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Herb44

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About Herb44

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    ROCKVILLE, Md
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Azamara, Celebrity, (NCL), HAL, RCL, Viking Ocean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Still exploring

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  1. Herb44

    Oman Day tours

    They have excellent reviews. I have contracted with the for the three days we are in Muscat on two separate cruises. I did not get any interest by posting on their website
  2. Herb44

    Oman Day tours

    That is the plan. We will be in Oman (Muscat) on two consecutive cruises and I will post on both of them. thank you
  3. Herb44

    Oman Day tours

    We are Hilde and Colin Alter. We are travelling on the Azamara Quest from October 31-December 10, 2019. We are planning to book excursions with Oman Day Tours. On the cruise from November 12-November 29, We will book Wahabi Sands and Wadi Bani Khalid Desert Safari, on the cruise from November 29-December 10, we will book Jabi Shams with Nizwa for tours and sightseeing for the December 1 full day and Muscat City Tour-Half Day-Mystic Muscat for December 2. We are looking for another couple to join us on all or any of these adventures. If you are interested you can contact me at hildealter at gmail dot com.
  4. looking to Join the roll call for this trip and the following one from Mumbai to Athens then to Barcelona and finally to Lisbon
  5. Herb44

    Which websites for discount flights in Europe?

    Stay away from this company. they take your money but have zero service. Two of 3 flights booked with them were cancelled months prior to our trip. On one they never informed, on the other they left a phone message on our home phone in the USA to let us know our flight the NEXT morning was cancelled from Prague to Warsaw!! We had to book replacement flights at much more money on the fly at the airport to get from Venice to Budapest. The carrier we were booked on no longer flew that route!! I called the carrier and they had informed CheapoAir in February that this August flight was cancelled, still had the funds and were returning them to cheapoair that day. Replacement flights, which we were lucky to get on the fly, cost us twice as much. It took 2 months and numerous threats of legal action to get our refund from CheapoAir. I do not believe they have any kind of an efficient or worthwhile operation. it sounds like everyone you talk to works from home (in India, perhaps?) and no one can make a decision. We were able to rebook our flight from Prague to Warsaw. After the Venice fiasco I contacted Czech Air to confirm our flight. They emailed me that the flight was cancelled in march and cheapoair was informed!! Fortunately our concierge was able to rebook us for later the same day and for the funds Czech Air was holding. My advice to you is to STAY AWAY. THE WHOLE OPERATION IS QUESTIONABLE AND MAY EVEN BE FRAUDULANT!! AS MOM SAYS, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.
  6. Herb44

    VAT on a TA

    We've been consistently told the minimum expenditure in a single store in a single day must be $100. The amount of VAT will differ per country. Its value to you in terms of the cash back vs. the paperwork and hassle is different for every person. Usually, you have a choice on how you wish to get your money back: cash now (in the currency of your choice); credit card refund; or a check. While it costs a bit to get the cash immediately, you are likely to find that is best if you are an infrequent international traveler. Good luck!!
  7. We've sailed on Carnival, the old Renaissance, NCL, HAL, and the RCCI family (Celebrity, Azamara & Royal Caribbean). Your points are perfectly valid and need to be strongly endorsed. Each ship has particular points of noise that an inexperienced cruiser will hate. The experience with drunks are the exception that further emphasizes the accuracy of your opinion. Surviving drunks will vary greatly, depending on the line. Our experience, however, is that the drunks on Carnival are younger, noisier, and less likely to improve when there is intervention. While we experienced some drunks on the other lines, all were very easy to resolve. For other first-timers: research and ask the experience of other on Cruise Critic!
  8. Thanks for the info. We leave this afternoon for this cruise, our first in several years on Celebrity. Our cruise (depart Rome Oct 23) has a couple of different ports (Rhodes instead of Santorini). You made it sound like fun, relieving some of my anxiety about the formality of Celebrity. We'll let you know in a couple of weeks.
  9. I'm so sorry to have offended you! We live in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area where there are a very large number of fine dining restaurants, on both sides of the Potomac. You do have a choice of dining times (not just two), and if the first choice isn't convenient or available, there are many others that will seek your business.
  10. Let me clarify for you why I am thinking of canceling a cruise on the Millenium: the very regimentation that you enjoy. On our two HAL trips, there were alternatives to formal night that were satisfactory. In the two prior cruises with Celebrity, we traveled with a very convinial group, most of whom we knew before departure. In prior cruises on these premium lines, there were not weight and luggage limits on long distance travel. These now exist, and we wonder what enjoyment we could possibly gain from the formal nights that are worth the extra baggage. I don't see it, and if you do: Great! Enjoy yourself. We learned from three bad experiences on NCL that the food, entertainment, shoreex, etc., leaves much to be desired. When the opportunity to enjoy a particular entertainer arose, it seemed that Celebrity could accommodate our desires in many ways. Set dinner times are for children. We don't go to cocktail parties before dinner nor the nightclubs after. We don't prevent others from enjoying those activities; I just wish people like some respondents had similar toleration. Now, thanks to many folks on this thread, it is increasingly obvious that I will not be happy on Celebrity -- bad choice and lack of sufficient research on my part and my part alone. However, we've already paid and its too late to turn back. My past, real world experience is that one can learn a great deal from mistakes. Perhaps I've learned my fellow cruisers are inflexible traditionalists, and Celebrity is their choice. I will react by minimizing my OBC's and staying away from them. Forgive me for even thinking that Celebrity had flexibility and that fellow passengers wished some latitude as adults. I guess I was mistaken. Enjoy your booze, your over-priced shore-ex's, the gambling and the lines. I'll do my best to stay away from you.
  11. The question asked by "agabbymama" and "gisnered" are fair and deserve a response. After our horrid experience with the quality of the food and entertainment on NCL, we received notice of the entertainment (Brooks Ahren) on this particular cruise of Celebrity. We've taken two cruises each on Celebrity and HAL, and enjoyed it each time. However, we were traveling with a family member who is no longer with us. You may be right: we might find the cruise terrible, based solely on our choice not to participate in the rituals of formal nights. Your comments are most helpful too us: we are contemplating cancelling another cruise in February on Millenium for those reasons. To be fair to us, our fellow cruisers, and even Celebrity, we wanted to give it a try. I have no problem letting others enjoy the "traditional" cruise style, if that is what they are looking for. I do have a problem with the apparent regimentation that I just rediscovered on Celebrity. I have no problem dining outside the Blu restaurant and the MDR on formal nights, just so long as we have an opportunity to eat something other than pizza, pasta, burgers and sushi. Perhaps the experience will be as bad for us as the "traditionalists" expect, and this will be our last cruise on Celebrity. Our purposes in cruising is not to enjoy the social scene on board; rather, we enjoy taking the "hotel" with us as we get a sample of new places to visit. It's just too bad that others will not be willing to accept our decision on extra baggage, extra clothing, and lifestyle choices. We accept theirs. Perhaps the traditionals can have their own ships?
  12. Herb44

    Tips

    Set, flat charge for all staff (in June, it was $12 per day per person). We did a B2B on the Jade in June, and gave each of our cabin attendants $20 extra. They showed their appreciation by a superbly kept cabin.
  13. Herb44

    Evening buffet on Solstice/Equinox

    Thank you for your assistance, one and all. I recognize that my unwillingness to participate in formal dining limits my dining options. X online was only willing to tell me about pizza, pasta, burgers & sushi. The Oct 23 Equinox cruise is 3 formal nights, not 2. I recognize that X has its own policies, and if I don't like it, then don't cruise Celebrity. Nevertheless, rigid conformity to traditionally cruising is something that has kept me away from Celebrity for several years. I recognize that Celebrity has smoking policies that I appreciate more & more, so I'm willing to give it another try. It's not that I'm looking for a full or partial buffet, just for dining options outside my cabin on the three formal nights.
  14. I'm going to be back on X for the first time in several years, sailing on teh Equinox "Ancient Empires" on Oct 23. To be honest, the Freestyle of NCL concept is great, but the food was pretty bad. On the other hand, the regimented lifestyle of X scares me. My wife & I dressed for work for 40 years. We're now on vacation. We will not participate in any Formal nights. X has a problem telling us what the options are for those nights. I'm not eager to accept the choices of pizza, pasta, burgers, sushi, or being sent to my room for being a bad boy. We're going on Aqua class and interested in the reaction when I show up in the Blu Restaurant not wearing a tux or suit on formal nights. Perhaps they'll kick me off the ship! I agree with the majority that everyone should have a choice. My exception is to the traditionalists who demand that the only option is their option. Why are they objecting to others enjoying a different, less regimented, cruise lifestyle?
  15. Herb44

    Gem vs Jade

    I've been on both: Gem for a Western Med and Jade for a B2B Britain and Norway. The prior comments are correct. Food service for breakfast in less than Caribbean weather stinks on both. Decor issues stand out: Gem was tasteful, Jade, being a former dedicated ship in Hawaii, was very out of place and cheap looking.
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