Day 20 & 21: Indian Ocean
ABOARD OCEANIA’S NAUTICA — Bombay to Muscat — it’s a long voyage, 850 nautical miles across the Arabian Sea. Here, Nautica may be most vulnerable to pirates, at least until after she leaves Dubai, where we will have disembarked. But while the captain and crew take this threat seriously, it’s also clear that the risk is quite low.
Guest lecturer Don Campbell spoke on board the other day about 21st century piracy and said that cruise ships were not prime targets because pirates are after ransom. It’s easier to negotiate a ransom from owners of a tanker full of crude oil or a container ship; and besides they’d have to feed and guard over 1,000 passengers and crew, an expensive proposition cutting into profits.
That probably made passengers relax a bit, but still we see hoses draped on deck to repel any boarding attempts, and signs explaining that for security reasons, access to the main deck is blocked after sunset. So, perhaps they are not completely relaxed.
Our first day out of Bombay, the crew staged an event on the pool deck called “The Nautica Country Fair.” A number of booths were set up around the deck, each staffed by a different department, such as the culinary staff, the engineering department, the housekeeping staff, etc. Each booth offered a game of chance or skill and a chance to win a raffle ticket. After an hour, a drawing was held and prizes awarded to the lucky. Although we successfully competed in the pillowcase stuffing contest held by housekeeping, our tickets weren’t selected in the drawing so, alas, no hats or bottles of wine for us. Still, it was great fun.
Everyone who attended this afternoon’s “Gala Tea Time,” and that seemed to be almost everyone on board, got lucky. The sweet and savory snacks were beautiful as well as tasty, and the displays, including vegetables carved and arranged to resemble flower bouquets, and ice sculptures seemed to impress all. The regular afternoon tea is not such an elaborate affair.
Last evening’s Oceania Club cocktail party, to which we were graciously invited by General Manager Raffaele Cinque, was for repeat Oceania customers. Oceania Club Ambassador Shane Erickson announced that 58 percent of the more than 600 passengers on board were on their second or subsequent Oceania voyage. He also acknowledged one couple who were on their 29th Oceania cruise — that’s nearly three cruises per year during the company’s 10 years of existence. Our new friends, Graham and Trish from Australia, were among three couples who received their silver 10-cruise pin at the event.
We don’t know how these statistics compare with other cruise lines, but they suggest to us that Oceania is doing something right. Certainly, based upon our conversations with fellow passengers, first-timers as well as veterans, most people are quite satisfied, and more than a few are enthusiastic.