Nautica diary: Crystal clear water in the Maldives islands

Day 14: Male, Republic of Maldives ABOARD OCEANIA’S NAUTICA — Our first and enduring impression of the Maldives Islands? The water. The Indian Ocean here is crystal clear affording great visibility and yielding almost surreal shades of sapphire and turquoise. Of course, this water means great snorkeling and diving, for which the Maldives are renowned worldwide. The travel posters don’t lie, but seeing it in person is even more compelling. Our day here began with an excursion …

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Nautica diary: The captain gives a lecture and holds a “piracy drill”

Day 13: Indian Ocean ABOARD OCEANIA’S NAUTICA — Pirates? Yesterday, we held our first, and hopefully our last, piracy drill. Passing to the west of India’s southern tip, we have entered the high-risk area for piracy. Capt. Bencina takes the matter seriously — and perhaps personally. He was Nautica’s skipper back in November 2008 when the vessel was attacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. A couple of days before the drill, the Captain lectured …

Read moreNautica diary: The captain gives a lecture and holds a “piracy drill”

Nautica diary: A damp day visiting Columbo and Galle in Sri Lanka

Day 12: Sri Lanka (Beautiful Island) ABOARD OCEANIA’S NAUTICA — Our guide, who said to call him “Wilhem,” explained that Sri Lanka translates as “Beautiful Island” in Sinhalese, the native tongue of about three-quarters of the inhabitants. We got glimpses of that beauty, including some fetching beaches, and the Mahdu River, a vast, mangrove-lined lagoon. But our tour — arranged independently through a California company, Ceylon Express International — also gave us a look at a “slice …

Read moreNautica diary: A damp day visiting Columbo and Galle in Sri Lanka

Nautica diary: During our days at sea we explore the Italian wines and food

Day 10 & 11: Sailing the Indian Ocean We had to think about whether the second wine tasting would be worth the $25 fee — a bump of $10 from the first tasting. We decided yes, but wondered if we’d regret the decision. We didn’t. Nautica’s Cellar Master, Preslava Ilieva, a tall, string bean of a woman from Bulgaria who doesn‘t look to have reached age 30, had her audience spellbound within five minutes. Very knowledgeable about …

Read moreNautica diary: During our days at sea we explore the Italian wines and food

Nautica diary: A day at sea and exploring Phuket, Thailand

Days 8 & 9: Straits of Malacca, Andaman Sea and Phuket ABOARD OCEANIA’S NAUTICA — Departing Port Klang, Malaysia, at 6 p.m. we anticipated 74 hours at sea before our next port: Phuket, Thailand. We looked forward to one last day in Thailand and to seeing the famous resort island; plus, there’d be an opportunity to part with the Thai baht still in our wallets. One of the true pleasures of this cruise has been getting to …

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Nautica diary: We were impressed with the modernity and diversity of Kuala Lumpur

Day 7: Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang) ABOARD OCEANIA’S NAUTICA — We were taught in school that Asia is part of the “Old World.” But Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, is younger by a few years than our hometown of Sacramento. And like Sacramento, “KL” (Kuala Lumpur’s nickname) got its start as a mining town, although for tin rather than gold. But as one would expect, the contrasts are more noteworthy than the parallels. With a population of around …

Read moreNautica diary: We were impressed with the modernity and diversity of Kuala Lumpur

Nautica diary: Our two days in Singapore feature a tour and then exploring on our own

Days 5 and 6: Singapore ABOARD OCEANIA’S NAUTICA –– The name Singapore derives from the Sanskrit for Lion City. According to legend, a local prince was hunting on this jungle-covered island at the tip of the Malay Peninsula when one of his retainers spotted what he swore was a lion. Of course, lions never inhabited this area although tigers once roamed here. Nevertheless, the name stuck, and this cosmopolitan, one-of-a-kind place, is still called Singapore. The island’s …

Read moreNautica diary: Our two days in Singapore feature a tour and then exploring on our own

Nautica diary: Our first full day at sea begins with the fitness center

Day 4: South China Sea ABOARD OCEANIA’s NAUTICA — With no place to go, this morning should have been a chance to sleep in, but somehow we managed to inadvertently set the alarm as we were resetting the clock for a time change. Oh, well. We took the opportunity before breakfast to try out the fitness center—we’ve been neglecting our exercise on this trip until now. Equipped with treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, free weights and a limited …

Read moreNautica diary: Our first full day at sea begins with the fitness center

Nautica diary: We attend Thai cooking school at the Nora Beach Resort on Kho Samui

 Day 3: Kho Samui, Thailand ABOARD OCEANIA’s NAUTICA — Tom Kha Kai, Pad Thai, and Deep Fried Stuffed Crabmeat in Crab Shell; this was our lunch today at Nora Beach Resort & Spa on Kho Samui. All three dishes were delicious, and we cooked them ourselves! We joined Nautica’s “Thai Cooking Class” excursion and believe we may have had the best lunch of anyone on the cruise today, save our classmates. We tendered ashore about 10 a.m. …

Read moreNautica diary: We attend Thai cooking school at the Nora Beach Resort on Kho Samui

Nautica diary: We tour Bangkok and then set sail for the Gulf of Thailand

Day 2: Bangkok, Sailing ABOARD OCEANIA’S NAUTICA — Our guide, Tee, said Bangkok has about 6 million legal, permanent residents, but is actually home to about 16 million people, including temporary residents, students and others without official status. He said many new high-rise buildings are sprouting with condominiums to house those millions even though most Thais would prefer to live in a house with a garden. With the price of real estate so high they must live …

Read moreNautica diary: We tour Bangkok and then set sail for the Gulf of Thailand

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