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Everything posted by SWFLAOK

  1. We just tried to book our second Silversea cruise with the 2 of us in one cabin and my brother as a single in another cabin. It was an expensive cruise from Easter Island to Papeette. My brother's cheapest room on the ship (he really wanted to do this itinarary, and wouldn't have wanted this cabin otherwise) would have bee almost 25,000 dollars. For the 2 of us in a veranda suite would have been 44,000 dollars. Business class airfare was definitely not included in that price. We decided to pass as it was too expensive without even looking at what the airfare would have cost (both guys need extra legroom). We previously did a Silversea cruise to the Amazon from Barbados, with my brother in veranda suite, and us in a silver suite on the Silver Whisper (our best ever cabin, and much better than a neptune suite on HAL). His single supplement was definitely no where near zero on that cruise, but it was less than our attempt at a second Silversea cruise. Also, we can cheaply get to Barbados and back from FLL so airfare was a big difference on the Easter Island to PPT cruise. Regent includes business class airfare on intercontinenal flights (and some connecting flights to them as well). And as to the dress code, Silversea required tie and jacket, or formal with a dark suite (or tux - never happening on any cruise for us) for our Silver Whisper cruise. Women have a much easier time adhering to the dress code on Silversea so that wouldn't seem to be a consideration. We love smaller ships, and long cruises. We have 2 Regent cruises, 2 Paul Gauguin cruises, and our first Viking River Cruise booked in the next 14 months, but less than have of ArtsyCraftsy 200 days. Wow, that sounds great. We did one cruise on HAL in a Neptune Suite (the last Holiday Cruise on the Prinsendam). If we hadn't been in a Neptune Suite, I would have been very unhappy. We won't be booking on HAL again, even if it allows us to cruise without flying.
  2. Neither of us has ever had any ankle swelling onboard a cruise ship except on our arrival day after a very long flight in economy class (along with the snack foods like potato chips served on those flights). The last thing we would ever want to eat on board is tuna salad, made with canned tuna, chopped onions and celery, with mayo, and cpotato chips. That contains a ton of salt. I hope they don't even have canned tuna on board. Even more comforting is a "happy waitress" with the tuna salad topped with American cheese on a hamburger bun, and I hope to never be on a cruise that offers that. Most "comfort food" contains a ton of salt and fat. That's why it taste so good. While I sometimes give in to making "comfort food" at home, I love the fact that I can always find delicious food on a cruise that isn't loaded with salt, butter and cream. And I don't have to come up with the menu, or wash the dishes afterward. I love the shopping and cooking part.
  3. I will check again in the future to see if the excursions we really wanted become available and ask our TA to make the changes. She likes it when we give here something to do now and then. And we'll check again when we get onboard. On our previous Regent Cruise, we were able to get all of our excursions online, in advance, and did not have to look at what was available after boarding. On other cruise lines, we have found few, if any, additional excursions offered. On several cruises on other cruise lines, we have found our confirmed excursions cancelled, with no additional excursions offered. On one cruise line (Sea Dream) all of our excursions were cancelled, due to lack of participants, and we had prepaid for them. We had to get our TA involved to get our money back.
  4. If you look at the rssc cruise called Cultural Awakenings sailing Dec 6 2019, and look at the Stean train and Plantation visit as an excursion, for Semarang, you will find details for the plantation visit.
  5. No, but our cruise TA called yesterday, and she checked that the excursions we were looking at were not currently available. We have worked our excursions around the "previously offered " excursions, but we are definitely still very disappointed. Skipping the port in Brunei due to political issues, and then adding 4 hours to the stop in Kuching, while eliminatinating excursions at that port makes us unhappy. We will go to the Wiildlife park in the afternoon when we will see no orangutans based on previous review. We did not want to do that excursion but it is the only nature excursion offered in a long day in port.
  6. I went online at 11:00pm in Galveston TX and was able, through "my bookings", to see what was available at each port for booking. There were way fewer excursions available than what was shown as "previously offered" excursions for our cruise, and no private cars or vans were listed. Unfortunately, the 2 excursions I had most wanted to book (Kato park in Kuching, and Franklin Islands in Cairns) were not listed, so I had to make other choices. It took me over an hour to do the bookings, but I got it all done and confirmed with an email. When we spoke to our TA about it, she said that excursions change a lot in some areas, such as SE Asia, and past excursions are often no longer available since tour operators come and go. The excursions I really wanted (not car or van), were no longer shown on "previously offered" excursions for this cruise when I checked it at 7:00am on the 10th. I didn't try for a PDF since we're currently on vacation in Texas, and a PDF is harder to get downloaded than going to a website.
  7. If I ordered something from every course that's available, then I would expect it to take 2 hours for dinner. I never want to have my next course brought to me until I've finished my previous course, the plates have been cleared, and at least a 5 minutes have passed. If they did it faster than that, I would feel rushed, and I'm sure others would as well. And since I'm on a cruise ship, I rarely have anyplace I need to be. If you have a show to attend after dinner, then mention it when you're seated, and they'll speed up the service.
  8. The photography tour mentions magic mountain, which is definitely a great place to take photos. Some people walk up from the tender drop-off spot, but it's always been too hot for us to try it. We've always gone in their summer. We've found that there are quite a few cruisers on the PG that would rather not take the excursions offered and would rather just explore on their own. We drove 2 people back to the tender drop-off spot from le petite village. They had walked for over an hour to get there, had stopped at the same place as we did for lunch, and were unsuccessful in finding a taxi to take them back. We had the rental car, and brought them back to the tender pick-up. I think the people who sign up for the photography tour will really be people who are interested in photography since they're paying for the tour. The 150 per person might deter those who are only mildly interested.
  9. We made reservations online with Avis. They were there to pick us up fat the tender drop off, and we dropped off the driver at the IC. If you can't drive a standard transmission car, you need to speak to someone and get a confirmation that you will have an automatic transmission. A few people got a rude awakening when they got off the tender, and there were no cars available that they could drive.
  10. I wouldn't expect any of these to give you much of an experience with island life, other than seeing it go by as you pass through areas. I haven't done any of these excursions, but have driven all of the roads on the island on 2 different trips (one a week long stay at what is now the IC Moorea back in 1995, and the other time was a car rental from Avis on a PG cruise in December 2017). Off-road is usually a slow, bumpy way of seeing the same things you would see in a more comfortable ride. We usually only use our cell phones to take pictures, so the Photo safari would be beyond us. That would leave my pick as MOO-1794.
  11. Last August, we were able to upgrade our seats on Delta from Atlanta to Vancouver (we didn't bother upgrading our FLL to ATL), and from Anchorage to Dallas and onto FLL on the way back on American. Once we did our deviation, well in advance since we were staying an extra week in Anchorage after the cruise, we were able to choose seats and do upgrades on our booked flights (at an additional cost of course}. They still weren't first class or business class seats, but they were had the leg room for my 6' 4" husband and my 5' 9" self, both in our mid 60's, and were close to the front of the plane. On our next 2 Regent cruises, we have great business class seats, booked early by paying for a deviation. We can fly out of most Florida airports with a 2 to 3 hour drive, and go intercontinental from there. Regent's airfare is a tremendous bargain for us compared to taking their air credit. Maybe that doesn't work for everyone if there are no direct flights from their hometown airports. If you could fly first class to another domestic city, and take your deviation to fly from that city to your embarkation city (and the same on the way back), that might work the same way as our 2 to 3 hour drive to a more Internationally connected airport.
  12. The reason given for the closure was not a lack of breeding., or any environmental problem. It was due to poaching. A group was smuggling out Komodo dragons, and selling them for 35,000 dollars a piece. I think it's unlikely that cruise ship passengers are bringing them back to the ship. Why not just crack down on the method actually used to remove them. I'm thinking that no dragons were poached while cruise ship passengers were taking their tours. If protecting animals was more important than people visiting islands, there would be no cruises to places like the Galapagos where there are way too many visitors to not affect the fauna. I never plan to take one for that reason.
  13. We had a major change to our itinerary for this summer, and it definitely had nothing to do with anything that's being discussed here. We had booked for an anniversary trip in June of 2019 and had booked it in the summer of 2018. We had booked a 12 night trip on June 3 from Barcelona to Venice on the Voyager. We were later notified that the trip had been changed to "Turkish Treasures" from Athens to Venice, with most ports in Greece and Turkey. This was not what we wanted at all. Rather than lose our down payment, we rebooked for a similar (but with different ports) cruise from Barcelona to Venice on July 2nd. We won't be there for our anniversary, and it will be hotter than June. We aren't happy about it. Why was it changed (along with other trips before and after it), we have no idea, but we're sure it had nothing to do with trade issues with China.
  14. Willy T was a big old sail boat anchored at the Bight at Norman's Cay. It was in the middle of a large anchorage where you could pay for a week of mooring balls for about 30 dollars when chartering a boat. Back in 2007, they actually had good food and good drinks at a reasonable price for the BVI. Those were the days. We vaguely remember taking the dinghy to the Willy T for food and drinks. We definitely remember that we were never the naked nor nearly naked people jumping from the upper deck. but we did see a few participants. The 2017 hurricanes put an end to the original Willy T in the Bight. Passing through the area on a cruise in early January, the anchorages were filled with mega yachts. We stopped in Tortola on a ship too big for us (but a third the size of the one next to us), and wished that we could have been on something small enough to get us into Jost Van Dyke.
  15. I'm not sure a hair dryer or curling iron are allowed on board. We don't use those, but I'm pretty sure a hair dryer provided. Our phone charger and laptop charger worked without an adapter, so there was definitely a 110 outlet available.
  16. We haven't done either of those, but I've bypassed selecting Cultural Highlights (2300) since walking around the main town sounded a little boring, since there's not much there. I don't think 6224 was available on either of our cruises since I'm always up for an easy snorkel, and probably would have done that. We did HHN-4, Day at the Beach and we loved it. There were only 6 of us on the bus to the resort, there were almost no resort guests, and the pool and lunch were great. We had picked this because our cruise was from Tahiti to Fakarava to the Marquesas and back to Huahine. There are no beaches in the Marquesas so we knew we would want something like this, and it worked for us. On our last cruise, we did Huahine Iti by 4x4, HHN-6226. There were 8 of us in the back of a pickup truck. It was covered and had drop down steps to get on and off. There were 2 young women who conducted the tour and we made a lot of stops. If I had brought my mask and snorkel I would have snorkeled under the dock at the Relais Mahana at Aveo Bay where we stopped for refreshments. We learned a lot about life on the island. We enjoyed 1602. The motu where the lunch is held is further north than the PG motu. It's owned by the family that runs the excursion. After stopping to see the sharks in deep water (I stay on the boat for that), walking on the sandbar with the stingrays and small sharks, and going for a short snorkel on a near shore reef, we went around the entire island and stopped at the motu for lunch. Family members have the meal ready to dig up and serve, and it was delicious. We also did the Day at the Beach. It's a beautiful resort and the view of Bora Bora from the hotel's motu across the lagoon can't be beat. It's a long trip to get there and back, waiting for the bus to the first hotel, then waiting for the boat to the hotel on the motu, and the boat trip. The service at the restaurant for lunch was terrible. We went to the PG motu on our first cruise. It was OK, but it's right on the harbor so you don't get any of the feeling of how beautiful the lagoon is. The water was a little choppy the day we went so snorkeling wasn't very good. We haven't been tempted by the land tours. Many years ago, we stayed on Bora Bora at the Sofitel for a week. We rented a car one day. We drove around the island twice, up the hill, stopped in town and ate at a beachfront restaurant for lunch. After lunch we turned in the car. We saw everything on land that there was to see in 5 hours (lunch included).
  17. We didn't read the card while we were on the ship, but at reception they told us we could take the remainder in cash and donate it to the crew fund, which is what we did. We had excellent service from so many of the staff that we wanted to give them something extra. As for not reading the cards, I still have cards from a number of cruise lines other than Regent, and only one said anything about whether or not it was refundable. It was for the spa only, and said it was non-refundable. We have 2 Regent cruises coming up and I'll be sure to read the cards.
  18. I'm a little late on this, but I had time to look through everything I saved from that cruise, including the cards in our stateroom. We did have a 300 dollar OBC from our travel agent that said it was refundable. I'll read those cards more carefully on our future Regent cruises.
  19. From our final statement, it appears the cash advance came from the OBC since we had no balance charged to our credit card at the end of the cruise, and the entire value of our OBC was shown as a credit on the statement. I checked our statement and the OBC wasn't marked as being refundable or nonrefundable so maybe it was refundable. We did this at the suggestion of someone at the front desk. Thanks for pointing out hat the rules say that Regent OBCs can't be used for the crew fund. That wasn't our experience on our previous Regent cruise, or on other cruise lines, but we like to follow the rules so we'll do that on our upcoming Regent cruises.
  20. I had considered this excursion on a previous PG cruise. I had read a review about the walk along the shore, but that seemed doable. I decided not to do it because I had enjoyed spending the whole day on the motu, so we decided not to do the extra excursion. After seeing this, I am so happy that I didn't do it. I love snorkeling, but that water is way too shallow for a drift snorkel. I would want to wear a full 3 mil suit and gloves. Getting scraped up on coral in warm water isn't anything I want to do so far from the US.
  21. The first picture of the ceremony in post 215 is definitely a moonfish. In Hawaii, it's called Opah. It's a big round fish that's thin from side to side. It's a delicious delicate white fish. Wahoo is nothing like that. It's a long skinny fish, similar in shape to a large barracuda. It's a fast swimming fish, so it's muscular, and is more steak-like. We get plenty of it from the Atlantic in Florida. A fish from the Pacific is more of a treat for those of us from Florida than a fish we have available at home.
  22. On Regent, we did as described in the past few posts, based on what we were told when we asked onboard. We had a non-refundable OBC left, so we took a cash advance against our account, and donated it. There may have been a small charge for the cash advance, but we definitely didn't forfeit our OBC. On our one and only HAL cruise, we were able to direct our leftover OBC to the crew fund. We have it documented on the closing statement that was pushed under our door on the final morning of the cruise.
  23. Do you have an invoice from directly from Regent or passed on through your TA? It should show what you have, and where it came from.We always have our OBCs clearly listed on the invoice. Some are from Regent and some are from our TA. Not all excursions are free, so we usually use much of our OBCs on those, and we definitely spend some on laundry. If there's some left that's not refundable, we spend it in the boutique/gift shop, and leave the rest for the crew fund.
  24. The flights we've been provided with through Regent for our next 2 cruises have been bargains compared to what we would have paid for our excellent business class seats flying from South Florida. They're business class all the way. The credit would not have come close to covering it. But we don't use points for our flights, or use air consolidators, and never fly SW (we only use Jet Blue in the US). To each his own but it's worth asking for a deviation, and turning it down if you don't like what Regent can book for you. There's no charge if you don't want what they offer and book your own.
  25. I didn't see the moonfish on the menu. Did they serve it or just use it for a prop. From what we've been told on our Paul Gauguin cruises, it doesn't last long at warm temperatures, and needs to be served shortly after it's caught. It tastes great so it would be a shame if it's just for show.
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