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Everything posted by Mura

  1. I do sympathize with OP's unhappiness but in 16 cruises we never experienced what he details. Yes, once or twice we got onto a tender later than we would have liked. But other than those times, we rarely had a problem. We definitely never had a problem getting off the ship if we were DIYing or on a private tour. I'm assuming that OP was talking about tender ports in this context but I'm not going to go back to discover if that's right or not! Sorry about that ... Certainly we've traveled in most levels of cabins on O -- most recently in suites but definitely not always -- and we never noticed a problem with "class status". Not from crew in restaurants or bars or anywhere else. Given that it was their honeymoon, it's doubly regrettable that they were so unhappy with their cruise. Mura
  2. On our first Renaissance cruise back in October '99 the library had a book by a crew-member survivor of the Titanic (and also the Brittanic). I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book on board and never worried about the possibility of our hitting an iceberg on our Lisbon-Barcelona itinerary. Ren didn't remove that book from the various ships' libraries but I've never checked to see if Oceania kept them ... Mura
  3. Interesting. Some of us love aft cabins ... obviously not everyone does! It helps to know what you like and what you might encounter. Hence, the questions we see here. Mura
  4. Not so much a special menu but you can get hot dishes. Certainly that is true for PH and above, and I think it also applies to Concierge. Correct me someone if I'm wrong on that. So even if you don't see that you can have an omelet, you can write it in. And not just omelets. I'm talking about breakfast in the room, not "room service". All rooms can choose from the room service menu which you will find in the booklet in all rooms. Mura
  5. Many say yes, many say no. It depends on what YOU want and what you value. Yes, the laundry turn-around is 3 days, and in our experience (in a higher level cabin) it was often 2 days. Mura
  6. Our first cruises in modern times (i.e., 1999) were with Renaissance, so were on the "R" ships: the first on the R2 (now REGATTA), the second on the R5 (now NAUTICA), and the last on the R7 (now with Azamara, I believe). These were not TAs, but our first TAs (on Oceania) WERE on "R" ships. We had no problem with doing so on these smaller ships. For us there are a perfect size, although I admit we like just as well the extra facilities on Marina/Riviera. If you are afraid of the small size on a TA then I agree you should consider trying out Marina/Riviera first... but I wouldn't agree that it is absolutely necessary to do so, especially if you are aware of fewer onboard activities on sea days and that fact doesn't bother you. We've had "seasick" says -- well, *I* have, DH never does -- but we've had those on the QE2 as well! The route can also be a factor. I just checked and see you were asking about Southampton-NYC. We've done the reverse a couple of times, but only on Marina. Our "R" ships TAs were the southern route. Even so, I wouldn't worry about it. From what I saw of the last comments on this year's RTW cruise on INSIGNIA I didn't see any negative comments about weather or the condition of the seas for the last part of their trip. Mura
  7. I'm going slightly off-topic but I've been known to take my favorite hot salsa to my local diner. Now they carry decent salsa so I don't have to ... did I teach them something? I have no idea!
  8. Pinot, I wasn't trying to compare Viking River to any other line since Viking is the only one we've tried. We enjoyed the first two very much, but not the third. That was partly because of what we perceived as tight-wadiness on Viking's part as well as the overcrowded French rivers. (We assume that with the growth of river boat companies and lots of new ships that the French rivers aren't the only ones to have this problem.) And as I did say, on that last cruise we visited a number of places that we had done by car on our own and those car visits were far superior. Mura
  9. Neither DH nor I have any food allergies or restrictions, but I have to say that almost invariably comments here at CC have been positive about the gluten free options. I was surprised to see OP's opinion -- not saying you are wrong! We all have our opinions about what food is good and what is not. It's understandable that if you are unhappy with the food options you have, you don't want to return. I agree with the suggestions that you speak with the chef. Mura
  10. There is a set schedule for when you can first make reservations online. Someone will post them, I know! Or you should find them at the website. Insides will have to wait for all the higher levels to book FIRST, which can be a drawback BUT you are guaranteed a reservation in each restaurant (only 2 specialties on Insignia). The problem could be getting the time you want if you want to dine alone. Many of us will opt for earlier or later times, or also share tables. You can share with people you have already met (say at your roll call) or people who are assigned to your table. We've had good luck with both options. They do NOT book all the tables online. They hold back a certain number for those passengers who are not internet-savvy. Once on board there is always a chance you can get extra reservations. That is a CHANCE, not a guarantee.
  11. Here is another vote for Kuoda to MP! Very reasonably priced for what you get. Our guide and driver were wonderful, as were the accommodations. On one day our guide asked us if a box lunch would be okay since finding a restaurant of any type would have been difficult and we all said yes. Instead he cooked a meal for us, imported a table and chairs, drinks, etc. This was service above and beyond! Off-topic, I had rattlesnake and "gray squirrel out of season" when at summer camp a few hundred years ago. As I recall, BOTH tasted like chicken! Mura
  12. Top suites DO have a couple of bottles beer in the fridge, but nothing harder.
  13. To be honest it was a "gift" because they wanted our PH on an Alaska cruise and they "bribed" us with a Vista on Marina (she was brand new and we'd wanted to try her anyway) for a Med cruise. Plus they gave us even more OBC than we'd already had ... The PH was half the cost of the VS so for us it was a no-brainer. Mura
  14. We were doing a land trip to Europe in 1998. Our plan was to start out in Bern, go with friends to Prague for several days, then go to Berlin to meet my Danish friend for the first time (we met online) for more time. Everything got turned upside down when our friend broke her ankle and had to cancel the trip with us. So we started out in Bern, then took the train to Prague. We spent several days there, then took the train to Berlin where our Danish friend "uninvited" us for our visit with her after Berlin and on top of that was unable to meet us in Berlin because of a family emergency. So we added on time in Berlin (we had a relative living there which helped) and then went BACK to Prague while we tried to change our flight reservations home from Brussels to Paris. When that worked out we went to Paris without any reservations and ended up having the best time we ever had there. Loved Berlin which was most unexpected, at least to me. The extra time in Prague was also worth it. We ended up with a week each in Prague and Berlin, and an unexpected several days in Paris. So, the moral is make lemonade out of lemons ... Couldn't have done this on a cruise!
  15. Amazing how these topics morph. I was replying and then saw that PaulChili had posted something so I looked at his post and then lost my answer here! It has taken a long time to find the thread although usually when I find the thread I find my beginning message ...not this time, however. (Not blaming you Paul! I should have waited to check out your post.) We did three Viking river cruises: Amsterdam-Basel in October 2003, China in May 2008 and Avignon/Paris/Normandy/Paris (a B2B) in 2012. We haven't returned to river boats since then but that was largely because of the overcrowded situation on the rivers, especially in France! When you are triple decked in a port and have to climb over the other 1-2 boats to get to land, it's not fun. On that cruise we also felt that Viking was saving money which affected our enjoyment. When you have 150 people at dinner with only 5 servers, it takes a VERY long time to finish your meal. But we did enjoy the river cruises. You don't have to unpack every night (just as with a "real" cruise) and you dock right in town. That is not to say that we didn't also thoroughly enjoy the self-drive trips we've done over the years. Yes, we had more time to spend if we wanted to stay on. A number of the ports we visited on the last Viking river boat trip we had visited on our own several years earlier, and I will agree those earlier visits were superior. Then again, having been there before we didn't mind not having so much time on the Viking trip. Our three days in Normandy in November 2002 were far superior to the half day we had on the river boat! BUT ... just as with ocean cruises where you have one day in port, it can give you an idea of where you could like to return. And it's so nice not to have to drag luggage in and out of a hotel! Still, based on our French river tour in 2012 we were turned off just because of the "overbuilding" of river boat cruises. It's not different from an "R" or "O" ship being in a major port with several behemoths ... Mura
  16. Once you are at the site there really isn't a lot of walking. I was having knee problems when we were there and I had no trouble covering the ground I wanted to. Climbing up to the top was not in my plans! So 4 hours might well be all you want to do. OTOH, it's a fascinating part of the world that contains MORE than MP ... So we were very happy to have done our 6 day tour with fabulous guides. I still advocate a post-cruise visit as well but I can't chose for you what to do! And we did do this part at the beginning, NOT the end. Mura
  17. I understand your unhappiness given the situation. Somewhere in the past I had an email address for the concierge on our ship. I was setting up a Meet&Greet and suddenly they wanted me to contact this person rather than just meeting the concierge on boarding. So I'd say that if you can find an email address for one of the officers on your cruise, that might solve your problem. But you might not need to do that! I had a birthday on a cruise a couple of years ago and I just told the concierge about that upon boarding. If your anniversary is not on boarding day, I think you could do that as well. They do make lovely cakes on such occasions ... If you want to surprise your spouse, I'm sure talking to the concierge could accomplish that as well. Mura
  18. I don't know about complaints elsewhere because I haven't looked ... BUT ... When we started with Renaissance they didn't permit TAs (other than a favored few which novices such as we were didn't know about). We were very happy with the phone call to Ren which booked our 3 cruises with them. Then Oceania picked up the first two of their "R" ships and now we could use TAs. Actually, we'd used one of those "favored few" who shall remain nameless on our last Ren cruise. But it's been a constant complaint that the phone reps really don't know what they are talking about. I think Lyn's analysis is most likely. When I have called in to Ren, knowing a specific person to talk to, I've had a positive result. But that's been few calls and not recently. I'd like it if the cruise line would have their phone reps take at least one cruise but ... I doubt the bottom line would agree. MY bottom line is that I trust my TA and I only call the customer service people if I must. Mura
  19. I know from reading posts here that we are in the minority but we loved the Vistas -- we've had two on Marina (the first was a gift from Oceania) and one each on Insignia (way back when) and Sirena in 2017. We also had another gift from Oceania, an OS on Regatta back in 2005. We didn't encounter the "too windy" problem when at sea. Perhaps on those cruises we didn't have many sea days, I'll have to check on that. Some day. But we did not consider it to be a problem. I also am a fan of the Oceania Suites (especially for a lower cost) but I prefer having the TV in the living room -- which the Vistas have -- as opposed to in the Media Room in the OCs, which we never use. I should admit that we DO love the aft suites ... but wouldn't refuse another VS for the right offer! Just our preference. Would love an OS as well .... but .... Mura
  20. We did a pre-cruise to MP in 2015 -- a group of six booked privately. I understand your feeling that it's "easier" to let the ship do it, but we had a wonderful visit to MP. In our case we had a 6 day pre-cruise visit which allowed us to see a lot of the area. We were picked up by the agency at the airport and taken to our hotel. It was JUST as easy as letting the ship do it! Obviously, you don't have to spend as much time as we did ... or more. Mura
  21. Dover Sole reminds me of a meal we had in Dover many years ago. The restaurant had been taken over and was about to close, but they served Dover Sole. We were a group of 8 about to board Insignia. One of our party ordered the Dover Sole. We have since been told that it wasn't really "Dover Sole" because what came out was an enormous fish. The diner's wife hadn't felt well so stayed home ... which meant that he couldn't possibly finish it all. It was 25 pounds and we were all trying to figure out if that was the cost or the weight of the fish ... (He did take the remaining fish back to the hotel room for his wife.) This was in June 2006 ... Mura
  22. Clo, I didn't think that YOU were. You were simply asking how the tips are divvied up and I have no idea. I was addressing the constant questions as expressed by the OP's original question. Mura
  23. Clo, I have no idea who partakes in our gratuities or what percentage each crew member receives. I doubt that officers are participants. But what do I know???? I'm just commenting now because this is SUCH a common question. The thing is, no one can tell you "how much" you should tip. I'm not the first one to say this either, but it seems to need repetition. It depends on the service you received, what you expected them to do, etc. When we had a cocktail party in our suite on our November 2017 cruise we tipped our butler quite a lot because he did so much for us -- setting up the hors d'oeuvres, collecting the drinks, and cleaning up afterwards. This was beyond the norm for us. Usually we just ask the butler (when we have one) to make some dinner reservations (when we haven't been able to do so ourselves) or serving dinner when we dine en suite. That's usually the most we ask of him. There just aren't any rules for HOW MUCH anyone should tip. We haven't tipped extra in the past when we didn't ask for any special services ... Do people feel guilty because they might be considered to "under" tip? I don't think they should. Some crew members are more efficient and helpful than others. Tip them as YOU think appropriate. Mura
  24. This has been our experience as well. Admittedly, we haven't used the spa frequently but I'm not sure that is indicative of anything. Mura
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