do. Whereas on most cruise lines, the daily schedule, especially on "at sea" days takes up three pages with multiple activities in multiple venues going on at the same time, on Oceania, it's about half a page. There's the "Team Trivia" at 4:30 daily in the Grand Bar. Two nights had "Name That Tune" in the Piano Bar, two nights had Karaoke in Horizons. "Dancing" was often listed in the program but rarely seemed to materialize undoubtedly due to lack of interest.--or maybe musicians. Food, other than meals: Well, I guess they had "Tea" at 4 pm each day, but we were usually in port. Past there, there was scant little to be found, especially in the late night. We are accustomed to eating dinner before the show, then venturing out to other venues and capping off the night with a little late night pizza--or milk and cake or some fruit or whatever. But, on this ship, everything but room service is closed down after dinner and we really just like a small nosh and don't want to deal with room service. Cruise Director: David Shermet--a really nice guy and a Southern Californian. Overall, seemed to be a really hardworking guy. Other notes: Prices for goods and services onboard tended to be a little on the HIGH side. Oceania T-Shirts in the gift shop started at $35--though late in the cruise they put out some on a "Sale" table for a mere $20. Clothes, jewelry, purses, and gift items in the ship ALL tended toward the expensive end of the spectrum. Drink prices were high with "well" mixed drinks going for $7 AND UP and the drinks were not exactly "amply" poured. Often, I felt like sending it back and asking if they wouldn't mind filling the glass to at least the halfway mark! In the past on these boards, I've always scoffed at the folks who like to bring their own booze on board and pour their own--but, with the bars on Nautica, I'm beginning to see their point. Internet usage was an outrageous $0.95 per minute on a system slower than molasses with frequent disconnects. Dress code: For me, I particularly like not having formal nights. I hate schlepping a tux and having to get all decked out. On the other hand, my wife loves that and missed having it on this cruise. "Open Seating": I am sort of a traditionalist--I love having an assigned table and dedicated waiters and the same tablemates each night (hopefully we get assigned a good bunch). Even on traditional seating ships, we still get to meet a lot of folks at breakfast and lunch--which are usually open seating. But there are also a few advantages, especially on an itinerary such as this--If there are late hours in a particular port, going to dinner (except at Polo and Toscana where you have to reserve a specific time) is at your leisure--show up when you're ready. Of course, it seems like MOST people showed up around 7:30-7:45 (Dining hours went from 6:30 to 9:30 nightly, shows generally started at 9:45). Going at around 7:30 seemed to fit with most folks schedule--So, if you went to dinner at, say, 6:30 or 6:45, you'd be in a fairly empty dining room for awhile. We did a couple of times. Of course, the wait staff seemed to go at a particular pace no matter what time you started, so it seemed we ALWAYS ended up finishing at the same time, whether we showed up at 6:30, 7:00, 7:30 or 8:00. They seemed to just catch everyone up during the appetizers and by the time dessert came, we were all on the same schedule. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. As I kept saying "It is what it is". If what you want is a smaller, quieter cruise with a very slow pace and you really only want to tour the port, come back and have a drink and eat a slow-paced elegant dinner, then off to bed, it's a near perfect cruise. The ship is elegant, the food is excellent, the service is decent, the cabins are ample. It is very casual--both in terms of dress AND pace. The cruise itself is decent value for the money (so long as you don't drink too much or add on their overpriced hotel packages). The passengers were mostly upscale--very few families with kids. I'd say the bulk of the passengers were between 50-75. They really don't cater to younger folks at all--no kids programs (Heck, even older teens and college-aged kids would be bored--they like to stay up late on most ships, hanging out at the Pizza bar or buffet late into the night--and those just don't exist here). The people we met on the cruise were, overall, a really good bunch. Dinners and other meals were pleasant, conversation lively. The fellow passengers may have been one of the better aspects of this cruise. And the real highlight of this cruise was the itinerary itself--a truly outstanding collection of ports with decent hours in port for most of them. All in all, though I still prefer Celebrity for the greater variety of activities and off-hour food and better dining room service, we'd likely cruise with Oceania again--perhaps to the Baltic, where they often offer a three-night stay in St. Petersburg. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
This was our first cruise on this line. We previously have cruised with Radisson Seven Seas and Crystal. The ship is beautiful, and at first glance you would say it is a luxury cruise. But it does fall a bit short of our other luxury ... Read More
This was our first cruise on this line. We previously have cruised with Radisson Seven Seas and Crystal. The ship is beautiful, and at first glance you would say it is a luxury cruise. But it does fall a bit short of our other luxury experiences. There seems to be a lot of "nickle and dime" expenses. Not that it adds up to that much, but that it is annoying. I would rather have these items included in the price. For instance: Charges for the laundry room (there is only one on the ship-always crowded and a line to wash) charges to takes exercise classes, charges for soft drinks and bottled water. It seems when leaving for a shore excursion that water should just be given to the participants (just add another $10 onto the price of the tour). It also seems intrusive to be in the middle of a 6 star dinner (food was excellent!) and have a ticket to sign for your soft drink (small glass, 1/3 of a can of soda for about $3.50) SOmething about having this great meal served and at the same time have to sign a drink voucher, destroys the atmosphere. We were in a suite with a lot of nice amenities, but one was not a complimentary stocked mini bar. Soft drinks should be included as part of at least the suite amenities. I know a lot of other people were complaining of the same thing, so really, the line should charge a little more in the overall cost and just include these things. At that point, when attracting the luxury cruise "crowd" they will be happy. Otherwise service was good and again, the food was fantastic. I would suggest avoiding the pool food--or eat on shore-however. It is not even close to the quality that the other restaurants offer. Another comment I have is there is really no entertainment at night worth seeing. I have come to enjoy the production style shows on the other cruises we have been on and kind of missed it this time. I did enjoy one guest speaker and found him very interesting. But again, missed the Broadway level talent I have experienced on other lines. I hope that with time this line will come around and match their atmosphere with the experience and get rid of the little charges for things and give cruisers the sense of value for their money. I realize it is an illusion, but just include it in the price and we'll be happy! If this line included wine with dinner and complimentary soft drinks,add a little to the entertainment, they would be right up there with their other luxury competitors. In terms of the itinerary, we were in the Black Sea area. Ukraine and Russia, while interesting in there own historical right, are not really ready for tourists. Just "okay" and I think this was the general thought of most other people we were with. But, Nessebur, Bulgaria and of course Kusadasi and Istanbul, Turkey were fantastic. We had the pleasure of a fantastic guide for our Turkish stops. Lale Kosagan, of www.privatetoursinturkey.com, was a terrific guide and we achieved a great appreciation for the country and completely enjoyed our time there. We would return again. Overall, if you are considering this line, the cruise prices are good, the service is good (not quite as good Crystal) but workable and nothing to complain about, the food rivals other luxury ships we have been on, and found the grand dining room (as well as the two satellite restaurants) to be extraordinary. We arranged private guide/car through the ship for Ukraine and Russia and found this to be acceptable and easy for us. We found the room in good condition and enjoyed the suite amenities. We did however find the ride at night was often very bumpy, and we think this was because we were at the front of the ship and that the Black sea has a lot of current because of a number of factors. But it was never enough to make us sick. We just have always been midship. However on this line, if you want a suite, you are either at the very back or front of the ship. The exercise room has medium quality equipment. There is no room dedicated to classes. They just share the floor with the weight equipment. There were a few classes that I noticed, but not a big emphasis on this and the fact that they charge for yoga and perhaps others (I can't remember which classes were a fee) people were not interested. I have seen better exercise rooms on Crystal. But, if this is not important to you...who cares? The spa and restrooms with steam were very nice. So we would recommend the line with thought that you will have a lot of little silly expenses and just don't worry about it. Make sure you take water on the Ukraine tours because most of those countries only take their own currency and there was not money exchange available on the ship. SO in other words, you could be stuck with out anything to drink until you return to the ship, or are able to get to an ATM. Don't expect any fancy entertainment and make your own drinks in your room from liquor you buy onshore. Their drinks are expensive and not really a good value--like a soda is about two big sips, and that for $3.50. You'll see little ads in the daily brochure for "$4.99 martini day" and to me, this seems to not match the style of the ship. You don't go to a 5 star restaurant and see "today is pina colada day for $5.99!) But, hopefully over time they will get it and improve this one area. One last comment, this is not really a ship to bring the kids. Not much for them to do and the ship does not make an effort to get what kids are onboard together so they can make friends, like we have seen on other lines. If it is a port-intenisve itinerary, with only a few sea days, it does not really matter because your kids will be busy the whole time in port. But if there are a lot of sea days, then your kids will definitely be bored. I could not find a lot of reviews about this line before we booked, so hopefully this will help any of you luxury cruisers who are thinking about this line. Happy cruising. Read Less
Sail Date June 2006
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