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Everything posted by david,Mississauga

  1. I just had a look at a QM2 voyage we have booked for next year. It is even worse than before. It won't give any information at all after clicking on the stateroom category. I had noticed a couple of weeks ago that the availability of ship sections had finally been fixed after several months.
  2. There is an advantage to having an experienced travel agent who knows Cunard well and has made connections over the years. I will briefly mention just two examples. In 2008 we wanted to take one of the last crossings of the QE2. Our TA contacted Cunard and was told it was sold out with a long waiting list so no more names would be added. Most people would accept that, but not our TA. He went "up the ladder" as he put it and within 10 minutes we had a guarantee for a Caronia-class cabin. Another time we wanted to disembark a w/b crossing in Halifax rather than go on to New York. Cunard said to the TA it can't be done. This has been discussed a while back so I will cut to the end. The TA went up the ladder and our itinerary was amended. These two incidents alone would dissuade me from booking direct. I appreciate that other people have different experiences.
  3. This is a great cruise, one of our favourites. We enjoyed the QE cruise in 2019 and have booked it again for next June. Although we didn't take the self-help disembarkation, I recall it was called at approximately 7:30. Regular disembarkation started at 8:15 for the Grills then Diamond, etc. We have used the Skytrain a few times. If you take that, follow the path to your left when leaving the terminal. There is an entrance to the Skytrain right there, but do not take that. It is not the line that goes to the airport. You would have to go down two levels and there is no down escalator to track level. Then you would have to go the length of the platform and then up to the main station. If it is raining heavily it might be worth the inconvenience, but it is easier to stay on the street. Go left again for a short distance to the Waterfront Station. We have also taken a metered taxi. It was only $30 - $35 or thereabouts. The Cunard coach transfer was an outrageous price so we didn't consider that.
  4. I admire you for dressing appropriately. If I were on such a long voyage with so few formal nights I would do the same. A friend, travelling solo, had two crossings on the QM2 in Princess Grill. He believes in the Atlantic tradition of dressing formally every night except the first and last, so he wore his DJ for five consecutive nights. He said no steamship line was going to tell him to downgrade his standards. We have seen a lot of changes since our first Cunard crossing in 1973. Our earlier crossings on the QE2 were five nights, so there were three formal nights. When the crossings were extended to six nights there were four. On our first QM2 crossings - six nights at that time - there were four formal nights. That was soon changed to three formal and one semi-formal. When the crossings were extended to seven nights there remained three formal nights. For many years Cunard maintained First Class and Tourist (later Transatlantic) Class. It was not the tradition to dress formally in Tourist, although a jacket and tie was required of men every night, including first and last. Mr. "kohl" I enjoyed your previous comments re wearing a jacket and tie when flying. When travelling I always wear a sport coat or blazer - for practical reasons more than for appearances. It is easy to add a tie. I admit I have not worn a tie on a plane for many years. Once a year I fly with friends to Vancouver to board VIA's transcontinental train back to Toronto. We always fly Air Canada's Signature Class and my one friend chastises me for not wearing a tie. You have inspired me so I will surprise said friend in a few weeks by doing so.
  5. QE - Vancouver-Alaska 14 June 2022 (10 Days) 15 June - Gala - Black and White 22 June - Gala - Roaring Twenties This is the same order as on our previous Alaska cruise in 2019.
  6. Without passing judgement on anyone else, I ignore the dumbing down of the dress code. After all, the standards are a minimum. As recently as 2008, the last year the QE2 was in service, the standard of dress for gents (at least on crossings) was a minimum of jacket and tie every night. It was only when we started crossing on the QM2 that I noticed "jackets required, tie optional" on certain nights. On our QE Alaska cruise in 2019 it was "jacket optional" on the first night and possibly the last night. I had never seen this before on Cunard. Our friend and I were by no means the only ones to wear our usual jacket and tie. I won't go as far as wearing a DJ on non-formal nights, but Cunard can lower their standards all they want and I will pay no attention to it. I am frequently a guest at my friend's club in Toronto. Despite the recent "smart casual" dress code - except for special events - three-quarters of the men wear a jacket and tie to dinner.
  7. Some of the replies on this thread give the impression that no-one wants to sail to Alaska from a Canadian port. From my two fairly recent experiences it was not just Canadians who liked to board in Vancouver. On a HAL Alaska cruise a few years ago there were more passengers from the UK than any other country. Australians were second. Those from the U.S. were third. All of those could have sailed from Seattle if they wished but they chose to sail from Vancouver. On a more recent Vancouver-based cruise on Cunard those from the UK were the largest group. Those from the U.S. were second and from Canada third. I think there will always be some interest in cruises from Vancouver. As for me, if there are none we are through with Alaska cruises. We prefer Norway anyway, despite the longer flight.
  8. We have never purchased a drinks package. Considering what little we drink and the restrictions it wouldn't be worth it. For the first time Cunard has given us a drinks package for our next voyage. This may seem a silly question, but is the mix (an extra $3.30 for Fevertree tonic) included with the meagre one ounce drink which will in total be under the $12 limit? Or will I have to order the gin and then wait the required 10 minutes before ordering the tonic if it is considered a separate drink?
  9. The wearing of masks in the theatre shouldn't be a problem for most people. Are the performances still short - barely an hour? We attended a live play at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake last week - our first play in about two years. The theatre was allowed to have half capacity although it was nowhere near that. Masks were worn by everyone. It was a 2 1/2 hour play with one interval. I heard no grumbling.
  10. The only aspect of Princess Grill on the QE that I'm not pleased with is the staterooms. The equivalent on the QM2 are large rectangular rooms with a large balcony. On the QE (and QV) the rooms are long and narrow. The wardrobe is in an alcove but there is no door unlike on the QM2 where it is an enclosed space. Your guests will see all your hanging clothes as they enter. The balcony is absurdly small for premium accomodation. What makes PG appealing to us is the restaurant, the Grills lounge and the considerable outdoor space. We find these to be superior to the facilities on the QM2. We have booked PG for Alaska next June which will be our second time in PG on this ship.
  11. As discussed in another thread, the US booking site is rubbish for displaying available staterooms. For categories that run the length of the ship it displays only far forward or aft and says everything in between is not available. In many cases it will claim that all five areas of the deck are not available even though the mini deck-plan shows what is actually available in that section. Until Cunard gets its act together the only way to know for sure what is available is to enter every room number in the box: "search for a specific room by number." Regarding the availability of Britannia Club on the voyage mentioned above, a few of those staterooms are available on each 7-day segment even though not for the entire 14 days if booked as one voyage. (My wife and I are booked in BC on the Québec-NY portion.) To me the two Britannia Club restaurants are not midships, being adjacent to the D stairway and lifts. On the one rough day we had when we travelled in the Club it didn't seem too bad in the restuarant. It was quite bumpy, though, in our Deck 13 room.
  12. Thank you, Sir PMP, for having the courage to admit this on the this forum. I learned many years ago that many of the HAL fans on Cruise Critic have no tolerance for anyone whose tastes are different from what may be described as the most popular. Just say you are not a fan of over-amplified blues and see the insults you will get.
  13. As one who has no interest in wasting my money on a smart-phone, I am pleased to read this will be accessible on a tablet. The up-to-date account is the only part of this that interests me. I was discussing this with two couples and they agreed with me, although they don't even have a tablet at the moment.
  14. Indeed. The previous "Voyage Personaliser" always worked for me. I have to wonder why Cunard hasn't fixed the many problems with the new version during the lengthy pause in operations.
  15. Thank you for the information. I am now seeing the same for the QE. The ship section is working fine for three voyages I chose at random plus the Alaska cruise on which I'm booked. This correction must have occurred in the past few days because the glitch was ongoing for several weeks. But the QM2 and the QV are still hopeless as of this morning. I wouldn't book anything on Cunard's site - even under "my Cunard." The information for transfers gives inadequate information. Last year we had booked an extended 14-day eastbound crossing and looked at shore excursions. There was a tour of Halifax, Nova Scotia being offered from the port of Reykjavik. Of course, the crossing was cancelled so none of this mattered. Fortunately I have an experienced travel agent who can always sort out issues with Cunard. In fairness, there is a lot of useful information on Cunard's site and it is usually accurate. But I pity those travellers who won't deal with travel agents and think booking everything on-line is the best way.
  16. I am wondering if other people have experienced this, either in Canada or the U.S. When searching stateroom availability, a number is offered – always far forward or aft except, of course, when a specific category is not offered throughout the five sections of a deck. When trying to change the section of the ship all five sections are shown as “! not available”. This is obviously an error because the deck plan of the section of the ship is displayed with the offered room. Also, if I type in a midships stateroom number in the search box it will show the appropriate section if it is available. This applies to almost every voyage I have checked on both the QM2 and QE. This is only a matter of interest. I have two voyages booked for next year and am happy with our assigned room. Besides, I would never book anything on Cunard’s site, given other issues that have popped up over the years. Cunard could be losing business if this is a widespread problem. A friend in the U.S. e-mailed me to say that he has looked at several Cunard voyages and for every one the better located cabins are not available so he is going on another line. (Sadly he didn’t bother consulting a travel agent.) There is no point in me wasting time asking Cunard about this. I did that two years ago when there was an obvious glitch which could cost them a lot of business from Canadians. My e-mail made its way to Southampton. I was told the problem was with the California office so it was forwarded to them. But they did nothing for many months. Eventually that issue was corrected during the “pause” in operations.
  17. The test at Shoppers will cost $199 plus provincial tax. https://www1.shoppersdrugmart.ca/en/health-and-pharmacy/covid-19/ontario/pharmacies
  18. I am usually as cynical about politicians as the next person, but during this pandemic it was refreshing to see provincial premiers of various parties singing from the same hymn-book. For sure, some were a little slow to sing in tune. Elections will be held before too long and the degree of co-operation is falling, but some have performed better than I would have ever thought. Getting back to the ban on cruise ships, one of the reasons given by Transport Canada a way back was the concern about the health care system should a ship with a large number of sick people dock in a Canadian port. Regarding the border closure, I am pleased that the federal government has ignored the bullying of some in the travel industry, particularly Canadian airlines, and also the regrettable comments - especially demands - by some U.S. governors and at least one ex-governor. Several months ago Canadian airlines demanded the border be opened. I hate to think what would have happened if the government gave in just as the "third wave" hit. Many hospitals were almost full and doctors in Toronto hospitals were concerned that they were on the verge of having to make decisions as to who might live and who will be left to die. Toronto hospitals were sending patients to other parts of Ontario and Manitoba was sending patients to north-west Ontario.
  19. I don't see it as useless. The ban had already been extended and there could be concern amongst cruise lines (which have regular seasons planned for 2022) that it could be extended again. It also gives me optimism that the government's advisory against international cruise travel could be lifted soon. Because of that advisory it is almost impossible to get travel insurance that would cover COVID-related medical issues and cancellations. I have two cruises booked for next year (not on HAL) and with final payment due in Feb. for the earlier one I am concerned about being able to get insurance.
  20. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra has just announced that the order that banned cruise ships until Feb. 2022 is being rescinded at the beginning of November. Of course, it doesn't mean much because there are very few calls in Canadian ports after that date any year. But it will be a relief to the cruise lines which have scheduled a regular season for 2022. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/cruise-ships-canada-ban-november-2021-1.6104440
  21. The notice we received was vague as to what this health inspection involved. There was something about a temperature check; that is all I remember. After our TA contacted Cunard for a clarification, what concerned me the most was that some anonymous person(s) could deny boarding for one issue such as a high temperature and Cunard would keep the fare. I would not be paying the balance of the fare with that condition. As I said, Cunard later came to their senses about forfeiting the fare but soon after that the voyage was cancelled. We re-booked the same voyage for next year.
  22. We had a cruise booked from Québec in October of this year. For obvious reasons, Cunard cancelled the voyage many months ago. A few months before the cancellation we received a notice from Cunard via our TA about the health inspection at the time of boarding. It warned that if we failed any part of it (not just the COVID test) we would be denied boarding and the fare would be forfeited. Cunard said the passengers' insurance might cover it. Because of the Canadian government advisory against cruising such insurance is not available. If Cunard's policy was still in effect at the time final payment was due we would have cancelled. Cunard later changed the policy to offer a full credit for passengers who are denied boarding.
  23. In Canada we often used the term blazer as an alternative to sports jacket/sports coat. I know there is a difference, but most people don't care. For informal nights on Cunard I usually wear a classic navy blazer with brass buttons - and a tie even though it is optional.
  24. We did find that standards were dropped a bit on our 10-day Alaska cruise two years ago. There were only two gala nights which was unfortunate for those of us who have considered Cunard as our favourite for a long time. Although it was a port-intensive cruise, there could have easily been one other gala night on a "sea day". I wrote to Cunard and mentioned this on the end-of-cruise survey and also on their Facebook page but I doubt anyone cares. Along with a sizeable minority, I wore a jacket and tie on every night, as is my custom. On short notice, the first night was changed to "jacket optional." I'm not sure about the last night. However, the other non-gala nights did require a jacket and the two gala nights were quite elegant indeed. On the afternoon of the Cunard World Club party for top-tier members there were even a few people dressed in formal wear, something I hadn't seen before. We met an Australian man who said he had been told by his travel agent that all 10 nights were jacket optional so he didn't bring one. At the first port of call he found a thrift shop and bought a suit and tie, which he wore every night. He was going to have a chat with this agent on his return.
  25. It is usually the same in North America.
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