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G133 Spain and Portugal – anyone else not booked excursions for all ports?


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We are booked on G133 Spain and Portugal departing next month (which we carried over from last year).    We are rather disappointed with P&O’s policy that dictate that you can only go ashore on one of their ‘vetted’ excursions.       We’ve booked a few trips for actives that we actually want to do but were decidedly unimpressed with the selections at some of the ports, e.g. Lisbon.    For this stop there didn’t seem to be any options for independent exploration of the city.      For Barcelona, there’s a trip (which we bought) offering free time at three different sites so why not something similar for all stops? 

 

In this respect, P&O’s policy seems somewhat inconsistent.   If you allow people to do their own thing as part on excursion, is this any less risky Covid-wise than completely independent exploration?    The cynical amongst us may suggest that the whole policy is just a convenient way to sell more excursions.

 

I phoned P&O to ask if any further excursion options were going to be added in the coming weeks – answer: we don’t know.      I also enquired as to happened to the affordable trip options that were promised in light of their policy – same answer.       P&O was still selling cabins for this cruise a week or so ago at which point the choice of trips at some ports was extremely limited unless you’re will to pay >£100pp.

 

Well, as it stands, we’ll be staying on board for some stops.    Here’s hoping for some flexibility in the policy.

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29 minutes ago, MadUKScientist said:

We are booked on G133 Spain and Portugal departing next month (which we carried over from last year).    We are rather disappointed with P&O’s policy that dictate that you can only go ashore on one of their ‘vetted’ excursions.       We’ve booked a few trips for actives that we actually want to do but were decidedly unimpressed with the selections at some of the ports, e.g. Lisbon.    For this stop there didn’t seem to be any options for independent exploration of the city.      For Barcelona, there’s a trip (which we bought) offering free time at three different sites so why not something similar for all stops? 

 

In this respect, P&O’s policy seems somewhat inconsistent.   If you allow people to do their own thing as part on excursion, is this any less risky Covid-wise than completely independent exploration?    The cynical amongst us may suggest that the whole policy is just a convenient way to sell more excursions.

 

I phoned P&O to ask if any further excursion options were going to be added in the coming weeks – answer: we don’t know.      I also enquired as to happened to the affordable trip options that were promised in light of their policy – same answer.       P&O was still selling cabins for this cruise a week or so ago at which point the choice of trips at some ports was extremely limited unless you’re will to pay >£100pp.

 

Well, as it stands, we’ll be staying on board for some stops.    Here’s hoping for some flexibility in the policy.

It does seem strange, when Princess are allowing independent shore visits when their European cruises start. 

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Yep, we are booked on N124 - Ventura going round Spain and Portugal in November. 

 

I've focused on the ones which say you have free time in the town at the end of the excursion. It is quite annoying to have to pay £35 or so for the privilege of doing this. There are a couple which don't seem to have this so we may well end up staying on board. 

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14 minutes ago, bee-ess said:

How can they allow you to roam independently on a P&O excursion but not allow you off the ship independently. It makes no sense.

It does to P&O, they will make lots of money. We are now considering a cruise later in the year if things look OK, however it won't be with P&O if they continue with the current tours policy.

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13 minutes ago, yorkshirephil said:

It does to P&O, they will make lots of money. We are now considering a cruise later in the year if things look OK, however it won't be with P&O if they continue with the current tours policy.

Regretably, I think enhanced profits are a significant part of this policy

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4 hours ago, LdnJon said:

Yep, we are booked on N124 - Ventura going round Spain and Portugal in November. 

 

I've focused on the ones which say you have free time in the town at the end of the excursion. It is quite annoying to have to pay £35 or so for the privilege of doing this. There are a couple which don't seem to have this so we may well end up staying on board. 

If you have to be on a bubbled ships shore excursion, then clearly that will not permit free time at any point.

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Can I suggest that we wait and see what the protocol is, when/if the cruise actually takes place. 

We are off, perhaps,  to Spain, France, Italy and Gib in October with Princess. Who knows if the cruise will go ahead.

I can't influence anything, so I will wait and see. And, P&O are in the same position. 

Posting on here will not help - accept that things are out  of the control of P&O,  and wait.

 

 

 

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I think P&O should be allowing shore excursions for british ports right now. Others are doing it, and announced it a while time ago, so they are out of step and rightly open to criticism. However, for international cruises (where they need to follow both UK and local rules) reviews are constantly happening both sides so it is unknown what the situation will be even at the end of September. They must feel they either have to cancel the cruise or change to seacation or leave decision to very last minute. They are choosing last minute. The question for them is what will cause them the most impact in terms of cancellation/change "chaos", revenue, reputation with their decision. You could say what about the customer but we have the choice to book, move or wait it out based on information we have as well and we are all making our own decisions. My decision has been to not book international cruises yet (unless looong way out) but the prices are very tempting and I know they are low because of the situation.

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It really doesn't make any sense apart from money-making.  Our cruise has a transfer to Athens, then 5 hours to do your own thing.  So why can't I go ashore independently?

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1 hour ago, jeanlyon said:

It really doesn't make any sense apart from money-making.  Our cruise has a transfer to Athens, then 5 hours to do your own thing.  So why can't I go ashore independently?

Jean  I keep repeating that the shore excursions on the website are the normal pre covid ones, and are unlikely to operate as advertised if restrictions to going ashore remain in place.

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Posted (edited)

yes but folk on up coming cruises also have time ashore to do their own thing, yet they cannot go ashore independently.  Someone on the P&O FB page is sailing next month and there are no beach trips offered with P&O and they are not allowed to go ashore themselves.  Fred O and Princess are both allowing independent excursions.

Edited by jeanlyon
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21 minutes ago, jeanlyon said:

yes but folk on up coming cruises also have time ashore to do their own thing, yet they cannot go ashore independently.  Someone on the P&O FB page is sailing next month and there are no beach trips offered with P&O and they are not allowed to go ashore themselves.  Fred O and Princess are both allowing independent excursions.

You might have people on forums saying they have excursions booked which have free time ashore, but none of these cruises have taken place yet. In fact no one has been ashore yet on a P&O cruise, so everything is speculation. IMO once international cruises start, or maybe that should be if they start, then if there are still restrictions on going ashore on your own  I would expect that all the booked excursions will be modified to only allow "Bubbled" experiences off the coach, so no one will have free time ashore.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, jeanlyon said:

  Fred O and Princess are both allowing independent excursions.

 

In fact both say that is subject to local protocols and Princess have told me any tours which cannot take place due to covid will be refunded for our autumn cruise.  I am convinced John is correct about P&O as well.

 

Fred is not releasing his tours until even later than normal (only about two or three weeks out if you are lucky) and there is still chance of last minute changes - he acknowledges that.  Fred is only allowing his staycation passengers ashore independently after the 1st September anyway and I am wondering if Falmouth will allow that when he visits, considering Cornwall are asking people not to visit at present.  We all know another line had problems in Belfast.

 

I believe all lines will have much the same criteria once more international cruises start.  We are booked on a Fred Spanish cruise which embarks 21st Sept and will report what happens, when it does.  He also has two others due out on 11th Sept.  One for Spain and excursions are on line for that.  Another mainly visits Sweden and will likely be changed as Sweden just extended their non EU tourist bad until 31st Oct.

Edited by tring
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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

You might have people on forums saying they have excursions booked which have free time ashore, but none of these cruises have taken place yet. In fact no one has been ashore yet on a P&O cruise, so everything is speculation. IMO once international cruises start, or maybe that should be if they start, then if there are still restrictions on going ashore on your own  I would expect that all the booked excursions will be modified to only allow "Bubbled" experiences off the coach, so no one will have free time ashore.

 

You are totally right with that John.  I have just explained to Jean how the information she keeps mentioning is incorrect, or more to the point totally lacking any information on what is actually happening and the little clause used by all cruise lines which says the going ashore rule is subject to local protocols, hence means nothing.  The cruise lines are just assuring people it is not they which will (perhaps) be stopping independent exploration, (and by the way we would like you to pay your balances which are now due).

 

From What I remember P&O are largely just doing cruises to nowhere at present, though I do realise some port calls are visited on the later staycations.  Also they have no international cruises until almost four weeks time and a heck of a lot can happen by them.  For a start it is expected our covid numbers will rocket once schools are back and have already done so in Scotland, so I doubt the continentals will be keen to let us wander off alone. 

Edited by tring
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Posted (edited)

It’s really hard isn’t it? We have a 14 night Med cruise booked on Britannia (June 2022) and for us it’s an expensive cruise. Nearly all the ports are new to us and 12 nights is the longest cruise we’ve done before. I won’t be happy to miss most of the ports or have them changed a lot so I’ll be having a good look when 2023 comes out and perhaps book a shorter cruise next year. 

Edited by P&O SUE
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19 minutes ago, P&O SUE said:

It’s really hard isn’t it? We have a 14 night Med cruise booked on Britannia (June 2022) and for us it’s an expensive cruise. Nearly all the ports are new to us and 12 nights is the longest cruise we’ve done before. I won’t be happy to miss most of the ports or have them changed a lot so I’ll be having a good look when 2023 comes out and perhaps book a shorter cruise next year. 

It's becoming less hard.  I am quite used to not cruising now.  Whereas we have done 2 x 19nighters each year for some years, having not done a cruise for 2 years, it's starting to not bother me.  Happy to do something else.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, tring said:

 

I believe all lines will have much the same criteria once more international cruises start.  We are booked on a Fred Spanish cruise which embarks 21st Sept and will report what happens, when it does.  He also has two others due out on 11th Sept.  One for Spain and excursions are on line for that.  Another mainly visits Sweden and will likely be changed as Sweden just extended their non EU tourist bad until 31st Oct.

 

Sorry I meant to say non EU tourist ban until 31st Oct in my previous post - was using a phone at the time.

 

Someone has reported that she spoke to Fred's head office yesterday re our 21st Sept cruise on Bolette.  Seems only one port on the itinerary will currently allow passengers to disembark independently, whilst the smaller ones would not even let passengers off if on shore excursions, so passengers would have to stay on the ship!  Hence I am still expecting a number of port changes to the larger ports which are currently operating COVID secure excursions, as Fred will at least be hoping to make some profits on those.  A captain on our second UK cruises with Fred, said they are still loosing cash with the lower number of passengers on the ship.  

 

Someone else has had just received his nice excursion book for tours on the Swedish cruise by post, but seems they have now been pulled from the online booking system.  That cruise is currently still on sale, but Fred must be scrambling around to re-schedule all ports apart from the one to Copenhagen.  That cruise is due to sail on 11th Sept. 

 

There are going to be a lot of last minute changes IMO as the cruise lines will want to keep the ship's they have up and running sailing to somewhere.  Fred cancelled his Caribbean season much earlier this year, but does have Balmoral due to sail just before Christmas - possibly a watch this space plan, along with other ships due to sail at that time with other cruise lines. 

Edited by tring
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3 minutes ago, jeanlyon said:

Wow, that really puts it into perspective.

 

Yep, I have always been considered a pessimist, though I did really think that was the situation at present since I have searched round a bit regards other countries rules etc. - though difficult to get to grips with all the requirements.

 

I have always said that I am happy being a pessimist as I am never disappointed and I think that has been particularly true over the pandemic.  TBH we were talking at home last night and are not completely sure travel will return to what it was pre-pandemic within the time we will still be young enough to really enjoy independent travel to a range of destinations, as we are already into our early 70's.  As has often been said, we are probably looking at a "new normal" persisting for some time. 

 

We still see the advantage of a cruise, especially if going to warmer climates, or if scenic cruising is on the itinerary (as per Fred mainly) and we have found a couple of excursions were fine, whilst staying on the ship at other ports.  At least there is no extra breeze if docked in ports, so can make the most of the sun decks.  All a personal choice though and also depends a lot on the ship you are booked on as well as they type of cabin you have booked.

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43 minutes ago, jeanlyon said:

It's becoming less hard.  I am quite used to not cruising now.  Whereas we have done 2 x 19nighters each year for some years, having not done a cruise for 2 years, it's starting to not bother me.  Happy to do something else.


I get your point but we’re relatively new to cruising and I’m starting to really miss it! We’ve been on loads of UK holidays over the years and normally have a long weekend or two a year as well as a cruise. We are finding UK holidays relatively expensive and that’s what’s really annoying me at the moment.

I’ve been on Brittany ferries holidays to France and Spain in the past and would happily do that again.

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We might take the car to France in the spring.  We always enjoyed doing that.

 

Tring, we are 74 and 82 respectively, but both still feel quite able to do other holidays although not long haul as I don't fly any more.

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