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About RiverSong

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    First Mate

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    Photography, Travel, Cruises of Course & the impact of Social Media!

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  1. I would like to share with you my experience on board Fred Olsen Boudicca, D1722 Scenic Spain 22nd September – 30th September 2017 round trip Liverpool. This was the first time we had used the port of Liverpool and was impressed with how convenient it is for us Northerners. When the car was parked with CPS at the ECHO arena, the stewards took our luggage and we didn’t see again till the cabin. This left us free to explore the city Liverpool before embarkation, being one of our favourite cities I would recommend anyone to do this and it’s easy to just walk to the terminal after. I think Paul (my long suffering other half) was surprise at how small the Boudicca looked compared to some of the other vessels he’s been on and to his horror he realised losing me on board may be more difficult than previously anticipated, but the benefits of a small ship soon became clear, we were checked in and onboard within thirty minutes. Our cabin was conveniently located on Atlantic Deck with two port holes and bath which if I’m honest is a first for myself in a cabin. The exploring of our new home for the next eight nights began, all public arears were modern and inviting and you immediately felt a friendly atmosphere. The bookmark café offers speciality coffees at a small supplement like a Gingerbread Latte or Ice Caramel Macchiato at only £2.40 supplement, they also have a wide selection of assorted fine chocolates that are hard to resist. They don’t have a casino on board but do offer Gaming tables outside the Lido Lounge with Roulette and Blackjack. Even though the Boudicca is a little ununiformed some of the balcony cabins are on the open promenade but you don’t feel like you’re looking onto them so passengers will still have their privacy, it was a little bit blowy on deck typical British weather so the Pool Grill and Marquee Bar remained closed till we hit warmer climates. The look of relief on Pauls face was evident when he saw the shops on board which are adequate but limited in their offerings and he foolishly thought I may not be able to take advantage of their offerings. One thing we was surprised at was that none of the self-service restaurants were open for anyone to obtain a snack they had closed the Secret Garden Café as this is used for the muster so the only option if you were unable to wait till dinner was room service. We made the choice to upgrade to All Inclusive Drinks but I would recommend for passengers to do this before travelling, on a cruise of this duration it would be at the discounted rate of just £15.00 instead of the £25.00 per person per night we paid on board, this was still excellent value and well worth doing (not that were alcoholics honest). That evening we’d been allocated a table in The Heligan Room which is a small intimate restaurant just off the Tintagel, Fred Olsen only offer the two sitting in an evening first 06:15 and second 20:30, if you prefer the self-service this is in Secret Garden Café 06:30 till 21:00 you will also find the supper club there normally 23:00 - Midnight. All in all, the first impressions where impressive. As the cruise progressed so did our initial impressions. We soon found ourselves in the centre of activities on board, Paul can talk the hind legs of anyone he loves meeting other people and found the Boudicca was perfect to get to know everyone, which thankfully gave me some respite to relax. The service only got better as the crew got to know you, and food standards remained high with varied choices in the main restaurants and themed night in the Secret Garden like Hawaiian, English Pub and Tapas. We even tried our hands at the daily quizzes which were more like university challenge and when you’re up against members of Mensa we really didn’t stand a chance. The entertainment was ideal for demographic on board you have live music every evening in the Lido Lounge from Jon Asher and Chris Ricketts, The Boudicca Show Company offer cabaret style shows like Cinematastic in the Neptune Lounge also a comedian and a magician, the highlight is still The Boudicca Crew Show which you now see many competitors mimic on their sailings. We went to the guest speakers and even a classical concert in the day time but you can find time to just sit back and chill. Everything is detailed in The Daily Times you get nightly with your cabin turndown. There is as much or a little to do on board depending on what you want to get involved in. Our only criticism if you can call it that was we felt the cruise was a port short, we felt one more stop would have made the experience and with so much on offer in these regions of Spain it would have enhanced the sailing. Fred Olsen offer what some of the other cruise lines are now lacking, small boutique style ships. You can tell it is still a family run company with the emphasis on personal service, this is their main strength and they are so friendly on board and this is contagious. The food in the restaurants is in line with the best I’ve had at sea with an unlimited choice each day, and the Pool Side Grill was so good we had to go back a second time just to make sure. Fred Olsen keep the experience on board traditional with shows and dance hosts and daytime activities like deck quoits and bridge. The age group is young at heart but don’t be fooled into think this means a quite cruise the Neptune Lounge was literally rocking till 3am each morning, even me and my man child struggled to keep up. Without hesitation, we would travel again with Fred Olsen.
  2. Thomson was once a name in travel we all recognised, but it now ceases to exist. In the ever-changing travel industry, we have seen the progression of this brand to TUI and now they’ve re branded their cruise ships as “ Marella Cruises” “New Name, Same Friendly Welcome” I’ve personally never been on a Thomson/TUI Cruise so know very little about them, will Marella be offering anything different? What are the benefits of travelling with them compared to other lines.
  3. After watching the cringe worthy Apprentice last night on board P&O Britannia, me and the other half decided to look at a short break sailing to Bruges. This notification came up when checking the sailings “We hope you are looking forward to your cruise. Ahead of your arrival, we wanted to advise about a new dress code policy. As of 1 January 2018, fancy dress, novelty or clothing personalised with images/slogans will not be permitted. We are also reducing the amount of alcohol guests can bring on board (a change from the policy wording in the January 2018 - October 2019 brochure). We believe this will make the on board experience special for everyone. Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to welcoming you on board. Find out more: pocruises.com/code-of-conduct” Do you think this is going too far or on the flip side not far enough?
  4. Cuba is still a Communist Country, time will only tell if the extra revenue generated by the Cruise Industry will work its way back into the community?
  5. Its not Cruise & Maritime we're looking at, but when we heard about the problems just made us all think twice about Amsterdam.
  6. I’m after some advice as looking at a short break cruise that goes to Amsterdam. One of the girls I’m travelling with has told me that her mother went on a Sixties Weekender with Cruise & Maritime, Magellan. They experienced some major problems with immigration in Amsterdam which delayed most of the passengers on ashore. Has anyone had this experience in Amsterdam and how long did it take you to get ashore?
  7. Due to the distance in travelling I would want to look at combining the two, after being lucky enough last year to experience a River Cruise I believe it would be a perfect way to take in some of the areas more off the tourist map, that would not be as easy to reach by land alone.
  8. A important point is how they plan to maintain the technology to keep their fleets upto date? For instance the Regal Princess entered dry dock and was updated with 7,000 new sensors, 650 public touchscreen devices and a staggering 1,780 new WI-FI access points all to accommodate “Ocean Medallion”.
  9. I think it depends on your skin type, I have oily skin and like Estee Lauder Double Wear, MAC Full Coverage go into Boots or Debenhams with some small pots explain what you want and they might give you some samples to try at home.
  10. It may just be every holidaymakers worst nightmare, you arrive on holiday but your case doesn’t. This happened to a local couple from Nottingham, it wasn’t a airline that left them in this predicament but “Alternative Cruise Parking” who were responsible for loading their cases onto the ship. They'd been advised to catch a bus to the ship and their suitcases would be loaded on for them. Unfortunately there was an incorrect transfer of luggage by the car parking provider which left them a case down. P&O did try an assist them with extra On Board Credit for essentials, but on a weeklong Ventura Cruise it didn’t help, as the lady was left unable to find any suitable outfits for the evening. I really don’t know what I would do if it happened to me, even worse if it was my partners not saying he’s a poser but he takes longer than most of my friends to get ready.
  11. BBC IPlayer has the Box sets on at the moment
  12. Is it better the Devil you know? A couple from the States have completed 200 sailings with Carnival Cruise Lines in just 15 years and more than 100 of them have been on board Carnival Sensation in the same cabin. They’ve got no intention of getting their head turned either with an impressive 30 more sailing in the bag. What is the most sailings you’ve been on with the same line?
  13. Line Of Duty has always been full of twists and turns, we never seen Ros kill Tim Ifield we only know she was there
  14. For me it depends on what I’m looking for, clothes, music I tend to buy on line. Holidays and Cruises I prefer to be able to speak to a person. Like with anything we all like the speed and convenience of the internet till you have a problem then you need to be able to speak to a person. The problem with some of these firms is how pushy they are once they have your details. When I say I don’t want a call back I mean it! Nothing worse than being in a car or on shift at work and getting hounded by a call centre.
  15. The Husbands lawyer