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scifimonkey

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About scifimonkey

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Bedford UK
  • Interests
    Dreaming of far far away places
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Mediterranean

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  1. We are taking a flyer on NCL for the first time this August, having been long time Celeb cruisers, primarily because of the itinerary and timing. But I also agree that the X prices are getting out of hand.( probably the need to fund the latest round of new ships) We take the view that only 5 of 16 days are at sea so if NCL Spirit was terrible( and we have no indication that it would be, indeed it should be new and shiny, internally at least, having had an extensive makeover) then the vast majority of the cruise would be just as amazing as on any other line as we would be in the Japanese and Chinese ports we want to see for most of the cruise. There was an earlier comment about NCL Haven reserving too much of the ship but unless I have missed something I don’t think that Spirit has a Haven section so everything should be open to everyone ( subject to a fee no doubt). Have to agree with the others who say go for the itinerary you want. I hope that you and your daughter have an amazing time!
  2. Frankly I think the scarlet lady interiors look like they are full of easy clean American diner furniture. It may be more high quality than it looks but what it looks like is a holiday camp! I am sure that the entertainment will be brilliant especially if club culture is what you want from a cruise and it is not really covered by any other cruise line however I am slightly concerned that the interiors seems be designed with cleaning up after the night before’s excesses in mind. What I had hoped for from Richard Branson was Necker Island on a ship but there is not much sophistication on view in the images. It looks like it will be great fun if what you want is the worst excesses of Ibiza at sea! Time will tell if there are enough people with the money to cruise who want to dance and drink themselves to a standstill so that they do not notice or care how spartan their surroundings are. It is telling that they are not offering cruises of longer that about 5 days! This is clearly planned in order to keep the prices within the range of a very young client base. Love many of the ideas, but would want a balance of sumptuous and quiet chill spaces sophisticated dining options and luxurious cabins to balance out the fun. Not for me as it stands at the moment but then there are existing offers that cover my preferences. Mr Branson is not often wrong and would not have invested so much if the market research did not ensure him a demand but I think he is looking to create new cruisers rather than steal the existing ones. iMHO the existing lines only need to be concerned about competition for their short 2-3 day party cruises!
  3. [quote name=snaefell;56551714 ".................)' date='I think I have seen too many programmes about them being built & it just keeps coming to my mind that we are staying in a furnished container! cruising![/quote] As a sometime designer of land based hotels I can assure you that more and more of them WILL be furnished containers too..... prefabrication and site stacking by robot cranes is the future.......:)
  4. Was the Freddie Mercury tribute Steve Larkin? If so it’s good to hear he is still going ( haven’t seen him for around 6 years now but found his take on Freddie hilarious)
  5. We took the P&O train and cycle halfway back trip and cannot think of a serious negative. Train up was good with views from both sides of the train and waterfall halfway up is impressive but the highlight for us was cycling halfway down which allowed much better appreciation of the scenery and time to take it in at your own pace. Plus there’s not much cycling required only breaking!!! Did ask if there were any cycling tours the whole way down from the top however apparently the top section is a bit precarious for non experienced riders so the companies that run the tours have difficulty getting insurance at sensible rates. Shame even with stops for photos the ride down though really enjoyable, was over too quickly.
  6. Yes there will be a seperate queue for reception with a big sign saying ‘gratutities cheepskates queue here’.:)
  7. We had an aft suite with a corner balcony on Britannia to the Fiords last year and it was amazing. The ability to see such a large vista was really beneficial in the fiords where hours are spent with scenery visible rather than just the sea and the horizon. They also widen in the middle to make the sun lounger you get a viable item. The suites on Britannia are also well arranged and have great bathrooms. Perks are nothing to write home about but embarkation/disembarkation priority and, if you have to, tender priority are hugely valuable on ship so large. Suites on the sides are nice cabins and equally well appointed ( had one of these to the med) but the balconies are narrow and no space to use a sun lounger properly. Front corner suite will be breezy on the balcony when you are at sea but the speeds in the fiords will be very low so should not be an issue for watching the mountains and villages go by. Also if you are at the front of the ship then soot will clearly not be a problem. ( From our experience it IS a problem on the rear of the ship but you just have to manage it and the benefits outweigh the soot IMHO.) Suites, as has been said, are addictive, which is a drain on the pocket however P&O's offer is not so slick that you cannot go back to 'ordinary cabins' - we are doing that this year! Now Celebrity however, that's an entirely different proposition, we would struggle to book an ordinary cabin after benefitting from their suite perks without feeling we were 'missing something'.
  8. D Deck Superior Deluxe Cabins, Good cabins with Bath and shower ( in the bath), good sized balconies which do project completely from the ones above ( but one persons 'overlooking' is another persons 'sunshine for longer'). And unlike Janny 444 it is our cabin of choice on Ventura and Azura. Middle of the ship is more convenient and more stable but that's why those cabins cost more. Otherwise the cabin type is pretty consistent along the entire ship.
  9. There have been a number of bad reviews of Ventura since the dry dock and I am wondering if these are just a collection of moaners all travelling in a similar period or if there really is an underlying problem. Worryingly the main issues seem to be technical with bow thrusters, stabilization, late departures and missed ports at the heart of the complaints. Given that it is only just out of dry dock where presumably it had an MOT as well as a spruce up this seems strange. Hoping by casting the net wider than those just choosing to post reviews I might get a broader response, or maybe more confirmation................................. My vested interest? I'm back on board in July after an absence of 7 years and am just a bit concerned that all may not be as good as it was. I can live with the ' drop in standards' issues ( those complaints seem to be common to virtually all lines) but lack of stability and mechanical breakdowns are another matter entirely.
  10. So then presumably having now sailed on this 'ugly death trap' (your words not mine), we can at least hope not to bump into you pushing your way out as we file orderly towards our muster station. All cruise ship designs are reviewed fastidiously for safety. The speed at which a ship of this size can physically be evacuated would leave you more than enough time to leave the theatre and reach your muster station before anyone thinks about loading a lifeboat. Indeed you may find that certain features are incorporated specifically to stop you rushing headlong through the ship. Getting out of the theatre quicker might get you a seat in the muster station but will not get you off the ship any faster. If that unnerves you then I suggest you do not sail on anything large because the evacuation times are likely to be very similar.
  11. :)Based on this thread I’m off to the bank manager today with a business plan for a Downton Abbey Theme Park.
  12. Thanks to all for your detailed comments. I have always found that understanding the brand and its pluses and minuses has helped us enjoy pretty much every cruise we have done whatever the line and to the extent that we had an issue, it was usually because we were unprepared for it. It seems like the two options are quite comparable with only minor preferences either way so I am sure we will have a great time. I look forward to the QG dining and will take note of the Grille lounge constraints compared to Micheals club. I would be interested to hear what people’s favourite watering hole is on Q.V. and for why. The commodore club looks to be a similar size and design to the crows nest on Britannia but hopefully with less pax it will be easier to get a seat in. We really enjoyed the ambiance of the Martini bar on the S Class X ships and to a lesser extent, since it was changed to the World Class Bar, the specialist Cocktail bar. What would be the Q.V. equivalent for a great cocktail or Martini and pleasant space for a sociable but not rowdy evening. (I’m sure that nowhere on Q.V. is rowdy but my vocabulary is temporarily letting me down for a less extreme word)?
  13. Did try to get us back to dress codes.............
  14. Whats all this aggro toward Ventura??? It is what it is, and as long as you are prepared for it being P&O and not Cunard then you should not be disappointed particularly if you are in a suite and make liberal use of Epicurian. It been a while since we cruised on her but we not only had a great time, but had our best and most amusing dress code incident. Our son at the time was 9 and when told, pre cruise, that he did not need to dress up for formal nights, he was most upset and insisted that he should have evening dress like his dad. My wife found him a relatively cheap dinner suit, white formal shirt and a few small bow ties, online and we were quite proud of him as he was one of the few kids on board who followed the dress code. So we were sitting after dinner in the Metropolis bar on a formal night when all of a sudden there was a commotion at the door. Two chaps were being refused entry because they were in casual shirts and jeans and voices were raised. "I'm sorry sir but I cannot let you into the bar" said one of the senior waiters, " but thats outrageous" was the response "look" one of them said, pointing at my son" you are letting a child sit in the bar, but you won't let us in !". "Yes Sir" said the waiter " but he is properly dressed!" End of argument.
  15. Alla and SPB are the most used tours in St Petersburg however we had a really great experience a couple of years ago with Insider who provided us with a great 2 day tour which was hectic but boy did we see and learn a lot. We were a group of just 3 with a driver and guide.The guide was an art historian which was brilliant for the various palaces and the Hermitage and the driver seemed to have an amazing knack for finding a space to park really close to all the town centre locations. The tour included a ride on the subway which really is not to be missed and they even found time to slot in a couple of request stops from us that were not on their main itinerary. We always seemed to be ahead of the crowds and having talked to others, particularly who had been on ships tours we seemed to have been to far more locations and yet had plenty of time at the main ones. Two 9hr days would not be for everyone but the guide made even the drives between the outlying locations interesting with insights into Russian life in pleasant and open conversation as well as historical background. Should note that whilst this tour was anything but cheap it was no more expensive for the private tour for three of us than it would have been to go with up to 16pax with Alla and SPB. The company may have been nice but to have a completely private tour not only felt really special but I am convinced we got so much more out of it. Check Insider out, you can book online and they sort out visas for you.
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