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MelbTone

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Everything posted by MelbTone

  1. A few weeks back my Woolies had lovely strawberries for $1 a box - farmers must have been making all but nothing. Back to $3 yesterday.
  2. Hadn't realised that cruising supports pineapple farmers: Australian pineapple growers are experiencing a bumper season, but a third of their usual customers aren't buying the tropical fruit due to COVID-19. "The cruise ships leaving Melbourne and Sydney used to take truckloads of our pineapples," says Queensland pineapple grower Trudy Morgan, who works in the heat and dust, harvesting fruit in the Glasshouse Mountains, an hour's drive north of Brisbane. "But they're not sailing. The airline industry would take our pineapples and serve them in meals or offer juice, as would restaurants, hotels and bars … but those businesses aren't fully back up and running and we're left with a glut of fruit." https://www.goodfood.com.au/eat-out/news/the-best-value-australian-produce-for-your-shopping-basket-this-spring-20211007-h1z1y1 (might be paywalled)
  3. Happened to me mid 1990s. My brother worked for an airline and as he wasn't married he could nominate a relative in lieu of spouse to get staff travel benefits (10%, standby). So I got a UK-Melbourne ticket for £110. I dressed suitably and on the outward leg he got me upgraded. For the return leg I was warned that the flight was fully booked so decided to try my luck. My Aussie friend looked at me in suit and tie and said "why on earth are you dressed like that". It worked! Business class return for £110. Presumably the extension of this is that if you're cabin crew you pay special attention to the casually dressed since they've probably paid full fare.
  4. Yes, so cynical. Here in Victoria we have an earthquake and NSW can't resist having a bigger one!
  5. I got this FCC email this morning. It's probably OK for all those of you who live in the Northern hemisphere but here in Australia there are no cruises this summer (Nov-March), so the only ones that qualify are five at the end of 2022, four round New Zealand and one up to the Barrier Reef. Only problem is that I've already got 2023 bookings on a NZ cruise (Princess) and BR (Celebrity). I guess I need to phone them and try and get them to apply the FCC to the latter, failing which I cancel it and rebook the same for late '22. Soon the number of cruises I haven't been on will outnumber those I have!
  6. I was booked on Eclipse's Barrier Reef cruise next March. Not too surprisingly I got the email a few weeks ago saying it was cancelled and I would receive FCC or a refund at my choice. Today I booked online the similar cruise for 2023 then when I went to My Celebrity it said I was booked on two cruises, the second the one I just booked, the first a 7 night Pacific coastal cruise on Eclipse departing March 26 2022 (as per the original BR cruise), same booking ref. I have never received any emails relating to this booking. Before I contact Celebrity has anyone else experienced this?
  7. Just received from Cunard: that's my 2022 QM2 Melbourne-Fremantle cruise knocked out for the second year running - TBH not totally unexpectedly Our forecasts are showing that due to the number of affected international ports of call, and when restrictions in each will be lifted, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to deliver a Cunard World Voyage experience. Therefore, we have made the decision to cancel the 2022 World Voyages on both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. As a result of this decision, we are sorry to advise that your voyage has been cancelled. We understand you would have been excited to sail this itinerary with us and we are sorry for the disappointment this may cause.
  8. Just received from Cunard: that's my 2022 QM2 Melbourne-Fremantle cruise knocked out for the second year running - TBH not totally unexpectedly Our forecasts are showing that due to the number of affected international ports of call, and when restrictions in each will be lifted, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to deliver a Cunard World Voyage experience. Therefore, we have made the decision to cancel the 2022 World Voyages on both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. As a result of this decision, we are sorry to advise that your voyage has been cancelled. We understand you would have been excited to sail this itinerary with us and we are sorry for the disappointment this may cause.
  9. Check out twenty-something Emma's Queen Victoria cruise video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABwM_bOkKhQ
  10. Yes, rabbit pie was a regular menu item when I was kid, 1960s UK. Chicken was for special occasions.
  11. But presumably you would allow a deduction for accommodation, food etc. What does an au-pair or live-in nanny get paid all found?
  12. Thanks for the comments. I've bitten the bullet and booked Grand Princess, mini-suite. Surprising how many are already booked.
  13. I like to book as soon as cruises go on sale so as to have the best choice. Currently I'm booked on two Australia-only March 2022 cruises, not quite back to back, one on Queen Mary 2 deferred from this year, one on Celebrity Eclipse, booked at the start of 2020 pre-Covid. I'd guess that there is a chance (50%?) that one or both of these won't happen. Being optimistic I'm looking at booking a 13-day 2023 round NZ cruise with a view to getting a full deposit refund if one or both of the 2022 cruises needs to be rolled forward. For the first time I have a multiplicity of options. Any thoughts? Queen Elizabeth ($9098) S Noordam ($6716) S Celebrity Eclipse ($6839) S Pacific Explorer ($7098) M Grand Princess ($5626) M All 12/13 nights, prices single balcony. I have been on QE twice and love its ambience so the extra cost is not a decider; being less than happy for 13 nights would be. Other factor is that I live 5km from Port Melbourne which strongly favours the last two - no flight to/from Sydney and hotel. All thoughts welcome. Edit: There is a QE cruise from Melbourne, but it skips Tauranga where I have friends so this is not an option
  14. You could argue that a one-way trip is no different (speed apart) from a first-class flight!
  15. Very limited experience of F&C shops in UK and Aus but FWIW I've found the ones I've patronised here in Melbourne better than UK. The key difference here is that they cook to order, whilst the ones I used in UK took everything from a hot cabinet. The latter, though, is advantageous if you don't want to wait.
  16. We've got two of them here in Docklands. The other, originally Lady McKell, has been renamed Victoria Star with one of the wheelhouses removed to make a sun deck https://www.victoriastar.com.au/history
  17. Mine's a Panasonic: standard wholemeal loaf is five hours, rapid three hours, or, as OzKiwi says, you can set the timer so that the loaf will be finished in (say) ten hours. Mine (I've kept count, sad I know) has just passed 600 loaves. Big big plus compared with lots of 'time saving' appliances is that it's as good as self cleaning.
  18. Just back from my 2021 cruise. It was meant to be QM2 from Fremantle to Sydney, but instead a two hour Australia Day cruise on the Lady Cutler (ex Sydney Ferry, now a Melbourne party boat) from Melbourne Docklands down river to the bay and back.
  19. Just my 2c, but as a solo I didn't really enjoy my speciality dining experience on the Queen Elizabeth. The food and service were, of course, faultless. There were though long gaps between courses, presumably because the food was being cooked to order, and if I'd had a dining companion these would have been welcome opportunities for conversation. As a solo, though, I felt somewhat self conscious, but would have felt equally uncomfortable reading a book at an upmarket restaurant table. But YMMV and if on a future cruise I found another solo who was up for sharing a table I'd do it.
  20. I'm a single 60s male traveller and have been upgraded Britannia -> PG on two of my three Cunard cruises. I was really surprised the first time (QM2) since it obviously wasn't a reward for loyalty, but after meeting my dinner companions I think the reason was a desire by Cunard to achieve a better M-F balance - I was paired with a very pleasant lady who, to our mutual surprise, came from the same London suburb as me.
  21. Melbourne 2022-23 cruise calendar is here https://www.vicports.vic.gov.au/cruise-shipping/Pages/cruise-ship-schedule-3.aspx with QM2 visiting on 14 March 2023 and 12 March 2024
  22. I love pork pies: pre heart attack I probably ate 100+ a year. Now they're a Christmas special.
  23. My dad, a UK civil servant, was posted to Mexico City, 1957-59. We sailed to USA on the Media from Liverpool, 27 April 1957, then a long train journey from NYC. At the end of his service, April 1959, the UK govt flew dad home so as to have him back at work asap, leaving my mum unaccompanied with two small children to make the long train journey back (no family-friendly policies then!), then to Southampton on the Queen Mary. Unfortunately I was too young to remember anything of either voyage .... However, in 2010 I finally achieved a long-held ambition to stay on the Queen Mary at Long Beach. When booking, I put 'returning passenger' in the special requests box and was upgraded!
  24. It's a long long flight, so give yourself time to get over the jet lag. Play close attention to the Australian customs form declarations. In particular whilst there's usually no problem with factory packaged foodstuffs, you must declare them on the form. Fresh food, e.g. fruit, is a big no! Enjoy Australia! If you've got time in Brisbane, the maritime museum is worth a visit https://maritimemuseum.com.au/ as is Lone Pine Sanctuary https://koala.net/visitor-info
  25. My cruising 2020, Jan: Queen Elizabeth: Melbourne, Adelaide - skipped Kangaroo Island because of bushfires - Hobart, Melbourne. Little did we know then what was about to happen. 2021: zilch: was to be QM2 Fremantle-Melbourne.
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