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RiverSong

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  1. Like
    RiverSong got a reaction from DavidH in Have You Been On A Cruise To Cuba?   
    Again thank you, the more I ready about it the more I want to go.
  2. Like
    RiverSong reacted to jinky in Have You Been On A Cruise To Cuba?   
    I`d say have at least 3 nights in Havana. Pick up on the night scene and street music. You can go into one of the smallest cafe bars and have a quiet drink. Suddenly a small musical group will come in and there`ll be a couple of old locals jumping up for a dance soon joined by loads of others. We picked up on a free concert in the Plaza Vieja. I happened to say I`d love to know what the are singing about and a young Cuban girl next to us began telling us the ideas behind and some of the key lyrics of the next few songs until we left to eat elsewhere. I met one chance one Sunday morning. I`d got up at around 7 - no internet working in the lounge (as per usual ) so wandered off into the back streets armed only with my camera and a small amount of money. met a guy with a crazy car who I knew was on the make but had a great chat about his car, his life as part time baseball coach and, after he`d offered me a source of cigars, women for my room ( !!! I told him my wife might not like it)  he said the bar near us offered the best mojitos in town. Unwisely I said why not as the custom  for Cubans was to have one before work! Sure enough the bar was busy with locals having their liquid breakfast before starting work. 2 hours later I`d had 2 mojitos, a local fire water,a discussion on Castro and how things were changing which would have been impossible due to spies  just months earlier before Fidel had stood down and a demonstration of dance and Cuban music styles courtesy pof my host and the bar owners wife. OK he didn`t treat me as he initially said he would (yeah some chance) but me treating him to his drinks as well as my own cost about £5 and it was money well spent. Quite the highlight of my trip. Yes my wife told me I`d been stupid on my return, half cut for breakfast but not once did I feel unsafe.  Lovely people.
  3. Like
    RiverSong reacted to DavidH in Have You Been On A Cruise To Cuba?   
    Hi Andrew,
    Spot on.
    Regards from us all,
    DavidH
  4. Like
    RiverSong reacted to afcandrew in Have You Been On A Cruise To Cuba?   
    I was on the same cruise as David H (Hi David!).  Personally, I was not enamoured with Marella Cruises but I absolutely loved Havana.  You do have to be prepared for the fact that areas of the city are very run down and look terribly poor.  Fortunately, to me that does not degrade a place.  On day one, I walked around a lot of the city (you are docked right on the edge of Habana Vieja - or old town.  I was on my own and carrying camera equipment but felt perfectly safe.  There are also options to tour on a HOHO or in American Classic Cars.
    On the second morning (day 2 was a half-day), I walked around the area to the left of the cruise terminal, which is a very residential area and not in the least touristy.  It was a weekend and latin music was coming out of many apartment windows and locals were standing around chatting or going about their business.  Several stopped to talk and were interested to know where I came from and if I was enjoying myself.  They seemed genuinely grateful that you had visited their city.
    Havana has a wonderful, wonderful feel & atmosphere.  Small signs of Western 'encroachment' are appearing and I would urge people to go soon before it starts looking like the rest of the World!  I would suggest you do a cruise which stays overnight or one that starts in Havana and gives you the opportunity of a night or two in the city.  There is a lot to see and it is a bigger city than I thought.  I would go again in a heartbeat.
  5. Like
    RiverSong reacted to pennbank in Have You Been On A Cruise To Cuba?   
    Went earlier this year with MSC, Flew out with Virgin from Gatwick and Landed Havana (Direct flight) Stayed overnight on MSC Opera also had the following day to tour.   Havana (Cuba), Philipsburg (St Maarten), St John's (Antigua), Road Town (Tortola), Funchal (Madeira), Cadiz, Barcelona, Genoa  then coach to Nice for afternoon flight back with easy Jet to  Gatwick some 18 nights later.   Bought Visa from Cubaism Ltd 
  6. Like
    RiverSong reacted to DavidH in Have You Been On A Cruise To Cuba?   
    Hi RiverSong,
    My wife and I, together with a couple of friends, called into Havana on Marella Discovery 2 as part of their Cuban Fusion cruise.  It was somewhere that was on our bucket list and the call did not disappoint.
    Docked from 07.00hrs on Friday 26 January 2018 to 14.00hrs on Saturday 27th, we enjoyed the ship organised "Havana Highlights" half day tour on the first morning, then spent time on our own in town before taking in a super show at Cabaret Parisien in The Hotel Nacionale on the Friday evening (again, ship organised).
    The following morning, our friends were driven around in a vintage car, whilst my wife and I strolled the streets and sampled the markets.  At no stage did we feel out of our comfort zone.
    A great place to visit.
    DavidH 
  7. Like
    RiverSong reacted to jinky in Have You Been On A Cruise To Cuba?   
    I went on one some years ago but not with the bigger lines. Ours was a Louis Crystal cruise company which had hired in a Greek Islands ship and used imported Canadian food on board as Cuban food at that time was not good nor sources dependable. At the time we`d been warned against self drive and we soon saw why. At times poor roads and a lack of signposting meant a mystery trip was on the agenda! Cruising around the ports taking in Trinidad, Cienfuego and others I forget was magical. Cuba is fantsastic and we were lucky to see it before things started to change quite so much and before the crowds got there. Our worst stop was Montego Bay to take on Americans getting around the USA blocks at the time. Stick to Cuba and you`ll have a great time. We were just frustrated not to get more than a day visit at some stops as some of these places really need an overnight to take i the magic. best tip if you are starting fro Havana reject all attempts to put you out at Varadero or in town in the more touristy hotels  near the embassies. get a real downtown one and just take what comes. We stayed downtown  and it was magical sitting on the terrace watching the cars and wandering the streets feeling totally safe. Lovely people ad place - do it£
  8. Like
    RiverSong reacted to Blue skies in How To Retire On A Luxury Cruise Ship   
    I stumbled across this today and it's brilliant. I don't blame this woman one bit. She basically had a choice between a care-home like facility or opting to see the world day-in-day-out. Obviously finances were not an issue so she went for it. With Crystal as well! Not a bad cruise line to spend a few years on.
    She's sat at the same table for nine years on board and they've even made adjustments to her cabin for her to accommodate her needs. It's fantastic and fair play to her. I can't fault her.
    It's an article on Forbes - https://www.forbes.com/sites/debbikickham/2018/04/23/how-to-retire-on-a-luxury-cruise-ship/#6456dcde13f5
  9. Like
    RiverSong reacted to Davybe in Make sure you check the small print of your travel insurance before taking it out   
    I got what I thought was a good travel insurance deal from the Post Office, Right at the end it said ,"does not include Cruises" that would have cost an extra £300 for the pair of us for a year.
    As 15 people found out on our last cruise decent insurance and an up to date EHIC card is needed, one person got helicopters off ,imagine what that would have cost...Davybe
  10. Like
    RiverSong reacted to sammy sun in Princess Meghan tipped For Godmother of New Ship?   
    I actually think this would be a really smart move by P&O if they where to make it happen. The new ship is all about the here and now change of policy for P&O, concentrating more on attracting the new to cruise market rather than the traditional approaches of the past.
    They're drawing a line down the middle of their fleet, almost separating it into two companies, one to capture the interest of traditional cruise preferences and one to capture younger generations. 
    Having Meghan Markel as the Godmother of the new ship would sit nicely with that I think and she'd be a good face for the new fleet member, especially with all the buzz that is and will continue to be around her and Prince Harry. Just my opinion of course.
     
  11. Like
    RiverSong reacted to DavidH in Viking Cruises offer ocean and river cruises combined into one trip   
    See my previous post on the subject.  You cannot get up the Douro in an ocean going vessel.
    DavidH
  12. Like
    RiverSong got a reaction from Oldworldtraveller in Royal Caribbean change their cruise cancellation policy   
    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.

  13. Like
    RiverSong got a reaction from cruise chef in Plastic No Longer Fantastic!   
    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."

  14. Like
    RiverSong got a reaction from Oldworldtraveller in Royal Caribbean change their cruise cancellation policy   
    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.

  15. Like
    RiverSong reacted to cruise chef in UK Privacy Law, Have You Had an Email Regarding This?   
    If you done receive something though Jinky would you not miss out on the special offers and be kept in the loop with what happening. Why not ring them and ask to be changed to email only!
  16. Like
    RiverSong reacted to *Dancing Queen* in UK Privacy Law, Have You Had an Email Regarding This?   
    I have received several of these emails over the last few weeks ( not just cruise related ) like River Song if I don't want to receive something I just unsubscribe.
  17. Like
    RiverSong reacted to cruise chef in UK Privacy Law, Have You Had an Email Regarding This?   
    I suppose its a good thing as it will prompt most to have a clear out of who they want to see and who not, I must admint I, like you receive a lot of cruise mail but dont mind as I'm interested but some of the other things I receive I could well do without.
    I wonder if the Inland Revenue will class as junk or spam?
  18. Like
    RiverSong reacted to mitch in UK Privacy Law, Have You Had an Email Regarding This?   
    the new law requires companies to be able to prove you agreed to them sending you emails. its an attempt to reduce mass marketing emails people havent asked for.
    in future if a company sends you emails you didnt agree to the info commissioner can fine them.
  19. Like
    RiverSong got a reaction from cruise chef in Onboard shopping - NOT!!   
    It wouldn’t be good for anyones health if I had to model
  20. Like
    RiverSong got a reaction from cruise chef in Onboard shopping - NOT!!   
    You never know Cruise Chef, they could even have a “Victoria Secretes” catwalk show on board


  21. Like
    RiverSong got a reaction from sammy sun in 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.

  22. Like
    RiverSong got a reaction from sammy sun in 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. Like
    RiverSong got a reaction from Furby in 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.  


  24. Like
    RiverSong got a reaction from buckley1946 in C Deck Balcony   
    Hope this helps you can see how overlooked C Deck and the D Deck Balconies are.
  25. Like
    RiverSong got a reaction from Mermaid Jessica in 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.


     
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