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Everything posted by Mura

  1. Juliet, delighted to hear your perspective. On our first -- or was it fifth? -- anniversary, we were going to go to the Windows on the World for our dinner. Unbeknownst to me, Howard arranged to have a private room with three other couples, our best friends. Naomi was so upset when I said to her (not knowing the secret plans) that I didn't want to share our anniversary with anyone else ... Of course I was thrilled with the real event when it took place! I do agree that "devastated" was probably the wrong word to use! Mura
  2. Those of us who are regulars here (such as Stan&Jim and moi, if no one else) rave about the lamb chops at breakfast in the GDR all the time... DH and I always have them several times on a cruise ... Mura
  3. Juliet, it's great that you aren't devastated at these changes! BUT ... I remain unhappy that priority seems to be given to these large groups. They got that priority on our cruise when it came to using Horizons for Meet & Greets -- they were able to do so but the rest of us couldn't. After all, we're paying the same fare -- and maybe more! It seems unfair that some people get more consideration than others, especially when reservations had already been made. What good is a reservation if they can change it at will? Actually, that happened to us on our cruise as well ... our La Reserve reservation was changed to the following week (which wasn't a problem for us at all), but then the ship LOST its record of our reservation! Fortunately, they made good on it. I don't know if my having our invoice that showed the reservation was necessary but it sure didn't hurt. Mura
  4. It is clear that we all define "nickel and diming" differently. For example, I don't consider it "nickel and diming" to have to pay for my drinks when I get them, gratuities, and so on. Always bear in mind that these days we get our gratuities paid by our TA after many cruises but even when we DID pay for them we didn't think of them in this way. Now, when we sailed on NCL quite a while ago what we considered "nickel and diming" were the constant Bingo and Lottery Ticket sale announcements, the omnipresent photographer, etc. Those we found very irritating so I can understand where OP is coming from if she is used to having "all inclusive" fares. We tend to prefer not having all inclusive fares because when we don't use a benefit very much, we don't want to be paying for it! If Oceania's approach bothers you, then it's most likely not a good fit. It IS for us, but it isn't for everybody. Mura
  5. On our last B2B in May on Riviera, both legs of our cruise had large alumni groups on board. It's possible that it's a group like this that indeed has taken over the entire restaurant. Not nice for you! These days I don't really care if my birthday or anniversary celebration dinner is really on THE date, but I know many people wouldn't agree with me! If Jacques won't be available that night, how about one of the other specialties? Hope it all works out to your satisfaction. Mura
  6. The PH bathrooms on the "R" ships, while not huge, are definitely larger than those in the standard cabin bathrooms. The PH bathrooms on the "O" ships are noticeably larger than those on the "R" ships. Of course once you get into the top suites on all of the ships, bathrooms become MUCH larger. But we aren't talking about those ... I've said before that when we returned to a standard veranda cabin on Nautica a couple of years ago after a lot of cruising on Marina, I was surprised at how much tolerant I was of those truly small bathrooms than I had been in the past. Mura
  7. NCL might well give Oceania passengers some benefits considering the relationship between the two lines ... Blanq, your backup plan sounds good to me! Good luck on finding a cancellation ... if not, it sounds like you'll make do. Mura
  8. It all depends! It won't hurt to try. Have you considered looking for private agencies that set up these tours? They are usually cheaper, to begin with. We aren't snorkelers but it seems to me that I've often seen comments from CC members about private snorkeling in this port. Try doing a seach and see if come up with anything. Just because the ship's tours are sold out doesn't mean you can go snorkeling with someone else. Mura
  9. Speaking only for myself we weren't trying to game the system. I usually book a table for 4 even if we are only 2. When someone from the Roll Call wants to join us I check in to see if we can change the reservation to us 4 rather than the two of us with an unknown couple. If they say no, that's fine. In that case I wait until the other people are eligible to book our reservations. Mura
  10. I have usually been able to book people in a lower cabin category than we were at the time we were able to book. It's worth a try! Mura
  11. I used to think I wouldn't like a TA until we took one. Now they are my favorite ...
  12. The last time we boarded Marina there was a desk selling the package as we exited the Lounge (where we had checked in). (Well, the desk wasn't selling the package but the person sitting there WAS). It was hard to miss. If you should check in to the ship in the Terminal, probably you could get the package in Reception. They do NOT make it difficult for you to fork over your cash. Mura
  13. We were in the Canaries on our 2013 Barcelona-Rio cruise and thoroughly enjoyed them. We used Viator (not booked by me) on Lanzarote; highlights were the Timanfaya National Park and Cesar Manrique's Jameos del Agua. On Tenerife we used Patricia Little. People on the November 1st and 13th Marina cruises coming up are using her as well. Check the roll call. Patsy was marvelous as well. We didn't see the ports themselves since our tours were out of town. Mura
  14. We did a Lima-NYC cruise in May 2015. Didn't use the outfit you are asking about! In fact, I've never seen that name. (Which doesn't mean much!) In Manta we used Narwell Ecotours (info.narwell@gmail.com). In Salaverry we used Trujillo -- I didn't set this one up myself but took over for someone who had to cancel. <reservations@trujillodelperu.com>. We were happy with both outfits. They offered a number of tour options. We did not visit Esmeraldas! If you are interested in a per-cruise Machu Picchu tour we were a group of six who used Kuoda Travel for a six day tour through Macchu Picchu and etc. We were delighted with their services and I've seen many positive reports from others here on CC who used them as well. At the time (2015) from what our guide said they were the only domestic tour agency ... somewhat cheaper but they have might competition from the international groups. I hadn't known this before but from what he said, I'd always book with the local guys. They were wonderful. If you have the time, I do recommend a pre-cruise visit to Macchu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, and the whole area. It's well worth it. Also, Kuodo drove us right up to the ship on embarkation day after a city tour ... there were LONG LONG lines of people standing in the heat waiting to board. Lima is known for this problem. I won't say that it's worth a 6 day tour to avoid standing in line for a few hours, but on the other hand that tour is a wonderful experience. Mura
  15. I've seen many complaints recently about missed ports. I just have to say (no cheerleading here, it's only our experience) that when we have missed ports there haven't been many -- maybe one on a cruise -- and they were always due to weather. We saw no reason to disbelieve the reasons given for the missed port. We did miss a port last November on Marina in Greece, but it was a small tender port and Greece was having flooding in various parts of the country. There were some deaths reported. I understand and sympathize with people who are unhappy at missed ports! On our first Oceania cruise back in 2004 we were counting on a visit to San Blas but weather was bad and we couldn't tender. That was the place I'd MOST wanted to see, so yes, we were disappointed. But I have to say I'm not with people who claim that Oceania is CHOOSING to miss ports to improve the bottom line. That just hasn't been our experience. Even when Bermuda had a hurricane arrive the day before we did in October 2016, we docked there. (This wasn't a huge hurricane but there was some damage on land. Just not enough to prevent our visit.) Mura
  16. My experience is that there isn't much difference between the "paid" and "free". The "free" internet is a relatively recent development. Over time, speed has increased but it's still not great. I don't complain myself but I've read many complaints about the speed! Plenty of people post trip reports from on board with lots of photos and don't seem to have a problem. I don't know if they use a particular service that helps in terms of uploading photos. Suggest you do a search on various threads to see for yourself. Many of the photos I've seen here look wonderful. So I THINK you'd be okay. I think the paid service (not the paid service for an extra device but the paid service for FASTER service) pertains more to people who are streaming ... maybe I'm wrong there. It wouldn't be the first time ...
  17. When we have extra OBC towards the end of the cruise, we go to the shop and buy standard items that cost far more on the ship, but then again we aren't paying for them. I mean aspirin, chocolates, etc. On occasion I've purchased an expensive purse or even a suitcase. (Not a big one!) Actually, on our last two cruises (Marina and Riviera) we bought very nice carry-on bags for a reasonable price for the quality. You can also look at watches, and such. I used to love to buy $10 watches which were always available but recently they have NOT been. But on a cruise a year or so ago I bought a couple of watches that I never would have bought on board if it weren't for the OBC. It's much easier when you drink to use up that OBC! No, I'm not encouraging you to do so. But on occasion we bought some expensive wines at dinner that we would NEVER had bought if we were really paying for them ... There is refundable OBC (usually from your TA) and non-refundable OBC from the ship. If you are doing your own port tours (which we usually do as well) and don't drink, it can be hard to find a way to spend that OBC. Unless you'd like a massage or a pedicure! Or other spa treatment ... Hope you figure out what will work for you! Mura
  18. I was on Sirena two years ago but we were in a Vista. No tub but it was a huge shower so I didn't have to stand under cold water while it warmed up. Bear in mind I'm a tub fancier so I sympathize with your position. I'm just wondering if ultimately they will decide to pull the tubs from the "O" ships as well. They certainly did (or will) in the Vistas on "R" ships given what we had on Sirena in October 2016.
  19. I have discovered that I am enough of a Luddite that whenever a website "updates", I hate the "improvements" ... since I don't consider them improvements. This improvement is no better in my eyes!! Come to think of it, is it no longer possible to preview your answer??????????? And my brief glance at the new list doesn't appear to let me go to "last read" message ... which is another aspect I don't consider an improvement, assuming I am correct ...
  20. Coincidentally enough, this morning I wrote to CC to ask just how long we would have to wait for a return of the boards. Got a no-answer automatic response, but then a few hours later I seem to have my answer! Maybe I should have written earlier ...
  21. Hmmm ... I know PH and up, I THINK Concierge as well ... someone will correct if I'm in error, I'm sure!
  22. Yes, it does sound as if your consultant isn't exactly informed about all things Oceania! Enjoy your champagne ... if you are in Concierge or above you will receive a bottle of bubbly as a welcoming gift -- of varying qualities depending on the level of room! Mura
  23. In other words, the interior lights from these cabins affect visibility from the Bridge ... we had a phone call one night when we were in 9001 on Marina asking us to turn off the veranda lights because of this. Only the lights weren't on. We finally figured out that when the housekeeping staff had done that evenings turn-down, they'd left the curtains slightly open. Mura
  24. Shawnino, it's your decision of course! And if this outfit is so highly regarded on Trip Advisor I'd probably do as you are. But it's surprising to me that they want you to give them information they should be able to get on their own, that's all. I don't remember the port as being so enormous but as I said earlier it's been a number of years since we were there. So that could be a reason for their question. When we were last there, it was an easy walk into town. Perhaps there is now another port that is further away? Mura
  25. It's a while since we've docked at Malaga but last time we did it on our own, and in 2008 we used an agency to go to the Alhambra and they had NO trouble finding us! So I agree ... find another tour operator. Mura
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