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Everything posted by Wynterwynd

  1. We’ve noticed that some embarkation ports have security before check-in (Copenhagen, I think Seattle) and some have security after check-in (Civitavecchia, NYC). Of course, that can change depending on the exact port setup. When security is first, then the line is usually quite long earlier in the day and it doesn’t matter if you are in a suite or not. Once through security, then the ship check-in is a different matter, with suites, etc., having earlier check-in opportunities which you schedule during your on-line check-in. I like to board early and wander around to check in with our muster station, reacquaint myself with favorite places and view the redecorated (“reimagined”) spaces. Suites (PH and above) are generally what we purchase and are usually available early afternoon…so I can unpack, etc. OTOH, I’m one of those that can’t remember “fun in the front, food in the back” which how a staff member explained to remember which “end” of the ship has the restaurants (stern, for the most part) and which the lounges & spa. I also figure out how many floors up (or down) from our cabin to the GDR, the specialty restaurants, the pool deck, the spa. I make a little chart for the inside of the cabin door…partly for me and partly so hubby doesn’t have to ask me everytime we go out, lol. Cruises are a not-inexpensive way to travel. I’m paying for the boat, I want to be on the boat! That’s just me, though. If you don’t like lines and people-watching (and the associated excitement), then go later. Leaving on our 8th cruise in two weeks and this one will be just as exciting to me as the first. Bon voyage! Annette & Robert
  2. “Question from newbie going Vista in March ph 2:we 1 reservation per specialty restaurant so does this cost extra to get say 1 more via Butler in room ???” No, there is no additional cost (maybe an extra tip to your butler if he is successful, but that’s definitely not expected). The length of the cruise makes a difference and how flexible you can be on dining time and choice of restaurant. Let your butler know the first day that you are interested in additional specialty restaurant reservations, are happy to share a table but, for example, don’t want to eat after 8:30pm. But, sometimes, there are no reservations available. In a suite, your butler can serve you dinner from any of the specialty restaurants. Just give him a day or two notice that you’d like to do that. The grand dining room menu is good, too, though. In fact, sometime the GDR featured something I’d rather have than the specialty restaurants. (Especially the dessert souffle!). Enjoy!
  3. It is SO worth it! Whether or not you use the butler frequently, the larger room size is definitely worth while. Also, the 3 bags of laundry; just be sure to allow sufficient time for its return (note: this is laundry service; wash, dry, fold; not dry cleaning). We’ve not yet tried the specialty restaurant in-room dining, but will next time (Jan, 2024, Tahiti). We’ve had luck with our butler getting us add’l specialty restaurant dining (usually shared table), also. That said, while we go ashore at most ports—at least to walk around, I am one of those who cruises because they like to be on the ship (on the veranda with a good book and a glass of wine). So, the room size and comfort is important to me.
  4. “I find it relaxing on a sea day.” Isn’t that the truth! I am not fond of doing laundry at home but for some reason, on a cruise, it’s kind of fun! And you get to meet folks in the laundry room! Our first cruise on one of the larger ships was this past summer (Marina) and I was delighted to see multiple laundry rooms (one on each of 4 or 5 decks). OTOH, if you find one open washer on one floor and another on a different floor, you need to remember where your laundry is, lol!
  5. I had a ton of SBC to use on our last cruise and booked several hair treatments: 1. A 3 pack of wash and blowouts, all turned out fabulous 2 A roots touchup, toner and trim (with same person that did my wash/blowouts) and I was thrilled with the color which my at-home stylist has been unable to replicate (note: if you like it, ask for the formula!). The trim followed my cut and the stylist listened when I said no texturizing. I was pleased with all of this but here is definitely upselling (a gentle “no, I’m not going to do that” usually works) and I don’t think I would necessarily have foils or full color done. I was also happy with pedis (on Marina and on one of the smaller ships previously). Enough so that I’m skipping one just before my January cruise and booking one on board. The spa folks seemed to be well trained.
  6. “No better to let the pax do it & end up in the Medical center (extra revenue) 😈 If you tell the TA or O rep when you book you want 2 single beds it usually will be set up when you arrive do not wait until you are onboard on day 1 to ask the crew are very busy” Everyone’s back is different, lol. But this has worked for me on several occasions and I’ve not ended up in the medical center. My experience has always been to ask for separated beds well before the cruise and then when I arrive and it’s not been done, I ask the housekeeper and she has the beds separated by the time we are back from dinner.
  7. I have really good ear plugs…should work for both hubby’s snoring and boat creaking! We’re on Vista Nov 2024 so hope the ‘ghosts’ are gone by then.
  8. I’ve traveled on 4 of the smaller and 1 of the larger Oceania ships and was always able to move a night stand between the separated beds. My roomie and I just have the housekeepers move the beds apart and make them up separately and then we move the ‘heavy’ furniture ourselves. My guess is that the housekeepers are not supposed to be moving that stuff, from a work safety standpoint.
  9. On our recent Copenhagen to Tromso cruise (Fjords) on Marina (our first time on the larger ship, which we loved), our PH butler, Titus, was really good. He got us 3 add’l specialty restaurant reservations (we didn’t care which or if we were sharing a table which I think made it easier). Always phoned just before delivering our room service Breakfasts (on days we had early excursions or on disembarkation day). Was pleasant without being annoying. We mostly enjoyed the butler service on all of our Oceania cruises, but Titus hit it out of the park!
  10. Surf & Turf sandwich, hold the bun, is my go-to. You can tell the order-taker that you will eat indoors (Terrace Cafe) and he/she will give you a number to put on your table and bring it to you. Enjoy your cruise and hope the pending weather misses you and Bermuda!
  11. Any meal I don’t have to make a grocery list for, shop for and cook (and I love to cook!) is a plus for me! We sailed on Marina for 15 days July-August this summer and found the food just as good, with some things better than pre-COVID. We sailed to Alaska last August (2022) and enjoyed the food also. Toscana is my least favorite, but the Dover sole is always a great option. Jacques was new to us but we found several things we enjoyed…and those we didn’t was not something we’d blame on the chef or the kitchen. We cruise with Oceania because we enjoy good food and they provide lots of options. Comparing now to pre-COVID is the same as saying ‘no one makes cherry pie like my mom did.’ Doesn’t keep me from eating the pie or trying a new dessert!
  12. The excursions were refunded to our Oceania account.
  13. We’ve never had anyone turn down USD. OTOH, if you have Euros you want to ‘get rid of,’ this would be an option.
  14. Just off our first ‘O’ ship cruise (Marina, Norwegian Fjords) after previously on each of the ‘R’ ships. Very pleased with cabin size. No notice of anything being shabby or not working correctly. Only argument regarding cabin temperature was with my spouse. We were in a PH cabin and our butler, Titus, was the best we’ve ever had—scoring us 3 additional specialty restaurant reservations and getting us into one of the wine pairing dinners (fabulous). Two ports had to be cancelled due to wind/waves, but one substitute was found and we enjoyed an extra sea day. Not a problem. Food choices plentiful and well-prepared and presented. Waves Grill still has my favorite Surf & Turf (hold the bun). It’s still a struggle to order a drink (other than wine from the pushy sommeliers) unless you are in a cocktail venue. Yes, there are more passengers, but also more space. Would definitely choose an “O” ship again. We’re on Nautica next, in January. Looking forward to it!
  15. Better to have extra time than not enough. There are plenty of ways to spend time at airport (empty gate area with a book is what I do…or just people watch…or find a bar or a lounge). Nothing worse than worrying about making your cruise departure or your flights.
  16. Just off Marina and a beautiful Norwegian fjords cruise. Excellent cruise. Two ports cancelled due to high seas; one replacement port was interesting, the other became a sea day. Weather happens. The food on this cruise and last summer’s Alaska cruise is just as good as pre-Covid cruises on Oceania, in our opinion. Plenty of options; serving sizes are fine; bread so good that I leave my carb counting at home and just enjoy it. The dessert soufflés are my favorite. And duck foie Gras in Jacques…. Toscana not my favorite restaurant but just order the sole which is perfectly cooked and boned at the table. Delicious. An Italian friend of mine once said “always order the fish at an Italian restaurant…it’s fresh and it will be simply and perfectly prepared.” Food service still leaves a bit to be desired…so many people, each apparently with only one job to do (remove the charger, provide the appropriate silver; someone else to sell you wine or get you a cocktail; etc.). Some training needed there, I think. We did find housekeeping staff congregating near the service doors in the halls and having loud conversations which was a new experience. Overall, though, it’s still the best cruise line food I’ve ever had and certainly is above chain restaurants. I didn’t have to make a grocery list, go grocery shopping or cook for 15 days…heaven!
  17. There was a LONG line for security (which was pre-checkin) in Copenhagen a few weeks ago. We made friends with the folks in front and behind us in line. Once through security, there were separate lines for check-in, by cabin category. Despite the lines, we were on board and sipping a cocktail at Waves Grill by noon and in our cabin (with luggage) by 1. I love having the afternoon to unpack and get organized!
  18. The second best reason to have them…entertaining the husband! Thank you for my smile of the day!
  19. I had my TA book a day room at the Hilton. $$ but it will be worth it, IMO (it’s less than the cost/day on the cruise!). Thanks for the suggestions!
  20. I bring my e-reader or a book when I dine alone ALL THE TIME. When I dine with my husband, sometimes we both do! I don’t see any way that should bother anyone else. It’s a great way to enjoy a meal in any of the ship’s restaurants, IMO. And an e-reader (to respond to someone’s question) has backlighting so if the venue is a bit dim, you can still read. Enjoy!
  21. Oceania Nautica Jan. 20-30, 2024. Our 50th Wedding Anniversary. Hopefully, you won’t hear “man overboard!” Looking forward to blue skies, clear water and palm trees (as unlike Michigan in January as possible!).
  22. I am an IHG Rewards member but I am not sure how to arrange this…the website is less than helpful. Any suggestions welcome! We dock at 5am and flight is at 8:40pm. Happy to pay for a room if I can figure out how to arrange it.
  23. We’re getting ready for our 7th Oceania cruise (Norwegian coast) and I’ll speak to the food. First of all, not having to make grocery list, buy groceries, cook every day makes EVERY meal wonderful on board, lol (and I actually like to cook). The menus haven’t changed much, so by now I know what I want to eat and I’m rarely disappointed. We generally have dinner in grand dining room or a specialty restaurant. I like breakfast in the GDR, also, though they do make omelets to order in Terrace Cafe. We rarely eat in the Terrace Cafe…if it’s busy, it’s too much like a high school cafeteria (not the food, the ambiance). Waves Gril: as someone else mentioned, the surf & turf sandwich (i have them ‘hold the bun’). Burgers are also good and the grilled tuna. You’re also right next to the ice cream/smoothie bar! GDR: I love the lobster bisque; other soups are usually good, too. Mussels with lemongrass. Lobster pad Thai (is it authentic? No…but it’s good!). The souffle of the day for dessert. The schnitzel is surprisingly good; also the rolled up chicken (forgot the name of it). For breakfast, lots of choices, eggs Benedict (I order with regular bacon instead of Canadian) or a poached egg on avocado toast. Polo Grill: Lobster bisque. the Maine lobster (removed from shell); the filet, the prime rib, the lamb chops. I’ve had good luck with all of them. The escargot or oysters Rockefeller appetizers. The marshmallows for dessert (or the creme brulee) Toscana: the risotto is delicious. Osso Bucco if you like that (I don’t, but friends love it). the spinach salad. Veal with mushroom sauce. Beef filet with Gorgonzola. Rack of lamb (yum!!). The lobster tail or the branzino. My sister always orders the Dover sole which they filet at the table. Red Ginger (if your ship has that restaurant): the miso-glaze sea bass. Skip the beef rendang, it’s not authentic and more like pot roast. I’ve cruised with friends, relatives and (just) my hubby. We all finds tons of things we like to eat on board. My niece is vegetarian and she found plenty that she liked. I don’t have any other cruise lines to compare to, other than Regent and that was my first cruise and I was not impressed with the food. Oceania opened my eyes (we’ve been on Regatta, Insignia, Sirena and soon on Marina). My best advice, if you don’t care for what they bring you, ask for something else!
  24. Seeing whales breaching from our table in Toscana last August (Alaska cruise)…and 3 days in St. Petersburg in 2015 on our first Oceania cruise. Sad to think we will never be able to return to St. Petersburg but happy we had 3 wonderful days there.
  25. We are cruising on Oceania Nautica from Tahiti in Jan., 2024. It is our second time on Nautica and 6th Oceania cruise. First time in French Polynesia (celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary). We are at the Hilton the night before embarkation. Some research on line indicates that on disembarkation day, you can just hang at the Hilton lobby (have lunch there, maybe take a 1/2 day tour, use the public restrooms). I got the gist that any day room rental would be the same or close to the nightly rate which is high (as I’m sure it is at the Intercontinental). We chose the Hilton over the Intercon after reading a LOT of reviews and deciding based on what we were interested in. On disembark day, since our flight leaves late at night, we are just going to pretend we are still on the ship…read books on our e-readers, sip some wine or a cold beer, look at the ocean. We can sleep on the plane…we’ll be used to the time difference by then! I’m sure you’ll enjoy your cruise!
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