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About Gnoelj

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  1. Bonnie, on a similar note, on the Azamara Persuit, in the calender on the website for 10-night Wine & Romance Voyage it says that the ship is leaves Bilbao at 10.00pm. However, the AzaMazing evening is held between 7.00pm - 10.30pm! Something is not right there somehow, wouldn't you think? What is more in that same calender, there is no departure time for Bordeaux. Hope you can help Bonnie. Thanks.
  2. That was what we had expected from HAL before I took a cruise with them. When we booked our HAL cruise, it was with a bit of "trepidation". But we needn't have been concerned, our HAL cruise was not horrible at all, in fact, we were pleasantly surprised with it ! Dare we say that the standard of their entertainment and activities on board our HAL cruise was SUPERIOR to what we have experienced on cruises with Oceania. The food on Oceania, on the whole, may be somewhat better, but then , as most of us know, food is very subjective to the individual. Even for food, the sea food on HAL tasted so fresh it had the "taste of the sea". The HAL chef told me they got their supplies straight from their visiting ports. The lobsters on Oceania, sometimes felt as if they had been just a wee bit too long in the fridge . Does anyone know if Oceania ships take daily seafood supplies from their visiting ports or do they take all their stocks from their base in Miami? We would now be just as happy going with HAL as well as with Oceania. We love both of them. But then, we also love Viking. Each cruise line have its strengths and qualities, and none is ever "perfect", that's our view.
  3. Gnoelj

    Included wines.

    We have booked on the Azamara Persuit. I am a teetotaller, but my partner is very keen on his wine. I'd like to ask if anyone here knows if it is possible to purchase a Premium Wine Package, or Ultimate Wine Package for only one persons in the (two persons) cabin? It would be a waste to buy a wine upgrade package for me if I will not be drinking . If we can just buy an upgrade package for my partner, that would at least keep him fairly happy! It's been a while since we cruised with Azamara (we have been with others line since, eg, Viking and Oceania). In those days (3-4 years ago?) my partner was so impressed with the wines included on Azamara, and that is one of the reasons we booked our next cruise with Azamara. However, from reading the comments here, looks like the standard of wine offerings have changed. May I also ask, has the standard of cooking, including in the buffet, come down as well? Oh dear!
  4. Instead of just making comments that my research is "not enough", it would have been more helpful if you could answer some of my queries if you have the information. That is the reason why I am on the discussion board on CruiseCritic, to find more answers. Besides, not every town in every country have a T/A who works regularly with Silversea. I also prefer to hear it from the users rather than just a T/A. I am afraid T/A are useful, but they are not the be all and end all in finding information, from my experience. Of course, you have every right to disagree.
  5. To @bigmjh, thank you for answering my queries. It's been much appreciated.
  6. As you have obviously been on Silversea, is it true that on that cruise line: (1) Although they have 8 restaurants, but some, like La Dame, you have to pay extra $60 per person? Oceania's speciality restaurants, as most of us here know, do not incur extra charges. (2) Their meal portions are not generous, ie relatively small (one passenger complained it was "a joke")? (3) Their menus in all Silversea restaurants remain the same throughout the cruise, and even for many months? (4) If we remember correctly, there was comment that waiter service is very slow, and wrong meals served to wrong persons are frequent? They are so strict, that if you wish to make a request to slight variation to their restaurant menu, they would not accommodate you? Are these comments true? (5) There is no buffet dining option in the evenings? So if you wish to have buffet or have a meal without waiting, too bad? (6) As formality is high on their list, they have a very strict dress code? Not only does it change daily, it changes with different restaurants? (7) They have more different types of ships than Oceania, so accommodation offerings are different? (8) They include a butler for all cabins - good for some who wants them, but even if you do not want them, you have paid to have them ( Granted, Oceania is "guilty" in this for some of its higher cabins too!)? (9) Is it true Silversea adds in your invoice a donation of $18 to their chosen cause, not yours, and without having the courtesy of asking you first? (10) And do they try to give the impression to passengers that cruises like Oceania/Azamara/Viking are "beneath" them, as they'd prefer to compare themselves to Regent, etc? Are they really so "grand"? (11) As their fares are generally higher than on Oceania, are they really worth the extra? We did some research on Silversea, the verdict is still out, but at the moment, we have booked our next cruises with Oceania and with Azamara. We also like Viking very much. We like luxury, but do not like the idea of living in a silver cage and being told that we should like something because the cruise line says so.
  7. S No offence intended but if you don't mind, we can think and decide for ourselves which cruise line we wish to book with or whether SS is for us or not . You do not need to tell us that, thank you. We came on here because we just wanted to find out some facts and confirm some information that is all. Anyway, we think we have learn enough now. Thanks to everyone for all for your time and assistance.
  8. We were considering Silversea because of the attractive special fare offered,.....BUT....after reading/learning that they send their butler to service ALL their suites, and they do not give customers a choice not to have them, that was a big turn off for us. Yes, we still think "Butlers" on cruise ships are pretentious and waste of resources and money (are they actually trained and certified by the British Butler Institute, or similar, or are they just ex cabin stewards given a Butler costume and put up the pecking order?). However, if you like and appreciate them, that's your prerogative, it's just not everyone's cup of tea.
  9. You might need to double check with Silver Seas. We have been to Vietnam but that was a land based holiday. If we remember correctly Vietnam regulations is that UK passport holders can enter Vietnam ONCE , and for no more than 15 days. However, if you wish to re-enter the country within 6 months (?), you will have to get a visa. We found getting a visa quite tedious, because it was a TWO STEP process, not just applying once. As you sailed from Ho Chi Minh City to Chan May, you might not be considered to have left the country, but we are not certain about that. It is best for you to check with Silver Seas. The other thing is your cruise ship is most likely to dock at Phu My, about 2.5 hours from HCM City. Please take that into account. For Vietnam, really, a cruise visit does not do it justice. What is more, we found that central and northern vietnam eg Hue,, Hoi An, Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, they offer so much more than South Vietnam.
  10. OK, will let you know if we booked. There are so many attractive offers on different cruise lines it is hard to choose. We read one article that advised to get really good deals, one should book really EARLY However, with all the special LATE deals at specially low fares, we are not sure so that the early booking advice should always be adhered to.
  11. Oh dear, how would I edit that as my 15-20mins window to edit what I typed has already lapsed ??? If anyone has any suggestions how to do it, I will edit that. I intend to abide with all rules made by CC and do not intentionally wish to break any of those rules.
  12. I hope it is allowed to say where I got this price. It is through a link via email from Travelzoo in the UK, which links to a Silversea"Travelzoo Exclusive Offer" booking site. There are also offers for cruises in the Caribbean, Eastern Med. and to Iceland. Maybe at these prices, it might tempt you to book yet another cruise! It just shows that you'd need to shop around for the best prices . Do not just grab the first ones that come along! Of course, for those fortunate people where money is no object, different prices would not matter to them. For the rest of us, that affects our decision in making a booking.
  13. Standard Viking fares offers wine and beer only during meals. However, they also offer the following which (forgive me and please correct me if I am wrong) which Azamara may or may not offer Free Wi-Fi and PC station Free speciality restaurants Included shore excursion in almost every port Complimentary use of spa facilities Afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, macarons and pastries with live relaxing music in their Winter Garden restaurant(Azamara's afternoon tea in their buffet restaurant, was a bit of an afterthought on our last cruise some time back. So they might have changed) A special "pop up" food bar called "Mamsens" which offers some of the best and yummiest cakes , pastries and sandwiches on the High Seas! Gratuities included (for UK passengers, at least) A very classy felt bag for passports, etc. and proper leather(?) baggage tags All their cabins have verandahs and there are are no inside cabins or oceanview cabins on any of their ships Like Azamara , they also offer discounts for future cruises of those passengers who have cruised with them before (through cruise membership club). From our couple of cruises with Viking, their entertainment was probably one of their weak spots. We had the unfortunate experience of having the same Cruise Director (on Viking) on two cruises, and we were less than impressed with her choice of entertainment or lack of it. Their senior officers on our Viking cruises were not as friendly as those on Azamara (although they were not unfriendly) and there were definitely no Azamazing evenings! On the whole, in spite of the poor performance of their Cruise Director, for us, Viking provided a very good cruise "package", nice spa, food was good, service was good, accommodation excellent , staff seemed very efficientwarm and helpful, and we would happily cruise with them again.
  14. I am afraid the Butler is also one of the things that puts us off. We would rather pay NOT to have a butler than have one. On one cruise in the past, we had a butler , we did not appreciate that at all. It felt a bit too pretentious.
  15. Just looked quickly at some reviews on CruiseCritic for the Silver Spirit, they seem to be much better than for Silver Shadow. Wonder why is that?
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