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Belfast Taxman

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Everything posted by Belfast Taxman

  1. Journeyfan the figures suggested in your last post are not factually correct. The Cdc website suggests approx 5,000 flu related deaths in the USA this winter.
  2. One thing that needs to be remembered is that “a full day in port from 8 to 5” really means from 8.30 (if you are lucky) to about 4.00, as all cruise ships require you to get back to the boat well in advance of sail away. it is so easy to attempt too much in a day, even more so on a port intensive cruise like the Baltic day after day. Not sure of your precise itinerary but Tallinn often comes immediately before or after a day or more in St.Petersburg, which is likely to be tiring. We are doing exactly that (albeit three days in St.P) so for Tallinn, we have kept things simple and comparatively relaxing with a bus trip to the top of the Old Town and a four hour stroll downwards back to the ship with a bit of light lunch somewhere (suggestions welcome). Pretty much the same plan for Riga the next day. i do like the idea of a foodie experience in Tallinn itself. That sounds a much better idea than more extensive travel on the day. enjoy your cruise
  3. KJBacon - thank you so much for your blog, photos and review of your cruise on Explorer. We cruise on her (?) in August, albeit on a rather different itinerary, the Baltic, but a lot of your comments will, I am sure, transform into very useful advice. Thanks again and greetings from a very soggy Northern Ireland
  4. Emma unreserved apology for stating the obvious. I genuinely hope things work out for you and all other Voyageurs.
  5. Vietnam have, per Reuter’s, now banned several cruise ships on the apparent basis that within the last 30 days they have been in one of a number of destinations and not just China and Hong Kong but also Manila and Singapore, which kind of puts the forthcoming Voyager cruises in serious danger, destination wise. The position in Singapore is also becoming a lot worse as several Govt ministers have indicated that a similar ban on cruise ships is likely, with a very significant spike in the number of Covid 19 cases. i can only recommend that future Voyager cruisers keep a very close watch on events.
  6. Sounds a bit too Cunard for my taste. That is about 50% what attracted me to Regent. That there were only limited differences of services between cabin types (after all you do get the bigger cabin). The other 50% is the lack of formal nights on Regent.
  7. I have found this thread very interesting and useful as it has stuck to facts so far. I do not want to cause distress to any potential Voyager passengers of the near future by introducing “opinion”, so let me be clear, I am only giving an opinion here. It strikes me as somewhat risky that cruise ships are continuing to call at Singapore, which now has almost 50 confirmed (and still growing) cases of novel Coronavirus, and is now the confirmed origin of the majority of all cases involving UK citizens. I am not sure I truly believe that there are no cases in Indonesia and I doubt if we have a complete picture for Vietnam either. Whether any of those “thoughts” are relevant to near future “Voyageurs” or Regent is hopefully a no. Another factor which is perhaps more relevant is that, so far, it seems that the vast majority of people who have caught the virus do survive, indeed most recover quite quickly it appears. Nevertheless it is clearly important to reduce, as far as is possible, the spread of the virus. It just seems to me that allowing cruise ships to use ports where the disease is clearly present is high risk. just an opinion and I truly hope all cruise passengers enjoy their cruising
  8. It’s not too bad. Flew in and out twice last year. Depends upon the flight path, ordinarily you approach the island from the north east which gives fantastic views and then there is a sharp turn to the right and hopefully not too much wind from the side valleys to the north of the runway. Pilots are specially trained for this runway (not that unusual btw). There was a bad accident in the 1970’s but since then there has been a significant extension to the runway. Tea at Reid’s Hotel is great but I cannot recommend staying there, well not at the prices Belmond charge. Wifey and I stay at The Cliff Bay which is straight right of Mr Rumor’s lovely photo.
  9. Portolan - yes these were the excursions I was referring to. Thank you for pointing out that these tours had capability to transport wheel chairs. I had missed that point. As you say it is a significant surcharge, especially given that the price is per person. No doubt Regent will say that the cost is the best they can arrange, indeed that the price is partially subsidised. However, in my experience, with my wife’s grandfather, most modern wheelchairs can fold down and easily be fitted in the boot (trunk?) of a car. This would surely make the executive car day rentals a much cheaper option, especially on a per person basis, assuming that you can transfer from wheelchair to car seat. I appreciate that this may not always be possible for everyone.
  10. The Uk version of the Regent website is still showing no change in relation to the Feb 12 “Eastern Contrasts” cruise Bali to Hong Kong via Singapore. I am still being invited to seek a quote for this cruise
  11. I am thinking that there is something wrong with the UK Regent website. Either that or the cost of some trips has become extortionate. I have been looking at the Explorer cruise leaving Lisbon in early May. Here are a couple of examples (1) The last day of the cruise sees Explorer in Le Havre. One of the suggested excursions is a small group tour of Honfleur, which is a 30 minute bus ride away, and consists mainly walking round this undoubtedly scenic town ( been there several times and it is lovely). The suggested price £1,445 per person - eek! (2)Another suggested excursion that day is to some of the D-day beaches, the memorable US cemetery and Bayeux (but not including the Tapestry museum). The stated Price is £1,775 per person which seems really strange given that a visit to the Canadian landing beaches is free. other cruise ports appear to have a mixture of free or seemingly reasonable excursions and then one or two others at eye-watering prices for no apparent reason. I am hoping that this is just a case of the decimal point being put in the wrong place and I seriously hope that no-one has actually paid these prices.
  12. If this super blog is not sufficient to sate your appetite for all things Splendor, then already there are a number of You Tube videos available for viewing. These appear to be mainly filmed by TA’s and Regent staff who were on the pre-inaugural sailing from Ancona to Barcelona. The best one I have seen so far is a review of the Splendor Suite by Francesca Barone - it was she that did all the Facebook stuff earlier this week
  13. here are some links that may prove useful https://www.belfast-harbour.co.uk/news/ctd1-2 https://www.whatsinport.com/Belfast.htm
  14. I fear I can only give a part answer to this, because each cruise has its own arrangement for landing in Belfast, which can now hold several cruise ships at once. Last year a special cruise terminal area was created where visiting tours such as black cabs can get within reasonable walking distance from the ship, so if you dock there you should be fine assuming you are mobile. The alternative is that Regent provide a port to city centre shuttle bus. My understanding is that this would ordinarily be provided but I don’t know how often it goes or exactly where it goes to. I can only suggest that you contact Regent to see if they can confirm. Enjoy the craic!
  15. Yes, if you must have elephants then Addo is the place. However we had a close encounter, almost a bit too close, with a young bull elephant at Shamwari. One of many memorable encounters over three days there. The early morning starts are a bit hard and by our last day the normal six in the jeep had been whittled down to just me, which made what happened next all the more special as I and Bethel, the guide (the best I have ever come across) went hunting with a pride of lions. Watching their strategy at truly remarkable close range over several hours is something I will never forget.
  16. Another vote for Shamwari. We stayed at the Long Lee Manor which is the most civilised, less in the wild, of the reserve accommodation options but nevertheless thoroughly enjoyable. The management of the reserve including that of the animals is excellent
  17. Re Barcelona - Sagrada Familia is an obvious choice, but you should book a timed entrance in advance, for me the best time is late afternoon on a sunny day, where the effect of the sunlight on the windows as you walk around is amazing. If you don’t like heights do NOT take the lift up the main spire!
  18. Re Funchal - for me, forget the downward sleigh ride. The upward cable car to Monte and beyond is great if you don’t suffer from vertigo, but if you really like heights then take a tour bus to Cabo Sao Girao, some of the highest cliffs in the world, with the glass walking platform, nothing below you for over 700 feet, personally I hated it, but then I dont like heights. There is a lot more to Madeira than Funchal.
  19. Sorry if Granada is not possible for you but do not despair if you are in Malaga as there is plenty to do there. The cathedral is beautiful if you like Baroque and if you have an interest in Picasso then the museum is quaint. Alternatively there is good shopping to be had or another possibility is the lovely old fashioned food market. One other longer journey tour may be to Córdoba, the Mesquita and the old town there is a worthy alternative to Granada.
  20. Whilst the Alhambra complex is large, and of course utterly amazing and beautiful, I would say that in a three hour tour you would have seen all the absolutely must do bits. For me however there is a further must do outside the complex itself which is to climb the streets of the neighbouring Alabacin (plaza SAN Nicolas I’d suggest as a good start), late afternoon is best if time permits (and that is the real advantage with Motril). I promise you a view you will never forget.
  21. Here is more on the arrival of Regents new ship from Graham Sadler (UK director for Regent) Greetings from Dubrovnik as I am finally aboard Seven Seas Splendor™, and I don’t think I can wait much longer to tell you all about her! She is looking quite exquisite, different to Explorer but similar at the same time. I think you are going to love the new Observation Lounge which has a subtle nod to an English garden with glass roses and decorative etched glass panels. The library has been extended in size so if you want some real quiet time, go here to get your head into one of the library’s extensive new range of books (I saw the entertainment crew hauling these on last week!). The new Coffee Connection has a lighter and brighter feel, with a casual outside area and we’ve added more space around this area too, now including two puzzle tables which sit outside the Meridian lounge. All in all Splendor is raising the bar like 'Sergey Bubka'.
  22. Skara Brae is unique imho and should not be missed given the opportunity. With the right tour guide and half decent weather it is magical
  23. We read that Stockholm is a city that has taken to credit card usage to a significant degree, for instance that cash is not usable on most public transport. Is it possible to take no cash at all for a two day visit?
  24. Thanks for the suggestions. Wonderwifey has taken a fancy to Den Gylden Freden in Gamla Stan. does anyone have experience of this restaurant?
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