A Quality of Eternal Reassurance
Walking around the decks of Oceania’s 684 passenger ship Nautica, I could feel a warm, friendly but opulent atmosphere and realised that the only person missing from this ship was The Great Gatsby himself. There was a feeling so hard to explain, but an excerpt from the novel seemed to sum it up completely.
“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life.
It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”
Words don’t seem to describe this ultra luxury small ship and the feeling you experience once onboard. I can only liken it to how it must feel to fall in slow motion onto a big bed of white feathers with the smell of baby powder. The crew and passengers are friendly, furnishings are luxurious with attention to detail, art and decor is beautifully traditional with a touch of chic.
With Bob Binder’s passion for superb wine, Frank Del Rio’s artistic eye and Jacques Pepin’s world class cuisine, Oceania certainly have all the elements to deliver an exceptional onboard experience.
Oceania proudly declare that they have the best cuisine at sea. They attribute this to two things. Firstly, Oceania claim to spend more money per head on ingredients than any other cruise line and secondly, the man behind the culinary creations onboard is Jacques Pepin who turned down a request to cook for John F. Kennedy many years ago. It only seems fitting to serve food fit for Presidents, at tables set with Versace plates with a price tag of 250 Euros a piece! Some cruise lines offer a cruise close to that price!
Speciality restaurants Toscana and Marco Polo Grill are no extra charge, however items from these menus can also be ordered in the main dining room giving you the freedom to choose your dining venue. Unlimited soft drinks, bottled water, specialty coffees, teas and juices are also included in the price.
The ship has a lovely pool with two jacuzzi’s, an extensive bar with poolside waiter service, luxurious sun-loungers and double luxury beds. There is ample room for everyone to have a lounger and plenty of space to walk around the deck.
If you’re in the mood for some laid-back alfresco dining, Waves Grill located near the pool area offers Gourmet Burgers which include a Black Angus Sirloin Burger and The Kobe Burger with Wagyu Beef, Black Truffle Sauce and Baby Cress. Sandwiches range from a tapenade-laced freshly baked panini to the surf and turf of grilled lobster medallions and sliced filet mignon. With a choice of hand-dipped milkshakes and freshly made smoothies, there is certain to be something on offer that takes your fancy.
The ultimate luxury stateroom experience starts with the Prestige Tranquility Bed. This 1,000-thread-count-linen is an exclusive to Oceania Cruises. Other amenities include refrigerated mini-bar with free and unlimited soft drinks and bottled water, complimentary 24 hour room service and Bulgari toiletries. On the newer ships, Marina and Riviera you will get a full-size bathtub.
On deck nine you have a state of the art fitness centre with stunning sea views and a variety of classes including indoor cycling, aerobics, yoga or pilates. For those who want to take in the fresh air and ever changing views of your destinations, you may prefer to use the open air fitness track on deck ten. On the larger ships, Marina and Riviera you can find a Kinesis exercise wall.
Oceania have their very own Canyon Ranch Spa Club onboard their ships. You can book in for a signature Canyon Stone Massage, a Thai massage or enjoy the sauna*, steam room and full service beauty salon.
For those of you concerned about piling on those extra pounds during your cruise, The Grand Dining Room and Terrace Cafe serve Canyon Ranch cuisine, to offer those healthier options.
Once you have enjoyed the relaxation room and heated ceramic loungers*, make your way outside to the Private Spa Terrace with thalassotherapy pool or whirlpool tubs, enjoying breathtaking views. There is a charge for these facilities, however if you are booked in a concierge stateroom or above, you can enjoy unlimited complimentary access.
If you like your nightly entertainment, the lounge on deck 5 is the place to find it. Expect a good variety of shows from headline acts and lively jazz ensembles to comedians and magicians.
After our tour of the ship, we were taken into the Grand Dining Room for a delicious six course lunch, consisting of a selection of dishes from each restaurant. The food and wine were exquisite and certainly lived up to its promises.
After our amazing lunch it was time to disembark. I never thought I would say it but I actually wished I was older. Not because you need to be to cruise with Oceania, but as a parent to a toddler, this is not the sort of cruise that would be appropriate for him. So for me, I will have to wait until I take my first cruise with Oceania, but if you are considering taking a cruise with them, I sincerely urge you to do so as you will enjoy every minute of it. I certainly did, albeit only a few hours. I most definitely did not want to get off.