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Everything posted by SWFLAOK

  1. Traveling as a couple, our preferred seating is 2 seats with a window. We don't both need aisle access, and really don't want 2 middle seats with a barrier between us. I'm not sure what you mean by not having an onboard bar. It seems that their website shows people drinking wine, which would be good enough for us. And as I already mentioned, I would never willingly fly through JFK or EWR again after suffering through them many times in the past , and Toronto is also not an option to fly through in December, or any other winter month. If we didn't accept Regent's air, the amount they give for airfare would not pay for anything other than economy, and that would not work for us for a flight from Florida to Singapore, and a flight back to Florida from Sydney.
  2. OK. That's what we tried to do last year for our Alaska cruise, and they said they couldn't find anything from RSW, even though we could find something that was acceptable to us. I guess they didn't want to give us an overnight along the way. We would much rather drive to FLL or MIA than have an extra connection.
  3. Which airline do you use to fly from RSW to MIA? The local news reported last year that American was starting 2 flights per day beginning last December, but we were not able to find them on the American website. We tried asking Regent to do RSW to Vancouver last year for an Alaska cruise, but they said they could not do it. Instead, they gave us a 7AM flight from FLL to ATL, with 20 minutes to connect in Atlanta. We had to drive to FLL the night before and stay overnight, and I was really worried about making the connection in Atlanta until the flight attendant told me that the same flight crew was transferring to the Atlanta to Vancouver flight. Needless to say, since they had to make the connection, we made it too. We probably should have made our own reservations instead of having Regent do it. We could have flown from RSW to Atlanta the day before and stayed there for the night, and not had to get up at 4 in the morning. We weren't going to get business class anyway, and had to pay to upgrade for more legroom on the Atlanta to Vancouver flight. It was our first experience with Regent, and since I couldn't find any flights from RSW to MIA, I didn't even bother asking them this time. As for business class from Venice to Madrid being the middle seat unused, that should work for us. It's not a long flight and it's the middle of the day so not rubbing arms and legs with a stranger will be fine for the 2 of us on that flight.
  4. We have a Regent cruise from Barcelona to Venice next week. We booked Regent airfare as part of our cruise. We have business class American Airlines from Miami to Barcelona on Sunday, with free transfers to the Fairmont (not what I would have picked, but it's included with a concierge cabin). On our way back from Venice, we have business class on Iberia around noon from Venice to Madrid, and then back to Miami in business class with an arrival time just before 9 PM in Miami. I would never fly through Newark or JFK if I didn't have to. Been there and done that, and avoid it at all costs. We decided to stay overnight in the Miami Airport Hotel (125 for the night), and take the ride back to Park 'N Fly at 9 in the morning to pick up our car and drive back to Fort Myers. It was cheaper than 2 rentals, and more convenient than finding a parking spot at MIA, so we're trying the Park 'N Fly. Our next Regent cruise is FLL to Dubai, and it's business class on Emirates. MIA, FLL, PBI and TPA are all just over 2 hours from where we live. We wish we could take flights from RSW, but that normally doesn't work out well with Regent.
  5. We pay for insurance on every cruise since we're old enough to have something happen to one of us that could cause us to cancel (we're both mid 60's). If you can afford to forfeit the cruise cost if you are unable to take the cruise under one of the circumstances covered by the insurance, then you should be fine without insurance. If it's the cruise line that needs to cancel for some reason, then they should make amends whether or not you have travel insurance.
  6. I'll definitely post back on our Papeete to Fiji cruise this September. I'm hoping for calm seas, and whale sightings.
  7. No chance of doing that excursion again. Our day in Brunei was cancelled due to the sultan's lack of acceptance of gay and lesbian people (was this a surprise for Regent?) so we have a day at sea instead.
  8. On our first Paul Gauguin cruise, which was our first cruise ever, but our second trip to Tahiti/Bora Bora/Moorea, we chose the airfare provided on Air Tahiti Nui by PG, without a pre or post included. We flew on our own from Orlando to LAX the day before our PG flight. We stayed at a Marriott Courtyard just North of the airport, and they let us check out late for our evening flight, and gave us a free shuttle to the airport. If you don't book a night pre-cruise, you will most likely be on the flight that arrives after 11:00 PM, and will be brought directly to the pier for embarkation. The ship won't leave until you're onboard, even if your flight is delayed. There will be a lot of PG cruisers on this flight, and the next port is really close. After our cruise, the flight PG provided was between 11 pm and 12 am (when most flights leave Papeete for the US). A day room was provided at the IC hotel, with a 5 minute transfer to the airport about 5 hours prior to our flight. The Papeete airport is not air conditioned, and doesn't have enough seating for the passengers on the 11 to 12 flights at night. Based on our first experience, we booked 1 night pre and 2 nights post at the IC Tahiti, along with our flights through PG, on our second cruise. This was much better. They booked us on a flight from LAX that arrived at 5 AM rather than 11 PM later that day. We arrived at the IC at 6:30 AM, and our room was ready. That night was Friday, with a free Marquessa show that can be seen from the bar, as well as the restaurant. The next morning, we had full breakfast included (buffet, with a menu selection if wanted), and lunch from the menu was also included. We had to check out before lunch, but they kept watch on our luggage. We were taken to the pier just in time for the 3PM embarkation time. We were quickly onboard and in our cabin, with drinks and dinner onboard. On return from our second cruise, where we had booked 2 nights post with PG at IC, we couldn't check in until after lunch, so we took the included bus tour of a number of sights south of Papeete. We were upgraded to a room that was already renovated since they were getting ready to renovate the rooms normally used as day rooms, and we were staying 2 nights. We had breakfast included both mornings, but were on our own otherwise. We rented a car from the hotel concierge and drove the whole island of Tahiti, and as much of Tahiti Iti as we could drive, seeing many beautiful spots. We stopped at a grocery store in Papeete, and found a great bottle of French wine for 11 dollars, and some reasonably priced prepared food for a light dinner on our balcony. The next day, we enjoyed our included breakfast, and the hotel pools. Late in the day, we paid for cocktails and snacks at the bar, then packed our bags for transport to the airport. We have found that the pre's and post's provided by PG are well worth it in French Polynesia. They go above and beyond to make your trip as convenient as possible, with transfers provided along the way. Less stress is what we want on vacation. Our next cruise is Papeete to Fiji, and we have 1 night pre at the IC Papeete, with the same afternoon flight from LAX. We have 3 nights post at the Fiji IC, with a convenient flight back to LAX on Air Fiji, for an evening flight back to Florida. I'm sure you can find ways to save money by making your own arrangements, but taxis and rental cars in French Polynesia are expensive, and it's hard to find hotels that allow day rooms without paying for 2 nights if you want a morning check-in and an evening check-out.
  9. We have never cruised on Oceania, nor have I ever looked at their website or asked for a price on one of their cruises. But we do receive 2 brochures from them every week. I looked at a few, and found them to not meet our cruising needs since they have many extra charges, even after paying for the "O Life" price. I hate extra charges. Now I just toss their brochures in the trash without looking at them. Paul Gauguin is the only way I will ever cruise French Polynesia.
  10. While having a stable horizon to look at does tend to lessen seasickness for me, I've awakened with sea sickness during the night. This happened a number of times on our own boat over the years before we ever started taking cruises, and once on a small ship cruise to the Caribbean. That makes me think that glasses would not totally prevent my sea sickness. And once it starts, it's hard to recover from. I started relying on Bonine on our own boat when I expected rough seas, and I do that now on our cruises. I bring a supply of 2 per day for the length of the cruise. If the Captain indicates that the seas are expected to be 6 to 10 feet or higher, I take a Bonine. I take 2 per day unless the seas get higher than that, and I take an extra one. I try to never have the sea sickness come on, and I've endured seas that I've never expected to make it through without seasickness, and have even been able to eat. If you have only experienced seasickness during the day when out of sight of land, the glasses might work, and would be worth a try to prevent taking a medication. Bonine has the least side effects for me.
  11. Thank you so much for the reply Mysty. I really want to see everything we can while we still can take full advantage of excursions off the ship. I plan to do as much as possible in the next few years. I just need to convince my other half that we're permitted to do it.
  12. Our first cruise to the Marquesas was in February. The water was very rough in the Marquesas for 3 days, but that was the only 3 rough days of our 14 day cruise. Our second cruise was the Society islands and Cook Islands in December. The Cook Islands were very rough. The tender crew and the person at the helm of the Paul Gauguin did a wonderful job of getting us on and off the ship. We had large swells on both times, rather than large wind blown waves. In the Cook Islands we had some wind chop, but it would have been pretty easy to handle without the swells. We are headed to the Cook Islands again in September on our way from the Society Islands to Fiji, so we'll see how Aitutaki is at a different time of year.
  13. We're also on the December 6th Singapore to Singapore cruise, as well as the next cruise, Singapore to Sydney on Voyager. We already have booked all of our excursions. We decided to splurge and do the overnight in Bangkok since it included what we wanted to see in Bangkok and didn't require a very long bus ride each way on the same day.
  14. Mysty, Thank you so much for your detailed trip report, and these photos that you've added. We were on the Silver Whisper last November, roundtrip from Barbados to Manaus, and loved the ship. We were in a Silver Suite, with my brother in a Veranda Suite, and we all loved our time on board. The crew was wonderful. Our butler was the best we've ever had on any cruise. We would love to do a World Cruise at some point, but as we get older, it's hard to deal with siblings and their kids and their grandkids, as well as close friends, that expect us to be available for in person support and funeral attendance, even if we are half a world away. I'm sure others have encountered this problem. Our parents are already gone, and we were close enough to be able to be there for their funerals. We always buy insurance, but that only covers some things, and not others. We hope to never have to use our insurance. Going forward, we may not be able to afford a World Cruise if we feel pressured to attend a family or friend's funeral that aren't covered by trip insurance. We have a daughter and a young grand daughter that we would need to respond to, but it's the wider range of family and friends that we would wonder what to do. Sorry that this isn't a pleasant topic, but how do others on the World Cruise's deal with this?
  15. I was just amazed that Regent gave a $7500 pp for Florida to PPT, leaving so little to pay for their cruise. But, having done 2 PG cruises to French Polynesia, and 1 Regent cruise to Alaska, I am much happier being on the PG than the small (750 passenger), older Regent ships. The newer Regent ships are too big for us. I just got a Jet Blue Visa with 50000 bonus points so our flights to LAX next April should be covered. I'm sure you'll love the Paul Gauguin. It's our favorite.
  16. We haven't stopped there on a PG Cruise, but we did drive there while staying at the IC Tahiti for 2 nights after a PG Cruise. We rented a car and drove every coastal road on both Tahiti and Tahiti Iti. On Tahiti Iti, you can drive a car along the shore past Vairao until the road heads inland and ends. There was nothing of interest along the shore other than some small beaches and one beachfront restaurant (but it was too early for lunch so it was closed). There are offshore islands, but no way to access them. This is a big surfing area, but we don't surf. After that, we drove back toward Tahiti, and took the road to the other shore. We drove out as far as we could find a road that continued near the shore. We ended up in a small town with a tiny park on the shore. And then headed back toward Tahiti looking for the road into the mountains. We eventually found it and drove up to the lookout, passing the cows. It's a nice view, but hard to find. We continued driving hoping to find a way to the far end of Tahiti Iti, but ended up coming back down on the same road we had been on earlier. We found more things to see on Tahiti than Tahiti Iti, but if I was on that cruise, I would do the excursion "Bonjouir's Garden of Eden" since I have no idea how to drive there, and it sounds interesting.
  17. We didn't receive an e-mail. It was a brochure. We receive at least 2 of those every week from Regent, along with other cruise lines, some of which we've never traveled on, and probably won't (Oceania). So anyone that received an e-mail may have been targeted. The offer did nothing for us based on the cabins we had already reserved.
  18. Having been to all of those stops without being on a cruise, I would choose the Sea Dream 1 cruise. There's nothing wrong with the other ports, but Nevis, Anguilla and Jost are 3 of the spots we've ever visited in the Caribbean. Nothing wrong with the other itinerary, but we just liked them less. I think we need to look at a Sea Dream cruise for 2021.
  19. As I mentioned on a thread on the Regent forum, where someone was looking at a French Polynesia cruise on Regent and some of us were suggesting Paul Gauguin, there is definitely a lack of business class flights to Papeete. Regent provides business class airfare as part of their cruise package for intercontinental flights. So, if I booked Regent from Florida, I would be in business class for at least the last part of the flight (and maybe more). With PG, I have to pay to get to LAX from Florida, and now I get a crappy 2 seats for my husband and I, and a stranger sits with us to do the elbow poking, and/or the thigh rub with one of us. We have a one way to Papeete on our next cruise since we fly back from Fiji. We paid 1600 for both of us to upgrade to premium economy on that one way flight so we can eliminate the unwanted third party. We didn't upgrade on the way back from Fiji since their plane still has 2-4-2 and we were able to get decent seats near the front of economy. Regent is more expensive for a cruise around French Polynesia with the lowest cabins being aroung 12K per person, but if you turn down the Regent flight, you get 7500 per person as a credit for airfare, which leaves you with a tremendous bargain for an all-inclusive cruise at 4500 per person. I found this to be unbelievable since we have a Regent cruise from Singapore to Sydney and were offered only 6000 per person roundtrip from Miami for a cruise that is costing us 60K for the 2 of us. While it's easy to find roundtrip flights from the US to Papeete for much less than 7500 per person, especially in economy, it's impossible to find flights from Miami to Singapore, and Sydney to Miami for less than 6000 per person since economy is not an option on flights that long. And both age and experience both have to do with it.
  20. We received an advertisement a few weeks ago about the 3 category upgrade on the 2 cruises we booked a while back. There were no cabins available at the higher levels. It was basically the ability to upgrade from a guaranteed verandah on Voyager to a guaranteed concierge. Not interested in being given a cabin that no one else has chosen.
  21. We've always blamed evaporation as well. I'm not sure if it's the refrigerator or the cabin AC that evaporates it, but one or both of them always makes it disappear before it should. I tend to blame the cabin AC, but I have just added a wine bottle stopper to my 'must bring items' bag for our cruise next month.
  22. If I remember correctly, when the area around the pool is staged with tables, it's reservations only, and you're expected to dress appropriately, with no shorts. The last time we ate there, we were in the bay in Moorea, and it was a wonderful experience watching the sun go down behind the island. There were no tables for large groups around the pool area for dinner on either of the cruises we have been on so far.
  23. Our first cruise ever was on the Paul Gauguin, Society Islands and Marquesas. My husband changed out 4 large truck size batteries from our boat, which we sold a few months before our cruise. He was experiencing some hip pain shortly before the cruise, but nothing was found on, and his doctor perscribed 5 days of steroids. It didn't help, so he was given some Advil with codeine to take with him, and scheduled an MRI for his back after our cruise. After flying to LAX from ORD, and staying overnight after arriving 3 hours late at midnight, we made our way to the airport. The TSA line at LAX was huge, and while standing in line, my husband's back suddenly gave out, and he had to sit on the floor. A helpful TSA agent took him through the line as a disabled person, and we made our flight to Papeete without a problem. We boarded the PG, and did a day at sea to Fakarava. We did a snorkel excursion there without a problem (other than me being scared to death by the large sharks swimming with us). We then had another day at sea going to Nuku Hiva (a change in the itinerary to avoid a large cruise ship that was scheduled to arrive when we did). The excursion we took was not supposed to be hard at all. If was a drive to a number of locations by a group of taxis, along paved roads. However, the taxis were small pickup trucks, and the paved roads ended before the parking lots at the locations where we stopped. By the time we parked at the first location, my husband was experiencing discomfort. By the time we parked at the last location, he was unable to get our of the vehicle. After visiting the on board doctor the next morning, who could do nothing other than recommend bed rest, I was on my own for the next 3 days in the Marquesas. We were loaned a wheel chair to get to the pool bar, and the restaurant on deck 8 from our cabin on deck 8. By the time we got back to the Society Islands, we were able to go the boat to PG's beach on Bora Bora, the Ta'ha'a beach picnic, and the Motu picnic on Moorea, without a problem. After returning to the US, an MRI showed that a ruptured disk had nearly healed itself, and a physical therapy session led to a complete recovery. Sorry to be so long winded, but I guess it depends on your back problem. Snorkeling didn't bother his ruptured disk. A drive that was supposed to be the easiest one in the Marquesas was much worse than expected. There were no bumpy rides by boat on the rest of our cruise. Tendering can be risky for a bad back. 2 of the tender rides I did without my husband in the Marquesas had large swells, but they were no where near as rough as on our subsequent cruise to the Cook Islands. The tender to Aitutaki was an extremely rough ride. On the way back to the ship, waves broke over us. Luckily neither of us had any back problems on that trip.
  24. To those who found that Regent gives a 7500 dollar credit on a Papeete based cruise that costs as little as 11,999, you are brilliant. I suspect that business class air is very hard to come by for Regent on flights to Papeete, and they very much want you to turn it down and take the credit. They still have passengers onboard, and don't have to tell anyone that they can't give them the business class air. And on your own, you can find flight better flight options based on where you're coming from, and airline points. While I love the Paul Gauguin, the Regent cruise is definitely a bargain if you book your own airfare. We paid 1600 extra to upgrade to economy plus from economy with the new configuration where someone else would be sitting with us on our September PG cruise. That's one way since we fly back from Fiji. Our return flight to LAX is in economy since we didn't want to pay 3200 to upgrade. We hope our plane remains the same since we have 2 seats window and aisle in the second row of economy. As a comparison on the 7500 dollar credit, we have a 32 night Singapore to Sydney cruise on Regent in December (a back to back cruise), and we could have taken the 6000 dollar credit rather than Regent's business class on Emirates. For flights that long from Florida, 6000 dollars would not have covered seats that we wanted to sit in for that long. But business class is much easier to find to those destinations.
  25. I just remembered that they used to have a Cousteau program for teens in the summer. I don't know if they still have that, but the website should have details if that's still available.
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