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  1. No problem - It’s actually my wife who is disabled! She is a full time wheelchair user. What you have been told is indeed what I would do, but interestingly not what I was told by CPS and P&O! They said go to the new area and help for disabled passengers ‘should’ be available! I guess that there are two issues as far as I see them. Firstly, disabled passengers have to know to request to drop off before going to the car check in. Whilst we now know to do that, many won’t. Secondly, the CPS service being offered at Ocean Terminal going forward is going to be the same as that offered by the other (often much cheaper) car park operators. As a result, most people booking a 2 week cruise or longer would be far better to take additional on board credit and book their own parking, as we now do. As an added benefit, we often find that there is less of a walk to get your car after the cruise compared to CPS.
  2. We normally board early with P&O and have never found fire doors to cabin decks to be closed. I think that’s a myth.
  3. The process is different for coach passengers, as they usually arrive long after all priority boarding has concluded. Official commencement of priority boarding is 1230pm but can often commence as early as 1130am. Coach passengers are usually boarded as soon as they arrive as most people who arrived earlier are already on the ship.
  4. It is my understanding that coach passengers are usually fast tracked through upon arrival, which is somewhat different to priority boarding which is usually done and dusted by 1pm. Your neighbour would have missed her Caribbean slot by quite some time anyway and therefore I would assume that all coach passengers are always treated as one group rather than by loyalty tier. I’ve never used the coach transfer though, so am prepared to be corrected.
  5. Yes, I think the staff do a pretty good job, all things considered. Like you, we arrive early expecting a long wait and are often pleasantly surprised. On our last cruise, we were patiently waiting in the assistance area whilst all the Caribbean, Baltic and Ligurian passengers were boarded and an elderly chap next to us (with wife and friend) kept on and on complaining about the fact that they had been first to arrive and couldn’t understand why they were not first to board. The assistance staff member asked to see their boarding passes and they had a boarding time of 2.30pm and they were not in a high loyalty tier. It was 12.45pm and he had been sounding off long before anyone at all had boarded. The procedure was explained to him but he still wasn’t having any of it. Whether he was extremely thick or just belligerent I couldn’t work out, but either way I really felt for the staff - and told them so.
  6. Better prepare for incoming John, just as you and I did when we shared our disembarkation tactics on another thread! We tend to use wheelchair assistance for boarding (where we have more hand luggage, so it’s easier) but not for disembarkation. The exception is when our daughters come with us as then we usually have a suite and they are with us to assist. The assistance team board passengers in loyalty tier order so, having just made Caribbean tier we look forward to slightly quicker boarding, other than the fact that we tend to pick cruises that appeal to hundreds of Baltic and Ligurian passengers a good number of whom, being generally older, tend to use assistance.
  7. Yes, I should have made it clear that, although I stated the order of priority boarding and the stated times, boarding often commences early. On two occasions when we had 1230pm boarding we were on board at 1145am. Interestingly, one of the times was on Ventura and the other time was Britannia. In spite of this, those entitled to 1230 and 1pm boarding were still first to board, so I think the order still applies.
  8. I only have knowledge of P&O, but on our first cruise (Oriana 1996) there were people at the terminal with packed cases who had not booked on the cruise and were hoping for cancellations and no shows! As to what sort of deals they had or, indeed, whether or not they even got on the cruise, I have no idea! In recent years (and I should stress that I am only referring to Select prices) the launch prices have never been bettered prior to launch. Whilst there is some logic to the assumption (still held by many) that fluid pricing should mean that it will be possible, at some time or other, to grab a bargain for less than the launch price, the facts have never supported this. Some of this myth was fuelled by a cruise price tracker website (no longer in existence) but the info on this site was inaccurate. Much to my frustration, we have to book at launch in order to secure an accessible cabin (I don’t want to have to book holidays more 2 years in advance) and the price tracker sites often showed that prices had fallen below launch price. The issue was that we had always paid less than the quoted launch price and less than the lowest shown on the tracker! Others will be better placed to comment on Saver fares. We don’t book them as we want specific cabins and dining, not what is left over. We also wouldn’t want to cruise in an inside cabin and I suspect that there is the odd bargain to be had with these. However, the Select price we have paid at launch (for a specific cabin and confirmed first choice dining) has often been less than the Saver prices closer to launch for uncertain cabin locations and dining. If P&O adopted fixed pricing, with the same price from launch right through to sail date, we would cruise more, including at short notice (now that we are retired). However, as they don’t, I can’t bring myself to book a cruise when I know that the price was so much cheaper at launch. I do predict, however, that all of this may change with the arrival of Iona and Iona 2 (whatever she will be called). With 5500 beds to fill every week or two on very repetitive cruises, with a lot of traditionalists refusing to go on them, I think that there could be some last minute bargains, even though Iona is offering much cheaper cruises than the other ships to start with.
  9. There may be an element of truth in what you are saying when people arrive some time after boarding has started, but the OP referred to 12.30pm boarding, which is the very first boarding slot. From my experience, this slot is never a free for all and is strictly controlled (for example, passengers entitled to the 12.30pm boarding are contained in a specific roped off area, with complimentary refreshments, and is managed by dedicated staff). Once the ship gives clearance for boarding to commence, passengers in that area (who have had to show evidence of 12.30pm boarding - suite or Ligurian - to enter) are directed to security screening and are first to board. A similar process (less refreshments) is then used for Caribbean and Baltic passengers at 1pm. Only when these two groups have boarded does general (timed) boarding commence. If these first two priority groups were not boarded before general boarding then these passengers would be rightfully upset, as priority boarding has either been earned through doing over 200 nights with P&O or, in the case of suite passengers, paid for as part of their fare. That being said, I have managed to get our daughters to board with us at 12.30pm even though they weren’t in a suite, but this is at the discretion of the staff and P&O will not authorise this in advance (I have asked). Equally, I have known others to be refused, some of whom have reported so on this forum. For info, whilst porters are not employed by P&O, the staff managing the priority boarding are. They are either head office employees or part time staff retained for this purpose.
  10. Surprised that P&O are saying that you can all board together at 12.30pm when some in your party have 2pm, as the official line is always ‘it is at the discretion of the person in charge of embarkation on the day’. 12.30pm is for Suite passengers and Ligurian loyalty tier passengers only. When we have had a suite, we have managed to get our adult daughters through with us (they have an adjacent balcony cabin and my credit card covers on board spend for both cabins, so we need to check in together) but I have known adult friends / groups to be denied this.
  11. Thanks Brian. That’s useful info. The issue for some of us, however, is that under this new arrangement customers are expected to take their own luggage from their car to the hole in the wall, unlike at present where the porters take luggage directly from CPS customers cars in the drop off lanes, which makes the service offered by CPS identical to their cheaper competitors.
  12. In short, the CPS drop off procedure is changing at Ocean Terminal, in anticipation of Iona. The new procedure is currently being trialled on some Britannia Cruises and will then become the norm for all CPS drop offs at that terminal, certainly for all Iona and Britannia Cruises. CPS has built a new covered drop off centre from where passengers will need to take their luggage to the terminal. Not a great distance (apparently) but it does eliminate the one ‘unique selling point’ that CPS has (and charges a premium for). No changes due at the other terminals.
  13. Yes, very sad. We did our first cruise on Oriana in 1995, to Istanbul and have never forgotten it. We had watched a documentary series called ‘Supership Oriana’ which covered the design, build, fit out, sea trials and entry into service of the ‘first cruise ship designed and built specifically for the U.K. market’. We decided to give cruising a go as the ship really appealed. We were quite apprehensive, knowing that we would be much younger than most other cruisers (less than half the age, as it turned out) and even went to Ballroom Dancing lessons thinking that it was almost compulsory (we were hopeless, so went to the pub instead in fits of laughter). Many years later we had a very enjoyable 2 weeks in the Baltic on Oriana, when the ship got absolutely covered in a swarm of ladybirds in Travemunde and we carried millions of them around the Baltic for a few days, the crew sweeping up piles of them each day as they expired. We also had our best meals at sea in Oriana Rhodes. Sadly, when my wife became wheelchair bound and we needed an accessible balcony cabin we had to abandon Oriana as she has no provision, so our new favourite is Aurora. Let’s hope that she has many more years left in her.
  14. I agree with many others that P&O are not going after the ballroom dancing type of cruiser with Iona and, I would suggest, all future new ships. I would also go so far as to say that they actively want to move away from that sort of image of cruising in order to attract a new generation of clientele, so are unlikely to bow to pressure to reverse the decision. We consider ourselves to be ‘traditional cruisers’ having done our first P&O cruise ‘in the last century’ as a previous poster so amusingly put it and my wife is a Strictly Come Dancing addict, but we don’t dance ourselves and wouldn’t be remotely interested in watching others do so when on a cruise. On the basis that the average age of cruiser on ships like Iona and Britannia is / will be 10-15 years younger than us, the proportion of passengers who would be attracted to this sort of activity would be, I would suggest, negligible as a percentage of the number of passengers onboard. To further underline this point, I have lost count of the number of older cruisers who have told us that they wouldn’t set foot on Britannia / Iona. You read the same sort of comments on this forum continuously. Although the passenger profile on the larger resort ships is very different (and, if I am being completely honest, is less to our liking as a result), we love the modern facilities and Select Dining Options that they offer and would be the sort of customers that would cruise on these ships in school term time. I doubt that we are alone, but there will be a heck of a lot of cabins to fill once Iona’s sister ship is launched, so I think there will be some cheap cruises in order to fill the ships, something that they always seem to be able to do.
  15. In short, no I wouldn’t want to do 2 nights in the same port. That’s more a city break than a cruise in my book. If I’m paying for a cruise then I want to be moving between lots of different places - that’s the attraction for us. Both yourself and DaiB refer to cruises being in St Petersburg for 2 nights. We have been there twice and I am pretty certain that we were only overnight for one night i.e. arrive early day 1, full day and overnight in St Petersburg, 2nd full day in St Petersburg departing in the evening of 2nd day - so one night in port. I think that’s the norm but I am prepared to be corrected. For the reason given in my first paragraph, I’m not even that keen on one overnight in port, but there are one or two exceptions. Last year we did a USA & Canada cruise and the first stop was New York. We arrived at lunchtime day 1 and left early evening of day 2. In less than 2 days (with just one overnight) we visited the 9/11 Memorial and museum, did a Harbour Lights (Manhattan by night) City Line river cruise, walked around 42nd St, Broadway, Time Square (at night), Grand Central Station, Empire State Building (nighttime visit - stunning), dinner in Manhattan, Top of the Rock (Rockefeller building - daytime visit, great contrast to the Empire State nighttime visit the previous night), Rockefeller Plaza, 5th Avenue (including a costly stop in Tiffany’s ;)), Trump Tower (the President was in so we watched the comings and goings), Central Park, Strawberry Fields & Dakota Building (John Lennon), long walk from there to lower Manhattan for the Highline (elevated park walk converted from railroad) which we walked the full length of in both directions and then from there back to the ship. All of that we did in one and a half days with just one overnight, almost all of it on foot - and I was pushing my wife in her wheelchair throughout! On the basis that I can think of few places where there is more to see and do than New York, if we can do all of that in a day and a half with just one overnight then hopefully you can see why I wouldn’t want 2 night stops. A lot of passengers have said to us over the years that one of the things that they like about cruises where you have no overnights is that you get a good taste of a place and if you find somewhere that you really love you can consider a city break there at another time. The cynic in me, however, suggests that overnights in port will become more common. It will be sold as ‘due to passenger requests’ but will be because it’s cheaper for the cruise operator to sit in port than to be burning fuel at sea and paying for more ports.
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