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Everything posted by mcloaked

  1. I think that dress code is an ongoing contentious issue - mostly people dress up and enjoy doing so. However there will likely always be some who have no interest in being part of it. However let's face it, the cruise costs a lot more than the cost of a reasonable suit these days - there are local shops in many parts of the UK where you can get a suit, including a waistcoat, for somewhat less than £100! Equally for ladies there are plenty of shops where you can buy a pretty lovely looking evening dress also for less than £100 - compared to the cost of the cruise that is tiny! Having a room where everyone looks smart is enjoyed by many - especially in the dining room and the ballroom.
  2. Not in this case - like many bookings the initial booking was made during a Cunard cruise, and the deposit paid to Cunard directly - the cruise was referred back to local Thomas Cook for the management between then and when the cruise start date. So Thomas Cook may have taken some money as commission but Cunard took the deposit directly. Many others will be in the same position. So the cruise was referred back from Thomas Cook to Cunard management when Thomas Cook collapsed. So your last paragraph is the more relevant.
  3. I thought I would post a note that might be helpful for anyone in the UK who booked a Cunard cruise through Thomas Cook, or who booked a Cunard cruise whilst on board, but then gave them a Thomas Cook travel agent shop to handle the booking after returning home. For any future cruise that was handled in either of these ways by Thomas Cook prior to their collapse, and those bookings are now taken back for managing by Cunard, then if you have a balance due to be paid for an upcoming cruise it would be worth noting the following. If you use the Cunard 'Pay My Balance' web page, then it will correctly show the deposit paid and the balance due, but when you put your payment details in it will then go ahead and take payment - but, and here is the catch, it will take the entire total cost for the cruise and not just the balance excluding the deposit, thereby making you overpay by the amount of deposit paid. Apparently the financial details for these cruise bookings have not been transferred across correctly from when Cunard took back the handling from Thomas Cook - and the system also appears not to send you a confirmation email of the amount paid either! If this has happened to you, then you will need to call Cunard and get them to rectify the incorrect additional moneys paid. It seems that the only way to get around this is NOT to use the online balance payment web page at the Cunard site, but to call Cunard directly and do it over the phone.
  4. Unless things have changed there are usually two ballroom/Latin dance classes each sea day - one mid-morning and one after lunch. That is sometimes supplemented with a class in salsa, or merengue which isn't strictly ballroom or Latin but gives newcomers something relatively easy to learn since those dances are occasionally played during the evenings. Those two dances need little technique skill to be able to do them, so it is easier to get going and mostly learning basic footwork, with some spicey arm entanglement to try to cope with without tying you and your partner into a tight knot. There is usually an ever increasing number of requests for sequence dances - the 'modern' ones number over 4000 I believe but there is a set of around a dozen popular ones that are played across the UK in many village halls, and those are the same ones that are played repeatedly on ships such as Britannia - but interspersed with pure ballroom and Latin dances during the evening. Occasionally the ballroom has been known to be taken over for a quiz for a few hours - which is a bit of a waste since a quiz can be perfectly well run in the pub, but you can't then reciprocate and run dancing in the pub! (Unless someone wants to dance on a table top, which would no doubt get some wild applause!) It seems that although ballroom dancing is still a key feature on Britannia and a few other P&O ships, the new ship Iona will have no ballroom dancing, and as I understand it no floor of a suitable size and shape to be able to do so. So unless the ship designers and entertainment director changes heart then Iona will not be offering nightly ballroom dancing when it launches. (Unless anyone hears new information to the contrary!)
  5. Sadly even though the interior is being designed and fitted out with little publicity apart from the Skydome so far, it does seem there will be no ballroom or any decent sized ballroom dance floor anywhere on the ship - which means like many passengers who regard nightly dancing as a key part of their cruise, we won't be booking on Iona. It looks like a nice ship, but is looking to a different market than those cruise ships where ballroom dancing is an integral part of life on board. If anyone has any knowledge of any change of heart about dancing on Iona from P&O I would love to hear about it.
  6. An interesting observation - I had been using the chrome browser - but decided to try to do the same with the firefox browser - going to the new My Cunard site and trying to login it redirected me to the old VP site - but I was indeed able to log in to the old VP with the firefox browser where it wouldn't do it at all with the chrome browser. So it is possible that the server code works for some browsers but not others! Also some people may be using Apple browsers instead. In addition it is also possible that the developers of the new site have got some customer logins not working but others have correct data - and it is possible that they may have to work through fixing some of the sets of customer data manually! However other than getting generic information from Cunard that they are aware the new site isn't working, they presumably don't know the full extent of the server code problems from the developers. However it would be nice to have a good estimate about when the new site will actually work!
  7. Yes it still seems to be a complete mess. I just tried to go from the email from Cunard to the link which directs to the new MyCunard site - but entering the credentials then directs to the old site, which then fails to login. It would be a lot more considerate to the passengers to simply make the old site work as it was, and the the company designing the new site to test it properly offline, with sample passenger data, with 'test passenger logins', and try out as many features are possible until they are sure it works before releasing it to the passengers. It has been a chaotic mess for too long now.
  8. There is a difference between social waltz and slow waltz. Social waltz is generally quite easy to learn and a set of simple basic figures will get a couple round the floor. Learning to dance the slow waltz with full swing step action on the other hand takes a lot more time to learn and dance well. Perhaps in this case it was the social waltz that we being referred to?
  9. Yes it was the most 'movement' we have experienced on QV also. That now infamous Thursday night it was the first time we have had an evening in the Queens Room where for the first couple of hours Alex the dance pro was dancing/teaching and keeping everything very very small, and not many others on the floor - and looking quite controlled. The orchestra did well to keep playing without their instruments shooting across the musician's platform! A few couples tried to get on the floor and lasted about 30 seconds before staggering back to their table/chairs - most amusing. But it was a lovely social evening with those random sideways bumps in response to large waves hitting the side of the bow causing interesting postural stances by everyone on board. Though it was nice to have the last day in the English channel as smooth as glass before getting home.
  10. Unfortunately Dan and Alyona have now retired from Cunard contracts, after doing a number of lovely years on the Cunard ships, and will be seeking a different direction to their dance careers in the future. They were wonderful dancers to have on board when they were doing the show dances and ballroom classes though.
  11. I believe that the couple who were doing the ballroom/Latin dance classes on QV the past few months have left the ship in the last couple of days. Does anyone know who the new couple running the dance classes and show dances in the Queens Room on QV are from the 21st October? Anyone currently on board QV who could look at the daily news sheet and let me know who is running the ballroom and Latin dance classes on sea days are would be much appreciated. Thanks.
  12. So long as passengers are pleasant, polite and considerate people who enjoy life on board what does it matter if they are in their 20's 40's or 60's or any other age range - having a fun relaxed chilled out time enjoying the varied facilities on board the ship as well as enjoying the various ports of call, either on formal excursions or people going ashore on their own is what matters. It just happens to be the case that people who have spent many years working and saving a fraction of their earnings over their lifetime are more likely to have the funds to pay for repeated cruises. Long may that continue. If anyone of any age has the funds for cruises that is fabulous - though of course the cruise shop managers need to be sensitive to the needs of various age groups and their desires for a holiday - if people want noisy super loud pop music around the pool then they go on the ships that provide that - but if people want quieter more relaxed music around the pool they will choose the ships that provide that. On most ships people can choose between more formal quieter less rushed meals in the dining room (at dinner as well as at lunch) or choose the faster buffet meals.... hopefully the cruise market will continue to cater for a variety of tastes in food, entertainment and ports of call - and cover all the needs with some more specialty niche markets on particular lines with a mix of smaller and larger ships.
  13. There is clearly a range of opinions about Iona - but of course some of 'us' will book, or already have done, on the new ship, and others won't book until more is known about the facilities. It will certainly be very interesting to hear passenger experience once the ship has sailed on its maiden voyage and beyond - and see what this forum gives in posts next year!
  14. It would seem that the entertainment managers have somewhat short sight when it comes to dancing. As ballroom dancers we spend a lot of time in the ballroom on cruises - and yes during the main part of the evening we need iced water and dance a lot - but at the end of the evening, along with other dancers it is our tradition to then retire to the piano bar and get a few drinks in - the same number of drinks we would have during an evening if we were not dancers - in addition we have been told on many occasions in various parts of the ship from the dining rooms, to the swimming pools, to the shops that non-dance couples come in to the ballroom to watch the dancing as well as have a drink - and indeed people have said that they choose the cruises so that they can watch ballroom dancing - so if that goes, then so do those non-dancers whose main entertainment is watching in the ballroom and spending money in the bar at the same time - and then the dancers also spend money in the bar after they finish dancing in the evening. Clearly not all dancers do so - but they do provide two revenue streams that the entertainment managers seem to frequently ignore or be unaware of. Of course ballroom dancers are a minority of passengers on board, and hopefully P&O will continue to provide ballroom dancing on the ships that currently do have a dedicated room with nightly live music and space to dance. Without that provision there will be a leakage of passengers away from those ships, some of whom dance and others who don't. We love our cruises but without dancing it would never be the same - and if we had the choice of only cruises where we could not dance then we would look for holidays away from the cruise ships. I know that we are not alone in that. I don't know how many dancers read this forum and many don't usually write in or add to threads - but P&O may be able to fill their cabins without dancing - let's see!
  15. If you have any evidence that there will be provision for ballroom dancing I would be interested to hear it.
  16. When I contacted P&O (quite some time back) and asked about whether there would be a ballroom on Iona, the answer was no. So there is every indication that there will not be any facility for regular nightly ballroom dancing on Iona. There may be other small floor spaces where 'some' ballroom music or Latin may be played occasionally, but nothing in the advertising for facilities on the ship shows any indication that this will be the case. I would be interested if anyone has more recently had any direct communication from P&O about provision for dancers, and particularly ballroom and Latin dancers as opposed to disco party dancing which of course can be done on any small space without any need for a proper dance floor. Of course if they don't fill up the bookings they might then start to look at providing facilities to get back some of the traditional ballroom cruise passengers who will look to the other ships where a ballroom is available every evening.
  17. I also saw that there will be Strictly dinner and dance evenings in the Limelight Club on Iona next year, but don't know if this will be the whole year once the new ship sails? Presumably this means that you pay for the privilege of having dinner while one or other of the Strictly pros does some dancing or stands on stage and chats, and perhaps takes questions from those people having their dinner in there - not quite the same as having a proper ballroom and for those guests who can do ballroom dancing having an evening enjoying their own dancing as well as providing regular entertainment over a drink watching the other passengers who love doing their own dancing. Of course there is always a following for pros from Strictly - but passengers who dance usually want to do their own dancing on a cruise, with an occasional distraction watching other dancers or even Strictly pros! Just a shame there seems to have been a definitive policy for Iona not to have provided any proper ballroom facility for regular ballroom dancing for the passengers - all of the people I know who dance on cruises won't be booking on Iona for this very reason - so I guess the shop is being marketed for a different clientele than on ships where there is a dedicated ballroom.
  18. I just checked the Cunard site for this cruise - it seems to have been reduced to £750,000 for all categories of stateroom - with such a huge reduction in price you should snap up a booking before the price goes up again!!
  19. Excellent - I also had a private email from someone else saying that Sasha and Maja would be on QV through May/June so we are looking forward to seeing them. Thank you.
  20. It is probably true that if the same group of people were going about their normal lives at home on land that on average there might be a similar number of emergencies per month or per year as on board for the same set of people, and it is just that it is highlighted more because of the need to make special arrangements that are highly visible to everyone on board as opposed to more typically just hearing another ambulance siren goes by on the road. However hopefully there was a good outcome in all these cases.
  21. Does anyone know who the International Dance couple will be on the Baltic Explorer cruise on QV, [16 Nights (V913) 19 May - 4 Jun 2019] ? It is nice to know who will be doing the ballroom/Latin dance classes and the show dances in the Queens Room ahead of embarkation. Dancers do chat to the dance pros and sometimes get to know which dates they will be on which ship in the coming months. I seem to remember that Cunard used to have an email address for customer services where this kind of question could be asked - but I couldn't find it anywhere on the new Cunard web site. Thanks.
  22. The reason that there was no pro dance couple was that the dance pros had a family emergency a couple of days before departure and couldn't make it to the ship, so the management asked one of the theatre company couples to stand in at short notice - hopefully there will be a high level professional dance couple to do top level show dances on formal evenings, as well as top level private lessons and the usual sea day dance classes on QV for all the other cruises this year and beyond. Having well taught dance lessons allows any beginner to learn the basics setting up the foundations of good technique whether they wish to continue to learn to progress their dancing once back home or on future cruises, or if it is so that they can go to a social dance and get around the floor and enjoy the music and the company of their partner, but also for dancers looking to pay to get private lessons to improve their technique or choreography it is really important to have dance instructors who themselves have achieved a high level in ballroom and Latin dancing, usually by achieving some results in top level competitions in the past. Either way hopefully the presence of top notch professional ballroom and Latin dance couples will remain a key part of the ballroom dancing experience on all Cunard cruises.
  23. The main evening dancing on Cunard cruises in the Queen's Room is primarily ballroom and Latin, with the occasional Argentine Tango and Salsa, and an occasional 'disco' party evening after 9.15pm. On the cruises I have been on, during sea days there tends to be an hour of zumba and an hour of line-dancing on sea-day mornings - both of which can be quite energetic, especially the zumba. Both are run as a class, and on QV over the festive season this year hosted by the entertainment manager for the zumba, and the line-dancing one of the other entertainment personnel, and done in the Queen's Room. However there is no line dancing during the evening dancing in the ballroom - it would not be possible to run line-dancing at the same time as ballroom and Latin on a floor of that size on any of the Cunard ships, and the traditional ballroom atmosphere would be very different, as would the music. A few people do also come to watch the line-dancing on mornings in the ballroom, but in the evenings there are significant numbers of people who enjoy having a drink whilst watching the dancing., and make it a part of their enjoyment of the cruise as an alternative to going to the theatre or sitting in one of the bars on board.
  24. I seem to remember a latte is $4.20 - so if you have 4 a day it would be worth it....
  25. The new coffee card I got wrong on the price - it's $15 per day per person (not $40 which is what I wrongly put above thinking it was for two people). It covers other hot drinks too but for anyone who normally only has a single coffee per day it isn't good value.
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