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About oskarNZ

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    New Zealand
  • Interests
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    The Disney of a few years ago when it was much cheaper.
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Bonaire or the Greek Islands.

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  1. This article about Kiwis trapped off the coast of Uruguay makes for interesting reading. I can only imagine how scary it must be for all the passengers (which also includes a lot of Australians) onboard. I imagine that even if Uruguay let’s them ashore, it could be a long time before someone can get them home. It’s not like flights to Uruguay from NZ would be easy at the best of times. It’s proving hard enough to get stranded kiwis in Peru home. https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/sixteen-kiwis-trapped-cruise-ship
  2. Crikey, this is a difficult position to be in. Are there passengers still on that ship?
  3. This is an interesting thread. I too am a person who will take a lot of convincing to come back to cruising. Not because of any one choice made by a cruiseline, but because this whole thing has highlighted the complications (more than norovirus ever could) that come from being confined to a space with a lot of other people. This is not something I could have foreseen myself saying and it brings me a lot of sadness that traveling with my family (the thing that filled me with the most happiness in the world) is potentially never going to look the same for many years (possibly longer for cruising). Speaking of foresight, I feel like this virus crept up on us really quickly and every government and every big tourism provider perhaps should have done at least one thing differently. However, it’s so much easier now to say these things in hindsight as I am one who was too guilty of once thinking this was ‘no worse than the flu’ and would blow over much quicker than it has. Boy was I wrong. In saying that, without a cruise currently booked, I am fortunate to have not been negatively effected by the decisions of any cruiseline, so I can only imagine how frustrating things have been for those negatively effected. I have noticed that Carnival are spamming me a lot at present with some pretty significant deals. I even got another email last night after unsubscribing a few days ago. I suspect cruiselines, like most tourism providers, are very worried right now and regardless of what poor decisions were or weren’t made, my heart goes out to the many thousands who will probably soon find themselves without a job.
  4. Weather here in New Zealand can be notoriously fickle. Unfortunately, trying to find a pattern is a bit like asking “How long is a piece of string?” My experience over 40-odd years of living in different parts of the country: - The wind could blow from the North in the morning and the South in the evening. And on the other side of a mountain range, it could be doing the exact opposite. - Summer should be warm - but not always - Spring and early Summer can be rainy - but not always - Autumn winds in the South tend to be calmer - but not always - Expect anything and plan for anything and you are less likely to be disappointed - always
  5. Okay, opinionated rant time. I live in a touristy part of NZ where I am seeing tipping requests on receipts and eftpos machines becoming more and more common. It annoys me no end. As mentioned above - the more people tip, the more people expect it. The thing is, most New Zealanders outside of the service industry deplore the idea of tipping becoming common place here in NZ. With that in mind, someone in the position to tip needs to decide whether they support the short term picture (“It felt so nice handing that person $10 and making them smile) or the long term picture (“I feel a bit guilty not tipping, but at least I’m not trying to change the culture of a country”). My suggestion: show your appreciation by leaving a good review and put your money into a charity box.
  6. My post has been bumped. The cruise was a year ago and I think one of the last 14 nights they offered. It was an awesome itinerary and it’s a shame Celebrity don’t offer them anymore.
  7. Sorry, I did not. There is likely to have been something we would have preferred, but I couldn’t tell you what that would be. There is a chance you might really like this excursion, particularly if you get a van with a better sound system and the ocean is warmer that day. (The view across the bay is particularly pretty). But I do have to be honest and say that for my family it was our least favourite tour of the cruise.
  8. Okay, sorry I see you leave in just a few weeks. So my advice is not great in your case. But I’ll leave it there incase it helps someone else.
  9. My tip is to try to avoid paying full price for anything you can prebook. Follow the Celebrity forum here on CC to find out about specials and discounts and then check to see if they apply to your cruise. These specials seemed to pop up roughly every 3 or so months for my cruise last year on the Reflection, and I eventually ended up with a discount on my specialty dining package, my drinks upgrade to premium, and every shore excursion I booked through Celebrity. The discount was usually approx 20%, but in the case of one excursion I cancelled and rebooked it twice as the specials (and favourable exchange rate) just kept getting better until (from memory) it was over 40% off. I became a bit obsessed with seeing just how much I could save (which meant a few times I cancelled and rebooked things that I perhaps otherwise wouldn’t have bothered with) but the end result was literally savings that totalled in the hundreds. Side note: Rebooking does mean that you pay for the item again in NZ$ and then wait approx 10 business days for the previously booked item to be refunded. So essentially for 10+ days you’ve paid for an item twice. But for me the long term gains were worth the inconvenience. Also, worth noting: crunch the numbers on the specialty dining packages to work out how much you are paying per night. The general idea is that the more nights you book, the less they charge you per night. But occasionally one particular package (in my case it was the 4 night one) will be better value than ones that are longer.
  10. Don’t quote me on this, but from memory, they may have sometimes been low sugar rather than no sugar. Either way, we ordered them when we genuinely thought they sounded the nicest of the options, so both no and low sugar was an added bonus. 😊
  11. We left Sydney on the 28th December and were away 9 nights. I had hoped to do a slightly longer cruise that also went to Mystery Island, but at least that gives us a stop to visit one day in the future.
  12. There weren’t a huge number of vegetarian options (from memory, 2 main meals per dinner), but at least they seemed to cook them with care. Plus, something I forgot to mention earlier, is that the low sugar desserts I tried were also quite nice. We like soft desserts such as custards, mousses etc and these were often the low sugar options as per the New Years Eve dinner menu I posted. Our experience was that they were all pretty nice and didn’t taste of artificial sweeteners.
  13. 1. I probably did, since in researching this cruise I looked at pretty much every ship leaving Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne or Auckland during the New Zealand summer school holidays. But ultimately, I was keen to try a different line (in particular Carnival, RCCL or Princess) so I did look at these options a bit harder. In the end, Carnival was the cheapest, I liked the itinerary and the dates worked really well. As a side note, I think, at least on paper, that RCCL might be a really good fit for my family. Whenever I’ve looked (both for this cruise and past ones) they’ve always been quite expensive, but one day I would like to cruise with them. 2. No, sorry, but I wasn’t looking. I assume there would be some in Noumea, but I’m not sure about the other islands as they are very sleepy. I can’t even remember seeing any shops beyond the temporary market stalls. I think it might take you by the surprise just how much less developed these places are than common Caribbean ports. I loved that about them, but unfortunately it does make it a bit problematic if you want lots of established businesses offering excursions. 😕 3. I don’t even need to check with my husband to know he preferred Celebrity Reflection. He is content to spend his days relaxing in the cabin listening to podcasts, so the entertainment options that are important to me are less so to him. Whereas, the food options are very important and we all agree that Celebrity’s were much better. In saying that, I know he preferred the night shows on Carnival and he loved the comedy club. And, yes, he did prefer the welding on Celebrity - and I’m not even joking 🤣. He went on the ship tour on the Reflection and was really impressed by how advanced some of the processes are. He didn’t do the Splendor one to compare, but even without that, we could tell things like the stabilisers were more advanced on the Reflection. The ships are only 4 years apart, but even in seas that weren’t too rocky we felt much more movement on the Splendor. My son... I would need to ask him, but like his mum and dad, he really likes good food, and he loved Reflection’s buffet. If I had to guess, I therefore think he’d say Celebrity. But he did love Carnival’s slides which might sway him the other way. For me, I‘m not sure. Celebrity definitely for a port intensive cruise, but I’m sitting on the fence if the cruise has a lot of sea days where I want to be entertained.
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