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About Cahpek

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    Cool Cruiser

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    The Moon
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Azamara, Oceania, Celebrity, Princess

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  1. We know we should ask this in the RollCall page but there appears to be NO-ONE listed on that page to ask! We were wondering if Bonnie MacLaird, or anyone else, might know (or know who to find out from), for the 10-night Azamara "Wine & Romance Voyage", which starts from Lisbon, which cruise terminal will the Azamara Persuit be docking at on May 14th? We could not seem to be able to find that information on the Azamara website, nor on any other sites on the internet. The Port of Lisbon has several terminals, including the Lisbon Cruise Terminal, Santa Apolonia Cruise Terminal, and Gares Maritimas de Rocha. From what we know, they are quite a distance from each other. It would be helpful to know exactly which terminal to ask the taxi or shuttle to take us to from the airport. Thank you.
  2. Actually, you do not have to move from P&O and go so far up and pay so-oooh much extra and cruise with Silversea. You could just upgrade yourself just "part-of-the-way" and go for cruise lines like Viking Ocean. Viking Ocean cruises fares are generally quite a bit lower priced than Silversea fares , and in our view, much better value. Others may disagree . You may find quite a big difference between their (Viking) cruises and with that P&O from improved catering and more luxurious rooms. All Viking cruises (especially those booked from the UK) include gratuities, drinks, excursions, spa rooms/indoor swimming pool, specialty restaurants, all free room service menu, free internet (and they also have free computers to use) and all cabins have varandahs/balconies! All Viking Ocean cruises are for adults-only (over 18 yo). After the first cruise, on further future cruises with them, you would usually qualify for discounts . In spite of its "luxurious" feel, on Viking ships, they do not have a formal night. Passengers are just encouraged to dress "Country Casual". This cruise line (Viking) has been voted the best cruise line by various magazine/media for quite a few years now. It is not difficult to see why. They seem to have the best balance between quality and price. The other thing to look out for , whatever cruise line you wish to go with, is to look out for special offers. Sometimes, you could be saving huge amounts. Never just pay for the initial published price - shop around!!! One thing that we find quite hard to beat on P&O is their entertainment and on-board activities. Those so-called "luxury" class cruises, somehow, their entertainment never seem to be as good as the "mass-market" cruise lines. Of course, that is a subjective observation.
  3. Harry, you are totally correct in what you did, and we support you. You have good intentions and it is right that we should have the right to express our views, and not just expected to keep quiet if something is not right. Like most of us, any criticisms are meant to be constructive and it is hoped that the cruise managers will pick them up, and try to improve on them.
  4. I had thought the title was the Eclipse to Hawaii? So where are the pics on Hawaii? I only see pics of Vancouver and the inside/outside of the ship! You must have pics of Hawaii as your cruise was taken in April 2019, that about 9 months ago. Meanwhile, even for on board the ship, were there anything special that gave you the "Hawaiian" feel? For example, Hula dancing demonstration, or how to play the Ukulele?
  5. I'd happily "slum" with HAL than on the Ventura, thank you very much. I did eat well on their ship. (Of course, I "slum" with other cruises as well, including Viking and Oceania.) Their buffet was on another level compared to the buffet on the Ventura. Having said that, perhaps other P&O ships may have better cooking, and maybe , the level of cooking on the Ventura depends on who the head chef was on that cruise. Like some folks here, I make my decisions mainly due to my past experience with those lines. I am not so much influenced by surveys. Surveys make interesting reading, but as I said before, I take them with a pinch of salt.
  6. Whether the survey is fair or not, if you look at the bright side (there's always a "silver lining" for everything, well, almost!), when/if P&O management reads who has been written about their cruise line in the newspapers, hopefully that would make them sit up and listen, and do something about it. That may even make them begin to look at the weak parts of the cruise line, address them , and change for the better. No one is above improvement. For example, maybe , just maybe, they may even start improving the standard of food and cooking on board (hooray!). At the moment, each time I look at a P&O brochure, and wanted to cruise with them again, the thought of the last Ventura cruise where food for me was the WORST of any cruise I have been on, that really put me off. Perhaps, that's not fair. Perhaps I should give P&O another chance. If P&O senior management seriously look into improving their catering again, I will be one of the first to come back to their cruise line, pronto. (The thing is, P&O has a lot of good things, including of course, the friendly staff). Meanwhile, it is with Viking, Holland America, Oceania, Princess, and others for me . That does no stop me from visiting the P&O discussion board on Cruisecritic, and I think everyone has the right to do that, not just present P&O cruisers and their supporters. I do not expect P&O to be of the same "luxury" standard as some of some of the other more expensive lines, but lower fares is no excuse to have poor cooking . Not such expensive and exotic ingredients perhaps, but even simple cooking, if well prepared, can be delicious!!!
  7. I find the survey interesting but like anything, one has to take it with a pinch of salt. The size of the survey in question may be relatively small, so how truly representative or reliable is that of the views of the majority of the cruise traveling market, you may ask. From my two cruises with P&O, I have to say that the first cruise, on the Aurora (from Rio de Janeiro to Valparaiso), it was good and the standard of food on board was so much better than on the Ventura, a cruise which I took (about a year or so?) later to the Canaries. The food experience for me on the Ventura was so poor that out of 12 cruises I have been on, that was the ONLY CRUISE when I had LOST WEIGHT after taking the cruise! I tried to look on the bright side, and said to myself, that at least, I did not have to go on a diet after taking that cruise!!! But seriously, now, I would avoid Ventura like anything, even if the cruise price is low. While on the Ventura, I met the Maitre D' who whom I'd known on the previous cruise with me on the Aurora. I asked her why the quality of catering has became so poor? She mumbled something about cost cutting and a lot of food was pre cooked in factories on land and brought on board. Whether how much of that was true or not, I do not know. Is that representative of the experience you will get on the entire fleet of ships? I do not know. I think you will have to cruise on board all their liners to know that. As some cruisers have indicated, their fares are still quite competitive. So, I guess you get what you pay for. If you know what to expect, at least, you will probably not be so disappointed. However, if you are a "foodie" and expect "luxury" and fine cuisine on P&O, please find out more before you book. Don't just get influenced by their adverts, especially on TV! Give the cruise line credit where it is due, P&O cruises fares now include gratuities, and I found their prices, both for drinks and excursions are very reasonable compared to some of the other cruise lines. There you are, I have said my ten cents' worth.
  8. Last year, my partner and I took a cruise on the Celebrity Reflection from Dublin via Belfast to Iceland and return via Cobh, back to Dublin. Several things to mention: 1) At several ports, Celebrity Reflection staff were very poor in managing crowds . We had long queues and long waits in some ports for disembarking the ship to the point we saw queue jumps and arguments. Celebrity staff just looked away. So, please take that into account when you visit these ports. 2) You did not say which port you are boarding/embarking and which port you are disembarking at. Disembarkation might be an issue especially if your diesembarkation port involves coach transfer to the main cruise terminal. In Dublin where we embarked and disembarked, we needed coach transfer to go to the terminal. We were not allowed to walk there because of cranes, etc. The day before we disembarked, we asked the customer service team mstaff on the Celebrity Reflection if coaches would be arranged to transfer us from the ship back to the Cruise terminal . We had to ask customer relations staff, four times, and each time, they changed their answers!The final time was their customer service manager(?) and she assured us that everyone would be taken care off and we would be put on coaches to the main terminal. On the day of disembarking, what she said did NOT happen. There was quite a CHAOS!!!! No coaches came for a long time. There were hundreds, if not , thousands of passengers which queued at the dock. After the scrum, only one coach came along. Initially, the coach driver said he only came to drop passengers but not pick them up (to take them to the Cruise terminal). We were not allowed to walk either (dock regulations). There were no signs of Celebrity crew at the dock, to assist. Only Dublin dock staff were there. After pleading, we got on that coach but hundreds (and thousands?) were still waiting at the dock. Sorry to bring this to your attention, but PLEASE BE AWARE that might happen as you are on the same ship. On disembakation day, get to the queue early. 3) YOUR PORTS: Amsterdam : if your cruise docks in the main Amsterdam cruise port, then, it is relatively close to central Amsterdam (1 mile to the Central Station). If your ship docks at Ijmuiden, then it is quite further away (24 miles). You can still take the train to Amsterdam. Cork: You will most probably dock in Cobh. If you wish to visit Cork, which is 13miles alway, it is best to take the train. The train station is just by the side of the dock. Alternatively, Cobh is a nice town to visit as well, and it is within walking distance of where the dock is. Dublin: You cannot walk from the ship to the terminal. You have to take a coach. Hope Celebrity might be more organized in arranging coach transfer than our last experience. From the port terminal, you could walk into Dublin city centre quite easily Glasgow: other readers here have already given you their advise. If you could find online some cruise excursions that take you to visit Edinburgh, it would be well worth it. However, Grenock is 78 miles away from Edinburgh, so it is not close by. Glasgow is much , much closer. Between Glasgow and Edinburgh, Edinburgh is more "made" for visitors. Edinburgh is the second most visit city in the UK after London. Cherbourg: You can walk around town. Your ship is likely to dock close to town. However, there is not a lot to see and do in Cherbourg apart from the supermarket and their shopping centre (and not a very good shopping centre either!) However, they have some good French eateries!! Bruges/Zebrugge : You would definitely need transport from Zebrugge to Bruges. You cannot walk there if you wish to have enough time to enjoy Bruges. Old Bruges , where most tourists wander, is a lovely place, with so much character but the prices are quite expensive.
  9. We came across some indication on Feb 6th, 2019 that there is (another) strike by dockers in San Juan. However, the link to that new site was not working properly so we could not read the full report. We know in earlier in December 2019, San Juan experienced a dockers strike. We are have booked a cruise with Viking in March leaving from San Juan and returning back there after the cruise, and we hope that we will not be affected by the dockers strike. If anyone reading this discussion board have any more information any possible future strike dates by these dockers , we would be grateful if you could share them with us.
  10. Switch to MSC? Is that you being sarcastic? Quite uncalled for attitude that, isn't it? We haven't been sarcastic to you, so why are you like that to us for? We all realise the standard and quality of service of MSC is a few notches below Viking, although their fares are also substantially lower. No, we booked Viking partly because at the time of booking, the brochure indicated it was going to Guadeloupe. And we were pleased to pay Viking fares to go on Viking, not on MSC, thank you very much. We are not saying that we do not feel sorry for the islanders who were affected by the hurricane because we are. However, we are not as fortunate as yourself who seem to get to visit the West Indies several times (it seems) during the good times and not-so-good times. It is going to be our first visit, and possibly the only one. So, we had hoped that we would get the best experience we could and visit the islands we chose with the cruise line of our choice. As this may be the only West Indies cruise for us, since Viking changed the Guadeloupe stop without informing us , we may never get another chance to visit that island ever.
  11. We looked at pictures of Guadeloupe and Dominica. Guadeloupe looks like "Paradise" with lovely houses, beautiful bays and inlets, so very civilised. Dominica looks like some wild overgrown jungle with a few poorly built houses/buildings. We know they are just "pictures", but that is all we could base on as we have not been to the West Indies before. Have you been to Guadeloupe as well? Do you think Dominica is more beautiful or less beautiful? Of course, we do realise different individuals would have different opinions. If Viking uses customer feedback, don't you think they should inform future customers BEFORE they book that they have actually changed their schedule/routing which they had advertised in their brochure? We do not think they did it right this time, not for us, anyway. We were, and still are, very , very disappointed. We chose to go to Guadeloupe, but Viking allowed others to chose to stop us from going there. Does our choice not count? If Viking does not let us go to Guadeloupe, why did they sell the cruise indicating they were stopping over there, and why did they not tell us before we booked the cruise that they have changed that?
  12. Thanks so much for your reply and for the information. Great to read that the San Juan airport seems to have a lounge for American Airlines. However, as far as we know, that source of information (https://www.san-juan-airport.com) you referred to may not be the official website for San Juan Airport. (The official website, we think is http://aeropuertosju.com/en/passengers/enusda/ ) So, we hope their information (first website) is up to date (it would certainly be to our benefit if it is, so here's hoping!) In any case, we really appreciated your taking the trouble to help. Also, thanks for the tips with regards to excursions. The St. Kitts Railway sounds so good and enjoyable. However, we checked the Viking Ocean website and they do not seem to have an optional excursion for that on offer. Did you get that (excursion) some where else? We also saw that in Antigua, they have a Montserrat Helo (Helicopter) Flight as one of the optional excursions. Is that any good? As for barbecue/catamaran , also for the Antigua stopover, we will probably give that a miss. As we will be eating so much on board Viking, with all its delicious food, we could do without the barbecue in Antigua. Although the Catamaran sounds good, the last thing we would want to do while on a cruise, was to do another "cruise"! We'd probably like to touch some "land"! Lol. When we booked the West Indies Explorer cruise, we based it on the routing in the brochure they sent us. And in the brochure, one of the stops was Guadeloupe. Having seen the exotic and wonderful pictures of Guadeloupe, that was one of the main reasons we booked the cruise. However, after having booked it , etc., we discovered that Viking have REPLACED that stop with Dominica instead. Needless to say, that was a huge disappointment. What was worse, when we contacted Viking to ask why they changed, we were told that it was due to feedback from passengers. If it was due to technical or operational reasons, we would have thought that would have been reasonable, but due to feedback and passengers opinions? What about opinions of passengers like us who wish to go to Guadeloupe rather than Dominica? Do we not count? Oh well, that's life we suppose. You win some, you lose some. Nevermind.
  13. Yes, gratuities are included in the price of the cruise fare. This is a standard offering in the UK by Viking for their ocean cruises. Don't know about their river cruises as have not been on that.
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