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About traveler916

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Sacramento, CA
  • Interests
    food, travel, Amazon
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    cruising anywhere
  1. We took our first O Cruise – a 14 day Transatlantic -- from Miami to Barcelona on Marina in March. I have been meaning to write a review but work got in the way…I know, likely story. And of course, by now I have forgotten a lot of what I wanted to write. But since we are going on Marina again in November, I am sure I will remember then. As I said, this was our first O cruise. We had done 3 cruises in an Owner’s Suite on the Norwegian Sun, but were really bummed at the cutbacks in food. One of Jody’s friends had cruise on O and said she enjoyed it, so we took the plunge. The March cruise was nice, and my birthday was the 25th…so we called it my birthday cruise. We flew down to Miami on United the day before and stayed at the Marriott in South Beach…right along the Ocean. It was great. Lots of sun. Lots of surf. Lots of sights. We left for the cruise about 11 AM, as we had been told that embarkation started at 1PM, but if you are in a suite (we were) you could board at 11. It was true. We went to a “Suite Registration” line and it was very quick…showed them our credit card for onboard charges…and within 15 minutes we were on the ship. By the way – as I posted on a different thread – non suite customers got to register and board before 1 PM as well. It all went very smoothly. My first sensation coming aboard the ship: Wow, nice artwork and decoration…but.…where’s the food!! We went to the Waves Grill. I had checked out their menu online before the cruise and decided I needed to try the Lobster Sandwich. As the kids would say, OMG!!! Real lobster!!! A couple of pieces that covered the whole bun!!! Not a half of a miniature lobster tail like they serve on the other cruise lines. And you can have more than 1. Anyway, we gave them our order, picked out our salads (they have the best cole slaw), found a table, and within 5 minutes a waiter brought us our lunch. It was delicious!!! After lunch, I went and checked out the Terrace Grill….another OMG!! The food looked great. They have a “best of both worlds” set up for a buffet. Unlike NCL where you get in a long, slow moving line and serve yourself, on O there are “stations” and they serve you. There is hot food, cold food, salads and a desert area. Throughout the cruise, 95% of what we tried was superb…the other 5% was me trying stuff that I don’t particularly care for but I wanted to be adventurous….and I discovered that I don’t like spinach, for example, no matter how it was prepared. One more thing about food…they serve pizza at lunch and dinner. It’s one of many things they have. It was wonderful. It had cheese. It had tomatoes. It was cooked and not overcooked. And I mentioned to a few of the other guests that I could never understand why NCL served such bad pizza. I mean really bad. Tasteless, overcooked pizza. I guess that was part of the reason we left NCL… There is free Pelegrino sparkling water served at the tables in the Terrace Grill, and those that wanted to order wine or cocktails or champagne could do so…there were bar servers there, but they absolutely weren’t pushy like on NCL or HAL. The first couple of nights, we had dinner in our suite. Our room had the specialty restaurant menus in it, and we placed our order. I had chicken from Polo Grill; Jody had ?? (she doesn’t remember). It was great. The food was wonderful. Next day, we had early morning breakfast…bagels and smoked salmon….good coffee… It was interesting. Every morning I had a bagel and it was good. I thought that by the end of the cruise the bagels would be stale or hard…I don’t know how they do it. Maybe there is a private island in the Atlantic that sells fresh bagels, and O sent a lifeboat to get some… Eventually, we left our cabin for dinner and visited all of the specialty restaurants. We didn’t make any dining reservations in advance of our cruise, which we will do next time…but we managed to get a table every night at a restaurant. We did not eat at all in the main dining room. We did room service for breakfast, Waves or Terrace for lunch, and Specialty or Terrace for dinner. Speaking of food (can you tell I like to eat and food is important to me?). At dinner in the Terrace Grill, they have a station where they will make lobster, shrimp, salmon, swordfish, steaks, etc…and they were really good. By the end of the cruise I was (jokingly) saying, “I’m tired of lobster.” Another poster joked that maybe the entire 4th floor of the ship is a giant lobster tank…it could very well be. We had a really good Cruise Critic group…there was a Meet & Greet followed by a Cabin Crawl. One of the members of the group, Oak (you are a funny guy, Oak J), reserved La Reserve on my birthday, and invited another 3 couples. We had a blast. It was work the $50 we paid. The room is wonderful – you sit at this huge table overlooking the stern with these Captain’s Chairs, for lack of a better term. Yes, you order the same food from the Polo Grill or Toscana. But being able to be in a private room with a bunch of people was great. When we go in November, we will be celebrating Jody’s birthday, and will reserve the room for that evening. Ports: one of the things we enjoy about Transatlantic cruises is the lack of ports. I know that cruises can sometimes be port intensive. We mostly stayed onboard – we got off a couple of times and walked around, but we are not the experts on port activities. Nightlife – we don’t do that either. And we don’t gamble. We do like to read from our iPads, and I read 6 books. That was fun for me. On the last night, Jody had a cocktail party in our suite, and we had 18 people come. It was great. A number of people on that cruise are also doing the Rome to Rio TA in November. And as JimandStan pointed out in a recent thread…you have this cocktail party, go to dinner, and when you come back, your cabin is all cleaned and put back together. Needless to say, the automatic gratuity that is added is not enough to compensate for the great service and we gave out envelopes at the end of the cruise. The future cruise room was busy the 3-4 times I was there. We went ahead and booked 2 more cruises while on board. And we are waiting to see the schedule for 2014… The internet definitely was slow. One time, we tried to log out and I thought we did log out, but the next time I signed on, 7 hours later, I found that the system thought we had been online the whole time, dinging us for 450 minutes out of the 1000 minutes we bought. I went up to the Computer room and he credited us, no questions asked. It happened 2x more on the cruise, and the minutes were credited back each time with no problem. Speaking of downloading and slow internet. Before we left, Jody had her personal hot spot on her iPhone turned on, and by the middle of the first week of the cruise, AT&T was calling to say that we had run out of bandwidth…we increased it but still ran out again. Between our cell phone bill and what we paid AT&T, we spend close to $2200 on phone and internet. I was amazed at how many MB a Fortune magazine or Wall Street Journal download is. This isn’t a comprehensive review, and I have forgotten a few things as I mentioned earlier…if you have any specific questions, please ask.