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About Mura

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    Brooklyn, New York USA
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    music, photography, travel
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  1. You won't need a suit, and many men don't bother with a sports jacket either. A collared shirt and dress pants should be fine.
  2. +1 If you use the butler more than most of us do, then an extra tip is in order! To be more specific, on some of our longer cruises when in a suite --I'm talking 14-21 days -- we might have dined in the suite 2-3 times. Our tip reflected that. If you think you might use en suite dining most nights ... that is a calculation to make. On departure night, we always have dinner in our stateroom. Usually we will dine en suite once or twice when we had a long day touring. You have to decide for yourself, but it's a nice option on busy days. As and has been said -- you don't pay extra for the ensuite service. Mura
  3. I used to be one who hated the bathrooms in the veranda cabins on the "R" ships ... that is why we "upgraded" ourselves to PH. But when we were in a B1 on Nautica three years ago (maybe two), the bathrooms really didn't bother me. Sure, I prefer the big suites. But we don't always want to pay that much ... and on that cruise we'd taken a downsell which paid for a cruise on another "R" ship a couple of months later in a VS.... I would not like to see the "R" ships disappear ...OTOH they are getting older, aren't they?! Mura
  4. For us, the library on the "R" ships is far superior to the library on the "O" ships. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
  5. Tried to see if you had an answer yet and didn't find one, so ... It's probably easier on the two larger ships than on the "R" ships, but it all depends on the passengers. On some cruises you have a majority of people who want extra reservations. On others, there are more people like us who don't find a need to be in a specialty restaurant most nights. If you are in a suite you can always order from a specialty restaurant and dine in your room. It probably also depends on how long a cruise you are on. If it's a 7 day cruise, more passengers will want their reservations ... but if you're on a 21 day cruise, it usually becomes less important. However, it is rarely impossible to get an extra reservation -- in our experience. Mura
  6. I think I agree with Paul regarding treating Privee somewhat as a Chinese banquet where there are lots of dishes available for the participants. Mostly I agree with his point about people liking meats cooked to a different degree. As to beef, I like mine rare, my husband likes medium well. It's always difficult when I make a roast as to which one of us will be pleased. It's not that I'm saying "what a lousy idea" because I am not. Nor did Paul. I can see where there will be groups (as Pinot said) who love the idea, and others who wouldn't be so happy with it. And lest anyone think I'm opposed to a Chinese banquet -- far from it. For many years we organized trips to NYC's Chinatown where that was exactly what we did. Then again, neither do I think this is worth a battle ... Mura
  7. For me, the PH is definitely worth it -- I like the larger space. But plenty of others here will disagree with me. Perhaps it's best to stay with the A1 and try to look at a PH when you are onboard. As to the drink package, it doesn't sound like you will be using it enough to upgrade. Then again, I speak as someone who prefers to "pay as we go" as far as drinks are concerned. Again, there are plenty here who prefer the package. Hope your cruise sails in May! Mura
  8. Sorry you had such a difficult experience, We've done several TAs on the "R" ships and never had such a problem. I'm not doubting that you DID. Weather is weather ... When we did a Costa Rica-Miami cruise in O's early days (Feb 2004) most days were smooth but I remember that the captain took us OUT to sea when going to Aruba. We had to cancel the stop in the San Blas Islands the day earlier (which was one which I really had wanted to do) and then the sail to Aruba was SO difficult. Our cabin stewardess was sick as well but she still had to work. These couple of days were far worse than any TA we did on an "R" ship. There is no predicting what you will find. That cruise was far more difficult than any TA I can recall on an "R" ship. You never know. Mura
  9. This is an Oceania board and so it's not surprising that most of us prefer Oceania. (I don't lump myself in that category since we ourselves haven't sailed on Celebrity, but our TA has always been a fan of Celebrity as well as Oceania.) Even though I say that most of us here prefer O, Ken the Cruiser is certainly not alone in preferring Celebrity. No one line is going to please everybody. Mura
  10. And the one big drawback for many (not us) is the entertainment. Smaller ships have a harder time getting the talent! We don't often go to the shows but some have been excellent (we are both musicians ourselves), most are okay to good, and occasionally -- very occasionally -- we walked out. I didn't notice if anyone mentioned the Terrace Cafe in answering your question about the Grand Dining Room. The food there is excellent -- you will find many of the same dishes as are on the GDR's menu for that evening -- and it is more casual. It is far more spacious on Marina/Riviera than it is on the smaller "R" ships but you can get meat and fish grilled to your preference. If you've had a long day touring, it can be a great option. Mura
  11. The ship in my experience DOES wait for your late Oceania fight but as had been said -- it depends. When we did the Panama Canal the first time (leaving from Costa Rica) there were flights coming in from the frigid Northeast that were delayed because of weather, and the ship left before they arrived. That was because we would have lost our Canal slot. I never learned just when they caught up to the ship. It definitely will depend on when and where the next port is. If you are on a transatlantic the next port might be 6 days away ... A high school acquaintance who happened to be on a Dover-Southampton cruise with us in 2006 (Iceland, etc.) didn't catch the ship until we were in Oslo, and they were VERY unhappy because they had O flights and got no help at all (according to them) in terms of getting flights out. In their case they were flying from Santa Ana, CA (John Wayne) to Dover. Of course, both of these stories would suggest that passengers should consider flying in to the departure port at least a day early .... whether you do your own air arrangement OR take a deviation .... Consider your departure port and the ship's departure port, as well as the NEXT port on the itinerary. If you have a Caribbean itinerary departing from Miami it's quite different from flying from NY to Dubai! Or from California to Europe. In our case we generally choose to go in a few days early and leave a few days later so that we can visit the departure and arrival ports on our own. Not everyone has the luxury of time to do this, of course. Mura
  12. While we haven't done Antarctica, we did do the Galapagos back in 1989 on a 12 passenger motor cruiser . The on-shore visits were the highlight of the trip. On one shore visit Howard was snorkeling with penguins and I had a relationship with a young seal. She was sniffing at my toes and when she got too close I jumped back and so did she ...
  13. I'm afraid that Antarctica is one destination we always hoped to do but never did, and now it's too late for many reasons. But if we were to do so sometime in the future, we wouldn't do a drive by either.
  14. I don't think we've ever been in an adjoining cabin -- just because I never checked to see if we were -- but the only noise I ever heard on any of the ships was perhaps a toilet flushing. We could live with that!
  15. We did Israel privately in November 2006, Fortunately, DH's cousin is a licensed tour guide and she took us around the country for 2 weeks. We were on a cruise a couple of year ago that overnighted in Haifa It was very clear to me that we'd had a much better vision of the country driving around with Yafa than we could have had on a cruise. For example, if you are porting in Haifa it's a bit of a trek to Jerusalem. Yes, you will no doubt overnight there. But it was so much easier to book our own itinerary. And we stayed in the Haifa vicinity for three days as I recall. I often say that if you think you won't be able to come back to an area on your own, a cruise visit is a substitute. I'm thinking primarily of European ports (like Le Havre) where they say you're going to Paris or Berlin, but it's a 4 hour drive to get there. If you don't anticipate being able to do a longer term visit to major cities, then a cruise is a substitute -- especially if you have an overnight. But how much you will see even in a city like Lisbon with one day is far less than you could see if you were there longer. Mura
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