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Everything posted by Harters

  1. It will not be the only one. We're definitely in a third wave here in Europe. Even in the UK, with our high rate of vaccinations, infection numbers are on the rise in many boroughs (including my own).
  2. dog - was your Kirkwall visit some years back? We didn't tender in 2017 and I have it mind that the docking area was a fairly recent construction And a correction on the castle information. Conwy is by no means the nearest to Liverpool. Ones nearer include the castles at Denbigh, Flint and Rhuddlan. Apologies for any confusion. Conway is, however, much larger and more interesting than those three. Apologies for any confusion.
  3. I visited Kirkwall on a cruise a couple of years or so back. We had booked what looked like an interesting ship's excursion round the island, taking in some of the very early archaeology sites. The trip was also going to take in Scapa Flow which was home to our Grand Fleet during the Great War ) I'd hoped to pay my respects to the 20 or so Royal Navy sailors from our town who died during the war and have no known grave. In the event, my companion was unwell so we didnt go. Later in the day, we took the shuttle bus into town and just had a look round. This might be the capital of
  4. I don't wish to be overly pedantic about my country's geography, but you appear to be using the words England, Great Britain and UK interchangeably. They're not. England is one part of the island of Great Britain which, together with Northern Island forms our country's name of the United Kingdom of Great Brtain & Northern Ireland (UK). Kirkwall is on an island in Scotland, so also part of Great Britain and the UK. Liverpool is about an hour's drive from home and probably has enough to keep your occupied for a day even though it's obviously an urban landscape (and riverscape?) w
  5. We've only done one Oceania cruise - on Marina . Booked the speciality restaurants as soon as we could. And had dinner in the GDR on all the other nights. We had booked for around 8pm and turned up at the GDR at about that time. Never had had a problem getting a table for 2 - usually in the GDR we were shown straight to a table but once or twice had about a five minute wait.
  6. The EU will NOT have its citizens vaccinated by the end of summer. For several countries, the schedule runs into 2022. Here in the UK, we expect all adults to have been vaccinated by summer but, of course, that does not mean that it's safe for us to travel and , with rising infection rates in several other European countries, it seems unlikely that restrictions on our travel are going to be lifted anytime soon.
  7. I find it difficult to look much into the future, whether about cruising or anything else. We hope to cruise in August next year to celebrate a special occasion. But we'll not be making any booking until things are much clearer on the Covid front. I think it is going to be tricky. To cruise, you want to be reassured that your fellow passengers are safe so I anticipate that somehow an international "Covid passport" will be developed - showing that you have a current vaccination or a current negative PCR test. But we will also want to know that the various port countries are safe, with low infec
  8. We took our first cruise, with P & O, in 1988 and over the following year did two more. We became disenchanted with the formality - the set dining times but, more so, the dresscodes requiring the wearing of suits and dinner jackets. So we stopped cruising for a while. Then we did a very casual cruise with the now defunct Island Escape (?). That was simply too casual - the quality of a mid range Spanish tourist hotel without any of the ability to go out to a nice restaurant in the resort. So, we stopped cruising altogether. It is only in recent years that we've rediscovered it a
  9. My guess here is that the major issue with UK sailings from the summer onwards, will not be decisions of our government but those of the European governments of port destinations. For many, their vaccine rollout is relatively slow and certainly spreading into 2022. With minor exception, I cannot see a quick uplifting of travel restrictions this side of the establishment of the much talked about forge-proof international vaccine certificate.
  10. We've only done one Oceania cruise. We did Concierge. It was not a lot extra and we regarded the idea as a treat for the little extras. In truth, I'm not sure whether it was worth it for us. We're hoping to do a "special occasion" cruise in August 2022 and will decide whether to save the relatively small amount of money or not, when we're closer to booking. Of course, with all the money we've saved on holidays during Covid, we may just decide to throw lots of cash at this one in any event. Air did not arise last time as it was a UK to UK cruise, so we drove to near Southampton and
  11. Actually not at all accurate. Although our programme is the most advanced amongst European countries, most others have made a start, as indicated on the link below, bearing in mind that it is only very recently that vaccines have been aprroved for use by the EU. https://qap.ecdc.europa.eu/public/extensions/COVID-19/COVID-19.html#vaccine-tracker-tab
  12. We've both had our first Astra Zeneca jab, in recent days, with the second jab scheduled for mid April. Should mean we're as good as it's going to get by early May. Still need lots more people round the world to have been vaccinated before it will really feel safe. Hopefully that will be by summer next year, when we hope to celebrate a major event with an Oceania cruise.
  13. Food is important to us for any holiday. Almost the first thing we research for a land-based holiday is the restaurants. It's what led us to Oceania for the one cruise we've done with them. And, assuming it ever feels safe to us to cruise again, it will lead us back to Oceania. I'd rate the food as "good bistro" quality. Certainly not European Michelin star quality (I know that can vary across the world) or, indeed, places that I'd hope might be awarded a star in due course. But we enjoyed the food in the dining room on the nights we ate there. And we enjoyed the speciality restaur
  14. Let me preface my reply by saying that I do not go to restaurants which require men to wear jackets. Fortunately, there are now very few of them so it is not a issue to avoid them. I have the same attitude towards cruise lines. Jacket required - no booking from us. I find it an archaic constraint. So, we picked an Oceania cruise because of its modern day dress code which I generally, and correctly. interpreted as being "smart casual". My recollection is the the actual wording was "country club casual" - a meaningless phrase if you are from a country which doesnt have American style
  15. This is a travel forum not a politics one which means any detailed reply would be very off-topic. So, let me answer as briefly as possible. The majority did indeed think otherwise which is why we have left the EU. I was not amongst the majority - and very proud to have been one of the 48%. You'll be able to find pro-EU arguments for yourself by a quick Google. Look beyond the purely economic for the things that the UK has lost.
  16. Thank you for the correction. In this respect, it's an academic matter as there is little possibiity of any implementation before our disastrous departure from the Union.
  17. The UK is no longer a member of the Union so the implemenation of any recommendations wouldnt be directly applied to Britons. That said, there is much in these recommendations that I would agree with. In fact, if ships do not practice social distancing and mask wearing, as hotels in an increasing number of our neighbour countries now require, then we won't be cruising at all. These are just commonsense public safety measures which we are increasingly learning to live with. Not that this will be a consideration any time soon, as the government has just changed its travel advice abou
  18. I would be very nervous considering a cruise, this side of a vaccine being developed. I am not saying that I would definitely not cruise. But I would want to know that the virus is very well suppressed not only in my own country (UK) but elsewhere, so risk is inherently much lower. I would also want to know what practical steps a cruise line was taking to make ships Covid-secure. Tourist hotels are starting to reopen in Europe and will offer me a good idea of what I think is "best practice" to look for on a ship. It's seems pretty clear that there will be things like limiting guest numbers to
  19. Had things been normal, we would have just returned from an Alaska cruise - an early 70th birthday present to myself. I am not sure when we will feel it safe to cruise again (not least as most cruises involve air travel for us, which may well be even riskier). But, one thing is certain, if we do cruise again in the foreseeable future, it will only be in circumstances where there are things like social distancing and mask wearing when you're moving about a ship. If cruise lines say they are not going to have protections like that (and that would be accommodating most people who have contributed
  20. We have now been able to sort this out with the tour operator who eventually offered a full refund but said it would take 28 days. That's today and the full amount has appeared in our bank account. We'll now withdraw our parallel claim with our bank. Must admit, the whole Covid matter leaves us nervous about flying in the future, but hope the experience of others will build confidence. It does also leave us very nervous about the prospect for future cruising holidays. I think there needs to be a lot of work done to make customers with vulnerable health conditions feel safe again.
  21. We were due to take an Alaska cruise at the end of this month. I cancelled shore excursions in mid March and received a refund within days. The cruise is part of a wider trip from the UK to Western Canada, booked through tour operator here. We are currently in the early stages of dispute with the operator, as they are refusing refunds and only offering rebooking or a refund credit note, not redeemable until 31 March 2021. This is unacceptable - not least as refunds are guaranteed under UK law and are clearly offered in the operators terms & conditions. Their argument, so far, i
  22. Thanks for the heads-up. I've had a quick look on the provincial government website and, as far as I can see, this is currently a voluntary scheme for folk to do their "civic duty" and wouldnt apply to tourists. That said, iancal's info about the federal government decision banning cruise ship dockings until 1 July would seem to be the end of the matter. I still see a battle with our operator in the UK over refunds but not as big a battle as I might have thought.
  23. Yesterday, the UK government issued advice that older people and those with existing health conditions should not cruise. My partner & I both have respiratory conditions so I suspect that this puts paid to my 70th birthday present cruise at the end of May. The HAL Alaska cruise is part of a wider trip, which includes Western Canada. We'll leave things for a few weeks to see what else develops. Who knows what further decisions may be taken by the UK, American or Canadian governments or, indeed, the airline. But once things are clearer, maybe in a month, we'll start talking to our tour oper
  24. I've stayed at County Hall on several occasions when I've visited the capital, although not for a year or so. It's a chain I generally use when travelling and always enjoy the full breakfast.
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