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Everything posted by SWFLAOK

  1. On the Regent cruises we've taken, there has been a "Wines of the World" tasting. We've never signed up for it because it seemed expensive for the wines offered, and we had already paid for an expensive cruise with very acceptable wine included, and the ability to upgrade to better wines for a reasonable price. We prefer to have wine pairings with food, and not just a tasting with crackers, which this seemed to be. "The Champagne Experience" menu looks fantastic, and we would pay for that. If attending "Wines of the World" is the only way we can reserve "The Champagne Experience", then we unfortunately won't be experiencing it.
  2. We were supposed to be on this cruise, but rebooked it (along with the preceding Southampton to Southampton) to 2022 back in June. It's interesting that Biarritz was already eliminated as a port next year, and replaced with a stop at LeVerdon the day after Bordeaux, with excursions from Bordeaux ending there. I wonder if stopping at Biarritz has been difficult in the past. September is still hurricane season in the Atlantic, and tropical storms often end their lives in the North Atlantic. We weren't really looking for any extra time in Bordeaux because we needed to cancel a Scenic River cruise in Myanmar due to political unrest and we replaced it with a Scenic River cruise in Bordeaux. Hopefully we love the Bordeaux area. I would have been extremely disappointed not being able to go to Mont St. Michel from St. Malo. It seems to have been open to tourists all summer. We have booked (twice now) a long excursion at La Coruna. I would much prefer just getting off the boat and skipping the excursion than bypassing the port. That would also have been very disappointing. I'd rather not stop in Tangiers, so that would not have been a problem for us. We aren't big shoppers when we're on cruises since that means we need more luggage space, and haggling in a market over prices isn't something we ever do. I wish Regent would find a more interesting port to replace this with. But what would have been our biggest complaint, and will be next year, is if Regent does not refund port fees and taxes. In the past, we have gotten a refund for this when a port was cancelled and replaced by a day at sea before boarding, and a shipboard credit was given for a port bypassed during the cruise. I hope everything is back to normal next September, but I thought the same thing last year at this time. We've rescheduled so many cruises at this point that it's hard to imagine ever successfully cruising again. If we could just get all of our money back from the cruise lines at this point, I'd be very tempted to do that, and just fly to land based vacations. The Caribbean is easy to get to by air from Florida.
  3. Well all of that is still inexplicable to me. We've never received a full sized box of chocolates nor a bottle of Veuve Clicquot in our cabin. The only good bottle of wine in our cabin that we have ever had has been povided by our TA, and the only chocolates on Regent are the little foil wrapped ones left at turn down. On our first Regent cruise, we were offered a cabin upgrade on Mariner from a cabin we had chosen at the level just below Concierge to a higher level. I don't remember if it was Concierge or Penthouse. But they called our TA after we had already arrived at the hotel that we had paid for, and had to take a very expensive taxi ride to it. There was a Regent bus with a sign for Regent travelers at the airport in Vancouver that was headed to the same area as our hotel. We were rudely denied boarding since we weren't Concierge or higher. Being offered an upgrade after we had already paid for an expensive hotel room and were denied access to the mostly empty bus made us very unhappy. Since they couldn't tell us what cabin we would have, and we had already filled out our luggage tags for our booked cabin, we declined the offer. We were never offered anything else by Regent, although we've never booked anything less than Concierge. On that first cruise, we paid $450 for a room at the Pan Pacific with breakfast buffet, and luggage valet service to the ship at the port in Vancouver included. The food there was great, and our room was not ready when we arrived just after lunch time (the airport in Vancouver was so crowded and unorganized that I would never go again). We were so hungry that we told them we could wait for our room while we ate lunch in their waterview lounge. We were rewarded by an upgrade from our standard room to an 880 square foot Bayview Suite. It was the most amazing hotel room we have ever stayed in. We have been on PG cruises, and Regent cruises where there is a TA that provides a get together onboard. It's a small cocktail party with hors d'oeuvres, and a chance to meet others on board. They've never tried to sell us anything, and we have gone to dinner with other couples we've met there, as well as the hosts on one of our cruises.
  4. We bring 2 jackets, one a more casual/contemporary one, and the other dark blue, with matching pants that passes as a suit. I bring a number of dresses, but only one cocktail dress. If you're onboard over the holidays as we were on our last cruise, we saw quite a few tuxes and gowns on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. We were unexpectedly invited to dine with 2 staff members from the social/entertainment crew. We dressed "upscale contemporary" which was the more casual jacket, dress pants and shirt, and a tie. I didn't wear my cocktail dress, but one that was slightly dressy, with real shoes instead of sandals.They were dressed very nicely, and we were comfortable with what we wore. While I kind of dreaded a meal with strangers, it went very well, and we had a good time.
  5. I'm very interested in the answer to this. I also have a very bad reaction to some fragrances and don't want to take a cruise where I need to take an antihistamine 24/7.
  6. We've really enjoyed Voyager. Our last cruise before Covid was a back to back, Singapore to Singapore, followed by Singapore to Sydney, with over a month onboard. We had a Penthouse C cabin, and were very comfortable with it's layout. We could easily have stayed longer. We have had larger cabins on other cruises, but didn't miss the extra square footage when cruising on Voyager.
  7. Just wondering why you have chosen the window cabin only twice, and the balcony cabin 5 or 6? times if you didn't consider the balcony worth it. We hang our swimwear to dry in the tub since there's always been a pull string to do that. We don't spend a lot of time on the balcony, but that's where we are when we pull into or leave our anchorage.
  8. The Concierge suite has the espresso maker. If you wake up before 6 as I often do, and need a morning coffee before being ready to make it to the Coffee Connection, then the espresso maker is a necessity. After one (or 2) in the cabin, we head to the Coffee Connection for a pre-Breakfast snack, and a cappuccino for me. Waiting until room service breakfast after 7 for coffee doesn't work for me.
  9. Definitely not given with a PH cabin on our back to back cruises Dec 19 to Jan 20. I would definitely keep the bear. I still have a rubber duck next to my tub that was given to us in a motel that we stopped at just off the highway heading North from Bristol TN after attending a wedding near Asheville about 15 years ago. We moved to Florida since then, and the rubber duck was packed in our POD for the move south. Anything that makes me smile when I look at it deserves to be kept.
  10. The fact that all Small Group Excursions have been cancelled on the current cruise, and those on it have been added to the big bus experience does not make me happy. I've already paid twice for the SG excursions twice now for our trip which was originally 2021, and is now 2022. On our last cruise, we had our fill of the big bus cruises, with many people having viral pneumonia, the flu, and possibly even Covid since it was Dec 19 to Jan 2020 in SE Asia and Australia. Many of them coughed controllably on the buses so I was hoping for masks of SG's this time. Added to that, on the big bus excursions, we had those with mobility problems who arrived last, sat in the front rows, and expected the bus driver to help them on and off the bus. They also expected to get off the bus first, delaying everyone else. On an excursion with many stops, this resulted in arriving back at the ship as much as 90 minutes later than expected. Specialty restaurant reservations were lost. At this point, I think we made the right decision for us to postpone until next year. I hope things improve by then. But, we have had this cruise booked since before Covid, and early this year, we were certain September 2021 would be back to normal.
  11. Hey Big, do you have a link please?
  12. We've been trying to take a Viking River Cruise, but despite having our money for nearly 3 years now, we aren't scheduled to cruise until next May at this point. But I did save 5 percent by paying in full well in advance... The Viking Ocean ships are larger than any ship that we have cruised on at this point. The HAL Prinsendam at 835 passengers, and totally full for a 2 week holiday cruise was more than we could stand. Luckily, we had a Neptune Suite, which was roomy enough to spend time in, and gave us access to one of their small restaurants for breakfast. We were one and done with HAL since that was their smallest ship, and it left their fleet after we sailed on it.
  13. We took a Caribbean cruise on SeaDream 1 a few years ago. We didn't have a reservation for dinner on the first night and were pretty hungry, so we ate as soon as the main restaurant opened. After dinner, we headed straight up to the Top of the Yacht. We were the first ones there, and enjoyed talking to the bartender while we enjoyed our first after dinner drink sitting at the bar. Shortly after we arrived, a man sat down a few seats away from us and ordered a drink. He started talking to the bartender, and within 5 minutes we were all talking together and he was sitting next to us. He was from Europe, and, at first, we had trouble pronouncing his name. He was very patient with us. We met many times on that cruise for after dinner drinks at Top of the Yacht. All 3 of us were invited for the same dinner at the Captain's table later that week, along with a couple that we had spent some time with by the pool. The Captain didn't say much, but the 5 of us had a good time. There were quite a few single women onboard, but they were part of a bird-watching group and were mostly older. We saw them during the day, but not in the bars after dinner. We're booked on a back to back cruise next spring on SeaDream 2, and my brother will be joining us as a single in his own cabin.
  14. No children under 12 on board since they can't be vaccinated? Sorry to those that bring kids and grandkids with them, but I would love to take a Regent cruise with only passengers 12 and over on board. Large family groups with unsupervised children has been the most annoying part of cruising on Regent for us. We won't go on another summer cruise on Regent because of that.
  15. I did find the doctor's name with the corrected spelling. He seems to be a general practitioner who has helped control the large number of Hepatitis cases in the past. I'm not sure that makes him an epidemiologist, but it's probably the best they have. Based on that, it sounds like Tahiti doesn't want tourism at this point, even if the tourists are vaccinated, and have had numerous Covid tests on their way there. We'll have to reevaluate whether we want to take our upcoming cruise. If we don't take that cruise, we will no longer consider French Polynesia for any future trips, and would not recommend it to others. We live in Florida, and we have tourists who have been coming here throughout the pandemic. They have been bringing Covid with them, since many positive tests have been non-residents. We changed our lifestyle to avoid the tourists as much as possible, and were vaccinated as soon as it was available to us. It took a lot of phone and computer time to get appointments. Our shots gave us a small lump near the injection site that disappeared the next day. We are still careful to avoid crowded situations, and wear masks when a business requires it, or where others are not wearing masks and not giving us space. If vaccines are available in French Polynesia, and I suspect Tahiti has them, then everyone who is eligible should get the vaccine. That's how the pandemic will be controlled, and lives will be saved, especially among the elderly, and those with other health problems. I'm sure hospital beds are always i short supply in Tahiti, but I would think most tourists would be paying for Covid evacuation insurance as we have for our trip since we would not want to take a hospital bed that a resident might need.
  16. Mr. Randal, as a long time reader on this board, I would never consider you "a pretty optimistic individual". I'm not an optimist, having become a forced investor in Ponant; a cruise line I was not interested in booking with, and could not get money back from a cruise that they cancelled, with an itinerary that will not be offered again while our FCC is still valid. But the link to that news story is really over the top. For example: "Epidemiologist Jean-Marc Ségualin said “nothing very significant is happening that shows an improvement.” Anyone who has had Covid-19 and recovered, will be immune. In a small population, that is significant. I was also unable to find out who this person was. The only reference to his name was in this article. I believe France is trying to stop tourism to French Polynesia. And when they reopened tourism, the French government didn't like it, and bad publicity helps to stop that. Do you have more information than in the article that you referenced?
  17. I am so relieved that we already rebooked our Sept 11 2021 cruise with back to back to Barcelona to September 2022. I would be so very stressed at this point. Now if Regent would just give us the "Journey to the center of Spain" that we had originally booked as a post. It's offered on the cruise after ours next year. We had been looking forward to that after our 2021 cruise, and were willing to pay for it. Maybe they don't need the money.
  18. Because we were only able to get a future cruise credit rather than a refund, when our April 2020 cruise was cancelled (which we paid for in 2019). I'm sure there are many others booking and rebooking trying to use the FCC which was all that was offered. And after 3 cruises on Paul Gauguin, we still would prefer that ship to Windstar or Oceania. We've looked at both of those cruise lines, and they weren't what we were looking for in a cruise. We weren't interested in the Windstar sailing ships, nor the older Windstar non-sailing ships that we encountered while cruising the Caribbean on Sea Dream, and while enjoying many land based vacations in the Caribbean and French Polynesia where we encountered Windstar ships anchored near ports. Maybe the upgraded and expanded Windstar motor yachts might be better. We have sailed Regent quite a few times now and have always enjoyed it. Their parent company owns Oceania so we get their advertisements on a regular basis. I've looked at them, and have never been tempted to try them. We like to have everything included, and we like smaller ships. In this environment, if I had no money already spent that I can't get back, I would not book a cruise or a land based trip to Tahiti. Until the pandemic ends, you are taking a chance that you will not be able to go, and you will lose money for something (air fare, car rentals, hotels pre and post your trip, since most of those things are non refundable in cash).
  19. Back in 1995, we stayed at Sofitel Marara on Bora Bora for a week, in the best overwater bungalow that they had at the time. We did not request it, or pay anymore for it than any other overwater bungalow, but they told us that we were the only reservation for a week rather than for a few nights so they gave it to us. We were very happy for our week long stay.They had small boats with an outboard that we could rent to use to go to the private island, as well as a free boat service to take us there and pick us up. At the time, there were no accommodations on the private island; just a canopy for shade. Snorkeling around the island in shallow water, we saw the most amazing giant clams. Some were in water that we could walk in. The colors were amazing, and we were so close to them. We've been back to the Society islands 3 times since then, and all of that was gone. The Sofitel Private Island development seemed to have destroyed all that was there in the water. Snorkeling around Bora Bora on excursions, we didn't see any giant clams, and none on any of the other Society Islands or Faka Rava. In the Cook Islands, they have a giant clam farm in tanks, with the same beautiful colors we saw in 1995, but not very big. We also saw a farm in Hawaii with very small clams. We've been on the Paul Gauguin 3 times in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and did a lot of snorkeling excursions with all of them being through Paul Gauguin.
  20. Any website where I can find the contents of this brand? Some plants give me hives, and I will need to bring my own toiletries if I can't rule them out. I've never had a problem with Bvlgari. I've also distrusted the large size of toiletries on cruise lines since it makes me wonder if they refill them from an even larger larger container.
  21. I am so happy that we rebooked our back to back Sept 11 and Sept 22 2021 cruises to similar September 2022 cruises a few months back when our final payment was due. Shortly after we rebooked, all cruises were cancelled until Sept 11, and we were relieved that we weren't on the first 2 cruises. I probably would have died from the stress this week with all of these last minute changes if we were still booked for this year. And if I didn't, I would have cancelled since a back to back at the same ports would not have been of interest to us. That would have left us out of a huge amount of money and a future cruise credit that we would have no idea how to use since next September's similar cruises were nearly sold out of an acceptable cabin when we rebooked.
  22. Information sur les tests Covid-19 pour les voyageurs en partance de Tahiti Et Ses Îles (calameo.com) We may be ok given the above but anything can happen.
  23. This is a very interesting read, but I'll disagree at calling a 65 foot yacht a super yacht, and there are definitely more than 9500 of those, just in US waters. While we never made it past 43 feet for our own motor yacht before we sold it and started taking cruises, we've met quite a few couples in the US and the Bahamas who have boats larger than 65 feet. While there's room for a small crew on that size boat, it's too close for a super yacht experience, since there's little privacy. The couples we know prefer to run the boats themselves without crew unless they're taking a long passage, when the crew are experienced boater friends. We have spent time on that size boat with our friends, and totally enjoyed it, but Sea Dream is much more of a luxury experience. I watch Below Deck (and saw them filming it in the Abacaos a while back, as well as running into the chef that cooked mostly beef cheeks, and said he quit, at the airport in Marsh Harbour). Seeing the drama that occurs on a real super yacht charter makes me not want that experience. Sea Dream is the best yacht lile experience that we'll ever find. And we'll hopefully be doing it again for 2 weeks next spring.
  24. We're staying at the Hilton on Moorea for 3 nights as a pre through PG.
  25. We are on the 12/4 cruise and it would be fine all things considered but we have a 3 night pre that puts us outside the criteria. We are hoping some of this loosens up a bit but at this point it seems we will have a logistical nightmare unless we cancel the pre and run with the cruise alone having had the test in the U.S. before getting on the plane.
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