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  1. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I would say that you definitely should tip tour guides and bus drivers in the UK. Also taxi drivers, waiters etc. I doubt that anyone would say anything to you if you don't tip, generally people are too polite, but pay is very low in the hospitality industry and so a gratuity (in £ not $) is appreciated. We are fast approaching a time when our currency in the UK is worthless anyway!
  2. In the UK, tipping in $USD is no more acceptable than tipping in £ would be in Teaneck NJ. Of course tour guides and bus drivers would probably be too polite to say anything. What they would think is of course something else entirely!
  3. Don't you ever think that if a Government bans its citizens from visiting another country that is not a good thing?
  4. Our experiences of excursions in Morocco on this cruise were a bit better than those of kjbacon and our guides and bus drivers in both Agadir and Casablanca were fine, even though the microphones in both had feedback which made listening to the commentary painful. We have travelled quite a bit in poorer countries but there was something which made Casablanca in particular seem unsettling and chaotic. The traffic in Casablanca was also terrible which made the tours late getting back. Having said that, I would not have missed them for the world. Cruising with Regent is maybe the easiest and softist form of travel but it is still good and important at least to me to see something of how other people live and at least a bit of what life is like in other parts of the world. By contrast the (included) excursion we took in the next port, Cadiz was one of the best we have taken anywhere on any cruise. We went to Jerez in a small group of 11 (I think there were some dropouts after Casablanca!) and after a walk round the town visited the Gonzalez Byass bodega. The tour was great in a lovely setting with copious free sherry tastings and no pressure to buy. Cadiz in Holy Week was packed but it was still a real pleasure to walk around the old town in the afternoon. I should also say that the included excursions in La Palma and Tenerife were also very good and the destinations services staff obliging and professional.
  5. Thank you for the best wishes, much appreciated. We have holidayed previously in Madeira and been on the cable car, Monte etc so just went into Funchal this morning and enjoyed a walk round the market and back through the gardens on the promenade to the ship. We spoke to friends who had been on the cable car and botanical gardens trip who had enjoyed the excursion. Funchal seems much improved since we were here in 2013 when they were still repairing the damage from the floods and mudslides. The new water system on board is no big deal, it simply means that plastic bottles in suites are replaced by refillable glass bottles. Extra water is available on request. Plastic straws also replaced by paper ones. Seems a sensible first step. we sail at 5pm tonight so hope the poor sea conditions are a thing of the past.
  6. Thanks for the good wishes. Lots of green faces today, the ocean did not seem so rough but big swells and this evening’s theatre performance cancelled. Excellent dinner tonight in P7 and great also last night in CR. Getting used to the new bottled water system of which we approve. Everyone on board doing their best. Just all a big contrast with the very (very!) poor embarkation process. Would have been good if Regent had even acknowledged there had been a problem and maybe regret but it seems that will not happen. Still, I need to let it go so that’s my last word!
  7. Sorry to sound a discordant note but our experience today has been very negative. The transfer from the hotel was a complete shambles. Not only was it late, an hour and a half in our case, but there was no one on site to provide any information about what was going on. The rep who got on the bus blamed variously the hotel, the passengers and oh the passengers again. It’s fine for people to say “oh we just get a cab” but Regent provide the transfer and they should do it better than they did today. For us, we did not get to the ship in time for lunch.
  8. I agree with this advice but unless USD are accepted in local shops I think people should tip in the currency of the country.
  9. We were on the Explorer cruise last October which called at Livorno and having already visited Florence (including on an earlier Regent cruise) we opted for the afternoon walking trip in Lucca. It was one of the best excursions we have been on (and we have been on lots!). Livorno itself is worth a look although I do not know if the market, one of the main attractions, will be open that day. We took the first shuttle bus into town, walked back late morning and then joined the Lucca excursion after lunch. From memory it was about a 4 hour tour in total and as others have observed a unique and fascinating visit. Florence can be great as well, but you will not be on your own and I did not envy those returning from the Florence excursions after a very long day with 4 hours on the coach! For Kotor, a local tourist representative will probably board as soon as you dock and should have local maps and give advice and probably be a better bet than Destination Services. Hope you have a great trip. I am sure you will.
  10. Hi Rachel Belated thanks for this thread which I really enjoyed. Was able to report to my Mother also which gave us plenty of opportunity to reminisce. We sailed out of BA last year on Mariner but turned left for Rio rather than the way you went. We were also on Explorer in October from Venice. We loved the cruise (perfect weather in the Med) and lots to like about Explorer but we did not care for some of the décor. Hope for better on Splendor! Thanks again for taking the time and trouble to post, very much appreciated. Paul
  11. I have no direct experience in dealing with Miami, but just wanted to make the point that all our dealings with Regent in the UK in their Southampton office have been positive. We book through a TA (for the discount) but have had one or two "issues" when we have needed to contact Regent direct and the Southampton staff have always been knowledgeable and efficient. Just this week we booked an Explorer cruise for next April using the new (to us) facility to get on board booking savings 30 days before our next cruise starts and effectively I did this direct with Regent UK and they simply transferred the booking to the TA. We have however experienced problems and delays when they have had to "check back" with Miami.
  12. Porridge for breakfast, soup for lunch and Sauvignon Blanc for dinner should do the trick! Hope it holds out for the rest of the cruise.
  13. We are UK resident new-to-Seabourn cruisers off to the Norwegian Fjords in the summer. Have read with interest the posts on referral coupons on this site and think I almost understand the system. So, does anyone have a coupon which we could use/share? Would at least help those of us who have to otherwise use the puny £ sterling! Tucruisers
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