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About sattva

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  1. sattva

    Offbeat Rome?

    Have been in Rome many times and seen the major sites. A couple of those is all one can do on a port stop. But if you have several days in Rome, what's worth looking for off the beaten track? I recommend three; please add some more: 1) Basilica of San Clemente: 12th century church (stunning mosaics) with a 4th century church underneath and ancient buildings (including Mithra temple) below that. 2) Centrale Monte Martini Museum: ancient Roman sculpture on display in a now disused 1920's power station. Just amazing. 3) MAXXI Museum of 21st century art in an award-winning, post-modernist building with lots of contemporary art inside. What else can traveler's suggest?
  2. I notice on a major on-line agency that prices for Marina's May 3-17 cruise from Barcelona to Rome are significantly below Oceania's published "cruise only" rates. A B3 is listed at $4,104 instead of $5,399 with no perks. There are almost a hundred cabins with prices cut in the 20% range. Does Oceania generally cut rates this sharply about three months ahead of sailing? Might affect what I reserve for 2020. Is it a better deal to buy this rate with no perks or look for a TA offering the published rates with good perks? Thanks!
  3. This is a fascinating thread; thanks to all who are participating. I sincerely hope the contributors who think there is an American market still for mid-size ships visiting some smaller ports are right. My wife and I started traveling in "Europe on $5 a Day" era and are still "low frills:" cruisers. For the Caribbean, Celebrity Reflection is ideal for us as a floating resort in January. Otherwise, we are itinerary-focused cruisers. We prefer the Med and have been happy with HAL's smaller ships. We're on Prinsendam to Norway in June because of ship size but, even more, thanks to new-to-us ports such as the North Cape, Trondheim, Narvik, and Tromso. But we'd never go on a mega-ship or a super-luxury line. Couldn't stand the former nor afford the latter. Whether there really are 15,000 travelers like us, as OlsSalt envisions, is a good question. British lines such as Fred. Olsen and Saga may be on the way to an answer. Many of their passengers are older Brits who are content with small cabins, little glitz, and modest entertainment. We enjoy this kind of travel--and had a fine river cruise in Portugal last year with a British outfit.. I'm looking now at a Fred. Olsen cruise that goes from Tenerife to Cape Town with stops along the coast of Africa and at St. Helena and Ascension Islands. For about four weeks in an ocean-view cabin, the cost is around $4500 per person or $175/day including drinks and gratuities. Economies of scale will probably prevent American lines from continuing to provide the kind of cruising we like at a price we can bear. But some European lines may be answer for now.
  4. They're both excellent ports but very different. Kotor is mostly about the very beautiful sail-in and sail-out. The town itself is mildly interesting; the walls are a good excursion; and the islands in the bay are worth a visit. Split has fabulous Roman ruins, some of which are still in use with parts of downtown built right into them. I'd say Split and Ephesus are the most engaging Roman ruins I've seen (outside of Rome itself). Split also has a fabulous museum of the sculpture of Ivan Mestrovic, one of the great artists of the 20th century. So it's scenery and unpretentious charm in Kotor vs. city lights and big sights in Split. Is your son an outdoors kind of guy or an urban? That might decide it right there. Lucky you to go to either place!
  5. I think possible "regrets" depend on location. We've done land travel and cruised in Norway. For seeing gorgeous scenery, a cruise is much better than driving. Same for Alaska. We've mostly traveled in Europe and lived in Britain for two years. Seeing the UK via car or train seems to me much more interesting than merely visiting ports on a cruise. We're now in our 'seventies, so the hassle of driving in Europe or lugging suitcases on and off trains no longer appeals. Cruises give us the right balance of creature comforts and interesting sights. The occasional regret about not having time to see all we want to see near a port is more than balanced by discovering places we would never have bothered to visit by land: Glacier Bay, Kotor, Porto, Portovenere, Split among others.
  6. Thanks for the helpful answer and photos, Saskacruiser.
  7. Are all the after balconies (not wrap-arounds) the same size? This has probably been asked before, so if someone could direct me to a thread, that would be helpful. And are the middle aft cabins larger? Thanks!
  8. I wonder if some of the disappointed reviews suggest that Viking Ocean is putting pressure on Oceania? I was checking Med cruises for the spring of '19 and '20 today. Viking's are filling up very quickly but a Riviera for spring of next year still has around 200 empty cabins. This even though the Oceania itineraries are more interesting than Viking's.
  9. Thanks to all for the helpful responses.
  10. Does anyone have experience (good or bad) with the main deck "C" cabins on Prinsendam? Especially the ones with showers instead of tubs? Are the showers only smaller? Less comfortable? Thanks in advance!
  11. Looking for advice on a cruise Venice to Barcelona for next spring. We’rein our mid-seventies, so this could be the last of some twenty trips to Europe. Riviera and HAL’s Veendam have virtually identical itineraries. We would be new to Oceania but have sailed onHAL several times along with Azamara and Celebrity. Riviera and Veendam both carry about 1200passengers. We caremost about the itinerary with decent food and friendly service also important. Wecare nothing about shows, games, or spas. We prefer ocean view cabins: Riviera's look larger and brighter. Veendam is obviously older. Is itjust too old—and does it still have a library and other quiet spaces? By most reports, Riviera has better (or more ambitious)food. We hate dressing for dinner, aplus for Riviera, but the recent debate on this forum about dress code madeOceania sound pretentiously “casual.” Cost for a 12-day cruise is50% higher on Riviera. Is it worth theextra thousands? I’d especially like tohear from anyone who has traveled on Riviera and Veendam (or other smaller HAL ship) recently. Thanks!
  12. Thanks very much for the kind offer! We have friends in the UK who have offered to make arrangements for us.
  13. Kruzseeka is indeed correct. Itinerary is the main motive. Most US-based companies slight most of Med Spain and smaller ports in France or Italy. Ones that do go to some charge twice or more the Thomson fare.
  14. We live in the U.S. but have also lived in the UK. Does anyone know if and how American residents may book a Thomson cruise? Looking at 26 September for two weeks on the 'Dream.' Thanks!
  15. Looking at Med cruise on one of these. I see possible negatives with both. Noordam is big and reports say has plumbing problems and some unwelcoming staff. Prinsendam our size and style but reports of mold in the A/C worries me (asthma). Both itineraries are fine. Thoughts on which ship would be better?
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