We LOVED Oceania's ms Nautica! Only 650 passengers (maximum possible = 684), and a huge, very international crew. An older but well-maintained intimate ship, full of beautiful art; fabulous food (the best we have ever savoured afloat); excellent singers and dancers; a personable cruise director (he made up for the humourless captain); and great cabin/dining service in every respect. Very comfortable (if small) cabin and adequate (if miniscule) bathroom. Bellíssimo, a most talented Ukrainian string quartet (from the Putin-menaced Donets region) played classical and popular music for hours ever day; good evening entertainment, especially the specially invited singers and comedians; a daily MENSA quiz, puzzles, and challenging games of trivia and an art scavenger hunt; reasonable enrichment program, delivered by a knowledgeable astronomer and an egocentric Canadian biologist who attempted to introduce the history and culture of the ports of call, but was out of his depth whenever he strayed from his narrow speciality; FREE internet with superb connectivity; a good library (but lacking almanacs, a good dictionary, and an encyclopedia). All this comes at a cost which tests the limits of our cruising budget. However, it illustrates the old adage, "You get what you pay for." When we look back at about 60 nights of cruising with Celebrity; 300+ nights with Holland America; and single cruises with Princess, Royal Caribbean, Swan-Hellenic (now bankrupt), and MSC, we would say that Oceania is superior to all of them.
When we did not purchased any of the rather high-priced (and often mediocre) ship-organized excursions, we simply took the shuttle bus, which the Shore Excursion desk almost always organized, and went to wherever it took us. They were always safe spots, even in Durban, from where we could walk without fear of being mugged.
Very comfortable (if small) cabin and adequate (if miniscule) bathroom. So much storage space that we did not manage to fill up every nook and cranny. Everything worked throughout the 30-day cruise. The air conditioning had to work hard during a mostly equatorial cruise, but kept up with our demands, and was sensitive to even minor alterations to the thermostat. Superb, attentive service by our Russian (Kaliningrad) and Filipina cabin attendants.
Took the shuttle to the mall. Used the post office, and found a good bookshop and a good music shop.
Shuttle to the huge mall. Quite a long drive (20 minutes each way).
Took the shuttle to the mall. Walked to the oceanfront promenade.
Took ship's shuttle, and had a good long walk along the promenade.
Good excursion organized by the ship.
Delayed arrival. Walked ashore and bought some beer.
Shuttle to the mall & aquarium.
We took the cable car up Table Mountain and the ferry and guided tour of Robben Island on our own, the day before embarkation. Tickets obtained by our hotel. Visited the Zeitz-MOCAA art gallery, only a 20-minute walk from the ship. Visited the shops on Victoria Quay, and bought some beer. Oceania permits guests to bring beer and wine on board, which can be poured inside one's cabin, and brought to the dining room!