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14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The cruise was generally excellent mainly because of the the variety of food, the service, the gym and running track, and the itinerary. I will not go into detail on those factors because you can read about them in numerous other reviews. ... Read More
The cruise was generally excellent mainly because of the the variety of food, the service, the gym and running track, and the itinerary. I will not go into detail on those factors because you can read about them in numerous other reviews. Instead, I will discuss a few deficiencies aboard Nautica and suggest some ways to overcome them so that they will not interfere with your enjoyment of the cruise. The final week After seeing Petra, there are 4 days a sea, then a ½ day stop in Salalah, Oman, and then another day at sea before stopping for a day in Muscat, Oman. Salalah is a dead-zone as far as tourism is concerned. There is nothing to see in the industrial area that surrounds the gigantic port. Moreover, the taxi drivers’ union does not allow the ship to offer its usual free shuttle into the town. We heard numerous complaints from other passengers about the boring tours of Salalah offered by Nautica (at outrageous prices). On that day, we stayed onboard the ship even though it meant we went 6 full days without going ashore. My advice: Take some good books and projects to help fill the hours in that final week. Shore excursions Because we paid O-Life fares, we received 4 excursions each, which we used for tours that were only accessible by the ship's buses. We found the main problem on these excursions with 30+ people was that it was difficult to hear the guide unless you were standing right beside him or her. Oceania needs to take a lesson from Viking and provide Vox machines for all passengers on all tours. We found that for half the price of Nautica's shore excursions we could easily book better, small group tours using top-rated companies that we found on Tripadvisor. Then everybody could hear the guide and ask lots of questions. We used Love Egypt Tours in Luxor and Jordan Horizons for Petra. Specialty restaurants reservations Oceania does not reward loyalty; instead they give perks to passengers based on how much they pay for their staterooms. For example, someone who is a first time Oceania guest who buys a stateroom for $25000 gets to reserve specialty restaurants at least a month before someone who has been on several Oceania cruises and has spent over $50000 in total, but always on porthole staterooms on level 3. That's not fair. I booked the minute I was allowed to reserve specialty restaurants and did not get a single one of my choices because people in more expensive staterooms had taken all the available tables. However, when I embarked, I went immediately to the dining room and they exchanged all my (bad) specialty restaurant reservations for the times I wanted. Lesson learned: Oceania holds back a lot of times to satisfy unhappy customers like me who request changes when they are onboard. It's also worth noting that we received better meals and equal service in the Grand Dining Room. We will likely not bother reserving in the specialty restaurants on our next cruise. WiFi and Nautica’s computer lab With the O-Life fare, you get free WiFi. However, it’s not their premium WiFi and it’s slow. I can't understand why Oceania offers a service such as WiFi when it is clearly substandard. The two hours before dinner seem to be the worst. Moreover, if you go to the computer lab you may find that some external drives cannot be read by the ship’s computers. I suspect it’s because those computers are PCs and don’t read files that are made on Apple machines. Before you leave home, if you’re a Mac user, test your external drives to make sure they can be read by a PC (eg. at your local library). Also make sure all your files are saved in PDF or .doc format. Food Although the meals are generally excellent, we experienced 2 problems. First, chicken breasts or thighs were raw inside on 2 occasions. We sent them back and got well-cooked replacements. Make sure if you order chicken that you specify you want it well done. Undercooked chicken can be dangerous! A second problem is that the Terrace Grill (the buffet restaurant that you will probably use for most breakfasts and lunches) has the worst design of any cruise ship we have been on. Why? -- 90% of the food is crammed onto counter-tops on both sides of a very narrow aisle, about 50 feet long. You’re continually banging into other guests who are shoulder-to-shoulder trying to get food. The solution: Go very early or very late. Canyon Spa I listened to one of the hour-long health seminars given by the fitness trainer. It was about all the “terrible” health problems caused by the accumulation of toxins in the body. Since I have a biology degree, it soon became obvious that although there was some accurate anatomical and physiological information given out, the majority of the “facts” simply involved vague, misleading half-truths. The objective was to sell several months’ supply of Canyon Spa teas and a seaweed bath product that would supposedly rid the body of toxins. (The cost: over $1000 for a six month supply delivered to your home) It was the worst example of quackery and “snake oil” sales I have ever seen, with not a shred of valid medical research to support the use of those products. Oceania should be ashamed of allowing that kind of misinformation to be foisted on passengers, most of whom have low scientific literacy. My advice: Use the spa for massages if you want to pay their ridiculous prices, -- but skip the seminars. In summary, none of these problems affected our enjoyment of the cruise. I simply offer them as a warning to future passengers on Nautica or her sister ships. No cruise ship is perfect. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise as we have already sailed on the Oceania line (Riviera). An added bonus was the fact that the departure port was in our home city of Cape Town. We also wanted a longer cruise and 30 days was wonderful. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we have already sailed on the Oceania line (Riviera). An added bonus was the fact that the departure port was in our home city of Cape Town. We also wanted a longer cruise and 30 days was wonderful. The Nautica was an ideal size with only about 600 passengers and there was never any inconvenience when trying to dine in any of the restaurants. The food was really good and varied and I never heard any complaints from any other diners. We had a change in Executive Chef mid way through the cruise and I have to say that, whilst the previous Exec Chef was great, we noticed an added standard of excellence when Chef Gary Potiphar took over. Compliments to all of the staff involved for the most amazing Christmas decorations. They were beautiful. The Xmas and New Year festivities were totally celebrated and there was a lovely spirit of friendship and goodwill all over. The Cruise Director, Ray Carr, was outstanding. A man with a great sense of humour and a very good rapport with his staff. We didn't attend any of the evening shows but those who did said they were very good. The ports along the coast of Africa were 'ok'. I feel that Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay, and Richards Bay could have been avoided altogether and more time spent possibly in the Seychelles. A pity we had to miss Madagascar due to the plague there. We were notified of this well in advance of sailing and it crossed my mind that we could possibly have taken in Mauritius instead of having the couple of extra sea days. We took none of the ships' tours as they are vastly overpriced. Mainly we took advantage of Tours by Locals. We would certainly travel on the Nautica again were we to find an itinerary that suits us. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This was our third Oceania cruise and overall we enjoyed it very much. We chose it because we wanted to experience a trans-oceanic crossing. The Cruise Director, Peter Roberts, and his team were excellent and the shows amazing given the ... Read More
This was our third Oceania cruise and overall we enjoyed it very much. We chose it because we wanted to experience a trans-oceanic crossing. The Cruise Director, Peter Roberts, and his team were excellent and the shows amazing given the smallish cast. It was also good to see the cast members participating in other activities – even just meeting and greeting in the Marina Lounge. It made up for an initial lack of visibility of the senior officers, though that did improve. I don’t understand why the officers are not simply instructed to move about the ship using the public areas. The staff were as always friendly, helpful and efficient, though the standard of spoken English of some of them was less than expected. At times the staff numbers assigned to the Terrace Café seemed not to match demand; though this must have been a challenging cruise in this respect as it was by no means full and the interest shown by passengers to go, and stay, ashore varied considerably by port. The ship, including our cabin, was very clean. Following a problem on the previous cruise the ship was almost paranoid about cleanliness with hand sanitisers everywhere and frequent reminders from the Cruise Director. We welcomed this though, amazingly, some passengers still took no heed. On previous Oceania cruises we thought that they took a rather relaxed approach to this compared, for example, with Celebrity where staff squeeze into your hand as you enter the self service restaurant! We liked our cabin very much, particularly the large bathroom with both bath and separate shower; but the wardrobe can be difficult to access. Inevitably, with an ocean crossing, there was a large build up of salt on the balcony and balcony furniture and we were surprised that this was not regularly washed down. It made it very unpleasant to sit on the chairs. The talks by the two speakers, each with a very different style, were interesting and relevant. We didn’t use the ship’s tours which as ever seemed ridiculously expensive, but took advantage of three excellent private tours – many thanks to those who made the arrangements. Now, the food. Oceania has a very inflated view of its culinary expertise, comparing the speciality restaurants to 5 star onshore restaurants. Sometimes they reach this standard (notably in Red Ginger, often in Jacques) but frequently they don’t, and we found the food in the Main Dining Room particularly unimpressive. I do not understand why this should be. The line claims to spend much more on food per passenger than others and this seems to be born out by the menus, and the quality of the ingredients is clearly very high. The only explanations I can think of are that they are losing concentration on achieving first class food on every plate served and have been simply resting on their laurels. Also, it must be incredibly boring producing the same dishes night after night, cruise after cruise. Given the number of repeat cruisers its time Oceania refreshed the menus in the speciality restaurants; and why aren’t there more dishes of the day? Three particular irritations of mine were the dreadful “mass produced style” bread at breakfast in the Terrace Café. The kitchens are capable of preparing wonderful breads, and indeed the croissants are excellent, so why not for breakfast too. Although one could ask specially for English bacon it arrived looking and tasting very unappetising. I don’t know how it was cooked but it certainly wasn’t grilled (broiled). Finally, why can’t they cook decent soft boiled eggs? The ones at the counter which were said to be soft boiled were hard. The ones they cooked to order were almost raw after allegedly having been boiled for five minutes. Some training is needed here. Finally, in the Terrace Café each evening they offered a cook to order service for steak, lobster, salmon and lamb chops. They could introduce more variety, and I wish they would do away with the stomach turning, dried up examples which are left on display. Enough of my moans. Oceania offers very civilised cruises which are a cut above some other popular lines, attracting an interesting mix of clients in a relaxed but never sloppy style. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We are taken many cruises and this was our first experience with Oceania. A wonderful experience and we will definitely sail with this company again. Of course the occasional hiccup but this did not cause us to dislike the cruise. 1. ... Read More
We are taken many cruises and this was our first experience with Oceania. A wonderful experience and we will definitely sail with this company again. Of course the occasional hiccup but this did not cause us to dislike the cruise. 1. Embarkment was fast and easy. Buffet luncheon was exceptional and we then toured the ship on our own. Public rooms are all well appointed and much polished wood and brass. The decor is Edwardian/Traditional and very appealing. 2. Stateroom - We were in Concierge level but rooms were the same as the Veranda and much smaller then Regent Seven Seas. The bathroom was tiny. To be blunt, we never got used to sitting "sidesaddle" on the toilet! But again the room was appointed nicely, our stewardess, Aida was outstanding and wonderful. Everything was perfectly cleaned daily including the balcony and the windows. When we left for breakfast each morning she was in the corridor with a warm "good morning" and a smile. Our room was cleaned while we were at breakfast every day. (Oh by the way, all the staff are friendly, professional and make you feel like family. 3. Luggage - Our luggage didn't arrive till after the fire drill, about 5:30 pm. And only in the corridors. All the guests had to walk up and down the corridor looking for their luggage and lug it back to the cabin. Weird to say the least. 4. Food - With just one or two exceptions the food and menus were wonderful. We couldn't understand the Jacque Pepin thing in the dining room. Three of his dishes was posted on the menu every night, the same three. But there was such an abundance and variety on the menu why is he even listed? The head chef and all his assistants did a great job and Pepin isn't necessary at all. The main dining room is well appointed and the staff were great. We made a point of only sitting at Judaidi's work station. He and his staff are amazing and helped to make each evening wonderful. We usually had a table for two but many nights sat with friends at table for 4. Service was always great. But I do understand some reviewers that complained about bad service at large tables. 6 or more at a table and there were many complaints about long waits. The alternative venues, Polo and Toscana were small and intimate, each maitre d and his staff did a wonderful job each every night we were there. 5. Terrace Cafe - We found this daily buffet venue good but also odd. The two maitre d's from Polo and Toscana were supervising the serving in specific areas of the Cafe and service was outstanding. These two gentlemen also served and cleaning up when their areas were busy. They were hands on and you could see the staff loved these guys. But if you couldn't find a table at their stations then you had to sit with the supervisors that we dubbed: Mutt & Jeff. They constantly were yelling at each other, talking on the phone or yelling at staff. If I needed a cup of coffee I would ask one of them and they went around the room looking for someone to give it to me instead of realizing his staff were busy and just get it himself. 3, 4 or more tables would be dirty and these two would never think to clean up and set up for more guests. They yelled at staff to drop what they were doing and clean up, even if the server was getting coffee, water or assisting a guest already. For the entire 36 days these two unprofessionals got away with treating us guest shabbily and treating the staff deplorably. In the real world these two jerks would have been fired after the 1st week. 6. Entertainment - Two wonderful comedians was about it. There were several vocalists or musicians but for the life of me I can't remember their names or even anything about their performances. The Entertainment Dept. uses their own staff, one at a time, for many entertainments night. Our asst. Cruise Dir. John, was a wonderful magician and comedian.Other then that nothing memorable. And many nights just a movie in the main lounge. So Oceania is like most other companies and spend very little on entertainment. They had a great little band but only one set at noon each day at the pool. Why not several more sets, they don't show up again under after-dinner dancing. It took longer to set up the band at the pool then the actual musical set! 7. Excursions - Like most other cruise lines, the excursions are way, way overpriced for what you get. After the Caribbean ports of call (we did our own thing), all ports were new to us so we booked the ships excursions. The ports were depressing. Poverty everywhere and not many cruise ships even stop at them (as we found out later). Little to see but we sure tried to educate ourselves to these new places. We never had head sets and with large groups they were necessary so for the most part, walking tours were a waste of time unless you stood next to the guide. As we have found from other cruise companies, do you own research and do your own tours. You will save hundreds and enjoy them more. 8. Enrichment - Two lectures but we would have loved one lecturer at least to speak about the countries we were to visit. Not about the stars and celestial navigation. There was an Artist Loft and Pat was the instructor. She had standing room only for her classes. 9. Spa - Canyon Ranch is here too. Overpriced and fair service. Overall: The cruise was all new experiences for us and we met so many wonderful people on board. A friendly crowd of 600 guests. The staff went out of their way to insure us all a great cruise. Although many of the ports were depressing and poverty severe, we learned much about these developing countries and we are so thankful that we are Americans. We have booked our second cruise with Oceania for next Jan. 2017, Cape Town to Singapore and look forward to many years of enjoying cruising with them. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This was our third cruise with Oceania and having experienced Riviera we were a little concerned at how we would enjoy such a long cruise on a small ship. Overall we had a great time, with the food outstanding as ever in the Grand Dining ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Oceania and having experienced Riviera we were a little concerned at how we would enjoy such a long cruise on a small ship. Overall we had a great time, with the food outstanding as ever in the Grand Dining Room, Toscana, Polo Grill and the wonderful Terrace Cafe. The staff were outstanding, and they really made our trip. We loved the itinerary, too, though there were too many ports in South Africa (East London and Richards Bay should be dropped, surely only there to sell more of their second rate excursions) and I would like more ports in wonderful Madagascar to replace them. The best entertainment consisted of four culinary demonstrations led by Executive Chef Joerg Becker which were great fun. Entertainment was otherwise mediocre, though the Nautica Singers were wonderful, not only putting on a number of live shows but also ever present throughout the ship and interested in all the passengers. The Cruise Director I felt could have been a lot more effective, he was more an organiser than a people person and was rarely seen around the ship. The "enrichment" lecturers were on board for the whole cruise and did 5 lectures each. One was on astronomy (interesting, but not what we came on a cruise to learn about) and the other on Africa in general - quite interesting but not very well delivered. The real disappointment was the Destination Services department. Oceania excursions are extremely overpriced, and by all accounts from those that had booked a package, very mediocre in content. What was completely lacking was any information on ports for those that did not book excursions. With Princess we have always enjoyed presentation on each port a couple of days before arrival, however Oceania seem to have a policy that if you don't book with them we don't tell you anything at all. So my advice here is not to book the excursions, and to do your homework on ports in advance. Pretty well everywhere you can find a decent taxi driver on arrival to do a 4-5 hour tour for between $60 and $100 US dollars per car. Oceania excursions range typically from about $150 - $300 per person, though there are some cheaper and some more expensive. Our (concierge veranda) cabin was well appointed but small (and the shower tiny). We were fine with it, though a few people we met did complain. The service from our room attendant was impeccable. Laundry was rather expensive for a cruise ship, though on this longer cruise they twice offered a special deal of up to 24 items washed and folded (not ironed) for $24.95 which was great value. Had we known in advance we would have avoided our first (expensive) laundry wash. One last tip - avoid the stern when booking a cabin and also when eating in the Grand Dining Room - the ship vibrates and judders quite a lot on the lower decks when underway. Overall - we will cruise Oceania again, but hope for better entertainment and enrichment, beware of their excursions and do our homework on ports in advance. Read Less
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