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    New Cumberland,PA, USA
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    International travel (77 countries at last count(
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  1. I do think you have it right. The luxury lines will bend over backwards to meet any culinary demand. We are currently cruising on the Seabourn Odyssey. The first day we boarded we went to their “Lido” which is a hybrid buffet/full service venue. We quickly were visited by that venues manager who told us that if we have any special requests we should simply bring it to his attention. I think it would be the same in our MDR where nobody knows how to say “no.” Luxury lines are better able to handle unique requests which is one reason they are called luxury. If one wants to live on burgers and fried chicken it certainly could be arranged. Hank
  2. As we reach the end of our 2 weeks on this wonderful ship we have dropped anchor off Jost van Dyke, BVI. As with our visit to nearby Tortola (last week) we are the first ship to call at this port in over 18 months. However, the truth is that nobody will be able to enjoy Jost. There are only two excursions one of which is a catamaran snorkel trip to Norman Island (similar to an excursion we took from Tortola) and the other a visit to the Baths at Virgin Gorda. There are no excursions to our port island of Jost! But this afternoon we are having Marina Day activities ☺️. We had once wondered if we made a mistake booking this cruise with all of its COVID related restrictions. But it has been a wonderful cruise with the fantastic crew and passengers. It just solidifies are feeling that this is currently the best cruise line in the world. Hank
  3. So let me try to understand the op’s concern. They are booking “pot luck” air from “O” and have concerns. Maybe you get lucky and maybe not so lucky. Folks can give you anecdotal stories which means little. If you want some assurance pay the $175 fee and choose your flights or simply book your own air. Otherwise it is anyone’s guess what you will get. Hank
  4. You certainly can try to rationalize the irrational 😁. Regent is a fine product but often overpriced when compared to Seabourn and Silverseas. We do not get into all this loyalty stuff and simply seek out good value whether it be low cost or expensive. Regent may well be in our future when we see the right itinerary and price. On the other hand the idea of being on the upcoming Seabourn Venture in Antarctica is more tempting as that ship will carry 2 submarines able to explore beneath the arctic seas. That will price out at Regent prices with some extra options. My point is that when you suggest that folks go to Regent for the decent air program lacking at O it does not excuse O. Hank
  5. Let’s be clear that the “O” air program is terribly lacking when compared to most of their competition. When you toss in the word “perceived” we perceive that as ridiculous cheerleading. For us it meant booking our own air from Lima (at some financial risk) rather then relying on a cruise line Flex Air option available from many other lines. Not to take away from what “O” does well, but they could improve their air program for little or no cost. Given the fantastic itineraries offered by “O” a decent flex air program (with major discounted “P” Business Class fares (and other lower cost air options) should be a no brainer. Next time you chat with FDR you might make the constructive suggestion. And they also need to drop the ridiculous $175 pp custom add on. Most lines dropped this kind of silly fee years ago. Hank
  6. We have some idea how much you enjoy “O” and will soon form our own opinion. But consider I was just on Seabourn’s online airline booking engine looking for one way business class air from Paris to the East Coast and quickly found several good options for under $1000 with no extra $175 booking fee. And here on SB we have a full hot breakfast menu In all the cabins. So even before we get on the Marina that is two strikes against “O.” I am puzzled how a line that makes such a big deal about their excellent cuisine does not offer a full in room hot breakfast menu. But still counting down the days to the Marina 😋 Hank
  7. Seabourn now uses the same online booking engine as Princess and HAL. Once you have booked a cruise you can access this site and choose from many flight options. You can also call SB and their folks will assist you in booking from a large list of options. Their system does allow you to choose airports and dates. Hank
  8. Please give me a break. I never said a word about folks going to bed early! Simply pointed out that on SB ( a sister company of HAL) dinner is not available until 7pm. The only exceptions are cabin service or the reservations-only Thomas Keller Grill which does open at 6pm. Hank
  9. The price issue is quite interesting and a topic unto itself. We are currently on the Seabourn Odyssey where our normal verandah suite would compare to a Signature Suite on HAL. Our price on SB is truly all inclusive and we pay for nothing onboard. So you need to consider we get unlimited top shelf booze and unlimited caviar. There is no charge for alternative dining and no add ons. At the end of our cruise we will have spent zero dollars on the ship. Our OBC was adequate to cover all our excursions, and some high priced wines and we are trying to find a way to spend our remaining few hundred of OBC. Our cost for this was slightly less than $400 per passenger day. Consider what a Signature Suite would cost including tips, premium drink package, a generous OBC, etc. While on this cruise we booked a 27 day future cruise for about the same cost per day and they tossed in $2000 of OBC which will be difficult to use up. Again compare to a 27 day HAL cruise in a Signature Suite with all the extra expenses. I would add that we have 130 passengers here with 360 crew. Pretty good ratio. In normal times there would be about 400 passengers which is still a terrific ratio. When looking at the small ship luxury lines folks should be careful to consider what is included as compared to mass market lines. The one negative here for some HAL cruisers would be that dinner does not even start until 7pm. But we do have wonderful small cast production shows, no movies (except on suite TVs), two live bands and an excellent piano bar player/singer with entertainment until midnight. Hank
  10. If it is “meh” on Gala nights when is it not “meh?” Some recent posts have us considering canceling a future 42 night booking. While the Pinnacle is usually decent we do not see ourselves Dining there on most nights. HAL Meatloaf and priced add ons in the MDR is just not our preference. Different strokes for different folks kind of thing but we find ourselves trending towards Seabourn, Oceania, Azamara and MSC Yacht Club. Times do change many things including cruise lines. It seems that the HAL of today is but a shadow of its wonderful past. Hank
  11. It is the Plantation Hotel. We have the entire beach and an outside bar where we can get some complementary drinks. A more extensive bar selection and food is available for purchase at another nearby hotel area. We seem to be the only folks at the hotel so not sure if it currently open to the public. Seabourn’s deal with Barbados requires that we maintain our “bubble” throughout the cruise. Hank
  12. We also love the Keys 😋. But I believe that Governor Desantis signed into law a provision that effectively overturns the Key West ship ban. Not sure if the locals have taken the issue to court. Hank
  13. We did ask the Captain, last evening, how many passengers would be aboard next week (tomorrow) and he said exactly the same number we have this week which is approximately 130. Hank
  14. Yes that is the rule for all the ports with the exception of Bequia (where SB has a deal with a local hotel) and St Kitts where we could go ashore at a rented beach area for a real fun beach day Hank
  15. So here is a tip for first time cruises. If you have a problem with your cabin just go out in the corridor and look for your cabin steward (or any steward) in the area. They will usually have the answers or they can make a call if necessary. You do not want to waste the first few hours on a cruise waiting in a queue at Guest Services. You should be out and about and having fun. Hank
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