live from marina!!!!!!! Musings from an O newbie - Azamara cheerleader.

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#61
UK
491 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
You'll be fine sailing from Southampton three hours before sailing.....I've sailed on smaller ships like Silver Cloud and Black Watch, to the likes of Independence of the Seas and QM2 and never had any issues at embarkation...the only minor glitch was when the security staff at City Cruise Terminal mistook my partner and I for ships crew as we were easily the youngest on that cruise.


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#62
322 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
No chance that we will be confused as part of the crew, so we should be in good shape;-) Thanks for your reassurance--it will give us another morning in London!
#64
5,453 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
Originally posted by cindilouwho
I am still onboard the Marina!!! Having a wonderful time. I have chosen to stop blogging live as there have been issues that have arisen that I have chosen to discuss first with management before posting. I wish to be fair and balanced ---like some news stations LOL ==== and to do that I had to get my thoughts together, review the issues with my group, and discuss first with the management onboard.

Having been in the service industry for all of my working life, I know that things are not always perfect. The true test of a good or great service provider sometimes comes when presented with the opportunity to correct percieved problems. My friends and I have come to a consensus and have chosen to address the issues that have arisen directly with Oceania to see if satifactory resolution can be made before coming to conclusions and commenting on the situations encountered.

The ship is lovely, the staff for the most part, is exemplary and I am witholding final comment until after the cruise is done to make a better comparison.

Sorry for the delay - I will definately post my commentary once the cruise is done and I have been able to sort through the issues.

Stay TUNED!!!!!
Hi Cindi, I am surprised you could tell us nothing while you were on board..even if there were issues, you are eating, sleeping, touring etc..that I would hope you could discuss some of that ..
Hope you can discuss all with us ..
Jancruz1
#66
GTA, Ontario, Canada
34,584 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
If there was something disastrous I am sure others would have complained by now

I am sure Cindilouwho will report when she is ready
#67
edmonton, canada
290 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Hi, I have been checking everyday to see if cindylouwho has posted yet!

Cindy if you are reading this would you kindly give us an indication as to when you might report on your cruise. Will it be today, tomorrow or a few days or?

Thank you for your consideration.
#68
Toronto, Canada
1,563 Posts
Joined Dec 2003
Returned on Sunday and have been trying to catch up -- only 500 unanswered emails ---- also needed to see the Grandkids, Mom and Dad and my daughters. Notice the priority levels!!! LOL

I am putting thoughts together and will write probably tomorrow. It's going to be quite long I think!

I thought that the ship was spectacular - so beautiful and so well maintained. It is pretty new of course and not comparable to the smaller R ships but I will keep my comments based on service level comparisons, food, staff and crew and some general comments regarding our impressions.

Strangely enough, as I was waiting for my luggage on Sunday at Toronto Airport, there was a woman who had been on Oceania recently for the first time having cruised multiple times on Azamara as well. We began comparing notes and it seems that we both had reached the very same conclusions! She had cruised with Azamara on the sailing after mine to Asia 2 years ago and had just taken the Baltic cruise before mine.

I just want to say that the shoreside experience on Oceania is FAR superior to the Azamara service. From the President down, there seems to be a very genuine desire to ensure that you are well served pre-cruise, thereby setting one up for a extraordinary cruising experience.

I will add that it was a wonderful vacation, one where I met many new friends and had a truly amazing time with my "old" friends. I am encouraging the whole group to share their experiences on CC - but we had spoken a great deal about the cruise and I will try to keep with feelings that we all shared about our cruise.

Our Cruise Critic party was held in a lovely venue - outside Canyon Ranch Spa in a sheltered area. Of all CC meet and greets, I just want to say that it was the best I have ever been to. Oceania went out of their way to serve lovely canapés and a FULL bar that was no charge. Bernie did an extraordinary job on setting it up. I understand that there was a misunderstanding about the cost for this little shindig and that the open bar may just be the first and last where this happened but it was lovely none the less and I am very sure that there would have been no problem with a cash bar for our members. Oceania even sent over the "wandering" magician - Mio - and he entertained us for quite some time. Our sincere thanks to Oceania for this superb event!

In the meantime, please bear with me for a little bit longer, while I put my thoughts together!
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Cindi
#70
GTA, Ontario, Canada
34,584 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by cindilouwho
Our Cruise Critic party was held in a lovely venue - outside Canyon Ranch Spa in a sheltered area. Of all CC meet and greets, I just want to say that it was the best I have ever been to. Oceania went out of their way to serve lovely canapés and a FULL bar that was no charge. Bernie did an extraordinary job on setting it up. I understand that there was a misunderstanding about the cost for this little shindig and that the open bar may just be the first and last where this happened but it was lovely none the less and I am very sure that there would have been no problem with a cash bar for our members. Oceania even sent over the "wandering" magician - Mio - and he entertained us for quite some time. Our sincere thanks to Oceania for this superb event!
Another case of special treatment for a select few
Disappointed in O after all of the other cruises of trying to get just some minor assistance
Many people would be just happy getting some help with space for the M & G a few canapes would not go amiss either

I guess it is who you impress whether you get extra perks

Lyn
#71
Arizona
5,061 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
I think it is just a crapshoot

O has no formal policy of supporting CC events but it can and has happened.

When we had 200+ CCers on a TA we had a wonderful ship sponsored party with some help from " friend." That's a lot of folks to ignore.

On my last cruise on Nautica we had nothing special arranged with O, but when I went to the Concierge to set the location and give him the stateroom numbers for the invites, the F&B director with whom I had dined with in the past came out of the office and overheard the conversation. He surprised us with delicious hors d'oeuvres (caviar included) (we paid for drinks). He also sent the Head Bartender to supervise to make sure we were well taken care of. He was just being nice -- customer service IMO.

O's lack of a formal commitment to CC events just means they are not obliged to put something together or host the event. But every cruise is different and you never know.

If I am organizing the event, I try to find a supportive ear and get a little something for the group. Hope springs eternal. If I fail, nothing lost. If I get something, it's a delightful surprise.
#72
Toronto, Canada
1,563 Posts
Joined Dec 2003
Originally posted by Jancruz
Hi Cindi, I am surprised you could tell us nothing while you were on board..even if there were issues, you are eating, sleeping, touring etc..that I would hope you could discuss some of that ..
Hope you can discuss all with us ..
Jancruz1
Quite honestly Jan - I was really enjoying each and every day with my "peeps" and the internet service onboard was very slow. If I took the time to discuss my every movement, I would have wasted precious vacation time and taken away from all the good times that I can now write about at my leisure.

I really was savouring every single moment.....from my experience on Lufthansa's first class on the new 747 configuration (separate seat and BED - where the flight attendant woke me AFTER we landed....everyone was leaving and I was still in my jammies ) --- to the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt (bath with rubber duckie) ... and then to the wonderful hotel in Vienna (Hollmann Beletage) where I fell in love with one of the world's most beautiful cities. From my harrowing 6 hour train from Budapest to Vienna on my last day before flying to Stockholm to catch the ship, almost missing my 5 am transfer from the hotel to the airport where I was exploring Stockholm and the Ice Bar with my friends with no sleep for almost 72 hours!!!!!!

I have scolded other CC posters about getting off the darn site and getting the heck out there!!!! Travel is about experiences that I will share with you with full descriptions now that I can take time to get them all out!

I can tell you that we had wonderful tours with Guide-Guru and Natalia --- never have I been so lucky as to have had such knowledgable guides who got us through several hours of intense sightseeing in extremely crowded venues with such professionalism. With the exception on of one destination (where the scheduled guide took ill) all were exemplary and were lower costs than any of the other tour operators. In Poland - we used another company and Pawel was superb. Tour was well priced and the guide was a young man with lots of love for his country - it showed and the tour was great. We were one of the last people to make it back but we got every moment we could with this fantastic young man. Who was - incidentally - very good looking

Yes Jan - we ate - my scale shows it. I have a new love in my life from the cruise ......

VODKA hahahaha ....... maybe you were thinking " THATS why she didn't write.... we found Russian Standard and Bison Grass vodka and Beluga - which is all to die for. On my evening with my family in SPB we ate at a fabulous restaurant in the residential section and we danced and pounded back the vodka like true Russians. Next day I thought for sure I would pay for this but ...NO aftereffects!!!! Love this stuff! Maybe I will move to Russia!!!!

Best place to shop in SPB - the gift shop at the Grand Choral synagogue .... everything is half the price of anywhere else. And the crafts are exquisite.
Maybe God spared me the hangover because I went to temple on Friday!!!!! LOL It was a very unique experience and it was fantastic!

This trip was jam packed with sightseeing - it's not a relaxing time spent by the beach. It was go go go. Most days had us on the road at 8 and back on the ship by 5.

Shopping for amber is best done in Talinn Estonia. Prices are better there than Russia. Try the Amber Waves in Upper Town. Get some Pandora charms in Amber there for $20E. Best bargain around. Woolens are best in the Lower Town. If you aren't going to Berlin ....skip Rostock and stay in Warnemunde....what a lovely place to wander around ... go to the beach there and watch the people ...

Gdansk - LOVE IT --- take time to stop and have a fresh microbrew and kielbasa and pierogies on any side street. Buy Bison Grass Vodka.... good deals on amber there too!

In Copenhagen --- make time to go to the market in the main square and take time to visit Christiana -- the hippie commune. Go with a guide. We booked historian and Professor Paul Hartvigson and Paul de Wolfe. We got the full treatment and skipped nothing of interest. Do the pub crawl with them ..... three days of sightseeing plus transfers for less than US100 per person.

Don't miss a drink at the Ice Bar in Stockholm ..... gotta do it ..... book in advance on their website and save a few $$$. Shop at the City Hall souvenir shop as it is less expensive than anywhere else for souvenirs - fun wooden butter knives and little platters with the horse painted on them are great gifts and light and easy to pack.

Helsinki - for upmarket shoppers there are good prices on Longchamp and Furla purses as they have sales on! Don't miss the folk market in the centre of the city - try the reindeer meatballs and fried anchovies ..... excellent ----this is the best place to buy fur hats!!!!!!! Everywhere else is too expensive. a good mink hat will cost less than 100E in this market. Woolens and other handcrafted items are excellent value in this market!!!! There is a lady selling water colours that are so delicate they will blow your mind. I got several unframed pieces that were less than 15E each.....

Things are expensive in this part of the world ... Russia being the worst. Find unique treasures. The crafts are of high quality and are lovely but not cheap. Things for the most part are not made in China.

Shopping on the ship.....unless you have deep pockets and don't care what you spend ....or you have a rich Sugar Daddy (I looked but couldn't find one).... it's pricey. Beautiful things but I just window shopped. The amber was 3 times the price of Talinn. Same pieces.

Same with Canyon Ranch ---- wow. I am a Spa Junkie but I couldn't do it. In Vienna I found a place called Mon Corps. A Hammam. But BETTER. For $189.00 tip included, I got a 4 hour treatment. Tea First then the sauna - then the washing ritual - 2 practitioners, then the Rasaul med treatement, while that was on I got my hair washed and a foot massage. Followed by rest period where I was served Ice Cream and cookies. Then a 30 minute Morrocan Oil rub. Then nuts and tea. I was cacabrained after!! Don't really know how I managed to take the Ubahn back to my hotel after being in town only a few hours. Now THAT treatment is hard to beat.

A surprise pop up rainstorm in Hungary cut short my touring and caused me and my guide and my friend from the Hollmann hotel to run into a hotel for "tea" (read: Martinis).....the Corinthia Hotel - Budapest - where I met a couple from Little Rock who were waiting to board a River Cruise that was delayed due to flood damage to the locks. They regaled us with stories of Bill and Hillary and trips abroad with Ed Meese during the Reagan years .... this is why I travel!!!!
OH THE PEOPLE YOU'LL MEET!


So - this is the fluff.......I know that you are all anxious to hear what will be the ravings of the Azamara Cheerleader about her Newbie cruise on Oceania.
OH - THE STORIES YOU'LL HEAR!!!



Stay tuned ... I am just revving up.
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Happy Sailings....ALWAYS!

Cindi
#73
San Francisco Bay Area
8,527 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Originally posted by LHT28
Another case of special treatment for a select few
Disappointed in O after all of the other cruises of trying to get just some minor assistance
Many people would be just happy getting some help with space for the M & G a few canapes would not go amiss either

I guess it is who you impress whether you get extra perks

Lyn
+1
Lyn, I think you and I were on the Marina when we had some much "resistance" from the staff just to get space for a M&G. I remeber I had asked for a mike so that the "leader" and others could be heard better - no dice from the concierge it's a good thing I didn't ask for (free) canapés - no telling what I'd be told then .
I was on 3 segments B2B and it didn't help me any on the other segments either.
#74
Toronto, Canada
1,563 Posts
Joined Dec 2003
Originally posted by LHT28
Another case of special treatment for a select few
Disappointed in O after all of the other cruises of trying to get just some minor assistance
Many people would be just happy getting some help with space for the M & G a few canapes would not go amiss either

I guess it is who you impress whether you get extra perks

Lyn
Bernie worked unceasingly on this - I did not - I just attended.

I can tell you that he spent hours arranging it before and more time onboard making sure it happened properly. Select few???????

I don't understand your comment about who we impressed.

This was just a case of very hard work on Boooomers part for sure ,,,,,,,
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Happy Sailings....ALWAYS!

Cindi
#75
Toronto, Canada
1,563 Posts
Joined Dec 2003
Originally posted by pacheco18
I think it is just a crapshoot

O has no formal policy of supporting CC events but it can and has happened.

When we had 200+ CCers on a TA we had a wonderful ship sponsored party with some help from " friend." That's a lot of folks to ignore.

On my last cruise on Nautica we had nothing special arranged with O, but when I went to the Concierge to set the location and give him the stateroom numbers for the invites, the F&B director with whom I had dined with in the past came out of the office and overheard the conversation. He surprised us with delicious hors d'oeuvres (caviar included) (we paid for drinks). He also sent the Head Bartender to supervise to make sure we were well taken care of. He was just being nice -- customer service IMO.

O's lack of a formal commitment to CC events just means they are not obliged to put something together or host the event. But every cruise is different and you never know.

If I am organizing the event, I try to find a supportive ear and get a little something for the group. Hope springs eternal. If I fail, nothing lost. If I get something, it's a delightful surprise.
Well said.
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Happy Sailings....ALWAYS!

Cindi
#76
Arizona
5,061 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by cindilouwho
Quite honestly Jan - I was really enjoying each and every day with my "peeps" and the internet service onboard was very slow. If I took the time to discuss my every movement, I would have wasted precious vacation time and taken away from all the good times that I can now write about at my leisure.

I really was savouring every single moment.....from my experience on Lufthansa's first class on the new 747 configuration (separate seat and BED - where the flight attendant woke me AFTER we landed....everyone was leaving and I was still in my jammies ) --- to the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt (bath with rubber duckie) ... and then to the wonderful hotel in Vienna (Hollmann Beletage) where I fell in love with one of the world's most beautiful cities. From my harrowing 6 hour train from Budapest to Vienna on my last day before flying to Stockholm to catch the ship, almost missing my 5 am transfer from the hotel to the airport where I was exploring Stockholm and the Ice Bar with my friends with no sleep for almost 72 hours!!!!!!

I have scolded other CC posters about getting off the darn site and getting the heck out there!!!! Travel is about experiences that I will share with you with full descriptions now that I can take time to get them all out!

I can tell you that we had wonderful tours with Guide-Guru and Natalia --- never have I been so lucky as to have had such knowledgable guides who got us through several hours of intense sightseeing in extremely crowded venues with such professionalism. With the exception on of one destination (where the scheduled guide took ill) all were exemplary and were lower costs than any of the other tour operators. In Poland - we used another company and Pawel was superb. Tour was well priced and the guide was a young man with lots of love for his country - it showed and the tour was great. We were one of the last people to make it back but we got every moment we could with this fantastic young man. Who was - incidentally - very good looking

Yes Jan - we ate - my scale shows it. I have a new love in my life from the cruise ......

VODKA hahahaha ....... maybe you were thinking " THATS why she didn't write.... we found Russian Standard and Bison Grass vodka and Beluga - which is all to die for. On my evening with my family in SPB we ate at a fabulous restaurant in the residential section and we danced and pounded back the vodka like true Russians. Next day I thought for sure I would pay for this but ...NO aftereffects!!!! Love this stuff! Maybe I will move to Russia!!!!

Best place to shop in SPB - the gift shop at the Grand Choral synagogue .... everything is half the price of anywhere else. And the crafts are exquisite.
Maybe God spared me the hangover because I went to temple on Friday!!!!! LOL It was a very unique experience and it was fantastic!

This trip was jam packed with sightseeing - it's not a relaxing time spent by the beach. It was go go go. Most days had us on the road at 8 and back on the ship by 5.

Shopping for amber is best done in Talinn Estonia. Prices are better there than Russia. Try the Amber Waves in Upper Town. Get some Pandora charms in Amber there for $20E. Best bargain around. Woolens are best in the Lower Town. If you aren't going to Berlin ....skip Rostock and stay in Warnemunde....what a lovely place to wander around ... go to the beach there and watch the people ...

Gdansk - LOVE IT --- take time to stop and have a fresh microbrew and kielbasa and pierogies on any side street. Buy Bison Grass Vodka.... good deals on amber there too!

In Copenhagen --- make time to go to the market in the main square and take time to visit Christiana -- the hippie commune. Go with a guide. We booked historian and Professor Paul Hartvigson and Paul de Wolfe. We got the full treatment and skipped nothing of interest. Do the pub crawl with them ..... three days of sightseeing plus transfers for less than US100 per person.

Don't miss a drink at the Ice Bar in Stockholm ..... gotta do it ..... book in advance on their website and save a few $$$. Shop at the City Hall souvenir shop as it is less expensive than anywhere else for souvenirs - fun wooden butter knives and little platters with the horse painted on them are great gifts and light and easy to pack.

Helsinki - for upmarket shoppers there are good prices on Longchamp and Furla purses as they have sales on! Don't miss the folk market in the centre of the city - try the reindeer meatballs and fried anchovies ..... excellent ----this is the best place to buy fur hats!!!!!!! Everywhere else is too expensive. a good mink hat will cost less than 100E in this market. Woolens and other handcrafted items are excellent value in this market!!!! There is a lady selling water colours that are so delicate they will blow your mind. I got several unframed pieces that were less than 15E each.....

Things are expensive in this part of the world ... Russia being the worst. Find unique treasures. The crafts are of high quality and are lovely but not cheap. Things for the most part are not made in China.

Shopping on the ship.....unless you have deep pockets and don't care what you spend ....or you have a rich Sugar Daddy (I looked but couldn't find one).... it's pricey. Beautiful things but I just window shopped. The amber was 3 times the price of Talinn. Same pieces.

Same with Canyon Ranch ---- wow. I am a Spa Junkie but I couldn't do it. In Vienna I found a place called Mon Corps. A Hammam. But BETTER. For $189.00 tip included, I got a 4 hour treatment. Tea First then the sauna - then the washing ritual - 2 practitioners, then the Rasaul med treatement, while that was on I got my hair washed and a foot massage. Followed by rest period where I was served Ice Cream and cookies. Then a 30 minute Morrocan Oil rub. Then nuts and tea. I was cacabrained after!! Don't really know how I managed to take the Ubahn back to my hotel after being in town only a few hours. Now THAT treatment is hard to beat.

A surprise pop up rainstorm in Hungary cut short my touring and caused me and my guide and my friend from the Hollmann hotel to run into a hotel for "tea" (read: Martinis).....the Corinthia Hotel - Budapest - where I met a couple from Little Rock who were waiting to board a River Cruise that was delayed due to flood damage to the locks. They regaled us with stories of Bill and Hillary and trips abroad with Ed Meese during the Reagan years .... this is why I travel!!!!
OH THE PEOPLE YOU'LL MEET!


So - this is the fluff.......I know that you are all anxious to hear what will be the ravings of the Azamara Cheerleader about her Newbie cruise on Oceania.
OH - THE STORIES YOU'LL HEAR!!!



Stay tuned ... I am just revving up.

What's your next cruise -- we need to shop together!
The O spa -- they are kidding of course -- between the shore excursions and the spa, they have priced themselves out of my life.

You think going to synagogue helps with cruising? I need to go more often. LOL

Really anxious to get your impressions of the O experience and the comparison to your beloved Azamara (which I will be on in a month - with the WORST shoreside service in the world).
#78
San Diego
9,991 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Originally posted by Paulchili
+1
Lyn, I think you and I were on the Marina when we had some much "resistance" from the staff just to get space for a M&G. I remeber I had asked for a mike so that the "leader" and others could be heard better - no dice from the concierge it's a good thing I didn't ask for (free) canapés - no telling what I'd be told then .
I was on 3 segments B2B and it didn't help me any on the other segments either.
don't get me started!!! LuAnn
#79
GTA, Ontario, Canada
34,584 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by Paulchili
+1
Lyn, I think you and I were on the Marina when we had some much "resistance" from the staff just to get space for a M&G. I remeber I had asked for a mike so that the "leader" and others could be heard better - no dice from the concierge it's a good thing I didn't ask for (free) canapés - no telling what I'd be told then .
I was on 3 segments B2B and it didn't help me any on the other segments either.
Yes & I had almost 100 people on that cruise I tried to work with the concierge but was put off on several days
#80
Arizona
5,061 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by cindilouwho
I thought I had some of the good stuff..... THE SHOPPING TIPS. Trust me - I KNOW how to shop.

"If it ain't half off, it ain't on sale."
Fran from "the Nanny".
Sounds like u might be overpaying. Lol
U might need my help