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Everything posted by BobTroll

  1. BobTroll

    Hawaiin ports

    To complement the "Big Mac" Albatross burgers?
  2. That is difficult to answer, without knowing the precise name of the excursion. Your cruise documentation (or the on-line cruise personaliser) should provide a detailed description. However, the Roma Train and Coach Combo excursion described at www.pocruises.com/cruise-destinations/rome-cruises travels by train from Civitavecchia to Roma San Pietro and returns by road (or vice versa). The website states that the train is not exclusive to P&O. However, the photos do not resemble any of the public Trenitalia trains, so I suspect P&O have purchased an allocation of seats on a priv
  3. I have also disembarked from cruises with zero cabin accounts with the following cruise lines: Azamara Club Cruises Regent Seven Seas Scenic (river cruises) and APT (river cruises) But of course, these cruise lines include gratuities and drinks in their published fares. In other words, I paid for them up front. Regent, Scenic and APT also include shore excursions
  4. Supply and demand? Perhaps they are trying to encourage passengers on longer cruises to make a second reservation.
  5. BobTroll

    Hawaiin ports

    We cruised around the Hawaiian islands in 2002, so these comments are woefully out of date. Furthermore, we had booked a pre-cruise hotel stay in Honolulu, and managed to explore Oahu independently. We did not book ship's excursions on other Hawaiian islands, so I cannot comment upon organised shore excursions. However, the following details might provide a few pointers. When we reached one port, we found that our options were very limited. (I think the port was probably Nawiliwili on Kauai Island, although I might be mistaken). There were no taxis at the harbor and we had missed the
  6. I recent years, we have sailed with various lines, including Azamara Club Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, and most recently, P&O Cruises. The main Compass Rose restaurant on three Regent Seven Seas ships, Mariner, Navigator and Voyager was excellent, so there was no need to look elsewhere. Even so, we dined in Signatures (French restaurant), Prime 7 (the steakhouse) and Sette Marina (Italian restaurant) at no extra charge. Regent's all-inclusive fares are much higher than any of the mass market cruise lines, but we were more than happy that we received value for money
  7. The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man have never been members of the EU. And although the Irish Republic is an EU country, it is not within the Schengen Area. So for historical reasons, the UK, Eire, the Channel Islands and the IOM have always comprised a "common travel area". In theory, you do not require a passport to travel between those territories. There is still an open land border between Northern Ireland and Eire and although the UK and Eire are separate nations, you you do not need to produce any documents to cross the land border (in the same way that you can travel freely
  8. Passengers must present their passports or acceptable photo ID at the start of the cruise. The cruise line will record the details - so for virtually all itineraries that remain within European waters, the ship does not need to retain any of the passports. Throughout the cruise, local officials will view and may receive copies of the ship's manifest, containing passport details for every passenger and crew member. Consider what would happen, if local immigration authorities at each port had to insist upon a face to face passport inspection. Everything would grind to a halt, because It
  9. I don't know the duration of your proposed cruise. However, if you opt for a two week itinerary, you will have the opportunity to visit many islands. Some will be better and/or more interesting than others. The choice of itinerary is vitally important, because some two-week cruises on American or International cruise lines cater mainly for the American market. Many of these Caribbean cruises are actually back to back itineraries, which sail from Miami or Fort Lauderdale and return to the USA after seven days. They sail again from Miami or Fort Lauderdale and visit different isla
  10. We have just returned from a Mediterranean cruise on Aurora. Before we booked the cruise through Bolsover, we checked the availability of various cabin grades on the P&O website. Although this cruise was almost fully sold out, we could have selected our cabin number from a rather limited range of unsold cabins - or we could have booked a cabin on a guaranteed basis. After allowing for the on board credit, there was little difference between cost of a Select or Saver fare - so we opted for Select fares. That enabled us to specify our dining preferences, etc. We booked a "guaran
  11. The same principle applies to Oceania Cruises. However, Oceania and Azamara cater for an entirely different market sector - and their cruises are much more expensive than P&O. That is why they are probably viable. Originally, there were eight, virtually identical, "R Class" ships, built for the former Renaissance Cruise Line. Having purchased Ocean Princess from Princess Cruises last year, Oceania Cruises (part of the NCL Group) operate four of these ships. Princess have retained Pacific Princess, but as both Princess and P&O are owned by Carnival, I fear she might not surviv
  12. I am broadby in agreement with Sinbad's comments. However, it is worth bearing in mind that Princess have ships around the world and the clientele tends to be multinational, with a significant proportion of passengers from the USA. They operate several ships from Southampton and most of the passengers on voyages from Southampton are British. Consequently, the atmosphere on those voyages is more akin to P&O. Generally speaking, I prefer Princess to P&O. However, I did not feel my latest cruise from Southampton on Crown Princess was up to their usual standard. You can read
  13. There is a simple reason why P&O restaurants are always full for both sittings - and it is not necessarily because a lot of passengers like set times. It is much easier for cruise lines to operate fixed time dining because they know how many meals to prepare for each sitting. If you opt for a "Saver" fare, you will forfeit the right to demand a dining preference - and P&O will decide when and where they want you to dine. By ensuring that both of the fixed sittings are full, they manage the numbers on freedom dining. In theory, that should prevent excessive queues at peak ti
  14. If you have selected any time dining on Princess ships, you can reserve a table for two, four or more passengers - at a time to suit you. All you need to do is to telephone the reservations line at 8 am.
  15. Princess allow passengers to choose between fixed sittings or anytime dining (apart from their one and only small ship - Pacific Princess),. On the largest Princess ships, at least two thirds of the capacity of the main dining rooms is available for the anytime option. There is one notable exception. Diamond Princess, which is based in Asia, offers cruises from Australia, Singapore, China and Japan. Many of this year's voyages on Diamond Princess were round trips from Tokyo (Yokohama). So although Diamond Princess is a very large ship, there is no anytime option on the Japanese itiner
  16. Oriana, with 1822 passengers (maximum 1928 passengers), is not small. She is different, but not better or worse than large ships. Furthermore, she certainly does not offer the atmosphere you can expect to enjoy aboard much smaller ships. Smaller alternatives include Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, P&O's Adonia, Pacific Princess , and Oceania's Insignia, Nautica, Regatta & Sirena (sister ships, each with capacity for around 690 passengers). And of course, there are many even smaller alternatives. Some passengers love the massive, resort style ships. Others prefer sm
  17. I use a Post Office Platinum MasterCard and I also have a Saga Visa card. Neither of these cards loads the exchange rate or charges fees for purchases in other currencies. Their published exchange rates are very similar to interbank rates, although MasterCard rates are often marginally better than Visa exchange rates. You can also use either of these cards to withdraw cash from ATMs. Saga add a 2% cash withdrawal fee to each transaction (minimum £2), but they do not charge any interest on cash withdrawals, if you repay the entire balance within the interest-free period (of around three
  18. I assume you will be travelling on a UK Passport. I experienced a similar problem last year, when I had to renew my passport two years early, because my jumbo 48-page passport had insufficient blank pages for the visas required for a cruise from Lisbon to Cape Town. And my new one is filling far too quickly! You haven't listed the countries you will visit but as far as I am aware, your itinerary to and from Southampton will include: Portugal (Madeira), Cape Verde Islands, Brazil, Uruguay, the Falkland Islands, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Panama (you may go ashore at one end of the Ca
  19. I departed from Southampton on 13th May 2017, for a two week cruise to the Western Mediterranean on Crown Princess. Following my return, it took me a while to write a detailed review. When I had finished (towards the end of June), I visited the Bolsover Cruise Club website, clicked on the "Write a Cruise Review" link, and submitted my review. Although I was very critical of some aspects of the cruise, I had taken great care to ensure the review was balanced and factual - and it certainly did not contain objectionable language or other content, which might have rendered it unsuitable for
  20. Maybe you have hit the nail on the head. If (and I said if, not when), P&O remove the kettles, cups and saucers, your steward won't have to wash and replace them every morning and evening. Less work per cabin would enable the steward to care for more cabins. Then, P&O could reduce the number of stewards (again). The accountants are in charge - or perhaps I am being cynical.
  21. In a perfect world, cruise lines would pay realistic wages - and would not expect passengers to pay tips, which supplement the crew's wages. But this is not a perfect world. Furthermore, it is not a hidden charge because passengers know (or should know) they will be expected to pay gratuities, when they book a cruise. Turning to the procedures, many cruise lines take the gratuities by instalments from your cabin account every night. Passengers can opt out of auto-tipping retrospectively - and would be justified in doing so, if the service was sub-standard. Otherwise, it is more conven
  22. Princess still offer afternoon tea every sea day in one of the restaurants. Furthermore, they serve gluten free sandwiches and scones upon request.
  23. I have never contemplated purchasing a future cruise credit with P&O, for the simple reason that the payment is non-refundable, if circumstances change and you cannot book a cruise. P&O's sister company, Princess Cruises still offer a similar facility (£75 per credit), and if you wish, you can pay for multiple credits. Future Cruise credits on Princess are valid for two years - and can be extended, if you have not booked your cruise before the initial expiry date. Furthermore, the payments are fully refundable, if you decide not to travel. Yet another reason to patronise
  24. Standard ocean view cabins on R Class ships are situated at right angles to the corridor, with the entrance at one end and the window at the other. Restricted view cabins on deck 6, which are situated parallel to the corridor, are different. The sleeping area is at one side of the door - and the desk area and shower room are at the other side of the door. Consequently, the window is next to the queen sized bed. If you opt for twin beds, the cabin appears more spacious. We liked this configuration. See www.azamaraclubcruises.co.uk/our-ships/azamara-quest/azamara-quest-deck-plans. Cab
  25. Princess have been doing this for several years. That is fine, for checking whether everyone has attended the safety drill, but it might not work in a real emergency, if the ship's computers and communication systems have failed. However, I understand that conventional passenger lists are always available in every muster station.
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