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Virgin Cruisers - help please!


Bazza
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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)

 

 

 

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41 minutes ago, Bazza said:

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!

The bottom of your SeaPass card will state which dining room you are in

42 minutes ago, Bazza said:

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.

You can wait to get onboard and buy a drink package later at a prorated rate.  As long as you have 4 days left in the cruise, you can buy a drink package.

42 minutes ago, Bazza said:

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?!

Yes, you can switch devices as many times as you want. The package references how many devices can be logged in at one time.

45 minutes ago, Bazza said:

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.

If you're doing a back to back cruise, you will be escorted through the back to back process.  It does involve a brief period getting off the ship.  You will get a letter  in your stateroom towards the end of your first cruise with instructions.

46 minutes ago, Bazza said:

5 - Balcony is 'obscured view' (top of a lifeboat) - anybody had that experience and did it spoil anything?

Usually that means some aspect of your view is blocked.  In your case, that usually means if you peer down from your balcony, a life boat blocks the view down.

 

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Welcome and a virgin 3 cruise B2B?  I'm impressed!

I've never sailed from Sydney so my views and perspective are from North America.

1 - There are some Cruise Compass found on this site but sadly none for your cruise(s) that I could find.  Typically cruises 7 days or longer have two formal nights and some of the longer ones like 12 days also have two smart casual nights.  Formal here in North America may be different in practice than formal in Australia in terms of attire.  

2 - For North America the US Thanksgiving has traditionally been a time when RCI offers specials on some excursion and drink packages.  151 days is still a long ways put so be patient, check often.  RCI has introduced new bundles over the past few months, who knows what else might become a bundle, keep checking.

3 - The number of devices logged in simultaneously.  If you purchase 1 device, you and your SO could both use it, but only one at a time.  I often bring a smartphone and tablet and switch back and forth as needed with a one device package.

4 - Here in the U.S. you do disembark and reboard usually first between B2B cruises, uncertain about AU.

5 - Top of lifeboat - You can look straight out but looking straight down will be impeded by the lifeboat.

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Bazza said:

Thanks both. Much appreciated. Hopefully the start of a long relationship and a quick jump up the crown & anchor board! 

If you're staying in any kind of suite, even a JS, that will be a really quick jump! Instant platinum!

Actually, that brings up a good question -- if you're on a B2B, and your C&A level changes after the first leg, do you get the perks of the new level on the second leg? So when they become Gold after the first of their 3 sailings, they'll get the (admittedly minor) perks on the second and third legs?

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Haha I wish! Literally 'pushing the boat out' with the balcony! 

I did wonder if I move up slightly with the number of days as cruise 1 is 10 days, cruise 2 is 3 and third is 14. 

I'm sure it will be amazing no matter what. Many more positive than negative reviews across many sites....

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You'll get Gold level after the first cruise (technically after the third day, but it doesn't get counted until the cruise is done).

Next level is Platinum, which requires 30 days of cruising to reach. So you'll be really really close with 27 days. Take a weekend cruise in an inside cabin and you'll be there! ;)

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2 hours ago, Bazza said:

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?

Will security allow you to board with 6 bottles of wine on the first cruise?  Having never done a b2b I don't know.   

30kg is heavy.  In the US we are only allowed 22.7kg and I struggle with that.  :-)   

There is a thread that discusses drink packages in detail.    https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/4757-drink-package-and-exemptions/    

 

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Thanks again everybody - much appreciated.

Craig - I am hoping they allow the 6 bottles based on a post I saw where 2 per cruise seemed ok - even if they take the 4 off us initially and deliver 2 each time we 'start' a new cruise! And 30kg is heavy until you see my wife's handbag and shoe collection!!!  :199_handbag: :186_high_heel: :187_sandal: :3_grin:

Twangster - I will keep looking an hoping that Thanksgiving Day next month does indeed offer a Black Friday super sale (as well as the Cowboys winning on the Thursday!).   :100_pray:

 

 

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11 hours ago, Bazza said:

Thanks again everybody - much appreciated.

Craig - I am hoping they allow the 6 bottles based on a post I saw where 2 per cruise seemed ok - even if they take the 4 off us initially and deliver 2 each time we 'start' a new cruise! And 30kg is heavy until you see my wife's handbag and shoe collection!!!  :199_handbag: :186_high_heel: :187_sandal: :3_grin:

Twangster - I will keep looking an hoping that Thanksgiving Day next month does indeed offer a Black Friday super sale (as well as the Cowboys winning on the Thursday!).   :100_pray:

 

 

I'm hoping for that black Friday or cyber Monday sale!   And hey, I keep hoping for my Detroit lions not to embarrass themselves on thanksgiving!   Jane

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On 10/13/2017 at 12:14 PM, Bazza said:

 

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!

 

Matt answered the "where" but not the "when."  "When" may vary each week, based on the itinerary.  Formal nights are usually held on sea days, but not 100% of the time, depending on the ports each week.   Usually it's approximately day 2 and day 5.  Take a look at your itinerary for each week and see which days are at sea.  Since you will be on the ship for three individual sailings, you are probably safe to just bring 2 formal outfits, and re-wear them each week.  Pic a different formal picture station to take pictures in each week, and no one will ever know!  LOL  

That being said, many people don't dress up for formal nights anymore, so don't feel obligated to do so.  My husband wears a tie to work every day, and chooses not to wear one on vacation.  So he wears a nice button down shirt with dress pants.

 

 

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On 14/10/2017 at 12:14 AM, Bazza said:

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?? 

Hi Bazza,

I've been to Wellington for a brief overnight stay and just enjoyed walking around town. Loads of restaurants, bars and cafes.  However the Te Papa Museum comes highly recommended. Next time I visit I intend going there.

Can't help you with the other ports unfortunately (except Sydney, do the Bridge Climb!).

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41 minutes ago, KWofPerth said:

Hi Bazza,

I've been to Wellington for a brief overnight stay and just enjoyed walking around town. Loads of restaurants, bars and cafes.  However the Te Papa Museum comes highly recommended. Next time I visit I intend going there.

Can't help you with the other ports unfortunately (except Sydney, do the Bridge Climb!).

Thanks KW! Found a good bike ride tour for Wellington - well two different tours - one with normal bicycle and one with an electric motor bicycle which may be the better option as it includes a mountain climb for a great view of the city!

Definitely looking at the bridge walk/climb as a cousin did it and said it is amazing. 

Much appreciated. 

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Welcome Bazza.  We live  in Australia and have been to Dunedin twice - going again in November on Radiance.  We have planned to hire a car and drive around Dunedin as we are going with friends who haven't been before.  Pegasus car hire have the concession at Port Chalmers.  All others you would need to catch a shuttle bus or taxi ($30) to the city to pick up a car.  The drive from the city out along the Otago Peninsula is a great way to view the glacial harbour.  You can go out along the top of the peninsula and come back along the southern shore line of the harbour.  Lanarch Castle is a main attraction but I imagine you would have seen enough castles in the UK.  At the end of the peninsula is the Royal Albatross Centre.  They have tours of the breeding grounds of the albatross and also have boat cruises in the afternoon where you can watch the albatross taking off from the cliff tops.  This might be too late though to get back to your cruise ship. There is also a fur seal colony that you can walk down to view.   Cadbury's Chocolate factory have tours and it is good value.  You can book online rather than going through the ship tours.  The Otago Museum has a great Maori History gallery as well as several other galleries - all free admission.  And of course Dunedin is known for the steepest street in the world.  You can drive up Baldwin Street and lookout over Dunedin.  The railway station is a great architectural piece to have a look at.

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1 minute ago, Rayza said:

Welcome Bazza.  We live  in Australia and have been to Dunedin twice - going again in November on Radiance.  We have planned to hire a car and drive around Dunedin as we are going with friends who haven't been before.  Pegasus car hire have the concession at Port Chalmers.  All others you would need to catch a shuttle bus or taxi ($30) to the city to pick up a car.  The drive from the city out along the Otago Peninsula is a great way to view the glacial harbour.  You can go out along the top of the peninsula and come back along the southern shore line of the harbour.  Lanarch Castle is a main attraction but I imagine you would have seen enough castles in the UK.  At the end of the peninsula is the Royal Albatross Centre.  They have tours of the breeding grounds of the albatross and also have boat cruises in the afternoon where you can watch the albatross taking off from the cliff tops.  This might be too late though to get back to your cruise ship. There is also a fur seal colony that you can walk down to view.   Cadbury's Chocolate factory have tours and it is good value.  You can book online rather than going through the ship tours.  The Otago Museum has a great Maori History gallery as well as several other galleries - all free admission.  And of course Dunedin is known for the steepest street in the world.  You can drive up Baldwin Street and lookout over Dunedin.  The railway station is a great architectural piece to have a look at.

Hi Rayza. Thanks for taking the time to post. 

My wife and I spent about 3 hours online last night booking our excursions and apart from Kuala Lumpur we are all sorted!! Appreciate the comments though. And yes I have seen lots of castles in Wales so not on the priority list!

We booked https://www.cruisingexcursions.com/booking/excursion/50537#/excursion-price/more-info for Dunedin then bike trip in Wellington though the RC site.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g255109-d1205314-Reviews-Hawkes_Bay_Scenic_Tours_Ltd-Napier_Hawke_s_Bay_Region_North_Island.html for Napier and 

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/AttractionProductDetail-g183797-d11473023-Half_day_Guided_Sea_Kayak_Tour_from_Picton-Picton_Prince_Edward_County_Ontario.html for Picton

Also booked the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb on the first swap over day - gulp! :38_worried::100_pray:

Hopefully get to see Baldwin Street - had pleasure of driving down Lombard Street in San Fran years ago so will be nice to have a straight road!!

Enjoy yours next month :1_grinning:

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