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Everything posted by pinotlover

  1. Funny story on those old name tags. Thanks for the laugh! 😂
  2. I believe the cruise lines obtain their crew from where and when they can. India is now the most populous nation in the world, so no surprise about their increased presence. Fwiw, I remember when Oceania had a significant presence of Ukrainians and other Eastern Europeans. I don’t believe it was policy change that altered that.
  3. Very correct. Let me add the obvious. If one books a waitlist 1.5 years pre cruise, the odds of getting a cabin is extremely high. If one books a waitlist after the final payment date of the cruise, the odds diminish significantly. Can still happen, just greatly reduced odds. Timing is everything! Fwiw, and solely imo, not all upgrades are positive. Omitting the extended veranda cabins, most of the cabin designations are made from the center of the ship , dropping as you moves outward. The reason PH3s will be waitlisted with PH1 or PH2 available is not price. The noisiest cabin I was ever in was a PH1, on the Marina, directly under a portion of Waves. A plethora of jet lagged passengers, that couldn’t sleep, dragging the chairs across the floor ( which was my ceiling) every morning starting at 4:00 or so. The PH was nice, but we may have been a lot happier in our quiet A2. Moral of story, ask which room the upgrade offer is for. There may well be a reason no one else has booked it.
  4. I can partially explain this. I live in the U.S. heartlands. Everyday between 4:00-6:30 pm during local programming and news, there is a continuous onslaught of advertising by personal injury attorneys seeking clients injured by multiple means. Sometimes there are around 10 such commercials in a half hour stretch. They claim to have some one standing by to answer the phone 24/7. The effect of that is a very expensive insurance rider if a restaurant lists an item as being GF. It takes a lot of GF sales to pay for that rider, a level which many establishments will never achieve. Waitstaff is also trained to not claim that any items on the menu are GF. Those carrot and celery sticks, no guarantees, eat at your own risk. If you read CC here very often a familiar cry is “ well I’d sue “; “ I’d be suing somebody “; “ You should sue!” The litigious nature of American society can both protect people and likewise create the absurd. I don’t know the exact laws in effect for a foreign flagged ship at sea, nor the actual promise made to any passengers , from the chef, regarding GF and/or other allergen. Just saying it is something very difficult for any small to medium sized restaurants to do. Guaranteed actions of a lot of perhaps low skilled employees is risky business.
  5. I think the most entertaining Boardamania story came from a couple that are currently on, I believe, their 3rd Oceania ATW. Even though it has been a R ship, Boardamania on the ATW is extreme, and the reason O has supposedly gone to multiple ports to dampen the effect. People that are going to be on a ship for 180 days, with about a third of those sea days, lining up ( or attempting to in Miami) hours early to get that lunch in the TC! 😂 The lady said she couldn’t imagine how bad it will be on the larger Vista! 😳 Their new SOP: depending upon itinerary, book one or two cruise segments aboard the ship pre ATW, and go to South Beach until all aboard. Their TA gets them all the same benefits for those early segments as the ATW.
  6. Don’t forget the Waves Marguerite pizza without a hint of basil! That’s like a cheeseburger without the cheese. It’s not really a cheeseburger and it’s not really the pizza as advertised.
  7. We were on the next cruise out of Yokohama. Same situation. We were unfortunately on one of those Oceania pre cruise bus dumps that turned a poor situation bad.
  8. I would never show up for that level of Boardamania. You know many of the self absorbed will show up early regardless. Plan on arriving at 3ish and avoid the mess. That lunch in the TC isn’t that special to take on that level of Boardamania regardless of how much one might like the TC. You already know that Oceania will dump bus loads of folk around noon of people staying on their hotel plans. 😳
  9. Only guessing that by law since Oceania changed the itinerary so dramatically, people will get free cancellation. I won’t fly two hours to Miami for a 7 day cruise, couldn’t imagine flying across the pond for one! I’d wait until final word from O and cancel .
  10. Through the end of 2025, which is the furthest we’ve planned we have 2 Oceania cruises; one Uniworld river cruise; and four land trips planned. The land trips include Tuscany; Willamette Valley , Crater Lake, and the Oregon coast; Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, and northern Vermont; and a fly fishing trip to the Rockies ( CO). If possible, we may try to squeeze another trip in from Washington, DC and down to the Cape in NC with lots in between. This may have to wait until 2026. The DW wants to return to the FG again. Don’t know if that will be on Paul G ( which we find superior in the FP) , or an over the water in Bora Bora. That’ll be 26 also.
  11. I believe that part of this issue revolves around Oceania maintaining a one size fits all approach vs what happens at the port. We have done Embarkment where the passenger turnaround approached 95%, while on other days it was closer to 25-30%. On an O ship that represents a substantial number of people differential. Some ports run checkin and immigration very smoothly and efficiently. For others, immigration can be a huge bottleneck. Some port authorities won’t let passengers into the port until their assigned boarding times, while others allow one in to wait. Buenos Aires is one of those ports that does both: you can’t get in until your assigned time, and they are notoriously slow in immigration. Two things happened on our boarding day they where 800 were to board that day. First, Oceania gave out far more early boarding times than the port could handle. Many of those with assigned early boarding times were given new later boarding times upon arrival by the port personnel. Second, all those fans of Boardamania with later times were turned away. They couldn’t enter, to get a new later boarding time until their original assigned time. If the new assignment was more than one hour out, you couldn’t wait in the waiting area. We arrived at our assigned time of 2:00, they took our baggage, and were then given a 3:30 boarding time. So out into the larger port area we went. Some with 11:00 originally assigned times didn’t board until 2:00. A couple of thoughts. Had only 250-300 new passengers been boarding, it would probably have been a different experience. Only Oceania knows how many new passengers there will be and they have enough experience at some of these ports, they should have severely limited the number of assigned early boarding and stretch them apart further. Second, there are those that ignore their assigned time that makes Boardamania worse. I believe Oceania mostly has a set procedure and whatever happens at the port happens. Fortunately, BA was a great terminal with lots of shops and restaurants, so plenty to do while you wait to get into the waiting/boarding area. Fwiw, we all made it on the ship. The ship departed maybe an hour late, but we made the relatively close first port on time the next morning. Go with the flow.
  12. We are 6-7 years older than Gary, and just don’t see life as either or. We have taken island and land hopping cruises in the Med and enjoyed them immensely. We did a 12 day Vista cruise last summer hitting multiple ports that a day visit was fine for. That cruise had a 3 day stop in Israel, so we got off the ship and spent the nights in Jerusalem which made the logistics for our tours far simpler. Leading a Group to Tuscany in September for 15 days. Spending nights in Florence, Greve in Chianti, and Montalcino. Could we just stay at one location and make longer commutes every day? Yes, but those easy pack/unpacks makes the rest of our adventures so much easier. Additionally, like a cruise, every day is not doing wine tastings. I have down days planned for the hot springs, shopping, or just doing nothing. We’ve done combo trips of doing Lake Como and the Piedmont/Barolo wine area staying in Monteforte. Etc, etc. There are times for cruise ships and times for land trips. We are still physically able to enjoy both. A land trip doesn’t have to be “ pack and unpack every day or every other day “! Fwiw, We took the granddaughters on vacation last summer. Age 10 &12. They wore grandpa out!! 😂 Much like the 30 year old daughter, they would have worn us out whether on a cruise or land trip. Comparing trips with them vs Elderly friends is like comparing apples to elephants. 🙄 We’ll be eating Italian food while there. Some prefer Americanized Italian while some of us prefer real Italian when we can get it. Our chosen restaurants for lunch and dinner don’t appear to primarily cater to the NoNos. All that is personal preference.
  13. I was in a resort once that collected everything left on unattended loungers before 9:00. Probably helped as much as anything.
  14. Not really one of the Lounger people, not for the past 30 years anyway. However, from observation, the issue aboard ship seems to be with those wanting a lounger in the shade. I often see full Sun loungers available, but not those hidden under the overhang. In the 5* resorts we have visited, for those that want them, umbrellas are always available to hide from the sun. Because of space limitations, not so on Oceania ships. Regarding specialty restaurants: One of the resorts in the Baja had two wonderful Specialties to go with their regular buffet and sit down service restaurants. Several years ago they were forced to go to an allocated reservation system. It had always been first come first with the reservation desk opening at 7:00 am. Lines started forming around 5:30-6:00 in the morning!! That 5:30 was 8:30 ET and those people had no problem getting up that early. For those of us that were on MT or PT, it was an issue. Resort finally changed over to a system much like O. Do it online, in advance, with an allocated number of reservations. Much better system. Allowed us to plan and go into town at least a couple nights for the local flair.
  15. Buy the snacks off ship and remedy the situation. There is a thread, on a different Forum here, on the ports that are closing and/or restricting cruise passengers. One of the main reasons is they create traffic and congestion and many don’t spend a dime or whatever the currency. Light snacks are easily procured in Japan.
  16. Seems to me, we had a gentleman come on the ship, during docking, and sit up a table to sell local currency. The exchange rate wasn’t exceptional but adequate, and getting $20 worth of Kroner proved handy. Our lunches were paid by cc.
  17. 1. The dish was obviously prepared for the NoNos. 2. The onboard chefs have zero control over the quality of meat and other products they serve. Miami alone makes those purchases either by current availability and/or budgetary considerations. The chefs cook what Miami sends them. The next resupply is almost certainly already sitting on the dock awaiting the ship; and the resupply after that is already purchased and enroute. All that sinewy meat isn’t going to be ground up for hamburger. It will be cooked the best they can. 3. The NoNos have won the day. Adding samba, tobasco, and other additions to a meal results in entirely different flavors and tastes than having a dish prepared with the proper herbs and spices the dish calls for. If a dish needs a bit of herbs de Provence, thyme, curry, oregano to enhance the flavors, or add more authenticity , it should be done during cooking. Having the NoNos continue to say “ Just add tobasco, I want mine bland”, doesn’t solve the issue.
  18. Since 2020, and Covid, the best price guarantee has been until final payment. Very distinctly in the T&Cs. Before FP was sometimes not until 90 days pre cruise, depending upon length of cruise. I believe most have now moved to 150 days or more, thus shortening the span. The other confusing point , for some, was that the guarantee was only for Oceania published sales, not sales ran by On Line Agencies or “ silent “ sales.
  19. Buying any alcoholic beverages in the Nordic countries , including Denmark, is outrageously expensive due to taxes. You bring what you may want or buy from the ship.
  20. For those future Japan cruisers, I thought I’d bring up one last thought not yet mentioned. Similar to New Zealand, and some other countries, it is prohibited to take fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, etc off the ship in Japan. We daily got the briefing from the CD before leaving for tours. At some ports, our belongings were searched, at a couple of the ports we were met by the friendly sniffing dogs. Japan has fabulous food and a delight to try all the different regional specialties. Just don’t plan a picnic with food from the ship.
  21. I have been on two different F&WT winery sponsored cruises. We had several exclusive wine tastings and a reception away from the regular passengers, along with a few exclusive winery tours. None of those impacted any other Oceania cruiser. We did have one Group wine dinner, in the PG, that was paired with wine from the host winery. It did count as our guaranteed meal there. In that the wine flowed very generously, we may have become a little noisy! 🥸😇! I will add that , much like the GoNext cruises, our groups of 50-75 trended perhaps 25 years younger on average that the normal Oceania crowd. We were the oldsters in both Groups. So neither cruise may have been as sedate as some prefer, but by no means rowdy.
  22. Perhaps they no longer do. In 2015 they certainly did. Made visits to downtown, the Valrhona chocolate factory/shop and out to a Croze-Hermitage winery. It was an all day visit.
  23. To start: Absolutely. Even finding garlic in a dish demanding garlic is a rarity. The odds of getting good lobster is about 3 in 10.Mushy or overcooked. The last couple times I had the lobster risotto in Toscana, the lobster could have been rubber bands. Just as tough, chewy, and tasteless. On the Vista we had trouble in the TC cutting our lobster tails with a steak knife. Long and short - enough other good food to take a 3/10 risk with lobster. I’ve had wonderful Lobster Thermidor and been served it uneatable .Bring out the chainsaw to cut it. 3/10 just not worth it. One of the problems that the ship cooks have is a strict Oceania policy. This policy helps lead to inconsistent meals. As explained to us by the head restaurant chef on Sirena, Oceania has a policy that says if the ship is sailing 7/365, then the items on Specialty menus will be served 7/365. Well, outside of the main ingredient, that may not be practical. Example our recent cruise. We typically love the spicy duck watermelon salad. First, all the spice is gone. The NoNos have gotten tamarind eliminated from most items. That however was not the main problem. The only watermelon on the ship was grossly unripe. We’re talking most all of the melon was white with almost no red. It wasn’t served at breakfast in the TC for several days for obvious reasons. Most of us can easily understand that ripe watermelon may not be available everywhere in the world every day. I don’t believe that even a U.S. Dennys restaurant would have served the dish. They would have just told patrons it’s currently not available. That however is against Oceania policy. It gets served 7/365. The waiter told me I’d get the same thing if reordered. He’d had lots of complaints.The chef knows what’s being served, he knows it shouldn’t be served. Miami says it gets served regardless. Complaining to ship staff is about your gratification, won’t affect Miami . The queen cut prime rib is typically good, in PG,, as well as lamb, when they have good quality meat.. The Dover sole in Jacques is great, along with the escargot, however Jacques is only on two ships. The quality of veal, on the ship, varies a lot. This has more to do with the quality of the meat itself than preparation which is likewise inconsistent. The lobster bisque in PG has extra lobster chunks and you get that nice splash of cognac. Only lobster bisque I think worth eating on the ship. They have a tempura dish in RG which is an insult to tempura. The fish is unseasoned, thickly coated with some breaded batter, and plain bad. It would be like calling unseasoned KFC tempura chicken .
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