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Posts posted by peterhof

  1. 11 hours ago, livylotte said:


    Absolutely.  We have just booked a guarantee balcony on Explorer from Southampton in August for a ridiculously low price. 


    We've already had a cruise this year but couldn't say no to this.  Yes, it's an old ship but we can live with that!  And bonus - we've been given a spacious balcony cabin in a location I would have probably have picked (Midship deck 8 near the lifts).  Final payment is 5 days away yet there are still dozens and dozens of balcony cabins available. 


    Even identical cruise excursions are cheaper than those offered on our recent Oasis cruise in May.  The drinks package is not cheaper sadly - but that's probably because there are more sea days on this itinerary - I'll keep checking on that one!


    I do think that UK Indy in particular was priced very high for this year and next year and we certainly would not have paid that kind of money.  I am not surprised the UK cruisers have not been booking.  I don't think it's all down to Brexit  -  I think its partly because RC has been greedy and priced itself out of the market.

    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. 21 hours ago, agslc5 said:

    I 100% agree with you.. I have been on 52 Royal Caribbean cruises and I think the MDR is terrible.. I buy the Unlimited dining plan for every cruise and boy am I happy I do.. Like you said the food is so much better and I have a much better time.. I say go for it. you already know you like the restaurants so do it and be happy. 

    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. 36 minutes ago, Ourusualbeach said:

    Sorry but they do not add salt to the water.  The reason that you get swelling is not salt added to the water but a combination of heavily salted foods and the fact that as you stated they remove all minerals from the water.  The absence of potassium can cause your legs and ankles to swell.

    Utter rubbish - Salt (sodium) is definatey added to desalinated cruise ship water, along with clorine, believe it or not!

  4. 10 hours ago, Cru1s1ng2009 said:

    why would anyone carry on water when it is free on board? I have always wondered this and why people bring food on. 

    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.


    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

  7. 32 minutes ago, ReneeFLL said:


    I totally disagree. The Oasis was a mechanical issue that needed to be fixed while Royal chose to cancel on use so they could make more money. I do understand it's a business, but why did Royal give them a 100% FCC while they only gave us a 25% FCC. Originally they were saying it was only going to be on what we had paid (for most of us it was just on the deposit) which amounted to very little. When there was such a backlash they finally relented and agreed to give us just a 25% of what the total cruise would have cost us. 


    I wouldn't count on that complementary upgrade you're speculating about. They are almost completely booked with everyone trying to scramble to find a replacement. BTW, you can't compare the itineraries or ships, they are totally different. I live 5 miles for where the Independence was to leave from and now I have to fly somewhere. Are they going to pay for my flight to get me to where the cruise will leave from? Of course not!  So how is that fair? The Independence this year isn't an option since I have 4 more cruises this year on Royal which I'm considering cancelling. I could go on and on, but it just makes me madder.


    Have you ever been in one of the D lounges when it's crowded? Probably not or maybe you yourself are happy to see them go because you don't like the crowded lounges either. At times when it's so crowded they won't even open the Viking Lounge (or other available space) to help the situation. Often when they do they don't seem to care if others that haven't earned the C&A status also get free drinks.



    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?

  8. 20 hours ago, cruisekap said:

    Ok.  So I am booked on Explorer in October.  I will have to ignore the obvious maintenance issues as I can't rebook something else now as I have flights etc. already booked.


      What was the service and food like?  I assume the was normal Royal offerings.

    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


  9. On 5/9/2019 at 3:02 PM, timf2001 said:

    This fills an obvious hole in their schedule, unfortunately at the expense of those planning to visit Europe.  It also leaves RCI without any Norway or Baltic itineraries, as Anthem only sails south out of Southampton.

    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.

  10. 21 hours ago, Shrewsbury on Tour said:

    Now I have calmed down a little...


    It’s just greed nothing else....pure and simple...


    Selling a product to someone, take a deposit, then cancel and offer to someone else to make more money..and advertise it on the same day as you have cancelled. For a small business you would be closed in weeks...for a huge corporate company it’s all about $...


    Loyalty....yeah right....


    Time to look elsewhere....





    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.


  11. 21 hours ago, SAmome said:

    Have you seen the prices they are charging for 3 night sailings that include coco cay 2020?  I think they'd make more money running 3 and 4 night sailings.



    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

  12. 17 hours ago, Windsurfer play mates said:

    RCCL have just lost themselves 2 Diamond Members. Presumably Loyalty means very little?


    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!

  13. On 5/9/2019 at 11:32 AM, FionaMG said:

    High. Sailings out of the UK are crazy high. Royal are pricing themselves out of the market, especially with new builds by competitors like MSC and Costa. :classic_sad:

    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.

  14. 1 hour ago, dcherry said:

    Thank you for the reply. So one would need to physically stand and lift it through some cabin doors? If so, that is not going to be feasible in my husband's situation if I were not with him.


    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.

  15. 2 hours ago, dcherry said:

    Does this scooter fit through the doors on non-handicap cabins? Have you used it on grass terrain?

    Re cabin doors - it all depends on the ship, however, if you want to not collapse it, you can shorten the   Steering arm and turn sideways, or collapse it and lift inside. Not a problem.

    yes, unless the grass is wet, it goes ok on grass

  16. 12 minutes ago, broberts said:


    I don't think you appreciate the fact that at busy times a person or couple may not be able to board once or twice but a scooter user may have to watch five, six, seven or more cars stop before there is one that can be boarded. Sure we can put this down to "life". Personally though I see no reason not to look for ways to make life a little easier for everyone.

    Here, here

  17. 13 minutes ago, 123funcruiser said:


    No disagreement with you. This can happen to able bodied People as well. Sometime people rush in front of them too. Unfortunately this will be a Problem that will continue to exist and it´s certainly not limited to the Topic on Hand. 



    Of Course this can happen, just as it happens to non handicapped People as well. An Elevator might come up that is fully packed and the next one might have room for the Tiny Lady but not for me the big guy. That´s life. Now we can discuss the issue if it´s Right for People arriving after the wheelchair user slipping into an Elevator having roo mfor them, but not the Wheelchair, or if they have to let that one go and Keep waiting. I´d say let them go, as have them waiting doesn´t help anyone, it just stretches the Problem By not full utilizing the Elevators.

    Sometimes my wife, who is aged herself and has mobility issues not as bad as my own, will take the stairs if there is not enough room for both of us. 90% of the occupants in the lift already don't really need to use them at all. In the old days, all RCI ships had lifts at the rear of the ship too. These are now for crew use only.

  18. 37 minutes ago, Lady Hudson said:

    What bothers me is the people who rush by a person in a scooter or wheelchair because they can.  It doesn’t matter to them that the handicapped person has been waiting longer for an elevator.  Most people have common courtesy, but unfortunately some do not.

    Thank you - thank god someone on here agrees with me

  19. 30 minutes ago, ONECRUISER said:


    It's all a farce anyhow, in a real emergency there would be panic and as what happened on the Costa ship that sank, the crew, including the captain, will be the first to get in a LBoat. 

    A friend of mine was crew on a cruise ship and when he started, the first thing his cabin sharers told him was how to be one of the first off the ship if the order to abandon was given out.

  20. Just now, tommui987 said:


    My fault, I fear!


    I was wondering whether the battery is easily removable to lessen the weight? Of course you would probably have to get a basket and trey for cruise purposes unless someone lugs your stuff/food around.


    The battery is the gold bar in the picture, which fixes to the Travelscoot by hook & eye style fasteners, so yes, it is very easy to remove, but as it weighes just 6lb, the weight difference on or off is minimal. The present Travelscoot being sold does not have the pretruding black drum motor (see in picture) as the motor is hidden inside one of the back wheels. The result to a first-time casual spectator is that it is powered by a 200 pack of cigarettes like magic.


    When first I get on the scooter, after having a coffee in a cafe for instance, fellow drinkers think that it is a pedal tricycle - boy are they surprised when I zoom off at speed !

  21. 2 hours ago, Mulele said:

    We're cruising on the Danube next year.  This will be our second cruise. Our first was last year to Alaska. We rented a scooter there and I was delighted to discover how much easier and less painful having wheels was as opposed to hobbling around. 




    We took a Danube river cruise a few years ago and I took my Travelcoot. What you have to remember on river cruises, especially Danube ones, is that lots of times you will be moored alongside another boat in cities. To get from boat to boat (up to 3 are moored together), you have to do that from the sun deck and on most cruisers there is no lift to get to the sun deck. Therefore, someone has to physically lug the scooter to the top deck. This is similar to what happens on Nile cruises, especially in Luxor and Aswan.


    I advise that you check with your Danube river trip organiser to see how easy it will be to take a scooter on board.

  22. 20 hours ago, Mulele said:

    Finally have to move on up to a folding scooter... but I'm feeling overwhelmed by the massive amount of data out there.  Does anyone have any recommendations to share? I would prefer something that folds, but I'm more concerned about reliability and range. And cobblestones. Thank you. 


    Look no further than the Travelscoot.



    In a period spanning five years I purchased and ultimately rejected everything that was on the market, including the folding type as already mentioned to you. The main problem was weight and the ability to make sure that it could be driven right up to an aircrafts door and then stowed in the hold. With the type already shown, no airline would allow me to do that - I could take it to the gate, but it was then taken from me and put in the hold. That meant that I had to struggle to get to the aircraft door without mechanical assistance.


    Then I discovered that a German guy in America had invented the lightest and most portable travel scooter in the world, after he had been injured in a plane crash. His background was in avionics and he designed aircraft. He like I had gone through all the different scooters on the market and none were what he required - i.e. Lightweight but with long distance use and to be able to folded to a size that would fit in an aircrafts overhead locker.


    Depending on the airline, and if you travel business class or not - I can now take the Travelscoot on to the aircraft where it is stored in a wardrobe. Overhead lockers have got small and smaller and there is rarely room for it to be stowed there.


    I purchased my first Travelscoot (Mark 1) and had it shipped to the UK. The Mark 1 was great but it didn't have a reverse gear, so I had to reverse using my feet (pushing on the ground backwards). I took this little baby on all my foreign trips and on cruise ships it was a sensation, after so many passengers asked me for details I contact the inventor and he sent me some of his business cards.


    You will see from the images on the website that the present version (Mk 2) now has a reverse gear and much better breaks + the motor is hidden inside one of the rear wheels. Weight is around the same as a suitcase - i.e. 20Kg (42lb) and the power supply is a very efficient Lithium battery, that looks like a 200 pack of cigarettes. Made from aircraft quality aluminium it and welded, it is very, very strong. I wont temp fate by saying that I have never had any trouble at all !!


    In operation it folds down to roughly the size of a babies buggy and the stem folds onto the top of the chasis to form a strong central lifting arm. The quoted maximum driver weight is an amazing 350lb + carry on luggage. Take a look at the YouTube videos for more information.


    Below is me on board a ship in the casino - my biggest regret was that a lovely croupier loved it so much that she asked me for a ride - what was I thinking of to turn her down - "Stupid is as stupid does" said Forest Gump.



    Paul in Casino.jpg

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