4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (21+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our fourth cruise with Oceania; the previous cruises were the northeastern seaboard, Bermuda, Cuba and India, the ... Read More
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (21+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our fourth cruise with Oceania; the previous cruises were the northeastern seaboard, Bermuda, Cuba and India, the Middle East and Europe . The 15-day South African Explorer Cruise started in Cape Town on January 5, 2019. Our trip actually started on December 31, with our flight landing in Cape Town on January 2. Our pre cruise Eastern Cape Safari started with a flight to Port Elizabeth and a two hour land drive to the Shamwari Game Reserve. This is a privately owned reserve. The Reserve Lodge was fantastic while the Reserve was primarily open range with little water and almost no trees; primarily big bushes. We saw the big five up close and personal, and many other wild animals. The Reserve isn't lush, but that's where the animals are living. A great pre cruise trip. We then flew back to Cape Town to start the cruise. Boarding the ship was very easy. Our room was at the rear of the ship on deck 7, room 7121. This was a good location as we were near the primary sources of food; decks 5 and 9. Most points of interest are on 5, dining room at the rear and the Nautica Lounge at the front. Deck 9 has the computer room, card room and spa. The ship is a few years old but was very nice; very clean. The staff was great and the food was excellent. Coffee, including specialty coffees, was available 24/7 on Deck 10 front and also, during select hours on Deck 5 rear. The ship provided complimentary water and soft drinks. The Program Director provided information about basically everything you needed to know on a timely basis. The ship had a cast of great entertainers on board and also a great band. They were very professional and excellent musicians. The cruise line provided speakers who covered a wide range of interesting topics on Africa and apartheid. The passengers and the crew were all very nice people from all walks of life. The people on the ship made the cruise interesting and enjoyable. The only real negative was the price of alcoholic beverages; they are a little pricey. We had a lot of fun playing games and competitions to earn Big O points. We earned almost 300 points which were cashed in on the last full day for Oceania merchandise. The visited Ports of Call follow. MOSSEL BAY – Our first port was located just east of Cape Town, Mossel Bay, a nice modern and clean city. We took the Discover Oudtshoorn and its Ostrich Heritage tour. This was a much more interesting tour than expected. We learned a lot about raising Ostriches and saw new born chicks through adult birds. RICHARDS BAY– We took the Dumazulu Cultural Village tour. The drive out to the village was very nice and the Village interesting. The Zulu people were very friendly and helpful in attempting to teaching us the Zulu language. They explained their heritage and customs very nicely. The tour ended with a dance program. MAPUTO – Maputo is located in Mozambique; visa required. We took the Glimpse of Maputo tour. This was primarily a tour of the city. It included a brief tour of a steel house designed by Eiffel (Eiffel Tower), a visit to a few markets, a Natural History Museum and a Fort. This really was a nice tour, much more interesting than it sounds. DURBAN – We are back in South Africa for two days in Durban. Our first tour was the Durban City Tour. The tour included a very nice market (good place to purchase locally made goods) and a visit to a beautiful botanical garden. By the time we got back to the ship, it was dark. Interesting tour. On the second day, we took the Valley of a Thousand Hills tour. This tour included a visit to a Zulu exhibit/show located on a beautiful mountain top. The views are out of this world. The Zulu show was entertaining and very well done. The people were friendly and open for questions and photographs. The local gift shop was outstanding and the tour included a snack. EAST LONDON – In East London, we took the Natural History tour. The museum tour was given by the curator and was very good. He highlighted the most interesting and valuable exhibits in the museum; some of which were very significant. This tour also included a drive along the coast to some beautiful areas. The museum tour was great. PORT ELIZABETH – We took the Local Townships and, Arts and Craft Center tour. The tour through the various neighborhoods was fantastic. We learned what apartheid meant to the various races and/or cultures. The tour included a visit to a craft shop in one of the metal clad building neighborhoods. The handcrafts were very nice and inexpensive. We also visited a private school and met with the principal. The visit included snacks and refreshments in addition to a brief concert by a singing group. This is a don't miss tour. WALVIS BAY – Walvis Bay, Namibia has a beautiful protected harbor that is very significant. We took the Dolphin and Seal Cruise with around 20 other people. We saw hundreds of seals, probably a dozen dolphins and a few jackles. One seal, a very friendly one, actually jumped up into the boat and allowed us to pet it. The cruise included beer and other refreshments and very nicely prepared snacks. The mini cruise was actually very nice …. we learned a lot about the area. Our second day in Namibia included a tour to the Swakopmund Township. This was an interesting tour of the desert, the country side and the various types of housing in Swakopmund. We also had a very nice lunch in Swakopmund at a local restaurant where a local singing group performed. This area of Namibia is mostly sandy desert. The tour stopped at a local sand dune (#7) to provide the opportunity to climb to the top. Some people did. This was again, a real education about life in Namibia. CAPE TOWN – We took two tours in Cape Town. The first one was the Cape Town and Table Mountain tour. This tour took us to the cable car to ride up to the top of Table Mountain. We were lucky that the weather was very nice, although a bit windy and cool at the top of the mountain. We had around two hours to walk around the area. It was an interesting walk. The mountain top is very beautiful and much more developed with plant life than expected. The tour also included a brief tour of the city. Our second tour was the Panoramic Cape Town by Night. This tour sort of repeated parts the earlier tour but in the dark (not Table Mountain). The darkness provided beautiful views of the city. Cape Town is impressive by night. We also extended our stay in Southern Africa by taking the Victoria Falls and Chobe Chilwero tour. This required leaving the ship around 5:30 am to fly to Johannesburg (Joburg), then connect to a flight to Victoria Falls. The drive from Victoria Falls airport to the Falls took around an hour. The Falls are in Zimbabwe which requires a visa ($45 US cash per person for a US citizen). Getting the visa took time, probably a hour or so. Things move slowly. You will get wet at the Falls; be prepared. The mist is warm. After the tour of the Falls, we continued on to the Sanctuary Lodge near the Chobe Game Reserve. This trip required leaving Zimbabwe to Botswana. Crossing the borders and driving to the Lodge is interesting and entertaining. Animals cross the two lane road along the way and border crossings will provide many new stamps in your passport. The Sanctuary Lodge is impressive. It is in a beautiful location just outside the National Park. On our first trip out to the Park, just as we entered the two lane highway, we spotted a herd of elephants crossing the road. We drove up to them and got many great photographs … up close and personal. We then entered the Chobe National Park which is located just south of a finger of Namibia and Zambia, and west of Zimbabwe. You have to see this on a map. The park is full of impalas, hippos, baboons, cape buffalo and many different types of birds. The Park was like a Garden of Eden. A beautiful and picturesque area. We took two game drives and a boat drive along the Chobe River. One of the game drives was on the morning we left, so it was a bit short. The previous drive was probably five hours long. The evening drives always appear to include wine, gin and tonics, and snacks. This tour should have had one more day at the Lodge. The time went by too quickly. We left the Sanctuary Lodge around 9 am, drove to Victoria Falls airport and flew to Joburg. The hotel in Joburg was very nice and in a great location. The hotel stay included a very nice dinner and also, breakfast. The next day we took the Hop on Hop Off bus to tour the city and also, Soweto. This is a great way to tour the city. The Soweto portion included a guide. That evening we flew to Germany and then the US. All of our tour guides were very good. They all spoke English well and were very approachable. The in country flights were a major step up from flights in the US. We always got a hot meal and drinks; even when the flight was only 90 minutes or so. On this cruise, you will learn a lot about apartheid, Nelson Mandela, the Zulu, the languages, the local governments and about the Southern African people. It was educational and enlightening … no security concerns. Overall, the cruise was great and the pre and post trips fantastic. You will see many metal clad houses and poor areas but the people are friendly and well dressed. You will meet many very nice people on the ship and also, tour guides and locals. Oceania really took good care of us; they were always there to make sure everything was taken care of during the cruise and also, during the pre and post trips. They really seemed to care. A great trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise primarily because of the itinerary and it did not disappoint. We made all our own tour arrangements at each port so I can not comment on the ships tours. Our room was fantastic and the service bar none. We found all ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily because of the itinerary and it did not disappoint. We made all our own tour arrangements at each port so I can not comment on the ships tours. Our room was fantastic and the service bar none. We found all the amenities great. We especially liked the Terrace Cafe just because of its variety of selection and casual atmosphere. We did enjoy Toscanas food as well, but did find the Polo fell short of our expectations. The entertainment in the evening was energetic and we were so impressed with the takent of the young enetertainers on the ship. The enrichment lectures were really informative and we tried not to miss any of them. We enjoyed the small ship atmosphere and the friendly staff. Our housekeeping staff went above and beyond any requests we had. The embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and we were quick to get off and on the boat to meet up with our tour groups. We will definitely use Oceania again. Thanks for a wonderful experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Nautica is one of 8 identical ships built for Rennaissance cruise line. Azamara have 3 and Oceania have 4. They are small enough to get into ports which larger ships cannot and therefor have better itineraries. the weather on this cruise ... Read More
Nautica is one of 8 identical ships built for Rennaissance cruise line. Azamara have 3 and Oceania have 4. They are small enough to get into ports which larger ships cannot and therefor have better itineraries. the weather on this cruise had several days of rough weather resulting in missing the first port which was changed to Naples. We did back to back cruises and the weather improved as we headed south. The food on this cruise was outstanding. The main dining room frequently produced meals the equal of the speciality restaurants. This included the lunch menu. Additional meals in the speciality restaurants could be booked at the desk in the terrace cafe every morning.The other outstanding feature was the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff from general manager to cabin steward. This attitude more than made up for the weather. We chose the excursions from the 3 choices of the "o" life choice before the cruise so we did not have to pay extra to the cruise fare. The excursions were standard and similar to what can be obtained on other cruise lines. If we had paid the prices extra we would have been overcharged by some margin. Similarly the prices for alcoholic beverages were very high. The cabins on the "r" class ships have small bathrooms. When the forthcoming upgrade of Oceania's ships takes place it would be money well spent if the shower cubicle were extended as well as putting on a folding door. This would be preferable to to cosmetic changes. We benefit from the excellent Oceania loyalty programme. We are disappointed that in November 2019 the higher grades may be penalised If the food service and itinerary are priorities Nautica is a good choice. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We had never been to the Adriatic and a small ship seemed the best way to go. Having been on Oceania the year before, we knew that the food would be amazing and we certainly weren't disappointed. The itinerary was excellent with more ... Read More
We had never been to the Adriatic and a small ship seemed the best way to go. Having been on Oceania the year before, we knew that the food would be amazing and we certainly weren't disappointed. The itinerary was excellent with more to see than we could possibly fit into 10 days. The sense of history is incredible. Highly recommend Venice, Ancona, Dubrovnik and Kotor if you have never been there. Rhodes and the Greek Coast were also enjoyable. Other stops were Santorini and Rhodes both of which we needed more time to explore. We had very rough weather in Santorini which made embarkation an adventure, but the crew were very diligent in keeping everyone safe. We highly recommend the old towns in Dubrovnik and Rhodes as the is literally dozens of things to see. Kotor is stunningly beautiful as is the Croation coast line. Everywhere we went, the people were friendly and helpful. As usual, the food was absolutely the best we have enjoyed at sea, whether in the MDR, Horizons, or the 2 specialty restaurants - Toscana and Polo Grill. Only regret is that Red Ginger is not found on the 4 smaller ships. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I have to laugh when I see other reviews of cruises. This is NOT your typical gargantuan ship with entertainment to please everyone. It is a "small ship" experience. The restrooms are tight and it's not trying to be ... Read More
I have to laugh when I see other reviews of cruises. This is NOT your typical gargantuan ship with entertainment to please everyone. It is a "small ship" experience. The restrooms are tight and it's not trying to be opulent. We selected the upgrade to the concierge level veranda rooms and got a great cabin near the back...most of the remaining doors in the hallway went to much larger suites. We rarely ran into any other guests in the hallway. The boat is scheduled for an overhaul soon, so I think it's not as flashy right now, the bathroom and closets were not luxurious in any way, but we didn't really care. A super comfortable large bed, comfy couch, desk and private veranda were our requirements and it was great. Best features of the upgrade...3 days of free laundry service, 24 hour free room service, access to the canyon spa private deck area. We would order room service for a cheese and fruit tray to be delivered about the time we'd be returning to the ship. We'd buy local wines in port and drink a bottle nightly as we pulled out of port! The spa deck had a salt water jetted water spa kept at body temperature. I relaxed in it daily after touring and only once had another guest make use of it as well. I liked the fact that no one else was walking around looking at people sunbathing or in the hot tub! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We decided on this particular cruise as my friend had not been to Spain. The ports were wonderful! As always, everything about Oceania was terrific. Meals, service accommodations - just EVERYTHING! Embarkation took less than 30 minutes. ... Read More
We decided on this particular cruise as my friend had not been to Spain. The ports were wonderful! As always, everything about Oceania was terrific. Meals, service accommodations - just EVERYTHING! Embarkation took less than 30 minutes. Our room was ready on schedule, after we enjoyed a lovely buffet lunch in the Terrace Cafe. Every interaction with crew and staff was a pleasant experience. Beds in our cabin were too comfortable and we really wanted to take the pillows with us as they were so wonderful. Oceania never fails to exceed expectations with their cuisine. The variety is amazing. My friend has a strange allergy and their efforts to accommodate her were terrific. Most of our shore excursions were arranged privately as we prefer the smaller groups that are available through cruise critic. We had a stop in Guernsey which was interesting as I had read the "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society". Unfortunately, most of the WWII emplacements were no longer available. All in all, a wonderful cruise with Oceania! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My attempt at a more objective and comprehensive review of Oceania Nautica: ITINERARY – London to Stockholm, 14 nights 1 sea days, 3 nights at St Petersburg - an excellent itinerary. • This is a port intensive cruise visiting ... Read More
My attempt at a more objective and comprehensive review of Oceania Nautica: ITINERARY – London to Stockholm, 14 nights 1 sea days, 3 nights at St Petersburg - an excellent itinerary. • This is a port intensive cruise visiting major cities like, Berlin, Helsinki and Copenhagen, Stockholm, St Petersburg whilst also visiting quieter destinations such as Kristiansand, Klapeida, Tallinn, Karlskrona, Riga (listed in order of increasing preference). • 1- 2 more sea day would be relaxing but we had to fly out. There were scammers who attempted to scam us at London and Berlin. • Mostly smooth sailing with minor waves at night time in the Baltic seas. We do appreciate good stabilisation system with deep hull in the ships. EMBARKATION – No lines, straight through at the later part of the day. ROOMS – Very neatly appointed, the smaller bathroom meant a larger ratio of living space. • The showers are small but have been told they will refurbish in the near future. • The cabin is kept clean and stewardess Rosario was nice. I personally like the current bed style a lot and find the new design of the proposed refurbishment a bit tacky. • The bed and pillows are very comfortable, probably the best I have had at sea. PUBLIC SPACE – Spacious, lots of elegant seating in different decks. A few other cruises I have been on, felt like you must buy a drink to sit in the bar area, or must purchase this to lounge at a corner, i.e. less inviting. This ship had a lot more “free” space that you can comfortably sit and have a chat with friends. Dining alfresco in the Terrace café is great when warm; the sunset view (quick photo) is worth the chilly wind! OTHER PASSENGERS – most demographics lean towards retirees from North America, Europe Australia etc. • Some passengers are very warm and friendly, some others were very discerning, a few were ageist and slightly chauvinistic towards non Anglos because there is hardly any non Anglo passenger on board – no wonder other Asian male passengers were mistaken for crew and there were lots of staring. • In Australia, we see a variety of nationalities like Middle East, East and South East Asia, Africa, South American people. Perhaps with a few of the passengers, they don’t see much of the greater world as much and developed more curiosity as such, hmm. • I have also witnessed a few passengers been rather rude to the crew and are quite demanding, my guess is there is a correlation between more luxury cruises with more discerning cruisers. Contrastingly, I have witnessed people pushing in lines at buffet…but you probably expected this on any cruise. • Passengers on other mass and premium lines saw happier looking passengers who are on holiday, Nautica passengers appears that this is the everyday life (probably because they cruised with Oceania a lot and this became their normal home). CREW – Mostly excellent and friendly: only some very minor hiccups with some waiter and lady at the bar near the casino area. John the cruise director was amazing and the chef (not sure of the name) grilling lobsters, steak and fish in the terrace cafe for most part of the cruise is a master, the best grilled lobsters I have ever tasted. The chef changed on the last two days, the lobster quality dropped significantly and not cleaned properly (accidental slice of the excretory glands by the chef when cutting the lobster meant a unique taste…). FOOD - Having cruised with Celebrity (same menu in different ships rotating), RCL, Carnival, Princess, this line has the best food out of the above. Celebrity and princess are still decent and I enjoyed my meals with them. Carnival was good value for money and fun, but RCL was cost cutting. 1. If food is important to you, as it is for me, you are likely to enjoy this cruise. 2. The only comment I will make is that the sashimi is not that great, i.e. powdery and breakfast was getting boring after 2 weeks of continental breakfast. This is likely because I am spoiled in Australia where the café brunch options are excellent and access to other cultures like Chinese dumplings, dim sums with congee and fresh sashimi etc. I am not sure how adventurous the other passengers are with trying “non-western” style breakfast. .. 3. The fruit options for breakfast are impeccable and fresh. I can’t rave enough about the grilled lobster done by that particular Chef in the buffet, simply the best, he needs a bonus. 4. The main dining room is mostly great, tip: the daily menus are better than the Pepin inspired ones. Miso glazed Sea Bass was delicious. 5. The Russian evening buffet was outstanding with lots of choices and interesting dishes. We really appreciated trying other cuisines and the culture, especially when the food is made nicely. 6. Desserts – I have not had a bad dessert on board and have gotten seconds, very nicely presented and produced. You will be eating with nice silverware and plates. Afternoon tea with string quartet is very good but often hard to find a seat. SHORE EXCURSIONS – • Did a private tour for SPB for Catherine palace + Peterhof and it was great. • The complimentary shore excursion to Hermitage was disappointing, I could only look and take pictures of the ceiling because it is too crowded to see artworks on the side. Perhaps I needed to grow a few inches taller. Good thing that the ceilings were intricately beautiful. Because of the massive crowds, I did not see the peacock clock. Your face is literally up behind someone’s back. It was like a battle against time and the 50-60k people per day to take a quick peak of some highlights and get out ASAP. Don’t get me wrong though, the rooms within the hermitage were very opulent. • The local guide who gets on board at the ports Is quite good – provides a local maps with tips and answers. Also the shuttle to city centre, both very nice touches added by Oceania. • The complimentary tours for the 3 cathedrals however, were very good. See the ports info below for tips. • In general the ship excursions and transfers are very expensive for what they offer. ENTERTAINMENT The lectures on history of the ports were interesting and John’s magic show and talks were excellent. You are more or less expected to entertain yourself on board, which is perfectly fine given the intensive itinerary. Take the extra time to recharge, read a book and relax somewhere. I will be more than happy if Oceania spends the money on other things to improve vacation experience. There was minigolf and a shuffle board. Summary of tips: take naps in the very comfy bed and deck chairs with good cushions, try the afternoon tea listening to strings, try Toscana, try the miso glazed sea bass, eat the desserts, relax in the public areas, read in the library and relax after a long day (30k steps per day sometimes) of sightseeing ! Baltic cruises are definitely not only for the retirees. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise for its itinerary, ship size, and culinary reputation. Unfortunately the weather was rough--cloudy, windy and cool, which meant we couldn't spend much time eating outside or lounging poolside. Because of the heavy ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary, ship size, and culinary reputation. Unfortunately the weather was rough--cloudy, windy and cool, which meant we couldn't spend much time eating outside or lounging poolside. Because of the heavy waves, we were unable to dock in Belfast, which, since we made the rookie mistake of not adding on additional travel time at the end of our tour, meant that we missed out entirely on Ireland. The service onboard was excellent; a very cheerful, friendly and attentive staff of waiters and cabin crew who made sure we were comfortable. We expected to enjoy dining in the specialty restaurants, which were very good, and at the coffee bar, which was also excellent. Because of the weather we only ordered from the poolside lunch counter twice, where we found excellent fish & burger choices, and a truly memorable chocolate malted milkshake. The Grand Dining Room was a disappointment, it took a long time to get the food, which was not hot, and more bland than we prefer. The Terrace Cafe had better food, more variety, and short waits. We appreciated the themed dinners, Pan-Asian, Italian, etc. Portions everywhere were on the smaller size, which meant we could try more things. Desserts were delicious, and we loved starting our mornings early at the Horizons lounge with a cappuccino and a chocolate croissant, with great views of coming into each port. Except for a few times, it never felt crowded on the ship. The library is a lovely spot to relax in. The entertainers were very young and energetic, seem to really enjoy being there. We saw just a few shows: an impressive ventriloquist, and a review later in the week. Not really our thing, so we appreciated the choice of DVDs which we could watch in our room. We also had fun with the daily trivia contests that they ran. Our package came with three excursions, the first, to Hadrian's Wall, was the best, very informative, beautiful scenery, learned leader. The next two were not as good, more pointing out the window at things whizzing past with guides who talked incessantly, saying things like, "and here is the second largest mortgage bank in Scotland." We will pick more carefully next time, or go off on our own, which worked out fine for us. And there will be a next time. We liked the comfort of the ship, the tasting menu of visiting many different ports for a day trip, seeing where we'll want to come back to and stay longer. The Isle of Man, Liverpool, Edinburgh all made that list for us. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
On April 24, 2018 I began a trip of a lifetime visiting several places on my bucket list. I flew to New Delhi for a pre-cruise package from Oceania to the Taj Mahal. I had very high expectations of the seeing the Taj Mahal and actually ... Read More
On April 24, 2018 I began a trip of a lifetime visiting several places on my bucket list. I flew to New Delhi for a pre-cruise package from Oceania to the Taj Mahal. I had very high expectations of the seeing the Taj Mahal and actually being there exceeded my expectations. It literally took my breath away. We had a 3.5 hour bus ride to Agra from New Delhi and 114 degree temperature but it was worth it. I highly recommend a trip to see it. I took protein bars and peanut butter crackers on the trip because in some places I was concerned about eating the food in India. After a bus trip back to New Delhi, we flew to Mumbai to board Oceania Notice for our 28 day cruise to Rome. As usual, Oceania was spectacular. I didn't think it was possible to upgrade the food, but they always seem to find a way to make each trip more memorable. The service is always flawless. I ordered some tea from room service and the person bringing the tea thought he should bring me honey and lemon for my sore throat. The attention to detail was amazing. Since I am trying to eat a healthier diet, it was great to have Greek yogurt and Truvia available. At the Terrace Cafe, they would grill lobster tails, shrimp, steak, lamb chops and other things for you. It was a very popular addition. The Terrace Cafe has the same food options as the Grand Dining Room which was great if you wanted a more casual and quicker dining experience. Coming back to the ship from a day of touring in the extreme heat and being able to have great food in a casual environment was great. Toscana, the Italian restaurant and Polo Grill, the steak restaurant were fabulous too. We had 28 days on the ship and the menu and food choices kept changing, so you never got tired of the food. Nautica had great staff and there was always something fun to do if you wanted to. I never got bored. Oceania bent over backwards to take great care of us. I had booked a shore excursion package with Oceania prior to sailing. I had so many shipboard credits that I went to the spa for two massages and several hair appointments. The deep tissue massages were fantastic and it was nice not to have to blow dry my hair a few times. The spa is expensive, and I wouldn't have used it if I didn't have so many shipboard credits. The gym on ship was big and had great machines. I wish it opened before 6:00 AM though. We had two guest lecturers on the cruise. One was kind of boring, but the other man, Hassan, was entertaining, interesting and informative. The ship's cabins and bathrooms are small, but adequate. You don't use your cabin except to sleep and shower. Our ports include Dubai, UAE, Fujairah, UAE, Muscat, Oman, Salalah, Oman, Aqaba, Jordan, and optional overnight trip to Luxor, Egypt, two days in Haifa, Israel, Limassol, Cyprus, Rhodes, Greece, Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey, Santorini, Greece, Valletta, Malta, Palermo, Italy, Sorrento, Italy and Civitavecchia, Italy. The itinerary couldn't have been any better and all the passengers raved about it. I was surprised to see mountains of rock in the Middle East. Of course, there was plenty of sand too. The color of the water and the beaches were beautiful. Unfortunately, women don't have free access to the beaches as we have here. In Fujairah, women can only go on Wednesday. The overnight trip to Luxor was fantastic. I have always wanted to go there and to visit Karnack Temple, Luxor Temple, the Valley of the Kings and other archaeological sites. We had another 3.5 bus ride from the port of Safaga to Luxor. Our hotel was right on the bank of the Nile. It was an action packed two day trip and we didn't spend much time at the hotel. We went back to Karnack Temple at night to see the Sound and Light Show. It wasn't very good and I don't recommend it. It was dark and you walk a long way on an uneven walkway. People were using the flashlights on their phones to light a path. In the Valley of the Kings we went to three tombs, Ramses III, Ramses IV and Ramses IX. For an extra $12.00 you can visit King Tut's tomb which we did. If you want to take photos, it costs $18.00, but I am glad that I could take photos. No photos may be taken in King Tut's tomb. You walk down a steep staircase and see King Tut's mummy and another room with beautiful drawings. The other tombs also had beautiful drawings. We saw lots of guns in Egypt. We were told only the police and military can have guns, but I saw someone selling watermelons on the side of the road with a gun. I waved to people from the bus and the people smiled and waved back. I wasn't afraid though and would like to see the pyramids and the Cairo Museum in the future. Dubai was all about shopping. I have never seen so many malls and the city was very clean. We took a walking excursion of Old Dubai and I wouldn't recommend it. We went to the Dubai Museum and it was dark and looked a bit moth eaten. I was sorry I didn't splurge for tea at the Burg al Arab hotel. The Dubai Mall is incredible and has fountain show that is supposed to be bigger and better than the Bellagio in Las Vegas. I loved the architecture in Dubai. The emir bought the QEII for the use of his guests. Life in Dubai if you are a local is amazing. Housing, education, medical care is free for locals. Fujairah, UAE looked like a lunar landscape with nothing to pretty to see. It was sobering and eye opening to see the number of oil storage units at the port. They went on forever. The entire Arabian Gulf had a lot of oil tankers. I enjoyed Muscat, Oman. We had a great guide and the country even had women in government positions. The current sultan has done a lot for his people and the infrastructure was impressive. His father didn't help his people and the current sultan overthrew him. The father lived out the last years of his life at the Dorchester Hotel in London...not a bad place to be in exile. We asked why the women cover their faces. Islam doesn't require Muslims to cover their face or feet. It is a personal choice if the ladies want to cover their faces. I am not sure I believe it. The sultan has two huge private yachts in the harbor, but he doesn't use them. We stopped at a few places on our all day tour. I would have been happy to skip some of them to have gone in the Grand Mosque, which was gorgeous on the outside. Salalah was okay. We did go to the Museum of Frankincense and a souk. They were selling a lot of touristy stuff at the souk, but we saw lots of locals too. Our ship took on extra security as we cruise around Yemen, past Somalia, through the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea and up to Aqaba. They call it a "High Risk Area" because of the pirates. The waters are patrolled now and the piracy has been eliminated. In Aqaba, we took a 2 hour bus ride to Petra. We passed some Bedouin tents on the way. Petra was great. We walked about a mile downhill to the Treasury which was beautiful. We also walked to the amphitheater. You can ride in a donkey cart or take a camel, but we opted to walk. There were many caves and interesting rock formations on the path. People are selling postcards, silver bracelets, and other trinkets all the way down the path. Our ship entered the Suez Canal at 4:00 AM. I was in Horizons Lounge at the front of the ship to see us enter. The Suez Canal is wide and has no locks because sea level is the same in the Gulf to Suez to the Mediterranean. The transit took 11 hours. They actually allow people to fish in the Canal. In Haifa, Israel, we took an all day tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Jerusalem was packed and involved a 1.5 hour bus ride. I loved Jerusalem even though the city was packed with tourists and the guide kept us moving. He obviously didn't understand the female's need to shop. When we went to Bethlehem, we crossed into the West Bank, so we had to take on a Palestinian guide. We were told that Israelis can't go to Bethlehem unless they are tour guides. The guide also told us that we were not protected by the Israeli military in the West Bank. We went to the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square. We stood in line for 1-1.5 hours to see where Jesus was born. It was very chaotic and people were cutting in line and pushing for a quick look at the manger site and the Star of Bethlehem. It was a very unpleasant experience and I wouldn't recommend trying to see the manger site. The next day I took an all day tour to Nazareth and went to the Sea of Galilee. We went to a few sites where certain biblical events were supposed to have occurred. Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth are so built up, nobody really knows if what you are seeing are the actual sites. We stopped at a baptismal site on the Jordan River. The Sea of Galilee is actually a lake and is quite beautiful. We went to more biblical sites around it. Limassol, Cyprus has the most beautiful ancient floor mosaics I have ever seen. The water was crystal clear. Rhodes, Greece is a charming island with a medieval walled city. We got there early so I wandered the streets and alleys lined with shops and restaurants. I had been there before, but it was just as nice this time. In the afternoon, I took a tour of ancient Lindos. It is a long climb to the top, but it is worth it. You can also ride a donkey up the hill. The ruins and the views were fabulous. The next day we were in Kusadasi, Turkey where Ephesus is located. I had been to Ephesus before, but the cruise line offered a tour of Ephesus with an expert. We had an archaeologist who actually worked on the site and he gave us a tour of the Ephesus Museum before we went to the actual site. He showed us the items that he personally found. Ephesus is an amazing place and being with him made the tour even more memorable. Santorini, Greece is a beautiful island, but we had 5 cruise ships in the port that day. The crowds and the traffic going to Oia were horrible. I had been there before without the crowds and loved it, but this time wasn't very good. To get back down the dock, you can either walk down the steps, ride a donkey or take a tram. The tram had six cars that could hold six passengers. The crowds were so bad that it took us two hours in line before we got to the pier. I felt sorry for the people who were on their first visit to this picturesque island. I would never get off the ship if there were that many ships in port at the same time. Valletta, Malta was a pleasant surprise. It was clean and had some beautiful old buildings. They also had a great gelato store. I had been pretty good on my healthy eating, but I caved when I saw gelato. Palermo, Sicily was okay. I wish I had taken another tour than the one to the catacombs. I found them to be very creepy. There are some pretty churches, and other buildings by the Four Corners. In Sorrento, we took a tour to Herculaneum. We had been to Pompeii, Capri, Positano and Sorrento before, so we chose to go to Herculaneum. While Pompeii was covered by lava from Mt. Vesuvius, Herculaneum was covered with volcanic ash and was much better preserved. The ship docked in Civitavecchia, Italy and I took the ship's transfer to the airport. My only complaint was having to get off the ship. I wanted to stay there forever. This really was a trip of a lifetime and I would do it all over again. I booked my next Oceania cruise onboard and when I got home, I booked a second Oceania cruise. 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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (19+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our second cruise with Oceania; the previous cruise was to Bermuda. The 28-day Timeless Wonders Cruise started with ... Read More
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (19+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our second cruise with Oceania; the previous cruise was to Bermuda. The 28-day Timeless Wonders Cruise started with the India Taj Mahal Extension on April 25, 2018. Our flight from Florida was arranged by Oceania and flew through Newark, then to Delhi. No problems. The Oceania representative was waiting for us at the airport in Delhi. The Taj Mahal Extension was great, the JW Marriott Hotel in Delhi was at the airport and was outstanding. The trip to Agra started with a quickie tour of Delhi before driving south. On the way to Agra we saw a developing area of India. The bus trip was around 3 hours or so, in a very nice bus. We stopped a few times for restroom breaks. We had to get up very early to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise. We returned in the evening to see it again at sunset. The next morning we got up early again to drive to the airport to fly to Mumbai and board the ship. When in Mumbai, the driver gave us another quickie tour of the city. Mumbai is quite a bit different from Delhi. India was HOT. Boarding the ship was very easy. Our room was towards the front of the ship on deck 6, room 6014. This was a good location because we were near the areas of the ship we used the most. Most points of interest are on 5 (dining room at the rear) and the Nautica Lounge at the front. Deck 9 has the computer room, card room and spa. The ship was a few years old and was very nice; very clean. The staff was great and the food was excellent. Coffee, including specialty coffees, were available 24/7 on Deck 10 front and also, during select hours on Deck 5 rear. The ship provided complimentary water and soft drinks. The Program Director, Julie, provided information about tours and timing and basically everything you need to know on a timely basis. She even provided entertainment one evening. The ship had a cast of wonderful entertainers on board and also a great band. They were very professional and excellent musicians. The cruise line provided two speakers who covered a wide range of interesting topics. Both needed to use larger print on their PowerPoint presentations. This was a 28 day cruise plus a few additional days for the Taj Mahal. That seemed like a long time but the time went by quickly. The passengers and the crew were all very nice people from all walks of life. The people on the ship made the cruise interesting and enjoyable. The only real negative was the price of alcoholic beverages. The prices are ridiculous for what you get. We had a lot of fun playing games and competitions to earn Big O points. We earned almost 600 points which were cashed in on the last full day for Oceania merchandise. The visited Ports of Call follow. DUBAI, UAE – We took the Discover Dubai tour and the Sharjah Heritage tour. The tours cover the city. You will see lots of gold and more gold ….. and more gold … and spices. The weather was very hot. Dubai is a beautiful new city and is a bit over the top. We learned a lot about the Muslim religion and saw very large Mosques. FUJAIRAH, UAE – We took the East Coast City tour. Fujairah is a developing area. It is hot and dusty. The mountains in the background make it considerably different from Dubai. You will see more Mosques and more gold and spices. MUSCAT, OMAN – We took the Mystical Muscat tour. Muscat is a beautiful city of old and new architecture. You will see a Mosque and more gold and spices. It's still hot. SALALAH, OMAN – In Salalah, we took the Scenic Salalah tour. This is the place to buy Frankincense. The good stuff is very light in color and can be purchased in liquid or solid forms. This was an interesting place. …. still hot. FOUR DAYS AT SEA – We received Pirate Training and Navy Seals boarded the ship! AQABA, JORDAN – After the Taj Mahal, Petra is the reason we are on this cruise. We took the Magnificent Petra tour. The tour required a lot of walking through a beautiful slot canyon. This was one of the high points of the trip. …... It was actually cool in the morning but, it got HOT. The walk to the main attractions was generally downhill, but uphill coming back. Horses and carts were available to rent; both were a little questionable. The tour included a nice lunch. SAFAGA (LUXOR), EGYPT – On the first day we took the all day trip (Ancient Luxor tour) to Luxor to see the Valley of Kings and other ancient stuff. Most of the drive was through desert! When we finally got near Luxor, the driving was very slow. We were in Luxor previously on a Viking Cruise so we probably could have passed on this tour and spent more time in Safaga. But Luxor is special if you have never been there. On the second day we went on the Snorkeling in the Red Sea tour. This was fantastic. The Red Sea is full of interesting fish. The area along the Red Sea is a resort area that is very dead. Not much going on. THE SUEZ CANAL – The canal was another reason this cruise looked interesting. The history behind it is interesting … covered by the speakers. The canal is basically a big ditch, parts of it is only one way traffic. While cruising through it, an all day trip, you will basically be in Egypt with Africa to the west and Asia to the east. A nice relaxing day surrounded by sand. HAIFA (JERUSALEM), ISRAEL – This stop was another reason we were on this cruise. We took the A Day in Jerusalem and Bethlehem tour. Jerusalem was a zoo …. very crowded and busy. Besides all the people that live in Jerusalem, it is full of tourists and shops. Bethlehem appeared to be more reverent and enjoyable. We stopped at a nice place to shop in Bethlehem. On the second day in Israel, we took the Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee tour. This was out in the country and very enjoyable … but very, very HOT … in fact, the HOTTEST. The heat was a real problem. LIMASSOL, CYPRUS – In Cyprus, we took the Pafos & Kourion tour. Cyprus is a beautiful island with an interesting history. The included lunch was very good. This is a nice place to visit. RHODES, GREECE – The Highlights of Rhodes tour was very nice. The island is beautiful with a great harbor and market. KUSADASI (EPHESUS), TURKEY – We visited Ephesus, the Virgin Mary House and a local museum. The Virgin Mary House is special … it feels holy. Of course, Ephesus and the museum are world class. We also visited a carpet factory! The weather is much better. The lunch was great. SANTORINI, GREECE – We took the Santorini Winery & Oia tour. The winery included a small glass of three different wines. We were in and out in 30 minutes. You can miss this! Oia is what you expect Santorini to be like. The only problem was that four ships were in port. People everywhere. Up to this point, we really didn't see another cruise ship. The line to go back to the four ships was a joke … we never found the end. Fortunately, there are many restaurants in Thira to kill time. The food is good, as is the beer and wine. VALLETTA, MALTA – We took the Scenic Sights of Malta tour which included a tour of the island. The port is beautiful and very active. Malta has beautiful churches and is a great place to shop … good prices. We may not have needed a tour in Malta. It looks very walkable to most points of interest. PALERMO (SICILY), ITALY – We took the Mysterious Palermo tour. We probably should have just walked around the city. In fact, we did when the tour was heading back to the ship. One interesting stop in the tour was a catacomb with hundreds if not thousands of exposed skeletons; aka mummies. SORRENTO (CAPRI), ITALY – We took the cruise to Capri. This was one of the highlights of the cruise. We had time to just walk around the island and visit too many high end shops, sample Lemoncello and other treats. Its nice to just have a drink and watch the world go by in Capri. The scenery is outstanding. Capri was warm! All of our tour guides were very good. They all spoke English well and were very approachable. Overall, the cruise was wonderful. You will see too many churches and mosques, markets, gold, spices … but you will meet many very nice people on the ship and also, tour guides and locals. You will also walk …. a lot. Oceania really took good care of us; they were always there to make sure everything was taken care of during the trip. They really seemed to care. A great trip. If they only reduced the price of alcoholic drinks. Read Less
Nautica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.9
Dining 5.0 4.3
Entertainment 3.0 3.3
Public Rooms 5.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.0
Enrichment 5.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 5.0 3.5
Rates 5.0 3.9

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