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Everything posted by WanderingBrit

  1. The onboard shore excursions staff have taken our experience very seriously, and have made a commitment to ensure accuracy in the future - passing on my written comments verbatim to the web staff. I believe they care about getting this right and genuinely want to be proud of the experiences they deliver, so that’s very encouraging.
  2. Ship: Valiant Lady Cabin#: 14269A Deck #: 14 Cabin Category: Brilliant Suite Sleeps: 4? Cabin Location: Starboard, Forward Terrace/Window/Obstruction: None Noise Issues?: You can hear bass notes from deck parties on occasion, but not loud or intrusive Wind Issues?: None Connecting Cabin? Where Does it Connect?: None Hammock: Yes Metal/Glass Terrace: Glass Advantages/Problems: Close to forward elevator and stairs, which is convenient for Richard’s Rooftop. Not a bad walk and one flight up to The Galley Would You Book Again?: Yes Comments: Our rainfall shower head was more of a trickle. Marble shower floor felt treacherous when wet. Turntable not really usable because of bad wow and flutter. Great amount of space and wonderful views from bed, we liked the location a lot. We were pleasantly surprised that party music from 15 was not an issue this far forward.
  3. Just as a heads-up, to manage expectations, we’ve had a poor experience with Virgin marketed Shore Things where the actual excursion did not align to the marketing description - the excursions have been good, but not what was advertised. In Barbados our “Walking Legends of Barbados” featured no walking but several hours on a bus. We got a 30% refund. Today our “Hike & Explore World Heritage Island Trails‘, described as “In the historic Nelson's Dockyard Village, you'll set out through the Carpenter's Rock Trail and get immersed in the untapped splendor of the island's natural landscape.”, did not visit Nelson’s Dockyard at all. It did include 2 hours at Galleon Beach which wasn’t mentioned at all in the description, so we sat on a rock in the shade for 2 hours waiting for the bus to take us back to port. Feedback from others on our cruise suggests these aren’t isolated cases. Buyer Beware.
  4. Sir Richard came onboard when we were in Tortola on Sunday and spent several hours taking selfies and chatting with folks. He seems a decent chap, and as an expat Brit myself I have no negative feelings about him, quite the contrary: I admire his willingness to put his own wellbeing at risk in service to his brand (crossing the Atlantic by ship and balloon to break records). In Antigua today our guide had only positive vibes for SRB.
  5. If you’re looking for anything “special order” it would be good to get there early, as The Galley becomes a zoo when it’s busy.
  6. If you’re sailing as a Rockstar you’d need to be a more committed drinker than me to get value from pre-purchasing bar tab. Between what’s in the room and the sunset hour we’re not spending a lot extra - but we’re not party people.
  7. And another here. Nothing about it appeals to us.
  8. The Lamb Shank in Razzle Dazzle was exceptional, if you’re a fan of lamb. How was service in The Wake? We’re not planning to go there for dinner and I’m debating our brunch reservation for today.
  9. You get a little decoration on your CC avatar, and that’s the extent of the perks 😁 There’s no obligation to read anything you don’t find interesting.
  10. On embarkation day we sat down in the galley and were waited on.
  11. It was very windy last night, and the breakers were pretty energetic. Looking forward to the Changing of The Guard today!
  12. One of the benefits of status with BA that transfers to other OneWorld partners is that I was able to select our AA seats when I booked months ago. Of course it's also more expensive than SWA, but a direct flight is nice.
  13. It seems to vary depending on what's available in the region they're sailing. In July/August of '23 on an itinerary from Iceland-Norway they had trouble finding English Breakfast Tea, and it was never available at the self-serve area of World Cafe - I had to ask someone to go find it each time. Perfectly decent once they found it. 2 years ago the EBT they carried was wonderful, though decidedly floral, and only ever came loose leaf. When I asked I was told it was Twinings.
  14. We're looking forward to it - several firsts for us: - First VV Cruise - First time to the West Indies - First time scattering parent's ashes at sea! My parents met when my father was skippering a private yacht cruising the West Indies, and Mum was teaching on Bequia. Can't think of a better place to reunite him with the sea.
  15. Valiant Lady is what I saw, with the suggestion it was fleet wide.
  16. I spent my first 27 years in Southampton, so I'm biased, but I think it's a pretty good base for a few days. Easy access to Stonehenge, Winchester, The New Forest (Beaulieu, Buckler's Hard), Tudor House and Garden ... London's easy to navigate too, public transport is excellent, and there's almost endless history to explore there. On a work trip 5 years ago I lead colleagues on a pub crawl starting in Greenwich which included a pint in a pub older than the United States 🙂 Late September is a great time to visit - weather is still nice but the kids are back in school. You'll have a blast no matter what you do.
  17. That's good advice, and flying in to Heathrow opens up many more direct flight options than going to Gatwick. Looks like the National Express 203 service is the one to use, it will take a bit longer than the train but probably a more relaxed experience. National Express Route 203, Heathrow Airport to Southsea — National Express Timetables
  18. You'll find that platforms are at the same level as the train floor, so there's no climbing up from ground level as you've encountered with many American stations. It's tough to predict how busy the train will be, worst case scenario is that you're sitting on your case in a corridor area for 90 minutes because the carriages are all full. I haven't traveled on the Gatwick to Pompey service, so I don't know how modern the rolling stock is or how much luggage area there is - though given the route they have to assume people are bringing luggage. Personally I've almost always had a good response to asking "Excuse me, could you help me ... " with staff working on public transport or in stations. I think people can tell when you approach them assuming they're a decent human and willing to help!
  19. By way of example: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-61634959?fbclid=IwAR2YHaQRlcWwP3HAfqu5sIFb0U7XbkVhJdGN8iUHLUmYZikaou4qOfNfDcg_aem_ARsQLkaShTQet1UQlSOP9Sqsy6tSFyZetR483zGKf66kQNQkuFhQXWYR2hyBtyRsPSE
  20. Now when we say full English - is it a FULL English with Black Pudding?
  21. None of the international airports used by flights from the USA are close to Portsmouth, so you'll have ground transport to figure out no matter what - but Gatwick is much easier. You probably can't fly direct to LGW from MIA, and will end up connecting in New York, or Madrid, or Lisbon, or Amsterdam ... Heathrow to Portsmouth (rome2rio.com) London Gatwick Airport (LGW) to Portsmouth (rome2rio.com) International flights from the US typically land early morning in the UK, so you'll have lots of time to get to Portsmouth if your plan is to stay in a hotel there the night before your cruise.
  22. So speaks someone out of touch with rural America, where I can assure you that an egg yolk and peas with smoke would be considered outlandish. My in-laws from NW Ohio wanted the recipe for "sliced tomatoes with mozzarella and balsamic vinegar" the last time they visited us.
  23. It's a fine Ecolab laundry detergent, dispensed by pushing the button on the numbered dispenser at the end of the machines. My views in no way influenced by the fact that I work for Ecolab 🙂 You'll also see Ecolab sanitizing wipes by sports equipment, and Ecolab cleaning "toolkits" used by the cabin staff.
  24. Yes, the new dock area was nothing but bare dirt and unfinished roads, but we still docked there in July with no trouble. We had spectacular weather which was perfect for our kayaking around the fjord!
  25. Another reminder that everyone should be at a Credit Union, where 2.5% interest is not uncommon - we don't even live in the same State as our Credit Union 🙂
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