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Everything posted by cinnamon

  1. Following along Norris and really enjoying the review. I too was born in 1952 and lived in London in the 70s. I’m so glad you still loved London after so long away. She is a beautiful city, albeit very changed in recent years. We've just finished a Norway Fjord cruise on the new Saga ship and I wrote a Live From blog during it. I’m looking forward to reading about your trip to that stunning country.
  2. Very interesting Sweep. We weren’t concerned about sharing so didn’t ask not to do so. It was the experience of the lady travelling alone who has posted extensively about this that made me notice it all. Yes, there were two tops pushed together in the Grill but with so little space between tables it would have been even more so if they were separated. Our cruise had 951 passengers, the most on any Saga cruise in history.
  3. But two tops are few and far between in The Grill. 😏
  4. I have a copy of ‘Today’ from Wednesday in front of me. The Grill times are :- Early Risers’ Coffee. 7.00-7.30 am Breakfast 7.30-10.00 am Lunch Noon-2.00 pm Afternoon Tea 4.00-4.45 pm Dinner 6.30-9.00 pm. In addition, The Verandah & The Lido Noon-3.00 pm (weather permitting). I can only think that snacks during the day refers to afternoon tea. As far as I’m aware it is not open outside of these times. In fact the breakfast food was cleared promptly at 9.30 on port days and 10.00 on sea days.
  5. Thank you. Yes, I’ve now read your review. 😀. Maybe we’ll try Fred one day.
  6. I’m really enjoying your posts, UKTog, thank you. Lottie, please excuse me thread butting but I wanted to ask you about Fred Olsen. Which ship were you on and did it feel crowded? The passenger space ratios are poor on all their ships, which is partly what has put me off them. Corinne
  7. I believe the problem that some experienced on our cruise was more in the buffet at breakfast and lunch, not at dinner. Seating for two is very restricted up there and as we were not given the opportunity to choose our own table, but placed by the Maitre D, eating without others was not possible. .
  8. MDR food much more British than we’re accustomed to. I cooked a chilli tonight, was missing strong flavours, other than in East to West.
  9. We sat next to a couple who said they cruise on Saga because once over 80 they couldn’t get travel insurance elsewhere. It was no problem on Saga and they didn’t ever have to pay an extra premium.
  10. Some of the brochures have sample menus from the Specialty restaurants which were pretty accurate as the menus don’t change. We only ate 3 dinners in MDR and on the last evening the choices were disappointing. Fried Cod, Roast Turkey or (tough) Veal in mushroom sauce. Unfortunately we missed the best MDR menus which seemed to be the nights we ate in the specials. Unlike on Azamara, you cannot see the menus on the tv in your cabin and decide whether to try for somewhere else that night.
  11. Hope you have a good day Chris. I still don’t believe you should have a forced wake up. You’re on holiday. If you wanted to choose to sleep in and miss the early finishing breakfast, that would be your own decision.
  12. Forgot to add how much we love the aft design of SOD. Having those terrace areas to sit, even when the wind caused by forward movement makes the Prom or Lido deck less comfortable. Also, if the sun is on the opposite side of the ship to your balcony, it’s a good alternative. Plus, in places like the fjords you get the perspective, seeing Port and Starboard views. On the subject of age. We were well aware that we would be cruising with people who were mostly older than us. Yes, there was a bit of ‘It’s not like Pearl and Sapphire’. But, the couple with whom we shared our transport were both 92. They were fantastic for their age. If Saga means I can still cruise well into my 80s, if I’m spared, I’ll be thrilled.
  13. I think some of your concerns will need to be met by Saga. Certainly the announcements in the cabin probably have already. Don’t forget she’s only a few cruises old. Nobody else has been writing extensively. I suspect ‘They’ didn’t realise it was happening. Specialty restaurant booking is a work in progress for sure. The crowded buffet could be alleviated by longer opening hours. Saga have never ever had more than 600 passengers before. It’s a steep learning curve and the disembarkation has to improve. We’ve not sailed with Viking but friends have. Perhaps they would meet your needs in future? Very similar sized ships. I do hope that once you've been on the SOD you’ll report back. Saga had forums of passed Saganauts to give advice about the new ships. Maybe they should have consulted passengers from the other lines they’re trying to tempt......like us.
  14. Funnily enough we’ll be in Windsor on Tuesday. American cruise friends are spending 2 nights at the Christopher Wren (bigger budget than ours) and we’ll be tour guides. 😀 We actually live in Windlesham.
  15. We are already booked on Azamara in March/April next year. We have a window cabin on a Dubai to Athens cruise. If we find another with them at a price we can afford we’ll continue to be Azamarans. Their prices are a big IF though
  16. Actual Summing Up. Ship, beautiful, best I’ve been on and that’s over 30. Lots of space and light. Dining rooms elegant. Seats in theatre could be slightly comfier. Cabin, great, despite being the cheapest category. Very spacious seating area. Would just have preferred that to be 6-12 inches narrower and the space between the bed and wardrobe that bit wider. Bathroom has no drying line in the shower. Most if not all other ships do. We had adequate storage but two people on a 3 week voyage needing warm and cool clothes would have struggled. Entertainment, very enjoyable and I gather a longer cruise would have some variety, not just music. Lectures. Port speaker very good, old military chap did not appeal to us, especially after we met him on our tour. I hadn’t realised that the lady talking about walking was a guest speaker and I missed that. My bad, as they say. Food. Specialty restaurants very good, assuming you can get in. The Seafood Platter in Coast to Coast was exceptional. The other food was mostly good but not varied enough for our tastes. Too British I guess. Plus, the buffet was always crowded. In a ship with so much space this seemed odd. Longer opening hours, as on other lines, would have helped. We did miss having crew from all around the world with their nationality on their name tags, as on other lines. The mostly Filipino staff seemed to be very well trained for those passengers who needed assistance in all sorts of ways. Would we cruise Saga again? Yes, if the price was right on an itinerary that appealed to us....and lots of the unusual ones do. However we still fly regularly and wouldn’t want to pay for lots of seas days to reach the Mediterranean for instance. In a few years when we too may be less able I’m sure we’ll be very grateful that Saga exist. We also have annual travel insurance. I understand that for those who can’t get insurance due to age or expensive medical conditions are very pleased to continue travelling, thanks to Saga. I’m sure we would be the same.
  17. After the choir rehearsal and pool dip I returned to the cabin to find a letter addressed from the Captain, asking to meet with me. I debated ignoring it but didn’t and spoke to him in a quiet spot in the Britannia Lounge before the talent show, as arranged on the phone by a staff member. He or someone in his office had obviously been monitoring my blog. The first thing he did was to apologise if his remarks at the Cocktail Party had offended me. I accepted his apology. Then he took me to task that I had compared his captaincy to Captain Carl on Azamara. I realised he had been offended by my remarks and apologised to him. In retrospect I agree that my words were perhaps a bit too personal. However, reading back, I told the truth about my observations. He said I didn’t know him. Actually we had met on several occasions and of course I had heard him speak a lot over the PA. Now it did seem very odd to me that after all this happened there was a post on the blog from Lorraine, Guest Experiences & Quality Manager at the Saga Office, which was very positive, thanking me for my in depth review ..........and then it was removed. I have a copy of that post and she did mention FB which CC don’t like to be promoted so I don’t know if it was the moderators or Saga who removed it. I have a feeling this will now get discussed further.......or removed. 😉
  18. My Blog appears to have been taken over so I’ve decided to post separately the end of my experiences and the reasons why I did not continue onboard, other than answering specific questions from ‘followers’. I went to the Choir rehearsal at 3.00. In total, we only met up 3 times but it was such FUN. Robbie, the lead singer organised the whole thing in such a relaxed and amusing way. All 4 singers from the company helped out, especially when we were taught some brief 4 part harmony. Steven with the basses, Robbie the tenors, Abbie the altos and Sabrina the sopranos, or Sobrinos as our small group became named. On this last practice we ‘learned’ a new song, Hallelujah. We were asked to wear black, white or a mixture of those for the performance. We then met up at 5.00, watched the rest of the show and sang last. One of the acts was Captain Sutherland, with Michelle the CD trying to get us to guess what his talent was. I won’t spoil that surprise for any future cruisers but suffice to say he was very good at what he did. Between rehearsal and performance I nipped down to the Hydrotherapy pool to try it out, at the invitation of a friend. Apparently he and his wife had used this area a lot when it was very quiet. Well, not so at 4.00 pm on our last day. The pool was fairly busy but I gather that numbers are monitored to ensure it never gets too crowded. You hand in your cruise card at reception and get it back on leaving. There are plenty of lockers but the keys don’t have any way of being attached to your swimsuit so have to be left at the pool side loose, with your provided large towel. There are supposed to be robes available too but there were none when I got there. The floor to the pool can of course be wet and slippy and I recommend you wear flip flops or similar. I did try the pool, it is really like a large jacuzzi, too small to swim and no jets to swim against. I didn’t try the steam or sauna rooms as time was pressing. Unfortunately there are no individual changing cubicles, only two showers and and one toilet. The communal changing area was crowded by the time I came out and I’ll admit that I’m not keen on stripping off in public, even when it is women only. My hang-up perhaps as the other women seemed happy to do so. After the talent show we finished our packing and I phoned down to Explore Ashore, enquiring as to why I had not received a response. I originally made a complaint on Monday morning to which I did not receive a reply. I saw a staff member that Morning, Wednesday, and still heard no more. The lady on the phone around 6.00 pm said someone would call me back. About 15 minutes later I got that call and was told a letter had been issued at 1.00 pm and she blamed Housekeeping for not delivering it. 😏. She told me that our account had been credited with £15.00. (When we got our final bill it actually showed the tour charged as £54.00 each, rather than £69.00 charged with a £15.00 credit, a different sort of accounting). Whilst we had enjoyed most of the tour, we missed what we had most wanted to do, the Fjord centre. It was the ship’s fault we left 30 minutes later, due to inefficient tendering. We left our cabins at 2.35. The first toilet properly available was at the closed centre at 6.00 pm. That’s why we needed to use the chemical toilet on the bus with no water or sanitiser afterwards. With so much emphasis on sanitising onboard, which is essential for us all, it seems to me that this was poor recompense. This was our only ship’s tour and I would reluctant to book another in future unless this organisation improves. We chose to go to dinner a little earlier than on previous days to avoid being stuck again on table 55 in the corner by the kitchen entrance. It was about 6.50 when we asked for a table for two and were accommodated with such. Unfortunately the menu that night was poor. Roast Turkey, fried Cod or Veal Tenderloin in creamy mushroom sauce. I chose the latter. It was certainly not tender and I cannot understand a chef who puts beetroot purée next to mushroom sauce. The flavours were horrible together. We took part in our first Quiz of the whole cruise. We normally love quizzes but somehow the timings had never worked for us. None in the mornings, just 2.00 pm and 8.45 pm. That evening one was too early for us as we usually were still at dinner. The lady asking the questions had a very strong accent and it was extremely difficult to understand her pronunciation. Our scratch team got 10 out of 20, which didn’t seem good to to us but apparently we were second. Our final show in the theatre was Mike Sterling presents Tenor at the Movies. I really enjoyed his choice of songs, especially one of my favourites, Windmills of your Mind. However, there was too much amplification and Reverb. Just very loud. As this is now a ridiculously long read I’ll post separately about my interaction with Captain Sutherland.
  19. We were escorted to the lift and then on deck 7 just pointed in the general direction of our corridor. To be fair, I think I/we probably looked as though we were not confused.
  20. Yesterday was Captain Sutherland’s last day before a break. I cant help wondering if the announcements into the cabins was a mistake. It didn’t happen on our last day. Perhaps after my blog had been read?
  21. Yay Chris! So pleased you’ll be able to keep us all in touch with the SOD. I’m sure being a longer cruise will make it easier to eat in the 3 Specialty restaurants. Enjoy!
  22. I found the SOD to be the most spacious ship I’ve ever sailed on and there have been over 30. The passenger/space ratio is very good. However, almost every time we ate there The Grill felt crowded. Not enough room between tables, especially for people using walkers. There are very few tables for two. Some of the tables for four are overcrowded at breakfast with the items set on it. I wish I had taken a photo. Sugar and sweetener bowls, a plate trying to accommodate 6 little jars of jams, salt and pepper, cups and saucers, side plate and butter knife, jugs of milk, placemats and of course cutlery. Then add in a plate of hot food and a glass of juice. All that for 4 in a small space. Some of the tables for 4 are really two 2s pushed together and these have much more space. The shorter than normal (on cruises) opening hours can’t help. We were never up for breakfast at 7.00. Between 8.00/8.30 and 9.00/9.30 it was always crowded, with queues forming both sides waiting to be seated.
  23. We’ve been very fortunate today! Our time was 8.50. The couple sharing with us were slower to get to the car (they were both 92) but we were heading off by 9.00 am. Bit of traffic, second to be dropped off and we were home at 11.20. All unpacked, two laundry loads done, some food shopping too. I’m out rehearsing tonight and needed a rest this afternoon beforehand so will compose my thoughts and sum up tomorrow. I've a lot to say. The fact that Saga have responded to this blog has been very interesting.
  24. Don’t worry about 300 pm pick up. Nobody boarded till after 2.00. Although we were billed as leaving at 5.00, the check in staff said it was 6.00 and indeed that was right. Buffet ‘tea’ is provided that day, not lunch. The latest time some are getting off today is 12.40!!!! More on that once home. 😉
  25. I tried the Hydrotherapy pool this afternoon for you! 😅 will write up when home. There is an exercise teacher, Amanda. Pilates, yoga I think, stretch classes and sit to be fit. Didn’t see Aerobics mentioned or Zumba. I didn’t use the gym as walking is my usual exercise plus some classes but seldom do those on cruises due to timings usually.
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