Oceania Cruises is brining Nautica back to South Africa for the 2023/24 cruise season, but unlike other luxury cruise lines such as Silversea, Regent and Azamara, they will not be sailing a full season.
Nautica will instead sail just two cruises from Cape Town at the tail-end of the 2023/24 season, with departures scheduled for May 9th and 21st, 2024.
The first will be a 12-night roundtrip cruise featuring port calls in South Africa and Namibia, while the second will be a 34-night grand voyage to Le Havre (Paris).
The 12-night roundtrip is similar to Oceania’s South African-intensive cruises from Cape Town in 2023, with port calls in Port Elizabeth, Durban, Richard’s Bay, and Mossel Bay, as well as Walvis Bay, in Namibia.
Oceania Cruises is offering six shore excursions, a beverage package or US $600 in shipboard credit in the cruise fare, which starts at US $3,599 per guest sharing.
After departing Cape Town on May 9th, 2024, the first port call for Nautica will be Walvis Bay, rimmed by the inhospitable Namib Desert, with a huge natural lagoon that attracts hundreds of thousands of birds, including flamingos, pelicans, and migratory species. The desert’s Dune 7 is the highest sand dune near town and offers a spectacular view, while the wooden Rhenish Mission Church is also noteworthy.
Nautica will stay overnight here and then sail for Port Elizabeth, spending three nights and two days at sea. Port Elizabeth is known as “The Friendly City” and is a popular destination for water sports, spectacular beaches, historical attractions, the oldest bowling green in South Africa and beautiful wildlife sanctuaries.
Nautica will then cruise for Durban, South Africa’s largest port and major domestic tourism destination, with a Golden Mile beach area that attracts sunbathers, shoppers and those who enjoy walking the promenade. Nautica stays overnight here, so that passengers can venture further afield to the nearby game safari parks, before sailing overnight for Richard’s Bay up the coast.
Richard’s Bay is a gateway to ‘big five’ game safaris further inland, but also offers the lookout point at Alkantstrand Beach, where you might get a glimpse of dolphins, whales, and kite-surfers.
Mossel Bay is the penultimate port of call before the cruise ends in Cape Town. It has the second mildest climate in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records and passengers can enjoy walks along the beautiful beaches, horseback riding and whale and dolphin watching, or track big game on a safari or take a cruise to Seal Island, populated by over 2,500 Cape fur seals.
Unusually for these roundtrip Cape Town cruises, Nautica doesn’t spend the final night of the cruise overnight in Cape Town.
This means that passengers wanting to take a little more time exploring the city and surrounding areas will need to book a hotel or take advantage of one of Oceania’s post-cruise land programs, especially as shore excursions on the first and last day of a cruise are only available for guests who are combining back-to-back voyages to create a longer cruise.
Nautica’s grand voyage to Le Havre (Paris)
After her roundtrip Cape Town cruise, Nautica will head north bound for Europe. The 34-night Cape Town to Le Havre (Paris) voyage departs May 21st, 2024 and is also bookable as a shorter 24-night itinerary ending in Lisbon, Portugal.
“Sail from the Cape of Good Hope to the Old World, cherishing Africa’s idiosyncratic coastal cities as you wind your way north,” says Oceania. “The Canary Islands and Morocco offer an alluring transition into Europe, where you’ll delight in Iberia, France and Ireland.”
The ports of call on this full 34-night itinerary are many, 21 including the departure and end ports, with the ship tracing a route along the West African coast that highlights the dark history of the region and reveals the ongoing legacy that the slave trade and colonialism continue to play in its present.
From Cape Town, Nautica will visit Luderitz and Walvis Bay in Namibia, Principe in Sao Tome and Principe, Lome in Togo, Takoradi in Ghana, Abidjan in Ivory Coast, Banjul in Gambia, and Dakar in Senegal before heading out to the Atlantic islands of Cape Verde and the Canaries.
Then she’ll cruise back to the African mainland, visiting Agadir, Morocco, before calling in Lisbon, Portugal, where the 24-night version of the cruise ends. Those continuing for the full 34 nights will then sail on to Porto in Portugal, and Ferrol and Bilbao in Spain, as well as Bordeaux, France, before crossing the English Channel for Cork and Dublin in Ireland.
The penultimate day of the cruise will be spent at sea, bound for Le Havre (the gateway to Paris), where Nautica will arrive on June 24th, 2024. On this grand voyage, both Porto and Bordeux are featured as overnight calls, where the ship spends two days in port, giving passengers extra time to explore.