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Posts posted by TouchstoneFeste

  1. 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).

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

    • Like 1
  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    • Like 1
    • Thanks 1
  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 4 hours ago, shay1 said:

    Thank you all for taking the time to give us your opinions/advise on the best way to get to Gatwick. We will wait until we get to London to make our plans the day before we fly out to which way we will go. Probably take the Train (not the Gatwick Exp). I am looking forward to taking the train. Last time we rode the train in London was many, many years ago, we went to Hampton Court. 

    Did anyone ever answer the original question? I don't know the answer, but I imagine you can order up a cab from your hotel at any hour of the day or night. (Obviously no one on this forum suggests this is the right way to go ...)

  11. 8 hours ago, LittleFish1976 said:


    I just love the way people in the US always state which country they're talking about if it's not in the US for example 'London, England' or 'Paris, France'! For most of the world, it wouldn't need stating.



    It's called "London England Syndrome". According to TVTropes.com: "The name was coined by Bill Bryson. He discussed it in an essay in which he suggested that the stereotypically lower intelligence of Americans compared to people of other nationalities is not down to some sort of racial defect, but a result of Americans being regularly freed from any need to think, ever. This trope, he argued, is one way in which American newspaper-readers are not required to cognitively exert themselves in the same way that British newspaper-readers are."


    As others have pointed out, there are a lot of US cities named after foreign ones. In my home state of Ohio, you can do an extensive tour of world capitals in one day: London, Berlin (and Bonn), Paris, Lima, Canton, Cairo, Athens, Dublin, Amsterdam, Lisbon (twice), Moscow. Plus many provincial capitals (Medina, Calcutta, etc.)


    Most are ferociously mispronounced, of course. My favorite is Mantua (pronounced "man tuh way")

  12. 1 hour ago, WantedOnVoyage said:

    It's spelled respect... you respect the occasion and the venue and indeed those who work to achieve it, too.  Maybe we need the staff to wear shorts and tees on "formal nights" to make the point. And in a community which is what a ship at sea is, it is not just "your" vacation, either... it's ours.  

    I now have a picture of Osman in shorts and a tee in my head, and I'll never un-see it.

    • Haha 5
  13. 48 minutes ago, buchanan101 said:

    I find all this "it barely moves" stuff a bit strange. The QM2 WILL move in a rough sea. Just a


    I think after a day or so people get their "sea legs" and don't notice the moderate movement over small- to medium-sized swells. On Day One I notice many passengers (including me) wobbling down the long passages; by Day Two most are navigating as well as the crew. Again, talking about moderate seas, of course.


    Hence some of the "no movement" comments.

    • Like 2
  14. 11 hours ago, dstein said:

    Thank you! 


    I have to add that this is one of the clearest and most informative answers I've ever received.  Whether you realized it or not, you touched on every concern that motivated my original question (including issues I was thinking about but didn't voice in my question), and then added answers that anticipated potential follow-up questions.  Very impressed and very grateful!

    JB is good.

  15. 14 hours ago, Joe33472 said:

    Has anyone put an Air Tag in their luggage when using Luggage Forward?   I think I read some threads were lithium batteries are a no-no.   But it would be reassuring to me if I could track our bag.   If not, that's okay too.  

    As @esrs says, Luggage Forward has easy-to-use luggage tracking. However, putting an air tag in a shipped bag (which we've done a couple times) is no different from putting one in a checked bag at the airport - which is what they're for, after all.


    The FAA rules (and I assume these are equivalent to other international rules) are a little complicated


    but you can ship or check devices with lithium batteries in them as long as they are secured from accidentally activating. Loose lithium batteries, no. The FAA seems to be trying to make a reasonable accommodation ...


    • Like 1
  16. However, customer service has provided me with lists of expected speakers for upcoming voyages when I asked. (With the proviso that things change.)


    (And most recently they did have one prominent speaker who was not listed in advance.)

  17. 10 hours ago, raffles said:

    He wears the full outfit (apart from having to use a plastic skean dhu)

    Skean dhus - or sgian dubhs :) - are explicitly disallowed. Even a plastic would probably be unwelcome. Even without it, it's a great look.

  18. 1 minute ago, cpl100 said:

    Thank you for your well-thought response.  I will be on Royal Caribbean so hopefully as seemless as you described.  Had not considered they may want it unlocked.  Not too happy about that actually.  Planned to use a TSA safe lock.

    And that TSA lock might be acceptable, since in your case the authorities with the most skin in the game would be in the U.S. Contact LF directly; they've always been very responsive to my queries. They've also always handled our luggage respsonsibly, so I didn't hesitate too much over allowing it to be opened, but I get your concern.


    For what it's worth, they have insurance as part of their booking price ($400 per bag I think?) and additional insurance is inexpensive. As I recall it cost us $20 per bag to insure each for $1,500; and higher levels of coverage are available.


    Which reminds me.... While you are completing the booking for international shipment (not domestic) they'll ask for a packing list. They don't require a detailed item-by-item list, just clicking on general categories like "Clothing", "Accessories", etc.

    • Like 2
  19. We used them last December (and previously) and we're planning to use them again for two future cruises. They don't serve all port/cruise line combinations but you should have no problem with disembarking from a Cunard ship at Civitavecchia.


    I've never been through Civitavecchia, but I assume the procedure will be the same as at other ports: Cunard will unload all your luggage (including anything you plan to ship) to a holding zone; you'll need to get all of it through any customs/immigration yourself. The LF agent will be waiting with a "Luggage Forward" sign.


    The luggage has always arrived at the destination ahead of schedule; as a result, it has always arrived in our stateroom at a different time from our self-managed luggage. As you're shipping home, that wouldn't matter, but it will be delivered to your house on their schedule, not yours. We've arranged to have a neighbor receive it for us if it would arrive before we did.


    They don't have designated staff at each destination - they use agents and the actual shipping is done by a major service like UPS.

    Note that when shipping internationally, they'll want your luggage to be unlocked. Also, some items which you can easily check at an airport may be disallowed for international air shipping. This is clearly stated in their terms of service, but I missed it the first time. I tried to ship a disallowed item in a thoughtlessly locked bag outbound to our cruise. They called to request the lock combination, and they kindly FedEx'd the item back to our house at their own expense. (Not sure this would be as easy on return shipping from overseas.)


    We recommend it.

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