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  #1  
Old April 1st, 2007, 10:34 AM
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JackfromWA JackfromWA is offline
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Default Nautica Impressions HKG to ATH

As our cab turned the corner of Hong Kong’s Ocean Terminal I captured my first glimpse of the Nautica. There is nothing like the anticipation of boarding a new luxury cruise line for the first time. Sometimes the ship exceeds my expectations; Radisson now Regents Seven Seas Mariner springs to mind, or in the case of the Royal Suite of Celebrity’s Summit my expectation weren’t met. That being said I have enjoyed every cruise—some just much more than others.

Before I share my initial observations of the Nautica some of my background may be helpful. I am a 43-year-old gay male in a long-term relationship. I have been on many cruise lines including Holland America (1x), Royal Caribbean (10+), Celebrity (5+), Princess (5+), Silverseas (1x), Radisson now Regent (6x). Overall my favorite is Regent. I particularly like their cabins and ship size. Silverseas has equally good, sometimes better cuisine and service, but I prefer Regent’s larger ships and slightly more casual passengers.

Given all the buzz about Oceania I couldn’t wait to get on board. I carefully read all the reviews on Cruise Critic, purchased Lonely Planet guides to all our destinations (Jordan, Vietnam, India, Egypt, Oman, Singapore, Thailand, Greece and Hong Kong) and tried to glean tips in the message boards from past passengers.

On this itinerary I am traveling with my retired parents (my partner of seven years couldn’t get six weeks off… imagine that!) and paid a single supplement for my own outside cabin. My parents are both experienced cruisers. We are all optimistic we’ll enjoy this itinerary and more importantly the chance to spend time together. My dad is 75 and a cancer survivor. My mom is 69. I realize if I want to do things like this with them I can’t procrastinate any longer. Rather than pay for balcony cabins I elected to reserve a cabana on Deck Eleven for all thirty-five days of the cruise.

As we exited the cab the baggage handlers briskly grabbed all our luggage and less than five minutes later we were literally onboard the ship where the actual check-in occurred. Immediately upon boarding Nautica I grasped why everyone describes Oceania ships as reminiscent of an English Manor. The decorative paneling and crown molding, color scheme and overall ambience immediately evokes a luxurious English bed and breakfast or country estate. I kept wondering where they hid the English garden!

Check in only took about ten minutes and my dad and I sat in overstuffed stately green chairs on Deck Five while my mom went up to Deck Ten to reserve the two specialty restaurants. My birthday is April 4th and we wanted to celebrate in the Polo Grill Steak House. We successfully got both days we wanted. We were advised to book both early in the itinerary in case we want to eat there again. According to the ship staff on most cruises standard (i.e. non-suite or concierge level passengers) passengers are only guaranteed one reservation to each of the restaurants, but due to the length of our cruise we could likely eat there several times if we chose.

Our cabins weren’t ready until three o’clock, so we wandered around and I continued to enjoy the many little spaces to comfortably relax, the excellent library and the computer room. Finally it was announced the all the staterooms were ready for occupation. I knew this was only a 165 square foot stateroom, but when I entered it I was disappointed for the first time since boarding. It has been many years since I have had a standard room without a veranda and I really wasn’t prepared for it. Admittedly I decided to purchase a less expensive stateroom, I received what I paid for, but I didn’t like the size. The bathroom is extremely small and the shower is tiny. In all fairness I am 270 lbs and 6’ tall (I am watching my diet on the cruise—the goal is don’t gain any weight), but I felt pretty cramped in both the bathroom and stateroom. After being used to walk-in closets and decent sized bathrooms on Regent this was a distinctly different and less desirable experience. As I settled in I grew more accustomed to the cabin size and since I am traveling alone I am certain it will be fine. I don’t know that I would want to share this cabin for 35 days, but it would be fine for two on a 7 to 15 day trip. The bedding is excellent and the closet space and lay out is intelligently designed for maximum efficiency.

My cabana on the other hand is fantastic and absolutely exceeded my expectations. Each cabana is named after a famous port-of-call and I was fortunate enough to be assigned ‘Saint Bart’s’ which is located at the extreme forward starboard side of Deck Eleven. For those who aren’t familiar with them Oceania rents cabanas on Deck Eleven, the highest deck of the ship. There are eight cabanas total and they stretch completely across the highest most forward section of Deck Eleven. On my trip all but one are sold for the entire cruise, but on most cruises they are available for daily rental of $50 on port days and $100 on sea days. Although they include amenities such as delivered fruit skewers, ice towels, chair massages on port days and meal service from the grill on Deck Ten, the real reason I wanted it was to enjoy the large outdoor Balinese day bed for two while reading several long-due-to-read novels and laying in the sun. Having a guaranteed private outdoor area always available was particularly appealing to me and by choosing this instead of a veranda the cost was similar. Although I am sympathetic to those passengers who complain the sale of cabanas takes away some of the best viewing areas on the ship, I doubt Oceania will remove them since the extra revenue for the ship is significant (I paid $1,500 for 35 days exclusive use).

I checked the internet speed onboard and it wasn’t quite as slow as I feared. Using testing software I discovered the download speed today was 118k and upload was 85k. This will get worse on days when the satellites are obscured, but it is tolerable for e-mail. I had planned to purchase a 500-minute access package for $300, but beginning tomorrow Nautica is also offering 800 minutes for $400 and 1,200 minutes for $480. Unfortunately I have to stay in touch with work or I couldn’t have come on the cruise, so I am buying the mack-daddy 1,200-minute access. It costs as much as a year of broadband at home!

Dinner last night was good. Not exceptional but certainly on par with some of my meals on Regent and even Silverseas. Even the best cruise line cuisine won’t please everyone, and some passengers will always enjoy the buffets on Carnival, while other will always complain about Silverseas. Judging solely from the first two days I haven’t notice any significant improvement or deterioration of Oceania’s cuisine compared to my dining experiences on other luxury cruise lines. Overall I expect the food will be great.

Several other things are wonderful about Nautica. The ship size feels “just right” to me. Oceania ships are large enough to feel bigger than an overblown yacht, but small enough to get from one end of the ship to other in less than five minutes. The crew is exceptional and couldn’t be more helpful. So far the service on board is equal to or better than any ship I have sailed on.

Hong Kong was fabulous. I have been here several times in the past few years to attend trade shows and the city never ceases to impress me with its vitality, commerce and unique blend of East and West. This is my parent’s first trip so today we took the double-decker public bus from Kowloon to Stanley Market. This roughly hour long ride is a super-bargain at $13 HK Dollars (less that $2 US). We had a great tour of Hong Kong from a second-story perspective, and I purchased 4 pair of genuine Tommy Bahama shorts and 3 shirts for less than $100 US. My mom found 5 shirts she loved and she paid about the same. All in all the shopping was great and we were a little sorry to see Victoria Harbor disappear as the Nautica set sail to Danang, Vietnam.

If anyone has any questions about the ship please post and let me know. I am off to Vietnam!

Last edited by JackfromWA; April 1st, 2007 at 10:43 AM.
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  #2  
Old April 1st, 2007, 11:05 AM
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Lane40 Lane40 is offline
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Thanks for the great first post regarding your cruise. I look forward to reading more of your impressions regarding the cruise and the Nautica in the coming days.
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Old April 1st, 2007, 11:45 AM
Sweeterpea Sweeterpea is offline
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Excellent report!
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Old April 1st, 2007, 11:55 AM
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We spent 32 days in the C1 cabins and found them fine but we have not sailed RSSC so have not had the experience of bigger bathrooms, closets etc...
Maybe I would be spoiled if we sailed in the larger suites

Glad you are enjoying the cruise so far
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Old April 1st, 2007, 12:44 PM
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I'll really be looking forward to your reports because we're taking the same cruise next year. Keep an eye out for Jan and Stu Fishbein, well known on this forum, who are on board with you.
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Old April 1st, 2007, 02:06 PM
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Loved your first report and the new Internet package information. Continue to have a great trip and keep us all posted.
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Old April 1st, 2007, 07:23 PM
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Default Appreciate the Fine Details!

Wonderful narrative and great detail. I am booking this trip for next April and appreciate all the information. Thank you so much for the time and effort in sharing your trip with us. I'll be checking often for updates. BTW, how is the weather? Have a grand time with your parents. I took my parents on a 40th Anniversary cruise to Alaska. That trip has since become one of my most treasured memories since they are both deceased. ENJOY!!
Elizabeth
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Old April 1st, 2007, 08:33 PM
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Thank you so much for such an informative, detailed and candid account of your trip -- I agree with your description of the cabin, the food and the comparison with other lines. I look forward to reading the rest of the report, which I am sure will be very lengthy. Having written long reports in parts on this Oceania and the Silversea columns of this cruise critic board, I can appreciate the effort and amount of work required!
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Old April 1st, 2007, 09:18 PM
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JackfromWA,

First of all happy birthday for Wednesday. It is a special day for us too, our 43rd Wedding Anniversary so you may have been born on our wedding day, 4/4/64. If so, you are a very lucky man as it is a wonderful date.

Thanks so much for posting your cruise thoughts and diary. We have booked the same cruise for next April and I was hoping someone would let us know how it pans out.

Also any little bits of info regarding the ship is very helpful. Particularly giving us the prices of the internet package was fantastic.

Enjoy your time on board and we hope to hear your next instalment soon. Please tell us also about your shore excursions in each port.

Jennie
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Our Cruises:

2014 Ocean Princess - Australia and Asia - 20 days.
2013 Noordam - Adriatic & Roman Explorer - 22 days.
2013 Ocean Princess - Land of the Midnight Sun - 16 days.
2013 Celebrity's Solstice - Auckland to Sydney - 12 days
2012 Emerald Princess - New England Cruise Tour - 15 days
2011 Royal Princess - Tahiti to Ft. Lauderdale via Sth America - Farewell Cruise - 26 days
2010 Ocean Princess - Capetown to Dover - via West Africa - 30 days
2009 Prinsendam - Athens to Ft. Lauderdale - Transatlantic - 24 days
2009 Azamara's Quest - Hong Kong to Beijing - Far East Asia - 14 days
2008 Tahitian Princess - Vancouver - Vancouver - Alaska in depth - 14 days
2008 Oceania's Nautica - Hong Kong to Athens - the Pirate run! - 35 days
2007 Tahitian Princess - Tahiti to Hawaii - 12 days
2007 Pacific Princess - Sydney - Sydney - the Pacific Islands - 10 days
2006 Veendam - Vancouver to Tampa via the Amazon - 33 days
2006 Galapagos Explorer ll - Galapagos Islands - 5 days
2006 Regal Princess - Rio de Janeiro to Valpariso via Antarctica - 21 days
2005 Maasdam - Boston to Rotterdam via Greenland, Iceland & Norway - 17 days
2004 Prinsendam - Athens to Venice via the Black Sea - 12 days
2004 Tahitian Princess - Tahiti & the Cook Islands -10 days
2003 Noordam - Copenhagen to Rome - 14 days
1999 Maasdam - Dover to Copenhagen via Russia (Baltic) - 13 days
1995 Olympic - Athen to Athens via Greek Islands & Istanbul -7days
1982 Oriana - Sydney to Sydney - 14 days

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Old April 1st, 2007, 11:12 PM
merryecho merryecho is offline
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Good luck with keeping to your weight goals on the trip- one meal at a time...
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 03:25 AM
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JackfromWA JackfromWA is offline
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Default First Sea Day Danang Cancelled

Thanks for all the replies. I wasn’t expecting so much activity! Before my next installment I wanted to reply to everyone:

Hondorner, I met Jan but haven’t met Stu yet.

Shesgoneagain, the weather is muggy, hot (80’s) and until today sunny. I don’t think anyone will need a jacket outdoors this cruise but some find the ships air conditioning in public rooms too cold. I keep my room about 68 so it doesn’t bother me. I also went with my parent’s on their 40th anniversary to Alaska with all my sibling and it was wonderful. I find cruises to be the best choice for multi-generational vacations. We are hoping to do it again for their 50th in August, 2008. It will be nineteen people if all the in-laws, grandkids and my partner Ty make it.

Aussie Gal, Happy Anniversary. 4 APR 64 is special for me to…. it was my first birthday and I have a photo of that not remembered occasion where I proudly sit in front my large chocolate elephant cake. My mother refers to that photo as the first of my dad’s many unsuccessful effort to turn me into a Republican (the elephant is the symbol for the Republican political party in the USA).

Merryecho, I am doing pretty well. Last night I did break down and had the Maine Lobster with a little prime rib, but it was the Captain’s Gala welcome aboard dinner. Actually the oatmeal in the dining room is good and excellent fruit is plentiful.

FIRST SEA DAY AND DANANG, VIETNAM CANCELLED SO A SECOND DAY AT SEA

At 6:30 a.m. the Sun Deck was unexpectedly bustling with passengers. Since most guests are North Americans we are struggling with various phases of jet lag. I observed this first hand when I woke up about 6:00 a.m. and unsuspecting decided to go out and enjoy a quite morning on the deck. It was like Central Park at lunchtime! I am sure as the days move forward people will get up later, but for now this is an early to bed, early to rise crowd. Ben Franklin would be proud.

One of the differences between Nautica and some of the other luxury lines is at times Nautica feels a bit more crowded. Not uncomfortably so, but just enough to notice a difference. Doing the math reveals why. For example, Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner (my favorite ship) has about 750 passengers and weighs about 50,000 tons. The Nautica has about 700 passengers and weighs about 30,000 tons. Much of that space saving is in the different standard stateroom size (165 s.f. vs. 250 s.f.) but sometimes it is apparent there is less room per passenger on the pool deck, in the lounges and when embarking. I don’t find it a problem, in fact I admire it as another way that Oceania management has reduced their expenses and passed on saving to customers while achieving a minimal reduction of guest luxury cruise experience. Oceania very good at this—they cut corners all over the ship, but they cut the right corners and as a result the experience is still perfectly acceptable to most passengers who are comparing Oceania to her competitors.

After my dreams of a solitary deck were dashed I joined the ever growing crowd and walked along to the beat of my ipod, forming the little meaningless circles cruise ship joggers and walkers perform on ships jogging tracks the world over.

Despite my comments about awareness of less space and more passengers, deck chairs were consistently available throughout the day. I carefully watched and there are always at least 30% of the covered chairs, and 50% of the exposed-to-the-tropical-sun chairs available. This is another area Oceania excels. They combine a reasonable number of chairs along with a strict “after 30 minutes of abandonment your towel, book or whatever else you use to hog a chair you aren’t sitting in will be removed.” I don’t know where the stuff goes but it certainly isn’t overboard so it is probably the hogging passenger will get to retrieve their belongings from a friendly Indonesian deck attendant. Personally I think if they actually lost their books, hats, etc. the policy would be better adhered to, but Oceania is too nice for that. Whether the errant chair hog asks sheepishly or brazenly for their belonging depends on their personality type. I tend to like passengers who honestly forget about their belongings on a chair and ask sheepishly—the brazen “sense of entitlement” ones are exactly the passengers I avoid.

Our lifeboat drill was held indoors at 10:30. Attendance was mandatory and roll was taken. The whole process was very civilized, we were done in fifteen minutes and due to high winds and wet decks we were not taken to our muster stations. The ship staff emphasized that anyone caught smoking anywhere but the two or three designated public smoking areas would be put ashore at the next port. According to the ship staff this has happened and will continue to happen. If you are a heavy smoker challenged by authority figures, Oceania may not be the cruise line for you.

Immediately following the drill we held a small cruise critic gathering. Screen name Seasons (Sukey) wisely suggested meeting in the forward port side of the Horizons lounge immediately after the drill. I met her, Lulu (Louisa) and her husband Mike, SteamboatSistah (Chris) CruzenJan (Jan… her husband Stu had a cold) and several friends of Jan and Stu’s. We visited for about an hour. Among other topics we shared a variety of positive and negative experiences of procuring visas. Our combined anecdotal experience is everyone but Louisa and I took the ships visa package. Although it was slow, expensive and apparently not well documented, it got the job done with minimal stress.

Louisa and I procured our visas independently—she is from Montreal and was able to get the visas locally, and I am used to doing things myself and don’t like relying on other people for these kind of things. My work takes me to China at least every two years, and since I was getting Chinese visas anyway for a work-related trip prior to the cruise, I decided to get the other visas as well. I am on a first name basis with one of the agents for Travel Document Systems based in San Francisco, and she advised me that all but Vietnam were easy to independently obtain.

Vietnam has arcane bureaucratic requirements such as no use of Federal, two money orders for each visa instead of just one totaling the full price and other such nonsense. Despite that since I needed three for each country I trudged forward. Between mid-January and late February I obtained China (which is not necessary for the cruise), India, Vietnam and Egypt. Since I still had a month before leaving, and since I don’t like waiting in lines, I decided to obtain Jordan even though I knew I could get the visas at the port upon arrival. While I have no experience to indicate whether this would result in actually saving time in Jordan, I figured it couldn’t hurt and might just get me on shore half an hour quicker since everyone else on the ship might be stuck in some Jordanian visa line while my parents and I breezed through and headed off to Petra and Wadi Rum.

I started to get concerned after seven days when the Jordanian visas hadn’t arrived back to my office. I called the embassy and they said not to worry that visa processing takes at least five business days. Since the embassy is only open daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I figure they move at a snail’s pace. Finally the self-addressed envelope arrived back and I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw my own handwriting identifying this as the US Postal Service Express Envelope (no FedEx for the Jordan embassy either) from the Jordanian embassy.

I had commented earlier to my co-worker Eric, “Wouldn’t it be ironic if after getting all those other visas that the one I really didn’t need got lost?” so I was really happy the envelope finally arrived. As he lay the envelope on my desk Eric looked concerned.

“There was nothing inside in the envelope,” he said. “I opened it since it looked like a check from a customer but it was completely empty.”

“C’mon Eric give me the passports. I don’t have time for this I have too much going on trying to get ready for this trip.” He continued to swear the envelope really was empty and it slowly dawned on me he wasn’t kidding—that envelope from the Jordanian Embassy really didn’t contain our passports! My worst travel nightmare had come true. The passports were lost, there wasn’t time to replace them and even if we could get them replaced by a completely overwhelmed US State Department Passport Division there wasn’t enough time to get all the visas again.

After several frantic calls to the Jordanian embassy our three passports were found lying on someone’s desk. No one at the embassy knew why our envelope had been sent empty. My brother who is a Foreign Service Officer for the US State Department is currently assigned in Washington D.C. and offered to personally pick up mine and our parent’s passports, but the embassy said they would ship them out the next day on my Federal Express account. I tracked that FedEx envelope on the internet from the moment it left Washington D.C. until it was out for delivery in Bellingham, Washington. My parents were blissfully unaware their irreplaceable passports were lost so when I later told them the whole story later it never had as much impact as it did on me.

In hindsight I would still get my own visa’s necessary to board the ship, but I would risk a half-hour wait in a line and get the Jordan and Oman visas on arrival. Needless to day I did not send our passports to the Oman embassy for visas. We will wait in line like everyone else.

This morning I woke around 6 a.m. and thought we were docked in Danang, but when I opened the curtain to check the weather through the porthole, I quickly realized we were still at sea. As the 8 a.m. arrival time loomed large I know something was wrong. We were not going to be docked on time. A loud sound intruded in my stateroom: DING-DONG! DING-DONG!

“Good morning ladies and gentleman from the bridge. This is Ray your cruise director speaking. We regret to inform you that the port of Danang is closed due to high winds and low visibility. We will keep you informed throughout morning of the ships plans.”

The Nautica team sprang into action and within an hour each stateroom received a revised itinerary which includes a stop in Nha Trang tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and many additional shipboard activities today. My father plays bridge and since my primary goal in taking this trip is spending time with he and my mom I am going to a last-minute beginners bridge class with him this morning.

I feel very badly for the Vietnam veterans aboard who wanted to visit Danang and I personally wanted to visit Hoi An but these things happen and I was impressed with how quickly the cruise staff made alternate plans. They clearly are well-oiled machines. I am just glad we didn’t cancel Saigon as I am scheduled to visit an orphanage and take photos of some children already assigned US families but waiting for final adoption on Friday.

Two days at sea in a row isn’t a bad thing, but I will ready to go ashore in Nha Trang tomorrow. Next stop Vietnam.
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 03:38 AM
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JackfromWA,

Thanks so much for the next instalment. I am printing them out so that I can go back and reread them at a later date. I can hardly wait until the 8th April next year when we board the Nautica. A big thank you for spending the time in posting such an informative diary.

Jennie
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Our Cruises:

2014 Ocean Princess - Australia and Asia - 20 days.
2013 Noordam - Adriatic & Roman Explorer - 22 days.
2013 Ocean Princess - Land of the Midnight Sun - 16 days.
2013 Celebrity's Solstice - Auckland to Sydney - 12 days
2012 Emerald Princess - New England Cruise Tour - 15 days
2011 Royal Princess - Tahiti to Ft. Lauderdale via Sth America - Farewell Cruise - 26 days
2010 Ocean Princess - Capetown to Dover - via West Africa - 30 days
2009 Prinsendam - Athens to Ft. Lauderdale - Transatlantic - 24 days
2009 Azamara's Quest - Hong Kong to Beijing - Far East Asia - 14 days
2008 Tahitian Princess - Vancouver - Vancouver - Alaska in depth - 14 days
2008 Oceania's Nautica - Hong Kong to Athens - the Pirate run! - 35 days
2007 Tahitian Princess - Tahiti to Hawaii - 12 days
2007 Pacific Princess - Sydney - Sydney - the Pacific Islands - 10 days
2006 Veendam - Vancouver to Tampa via the Amazon - 33 days
2006 Galapagos Explorer ll - Galapagos Islands - 5 days
2006 Regal Princess - Rio de Janeiro to Valpariso via Antarctica - 21 days
2005 Maasdam - Boston to Rotterdam via Greenland, Iceland & Norway - 17 days
2004 Prinsendam - Athens to Venice via the Black Sea - 12 days
2004 Tahitian Princess - Tahiti & the Cook Islands -10 days
2003 Noordam - Copenhagen to Rome - 14 days
1999 Maasdam - Dover to Copenhagen via Russia (Baltic) - 13 days
1995 Olympic - Athen to Athens via Greek Islands & Istanbul -7days
1982 Oriana - Sydney to Sydney - 14 days

Cruises Booked





Last edited by Aussie Gal; April 3rd, 2007 at 03:40 AM.
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 11:45 AM
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shesgoneagain shesgoneagain is offline
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Default The Saga Continues....

Jack--
I feel like I am reading a wonderful travel novella --and anxiously await the next chapter. I will be travelling with my sister next April. We are considering the cabana for our trip. Will your parents be able to join you in the cabana-is it spacious enough to have a few guests? Nice to know that Oceania can respond so quickly to unanticipated weather. I have rock and rolled all over the seas and have always had a wonderful time despite changes in ports /excursions/time etc. Sail on--
Elizabeth
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 04:00 PM
merryecho merryecho is offline
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While wading through paperwork it is great to take a break and join you and your folks on your journey Jack. Thank you, and please keep us all posted.
BTW- have you ever tried Atkins? It works great for helping me avoid temptation on cruises, but of course isn't for everybody.
Merryecho,
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Fairhaven College, '70-'73
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 05:46 PM
Fetchpeople Fetchpeople is offline
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Default I'm Frantic With Worry

Please dispell my fears; I'm losing sleep; I'm close to a nervous breakdown waiting for the critical news:

Tell me that the berry supply is better, more varied, and fresher than ever.

Tell me that the cheese course is saturated with a world wide supply of the best that cows and sheep can provide.

Tell me that the Casino manager is so friendly that dealers are instructed to hit on 17.

Tell me that you were able to get shrimp cocktail in the GDR and not have to resort to an alternate dining arrangement.

Help, don't make me wait any longer for this information. Perhaps you could skip a tour to post the information. After all, inquiring minds want to know.......
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Old April 4th, 2007, 01:10 AM
lagunaman lagunaman is offline
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Default Jack's great reports from Nautica.

Really enjoying your excellent travelogue, specially as my brother and wife from LA are sailing with you !

I am very excited about seeing them when you dock here in Phuket, also it will amaze them that I am so well informed as to how their first 2 weeks have been on board.

Personally,not tried Oceania, so far Crystal, Holland, QE11,with HAL being my preference.

Looking forward to your next installment with report on Vietnam,one SE Asian country I have not yet visited.

However,any info needed on Phuket or Bangkok, will be glad to provide you with my local knowledge

John


www.phuketmarbella.com
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Old April 4th, 2007, 03:25 AM
Jancruz Jancruz is offline
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Hi all,
Jack is posting such a wonderful review that I wont attempt to embelish it except to say..Jack is charming and it is fun getting to know him..we have also had dinner with Kendra and Peter from Australia and as all CC people they are wonderful..Nha Trang was a nice port to visit..and tommorow on to Saigon..we have been there before so Stu and I will get a massage at the Rex Hotel and shop..
Regards to all...
Jan
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Old April 4th, 2007, 09:37 AM
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JackfromWA JackfromWA is offline
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Default Nah Trang, Vietnam

Aussie Gal. Happy 43rd anniversary today!

Shesgoneagain, the cabanas are fine for two, but there isn’t really room for three. The ship was initially resistant to letting me share with my parents since it is supposed to be a one cabin = one cabana policy, but they relented and provided my dad and mom a “cabana card” (it shows staff you are authorized to be in the cabana) when I pointed out I paid a 200% single supplement, but could have been sharing their cabin—not that we would have had much of a vacation! We tend to use it in shifts and sharing hasn’t been a problem but it hasn’t been simultaneous use.

Merryecho, I lived in Stack III at Fairhaven College in 1980 while attending WWU. I bet you had fun there! We’ll have to chat sometime…

Fetchpeople: To stave off your breakdown I am posting today even though I intended to wait a few days and do a better job proofing my writing—too many editing errors yesterday. To put you at ease here you go:
1. Berries are abundant. I have personally seen raspberries, strawberries and today a ripe blueberry assaulted my dad’s new shirt while he ate breakfast. The berries are sweet, plump and delicious.
2. My friend Sukey loves the cheese course. I prefer hard Dutch and Italian cheeses and these are mostly soft cheeses, but she was in a state of bliss and passed on all sugar desserts to enjoy the cheese plate night before last. She made small audible moans ofc pleasure between bites, so I think the cheese course passes.
3. Casino manager was friendly to me. They stand on all 17’s. I went in with $200, now I have $300 and since I am up 50% I am hoping to stay the hell out of the casino.
4. The shrimp cocktail in the grand dining room may be a problem. We were discussing availability of special requests in the dining room last night. Since Princess, Celebrity and RCI can do it, I believe Oceania will furnish off-menu shrimp cocktails if asked, but I need to discuss it with a Head Waiter. I did order a Caesar salad off-menu and that was not a problem.

John, thanks for the hospitality offer in Phuket. Tell your brother you heard the Italian Guitarist, Warsaw Strings Quartet and Gypsy Violinist entertainers were excellent. Also the bridge instructor, Jean George from the mid-west is phenomenal. In Phuket I arranged for a day room and massages at the Banyan Tree so we are set this time. I wish we had another day there.

NAH TRANG VIETNAM
Claiming I have traveled to Vietnam, Thailand, India and Egypt based on my short stay in each port is like saying I am a 1970’s music devotee because I bought Casey Kasem’s ‘Best of the 70’s’ CD and I really liked it the one time I played it. Cruises are greatest hits. To really delve into a city like Nha Trang I need at least 3 or 4 days there. I can’t say The Beatles Abbey Road is my favorite record if the only song I’ve ever listened to on it is ‘Here Comes the Sun.’

I hesitate writing anything about a town I merely set foot in for four hours, but I know it is of interest to some people taking this cruise next year. Hopefully the 2008 Hong Kong to Athens itinerary will include Danang and Hoi An again. Hoi An is now of much greater interest to me than Nah Trang.

My first impressions of Nah Trang are it is foreign, crowded, dirty, hot, friendly, pushy and unique. The markets have numerous touts who vigorously attempt to take you to the shop they think you need. I have never been anywhere exactly like it, but I have been many places that resemble it and I don’t feel like hanging out in the town markets again.

Nha Trang has beautiful beaches, high-end resorts, mid-end resorts and young back packer Mecca’s scattered throughout town and the surrounding county side. Coming back on the ship’s shuttle I overheard numerous passengers complain Nha Trang is too much like Mexico (think Mazatlan). But I find even Mazatlan is wonderful if I stay somewhere I enjoy.

Tonight is my 44th birthday and my parents, Seasons (Sukey) and I are having dinner at the Polo Grill. The menu looks great but the combination of the heat, a few days eating business dinners in mainland China before the cruise and a few other personal body-related conditions that out of sensitivity for the reader will remain nameless, have diminished my enthusiasm for a jumbo prawn cocktail/French onion soup/tableside-prepared-Caesar-salad/steak & lobster dinner followed by coffee and crème brulee for dessert. I’ll eat what I can but I would much rather feel healthy than eat for sport, so I may just end up having salad, soup and prawns. God forbid they ordered a birthday cake. I can’t think of anything more useless than a birthday cake on a fine-dining all expenses paid cruise ship. I would rather choose my dessert than have to eat cake I don’t need and didn’t choose.

One of the new and liberating feelings I am enjoying is the length of this cruise. My mother pointed out last night if this were an Alaska 7-day cruise we’d be going home the day after tomorrow. I feel I am just beginning to adapt to the motion of the ship, the rhythm of the crew and the ships facilities. I love knowing we have over 30 days remaining on this trip.

Expectations determine whether I really enjoy a cruise. Since I primarily take cruise vacations because ships provide a great space to interact and have intimacy with people I love, I am rarely disappointed with mediocre itineraries and slightly disappointing food. Of course exciting itineraries like this one, great food and excellent service such as Nautica’s enhance the whole experience.
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  #19  
Old April 4th, 2007, 10:00 AM
bdmagee bdmagee is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
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Default Thank you

Just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write this review. As I am looking forward to my first Oceania cruise in 13 days ( who is counting?), its great to hear both the postives and negatives of your great journey.

Once again, thanks for your humorous and detailed writing. And please do not concern yourself with any possible typos you may have had. I can promise you no one here cares. Just want more updates!!!

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  #20  
Old April 4th, 2007, 10:03 AM
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shesgoneagain shesgoneagain is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Texas and Montana
Posts: 8
Default

Happy Birthday Jack!! Wishing you many more grand voyages.
Elizabeth
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