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ruthnlarry

Members
  • Content Count

    1,185
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About ruthnlarry

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Chicago
  • Interests
    Traveling, fishing, observing nature
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Azamara & Oceania
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Greece & Galapagos

Recent Profile Visitors

298 profile views
  1. Yes, I have checked the airfare. Nonstop flights to Auckland are expensive, and limited. We've been using the itasoftware site for a very long time, and have found it to be helpful.
  2. Yes, I've considered that. However, it looks like O's air might be the best way to go. Will know for sure after we request our complimentary deviation. We rarely use their air, but my reserve of miles is very low, and there is no way I am going to pay an exorbitant amount for business.
  3. We're in a similar situation. We booked our free cruise onboard Marina with the Oceania Club Ambassador in July. We had several future cruises that would give us 19 cruise credits, but we had only accumulated 15 cruise credits at the time of booking our free cruise. The Ambassador was aware of everything, and assured us that there would be no problem. We had all of our cruises written down, and she verified everything. The Ambassador told us that our free cruise included RT coach air, and attached and dated part of the T&C's stating this. The original invoice that we have from the onboard ambassador lists our air arrangements with the dates and arrival/departure airports. The listed charge for these air arrangements is 0.00. We later transferred this free cruise to our TA who sent us a revised invoice. Our TA knew that this would be our free cruise, and stated this on the revised invoice. The revised invoice now listed the air fair as $1,500/person. The total amount on the original and revised invoice. I emailed our TA this week, and asked whether Oceania would honor their original terms of included RT coach air with our free cruise. She said that Oceania would not. There is a clause in the T&C's stating that Oceania Cruises reserves the right to change the program rules, benefits, etc. at its sole discretion. I don't like this change, but there's nothing that we can do. I just feel very fortunate that we will have a free cruise.
  4. I agree. On our first cruise to FP, Ruth did not snorkel. She is not a strong swimmer, and didn't like snorkeling. However, she loved Patrick's excursion. She loved it so much that we went on another Oceania cruise from Tahiti. On our second cruise, she bought a mask and fins, and snorkeled with the help of Patrick's daughter. Now, we have booked a 3rd cruise that includes FP and 2 days in Bora Bora. We have booked Patrick's excursion for both days. Go with Patrick. You and your wife will love the experience!
  5. We were already Silver on the Dec. cruise. Wine, cap, and tote were the listed amenities from OC on our invoice. We really didn't care much about the cap and tote. We just remembered how a previous OC ambassador treated us when she wouldn't look inquire about our pre-paid gratuities Oceania Club Silver Benefit. She said that it wasn't her job as OC Ambassador to look into why we didn't receive our OC silver benefits.
  6. In Raiatea, we have booked a tour for next year with Arii Moana, the #2 tour company on Raiatea according to TripAdvisor. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g309691-d9869732-Reviews-Arii_Moana_Tours-Raiatea_Society_Islands.html In the past, many have booked with Bruno of L'Excursion Bleue. You can read our experience on TripAdvisor: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g309691-d2181691-Reviews-or30-L_Excursion_Bleue_Day_Tours-Raiatea_Society_Islands.html
  7. The gratuities were an OC silver benefit.
  8. We disembarked Riviera in December, and did not get the cap or tote even though they were listed as a silver amenity on our invoice. We asked the OC ambassador, and she said that they ran out of the caps and totes. Weren't expecting much, but OC can't even honor their reduced benefits. This is not the first time that we have encountered problems with OC. Previously, we had to meet with the GM because we didn't get our prepaid gratuities. The ambassador on ship wouldn't do anything. She said it wasn't her job.
  9. We were also on this Riviera cruise that disembarked on Sunday. We booked our specialty restaurants as soon as reservations opened for veranda cabins. We were able to get reservations at 7:30 sharing a table for 3 of the restaurants, and met some very nice people. For Jacques, we got a table for 2 at 6:30. We do agree that the quality of some of the food is slipping in the specialty restaurants. At Jacques, both of us had the dover sole, and thought that it was too salty. This may have been due to the capers. Our best meal was at Toscana. We had 3 dinners at Terraces, and had no complaint. Food was very good as usual, especially the grilled lamb chops, lobster tails, and freshly prepared pasta. Our breakfasts and lunches were also very good in Terraces.
  10. We enjoyed staying at the Blue Keys Hotel https://bluekeyshotel.co.uk/ after reading their excellent reviews on TripAdvisor https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g186299-d210579-Reviews-The_Blue_Keys_Hotel_Bar_Restaurant-Southampton_Hampshire_England.html In addition to Smiths for Airports, we have been happy with transfers taken with https://www.blackberrycars.com/southampton-airport/
  11. We disembarked Marina 2 1/2 weeks ago, and were in an inside cabin. We only shared a table 2X out of 8 specialty restaurant visits, and one of the shared experiences was by choice because we wanted to dine with new friends. We had a table for two for our other 6 dinners.
  12. Milo Cress' estimate that Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day was an estimate based on figures that plastic straw manufacturers gave the 9 year-old. It is not junk science. “Eco-Cycle, a Colorado-based recycling nonprofit that partnered with Cress' campaign, trusts his statistic. If anything, said Eco-Cycle communications director Harlin Savage, 500 million straws per day could be too low. And if anyone has come up with a different figure, Savage — plus a lot of other people, she said — would like to see it.” “The number this fourth grader came up with in 2011, as part of a personal environmental conservation campaign, has proved surprisingly durable, working its way to the heart of the debate over plastic straws.” NY Times. The exact number of plastic straws that Americans use daily is debatable. However, the fact remains that we use too much plastic, plastic that is polluting our environment, accumulating in our oceans, and harming marine life. Milo Cress should not be attacked by those who deny these facts, but should be applauded for drawing our attention to the plight of our planet. Most of us can easily do without plastic straws without drastically changing our behavior. Isn't a tiny sacrifice such as living without plastic straws worthwhile if our environment can benefit? Why are some so selfish that they can't consider the “greater good”? How have we come to this? It's really funny (ironic) that Cress' estimate of plastic straw usage is attacked by a minority because it is not published in a reliable, peer-reviewed scientific journals. Global climate change, its causes and effects have been widely studied and published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Yet, many of those who disparage Cress still refuse to believe the scientists who warn us about climate change. Acknowledging climate change and the issues of plastic straws involves admitting a major problem that requires a change in our behavior to help protect and preserve our planet.
  13. We have cruised 7 times on Azamara, and 14 times on Oceania. We have enjoyed all of these cruises, and would cruise with either line again depending on price and itinerary. We have cruised more with Oceania because they have more ships, and are able to offer more unique itineraries. We really like the newer O class ships of Oceania, Marina and Riviera. The cabins and the bathrooms are larger on Marina and Riviera. The O class ships have 4 specialty restaurants vs. 2 on the R class. The grill in Terrace Cafe on Marina and Riviera have a larger selection where you can get prepared to order grilled baby lamb chops, shrimp, lobster tails, steak, and fish every night. We have never missed a port on Oceania. The worst was not being able to tender to Easter Island on our second day, but this was due to the large swells. However, we were very happy to have successfully tendered on our first day. Azamara, on the other hand, has cancelled booked cruises 2X for us because they chose to charter the ship. This has never happened to us on Oceania. Oceania does not have a White Nights or Azamazing Evening that we really enjoyed on Azamara. Azamara does not have a daily High Tea with the string quartet that we look forward to on Oceania especially during sea days. The specialty restaurants are free on Oceania, and you are guaranteed at least one reservation at each on shorter cruises. On longer cruises, you get additional reservations. If you book on-line before the cruise, you can get a table for 2. On our last cruise (24 days), we only shared a table 2X out of 8 visits, and one of the shared experiences was by choice because we wanted to dine with new friends. One can get additional specialty restaurant reservations, especially if one is flexible and willing to share a table, by inquiring on the day desired. Overall, we like the cuisine on Oceania a little better than on Azamara. On our last cruise, we did not eat dinner once in the MDR. We ate in the specialty restaurants and the Terrace Cafe where we enjoyed lobster tails, lamb chops, shrimp, fresh fish prepared to order along with made-to-order pasta. Another huge plus in Oceania's Terrace Cafe besides the high quality, is that all food is served by the staff. Passengers do not touch serving utensils or the food. Yes, the officers on Azamara interact with the passengers more than on Oceania, but this is not important to us. We do not book any ship excursions, choosing to book private or small group excursions organized on our roll calls. We have found guests on both cruise lines to be friendly and well-traveled, and stay in touch with many that we have met on previous cruises. We have found the perks of Oceania's loyalty club more generous than Azamara's. We get free included gratuities, substantial OBC, and are looking forward to booking our free Oceania cruise which can be up to 14 days and includes air. In closing, both lines are good, but different in some regards. Different is not necessarily bad. We will cruise both again depending on itinerary and cost.
  14. We boarded Sirena in Rio yesterday. I purchased the Prestige Bev Pkg, and no VAT was added. Just 59.95/day. While in Brazilian waters a 25% VAT is added to individually purchased drinks in addition to the added gratuity.
  15. Yes, we're aware of all of the above. We are on the TA from Rio to Barcelona. We were just on a great Sirena cruise in January from Miami to Cuba. So, we're expecting to see some of our friends again before they get to go home during the drydock!
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