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About Shawnino

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  1. We cruise the Med in February/March and October/November. You simply could not pay me to do it July/August. Almost all the stuff you describe (quieter ports, cooler weather) we see as a plus. The private guides we hire are grateful for the shoulder season business and are eager to customise trips for us. You can get up close to attractions, no crowds. Service in restaurants is less frenetic. The ship does not have to compete for berthing space. So it gets dark a little earlier... helps set the mood for good food, good wine, and good conversations aboard. God knows lots of people prefer July/August. And god knows why.
  2. Happy looking. We've put in for some 2021 O cruises and I guess we'll find out if we got the cabins tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed. You are much more tolerant than I am. Even if I had Warren Buffett's money, I just couldn't bring myself to pay $1,000/nt for something which includes food that is "up and down". Whether I'm buying a piece of chocolate or a car, I get very annoyed with myself if I don't get what I perceive to be value-for-money. I can eat at McDonalds or French Laundry--but I want to pay what I think is a fair price.
  3. Lots of people have careers/investments/cash tied up in hyping "greenhouse effect" or "global warming" or "climate change" or whatever they're calling it this week. If they think they're saving the planet because they're not using a straw whilst cruising, your chance at talking sense into them is rather remote. Let it go.
  4. Oceania (and other lines) and pax: saving the environment by sailing fuel burning 30,000- and 66,000-ton vessels about the oceans for pleasure 24/7, 365 days a year. But... but... no plastic straws!
  5. Maybe in the 1800s sometime? Thanks.
  6. Spanish Tortilla is its own thing. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/147109/tortilla-espanola-spanish-tortilla/
  7. Hate to interrupt all the humblebragging, but when traveling on the more upscale lines, O included, I've seen far more bad behaviour by staff than by pax--and most times pax are unwilling to make a fuss or call it out when maybe they ought to. Perhaps it's just wanting to move on ("I'm on vacation"); perhaps it's fear of retaliation down the track. It does sound like Sirena has a problem. I have not sailed R-ships: I've more or less been warned off them, compared to O-ships, based on both the hard and soft product. (Riviera is really good BTW.) If the service on R-ships is also slipping, one wonders, medium-term, how O will fill them.
  8. We don't do ship-sponsored shore-ex but a half dozen people we met aboard did the farmhouse culinary thing last November. They said it was excellent. Could not stop raving about it. It has made us want to arrangew a similar on-our-own experience next time we are in Civitavecchia.
  9. Isn't a Grand Voyage just multiple shorter cruises strung together? No idea about the overall demo, but on our Roll Call for our 20-day cruise (luckily, we only did the one leg) roughly half the pax were on for the prior 15 days and 10-20%-ish were on for the subsequent 12 days (with some overlap of people doing all three). I can't imagine that the slop on offer was any tastier on the leg prior or subsequent. I guess if the excursion 'expert' or the CD was a different person, that might have been better--they could not have been worse. The enrichment stuff was a real shock to me as I had been reading the HAL boards, and the Antarctic cruises had actual experts aboard. I was really looking forward to same. They had lots of ways to make it right: as mentioned before, there are taught-in-English universities in Longyearbyen, Akureyri, and Reykjavik. Bring on some keen grad students to give a few talks.
  10. Oof. Sydney and Saint John. Not sure what you did to deserve that but you must have been incredibly evil in a past life.
  11. I actually gave the pax on the HAL cruise the benefit of the doubt on asking "How much did you pay?" because it felt like a special situation. (I understand it's gauche under ordinary circumstances.) The ship had been switched from 850 pax to 1450 pax capacity and by the end I think the price was "well, how much can you spare?". One couple told al and sundry they paid EUR 900 pp for an inside (20-day cruise). Just as reference (all figures Canadian), when we pulled the trigger the Lanai was $3899 + fees etc pp. It ended up dropping below $3K. Next year's was being simultaneously advertised at $11,499, basic-drinks-pkg-in. (Ours had no drinks package, not precisely apples-to-apples then.) Secondary topic for the early bookers (those who paid higher prices) was "Did you get compensation when the price fell through the floor after final payment?" One couple claimed to have gotten $2500 OBC. (Wow.) I had never even heard of this notion--I thought once final payment came and went, you got what you bargained for. But I overheard several people in the observation lounge claim they asked to be made whole and got some measure of OBC.
  12. On O class I think, Concierge sprawls over a level... forward, mid, aft
  13. Not sensible/safe at all. Decision was made before we even reached Malaga. As a pax who worked for NOAA explained, they had no idea where the storm was heading. Way too early to say whether we should have sailed north or south or hidden behind the islands. Decision should have been made much later. The safe play was to make the first port in the Canaries, then decide north or south.
  14. If you're referring to this one... https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=660654 Most of the moaning seems to be about the Cruise Director not setting the right 'vibe' for the ship (whatever that means) and the crew being unhappy. In your shoes, it wouldn't bug me. I couldn't care less who the CD is--I find them to be intrusions. If the staff is unhappy, that's really no good, but they'll mostly be out of contract by April -- and I hope they can find a better place they like to work.
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