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Solent Richard

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About Solent Richard

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Hampshire, England
  • Interests
    Scuba diving, Cruising and Ballroom Dancing
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Cunard and P&O
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Far East

Recent Profile Visitors

1,334 profile views
  1. FAREWELL ORIANA. As I was finishing a rather late breakfast this morning there passing our place on the Solent was Oriana leaving for her new operations and owners in the Far East. Or was it really ORIANA? P&O's funnel logo had disappeared and the ship had already been renamed 'Pianoland'...
  2. Hi again. I've certainly covered Muscat... https://solentrichardscruiseblog.com/2013/11/14/one-way-to-do-muscat/ ...and Phuket... https://solentrichardscruiseblog.com/2015/10/13/one-way-to-do-phuket/ I'll keep in touch regarding a Port Victoria review though I still maintain you won't get a better tour than that we had with Ian... ...who I've linked in my Queen Victoria review.
  3. Good morning Mr Marklin. Pretty easy to answer really and I'm pleased you asked the question. The auto gratuity for the Grills is currently $13.50 per guest whether one is staying in Princess or Queens. As the gratuity is basically designed for service given I consider that the service received by Princess Grill passengers is not equal to that received by Queens Grill passengers i.e. there is no 'butler' service for Princess Grill. Cunard have clearly reiterated to whom the auto gratuities are given to and that includes butlers. It's also interesting to note that passengers in Britannia Club, who receive an enhanced 'service' pay the same level of auto gratuity as those who dine Britannia. By the way, I have sailed more often as a Queens Grill passenger than any other accommodation level combined: including 56 nights Southampton to Sydney. Hope that helps. Have a nice day.
  4. Good morning USnoozUCruise. Thank you for the kind comments. As you probably noticed there are links in my blog review to the people I used in Kuala Lumpur and Seychelles for my tours. I do plan to write a 'One Way to do Seychelles' but am currently busy with one for Cape Town. You've caught me out with Singapore. We stay there at least twice a year and yet I've never written a full review of the wonderful City State. There is however a brief mention if you scroll down to the itinerary section of... https://solentrichardscruiseblog.com/2017/04/07/europa-2-asian-island-explorer/ The Gardens by the Bay are a great place to spend half a day... ...and of course The Raffles Hotel has now reopened... What other ports of call are you interested in? I've also recently published a guide to Colombo... https://solentrichardscruiseblog.com/2019/08/09/one-way-to-do-colombo/ Have a nice day.
  5. On my recent 'cruise' onboard Queen Victoria, in Princess Grill, I adjusted our Grills auto gratuity rate on the simple premise that it was unfair to subsidise those staying in Queens Grill. 😈
  6. I'd be delighted to learn on whose information/authority you have based your opening sentence... "As Cunard make up the difference to an agreed maximum limit with staff when auto service charge is taken off at Pursers desk. Or does it also come under the heading 'I am lead to believe'?
  7. Many cruise lines now schedule stops at the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo. My wife and I made our first ever call there earlier this year on Cunard's Queen Victoria. It's a fascinating city with lots of colonial and cultural history and is relatively easy to navigate on a day visit. So much so that I have just written and published a full review of how we got on there on my cruise blog. Here's the link, I hope you find it both useful and interesting... https://solentrichardscruiseblog.com/2019/08/09/one-way-to-do-colombo/
  8. It just so happens I have a full review of Yangon (Rangoon) on my cruise Blog. Here is the link... https://solentrichardscruiseblog.com/2017/06/23/one-way-to-do-yangon-rangoon/ I guess so much will depend on which ship you are sailing on and if they do a 'Yangon on your own' offer. Yangon is a truly fascinating place to visit.
  9. Isn't it amazing what additional facts can become available when a few pertinent questions are asked. I'm surprised Cunard apologised when, as it appears to me, you clearly did have priority boarding when compared to any other passenger 'arriving at the same time' as you. I'm also pretty sure your experience will stand you in good stead for the upcoming Queen Elizabeth cruise: assuming you are again travelling at Grills level. Bon voyage.
  10. Excellent. I have noted from my camera roll that from departing the Port Klang terminal to the first view of Batu Caves took 1 hour and 5 minutes by 'private' transfer. I've recorded the itinerary and company we used in my blog review... https://solentrichardscruiseblog.com/2019/05/06/queen-victoria-singapore-to-cape-town/ ... just scroll down to 'itinerary' if you are interested.
  11. I can empathise with that. And I'd be a really happy bear if Cunard had an 'Apple' shop onboard.
  12. I'm with you there, the place to be seen... ...and to see.
  13. As one who has lost count of the number of 'Priority' check-ins my wife have experienced at Southampton all I can say is that you appear to have not experienced the same procedure as we have. On arrival we identify ourselves as Grills passengers and are shown to a separate seated area in the event check-in hasn't yet commenced. No cards. Once, and once only, we have checked-in at the check-in desk... ...and be directed to a second seated wait area immediately before security. (I had assumed there had been a minor problem outside of Cunard's control and they had quite rightly commenced check-in to avoid later delays) We waited in this second pre-security area no longer than 10 minutes. We have never checked into a Cunard ship via the Mayflower Terminal. We have though checked in as 'Priority' guests for a P&O cruise at The Mayflower. The initial procedure was exactly the same. Identify your status, head to priority check-in desk, and then directed to separate waiting area prior to passing through security. I would say the key to successfully starting a check-in is to identify oneself and one's priority level to whoever is one's first point of contact. We followed a very similar pattern on our recent Queen Victoria embarkation in Singapore - Grills passengers were never issued any numbered or lettered card.
  14. When we disembarked in Singapore, with similar late night flights to yourselves, and having visited Singapore at least twice the previous year, we decided to take a Club Day Room at the Changi Crowne Plaza Hotel. It proved an excellent option particularly after two weeks at sea. I mentioned the hotel in my cruise blog... https://solentrichardscruiseblog.com/2017/11/04/star-clipper-java-sea-limited-edition-cruise/ ...you just need to scroll down to the end for a couple of photographs.
  15. We were there onboard Queen Victoria in March this year. There really isn't much to do or see at Port Klang which is why the cruise lines prefer to stop there: they can sell excursions. Having said that of course there are generally a good number of excursions depending on one's interests. If you haven't visited Kuala Lumpur before it would be a shame to miss it, especially a trip to the Batu Caves...
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