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DeepFreeze63

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I reported on our terrific Cape Town to Rio cruise and the Explorer suite that we loved in earlier posts. I thought I should finish with posting some other significant events.

 

To Cape Town: I took the $10K Regent rebate and did our air with FF miles on AA – not as good a result as I planned for.

We only booked the cruise in November and were committed to home until after Christmas – so limited FF flights in available in business class. Result (43 hours from home to CP hotel): flew BA on New Year’s Eve; spent New Year’s day in Heathrow Terminal 5 and the BA lounge; flew next day to CP with a change (and a required luggage recheck)  for 5 hours in Johannesburg.

Nice parts: good food on planes and in the nice airport lounges in BWI, LHR, and JB.

Not-so-nice parts: BA fees of $1500 on our FF tickets; can’t get seat assignments on BA until 24 hours before flight unless you pay a fee; BA seats in their 380’s BC are 2-4-2 (“configuration matters”); and, can’t recheck luggage in JB until 2 hours before flight (pushed large luggage strollers for several hours).

In Cape Town: A delightful place to visit. With our air travails, we only had 4 nights there; a few more would have made it perfect. We stayed 1 night at the Westin and then 3 more there with Regent’s “Winelands and Wildlife” pre-cruise excursion. A conference hotel but modern and very nice – we had access to the executive lounge. All 3 days with Regent were action packed at enjoyable venues – terrific food and great photo ops. About 60 of us were split between 2 buses. Good value – yes, our pre-cruise package was extra-cost although the other Regent Cape Town cruises weren’t.

In Rio: Explorer was 1st of 4 ships to arrive in port but last to be cleared by authorities. Port (and city) had much nicer appearance than when visited on Mariner 6 years earlier. But still chaotic – friends reported that the excursion to Christ the Redeemer was the “excursion from hell”. We had stayed on board fighting a cold as that Saturday was about 100F and very humid.

From Rio: More chaos on disembarking – people on wrong bus (entry was in a very dark garage); luggage being mistakenly returned to ship, etc.

We used Regent ($159 p.p.) for airport transfer and to fill the Sunday until our mid-night flight. They put us up in 2 large conference rooms (with water, coffee and nice finger food) at the Copacabana Hilton with luggage in a separate secured area. Many of our group opted to get day rooms at the Hilton. Transport to the Rio airport depended on flight departure times; the last run to the airport was at 6:30. Check-in at the airport was very well executed: carts and porters waiting (no extra charge) and escorts to the check-in areas, and very competent/affable AA check-in staff. Rio airport is amazingly nice – modern and efficient!

The AA configuration of 2-2-2 in BC was refreshing as it was a much longer flight (to JFK) than I thought. JFK in winter weather on a National Holiday during the government shutdown – yes delays and cancellations – 38 hours from ship to home.

 

My Take-Away: Plan better. Carefully consider several options, especially flying home after dinner on the ship the night before disembarkation. Others did that; why was I not listening?

 

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Wow.  The travel issues are more daunting than I thought.  Almost makes me glad we had to reschedule this cruise...

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19 hours ago, DeepFreeze63 said:

My Take-Away: Plan better. Carefully consider several options, especially flying home after dinner on the ship the night before disembarkation. Others did that; why was I not listening?

 

We were fortunate that our TA was aware of the issues involved in staying overnight on the ship in Rio and he suggested we consider leaving the ship the first night rather than spend the following day “waiting” somewhere in Rio.  We left the ship that first evening, called for an Uber ride to the airport, and had no issues or delays heading back to Denver through Miami.  This was our first time entering the US through Miami and we were very surprised and pleased with how quickly we moved through the process and how efficient it was.

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We will never fly through LHR on BA on FF mileage. The cost is absurd. $2,000.00 or more for taxes. I would rather buy my tix than pay that “fee” !

We just did that. Purchased business class to Israel rather than use mileage through LHR. A matter of principle. 

When we flew to Capetown, several years ago, we used FF mileage from United for South African Air. From Dulles to Joberg to CP. Business Class. Taxes were a couple of dollars. Rechecked our luggage immediately. No problems. Flew same route back. We did the CPT-CPT cruise. 

Sheila

Edited by Bellaggio Cruisers

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When the ship overnights in any port that we have been to previously, we leave the night before.  Ten months ago, we overnighted in Hong Kong - left the ship after dinner for a 12:30 a.m. flight the next morning.  All we miss is sleeping on the ship and waiting to disembark.  Much easier to leave the night before.

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Please refer to DeepFreeze63s initial Thread--"A Terrific but Different Cruise":

 

Second, or third, support comments posted by others on this Thread as to early departure from a ship while in port the night before debarkation.  Will not repeat myself as to our December, 2015 Mariner Cape Town to Rio experience.  For those planning a similar itinerary--

 

Refer to my posting on that earlier Thread.  Early planning is key.  Like, 18 months in advance, if possible.  And, having a competent TA who knows the ropes. 

 

GOARMY!

 

 

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We are sailing Barcelona to Dubai this fall and it overnights in Dubai. We will deviate and take a late night flight out if we can rather than stay overnight.  We can deviate as of today so will contact our TA tomorrow and ask her to release the booking so i can talk to Regent Air to check our options. 

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33 minutes ago, 1982CruzStart said:

We are sailing Barcelona to Dubai this fall and it overnights in Dubai. We will deviate and take a late night flight out if we can rather than stay overnight.  We can deviate as of today so will contact our TA tomorrow and ask her to release the booking so i can talk to Regent Air to check our options. 

 

We are doing an almost identical itinerary next year (Lisbon to Dubai).  Don't know if you check flights prior to talking with Regent but we like to know our options because who knows what Regent Air will offer.  We select our flights, email them to our TA and they call Regent.  We get a response generally the same day.

 

We fly out of Vancouver and, from what I've read on CC, Emirates is the absolute best airline to use into and out of Dubai.  If you fly back from Dubai to Seattle (we don't like Seattle but may do it for this cruise), there are non-stop flights.  If you fly out of Vancouver, it makes a stop in Seattle.  We definitely plan to book Emirates.  I quickly looked at the flight times and there are some at night and some during the day.

 

We have flown to Barcelona so many times (as recently as November).  We know that Regent will approve British Airways and Lufthansa and sometimes will approve Air Canada. Note:  We do not look at U.S. airlines due to probable stops in the U.S. that would be coach.  

 

Anyway, you may want to check out flights on this website http://matrix.itasoftware.com - just so you know what your choices are.  I tend to sort the flights by the shortest time (including stops).  We flew Lufthansa in November but had to deal with Frankfurt which is worse than we've ever seen it.  

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10 hours ago, 1982CruzStart said:

We are sailing Barcelona to Dubai this fall and it overnights in Dubai. We will deviate and take a late night flight out if we can rather than stay overnight.  We can deviate as of today so will contact our TA tomorrow and ask her to release the booking so i can talk to Regent Air to check our options. 

We are sailing this same itinerary in 2020 and will deviate with the hope of using the non-stop flight from Dubai to LAX on Emirates.  I would appreciate knowing if you will get your preferred airline - Emirates from Regent.   The next best route seems to be Dubai -Hong Kong-Lax on Cathay Pacific but it adds about 6 hours to the trip even though the transfer in Hong Kong is only a little more than an hour.  The non-stop is much preferred.

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10 hours ago, amusea said:

We are sailing this same itinerary in 2020 and will deviate with the hope of using the non-stop flight from Dubai to LAX on Emirates.  I would appreciate knowing if you will get your preferred airline - Emirates from Regent.   The next best route seems to be Dubai -Hong Kong-Lax on Cathay Pacific but it adds about 6 hours to the trip even though the transfer in Hong Kong is only a little more than an hour.  The non-stop is much preferred.

 

I would be very surprised if Regent did not approve Emirate as it is Regent passengers' posts that has us so intrude with Emirates.  So, unless Regent no longer has a contract with Emirates, it should not be a problem (also assumes that one deviates at 270 days out so that "contracted" seats are still available.

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11 hours ago, amusea said:

We are sailing this same itinerary in 2020 and will deviate with the hope of using the non-stop flight from Dubai to LAX on Emirates.  I would appreciate knowing if you will get your preferred airline - Emirates from Regent.   The next best route seems to be Dubai -Hong Kong-Lax on Cathay Pacific but it adds about 6 hours to the trip even though the transfer in Hong Kong is only a little more than an hour.  The non-stop is much preferred.

 

56 minutes ago, Travelcat2 said:

 

I would be very surprised if Regent did not approve Emirate as it is Regent passengers' posts that has us so intrude with Emirates.  So, unless Regent no longer has a contract with Emirates, it should not be a problem (also assumes that one deviates at 270 days out so that "contracted" seats are still available.

A couple of months ago, I checked with Regent on using Emirates from LAX - DXB.  While Regent could book Emirates, there was an upcharge of $1500 pp.  Maybe things have changed now.  Worth checking with Regent.

 

Dave

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21 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

 

We are doing an almost identical itinerary next year (Lisbon to Dubai).  Don't know if you check flights prior to talking with Regent but we like to know our options because who knows what Regent Air will offer.  We select our flights, email them to our TA and they call Regent.  We get a response generally the same day.

 

We fly out of Vancouver and, from what I've read on CC, Emirates is the absolute best airline to use into and out of Dubai.  If you fly back from Dubai to Seattle (we don't like Seattle but may do it for this cruise), there are non-stop flights.  If you fly out of Vancouver, it makes a stop in Seattle.  We definitely plan to book Emirates.  I quickly looked at the flight times and there are some at night and some during the day.

 

We have flown to Barcelona so many times (as recently as November).  We know that Regent will approve British Airways and Lufthansa and sometimes will approve Air Canada. Note:  We do not look at U.S. airlines due to probable stops in the U.S. that would be coach.  

 

Anyway, you may want to check out flights on this website http://matrix.itasoftware.com - just so you know what your choices are.  I tend to sort the flights by the shortest time (including stops).  We flew Lufthansa in November but had to deal with Frankfurt which is worse than we've ever seen it.  

Thanks for the info. 

I always check my options on the above website so that i know what i may or may not want before i talk to them.  We flew through FRA in November as well and i am going to try and avoid it if i can. 

Generally i avoid going through the US if possible for a number of reasons but i will consider the SEA option because we can fly directly home from there. We don't have to fly into YVR to get home. 

 

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13 minutes ago, DaveFr said:

 

A couple of months ago, I checked with Regent on using Emirates from LAX - DXB.  While Regent could book Emirates, there was an upcharge of $1500 pp.  Maybe things have changed now.  Worth checking with Regent.

 

Dave

That was the case when we looked at flying into DXB a few years ago. We could go with Emirates but at that time they were charging an extra 1000 pp. I am not likely to pay extra but i will check it out when i talk to them just in case. 

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The last two posts are extremely interesting!  So many Regent passengers have flown Emirates and this is the first time I've heard of an uncharge.  Apparently this has been going on for a long time.  Do not think that I'll recommend Emirates in the future without also saying that there is an uncharge.  And, now we are rethinking our flight home from Dubai next year.

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5 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

The last two posts are extremely interesting!  So many Regent passengers have flown Emirates and this is the first time I've heard of an uncharge.  Apparently this has been going on for a long time.  Do not think that I'll recommend Emirates in the future without also saying that there is an uncharge.  And, now we are rethinking our flight home from Dubai next year.

Several of our family members recently flew via Emirates from JFK through Dubai to Cape Town. They did not pay to deviate and received this itinerary from Regent several months before the flight. No upcharge and no deviation fee. I think the use of Emirates cannot be generalized in terms of whether or not Regent uses them or requires an upcharge. Looks like It just depends on the routes flown and what agreements they have in place with the various airlines for the various routes.  By the way, they loved Emirates in every way. 

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53 minutes ago, Focused1 said:

Several of our family members recently flew via Emirates from JFK through Dubai to Cape Town. They did not pay to deviate and received this itinerary from Regent several months before the flight. No upcharge and no deviation fee. I think the use of Emirates cannot be generalized in terms of whether or not Regent uses them or requires an upcharge. Looks like It just depends on the routes flown and what agreements they have in place with the various airlines for the various routes.  By the way, they loved Emirates in every way. 

 

Thank you for that input.  I'll keep that in mind!

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If anybody is able to book Emirates for a long flight with Regent please report back here about the whether or not an upcharge was part of the deal.  Perhaps certain days are more busy and the cost of the Emirates ticket fluctuates depending on the day.

We will be flying from Dubai  back to LAX in Nov. 2020.  I was thinking that if we stay for a few days after debarking in Dubai it might make it easier to obtain an Emirates ticket.

 

An alternate plan would be to stop somewhere in Europe on the way back to the USA but I think that those cheaper wholesale fares that Emirates  uses might not allow you to make a stopover.

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i spoke to Regent Air yesterday as i am looking at deviating our Barcelona to Dubai flights. I specifically asked her about using Emirates and she told me that we could use Emirates but it would be a $1500 pp upcharge for us to do so. I asked her about SEA so not sure if that is also true for LAX but i am guessing it might be. 

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2 hours ago, 1982CruzStart said:

i spoke to Regent Air yesterday as i am looking at deviating our Barcelona to Dubai flights. I specifically asked her about using Emirates and she told me that we could use Emirates but it would be a $1500 pp upcharge for us to do so. I asked her about SEA so not sure if that is also true for LAX but i am guessing it might be. 

 

Thank you for that update!

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On 1/28/2019 at 8:34 AM, Travelcat2 said:

 

 

We are doing an almost identical itinerary next year (Lisbon to Dubai). 

 

Treavelcat2, which cruise are you doing - I've tried to find this itinerary, but failed? ... Thank you

Edited by Kiwifromkiev

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2 minutes ago, Kiwifromkiev said:

 

Treavelcat2, which cruise are you doing - I've tried to find this itinerary, but failed? ... Thank you

 

Sorry - I have Lisbon on the brain today - we just booked flights for later this year.  The cruise that I was referring to is actually Barcelona to Dubai in November, 2020.  We have done an almost identical itinerary previously and loved it.  Since we are only sailing on Explorer (or Splendor) through next year, this was a good choice for us.

 

Slightly off topic but I see that you sailed on the new Celebrity Edge.  How was your experience?  I’ve heard wonderful things about that ship.

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14 minutes ago, Travelcat2 said:

 

Sorry - I have Lisbon on the brain today - we just booked flights for later this year.  The cruise that I was referring to is actually Barcelona to Dubai in November, 2020.  We have done an almost identical itinerary previously and loved it.  Since we are only sailing on Explorer (or Splendor) through next year, this was a good choice for us.

 

Slightly off topic but I see that you sailed on the new Celebrity Edge.  How was your experience?  I’ve heard wonderful things about that ship.

We've done a b2b on the Edge and absolutely loved it. There are two distinct groups (hardly anybody is "on a fence") - people either love it or hate it. We loved it, and were so glad we booked b2b!

 

I know you are not a fan or "larger" ships but we have not been on a luxury line before (although did a river cruise) - our first Regent is booked for next year. However, the experience on the Edge was quite amazing - we never felt there were 2.5k people. There were always places to sit, to eat, as well as quiet places. The only time it was a bit crowded where were tendered in Grand Cayman, it was a bit rough and they could not use their own tender (as  I understand it). We were booked in an infinite veranda, so we were not "secluded" in the Retreat (special suite area) and Luminae (restaurant). I have to say that their copncept of having 4 smaller MDRs with distinct dishes for each as well as "common" for all was great. We've tried most of the specialty dining as well and really enjoyed it all. I am sure you will hear totally different responses from other cruisers, especially long tern Celebrity loyalists. However, for us - this was great. Different, one has to have an open mind, but great!

Edited by Kiwifromkiev

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Kiwifromkiev - thank you for responding to my question regarding the Edge.  If we decide to go on another Celebrity cruise, that is likely the ship we'd be interested in.   As I have mentioned previously, I had two issues on Celebrity that put me off of wanting to try them again (my DH would like to try them again).

 

1.  Muster - was dangerous - putting too many people in a room for 45 minutes - very hot - few seats and no one could hear a word that was being said.

 

2.  Food on the buffet was, in our opinion, inedible (even though it looks good).  To make it wore, Luminae was not open for lunch  nor was any other decent restaurant (except for the sushi restaurant on a couple of days which was good).

 

Sorry to get off topic.  I do think that Celebrity is a good change of pace for Regent cruisers.

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