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Everything posted by molemaui

  1. On Celebrity, I usually take a Suite and the last two times internet, premium drink package, gratuities and credit were included. I realize this isn't every time but this what I've experienced. I'm not going to buy a second connection.
  2. We just returned from 12 days on the Riveria and found the cruise excellent in every area except WiFI. While the connection. and speed was adequate, the one sign in at a time policy was aggravating at the least and infuriating at the most. Anyone else experience this or feel this way? Picture a couple scenarios: (a) We are at two different places and want to meet. Easy solution is to text. You can't do that when only one of you can sign in. No one wants to stay in cabin to wait for phone call either. Its a big ship to be chasing each other down. (b) This cruise we traveled with two other couples-6 total. Everyone has different things they want to do-it was a nightmare getting everyone together without being able to text. In the last couple years, I've sailed Silversea, Viking Ocean, Regent, Windstar, Uniworld and Celebrity and did not have this issue. True this wasn't a problem 20 years ago but it just seems stupid and arbitrary to have this policy in today's world. In spite of this I can honestly say Oceania surpassed Viking Ocean, Celebrity and Regent in most areas. Food was outstanding. The cruise ambassadors said this issue has been their #1 complaint. Here's hoping they do something about it.
  3. Also, if cruising you can’t do booking on computer as it assumes you need a hotel for every night you’re gone. Simply call and speak to a live agent.
  4. I've been most successful doing the following: a. When airlines have mileage sales with bonuses, there can be attractive pricing. This sales for example, expired yesterday. United miles-get 100% bonus. For example, if you buy 70000 miles ($2450) you get 70000 bonus miles. Found many BC opportunities with United and Lufthansa for 70000 miles each way. Net cost $2450 round trip BC, I'd do that every day. Sale is over but things like this happen all the time with various airlines. (I don't fly United but would have had the timing been right) b. bundle-I've done this three times so far a saved a lot. Have used Delta vacations and gotten best pricing. They require 3 nights minimum hotel stay. For trip to France, we got 4 nights Marriott Champs Elysees and business class airfare for approx.$2600@. (could have been even cheaper if we selected lesser hotel) Just airfare at Delta site was $3900 and higher. This works even better price wise if you're doing open jaw travel -for example in to London, out of Barcelona. Hotel nights can be broken up for before and after cruise or any combination that totals at least three nights. I agree with you, stay away from consolidators.
  5. Quick response without writing a book!' (in my opinion) Viking Ocean-great ship-perhaps our favorite from a ship standpoint. Food just a bit above average-nothing special. Service on ship was great, in dining room, not so good. Like the casualness of ship. Pretty decent entertainment. Lectures were outstanding. Silversea-ship just average but everything else was spectacular. Food was amazing in main dining and speciality restaurants. Entertainment was quite good especially for a small ship. Service matched every other aspect. The worse meal was excellent and it got better! Loved daily champagne delivery. Only negative, I hate dressing up but would do it again for such a good cruise. Regent-was real excited to sail Regent and perhaps my best description was that it was underwhelming. Ship was OK, nothing special. Service was quite good both on ship and in dining room. Food could be pretty good and pretty bad in same week! Not much attention paid to things like "rare', medium rare, etc. Excursions were included (I usually do my own) and that was the high point. They were excellent. For the price differential, I'll probably not sail Regent again. Just wasn't worth it. Windstar-Loved this line also. Was on sailing ship. Great service, food. Not much else on board so I feel Windstar is best for port intensive itineraries. Will likely sail their "motor yacht" later this year or early next year. Bottom line-cruising is fun. It's all good!
  6. Yes, That's the cruise we're looking at. Saw the TAP fares to Europe-fairly good. It's the return from Buenos Aires. I think I can convert some Chase UR points for Star Alliance. Have been lucky-for example, my return from Barcelona last year cost less than $1100 on America using existing/purchased miles. Using $3000 as absolute maximum for flights as I don't really need to do the cruise-just want to. The one way thing really frustrates me.
  7. Clay, having the same problem with Viking Air. Trying to do another transatlantic and cannot get a "round trip open jaw" due to the distance between the departure city in Europe and the return city in South America. One way business is "stupid" expensive. Viking should in my opinion, focus on their "core" which are ships and sailing. Use air as an inducement to book their ships. With the wholesale pricing available to them just like all the other "deluxe" lines, it is possible to offer a business class round trip for less than $3000 and preferably in the $2500 range by still selling air at a profit albeit a smaller one. I'm not advocating them giving away anything-just to offer options for the variety of travelers they serve. When they don't offer any credit for not using their air and offer no reasonable options for purchasing upgraded air, it becomes a huge inducement NOT to book a Viking Cruise. Thanks for letting me join your rant.
  8. Thanks Clay! Hope our paths cross again. Enjoyed the crossing with you and Mike last year.
  9. Was offered last time we cruised. I've seen it quite a bit when I look into Silversea options. It could be a promotion-I'm not sure but it seems readily available.
  10. I've always done better getting my own business class tickets rather than using Viking. One exception is Silversea who charges only $698 each way per person for a business class upgrade or Regent who includes it in their cruise fare. I'm planning on a crossing that begins in Europe and ends in South America. Airlines look at this as two separate one way tickets and won't consider it an "open jaw" round trip because you "arrive in one hemisphere" and depart from another one. Viking wants $4100p/p. Not sure what I'll do in this case. Last 10 or so trips I've managed business class for $3000 or less. ($4100 for Asia) Would also appreciate suggestions.
  11. I noticed it was mentioned with Regent that the Port of Ashdod was eliminated and more time was spent in Haifa. Haifa is less than a hundred miles from Ashdod. Does this make that much difference from a safety standopoint? On an Oceania with a similar itinerary this July with 8 and many are quite concerned!
  12. One more thought-if you use Delta Vacations, (prices are great along with flexibility including open jaw travel) the hotel portion is considered a "third party" booking and you don't get night and point credit. I've been fortunate to have my status recognized (lifetime Titanium as well) and received nice upgrades but nooooo points!. Not chasing them anymore so the status recognition (upgrade, free breakfast, late checkout, etc) are more important. With Marriott Vacations, you DO get your points, etc. but are limited to round trip transportation.
  13. Miles are always an option for BC travel but I generally won't use them unless I can get close to $0.03/mile. Example-$3500 ticket costing 140,000 miles only yields $0.025/mile whereas a 115,000 mile round trip in BC (ex. American when available) can yield over $0.03/mile. That said, when miles are not an option, I use Delta or Marriott vacations and combine hotel and BC flights. With Delta you need a 3 night minimum hotel stay and with Marriott, you only need one night but I generally take more. Marriott only allows round trip travel where Delta will do open jaws. Also with Delta Vacations, the three night total can be used anyway you wish. (combined before and after cruise, different hotels, etc.) For example, this July, our cruise leaves Athens and ends up in Rome. I did a round trip Rome (get to Athens on my own approx. $135) Spending 2 nights in Rome (one before I go to Athens and one at end of cruise) in 5 star hotel plus BC for $2600@. Last July did RT Paris for plus 4 nights at Marriott Champs Elysees for 2800@. BC airfare alone was almost $4000@. Many ways to do this less expensively but this is what I've found to be the simplest.
  14. Taking our first Oceania cruise this July and looking forward to comparing with Viking Ocean. The VO ships are fantastic in my opinion. Just about everything about the cruise was excellent EXCEPT for the food (dining room) and dining room service. Having experienced outstanding food (Silversea) and excellent food (Regent), I felt the food on Viking was just short of Celebrity. Not a dig on Celebrity but I had higher expectations from VO. Service in another factor. Throughout the ship on Viking, there service was outstanding. In the dining room, we experienced the opposite for most of the cruise. Conclusion: Like the ambience/feel of VO. Will sail again if there are good prices for upper categories. I will just temper my expectations for food and service. Looking for Oceania to blow me away! We'll see.
  15. Thank you everyone for your input. While I prefer the smaller ships, I think its about time to give HAL a try.
  16. I thought the food on Celebrity was pretty good. I understand cooking for thousands is a daunting challenge compared to cooking for hundreds. Food is just one component albeit an important one in choosing a cruise. I guess I'm just trying to determine if HAL is a step above or two from Princess and Royal Caribbean. If it is somewhat equal to Celebrity, I'll book tomorrow! Thanks for all thew comments and suggestions. I keep checking back for more. Good cruising!
  17. Sailed Oceania once-that's why I booked them again for July. I've heard a lot of negative comments regarding Oceania and hope I just didn't get lucky!
  18. I will look into Cunard. Thanks!
  19. I agree. I don't expect better food-just don't want to go too far the other way. Thanks for your insight.
  20. We enjoy transatlantic cruising and are looking at HAL for our next cruise. Our last TA was on Viking Ocean (920 passengers) and we totally loved the ship. In our opinion however, the food was average at best. Can anybody on this thread who has sailed Viking Ocean, Regent, Silversea or Oceania make a comparison to HAL with regards to food, amenities and service? Although we prefer smaller ships (1000 or less passengers), I think we need a ship with at least two pools (one indoor) when doing a TA as the weather is often uncertain especially during repositioning season. The smaller ships only have one pool except Viking Ocean. Thanks in advance for any information.
  21. The ambience was similar but "different". I love casual and the Viking product certainly reflects a casual approach. I was surprised at how Silversea was not stuffy. Service was more formal but comfortable for us. There was a wide mix of passengers including a gentleman sailing his 75th Silversea cruise. Most were quite friendly. All in all, a similar "comfortable" ambience. The Viking ship in itself was far superior, however. Its all good!
  22. I'm about to take my first Regent cruise next week so the comparison to Viking Ocean was quite interesting. We did a Viking crossing last spring and I loved most everything about the ship itself but will say the food was average at best. While the service throughout the ship was also excellent, dining room service was poor. Lectures and entertainment were excellent. I would possibly consider Viking Ocean again especially for a crossing if the middle/upper categories were priced well. I would just go in not expecting a great dining experience. If dining is great as other people have experienced, all the better. We took a Silversea cruise two months prior and except dress requirements, that cruise was perfect in every way. Food was extraordinary, service was outstanding. As much as I hate to dress, I'd cruise Silversea again without hesitation. (Also trying Oceania in July but that's for another forum. We enjoy the smaller ship experience and hope our time on the Voyager brings us back to Regent again.
  23. I understand there are laundry facilities on each cabin level of the Voyager. Like Viking Ocean and Silverseas, are there also ironing facilities available either in the laundry area or elsewhere on the ship? Thank you!
  24. We we're generally happy with the package except at dinner. Waiters would have plenty of the "free" wine but if you wanted something from the package, there was often a substantial wait. You could usually forget about having a second glass during dinner. Anywhere else on the ship (pools, bars, theater or even "sitting areas") drinks and would arrive quickly as would refills. Servers were so good that when they saw you arriving, you would be addressed by name and asked if you wanted what you last ordered.
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