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Everything posted by Mickb

  1. QE2 in 1984 followed by HAL (4), Celebrity(2) RSSC(2) NCL (1) P&O (1) Cunard (6) and we’ve we’ve loved each and every one.!
  2. The thing about P&O is that over the last 10 or so years it has changed from having 2 small ships with 4000 bednights to sell to having 7 ships with more more than 20000 bednights. The existing traditional UK market is waning due to age demographics so the company has had to attract a new market - people who previously went on package holidays but would never have considered a cruise. Pricing and floating resorts are the way to attract them aboard. P& O are being very successful in this. That is how the company will survive.
  3. Thank you Selbourne for a very entertaining account of your voyage. I am in awe at the time and effort that you have put into this very entertaining blog. I do hope that your sore throat improves when you get home. I am not a fan of P&O following a very unfortunate experience a few years ago and recognise some of the issues we had have still not been overcome. But a cruise is a cruise and I believe it is always better than staying at home. However, these days we prefer Cunard, we are on Queen Anne in October.
  4. Saga have announced that they are seeking a strategic partner for their cruise ships in an effort to reduce the level of debt on their balance sheet. Depending on FOCL’s level of endebitedness and the appetite of the parent company. There could be an opportunity for Olsen to ‘acquire/partner’ the 2 new state of the art Saga ships, at one feel swoop get new contemporary tonnage and eliminate a strong competitor?
  5. Love your cheerful and positive attitude to what must in some ways be a disappointing experience. I am a great great believer that ‘any cruise is a good cruise and must be better than the UK in January’ but there do seem to be an ongoing string of annoying incidents. - noisy cabin, table in MDR, weather, recalcitrant Captain, dodgy lifts, etc etc ……. An earlier poster wished that it would be a cruise of 2 halves for you and I sincerely hope this is the case! Thank you for the time you take on the blog.
  6. MSCI Alert 2024-001B-Red Sea and Gulf of Aden-Potential Retaliatory Attacks by Houthi Forces Description This Alert updates U.S. Maritime Alert 2024-001A There continues to be a high degree of risk to commercial vessels transiting the Southern Red Sea between 12N and 16N. While the decision to transit remains at the discretion of individual vessels and companies, it is recommended that U.S. flag and U.S. owned commercial vessels remain North of 18N in the Red Sea or East of 46E in the Gulf of Aden until further notice. Additional updates will be provided when available. This alert will not automatically expire and will be updated or cancelled as needed. Any questions regarding this alert should be directed to U.S. Naval Forces NCAGS at +973-1785-0033 (Primary/Watch Desk), +973-3940-4523 (Alternate), m-ba-navcent-ncags@us.navy.mil (Contingency), or +973-1785-3879 (NAVCENT Battle Watch/Emergency). Pretty certain the Workd Cruise will be headed for Cape of Good Hope!
  7. When we were aboard QM2 a few years ago, the whole ship had to disembark on arrival at NYC and a ‘ zero count’ had to be achieved before passengers returning to S’ton could reboard. I am not sure if things have changed ( suspect not - things don’t get easier these days) but it might sadly mean that to accompany your wife, you may have to forgo your Cape Canaveral trip. It does not sound as though P&O are being particularly helpful though. Really hope that you get this sorted as C Canaveral tour Is stunning. Thank you also for your fascinating and entertaining blog. It must take a great deal of effort and it is very much appreciated by those left behind in the snowy cold UK!
  8. Thank you for sharing your trip with us. Hope issues are not too serious and the cough improves!
  9. Absolutely not acceptable. I hope you complained on board that the remedy did not work and also raised the matter with Cunard
  10. MSC have just re routed the Poesia world cruise away from the Red Sea and round the Cape. Turns the itinerary upside down. I can’t believe that insurers would allow a large cruise ship to transit these waters in the present circumstances so suspect this may be the first of many world cruise itinerary changes.
  11. Really interesting. There really isn’t a huge difference other than a bit more choice in the PG. Of course the a la carte menu widens the scope
  12. I would endorse Keith’s advice. If time is not of the essence, disembark leisurely and transfer to the T5 Sofitel at LHR. It’s a nice hotel and you can walk directly onto the concourse for check in ( although BA 1st checkin is at the other end of the terminal, it’s only an extra 5 mins walk). There am any mid morning flights to the US so there is no pressure. The great thing is that if in the event of a hold up from Dover to LHR - quite likely - you will not be fretting that you are going to miss the plane.
  13. Mickb

    Athens Hotel

    The Hilton is quite good -
  14. It may have something to do with HAL’s attempts to attract younger passengers due to the ageing demographic of their loyal clientele. IMO HAL is the only Carnival Brand that still does not seem to have a clear future before it. Princess has a niche, as do Cunard who espouse tradition and P& O who are transitioning into a large ship, fewer frills operation attracting a ‘new to cruising’ younger clientele but alienating many of their traditional past passengers. The Carnival European and Australian operations have a clear niche market. HAL cannot seem to make up its mind what it is.
  15. What man excellent informative blog! BA seem to have upped their game a bit in Club! Let’s hope HAL lives up to expectations! Look forward to the rest of the trip. Bon Voyage!
  16. Villa Vie Residences, an innovative new cruise line revealed in September 2023, has announced acquiring the Braemar from Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. The acquisition marks the beginning of a unique venture, transforming the Braemar into Villa Vie Odyssey, a residential cruise ship offering villa-style living on the high seas.
  17. It’s a bit of a surprise that Ambassador beat FOCL ! Oceana, HAL and Disney are understandable as they operate modern ships with high numbers of balconies and multiple dining options. IMO the new management has a steep hill to climb with 2 functional but dated Ex HAL ships and Balmoral. Difficult to shake the money tree!
  18. Good luck - I’ll start selecting ship and dates!😂😂😂😂😂
  19. Precisely the reasons we sail with Cunard rather than aboard ‘Alton Towers of the Seas’ or similar!
  20. As a grandparent with 2 toddler grandchildren, your toddler sounds amazing! All credit to you both and thank you for putting an entirely different complexion on a trip report! 👏👏👏👏👏
  21. Certainly you could a couple of years ago just post covid but it may have changed now.
  22. I think passenger demographics post covid also enter in to it. We have sailed on Rotterdam and Amsterdam when they were in the HAL fleet and they are nice, if elderly ships that really don’t offer what an ever more demanding younger market want. Think Iona, MSC, Royal Caribbean etc. Those sort of ships are an anathema to me personally, however I realise that with only a maybe three/ four years before insurance costs price out cruising as a holiday for my wife and I, we are not Fred’s long term target market. The question is - who is? As previous posters have pointed out, the reinvented SAGA are mopping up the better off ‘grey’ market and Ambassador are fulfilling a role at the budget end. That leaves the middle market’ still very price sensitive but with ever increasing expectations in terms of balcony cabins, dining etc. I cannot see Fred’s survival in the long term without a huge capital injection on top of huge losses.
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