Oceania Nautica: Cruise Notes

Written by Harold McNeill on November 20th, 2013. Posted in Travelogue


McNeill's and Dunn's

Lynn, Garth, Esther and Harold share a drink while attending a
production in the Nautica Theatre.

Barcelona to Dubai: Post 2

NOTE:  December 9, 2013.  We are back home safe and sound in Victoria, British Columbia after an awesome 30 days of cruise and land travel.  This post will be updated with about 30-40 new photos of our cruise experience, so be patient as I work to catch up. Also, the stories for other destinations will be written in due course.  It was so great meeting all of you while on the cruise and even while in Dubai (after we left the ship) we ran into a number of others who were in transit.  Happy Travels…..   Harold, Lynn, Garth and Esther….

Claim to Fame

The Nautica’s claim to fame, besides being a very comfortable, passenger oriented cruise ship, was being one of the few cruise ships to be attacked by Somali pirates.  The attacked occurred in late November, 2008 as the ship was transiting the Gulf of Aiden.

As pirates in two skiffs attempted to run down the the ship while firing shots, Captain Jurica Brajcic and his officers immediately began evasive maneuvers and took all other prescribed precautions. After bringing the ship to flank speed, Captain Brajcic began the evasive measures which created a large wake that forced the pirates to slow.  The attack occurred shortly after leaving the Port of Salalah, Oman, the same port from which Captain Philips departed on the ill fated trip of the Maersk Alabama.

We have been advised the Nautica will be taking on armed guards at some point immediately before or after leaving the Suez Canal and that we will be constantly monitored as we continue south and east along designated lanes in our transit to our final destination in Dubai.  I will leave this as the top post for the time being as I am behind in the stories. Open below to link to the most recent photo albums. Additional stories will be written as time permits. (continue to photo links)

Photo Albums on McNeill Life Stories Facebook Page
If you enjoy the photos, take a moment to Like the Page

Links Here to Photos of Barcelona
Link Here to Photos of Rome
Link Here to Photos of Naples
Link Here to Photos of Patmos 
Link Here to Photos of Ephesus
Link Here to Photos of Rhodes
Link Here to Photos of Oceania Nautica
Link Here to Photos of Pafos and Kourion
Link Here to Photos of Jerusalem
Link Here to Photos of Golan Heights and Sea of Galiliee
Link Here to Photos of Haifa
Link Here to photos of Suez Canal Transit
Link Here to the Petra Post
Link Here to Wadi Rum Part 1
Link Here to Wadi Rum Part 2
Link Here to Arabian Nights
Link Here to Ship Building
Link Here to Dubai
Link Here to The Buildings of Dubai

 The Ship and Crew
At 593 feet, the Oceania is roughly the same size as one of the new BC Ferries vessels. The configuration of the Oceania, Nauticaof course, is that of an ocean going vessel with a deep “V” tapered hull. The first night out, after encountering heavy seas mid-way between the mainland of Spain and before entering the Strait of Bonifacio which runs between the Islands of Corsica (on the north) and Sardinia (on the south). We were lucky in that we managed to stave off any signs of seasickness and actually had a fairly good sleep as we tossed and turned.

Oceania, as with many small capacity vessels offers a passenger to staff ratio of about 1.5, so it does not take long to get to know the crew and for certain the crew a number of lumberjacks had joined the vessel. Seating for all meals, except for each of the four ‘special dining’ nights, is at our leisure.

One of the special on board options is a series of one hour lectures by men and women having a special knowledge of the waterways and countries into which we will be traveling over the next three and a half weeks. Having already attended three of these lectures – “The Eternal Mediterranean”, Jordan: “ The ‘Yes, I Can’ People” and “A Short History of the Suez Canal” – demonstrates these presentations will be in the ‘must attend” category.

As for the shore excursions being offered as part of the Oceania package, it is clear and guides have worked everything out in fine details as even when changes must be made due to changing conditions, everything flows out without a hitch.

As we continue our journey, I shall be adding notes to this post along with a series of on board pictures of the crew, passengers and events that take place while on board. All early indications suggest this will be the trip of a lifetime.




(Visited 293 times, 1 visits today)


  • Andrew Dunn

    May 14, 2019 |

    Thank you so much for all your help thus far Harold, aka. Tractor guy! I could not have done without you!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 25, 2019 |

    I find it interesting to contemplate how a small community evolves in general isolation from the rest of the world. We have a similar situation in the northern communities in Canada to which access is limited. The inclusion of the world wide web and mass media has changed things, but these communities are still left pretty much to their own devices when it comes to personal interaction.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 19, 2019 |

    Hi Dave. Not that I am aware and I have a fairly comprehensive family tree for the McNeill side of the family. I will pull it up and scan. Cheers, Harold. Great chatting with you and I will give Ben a nudge.

  • Dave Cassels

    March 16, 2019 |

    Were you related to Guy McNeill who owned the Bruin Inn in St. Albert in the late 40’s or early 50’s? Guy was a close friend of my father-in-law who was the first President of the Royal Glenora Club. My phone number is 780 940 1175. Thank you.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 15, 2019 |

    So glad you found the story and enjoyed. Indeed, they were memorable times. I did a fair amount of searching but never managed to contact any of the Murffit kids. However, it was neat to make contact with the Colony and someone I knew from back in the day. I have enjoyed writing these stories from back in the 1940s and 50s and have made contact with a lot of friends from those early years. I will give you a call over the weekend. Cheers, Harold

  • Yvonne (Couture) Richardson

    March 7, 2019 |

    I enjoyed your story. I too, lived in Pibroch in 1951, as my parents owned the hotel there. I was a very close friend of Bonnie Murfitt at the time. I moved to Edmonton in 1952, however, and have not seen her since. I would like to be in touch with you to talk about your story. My email is listed above and my phone number is 780-475-3873.

  • Laureen Kosch/Patry

    March 5, 2019 |

    I grew up in Pibroch and would not trade those years for anything. “ Kids don’t know how to play anymore” Never was a truer statement made. During the summer we were out the door by 8am, home for lunch, and back when it got dark. For the most part our only toys were our bikes and maybe a baseball mitt. I will never forget the times when all the kids got together in “Finks field” for a game of scrub baseball. Everybody was welcome, kids from 8 to 18. I didn’t know it then but I guess I had a childhood most dream of. Drove thru town last summer. It all looked a lot smaller.

  • Harold McNeill

    January 13, 2019 |

    Well, my dear, it’s that time again. How the years fly by and the little ones grow but try as you may you will have a hard time catching up to your Daddy. Lots of love young lady and may your day be special
    Love, Dad

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Guess what? My response went to the Spam folder. Hmm, do you suppose the system is trying to tell me something?

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Thanks, Terrance. Your comment came through but went to the Spam folder. Have pulled it out and approved. Can you send another on this post to see if you name is now removed from Spam? I’m not sure why it does that. Cheers, Harold