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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
    Caribbean

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  1. Advertisement on behalf of Band-Wagon Injury Lawyers 4U Has your employer required you to wear safety glasses and a Covid mask? If so, you might be entitled to condensation JB
  2. P&O have just sold Oceana, anticipated handover by the end of this month. Launched in 2000, she's reckoned to be about half-way thro her cruising life. P&O aren't disclosing the name of the buyer, or the buyer's intentions, but it's rumoured that it's a Greek ship-owner -one version says for sailings in the eastern Med, another that it's on behalf of Chinese interests. No doubt the truth will out in due course https://www.tradewindsnews.com/cruise-and-ferry/carnivals-p-o-cruises-uk-said-to-be-selling-oceana-cruiseship/2-1-838865 On another page, Tradewinds has confirmed that Costa Victoria (built 1998) is to be scrapped at an Italian yard, and two older RCI ships, Monarch otS and Sovereign otS are also scheduled to be scrapped. https://www.tradewindsnews.com/cruise-and-ferry/carnival-sells-cruiseship-to-italian-yard-in-radical-step-for-european-scrapping/2-1-834191 JB
  3. An old adage oft repeated on this forum........ Write down how much cash you need and how much luggage you need. Then double the amount of cash (plastic now makes that less-important), and halve the amount of luggage. Very much as per the hints from Kate, Janie & others on this thread. If you insist on bringing more than fits in the usual 1 x checked + 1 x carry-on, add another case rather than switch to a bigger one. About 50lbs max per case - the crew have to haul your bags in and out of elevators and along narrow and convoluted corridors. You will have to store your bags in your cabin. Under the bed is normal. If it's a hard-shell case, in order to fit it'll need to be stored open but that also makes it useful for storing stuff that you don't need frequently. X-ray machines shore-side or on the ship are similar to those at airports. Carry-on luggage which doesn't fit is very unpopular but normally accepted, but you face the wrath of those waiting in line behind you while security go thro the contents. Most folk are aboard well before their cabins are available - bear in mind that you'll have to look after your carry-on until you have access to your cabin. Keep on your person or in your carry-on ............. travel documents, cash, valuables, medications, at least one change of clothes (in case your checked bag turns up late at your cabin or goes AWOL), and pool-side / swimming stuff if you hope to take a dip soonest. And anything fragile (eg bottles of booze) or formal clothes - longshoremen are not known for their gentle touch. There are proprietary products which will help remove travel creases. Or use your cabin's shower as a mini-steamroom by hanging shirts etc on hangers from the pull-out line across the shower cubicle - ten minutes with the curtain across & the shower on hot usually does the trick. No, folk aren't interested in the brand of your luggage, sturdiness is way more important than brand. But if it concerns you, distress your bags & paste on a few appropriate luggage labels - now you're a traveller, not a tourist. JB
  4. I decided to stop being lazy, checked the name on Googlemaps, it's Tanger Med (that's not a typo). And yes, very much for those with their own vehicles JB
  5. The pinch-point for cruisers is getting from the tender pier up to Fira (and back down again), because the alternatives are very limited.. Last season Celebrity trialed tendering all passengers to the ferry port at Athinos, where those on ship-sponsored excursionists of all (?) cruise ships are usually tendered because the road comes down to the sea. Other ships could offer the same as an option (mebbe with a payable shuttle-bus service from Athinos to Fira), and that would considerably ease the bottleneck. Offering tenders to Athinos would not, however, ease the crowds in either Fira or Oia - which are busy and would be more than a little difficult to comply with social distancing, but there are several factors to bear in mind..... 1. I doubt there'll be any cruises calling at Santorini or elsewhere in Europe this season (and that has the knock-on effect of reducing crowding for other holidaymakers). 2. There's little demand or supply for cruisers or other holiday-makers during winter months, so I don't see a potential problem until next season. 3. Social distancing in Greece has been reduced to "1.5 metres where practical". By next season it might be down to one metre - or even abandoned. In the past four months Europe has seen the virus arrive, peak, and decline. There's ten months before next season's influx, mebbe there'll be a winter spike, mebbe there'll be a reliable, affordable & widely-available vaccine, mebbe the virus will have mutated to pretty harmless or disappear. Cruising can't respond as quickly as other vacations, so cruise lines would need to be fairly confident several months ahead. But who knows? (that's not the same as "WHO knows") JB
  6. Moth-balling, yes. But the breakers' yards? Upkeep is pricey, but scrapping super-expensive ships is much more costly. And if (perhaps that should read "when") a cruise line goes belly-up, there'll be buyers - at knock-down prices perhaps, but way above scrap value. Mebbe for some different purpose. Floating hotels, fixed or transient. Accommodation for universities, big building projects, trade fairs & such. Or even conversion of the hull and the oily bits for some type of commercial vessel. Lots of options ahead of the cutting torch. Queen Mary - currently in financial troubles solely because of the upkeep due to her age - has been kept in service for decades after she tied-up for the last time. Ditto - after years of squabbling - QE11. JMHO as always. JB
  7. It's worth checking whether 7am is the time for arrival or for gangway cleared for landing. And I'm presuming that for a 7pm sailing, the latest back-on-board time will be 6.30pm. I doubt HMS Victory worth the travel time / cost - if you're in England again it's simpler and better to visit from either Southampton or London. But if you're still keen .............................. Your ship will dock in Portland Harbour. It's a secure port (Royal Navy), no taxis on-spec at the port, you need to fix any transportation in advance. Your ship will likely offer an excursion to Bath and another to Stonehenge (both involve a long coach ride). It won't be offering an excursion to Portsmouth. It will also offer a shuttlebus between ship and Weymouth, 4 to 5 miles, 10-15 minutes. If you want to go to Portsmouth you'd need to take ship's shuttlebus to Weymouth then a 20 minute walk to Weymouth rail station. Hourly train service to Portsmouth Harbour station (£40 round-trip) involves a change of train (very simple same-platform change) at Southampton Central, total journey time 2 hrs 30 outbound and 2 hrs 45 return. Portsmouth Harbour station is less than a 5-minute walk from the Historic Dockyard (HMS Victory and so much more). https://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/ Using the current train timetable for monday thru saturday, and assuming the first shuttlebus from Portland to be about 8am you should have no problem making the 9.20am train and you'd be at the Historic Dockyard just before noon. But you'd need to leave Portsmouth Harbour station on the 3.23pm train, again a same-platform change at Southampton Central, then take a taxi from Weymouth station to the ship in order to be back at the ship by 6.30pm, but you have no wiggle-room for any delays. So you'd have only about 3 hours in the Historic Dockyard - time enough for HMS Victory but precious little else. https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ You could pre-book a local taxi to meet you at Portland harbour gate (only a short walk from the ship) to take you to Weymouth station, which should allow you to catch the train an hour earlier. That would give you another hour at the Historic Dockyard, or more wisely allow you to return an hour earlier giving you wiggle-room for any delays getting back to the ship. Alternatively book a local taxi service for the day to take you the approx 85 miles to Portsnouth & to bring you back. Drive-time is about 1 hour 45 minutes. An 8am start would see you at the Historic Dockyard before 10 am, and a 4 pm return would allow wiggletime for the journey back to Portland. - hence about 6 hours in the Historic Dockyard. I'll hazard a guess at about £250, with the chance of halving that if you find sharers via your cruise RollCall. You don''t want to rent a car, but its not practical anyway because there are no rental agencies convenient to the ship or the shuttlebus drop-point, and that would eat into your time. And rental fee would be in the order of £50 (the suspiciously low charge quoted by the agency linked by Bob is the daily rate for a minimum 7-day rental), plus hefty chunks for zero insurance excess and fuel. For taxis in Portland / Weymouth, and alternative ideas for your day, browse these threads https://boards.cruisecritic.com/search/?q=Portland&quick=1&type=forums_topic&nodes=148 JB
  8. By ferry from Algeciras isn't the way to go, even if you're lodging in Gib or the Spanish costas. Some years ago, the Algeciras ferries switched from porting in Tangier to a purpose-built port (called Port Mediterranea or somesuch), in the middle of nowhere and about an hour from Tangier. Shuttlebus from the port to Tangier is included in the ticket, but the journey time plus waiting time & getting to & from the bus stop in Tangier takes 3 hours or more out of your day. The fast-ferry from Tangier is the way to do it - berths close to the port gate, Souk, etc in the heart of Tangier. And for little more than the cost of the ferry ticket you can book a day-trip which includes a coach from the Spanish resorts (but not from - or near - Gib), a walking guide in Tangier (you need a guide to ward off the wannabe guides in the port), a reasonable lunch, and a coach trip which takes in sights outside the city. But from a 9-hour port stop in Gib, it's not an economical use of time or money JB
  9. I'm in the same camp as cruisemom - the itinerary is more important than the ship. But while Covid is still a significant risk, we'll skip cruising entirely and do our exploration by land - much less risk of being quarantined, refused at ports etc, and we'll have more flexibility to change our plans as we go rather than the captain's choice from very limited options. JB
  10. John Bull

    Vietnam Visas

    Like every other cruise line that I'm aware of, Celebrity will indeed provide "visas" for Vietnamese ports - issued on the ship and to all nationalities. Same applies to Cambodia (Sihanoukville). You might be asked to provide a couple of passport-size photos, but no need to do anything else ahead of your cruise. The cost will be added to your on-board account, it's not expensive - one or two cruise lines cream their passengers ($50+), but Celebrity has always charged somewhere around $10. The one "visa" is good for all Vietnamese ports. The reason I've put "visas" in inverted commas is that they're not "visas" in the true sense of the word - they're "landing cards". They do the same job as tourist visas, except that they're only for arriving & departing on the ship - if for instance you join or leave the cruise at a Vietnamese port or take a side-trip to Siem Reap (Cambodia) you will need a pukka tourist visa. You also need a tourist visa if you overnite in a hotel (eg overnite in Saigon instead of returning to the ship, or take an overnite trip from Halong Bay to Hanoi). But Brits do not need tourist visas for Vietnam, hence no need either a landing card or a visa. Celebrity ships' crews are aware of this, so shouldn't issue a card or charge your on-board account. A few other nationalities might not need visas, but unless things have changed that doesn't include Canadians or Americans. If you want to get confirmation from Celebrity you'll need to go beyond reservations staff, who deal with all nationalities and all destinations so can't be expected to know the ins and outs of visas, inoculation requirements, etc. Some reservation staff give such matters their best guess , others will check with a more-knowledgeable department or at least admit that they don't know. Great part of the world for cruising, and you're not going a minute too soon - SE Asia is rapidly westernising. With the exception of Cambodia - which is stuck somewhere between the 18th & 19th century JB
  11. This information from a visit several years ago ...... I'll add my voice to those saying it's best to visit the Vasa first. It gets very busy, and after about 10.30 you'll have to join a line to enter (one out, one in). The regular ho-ho boats operate in a clockwise direction. If you're berthed at Stadsgarden, the ho-ho boat goes via a couple of stops on Gamla Stan, Nybrokajen, etc before Vasa, which is almost the last stop before the boats complete their circuit - BUT early to mid-morning they also operate boats direct from the berth to Vasa, taking only about 10 minutes. I THINK you can buy just a one-way ticket Stadsgarden-to-Vasa without having to buy an all-day hop-on/off ticket. Enquire of the ho-ho staff at the berth. If you're berthed at Frihamnen I feel sure there'll be a local bus which will take you most of the way. BTW, Dogs4 mentions that Vasa is on an "island" - but it's just a few yards off-shore & connected by a bridge. It's just like a river or harbour crossing. It's about a 25 minute walk between Vasa and the Royal Armories https://goo.gl/maps/fME9vuPrGXQ3bVi47 This info from a few years ago, things may have changed JB
  12. Not an "indefinite" ban - they merely have yet to set an end-date. https://www.worldofcruising.co.uk/travel-to-spain-cruise-ship-ban-extended/ (no pay-wall) JMHO but it could be until the 2021 season. JB
  13. DID YOU SEE THE FIGHT IN THIS PUB LAST NIGHT ? (THE PARTICIPANTS WERE CAREFUL TO COMPLY WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING) JB
  14. Thanks for the info.👍 Yep - sounds like anti-cruise ship rather than anti-water usage. JB
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