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Gourmet Gal

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  1. That seems odd regarding the flights. You may as well book yourself, then. As for hotel, I never book through the cruiseline, the price is usually quite high for not much benefit except possibly transfers. I get plenty of perks and better choice and price through my TA.
  2. I don’t see how we would know if SS is marking up airfares. In every case where I’ve used a cruiseline’s air dept. I’ve usually paid only 1/3 to 1/2 the fare I could book on my own so I don’t really care if SS makes money in my ticket or not. But if the routing is too convoluted it may not be worth it. An advantage of booking through SS is that of there is a problem with your flight they will do their best to reroute or rebook to get you to the ship. I’ve never had to use this service but I would suppose it would be without additional cost. Perhaps others can comment.
  3. I think every case is different especially if you want non-stop flights. Sometimes you may have a preference for a certain airline but SS os not contracted with them for bulk fares so you could pay a big premium over the basic offer. You really have to compare the cost by looking at the same airlines that SS is quoting you. In my case, because I wanted 2 un-affiliated airlines I saved about $4000 pp on business class booking with SS and even more if I compared to the airline I would normally book. Consider their basic offer a starting point because they will add other charges if you want a deviation, early ticketing and seat selection, sometimes non-stop, certain airlines, etc.
  4. We ended up booking an apartment at Flora Chiado. We like the fun location with 2 Michelin starred restaurants in the block and the full service aspect. They get excellent reviews on TA and though we usually gravitate towards FS or other upscale hotels sometimes those neighborhoods are not so fun.
  5. Don’t know about formal nights on O but if you have a strong opinion about it be aware that formal nights are alive and well on SS.
  6. Totally cool videos. Thanks for posting. We’ll be in Hong Kong in Nov. and glad to hear the weather will be good. I’ve been corresponding with my guide at Little Adventures in Hong Kong regarding the protests. He says the protests are confined to areas that are planned and blocked off in advance and he can easily go about his business and not even know protests are happening. Let’s hope things calm down soon, though I think it could get worse before it gets better.
  7. Well, perhaps for your itinerary and routing there are no more seats. But for others, especially from major hubs there could still be seats. Are they still offering business class but with extra fees? Our flights were an extra $700 but all-in less than half the best price I could get on my own.
  8. Ugh, Dramamine. Makes me feel so bad. On our Galapagos cruise our butler gave me some sort of homeopathic patches that actually worked very well. I wish I knew what brand they were. Does anyone have any experience with those homeopathic patches distributed by SS?
  9. Funny, I was in Rouen on The World ship on Bastille day a few years ago so been there, done that, too. We enjoyed cruising on the Seine. Perhaps we’ll just rent a car in Honfleur and do our own thing.
  10. JP, thanks for this great voyage chronicle. Iceland is an intriguing country with a surprising amount of things to see and do. As I will be on the Cloud next May, just wondering about the reports of poor plumbing and “smells” aboard the Cloud. Have you encountered anything like that on this cruise? Hoping it’s been addressed.
  11. Thanks for the info. I’ve already been to the D-Day beaches, cemetery and area tour along with several other WWII site and US cemeteries in Europe so just wondering if there were any alternative tours offered in the Honfleur area.
  12. Great trip report. Wellseasoned, thank you for taking the time. I will be on the Lisbon to London segment next May and I have a few questions. 2fromTwo, please feel free to chime in as well. The cruise is being billed as a culinary cruise. What is different about that? Is all the food generally better or are there theme nights, cooking classes or culinary related tours? I am planning a full-day private tour in Bordeaux. Was the tour you described on day one in Bordeaux a not-to-be-missed tour? I’m just trying to figure out which day to do my private tour which includes wine-tasting outside of the city and a city tour. Were there any other tours that were really special that I should consider if they’re still being offered? My husband has a very lightweight blazer. Is that more than necessary on the informal nights?
  13. Wripro, not sure where you get your information but here are the facts: https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/20600-ritz-carlton-staffs-up-with-eight-key-executive-hires.html The CEO is also quite experienced. Do you really think investors and Marriott would stand for “mostly administrative people from the hotel industry”?
  14. I’m also going to wait for the next round of itineraries and the second ship. Would like to have more feedback and wait til they work out the kinks. The cancellation penalty can be applied within one year for a future sailing. Booked a very similar SS itinerary instead that ends at Tower Bridge in London instead of Greenwich. Also, I don’t think this will be a lowly Marriott of the seas as an earlier poster implied. Just because they own RC doesn’t mean it’s the same product.
  15. In the interest of sharing my experience to hopefully help others...So just booked our cruise and flights are booked by SS but not ticketed. We will be flying on different airlines on the round trip and I was able to log on to Virgin Atlantic and reserve our seats but was not able to reserve on TAP. On TAP seats must be ticketed before they allow seat selection. So seat reservation policies vary by airline. $$ charges $300 pp to ticket early (before 60 days out) thus more than doubling the advertised “special” of $1050 business class upgrade because we also had to pay $700 more for non-stop flights not to mention the $150 air deviation. Still, even if we pay the extra to select seats the ticket price is far less than booking the same flights on our own. It just seems to be a rather convoluted process.
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