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  1. Have crossed Biscay 4 times in January. Twice - absolutely horrendous 0nce - rough but fun, once - flat calm. it’s a lottery - if you are bad sailors - think very carefully
  2. I think is the beginning of the end for Volendam and Zaandam. Maybe Fred Olen will take them too.
  3. I think like most World Cruises - it is a mixture of segments and full voyage passengers. Personally I am glad that companies do this as in 2023 we want to find a segment from Hong Kong to the UK or Europe. If the world voyages did not accept segment passengers this option would not be available to us. I don’t think Cunard is much different to others.
  4. Cunard have cancelled the 2022 World Cruises for QM2 and Queen Victoria. They don’t think that there will be enough ports open. Queen Victoria is not scheduled to cruise again until April 22. Begs the question - will Zaandam’s 2022 World Cruise actually sail?
  5. ‘Cases and deaths in the UK are starting to spike. Looks like the Germans and Austrians are right. The Austrians have even banned direct flights from the UK.’ This is not true. As of today there are approx 3000 new cases a day in the UK - down from 70000 in January. There were no deaths today. The Indian variant is a concern and is likely to become the dominant variant but the vaccines can deal with it. 40m 1st does have been given and 26m second doses. The total population of the UK is 68m.
  6. Eurodam left Torbay today after months at anchor. She is apparently headed to for the Mediterranean to prepare for her scheduled series of cruises in the Greek Islands later this summer (all being well). Torbay had been described as a 'pleasure to be anchored in' by Arno Jutten, captain of Eurodam, following the announcement of the ship's departure. Many locals who have seen HAL ships anchored in the bay for the last 9 months were sorry to see her go but welcomed the start of a return to some sort of normality. 7 Cruise liners still remain in Torbay and Babbacombe Bay.
  7. Speaking as someone who caught COVID from an asymptomatic colleague and was really ill - you may feel well, but be asymptomatic and infect others. As you do not want to have a test - even an antibody test, you will never know. The problem is that the majority of your fellow cruisers will be in the more senior bracket and are more susceptible to severe infection if they contract COVID. Even the fully vaccinated have a 15% chance of contracting the virus although they are unlikely to die of it. Given your convictions, to which of course you have every entitlement, you may find it easier to give cruising a miss for a couple of seasons? Have a good holiday in whatever you eventually decide to do.
  8. I find it strange that the Chief Exec of Carnival Group is saying that vaccinations will not be required for US passengers when his UK brand P and O Cruises will not accept UK passengers this summer who have not been vaccinated.
  9. Zaandam left the anchorage off Torquay yesterday evening after nearly six months ‘at rest’. She gained many friends ashore and her departure from the bay was marked by a horn contest with the Eurodam and the Marella Explorer both of which were anchored in the near vicinity. The sound of the horns echoed around the hills which adjoin Torbay and was very moving. She was bound for Southampton for stores and fuel and is then going to join her sister Volendam in Corfu to hopefully resume cruising in the Mediterranean. I think this is a brave move on the part of HAL because Europe is currently in the grip of a third wave of the Pandemic with infections in some countries doubling every 10:days. Because of EU bureaucracy, the vaccination programme is woefully slow with average of 12% of population vaccinated compared to 30+% in the US and 50% in the UK. Maybe the 3rd wave will have passed by the time she is ready.🤞🤞🤞
  10. ‘P&O Cruises has cancelled all its planned cruises until the beginning of September and those on Britannia and flagship Iona -- which has not even sailed with passengers yet -- until the beginning of October. The line will instead offer a series of short break and week-long UK cruises, which will go on sale later in March.’ Will HAL follow suit? The UK is further ahead with its vaccination programme than any other European country. Must throw doubt on Med cruises for this summer?
  11. For those who are interested. There are no HAL ships in Torbay and haven’t been for 36 hours. Unusually we are experiencing very strong ( and bitterly cold) easterly winds and Torbay is exposed to winds from this quarter. The prevailing winds are from the SW which is why it is such good shelter. A further problem is that the bay is relatively shallow and the high E swell kicks up a lot of sediment which is not good for the ship’s filters. They are milling around in the English Channel and we hope to see them back in the next couple of days as the wind is due to swing back to SW.
  12. Totally agree with Deckchair - we also now cruise with Cunard - although as previously expressed - I hanker after the ‘old’ HAL!
  13. Have sailed 5 times on HAL and twice on Celebrity. We have not booked HAL for the last few years as we thought the entertainment and food had really gone down both in terms of quality and quantity. The crew continue to be marvellous. Our last HAL voyage was on Eurodam and we thought the main dining poor and understaffed, the Pinnacle Grill food and service was rather perfunctory although we adored Tamarind. We normally book a Neptune suite. On Celebrity, we book a mini suite. The dining room food was ok but we thought Murano was bit pretentious. We enjoyed the Tuscan Grill. We thought the evening entertainment on Celebrity was much better. We had a butler who was absolutely superb in taking care of our every need. A huge step up from the concierge in the Neptune lounge! However, despite the above, I have a soft spot for HAL, their ships look like ships and not blocks of apartments and are beautifully decorated. I had a particular soft spot for Prinsendam. I find the new Celebrity ships really ugly, the Silhouette class look odd with the silly little funnels, and Edge are plain ugly with the big orange gantry on the side. My wife tells me that when you are on the ship ,you can’t look at it so it doesn’t matter - but somehow it does to me! I realise the above probably says more about me than HAL/Celebrity and I realise that removing levels of service keeps prices low which fills all the new large ships but I can’t help hankering after the HAL I knew when we started cruising on the 1990s. Sad really.........
  14. It is extremely unlikely that Europe will have completed its vaccination programme by July. In the UK - everybody over 70 will have received their first dose by 15th Feb but second doses will not be given until 12 weeks have passed, which takes us to May. Europe is way behind. Sorry to say your July cruise looks pretty unlikely.
  15. Spoke to a friend in NZ today who says there will be no cruise ships in NZ waters until Jan 22 at the earliest.
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