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Everything posted by RiverSong

  1. On the 10 October 2015 Fred Olsen has launched a first on the Braemar, a 15 nigh “You Choose Your Cruise”. As a guest on board you get a chance to vote from two choices every 48 hours and “Tell the Captain where to go”. This is certainly different not sure if it is a cruise I would want to do not even for the novelty factor. What do you think?
  2. When looking at a cruises with a good friend of mine I was surprised at the difficulties she was having with cabins, it’s for Mum, Dad and three little ones what you would assume is an average family. The problem is most cabins will only take a maximum of four. They’ve looked at the very few ships that offer family rooms but these are so limited, they only appear to offer a small handful and with companies like P&O and NCL they're suites so it’s cheaper to book two cabins. It’s really put them off booking a cruise till the children are older which is such a shame because they would love it. A lot of lines are now adding family cabins and theirs defiantly a market for these. What has your experience been? Would you like to see more family cabins added to ships?
  3. I was wondering if anyone can help me out with some further advice. I know more and more Cruise lines are now taking in this destination, and its somewhere me and my partner want to go to but don’t fancy a hotel stay. Has anyone been on a cruise yet that can enlighten me further.
  4. RiverSong

    Have You Been On A Cruise To Cuba?

    Again thank you, the more I ready about it the more I want to go.
  5. RiverSong

    Have You Been On A Cruise To Cuba?

    Thank you, I really want to go but the other half needs some further persuasion ⚓
  6. Royal Caribbean had added “Shorts” to its list of approved attire for the main dinning venues on casual nights, but it’s now been noted they’ve switched back dropping this item from its list of dress codes. The problem they are facing is equal arguments on both sides with loyal passengers for and against, it’s a no-win situation for the cruise line. Much to my other half’s dismay I prefer men in long trousers of an evening, his argument being kilts are aloud and women can wear them, so even we can’t even agree but he always thinks he’s being “Short” changed . Good luck Royal Caribbean I think you need to make a decision and stick to it.
  7. 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.
  8. I don’t mind admitting I’m a Cruise Junky and no amount of therapy will change me. Much to my inboxes annoyance I must receive emails daily from all the cruise companies, normally I just take a quick look and file in the bin if not relevant to me, I’d hate to miss out on anything. The last few weeks I have been receiving prompts to reconfirm my details I order to keep receiving communications, this apparently is due to a change in the UK Privacy Law? I’ll be honest if I don’t want to receive something I just unsubscribe, but was wondering if this was being sent out to everyone & do you realise if you don’t complete these details the mailings will stop!
  9. RiverSong

    Ed Sheeran's Album Recorded On Cunard's Queen Mary 2

    I can remember the press reports when this story came out. Apparently, Ed was just mingling with the other passengers whilst on board, makes you wonder how many knew who he was. Ill defiantly watch this documentary just as much for the music as the ship. If he gets another Gold Disk, and let be honest this is almost a guarantee with anything he realises, he might even donate it to QM2.
  10. It’s that time again, I love booking holidays but hate shopping around for travel insurance. Having done a few cruises now and knowing what I need to look out for, I’m aware that some travel insurers do not offer cruise holiday cover as standard, and some don’t offer it at all. I wasn’t aware though that the actual figures for this are that only 56% of the current single trip policies available to choose from include cover for cruise travel as standard. It only goes up to 59% when looking to take out annual policies. A few years ago, I was fortunate for someone to mention this detail to me while on board and I thanked them as I would have never thought about it prior to them saying. From then on, I always look to make sure cruise cover is specified in my policy as the last thing I want/need is to have to make a claim only to find it’s void because I didn’t read the small print. I read about this on “This Is Money” and it goes on to say that according to Defaqto, only 32% of single and 29% of annual policies on the market allow you to add on extra cover for cruising. It breaks it down even further by saying that cruise cover is now not a blanket policy and one-size-fits-all option. The cover varies depending on the company you’re looking at. For example, some offer compensation for ‘cabin confinement’ whereas many don’t. It then varies again for ‘cabin-confinement’, as in some pay as little as £10.00 per day while others pay out up to £200.00 per day if you claim for missing days of your cruise. I’ve read a lot about this lately and how cruise passengers are missing out on the proper cover needed for their trips because of misleading messages that are then accounted for in the small-print. Make sure you check. After all that reading you’ll probably need to book another cruise to get over it.
  11. We took advantage of the drinks package on board our Fred Olsen Sailing which was mainly Brits on board and there were no issues relating to alcohol, but Fred dose attract an older clientele. The fact P&O now restrict the amount of alcohol you can take on board highlights that they may be concerned about the leaves certain passengers are drinking, no one wants to be stuck on a cruise with drunk troublesome guests. If it is something they’ll look at it I don’t believe it would be offered on the “Short Break Sailings” aka Party Cruises. Maybe they could trial it on the Adult Only ships first? From experience we’ve always found P&O to be excellent value, so you can argue is it even needed?
  12. Last year's BBC series Blue Planet II heralded a change in attitude amongst many on the impact of plastic on marine life, with footage showing animals injured or killed by plastic in the ocean. The UK Government said it is considering a ban on plastic straws and other items, such as plastic drink stirrers and cotton buds. I hope the cruise lines are going to make significant changes on board for example an estimated 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown away each year and they play a part in this. Thoughts on how else they can contribute to make a change? Presenter David Attenborough ended the series with the message: "The future of all life now depends on us."
  13. P&O Cruises haven’t even completed their new ship yet and already Meghan Markel is being highly tipped to be the new Godmother. This of course is all speculative now and time will tell if the new Princess will christen the new ship?
  14. RiverSong

    Music Festivals at Sea

    I think they must have stopped them, nothing in the new brochure and it seems like they are just concentrating on the “strictly Come Dancing” and “Food Heroes”
  15. This sounds like a brilliant idea, I’m surprise none other the other lines have introduced as system like this yet. The only worry is I hope you don’t get any random call outs like Amazons Alexa, when it started laughing out loud for no reason. Wouldn’t fancy that at night in a cabin.
  16. Cancellation charges will always be a sore point especially with the America Lines as we have different booking conditions to other regions. I don’t think anyone would book a holiday just to cancel it, so if they are in that position must be for a reason and that when the charges hit the most. For me this just re-enforces the need to have adequate travel insurance in place from the time of booking. Yes, I do think other lines will follow suit.
  17. Killing two birds with one stone springs to mind, but I’m not sure how this would work. I’ve been on a River Cruise and part of the charm was the Long ship that cruised and berthed directly in the cities, I can’t imagine how their Ocean Vessels would cope with this. This is purely personal but I like to keep my Ocean cruises on the Ocean and River Cruises on the River.
  18. RiverSong

    Onboard shopping - NOT!!

    It wouldn’t be good for anyones health if I had to model
  19. The Beatles Museum, the Cavern Club, the shops just a few things, but Liverpool is about music and football you can't escape either.
  20. RiverSong

    Onboard shopping - NOT!!

    You never know Cruise Chef, they could even have a “Victoria Secretes” catwalk show on board
  21. I’ve also read the Bolsover article as always very informative, on a personal note I can highly recommend Liverpool Cruise Terminal. On our last sailing back in September with Fred Olsen’s Boudicca we departed from there. Based in the Midlands this was so convenient and we also felt it changed the dynamic on board as it was mostly us Northerners taking advantage of this port instead of travelling all the way to Southampton. As investment is made I really hope more companies take advantage of using this port, because geographically it makes sense to have a Northern base. If you look at how Cunard arrange some of their sailings they have embarkation in Hamburg and Southampton so even with the larger ships this can be worked into the itineraries. Liverpool vibrant city and if you’ve never been worth an overnight stay before the cruise.
  22. RiverSong

    Onboard shopping - NOT!!

    Are the changes in the “Shopping Experience” on board to do with the move to an Adult Only Ship or as stated “transition our retail shops on a select number of ships” because if this is truly the case I’m sure we’ll see a few more posts like this, and I wonder what notification they will receive? On a lighter note my other half would be jumper for joy if he thought he could take me on a cruise without any shops.
  23. A very open question, but most of us fell in love with cruising on our first experience. For me it was an Airtours Ship the Sunbird my Aunty took me for my 18th Birthday and I’ve never looked back since. I’m sure I will not be the only one that is interested in my forum friends first time!
  24. RiverSong

    Not ANOTHER one - lets talk new ships

    For me the ship & destination should marry together, for instance I would love to try a Hurtigruten because I want to experience the Northern Lights. The new Edge also has my interest. In all honesty it’s the spec of the New Virgin Cruises that I’m watching this space for.
  25. RiverSong

    Brilliant Boudicca

    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.