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Everything posted by ShopperfiendTO

  1. Thanks for your response. I should clarify that the mainstream legacy airlines (e.g., Air Canada and Air France) seem to have two types of "discount" economy fares, one that includes one piece of checked luggage and one that does not include checked luggage so the same airline has these two types of fare conditions. Which type of economy fare does O book for passengers?
  2. Hi, It's pretty standard now to have to pay extra to check in luggage on a domestic flight. It seems that many airlines have extended this practice to transoceanic flights as well, as many mainstream legacy airlines now have a "barebones" economy non-refundable fare for international flights where in addition to having absolutely no flexibility to change flights even for a fee, you also have to pay extra to check in luggage. For those who have used O's air recently for flights across the ocean, do you know what fare you were booked on and was one piece of checked luggage per passenger included in the air or was that an extra cost to you? This might be a further factor in deciding whether to take the air credit instead. Thanks!
  3. The port, while quite close to the city, is still in a pretty isolated area and it would be disappointing if they did not provide shuttles. On our cruise with Oceania a few years back, a shuttle bus was provided. It stopped near the General San Martin Plaza (a park, near Retiro train station), on the south/east side of the park. Not sure if you consider that to be in the "city centre" but it was convenient enough for us. The bright side is that if shuttles are not provided, taxi fare would be quite inexpensive compared to North America, although you have to be careful/alert somewhat not to be scammed by routing and/or fare charge/change. Try to have smaller bills so that you don't get back large value counterfeit bills as change. Buenos Aires was super interesting, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
  4. There was a healthy taxi stand without much of a wait when we disembarked on the later side of the disembarkation process. Unfortunately for us, we caught a grumpy driver who was hoping for a fare to Heathrow when we just wanted to get to the train station but we chalk this up to our bad luck.
  5. Good to know, thanks. 3 hours is a bit short though. How much would it be for a full day excursion, say 6 hour wait? Actually, how much would it be to take a taxi from the port in Vigo to Santiago and grabbing a different taxi from Santiago back to the port (i.e., two completely separate taxi rides)? Would it be more than 100 Euros each direction?
  6. Just curious, I assume that the taxis would take the toll roads, so would the tolls be extra or are they included in the excursion rate?
  7. This is great information: There are two functioning train stations in Vigo that both go to Santiago with Urziaz being the faster, generally more frequent station (but is uphill and slightly further away from the port). Just to add to this that the Santiago train station is about 1 km or so away from the old town area where the Cathedral is located so there's that to consider as well (gradual incline from train station to old town).
  8. Is the flight you're getting on at BCN going over the Atlantic Ocean or is it going somewhere else in Europe first, such as CDG, AMS, LHR (maybe no longer in June 2019?), FRA? If it is a flight getting you to a connecting flight in EU, then it's a domestic flight and you have more time to check in before the gate closes. The cab ride from the Barcelona cruise port to BCN is about a half hour in good traffic. If you're connecting in Europe, you are at the edge of the comfort zone - assuming you're mobile - but you are going to need to take a private transfer and will have an early morning and a quick breakfast. If it's going over the Atlantic, I'd take another flight.
  9. On our Samba Serenade cruise we made it to Rio Grande on an R ship. IMO you didn't miss much, very little tourist infrastructure but perhaps they are improving with the stops that O/NCL seems to always make on this routing. We made it to La Gomera (bit of a scare getting out however but we did make it) on another R ship and it was the highlight of our Canary Islands cruise. I hope you do make it there eventually, easier to do from England than North America! As for OP, yes, we've missed a handful of ports (sailed only O and Az and only ports missed have been on O, though we've taken twice the number of O cruises), the most recent being to Waterford last year which was due to weather. Not on our must-see list so we weren't too fussed over it. I think if you go on longer cruises (e.g., say over 14 night), you're going to hit statistics where it is going to be more likely that you're going to have a missed port due to a medical health issue/emergency.
  10. Not sure if there is a shuttle for Messina port, but even if there is one, it won't be taking you to Taormina.
  11. Just because you weren't stopped doesn't mean that it's not required. Car rental agencies probably don't ask to see the IDP because it's not their problem that you can't drive the car that you rented from them. On our recent trip to Spain, we rented our car and got our IDP for it. The car rental company didn't ask to see the IDP but we know that it is required for Spain. We didn't want to risk the headaches, fines and penalties that might apply if we were stopped randomly and checked and did not have it on us. IMHO the IDP is a rip-off in that it is valid for only a year rather than until the driver's licence expires (because it's really just translating your driver's licence in a uniform manner for the foreign country to understand), but what can you do. As to OP's issue, the son has an IDP; he just doesn't have it on him (yet). I'd send it electronically and courier to follow-up. Hopefully it is a non-issue for the time he has only the electronic copy. Edit: It seems that the original copy of the IDP is required by car rental agencies: https://www.japan-experience.com/car-rental/common-questions/driving-licence https://www.otsinternational.jp/otsrentacar/en/guide/license/
  12. Right, I was asking why the luggage would be in SAS' unclaimed luggage room at LAX if the luggage tag had the California lady's flight info.
  13. I have a question: If the lady in California took the luggage, unless OP printed out and attached the luggage tag onboard, how would the luggage have SAS tags on it? Wouldn't that luggage tag have OP's flight info and so basically it is "her" luggage that is left at the airport unclaimed? If OP had her ownership information on the luggage as well, then after a set period of being unclaimed, wouldn't the airport contact both the old lady and the OP as well?
  14. We were in Flam and took a (super) ship excursion that included the railway ride. There were train cars specifically reserved for people on Az excursions so you should not be too worried about not having seats on the apparently sold-out train. However, if the docking time changes so that there is no train back before the ship leaves, then there seems to be a risk that the excursion might be cancelled. I think the risk would be low though given that excursions are a revenue generator for Az and docking times are generally within Az's control for less-visited ports like Flam - i.e., the port operators should be fairly flexible with the time of departure unless there is a ship scheduled to arrive later in the day (but how likely is that)? Is your excursion just for the return ride on the railway or is it a combination tour where you ride it up/down one way and get bused in the other direction? The latter is the excursion we took with Az and what they did was split those who signed up for the excursion into two groups, one group starting with the train ride up and the other group ending with the train ride down (i.e., same tour, reverse itineraries). In the end, I think you alerting Az of this issue was helpful as it will allow Az time to sort this out: You want to buy/take the excursion, Az wants to sell/provide you the excursion, and the railway (presumably) wants to sell Az/you a ticket for the train.
  15. Re: Sintra to Lisbon I can imagine the stress of the uncertainty and time ticking away and so glad that it worked out for you! I know hindsight is 20/20 but did you know that Oriente is the main train station for Lisbon and so there would have likely been a connecting train going directly to Santa Apolonia station very shortly after your train from Sintra arrived at Oriente? In case you end up there, this situation is similar for Porto as well, with its Sao Bento (analogous to Santa Apolonia) and Camphana (analogous to Oriente) stations.
  16. Yes, please make sure you read or get and understand the tour operator's cancellation policy before deciding booking with them. They are all different and this way you know what you're getting into if the unfortunate situation does arise. This is another "peace of mind" benefit of booking through the cruise line directly. For the Mediterranean ports the operators are usually very good with not charging you if the ship does not call, but it is different for the other ports in the world. Re: missed ports, it is random depending on the weather but certain ports are more prone to being missed than others due to the very nature of the location of the port, so you would have to weigh that as well.
  17. The standard configuration is the beds are together with the heads against the neighbor wall, not the window/outside wall: https://www.oceaniacruises.com/ships/insignia/suites-staterooms/deluxe-ocean-view-stateroom/ If splitting, they usually just put an aisle between the beds, so one bed is moved under the window and the other stays where it started. I've never seen the T-bone configuration and I don't think they can split the beds against both walls because there is a sofa or desk fixture in the way. All of the beds we've had are "twins" (combined they make a queen so they are actually narrower than a standard twin) stuck together and aren't that heavy to move around so you might have some flexibility to try and ask for something that works for you. If T-bone doesn't work, I suppose you might be able to try swapping one bed with where the sofa is along the wall and then either remove the sofa or put it on the same wall as the desk?
  18. If you are a food lover and are into sashimi, I think you will find this to be mediocre on Oceania. It is not as good as their continental cuisine offerings. If you are looking for a light dinner, I'd suggest the continental cuisine fish offering instead. I've seen the always-available poached salmon in the GDR and it looked very light and would think that this is available in the Terrace Cafe as well.
  19. Sorry, I got this figure by going to the O webpage for the cruise that OP indicated they were on and seeing what the OLife options were for it. Perhaps the options are different for different markets and the amount for the SBC option is actually different for OP.
  20. So with the photo posted by travelberlin you are realistically looking at a minimum of $12 per glass of wine if you pay a la carte (since there is the 18% mandatory gratuity added to the per glass price on the wine menu). For bottles from the wine list, I think the realistic starting point is $40 + 18% mandatory gratuity = $40 + $7.20 = $48, although you can save any unfinished bottle for another time. I think your question is which O-Life option is best for you, and if you go with the current SBC of $1400 for the cabin, assuming $13 a glass average, that would cover about 107 glasses of wine, or almost but under 4 glasses a day (for the cabin) for the 28 days. If you and your cabin-mate drink wine at lunch and dinner, it looks like the drink package is a better value than the SBC The other option is for 14 shore excursions, but if you prefer private excursions then you probably don't see the paper value of the excursion (up to $200 per excursion, so paper value is $2800) as the actual value.
  21. Is the check-in completed inside the terminal or on board of the ship? If check-in is done inside the terminal, can you check in but not physically board the ship and be OK to wander? As for back-to-back cruisers, is this one of the ports where all passengers have to leave the ship, to "reset" the passengers to zero, i.e., they are in fact being forced to disembark and when they come back, are embarking just like you (but without the full check-in song and dance) and subject to the same "once on board you're stuck" rule?
  22. I recall that on these nights the GDR menu is slightly more special as well, such as caviar/foie gras appetizer and maybe lobster main. That may be what OP is asking about? However, there seems to be a lot of complaints about the GDR experience lately so who knows how special the special menu items would be...
  23. Don't really understand why it's so much work to keep the GDR open for lunch, whether port day or not. They fill the tables by section, so during port days there would be people in the front section near the entrance only. This was our experience on an R ship last summer on a 12-day cruise with 10 port days, and we hope that this isn't going to be an adopted measure. Thinking about the cruise more, I think there might have been a couple of days that the Currents advised that the GDR would be closed for lunch the next port day, but fortunately they were for ports that we were not going to return to the ship before 4 p.m. anyway.
  24. So I went to this page https://www.oceaniacruises.com/experience/dining/grand-dining-room/ and looked at this sample menu: https://www.oceaniacruises.com/Documents/Menus/81604382386/Grand-Dining-Lunch-Menu.pdf/ and it looks like the choices are: The Bistro menu The Taste of the World selection of the day (the CC article suggests that diners have a choice of one of the 14 cuisines when in fact, as per usual (and reasonable), only one cuisine is showcased and available that day). Not sure where the "regular lunch menu" fits in?
  25. I'm confused by the part of the article below that I bolded: "Offered every day in the Grand Dining Room, The Bistro evokes a French-style bistro with a lunch menu designed by Pepin, the line's culinary director. The menu is broken up into five appetizers, four soups and salads, and eleven entrees -- with options that include salade Nicoise and croque monsieur. French wine and desserts will also be available -- as will the dining room's regular lunch menu." Is The Bistro in addition to the regular lunch menu, so that at every lunch at the GDR one can now choose the following food: The Bistro menu Regular lunch menu 14 Taste of the World selections It is weird that talk of the regular lunch menu comes as the final part of a sentence that talks about French wines and desserts, which could be interpreted as it's a bistro and taste of the world menu with wines and desserts from the regular menu.
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