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About tom_uk

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  1. If you’re comfortable with bigger ships then either of these will suit you. There are however differences between them. In my view the atrium on Britannia is better. Also there’s a wider range of onboard activities on Britannia than on Ventura, eg the Limelight Club. And like others I preferred the Glasshouse on Britannia (and Azura) to that on Ventura, which still looks like the original Ramblas bar. (Mind you, I quite like the tree...) And of course Britannia has its Crows Nest. You’ll note that pretty much all of those listed above are internal things. Ventura’s advantages are more to do with the external features. First, balconies are generally a bit bigger, and in the case of C and D deck cabins, considerably so. Secondly, there’s the Promenade. if you’re prepared to go up the steps at the forward end of the deck you can do a full circuit of the ship, via the best place on the deck - the Clamshell at the bow. On Ventura (but not Azura) one of the main pools has a retractable roof for use during colder weather. And i’ve always enjoyed the aft Terrace area.
  2. Indeed. There are a couple of points about those D deck cabins & balconies on Azura & Ventura. First, the actual cabin is bigger than the other balcony cabins - P&O describe the D (and E) deck cabins as 'Superior Deluxe' while the ordinary balcony cabins are described as 'Standard'. So you do get a larger cabin. Secondly, the balcony for the D deck cabins is completely overlooked - 100% visible from all balconies above it, and especially from the C deck balcony immediately above! This is because the D deck balcony doesn't 'tuck under' the C deck balcony above - that balcony sits directly on top of the D deck cabin, and looks down onto the whole of the D deck balcony. The C deck balcony is a mixture - 50% of it (nearest the cabin) is located directly underneath the B deck balcony above, so it's hidden, and then the other 50%, towards the balcony rail, is visible. So you just have to remember - if you stay near to the cabin you're hidden, if you go near the rail you're visible. Looking at the picture I posted, it's likely that Val's legs and feet would have been visible from above, but the rest of her would have been hidden. And I suppose that could be an advantage of the Britannia balcony - it's completely underneath the balcony above, so is not open to view from above at all.
  3. Yes - at least the ones down the sides of the ship. The balconies across the stern are different again, but there aren't many of them. Here's a link to a post in my blog explaining how and why the C deck balconies on Azura and Ventura are so much deeper than those on the other decks. (Apologies to the OP for the way this has drifted away from Britannia-specific issues.)
  4. We've been spoiled, Andy - C deck balcony cabins on Ventura & Azura! I've attached a photo showing Val, my wife, on two balconies - on the left, on a C deck balcony on Ventura, and on the right, on Britannia. The point of this comparison is these were both fairly standard Balcony cabins - nothing special. And I also recognise that the C deck balconies on Azura & Ventura are unusual - a comparison between any other deck on those ships and Britannia would be much more equal. I thought the balcony on Oceana last autumn was a bit bigger than the Britannia balcony. That said, when the sun came out on our Britannia cruise, we didn't waste the balcony - we were out there.
  5. Many thanks for posting these, Andy, and for answering questions. We'll be on her for 18 nights next year - we were attracted to the itinerary (some new and smaller ports) and also the fact that, much as we do like the newer, larger ships, Aurora is now the last classic ship in the fleet and we wanted to enjoy her.
  6. Inside stuff, IMHO. The range of bars, restaurants, entertainment, etc, is excellent. There's plenty of room in areas such as the atrium, and we enjoyed using the facilities of the ship. The downsides - again, IMHO - are all to do with the outsides: the small balconies and the absence of a promenade deck. So my choice would be - and indeed was - that we'd be happy with Britannia for a cruise outside summer, or to places where the weather might not be stellar and we might therefore be using the inside of the ship a lot, or even a cruise that's port-intensive - you'll be spending most of the daylight hours of the cruise off the ship. In our case we did a fjords cruise on her, which did indeed feature several days of poor weather during which our balcony door stayed shut, and during which (as is usual with a fjords cruise) there were just two sea days and four port days. I do remember the sail-out from Flam: it had been raining most of the day but as we departed the clouds rolled back and we had an amazing passage all evening as we sailed down the fjord. We were able to bag a couple of seats up in the Crow's Nest and stayed there for hours enjoying the views. Here are a few images, of a) our main dining room; b) the atrium; c) the library; d) the crows nest; e) the epicurean; and f) lido deck.
  7. I'd be interested in your thoughts on The Glass House, Andy. We're big fans of the concept and have enjoyed it on Ventura, Azura's and (especially) Britannia.
  8. Interesting comments about Aurora. Of the current fleet, she's the only one we haven't cruised on. So we're putting that right next summer! - R010, a 'Discovery' cruise. Should be interesting. And then at the end of the year, just to redress the balance we're doing an English Channel cruise on Iona, just before Christmas (G028). Amazing pictures & video of Civitavecchia! - I've never seen weather like that there. Last time we were there I think we walked from the ship to the dock gate, and got very hot doing so.
  9. I don't think they'd be off Oceana's bow - that would be too close to handle the threat, anyway. They'd have ships over the horizon, interceptor aircraft on high-alert standby, and ground- and air-based surveillance going on 24/7. I've just been reading up about the UAE Armed Forces. They're about half the size of the UK's, despite the population of the UAE being a fifth of the UK's (and of that, 80% are expats). Apparently they're well-regarded, too, and they have practical experience in the Middle East - they were part of the Gulf War coalition, and they've been linked with Saudi Arabian interventions in Yemen. So actually, I'd be happy to visit the area again - I did the Gulf cruise on Oceana this February. But each to his own, of course, and there are plenty of cruises during our winter in other parts of the world!
  10. Let's see what transpires after the latest incidents. So far the attacks - and we still don't have any form confirmation as to who made them - have been solely on oil tankers. The UAE very much want to promote their tourism industry, and the development of Dubai cruise port is part of that, so I would imagine that they would ensure that there would be protection for cruise ships in the region. But as I say, let's see
  11. One more reply on the weather. On our Britannia cruise the weather had been improving all week. Our last port was Stavanger. After walking around the town we visited a harbour-front restaurant for lunch, and sat outside, where I got sunburned! A couple of years later we were visiting a whisky distillery in Scotland and I found myself talking to a couple of Norwegian chaps (as you do) and I mentioned my Stavanger experience to them. One of them looked thoughtful for a moment, and then replied "You are the first, I think....."
  12. My apologies - my misunderstanding. I've just had a look at the map. That 'Bontelabo' quay (2017, on Azura) is the easier one. It's on the same side of the old harbour inlet as Bryggen and Vagen, but right at the end. In fact, if you look at Google Maps, then do a Street View on the Festningskaien road (approx where the '585' tag is), you can see part of a Costa ship in the distance - that's where we were berthed that day. We walked along Festningskaien into Bryggen and the town centre. Turning to where we berthed in 2016 on Britannia, I think that what I referred-to as the Bontelabo quay is shown on the map as 'Jetkeviken', so I reckon that's the same one that you say Iona will be berthing at. That makes sense - both Britannia & Iona are bigger than Azura, so might be more restricted in where they can berth. As for where we had to go after that, well now that I look at the map I'm certain that the shuttle simply took us far as the dock gate! I think that's on a road called 'Torborg Nedreaas gate'. Again doing a Street View in Google Maps, if you look at the junction of that road & Bredalsmarken, there's a complicated set of pedestrian crossings, and I definitely remember that we started the walk into town by crossing them. You can obviously work out the route from there towards Bryggen, and that's what we had to do. (This thread has wandered away from 'Americans on P&O', and apologies to Regina for that. But hopefully still vaguely relevant and interesting.)
  13. Not sure about it being "..to the centre". Here's a link to a blog post I did in 2016 at the time of our visit on Britannia. On that occasion the shuttle bus just took us 400 yards (not 250 as I said above - apologies) to the edge of the port area, then dropped us! So I think the shuttle bus was provided by the port rather than P&O, and was purely to get passengers out of a non-pedestrian area of the docks. (P&O may have had additional services for mobility-impaired passengers, of course.) Update: I've done some more checking and have found a difference between the arrangements in 2016 and 2017. Basically, we berthed at different places. In 2016 when on Britannia we were at the Docken quay and in 2017 (Azura) we were at the Bontelaboo quay. That may be random, but it might be that the very largest ships have to go to Docken, and I imagine that would include Iona.
  14. Yes indeed. The last time we were there the shuttle bus took us all of about 250 yards, just to the edge of the port area! Then there was a further 10 minute walk to the Bryggen area of old Bergen.
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