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MEFIowa

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Everything posted by MEFIowa

  1. Yes, and often retailers try to hold the line on retail prices by absorbing some or all of a wholesale price increase. Which impacts their profit margin. Different inflation rates can happen depending upon wholesale versus retail.
  2. 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.
  3. You have to look at the specific sector regarding inflation, not just a global measure. So here in the USA, food inflation, both grocery & restaurant, more than 19%. Service-sector inflation some of the worst.
  4. 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.
  5. To make the issue meaningful, the data has to be INFLATION ADJUSTED.
  6. 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).
  7. 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.)
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.)
  11. 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.
  12. And O released the 2024 cruise itineraries a long time ago. Booked a G on Sirena May 2022 for the 10 night Sept 2024 Baltic. $2499 PP. Pre-SM and pre-future price increases.
  13. And don't forget that you can bring all the beer, hard liquor and wine you want on board at embarkation and in ports. Pay the $25 corkage fee and you can drink your own favorite Chardonnay in their restaurants and public spaces. (Drink your own beer and hard liquor in your cabin.)
  14. And TIMING is key often to sales pricing. We sailed the Med from 10/30-11/19, 2023. Some consider this "off season". BUT, the weather was perfect. Rain was not an issue. And the temperatures were fantastic. It was 65 deg F in Barcelona around 11/20/23. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and sandals. The locals had winter coats and stocking caps on! I'm from Iowa. 65 deg F is perfect weather. And guess what? HARDLY any serious crowds at the Acropolis, Rome, Venice, etc. compared to the crowded summer months. So a win-win-win-win. Great temp, great weather, reduced crowds, AND cheap fare.
  15. I think you're seriously confused on a host of issues. First, we have 22 nights booked on Sirena 9-10/2024. So, no problem with O being a "fit" for us. We've already spent 40 nights on O ships since 12/2021. Second, we book on sales and stay in cabins G-A only. No PHs or above. O sets the prices, not me. Or you. Or any TAs. Many people can stay in G-C cabins, to save money. We've got an F and a C1 in the Baltic on Sirena, unless some sale changes that! Third, you seem to think Vista is the be-all and end-all of O ships. Sorry, she's just one newer ship. With her own pluses and minuses. Fourth, "premium product" was Jacques, not Ember. You seem confused about fine dining and sophisticated setting. Ember is a cost-cutting measure. Simple as that. Put lipstick on a porcine....
  16. It is called sales. Riviera A4 12/2021: $210 + $210 = $420 per couple per day. Sirena B2 11/2022: $240 + $240 = $480 Riviera A3 10/2023: $185 + $185 = $370 Riviera B3 11/2023: $175 + $175 = $350 We did the B2B on Riviera in 2023 from the Extraordinary Saving Sale in early 2023. The Riviera in 2021 off the 2021 Presidents' Day Sale. And we booked Sirena for 11/2022 while on Riviera in 12/2021 for the discount.
  17. The issue isn't that adding Ember couldn't be great for some, but rather what it replaced (Jacques) and how the combination of Aquamar & Ember now relate to what is available on the O-class ships. Thus, as you point out, they removed something you liked from Waves but now have something similar to it in Aquamar. So that is a NET gain of ZERO (or slight loss, if the older item is slightly more enjoyable). What does Ember get you on Vista that you couldn't already get in Polo & Toscana & Waves & TC on Riviera? The loss is likely the entire menu of Jacques and its setting. O describes Ember as a sophisticated setting for classic American cuisine, with tablecloths in their photographs. I don't want to pay $350-500 per couple per day to eat that kind of food in that kind of setting.
  18. Makes sense to phase out 30-year-old ships as they get more and more expensive to maintain. Don't think going from 1250 to 1400 passengers makes any real difference. Certainly not if the ships aren't full on some cruises and in relation to the behemoths you'll see parked next to them in the future.
  19. Guess you don't read O's own material or take it seriously? What is a "classic American dish"? That people from around the world are dying to eat that they can't already get in the GDR, TC, and the other specialty restaurants? Since they replaced Jacques with Ember. Which is the issue. They did NOT add Ember with Jacques. No, they cut costs, including tablecloths, with Ember. BUT maybe at least kids can color with crayons on the tables waiting for hotdogs and mac & cheese? From O on dining in general: "CULINARY MASTERPIECES It’s the finest at sea because we select only the best ingredients and the most talented chefs from around the globe. From Castilla-La Mancha saffron to French flour custom-milled to our specifications, our artisanal ingredients echo the dedication poured into every dish. In galleys evoking those in Michelin-starred restaurants, our gifted chefs create absolute culinary masterpieces. Come aboard and savor cuisine renowned as the finest at sea." THEN in the section on Ember laugh at the photograph of Ember on the website with the tablecloths (which aren't there!) saying this: "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." Nothing says SOPHISTICATION like a lack of tablecloths, though, of course, O made sure that isn't how the tables are picture. Compare to this for Jacques: "JACQUES A Passion for French Cuisine Exquisitely decorated with heirloom antiques, pickled wood furnishings and art from Jacques Pépin’s personal collection, Jacques was modeled after a Parisian bistro. Comfortable and eclectic, the ambiance is pure French, as is the cosmopolitan yet wonderfully embraceable cuisine. Get it, the JOKE is on us! American rubes who'll fall for anything? And pay more to do it?
  20. Marina and Riviera pretty much have a laundry room on every major passenger deck. We did laundry 5 times on Riviera on our 20-night B2B (Trieste to Athens and Athens to Barcelona) in Oct-Nov 2023. Just walked down the hall on decks 9 (our A4) and 7 (our B3) to the laundry room.
  21. We were in an A4 for the 1st ten nights and then moved to a B3 for the 2nd 10 nights. So we could book reservations earlier in the A4 than in the B3.
  22. So, we received one of the older more useful stronger bags on Riviera in our A4 12/2021 and the newer less useful bag on Riviera 10/2023. One of each. Get a bag when you go A or higher. And we were Blue level, O Club. We go Bronze on our upcoming B2B on Sirena Aug-Sept.
  23. ONLY when you go to the next level, not for every cruise. I doubt the focus on this thread are from Bronze or higher O Club Members already. They likely haven't even sailed once. Or maybe only in a G-B cabin. "COMPLIMENTARY MEMBER CAP AND TOTE BAG UPON NEW LEVEL ACHIEVEMENT"
  24. No, I have pizza experience. Every Friday and on Riviera. I do NOT pay to cruise on O to eat mere pizza. And I'm NOT paying hundreds of dollars a day as a couple to DROP something like Jacques to tell my friends afterwards, "I ate at a glorified Applebee's". Tell me, what does Aquamar bring to the experience that I'm not already truly enjoying at the TC daily? We love the buffet. All the choices. And IIRC, you can't even get the Mahi-Mahi on Vista at Waves in the afternoon. I forget if something else was dropped from that menu, too. What is "clarifying" is how easy it is for cheerleaders to accept a decline in a product and make excuses for it. I prefer a tablecloth and a place setting that isn't suitable for crayons!
  25. I ate the evening pizza at Wave's on Riviera 11/2023. Oh boy, the joy. Pizza. Like we can have every Friday night in America. I have NO desire to pay more and get less on Vista. Even on the Extraordinary Saving Sale from 2023, we're paying $350-400 per day per couple. So, do I want "Ember", a glorified Applebee's? No! And I'm not seeing anything wowing me about Aquamar, either. Cost cutting moves for O. The "pay more, get less" program for Vista, for those who want to be on new ships at any price.
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