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About sammiedawg

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  1. sammiedawg

    Hello from ATW 2019

    Thanks for the second thread. I love your blog. Photos and commentary are terrific. What an itinerary! So many of my favorite places.
  2. sammiedawg

    Lima Disembarkation & Pre-booked Taxi

    Yes, ships dock in a vast industrial area. Shuttle buses take you to the port exit, where you will inundated with pushing, shoving, shouting taxi drivers. Hold onto your wallets and find your prebooked ride. Lima is a sketchy place. Stay with a guide or prebooked taxi.
  3. sammiedawg

    What to do after disembarking before 4pm flight home

    The cruise port HOHO shuttle buses are big business for the company running things. Oceania passengers will merge at Bayside with people who just disembarked other cruise lines. Your ticket allows unlimited HOHO riding and is a great opportunity to kill time.
  4. sammiedawg

    Need help with my cabin mate cancelling...

    I would go on the trip, just go and enjoy yourself. I am not sure why Holland America would issue a bill for double the cruise fare because your cruise is already paid in full. They are not losing any money if your friend doesn’t go. They could assess double gratuity charges and if this happens I would remove the second half of the auto gratuity. For any travel issues or cancelations, always check with with your credit card company. High end cards have generous travel insurance with language covering “travel companions”.
  5. I’m so impressed by the accounts of this world cruise. And such lovely cruisers posting. I’m happy for all of you. Kudos to the Beach, his post almost made me cry. Kudos to safety officers around the world.
  6. sammiedawg

    Transatlantic Cruising

    We don’t do transatlantics but here goes... We have the most days of any line on Oceania and love it. . Not hype. Food service and ship comfort are the best we’ve experienced. Love, love the specialty restaurants. Perfect- of course not. Perfection does not exist. Relaxed, comfortable atmosphere with well traveled and lovely passengers. It matches what we enjoy. Great enrichment programs. Marvelous libraries with oodles of current books on the shelves. (the books on Prinsendam were right out of the Nixon era). Considerably more expensive than mass markets. If the price makes you nervous, you might not like it. Same for any product you buy. We generally do not do ship tours but if you buy them individually they are overpriced. Totally avoid any of their transfers, precruise hotels as they are ridiculously overpriced. Their O life program is decent, you elect O life at booking and you can get some included excursions. We take the air credit in lieu of their included air. One open air pool with the most divine, shaded seating we’ve experienced. No retractable roof. Viking is a nice step up from mass markets, we liked it a lot but not our favorite. It isn’t the best bang for our buck as we are not crazy about ship tours. They have an included tour in every port built into the price. They choose the included excursion, passengers have some choice in selecting a tour time. Two great specialty restaurants, pretty good food in the Restaurant. Lovely ships, staterooms are all verandas and up. Very nice service. Included house wine and beer with meals. Great enrichment programs. Two outdoor pools but their pool area seating is uncomfortable. The retractable mid pool roof would be good on a TA but otherwise it was closed too much for our liking. Some ventilation issues when the roof is closed. They are lacking shade at the rear infinity pool. Marvelous spa pool and the spa services are included, other than personal services. Regent is a a lovely line. More included items built into the price than sister company Oceania. Haven't done Silversea, we expect it would be more formal than we like. Crystal is very good and they’ve relaxed the dress code and switched to open dining. They just gutted and rebuilt Symphony, rolled out new ships and riverboats.
  7. sammiedawg

    Port of Leith to Edinburgh....and back

    We’ve been to Edinburgh several times, once on a land tour to see the Tatoo. It is a marvelous event and lived up to the hype. Terminology, names, ports, rail lines, pronunciations are confusing in Scotland. But once you get to the Royal Mile you cannot get lost. I hope you can get into the castle during the day. On oceania we were berthed in Rosythe. The port officials were incredibly helpful to all and they ran free shuttle buses to the rail line and to a neighboring town. They had a great web site and I communicated with the locals before arrival. The port of Leith May offer similiar tourist services. Enjoy
  8. sammiedawg

    Can Oceania survive Viking Ocean?

    Last I checked the loyalty program is not defined. They do give a repeat passenger discount of a couple hundred per sailing. Oceania loyalty program is good, even with the planned reductions in OBC.
  9. sammiedawg

    Can Oceania survive Viking Ocean?

    I am amazed people are willing to pay in full a year in advance. Both of our Viking trips were booked close to sailing date at a significant discount. But late bookings won’t work for exotics or anything requiring a visa. So I don’t spend much time reading their mailings. Viking has a nice product that is a step up from mass market lines. Passengers are thrilled with the freebies- bottled water, wine with meals, an included tour at each port. Their ships are beautiful and we loved their two specialty restaurants. But Oceania beats them in the most important aspects - food, service and ship comfort. Spend five minutes at the Viking pool deck and you will wish you were on Oceania.
  10. sammiedawg

    Infant Amenities (Nautica)

    We considered an Oceania Alaska trip for kids and grandkids. Certain cruises are designated family friendly with organized activities in the card room for ages 5 and up. After discussing with the on board sales consultant from Alaska, we decided against it because I cannot figure out where kids can just go to play. We don’t want to annoy others. We are not interested in dumping kids off for the day in the card room. The card rooms are small. My sympathies to the stroller pusher on Oceania. I have been the designated stroller pusher many times on land and on Disney cruises. Disney cruises are quite noisy, the decibel level is off the chart because of blaring movie screens, piped in music, screaming loud announcements. Kids making noise are the least of it.
  11. sammiedawg

    What to do after disembarking before 4pm flight home

    I highly recommend the HOHO bus, which has a shuttle bus picking up at the terminal. We booked through Oceania as we had lots of OBC. The price was reasonable, even when booked through O. The shuttle bus takes you to bayside marketplace where you board the HOHO. We rode both circuits, one to South Beach and one city tour loop. Didn’t get off, just rode around. Your luggage is stored in a truck at Bayside. Shuttle bus transport to the airport are included, starting at 1pm. I think there is a bus that leaves a little bit later. Or take an Uber to the airport at whatever time you want.
  12. sammiedawg

    Oceania Newbie worried about new menus

    We’ve experienced the new menus and there was no deterioration of food quality. Items did repeat a little more often than the previous 14 day rotation and certain soups, appetizers were on the menus most every day. Oceania food is still the best we’ve experienced. But don’t expect perfection. Don’t spend every meal comparing food to previous ships you have sailed.
  13. sammiedawg

    Upcoming Cruise ... freaking out a little ...

    I’ve been in your shoes, worrying about caregiving for an older pet. Bless Barney and trust he will be in good hands with a knowledgeable sitter. Enjoy your wonderful cruise on the beautiful Marina!
  14. We’ve had lovely brunches on quite a few ships, don’t remember if any were on Holland America. Seems like a bigggg stretch to charge for an Easter brunch. I would not pay $35 for likely menu of ham, roast beef, waffles, pastries, sides, a glass of bubbly, etc. We will pay extra for specialty dinners as an upgrade over the main dining.
  15. 12:15 flight is fine. We’ve made an even earlier flight. Agree with previous comments about the Miami airport, especially the American Airlines terminal. It gets worse as the day progresses. This terminal has a 60 gate corridor, few eateries and not much gate seating. Thank god for TSA precheck via Global Entry.