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Everything posted by loriva

  1. @notamermaid -- Thank you for another year of following the Danube. We'll be setting off for our second sailing on the river--this time downstream from Budapest to Bucharest to complement our previous Budapest to Vilshofen sailing--in May. While I realize your report focuses on the German parts of the river, I always learn so much from your posts. Thanks again,
  2. That is how the Indonesian e-visa works. It is a fussy process. It seems like you can obtain it without setting up an account first, but we (including those who reported on the process on our Roll Call) found not. Set up your account first.
  3. And Concierge and above only allows you to fly in the day before the cruise if you take the included one-night pre-cruise hotel and then you need to depart the day the cruise ends. Those dates shift if you are doing Regent's pre- or post-cruise included tour, if there is one. But any travel dates except those directly tied to the cruise or Regent packages will include the deviation fee (and possibly upcharges if the contracted itineraries do not fit your desires.) Only those who have achieved Platinum status or above in the Seven Seas Society have the deviation fee waived. (Maybe those in Grand Suites and above also have a waiver, but never sailed in one of those so cannot tell you.)
  4. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the signature cocktails Regent has created for each ship. That is my boarding ritual--drink the ship's signature cocktail and get an order of lobster nachos (with extra lobster!) from the Pool Bar and Grill. The RSSC.com menu, https://www.rssc.com/experience/cuisine/pool-grill, doesn't show the cocktail for the Grandeur (presuming that's the one you're on) yet, but here's the EXPLORER cocktail's ingredients as an example: Aperol, Apple Pucker, Pomegranate Juice, Sweet & Sour, Mint. And almost any cocktail from the Meridian Bar will probably fit the parameters you cited. Also, we've found they have shifted to a lot of ice, little booze in the cocktails in that bar, which also makes them a lighter choice by default.
  5. We just had one excursion cancelled (the Tiger Brewery in Singapore is no longer offering tours) and tours for a changed port on our itinerary departing from Sydney just opened up yesterday. I tried to book a replacement excursion for the first excursion when we were notified of the cancellation last week, but the RSSC system would not let me get past the "Confirm your Tours" page--it just kept returning me to that page and would not book the excursion. I asked our Regent agent to try to help and he said he had booked the tour for us, but it never showed up on our excursion summary. (He kept saying we had a conflict with another tour--but we did not.) When I tried to book tours for the port that opened yesterday (Cooktown, AU) I had the same problem. Not sure what the problem with the software was, but I finally figured out a fix. For some reason, the system kept trying to apply some of my OBC to the tours--even though both were included, not extra charge Choice excursions. I noticed an "edit" button on the payment area, clicked it, reset the amount to $0, and tried checkout and then confirm your tours again. And, voila, it worked. Booked the new excursions, received a confirmation email, and they are on my summary. Offering this up in case anyone else runs into this. And notifying @mikemoore of something his team might want to look into. Many thanks,
  6. Did you look at itineraries out of Tampa, Orlando, or Miami? We also have a smaller market airport in FL as our home airport, but find itineraries always involve two stops at a minimum. Also, if you find a non-stop from TPA, MCO, or MIA to a major airport in Europe (FRA, LHR, etc.) the connecting flight to Rome (from Monte Carlo) might be in business class. (Although that doesn't mean the same as first class in the United States.)
  7. I haven't had time to look for a photo, but I recall they did have some sort of seasonal decoration on each table. Nothing big, just a pick in the bud vase or maybe a floral ring around the base. And, yes, there was eggnog!
  8. You might also want to check tour destinations on Google Maps. Some ports are located a long way from the sites, so you'll face a long bus ride. And Regent is not always good on remembering its demographic and including rest room stops. Some buses will have a toilet, but not all. And even on those that do, you'll find it locked and the driver and guide will discourage use unless in an emergency. Destination Services won't know the details of the schedules, but you can always ask the guide when you board the bus--and maybe get them thinking of a stop if none is planned. And another reason to consider an upcharge "small group" tour. Regent does not always pay the local tour companies to include an QuietVox-type system for guides so it can be a struggle to hear what they are saying when in a large group. As others have said, guides are the luck of the draw. Some are great, some not so. Since all cruise lines use local companies, this is not any different from any others you may have experienced. Something that might be, however, is Regent's mid-cruise survey. If you experience any issues, take some quick notes and then put them on the survey sheet you receive in your cabin. Ship management does pay attention to these and respond, although Destination Services remains the department registering the largest number of negative comments on these boards.
  9. We booked our transfer from LHR and hotel for two nights in Southampton independently for our British Isles circumnavigation in 2022. We used Just Airports for the former and the Moxy for the latter. We've used Just Airports for many years when in London. The Moxy is a Marriott property--not fancy (and the new design where there is no closet) but serviceable and an excellent location. Southampton was a nice place to walk around with Roman ruins and Tutor buildings and a good gastropub and Indian restaurant nearby the hotel. We also took the ferry over to the Isle of Wight and spent a day circumnavigating it with a local guide.
  10. Not sure about the named suites, but in the Penthouse category last month on Splendor there was a Shout wipe, a glass wipe, and a packet of make-up remove wipes in the amenity box. No insect repellent. Personally, if I knew I needed or wanted it I would pack it.
  11. Overall, this was a very nice cruise for our third experience with Regent. It was the first, however, where we did not book another cruise. In part this is simply logistics--we are on Explorer in January 2024 and can book something then if we wish for 2026. But it also reflects that we have sailed with Regent's little sister Oceania and Viking Ocean between our second and third cruises with Regent. We liked both of the other lines just fine and not certain the premium paid for Regent is good value. We cruise primarily for itineraries--a sampler to determine where we'd like to return for a longer stay--so it's nice to have three solid options that fit our needs. Positives on this cruise include our butler Prakash (soon to be on the Grandeur--of course) and great experiences in the Compass Rose (even after losing Jorge to Grandeur--of course), Prime Seven, Pacific Rim, and Sette Mari. We also found the CD Dru Pavlov very engaged and personable as was his ACD Wyatt (promoted from the Production Cast where we'd met him on Explorer) and the Social Hostesses Tammy and Amelia. They sprang into action when two of the cast members came down sick on the final night of the cruise and they had to cancel Bohemian Soul, replacing it with a variety show including Amelia as vocalist and the guest performer a classical guitarist. They also ran fun trivia games--keeping it friendly--and other activities. We were disappointed with Chartreuse this time around; food and wine just didn't seem to be as good as we remembered and the service was uneven (sommelier Alvin was wonderful, however). We missed having a casual dining option in the evening like the buffets on Oceania and Viking Ocean (where you could get grilled to order seafood, fish, and steaks) and the pizza bar at Waves Grill in the evening on Oceania. It would be great if Regent had this as an option on days there are long tours or when tours end late as the ship came into port later in the day. Finally, as others have noted, the Destinations Team seems to be the weakest link on Regent. Even though we carefully selected shorex to minimize long bus rides they all seemed to have them--and then had dirty windows for the panoramic drives. Regent also really needs to consider the needs of its demographic--there should be no excursion that does not have a restroom stop on at least an hourly basis (and insist buses have a toilet--or provide a warning before the tour) and they really need to invest in headsets. The latter was a boon on our Viking Ocean cruise (and the groups seemed to be not much larger, if at all larger, than with Regent.) With only one exception, we had wonderful guides on our Regent tours--we just had a scrum with everyone trying to get close enough to hear. We had one guide tell us straight out that Regent had opted not to pay for headsets. Again, at this price point that should not be happening. Thanks for following along on our "not-so-live" thread and hope this helps others in planning a cruise on Splendor and/or the Med as we have been helped by so many others on CruiseCritic. Take care,
  12. Here are the final notes for this cruise that ended in Athens on 30 October. --Kusadasi -- As noted, we turned in our shorex tickets for this port (which we had visited twice before) and opted for a quasi-sea day. We did get off the ship and walked over to the old fortress on Pigeon Island. Then down into and around the old town. Stopped and had a leisurely lunch of meze, kebab, and an Efes beer. Then back to the ship. Easy, peaceful, and quiet (well, except for all the merchants trying to get you to buy something--but a simple "no" suffices to end the spiel). --Syros -- Did the "Highlights of Syros" tour. It was as described in the Regent materials but omitted that you will be circumnavigating the entire island--without a restroom stop nor a restroom on the bus. Also, another tour where the very good guide (an archaeologist) was sabotaged by lack of headsets. We ended up breaking away from the tour due to frustration of not being able to hear her unless you were less than five feet away. And, it was a Sunday so most stores closed. The churches we saw and the small museum were very nice, however. Stopped at one of the cafes along the harbor for a local beer and boarded the ship to pack up, do our cruise surveys, hit our final trivia of the cruise, and cash in those Regent Rewards points. Disembarkation was very smooth. We had booked a private transfer (George's Taxi) from the ship to our hotel in Athens and selected an 0800 hours departure. We had departed the ship, picked up our bags, and were meeting the driver by 0815 hours (no Immigration nor Customs to clear). (As an aside, we loved the NEW Hotel in Athens--a bit quirky in design, but so helpful and accommodating. And we had a view of the Acropolis from our room! It is affiliated with Marriott.)
  13. Suite Review for Splendor -- Penthouse B cabin 930. Many thanks, CC Rating Template -- Splendor 930.xlsx
  14. For the first trivia on Splendor's sailing departing on 20 October, the CD (Dru Pavlov) called it but the Social Hostess (now Amelia) was also there helping people find teammates. There is a limit of six players. Dru also had a thing I hadn't seen before where the CD staff (he (when not calling, of course), the Assistant, the Social Hostess, and whichever of the Production Cast were there helping pass out papers, pencils, etc.) would form a team. The questions were all supposed to be new to them. If you beat the cruise staff--regardless of whether you placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd) everyone on your team received a Regent Reward point. The first-place team received three points for the win, second two, and third one point. You also got a point if you did the daily Mensa quiz and got all five questions correct--the Social Hostess announces the answers immediately after trivia concludes and hands out the next day's quiz--or you can pick them up in the library. Redemptions started at 5 points--a waterproof deck of cards or a hat--and went up to 55 points for a backpack (a real one, not the cinch kind). There was at least one morning and one afternoon opportunity to collect RR points--bocce, shuffleboard, corn hole, ring toss, golf putting, etc.. Sometimes you could get a point just for participating.
  15. On the same cruise. The only interest of anyone ashore in Bodrum or Kusadasi we noted is trying to get you to spend money in their shop or restaurant. The areas cruise passengers frequent are well used to tourists and see us as their livelihood. As others have said, I wouldn't advertise my nationality or religion nor engage in political dialogue (none of which I'd ever do while traveling overseas) but those you will encounter in the ports also have an interest in keeping politics out of economics.
  16. Not on Splendor on the 20-30 October 2023 cruise. (Although the CD, Dru Pavlov, was lovely in all other ways and provided a fun experience on board--including our first Block Party.) The Pool Grill would be slammed with excursions arriving between 1400-1600 hours. Luckily a few of our longer excursions included lunch off ship.
  17. Some notes on our ports since the last report: --Rhodes: We did the 7-hour Lindos and Rhodes Old City. The guide was extremely knowledgeable--daughter of two archeologists and an archeologist herself and had lived in the palace in the Old City in the dorms for archeologists. But just too much information. The tour also spent too much time in the palace--which is a reconstruction done for Mussolini--and did not leave enough time for the other museum. But the Acropolis in Lindros was fantastic, with the donkeys and some fresh-squeezed orange juice at the little cafe on top. --Bodrum: Turns out this was Splendor's first call in this port. We did the highlights tour--a photo stop at the amplitheater, walking tour of St. Peter's (built by the same Knight of St. John as in Rhodes), and then some free time in the Old Town there. The tour was four hours and the guide set just the right pace. --Kusadasi: After the long bus rides in Rhodes, we turned in our tour tickets for the 7-hour tour to three villages. Will take a walk around the town by the port and maybe get lunch. Making it into a quasi-sea day as we near the end of our cruise.
  18. Other small changes: --The Coffee Connection now closes at 1700 hours -- no more aperitifs and canapes in the early evening. --No folder with stationery or postcards of the ship in the cabin. That had partially gone away post-COVID but is now completely gone. You can still ask for both at Reception and they will still mail out the postcards.
  19. We are hemmed in by two large ships in Kusadasi today--an Ambassador cruise line ship on our portside and a Celesyal ship on starboard. It's almost like rafting on a river cruise! The only impact we've seen--expected to see--might be the ship load today. From my pre-cruise research, I expected only one ship in port with us. The Ambassador ship MIGHT be rescheduled from a port in Israel. We have not seen any impact in how we are greeted on-shore so far. Of course, the news continues to be depressing. We'll try to spread some kindness.
  20. Some port notes: --Ancona: Splendor docked close to the city, so no shuttle needed. I did the excursion to Urbino, which involved a long bus ride--one of those where you spend as much time getting to the place as there. Very poor guide--she herself said she had not worked much since the pandemic. We were the only ship in port, so no competition for guides but maybe because it was a Saturday we had the B team? Urbino itself is a very pretty small city with a very nice art museum (including works by its hometown boy, Rafael) in a former ducal palace. Nice market on top of a very steep road on Saturdays. --Dubrovnik: Norwegian Viva in port, so fairly crowded. Port area has some shops (and the Dubrovnik Beer Company) within walking distance, but Regent provided a shuttle into the Old Town area. It stopped running, however, more than two hours before the all-aboard time (1800 hours and 2030 hours, respectively.) For some reason (competition from the Viva?) the tour we signed up for departing at 1130 (we docked at 1100) was shifted back two hours to 1330 hours. Which meant that by the time we arrived in the Old Town, everything that was open on a Sunday (limited to begin with) was shutting down. The Dubrovnik Riviera tour involved some nice scenery and a too-long stop at an estate with a stone grain mill and fulling machine. The tour of the Old Town was very rushed and our free time short. (Our mistake--for the first time in Dubrovnik, we should have just taken the first shuttle in and the last one out and just done our own thing.) --Kotor: We chose the Classical Performance in Prcanj and Kotor Walking Tour: Nice ride across the bay on a large motor cruiser, 20-minute concert by three flutists from the musical conservatory in Kotor at the church in Prcanj, then lunch at a dockside restaurant (fish soup, salad, and family-style platters with squid ink risotto, calamari, prawns, fish, and seafood pasta along with local grappa and wine--all good), then return to Kotor and a walking tour around the Old Town plus free time. We had an excellent guide and thought the tour was well-paced and balanced. Three ships in port but the other two (Costa Deliziosa and Oceania Nautica) were anchored while we were docked just five-minutes' walk from Old Town. A charming little area. --Corfu: Visit to Paleokastrita Monastery and Corfu Town. Very scenic bus ride to a coastal town (cafe and restroom stop--a bit too long) and very small monastery (beautiful icons and a nice little shop). Then an hour of free time in Corfu town. Dropped off by the old fortress and shown into town, but no tour as such. Our trivia partners told us the tour to the fortress was very good.
  21. Some other random notes on Splendor: --@pcardad has mentioned the NCLH fleetwide orders to cut back 15 percent on non-fuel costs. So far things I've noticed since our time last September on Splendor and in 2021 on Explorer. The lack of any casual venue for dining at night except for room service (unlike options on Oceania). Prime 7 and Chartreuse only open for lunch on sea day (was this always the case--I'm remembering them open more often, but could be wrong). Drinks in the Meridian Lounge seem to be a short pour--with lots of ice. Small cutbacks on portions--the main of scallops had just three pieces. We had one requested bottle of liquor substituted on boarding--but they found it in Ancona (stocking Grandeur?) --The ship is starting to show wear in tiny ways--paint, rust, tears and stains on fabric. But, as always, the crew is always out cleaning and repairing.
  22. Our sole sea-day on this itinerary, so will try to catch up a bit. Some random notes on Splendor. --We have had good to excellent service so far. That said, lots of new and newly promoted personnel onboard. All due to moves to start up Grandeur next month. (We saw the ship in Ancona--will post a photo later.) The head waiter in Compass Rose, Jorge, left two days' ago to repeat his work of standing up service on the new ship. Sommeliers and butlers have also already left. Remaining crew are trying and working hard. --CDs also changed for this voyage, Dru Pavlov is now aboard, assisted by Wyatt plus Tammy as Social Hostess. The latter is training a new person as well. So far activities are good--they don't seem to just be "dialing it in" as reported on recent cruises. We had, for example, a block party on the third night of the cruise--my first. It seemed to be sparsely attended. CD said we are about 50-50 experienced and new cruisers, so not sure if people did not know what it was about. Also shocking, only about a quarter of the Constellation Theater was filled for the Captain's Welcome Party on the second night.
  23. One final note on boarding. Two days before sailing transit workers in Venice announced a strke for the same day as embarkation. (It did not impact private services, such as water taxis, but did impact operations of the public water buses and at the airport.) Not sure if this affected any passengers arriving from outside of Europe--and another reason to always fly in at least a day before cruise departure. We did talk to a couple from Europe affected, however. Regent notified them of the strike--and cancellation of their same-day flight--two days before the cruise (18 October). Regent rebooked them on a flight arriving a day earlier as well as a night at the Sonesta hotel (which they reported as fine). Then transfered them to the ship. So a good news story of service by Regent operations.
  24. They are sailing out of Fusina. But everyone boards at Marittima Cruise Terminal--buildings 107/108 for our cruise, which is about a 5- to 10-minute walk from where the water taxi drops off. So take a water taxi there, give your luggage to the porters at dockside (they will have sheets with your suite and name), walk to the terminal building, do check-in, do security, then board a bus for the trip to Fusina to board the ship. Again, it took about an hour from our arrival at Marittima to that first glass of Champagne!
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