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Everything posted by Denarius

  1. Formal nights are ok provided that there is a reason for them to be formal. The captain's reception, the black and white ball, the gala dinner. But having them on a evening with nothing to distinguish it from any other just to fulfill the quota seems pointless. Perhaps the solution is to have 3 during the 14 night cruise for the special occasions listed above.
  2. Quite possibly. Last summer in a fit of optimism I sought to book a Saga cruise for this May and got the same message. I duly rang and was informed that all I could book was a guaranteed cabin at a given grade, which guaranteed me a cabin of that grade or higher. I took the offer but the cruise was laer deferred and was ultimately cancelled.
  3. Maybe a sledgehammer to crack a nut but.... Have a little clock face with movable hands attached to each sun lounger, to be set with the current time when it is temporarily vacated. Have pool butlers to check the clocks on vacant sun loungers, any which have been vacant longer than the permitted maximun time to be cleared by them, as will any deliberately set at a later time in the hope of getting a longer absence.
  4. I am due to sail on Azura in Jan 2022, flying from Manchester. Rearrangement of a cancelled cruise last January. Booked via local branch of well known travel agency. Enquired recently re. what they know about P&Os Caribbean season and the likelyhood of actually sailing. Was told that the problem is (as others have said) the reduced availability of charter flights, which has led to the cancellation of all the St Lucia sailings and flights from some UK airports. Flights from Manchester are believed to be unaffected - for now! Fingers crossed.
  5. Thanks. I am somewhat reassured. But why cannot P&O tell it like it is on their website rather than implying that only those travelling together can dine and socialise together? Communication is definately not their strong point.
  6. Especially if you are also confined to the ship except when on a ship's tour, unable to explore ashore independently. I'm not inclined to spend good money to spend 2 weeks on a ship talking to myself. I do that at home 🙂
  7. Hopefully. My cruise on Azura is next January, rearranged from the same time last January! I am due to pay my balance in a few weeks and would not be inclined to do so if it was likely that I would not be permitted to socialise over meals or in the bars, both of which I can do with friends at home or on a hotel holiday.
  8. I have been sailing solo for several years since the death of my partner. I have several cruises booked including one on Azura, and have always found cruising a sociable experience. I have however, concerns that this may no longer be the case for solo passengers under the current protocols and that we may be fated to spend our time on board in solitary. Statements on the P&O website such as "If you are travelling with friends and family, please let us know at the time of booking so that we can link your parties to form one travelling group. This means that you’re able to dine, meet in a bar, watch shows and go on a shore experience together without the need for social distancing." do little to allay these concerns. I would therefore, appreciate feedback from other solo passengers who have sailed on a "staycation" cruise as to what the onboard experience is like for us. Do we have to dine in splendid isolation, or are there shared tables? Do we have to sit on our own in bars and showlounges? The answers may well determine whether I sail on Azura or not!
  9. Or be different and wear a formal bolo tie, like I do nowadays. Looks very smart and you would be surprised how many people open up conversations with you because of it!
  10. I agree that these things can be confusing. They still confuse me sometimes, and I have been sailing with P&O since 1997. However, ..... Smart denim worn with a shirt or polo shirt is fine anywhere on the ship on smart casual nights. On formal nights it is fine except in the main and some speciality restaurants and bars, but it is quite easy to eat drink and socialise without wearing a suit and tie. Normal branded tee shirts are fine, as long as they do not feature a design or wording which is likely to cause offence to your fellow passengers. As you summise, this prohibition is mainly aimed at the often risque tee shirts often pruduced nowadays for stag and hen parties. As I have said, you will not need to wear a suit and tie. But you will probably find that the majority of men wear one of some kind on formal nights and you might find the inability to use some bars and restaurants restrictive. Any dark(ish) suit will do, it does not have to be a dinner suit. Nor does it have to be a bow tie, a normal tie is fine or even a bolo. Hope this helps.
  11. Saga have over 100 single cabins on each of their ships at an effective single supplement of 40% or 50% over the equivalent twin. As many lines do not have single cabins and charge anything up to a 100% supplement for solo occupancy of a twin this can make Saga a good buy for solo travellers.
  12. I suspect that Saga's apparent tightening of dress codes on their new ships is a commercial decision based on which other companies' passengers they wish to attract. At their price point Saga are now in competition with Oceania, Azamara and Viking, and possibly the slightly more expensive Regent Seven Seas, all of which have a smart casual dress code. But I suspect that their passengers are not Saga's main target. Rather, Saga is seeking to attract UK passengers who would otherwise sail with Cunard, P&O or Fred Olsen, all of which feature formal nights, and are cosidering moving up market. And they must believe that the increased formality will gain them more passengers from this group than they lose to Oceania etc because of it.
  13. A relevant factor in this is surely that as a privately owned Swedish company sailing between (mainly) EU ports Star Clippers are subject to the protocols of Sweden and the EU, not the UK. So what applies on UK "staycation" cruises may not necessarily apply on Star Clippers in the Med.
  14. I see where you are coming from. I believe that when Carnival made a hostile takeover bid for P&O/Princess to baulk their planned friendly merger with Royal Caribbean/Celebrity their principal target was Princess. They did not know what to do with P&O as they already had a UK orientated brand in Cunard. Eventually they decided to concentrate on small or midsize ships with Cunard - even the Queen Mary 2 only carries 2700 passengers - and to accentuate their nautical heritage - voyages not cruises! P&O meanwhile was developed as a family friendly line with ever larger ships offering a resort hotel at sea, plus an adults only niche market. I am not however convinced that the latter will survive the retirement of Aurora and Arcadia and suspect that P&O will be aimed fairly and squarely at the mass family market with those wanting a more sedate cruise being steered towards Cunard.
  15. Re. booking of speciality restaurants. Would not a simple solution be to restrict advance bookings to one per cabin, with no further bookings accepted for that cabin until that meal had taken place? This would hopefully ensure that everyone who wants to book a speciality restaurant in advance has a reasonable chance of doing so. Vacant tables on the day could be allocated on a first come basis.
  16. Very pertinent comment. Whilst some ports like Barcelona can absorb 5000 cruisers without any significant problems, many smaller ports used by cruise ships are not geared up for ships of that size. Whilst the main ports on Madeira, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and (probably) La Palma will cope, those on Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and La Gomera are unlikey to do so.
  17. Sadly, I understand that this loophole is well known in certain circles and was (partly) behind the government decision that if vaccine passports are introduced in Britain they will only be accepted if they confirm full vaccination, not a negative test.
  18. I suspect where P&O will eventually end up is somewhere like this "On sailings of 16 nights or more, Formal and Semi-Formal attire is optional on two of the evenings. On the two Formal Optional evenings, guests are welcome to dress as per the elegant Casual dress code or opt for a more formal choice of clothing including gowns and cocktail dresses for ladies; tuxedos, dinner jackets or dark suits with tie for gentlemen." (Regent Seven Seas Cruises) Which seems to me to give those who wish to dress up the option of doing so without feeling overdressed whilst not forcing those who do not to do so.
  19. I suspect that it reflects the changing nature of P&O passengers. When I first sailed with P&O in 1997 (on Oriana) there were two fixed sittings at dinner, 6:30 (?) and 8:30. The 6:30 was designated the Main Sitting; it was the most popular and was often oversubscribed. I always chose the 8:30 Late Sitting and never had a problem in getting it. Over the years however it became obvious that the the situation had been reversed and it was now the Late Sitting which was oversubscribed. This change coincided with a noticable reduction in average age. It appears that the older generation ate earlier than the newer. And then came freedom dining ......
  20. I'd give it two years at the most. It is obvious to me that with Iona and Arvia P&O are trying to attract broader and perhaps younger clientelle who may not react well to being told to dress in a certain way, even if they personally might choose to do so. I expect that they will follow Celebrity etc and have smart nights (dress to impress?) on which people are invited to don black tie if they so choose, but are not penalised if they do not.
  21. Unlike printers, which companies like P&O assume everyone has but many do not. I do, because I am a man of a certain age (ok, old). Many of my friends, particularly younger ones, do not. They access the internet by smartphone or tablet. They have fully embraced the digital age and everything exists purely in cyberspace. Pictures and documents are kept in jpeg or pdf format on electonic devices or in the cloud, and transferred between them via wifi. They have no need for a printer because they never print anything out.
  22. I suspect that the answer to the OPs question is probably "with difficulty". There seems to be an assumption of late that everyone has a smartphone, a home computer and a printer. There is often no alternative provision for anyone who has not got access to these devices. If you book via a travel agent they will usually print out anything that they can and give it to you with your pre printed documentation. Mine certainly does so without being asked. Also, many public libraries and community centres have computers and printers available for public use which you can use to do it for yourself if you need to. You can get a printed copy of your vaccination certificate from the NHS by ringing 119. You need to complete a passenger location form online before returning to the UK which could prove problematic, but your ship or hotel will hopefully allow you use of a computer to do it and print it out for you. But all in all, life is not easy nowadays for the technologically dissadvantaged.
  23. Back to the original post, I am going (fingers crossed!) on a coastal cruise in Croatia with Saga in September. They state "You may require a pre departure test and we will confirm this prior to your departure when you receive your travel documents. If both pre departure and tests when you return to the UK are needed, you can book and pay for them all at the same time. You do not need to book your test to return to the UK though as we will arrange and pay for this for you whilst you are on holiday. This test must be taken 3 days prior to travelling home and your holiday will have the time needed to take the test incorporated into it." Why can't all travel companies be as accomodating?
  24. If you take a fly cruise your boarding time will be linked to your flight's arrival time. If you take a no fly cruise from Southampton and use P&Os coach service it will link in with the expected arrival time of your coach; coach drivers are given the latter and are expected to adhere to it wherever possible.
  25. If you turn off data roaming on your phone it should only connect to your suppliers UK network.
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