Oceania Cruise - Pagodas and Palaces onboard the M/S Nautica
Working in the travel industry and having taken many cruises I could not help but write up the first section of our cruise as a review and overview on the ship, cruise line and our experience. Part 2 of our cruise gives and overview of the ports of call we visited on our glorious two weeks at sea.
A piece of luxury on our year long journey - we loved every minute of our cruise on board the M/S Nautica with Oceania Cruise Lines. Oceania is a small, newer cruise line that was born as a side spin of previous bankrupt Renaissance Cruises. Their current fleet has 3 identical ships - same size, amenities and virtually the exact same décor on all three. Their growth in the industry has been significant and they have currently commissioned a fourth ship, which the details at this time have not been released.
Oceania caters primarily to a high-end clientele that enjoy fine food, classical music, a desire to explore the world and the ability to take cruises longer than one week in length. Their itineraries literally cover the globe with only three ships and it is very common to find itineraries of 15 days and more on all their ships. Our itinerary was called Pagodas and Palaces and took us through exotic South-East Asia for two weeks onboard the luxurious comforts of the M/S Nautica.
Cruise Ship Review
Overall the cruise was excellent and impressed all of us and I think everyone on board the ship. Oceania is experiencing a high amount of repeat clientele, like so many cruise lines and for those people that like to return to something familiar it is very popular line as all three ships are identical. Below is a critical review of the ship and our experience with what we would feel is some of their strengths and weaknesses:
- Definitely the food. The food was the best I have ever experienced on any cruise or resort. Every meal including the buffets were outstanding and after 15 days of it you can understand how I managed to pack on some extra pounds despite frequent visits to the gym...but every bite was worth it!
- Service - the service on board the ship was excellent. The staff were so warm and friendly and always there to assist you or have a friendly conversation. Without a doubt service on any ship is crucial and Oceania surpassed my expectations on this cruise.
- The ship is gorgeous and in very good repair. Cabins were all a similar size unless you had a suite and were comfortable with good storage space for your belongings. Public rooms were nicely decorated in a more traditional English style. Pool and deck areas were stunning with all teak wood and mostly teak wood furniture. The ship had all the amenities of most larger cruise ships but on a smaller scale - eg. Casino, spa, library, computer lab, several lounges, specialty restaurants etc.
- Oceania does not have any formal nights and follows a 'Country Club Casual' dress code every night meaning no jackets or ties required. This for us was a great dress code keeping the atmosphere on board more informal yet still nice
- For a cruise line that is positioning itself in the premium and luxury market I was surprised to see that it lacks some of the small extras included by some of their competitors such as fresh flowers in the public rooms, cold clothes upon return to the ship in ports of call, fruit basket in the room etc. All small details but nice touches for a luxury line
- A big disappointment was how busy the Terrace café (main buffet dining room) was often finding it challenging to find a table to sit at
- The pool area also was quite full and at times it was challenging to get a lounge around the pool
- Depending on where you sat, the Grand Dining room sometime felt overcrowded with some tables so close to another at times I felt like I was more part of the neighbours conversation than our own tables
- Entertainment I would not say is the highpoint for Oceania. The crew that do activities during the day are the same crew that provide a lot of the entertainment. Entertainers that are brought on board often to two shows on different nights creating some repetition. If evening entertainment is a high light for you on your cruise you might not want to choose Oceania. After the main show finishes, the ship is pretty quiet with nothing really happening in the disco or elsewhere with perhaps exception to the small casino
- Older, professionals, couples, retirees
- People who appreciate the finer things in life
- Not for kids - only 4 kids on board and there didn't appear to be any activities for children
- Mainly Americans and with some Canadians
- A lot of same sex couples
Again, as with any cruise ship and cruise line, there are pros and cons. Overall we loved our cruise and especially the unique itinerary not offered by many lines, the incredibly food and great service and would recommend Oceania without hesitation.
See Part 2 for details on our ports of call.