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Oceania current policy on private shore excursions vs ship’s excursions?


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3 minutes ago, pinotlover said:

....Oceania is offering an all day tour for $369 per person. Exact same private tours are $180 each. Some of our posters obviously believe that with the 25% discount $277 is less than $180, and brag about never paying retail! 😂....

You’re smarter than that. After all, just the convenience of less need for research/communication/risk associated with private tours in all the ports in a 5-7 week itinerary makes up for the price difference.

 

And it appears you’re assuming that just because one takes a <half day ship tour, they’re not doing anything else in the port for the rest of the day.

 

To each his/her own. We’ll stick with the right mix of O Life/YWYW/private tours.

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18 minutes ago, pinotlover said:

I don’t care about the prices! The tours that qualify on our sailings are 2-4.5 hour tours, when we are in port 10-11 hours.

 

Oceania is offering an all day tour for $369 per person. Exact same private tours are $180 each. Some of our posters obviously believe that with the 25% discount $277 is less than $180, and brag about never paying retail! 😂

 

Oceania is offering either zero or maybe one full day tour per day on one of my upcoming cruise. None of those are included in the package.


Some people are fully satisfied with that. Some rarely if ever get off the ship. It’s what they want. I fully understand. It’s not what we want.

It obviously varies by cruise.....we have never taken an O shore excursion (in 13 cruises) possibility of shore excursions only on our NOV Med and TA cruise, checked out our choices.  There were at least 9 ports with  "all day" excursions , many including lunch, that were in the $189-$199 range. 

We have changed out O Life option to shore excursions and will have 6  each covered and the remaining 3 at the discount.  Could we book the same excursions for less money privately, of course, but at this time not sure that will be an option.  

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14 minutes ago, basor said:

Could we book the same excursions for less money privately, of course, but at this time not sure that will be an option. 

The excursions which you have booked for November; does it appear they are able to maintain a "ship's bubble" experience ?

By that I mean, does it seem practical that they will achieve a high level of Covid security as opposed to what could likely be booked privately ?  

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33 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

You’re smarter than that. After all, just the convenience of less need for research/communication/risk associated with private tours in all the ports in a 5-7 week itinerary makes up for the price difference.

 

And it appears you’re assuming that just because one takes a <half day ship tour, they’re not doing anything else in the port for the rest of the day.

 

To each his/her own. We’ll stick with the right mix of O Life/YWYW/private tours.

Cruise Critic Roll Calls alleviates much of that research for most except the tour leaders. Check it out.

 

If Oceania ship tours, hotel packages, and ship transfers rock your boat, then in all means, go for it. I can quote names of people that let Oceania book their Business Class air. They make it easy. They may fit your size, just not all of us.

 

FWIW, as backup, I have booked Oceania tours for all ports for our next two cruises. The gouging is just considered part of the price of the package. Enjoy!

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10 minutes ago, pinotlover said:

Cruise Critic Roll Calls alleviates much of that research for most except the tour leaders. Check it out.

 

If Oceania ship tours, hotel packages, and ship transfers rock your boat, then in all means, go for it. I can quote names of people that let Oceania book their Business Class air. They make it easy. They may fit your size, just not all of us.

 

FWIW, as backup, I have booked Oceania tours for all ports for our next two cruises. The gouging is just considered part of the price of the package. Enjoy!

Yes, we’ve organized some of those CC tours and “ponied up” for others. But, we always DIY hotels, transfers, local tours.

One other strategy we often use pre-cruise is to pull out the Rolodex and communicate with a local US consulate’s cultural attaché about a single point contact that will do the transfers, local tours and, occasionally, hotels/restaurants that are turning folks away.

 

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It's all well and good to understand why private excursions are a better deal all around – but if they are prohibited the only questions are:  do you sail or not?  and do you stay on the ship the entire time, or pay Oceania for shore excursions?  You either suck lemons or make lemonade – there is no third option of having champagne at beer prices.

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I spent the afternoon going through the Oceania shore excursion listings for my January cruise, thinking that if they still require ship excursions it would be best to book them now while selection is still good.  Did a spreadsheet to track the three ways to structure it:

•  Unlimited was the most expensive (because there are days we don't expect to get off the ship)

•  OLife shore excursions was next most expensive, even with the YW 25% discount on the extra 3

•  YW is the cheapest (by $31 pp), and also has the best cancellation policy.

 

So the advice that OLife shore excursions option is always the cheapest way isn't quite right.  YMMV

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44 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

It's all well and good to understand why private excursions are a better deal all around – but if they are prohibited the only questions are:  do you sail or not?  and do you stay on the ship the entire time, or pay Oceania for shore excursions?  You either suck lemons or make lemonade – there is no third option of having champagne at beer prices.

Bingo! Absolutely correct.

 

Here’s the bottom line. Booking Oceania’s shore tours is costing me between $1500-$2K more than I would have paid for private tours. It’s the cost of going on the cruise. What that additional cost means is I will look at other lines, and their cost, in the future. How about Viking, what does the new AZ look like. May well return to O, but forced additional $2K expenditures push me to look at other options. O just loses while we experiment. Perhaps they don’t care. Future bookings are strong.

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1 hour ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

It's all well and good to understand why private excursions are a better deal all around – but if they are prohibited the only questions are:  do you sail or not?  and do you stay on the ship the entire time, or pay Oceania for shore excursions?  You either suck lemons or make lemonade – there is no third option of having champagne at beer prices.

I'd prefer not to book ship excursions but if our cruise sails in October I'll take what I can get. We won't have the problem on our cruise next April, there are no ports to visit. Windstar Papeete to San Diego. Unless they want to let us go swimming in the middle of the Pacific, we'll just be relaxing. 

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2 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

I spent the afternoon going through the Oceania shore excursion listings for my January cruise, thinking that if they still require ship excursions it would be best to book them now while selection is still good.  Did a spreadsheet to track the three ways to structure it:

•  Unlimited was the most expensive (because there are days we don't expect to get off the ship)

•  OLife shore excursions was next most expensive, even with the YW 25% discount on the extra 3

•  YW is the cheapest (by $31 pp), and also has the best cancellation policy.

 

So the advice that OLife shore excursions option is always the cheapest way isn't quite right.  YMMV

As long as your O Life tour picks average more than approx $135 each retail, it is a better value than YWYW. (You’re paying $100/per allotted O Life tour in your O Life fare).

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Just been on the phone to Oceania - we will be on the Nautica for 20 days in October. I asked about this but they do not know as yet whether we will have to take Oceania tours or if we can just go ashore and do what we want. He said that (as we know) some Cruise lines that are sailing soon insist on ship tours only ie Viking but I pointed out that these were included as part of the Cruise package and did not incur extra cost, and that I was not prepared to pay Oceania rip off prices, and one of the main reasons I booked this Cruise was the opportunity to jump off the ship at the ports and have a stroll around. I then asked him if it was to be the case that we had to do ship tours are they then going to reduce the price big style to make them reastically affordable, or include them for free and he said they were looking at all options and would make decisions nearer the time. It will be interesting to see what happens. I am certainly not going to pay huge amounts of money for trips that you can buy for a quarter of the price elsewhere. Nor spend 20 days chugging around the Med without leaving the non-refurbished ship.

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1 hour ago, ARDXXX said:

Just been on the phone to Oceania - we will be on the Nautica for 20 days in October. I asked about this but they do not know as yet whether we will have to take Oceania tours or if we can just go ashore and do what we want. He said that (as we know) some Cruise lines that are sailing soon insist on ship tours only ie Viking but I pointed out that these were included as part of the Cruise package and did not incur extra cost, and that I was not prepared to pay Oceania rip off prices, and one of the main reasons I booked this Cruise was the opportunity to jump off the ship at the ports and have a stroll around. I then asked him if it was to be the case that we had to do ship tours are they then going to reduce the price big style to make them reastically affordable, or include them for free and he said they were looking at all options and would make decisions nearer the time. It will be interesting to see what happens. I am certainly not going to pay huge amounts of money for trips that you can buy for a quarter of the price elsewhere. Nor spend 20 days chugging around the Med without leaving the non-refurbished ship.

In reading the points you’ve made, is it possible you would be better served to wait until such time in the future when cruising and the impact of Covid no longer is an issue and you wouldn’t be faced with the possibility of dealing with Oceania’s rip off pricing?

Or considering one of those lines where you will only have to pay a quarter of the price and be on a ship that is in better condition.

Jus a thought, maybe Oceania isn’t the right fit for you. 

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Problem is of course is that when I booked which seems like eons ago none of this was an issue, it was a different world where there were none of these restrictions, can anyone remember?

The upgrades were promised for all ships and having a stroll around town was welcomed with not a thought about paying rip off prices for excursions. And yes I do prefer some other lines especially Regent but I just liked the ports and the time of year when it was not too hot in the Med.

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44 minutes ago, ARDXXX said:

Problem is of course is that when I booked which seems like eons ago none of this was an issue, it was a different world where there were none of these restrictions, can anyone remember?

The upgrades were promised for all ships and having a stroll around town was welcomed with not a thought about paying rip off prices for excursions. And yes I do prefer some other lines especially Regent but I just liked the ports and the time of year when it was not too hot in the Med.

Indeed, and I sure do remember.  For us, we have had a number of cruises that were cancelled  and one we decided to re-booked until mid-2022, hoping that things will get back to some semblance of normal.

Wishing you the best that your Nautica/October cruise sails in a way that works for you.

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I’m in the boat with pinotlover. (And I also loved that little mouse on Ed Sullivan.) On our next cruise, which is scheduled to stop at 7 ports, there are 2 excursions that qualify for the OBC.

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3 hours ago, ARDXXX said:

Just been on the phone to Oceania - we will be on the Nautica for 20 days in October. I asked about this but they do not know as yet whether we will have to take Oceania tours or if we can just go ashore and do what we want. He said that (as we know) some Cruise lines that are sailing soon insist on ship tours only ie Viking but I pointed out that these were included as part of the Cruise package and did not incur extra cost, and that I was not prepared to pay Oceania rip off prices, and one of the main reasons I booked this Cruise was the opportunity to jump off the ship at the ports and have a stroll around. I then asked him if it was to be the case that we had to do ship tours are they then going to reduce the price big style to make them reastically affordable, or include them for free and he said they were looking at all options and would make decisions nearer the time. It will be interesting to see what happens. I am certainly not going to pay huge amounts of money for trips that you can buy for a quarter of the price elsewhere. Nor spend 20 days chugging around the Med without leaving the non-refurbished ship.

You do realize that “free” excursions (or booze) on any ship, including Viking, have their cost built into the fare??? 

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5 hours ago, ARDXXX said:

Just been on the phone to Oceania - we will be on the Nautica for 20 days in October. I asked about this but they do not know as yet whether we will have to take Oceania tours or if we can just go ashore and do what we want. He said that (as we know) some Cruise lines that are sailing soon insist on ship tours only ie Viking but I pointed out that these were included as part of the Cruise package and did not incur extra cost, and that I was not prepared to pay Oceania rip off prices, and one of the main reasons I booked this Cruise was the opportunity to jump off the ship at the ports and have a stroll around. I then asked him if it was to be the case that we had to do ship tours are they then going to reduce the price big style to make them reastically affordable, or include them for free and he said they were looking at all options and would make decisions nearer the time. It will be interesting to see what happens. I am certainly not going to pay huge amounts of money for trips that you can buy for a quarter of the price elsewhere. Nor spend 20 days chugging around the Med without leaving the non-refurbished ship.

Do you really think a $10 an hour CSR has the answers to your questions? Way above their paygrade.

Yes, when you booked none of this was an issue, but I'm pretty sure the pandemic is not Oceania's fault. Perspective. 

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16 minutes ago, ORV said:

Do you really think a $10 an hour CSR has the answers to your questions? Way above their paygrade.

Yes, when you booked none of this was an issue, but I'm pretty sure the pandemic is not Oceania's fault. Perspective. 

Trust me... even folks higher up in the company mostly fall into one of two categories:

A) don’t know so can’t tell;

B) know but won’t tell

Of course, there’s also a third category:

C) can’t know (because of the ever-changing pandemic restrictions/circumstances.

 

Related to this is the shortsightedness of passengers with bookings who want to know tomorrow that O has decided to cancel their “6 months away” cruise because “country X” has stated today that they’ll still be closed then.

As frustrating as that may be for some of us, the “bigger picture” favors the current predictable practice by O whereby they announce once monthly the cancelations for the next several months. Like it or not, it maintains flexibility and efficacy.

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24 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

 

 

Related to this is the shortsightedness of passengers with bookings who want to know tomorrow that O has decided to cancel their “6 months away” cruise because “country X” has stated today that they’ll still be closed then.

As frustrating as that may be for some of us, the “bigger picture” favors the current predictable practice by O whereby they announce once monthly the cancelations for the next several months. Like it or not, it maintains flexibility and efficacy.

And it conserves cash by delaying cash refunds to the last minute.

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2 hours ago, Dwtlion said:

And it conserves cash by delaying cash refunds to the last minute.

Wrong. In 2020, we had multiple refunds, FCCs and bonus FCCs associated with one modified and 2 Oceania cancelled cruises and every item due us (or added on) was processed within 10 days.

FWIW, here on CC, quite a number of non-US travelers suffered at the hands of their TAs who had charged their credit cards directly (a big “red flag” in the US where TAs only pass the CC info on to O (who then charges the CC).

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21 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Wrong. In 2020, we had multiple refunds, FCCs and bonus FCCs associated with one modified and 2 Oceania cancelled cruises and every item due us (or added on) was processed within 10 days.

FWIW, here on CC, quite a number of non-US travelers suffered at the hands of their TAs who had charged their credit cards directly (a big “red flag” in the US where TAs only pass the CC info on to O (who then charges the CC).

You missed the point. If O delays canceling a cruise  (and final payment) until 60 days before sailing, vs canceling at 120-150 days, people will not request refunds of deposits during the interval 60-90 days. O keeps your cash longer. Better cash flow.

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36 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Wrong. In 2020, we had multiple refunds, FCCs and bonus FCCs associated with one modified and 2 Oceania cancelled cruises and every item due us (or added on) was processed within 10 days.

I guess you were pretty fortunate.  My July cruise was cancelled on April 6.  I'm still patiently waiting for the credit on my card.  But as I said, I'm being patient.  (US purchase through a TA, O billed my card directly.)

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1 hour ago, Daniel A said:

I guess you were pretty fortunate.  My July cruise was cancelled on April 6.  I'm still patiently waiting for the credit on my card.  But as I said, I'm being patient.  (US purchase through a TA, O billed my card directly.)

We got our refund in right at 45 days as they stated. What actions have you taken on this?

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10 minutes ago, clo said:

We got our refund in right at 45 days as they stated. What actions have you taken on this?

None.  It's only been 20 days since the cancellation.  I'm in no big hurry.

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1 hour ago, Dwtlion said:

You missed the point. If O delays canceling a cruise  (and final payment) until 60 days before sailing, vs canceling at 120-150 days, people will not request refunds of deposits during the interval 60-90 days. O keeps your cash longer. Better cash flow.

If you’ve been watching the O bookings for 2022-23, you’d know that the “smart money” is on taking advantage of the O Travelers Assurance Program and transferring cruises sooner than later since there are now far less penalties and far more reasonable cabin availability. We (and every regular O cruiser we know) has moved all their 2021 bookings to 2022 (and, if they have earlier FCC “cruise by” deadlines have asked for/received reasonable extensions for specific replacement cruises).

In any case, delaying cancellations certainly does benefit Oceania by maintaining restart readiness/flexibility (including having a committed passenger load) and creating a consistent workload for refunds et al. at a home office with reduced workforce.


However, delaying cancelling cruises has a significant financial downside for a cruise line that operates in the United States. You may want to familiarize yourself with the mandates of the US Federal Maritime Commission that pretty much locks up all those deposits (and final payments) until embarkation or until a passenger has hit the 100% penalty deadline. Per the FMC, the cruise line must have enough cash on hand to make all required/necessary refunds. So, there’s a “clog in your cash flow” concept.

IMO, O’s current pandemic policies protect the company and its very regular passenger base as best as can be expected in an “even keeled” approach.

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