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  1. We are considering a shore excursion from the Napier port that includes a drive up to Te Mata Peak for the stunning views. Have read the ascent to the Peak can cause problems for people with vertigo or, that get migraines on elevation changes. Has anyone experience any health problems driving to the Peak?
  2. Our ship docked here on August 12th - we took the ship's Blarney Castle tour and thoroughly enjoyed it. Had no plans on kissing the stone but blew it a kiss; the area around Blarney Castle is lovely and we were surprised on how pretty it was, after our walk around the castle and grounds we went to the Blarney Mills which is a quality shop of woollens, linens etc. (much better than Powerscourt). After our shopping, we had a complimentary Irish Coffee sitting outside on their terrace. Once back at Cobh, we walked about the quaint town with beautiful Cathedral with lots of history as last port for the Titanic. Ship was docked within minutes from Cobh so relaxing end of day touring and the train station is literally across from where the ship docked.
  3. Read about the North Van location for the retrofit on roll call for upcoming Jan-Feb AU-NZ cruise - thanks Tansy Mews. Great to see this work occurring in my home province, beautiful BC! Here is link to CBC article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/north-vancouver-cruise-ship-retrofit-1.5277081. Re Tuscan Steak, we were on Sirena in 2017 and join the many that are not fans; found their was no ambiance - food was good but just not Polo or Toscana but, happily we love RG so were very pleased.
  4. Started researching opportunities to see koalas and of course, kangaroos for our upcoming Jan/Feb 2020 cruise and would appreciate any feedback on: 1. visit Sydney Zoo or, Melbourne Zoo (or both) to see koalas (sightings guaranteed)? and, 2. shore excursion Kangaroos & Koalas Adventure (sightings not guaranteed) out of Melbourne to You Yangs National Park at sundown or, similar adventure from Melbourne to Serandip Open Range Sanctuary during the day? Thinking sundown is better as koalas are nocturnal? Thank you!
  5. Another vote for Alla Tours; in 2017, we selected their tour that included the Fabergé Museum and ended up to be the only ones to book this tour from the Marina ship; as they guarantee their tours, we had a private tour with one of their excellent guides and driver in a Mercedes for the two days of touring. Highly recommend.
  6. We are booked on a cruise of Japan onboard the Nautica in 2021 and have read that internet may not be available from Japanese ports or, in the waters. Posted on the Asia site and was told, "C-Band communications from and to the ship are not legally allowed. Older ships use C-Band for Satellite telephone and internet. Newer ships use K-Band for Satellite telephone and internet communications, which is perfectly legal in Japan. Plus, K-Band has better connections and higher speeds. If your ship has K-Band, you will have no problems with internet (from the ship) in Japan." Does anyone know what type of Band Oceania uses (C or K) on the Nautica (and probably all other ships as well)?
  7. We've booked a cruise of Japan with a stop in Busan, SK and read that while in Japanese ports or their waters, there is no internet; understanding is that the Japanese government uses the satellite bandwidth the ship's internet would use. Is this accurate?
  8. Only comment I'll add is that on our last cruise in August, it was very apparent that many did not follow the dress code in all restaurants. Examples: GDR - jeans or, sloppy slacks and lumber-jack style shirts for men and women in what would be best referred to as one-step above beach wear - not country club casual or elegant casual resort wear as O's recommends. Jackets for men are optional but my husband feels more comfortable wearing one with an open shirt especially for Speciality restaurants and on past cruises most men did wear them. Hopefully, this cruise was the anomaly.
  9. Our British Isles cruises ended August 14th onboard the Marina - here are a few of our favourites (some old favs and a few new ones) - next cruise in January and we will have to 'make do' with only Polo and Toscana: All bread is simply divine in all restaurants (love the variety amongst the Speciality Restaurants) Enjoy our breakfast croissant (and perhaps a fresh danish) served in our room on busy excursion days When time permits, love having breakfast in GDR - relaxing and elegant - enjoy the omelets Back from excursions, we head to Waves as husband likes the burgers and I go for Alaskan or veggie burger otherwise, I head over to the Terrace for a slice or two of pizza Margherita then join husband in Waves (note: husband felt milkshakes were not as good as in the past - somewhat watered down) Polo: Crab cake for both. Maine lobster for me and this time, husband had roast beef with fav Franck's potatoes + yummy crème brûlée Red Ginger: we both had Miso Soup, Ginger Calamari then, Sea Bass and hubby had a side order of the lamb! Toscana: Aragosta Fra Diavolo for me and husband had the Dover Sole + yummy crème brûlée Jacques: we both love the Escargot followed by Dover Sole and this year a new dessert: choux pastry with Chantilly crème (the crème was to die for)! Baristas for best coffee on the ship and snacks (madeleines in particular + the bite size sandwiches); these favs are also available in the PH or Concierge lounges
  10. Agree - spent time walking the beach and so entertaining to watch all the doggies having fun on their own section of the beach! Were told by locals that only 1 ship a month stops in Portland and they are hoping for more. We had watched the BBC Broadchurch series so were familiar with the Dorset 'Jurassic' park coastline where it was filmed - similar to white cliffs of Dover - lovely.
  11. No we didn't. Our passports were returned in Cork, Ireland (our stop before Portland, UK). Just walked off for our excursion in Portland (loved close by seaside village of Weymouth) and again next day in Southhampton.
  12. Update: we disembarked on Aug 14th in Southampton with our last port being Portland, UK and as a result no face-to-face with Immigration was required. We had 7AM time slot and proceeded with our bags to Deck 6 to walk off at approx. 6:45 AM - not many people waiting and were told if we had our luggage we were free to go - we were first off! Our Concierge stated that if our last port was not UK, we would require a face-to-face and that the week prior, disembarking was a nightmare as a result. So worked well and thanks to everyone for advance information.
  13. We disembarked Marina recently and had CD John Clelford. Honestly, we found him very boring with a scratchy voice (annoying). His announcements were minimal which was fine by us but, missed having a CD with personality and found him lack lustre...
  14. We are just off the Marina and have been sailing with Oceania since 2009 and enjoyed all cruises with pleasant staff and cuisine. The one change we noticed was that the wait staff at Red Ginger used to be mostly Asian however, this cruise most were Eastern European and in Toscana, we had Asian wait staff. Nevertheless, service and food was top notch. We've had butlers in the past and found other then assisting with additional Speciality Restaurants, we really didn't use their services.
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