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Nautica Cruise Review
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
360 Reviews

South African Splendor

Nautica Cruise Review by leaj

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2019
  • Destination: Africa
  • Cabin Type: Penthouse Suite

My husband & I chose this trip so he could take some CE and do a safari!. We booked the pre-cruise safari at Lion Sands River Lodge. While Oceania did not really do a good job with communicating our hotel info or flight info to the bush, it all worked out & the Lodge was amazing! We had 4 game drives and 1 bush walk.

Pre-Safari, we booked a night at the Residence Boutique Hotel. The Residence is a beautiful, intimate hotel that used to be the Chinese Embassy. It is in a gated compound, very safe. They arranged for their driver to pick us us from the airport, gave us a driving tour of Johannesburg the next day, and delivered us safely to 54th of Bath Hotel booked by Oceania.

54th on Bath is a very nice hotel basic. I think it is part of the Omni Group. Breakfast was included and we all had omelettes. There were 8 from the Nautica going on Safari. Flight was quick and soon we were on our way to Lion Sands. Our time there was the highlight of our trip! We wished it was longer.

Soon we were on a flight to Cape Town. we did not have time to see any of CapeTown precruise. We sailed roughly 1 hour after boarding. We were tired!

We were in a "penthouse" cabin 8065. It was of course very small compared to the Marina penthouse cabins. I wanted to upgrade all along but the reasonable price upgrade was not offered until we were on safari & my travel agent said it was gone within minutes.

Our butler, Vinod was a Gem! He helped with some dining problems and was just overall the best we have ever had.

The food was very good in the main dining. My favorite thing was in Toscana, the Carbonara, but you have to eat it quickly because it seems to harden up. We had to request escargot in the MD. It was perfect. The escargot in Polo is soupy and neither of us cared for it.

I not sure when it asks about excursions, aside from the Pre-Cruise safari, we booked everything privately because I do not like tour buses or large groups. If you do this cruise and you feel the same consider booking something through the ship while in East London (a place I will be blocking from my memory soon). We booked through Kevin Agram. We did not have him as our driver. Our driver knew nothing and insisted on taking us to the "townships" for 2 hours and then segregated beaches! It was the lowlight of our trip, having already seen them in every town we visited in South Africa.

We did do great excursion through Red Dunes safari in Namibia, but if you want to see seals, book a catamaran tour. I heard they jump right on the boat!

Richard's Bay & Durban we used Trinity Tours, Brian High. We went to several game reserves and same things as the ship but cheaper and we had a lovely dinner at the Oyster Box Hotel in Durban - don't miss the curry bar. Also do not eat Curry unless you at the Pot & Kettle in the Valley of a Thousand Hills. Very good wine at Durbanville Sauvignon Blanc. $7 per bottle!

In Mossel Bay, we used Tours for South Africa and went to Botlierskop Game Reserve (same as the ship) but much cheaper and included lunch.

In Port Elizabeth, we used Afroventures Tours and had a wonderful day safari where we actually saw 3 lions!!

When we came back to Cape Town we had a day tour to Stellenbosch to taste wines. It was late get started because of immigration problems or something. So we only got to see 1winery (Waterford - Excellent) and then we had dinner at the Wijnhose. I kept saying the winehouse & no one understood me! Excellent food and flights of wine. I would definitely go back to Stellenbosch.

leaj's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Penthouse Suite
Cabin PH3 8065

Im actually not sure which PH level we were on, but all of the PH rooms are on the small side. They do not compare with the Marina PH suites. The room was kept very clean, but it was so small for such long cruise. If we were any bigger, it would not have been that fun.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Port Elizabeth

We took a private tour through AfroVentures. It was great!!! We saw Lions at the private game reserve.

Shakaland Zulu Village

We booked with Brian High at Trinity Tours. This is in the Valley of a Thousand Hills

View All 6 Shakaland Zulu Village Reviews
Richards Bay

We booked a private tour with Trinity Tours, Brian High. It was great.

Wine Tasting

Last day of the cruise. Not enough time! Wineries close at 5 PM and the ship did not let us off until 3 PM. 1 hour drive to Stellenbosch!

View All 4 Wine Tasting Reviews

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