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Everything posted by Selbourne

  1. Good point Andrew. Any bookings for Aurora for 2023/4 (and even possibly Arcadia) might be best described as, shall we say, ‘optimistic’, especially as P&O’s track record of handling cancellations when a ship is taken out of service has left a lot to be desired. We’ve just watched Sagas Spirit of Discovery pass us in Cowes. She looks a nice size. Certainly a heck of a lot smaller than QM2 which was coming the other way at the same time heading into Southampton!
  2. Same here John. We have almost £400 FCC still to use which will expire at the end of Dec, so we will book something for 2023 at launch to secure an accessible cabin (hopefully at a good price) and if we have to write it off there’s nothing lost. Even though we are currently on the Isle of Wight and watching the cruise ships leave every evening we just can’t get excited about cruising again at present. All the reviews that I have read (even the positive ones) don’t sound like our idea of enjoyment, but we surely have to hope that things will return to normal before too long. Then again, as Avril says, we’ve been saying that for a long time now! Our biggest dilemma will be which ship. We were booked on the original Iona maiden and had been looking forward to it as we like Britannia, but all the reports on her have made us question whether we would like her.
  3. Confirmation from P&O this morning that Summer 2023 and Winter 2023/24 cruises will go on sale together “soon”. Marketing email from P&O confirms.
  4. We have the same concerns as you as the only accessible suite is an aft one, but I’m not sure that a staycation cruise with just half the passengers would convince me that our concerns were unfounded. Whilst the cruise had good weather, it would have been cool in the evenings. I can imagine the aft outdoor area to be busy (and noisy) when the ship is full, especially on a summer cruise (Med etc) when the evenings are still warm.
  5. We are on the Isle of Wight for a week from tomorrow, so I shall look to see if she is chucking out even more soot than usual when she chugs past our holiday cottage Saturday evening 😂
  6. That’s why I dislike the trend on the newer ships to locate Select Dining restaurants around the Atrium. We gave up trying to dine in the Glasshouse on Britannia as it was full of people who weren’t dining and finding a table became a real challenge. Besides, we don’t like eating in a noisy place with lots of hustle and bustle (MDR aside, but you aren’t paying a premium for that).
  7. Based on my experience of P&O over almost 25 years I would agree with every single word that Harry has said.
  8. That’s poor isn’t it. When you book an accessible cabin it states very clearly that if you book one when you don’t need one you can be moved at your cost or the booking cancelled. I can understand able bodied people being allocated them at the last minute if there is insufficient demand from those who genuinely need them, but that rarely seems to be the case as they usually sell out very quickly. I’m guessing that, in your case, the fact that you accepted a standard cabin may have suggested that you didn’t necessarily need one. My wife is a full time wheelchair user and cannot walk, so if we can’t get an accessible cabin we can’t go on the cruise. It’s not a preference for us, it’s a necessity. Perhaps that was the case with the late booker you spoke to? Of course, if the able bodied couple who made the blog were on the same cruise as you then the waitlist isn’t working or you weren’t ever put on it, which is extremely frustrating.
  9. I have to say that this latest development is deeply unsettling for those of us who have no choice but to book accessible cabins. We are trying to muster up enthusiasm to book a cruise but have been deterred by all the current policies and restrictions (covid tests, having to wear masks around the ships, apps that don’t work properly, select dining restaurants selling out, off-ship restrictions, difficulties getting into entertainment, risk of quarantine etc etc) and this is yet another nail in the coffin. I can’t see us cruising again until things return to normal but, at this rate, I am beginning to wonder when on earth that will be. I book holidays to escape anxiety and hassle, not to generate it!
  10. I think they will have to release a new batch of cruises to boost their cash flow. I guess that a lot of the bookings at present have been made using Future Cruise Credit from previously cancelled cruises. That being said, I’m sure that we aren’t alone in still having FCC to use up but are unwilling to book anything at present with the ongoing restrictions and rules. It was our intention to use this FCC this autumn on a 2023 summer cruise at launch prices but, of course, if the launch is delayed the FCC will expire on 31st December. At least that is what I am assuming. Some others seem to think that unused FCC will be refunded? I can’t see why P&O would do that unless it’s a legal requirement.
  11. You certainly deserve to get answers to this John but, knowing P&O, I wouldn’t put money on the explanation that they offer being the truth.
  12. They do indeed John and I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. Hopefully this was just one of many cruises that you have booked and that it wasn’t a special one for you and your wife.
  13. Whilst P&O seem to have a tendency to hit the ‘self destruct’ button at times when it comes to PR (they seem to be able to make bad situations worse by handling them terribly), I doubt that even the decision makers at P&O would come up with that policy! I have read that TerrierJohn has experienced this, which is appalling, but I’m hoping that was a one-off. There are enough reasons why cruising doesn’t appeal to us in the current climate without removing the only cabins from sale that my wheelchair bound wife can use! Thinking about it, an accessible cabin is of no more use to an able bodied passenger in quarantine than a standard one, but I guess they need one or two kept vacant on each cruise should any passengers in the occupied accessible cabins need to be quarantined.
  14. That’s exactly where we are at Harry. We turned to cruising for the same reasons as you and have enjoyed many cruises over the years. We keep debating returning but every time that I check this forum for updates on the latest procedures and rules, or reviews from those on current cruises, I am put off. Even the latest planned relaxations still leave a level of restrictions and hassle that are tolerable for most people but wouldn’t be for us. Until pre, during and post Covid tests, risks of quarantine, mask wearing and off ship restrictions are all consigned to history we aren’t remotely interested in another cruise. Great shame, but we just wouldn’t enjoy it.
  15. Friends of ours were on Regal Princess last week, their first with Princess Cruises. Their feedback about the Medallion system was the same as yours. They reckon that they spent 5 unsuccessful hours pre cruise trying to sort things and it was absolutely hopeless throughout the cruise. They said that everyone they spoke to or overhead was complaining about it. Medallion system aside, they were very impressed with Princess and felt that it was a step up from P&O and far better value than Cunard, so it hasn’t put them off but those thinking that it has been sorted are misguided!
  16. Yes and, unlike the Butlers, they work damned hard especially on Britannia where the poor sole had to hose down the soot on our huge aft wrap balcony and clean the grime that had been walked in to the suite!
  17. Looks like they are CMV reincarnated Andrew, albeit with a different ship.
  18. Yes, it was the fact that they turned up at times when we were relaxing in the cabin that used to hack us off. The interruptions never really added value and became tiresome. We considered dispensing with the butler service but have enjoyed the occasional meal on our balcony so retained them for that primarily. Free room service was also useful and the two good butlers extended this to our daughters who were in the adjacent balcony cabin, which was great as they used it more than us!
  19. One of the things that I don’t like about having a butler is the feeling that you feel compelled to tip them even if they aren’t very good. It’s easy to say that you shouldn't, but I find it awkward not to. We have had around 5 different butlers and frankly only two of them were worthy of a tip. Two were at best mediocre and one was so bad we had to complain about him and he was changed for one of the two excellent ones. The other thing that I don’t like is when they keep turning up at the suite for pointless reasons, doing things that don’t need doing, all of which seems a bit contrived towards a tip at the end of the cruise. As for Select Dining reservations, when we have spoken to butlers about them the bad ones have simply told us the number to call! One excellent one got us a reservation at a restaurant that was showing as fully booked as he knew the restaurant manager well. We tend to make the reservations ourselves on the day that we board, which seems essential now with the problems on the current cruises. We always go to a Select Dining restaurant on the first night as the MDR’s always seem to be a bit chaotic on day 1. We get to know the restaurant managers early in the cruise and, as a result, if we fancy an extra night in the select dining restaurants later in the cruise they will always get us in, even if the booking line says that they are full. I feel far less reluctant tipping them than I do the butters!
  20. We haven’t considered them Wowzz TBH. We have to have a fully accessible balcony cabin or suite now, which does reduce choice considerably. We have stuck with P&O as, unlike some people, we actually like the ‘Britishness’! An Americanised experience wouldn’t be for us. As we still have reservations about the ‘post Covid’ cruise experience (with all cruise lines, not just P&O), our next cruise will probably be a 7 day Fjords cruise, which restricts our choice even further!
  21. Well deck 12 is 4 decks above the Sunset bar whereas the suite we would have booked is just 2 decks above it, so you would have less of an issue from inside your cabin I would think.
  22. I’ve just received a marketing email about Our Vera and this is what they say about the Sunset Bar, which is directly underneath the aft cabins and suites. I presume that the same will apply to Iona as the aft layout is the same; “For fun in the sun Café del Mar style, make Sunset Bar your day-to-night destination. With whirlpools to enjoy, sun canopies to relax under, swinging seats to admire gorgeous sea views, and chilled DJ sounds, Sunset Bar is the ultimate place for sundowners”. The words “day to night destination” and “DJ sounds” confirm to me that, sadly, the tranquil aft cabins and suites that many of us enjoy will be a very different experience on Iona and Our Vera, with a source of noise underneath at all hours. Unfortunately there is only one accessible suite on each of these ships and it’s an aft corner wrap (which we like) but is just two decks up from the Sunset Bar so is now a definite no for us. If we go on either of these ships we will now book a midships accessible balcony cabin, which is obviously a lot cheaper but removes the ability to have breakfast in Epicurean and them space and balcony of a suite which we have enjoyed on our 3 previous cruises on Britannia.
  23. In all honesty Wowzz, we don’t go on a cruise for the entertainment. I accept that it works for most people but it’s generally not for us. The itinerary is our first consideration, closely followed by the ship (we prefer some to others). Next comes the experience of the cruise itself (being at sea, approaching and departing ports) and exploring ashore. Food is an important consideration for us. We have always found the MDR to be fine (a bit less so in recent years maybe) but we really enjoy the Select Dining restaurants. We have enjoyed some excellent guest lecturers but the other daytime activities never remotely appeal to us (other than the odd music recital on Aurora). We often don’t bother with the evening shows as we have seen them all multiple times. Some have been pretty good, others less so. Very much depends on the Headliners troupe on board as some are better than others! The tribute acts we find to be, in the main, poor. My sister goes to Butlins now and again, which most people will agree is a holiday camp. My idea of hell (although I loved it as a kid) and I have been staggered at the acts that they have there, particularly at their theme weekends. Multiple known acts over the weekend, the likes of which you might get just one of on a P&O maiden cruise but not normally. On one of our last cruises on Aurora there was an actor on board who performed a monologue about Laurel and Hardy. It was absolutely brilliant and a very welcome addition, but seems to have been a one off. In the feedback questionnaire I commented how good it was and how the addition of more things like that would be appreciated.
  24. John - On the last two occasions that we used a Suite (Britannia and Arcadia) we also booked an adjacent balcony cabin for our daughters at the same time and I’ve just looked back at what we paid for both. After allowing for the extra OBC that you get with a suite, the net premium for a suite was around 50% on both cruises. For us, the premium was worth it as we particularly value the ability to have breakfast in a Select Dining restaurant and we spend more time than most in the cabin, so the extra space is much appreciated. Also, both suites were aft corner wrap balconies and the views and ability to dine on the balcony whilst transiting the fjords or scenic locations in the Med were priceless. We are now more restricted with choice of suites as we would have to have a fully adapted one. There’s only one on Iona / Our Vera and we were considering booking it as we have some reservations about the ship(s) so thought that we could at least retreat to our suite at times when the ship was particularly busy, but the poor design of the aft (with Sunset bar and whirlpools underneath the aft cabins) has knocked that idea on the head.
  25. Some really excellent posts and very interesting comparisons between the different cruise lines. Many thanks for all the info which is definite food for thought. Talking of food, that’s a major deciding factor for us and a highlight of any cruise, probably coming second after itinerary. Most of the ‘entertainment’ on P&O isn’t for us. We will go and see the odd show but find many of them a bit ‘holiday camp’ for our liking. Aside from a few good guest lecturers, we find that the daytime entertainment on P&O is a bit ‘old people’s home’. We can only do round trips from the U.K., which prevents us from trying the luxury cruise lines, so all info is gratefully received.
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