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  1. The point is that you are not in your local but on a cruise ship and being waited on and you are on holiday. Of you really are worried about the price of a pint of Stella is it because you genuinely can't afford it or that you just want to moan about it and probably everything else. When we go on cruises there always seem an element of moaners and they are usually people with no real concept of comparisons. My tip is pay up and enjoy your holiday rather than blighting your own holiday and everybody that has to listen to your moans. Or if you don't like the price don't buy it and have a free c
  2. One of the things that always occurs to me when cruising is how lucky we are in thevUK relative to some of the developing countries like the Phillipines etc where people have to leave their families for 9 months in order to support them. These are the people who normally have a big smile on their face and provide brilliant service. How anyone that has paid a lot of money for a cruise and probably paid a lot of extras for themselves on the ship can begrudge giving at least the recommended level or even more is beyond me. Thankfully most of the people on this forum seem to think the same way as
  3. First the bottom line .... it was a fabulous family holiday on a ship superbly focused to all ages from toddler to granddad. We are usually Grill level cruisers on Cunard and when it was mooted that the full family was going on the Independace I had more than a liytle apprehension. Would it be Butlins at Sea? Would there be any quiet areas? What would the standard of food be like? Was it true that one could never get a seat in the Windjammer buffet? etc, etc. I need not have worried as it was a truly memorable cruise and all the criticism I had heard about the ship and the people who sailed on
  4. I like it and I am sure you liked the Chianti when you eventually got to drink it .....it would have been such a waste putting it in water bottles and claiming it was Ribena.
  5. Wilbo


    We have been several times to Alesund and particularly like the cruise into port early in the morning which is very beautiful and one of the best there is . It is worth getting up early for (normally about 6am) even if just on your balcony. As to thing to do I agree that the town is a little limited but a trip up Mt Aksla is a must and this is included on most other tour excursions. Of these our favourite was to a lighthouse on a nearby island which provided access to superb coastal scenery. The other was to a large aquarium and penguin park on the edge of Alesund ...... nothing out of the ord
  6. I might as well say the unpopular thing and think that cruise ships should not allow people to take alcohol on board and nor should they provide packages that allow uncontrolled alcohol consumption. Cruise ships are a business, just like hotels and restaurants and I would not regard it as acceptable behaviour to take my own alcohol to any of these estblishments. Equally I prefer not to have to spend my holiday with fellow passengers who are being encouraged to drink as much as they like because there is no financial restriction on the level of their consumption. The only thing I find e
  7. A difficult issue which will always be massively influenced by whether or not you are a smoker. I have no problem with people smoking (after all it is their choice) provided I am not forced to inhale their smoke, as I find it genuinely a horrible experience. The problem with balcony smoking, particularly when the breeze is in the wrong direction is that people who have paid for their expensive balcony get the full force of the smoke and have to vacate which is hardly fair.
  8. To answer the original question, passengers are allowed to smoke on the balconies of Independance of the Sea but only on one side, which I believe is the Port side (but I am told can be subject to change). The tip is to ask when you are booking which side is currently being used and do they envisage any change. They are pretty helpful and realise that some people like me, do not want their balcony time spoilt by smoke wafting across, whilst others want to have somewhere where they can indulge their habit. Apparently smokers are allowed to indulge in the casino area and also have a de
  9. Wilbo

    Cost Cutting

    The other side of cost cutting I find very difficult is that taken by the actual passengers. You here horrific stories of people taking alcohol on board in water bottles to save money and others who refuse to pay any tips. If the predominant attitude of the customer is to focus all the time on the cost. then the cruise lines will equally focus on it. We all want a fair priced holiday but equally the cruise lines have to make a fair level of profit .....its called business. So a bit of slack on all sides is perhaps needed.
  10. I totally agree about the smoking though Royal Carribean still allow it on balconies on one side of the ship and you have to specifically ask when you are reserving to make sure you get the smoke free side. Apparently it varies from ship to ship which side they use.
  11. Trouble with St Petersburg is there are so many fabulous trips and you have to go two or three times to embrace them all. There are those in the centre such as the Hermitage, the Cathedrls, the river cruise etc and those outside such as the various palaces. Although dear they are well worth it as they are a unique experience. My favourites were the Cathedrals and the Hermitage and as somebody else has said the one in the evening including a private visit and ballet in the theatre is mind blowing .....very dear but you one of the evenings you will never ever forget.
  12. In the Med it has to be Valetta, Rhodes, Naples, Ajaccio, Corfu and Mykonos ..... full of history or local colour. In Scandinavia and the Baltic it has to be St Petersburg, Tallin, Stavanger, Flaam and Alesund for the same reasons.
  13. I would simply ring up their customer services or even their reservations number and ask .....anything that puts more money into their coffers and they will be interested.
  14. Hi Anne - we used to do several cruises a year and got exactly the same feeling, apart from on one ship the QM2. However we gave ocean cruising a rest for a couple of years and went on River cruises and on train based holidays. Now we have had a second wind, even though most of the ports we go to have already been visited. One advantage is that we know what cruise lines we will never go with again and what ports we prefer to visit and to avoid. Perhaps for both of us it was a case of 'too much of a good thing' and one can only bless ones good fortune at being able to cruise so much.
  15. Until you find your feet use the ship tours, especially if they are to places some way away from the port of call. Yes they may be a bit dearer but you are guarenteed a certain quality level, with a tour guide who will know their stuff and there is never any problem about missing the ship. When you are more confident you can consider using taxis or local guides but although cheaper there can be problems with them in terms of quality, reliability and safety.
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