Length: 593 ft
Registry: Marshall IslandsBest For People Who Want
A casual experience on a small ship cruise; a port-intensive itinerary;open seating dining; no additional charge alternative restaurants; a strict smoking policy.Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Languid days at sea with nothing to do, onboard sports facilities, extensive children's activities.Onboard Experience
Oceania Cruises offers extraordinary food and service but the prices have crept up over the years as Oceania has learned how to market its ships more effectively. Regatta has retained many of the features that made her popular in a previous incarnation as a Renaissance's R-ship - single, open-seating dining; three alternative restaurants, and a casual dress policy. There's a computer room with classes; plenty of open-deck space, two Jacuzzi whirlpools alongside the pool, and myriad comfortable and inviting bars. The library is open 24 hours a day and will lend you one of its vast collection without a deposit. And the new restaurant Tapas on the Terrace may offer the most romantic dining at sea; you dine by candlelight on the wide aft deck at a table with starched white linens.
The staterooms received extensive comfort upgrades fleetwide including sheets and pillowcases by Ralph Lauren, cushy mattresses, down comforters and extra pillows.
Nautica's smaller size allows the ship to visit more unusual ports of call including places like Bordeaux, Guernsey, Palma de Majorca, Malaga, and Oporto, Portugal.
On the other hand, we'd be derelict to fail to note that, spirits, wine, airport/cruise transfers and shore excursions are all somewhat pricey on Nautica. Moreover, Oceania Cruise Lines makes no bones about not caring one way or another if there are children aboard. After endless hours of ping-pong, shuffleboard, small-pool swimming and TV in the cabin, your kids may be likely to sulk. And just so you know - smoking is forbidden everywhere but on the starboard side of the outdoor Pool Deck.Decor
With wingback chairs facing faux marble fireplaces, paintings hung on landings above Chinese vases, miles of brocade drapes and fabric, dark wood paneling, carved moldings and wrought-iron staircases, the ship has the feel of boutique hotel. The no-nonsense staterooms evoke modern European city hotels.Public Rooms
In general, the ship has an "English inn at sea" look. In the bow, the spacious, woody Horizons lounge has floor-to-ceiling windows and brass telescopes on three sides. The Martini Bar attached to the casino can make you 29 kinds of martini making it a very relaxing space in the afternoons while the pianist is playing standards. At night, a jazz band takes over.
Decorated in traditional English style with warm red upholstery, mahogany paneling, and faux garden skylight and marble fireplace, the library is veddy comfortable, and well-stocked.Cuisine
Featuring the culinary mastery of the iconic Jacques Pepin, the food onboard is above average in the main dining room and buffet areas, and often extraordinary in the alternative restaurants.
Marina (January 2011) and Riviera (April 2012), the new 1260-passenger ships, include 10 eateries onboard including the eponymous "Jacques" which will features some of Pepin's personal favorite recipes. It has been said that no cruise line chef has ever devoted as much attention to a single restaurant as Jacques Pepin has devoted to "Jacques". He even designed the format of the menu and has his personal artwork hanging on the walls.
With single, open seating and four restaurants to choose from, dining on all Oceania ships is as varied as it is consistently delightful. The accent is on variety, and it is highly recommended that you make as many reservations as possible in the alternative restaurants if you are not too tired after a day in port. If you are tired, a casual stroll at your leisure to Tapas on the Terrace is a great way to get fast service and great food without waiting.Restaurants
The Grand Dining Room, which opens at 6:30 p.m. and serves until 9:30 p.m., is commonly very crowded, and the acoustics in the center of the room preclude easy conversation. Bowing to customer sentiment, Oceania recently added 26 tables for two. Don't, if you enjoy seafood, miss the pan-seared scallops over Parmesan risotto.
The Terrace Café, adjacent to the pool deck, is a grand place for breakfast. There are always servers ready to put the food on your tray for you, which we suggest you allow them to do.
Reservations are required for the popular Polo Grill (catering to the carnivorous) and Toscana restaurants. The clubby Polo Grill is the most intimate of the three, and offers fresh seafood in addition to the the kind of delicious red meat entrees carnivores adore. Tapas on the Terrace adds new dishes every evening.
Waves, the outside luncheon grill, offering burgers, chicken, salmon,and even fried calamari, plus a daily special and salads, is the place to head for a late lunch ('til 5 p.m.). Everything's served with fries that are wonderful when hot, so-so when not, and cole slaw that will make you moan ecstatically. There's a high tea every afternoon at four in Horizons.Service
The primarily Eastern European staff is very attentive. They even carry your trays to your table in the casual breakfast and luncheon buffet. And those in the ship's computer center must be the best tech staffers at sea. Room service is unfailingly prompt. The only inevitable crunch occurs in the dining room when everyone arrives for "open-seating" dining at the same time, usually within the first half-hour of opening. The best bet is to be either the first in line, or wait until an hour after opening, in order to avoid the rush.Tipping
Since Oceania has a flexible dining program, gratuities of $11.50 per person per day (including children) are automatically added to the shipboard account for all dining room and stateroom personnel. An additional $3.50 per passenger per day is added for suites where Butler Service is provided. is at the passenger's discretion, however, so the amount may be increased, decreased, or all gratuities can be removed, by contacting the front desk. Gratuities of 18 percent are automatically added to bar charges and spa services.Entertainment
Nautica has a fine onboard orchestra, a string quartet and pianist. Each evening you can enjoy shows in the 358-seat Cabaret Lounge. However, Oceania will tell you frankly that entertainment is not high on their list of priorities as most people find a long day in port followed by haute cuisine to be more than enough for a satisfying day.
The casino is small, with 30 slots and tables for blackjack and roulette, but no craps. Depending upon itinerary, standard shipboard activities like bingo, bridge and dance lessons are limited, since you're in port most of the time. The incomparable cyber-cafe offers instruction, but classes fill up quickly, so don't dawdle.Cabins
For the three smaller ships: Inside cabins are the smallest aboard at 160 sq. ft. Outside staterooms measure 165 sq. ft., some with portholes and others with large picture windows. Category C and D outside cabins with private balcony are 216 sq. ft., including a 45 sq. ft. balcony. Suites with private balconies are a spacious 322 sq. ft., including a 17' x 4.5' balcony with two chairs and a table.
These ships have 330 guestrooms, suites and penthouses, more than half of the outside staterooms with verandas. Every cabin aboard has a "Tranquillity Bed," dressed in 350-count Egyptian cotton linens, silk-cut duvets and goose-down pillows.
Standard cabin amenities include TV with CNN, MSNBC, another news channel and six movie channels showing continuously throughout the day; good closet/drawer space; hair dryer, and a personal safe. All cabins except suites and owner's suites have bathroom with shower. Suites and owner's suites offer butler service, bathtubs and mini-bars. Oceania has added wonderful mattresses and down comforters, but the only mini-refrigerators are in Concierge Level cabins and suites. Staterooms are homey and attractively furnished in Wedgwood blue fabrics and carpeting, accented by yellow drapes and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Those who have cruised in suites aboard other ships will find the standard bathrooms to be small on these ships. While there is a large mirrored cabinet for toiletries, counter space is very skimpy.
The Category A Owner's Suites, ranging from 786 to 962 sq. ft., are all located either completely forward or aft, bad locations in inclement weather. Forward owner's suites (numbers 6002, 6003, 7004, 7005) have direct sight lines of the rope deck on the front of the vessel. Two forward suites facing the front of the ship lack ocean views. Suites have large bathtubs and more counter space.
Though prominently displayed in cabin as though to say, "I'm complimentary; drink me," the bottles of Evian are in fact $3.50. The sole Laundromat, on Deck 7, charges $3 per load, but nonetheless attracts long queues.Fitness/Spa
The small fitness center has five treadmills, five bikes, and several weight machines and free weights. A walking/jogging track circles the top of the ship. Several aerobics classes are scheduled each day.
The small spa. operated by London-based Harding Bros. Ltd., offers a menu of treatments ranging from lavender deep-cleansing facials (only $59), holistic citrus facials ($99), foot and ankle massages (a bargain at $39) and aroma stone therapy massages ($159, though most massages start at $99). classes, including Pilates, are complimentary.Attire
With no ties required and "country club casual" recommended at night, you'll see women in everything from blouses with pants and skirts to much more elegant attire.
Inform all passengers on the ms. Nautica, sailing from Tianjin to Hongkong, that the Japanese Government has asked not to call on japanese ports, as their focus is on rescue and reconstruction. We were scheduled to call on Hiroshima and Kobe (600 km south of the disaster area).
We were promised an alternative itinerary.Well it was very simple.Oceania decided to cancel our calls on Hiroshima and Kobe, stay an extra day and night in Shanghai,sail directly from Shanghai to Okinawa, extend our stay in Keelung and on our way to an extra night and day in Honkong,make a call on Kaohshiung, at reduced speed to fill the time gap.The result: We sailed ca 1150 nautical miles less (1/3) and miss the most interesting part of our cruise.But Oceania saves ca $ 450.000 on less fuel consumption. (ca 250 mt MGO x $750 and 500 mt bunkeroilx $530 -prices Petromedia Bunker World Index dlvd. Tianjin )
The compensation for this loss: Nada-niente-nothing.Not even a bottle of wine to go with the dinner but instead an arrogant reaction of the cruise director about all the problems they had, to cope with the new situation.This hasdefinately been the first and last time that I will set a foot on a ship of Oceania.
PS . the food was excellecent,the staff was friendly and the management condescend, arrogant and definately not customer satisfaction oriented.
We took 14 Days East Mediterranean Cruise on the Nautica, one of three Oceania ships. The experience was delightful. Our cruise began May 10, 2009, in Istanbul, Turkey, went to Mitilini, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Delos, Mykonos, Santorini, Athens, Strait of Messina, Amalfi/Positano, Taormina, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice. We recommend the ship to any adults who want good food, good company, and good experiences ashore.
We spent a day in Istanbul before embarking Nautica. We had a private tour to the wonderful sites Topakapi Palace, Church of St. Sophia, Blue Mosque and Covered Bazaar. Enjoyed it very much. We had our arrangements through Transbalkan Tours (www.transbalkan.com) which we used them for Ephesus as well during the cruise.
We overnighted in a boutique hotel located in the old city. Next day we took a cab to Nautica. 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 wasbeautiful, 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. We were very happy with the tours provided through them. Saw more and Saved a lot.
Local Tour Operators We Used: Santorini: www.santorinidaytours.com Kusadasi: www.transbalkan.com Athens: www.athenstaxi.net
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 sleeveless t-shirts and baggy shorts, and one who talked loudly on a cell phone.
We embarked in Istanbul and disembarked in Athens. We got a penthouse suite that was extremely comfortable and had unexpected amenities such as a fantastic bathroom with a wonderful shower. Our stateroom was on the 8th deck very close to the bridge and it was very quiet. Unfortunately, we heard that guests who stayed in our deck (for about 500 dollars more per person because of a 'supposedly' preferred location when it came to pitch) whose suites were directly below the pool area (on deck 9) heard the staff arranging pool chairs late at night and early in the morning. They never got a proper night's sleep.
We found the service on Nautica to be extraordinary; professional and friendly. The only exception was on deck 11. We rented a cabana for privacy. The waiters were so eager to please that they would come in every 10 or 15 minutes (sometimes even more often) to offer drinks and food. I was woken up on a number of occasions from what would have otherwise been wonderful naps. Nautica provides house phones in every cabana, so there was no need to come up unless called.
Embarkationand disembarkation were efficiently handled and organization was very good. It made us feel safe that should there be an emergency, the staff knew the drill. The only glitch in organization we encountered happened while in port in Istanbul, and it was a serious one. We signed up (independently) for a tour that required us having our passports. The passports were not at the Purser's office (they were somewhere on land) when we needed them even though we had given the Purser 12-hours notice (as soon as we boarded the ship for the first time and relinquished our passports). It frightens me to be in a foreign country and 1) have someone other than me in control of my travel documents and 2) not have ready access to them. Fortunately, we are citizens of another country as well, so we used our second passports and nothing was lost, but I really think that personal documents should never leave the ship and ought to be available for retrieval at all times.
The ports of call vary enormously in terms of importance or interest. Istanbul and Athens are obviously fantastic ports of call, but others are frankly not worth it. The port of Nessebur, in Bulgaria, is very quaint in spite of how commercial it is. The 13th and 14th-century churches are little jewels. Their frescoes are in good shape and the cobble-stone streets are precious. The jewel of the town, though, is the icon museum. The collection is small but very well chosen. We took a private tour to Bourgas with a stop in St. George's monastery along the way (it is a quaint structure from the mid-19th century with some pretty non-school icons). Bourgas proved to be especially interesting to my husband because of the exceptional beauty of its women, but the city doesn't offer much. Nessebur is lovely, but it takes just 3 hours to walk it. Not much more to do than sit by the pool. Fine, but I can do that at home.
The next port on the itinerary, Constanta, has little to offer other than blue-collar beach resorts. The ruins in Histria (and the tiny museum) are not worth the drive and the other local trip option, the monument in Tropaeum Traiani, is a modern (1977) reproduction of a less than stunning classical monument commemorating Trajan's victory over the Dacians (you can't do both; we did Histria and it is blah). There is an option to go to Bucharest; the ride takes 2.5 hours (250 km) but, when we sailed, the road was under construction and the drive took 4 hours each way. Did not take that option.
Odessa was interesting. We took a private tour. It was a treat to see the homes of Bialik, Alechem, Babel, Jabotinsky and so many other impressive intellects. We had typically Ukrainian food at mediocre restaurant, but at least the golubzie my husband ordered were quite good. Then came Sebastopol. The Balaklava valley is as beautiful as the French Champagne country and the historical interest is considerable. We also stopped in Bakhchisaray and paid homage to Pushkin, and we were lucky to catch a Tatar wedding in the palace's mosque. The food (the bread, fried stuff, yoghurt, and tea in particular) in the Tatar villages is delicious. We found all of the Ukraine impeccably clean and we could eat in the markets and buy from fruit stalls everywhere. The produce all over the Black Sea is extraordinary in the late summer and we ate extremely well on shore. Best grapes, eggplant, peaches, figs, peppers, and tomatoes ever. Lamb was succulent and perfectly prepared no matter how you ordered it. I'll come to food on board later.
Although Yalta is just a short drive from Sebastopol, Oceania takes you to Sochi first, and they do it slow. That sail can be accomplished overnight and they do it instead in two nights and a day on the way going, and overnight on the way back to Yalta (48 hours total sail time). The eastern Black Sea was fairly aggressive and my husband (and a good number of the passengers) got sick during that sail. The patch was obviously not enough for him and many others.
After the long sail we finally got there. Sochi is beautiful geographically but of absolutely no interest. Furthermore, no one had a Russian visa, so we were obliged to be escorted at all times. The tour options were dismal: a tea plantation or Stalin's Green Grove with a stop at a spa with sulfur springs built during the Soviet era. Would have loved a peek at the amenities of the rather monstrous “spa,” but they wouldn't let us near it. All we saw was the spring. Not at all culturally interesting.
The dacha is one of many Stalin had, contains no original furniture other that a bed and a desk, and I'm sure someone is making it a home when the tourists are gone. There was a very moldy foam kickboard by the indoor pool, for example, of a much later vintage than anything Joe saw. Oceania doesn't give you the option of securing a visa (like they do for St. Petersburg, for example) probably because they know that there is very little to see in Sochi and it's neither worth the money nor the trouble. The port is not worth visiting, at least not with what it currently has to offer and much less to pay for 2 days' sailing to do so.
Yalta is interesting for historical reasons and is also beautiful geographically. It is full of spas (called sanatoria) and very green. Unlike Russia, the Ukraine doesn't impose any restrictions on visitors, at least not if you arrive on a cruise, and you can walk on your own and explore. Much nicer experience.
Then comes crossing the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. Nautica reaches the Bosphorus at 4 pm and enters the Mediterranean at sundown. The views of Istanbul are magical and the coast of Gallipoli impressive. At dawn you are back in a different Turkey: slow-paced, quiet, bucolic. Ephesus, especially the terraced houses, is unforgettable. The museography is as wondrous as the one that holds the Ephesus marbles in Vienna: stainless steel and glass.
Our guide took us to a market in Selcuk that has a lovely antiquities museum; we the had lunch at a simple restaurant that had some of the most wonderful mezze, and different, too. One dish was that inimitable Turkish yoghurt that shines like porcelain and has the consistency of mayonnaise mixed with fresh purslane. Simple, gorgeous, and delicious.
Next was Santorini, with its marvelous blues and whites. The village is no longer, for the locals have sold their homes to store owners, restauranteurs, and hostel/hotel people. The views continue to be magnificent but traditional life is now dedicated to tourism. We had a starter of marinated octopus, for no money at all, that was perfect.
The cruise culminated in Athens. A great way to end the trip. Now, would we cruise again with this company? Most definitely not. We chose Oceania partly because it is less stuffy than other luxury companies in that you don't have to really dress up, but partly also on the reputation of Jacques Pepin. One reason we are displeased is that we felt that those two wasted days at sea to get to Sochi are unforgivable at the prices one pays for a luxury cruise, but the real reason is that the food on board was just awful. Mostly, it tasted like Business Class airplane fare. Of the more than 30 meals we had to have on board, we only had 3 dishes that were delicious: a bouillabaisse and a whole leg of beef done by Chef Henrique Sparrow in Tapas, where, by the way, you could always find a very nicely prepared (although nothing extraordinary) soup, usually (but not always) a good roast, simple crisp mixed veggies (boring but well made) and good salads; and a fettuccine with a duck ragout in Toscana. That's it. We also had honest meals in Waves, where the hamburgers were quite good (don't get the hot dogs) but I can get those for a lot less than what we were paying for food per day on Nautica. In the Grand Dining Room we had one meal and did not go back. I had veal medallions with crab, béchamel sauce and a demiglace that was sweet. It tasted (and looked) like airplane food with the béchamel dry and hard like mashed potatoes. In Toscana (reservations needed and you can only go there once if in a regular stateroom, twice if in a suite) I got a Maine lobster Fra diavolo that had been frozen too long and too late, for it was fishy and stringy. I did not dare eat it. In the steak house, Polo (same difficulty getting in as in Toscana), my prime rib (ordered medium rare) came in grey, no juice, and with a rainbow on the surface because it had been sliced several hours before. The filet mignon was also grey and dry. We cancelled our second reservation there.
The only good thing I have to say about the chefs and cooks is that they are attentive. When we wrote in the mid-cruise evaluation that the lobster was fishy, executive chef Wolfgang Meier called us to apologize. When the prime rib and the filet mignon at Polo's were served and returned, one of the sous chefs appeared and Meier later contacted us to apologize for having overcooked both. When I asked him how come they had fresh broccoli and cauliflower every day at Tapas but in Toscana the vegetables were either canned or frozen, he said that most everything is frozen. It shows. Unbelievable, since we saw and tasted the fantastic produce in markets all over the Black Sea. One cook told us that when he was recruited, he was told that Nautica's restaurants (in spite of all being cooked centrally midway and then finished in the restaurant kitchens), were fast approaching a Michelin one star. Other sous chefs (and some of the cooks) whom I won't mention by name so as not to get them in trouble, once they saw we knew food, told us in no uncertain terms that the food is really touch and go and generally overcooked. Some of them, in fact, would discretely say no with their heads if they saw we were about to order or pick something that was especially bad. Yes, THAT bad. Great people, bad ingredients, worse systems.
Finally, the reason we will never cruise again with Oceania is that, when it comes to technology, they are terribly behind. There are no Movies on Demand on the TVs and, when we went to the front desk to ask for the list of available CD titles to check out, we were told that they had 4 hard copies of the list and they were lost. They could not print out another one because that document was not at the front desk computers. The young woman was a sweetheart, though, (I cannot stress enough the quality of the staff), and said that she could recommend a light movie for us and went and got it. Lufthansa had about 20 digitized movies on Business Class for a 10-hour flight and Oceania had none for a 12-day cruise. But probably as bad as the horrible food was the atrocious Internet access. Dial-up service at 95 cents a minute. It cost 2 to 3 dollars just for the browser to launch! An average session just to check email (not respond to it, God forbid) was about 10 dollars a pop. OK, maybe at sea it might have to be dial-up, but in port? Can't believe it.