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Toryhere

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  1. Of course you could just line up at the ordinary cab rank and get two taxis. It would be easier.
  2. If you do take the train, I would suggest that you go the opposite direction for one stop to Wolli Creek and change to an Eastern Suburbs line train there. There’s much less hassle getting from the airport plane platform to the the Eastern Suburbs line platform
  3. Of course Sydney is actually far bigger than most American cities in area, because of the huge spread of single owner housing. It’s terrain is also quite hilly and the Harbour produces a mass of jagged interior coastline that hardly any other city has. For Americans too, there is the problem of driving on the left.
  4. I cruise with SeaDream Yacht Club, not Dream cruises
  5. I find the topic of perks fascinating, because it reveals the need for complexity and one upmanship that seem to drive so many of us. On SeaDream you get to be a club member after you’ve taken one voyage with the line. However, there seem to be no actual perks or status attached to being a club member. Occasionally they will have a members’ only cocktail party, but on many sailings the members form the majority of the passengers, so they don’t bother. One thing I have noticed is that the passengers on luxury cruise lines prefer that everyone gets the same high level of service. However, in that situation people begin to seek perks in subtler ways. Thus, the American couples we travelled with on our last two voyages made sure that we always had one of the best tables in the outdoor dining area each night.
  6. The exceptions to that rule are Bondi Junction, Edgecliff, Kings Cross and Martin Place where everyone gets on at the ends of the train because they are nearer to the escalators from the ticket hall. There it’s much better to get on with bags somewhere near the middle of the train. Martin Place also has a lift which Is situated adjacent to the middle of the train.
  7. My wife and I found the food on Regent to be good, but a bit bland and less than adventurous because the line was catering to the tastes of the predominantly American clientele. The best meal we had was on an excursion in Morocco where they served delicious tajines, much to the bewilderment of many of our fellow cruisers.
  8. I am a lawyer and I agree with your assessment. My point is that compulsory gratuities included in the price are really part of the price that is calculated on the amount that the company will pass on to its staff. If the company later returns the money to the customer that will be a rebate. Most of my voyages in recent years have been with SeaDream Yacht Club, which charges very high prices. But it is all inclusive and there is no separating of the fare into elements like gratuities. Of course many of the passengers leave large tips for the staff to reward them for the magnificent service they provide. But it is not expected. Surprisingly, once you get over the high sticker price you realise that it’s better to have a final price without worrying about drinks packages and gratuities.
  9. The idea of charging for gratuities is ridiculous. Once you make them compulsory they are no longer gratuities but merely part of the cost of the ticket or drinks package. Its like the silly practice of not showing the tax inclusive price on goods in the US. The whole idea is to try and fool you into thinking that the headline price is really cheap, when in fact the real price is far more expensive. Of course it doesn’t work. We all know that the price is really higher, but some of us will choose to concentrate on the headline price and pretend that is the important factor. I wonder if Oz Blue 7 would have looked at this cruise if the original price quoted was higher because it was inclusive of gratuities and drinks package? It is a clever marketing ploy. They excite you with what looks like a good price. That gets you hooked, so then you are happier to be nickled and dimed on the extras.
  10. I will avoid this one. I like the idea of holidays amongst people from different cultures. My mother tried one of their river cruises and was underwhelmed. She said they were “aping the gentry”.
  11. Exactly right about the cultural thing. A few years back I helped found an orchestra. We never have any trouble getting an audience at the Sydney Opera House concert hall. In Melbourne it’s much harder.
  12. Actually Sydney is far more cultural. Twice the number of people attend cultural events in Sydney that attend them in Melbourne.
  13. We actually solved the language issue by sailing With SeaDream, which is a Norwegian company using English as the ship’s language. They rightly assume that most of their clientele will speak English. There are very few announcements anyway. For us Regent was good for the same reason, even though the line is American owned, they still use English as the ships language 🙂
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