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Mura

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Everything posted by Mura

  1. Mura

    Bus Etiquette

    Agreed, that doesn't just apply to bus passengers. Too many on the ship don't bother with basic sanitation. Mura
  2. Mura

    Bus Etiquette

    True enough! But we have been pretty lucky in that these things have rarely happened. Very occasionally on ship's tours and almost never on private tours. I do remember one private tour I set up in Central America where we were all unhappy. One of the couples totally blew up (and I have to say that I understand why they did but I won't go into the details now since they were rather lengthy). I was just glad that they didn't blame ME as the person who arranged the tour. But if people feel entitled or are just totally selfish, it's hard to know that before hand! Mura
  3. Given the limited number of people permitted each day, it's not surprising that an Alhambra tour fills up so fast. On our first Renaissance cruise we were able to book the ship's Alhambra tour on board but they warned us that there weren't many spots available so we did so asap. Ten years later we did the Alhambra with Spain Direct. Since you have to use the official guide at the site, it really doesn't matter if you use a ship's tour or a private guide (other than that the private guide is cheaper, of course). Mura
  4. Mura

    Bus Etiquette

    Some people are unbelievable!! "WE will decide when we come back and YOU will wait for us!" Really???? Good for the guide! Mura
  5. As others have indicated, if you have the blue book you really don't need the emailed summary. I tend to take both with me (the emailed version on my laptop), but I wouldn't worry about not receiving the emailed version. (Which has never happened to us, although occasionally we've had to request delivery of the blue book.) Once or twice I didn't realize that the bulky envelope was the blue book and I disposed of it without looking ... my bad! Mura
  6. Mura

    Bus Etiquette

    I agree that in general I think people who hold up a whole group should be left behind. I can accept 5-10 minutes (assuming peope aren't consistently late at each stop) -- there can be traffic, you can get lost. Plenty of reasons for being a little late. But consistently late? No. And late by half an hour? Especially no. I do think that leaving the transgressors behind is fair. Bearing in mind that we often don't have our passports with us ... Passports may not be necessary, of course. There have been lots of complaints also about people who can't keep up. I really haven't seen that as a rule -- occasionally, yes. One exception is a ship's tour we had in Malta last November where the guide zoomed through a walking tour of an old Arab town (a walk we personally thought wasn't worth the time, but that's another story). Our group was largely older and a majority could NOT keep up with his pace. He kept on trying to hurry them up, but it just wasn't possible, Still, we saw everything we were supposed to see. This particular tour wasn't supposed to be a "walking tour" but with the itinerary, it pretty much was! We didn't expect as much walking as was on this tour and I'm sure we weren't alone. (It did not show three little men in the description, maybe not even two.) I'm not denying that there are people who sign up for tours that are beyond their capabilities. If they do so repeatedly, yes, they should be discouraged. But that may NOT be easy to do! Mura
  7. I have to agree ... it's never been the case on Oceania you couldn't bring hard liquor on board, and I assume they same holds for beer. WHERE you can drink it may be another question for lamkingofall. Perhaps that is what (s)he is remembering. Mura
  8. Well, for US ... we left Viking riverboats because of unhappiness with the product a number of years (after two wonderful cruises with them, one in Europe, one in China). So I'm not inclined to switch to their ocean shups, especially since we remain happy with the Oceania product. Besides, I don't like the glitz of the photos I've seen of the Viking ships. It didn't help that on one of their first two ships first sailing (maybe the second), they also had severe problems! There were many posts here at CC at the time. I'm not saying that was a typical situation! We probably won't be traveling much in the future because DH has decided he's done with travels, and while I'd like to do so I'm not sure how much I will do on my own after my upcoming Marina cruise in April 2019. His reason for abandoning travel is his vision problems, and if the time comes when I cannot leave him alone, then I will have to abandon travels as well. But unless I am as unhappy with Marina in April as others have been with various ships here to date, I won't switch. Actually, I doubt I'd switch anyway! Mura
  9. Not sure if you meant that it's Oceania that doesn't permit beer and hard liquor. If so, not true. Yes, it's for consumption in your room, not just anywhere on the ship, but you aren't breaking any rules by bringing it on board.
  10. I've seen walkers and scooters on all the ships, but perhaps the only wheelchair I saw was the one I used when I tore my meniscus in November '05! That was provided to me by the waiters in the GDR ... We were lucky because we were in an Owner's Suite on that cruise (the only time we've ever been in such fine digs). I don't remember a problem with the doorway in that suite but I do suspect that Lyn is correct about other cabins. I was able to get out of the chair in order to enter or leave the room but I don't remember if we needed to fold the chair up to get IT into the room. I don't think so, however. The OS was mostly valuable in that I could use it getting around the room ... I couldn't have done that in PH and lower cabins. (This was an OS on Regatta.) Most rooms DO have a step UP into the bathroom ... Mura
  11. I've seen for years comments from women that the dining rooms were cold, but I've never felt that way. That doesn't mean that I would advise anyone NOT to bring a shawl or sweater "just in case"! Maybe I just have a higher temperature ... When I'm in a venue where other women are saying it's cold, I usually think it isn't ... That may just be me. As others have said, bring something along in case you feel it's too cool. Mura
  12. We've been on all of the ships and don't really prefer any one over the other. For US, the positives on the "O" ships are the extra opportunities for dining, activities -- just because the ship has more space. But we still love the "R" ships which we first met in 1999 on Renaissance. The small showers in the veranda cabins don't even bother us any more! Yes, there ios more space on the bigger ships ... which shouldn't be surprising. Our most recent "R" ship experience was on Sirena in October 2016 when she was not long past her billion dollar reno after acquisition. We thought she looked beautiful, but many passengers have passed through since then. I find it hard to believe that she has become decrepit since then. I for one would never describe the "R" ships as "tired" but clearly a fair number of people do. Then again, I doubt I'm going to like the "new" plans for the ships ... Food complaints seem to have increased regarding all the ships lately, but our Marina cruise in November 2017 and Riviera cruise in May 2018 didn't seem any different to us. But what I like doesn't mean you will. Mura
  13. Mura

    Bus Etiquette

    When we took a ship's tour up the mountain in Kotor this past May we lucked out and got the front seats. This we never do because no matter how fast we walk others are always ahead of us! Also, there was no "reserved" sign on either side which helped. We usually end up at the back of the bus ... Normally we don't mind that, but this particular ride was so much more enjoyable when we had a perfect view and could see what a great job the driver did negotiating hair pin turns with his big bus. Lots of cars coming the other way had to back up when they saw us! Mura
  14. That's the thing, Lyn. People who are vegans or have celiac disease -- or any number of other problems that are manageable -- don't seem to have a problem with accommodations to the dishes. But someone with a severe nut allergy doesn't deserve consideration? At least the worst didn't happen, but their experience was certainly impacted negatively -- so much so that they won't return. It's not a good business practice to lose passengers when you don't have to! Mura
  15. We recently received them for the May 5th sailing on Marina ... It's very surprising that they aren't there for a January cruise. Mura
  16. Mura

    Bus Etiquette

    GC, we usually do private tours for the most part, although since oLife came into play we have taken advantage of a few ship's tours on each cruise. It's a very long time since we encountered people who are late getting back to the bus. The last time I really remember that happening was on our second Renaissance cruise, and that was almost 19 years ago. (In that case the couple was indeed routinely late in getting back to the bus at each stop.) And typically we haven't run into rude people. But you never know what will happen on your bus on that day! I would never say it can never happen, that's for sure. But I also wouldn't say these things always happen. I never heard of the rule that the first people to board the bus should head to the back of the bus, however!! If that were the case, wouldn't people routinely hang back so they could be the last to board the bus???? (No, I am not taking that lady seriously!) Mura
  17. In that case, I have to agree with you! They certainly did NOT handle the situation as they should have. I know it's no comfort for me to say "I've never heard of someone having these kinds of problems before"! Mura
  18. I don't have any food allergies but from what I have read here in the past, the usual procedure is to notify Oceania well in advance of any special needs. Did you not do that? (If you didn't know that's the usual procedure, of course, that would have been a problem!) When they are alerted to a problem in advance, they provide you with menus (I believe a day or so in advance) and you can discuss items with the chef. It's unfortunate that you had these various difficulties. Mura
  19. We haven't done a TA at that time of year in this vicinity, but we DID do a TA (Southampton to NYC) in early December some years ago. This was on QE2. We did have some severe sailing conditions the first few days. After that it was fine. (Although maybe I thought it was fine once I got the "seasickness shot"! ) Being QE2, this was just the crossing so no ports of call, but the itinerary you described sounds very nice! Assuming weather and the seas cooperate. Several of us here are doing a crossing in April on Marina from NY to Southampton -- ports of call include New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Cork and Dublin in the north. From there we have a couple of french ports before ending in Southampton. We expect cool weather and hope for calm seas! When I did a similar itinerary, also on Marina, in mid- to late-May 2014 the seas were generally very cooperative and of course the weather was warmer than we expect in early to mid April. Mura
  20. I will differ with Pinot a bit ... there was a least ONE who knew Oceania very well from the beginning, as (s)he had known Renaissance very well. For obvious reasons I won't mention this TA's name. There may well have been some others! But it's also probably true that at the outset very few TAs were familiar with the Oceania product. Mura
  21. Mura

    Bus Etiquette

    I can't recall a time when we noticed people returning to the bus and taking the "wrong" seats but no doubt that can happen. I always make it a point to find a landmark (assuming I don't have something to leave on my seat, which in fact I usually do) so that I'll be sure to get back to the right seat. We're usually towards the back of the bus anyway ... which sometimes is easier, especially if the bus isn't full. As in the past 2-3 years it usually hasn't been. Mura
  22. It always depends on how many people want the same times! If you're in a top suite, usually no problem getting the time you want. If you aren't able to book a specialty until later in the process, you can have more problems. We've always gotten the time we wanted, and have never booked at literally the first minute possible, but we can usually book early. Some people have said it's difficult getting their preferred time if they want to dine in the "middle" hours and don't want to share a table. Standard advice there is to book either an early or later time, and to share. We've had many very pleasant dinners with strangers doing this. (We usually WANT to share, and not everyone feels that way, I know.) But just because you can't get the time you want booking online, you have a good chance of getting a reservation once you board. Mura
  23. I think you can cancel now. They should credit your credit card since you've already paid. If you have a TA you might be able to ask your TA to keep track of any reservations in case your friends want to book. If nothing comes through, you could cancel then. I think it's a requirement for 24 hour notice to cancel, so you're certainly safe on that score. Mura
  24. Mura

    Bus Etiquette

    I confess that DH and I (we usually end up boarding later in the process anyway) will take seats in separate rows. But we always give up the extra seat if people need it. And yes, we do prefer private tours for all the reasons others have expressed. But with oLife we have taken a number of ship's tours in the past few years, and pretty much were happy with them. Mura
  25. And depending on where you live, the number of stops can add up. While on a very few occasions we used the "free" air, usually we book our own ... and we live in NYC which is a gateway city. No extra costs involved there. But depending on where you live extra stops can add up. As can the fees. When we take O's air, we always take the deviation because we prefer to stay in the port city pre- and post-cruise. There is a fee but it's worth it. However, we mostly book our own air. Way back when the credit for NOT using O's air was much higher than it is now. If you are happy in coach and the credit is better than what you'd have to pay on your own, then it could be to your benefit. These days we prefer to book business class, and that is cheaper booking on our own. SOMETIMES O offers premium economy which can be satisfactory. We weren't unhappy on the one or two occasions when we used their PE option, but then again it can depend on the airline in question.
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