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John Bull

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About John Bull

  • Rank
    10,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Lee-on-the-Solent, England
  • Interests
    vintage & classic vehicles
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Voyages of Discovery
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. Where are you travelling from? Heathrow? Gatwick? Central London? Makes a difference when deciding whether to lodge in Southampton or Salisbury. JB 🙂
  2. Your booking will be subject to US terms and conditions - do check them out, you have less rights such as the cruise line cancelling or changing the itinerary. The pros include better prices and free cancellation and full refund of deposit up to Final Payment Day. I THINK it’s up to you to check how prices change, you won’t automatically be informed or your price be reduced. But be aware that port fees and taxes are on top of the ticket price, whereas they’re included in prices quoted in the UK. Not a lot extra, but check it out. Your booking will be in US dollars, So come final payment day the cost to you in GBP may be higher or lower depending on currency fluctuations. If you don’t have a credit card with fee-free foreign transactions, get one before final payment day or the fee will add 3 to 6% to the cost. Capital One, Halifax Clarity, and Post Office credit card are examples of forex fee-free. Use the same card to pay your on-board account, and DECLINE the ship’s offer to convert to GBP “for your convenience”, You wont have the protection of ABTA, so pay by credit card. Your card issuer is liable if there’s fraud or the TA goes bust, but I doubt they’re liable for any disputes about standards aboard etc. JB 😀
  3. Alla will customise an evening for you. If it’s simply one venue like Sirius suggestion they’ll take you there, settle you in and leave you for the evening, then come back for you to take you back to the ship. That’s the most economical way to do it, and you’re left in pease. tour companies tend not to offer an evening excursion unless you’re booked for the day tour, so Alla is your go-to operator for the evening. BTW, for the return to the ship ask to be driven past the illuminated bridges. JB 😀
  4. Like the others, I think you’ll get better service and deal with a two day tour. but if you use two local operators it’s no problem. Each will provide you with an e-mailed tour ticket and that plus passports will get you thro immigration. Just make sure you take the right ticket for the right day, immigration will check the date on the ticket. btw immigration is quite slow on Day One. because of their paperwork, but very speedy on day two JB 😀
  5. Taxi /van tour of the upper Rock is available at the cruise terminal, no need to pre_book as long as you aren’t among the last off the ship. Price I last heard was £22 or €25 pp incl admissions. Tour takes a little under 2 hours and includes St Michaels Cave, Apes Den and Great Siege Tunnel/Galleries, plus panoramic photo opportunities. Driver can take you back to the ship, but most folk bale out at Casemates Square (bottom of Main Street} to explore the towns minor sights, shops, pubs etc. From there it’s. 20-25 minute walk back to the ship. If instead you want to take the cable car do it by about 9.30 am, because busloads from the Spanish resorts means that later there are often long lines. And be aware that if it’s windy the cable car service is suspended. From the top station it’s a 10 minute walk to the apes den, and a further 10 to 15 minutes to St Michaels Cave. The Great Siege tunnels are 29 - 25 minutes in THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. If you go there, instead of walking back to the cable car it’s easier to walk down from the tunnels to Casemates Square, past the WW2 Tunnels entrance and the Moorish Castle. The cablecarr is best for those who enjoy hiking and setting their own agenda and timescale, a van your is best and simplest for those who want an easy day. JB 😀
  6. Most Noro is brought aboard by passengers and it has only a short incubation period, just a couple of days. We,ve been on ships where buffet food is served by staff for the first couple of days, then all being well it’s a free-for-all. i see that as the best compromise 🙂 JB 🙂
  7. For a few years P and O had a couple of ships, marketed separately as Ocean Village, “cruises for people who don’t do cruises” aimed at a new generation of cruisers, those who don’t like the formality associated with traditional old-style cruising for the wealthy. It only offered only buffets, but very very good buffets, plus deck barbeques. Very informal ships. Only operated for a few years, which is a shame - I could never understand why they weren’t used for P and O Australia, surely a nationality which thrives on informality. We do prefer the restaurant atmosphere of the MDR for dinner, but on port days the buffet is quick and easy for breakfast before going ashore. And families with young kids find them ideal. More and more package-holiday land hotels are offering buffet, and usually ONLY buffet. Quick and easy and laid- back for the guest, and keeps the wages bill down. I don’t see ships moving away from including a buffet - way too popular Just MHO as always JB 🙂
  8. Many thanks for posting the link, we’re on our travels with an elderly I Pad and very intermittent WiFi. Choose your train time to suit the hoho times for the season. There are audioguides at Stonehenge, But it’s worth reading up about the place before you visit. Stonehenge hoho also calls at Old Sarum on the way back to Salisbury, worthwhile if the weather’s fine. If you do hop off at Old Sarum there’s no need to wait for the next hoho, your hoho ticket is good for the frequent local Salisbury Reds buses and I think they all go to the city centre. Dont miss Salisbury cathedral, one of the finest examples in Britain. And it houses one of the four original Magna Cartas JB 😀
  9. Yes, more cruise ships are now in the news. But mebbe that has to do with there now being one helluva lot more cruise ships on the oceans. JB 😝
  10. It’s a fair distance, the airport and Piraeus port are on opposite sides of Athens. JB 😀
  11. Port schedules are often wrong or things change last- minute, but at the moment it’s looking good. if you,re at the top cable car station in time for the sunset there,s a bar with glorious sunset views. Food there too, but I suspect it’s pretty basic, esp compared to the restaurants further up the coast. if indeed yours is the only ship leaving late you should have no problem with the cable car. Even if it means you don’t get to the jetty on time, if everyone in line for the cable car is from your ship I can’t see them leaving a couple of dozen behind. Ive never walked the donkey path in the dark, mebbe it’s worth carrying a flashlight. Walk down takes about 25 minutes. Bear in mind that “last tender” time is likely to be SIXTY minutes before sailingtime, but that’s the time to be at the tender jetty, not when you have to be on the ship. And if there’s a line at the jetty at last tender time the tenders will mop up the line after last tender time. JB 😀
  12. Athens. Yes you can make a decent fist of it in two days Go to the Acropolis first, while it’s cool. It’s often closed on very hot afternoons. From Ashdod, arrange with folk on the ship to share a taxi (difficult to fix sharers in port because you are bussed to port gate. Taxi to Jerusalem about 50 euros e/w, get dropped at the walled city gate by King David”s statue and join a free (tip the guide) Sandemans New Jerusalem walking tour. You do need a walking tour of some sort because you’d very quickly get lost in the maze of alleys. Haifa - there are van tours to Nazareth plus kibbutz plus River Jordan baptisms plus Sea of Galilee. Very comprehensive, excellent value. Long day, so do it on Day One. Last time we were there the cruise terminal had changed a lot and we didn’t see the vans lined up. So best to prebook Day 2, mebbe train half an hour north to the Crusaders fortress at Accra / Acre / various spellings. Haifa station is right by the cruise port entrance, frequent trains, the walk from station to fortress is a bit if a hike, Or unless the ground is wet, taxi to the top of the gardens in Haifa and walk down through the gardens. But because the steps are slippery when wet it’s closed during and after rain. Alanya mebbe treat it as a lazy day. Pleasant historic centre right by the pier. Rhodes. Very pleasant around the pier area. Perhaps we should have ventured further Istanbul. Take the tram from the cruise port to Sultanahmet. Very easy, only one route. Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Roman cistern etc are all here Then walk across to the top of the main bazaar and down through it to the Galata bridge, then tram back to the ship. Mykonos. Super little place, very laid - back, neat little harbour, immaculate little alleyways, backed by the iconic windmills.or options of ferry to Delos or taxi to a beach. Sorry, no links. I’m out in the Serengeti bush with poor WiFi and an elderly I Pad JB 😀
  13. I’m more inclined to agree with Princeton - can’t be done WELL in two days. But the OP can certainly make a decent fist of it in two days - not everyone has either the time or the money to delve deeply into a city which some reckon to be worth a month. The hotel’s restaurant review is errrrr.... interesting. Having mementos of a building,s history scattered around its restaurant is great, though with a. SLIGHTLY macabre history it needs to done in a seemly way. The reviewer clearly thought it wasn’t, 🤔 As to the quality of its food, I wouldn’t have gotten further than the prices before saying “not for me”. But the Lord Moon of the Mall pub is almost opposite. A Wetherspoons pub, food extremely average and pub-style service but at Wetherspoons low National prices with no London price-loading. Or rather better, the many Fullers pubs, or just around the corner a huge number of restaurants all the way up The Strand to Covent Garden. JB 😀
  14. The Med is all about the ports, the ship is secondary. So look for the itinerary you want. Check the hours in port, some ships - especially Italian ones - have a number of half-days in port which is far from ideal. Visiting cities by cruise ship is very limiting, you’ll only get a foreshortened day in each port, and no evenings. so look for one - way cruises. For instance Rome to Venice. And give yourselves a few days pre and post cruise. Buy open-jaw (aka multi-city) return air tickets, so that you fly into one city and home from the other without incurring horrendously expensive one-way air tickets. And a cruise which includes an overnite in port is a bonus.. JB 😀
  15. As per posts by Princeton and the Captain, Great Scotland Yard is the more convenient. And I see it as no-contest. Right by Whitehall with the Prime Minister’s residence, Churchill War Rooms, Horse Guards Parade, Trafalgar Square, National Gallery, and a ten- minute sight-packed walk from Parliament Square - Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, etc. And the hotel has history. It was the headquarters of the Criminal Investigation Department back in the days of (the fictitious) Sherlock Holmes. The Churchill is a little too far north. OK for Marble Arch or the shops of Oxford Street, But little else in walking distance. London,s sights are well_ spread so from either hotel for many you will need to use the Tube. But Great Scotland Yard wins hands-down for important sights in easy walking distance. JB 😀
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