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Oceania Cruises: Nautica

Fodorite Reviews

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May 17, 2016

cruise

Beijing to Hong Kong voyage 02/03/2016 - 24/03/2016 on board the Nautica 1. When we had booked this cruise it shows that we had 2 days in Shanghai 18/3/2016 arrive at 8.00am depart 19/03/2016 at 5.00pm. We received a final cruise summary from Oceania via Virgin this shows that the Shanghai had changed to 2 half days 18/03/2016 arrive 12.00pm depart 19/03/2016 1.00pm we did not notice change and where not aware until a passenger on the

ship told us, they companied and got the internet package for free. Note there times will change again during the cruise. 2. Day of transfer from the hotel to the port Tianjin. We where told at first that the bus would leave the hotel at approx. 11.00am, it was then but back to 12.00 then again to 1.00pm. We where not told why. Boarded the bus had a break half way to the port when we get back on the bus where were told the boat could not dock due to fog this might lift when we got to the port. Arrived approx 0400pm in Tianjin the bus parked on the street, for over 2 hours the driver went missing and left the bus door open the weather was cold. The Oceania rep went to find out what was going on was gone for approx. 2 hours. People where now getting off the bus as no one know what was going on. The Oceania rep arrived stating that the ship could not dock and we where bussed to a Chinese restaurant the food was terrible. Then to the hotel, the hotel was fine but the breakfast next morning was poor. Note this is a 19 day cruise now. 3.We set sail to Seoul ok. Now we are told that the next port Jeju South Korea was not going to happen, bad weather and the other excuse North Korea [ I know that every time that the USA and South Korea have mauves in the china sea there is a problem but Oceania did not have a back up plan?.] Note Oceana now save on port, tugs and pilot frees. The next ports in Japan no problem. Then we arrive at Shanghai, fog could not get into port on the 18/03 arrive late next evening 19/03. Now we are told that the captain thinks it better that we cancel the next port or call Xiamen 2days, and spend the extra day in Shanghai note we was suppose to spend 2 days in Shanghai in the first place. Note Oceana have now saved a other 2 days on port, tugs and pilot frees in Xiamen The Ship 4. We arrived in our room this is ok when on to the balcony only to find a plank of wood sticking out of the floor on the balcony that you had to step over to enter the room. I companied to the house keeper nothing was done for two days so I went to the reception desk and companied it was sorted out within the hour. My point is this should have been inspected before we entered the room. I do have a picture of this. 5. Due to all of the immigration problems at several ports[ we were queuing up to 4 hours] in China & North Korea the captain on two occasions gave a free complimentary cocktail drink to everyone, We do not drink 6. The sheets on the bed had a hole in it, it was replaced but again it should not have happened. 7. We went on a Highlights of Tokyo Western style BBQ which turned out to be raw fish with noodles. We did complain to the tours desk only to be asked "what did you expect"!!! We did eventually get a small refund but not until the day we left, 10 days after the tour. We where told 2 that the letter had been sent to our room we never revived one. 8. We orders a early breakfast in our room on 4 occasions as we had booked tours with Oceania. The first breakfast we ordered toast only to be given plain bread phoned to complain was told it would be sent straight away did not arrived. We had to make our way to the tour bus. The second time we ordered one coffee and on tea only the coffee arrived, the third time we ordered two cakes none was delivered this time again we complained and the cakes did arrive. The forth time they did get the order correct. 9. On the Grand dining room we did in counter on two occasions the dinner was served on cold plates! 10. We know before we sailed that the entertainment was not going to be great but so it was poor. 11.I have phoned the Southampton on two occasions the first time was 31/03/2016 and the second time was on the 04/04/2016 in the afternoon both times I left a message no on has phoned be back. 12. It seams to us Oceania was cutting the out the ports to save money due to the problems in Tianjin. 13. As two of our tours where cancelled due to cancelled visits to Jeju and Xiamen we had on board credit, so as we made our payment in English pounds, I expected to be reimbursed in pounds. But no I was given $ WHICH WE THEN HAD TO CHANGE INTO STERING. at a loss to ourselves, not Oceania's loss. 14. The last comment we like to make is that we spoke to the cruise staff and fellow Oceania passengers a large portion have been on several Oceania cruises, and they were telling us that this the worst cruise that they have been on, and this also applies to my wife and I. 15 We would like to know is this the service that we should have expected from Oceania a 5 star plus ship. The room was keep tidy but we where disappointed with the size .

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Jan 30, 2016

Singapore to Hong Kong

Disappointing! The rooms are outrageously small and the furniture lacking. Our bedside table had no drawer and was 7" below the level of the mattress. My husband had a negative reaction the first evening dining in the Polo Grill. The 4th day he saw the medic and req'd a charcoal drink, an anti-spasmodic and a 3 day course of antibiotics. For this lovely introduction he was presented with a $570. US bill. Unfortunately a week later I had a bout

as well which cost me the arrangement to cruise the Mekong River in Saigon. I had a full day confined to my room, undercooked eggs? Our destinations were all amazing and we did an overnite, off the ship in Hanoi which was a highlight. We did only one of the ships tours in Bangkok, down the Chao Phrya River, which was unremarkable. They had the obligatory spot to shop and boarding the boat from one of the stops was particularly dicey...a gentleman on our boat ended up with a bad gash on his leg. The entertainment also was very mediocre, the Thai dancers was so poor & the music so loud and screechy most of the room was on their feet and out within 5 min. The only marvelous entertainment was the 2 nites with Sally Jones, she was great! All in all, we have had the best experiences in the past on Princess, Seabourn and Regent, we are probably off cruising after this adventure. Oddly, everyone one who had spoken to us previous to our booking with Oceania raved about how terrific the food was? We both had the worst experience with the food..and as we have owned a home in Los Cabos, Mexico for the past 20 years we are careful but adventurous diners. Dismal, furniture was underwhelming and the room & bathroom were So small we found ourselves on our hands and knees trying to access drawers and shelves. On our introduction to the room we were forced to have housekeeping up for a thorough cleaning( a 2 hr. Delay) as there were black, grimy fingerprints on the bathroom door, sticky spots on the carpet and the shower was filthy with dirty soap scum. Bingo, paddle tennis and putting contest were the activities. The excursions, and we conferred with other passengers as well, are expensive for what they offer and have no special advantage. They have canned tours with obligatory shopping stops( maybe they get a kickback?) The destinations were fabulous and for the most the dockings were well placed.

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Jan 30, 2014

Accent On Antiquities Istanbul to Athens

My worst experience related to this cruise was with the Oceania Cruise Line headquarters. I wrote a letter to the President who passed it down to the Guest Relations Administrator concerning the conduct of our tour guide on the Island of Delos Tour. The tour was conducted in very heavy rain, strong gusty wind and dangerous lightning - while on a hill, no less.. I felt, as did all the others, that our guide exercised bad judgement in wanting to press

on even when we were drenched. The only place on Deos that had cover was the Museum. The other tour groups were taken there but by the time the guide brought us there, we were literally soaked to the skin including the money and documents in my wallet. We were so chilled that we needed to take a hot shower on returning to the ship and our shoes were so wet that we spent that evening in the ships laundry room using the dryers to dry them. While we were on the Delos tour, the Nautica Captain used better judgement when he suspended the shore tender service because of the frequent lightning! This was a bad day in all regards and amounted to a lost day on our cruise. My Canon camera, an ELPF 500 HS was damaged from getting soaked even in its pouch. In the days afterward, the camera display was only partly visible making it very hard to compose further pictures and the shutter cover would not open properly causing cutoff pictures. As far as my camera was concerned, I asked that Guest Relations see to it that the Tour company repaired or replaced my camera. It has a used value of about $150.00. I also asked for a refund for the cost of the Tour. (I wish they were able to replace the day we lost being so miserable.). I felt the reply I did receive from Guest Relations was insulting in that she referred to "my perception" as being not the reality and that she had done an investigation that did not support my description of the events on Delos. I know that almost everyone on the tour wrote about that bad experience on the mid cruise comment form. She closed her letter by saying “We hope your actual cruise experience aboard Nautica met or exceeded your expectations.” Did this person read my letter? NO - it did NOT meet and it did NOT exceed my expectations! I contacted another person on that tour and they wrote a letter confirming everything I described and sent another letter along with this additional support to both the company president and Guest Relations management on Nov. 26,2013. To date neither has chosen to reply. I am very disappointed with the brush off and I know that their dismissal of my experience will be uppermost in my mind when I plan our next cruise or when someone asks about our trip with Oceania. Food was OK but much better in the specialty dining rooms. Adequate. Nothing fancy. Entertainment was OK for a small ship - 600+ passengers. Every stop had must see sites. My Oceania "Accent on Antiquities" cruise, Istanbul to Athens September 28, 2013 was NOT the experience I had expected. I delayed posting this in hopes that Guest Relations would see fit to respond to my second letter. The good: The crew aboard the Nautica was everything I had read in on line reviews. Everyone onboard was courteous and very attentive always anxious to make our trip the best possible. The bad: On this Itinerary, The Nautica spends the first two days at dock in Istanbul. A terrific city to explore and I would encourage everyone who has not been there, to come several days earlier as there is so much to see and do and the people were very friendly and charming. Our cabin number was 8008 a PH-2 Penthouse Suite located somewhat forward of midship on the port (left) side of the ship. The Salipazari Port Terminal is an old building and there is nothing appealing about it. What made our two days aboard very miserable, is that there is a large fuel barge parked there to refuel the ships and it was right next to our ship and our stateroom. There was no way we could enjoy our veranda as the view was “Industrial” at best and there was a constant smell of fuel oil anytime we tried going outside. My advice, DO NOT accept a Port side cabin if you plan to do Istanbul aboard this ship.

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Oct 31, 2013

Mediterranian-Istanbul to Athens

We took our second Ocenia cruise this year from Istanbul visiting some Greek Islands and Turkish ports before ending up in Athens (Sept/Oct 2013). This followed our first cruise on the same cruise line from Vancouver to Alaska in May 2013. Although for the Mediterranean cruise was on the Nautica, and the cruise to Alaska was on the Regatta, the two ships were so similar that sometimes, we forgot exactly which ship we were on! The Oceania

staff and crew were an asset to the company. They were so pleasant yet professional. They always smiled and greeted you when they passed by you. They worked hard and always tried their best to please, and nothing seemed to be too much trouble. We were very impressed with their positive attitudes and the good training from Oceania management. Our belief is that the high quality of staff at Oceania Cruises is really one of the key strengths of the company, and that's why their cruises are so popular and successful. We know a lot of people raved about the wonderful cuisine and high standard of cooking on Oceania. Yes, we agree with them to a degree, but we have to say eventhough the cooking on Oceania was generally very good, it was not perfect! (Sorry, sorry, we know, we are being rather picky here! Gulp!!). To us, the bread served on Oceania Cruises (both Nautica and Regatta) was not very nice - it tasted to us as if it was dry and some was quite hard - the exception was the selection of breads in the Toscana Italian restaurant. We were also disappointed by the roast "lamb" which was really very tough , and the lamb curry with chewy meat, all were served in the Terrace (Buffet) restaurant. Their smoked salmon did not always taste fresh, it was as if it had been in the freezer for too long and the texture has gone past its best. Their scooped ice-cream curiously tasted as if was not properly frozen. Also, during their Asian-theme lunch in the buffet restaurant, their Asian dishes were not very authentic and some of their Asian dishes actually tasted pretty awful ! Being Asian, I dare claim to have some knowledge of how "good" Asian food should taste like! An exception to the poor quality of their Asian dishes was their sushi, which was very nice. Of course, as there was such a large choice of foods to eat, we never went hungry because if some dishes or food items were not to our tastes, there was always something else that we would enjoy. We won't list them as we are sure other passengers in other reviews have mentioned them already! It was a shame that in the buffet restaurant, passengers could not help themselves but had to be served by ship staff. Perhaps this might have something to do with hygiene but the dishes were covered by plastic covers which steamed up so much it was sometimes difficult to see what was being served at meal times. Service in the Grand Dining Room as well as the two specialty restaurants could be a bit slow at times - to be on the safe side, we gave ourselves up to 2 hours for a sit-down dinner. Like all staff, the waiting staff were all very friendly but professional. They also moved from restaurant to restaurant daily. We were told by a waiting staff that they work on average 10 hours a day yet amazingly, they seemed still to manage to be so pleasant and nice. So we never complained even if they were slow - which they weren't really, just had too many tables to serve, that was all! Soft drinks were complimentary but wines and other drinks had to be purchased. The wine and drinks prices were quite expensive, in our view, and this was made worse because like most American cruise lines, Oceania Cruise Lines added an extra 18 per cent on top of their already pricey drinks! The cabins in the Nautica had beds with luxurious mattresses and plump pillows and it was very pleasant to sleep on. We never had much problems sleeping because of the comfy beds - even when the sea was quite choppy and the winds was tossing the boat a bit, we were sleeping fine! Each room had a fridge stocked with a selection of soft drinks and sodas and it was replenished every day. The room was cleaned twice a day and towels were replaced twice daily as well (if needed). The towels were not as luxurious as in some really nice hotels but they were adequate. As some passengers commented the shower rooms were quite small, however, it is untrue that all cabins have the same small shower rooms. The larger rooms from penthouse suite upwards have bigger bathrooms. Even the smaller shower rooms were not that bad - you could move around quite adequately unless you have a back the size of an elephant! We were not sure if Oceania cruises were trying to do some "cost-saving exercise" because the luxurious Bulgari toiletries which we had in the earlier Alaskan cruise were replaced by Oceania's own home-brand toiletries, which seemed somewhat cheaper-looking . A "down-grade" in toiletries, maybe? There was a daily newsletter that keeps passengers informed of the activities on board. The cruise director also made regular announcements and appearances on TV to keep us up-to-date on the cruise. As the Nautica was a medium-sized boat, it probably did not have as many activities as in the larger cruise ships. There was a small but comfortable library, an ultra-expensive internet room, a spa and sauna, destination talks, cocktail piano sessions, string quartet, and the evening entertainment in the Nautica Lounge . We were disappointed that the evening entertainment in the Nautica Lounge was not on every evening. The standard of their own home singers were just average - their song choices were not all very good -, but the ship had some guest entertainers who were actually better than we expected. There was a magician, a guest musician, and a guest singer. The African-American guest singer was really a class act and we wished he had done more shows on our cruise - he was great. There was also a couple of channels on the ship TV but one area we thought the company could improve on is the quality and choice of TV channels. The library could offer some "giant jigsaws" for passengers to partake throughout the cruise (some cruise lines like Fred Olsen already have that) From our previous Oceania cruise, we realised that the excursions offered by Oceania were very expensive and you could get better deals else where - instead of taking any excursions from Oceania, we checked for alternative and cheaper cruise excursions online. Also we read somewhere that Oceania may be one of those few cruise lines that allow you to bring your own alcohol to consume in your room but we cannot be sure. We had thought they were quite strict and prohibitive on anyone "smuggling" some of your "plonk" which you bought while in port - they scanned all our bags and shopping each time we returned from a port visit back onto the boat. So please check with the cruise company yourselves about their taking-own-alcohol policy on this before doing so, just to be sure - we do not wish to be responsible for your bottle of alcohol being confiscated ! Our cruise started from Istanbul, and it sailed to Kusa Dasi, followed by Marmaris ,Mykonos and Santorini. Before we sailed to Santorini, the Cruise Director whetted our appetites as he indicated Santorini was one of the most beautiful islands he had even seen. However, when we reached Santorini, we had an announcement that because the sea was too choppy, the captain had cancelled our stop there - it was too dangerous to take the tender boats to land on Santorini Island. We would have preferred that even though we could not land on Santorini , the captain could have at least sailed around the island. Instead, we sailed away into the seas without any fixed destination in mind, as if just to kill time and to pass the day. So all we did was waste fuel , saw no land, and adding more carbon to the earth sailing almost aimlessly ! What a waste of time that was!! We had nothing much to do at sea that day and found ourselves eating even more of their delicious food out of boredom! At least, that was our excuse for eating more! Lol. Eventually, the boat headed for Agios Nikolaos on the island of Crete which we docked the following morning. Our last port of call before reaching Pireus (for Athens) was Nafpleon. All these places we visited were nice, but it was a shame we had to miss the "Jewel in the Crown" of Greek islands, Santorini. Still, nevermind. We really enjoyed our first Oceania cruise to Alaska. Although we enjoyed the second Mediterranean cruise as well, because practically everything on board was the same as the boat on the first cruise - decor, cuisine, etc, etc - by the time our second cruise finished, we thought that we had a nice time but we have had just ample experience of Oceania cruises to last us for a little while. The next time we would like to try going on another cruise line for a bit of "difference" in experience. The thing with Oceania is, you know what you are getting, but many things remain the same for a long time, cruise after cruise. The same menus, the same decor, the same rooms, etc, etc. Only the ports of call are different. I supposed you could say we were spoilt but you could get a bit too much of a good thing. Didn't someone say you could even get bored on champagne and caviar ??!!!. Oceania cruises may not be quite champagne and caviar yet but its standards are very high. We have already booked on a cruise middle of next year with the rival company to Oceania, Azamara Club Cruises - curiously, it will be on the Azamara Quest, which is the same "R" class boat as the Nautica (as well as the Regatta) . Hopefully we can compare the two cruise companies to see which one is better!

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By abb_CR

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Jul 15, 2013

northern knights

The Ms Nautica is a particularly ADA unfriendly ship; it suffers from narrow hallways and very narrow doorways, extremely high thresholds and bathtubs without grab bars. It is clearly not suitable for wheelchair passengers. Oceania was informed in writing of the limited mobility and use of a personal wheelchair by my wife at the time of our booking in March 2012. Our Oceania scheduled transfer from the Hyatt Churchill to LHR on July 5th

never showed. The Hyatt concierge contacted your agent (Intercruises)and received no response, forcing us to take a taxi to LHR in order to catch our flight (see attached details). Our flight as booked by Oceania, at considerable added expense for business class, was to be on DL8655 (AirFrance1981) with a transfer at CDG to DL197. At check-in the AirFrance agent told us we would not be able to use my wife's personal wheelchair at LHR and CDG but that it would need to shipped as cargo. Delta's inability to accommodate personal wheelchairs at LHR and CDG is extremely disconcerting and contrary to their stated policies. Furthermore there is no sharing of wheelchair transfers between Air France and Delta which caused lenghthy delays in our boarding at LHR and CDG on July 5th. It took well over an hour after the plane arrived at the gate at PHL to retrieve her personal wheelchair after all luggage was long offloaded from the plane. All told I wasted in excess of $350. on additional taxicabs, skycaps and wheelchair pushers. OK if you like Pepin style food. The Italian restaurant was better. I would not call it a "penthouse suite", in comparison with other lines, more like a balcony stateroom. The usual activities: Bingo: overpriced kitsch art auctions Oceania excursions are overpriced compared with other lines Everything went ok till the day of our return home when the Oceania wheels came off.

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Jun 18, 2012

Dubai to Cape Town

This is the first time we had cruised Oceania and enjoyed their service; and particularly enjoyed the ports on this trip. My only concern with this trip was the doctor and the response from head office in Florida. Several guests used the service of the doctor which was not unusual on a 30-day voyage. However, what was unusual was the service they got. Some were told they could not board the ship again; some were threatened with being left

in port; another lady was sent on her own to hospital with no ship representative and no translator in India! She was told she was having a panic attack, but the ship doctor would not believe her. Several were given lab tests but did not see results!! Guests were overcharged for services and some received a small rebate. It eventually led to several meetings of guests who had been treated in the medical centre; who demanded that the doctor be replaced; but head office would not comply. The food quality and service in all venues was exceptional. The boss in the buffet could use some stress management; but all other staff were always pleasant and very good at their jobs. Appreciated the Asian food on the buffet. Stateroom was fine and well kept by housekeeper. Onboard activities were pleasant and very well organized. Shore excursions were all interesting; but thought they were over priced. Visit to the game reserve was the high light for us and well worth the money. The medical situation was disconcerting as my husband has medical issues and we were worried throughout the trip that if he became ill that the doctor would be over-concerned and make us leave the ship; or even worse, not be able to address my husbands problems. I have only seen one other review regarding this situation; so am not at all sure that the company has addressed the issue. This will definitely reflect on our decision whether we book with Oceania a second time.

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Jun 18, 2012

Dubai to Cape Town

This is the first time we had cruised Oceania and enjoyed their service; and particularly enjoyed the ports on this trip. My only concern with this trip was the doctor and the response from head office in Florida. Several guests used the service of the doctor which was not unusual on a 30-day voyage. However, what was unusual was the service they got. Some were told they could not board the ship again; some were threatened with being left

in port; another lady was sent on her own to hospital with no ship representative and no translator in India! She was told she was having a panic attack, but the ship doctor would not believe her. Several were given lab tests but did not see results!! Guests were overcharged for services and some received a small rebate. It eventually led to several meetings of guests who had been treated in the medical centre; who demanded that the doctor be replaced; but head office would not comply. The food quality and service in all venues was exceptional. The boss in the buffet could use some stress management; but all other staff were always pleasant and very good at their jobs. Appreciated the Asian food on the buffet. Stateroom was fine and well kept by housekeeper. Onboard activities were pleasant and very well organized. Shore excursions were all interesting; but thought they were over priced. Visit to the game reserve was the high light for us and well worth the money. The medical situation was disconcerting as my husband has medical issues and we were worried throughout the trip that if he became ill that the doctor would be over-concerned and make us leave the ship; or even worse, not be able to address my husbands problems. I have only seen one other review regarding this situation; so am not at all sure that the company has addressed the issue. This will definitely reflect on our decision whether we book with Oceania a second time.

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Feb 21, 2012

Rome to Athens

Our trip from Rome to Athens was fantastic. The service aboard Nautica was outstanding. Oceania takes excellent care of you. We boarded in minutes. Our luggage was in our cabin within 30 minutes. This midsize ship does have some problems with higher than normal waves. Our dinning experience was wonderful. The open seating allowed us to mingle with several passengers. We've made some lasting friendships. The dining staff was the best we've ever

had. The food was plentiful and well prepared. We had no problems with any of the selections. Our two cabin stewards had our room in first class condition. They were always available. The cabin was a little larger than your typical room which made for a more enjoyable cruise. We had plenty of room. Our veranda was perfect. The privacy, the noise levels, the cleanliness - perfect. The cruise director kept things moving and we found that terrific. We could always hear the announcements and of course, they were timely. About 500 passengers were onboard during our cruise which made accessibility to everything more pleasant. It being a midsize ship, made getting to all the activities very easy. Early morning coffee and pastries made the mornings. Every excursion was well designed. We were on a 10 day cruise and had excursions on 6 of those days. This was a trip of a lifetime. I would recommend that you take this trip. It was worth every penny. It was the best cruise I've ever taken. There wasn't anything that wasn't perfect. Our travel agent explained that you'll have a wonderful time. At first, I was thinking this is what she tells everybody she books. From the moment, we booked the cruise, literature, emails, starting flying. We were asked many times, "how can we make your cruise more enjoyable?"We were greeted in Rome by a member of the cruise line. We were taken to our hotel and another member from the Cruise Line was there to greet us. We were given directions, offered water, our room was ready, etc. When it was time to board the bus to the boat, again someone was there to explain all the details. Arrival at the terminal was on time. Check in was short and we were greeted every time with smiles and a true feeling of "we're glad you're here!" attitude. They meant it. The overall experience is beyond description. Take the trip and you'll see for yourself.

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Sep 3, 2009

Rome to Athens

Oceania is a fabulous cruise line to travel. I know I will never get back on a large ship again. The service is impeccable the attention to detail, the cleanliness was phenomenal!! You get what you pay for and remember that. There were so many people that were repeat clients of the line so to me that is a good sign especially when you are paying top dollar. The itinerary was great, could do without Rhodes and Delos and maybe even Malta, but all the

rest was spectacular. The food on Nautica was fantastic! They have the "Grand dining room" excellent menu every night. They keep a few standards but change up the rest of the menu each evening. Tapas on the Terrace is the buffet, again fabulous food excellent variety for all three meals and you can sit outside for the dining. The "resevered" restaurants which is Polo Grill, phenomenal steaks and lobster, they don't overload the seatings so you don't feel rushed or over crowded. The Toscana restaurant is a combo of Italian and steaks/seafood, again fabulous! I can't say enough about the food. They also have a poolside grill called Waves, great burgers and fries and milkshakes! The room was immaculate, the bathroom is very tiny, so if you are a tall man or of larger stature it is a tight fit in the shower. The beds are tranquility beds and they are so great that we did not want to get out of them in the morning. We had 2 cabin stewards and they kept it very, very clean for us. The balcony area was remarkably well kept. We did not participate in any of the onboard activities, but did watch several of them. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. This ship is NOT child friendly so I would not bring children under the age of 18 or even 21. The staff did do a great job at entertaining the children that were on there. But if you want to bring your kids do Norwegian, Royal or Princess. This is really catered to adults. That is why we chose it. The entertainment in the lounge was great. It was not "hokey" lounge music. Excellent singers and excellent band. There is the Horizons lounge on level 10 which is the "hip" place to hang. We went there every night. Some nights it was empty because the people on the ship are older but late in the evening the younger crowd would come out and have a good time up there. Dance music and disco then they do like a motown night so it was definitly fun! The ship had fantastic ports. We did not do any of the ships excursions. We did it on our own and it was fine. The temperatures were very hot when we were there so 100 degrees I did not want to sit on a 2 hour bus ride to Florence! I felt the ports we went to were very self sufficient. Taxi's were great in almost all ports. Probably the worst was Capri, because of the crowds. We could not wait for the funicular because it was so hot, so we took a taxi and that was a rip-off. It was extremely overcrowded there. On the other hand the cable car to the top of Fira in Santorini there was no wait. I have to agree with the ship DO NOT take the donkey ride up to Fira, there are always injuries, on our ship a lady fell off and got a black eye. The trip before someone broke there foot. So not worth it, the cable car has you up in 5 min. Rhodes reminded me of a turkish market...not crazy about it and Delos is just an archeological site. We missed mykonos (and apparently that is very common) because of the where the island is situated when its windy you cannot tender. So don't save your shopping till then because you may not make the stop. This to me was a fantastic vacation. The ports that this line chooses are spectacular. Being that it is a smaller cruise line you don't have to tender out as far as the larger ships which is wonderful. The staff is so friendly and you can tell that they love their job on this line. After speaking to several of them that have worked the larger lines they basically said if you work here you don't leave because it is such a great line to work for and it shows in the way they treat their clients. My husband is not a "cruise person" so this took a lot of convincing and we are a fairly young couple, but he has already decided we will do this again. If you want to see several different ports this is the cruise line to do it on.

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Jul 1, 2007

n/a

Oceania Cruises Nautical Cruise Review Istanbul - Greek Islands John Nogg We took East Mediterranean Cruise on the Nautica, one of three Oceania ships. The experience was delightful. Our cruise began July 2, 2007, in Piraeus, the port for Athens, went to Santorini, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Delos, Mykonos, Thira, Katakolon, Corfu, Dubrovnik and ended in Istanbul. We recommend the ship to any adults who want good food, good

company, and good experiences ashore. We spent several days in Athens first, at the Athenaeum InterContinental. Oceania had a welcome desk there before cruise departure, but you could seldom find the Oceania person and when we finally did, she was unhelpful and gave us inaccurate information. The InterContinental put us in a taxi to the cruise terminal, where we went through a perfunctory and useless security check. From there, Nautica took over and the boarding process was simple and friendly. We were in our stateroom within 15 minutes of leaving the taxi and at the welcoming lunch buffet 10 minutes later. Most of the luggage arrived promptly. The final piece was delayed a couple hours. We found the stateroom, 4049, well located--about 35 steps from the reception desk, central stairway, and elevators. The room was beautiful, in perfect condition, quiet, about average size for a cruise ship, with dark woods, a large window, a comfortable queen-size bed, a small desk and padded stool, small love-seat and a coffee table, and a functional TV that showed movies. Storage space was more than adequate, and suitcases fit under the bed. We had no balcony, and never felt we needed one. The bathroom was on the small side, with adequate storage space but a tiny shower. The hot water was always hot, but the shower is probably the worst feature of the Nautica. An attendant cleaned the room twice daily, did a perfect job, and was seldom seen. Overall, the ship was beautiful, very well decorated, traditional but not old-fashioned, and superbly maintained. You could hardly find a scuff mark anywhere. The ship carries only 680 passengers, which puts it on the small side these days. We, and everyone we talked to, liked the size, which was big enough but not too big. While cruising, the ship was stable. The swimming pool was small but adequate, with two whirlpools, and the deck area was adequate. There were a variety of places to sit in the sun or lean on the railing. There was a nice library, a good-sized fitness area, a small casino, and two shops. A string quartet frequently played, as did a pianist. The stage entertainment was typical of cruise ships. There were few children on our trip, and there should have been none. Nautica doesn't encourage children, and these kind of trips aren't suited for them. Food was usually very good, sometimes excellent, and a few times even superb. It would occasionally fall into the "okay" category. The elegant Grand Dining Room operates during specified periods as announced each day in the ship newsletter. You are not assigned a table or an eating time. There are no formal nights. You dress "country club casual." No tie or jacket is required for men. Some jackets but only a few ties were in evidence. You decide whether to eat with others or not. Service was good. The buffet, at the stern of the ship, has superb views and is called the Terrace Caf? for breakfast and lunch and Tapas for dinner. On three consecutive evenings, we sat at one of the outdoor tables at the buffet and watched the sun set over the Black Sea, an experience to treasure. Menu selection was varied, and presentation was excellent in both restaurants. Oceania advertises that "legendary chief" Jacques Pepin created some of the dishes on the menu. That seemed overrated to us. Near the pool was a grill, operating from about noon to 4 p.m., where you could get good hamburgers and hotdogs, a few other sandwiches, ice cream, and go through a salad buffet. There are two alternative restaurants, Toscana, featuring Italian, and the Polo Grill, featuring beef. You make reservations, but do not pay extra at them. While fine, they are over-hyped. The dining room and buffet were just as good. The Nautica does not scrimp on food. Prime rib was on the menu several nights, a roast sucking pig was served one day, and shrimp prepared in various ways was available almost every day. We met the captain once at a ship's party. Otherwise, he was not much in evidence. Tours of the bridge, kitchen and engine room were not advertised. A concierge is available during the day. When our room keys acted up, he quickly had the problem fixed. The staff comes from many countries, and most had good command of English and were very friendly. Shore excursions were as with many ships, terribly overpriced. Details about them, necessary to decide which ones to select, were hard to come by before we boarded. Calls to the 800 Oceania number were answered by dour, unhelpful individuals. For some of the port of calls we decided to pre-book private shore excursions through local tour operators before boarding to Nautica. Except Mykonos in rest of the port we booked ships excursions. Among them our favorite port was Santorini! We took the half day tour and still had time to shop and make it back to the ship for a late lunch. Everyone takes either the gondola or the donkies back down to the tenders! Fun! In Mykonos, we didn't take a tour because the ship has a shuttle bus to town. We enjoyed the photo opportunities here as well as shopping for music. We heard some complaints from people who paid for tours here... but then there are always some unhappy campers everywhere! In talking to many of our fellow passengers, we heard nearly-unanimous praise for the Nautica. A surprising number of them had been on Oceania two or three times before, although the company has existed only a few years. One woman, apparently a chronic complainer, said maintenance of her stateroom was lacking, crew were impolite, and food was not "phenomenal." It was difficult to believe her first two claims. As for the food, meals were always enjoyable and delicious; for "phenomenal," you go to gourmet restaurants. Several passengers got on board without their luggage. I suspect that was the fault of airlines. I would strongly advise against arriving in Europe on the same day your cruise ship departs - WAY too much opportunity for trouble. Service in the Nautica buffet was at times a little slow. The staff should also enforce the dress code. We had a few louts who came to the buffet in sleeve-less t-shirts and baggy shorts, and one who talked loudly on a cell phone.  

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Aug 10, 2006

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Oceania Cruises Nautica Cruise Review Mediterranean John Gawne We just returned from our 28th cruise on the Oceania Nautica, and my wife says it was her best ever. I had booked several customers on Oceania who raved about the service and we wanted to find out for ourselves. We flew to Barcelona a day early to enjoy the city, staying on the Ramblas in Hotel Royal. $159 plus tax and we had a room overlooking the

Ramblas on the 4th floor. No noise. And it is a short ride to the pier. We stayed in a category B2 balcony cabin 6077. The next cabin forward was a B1, and more expensive. All the balconies on the B2, B1, and A1,2,3 (concierge) are the same size. Only suites on deck 8 are larger. Balconies are very private. The cabin is typical of balcony cabins, but no refrigerator. The shower is very small. Service is exceptional, with 400 staff for 684 guests, and they really appear to enjoy their work and provide exceptional service. Dining is open seating in the Dining Room, and Tapas on the Terrace (the high end buffet style dining), and by reservation in the two specialty restaurants Toscano and Polo. There is no service charge for the specialty restaurants. There are plenty of tables for two, and only twice did we have a short (5 minute) wait for a table, in the Dining Room. Dinner menus seemed to have a lot of steak and beef, but there was an ample choice of fish, which included sea bass, grilled tune, corvina, swordfish, salmon, and a wok seafood dish of shrimp, scallops and salmon. Desserts were excellent, including crème brulee in the dining room and specialty restaurants. Tables for two are arranged close enough to others to talk, but separated enough to be "separate". The single pool was never crowded and there are plenty of loungers, including double seating lounges, all with cushions and terry cloth covers. The casino is small but adequate. We had not expected much entertainment, but during the 10 days we had three shows by a staff of 4 singers, and we also had a terrific illusionist, and two musical/singing performances by a husband wife team...the husband is the orchestra director. There is also a pianist in the piano bar nightly. Dancing was available nightly in a variety of locations, usually the Horizon Lounge on Deck 10 forward where a sextet from the orchestra played until 11 or 12 at night. There are no live "port talks", just a repeating short TV talk by the cruise director, and it had no port map with the daily newsletter. It wasn't until the 4th port that we discovered that for a few hours each port morning there was someone near the purser's desk who distributed local maps and provided directions and port information. These passengers are, for the most part, 55+ and well traveled. We heard no "griping" all cruise! While advertised as country club casual and the brochures show men in jackets, there were very few jackets, no ties, and women did wear nice dresses in the evening, including some cocktail dresses. The day wear was like any other ship. Internet service is VERY slow but they do have wireless hotspots all over the ship. The internet lab had about 24 stations, and there were 2 more in the library for use if computer classes were in session. They had good TV with CCN, Fox News, BBC, and a number of movie channels. There were no lines onboard, for anything, even tenders, except for embarkation check-in, which was done onboard in a lounge. There was absolutely no "pushing tropical drinks" and no onboard photographers, at all. Fine! In Barcelona they allowed me to go back on the pier, purchase wine, sangria, and gin and bring it back to my cabin. Our itinerary was termed Art Reigns Supreme and the ports reflected that. Sailing from Barcelona, we visited Marsaille, Monte Carlo, Civatavecchia/Rome, Livorno/Florence/Pisa, Amalfi, Taormina, Valetta Malta, one day at sea, and an overnight in Athens before debarking. A smaller ship, we often were in choice berths, with the larger ships further from the port. Lots of walking! And I think I have now seen all the churches and museums I could stand for a while, but the art was superb, including Gaudi in Barcelona, the Vatican Museum, the Accademi in Florence, St John's in Valetta, and of course the Acropolis, Agora, and Plaka in Athens. Without doing a travelogue, I will add that I did use Bob's Limos and Tours http://romelimousines.com/ in Civitavecchia and Livorno, and we were very pleased with the experience, especially with the driver in Livorno/Florence/Pisa, who even took us via the Tuscan countryside at our request. In Athens we did use George Taxi and Limo http://www.greecetravel.com/taxi/, where George's son Dennis picked us up in a limo instead of taxi, as his father, the taxi driver, was on vacation in the islands. He took the time to help me find the house I lived in there from 1972-75, and at our request took us to la ocal, non tourist, restaurant for lunch were we enjoyed salata horiatiki with a giant slab of feta and kalamata olives, tzetziki, moussaka, lamb fricasse, and swordfish kabobs. The "free air" included was Lufthansa from Dulles to Barcelona via Frankfort, and Air France from Athens via Paris to Dulles. Lufthansa was superb, and both offered multiple meals, and complimentary wine and cordials. All our baggage made it, leaving a day early, but some passengers whose flights were through London, never got their luggage until we arrived in Athens, due to the security scares in London. On the way back, at our connection in Paris, at gate check-in they researched all carry-ons and body searched every passenger. Having watched the news on Fox and CNN we had no problem, but it meant we didn't try to bring back bottles of olive oil or liquor, as we had planned. Oceania is a bit pricier than the premium lines (HAL, Princess, Celebrity), but the service and ambiance is wonderful.  wonderful.  

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Jun 18, 2006

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Oceania Cruises Nautica Cruise Review Mediterranean Carol This was our 10th cruise but first on Oceania. We previously cruised on Norwegian, RCL, Orient,and Princess. We have just returned from a 12 day Nautica trip to the Mediterranean that began on June 19. We loved the ship, the atmosphere and the crew. Most surprising was the 20 or so children on board. This is really not a ship for children as there is not much

for them to do. We actually felt sorry for them and we heard that comment from other passengers. Our fellow passengers were mostly seniors but there were also many young couples as well as young singles. It was a great mix. The staff on the Nautica couldn't be more attentive. No matter which dining space we used, the staff was always there to bring our drinks, take away used plates or even get something from the buffet that we wished to try. We ate in all the restaurants and while we did not discover Tapas (the Terrace Cafe, which is the buffet breakfast and lunch facility turned into Tapas in the evening) for dinner until many days had passed it became our favorite. The evening menu in Tapas followed the Grand dining room very closely, the choices were excellent, the quality very good to excellent and we could eat either in or outside. The open seating and times for dining is an advantage and a disadvantage. After the first two nights of being seated at a table for two we requested a larger table so we might meet and enjoy conversation with some of our fellow passengers. We saw many couples eating every meal alone and felt that some of them were just too shy or felt they would be intruding if they asked to join a party already seated. We however, felt comfortable asking if another couple if they wished to have company and therefore met some very nice people. The Polo Grill and Toscana are alternate restaurants and since we were upgraded to concierge level 7, when we had booked level 6, we were allowed to make two reservations for each of those instead of just one. There is no additional charge at all for those restaurants but the menu does not change, and while we had two good meals in the Polo Grill we chose not to use the second night at Toscana because we didn't feel there was anything on the menu we wanted for the second visit. The Grand dining room was great for dinner but we only ate there once for lunch and never for breakfast. While we don't drink very much we did have a few mixed cocktails and one or two beers. Cocktails averaged $7.00, house wine by the glass $5.50 and some beers $3.75 plus the added gratuity of 18%. Ice cream is a plus on this ship at no additional charge. The cabins are average size with more than adequate storage and the beds and pillows are the best we have ever had on a cruise. Room attendants are wonderful and so efficient. We bought our own water at the first port of call as we did not wish to pay $2.00 or $3.00 per bottle. We had a horrible trip over as we missed every connection because of a weather delay on the first leg and therefore arrived 13 hours later than expected and no luggage until 1 hour before the ship left port. Fortunately this cruise started on Tuesday officially but the ship didn't leave until 11 p.m. Wednesday. We feel this is a real plus and if possible always like to arrive a day early. However, being on the ship makes it so much easier than having to book a hotel for that extra night. The cruise line was kind enough to launder our clothes each evening and return them at 6:30 a.m. The airlines on the other hand showed no concern and offered no help. It was the concierge on the ship who made repeated calls to track our luggage and until the minute it arrived at the pier he was never told where it was or when it would arrive. We generally do not book shore excursions through the cruise line and this was a good decision. In Kusadasi we used Meander travel to take us to Ephesus. I arranged this in advance over the net and our guide turned out to be a archeologist who works at Ephesus in the winter and does tours in the summer. We paid $60.00 each for the guide and a driver but that drops to $39.00 per person with 4 people. The ship charged about the same but we had the advantage of individual attention as we were the only ones in a van for ten or more. Unfortunately, it was extremely hot on our entire trip and we found that to be a definite problem. I would suggest going in September or October. We had been on a similar cruise 5 years ago however, and the weather was much more pleasant. The last 5 or 6 days the temperature was in the upper 90's and we found this affected our ability to enjoy some of the ports. We were not able to get off the ship in Mykonos because of high winds and the fact that we had to tender so that was a big disappointment. The other ports were very good but I can't say much excursions because we chose to stay in town both because of the heat and because we had visited almost all of these ports before. To sum it up, we loved the ship and would definitely choose Oceania again. The internet room was very helpful in allowing us to keep in touch with our family and they only charged $2.00 to send or receive an e mail. Each guest is assigned an e mail account by the cruise line before you leave home. The library was also very well stocked and a beautiful room. The exchange rate to buy Euro's was a disadvantage and while the ship would exchange currency it was done through your ship board account with an additional 5% commission. $100. netted $71.00. The pool was small but we loved the quiet around the pool. No loud music, pool games etc. No obtrusive announcements in your cabin. Very small casino, low key entertainment but good. There was an art auction but it was not in your face. You have to know what you want from a cruise and this one fit us perfectly. After having been on several large ships and some small we most definitely prefer this. However, next year we will celebrate our 50th anniversary by taking our family on a cruise. This will include 3 generations and so we will book a mega ship to satisfy everyone. The two of us will only go on ships of the size of Nautica.  

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May 16, 2006

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Oceania Cruises Nautical Cruise Review Istanbul - Greek Islands Phillip Haggerty My name is Phil Haggerty and my wife is Edith Goble. I am a retired city attorney and Edith is a homemaker and former health services provider. We live in Phoenix, Arizona and this would be our 18th cruise. Our prior sailings have been on Carnival’s Elation to the Mexican Riviera; on the now defunct Commodore Line’s Enchanted Isle to

the Caribbean for 11 days; a 7 day cruise, also in the Caribbean on Celebrity’s Galaxy; followed by a marvelous cruise from Santiago to Buenos Aires on Mercury, another Celebrity vessel. We then did our Alaskan cruise on Sun Princess, followed by a third 7 day Caribbean trip aboard Norwegian Sun and a trans-canal on Celebrity’s Infinity. We then sailed on Millennium for a Mediterranean cruise in May 2003, followed by a Baltic cruise tour on Regal Princess later that year. We then went to Hawaii for the first time on Infinity in November 2003 and did our first HAL on Veendam in the Caribbean the next spring. In March 2004 we took Galaxy from Baltimore to Rome, and returned to the Caribbean in October on Zaandam. In November 2004 we went back to the Mexican Riviera on Diamond Princess. We enjoyed our first Oceania experience on Insignia for a very different Amazon River cruise in March 2005, followed by a short “repositioning” cruise up the west coast from San Diego to Vancouver in May that year. on our only Royal Caribbean ship to date, Radiance of the Seas. In November we spoiled ourselves on Crystal Serenity for eleven days on a Caribbean trip. All except the first two cruises have been reviewed on cruisereviews.com. Why This Cruise? In a word - Istanbul. We had attempted to book a similar cruise in 2002 or 2003 on Crystal, only to have our travel agent call them and find out that they had just cancelled Istanbul. Edith has always wanted to see this city, so when this cruise came up with the right timing, we jumped at it. The Itinerary Oceania’s itinerary called for an overnight in Istanbul at the start and another in Athens at the end. In between we would have one sea day, then Kusadasi (Ephesus), Rhodes, Delos and Mykonos (one day), Santorini, Katakolon (Olympia), Corfu, Dubrovnik, a second sea day and then Athens. Review Format; What is Covered and What is Not Although this is a cruise review, Istanbul was obviously not only a part of the cruise because of Oceania’s scheduling, but of interest to many of our fellow passengers and perhaps the gentle reader also. For this reason I will not discuss our Istanbul experience in any great length as part of the review. For the rest, I can only cover what we did; and there are always aspects of any cruise that do not and did not command our attention. We do not gamble, or take part in karaoke, trivia games and the like. Our poolside experience was limited, and we did not, as usual, use any of the cruise line tours, but did our own shore expeditions and planning. Pre-Planning any Cruise This paragraph is “Cruising 101”, and experienced cruisers can skip it. But since I hear from “newbies” to cruising, I will include a few remarks. If you have questions about any ship or cruise line, you can get a review of most ships and cruise lines in the “Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2006” Douglas Ward; Berlitz Publishing Co.; the “Unofficial Guide to Cruises; 8th Edition”; Kay Showker and Bob Sehlinger; Wiley Publishing Co. and “Stern‘s Guide to Cruise Vacations 2006“; Steven B. Stern, 13th ed. Pelican Publishing Co. You can find (or order) these at most large bookstores such as Borders or Barnes & Noble. New editions come out each year. All three of these books will also provide a wealth of detailed information on cruising. Since itineraries are subject to change, and not set much more than a year in advance, you should go to the cruise lines’ websites to get the correct itineraries and dates. You then can check with your travel agent to see the brochures which will give you a schematic of the ships’ layouts and cabin locations. Cabin locations can be important, and early booking also gives you a wider choice. On some ships the design is such that verandas on upper decks look down onto portions of the verandas below; which might concern some people. Some of these problems are not obvious from the deck plans but are mentioned in the books cited above. You also might want to avoid a stateroom directly off the elevator/stair wells, as this area tends to be noisy . We usually try for a stateroom between two elevator/stair wells (and not near the laundry). In many cases you can order brochures directly from the cruise lines, but these brochures for the major lines cover separate specific destination areas, and not the entire cruise line repertory in one brochure. Small lines (like Crystal) with few ships are an exception. The pricing options vary widely. Every line has an early booking discount; many offer specials in the last days before sailing if you want to take a chance; and t! here are a variety of “specials” and package deals available through various travel agencies. No one recommends that you do your booking through the net; having your travel agent do the actual talking to the booking clerks is best; but the net can provide a lot of information. Some people make the itinerary the prime factor, some the cruise line or a specific ship, and others are controlled by time constraints and the availability of cruises within their budget range. Like many people, we consider the itinerary first, and then look at the cruise line and date options. Planning This Cruise This was one of the more intensely planned cruises we have ever done; due largely to the somewhat exotic character of a number of our stops. We planned to arrive in Istanbul on Monday, May 15th, stay two nights in a local hotel, board Nautica the 17th before a sailing that departed at 11:00 at night on the 18th. This gave us three and one-half days in Istanbul. To do this we purchased an air deviation from Oceania (which included airfare in its pricing). Locating a good tour guide was a consideration, and we succeeded through information from prior cruisers on the Cruisecritic website boards. This also gave us a guide to Ephesus at our Kusadasi landing. We wanted a tour of Rhodes which took us to Lindos, a city with a local Acropolis of some renown. But we also wanted a guided tour of the old Rhodes medieval city. This took some doing on the internet. Delos is a small place and we did not need a guided tour, and we did not plan on doing much in Mykonos. We knew we wanted to see the original Olympic Games site in Olympia, which is near our Katalokon stop, and were concerned about taxis to and from. We planned to rent a car on Corfu, walk around the old City of Dubrovnik and rent a car to drive to Delphi in Greece after landing at Piraeus. We do not like large tour buses with hordes of passengers, so we were looking for an individual guide. Most of them use small vans which work out well carrying six to eight passengers; an ideal sized group. I spent a lot of time on the net finding people to join us. This was not easy since everyone had slightly different days or times of arrival in Istanbul, and plans once there; but on the whole things worked out well. It takes considerable patience making sure that everyone knows the itinerary, price, pick-up locations and times, etc. It helps to remember that in most of the world dates are written as; eg. 17 May 2006; and that times use the 24 hour clock. I will describe each tour as it occurs during the cruise. Shipboard Accommodation Planning Once you have decided on the cruise line and itinerary, the next decision concerns the actual accommodations to be selected. The range here is again very large, from suites of more than 3000 square feet (how big is your house?) to “standard” cabins of about 180 square feet. Obviously the difference is price. These days the newer ships feature “verandah” cabins which make up almost half the cabins available. Then there are a variety of staterooms labeled “suites”; some of which, like Celebrity’s “sky suites” are little more than larger cabins with added amenities and features such as butler service, access to spa facilities at a reduced rate, etc. Many people, like us, enjoy the outside access of a verandah, where you can sit on a small deck all your own and enjoy the sound and smell of the ocean for a better “at sea” experience. Others, including a travel agent I know, book the lowest cost inside cabin on the theory that they don’t spend much time there, and they can enjoy the rest of the ship to the same extent as the people in the largest suite. Traditionally the higher decks are more costly for identical cabins. Very often the costlier suites are on the upper decks; the Millennium class ships of Celebrity being an exception with all its expensive suites being located on deck 6. Most cabins have only showers, and only very expensive suites have double sinks. Unless you bring an excessive amount of luggage, you will find that cabins, even the smallest, hold a large amount of clothing, toiletries, etc. Ships’ architects have long mastered the art of squeezing the maximum amount of storage space out of every square foot of cabin area. Hotel architects could learn a lot by observing how ships utilize space. What about your bags? In most cases they will fit under the bed, but the ship will store them elsewhere if necessary. For a week we certainly did not need a suite. Kissed by the Upgrade Fairy We booked a concierge veranda cabin on Deck 7. About a month or so prior to sailing, we received an “invoice” with the final billing from Oceania. There were a few items of note. We were charged $46.00 each for Turkish Visas. Since we had found out on the web that you can pay $20.00 for a visa at the airport, we had our Travel Agent request that this be removed. We also noted two charges for transfers, one from the Istanbul airport to the ship and one from the ship to the airport in Athens. Since we were arriving on May 15 we obviously did not need the first transfer, and requested that to be removed also. But we did note that our stateroom had been changed to Penthouse Suite No. 8019, with no additional charge. There are two explanations for this that occurred to me. The first is the most intriguing. I wrote a review of our Insignia Amazon cruise which was largely very favorable. During the period before this cruise I had received information about our flights that I thought was incorrect. On Oceania’s website I found the name “Christina del Rio” with Coordinator of Marketing job title. I sent her an E-mail with my question, and mentioned that she might enjoy my Insignia review. The reply I received was from someone else in public relations. But as I suspected, Christina is related to (I believe the daughter of) Frank Del Rio, one of the co-founders of Oceania. Maybe that Insignia review got me an upgrade. The other explanation is more mundane. Cruise lines don’t like to turn down customers. If there was a request for a concierge suite on Deck 7 that could not be filled because they were all booked, and there was an opening in the Penthouse Suite category, the cruise line would bump someone up rather than lose a sale. They might well upgrade on the basis of either the earliest booking or a combination of early booking and prior customer status. And I met both of these criteria. So matter what the reason was, we enjoyed the upgrade. Clothes Planning Cruise lines may offer suggestions, and advice can be found in the books mentioned above. The season; the itinerary, the length of the cruise and the cruise line life style will be the major determining factors. I saw more black ties on Crystal than on any other line; with Celebrity and Holland America next in order of formality. Even with formal nights, there is a much more casual air permeating Carnival, Royal Caribbean and even Princess. However, Oceania has no formal evenings and the “dress code” is either “Country Club Casual” or “Informal”. Its ships do have self service laundries as do every cruise line we have traveled on with the notable exception of Celebrity.  

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Jan 6, 2006

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Oceania Cruises Nautica Cruise Review South East Asia Art Herman Overall great trip. This is a new area for many ships to explore and it shows in some of the excursions not being up to par. However, fascinating area to visit and I would highly recommend Oceania Cruises and this itinerary specifically. Just be a little prepared for roughing it on some of the excursions. Great size ship, not too big or small, and we loved

the open dining, eat when you want and no formal nights. Food was great as was the service. Only real complaint was the casino which had limited hours (closed 5:30 to 8:30 so no pre-dinner action) and a less than professional attitude from the staff. One could tell they were not Oceania employees just by the attitude they showed but not to let one negative get in the way, the trip was super and this very experienced cruiser would recommend the Oceania Cruises to all. I think it's the best value on the water.

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Nov 30, -0001

Istanbul to Rome

Nautica was a pleasure from start to finish. Boarding was easy. We simply presented our passports and credit card at check-in in Istanbul and got our room card, less than 10 minutes from dock to our cabin. Our luggage was not delivered to our room, because we chose to spend one additional night with friends in the city, but we were allowed to take it directly to our room the next day. Our room steward met us and was worried we had had some trouble

getting to port, so he helped us get settled and get on with our cruise since we were a day "behind" the others on board. He was never intrusive, but always friendly, visiting when we had time and wishing us a good day when we were in a hurry.

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