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afcandrew last won the day on April 12

afcandrew had the most liked content!

About afcandrew

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    Cruising, Ocean Liners, Football, Theatre, Dance.

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  1. afcandrew

    Freedom dining for singles

    The man does have a point. I usually have a short break or two at Warner Hotels every year, which are a bit like a cruise-on-land. Whilst more people do talk to a solo there, it is still not as many as those that do when at sea. I have done Freedom Dining once, recently, on Azura - but was with a group of friends. Am also doing Anytime Dining on Princess in Alaska later this year - but am going with a friend.
  2. afcandrew

    Freedom dining for singles

    I often sail solo on P&O and always choose Club Dining. The thought of Freedom Dining and having a different set of people to talk to every night is just too much like hard work to me. I am very outgoing and talk to people easily at both breakfast and lunch but really look forward to meeting my table-mates in the evening. Usually, after the first night or two we arrange to meet for a pre-dinner drink and often join up after dinner for whatever entertainment might be on offer. Fortunately, nothing about Iona appeals to me so I will not have that problem. If P&O were ever to introduce Freedom Dining across the fleet, I would take my custom elsewhere - probably to Fred Olsen or CMV. On my one Marella (Thomson) cruise, they did cater for solos quite well, with an (unhosted) meet in the same bar at the same time each night and one large table set aside for solos. Sadly not much else appealed to me about Marella but never say never as they say...
  3. afcandrew

    Azura Better than expected.

    Thanks for posting your thoughts and good to hear that you enjoyed yourselves. Azura is not my cup of tea but many love her and enjoy cruising aboard her. Nice to see what appears to be a very balanced report.
  4. afcandrew

    P & O going down hill

    Sorry to hear of your poor experience. I have friends who were on Ventura for her 35 night Caribbean trip and they seemed to have a good time. Maybe they have stopped Port-day Grab & Go sandwiches because everyone was taking them ashore??? Did you mean Arcadia in Brisbane? Azura was in the Caribbean until recently. Don't blame you for not buying the drinks package - it seems to be going down like a lead balloon. Unless I am being a bit dense, aren't the only decks not served by lifts some of the top open decks for sunbathing etc? I always thing it is such a shame when someone's first post is a negative one. Hopefully you'll be able to come back to us with something positive too.
  5. afcandrew

    Speciality Restaurants

    That's what it is all about Ann - doing what you enjoy. In principle, I don't agree with the whole 'Speciality' or 'For fee' Restaurants on cruise ships but they are here to stay so I have eaten in Rhodes, Seventeen & Sindhu on P&O and (long ago) Ocean Liners on Celebrity. Re the coffee, most people agree that standard cruise ship coffee (on all the major lines) is not great but personally, I don't really like the speciality coffees served on P&O as they don't seem to taste anything like those on Land. Now that Costa is owned by Coca Cola, I have even less incentive to use them 😁.
  6. afcandrew

    Speciality Restaurants

    We regularly enjoyed the Gary Rhodes restaurants on board P&O ships and on our one Azura cruise also enjoyed Seventeen - which we really thought was just a continuation of the cuisine & service of the Rhodes restaurants once he parted company with P&O. On our one Celebrity sailing (way back in 2005) we enjoyed the food in the Ocean Liners restaurant on Summit but felt the service was a bit OTT - along with the wine prices! Whilst I don't like spicy foods, I have also enjoyed two meals in Sindhu aboard Aurora. I guess I have been lucky to have felt the mdr food was pretty good aboard all the ships I have sailed on - the poorest quality being served up by Portuscale (small, niche line) and Marella (last year).
  7. afcandrew

    Amsterdam Tourist tax?

    I am on this cruise and that doesn't seem to be the case as there is only one other cruise ship docked in Amsterdam - Viking Sky, with 900 pax! Sadly, this looks like another poor decision by P&O shore-side. Ijmuiden is a dump and I have severe doubts about how P&O are going to get 2500+ pax between ship and Amsterdam efficiently. The port website shows us as due in at 1600 - which was the arrival time in Amsterdam but even if we arrive at 1400, by the time the formalities have been completed and shuttles start, they will likely be arriving on the outskirts of Amsterdam in time for rush-hour. I just wish P&O would think out-of-the box. They could have written to pax explaining the situation, saying that they would have to charge everyone the €16 for the two-day stay but by way of compensation would credit on-board accounts with £15 - which of course costs them far less than £15! It is the fact that it is an overnight stay and the sole port of call that makes their decision so annoying and what has angered many of the pax. Thankfully I am going with a group of friends from another forum so we will have a good time regardless of this inconsiderate change.
  8. afcandrew

    Cruise ship on TV

    Knowing how large this ship was before watching, I knew it isn't a ship I would want to cruise on but thoroughly enjoyed seeing some sides of a ship that I never will otherwise. They are certainly engineering and technological miracles.
  9. afcandrew

    Drinks Package

    You can get standard 'filter-style' coffees all day in the buffet areas on all ships, also a wide range of tea-bags are available to make tea. It is speciality coffees like Latte & Cappuccino that you pay extra for. Also, chilled water is available in the buffet too to dispense into plastic tumblers. As the packages are new I am not sure how they give out the bottled water.
  10. That may well be the situation generally Davy but wasn't my experience on Discovery 2 last January. Being on a solos table, we had the same waiters every night in the mdr. The assistant was lovely but the main waiter was thoroughly miserable. My cabin steward too was very dour and not very efficient, The bar staff in the live lounge were very happy but not very efficient. The bar staff at the deck bar were rude and even when not busy had no idea who was next. Bar staff in the 'posh' Bar 11 however were great and very friendly.
  11. Included tips may become the norm in the UK. Marella and Saga already do it; P&O doing it from May; Fred Olsen feature offers that include all gratuities; CMV offer packages that include drinks & tips. The US culture however is very different and I don't think the big players there will ever routinely include the tips. At least in the UK many of the lines now have marketing promotions that include tips. NCL are the only major US player that seem to routinely include tips but I don't know whether they do that on sales from the USA.
  12. This isn't a Tourist Tax as such, like the ones added for overnight hotels stays. It is in fact the local equivalent of VAT, usually known as IVA. See this link https://ask.pocruises.com/help/PO/on-shore/iva_tax?_ga=2.63128040.632507833.1549793551-483303058.1548677122 . Andrew
  13. afcandrew

    Iona Winter 20/21

    Hmmmm. On the P&O website now, Northern Europe is Bruges, Hamburg, Rotterdam & Amsterdam (from Rotterdam). Winter sun ports so far are Lisbon, Cadiz, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Madeira. Unless they add any more destinations, it sounds like they are basically doing the same two itineraries throughout winter?
  14. afcandrew

    Iona Winter 20/21

    I see in an e-mail this morning from Bolsover that Iona will be spending her first winter in Northern Europe, Spain, Portugal and the Canaries. I may well be proved wrong but I think there may be some pretty cheap deals at some stage for those interested. Andrew
  15. I'm not sure that anywhere has yet brought in a tourist tax for cruise pax yet. Several are talking about it but I don't think anyone has actually started it?