A Travellerspoint blog

May 2012


The visa process

Well, I sent off my passport yesterday for my visa to China. The service was General Visa Service in Washington DC. They are the preferred visa service for Viking River Cruises. I also use Zierer Visa Services, which has been very reliable. The visa costs $203.00 and takes four work days to process once received at the GenVisa office. Something to remember - you need two blank "Visa" pages in your passport to get your visa. The last four pages of the passport are for notes, and won't be used for visa's - renew early or get some extra passport pages in advance if your passport is filling up. More to come!

Posted by rpickett 09:15 Comments (0)

Oasis of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean

Final Entry

sunny 83 °F

Our last day at sea was quiet with a few final meetings and packing. Spent the afternoon planning the fall trip to Ireland. The debarkation process was as good as the embarkation process. We asked for departure between 7:30am and 8:00am. They assigned us 7:45am. At about 7:47, they called our number and we had our bags and were at the car in about 15 minutes. RCCL divides the bags into a bunch of small groups, so finding your bag is easy, and the customs folks just look at your immigration form and passport vice swiping it into the system. They can process a bunch of people quickly this way.

For those that have never been on Oasis or its sister Allure of the Seas, feeling that the ships with nearly 6000 passengers on board are just too big, I would strongly disagree. Yes you have to like large – on a Vegas level, but this ship, with its multitude of neighborhoods, absorbs people like no other, so that you really never get a sense of the total number of passengers on board. Navigating the Oasis is different from other ships, especially for dining. The ship is totally electronic, and the numerous touch screens around the ship tell you anything that you need to know. The Windjammer is relatively small, yet most folks still think there are only two main breakfast and lunch dining venues. As a result the Windjammer is frequently ‘standing room only’ during peak periods. The successful cruiser hits the dining button on the touch screen, or on the interactive stateroom TV, and finds those venues that are lightly loaded and heads there. We ate breakfast at Johnny Rockets, the Windjammer, and the Solarium Bistro depending on the time of day and demand. For dinner there are also many surcharge restaurants of superb quality. We ate at Giovanni’s Italian eatery and Izunu Asian fusion. Both were excellent, though our waiter at Giovanni’s was sort of all over the place and not very organized. The shows are superb – literally Broadway caliber - and Hairspray and the Aquatheater show are amazing by any standard.

My next trip is China in late June - time to apply for my visa!

Posted by rpickett 10:45 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Oasis of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean

Sea Day

sunny 90 °F

Sea day today – quiet and beautiful. Breakfast was again at Johnny Rockets and after some seminars, we did lunch at the Seafood shack – an a la carte extra charge bistro on the Boardwalk. I had a fried fish sandwich which was very good. They were doing the International Belly Flop competition in the Aquatheater pool, which provided the lunch time entertainment. Some more meetings in the afternoon, and then we went to Izuna - the Japanese, Asian fusion restaurant on Deck 16. It was very good – equal to the best Oriental restaurant we go to back in Charleston. After dinner, some time in Dazzles listening to the band an watching the dancing and then called it a day!

Posted by rpickett 06:14 Archived in Dominican Republic Comments (0)

Oasis of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean

St. Maarten

sunny 85 °F

We arrived in St. Maarten early and I was off the ship by 8:15 for a two tank certified dive trip. The water was choppy, but the reefs were fresh and growing. Were entertained by a couple of sharks, several sting rays, one lion fish, several really large langoustes, a moray eel, several sea turtles and a bunch of the usual reef fish. The ocean was a little choppy, but that didn’t detract from the enjoyment. Those that had dived yesterday in St. Thomas said that this dive was better. Departure is at 4:00pm as we head back to Ft. Lauderdale. Doing the Ice Show tonight!

Posted by rpickett 11:00 Archived in Netherlands Antilles Comments (0)

Oasis of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean

St. Thomas

sunny 85 °F

Arrived in St. Thomas on time and with a beautiful day. Marriott Corporation hosted 500 of us the at the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef Resort and Morningstar resort. Two resorts, one beachfront an one on higher ground on the same property. The resort has just undergone a major renovation which was readily apparent in the clean fresh space. The rooms all have King beds and are decorated in modern style. Several pool areas are available including an infinity pool. The property had a large conference facility and a very nice wedding chapel outside. They are capable of hosting several weddings at the same time without any mutual interference. I would recommend the resort for those who want to come to St. Thomas – a great location for shopping. A unique feature of the Morningstar rooms, which are right on the beach, is that they all come with an icemaker in the room. This would be very handy for cocktail hour and with a family! After a wonderful BBQ beach party sponsored by Coors, Heineken and Captain Morgan, we shuttled back to the ship and sailed for St. Maarten.

Posted by rpickett 10:58 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (0)

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