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About SedonaJoel

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Sedona, AZ
  • Interests
    Travel, Photography
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Oceania, Viking
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:
    I teach classes on Travel using credit card sign-up bonuses and on-line shopping for free travel

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  1. We're booked on the Orion for 37 days beginning 4/21 - we're in suite 3094. I hope that our experience is better than yours.
  2. We'd completed 7 Regent cruises -then did 28 Oceania cruises - all in owners or Oceania suites. We really like Oceania - but are just bored with their itineraries so we have no more cruises planned with them. We find the Regent service level (lack of) in the buffet restaurant awful and the food too rich and unremarkable - (so no more Regent for us). Our new favorite cruise line is Azamara. Their customer service is excellent - both from HQ and on their ships and they have amazing itineraries. We did Antarctica this January and loved it. We're doing Singapore and Myanmar in October and Norway and Svalbard island next year - all on Azamara. o
  3. What suite type were you in on Viking? Was it an Explorer (ES3)?
  4. Why would you need insurance for PR or USVI? Your home medical policy would provide coverage (including Medicare). Geoblue is outstanding - I've collected claims from them 4 times, always payment in full and fairly quickly. The $50 deductible on their policy is per year, not per claim.
  5. You will have to read the benefits brochures and/or call the benefits provider for each card. Call the number on the back of your credit card and they will connect you.
  6. If the cost of the trip exceeds the $20,000 CSR limit - you can split the payment among multiple cards. Your spouse can also get their own CSR card and you can charge $20,000 to each card - if your cost exceeds that get a Chase Ink Executive card and use your Citi premier card if necessary. I had to do that for a recent $55,000 cruise. For the credit card insurance "pre-existing conditions" means something you were treated for in the 60 days before payment (not just taking medications or seeing your doctor for checkups. (read the benefit booklets for each card).
  7. Make sure to go on-line and read the cruise lines policies. Many offer very little for significant payment. Many Chase & Citi credit cards offer all the trip interruption/cancellation insurance you will need for FREE. And they pay their claims.
  8. Your CSR card gives you $2500 medical, drugs and emergency evacuation.
  9. I created this after our first Viking cruise in 2017. We have 5 cruises planned for 2019 (3 Viking and 2 Azamara). We just returned from our first Azamara cruise (Buenos Aires to Antarctica and return - 17 days). We loved the cruise! Viking vs Oceania (both cruise lines have outstanding food and service). I listed the differences I found in Viking. 1. Check-in at the pier was lightning fast. Excellent service. 2. Ship is magnificent and very modern. 3. 3 swimming pools including a large pool with retractable roof. 4. Spa is beautiful with its own indoor swimming pool 5. Spa has Saunas and ice room. 6. Spa services are a bit cheaper than Oceania. 7. Wine and beer at meals is free. 8. Liquor package is only $19.95/day (including service charge) – for upgraded beverages. 9. No corkage fee for your personal wine anywhere onboard (including dining rooms). 10. Most menu wines are $5/glass and Service charges are included. 11. One excursion at each port is free (not one per day). 12. In cabin (Penthouse Jr. Suite) – heated bathroom floor, heated towel rack. Two very large flat panel TVs, movies on demand (many, many of them). Many news channels, all the ship’s lectures, and all the port talks (you can reference any of them on demand. 13. No public address announcements in the cabins – a 40 second beep warning before they make announcements so you have time to turn on the TV in your cabin if you want to listen. 14. TVs have all of your personal tour schedules, excursions, dinner reservations, ledger, etc. 15. In dining rooms and bars waiters have tiny terminals (small iphones) to take orders and transmit them to the kitchen or bar. For bar orders – there is nothing to sign. Your photo appears on the terminal. 16. Room service is not as nice as Oceania – no table cloth or setup – but great menu. 17. Amazing waffles – with fresh berries at Mamsens. 18. Huge shower in penthouse junior suite (PJS). 19. Dual vanity sinks in PJS. 20. Excursions are very efficient – and load FAST! 21. Lots of comfortable and relaxing seating areas throughout the ship. 22. More variety of merchandise in the boutiques. 23. No Casino or butlers. 24. 2 movie theaters (part of theater) – we saw Cirque Soliel in 3D. 25. Free laundry, dry cleaning and shoe shine in suites. 26. The Chef’s table specialty restaurant presents a different menu every 3 days with a free 5 course pre-fix dinner with free wine pairings. 27. They have a classical 3 piece group, a guitarist, a piano and an 8 person production show team (all members dance and sing). They have electronic backdrops with simulated motion for the stage shows). 28. There are video displays at the elevators and throughout the ship showing how to get to the disembarkation area of the day. They also show the weather, dining menus, and most anything else you might want to know. 29. Great perks for on-board future cruise bookings. ($500 sbc for 3 bookings). Not quite as much discount on suites as “O”. 30. In the World Café (the Viking equivalent to the Oceania terrace café) everything is self-serve. (this leads to sanitation issues in our opinion) A coffee pot is placed on each table so you never need to look for coffee service. Pizza is available at lunch and dinner and a large selection of Sushi at dinner daily. 31. In the theatre in the evening show time is usually 9:15pm. So far we have seen no outside entertainers – just the 8 member ship’s troupe (which is excellent). There are individual performances from the troupe throughout the ship at varying times throughout the cruise. 32. No reservation cards for the specialty restaurants are placed on the suite doors. The reservations are posted on your TV. 33. No tender tickets for private tours – just take any tender you want. 34. No clocks in rooms, no night-time chocolates, no DVD players. 35. Harder beds, no top sheets. 36. Much less fish and sea food on the restaurant menus – and at the buffet. 37. Breakfast from 6:30am in some venues – Dinner from 6pm in all venues, 38. Mamsens – Small restaurant (breakfast, lunch and late night snacks) – amazing waffles for breakfast and lunch – plus snacks, coffee, sandwiches, soup and more. 39. Medical center does not charge to see a nurse – and seeing the ship’s doctor only costs less than $100. vs almost $200 for any medical center visit on Oceania.
  10. Send me an email and I'll give you my opinions. joel dot gilgoff at gmail.com
  11. The various categories the cruise lines use are only for market positioning. We've done 75 cruises on Oceania, Regent and Viking (including 25 on Renaissance). We are currently on the Azamara Pursuit heading for Antarctica. I select cruise lines based on suite availability and itinerary. We generally travel in Owners (or equivalent). Our favorite was Oceania but we got bored with their lack of new itineraries. This year we ae doing 3 Viking cruises and 2 Azamara cruises. As far as trip cancellation insurance Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) has the best policy. If you charge any portion of your cruise to CSR you get $20,000 worth of coverage, My wife also has a CSR card so we split expensive trips on multiple cards. We've had to cancel 3 cruises for medical reasons and have been paid in full for all cancellation fees. As far as medical coverage we use GEOBlueInsurance.com - cost for multi-trip medical is only $235/yr.
  12. In the USA travel medical insurance is available from GeoblueInsurance.com - cost for multi-trip medical for two people up to age 84 is only $235/year for all the trips you take within one year from your first trip. We've used the insurance all over the world and on cruise ships. They pay everything with only a $50 deductible per year. I'm not sure if it for the USA residents only. For trip cancellation insurance I use Chase Sapphire Reserve card(s) to get up to $20,000 trip interruption or cancellation insurance for FREE. Some Citi cards also offer free trip cancellation insurance. I've collected on all of the various cards. Last year I needed to cancel an Antarctic cruise on Silversea and was paid back the entire $45,000 cruise fare. You need to check with both Chase and Citi to see if they offer the same coverages to Canadians. For these two cards preexisting conditions are considered something you have been treated for in the 6 months before you travel - not considering ongoing consultations or medication. Joel
  13. We will be doing the Antarctica cruise in January on the Azamara Pursuit. Does the Pursuit have streaming movies in the suites? Do the suites have DVD players and/or a place to plug a DVD player into the cabins TV? Thank you. Joel
  14. We just signed up for this cruise. This will be number 30 on Oceania. Joel & Sheila Sedona, AZ
  15. We did exactly what you are asking for a few years ago. We booked B to B cruises and had to pay for both (the second cruise was going to be #20). When we were about 60 days out from the first cruise Oceania refunded the prorata cost of 14 days of the second cruise (the second cruise was a 20 day cruise and Oceania's FREE cruise is just for 14 days). Joel
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