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Scriv

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  1. Yep, it's already started according to Sky News : ''Following the accident, there have been renewed calls to ban cruise ships in Venice.''
  2. I won't be risking trying Fred Olsen again. My main reasons are the price and affordability of balconies, the pokiness and the very strange layout of the beds in many cabins and very importantly the policy of allowing smoking on balconies - and also the attitude of staff that I experienced on an albeit brief cruise. I only had a short cruise on Fred, so accept that it might be a 'one off' although from other posts above, it seems there are others who share our experience. Officers and staff members walking towards us avoided eye contact, looking at the floor; there was never a smile or welcome back from security staff; and there was apathy and instances of real rudeness from a number of waiters in the main dining room and in the buffet. So much so that for the first time in my several years of cruising with 2 other lines, I was really very close to making a formal complaint.
  3. Sadly it doesn't seem to have mattered whether booking direct or via a TUI shop as to the problems I mention - no two TUI stores or representatives whether in a shop, on a phone, on-line, on Facebook or via email were able to agree on things according to my recent experiences. There appears to be a serious problem in communication and the dissemination of information from the top plus a lack of empathy in Customer Care from on high and the inability to even grasp the issue itself. .
  4. Interesting... I know I once sat near the Future Cruises desk onboard and saw a couple book about 3 different cruises. I overheard them say on the way past me, that it doesn't matter if they change their mind as it was only £50 each to lose it.
  5. Yes, I agree so much can happen in a year or so, especially in this current climate. Something to be aware of with some 'special offer' low deposits ( NOT P&O I hasten to add) is that in the event of cancellation, the 'normal' deposit amount is due. This is not always made very clear in the small print.
  6. Low deposits obviously encourage people to book cruises long in advance without much risk. I wonder though if because they can book without too much thought and commitment, people are more likely to think of cancelling later on when they start to really discuss it and think it through. I would be interested to know if it is a case of easy come, easy go and cancellations are on the up. Just idly wondering....
  7. Britboys is right, all our views are very subjective and totally dependent on the actual experience we have and our own personal preferences. So you really do have to try it yourself to see how you stand. I remember discussing Britboys' experience on Discovery 2 before I had cruised with Marella after I had asked this very same question. My own experience on Discovery 2 was much more favourable than his, I am happy to say, as I have described above - but it was mine and my own personal tastes and I speak of one particular cruise of 7 days. I could see where Britboys was coming from in the points he then made. I also have to say that I travelled with my adult daughter (as opposed to going with my husband) and whereas it worked for us both, I think my husband would prefer the formal nights and the more traditional atmosphere of P&O. And we are mid sixties, so maybe that makes a difference haha.
  8. I would never book a balcony on Fred Olsen because of the smoking policy as I would definitely be bothered by the smoke coming from next door's balcony or below me. Other people's smoke definitely travels and usually finds me pretty quickly. As I love a balcony on my cruises, it therefore follows that I will not be considering Fred again whilst this policy is in operation.
  9. Yes, fewer sea days and longer port days are also a plus with Marella - I think Marella have been very short assessing a gap in the market with their smaller ships as p&o and other companies seem to be focusing on the big. Also being a little less formal and an excellent range of fly cruise options will attract many. However a big negative for us is TUI Marella Customer Service - if you have any query or problem before or after your booking it's a real nightmare getting anything sorted or even finding 2 representatives who say the same thing.
  10. I am a self confessed P&O regular and fan and tried Marella for the first time last November. The cruise on Discovery 2 was to Panama, Colombia and Costa Rica via Montego Bay and was chosen primarily for the interesting itinerary and the fact that it was a 7 day cruise and fitted our dates. We had a fabulous time and liked it enough to book again with Marella, this time on the new adult ship Explorer 2 this summer. Overall Marella and P&O matched up very well - standards were equally high, the food on Discovery 2 was as excellent and varied and service in the main restaurants was equally excellent. Cabins and service by cabin stewards was much the same - again equally high standards. Staff were very friendly - but then I have always found the P&O staff very friendly . Differences? ... Well, we loved the All Inclusive drinks and Gratuities and were more than happy with the quality of the basic drinks package and didn't feel the need to upgrade. This was a feature which made Marella a really good value cruise. P&O have switched to Service Inclusive as from May, but are not All Inclusive for drinks even though their drinks are very reasonably priced in our opinion. P&O have recently introduced a Drinks Package, which many of us feel misses the mark and would not be worthwhile. Another excellent feature on Discovery 2 was the provision of a carafe in every cabin for use with the chilled water machines at very convenient locations around the cabin decks. This solved all the issues onboard P&O regarding drinking tap water in the cabins or not and filling up personal water bottles from machines in the buffet. We found the entertainment absolutely superb, especially the performers and the shows. It was very professional in all aspects and have to admit had the real edge over P&O's. Marella was more informal and relaxed, I would say more of a 'fun' atmosphere across the ship - but still high standards and very well organised. Dress code is more informal and relaxed, with the Dress to Impress Night being optional. P&O still have the traditional Formal Night twice a week with the requirement of Black Tie Dress Code in the MDR and certain venues. We actually like both! I think I would say that the age demograph was younger on Discovery 2 last year, whether because of the itinerary, time of year or because it was a fly cruise, I don't know but it did seem to have a younger clientele. In conclusion, we really loved it and had a really excellent cruise. Overall I remain a P&O lass as overall P&O's style suits us best - but I will not hesitate to try Marella again for another interesting itinerary.
  11. As happy v says, the tourist info office with its free Wifi is just where you come through the gates off the ship and where you can buy the trips. I was impressed in Norway at being able to use a card for everything.... even the waffles and coffee at the workers cottage 😉 . Only thing you needed coins for in Stavanger were the public loos - we just legged it back to the ship haha
  12. Hi Presto2..... when you get off at Stavanger there are often lots of local tour/boat people outside the gate offering tours and boat trips, so I'm sure you will get one easily enough... if you have some time to kill, but don't want to go round a museum like the sardine canning and the oil museums ( both actually surprisingly really interesting 😉 ) , you could call in at the Worker's Cottage next door to the Sardine Canning Museum. It is free and small, but also interesting - then you can have a waffle and coffee in their little courtyard. That is in the old town near where the ship berths, up the streets with the clapboard houses. Enjoy :)
  13. Yorkshirephil - the P&O excursion with 6 hours free time is indeed on the programme this year and as returners to St Petersburg, we are booked on it. 🙂
  14. Check whether your passport needs renewing in the event of a No-Deal Brexit : https://www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-brexit
  15. My amazing memory of watching the Northern Lights 'dance' in strong, vibrant colours was made on 1 March from Oriana's decks in the port of Alta. The skies were too cloudy the night before. It was unforgettable.
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