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old nutter

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  1. We have seen Oh, What a night a couple of times and it was very good. However, the way best music on any NCL ship we have been on was the singing group "4ever". Individually, the four singers had very good voices but their combined rendition of the Queen hit Bohemian Rhapsody was superb. Having said that there was one voice in the group that could make the hairs on your neck stand up. Although Paul Tissierre, a baritone from Uruguay could sing tenor as well he was probably the smallest of the group, but as soon as he sang, his voice was so big it could fill the whole theatre - absolutely fabulous to hear. We saw them once when they did "Time to Say Goodbye" and it bought tears to the eyes of lots of the audience. Their usual encore piece was Nessum Dorma and with Paul leading it certainly lifted the roof at the end. I am not sure they are still going or are likely to be on NCL, but if they are, go and see them.
  2. But if you want to go out from Civitavecchia and don't fancy the crowds etc in Rome, you could catch a half-day trip to Ostia Antica. The town was the main port for Rome but was eventually abandoned and was covered in dust until quite recently. I has been partially excavated and is now classed as second only in importance to Pompeii as a site of Roman antiquity. Make sure you get a guide to bring it to light and you will find so much about how the Romans lived. There will be very few others around so is an easy site to see. It is just beyond Fiumicino Airport so is a bit over an hour along what is a pretty quiet main road.
  3. Switching has a bonus, particularly if you want to look outside the main tourist areas around Naples. The archaeological sites apart from the big tourist ones are closed on Tuesdays, so changing round with Rome would allow for trips around Naples museums as well as places to the North like Pozzuoli and Campi Flegrei. There is a huge amphitheatre in Pozzuoli that is open to walk round on Wednesdays and it can all be seen without the masses of tourists that you would get in Rome and Pompei (assuming you have already seen those of course). And Cumae has an absolutely fascinating history and is largely ignored by the bulk of tourists. We went there a couple of years ago and there were only 3 or 4 other visitors apart from us!
  4. Like most on this board, I am not an expert virologist. However, I am an experienced Systems Engineer, so I am interested in compete processes, not just bits of it that undermine the whole system so I tend to look at the whole, not pick and mix bits and pieces of information. Most of the discussion here has been about identifying who has the disease and making sure that stay off the ship. Where this particular disease is so dangerous is much more to do with the point at which the virus is shed by someone incubating it even if they have no symptoms at all. According to most science so far, it looks like virus shedding can start up to 4-5 days before any symptoms show up. Until we have some way to make absolutely sure that someone cannot spread the disease, we have to assume that everyone we meet is a risk to us! One of the other worrying pointers is that science also tells us that the level of antibodies in anyone is a major factor in deciding whether having the antibodies means you are immune to it. The danger is that the science apparently does not know if that is true or what the safe levels are if not. There is no solution --- yet - just a measure of risk to you and others. If you don't have it (not if you have no symptoms) and you can live life with the risk of catching it, then go ahead and do your thing. However, you might just be in that dangerous infective period and others you meet may have issues that alter the level of risk to them. So make sure you are not the one who transfers the disease to someone else who can't survive if they get it from you. That level of uncertainty makes cruising totally dependent on science finding a way to effectively nullify this fiendishly effective disease in a number of ways. It cannot really go ahead until the potential cruisers are confident that they will be safe. Customer confidence is all powerful.
  5. I am confused. If the company holding your money goes under, surely you become an unsecured creditor. That means the big people get first dibbs at what is left and you could get only a few cents in the dollar if anything at all. Or is there something I am missing?
  6. There is a real chance that the UK will join the likes of Australia an New Zealand in imposing a 14-day isolation for almost everyone trying to enter the country for the foreseeable future. Then who else? Just for a laugh (thought the OP was a comedy sketch worthy of Monty Python) we thought we might map a 7-day cruise from Barcelona in summer on Epic in the new world of closed borders... Day 1 - fly from UK to Barcelona and book into a hotel for two weeks. Day 15 - Board Epic and sail. Day 16 - Sea Day Day 17 - Land in Naples and book into hotel or compulsory government accommodation for 14 days Day 24 - Find webcam to see dock to watch Epic come and go. Day 31 - Board Epic again Day 32 - Land at Civitavechia for day not having left Italy Day 33 - Land at Livorno for day not having left Italy Day 34 - Land in Cannes and book into hotel or compulsory government accommodation for 14 days. Day 41 - Find webcam to see dock to watch the Epic come and go Day 48 - Board Epic again Day 49 - Land at Barcelona and fly home to UK to go home for 14 days in quarantine. Day 62 - Rejoin the world at the end of my 2 months long one week cruise holiday. Any takers for a go at it this year then?
  7. That view is a bit simplistic. The two-bed suites in the Jewel Class Haven are identical to the two-bed suites not in the Haven apart from their location. The Haven ones are nearer to the middle section of the ship, so are very marginally more stable at sea. The main differences in structure are to do with how you view your personal space. The Haven space expands your available space with a fully flexible volume. The roof of the Haven can be open, partially closed or closed completely to allow that volume to be more liveable than is possible with the suite and balcony. There is no full restaurant on the Jewel class ships, but breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks are served in the Haven by a dedicated butler. Obviously, these facilities can be provided in suite, but it is totally down to how you value that extra space in the Haven. As well as the main Haven area, there is a very large private sundeck above the Haven. This space is at the top of the ship and provides views outside, up to the sky, down the whole port side to the water line and to the stern. Again, the value of this space is totally down to how you value your own space. Clearly, if you are the sort of person who does not mind being confined to your cabin for inside and outside private space, the Haven suites are of little or no value. However, if you value the extra personal space that the Haven provides, that uplift can make the difference in between "just a cruise" and "a full experience". It's very personal, not just an unjustifiable "MUST". If nothing else, the current lock-downs have shown a lot of people just how valuable personal space can be to your wellbeing and may change your view of how you want your cruise to be.
  8. For those thinking this thing might go away, here is a trusted voice spelling out the issues very well: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52182509 Not looking good.
  9. I suspect that individual risk is going to be a minor issue for the cruise industry in the whole. The biggest risk will be what happens if a port refuses landing because "they" or their population thinks there is a problem on a ship. The last three ships in this current episode only docked yesterday and the MSC one had a problem in the earlier stages down under when even though they had no cases on board they were denied a landing because locals demonstrated against it stopping there. Just look at the latest tweet from POTUS last night where he is trying to effectively extend a virtual wall all round the US to stop any chance of someone bringing the virus into the country. Everyone now knows just what happens if a cruise line ends a cruise in a foreign country and the passengers then get abandoned in a country that cannot then help them get them home because either that country or the home one has closed borders in and out. That risk will not be fully mitigated by any personal measures because the individuals movements are taken completely out of their hands and it can change very quickly. Risking your future when you have no hope of mitigating that risk will be the greatest issue for potential customers. And do not forget that corona virus is no longer a risk that any travel insurance will cover on new bookings from now on! Not very hopeful, I am afraid. The outlook is not very good for quite a while, never mind this summer.
  10. The biggest issue would be if you get unloaded for any reason (eg virus or bad injury ending in hospital), then you might need a passport. You could also find yourself being airlifted to a foreign country off the ship and you might need a passport then as well. Finding out that having a US identity document doesn't always seem to mean much outside in the wide world seems to come as a shock for some. A six month plus passport is the only identity document that is universally accepted wherever you are on the planet, so often best to cover for everything since you can. Everything else is a risk, albeit often a small one.
  11. Been on Epic, Getaway, Pearl and Jade Havens. The Epic arrangement is fine once you get used to the way they coped with the afterthought nature of the whole area and having to keep your key-card handy all of the time can be a bind. The Epic glass elevators out of the Bar up to Posh and down to the ice cream machines in the buffet are so cool. The Getaway was fine except when it rained without it having a roof (OK warm rain in the Caribbean). The Jewel Class ship Havens are really good if, like us, you like the peace and quiet. The smaller courtyard means that you almost have a personal choice about whether the roof is open, closed or half-and-half, and that upstairs sun lounge area on them is a massive feature with it's permanent views of the sea, land and sky - and virtually guaranteed sun lounge spaces. The formal and informal Epic restaurants are definitely the best in the fleet. And if they had more variations in the evening meal choices, those inbuilt Haven restaurants would be unbeatable.
  12. I agree about approximately the 90% English speaking. Almost all Europeans speak English as either first or second language. Even the French who do not like to speak English when on home territory will use it when on the neutral space aboard ship. The only people who will probably not be able to converse in English will be Orientals, mainly the Chinese.
  13. NCL have not come clean on either what happened to the engine in detail, or what thet need to do to get it back to full use again. There was quite a lot of info on here from people who were on her when the fire happened for us to know that the damage to the engine was quite extensive. The spec for the star is available and shows that she is one of the fastest cruise ships around other than the Cunard ocean liners when all is well and she can easily make a bit over 25 knots. She has not been above 21 knots since the troubles and experts here have been able to work out that this means she is currently working well with three engines at the moment. As to what will happen when she goes back to Europe in the spring, we can only speculate what is going to happen. However, it is obvious that NCL would not go to the trouble of cancelling one cruise, handing the passengers over to the Dawn and moving the TA forward unless they were trying to make somme headroom to repair that engine. It will have taken a long time to get the bits for the repair and get them into place, hence the long lead time. If they need to completely replace an engine, they may need a dry dock, but if it is a case of repairing the huge crankshaft it might be possible to do it without drydocking. There is an oldish video if you want to see what can be done here:
  14. Just to put the record straight for now, the Star did not get any Haven Suites fitted when it was changed, they were just "Suites". There are no Haven suites on Star. As far as the "mechanicals" are concerned, Star has two rear mounted Azipods that are currently fully serviceable. There are four diesel-electric power generators that provide the electrical power to operate the two azipods and all hotel services on the ship. One of these engines is currently out-of-service because of a mechanical failure which happened during the summer. With full power coming from the three engines running there is enough electrical power to provide all hotel services and have enough to move through the water at around 20 knots which is about 4 or 5 knots below the absolute max for the ship. When used, that extra speed is expensive in fuel costs so is only used when it is absolutely necessary to go that fast to maintain an unavoidable tight schedule between ports, so the sequences between ports are normally set so that it is not necessary under a normal schedule. Most of the port changes over the past few months have been where those very tight scheduled journeys would be otherwise be necessary and changes have been re-planned to account for the loss of that extra boost power from a fourth engine. Other unavoidable port changes have been for the likes of the sudden changes in Venice after the MSC ships re-engineered the canal banks in the summer and some big forecast storms that forced a route change for the recent TA. That TA was completed without any known power issues, so repeating the trip the other way with the three serviceable power generators is perfectly feasible. From what is publicly known, it looks as though the work to restore the fourth engine will be done immediately after the April TA. That work on the fourth engine apparently needs significant dockside activity, probably cutting a substantial hole in the side to get "big stuff" in and out of the engine room, but not an actual dry-dock. Therefore, unless they will be taking the opportunity to do some below waterline work, dry-dock facilities will not be necessary. Every thing else about this latest "episode" is how NCL have handled the enforced non-availablity time to get the fourth engine back to use.
  15. Maybe use the time to explore some of the beautiful and historic inland places around Europe this time, or perhaps switch to a river cruise - there is much to see that will never be possible from port stops.
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