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Everything posted by Ondine

  1. Just saw this. Looks like someone who couldn't make up their mind.
  2. We watched the suitcases being taken ashore. Because of their thoughtlessness we were nearly 3 hours late leaving port by the time we got the pilot and tugs back and found another slot in the queue. No idea if they intended to skip ship or couldn't care less about consequences.
  3. Early Feb on Pacific Explorer in Auckland, our last port of call before returning to Melb. We were minus 7 passengers at 3.30pm final boarding time. After 15 minutes 3 sauntered aboard. Another 15 minutes and 2 people had phoned ahead to say their taxi had trouble and was late and eventually they arrived. So still missing two. By now we had lost our place in the departure line, the pilot who was onboard had gone elsewhere to another job and the tugs also departed leaving us to sort out the mess. After another hour the call went out to get security to open their cabin and ascertain that these people had their passports with them and pack up their belongings. Their suitcases were duly deposited onshore with information for the ships agent. We were now about 2 hours late with a full speed trip back to Melbourne ahead of us. The captain announced that they had contacted police and hospitals trying to find them and also contacted their family back in Melbourne to tell them what had happened and we were leaving them behind. On arrival in Melbourne Border Force came aboard and wanted a report on why we had left these people behind (now illegal immigrants to NZ) and this delayed our disembarkation by well over an hour which affected other peoples ongoing travel plans. The consequences to the ship are immense with all the extra paperwork, extra costs for the pilot and tugs. The ship is responsible for leaving with the number of passengers it brings in. I have no sympathy for them. We all know the rules. You contact the agents if you are delayed. Try getting an aircraft to wait for you if you are late. I don't think so. It is the same thing.
  4. eeeee Is this some new rule for getting on in Melbourne? When I sailed in Jan and early Feb we were still allowed to drive onto the pier. When boarding Virgin late Feb we dropped off our luggage at the gate but put this down to a Virgin thing since they do everything different to other cruise lines! I know that there have been hassles with frustrated lines of motorists when the "traffic cops" favour one line over another leading to very loud horn honking. You have my sympathy boarding in yesterday's heat. That's a long walk to get onboard. No shade either if you have to queue prior to getting through the gate. I join on Sunday for the Qld trip. I see that the blue lounges have been replaced by white/cream ones on the back pool deck. What was that passenger thinking sunbaking in 38 deg heat. Enjoy your cruise. Like following the posts.
  5. Re my posting 12 months ago re the condition of Grand Princess. I was pleased to see when cruising on her this season that they have completely renovated the Vista lounge and it looks lovely now. All chairs have been reupholstered/replaced . The low chairs in Explorers appear to be re-sprung and although they are still low you are now at shoulder height not chin height. It is still a race to get the higher chairs when looking for a table.
  6. In light of the fact that Brilliant Lady is now not expected to sail until at least May 2025 (originally forecast late 2023) perhaps Virgin might use Resilient Lady to do Brilliant's cancelled expected itineraries. Depending how much interest they had had in Brilliant it would make sense.
  7. Son and I were on the inaugural voyage in December and "rearranged" the set up. He didn't quite fit in the bed along the wall and I didn't want his feet in my face and I wasn't about to give up the other single because one has a spring base while the other doesn't and is harder. They are both hard actually. We put the "U shaped table" at the end of the bed near the window then we put the chair in backwards so the back of the chair would act as a wedge. We put all the extra pillows on the "table" which brought it approximately to the height of the mattress. He grumbled a bit but it worked. We then brought one of the balcony chairs inside to replace the one we had used to make the bed. The metal chairs are awful and I spent most of my outside time in the hammock anyway. We are sailing again tomorrow using credits we got when they cancelled my 20 night b2b NZ cruises. And they wonder what went wrong. They can't seem to make up their minds what they want to do. How can you book in advance when you can't be sure what will happen? I will try to take a photo and upload it when I get back. We find that the cabin not being squared also plays tricks with your mind. It is around a foot narrower at one end.
  8. I was told years ago by P&O to book a double and have the other person a no show. If it is a coastal then you wouldn't need many particulars for that person so no passport details etc. Use a friend or family details. There is usually no difference in pricing. A year ago one of my grandchildren was a no show on our NY cruise and much to my surprise a few months later I received the port fees (more than $400) in my bank account.
  9. mmmm I wish. In fact I am a Pom who never learned to swim much to my dismay. Think I've left it too late. When I registered on CC it asked for a name and in my haste I chose Ondine meaning water sprite which sounded appropriate. I had just been watching a rerun of Margot Fonteyn as Ondine on YouTube. I did not mean to disparage the islands which I have been to many times. I love IOP, Mare, Santo etc. Love the people there. However I usually just go for walks around the place and then queue for 2 hours to get back on the tender in the heat!! I do wish I was a mermaid then. Mystery Island is still a mystery for me. Sick the first time we called, rained like hell the next, couldn't tender the next due to weather and the final time completely missed due to shutting down cruises in March 2020. The flip side was that we went to Santo instead which was still open and is usually too far from Melb. Not fussed about Fiji although I have done a few shore tours which were ok except that the bus drivers always take you back to their mate's shop and leave you there for 2 hours captive. Bit too commercial. Just happen to love NZ.
  10. We just did the QE Christmas/NY cruise to NZ. We visited the Sounds then up the west coast to Wellington, then inaugural call into New Plymouth, Bay of Islands and overnight New Year's Eve in Auckland and back home to Melb. While in Wellington one of the guides told us that the City Council did not want cruise shuttles going into town and so there was now only one stop on the edge near the Beehive. Too bad for the retailers and folks at Te Papa museum where most of the cruisers wanted to go. Two weeks later on the Grand Princess we were told that we could not dock in Wellington due to the pilots say so. Weather related???? Was calm enough to us as we went past the entrance to Cooks Strait. A further two weeks later onboard Pacific Explorer we were again refused entry into Wellington at the pilots say so. We overnighted in Lyttleton and then went slowly up to Napier. Again saw no bad weather! While having breakfast one morning, can't remember where - maybe Napier - the pilot was sitting at the next table after taking us into port and talking with a friend. He was discussing the problems with the powers that be about pilot scheduling and was not painting a happy picture. Is New Zealand becoming too difficult to schedule with one thing and another? Greenies/irate Councillors and now pilots. I know 3 cruises to NZ in 7 weeks is a lot but I love NZ and am making the most of it while ships are still sailing from Melbourne, especially if I get a bargain. I go where the ships go!!!! I would much prefer NZ to the islands as I am not a scuba diver or mermaid.
  11. Hi yes!yes!yes! Son and I will be on the cruise departing Melb 8th Jan so maybe we will catch up with you. Hope you get the SA portion sorted. Hope you enjoyed your cruise Juls. One day we will meet. Son and I are on QE dep Friday for NZ. Christmas in Fiordland and New Year in Auckland o'night. First time and probably last on Cunard since they are deserting us.
  12. We were there. Our check in time was 1.45 (originally 1.30) and we arrived at 1.40pm. There was no access to the pier as per usual to drop off luggage etc because they were having "technical difficulties" so everyone was told to just drive around and come back later or join the queue. We parked and waited for 20 minutes in the car and then decided to join the queue which was growing and snaking around the street and along the beach front. Probably around 500 in the queue by then. After about 30 minutes we had moved around 50 ft/15mts with little or no information being given out. After 2 hours and still not reaching the port gate officials came along calling out for passengers with 1.30 or 1.45 boarding times to go to the front of the queue and check in their luggage. We then progressed onto the pier and crawled or stood for another 2 hours before reaching the lifts/elevators leading upstairs to the check in lounge. Finally Richard came along apologising for the debacle which was caused by their systems going down in the terminal and the back up systems in Miami being very slow and dropping out all the time. By then I think there were about 1,800 people in the queue. People loved getting selfies with Richard so some were happy. When we finally reached the lifts people were allowed to go to check in in groups of 10 because there was mayhem at the check in counters. We had DBE and saw the line for Rock Stars so we joined that. There was no one in it. The officials were channeling people into the snake without asking if they had priority boarding and so many people were not aware of it. We got on board in about 10 minutes after that. After all that there was confusion with disembarking because people were not told to select a disembarkation time via the app. Most passengers are used to the cruise line issuing papers with times and coloured tags. They kept sending out messages to ask you to select a time under excursions but many people especially older passengers, and yes there were quite a lot of over 50/60/70/80s onboard (including me), did not read their messages. I had to ask at sailor services how to handle disembarking. I did find the absence of announcements and general how-to info confusing. I know better for next time (February) now. It was a learning curve. So all in all it took us 4 hours to board.
  13. Just off Resilient and yes we had small washcloths. They were toweling with a plain strip through the centre. I have had better. Bar of soap but we just put our hands under the pump in the shower.
  14. Went to my doctor for a regular check up last week and mentioned I was going on a cruise next week and she gave me a box of anti-virals to take with me. Think she was breaking the law but obviously doctors get supplies to have in their surgeries. She knows I hate taking medications of any kind and having vaccines (yes I have had 5 covid needles and caught covid 3 times on cruises since they restarted in Aus) but wanted me to be prepared. I know she has knocked back other travellers who have asked for prescriptions and tablets but told me I am special!!!!! We get along well.
  15. Son and I have booked separate gty cabins on QE for Christmas cruise, 22nd Dec. They stopped selling cabins several weeks ago so fully booked. Mine (balcony) came through around 4 weeks ago (just showed up in personaliser) but his is yet to be assigned (inside). Just over 2 weeks to go so fingers crossed. Have been getting emails re dinner bookings for Christmas so everything seems to be in order.
  16. Just been talking to friend who came in yesterday on QE repositioning cruise. They boarded in Barcelona and 3 of the group didn't get their luggage. Lost in transit with aircraft somewhere. It eventually caught up with them some ports later but it was a matter of scrounging what clothing they could put together at the beginning of cruise. Not a great start to a Cunard cruise. He also said it was riddled with covid but there was no checking or protocols to follow from company. If they don't know they don't have to report it.
  17. My Deep Blue Extras and $100 bar tabs disappeared from my booking around 10 days ago. We sail in a week. I contacted Sailor Services and in a few days they had reapplied it. I had done a screen shot of it but they didn't ask for it. My $200 for the survey appears as 2 x $100 gifted sailor services. Can someone tell me if these OBCs can be shared by both people in the cabin if we are using the same credit card. I don't drink but would like to share my "sailor loot" and bar tab $100 with my son.
  18. Maybe they could use the excuse Qantas made about selling seats for flights that had been cancelled. Namely that they are selling seats to fly and not guaranteeing a particular flight or day or destination!!!
  19. I guess that if you have flown from Tassie to Sydney to board the ship and you find yourself back in Tassie it is a bummer. Reminds me of that other trip some years ago that was meant to go to the Islands and ended up in Tassie. Problems of people dressing for a hot holiday and ending up in a cold place without jumpers. Think that was a P&O cruise and a cyclone got in the way.
  20. Some years ago we got a moveover offer from Princess. It was to be our first cruise with them. It came 48 hrs prior to boarding and they offered a full refund and a free cruise of the same duration in a mini suite (we were in a balcony). We took it as we live 15 minutes from the port and apart from disappointment had no other problems to sort out.
  21. Spirit of Tassie relocated 12 months ago last October. The reports prior to moving were that they could not come to an agreement with Port of Melbourne regarding an increase in fees so they built a new terminal in Geelong (Corio) and went. Geelong were happy to have them and in the past have touted getting cruise ships there. One mayor was offering to build a new terminal for cruising but I don't think he is still Mayor. Perhaps Port of Melbourne want the cruise ships to contribute to a new terminal like they did in Brisbane but that was prior to covid ruining everything.
  22. There is no date on this letter. How long prior to the trip was it sent out?
  23. Not sure where they got that figure from. Melbourne Ports has 100 visits scheduled for 25/26 and that is the total number of visits including all the day stops by all ships some of which are here multiple times. It is not an indication of home porting which the article is really about. Day visits don't require all the infrastructure or staff that turnarounds do. Fewer ships home porting means less fuel and food supplies needed.
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