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Everything posted by PrincessPete

  1. Hi Britboys and Skipper Tim An interesting picture of “Satoshi” as she is now. My thoughts on the CMV reincarnation are well documented on the CMV site so to avoid boring you further I will not mention them here! As far as "Ambience" is concerned, I do wonder what refurbishment she will undergo prior to next April. Obviously the outside will be painted, and presumably new carpets etc, but the issue that bothers me is the state of the plumbing and air conditioning. They both received consistently terrible comments over many years on the Cruise Critic cabin reviews forum for the ship as “Pacific Dawn”, and on other review sites. She will be a relatively old lady of the seas at 32 when she commences service as "Ambience" and a few idiosyncrasies can be expected – but they may not sit comfortably with the lavish descriptions in the Ambassador brochure. I note from a picture that the horrible bench seating in the show lounge remains unchanged, and that really does show the age and style of the ship. I was surprised at the sample menu in the brochure which showed just two main courses including one vegetarian – and only two desserts. Just two choices, surely not? Also, the lack of alternative restaurants of a suitable size precludes any “Anytime Dining” which is the norm these days (although I accept it is also not available on Cunard other than in the Grills or Club Balcony grades). Tim, you referred to “two sister ships” of "Satoshi"/"Ambience". I am sure there were just the two identical ships, not three – "Crown Princess", now scrapped, and "Regal Princess" that will become "Ambience". Happy to be proved wrong but can you assist? As an aside, we had a reasonably pleasant cruise on the "Crown Princess" in 2001 although we were not particularly keen on the ship lacking a full promenade deck (since then most new ships don’t have them either, of course). We found one particular design “flaw” which was rather annoying. As you know, the main restaurant is at the stern of the ship and our table was located at the extreme far end, away from the entrance. The nearest toilets on that deck are halfway along the ship so were a very long trek during dinner if a visit was needed. (there were nearer ones if you went up a deck). A small point, perhaps, but most odd that the facilities are not immediately outside the restaurant on the same deck, as is the case on pretty much every ship we have cruised on. (I was going to post this as well on the CMV forum but the last two postings there were from Britboys and skipper Tim so in view of your postings on here I guess you will see this.) Tim, you mentioned a few days ago on the CMV site that the Early Bird savings were to finish the following day and wondered what would replace them. In true CMV fashion you will see they were immediately replaced with…………….Early Saver Offers! I suppose in the interest of fairness I should add that they are not alone as many cruise lines replace an expired offer with a new one when the original ends. Fortunately, to date, we have been spared Ambassador using the pathetic BOGOF offer that CMV persisted with forever – where the first person paid twice as much as one would expect to pay, and the second person paid nothing. Did they really think passengers thought one person was getting a free cruise?! Kind regards to Britboys, Skipper Tim and all. Peter
  2. I fully respect your opinion ovccruiser and, indeed, cannot claim to know the ins and outs of CMV's liquidation. I also accept your comment that people running businesses do not deliberately go into liquidation to fleece their customers (doubtless some have used that tactic before but I'm absolutely not suggesting that was the case here). I think the issue was they were unable to get funding, having already taken several massive multi-million pound loans in the preceding few months. As I said, the point that really does go against the grain is the CEO of a company that had just gone into liquidation being able to buy the database and office equipment of that company, clearly with the intention of restarting in the future. Knowing people who have lost jobs and money due to CMV folding, it is somewhat upsetting to see those in the top echelons of the old company now with their new jobs and with financing for a "new" cruise line, albeit obviously it being the old one reincarnated. We therefore may not agree on this matter but I hope you will accept this as a reasoned argument against your posting and we will agree to differ. With best wishes. Peter
  3. Hi teabear and all, I did email Cruise Critic a couple of weeks ago and ask if they were going to start a new forum for the Ambassador cruise line, but heard nothing. I’ve sent a further email today. Hoping the sarcasm (as in previous posts on my part on this subject) will be excused, but there is an argument for keeping it under this forum heading anyway: • Ambassador is CMV in all but name, run by the same people who ran CMV and left ££millions of debt and have now set up quite legally (but morally?) a near identical company. CMV’s boss even bought their databases from the Liquidators when they went bust. I am sure you already know he is now Ambasssdor’s boss! The accompanying blurb from the two TA’s who sent me the brochure comment on the new company being debt free – indeed, but CMV and their suppliers, Banks etc? • working in the same offices. • not that any confirmation is needed that it is essentially a reincarnated CMV, but the two TA’s both offered 5% off to previous CMV loyal customers! It leaves a very bad taste in my mouth (We did not lose any money ourselves through CMV’s demise but know of people who did). I did receive a copy of the brochure yesterday and agree the prices seem quite reasonable (could they charge any more for a 31 year old ship?). I also note that there is no freedom dining option which was not unexpected as the ship only has one large restaurant, so I guess it would not be practical - as was the case on CMV. I am sure many people will book with the “new” company. We will not be amongst them. Kind regards Peter
  4. Hi, looking at the latest (Oct 21- Mar 23) hard copy brochure there aren’t any cabins on Iona that start with an H. As a separate matter, I was in Southampton on Saturday and saw the Iona at the Ocean Cruise Terminal. I pulled into the nearby Marina and had a fantastic view of the ship. Just thought I would mention it in case anybody was passing and wished to go and have a look (I am assuming she is still there, of course!)
  5. We have booked numerous cruises through TA’s, often with additional stays etc which are unique to them (as opposed to booking direct where they may not be offered). My opening gambit is always this: “I am interested in booking the holiday advertised in etc etc. I will only do this if you agree to accept final payment 10 days before the cruise line’s last date for payment. Is this acceptable?” On every occasion the TA has agreed.
  6. It is interesting reading the blurb on the reincarnated CMV cruise line (now called Ambassador) website where there is no reference to being ABTA members (or with an application pending). I presume anyone who books through a Travel Agent would be protected by the TA’s own ABTA membership. Ambassador apparently have their own insurance which presumably (if they remain solvent) protects direct bookings. Were they to fold, however, where does that leave those booking direct? Based in Purfleet I guess they are even using CMV’s old premises. Doubtless many people who are oblivious to the background will book the attractive looking itineraries. Along with many friends we will not be amongst them.
  7. I wonder if the former CMV Directors have arranged to pay the debts of their old company yet before forming the new cruise line? No, I thought not. Please excuse the sarcasm but if you knew people who had suffered badly following CMV’s demise, you would understand.
  8. Hi all, when we booked for our 28 nighter in November 2022 we opted for the included car parking. Just as a matter of interest at this early stage can anyone advise where the car park will be - is it likely to be close by whatever Terminal we sail from? Or do we leave the car and keys with someone who then parks away from the Terminal and returns the car when we disembark? Thanks for any help. Kind regards. Peter
  9. Hi all, as per my post on the “will the phone lines crash at 0830” thread, we did get a midships deluxe balcony for this cruise. This is just a quick final thank you again for all the help, especially Mike with the description of the different balconies. Only 18 months to wait and keeping fingers crossed in the meantime! Good luck to all booking today. Kind regards Peter
  10. Hi all, just heard from the TA that she got us a midships deluxe balcony (Aurora Caribbean November 2022). All booked. Can’t describe how happy we are!! Good luck to all. Kind regards Peter
  11. Hi all, it is interesting reading the various different processes adopted by TA’s in advance of the release date of cabins. Our TA has (by agreement with us) taken our deposit from the credit card and we have provided a list of cabins we would be happy with - if any are available, they will instantly confirm the booking with P&O on Wednesday morning. If not, we get an immediate refund from the TA (we have had cancelled cruises through them before and been highly impressed with their refund service). Can I also ask if those who have already booked (I am talking about the Aurora Caribbean cruise November 2022) are presumably all in the top couple of tiers in the Peninsular Club? Tring.....Barbara, we have “spoken” before on the CMV site. Hope all is well with you. May I ask how many cabin numbers you have said to your TA you will accept? We ended up with about 25 we would be happy with so🤞🤞. (Our deposit represents that needed for the highest price grade we chose). Good luck to all with the booking. Kind regards Peter
  12. Can I thank you all very much for the most helpful replies. I did actually use the wrong term when I said "pre-register" (inferring that would be with P&O) as we are booking through a TA not direct with P&O, having seen the TA's advertisement in a newspaper on Friday. (re Wowzz reply, that is why we did not register previously as we only decided to go when we saw the advertisement on Friday!). Hopefully the TA will get us a cabin and we have now given them a long list of ones we would be happy with, which are largely the deluxe balconies with bath. We have also chosen those of the standard ones that have a bath. Based on Mike's comment (and having looked at a video of the ship) we prefer the balcony itself on the deluxe cabins with the extra light, not just being cut out of the hull. Fingers crossed for when they take bookings and likewise for all others who have pre-registered etc. Thanks again for your help. Kind regards. Peter
  13. Good evening, we are planning to pre-register for the 28 night Aurora Caribbean cruise in November 2022, with bookings opening on Wednesday. We did a similar itinerary a couple of years ago on Oriana and absolutely loved it. I will doubtless have a few questions about Aurora before sailing but at this stage we are just researching what cabin to book. I would be most grateful for your comments knowing that many on the forum have sailed on her. • Is there much of a difference between the standard and deluxe balcony cabins? • I believe even the standard balcony cabins have a (small) bath with the shower overhead, as per Oriana. Is that correct, please? • I know the balconies are quite small but do they take two chairs and a small table? • On a more general note I believe the ship is very similar to Oriana, which is one of the key attractions! Any observations good or bad would be appreciated. Thank you in advance for any help. Kind regards Peter
  14. Likewise Britboys, I agree entirely with your point about midsized ships - also with esa-aardvark about Covid (although CMV needed mega loans before Covid to keep going, so their business was in trouble earlier). I had no actual gripe with CMV having enjoyed an excellent cruise on Astoria and, indeed, being booked on Amy Johnson for this year. The issue that I have, now, however is IF Mr Verhounig has the funds to start up a new cruise line and buy (charter?) a ship that he should first pay the companies who lost out when CMV went bust. Us passengers were the “lucky” ones with ABTA protection and got our money back. Many other creditors got nothing. I honestly feel there is a morality issue when the same person whose business went under starts an identical business again, without repaying old debts. How would CMV’s creditors feel? How would us passengers feel if we had not been refunded? (I repeat again no one seems 100% certain this is the case here but if it is Mr V then that is my view, others may disagree which is fair enough. Kind regards Peter
  15. Please see further link below which seems to suggest it will indeed be CVI (or essentially CMV by another name.) Interestingly, the author (much respected Malcolm Oliver) asks the question “Would you trust Mr Verhounig with your holiday again?”. That’s a big NO from me, although if he pays CMV’s debts to all the suppliers etc who lost out when they shut down before starting again I may rethink. I won’t be holding my breath. https://malcolmoliver.wordpress.com/
  16. Hi all, I just saw a most interesting article on Cruise Industry News (link attached) which says the ship that was to become CMV’s Amy Johnson has been sold to a new line about to start up later this year. The history is documented in the link and it does say that when CMV closed down the ship was originally sold, and then re-sold for scrap, before being “arrested“ in Panama. Anyway the bottom line is that it appears to have now been sold again and is to be used by a cruise line start-up. It did get me wondering whether the proposed new cruise line CVI which was going to be set out by the former CEO of CMV, Christian Verhounig (who bought a lot of CMV assets) is now going to start up the new line. It does seem a bit of a coincidence that the ship involved is one that was heading to CMV this year. Or it could all be a complete red herring! Interesting though. Kind regards. Peter https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/24650-former-bitcoin-cruise-ship-sold-to-new-startup.html
  17. Hi, we saw an advertisement today for a Norwegian Getaway cruise in January 2023 (done loads of cruises but not on Norwegian, hence my first posting on this site). The trip starts with 3 days in New York then a 12 night Caribbean cruise with an enticing itinerary. When we saw it the itinerary seemed perfect as it goes to San Juan which we love but have not visited since the 1990's - a lot of Caribbean cruises from the UK, including fly cruises, do not go to San Juan or St Thomas due to the time spent at immigration in USA ports. Sadly when I looked at the full itinerary on NCL's website it showed two days at sea after leaving NY, then arriving at San Juan at 1600 hours. That is a huge disappointment as even with a 2230 hours departure it simply does not leave enough time to visit old haunts and the main sites. My question (which is not meant to be a stupid one!) is this: Based on previous experiences does anyone think they would endeavor to arrive any earlier or, as I guess is the case, is1600 hours likely to mean exactly that. By the time those of the 4,000 passengers wanting to disembark had done so, I just can not see it being worth it to us making that a deal breaker as a day in San Juan would have been the highlight of the cruise. I guess we will have to keep looking! Any comments would be welcome. With thanks and kind regards. Peter
  18. Thank you both for the most helpful replies. Yes, I was also surprised to see San Juan as a port of call although for us that is one of the attractions of the cruise - we went there several times in the 1990's on Cunard Countess 14 night cruises which started and finished in San Juan with a day in the middle back there as well (two 7 day itineraries back to back). It is a fascinating place but I totally agree it seems strange with everything that is involved for the ship and its passengers for just the one stop in a USA territory. Drinks - thank you both for the explanations including about the coffee. The general consensus is that the included wines are very good which means my wife will be happy - as long as they do not run out of the draught lager so will I be!! Many thanks again and with kind regards. Peter
  19. Hi all, first posting on the Saga board - we are very experienced cruisers but have not been on Saga previously. We are looking (fingers crossed) at the 35 Night Caribbean cruise in December 2022. One thing has disappointed me with the itinerary and I did wonder if this issue is the norm with Saga. The cruise leaves Barbados and has a week at sea before arriving in Madeira - but the stay there is only from 1200 to 1700, realistically leaving a meagre 4 hours at best ashore. Surely with a week at sea beforehand they could have gone the tiniest fraction of a knot faster to have allowed a full day in Madeira? We have wanted to go to Madeira for a long while (and fully realise we don't have to go on a 35 night trip to the Caribbean to do so!!) but it is disappointing to have such a short stay there when surely they could have easily arrived at, say, 0900. Any thoughts on that, please......and here are a few other questions. All inclusive drinks: I see these are Saga branded spirits etc - does that mean there is a limited choice of included drinks and plenty of others (possibly better known names) that have to be paid for? Are speciality coffees included in the package or are they additional? Do Saga have their "own brand" lager - or does anyone know what lager is on offer? Whatever the answers are to the above would not put us off thinking about the cruise so we are just asking out of interest. Thank you very much in advance of any replies. Kind regards. Peter
  20. While I respect and understand the views expressed above by knowthescore I would be totally gobsmacked if Carnival/P&O were to remove Ventura from the fleet before Aurora or Arcadia. She is much newer and bigger, as we all know, and presumably cheaper to run on a per person fare basis. I just cannot see it happening.
  21. Sorry to ask a further question (tried to edit the original post but it would not let me). Looking at the MSC brochure it says the Aurea experience cabins have "My Choice Dining" - is that correct as my TA suggested that was only the case with Yacht Club cabins? Thanks again. Peter
  22. Hi, we have been on one MSC cruise on Magnifica four years ago in Europe and loved it (we are from the UK). Thinking ahead to 2022 and keeping fingers crossed, we are looking at an offer today for the 14 night cruises from Barbados that stop at a Caribbean island every day. Although we have done several Caribbean cruises, one of the attractions of this cruise is the fact that it goes twice to both Martinique and Guadeloupe neither of which we have been to since the early 1990's. Just a few questions, please: Are most of the passengers on these Caribbean cruises from Europe or the USA? Is there any significant difference onboard between the Fantastica and Aurea experiences other than the Spa benefits? (both include the Premium drinks package in this offer) The Yacht Club cabins are, of course, a lot more expensive but do have the benefit I believe of a smaller restaurant where you can dine at your own choice of time? They also offer priority embarkation - in other cabins does it normally take a long while to embark with so many passengers? Any idea of the likely fixed dining times in the Caribbean - 1900 and 2100 hours was suggested by our Travel Agent? Do many people on MSC (particularly in warm weather cruises like this) wear formal dress on "Elegant" evenings. The offer we are looking at includes gratuities - is the Service charge that I have read about separate to that? None of the answers would affect our decision to book but we are just interested. Many thanks in advance for any help. Kind regards. Peter
  23. Just had an email from Princess cancelling our Round Britain cruise on "Crown Princess" scheduled for 23 September 2021. No suggested alternative offered. I think "Sky Princess" appears to be doing a similar cruise in August but will not transfer to that being in the school holidays. Shame as it replaced our cancelled CMV cruise.................which replaced an earlier cancelled CMV cruise.................and an earlier cancelled P&O cruise.................. Good job we live 200 yards from the beach on the south coast of England - that's our bit of sea for the foreseeable future methinks!
  24. Self explanatory link attached. Kind regards. Peter https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/23485-cruise-ship-fleet-headed-to-auction-block.html
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