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About SquishTheWhale

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  1. We found the opposite to some of the suggestions above on our recent cruise. 6pm-6.30pm a 2 top was immediately available. From 6.45-7.45 it was often a 45 minute wait. We didn't try later than 7.45. I do wonder if its because we were in the Fjords and with the majority of sail away times being 5.30pmish people were sitting out watching the scenery until later and not wanting an early dinner.
  2. Was on Britannia a week or so ago. All 3 of our cabins were given a 3.30pm embarkation. Arrived about 12, handed over cases, checked in and walked straight onto the ship. Hope that helps!
  3. Just of Britannia and I didn't wear black or white on the themed night. Most people did, but I didn't own anything that colour and as I'm pregnant wasn't about to buy a new outfit just for a few hours! Nobody looked at me funny and I did see others in all sorts of colours. Hubby wore a dark blue suit as his black one isn't nearly so nice.
  4. It's probably just what you're used to! If you're used to big shared tables I can see how it's weird for you to sit very close by other people and not chat. We never cruised before freedom dining was a thing so we've never been forced onto large tables and fixed sittings, so for us its normal to just be by ourselves.
  5. Perhaps- I've never bothered to sit around trying to work out how many tables for 2 you can get into the same space as a table for 8. But as you point out they cram them closely together so maybe it wouldn't make a difference to number of bums on seats. If you never sit at a table for 2 then I'm not quite sure how you know what the etiquette is. We have on occasion had some small chit chat with the table next to us if we end up next to them repeatedly. But as someone who sits in a 2 every meal I can assure you from experience most people keep to themselves. Isn't the whole point about options- you have your large table and talk to people and I have my private one with my husband and we are both happy in our own ways?
  6. Totally agree with this- we do freedom dining because we want to be on our own schedule, not have to wait around for others to slowly eat cheese and biscuits or drink a bottle of wine. Some nights we may skip dessert in order to make a show or ask for speedy service so we can make it. I'm sure if we did that on a shared table we'd be accused of being terribly rude. Now that's just being a bit dramatic isn't it? Just because a table is close to another one does not mean you are rude if you don't talk to the people next to you. You are not sat at the same table and there's no way you should feel obliged to act as if you are. In fact, I would assume that (like us) those who specifically wait for a table for 2 do not want to make small talk with strangers over dinner and therefore it would be rude to impose yourself on them! My parents complained how they had a table for 2 for breakfast in the MDR and the couple next to them spent the whole time moaning how awful they were finding the cruise. Surely that's far more rude than ignoring each other and minding your own. In continuing the discussion regarding if more tables for 2 are needed, if there's never a wait for a large table but always a long wait for a 2, then surely that says there is an excess of large tables and a shortage of 2s? So its just addressing the balance and won't impact negatively on those who prefer a large table.
  7. Having sailed both Royal and P&O, we didn't like the bookings system on Royal. If I'm on Freedom dining I want to be able to go and whatever time we are ready, not a booked time. It annoyed me that they badgered you to book for the next night, and implied that if you didn't book you wouldn't get a table. NCL has freedom dining nailed- never waited more than 5 minutes for a table for 2 at any time and no need to book. We are just off Britannia with freedom dining. We don't like to share tables, I don't care if they are 'more efficient', I haven't and never will want to sit with a bunch of randoms at dinner and have to wait for them to order/eat/tell me some long dull story about their golf club. I don't go into a restaurant at home and offer to share with strangers so why would I on holiday. However I recognise that this means waiting sometimes and we just suck it up. I agree they need more tables for 2 as the only people with buzzers were couples. If the demand is there then I don't know why they don't go with it, rather than insisting you should share a table just because that's what some people deem is better. Anyway.... when we went between 6-6.30pm we didn't wait for a table for 2 and the dining room seemed very quiet. When we went at 7pm or later there was normally a 45 minute wait for a table. Hope that helps.
  8. I think P&O must have different weights listed in different places- we just cruised on Britannia from Southampton and my labels said 23kg max, but family members we were travelling with kept saying they had seen it was 20kg. No idea where they were looking. Anyway its not like they weigh them- as said it's for the safety of the baggage handlers so as long as its not well overweight you'll be fine. I didn't even weigh our cases, just hefted them a bit and they felt fine.
  9. We have done a ship tour to Bruges (with RCI not P&O), coaches can't get into the city centre and must use the coach park on the outskirts so it is a bit of a walk. They will walk you into the centre and expect you to all keep up so I wouldn't say it would be suitable for someone who can't walk quickly. However I'm pretty sure they did an accessible tour that might be more suitable, does P&O offer one? If not I think the taxi suggestion would be best. Consider doing a boat tour as that's a good way to see the city without too much walking.
  10. We take a mini torch- I know, it's not a camping expedition! But we usually have an inside cabin and use it to navigate to the loo during the night to avoid waking up the other person by turning on the light.
  11. We did an MSC cruise where you could embark/disembark at any port and didn't really like that arrangement. We got on at Palermo and it seemed only a handful did the same so we didn't really get that 'first day' feel where everyone is new. On the upside boarding was instant and the ship was a ghost town during the day. However at the major embarkation ports like Barcelona the whole ship shut down for muster like it would at the start of a cruise, meaning we weren't allowed to go in any of the bars or do any activities. Crew kept trying to usher us to muster even though they must know not everyone needed to go! And the ship was full of those new passengers milling around with hand luggage like you'd get on a first day. We also found it problematic with reservations, for instance for the Cirque show which you have to book on board- hardly any availability as others got on days before you and booked all the slots. We didn't book any speciality restaurants or spa services etc but they must have had the same issues. So while I thought we wouldn't care about that shared experience it was actually a pain in the bum to have people getting on and off at every port.
  12. It's often not just one incident or delay as well. We once drove from Swindon to Gatwick to catch a flight, normally we stay over the night before but this was a 5pm flight so thought we'd be fine. We made it, but it was touch and go as it seems every time we changed road there was another accident and traffic jam, it was just endless. Good job we are the type who set off way way in advance. If we set off at 9am next Saturday that gives us 6.5hrs to do a 2-2.5hr drive so fingers crossed lol
  13. Yes I'm sure it was very bad luck for them and a number of factors. We only go on the m27 very briefly so if that's the problem point we shouldn't be too bad. We board on the 31st Aug, I think some schools are back by then and some not, maybe it will be better. Definitely aiming to board early- our first time on P&O, normally with someone like NCL we turn up at 10am and get on board nice and early for lunch!
  14. Which roads are mostly affected- the M27? We are sailing in 2 weeks and can't stay overnight. We're 2.5 hours away- have done the drive last year twice for mini cruises and had no issues. I was planning on setting off around 9am even though our boarding time isn't until 3.30 to build in a good cushion (and to hopefully board early). We are booked with Penguin Parking so don't need to join the queue trying to park at the port but will need to factor in transfer time.
  15. This just reminded me to ring P&O as I sent an email weeks ago asking for 3 bookings to be linked and never got a reply! I rang and turns out they did it and just didn't confirm so all okay. The lady said it does not guarantee dining allocation (obviously) but they do their best to put linked bookings together. So you might need to chase to confirm its actually been done. A bit more risky for us as we are all on saver fares so we just have to take our chance (not looking for a lecture about booking saver fares from anyone thanks, Select was prohibitively more expensive to the point one cabin would just not have been able to go)
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