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Everything posted by uktog

  1. Some new and not so new names there - enjoy!
  2. I think this thread should be read by all cruise line decision makers because they need to understand a guest (not travel agent) perspective of what matters to them when choosing a cruise. A significant proportion of guests at this point in the market are educated travellers for whom browsing and research is fundamental to their buying decision. The agent only comes into play after that research if indeed at all. This is particularly true for European guests where travel agencies are either remote internet operations or high street shops focused on selling package holidays and where you will wait some time to be served by a non knowledgable person. The problem is MSC and some other lines have got into bed with Seaware as their booking management software. It is travel agent centric and does everything it can to keep the guest out of the information loop. Other lines are finding the same problem with this software. Here is a further example of how this management system wrecks the guest experience - buying shore excursions. Yes, despite their costs, some of us want to buy excursions run by Explora. Eventually after quite a few non sensical clicks (someone has forgotten the 3 clicks to a commitment byword of the noughties) I find the excursion I want. I am booked though a travel agent and as I have done in the past with other lines, I just want to book 2 excursions and pay for them using my credit card. I cannot do that, I have to track down my agent to get them to pay for it and get the booking confirmed or, if I find the right agent on the phone I have to persuade them to take the payment direct. So we add an unneccessary layer of interactions in the transaction because I am doing a "money thing" and all money things on Seaware cannot be done direct by the guest if an agent is involved. This is barking mad, Explora please decouple part of the software, let the guests browse options at their leisure and book their own shore excursions or other add ons without restrictions. Until you do that, there are other much more customer friendly lines out there potential guests can go to.
  3. We also always bring eye drops. The impact of flying and changing atmosphere can play havoc with eyes and having quick access to drops is a great help if needed
  4. And I did a round UK cruise on a Norwegian line and had to use dollars. Its preposterous 😂
  5. What was the menu? I am British and I liked the previous menu though I know others did not
  6. Good idea. When I want a more spacious shower that’s my go to
  7. Zero announcements (well usually unless they have to alert you to an issue) - the only CD who liked the sound of their voice on the last morning has fortunately left! You can usually stay on until 9 or just after. You can keep your room until 8. Alternatively you could leave a little earlier and join an excursion with airport drop off. The one thing you can be sure of, no one speaks to you at 0630.
  8. At this time of the year it’s reasonable to expect a low child count. School vacation time could be very different. That said, we cruised over a holiday period, there were over 20 youngsters onboard including several teenagers but you would never have known
  9. I go the night before disembarking or earlier if the shops close earlier
  10. A lot of closures over bank holiday weekend so they can do big things. Should be better tomorrow
  11. Oops posted on the wrong thread previously Datapoint. Yesterday a Sunday I did that trip at around 1530 and as I passed the dock gates at Rosyth my time from Ocean Terminal was 50 minutes, The route is such a lottery. So allow plenty time! That was an average of around 18mph just heavy traffic on one part of the route for about 4 miles and a tail back on the bridge for no known reason - may have been a problem further up the motorway. So allow plenty time would be my advice.
  12. Oops I will link it sorry. Ferry Road and then a tail back for no obvious reason on the Bridge.
  13. Datapoint. Yesterday a Sunday I did that trip at around 1530 and as I passed the dock gates at Rosyth my time from Ocean Terminal was 50 minutes
  14. Extremely flexible. Advise them before cruising of your needs and they take it from there They send you a menu for the restaurants the day before and you have to write on them your selection based on where you plan to dine anf return it to the restaurant desk on deck 5 by 10 am. Chef cooks the amended menu or contacts you if adaptations aren’t possible eg recipe wont work. When you go to the restaurant in the evening the host has the menu you wrote on at the podium and hands it to the waiter. All VERY well handled At lunch time in the emporium if we were unsure what a dish included the restaurant managers were quick to go and find out. They started preparing a dessert each day for DH just in case (he has a nut allergy) and keeping it in the chiller We were very impressed with Explora’s approach to allergy handling. We heard they weren’t good at changing things before we went and that’s certainly true if the request is a fad/personal preference which given the range of choices and how they approach cooking with consistency and precision is valid but for medical allergies they go the extra mile and they’ve really got it nailed.
  15. I think they’re waiting to decide how to handle their winter schedule in general and transitioning vessels between Europe and the East. They will probably wait until they see how well the current no long port stop plan has worked for Journey and Onward and what timings are realistic for the future. They are probably also having to reschedule some lucrative charters as well which from a business perspective will be something they also have to focus on. At least for October 2025 there is time and no one has air commitments confirmed yet
  16. Which voyages are you talking about? Your original post was about May or are you talking about other redeployments? If you search Azamaras website all their currently available cruises are shown there
  17. An alternative is you can withdraw the balance as cash on the last night. That’s a good option for non US guests who can use dollars in other situations. As we were disembarking in Miami that’s what we did
  18. Not sure what you mean by fewer perks. All veranda plus cabins have the same benefits. If it was me, given the benefits are minimal anyway I’d go on Deck 7 every time. They created the plus category and designated Deck 8 cabins into it to try and sell these less popular locations. Only the aft veranda plus are worth the upsell in my view
  19. It also causes issues in the kitchen focusing on getting 12 meals out to the pass simultaneously and this impacts on service for other guests. We saw two groups of 6 (yes the models the influencers and their camera folk) as to have 3 tables of 4 put together when they arrived at Fil Rouge one night. The General Manager was called and she said no. Unfortunately they then shouted across the place but at least the waiters were only taking orders from one table at a time
  20. Sunday can have the day trippers out. Took me an hour last weekend to just up the road from the dockyard. Roadworks in Edinburgh and a breakdown just before the bridge. It’s quite unpredictable but I’ve rarely done it in 30 minutes
  21. Could I suggest you aim to be at the car a little earlier. 30 minutes from Leith to Rosyth is optimistic during commute times which starts around 3 these days. It’s a route I do a lot and one I’d say is 45 minutes is the minimum during rush hour as you’ve got to get out from Leith as well. Even with its “hard shoulder” it just takes a little breakdown and everything really slows down on the bridge as well
  22. Given that TA credit is refundable, you could book the excursions now and pay for them and then once your cruise is over your credit balance offsets your original spend (assuming you havent spent on board for other things that was not covered by other OBC)
  23. OBC from your TA rarely appears until boarding. You can’t make speciality reservations before boarding. Speak to your TA about what they can do re your excursions
  24. Azamara wisely opted to cancel that voyage on Journey. They are going from Singapore direct to round Africa which reduces lost revenue days and minimises risk. There have also been challenges with port authorities in India and Sri Lanka and Myanmar is right off the agenda so I would expect them to take some time to rework all the schedules involving moving ships out of the Mediterranean to Asia or Australia
  25. uktog

    New Azamara CEO

    Yes got an email about that event. Not sure the timings work for us but we will see. Might send in a question anyway
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