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john watson

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  1. I found Cunard do a few short ex-Southampton cruises pre-Christmas, mainly for shopping. Very friendly and the prices per night are really cheap on this sort of cruise even with one traveller. Regards John
  2. If you can afford/wait Princess do Guernsey with a back up port. Always on a longer basis. 50% success rate on Guernsey in my experience on the two lines. Princess has defaulted to Le Havre and Brest in the past. 26 April Queen Victoria does Guernsey on a week cruise which looks value. P&O might go somewhere else if seas are high, last time Princess with us had assessed before leaving Southampton and got Brest lined up. There have been times when we arrived in Guernsey and watched a trial tender of crew attempt the process and returned to (Caribbean Princess?) and we were off the Le Havre as I recall but they tend to do three night Guernsey cruises and are not as pushed for time. I should say 50% is the success rate to think about if Guernsey is your ideal port. Regards John
  3. If you can find a Fred Olsen Black Watch Terrace Balcony image (possibly others from the fleet) you might be worried but I think the Iona balconies will be more like the Emerald Deck forward balconies on Grand, Golden and Star Princess. The upside on Fred''s ships is that you can run a car boot to recoup your fare from passers by. Regards John
  4. Not taking life-jackets to the muster station helps enormously with avoiding overcrowding at the end because it should cut out one journey for each passenger. Regards John
  5. In terms of being moved to accommodate elderly infirm passengers or whatever. I always recommend children particularly to sit on settee/sofa type seats and not individual arm chairs as on the former you can budge up to let an extra person in and go deep into the venue. Arrive early to get a seat. People with mobiles are a nuisance particularly if they treat it as a light-hearted affair lengthening the process. Regards John
  6. If you have printed out documentation you should be fine they know the ship is there and you can prove you are there to embark legitimately. My problem was the cruise ship was so late that they cancelled the berth. We were provided with a coach to a Southampton distant hotel about 70 went to one hotel and 60 to another (small ship has max 171 passengers), The following day we were told ship is so late and they could not book a Southampton berth or there was hotel non-availability that they had moved the cruise to Dover. We had a coach to Dover am and another hotel overnight night, this time in Dover. It went downhill after that which most people thought not possible. The upshot is if you walk up to the security gate and have printed documents and a passport they will let you through. Regards John
  7. The tricky part of arriving on foot is getting past the security gate. I had a cruise booked on Star Clippers but was contacted a couple of days before sailing by the travel agent who said ship was delayed transatlantic and they were introducing a replacement bus and overnight hotel for the first day. We were instructed to go to gate 4 (or whatever) at the same time and day for the terminal. It was not clear whether the "bus stop" was the terminal or the gate. I waited next to the security gate and he came out! "What are you doing?" " I am waiting for my cruise, it's running a day late and they said come here for the bus" He checked my documents, ship was not booked for the berth, could not clarify but he let me in eventually at the terminal I found one other passenger but the tricky bit is getting past the gate on foot. It's a bit unusual and they will investigate that you are bonafide. Regards John
  8. Yes, I remember being heavily criticised by my tablemates on a formal night for wearing a pair of underpants with the head of a charging rhino on the front. Regards John
  9. You can generally tell when an outbreak has occurred on cruise lines because when it happens they adopt a policy of propping toilet doors open so that when users leave the room nobody needs to touch the door handle. I think the door handle to the toilets is the weak point because if you do wash your hands when you leave the room touching the handle is where you can come into conflict with those who do not and use the same handle. Regards John
  10. There are eleven shown and described in the actual book brochures. Regards John
  11. There is a video on YouTube "Video Shows Man Talking to Security Staff Before Jumping: I'm not a Pedophile". The family are now trying to sue the cruise line. There are too many cases of people on cruises acting irresponsibly, it goes wrong then trying to get huge cash payouts. Concerned people are coming out with things like put security fences around the ship and night sight cameras with crew monitoring them 24/7. I find this sort of thing going too far to stop an extremely small proportion of complete idiots. Regards John
  12. Logically should you elect to do self-disembarkation but were still on the ship at 9.30am as you were not in a rush. What could the staff do? Stopping you disembarking at that time would mean you could stay on board even longer. If a shop opened at 7.30am as a shopper you would not believe you have to be there as the shop doors open in order to buy things or you cannot buy anything. Regards John
  13. Understood, but when you reached the luggage hall did you find your cases were ready all lined up in the hall? I am thinking they have some sort of control system to try and stop people disembarking earlier than their allocated time to prevent a huge crowd in the baggage hall. i.e. if you are allocated 9,30am, how do gangway staff know your status without any thing to show them? Regards John
  14. In the first instance the form to request your disembarkation slot comes round mid-cruise and it is prudent to fill it in and return it to reception. Failure to do so, you get an allocated random time, typically one which few others have snapped up so as to speak. So ask for the earliest available slot. Should you be allocated a completely unsuitable time, take your tags and go to reception to explain that your transport will require an earlier time. They may well comply and give you new earlier slot tags. This can be your plan B, but you may still abort this plan even at the last minute and self-disembark so long as you do not put your luggage out overnight for collection. This deciding action is where you commit to plan A or B, you either put luggage out overnight or you do not. Should you put your luggage out overnight for a 10.00 am slot and disembark on the sly at 9.30 am you will find that your luggage is not in the hall and you will be stood stuck down there like a spare part for half an hour looking at forklifts. The final disembarkation go ahead almost always speeds up ahead of schedule as it is entirely geared up to luggage arrival and sorting in the hall. In this respect the order of play sometimes goes well and the announcement to disembark speeds up ahead of the published time. Regards John
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