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Belfast Taxman

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Everything posted by Belfast Taxman

  1. Well you Splendor cruisers certainly had a lovely day in Belfast today weatherwise. We are about to walk about 100 yards to the shoreline to see Splendor sail past on its way to Liverpool. Should come past us in about an hour.
  2. Great to read all these encouraging posts from Splendor. can I formally welcome you to Belfast tomorrow- looks like some fairly typical Irish weather but you should be able to disembark okay. Sara and I shall be waving from the shore as you enter Belfast Lough. Enjoy.
  3. It is a rerun of last years programme and Mr.Barron’s panto performance
  4. I fear that April cruises out of Barcelona is a tad optimistic. If they do go, it seems likely that there would be no UK or US passengers. Following the departure of the Uk from the European Union at the end of December, movement of people for tourist purposes will be banned between the UK and most of Europe as there is little sign that the Covid outbreak is diminishing either here or Europe. US citizens are, of course, already banned from tourist travel to Europe. The latest debacle on Quantum of the Seas does not help
  5. According to the Regent Terms and Conditions the presence of dogs onboard is strictly limited to guide dogs or “service animals”. You would need to advise Regent of the dog’s presence at the time of booking, otherwise they reserve the right to withhold embarkation to you and the dog. You will also be liable for any damage caused by the dog, including a cleaning charge. I understand from a previous thread that they provide a litter tray for in-cabin use. Needless to say that the dog has to remain in the cabin unless escorting the guest. These rules only apply if the cruise embarks or disembarks from a US or UK port, otherwise you cannot bring the dog on board at all. Dogs are unlikely to be accepted in many countries for excursions but I don’t know the precise rules. You also have to provide for all the dog’s food and medication
  6. Hi Carol i reckon this could be a great cruise especially if most of the destinations are new to you. Anything with Barcelona in it is off to a good start, even if you have been a few times before. One of our favourite cities (been there at least a dozen times and still finding something new or in case of the Sagrada Familia something that changes each visit). Valencia is another beautiful city and would certainly reward a full day tour. If you are looking for a non-urban day you could try a tour of the paella rice fields, very interesting. Alicante is a city that many British people are guilty of overlooking as they head for the beaches but it has many interests. Almeria we have not been to, but a visit to Granada is definitely worth the bus trip. The Alhambra is genuinely world class as an attraction. Gibraltar has the rock but a quieter day of shopping may be just as rewarding. We have not been to Tangiers. Camel riding is certainly one option in Lanzarote, but in Tenerife you will be rewarded by some truly amazing views at the top of Mount Teide, think New Mexico landscape but with a big mountain and the sea in the distance. On a good day you should see your other port of call, Gran Canaria. October can be a tad wet at times in Spain, so a light jacket might be a good idea but it should also still be warm. This week it has been 30 degrees Celsius in Tenerife. Enjoy Splendor
  7. And I should have mentioned I am beavering away on preparation of our Five Spice Duck with Asian salad in lieu of Pacific Rim for our 30th anniversary dinner, wifey said it was time she had a night off🙄
  8. Apologies to Neil Young fans but we should have been viewing the delights of the Stockholm archipelago this evening on the sail away of our Baltic cruise on Explorer. still at least we have some of this
  9. You really should have a look at the Baltic forum on Cruise Critic - lots of advice re STP there.
  10. If you want to consider private tours then a good place for info is the Baltic forum on CC. There are regular discussions on tour companies. we chose Red Sun Tours on the basis of competitiveness, flexibility (we listened to their advice but ultimately we chose the three day itinerary) and customer service including no upfront payments needed. All our correspondence with Elena suggested 100% professional competence being thorough, prompt and friendly. For the Hermitage in particular we had a six hour tour that had detailed itinerary including which specific rooms and palaces (there are six of them I believe) we would see, all at our choosing. This included priority access in advance of the main opening and pre-arranged lunch break in the main cafe. It would have been a fortnight from today
  11. Wendy, you are right that Regent are late in announcing this cruise. Last year the 2022 Pacific based trip was revealed on 10 July. The only major cruise line to reveal their 2023 WC so far are Crystal (fairly standard Miami to Barcelona over a whopping 140 nights). I am not sure if this is standard, but one aspect of the booking process with Crystal is quite substantial discounts for full up front payment, with a best price guarantee whereby you keep your discount percentage if prices fall. Maybe this is a way of getting cash flow now, but perhaps this is normal practice (I don’t know). Assuming 2023 is Mariner, and given the length of the WC, what cabin category would you suggest as a minimum? Penthouse?
  12. Not immediately relevant to Regent, but the last few weeks have seen a number of European cruise companies go bust. Spanish company Pullmantour, Baltic cruise and ferry line Silja, and now British company CMV. These companies all predominantly cruised in Europe and to be honest not in the same part of the overall market as Regent but company analysts are quite openly predicting that this is just the start of a conveyor belt of bankruptcy and overall reduction of capacity. One commentator suggests a 30% reduction of ships being operated until 2022 with those ships that do operate only doing so at less than 50% of passenger numbers. i imagine even some of the bigger lines could go soon
  13. Well, effectively they have in two senses. The FCO (foreign and commonwealth office) have extended their travel advice to say that all cruise travel should be avoided. This will mean that travel insurance will be impossible to obtain for UK residents wishing to cruise and thus, for most people, end their plans for the time being ( there is no time limit). Secondly the announcement appears to say that no cruise ships will be allowed to embark/disembark in the UK for the time being. There may be a limit to the impact given that most UK cruises were already cancelled until October anyway.
  14. Hope you are right Jackie, possibly only the larger ships will be banned because there are many Venetians who benefit from the ships being there. I suspect there will be further limits as to the actual number of ships allowed in many ports in the Med. Santorini is a good example, Dubrovnik is another. This is, of course, happening “naturally” with Covid-19 at the moment, and I think the natives of these ports will not want to go back to the old days.
  15. Royal Carribean have announced that they are removing Venice as a cruise port for all relevant sailings until at least August 2021. They are replacing Venice with Ravenna, about 90 miles to the south, and actually a place very much worth visiting. This decision is not Covid-19 related and it is expected that other cruise lines will follow suit in the near future Cruising into Venice is a truly amazing experience but one that is guilt ridden. The damage being done is horrendous. If there has been a small silver lining to the pandemic, it has been the recovery of the eco system in the Lagoon. The return of cruise ships would destroy that recovery.
  16. pcardad i do apologise, I really did not mean to cause confusion, but yes it does appear that we have to take the future Baltic cruise with no additional cost to us (whereas even with a 125% FCC there would have been an extra £1,000 to pay including the pre-cruise package and flights) in order to get the original, now cancelled, cruise included on our Regent Seven Seas society account.
  17. Going back to my opening post. I think I may have to give credit where credit is due (pardon the pun) Regent today sent us an e-mail confirming cancellation of our August Baltic cruise. The expected choice of 100% refund or 125% FCC was made. In addition we were told that the cancelled cruise days would count on our Seven Seas Society record. But in addition to the above, the issue that I covered in my opening post was directly covered by Regent. They identified two very similar cruises, including the one I had noted in my opening post, to our cancelled cruise next year. They correctly noted that even with 125% FCC we would lose out and thus offered us a no further payment due deal if we take either of these cruises. We will be considering carefully with our TA
  18. Is booking on Crystal a sign that Regent are being far too slow in confirming cancellation of cruises. We would be most interested in Barcelona to Dubai on Explorer in November, but it would have to be as a replacement for our August Baltic cruise. We still await confirmation that this is cancelled. there seems a much more realistic chance of cruising in November and certainly that fits in with previous quotes from FDR. Depends upon no second wave of infection of course, but it is the current uncertainty being caused by delaying cancellations that is another problem. Other cruise lines have cancelled well into the autumn for some time now and others such as Crystal have published rearranged cruise itineraries for October onwards. Why is Regent being comparatively slow?
  19. All of Explorer’s cruises in August are now waitlisted including ours on 28 August - the beginning of the end methinks
  20. Feels good to talk about the actual cruise experience for a change. Today, we booked our three speciality restaurants for our August cruise. Notwithstanding the probable futility, it was good to see the booking experience was a lot simpler than the excursions. We got the days and times we wanted😃 and we got email confirmation within a few minutes - now if only their refund process was as successful lol.
  21. I agree with GrJ Berkshire. The concept of cut price deals to lure back cruisers is a short term illusion with Regent and other luxury cruise lines. As I identified in my earlier thread “the value of FCC”, even with the extra 25% there is no guarantee that you will not be out of pocket when re-booking. As for a vaccine, we can hope but there is no guarantee here either
  22. So it is not just a question of when, but where? As I have said before, I do not expect any Regent European cruises this year and no transatlantic sailings either (sorry Susan). Rather it will US based cruises (Caribbean being the most likely) for US residents. perhaps the best indicator is the sort of cruises now available to book for August from the likes of Carnival and Disney - three or four night cruises from Miami stopping at their island resorts and Cozumel only. lets hope the hurricane season is quiet this year
  23. It is exactly the same, apart from the differences I have mentioned. I have approached my TA as we had included a 2 night pre - stay in Stockholm, expanding on the one night that was part of the Regent package. The additional £2,400 does not include that additional element.
  24. We expect our August Stockholm to Southampton cruise to be cancelled soon. Regent will then offer us a long wait on the 100% refund or 125% FCC. What could we do with the FCC? Well, perhaps the most obvious thing we could do is try and replicate the cruise we had already booked, and indeed we very nearly can. On 25 July 2021 there is almost exactly the same cruise. There are just two differences, firstly Splendor instead of Explorer, secondly the port in Latvia is not Riga (unfortunately). There is a third difference, the price. For the same cabin we had booked, a D Concierge, there would be an additional £2,400 each which equates to a rise of 130%. The wait for the refund is looking the more attractive especially given the practical consequences of whatever precise new regulations will be in force, none of which would appear to enhance the “luxury” of the overall experience. I would have expected Regent to ensure that passengers having to use FCC would not be financially disadvantaged as well. Perhaps they may discount the price accordingly. Would welcome any confirmation that this has happened
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