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Everything posted by Mura

  1. My goodness! It gets worse and worse! Mura
  2. Only 8 people??? Wow! I've been on small roll calls but never one that small. But if most of your fellow cruisers don't know about CC, then they won't know about a roll call either. We have indeed found that since oLife (and its tour benefits came on the scene) that it can be harder to find people looking for private tours ... but far from impossible. But everything depends on how active a roll call is, and we cannot control THAT. Mura
  3. We've done several TAs in each direction ... some on an "R" ship, a couple on Marina. While we may have had some rough weather, we've also had rough seas in the Caribbean. I think the worst we ever had was going to Aruba from the Canal in O's early days. Even the crew was seasick on that one! The captain took Regatta further out into the ocean to avoid the worst of it. So as others have said ... no guarantees. But I also wouldn't avoid a TA just because the ships may be smaller than what you are used to. As Lyn said -- we were booked on her April cruise on Marina but had to cancel, which turned out to be a good thing! -- time of year and itinerary is important. The North Atlantic can be dicey ... My husband's cousin served in WWII and was sent to the European theater NY-England ... he said that was a crossing to remember! Of course, he was NOT on a cruise ship!! Mura
  4. Propsmom, are you new to Oceania? Most of us who get these benefits have been sailing for a while with a TA. The longer we have given business to our TA, the better the benefits. Mura
  5. I'm surprised at OP's conclusion that the "free" tours have a $150pp limit. It seems to me that when we have used oLife tours, the top limit was $199. I'm not saying OP is wrong because price differentials have gone up between cruise only and oLife (what was once $300 now seems closer to $1500), so it's certainly possible that the rules have been changed about the available tours. We did find them worth it on recent cruises, but at $1500 I doubt we'd take the tours now. MAYBE the OBC, but we get a lot of that anyway. I haven't done real price comparisons since we have nothing scheduled for now -- DH doesn't want to do any more traveling because of his severe vision problems, but while he wouldn't mind if I went alone, he also is fearful of being in a duplex apartment when he can't see the stairs so well. So for now, no travels are planned. That may change down the road, of course. Mura
  6. I'm not in your situation but many people have posted similar questions and answers. The first question is: do you have a TA? If you do, it's simpler is all. The general advice is to notify the ship well in advance of your needs. This also applies to people who have food allergies or other problems, not just vegetarians and vegans. From what I recall, they will provide you with menus daily so that you can see what is available to you. They definitely are willing to accommodate your specific needs. Try doing a search on this subject -- you should come up with lots of information. If you don't have a TA, then you would simply notify the ship of your needs. Good luck. Mura
  7. I'm with Paul in his last comment. OTOH, our last cruise was a year ago on Riviera and we just did NOT hear those announcements, certainly not when we were in our suite. That is why I asked the question. In fact, we usually miss most of an announcement because if we are in our room by the time we get to the door to hear what is being said, it's over. True, it's now a year since we cruised ... but I've seen these complaints for quite a while before that last cruise. We were on Marina in November 2017 and didn't hear these announcements there either. BUT given that many people here are complaining, these increased announcements do seem a drawback. Oceania has always put it forth as a strong point that they do NOT have these announcements. So why the change? Obviously, at least people here on CC aren't happy with them. Even on Renaissance the point was made that announcements did not get sent to cabins. Mura
  8. I have wondered something about the complaints regarding excessive announcements. We've never noticed them, but perhaps that's because when we are in our room we don't have the system turned on. If we hear an announcement is being broadcast we can open the door to see if it's something we want/need to know. Are these complaints about when passengers are NOT in their rooms, so of course they hear them? Mura
  9. In that case, just from my perspective ... one reason I avoid the liquor packages (aside from knowing we'd never drink enough to justify the price) is that I prefer to buy my wine by the bottle rather than having to make my choice from a small list of "by the glass" options. So if I haven't brought on my own, I'll buy from their admittedly overpriced list. A few times we've had a lot of OBC that came in handy for buying wines that I'd never willingly pay for on my own! (Like a lovely Montrachet we once ordered.) On some occasions we've been in a suite that offered the 6 "free" bottles (wine or booze) in our suite. While even I don't consider the wine choices to be top drawer we've found them drinkable ... and certainly convenient! Plus if you take those wines to the restaurants, there is no corkage fee charged. Mura
  10. I find it somewhat amusing that many complain here about being deluged with brochures (we tend to be in this category although we've never complained about them, we just throw them out) but there are also those who really want to get brochures can can't seem to get them. It doesn't appear that there is a happy medium. We also get brochures from Regent and other lines we've never patronized ... but I'm sure their marketing knows when someone has cruised, and they become fair game. Rather like when you do a search for a product online and suddenly you are getting all these offers from other vendors ... Our TA (who I know is not alone) will send us an email brochure of offerings when they come out ... We find that sufficient! We also just do searches at the website for the time and destination we're interested in. Then I will discuss the options with our excellent TA. Usually we go with what I have found but wiser words are always welcome!
  11. Well, some of the oenophiles here will bring a number of bottles with them in protective cases they have purchased for reasonable prices. If you are flying non-stop, this can be an option for an itinerary like yours ... if it's worth it to you to carry that much wine with you, of course. I get that your itinerary is not conducive to buying locally. I have managed to pack 3-4 bottles of wine in my luggage, again using protective coverings that I have purchased at Magellan and Amazon. (I do NOT qualify as an oenophile, but I do know what I like! And even with the corkage fee I can spend less on what I bring myself than I would if buying on board.) We haven't tried that wine package purchase on board given what I've read from the cognoscenti about the quality of these wines. Before this package became the norm, I occasionally would buy 1-2 of their closeouts for a good price -- and was never disappointed with their quality -- but this option no longer exists. Mura
  12. Oceania doesn't ban children under 18, however we have rarely seen children on board (probably due to the times when we tend to travel as well as usually longer itineraries). When we have seen them, we haven't had any complaints that I can remember. That being said, there HAVE been complaints here at times about obstreperous children with uninvolved parents ... I think usually around holiday times. Mura
  13. Our guide, John, was an older gentleman -- not terribly old, no, but as I recall I'd say at least in his 50s. So he could be retired by now, but if he is available I highly recommend him. Management at the time had no problem in granting our request for him to be our guide. Good luck!
  14. It's not that I'm afraid to be there. We've spent a fair amount of time there in the past and were never afraid. It's more that I don't want to support their current government by giving them my money. I realize that hurts the people ... It's a difficult decision. I agree that knowing people in a place where you are visiting as a tourist always adds to the experience.
  15. We do love Istanbul but I don't know that I'd want to go there these days ... Mura
  16. My information is now 11 years old but when we were in Dunedin we had a wonderful tour private with Arthur Tours, using by special request John as our guide. I have no idea if the company still exists or if John is still guiding, but we had a wonderful day. Both the agency and the guide had been highly recommend by someone on CC at the time. We started out at the railroad station but had a very full day, including a visit to the penguins and if I recall correctly (maybe I am not!) some Maori spots. Mura
  17. Our last Viking cruise was in February 2012, and that was a river cruise (as all of our Viking trips have been) -- 2003, 2008 and 2012. My recollection is that they did ask for payment a year in advance even then, but it's very possible those were for "special deals". I think our China trip in 2008 included free air (we upgraded to business given the length of the flight). That was a very special trip, as was our first on Viking in 2003 (Amsterdam-Basel) but the 2012 trip was a disappointment, which is why we gave up on Viking. On our 2012 trip (Avignon-Paris, then Paris to Normandy and back) we happened to be on the same river boat for the second leg as we'd been on in 2003, and service was vastly diminished. The biggest complaint we had was the overcrowding on the rivers. When the boats are triple-decked in port, it isn't fun! Our first 2003 trip was not at all like that, although to be fair we were on the last cruise of the season in October. But we decided not to go back to river cruising and have not. On the other hand, having a nice lunch along the Douro shore in Portugal a couple of years ago, we were delighted to see the Viking boat pull up right in front of us! Mura
  18. I can see where it's only for one day, and you count up the benefits, it can be worth it -- even if you only consider convenience and not much about how doing all these things on your own would have cost. But once you go in more than one day early, that $800/day does add up! I remember how stressed out a fellow passenger was when he discovered that the London Marriott where we were staying could have cost a fraction of what he'd paid through O because he was a high-level member of their plan. "Marriott" wasn't obviously on the name of the hotel so he hadn't realized where he really was staying. Mura
  19. Now that's something worth knowing, Jan! I was unhappy with Ren 6-7-8 because of the elimination of what Oceania calls the PH suites. How interesting to know that Ren had really rethought the whole process! Mura
  20. Rather than giving up on the Roll Call, I would have simply ignored those posts -- which is easy to do. That's assuming I didn't want to know the names of people attending the M&G. Since I have most often set those up myself on cruises, I'm always interested in who will be joining us! At the same time, I can understand your feelings. The thing is: you can get a lot of information at a Roll Call, and I've made some good friends BEFORE a cruise by visiting there. To each his own. There is no right or wrong here. Mura
  21. This will get more responses if posted on your Roll Call. You MIGHT find someone at this general board who is on your cruise and interested in the tour, but it's not all that likely. Good luck! Stockholm is a great city, although we did it easily on our own. Mura
  22. PingPong, your earlier comment didn't bother me. Perhaps an exaggeration of the theme of "you can always spend less" is all. We choose these days to spring for the larger cabins. We like the space and comfort. When we were younger and first cruising, we went for the cheap seats. I remember having bunk beds and a porthole on our Alaska cruise with Princess in 1990. But our recent cruises on Oceania (with one exception when we accepted a huge downsell offer) have only been in suites, from PH to Vistas. Once Oceania bribed us to switch cruises by upgrading from a PH on Regatta to a Vista on Marina (which we'd wanted to try anyway, that was back in 2011 when she was new) for no extra money plus more OBC, we were gonners. For many people it's very true that once you try a big suite it's hard to go back to smaller accommodations. But I absolutely agree that if you can't afford it, or just don't consider extra space or amenities worth it, you shouldn't do it. For us, they are. But we don't speak for everyone ... Mura
  23. I agree with Jim. The biggest complaint about the veranda cabins on the "R" ships are the size of the bathrooms. They ARE small! I gather that the "upgrades" have made this somewhat better but I'm betting the shower is still teensy. Having said that ... our first cruise on Renaissance was in a veranda cabin (in what Oceania calls an "A", Ren called them "C") and the shower drove me crazy. BUT, when we took a downsell on Nautica in July 2017 it no longer bothered me ... and I'm bigger now than I was in 1999! The room itself is comfortable and we always had plenty of storage room, as Jim has said. If it really concerns you, I'd say up the game to a PH ... but that's more expensive. It's also more spacious, both in the room and on the veranda. As I recall, the veranda takes chairs rather than loungers (the PH can take loungers). For me the main difference between the PH and a concierge veranda is the width of the cabin. In a PH both of you can cross the room at the same time. In a veranda cabin, one of you will have to wait until the other has passed. How often does that happen? And of course the bathroom in a PH is rather larger than in the veranda cabin. It's still not huge! An Owner's suite or a Vista is of course far more spacious ... but I'm not seriously suggesting you go that far unless money is no object ... which I doubt is the case given the way you framed your question. The top suites on the "R" ships as far as I remember are around 1000 sf, whereas a PH is something like 400 and the veranda more like 285. Don't hold me to those figures because it's a long time since I saw the specific measurements. Those numbers DO include the verandas, they don't reflect the room size alone. If you do a search at the website you should find better information than I have provided. Mura
  24. Pinot, while I think that your comment may be somewhat extreme (!) I do have to say that when we were on NCL's GEM in 2010 we did have a coffee maker ... which we never used. I don't have a great desire to have one in my cabin. Yes, we're usually in a suite on Oceania and so it's very easy to order coffee if we want it. When we have NOT been in a suite, there wasn't room for a coffee maker anyway (I'm talking about the "R" ships). So while I have some sympathy for those who really want to make their own tea or coffee in the room, I have no need myself for that "luxury". When I'm in a Motel 6 ... that's different! Mura
  25. Some of the Civitavecchia hotels arrange transfers for good prices. We stayed at the Hotel Traiano in Civitavecchia in November 2017 which provided transport to/from the airport to/from the hotel for 110EUR per couple. Of course it was cheaper for more than 2 people. Check with you're Roll Call to see if someone else is arriving around the same time. (I HAVE had that happen!) We have also used Rome Cabs and were very satisfied with them. I had inquired of them when I was arranging this particular transfer but for some reason decided against using them this time. Perhaps they charged more for only 2 people? Whatever the reason I did not save a follow-up email from them. So, as I say check with your Roll Call for others who might share. Also check with your hotel to see if they provide a service like the Traiano did. Mura
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