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About lj77346

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    Houston TX
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    Holland America
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  1. April 9, 2020 Update On April 9, 2020, CDC renewed the No Sail Order and Other Measures Related to Operations Order signed by the CDC Director on March 14, 2020—subject to the modifications and additional stipulated conditions as set forth in this Order. This Order shall continue in operation until the earliest of (1) the expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency; (2) the CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations; or (3) 100 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. See the attached order (print-only) pdf icon[PDF – 9 pages] for the full requirements. The link to the CDC page is https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/cruise/index.html Under this order, the cruise industry is required within the next 7 days to develop a plan acceptable to the CDC to address communicable disease outbreaks on cruise ships. It will be interesting to see how the industry responds.
  2. Last spring (2019) we celebrated our 49th anniversary sailing in Alaska on the Regatta. Here we are at dinner in the grand dining room with two of the performance staff - Kaitlyn "Kat" Odlum (standing) and Courtney "Coco" Groves. It was a wonderful cruise especially because Kat is our granddaughter and this was our first opportunity to cruise with her. We were booked on the Regatta this May to celebrate our 50th, but it looks like we'll have to plan for the 51st instead. Wishing good health to all.
  3. If you have a late night flight back home, we found what works best for us is to book a room for the day in a hotel in Buenos Aires and then, head to the airport in the evening close to flight check in time. With the hotel room, you can have a peaceful day - see some of the sights in the city, go out for a meal, just relax in the hotel room, etc. As others have mentioned, the airport in Buenos Aires is chaotic - you can't check in for your flight until 2 or 3 hours before flight time, there are limited services or places to wait pre-security at the airport, and nothing is really close to the airport. Speaking with others who went on a tour before going to the airport, they were not impressed by the experience - long day and you still arrived at the airport hours before you could check in for your flight. With the low hotel prices in Buenos Aires, we think a day room prior to going to the airport is a viable option.
  4. I was on the Sirena for 17 days, Jan. 25 - Feb. 11, and had a very enjoyable time. This was my 12th Oceania cruise. Except for meals in the specialty restaurants, I ate the rest of my dinners in the Terrace Cafe because of the sushi and sashimi as well as the selections from the grill and the ability to move the meal along at the pace I prefer. I ate a number of lunches in the main dining room because I enjoy the "flavors of the world" selections and it's much less crowded than the Terrace at lunch. The crew was friendly and provided service that was very good. A minor bump in the road (wave in the sea?) was that Guinness stout was not on the bar menu, but somehow I was able to survive. On the last day of the cruise we missed our stop at the private island because the sea conditions were not good for tender service, but safety always comes first. Although it appeared that there seemed to be concern about noro on some days as we had paper menus and there was an attendant manning the coffee machine in Horizons, we always had salt and pepper on table and no steps were taken to disinfect tables in the Terrace between users. As others have mentioned, the dinner menu in the main dining room has changed over the past few years, but I never felt in danger of going hungry. If you have reasonable expectations, you won't be disappointed cruising on the Sirena. Cheers!
  5. Justalone - Not only in Barcelona, but also in any larger cities in the Mediterranean, wherever there are lots of tourists, there will be pickpockets. One of the hot spots for pickpockets in Barcelona is in Sagrada Familia. As it is a church, apparently people are admiring the architecture, stained glass windows, etc. and pay less attention to what's happening around them. Something that I witnessed in Florence, but not in Barcelona, was an elderly woman suddenly "stumbling" and when someone went to assist her, her accomplice grabbed a bag that the person who was trying to help her put down and ran off with it. It looked like the profession of pickpocket/scammer was multi-generational. However, if you are reasonably vigilant, you should have no problem. I've traveled and worked around the world for the past 40 years and not had any problems. Conversely, one of my colleagues got pickpocketed twice in the same day in Madrid - so maybe there is some luck involved. Enjoy your travels - life is too short to worry about too much about potential pitfalls.
  6. FCB - We did this cruise on the Marina in November 2019 and had a great time - wonderful ports. Florence is about an hour away from the port in Livorno and we found that the best way for us to get to Florence was to join with a few other couples and get a cab/van to take us there. There's lots to see in Florence so do some research ahead of time to decide on what you want to see. As Mura mentioned, if you plan to visit any of the famous art galleries, pre-book a time or else you'll spend too much time waiting in line. In Ajaccio, the ship docks right in town so you can just walk to see the sites associated with Napoleon. In Palma de Mallorca, Oceania runs a shuttle bus that drops you off near the cathedral, which is pretty interesting as Gaudi did some of the design work there. As we were in Palma previously, we took the ship's tour to Castell de Bellver and Valdemosa and enjoyed it. In Valencia, the port is a bit outside the city, but there is a shuttle there which often is pretty crowded, so if that's the case, just take a cab to the old part of the city near the cathedral. If you want to see something very different head for the City of Arts and Sciences for modern architecture, the science museum and aquarium. In Barcelona, you can take a shuttle bus or cab from the port to the main part of the city (just a short ride). Again, do your research because there's lots to see in Barcelona. If you want to see Sagrada Familia, pre-book a time so you don't have to wait in the long lines. As we were in Barcelona numerous times, on last year's cruise we took the ship's tour to Montserrat, which was very interesting. The tour was good, but unfortunately on a Sunday, so the church could not be visited during services. We had a very rainy day in Marseilles, so we didn't do anything there other than plan how we could get to Milan as we found that the port of Monte Carlo was closed because of the weather, so our cruise ended in Marseilles. Oceania provided transportation to the airport in Nice and from there we were able to get a train to Milan. You have an excellent itinerary and there is so much to see in the cities you will be visiting. Have a great time!
  7. The reason I made my original post was because for my 10 previous cruises on Oceania, I never had visited the website and found that my bookings disappeared. With a cruise on the Sirena beginning on January 25, I wanted to check some details about the cruise, so I was surprised when that booking and my other bookings for this year were not there. As this is a big travel year for my wife and I as we are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, we certainly didn't want to see anything mess our travel plans. We felt that there was probably a logical reason for our bookings disappearing, but I wanted to check to see if others noticed the same thing with their accounts. I appreciated the quick responses that let me know that we were not alone as well as being informed that it is not unusual for site maintenance to occur on the weekend. I was happy to see on Sunday when I checked that everything had returned to normal. So now it's time to start getting our stuff together for 17 days on the Sirena. Thanks for all the responses. Cheers!
  8. Thanks for the quick replies - I have 2 cruises coming up in the next few weeks and went to check a few details. I'm happy to see that it's not just me. They are probably doing system maintenance, but didn't announce it.
  9. I was trying to check on some of my upcoming cruises on the Oceania website this evening (Sat. 1/18/20) and all of my booked cruises as well as past cruises are missing. Is it just me or is their system more messed up than usual?
  10. I just got off the Marina on Nov. 11 and the internet as we sailed around the Mediterranean ranged from mediocre (at best) to very poor. There were numerous days when I was constantly losing the internet connection. As I was just checking email, it was just a bit frustrating, but if I needed to get work accomplished it would not be a good situation. On a few occasions I tried to do a speed test, but the ping was so slow that the test would not run.
  11. We were on the 5 a.m. bus to the airport in Nice. There were 18 passengers on the bus and we pulled away from the port at around 5:15 a. m. As there was no traffic at that time in the morning, the bus arrived at the airport in Nice at around 7:30 a.m. Considering that Oceania had to move about 1200 passengers (only about 50 from the Nov. 4 - 11 cruise were sailing back-to-back) from the ship to the airport in Nice or to Monte Carlo and then get about 1200 passengers to the ship, I felt that Oceania's destination services staff did as well as could be expected in handling the logistics of moving so many passengers given only 2 days notice that the port of Monte Carlo would be closed. Considering the number of buses that Oceania had to arrange on short notice, the port closure was a reasonably large expense for them.
  12. On the Marina now and we just received a letter telling us that the cruise will end in Marseille rather than Monte Carlo because on Monday the port of Monte Carlo is closed because of expected high winds. For passengers currently onboard Oceania is providing buses to the Nice airport or cruise terminal in Monte Carlo.
  13. I just got off the Insignia on October 5 and even on the sea days, I didn't notice many (I like ricka47's term) "chogs." In the past when I've been confronted by chogs whose belongings were removed from "their" chair, rather than argue with them, I just say, "there was nothing on the chair when I arrived" and continue to drink my beer.
  14. I just got off the Insignia - the CD is Carson Turner and I don't know who the restaurant manager was.
  15. We just returned from a 14-day cruise on the Insignia and the shower with glass doors is an improvement. While the shower is the same size, now there is no problem with a friendly shower curtain clinging to you when you are showering. In addition, the glass door keeps the water in the shower rather than letting it escape to the bathroom floor. Relative to your concern about booking an inside room - if you are on a port intensive European itinerary, we find that an inside room is fine as we are usually ashore during the day and are only using the room for sleeping and showering. Even on sea days there is always space to sit in Horizons or around the pool.
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