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Ride-The-Waves

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  1. Question from an Oceania first timer... We have frequently sailed, pre-COVID, Azamara on what would be considered a "PH" cabin. Several bottles of wine and several bottles of liquor set up in cabin before arrival for consumption in cabin. We have usually exchanged the liquor for bottles Disaronno and Baileys. From the discussion it appears Oceania will "look the other way" if you carry a couple of bottles on board at embarkation or at a port stop. True? Will Oceania sell you a bottle from the Boutique for in-cabin consumption?
  2. We always cruise 10 days or longer, avoiding the shorter cruises like the plague (or like COVID). Seven days cruises are more intense, people "needing" to vacation hard since they work hard (their perspective) and try to cram as much into the 7 days as possible. Doesn't work.
  3. What a disingenuous comment. Have you been to Romania and experienced their medical system/care? Doubtful. I served in both he former Yugoslavia and Ceaucescu's Romania. Both had western trained doctors and German medical equipment. However, like in the US not everyone has access to best doctors and facilities. My spouse spent a week in a Yugoslav military hospital for a kidney stone. Great doctor and latest German equipment.
  4. Meet and Mingles are essentially useless events. Some introductions - but who cares.
  5. "Affordability" is mostly not a factor in warship design, construction and operations. On USS Enterprise once exited the Med at Gibraltar, turned turned port and arrived in Perth in 17 days. Enterprise, Truxtun and Arkansas. We average 27 knots, no stoping or refueling. Eighty knots of wind across the deck at times. Combat flexibility is the key. On CVNs what were tanks for NSFO is used for JP4.
  6. Interesting. This will be our first O experience, however have sailed frequently on Azamara pre-COVID. Never a problem for us getting a two-top. We enjoy dining earlyish...
  7. It is something we could gather and discuss during those sea days crossing the Pond. Experienced two wonderful guest speakers on an Azamara cruise Mumbai-Athens. One was a corporate educator responsible for "educating" executives on other than US cultures and the other a political scientist from a large mid-western US university. Educational and entertaining.
  8. Agree. And that is not "tougue-in-cheek." Have experienced similar too many times on cruises, to include in buffets. Too many people parrot what they are given on radical web sites and cable channels. Have discovered they cannot explain why they feel the way they do, just crudely repeat the pablum. Note here that I taught national security strategy at the US National War College and enjoy the details...many do not. Maybe separate by port and starboard?
  9. Based on our June Retreat experience on Reflection, the ship is in great shape and the crew is superb. Book it!
  10. Our experiences with "cruise air" varies significantly by cruise line. Some companies, like Princess, seem to actually care about happy customers while others, such as Oceania, appear to make making air reservations as difficult and expensive as possible. Flying from Florida to Oz booking through Princess Air was easy and less expensive than booking direct with the airline. Spent about an hour on the phone with Princess Air to change and finalize the Oz booking since the original routing had as transiting ATL with on a 45 minute layover during the Summer thunderstorm season. Princess Air found us a better connection flying out of MCO instead of TPA and with a savings of $800. Princess and Celebrity air programs have provided significant savings, especially business class, over the years. Oceania, on the pother hand, charges a hefty "deviation fee" for anything differing from their set routing, to include arriving a day or two early for a trans-Atlantic cruise. We have been using TAP (Air Portugal) business class for one-way transatlantics. TAP is Star Alliance and flies new A330neo aircraft which are quite comfortable.
  11. This "explanation" exactly represents the issue and challenges with O. An "upscale" cruise line should make it simple for passengers. O tends to over-complicate almost everything. Not something many of us experienced cruisers care for.
  12. TAP is a good airline. We have flown them several times across the Pond one-way to meet trans-Atlantic cruises. Their business class prices are significantly lower than their Star Alliance partners. Our experience is they are also on-time as good if not better than others in Star Alliance. Agree - they route through LIS and as a national airline look to encourage layovers in Portugal. They fly to places United and others do not, especially in Africa snd the near east. Very comfortable airline flying the A330neo across the Pond. We are flying them again later this year to FCO via LIS.
  13. Why would you even write something like that? We cruise based on itinerary and ship. Do not buy "drink packages" as we may imbibe 4 or 5 times during a cruise - even when drinks are included. Not "foodies" either. RCI is now charging $70pp for a "specialty" restaurant. Crazy. FYI, tried Celebrity's Edge class once - no intention of doing that again. Fed up with Princess. Have sailed with RCI and have no interest on setting foot again on an Oasis class. Liked our one cruise on Hurtigruten south of the Antarctic Circle - Fram is a nice ship with great crew. Like river cruising but that is now becoming iffy with the low river levels in Europe. Might do a Mekong cruise - would like to experience Ankor Wat. Cruising Oz was great - especially the land tours. We have experienced many cruise lines and more ships then I want to recall. So far, Oceania has presented itself as the worst to do business with with its convoluted practices. Don't care for that. Seems officious and condescending at the same time. Again, as I previously stated, the confusing price structures appear to be designed primarily to squeeze monies out of passengers, not to help decide options. The air fees are ridiculous - its like they don't want passengers using O Air.
  14. Not sure what you are implying... Just back from a wonderful time on Reflection in a great cabin and attentive crew - the only downside being the heat in Italy. Have been cruising since the 1950s and so far O regulars have not, in general, been a "welcoming and affirming crowd." Reserving judgment and hopefully the O experience on board will be more like Azamara. So far, pre-cruise, O's excursion policies, high beverage pricing and its absurd air practices/costs have been a complete turn-off. Thankfully as experienced travelers we have been able to mitigate those challenges.
  15. Always remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch in dealing with corporations to include cruise lines. O intentionally makes things complicated and confusing in the hope that the paying passenger will feel and believe that are getting a deal.
  16. We dine mostly in buffets on cruises. Better food, quieter venue than the main dining rooms. Have never gained weight on a cruise. Usually lose 3-5 pounds. Over eating is never healthy. Try not to do that...especially if you claim to be gaining weight.
  17. Its a true "step down" in comfort, convenience, food quality and service going from RCL to Celebrity, RCL is more :mass market" catering to those who are not onboard to experience new ports and countries. We started out sailing with RCL'S Radiance class some 25 years ago then moved to Celebrity Millennium class and Solstice. Tried Edge once and will never cruise on an Edge class again. We find RCL's Oasis class horrible: much too crowded, terrible buffets, and overstressed crews. Stick with Millennium and Solstice for a better experience,
  18. Flying today is NOT "tricky," no more than pre-pandemic. Just takes a bit of intelligent planning, as does all travel. The least expensive easiest direct routing just might be a R/T fare YYZ-MIA and then MIA-BCN one-way via LIS on TAP. LIS is a good airport and easy to navigate. Transferring between flights staying with one airline provides good security for checked baggage and high probability it will arrive with you on the same flight. Have flown TAP across the pond several times: all good flights on time. TAP is now using new A330neo aircraft which are comfortable and quiet.
  19. Stalker: The issue on this thread is "Have I "outgrown" cruising? Or am I just done with Royal Caribbean?" Some cruise lines are implementing a "new normal" which includes, but not limited to: higher prices, reduced selection, fewer crew, longer lines, reduced responsiveness, and increased passenger DIY. The reason, of course, is the monetary losses experienced during the COVID-19 stand down. Some cruise lines are trying to recoup those monies by cutting back on quality and services while increasing prices and using "marketing" to obfuscate the lowering of quality instead of improving passenger experiences hoping that slide will not be that noticeable. The OP has a very valid point worthy of intelligent discussion. AsI mentioned in my post above, I have sailed with many different cruise lines and spent many years at sea. I also know, learned at an early age, to treat others with dignity and respect.
  20. For cruisers, which I believe it the intent of this thread, Barcelona may be the worst. Have watched two crimes in Barcelona, one upstairs in a restaurant where the perp grabbed a bag and ran downstairs...and tumbled yje last 6 steps... Victim got the bag back. Only place I have lost a wallet was in Paris near the Eiffel tower - not pay attention standing in line to buy water for the bus ride back to the ship. The perps (Roma) charged a $2 phone call to a credit card. Have watched people being beaten by police in Jerusalem - horrible. BL: If you don't feel safe and the hair on the back of your neck is standing up, don't go there. Always be aware of your situation and surroundings. Walk with determination. We have traveled the world and visited all 7 continents (penguins in Antarctica were non threatening). You can be robbed/assaulted just about anywhere. I once drove about 5 miles off the Interstate in central Louisiana - not the place I wanted to be and quickly u-turned back to civilization. Traveled extensively in eastern Europe during the "Communist" era and never felt threatened.
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