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About peterhof

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    Harwich, Essex - UK
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  1. It’s a combination of factors, apart from Brexit another one is that RCL have allowed their standards to fall, as far as older passengers are concerned, Still great for families and young couples, who think it’s fun to rough it, like going to a music festival, but us oldies in the UK don’t look forward to a carnival parade every night and having to fight our way along the ship (Royal Promenade) to get a cup of coffee!
  2. Well yes and no - yes because we want to eat nice food when on vacation every evening, but no as we would then not meet new people on the huge ships. Also, why should we have to do that anyway - surely Berlitz, when rating food on ships do so dependent on the quality related to the basic cruise package. With Cunard, the quality of food served depends on the grade of cabin you are in, but with RCL and others, you get the same food no matter what cabin you occupy - or have I got that wrong?
  3. Utter rubbish - Salt (sodium) is definatey added to desalinated cruise ship water, along with clorine, believe it or not!
  4. The water dispensed from any tap on board, which includes the copious amount served by the assistant waiter during dinner, is all desalinated sea water. The onboard desalination plant does just that - it takes out all the salt in the water and any impurities as well. However, the resultant liquid is undrinkable, being bitter and very bland. Therefore, certain chemicals, including sodium (salt) are added - the trouble is that every onboard desalinated water I have tested contains a huge amount of salt, way above the daily recommended safe intake for anybody that has medical problems, such as a heart complaint. The onboard water is also one of the main reasons that passengers ankles swell up. The bottled water we drink and take on a cruise is Highland Spring, which has a low 5.6 sodium content. The desalinated water I have tested has a reading of over 50.
  5. We recently disembarked from the Indy (May 2019) after not cruising with RCL for the last eight years, and were disappointed by the obvious drop in standards of both food and wait staff in the main dining room. Just to give it a try, we booked a 3-meal pre-cruise dining package and boy are we glad we did - so much so that we are contemplating buying the 'All cruise night package, which includes specialty lunches on sea days and even dining in more than one restaurant each night!!, for our 6-night cruise on Explorer in October. The price seems a bargain, however, we a) like to dine on a large table and meet new friends and b) have worries that by the end of the cruise we would not be able to fit into our clothes! The difference in food quality comparing the MDR to Chops and Geovani's Table is like comparing a cart horse to a thoroughbred race horse and way wider that the last time we cruised with RCL. Does anyone else agree with me?
  6. This depends on a lot of factors - i.e. your Crown & Anchor club status, whether RCL are having trouble selling cabins, the actual ship (the larger the ship the better), the price you booked at, date of the cruise. For instance - this year (2019) in the UK, because of the 'Brexit' factor and worries that folk may loose their jobs, RCL have been having a terrible job selling cabins on all the Southampton based cruises, especially those before and after the summer school break. No matter what RCL have said to the contrary, this is the reason that they are not sending the Independance of the Seas to the UK in 2020 - much to the shagrine and annoyance of loyal UK customers. RCL and many of the other cruise lines (Celebrity, P&O, Princess, MSC, Cunard etc.) send me daily emails advertising special offers etc. In April (2019) RCL sent me an email about the upcoming UK based cruises and I was astounded how cheap they were. Although we have never done this before, we booked two cruises using the Guaranteed Balcony grade. Previously we have booked well in advance and chosen the cabin we thought was good for us (near lifts etc). The first was on the Independence of the Seas in early May (2019) and the other on the Explorer of the Seas in early October. Both of the cruises were being discounted at over 50% off at that time. We are Diamond status Crown & Anchor members, having sailed with RCL many times. It took a few weeks to be declared what cabins we would be in and for both e had been upgraded to a spacious delux balcony grade - the October one has a superb location on Deck 7 near the midships lifts, the May one was further towards the rear, but still very much ok. To be honest, the October cruise location is right where I would have chosen myself, so I am well pleased.
  7. #1 Posted June 23, 2010 (edited) Ship - Independence of the Seas Deck - 8 Stateroom # - 8374 Stateroom Category – Superior Balcony Starboard or Port Side - Starboard Quiet Stateroom? (With comments on problems) – Very quiet cabin, though that is always down to how noisy the passengers are each side of you. Only problem we had with the location was at times cooking smells wafted up the crew only stern lifts - some days no smells at all, others it smelled as if someone was cooking their own food in theeir cabin! Was stateroom a connecting stateroom? - NO Balcony View - Give comments on view, noting if location of any obstructions was an issue. – Looking to the left the view ahead is somewhat restricted by the 'hump' cabins - looking right has a clear view down the cabins - No obstructions looking down. Balcony Size? Normal or oversized for class? - Normal Was wind a problem? - Wind was a problem as both side panels rattled a lot and had to jam to make quiet enough to sleep. Bring a couple of rubber door wedges. If an aft cabin, was soot a problem? - NO Any specific problems with this cabin? - None that I can think off - aircon worked well - toilet ok - shower fine - storage space fine for short cruises Any other comments? - No
  8. It beggars belief why some people, many of which are lucky enough to be able to afford to cruise many times every year, do just that, instead of holidaying ashore. There are thousands of package holiday companies all offering a place to vacation, that nothing like this would occur. However, lots of them go bust every year, whereas cruise lines rarely do. Why don't you go to a lawyer and get them to write a letter to Royal in your behalf?
  9. Hi - it's Paul here, Don't worry in the least about these images as there is a good reason behind them, which I will explain later. The cruise that we are both on in October will be fabulous on Explorer, I promise. Now for my take on the possible reasons regarding the images, which lets face it, are alien to regular cruisers with Royal. At the outset, let me say that we have no idea if the ship has had sickness aboard recently, because American ships have no duty to report that unless the next port is in either the USA or one of their protectorates, like Puerto Rica. Therefore lots of the maintenance crew could be ill. Explorer has been sailing for months in extremely hot climates, calling at ports where new supplies of sun beds and double glazed large panels are not available. After leaving Dubai for the transit through the Suez Canal, there were many sea days when certain maintenance jobs could not be carried out, normally done during the early 'am' hours. That was because after leaving Oman waters, passing Aden and entering hostile known pirate waters, past Somalia and Yemen, (where this a war going on) and then cruising past Saudi Arabia, on the way to the Suez Canal, the ship was obliged to be at full alert for pirates and unlit at night. On top of all that, whilst in European waters, many of the crew and equipment will be replaced, including let's hope, the officers responsible for the upkeep of the items in the images. By the time of our cruise, indeed all of the Southampton cruises, all cabins will be equipped with a kettle and tea/coffee making equipment and the ship will be in as A1 condition as possible and up to the usual 'Royal' standard. What nobody should forget is that apart from the huge competition at Southampton, regular EU and UK standards inspections are held, to safeguard EU citizens. In many ways, ships based at UK and European ports, such as Barcelona and Amsterdam, are better inspected for health and conditions, than in Miami or Ft Lauderdale. However, after saying all that, I am on the Indy in six days time and will show the images to a maintenance officer for him to comment on. Should I see similar evidence of bad maintenance like this, on the Indy or Explorer, I will post my own images on CC
  10. Yes, I've often thought that all the American ships are missing a trick as lots of UK cruisers like ourselves, have on their bucket list a Norwegian 'Northern Lights' cruise. We have travelled to the Northern Cape on a 'Land of the Midnight Sun' cruise, which was amazing to see the sun go down to the horizon, bounce around for a minute, then rise again, but to see the Northern Lights properly and with some expectation that they will appear, you have to go there between the months of November to March. At present, the likes of Cunard, P&O, Cruise & Maritime and Fred Olsen have the market all to themselves and you have to be very lucky to secure any sort of cabin under £2,000. One day perhaps the penny will drop for one of the American lines and they will send a ship to either Southampton, Dover or Harwich for the winter months. They could then offer Canary Island cruises as well as Norwegian ones and perhaps Icelandic and Greenland ones - imagine the thrill of being able to take a ride on a husky pulled, racing sled over the snow, with the Aurora Boralis in the sky overhead.
  11. I haven't a clue about you personally, but I would bet that you have never had any experience in a high managerial position where things can change hourly, let alone daily or weekly. RCI must have been looking at the very poor returns expected from this year's Southampton based cruises and the constant jiggling of advertised cabin prices to trials and tribulations of the sales teams to try to get them sold. We ourselves could not believe how cheap they were being sold, on top of which we get a discount for being Diamond Crown & Anchor members - so we booked the upcoming first cruise on Indy and another, which was even cheaper, on the Explorer in October. No cruise line takes a decision like this lightly and they are fully aware that some of their loyal customers will be upset, but the fact of the matter is that it is a business decision and nothingat all to do withbeing greedy! They, like all public companies that issue stocks and shares, are answerable to their stock (share) holders and are committed to make sure that profits return at the agreed level. They also have to weigh up the fact that contracted and committed sums, which in RCI case relate to the ships they are currently building, are in place and that suffient funds are available to meet the deadlines. In every large company there is normally a 5-year budget plan, maybe longer, and budgeted profits from one year must be sufficient to service the expected outgoings of the next. I consider, having been in this sort of scenario myself when I was working, that the original decision to send two huge ships to Southampton for the 2019 & 2020 season to be a bad one. They could even be considering cutting their losses and pulling one from mainland Europe as well. However, the Brexit uncertainty is relevant only at this stage to the UK people and to UK businesses. I say "at this stage" as things could radically change should the UK crash out of the EU on World Trading terms on 31st October, which is getting more and more likely. Germany car manufacturers for instance could easily see a massive downturn in profits if some sort of trade tariff is instigated following a certain EU ban on imports from the UK.
  12. Yes indeed they will, plus of course lots of the more mature passengers will opt to buy the 3 specialty restaurant deal which just now is a bargain at £55 pp. Thus, RCI can cut down the tables in the MDR and maybe reduce the number of staff. Six years ago, when I had lots of time on my hands, I did a best gestimate of clear profit per cruise for a 7-night cruise on a 90,000 tonne ship, which included everything, cost of meals, wages to crew, casino takings, shore excursions, bingo profit, specialty restaurants, port fees, etc. etc etc. and the clear profit figure was just over £1million per cruise. On a ship the size of the Indy, the profit margins produce an even greater sum and on the Oasis class could easily double or tremble the £1million. When you consider that most RCI ships sail practically continuously all year round for ten years and operate on a break down scenario, rather than a pro-active 6-monthly maintenance program, Indy and other ships her size may well return a £100million profit for the company, per year. With 26 ships in the fleet and more to come, that means that RCI ships return a profit figure of approx £2.6 Billion per year. translated to US$ that is approx $3.9 Billion per year - wow
  13. Losing 2 Diamond members is in fact a bonus for RCI, as there are so many now, that they have been obliged to introduce Diamond lounges on all new ships and to those that are refitted. On the Navigator for instance, nightly happy hours for Diamond and above, happened in the public Ixia lounge at the end of the Royal Promenade and was a comfortable experience. Loyalty definately does mean a lot to RCI and to every line afloat and they always give extra than what is expected whenever they have to cancel a cruise. Just see what the 2019 Oasis TA booked passengers got after they were forced to have the ship repaired through no fault of their own. Cancelling a cruise this far in advance is not like cancelling one that was scheduled for a few weeks later. Giving a 25% bonus on top of a full refund, plus stumping up for any non returnable flight and transport costs, is I think very fair indeed. On top of which they said that anybody booked on next years Indy TA to the UK would have the option to transfer to the Anthem, probably getting a complementary upgrade I bet!
  14. Yes, but quite frankly, there is no comparison between the Italian style ships and the American ones. We have sailed on MSC just once (Reposition Beunos Aires to Southampton) and we were in one the top grade suites. As soon as we got in the stateroom we looked at each other and said "This is not what I would call a suite, just an elongated balcony cabin and smaller than a standard balcony cabin on an RCI ship. We had been warned not to order any meat dishes at dinner, only fish - we of course disregarded this recommendation and ordered steaks on the first night. They arrived looking like flattened pieces of pinky brown lumps of cardboard and tasted even worse than they looked. Vegetables were served uncooked or at best having been microwaved for 10 seconds. The ship itself was lovely, but the crew were badly trained and because all Italian ships act like buses, in that passengers can book a cruise from any itinerary port to another, there were multiple muster drills throughout the cruise. That said, and was the reason why so many people died on the Costa Concordia, although there were 'new' passengers at every port of call, not every port had a muster drill before departure. For those unlucky enough to be in a cabin below the lido and sports deck, it was hell, as until about 2 in the morning, sometimes later, there was organised line dancing, sports games and lots of teenagers running around the deck, whooping it up. Anouncements, of which there were scores every day, were first broadcast in Italian, then French, then Spanish, then English. If there were any Japanese aboard, which is frequent, the announcement was given again by a Japanese translater or tour guide who was leading the Japanese contingent. Needless to say we have never booked an MSC cruise again. Costa is slightly better regarding the food, but with lots of fun loving Italian and Spanish families on most of the cruises, ambient noise levels do not make for a great cruise if you are a mature cruiser. Also, just like at home, Italian families encourage their youngsters to run around the table and grab whatever they fancy from dishes on the table. If you have ever eaten in a local family restaurant in any Italian city, you will know exactly what I mean. It's pure hell for anybody else that happens to be in the dining room, hoping to have a quiet meal. A Costa cruise is a 3-star experience for Italian food, cabin comfort and amenities, but a 1-star experience for English speaking passengers for entertainment and ambience around the ship.
  15. Put it this way, it's not as wide as a wheelchair and on his own he would not be able to lift a WChair on his own into a non accessible cabin but maybe could lift/negotiate a Travelscoot into one. We have been on lots of RCI ships and some are wide enough and some are not, even in the same cabin grade. Ships that definitely are too small are, Marco Polo, Magellan and Fred Olsen ships - basically all the older ones, however, those ships don't let you use a scooter around the ship. Best to contact the cruise line and ask how wide their doorways are.
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