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About uilleann

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    Cool Cruiser

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    United States
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    Uilleann pipes, photograpy

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  1. We are considering a river cruise Moscow to St. Petersburg. Viking offers free air fare from select cities. We live in Portalnd OR. And I have lots of American Airlines miles. We hate stops so we go for non-stops. Or best way to Europe is to buy British Airways coach tickets from Seatle to London and then the final destination. And we do this through American as BA is a partner airline and then we use our miles to upgrade to business.. So I talked with Viking and they say they have Air Plus where for $50/p I can pick the airline I want. But I am not sure how that works if I want to upgrade. And its further complicated by the fact that the flight is BA but it is arranged and upgraded by AA. The Viking person said they do not get involved with the upgrades. And it is not clear to me if Viking has some negotiated airline rate that might prohibit me from upgrading? Anybody with experience related to this?
  2. This was our first cruise on a Cunard vessel and here are some of my thoughts. 1. As Princess Grill passengers we had early boarding. And that was nice. But I saw that others who did not have early boarding seem to be getting on board almost at the same time and just as easily. 2. The upgraded room to Pricess mainly for the extra room. You do not get a lot more room than the balconies but we were glad for what we go. Nice room. 3. For the geeks out there.... The balcony rooms actually have a slightly bigger tv and the HDMI ports are more exposed. The Pricess Grill had 2 tv's both smaller, and the hdmi ports were in accessible. Also there is a feature where you can link your smart device to the tv to play movies, show pictures, etc. But only on android based devices. Macs will not work ;-( 4. We were traveling with other family members who were on the balcony suites. We wanted most of our meals with them in the main dining room. The staff fixed that so we could do this. We did have one breakfast and a dinner in the grill. The food is slightly better than the main dining room but the service was much slower. It also felt a bit like eating in an old folks home. Very quiet. Our most enjoyable times was in the main dining room. 5. They did offer that my other family members could use the grill when we were not using it. I thought that was nice. 6. One big gripe on the first night. We talked to the Matre'd of the grill about our situation and he said it was already arranged and gave us our table number. We ran down there to see where it was located. It was right on the stern by a window, table for 6. When dinner came they check for your assignment cards. We had one for the grill but not for the main dining room. But we know that it had been arranged. I tried to explain the situation but they seemed overwhelmed with the first evening dinner and basically would not engage in any conversation execept to tell us to get in another line. We did that. But everyone in the line was unhappy and had their own story so the line never progressed. I borrowed the card from one of my brothers. Came around, grabbed my wife that was in the second line. Came back in.... and we were seated :-) 7. We are in our mid to late 60s and the crowd on the boat made us feel like youngsters. Several electric chairs, more wheel chairs, lots of walkers and many many canes. It was also pretty quiet on the boat. 8. The beverage cards were very confusing for us. I don't drink alcohol and usually have a ginger ale for dinner. Turns out the bev card does not cover that. So I spent $87 and the card never got used. We did get a coffee card and used all of that. 9. I was looking forward to using the Churchill room with one of my brothers for cigars and port. We did use it but it was like 6-8 cigarette smokers and we were the only cigar smokers. I complained to the staff and they said they usually do not do anything about it. 10. We had extra stuff to wear for the masquerade ball and then roaring 20's but it looked like we were part of the 2% did this. The vast majority did not. 11. We got off early in Lisbon for the other part of our vacation. The disembarcation was effortless to us.... I appreciated that. 12. There was a higher level of snooty-ness (is that a word?)on the ship. There were a few times where we were haviing such a good time together that we were laughing out load a lot. I notices several tables giving us disapproving looks. All in all it was a fun trip. I think we will not do Cunard again as the passenger age is just too high. We like a mix of ages.
  3. OK... this is the best suggestion. BTW My TA called Curard and then I called Cunard. When we first made the booking we were all on balcony suites to eat at a table for 6 in the Brittania. AFter we upgrade, We show a table for 2 in the Princess but the others still show a table for 6. Cunard verified that. So they said to make sure we coordinate with the Princess Grill Maitre d’, but we are good to go. The Cunard agent also said that just because a cruise is booked does not mean the restaurant will be full. Many passengers do not wish to eat in the main dining room or they are couples looking to eat with new people or they are singles in one suite. The dining room has extra capacity. The other interesting thing is that on the USA site it looks like you can no longer get cabins, like its fully booked. But when I was searching for port schedules I got into the Spanish Cunards site. They still showed inside cabins available? Anyhow... all is good now.
  4. I am traveling with my brothers and their wives. We will be a party of six. We all had nice balcony rooms but then I opted to upgrade to a Princess Grill suite. The Princess Grill sounds like a great restaurant but one of the main intents of the trip was to spend time with my brothers. So I checked with my TA and called Cunard directly. Everyone had the same story, Tell the Maitre d’ what night we wanted to eat at the Princess and what nights we wanted to eat with the brothers in the main dining room. And that he or she would take care if the coordination. But one of my brothers, an experience cruiser but only once before on Cunard, said that because the ship is fully booked that they might not be able to accomodate my request. This would be really sad and make me want to reverse the upgrade. I wrote to my TA to check with Cunard again and I will do the same on Monday. But does what my brother said make sense. Please do not reply to this post telling me how great the Princess grill is.
  5. 14 Days to Embarkation from Southampton! Here is the question. Is there anywhere, now, where we can see the departure time at the different ports? More Specifically, do you think that any would be late in the day, like 10pm to midnight?
  6. No problem. But that is not the simplest solution as we will already be burdened enough with what we are carrying on. We have a fair mount of stuff that we do not want out of our control. But thanks for the comment.
  7. Thanks Picsa, Yes, I found some of the answers on the offensive side. It is weird how you can ask a simple question and then you get a lot of responses that do not answer the question, but rather they question the idea that you would even ask the question. Its like they are saying, if you are going on this cruise then you must do what everyone else is doing and not even think of doing something outside of our definition of normal. And if you do then you are to be scorned. Cunard is a more formal Cruise line than I have been on so earlier I had asked about the dress code. I wanted to know the most casual items I could wear and still be ok. In other words I did not want to break rules or offend people and needed advice. 80% of the responses were like “why are you even crusing on this ship if you think that way”, And “do you want to ruin it for everybody”, And would you dress like that for your daughters wedding”. A few did give me the info I needed. But there can be a lot of bizarre responses here that I do not see in other forums or FB groups. Well.... to be truthfull.... I do see some of it, but not like here.
  8. Here is my thought. We like to have specific non-alcoholic drinks and snacks when we want them. We are trying to pack light so none of that is in our luggage. We could just grab some of that stuff at the first port we stop at. But we have a 12:30 boarding time. I was wondering if we could check in. Then leave the boat. Take a short uber or taxi ride to a store. Then buy what we want and be back by 2ish. The question is, is this possible to do this. Or is it so busy that we would just get in the way? T
  9. No matter how I pack my clothes they get wrinkled. So I used to pack a travel steamer which worked great. But I am trying to pack lighter and the legality of bringing them on board is questionable. I also have foldable fedora's that would like steam to relax out the wrinkles. What are the options. I know I can send the clothes out for cleaning and pressing but that is expensive and takes time and will not help the hats. I can hang stuff in the bathroom and run the shower.... That seems a waste. Do the laundry rooms have irons and steamers or irons that steam? Any other options?
  10. We are on the 5Nov Iberian Adventure cruise. I am doing it with my two brothers and wives. We all had balcony rooms but recently we upgraded to a princess cabin. We are also getting off in Lisbon, 3 nights early, to meet family and start another adventure in Portugal. No discounts for getting off early... and that was ok. But..... do you think Cunard would allow one of my brothers to upgrade to our room for free for the last 3 nights
  11. We are looking at doing the Viking Moscow to St. Petersburg river cruise in 2020. When I checked the US State Dept. They classify Russia as a “Consider another location” due to increased terrorism against American Tourists. I would love to hear peoples thoughts as I have never been to Russia and this cruise looks like fun?
  12. So I am one of those guys who would never wear a suite again if left up to just me. I am on a future Cunard cruise because its a reunion and somebody else set it up and chose Cunard. I have finally come to grips with the formality of this cruise line and plan on having a black Jacket/pants with a bow tie and cumberbund. The other issues it that we are in England for almost a week before and will be in Portugal 2 weeks after. And the only time I will be wearing nice shoes and a suit will be on the cruise. There will be trains, planes and car rentals so we are trying to keep our bags a light as possible. So here is the question... Will I have to have that one jacket on, on any part of ship, any day, after 6pm. If so that poor jacket is going to get a lot of wear on it. OR, outside of the main restaurants are there men, on non-gala nights, just wearing a nice shirt and pants?
  13. So on the Iberian adventure we are getting off at the last port before Southampton, Lisbon. We are meeting family and staying in Portugal for 2 weeks. So we have notified Cunard. And our cruise itinerary does now show that the day that we disembark. But how will that work? Anybody else do this before? Do we just pack and leave the boat? Do they escort us or direct us to Portuguese Customs? I will ask on the boat but I am curious how it all works.
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