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About eileeshb

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Rugby, surfing, sci-fi, travel
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  1. Only reason ireland is being banned is because the UK response was/is so rubbish. Ireland shut down schools, colleges and crèches, stopped all sports while UK has done none of that and left it to the individual sporting authorities to make their own decisions. Unfortunately we share a land border with them at Northern Ireland and the current leader in NI is refusing to consider Irish guidelines but rather is waiting for BJ to discover common sense.
  2. there’s plenty of discrimination by age across all sorts of areas, at least here in Ireland.. my mum is in her 70s so she gets free public transport, free medical card and state pension, but she also has to get a doctor to re-certify her fitness to drive every couple of years. Meanwhile teens and early 20s get thumped with massive car insurance prices and lower social welfare payments.
  3. Has anyone been in contact with the company about potential cancellations/restrictions due to coronavirus? I’ve booked excursions with them for May.. just wondering if anyone that’s due to tour with them in April has had any communication from them.
  4. I’ve done 3 solo cruises now and found the folks that show up at the solos meet-up tend to be very welcoming some already know each other but most didn’t. I stuck with the cruise excursions on my first cruise and there turned out to be at least one other solo from meet-ups doing each so we could watch each other’s belongings while doing activities. I booked with well known excursion suppliers the second time but used the cruise line for one where I’d otherwise have needed to find a taxi to get to it if I’d gone independent. Similar for my third.. I do have the advantage of having grown up in a very touristy area and dealing with strangers all the time, with that and an Irish accent I can talk to pretty much anyone. I’ve had to travel solo on business travel many times and always bring a book with me as company for dinner if I’m going to be eating alone. I always found wait staff to be extra attentive if I was alone to make sure I was being served properly.
  5. Did my first solo cruise at 40, very mixed age range on that one, from early 20s upwards. My 2 subsequent cruises skewed a bit older but everyone was young at heart! There are people in the studio cabins aren’t necessarily solo, adult kids or a grandparent wanting space from the rest of their family so you won’t necessarily see them at the solo meet-ups or just occasionally.
  6. I’ve been travelling solo since I was a teenager, I do my research for new places and try to learn some basic phrases in whatever language applies for the destination. I did attend college when the whole date rape drug thing first became known so I do tend to be paranoid about protecting my drinks and I generally stop drinking at midnight. That was a habit formed at college when I would drink at the bar but switched to water at the nightclubs, People will have different habits depending on their experience and levels of confidence, I’m pretty sure I can take care of myself (had some self defence classes as a teen) and I understand an awful lot more of other languages than I can necessarily speak. I regularly run into people when I’m travelling that are astounded that I travel alone, but I’ve learned over the years which travel I feel comfortable with and which I don’t. I spent 9 years researching cruises before I finally booked my first and as a solo, prior to that I always traveled to specific sports events if it wasn’t business travel or a family holiday.
  7. They’ve banned them in Lombardy which is the Milan region.. at the moment Naples, Rome and Livorno aren’t high risk, but the Veneto region (Venice) is being discussed for quarantine too.
  8. It’s not something I’ve experienced myself but the system on the 3 ships I’ve been on was pretty well established.. on embarkation go meet with the maitre’d of the main dining rooms, then each day you pick a meal for the *following* day’s dinner to be prepared in the special area of the kitchen. I did the behind the scenes tour and the head chef told us there’s a whole area within the kitchen which is used to prepare meals for anyone on special diets or with allergies. He did warn that the other restaurants don’t have a dedicated allergies area in their kitchens and the MDR kitchen does all the pastries for every restaurant on the ship. That was on getaway and breakaway. To try and keep up with service they kitchen pre-prep hundreds of meals long before meal times, that’s why “special” diet selections are identified a full day early.
  9. I’m due to sail from Barcelona on May 10th.. a couple of months ago the studio cabins were fully booked. Now there’s availability but the price is less than $100 cheaper than the price I paid when I booked the cruise last year. There are definitely other European cruises with significantly lower fares from ncl now.. I suspect some itineraries might change if the Italian outbreak spreads to the provinces with the ports on our itineraries. The main gotcha is Venice, if you’re on a sailing from there early in the season it could be at risk. Right now Lombardy (Milan area) has been closed down, full quarantine... Italian authorities are also talking about doing the same for Veneto (Venice) but not as yet. The Venetian authorities aren’t massive fans of cruise ships to start with so if they get an excuse to ban them for a while they will. Rome is ok at the moment, some restrictions but not much, if you’re sailing on epic I’d see if you can rejig your travel plans to board in Barcelona or have a backup air routing identified in case Rome does shutdown
  10. Unfortunately this Irishwoman spent over a decade working for an American multinational so the tipping culture rubbed off on me, except for bars.. I never picked up the habit of tipping for every drink, possibly because I got carded *all* the time. I leave the gratuity/service charge as it is, and also give a bit extra tip & little Irish gift to my steward, the studio lounge barman and the solos host, assuming all do a decent job. If I wind up using one of the other bars regularly I’ll give a tip to those staff too. But I would still prefer to see staff paid properly instead of relying on tips. We did b&b at home when I was a kid and some of the guests would give myself and my brother a few pennies if they spotted us helping serve breakfast or changing bedclothes. Thankfully we didn’t experience any of the overly entitled types that make life horrible for people in the hospitality industry.
  11. Someone mentioned the bartenders don’t get a share of the dsc, however they share the gratuity charge attached to the various drink packages. As someone from a country that doesn’t have a tipping culture the double standard in minimum wage levels for people working in a “service” industry is plain sickening. it’ll be interesting to see how virgin voyages gets along with service quality since they are not charging gratuities or service charges. for my first 3 ncl cruises the dsc was built into the base price, I don’t know what country caused it to be stripped out but eu law requires all elements that are part of the base cost have to be included which is why the prices we see already have port charges and taxes included. Someone obviously managed to convince the authorities that dsc is optional and shouldn’t be included. Until there are world-wide agreements on labour law we’re always going to have these sorts of culture clashes.
  12. that shot looks like one commonly served in Ireland called a baby Guinness, but we’d have tia Maria or kahlua in the bottom part so it looks like a Guinness in miniature. btw everyone moaning about bare feet on furniture try being allergic to the aloe Vera everyone slathers all over themselves and leaves behind on the furniture... I had a really bad breakout from it on the back of my legs after sitting on a vinyl chair in the atrium on breakaway.
  13. I haven’t been to Barcelona (as yet other than airport transit). I’ve been to other far less touristy areas of Spain and generally had no language issues. Barcelona handles a lot of tourists every year, those of us from English speaking countries tend to be the least likely to speak another language. whenever I have French speaking customers in my family’s shop they’re always delighted to discover I speak their language. if you want to learn the basics of any language there are free apps, I’ve used duolingo in the past. I can understand an awful lot more than I can speak but it is a comfort as a just in case. I’ve used google translate with all sorts of languages when I was volunteering at sports events.
  14. 🤣 I’ve a cousin in Australia who could be mistaken for your twin, she’s in her mid 40s. honestly the age thing is as much genetics as lifestyle. Both sides of mine tend to look younger, and most of the girls don’t bother with makeup much and spend as much time as possible out of the cities. i have friends with parents the same age as mine but look years older... but it’s more commonplace for folks here to have their age underestimated.
  15. I ate at ocean blue on my second cruise, because I was only going to that specialty restaurant I opted against the SDP as buying the package would cost more than paying a la carte. I did get the dining package as a promo for my last cruise and my next, but on the one after I opted for the internet package instead. It comes down to personal preference, knowing the menus and the a la carte pricing could help decide whether you want to take the dining plan or not.
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