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Belfast Taxman

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Everything posted by Belfast Taxman

  1. Not to other lines, but to the new Regent ship, Splendor, seems to be the more common thought. what does concern me more is that, without being an expert in any way, Voyager appears to be having ongoing mechanical issues. This was, if I recall correctly, first reported as serious engine problems by Flossie009 on their Eastern Med cruise (and then Barcelona to Dubai) back in November. Personally I would be concerned at poor or mal-functioning A/C as a bigger issue than occasional slightly less than perfect service.
  2. Based on the full page adverts today in a number of UK Sunday newspapers such as The Sunday Times, Regent clearly believe that the TV programme was a great success as the adverts all clearly refer to the main tag line of the programme, the most expensive cruise ship in the world.
  3. Gnomie1 you might be right - we were not part of the discussion- and I agree with you that it was all a bit tacky. Indeed it was more tacky than the original four part series made by the same TV production company, which also had, as one of its main themes, the cost of everything on the “most expensive cruise ship in the world”. It would seem that Christmas became an excuse to really go over the top. As for Regent, they may well have thought that was good for their corporate image, what I personally found difficult to take was the presentation of Regent customers.
  4. I agree that this “Christmas” special was not a great programme, and no it was not actually Christmas, but I suggest that we should refrain from criticism of Regent. This was an independent television production and Regent will have had very limited editorial control. For instance, the constant referencing to price was a follow on from the earlier series entitled “The Most Expensive Cruise Ship in the World”. This clearly led to the concentration to the vulgar events in the Regent Suite, or am I just jealous?🙄
  5. Naturally I am very pleased that Belfast seems to be a very popular Cruise port. If you are interested in the Titanic then undoubtedly the Titanica visitor centre will be your main port of call and it can be combined with other places of interest in the city, or possibly specialist tours such as the food one. Outside of the city, the most popular excursion will surely be the Giants Causeway and the North coast. Splendid coastal scenery and a contender for one of the great natural wonders of the world make for a great day trip, but one word of caution. Your enjoyment of the Causeway does partially depend upon how much of it you can actually see. Arriving at high tide is best avoided if possible. if you are more interested in stately homes and beautiful gardens then Mountstewart could also make a good alternative excursion especially on a nice day (sorry but rain free days cannot be guaranteed!), and the Regent tour there also stops at my local pub. Talking of pubs, no visit to Belfast is totally complete without a pint of the black stuff at The Crown Bar, far superior location wise and taste wise than you will find in Dublin, although I do recommend a visit to the brewery in Dublin if your cruise stops there.
  6. Looking at the available excursions, if you don’t like wine or vineyards (you could enjoy the latter without indulging in the former), then your two options appear to be Cognac, a lovely town but if you don’t like wine you may not like cognac either😩 or the bus tour to the city of Bordeaux itself, which imho is likely to be your best option. There is plenty of non wine interest. Given the distance I cannot imagine Regent providing a shuttle bus as well as the excursion offered (it is free). If you feel like some independent travel you could try Arachon, but you have to like oysters and it is slightly further away than Bordeaux so time might be an issue. your post also mentions L’Orient. If there is a tour to the prehistoric site of Carnac then I would recommend it.
  7. and for all those cruising druids out there ... happy winter solstice today
  8. Thank you for your description of your Florence tour. It sounds almost exactly the same as one we did with Celebrity many years ago. There is so much in Florence that is worth seeing, but if there is time at the end of the tour and the tour buses are nearby, obviously a popular spot for them, then I would particularly recommend the Basilica of Santa Croce, some of the wall paintings are simply amazing. There are also some interesting tombs.
  9. If the OP is on the cruise out of Stockholm on the 28th August, then please have a look at our roll call on the forum and sign up for Meet and Mingle.
  10. For UK viewers there is a “special Christmas edition” of “The most expensive cruise ship in the world” on Channel 5 on Friday 27th December 2019 at 8.00pm (UK time). If you have Sky then you should be able to watch it in Europe, cable may be at a different time. This one-off programme follows on from the four part series first shown in the UK in August 2019.
  11. Last year we spent a whole week in Florence and didn’t see it all! I agree with those who suggest a DIY tour is preferable to organised group tours, but they do require advance planning. For instance, any visit to the Uffizi gallery or the Accademia must be booked in advance with a specific entrance time. This is not difficult to do online, but yes the bus from Livorno is a good two hours (plus, if your bus stops at one of the leather shops on the way). For a less demanding, travel wise, excursion I would recommend Pisa, although Lucca is lovely as well.
  12. I would like to wish every Forum user a very happy festive season as well as merry cruising for 2020. Every poster provides useful advice and experience of Regent Seven Seas and have undoubtedly enhanced our enjoyment of preparing for our cruise in August, so I hope we all have plain sailing next year and many wonderful memories created. Stephen and Sara
  13. Flossie - lots of good advice as always, although not all of it will likely work for us as for our cruise the big night is New Years Eve, so ringing in the morning probably not going to work (btw, for UK cruisers, do you mean ring Regent UK?) What I would like to confirm is how do you know whether you have been successful or are on a waitlist, is there e-mails or do they simply appear on My Account. In particular for our cruise we have taken a fancy to one quite expensive Regent Choice tour to Bruges and Ghent. Do the Choice tours fall within the category of priority bookings? I assume they will as it is a small Group tour (16 people). as for it not being a military operation, my Wife is about to call the stress reliever cavalry, and we haven’t even given any serious thought to packing yet! Only 272 days to go
  14. Travelcat thank you so much for the photos of the various bar drinks lists stuff the wood look like flooring, what we need now is the wine list, the connoisseur wine list and all the current menus from all of the restaurants, lunch and dinner please. only joking🤪 although, if you could manage it......
  15. Thanks Deep Freeze We have an added slight difficulty as our “D” day for booking is midnight (US EST) on New Years Eve (so 5.00am on New Year’s Day for us, what a great start to the year!). has anyone had experience where the opening for booking excursions has varied with Regent ; our time certainly rules out ringing Regent! interested by your priority method and will likely follow suit, I was a bit surprised that you went for the extra charge Regent choice first (the small group ones yes I understand that as a method). On our cruise (Baltic on Explorer late August 2020) we have used an identical cruise in June 2020 as a dummy run. We have only identified one extra charge cost excursion ( not a small group one) that we want (I should add we are doing three days in St Petersburg on our own private tour) so should we go for that first?
  16. Likewise with the pdf for the June 2020 Baltic cruise on Explorer which I have used as a dummy run for our August 2020 cruise
  17. Bon Voyage Travelcat. Your experiences on TAP do not surprise me. It is worth saying that some airlines are better long haul than short haul. British Airways is imho certainly like that, especially for business class. Club Europe is little more than slightly more comfortable cattle class with rather horrid food. Long haul in business class is much better, at least based on my last flight to Cape Town, admittedly some years ago. A lot of people say that all BA is terrible now but I suggest variable is perhaps a better word. Looking forward to lots more posts, in particular re Funchal, one of our fave Euro sunshine holiday venues. .
  18. My fave nickname for an airline is UK airline Flybe, much more commonly known as “Flymaybe”
  19. Flown with TAP many times mainly Dublin to Lisbon or Porto or Funchal. Not sure what their long haul is like but I would not put them in my favourite airline category. Business class mediocre in comparison to airlines like Emirates, pretty much on a par with British Airways’ Club Europe, ie not great
  20. Sadly the London Times has an article today about the current unusual pattern of the North Atlantic jet stream and predicts further stormy and wet weather for the Adriatic next week which will combine with Acqua Alta due then. The article predicts a very high risk of severe flooding in Venice next week. Very ☹️ Having said that I do want to emphasise the highly unusual nature of recent conditions. I appreciate the desire to cover the risk of being flooded out but to start booking alternate hotels almost a year in advance seems a tad unnecessary to me. Three hotels have been mentioned along with a love (totally deserved imho) of SAN Marco and the Rialto. The Gritti is geographically the most convenient for both of these two locations. Being on the Grand Canal itself then flooding is clearly possible. The Danieli, as Hambagahle has mentioned, is more prone to flooding as it is located on a comparatively low level walkway right on the Lagoon. The Hilton, not in the same class of hotel btw, does however have a significantly lower risk of flooding. It is located on the southern side of the Giudecca, along which your cruise ship will leave or arrive in Venice. The harbour walls here are much higher than on the Lagoon or the Grand Canal. If the Hilton floods then Venice, as a whole, is in serious trouble.
  21. I suspect the Danieli may be more liable to flooding than the Hilton. obviously what has happened over the last few weeks is terrible, but it is still comparatively rare. It has been over 50 years since it was as bad as the last few weeks. I have been to Venice many times in the winter months and have never seen more than a small puddle on Piaza San Marco. As Hambagahle says the weather across Western Europe from Ireland down to the Med has been extremely wet over the last few weeks. Next year we could as easily be in near drought.
  22. Some folks asked for an update, so hear it is... A reasonable ending rather than a happy one, but it could have been a lot worse as we were more or less at the mercy of the goodwill of Regent. This was because of the comparatively draconian T&C’s here in the UK. I will not give the precise details, but with our cruise still more than nine months away and all cabin types showing as Available, Regent dropped the brochure price for our Concierge Suite by £4,400. Of course, when we booked, we did not pay the brochure price. Indeed our situation was a little confused as we had declined the flights and 1 night pre-package, got the credit and then arranged business class flights and a 2 night pre-cruise stay separately. As you will know, we applied for a “re-fare” but then the differences between North American and UK terms became a lot clearly focused😥. We let our TA have first go with the “negotiations”. The first surprise was that Regent UK simply washed their hands of the matter. We would be dealing with Regent US. Opening gambit was an offer of a cruise credit and here came another difference for UK customers with credit being given against another cruise, rather than against future payments due. Further e-mails ensued and we made progress on two fronts. The credit would simply reduce the balance due and we got a bit more actual credit. Ultimately we got not as much as we had hoped for, but more, quite a bit more, than we had feared we might get. Clearly the concept of “goodwill” is recognised as important by Regent and I am bound to say that every Regent person I dealt with was pleasant, professional and genuinely did seem to want to help. We will board Explorer in the knowledge that some fellow cruisers are likely to have paid a fair bit less than we have, but it could, legally, have been a lot worse. I have certainly learnt a lot about booking a cruise and maybe this will be beneficial in the future. Thanks to all those who contributed to this thread and gave us invaluable advice and benefit of your experience. Only 284 days to go😃
  23. There are three categories, A-C. There are price differences and not all are available on the same decks, but what else is different about them? If you try the “Compare cabins” function on the Regent website, there does not appear to be any size or other difference between them. Surely it can’t be the butlers!
  24. Likewise I am not an expert but would assume that Papaflamingo is right that the number of users and geography might be factors that slow down Internet speeds. i imagine that the ship depends upon a satellite connection, and “shadows” exist where and possibly when the connection worsens. This depends not only on the location of the ship but also the position of orbiting satellites and ground level transmission boosters (well, something like that!) i wonder if there has been a deterioration since leaving the Med? one other potential factor may be that satellite signals are being interrupted as you pass the Middle East, particularly as you near Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states, but there are other possibilities such as weather, the dreaded “rain fade”
  25. Baltic in 2020 Kathy - you may want to look at what has happened to the brochure price!
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