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Everything posted by Ride-The-Waves

  1. WOW! These board offer opinions, not facts. Facts on a specific cruise question is much better answered by the cruise company, not some random commentary on CC. Especially on a thread created to praise "O" - you will not find an unbiased answer.
  2. Lets don't oversell O to those who have not experienced an O cruise. We have cruised for decades and enjoy nice cabins, good food and great itineraries, and not "loyal" to one cruise lines. Last year we did a TA on Riviera followed several months later by a Panama Canal transit on HAL Zaandam. Similar sized ships. We found Zaandam significantly better to include food especially in the specialty restaurants. "O" has coined the advertising slogan of "best cuisine at sea." It is not, especially when including ambiance of the restaurants. "O's" specialties are crowded, table to close together, compared to Zaandam. And the noise levels in the specialties is nearly unbearable, so bad that we did not return to one for a second meal. Tables in the buffet are also too close together miming access and forcing diners to walk circuitous routes to tables. We found the suite cabin adequate but nothing special. Dining room crew were even a bit "uppity" to guests. "O" is not a panacea. Azamara is much better and friendlier. Even HAL's Zaandam is superior.
  3. In past years before the hiatus we would bring a small container of CoffeeMate to breakfast, usually doing a decent job of killing the taste of the syrup RCI uses for coffee... Only problem is remembering to take the container back to the cabin...
  4. We were on one once - years ago. Had been complimentary upgraded to the biggest suite and remember that the crew constantly reminded us that the next "guest" was important and not to touch anything... I'm sure El Presidente will have little or no connection with day-to-day activities or experience anything like a "normal" guest. His suite will be cleaned 4-times a day!
  5. Hilarious! Its called "Marketing" and companies, including RCI, lie through their teeth. RCI caters to "bottom feeders" so they know that no one will sue over "marketing" transgressions. In thee olden days we started sailing with RCI. Good ships then, and good crews. Today RCI doesn't care about legacy passengers. It all about enticing newbies to make one cruise, and get their money. Much harder to pull the wool over an experienced cruiser... Haven't cruised RCI in a decade or so - last time was horrible with dining in the MDR being so loud you could not hear the person next to you. then ad in bad food and service. Spouse's friends have enticed her back onboard a TA this Fall and, ugh, I'm going. Intend to spend my time reading in the overpriced cabin. RCI has definitely destroyed the concept of elegant cruising.
  6. Think about this. Crew are professionals. Just as you consider yourself a professional at your place/vocation of work. Do you want to be paid in "candy?" I sure don't! Give them the extra gratuity in currency!
  7. We are seniors and when traveling factor in business class in our costs to get to/fm cruises. There are several good airlines flying across the Pond which offer good options, to include Air Portugal (TAP) and Turkish airlines. Also check co-share flights. Several years ago who booked an Antartica cruise and discovered that flying on a US carrier was triple the cost of flying Aerolineas Argentinas code-share on the same airplane/flight between MIA-EZE-USH.
  8. Just another effort by Royal to nickel and dime passengers. Soon they will be charging for water to drink and every flush.
  9. Welcome to Florida! Hotel rates can nearly double during winter months when snowbirds head south for warmer climes. Has nothing to do with cruising. Its just greed.
  10. Last 7 months we have sailed Oceania Marina and HAL Zaandam. Similar sized ships. We found HAL's offering superior to Oceania: better food, friendlier crew, and more amenities. Marina's specialty restaurants were terrible, too crowded, far too noisy, poor service and so-so food. Not what we expected when we booked Oceania. For us, sailing Oceania is a suite was not an upgrade.
  11. Of course. Always get the best investment tips off the pages of CC...!
  12. HAL also offers elegance where others focus more on gimmicks. I can recall cruising the Atlantic between the US and Europe in the 1950s (first crossing was in 1949 on a HAL ship). That was the way to travel distances as jet travel became prevalent. I also recall a 1957 Amsterdam-Houston flight on KLM of 17 hours non-stop. At my tender age I don't want or need roller coasters, water slides, bumper cars, zip lines and other attractions during a cruise. Nice ambiance, good food and decent entertainment works well. HAL offer that in abundance. We were able to directly compare Oceania (Marina) with HAL (Zaandam) this past year. While Oceania advertises itself as upscale and the "best cuisine at sea," we found their ambiance lacking: food as better to us on HAL, the crew friendlier and fellow passengers more engaging. HAL has a nice niche. Keep it.
  13. I think what you are seeing is that few, if any, care. It is what it is. At some point people will become more pragmatic and will not cruise with price above a certain point. Cruise lines, especially ones in serious financial trouble, are struggling to price just below that level. HAL offers a good product and will likely be able to stay afloat (pun intended). That said, a HAL cruise advisor informed us that HAL does not have any new ships on order. That is both a positive and a concern. Positive is that it doesn't incur new expenditures and concern in that CCL may be readying to dispose of HAL.
  14. As did we - stationed in San Diego '78-'83. Bought a diesel Rabbit and added a 10-gal tank in the spare tire well. Diesel was 19 cents/gal in Tijuana and we would fill up once every three weeks - the car would go well over 900 miles on its 20 gal. Always best to fact check before you post. Back in SD in April for a HAL Panama Canal transit. Rented a Tesla 3 - gas prices $5.50-6.00 gal. Ouch. "Lost" our trusty 2013 SUV to flooding while parked in Fort Lauderdale during that cruise - totaled by insurance as water was over the door sills. Have a hybrid on order - 50 mile electric range with all the newest safety options.
  15. Best check. The odd/even license plates for gas was 1973/74 during Nixon and Ford. Home interest rates during Reagan were as high asa 18 percent.
  16. Last two cruises, a TA on Princess and a canal transit on HAL, the preponderance of walkers and scooters was on Princess...
  17. Do it! Both knees replaced. Second one was 3.5 months prior to an Antarctica cruise with Zodiac landings on Antarctica south of the Antarctic Circle. First two weeks after surgery are the most challenging. The rest is PT and gaining confidence. Age 73 at the time.
  18. Current cruise prices are NOT affordable in the long run. Cruise lines, especially CCL and RCL, are still trying to capture the backside of the COVID epidemic where people stayed away from ships and much travel for fear of contacting COVID. Created pent-up desire/demand which we see with higher than normal future bookings despite higher prices, and the higher than normal pricing of just about everything related to cruising. RCL is charging $130-150 for three dinners at specialty restaurants. That is just nuts. Just because one is "on vacation" doesn't mean that sanity no longer prevails. Prices will come down - we are already seeing that with several of the mainstream lines. We cruise to visit new places, meet people from different walks of life, and enjoy ourselves. We also enjoy returning to places of yore. We can do that on a cruise ship or by air/land. If cruise lines continue to what "our" business they will adjust. Always remember that its a business and NOT a family.
  19. Its all "smoke and mirrors." Projections beyond lunch tomorrow, which is "strategic planning" for most companies, is fantasy. A CCL ship could hit an iceberg tonight and the company could literally sink, Spent a career in the intelligence business where forecasting/projections of future events based on best data provides good points for discussion but nothing substantial. See Russia today after the Prigohzin failed coup. Cruising's high "occupancy rates" are also a fantasy and not reality. Rather, wistful dreaming on the part of management. Today's extremely high prices are not sustainable - its a "bounce" of pent-up desire by people with money to burn. That usually ends in a crash. Until things "normalize" and prices return to some norm, cruise lines will be flaunting their success using whatever fantasies they can while still heading for that proverbial iceberg of poor planning and poor service.
  20. We are Azamara fans - O's smaller ships. Always good eating, always well presented with great fanfare by the kitchen and wait staffs. Have not sailed Azamara since the pandemic but hope to return in the future.
  21. Agree. Thought the bakery items on Zaandam were excellent with good selection. Have read that HAL's larger ships enjoy expanded bakery items as well as Dutch treats.
  22. Good question. First, I am not a "foodie." My observation is based on how the food is cooked, which impacts taste, and presentation. The locale (restaurant) is also important. Another note: I am not a "foodie" but have had the opportunity to eat at "state level" events outside the US, events where a senior US official is hosted to an elaborate lunch/dinner by a counterpart. I understand "good" food. The specialty restaurants on Marina are designed to serve the maximum number of people as possible (maximize profit). Tables are crowded together to the point where its is difficult to reach your table and more importantly difficult for servers. This is true in the buffet as well as the specialty restaurants. In comparison the specialty restaurants on Zaandam have well spaced tables as does the buffet. We found the servers on Marina a bit gruff. No accommodation of any kind, even by request. Example: my spouse asked for "pink" sugar substitute (blue and yellow on the table) was rebuffed. "Pinks" were readily available but the server didn't want to extend himself to retrieve them. As I mentioned, I am not a foodie so stick with the basics. And on Marina was very "basic" in taste and presentation. Food was not prepared to that ordered: steaks (fillet) were undercooked and vegetables over cooked in any cases. Soups, for me, are usually telling. Better prepared and tastier to me on Zanndam. We found the selection in Zaandam much wider that that offered on Marina. More choices and better prepared. This especially includes that buffets. Ambiance plays a large part in restaurant enjoyment. Marina was lacking with its noisy and too closely arranged tables. Maybe the worst specially restaurant experience ever on a cruise ship in Marina's Italian restaurant. My experience on the seas? First "cruise' I remember was a transatlantic in 1949. Family made about ten crossings in the early 1950s, First Class, where you were called to dinner by a waiter walking the passageways playing a xylophone. Elegant settings. Perfectly cooked and well presented delicacies. I also served 30 years in the US Navy. Always great food on the table even in the "buffets."
  23. Recently home from a Panama Canal transit on the fine ship. Comfortable, excellent venues, wonderful food and entertainment. Previous cruise a Transatlantic on Oceania Marina, a cruise line which advertises itself as having the "finest cruise at sea." We much enjoyed Zaandam's restaurants over Marina's - more elegant, "better" food and much less noisy. Tables on Marina were so close together and thus to close to others that one could not carry on a conversation with one's tablemate. And the crew on Zaandam was always ready to help us anywhere on the ship.
  24. Recently home from a Panama Canal transit on the fine ship. Comfortable, excellent venues, wonderful food and entertainment. Previous cruise a Transatlantic on Oceania Marina, a cruise line which advertises itself as having the "finest cruise at sea." We much enjoyed Zaandam's restaurants over Marina's - more elegant, "better" food and much less noisy. Tables on Marina were so close together and thus to close to others that one could not carry on a conversation with one's tablemate. And the crew on Zaandam was always ready to help us anywhere on the ship.
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