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Kate-AHF

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About Kate-AHF

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  1. The point was to not spend more money on THAT cruise than we needed to. Once you book your cabin you are not done making decisions on O, there are a ton of options to pay for or not pay for that need to be decided. Depending on the O-life program we decided to take (and then the various shorex programs), the costs varied by as much as 2k for a cruise that length.
  2. No. It was what I used to, and I quote myself from that same post "trying to figure out what the cruise was actually going to cost with O's numerous and complicated programs." That is not the same thing as deciding which cruise to take.
  3. Trying to figure out what the cruise was actually going to cost with O's numerous and complicated programs. I priced the trip five ways, O-life with Bev package and upgrade to Prestige and full-price excursions, same thing but with purchase of unlimited excursion package, O-life with excursions included, with outright purchase of Prestige bev. package, getting O Life with beverage package & upgrade but instead of getting the unlimited excursions, getting the Your Way excursions with 25% discount. One quarter of the closet was blocked by the bedside table. You couldn't get back there, so any clothing hanging in that "zone" kind of got sucked into a black hole.
  4. Just back from 2 weeks on the Ovation, though we have sailed and Seabourn the most, the was our first time back on one of their ships since 2012. We spent a month on the Marina in November 2019. We will be back on the Marina this December for another month. The following are our experiences and my opinions. Your mileage may vary. One observation right off the bat.... Oceania has a very steep learning curve with regard to pricing. I had to have a spreadsheet, and did a truly appalling amount of different scenarios based on all the various charges. Shorex - On Oceania we mostly did private shorex that I arranged, and found very lovely folks to join us on the roll call. We did do maybe 5 shorex with Oceania and was pleasantly surprised (our TA had warned us that Oceania "couldn't compare" with SB in this department). I thought that the Oceania shorex costs were quite steep, until this cruise on Ovation. Costs were very similar (it could be that costs were so high on Seabourn on this cruise because it was Norway/North cape which is a very, very expensive part of the world). The product was also similar on both lines.... in that they are bus tours, 25 - 30 pax, in Seabourn's case... it was multiple buses, all on the same route. Both lines have a shopping with the chef tour, but the SB chef tour may be a little more intimate. Beverage Package - Here I can speak with a fair amount of confidence. Because SB is all inclusive, and the expectation is that the pax are going to drink wine during dinner (and lunch), they've made it easy for the wait staff to get you that glass of wine and keep it filled. On Oceania, you have to rely on the "sommelier" (loosely interpreted here) to get you that first glass, and then return to fill it. There didn't seem to be enough of them in MDR (or, really, anywhere). As far as bar staff in the lounges, both lines score well. Good drinks, well made. They will be pricey on Oceania, particularly when you factor in the 18% gratuity on each drink if you don't have the beverage package. There is no additional gratuity charge on the beverage package. Gratuities on Oceania - Our travel agent included the gratuities on the last O cruise. It's only partially paid for on the upcoming cruise. I still tipped a little extra to the suite attendants, and one or two others that I felt went above and beyond. I do the same on SB, even though tipping is "included". Cabins need to be discussed. We made it through a month in the regular size cabin on the Marina - they are smaller than verandahs on SB, and the closet is not a walk-in and was problematic. We are trading up to a PH on the upcoming cruise. For me though the cabins on Ovation/Marina ended up being a wash.... the bathroom on the Ovation (and the shower in particular) drove me up a wall, and I had a sore back every morning for 2 weeks on Ovation because the mattress is simply not supportive enough. If comparing O to the SB Odyssey class cabins (assuming the bed issue was resolved) then SB wins. The one thing I think you will miss on Marina is Seabourn Square. That space is just special. We are looking at yet another Marina cruise next June. We like longer cruises, and Oceania is rather artful in the way they plan their itins. One can create a super trip with B2B, or B2B2B. Hope this helps. We still love SB, and we also very much like Oceania. It's just that O is ticking the important boxes for us right now.
  5. Windstar has an open bridge policy. So, one could have been on the Legend and experienced that, just not while the Legend was with Seabourn. No open bridge policy I've been aware of since 2006.
  6. SLSD, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that organization and clearly-stated expectations of staff has a lot to do with how tolerable a crew member finds a certain ship. I found the Captain on the Ovation very evident this cruise. And not in a "hail fellow, well met" social way. More of an "I'm on deck, head's up" way. One day he was standing in a corner of Seabourn square. Just watching. Another day he was standing the entire time on the tender launch platform. His eyes always seemed to be darting from one area to another no matter where he was. There were also some times he was clearly in social mode, and his wife was on the ship. Then again, I think some ships just have a "happy" culture embedded. I think Legend was like that, and HAL's Prinsendam, and the old Celebrity Century. But, as Dennis Miller says... That's just my opinion, I could be wrong. 😉
  7. We did have a great cruise SLSD. Nothing prepared us for the outright majesty that is Norway and it was nice to be back on Seabourn after several years absence, and on a new class of ship. We also manage our expectations from cruise line to cruise line. I feel that I am in a rather unique position in our cruising life at the moment, having spent 61 days at sea with three difference cruise lines within a 12 month period. It's provided a lot of clarity. I speak, and I write, declaratively. I am aware of that tendency. Perhaps I should have prefaced everything I wrote with.... "In my opinion". Then again, if someone is unable to tell which statement is objective ("I heard the anchor chain very clearly) as opposed to subjective (Earth and Ocean has the most innovative and exciting food on the ship) no matter how declaratively I speak/write, they may have bigger problems than a post on Cruise Critic.
  8. Some thoughts - Cabin has to have the best soundproofing at sea. Bar none. We heard nothing. Not next door, not in the hall, not seaplanes coming and going just off port. I do have to mention, in cabin 715, the anchor chain felt like it was right under our feet. We don't sleep in, and it's over quickly, so that noise has never bothered us in any cabin. Our cabin finishes were exceptional, and very durable. Pillow selection great. Bed made my back ache every morning. I guess not firm enough for me. The new glass table, while oh-so-stylish, was a fail for me. The glass shows every fingermark, elbow, etc. If you sat and used the table for anything, it was a smeary mess when you got up. That really bothered me becasue it was an example of form over function. Because the couch is now long enough to stretch out on, there are no end tables, and no where to put a glass. Here's a good hack: We solved that mid-cruise by taking the wine bucket off the stand, and using the stand as a nice little end table. Problem solved. I love the bar set up on the old triplets, and I thank Seabourn for not ditching that cabinet on all the new builds. It is just a nice space to easily mix a drink, or make a glass of icewater. Good use of space, no wandering around the cabin to do it. Drawer space in the closet much improved, but hanging space is awkward. Heartfelt thanks for all the hooks in the closet though, very handy for outerwear/hats. Bathroom. Sigh. Yes, two sinks are nice, but for us not a dealbreake, but the fittings were well-planned. The shower drove me nuts as a short female. I know in the grand scheme of things most people will think I'm crazy for coming down so hard on this. Can't help it. I was a huge peeve of mine, and seemed like such a stupid design decision. The bath soap dishes were located above and behind me, directly next to the spray head. So changing from shampoo to conditioner to shower gel, I got an unwanted face-full of water every time I turned to grope for the correct bottle . And, of course, no easy way to shave your legs .I swear the bathroom designers need to have a small woman use a bathroom mock-up and then actually listen to the feedback before they build 250 cabins exactly alike. I glared at the completely unused bathtub and the space it occupied for 15 days, and no longer can I use the tub as a shower which would have solved all my issues. While shower pressure was always excellent, water temp varied quite a bit during busy times. More than any other Seabourn ship we've been on. Seabourn Square remains the beating heart of the ship. Love that they have now extended hours to include an evening interval for coffee after dinner. Customer service in Seabourn..... best service at sea. Period. On any line we've sailed on. These people WANT to help you. They don't look at you approach with that assessing eye that is silently saying 'How are you planning to make my life hell?" Food - SIlversea Muse wins the buffet breakfast wars by a large margin - particularly in the fresh fruit bar, yogurt, musueli bar and cold cuts. Also, Seabourn loses the Eggs Benedict wars by an equally large measure. Tried three times, two difference venues, all fails... from the muffin which was untoasted in the middle to burned on the edges to the utterly tasteless Hollandaise. Shame. Used to be the best at sea. TK grill: Well. the restaurant is not our thing - but the bar setting and pianist was. Awful lot of real estate devoted to what is essentially a steakhouse. I didn't find the food particularly interesting or innovative, and the portions were, for us, too large. Restaurant: seriously good service (and good food) throughout the trip. None of that "chaotic first couple of nights" and then all settles down that we've experienced on nearly all Seabourn sailings. Sushi: They have one night on each cruise that is an 8 course Japanese dinner instead of their regular small plates and sushi. It was just wonderful, and being Japanese, they did not overstuff you. Highly recommend you try it, if you are at all curious about the cuisine. Colonade: Lunch - nice salad selection, huge hot food selection. My complaint, and this is by no menus specific to Seabourn.... Sometimes (okay, often) I'd just like a nice sandwich and a cup of soup. Dinner: Loved the themed dinners, great service, interesting food. Kudos. Now.... Earth and Ocean at The Patio in the evenings..... We were on an Arctic Circle cruise, so we only found it comfortable to eat here twice. And it was just fantastic. The food is the most interesting and innovative on the ship. I could have eaten there every night based on the posted menus. This food should not be held hostage to the whims of nature, It needs an indoor venue. I don't buy the line I was given "It was designed to be eaten outdoors, and related to the ocean setting". If it were up to me, the ill-conceived, and ill-received "Retreat" should be ditched and the space given over to this restaurant. It's such a shame to hide it's light under an unheated overhang.
  9. That's fine if you are both awake. But if you don't want to wake your spouse, leaving the cabin and seeking coffee on your own is necessary.
  10. Well, we booked ob two days ago, and got our assignment last night - V3. We are silver, this cruise puts us to gold.
  11. Super! Thank very much folks.
  12. Tried searching this forum for the answer, but got no joy. Could anyone tell me what time the baristas start in Seabourn Square, and is there any kind of early riser coffee available, maybe in the observation lounge? Ship is Ovation if that helps.
  13. Well, Viking has to service that 2.5 billion in debt somehow.
  14. Yeah, I can see where that would be very annoying if I was trying to sleep in. And I would say something about it, and ask that he be counseled not to do that again. However, one ill-timed announcement is not grounds for termination.
  15. Meant to add.... wire transfer will not be an option for me. Way too expensive.
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