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About sammiedawg

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  1. Is your ship sailing the same day?
  2. You are correct on Celebrity. I mistyped or was auto corrected in error when I wrote it was premium. Solstice ships are higher end mass market.
  3. Denise, in suite dining and the specialties on Oceania are the best. Food is served course by course by your butler if you choose the suite. We love going to the various restaurants. In a PH you get extra advance speciality reservations and on board your butler can usually get you additional seatings. If not, go the in suite route. We also really enjoy the Grand Dining room. Dinners are leisurely, some people complain about the speed of service but they want you to linger, sip wine and visit. Avoid tables bigger than a four top as the service really slows down. There are lots of two tops. Try all the venues, Waves, Terrace, daily tea at 3pm, Cover charged Privee and La Reserve on the O ships. Haven’t tried La Reserve. We love Oceania. We were immediately comfortable with spending more upfront for better food and better on board experience. Don’t go and expect perfection and whatever you do don’t spend time onboard comparing O to other lines. I’ve read some reviews where the writer compared every single thing to what they got at a cheaper price on another line. Their shore excursions are overpriced if you buy them individually. O life excursion package is OK, we’ve had it twice but you have to really cherry pick. We prefer DIY or private tours. You will meet the most interesting people. Atmosphere is casual, comfortable and unpretentious.
  4. Holland America, Princess routinely sell Caribbean seven day cruises for $399, I’ve even seen $350. I’ve seen ten day Canada New England cruises for $700. These are Higher end mass market lines, a good value but hardly premium. Not sure how these two can be compared to others listed. Celebrity solstice ships are also higher end premium. Disney is expensive because of their name, gorgeous ships and entertainment offered. Hard to categorize in any category. But space per passenger is lacking because of so many third and fourth passengers per cabin. The ships are also very noisy due to all the piped in movies in public spaces. Ear splitting movie screens blaring around the ship. They have adult areas but the comfort level isn’t that high. We haven’t been on Cunard, not interested in formality. Azamara, Viking, Oceania are premium, or luxury light lines. Oceania is our absolute favorite, We want better food, service, onboard comfort, better space per passenger, more inclusive features. No major complaints after nearly a couple hundred days with this line. Of course they are not perfect, nothing is. Viking has copied a lot of Oceania features, right down to how they arrange the breadbasket. They’ve also added an included excursion in every port- not a feature we covet. Their restaurant food is above mass market but not at the level of Oceania. Their specialty restaurants are terrific. Their onboard comfort in public areas has some issues. But we would include Viking as a premium line for their gorgeous ships and included features.
  5. Uber to and from the airport. There is also a light rail line from the airport to downtown. We haven’t done it for a cruise but did it once to stay in a downtown hotel. Exit light rail then take a cab or Uber to your hotel. Airport concierge will tell you where to get off light rail. Luggage rolls right on and off the rail car. Cost is a few dollars at non peak, maybe five dollars at peak time. We had time to kill so we enjoyed the ride. if the ship is using pier 66, Marriott waterfront is very, very close.
  6. Princess is a class act. Something happened to us years ago in Europe and they treated us royally. I cannot say enough about their kindness. We love their Alaska program and hoped to do it again this year. Circumstances changed and we cannot go. I am heartsick over this tragedy.
  7. I feel disrespectful to the victims saying this but you need to google the crash history of Taquan air. We’ve taken independent tours for years and they often do cruise tours as well. One of my favorite private Alaskan guides has taken Bill Gates and his Hollywood friends all over the state. Another favorite guide has turned down numerous offers from cruise lines to buy his business. Again my humble apologies for commenting on this devastating tragedy.
  8. Totally agree. Flightseeing trips are sold right on the dock, steps from where the Regatta was docked. And it would be a shore excursion through O.
  9. Years ago we did a fair amount of flightseeing but ten years ago we decided it wasn’t worth the risk. We are frequent visitors to Alaska and I totally understand why people take these flights, everything is gorgeous and breathtaking. Prayers to all.
  10. I don’t sell insurance but supplemental Medicare policies F and G offer emergency out of country medical coverage. Subject to limits of course. Medicare advantage products part C also offer out of country coverage. It is alphabet soup. Do the research online. High end credit cards offer travel insurance including cancelation for a medical reason and emergency medical and evacuation. Subject to limits of course. But when I read other threads about insurance I realize many are paying a lot of money to duplicate what their credit card might already offer. We think high end credit cards are worth their yearly fee just for the travel benefits.
  11. It is better to get a better price upfront through a big box or discount travel agency. Why pay more upfront in return for OBC? I don’t get it. When I am on a ship I pay for what I want or need. (We get OBC automatically on other cruise lines and sometimes struggle to spend it. I don’t value overpriced massages or gift shop trinkets) Hiltner gave sound financial advice and I appreciate info from those who have sailed multiple lines. It brings perspective.
  12. Don’t forget to check with Airlines if you have a compelling reason to cancel. Sometimes they have a heart and will refund your money or issue a no change fee voucher. We rarely cancel trips but recently canceled two. For one of the trips we had purchased airline tickets for six family members. I don’t have status with delta but fly them a fair amount. I called Delta to discuss our cancelation options. After explaining the situation I was offered a full cash refund. Totally unexpected but greatly appreciated. Hail Delta Airlines.
  13. Don’t overlook travel insurance built into credit cards, especially high end ones. There may be no need to duplicate that coverage with additional expensive policies. Every CC is different but we always carry one with extensive travel benefits. I would never buy insurance from a cruise line, nor would I book hotel rooms through them. If you try to insure for for every conceivable loss in life you will be insurance poor.
  14. Our last two Holland America cruises were 14 days each. There were no enrichment speakers. The port guides, (periodically their title changed) were selling port excursions and reading a power point. They sat somewhere for a couple hours to take questions. One gal sat with a Fodors guide to Norway and used the index to look up subjects. I asked a question on how to see a particular cultural group and she pulled out the list of excursions for that port. She had previously marked with yellow highlighter the listed points of interest on each tour The second guy also read the power point, not sure if he could answer questions. I am not sure what has been lost if the lament is about port guides. I can read excursions lists and get an idea on what to see. Of course loss of enrichment speakers was huge in the mass market industry. We had our best Mass market ones on Princess, years ago.
  15. I said the situation (pedophilia) was despicable. I stand by that. We heard some other unsavory things that I have never posted. I could say a lot more. i previously posted we spent four days there and it was a fascinating place to visit one time. We were with a private guide and saw the country in unsanitized fashion. Non cruise bus reality. We interacted with lovely people. We have no plans to return.
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