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Posts posted by TouchstoneFeste

  1. And it may or may not apply in all fare classes. Our first voyage we ended up in QG for the P2 fare (spoiling us forever). But when I explored this on a recent booking, it applied only to Britannia Club or lower fares.

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  2. And finally ... Based on previous Smithsonian trips (but no Ponant/Smithsonian ones), I'd guess the passengers will all be parcellled into bundles of 20-30 people - sized for coaches. We've never encountered any options for more "private" tours, but of course you would be at liberty to book from independent providers at each port. When overwhelmed by days of trudging through dusty beige ruins, we've sometimes taken beach days on our own or wandered a port independently.

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  3. (dope slapping myself)

    Most of the information above, and much more detail, can be seen at


    Click on Itinerary.

    There are also pre- and post-cruise extensions offered. We found them both to be uninviting - they seem overpriced and flawed. The Malta one is a single overnight with one tour; we'll stay in a very nice room at the same hotel for three nights and do multiple tours around Valletta and the island - for approximately the price of the extension. The Florence hotel appears to be very nice, but it's 20 miles away from the central attractions, meaning independent exploration would be difficult.

    Obviously, your cruise will have different pre- and post- options, but I'd be careful.

    I can't find info about them on the Ponant site, but you can get some detail on Smithsonian's:


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  4. I can answer a few of these. We'll be taking a Ponant/Smithsonian tour from Malta to Livorno (that is, up the western coast of Italy) in September with daily port calls. Our tour options were announced in early April; they're not yet available for sign-up.


    The number of excursions varies, but only one port has just two options; the rest have 3-5 choices.


    None of our excursions seem on the high end of the activity scale. Frequent mention of "uneven terrain", but even the trips up Mounts Etna and Vesuvius appear to be coach-based with just one to two miles of walking. There's a "flat" tour available at each port. None are strictly sedentary, though.


    Each port has at least one food-oriented choice, sometimes more. This is advertised as a foodie tour with a celebrity chef onboard, so we may have more food-oriented excursions than normal. Even so, a lot of the excursions are archeology/museum oriented or mixed (for example, the Mt. Etna visit includes a stop at a winery). No classic movie locations tours :)


    There is no extra cost for any excursion. With the Smithsonian partnership, all tours are included in the base price.

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  5. 1 hour ago, Windsurfboy said:

    The solution to facing wall in QG , is to make it a mirrored wall , will also make room seem wider.

    Ewww. One thing worse than looking at a wall is looking at me!

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  6. 21 hours ago, WantedOnVoyage said:

    when convincing Osman I should not be so assigned.


    So Osman has indeed jumped ship to the QA?

  7. The Archeological Museum is probably the best bet since it has a much broader collection (and yes, you could spend days there). The Acropolis Museum is well worth it, though: beautifully designed but single purpose. The top floor is a walk around of the top of the Parthenon itself. It's quite an experience, we thought.

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  8. 1 hour ago, worldtraveller99 said:

    Thank you all. I guess because it's a one-off with a paper tag, being taken from a dock 10 yards to our room on the ship! I already have super leather tags on our cases for flying, but they are small and would not fit the long paper tags from Cunard. Thank you anyway, I shall let the porters staple the paper tags when we give them the cases (which also have our names on anyway in the leather tags).

    Your point is well taken :) and your plan ought to work.


    If you do decide to use tags, I'd recommend the plastic ones so both sides of the folded tag are visible. Makes it much easier for the crew onboard. (We had a bag misdirected to another stateroom when I fumbled the tag attachment.)


    FWIW, I attach them at the hotel on the morning of disembarkation. Too much risk of an airlline tearing them off by accident.

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  9. On 4/28/2024 at 4:49 AM, shippmates said:

    I seem to get behind the person who uses the Cunard app for their boarding pass, and they have to stand and scan through all their downloads to find the boarding pass.  I am old school so I print all my needed papers.  I think if you have to look for your needed documents, persons with the printed documents should be able to go ahead until they find what they need.  

    For what it's worth: The US site still says

    "Have your printed boarding pass ready to present as soon as you arrive, and we will show you to the nearest check-in desk."

    if you dive down into "Before You Sail", "Embarkation & Disembarkation". Obviously this isn't strictly enforced. But ...


    Cunard app?


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  10. 12 hours ago, Korimako said:

     I did look on their website, but it seems they only do cruise-ship to cruise-ship and not on Saturdays. I need someone to take my luggage from one domestic UK address to another domestic UK address.


    But thank you for replying so quickly.

    In the US Luggage Forward just uses the regular shipping companies, UPS, FedEx, and DHL. So maybe go straight to those companies or their UK equivalents?


    (LF does do pick-ups and drop-offs at domestic addresses, but you're right that their focus is on cruise lines, and they evade weekends except for meeting cruise ships.)


  11. 12 hours ago, T-2 said:

    I can pick up the tickets at the station, they give you a confirmation number. 

    If you pick up your tickets at the station kiosk, be sure you have the credit card you used to purchase them (I use American Express to purchase things online, but don't always carry it with me overseas because it's not as widely accepted). You can still see the agent with your confirmation number, but that can take longer (depending on how many confused tourists are ahead of you in line).

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  12. 4 hours ago, Cotswold Eagle said:

    Yes, it should be at the London-end of the train. On GWR 9-car trains that will be coaches L and K, on 5-car sets it’s D and E.  On GWR trains there is a large white sign with a ‘1’ and the words ‘First Class’ by the door on the First Class carriages.  


    The platform train indicator sign will usually say if they are at the front or rear on the day (it will have a rolling scroll of information beneath the train indication), as will the train announcements. At some stations, and I’m afraid I’m not sure about Bath, there are ‘zones’ on the platform and so you may hear that First Class is in Zone 1, for example - the zones are indicated by numbers on the platform itself.

    Very much appreciate your help (and that of @gumshoe958).

  13. We'll be travelling from Southampton to Bath, then from Bath to London a few days later. From searching this forum, I see that first class train tickets (at least on the first leg) don't confer much of an advantage. Would that also be true for the Bath-Paddington leg? We won't have much luggage, just carry-ons. Both legs would be on weekdays - the first after disembarkation, the second probably late morning or early afternoon.


    And ... embarrassing to admit, but the last time we took longer train trips around southen England, we had a lot of trouble finding the first class section, sometimes just giving up and travelling in regular seating. How are they marked?

  14. On 4/15/2024 at 6:12 AM, exlondoner said:

    I certainly would not wish to irritate a games player, but can’t recall seeing more than three tables in use simultaneously, so it might be OK to sit there.

    I recall one day when all the game tables were full, but generally you are correct. I prefer the games corridor because the chairs are straight-backed, not "loungy". I've certainly moved on when the other tables start to fill up. Also makes it easy for me to wander over from time to time and place a few pieces on the jigsaw puzzle that is currently in play.

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  15. I did a quick search and see at least one tour that would take you there (and to other neolithic sites and the Italian Chapel) from Kirkwall. There are also a few taxi companies and I'm fairly sure you could contract with one for a trip to Skara Brae.

    Kirkwall is a charming city with a few worthy sightseeing items and a bunch of shops that are much lest touristy than most of the places we visited. But I agree with @gnome12 that the ancient sites are far more interesting. Strange that a city tour would be offered but not the other. We selected our northern Scotland tour because it spent a day and a half in the Orkneys, so we saw both. Maybe you should ditch the city tour for a full day exploring the ancient sites?

  16. 15 hours ago, gumshoe958 said:

    I’d bet a lot of money on it not being in force when you arrive in June. 

    While I certainly wouldn't take that bet, I'd encourage the original poster to check again later. The site is already operational for some countries, and now it's just a matter of rolling it out to new ones - in theory that could happen quickly.

  17. 4 hours ago, jfavenuex said:

    I am going on a transatlantic cruise with Norwegian fjords on QM2.  In the middle of the Atlantic do you get reliable internet reception with the Cunard internet plan?  

    Reception during our crossing last December was fine throughout, even mid-Atlantic. We're rather light users, however: email and some browsing.

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  18. 18 hours ago, marazul said:

    You should be ok. The visit is one hour, but you should be ready to end it by 4 pm if need be so you can get back to the ship by 4:30. You need a little extra time just in case. 

    I think it is also self-paced? You get a device with the recorded tour, I think, so you could speed up toward the end or skip a station if you feel you're running out of time. So I'm told.

  19. When we visited Dubrovnik, we asked the cruise director what he thought of the included tour of the city. He suggested we looked fit enough (mid 60s but mobile) to walk the circuit of the city walls and thought we might enjoy that more. Boy, did we! It's a longish walk, great views of the city and surrounding areas. Game of Thrones was also current at the time and it was fun to turn a corner and realize we were approaching the House of the Undying or the place Varys and Tyrion chatted.

  20. On 2/28/2024 at 11:29 AM, Jim_Iain said:

    Wow.. surprised that so many have not heard of Alan Cummings.   I first saw him in 1995 while living in Ireland with his Sitcom The High Life on BBC.   He was also a star in the U.S. Series The Good Wife.  


    He is a very talented actor On the Stage, Movies and TV as well as a voice actor.

    He won a few Oliviers and Tony awards (and nominated for more). Mostly for Cabaret, but also a couple other West End and Broadway shows.

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