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Everything posted by Mura

  1. I was contemplating walking out to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to watch you guys sail away but not knowing when you're really supposed to leave -- and maybe you already have -- I guess I'll wait until Marina leaves port on April 5th ... we were supposed to be on board ... oh well! Have a great time everyone! Mura
  2. I haven't found that PE was as uncomfortable as coach, but then I'm not tall either! I agree that the definition of PE differs from airline to airline. A couple of years ago we found PE on SAS and BH to be quite comfortable. Not as good as business but it was well worth the upgrade since we were using O's air on that trip, which normally we do NOT do. Likewise, we always go in early and return late. Part of our trip is visiting the beginning and ending ports. Yes, I'm aware that not everyone has the luxury of taking extra time -- whether it's because of a job, children, pets, or something else. Mura
  3. My info is very old but I thought I'd throw it in for general consumption. We were there on the R7 (with Renaissance, now with Azamara I believe) in May 2001. At that time, there were three ports. At the last minute our port was changed, so our private guide (this was before Alla, Red October, etc. were in business I believe) went to the wrong port. I immediately emailed her when I learned about the problem but she must have already left. Far fewer cell phones back then, and back then I didn't have one anyway! We waited for a while but then a couple of crew members came out and offered to drive us to the Hermitage, so off we went. Needless to say, she showed up 5 minutes after we left with them. (I paid her for the day since we were the ones who bailed on her. Her fee at the time was all of $60/day.) We had visas so there was no problem in wandering around on our own. We spent most of the day at the Hermitage. I don't remember what day of the week it was but I also don't remember huge crowds. But it was long ago. My feet were so sore by the time we left I thought I'd never walk again, but we had a wonderful day. For the poster who asked about lots of stairs, I don't remember them. Definitely there was a gorgeous staircase from the ground floor to the first floor, and I do think we spent most of our time there ... maybe not. I took a lot of photos ... We got somewhat ripped off by the cab driver who drove us back to the port, but that was because we were on our own. The next day we met our guide as scheduled and she took us around. She spoke to the cab driver when we returned to the ship and that time we were NOT ripped off. Even with the first guy's exorbitant charge, by NYC standards it wasn't much at all. And we had the rubles. Truly one of the spectacular museums of the world ... we loved it, and had no problem going around on our own without an ability to speak Russian. I sing in Russian but somehow that isn't the same thing ... being able to read the Cyrillic letters doesn't mean you know what the words mean! Unless I had seen them in a vocal score, which again tends NOT to be the standard spoken vocabulary! Mura
  4. It does sound like inexperienced crew members. Agree with you and others -- arguing in front of passengers is never a good idea. On our first Oceania cruise way back when we were on a B2B: LA to Costa Rica/Costa Rica to Miami (through the Canal). There was a big crew change-over in Costa Rica and the drop in efficiency was immediately evident. It DID clear up pretty quickly, however (within a few days as I recall). Unfortunately for us, our favorite waiter (all of 7' tall) was among the crew who left the ship ...
  5. I find that surprising. I've been on quite a few Marina cruises (and all the other ships at various times) and never saw such a scene as you described happened on your cruise. Sometimes when there's a big turnover in cruise at the start of a cruise, such things happen. In our experience the maitre d' recognizes us and greets us by name. He or she (or a designated waiter) takes us to our table. Mura
  6. From our experience (not in participating in solo get-togethers, just in reading Currents) Oceania DOES organize solo get-togethers. Not necessarily every night. Perhaps it depends on the numbers of solo travelers as well. While it could be arranged via the roll call I'm guessing it wouldn't necessarily be get-togethers specifically for solo travelers -- more as a chance for people who "meet" on the roll call decide to met privately. Which is pretty much a meet and greet, I guess. But some Meet & Greets get very large -- I've arranged several that were ever 100 people. Others were 25-30 people. It depends on your roll call. DH and I have fairly frequently been assigned to a table for two when we really wanted to share in the GDR. It's more a question of how many people are waiting for a table, or in our case, people who want to share who are there when we are. We tend to eat later and frankly, we found it easier to get a small table just for us when we didn't want one! But we never EVER had the experience of asking for a table for two and having to join a larger group. I suppose that could be because we rarely ask for a table for two! No, I'll take that back... on the last couple of cruises DH was bothered with his increased hearing loss and felt it easier not to be dining with strangers. Even so, on one occasion we entered with a single woman and invited her to join us, which she did. Mura
  7. I dunno ... we've been to Lisbon many times since 1999, and we always do it on our own. Have never had any problems. I DO agree that if you only have one day, a guide can be very helpful. We've always gone in early 2-3 days or stayed late 2-3 days. We've also done 3 road trips now through northern Portugal, which always ended with several days in Lisbon. So we know the city pretty well. But again, if you only have one day there (or maybe part of a second day) ... a guide can be very helpful. My cousin was just in Lisbon for a couple of days and based on my suggestions, had no problems doing it on her own ... It depends on how much you want to do on your own! No judgments here ... Even if you want to go to Sintra, it's easy to do by train. Based on our June 2017 visit we decided never to go to Sintra again. The crowds were terrible. But my cousin went there in December and had a lovely time ... it can depend on the time of year. Mura
  8. I'm absolutely not sure about any of that since we've never tried to use the privilege. BUT on the "R" ships someone in a PH has a gold card. On Marina and Riviera there was only one time when we were in a PH (others were in OC and VS) but I'm pretty sure we had a gold card on that cruise (back in 2015). So I won't insist that I'm right ... I just think I am. BUT ... I don't see how the crews can distinguish between gold cards when people are seeking to board a tender. The info I had was that a gold card gives you the privilege. I just saw Orv's post and so, yeah, maybe ... but it also seems to me that the posts we have seen here previously indicated *anyone* with a gold card can get the early boarding privilege. As I've said, we haven't tried so I don't know. It sure would be embarrassing to show your gold card for early boarding for a tender and then be hold you don't qualify ... Waiting to be corrected! Mura Mura
  9. PH1 has a gold card so you should be okay even if it's a tender port. I have to say that we usually have a gold card but we NEVER tried to get early access using it! But from posts I have seen here, it doesn't appear to be a problem. I remain puzzled as to how they can figure out how many people will be on a tender if on one end people with gold cards can just go on board when they want but at the same time they are issuing tickets for other people! What if they issue too many? However, I've never heard of such a problem so maybe they play it safe. Mura
  10. A mild request from someone not on this long trip! When adding a copy to a post that includes a lot of photos (or other detailed info, like the "gold" book) -- could you delete them? They add so much time to reading a comment when you've already seen that material. I'm not saying "don't use the quote feature" -- I'm just hoping you can edit out some of it! And if you don't, no harm ... Mura
  11. We've never had a problem leaving the ship when we want EXCEPT perhaps when it's a tender port. In that case, people with gold cards (i.e. in suites) can just go to the tender. Others need to get a tender ticket, and that can mean getting there early if you have a specific time, say, to meet a guide on shore. I remember one time in 16 cruises where some ship's tours were exiting from the reception area which created some long lines (although they did move quickly). Usually, we just go off the ship. Mura
  12. Are you assuming that the ships are falling apart? We were on Marina in November 2017 and Riviera May 2018. They looked beautiful to us. The May cruise was our first time on Riviera but our first cruise on Marina was in October 2011 (and we've sailed on her several times). We never had anything to complain about. For the record, on these ships we've tended to be in Oceania or Vista suites, although we were in a PH for one cruise on Marina in 2015. The ships are maintained regularly at frequent intervals. Now, your 2020 plans COULD mean that they will be ready for the regular maintenance sometime before that. But even if they were not, my guess would be the ship(s) would still be lovely. Even if priority is being given to the NEXT renovations of the "R" ships, I wouldn't worry. But I'm not as fussy as some others ... OTOH, if you want a brand new ship ... Oceania may not be for you. Mura
  13. It's always difficult to advise people as to what they will like! If you are used to larger ships (our one NCL cruise was on GEM which is 2300 passengers) then I agree that you might prefer Marina or Riviera (the "O" ships) which are 1250 passengers. That does NOT mean that you wouldn't like the smaller "R" ships (684 passengers) but there are more options for activities on the two larger ships. Two more specialty restaurants, extra activities in general. We started out on Renaissance so we came from the "R" ships to the "O" ships and like both of them for different reasons. But some Oceania regulars prefer one over the other. It's impossible for us to tell you what YOU would prefer. It would be nice if we could absolutely assure you that OUR choice will be YOUR choice ... however ... Good luck on making your decision. Many regulars will say that you should go for the itinerary and THEN choose the ship. Mura
  14. Have you figured out yet that it depends on what YOU want?????????? And you may not know that until you sail in one or the other ... I will say again: we have usually sailed in PH or above BUT we took a downsell on Nautica in July 2016 to a B1 and were quite happy with it! We didn't miss the butler, we didn't miss the Concierge Lounge (which we wouldn't have used much anyway). We DID miss extra space for eating when we ordered in from Room Service. We dealt with that. For breakfast we wouldn't have considered ordering in, even in the Concierge room. We went to the GDR for breakfast on sea days and to Terrace on port days. It's up to you ... but always hard to know what you will really want BEFORE you sail. On our first Renaissance cruise (on the R2, now Regatta) we were in a Deck 7 veranda room opposite the laundry room. We were very happy with it. We weren't really aware then that there were higher cabin levels! A few months later we were in what Oceania calls a PH and were entranced with the extra space. But for our last Renaissance cruise we were on the R7 which had eliminated the PH rooms (then called B category as I recall) which also satisfied us. So we were back to the standard veranda ... Back then, no butler, no in-room breakfast, no butler ... you get the drift? We were still very happy with the experience. Mura
  15. And even if you can only get one under the bed, they will take the other one away for you and return it in time to pack up for your departure. Not a problem! Mura
  16. My impression from the alert was that people most at risk are those of Chinese extractions, or former Chinese residents/citizens. Am I wrong? It wouldn't be the first time! We were there in May 2008 on a Viking riverboat cruise --strictly U.S. citizens in our group -- and we certainly had no problems then. But that's 10 years ago and things have changed. Mura
  17. I agree that emphasizing your medical condition and need should give you extra consideration. Do you have a TA? That person could certainly assist you if so. I read through all the earlier answers and saw where people suggested trying to book on board, but I didn't see anyone mentioning that they don't completely sell out with online bookings. They hold back a certain number (I have no idea of what the percentage is) for people who don't book online. My guess is that most passengers don't, but I certainly could be wrong with that assumption. Older passengers (who seem to be in the majority on Oceania) often are not computer savvy. Younger passengers, of course, are. But just because you can't book online for the time you need does NOT mean you won't be able to get a table once you board. And if you are willing to share, even easier. Don't assume because you couldn't get your time when booking online that you will NOT be able to get it. Good luck. Mura
  18. This question keeps on repeating. That's not a criticism of the OP. If you don't see the answer or can't manage with the search function (as I could not for a very long time), you are welcome to ask. As you have seen -- the answers are different from different people! We usually are in a PH, and sometimes above. But we took a downsell in July 2016 on Nautica to a B2 and didn't miss the concierge benefits (or the PH butler) at all. In the A/B/C cabins we consider that it's not at all feasible to have breakfast in the room, so that concierge benefit isn't of much use -- at least to us. We have very occasionally used the Concierge or Executive Lounges, but again ... but very occasionally. When we did go in there it was to talk to the Concierge about setting up a Meet & Greet -- which most people won't be doing! If we missed lunch and got back late, we'd go into the lounge to see what food we could scrounge up before dinner. Personally, I wouldn't pay extra for these features either. We WILL pay extra for a higher suite so as to have breakfast/dinner in the room comfortably ... but that's us! Manyu people don't consider that extra cost worth it as many who book the B/C cabins don't consider the concierge benefits worth it. It's something YOU have to decide for yourself, and it can be very difficult to make that decision before you've sailed in the particular cabin. Hope I haven't further confused you ... Mura
  19. I agree with Lou. Whenever we have been on an "R" ship -- and this goes back to Renaissance days -- we met in a large room (GDR, e.g.) and then filed out to the lifeboats for what often was a LONG wait until everyone was in place. On the "O" ships, we have skipped this step. I think the rule is a drill every 14 days so when you're on longer cruises you can indeed have more than one drill. Repetition doesn't hurt when you are talking about possible emergencies. Back in 2009 we boarded Regatta very late for a TA (I'd had to get my passport issued on an emergency replacement basis in Miami and so we were very late getting to the ship). There was another couple who'd been delayed by bad weather from Boston. I just refused to go to the boat drill since we were exhausted, had just gotten on board, and had been through many drills before. This was permitted. (I don't know if the Boston couple refused as well!) I don't think it would be permitted today, however! Mura
  20. Okay, my news about Sirena is 2 years ago (October 2016) but she looked beautiful then. Per the complaint about lower level cabins I have to admit we were in a Vista -- thanks to the downsell we'd accepted a few months earlier on Nautica. The thing is ... lots of people seem to be judging the "R" ships due to their age. I'm not saying at all that ALL critical comments are because of this but there are those who want newer looking, larger ships. And it has seemed to me that much of the criticism comes from that mindset ... which doesn't mean these people are wrong. They are looking for something else. We have traveled more on the "O" ships since they came on line than the "R" ships, but we've been on all of the "R" ships and had no disappointments. Oceania has always maintained the ships beautifully. I personally am not fond of the "improvements" with NEXT, but that's my personal choice. Certainly the OP's husband should be comforted with the information that the ships have regularly been updated and are in good condition. Mura
  21. I have never been concerned about drydock before or after a scheduled cruise but based on recent posts, I think I would be in the future! It does sound strange for a 5 day gap for a drydock but if the planned repairs are truly minor, perhaps it makes sense. This also gives you time for a 5 day in-between land trip, which is nice. When we did our Riviera Monte Carlo to Rome to Barcelona cruise (a 15 day B2B) this past May we arrived early and spent two days in Nice. Then had a private transfer from Nice to the port with tours in Eze and Monte Carlo before arriving at the port. I wouldn't have minded having a few more days! Thanks for the nice words, Denise! Mura
  22. The phone staff isn't always as up on details as they should be! In the good old days it wasn't unusual to have the boat drill after departure. I think the Princess fire a few years ago changed that. For a number of years now the drill is always around 5:15-5:30, in our experience more usually 5:15. On several recent cruises I arranged Meet & Greets for right after, and even people who had 6:30 dinner reservations were able to make an appearance. If your cruise is port intensive (especially if there are no sea days at all), it seems best to do it on the first day. This is especially true when people have set up private tours and would like to meet the others on their tour in advance. Mura
  23. We did an Iceland cruise in June 2006, and several Norway cruises as well. Sometimes we DIY, sometimes get a guide. On our first Oceania Norway trip (Lyn was on that one, too) another member in our group booked tours in every port and we had excellent guides everywhere. Prices were good as well - but this was in 2010 and the story might not be the same today. Scandinavia has ALWAYS been expensive. Even in 1975!
  24. Obviously. But for me, I prefer to have a printed version that I can READ.
  25. This is one case where I think the print version is best, if only for the port agent information -- which can be very important! If you could only access it on the TV then you have to somehow manage to print it out for yourself. Having menus, etc., available is a wonderful convenience ... but I'm not so sure about Currents. Mura
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