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Everything posted by Mura

  1. Speaking from personal experience, you CAN take the OC-provided wines to a restaurant. No corkage fee. The bottles are clearly marked so the wait staff knows where they came from. I never tried carrying a glass of wine (or liquor) that was poured in the room and then was taken outside of the room. We just took the unopened bottles of wine to a restaurant.
  2. I'm a big fan of the smoothies ... whenever we have lunch at Waves I get one. Or two. Never thought of ordering a shot of rum -- but the bar is right around the corner. It shouldn't be a problem to get an injection into the smoothie. Mura
  3. There are plenty of threads here that would answer the question, but still I will try. First I will say that we don't take ANY beverage package! We have our reasons which I won't go into. Feel write to me if you want further elucidation! The basic package (if you take it as your oLife perk) is only available at meal times, and some have said that you can't just sit at the table and keep on ordering. It is wine by the glass -- they have a good number of selections but you have far more selections if you forego the package and either bring on your own imbibables or buy bottles off the list. How picky are you about your wines? If you're an oenophile you might prefer to forego the package. It's not that the offered wines are bad -- at least not to our tastes! But it can depend on how demanding you are about the quality. To upgrade to the prestige package (which costs $20pp/day) gives you pretty much unlimited selections and times BUT you are still limited to the basic wine by the glass choices. If you want to imbibe outside of meal times, it may be worth it to you to upgrade. They make it VERY easy to upgrade so that shouldn't be a problem if that is what you decide to do. For us, yes, we'd take the OBC or the "free" tours. We have been more prone to private tours for a long time but since the oLife tours came in we have done a number of them. They are bus tours but most of ours have NOT been full, and we've had good guides. I still prefer the private tours for smaller groups but we haven't been unhappy with the ship's tours we took (value $199 or less). Hope I've helped and not further confused you. Mura
  4. Sure you can. This discussion concerns wine that you have brought on board yourself. In that case, to take it to dinner you would need to pay the corkage fee. The point is that wine you have brought on board that you purchased elsewhere is intended for consumption in your room, not in a public venue. Not sure if I've clarified the question for you!
  5. Well, the Caribbean isn't a TA! Some TAs do have stops in the Caribbean but I don't think I've ever been on one that did! Even when we did the Barcelona-Rio TA in 2013. As to the restaurants ... DH and I have always liked the GDR. We also like Terrace. Going back to Renaissance days (1999-2001) we somewhat dissed the specialty restaurants (these of course were on the "R" ships so only Polo and Toscana were available). Renaissance staff sometimes called to beg us to use our available reservations ... The point is well taken about there perhaps being less possibility to get extra specialty reservations on a TA. Not that you won't get SOME. For me the real point is: are most of the passengers like us -- people who don't feel the need to eat frequently in the specialties? Or will they be people who want a specialty every night. We traveled in 2012 with a couple who because of a bad experience in the GDR (which seemed like an outlier to me) would ONLY eat in the specialties or Terrace. If they'd had several bad experiences in the GDR, I could have understood their point. But they had one lousy waiter and condemned the restaurant for ever after. Despite this, they were excellent travel companions! We've tended to be in suites in recent years (originally in PH but once we had the opportunity to be in a VS for the cost of a PH on Marina we got awfully spoiled). You get more reservations when you are in a suite, of course. We had one butler a few years ago who on his own booked us into specialties every night. We cancelled at least half of them. Give the GDR a try if it's your first Oceania cruise. I have complained about the menu "improvements" on the "O" ships (I assume they are in force on the "R" ships as well) but that doesn't mean the restaurant isn't worth a visit. My complaints were more along the lines of reduced choices in the various categories -- not that there weren't any choices! Just fewer than they used to have. (By that I mean there are more repetitions on a daily basis than there used to be.) The specialty restaurant menus are pretty much set in stone. They've rarely changed since Renaissance days ... SOME changes, yes, but not many. Mura
  6. In my experience, if you want business class you are better off booking it yourself and not using O's air. Whenever I checked what O would charge for a business fare, it was a lot more than what I found on my own.
  7. Give the doggies scritches from me! Given my husband's vision problems and his decision not to travel anymore, I'm not sure what I will be able to do in the future. Not because I won't travel alone but because I'm not sure I can LEAVE him alone. I had to cancel Marina's April 5th NYC-Southampton which I'd booked precisely because of that problem. Still crossing my fingers ... Mura
  8. Sorry, RJB. I wasn't trying to compare them and I don't think Jim was either. But when I see the junk behind my range after 10 years -- it's not like I can pull them out every week or two to dust! -- I can imagine what a professional kitchen has to deal with. Plus no one is coming in to inspect my kitchen every 6 months.
  9. We've done several TAs, both on Marina (Barcelona-Rio in 2013, NY to Southampton in 2014) as well as several from Miami to southern Europe (mostly Barcelona I think) on Regatta and Insignia and then on Sirena (Barcelona-NY in 2017). Frankly, while there may have been some days where weather was problematic we were just as comfortable in general on the smaller ships as on the larger ships. On the Sirena cruise we were approaching Bermuda as they were having a hurricane, so we had one day of some rough weather ... by the time we got to Bermuda everything was fine. But there are NO PROMISES. As you seem to be aware ... I seem to recall that Marina's inaugural cruise ran into some horrendous weather -- we weren't on board, I just read reports here. And I don't think that was a TA ... Jim will correct me, I'm sure, because I believe he WAS on board. Mura
  10. Point well taken! Having had my stove pulled out a few times recently for minor repairs, I know exactly what you are talking about! Mura
  11. I don't disagree with anything you say (even if I don't necessarily subscribe to everything you said, if you get my drift) BUT I just want to say that management seems to want to eliminate the tubs ... so I wouldn't count on them always being available. I agree that I like the tub option! Many others do as well, but at least as many (maybe more, I never counted) only want showers. Currently if you are in a top suite on the "O" ships you have two jacuzzis -- onbe in the bathroom, one on the deck. Given the size of the bathrooms they may not change that. But they seem intent on removing the jacuzzi in the OS and VS on the "R" ships. On our last "R" cruise (Sirena) we were in a VS and we just had the big walk-in shower ... I like the big shower, of course, but I liked the jacuzzi that used to be there much better! Even when I had a torn meniscus and was on crutches, I could get in and out of the tub and it was really a blessing to have those hot jets soothing my knee. The shower just can't do that. I appreciate the complaint many have that getting in and out of tubs is difficult! I do! But I had difficulty walking with that torn meniscus back then and I could still get in and out of the tub. JMO ... Mura
  12. I haven't brought on cases of wine (even though I've read here from a number of people who have) so I can't speak from personal experience as to whether it's safe to leave a case of wine with the pier porters. OTOH, we've never lost anything and don't know why a case of wine would be different from your suitcase or carry-on. To be clear, I've never brought on so much alcohol that I needed a separate case. It's either 2 maybe 3 bottles of wine in my suitcase or in my carry-on. I tend to be fussier about bringing my laptop bag to the room rather than leaving it to crew! But it also seems to me that if your case of wine didn't make it to your room, you'd rise holy hell. I think you'd be safe. Mura
  13. That's quite a fish!!!!!!!! Congratulations. Mura P.S. Did your friend catch anything?
  14. That reminds me of our dinner with ship companions at a lovely seaside restaurant in Sydney. The concierge had strongly advised us to go to the fairly distant location (maybe a half hour ride?) as opposed to the sister restaurant right at the port. He was right! As we were dining we watched Nautica sail on towards Bangkok in January 2008 ... the sight made us sad to have cancelled the second leg of a planned B2B, but on the other hand we had a wonderful dinner with lovely company! Some years later we were sitting on the balcony of our hotel's roof deck restaurant in Istanbul and watched Nautica sail away again .. . Mura
  15. Rhonda, to be honest I have no idea. But in a veranda cabin I don't know where you could PUT another bed. And that's an awfully small bathroom for three adults -- not that all three of you would ever be in there at the same time!! Oops, I was just assuming an "R" ship not having read your thread title carefully enough, but even on Riviera I think it would be tight quarters. According to the deck plan that room is a triple with a sofa bed, so I assume that's what you would have. Several years ago someone posted a picture of an Oceania Suite where they brought in a cot for a teenage son (in the media room), which looked horribly claustrophobic to me. That was before I'd been in an OC but now that I have it's even harder to imagine. I'm guessing the third adult gets that sofa bed in the veranda cabin. Good luck! Mura
  16. Just saw your comment before mine and I guess after Flatbush's... Whatever the "official" limit is, you don't have to worry about that. Many people new to Oceania get very nervous about this but you shouldn't. They won't confiscate extra bottles and hold them to the end of the cruise as other lines do! You don't need to try to hide them in your luggage! As I said earlier, I'm not one to bring a lot of liquor on board -- we just don't drink that much. (DH doesn't drink at all, unless he's sneaks a sip from my wine.) But we've never had a problem. Just for the record, we don't bother with the liquor package. DH doesn't drink enough and while I might, I don't! That's why we bring some wine and a bottle of vodka on board -- I have my cocktail in the room before dinner, we may take a bottle of our wine to dinner and pay the corkage OR order a bottle in the restaurant. I tend not to finish that bottle at dinner and they keep it for me to move to our next dinner venue. We pretty much only go to a bar if there is a Meet & Greet set up. Back to the liquor package, if you think you will have wine/beer at lunch, a drink around the pool, go to the bar before dinner and then have some wine at dinner, maybe an after drink later ... then (as far as we are concerned) the prestige package is worth it. But you have to drink a lot to make it worth it! I should add that some people just prefer to get that package regardless of the cost because it's easier. If I WERE to take the package, it would be the prestige. But the main reason I don't ... is because where wine is concerned I'd rather be able to order a bottle from the list, and I can't. I'm limited to a selection of wines by the glass, and while I don't think they are undrinkable ... I just would prefer to be able to order a bottle from the list. And they won't let me! Many passengers are quite happy with the wines that are available by the glass and so it works for them. In fact, I probably would be happy with them as well. I just prefer to select the specific wine, NOT that I'm an expert! I have noticed that the cabernet sauvignon that is offered as a "free" bottle in the top suites is also one of the house wines. It's quite nice ... Not great but certainly drinkable. (Pinot might disagree, though ...) Just some of my comments ... Mura
  17. Lots of people new to Oceania read that "3 bottle limit" and take it at face value. You shouldn't. It's one of those Cover Your Ass provisos that will allow them to punish people who may violate rules or just get obnoxious. I personally have never heard of that actually happening. Many regulars here have brought on CASES OF WINE. I've never done that but I have brought on more than 3 bottles with no problem. Just obey the "rules" that say "for consumption in your room". If you want to take your own bottle of wine to a restaurant, there is a corkage fee. If you don't finish that bottle, they will hold it for you. You don't pay the corkage fee more than once. (I see that as I was typing this Flatbush Flyer chimed in with the same info ... just more briefly!) The buffet on Oceania, especially if you are on Marina or Riviera is quite wonderful. Many people just go there ... We like the Grand Dining Room but if we don't see anything that particularly entices us, we'll just go to Terrace. Sometimes we order dinner into our room because (I admit it, regulars already know) we are usually in a suite. As to specialty restaurants, you can book ahead of time on line for your allocated numbers of reservations, but that doesn't stop you from trying to get additional reservations if you wish them once you are on board. Don't think that if you can't exactly what you want booking online that therefore you are shut out. They hold back a certain number of reservations for those people who don't go on the internet. We ourselves tend not to use as many reservations as we are entitled to ... other passengers only want specialty reservations. The amount of reservations you can get will depend on how many passengers are like US and how many are like those who only want to eat in a specialty. But there are so many wonderful choices in Terrace, that the buffet can be a wonderful option for dinner! You can get steaks or lobster (or whatever is on that night) grilled to your choice. Many of the courses offered in the GDR will also be there. Just don't try to pick your food up on your own at the buffet because they don't want you to do so! I will admit that on a very few occasions I did so (not using my fingers!) because no server was in the area ...that was more for rolls and the like, not real food! Mura
  18. Happy to do so. But they have been voiced by others before. I don't have any special insight here. We like the intimacy of the "R" ships. We usually are in a suite so the size of the cabins is fine for us. On the plus side for the "O" ships is the greater choice of specialty restaurants (plus the two fee-based options), more spacious cabins, more venues for extra activities. Either way, we're happy on an Oceania ship. Mura
  19. Please don't think I was criticizing you for having an opinion! You are justified, of course, in having that opinion. I was just trying to let the OP know that there are many people who prefer the newer ships to the older, and vice versa. I'm an inbetweener in that there are some things I like better about the "O" ships and some things I like better about the "R" ships. Mura
  20. It's impossible to know which one YOU would prefer. Many here have definite preferences for one or the other (such as RJB made clear) and others are like us: we like all of the ships, they are just different. You won't know until you try one or the other ... or both! Have fun deciding ... Mura
  21. Shanino's comment caused me to check on our 2005 land trip to Tuscany because I thought we'd gone to Orvieto. In looking at my diary I don't think we did. But I DO have a NY Times Travel Section article on Orvieto that is dated September 12, 2004 -- old, I know! But if you are going to be there (or near there) it might be interesting. It's a long one so I won't post it here, and I could give you a link to it but if you aren't a subscriber that probably won't help you. But if anyone is interested in seeing it, email me and I'll send it to you. Mura mkievman@nyc.rr.com
  22. We don't often go to the shows. (My husband tends to go more than I do, I'm usually ready to relax in the room after dinner.) But it does seem to depend on the cruise. We have seen some excellent shows, some enjoyable but not spectacular shows, and sometimes we walk out in the middle. For the record, we are classical musicians ourselves so it can depend on what is scheduled! On the "R" ships the stage is so small it's hard for the dancers and the like to really have room to move around. If the entertainment is one musician/singer or a small group, it's rather different. The stage area is larger on the "O" ships although many people complain about the "theater" style seating. (OTOH, the seating set-up on the "R" ships can make it hard to see anything!) We usually opt for seats at the back of the room where we can be above everyone's heads. Since we usually enter as the show is about to start that is often our only choice anyway. Mura
  23. From what I have read they are about the same size physically but with 50 or so fewer passengers. Look for the thread on the new ships ...https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2621167-new-‘allura’-class-ships/ Mura
  24. I guess we are more unusual ... regarding the last night we prefer to dine in our room. We're usually in a PH (sometimes above), so that's easy to do. But we find it easier to deal with last minute packing that way. If that weren't available to us, we'd try either the MDR or Terrace, no particular preference. Although as I think about it -- Terrace might be better as we'd prefer to be spending less time at dinner on that night. In that respect it sounds like we would NOT be unusual! Mura
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