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Posts posted by mercury7289

  1. 56 minutes ago, Megabear2 said:

    Good for him, hope it goes well for him. 


    Out of interest I just looked at Royal Mail careers group to see if the pay and conditions varied by region.  It appears not, but they are advertising 292 postie vacancies countrywide!





    Apologies for my last contact, had not picked up that you were afloat.

    Hope you are feeling better.

    • Thanks 1
  2. 50 minutes ago, Megabear2 said:

    Not very good I'm afraid.  Doctor noted no improvement on the chest in fact right side is apparently "extremely rattly" whatever that means.  I've now been given another stronger antibiotic and am revisiting doctor Thursday with a view I may need to see medical facilities ashore in Barbados on Friday.  It was mentioned St Maarten has excellent European facilities if nothing improves but I'm going to hope for Barbados in case of the worst as far more flights home from there!  Allianz are being very good although I will not get confinement payout as believe it or not only first 48 hours was mandatory. Thankfully I have had the pneumonia jab and apparently this is helping keep the infection down.  I'd just like to sleep as I've not really been able to for 4 full days now.


    Thankfully we have a deluxe balcony so my husband has moved to the sofa bed and so far - touch wood - hasn't gone down with anything.


    Very glad to have lots of active threads on CC at present to occupy my sleepless nights.

    Sounds similar to my illness, just started 3rd coarse of antibiotics, had chest x-ray yesterday, and gave other samples as required. waiting for results. Have a good trip, and may I suggest that you do your homework regarding available emergency facilities should they be needed

    • Like 2
    • Thanks 1
  3. 4 hours ago, Selbourne said:


    Day 16 - Thursday 18th January - Sea Day


    A cloudy but humid sea day as we slowly plodded along at 10 knots towards Port Canaveral, which will be our first US port of call. There was a talk on Nat King Cole at 1030, but we weren’t overly bothered, so our first visit to the theatre was for the 1130 port talk on San Juan, Puerto Rico. 


    The MDR lunch menu didn’t particularly appeal so we went to the Glasshouse, which is the only place on the ship that is always nice and cool (more on air conditioning later). I had the sliders this time (mini burgers) and my wife had the small plates. We shared a cheese plate afterwards. The cheese plates in the Glasshouse are really excellent. We both enjoyed a glass of wine, the Money Spider for me and a Peruvian Malbec for Lady S. Lunch finished just in time for the 1415 Space Talk by William Joyce, this time on the Apollo moon missions. Once again, very good. 


    It was now mid afternoon on the day before arrival into the US and I had still heard absolutely nothing from the so called ‘Customer Service Manager’, who I had been told for the last 3 days was going to contact me to discuss our immigration issue (me going on an early tour and my wife being unable to get off the ship unaided). I was now getting annoyed at the complete lack of contact, so went down to the shore excursions desk and said that I had now lost my patience, had no confidence that my wife wouldn’t be left in an impossible situation, so I now had no choice but to cancel my excursion to the Kennedy Space Centre. The excursions lady completely understood and assured me that I would get a full refund which, in fairness to her, was processed within a few hours. 


    As mentioned yesterday, Savio, the assistant food and beverage manager, had assured me that if our MDR table move was possible, a card would be delivered to our cabin confirming the new table number. Needless to say, this never happened either (bit of a trend here). I went to reception to ask if they could contact him to find out what was happening, but thinking on my feet I asked if they had our table number on their system. They did and it was the new table, so we would take our chances and go to that table for dinner. 


    I am sorry to say that I have now formed a very firm opinion that the officers on this ship are far too self-important and status conscious to have to waste their time dealing with us lowly passengers. What with the lack of engagement at the drinks party, the further lack of engagement at the Caribbean lunch (and nobody even bothering to say a few words), the fact that I wasn’t allowed to talk to the F&B manager and his assistant never confirmed what he said he’d do and, finally, a Customer Service Manager who is clearly not focussed on customer service, what other opinion am I to form? 


    As I was behind on my daily exercise regime, I then proceeded to do 5 laps of the promenade deck. After a few laps there suddenly started to be a very loud noise at the aft of the ship, as if there was a loud diesel tug alongside at full power, and this was accompanied by smoke rising from below. Not a lot of smoke but enough to notice. After a few minutes of this the ship stopped completely, but the noise and smoke continued. A little while later the engines started again and we started to change course to port. I was concerned that we might have a problem and be heading to Miami, but normal service was resumed later, and we now seem to be OK. 


    At 5pm we had the second classical piano recital in the Playhouse, which was just as impressive as the first. 


    For pre dinner drinks we went to the Crows Nest. It was unbearably warm, as every customer entering was commenting. According to the drinks waiter, the air conditioning is broken and has been for 3 days. I’m sorry to have to say this, but I fear that Aurora is starting to feel her age. They seem incapable of maintaining a pleasant temperature in all areas of this ship. Very few areas are ‘just right’. Many are too warm and, if anything, the Glasshouse is a little too cool. This is going to become even more problematic when we eventually reach the Caribbean. 


    I don’t wish to tempt fate, but I have a horrible feeling that we might have some Covid on board. Aside from the fact that quite a few passengers seem to have persistent coughs, there has been a noticeable step up in handrail cleaning, and as we were heading down to dinner there was a guy in overalls spraying disinfectant at the other end of the corridor. I asked him what he was spraying for and he said Covid. I asked if there were Covid cases in our corridor and I guess he was never going to give me a straight answer, but I got an answer that is a dreadful phrase that has crept in since the pandemic “No Sir, this is the new normal” 🙄


    Our new dinner table is much better. We are on our own on an 8 top table at the opposite end of the MDR to where we were before, which has alleviated a couple of the issues that we had. It’s busier, noisier and warmer, but we are facing a large panoramic window overlooking the aft of the ship. Unfortunately this won’t be of much benefit on this cruise as it will always be dark well before 8pm. Our new waiters seem fine and the formal night dinner was very nice. Most importantly of all, my wife felt far more comfortable with the new table for two and the new position. 


    At 10pm we attended the second performance of The Lavelles in the theatre. My wife enjoyed it more than me, but I was distracted by the couple chatting in front of me and the woman behind me who thought she was at the karaoke session 🙄. A late night lap of the promenade deck confirmed that the dreadful noise and smoke had stopped and we were proceeding as normal. I believe that we might be arriving in Port Canaveral as early as 3.30am, so I suspect that we shall be woken early. Tomorrow Port Canaveral and the joys of US immigration. 

    I am aware that you are reluctant, but feel it could be time to play your joker!

    Live blog!

    I am still in trouble from the illness picked up on that cruise, 2 courses of anti biotics later, I have still got a barking and reaching cough and still producing,

  4. 7 minutes ago, Clodia said:

    Sometimes the cough is entirely due to aircon; it affected me once and I had no cold or flu symptoms but felt very embarrassed. I finally took an anti histamine for a few days and the cough disappeared. Worth having some with you.

    Sorry Clodia, this has nothing to do with air con, lungs full of yellow mess, on board air borne virus we were told. So many staff from day 1 with cleaning products all around the ship, all wearing gloves, Mr wishy washy on deck 11 most of the time

  5. 14 minutes ago, Selbourne said:

    DAY 5 - Sunday 7th March - Madeira


    Whilst there was a little rocking overnight, it wasn’t enough to set the creaking ceiling off. However, one of our cabin neighbours had committed the cardinal sin of leaving a piece of balcony furniture touching the edge of the balcony, so in the wind we had a noise like a low level rapid hammering as the offending metal framed chair or table rattled against the metal balcony 🙄. For balance, I should say that our cabin neighbours both sides and above have been very considerate so far this cruise, which has been a huge relief given how poor the sound insulation is on Aurora. Our dining companions have been less fortunate and can hear drawers slamming and the TV from their neighbours. 


    We arrived into Funchal a couple of hours early and it was still pitch dark. Ventura followed us in a while later but, as we were first to arrive, we secured poll position closest to the port exit. This is just as well as we didn’t intend to use the shuttle this time as, due to the time taken to load and unload wheelchairs and scooters, it took longer than walking when we were here a few months ago. Once Ventura had berthed an ambulance with its blue lights flashing pulled up alongside her, so I hope that whoever that is for is able to continue their cruise once attended to. 


    Last entry times for breakfast are still the old ‘early’ times of 9.30am on sea days and 9am on port days, which is a shame as we often find that to be a rush. However, we managed to get to the Medina restaurant in good time. Our favourite restaurant host Rachel knew the names and cabin numbers of all 3 couples ahead of us in the queue without looking them up, so it isn’t just us! When we got to the front I told her that she is superhuman! Her colleague said that Rachel remembers everything and Rachel added “and you told me that you are grumpy in the mornings so like a table for 2”. Hilarious 🤣 People like Rachel can really make a cruise and we are so glad to have her on this very long journey. She’s an absolute star. 


    After breakfast we had a good walk around Funchal. We were glad that we hadn’t bothered with the shuttle as it was a lovely walk along the promenade. We walked all the way to the end and then cut back through the town to the market, which I was given to believe was open 7 days bit isn’t. Unfortunately it was also closed when we came in October, that time due to a public holiday. I poked my head in the cathedral which was packed. Clearly more religious types here than at home!


    As we started to make our way back to the ship it started raining and we got rather wet. I stopped at a shop to buy two 1.5 litre bottles of water which worked out at half the price of buying them on the ship. We skipped lunch as I’d booked a tour leaving at 1.30pm. Leisurely scenes of Madeira was certainly leisurely but the low cloud cover and intermittent rain impacted on the scenic bit. The first view over Funchal was OK but as we climbed up into the mountains the visibility was poor. I was amazed at the Eucalyptus forests (which you could smell even inside the coach) and the banana plants (trees?) everywhere. Also poinsettia growing wild. 


    We visited the highest cape in Europe and I bravely stood on a glass and mesh floored gantry overhanging a sheer 1,900 foot cliff. However, you could barely see a thing. You could just make out the waves way down below but couldn’t see the view at all. We passed through the village that Winston Churchill famously painted but didn’t stop. It was a good way to while away an afternoon and was still enjoyable, but would be ten times better on a dry and clear day. 


    Returning to the ship and having had nothing to eat since breakfast, we decided to grab a quick sandwich or something to tie us over until dinner at 8pm. It was just before 5.30pm. We decided to go to Raffles (coffee shop) as I’d noticed that they had some sandwiches yesterday. The food counter was empty. Ok, we will go to the buffet. Up to deck 12 and it’s closed because they are setting up for dinner, starting at 6pm. I remembered this nonsense on Ventura as well. We don’t want a full meal, just a snack. Why not keep one small section open for this purpose? Finally we tried the outdoor grill area and, yes, you guessed it, closed as well. I had always been under the misguided belief that one of the selling points about cruises was that there was always somewhere open to get food. This is clearly not the case.


    As we left Madeira the Captain informed us that we are due to track through a major storm system during our transatlantic, with 3 days of minimum force 10 and waves of 11 metres, starting on Wednesday, so he was going to try to keep us south of the worst of it. Whilst that’s clearly sensible, I hope that it doesn’t result in our Bermuda call being impacted, as that was a major selling point for the cruise for me. Before Sunday night was out we had started to experience movement again and the ruddy ceiling creak has started again. I wonder if reporting it for the 5th time might result  in someone at least coming to look at it?


    We had a drink in the Crows nest before dinner. The waiter managed to find a Doom Bar that hadn’t long been in the fridge. When I posted the menus earlier there was some interest in the rather odd concoction of Piri Piri chicken with rice, coleslaw, chips and gravy. It all sounded such an odd combination of things that I decided to give it a go and I actually enjoyed it 😂 


    After dinner we went to the first Headliners show of the cruise ‘On the Horizon’. Entertainment managers on P&O are all of a type, and the one that we have could easily pass as Ted Bovis from Hi di Hi. He explained that the Headliners troupe had just joined and that all but two of them were brand new to P&O. Taking that into consideration, their performance was excellent. The dancing was stronger than the singing, but one of the 3 male singers has a particularly good voice. As they gel and get into their stride, I think they will be a good troupe. I was pleased to hear that we will have Neil Lockwood on board. I haven’t seen him before but understand he is very good, even though he wasn’t, as many seem to think, a member of the proper ELO band. 


    We have the first of many one hour time changes tonight and it’s already quite rough with the ruddy ceiling creaking, so wish us luck 😂 

    Re Medina breakfast:

    Fried bread is an option, but not on the menu, we also found that the breakfast sausages were actually chipolatas, and beans or tinned tomatoes were served in little ramekins the smallest sizes possible, so we always asked for 2 portions, Also the Medina lunch time we always had a mix and match lunch, choosing whatever we fancied from whatever parts of the menu, and as much as required, but always washed down with a bottle of Chablis, or Money Spider, and always on table 109. Trust it will not be to rough for both of you going forward

    • Like 4
  6. 1 hour ago, Selbourne said:

    DAY 2 - Thursday 4th March - Sea Day


    Our first stop is Madeira, and we seem to be having a repeat of the rough crossing that we endured all the way there (and back) on Ventura a couple of months ago. I’d had a poor nights sleep as a combined result of the movement and the creaking from the ceiling above the bed. 


    When we unpacked we realised that we had only bought 30 Stugeron tablets (I was convinced we had more), so as my wife had felt poorly one day on Ventura and I’d been fine, I decided to ration them and let her take two the night before and I’d take my chances. Mistake. As soon as I got up and was trying to keep my balance showering and shaving I started feeling nauseous. My wife felt OK. By the time we were both ready for breakfast I was feeling that I was going to be ill, but it passed and we headed to the main dining room. All I could manage was one spoonful of Bircher muesli and one piece of toast! The odd thing is that the sea isn’t half as rough as our last crossing, but there’s a noticeable swell and that seems to be what’s affecting me. 


    We didn’t do much during the morning other than read and do emails, but we found a spot in Charlie’s with a comfortable chair (for me - my wife has to stay in her wheelchair) that was reasonably low down and midships. I did a lap of the promenade deck before lunch and at one point was nearly blown off my feet 😂. We went back to the MDR and I managed a light lunch as I was feeling better. We shared with 3 other couples and all enjoyed a nice chat. One lady was (unintentionally) very amusing with her descriptions of experiences on other ships. Let’s just say that the descriptions wouldn’t have passed the political correctness squad. One other chap was struggling to eat his meal as a combination of shock and amusement 😂 


    During the afternoon we had a guest lecturer talking about U-Boats. I was looking forward to this but I was really cross with myself as the combination of just having had lunch, a dark and warm theatre and a lot of motion, I nodded through at least half of it. Our dinner companions felt that he didn’t have the best delivery, but I didn’t see enough to comment! Annoyingly I can find it on the TV (they often film the presentations and show them on TV, but I can’t seem to find a channel for that). Incidentally, the TV is even worse than I remember it. Apart from being tiny, the picture quality is dire and even the sound is fuzzy on some channels. It’s bordering on unwatchable. 


    After the talk we went back to the cabin for another nap! The captain had said that the sea conditions would ease as the day went on but they didn’t. If anything, they got worse. Spray was hitting our balcony door and we are up high on deck 11 😱 At 5pm I attended a classical recital (flute and piano) with Kelly and Brown in The Playhouse. I’m so glad that they have retained these and they’ve not succumbed to the cutbacks, as it does add a bit of class to the usual daytime fodder 😂 Sadly, only around 20 other passengers joined me! Afterwards I swung by the Glasshouse to check if they have any events on and they have a wine tasting session one sea day, so I booked us on to that. I asked about the Captains Table events (not the buffet dinner on the new ships, but an officer hosted private dining even for around 15-20 guests) that we used to enjoy on Aurora. Apparently they are ‘considering’ reintroducing them and it may be during this cruise. We shall see. The head wine waiter (who I recall from previous Aurora cruises) has noted our interest. 


    Dinner at 8pm was just the four of us again on our table of 8. I have found out why the dinner sittings are 6pm and 8pm. First sitting was over subscribed so they brought the times forward so that second sitting wasn’t as late for those who were unsuccessful. Although we wanted second sitting, in all honesty this earlier time is fine, especially as the shows are now 8pm and 10pm (more chance of staying awake)! The show was ventriloquist Gareth Oliver, who seems to be on every single cruise we have been on. As with all the other cruises, it didn’t appeal so we went to bed to be rocked to sleep as it’s still damned rough! 

    Exact Sturgeon equivalent in Portugal is called CINARIZINA,  hope this helps

    • Like 3
  7. 1 hour ago, Selbourne said:

    The bed on here is lower than we had on Iona, Britannia and Ventura. We know that, as we had no problems fitting the suitcases under the bed on those ships!


    On a positive front, there is a guest speaker this afternoon that appeals to me, talking about U-Boats. 

    Selbourne. we had the same problem with our suit cases not being able to fit under the bed, our cabin steward, part covered them with plastic and placed them on the balcony. I was not happy with this arrangement. I finally lifted the bed and then kicked them under, no more problem 

  8. 44 minutes ago, Selbourne said:

    Sorry to hear that. Sounds a bit like Covid or similar? We don’t know what our dining arrangement will be yet. On the one hand sharing can be fun but on the other hand I have caught colds from guests who decided to share when they were suffering! I suspect that there will be multiple things doing the rounds on our 65 nighter and we are taking a medicine cabinet full of things with this in mind!

    We went on Britannia, Iona and Ventura with low expectations regarding the MDR and were pleasantly surprised, so we shall go with equally low expectations on Aurora and hope for the best!

    Strongly suggest taking Benylin Chesty Coughs, or similar ,forgot to take ours, so purchased Spanish version in port, Used 2 bottles on cruise, along with loads of tablets, yet sitting here, still renching and coughing and going though tissues in boxes. Due to pay final balance of 19 night April cruise on Aurora today, might be happier to drop £300 deposit at this time, will make decision later

    • Like 1
  9. 45 minutes ago, Selbourne said:

    Sorry to hear this and hope that you recover quickly. Why was it a very sick cruise? Norovirus? 

    Thank you. understood that it was being explained as an air born virus?

    We were told that the Doctor had caught it at one stage.

    Coughing every where, selfish stupid people not using hankies coughing there guts out.

    Never seen as many crew on cleaning duties and also though out the day.

    Last evening you could see that a lot of the crew were struggling, red watery eyes gave it away.

    Sorry to report that in our opinion the Menu and Food in the MDR was incredible poor, did not order main course on 5 occasions, also being coaxed or bullied to leave by white shirt, at 10.20 whilst still finishing wine very poor.

    The glasshouse menu's have also become very boring, maybe due to us over using them. on previous occasions

    Very stale and rushed

    Best for us was Medina for lunch, mixing courses.

    Overall it is the staff that makes it, the product itself, is now very third world in our opinion.

  10. 39 minutes ago, Selbourne said:

    Thank you. I recall @jeanlyon saying that when she was on Aurora in the summer they were holding unfinished bottles in Club but not in Freedom, but that may have changed. As our long cruise was booked on a Saver, we won’t know until we board whether we are Club or Freedom.

    Hopefully you will see engineers with ‘Starlink’ uniforms on board fitting the new improved WiFi that P&O assures us is now on all their ships - but isn’t!


    Wishing you both a fabulous cruise. 

    Although it is of no interest to us, as we cruise under the radar, not even a phone, I will ask, and report back on our return

    • Thanks 1
  11. 6 minutes ago, mercury7289 said:

    Never been in that position🤣


    I am aware from your previous postings that you tend to have two bottles on the go, white and red.

    We are on Aurora again on Friday, I will ask the question for you and report on our return. Also for your upcoming adventure may I suggest that you down load and print off,16 square sudoku, I find they keep me occupied on sea days.

  12. 2 minutes ago, Selbourne said:

    Am I correct in thinking that the facility to have the restaurant hold on to part used bottles of wine for your next visit is still restricted to Club (fixed) dining only on Aurora? On Ventura the other week they wouldn’t do it at all, even in Club

    Never been in that position🤣

    • Haha 1
  13. 4 hours ago, Megabear2 said:

    Indeed convenience is the reason we bought it, coupled with the fact the money is a gift and we wanted to be able to,have something we could tell the person was an extra we wouldn't normally have.  We've actually added a gift package from the Black Friday sale to use the remainder of the money given to us.  On this occasion any discount didn't really worry us, particularly as the wine package covers a lot of wine we actually know and will happily drink.

    We can confirm after looking at our Aurora May statement, that the wine packages are priced nett no further discount


    • Thanks 1
  14. 25 minutes ago, Selbourne said:

    Yet with the Black Friday offers (also 20%) you could still get your loyalty discount deducted 🤔


    Given that these packages restrict your choice and, for higher loyalty tier customers the discount would effectively only be 10%, I can’t imagine that they sell too many of them?

    We have had the Commodores package on most of our cruises, it includes the wine that we would normally drink at restaurants when we go out out. On the first night, we choose the first bottle and also the second bottle for the ensuring evening. When we arrive at my table the wine is already there, so its all about convenience for us. No wine and food matching, we drink what we like. We also only order whilst on board

    • Like 3
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