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Harters

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  1. Food is important to us for any holiday. Almost the first thing we research for a land-based holiday is the restaurants. It's what led us to Oceania for the one cruise we've done with them. And, assuming it ever feels safe to us to cruise again, it will lead us back to Oceania. I'd rate the food as "good bistro" quality. Certainly not European Michelin star quality (I know that can vary across the world) or, indeed, places that I'd hope might be awarded a star in due course. But we enjoyed the food in the dining room on the nights we ate there. And we enjoyed the speciality restaurants, with one exception where we didnt think they hit the mark. It's the sort of quality that, if it was a local restaurant, it'd be on our list of places to visit regularly.
  2. Let me preface my reply by saying that I do not go to restaurants which require men to wear jackets. Fortunately, there are now very few of them so it is not a issue to avoid them. I have the same attitude towards cruise lines. Jacket required - no booking from us. I find it an archaic constraint. So, we picked an Oceania cruise because of its modern day dress code which I generally, and correctly. interpreted as being "smart casual". My recollection is the the actual wording was "country club casual" - a meaningless phrase if you are from a country which doesnt have American style country clubs (whatever that might be). So, I asked on a foody forum I use, which also have many American contributors, and got several interpretations. In the end, I decided that I would simply work on the basis of my normal dress code for a reasonably upscale restaurant here. That was chinos, some nights with a polo shirt, others with a more formal short-sleeved collared shirt. It's the sort of clothing I would wear to a smart bistro or, with the more formal shirt, to a Michelin starred restaurant. I found most diners were dressed similarly, although I noted a few wearing jackets (but they were definitely the minority). Found the main dining room to be a very relaxed and enjoyable experience.
  3. This is a travel forum not a politics one which means any detailed reply would be very off-topic. So, let me answer as briefly as possible. The majority did indeed think otherwise which is why we have left the EU. I was not amongst the majority - and very proud to have been one of the 48%. You'll be able to find pro-EU arguments for yourself by a quick Google. Look beyond the purely economic for the things that the UK has lost.
  4. Thank you for the correction. In this respect, it's an academic matter as there is little possibiity of any implementation before our disastrous departure from the Union.
  5. The UK is no longer a member of the Union so the implemenation of any recommendations wouldnt be directly applied to Britons. That said, there is much in these recommendations that I would agree with. In fact, if ships do not practice social distancing and mask wearing, as hotels in an increasing number of our neighbour countries now require, then we won't be cruising at all. These are just commonsense public safety measures which we are increasingly learning to live with. Not that this will be a consideration any time soon, as the government has just changed its travel advice about cruises. It now advises against all cruise travel - previously the advice was only directed to people aged 70+ (which would shortly apply to me in any event).
  6. I would be very nervous considering a cruise, this side of a vaccine being developed. I am not saying that I would definitely not cruise. But I would want to know that the virus is very well suppressed not only in my own country (UK) but elsewhere, so risk is inherently much lower. I would also want to know what practical steps a cruise line was taking to make ships Covid-secure. Tourist hotels are starting to reopen in Europe and will offer me a good idea of what I think is "best practice" to look for on a ship. It's seems pretty clear that there will be things like limiting guest numbers to enable distancing, wearing masks when moving about, enhanced cleaning, served meals rather than buffets, etc. Basic commonsense protections, if you will. I'm also conscious that, for me, many cruises would involve air travel and I think I may be more concerned about that than the actual cruise. The flying is the probable dilemma for all holidays for us in the medium term.
  7. Had things been normal, we would have just returned from an Alaska cruise - an early 70th birthday present to myself. I am not sure when we will feel it safe to cruise again (not least as most cruises involve air travel for us, which may well be even riskier). But, one thing is certain, if we do cruise again in the foreseeable future, it will only be in circumstances where there are things like social distancing and mask wearing when you're moving about a ship. If cruise lines say they are not going to have protections like that (and that would be accommodating most people who have contributed to this thread), then we will not be booking with them. Just too risky. Full stop.
  8. We have now been able to sort this out with the tour operator who eventually offered a full refund but said it would take 28 days. That's today and the full amount has appeared in our bank account. We'll now withdraw our parallel claim with our bank. Must admit, the whole Covid matter leaves us nervous about flying in the future, but hope the experience of others will build confidence. It does also leave us very nervous about the prospect for future cruising holidays. I think there needs to be a lot of work done to make customers with vulnerable health conditions feel safe again.
  9. We were due to take an Alaska cruise at the end of this month. I cancelled shore excursions in mid March and received a refund within days. The cruise is part of a wider trip from the UK to Western Canada, booked through tour operator here. We are currently in the early stages of dispute with the operator, as they are refusing refunds and only offering rebooking or a refund credit note, not redeemable until 31 March 2021. This is unacceptable - not least as refunds are guaranteed under UK law and are clearly offered in the operators terms & conditions. Their argument, so far, is that they will be waiting for refunds from HAL and other suppliers (airline, rail tour, hotels), hence the very long delay on the credit note payout. From reading the above posts, it seems that folk are not yet receiving refunds for bookings direct with HAL, so I assume the booking our operator made will be subject to the same delays. We have logged a claim via our credit card company - refunds of such purchases are covered by UK law (Consumer Credit Act, 1974) - which can run parallel to our claim on the operator.
  10. Thanks for the heads-up. I've had a quick look on the provincial government website and, as far as I can see, this is currently a voluntary scheme for folk to do their "civic duty" and wouldnt apply to tourists. That said, iancal's info about the federal government decision banning cruise ship dockings until 1 July would seem to be the end of the matter. I still see a battle with our operator in the UK over refunds but not as big a battle as I might have thought.
  11. Yesterday, the UK government issued advice that older people and those with existing health conditions should not cruise. My partner & I both have respiratory conditions so I suspect that this puts paid to my 70th birthday present cruise at the end of May. The HAL Alaska cruise is part of a wider trip, which includes Western Canada. We'll leave things for a few weeks to see what else develops. Who knows what further decisions may be taken by the UK, American or Canadian governments or, indeed, the airline. But once things are clearer, maybe in a month, we'll start talking to our tour operator in the UK about cancellation and refunds.
  12. I've stayed at County Hall on several occasions when I've visited the capital, although not for a year or so. It's a chain I generally use when travelling and always enjoy the full breakfast.
  13. Our next trip, which includes a cruise, is at the end of May. Final payment is due on Monday. We plan to pay and travel (the latter subject to any government advice not to travel). I expect things will be clearer by then. By the by, there's a case diagnosed in a town twenty miles from home.
  14. We've booked a 3 hour tour to the White Pass with Klondike Tours. Broadly speaking, it follows the railway route but the benefit to us over the train is that there's 8 stops (for photos, so presumably briefish).
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