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h20skibum

Live - Independence Italian Med (7/13-7/27) - European Vacation

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Some more sights from Southampton 

 

St Michael’s

 

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Tudor House

 

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More of the city walls

 

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I am not sure what was going on at the Holiday Inn, but this guy brought his own inflatable friend. 

 

74F8544B-CAE3-49D9-A3C7-5B276FFF0709.thumb.jpeg.c115407bee1e151ea7d1e50bda203128.jpeg

 

 

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Boarding here could not have been easier. It was a short walk from the hotel to the cruise terminal.  We had a boarding time of 11:00am, and that is when we got to the terminal.

 

A quick check in on the iPads, and we were in the boarding area.  They were going to send us to wait, but when I asked if they had a Diamond waiting area, they opened the ropes and sent us right on the ship.  We were the first ones on the ship in the bow boarding area. 

 

By 11:30, the centrum had some people. 

 

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We made it it to the WJ before the welcome aboard cake disappeared 

 

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I did a short video of the port, after boarding the ship. Here is a link, if anyone is interested 

 

https://www.pscp.tv/w/b_q8UjEzNzU1Mzc5fDFPd3hXa2R2TWJweFGF8H5g2XaY6gsT6Zv_eBeCZoBYwbzNFJnySQz3Mf2KPw==?t=1s

 

It didn’t take long for the line at guest services to get long, and it remained that way all day. Many were removing their auto gratuities 

 

CA2AE4F9-C454-465F-9C13-45870FCB5914.thumb.jpeg.59e184fba18eeff38f9fca26eb7d5bec.jpeg

 

 

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One thing they did have on sale, was a 10 drink package. 

 

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The pub and bars were filled, and it did take a while to get served, even at the bar.  I think they marketed the cruise over here, with the drink package included, so maybe that is why service was slow. 

 

The service exception for us was at the Diamond Club.  They kept bringing us refills before our glasses were empty.  Maybe that was because were were the only ones tipping each drink. 

 

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Diamond lounge hours are 5-8:30 for this sailing, and we have early traditional at 6.  

 

I must say say we have met a lot of friendly people in the Diamond lounge, and as our table mates. 

 

Someone asked how it was, sailing with a bunch of Brits.  I must say, we have enjoyed it, based on our first day impressions. 

 

Dinner

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1 hour ago, h20skibum said:

One thing they did have on sale, was a 10 drink package. ...

 

I assume that the $89 was the total price, no gratuity added?

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8 minutes ago, Host Clarea said:

 

I assume that the $89 was the total price, no gratuity added?

That’s correct. Nothing additional added to our bar drinks 

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9 minutes ago, h20skibum said:

That’s correct. Nothing additional added to our bar drinks 

 

That's a good deal, I think better than we normally get for US based cruises.  Works out to around $7.50 per drink, before gratuity.

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Looking forward to your posting form the ports. Thank you for take the time to do this report. 😃

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2 hours ago, h20skibum said:

Diamond lounge hours are 5-8:30 for this sailing, and we have early traditional at 6.  

 

I must say say we have met a lot of friendly people in the Diamond lounge, and as our table mates. 

 

Someone asked how it was, sailing with a bunch of Brits.  I must say, we have enjoyed it, based on our first day impressions. 

 

Good to hear. Has there been much chatter from the Brits about independence not returning next year? 

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3 hours ago, h20skibum said:

That’s correct. Nothing additional added to our bar drinks 

 

I used one of our by one get one diamond perks to get two Grolsch beers for 8.25

 

They were offering the drink package at buy one, get one 50% off for $78 and $39, so $117 per day for two people.  More than we drink, so we always pay as we go. 

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3 hours ago, PCWalton1 said:

Looking forward to your posting form the ports. Thank you for take the time to do this report. 😃

Thank you, and I hope that whatever I post helps someone planning on any of these ports.  With our long days in port, I may fall behind. 

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2 hours ago, sgmn said:

Good to hear. Has there been much chatter from the Brits about independence not returning next year? 

We have heard a little, but I think most are resigned to the fact that Indy will not be back next year. 

 

We are just enjoying learning about things in the UK, and we hope we are presenting a good image for Americans. 

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5 hours ago, h20skibum said:

I did a short video of the port, after boarding the ship. Here is a link, if anyone is interested 

 

https://www.pscp.tv/w/b_q8UjEzNzU1Mzc5fDFPd3hXa2R2TWJweFGF8H5g2XaY6gsT6Zv_eBeCZoBYwbzNFJnySQz3Mf2KPw==?t=1s

 

It didn’t take long for the line at guest services to get long, and it remained that way all day. Many were removing their auto gratuities 

 

CA2AE4F9-C454-465F-9C13-45870FCB5914.thumb.jpeg.59e184fba18eeff38f9fca26eb7d5bec.jpeg

 

 

Why remove grats, They are only on the ship. Was the check in and pier experience that bad?

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1 hour ago, IrishComet said:

Why remove grats, They are only on the ship. Was the check in and pier experience that bad?

I do not want this thread to go off the rails, but from what I understand, tipping is not part of the culture. Other cruise lines here have now changed their pricing structure, so that it is now part of the cruise fare, and not a separate item that could be removed. 

 

 

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So back to the end of our boarding day.  We took in the welcome aboard show, and were treated to some British humor, which my wife still doesn’t get.  Growing up watching Benny Hill and Mr. Bean, I  enjoy it all. 

 

But they also had singers and dancers. 

 

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We decided to finish off our night at the Viking Crown Lounge, with karaoke. Not us, but we thought we would be entertained by a few off key, drunken Brits.  We were very disappointed, only because there were some really talented passengers performing. 

 

It wasn’t anything like we find from some of our fellow Americans sailing the Caribbean 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, h20skibum said:

I do not want this thread to go off the rails, but from what I understand, tipping is not part of the culture. Other cruise lines here have now changed their pricing structure, so that it is now part of the cruise fare, and not a separate item that could be removed. 

 

 

Not all of us Brits remove the grats. In fact some of us even add extra tips for good service and tip a dollar per drink.

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Our first sea day, was just so relaxing.  We had a lazy morning, then went to our Meet and Mingle in the Viking Crown Lounge.  

 

The roll call we had for this cruise was not very active, but we had about 35 sign up.  Sadly, only about half showed up.  That just meant the odds of wining a prize went up. 

 

They did have wine as three of their prizes, and I walked away with one. 4E52E30D-E7D6-4951-8A51-8CB7879F89DA.thumb.jpeg.5abaa2ff58682f5c111caf0b68cb3e13.jpeg

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2 minutes ago, loveheart said:

Not all of us Brits remove the grats. In fact some of us even add extra tips for good service and tip a dollar per drink.

Quite true, and some we have met do the same.  I didn’t mean to imply that all do.  Some Americans do the same, for whatever reason. 

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We saw these types of messages on the cigarettes on sale here. 

 

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I think if I was a smoker, it would make me want to quit. 

 

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19 minutes ago, h20skibum said:

So back to the end of our boarding day.  We took in the welcome aboard show, and were treated to some British humor, which my wife still doesn’t get.  Growing up watching Benny Hill and Mr. Bean, I  enjoy it all. 

 

My husbands Canadian, but has been over in UK for 40 years and still doesn't get British humour 😁

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3 minutes ago, h20skibum said:

Quite true, and some we have met do the same.  I didn’t mean to imply that all do.  Some Americans do the same, for whatever reason. 

 I wasn't having a go at you at all. I find it embarrassing when my fellow Brits take off the grats. My dad who was a cab driver always instilled in me how important tips are and I would never dream of removing them.

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