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Everything posted by alcpa1

  1. Mackdogmolly, Hold onto those tags until you are at your embarkation city. uktog is correct, the bar codes can be misread by any airline. There's no telling what can occur but friends sailing same day as a flight arrival spent 10 days without their luggage, returned home from their cruise and waited almost three weeks for their luggage. The airline chalked it up to misread bar code from cruise tags. It only takes a minute to attach the tags. It's best to do everything you can to travel with your luggage.
  2. Lizee1979, Welcome to Cruise Critic. If you scroll down the contents page you will find "ROLL CALLS." Click on Azamara, click on your ship and then find the sailing date. Azamara ROLL CALLS are not as active as other lines but you will join your fellow shipmates with conversations about your cruise. Further down the page you will find "PORTS OF CALL." Here you will find many posts about the islands. This forum is particularly helpful if you are not familiar with your destinations. Please post any questions you might have and we will try to lead you to Cruise Critic forums or provide answers that we also might have.
  3. Doesn't it seem that the same people who do not tip also do not thank the driver and guide? We always tip a minimum of $5 per person to the driver and $10 to $20 per person for a good guide and more for an exemplary guide in most ports.
  4. I have not been on Sirena yet. We will sail on her in February. I have been on the Azamara fleet which are the same R ships, and have another R class ship booked too. The ships are indeed more intimate than any mass market ship you might have sailed. The A - G cabins are on the small size and the bathrooms are indeed challengingly small. The ships were originally built for Renaissance Cruise Lines. It was a niche line catering to those who wanted refinement with the focus on itineraries. As LHT28 said, if you want a more spacious cabin start looking at the PH's and above. I absolutely expect us to have another very good O experience with a culinary forward focus and a staff who has our safety and well being first and foremost. We chose our particular sailing because of the itinerary. I think you found Oceania because of the Isles of Paradise itinerary too. If you want an oceanview do be aware that the deck 6 midships oceanviews are set back from the hull with the lifeboats above. If you like shade then you would be fine. Hopefully, very hopefully, by November of 22 the Caribbean will be open to visitors and just as lovely as ever.
  5. Be glad you have a hold on a cabin in our favorite area of the ship. We've been in four of the cabins, some more than once, and it's the best of the A-1's. When Celebrity banished the smokers from the Sunset bar it got quieter late at night - well past 10. Enjoy, and you will!!!!
  6. We are also sailing on the Feb. 1st sailing from Panama City. I haven't checked the O site in a week or so but most of the categories were wait listed. I will have to go back and look again. Maybe there is an opportunity for us to upgrade or relocate cabins. What I am doing is monitoring the previous cruise which is an indicator for us. This cruise is an easy take with laid back ports. Our main focus will be our pre-cruise stay in PC. If we miss a port or two that's fine. Getting back onboard will be heavenly. Hokie76, there is a Roll Call but it's not active - to say the least. Please post and perhaps we can get something going.
  7. The port is about 40 - 45 minutes from Fiumicino. As you would imagine the first part of the trip is through Civitavecchia and on city streets. Your driver will eventually make it to the strata. Pre Covid you could exit the port and be on your merry way. I do not know if that has changed. Fiumicino is a very hectic airport with some very long walks depending on your airline. Signage can also be confusing and gate changes are not uncommon either especially if you are catching a domestic or EU flight. It is also not uncommon to have a security check along the corridor(s) to your departure gate. Check-in used to open about three hours before departure. Once again I'd cushion that because of Covid testing. Since you didn't provide either your airline or destination - domestic, EU or international I am going to suggest a flight around noon. I am also presuming this will be your first departure from this airport.
  8. One thing that no one mentioned is the casino. It's small and not the hot spot that an X casino can be. We're another O convert but are itinerary driven and sometimes O just doesn't fit the bill for either timing or itinerary. Since you have done your research you probably understand the air program. If you want to either alter the day(s) flights or fly business or first O air may not be for you. The only other ticky thing I can mention is the crew. They are not as warm and fuzzy as the X crew.
  9. Susiesan, I think the initial sailings will reflect a higher price point but on the 9 lines we have sailed this has always been the case. New = $$$$, Used = $$$, Broken in = $$ + incentives.
  10. I wouldn't be terribly upset if they subbed Marina or Regatta for the Sirena sailings starting in January. Would absolutely love the larger bathroom in February!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  11. Our first O cruise was on the Marina from Rio to Buenos Aires in Feb. 2019. This was the last complete sailing of the Marina prior to the disrupted sailing to Lima already mentioned. We have almost 50 cruises behind us but none on luxury 6* lines. Have sailed in everything from an inside to a Royal suite. I remember what it was like in the 80's so I think you are seeking sublime service. The ship was clean. For the most part the food was good. The internet was embarrassingly bad for the 21st century. The officers were businesslike and were not overly friendly to new cruisers. We saw greater attention paid to long-time O passengers and those on the b2b segments. It was noticeable. Our cabin stewardess was particularly unpleasant. The waitstaff was efficient and some were delightful. By day 3 we booked another O cruise so how bad was it? It was really quite nice. We looked past those things that bothered us and appreciated the itinerary and the crew and staff that kept our ship afloat. That, after all, is what they are employed to do.
  12. You are better off with a ship's tour on Tortola with a vetted company. There were way too many rogue jitneys in the past. It's a beautiful island. Enjoy your day there.
  13. We've used George's Taxis too. You can probably find that company and others on the Ports of Call boards. I'd definitely recommend a private transfer and there may be others on your Roll Call who wish to share transportation. Enjoy your cruise!!!
  14. The Delta terminal is not big so you have that going for you. Take turns going for breakfast on the ship while your companion watches the luggage cause there aren't many food options on the Delta side of the terminal. If you have TSA pre that would be helpful too. I abhor self disembarkation. Those who recommend getting to the disembarkation area at least an hour early aren't kidding. And handling your luggage via crowded corridors and elevators is daunting. Also be prepared to use the stairways if you can't get an elevator. Be sure that you have any major purchases handy with sales receipts in case you are the one in a hundred who gets checked. Keep your passports and probably Covid info handy as well. Don't purchase alcohol or tobacco products beyond the "legal" limit. Don't carry off prohibited items like fruit/fresh food. The list of don'ts goes on and on. Think about anything that will impede your forward progress. It's going to be tight but under normal circumstances doable.
  15. I hope you are not planning on flying down the day of your cruise.............Hmmm Chicago in January. Depending on the days you are looking at in January you may hit some high fare days around MLK weekend. If you are seeing a reasonable fare on Delta book it. Southwest may not be any lower. It sure wasn't when we checked more than two dozen flights pre Covid.
  16. Do your homework. O air in a premium class might not be your best financial option. Then if you book your return with O after the land part you will pay an additional $175 per person deviation fee. The hotel too will be more expensive than doing your own booking. Hotels in Monte Carlo are just a few minutes from the pier in a taxi unless it's during the prior two weeks to the road race when they are setting up barriers and stands, even then it's a short ride. A cruise travel agent can assist you with air and hotels throughout your trip. In your case a travel agent will make your lives easier.
  17. If you really want to specialize your itinerary use a local tour guide like SPB, Alla or any of the others recommended on the Ports of Call board for Russia. The last time I was there on a cruise and I arranged a specialized tour with SPB and the small group of 6 got to do everything on our joint list without herding and rushing. One in our group needed a wheelchair so we did not move swiftly. We all benefitted from our planned itinerary with a knowledgeable guide. If you are on one of the larger ships you will waste quite a bit of time going back and forth to the ship. If you are on a R class ship docking within sight of The Hermitage that's not as big a problem.
  18. Why not compromise with an A class cabin. If you don't want a butler but want a mid level dinner reservation plateau with the benefit of the lounge that would be my choice. The cabins are roomy enough especially for a port intensive itinerary.
  19. We have used the laundry service. I wasn't too impressed - pardon the pun. I had to take some items to the onboard passenger laundry room to press clothing that came back too wrinkled. We also were missing items twice when the laundry was returned. I think we eventually got everything back but it took a few days. The service is fine for men's underwear and t shirts but I wouldn't use it for delicate attire.
  20. No matter where we sail we always put our tags on at the pier. Even more importantly remove your tags before you arrive at your departure airport. Many moons ago my suitcase became a part of a FLL theft ring. The police told me it was because I had left my cruise tags on the luggage. This was back in the day when cruising was not so "universal" if you know what I mean.
  21. If you want to see wildlife book an aft cabin. Sailing from Icy Straits in an aft is, I think, what you want. Land animals returned to the shore through the narrow straits and whales and other sea animals followed the ship. This has happened on both of our Alaskan cruises....probably would have happened again if our May cruise (on another line) had sailed.
  22. amypet, If you scroll down a little further on Cruise Critic there is an entire thread dedicated to travel insurance. We always purchase travel insurance and never buy from either the cruise line or travel agent. Shopping for the right policy is a chore which, in almost every case, must be completed within two weeks of the initial booking (deposit.)
  23. We were supposed to have been on O in Alaska right now so I can't address how they handle the great state. One of the things I did like about our O itinerary was the longer day in Sitka. The stop there was longer than any other itinerary I checked. You will get better cuisine on O, especially compared to Princess. And for the most part the ships are smaller which is another plus for us. Even though HAL and Princess are the most experienced Alaska cruise companies we avoid both lines. RCI and Celebrity also offer land trips. What I would highly recommend is a southbound itinerary. You can explore Alaska up to Fairbanks and Denali independently. A little research goes a long way. Southbound itineraries sail from Whittier or Seward which are both within beautiful drives or train rides from Anchorage. Most of these itineraries end in Vancouver, another plus. Vancouver is almost 1,300 miles south of Anchorage which makes the trip home easier. Most of the port stops are indeed the same. There are some longer itineraries than stop in Haines and along the Canadian coast. Don't rule out a sailing from LA or San Francisco. Those sailings stop in Astoria, Oregon which is an absolutely charming stop especially if it's on a Sunday market day. The Alaska boards might address many of your questions about the state. Do look carefully at the times in each port if you are comparing cruises. It's a glorious place and think about this booking as your first Alaskan cruise.
  24. Jeans are fine in Blu. The only time I have witnessed the maitre 'd refuse entrance was for a passenger with holes in their jeans. Regular jeans and any collared shirt, turtleneck or dressy pullover are perfectly appropriate.
  25. Lucky you, We were supposed to board an Alaska sailing today. There is lots of great Alaska information on the Ports of Call forums. I'd definitely suggest you plan a whale watching excursion. The last time we were there you could not get this excursion from Hoonah (Icy Straits) but I think you can do one there. It's a great stop for wildlife but if you want a little more "cosmopolitan" day think Ketchikan or Juneau. Think layers when you select your wardrobe. Shoes and outerwear should be waterproof, not water resistant. Waterproof clothes gave us the freedom to saunter off to Tracy's Crab Shack while our sailing buddies ran back to the ship to dry off. I doubt if you can get up to Emerald Lake from Skagway because it is in Canada so the train might be an option there. You can self book the train and will get a better car. The terminal is not far from the docks. And, if you are docked near the helicopter port you may experience a wind tunnel affect. Bundle up! Alaska is addictive. Enjoy your first trip.
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