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    Des Moines, Iowa
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    Reading, history, travel, baseball, board games
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    Belize City

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MEFIowa's Achievements

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Cool Cruiser (2/15)

  1. Ate one of the whole pizzas from Riviera's pizza oven place at Waves in Nov 2023, on the last night before we came into Barcelona. Went and got it while wife was packing, so she'd have the room to herself. Created the exact toppings and style I wanted. Ate half and took rest to wife in our cabin. It was fine. But not something I consider special. We eat pizza dozens of times a year. It is far better than the truly mediocre pizza served at lunch in the TC. Was it up to a good Pizza Hut pizza? That's as high a rating I'd give it. Adds little to culinary excellence or the dining experience. A huge downside for me is that the pizza oven on Riviera displaced the ice cream/smoothie area, forcing it past Waves, midship, exposed to the elements. So every morning when I'd get my Sun Salutation smoothie and it was colder or raining the smoothie maker would be dressed in winter gear or a rain coat, while people were hit with rain or blowing cold wind. I felt so sorry some mornings for the Indonesian man making the smoothies. He knew my order so if he see me he'd wave and call out that he'd make it. I'd come back to get it in a couple minutes.
  2. We did our B2B changeover on Riviera in Athens on November 9, 2023. And we had to change cabins, which has its own issues. BUT we found the process to be smooth and were able to leave the ship pretty early, without any delay waiting for all the others to leave. You have to make sure to let your cabin steward & attendant know in advance and work with them. You may need a new key card, from the front desk. We did because we went from an A3 to a B3 at the changeover. We made it to the Acropolis early, long before the lines got huge, using local metro that we walked to from the ship.
  3. You're confusing and conflating things. My POINT was the O is DIFFERENT in that it allows you to bring on board unlimited amounts of alcohol. NOT that we could drink our own alcohol all over the ship. People who break the rules on drinking their own alcohol endanger the policy. I like and respect the policy. I drink mine responsibly in my cabin. BUT I do enjoy the Captain's Party (and Repeater Party) and then drink their alcohol all over the ship that night.
  4. Keep in mind that O allows you to bring on board unlimited amounts of beer, hard liquor and wine at embarkation and in ports.
  5. And, of course, people are drinking free and freely all over the ship on the evening of the Captain's Party. People who bring their own beer and hard liquor on board should be drinking it in their cabins. And for wine, pay the corkage fee if you want to drink your wine outside your cabin.
  6. Have you looked at the various threads over time here? To see all the discussions about food and comparisons to other lines, including "family" NCL and Regents.
  7. We did a B2B with the changeover from an A3 to a B3 on Riviera in Athens on 11/9/23. What was funny is that the room we were going to had a couple that was also changing rooms as part of their B2B. So they had to wait on that room while we had to wait for their room. Because we when from concierge to non-concierge we had to get a new card. Be careful about what all you acquire on the 1st leg. I had a ton of beer, hard liquor and wine. I moved all of that myself. And you'll have to move your own valuable out of your safe. And make sure to discuss your move with your room steward and attendant in advance.
  8. Weather generalizations rarely are uniformly accurate. We had 10 magical days on Sirena in the E. Caribbean 11/19-29/2022. Fantastic weather. And 20 magical days on Riviera 10/30-11/19, 2024 in the Med. More fantastic weather. In both cases, we were usually one of the few, if only, cruise ships around. So that meant the locals wanted to see us. Lines short, places not crowded. Fares less expensive.
  9. We booked our Aug-Sept 2024 Baltic cruise on Sirena in May 2022. So that allowed us to do cruise-only and avoid SM and the price increases since then, though our 2 cruises didn't make it on the 2023 Extraordinary Saving Sale. The current price for one cruise is $3499 PP, for a G. Exactly $1000 more PP. The other, an F, now $3849, up exactly $900. So combined increase $1900 PP.
  10. Just opened the O brochure I received in today's mail. Pushing the "Free Pre-Cruise Hotel Stay" deal thru May 31st. Saw a couple of "bargains": 11/27/24 Marina 10 nights in the E. Caribbean. Miami to Miami. $2999 veranda (no airfare) or $2199 inside stateroom (no airfare). And Nautica. Either Miami to Cartagena or Cartagena to Miami. Both 12/2024. 10 nights. $2999 veranda or $1899 inside stateroom (both no airfare).
  11. Seems like it has been different on every voyage for us. I prefer sparkling water. On Riviera 12/2021 there were various cans and bottles of both still and sparkling water in our fridge and in the bars and elsewhere. Same for Sirena 11/022. But on Riviera 10-11/2023 seemed a bit harder to easily find it. So I'd go up to Horizons every night around 8 or 9 pm and pick up some cans or bottles of sparkling water from the bartender. He looked forward to talking with me because it was always empty. He quickly learned what I liked and he'd have it ready for me nightly. Got to know the singer for the house band, too. (My wife smokes as did the singer, so I'd get my water and meet them in the smoking lounge.)
  12. The Concierge Lounge on Riviera had USA Today and the NY Times, as well as a couple of UK newspapers (e.g., Daily Mail) and one Canadian newspaper when we were on her Oct-Nov 2023. I love to read newspapers.
  13. A good reminder to... 1) Watch for sales. 2) Compare the expensive Allura or Vista cruises to the less expensive most similar or identical itineraries on the R- and O-class ships. Can't for the life of me see paying to sail on Allura if Riviera was doing the same or similar cruise for thousands less. We did the W. Caribbean on Rivera and the E. on Sirena.
  14. The WSJ had a story only a couple weeks ago looking at the economics of the behemoths. It all comes down to cost minimization per passenger nautical mile. And, of course, they adjust itineraries and length of voyages to fill them up. They make sense when they're packed. Think of a simple example. O Sirena has to have 1 captain. So does the Behemoth. But the "cost" of that captain is spread across 630 passengers versus 6300, for example. There are only so many engineering positions needed on both ships. The passenger/crew ratio tends to favor the behemoths by a wide margin. Even fuel costs aren't too problematic spread out over so many passengers. (Though I'd love to see a comparison of the fuel used per hour at say 18 knots for Sirena versus a 230,000-ton behemoth.)
  15. Take the time to READ what O published on Ember, including the pictures. And compare to Jacques. Then get back to us. O made sure to put tablecloths in the pictures. And other people on various threads have discussed the presence or absence of same. The Finest Cuisine at Sea® & Culinary Cruises - Oceania Cruises This is O's own description of Ember: "EMBER Elegant American Traditions When the fuel of classic American dishes meets the fire of culinary masters in a sophisticated setting reminiscent of a Napa or Sonoma tasting room, Ember is the glorious result." Not sure why it is so hard for the Vista cheerleaders to accept a simple fact: Ember is a cost-cutting measure. Still WAITING for even a semi-objective discussion of what VISTA brings that RIVIERA doesn't! Since Ember replaced Jacques and Waves' menu seems to have been dined-down with Aquamar trying to replace some of it.
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