We’re in the process of a massive update of all of our individual cruise ship reviews here on Avid Cruiser, and today we’re taking a closer, newer look at Oceania Cruises’ Nautica.
Like her sister ships Regatta and Insignia, the sleek, streamlined Nautica was originally built in 2000 as R Five for now-defunct Renaissance Cruises — just a year before that line’s collapse in September of 2001.
Oceania Cruises acquired her in 2005 and immediately began refitting her to her former glory – and then some. Measuring 30,200 gross tons and carrying just 684 passengers, she’s a classic midsized cruiser, offering understated decor; a comfortable, laid-back atmosphere; great service and dining; and imaginative itineraries that put special emphasis on unique ports of call and extended stays in some of the world’s most “must-see” destinations.
Nautica followed in the mold of Regatta and Insignia, with a clubby, old-school style that doesn’t date easily. Like all the former Renaissance vessels, she’s comfortable and spacious, with lots of dark-wood paneling, gilt-framed paintings, Oriental-style carpets, and deep-hued upholstery lending a classic old hotel vibe. Her atmosphere is traditional but casual, and perfect for travelers who care more about relaxing, reading a good book, and chatting with friends than about flashy excitement.
There aren’t a lot of public rooms — just enough to keep things interesting. In the bow on Deck 10, the spacious Horizons Lounge is used for various activities during the day and for dancing at night. Down on Deck 5, the main show lounge is big enough to seat about half the guests on board and hosts musical recitals, cabaret acts, comedy, magicians, and other headliners. Moving aft, Martinis is the ship’s coziest lounge, with a pianist playing standards before dinner, a jazz band at night, and as you might expect, a long, long martini list.
There’s also a small but comfortable casino, and an even more comfortable library, decorated in traditional English style. If you’re sensing a theme here, you’re not mistaken: Every inch of this intimate ship oozes coziness, and the onboard atmosphere reflects that.
Your fellow guests tend to be adventurous and well-traveled, unpretentious but still cognizant of the fact that sometimes the finer things in life do matter. Nautica manages to strike that elusive balance between big-ship amenities and small-ship ambiance.