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Norwayfan1

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Everything posted by Norwayfan1

  1. We've tried lots of lines and I would have said Princess was our favourite, but we had a very bad experience with them a couple of years ago and that put us off somewhat. We don't really stay loyal to any particular line. We are looking forward to trying Virgin this Autumn, as the food looks really good, soft drinks are included, there's free wi-fi and we like the concept of the 'bar tab' rather expensive drinks packages, which are never good value for us. We booked the cruise a few months ago and taking into account the very good price, the included bar tab and several perks earned through their loyalty match (including some laundry, coffee credits and so on), the cost per day is very reasonable.
  2. We visited Le Verdun a while back, though it was with NCL, not Princess. The cruise company offered a paid-for shuttle to Soulac, though it wasn't advertised in advance. We didn't want to go to Bordeaux or take the shuttle, so we just walked off the ship and through the port gate and went for a long and pleasant walk along the coast, as did quite a few other passengers. NCL very much tried to imply that it wasn't possible to leave the port area, and but this was not the case at all, however uninviting the port area initially looked from the top deck of the ship.
  3. I know the cruising experience has changed so much over the years... ... but I still really miss the lovely Indian buffet night they used to do on the Oriana many years ago. It was just once per cruise, and had to be booked in advance. There was a delicious array of dishes, the staff dressed up and they took a real pride in the food that was being served. Yum! 😀
  4. We were on Ventura in November. They advertised an 'Indian Dinner' - it was very poor, nothing more than a small selection of not particularly inspiring dishes, alongside the normal buffet offerings. We used to enjoy having the option of the P&O's themed buffets - especially the Indian ones - as a welcome change from the restaurant fare, and we were disappointed. There may have been other 'dinners' but I don't recall - after the let down of the Indian one, we didn't bother.
  5. The food looks lovely! Thank you for all the photos.
  6. Good to hear it is thriving on Aurora, with plenty of teams! I think the last ones we took part in, pre-Covid, were probably on Aurora. We used to eat early, go to the earlier show in the theatre and then enjoy the 10.30pm quiz. It would be good if P&O didn't ditch them entirely. I do think they can be enjoyed by people of all ages, as everyone brings their own areas of knowledge and expertise to the table.
  7. Yes, we really like them and it is good to hear that at least some ships are retaining the tradition. We were on Iona a couple of years ago and we asked a member of staff from the Future Cruises Desk whether Iona and Arvia would ever hold those quizzes in future. The lady looked at us as if we were mad, and (rather snootily) said: "Oh no. P&O are not aiming to attract THAT type of passenger any more. That's for the older people." It made us feel absolutely ancient!!! ☹️
  8. Many thanks for the fast response. Much appreciated.
  9. Is the evening syndicate quiz still held on Ventura, and if so, which venue is used? Thank you!🙂
  10. The asylum seekers being moved to this barge have been in the UK for many months and it is reported that they are well into their asylum claims. They are therefore reasonably well known to the UK authorities and are approaching decision time. Apparently they will undergo 'suitability screening' before being moved to this barge. The purpose of leaving the barge and going into the nearby town is mainly to take part in approved activities. Any asylum seeker in the latter stages of an application that they hope will be successful would be very well advised not to go around harassing cruise passengers and making trouble. Clearly there is plenty of debate about the broader rights and wrongs of housing asylum seekers in that type of facility and at that particular location, but it may well be some time before we find out whether fears of the local area being overwhelmed are well founded, and I think that cancelling cruise stops sounds premature to me. Will cruise lines cancel cruise stops to Naples? My hairdresser was recently robbed at gunpoint while on holiday there.
  11. We recently sailed on Ambition. We booked a very late cheap fare and had the option to request the dining arrangements but tables for two were not given as an option, maybe because we did not pay a premium fare (?). We requested a table for 6, first sitting and were put on a table for 4, second sitting. We didn't bother asking if we could change. There were certainly some tables for two but we were probably way down the pecking order!
  12. We sailed recently on Ambition and visited Saffron, the Asian speciality restaurant. We very much enjoyed it. The menu choice was not extensive, but we found the food delicious and there was plenty of it. The service was attentive and friendly. The cover charge was £16.90 for a three-course meal. The starter (a mixed sharing platter) was fixed, as was the dessert (with, I think, three or four little dishes). There were a few main courses: butter chicken, lamb rogan, a mixed thali with samples of several dishes, and a vegetarian option and a fish option, which I can't recall. We would definitely go again. Saffron was open every evening during our cruise. There was a second restaurant, Lupino's, which offered Mediterranean fare. We meant to try it, but didn't get round to it. On our 12-night cruise it was open for only four nights, which were publicised in advance. It was situated in a semi-outdoor area but we noticed there were powerful heaters that could be switched on, if it got chilly. The price was, I think, £14.90.
  13. I posted the information below in another thread and am re-posting it here in case it is helpful to you... Curiosity got the better of me, and as I have an interest in the round Ireland cruises I contacted the Harbourmaster of Dun Laoghaire. The reply I got is as follows... I can only speak for Dun Laoghaire, a decision was made not to facilitate cruise ships on tender calls during winter months from next year, due to safety concerns and the likelihood of calls being cancelled due to bad weather, high winds and rough seas experienced in these parts, at that time of year. Normally for the European winter months, cruise ships re-locate to the Mediterranean and Caribbean. Dun Laoghaire has calls into October this year, breaking for winter and recommencing in April next year. Following on from next year the cruise season in Dun Laoghaire will be April to October. Note the text I placed in bold type... the response did not refer to a change for the whole of Ireland, and so it may be that the decision related to Dun Laoghaire only and other ports potentially would make a different decision. That, I cannot say.
  14. I read a while ago that the number of cruise ships currently able to dock in Dublin is severely limited because Dublin needs more space for cargo operations... and that there are plans to increase cruise ship capacity again longer term. Assuming that is still the plan being followed, Dun Laoghaire will presumably still be on many itineraries when berths in Dublin remain limited. I agree the big attraction of those NCL cruises is the rare opportunity to visit the west coast of Ireland.
  15. Yes, I'd prefer that. On our cruise, the first port was an afternoon arrival in Dunmore East. Understandably many people were very anxious to get off, so that they could try to get to Waterford, so I can understand there would be a scramble for tickets. We weren't going to Waterford and were in no real hurry and it was two or three hours before they called our tender group, but we didn't mind. Not surprisingly, for later ports many passengers probably felt they had to queue earlier for their tender tickets, which led to substantial queues forming through Reception even by 8pm for the 9pm distribution. Many ended up with early tender groups than they actually wanted. On one day, we were given tender group 11, only to find that we were being called before 7.30am. In practice, many of those who queued the previous night and were in the tickets line ahead of us, had no wish to get off at 7am and were probably still in bed or having their breakfast!
  16. Maybe it depends on itinerary, but all I can say is that over many years I have only ever experienced the distribution of tender tickets on the day, and that has generally worked pretty well. I accept there has to be a queue somewhere and at some time, but I just didn't like having to stand in line so that I then missed half of a production show in the theatre.
  17. That's a real shame. We had 5 tenders on our Norwegian Star Ireland cruise a few weeks ago and fortunately the weather was very good and they all went ahead. I did find the allocation of tender tickets shambolic, though. For those without priority status, this involved joining a massive queue stretching all the way through reception, the night before each port, for tickets to be doled out at 9pm when most people would have liked to have been watching a show or dining. I guess that's freestyle cruising for you!
  18. See my post, number 78, if you missed it. The Harbourmaster confirmed that calls to Dun Laoghaire were still scheduled into October this year. You could contact the other port authorities on your cruise, to see if they still have those destinations scheduled. I know you shouldn't have to, but best not to rely on NCL! 😬
  19. Curiosity got the better of me, and as I have an interest in the round Ireland cruises I contacted the Harbourmaster of Dun Laoghaire. The reply I got is as follows... I can only speak for Dun Laoghaire, a decision was made not to facilitate cruise ships on tender calls during winter months from next year, due to safety concerns and the likelihood of calls being cancelled due to bad weather, high winds and rough seas experienced in these parts, at that time of year. Normally for the European winter months, cruise ships re-locate to the Mediterranean and Caribbean. Dun Laoghaire has calls into October this year, breaking for winter and recommencing in April next year. Following on from next year the cruise season in Dun Laoghaire will be April to October. Note the text I placed in bold type... the response did not refer to a change for the whole of Ireland, and so it may be that the decision related to Dun Laoghaire only and other ports potentially would make a different decision. That, I cannot say.
  20. I think NCL passengers are going to need a few stiff drinks after all this. Let's hope those new ports don't have any recently introduced law changes, forbidding NCL from serving alcohol... 😬
  21. Yes, there are National Express buses from Southampton to London Victoria. Journey about 2.5 hours. I'd book in advance though, as services can get very busy.
  22. If you have a particular attraction you want to see, it might be better to get transport direct to another part of the city, than to get off near Las Ramblas. Last time I was in Barcelona, P&O were running charged-for shuttles. I think a lot of passengers didn't know about the port bus. There were plenty of taxis too. I might be misremembering but I think there were signs in place, publishing typical fares to main attractions.
  23. We were in Barcelona a few weeks ago when Norwegian Star was in the next berth but I can't recall whether passengers were lining up for a cruise line shuttle as we walked past the ship. Cruise lines do normally like to run a shuttle as another overpriced money-making opportunity though! Last visit we spent a day in the Montjuic area up on the hill, which has so much to see. Anyone going there would definitely be better off walking, given its location relative to the cruise berths.
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