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Everything posted by Mura

  1. Mura


    Lyn, I agree that there is no excuse for this kind of thing to happen. Even when they were new, there really wasn't an excuse ... it's not like TPTB coming from Renaissance didn't have SOME idea of how to run a cruise ship ... I'll grant that there may have been some reasons why they needed to bring on ill-prepared crew, but we were never informed if that was the case ... or why IF it was the case. (Not that the brass typically informs passengers of such details.) But even so, ignoring all that ... the service we had on the second leg of that cruise, while not up to snuff, really wasn't that horrible. And it only lasted for a couple of days. I guess the holdovers took them in hand and quickly informed them what they should be doing. But when a long time cruiser posts here that they aren't returning to Oceania because of a disastrous cruise (after many successful ones), and management ignores his complaints ... that is NOT a good sign. And I just saw such a post today ... Mura
  2. Mura


    But I don't think that is anything new ... Our first cruise on Oceania was a B2B in Jan-Feb 2004: LA to Costa Rica to Miami (the second leg going through the Canal). There was a big crew changeover in Costa Rica and the drop in service was immediately obvious ... BUT ... they did learn quickly. Unfortunately, our favorite server (who seemed to be about 8 feet tall) left the ship at that time ... he had been wonderful with my mother who was in the early stages of Alzheimer's, although she hadn't yet been diagnosed. But when she couldn't remember the names for "coffee" and "tea", he just served her what she'd always requested. With her, the one syllable words disappeared but three and four syllable words never did ... Mura
  3. If that's true, it must be a new system. We've never been on a cruise shorter than 10 days (usually 12-18, sometimes longer) and have only enjoyed that gala buffet on two or three out of 17 cruises. I'm not complaining if they HAVE changed policy! But we have not experienced it. Mura
  4. Actually, I do think that Privee is a good suggestion for Clo given that La Reserve really doesn't sound like it's worth the expense! (I've lived with a tightward for many years and some of that has rubbed off.) But at least in Privee you are paying for the room -- which at $250 isn't that much compared to the per person price on some of the La Reserve offerings. And you can order what you want, as long as it is from Toscana or Polo. Plus if you find people to join you, that per person price goes down. Yes, you DO have to pay for the wines in Privee whereas they are included in La Reserve ... But in Privee you can choose your wines whereas in La Reserve, the ship chooses for you. If you want to try the wine pairing meals, of course that is another issue. But I do think (and I'm not alone, it is clear) that you would be paying full price for eating half the food if you really find that La Reserve has too much for you. Those of us who've partaken of these meals know that although there are lots of courses, they are spaced out well and plates are NOT full. Why not just book La Reserve, eat what you want from each plate, and leave it at that? But if you want to try La Reserve anyway, you really will need to book BEFORE you board, not after. They do book up early. Passengers: 1250 Reserve capacity: 24 Reserve Offerings Per Sailing: Not many! Having said that ... when Oceania erred in losing our one reservation and was able to replace our dinner with another, clearly there was room -- this was perhaps a week in advance. PLUS, one of the people at our table was a single traveler so we did have an empty chair ... You never know. But I'd never "assume" that I could just walk by while on board and get two reservations at La Reserve for the next offering.
  5. Does the OP have experience with sea days? I ask because it took us several cruises to make us realize that we DO. Before that we really wanted a new port every day. Or at least a port every day ... I also ask because many post here about not liking sea days whereas others like them! I wasn't sure we'd like a TA but by the time we did we'd done a Buenos Aires-Santiago cruise that had a port, then a sea day, then a port ... you get the drift. So we knew we'd enjoy the TA. Also, even on a port intensive Med cruise you may find you are at a port where you really don't want to go on shore ... which would give you an opportunity to enjoy the ship (although there will be fewer activities than there would be on a real sea day). Not an easy question to answer to everyone's satisfaction, that's for sure! Mura
  6. You might do better by doing a search here for your topic -- there are several threads (at least) with the same title. I haven't gone on Azamara myself so I won't say anything since if I did it would not be valid. From my readings of comments, though, it appears that Azamara fans really like the friendly relations with the officers. You don't see that so much on Oceania, although it's not something I would seek out so for ME is not important. Food seems to be better on O on average. There are those who prefer the "free" drinks on Azamara whereas you pay on Oceania, whether you have a drink package or just buy by the glass. And there are those who seem to like both lines equally. I'm sure you'll enjoy your cruise. The Caribbean cruise on Riviera certainly should give you a taste of what Oceania is like. As far as we are concerned, we have always found the crew -- from officers down to the lowliest crew -- are as friendly as WE want! I'm sure others with experience on both lines will chime in. Mura
  7. I don't hate HAL, mostly because I've never sailed on HAL. (I do have friends who have and loved it, but again those cruises were some years ago.) Speaking of the ages of passengers ... my sampling is as small as they come BUT when we were in Venice at the end of our cruise in May 2018 we were on the people mover returning to the port. Several HAL passengers who were boarding were in the same car we were. Mind you, I'm talking about 4-5 people. Yes, they were MUCH younger than O passengers! And as we were walking through the port to the ship (we were docked further down than the HAL vessel) we saw many other HAL passengers arriving. All were much younger than we were. And they seemed very excited to be taking the cruise. I hope they enjoyed it. And I don't doubt that they did. I am not making any value judgments about passenger ages and backgrounds, however. It was just something I noticed. Mura
  8. As to booking Cuisine Bourgeoise, I was able to book that online last year. HOWEVER ... They changed the date which for us was not a problem since we were on a B2B. But then they lost our reservation! So we ended up with another go at the Connoisseur menu. Again, no problem for us since it's our favorite and we only paid for the Bourgeoise menu. But we HAD wanted to try Bourgeoise since we haven't experienced it before. Mura
  9. We haven't been unhappy with food on Oceania -- then again, our last cruise was May 2018. Yes, of course, there have always been the occasional dish that disappointed! But in general we were very happy with the food. It has always been superior to the cruises we took on other lines -- even Queens Grill on the QE2 -- but I have to admit there haven't been that many, and not in recent years. (After all the last QE2 cruise was in 2004.) I do wish I hadn't had to cancel the April 2019 cruise (NY-Southampton) since I'd have a more recent experience to relate! Mura
  10. On only a very few cruises have we had that spectacular brunch. It does seem to me that these were only on Marina/Riviera but I don't want to swear to that. The GDR on the "R" ships is certainly large enough to manage the displays whereas Terrace on the "R" ships is much smaller than on the "O" ships. Apples and oranges ... If you have the opportunity on a cruise to partake in the special brunch, by all means DO NOT MISS IT. Mura
  11. Actually, I DO think that criticism of a title can be warranted. That being said, not necessarily THIS title. When I first saw the title I assumed what was under discussion was one review, not a slew of them. But often there are crucial misspellings in the title (easy to do, I know but once it's there hard to correct). OR there may just be misleading information or not enough of the right information. For example, a roll call that doesn't give the date or name of the ship -- I myself don't need the itinerary to be in that title although I'm sure many others would prefer that information to be there as well. But your title can only be so long.
  12. We have brought on a few bottles of wine plus one of vodka for many years with no problem. As several have stated, for in-cabin consumption only ... which doesn't mean fill your glass with your alcohol choice and wander around the ship. (Some people posting on CC have seemed to think that was fair game which is the only reason I mention it.) On one or two occasions I also replenished the vodka with a bottle bought on shore. I didn't try to hide the liquor when re-boarding the ship and the crew did not care. Even that "six bottles of wine" restriction is rarely enforced (if ever). Do a CC search and you will see how many people assert that they have brought on cases of wine with no problem. Most people won't want a case for a short cruise (!) but when you have a long cruise it's nice to have the option.
  13. Somehow I doubt that they'd charge you half the money if you only eat half the food ... But they might well agree to serve you half the food if you pay the full price! Just walking by to see if you will get a reservation probably won't work, though ... that can depend on how many evenings they are putting on. It's not like there is a La Reserve dinner every night of the cruise. Again, how many of the OTHER passengers are interested? I believe it's been mentioned on CC before that on occasion if you get a group together who wants an evening, they will put it on. But they won't do that if there are too few of you ...
  14. The minute I saw your name I remembered that I had forgotten about the breakfast lamb chops!!! How come I knew, just in viewing your name, that you would mention them??!! 😏 But they are SO good! I also love the creme brulee (already mentioned) and a particular dessert the name of which is escaping me at the moment ... oh well. Senior moment, I guess.
  15. Passenger complements change from sail date to sail date. You never know what you will get. Sometimes specialty reservations are a cinch, other times they are impossible -- depending on how important those reservations are to others. Likewise trivia can be a blood sport for some people or just fun for others.
  16. You can surely try. And maybe they WILL accommodate you. They accommodate other requests -- like "I'm allergic to such and such". It's not like they are dealing with 150 diners ... they are dealing with 24 assuming it's sold out. Then again, you don't have to eat everything on the plate either! Unless it's so delicious that you cannot resist ... that's another question! M
  17. LOL. I've never seen someone ask for a doggie bag on a cruise! But why not???? Mura
  18. Understood. It's been clear over the years that Trivia lovers value the CD for the way he/she runs the show ... whereas we don't do Trivia, so ... I'm not saying that everyone on board should not care who the CD is ... I'm just saying that we don't! Mura
  19. There are plenty of good agencies to use on a private basis. From Messina in November 2017 we were on a "Taormina and Castelmola" tour booked by another passenger so I'm not sure of the agency we used. This was excellent. We were 8 people; the cost was €310 for all. If you want to know which agency we used this time, I can email the person who set it up. In May 2018 we went to Mt. Etna and Taormina from Catania and we used Joe Banana's. Another excellent tour. The cost was €75pp. If you look around you can find a number of recommended agencies for private tours. You don't need to depend on ship's tours. I understand that many people feel it's safer to use a ship's tour, but if those tours are booked solid (I understand your question about why it's sold out so far in advance) then a private tour is your best bet. The drive from Catania was longer (i.e. Mt. Etna to Taormina) but we had plenty of time to do what we wanted. Please feel free to write me privately if you would like more info. Mura
  20. Agree again with Paul. Each plate is rather small. Sure, there are lots of plates but there's also time between the courses. More to the point, be careful about how much wine you have with each course. There was only one time when another passenger clearly imbibed to much, and she was very young and also very slender ... clearly NOT a big drinker. It's not like they keep refilling your glass with each choice, but if you want to have more they will certainly accommodate you. Our favorite menu is the Connoisseur ... unfortunately it's also the most expensive. Haven't been on board for the Dom Perignon meal and don't expect that we will be. Even if we were we probably wouldn't opt for it since we're not big champagne drinkers. Mura
  21. You can ALWAYS get prime rib on Oceania, no matter which ship you are on. The GDR serves it frequently and Polo does so every night. I prefer it in Polo but it's awfully good in the GDR as well. In Polo you can take the king's cut which is 32 oz. or the queen's cut which is only 16. The different is that the king's cut is on the bone. I always order that even though there's no way I can finish it ... Mura
  22. We agree Paul ... again! Love the breads wherever they are. Jacques is our favorite specialty, and as you say -- not really available on the "R" ships except occasional dishes. I do wish Jacques would bring back the mussels, but I can see where most of the time they are hard to obtain. Mura
  23. And then there are people like us who really don't care who the CD is because we don't really use them ... We DID like Dotty on our 2012 Black Sea cruise (haven't been with her since) ... people recently complain that she makes too many announcements but we never noticed that. Perhaps things have changed. Mura
  24. I have my favorites but that doesn't mean they will be yours ... If you are on an R ship (I think you are but I'm too lazy to back up) in Polo I love the prime rib and the shrimp cocktail. In Toscana I like the rib chop. Not to mention other things ... We like just about anything in Waves and I just adore the smoothies ... In Terrace for dinner I will head first to the grill to see what is available. Then I check on the daily specials. Mura
  25. That does sound more complicated than I was thinking about as well! I agree with Lyn: give Oceania a call. We ended up at a table for 6 on our last cruise in I forget which restaurant -- probably Toscana. They were a group of 4 who checked in just ahead of us ... so maybe that's why we were seated together. They were two British couples and it was one of the most delightful meals we've ever had on a cruise. Mura
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