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Mura

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Everything posted by Mura

  1. We've been to fjords in Norway, Chile, New Zealand and Alaska (assuming we count Alaska here). Our favorite is also Norway, but none of these areas are to be diminished. They are all fabulous.
  2. Indeed, it WAS many years ago! Glad to hear unsweetened tea is now available. Not that I'm likely to try it out! Mura
  3. We are among those to don't find the package worth it. Firstly, DH doesn't drink ... maybe a sip of my wine at dinner but not much else. So we bring on some wine and vodka for consumption in the room. We tend NOT to go to the bars, unless someone else has invited us to join them. We'd never spend $60/day, let alone $60pp. So for us, pay as you go is clearly what we want to do. For people who want wine or beer at lunch, cocktails before dinner, wine with dinner and maybe a post-dinner drinki... then it does make sense. Just do the calculation for yourself whether it's worth it or not. Note that you do NOT have to have the package every day of your cruise, but once you sign up for it you will have to pay for it til the end. You can start late, but then must continue to the end of the cruise. It can depend on the length of the cruise and WHERE you are cruising as to whether it's worth it as well.
  4. I'm not a big tea drinker but at lunch time on board, at least, I usually ask for iced tea ... or an Arnold Palmer. I loathe sweetened tea and the "straight" iced tea hasn't offended me in Terrace ... There was one meal at MacDonald's (I've been there maybe six times in my life) where I ordered iced tea and couldn't drink it because it was so sweet. Mura
  5. We are fans of breakfast in the GDR on sea days or days where we arrive late in port (that hasn't happened much) OR if we just have decided not to go ashore (also hasn't happened much). We're usually in a PH or maybe even above, so the alternative on tour days is a hot breakfast in the room. When we took a downsell to a B1 in 2016 we went to Terrace for breakfast for the first time in many cruises. We luckily found a table! When we've ordered into the room (from the regular breakfast choices, NOT room service) we specify a time. They are always knocking at the door at the exact time. As to the reduction in menu choices, we were on Riviera when the new menus came into play. Maybe we wouldn't have minded if we weren't long time passengers on O but we were used to dinner changes daily. So there used to be 3-4 salad and soup choices, about 5 main course choices, and so on. This was in addition to the standard "Jacques Pepin favorites", the vegetarian choices, etc. With the "new" menus, we saw much more repetition. So if you saw leg of lamb on the menu on Monday, you might see it again on Wednesday or Thursday. That doesn't mean that you won't find something you want on the dinner menu in the GDR. But you are definitely more limited. We always check the menus in advance anyway to decide whether we want to go the GDR, Terrace or order into our room. We aren't happy with these changes ourselves but our discontent isn't enough to make us bail ship ...
  6. Agree with others. By the way, oLife DOES include the "free" economy air as far as I know. Before oLife came into play, ALL fares included that benefit and if you chose not to take advantage of that benefit, you got a credit. Once upon a time that credit was significant. It no longer is. (In early days we found that the discount was more than what our air fare on our own would cost. Of course, then we weren't insisting on bizair ...) Our experience has been to book our own air which means we don't have to pay extra fly in early or leave late. Again, THAT cost has also increased significantly from early days. If you want business or first class air, then definitely book your own. If you talk to Oceania about upgrading to business from their economy "free" flight, you will be shocked, I think, at the cost. We certainly were! That being said, we have on one or two occasions used their premium economy upgrade -- again, that price has increased. Two (maybe three?) years ago I think that cost was $99, and now it is $199? $299? Those flights -- JFK to CPH/LHR to JFK on BA were very good. No complaints. As Lyn and others have said, do your own research and see what your own air would cost you before deciding about accepting the air benefit. If you don't want to fly economy you probably will not want it. There are big benefits in our minds to adding on a few extra days to your trip so that you can spend time in the departure and ending ports. Flying in on the day of the cruise has its risks. Our first Oceania cruise back in 2004 left from Miami for the Panama Canal, and some people who were delayed by bad weather missed the departure. The captain had a choice of waiting for them to arrive and missing the ship's Canal slot or leaving without them. He left without them. They caught up to the ship later. As to the oLife benefits: we usually take ship credit or the ship's tours. We see no benefit (for us!) with the liquor package. While before oLife came into play we tended to do occasional ship's tours with mostly private tours with people on our Roll Call, since oLife tours came into play we have taken a number of ship's tours. We calculate the cost we would have paid for the tour on our own against the surcharge for oLife vs. cruise only fares. This also depends on the ship's tours that we see that we would want to take to begin with. You are limited to tours that cost $199 or less. So far we've found tours that were to our advantage, but again, costs have increased. My memory could be wrong but I think that when oLife was first announced the surcharge was maybe $300pp. Now it is significantly more than that, depending on the length of the cruise. Also, since oLife has come into existence it is more difficult to find fellow travelers on your Roll Call who want to do private tours. On our last cruise we did find people to join us on the private tours we set up, but it can depend on itinerary. So you need to do your research to decide what you want to do! There is nothing to say that you cannot opt for oLife benefits when booking and change your mind later, as long as you do so before final payment. I think that time limit is 14 days but don't quote me. In these cases, a TA experienced with Oceania can be invaluable. Mura
  7. Thanks for that info. I was only doing a quick check out of curiosity since we weren't on the particular cruise that ended up ending/starting at Marseille rather than Monte Carlo. I doubt we'll ever need this ourselves, but will save your comment just in case. I also was thinking of people who supposedly were not able to take the provided coach.
  8. 😃 You can see how often I've sailed in a "C" ... sorry about that! I think I was momentarily back with Renaissance when a "C" was what an "A" is on Oceania.
  9. One way I see the difference is this: This has to do with the main living space, not the bathroom or the veranda. On an "R" ship, the width of the cabin is pretty much the length of the bed plus enough space for one person to pass by. So if you want to head for the veranda from the bathroom and your partner wants to do the opposite, one of you has to wait. In a PH, both can cross at the same time. The bathroom is significantly larger than the veranda bathroom (although not humoungous by any means). I believe changes have been made so that the tub has been removed and replaced by a large shower -- BUT in the veranda room there would be no way to fit in a bathtub. It has a very small shower. At least the shower curtain has been replaced with a door ... or so I understand. Likewise the veranda is larger in that in a PH you can have two loungers whereas the veranda on the "A", "B" and "C" cabins has two chairs.
  10. For our part, we had an overnight in Venice and I just got on the internet and booked a taxi to pick us up. We weren't sure about finding a cab since Riviera was docked VERY far out in the port. The price was reasonable -- sorry I can't say who we used! -- and we didn't have to worry about coordinating with others. Besides, when you have luggage, and another couple has luggage, that requires a bigger vehicle. It shouldn't be a problem. It's not like you have a 2 hour drive to the airport! Good luck.
  11. Different strokes indeed. I would never argue with your preferences! I find that small table on the "O" ships uncomfortable as opposed to the "real" dinner table in the "R" PH suites. But I do agree that the walk-in closet on the "O" ships is a big improvement although, we've never had to fight for space on the "R" ship PH closets. I like watching TV during the meal (especially breakfast) as well which is why I prefer the VS living room over the OC, but that's not enough for us to forego the wonderful aft OCs ... I turn the TV on in the bedroom in that case and just listen! Mura
  12. Maybe you were lucky? The ones I received I'd liken more to appetizer sizes than dinner portions (per course). That's not a problem because if they picked an ingredient I don't care for, it's not so embarrassing to leave a nearly full plate ... I know more will be coming.
  13. While traffic was definitely reduced on the Roll Calls for our last two cruises (Nov '17, May '18) we did have sufficient traffic and we were able to set up several private tours on each cruise. Since we had opted for oLife tours on those cruises, we weren't trying to book private tours in each port. I realize the participation on a Roll Call can vary widely depending on itinerary. Both of these were Med cruises (Rome-Barcelona, Monte Carlo-Rome-Venice). As Lyn says, when you can't find a Roll Call, just go ahead and start one! Many people, especially newbies, I think, aren't sure just how to do so. It's not difficult. And sometimes you end up with two different Roll Calls being set up ... That is easily fixed as well.
  14. We enjoy both class of ships but also definitely prefer a PH to the veranda. The one thing where we may differ with some -- I think some because I've seen posts saying much the same thing -- is that I actually prefer the PH on the "R" ships to the PH on the "O" ships. The reason is that I don't like the placement of the dining table at the foot of the bed on the "O" ships. The larger suites, which definitely are larger!, are much more comfortable for dining in the suite. But cost is cost and I'd never suggest spending more than you can easily afford. I'll also say that we took a downsell from a PH to a B2 on Nautica a couple of years ago, and I expected to suffer (despite the vast refund we received which paid for our next cruise). I had remembered being very unhappy with the tiny bathroom in the veranda suites on the "R" ships when we first started out on Renaissance and then Oceania. But we were pleasantly surprised. Despite the fact that most of our cruises in the prior 2-3 years had been in top suites, we found the B2 (which ended up being a B1) just fine. Mura We have been lured to the VS and OC on the "O" ships -- once spoiled as we were, it's hard to go back!
  15. Ho9w does one define "huge" portions? We've done La Reserve on Marina and Riviera, and I'd never say the portions were "huge". Although by the time you've waded through multiple courses, you are still very full!
  16. I don't disagree, Clo, but tours that I have arranged (or joined when someone else did the organizing) have rarely been more than 8 people. I don't consider that number "a group thing". I don't refuse to go off on our own, but I also like the smaller private tours. I also agree with Frances that with only one or maybe two exceptions, our ship's tours under oLife have been very good. It often depends on just where you are. Are you in a huge city? Or maybe a small village? When we want to go OUT of town (as we did, for example, in Halifax) it's easier with a small group since I don't want to bother with renting a car.
  17. Even if your favorite butler is on your cruise, you don't know that your cabin will be one that he is assigned to. A big matter of luck, I think. That being said, we've never been unhappy with any butler who has served us. I DO understand that when you have a favorite you want him to be "yours" again. Mura
  18. I also have never seen a magician on Oceania over many cruises. There was one on a QE2 cruise back on 2004 that was wonderful ... and I don't care for magicians either! Sorry you had a sorry experience there. For the record, we don't go to the shows all that often ... we're classical musician people so a typical "show" doesn't necessarily attract us. Sometimes we go in and plant ourselves in the back so that if we want to leave, we can. We usually do not, however. I remember a story about Victor Borge when a grande dame was slowly marching down the aisle to her very front seat (I think at Carnegie Hall in NYC) after the performance had started. He played one note per step, and she gradually increased her pace until she rushed into her seat. I wouldn't want that to happen to us if we were noticeably LEAVING a performance ...
  19. I've never tried to bring on an OPEN bottle. Closed bottles have done well whether in carry-on or checked luggage. I agree that with an open bottle in a carry-on is safest, assuming it's well "packaged".
  20. I was just checking train schedules. It's 107 miles from Monte Carlo to Marseille. The travel times that I saw posted were from 3 hours 36 minutes to 3 hours 46 minutes. So if you can get your tickets, it's certainly do-able. The train ride from Nice to Marseille appears to be about an hour shorter. On the one hand I can see why O would limit their transfers to people who are arriving in Nice on that day, but on the other hand I think they should do something for people who are already there. When we had our Monte Carlo departure last year we arrived a few days in advance. With sufficient notice we probably would have been able to book a train -- unless suddenly several hundred people are looking for the few empty seats remaining (?) -- but we'd have been much happier if O had accommodated us under the circumstances. Had we known, we'd have flown to Marseille! (But in our case, the ship was there when we were ...)
  21. Mura

    Guaranteed

    Oceania will be offering passengers lots of offers to get them to switch cruises (we did this once), take an upsell (we did this a couple of time) and even take a downsell (which we also did once). That downsell was too, too tempting since the huge refund we received paid for our next cruise in a VS. (Our downsell was from a PH to a B2 which ended up being a B1.) They will do whatever they have to do to make sure that you get your guaranteed cabin. Mura P.S. Upon thinking about it they might also try to coerce you into taking a different cruise. When we did that (back in October 2011) we had been booked in a PH on Regatta for an Alaska cruise. To get us to give up that PH they offered upgrading us to a VS at no extra cost on a Med cruise. We ended up on Marina which we'd been wanting to try anyway. They increased our already hefty OBC to $1250 and gave us some other perks. We took a hit when we had to change our flight reservations, but it wasn't too bad since instead of flying from NY to Seattle we flew instead to L.A. and visited family. That turned out to be fortuitous since my mother (who had long been ill with Alzheimers) died a few weeks after we were there.
  22. Query: are passengers who are now boarding in Marseille rather than Monte Carlo also being provided transport to the ship? I'm assuming that people who booked their own air will be flying to Nice or Monte Carlo and might have difficulty in arranging transport to Marseille. I also wonder what is happening to the passengers who are using O's air. Given the difficulty of arranging different flights at such late notice would be more difficult than just hiring some buses. Clearly O is getting the departing guests to Monte Carlo, so I would assume that it would do so for the reverse problem. Should I assume? A year and a half ago we flew to Nice for our Monte Carlo departure and wouldn't have been very happy if we had needed to get ourselves to Marseille ... although since we came in three days early we certainly would have had the time to make arrangements. It does sound like O had valid reasons (bad weather) for changing the port, but ....
  23. Don't recall ever seeing them on the menu ... just because he has published recipes doesn't mean all of them will be found on Oceania! They do have nice crepes suzettes in Jacques on Marina and Riviera, though ... not exactly potato pancakes ...
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