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Everything posted by buchhalm

  1. ONE positive thing about Covid was, until just now, that there was no talk about GRATUITIES .
  2. Hi there. Back on Cruise Critic after a year of hiatus. Celebrity and Seabourn are, as others have said, a different experience. A bit like a NICE Toyota vs. a Mercedes. Both are totally fine. Having sailed on both (and a few others) I would say that Celebrity has the "funkiest" and best quality one of the medium-sized ships. Seabourn is elegance and laid back. No need to pack the tux. "Casual elegance". People with money who do not see the need mentioning this on every opportunity. Very, very good food (and I am fussy!). More than decent beverages are included in the fare as are tips. There seem to be two camps of people on the Seabourn forums. Those who like the "free champagne" and those who think the brand is not fancy enough and those (Americans mostly) who LOVE the line's "celebrity chef", Thomas Keller, and those (pretty much every other nationality) who say that the chef is fine, but the "special" restaurant is a bit like a fancy Sizzler's steakhouse. My wife LOVED the fact that she could have caviar at any time of the day. Nice pics of her in the bath tub with a bottle of champagne and a dish of caviar. (I have dug myself a hole here) 🙂 Due to the size of the ships, Seabourne can get into smaller ports or further up rivers. There is less in the way of "production shows", but passengers always seem to find something to entertain themselves. We found the service very good on both lines, but of course a lot more personalised on Seabourn. If money is no option I would go Seabourn vs Celebrity.
  3. This conversation has now moved well out of Muscat and Oman. Time to start a new thread? 🙂
  4. Not surprised. This company has always be stingy with refunds. Don't even think of discounts. The only major tourist attraction in Australia that doesn't grant benefits to airline or other Industry staff. Name and shame them on their social media platforms. They may be "within their rights", in line with their T&C, but there are times to be lenient or compassionate.
  5. Effective henceforth, anybody starting a discussion about TIPPING / GRATUITIES, must run 5 loops around the promenade deck or swimming pool naked.
  6. The subject people love to hate....
  7. A colleague of mine who runs a large airline catering company is currently conducting test where dishes and cutlery (porcelaine, glass, metal, plastic, melamine etc) are sterilized by a "bath" in UV light after the washing process. Far less water and chemicals are used, and the results are very satisfying.
  8. Well, my 92-year-old Irish neighbour always says "Don't drink water, fish make love in it". (He doesn't say "make love", but you get the idea)
  9. Dont you just love it? They (ANY company, not just SB) take you money instantly, but it takes weeks to get anything back. @#$#@&^%!!!
  10. Judging by your profile photo, you are a fit couple. :-) Barcelona has one of Europe's best HoHo bus system, with frequent buses, severals interlinked routes and good commentary. Unless you think that a private guide is really necessary, the HoHo shows you really all the major sights. If you are planning to see the new cathedral, La Sagrada Famiglia, DO PRE_BOOK ON LINE! The day-ticket lines can be murderous! You still will wait for a bit with the pre-booked tickets, but minutes, rather than hours. Another must-see (at least if you are a foodie) is the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, often simply referred to as La Boqueria, is a large public market, just of the main drag of Las Ramblas. Stunning food stuff. Not cheap, but WOW.Do this in the morning, before noon and stay for a counter meal at one of the seafood stalls. (Not much of a chance to grab a set at the counter after 11.30 or so) As everywhere in Barcelona, be very careful of pickpockets. They are MASTERS! Leave original documents in the hotel and carry photocopies of everything you may need.
  11. Hmmmm. Reading all this I can't help thinking that I am probably not the first guy to sit naked on that sofa in my cabin.
  12. That's what you get when 20-something (probably Estonian) computer wiz-kids design websites that old gezzers like me are supposed to use. What is crystal clear to the programmer is not always intuitive for the targeted user group.
  13. This is not directly responding to your post, but you should be in for a treat. Oman had an unusual amount of rain lately, so you will see a LOT more greenery than usual. If your tour includes a beach stop, be extremely cautious of going in the water. There are very dangerous rips and currents in the area and you might find yourself in India or Yemen, if you are not careful. An 8-hour tour should give you time to see real desert in Rub al Kahli (The empty quarter) or even the Lost City of Ubar. If you are lucky you may find some desert geodes around the Rub al Kahli area. I have a few gorgeous ones at home. These things look like sand/stone balls on various sizes, and if you crack them open they revela beautiful (quartz?) crystals inside. The smallest one I have is the size of a ping-pong ball and the largest one the size of a small orange. (just Google desert geodes)
  14. Excellent website! Thanks for this. It goes into my little red book! 🙂
  15. Re room service breakfast. We never had a better room service breakfast on a ship (and even land based, only the Mandarin Oriental was better). We had RS breakfast three times on our last cruise (Quest) and they were always on time. I believe they even called us 15 minutes before to see if we were ready (and probably if we were dressed). Once we ordered Eggs Benedict and the waiter brought along caviar! He knew that my wife LOVES caviar and he said something along the lines of "I know that you like our caviar and so I took the liberty to bring you some. It goes beautifully with the Eggs Benedict". Now, THAT is service!
  16. I would second the Xara Palace. A stunning property with unique charm. A friend of mine stays there at least a week every year to "read and paint" and last year we visited her at the hotel and got to see her room. Absolutely gorgeous. We had a phenomenal dinner at one of the hotel's restaurants and we are hoping to find the time to spend a few nights there one day. If you want something out of the cookie-cutter variety of hotels and dont need a beach, please consider this gem!
  17. These are nice and picturesque stops. Plus some ports will be very happy to see tourists after those horrible fires in Australia. That said, I can imagine that it would be a pain in the butt to organise reasonably priced flights from LAX to Perth and then home from HOBART!!! What the (insert your favourite swear word here). I business class, this would cost an insane amount of money. Eco could be done for under 3K. And don't forget that you would arrive in PER Los Angeles time +2!! So to make a departure from Fremantle/PER on March 22nd, you would need to take a flight put of LAX on March 20!
  18. This from the Sydney Morning Herald, in a report about how different cruise lines handle the Corona situation. ....Seabourn In addition to cancelling Seabourn's departure on February 15, Seabourn has cancelled the cruise on board Ovation that was due to depart Singapore on February 29, a two-week round-trip voyage. In a statement the line said: "The decision comes out of an abundance of caution considering the highly dynamic and unpredictable changes we have seen the past couple of weeks in travel restrictions and port operations that could affect the cruises. While we expect things will stabilize, we never want to put our guests in the position of having an experience that doesn't live up to their expectations." Compensation: Passengers will receive a full refund of the fare paid, along with any pre-paid charges, such as flights, pre and post hotel stays and excursions, plus a future cruise credit.
  19. All prices in Australian Dollars. Sorry, but it seriously did not cross my mind that one would assume it be any other Dollar.
  20. If 09.30 is your landing time, you can count on a good hour until you are through all the arrivals formalities. Luggage delivery can be sloooooow! Than you need to find your way to the airport train station and buy tickets (well sign posted, but still...), so it is unlikely that you will be ON a train much before 11. So no more rush hour. Train airport to CQ is a few cents short of $20 per person and takes 20 to 30 minutes. The 18 minutes in the official schedule are rarely accurate. There is NO dedicated luggage space on the trains! www.airportlink.com.au At the airport they usually have an official person to direct you to a suitably sized taxi to fit you and all bags. Remember, Australian taxis do not normally have as much boot space as American taxis. The dispatcher will also be able to give you a pretty good estimate of the fare. I have done this run several times in the past 6 months, usually around noon to mid afternoon. Fares ranged from $45 to 65 on a bad day.
  21. If you consider the Four Seasons reasonably priced, then thumbs up! A nice upgrade from the Holiday Inn! 🙂
  22. Ok, thank you. So it is no good for anything pre-cruise related. Looks like basically a closed system whilst on a cruise.
  23. Does anyone know if there is a Seabourn app? Many, if not most other cruise lines do have their own app. APPARENTLY there is something called Seabourn Source, but Play Store (and equivalent) don't seem to show any such app.
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