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Everything posted by Mattsudds

  1. The summer 2025 gap is a Barcelona ship. Presumably that is where Brilliant Lady is going. I find it hard to believe she won’t sail until 2025 but nothing concrete indicates earlier sailings yet. Given all the reports suggesting she was getting ready to sail and being crewed up, this would imply Virgin have decided not to put the ship in service, rather than she is so far behind in construction.
  2. I see Disney just announced the ‘early 2025’ booking window and itineraries. The Disney Adventure is not listed, and the departures shown run through until May 2025.
  3. I have travelled with Havilla twice so far. And I have travelled many times with Hurtigruten. On both my Havila trips I was doing a part of the coastal voyage and I travelled in one direction on the Hurtigruten ships and so it gave me a good comparison. I found Havila to be my preferred operator in almost every sense. The food onboard the Havila ships is interesting and high quality, and I like the small plates concept in the restaurant which encourages you to try a variety of things. Havila are justifiably proud of this. The Havila ships are newer and this brings a range of advantages. Chief amongst them is that there feels like there are many more places to sit than on some of the ships on the route. Havila have chosen massive windows around all public spaces, and there are chairs on every level of the atrium for instance. The onboard prices for extras on Hurtigruten were often considerably higher than Havila. The service from the crew was uniformly friendly and it really felt as if the Havila staff were making more effort to offer the best service they could. There is one downside of the Havila ships we found. The embarkation gangway has a slightly different design than the Hurtigruten ships. This made is steeper and with a handrail which finished too early for the top of the staircase - bit of an odd design choice.
  4. I hope you have a brilliant time and any teething problems are gone by then. Out of curiosity, exactly how are you making the restaurant bookings. I keep looking at my booking through the website and there doesnt seem to be any obvious way to do it. This restaurant reservation thing seems to be central to so much criticism that I’m keen to sort it out before boarding if possible.
  5. Some good news has emerged from a usually very reliable Italian shipping website. https://www.shippingitaly.it/ The site says that MSC can take delivery tomorrow, which is in fact earlier than expected with the delay. This has been made possible after the builder, the manufacturer and the classification society did some fresh tests on the types of panels. It seems that based on those fresh tests and all other installed precaution/ prevention measures, the ship passes ‘class’.
  6. https://www.portofkiel.com/files/pok/Downloads/Kreuzfahrerlisten/Kreuzfahrtliste.pdf Explora 1 has an overnight call in Kiel on that schedule for 13,14 Aug.she is due be at sea on the way to Skagen, and then in Skagen on that day. At this stage it could be an itinerary alteration rather than wholesale cancellation. later in the month, she no longer shows on the Hamburg port schedule but she is still on the schedule showing ships expected at different terminals. https://www.cruisegate-hamburg.de/terminals/cruise-center-altona/
  7. Have a great trip. For travel from Heathrow to a hotel in London, it will depend on how much baggage you have and whether you are happy to use public transport. There are 3 easy options. The Tube will take you all through central London. It starts at the airport, but can get crowded and hot. The Heathrow Express Train takes you to Paddington Station. A new option which just opened is the ‘Elizabeth Line’ which is a train into the centre of London. For a public transport route to any hotel or any other location, you can use TfL.gov.uk. One tip for anyone with luggage, look for stations with a wheelchair symbol, Those have step free access train to street - handy with bags. Taxis are available but very very expensive. Uber is also an option. To get to Southampton, I would take the train. There are at least 2 per hour. Bear in mind that despite being a busy route and a busy cruise port, the trains have no separate luggage racks (crazy decision). The journey time takes usuall 70-120 mins max. If you book in advance it is very cheap. 1st class is not worth the premium, you get nothing extra for it. Southampton Central is a short taxi ride from the cruise terminals. Alternatively, the National Express Coach service can also take you to Southampton from London.
  8. Its a real shame that Virgin have cancelled Resilient Lady’s inaugural season, so close to the maiden departure. Virgin do a lot of cancelling unfortunately - I’m thinking of those people who were looking forwards to Valiant Lady from Portsmouth, only to find a lot of those departures cancelled at short notice. In the past when Virgin cancelled a trip I was on, they dealt with it well, and the compensation was very fair, the reimbursements quick. This time, the compensation offer is again pretty generous. However the communication and organisation is a bit shambolic. They send an email with links that dont work, the ‘indicate your choice’ form on the website doesnt work (goes into the wheel of doom when completed), you cant get through on the phones, and the ‘Chat’ function has been replaced by a robot which says it does not understand if you type ‘Resilient Lady’ or ‘Refund’. - Come on Virgin, you ought to do better than this.
  9. Virgin, as a new brand, is just establishing itself in the cruise market. And there is a lot of available blog material, reviews and other stuff which can help customers decide if this is the right line for them. If you read that the food is good, the ship is different, the staff are friendly and the entertainment is fun and different, its all true. I very much enjoyed Scarlet Lady. And I’ve just enjoyed Valiant Lady. So this probably makes what I’m about to say a bit odd. I had been seriously considering Resilient Lady for a cruise. But now having done both the first ships, I am changing my mind. The reason being - the products is good. Consistently good. But its too consistent. The restaurant menus were basically almost identical. The entertainment main events like the Duel Reality show and Scarlet Night were identical (they are both great on their own merits). The menu in the Galley is pretty much identical, every day. And so this leave me thinking that if I go on a Virgin Voyage more than once, I’m basically just going to relive the first great trip. I’m not going to experience anything new. Good, interesting food, and good entertainment and new experiences are an important part of why I choose a cruise. But just like I wouldn’t go to the same restaurant and same event every weekend night, I don't want to be living through Groundhog Day on holiday/ vacation. This leaves me wondering, if Virgin want repeat business, aren’t they going to have to change it up a bit? They can still surely offer the same quality, buzz, fun and interest. Just not exactly the same way one each ship and trip. Is consistency to this level more important for repeaters than variety? This interview makes me think that a trip on Resilient Lady will be so similar as to be Groindhog Day - all over again. https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/refurb-interiors/valiant-lady-fresh-art-installations-same-alternative-feel
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