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Everything posted by Mura

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 ...
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. LOL. I've never seen someone ask for a doggie bag on a cruise! But why not???? Mura
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. I have had success in adding another couple to a reservation (online) where initially we were alone. But I also have to say that more often I've needed to call Oceania to accomplish this ... once I think our TA took care of it for us. As long as you have both booking numbers you should be okay. On our last cruise (on Riviera) we had made sharing reservations (with strangers) for 7:30 in Polo. My itinerary said 7:30, the postcard reminder said 7:30, but the restaurant thought we were due at 6:30. Fortunately they found a table for two for us when we showed up, and they said the other couple hadn't had a problem either. That happened to be the same cruise where they lost our reservation for La Reserve ... but our butler was on top of that situation and solved the problem. We ended up at a more expensive dinner for the same price as the cheaper dinner so even though it was for another evening, we had no complaints.
  18. If you only booked the transfer (as opposed to having the hotel package) then my guess is that there would NOT be a tour included. There MIGHT be one if, for example, they know that you will be getting to the hotel before the rooms are ready. Come to think of it, does the transfer have multiple hotel stops? That could certainly eat into your time. On our first Renaissance cruise we left the ship in Barcelona. Ren included hotel stays of 2 or 3 days depending on your room category (at five star hotels) and I remember that we did have a panoramic tour of Barcelona upon leaving the ship. And our rooms were ready when we arrived at the hotel. But that was Renaissance which is not Oceania! Mura
  19. Mura


    My husband's cousin Larry had a quad bypass many years ago and ever since he is manic about his diet. He's now 90 years old so he must have been something right! However, whenever he came here to a dinner party I had to prepare something different for him, usually some salmon dish. I could handle that for ONE person, but not for too many, that's for sure. One time I was serving stuffed peppers (an eggplant-tomato-cheese) stuffing and I made a non-cheese version for him ... then I accidentally served him the "high test" version ... he never noticed and he didn't have a heart attack on the spot so I guess it was okay. Mura
  20. The main reason we don't use O's transfers is the exorbitant cost. You are much better off using someone like Rome Cabs, especially if you can find someone to share with you on your Roll Call. I'm recalling (probably incorrectly) that it took us about an hour and a half to get from central Rome to the port several years ago. This included making one nearby stop in Rome to pick up the other passengers. Lyn's point about a possible panorama tour on the way is a good one! Mura
  21. I'm usually a suite guest (at least in recent years) and while I've never posted what I would call a bad review, I certainly have had some criticisms to make in the past. Not severe ones, not many, but nothing is perfect -- no matter how much you are paying for the privilege. And I agree that "all food" certainly is NOT equal.
  22. What a pity! We were on a Bergen Lines (now Hurtigruten, I believe) mail boat in August 1974 and the captain took us into Trollfjord TWICE! Once going north and then again going south (Bergen-North Cape). That was a highlight of that trip. I still remember it...
  23. Interesting ... I guess no dispensation given to scandinavian countries. This sounds serious! I would like to think that Oceania's answers to questions at this point are honest and they are not just waiting until it's too late for people to change to fess up. Two of our favorite Oceania cruises have been the ones to Norway and the Arctic. But they both were on "R" ships. Mura
  24. I live in NYC and was a professional singer, so I know many gay people and many are very close friends. But when I first got here (in 1970) many of them were in the closet. They don't worry about that any more ... then again, this is NYC. Two of my closest friends left NYC in the '90s and when they discovered what life was like "out there" they became activists. Today is better than "then", no doubt. I wouldn't try to give a percentage to "acceptance" -- a term I don't like any more than I like "tolerance". But I remember in early days on Oceania when we sailed with a few gay couples and they certainly tried to blend in. There are far more gays on board these days and they don't seem to worry about it. To me that is progress. If some people choose to leave a table because they can't be "soiled" by being in proximity to a ga couple, that is their loss. One of my favorite stories is when we took a "Gypsy Feet" discount tour to Brazil in 1974. This was on a Boston agency's tour that included three agencies. We were in coach on a 707 as I recall, 3x3 seating. We were sitting with a woman whose two sisters were sitting elsewhere. She looked around and expressed surprise at the other passengers. We informed her that Gypsy Feet was a gay organization. (We hadn't realized that when we booked but saw no reason to change our plans.) She really didn't understand gay people at all. As far as she was aware, she'd never met any ... Fast forward to a week later when we were returning. We happened to be in the aisle with the escape hatch that has extra leg room. A young man sat on the floor in front of her for most of the flight back to NY. He was gay and she now considered him to be like her son ... Mura
  25. I was trying to figure out just what these restrictions were and found this: While Norwegian authorities have previously announced that they will introduce zero emissions restrictions in their heritage fjords by 2025, the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) is expected to introduce restrictions starting already next year (2019) and gradually step up the requirements. In its publication, Navigare, the NMA states that its restrictions will cover air emissions as well as grey-and blackwater and scrubber water in the Geirangerfjord, Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord. It is currently legal to sail in the Geirangefjord with HFO without exhaust gas cleaning systems as the fjord is north of the North Sea Emission Control Area. The other two fjords are within the ECA. The NMA will require exhaust gas cleaning systems or low-sulfur fuels such as MGO. Another proposal, which is said to be circulating for review in Norway, is a speed restriction for all ships above 20,000 tons, which will result in reduced fuel consumption and reduced emissions. The NMA is also proposing that ships of more than 2,500 tons and carrying more than 100 persons will not be allowed to discharge grey- or blackwater or scrubber water in the fjords. Visible smoke emissions must meet transparency requirements. The Navigare article states that the number of ships visiting these fjords in the future is expected to go down and that the oldest ships are expected to leave first. It would appear (I am guessing) that Marina/Riviera should be okay in terms of age but I wonder about the "R" ships. We were in Geiranger on Insignia in 2010 and 2016. Both times, as I recall there was only one other ship there at the time and they weren't huge ones at all. It looks like the "R" ships tonnage is closer to 30,000 GT but if that only affects their speed in the fjords, would that be a problem,? I don't recall the ship speeding into port, that's for sure! Mura
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