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Omg. Fred have bought the 2 flagships of Holland America! We finally get decent sized ships in the UK!


Chrisifab
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1 hour ago, JMyrtle said:

Yes as you say onwards and upwards but unfortunately we can only eat in the self service because I am type 2 diabetic controlled by a strict no carbs diet which unfortunately means bread, pasta and potatoes are strictly off limits. 😢

I live on protein, vegetables and salads and also need to be sure there are no "hidden carbs" anywhere, did you know for instance that the catering scrambled egg on board Boudicca was made from a packet mix thickened with potato flour? 

No neither did I until my blood glucose reading hit the roof one morning 🤔

 

Indeed a problem, tough I have registered a dietary requirement and attended the chef's  meeting which is held on the first morning of a cruise to discuss what is needed for individuals and they do seem to be prepared to provide what is necessary, but suspect you may already have been to one of those and spoken to the head chef.

 

We regularly ask for (and get) an extra dish of vegetables in the MDR but perhaps not enough for what you would normally eat.  I can also see the attraction of just going to a buffet and choosing your own food.

 

Hope you keep well,

 

Barbara 

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16 hours ago, Britboys said:

Well, I am pleased to hear that you were notified by email - I only got mine by letter, despite the fact that all previous correspondence had come by email. Maybe they have had plenty of negative feedback about Mr Deer's letter!

So, not withstanding the access to the ports, are you less or more happy with the revised itinerary - compared to what you were expecting?

 

I only noticed our cabin had become available late Monday afternoon and checking about 7pm, more cabins were available so notifications may have only gone out yesterday (we got the email early afternoon), so we may yet have the pleasure of the reported, unfortunately worded, letter.  Our post does not arrive until mid afternoon and often some thing take a long time to appear, so I suspect something will come in the post as all we have at present is the altered booking confirmation.

 

Regards the new itinerary we have Gijon in place of Aviles and Bassens (for Bordeaux) along with Belle Ile in place of Falmouth.  The dates have been moved,  yet I do not see any other cruise ships due, so possibly we cannot go to one or more ports because of ferry dockings.  We initially sail to the Gironde as per original plan and then go north again for a fair distance to Belle Ile, (which is off the southern coast of Brittany), then proceed south to Getxo, followed by Gijon, then call at St Malao on the return.  The time of day has changed for Getxo to a daytime call, rather than early pm to late night which we would have preferred.  The St Malo call is now late am to late night rather than the original daytime call, so we may be able to stay out later there.

 

Overall we would have preferred the original itinerary and we also feel that it will cost us more given the less convenient docking locations, so we would want to use taxis sometimes and will be more likely to use Fred's pay for restaurants, or eat off the ship more, as that would work better with the new itinerary, rather than be able to easily nip back to the ship for a break when exploring a port.  We have not been asked to confirm our acceptance, and if we are asked, would not do so without a little more thought.  We would certainly like to know what time the shuttle buses will run to Bordeaux from the industrial port, so will ask about that.

 

Fred has got himself into a difficult situation with next years itineraries as he seems to have planned a lot more calls to places that are not accessible to the bigger ships, whilst previously it was largely Braemar which did the up river jaunts.  Once the cruises are planned for the ships which he now has, I am sure the itineraries will be much better.  We see little point in sailing up the Gironde to dock in an industrial port, compared with being in a city which is both easily accessible and would have formed an attractive background, particularly at night when bridges and building will be lit up.  Looking at Google Earth the Gironde does not appear to be scenic.  It is a muddy river, flanked by flat terrain with some grey looking towns/villages that will probably be some distance from the ship as it is a wide river.  A totally different port would have been much better IMO, though obviously Fred will go there to keep the mention of Bordeaux on his itinerary and no doubt will hope to do well with his wine trips.

 

We visited Falmouth a number of years back on a cruise and were not impressed so another French port is welcome, though the tender instead of an easy walk is not ideal.  Will be interesting to see one of the new ships as well and the cabin allocation leaves us in a similar position to the original one.  The size of a cabin is not an issue to us.  Will be interesting to see the deck plans and cruises published for Borealis.  From what I have seen the prices of the lower grade cabins on Bolette cruises are the same as in the brochure, but the cheapest cabins less well placed and I have not looked at balconies etc.

 

Another nice day - must get out there 🙂

 

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It will be very interesting to see if he uses the same wording in your letter - i.e. "The majority of your holiday will continue as before, though there are a few changes we would like to let you know about". I think "majority" is open to question being as we lost two days canal cruising, an overnight in Amsterdam, had one port replaced with two others and had a change of ship...  All in 9 nights.

 

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2 hours ago, showingdiva said:

For anyone interested in Amsterdam/Bolette's journey to Scotland, she will indeed be passing under the Forth Bridges on the 16th September at 8am with two tugs and after anchoring briefly will be joining her twin and new sisters at 12.30pm in the dockyard. 

Thanks. At least it is a Wednesday when I am usually up and about reasonably early anyway 😀

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Well we did get the letter (which was sent by second class post) on Friday afternoon, three days after we had the email from our agent detailing our revised booking and revised Itinerary.  I will certainly say the letter was a very bad move since as mentioned it is condescending as well as giving the impression that Fred has rights he most certainly does not have and which made my husband furious.  I do not think I have seen such a response from him previously to something as apparently innocuous as a letter. 

 

The thing he took most dislike to is the suggestion that we will not be charged any more for the cruise.  That made him check with Fred's T&C's if there was any suggestion a price can be increased, which it does not and then explaining to me that T&C's can say a price will increase if certain costs increase (e.g. fuel, taxation), but if that is in the T&C's, then they also have to say the price will be reduced for the consumer if those prices decrease.  So as not mentioned, Fred could not increase the price for any reason.

 

Regards the itinerary changes, yes the letter says, "The majority of your holiday will continue as before, though there are a few changes we would like you to know about.  These changes are summarised as follows:     ". He then goes on to mention the replacement ports for two of the five ports on our itinerary, along with date changes to the two ports which are to remain on our itinerary.  Strangely he has "forgotten" to give any mention of the crucial point that we will in fact be docking in Bassens instead of Bordeaux (that being a change to a third of our five ports)!!  Also as I mentioned in an earlier post, the revised itinerary includes St Malo, which was previously a tender port and also Belle Ile  (as a replacement port) which was marked as a tender port for a previous Boudicca cruise and there is in fact nowhere that a cruise ship could dock there.  Fred also failed to give any indication in the new itinerary, or elsewhere, that these are tender ports (an interesting omission considering some people cannot go ashore in tender ports).

 

I did in fact ring Fred's office and, with some persuasion (not a lot), I was given the option to change to another cruise and a Braemar one was mentioned as similar.  I explained that we are not able to book another cruise at present, since I could not obtain full medical insurance at this time, but that we would be prepared to keep our booking if they were to offer some extra OBS to help offset our extra costs, because of the port changes to replace three easily accessed ports.  She asked me to stay on hold a while and she would ask about that, though she tried to insist that there would be cancellation charges if we were to cancel (I did fill her in regards our legal rights at that stage since they could not make any change unless it is insignificant, due to The Package Travel Regulations).  She returned to tell me that as it is a similar itinerary (!!!), they could not offer anything other than the option to change the cruise and repeated emphatically that there would be cancellation charges should we not retain the booking.  I told her that was definitely NOT the case, but that I would not argue with her, but thanked her for looking into the situation.  I do feel sorry for the staff as I am sure there must be some very tense exchanges going on at present.  TBH a very small extra OBS would have kept us quite satisfied as all we really wanted was a token of appreciation for retaining the booking.  In fact, even an apology in the letter, rather than the tone the letter took, would have gone a very long way towards keeping our respect.

 

We have decided to retain the booking as there are other advantages for us since the cruise goes from a port 20 mins taxi ride from home and it is one for which I am fully insured.   Also, as we are thinking we may book a prolonged cruise (e.g. round South America or similar length) in the next couple of years, it will also give us a chance to explore one of the ships Fred will likely be using for that sort of cruise and would earn us enough points to gain Platinum Oceans status, which will be useful.  Whether Fred will be our most likely cruise line to book a lengthy cruise with is yet to be decided, but his attitude over this is something we will be bearing in mind at that time.

 

We are very disappointed with Fred over this as it is clearly going to affect those who are less capable of making their case, though I am sure Fred will have staff who are every well aware of what they can, and more to the point, cannot do, from a legal stance.  I have come to the conclusion that the attitude taken is quite possibly a sign of desperation, as having bought the two new ships he really needs to keep the bookings he has already taken, and as we all know the future is becoming less rosy by the day at present, though I am sure we are all hoping things will improve after the winter,

 

Cheers,

 

Barbara

  

 

Edited by tring
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I think they have really backed themselves into a corner, real problems with trying to change existing cruises, real problems having to completey change cruises and also real problems with allocation of cabins moving from the now defunkt ships. Add that into the end of a pandemic, so one hopes, but more likely that this will hang around for many more months and perhaps years. They cannot even puiblish proper full deck plans for the new ships, but they are not only transfering customers over without any real knowledge of what will be happening around them, but they are selling cabins without that information. That does not, for me, suggest a reliable, business like company, perhaps they should become part of the Disney ships!

 

I think they are hoping that everyone will in the end cow tow and accept what Fred is condescendingly offering. The letter is worded as though these changes fall within their T/C's and therefore they are entitled to do that and merely. for courtesy, tell the customer., The fact that their T/C's and the Package Holiday Regulations are in conflict means they hope no one will notice or even bother to take the actions needed to enforce their rights. On some boards people have been saing things like "Fred will see us OK" with a childlike belief that FO exists to do the right thing for customers and will never put their business and their business interests first. Or perhaps even that they do not have a clue.

 

Whilst I have enjoyed thge sailings I have done with FO, for me they have not come out well from this experience and, whilst I have a reansfered cruise for next year, it will be the last with FO. I really simply do not trust them anymore.

 

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Just had a look at our cruise, since it has gone on sale.  I see they have now marked St Malo as an anchor port, but not Belle Ile - yet nowhere to dock there and a previous Boudicca call was marked as anchor.  Mind you the write up about the cruise still refers to the previous itinerary, which admittedly has some cross over.  A lot still to be sorted on the website.

 

Looked at more detail regards new prices/prices for Black Watch at launch.  Again as with the Bolette cruises the inside prices are the same, though locations different and an extra inside category has been introduced at a very marginally higher price.  The outsides start at a lower price than at launch and can now book a mid ship deck one outside (which would be our choice since deck Two is under the prom deck, so would hear noise from above) for a mere £40 more than the lead in price for Grade F cabins on Black Watch.  The only "balcony cabin" mentioned is in fact a Lanai cabin (so no balcony - just a door onto prom deck) and is coming in at the very high price of £280pppn compared to the lowest inside price of £150 pppn and the well placed outside grade D (as mentioned in my last sentence) price of £184 pppn.  The proper balconies and the suites are much higher prices, so I assume it must be people booked in those who are saying elsewhere that prices are higher.  I can see a big advantage in those cabins on the new ships though, especially compared to the tiny BC balcony cabins which had two beds offset from each other, just enough space to walk between them and no bedside table for one of them.  Many of those BC cabins were also inset of lifeboats, so views restricted and some in noisy locations as over public deck.  Will be interesting to see how prices move in the future.

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52 minutes ago, ighten said:

Hmm looks like Stornaway/Lewis has been dropped from the Scottish itins  - pity, it was the one place I was hoping to visit.  I guessing the Bol cant get in.

 

I think there are quite a lot of ports that the bigger ships cannot handle looking at the itineraries compared to to the previous ones on Boudicca and Black Watch.  Three out of five ports on our July sailing from Liverpool have been changed.  Still Braemar and Balmoral though.

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On 9/12/2020 at 11:05 PM, tring said:

Well we did get the letter (which was sent by second class post) on Friday afternoon, three days after we had the email from our agent detailing our revised booking and revised Itinerary.  I will certainly say the letter was a very bad move since as mentioned it is condescending as well as giving the impression that Fred has rights he most certainly does not have and which made my husband furious.  I do not think I have seen such a response from him previously to something as apparently innocuous as a letter. 

 

The thing he took most dislike to is the suggestion that we will not be charged any more for the cruise.  That made him check with Fred's T&C's if there was any suggestion a price can be increased, which it does not and then explaining to me that T&C's can say a price will increase if certain costs increase (e.g. fuel, taxation), but if that is in the T&C's, then they also have to say the price will be reduced for the consumer if those prices decrease.  So as not mentioned, Fred could not increase the price for any reason.

 

Regards the itinerary changes, yes the letter says, "The majority of your holiday will continue as before, though there are a few changes we would like you to know about.  These changes are summarised as follows:     ". He then goes on to mention the replacement ports for two of the five ports on our itinerary, along with date changes to the two ports which are to remain on our itinerary.  Strangely he has "forgotten" to give any mention of the crucial point that we will in fact be docking in Bassens instead of Bordeaux (that being a change to a third of our five ports)!!  Also as I mentioned in an earlier post, the revised itinerary includes St Malo, which was previously a tender port and also Belle Ile  (as a replacement port) which was marked as a tender port for a previous Boudicca cruise and there is in fact nowhere that a cruise ship could dock there.  Fred also failed to give any indication in the new itinerary, or elsewhere, that these are tender ports (an interesting omission considering some people cannot go ashore in tender ports).

 

I did in fact ring Fred's office and, with some persuasion (not a lot), I was given the option to change to another cruise and a Braemar one was mentioned as similar.  I explained that we are not able to book another cruise at present, since I could not obtain full medical insurance at this time, but that we would be prepared to keep our booking if they were to offer some extra OBS to help offset our extra costs, because of the port changes to replace three easily accessed ports.  She asked me to stay on hold a while and she would ask about that, though she tried to insist that there would be cancellation charges if we were to cancel (I did fill her in regards our legal rights at that stage since they could not make any change unless it is insignificant, due to The Package Travel Regulations).  She returned to tell me that as it is a similar itinerary (!!!), they could not offer anything other than the option to change the cruise and repeated emphatically that there would be cancellation charges should we not retain the booking.  I told her that was definitely NOT the case, but that I would not argue with her, but thanked her for looking into the situation.  I do feel sorry for the staff as I am sure there must be some very tense exchanges going on at present.  TBH a very small extra OBS would have kept us quite satisfied as all we really wanted was a token of appreciation for retaining the booking.  In fact, even an apology in the letter, rather than the tone the letter took, would have gone a very long way towards keeping our respect.

 

We have decided to retain the booking as there are other advantages for us since the cruise goes from a port 20 mins taxi ride from home and it is one for which I am fully insured.   Also, as we are thinking we may book a prolonged cruise (e.g. round South America or similar length) in the next couple of years, it will also give us a chance to explore one of the ships Fred will likely be using for that sort of cruise and would earn us enough points to gain Platinum Oceans status, which will be useful.  Whether Fred will be our most likely cruise line to book a lengthy cruise with is yet to be decided, but his attitude over this is something we will be bearing in mind at that time.

 

We are very disappointed with Fred over this as it is clearly going to affect those who are less capable of making their case, though I am sure Fred will have staff who are every well aware of what they can, and more to the point, cannot do, from a legal stance.  I have come to the conclusion that the attitude taken is quite possibly a sign of desperation, as having bought the two new ships he really needs to keep the bookings he has already taken, and as we all know the future is becoming less rosy by the day at present, though I am sure we are all hoping things will improve after the winter,

 

Cheers,

 

Barbara

  

 

Sorry to hear that you had a less positive experience when you contacted Fred by phone. It was much better for me. Maybe it helped when I gently explained that I was lucky enough to have over 25 cruises under my belt and my travelling companion over 40 (but not that many with Fred) and that by the time we sail, Fred will have had our money for over 15 months. I must say, the obs they offered was a bit more than I had in mind.

I must admit that the tone of the letter really surprised me and I am not surprised your husband was angry at it too.

If Fred had not offered us the extra incentive, I do think we would have insisted on a full refund on the basis of significant change.

Fortunately, all our details already entered in the 'My Cruises' section have all been retained after the ship & cruise changes.

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1 hour ago, ighten said:

Hmm looks like Stornaway/Lewis has been dropped from the Scottish itins  - pity, it was the one place I was hoping to visit.  I guessing the Bol cant get in.

You won't be missing anything with the town of Stornoway but the surrounding countryside/landscape is lovely. I tendered in to Stornoway from Queen Elizabeth 4 years ago at the end of June. With uncooperative weather, it wasn't exactly fun...

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42 minutes ago, Britboys said:

You won't be missing anything with the town of Stornoway but the surrounding countryside/landscape is lovely. I tendered in to Stornoway from Queen Elizabeth 4 years ago at the end of June. With uncooperative weather, it wasn't exactly fun...

I wonder how the tender process will work with social distancing requirements, plus more passengers to move relatively, as opposed to how it would have been on the smaller ships?

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4 minutes ago, Chrisifab said:

I wonder how the tender process will work with social distancing requirements, plus more passengers to move relatively, as opposed to how it would have been on the smaller ships?

That had briefly crossed our minds regards our cruise with two tender ports, but as it is not until next July, no one knows what the situation by then and we hope a lot will be behind us regards a vaccine.  Tender ports are always an issue of course, so could always be problems anyway, especially in the Scottish Isles or in our case, the BOB.  Advantages + disadvantages I suggest.

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9 minutes ago, Chrisifab said:

I wonder how the tender process will work with social distancing requirements, plus more passengers to move relatively, as opposed to how it would have been on the smaller ships?

Whilst social distancing remains necessary, I doubt there will be any calls to ports requiring a tender operation. Regarding more generally, the new ships will have more, and larger, tenders but I expect it will take a bit longer. As with any ship, it will also depend upon how many pax are booked on tours as they usually get priority.

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We have had another change of cabin from 2527 to 2539 so we are slowly moving further down the ship towards the middle. 

2539 is near the lift but that won't worry us as we are " night owls" not going to bed until 1 or 2.00am. and the lift concerned goes straight up to the bar! 

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9 minutes ago, JMyrtle said:

We have had another change of cabin from 2527 to 2539 so we are slowly moving further down the ship towards the middle. 

2539 is near the lift but that won't worry us as we are " night owls" not going to bed until 1 or 2.00am. and the lift concerned goes straight up to the bar! 

Yes, those 4 forward lifts connect to the theatre and probably at least 3 bars 🥂🍻😀

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1 hour ago, Britboys said:

Sorry to hear that you had a less positive experience when you contacted Fred by phone. It was much better for me. Maybe it helped when I gently explained that I was lucky enough to have over 25 cruises under my belt and my travelling companion over 40 (but not that many with Fred) and that by the time we sail, Fred will have had our money for over 15 months. I must say, the obs they offered was a bit more than I had in mind.

I must admit that the tone of the letter really surprised me and I am not surprised your husband was angry at it too.

If Fred had not offered us the extra incentive, I do think we would have insisted on a full refund on the basis of significant change.

Fortunately, all our details already entered in the 'My Cruises' section have all been retained after the ship & cruise changes.

 

TBH the main point was going to be cabin location and that is fine and was also no doubt part of their decision as they did look at our booking.   interesting to have heard Fred's response on the phone regards the line taken about legal rights, though their T&C's are overriden by The Travel Package Regs!!  We would be fine as any contact would be spot on regards legal wording etc.  Many people would not be able to deal with it though and that is the sad thing.

 

Incidentally the need for a significant change was overriden by the 2118 regs, which say companies cannot make a change which is "not insignificant", so the threshold is now much less, before a change cannot be made without agreement.  The number of changes Fred has made with many bookings makes that way, way over his right to make those changes unilaterally.  Always quote the specific legislation you are citing exactly, including full details of it - date, section etc.  Worth bearing in mind for all bookings, particularly at the present time 🙂

 

 

Edited by tring
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We also have a problem with Saga and their Christmas markets cruise sailing  from Sou'ton  on the 16th of December calling at Antwerp and Zebrugge for Bruges on S. O. D.

The last contact from Saga was to tell us not to pay the balance (which is due on this Thursday) until further instructed although again fellow passengers have posted that they have since found out that the payment date has been changed to the 17th of October. 

Also if you go onto Cruise critic's own website this cruise is shown as leaving from Portsmouth and docking only at Terneuzen which seems to be a commercial port near The Hague. with no mention of Antwerp, Bruges or Christmas markets what so ever. 

I very much doubt that there will be Christmas markets anywhere in Europe this year but I don't care I just want to go away, anywhere

As you can guess so far I have been unable to get any sense out of Saga what so ever and I'm blowed if I'm going to pay over £2000.00 for " a pig in a poke", tomorrow I will email Saga and say no more money until you confirm there has been no changes to port or itinerary, wish me luck! 

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57 minutes ago, Britboys said:

Seems that Amsterdam/Bolette doesn't like the look of Rosyth 😀. She was sailing slowly toward the bridges but has now turned tail and is sailing away from the bridges at 16 knots... 🤔

Just checked the tide times. Seems it was low tide at 0830 today and will be high tide about 1450. Maybe she'll go through this afternoon...

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