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Everything posted by loriva

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. Hello and greetings from Kotor, Montenegro! A few random comments from our first three days on this cruise (and before): --Not sure why, but apparently Marco Polo airport is famous for lost luggage. Ours was actually outside our aircraft on our connection in FRA (thank you AirTags) but did not get loaded onto the plane by Lufthansa. Showed up on the next flight, but was not delivered to our hotel until the next day. Regent's contracted ground staff was no help to any of the pax in this situation (we bought air through Regent). Luckily we flew in two days in advance of the cruise and it made it to us to board the ship. --Do own transfers. Since we flew in early, we did not have Regent transfers included. Booked a private water taxi from the airport to the hotel and the hotel to cruise port. The Regent transfer did not leave the hotel until 1330 hours and were not onboard until about 1500 hours. We left the hotel at noon and were onboard a little after 1300 hours--plenty of time for a nice first lunch in La Veranda. --The hotel Regent uses, the Hilton Molino Stucky, is very nice. Need water shuttle to Venice proper, but not a huge problem. And such a nice view if you have a canal-side room. More later and will try to answer questions,
  8. We experienced this last night while docked in Dubrovnik. The Splendor did not arrive until 1100 hours (the scheduled time, not a delay) and most tours did not finish until 1830 hours or later. It would have been great to have a casual option as @Lonedaddy states. Compass Rose was only partially filled--I wonder if Room Service was crazy busy? The ship did not sail until 2100 hours and the weather was lovely for dining outside.
  9. Thanks for your thoughts, @forgap. We will be boarding Splendor on Friday, so this directly impacts us. We are relatively new to Regent--this will be our second on Splendor, third overall--and only started with them post-COVID. As such, we've never experienced many of the things experienced Regent cruisers rave about. No full Sunday Champagne Brunch. No Block Party. No Deck BBQ. Our itinerary is very port-intensive, with only one sea day, so we now know to scale our expectations accordingly. I'd already decided not to book anything new on Regent on this cruise. After seeing the corporation's handling of the Voyager itinerary departing today (we have relatives on-board) I'm not sure we'll book another Regent cruise for the future. Who was the CD on your cruise? Head sommelier? GM? Hotel Manager? Did you have a chance to speak to any of them about your experience and concerns? Are any of them heading off to Grandeur and, therefore, "over" Splendor as the newest and greatest ship in the fleet?
  10. Regent is currently calling pax to inform them this sailing will no longer be stopping in Egypt.
  11. It is true you can deviate and make initial airline preferences (sometimes at a significant cost increase from the included air price). What you cannot do if you booked air through Regent is rebook air when a situation occurs. We had this happen last year when Hurricane Ian closed our return airport. Although there were seats available on earlier flights, we had to wait three days--at our expense for lodging, meals, and transportation to the airport--for Regent-rescheduled flights. The concierge onboard Splendor explained it was because Regent did not have any seats contracted/had run out of contracted seats on the earlier flights. We had no personal choice on the rescheduled flights. We feel for all of the people involved, both on the ground and those scrambling for alternatives.
  12. @mikemoore Since it's been six months since your post, is there any update on a new app or other system for guides to use, please? Given that many in Regent's demographic need assistance to hear guides, this would seem to be a must.
  13. I wonder if Regent will need to take Splendor off line for some time for a deep cleaning? It will be making its TA to Miami in November and will need to pass CDC inspection then. High numbers of cases of either norovirus or COVID would impact its score.
  14. Implicit in your statement: port fees and taxes do show (at least in a lump sum) on the TA's version of the invoice. Would an appeal via one's TA result in a refund?
  15. Traveled with a vegetarian and a mostly vegetarian on our first VO cruise on Jupiter in May. The vegetarian filled out the pre-cruise forms and the head waiter usually came by to confirm this; she never received a menu in advance to use to order as others on this thread have reported. Overall, the choices were still hit and miss. --In the WC, we frequently found dishes that sounded vegetarian--lentil salad, for example--had meat in them. (At least VO includes an ingredient list on their signs labeling the dishes.) --The biggest problem was in the Chef's Table. No thought is given to preparing alternative dishes. In both cases we went there, she was offered a salad from Manfredi's next door. At one point on our second visit, the chef came out and offered to create a dish for her--it would take 45 minutes. We wondered why this was not done in advance as they had her dietary requests. --The Restaurant usually had a few things from which our vegetarians could chose and became our go-to. The couples both sail a lot, usually on Regent. They report having much more luck as vegetarians there.
  16. First, have a wonderful trip! Second, could you ask when Scenic will release its itineraries for 2025, please? And how did the pre-cruise experience (website, reaching Scenic, receiving information on your cruise) compare to the experience after the IT hack last year? Many thanks,
  17. Thanks, @CDNPolar. For some reason, your document is showing as "unavailable."
  18. Thanks for the initiative on the new search function, @Host Jazzbeau. I just tried it out on our two upcoming river cruises, Viking Passage to Eastern Europe and AMAWaterways Douro. It worked great for the AMA search--as there were only 5 pages of results, it was easy to scroll through and find only those that applied to our itinerary. I love that the new function returns results as the whole thread, not individual posts. The Viking search was less successful as there are so many more threads. I tried to do a follow-up search adding "Budapest" but those results only narrowed results from 345 threads to 329 and added in a bunch of other cruise lines. One possible refinement, if possible: After reading a thread and returning to the search results, could it bring you back to the one you just read? Currently it takes you to the top of the page of results and you need to scroll back down and try to remember where you left off. A very minor quibble! Overall, I think it's a great idea and very helpful. Many thanks,
  19. @CDNPolar Which ship were you on, please? We are booked on the Ullur next May on the reverse itinerary to yours. Would welcome any comments on your excursions--included as well as any optional ones you chose. Many thanks,
  20. We had the same thing happen to us on NCLH sister line Oceania when we took advantage of a Florida residents' special offer. The terms and conditions of the shareholder benefit do note it cannot be combined with other offers and some fare categories. So, need to weigh the discount versus the OBC value--in our case the $1,000 fare discount well outweighed the $100 OBC we would have received.
  21. We always submit ours about 13 months in advance of sailing. We do that so it is applied before the window to book excursions opens up. As others have noted, we usually use our shareholder (and other OBC) to book either Regent Choice shore excursions or the Culinary Arts Classes. We prefer experiences to things from the on-board shops we don't need. In the past we've also used it for SPA services but found them mixed in quality--and now the prices have really skyrocketed, so value has declined. As others have noted, however, you can submit it as soon as you book it appears.
  22. Those are the prices I'm finding online. I did find a provider yesterday that was quoting €129 from the airport and €99 from the Hilton to the cruise terminal. Still a lot for a 10-minute ride. And reportedly it is a longish walk whether you use a water taxi or the water bus. Greatly appreciate everyone's experience and comments. Many thanks,
  23. Sorry, for some reason I thought you had said October, without a year. My mistake. I have no experience with corporate cruises with Regent but with cruises offered to the public, a variety of shore excursions are part of the cruise fare--"free," if you will. So, no need to spend any money on shorex if you find included shorex to your liking--well, except for anything you want to buy on the excursion, any food or drink if not mentioned as part of the shorex, and tips for driver and guides. If your corporate cruise does not include no-additional-charge shorex, then, yes, Livorno would be the port to spring for a tour. Look at the destination boards--there is one for Italy--for lots of recommendations of tour companies to use.
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