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About machotspur

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    The Cotswolds, England
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Silversea, Seabourn, Cunard

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  1. Hi Wendy - firstly to say that we already had concerns regarding the lengthy drive time from Safaga to Luxor. Your post confirmed that I wasn't the only one with these doubts - although all the cruise lines operate this excursion so somebody must accept the long drive times ! In truth the Safaga/Luxor issue was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. We had booked this cruise for three reasons only - beginning the cruise in the Emirates, cruising the Suez Canal, and being on our favourite ship. We had already visited all of the ports of call in the past - some very extensively, and others very recently. Whilst we were happy to visit them all again, we weren't expecting to have to pay extra for this, and certainly hadn't picked up the drive distances involved to visit Luxor (my bad on this 😞). As I said earlier, we are near fanatical researchers/planners, just on this one occasion we chose to 'take a chance' due to the lack of prep time available, and benefiting the rare safeguard of being able to cancel under US T&C's. We have now identified two separate short cruses with Crystal, which meet two of our objectives without being burdened by unwanted ports of call. Wouldn't suit everyone i'm sure, but each to their own. For anyone interested we took a Nile river cruise a few years back, operated by Oberoi, the excellent India hotel operator. The cruise & method for seeing 'the sites' was absolutely outstanding. (not sure what it is like now though). Thank you for your comments.
  2. Thank you very much for your informative and helpful response flossie009 - and of course for the replies from others which illustrate the different views held on this issue. By way of background my wife and I are hugely experienced travellers - on land and sea - and are used to carrying out extensive research on our sometimes very complex trips. The Regent itinerary we refer to was booked a couple of days ahead of our departure for the recent Voyager cruise. Being in 'pack the bag mode' and short of time we were unusually quite carefree with this booking - knowing that for once we had the same low penalty cancellation terms as the US customer. We are not fools when it comes to travel but have to admit that when seeing locations such as Luxor/Petra on the headline itineraries we did have the expectation that at least one 'included/free' excursion would be going to these headline locations. As has been pointed out by some this is an expectation that we shouldn't rely on in the future with Regent. The post was less about the the specific cruise/locations, or the additional cost - we've previously visited all of the sites in question in some depth. We were more interested in Regent's policy on this issue in general, to inform our future decisions. To be honest the real 'Red Flag' for us on this was the point made by Wendy the Wanderer as to how uncomfortable an excursion could be when the journey time is 3-4 hours each way (and beach/hotel excursions are of zero appeal to us). Whilst we continue to like Regent - and already have other bookings in the pipeline - we have on this occasion identified a very short cruise with Crystal that meets our needs to travel the Suez Canal, without ports of call that aren't essential to us.
  3. We've just made a pre cruise/onboard booking for an itinerary between Dubai and Istanbul. The primary appeal of this itinerary to us was to pass through the Suez Canal for the first time. Notwithstanding this some of the ports of call were of interest, even if we had visited them before, notably :- Aqaba - the port for Petra Safaga - the port for the Egyptian sites around Luxor. I'd suggest that most prospective guests, on reading the itinerary, would have an expectation that they would be able to take an 'included/free' tour to each of these iconic sites, particularly as they are 'named' on the online/brochure itinerary Not so !! Looking at the previous similar cruises all of the tours for both Luxor and Petra are shown as 'Regent Choice/Pay for' options. The 'included/free' tours' at both ports of call are IMHO very poor (e.g days on a beach or in a hotel etc). Whilst being relatively new to Regent we haven't come across this kind of - in our opinion - deceptive marketing/communication before. Only this week we have returned from a cruise on Voyager that included 3 days in Israel. We took three 'included/free' tours to Jerusalem/Nazareth/TelAviv/Jaffa/Galilee. We would have been mighty upset if having made this booking it would have been revealed that we would have had to pay extra to visit these locations. Any thoughts on this issue please ?
  4. Swansong It appears that my wife and I were on the same flight from LHR as you - and we also had our usual pre flight stay in the excellent Sofitel at Terminal 5. I feel for you as something like you experienced doesn't get your cruise off to a very good start. No help to you at all but we had an altogether different experience. We - along with many other Regent guests, were accommodated in the (newly refurbished) Divani Caravel Hotel in Athens city centre. It was actually quite good for a one night stay and also enabled us to wander the city in the afternoon & evening and have a great wine tasting session in a wine bar & bite to eat. We had a few hours in the morning to go up a viewpoint before being picked up by the coach at just after midday. We were onboard and in our suite before 1pm ! The transfer from airport to hotel, together with the one the following day from hotel to ship, worked like clockwork. Looks like you drew the short straw on this one which is of course very disappointing for you and not good enough. I too would be very frustrated in your position. And yes - I said exactly the same as you about the cruise director who was largely anonymous/invisible throughout the cruise.
  5. You are incorrect with both assumptions. In my previous post I stated that the itineraries shown in the 18 page launch brochure were through to October 2021. To correct this, the dates for the cruises being released vary by ship - for reasons unknown. For example the final itinerary showing for Dawn is the one you refer to, departing on 2nd November. Apologies but I didn’t feel the need to give precise dates for every ship.
  6. A few days ago my TA forwarded to me an advance copy of the formal Silversea document outlining the cruises that will be released. Shown are those on the Expedition ships through to March 2022 and cruises through to October 2021 on the other ships. No prices yet though. Bookings will be open to Venetian members on 3rd October and to all on 17th October.
  7. At a Silversea event in the UK today my TA was advised that the itineraries will be released on 3rd October. Consistent with one or two of the posts above.
  8. This thread is near identical to one that has been running on the Seabourn board last month. What follows will no doubt be disregarded or dismissed by some – it is after all a little lengthy, for which I make no apologies. I find the thread to be truly depressing in parts. The statement that most closely reflects how I am feeling at the moment was made by kjbacon in post #56. >>It is hard for me to understand how anyone can still be in a mindset that doesn’t care about taking steps to help our environment.<< I respectfully post some random comments that those naysayers on here may wish to consider. 1. This issue of disposable water bottles isn’t just about carbon footprint, as some posters appear to suggest. Single use plastic is a scourge on our (natural) world. 2. Some may have heard about a UK broadcasting legend named Sir David Attenborough. Last year he featured in the latest of his many TV documentaries – Blue Planet II. The programme shows, in graphic detail, the devastating impact that single use plastic is having on ocean life – even when you think you've done the right thing by dropping it in a recycling bin ! Perhaps watch this series on PBS or whatever and then decide how precious your 500ml single use plastic bottle of water, or plastic straw is ! 3. In many parts of the developed world the impact of consumer behaviour can be directly linked to the decisions of the company. To take two of Regent’s recent decisions – this initial move to plastic free water bottles, and the significant increase in the Vegan/Vegetarian food offering on their ships. Mostly they haven’t done this for PR or political reasons. They are not fools. Their research must surely be telling them that this is what their current – and future – customers want, and if they don’t act they will be out of line with their customers needs. They will ultimately save money, and many of their customers will be happy - Win/Win. 4. To those on here from the USA who have been stating how wonderful their water is at home. I quote a post from the Seabourn thread (from an apparently intelligent and informed person from Florida, USA) …. our tap water in the US is awful. It’s a national disgrace. Our FDA has set minimum amounts of lead, arsenic and glyphosate allowed (omg). But some 3000 municipal water systems can’t even meet those standards. (Yet despite this some people on here appear to be worried about an apparently decent purification system being used on Regent ships). 5. A final thought - on a single 14 day cruise on a typical Regent ship, with each passenger using say 2 single use bottles a day - this equals nearly 25,000 plastic bottles in the trash - on just one cruise ! Yes – it’s us that are discarding these bottles, and it is so unnecessary. I’m most certainly not an environmental warrior - just a 60 something ordinary guy in the street. I carry an easy to clean reusable water bottle with me wherever I go, refilling it at available sources. I will be bringing it with me to our next Regent cruise in 5 weeks time, and aim to not use their single use bottles. For medical reasons I need to have ‘sippable' water with me at all times, so if I can get by without disposable plastic bottles surely anybody can ? I am confident that the initial actions by Regent being discussed here will ultimately result in the taking of a single use plastic bottle of water becoming as anti social as smoking in a restaurant ! For those that believe that they will still be here in 2030 I predict that there will not be single use water bottles on a cruise ship – or many other places for that matter – in 10 years time. Flame away !
  9. As a UK beans consumer i've never come across the 'raw garlic' issue, probably because I like most people eat the market leader product. In the UK the brand leader - by far with a market share of 70% - is Heinz Baked Beans. They've recently celebrated 50 years of the marketing slogan Beanz Meanz Heinz !. I agree that the beans offered on most cruise ships, including Regent, are usually woeful, and rarely are they Heinz ! Whilst Regent should be applauded for recognising the 'plant based' trend, they, along with Seabourn and Silversea should concentrate on getting the basic products such as vegetarian/vegan sausages, burgers, and baked beans, to a good standard first.
  10. FYI - we've only done one b2b Regent cruise and received the brochure this morning in the wilds of the Cotswolds, England ! Reverse status I guess 🙄
  11. Hi galeforce9 I apologise but regrettably I am going to be spectacularly unhelpful in my response on this occasion 😞 We like you have the benefit of a Seabourn transfer to the airport on disembarkation however we have chosen to forgo this in favour of private arrangements. Our TA has organised the transfer for us - we just don't know at this stage who they are !! I believe that there are lots of car providers available to pre book in Bridgetown and also I am sure that the Hilton will be pleased to arrange - at a cost - the two journeys you require. In all honesty we are still undecided between the Hilton approach, and taking the Seabourn 'tour' and transfer. This would cost us zero (OBC) and would get us to the airport at around 12:00-13:00 for a 17:05 flight (probably the same BA flight at yourself). If you are fortunate to be flying at the front of the plane then 3hrs in the lounge isn't too bad - although the lounge that BA use isn't up to much. Good luck 😊
  12. A number of posters have noted my post #5 where I stated :- >>Spend until 2pm at the Hilton, which isn't too far from the port, pre arranging a car to take us there.(they do a facilities & F&B package). << For the avoidance of doubt I was advised just a few weeks ago that the Hilton do not offer Day Rooms, at least during peak season. Presumably they can book out all of the rooms overnight. The package that I was offered - and quoted in my post - is a facilities & F&B package - no room. I guess this is OK as showers will be available and storage for baggage etc, as well as use of the pool/lounge area etc.
  13. We've just been through this issue with our TA, in readiness for our Seabourn cruise next Feb. Our homeward flight is at 17:05, so we have a fair amount of time to kill. The options are :- 1. Taxi - the caution advised above was reiterated by our TA. 2. Seabourn direct transfer, probably arriving at the airport 7-8 hours before our flight. 3. Seabourn 'tour' and transfer, arriving at the airport at around 13:00. 4. Spend until 2pm at the Hilton, which isn't too far from the port, pre arranging a car to take us there.(they do a facilities & F&B package). After considering these we decided on Option 2 which whilst being a bit bland, fills the time, gets us to the airport when we want to be there and is relatively cost effective, particularly if you have some OBC to use. A point to note - Seabourn state that this option is only suitable for those with flights departing after 15:00.
  14. I very much agree with this post cece50. The single use bottles are prone to micro damage, and poor/no cleaning that will no doubt harbour bacteria over time.Avoid ! As advised up thread I have used for some time now a refillable bottle that meets your criteria ie the top unscrews to reveal an opening that is large enough for proper and fuss free cleaning - there are many brands producing a similar design. I keep a small one in my jacket pocket/hand luggage when travelling, and have it with me every morning for my brisk 6 mile walk (OK - maybe the final 5 miles aren't quite so brisk 😉) I'm not sure what the fuss would be about carrying & using something like this - assuming of course that the cruise organisation provided decent water 'on tap' - and people spend a few seconds each day cleaning/sterilising their bottle rather than dumping more single use plastic bottles into the trash. A thought - on a single 14 day cruise on Seabourn Ovation, with each passenger using say 2 single use bottles a day - this equals nearly 17,000 plastic bottles in the trash - on just one cruise.
  15. Thanks for this rl787. We are disembarking at Civitavecchia in a couple of months and the two you mention get great reviews online and the price is really quite reasonable. I am sure we will book one of them to get to our hotel in the city - thanks.
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