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loriva

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Posts posted by loriva

  1. 17 minutes ago, IrishKathy said:

    We'll be boarding the Splendor on Nov. 13 in Rome for 21 days.   We definitely want to play trivia but are not sure where one finds partners early in the cruise.  Do you wander up to the Observation Lounge late afternoon the first day and announce you are looking for fellow players?   Do you meet fellow travelers at the Veranda Café that first afternoon?   Inquiring minds need to know.   Many thanks from a first-time Regent couple.

     

    On another topic, can you play duplicate bridge and trivia the same day?  I note that bridge is scheduled from 1:30 to 4:30 and trivia at 4:30.  We'd hate to be racing down the stairs to go from bridge to trivia.  Help.

     

    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.  

  2. On 11/4/2023 at 7:25 AM, wcsdkqh said:

    Just left two Turkish ports on Splendor. Absolutely no issues going ashore and felt totally safe

     

    On 11/4/2023 at 2:37 PM, CruisetheCs said:

    Also was on Splendor cruise with the two port stops, Bodrum and Kusadasi.  We only had to show our ship card to get on or off the ship for tours or shopping.  So no easy way for anyone to know nationality or other individual passenger characteristics in these ports.  Felt no different than other ports we stopped at in terms of safety.

     

    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.

    • Like 7
  3. On 10/24/2023 at 1:11 PM, ginny123 said:

    We too have had this experience, thought it was a lovely touch.  Shame if Regent is not still doing this.  Wonder if it just depends on who the Food and Beverage mgr is on the ship?

     

    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.

  4. 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.

      

    • Like 1
  5. On 10/25/2023 at 2:22 AM, loriva said:

    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.

     

    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.

  6. 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!

     

    On 10/25/2023 at 4:49 AM, kjbacon said:

    Sounds like you guys are having a very good time! We will be on the Grandeur soon so it will be interesting to see how many of the splendor staff move in that direction. Is the war in Israel having any impact on your 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.

    • Like 1
  7. 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.

    • Like 3
  8. 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.

    • Like 2
  9. 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.

    • Like 2
  10. 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.

    • Like 3
  11. 18 hours ago, jhenry1 said:

    Is Regent sailing out of Venice port again? 

     

    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!

    • Like 1
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  12. 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,

     

    • Like 6
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  13. On 10/21/2023 at 5:41 AM, Lonedaddy said:

    They should just open it on intensive excursion days and ports with a nice ambiance, even if it is a cooled to order service with limited items pizza burgers sandwiches….or make it a reservation resteraunt like silverseas pool grill hot rocks.  Worst case just have the bar open and have a few staff to go pick up from room service .  
     

    on our day in santorini room service was hammered and compass rose was very empty.  

     

    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.

    • Like 3
  14. 24 minutes ago, forgap said:

    We are just off Splendor and we have almost 200 days sailing Regent.  I mentioned in my review that it seemed like the key staff were just “ dialing it in” rather than making this particular cruise memorable for the passengers.  Other cruises have been unique and exciting with accessible and engaged staff.  
     

    Certainly the itinerary is a factor but in this recent cruise (London to Barcelona) there seemed to be little to make it special and memorable.  There was no deck BBQ, no special meals other than the wine lunch (extra $), no formal night, no dance parties, no variation in the daily or evening schedule. 
     

    What is your take on this?  Are there factors behind the scenes that impact the cruise?  Is it the passenger mix?  Is it how close the decision makers are to the end of their contract?  Is it some edict from Miami that impacts staff mood?  I’d like to hear your take on this.  

     

    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?

  15. 9 hours ago, Pcardad said:

    Can do all this through Regent if you wish.

     

    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.

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  16. 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.

  17. 17 hours ago, edgee said:

    AFAIK Regent and Oceania play the port fee game to their advantage. Commissions to TAs are paid based on percentage of cruise fare. However, air fare and port fee/taxes are subtracted in making that calculation. But the invoice to the passenger never shows the port fees and taxes...thus no pressure/obligation to refund them when a port is missed.

     

    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?

  18. 3 hours ago, Shipsareus said:

    It’s so interesting to hear different experiences. As I first mentioned , on our first night in the restaurant the only main course that was offered as a vegetarian was braised leeks. 
    Manfredis was absolutely fine and we ate there twice on a 15 night cruise. We did not go to the chef’s table . 
    I also identify with the comments that the vegetarian options in the WC were sometimes jacket potato and boiled vegetables as I had that a couple of times.

    It is so heartening that many of you have had great experiences as vegetarians . I’ve been vegetarian since I was 12 and find there is still room for improved offers in many eateries, but it is certainly much better than it was a number ( quite a big number) of years ago when I started my vegetarian journey. 
    Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread

     

     

     

     

     

    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.

    • Like 1
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  19. 14 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

    I'm not going to do a Live From – will post a full review and blog later.

     

    Boarded on Wed. Sep 20 for the 11 day Unforgettable Douro cruise on Scenic Azure.

     

    Early report:  everything is 100%, even better than our Scenic Gem cruise on the Seine last year [which was our best river cruise to date]

     

    Happy to answer any questions about this cruise, the itinerary, the ship, or  Scenic in general.

     

    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,

  20. 28 minutes ago, CDNPolar said:

     

    We were on Ullur.  Nice Ship.

     

    Great crew - if you get Andre and Vladimir in the dining room, Claudiu and Dawid in the lounge and have the Program Director Hana, you will be laughing.

     

    I attached a document that outlines what we originally signed up for in both optional and included.

     

    When we got on the ship, we had more included excursion tickets than we signed up for because if it could be fit in, the ship just signed us up.  (You did not have to go...but we did). We were gone most days all day long.  We would come back from a morning excursion have an hour to have lunch and be gone again.

     

    The excursions that Viking signed us up for are not on this list, but we loved everything that we did.  We would not eliminate any of them.

     

    One of the highlights was visiting a family home in Croatia where we were served cake in the woman's dining room, and she told us of her life.  This was outstanding.  Make sure you do that one.

     

    Viking Excursions Passage to Eastern Europe.docxViking Excursions Passage to Eastern Europe.docxViking Excursions Passage to Eastern Europe.docxViking Excursions Passage to Eastern Europe.docxUnavailable

     

    Thanks, @CDNPolar.  For some reason, your document is showing as "unavailable."

     

  21. On 7/21/2023 at 3:13 PM, Host Jazzbeau said:

    Cruise Critic has implemented a handy short-cut search feature to zero in on threads about individual river cruise lines.  At the top of the main River Cruising forum you'll see a drop-down menu labeled "See posts about: Select Ship..."  [it says 'ship' because that was the label set up for other forums by the external website developer]

     

    The drop-down menu lists many river cruise lines and will initiate a search for threads with the name of the line in the title.  [It doesn't search for posts mentioning the line in other threads, but that is an option visible after the search completes.]

     

    I spotted one problem: AmaWaterways required that exact wording although many people call it by a variation.  Initially I went back and edited all the recent threads that used a variation on the name, but I realized that I couldn't keep up with this.  So I asked to have AMA added as an OR term and it turned out that this is a simple change and has already been implemented – so now whether the thread says AMA, Ama Waterways, or AmaWaterways the search will find it.

     

    Please take a look at the drop-down menu and let me know if there are any other river cruise line name variations that should be added.

     

    Also please let me know if there are any other river cruise lines that should be added to the menu.  [I have already asked for the following additions:  Riverside, Saga, Travelmarvel, Tui, Uniworld.]

     

    Should we also add the German companies?  [A-ROSA, Lüftner, Nicko, VIVA]  I'm worried about making the menu too long for small screens.

     

     

     

    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,

     

     

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