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  1. Good morning/afternoon/evening wherever you are reading this... "Only" 151 days until we set of on the Ovation from Sydney for our very first cruise - a 3 cruise back-to-back combo ending up in Singapore 27 days later. Excited is an understatement! I have so many questions and if I had not spent many hours looking through this wonderful site I would have many more! I hope somebody can help on the ones I still have and apologies if they are 'easy to find' elsewhere! 1 – How do we find where/when ‘formal’ dining nights will be? Wife starting to worry about what she needs to pack as we are limited to just 30kg each with Singapore Air! 2– Really struggling with decision on the drinks and wi-fi packages!! RC had a sale on last week BUT it stopped the day before our cruise!! They have some new bundles but still not sure if cost-effective for us. I am teetotal so refreshment package is most likely for me (but 27 x $30 is still a lot!). Wife likes a drink but looks like we may be best taking on 6 bottles of wine (2 per cruise) so she can have a few drinks that way, have the same refreshment package as me then just 'pay as she goes' for the drinks each day/night? What would experts say?! The new bundles are with dining or WiFi but they do not offer those add-ons to the refreshment package so no benefit for me! 3– Regarding the Voom Wi-fi packages, where they say ‘1 device’ or “2 devices” etc is it a case of just 1 or 2 devices at a time (e.g. login on cell but then log out and login on iPad etc) or is it restricted to a particular device? Basically if I pay for 1 device can i swap between gadgets?! 4– When we wake up in Sydney on the ‘change over’ days (23rd March and 26th March) do we HAVE to disembark or can we stay on board? I saw one post saying yes you have to but elsewhere saw different opinion. 5 - Balcony is 'obscured view' (top of a lifeboat) - anybody had that experience and did it spoil anything? 6 - Offshore excursions - not much choice on the RC lists - looking at some of theirs but also using Tripadvisor to find my own - anybody got advice/experience/tips for tours in Dunedin/Wellington/Napier/Picton in New Zealand, Brisbane/Darwin in Australia or Kuala Lumpur please?? Appreciate anybody taking the time to reply. Happy to have personal inbox chat with somebody if that is allowed on the blog! Thanks all. Barrie (Wales, UK)
  2. Hi all... Now booked on the Mariner of the seas departing and returning to Singapore 8th Feb 2018 for 7 nights. Firstly this is all new to me, if I am already repeating a well trodden path on this forum elsewhere then I apologise, I have had a quick whizz through and found 1 post which provided some pointers but wanted to start my own post for getting some feedback. As a mid 50's male I am familiar with solo travel (and solo travel in groups of solo's) as I have been doing that for the last 5 years (mostly roughing it in Africa or camping/trekking in the US), I don't mind my own company in places where people are limited in number, however, this cruise will be slightly different because although on my own, I will be completely surrounded by "couples and families". This I think may then just highlight the fact I am solo and maybe feel a little lost in a sea of people. I consider myself to be a normal sociable person and able to adapt to my immediate environment and always happy to meet new people of all ages etc but I hate to feel that I am possibly going to be imposing or interrupting someones else's holiday on this cruise. So a few questions spring to mind:- 1) Is it worth making the staff know that I am on my own and would they generally be willing to assist in identifying other solo's to perhaps create an aggregated group for dining and doing land excursions, on board activities etc? 2) If nothing like question 1 is available, what is the protocol at dinner to arranging a place at a table? do the waiters/maitre d' drag you along to a table and then request the other guests if "they mind if a stray sits with them" - that could be a bit embarrassing if they do! or do they have selected areas to place solos among other guests? 3) On shore excursions, how can I avoid becoming a "tail end charlie" as everyone else goes off and "does their thing"? Most experiences are better if shared, on other group holidays I have been on, the sharing and associated chatter etc has always been a great part of it during and afterwards, but I am a little concerned that this may not be quite the same. Thanks in anticipation Martin
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