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Everything posted by SWFLAOK

  1. You've figured out the mystery between our deck 8 cabin and yours. We have always been in a configurable (black dot) cabin, and will be again on our next cruise. I've never been in cabin without a dot, except for cocktails in 801. That's a bigger cabin and the bed looked like a real King. It also had a coffee maker, which I really envied. Don't forget to bring a tape measure and let us know the measurements of the non-configurable King bed. But put it in you're checked bag if it's metal. I had a small one on a keychain in my carryon, and it resulted in my bag being hand searched by TSA to find out what it was.
  2. I just checked our reservation online, and what it says for our Deck 8, Category B reservation is "joined" for the bed type. Our invoice does not say what type of bed we have. What does your invoice say? We book through a cruise TA. We were put in touch with her after asking for a quote on the PG website when we decided to start taking cruises a few years ago. She's been great to work with and we have booked all of our cruises since then with her, even when they aren't with Paul Gauguin. Is the email confirmation from Paul Gauguin, of a cruise travel agent? We don't normally receive any email directly from Paul Gauguin and there's nothing in any of our correspondence or in our invoice that says "room number/bed size". They definitely aren't moving mattresses in and out of state rooms. I doubt that any cruise line does that since turnaround time is very limited, and where would they store mattresses on a small ship like the Paul Gauguin? You will have 2 twin mattresses pushed together (and they do that nicely). Is it a true California King? It doesn't feel like it, but it is plenty roomy.
  3. On our 2 previous cruises, we've always been comfortable inside. We live in Florida and keep our inside temperature at 78, so if it was cooler, we'd notice. One our our cruises was in February and the other December.
  4. We're planning to do the coast rather than the middle. We'll be heading to Monterey, and then head south from there. I'll be working on the rest of the itinerary tomorrow.
  5. Thanks once again JohnG. While our excursions still aren't available, the overlands that you pointed to are available. We just booked the overnight in Bangkok-Royal Wonders, small group excursion, through our Travel Agent. Hopefully we get enough people to sign up, and stay at the Sheraton Orchid overnight, as suggested by the itinerary. It has great reviews on Trip Advisor, and it looks like dinner options are varied and reasonably priced. I'd rather see sites that are real, and are parts of Bangkok's history instead of 20th century replicas and mansions with collections bought by expats.
  6. I think you made the right choice. We did a HAL cruise over Christmas/New Years since we got a really good price for a Neptune Suite with Explore 4, and could just drive to the port and back. After we booked well in advance, it turned out to be the last holiday cruise for the Prinsendam and attracted many elderly people who wanted one last cruise from Fort Lauderdale. This was a Caribbean cruise for 2 weeks, and the Florida schools were closed the whole time. But we didn't have tons of kids on board, and we had no incentive or business groups at all. There was Christmas entertainment for the kids onboard, but we didn't attend that, and the kids didn't make themselves noticable at the New Year's Eve celebrations. We liked the Prinsendam better than we expected since we had low expectations, but if we didn't have a Neptune Suite, it would not have been as enjoyable. Since HAL is moving to larger ships, we didn't expect to book another cruise, and we won't be doing that. Despite our Alaska experience last August, where there weren't a lot of kids, but they did form an unsupervised gang, we have 2 more Regent cruises booked, with the Singapore to Sydney 32 night cruise over the holidays starting in December 2019. The large organized groups are not going to be there over the holidays, and they're much worse to deal with than families.
  7. How did you unexpectedly find yourself on a Regent Voyager cruise at Christmas/ New Year, and what year are you doing that along the South Africa Coast? Just wondering since we are booked on the Regent Voyager for Christmas/New Years in December of 2019 and we'll be on the Singapore to Sydney cruise. Having been on other cruise lines at this time, I would expect there to be decorations and seasonal celebration, but no reindeer or snow. There might be a santa visit, but it's easy to ignore if you don't have kids. The bigger the ship, the more kids and large family groups, so Voyager shouldn't have too many. And larger groups tend to be business related, and not done over the holidays when employees would rather stay home with family than take an incentive cruise.
  8. Happy to hear that the first week of March was good cruising this year. We took the same cruise last year, and we had huge swells. We were able to eat outside 3 nights, but it wasn't always easy to walk to the dining room and back on the other nights.
  9. We have taken a round trip flight from Orlando to LAX on Jet Blue for our last 2 PG cruises. That 3 hour drive home first thing in the morning is always hard. We would have loved to be Orlando residents on those flights. This time, we are flying to San Fransisco from FLL the weekend before our flight to PPT from LAX. We'll see some things we haven't seen before, and visit old friends who live south of San Jose. We'll take a leisurely drive (well, as leisurely as possible from SFO to LAX in 6 days) and fly to PPT at 4:40 PM. On the way back, we fly from LAX at 10 PM to FLL instead of Orlando. We, of course, arrive at 6 AM, but hopefully we won't have traffic heading back to the west coast.
  10. We certainly didn't see more young cruisers with families on our August Alaska cruise. There were only a few large family groups, and many of them remained onboard in ports. But there were way more extremely elderly people. There were 2 women who told us that they were roomates in an assisted living facility at home in the US. They could only move if one could push the other's wheelchair for exucursions. On board, they both used walkers. They held us up in every port trying to get on and off the ship and take bus excursions. The tender ports, which there were way too many of compared to other cruise lines, were especially painful for all of us. This is definitely something that's changing. Expecting the cruise ship to take the place of your assisted living facility, needs to be stopped.
  11. I would love nothing better than to get rid of all business incentive passengers on cruises that include people who are paying their own way. In fact, I would love to see business expenses like luxury cruises to be eliminated as IRS business expense write offs so we don't have to "share" our vacations with people who are not on vacation. We have only experienced this at hotels so far, and the worst was the IC Moorea. I think the people who participated actually had to pay for much of their trip. They were staying in the small 2 story motel rooms in the parking lot. They had to spend most of each day listening to uplifting talks on how they could increase their sales and make more money. The show runners were in the largest overwater bungalows, staying with their families, including children. They were across from us and quite noisy at night. They interfered with our stay everyday, and when they tried to bring us into their incentive party in the main restaurant one night by asking us if we would like to join them so we could make more money, we blew our tops. We were reseated further away from them, but could still hear their rah-rah crap. The IC Moorea is owned by the same company as the Paul Gauguin. If the Cheesecake Factory takes over the PG on our September cruise, I will not be happy at all.
  12. We were on Sea Dream in the same situation, and weren't told about it. The cruise was only half full, and there were more crew than passengers on board. The only problem we had with the cruise was that the large group had arranged their own excursions, and there weren't enough other cruisers to prevent the cancellation of all of the onboard excursion offerings. The large group were all part of an trip arranged by a local PBS in the area where we live, and they had arranged their own birdwatching excursions on board. The participants were all really nice people and we still enjoyed our cruise, but if we had been told ahead of time, we would have arranged our own excursions earlier rather than later on the cruise.
  13. On the flights back from PPT, which all seem to leave between 11 PM and 12 AM, I would definitely have liked a lay flat seat. After arriving at LAX on those late night PPT flights, getting back to Florida from LAX on a direct flight means a red eye, and not in business class for us. We rent a large comfortable SUV and find something to do during the afternoon, then head to the airport in the evening. Our flight back to Florida doesn't have anything other than extra leg room, so we take that. We haven't found any convenient and comfortable way to get to and from LAX from South Florida. If anyone has suggestions ...
  14. I have no problem with drinking RO water. It's easy to make at sea, and easy to keep perfectly safe to drink in the ship's tanks. We did this for 10 years on our own boat, spending 6 months each year on board. On small ships, such as the Paul Gauguin and Sea Dream Yachts, we felt perfectly safe drinking the water from the tap. We refilled the plastic bottles we brought with us on board, and took them on excursions. On ships larger than a few hundred people, we see the ship's water tanks being filled in every port. It's through a big dirty looking hose and coming from who knows where. Once we see this, we don't drink the tap water. We have seen this on Regent, HAL and Silver Sea. We were most bothered by the later since it's a small ship and should have been able to do RO. After several days at sea, we assume the ship has purified the water with RO added and bleach, and drink from the tap. Drinking perrier or other bottled water on a ship will result in a bottle being ground up and dumped in the ocean, or put into the local landfill. Those who collect sea glass will benefit if it's done at sea, unless it doesn't wash up on shore. In a third world country, the perrier bottle will last forever in a landfill, or will be dumped locally. Plastic will be ground up and dumped out at sea, or will be put in the local landfill. Most plastic is now made to breakdown quickly in sunlight and is much more biodegradable glass. I guess we'll need to bring our reusable nalgene water bottles, an eye-dropper, and a small bottle of bleach in our checked bags so we can purify our tap water in our cabin. We might need to leave some of our formal shoes at home to fit in the water bottles.
  15. I'm interested in what the other posters think about the LA Lakers game tickets as a proper use of the crew fund? I think that's perfectly fine. If I gave an extra tip to my room steward, I would hope that they are able to use it for something extra, and don't need it to travel home for a death in the family. I would expect Regent to pay for a family or medical emergency. I would not expect Regent to pay for crew parties, pool tables or LA Lakers tickets. We have given 50 dollars to a few crew members that we have interacted with daily and have given us excellent service. We always donate money to the crew fund. We have used residual onboard ship credit and haven't had a problem with doing that. We always talk to the crew and ask about their life onboard and back home. We find it interesting, and they normally feel free to talk about it.
  16. Yes, we always buy cruise insurance. We came close to using it once, but a few days of bed rest on board, a wheelchair borrowed from the shipboard medical facility, and 125 dollars for the visit got us past a back problem that was aggravated by a bumpy ride on a shore excursion. We've encountered a number of people who have lost their whole cruise, and needed to be flown home due to injuries. They were happy they had insurance, and they were back for another try. We haven't encountered anyone who had this type of story and didn't have insurance. Maybe they didn't have insurance and didn't cruise again.
  17. I don't know if there were premium economy seats on ATN's airbus. We were always comfortable in our included economy seats, on the 2 side with a window. From what I saw online, Premium Economy on ATN's dreamliner is a separate cabin from Economy or Business Class. The seats in Economy are narrower than they were on the airbus, so that's another reason to upgrade to Premium Economy. Business class is out of our price range if we have to pay for it. I expect this to be our last PG cruise since we've already done the Tuamotus, Marquesas, and Cook Island, and will be doing the cruise to Fiji in September. We spent a week on Bora Bora and on a week in Moorea in overwater bungalows 25 years ago, and found the Paul Gauguin to be more economical, and still totally enjoyable. But there are other places in the world to see, and Regent includes Business class airfare with their cruises.
  18. On our last PG cruise in Dec 2017, we stayed at the IC hotel for 2 nights before flying back to LAX. We rented a car for the day and drove all the way to the end of the road on both sides of Tahiti Iti. We only found 2 things that were worthwhile near Tahiti Iti since we don't surf, dive or golf. The Water Gardens Vaipahi were beautiful. We just walked through the gardens and didn't take the nature trails that we had read about. We also went to the Belvedere lookout, which we had a really hard time finding, but eventually did and the view was spectacular. There's nothing else there except some cows. Avoid the Harrison Smith Botanical Garden. It looked like a disaster area. There were some bulldozers here and there that looked like they had been abandoned after tearing up most of the terrain. I was afraid we would damage our rental car just driving to the Paul Gauguin museum, which ended up being closed due to disrepair. We couldn't even go in to see the reproductions that we had read about (or more importantly, there were no restrooms).
  19. We haven't taken our ATN Premium Economy class flight yet since it's for our next PG cruise in September. Since we never felt like we needed to spend the extra money to upgrade to Premium Economy on the Airbus, and now felt we would not be comfortable without spending an extra 1600 dollars, my opinion so far is that I preferred the old Airbus. The Airbus layout of 2-4-2 in economy is ideal for 2 people on a long flight with naps and bathroom breaks easily accomplished. The Dreamliner layout of 3-3-3 in economy is a definite disadvantage for 2 people.
  20. We found the red eye that comes with a 1 night stay at the IC to be much better than the straight to the ship flight arriving at 11:30pm that you get without any overnight stay. We apparently waited too long to book our LAX to PPT flight in September on the 4:40 PM and had to upgrade to Premium Economy to sit near each other. It's a one way since our flight back is from Fiji to LAX on a different airline (where we could still find 2 seats together in economy). I believe the upgrade is 800 per person from LAX to PPT. Apparently, the 4:40 PM flight from LAX to PPT is the one that comes from Paris and is already close to full on most flights.
  21. Just to clarify how the flights that PG books before the cruise, there is no free day room. You will be on the flight from LAX that arrives at 11:30 PM. The free day room is after getting off the ship since the return flight will be at 11PM from PPT to LAX. If you have PG book your airfare, you can pay for 1 or 2 nights at the IC. That gets you a flight at at different time, allowing you to arrive at 9:45 PMif you book 2 nights, or arrive at 5:30 AM if you book 1 night.
  22. It was very little more to arrive at 9:45 PM and stay 2 nights at the IC in Tahiti (with 2 breakfasts and 1 lunch) than it was to take the late flight from LAX and arrive at PPT at 5 AM and spend 1 night. It seemed like a no brainer to us.
  23. We've been on 2 PG cruises so far, flying from LAX to PPT and back. The first time we were given the late flight that arrives at 11:30 with the cruise departing at midnight. We were concerned with the short timeframe, but when we checked in for the flight, we were told that there were seventy people on our flight that were on our cruise. The cruise waits for that flight to arrive, and has a very short distance to cruise during the night. However, we decided we would rather board in the afternoon instead of at midnight, so on our second cruise, we booked a night at the IC hotel before our cruise. It was a Marquesa Show night so the free entertainment was a plus, and we had enjoyed our day room after getting off our previous cruise. With the second cruise, PG offered us an even later flight from LAX, with an overnight stay before our cruise. We left very late, were served dinner and wine, slept all night and were given breakfast on the flight. After landing, we were taken to the IC hotel, and our room was ready at 7 AM. We had to pay for lunch and dinner that day, but had free breakfast buffet, and lunch from the buffet or menu, before being taken to the ship and boarding early in the afternoon. It was much more relaxing than not staying overnight at the hotel before the cruise. In September, we're headed for our third cruise. We're on the 4:40 flight from LAX, which is much more convenient than the later flights since we aren't from the LAX area. We're again staying at the IC, and while we'll get in late at night, we'll have a good nights sleep, and enjoy the hotel amenities (and a free breakfast buffet) in the morning. We hate the new 787 layout for overnight flights since we like to sleep without an extra person sitting next to us. On the late afternoon flight, we expect to be awake. We'll be spending a few days in California before the flight this year and expect to be adjusted to the time change.
  24. We haven't seen many excursions offered twice in one day, allowing you to take 2. When these are offered, they often show up after boarding because they have sold out and a second excursion has been added. I wouldn't count on being able to do 2 excursions on the same day. And when it comes to looking at what there is to do in a port, check whether you're at the dock or at anchor. Getting to the dock when at anchor will take you a significantly longer time, and the dock you're dropped off at may not give you easy access to anything other than the ship's excursions.
  25. I was very amused to see this. On our recent 2 week HAL cruise, one of the people at the table next to ours in the MDR over ordered every night. She normally ordered all of the appetizers, a salad, multiple entree items (she order 4 lobster tails when they were available as surf and turf) and several desserts. She was a woman in her 70's with a much older husband, and unlike many of the people onboard, she was not obese or disabled. But she did just taste many of the the things she ordered and moved on to the next one. There was definitely plenty of waste. Having lived on a boat for 6 months a year for quite a number of years, getting rid of food waste at sea means grinding it up offshore and dumping it. If you can't go far enough offshore you have to find a port that will take it, which isn't likely in remote areas. Why wouldn't a cruise line want to avoid food waste, even if it isn't for the cost. We have always been overfed on cruises and we've never ordered a second item of any course. We always try to lose a few pounds before we go, and need to loose those and more when we get back to return to our usual weight.
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