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aquidneck1

Port Stop Time Reductions

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12 minutes ago, aquidneck1 said:

According to their website now, all of our stops have been extended to the original times.  We  have not been notified.  This is making me a bit crazy.  Maybe someone just made a mistake?????

Crazy!  Glad to hear things are back to the original state. 

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Just came back from 14 days in the Baltic with Marina. Excellent cruise - BUT - they did not cut the port times but changed the berths from inner city berths to industrial harbour berths far far away. (Copenhagen, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Gothenborg) Only Oslo, Talinn and  Warnemunde remained. How do we know? Our TA provides us with the berths before every cruise - and they were accurate in the last about 120 cruise days. And: even on OCs maps on the screen you could see that the "green dot" (the place where we should have been) and "the arrow" (the actual place) were at different places.

 

They provided a shuttle in Helsinki, Gothenborg and Stockholm, but this snatched always about at least an hour of the port time. In St Petersburg - honni soit qe mal y pense - they provided us with an additional letter , that independent travellers were not allowed to disembark every day in the first 90 mins - for "official optimizing the time slots". So the independent travellers had about 3 hours cut from their time budget every day. And the ones who used OCs excursions had an 3 hour Hermitage excursion which came down to about 90 mins in the museum.

 

IMHO both observations (port hours and port berths) are a cost cutting measure - and a revenue increasing one - as independent planning gets nearly impossible because you can´t include a margin for getting back in time to the ship. So you have to buy their excursions. So no more "your world, your way" - but "your world, our way". 

Edited by ochealaaf

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We were on Nautica last month in the Baltic.   In Helsinki and St Petersburg we were berthed in town, just about 2 minutes walk from the Market Place in Helsinki and quite near to the Hermitage in St Petes.    Shuttles provided in Tallin and Stockholm (quite a distance) but these docks were as expected.   Usually you can see where you will be berthed by looking on the Port Schedules in each port you are visiting.  Sounds like Oceania got it wrong.  Perhaps they should have looked at the Port Schedules 🤣

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7 hours ago, ochealaaf said:

They provided a shuttle in Helsinki, Gothenborg and Stockholm, but this snatched always about at least an hour of the port time. In St Petersburg - honni soit qe mal y pense - they provided us with an additional letter , that independent travellers were not allowed to disembark every day in the first 90 mins - for "official optimizing the time slots". So the independent travellers had about 3 hours cut from their time budget every day. And the ones who used OCs excursions had an 3 hour Hermitage excursion which came down to about 90 mins in the museum.

From what I just read elsewhere (well, not right now but a day or two ago) this delay for private tours is not Oceania's fault ... it's the goverment's changing the rules.

 

When I first read the post I wondered why the government would feel a need to delay those on independent tours to this extent.  When we were in St. P. on Renaissance we had our own visas and just left when we wanted.  When we were in Russian ports in 2012 on the black sea cruise we had no such limitation.

 

If I were in to conspiracy theories I MIGHT think that Oceania had encouraged this change ... but somehow I really cannot believe that!  The cruise line knows that they cannot place ALL of their passengers on ship's tours.

 

Mura

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Yes, the Russian government has instituted a rule that there is a hierarchy for disembarkation to lessen the impact on the immigration staff and traffic congestion at the terminal.  However, the implementation is totally within the control of O.  We were in St. Petersburg in June of this year on Viking and we were allowed to walk off the ship to meet our private tour on our schedule.  There was no "pecking" order.  The Viking ships have a max pax count of 930, the R ships 680ish and the O ships 1200ish?.  This is not going to create any logistical issues when compared to the mass market mega ships.  In St. Petersburg, each ship has it's own terminal area, so not an issue with multiple ships in the same spot.  Something is amiss with O implementing this restriction. In fact when we left the ship soon after being cleared, we walked into passport control at the terminal and there was no line whatsoever and we where with our tour guide within 5 minutes despite Viking tours leaving concurrently. 

Edited by ropomo

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Yes, when we were there some years ago (on Marina), there was a lot of congestion in the terminal the first day, as well as long lines on the ship to get off.  It was one stop where EVERYONE wanted to get off as early as possible to meet tour guides. We toured with Alla, and 2 people didn't make it to the meeting place on time. After waiting a short time, Alla sent the rest of us along on our tour and had a driver stay behind to collect and catch the 2 people up to us.  So terminal congestion affects a lot of things/people, and it's probably a good thing that a solution is being sought.  

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21 hours ago, ochealaaf said:

Just came back from 14 days in the Baltic with Marina. Excellent cruise - BUT - they did not cut the port times but changed the berths from inner city berths to industrial harbour berths far far away. (Copenhagen, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Gothenborg) Only Oslo, Talinn and  Warnemunde remained. How do we know? Our TA provides us with the berths before every cruise - and they were accurate in the last about 120 cruise days. And: even on OCs maps on the screen you could see that the "green dot" (the place where we should have been) and "the arrow" (the actual place) were at different places.

 

They provided a shuttle in Helsinki, Gothenborg and Stockholm, but this snatched always about at least an hour of the port time. In St Petersburg - honni soit qe mal y pense - they provided us with an additional letter , that independent travellers were not allowed to disembark every day in the first 90 mins - for "official optimizing the time slots". So the independent travellers had about 3 hours cut from their time budget every day. And the ones who used OCs excursions had an 3 hour Hermitage excursion which came down to about 90 mins in the museum.

 

IMHO both observations (port hours and port berths) are a cost cutting measure - and a revenue increasing one - as independent planning gets nearly impossible because you can´t include a margin for getting back in time to the ship. So you have to buy their excursions. So no more "your world, your way" - but "your world, our way". 

 

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I'm no expert, but it's my understanding that assignment of berths is mostly up to the port, not the cruise lines.  I do always check port schedules against itinerary times. Usually it agrees; occasionally it doesn't.  But I make a note of any discrepancies and factor it into my planning. 

 

And I'm not trying to defend Oceania, but from what I've heard, it's not uncommon for cruise lines to give preference to people on cruise line tours when getting off the ship.  That's one thing I really appreciate about Oceania (and Viking).  With both, I've never had a problem getting off when I wanted to, except that in St. Petersburg and on Easter Island, it was a bit more complicated and lengthy than in most ports. 

 

I certainly don't think it's impossible now to do independent planning/touring even when a margin of error must be included.  However, as before, I tend to shy away from booking/paying for anything that won't be refunded if the ship doesn't make port or something else happens that substantially cuts into my time in a port. And, as before, I'm mindful of the time when out and about, and before any port call I research what would happen if I didn't make it back to the ship on time.  Cruising is wonderful, but it's not without its challenges and risks.

 

 

Edited by roothy123

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On 9/8/2019 at 11:52 AM, bigmjh said:

Jan - As you probably know, your Dec Sirena cruise is affected (Santa Barbara day shortened by 2 hrs) also the following cruise (San Francisco day shortened by 2 hrs). This seems to have popped up as SOP with 'O for the last couple of weeks. BTW - also, both of our Oct Insignia cruises have had some ports shortened by 2 hrs.

I did talk to them and they are supposed to be putting out a letter..If they dont I will go back and get the info my self..

Jancruz1

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1 hour ago, Jancruz said:

I did talk to them and they are supposed to be putting out a letter..If they dont I will go back and get the info my self..

Jancruz1

I think the times reverted to the original ones for the Dec 7 cruise.  As of September 19: 

 

Dear Valued Guests and Travel Advisors,

 

We would like to advise you of a further revision to your upcoming cruise itinerary aboard Sirena.

 

Oceania Cruises is pleased to advise that after additional review, we are reverting to the original arrival and departure times as noted below:

 

DATE

DAY

PORT

ARRIVAL

DEPARTURE

13-Dec-19

FRI

SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA

8:00 AM

6:00 PM

Edited by 1985rz1

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Although Oceania didn’t notify us again, our port time changes for Bonaire and Grenada have also reverted to their original times.  Not sure why they changed again, but I’m glad for the extra time added back to each port.  After following these posts, I decided to check once again today and saw the change.  

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We’re going on a B2B in the Caribbean on Insignia in October.  We were originally going to Cuba for 2 days in each of 3 ports.  When that was nixed our whole itinerary, including Key West, changed.  But, it has changed many times since that original change and Key West is back in its originally scheduled date and time.  This is so strange for an Oceania cruise.  We’ve never experienced anything like this before so I have no idea what is happening.  I had to call Oceania yesterday to ask them to take an excursion off my online account because that port was canceled over a month ago—yet, I was still being “charged” for this excursion (my OBC was being charged).  None of this is typical operating procedure for Oceania.

 

Regarding getting off the ship in Russian ports—we were in Murmansk, Arkhangelsk and the Solovetsky Islands in July.  There were 3 private excursion groups (about 40 people in total).  We got off first in all three ports.  Nautica’s excursions met in the lounge and left after the private groups.  So I guess there is no definitive answer to who leaves the ship first in Russian ports.

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8 hours ago, Senior Citizen said:

 

Regarding getting off the ship in Russian ports—we were in Murmansk, Arkhangelsk and the Solovetsky Islands in July.  There were 3 private excursion groups (about 40 people in total).  We got off first in all three ports.  Nautica’s excursions met in the lounge and left after the private groups.  So I guess there is no definitive answer to who leaves the ship first in Russian ports.

 

I haven't been to these 3 ports but I can speak about St. Petersburg.  The procedure was changed in 2019 by Russian immigration because of congestion in the terminal. O notified us in a detailed letter the day before we arrived.  Ship's excursions went off first, then private tours 90 minutes later. This was especially true on the first day however it may have been less restrictive after.   The immigration officers were checking tour tickets. After I cleared immigration and was walking to the bus for my ship's excursion, I noticed some private tour operators holding signs waiting for their customers.

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On 9/28/2019 at 8:12 AM, sunlover12 said:

 

I haven't been to these 3 ports but I can speak about St. Petersburg.  The procedure was changed in 2019 by Russian immigration because of congestion in the terminal. O notified us in a detailed letter the day before we arrived.  Ship's excursions went off first, then private tours 90 minutes later. This was especially true on the first day however it may have been less restrictive after.   The immigration officers were checking tour tickets. After I cleared immigration and was walking to the bus for my ship's excursion, I noticed some private tour operators holding signs waiting for their customers.

Another big difference between Oceania and luxury lines where everyone gets to disembark when they want.

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But is that typical now, at least for ports other than in Russia? I haven't been on an Oceania cruise for about a year, but I don't remember any restrictions before on when people got off the ship.

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3 hours ago, IWantToLiveOverTheSea said:

But is that typical now, at least for ports other than in Russia? I haven't been on an Oceania cruise for about a year, but I don't remember any restrictions before on when people got off the ship.

There are no restrictions to speak of.

 

Just a certain number of miscreants who obsess about being the first to get off the ship.

 

They are often the same people who are outraged if the Dining Room is closed on Port Days, because they are back on the ship by 11:15AM.  😏

 

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There can be problems in ports where there are tenders.  In those cases, if you want to get off before or at the same time as the ship excursions, it is best to make arrangements for that.  We have found the cruise directors to be helpful in working this out.  

 

For most ports, there is not a problem but I think that it is better to let people know the reality rather than misinforming them.   

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Even 4 or 5 years ago when we went to St Petersburg, Marina was out in the industrial area with many other ships so I think only smaller ships can be closer to tourist sites.  The first day was slow since everyone had to be checked for either an independent visa or a tourist ticket visa.  It was faster the other two days.  On independent tours, nothing was missed because of the slow 1st day visa check but I do not remember if O tours got off first.  All the private tour guides know this will happen.

 

Incidentally, we went on the train to Moscow the 2nd day-it is a very long but interesting day.  What I remember is coming back very late at night during the white night season.  It was still fairly light and all over SP on our way back to the ship, people were out and about with families.  Also, we arranged with our private tour to spend more time in the Hermitage which you cannot do with an O tour.  Going to Moscow and doing more Hermitage take away from what else you can see in SP. 

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