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About sailfar

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

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    cooking, gardening and cruising
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Regent and Oceania
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  1. We are in Wisconsin. We are 23rd state in number of cases in the 50 United States of America with a lower numbers per population ratio. Our governor shut our state down early. Today many people were forced to go out and vote, and stood in long lines exposing themselves to others, Pole workers were in short supply and since they tend to be older volunteer workers, many polling places were not open. Fortunately, we were able to vote early by absentee ballot in our smaller township area. However, many people in Milwaukee, did not receive their absentee ballot they requested 3 weeks ago, and were forced to vote in person. Our state houses and state supreme court refused to stop our election. Our cases are surely going to escalate in the coming weeks. While our area has few cases, we have an ageing population that will now be greater at danger as more people were out and about today and bringing the disease home. This disease spreads rapidly among the elderly, Our major county nursing home has 12 covid cases and 2 deaths so far. It is exponentially spreading each day. All of our currently active cases in our county are related to this nursing home. Why is this important to cruise critic: If retired people die off at too high a rate, the cruise lines are going to surely go bankrupt. We are all in this together. Time to work together!
  2. I think the cruise industry is in big trouble. Older people are not going to feel safe booking future cruises either out of a sense of being rejected because of health risks or changing age restrictions. It is going to be more difficult to hire crew. Also the crew is getting less money because the automatic gratuities have meant less money than what they got before these policies went into place. On top of that, some stingy passengers have figured out they can cancel gratuities, if they wish. (They should be so very ashamed!) The return to sailing date of April 12 by the NCLH company is a joke! Country after country restricts entry from certain countries. The epidemic in the USA looks like it will peak in mid to late April. Lots of luck having Spain, France, Portugal, UK or Italy letting us in from our by then high level covid-19 country. We will be the new China, Korea, Italy with restricted entry to other countries. Oceania now has two ships docked in Miami, 2 docked in the Bahamas and 1 on the way from HNL to Los Angeles. Looks like they are being wise and hunkering down near safe places to return passengers and crew to their homelands. Kudo to you Oceania Management, looks like you are trying to take care of your wonderful workers. While I hope to sail again, it is a sad time now for all of us, and the strength of the cruise industry and the joy of cruising may be changing.
  3. This will be are 29th cruise on Oceania starting in February, and we have 3 more cruises booked on Oceania in May/June.. As we engage in cruise conversations back home with various friends we hear several major themes: 1. They have loyalty with their current cruise lines and they are given perks, therefore they like their current cruise line. They value their loyalty perks. Oceania keep your loyalty program going. It has kept us sailing for over 300 days with you now! It worked! 2. Why do they like their current cruise line: it is what they know and they have good lecturers, interesting and low or no cost excursions, wine or beer included with meals. Please take note Oceania, this is why they like Viking and Azamara and it is hard to argue with them. 3. When I try to tell them about why I like Oceania, I say it is because of the comfortable beds, and the food. That is what we spend the most time experiencing. Lately, less people have responded with the bed issue. I wonder how comfortable they sleep. I suspect other cruise lines have improved their bed comfort just as many hotel chains have. Most people have upgraded mattresses at home if they can afford them and travel accordingly, avoiding certain hotel chains or lower end cruise lines. Comfortable beds are deal breakers for us. Keep up the great Oceania beds! 4. As far as food, it is quite subjective. We are a couple who looks for 4.5 to 5* food venues, and are gourmet aspiring cooks ourselves. We are definitely "foodies" and Oceania meets our needs. High quality food, international cuisine, and a wide variety of choices. Riviera and Marina especially, have a great choice of food and have 4 high quality specialty restaurants along with the variety at the Terrace.. Oceania's smaller ships also have great cuisine. Sail on friends and enjoy your life, whatever destination and venue you choose!
  4. I am currently on Marina and the free laundry room is working just fine. No more wait than normal. This in addition to the 20 item per bag free laundry service in upper cabins is a welcome amenity. We use our 3 free bags and supplement it with a load in laundry room each week for the excess. Less laundry to do means more time to spend on excursions, onboard activities including ones that cost much more than approximately $4 per hour laundry activity. This is a win-win for both passengers and Oceania!
  5. You never know what you're going to run into when you sign up for a cruise. This is our 27th Oceania cruise and they just keep getting better and better. What a pleasant surprise to find so many people on the staff that we have known from previous cruises. Today we stood at the bottom of the gang plank with our two heavy roll- ons loaded with our usual medical and electronic gadgets that weighed a ton, thinking how we were going to climb all those stairs from the dock to the 5th floor, when all of a sudden our favorite General Manager, Dominique Nicolle came bounding down the stairs to greet us with a big welcome smile and carried our bags all the way to the onboard registration desk at the front of the ship. Next we found that our favorite Oceania Captain, Luca Manzi is guiding the ship. He is a delight, as those who have sailed with him previously know well. After a delicious lunch we headed for our room. On the way, we ran into our previous butler, Mani, who told us about our new butler, also from India, named Grince. By the time we got to our room, our luggage was already at the door, as well as our room steward, named Suresh who we had on a previous cruise on Nautica several years ago. He was happy to see us again! At dinner we ran into a "floating", so to speak, restaurant manager named Nino from Sicily who we had just met on our November 2018 Riviera cruise. He stopped to chat at our table and, like so many of the staff, Nino pitched in just like Dominique Nicolle, mentioned above, wherever he was needed. Nino noticed right away that our white wine glasses were in need of filling and he retrieved the bottle from the ice bucket. Fortunately, we had chosen an Italian wine! So on day one we truly felt that we were back at our home away from home!
  6. We always take the excursion choice. Especially if they are more than $100. On long cruises. there are usually ports cancelled and we get our money back immediately in the form of OBC. We have seen people lose hundreds of dollars in private tour costs, especially when an overnight destination is cancelled. Also if you read the roll calls on cruise critic, you will see all the stress and changes people are subjected to. I laugh when I see people brag about how small their vehicles are. I don't like traveling in those small seated tight uncomfortable vehicles. Recently we traveled on Oceania excursions in France and were on two brand new buses supported as the guide announced, by the French taxpayers. They floated thru the air with wonderful suspension, they had a bathroom on board, and a great sound system. THERE WAS A BACK DOOR AND ONLY 25 ONBOARD. It took us no time to get on and off. We had guides with PH.D'S. And we just had to click on the Oceania site without all the research time and stress!
  7. So it is excellent to get rid of all those plastic bottles. One thing that concerns me is something I witnessed on my last cruise, the room stewardess dumped the somewhat empty and full water glasses in our room into the ice bucket. This was a shortcut in time for her, but the possibility of passing germs from one roommate to another, and ice bucket exchanged with another room a chance for norovirus spreading room to room like wildfire. After I witnessed this, I stopped using ice from the ice bucket and escaped getting norovirus on several cruises. It would be nice to get rid of all the paper with ink and lamenated notices that we get in our room each day also, while we are trying to save the planet. We need a dedicated channel on the TV with all the advertising. All we need is the schedule of the day on a channel. and a reminder to put the port authority numbers into our smart phones. Our account on TV would also save a lot of paper and time spent at the desk downstairs.e In any event we fully support this effort and will bring a small bottle of dish detergent to use with hot water to keep our bottles clean. We do this at home. Keep up the good work Oceania. We love cruising with you and are on our 26th cruise!
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