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Everything posted by tim_london0

  1. Oh Wow, thanks' for so much information. Tuk Tuks, I hadn't thought of that. Though even $30 for an hour sounds like too much, or thinking in a philanthropic way giving someone a tiny windfall is a nice gesture. I have 2 other tours to Manila scheduled within the next year (I didn't plan it like, that it just happened) and they are going to take me (hopefully in a Van) around Intramuros and Chinatown, and even going to the American Cemetery. So I am looking for off the beaten track stuff to do on this visit. And the only thing I can find is the Bamboo Organ, but that way too far to walk, or a complicated bus journey, so the Tuk Tuk would be best. Oh well I have plenty of time to plan (and a prior visit to help me)
  2. Am I allowed to reopen this discussion, as I have the same question for my Cunard Cruise exactly a year from now. I can see that today's cruise ship (the last one for several months), Serenade Of The Seas is docked by 25th Street? Can I expect QE2 to dock at the same place? As to walking into town from, there. I get that it might be hot and stuffy (todays temp, 33C, real feel 37C, 50% humidity), but why might it been unsafe for foreigners? It's right next to the Historic old city, surely the area is teaming with tourists? If this area is unsafe to walk around on my own, where can I go that's safe? (I have another trip with a 2 day stopover in Manila to explore on my own, where I am not on a cruise ship.)
  3. 24 Caribbean Islands (i.e. almost all of them) require YF cert if you arrive from a YF risk area. The only (Island) risk area in the Caribbean is Trinidad. So this means that on a cruise which includes a stop at Trinidad, you can't, in theory, go to any more of the other islands unless you have YF cert. Even if you didn't actually got to that part of Trinidad which was a risk (cos the country you are arriving at can't know that). I'm over 60 and have twice been refuse a YF jab solely on the grounds of my age. Seems a bit annoying that the thing that I deliberately left until my old age as it was an easier form of travel, is made difficult for me because of this rule. So what happens on the ground where cruises have a stop at Trinidad. Do the cruise line enforce this rule, do the individual islands enforce it, or what? And I know that YF exception certs are available, are these routinely accepted by these countries?
  4. oh silly me for replying before I went to check my booking because they have now opened up tours to the first port of call only a year (and 3 days) away 😀
  5. OK, noted so I can't actually book a tour in HK, even if I wanted to makes sense, what the flip would I do with my luggage. guess that means I can't book a Tokyo tour either (I'm more likely to want to do that - depending upon what's offered) thanks
  6. I've just booked Hong Kong to Yokohama March 2025, and it's currently only offering me excursions within Hong Kong (which aren't really of interest to me) when might I expect excursions at the ports of call to be available? This is my first time with Cunard. Do the excursions generally get booked up quickly when the are available, or will I have plenty of time to decide (Sorry, I know this is a how long is a piece of string question)
  7. There's only one bus departure There no need to be early for the purpose of checking in, but of course you do need to schedule in the possibility of being delayed on your way to Victoria as the bus wont wait for you. OTOH if you arrive late for a train from FS you just catch the next one. Your check-in time on the ship is likely to be several hours before departure so 30 minute arrival at Tilbury isn't an issue. No idea if there are taxis, but there is a bus every 30 minutes. It's a circular route, that picks up on the south side of the station, and takes you back to the north side of the station. As has been said, the route is perfectly walkable, but not very pleasant with luggage.
  8. can't recall but I'm sure I have seen it somewhere
  9. I'm new to this cruising lark, so I don't routinely carry additionally insurance for cruise cover. and when I do buy a policy for a one-off cruise, my only interest in having the cruise insurance is to cover repatriation costs in the event of accident illness. Everything else that I need would pretty much be covered by a non-cruise policy So I was kind of surprised to see such additions as "Cruise Itinerary Change". And whatdoyouknow, I've just come back from an expedition cruise where one of the expeditions was cancelled due to the weather, and not replaced by an alternative shore landing. So does this mean that I'm entitled to make a claim for £40 from my insurer, a relativity trivial sum given that (due to the nature of the location) I cannot recreate the missed landing without completing 100% of an additional cruise. But then I only paid £24 for the insurance :-) And what am I expected to do to prove my claim? Nobody on the boat (um ship) seems to think that this missed landing was anything that they needed to document with passengers. It was just, shrug "it happens". What do regular cruisers do here? Do you make sure to claim for every nickel and dime that you might be entitled to for even the tiniest of changes to an Itinerary, or do you (as I do) think "I don't want to get myself a bad rep with insurance companies claiming for every nickel and dime, lest they refuse to insure me in future"? FWIW, I missed out on claiming for being confined to cabin with Covid on the previous cruise because I didn't know that I had such cover. That would have been £50pd for 5 days. Fortunately all were "at sea" days so I lot very little of the experience - though my cheapie £24 police doesn't seem to include that.
  10. So just got back from my 4 and a half day bargain bucket cruise around the West of Spitsbergen, so I'll post a mini review. Firstly there's no point in me reviewing the ship, as due to changes in Polar safety requirements Nordstjernen is being withdrawn from this route. I'm was told that they will continue with a different ship, but there's no offers on Hurtigruten's website for these short cruise in 2024. There's still one final cruise for 2023 with cabin availability. But good luck with finding connecting flights. Food: Breakfast and mains were good. Soups and deserts, decidedly average or worse. One complaint (And ISTR that I had the same complaint of my other polar cruise - not with Hurtigruten). Quantity of vegetarian choices was very very poor. Even as someone who's not vegetarian but simply looking to load up their plate of meat with his "5-a-day", the possibility of doing this was very very limited. The trip: weather was 4-8 degrees every day, with minimal wind and no rain, but some low cloud cover. Accordingly UK-Winter gear was perfectly fine for this trip, no need for my polar jacket, extra scarf or doubling up on gloves. Of course I can't guarantee that it's like that every trip. Landings are by Zodiacs onto a beach, but they put down steps so that you don't have to get your feet wet. Though as has been posted, you do have to walk through the cleaning tray on the way back onto the ship, so you need shoes with some level of waterproofness. First, you get a bus trip around LYB, taking a ride out past all of the (now closed) mines, to the dog's home and then on return a visit to the Svalbard museum, before being taken to the ship for boarding Then each of the three full days there are two expeditions per day to various sites, so there are 6 landings per trip. Unfortunately one of ours was cancelled due to the very slightly misty weather (bonus point for working out why a little mist might cause a landing to be cancelled). We saw a bear, from the centre of a fjord at 1km away on the top of a hill. But you needed a super magnification on your optical equipment to see it. The rest of us just saw a fuzzy blob, that might have been a bear or could equally have been a patch of snow. (It was a bear, participants with the super-magnification showed us the pictures.) Whilst on the ship we encountered 2 pods of dolphin, 3 whales (different species), a walrus and a bearded seal. But with one exception, they were all just fleeting sights, so you have to already be on the deck to see it. If you waited until the announcement that it was there, to rush out to see it, you were greeted with "oh it's gone now". Return landing at 9:15 in time to catch the 10:15 bus to the airport was tight, but we did it. Though most had an extra-stop over or were on the later flight. I personally got good value for my £2300 (cabin with en-suite, but no window) and I don't think that I could have achieved a significant upgrade in the experience to merit paying £10000 for the longer circumnavigation cruise. YMMV and FYI, the language group sizes were 60 Norwegian, 25 English and 15 German. Of our English group only about 5 were British, the rest were mostly other Europeans, listening in English but speaking something else 🙂
  11. does any cruise line guarantee you your choice of dining time/table surely they all have to operate a "first come first served" system (by which I mean allocating something from what's left at time of booking, not by arrivals on the day) what really annoys me is cruise line who give priority in selection of dining to passengers who have paid for the drinks package. Just why should people who have no interest in "drinking the night away" get treated as second class citizens for this particular service
  12. I'm missing something here I can't see how adding 6 pounds per night, so £60 to a 10 day cruise, makes a material difference to a brochure payment of £1000, such that it swings a deal from good value to poor value.
  13. I agree with Britboys, Simple value for money, low to middle end cruising I don't see how you can expect anything different at the price. As to the price, all cruise lines in the world reduce price to move unsold cabins as you get nearer departure date, without refunding already booked passengers. It's just that they don't do it via their own website, so booked pax don't get see it. They sell them via one of the dozen (or more) cruise resellers that you will find if you google for "cruise bargains" (or similar). And the situation at the moment is that cruises are not filling up. Name a cruise line and I bet you that I can find a cruise with that company, within the next 6 months, at 50% off (I've been looking) What you can expect is a cabin upgrade, but be careful what you wish for. Several people on my cruise had their carefully selected mid-ships cabin upgraded to a fore or aft cabin. They were not happy bunnies and wished that they had selected the no upgrades option. Cabin upgrades are not that great on Ambience, upgrades from Standard to Superior to Premium are hardly noticeable. Only if you get upgraded to Balcony will you notice. As to poor reviews on TP, well the first one that I read was someone complaining about having to be double vaccinated. I doubt very much that this is Ambassador's rule. Half the countries of the world are still insisting on visitor being double vaccinated, and simply isn't something that travellers can give 1 star ratings to operators for. The next couple were equally trivial issues so I gave up at that point.
  14. Update to previous post, Hurtigruten currently offering no single supplements for their remaining cabins on 2023 sailings of MS Nordstjernen, and flight times have been updated so that same day departure and arrival is now possible (which wasn't the case when I last looked in October). so just booked for an August sailing saving me £800, which paid for my air fare. Took the decision to fly optimally (I don't usually do that), arriving at 19:00 on day one of the trip to check into the included overnight pre-cruise hotel, and back at 12:15 on day 6 after an 8:00 arrival back in port (so it says). Transfers included (but that's never going to be a deal breaker here). Just need to work out how much cold weather stuff I need to pack and how much they will lend me (I see that today's temp is +5C, which is hardly going to be bothersome). No mention of needing boots, so I presume that there are no wet landings, now they are a pain in the bottom.
  15. You might be able to buy such mirrors for a pound, but what you got to do on a ship is fit them so that they don't go swinging around on their own, bashing against a solid object, breaking and sending glass shards onto the floor, during a storm. Though stick on magnifying mirrors are available that might be useful to you.
  16. because, for me, sitting on the lido deck (or anywhere else) with glass in hand offers zero value. Touring holidays (cruise or land based) is 100% about the destination, and the less time that there is doing "nothing" the better. If the choice is 2-3 hours at the airport or 4 days on a ship, the plane wins hands down.
  17. I'm the exact opposite of Milaandra I hate breakfast taking an hour because I have to wait for someone to take my order and serve it to me. Though I do agree with him/her/them (sorry don't have enough info to tell) that breakfast, the world over, is a repetitive choice the inclusion of which I would rather not have made for me by the travel operator - though this is more a point of relevance when it is only breakfast is included in the price. With an all-you-can-eat deal such as is normal on a cruise you can skip brekkie and make up for it elsewhere, at no additional cost - not so if you are touring on a B&B package.
  18. yes, I have replied to that comment elsewhere The bus we got offered was a bright green "Smart" bus. I have no idea what it did that makes it smarter than your average bus. (It did have free Wiffy) We had to buy a ticket from the travel centre before boarding.
  19. The solo events were pretty poor in my opinion. Not helped by the fact that the definition of Solo traveller used was anybody who had been booked in a single cabin (even if they had booked as part of a larger group) and people booking into a double cabin who didn't appear to be "in a relationship" (meaning that about half the ship was invited.) I thought the idea of getting solo travellers to meet up was so that they could buddie-up with other solos whilst on the cruise. People who were already travelling as part of a group were not so interested in making new friends as they already had their buddies traveling with them
  20. The general answer is No they don't Where ports do provide a shuttle service from the dock into the city, it will be provided by the city. and whether there is a charge for it will depend upon how much the city needs cruise passengers. small cities with very little in the way of other tourist visitors make sure to be very welcoming to cruise passengers and will lay on transport for free (even to the extent of shuttling people around in residents private cars). Larger destinations with more tourists than they can handle even before a cruise arrives often take a less welcoming approach Obviously, it varies a bit from my generalisation
  21. Why do people even expect a turn-down service? this is 2020, not 1920. Thanks for the review BTW 😀
  22. There were several Americans on my cruise. Some of whom had flown in (and out) specifically for that cruise No-Fly cruises seem to be a thing more prevalent in the UK. Other nationals don't seem to have this aversion to flying somewhere to start their cruise holiday. (probably because for most of then, potential starting points are much harder to get to)
  23. On formal night, I bumped into my nextdoor neighbour coming out of his cabin in the full dinner jacket regalia. I was in my jeans on the way to Borough Market 😀. Can be hacked with this dressing up lark just for some food.
  24. the normal rule is one formal event for each week of the cruise
  25. well what a daft restriction 99% of the additional risk of having to cover someone for a cruise is the humongous costs associated with, the albeit very small possibility, of having to medevac someone from the middle of the ocean. I fail to see how the cruise company's membership of some association can have any effect on this risk.
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