Updated August 2019
In order to get better understanding of what luxury cruise line, Oceania Cruises, are all about, we sent a member of the team - Jo - out onboard their ship Nautica. One of the many luxury cruises we have on offer, she enjoyed an experience unlike any other.
Find out everything she thought in her review below.
When we first arrived at Southampton cruise port and spotted Nautica, I thought she looked beautiful, elegantly sat waiting for us to come onboard.
The first thing we said to each other was how different check-in appeared. There were no queues and the terminal appeared empty - it was so nice to walk straight up to check-in and have our passes within a few minutes. Due to the ship only carrying around 700 guests there is were no apparent crowds or check-in lines, which was extremely pleasant. There have been times where I have spent up to an hour in lines at check-in to board ships due to the volume of guests.
After check-in we were escorted onto the ship and the luxury was evident straight away;
Oceania Nautica: Ship or Country Hotel?
From the minute I stepped onboard there was a very different atmosphere to anything I'd seen onboard a ship before. Where usually you'd step into a grand atrium or a shopping-centre inspired Boardwalk, this time it felt like I had just stepped into a quaint country hotel. I gained a sudden feeling of warmth. A very smartly dressed crew member wearing white gloves then escorted us to an elevator and took us up to Deck 10 where we were served welcome drinks in the Horizons Bar.
The itself had a tradition mahogany style décor and boasted three walls of panoramic windows that allowed views of the surroundings from wherever you were sitting. This would be a perfect place to be as you go in and out of the stunning ports of call that Oceania visit. I could picture myself sitting here with a cocktail as you sail out of Venice during an evening time….wow!
While we enjoyed the drinks, we were given a short presentation about Oceania including information about their destinations, ship upgrades, and a general insight into the company. Oceania claim to have the finest cuisine at sea, and boast that the food onboard is one of their main focal points. It was clear that they invest a lot of time and money in their onboard food selection and it was really exciting to hear about their array of dining options - including the famous 28 day aged beef that is cooked in a water bath for 72 hours. After hearing this we were all hoping that this was going to be on our menu for lunch!
Time to explore…
It was now time for us to go and explore the ship. I really wanted to visit the pool deck as I had wondered how it would compare to the larger ships. It was stunning, I can honestly say it was one of the prettiest pool decks I have seen. The deck chairs were perfectly set out around the pristine pool and Jacuzzis. The wooden deck chairs all had soft Oceania logo towels perfectly laid on them, with a head rest and a place to put your cocktail! I particularly loved the double deck chairs -something I have never seen on a ship before.
From the outer deck we went to check out the Canyon Ranch Spa. Upon entering it felt like walking into a traditional spa in an old country hotel; it was beautiful. The spa was again of traditional dark wood décor and had a range of treatments. It also had a selection of clothing items to purchase, including country style ‘Canyon Ranch SpaClub’ logo-ed apparel.
I really loved the traditional, homely feel the ship gave and felt a sense of tranquillity as I walked around. I think it would be a wonderful experience to feel like you are staying in a country hotel while sailing the ocean to some of the most amazing destinations in the world.
We also saw the elegant library, card room, casino, and internet café. They all had such a homely feel and gave a real sense of comfort and relaxation.
We then took a peek at all the speciality restaurants, as these are something Oceania are very proud of. All the restaurants are complimentary onboard and no pre-booking is necessary. Our first stop was Toscano, an Italian restaurant. It boasted neutral décor that instantly gave you the feeling of a being in a luxurious fine dining venue. The menu and accompanying wine sounded divine. Decked out with Versace plates and the finest selection of cutlery, it looked magnificent.
We then went to Polo Grill, the onboard steakhouse. The décor here was very different to Toscano, with mahogany carpets and deep red cutlery, it's more of a modern, sheek restaurant. Again, the tables were laid out to an extremely high standard and clearly displayed high quality cutlery. This was starting to make me hungry and it was approaching lunch time, so we made our way to The Grand Dining Room.
The 'Finest cuisine at sea’...
This was the moment we had all been waiting for, after all the talk about the food it was time to see if it lived up to expectation!
The dining room was of very classic décor with pastel, floral curtains, patterned carpets, and classic chandeliers. As I sat down I was scared to touch anything on the table as it had been laid out immaculately! The plates, cutlery and accompanying dinner service were set out perfectly, not a millimetre out of place.
The Versace plates which we were told cost $300 were beautiful - definitely an extra special touch to the dining table that made us feel like guests at Downton Abbey.
As the waiter handed me my menu, my eyes lit up and I think yours will too when you see this; a six-course lunch including:
1. Fingerling Potato – with Sturgeo Cavia Echire Butter and Fresh Chives
2. Risotto All’Aragosta – Arborio Rice with Roasted Lobster Medallions in a Lobster Broth Reduction
3. Den Miso Glazed Seabass – Wrapped and Cooked in Hoba Leaf
4. Slowcooked Sjort Rib Perigourdine – Semolina Gnocchi, Vegetable Casserole and Crispy Parmesan
5. Zen – Manjari Chocolate Bar with Milky Gianduja-Yuzu and Hazelnut Croquant
6. Petit Fours and Macaroons
And believe me, it tasted as amazing as it sounds. Every dish was cooked and presented perfectly and it all tasted delicious. Plus the red and white wines that accompanied the meal were also perfectly matched.
It was certainly a dining experience I will never forget - it's not every day you get to eat caviar off a Versace plate with a mother of pearl spoon!
With our stomachs well and truly satisfied it was time to say goodbye to our Oceania experience and share our thoughts on the experience.
Final thoughts …
This ship visit was a completely different experience to the others we'd been on, and it's clear to us that Oceania offer a unique and special experience.
Overall the ship was very elegant and homely; sitting in front of an open fire in the library on a ship, what a beautiful thought! The deep, traditional décor gave it a very warm and relaxed feeling, and I can certainly see why people choose to cruise with Oceania again and again. I would definitely recommend a holiday on Nautica for the ultimate escape in a home away from home!
If you'd like to experience this stunning style of cruise for yourself, browse through our range of Oceania Cruises' Nautica itineraries to find your own special getaway.