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Everything posted by ToadOfToadHall

  1. Oslo is excellent because the ship parks in the city centre. It's pretty much next to the Opera House.
  2. We used Smiths For Airports going the other way (i.e. Heathrow to Southampton) and it was £67. c.f. £240 that Cunard are charging. They were very good, I booked them after recommendations on here.
  3. I'd agree with all of what you have said. The other thing I noticed was how many people on board were commenting on how very hot it was. I'm sure people had the image of burly Russians walking round in huge overcoats and big fury hats !
  4. We went to the Hermitage and I don't know how our guide didn't manage to lose a few !! Yes, you could image the odd person left behind to endlessly wander the bowels of the museum until the end of their days ! 😁
  5. I'd say from the one with did with Cunard is it actually pretty good. When we have taken other Cunard excursions they have tended to be little more than a glorified bus ride, but the one is St Petersburgh was the best Cunard excursion we have taken.
  6. For the ports, this is from a review I wrote at the time (2012, first trip): Kristiansand We were there on a Sunday, and so the town was pretty much closed. It’s a large town, there’s not a lot to see. You can walk to the town centre from the ship in about 10 minutes, it’s very close. We walked over the bridge, across the river and into a more residential area – I don’t think many others walked that far. There is a little train thing that takes you round the town, we saw it but did not go on it. I’d not bother with doing an organised tour as there’s not a lot to see and what there is very close by. Oslo Again, you get off the ship and walk into the city centre. It’s maybe 15 minutes, no more. I just walked around, up to the palace, and strolled around the grounds a bit. Copenhagen You can walk into the city centre, but it is much more of a walk, maybe 40-50 minutes. Cunard said they were not providing a bus since it was so close. Well, it was okay for us, but I can imagine for older people it was a bit too far. One option is to get on a city tour bus; they wait by the ship. We actually walked right though the centre of the city, and got on one there instead. Then as it went round, we realised we were almost back at the ship, so we got off and did not do the whole tour. But it’s good, you see a fair bit of the city from the top deck. Stockholm Due to a bit of illness, we did not get off the ship here. However, plenty of people said the Viking museum was very good indeed ( they have a full size model of a Viking long boat ) Helsinki I’d rate this about the best place we visited. Cunard provided a shuttle bus, which cost about £5 each or so. It drops you off in the city centre. We then walked past the Parliament building and went round the Museum of Finland, which is small, but very good. It took us around an hour. It’s easy to find as you just walk past the Parliament and you can’t miss it. They give you a personal audio tour device thing, which is very good. We also went to the Natural History Museum, again very good – but it’s not like ours in London, which is, of course, huge. Again, maybe an hour and you have seen it. St Petersburg The port is way out of the city centre, so you either have to book a tour with a local operator, or take one of the Cunard ones. We did a Cunard one ( they only one of the ship’s tours we did do ). We did a full day, they take you round to lots of palaces and landmarks first. We were here on a Sunday, so the city is very quiet, the guide said that a lot of people who live in the city go to holiday homes at the weekend.They then took us for lunch in some little restaurant ( included in the price ). The meal was okay, nothing special, some kind of stew ( cat ? ), rice, veg etc. Quite a few people left most of it, other’s cleaned their plates.Then we went to the Hermitage Museum. It’s very big, very crowed and very hot. I think we spent a bit too long in there really. We were flagging, as were others, again, if you are pegging on a bit then I think it was too much.We were glad when we left. Finally, we were taken to a corel recital, which lasted about 50 minutes. Now, it’s not the kind of thing I would normally bother with, but I did leave most impressed by their singing – and there was even a “fat lady” who sang at the end !It was a long day, starts at about 8, back to the ship after 5. About $120 each, but I’d say, looking at what we did, a fair price. The guide was very good, she gave us all a piece of paper that said “Help. I am a tourist, and I am lost, Please ring this number” and said if we did get separated or lost, that whoever we approached and showed the bit of paper to would help, because it’s part of Russian culture to always help some in trouble. Thankfully, no one needed to find out of that was true ! Tallin I can’t comment on Tallin, as we decided to stay on the ship. However, there was a bus you could hop on to take you to the city centre, and everyone who used it said how could it was, and how nice the city was. Zeebrugge / Brugge Again, I can’t comment as we decided to stay on the ship, and, in my case, get sun burnt !You can get a bus again to Blankenburg ( about 3 miles away ), and lots of people did that. From there you can get a train to Brugge, which takes about 30 minutes or so.So, we only booked one Cunard tour as almost all the other places, the ship docks within walking distance of the city centre.
  7. We have done this cruise twice (on consecutive years). The first year we booked a full day Cunard excursion in St Petersburg and it was very good. We'd booked another one for day 2 but after the first day being so full-on, we decided against it. So we stayed on the ship and had it to ourselves. On the second year, we never booked anything at all so we stayed on board for 2 days and again had the ship to ourselves. You can do what you like, there's no "normal" thing to do, why does that idea worry you ?
  8. Myself and Mrs Toad used to play a few times when we could not be bothered to get of the ship. They only have normal tennis balls so you will need your own pickle !
  9. What Yoshikitty has shown is a coat because clearly it's designed to be worn outdoors for keeping you warm but what Underwatr ha shown is a sports jacket or blazer. I'm not 100% sure what the difference is between a sports jacket and a blazer, but blazers tend to be either navy blue or black and have metal buttons (but not always).
  10. Couldn't you just leave it for the night and order a new bottle instead ? So say you had your left over wine in the MDR on Monday night, eat somewhere else on Tuesday (and have a new bottle) and finish of Monday night's bottle back in the MDR on Wednesday night.
  11. You are not supposed to remove your jacket until The Queen has been toasted, followed by a announcement of "Gentlemen, you may now smoke" ! But since no one toasts The Queen and you can't smoke in any of the restaurants, you'll be waiting a long time ! I always keep mine on but only if I don't feel uncomfortable - if I feel too hot I will take it off because you don't want to be sitting there feeling (a word I can't think of).
  12. That's how I tie my shoelaces and always have done for 45 years+. When I was about to start school I couldn't tie my laces in a bow. My old man showed me the two loops in a knot method and that's what I've done ever since.
  13. Yep, that's how I do it. Once you have the tried it correctly but loosely then hold the looped end on one side and the single end on the other and pull. That will tighten the knot but it will be out of shape. So then hold it the opposite way round (so swap the single and looped sides) and pull again. Do that a few times and it will even out. Also, I keep my finger in place once I've do the first wrap-over and that shows you where to poke the next loop. Finally, remember it's not meant 100% perfect otherwise it looks like a clip-on. So endeth the first lesson !
  14. The stool looks a bit casual.
  15. I think we are talking at cross purposes. I too think the prices on Cunard are way over the top (2 years ago I was paying £6 for a can of Strongbow - which I doubt very much will be happening again).
  16. I was just using a figure to illustrate a point.
  17. That is very true. And it's because of course you don't get standard types of beer in a can in the UK in a pub (well, hardly ever). So all you can compare it to is the offie price, say £1 for a can of bitter but its say £6 on the ship. Which is a disgrace (as you say). But say a pint in a pub is £4, then paying £6 on the ship is not as bad (relative to a can). It's a perception thing I think. Canned beer is always seen as not as good as draught, but bottled beer is seen as better. And often it's the same product but one comes in a metal container and the other comes in a glass one. Odd that when you think about it; it makes no difference at all and yet people (including me and you) view it differently.
  18. The problem with looking at the average price of a pint/glass of wine in various UK locations (or anywhere for that matter) is that prices still vary wildly in any one location. There are too many imponderables. But at least on land you have a choice; if you stay in a hotel you can choose to drink there and will pay more than a local pub/bar (in general). But you have a choice. On a ship you have no choice, apart from deal or no deal. So people feel they are being had over. Also, people tend to look at the absolute cost and not the difference in price. Say you are used to paying £4 a pint. And then the ship charges you £5 a pint. They don''t look at the £1 difference, they look at the £5,.
  19. Indeed. This has been observed before; A lot (not all) of UK posters on here consider the prices on board to be very expensive whilst a lot (again not all of US posters on here consider the prices on board to be very reasonable. Another thing is when people say the drink "a lot". I've seen people who have told me they drink a lot and then I've witnessed what they refer as a lot and to me it's little more than a swift half ! It all depends on your datum point.
  20. With regard to Carnival charging different prices for the same drink on their various lines (Cunard, P&O etc), this is no different to on land in the UK. Plenty of big chains charge different prices depending on location. And equally there are pub companies that own multiple pub chain brands, and one chain will charge a different price to another, but it's all the same parent company at the end of the day. And it's not just drink either. Years ago I needed a new glass for my wing mirror. It was a Lotus and it turned out it was exactly the same bit of glass that was fitted to a Citroen. So I bought the new glass from Citroen for half the price that Lotus wanted. It was the same thing, one came in a Lotus cardboard box, the other in a Citroen, but they charged differently. At the end of the day the price is determined by what the market will stand. I'm not saying it's right, but that's how it is.
  21. We always have port at the end of our meal and with regard to ordering a bottle; One cruise, after ordering a couple of glasses, the sommelier suggested a vintage bottle which he said represented very good value. So we accepted his offer. On the next cruise, again, after ordering a glass each over 1 or 2 nights, the sommelier suggested we have a bottle as it would be cheaper for us if we intended to have port every evening. I looked the bottle up online and the mark up was very low, around 50% as Windsurfboy says. The sommelier also said they always to this; if someone orders the same thing 2 nights running then they always suggest a bottle. So on our last cruise we expected the same thing to happen, only it didn't. So we asked about buying a bottle and this time the sommelier was quite suprised so he went a fetched the port list for us to choose from. But if you want port or something similar at the end of your meal it's definitely worth buying a bottle I'd say.
  22. Not being traditional could well be a reason. i.e. why do they think they need to ? But it's not very fair on people that don't know about it; everyone should be treated the same, so if you don't know about it then that's hardly your fault.
  23. I've wondered about what type of steak it is - when I asked for one (and failed to get one !) I just asked for a streak, I did not specify a cut. But, some nights there is a steak on the menu, which strikes me as odd if you can always order one anyway - i.e. do you get the same thing if you order one from the "always available" menu as when there's one on the main menu anyway ? Also, if they did but a steak/chicken/salmon on the menu, I reckon some people would order a steak every night. So maybe that's why it's not written on the menu ?
  24. I asked for a steak one evening in the MDR on the QM2 (as I'd read on here they were always available) and the waiter told me in no uncertain terms that that was not possible. I questioned him and was again told no. To be fair he was most concerned that I did enjoy the main I chose in the end (I picked least worst option). It was actually fine as it turned out.
  25. Just put it in a plastic bag and take it through security !
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