decisions decisions ... advise please

Mar 18th, 2014, 09:26 PM
  #1  
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decisions decisions ... advise please

Looking at booking a cruise for November/December but I must book before March 31 to take advantage of the deals. The destination is South Pacific.

Here are the choices:

Regent, 18 days, $9,000 per person, all inclusive, drinks, tips, excursions, pre & post hotel, ground transport including return air. You paid the piper and that's it. The cost is for a Concierge suite (The lowest price cabin is a regular suite and is sold out, and cost $8,000).

Oceania, 18 days, $6,800 per person, all inclusive just like Regent, except no pre & post hotel but includes return air and ground transport. The cost is for a Concierge Level Veranda (not a suite)

Celebrity, 14 days, $3,500 per person, plus $1,600 air per person for a total of $5,100; but have to add drinks, tips, excursions to the cost making it very close to the cost of the Regent. The cost is for an Aqua class cabin.

I have read mixed reviews on cc re Regent, some say it is over rated; there are multiple complaints about food quality and availability (dining room hours not adjusted on shore days leaving room services as the only choice?)

Comments anyone? Which one would give you the best bang for your bucks?
Eschew is offline  
Mar 18th, 2014, 11:00 PM
  #2  
 
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Hi Eschew

I have been away from the forum for awhile. My husband had been very ill and hospitalized for two months. He passed away last week so I am back trying to take my mind of it and think about more pleasant things like cruising. I can tell you that my brother and wife are confirmed cruisers and do at least three a year. They are on the Amazon as I write this. They were very much confirmed HAL cruisers and did a couple of river cruises. However they have since done a couple of Oceana and really enjoyed them and would certainly go again. I think they enjoyed it as it is a slightly more casual atmosphere.

Have fun whichever you choose.
traveller69 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2014, 12:30 AM
  #3  
 
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traveler69, So sorry to hear about your loss. (((HUG)))

Utahtea
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Mar 19th, 2014, 06:30 AM
  #4  
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traveller69, words cannot express my sympathy and sorrow I felt for you. This is such a welcoming and close knit community here that we all felt the loss when someone is gone from here or lost a loved one. My prayers and thoughts are with you.
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Mar 19th, 2014, 07:26 AM
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T69 I too extend my sympathies to you.You have always been a supportive member here and I hope you like Percy and Scarlett find solace during these trying times.
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Mar 19th, 2014, 07:33 AM
  #6  
 
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Eschew is regent worth $4400.00 more than Oceania?

Celebrity for the overall cost would be out for me. Its 4 less days too.

I would look into the weather at that time. Its heading into their summer and when we were there in August or their winter it was nice but the locals said they have two seasons, hot and hotter. Also I think its wetter in their summer as well so its humid too. Just a thought.
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Mar 19th, 2014, 07:38 AM
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BYW E you can put that $4400.00 towards nice black pearls for your wife. .
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Mar 19th, 2014, 10:41 PM
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Thank you all for your kind words! Larry and Eschew - I have been in fairly close touch with Percy through it all. Its been a long three months for me but it helps to know his suffering is over and he is at peace. Thanks again. I think my cruising days are over for awhile - traveling will have to be by car because I have my constant and loving companion Daisy my Doxie. Dogs are such great comfort don't know what I would have done without her. I will enjoy reading your plans and trip reports so keep me up to date!!
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Mar 20th, 2014, 07:50 PM
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traveller69, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. May your special memories help you through this difficult time.
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Mar 20th, 2014, 07:55 PM
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Eschew, we have cruised on both Oceania and Celebrity and liked Celebrity and loved Oceania. We thought the extra money was well worth every penny. We did have a penthouse suite which we also loved. Have not cruised on Regent (can't persuade ourselves we want to pay that much extra) but have heard good reports from friends who have cruised on them.
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Mar 20th, 2014, 09:58 PM
  #11  
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Larry - for $4400 extra, you get pre and post hotel and a one day land extension. If you are not booked into their Concierge suite or higher, the hotel/transfer is $800 per night. You may also have a chance (chance only) for an upgrade, whatever that means. Been on a lot of mass market lines and smaller boutique cruise lines but never on Regent or Oceania. The short answer is I don't know if it is worth the $4400 extra. For the $4400 extra, you have a full suite, marble bathroom with tub and the whole works, whatever that means. That's probably why I ask if anyone think it is worth the extra.

I am leaning towards the Oceania as it appears to be good value, except one thing: DW doesn't drink, not even a glass of wine at dinner, maybe a sip, that's it. I am a social drinker, a glass of wine at dinner, a beer sometimes and maybe an after dinner drink; so even a minimum beverage package is not even worth my while on Celebrity. Can I do better on my own buying drinks, picking excursions, tips etc for the $1,700 extra between Celebrity and Oceania? Yes, it is 4 days shorter as well.

I know what my fellow passengers are like on Celebrity. I don't know what my fellow passengers are like on Oceania and Regent. Do that have that superiority complex and behave like snobs? Do we feel comfortable enough to "fit in"? If everyone is dressed in designer outfits, wonder what they would think when they see me in my $10 t-shirt, shorts, and runners? Not that it matters as I probably won't see them ever again and couldn't care less what they think anyway.

Still looking for answers and time is running out. The Regent and Celebrity have November departure dates and Oceania is in December.
Eschew is offline  
Mar 21st, 2014, 11:12 AM
  #12  
 
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Cali - thank you so much for your condolences they are so appreciated.

Eschew - As I mentioned in my post my brother found Oceana to be more casual and really enjoyed that aspect of it. I think that Regent would have a little more of the "snob" feel. I have done a few Celebrity cruises but would not hesitate to book Oceana after my brother's report. I guess that will be a little down the road for me. My vote is Oceana. Remember I insisted on you seeing the Pantheon in Rome - so would I give you bad advice!!!
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Mar 21st, 2014, 06:34 PM
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I tend to agree with T69. My impression of Oceania O's the same, that it's more casual and would not have a snobby clientele. I vote Oceania as well Your hunch is a good one I think.
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Mar 22nd, 2014, 10:10 AM
  #14  
Uma
 
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We have cruised with Radisson(now Regent) to Alaska, French Polynesia and most recently the Mediterranean. Always liked their casual atmosphere(never experienced a "snob" feel among guests or crew), cabins, food, service and port intensive itineraries. But do feel they have become quite expensive. Have heard great things about Oceania.
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Mar 23rd, 2014, 10:39 PM
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Eschew, we did not find the other passengers to be snobby on Oceania. It was casual and friendly. We loved having a full sized bathroom and huge closet in our cabin. It was also nice to have the concierge room right across the hall from our cabin. The food was excellent and we had several choices of restaurants to eat in each night.
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Mar 28th, 2014, 08:49 PM
  #16  
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The clock is ticking and it is decision time. Although it is not booked yet, but it appears that we will be going with Celebrity, pending air availability.

Regent was the first one that got knocked out. Although we are familiar with and enjoyed our stays at the Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and the like, I am not sure if we will be entirely comfortable with Regent, especially the fellow passengers.

We were very tempted to book with Oceania. It has great food, the price is right; but there is one common knock on Oceania: very weak entertainment line up and ship board activities, especially on their R class ships.

On the 18 days Oceania cruise, there are 10 sea days. If there are less sea days, I would be less concern with the weak entertainment line up.

In the end, we ended up with Celebrity. We don't get to visit Port Vila (I have family there) but we will visit Sydney and we plan to stay there for a few days pre-cruise.

If and when we book, which is probably tomorrow morning, we will take a regular veranda cabin and not Aqua class. They have a pick your perk promotion on right now that you can select 1 of 4 bonuses: free beverage package, free gratuity, $300 on board credit or air discount.

The free beverage package probably worth the most (almost $1,000) but since we are casual drinkers, we will never be able to consume that much wine and spirits to make it worth our while. More than likely, depends on what the air discounts works out to compare to booking on our own, we would likely select the air discount or the free gratuity ($24 a day adds up awfully quick).

The total package on Celebrity is going to be a bit more than the Oceania package after you add up air fare, beverages etc but the cost was not the main issue: we worry about the weak entertainment line up on the sea days.

Oceania is now on our radar screen. We will keep our eye on them and if the right promo comes along again on a more port intensive cruise, more than likely, we will give them a try. Maybe on a 10 day cruise just to try them out.

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions and we really appreciated it. Will keep you all posted!
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Mar 28th, 2014, 09:04 PM
  #17  
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T69, loved the original front doors at Pantheon. It was under renovation (or cleaning?) when we were there the first time and they had scaffolding on one side of the building. We had a great lunch at a side walk cafe right across from the front entrance. We never made it back there the second time as there are a few more places that we want to knock off. It will be on the list if and when we go back there again.

Larry. I would presume that Sue owns a set of black pearls.

Would black corral count? I bought DW a black corral necklace on our last trip and I think I told her that it is even more rare than black pearls!
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Mar 29th, 2014, 06:52 AM
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Sounds like a good choice for you. I did not take the shows into account so yes thats a plus for X vs. O.

Pretty cool idea for the black coral idea. However now that she has it then she gotta have black pearls too.

Yep, we did get some black pearls, no way around that. She got some in Fiji too in 2001 as well.

We went to a pearl farm and its very interesting to hear how black pearls begin their journey so to speak. The owner of the farm told us that clam shells are removed from of all places the mighty Mississippi river, taken to japan, yes Japan where small discs are punched out of the shells, sent to Tahiti and placed in the oysters where the irritation causes mother of pearl to be secreted and thus pearls form. Few turn out to be black and fewer yet are of top grade caliber. They are strung together on a line and just "hang out" literally and feed of micro organism that float by. I forgot how long they just stay there but its quite a wile.

BTW some of the best vanilla in the world comes from Tahiti. Its debated whether this is the best or the stuff from Madagascar but we brought back some beans and some extract and its very nice.

Be prepared for sticker shock when you see prices on the islands. A 4 oz. bottle of Coppertone was like $40.00 in 2006 when we were there. This was a t the Sheraton where had a day room pre departure as our flight was late and we had to be out early.

A 1.75 l bottle of good old Jack Daniels on one of the stops, Raeatia I think was, gasp! $140.00 USD!!! Here its around $35.00. Yikes.
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Mar 29th, 2014, 10:36 PM
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Papeete is extremely expensive for tourists, at least that's what I have been told. Decent hotel room rate is $400 per night.

Thanks for the heads up, I will buy sun screen on board, and it is expensive enough. LOL. At $140 for a Texas Mickey of Jacks, I think I'll quit drinking all together.

Funny thing about black pearls, they are cheaper if you don't buy them in Tahiti.
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Mar 30th, 2014, 07:39 AM
  #20  
 
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I don't recall what the cost was but it did not seem crazy. We did buy them directly from the pearl farm so maybe that's why.

Bear in mind those prices were 8 yrs. ago so I do wonder how costs are now. For the locals the cost of things is offset by no taxes, free health and education. If you need say an operation that can't be done there you and a companion are flown say to Australia or some place close where it can be done. Also you will see how lush it is there with a lot of food home grown like fruit and verges and fish is plentiful. It's not too expensive or you can just toss a line in. The ever present French Baguettes are IIRC subsidized. The French must have their bread.

Breakfast at the hotel then was about $40.00.

My impression of Tahiti was, especially for the smaller islands that it was the most beautiful place I have ever seen but with a cost.

In Papeete we saw the home of the fellow who wrote "Mutiny on the Bounty" and he loved the place so much he decided to live there. He wrote many other books about so. Pacific life too.

I do believe you will love this cruise!
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