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cruising cockroach

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About Me

  • Location
    overlooking a PVSA compliance port
  • Interests
    Food and wine (good)
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Whoever gives me the best value
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    at sea

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  1. There may not be too much slack built into Ponant schedules. Earlier that year, I had a no-stop repo from Honolulu to Maizuru. On the original schedule, the ship was supposed to sail at noon but instead set sail in the mid/late afternoon. I also noticed that the schedule was for X nights but with crossing the IDL, it would have been X-1. E-mailed Marseilles to inquire and they insisted all was right. The ship's crew knew about crossing the IDL and even had a demonstration presented by the captain and featuring the dancers. At any rate, there was a Pacific storm so the ship had to initially sail a more southerly course (pretty much due west) after passing the end of the Hawaii chain (French frigate shoals or whatever) rather than a more NW course. I was wondering if the ship was going to make Maizuru (I had OpenCPN, a marine navigating programme and a GPS for my computer) and at one point thought the ship was going to sail around the southern end of Honshu. It took quite a few more days before the ship started to steer NW towards the Strait of Hokkaido. It was during the final 4 or 5 days that I figured the ship was not going to make Maizuru on time (very little from the crew) and had calculated remaining distance and how much time it was going to take at what speed. Had a range and pretty much figured it wouldn't be until late afternoon. A couple of days before schedule arrival, the crew 'fessed up and arrival would be 5p instead of 8a. Needless to say, many - including the captain who lives in my part of the world - who had booked flights even for that evening missed their connections (Maizuru is still quite a way from KIX, the major airport). We did get an extra lunch and tea out of the long disembarkation day not to mention the open bar and didn't mind. Had to pay for a chartered bus to Kyoto (we had planned to take the train but arrival was running close to the last train of the day).
  2. I see on the French tripadvisor site that there is a complaint (well, at least 2 actually) pretty much similar to yours; no response from head office and elevated prices for the rollover cruise that is not covered by the 20% credit. Don't feel you're being discriminated because you are not and don't speak French! My wife and I were going to book an Antarctic cruise on the repo from Hawaii to Japan 2 years ago (right at this time) but the cruise consultant was "too busy" to accommodate any booking requests (and there were only some 70 pax onboard). Soooooo glad I didn't give them any money!
  3. A few more thoughts: My wife and I were on Le Soléal 2 years ago right around this time sailing non-stop from Honolulu to Maizuru, Japan. With no annoying stops to cut into enjoyment of food and drink, we had many nights to talk with other passengers about the drinks package, at the bar of course. The consensus was that, with what was on offer, there was no real need to spend more for specialty cocktails and the like.. There may have been some special pours that required extra payment but I am not much of a spirits/liquor drinker so didn't think much of those offerings. I don't think the drinks package would have bought any better wines. With the generous credits afforded to us (we got base level elite status just by booking our first two cruises before even setting foot onboard), we did buy a couple of better bottles of wine. The complimentary stuff is perfectly fine for accompanying meals. We did find the Henri Abell to be a bit acidic and tart. We certainly had better (or at least equivalent qualtiy) Champagnes for €10-12 at Aldis and Lidls in France. It is better than Costco's private label Kirkland branded Champagne though (~USD 28 a decade ago). The food is very French (except for parts of breakfast) and is generally excellent. Perfectly enjoyable. The older class of ships will have an executive chef, a sous chef, a pastry chef and assistant, and a bread chef from France, assisted by a half dozen or so Filipino line cooks and other kitchen staff. We actually lost the Executive Chef part way through our first cruise (on the back-to-back) and his replacement flow in from France was absent for part of the cruise for whatever reason (don;t remember if he disembarked at the final stop before heading to the U.S.). The sous chef took over but he was disembarked at the end of the cruise and we had no executive or sous chef for the next cruise (the repo). A senior Filipino line cook took over as acting sous chef. The food was competently executed but it became a bit repetitive.
  4. Henri Abele (sp) seems to be the Champagne of choice. For special evenings (e.g., Captain's dinner), Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin may be served. Wines will be some lower-label, most likely French. Nothing top notch. AFAIK, all spirits at the bar are included. Basic cocktails, yes. There are some special ones that are extra € or require a drink package (there were trialling them 2 years ago) Only special events. No standard menus.
  5. Most definitely, though you may very much be in the minority if American English is your preferred flavour of language - there were only half dozen U.S. passengers on the cruise I took 2 years ago, and there were 11 Canadians (9 from Québéc). I've heard Australia is said to be the 2nd largest market for Ponant (has been aggressively marketing in Australia) after France. The hotel crew (the ones who are not French are usually Filipino - usually cabin attendants, most of the wait staff and the line cooks, etc.) converse better in English than French anyway, and the French hotel crew (chefs of the various kitchen department, speak English if not at least one other language. The chef of the restaurant and the cruise director were bilingual Canadians on the last cruise. Most if not all of the ship's officers (French, naturally) speak at least basic English. I was watching a couple of shows about a Ponant Arctic/NW passage transit and the captain of the ship was speaking to the crew in English.
  6. Yes, some of that past even engineered by the U.S. Exhibit A: Pinochet's Chile
  7. It's a stoo-pid 60 year grudge the U.S. holds. Little harmless mouse just scares or maybe merely irritates the elephant next door. Little mouse that won't accede to the whims of its omnipotent neighbour. Cuba has never declared war on the U.S. s no peace to be made. The U.S. did invade Cuba to wrest control of it from Spain.
  8. No good if you have already booked. You need to be referred first and get a €500 off per cabin. [quote] (1)TERMS OF OFFER ✓€500 off, per stateroom for the sponsored person on his first cruise. ✓The sponsor must have already sailed on a PONANT ship. ✓The person being sponsored cannot have previously sailed on a PONANT ship. ✓ €500 off, per stateroom on the sponsor's next cruise, as soon as the sponsored person cruise is booked. ✓The sponsor and the person sponsored cannot be a current or a former employee of PONANT or a travel agency. ✓The sponsored person’s savings apply immediately and is limited to one use per stateroom and per person sponsored. The saving for the sponsor is valid for his/her next cruise, after the person they refer booked. ✓The sponsor’s savings must be applied to one cruise and can be combined with current offers. However, the sponsored person’s savings cannot be combined with longterm offers, except for the PONANT Bonus. ✓The sponsor and the person sponsored refers may not share the same stateroom. ✓The sponsoring request will be rejected if the person sponsored or any member of his/her household has already been sponsored. ✓A sponsor can refer any number of people, but only one per household. ✓The reduction for the sponsor must be used at once. ✓Savings for the sponsor and the sponsored person cannot be taken as a payment or cash refund. ✓The sponsor should give his/her PONANT Yacht Club number to the person(s) they wish to refer for identification purposes. In the lack of identification details, sponsorship will not be possible. ✓The sponsoring request will be rejected if the person sponsored or any member of his/her household has already been sponsored. [/quote] If you can cancel and have someone send you a referral.
  9. Median age in Québéc is nearly 42 years, while California's median is 37. The 5 years must make a difference.
  10. My last cruise was a repo. Left Honolulu and arrived in Maizuru 12 days later, no sight of land between leaving Oahu and transiting the Strait of Hokkaido. No annoying stops to interrupt dining on French food and the all-inclusive wine. Arrived 8 hours late to boot so we got an extra lunch!
  11. Martha Stewart had a U.S. broker's licence so she would have had to pass SEC exams, which would have dealt with insider trading. What's more, she was a director on the board of the New York Stock Exchange at the time she committed the offence. Yep, unsophisticated.
  12. Not much to address COVID though lots of questions from participants (shade under 1,200) about such. More about the future style of cruising, eco/environmental-responsibility, working with local communities, etc. Catch up here. https://event.webinarjam.com/replay/47/68mplh5vip8hg4hog4
  13. Interent is free and unlimited on Ponant since early last year so he should be able to post.
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