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Everything posted by Pushpit

  1. There are 3 port locations, though one of them is being refurbished. I'm going to guess you are going via Steinwerder, since Altona tends to be QV (and is the easier to work around). But you can check on the Hamburg port authority's website to confirm this. Steinwerder is only a few km from the centre of Hamburg, however the mighty Elbe separates the dock from the city. At the dock there is remarkably little to see or do, Cunard always lays on bus shuttles to the Rathaus square, free of charge, for those in transit. It takes about 20 minutes each way, depending on traffic, there are a few points of congestion en route. Alternatively there is about a 15 minute walk to the Argentina Bridge (Argentinienbrücke) with a half hourly ferry service across to Landungsbrücken, which is the water front to central Hamburg and you can walk quite easily from there to the major sites. Don't rely on Google Maps for that ferry, look up ferry 73 on the main public transport provider for Hamburg, HVV, or ask me, since I know it very well. Depending on what you are doing it's a couple of Euro, and you can buy tickets in advance via the HVV website, there is a machine at Argentina Bridge but it's cash only. There is an amazing institution about 5 - 10 minutes walk from the dock, Odo's Kaffeeklappe. It's just a guy who has a Portacabin by the side of the road and German truckers, port workers, taxi drivers will go out of their way to pick up his coffee to go, German burgers, meatballs, sausages, pastries. He doesn't speak that much English but pointing is usually ok and a taxi driver can usually help. I say institution since Hamburg used to have dozens of Klappe ("flaps" or "hatch"), and Odo is just about the last one left. The hatch concept was invented in England, but has pretty much died out here, but this most English of cities has a few left. Best to use cash. https://fink.hamburg/2023/06/odos-imbiss-was-im-hamburger-hafen-wirklich-los-ist/
  2. I struggle to believe that anyone would be admonished for straying accidentally into the wrong area, but there again I read of all sorts of unattributed, non-specific events on t'interweb. The two Grills restaurants both have reception areas in the front of them with clear signs to indicate they are for Grills guests only. Even if you had left your glasses behind then during meal times you could hardly wander past them without someone at the front desk asking whether you would need any help. Very early in the morning, very late at night the place is unattended and you could pop your head in there if you didn't want to look in via the promenade desk outside. Now the grills terrace, on the other hand, because it's in the middle of a set of terracing at the stern of the ship, it would be possible to be walking down through that area unaware. For example, if you were at the kennels and you want to go down to the smoking area. There is a small sign by the stairs saying it's for Grill passengers. Unless you are on a slow passage through the Med on a hot day, in the middle part of the day, it's unlikely there would be many passengers on the Grills terrace and staff presence would be minimal or below. In any case a quick skip across the terrace to get up or down to safety would not raise an eyebrow.
  3. I book in all grades, and I've got past and future bookings in grades from Oceanview through Club, through PG and on to QG. I certainly wouldn't stare in, but unlike Winifred I do discreetly check what the Grills are getting. One aspect of army life is honing one's powers of peripheral vision! So I know that when it comes to lunch, those in Grills invariably order whatever is on offer in Britannia, and the menus are fairly closely aligned, nearly identical, for that meal. At breakfast the Grills tend to have lighter options (though the menus are fairly similar). There are some differences at dinner, but often the most popular beef then chicken dish tends to be selected in both Britannia and Grills. So some interesting Venn diagrams here. But that's by the bye, even though I know what I do, I would still be happy to have a window seat in QM2 Grills, PG or QG. However I have also learned over the years that particularly when near land it's sometimes a little better to be a table or two aside from the window, such that you can see out of 2 windows easily. It's a wider perspective there. But nothing to do with people on the promenade. However also note that the super-structure of the vessel means that some windows have a lot of metal just outside, which is another reason to sit a short distance away from the glass.
  4. Have a look at posts 220 and 221. Cunard doesn't put all inventory up for sale, in order to manipulate pricing. It's similar to airlines offering upgrades on services which are seemingly overbooked - monetizing your late inventory and no-shows (etc) is big business.
  5. You will see in italics above the official guidance. Yes, the buffet is open to you, that's the Lido on QV, it's called Kings Court on QM2. And the Golden Lion, the pub. So you will have some options, plus the free of charge room service dining too. So in some ways a bit more restricted. On a 10 day sailing you are looking at 2 or 3 gala nights, the sticky above will give you more specifics. I think it's reasonable to point out that Cunard does things a little different from other lines, and to some extent you miss out if you choose not to participate in all QV has to offer. But it's your money and your choice.
  6. This sound like the same departure as I had departing 15 December 2023 Southampton to New York (which I did a sort-of Live From thread elsewhere). As I recall, given the not great weather and somewhat late departure, I don't think there was a sailaway party (and nothing beats a summer sailaway party on QM2 out of Hamburg, by the way). It wasn't advertised in the Daily Programme and she sailed at around 22:00 hrs due to a small delay on loading supplies leading to a lost slot and some large cargo ships needing to get out. I think you would have had to be quite hardy to be outside at that hour. But I'm sure you won't mind too much, there's always the Commodore Club.
  7. Not in QG since the pandemic, but I did choose a table for 8 in PG a few months back, and many times in Britannia - 4 to 8. Though I'm also happy as a solo on a table for 2, I've always enjoyed sharing the table. In Britannia, on Open dining, it's easy to change from night to night as to whether to be sociable or not. In PG on the table for 8, to take my most recent example from January this year, some people would turn up at the same time, others would go earlier or later. Some would only stay for a quick meal, others would want the full experience. And the next night do something different. No matter, the wait staff have the professionalism to work around all of that and no-one would have had any complaints on their service.
  8. I have a double connection for you then. I am very distantly related to the two families that ran White Star, hence my badge, and hold some family memorabilia including a White Star share certificate. The village school I went to as a kid, which I can see right now - it's a few miles down the valley and painted white so it sticks out - was the same school that Sir Joseph Hickson went to as a child and learned to read, write and do sums. He went on to become the charismatic and entrepreneurial boss of GTR who built the hugely pivotal railway originally between Toronto and Montréal along the St. Lawrence River. My school had a 200 year celebration a few years back and we were trying to work out the most famous pupil - there weren't many! But Sir Joseph was the only one to earn (as opposed to inherit) a title.
  9. You will get a hefty menu binder, with the day's menu for the first couple of pages, and the back of the binder has the à la carte menu. You will get that even at breakfast since you may need to pre-order. Many of the items will be marked "for two", including the duck, but this gets to be negotiable on the day. Plus there maybe someone else in the Grills in a similar position. Some items on that menu are not for two, the steak and the turbot. The duck is not for two in Britannia Club, it's a single person dish on their à la carte menu, but they won't carve it at the table there unless it is for two.
  10. Yes, definitely ask your TA as well, they may have some lines of approach. Oceanview staterooms are quite good fun, and if the weather is not so good then sitting on the balcony may be wishful thinking. Sheltered balconies are all weather though but that's just QM2. But QE has so many options and opportunities, indoors and outdoors, so I am sure it will all work out fine. Complimentary upgrades are not a common event these days, by all accounts. If the Plusgrade option is successful, which if you bid the maximum should give you a good chance, then I think you may hear on Tuesday or Wednesday.
  11. If you did a Plusgrade bid, normally it's best to get them just when they open up, which is around 70 days before departure. Then about 3 or 4 days to departure they will tell you if you have not been successful. If you have been successful they tend to contact you sooner. They are a Canadian company working on behalf of Cunard, so they work Montréal office hours, you typically won't hear over a weekend. I'm assuming you are getting a line you can drag over to make your bid and the webpage URL starts something like upg.plusgrade.com If that doesn't work, then as soon as you board go to the Voyage Sales Office and see if they have something for you. Also, if you get the rejection message from Plusgrade you are free to call Cunard on the customer service number to enquire (though I wouldn't hold much hope for that). However if you have a TA booking, it's best to work via the TA, Cunard direct won't normally handle TA bookings.
  12. The deck factor is going to get you here, plus the lack of Apple receptors reporting back location given the often elderly cohorts on board. Just because he is near the bow or stern isn't going to help if there are 13 decks to work through. At that age I doubt that tracking / monitoring his movements makes a lot of sense, it's not as though he can go anywhere when the ship is sailing. I can see more value if it's at a port and you worry about him not getting back to the ship in time. It probably makes far more sense to get him to appreciate the various ways to contact you (e.g. if he has the wifi package via WhatsApp and similar) and that you appreciate him staying in touch. He also can use the house telephone system to call you in your stateroom. Kids have been on Cunard vessels quite happily for nearly 200 years - self included (I am not quite that old though) and it's only recent times that we've had this sort of technology. Mostly we managed reasonably well without it.
  13. I've seen a large table removed from QM2 QG - just after lunch. They then shuffled over some small and medium tables and added a 4 top table (2 x 2 tops pushed together under a large tablecloth). It is easy to watch them doing it on that ship!
  14. Yes, it's in a black binder in the drawer under the table top. Some stewards will leave it out on embarkation day so you see it. The book inside the binder isn't terribly specific though. The Daily Programme I guess isn't that inviting as such, but does at least give the timings and location.
  15. At Grills level the staff seem to know how it plays out, some maritime version of telepathy. I'm sure you too will quickly find out what the other couple's preferences and timings anyway. But you definitely won't be hanging around for an hour, or anything like it, and your food will arrive before, during or after their arrival, whatever is sensible. So, a non problem.
  16. Yes, it's all on the computer now. That certificate was the sort of thing that went out with or soon after the pandemic. You may / should get a letter which identifies the benefit waiting in your stateroom / suite, among the other CWC perks, but it just says to mention the Diamond status when booking. The black edge of your room card does the rest.
  17. Yes, normally you get a large envelope statement on your last night, or early morning on disembarkation, it shows all the charges you have accumulated, such as drinks and spa treatments. But just about the first entry will be the Hotel Service Charge, one entry, all nights charged at once. If you have no OBC left at the end of the sailing then the remaining amount outstanding, including this Hotel Service Charge, gets billed on disembarkation day to your nominated credit card. If you have a large OBC then it may be you won't see anything more charged but you still get the paper statement. If you use the Cunard "app", myvoyage, then you will see it listed then on the first morning after departure, so you can track that, any other charges and the state of your OBC as you go along. Some people go to the purser's desk and ask for a mid voyage print-out, if you prefer not to use myvoyage.
  18. It seems to have died off with the pandemic. I just to get email surveys after sailings, and now I don't. Or rather the one email I continue to get is the "Welcome home" email, which points out I have another Cunard sailing coming up, but I presume in other circumstances would say "why don't you book your next cruise?". In the past I felt this email was softening me up for the feedback survey, but that's not something I have received recently. One can provide feedback proactively. There is a web form at the end of this for UK based Cunarders. https://www.cunard.com/en-gb/contact-us
  19. And I'll chime in with a confirmation too. You can have multiple starters, soups, desserts, it's no problem to do that since there will be plenty of them available. It's not unusual to do this or extra work for anyone. So for lunch in particular it may make sense to skip the entrées and have a soup and 2 starters. Note though that the lunch sandwich of the day can be more substantial than it sounds. If you do want something more substantial but dislike the entrées then do ask if there is anything else available, they can usually do a pasta dish en spec, and there is an always available menu too, though that's supposed to be ordered in advance.
  20. Ammonia is a fairly powerful disinfectant and provides itch relief via a form of anaesthetic effect. Hopefully the ammonia content is quite low (3 or 4%) but it's not an unusual remedy, and it's cheap. That's why ice cubes are also good, since it also numbs the itch. Ammonia has passed at least one double-blind / placebo clinical trial (H. Zhai, University of California). I think because it's cheap and out of patent, it's kind of overlooked by the pharmacy industry. What I've found is that around the world different communities advocate different remedies. In South America the use of toothpaste is sometimes mentioned. I am not sure that's a good idea, as someone who works in healthcare, but in Scotland - where midges are so bad that they were used as a form of torture or punishment in days gone by, an inexpensive Avon product for ladies - Skin So Soft - is used by many men, who swear by it. So yes, "go local" is one approach here.
  21. That sounds like a lot, but Southampton can cope with that, it may have multiple cargo vessels going through too, which won't have a lot of people but may well put a lot of trucks on the road (e.g. Mr. Musk's 4 wheel gizmos). And even at 17k, it would not surprise me if more people than that were sailing to the Isle of Wight, many with their cars, on up to 20 sailings.
  22. It looks like we are on the same trip(s). In addition to the comments already made, the issue of being "optional" due to disembarking at HAM (and thus leaving your luggage out for disembarkation the same night as the Gala) is in itself a movable feast. So I expect it to be formal on night 2, and there may, or may not, be a note in the Daily Programme about it being optional for those disembarking. My QA last week for SOU-HAM did not say optional, my QM2 a few weeks before did say it was optional. On the night, the overwhelming majority of people make an effort of some sort, even if disembarking. I follow the dress code to the letter, though I am down in steerage and disembarking since I would feel out of place to do otherwise. 2 & 3: yes that's OK, but we aware that August in the German Bight isn't like August in the Med. So personally I would never wear shorts in the Grills (since unfortunately I'm over 30 years old) and there won't be many others doing so, but some may and to be clear it is well within the dress code. Jeans, polo and deck shoes for breakfast would be totally fine, on the other hand. But bear in mind the outside and a/c temperature may make you grateful to have a jacket of some sort handy, even if you may end up not wearing it. 4) Cunard is very used to Gluten-free. Actually it's very easy in Britannia cabins, since in the Kings Court they have a Gluten free counter on one side of the rest of the buffet, to avoid contamination. So the toaster there has a big sign on it saying "gluten free bread ONLY", for example. I'm sure the Grills will look after this very well, but have a look at Kings Court if you want a GF cookie at some point. And speak to your maître d'hôtel at an early stage and he will walk you through the options. You are right that the more notice the better, but a GF diet isn't unusual going to Hamburg, probably second to Vegetarian I would imagine. You can also talk to your butler about this too.
  23. Not quite unless it's a Travel Agency or special offer perk. The Hotel Service Charge is added to the account in the early hours of the first night of sailing and for the whole of the sailing. But you could go to the purser's desk on embarkation and ask to pay it upfront. Technically I think they remove the Hotel Service Charge and then you pay your own charge, and if you have your cash paid into the account at this point then it's drawn off this rather than OBC.
  24. For standard Britannia staterooms on QM2 there is definitely not a socket near the bed, the usable ones are all by the desk. I've no idea about non accessible ones, or how the bedsight lights get their power. On QV and QE I do know for a fact (and have a grim picture!) that the lights are fed by a European socket. I know that extension leads are provided on QM2 for accessible cabins, you bring your own, but it must not have a surge protector on it.
  25. I think I read before about your QM2 experience. For me, I've not noticed a difference between the 3 Verandahs, but the key aspect in your case, if I have read it correctly, is the poor staff hospitality on QM2. I didn't have a problem there, but it's a widely held view that QV has the best staffing overall. The nature of the human condition is that you can't really guarantee that everyone will be on top of their game when you appear. The location on QM2 is also a bit unfortunate, thanks to the door to the outside deck, something rather obviously not present on QV and QE. I've only been to Verandah for lunches.
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