1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
My husband & I chose this trip so he could take some CE and do a safari!. We booked the pre-cruise safari at Lion Sands River Lodge. While Oceania did not really do a good job with communicating our hotel info or flight info to the ... Read More
My husband & I chose this trip so he could take some CE and do a safari!. We booked the pre-cruise safari at Lion Sands River Lodge. While Oceania did not really do a good job with communicating our hotel info or flight info to the bush, it all worked out & the Lodge was amazing! We had 4 game drives and 1 bush walk. Pre-Safari, we booked a night at the Residence Boutique Hotel. The Residence is a beautiful, intimate hotel that used to be the Chinese Embassy. It is in a gated compound, very safe. They arranged for their driver to pick us us from the airport, gave us a driving tour of Johannesburg the next day, and delivered us safely to 54th of Bath Hotel booked by Oceania. 54th on Bath is a very nice hotel basic. I think it is part of the Omni Group. Breakfast was included and we all had omelettes. There were 8 from the Nautica going on Safari. Flight was quick and soon we were on our way to Lion Sands. Our time there was the highlight of our trip! We wished it was longer. Soon we were on a flight to Cape Town. we did not have time to see any of CapeTown precruise. We sailed roughly 1 hour after boarding. We were tired! We were in a "penthouse" cabin 8065. It was of course very small compared to the Marina penthouse cabins. I wanted to upgrade all along but the reasonable price upgrade was not offered until we were on safari & my travel agent said it was gone within minutes. Our butler, Vinod was a Gem! He helped with some dining problems and was just overall the best we have ever had. The food was very good in the main dining. My favorite thing was in Toscana, the Carbonara, but you have to eat it quickly because it seems to harden up. We had to request escargot in the MD. It was perfect. The escargot in Polo is soupy and neither of us cared for it. I not sure when it asks about excursions, aside from the Pre-Cruise safari, we booked everything privately because I do not like tour buses or large groups. If you do this cruise and you feel the same consider booking something through the ship while in East London (a place I will be blocking from my memory soon). We booked through Kevin Agram. We did not have him as our driver. Our driver knew nothing and insisted on taking us to the "townships" for 2 hours and then segregated beaches! It was the lowlight of our trip, having already seen them in every town we visited in South Africa. We did do great excursion through Red Dunes safari in Namibia, but if you want to see seals, book a catamaran tour. I heard they jump right on the boat! Richard's Bay & Durban we used Trinity Tours, Brian High. We went to several game reserves and same things as the ship but cheaper and we had a lovely dinner at the Oyster Box Hotel in Durban - don't miss the curry bar. Also do not eat Curry unless you at the Pot & Kettle in the Valley of a Thousand Hills. Very good wine at Durbanville Sauvignon Blanc. $7 per bottle! In Mossel Bay, we used Tours for South Africa and went to Botlierskop Game Reserve (same as the ship) but much cheaper and included lunch. In Port Elizabeth, we used Afroventures Tours and had a wonderful day safari where we actually saw 3 lions!! When we came back to Cape Town we had a day tour to Stellenbosch to taste wines. It was late get started because of immigration problems or something. So we only got to see 1winery (Waterford - Excellent) and then we had dinner at the Wijnhose. I kept saying the winehouse & no one understood me! Excellent food and flights of wine. I would definitely go back to Stellenbosch. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this cruise for its itinerary-UAE, Oman, India, Maldives, Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, and South Africa. The shore excursions left a lot to be desired. The stop in Abu Dhabi coincided with a marathon. ... Read More
I chose this cruise for its itinerary-UAE, Oman, India, Maldives, Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, and South Africa. The shore excursions left a lot to be desired. The stop in Abu Dhabi coincided with a marathon. The downtown area was completely shut down and our hop on/off bus driver had no idea what to do. We went around the same block three times and circled a round-about four times in succession. After an hour and a half, the bus stop at public toilets for us. Everyone was afraid to get off at the three stops he managed to get to for fear they'd never see another bus. Why did the shore excursion department not know about this and cancel this tour? In Nosy Be, Madagascar my shore excursion included a beach stop. Not a beach on the same side of the island as the pier (where other excursions went), but one that was 45 minutes down a crater filled road! By the time we got there, there was no time to swim (the beach had no changing or shower facilities) and the guide moved up departure time AFTER people headed to the shoreline. Almost every excursion included a "market" stop. How many times does a person need to smell fish and meat covered in flies while it rots in the sun? I chose an excursion to a Zulu "village" in South Africa expecting to visit a real residential village. An hour and a half ride to a hotel with a cultural entertainment area-a recreated "village." Heck, one of the women didn't even know the steps to the dance. In Durban, they didn't know the market would be closed on New Year's Day! So the guide tried to fill in time by taking us to the wealthy part of town and to the soccer stadium. Unfortunately, the tour bus didn't pull up on the stadium side of the street and one of the passengers was hit by a car crossing the street. I was a little surprised that none of the excursions on this cruise went anywhere near a jewelry store or upscale shopping area. Several of these countries are known for the gemstones they mine. The Nautica was fine and my cabin was good. I dined most of the time in the Buffet since the food was as good or better the the restaurant. I did try the restaurant once. The service was slow. My server replaced my standard silverware with a salad fork and a fish knife for a steamed salmon entree with green beans which I couldn't cut. I ate in both the alternative restaurants; food and service were excellent. The worst part of the cruise was embarkation. The documents said it was at 1pm so a lot of people showed up at 1pm. A LOT OF PEOPLE! Several hundred! They made no arrangements for the crowd-no chairs, no water, nothing! Like others, I stood in line for more than 2 hours while crew with gold bars on their shoulders smiled at us. I can understand that they might not know this could happen, but THEY COULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING once it did. What would it take to have a crew member unstack the chairs that were leaning against the wall? They could have handed out number tags (the ones used for shore excursion buses) to group us and call us up when it was our turn. We still would have waited 2 hours, but we could have been seated while waiting. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We cruised on Regatta (sister ship) a few years ago (Rio-Amazon-Miami) and had a very positive experience. This cruise (Dubai-Capetown) was disappointing in comparison. The ship is slightly aged, but kept in excellent condition. ... Read More
We cruised on Regatta (sister ship) a few years ago (Rio-Amazon-Miami) and had a very positive experience. This cruise (Dubai-Capetown) was disappointing in comparison. The ship is slightly aged, but kept in excellent condition. We upgraded to concierge verandah cabin for this trip so were prepared for the level of accommodation; no complaints. We're still not sure what "concierge service" means, though. The service was good but we didn't know what to expect above and beyond what we got on our previous cruise. We found the food and service to be excellent, especially in Toscana. I have difficulty hearing in noisy environments, so after our first meal in the Grand Dining room, I learned to request seating just inside the entrance, away from the busy waiters' serving stations. The entertainment was of average quality. A couple of the professionals were extremely talented; a couple were not. Some of the scheduled entertainers were no-shows or delayed due to travel or visa problems. One such delay resulted in an impromptu Passenger Talent Show: mildly entertaining but not what we hoped for. The String quartet was excellent -- highly professional, and the ship's band was super talented. The six young on-board performers were equally talented. They put on several very entertaining Broadway-type shows as well as separate performances. No disappointment there! With a number of sea days, there were activities like bracelet-making, embroidery, bingo, and other parlour games -- not of interest to us. Two "Enrichment" speakers helped fill in the days: one was well-informed and entertaining while the other was rather pedantic and didn't hold our interest. Surprisingly, there were no "Destination" Speakers. Adequate information about upcoming ports was very lacking and very missed! Activities (e.g., more and varied speakers) and more substantive entertainment would have helped the long sea days pass. In retrospect, the cruise itinerary could have been better thought-out. One or two of the four stops in India could have been skipped, with the time added to other stops. Sailing for a day or two (or more?) just to spend a few hours in the next port, now seems like a waste of time. For instance, we sailed west for about two days from Seychelles to Mombassa, then part of a day to Zanzibar, and then a day and a half back east to Nosy Be (Madagascar) where we anchored for only six hours! In our case, Madagascar was of more interest than four stops in India. After an hour delay in tendering plus 40-minute boat rides to and from Nosy Komba to see lemurs (a couple hours) there was no time left to go ashore in Nosy Be or any other part of Madagascar! Very disappointing! Being rather inexperienced with shore excursions, and concerned with being left behind if we were delayed returning to the ship, we opted for the security of booking through Oceania. Never again! The excursions we chose (based on brief, sometimes inaccurate or misleading descriptions) were mostly disappointments. Expensive disappointments. As an example, an excursion in Durban was described as "panoramic", which, to me, suggests there will be stops where photos of interesting places can be taken. The actual excursion was a half-hour drive to "Umhlanga Rocks" ( apparently not a natural formation, but a high-end residential community instead), another half-hour drive to "Ballito" (apparently a small beach town, popular with locals) where the guide disappeared to apparently look for restroom facilities, leaving us to wander on our own for 15 minutes, then another hour-long drive back to Durban, where we drove non-stop through the downtown area, trying to snap pictures of places like "...the Theatre, where they have plays...". As another reviewer remarked, too many excursions are made up of too many people: the guides are often too far from most of the group to be heard clearly (both on the buses and on walks). And even guides in "third-world" excursions should understand not to let their charges get strung out for a hundred feet in unfamiliar narrow streets and pathways. These examples reflect our (and others') experiences on a large percentage of our excursions. Assuming we ever do cruise with Oceania again, it's very unlikely we'll use their excursions. Many people we met aboard (some had multiple Oceania cruises) were equally disappointed and expressed strong doubts about using Oceania again. The general opinion was that after Oceania was acquired by Norwegian, cost-cutting and short-term profit-taking have caused a noticeable reduction in the level of service. Unfortunately, our many good experiences on this cruise (especially with the crew and staff members) were offset by the excursions and other disappointments; we don't expect to use Oceania in future. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
The cruise had a fabulous itinerary and we chose it for that. We were not disappointed. The cruise was amazing and the ports were phenomenal. Everything was interesting and easily explored. Sometimes we had to travel a distance from port ... Read More
The cruise had a fabulous itinerary and we chose it for that. We were not disappointed. The cruise was amazing and the ports were phenomenal. Everything was interesting and easily explored. Sometimes we had to travel a distance from port to the points of interest but that is often to be expected with a cruise. We could not have been more pleased with the choice of ports. We arranged for private shore excursions and were so happy we did. In 2 ports we took ship tours because there were no private tours available. In Limassol, Cyprus, the tour was OK - not great, but interesting. In Salalah, Oman, the tour was absolutely terrible. The ship should have given everyone a refund of the money they charged. The tour was to be 4 hours and it ended up being 2 1/2 hours because of immigration problems. However, the tour was terrible, uninteresting and not worth even $25. Just horrible. We complained, as did many other people. My recommendation is to stay away from ship tours if at all possible. The ship was lovely and it was kept very clean. We had a problem, however, with service in the Grand Dining Room and in Waves Grill. Both seemed to be short-staffed. Many times there were tables that needed to be bussed at Waves. Since this is an outdoor venue and the weather was lovely, many people wanted to sit outside but we had to bus our own tables sometimes. The staff just couldn't keep up with it. The service in the GDR was excruciatingly slow most nights. We didn't find the wait staff overly friendly - certainly not as it had been on other Oceania sailings. Something was off on this sailing and it was noticeable to many. The menu in the GDR was unspectacular and often plain boring. Several nights there was nothing that any of us wanted. The Jaques Pepin menu never changed and was very tired by the end of the cruise. The specialty restaurants were much better, with better service and food. We found Toscana a bit more to our liking than Polo Grill because the wait staff was better. The food was more inconsistent in Polo Grill, too, but both were FAR better than the GDR. We were able to eat 6 times in the specialty restaurants and we were very glad we could b/c the GDR was just not up to Oceania's normal standards. Add poor service to that on some nights - a 15 minute wait for a waiter to even come to the table!! - and it was a recipe for dissatisfaction. We always went to Happy Hour in Horizons and had one server who was outstanding, Beverly. She was attentive, knew our drink selections after the 2nd day and was always cheerful. If we didn't sit in her section, she would come to us and ask us why we weren't sitting in her section. She really cared about us and proved that good service is still possible on Oceania. She made our evenings so very enjoyable. Our cabin was always kept clean, however, when we first arrived, we did not see our cabin steward until the next day! This is unheard of. We knew the name of our attendant but we never saw him. I called for extra hangers and they took forever to arrive. Poor service there on the first day. When we finally saw our cabin steward the next morning, we found out it was not the one who had been assigned to us. The steward originally assigned to us had left the ship in the embarkation port. We figured that there had been some personnel problems b/c surely they would not have assigned him to our cabins had they known he was leaving. Still, no word of explanation nor was there an apology for the replacement. And we still would not have met our new steward if it hadn't been for the fact that he was in the hall when we left the cabin the next morning. Another "off" thing about this sailing. The Cruise Director, Julie James, is a bit tired and long in the tooth. She was our Cruise Director once before and we didn't think she was all that great. She is friendly and bubbly but that's about it. She doesn't expend a lot of energy getting to know her crowd. We have had CDs who are much more engaged with the passengers. The production entertainment staff was engaging and the kids worked really hard but they were not all that good. They were as cute as they could be but they didn't seem to be that skilled. Sometimes off key in the singing. The dancers were very good and far more skilled. The hired entertainers (magician, musician, flautist) were excellent. They could not have been better and we enjoyed them tremendously. The professional lecturers were outstanding and we enjoyed their presentations. Since we were seeing so many foreign ports, their input and information was extremely valuable and helpful. All in all, we have loved Oceania and are willing to give this cruise experience in the cabin and dining room areas a pass. Perhaps something was going on that we were not aware of as passengers. Certainly, we have experienced a much better Oceania in the past. We hope that this is not becoming the standard because if it is, we will be turning our allegiance elsewhere. An outstanding itinerary cannot make up for some of the issues we found. 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Destination, ports and season always win out over cruiseline loyalty. 12 days Stockholm to Southampton. 3 days in St. Petersburg was the highlight. Booked 3 day small group tour with Russian agent. Elisabeth of TJ Tours was outstanding! ... Read More
Destination, ports and season always win out over cruiseline loyalty. 12 days Stockholm to Southampton. 3 days in St. Petersburg was the highlight. Booked 3 day small group tour with Russian agent. Elisabeth of TJ Tours was outstanding! Recommend Nautica overnights in Stockholm Amsterdam and Copenhagen and to include a port in Norway to see the fjords.. Oceania does offer best cuisine at sea. Carlos the Maitre'D from Portugal and his gracious assistant from Thailand always greeted us by name and remembered our seating preferences in the Grand Dining Room, Breakfast Buffet Service and choices were well presented and tastefully prepared. Fine dining excelled in the specialty restaurant venues although reserving a time before 8:30 was difficult. Disappointed that Polo Grill had run out of prime rib, however the ribeye steak substituted was delicious. Adolfo from Milan was charming in Toscana. Off hours we appreciated 24/hr limited room service menu and/ casual Waves. Loved the small ship, but Nautica does need a QM2 solarium/ covered outside pool . Like verandas, outdoor pool was useless for Baltic/North Seas. Nautica band, vocalists and dancers were talented. Horizon happy hours and afternoon tea were wonderful. Having customs agent for UK on board for passport control was expeditious. It was delightful not to be pursued by omnipresent ship photographers. Overall/service attentive staff were excellent, gracious and accommodating. Except for challenges convincing Lisiam to accept our time preferences. Bundled laundry service was terrible, he returned clothes dirty and wet so I ended up redoing all in Deck 7 guest laundry. Ship excursions promotions on TV were $$$$$, inferior, laden w disclaimers. Dr. Roger Cartwright's port talks were anecdotal, boring, off topic. We used local onboard agent to plan our port visits with great independent guide experiences. Shore excursion staff was helpful, but Oceanic Club Ambassador was curt. Cruise director marketed ship activities zealously. Free internet was nearly useless despite the best effort of the IT professional on staff who was often confronted by unhappy frustrated guests. Email messages could be received but not sent. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We took an Athens-Rome Mediterranean cruise on Marina in 2017. Loved the ship and the experience. We purchased this cruise on board. Nautica is much smaller than Marina but is dated and lacks the feeling of space and luxury of Marina. ... Read More
We took an Athens-Rome Mediterranean cruise on Marina in 2017. Loved the ship and the experience. We purchased this cruise on board. Nautica is much smaller than Marina but is dated and lacks the feeling of space and luxury of Marina. Embarkation at Stockholm was quick but there was no welcome cocktail. Our room (B2) on deck 6 was adequate. The bathroom was tiny and had only a shower protected by a cheap shower curtain (no bathtub as on Marina). Storage space was adequate. Our room was cleaned spotlessly every day. One person commented that a verandah is unnecessary on cruises to northern climates and during cooler seasons, and I agree, even though we had spectacular weather (Europe had its warmest weather on record). Our stateroom was near the rear elevator (closer to the restaurants) which was convenient. Nautica has only two specialty restaurants, so we were only allowed two such meals on a 12-day cruise (no surcharge). Oddly, each time we went, there were many empty tables. It should be noted that Nautica and the other three smaller (older) ships are being "reimagined" over the next year or two and the design looks attractive. Try to hold off until the ships are done. The interiors of Nautica are dated and frumpy. For example, on Marina there were real Picasso and Miro prints, and some delightful avant-garde works of art. On Nautica, the art looked like it came from a neighbourhood art show. Yes, this is a "first world" problem, but Oceania are among the most expensive cruises on the market. PA announcements were appropriate and brief and the cruise director was excellent on them. I was also impressed by the performers. The shows were appropriately scaled and tasteful, like a nightclub rather than Vegas. On Oceania, apart from a promotional package (cabin credit, 6 excursions/cabin, etc.) everything is extra. The wine lists are extensive and extremely expensive, starting generally at US$50 (one or two bottles) and shooting up from there. There is a 7-bottle wine package for US$350.00 and the choices were decent, but I did some research and found the majority of them cost in the range of US$10-20. Huge markup. Oceania permits bringing alcohol on board, as long as it is consumed in your cabin (there is a $25.00 corkage fee if you want to bring your bottle into a restaurant). Excursions are ridiculously expensive. Imagine 30 people paying US$300 each to board a bus for a day excursion. Typical. In St Petersburg, Russia, we went on one such excursion but were allowed only to get out of the bus at certain stops to take exterior pictures. The Hermitage, which we were looking forward to as a highlight, was too brief (actually only about 2.5 hours viewing) and of course it was massively overcrowded, which is not Oceania's fault. Tour guides were generally good, except in one case we signed up for a tour of modern Scandinavian architectural landmarks in Copenhagen but the tour was a disaster because the guide was subbed in at the last minute (with apologies) and had no time to prepare, so she showed us a few buildings near where she lived and in central Copenhagen then reverted to a tour of historic buildings because the time allotment was not used up. You would think these tours would all be pre-planned so anyone with some background could step in. We were also promised a tour of a "design factory" but were taken to a retail outlet instead which lasted about 10 minutes. Having said that, the food really is, with minor exception, the best of the cruise lines. One day the head chef made his rounds in the restaurant and I had a suggestion, which he implemented. The median age of the guests on oceania is probably about 70, and the food selections especially in the buffet area were appropriate. There were a few theme days, but most guests didn't seem to take advantage. Compared to Marina, Nautica's staff were a little too relaxed and familiar for my taste. Service can be personal but it should be deferential and non-intrusive. This is trivial, but one waiter asked me as a joke if I wanted ground pepper in my dessert, which was a bit of sarcasm over always having to offer ground pepper. We laughed but I had never experienced that on Marina. There is a merit/reward system for staff, and some of them seemed a little over-anxious about making an impression. My main complaint is with their marketing and sales. Oceania spends a lot of time trying to induce people to book on board, but the actual discounts are only about 5% for cruises that may be a year or more away. They also try to pressure you with the threat of "price increases" and are not flexible dealing with repeat customers. (Our travel agent enquired about how much an upcoming price increase would be, which was refused. That's not respectful of a customer who is looking at laying out $10-$20,000.00 per cabin and up.) Their online published prices are also misleading; when we enquired about a future cruise, they quoted the price for a stateroom two levels higher than the one we specified; when our travel agent enquired we were told it was for the "extra" package that was previously complementary. These cruises generally fill up and I don't see why they need to engage in high-pressure tactics. They tout their "loyalty" programme a great deal but benefits don't really accrue until you are over 10 cruises, and even then it might amount to free laundry. We each got a lapel pin worth about $5.00 and a free cocktail at a Captain's reception for our second cruise (22 cruise days total). The rest is window-dressing. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our second Oceania cruise. We were on the Nautica cruising the Baltic. We thought food was nothing special. It was good quality, but it lacked any special flavours. It was nowhere as good as we experienced on our previous ... Read More
This was our second Oceania cruise. We were on the Nautica cruising the Baltic. We thought food was nothing special. It was good quality, but it lacked any special flavours. It was nowhere as good as we experienced on our previous Oceania cruise. The service was fine but the last few days the service in the Terrace Café fell away significantly. The entertainment was outstanding for relatively small cruise ship. The berths at the ports were varied with some close to the city and others some quite a distance from the city. The excursions were just okay. We found them to be rushed and not very informative. They charged the equivalent of $150 USD for a walking tour that you can pick up at the local tourist office for $10 USD. There was too much free time, wasted time, long toilet breaks and waiting for people who get lost. I am aware that some other cruise lines have two guides, one at the front and one at the rear. Good idea. Wine prices were nothing short of extortion. French village wines which would retail in France for 20 Euro per bottle were about 15 Euro per glass plus 18% gratuities. They would charge 80 Euro for a reasonable quality bottle plus 18%. The enrichment talks were okay but they were fairly shallow for those of us interested in history. There was only limited time spent on the history of cities on our itinerary. 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
Sail Date: June 2018
The Ship, Cabin, Dining, Entertainment & Service were Excellent. Unfortunately, Travel that far is also about, if not mainly, the location and that experience. Ireland and its people were a found Treasure in spite of the shore ... Read More
The Ship, Cabin, Dining, Entertainment & Service were Excellent. Unfortunately, Travel that far is also about, if not mainly, the location and that experience. Ireland and its people were a found Treasure in spite of the shore excursions Nautica offered, not because of them. For a Ship of this caliber and cost I expected hand picked and above average Excursions. 2 out of 3 Excursions were Horrible (Kinsale & Bantry) and we gave a detailed written complaint to the excursion manager. Their attitude was, "Too Bad, no one else complained." We’ve asked to be taken off their mailing list as other options at that level of travel will be explored. Cork/Kinsale: The commentary was cute and entertaining while on route. Town was a big disappointment. Basically a Tourist trap, overloaded with Buses, wasted time with tea and scones in a Hotel with no atmosphere. Walk to the City Centre was a challenge for some. After visiting a few shops, noticed the long bathroom lines around the block at the Tourist Information Center that took up rest of the time allowed. Basically a frustrating Pit Stop. Bantry: "Spectacular Beara Peninsula": Long drive at breakneck speeds. Cannot open windows on a large Tour Bus and when A/C isn't working, it's miserable. Tour Bus used for Giants Causeway showed us what a clean, well maintained, WC on bus, excellent driver and Excursion should be. The comparison was Night and Day. IMHO all Excursions should have been at this level. Independent walks of Ports of Call would have been better use of our time rather than those two horrible Excursions.We don’t expect travel to be PERFECT but expected Oceania to handle the complaint PERFECTLY. I suggest avoiding the OCEANIA sponsored excursion. 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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