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Everything posted by pinotlover

  1. Another thread where people use TA interchangeably. Is the Agent or Agency making this offer? 2. We have zero knowledge of the commissionable amount of the mystery cruise. 3. Are the numbers quoted for each individual or for the couple combined? We’ve been over this before, not all Travel Agents work on commission. While some do, others are hourly employees of an Agency, and others work on an arranged flat fee amount for each assigned account.. I’ll tell you that if your getting 9-10% rebates, it’s coming from the Agency not the Agent.
  2. In that this is the first time that Travel Agency has been used, I might be a bit more conservative and request the refundable OBC. Use what I want aboard ship, take the rest home. Then, if all happens accordingly, the next cruise I’d take the Visa card. Once you take the card, you will forever be on that bank’s mailing list. Be careful to understand use restrictions on the card.
  3. As one that doesn’t need Mother Oceania to hold my hand at every move in every port, my recommendation is to find a private tour that interests you and doesn’t require pre payment. Then enjoy the day.
  4. One would hope that if a port is intentionally eliminated or replaced, you’d be notified by final Payment. That would give you plenty of time to make arrangements. Of course, that may be wishful thinking.
  5. Or, if they merely limit or eliminate the port shuttle buses, the cruise ships will stop going there. Problem solved. Still isn’t the cruise lines providing the shuttle services. I do expect a zealous attack, by some locales, on over tourism. The number of ports allowing the 4000-6000 passenger floating cities to dock will probably be limited in the near future. This is especially the case for those lines noted for seagulls as passengers. All those “ cruising for the ship” , may well be pleased with more sea days in the future. Some of the river ports inland Europe are already limiting the number of river boats they allow to dock. That one infamous company known to raft up to three boats in a single port, with its fleet of tour buses following along, has worn out its welcome in some areas.
  6. One small correction to all of this. I have never known of Oceania providing a shuttle service in any port that I have visited while cruising with them. The shuttle service has always been provided by the port and/or tourist center. The times of services, quality of services, and drop off destinations are governed by those entities. In some ports, shuttle buses aren’t required because the city has ran subway systems to the port. All of this in no way defrays from the convenience of the shuttle service, it just accurately describes who’s providing the service. If the service is great, mediocre, or poor, it’s not Oceania’s doing. Thank the port and/or City that actually provides the service to better attract the cruise ships.
  7. To be a little more specific on this issue. The Lounge on the O and A ships don’t really have a dance floor other than up on the stage. Therefore, I have never witnessed the band playing pre-show and dancing on those ships. However, the the Lounge on the older R ships are different. Part of the “ stage “ is actually at floor level. On some cruises, on certain nights, on the R ships the band has indeed played pre-show there and people were up dancing. Sometimes most every night, others more occasionally. Best to confer with your CD, after you board, to get details for your cruise. As with many questions posted here, the answer is not one size fits all. As to the O and A ships, I doubt Oceania wants many of those more senior cruisers climbing up and down off the Lounge stage! 😇. Horizons will probably continue to be the best you get.
  8. Actually quite typical after final payment date. Some people book everything two years out, while others do so 3-5 months pre cruise. Except for the rare cruise, both typically make the cruise.
  9. I’ve met other O cruisers with those feelings. Thing is, they mostly consider anyone under 60 a kid. 😂
  10. I don’t believe that insignificant cancellation charge will slow them down in the least. Some people book multiple cruises every year, thus having thousands of dollars out in deposits, only to then cancel all but one or two. Maybe losing their entire deposit might slow them down, but not O’s meager charges.
  11. I have always been able to fill my private tours via CC. Most often end up having to turn people away. This is my personal experience, fwiw. I book tours and advertise them on CC Roll Calls. The 3 cruises booked to every cruise taken rule lives and breathes. After Final Payment date, I’m always scrambling to fill my tours, but always do. Notice all the Oceania constant sales, a lot of folks don’t book until six months prior to sailing and are eager to sign up for private tours. One very good fellow Oceania cruiser doesn’t even advertise his tours until after FPDate. He claims he bypasses all the lookie loos and still fills his private tours with fewer problems . I wouldn’t worry about the status of tours 9+ months out. Come final payment and the lookie loos bail, availability often follows. Also, unless you’re one of those that really needs Oceania to hold your hand if/when you leave the ship, try browsing your Roll Call right here on Cruise Critic. Opportunity awaits! 🥂
  12. A totally personal decision. Some cruise ships give a very local immersion experience on their various cruises, while others take a Unitarian approach. Paul Gauguin in the FP verses other lines for example. Some travelers live to feel like they never left Omaha, while others want something different. Some love ships where the menu is the same in Italian waters as in Vietnamese waters. Others find that contrary to international travel. People have choices.
  13. In Bora Bora, we did the private jet ski tour @$150 each. Part of our contingency that day were four (4) passengers from the ship paying Oceania $450 each to do the exact same tour and eat the exact same food. This scenario has happened several times with us, being in the same van with those on OE ship tour, doing exactly as we at a multiple of our costs. Remember, you’re only promised a group of 16 or less, not who those other participants may be. 😂. Destination Services and the ship tours are a profit center for the ship, not a cost center. No one is forced or obligated to take the ship tours. One can do as many of us do and primarily take private ones. Is the price of a hot dog and beer at the foot ball stadium in any way related to the cost of materials? Your only choice there is to neither eat nor drink, or pay the price . Oceania allows one to choose, but for those that choose the ship tour, it can be a very expensive hot dog! 🙄 But, it’s your choice.
  14. It has been my experience that most of those wearing the lanyards are in a defined group such as a GoNext group or a F&WT group. The lanyard is there to identify you, allow entrance into group only events, and eliminate the need to make name tags for every event. It’s a rarity for an independent traveler to wear a lanyard.
  15. We all view Simply More differently. To us, it was merely a price increase. That’s all, just a price increase. I don’t understand all the anxiety people are expressing. Every day aboard ship we have three meals ( at a minimum) paid for along with the Afternoon Tea. I pay for all those meals as part of my cruise fare. When in port, we always eat the local fare ashore. We don’t rush back to the ship to eat that included meal. It’s what we choose to do. Those SM tour credits are the same for us. If We find a ship tour we really want, we’ll use the included tour credit. If we don’t, they’ll be just like those included meals we miss.It’s all just part of the fare, just like the evening shows. I wonder, do people feel compelled to eat three meals a day, with all the offered courses, because it’s part of the fare? If not, why all the hand wrangling over SM tour credits? 🤔
  16. You have one guaranteed sitting in each of the Specialty restaurants. If you don’t choose a reservation before boarding go to the dining reservation desk and they will get you one. If you ask nicely maybe even a two top.
  17. There was a recent thread on this. As of yet Oceania hasn’t made any statements or commitments. Several WAGs have been advanced ranging from Sep/Oct to next March/April. All WAGs, so take them as such.
  18. An important part of this to remember. They had five (5) additional Specialties meals, plus the four (4) guaranteed, making nine in total on a 12 or 13 day cruise. They got all those additional reservations without the aid of a butler. If one will be flexible with timing and sharing, they will often find the opportunity for extra Specialty meals to be plentiful, except on maybe the seven day cruises. It is primarily only those that choose to be inflexible that typically have difficulty.
  19. Advantages for tour guide: They can speak in a normal voice to any size group giving instructions or information. Disadvantage for tour guides: People take comfort in being able to hear the guide’s voice and wander off, dilly dally here or there, etc., and soon get separated by a considerable distance from the group. They think they’re close because they can hear the guid’s voice. People get lost! I have found they are great if I’m doing a vineyard tour or somewhere I can keep eye contact with everyone. I hate them on busy city streets where people easily get strung out. Advantages for tourists : They can easily listen to all commentary of the guides. Disadvantage for tourists: Much like some posters here on CC, some guides attempt to give a new definition to verbose and verbosity. Take an eight hour tour, they’ll talk every minute of that eight hours. It might be about their neighbor’s second cousin’s granddaughter, but they talk on and on. The only way to stop the noise is to unplug. Then you lose possible information or instructions you need. Their sole tip at the end is me , or others, not having strangled them after hour 3 or 4. 🤬 Fwiw, the sponsor company of the tours set the rules. I’ve taken groups out with a ten minute rule. The group will wait ten minutes after the assigned time for any stragglers and leave. Other sponsors will require the guide to wait and search for at least an hour. It isn’t up to the guide. I have no idea what Oceania requires.
  20. Viking does not run its own tours in most ports. They use third parties like everyone else. The passengers have their Vox system, with charger in their cabins and are supposed to bring them with them on each tour. Viking provided the main headset , and instructions as needed, to the guides for us on the tours. After the tours, the guides return the equipment to the Viking rep. The system has advantages and disadvantages for both parties.
  21. I think that cost cutting may come in many forms not always disagreeing. Waste on a ship is costly. Reducing portion sizes is cost cutting, but we don’t need the huge portions we were often served. One of my chef owner clients was discussing menu with his underlying chefs. He talked about the huge increase in fish prices being brought on by the decimation of fish stocks by overfishing and the inability of fish farms to keep up with growing demand. He plainly said the availability and variety of fish served will go down. The prices are higher than customers are willing to pay. My guess is that will likewise occur on cruise ships. People won’t go hungry, they’ll see plenty of options, but the availability of many fish options will probably decrease in the near future in order to cut/reduce costs. Miami buys everything aboard ship. The availability of any product in some foreign port doesn’t play into Miami’s need for products in bulk amounts at an acceptable cost. Just look at all the fresh fish markets around the world with fish readily available while you eat frozen fish. All that fish you see of a certain variety may not feed 30 people on a 1200 passenger ship.
  22. Just for general knowledge sake, since you start booking ship tours a year in advance, how often, or how many times during the course of that year, do you request a new tour pdf for each cruise?
  23. The “ whisper “ systems used on my lines are efficient and preferred by most over trying to hear the voice of a talking guide. They have their advantages and disadvantages for both the guides and the tour participants so they get varying use.
  24. I have found ouTA fully competent in this area. All I have to do is send her an email, anything 24 hours a day, of what we want and it’s done. If one prefers to spend time on the phone, or is otherwise bored with nothing else to do, then calling Oceania is the thing for you. Myself, I have golf to play and a yard to mow, all that including cleaning up storm damage from last weekend. Whatever rocks your boat. Some people are far more into DIY than others.
  25. The only question I see is who are the picky eaters: 1. the NoNos; 2. People wanting flavors, herbs, and spices? 🤔
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