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Everything posted by DamianG

  1. Welcome back. Shame wasdavecttr has gone though, great name! 😁
  2. I like your quote about the snow, it reminds me of my mum's regularly quoted description of my birth year (1966). "It rained all summer and there was nothing but bl**dy football on the telly."
  3. Farewell Oceana, the second P&O ship we sailed on after starting on her sister Adonia. We cruised on her 5 times and she was our son's first in 2013. We loved Cafe Jardin for breakfast and lunch, and the Pennant Bar or Terrace Bar if it was warm enough to sit outside. In particular, we have a fantastic memory of attending a Portunus Party in the evening outdoors at the Terrace Bar when the officers and crew outnumbered the passengers. The refills were constant and we had a fabulous time socialising with everyone including the waiters who weren't run off their feet for once. Here she is in Puerto Costa Maya then Curacao (prior to a very memorable sailaway) in 2006:
  4. Hughie has been getting stick on these forums for years but he keeps getting employed so someone must like him. We once had Gary Glading as cruise director. He was outstanding, a real entertainer who put on great events and enthused his team accordingly.
  5. Nigel Travis, we sailed with him a few times. It's going back a bit but I used to see him in the gym every time I went but never around the ship. Being kind, maybe he was a great delegator or superb at empowering the rest of the team?
  6. Coming back to the original question... If (big if) we can cruise safely (as we used to know it) then we'd be looking for a July/August 2 week cruise in the Mediterranean. Preferred ports as follows: Vigo (we all like this one) Cadiz (wife's favourite) Alicante (somewhere new for us all) Livorno (son wants to try the lido there) Civitavecchia (son's favourite for pizza and the water polo club) Lisbon (always plenty to do e.g. aquarium, zoo etc). A Coruna (another family favourite) I think it's a modest itinerary which is very doable. We would like a Northern Spain port to start and finish to break up the number of consecutive sea days and would avoid Gibraltar having been these so many time before. If any experienced sea farers reading this would like to plot a course for these ports (any order) I would be very interested to see how it would work out. I'd also be interested in suggested variations on this with reasons why.
  7. We finally watched it last night. Take away the dramatisation of the anecdotal evidence from passengers and it would have been a decent 30 minute programme. As soon as the first of them said "We've been on xx cruises..." I immediately replied "Here we go..."
  8. With your healthy diet that must have been a rare treat? I hope it was nice and not one of those occasions where the actual food does not live up to the excited anticipation.
  9. I'm so sorry to hear of your son's struggles and hope that you and him can find the right coping strategies. Sincere best wishes for the future.
  10. That's what happened to me and to top it off they changed the redundancy terms so I got a payout capped at 20 years (after 34 year's service).
  11. Sorry to hear about your sister but in a way I'm glad that she's been brave and taken matters into her own hands. Things must be really bad for the Head to go as well. My son started school at our local primary in 2014 and there's been 3 different head teachers in that time. The first headmaster was a bit of a showman but let education standards slip, the next headmaster was a good teacher stepping up for the first time who soon got a better offer, and the last headmistress was a bit of an unusual character who didn't seem comfortable in front of the kids or parents. I looked up her career profile and she seemed to move around regularly in various education positions. She didn't last long at our school at all and nothing good seemed to come from her short stay. I think the governors at your sister's school will soon realise good headteachers and deputies are hard to come by. We currently have no head with a lot falling on an inexperienced, newly appointed deputy who is doing a fine job and working long hours judging by the communications and emails we receive some evenings. The staff have all been working full time since March including during holiday weeks when the key workers children have still been going in. The only exceptions are those that have had to self isolate at times. School will be closed for the long summer holidays and they thoroughly deserve the break.
  12. Me too, my wife hasn't been shopping since March.
  13. Back in March we did all their shopping for them and it was a nightmare as they kept giving us huge lists with exotic items such as various Chinese spices that I'd never heard of. Now they are arranging their own deliveries and also getting the Govt food parcels so they have a garage load of supplies and I just get them a few bits here and there.
  14. I got the in-laws shopping list yesterday and I was pleased to see just 3 items: jam, sugar, printer ink cartridges. I got them all easily (even the cartridges) so was feeling pretty pleased with myself and my wife took them straight over. "Why have you got jam and sugar, we've got plenty" said mother-in-law. "That's what your list said" replied Michelle. "No, not jam and sugar, JAM SUGAR, for making jam!"
  15. Andy, you'll get your chance to meet Graham and all the other lovely regulars on here when you invite them on your "lottery winning celebratory invitation only cruise" that you promised us all ages ago. 😉 There's just a few minor details to take care of to make that happen, e.g. your lottery win, the return of safe cruising, ports accepting ships again, appropriate and affordable travel insurance...
  16. You've explained it very well and it is a an often stated view that P&O are pushing passengers upwards away from the sea with these newer, huge "tower block" ships.
  17. We sailed on Britannia in it's maiden season 2015 and when we went to the Caribbean Tier lunch almost everyone else at our table was grumbling about the ship. The table host was a young lady working her first season with P&O and she handled all the usual complaints superbly. We didn't join in and instead enjoyed some great conversation with another couple, so much so that we stayed behind chatting long after the lunch had finished. Shortly before we left one of them said "I don't know why the rest of them booked to sail on this ship?" The likes of Jean and Avril have tried big ships and decided it's not for them, meanwhile others continue to book cruises on them and then spend a lot of time grumbling onboard. I just don't understand the mentality of that.
  18. We used to love going on Oriana and Aurora when we could, but our son found even Ventura "too old" last year because of the lack of variety and functionality on the cabin TV. So it will be Britannia or Azura cruises for us if and when cruising resumes. I shudder at the thought of being on Iona with 5,203 other passengers but I guess we'll probably end up giving it a try one day depending on price, date and itinerary.
  19. I have no idea of numbers but there seemed to be plenty of families with the drinks package on our Canaries cruise last August. The previous year we were on a Mediterranean cruise calling at Cadiz, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Cartagena and Gibraltar. We don't use the central pool area much but when we did it was noticeable that the same families were sat in the same places every day, usually having drinks (no matter what time we passed through). I'm pretty sure that for those people the ship was the holiday (resort) with no chance of them getting off in some of the ports so I think it would be fair to say that the drinks packages were cost effective for them. It also brings to mind some comments where posters say that they wouldn't bother going ashore in (say) Gibraltar and would rather enjoy the peace and quiet on the ship. That certainly wasn't the case on our cruise, there were probably more stayed on board in Civitavecchia, Livorno and Gibraltar than got off. Never mind though, we had lovely days ashore in Civitavecchia and Livorno with no hanging around for shuttle buses.
  20. I know what you mean about trying to shop quickly, I no longer buy any loose vegetables and just get items that are bagged with a bar code. For one thing I keep seeing too many people pick stuff up with no gloves then putting them back, probably doesn't do any harm but still puts me off!
  21. Yes, I remember reading about your diet changes for your health and I admire you for it. I'll eat a few sprouts at Christmas as long as they are nicely cooked (i.e. not boiled to death for several days!). Everything else on your list I'll happily eat.
  22. Just looked them up and don't remember them at all? Did they taste like chicken?
  23. Walkers sold Sprout flavour crisps last Christmas. They were terrible!
  24. Out of interest I have just tried a dummy booking for our cruise in July 2021 B118 Britannia Mediterranean. When it came to selecting a cabin all grades were showing as sold out, however when I removed our son from the booking there was availability. Presumably this means that the ship is already at maximum capacity in terms of child places.
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