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About swansong

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  1. Taxare, thanks for that information, I wasn’t aware. I will try to find the bit of the website that allows that.
  2. Rachel G, the overnight tour was worth every penny, we did a similar one 5 years ago and that was great too. You will enjoy every minute.
  3. Machotspur, thank you for your comments, I am glad your experience was great, ours has been mainly in the past. This was an aberration.I am glad that we share the same view of the cruise director, I am surprised that she is still employed when compared to all the others we have sailed with. I forgot to mention in my review that we took the Tel Aviv and Jaffa tour and were left behind in Tel Aviv. The bus stopped alongside the beach in Tel Aviv and we were told to meet at a certain point at a certain time. We were there , as we always are, 5 minutes before and no one was there! It turned out that everyone but us wanted a toilet break but the washrooms were shut so they went back on the bus and left, we went to look at the beach. We were Just getting alarmed when we saw the guide running down the road shouting at us. She had discovered a quarter of a mile away she was two people short. No apology and we had to walk that distance back to the bus. It was embarrassing but not our fault! So all in all whilst we enjoyed the cruise it wasn’t our best experience.
  4. A review of Voyager September 26th to October 8th I wasn’t going to post a review but certain things occurred which deserve a mention. We stayed pre flight at the Sofitel Heathrow which we always do as it is a short walk to terminal 5 and has a great rate for parking if you have a room. ( it’s way cheaper that way than just to park). The hotel as usual was excellent in all respects. The following day we managed the short walk to the terminal and had a smooth check in before spending time in the BA lounge which was better than most. On boarding the plane to Athens we were told that there would be a delay as there was an electrical issue. This eventually was 45 minutes but to the pilot’s credit we were kept well informed. ( was this a first for BA?) On arrival in Athens we were met and taken to the Athens Sofitel which was a walk away, fortunately we had a trolley. ( more later). This hotel was not as swish as Heathrow but the food was excellent. We did not have to pay for this as it was a forced stay due to unavailability of plane seats the following day. We were told to assemble in the foyer at 12:15 the following day which we did. There were twelve of us and 12:15 came and went with no bus or Regent representative. At 1:00 I telephoned the port agent asking why nothing was happening, they seemed surprised. After about 10 minutes a port agent arrived who didn’t have a clue as to what was happening and told us to follow him back to the terminal. Consequently we had to wheel three suitcases and two carryons a ten minute walk to the terminal with no trolley up and down kerbs. Amongst the group was a 90 year old who was really struggling. At the terminal we waited another 15 minutes with no explanation and the told to follow the same agent out to a bus park, another ten minutes. We arrived to find a small van waiting which obviously couldn’t hold 12 people and luggage. So we waited in the hot sun for another 15 minutes, again with no explanation and eventually a small bus arrived and we got on, the luggage only just fitted in the hold. Whilst we started with 12 of us we now only were 10 and a new agent appeared and said we would be leaving for Piraeus momentarily. It turned out that 2 had got lost in the process and ended up taking a taxi to Piraeus! The agent hadn’t noticed but neither had we. She, however, must have had a guest list. We sat for another 15 minutes and eventually another group arrived and of course there wasn’t room for their luggage so some had to be lifted onto the bus. It was obvious then that we had been added to their bus having been forgotten about at the Sofitel. Eventually 3/12 hours after we should have been collected we arrived at the port. Needless to say I wrote to the General Manager explaining all of the above, accepting that it was not his problem directly but wished it to be noted. I was disappointed that he didn’t pick up the phone to speak to me but got someone from Destination Services to apologise. To cut this long story short on the last night we had a letter to tell us that some on board credit had been added to our account, it was a good job it was refundable! That out of the way we settled down to enjoy Voyager, as usual there were staff who remembered our drinks from previous times. The food and service throughout the cruise was up to standard. Unfortunately we couldn’t say the same about the Cruise Director and her team. Compared to all others we have experienced over the years they were a disappointment and almost invisible. The social hostess was unsociable, didn’t want to talk and was not visible. Whilst this didn’t affect our enjoyment of the cruise it had an effect on the atmosphere on board which several others commented on. Cruise Directors do set the tone on board. The singers and dancers were excellent but the entertainment on other nights with the exception of a comedian was poor in our opinion. We became platinum on this cruise but turned down an invitation to have our pin presented publicly by the captain. Its not our style. Unfortunately we never received the pin not that it mattered to us as we wouldn’t have worn it but it might have to others. I would like to mention a couple of excursions we took. In Limassol we had booked a small group tour entitled ‘ Building Bridges’ which involved crossing from Greek Cyprus to Turkish Cyprus and meeting with a couple of journalists to understand the political situation better. As the ship was holding our passports I enquired at Destination Services if we required our passports which it was my understanding we did but was told no. When we got onto the bus to depart the first thing the guide asked was ‘ have you all got your passports?’ He explained that it was unlikely that we would be able to cross over which in spite of his efforts we couldn’t We met up with the journalists in an hotel on the Greek side which was very interesting and informative. We didn’t complain but received a 50% refund, so someone must have. We had booked an overnight ‘Sacred sites of Israel’ tour in Ashdod. We had done a similar tour 5 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. There were six of us and our guide driver Avi. He was superb. On the first day we went to Masada, a fortress in the Judean desert. Hot it was! It was well worth the visit. For lunch we went to an hotel alongside the Dead Sea which we hadn’t been to before. Again this was an experience. We didn’t swim but paddled. The others in the group did but struggled to get the salt out of their hair. The sea is losing about a metre a year and consequently is now supersaturated with salt. It turned out that this was the Jewish New Year so every where was busy and we arrived in Jerusalem for the overnight stay at The Orient hotel which was excellent, we even got upgraded! Because of the New Year we had to have dinner elsewhere after a tour around Jerusalem. The meal at the hotel we arrived at was poor. After a great breakfast at The Orient we started on a walking tour of old Jerusalem which we had done before but our guide Avi was very informative. We then had lunch at an hotel, which was good before going to Bethlehem. As usual we had to change van and guide just beyond the border with Palestine. The queue to see the birthplace of Jesus in the Church of the Nativity was too long, fortunately we had been before but our guide took the cameras of the other couples and went in another way, good for him. We then returned to the ship in Haifa. We did other tours of course which were ok but nothing to note. In spite of some issues it was another great Regent Cruise, there were issues but they were dealt with sympathetically. As mentioned, the food and service was up to standard and we are looking forward to our next one in February on Navigator. Just got to pay for it next week! Sometime ago I posted about how to obtain the platinum tour discount when you are only gold when you book but platinum when you are on that cruise. There was no definitive response but I am happy to say that the cruise consultant sorted it out on board and credit was added to my account. On a final( I promise) note, why does BA give a menu giving a choice of three main dishes and when they get to row 6 they have run out of two of them...it happens every time.
  5. Thank you, that’s a relief, I guess i’m not stingy after all!
  6. I’ll start this topic by asking that responses do not start another tipping dialogue please! I only wish to know if anyone would like to give some indication of an amount to donate to the crew fund after a normal ( say 10 day )cruise. We normally donate to the fund but it has got me wondering if the amount we give is considered stingy. ( is this a British word? and I won’t disclose the amount). Only once in many cruises have we not donated as on that occasion the service overall was poor. We do wish what we donate to be meaningful but being British ( and Yorkshire at that) tipping is not the culture here as it is in the US.
  7. Thank you Flossie for your entertaining and positive review. After reading some negative comments regarding Navigator, which was our first Regent experience many years ago, we were concerned about our next Navigator experience In Australia next year. We are now reassured, thank you again.
  8. Well said TC. Dollars and Euros may be accepted in places like London in the UK but won’t be welcome anywhere else. No one I know here would dream of travelling abroad without the appropriate currency. As an aside whilst of course English £s are accepted in Scotland they do have their own Scottish £s and these whilst the same value are not universally accepted in England even when they are legal tender. When tipping guides in dollars here please remember that many more people use on line banks that don’t have bricks and mortar premises so exchanging them for £s could be problematical and frankly not worth the effort.
  9. We are booked on the Sydney and Beyond tour next February. There was a significant charge for this, however in the brochure the majority of cruises leaving Sydney have it included free. Unfortunately in our case this is one of the few where it is not. Don’t know why! It is clearly shown as such in our ( UK ) brochure.
  10. Jackie, I have to agree that there are some ports in the world that cannot really accept the number of passengers that disembark. You mention Santorini. We first went there on Celebrity about 21 years ago and it was wonderful. Now if our itinerary takes us there we have a ‘sea day’ because it’s stressful especially trying to return to the ship. ( unless you want to use the steps and avoid the donkey whatsits.!) As you say Venice is experiencing a similar issue, there are others. The biggest problem is that cruise lines are building huge ships carrying many thousands of passengers which may be ok whilst on board if that’s your choice but present massive issues in port. We recently were moored in a port adjacent to a ( British ) P&O ship and we watched for the best part of an hour and a half passengers disembarking from several gangways, it was like watching ants escaping from their nest! The congestion at the port gates was horrendous. However several of our friends enjoy that experience, we try not to compare and contrast. I suspect that many more ports will over the next few years put limits on the number of passengers per day which may well encourage some cruise lines to build smaller ships. We are so lucky to be able to travel with Regent on smaller vessels and whilst I know you occasionally escape to larger ships we have been there done that and wouldn’t consider any larger vessel again. Fortunately Regent are finding new ports of call and we never seem to find an itinerary with every port that we have visited before. I wouldn’t be surprised that in a few years time some of these massive ships just stay at sea for a week with no ports........that would be really good cash cow for them!
  11. I agree with Flossie, check there is still availability of your suite grade and check that the reduced price is lower than the bottom line original price you were quoted including any discounts you obtained when you booked. Also, as Flossie says, that the new price includes air fares etc. Yes, we have had two price reductions relating to the onboard booking guarantee with no problems at all, just call your TA and ask them to request it. All I would say is that in my experience there is little communication about it all and I only knew that it had been implemented when I eventually received an updated invoice because in the UK here Regent seem to have to check with their ‘inventory’ department in Miami. ( so I was told at the time ).
  12. Thank you again for the replies, I guess that when on board I should ask Destination Services for the discount on prepaid excursions. However on our next cruise in September we have paid for an overnight in Jerusalem mid cruise. Is this classed as an ‘adventure’ or an excursion as there are other excursions available that go to the same places? I guess we could go on forever wondering what and when the discount kicks in but wouldn’t it be easier if Regent explained up front and showed some transparency? There must be many guests who don’t read CC who would be affected by this issue. ’
  13. Thanks for the replies so far. As an example, on our cruise in February we have booked a three night pre cruise in Sydney costing £1500 pp and by then we will be definitely platinum before the cruise but we are being invoiced at full price. It would be really helpful if Regent could clarify the situation
  14. I have emailed Regent twice regarding Seven Seas Society platinum discount on Regent choice excursions and land programmes with disappointedly no response. Our TA doesn’t seem to understand the issue as the excursions are booked directly on line and not through them. We will be platinum during our next trip in September and have paid for both a land program and a choice excursion. Today we reserved several choice excursions on a following cruise in February next year and have also reserved a land program pre cruise. Added together these charges amount to more than £6000, (GBP). The question I asked is that should we receive the appropriate discount on these trips as we will be platinum at the time or are the rules such that you have to be platinum before booking and receiving a discount. I don’t have an issue if this is the case, I just wish to know what the rules are. If we should be entitled to a discount how do we obtain a refund for charges already paid? I would welcome comments from any who have had this issue and if Regent read this please get in touch! Southampton have my emails.
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