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Semi-Live Review of Oceania Riviera November 9-19, 2023 from a New Oceania Guest


Sthrngary
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3 hours ago, Sthrngary said:

Thank you everyone for your kind words and responses to my reviews both live and after the fact.  If you have any specific question, feel free to ask them.  I will respond if you put @Sthrngary at the being of your question.

 

I am finalizing a posting similar to the one I did the the NCL Haven.  Instead of cutting and pasting it, I will put an attachment on the new topic with the PDF for download.  It is Long, really long and the PDF has a Table of Contents to go to the spot that would suit the reader best. I call it, "The Secrets of Cruising Oceania Cruises" Similar in name and content to what I did for the NCL Haven 5 years ago.  The stream is as active today as when it was posted.  I hope everyone likes it. It is based on what I want to know if I am considering Oceania.  I will make some mistakes but I know the Oceania Faithful will correct me which is important to keep accuracy. 

 

Thanks to everyone again, signing off this topic for now.  

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment. 

@Sthrngary

 

Sorry, but I'm not able to find your NCL Haven document to which you refer.  Do I understand that it's not finished yet, and, that it will be a new topic on NCL board?

 

Please let us know how to find it.  Thanks

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9 minutes ago, FetaCheese said:

@Sthrngary

 

Sorry, but I'm not able to find your NCL Haven document to which you refer.  Do I understand that it's not finished yet, and, that it will be a new topic on NCL board?

 

Please let us know how to find it.  Thanks

The haven is a thread on the NCL board on cruise critic. It’s called the secrets of the NCL haven VIP experience. There are two versions. It was updated a year and a half ago. I did another document which has not been posted and I will post as a PDF next week. That will not be about the NCL haven it will be about the secrets of the Oceana cruising VIP experience. Where with the haven I put all the words and details in the post, for Oceana I will put the PDF because it’s such a large document. I hope that clarifies and thank you for asking.

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment

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On 11/22/2023 at 9:32 PM, Vineyard View said:

So…you four are all traveling again in 2025?  I remember your comments on friends traveling together, and the back and forth we had with that. If the answer is yes, then that is outstanding. 
I really appreciated your review and riding along with you. Cheers to your great adventure! 

The $300 from your Platinum Card is because you booked through Amex travel? Deciding which card to use for our next cruise. Thanks.

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3 hours ago, SATaxman said:

The $300 from your Platinum Card is because you booked through Amex travel? Deciding which card to use for our next cruise. Thanks.

You do not have to book through Amex Travel to receive the $300 Amex cruise privilege perks.  You must use your true Amex Platinum card to pay for the cruise.  Then your TA contacts AMEX and receives a code from them to give to Oceania for the OBC.  We have never booked with AMEX travel and have always received the OBC (when combinable with any sale we have used). 

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Attached is the Oceania Currents for 11/09/2023 and 11/10/2023.  I have more however since they change every week, I thought providing two would give most folks the information they usually need. 

 

Hope it helps.

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment.

 

Oceania_Currents_11092023.pdfOceania_Currents_11102023.pdf

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This was probably one of the best threads I have read on CC EVER. So full of life, energy, optimistic and realistic at the same time. What a contrast to all the whining of 80% of the other threads! And what a wonderful review! Thank you @Sthrngary

 

Makes you wonder about some of the other reviews. Why some people are so negative instead of just enjoying life?

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16 hours ago, ak1004 said:

This was probably one of the best threads I have read on CC EVER. So full of life, energy, optimistic and realistic at the same time. What a contrast to all the whining of 80% of the other threads! And what a wonderful review! Thank you @Sthrngary

 

Makes you wonder about some of the other reviews. Why some people are so negative instead of just enjoying life?

@ak1004 Wow, thank you so much.  I had fun doing it.

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment. 

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21 hours ago, Sthrngary said:

Attached is the Oceania Currents for 11/09/2023 and 11/10/2023.  I have more however since they change every week, I thought providing two would give most folks the information they usually need. 

 

Hope it helps.

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment.

 

Oceania_Currents_11092023.pdf 5.85 MB · 35 downloads Oceania_Currents_11102023.pdf 6.29 MB · 21 downloads

Thanks for these. Do you have one for a sea day?

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On 11/30/2023 at 1:48 PM, Sthrngary said:

@jklc123  Attached is the sea day Currents per your request.

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment. Oceania_Currents_11132023.pdf

I'll add my thanks for your excellent honest balanced review! I read with interest as a Royal and Celebrity suite cruiser looking to potentially try other cruise lines as the Royal ships are too geared towards families for our age and liking and Celebrity has changed their suite product with decreasing inclusions, though we still have upcoming cruises booked on both. We will be considering Oceania for 2025 or 2026. So, eagerly looking forward to your Oceania VIP experience document. 

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Today is Saturday morning, December 2, 2023.  We got off our ship on November 19, 2023 so we have had some time to remember a lovely trip. Today our team, the Alabama Crimson Tide will Play Georgia for the SEC title.  I don't think it is Alabama's year but hopeful. I woke up early to have my coffee missing Barista's illy coffee and my memories of my cruise came back to me.  

 

I asked myself, what would I do differently in the future to make our time even better.  

 

  1. Have a Lunch Place Pre-Selected:  The food in Europe is so very good but it can be bad also.  Usually when you don't plan to got to a place away from the Tourist area's.  I knew that and broke my own rule.  Why? We simply got tired especially in Rome.  
  2. Go to Waves at Night:  My goal on my first Oceania Cruise was to leverage the specialty restaurant to the max.  In doing so, we all missed a nice casual meal outside in nice weather with something as simple as a nice pizza with some wine.  
  3. Do More Afternoon Teas:  What a lovely break in a day and the experience was special.
  4. Try Oceania Excursions:  We did none.  Now with SimplyMore, we have $800.00 for our next trip for excursions.  We will evaluate doing it our selves and prepared Oceania Excursions. 
  5. Wine in Ports: We purchased a few bottles and not ever port.  In the future, we will buy more wine to take onboard.  Rare opportunity especially with lots of French and Italian ports. 
  6. Learn to Use Google Maps on my iPhone Better: It was a little confusing and frustrating following my phone.  Scary in a new place.  Got lost a few times.  Not as easy as I thought but it was my lack of experience.  
  7. Worry Less About Having Euros:  Gaining Euros at a local bank from a bank machine was just fine.  You can time your purchases in the states but the difference was not that large.  One less thing to worry about. 
  8. Do an Art Class: We did a cooking class but not the art class.  Not sure I will like it but it will be a new adventure.  I highly recommend the cooking class. 
  9. Go To The Get Togethers: We missed them because we could not get our collective group act together.  On a smaller ship, this would have allowed us to meet more people from all over the world. 
  10. Always Get Our Morning Coffee From Barista's Before Breakfast:  The best perk on the ship is Barista's coffee. 
  11. Fly To Port Two Days Early:  Our first port was Athens.  I loved it but it was to short.  We were jet lagged.  Our next cruise leaves from Nice, France/Monte Carlo.  Seems like a nice place to spend an extra day.  I wish we had Athens again but it will always have found memories. Especially the hotel. 

We all have choices, options and learn from our actual experiences.  The statement, "You don't know until you experience something." is very true.  We got lucky and made our own luck by doing some due diligence.  Now we know more and hopefully with heath and planning will have even a better time with the benefit of knowledge. 

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment. 

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2 hours ago, Sthrngary said:

... I asked myself, what would I do differently in the future to make our time even better.  

... Wine in Ports: We purchased a few bottles and not ever port.  In the future, we will buy more wine to take onboard.  Rare opportunity especially with lots of French and Italian ports. 

I always enjoy finding an out-of-the-way local grocery or liquor/wine store in each port.

 

As I told you on the cruise, found that decent E1.49 bottle of Italian red wine on my knees looking at the bottom shelf in in the grocery store in Naples. Found some wonderful inexpensive Italian white and Lambrusco in a grocery store in Trieste to start the cruise.

 

Found some Montenegrin beer that was 33% off, only E.69 per 500 ML can. Bought 6 in Kotor. I bought local beer in nearly every port, usually the least expensive 500 ML can I could find to compare to American beer. 

 

And in Kotor bought a bottle of Serbian brandy. Don't drink brandy much but loved it. So found some great Cretan brandy in Heraklion and ended up with some wonderful Spanish brandy in Barcelona.

 

And the Turkish Raki in Istanbul to bring back to show it is possible to buy hard liquor in an Islamic nation.

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2 hours ago, Sthrngary said:

... I asked myself, what would I do differently in the future to make our time even better.  

Try Oceania Excursions:  We did none.  Now with SimplyMore, we have $800.00 for our next trip for excursions.  We will evaluate doing it ourselves and prepared Oceania Excursions. ...

We did all of our own excursions on the 10-nights each previously off Riviera (12/2021) and Sirena (11/2022). But we had so much OBC due to the sales and an extra amount for the change from Venice to Trieste that we budgeted the gratuities off of it and then spent what was left down to $0 using O shore excursions. We did three. They were fine. Get on a bus. See some sights. Have a guide walk around a site (e.g., Diocletian's palace in Split, the ruins of Philippi). But we did pay for our own private excursions, guide, and driver in Izmir (to see Ephesus) and to go to Rome.

 

Due to one SM cruise in the Baltic in 2024 we've selected 5 O excursions on it to save the additional 25%. The first 3 used up the SM shore credit and the last two, inexpensive ones, were all but "free" due to the 25% saving. We tried to find 3 good ones and then the other 2 just to get them for nothing.

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14 minutes ago, MEFIowa said:

I always enjoy finding an out-of-the-way local grocery or liquor/wine store in each port.

 

As I told you on the cruise, found that decent E1.49 bottle of Italian red wine on my knees looking at the bottom shelf in in the grocery store in Naples. Found some wonderful inexpensive Italian white and Lambrusco in a grocery store in Trieste to start the cruise.

 

Found some Montenegrin beer that was 33% off, only E.69 per 500 ML can. Bought 6 in Kotor. I bought local beer in nearly every port, usually the least expensive 500 ML can I could find to compare to American beer. 

 

And in Kotor bought a bottle of Serbian brandy. Don't drink brandy much but loved it. So found some great Cretan brandy in Heraklion and ended up with some wonderful Spanish brandy in Barcelona.

 

And the Turkish Raki in Istanbul to bring back to show it is possible to buy hard liquor in an Islamic nation.

Hope to travel with you one day.  May I tag along on your grocery store runs ?  I also enjoy the experiencing the local markets and supermarkets !

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4 minutes ago, FetaCheese said:

Hope to travel with you one day.  May I tag along on your grocery store runs?  I also enjoy the experiencing the local markets and supermarkets!

I absolutely love to check out local grocery stores, esp. the small local ones. We had one a few "streets" down from our BnB in Venice that I used a lot for our 3 nights before the cruise started. And the "hole in the wall family" one in Heraklion was a nice treat. By a couple churches off the beaten path I was looking for. She didn't speak English so she has to hand me the bottles off the shelf behind her and the cash register for me to see the prices on the bottles. Bought the Creten brandy:

 

"Tsikoudia in the eastern part of Crete, is an alcoholic beverage, a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy of Cretan origin that contains 40% to 65% alcohol by volume.[1] Tsikoudia is made by distilling of pomace, what remains of grapes pressed in winemaking. The pomace ferments for about six weeks in a tightly sealed barrel, and is then distilled."

 

Though sometimes I do wander into the oddest of places... Wife and I were looking for a church on our map in Barcelona on a Sunday evening. Went a couple blocks west off the beaten baths. Barcelona turned into N. Africa, with Arabic signs, a mosque, women in full black chadors, and more. Then there were the prostitutes near an alley with the lookout in front and the two male guards by the door. We reversed course immediately. (I went back in the afternoon the next day and the woman lookout was still in the same spot. As were the door guards. She didn't like me taking some pictures!)

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Thank you for your detailed “ new eyes” review of Oceania. I thoroughly enjoyed your perspective and humor ! Oceania is the only line that I have have cruised on (5 cruises) and my Med Cruise was by far the favorite. I am curious to know why you rated your butler 9 instead of 10, if you don’t mind sharing.

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13 hours ago, Sthrngary said:

Today is Saturday morning, December 2, 2023.  We got off our ship on November 19, 2023 so we have had some time to remember a lovely trip. Today our team, the Alabama Crimson Tide will Play Georgia for the SEC title.  I don't think it is Alabama's year but hopeful. 

As my mother would say, “Hope Springs Eternal”. Congratulations on a spectacular win for your Crimson Tide! What a fun game to watch.

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13 hours ago, Izzy'sMoms said:

I am curious to know why you rated your butler 9 instead of 10

@Izzy'sMoms Subjective.  Could have gone either way but I had to remind him every day first thing to attempt to add our guest into our specialty reservations after he missed one day.  I was on a piece of paper I gave him.  If he would have said, I tried and I could not do it, it was a 10.  If he did not try and I had to remind him, it was a 9.  Subjective.  Everything else was great.

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment. 

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On 12/2/2023 at 5:05 PM, MEFIowa said:

I absolutely love to check out local grocery stores, esp. the small local ones. We had one a few "streets" down from our BnB in Venice that I used a lot for our 3 nights before the cruise started. And the "hole in the wall family" one in Heraklion was a nice treat. By a couple churches off the beaten path I was looking for. She didn't speak English so she has to hand me the bottles off the shelf behind her and the cash register for me to see the prices on the bottles. Bought the Creten brandy:

 

"Tsikoudia in the eastern part of Crete, is an alcoholic beverage, a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy of Cretan origin that contains 40% to 65% alcohol by volume.[1] Tsikoudia is made by distilling of pomace, what remains of grapes pressed in winemaking. The pomace ferments for about six weeks in a tightly sealed barrel, and is then distilled."

 

Though sometimes I do wander into the oddest of places... Wife and I were looking for a church on our map in Barcelona on a Sunday evening. Went a couple blocks west off the beaten baths. Barcelona turned into N. Africa, with Arabic signs, a mosque, women in full black chadors, and more. Then there were the prostitutes near an alley with the lookout in front and the two male guards by the door. We reversed course immediately. (I went back in the afternoon the next day and the woman lookout was still in the same spot. As were the door guards. She didn't like me taking some pictures!)

I don't know if prostitution is legal in Spain - it might be.  it is totally legal here in Switzerland and around Zürich there are a lot of Russian/Eastern European prostitutes (or so I hear!).   We don't see any Chadors or burkas here.  In fact the burka is not legal.  Veils of course are...

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19 minutes ago, Hambagahle said:

I don't know if prostitution is legal in Spain - it might be.  it is totally legal here in Switzerland and around Zürich there are a lot of Russian/Eastern European prostitutes (or so I hear!).   We don't see any Chadors or burkas here.  In fact the burka is not legal.  Veils of course are...

Just an fyi, with a mention of Catalonia:

 

Prostitution in Spain - Wikipedia

 

The big issue there apparently "pimping".

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/2/2023 at 5:56 AM, Sthrngary said:

Today is Saturday morning, December 2, 2023.  We got off our ship on November 19, 2023 so we have had some time to remember a lovely trip. Today our team, the Alabama Crimson Tide will Play Georgia for the SEC title.  I don't think it is Alabama's year but hopeful. I woke up early to have my coffee missing Barista's illy coffee and my memories of my cruise came back to me.  

 

I asked myself, what would I do differently in the future to make our time even better.  

 

  1. Have a Lunch Place Pre-Selected:  The food in Europe is so very good but it can be bad also.  Usually when you don't plan to got to a place away from the Tourist area's.  I knew that and broke my own rule.  Why? We simply got tired especially in Rome.  
  2. Go to Waves at Night:  My goal on my first Oceania Cruise was to leverage the specialty restaurant to the max.  In doing so, we all missed a nice casual meal outside in nice weather with something as simple as a nice pizza with some wine.  
  3. Do More Afternoon Teas:  What a lovely break in a day and the experience was special.
  4. Try Oceania Excursions:  We did none.  Now with SimplyMore, we have $800.00 for our next trip for excursions.  We will evaluate doing it our selves and prepared Oceania Excursions. 
  5. Wine in Ports: We purchased a few bottles and not ever port.  In the future, we will buy more wine to take onboard.  Rare opportunity especially with lots of French and Italian ports. 
  6. Learn to Use Google Maps on my iPhone Better: It was a little confusing and frustrating following my phone.  Scary in a new place.  Got lost a few times.  Not as easy as I thought but it was my lack of experience.  
  7. Worry Less About Having Euros:  Gaining Euros at a local bank from a bank machine was just fine.  You can time your purchases in the states but the difference was not that large.  One less thing to worry about. 
  8. Do an Art Class: We did a cooking class but not the art class.  Not sure I will like it but it will be a new adventure.  I highly recommend the cooking class. 
  9. Go To The Get Togethers: We missed them because we could not get our collective group act together.  On a smaller ship, this would have allowed us to meet more people from all over the world. 
  10. Always Get Our Morning Coffee From Barista's Before Breakfast:  The best perk on the ship is Barista's coffee. 
  11. Fly To Port Two Days Early:  Our first port was Athens.  I loved it but it was to short.  We were jet lagged.  Our next cruise leaves from Nice, France/Monte Carlo.  Seems like a nice place to spend an extra day.  I wish we had Athens again but it will always have found memories. Especially the hotel. 

We all have choices, options and learn from our actual experiences.  The statement, "You don't know until you experience something." is very true.  We got lucky and made our own luck by doing some due diligence.  Now we know more and hopefully with heath and planning will have even a better time with the benefit of knowledge. 

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment. 

Hello I have so enjoyed your posts.  I noticed that your next cruise leaves from Nice/ Monte Carlo.  Have you worked hotel/ transportation logistics yet? We will be doing the same in October and are just starting to look at the options. We’re not sure if we’ll get a hotel pre cruise in Nice or Monte Carlo, but are leaning towards Nice.
 

 

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15 minutes ago, gracebest said:

Hello I have so enjoyed your posts.  I noticed that your next cruise leaves from Nice/ Monte Carlo.  Have you worked hotel/ transportation logistics yet? We will be doing the same in October and are just starting to look at the options. We’re not sure if we’ll get a hotel pre cruise in Nice or Monte Carlo, but are leaning towards Nice.
 

 

@gracebest I have having to make the same decision.  My gut tells me Nice and my friend joining us wants Monte Carlo.  WHY, they want to get all dressed up and go to a Monte Carlo Casino like James Bond did in a movie.  Our cruise is in October 2025.  We have lots of time.  The Hotels choices seem to be better for Nice and it is lovely. Either way we both WIN big time.

 

I have cruise 30 plus times.  Europe was by far my best experience.  That is why we booked it again.  What a GREAT experience.

 

Cruise well and enjoy every moment. 

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