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Everything posted by CruisingOz

  1. Reach out to MEI Travel. I live in Australia and MEI in the US is so much better than any local TA's I have come across. My TA Kelley is amazing.
  2. This has been in the works since 2019. I think Royal was hoping they would change their mind. https://www.theluxurycruisereview.com/tahiti-ban-large-cruise-ships/ Also in 2019 the municipality of Bora Bora expressed concerns about the size of visiting cruise ships. After discussions with the municipality, now only 1,200 cruise passengers per day can visit. Tahiti Tourisme have told us it shows a desire to preserve the beauty of its lagoon as well as the quality of service for which Bora Bora has become famous. Moreover, the updated industry rules will now only permit voyages to commence or conclude in Tahiti if a vessel carries fewer than 2,501 guests. Larger vessels up to 3,500 guests can cruise French Polynesia, but not turnaround. However, cruise ships with more than 3,500 passengers will not be welcome. A statement from Tahiti Tourisme said: “they are not suited for our destination”. We like Moorea a lot more than Bora Bora, but we have visited there so can understand the disappointment. We were looking forward to doing a helmet dive in Bora Bora which has been one of the best helmet dive experiences compared to other countries. I hope we get two full days in Moorea.
  3. Royal Caribbean hs been given the green light by the Fijian Government to start sailing to their ports. Great news as the islands slowly start to open up.
  4. For us, our favourite is the Radiance. Great solarium area with the Park Cafe in the adults pool deck area and overall connection to the sea, with lots of glass and great places to sit, both inside and outside to socialise, relax and watch the world pass by. If we want a ship with lots to do, we love the Symphony.
  5. On the drive back from Hahndorf, go via the McLaren Vale and do a loop through the countryside. nice drive. Could do the Barossa Valley wine tour and/or combine it with McLaren Vale wineries, or Adelaide Hills and Hahndorf tour. The zoo has panda bears and the city is a nice walk. Tram to Gleneig for a nice seaside pub lunch. There also use to be 3 hour Murray river tours with lunch option.
  6. There is heaps to do in and around Adelaide that would be of interest to guests and easily accessable from the port. I have visited several times and love the state. It is a pity about the tours and we plan on hiring a car for the day when our ship visits.
  7. Wow, has the Australian Government really upset the cruise lines. This ex-Costa Carnival ship and the Royal's Enchantment are so small and old. I do not mind the Encroachment as have sailed Vision class before and we are booked on her, but there is no way I would even step onto the Luminosa, it is so old and a bad layout.
  8. With everything I am reading from the various South Pacific news articles, I believe that most islands will be open and if some are still closed, then this opens up new opportunities to places like Samoa. By October, some three months away, many protocols will be in place and ready to receive tourists. I can also see more overnights in places like Vanuatu and new Caledonia to fill the time.
  9. DX package prices have certainly gone up for Australian cruises. The current sailings which I have are priced at the "sale" price, which ends today are as follows in AUD; $112.98 Buy one get one 50% off, so for a 11 night NZ cruise it is a total of $2,485.56 for two. Roughly that is $78 USD per person per night. This pricing is similar on all our booked cruises for 2022/23. We are both D+, so five free drinks per day each and also Prime casino Royale, so can drink for free in the casino. We are, for the first time, not buying the drinks package and will pay as we go for anything over and above. Let's see if we will be better off? Interestingly, my transpacific in October, I can buy a package for only one person, and so I am temped at $1,669.75 AUD, so roughly $61 USD per day. This will allow my wife to use our 10 free drinks, but my wife would not drink that many, so again, what should I do? Many seas days, but also drink fatigue does set in on a long cruise and also we will be in a GS, so will also have happy hour in the suite lounge on this cruise. Oh, these first world problems are stressing me out; I need a cruise.
  10. We use Kelley and she is fabulous
  11. Thank you for the detailed explanation, appreciate you taking the time @twangster
  12. Stepping onto Antarctica and anywhere in Europe like the Med, Baltic and rivers
  13. We are spending some pre-cruise time in Hawaii and assuming ther cruise protocols do not change, we will need to take a covid test within a couple days prior to boarding. Any suggests on how we should get this done? We are Australian so unsure if we can buy the e-Med proctored tests online and have them shipped to our hotel. Wonder if Royal will offer testing at the terminal, but would prefer not to delay boarding. Any suggestions as to what others are planning and where we should go.
  14. Important point I missed. With US you need to ask how much the gratuities are and we always pre pay them so we do not have a bill at the end of the cruise. Also they may go up in cost like other cruise lines recently.
  15. We look at pricing and compare, factoring in the exchange rate. If the pricing is better in the US, we book through MEI Travel as they are a select few who are allowed to make booking for customers like us from Australia. It will be in US dollars, but service is amazing and reading blogs, one of the few agents who constantly monitor pricing to see if it goes down and re-prices your cruise. I do not know of any agent in Australia who does this; one of my biggest frustrations. I have booked directly through Royal, both Australia and the US, but mainly when using my Casino Royale co p cruises. Always best through a travel agent. Honestly I am yet to find an agent in Australia who does not charge me CC fees, which MEI or Royal do not. I am big on supporting the TA industry, so I use a TA in NSW and suck up the CC fees to help her out. I currently have booking with MEI, Royal Casino and local TA. Do a comparison from the Aust and US Royal sites and there are times the US is so much cheaper, even after exchange rates.
  16. @twangsterdo you know if mid-cruise you tick over 700 nights, do they recognise you turning Pinnacle and upgrade your sea pass, or is it like C&A where you are recognised on the next cruise for a level status change? A way off still but wish to plan the Pinnacle on a specific ship and hope to have family with us. Thanks
  17. That is a fantastic itinerary. It is something we always wish to do, but we were told that due the PSVA as Australian's we are not allowed to sail from a US port to a US port without an international stop. Maybe things have changed and we are now allowed. I will start looking into this. Enjoy this amazing run of cruises
  18. I wish we had such issues. So this is how the 1%'s roll. Great explanation and will file this for the future. We hope to achieve this milestone by early 2024, fingers and legs crossed.
  19. On a ship like the Jewel, we would do a Jn suite, but see no value in a GS or above. The ship does not have the extras like a Quantum or Oasis class. I may even question the value of the Key. If you have tender ports, then maybe worth it?
  20. Stop looking, there is not one. We always find the service in the MDR on Radiance to be excellent and over and above larger ships. Hope you experience the same
  21. They are essentially the same ship, layout and features. The Quantum is older and deco is different. Suite guest areas are the same on both. With no sailing in China, the Quantum is set up for the US/Australian market.
  22. Not bad @EmersonNZ but our furthest is 19,905 km / 12,368 miles and closely followed by 18,720 km / 11,1632 miles recently Just goes to show the lengths Australians and New Zealanders are willing to travel. I always laugh when I hear in a podcast or read in an article about people having to travel a couple hour's to cruise.
  23. Yes, very jealous. Florida would be an amazing place to live with so many cruise choices. We watch a lot of home renovation shows based out of Texas and the house prices look so attractive. Texas also looks like a great place to live.
  24. We live in Sydney, Australia, and are willing to fly. This past January we flew to Barbados to board the Grandeur of the Seas for and amazing 14 night cruise. The flights were Sydney to LAX, LAX to Atlanta, Atlanta to Miami (30 hours including time between flights), four hours sleep at the Miami International airport hotel and finally Miami to Barbados (6 hours including check in and customs). I was worth the travel time. Also done the 10 hour flight to Honolulu for the Transpacific back to Sydney, which we are doing again this year, and flew to Fairbanks Alaska, from Sydney to Hong Kong, HK to Vancouver, Vancouver to Fairbanks. Forgotten how many hours but we had a layover in HK and had an amazing 20 hours there. Itineraries are limited out of Sydney and Brisbane, and we try to seek out South Pacific itineraries which go somewhere different like Mare or Espiritu Santo (east coast Vanuatu), but they are rare. Singapore is a shortish flight, and those destinations look great, so maybe consider those. I do love cruising out of Sydney as it is only a 20min train or drive, but it does get repeatitipve with the places to visit.
  25. Cruise Carnival, the food is better. Oh gee, I just threw up a little in my mouth at the thought. Although, judging by the past weeks events, the BBQ at the new Carnival Freedom funnel restaurant looks like a fun place.
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