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John Bull

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About John Bull

  • Rank
    10,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Lee-on-the-Solent, England
  • Interests
    vintage & classic vehicles
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Voyages of Discovery
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean

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1,696 profile views
  1. Yes, Mic, that was a sly dig at over-reporting. But for every instance of over-reporting there's another for under-reporting. Three types of lies, as Winnie Churchill said - "lies, damned lies, and statistics" On to a lighter matter. UK's lock-down has started to relax - folk can now meet up in groups of up to six. But that has caused a problem .............................. JB
  2. You don't mention where in Italy you plan to fly to from the States. But can I presume that your cruise starts & finishes in Rome? If you're flying into Naples, you'll be spending time in that region before travelling to Rome (Civitavecchia). By train is easiest, simplest & most economical on both time and pocket) But if you're flying into Rome then it makes sense to see Rome pre-cruise, because this gives you wiggle-room if there's a problem with your outbound flight. Naples can then be for post-cruise. If La Spezia or Livorno are ports-of-call on your cruise, you can visit Florence from there (Livorno is easier than La Spezia, by direct train or shared van). Like others, I've mentioned travelling by train. For good reason JB
  3. IMHO this sort of trip is far far more worthwhile than Andorra. Especially if you take the very scenic and traffic-free old Alpine passes used only by locals & tourists (for example the Grimsel Pass, Furka Pass, and the St Gotthard Pass rather than St Gotthard tunnel) instead of the modern fast super-slabs which involve lots of tunnels and are great for trucks and folk who need to get quickly and easily from A to B, but not great for the Alpine scenery. And the Italian lakes, esp Maggiore, are glorious, with miles of lakeside driving. If you want to tick off another country, Lichtenstein can be en-route to Innsbruck. But the Alpine passes are snow-bound for 7 to 8 months, so it depends on your dates. We've only been to Cinque Terre once, and never again. Even though this was mid-week in late September, everywhere - including villages, trains & ferries - was grossly over-crowded. Roads were quiet - trippers don't drive because the village roads are only for those with permits, and parking is pretty impossible. Very attractive - sadly for us it was TOO attractive to be enjoyed. JB
  4. We've driven from Barcelona to Andorra - out on the N-260 taking in a tiny corner of France, then back on the C-16. Total about 260 miles, 6hrs 30mins driving. For much of the day the scenery was excellent, but the roads are slow, twisty and tortuous - even if you take the fastest route. Andorra is very pleasant & laid-back, but has nothing special to offer (other than duty-frees). If, like us, you drive for the journey it's worthwhile, though if you drive back in the dark it's no fun at all . If you drive for the destination, it's not worthwhile - especially if you dislike driving. BTW - if you use GPS, make sure you enter Andorra as a country There's a village in Spain called Andorra - about the same distance but in a totally different direction. JB
  5. Yes, ships anchor in the caldera - exceptionally well-sheltered by islands. https://goo.gl/maps/J6AyF4LQEFa2DYqu5 JB
  6. Thanks for the link, Babs. But hmmmmm.............. The article says that there were 217 passengers and crew on board "the ship" as it followed Shackleton's route to Antarctica, so clearly it's a small expedition ship. It doesn't name the ship, but the only photo (which heads the piece) is a stock photo of P&O's Arcadia (2500 pax & 866 crew) All of which is a great shame, because well over 3000 is a good sample size whereas 217 is way too small. The Telegraph article mentions "screening for symptoms" and "temperature checking", which naturally can't detect asymptomatic carriers, thus making a mockery of the article. The study from which it is taken gives a lot more detail, but still doesn't clearly say whether proper coronavirus testing was done before the ship reached Montevideo, or whether all 217 were properly tested. Here's the study paper in full.............. https://thorax.bmj.com/content/early/2020/05/27/thoraxjnl-2020-215091 What I need to know is how many folk out there are currently a risk to me. Recent test sampling of the general population in the UK (rather than those hospitalised and health workers) suggests one in 400 is currently infected (this would include asymptomatic carriers). But that figure has an accuracy range of over 100. Am I the only one who is confused by contradictory information & advice? And by selective statistics? JB
  7. Thanks for that - I'd been thinking it was a different "R", but I'd never come across correlation coefficients. My confusion now resolved. JB
  8. Your 3 days in Rome make sense, as does visiting Rome pre-cruise. Rome to your ship at Civi. is far easier than from Florence, Naples or Venice, and gives you wiggle-time if there's a foul-up in your flight out - you won't miss your sailaway. Florence is quite easy (though some distance) from Livorno. Or Pisa is very easy for your Livorno port-of-call day, so you could leave Florence til post-cruise. Naples has that wide choice of places to go, but if only one (perhaps a rushed two) of them interested you then the port-of-call day would suffice. But on a port-of-call day, the Amalfi Coast can only be done by private / shared tour because the limited local buses and ferries make it impossible in the time-scale, and renting a car creates problems of parking and the driver seeing only the narrow, tortured, twisted and busy pavement of the scenic high coast road. So Florence or Naples are both good candidates for post-cruise. At over 300 miles, Venice is twice the distance, twice the travel time. But if Venice beckons .......... I don't think the crowds will be much different at any of those places, but your dates are before the main part of the season. So it boils down to what interests you most. JB
  9. Hi, Donald, Your post has left me totally confused. Is the "R" value a different animal in the USA? In Europe the "R" value has nothing to do with health parameters or comparisons, it is only to do with infection reproduction rates (hence the "R"). Before lock-down measures, social distancing etc, one person might infect as many as, say, 5 others (an "R" figure of 5). Those six each go on to infect 5 more - that's now 30 people who each go on to infect five more making it 150, then 750, then 3.750, then 18.750 etc. That's the sort of infection rate we saw throughout the world, including China, Europe & the USA at the start of their pandemic - the numbers doubling every 3 days. Preventing any spread is impossible once the numbers get so high, but countries set their measures to reduce the spread to a factor below 1.0 (ie one person infects one more), which keeps the spread manageable. So an "R" factor of up to 0.5 is excellent, and any factor below 1.0 is acceptable because it sees the infection rate drop. This doesn't tally with the figures in your post, nor do diabetes or obesity or other factors which make the risk of death greater for some folk - it refers only to the speed of the spread. Hence my asking if the "R" rate in the USA mean something completely different? JB
  10. Your cruise may well include Naples as a one-day port-of-call. When you research what to do on that day you'll find yourselves having to choose just one, perhaps a rushed two, places to go, including....... Pompeii Herculaneum Capri The amazing Amalfi coast (Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, etc) Vesuvius Sorrento Ischia Naples itself. So the Naples / Amalfi area is well worth a week or more, let alone a couple or three days. Naples is a little over 2 hours from Rome by road or frequent direct trains. From the main road there are great views of Monte Cassino (and mebbe worth a diversion to visit), or there's the much slower but scenic coastal route via Anzio. Probably glimpses of Monte Cassino from the train If you choose to travel by train, Naples (between station & port) or Sorrento give you the best local travel options. If you rent a car, perhaps base yourselves somewhere like Ravello or Sorrento (but wherever you choose, check out the parking) Not sure if there are convenient direct flights from Naples to the US. Rome itself is worth a bare minimum of two, preferably three, full days. Just MHO as always JB
  11. I doubt that you need advice about when to wear or not wear gloves, Don, but for those who've not given it a lot of thought, gloves are generally not advisable. Just like hands, gloves can pick up the virus from things that you touch and transfer it to your own things. Think of a simple operation like using a gas pump.......... I remove my gas cap & insert my credit card, then sanitise my hands before touching the pump's buttons, pumping gas and returning the pump to its holster. Then I sanitise my hands again before retrieving my card and replacing my gas cap. I may have to do the same again if I pay at the kiosk. So very much safer and easier to use the sanitiser several times than than to take gloves on and off several times or, as one should, to use fresh gloves each time. Gloves only make more sense when you are working in a potentially contaminated area or handling potentially infected items, but should be removed & properly disposed-of, then hands washed or sanitised when leaving that area. CDC says much the same thing https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/gloves.html Masks have their limitations, but one additional benefit is that they prevent you from touching your face - something which folk do on average 16 times an hour !!! JB
  12. That's the krunch with air-travel & cruising. Not a lot different to folk feeling the onset of norovirus. "I've spent a fortune of flights & cruise (or I need to get back home from foreign lands), so I'm not going to admit to feeling unwell" Understandable but incredibly selfish. And any means of preventing those folk from mixing & spreading, no matter how limited those means, should be used. BTW - a swab test which gives a result in 20 minutes, without the need for laboratory analysis and with a very high accuracy level is currently being trialed in the UK. And didn't I see, several weeks ago, a video of a similar test with equally quick results - in the USA, the guy drove through a test centre & was given the all-clear. (IIRC he should have booked on-line, but chanced his arm & wasn't challenged about a booking when he showed up). JB
  13. OK, so it finds only 30%. But it's quick and easy, needs only basic training for any employee with half a brain to operate, and there's no mention of false positives (thus no unnecessary refused entry / quarantining, etc) So because it finds only 30%, is that not better than finding none at all ?? Or would you suggest that for instance everyone should have been held at an airport for 48 hours or probably longer waiting for results of laboratory tests? I stepped off an airplane into 30+ degrees C in Tanzania, & was held in a line outside the airport building in direct sun for 20+ minutes, feeling very hot & bothered & the sweat was running into my eyes. When I reached the guy with the gun. I told him I was very very hot. He looked at the gun & said "no, you're not" (I thought "ahh, that's what my partner keeps telling me ) so certainly in my case perspiration didn't show a false positive. No doubt in due course there will be quick-and-easy tests for everyone, but as a stop-gap I don't see temperature-checking as useless and certainly not just theatre. JB
  14. NOT THE BEST JOKE IN THE PUB But certainly the most tasteless !! JB
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