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Flatbush Flyer

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About Flatbush Flyer

  • Rank
    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Point Richmond CA
  • Interests
    Travel, Food, Wine, Sailing.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Oceania
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    The Pacific Ocean

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  1. She can dream, can't she? Interesting thing about stores like Walmart vs a Bergdorf: Though unpublicized, Nordstrom's will match any locally advertised price. Of course, one may not find the same brands from Nordy's at Walmart. But there are other retailers to compare and Nordstrom's will always gift wrap. Another interesting Walmart fact (too complicated to explain how I know this😳): Someone from the Department of Home Ec at a university in Oklahoma did a multiple washings comparison of similarly branded (though not exactly the same) men's athletic socks sold at Walmart and Macy's. Though cheaper, the Walmart socks failed long before the ones from Macy's. You get what you pay for!
  2. OP: Why not head to the Pacific and enjoy French Polynesia or the Hawaiian Islands - (particularly Kauai)? As for ship vs itinerary, remember that, after all, desirable itinerary features like a Bora Bora motu or the moai on Easter Island will stay the same no matter which ship took you there. That said, which ship (or line) is the real variable in deciding how to get where you're going. After all, it will be your home away from home for XX days. And the longer the cruise, the more important the ship becomes (I.e., quality of food and service, included perks, passenger demographics and crew ratio, etc)
  3. Why drink mediocre wine? A top quality single vineyard Pinot Noir or Cab from NorCal could easily cost $50-75 retail on shore. Add the $25 corkage fee and that <$100 bottle (18% tip included) you've brought onboard is a far better deal than the $200+\- you'd pay for the same/similar wine onboard.
  4. It's "wherever" in many connections. Once got someone in Nebraska. And O's target for tour listings is 180 days prior to embarkation.
  5. IMO, you're "in the ball park" of what factors to consider in deciding loyalty by asking about extensiveness of itineraries. After all, Roman Antiquities and the Moai on Easter Island will stay the same no matter which ship took you there. That said, which ship (or line) is the real variable in deciding how to get where you're going. After all, it will be your home away from home for XX days. And the longer the cruise, the more important the ship becomes (I.e., quality of food and service, included perks, passenger demographics and crew ratio, etc). We're loyal to one particular premium line because it has extensive itineraries (far more than Princess) with many ports that require smaller ships and can have the variety one needs for cruises that often exceed 3-4 weeks in duration. That loyalty is boosted by the nature of the substantial loyalty perks which include a 14 day complimentary cruise to anywhere served (including air) each time you reach 20 credits (equivalent of twenty 10 day+\- cruises). Add ever increasing SBC, officer dinners and other gatherings plus substantial purchase discounts and the choice to be loyal is a no brainer (of course, until they run out of interesting itineraries).
  6. We've done Valpo to Papeete on Marina and Sydney to L.A. (through Papeete) on Insignia. Always a challenge for any ship, we've managed to get onto Easter Island. (And BTW we also hosted the inhabitants of Pitcairn along the way). On Insignia, the chefs went fishing and returned with 400 lbs of tuna, part of which was cooked outside at the Terrace Café. We mixed ship and private tours (with the famous Patrick of Maohi Nui -twice (see pic) and Marcus of Easter Island Travel). One tip: If you are a regular Intercontinental hotels user and will spend a "changeover day" in Papeete, contact their Tahiti property well ahead and request a day pass with lunch at the Michelin starred Lotus (approx $125/person) Both trips were excellent though I'd give the edge to the 38 day transpacific. As for the thought of "expensive," remember that the regular Oceania fare includes airfare or you can opt for an air credit. When comparing to other cruises, remember that O has included beverages, internet, specialty restaurants and the O Life perks (not to mention avoiding all the negatives of mass market ships).
  7. I think you may mean that some folks who live in these countries do not tip. They are not you. And tipping is definitely not non-existent in major port cities. That said, it would be the very rare working tour guide (other than a company owner/guide) or taxi driver or any other service person who would say no to a reasonable/heartfelt gratuity. BTW, as I recently mentioned in a similar thread, many better restaurants in cosmopolitan cities in (and beyond) Europe, South America et al. now have optional tip check boxes in credit card charging devices.
  8. Your "first" night is someone else's "next" night (particularly on Insignia during the "world cruise" months). And, the GDR menu repeat pattern on all O ships is longer than those of most other cruise lines. What may change on the first day of a "new"' segment are waitstaff placements, which can sometimes cause a bit of isolated confusion. Also, as aforementioned, the first (and last) night of a cruise segment may find you more flexibility in getting desired times/tables in the specialty restaurants. My suggestion is to try to pre-select your initial reservations at your Plan A times (as it is for many folks, including us, that would be sea days at 7pm+\-) and use first/last days for extra reservations.
  9. We're yacht sailors. So, cabin size for us is relative. Here's the Riviera head pic I forgot to upload on my earlier post (tub/shower on right and shower on left but not completely visible). Note as well than some basic B3 balcony cabins have extended balconies (see additional pic).
  10. Huh? Riviera, custom built for Oceania (along with Marina), was first launched in 2011. And even the smallest veranda cabins have great bathrooms with both doored showers AND separate bathtubs (see pic). While the La Reserve wine pairing dinner cited above has an extra charge of under $100, few people need to pay it since it can be purchased pre-cruise with onboard credit ( which all but a very few individuals have in hand either from O or their travel agent). Of course, they always sell out. The Renaissance ships you refer to number four and are all recently/currently going through the Oceania NEXT total interior remodels (even Sirena, which was the former Ocean Princess - albeit with a $40 million upgrade upon its acquisition only several years ago. BTW, two new Allura class ships are due in 2022 and 2025, each about the same size as Riviera but with larger passenger accommodations (dropping the passenger load from 1200 to 1100) while still maintaining the largest food related space per passenger of any cruise line.
  11. Let's let OP decide after trying each line recommended. BTW, here's tonight's LaReserve dinner menu on Oceania Riviera: *Perlita Caviar d’Aquitaine with Cream of Sea Urchin Moët & Chandon Cuvée Dom Pérignon, Epernay, France *Hoisin Sautéed Duck Foie Gras with Pecan and Cucumber Salad over Riesling Infused Watermelon Dönnhoff Tonschiefer Trocken QBA Riesling, Nahe, Germany Culatello Gran Riserva and Smoked Ricotta Tricorne Ravioli with Pumpkin Velouté Valdamor Barrica Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain *Butter Poached Brittany Blue Lobster, Vegetable Nage and Beetroot Cress Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, Carneros, Napa Valley, California *Seared Kobe Beef, Valrhona Sauce, Franck’s Mashed Potatoes and Edamame Beans* Rocca Sveva Amarone della Valpolicella Riserva DOCG, Veneto, Italy Roasted Vacherin Mont d’Or with Grape and Truffle Salad Delas Frères Marquise de la Tourette Hermitage, Rhône, France Berry Consommé with Lime-Ginger Mascarpone Ice Cream and Sesame Crisp Inniskillin Pearl Vidal Icewine Niagara, Ontario, Canada Amarena Cherries
  12. The only scheduled "difference" (possibly affecting food) involves the "farewell from the crew" event in the show lounge on the night before the last full cruise day. If you want to experience that participatory activity, you'd have to plan dining times to accommodate it. BTW, scheduling specialty restaurants on the first/last evenings usually provides better flexibility for non-sharing reservations.
  13. Want to try a shortie on Oceania from L.A.? December 7, 2019 - seven days along coastal California from L.A. to L.A.
  14. Don't shoot the messenger. There's a reason why Bon Appetit singled out Oceania (for its consistent high quality food and service) in deciding to curate its cooking school. Same goes for Wine Spectator (sponsoring O's La Reserve). BTW, Dom Perignon now sponsors a dinner at La Reserve as well. I'm assuming you're not a food critic for any major cosmopolitan newspaper. That said, you may want to do a literature search (beyond Cruise Critic) to see which cruise line(s) are always cited by professionals for their outstanding food.
  15. Keep looking. Oceania has a Panama Canal - SF to NY starting July 5.
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