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About ABoatNerd

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  1. Incredibly arrogant and fake. No one should expect her to divulge trade secrets, but the disinterest shown is typical of someone(s) self assured in their perfection. Celebrity thinks they are perfect. Until guests start moving their business elsewhere, she will have no need to change (ie improve) anything.
  2. uktog - precisely said. Seasoned travellers know that itineraries can change. What we are talking about is the perceived tendency of cruise lines, some more than others, of changing itineraries with less and less regard to guests. This includes limited to no explanation - no explanation = something to hide. This happens when a corporation takes their guests for granted - ie high bookings = lemmings to be exploited and ignored, because well, the lemmings will rebook again and again. This is basic marketing 101 and business - the more repeat guests, the more you can downgrade your product and increase booking costs - cause well, they are lemmings, of course. This is the sweet spot of your business cycle. This is the cruise industry, at the moment. uktog - there are many other vacations options other than cruising. We just completed a 3 week Austria/Switzerland and France and Germany Glob--us bus tour - simply outstanding. Moving from cruises to land tours and another booked in South America with private guide and car and driver. If a cruise line, restaurant, doctor, landscaper will not explain changes/downgrades - they are fired. I am the consumer and I am the boss.
  3. We are fortunate consumers that we have so much information available to us. Being able to make highly informed purchases is important. Making complaints about a cruise line is part of the sharing of information, not dissimilar to Consumer Reports investigations. Shawnino, I had this happen on a Celebrity cruise and a previous Oceania cruise. All cruise lines will do this if it helps their bottom line. Looking at cruise lines with rose coloured glasses harms the consumer.
  4. Azamara's port arrival record is excellent. And yes, Azamara attempts and is often successful in substituting ports. For those Azamara patrons considering Oceania, be aware of the Regatta. It has a history of mechanical issues; engine failure being the major issue. The attached report is in the carry of the US Coast Guard. Oceania Regatta.MechanicalLapses.docx
  5. As Host Jazzbeau noted, Oceania deliberately avoids ports as often as they can for specific reasons. There are specific posters on the Oceania board who attempt to crucify anyone who complains about Oceania. This happens on all boards, but more so on the CC Oceania board. For our cruise, there were 10 CC review postings, all very negative, the highest number of postings for a specific cruise I have ever seen on CC. Oct 2018 Regatta. On our sailing from San Fran, there many, many US navy guests. After learning we would miss 3 ports they got going communicating with their colleagues in various navy installations. These navy people challenged the Oceania officers as to and that resulted in on board management taking guests into locked rooms and made them sign papers stating they would not speak of the lost ports again. A cruise line that does this has something to hide. Subsequently many of us still communicate and visit each other. Many are in various mariners organizations. Oceania's reputation is not good amongst navy and sailing organizations. Some of these navy folks have submitted mechanical information to the US Coast Guard who are reviewing same. Unlike other cruise lines who make an attempt to swap in an alternative port, Oceania does not.
  6. roaming_kiwi58. Thank you for your notation about Oceania's frequency of missing or dropping ports. This is a significant flaw in this particular cruise line. You are correct about the weather and Oceania's tendency to avoid docking or tendering - has happened to me many times. The docks are filled with competitors but Oceania sails by. Oceania makes NO attempt to substitute ports. On my last Oceania cruise we lost 3 ports for no reason given. People were on AIS looking for dock space at the many cruise ports along the Mexican pacific side, lots of room. When queried by guests, myself included, guest relations would say nothing. After the last Oceania fiasco, I read every Oceania CC review for the past 5 years. Sure enough, many references to missed/late ports. In comparison, I read 5 years of Holland America reviews, that trend was not apparent. I do concur with your observations about the food quality, Oceania does not deliver the "best cuisine at sea". If ports are important to guests, I would avoid Oceania, I am.
  7. Versus the many mass market cruise lines, Cunard is a cruise line for inquiring minds and those that value decorum and grace. Age is irrelevant. The lecturers on Cunard is one item that separates this line from the mass lines - only Crystal comes close. The lecture series are amazing and I thank Cunard for continuing this amazing service. Cunard emphasizes learning - the fact they still have a library system sends a signal that learning is an important aspect of Cunard. The number of conversations that I have enjoyed over the years all originating from a comment that a book (not an IPad) generated is priceless for me. The afternoon tea is designed to bring guests together. On the QM2, are the boards showing the history of transatlantic travel - a priceless piece of history. Contrast this with the mass cruise lines which are competing with each other to build larger and more Vegas like ships full of distractions, no thank you. Like purchasing a vehicle, you need to know who you are and how you live, so you purchase the best fit vehicle. The same is true of a cruise experience. Each cruise line is different.
  8. Thank you everyone. Princess was the originator of the email to me which had my guest folio attached. It did not come from Cunard. I called Cunard and they said my request would go to the UK first, then to me, and the wait would be 4-5 days - which is was. My trip was a TA on the QM2 in June. I have no receipt for said charge and the presentation on the billing was totally vague as I quoted in the originating post. I am interested in the analysis from CC folks in the event I get push back from HQ. I wonder if it is the infamous in room beverage fridge "incident". Would appreciate your thoughts. Thank you kindly.
  9. Greetings Cunarders! Got my post cruise account from Princess and noted a charge of $18.29 with Accommodation - 914 "unused Non-Refundable Credits from the Previous Sector". This was posted over a week after the cruise. I am disputing it with Princess, but you folks here have so much information. Any idea what this charge is for? Thanks for the assistance!
  10. A very good question considering the 2 lines operate very similar equipment, re: the R ships. Have done multiple voyages with both lines in the past 5 years. I would give Oceania a slight edge in food (which is going downhill since their new menus in August 2018), and the fact they have the O ships which are significantly better than the Azamara R fleet. That is it. Oceania is considerably over rated overall in the scheme of things. Oceania is resting on their past product. * Highest notations on CC (threads and reviews) for missing ports, late ports. Oceania does not refund port fees. If itinerary is important, be aware that Oceania is not reliable in that regard. This is a major reason I will not sail with Oceania again, * Their Regatta has major mechanical issues which has been in the carry of the US Coast Guard. * On board management, including the guest relations and shore excursions, are the most arrogant, unhelpful of any cruise line I have sailed. Another reason I will not sail with Oceania. * Excursions are way over priced and way under managed by Oceania * The MDR food is over rated by far. People confuse quality with the size of the menu. Oceania has a very large menu in the MDR and specialities, designed to impress, but that does not mean quality in execution. The Pepin salmon was disgusting and so basic that I would not serve it to my family. Azamara has a high quality product but limited by the R fleet. The on board atmosphere is more lively and engaged. The staff and management are visible and have been helpful when the inevitable hiccup happens. The food is almost as good as Oceania. It is overall a strong product. Interestingly, we now are engaging Cunard which has a splendid fleet of good size ships and excellent itineraries. Their staff are the equal to anything I experienced on Oceania and Azamara. The only negative to Cunard is their MDR and casual eating area is lower quality than it should be. But...their alternative dining is spectacular - the Veranda is better than most specialty restaurants and their Alternative themed Aztec, Smokehouse, Bamboo and Coriander provided me with the very best food I have had on a cruise ship. For $20pp, it is amazing. I am looking at Azamara but not Oceania.
  11. The alternative dining is a part of the Kings Court - set with tablecloth, candles etc. It is well done. The dress code is per the formality of the day, not casual. The issue is that people dressed casual are directly adjacent in the Kings Court. The staff stop non guests from walking through the alternative dining, so that lends a serene atmosphere. There is signage and a podium where a staff member checks you in. I can not say enough good things about this dining option, it was the best food on a cruise ship I have experienced. In fact, I can not remember a meal on land as good. As I mentioned in my originating post, the MDR and Kings Court was of basic/cheap quality, not befitting the QM2 or Cunard.
  12. Did a QM2 TA in June. Noticed a $18.76 charge on my Master Card which I suspect is not correct. Called Cunard who is sending my folio via email. I was directed to email guest relations with my concern. In reading posts on this thread, I am concerned about getting the run around by Cunard. I will reference CC in my email.
  13. Completed a Hamburg to New York westbound QM2 voyage in late June. The alternative dining option was outstanding, the best food of any cruise I have been on; exceeded Oceania and Crystal. The 3 segments; Coriandor, The SmokeHouse and Aztec (Indian, BBQ, Mexican) - had the best ingredients, taste was pronounced, wonderful colour, presentation perfect. A large volume of appetizers, mains and dessert. The service was prompt and individualized with engaged wait staff. What a hidden gem that Cunard has organized. This venue was not heavily patronized. It is $20 pp. Everyone who ate there were enthusiastic about the experience - in fact a number of individuals were in the Grills - they all said the food was far better and more enjoyable than anything in the Grills. One gentlemen said they would start to book non Grill staterooms and eat in the alternative dining venue. That says something. I wrote the Hotel Director and the Food and Beverage manager, with a cc to the group, and advised them of their outstanding product. I received a thank you letter back from the F&B manager. The staff of the alternative venue showed me where my letter was posted in their serving area. In contrast, the MDR was of average to poor quality - very disappointing. The food and garnishing (if there was any) was depressing. Onion soup was a dark water with a few bits of onion and a small round thin bread piece with a very small amount of cheese; it also tasted awful. I was shocked at the cheapness of the MDR offerings; particularly the dinner service. So we ate the rest of the evenings in the alternative dining venue. Do give it a try and enjoy.
  14. OP, thank you for your excellent review. I am particularly struck on your conclusion. Pleased that yet another cruiser is not automatically accepting of the continual drive to the bottom line at the expense of the cruiser. This message is appearing more often on all the CC boards. I call it the death of the "cruise trance". We ended our patronage of Oceania recently due to a very poor cruise experience that was not aligned to the Oceania marketing drivel. Again, a decline of the on board experience at a higher price than previous similar voyages. This is the first year since 1989 that we have no cruises booked and none contemplated. We have moved on to customized land tours, golfing vacations. Trips to europe end with the QM2 home. Cruise lines have taken business for granted because bookings have been strong and that has been their opportunity to degrade their product offerings and increase their revenue. No thank you. There is a world of travel options, cruising is just one.
  15. Which is why my household and friends no longer cruise. Until the value improves for the consumer, cruising is banished. Will monitor the cruise industry to see if the situation improves in the future. Our TA commented recently that her cruise bookings are down put her bookings for land tours are way up. While that is only one TA, it is interesting. Cruising is just one travel option
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