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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. Ibis Blackfriars is 10 min walk to ho-ho. Premier Inn Southwark (note spelling) is 5 mins further. I don't know either of those two, but we've happily stayed at a number of Premier Inns, and the chain gets good reviews. Not wishing to put a damper on your plans, but because the UK (or USA) may not be over the current issue by September I'd advise that you book cancelable. (if things are hunkey-dorey by then, mebbe cancel and book non-cancelable closer to the day) JB
  2. Hi, and welcome to CC. P&O, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Fred Olsen, Norwegian, Celebrity, and others. As per Ray's post, we can't name cruise agents. Just google "Cruise agents UK" and yo'll find several. Including one with a very chilly name. Stick to cruise specialists. Not sure whether any of them are answering phones at the moment, but websites are up and running JB
  3. Other than any changes caused by the current little Coronavirus inconvenience........ Where did you hear the nonsense of "no trains London to Southampton on a sunday"? There are fewer trains in the UK on sundays, but there are still two direct services per hour from London Waterloo. No direct train services London Victoria to Southampton on sundays, but half-hourly service involving one change of train. So if you lodge handy to Waterloo, take the train from Waterloo train station. And if you lodge handy to Victoria take the Nat Express bus from Victoria Coach Station. Walk-up train fare is about £40, but cheap Advance tickets (normally available from about 8 weeks out) can be as cheap as £15. At the moment I'm not seeing any cheap train Advance tickets for any dates - this is almost-certainly due to the current very limited services caused by lock-down / social distancing, staff self-isolations, etc. Don't buy now, because there'll be no cheap tickets for your date and because of the un-predicatabilities. I suggest that you check the website and book from about 6 weeks out. Bear in mind that Advance tickets are normally non-cancellable (current short-term exceptions won't apply then). https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ Nat Express bus tickets are cheap (£5 to £10). Because of the limited frequency / capacity you should pre-book, but no need to do so more than a week or two out. https://www.nationalexpress.com/en Circumstances are very fluid and un-predictable - and that includes whether flights or cruises will have resumed by then, and whether you'll even be permitted to travel. Planning a vacation is often part of the fun, and its good to be positive. But sadly, for at least a month or two or more I don't think you should commit un-recoverable money to your vacation Keep safe, and take the advice on Neil Diamond's re-vamp of Sweet Caroline JB
  4. John Bull


    Many thanks. JHI has a huge website and I can't find it, so I've e-mailed them to ask. Mebbe I'll get a reply, or mebbe it'll go straight to junk Keep safe JB
  5. John Bull


    Can't find the source, but I've fact-checked bits of it & it makes sense. And it's so easy to understand & follow. I'd like to share it with a couple of local help groups but, esp as I've stressed how much fake news is out there and that folk should check their source before sharing stuff, I'd like to quote a source. Ant idea where you found it? Thanks JB
  6. One bright point today - at least for you . Standard rail tickets have always been refundable, but - as you know - not Advance tickets But because of new travel restrictions in the UK, train companies now also have to give refunds if you have bought advance tickets. Refunds are in full, no admin charge. This has been mentioned in the media, and is confirmed on the British Rail website https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations_destinations/coronavirus.aspx#refunds Some train operators' websites have been up-dated eg https://www.southwesternrailway.com/contact-and-help/refunds-and-compensation/refunds But Avanti West Coast's website https://www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/help/refunds has not yet been updated. If you bought your tickets from them, best give them a few days to get up-to-date. If you bought from some other website, claim the refund from the seller. If you're still hopeful that at least your air & land vacation may be possible (not looking good, but I doubt anyone knows yet about June), you can wait until you know it's not gonna happen before applying for a refund. But it's expected that some trains will still be running (currently on a much-reduced timetable) so you'd best apply for a refund before the date. Yes, we're holding up over here. We're British - chin up, stiff upper lip, don't you know, old bean. Lots of restrictions, some shortages, and a virtual lock-down from tomorrow. The infection rate, and particularly the death rate, are still low and there are stacks of as-yet unused intensive-care beds. But we're a couple of weeks behind Italy, and this all feels like the calm before the storm. So tin hats & surgical masks on, and fingers crossed. Hopefully you'll be over here after this little inconvenience.* JB * standard British understatement
  7. Didn't soothe it, Simon. But now its nice and shiny JB
  8. I suspect that Hotel Jazz has got more important issues on their minds than refunds. Big overheads and staff wages coupled with virtually no income means that the viability of many hotels in Spain and elsewhere is in serious doubt, as is the future of their staff. Some hotels have already gone bust, many more will follow. Even some refundable bookings may not be recompensed by hotels, and "non-refundable" does kinda mean what it says. So your chances of a refund are microscopic, the best you can hope for (and it's a very slim hope) is a rain-check Clearly in these unprecedented times it's through no fault of your own that you have to cancel. It seems to me that there are two, mebbe three, grounds for claiming the hotel cost on your travel insurance - the flights & cruise were cancelled - if Spain's borders are still closed to non-resident foreign nationals on your due date - if, on your due date, US govt advice is not to travel. If you don't have travel insurance, or it doesn't include pandemics, then I guess you'll just have to bite the bullet and console yourselves that at least you weren't on the cruise when the **** hit the fan. JB
  9. Currently the only cruise ship in Southampton port is Allure of the Seas, finishing a cruise - and I'm guessing that in the next day or two she'll steam empty back to the USA. The parking charges in Southampton may mean there'll be no cruise ships for a while. Oceana and Aurora are now both in Dover - perhaps Phil can look out of his window to see if they're in port or anchored (my guess is in port, cos off Dover isn't a great place to park). Ventura sailed out of Southampton this-morning to an anchorage off Poole. Azura currently berthed in Bridgetown, Barbados Britannia heading home from Barbados Arcadia off western Aus,, still a long way from home. Iona berthed in Bremerhavn. Marella's Celebration left yesterday bound for an anchorage in the eastern Solent, then mid-Solent she turned round & back to Southampton - perhaps the captain forgot his hand-gel. Then today she left again to that anchorage - still steaming around the Nab Tower, possibly trying to get comfy. Marella's Dream is steaming in the Med, Discovery near Kuala Lumpur, Disco 2 off Jamaica, Explorer anchored off Gran Canaria, and Explorer 2 steaming very very slowly off Bridgetown, Barbados (lots of cruise ships are anchored off Bridgetown), Fred's Black Watch hovering in the Firth of Forth (headed for Rosyth?), Balmoral heading toward her. Queen Vic is mid-Atlantic headed for Southampton, so Ray's "Portland" lay-up would logically be Portland, Dorset JB PS Panic-buying here is still a problem. Can anyone suggest an ointment to soothe the toilet-brush scratches on my backside?
  10. There are many thousands of businesses worldwide in the same situation. And hundreds of thousands of workers worldwide will be losing their jobs. Governments are helping financially, in Italy as well as the UK, the US, and elsewhere - but sadly, a lot of folk will be laid-off and a lot of businesses are already going under. Even if I can assume that this is genuine, those folk are no worse off than many of your countrymen. The only difference I can see it that they've got the gumption to try to do something about it. And your US dollars won't go any further than their euros - you'd make more of a difference helping-out contacts in places like SE Asia, South America, even the Caribbean, because of the lower cost-of-living. But you can be more sure that it's not a scam if you help out in your hometown - whether or not there are similar problems in Virginia now, there surely will be very soon. But your money, your decision. JB
  11. That scam won't work, Simon, because the German navy is on lock-down. Sorry to hear someone reversed into your truck. Had a similar problem some years ago when a fence reversed into my coach. JB
  12. I had wondered that too. Aurora is still at her berth (had been scheduled to depart on a cruise last night), Ventura & Black Watch are also at berth but only arrived this-morning. Queen Vic is currently at Fort Lauderdale. QM 2 heading away from western Aus. on the same track as Arcadia. QE sailing north just off the Aus. coast, having sailed past Sydney Britannia has just left Barbados heading home. I'm now completely lost as to which ships currently have passengers. Yes, Southampton port fees are high. No inside knowledge, but we may see cruise ships at anchorage at Spithead (eastern end of the Solent), rather than in-port - with the possible exception of Ocean Cruise Terminal (currently Ventura), which is part-owned by Carnival Corp. JB
  13. Yep, all cruise lines have cancelled until early April (probably later). Aurora returned to Southampton today, Ventura & Black Watch tomorrow, Oceana wednesday. And I think that's it for a while. JB
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