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Everything posted by roothy123

  1. We liked Alla a lot. We chose the "comfort" (slightly reduced effort) tour but saw a lot - more than those doing ship tours. Of course, it wasn't possible to customize a tour. Large van, no individual visa needed. Line up to get off ship earlier than you think you'll need to, though - just about everyone gets off the ship in SP, and lines are lots longer than usual for an O ship.
  2. I can't believe I fell asleep during this program, although I DID get up at 5:30 AM yesterday, so I WAS tired. I thought it was a pretty good episode, from what I saw. I'm always bored when the program spends too much time in the spa or restaurants. I love seeing the ports I might want to go to, or the ones I've been to, and I love mention of the operational issues - like having to get permission to pass from a sub!! Anyway, I fell asleep during the Belfast visit, and I've been trying to find where I can view the episode. The link above stops after a minute - just a teaser. I don't know if I can get Demand with our service. We DO get Smithsonian Channel, an excellent channel, so I'm assuming it will repeat at some time - but not today, apparently. It's mostly Air Disasters and Above America day, it seems. So if anyone knows how I can view the whole hour's program on YouTube or TV, please let me know. I really wanted to see this, as we took a similar UK cruise on Marina in 2013. Thanks, clo, for alerting people it was on last night. I knew about it before that, but I'm sure others did not - and probably enjoyed it! Yes, the producers like to pump up each ship, but that's no reason for me to not watch an episode, from Royal Caribbean to Europa 2!
  3. This is not for everyone, but: We were there on a Sunday and the train schedule to Berlin was not ideal. Therefore, we rented a car in Warnemunde, very close to where the ship docks. It was a great car and easy rental, and turned out to be a fun day. We drove down to the outskirts of Berlin, took the subway/metro to a few places in Berlin, and then went back to Warnemunde. I explored the beach and boardwalk there before going back to the ship.
  4. We loved Madeira. We took a taxi tour, but my desktop computer is down, so I can't look up the name of the man who did the tour. But it was a half day tour, which allowed time in the afternoon to see Funchal, take the cable car up to Monte, see the painted doors of Funchal downtown, and visit (very quickly) the big market in Funchal. If you're interested, some of my photos from Madeira are here: https://pbase.com/roothy123/iberian_sojourn__portugal_spain_gib&page=12 Haven't been to the Azores.
  5. I know nobody's cruising now, but I'm dreaming of next fall. Anybody know of shuttle availability in these Greek ports: Militini (Lesbos), Rhodes, Patmos, Mykonos, Agios Nikolaos (Crete)? Or these Turkish ports: Istanbul, Kusadasi (for Ephesus), Alanya, Antalya? Paphos, Cyprus? I know the Piraeus (for Athens) situation! Thanks.
  6. I have never pursued using a member of the O Connoisseurs Club TA, but just wanted to mention that there are other TAs who will offer you added shipboard credit and/or other goodies, including sometimes a small thank you rebate once your cruise is over. We're not allowed to mention names or I would recommend the company I use. But don't be shy about contacting a few companies and asking them what they can offer. It sounds like you're going to go for the penthouse suite, but if you don't, keep in mind that it's always possible that closer to sail time, Oceania may have an extra penthouse suite available, and if so, may call (or TA may call) to ask you if you'd like to upgrade to one. In our experience (though we've never booked a penthouse suite, just lower categories), the price they want is tempting, but not overly so. But I always listen.... Hope you get to sail. We're thinking of booking on a late July sailing on Riviera. At least Oceania has extended its Travelers Assurance Program through the end of September. That makes me feel a little bit more confident in making a booking.
  7. Thank you both for your help. It sounds like there are more options now. I need to make a decision soon on whether to book a cruise or not, and I feel a little better with the information you've shared. Ruth
  8. Thanks, Steve. I'll be interested in what you find out anything more from the travel insurance companies you deal with. However, I'm afraid I don't understand your question about insuring a FCC. I thought I would probably need to purchase an insurance policy, as I always do, mostly to cover large medical expenses. Luckily we've never had to cancel a cruise for any reason, and I would likely just purchase what we have done in the past, which is comprehensive insurance, but without cancel for no reason. But in this particular case, I assume if we did have to cancel, we could get the FCC from Oceania, so that is at least an extra layer of protection. But if you could tell me more specifically what I should ask Oceania/TA, that would be helpful, as I don't really understand the question or issue!
  9. TA says that it is a standalone policy; no purchase of insurance through Oceania is required. The credit would "cover" us for exact cost we paid, so if we paid for cruise AND the promotion which includes air and choice of amenity, the credit would include the cost of everything. (I often purchase air and excursions on my own, but I haven't decided what's best this time.)
  10. I think the answer is yes, but I would need to speak with my TA or Oceania to make sure absolutely sure that their traveler protection promise is afforded to everyone, regardless of whether a traveler books insurance through them or not. (We don't.) The policy is as follows: "Guests and Travel Partners can now have total peace of mind knowing that should they need to cancel, for any reason, they will not lose a dollar. Guests who have paid in full may cancel up to 15 days prior to their departure and receive a Future Cruise Credit equal to 100% of the cruise fare paid........ PROGRAM APPLICABILITY AND CONDITIONS: NO-PENALTY CANCELLATIONS Once paid in full, cancel for any reason up to 15 days prior to departure and receive a Future Cruise Credit equal to 100% of the cruise fare paid. Valid for all reservations made between August 1 and August 31, 2020, for scheduled voyages departing on or before October 31, 2021. Future Cruise Credit is valid for redemption for one year from date of issue for travel departing no later than December 31, 2022..........". [End of excerpt from quote] This special cancellation policy would help in the event that things aren't settled enough by the end of July to make us feel comfortable enough to travel, and we'd prefer to cancel and take a later cruise. But of course once it's later than 15 days pre-cruise, we wouldn't have insurance to cover us if something happens - medical, trip interruption, test positive for Covid and not allowed to board ship, etc.
  11. I hope it's OK to jump in here and ask about my situation. I'm thinking of booking a cruise that is scheduled to go in August 2021. I'm hoping there will be a vaccine by then and the cruise (and I) will be a go. If not, I can cancel the cruise for any reason (cruise line policy) as long as it's more than two weeks before departure. I would get a credit, which is fine. I normally buy travel insurance from a third party site (not through the cruise line) when I make a deposit on the cruise so that my spouse's pre-existing condition is covered. But what is likely to happen if the cruise is a go, but more than 2 weeks prior to sail date, i decide not to go? (Let's say no non-refundable costs have been incurred other than price of cruise and air.) The cruise line will allow me to cancel and give me a credit for the cruise, but is it likely the insurance company would not let me transfer what I paid for the insurance policy because my reason for canceling doesn't meet their requirements? (I would be the one to cancel the cruise, not the cruise line. Presumably this would be due to fear that it is still not safe to travel). So my questions are: 1. What is likely to happen - possibility of moving insurance to a new booking? (I realize that it obviously DOES depend upon the company.) 2. If we're willing to forego insurance which covers trip interruption, baggage, etc., is there any kind of medical insurance only that we could purchase for this trip?
  12. I'm thinking of booking Riviera's July 30 cruise from Istanbul to Athens. I'm assuming the chartered cruise is just that one cruise, and won't affect the cruise I'm looking at. The G rooms are on guaranty, which really doesn't mean much, and one of the suite categories is waitlisted. Other categories are open. So hopefully this isn't horribly off topic, but i have a couple questions: With the current pricing and the cancel for any reason up to two weeks in advance policy, is there the fairly usual schedule for final payment? I like the easy cancel policy in case something happens in the next year and/or Covid is still active. However, I may not want to book anything if I have to pay the balance soon. And how does that booking engine on O's website work? Does it show all cabins that are available to book in each category, or are some held back? A while back only some cabins were showing, and if you asked for more, you'd get more. But it looks like things have changed since then. (I'm trying to gauge just how many cabins might be available. There looks to be lots of availability for the cruise that interests me, but I also know that a lot of people are hoping to cruise next summer and fall, so may be booking up a bunch of cabins. And we normally just take an inside or ocean-view cabin, so we usually book early since there aren't a whole lot of those. Aand
  13. Just curious: Does anyone know if the dummy bookings show every room/suite available? I know with Oceania the last time I looked, their system would pull up a certain amount of rooms only (maybe 5? I forget). But then if you were looking for a specific room or wanting to see how many rooms they had left in a particular booking category, you could use a tab to request to see more. It was rather time-consuming, (at least for the most common room categories) because the room numbers popped up randomly each day I queried). But the one time I went through the whole exercise, it did eventually tell me which rooms were still open for booking.
  14. I don't know if that's the reason you can't do a dummy booking. However, I've been on Cruise Critic a lot, and over the years I've read that non-U.S. citizens are often, and possibly always, seeing different prices/requirements/things when they book or try to book. I haven't heard that this differs between cruise lines. If you'd like me to try to do a dummy booking for you to try to get a sense of what rooms/suites are available, I can do that.
  15. We came through the Heads in January and it wasn't particularly rough. However, I watched the pilot leave our ship and transfer to the pilot boat, which was definitely hitting some waves. The operation took about a half hour, which is pretty long for a pilot transfer in most areas. However, I didn't feel much on the cruise ship at all. And I got to see a rather amazing (to me) display of coastal lighthouses on the shore as we left the Heads.
  16. Oh now, that's not so nice. I thought Dottie was OK. And all the cruise directors announce the schedule of events. Honestly, I cruise more to see places I haven't seen, and which cruise director is on board isn't all that important to me anyway. If you want a much lower-keyed set of cruise directors, you might want to try Viking. They make fewer announcements.
  17. I found that whole No Sale Order as well as the color coded chart mentioned above very interesting. CDC is doing a lot. It's so easy to forget that even though cruise ships aren't traveling around, they still have lots of crew on board, and they must be kept as safe as possible, and people they interact with as safe as possible. Did anyone ever figure out what cruise line it was that had to have their plan revised numerous times? Just being nosy.
  18. She is also featured for a second or two in a Youtube video called "Sailing." It's a video done on Zoom or zoom-style in which a group of cruise ship performers sing a song, do short magic performances, play an instrument, dance, etc.
  19. We rented a car in Reykjavik, although I forget which company we used or where we picked it up. It was fine, but I agree with the poster above - document things! The roads were good. We managed to go a couple places maybe an hour from Reykjavik on the e first day. Then on the second day we had (a full day) we drove the Golden Circle. I made a wrong turn somewhere and managed to cut off a small portion of the route, but it was no huge catastrophe. We would have loved to have gone south, but had no time to do that. But having the car was great, and we had no problems with the driving, rental, or car. I think I used maps, plus printouts from viamichelin, and no GPS. However, that trip was several years or more ago, and I don't remember for sure. The street names can be a bit crazy to those not used to long names, but generally navigation wasn't a huge problem. Golden Circle was worthwhile, although you may want to skip the geysers (fun, but you've got Yellowstone memories!) The waterfall was pretty amazing, the historic park area quite interesting, and the scenery was always enchanting. If you have more time, or prefer something lesser known, I'd research and head south, which is supposed to be wild and scenic. Keep in mind that you'll have lots of daylight, so staying overnight in a port gives you more time to explore. Can't help you on the other place in Iceland you're going. I've been looking at a cruise that goes there, however, for next summer. I would love to go back to Iceland. I do vaguely remember that there were a lot of car rental places near the airport and I was unsure which one to choose. However, if you're on a cruise, you won't need anything at the airport as we did. Also, our cruise didn't leave from Reykjavik, so I can't tell you about the port there other than it's not quite downtown - same as most ports unless you're on a river cruise! My pictures are here; just go and browse (no need to give email address of jump though hoops). Note there are multiple pages to the gallery. https://pbase.com/roothy123/iceland__into_the_midnight_sun
  20. I enjoyed Gdansk a lot. I'm into using public transportation and DIY, so that's what I did. Mostly I just took the little funky commuter train from Gdynia (spelling? it's where you dock) to the old part of Gdansk and walked around. However, Polish money was needed for the trip, so that may not appeal to most cruisers. But center city is nice, plus there's a historic shipyard, boat cruises, etc. Most of my pictures are here: https://pbase.com/roothy123/baltic_cruise_&page=4 and on the next page (see page numbering at bottom of page).
  21. Thank you. I'm using Chrome on a Desktop, and it doesn't show up! Weird! But I'll email you about Iceland - thanks!
  22. No problem JeriGail, threads are hijacked all the time. Occasionally someone cares and comments, but I don't mind, and I think I'm the person who started this thread a long time ago! In any case, I always take a light sweater or wrap on a cruise, plus something even warmer than that, as I like to go outside on cruise ships more than many people do, and more layers come in handy. We also like to eat outside more than most people do, so that's another good reason for being prepared. I don't remember being particularly cold on Viking Ocean ships, but I'm sure I used whatever I took at least once or twice! I have a lightweight navy sweater & a light white thing I take with me everywhere. Peregrina, thanks for the comment about signatures. I didn't think I had gone blind yet. I'm using a desktop and there's no signature! Hope you're doing well. Haven't been on Viking since our New Year's Eve trip with you in (I think) 2018/2019. Then we did the big one (for us, anyway) - went to Bali Dec. 17 for a few days and then boarded an Oceania ship to visit Australia & New Zealand. We returned Jan. 20, just in time for Covid and things have been downhill since. But Bali was incredible (island has much more than beaches), and Aus/NZ too. Sigh! Ruth
  23. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but where do I find your email address? When I go to your profile and click on "Message" a note pops up that says the feature has been disabled. Would love more info on what you did in Akureyri & Torshavn.
  24. I have to admit I'm loving being back on Cruise Critic, and I DO miss cruising. I imagine nobody on this thread is planning to cruise this fall, or if Viking is even offering any cruises then. But if so, note that the U.S. Centers For Disease Control & Prevention extended its "No Sail Order and Suspension of Further Embarkation; Notice of Modification and Extension and Other Measures Related to Operations" through the end of September. We aren't planning to cruise until at least late spring 2021, and aren't likely to choose a cruise which stops at any U.S. ports, so it doesn't affect us. However, I'm starting to get the cruise planning itch, so I'm looking at itineraries from my 2 favorite cruise lines. Viking's Iceland cruise has me interested. If anyone has been to the northern Icelandic ports, I'd love to get your email address. Sorry for being (and staying!) slightly off topic....but I suspect at this point, we're all a little starved for cruise talk!
  25. I'm sure Clay has more info than I do, and it's more recent. However, since people are curious about Lisbon, I will offer my two cents. In 2016 we visited Lisbon to embark on a cruise. We went a day or two early to Lisbon. I posted captioned photos on my photo website, so feel free to browse them. (Signing in or giving an email address isn't required, but note that there are multiple pages of photos!) One thing we really enjoyed was a "side car" tour by Bike My Side - fun, comfortable, quite different, reasonably priced. It was a birthday present to my husband and he loved it, as did I. You can find Daniel and the other Bike My Side guide on Facebook or they have a website. They do tours of Lisbon and in an area around Lisbon, and I know they've picked up people from the port. https://pbase.com/roothy123/iberian_sojourn__portugal_spain_gib&page=all
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