Emperors & Empires Cruise on the Oceania Nautica
3/10/15 to 3/26/15
Due to the length of the review, it is in seven parts to help with the download time. The links to the other pages are at the top and bottom of each page.
Page 1 - Pre-Cruise in Beijing
Page 2 - Pre-Cruise continued; Embarkation and Ship
Page 3 - Ship Continued; Ports of Call: Tianjin, China; Dalian, China
Page 4 - Ports of Call: Seoul, South Korea; Shanghai, China
Page 5 - Ports of Call: Shanghai, China continued; Ishigaki, Japan; Okinawa, Japan; Kyoto (Kobe), Japan
Page 6 - Ports of Call: Osaka (Kobe), Japan; Nagoya, Japan
Page 7 - Ports of Call: Tokyo, Japan
Beijing Day 3 - Continued
Our next stop would be at Temple of Heaven Park. It is a huge place covering 729 acres. There are several religious buildings there, with the highlight being the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, or what most people refer to as the Temple of Heaven. After entering the park, we stopped at a small souvenir shop on the grounds. Carol had been wanting to purchase a scarf, since the weather had been quite cold. As we were finishing up our shopping, Cherie came into the store and told us that we had to come outside. We wouldn’t believe what was happening. A crowd was surrounding Andy and Doug to look at the scooter. They were asking Andy about it. When he told them how light weight it is, the men took turns picking it up. When Carol got on the scooter, she showed them how it worked. Everyone was just amazed. It was surprising to me that everywhere we went people were fascinated with the TravelScoot, since there were many small electric powered two wheeled vehicles in China.
To get to the temple, we walked down the Long Corridor. This 1,148 foot covered walkway was quite the congregation area. It was the place to meet people and play cards. Some people were selling their wares; but most people were just enjoying the park.
When we finally arrived at the temple, I blown away by the beauty of it. It is more like a piece of jewelry than a building. Photos just can’t do it justice. I was pleased that the pollution level had improved significantly as the day progressed. The winds had brought in clean air and by the end of the day’s tour, we were at a good level of 38.
I had to get photos of all sides of the temple and from different angles, even though they were all quite similar.
The inside of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests was quite lovely with the brightly colored designs. Once again we were not able to enter the hall and could only take photos from outside. With it being rather dark inside the hall, I was surprised that I was even able to get any decent photos of it.
From the top of the temple, we had a good view of a couple of the other religious buildings on the grounds.
As we continued through the park, we passed a group being led in Tai Chi exercises.
Further along, groups of people were playing a game involving a bird like device they would kick or throw at each other. Kind of like playing a combination of kickball and catch.
Leaving the park through the large gate, was a path through a grove of trees. I could understand why the Temple of Heaven Park is such a popular place for the locals. It would be a great place to just spend the day. That is if it were warmer. The temperatures we had in Beijing had been in the upper 30’s F. to the middle 50’s F. Way too cold for us Floridians. I had to look back through the exit gate to take a last look at the temple. I was impressed with it.
It was lunch time and we needed to rest from our long walks. One of Carol’s concerns with visiting China was with eating the Chinese food. She was worried that we would have to eat strange things and possibly food that could make us sick. I had therefore requested that while on tour in the Beijing area that we go to western style restaurants. So we went to a Pizza Hut. It wasn’t quite like home; but it was good. We especially enjoyed the Tsing Tao beer.
After lunch we drove to our last stop for the day, the Summer Palace. It is largest most well preserved royal palace in China. It is very difficult to obtain entrance tickets to see the insides of some of the palace buildings, which was fine for us, since our main interest was to just see the grounds and building exteriors. At the entrance to the park was a lovely gate with various statues and urns. I was already impressed with this site.
Unfortunately the Summer Palace grounds were not as handicap accessible as we would have liked. I would have to carry Carol’s TravelScoot up and down stairs as well as over the high thresholds that most of the temples, halls, gates and pavilions had in China. After getting through the first gate, we walked to an area where we could get our first view of the main building up on a hill.
There were some other nice buildings and a pavilion right by the lake that the palace looked down on.
From there, I could get an even better photo of the main palace area.
We would be walking through the grounds to where a popular tourist attraction was located. At the start of the walk, we were welcomed by an old gentleman who was writing a message on the ground with water. Andy explained that it was intended for us, and he read the very nice welcome. It said “Welcome, welcome American friends to the Summer Palace Beijing. March 8, 2015.” We thought that was rather special.
We would pass through many lovely buildings and courtyards.
There was a very long section of covered walkway appropriately called the Long Gallery with brightly decorated ceilings.
Along the way, Andy pointed out an area that I should walk over to that would provide me with a great photo opp. He was right.
The paths along the lake were particularly narrow, which made it difficult to travel with the scooter and wheelchair, especially since the paths were so crowded with people. But it was so lovely there.
We couldn’t believe how long it was taking to get to our destination. We were getting tired. Finally after 36 minutes we arrived at the famous Marble Boat. It is more of a building than a boat and obviously is not an actual floating vessel. The empress liked to come to the boat to have tea and enjoy the view of the lake.
It was quite a site as were the backs of the dragon boats next to it.
I went over a bridge to the other side of the boat to see if the lighting would be better. I was rewarded with a much better shot of the magnificent boat.
I was also able to see the front of the dragon boats. These boats are working boats and provide lake tours and transfers between different spots in Beijing.
On the way out of the palace, we crossed over a lovely bridge. The ice on the lake showed just how cold it had been and still was.
We were so glad to see our van drive up, so we could finally rest for a while on the way back to our hotels. We were also very glad that we didn’t have to walk back the way we came. It had been an awesome touring day. We had seen so many famous and amazing places. We decided to just eat dinner at the hotel. It was cold outside and I didn’t feel like searching for a restaurant. When we went back to the room, I had planned on backing up my photos as I normally do every day after a tour. I hadn’t been able to after our Xi’an visit, since we got back so late. Then I realized that I had left my backup device at home. I couldn’t believe it. I have never lost any photos while on a vacation; but have always worried that someday I would lose a flash card or have one go bad. I have religiously backed up my photos regularly on our trips. I can deal with losing most anything; but the one thing worries me the most is to lose the memories of our wonderful trips we have taken. That is a main reason we do these reviews. Well there was nothing I could do about it now. I would just have to hope that my flash cards didn’t fail me. It did add a level of stress to the trip I had hoped to avoid.
Beijing Day 4
Once again Andy picked us up at 8:00 AM. This was going to be a real good day, since the pollution index was a good 25 and we were going to the Great Wall of China. We had originally planned on going to the wall at Mutianyu; which is supposed to be the prettiest and best section to visit. Unfortunately, in order to see the wall there, we would have to walk up some very steep paths just to get to a cable car that we wouldn’t be able to use with the scooter and wheelchair. Andy recommended that we visit a recently opened section of the wall called the Old Badaling Wall. He did not want to take us to the originally opened section of the Badaling wall, since it is always very crowded with visitors. He also thought that it would be easier for Carol and Doug to be able to see the wall close up.
As we were driving there, we saw that the terrain had become quite mountainous.
Andy pointed out sections of the Great Wall up in the mountains. I was surprised that there were so many different sections. It was really exciting to actually finally see the Great Wall of China.
When we got to the Old Badaling section, it certainly wasn’t crowded. As we stepped out of the van, we knew that this was not going to be an enjoyable experience with the temperature around freezing and a very strong wind. I pushed to help Carol’s scooter get up some of the steeper areas and Andy pushed Doug up. This was certainly not one of the prettier areas of the wall; but it did show what it looked like before and after renovation.
We stopped on a viewing area where everyone could get a good look at the wall. With it being so cold everyone but me, headed back to the van. I was determined that I would climb up to the wall and walk on it. I had come too far not to. The climb to the wall was actually longer and steeper than walking on the wall itself.
I did get nice views of the wall I was climbing to; as well as the continuation of the wall on the mountain across from me.
I was quite glad to finally get to the wall entrance and climb up the last flight of stairs to the wall top.
The view from the wall was quite nice looking into the valley. But with wind blowing through my toboggan, I was getting extremely cold and couldn’t hang around long to explore. I had accomplished my goal of climbing on the wall and I was ready to warm up.
On the way back to Beijing, we stopped at a parking area to view a different section of the wall. This was a much prettier and more renovated section; but Andy said that it would be a difficult place to visit with the wheelchair. But it was a good place to take photos of the wall.
Before we got back to Beijing, we stopped at a Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch. They only had one kind of chicken and it was spicy and very crispy. There was no original recipe in China. It tasted nothing like the normal KFC crispy chicken; but it was quite good. As was the Tsing Tao beer.
Our next stop was to see the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube that were used in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. We would not be able to get to the buildings themselves; but Andy told the driver where to go where we could get a nice view of them. On the way there, we passed a very tall unusual looking building close to the Olympic grounds.
We stopped at a spot across the highway from the Olympic buildings where we could get some photos.
We were also able to get a nice shot of an IBM building at Pangu Plaza that is in the shape of a Dragon’s head. I had been taking photos of it from different angles while driving near it in the car for two days; but none of them were very good, so I was pleased to finally get some worth putting in the review.
We were surprised at how many new and modern buildings we saw wherever we visited in China. There was so much construction going on everywhere. We also saw many interesting statues around including the below one.
Our next and last destination for the day was the Lama Temple. The official name is the Yonghe Temple. It was one that I added to the itinerary from the research I had done many months before the cruise. It is considered the most renowned Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. We passed through the attractive entry gate and walked down the tree lined path to the first courtyard.
The roof decorations on the gate were just amazing. I was really getting into Chinese architecture.
In the courtyard there was incense burning. It wasn’t overpowering like we experienced on a previous Asian journey. They also had the familiar large lion statues, with the male having a ball under his paw and the female with a small baby lion under her paw.
There were many Buddha’s and other statues in the temple.
The below pavilion was quite pretty and it also had an interesting ceiling in it. In front of it was a large urn.
Another hall had three golden Buddha’s in it. To the side was a lion statue with a couple of silly looking turtles.
The main hall was quite ornate, with lovely roofs.
Inside of it was a 59 foot tall Buddha that was cut out of a single piece of White Sandalwood. It was not possible to take photos of it from outside the hall, due to its height. At least we were able to enter the hall and see the massive statue in its full grandeur. I have received permission from Frank Müller to use his excellent photo of the Buddha below that I located online at this page www.flickriver.com/photos/franck-chilli/3121196883/.
I was so glad we were able to visit the Lama Temple. It was much nicer than I had expected. After leaving the temple, we returned to the hotel to pack up, so we would be ready to go to the Nautica the next day. We were ready to cruise.
Transfer to Tianjin
I had arranged a transfer to the ship which was docked at the Tianjin Port with Beijing Discovery Tours. Twelve of us from the Cruise Critic roll call were going to be on the bus. It was a very good deal and only cost 380 CNY or about $61 US each. Since we weren’t heading out until 10:00 AM, we were able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. The Park Plaza did a great job with breakfast; as well as everything else.
Even though the bus held 40 passengers and we only had 12, the luggage area was full. Some of the luggage had to be put into some of the empty seats. I guess cruisers take a lot of luggage with them. I know we do.
The highways around Beijing were quite nice and there wasn’t much traffic. We were making better time than we expected.
We were amazed at how many large apartment/condo buildings we saw along the way. Many of them looked empty. I had seen an article on the TV show 60 Minutes about how there were many empty buildings that were constructed all over China. We were seeing some of them.
When we came to a toll booth, there were a lot of trucks waiting to get through. It seemed like there might be a slight delay and then the trucks started moving over. We didn’t know what was going on. We had to assume that they were closing some of the toll booths. It was taking so long for even one truck to pay their toll. As a result all the trucks were trying to push in front of the others and it was just ugly. A very long truck that had been inching toward us eventually pulled in front of us. We don’t know what was taking so long for each truck; but after more than 20 minutes we finally got through. We lost the time we had picked up earlier by there not being any traffic on the road.
About eight minutes down the road, we entered the free trade zone where the port is located. Then in the distance we could see the new cruise terminal that was opened in June 2010. It was a very large modern structure.
I took photos of the other side of the terminal later in the day from the ship.
When we arrived at the terminal, it was just too easy to hand our large luggage to the baggage attendants stationed right beside where the bus stopped. We were quite glad that it was so easy, since it was so cold and windy. We quickly went into the large terminal and were directed to go through security. After security we filled out the forms indicating that we were healthy and hadn’t been in a part of Africa where Ebola had broken out. Then we waited in a short line at the Oceania desk to get our key cards. This is when the process changed from the norm. They took our passports and gave us two copies of it on plain paper, instead of returning the actual passports to us. We next walked over to a Chinese immigration area where we handed them the two passport copies. They stamped a seal with numbers on both copies, kept one and returned the other to us. At each port we were told to take the paper copy with us whenever we went ashore. The one copy was looked at by Chinese security most times we boarded or exited the ship.
When we left the terminal, we had to go a pretty good distance to get to the Chinese security stationed in front of the ramps to embark the ship. It was really cold standing out there waiting in the short line, plus we had to find someone from the ship to come down to carry the TravelScoot up the ramp for us. It only weighs 35 pounds, but it was a pretty steep walk up to the ship. I was surprised that a new terminal didn’t have a jet way system like in many of the newer terminals. They provide a relatively level entrance to the ship rather than a steep ramp. They will certainly need to find a better way to load and unload passengers when the new larger Royal Caribbean ships make Tianjin their home port in the very near future.
For the rest of the day, we did our normal routine for the first day on a ship. Carol unpacked and set up her nest, while I went around the ship taking photos before it got too crowded.
This was our second cruise on Oceania’s R Class ships. Our first was on the Regatta in April 2014. In May and June of 2014 Oceania did a major renovation of all R Class ships to make them more like their newer O Class ships. Since the Regatta was in such good shape when we were on it; I really didn’t notice that many upgrades on the Nautica.
Our Captain for the cruise was Rafaele Cinque from Positano, Italy. He did a good job of keeping us informed when some issues came up; but most importantly, he normally arrived in port a little early. My kind of Captain.
The various public rooms are shown below by category.
Dining Rooms (Link to Menus)-
I have included copies of the menus for all of the dining rooms along with photos of some of the food items at the Menus link just above and at the top of each page of the review.
Grand Dining Room – This is the main dining room and is located on deck 5 at the back of the ship. As with all of the ship, the decorations are elegant and in a classic style. The tables were arranged where there was adequate room for passengers and waiters to move around.
We ate most dinners and a couple of lunches in the Grand Dining Room. Unlike most cruise lines, every meal is open seating so you can go to the dining room whenever you would like within their hours of operation. We did find that our fellow passengers were, for the most part, well-traveled and very interesting people, so the open seating was quite enjoyable and educational. Equally welcome was the absence of formal night. Carol and I don’t mind dressing up occasionally, but with the luggage weight restrictions on the airlines nowadays, it feels like a waste of valuable space. A tux and three floor-length formal dresses plus shoes take up a lot of room and are very heavy.
Terrace Café – The buffet restaurant was where we ate most breakfasts and lunches. It is on the back of deck nine. It was very popular; but we had no problem getting a table. The food serving area is made up of two granite counters across from each other. The space between the counters can get pretty crazy on port days when so many people are going to breakfast at the same time. We never tried the Terrace for dinner; but it was apparently quite popular. We’ll have to try it sometime on another Oceania cruise.
It is very nice to have waiters offering to get your morning ice water, coffee and juice as soon as you sit down. It was also nice to have the waiters offer to take your plates to the table for you from the buffet line. Since Carol was using a cane due to her recent knee surgery, it was very helpful for her. The waiters came around to the table quite often to see if anything was needed. They would even get refills of food items if requested. Once again this shows the high service levels that Oceania provides.
At the back of the restaurant is the Terrace Patio area. It is open air and partially covered. It is a great place to eat and wasn’t particularly crowded on this cruise since it was rather cold much of the time. At breakfast, it became an issue, since whenever someone walked by the door to the Patio, it would open automatically letting in a blast of cold air. We learned not to sit close to those doors. Some mornings they did deactivate the automatic door opening mechanisms.
Toscana – The Toscana Italian specialty restaurant is located on deck 10 at the back of the ship on the port side. Unlike most cruise lines, there is no extra cost for the specialty restaurants on Oceania; but you do need to book reservations before you get on the ship to be sure you can get the days and times you want. It has a more casual feel than the Grand Dining Room with the lighter colors and décor. Both specialty restaurants are long L shaped rooms with the short part of the L looking out to the sea on the back of the ship.
Your level in the Oceania Club determines how many reservations you are allowed to set up online before you board. We were allowed to make one reservation at each of the specialty restaurants prior to the cruise. Once onboard, anyone can make additional reservations if space is available. You just book the additional reservations with the attendant in the Terrace Café at breakfast or lunch. They can also be made through the Concierge. It wasn’t as easy to obtain additional reservations on this cruise as it was on our other two Oceania cruises, but we were able to make three additional reservations.
Polo Grill – This is the steak house type specialty restaurant. It is located on the starboard side of the ship on deck 10 aft. It has the feel of an up class traditional steak house with the leather chairs and dark wood.
It is a very comfortable restaurant and makes one want to relax and enjoy the atmosphere, wonderful service and high quality food.
Waves Grill – This light dining venue is next to the pool area on deck nine. They offer hamburgers, hot dogs, Rueben sandwiches and other items.
Unlike normal hamburger bars on ships, at Waves Grill, you place an order at the counter and they bring your order to you. We found this to be much more efficient. There is also an ice cream bar that makes shakes, malts and smoothies while you wait.
Lounges (Link to Menus)-
I have included copies of the menus for the various lounges/bars at the “Menus link” shown just above and at the top of each page of the review.
Grand Bar/Baristas – This bar is located right in front of the Grand Dining Room. It is a nice place to meet people you want to go to dinner with or have pre-dinner cocktails. As with all of the bars, there were three daily drinks of the day that could be purchased for $5.50 each; which was $4.00 less than their normal price. This room probably had the most renovations of any on the ship. The carpet was removed and replaced with marble floors as in the O Class. The furniture upholstery was also upgraded. We liked the changes.
A major renovation that was done to the Nautica was the addition of Baristas in the Grand Bar. It is the place to obtain specialty coffees from 6:30 AM until 6:00 PM. There is no extra charge for any of the coffees or snacks. Carol enjoyed reading in the Grand Bar area during the day, since it was comfortable and she could get her lattes there.
We especially liked the frozen Frappuccino. We were so happy to see the machine when we went to Baristas, since we had fallen in love with Frappuccinos when on the Riviera four months earlier. It is probably a good thing that they serve them in very small cups, since it would be easy to overdose on them.
Horizons Bar – This is a bar and an entertainment area. Being on the front of deck 10, the view was the best on the ship.
With it being the second largest entertainment venue on the ship, they had many things going on day and night. All late night entertainment took place there. Each evening the band would play for dancing. There is a smoking room at the back port side of Horizon's that is totally enclosed. The enclosure was added to the smoking room during the renovation. It is the only interior area on the ship where passengers can smoke.
Martinis – This was one of two bars that had happy hours between the hours of 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM each day. The other was Horizons. The two for one drinking sessions were very popular at both lounges. This was my favorite bar because I got to know the bartenders and waiters. They also made excellent martinis. With the bar being right next to the Casino on deck 5, it kept pretty busy.
In the evening, piano player Constantine provided entertainment for the patrons. He was very good, had a great personality and he took requests. His song selection was most enjoyable. When in port Martinis was pretty empty, since the casino was closed.
Waves Bar – This is the pool bar. It didn’t get used much this cruise due to the colder weather.
Nautica Lounge – This was the main venue for activities needing a large area. It was also used for the evening shows. This lounge is my least favorite area on this class of ship because the seating is not that good for watching a show. With there being no incline to the floor, the people’s heads in front of you block your view of the show. I realize there isn’t anything that can be done about it, since it is a small ship; but it bothers me. On a positive side though, you are always close to the performers because the lounge is relatively small.
Each evening before the 9:30 PM show time, the band would play for those that wanted to dance between 8:45 PM and 9:15 PM. The lounge is really much better for dancing than watching a show. I liked the corridor into the lounge. There is of course a large bar at the back of the theater.
One other drawback on the Nautica Lounge is that there is only a single stall rest room on that end of the ship. Otherwise, you have to go all the way back to the main dining area at the other end of the ship.
Reception Hall – This is the area on deck 4 at the base of the ornate staircase. There is a nice sitting area, which is pretty quiet since not many people hang out on deck 4. The Concierge, Reception Desk and Destination Services are in this area. This is the area where we entered and exited the ship at most of the ports.
The staircase is probably the most recognized feature of all of the R Class ships. It does make one feel like they are cruising on an old classic ocean liner.
Reception Desk – Being right at the base of the staircase, it is easy to find the Reception Desk. With your individual account information not being available on the TV, I thought that I would need to come down to get a copy periodically; but twice during the cruise a statement was delivered to our room showing our current status. Very convenient. As a result the only reason I needed to come to the Reception Desk was to drop off the two opinion surveys and disembarkation info request. I did think it was a smart move to have an opinion survey early in the cruise to see if there were any problems they could fix, rather than just waiting for the end of the cruise. I can guarantee that they do read them because a suggestion I made received immediate attention. I got a phone call from housekeeping, a solution from my stateroom attendant, and a follow up the next day from reception. It was such a minor thing that I couldn’t believe how efficiently it was handled!
Destination Services – This is where you can buy excursions or get questions answered about what to do in the ports. We only booked private excursions, since Oceania is known for having the most expensive excursions of any cruise line. We prefer having less people on our tours; and also vans rather than buses to tour in. The prices charged for excursions and transfers to and from the ship are probably the main negatives I hear or read about Oceania. If they provided some super luxury type service for these, perhaps they could be justified; but their excursions are like any other cruise line yet are significantly more expensive. In some cases Oceania was more than triple what I paid for private tours.
Upper Hall – It is also a lovely area of the ship, since it is at the top end of the staircase. The whole area is quite elegant. The Quadriviu String Quartet also played there regularly; which added to the elegance. They were very popular with many people sitting around to hear their performances.
Boutique – There are only two shops on the Regatta, both located on deck 5. One is mainly a clothes store with logo items and miscellaneous goods. The other is mainly a jewelry shop that also carries a few cosmetic and perfume items.
The Patio – On deck 8 there was a comfortable sitting area that was between the buffet and pool areas. We had used it a lot while on the Regatta; but there weren’t many sea days on this cruise. When we could have used it, the weather was too cold for us.
Pool and Open Area – The Pool area is nicely arranged with very comfortable padded lounge chairs.
Lounge beds were added during the renovation, which was a good change.
At one end of the pool, next to Waves Bar, there was a ping pong table. They did have a tournament there one day.
I went out one evening to get a photo of the pool area. But the lighted tower overpowered it.
Laundry Room – The Laundry Room is located on deck 7. It is a nice size room with four washers and four dryers. Irons and ironing boards are also available. With this being a 16 day cruise, the laundry kept very busy, especially on the few sea days. So busy that when I went to take a photo, is was too crowded with people.
Each machine costs $2.00 to use. You must purchase the $2.00 tokens at the reception desk, since the machines don’t take money. There is no extra cost for detergent. Carol’s only objection was that there is only one chair. They do not need two ironing boards, and that space could be used for at least 2, maybe 3 more folding chairs.
Oceania @ Sea – This is the computer/internet area. Since there were no classes or activities related to computers, the room was not real busy most of the time. The Wi-Fi was terribly slow during the cruise. We fortunately had access to cellular service through our T-Mobile plans that provide for free international data in most countries. The free data is normally on the carrier’s slower edge network; but even that was faster than the Oceania Wi-Fi.
We were in port for several days in Japan, including two overnight stays. Japanese regulations prohibited the use of C and KU band signals within 12 miles of Japan. Because of that regulation, the passengers weren’t allowed to use the ship’s Wi-Fi for six days. There were many frustrated passengers, who had to look for Wi-Fi on shore. T-Mobile’s free international data program worked beautifully for us any time we were close to land.
Fitness Center – The Fitness Center is located on the front of deck nine on the starboard side next to the Canyon Ranch Spa. The equipment looked good; but even though I work out regularly at home, I just never went back after taking photos. I got more than enough exercises on our full day tours. They did have classes that could be participated in for a price.
Canyon Ranch Spa – The Nautica had a very nicely decorated spa area on deck nine. It seemed to be quite popular with passengers; since people were waiting for their services whenever I passed by.
The beauty salon appeared to be well equipped.
The massage therapy rooms looked very nice and had a waiting area outside of them. Carol did get a massage one day and said she thoroughly enjoyed the pampering.
Even the dressing rooms were first class.
At the very front of the spa area is the Spa Terrace. This area is only accessible by Concierge level and Suite guests. It is a lovely sunning area with a private hot tub.
Sun Deck – Most of the decks on the Regatta are well maintained teak wood, which look lovely and are just a pleasure to walk on. One of these is deck 11, called the Sun Deck. It is a large expanse of deck with lounge chairs. Since there are only a few chairs, people could have moved them around to get the best exposure for a tan if it hadn’t been so cold. It is also a great place to be during sail away and port arrival, since it is at the top front of the ship. Since it was cold outside the day I took photos of the Sun Deck, chairs had not been put out.
Also on the Sun Deck is a small putting green, shuffle board and golf driving cage.
Card Room – The Nautica has a very comfortable Card Room. With this being such a port intensive cruise, neither Carol nor I ever used it.
Library - The deck ten English style Library is a stunner. The dark woods, fancy carpets, plush furniture and fireplace make for quite an opulent room. But the highlight is the illuminated domed ceiling. It is designed to appear to be the view from an English greenhouse.
Besides being pretty, the Library has over 2,000 books. Being on deck ten, the views outside are also quite nice.
Fitness Track – On deck ten above the pool area was a walking/running track. It was quite popular, even with the colder weather. It was also a great place to view sail away and the ports.
Promenade Deck – This area was on both sides of deck 5. It was a great place to be when coming into port or for sailaway, since it was somewhat protected from the cold winds. On warmer weather cruises, the lounge chairs are very popular, especially on sea days.
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