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Everything posted by DavidTheWonderer

  1. Indeed, this topic has been discussed a lot. For perspective on what follows, I am a huge Regent fan with about 160 nights and a 120 night world cruise booked; I don't get along with Oceania at all. As always, your mileage may vary. In any case, when they can Regent prices some cruises way over the top compared to other luxury lines such as Seabourn. The last couple of Regent brochures I've gotten for Caribbean cruises show prices that are definitely in that category.
  2. For our non-Canadian friends, Canadian Thanksgiving this year is Monday October 14. I was in Ottawa last week, and the colours were coming along nicely, but not yet quite at their peak. In Toronto, there are still few signs of colour. I'm guessing Quebec City etc. will be just about at their best right about now.
  3. We did the Montreal round trip last year and it is a spectacular itinerary. The later date also increases the chances that the colours of the foliage will be particularly nice: that always depends on the year of course, but late August - early September is usually too early for that. Of course, the later date increases the chances that it will be cold.
  4. From Toronto, we usually stay overnight in Los Angeles on the way there. We also try to get to Papeete a couple of days before we embark, so we're mostly over the jet lag when we begin the cruise. Coming back, we usually just fly to LAX, change planes, and then on to Toronto: that way we get over the jet lag at home.
  5. Good question! As you undoubtedly know, but others may not, the crew fund is used for things like parties and excursions, extras in the crew area like drum kits, and also to help members of the crew to get home in case of a family emergency. So it is very much an extra, not a tip. It also benefits the "back of the house" crew who we don't usually see on a regular basis but work very hard to make our experience so wonderful. So, I'm not sure even a North American like me can help with the amount. I would guess that $10 per day is a reasonable number to consider.
  6. Here's a link to a Grand Cruise last Fall, which was about the first half of a world cruise. But there is a lot of discussion of the activities during sea days.
  7. For personal reasons unrelated to cruising, I checked out the Carnival board today for the first time. There is a very active thread there called "Which Carnival ship(s) would you never sail again?" A brief scan seemed to showed a large number of their ships were nominated. There have been active discussions on this board of which Regent ship is a favorite. And all the ships get mentioned. But I can't imagine a thread here titled "Which Regent ship(s) would you never sail again?" If such a question appeared here, my answer would be the dear departed Diamond, but only because it left the fleet years ago.
  8. Although not part of a cruise, I've spent some time in Bangkok. Both the Grand Palace and Wat Pho are well worth visiting.
  9. On Regent, I never bring a jacket or tie. That will include 4 months on board for the coming world cruise. Some people like to "dress up", especially on the Formal Optional night. As far as I know, they never feel out of place. One of the nice things about Regent is that the passengers tend to accept each other as they are. The staff are in the unenviable position of enforcing the dress code.
  10. I'm a bit confused by your statement. Gross tonnage measures the total space on the ship. So, as I wrote, roughly GT per passenger is a measure of how much space is available for passengers. Of course, as always, there are nuances. For example, Regent Mariner and Regent Voyager have identical gross tonnage and number of passengers. But on Mariner, a larger fraction of the space is devoted to public spaces, at the expense of the size of the cabins; on Voyager it is just the opposite. And there are also issues like devoting precious space on the ship to a casino, climbing walls, roller coasters (true!), etc. Plus space for the engines, fuel, and more. The weather also is a factor. When it is cold and/or raining, people will not be out on the decks and patios, so with less available space the public areas can get comparatively crowded.
  11. NCL, Regent's parent, is donating one million dollars, and is matching donations dollar for dollar through All Hands and Hearts, whose web site is: https://www.allhandsandhearts.org/ So now you know what to do.
  12. Many posters on the AZ boards mention what debcip called "the vibe". Although important it is, of course, very subjective and opinions differ for different people. One can also do some quantitative research using, say, Wikipedia. There are 2 numbers that are easily available. First is space available, which is roughly the gross tonnage (GT) per passenger (the higher the better). The second is the number of passengers per staff (the lower the better). Both space and staff cost money. Here are some examples: Regent Mariner: 69 GT / pax, 1.6 pax / crew Azamara Quest: 44 GT / pax, 1.7 pax / crew HAL Eurodom: 41 GT / pax, 2.3 pax / crew Majestic Princess: 40 GT / pax, 2.6 pax /crew Not included above is Celebrity, which has been mentioned repeatedly on this thread. This is in part because they have two classes of passengers, and I don't know how to separate them in my calculations. I met some folks on Azamara who had considerable experience with Celebrity who had positive things to say. And some dear friends and cruise buddies are currently booked with Celebrity and I'm looking forward to hearing their report when they return. Of course, I can't comment on whether more space and more staff to look after you is worth the extra money to you. But for math geeks like me, finding these numbers is a fun way to while away the time until I get to get back on a ship.
  13. You are, or course, correct about the explicit question of the OP. But I thought the context was the general question of what constitutes value on a cruise. And later in cars! So I thought my perspective coming from the other side of the AZ price-point might be useful. But, of course, since I had nice things to say about AZ compared to the luxury lines I'm not surprised that critterchick is unhappy with my post. And, to be clear, although I really like AZ I am currently booked for another 120 nights on Regent in addition to the 160 already sailed. That has holed my personal travel budget to the point that I'm not likely to be on AZ in the foreseeable future. Which is too bad. Perhaps they want to offer me a free cruise in return for saying nice things about them? (ahem)
  14. So far almost all the posts in this thread doing comparisons are to lesser priced lines. I'm coming from a different perspective, with about 160 nights on Regent, 60 on the Paul Gauguin, plus a couple of weeks on Seabourn. I only have one 7-day experience on AZ, and would happily sail with them again for the right itinerary. I also have a two-week TransAtlantic on Oceania's Riviera and would not sail with them again. In addition to the port-intensive itineraries, which I really like, the social ambience, service, etc. on AZ compare favorably to the luxury lines. The AAmazing experience is delightful, as are the White Nights. Of course, the standard disclaimer applies: your mileage may vary.
  15. If your friend really means it about a moderate hotel in a great location in Moorea, we adore Les Tipeniers. But nothing is really inexpensive in Moorea. For the other hotels on the island, the folks on the Paul Gauguin board are probably the best ones to ask: many of those people have been to French Polynesia in general and Moorea in particular many many times. One other comment: your friend should consider the ferry from Papeete instead of flying.
  16. There is an interesting dynamic in social media, including Cruise Critic. Although so far as I know I've never physically met you Dan, I feel like we're old friends. That said, then, the best advice I've ever gotten when suffering a loss is to "eat my grief." Perhaps that advice will also help you in this terrible time.
  17. I aqree that people's expectations of perfection will almost always set them up for disappointment, but am less sure that the cost is a huge factor is setting those expectations. For a non-cruise example, just take a look at the expectations that some people have for their weddings. If, say, the wine is not at exactly the right temperature, then they feel that the whole wedding is ruined. Is there a difference in attitude for these folks for a small intimate wedding compared to a huge one? I suspect not, but am just guessing. For cruises, because the ships are complicated machines that sometimes break and destinations are subject to local weather, politics, etc. an attitude of "ship happens" is always a good idea.
  18. Sigh .. what was I thinking? In terms of sea day activities, I had a poor experience with a TA on Riviera and reported on it. The report included the fact that I didn't think it was typical, and ascribed it to an incompetent cruise director. But the venom directed at my post, ranging from ad hominem attacks along the lines of "you obviously didn't really experience what you experienced" to "how dare you criticise Oceania" were a reminder of why all over Cruise Critic the Oceania board is well-known to be the most toxic of the them all. The good news for people considering a cruise is that those people on this board are not representative of the passengers on the actual ships, who are typically social, well-traveled, and a pleasure to be around.
  19. If the dates work for you, we've had good experiences with Air France. Of course, the word "good" with any airline is a relative concept.
  20. There are two ATMs in the airport that I know of. As you come out of the luggage area into the main part of the airport if you turn left there is one that is easy to spot, so after a flight lands often there is a lineup. If you turn right there is a second ATM that is not actually inside the airport building but just outside, and I've never seen a line for that one.
  21. There is always variations from cruise-to-cruise, so my TA experience on Riviera is prrobably not indicative of yours. But for mine the cruise director was largely incompetent, and sea day activities were pretty well restricted to baggo.
  22. Not that I am criticizing, but personally I don't care if the ship's officers are around and about or not. However, for those for whom it is important, perhaps you could consider Azamara. Not a "luxury" cruise line but the officers are highly visible all the time.
  23. Weather is always variable, and patterns such as hot and humid in April are often not the case for a particular April. So, my advice is find a convenient date between January 1 and December 31.
  24. Many cruises have one or two such people. I've mused that in fact they are shills hired by the cruise line to give the passengers something to talk about. They can be entertaining if you don't take them seriously.
  25. Two brief comments. First, sometimes a specific cruise is not up to the usual standards of that particular ship. If I could identify the reasons, the cruise line would probably be willing to pay me lots of money for that information. But it does happen. Second, there is a dynamic of groups of people. I have taught classes of 1000 students, and the variations in the "personality" of the group from year to year are sometimes surprisingly large. I suspect the dynamic is determined by a small number of people who influence the whole group. Whatever the reason, the dynamic of the passengers on this particular Alaska cruise on Mariner was clearly toxic, and I am so glad I wasn't on board.
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