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About pingpong1

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    Surprise, AZ

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  1. Jim - I'm "new to this party", as well. My thought would be to just buy some bottles/cans/6-packs in ports, just bring them on board (it's allowed), and put them in the frig, myself, to have on hand
  2. As they say, "No good deed goes unpunished" 😉
  3. And if I might tag onto Keith's reply.....Once you're on that first 7-day cruise and reach the "Day 5 mark", you'll be kicking yourself in the butt and wondering why you ever settled for such a short cruise!
  4. Paul - Just curious. If Canyon Ranch is a private/separate concession, it seems like they're paying Regent/Oceania to be on the ships and not the other way around, right? It isn't "costing" Oceania anything for Canyon Ranch to be on the ships. If anything, in some small/weird/non-quantifiable way, the fact that Canyon Ranch (along with their name recognition that Oceania uses in all their marketing literature) probably contributes to Oceania's overall profits and branding efforts. That would make (Canyon Ranch) a "profit contributor" rather than a "cost drain". Presumably, any other spa provider (like Steiner) is also going to be paying NCL/Oceania/Regent for the "privilege" of being on their ships, so how would this (elimination of Canyon Ranch) be a "cost savings" for Oceania - particularly if Steiner wasn't going to bring in as much money? Regards.
  5. Rollie - I'm "new to cruising", in comparison to you and your "Elite Plus" status with Celebrity. So you've taken far more cruises than I have. If you have not made all those bookings through a trusted regular Travel Agent over the years, then it seems to me that you've missed out on tons of ancillary/added benefits. I.e., cash rebates, additional ship board credits, prepaid gratuities, complimentary bottles of" nicer wines" waiting for you in your stateroom, etc. which successful and high-volume agencies regularly give to their frequent (and even first-time) customers. What did you feel was the benefit of booking directly? You are not going to get those extra benefits by merely calling up the cruise line, no matter what your status is, and booking your cruises directly with them. Others can chime in here, but it seems to me that you have really lost a lot of extra concessions over the years by not establishing an ongoing relationship with a good travel agency to do your bookings for you. Regards.
  6. Hi Poss - Don't feel like you're alone on this. All of these "plans" and "coverages" can be very confusing. We received the same letter (from AA). It's not really health or medical insurance, itself. It is only a service that provides "assistance from a distance" in helping coordinate options and services for you (including foreign language translations) to help get medical assistance for you and arrange transportation back to the U.S., if necessary. You would still have to separately pay for the actual transportation and medical costs. They also provide assistance in obtaining airline transportation for relatives and children, who might be accompanying you on a trip. They'll also provide assistance in getting your vehicle back to your home, if it's in a different city or location than where you live. They are mainly providing a warm, friendly, kind voice on the other end of the line on a 24/7 basis. They try to ensure (from a distance) that you are able to actually get the specific medical care you need to get you well enough, wherever you're currently located, to expeditiously get you back home. They are not providing payment (insurance coverage) for anything. You still would need separate health insurance and plane ticket funds to get yourself home. All of these same "assistance services" are provided with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, and perhaps other CC companies, as well. If you have the CSR card, buying this separate "assistance plan" offered by AA, would only be a duplicate/redundant coverage of what you'd already have with the CSR card and could be a waste of money. Regards.
  7. GR - No apology necessary! It gave me a good laugh. I was really looking forward to my first night at the "Hilton Sticky"! 😁
  8. Yes, it was humor (hence, the smiling emoticon). Our (my) best meals are at home, as well, thanks to the "cooking prowess" of my DW. And also, far cheaper than eating out. But among many other reasons, going on an "upscale cruise" gives her a much anticipated and welcomed break from those efforts. I'm hoping that Oceania lives up to it's slogan of "finest cuisine at sea". We'll see. Regards.
  9. Wow, another "good tip"! Thanks.
  10. Clo - Perhaps for you, the "best restaurant" might well be you own dining room! 😉
  11. I guess there's only so much you can do with spaghetti & meatballs (or veal Marsala, or saltimbocca, etc.) . Italian is Italian. And a "steak is a steak". What kinds of "updating" do you think they could do, while still keeping it Italian and American Steakhouse, respectively? Just curious.
  12. Hi Flatbush - I'm picking up lots of good info from you and other "O vets", in prep for my first future O cruise. I also figured out (pretty early) that the 7-bottle "wine package" was no particular "bargain". Most of the bottles on that package, at least those I've seen listed in various posts (most I've never even heard of), would certainly not be "worth" the $47 (each) that is being charged for them. I'll always choose "quality" over "quantity". For me, a cruise will always be a "quality" vs. a "Walmart" experience. No offense to Walmart! Sure, at home I'll routinely buy and have on hand, a few bottle of "Beringer's White Zin" (about $5-6/btl retail) in my garage frig, for my friends who like it - and I certainly don't "hammer them" for drinking it, if that's what they like. But I'm not going to pay $47/bottle for that level of "quality" for a bottle of it on board a ship - any ship. The "bin end" option you mentioned sounds much more promising/viable and I had not heard about that previously, until you mentioned it. Like you, I fully intend to "go shopping" for some nice wines in ports and bring it on board (or/and perhaps also bring a couple of bottles from home, as well). I'll consume them in my suite/veranda and will also have "no problem" whatsoever paying the reasonable corkage fee for these personal bottles to enjoy with meals. After all, Why would I be willing to pay the (total) cost of ~ $15K-18K for my "O" cruise (airfares, pre-cruise hotels, stateroom upgrade, private excursions, actual cruise fare, Prestige Bev Package, etc.), and then, at the same time, "balk or fuss" about a $25 corkage fee for enjoying a bottle of my own nice (decanted) wine at dinner? That would be totally nonsensical and irrational. "Life is too short" to worry about the "small stuff"! Thanks to all for the continuing good info everyone is providing. Regards.
  13. Your beautiful pictures of Iceland brought back memories of my travels there 25 years ago (on government business). The cathedral is particularly beautiful and unlike any other I'd ever seen. As I recall, there is (was) a statute of Leif Erikson standing in a plaza in front of the church? The water was so clear, pure, and pollution-free that you could look down from the pier into it and see huge fish (salmon?) swimming about. Regards
  14. Just curious, here....What if it turns out to NOT be an "amazing experience"? What would your recourse be? Are you thinking that providing an "extra tip" (a "bribe" as some have called it), which is over and above what has already been stipulated/collected by O before or at the end of the cruise, will make a marked difference between your cruise experience being "amazing" or "just average"?
  15. Hi Dan (and others) - Would you or anyone happen to know/recall what a cab costs from the Manhattan terminal to EWR airport? or a booked limo? Regards to all.
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