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Posts posted by masscruiser2010

  1. We currently are scheduled to join the world cruise March 20 in Singapore.

    Frankly, we are a bit concerned about flying to Singapore.

    Singapore has been confirming a half dozen new cases of COVID-19 pretty much every day, and is now up to 70+ cases. 

    We surely do not want to go to Singapore and find out Serenity will not -- either by its choice or Singapore's -- be allowed to dock and take on passengers on March 20.

    I realize we are still almost five weeks out, but if anyone on board hears anything about the cruise segments from Singapore to Bombay, or Bombay to Rome, appreciate your passing the info on via this board.

    Thanks (and still hoping to join you a month from now).  Meanwhile, enjoy New Zealand and Australia.


  2. Just reading this now back home in Florida.  We were in Ocean Cay yesterday (Friday) on Seaside and it was a glorious day.  But we certainly heard loud thunder during the night en route back to Miami.  Glad we were lucky.  This island will be gorgeous when the palms have had a couple of years of good tropical growing weather.

  3. We took the bullet train from Kobe to Kyoto, spent the night, and then returned the following midday on a cruise on Celebrity Millennium last November. 


    We took a taxi from the ship to the rail station for the Shinkansen Nozomi (not the regular train station in Kobe) and the train itself -- the fastest in Japan -- is a fascinating experience.


    In Kobe, we were met by an English-speaking guide we had booked for the afternoon and the following morning, and he was wonderful.


    That night, we dined at Itoh Dining by Nobu -- an unpretentious restaurant in a traditional Japanese townhouse in the geisha section of Kyoto where we had an excellent dinner.  Recommended.


    We stayed overnight at the Hyatt Regency Kyoto -- not one of the world's great hotel but we got an okay price.  Would look for a different hotel on another visit.  Not recommended.


    The following day, we returned to the train station and took the bullet train back to the ship.


    Overall, a fascinating visit to a fascinating city -- and the logistics were no fuss, no muss.  Highly recommended.





  4. I apologize for the typo in the original post.

    It should have said, We have now tried Seabourn, Crystal and Regent (still trying to find a cruise we want to take on Silversea), and while all three have pluses and minuses, the food on these generally is a serious cut above the larger ships.

  5. A year ago, after a decade of primarily sailing on the better mass-market cruise lines like Celebrity and Holland America, we decided to sample the six-star lines to see if they are that much better.


    We have now tried Seabourn, Crystal and Silversea (still trying to find a cruise we want to take on Silversea), and while all three have pluses and minuses, the food on these generally is a serious cut above the larger ships.


    But every time we got into a discussion back home of who had the best cuisine at sea, Oceania loyalists insisted the food on the Oceania ships was second to none.

    So earlier this month, we tried a cruise on Oceania's Insignia.


    To get the news upfront, there is no possible way one could assert that the food on Oceania is better than the food on Seabourn and Crystal.


    The disappointments started at breakfast time.  Oceania offered someone wanting a dark or grain bread one (!) type of dark bread, frequently served slightly stale, and not the array of wheat, rye, multigrain and nut breads found on most other cruise lines.  The juice was even more pathetic -- grapefruit juice served out of a carton that was more or less brown in color, and did not come even close to tasting fresh.  And if you took breakfast in the buffet, the trays that held bacon and fruit slices were never refreshed until they ran out (how appealing is that) -- with the servers trying to serve you the last scraps rather than sending for a refill.  One morning, when we declined the tiny scraps of bacon and asked for some actual slices, we were told a half hour before buffet closing that they had run out (!). 


    At lunchtime, while the dining room when open was a pleasant option though with a limited menu, the buffet was even more disappointing.  The food options offered each day did not even measure up to Royal Caribbean, much less to the luxury lines.  As a matter of fact, we would even rate the buffet of NCL -- Oceania's mass-market sister -- as better than the Oceania buffet.  The Insignia's sandwich choices were pathetic, the cheese selection was the same day after day, and the organization of the buffet -- with the grill clogging traffic in the middle -- was such that the scene was generally one of chaos.


    The best of the dining on Oceania came at dinner in the main dining room, which we actually found better than the specialty restaurants.  The entrees in the main dining room were generally pretty good.  The best choice for those dining in the specialty restaurants is the veal chop in the Italian restaurant, which was excellent.


    But the restaurants and specialty restaurants were certainly no better than those on Celebrity or Holland America.  And none of the restaurants was better than The Haven restaurant on the larger NCL ships.


    None of this is to say that this was a bad cruise.  It wasn't.  The ship, though the staterooms and bathrooms are relatively small, has recently been tastefully redecorated -- and the staff of the ship on the whole was cheerful and had a wonderful, can-do attitude.  The shortcomings and problems we encountered were, as some say, First World problems.


    But Oceania appears to have a cadre of loyalists who take cruise after cruise on its ships, and who have little or no recent experience with any other cruise line.  While that is just fine, all I can say is enjoy your cruises -- but stop telling people Oceania has the best dining at sea, better than any of the luxury lines.  It doesn't.

  6. We had a wonderful cruise on Serenity a month ago, and one evening tried Churrasqueria.

    It was almost embarrassingly bad -- the only disappointing dinner of the cruise.

    Royal Caribbean has an excellent Brazilian steakhouse on at least one of its Oasis class ships, and NCL has a very good Brazilian steakhouse on several of its larger ships.

    Churrasqueria wasn't in the same league with either.  The buffet of appetizers was not even close to as good as the appetizers on either RCL or NCL.  The meat offerings were not as good either.

    Crystal should take a look at these other sea-going Brazilian steakhouses to see how it should be done.


  7. We are just off the ship in Amsterdam after joining the Ovation in Lisbon.



    A couple of quick thoughts:



    Physically, the ship is not even close to as elegant as the Regent Seven Seas Explorer, which we sailed on earlier this year.



    But the service on Ovation was the best we have experienced in 15 years of cruising on more than 50 ships -- far, far exceeding the erratic service on Regent.



    The service certainly makes or breaks a cruise, and I have no idea how Seabourn manages to recruit, train and retain such a wonderful group of people.



    The quality and variety of food on Ovation -- in all dining venues -- was also considerably better than on Regent as well.




    I also suspect the new dining venue on Ovation, Earth & Ocean at The Patio, is going to be a winner -- but not on northern cruises until they install some overhead heaters. Brrrr.



    Finally, for those who rely on the internet for business while cruising, we approached this cruise somewhat apprehensively but the internet connection and speed was considerably better than we had been led to expect. No problems whatever.



    Six hours since we disembarked and we already miss it. We'll be back.

  8. We are just back from a cruise on Azamara, and on the sheet providing departure info, they put out a reminder that they now notify U.S. Customs of any purchases in the ship's shops of more than $800.


    Based on a recent experience, we believe Celebrity also does this -- even though a shipboard employee denied it. So if you buy any jewelry in the shops on board the ships sailing out of Miami or Port Everglades, you want to be sure to declare it on a U.S. Customs form.

  9. Anyone have the experience of being pulled aside when leaving the ship, and told they had been selected for a "random" customs screening where you have to fill out the old paper form, and then are escorted to a special room in the customs hall for questioning by a customs agent? This process (which ultimately was no big deal) nevertheless did not strike us as "random."

  10. Our first Celebrity cruise was on the Mercury in January 2003. While the cruise for the most part was great, coming out of Progreso and turning in the channel, Mercury suddenly healed over to the extent that my wife rolled out of bed. I was down by the main dining room, where the tables had been set for dinner, and everything was on the floor. The captain never did explain what had occurred (I'm guessing wind caught it sideways) and we later heard that the same thing had happened in the Parana in Argentina. But despite this, we have since taken a couple dozen more Celebrity cruises. We love Celebrity.

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