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Mura

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Everything posted by Mura

  1. I have to say that while I am not allergic to fragrances, I really cannot abide them any more! So I am sensitive to fragrances -- whether it's someone else's perfume or after shave, or laundry soap. We've used the "free" service on the "O" ships several times and I didn't notice any extra aroma. Likewise, when I use the self-service laundry equipment with the O-provided detergent, I haven't noticed "perfumes". It sounds like you may just have been -- er -- "lucky". I know you didn't consider it that way! I wouldn't have either. Mura
  2. Sure. I don't deny that when certain things are important to you, you should go for it. I was speaking more generally. For us, it is NOT that important. That is, we prefer a 7:30-8:00 time and are very happy to share. It's different for those who want an early time or don't care to share. We dine alone at home all the time, so when we are traveling we want to meet new people. Occasionally we've been with others who weren't great "fits", but the vast majority of the time we've enjoyed the people we were paired with. Sometimes we make arrangements with others on the roll call for a meal, but most often we "take our chances". Admittedly, we're usually in a suite and so going online to book at the earliest possible moment has NOT been necessary for us to get what we want. Mura
  3. We were first in Rio in March 1974 and had absolutely no worries going around on our own. The locals were very helpful when we didn't know which way to go. One gentleman went out of his way to walk us a couple of blocks to the zoo. On the local bus (which cost virtually nothing) the passengers were all eager to help us know which stop would take us to a nice restaurant that would have been impossible for them. As I recall our steak dinner in a beautiful (former) home was $40 -- don't recall if that was pp or total, I think total. But things have changed. When we were there five years ago we'd seen enough horror stories that we wouldn't consider it. Instead we booked a guide for full day tours on the two days we were there. With the guide and a private car we had no worries. Mura
  4. I agree. Just because you can't get what you want by booking online does NOT mean you won't get them when you board. You may have to adjust times and whether you want to share, but you will get at least the number of reservations that your cabin level entitles you to.
  5. Mura

    Corkage Fee

    There are a lot of differences ... but given that one ship is 684 passengers and the other is 1250 -- not that many! Rooms tend to be bigger, there are more options on board. Still both are beautiful ships (to me and many others). Some prefer the "R" ships, some the "O" ships -- we are inbetween. You will make up your own mind! Have a great cruise, Mura
  6. We've been in 11083 two or three times on Marina and 11080 on Riviera on our last cruise. Frankly, I've never used the media room so I can't specifically answer your questions. But they do have tons of movies and etc. available to be watched through the TV.
  7. Mura

    Corkage Fee

    We're trying to enlighten you (but understand the questions): only if you bring in your OWN wine (i.e. you brought it on board with you or bought it at one of the port stops) is there a corkage fee when you take it to a public venue. Drink it in your room and there is no corkage fee. If O gives you a bottle of bubbly because you're in concierge or higher, or if O gives you 6 bottles of booze/wine if you're in a top suite, no charge anywhere. Mura
  8. Thanks, Pinot. I'd forgotten about my recommendation! We did enjoy the hotel, and it was a great location.
  9. Pinot, your post led me back to my records. We were at the St. Ermin's Hotel in Westminster back in June 2014. I was thinking it was a more recent cruise than that. But you are certainly right that there was no label of "Marriott" on the hotel, although we booked our stay with Marriott points. No doubt that's why this man didn't realize he was going to a Marriott-affiliated hotel when he accepted O's package. At the time St. Ermin's was relatively new, as I recall. And I don't doubt that he didn't get credit for staying at a Marriott even after paying at least double what it would have cost him to use his membership. I guess he learned his lesson ... Mura
  10. I don't doubt that, Paul! We didn't see him after that first morning but I think you're right. We've always done better by booking our own hotel and transfers. The one exception was on our last Renaissance cruise, and we lucked out there. We booked our own air but happened to be on a flight with many passengers heading to our cruise. There was a bus waiting to transfer everyone to the hotel and we just walked on ... Back then, Ren gave passengers in higher categories (not necessarily the highest, on that cruise we were in what Oceania calls a PH) free hotel stays, so we didn't need to book our own ... and the bus took us to our hotel. Mura
  11. I'll join in. What Flatbush Flyer is saying (I think) is that the Oceania hotel package is vastly overpriced. Yes, it does include a transfer (again, I believe so -- we've never done it through O) and occasionally perhaps a city tour. But you are paying for a hotel per person rather than per room, and the difference between what you would pay if you booked the same hotel on your own is VAST. Check it out yourself. Go to the hotel website and see what the room would cost if you booked it yourself. If you book the hotel on your own, you can easily afford to pay for the equally over-priced O transfer if you wish! We usually just take a cab. Yes, in some locations you are far from the port (or airport) and it can be worth it to pay for the ship's transfer. But most of the time it is not. We stayed at O's London hotel a couple of years ago (a new Marriott at the time in the Big Ben district) but booked it on our own. When we checked in with a few other couples we encountered a couple who'd used the O package. I cannot tell you how upset this gentlemen was when he realized we were in a Marriott (the hotel name didn't show that fact) because he was a platinum member and was paying more than twice what it would have cost if he'd booked it privately. He was equally upset because the hotel staff should have realized that he was a platinum member but did not say anything. Myself, I'm not so sure that they would automatically have known ... but perhaps the computer would have shown that fact upon entry of his name. Mura
  12. Lucky you! (At least regarding the mice.) Since this happened to me -- just parking on the street in Brooklyn Heights -- I've heard a number of stories from others. It does seem more common rural areas, but then in our neighborhood rodents do abound (maybe it was squirrels, maybe rats in my case). My car had been parked while we were away -- a friend moved the car when necessary but it wasn't necessary more than once because of holiday suspensions of the alternate side parking rules. When I returned home and turned on the motor, it worked fine. But when I tried to drive I saw problems, and then took it in to the dealer ... who gave me the bad news. The initial quote was $1900 to repair the problems BUT they didn't know if once they started on the job if they would find worse problems. It seemed better to take the dealer's offer to buy back the car. They were going to sell it at auction -- I hope for parts since they didn't feel it would ever be safe to drive. At least, that's what they told me. Since I no longer REALLY need a car, even though people who grow up in L.A. always seem to think they do, I haven't been impelled to go out and get another one. Especially not in the winter time! Mura
  13. A big difference from living in a community where garage parking is increasingly unavailable -- and ranges around $500/month if you can get it. So we always parked on the street! My parents and sister in L.A. have always had a garage, but here in NYC ... that's hard to come by! I saw a photo from an email friend near Toronto today -- she has a garage but shoveling the sidewalk is a necessity. Her cats like the snow, though ... Mura
  14. I'm going to miss it too ... I'll just stay indoors! Now that I no longer have a car (thanks to the rodents who ate the engine's wiring a couple of years ago) I also don't have to worry about digging out the car ... AccuWeather isn't predicting anything bad here in the next 2-3 days. Weather Channel might have except they stopped sending me emails and I haven't been able to find out how to reactivate them. Mura
  15. LOL. (I deleted the photos ... but quite a contrast to the beginning of ATW19!)
  16. Jim, yes and no. Bear in mind that I grew up in Los Angeles. We always smiled and said hello to strangers on the street there! I moved to NYC when I was in my late 20s and found out that when I spoke to strangers -- say when seated at a restaurant counter (these were very idle comments, not attempts at real conversation) -- people did look at me askance. "Is she an axe murderer?" I learned pretty quickly not to do that, but that was something you routinely did in Southern California! (Not sure about now.) As to Brooklyn, bear in mind that I'm in Brooklyn Heights which is very different from midtown Manhattan or some other areas of Brooklyn. It's not unheard of to nod hello to strangers on the street ... but not nearly as common as it was in L.A. in the '70s. Mura
  17. In our experience, it is usual for people encountering each other in the hallway to acknowledge the others' existence ... it doesn't call for an embrace and long conversation! Just as the crew you meet in the hallway always say "hello" or "good evening" or whatever.
  18. Even if you don't normally speak to total strangers, it isn't hard to respond to a polite "hello" in passing.
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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 ...
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
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