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Everything posted by SteveGT3

  1. I have always given additional tips in cash,.
  2. We book Sky Suites almost exclusively and always provide extra gratuities to our butler, stateroom attendant & assistant, Michael's Club bartender & server and, since we almost always ask for the same waiter in Luninae. tip him and the bread server also. The amount we give to each depends on length of cruise, level of service and things that may stick in our mind relative to any of those listed. Hard to put an exact amount for each since each cruise and crew member is different. There have been instances when we have not provided an extra tip to some for various reasons.
  3. Cash or a credit to my credit card are both great options instead of buying something else I do not need! 😊
  4. Thanks for educating me....greatly appreciated!
  5. I did not realize that any unused, redeemable could be returned in the form of a credit to my credit card. That is a great option. Is this automatically done by the cruise line at the end of the cruise, or do I have to go to Guest Relations and request it?
  6. davekathy Thanks for the reply. We have been on 25+ cruises and I have never bothered to check how the OBCs were used up. It was only 2-3 months ago, that I realized that some OBCs from TAs could be redeemed for cash at the end of the cruise. We have always used the unspent OBCs to buy nice, but usually unnecessary things like liquor, cameras, electronics, etc.. When you have a remaining, redeemable OBC, will the ship give you cash for it and when can you redeem it?
  7. I have a question related to this thread. I know that OBCs given to customers by Celebrity are not redeemable but OBCs from a TA may or may not be redeemable for cash at the end of the cruise. If I get a Celebrity-issued OBC and an OBC from my TA, which OBC is used first by Celebrity to pay for any on-board expenses I incur? I assume it would be the Celebrity-issued OBC since it is credited to my account before any TA OBCs are added to my account.
  8. I suspect you can find that info on their website https://www.cubaoutings.com/en/home/. I used email before our cruise to make all arrangements. Gloria, my contact, was both prompt in responding and great to work with. You can contact her at the general email address that is on their website. We were extremely happy with the service they provided and the tour that they gave.
  9. Wow....you are going to be quite busy. Have a great time and I look forward to reading any comments that you may post on your experience with Oceania.....
  10. We paid 50CUCs for the round trip. Our driver waited with other drivers durng the show. We easily met him after the show. Paid him when the return trip ended. No problems whatsoever.
  11. Happy to help you. When we first arrived in Havana, it appeared that not many people were aware of the surcharge. Good info to know before you get there! Have fun in Cuba.
  12. We could have stopped for lunch, at our own expense, but preferred to keep going. I believe we tipped our guide (Julio) 30 CUCs and our driver 10 CUCs. Speaking of which, if you can do it, change your US dollars into Euros or $Cdn before you leave the States. In Cuba, you can exchange $US but they charge an extra 10% surcharge. If you use any other currency, there is no surcharge.
  13. Glad to have been able to help you. I will be interested in hearing how you enjoyed the tours and your experience with Oceania
  14. Hi Lawrence, thank you for the compliment on my reviews. Like you, I found Gio to be a very congenial and very good tour guide. Since it was our first trip to Cuba, all of the independent tours we booked were very typical for the cities we visited. For a second time visit, I am unsure as to what tours I would take. I would suggest that you look at places like Cruisecritic, TripAdvisor and other similar resources for interesting places to see in Cuba that Gio can guide you on. From what he said, it appears that he will be willing to take any tour that a client would like to do. The day after our tour of Trinidad, he was taking a couple on a horseback tour. From our discussions, it seemed that he also did a fair number of hiking tours. Good luck!
  15. Wyoming2010, i am glad to you took my recommendation and booked tours with Out of tbe Box. I am confident that you will be pleased. Like your experience, working with Jenny was a pleasure and all the plans we made also worked out without any problems. For our Santiago de Cuba tour, Angela was our guide and she was outstanding. I suspect you could request her. For one ir both days since you still are far out on the calendar. I suspect we will return to Cuba earlynext year, and I look forward to hearing about the Natural Wonders tour.
  16. Stay ashore as long as you want, just don't miss the ship when it leaves!
  17. We are more than happy to pay for Sky s Suites on Celebrity cruises. A larger cabin and bathroom and the ability to eat at Luminae and have drinks in Michaels Club are, in our opinion, well worth the extra cost. The more you book suites, the more you see the benefits of having a butler.
  18. I've heard some good things about Oceania. Good friends of ours have sailed with them for years and continue to speak highly of the line.
  19. Agree with everything you wrote.....well written!
  20. No. we were given our visas when we checked in for the cruise and we carried them and our passports whenever we were on shore. We had to return the visas to the Cuban authorities in Santiago de Cuba, which was our last Cuban port.
  21. In Cienfuegos, we didn't get a tourist card and, to be honest, there was virtually little security leaving or returning to the ship other than going thru metal detectors. In Santiago de Cuba, the authorities took our visa when we returned to the ship also.
  22. In the past few years, we have done almost all tours with independent providers. Our most recent cruise was in Jan (Azamara Journey) to Cuba. We stopped in 3 cities and, prior to the cruise, I booked a tour with an independent tour operator in each city. Each was excellent, included only my wife and me and all were much, much cheaper than the large-group, ship-sponsored excursions. We do 3-4 cruises per year and, unless there is no alternative or we have more on-board credits than we can spend on the ship, we always book tours independently. We have never been disappointed. Alll tours have included only my wife and me and, as a previous poster mentioned, the risk of missing the shipping is highly unlikely and (in my opinion) something the cruise lines say to get you to book their excursions. Excursions and the spa are huge moneymakers for the cruise lines. Finding a good and reputable tour provider takes a little work but is not hard and can be fun. Beside the chats on this website, you can get a lot of good info about various providers on TripAdvisor. I use both resources to help me choose who I will use. Since you are going to Cartagena, let me recommend Martin Rosales, who runs Cartagena Tour Guides (http://cartagenatourguides.com/). We used him for a cruise we took a couple of years ago and he was outstanding. Good friends of ours, on my recommendation, hired Martin last year and were also very happy with him. He is worth looking into for your visit to Cartagena.
  23. I called Viking Ocean cruises today to ask why they do not stop in Havana. The agent said that Viking has not yet received approval from the Cuban govt to dock in Havana but it is an active effort to get this done. Currently, they only stop in Cienfuegos & Santiago de Cuba. They run excursions via bus to Havana from Cienfuegos but clearly this is not an ideal solution. Too bad, I've read some good reviews of Viking and wanted to give them a try on our next cruise to Cuba. Currently, Azamara has what I consider the best Cuban itinerary, with overnight stays in Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. We took Azamara in Jan and enjoyed it, but wanted to try something else.
  24. Yep, that's all I could find also. Still puzzled why Viking doesn't stop at Havana. Not interested in HAL or Canival. Seems like an obvious stop for Viking to make, so there must be a good reason. Perhaps someone knows and will share it. If not, I will contact Viking and ask.
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