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Waltershipman

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Posts posted by Waltershipman

  1. 9 minutes ago, PaulMCO said:

     

    I will disagree with Terry but as he said food is subjective, but just one element.

    Also Explorer on Regent as our last cruise which we just returned and Explora in January. 

     

    Would I go on Explora again -- yes we are in January

    Would I go on Regent again - yes we are in August.

    What date in January thanks I'm working on a possible  booking in January 

  2. 9 minutes ago, PaulMCO said:

     

    I will disagree with Terry but as he said food is subjective, but just one element.

    Also Explorer on Regent as our last cruise which we just returned and Explora in January. 

     

    Would I go on Explora again -- yes we are in January

    Would I go on Regent again - yes we are in August.

    Paul what date I'm january on EJ

  3. 9 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:


    Wow talk about an interesting personal opinion/interpretation on what he actually said in the article 

    Past passenger reviews and comments about the ship personnel food and front of house great back of house business issues could use improvement.  The best way to tell the story  imho is to have experienced cruisers with broad multi line experience share their experiences input and observations.  As for me I'm trying to catch the deal if it happens to book again. My October trip from last year still resonates great feelings. That's a pretty good story to tell.

  4. 8 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:


    Happy to chat and share knowledge - you can email me on stickman “at symbol” exemail.com.au - my email should be visible in my signature if you're viewing the post on a PC. I look forward to hearing from you 

     

    I live in Australia

    I am currently in California with family at Disneyland. I will connect with you later in week after our return.  I look forward to connecting with you 

  5. 4 hours ago, Stickman1990 said:


    Food is such a subjective topic but imho theres no comparison - Explora wins hands down - higher quality ingredients and more consistent preparation and service across the board 

     

    I base this on having sailed Explora last September and Regent Explorer last November 

     

    Of course you won’t starve on either line but if your making the decision based on dining then Explora wins 

    Stickman you obviously have seen me on this board and I am thinking of a new journey 

     

    Is there a way I am able to make contact with you. I'm not even sure what country you are in 

     

    All the best to you 

    • Like 1
  6. 56 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:


    Food is such a subjective topic but imho theres no comparison - Explora wins hands down - higher quality ingredients and more consistent preparation and service across the board 

     

    I base this on having sailed Explora last September and Regent Explorer last November 

     

    Of course you won’t starve on either line but if your making the decision based on dining then Explora wins 

    Just went on the oceana vista in february and was on the explora journeys Last october hands down explore a journey is a food paradise, absolutely spectacular.

    • Like 1
  7. On 4/3/2024 at 9:09 AM, reposado said:

    We are booked on the Jan 5 24 Caribbean cruise and noticed they "downgraded" one of the ports from Road Town/Tortola to San Juan/Puerto Rico. I only saw it when I searched the cruise on their website after reading this thread. There were no notifications from Explora at all of the itinerary change. 

     

    We are well travelled and been to some of the best beaches like Bora Bora/Maldives so overall its not a huge deal but would be nice if they at least e-mailed booked guest of the change as people may already be planning their excursions and could cause inconvenience.  

    I might be on that cruise too but not sure just yet and liked the idea of Tortola as it's beautiful.  San Juan has some fun stuff too but generally less nature we have found 

    • Like 1
  8. 12 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

    Moving on with our live from the Vista reports.  Yesterday we were in Livorno with absolutely gorgeous weather with temps in around 70f.  Livorno is a port with many terrific options (for both DIY and excursions) and opted for a very pricy wine tasting/gourmet lunch excursion.  We thought the excursion was quite good (and we normally dislike excursions) and we enjoyed our small group of fellow passengers.  The only negative was that the excursion cost about $300 per person which we (and some others) thought was a bit steep.   

     

    Last evening it was dinner in the GDR (DW and I both had an excellent strip steak au poivre).  My NY Cheesecake was somewhat disappointing because it lacked enough cream cheese.  

     

    Today was another gorgeous day and we were docked in La Spezia.  This port is most convenient for visiting the villages of Cinque Terre, so DW and I decided to visit a few villages DIY.  We have been to this part of Italy, many times, but we usually access Cinque Terre with a rental car.  Today we took the train (an all day Cinque Terre Pass was about 27 Euros).  This pass gives unlimited use of the regional train, access to the hiking trails etc.

     

    Folks that have often visited this over touristed destination generally have their favorite village.  For us, it is Vernazza, which is where we got off the train as for our first village.  I should mention that this port has a free shuttle to the port terminal building, and from that location it is a 1 mile walk to the La Spezia Centrale train station.   At Vernazza we did a lot of walking and eventually had an excellent lunch at an outdoor restaurant with a decent view of the crowds and water.  Cinque Terre is a popular place, so crowds are the norm.

     

    After lunch we took another train over to Corniglia.  This is probably the least visited of the 5 villages because it is somewhat difficult to access (you need a bus from the train) and the village is full of slopes and steps.  After spending 1 1/2 hours in Corniglia (and having some terrific local gelato) we decided to make our way back to La Spezia and the ship.  The trains were running late (not unusual) and it actually took us about 2 hours until we were back aboard.

     

    A word about our cabin (a normal veranda).  The Vista has a night light (which can be operated from either side of the bed).  It is a blue bulb located on the ceiling near the bathroom.  There is also a white light under the sink in the bathroom.  The problem is that the night light is a little bright for our taste (and others with whom we chatted).  We found a great solution is to simply leave on the light that surrounds the bathroom mirror.  With the bathroom door closed, enough light bleeds under the door to give us a nearly perfect night light 🙂

     

    Hank

    Hank I noted in one of my posts from our Vista cruise in February  is the ability to adjust the brightness of the round bathroom  mirror by simply pressing and holding the visible dot near the bottom of the mirror which both dims and brightens the mirror.  We used this feature in lieu of the blue light and light under sink 

     

    Enjoy

    • Like 1
    • Thanks 2
  9. 2 minutes ago, Dr. Cocktail said:

    We all know that I am a "cheerleader" on these boards but I still think that it's better than being a font of negativity like what we've  also seen!

     

    Our RegentCertified (sm) friends who joined us thought that the food on Explora was miles above R.

     

    I was 60 on our last sailing a few weeks ago and Explora defines what I think that luxury cruising should be. No excessive bling, no need for me to be babysat, fantastic fellow passengers, no need for bragging about "badge appeal" and one upmanship and just plain swell.

     

    A quiet, elegant product on a ship whose outdoor decks and bars are unmatched by anyone else in the industry.

     

    Oh ... and btw...

     

    Happy Birthday!

    Thank you  Dr. I followed your posts when you were on board.

    We were on board in October then on Oceania Vista in February. Looking forward to booking our next cruise again but waiting for the right fit that attracts us. We loved E J and without doubt best food on sea. 

    We tried to book a sailing for january 5 on EJ  but missed the discount and have not booked it since they would not honor the lower discount because i was one day late

     

    Still searching for the right next cruise

     

    Enjoy

     

    All the best 

     

  10. 1 hour ago, Techno123 said:

    It absolutely was 😁 and for those who are 'buffet phobic' many of the dishes were served on small plates and much of the hot food was served by the staff so less chance of unwashed hands dropping the service utensils into the food 😜

     

    11 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

    Yep and I suspect they are even better (as a quartet) now than in February.  With one exception, they had not worked together until they all were brought aboard the Vista.  It takes some time for musicians to gel as a group and they have now had 2 months to work together.  Many of us who have cruised, in the past, on HAL, looked forward to the fine classical groups found on that line.  HAL recently discontinued their classical music program (i.e. Lincoln Center Stage) and I would imagine that some HAL regulars will find their way to O because of the classical music offered by the line.

     

    Hank

    AGREED on our January 31 sailing this string quartet had just boarded and we were their 1st cruise of their contract.  Many many years ago on HAL we would  sit after dinner eat chocolates and listen to the Rosario Strings. Still lovely memories. Enjoy

    • Like 2
  11. 19 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

    Todo beay we cruise on a northeasterly heading on our way to Monte Carlo.  We are experiencing some 3-4 meter swells along with a strong 30+ knot wind.  This makes it likely we will dock a few minutes late tomorrow even though we are making a top speed of 20 knots.  This is our last sea day before we have 10 ports in 10 days!  ARGH.  The wind over the decks is so strong that the Captain ordered the closure of all the upper decks (above 12).

     

    Dinner last evening, in the GDR, was a mixed bag.  We managed to get a 4-top with our favorite waiter and were soon joined by another American couple who were terrific dinner partners.  Dinner had a promising start as the escargot was perfect and my creole gumbo very tasty.  But the main (which all 4 of us had ordered) of scallops were disappointing as the dish lacked flavor.  The truth is that the scallops we buy at home (from Costco) are far superior to what was served on the Vista.  Bottom line continues to be that some dishes are excellent while others are just OK.  

     

    I went up, early this morning, to Baristas (my normal morning hang-out) to enjoy some cappuccino and a fresh croissant.  While that venue is normally a self-service place, this morning the staff were very active in taking coffee orders at the tables.  By 9 there was not an empty table in Baristas and the queue at the coffee bar was quite long.  DW arrived and waited over 10 minutes to get her tea.  She suggested that it would help the queue situation if they put out a large urn of hot water and the box of tea bags.  There is no good reason for tea drinkers to stand in a queue of mostly coffee/espresso drinkers to simply get a cup of hot water.  Something for her to drop in the suggestion box.

     

    Entertainment continues to be quite good.  Last evening we listened to a new guest entertainer, Becky Porter, who hails from Wales, and performed an Adele show.  At times she sounded as good or better than Adele (that is no easy feat) and the most of the audience seemed to enjoy the show.  That being said, we met some folks (at the bars) who did not even know anything about Adele or her music.  We are a pretty old group of cruisers (typical of long crossings) and some are completely out of touch with contemporary music.  

     

    This afternoon there was a special 45-minute concert in the Vista Lounge which was presented by the string quartet.  I thought the ladies were brilliant, they performed a variety of music from Classical to some show tunes (i.e. Fiddler on the Roof, Phantom, etc).  The audience was small (about 50) and I think many folks missed a really good performance.  These young ladies are all very talented and the Vista Lounge was a place for them to truly shine.  I hope that O continues their support of classical performers.

     

    Hank

     

     

    Thanks Hank these women string players are extraordinarily lovely and talented 

     

    ENJOY

  12. 1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

    Good day folks,

    This morning, several hundred late sleeping folks (we have lost an hours sleep for the past 3 nights) were cheerfully awakened by those nasty bells and the soothing voice of Peter (our CD) with his important 9:30 am (8:30 for many body clocks) announcement that breakfast was being served until 10!  He then went on with his other important items which was to read the schedule found in Currents!  If these annoying announcements are O company policy then they should have a PA system in their home office and be disturbed several times a day by such important announcements.

     

    We continue moving eastward (at about 18 knots) towards Madeira.  It has turned into a gorgeous warm day and quite a few fellow passengers have been spending some time in the sun (including yours truly).

     

    Today I will talk about a popular O topic which is the cuisine.  Last night, DW and I enjoyed dinner in the GDR and my meal was truly enjoyable.  In fact, my starter was a true star and something we hope DW can duplicate at home.  It was on the menu as "Crispy Scallops parrillas."  It was a dish suitable for the cover of Bon Appetit!  Small scallops (not sure if they were bay scallops or cut-up sea scallops) were wrapped in crispy phyllo dough and surrounded by a colorful garnish.  For me, it was the most interesting dish (so far) we have had on the Vista.  Yesterday I mentioned that "grilled prime rib" was on the menu and I decided to give it a try.  Our waiter warned me that it was not normal "prime rib" but simply slices.  The plate had 3 slices (similar to the size and shape of London Broil slices) with a brown gravy.  The slices of beef were over 1/4 inch thick and were truly prime rib presented in a different way.  The taste was good (just like eating a big slab of prime rib) and the gravy tasted like an au jus reduction.  It was easy to see the economic benefit of serving prime rib in this manner, but the taste and texture were spot on.  The Vista has an excellent pastry chef because we have found almost all the breads to be excellent.  That being said, I am still looking for my first New York quality bagel on a ship.  The bagels here are quite good, but they do not have that proper chewy texture one finds in the bagels of New York or Montreal.

     

    For lunch we returned to our favorite lunch venue which is Waves.  I had the Philly Cheesesteak, which is my favorite sandwich in Waves.  I do think we could crown Waves as having the "best sandwiches" at sea.  Many folks are fond of Aquamar, but this ole guy is not looking for "healthy cuisine" on this cruise  🙂  Speaking of Waves, DW has enjoyed several of the decent malted milk shakes.  Today we were also able to get our requested Perrier.  Yesterday there was none on the ship, so it must have magically been smuggled aboard via pirate ship (in the middle of the night).  

     

    We are finally on Madeira time and today's schedule is back to normal with a single 9:30 show.  After more than a week of relaxing sea days we now must try to find the energy to handle many upcoming ports

     

    Hank

    Have fun Hank i look forward to breaking a bagel with you on a future cruise. You find the bagel and we'll meet up. ENJOY YOUR DAY

  13. 38 minutes ago, Acrusa said:

    I think that's partly your fault On Vista in February  in the GDR we spread our dinner out for about an hour or more always told the waiter to spread out the meal.

    one evening in Toscana our main dish came as soon as they removed our appetizers told them to take it back  and ordered different main course 

    Often times great service is intuitive 

    • Like 4
  14. 35 minutes ago, Acrusa said:

    I think that's partly your fault On Vista in February  in the GDR we spread our dinner out for about an hour or more always told the waiter to spread out the meal.

    one evening in Toscana our main dish came as soon as they removed our appetizers told them to take it back  and ordered different main course 

    Ouch sorry not my fault 

     

    Enjoy

    • Haha 1
  15. 8 minutes ago, kozycz said:

    Thank so much for your live review! I have really enjoyed reading this. We sailed on the Vista last November and are booked for the Riviera this October. We really liked so much about O; we have sailed several lines with Azamara being our favorite! We found the food on O to have a slight edge on Azamara, with mostly hits but some misses. But those misses were pretty bad. But on the whole we enjoyed the food, enough to book another O cruise. Your description of the service in Waves, reminds me of some moments on our Vista cruise. What we found odd, and almost annoying, was at just about every venue, GDR or specialities, the waiter would want to take our food order but we expected and wanted to order drinks or wine first. My experience in dining out has been that that is the usual format. I mentioned this in the mid cruise survey and was surprised to receive a call from the Food & Beverage Manager. After that some nights service flowed that way, other nights it didn’t. Our work around was to just ask to order wine and drinks first. Not a big deal, not a deal breaker, just a head scratcher! But despite that we found the service to be pretty good, but with Azamara having a slight edge in that department. We are looking forward to our October cruise on O and I hope you enjoy the rest of your time on O. Keep your reviews coming, they are awesome! Thank you!

    Excellent points and appreciated.  I have been trying to pin point what I felt was missing on Vista. While we enjoyed the trip we found that dinner In GDR felt less than relaxing. There was no time for a glass of wine before the food order was taken 

    While service was good the room while lovely did not feel intimate and service was rushed and the venue was loud and crowded

     

    We were on Azamara years ago we might revisit the ships again

     

    All the best

     

    Waltershipman 

     

    Thank you

    • Like 1
    • Thanks 1
  16. 45 minutes ago, ak1004 said:


    Those prices don’t exist anymore. At least not for Europe. But yes, anything under $450-500 on Explora I would book.

    While on the Vista in February i attempted to book EJ for January of next year. When I had my TA call EJ he was told that the discount had just been reduced to 15% off and even though I was a repeat passenger they would not offer the larger discount. I was disappointed but did not book it as I was one day late. Seems like a poor business plan. Otherwise EJ is great 

    • Thanks 1
  17. 1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

    Afternoon from the middle of the Atlantic,

     

    This morning we were notified that the Vista has cancelled its visit to Horta (Azores) which is the 2nd port (in a row) cancelled.  This is due to bad weather forecasts for the Azores.  The Captain has changed our course to a more southerly course and we are, instead, heading to Funchal (Madeira).  This change has also put us into better weather and today was a gorgeous sea day with seas in the 1-2 meter range, blue skies, and temps in the 70s.  We also had a following wind so it was a near perfect day to be outside.  

     

    This morning, we had the "Country Fair" which is a major activity (on the pool deck) where there are various games, prizes, etc.  It was well attended and kept the pool deck busy from around 10:30 until noon.  With all the constant banter (from Peter, our Cruise Director) it almost reminded me of a Carnival cruise.  As a rule, we find the higher-class lines have fewer announcements.  Peter usually has a longish daily update around 9:30, more to say around noon, and will usually have another schedule update around 4.  I prefer the attitude on Seabourn where there are very few announcements, and it is assumed that passengers are capable of reading the daily schedule.

     

    A couple of nights ago we went to our first Production Show and thought it was generally awful!  Sorry to say it was more like a bad high school musical production than what we expect on ships.  The Vista has a 12 person entertainment team which includes 4 singers.  Nobody was impressive and the sound was not good.  This was probably a combination of the lack of talent and a lousy choice of music and choreography.  Thank goodness that, so far, we have had really decent Guest Entertainers.  Perhaps O should consider hiring a company like Belinda King Productions (they handle Seabourn, some Princess, etc) to staff and Produce their shows.

     

    On Easter Sunday, the ship put on an expansive brunch buffet (from 9:30 - 1) in the GDR, There was a good selection of the usual breakfast items (i.e. Omelet station, eggs benedict, bacon, etc) and quite a few lunch offerings.  There was also a decent array of desserts.  While this was all good (and we did enjoy ourselves) I could not help but notice the lack of higher priced items like a decent raw seafood bar, caviar, etc.  Like we have seen on some other lines, the galley staff seems to do more with less, which is a talent.  

     

    Last evening DW and I decided to have a pizza dinner at Waves.  The pizza was quite good, but the service very uneven.  In fact, of the 4 items we ordered (2 kinds of burrata and 2 pizzas) two were incorrect when served.  At the next table, a gentleman ordered a meaty pizza with mushrooms.  There must have been a language problem because his pizza was delivered with "mustard" instead of mushrooms.  It is the first time I have ever seen a "mustard pizza" which was promptly sent back :).  Obviously, a language misunderstanding and somewhat amusing.

     

    We have heard some rumblings about little things that are just not right, in terms of decor. Some of the carpets are already showing signs of wearing (dye completely faded) and others tell us that some of the railing in the GDR are already worn.  We could not notice the absence of a lower rail (i.e. brass rail) at Martini's bar.  Rumors are that there will be some workmen coming aboard, in Europe, to make some "corrections."  None of this is unusual on a new ship, but certainly worth mentioning on this blog.

     

    DW and I continue to enjoy most everything here on the Vista.  Perfection?  No.  But we still think it is a good product for this class of cruising.  Some others do not agree.  One single lady told me she feels a bit out of place (she gets funny looks when she asks for a table of 1) and prefers Seabourn where she says the atmosphere is better for single ladies.  A couple of men, who previously liked O, have been turned off by the way a request (for Liquor 42) was handled by O.  They did get them a single bottle (which they had requested pre-cruise) which was offered to them for $100!  The item is not stocked in the bars.  They contrasted this with a similar request they made on Seabourn.  That line had a large bottle waiting for them in their suite, and also made sure the item was stocked at all the ships' bars.  This might best explain the difference between a "Premium Line" and a "Luxury Line."

     

    We also met a nice European couple who has cruised (3 times) on Explora Journeys.  This was their 2nd O cruise, but they said they intend to focus on future cruises with EJ.  Interesting comment for us (we have also cruised on EJ) and Waltershipman (who is likely following this blog).  In all fairness to O, Explora Journeys is generally a lot more expensive than O.  

     

    Since we did not bother to get off the ship at Great Stirrup Key, DW and I will now have 8 consecutive sea days before reaching Funchal.  Love it :).

     

    Hank

    Thanks Hank i always appreciate your thoughtful comments and your years of extensive cruising.  I totally understand what you are saying particularly given both of our recent cruises on EJ and Vista. I have been hopeful that you will love everything about O and Vista. I am not sure exactly what it was but we found something slightly missing on Vista that I still cant quite pin point. It may have been more crowded than I prefer but its possible that as I digest your comments I will be able to het mire clarity.  If course it did not help that we got Covid when we got off the ship. 

     

    Im looking at our next cruise experience which is as yet unknown 

     

    Enjoying your posts and the gift that we were able to cruise on the same ships and meet each other

     

    All the best

    David aka Waltershipman 

    • Like 1
  18. 57 minutes ago, GeorgiaPeach51 said:

    FWIW we just got off Vista on the 27th.  My husband, a big lobster fan, was disappointed in what Polo offered.  He always cautions them to please not cook it till it is rubberized.  This time, it was “tasteless and watery”.  He didn’t eat it and the waiter discussed the following with him…the lobsters are frozen which will never give you the best results no matter who cooks it.  My husband asked him why he didn’t “warn” him, but the waiter responded that if a passenger requests a particular dish it is not his place to dissuade him.  Understandable.  He said the key is to ask questions.  If my husband had asked if he recommended the lobster the waiter would have said no, and he would have suggested the giant prawns instead.  So, fair warning and good luck!

     

    Joanie

    When we are at Polo Grill in February we were told the whole Maine lobster had been frozen.  While  surprised as I dont recall ever eating frozen whole Maine lobster it was nevertheless enjoyed. The foie gras was spectacular 

    • Like 1
  19. 7 minutes ago, martyinmpls said:

    Question about Vista dining … we have a group of 9 going on a cruise in June.  I cannot seem to make any reservations for more than 8 people…. Pictures, at least in the Grand dining room, and the private dining room,

    seem to show tables for 10.   Any thoughts?

    Call O directly which should be sufficient 

     

    Happy sailing

    • Like 1
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