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About Bollinge

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    Cool Cruiser

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  • Location
    Coventry, England
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  1. Bollinge

    Biggest Con

    I do not drink water, tea or coffee and when I saw the ‘drinks package’ included, I naturally assumed it meant beer, wine and spirits. What a disappointment when I clicked on the symbol to find out the truth. It is definitely a con and deceitful. Sent from my iPad using Forums
  2. Bollinge

    The Bliss was wonderful

  3. Bollinge

    Sewer smell on the Sunshine

    There is often an odour of what in England we politely call sh-1-t on cruise ships. In my considerable experience it is more common the older the vessel.
  4. Bollinge

    Emotional support animal??

    In France, for example, dogs are welcome in many restaurants. I recall being at the Sunday Brunch at the very posh Paris Hilton, within sight of the Eiffel Tower, where an elderly matriarch had her Toy Poodle in her arms and was feeding it oysters from the excellent and extensive buffet! Another time, in Champagne, we were at another posh restaurant with lovely tablecloths down to the floor. We had been there for about 45 minutes when a dog walked in and straight away three other dogs which had been under adjacent tables started barking! We had no idea they were there. I have no objection to dogs in restaurants, but what I do object to is corrupt American doctors signing off the paperwork for a fat fee so these animals can travel where they shouldn’t. It hasn’t happened in Britain, yet.....We have Guide Dogs for the Blind, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, Epilepsy sniffing dogs for the epileptics, and that’s about it. Did you know, Cunard transatlantic liners have always had dog kennels for passengers’ animals but they stay there for the duration of the voyage. The QM2 even has a lamp-post and a fire hydrant in the dog walking area!
  5. Thank you for your review. We did a transatlantic cruise combined with the Amazon a few years ago on Swan Hellenic’s Minerva II (now P&O Adonia and soon to be Oceania ??). Probably our favourite cruise ever. The Boi Bumba show in Parintins was something we will never forget. “Petty” crime is a problem everywhere, not just in the “third world”. Think Barcelona, Rome, Athens. The only time I have ever been robbed was in Naples on the main drag in broad daylight when I had a Rolex watch snatched by a gang on Vespas. If you crave entertainment on a long cruise, you might consider Cunard (a bit too snobby for me now, although we are Platinum with them) as they fly on different guest entertainers for each sector of the voyage. Sent from my iPad using Forums
  6. I guess the scenario might have panned out like this - A first-time cruiser returns to the cabin where they had left half-empty suitcases on the bed. Cabin steward(s) are trying to do the evening turn-down. Pax comes in and wrongly assumed theft is taking place. Pax falls out with steward and goes to front desk, freaking out to a one-stripe clerk, shouting and shrieking such as we have all experienced, much to our amusement. Then says: “I want to get off, and it would be quicker to jump”. Was drink involved? Manages to piss every one off, and in the end is classed as a suicide risk and summarily disembarked. The author of their own misfortune? Sent from my iPad using Forums
  7. This is not my experience by the way, it’s just a newspaper article from someone who complained to the paper about their appalling treatment! Sent from my iPad using Forums
  8. From the Sunday Times, London, financial pages today ‘The frosty cruise staff ruined our dream trip! My partner and I took a cruise down the coast of Alaska with the company Holland America last year. The total cost for the two of us was £7,000. On the first night I found two cabin staff going through my half-unpacked luggage. They said they were “turning the bed down”. I told them they were lying and that I would report them thenext morning, another member of the crew pushed his way, aggressively, ahead of me into my cabin and asked me who I was and what I was doing there. I told him to go away. I felt the two incidents were related and that the cabin staff feared I would report them. I did report the two incidents to a young — and, I suspect, inexperienced — member of staff at the busy guest relations desk on the ship. At no point was it suggested I talk to someone more senior in a private setting. I said I was very unhappy, I felt I was being stalked, I did not feel safe, and that I might like to leave the ship at the next port. I was told this would be in two days’ time. I replied sarcastically with a throwaway remark, saying: “It would be quicker if I jumped overboard and swam!” I returned to my cabin and found a doctor, a nurse and a security guard waiting for me. They said they needed to talk to me about “my mental health problems and my ideations of suicide”. I said neither of those things applied to me and refused to talk to them. Finally, after 45 minutes, they paged my partner and she confirmed that my comment had been an ill-judged remark, and that I did not suffer from “mental health problems or ideations of suicide”. She advised them to go away and leave me to calm down, adding that they could better spend some time investigating my initial complaint, and that I would come and talk to them later. They agreed to go away but not before the security guard had locked the door to our balcony. Later that day I went to the ship’s medical centre and had a delightful conversation with the same doctor. At the end of the conversation I asked if he thought I had mental health problems and was a suicide risk. He laughed and said no, but added that a “process had been triggered”. He had had to write a report of our earlier meeting and he said it was likely that my partner and I would be “disembarked” from the ship at the first port of call. However, in the light of this meeting, he would write a second report, rescinding the first one. The next day I received a bill from the medical centre for $485 and the following day a letter from the captain, saying we would be disembarked. I emailed Holland America at its Seattle base, outlining events, asking it to accept my apology for my unfortunate remark and to allow us to stay on the ship for this holiday of a lifetime, for which we had saved for a long time. I received a standardised “Thank you for your email. Emails are dealt with in strict date order. We will be in touch again” email. We were left in a tiny port called Haines. If Holland America was truly concerned about my mental state, I feel it was lacking in any duty of care in “dumping” us in this isolated place. We finally managed to arrange for our bank to make £3,000 available to us, as we did not have sufficient funds to get home. We travelled on by ferry to a slightly larger port called Skagway where we could access wi-fi and contact British Airways about changing our flight home from Vancouver. We were unable to get a refund on the BA tickets and, during the five days of the cruise that we had missed, we incurred expenses of about £2,000 for accommodation and air fares. I wrote to Holland America the day after we got home, setting out the story again and providing a breakdown of our additional expenses. I asked it to refund the total £7,000 cost of the cruise and our £2,000 additional expenses. I sent the letter by recorded “tracked” delivery to Holland America in Seattle and I know my letter arrived safely. I have heard nothing. Jill replies (the Sunday Times’ Consumer Champion): The photographs of Haines on the Visit Haines website are beautiful — it apparently borders 20m acres of protected wilderness and the Disney film White Fang was shot there in 1991. But a small town with a population of 1,700 people and almost as many dogs was not where you intended to spend your holiday. You and your partner are 68 and 65 respectively, and you told me that you found it scary to be deposited in such a remote part of Alaska. It is possible you misinterpreted the actions of the crew members sorting out your room, but this could have been clarified had your complaint been referred to a more senior manager. Instead, your attempt at irony was lost in translation — and the staff overreacted. Holland America’s terms and conditions include a clause that allows the cruise line or the master of the ship to disembark a guest without compensation for loss or expenses incurred if the guest’s behaviour, health or conduct is likely to endanger themselves or other guests and crew. Your description of the way you behaved does not indicate — to me at least — that you were a threat to anyone. Holland America got in contact and offered you a refund of £701 each to cover the part of the cruise that you missed. It said no additional compensation would be offered for the expenses you incurred. At my suggestion, you asked your GP to provide a letter I could send to Holland America, stating that you have never been prescribed anti-depressants or suffered from suicidal tendencies. I then pointed out to Holland America that its staff’s reaction to your complaints had been extreme, if not callous. If you had been suicidal, putting you ashore some 4,000 miles from home was not the best way to ensure your survival. I asked Holland America to refund you for all the expenses you incurred and provide compensation for the distress and humiliation you had suffered. Holland America contacted you to make a revised offer of £7,250, equivalent to 75% of the holiday package plus your expenses, which you have accepted. The cruise line also detailed the security checks that crew go through and pointed out that many are providing for their families, and so have a powerful incentive not to do anything that would jeopardise their employment. You still feel the cruise line could have handled the situation better at the time, both by letting you speak to a more senior member of the crew and by accepting your profuse apologies for making an admittedly ill-judged remark to the guest services employee. Holland America said: “The safety of our guests is always our absolute priority. We have taken this guest’s complaints very seriously. We have apologised to her and are very pleased to have had her feedback on this matter.”’ Sent from my iPad using Forums
  9. Can you remember what was the “free” Champagne on the ship and which one on the plane? What class did you fly? Thanks. Sent from my iPad using Forums
  10. How can you say that in 2017, you racist? Just joking, political correctness gone too far!
  11. There have been two cruise ship hijackings. One, the Achille Lauro (forebear of Celebrity) was hijacked off Alexandria by Palestinian terrorists, and a Jewish American in a wheelchair was made to “walk the plank” to his death. The other was the French vessel, Le Levant, of Le Ponant cruise line, hijacked by Somalian pirates off the Horn of Africa. She was on a repositioning voyage with only crew members on board who were rescued by French Navy Special Forces. I was on Cunard QM2 in the Gulf of Aden’s pirate waters sailing under the Blue Ensign, as the Captain was ex-Royal Navy. They erected two LRAD devices (basically extra-loudspeakers) on the pool deck aft. You are supposed to aim the sound waves at the pirate vessel to “deter” boarding. I remarked to the Captain that two of these would be a better deterrent, and he agreed: Sent from my iPad using Forums
  12. The British and their tea! Is the water hot enough? How is the milk? “The only problem with travelling abroad is you can’t get a decent cuppa”. Only drink beer and wine myself.........
  13. Bollinge

    What should I do?

    In St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, the drinking age is 18, as it is in most of the world except the repressed USA. A hangover from prohibition (excuse the pun)? Cruise ships in Europe adopt that age limit. The ships operate under their own jurisdiction once at sea, as only a handful are US flagged, so they could allow a 19 year old man something more than Mountain Dew....... In France and Spain children of 16 can buy beer and wine in bars, but then in Europe we don’t allow kids to drive cars at 13!
  14. In view of the eye of Hurricane Maria hitting St Croix today, you may find another alteration to your itinerary...... Sent from my iPad using Forums