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sammy sun

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sammy sun last won the day on July 5 2018

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About sammy sun

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  1. sammy sun

    Just Curious !!

    I actually spoke to multiple agents regarding a cruise earlier this year with P&O and I was advised the same situation by all. P&O do still apply the 5% flat commission to all agents but it's up to the agent as to what they do with it. P&O do try to monitor this apparently and control the discounting to prevent overkill but at the end of the day, agents will do as they wish to get bookings, which undoubtedly works in our favour. That said, I would always be dubious of an agent giving away their full 5% commission in order to get a booking. It seemed the whole commission change with P&O came on the back of Gills going under quite a few years ago now. That had a major impact on the market and because of that the system seemed to change. If an agent is actively giving away their full commission, I'd be concerned about their longevity in the market, unless they have unlimited cash reserves. I, like many others have commented, try to combine the two wherever I can. I look for price but I also look for service and Bolsover have ticked these boxes well for me for many years now. Like most people, i still actively look at pricing to see what's out there but I always check Bolsover to make sure they're approximately on par and if they are, I'll go with them. I trust them and they've been excellent over the years for me.
  2. sammy sun

    MSC boarding times

    I've never sailed with them personally so I can't comment with full certainty but I would imagine they would be similar to other lines that operate such staggered check-in systems at Southampton. I think if you turn up earlier, you'll just be advised that they'll get you on board as soon as possible, much like P&O would do.
  3. sammy sun

    Info required

    Hi, glad you got the answers you were looking for. How do you find MSC? It's a cruise line I've discussed on this forum before but seeing as it's your third cruise with them I'd imagine you find them enjoyable? Just wondered how you would compare them to other cruise lines?
  4. sammy sun

    P&o gratuities

    The fact is that we're never going to know the full ins and outs of gratuities and how they're distributed. We can only interpret what impacts us, the paying passengers. They've clearly done their due dilligence and spent time working out the right way to move forward for the cruise line. I'm sure it took a long time to reach the decision but they've gone with it so fair play to them. It's a bold statement and certainly one that the majority of passengers will be pleased to hear. It prevents any awkward situations for passengers on board and it takes away the concern of gratuities for all. How it will impact pricing, I don't know but like always, if you aren't happy don't book, it's as simple as that. Vote with your feet and venture elsewhere. I suspect it won't have too much of an impact on pricing in the long-term as the booking trends certainly seemed to have changed towards last-minute rather than the early-booking trends of the past. I would imagine that the only time that isn't the case anymore is when it involves new ships such as Iona going on sale. I don't think too much will change apart from the fact that we as passengers, when travelling with P&O, will no longer have to factor in gratuities unless we wish to do so at the end of the cruise. Either way, it puts the control in our hands and that's what many have been demanding for a longtime so why all the fuss? You can only control what you can, everything else is just noise.
  5. sammy sun

    2020 bookings?

    Aside from the direct/agent debate, I think the Iona prices overall aren't bad at all. As a family of 3 looking at summer holidays 2020, the prices are much better than I expected for that time of year and the fact that it's a new ship. I do wish they'd gone a little more creative with Iona than what I've seen of her so far, especially if they really want to rival Royal Caribbean in the family market but that said, it does look a nice ship and despite the slight dissapointment, I did expect them to be their usual reserved selves.
  6. sammy sun

    2020 Itineraries

    I was quite surprised to see Iona just doing back-to-back Fjords itineraries. I expected the usual mix of Med/Fjords/Baltic/short cruise options so it's interesting to see them go down the route of one sole focus for a new ship. Maybe we'll see the same again for the next new arrival.
  7. sammy sun

    P&O Summer 2020 and IONA!

    I'd certainly be willing to give it a try but I dont' have overly high hopes for Iona. It's not necessarily the size of the ship that puts me off but rather what they've done with it. This was a real opportunity for P&O to do something different but instead it appears to be more of the same with the exception of "Courtyard Balconies" 🤔. It's hardly a wow factor. I'm not saying I need all the hustle and bustle of a Royal Caribbean ship to keep me happy because I don't but I just feel P&O could have done more to overcome many of the negative perceptions people have of them of late.
  8. I was recently made aware of a film on Netflix that is set on board Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas. It's called Like Father. Has anyone seen it? I've only seen a trailer for it on youtube but I may well give it a watch, if only to see what the ship looks like.
  9. sammy sun

    All Freedom Dining on Iona

    Personally, I try to adhere to dress codes but I do understand that some people will not. It's the way of the world and we all have to like it or lump it because as OWT quite rightly point out, it cannot be physically enforced. The cruising world is now a world of opinions and many differing preferences but as I've said before and I'll say again, the fortunate thing is that there are options for most tastes. The same applies to freedom dining. The limitations of traditional dining continue to be flagged as a negative perception of cruising to a younger generation and therefore more cruise lines will make their attempts to address this in order to tempt new to cruise passengers going forward. I'm therefore not surprised at all that P&O have taken this decision for Iona. I happen to love freedom dining because I much prefer to have the choice of when I wish to dine rather than being confined to a sitting. I do however appreciate that many people prefer traditional, quite often for the camaraderie and rapport you can develop with waiting staff and the sharing of a table with regular company. You pay your money, you take your choice 🙂
  10. sammy sun

    Iona's new style cabins

    I think it's a good idea in theory and at least it show SOME innovative thinking from P&O rather than the conveyor belt of normality they've dosed out over the past few years. My issue with it is that they will undoubtedly price this cabins at ridiculous fares for P&O Cruises, which will no doubt come tumbling down closer to the time of the cruise. I do think it's a nice concept though and it makes a positive change to see P&O introducing something different.
  11. sammy sun

    Yobs afloat

    It's a difficult one to judge but I do know one thing, I've recommended many people over the years to give cruising a try but I would never recommend choosing to do a "taster cruise" like this as I think it gives a complete mis-representation of how it really is. I've done the one short cruise and that was enough. The service was no way near as good and the whole process seemed unorganised in comparison to a longer sailing.
  12. sammy sun

    The end of the traditional cruise?

    I agree with the point you make but demands are changing. In order to keep up with modern day demands, cruise lines need to adapt. Hence the changes you see taking place.
  13. I saw the headline for this story a few days ago but I've just read a bit more about it today. I'm not keen on this name at all. I know it's a nod to the past and the history of the Virgin brand but for a new, contemporary, lavish cruise line image that they appear to be aiming for, it doesn't exactly fit does it? Just my opinion of course but I think it's a terrible name,
  14. There are many reasons why I love Celebrity Cruises and this is just another example to add to the list. I see they've announced plans for a $500 million makeover of their entire fleet. I love that they're not just satisfied with releasing new ships of a conveyor belt like some other lines, they're also taking care of the ships that have got them to this point in the first place. It means older favourites get refreshed with a new look and they're looking at the big picture rather than just the here and now. As per usual with Celebrity, they don't do things by halves as I see they're bringing in a mix of 500 people to oversee the refurbishment programme, all revolving around architecture, design and engineering. I also really like that they're not just refreshing the public spaces on board but concentrating on the cabins too. So often cabins are forgotten about or simply changed by adding a new carpet or even just a new tv and expecting people to be over the moon with the "makeover". All the staterooms on board are receiving a totally new design, which keeps things fresh and makes walking onto a ship you've sailed on before almost like experiencing something for the first time. They continue to impress me and I'll continue to sail with them.
  15. sammy sun

    Livorno or Florence

    I understand where you're coming from on the transfer time to and from Florence but it is well-worth it. It's a beautiful city so my advice would be to forget Livorno and go for Florence, especially if you've never been there before.