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Everything posted by pinotlover

  1. As an update, we all got a letter in our cabins giving us notice of today’s immigration check and procedures. The CD has made announcements on this several times. The CD just made the announcement inside all cabins. We are just 5 minutes from “ all aboard “ and the Oblivious are still not responding. Search teams are now going around to the cabins and escorting the Oblivious off the ship to the immigration center! So the question is: Would the Oblivious reacted earlier if the announcements had been made earlier directly into the cabins ( and interrupted some poor soul’s tv show), or would the Oblivious just ignore those announcements also? I’m guessing the facial recognition system is also scanning the public areas for the wanton souls.
  2. I suppose part of the issue is in the definition of critical or important. Take today for instance here on the Riveria. We were told twice over the PA system to (1) take our passport with us on our shore excursion and; (2) everyone had to exit the ship to go through S.Korean immigration. We were on a ship tour and numerous fellow passengers didn’t bring their passports. Was that announcement important enough to be carried into the cabins, or may that have inconvenienced those wanting to watch tv? Or would it matter with the oblivious anyway?
  3. On Riveria now. I have booked all the current release cruises I chose to take. There will be a new cruise release for booking on 4/17 which is four (4) days after we disembarked. I can buy a FCC now anboard, getting all its benefits, and have my TA book our newly selected cruise on 4/17. This is the primary advantage of a FCC.
  4. I believe we all have different degrees of risk aversion based upon on our physical limitations, abilities, and personal choices. Some people won’t cross a street unless mommy Oceania is there to hold their hand. They’ll pay ridiculous prices to stay in Oceania hotels and/or take all O land tours. Other people have different views and ack according. We sometimes take ship tours based on a number criteria. The obsessive fear that some have of missing the ship is rarely one of those. To each their own.
  5. Our OCA said that the itineraries would be available for viewing on April 10 and available for booking April 17. Oops! Excuse me. They are now called Future Cruise Specialists FCS. OCA are no more.
  6. Further discussion on the tours. We were advised of this by the Asian Adventurer (AA) rep in Tokyo. The Japanese are extremely safety conscious. With the large crowds visiting many of the popular sites, this means that the buses are most often parked a good distance from the sites. Yesterday at Osaka Castle, for example we had already walked 300 meters or so when we reached the sign that said the castle was 1 km (0.62 miles) away. That was to be done before reaching the stairs at or near the castle. Then to be duplicated on the return. We have had significant walking every day. Yesterday, my wife’s iPhone said 5.8 miles and 13 floors. This was a ship tour. Today on our sole sea day, it’s upper 50s and rain. Not a single lounger hog to be found 😂😂🥲! I feel quite certain some of the cheerleaders would gladly tell you loungers hogs wasn’t a problem on the cruise. That’s without giving you the rest of the story. Lunch today in the Terrace. People must have sunburn fears! Lots of baseball hats being worn in the restaurant with some on backwards! 🙄. Many of them aren’t the 30 year olds either!
  7. I likewise touched on the long walks to get to sites and the very steep stairs in a companion thread. Our current cruise is a bit unorthodox. We likewise have a larger than normal contingency of mobility impaired passengers along with 226 Go Next group, many of which are in their 30-50s on their first O cruise. When sharing the same tour conflicts happens.
  8. Trying to continue this thread and keep it distinct from the other Japanese cruise thread. Since the start of our cruise, we had a day of 58 degrees F and rain, 60 F and cloudy, and 61F and cloudy. Today is similar. Although slightly cooler than normal, it’s Spring time in Japan and this weather should be expected. Pack accordingly. As far as the ship goes, no one is eating outside on the Terrace, and rarely more than 4-6 outside at Waves, with those eating coats. Those temperatures are daytime highs, not breakfast or dinner temperatures. One might guess the impact this has on seating in the Terrace. Ninety percent of Japan’s population lives along the coast. This is because the interior of the country is very mountainous and those are abnormally steep mountains. What this means for tourists is there are lots of stairs . Those steps can be very steep with inclines of 60-80 percent! Additionally, at the numerous world or national heritage sites, those steep stairs can be knee high making them more difficult to climb. Many don’t have hand rails. If you read your tour descriptions saying there are 150 stairs to negotiate, don’t assume it’s like going up the stairs on the ship. Also reframe from stupid comments about the ADA, you’re not in America! Choose your tours carefully. Some of our mobility limited fellow passengers have been quite agitated paying money to go to sites they can’t navigate. Those three walker destinations on tours have a meaning here. Speaking of not being in America. The Japanese are extremely polite people. If they want to do a selfie with you, they’ll always ask your permission first. Remember to return the politeness, especially if you want that selfie with a geisha! They may not want to be in your picture! Also the country is extremely clean. Not only do the Japanese not litter, but many will stop and pick up a piece of litter they find while walking. Americans shouldn’t believe it’s OK to leave empty cups, bottles, etc, sitting on walls or beside benches because that’s what they do at home. I have witnessed death stares, while a local will come in and pick the left trash up and cart it away. Politeness can also be a sharp weapon. At the hotel, pre cruise, one of the ( fortunately) Regents cruisers always talked extremely loudly which they also consider rude. It was his first time in Japan and the group was eating in the hotel Japanese restaurant, assuring everyone it would be just like Benihana at home. It wasn’t. In his loud voice he ordered fried rice with dinner. When it came, he started again proclaiming loudly he had never seen fried rice that looked like that and was showing it to all at his table. I’m not sure he ever tasted it. So finally the very attractive young waitress comes over and asks if everything is OK. The tourist goes loudly into his routine of how he’s never seen fried rice look like that. Then the exchange: Waitress- Ohh! Very sorry ( and a bow) Where are you from? Guest- Atlanta, GA, USA. Waitress - OH. This is Japan. Chef doesn’t know how to make Atlanta, GA. USA fried rice, only know how to make Japanese fried rice. So very sorry. ( another bow) Maybe someday I will go to Atlanta, GA and eat Atlanta, GA fried rice. I bet it’s very good! Can I get you anything else? All of us sitting in tables all around were snickering and laughing at the jerk. With extreme politeness she had thrust the dagger into his throat. His voice dropped several levels the rest of the meal!😂 He could speak in a normal voice when he wished! 😂 Differently from other countries, we have been required to take our passport and clear immigrations at every port, even when we haven’t left Japan. The Agents will often ask “ where are you going?” Oceania bus #2 isn’t an answer. Know where your tour is going! Some of the oblivious nont knowing have been pulled out and frisked to ensure they aren’t carrying a weapon or carrying large sums of cash. Don’t know how typical this is, just beware.
  9. I just queried my butler on this question. Oceania does provide a large size bathrobe upon request. It is not the standard bathrobe normally put in the cabins. Ask your butler or your room attendant for the special large size.
  10. Just an update to explain some past comments. Received our luggage a bit after 4:00 yesterday. Seems the issue was the forward service elevators are out of service and have been for a bit. This means everything has to be loaded aft, meaning luggage was competing with loading food, hard and soft supplies, etc. Additionally, everything was behind schedule because getting the luggage off the ship of those disembarking was a priority . As I stated in my first post, this year has been abnormally cool and it remains so. Yesterday was cloudy, misty rain, and very cool. In the Terrace, people were certainly not sitting out on the outside deck. Nor were people eating outside in Waves . Everyone wanted to eat indoors. This created issues that some of the unpleasant passengers taking larger tables and refusing to share made extremely worse. Current forecast is things aren’t going to change much. For those dreaming of eating under the stars, it would require a winter coat. We have found the Riveria to be very nice after her redo. Still not fond of the chairs built for Hobbits and Halflings, but that has been discussed before. Biggest change we’ve seen so far has been in the Red Ginger. They completely changed the layout, even different from Vista. It is now a big open hall with tables aligned in straight lines. Very commercial feel and not comforting or welcoming. A completely different feel. Off for our first port. Everything still on schedule with Day 2 👍
  11. As a guess, these price increases are merely an effort in price equilibrium between these cruises and the soon to be comparable new releases later this month. I doubt they want to do a new 25-26 cruise release at prices $$$ more expensive than those currently available.
  12. Boardamania SUCKS! People that enjoy Boardamania must likewise enjoy root canals without drugs. If I ever sign up for Boardamania again, I’m obviously too senile to cruise. Lines for everything. Cabins not ready for occupancy until after 1:00. Luggage? at 3:00 pm. The perfect picture of Oceania Boardamania is the foursome that took the 8 top in the Terrace and placed their bags in four of the chairs so no one else can sit down. People wandering looking for seats among the jerks. Staff finally opened up La Reserve for lunch seating. Boardamania is not the way to start a cruise!! People have been standing in the Dining Reservation line for over an hour and the DS line for much longer. Nothing I need to do warrant any such line. I’m having an old fashion and chilling. The ship looks fine and elegant. First time I’ve seen her since her redo. The bathroom change in our PH is nice. Future cruises, back to our routine of leisurely shore lunch and late ship arrivals. Nothing in the buffet line warrants Boardamania. The bus from the hotel left at 11:00 and we arrived at port shortly after 12. Already a significant check in line that got worse. A fellow cruiser on our bus said they were in the checkin line for over an hour. This is the third of three repetitive cruises around Japan, so guessing few passengers from earlier cruises aboard. Will learn occupancy at Repeater Party.
  13. One example may mean nothing, but the ship ( Nautica) did leave a passenger, on a ship’s tour, in 2019 in Edinburgh. Or at least tried to!😂. Lady had walked away from a tour already and gotten lost. The tour guide and tour group spent an hour looking for her. Later, she walked away again. Ship left the inner harbor, but the harbor master stopped the ship in the locks to get her back aboard the ship. The lady was so bat crazy, I doubt the local authorities wanted to deal with her. After another episode in the next port, DS banned her from all further ship tours. The ship couldn’t mandate she had to always remain aboard, but she was on her own. I think she was then placed on the No Sail list. That ship had sailed without her. She was lucky to get back aboard
  14. Unfortunately true! First time in a long time! 🥹.
  15. No. We flew in on our own air a day early before the pre cruise tour with Oceania began.Therefore, Oceania wouldn’t provide the airport to hotel transportation. I booked with Blacklane which did an excellent job. Oceania is providing the hotel to ship transfer today as part of the pre cruise tour package. We will take private transportation from the ship to the Yokohama train station at cruise end.
  16. Post cruise, we are taking the train from Yokohama to Kyoto for three days and then to Kanazawa for another three. Then back to Tokyo and Haneda for the trip home. A few things to add. The Hilton runs a regular shuttle to Shinjuku Station where there are lots of stores and restaurants. Those malls includes a very decent wine shop where I bought wine for the ship/cruise. The station also includes an office for the railway system where I received excellent help in booking our rail tickets on the various bullet trains. The Hilton restaurants are fairly good, but very overpriced for the quality. Across the street, in the Sumitomo Building, is an incredible authentic Japanese restaurant called Minokichi. Highly recommended with fabulous food and services at a lower cost than the hotel restaurants. On the fwiw section, we are indeed blessed. A horrible cold spell hit Japan in mid March. The effect of that bad weather is that the cherry blossoms have been delayed about two weeks. Our cruise, along with our post cruise excursions will put us in the heart and peak of the cherry blossom bloom.
  17. I promised to comment on this post based on current situations. This will not be a day to day posting telling people what I ate every meal, or how the entertainment is, but general conversation on an Oceania Japanese cruise. For our pre cruise Oceania tour package, we are staying in the Hilton Tokyo. Nice hotel, no complaints. We are here with a separate Regent cruise that seems to have our exact itinerary or nearly so. Concierge Desk for Oceania people 9-1, same desk same people for Regent people 2-6. All tours, airport pickups and deliveries, etc for here and all of Japan are ran by Asian Adventures on contract to Oceania. No Oceania people involved. The Hilton is located in the South East of Tokyo. We arranged our own air and conveniently arrived at Haneda Airport which is also in the SE of Tokyo. We arranged pickup by Blacklane. They met us as we left customs and entered the main hall. Forty minutes to the hotel. The following comments will be mostly ignored, but here goes. Between fellow Oceania guests and RSSC guests there has been a large cry over horrible flight arrangements and required connections made by O/RSSC ( all the same) Air. Some have been breathtaking bad. I just tell people that what they choose when they decided to leave it to the cruise line, it was all of their choosing. Additionally, even if on your own Air, don’t fly into Narita. It’s 2.5-3 hours from the hotel in good traffic. It will be over 3-4 hours from the cruise ship on departure. Here is one example of an O Air patron . They had two connections in the US, then flown to Taiwan with a 4 hour layover, then to Narita. At Narita, they were met by the Asian Adventurers (AA) rep and had to wait with the bus over an hour while other guests were collected. Then a 2.5 hour bus ride from Narita to the Hilton. Mother Oceania at her finest, but that is what the guests wanted obviously. Other similar horrid connection stories have likewise been told like Kansas City- DFW-DET-NRT. Yesterday the AA rep gave us a welcoming talk. Things in Japan are still chaotic and in flux. They are having severe labor shortages. Many hotels are only at 50-60% capacity because that’s all the staff they have to manage the hotels. He commented on the number of ship tours on waitlist or recently cancelled ( I have one of each). Reason: they don’t have the staff to run them all. He said some of the tour excursions staff we’ll see multiple times because they’re transporting them from one port to another to have the help. This situation will not resolve itself anytime soon. We leave for the ship tomorrow at around 11. Four buses of us, a bit over 220. RSSC has seven bus loads of folks. I’ll try to answer questions or other wise will report back after Embarkment on the transport and the ship.
  18. Almost always lectures on sea days, while rarely having them in port days, unless it’s a half day port day. The lecturers are required to have additional lectures “ in the can” in case of cancelled ports. Never seen lectures on port days as the lecturers are typically out exploring getting information for future cruise presentations.
  19. No hate at all. Selected O life tours have no specific value. You get X free tours up to typically $199, sometimes a bit more. If one of those tours is cancelled, you can select another tour up to that amount. If no tour is available, you get a $100 onboard non refundable credit. You don’t lose the $99, since you never had it. You had a tour credit only. Some people chose to select 3 hour $90 tours, while others chose $199 tours. It was all the same, one used a tour credit.With SM, it $ credits that can only be used for yours. Have a tour cancelled, good luck.
  20. Part One - Not sure anyone other than O Brass “ Knows “ Part 2 - There were Focus Group discussions, that included TA, back when the SM program was being brainstormed. Change to the Loyalty Program was likewise discussed. How much O Brass listened to the Focus Group takes you back to One above.
  21. You will find that this is likewise a big deal for a subset of cruisers. This goes back to an older story told by a Social Director aboard ship. She was asked by one of us what was the biggest request /comment they get on the Comments Forms. She said across all ships it was to start dinner at 5:00 or 5:30. When asked why they didn’t she replied “ Management is concerned that would turn the ships into Ghost Ships by 7:30 or so, which would be a huge turnoff for other passengers. People don’t want to eat in large near empty venues.”
  22. Rumor is O’s time frame will be between 24-36 months to maintain benefits. We’ll know within a month.
  23. I have both bought and sold them from/ to fellow passengers. Just get the word out.
  24. Two points: 1. Some of us aren’t as enamored with O shorex as you apparently are, so we’ll only book up to our credit amount if that. 2. That cancellation may be late in the cruise and no replacement is possible.
  25. I believe the most apparent change is you’ll have to cruise within a set timeframe to maintain your status. Distinct possibilities that other changes will soon follow , but expect this change to be implemented soon.
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