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Goosebear Mum

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About Goosebear Mum

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    Cool Cruiser

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    North Yorkshire, UK

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  1. You know what? You *may* benefit... we’ve tried to get into Amsterdam three times, finally managed it at the third time at Christmas. It’s notorious for being cancelled as it requires entry into the sea lock (difficult in anything other than good weather) The alternative was once a trip to Rotterdam, the other was an extra two days avoiding a North Sea storm, by circling off the Norfolk coast!!! We docked ‘in town’, but actually this was a fair walk to and from the town centre (can’t remember how long, but we walk fast and I think it took us at least 20 minutes) The ports tend to run a lot of shuttle buses. Our experience in other ports is that the shuttle buses arrive in convoy, fill fast then leave. Not had an issue so far with waiting. They tend to be frequent for returning too. Sounds like the shuttles will drop you more in the centre than the ship would dock... GBM
  2. Do you realise you’re replying to a 5yr old thread from 2013?
  3. The first year we did set dining. Great table for 8 The second cruise, we did freedom. Early in the cruise we shared, were put on a table for 4. It was hell. The other couple had obviously had an argument, were not talking to each other, she seemed totally pissed off when we arrived. They’d ordered already so we felt pressured to be very quick. We asked if they’d ordered soup as well as starters, ‘no’ was the answer, so we didn’t... then soup did come for him, so we had to wait whilst he ate that! I can’t remember much of the rest, but she ignored us. After a little while, he ‘warmed up’ and tried and be polite and have a conversation. It was very very awkward. This put my husband off sharing for the rest of the cruise. His (little) confidence back then was totally knocked 😞 we asked for tables for 2 afterwards. We’ve always gone freedom since, and I now ask for a ‘large table’ if we agree to share (I persuaded my husband to give it a try again, and it’s almost always been a great table, sometimes fantastic with much laughter). I will never have a table for 4 again. A table for 6 can leave one couple ‘left out’ if two couples mainly talk together. I find a table for 8 is the most amenable, communicative and friendly (with only a few exceptions who can be politely put up with). My husband was seriously ill 7 years ago, had a cardiac arrest with no heart beat for nearly 2 hours, followed by a miracle recovery. It took a few years for his confidence to grow to where it is now, to happily share a table with strangers. (Ironic as he’s always really good at making conversation once he’s sat with them). Sharing tables has been great for this process. Now we’ve got to the stage where even an unusual couple on a table provides a laugh or talking point for us afterwards, rather than him retreating back to the ‘safety’ of tables for 2. We’ve been the first to a table for 8, but it always filled within a few minutes only. Never been an issue. In the future if we get a table that’s ordered, I *will* ask to move. GBM
  4. P.s. each day, we’d receive an A4 drawing, which we’d trace or copy onto watercolour paper. The tutor would then demo how to complete the painting one step at a time. This was great for everyone, as those with little experience (or none) could copy the tutor step by step. Those with experience could add their own mark to the drawing/painting. A few paintings were completed over two days, most were completed in one session.
  5. I went to them on Aurora two Christmas’s ago. Great fun. Very very popular (get there early for a seat and table space...) and a good opportunity to get friends. (I’d love to meet ‘Julie’ again on a future cruise...) Not sure where they hold it on Ventura, but on Aurora it was in the Crows Nest... we were squeezed into a far too small corner. One day P&O tried to give us a bigger area, but some guy complained that we were too noisy near the bar area where he sat (!) so we were moved back to the smaller corner (miserable g*t 😉 ) Ours were held twice every sea day (repeated pm from am) but even then both sessions were apparently packed. I did the afternoon slots. Our tutor was excellent. He could teach the beginners/almost beginners, but also give advice to those with experience (and politely not get annoyed by the so called experienced passengers who thought they knew better than the tutor...) At the end end of the cruise, the tutor held a display of a few pictures from everyone which anyone could go and view (held in a main corridor.). Ensure yours are well named, I heard of at least one which went ‘missing’. I saw several people keeping guard over theirs... I suggest you take a board to attach your paper to (or use a hardback pad) . If space is a premium, it means you’re not so reliant on a large table area... Go, and enjoy 🙂 GBM
  6. Wow, 5pm... that’s far too early to get ready for Dinner for. Lunch would need to be early, then I’d be hungry later!
  7. Yes, I did. I had Christmas Day on the brain, and typed New Year’s Day rather than Eve!
  8. We have been on 3 Christmas cruises now, always gone for the table for 8 on Christmas Day. We didn’t know our fellow diners beforehand, but always had an excellent fun evening. We choose a table for 8, assuming that those who wish to be sociable will go for these. No doubt one year we’ll get a bad table! Yes, I missed the cheese course last year, but by then it was so late I told myself I was better off without it 😉 If you like eating later normally, then you’ll be fine with a later table 🙂 Re the drinks. Because there’s no freedom dining for Christmas Day and New Years Day, the drinks waiters have to serve all tables at once. That’s a huge undertaking. Because they sometimes have to collect requested drinks from other bars, it’s easier and quicker for the drinks to be preordered, collected and ready to serve at the tables. Hence why for these meals *only* they request the prebooking of drinks. Everyone is served their drinks quicker this way. ** You don’t prebook drinks for dining on all other days. **
  9. Thank You 🙂 I’m not the OP, but I now have table for 8, at 5:45 booked!
  10. Yes, their systems crashed again, so the login isn’t working (hence the authentication error, which is technical for the server is screwed!). He was going to book it for me via the phone, but couldn’t either, so reported it to their IT team for a fix I too will be phoning again again tomorrow if I can’t log in! p.s. I’m sure last year the times were slightly different. On 2nd sitting we didn’t get in until about 10/15 minutes late if I remember, as some people were still finishing first sitting. This meant we were eating very late. So late, our waiter didn’t even bother with the cheese course. (Made worse that we were sharing a table with a lady who was very very fussy and kept returning her food... which delayed us all further...). This year the times seem even more compressed, so I hope first sitting completes in time 😉 As a tip - on board you’ll be asked to complete your drinks choices for New Year’s Day evening meal. You need to fill these in and get them to the restaurant before the evening meal. Keep an eye out for the form/request, as it saves the waiters a LOT of time, as it’s hectic. We always wait till we can view the menu, decide what we’ll eat, then my husband can choose his alcohol! (I’m elderflower and/or a mocktail, so that goes with anything!) Enjoy and have fun 🙂
  11. I was in the same situation, except I booked select very late. I have just phoned them (on free phone number!) to be informed their systems have just all gone down... yet again... (after their big crash of yesterday) he suggested I try again tomorrow... and if not successful again, to phone back P.s. it’s not just kids who eat at 6pm. Just because you don’t. I find it a good time at home, as I get up early to have a long commute to work each day. (Though 7pm would be my preferred choice on holiday) Anyway, it’s healthier than eating and going to bed on a full stomach. I get up and leave home at 6am for work. I go to bed after 9pm. When I am on holiday my body clock wouldn’t want to still be eating after 10pm, which is what happened with late dining at Christmas last year (we did it last year, but will choose early this year) 5.45 will mean eating from c.6pm to 7.45/8pm. That does me 🙂 Then time for entertainment or a stroll on the prom, if the sea allows... lucky we’re all different...
  12. It was working for me yesterday, but it’s not working now. Seems evenings are the most temperamental for me. I will need to print out luggage labels and tickets soon, so I hope it is fixed! GBM
  13. We have spent the last 3 Christmas’s on Aurora. Ok not Oceana, but on none of the cruises have the children been an issue. In fact in 2015 when we booked our first cruise, I was concerned. However, It was half way through the cruise, when we’d seen only a handful of children, before we heard there were actually over 200 on board! We asked each other where they were hiding! P&O must keep them very well entertained. Last year (2017) was similar, though we saw a few more. Both those cruises were to Scandinavia. I imagine the families going to Scandinavia/ cold locations have different expectations and maybe expect to entertain their children more, than those seeking sun and pools. (2016 was a long cruise to/from the Caribbean but there were in fact more children than I expected (though still not many!) We saw them at sailaways near pools, etc, but all were no problem. In fact they and their parents livened up the place 🙂 ) I doubt you’ll hear much from children. But on a shorter New Year Cruise, you ‘could’ have more adults drinking excessive alcohol. But then again you may not! I imagine Christmas cruises to the Canaries, on large family ships, will be very different! We’re back on Aurora this Christmas, I always hope we don’t get a cruise with a difference 😉 Enjoy 🙂
  14. Yay, I am ‘in’ !!! It deigns to know me again 😉
  15. Yes, it’s a problem for me too. Booked a tour 2 days ago. Now I’m getting that same error message, and have done since yesterday evening. It’s still happening this evening.
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