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Oceania Marina Aug 29-Sept 8, 2021 - they did well


Laika Sproed
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We sailed on Marina's first cruise to restart after the Covid pandemic 'pause' and Oceania did a great job.  There was plenty of space for social distancing; staff and passengers wore masks routinely.  The buffets had see through 'saran wrap' style shields around food and staff cheerfully served passengers whatever was requested.  

To embark, a covid test was done efficiently and during the cruise when another covid test was required by a port, they were readily available.  At the end of the cruise they had an organized system for providing covid retesting so passengers could easily fly home, meeting the airline/countries requirements for a recent negative covid test.  This testing was recognized by Oceania as 'part of the package' required to resume cruising and they did a great job.

The crew on Oceania Marina were cheerful in spite of the mask requirements and the requirements that they remain on the ship to make certain there were no additional risks to the traveling passengers.  We were able to go on excursions and see ports pretty well as we did prior to the pandemic, except we wore masks.  I would give Oceania a 10 and we will look forward to traveling with them again in about 6 months.  

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1 hour ago, Laika Sproed said:

 The buffets had see through 'saran wrap' style shields around food and staff cheerfully served passengers whatever was requested.  

 

This  has been normal operation for the past couple of years

 

Glad that all went well

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Hi, Laika, and thanks for the info.  We'll be boarding Marina in Barcelona toward the end of next month, so it's nice to know that things are somewhat normal.  Vis-à-vis the testing at embarkation, did they test everyone or just those who arrived without recent test results in hand?  We'll be in Barcelona for several days before the cruise and have made arrangements for pre-cruise testing but, if they're testing anyway, it might save us 100€.  Also, are they doing noticeable capacity control or did it appear to be a full ship?  Is it any easier to get a table at Terrace or Waves?! 🤪

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17 hours ago, Cliff-FLL said:

Hi, Laika, and thanks for the info.  We'll be boarding Marina in Barcelona toward the end of next month, so it's nice to know that things are somewhat normal.  Vis-à-vis the testing at embarkation, did they test everyone or just those who arrived without recent test results in hand?  We'll be in Barcelona for several days before the cruise and have made arrangements for pre-cruise testing but, if they're testing anyway, it might save us 100€.  Also, are they doing noticeable capacity control or did it appear to be a full ship?  Is it any easier to get a table at Terrace or Waves?! 🤪

You need to read the O FAQs on the website. No matter what you do, you’ll be tested at embarkation. However, in order for O to assume responsibility for costs related to land quarantine and medevac, you need to present negative results from a separate Covid test taken 3-4 days prior to arrival at the ship on embarkation day. This test is “recommended.” But, no test? That means you have not established that Covid was not a PEC and you are SOL for O covering the related above-mentioned expenses should you contract Covid while on the cruise.

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On 9/18/2021 at 2:36 PM, Flatbush Flyer said:

You need to read the O FAQs on the website. 

Thank you, but I already know what the website says and that was not what I was asking her.  I was asking about her experience and what was actually occurring - which does not necessarily correspond with a company's written policy.

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22 minutes ago, Cliff-FLL said:

Thank you, but I already know what the website says and that was not what I was asking her.  I was asking about her experience and what was actually occurring - which does not necessarily correspond with a company's written policy.

I know for a fact that O is not deviating from it’s currently stated Covid related restrictions/practices. 

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1 hour ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

I know for a fact that O is not deviating from it’s currently stated Covid related restrictions/practices. 

And I'm happy for you that you know that.  I just wanted to ask a question of someone who just got off a cruise.

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I’d like to know how your overseas flights were, especially the one going to the ship?  Did it depart on time, was it full and did you fly in early or the day of the cruise?  We are booked on the Riviera in May of 22 and Oceania is booking our air.  I don’t know what to expect. We fly into Rome and this will be our first flight since COVID began.  We are vaccinated and hopefully will have the booster long before we fly in May.  I guess it’s too early to speculate what will be going on in 8 months but I was curious how you made out. Glad your cruise was safe and you had a good time.

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Went to Europe this summer, but not with Oceania.

 

Both of our UA flights were all on time, and mostly full 90+%.  At checkin, UA inspected our vaccination records and our recent antigen tests to ensure compliance of the host country . Boarding for the international leg started very early because they rechecked everyone’s paperwork again at the gate. This made boarding slower, therefore they started earlier.

 

Masks were required in the airports and on the planes. FAA directives mandates this through mid Jan 22, at present. Expect it to continue. Even during the meal they were not so politely telling Passengers to pull their masks back up between bites and sips. Pull your mask down off your nose and they were immediately in your face. We were in BC. In neither BC nor lower cabins were preflight drinks served, even though we boarded, both ways, about an hour or so pre departure. A bottle of water was in our seats.

 

The pre packaged food, all

served at one time , was the worst airplane food we’ve had in 20 years. Service was nearly non existent. No pre-meal drink, and afterwards if you wanted anything you went upfront to ask. 
 

Flight itineraries changed right up until flight day for many. I believe the reason our flight was so full is that many flights were cancelled and flyers consolidated onto specific flights. 
 

We had a wonderful time on our cruise and our one week pre cruise stay. Glad we went! The hours between airport entry and final exit were unpleasant at best. Most airline lounges are closed. The occasional ones that are open are capacity controlled so many couldn’t get in.

 

My biggest recommendation is to throw your blanket over your head and pretend, or actually, sleep to get some respite from the mask. They don’t bother you if they can’t see you.

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Give you an example on one of our meals. Remember everything is served at once. They took our drink request, then brought us our meal with it. So if one requested a mix drink, you learn you probably won’t get wine with your meal.

 

So everything includes your typically pre meal nuts, salad, main course, and dessert all at once. Returning, I opted to hold the nuts for later. The beef, for the main course was mostly gristle, so I didn’t eat much of it. That was a good thing actually. Dessert was ice cream served in a small container like one would buy at a convenience store. It was mostly melted when delivered. After I ate my salad, and briefly picked at my gristle, I went on to the ice cream. It was soup, but cool. Those that had other entrees said it was hot mush. There was zero reason the ice cream, in its own package couldn’t have been served later and individually. United offered no alternatives for dessert except melted ice cream. United is using the pandemic as an excuse for laziness.

 

Set you expectations for your flying experience low. 

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Thank you Pinot Lover. That’s pretty much what I expected.  I’ll make sure to bring my own shawl or blanket.  Airplane food is never very good anyway but I was hoping for wine at least.

Are the airlines requiring a pre-COVID test taken 2-3 days before boarding?

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Not to a cruise but, we’ve flown twice in the last month or so. 
First was a short hop SFO to LAX in coach (taking grandkid to Disneyland). It was a regular commuter flight on United. No food. Any booze or pre-packaged food had to be paid for using the United app. Plane was full both directions and everyone we saw was good about the masks.

Second trip was/is (haven’t yet returned home) SFO-LIH (Polaris bizclass on United). Regular bizclass booze and breakfast service. Again, everyone was mask compliant with no complaints. But, a lot of folks appeared to have not done their Hawaii “Safe Travels” homework and were in the very long line at SFO to get the blue bracelet that means you’ve been vaccinated or tested negative pre-flight and issued a “cleared/quarantine exempt” QR code, which is required to check into hotels. I’m betting some of those folks never made it onto the plane because doing the online work for HI “safe travels” is very specific/demanding and is even harder when you’re trying to do it on a cell phone.

 

FWIW: We’re on Kauai for 10 days and have yet to meet or see anyone anti-mask, anti-social distance, etc. This is a very safe place and we appreciate HI’s vigilance.

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3 hours ago, workstocruise said:

Thank you Pinot Lover. That’s pretty much what I expected.  I’ll make sure to bring my own shawl or blanket.  Airplane food is never very good anyway but I was hoping for wine at least.

Are the airlines requiring a pre-COVID test taken 2-3 days before boarding?

The requirements are not the Airlines. They only do the work to ensure compliance of the arrival country. The masking requirements are FAA requirements for flights into and out of the US. 
 

I’m not anti masks and actually support the protocols. I did believe the stewardess were over zealous in deciding whether 10 seconds between sips of your drink was excessive and one needed to pull their masks up between sips. This was especially the case since everyone aboard had an antigen tests, typically within 48 hours verifying they were negative for the virus. This was not an open environment. I’m likewise guessing near 100 % was fully vaccinated plus having the recent tests.

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30 minutes ago, Jancruz said:

Im planning on wearing a face shield.

Are those allowed now? I thought they'd been shown to be not as effective. I assume you'll bow to whatever the rules are.

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On 9/18/2021 at 4:10 AM, Cliff-FLL said:

Hi, Laika, and thanks for the info.  We'll be boarding Marina in Barcelona toward the end of next month, so it's nice to know that things are somewhat normal.  Vis-à-vis the testing at embarkation, did they test everyone or just those who arrived without recent test results in hand?  We'll be in Barcelona for several days before the cruise and have made arrangements for pre-cruise testing but, if they're testing anyway, it might save us 100€.  Also, are they doing noticeable capacity control or did it appear to be a full ship?  Is it any easier to get a table at Terrace or Waves?! 🤪

Everyone is tested at boarding, no one asks to see previous test results at boarding, as stated before— pre testing is recommended to CYA in case that boarding test is positive.  They have been capacity controlling the first 3 cruises, and with cancellations have been much less than 50%—   Waves has been empty,  no idea about Terrace this cruise as they are doing rotating restaurant closures and the MDR not open for lunch on port days.  
we flew AA in August, and except for the seats— business class was a joke— 

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5 minutes ago, lorimay said:

I just want to point out that some of the European airlines are not allowing cloth face maks. We will be on Lufthansa in November and they are one of the airlines requiring medical grade masks. https://www.lufthansa.com/de/en/faq-hygiene

UA was the same this summer on both domestic and international flights. People would show up trying to wear bandannas or scarves masquerading as masks. UA gave them a real mask and disallowed the others.

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44 minutes ago, lorimay said:

I just want to point out that some of the European airlines are not allowing cloth face maks. We will be on Lufthansa in November and they are one of the airlines requiring medical grade masks. https://www.lufthansa.com/de/en/faq-hygiene

This is an essential and welcomed modification to the mask policy. Disposable N95 masks are readily available and not expensive. We got them for a current SFO-LIH flight and have additional ones for flights to come through 2022.

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13 hours ago, BarbaraM said:

Everyone is tested at boarding, no one asks to see previous test results at boarding, as stated before— pre testing is recommended to CYA in case that boarding test is positive.  They have been capacity controlling the first 3 cruises, and with cancellations have been much less than 50%—   Waves has been empty,  no idea about Terrace this cruise as they are doing rotating restaurant closures and the MDR not open for lunch on port days.  
we flew AA in August, and except for the seats— business class was a joke— 

Could you give some more detail on the rotating restaurant closures. Is this also the specialty restaurants? The MDR closed on port days is really nothing new, they had been doing that hit or miss well before Covid came along. I think someone else mentioned having to adjust their specialty reservations. This is the kind of thing, although small, would deter me from cruising until all of the amenities are back in place. 

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