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About alcpa1

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  1. JackieMag, What you can do is customize your tour itinerary if the others in your group are willing and if you are using one of the recommended companies, not Oceania per se. You did not indicate which style of tour you have arranged. The local guides are wonderfully flexible. Also note that within the given itinerary there is almost always time for shopping and lunch if you are doing a full day's tour. The last time I was there our SPB guide arranged lunch for us at a white tablecloth type of restaurant. As others have noted you do not have total freedom of movement without the Russian Federation visa. And, although St. Petersburg has seen many changes hailing a cab is still a challenge. And getting a cabbie who you can communicate is another issue entirely. Freedom of movement can a little bit of a misnomer in St. Petersburg!
  2. Don't forget, if you are booking now for next year additional Aqua cabins could very easily come open. Take the best cabin available (9105) now and check back to see what's available. It has worked welll for us.
  3. I've been on the Summit quite a few times and the cabins have been available closer to 1:30 than 1. Unless you have an in with the crew I would highly recommend you do not use your balcony until the all clear is given. Again in January we could not drop off our hand luggage prior the cabin available announcement. One of the most comfortable and quiet locations is the library. I should say was because I don't know what they have done to it during the recent dry dock. If you want to sit outside, and if they are still there they do have tables and chairs and chaises behind the Mast Bar and between the funnel on 11. By 12:30 till the all clear most public areas on the ship do tend to fill up.
  4. Silentmoon, Have you checked your WN account/itinerary to see if you have encountered any changes? You will definitely not be flying a MAX in June. That's the good news. According to the WN announcement Friday the summer schedule has been adjusted but is fairly set until some time in August. Customers have/will be notified of changes.
  5. According to our guides in Havana in November the Cuban people have little faith in their banking system so, in essence, the majority of financial transactions are "not legal." Credit cards are not accepted from US sources. I can't speak to European or other sources. In some places US dollars were accepted at the same rate as CUC's (1 to 1.) In other places we paid the 3% conversion premium. Our private tour was arranged (and pre-paid in USD) with a company in New Zealand. We never got CUC's. Cuba was a bittersweet experience. We so wished for a better life for those we met but that was by our priviledged standards. We could see the previous grandeur and beauty through the decay and hope for the future for the welcoming people we met.
  6. We were on the Summit in January while the elevators were getting refurbished. There were times when each bank had an elevator down but it didn't seem to be a problem. I did notice huge dumpsters in San Juan, filled to capacity as we disembarked. There must have been much more work going on that we did not see. This was not our first cruise before a redo so we knew what to expect. I'd imagine on the following cruises (2) before dry dock there was much more activity. If you have the cabins you want take the cruise!!!!!!
  7. Laundry special on Summit in January was $49. Don't put dry cleaning in the same bag. I learned the hard way. Our steward told us to just place the items on top of a flat bag with the ticket on top and he would take care of it. And, he did. Be sure to check your bag asap upon the return. We had about 1/2 dozen of another passengers laundry. Our steward quickly traced the laundry and retrieved my DH's missing items. And, don't forget all bagged laundry, whether paid or elite, must be sent out no later than 3 days before disembarkation.
  8. We were in Cuba via Azamara in November. All passengers regardless of their home country were required to purchase the $75 visa. I do not recall having to provide proof of insurance. It would not have been a problem as we always take travel insurance but we were not asked when passing through customs and immigration nor was it requested by the cruise line. Relations between the US and Cuba remain in flux, to say the least. Just ask the professional baseball players! The ETIAS will be painless but could become a timing issue if booking a quick trip over the pond with the system stressed.
  9. Take a look at itineraries first. If you want a more port intensive cruise sail to/from Vancouver. If sailing in the Pacific to the Inland Passage is your itinerary of choice check sailings from Seattle or coastal cruises from San Francisco or San Diego which also might be repositioning cruises. Consider that if you sail south from Seward to Vancouver you will be 1,300 miles (and fewer hours) closer to home. If you want a particular deck, cabin, location then pick a date for your cruise and book soon. We cannot recommend travel agents but many have additional perks to offer. Book your cruise then use the 60 days to find a compatible agent. If you are booking cruise insurance, book independently. Don't use what the cruise line offers if you, or your family members have a pre-existing medical condition. There is a forum on Cruise Critic that is very helpful. In most cases you only have up to 12 days to book the insurance after the initial booking.
  10. Which is more important to you, points or space? If you are sailing in mild weather and want to commune with the waves then that aft veranda is awesome. The family veranda is much more spacious which is always a plus. You didn't mention the ship but the concierge cabins are roomy - not spacious. Enjoy your cruise.
  11. Yes you can carry off your luggage. We have been on the Summit quite a few times and generally you can expect to disembark about 1/2 hour after the ship clears. If you dock at 6 you should be off by 7 if everything goes as planned. Normally disembarkation is from the lobby on deck 4 but after Hurricane Maria we disembarked on deck 2 due to terminal damage. In January we had a later disembarkation for security so later disembarkations are not uncommon. You will be asked to gather at a specified time and in a specified area where you will be instructed to disembark. Get there early if you are in a really big hurry. Many passengers bring their luggage early and go off to get breakfast. If they are using the lobby the area has minimal seating and gets very crowded. It's not uncommon to encounter some rather pushy people either. Also you can only use the terminal escalator if you can keep one hand on the rail. There will be staff there to make sure your trip down into the terminal is a safe one. There is a small elevator that probably holds 5 or 6 with their luggage. Hope you didn't book anything before 10:30. With the agriculture check and long lines, especially if there are multiple ships in SJU will be challenging. Have a wonderful cruise.
  12. I would not book a 10:22 flight out of SJU. We have cruised from San Juan at least a dozen times. In addition to all of the above cautions there is one that has not been mentioned. In case of hightened security issues everything slows down. The normal 20-30 minutes airport security can easily increase to an hour or more. When is your cruise and what airline are you booking because, as mentioned, additional flights may not be available. If your cruise is more than 6 months away and you are on one of the top three you will probably have schedule changes which may or may not work in your favor. Delta, our airline of choice, dropped quite a few flights after the hurricanes. Which could be another factor. I hate to hang around that particular airport. It's better than it used to be but I would never allow my desire to get home override a sensible itinerary.
  13. OP, If you are prone to spend endless hours in your cabin or endure 4 sea days in a row you might find the cabin getting smaller each day. There's only so much entertainment and enlightment each day. While we have yet to sail on Oceania we have been on two sailings in R class ships. My DH decided that if we were to sail on another R, which is doubtful, it's going to be in a larger cabin. We are booked on the Marina. That's why I feel comfortable responding to a more generic question.
  14. NantahalaCruiser, The deck 11 cabins on the M class ships were constructed with operable dividers. These cabins were added years after the original ship construction. We have stayed on 11 on multiple M class ships and when the cabins were added the dividers could be opened. The dividers swing open and cannot be removed but they do provide a walkable passageway between verandas. Teacher1, When you have access to your cabins call the steward if he/she is not already on deck and have them opened. Any available steward can do it so if you see someone in the hall just ask. I too hope they have fixed the leaky shower doors. We didn't have a problem on the Summit in January but that was a first.
  15. If you wish to change to either early or late seating in the MDR go to the maitre 'd's desk and ask if seating is available. It usually can be arranged. Most often you will find a permanent time and table by day 2. This is a very common request and it may take a little juggling but can be done. Enjoy your cruise.
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