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About alcpa1

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  1. We've cruised on 7 lines and have never had the TA OBC issued precruise. Since you recently booked check your cruise planner in a couple of days to see if you might have a little OBC in your planner. If there is X OBC it may take a couple of days under the current circumstances for any amount to show up. And I totally agree that private excursions are far better than almost any cruise line tour. I can only think of a few ports where a cruise line tour is advantageous and the only advantage is distance from the port. The other thing to keep in mind is to watch for excursion sales. You can cancel and rebook. The best way to monitor and get the best for your sailing AND join others for tours will be to join your Roll Call.
  2. I know the Connoisseur agents are highly recommended but they do not always provide everything. I guess we got lucky because our regular agent, who gives us great service, just happened to have the best fare and perks when we booked a cruise for 2021. Her agency is a preferred company but not a member of the Connoisseur Club. I think you will find the air department a little difficult to use particularly if you want to deviate their schedule to arrive a few days early or stay after your cruise. There are fees for deviations. Then the fares may be at the same rate, or higher, as your preferred carrier and you lose direct control with your carrier. Business class fares are generally higher with O's air too. Flight sites live Kayak will be an easy tool to find what works for you. I hope everything works out well for you and you can sail safely and enjoyably. FYI, Oceania did a great hygiene job as we sailed in February. No one on our segment or the extended Marina voyage after ours got sick with the Covid 19 virus and we had passengers from all over the globe.
  3. We were on the Marina in February before the shut down. There are other things to consider if you haven't already. Do make sure you have your Yellow Fever shot among others. I'd follow the Malaria protocol particularly if the rains return in the same pattern they presented in late 2019 and early 2020. Rio, and all of Brazil, is not handling their Covid 19 outbreak well. Just read the news. In addition the province/state is suffering from bad water. It became a real issue around the first of 2020 and bottled water was as difficult to find as toilet tissue has been in the lower 48. There were only a few (very very high end) hotels that were providing bottled water to their patrons. A favorite, the Copacabana Hilton was not one but there were several groceries near the hotel that got in daily shipments. Between the political effects, and affects, of the virus, and the water situation......Not to mention international air travel to and from Rio is almost nonexistent and there have been no announcements of resuming air travel. I hate to be a downer but I'd consider saving this itinerary, which we intend to take in the future, for the future.
  4. A few Southampton hints can be found in the Ports of Call/Destinations board. These include transfers from London, especially airport transfers and realistic times for your home bound flights. Celebrity is understated compared to Carnival. The bling is in the service not the carpeting. Cuisine is subjective and all three Celebrity classes have specialty restaurants at additional prices which is probably higher than Carnival or RCI. If you would share your date, ship and itinerary we'd all be glad to help.
  5. We are relatively new to Oceania so I might offer some assistance. If all goes well we will be on the Regatta from San Francisco to Vancouver in 2021 - a reverse itinerary sort of.... If you haven't been to Alaska before an aft cabin is the best place to be. (We have done this before.) The ship will leisurely circle in the glacier bay (presuming it's Hubbard since that is our destination.) And if you are going to Hoonah - Icy Straits being on the balcony as you sail back out through the narrow channel is amazing. For Alaska I would recommend you avoid the O Life excursions. It's been very easy to find good guides and things like the White Pass Railroad that you can book yourselves. The Oceania excursions are pricey and not always the best. If there is an excursion you want to buy from Oceania you can always do so without O Life. If you wish to use Oceania air there are extra fees for altering their flights. Anything but the basic fare will probably be higher than you can arrange yourselves. The Regatta carries less than 700 passengers. We have sailed this size ship on Azamara and the bathrooms in most categories are tiny. The balcony cabins are a modest but comfortable size. The cuisine on Oceania is far better than RCI with the exception of Chops which serves better beef than the Polo Grill IMHO. Concierge Class has its perks. The early boarding isn't worth much but it's available. You will also get several wash and fold laundry chits. But we book itinerary first and cabin location next with any cruise and we couldn't pass up the aft cabin for Alaska so we felt the cost of the Concierge class aft cabin was well worth it. I was not impressed with the internet service. Only one person's device can be used at a time and I hope the service is better on the Regatta. There are no "chic" or formal nights which works particularly well for an Alaskan itinerary. Passengers on our Oceania cruise in February were neat and tidy and I really don't think anyone stood out as either scruffy or over the top haute couture. I did want to mention that there are travel agents who are not part of the Connoisseurs Club who might offer the same or better deals. A good agent is definitely the way to go with Oceania. I did some comparison shopping to transfer our on board booking and my TA beat some of the Connoisseurs Club companies. The Connoisseur agents do provide knowledge of the line that a more generic travel agent might not have. Sorry to run on so but as a newbe I though some additional points might help.
  6. Our timed entry tickets to the Colosseum were not refunded. A voucher was issued good to Dec. 31, 2020. Needless to say we sadly will not be in Rome in two weeks.
  7. I looked back at the wording that caught my eye.... underlying chronic and severe medical conditions.... One may have a chronic illness that is anything from newly diagnosed to fully under control to not severe. These parameters need a physicians evaluation. Just saying.......
  8. Thank you for the many thoughts and recommendations. We now only have one cruise booked and it is not until next May but we will stay in touch with our agent. She has been a pleasure to work with and hope she can keep her place with the agency. I might just send a note, in the coming weeks, to the owner to ask him to let his agents and clients know of staffing changes. It's also imperative for any agency to advise the cruise lines of unfortunate closures and then send notifications to the clients with instructions for the next steps. I'd imagine our bookings would reflect a price and perks change too.
  9. It would be wise to contact your TA. My DH tried to handle our Infinity May 9th cruise via Celebrity and they told him to handle it through our agent.
  10. We were on the previous leg and met quite a few who were sailing on from Buenos Aires. And, yes, there were some Aussies sailing onward. We wish everyone a safe journey home. Stay informed and maintain good health.
  11. chromered7, I will probably get slammed but I am trying to be honest AND fair. We recently returned from our first Oceania cruise on the Marina. We have sailed on 8 cruise lines through the years. The Marina was a great size, easy to negotiate from deck to deck so that was a plus. The lauded food was hit or miss. True there is Florida lobster available at lunch and dinner but the beef and veal was not top drawer. The menus were stellar and there were so many things I would have loved to try but we just weren't on the ship long enough. I am not really contradicting myself just highlighting my experience. The glaring miss for me was the demeanor of the crew and staff. The one exception was the head chef who was always looking after the passengers. Our cabin attendant was quasi-efficient but not pleasant. There were few smiles outside the restaurants. I guess if you have sailed with Capt. Kate there will rarely be a crew and staff as welcoming. We just didn't feel the pleasant vibes we have gotten on our Azamara cruises either. If we had paid for our shore excursions we would have asked for a refund for two of the three. They were horrible, really bad. So bad in fact that no one tipped the guide on either excursion and that was a first for us. If we had been sailing almost anywhere else in the world we would not have used a ship's excursion program. And there was no support from the shore excursion staff for those who jumped off the bus and headed straight there after one of the two tours. Our fellow passengers were delightful, particularly our Roll Call group and that was an added bonus. Don't think all was bad, we did book another O cruise for '21 and on an R class ship. And when the world returns to good health we will probably book another O cruise particularly since we will more than likely be forced to cancel our May cruise on Celebrity. Do give Oceania a try.
  12. I have also tried to stop the brochures. We get them from Oceania and Regent and every travel agent we have booked with and just can't get them stopped either. It makes you wonder what a cruise would actually cost without so many colorful multi-page brochures each week.
  13. I think a 10:05 a.m. flight is too chancy after disembarkation. I would have said the same thing long before the Corona virus reared it's awful head. MIA, no matter which airline, can be a mess and realistically you should be there at least 2 1/2 hours, or more, before your flight particularly if you are flying in the main cabin without frequent flyer status. TSA lines are often long and slow too. Keep your original reservations and still get to MIA early or book a flight after noon even if that means a change of aircraft.
  14. We were just in Rio prior to a Marina cruise. Be aware that if you will be there just prior to Carnivale many museums and sites will be closed in addition to the regularly scheduled Monday or Tuesday closures. Sugarloaf and Christ the Redeemer Monument are open but crowded. This year Rio, and central Brazil have had inordinate amounts of rain but that just made our visit to the Tijuca Forest with it's awesome waterfall just that much more exciting. There is so much to see and do in Rio but if you want to get out of town head to Petropolis. Leticia Levy of Rio Plus Tours was our guide for two wonderful days. Our tour was focused on Jewish sites but she knows her city well and worked diligently with us to make the most of our time with her. Because we were there just a few days before Carnivale we thoroughly enjoyed our stop at a Carnivale warehouse to see floats under construction, costumes, and even got a Samba lesson. Be conscious of your surroundings as you should be anywhere. We neither saw nor experienced any safety issues....fortunately. Use the Ports of Call/Destinations boards here even though they don't have a huge amount of tour recommendations. You should also be able to utilize Trip Advisor too. Have a wonderful cruise!
  15. We never fly in on embarkation day and haven't for over 30 years for all the above reasons. We sail from SJU almost every year and my advice is to SEE Puerto Rico. It's not just an embarkation point it's a destination.
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