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towny44 last won the day on April 25

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About towny44

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    Able Seaman

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  1. The end of the traditional cruise?

    Have you sailed on RC David? If so you should have noted that they still have 3 formal nights on a 14 day cruise, the rest of the dinners are at least equal in standard and service to P&O, as is the entertainment, in fact some is better. Most of their fleet have almost wrap around prom decks, with shuffleboard for those that want it, and their evening bar and lounge entertainment is as good as any I have enjoyed on other main stream lines. They do have water slides, flow riders and rock climbing walls, as well as other more adventurous features on their newer ships, but they are easily avoided if you don't want to make use of them. So you could enjoy both traditional and modern on their ships if you wanted.
  2. Oceana Dubai

    That's because the first ship of her class of 4 was called Sun Princess, Oceana was called Ocean Princess when first launched.
  3. P&O have done it again!!!

    We were Ventura just before her refit and the shops closed 3 to 5 days before Southampton. I have to admit, even as a man who dissuades his wife from buying anything onboard, it did make the atrium area feel very dead for those last few days.
  4. Do You Give Your Cabin Steward Excellent

    Can only comment on Celebrity, RCI and Princess, but I can't recall any of those 3 claiming they used any sort of questionnaire to determine the level of auto grats to allocate to hotel staff. However in an e-mail reply to me P&O did say they used the on board questionnaire in this way, and P&O stewards sometimes do ask that you give them excellent to guarantee their tip level.
  5. Do You Give Your Cabin Steward Excellent

    OWT, maybe its because P&O are the only cruise line that claim to use the onboard questionnaire to determine the auto grat allocation, and allegedly only an excellent score leads to a good bonus. Hence the debate about how these questionnaires should be completed, and why the answers could be skewed to give a false view of service standards.
  6. St Petersburg

    If the OP is with Viking then presumably most of the shore excursions will be included. However I am not a big fan of overnight stays, although to be fair St Pete is perhaps an exception, so 2 days would probably be more than enough for me, especially as my wife is a wheelchair user and St Petersburg is not very wheelchair friendly.
  7. Gratuities increase.

    In the past it was always assumed that the tips were high to compensate for the low wage levels that stewards and dining room waiters received, a supposed hangover from the luxury days of cruising where you had to pay the purser to get one of these jobs because of the high rewards in tips. However in P&Os case, if you believe what they say, these staff are now paid a fair wage commensurate with the industry standard, but if you do the maths you find that the amount of money P&O collect, if everyone paid, would provide an excellent wage for these staff far higher than the believed wage, with quite a lot left over to bolster P&O profits; according to various websites and staff posting on forums. We have always paid the requested auto tip, but I don't think we will be doing so in future, not as long as these payments are discretionary, because it seems to me that the reducing numbers paying the grats are having to pay more to compensate P&O for those removing the tips.
  8. Sounds like a solarium/covered pool area during the day Davybe, which should have lots of sunbeds.
  9. We were also on N803 and do not recognise any of your negative comments, yes the early theatre shows were often full 15-30 minutes before the start, but the later ones were rarely full, and we hardly came across anyone who was not thoroughly enjoying the cruise, if not some of the rough seas and high winds on the Atlantic crossings. We will trying Aurora for the first time in Spring next year, mainly to see what all the hype is about from some P&O diehards, but even if its not for us, I hope I won't dismiss it entirely, cruising on any ship is better than being at home.
  10. We have had 2 holiday insurance claim, one was a hospital in patient stay, and for this one the EHIC card was used and did cover all the hospital costs. The other involved a handbag beach theft where not only my wifes purse but my wallet were lost, along with credit cards and my passport. Fortunately we also had full travel insurance cover which reimbursed us for most of the other extra costs, including a rescheduled return flight for the hospital stay, but they balked at me trying to claim taxi fares to visit my wife in hospital.
  11. Following your comment Davybe I have re-visited the video and there certainly seems to be as much open deck space for sun loungers as there is on the other 3 big ships, and there presumably should be some under that dome thingy as well, if not there ought to be.
  12. All inclusive trial?

    I totally agree with you Mitch, however since Celebrity started doing drinks packages their bar prices have nearly doubled, presumably in an effort to encourage more passengers to buy them. The result is that those like us for whom drink packages would never be economic end up having to pay double for the drinks we do have.
  13. We only cruise now since my wife uses a wheelchair almost 100% of the time following a stroke, and we know how much full insurance cover can cost. However we do wonder how some passengers both older and with more serious conditions do manage to afford insurance, and wonder if they just risk holidaying without insurance.
  14. Blood types

    I suspect it may be down to our modern sanitised lifestyles, where we are encouraged to use bactericide cleaners on every surface in the house. In the old days our immune system was kept on top form with all the bugs we came across, but now its hardly needed so its too lethargic to help us when we do pick up a virulent virus.
  15. I always think that service standards are set by the senior staff, on Celebrity the head waiters and Assistant Maitre D's lead by example and are never frightened to get their hands dirty clearing tables and setting them up if needed. As a result the waiters are always more pro-active than on P&O where very few of the senior staff help the waiters, but prefer to motivate by pointing out their failings. Not the best form of man management at all.