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Belfast Taxman

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Everything posted by Belfast Taxman

  1. 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”
  2. Baltic in 2020 Kathy - you may want to look at what has happened to the brochure price!
  3. Thanks for the replies Our TA contacted Regent in the UK who apparently have referred the matter to Regent USA (head office). Even with losing the 20% deposit, it might work out better for us to cancel and re-book, so hopefully Regent may do something.
  4. The Regent brochure price for our cruise in August 2020 has dropped significantly. we booked with a UK TA about a month ago and have paid the Regent deposit as well as the full cost of a separate pre-cruise stay booked with the TA. i understand that some cruise lines allow you to “re-fare” as long as you are not fully paid and all room types are showing available, which is the case for our cruise. However I have to admit that I cannot see anything in The Terms And Conditions on their website that suggests that Regent have a policy to that effect. is that correct? Is there anything I can do? I have contacted my TA; unfortunately the girl I booked it with, who handles all cruise bookings, is off ill at the moment and the person I spoke to admitted knowing virtually nothing, but did say she would contact Regent. I didn’t get a great feeling of confidence tbh. The price drop is so significant that it might be better to cancel, lose the Regent deposit and then re-book.
  5. We have never had a spa treatment, but that does mean that wonderwifey and I do not want to use the spa. There has already been a recent lengthy thread on hairdressing for her and I shall wish to use the sauna/steam room/infinity pool (on Explorer) facilities, so good management and staff in the spa area will be important to us.
  6. Bebop thanks for your cruise report. Just shows that even with Regent that there can be highs and lows, or should I say ups and downs, re the tenders.
  7. hambagahle the reason for the convoy is that large sections of the canal cannot cope with ships going in opposite directions at the same time, so the day is split into three eight hour periods, during which ships can only go south or north. So your ship is likely to have to wait at certain places to wait your turn and this, of course, creates convoys.
  8. One further point, if by chance your docking is changed, which can happen, from Rosyth to Newhaven, then you have got good fortune as Newhaven is much closer and is indeed one of the stops on the HOHO bus route as on my previous post. please note there are several different HOHO bus operators in Edinburgh so please check carefully that you are getting the one right for you as they do not all go to Leith, which btw is a great place to lunch if you have time, with a choice of good restaurants walkable from the Royal Yacht.
  9. Papaflamingo Edinburgh, in nice weather, is a lovely place. One of my favourite UK cities. For DIY tour, I suggest the following. Use the shuttle bus provided as suggested by BBWC and, as Flossie suggested, consider pre-booking your visit to the Royal Yacht. This will mean you need to get your timings right, but if you get the HOHO bus, which you can get tickets for and board very close to the shuttle bus drop point, this should prove manageable. i suggest you allow at least 30-45 minutes for the shuttle bus and a similar time for getting your Hoho tickets and bus (in June they go every 20-30 minutes but please check). The main tour will take you to both Leith for the Royal Yacht-and Holyrood Palace. The whole tour takes about 60-70 minutes to go round with no stops. There are two different routes, essentially North and South of the city centre. You will want North. for further info try https://edinburghtour.com/majestic-tour/
  10. If by “old stuff” you mean the Kourion theatre and Sanctuary of Apollo then I am hoping for some photos, as it is such a lovely spot, but wherever you go, enjoy.
  11. Hambagahle thank you for your reply and advice re St Petersburg. as it happens our planning has involved looking at private guides for a three day tour and yes, it is not cheap! I think what we will do is look very closely at what actual free/Regent choice excursions are offered and the price of the latter when released by Regent. can you, or anyone, suggest the likely price of a Regent private car and driver for three days?
  12. A fair point and well made. No matter how much planning we do for our first Regent cruise, I am confident that there will be plenty of the unexpected. We look forward to that. However I do suggest that planning has a vital role in our enjoyment of our Regent cruise. Let me give you two examples. (1) one of the destinations on our cruise is St.Petersburg. My wife and I have long wished to go there. Our cruise is very possibly our one and only chance to go there. Should we not plan our three days? I believe we should and indeed in some great detail in order that we don’t feel that we have missed what is important to us. That may sound like overkill or routemarching to some, but for us it is all part of the holiday experience as well as being very usefully educational to us. (2) a more general example - the Regent Cruise experience. My wife and I have cruised before, albeit many years ago, but this is our first Regent cruise. We expect things to be different on Regent, hopefully better. But expectation should not, in my opinion, harbour in a vacuum of the unknown, otherwise it may become unrealistic in more ways than one. By asking questions and having them answered by a range of the more experienced Regent cruiser is, for us, a great way of understanding, in advance, what is realistic. Indeed, is that not a main purpose of this Forum? Whatever, we feel happier with enhancing our understanding of the Regent experience in advance, call it planning if you will, because we believe that will enhance our enjoyment of the actual event. And all that still leaves plenty of room for the unexpected, including meeting new friends along the way. Who knows, we may meet a wonderful Swiss/US couple, with whom we become great friends. Wouldn’t that be serendipity 😀
  13. Sorry but I don’t see the contradiction between planning and serendipity. I plead totally guilty to being very excited at the prospect of our first Regent cruise, and we are keen to get the very most we can from every aspect of the experience, from the very first steps we take aboard to disembarkation. But please do not confuse a newbie asking a whole load of questions, which I genuinely hope will help or be of interest to others, with someone who is set in their ways and not absolutely prepared to go with the flow of the moment.
  14. So you have arrived, accepted the first glass of champagne and now await your Suite to be ready in a couple of hours. where do you like to go now? i would like answers to suit a couple of scenarios as follows; (a) sunny day and wet day (b) hungry and not hungry
  15. Three weeks and more since I submitted my completed application form, within the time limit for doing so and acknowledged by Regent as having been received by them. I have heard nothing since. What do you recommend. My booking was via a UK TA, but I understood that my MRC application was independent of the actual booking and direct with Regent themselves.
  16. Strictly speaking I cannot answer this because I have yet to board a Regent ship (only 308 days to go !), but based on current menus I am determined to find out if I like the following; Pacific Rim - tempura lobster Prime 7 - veal tomahawk (oh yeah😁) Charteuse - those scallops sure look good
  17. Slightly off topic but following on about skip the line advance booking. If your cruise takes in Livorno or La Spezia, you may be tempted to go to Florence and visit the greatest art gallery in the world, imho, the Uffizi. The trouble is that lots of other people will have the same idea. Even having booked in advance for a specific time slot, be prepared to elbow your way past the massed scrum at the entrance and queue for at least 10-15 minutes. It is worth it, just don’t expect to have The Birth of Venus to yourself!!!!
  18. Flossie thank you so much for the info re the train from Civitavecchia; in the past we have simply booked cruise excursions and trooped onto the bus, which would appear to take longer. Re the Vatican, yes advance booking essential as with most major tourist attractions these days. We found it very crowded on the two occasions we have been. The trick is to get as far away from the entrance as quickly as possible. It does thin out a bit after a while only, of course, to get busy again around Raphael’s Loggia and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. The one other thing I would suggest to would be visitors is having decided to go, book a realistic entrance time. Turn up late, even by 15 minutes, and you may find yourself at the back of a very long queue. if the Vatican sounds too hectic or you can’t get the right entrance time, but you love fine art then can I suggest the Villa Borghese instead. Again you need to book in advance for one of their two hour entrance slots. This way they limit the numbers and you actually get time to see everything in comparative peace. The Villa itself is beautiful but inside are two of our all time favourite pieces of art; Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love, and a statue by Bernini called Apollo and Daphne. The Villa Borghese can easily be accompanied with other highlights of Rome such as the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and the Pantheon. Morning Trivia! whatever next, I thought it was only for afternoon tea.
  19. And from what we saw on the recent UK TV series about Explorer, she’s a total demon at Baggo
  20. The Juan Carlos I Hotel is a fairly typical international style 4/5 star hotel. Given recent events in Barcelona it is slightly ironic that the hotel, well out of the centre of the city, is actually close to two symbols of Catalan nationalism; the Camp Nou, the soccer ground of Barcelona FC, as well as the main campus area of the main university of Barcelona. i am not aware of specific violent events in or around the hotel over the last week or so, and the good news is that the overall picture seems a lot calmer now. It may be worth pointing out that none of the violence has been directed at tourists, although with the effective closure of the airport and city transportation last week, I can imagine that many tourists were impacted. Having said that most of the main tourist sites such as the Sagrada Familia remained open last week, and yes, advance booking is essential and you should expect to take 15-20 minutes to get through security, but very definitely worth it. Over the last 15 years, I have visited it almost every single year, but now that the main roof is on, the transformation in the last couple of years is truly amazing. My personal favourite time is later in the day, when the impact of the sunlight is just a bit more subtle and special. Towards sunset on a nice day is very spectacular. Anyway I digress. More good news is that Hong Kong is also quieter, although weekends still appear to have their moments in certain parts of the city. Again it is worth saying that tourists are not the “target”. Finally some people have mentioned Istanbul as a worry due to recent events on the border with Syria. There is a great distance between these two locations and not just in mileage terms. I am not aware of any current issues in Istanbul itself. Indeed, as others have suggested I would be more worried about the traffic than violence.
  21. Regulars may know we are cruising the Baltic next August on Explorer. We are arranging a three day private tour with a local tour provider in St. Petersburg and we have a great looking itinerary for all three days. It is action packed and does require a fairly early start each day, including 90 minutes after our scheduled arrival time on day one (although this is, I think, quite flexible as we would back on the boat from Catherine’s palace by 4 pm if on time). The other days are due to start at 10.00am. My question is, can you get off the ship when you want if you have arranged private non-Regent tours, or are there any restrictions? We will have 72 hour tourist visas. Our last day is a full day tour of the Hermitage due to end at 4pm. Sail away from St.P is 6pm. The tour includes transport to and from the ship. Do these times look sensible? any thoughts on other cruise ports - we are also thinking of going private for Ghent and Bruges from Zeebrugge.
  22. Flossie do not want to create waves on your sea but have you been told anything about Barcelona. may well have calmed down by the time you get there but things have been a bit volatile over the last week. The airport was more or less closed for two days and city and regional transport badly reduced. as I say, probably calming down a bit now
  23. Flossie happy to hear that you have enjoyed Istanbul and the food/entertainment so far. I hope that missing Mykonos has not been too much of an issue for you. When we have cruised there before we have stayed on board that day as Wonderwifey does not like tenders much and it has usually been after several days of heavy shore excursions elsewhere. You do need a rest day now and again. No doubt Regent have laid on yet another buffet cocktail party to make up for it! one quick question, which if too personal please do not bother to answer. You now appear to have been to Chartreuse twice. Do you have priority access to the speciality restaurants or have you got lucky?
  24. Whilst, of course, you need to be sensitive to security issues anywhere in the world these days, Istanbul and other fairly common Turkish cruise ports such as Kusadasi are a very long way from the current problem areas along the border with Syria. Israel is another well known cruise destination with ongoing security issues, but the security is so tight there, especially in Jerusalem, that you may well feel quite safe there. Interestingly, in part two of their cruise, Flossie & Co. will be passing the Yemen coastline and stopping in southern Oman, not far from the border and if Regent are happy going there now, it would take something very dramatic to endanger a Cruise in the Eastern Med.
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