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Toryhere

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  1. The exceptions to that rule are Bondi Junction, Edgecliff, Kings Cross and Martin Place where everyone gets on at the ends of the train because they are nearer to the escalators from the ticket hall. There it’s much better to get on with bags somewhere near the middle of the train. Martin Place also has a lift which Is situated adjacent to the middle of the train.
  2. My wife and I found the food on Regent to be good, but a bit bland and less than adventurous because the line was catering to the tastes of the predominantly American clientele. The best meal we had was on an excursion in Morocco where they served delicious tajines, much to the bewilderment of many of our fellow cruisers.
  3. I am a lawyer and I agree with your assessment. My point is that compulsory gratuities included in the price are really part of the price that is calculated on the amount that the company will pass on to its staff. If the company later returns the money to the customer that will be a rebate. Most of my voyages in recent years have been with SeaDream Yacht Club, which charges very high prices. But it is all inclusive and there is no separating of the fare into elements like gratuities. Of course many of the passengers leave large tips for the staff to reward them for the magnificent service they provide. But it is not expected. Surprisingly, once you get over the high sticker price you realise that it’s better to have a final price without worrying about drinks packages and gratuities.
  4. The idea of charging for gratuities is ridiculous. Once you make them compulsory they are no longer gratuities but merely part of the cost of the ticket or drinks package. Its like the silly practice of not showing the tax inclusive price on goods in the US. The whole idea is to try and fool you into thinking that the headline price is really cheap, when in fact the real price is far more expensive. Of course it doesn’t work. We all know that the price is really higher, but some of us will choose to concentrate on the headline price and pretend that is the important factor. I wonder if Oz Blue 7 would have looked at this cruise if the original price quoted was higher because it was inclusive of gratuities and drinks package? It is a clever marketing ploy. They excite you with what looks like a good price. That gets you hooked, so then you are happier to be nickled and dimed on the extras.
  5. I will avoid this one. I like the idea of holidays amongst people from different cultures. My mother tried one of their river cruises and was underwhelmed. She said they were “aping the gentry”.
  6. Exactly right about the cultural thing. A few years back I helped found an orchestra. We never have any trouble getting an audience at the Sydney Opera House concert hall. In Melbourne it’s much harder.
  7. Actually Sydney is far more cultural. Twice the number of people attend cultural events in Sydney that attend them in Melbourne.
  8. We actually solved the language issue by sailing With SeaDream, which is a Norwegian company using English as the ship’s language. They rightly assume that most of their clientele will speak English. There are very few announcements anyway. For us Regent was good for the same reason, even though the line is American owned, they still use English as the ships language 🙂
  9. Thanks Travelcat 2. What about the service, did you notice the difference there? When we sailed on Ponant, we thought the things that made it “4 star” were the food, which was good but not great, and the service, which was adequate but not very personalised. I would sail with Ponant again, but only if the itinerary was of great interest. The fact that Ponant is a French line was also something that was in its favour. I actually don’t mind English being the second language on board, as it makes me feel like I am overseas. that’s probably why we will never travel on Scenic or any Australian owned line. What’s the point of going abroad if you can’t escape your own culture?
  10. We have American friends who have sailed on Oceania, but who say that it is quite good but not of the top class. It sounded very much like Ponant, i.e. a line on which you would travel if the itinerary was really good. why do you think Oceania doesn’t make the grade as a luxury line?
  11. There is no such thing as any standard rating system that makes food the major characteristic of a 6 star rating for a cruise ship. And since when are your standards any less subjective than anyone else’s?
  12. I assume English is your second language which is why your grammar is not the best and you are abusing people. I don’t think the number of cruises you’ve done is really relevant in determining the quality of food. Surely the standard for food is set in all kinds of restaurant, whether they be at sea or on dry land. Somebody who goes to fine dining establishments all over the world and has never been on a cruise would have as much experience as you on judging food. Yes, there are various food rating systems around the world that attempt to treat good cooking as something that can truly be measured. Also the difference between fine dining and less expensive food service is quite obvious. So all I would say is that to be six star a ship has to offer a fine dining experience when it is appropriate. But even more important the food affected at all times has to be of the highest quality. One can have bacon and eggs for breakfast, as long both ingredients are the best in their class and are cooked to the taste of the passenger, then the proper six star standard will be met. So quality of ingredients is all important, as well as the cooking and the variety. Having said all that, a ship can be six star and hit all the right buttons as any objective measure of food is concerned and still some very experienced passengers will not find the food to their taste. If enough passengers feel this way then you could have a chef with Michelin stars up to his armpits, but the passengers will not care. i took a trip on Regent a few years back and I found the food to be solid but not very adventurous. My wife later went on kitchen tour of Paul Gaugin and was told that by the chef that we probably found the food bland because of the different cuts of meat and the increased fat content that American ships served. He said that on Gaugin they had tried Australian and New Zealand meat but this had not gone down well with American passengers. Personally, I think the food on a ship is good when you can, with a bit of notice, arrange for the chef to cook you any meal you want. I also like it when the chef goes to the local market on port days and picks up some locally sourced ingredients to serve on the ship.
  13. Not true. Perhaps it’s because I live in Sydney’s Easter Suburbs, but everyone here tips in Restaurants and has done since the year dot. Ten percent is the standard. The point is that it encourages better service if the customer provides a tip. It matters not what the waiter gets paid by the employer. That will not change because customers reward good service.
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