We chose this cruise primarily for the ports included in the itinerary. In addition we wanted to try a smaller ship. We had sailed twice on the Oceania Riviera and in both instances had excellent experiences. We hoped that on a smaller ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for the ports included in the itinerary. In addition we wanted to try a smaller ship. We had sailed twice on the Oceania Riviera and in both instances had excellent experiences. We hoped that on a smaller ship the service wold be even one notch higher. Overall we enjoyed the cruise. However we were a little disappointed with our experience on the Nautica. We thought the service on our previous cruises on the Riviera was more personal and friendly, the staterooms were nicer, there was a better selection of facilities and entertainment and even the food was better.
For this cruise on the Nautica there were a number of things we liked, however, as well as some things we didn't like. The main positives and negatives were....
- ports (overall) - being on a smaller ship generally gives you direct access to smaller ports without having to tender
- travelling in low season, at the end of the Fall in Europe - often we were the only ship in port, which meant smaller crowds everywhere. The weather is obviously more of a risk, however.....
- embarkation & disembarkation were wonderful - we were on & off the ship in under 15 minutes.
- transfers from the airport to the ship & back from the ship to the airport, which we took with Oceania, were well organized & efficient
- of the 3 excursions we took with Oceania, 2 were very good
- our room stewards were excellent
- the folks at Destination Services, who had to scramble because of missed and changed ports at the beginning of the cruise, were cheerful and helpful.
- overall the ship was immaculately maintained even if the decor is dated & the ship is due for a major reno
- the High Teas at 4 pm each day were very enjoyable & the string quartet was very good
- we had excellent meals at Toscana, the Italian specialty restaurant
- the presentation of dishes in general was excellent and the quality of the dinners in the Grand Dining Room was generally very good; we had a couple of exceptional/memorable dishes during the cruise but a few disappointments as well
- eating al fresco on the terrace of the Terrace Café at lunch time on sunny days when we were in port was lovely - I can't think of a nicer setting
- salads and hamburgers at Waves Grill were great
- specialty coffees from Baristas Bar (in front of the Grand Dining Room) were excellent.
- even though the Internet was slow & balky, at least it was free - on cruises we took on other cruise lines it was also slow & balky but you had to pay for it!
- port of Durrès - no idea why we stopped in Albania as there was very little of interest to see and do in this port and the surrounding area.
- one of the 3 excursions we took with Oceania (Secret Corners of Venice) was a complete waste of time
- entertainment choices are limited and geared to a much older crowd
- we had a poor dining experience in the Polo Grill, the steakhouse specialty restaurant, which was very disappointing
- servers in the Grand Dining Room (GDR) seemed under pressure at dinner time, were having difficulty dealing with the large number of guests at peak times
- even though we were "concierge", our friends and us were given less-than-desirable tables at dinner in the GDR on a number of occasions (e.g. next to the noisy waiter sections) even when there were tables available nearer to the windows. In one instance our friends specifically asked for a table in a better location and we were assigned a table next to a waiter station, even though there were numerous better tables available. Grrrrrr.....
- lack of variety of dishes at the Terrace Café for breakfast and particularly at lunch (as compared to the Terrace Café on the Riviera)
- service in the Terrace Café was hit and miss; there were some nice servers but others seemed glum and disinterested in serving guests
- Concierge Services - we asked the Concierge once for help making a change to dinner reservations at a specialty restaurant and were told to call Dining Services ourselves later
- we found that "concierge" verandah on the Nautica was not good value for money - the things we appreciated the most as "concierge" guests on the Riviera, i.e. the concierge lounge, help from the concierge, access to a nice area at the front of the ship (with cold non-alcoholic drinks) were either unavailable or limited on the Nautica.
- Oceania (the captain & crew) did nothing to acknowledge the rough start to the cruise - we missed the key port on the 1st day (Amalfi) and had to change the port on the 2nd day as we experienced very rough seas and bad weather during the 1st 2 days of the cruise. We had missed ports occasionally on other cruises but this was pretty exceptional. Nothing was said about this, nothing was offered to the guests - a small token/acknowledgement would have been appreciated.
If this cruise on the Nautica had been our first Oceania cruise I am not sure we would sail with Oceania again. However, given our earlier morte positive experiences on the Riviera, we had already booked a cruise on the Marina next Fall and we are looking forward to that. Read Less