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About LesSails80435

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Keystone, Colorado
  • Interests
    travel, theater, arts, music
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Oceania, Paul Gaugin, Cruise West (sadly gone), Uniworld, SeaDream

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  1. Thanks for this helpful perspective. We're not huge spa users, but with a 46-day voyage, we'll certainly need some services. Let's hope Mandara is an upgrade, or at least more reasonably priced.
  2. This will be (Rio to Miami) our 16th, 17th, and 18th O cruises. Hope you love it as much as we do.
  3. While attempting to find out if a specific manicure service would be offered on Marina next winter, I was referred to Canyon Ranch directly. The phone was answered as Canyon Ranch for Regent and Oceania, and the person who answered reported that their contract with both Oceania and Regent would be terminating the end of this year, as NCL was installing their own spa services (Mandara?) onboard. I tried to confirm with Oceania, and the rep said this was the first she'd heard. The Canyon Ranch rep said they had not been told yet how (where) the turnover would occur (we're in Puerto Chacabuco, Chile on Jan 1--hard to believe that would be practical). I couldn't find anyone at NCL with an answer. Has anyone else learned of this? Does anyone have experience with Mandara? Canyon Ranch rep said that when bookings open for our cruise Oct 7 (Dec 7 departure from Rio), they would know more about schedule.
  4. We sailed Riviera Athens to Miami starting last Oct. 24, not quite November; while some days were brisk, others (lucky for us Santorini) were perfectly lovely and mid-70s. You will find the lack of crowds very nice, but the seas likely a little rougher; we missed Rhodes altogether--partly a medical emergency and also rough weather. One caution: we did find that more than a few shops were closed for the season in some locations, if that's important to you. But I'm grateful we weren't there mid-summer, as we heard horror stories about the stifling heat they had last year.
  5. Thank you very much for correcting what we were told. While we've been a fan of the Oceania suites on O class, you've encouraged us to try a Vista; the interior is lovely.
  6. We didn't stay in a Vista on Riviera last November, but toured one on turnover day, and it indeed had a dark exercise room (instead of a media room in the Oceania suites). Loved the interior space, but with all the (large) balcony facing forward, it cannot be used while underway, we've been told; way too much headwind; all furniture has to be strapped down.
  7. Glad to see you found a workaround to restaurant reservations. But I offer a word of caution, based on our 2015 4-week cruise on Viking Sea. Every single restaurant reservation made online was messed up when we boarded (and we were traveling with two other couples, so it was a bigger problem)--either time, date, number of people, or restaurant were different from our online confirmation. In addition, online booking for excursions was also messed up. Not only was the time of excursions once confirmed often arbitrarily changed (again, remember that we were six people hoping to stay together), but they actually moved an included excursion on one day to right on top of a paid excursion. And, at least at that time, you didn't get an excursion ticket or an indication of tour time until after dinner the night before, so any concerns did not have time to be addressed. It took a major confrontation to get a refund for the paid excursion. In retrospect, we should have sat down with the Excursion Desk upon boarding, and reviewed every single reservation; I suggest you do that for both excursions and restaurant reservations. I love that O provides excursion tickets on boarding; any time changes are slight, and are communicated in as timely a manner as possible. I am hoping VO has gotten those problems worked out, but at the time staff was rude and difficult to work with; unlike O, front-line staff were not empowered to fix problems. Love the VO ships (we had an Explorer suite--special occasion cruise); we were very unhappy with staff, communication, restaurant table spacing, etc., and found the food to be disappointing.
  8. Agree that kudos on the comment cards are very much appreciated; we always try to single out those who make a difference. We also tip 'extra' in cash at the end to Cabin Attendants, Butler, usually Barista (DH is a daily visitor), the occasional waiter. We don't worry too much about which currency; there are so many nationalities aboard, and these crew members are savvy about trading/using currencies.
  9. Thanks very much. Is there any difference in the size of the aft OS deck between Decks 6, 7, and 8?
  10. We have booked a 'combo cruise' Athens-Athens-Dubai for 2020 aboard Nautica. (Maybe someone could explain to me why this isn't a back-to-back?) At any rate, the OS we would have preferred (Deck 7) wasn't available for both legs, so we opted for Deck 8 (8067) so we wouldn't have to change. Now DH is worried about noise from tables and chairs and cleaning on the Terrace (right above). (When we checked on availability of Deck 7 on one leg, Oceania told our TA that they would have to cancel and rebook as two cruises, thus losing some $2500 of discount that the 'combo' fare provided.--huh?) Anyway, I'm sure some time ago there must have been a thread on this suite location, but I can't find it. Can someone who has been on any R class and in 8067 or 8064 comment on any annoyance in this location? I know it can be an issue on the Oceania Suites aft on Deck 11, under the Terrace. By the way, we booked this prior to having to move from one Oceania Suite on Riviera to the one next door (we added one leg late), and the housekeeping staff and butler took care of moving everything--on hangars and all. It wasn't the hassle we were anticipating.
  11. Briggs & Riley are nearly bulletproof. Since the lining had not been pierced, there was no inside damage, and we shipped it home from Miami via LuggageFree as it was. Except for the cosmetics, it's still very serviceable. We thought one zipper area might have been separated/stuck, but the self-repairing claims from B&R proved true--with a little work, it all came back together. LuggageFree did say that if the zipper proved to be permanently damaged, we should buy straps in Athens for the way home, and they would reimburse us, as well as pay for repairs.
  12. We had the same experience on Regatta in Sydney--once aboard, you couldn't get off again; in other ports on back-to-backs (Barcelona, Venice) we could stay on or get off. No new key was needed, and unused shipboard credit carried over (except for TA credit, we were told). The musters are every 14 days no matter how long the cruise--maritime rules, I guess.
  13. There was no hardware there--looked like a big hook had grabbed it. You are right about Briggs & Riley--we have had two experiences sending bags back for repair or replacement--they are the best!
  14. We have very successfully used Luggage Free to/from Colorado, Sydney, Stockholm, Athens, London, New York, Miami, and others. They handle all customs paperwork, have picked up at the specified time and often delivered home earlier than expected. Only damage incurred was on our recent trip to pick up Riviera in Athens--our large wardrobe had two half-inch grappling-hook-type holes in one corner; the holes didn't go through the lining, so nothing inside was damaged, but it looked awful. Once they saw the photo, Luggage Free agreed to reimburse us the full cost of a new Briggs & Riley bag, no questions asked. Luggage has either been at our stateroom door when we boarded, or delivered very soon after. And you can just drop the bag with the agent just beyond customs at any disembarkation port. Only slight concern was disembarking Viking Sea in Stockholm, where the Viking people had no clue what to do; they just asked us to leave it in a tent for their port agent to deal with. We were worried, but it did make it home.
  15. We have used Luggage Free (similar to Luggage Forward) on 5 or 6 cruises to send one large bag directly to the ship and then home on debarkation, both domestically (New York and Miami) and internationally (Europe and Australia). Every time the bag was at our suite upon embarkation and upon disembarking the rep was there to take it immediately upon exiting customs, with one exception. The only time there was no rep was leaving a Viking Oceans Cruise, where the cruise line clearly had no experience with this service. They must have figured it out, as the bag arrived home right on schedule from Stockholm. All Oceania cruises were flawless. Wonderful to have only small carryons for that pre-cruise day or three. Love the service. Sent from my iPad using Forums
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