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bradpole

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About bradpole

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    Wilmington, Delaware

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  1. Expensive, but still better than the Manhattan terminal! I think it was up to $44 per day the last time we departed from Manhattan!
  2. Thank you for the pictures. Personally we'd prefer option 2, Oceania. The tiered server certainly looks very elegant but I prefer only taking what I want from the cart. Viking Ocean does the tiered tea tray as well, we felt we wasted too much on the days we only wanted a little nibble. Just my humble opinion, neither is right or wrong! 🙂
  3. Naaah, that would have required a very difficult trip to a file cabinet to find those old photos... then finding someone in the building who would know how to somehow magically digitize the printed photo. Two nearly impossible tasks! 😀
  4. We knew we could have, but honestly it didn't bug us that much. had she done that I would have been a little annoyed since they were still a bit damp, but the floor is ticked me off the most!
  5. I agree! The last few cruises my mom was able to take we used a small travel wheelchair to get around the ship and the ports (when she went ashore). I said several numerous times this cruise (and on prior times on Insignia) to DH, "I couldn't imagine trying to get Mom through that door!" referring to the doors to the outside decks. Never mind the tiny elevators! The R class ships are great, but they were certainly designed before considerations for those with mobility challenges.
  6. Final installment... There were a few other minor things that came up, nothing that ruined our cruise, or nothing that would prevent us from booking Oceania in the future. The first and the most annoying was our cabin, we never got the temperature cool enough. The first thing we noticed when entering our cabin was it was a bit warm, I immediately turned the A/C all the way down hoping it was cool down as the day progressed. Sadly it never did, the next morning we dropped by the reception desk in the morning to ask for someone to check the A/C because we felt the cabin was too warm. Later in the day we received a voicemail that they repaired the A/C and let us know if it wasn’t resolved. This cycle continued until the last morning, it was never fixed. When exiting the cabin you could feel that the hallway was noticeably cooler than our cabin. We were glad to have an interior cabin instead of an oceanview or balcony where the hot sun shining on the glass would have made things worse! Also impacting our cabin was our stateroom steward. He was not the best we have had, certainly not the worst, but definitely below average. Upon entering the cabin we noticed the beds were apart, we left a note asking for them to be put together. The beds being wrong is a normal occurrence for us, and nothing that isn’t normally resolved by leaving a note for the steward when he or she comes back that evening (we don’t always meet them on the first day). That evening he questioned us if we really wanted them together, his reasoning was he had just separated them that morning and it was a lot of work to put them back together. DH’s answer was a simple, “yes”. He wasn’t happy. The mini fridge had a couple of half empty water bottles, a yogurt container, and something wrapped in a napkin. We knew then attention to detail was not going to be his strong point. We didn’t notice this last bit until the evening when we packed. Upon entering the cabin we normally shove any loose papers we have into the top drawer and refer to them later if we need them. The last night when we were checking to see which ones we could toss we noticed there were papers in the drawer dated from the prior cruise and the cruise before. Obviously, he did not get an “excellent” rating on the end of cruise survey! Disembarkation. All good things must come to an end. We had the first luggage tag called, and just about on schedule at 8am our tag was called. Upon entering the terminal to retrieve our luggage you are reminded at just how small Insignia is compared to some of the other behemoths sailing. All the luggage was neatly arranged in one room. We quickly retrieved our luggage and asked a porter for assistance. This is where the fun begins for us, just an FYI over the years we’ve won the lottery when it comes to getting the worst porters possible, and the porter we got this time wins for the all time worst! The gentleman who considers himself a porter couldn’t lift our suitcases! I kid you not, he couldn’t lift them! We drove to Florida, so the airlines’ weight restrictions weren’t an issue when we packed, but our cases weren’t insanely heavy. I could still easily move them so I’m guessing they were most likely 60ish pounds. Heavier than most, but not ridiculously so. He gets another porter to come over and load them onto his cart. He then struggles to push them to the customs counter across the flat floor. Before we reached the counter I say, “If you’d like to hand these off to another porter we’d be fine with that, we’re across the street in the garage”. He snaps back, “I’m fine! I can do my job!” We exit customs and he immediately wants to unload the bags, while we’re still in the terminal! DH is now starting to get ticked off at him, after some words back and forth he pushes them to the curb insisting no porter can go further than the taxi line (liar!), further words and I eventually get ahold of the cart and push the bags the rest of the way to the car myself. He finally catches up to us to retrieve his cart and has the nerve to say, “where’s my tip?” We already knew we weren’t tipping, that decision was made back in the terminal when he tried to dump our bags just after passing customs! So I take out my wallet, show him what I was going to tip, put it away, and pull out a $1 bill. He starts yelling, “this is robbery!!! You have to tip me at least $20 for all this work!” I then put the $1 back in my pocket and we finish packing the car while he stands there. He eventually leaves, while yelling all sorts of nice obscenities directed at us. I know tipping is controversial, and personal, but a porter who can’t push a cart with suitcases is not a porter we’re tipping! Yes, we know we should have gotten his name and reported him, but at this point we just wanted to get in the car and begin our long and very boring drive home to Delaware. On the plus side, it was less than 20 minutes from our tag being called to us being in our car driving home, even with the porter drama. Truly one of the fastest disembarkations ever! Terminal J might be a bit tricky to find compared to the terminals serving the behemoth ships, but you can’t beat it for convenience! In closing, we loved the cruise! Would we have preferred Cuba? Yes!!! However after a physically exhausting, and less than stellar experience overall earlier this year on Viking Oceans we knew we needed an Oceania cruise, and a true “vacation” from the world. Although there were many cosmetic differences on Insignia from our last cruise the moment we stepped onboard we knew we were home. We’re already eagerly anticipating our next cruise on an R class ship in September 2020! If you have any specific questions, or would like to see if I took a picture of something, just let me know!
  7. There were a few other minor things that came up, nothing that ruined our cruise, or nothing that would prevent us from booking Oceania in the future. The first and the most annoying was our cabin, we never got the temperature cool enough. The first thing we noticed when entering our cabin was it was a bit warm, I immediately turned the A/C all the way down hoping it was cool down as the day progressed. Sadly it never did, the next morning we dropped by the reception desk in the morning to ask for someone to check the A/C because we felt the cabin was too warm. Later in the day we received a voicemail that they repaired the A/C and let us know if it wasn’t resolved. This cycle continued until the last morning, it was never fixed. When exiting the cabin you could feel that the hallway was noticeably cooler than our cabin. We were glad to have an interior cabin instead of an oceanview or balcony where the hot sun shining on the glass would have made things worse! Also impacting our cabin was our stateroom steward. He was not the best we have had, certainly not the worst, but definitely below average. Upon entering the cabin we noticed the beds were apart, we left a note asking for them to be put together. The beds being wrong is a normal occurrence for us, and nothing that isn’t normally resolved by leaving a note for the steward when he or she comes back that evening (we don’t always meet them on the first day). That evening he questioned us if we really wanted them together, his reasoning was he had just separated them that morning and it was a lot of work to put them back together. DH’s answer was a simple, “yes”. He wasn’t happy. The mini fridge had a couple of half empty water bottles, a yogurt container, and something wrapped in a napkin. We knew then attention to detail was not going to be his strong point. We didn’t notice this last bit until the evening when we packed. Upon entering the cabin we normally shove any loose papers we have into the top drawer and refer to them later if we need them. The last night when we were checking to see which ones we could toss we noticed there were papers in the drawer dated from the prior cruise and the cruise before. Obviously, he did not get an “excellent” rating on the end of cruise survey!
  8. Sadly, as in the real world, all was not perfection. Laundry Room. So everyone get your popcorn, these next couple of paragraphs may start a discussion. I questioned if I should mention it, but since I can look back now and laugh at this I figured why not. I’ll start off by saying, you meet all kinds of people on a cruise, some friendly, some rude, some selfish, and some rather self entitled. Self Serve laundry is now complimentary on Oceania, a very nice touch! Although we massively over packed we still did a few loads of laundry. Unfortunately not all of Insignia’s guests have common sense or have consideration for others. I had no issues doing the wash, I moved the wet clothes to the dryer, I then set my watch timer for 5 minutes less than the dryer timer and left. I came back a few minutes before the dryer was set to finish and the items were still damp. I restarted the dryer and set my watch to half of the dryers cycle, hoping it wouldn’t take a full cycle to finish drying. I came back to the laundry room a few minutes before my watch timer was set to go off to check the clothes to find a pile of clothes on the floor. My clothes! Stunned, I think I said loudly, “what the ****….” and before I finished the sentence the self appointed laundry room monitor snaps at me, “I did that! You have no right to leave the laundry room while your clothes are here! I needed a dryer, you weren’t here, they were sitting in that dryer for well over an hour [they weren’t] and these are perfectly dry!” I picked up my clothes, noting they were most definitely not dry, called her a few choice words to her face and walked out before I said or did anything that I’d regret. First of all… I’d never even think of touching someone else’s laundry. Second… the floor? Really? Thankfully future loads of laundry went without issue or confrontation, and no, I didn’t stay and monitor my laundry. I can now look back at this and laugh, at the time I was rather ticked off. a little more to come...
  9. Funny you asked about the laundry room! That was going to be my next chapter. We did a few loads during the week, generally we never had an issue finding an available machine. We spent very little time off the ship and tended to do laundry while most people were ashore. Sadly the laundry room is where we did experience a little "drama" and I'll get into that next.
  10. Before I continue I thought I'd share this photo I took in Nassau from the bridge leading to Paradise Island (Atlantis). This was the only reason I got off the ship in Nassau, I wanted to see Insignia lined up against the other ships in port. In the picture is Insignia, Majesty of the Seas, Disney Dream, and Navigator of the Seas.
  11. OceaniaNext refurbishment. Overall we loved the changes to Insignia. We were actually onboard Insignia last year when the changes were announced. I remember looking at the renderings and comparing them to the current spaces and eagerly anticipating seeing the results on our Cuba cruise. Sadly no Cuba, but we did get to see the wonderful results! They really bring a modern touch to an older ship. We certainly didn’t have any issues with the prior decor, it was well maintained and clean, just a bit dark. Almost everything on deck 5 feels brand new, light and airy! Even the public restrooms throughout the ship are brand new! Gone are the older Corian countertops and in their place bright new marble! Removing the back wall of the bandstand in Horizons really opens the room up as well. Now every seat has unobstructed views forward. Also replacing the step down in Horizons with a ramp makes it easier for those with mobility problems, and the staff with the tea carts! The new chandelier in the Grand Dining Room really brightens the room, although we never dined there the room is beautiful! I also really liked the small change to the front of Waves Bar (aka the pool bar). One thing that should have been replaced, but wasn’t, during the refurb were the cabin door locks. Personally I wish they would have replaced them with RFID readers eliminating the issues people have with demagnetized cards. My own fault… but the magnet in my Apple Watch band was repeatedly killing my key card. Out of habit I would put my card in my left pocket, and the watch band would demagnetize it. more to come...
  12. True, but thankfully almost everything we tried still tasted great!
  13. Daytime activities. First things first, don’t book an Oceania cruise if you need to be entertained or kept busy. We enjoyed spending most of the day reading our Kindles, something we have very little time for at home. We enjoyed spending most of our time in the Library on the big comfy leather chairs. Another draw to the library for us was this was one of the few rooms where the A/C was blasted. Most of the other public rooms (especially Horizons) tended to be a bit too warm for us. If we weren’t reading we most likely stepped away to earn some “Big O Points” at golf putting, shuffleboard, or bean bag toss. I know, these are all “Exciting” and “physically exhausting” activities. 🙂 Besides earning points (to be redeemed on the last evening of the cruise for logo merchandise) we enjoyed chatting with the gang during each event. Pretty much without exception there would be the same small core group at each of these activities, but it did grow as the cruise progressed. Thankfully most everyone who participated was there for the fun, the chit chat...then the points. Most days in the morning (unless the weather was bad) golf putting and shuffleboard up on deck 11 then just before tea golf putting and bean bag toss in Horizons. If the weather was bad or deck 11 was closed the golf putting would be moved to Horizons...just an fyi, there were never announcements saying so but it would be moved indoors. Last year I gave up early in the cruise, I couldn’t take the competitiveness/seriousness of two couples who felt it their duty to monitor and commentate on everyone’s performance. This wear we did pretty well, earning over 170 points between the two of us! Enough for a nice hat, nylon jacket, an Umbrella, and a luggage tag! a little more to come....
  14. That I can't answer. Glad to do it. Was everything "Perfection" no! However the positives greatly outweighed any negatives. Is Oceania for everyone, no. I'm hoping you'll have a wonderful time and want to come back!
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