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Peter D

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About Peter D

  • Rank
    Cadet
  • Birthday 08/12/50

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    NE Wales
  • Interests
    Many and varied. Cooking, photography, travel, gardening.
  1. Ventura and Azura are sister ships with Ventura being the eldest. Having been on both we prefer Azura, there is just that something about her that makes her better than Ventura. Welcome to the world of cruising.
  2. We opted for an outside for a 4 day cruise, G52 an unobstructed outside cabin, never been this low in a ship before, however, the room was spacious, well presented, clean and tidy. The cabin has 3 wardrobes, 2 full length & 1 shelved with a safe, a dressing unit with the fridge and a little storage cabinet, TV on top of this unit. 2 bedside tables and a small settee and oval table. Bathroom is compact but adequate with a bath and shower and plenty of storage. The window was large and gave good views outside. The cabin is ideally located for reception and of course embarking/disembarking for ports of call. On a cruise to the Fjords on Oriana were had our first outside cabin and we said then it would not be our last. Although, whilst there was nothing wrong with the cabin, because it was so low down in the ship if we ever came back to Arcadia again we would opt for something a little higher up.
  3. Alway thought it was all the hot air of everyone who complains about everything on their cruise.
  4. lordgw, Only just seen this post. We were in D738, Port Corner Aft Suite. Pictures in link. However, regarding balconies, they are of different sizes some smaller that others but there is definitely more room than on a side B1-B3 Suite, the bigger ones are towards the bottom as you will see from the pictures. https://picasaweb.google.com/102914015989448816346/BritanniaCabinB738?authuser=0&feat=directlink
  5. I took early retirement at 61 and my OH 59, that was 4 years ago. We have been enjoying every minute. Mind you we have been planning it for a few years.
  6. Just came back off B513 - Around the UK, so food for thought. My views only. Just love her colour scheme, browns, creams, blues, reds, greens and they blend in to make her interiors very modern. We did not use, Limelight, Crystal Room, or the top decks (due to weather) so I cannot comment on these. We also did not do quizzes, talks etc so again no comment. I am not going to say anything about the lack of Promenade deck, too much has been said already. Due to our type of cabin I am not going to comment on cabin size or balcony size. That leaves us with......Britannia. Interior We think her colouring is very contemporary and modern and suits her style. Her public spaces are large and open but you can still find quiet places to sit and relax. Her corridors and the flow take some getting used to, but once you have master this it is easy to find different areas quickly. The Atrium must be seen to be appreciated; photos do not do it any justice, its Crystal Chandelier must be seen to take in its majesty. It is open with lots of tables and chairs and with plenty of room to just sit. The surrounding bars, coffee shop and market stall blend in well to this open area. In the evenings then the Atrium bars are nice places to relax and enjoy your pre dinner drinks and if you look closely enough they have some hidden spaces behind the bar areas and outside space on deck 7. Her dining areas have been well planned with the Meridian and Peninsular restaurants seeming to have more space, they have been divided up into sections and the tables are well spaced out. For those liking tables for two, lots of these and room in between so you do not feel like you are sitting at a table for eight like Azura or Ventura. The staff here work hard and always have a pleasant way about them. The MDR food was good and most importantly hot. The Horizon Buffett is open, lots of tables and her food area well laid out and easy to access. The Speciality restaurants of Sindhu and Epicurean are stunning places to dine and they have some nice touches like booths for two so you can have that special intimate meal without feeling watched from other tables. Worth the supplement. Staying with Sindhu it is in a great location, Deck 7 between mid and aft lifts. As well as the restaurant area it has a nice people watching bar to the front that was well used by everyone, including us. I thought the Glass house was a little underwhelming and I think that this stems from its location in the Atrium on Deck 7, see niggly bits later. However, the food is still excellent and worth trying, especially the little, or not so little plates. The other bar areas have great staff who are there for you. Brodies, Crows Nest, Blue Bar are all great areas to sit and have a drink, people watch and just enjoy. We loved the Crows Nest with its forward looking seats. However, they could have made the windows bigger. The entertainments areas are good. The Theatre is well used and the headliners have upped their game with great shows. But again on some occasions this was only 2/3rds full and on others you just could not find a seat with queues outside. The Live Lounge is brilliant, with the resident band Pulse here most nights. This area is also used for some speciality acts and sometimes the queues for these acts were from its front doors to the photography area which makes trying to get past to go somewhere a little difficult. On some days when the resident group was on it was less than half full, shame really they are a good group, but I can see this changing when Britannia does the Med or the Caribbean with a younger clientele. For those that require them then the daily newspapers are placed outside the Blue bar. Top Decks On top, well due to the weather this was a very quiet. I mentioned the Buffet area earlier. The Sunset Bar to the rear is mainly undercover and spacious and a fantastic place to watch the sailouts. There is also a quiet area with pool to the front of the ship with some nice seating areas. For us the niggly bits, not complaints, just not thought through and they did not spoil the cruise or enjoyment of the ship. Going back to the Atrium. Yes a great place to sit and enjoy during ports days or even at night but a sea day and everything changes. It seems everyone want to sit here and enjoy the ambiance. That makes finding a seat and table to enjoy a drink or meal difficult because these are taken by passengers reading papers and doing crosswords. So for areas like the Blue Room, Java, Market Garden and for us the Glass House almost unusable. Staying with the Glass House, not the best place to put it. Just not enough tables and too open to the Atrium, even at night. Whoever designed the Cinema needs shooting. It is flat and so unless you are 6' 11" or more do not sit at the back because you will not see half of the screen. What I call the nick nack shop, you know the one that sells everything has been hidden on Deck 5, away from all the other shops and out of sight of the Atrium near to Reception, also hidden away and the Excursion area. Whilst the Future Cruise desk has been given prominence on deck 7. I can understand its location but the problem with this is again passengers sitting outside enjoying the comfortable seats reading papers etc and if you are waiting to see someone, you a) do not know who is also waiting and you stand, sometimes up to 30 mins. The shops, the upmarket shops, are taking the mickey with their prices. We have seen and Jennifer owns Swarovski and Colgau Jewellery that we have purchased from local Jewellers cheaper. By this I mean even if you take 10% off they are still £50 - £100 more expensive on board. I have a watch purchased in Chester that was £150 cheaper than on board. In my opinion they are taking up good public space. Now the lifts and what I see as the problem. For public areas you can only walk, use a wheelchair, walking frame etc from Aft to Forward on Deck 7, ie: deck 7 is the only deck with a passage from the aft lifts to the forward lifts. On decks 5 & 6 you cannot access the aft lifts at all from the atrium. However, you can access the forward lifts. This causes problems to those with walking disabilities. Because if they are on deck 5 and want deck 6 or 7 the only way is either the mid-section lifts or the forward section lifts. But, the MDRs of Meridian and Peninsular are mid-section and the Blue bar, Limelight Club and Market Garden are mid-section. So for them they can only be reasonably expected to use the mid-section lifts. To me the big problem is passengers without any difficulties using the mid-section lifts. They need to get real and leave these for the passengers that need them. If they want a lift then can either walk to the forward section or use the stairs to deck 7 and walk to the aft section. Shock and horror I hear you say, walk that distance. Well it is 130 steps, I know I paced it. But, they scream we need stairs. Well I saw able bodied passengers get on lifts and get off at the next floor, I saw passengers in a cabin near to where our cabin was get in a mid-section lift, we walked to the aft section lift and found that they had walked the length of the passageway to their cabin in the aft section of deck 11. Now they could have walked to the aft lifts on deck 7 and used them. We are both in our 60s and use the stairs as much as possible and definitely not use the lift for one floor, up or down. OK, if your cabin is mid-section it is a pain to walk to the aft or forward sections to use lifts and then walk back to the mid-section. But I see this has exercise and with all the good food something that most passengers should do. Because we had an Aft cabin if required we used these lifts and must say never waited more than a minute for on, mainly empty, seems everyman and his dog wants to use the mid-section ones. Ok, for you diehards she is not like Canberra or even the the QE2. Saying that I bet cruisers who had been around for a while thought the same about these ships when they were launched. My thoughts is that this is the 21st Century and she is a ship for the 21st Century. That from a 60+ year old. Overall we really enjoyed Britannia, for us a 9/10. Now, would we go back on her. That would depend. Our favourite ship is Azura and after our cruise it still is. So, that would be our first choice. However, right destination, right cabin, we were spoilt in ours and of course right price yes we would. For us, well guess what, we are back on her next month and now having been on her once really looking forward to all she has to offer.
  7. Just back from her around the UK cruise. Having reread the original post I have changed my reply. I will repost that one elsewhere. Day 3 – Edinburgh Tender Port We were tendered into Newhaven. We were met at the port by a trio of pipers and members of the local tourist board with maps etc. Now, if you only want to visit Edinburgh this is a very easy DIY port. Just off the port area you can catch one of two local buses that go to Edinburgh, or you can take the free shuttle to the Ocean Terminal where Britannia ver1 is berthed. From here you can visit said ship, or just outside there is a better choice of buses, about 6 different ones, going into Edinburgh. Cost from whatever area you want to go from is £1.50pp single or £4pp all day. You just do your sums. For us the better option was the single. The journey is about 15 mins and takes you into Princess Street. Then armed with your map off you go. Walked along Princess Street, climbed The Scott Monument Tower, 287 steps with various levels, Climbed up Carlton Hill for fantastic views over the city and the port area, with Britannia berthed in the distance, walked through the East and West Gardens to name but a few. We took the bus back to Ocean Terminal and although there are shuttles from here we walked the short way back to Newhaven port, about 10mins. Day 3 – Invergordon Berthed Starboard side on We had booked P&O's Leisurely Loch Ness. Coach trip out through the countryside to Loch Ness and back, a short 3 ½ hr trip. Our guide, German by the way, was very knowledgeable and gave us an excellent commentary of the places we were passing through. On reaching Loch Ness we stopped at a lake side hotel for photos. Here was a model Nessie, for the selfie and then a short walk down to the Loch to take your photos. The hotel also had a Tourist shop. From here we drove onto Beauly a small village for another stop, but except for the ruined church there is nothing here, and then back to the ship. You know that feeling when something does not live up to expectations, well for both of us, and talking to others later, this was one of those occasions. Yes, the countryside is beautiful but the hotel is a tourist trap, we saw and bought cheaper stuff in Edinburgh, ie we bought a crystal Nessie for £12.99 in Edinburgh but here it was £18 for a plastic one. Then the Loch itself was a let-down, views from the road are all masked by trees, when we went down to the Loch side there was a smell and the area resembled a building site. What we had preserved about Loch Ness and the views were not what we saw. We did stop after the hotel for a photo shoot of Urquhart Castle but the distance if you did not have a telephoto lens was too far. However, we were the only bus to stop out of the 3 that where on this morning excursion. The other sad thing was we drove passed the Nessie Experience Exhibition Centre, OK it may have been touristy but it would have been fun to look at and walk around. All in all for us a 3/10. Day 4 – Kirkwall Berthed Starboard side on Started the sail in very early and I must say sailing past all the small islands was spectacular. We had a berthed for here and on sailing into Kirkwall harbour found that Marco Polo was already there at anchor. This initially was a Tender port but was changed to a berth. On disembarking there was a free shuttle into town where we decided to join a Round the Island Bus. This cost £8.30pp and it is a complete tour of the island. You drive out of Kirkwall stopping off at Scarpa Flow, onto Skara Brae & Skaill House for a hour stop, entry here is an extra £5.50pp. From here onto Ring of Brodgar, 30 mins here and then back to Kirkwall. About 3 ½ hours overall. If the weather had played its part this is an excellent and cheap option to see the island and its sites. However, in driving rain and gale force winds it is not fun. That coupled with the bus drivers on board system breaking, so no commentary, it took the pleasure out of it and made the tour silent and long. Arriving back at Kirkwall the rain and wind had not let up so we caught the shuttle back to the ship and stayed on board for the afternoon. The weather did brighten up in the afternoon. Day 5 – At Sea Another advertised highlight, sailing past Cape Wrath, the most North-Westerly point of Scotland. This actually happened at 2am, I do not think there were many out on deck to see it. The sail down the west coast of Scotland, past Skye, Rum, Eigg and Mull is a sight to see, rugged cliff faces and the wild coast line. However, weather did not make seeing them from your balcony or the tops of Britannia’s decks a pleasure. Day 6 – Greenock Berthed Port side on Another beautiful sail in past islands and lush countryside. So far is dry but chilly and what a welcome a full pipe band, large dancing Scotsman mascot, you know the type, you see them in the high streets dressed in overly large costumes trying to get your attention, and that was just the beginning. After breakfast we left the ship to a great welcome, the large Scotsman was there to meet us along with the mayor and councillors who shook our hands and the local tourist guides who were there to assist in any way they could. They really know how to make you feel welcome here. The tourist board is fantastic, it is they who laid on the pipe band, dancing large Scotsman, tourist trips, they really go out of their way to welcome you to their town and help you get the most out of your stay. So far the best welcome yet from any port of call. The Ocean Terminal has a tourist centre with plenty of maps, leaflets and lots of information about the surrounding area. They will let you know bus timings to Glasgow and where to catch the bus. They will point you in the direction of the train station if you are so inclined. Also in the terminal are small stalls/shops selling local ware. For further afield. A taxi to Glasgow is £40, we over heard the price and I suspect that this is a single. There are lots of taxis outside the terminal. The train takes between 45 – 55 mins depending on which one you catch. The other thing on offer is a taxi tour at £30 per hour. We could have gone further afield but decided to stay in Greenock and sample its delights. Now here the local tourist group lay on free local tours, you read correctly, free tours. All they ask for is a small donation at the end of the tour. The choice you have is: Gourock Tour, Greenock Tour or Port Glasgow and Newark Castle Tour. Note that for that last tour although the tour is free, entry to the castle requires a small entry fee. You need to book as you get off, only 30 passengers are on the minibus. We choose the Gourock tour. A 3 hour trip that took us around town, up to a viewing point where you have time for a photo opportunity, into Inverkip past the marina, the Cloch Lighthouse and back via the Esplanade and back to the terminal. The tour is fully guided with a very informative commentary telling you of local history and pointing out various sites and areas that you can see over the Clyde. Your guides are members of the local tourist group who are all retired and do this for the pleasure. If you do not want to go far and would like to see some of the history of the area this is for you. Just outside the port gates is a stop for a HOHO bus and the main town is only a short and flat 15 mins walk away. After the tour we strolled into town. Really it is just your normal town with high street shops. Throughout the town we noticed tourist signs pointing the way to various areas and the way to the terminal. Sail out tonight was early. Again a pipe band, we saw the return of our dancing Scotsman, people lining the outside area with flags and all along the Esplanade locals lined the street to see us off. What a nice place to visit. Day 7 - Liverpool Berthed Starboard side on We sailed up the Mersey was through mist and heavy rain. For us a stay on board day. Well we only live 30-40 mins away and have visited here on a few occasions. It is a shame that it is heavy rain, Liverpool has a lot to offer and all within a short distance. The ship berths about 10 mins walk from the Liver Building and Cunard building, outside you will find HOHO buses ready to take you around the city. The Museum of Liverpool is just a little further followed by the Albert Dock a full 20 mins maximum away. Then if you are so inclined the main shopping area is only about 20 mins from the port. If you want to go further afield Chester, Wirral and the North Wales coast are within easy reach. Late sail away with a firework display. After the display Britannia continued around to complete a full 360o turn until we were pointing back down the Mersey and ready for our sail out. Day 8 – Dublin Berthed Starboard side on Arrived to a misty start but soon brightened up. Just managed to get onto the balcony has two Dolphins decided to pop up, not enough time to get back into the cabin for my camera, maybe on the way out. We sailed into the heart of Dublin, well as close as we could. Seemed strange reversing up into the port with all the aft cabins now facing the way we were sailing. The port itself is very industrialised but we had a welcome of Irish Dancers and Drummers. There were an abundance of taxis offering tours at the port. Free shuttle to the city, about 20 mins away. Seems Dublin has decided to plan all their road works for the next 10 years for this visit, the town centre was chaos. Dropped off in Kildare Street right next to the National Gallery of Ireland. From here you have easy access to the HOHO tour buses, €17pp, Trinity College (Book of Kells), Dublin Castle and the shopping areas of O’Connell Street and Grafton Street are all within easy walking distance. Anything further, Guinness, Jameson, Dublin Zoo you will need transport of some kind, but the HOHO buses go right past all major sites. Can I also recommend a walk through St Stephens Green a beautiful park and not far from the drop off point. Day 9 – Cobh Berthed Port side on The local tourist centre came on board with maps of Cobh and Cork along with ideas of what to do and see. So, here it all depends on what you want to do. For Cork, there are plenty of taxis on the quay side to take you in. The train station is a short walk away and this takes you directly into Cork. If you are staying in Cobh again there is a lot on offer. Taxis all ready to give private tours, there is a land train that takes you around the town, there are harbour tours and you can hire your own boat €49 for a family of 5 for 1 hour. If you wish to do your own thing the town is a short 15 min walk away. The walk takes you past a sea view park, shops and there are local history stories on the Queenstown Story, Lusitania and Titanic. If you wish to visit the Titanic Gardens then just be warned that it is about a mile away at the other side of town. The views from St Coleman’s Cathedral over the port area are stunning and you will see your cruise ship below. Day 11 – Guernsey Tender Port After the Captain announcing the previous evening that strong winds and tide were expected in Guernsey in the morning we thought we would be unable to get in. However, seems Mother Nature liked us and everything had blown through by the time we sailed into the harbour and our berth location. The sun was out and it was already quite warm at 8am. So, fed and watered we made our way to the tender for the journey ashore. This is an easy DIY although some places to get to are up quite steep hills. We were met by tourist information on stepping ashore with a map and information regarding free Wi-Fi, in the harbour and sea front area; you are given the log in details. We had a nice stroll along the front to Castle Cornet and then onto the Lighthouse with views over the harbour and Britannia at anchor. Close to Castle Cornet is a café and the prices are very reasonable. Not sure if they always do it but they made sure my change was in UK currency. We then strolled back through town, nice shops, VAT free, but very expensive. Up St Julian’s Ave to Candie Gardens. Beautiful well-kept gardens and a lovely café at the top where we stopped and had lunch. From here along to a viewing point overlooking the bay and back down into town. Overall a great way to see the UK. We had a mixture of weather, well British Summer, but most ports, except Kirkwall, were mainly dry. The only issue I will comment on are the locations we visited, this was Britannia’s Maiden UK cruise and I felt we could have taken in more of the UK. We had 4 Scottish, 1 English, 2 Southern Ireland and of course the Channel Islands. We missed Northern Ireland and Wales as Ports of Call that would have made this a true around UK cruise. But overall we thoroughly enjoyed it and as I have said the only downside was the weather in the Orkney’s. Due to Britannia's size and the tidal waters she had to berth a fair way out in both Edinburgh and Guernsey, that made the tender trips extremely long. The other problem we encountered was in Guernsey, the tidal waters coupled with high winds and a choppy sea made tendering difficult, but the ship coped, yes a little slow, but all the passengers arrived safely back on ship. I would expect nothing else from a good captain.
  8. Obviously you did not get the post....Joke..
  9. Ours has gone up £1000, should I complain.
  10. It must be pointed out that the Defence Discount Card is no longer accepted as proof of service. The only proof now accepted is an ID Card for serving personnel or discharge papers for veterans. From P&O Site: Please make sure you take the below with you on board your cruise: •Identification for serving personnel official military ID card •Proof of service issued by the MOD for retired personnel (MOD will issue retired personnel with discharge papers which is fine for you to take as a form of ID)
  11. The ship normally will berth at the outer edge of a huge container port. There is nothing in walking distance; you will need the shuttle to town, this is normally free but you will have to queue to get a shuttle bus ticket. It does have an indoor market and street markets. There is a huge fort with a large waterway round it, too big to call a moat and a public park. The HOHO bus visits 10 places around the town. The first bus is at 10am with a bus every hour. Last bus is 3pm. Try the Aquarium; stop 3 on the HOHO, €13pp. They have a Funicular Car up to a viewing point, stop 5 on the HOHO.
  12. Never been but have gleaned this from other forums/facebook. Depending on where you tender it can be a half hour tender ride into Benoa. At the port you have to run the gauntlet of the hundreds of taxi drivers all vying for business. If you do decide to take a private trip in a car/taxi then it is worth knowing that the roads are very good but the drivers are maniacs. There is no speed limit and the traffic lights are merely suggestions rather than being adhered to. There are thousands of mopeds, bikes and scooters. The legal age is 17 but many pre-teen and children are seen riding them. It is not unusual to see families of 3 or 4 riding on one moped weaving in and out of traffic. If you are looking for a private tour guide try Bali Dean. You are met at the port and immediately provided with bottles of iced water. His car is modern and air-conditioned. If into snorkeling try the tour to the Blue Lagoon which is approx. 75 minutes’ drive. On the way you will see many temples and the country side of Bali. There are temples in abundance many highly decorated and some more simple. Dean will explain the difference between the temples to the Bad Gods and the Good ones. It is mainly the women who make the offerings to the Gods. The Blue Lagoon is aptly named, however, the walk into the sea is not pleasant and the beach is full of debris but once in the water it is so clear. The coral is very colourful as are the fish. The snorkelling is some of the best. The facilities were very basic and it desperately needs some TLC. On the way back you visit the Water Palace at Karangasem. This was built in 1909 for a King with 11 wives. It is very clean and white tiled but not the majestic accommodation you would have expected for a King, You can tour the inside and visit the Kings bedroom, its stunning gardens and views. It is still owned by one of the Royal families. For many the overall view of Bali is that it is very dirty with lots of trash everywhere. There is no system in place for clearing up the mess and it will just continue to get worse. There are some beautiful places which are looked after but in the main the people just exist amongst the rubbish. It is a way of life for them and they probably don't even notice it. Hope that helps.
  13. A few more suggestions for you: If you don’t want to travel afar you will be surprised with just how much Le Havre has to offer. There is a small information centre for disembarking passengers which provides practical information with free travel guides, a small shop, plus taxi and tour services. The city of Le Havre is a 25 minute walk from the ships dock and most cruise lines usually offer a shuttle service into the centre of town. Taxis have a fixed rate of 8 euros for up to 4 people and 10 euros for up to 6 people one way to the centre of town. Stores are generally open Monday through Saturday 9- 7, but many close for lunchtime usually between 12-3. During July and August shops stay open for longer and even on Sundays. Museums open 10-5, but most are closed on Monday or Tuesday. The city was completely destroyed in World War II and although some may find the rebuilt bleak and uninventing, there is still lot to admire about the Auguste Perre’s audacious modern architecture, which earned the city UNESCO World Heritage status in 2005. Le Havre is dubbed the birthplace of Impressionist style of painting and is home to the Malraux Museum which boasts the largest collection of Impressionist painting in France, outside of Paris. Suggestions Walking along passed the marina there is a beach along with a children's park, skateboard park and outdoor swimming pool. If you happen to be visiting Le Havre in the summer you might want to visit the mile long beach where water sports enthusiasts can sail, windsurf or canoe. Ninety-six parks are spread throughout the city, including the Saint-Roch gardens, nearly five acres of British-style gardens in central Le Havre. The Le Havre tourism office provides itineraries for walking tours of Le Havre, which highlight attractions throughout the city. If you like art then try "The Musee Malraux a great stop off! It is a shortish walk from the ship, and if it is the first Saturday in the month, entry is free. Lots of Impressionist work, and many brilliant works by other artists that were an eye opener. Yes it's small, but large enough to tour and not be overloaded with artworks. There is the church designed by Perret (so-called Father of reinforced concrete!). It looks drab from the outside, but once inside, WOW! The dark interior is lit by myriad stained glass windows - really amazing. Then try a walk to the garden in front of the Hotel de Ville – in spring and summer these are beautiful and the spectacular fountains are everywhere. There's a lovely coastline North of Le Havre around Etretat, where the Impressionists painted and there's also the beaches used in the Normandy landings which would involve a longer day. It is amazing to go there though and you will find yourself getting very emotional if you go. I hope that helps you plan your stay.
  14. But that is two from a whole deck. We have also stayed in a Superior Deluxe and C Deck Balcony and much prefer the C Deck cabins, because of the overhang you can at least get a bit of privacy and it is not in shade.
  15. I must point out that the balconies on C Deck, Ventura and Azura are much bigger than the Superior Deluxe Balconies. Actually twice the size.