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About photopro2

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Professional photographer with long standing interest in Travel, Aviation and now Cruising
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  1. That destination is interesting. On one hand it does rather suggest that the far east itineraries in the first half of next year are even less likely to happen. On the other it begs the question why send the ship back to the shipyard? The removal of the planetarium would be one explanation but it is hard to see how the extra expenditure on that could be justified at a time when cash is short. Might it be related to The Venus in some way? If the far east itineraries have been abandoned The Orion’s next duties are in Alaska in May. That would make it available to cover some of The Venus’s commitments if the build is running late. Or maybe they plan to "borrow" some of the furniture or other fittings which have supplier delays from The Orion in order to get The Venus operational on time. All speculation of course, but we have to do something to fill the gaps where trip planning used to be 🤔
  2. I am not a great fan of BA at all, even though they are my national carrier. As well as charging for seat assignment in business most of their fleet still has the old business seat layout which, for instance in the 777, squeezes in 8 rows across (8!!!!!!!) This is in the same cabin space that AA puts 4 rows and, unless I have forgotten something, that is now the standard on all AA longhaul aircraft. The BA A380 is better as Hedid13 says, but still 8 across! If you did happen to be lucky and get a BA 350-1000 that would be fine as they have BA's brand new 4 row across product. AA has now retired it's 767's so all its current longhaul metal has a fairly decent business product, and free seat assignment last time I checked! So that would be the way I would most likely go. All the best for the trip, whatever aircraft you finish up on it will certainly be better up the front than down the back 😉
  3. Thanks for that suggestion. I also like https://www.holiday-weather.com which gives a description of the weather for places month by month too which I find more understandable than the averages on their own. For current weather the Norwegian government site https://www.yr.no/?spr=eng is great for the local area of course (including sea conditions) but is also good for all of northern Europe and even worldwide. If only we could book the weather like we do our cabins 😁
  4. I have just looked through the 2020 brochure to see if it tally's with my own experience on board and I find that it does, both visually and verbally - if anything it undersells as it cannot recreate the great interactions with the crew and fellow passengers which are an important part of the attraction for us. If you are entertained by education and comforted by culture then you will have a great time. The ship does not go to bed at 8PM💤 ..........it is around 10PM 😁 That is except for those of us chatting in The Explorers' Lounge or dancing in Torshavn till gone midnight. The reason most turn in early is that they will be up at 7AM or before, champing at the bit to get off the ship to experience life in a different country at the first opportunity, rather than laying in bed then heading to the pool. Of course that dynamic changes on the TAs you are considering where late nights are more the norm. The Viking 360 tours will give you a good idea if the environment on the ship appeals to you. This one is for The Star but ships are largely the same throughout https://www.vikingcruises.com/content/ocean-star-tour/start.html You can then make the call on the price which, sadly, may well be high for you as Viking only occasionally makes solo traveller fares available. I think that their policy is derived from the ratio of demand/number of cabins to sell. Hope that helps in general terms and if you need more precise "pertinent" information please do ask.
  5. I join you in that thought and here are some pictures from the pool brunch. I'm glad Clay & Mike found the hot dog section 😁
  6. It is good to have a wish list but it seems very unlikely anything will be done beyond what is strictly necessary. As @Jerigail pointed out, the news is that that work will be limited to minor repairs and "upgrade work" which could describe installing whatever physical measures are needed for mitigation of virus transmission. So looking on the bright side (from your point of view) little to no chance of new planetariums 🪐 .....though I would not mind giving one a go myself 🙂
  7. Good spot @uktog There have been other moments today too - The Sun has travelled from Kristiansand and is currently off Skagen. The Sea has left Alesund with a return to Alesund shown as the destination though it is currently heading SW away from the port towards open sea. Could be any of those (well..... maybe not just a jolly day trip and Jim will be sad to hear that all the pubs are still closed) and I would add getting a better deal on long term berthing as a possibility. Does anyone have other suggestions?
  8. You are very welcome and I don't think anyone overheard what we were talking about. I do hope that no-one thought that it was us giggling on the sofa though - DW would not approve 😉
  9. Sorry - I meant to comment on this before and the thought about the VSSBP in my previous post reminded me. As has been said the wines that are included with SSBP are not vastly superior to the included wines that are freely poured for everyone. It is not like you are going from a 3/10 wine to one that is 8/10. This is very subjective of course but I would say the included wines are 4 to 5/10 and the listed wines are 6 to 7/10. For a rating anything above that you are going to have to buy a bottle which is outside the scope of the SSBP. The main difference with SSBP is that it covers any wine that you choose from the selection available by the glass on the wine list - as I recall they were about $5.50 a glass pay-as-you-go. With the included wines you more or less get what you are given, the choice being limited to Red, White or sparkling. In practice though sticking to the included wine, at least some of the time, does have advantages. The included wine is changed every few days and it can be regarded as a bit of a wine tasting treat to be presented with something that you might not have thought to try before. It is also much easier to take what the waiter has to hand rather than to wait while they go to get the wine from the list. A work around is to get a glass of your preferred wine from the bar, take it when you go into the restaurant and then order up a fresh glass, if you wish, while you eat. We have taken the SSBP as a promotion and also cruised without. Assessing if it is good value in advance is difficult as this will depend completely on what you choose to drink and how much. We found that we generally drank less spirits than we thought we would (strange but true!) The bar prices are reasonable and when we ordered pay-as you-go the bar bill at the end of the cruise was less than the package would have been, even though we did not skimp ourselves at all. So we know for future reference it is not good value for us. It might well be different for you. Summing up I think the clue is in the name Silver Spirits, if you drink several "shorts" and/or cocktails a day then SSBP is certainly the way to go - but just for the wine upgrade, I would say not but with one proviso...... You should also look at how often you intend to eat at The Chef's Table. If you want upgraded wine pairings in that restaurant there is a charge of $25pp unless you have SSBP. As with the other included wines my personal opinion is that the difference is not all that great, but it is something to consider.
  10. About the same time my Dad made a blackout board to fit our kitchen window so I could start that sort of processing and printing, for me the hobby stuck and the rest is history...... Thanks for the story. It is nice to meet you in this virtual lounge but I feel quite sure that you will enjoy the real thing even more. July 2021 is not so far away and that is a fantastic itinerary to Iceland on the Jupiter, one of the newer ships. We were in Bergen last summer (Midnight Sun) and, as you said you liked to plan, can confirm that it is very easy to get around and make up your own tour, especially as the ship is there overnight. It is easy to have a do-it-yourself pre-stay in Bergen too. We had Viking book our flight to arrive a day before we embarked. The bus trip into town from the small airport was straightforward and we overnighted at the Thon Hotel Orion. It was reasonably priced and included a light evening meal as well as breakfast, which was helpful as food/drink is generally expensive in Scandinavia. The next morning it was just a couple of hundred yards to the ship. This also allowed us to be one of the first onboard and ahead of the game when it came to finalising dining reservations and to generally get the most out of the lovely ship. We also called at Geiranger which was one of the highlights of the trip. Google "twizy geiranger" I think you will be glad you did! As it is late afternoon I think that I will make use of our VSSBP (Virtual Silver Spirits Beverage Package) and have a Prosecco to tide me over until it is time to eat.....
  11. I could not resist making the joke about the cameras being before my time Peregrina but your comment about your father reminded me that, although the cameras in your pictures were very old, I did use cameras that worked in exactly the same way. The studio cameras of the 70's and 80's would have been perfectly understandable to photographers of the Victorian era with a lens connected by bellows to a ground glass screen at the back which served as a viewfinder. This meant using the classic black cloth over your head when setting up the shot! They used 5x4 inch sheets of film which were loaded into darkslides and then slid into the back ready for exposure. The reason that we were still using this kind of equipment was not just because of the high quality image that came from using such a large film size. The cameras also allowed the lens and film plane to be adjusted separately in relationship to one another. This allowed us to correct distortion, such as the the way that the sides of buildings often seem to tilt in when the camera is pointed upwards. In the mid-eighty's I persuaded the company I was working for to buy one of these cameras called a Sinar P for car photography in the studio. As I recall it was around £2500 with lenses and accessories, an eye-watering amount to spend on a camera back then. Most if not all of what these "rail" cameras, as they were known, could do can now be replicated in photoshop and I expect that people like me (and your father if he is still around) who know how to work them are getting to be few and far between. I had better leave it there because I really am starting to feel my age 🧓 Which reminds me........ It is nearly lunch time Jim...... 😁
  12. That would certainly be absurd and was not what I was trying to say, I apologise for not been clear. My point related to your suggestion that having a case of COVID would "damage the brand" and I was not postulating that intelligent Viking cruisers are less likely to become infected, onboard or off! I was putting forward the suggestion that the Viking target market are maybe less likely than the general population to think worse of the Viking brand if there were to be a case or cases found on board. That is not due to some blind faith in the brand but the outcome of a more educated understanding that, the nature of pandemics being what it is, any infection is just as likely to have taken place off the ship. An infection occurring on-shore would not be attributed to Viking in their minds and so there would be little or no detrimental impact on the perception of the brand image.
  13. Kind thought however, I may be retiring, but those are even just a little before my time 😁 We seem to have moved on to photos of drinks now so a reminder to people without SSBP that you are always welcome to "bring your own" to the lounge.
  14. Thanks for posting @BrendaEDH, My DW had overlooked the email but we have now signed on for updates. The link you posted seems to be behind a paywall but the info is also here: https://shipmonk.co.uk/2020/06/02/viking-confirms-it-is-testing-the-waters-for-round-britain-cruises-this-summer/ I understand and appreciate your healthy scepticism but I am not aware of any evidence that P&O has even seriously considered UK only sailings let alone sought specific guidance on what might be possible and when. While P&O say in their statement that they are "working with" Public Health England there is nothing to suggest that this relates to cruising in UK waters only. It may be that by "gauging interest" Viking are demonstrating more creative thinking than P&O and are getting ahead of the game by exploring options that could take advantage of opportunities as they arise. There are undoubted difficulties of course. As things stand border crossings from England to Scotland or Wales are not permitted for recreation. But that and other limitations will change as lockdown is eased and there is the same economic pressure across all nations to revive the tourist and leisure industry just as soon as safety will allow. You may well be right about the scrutiny but perhaps less so about damage to brand. The public are now aware that COVID is everywhere, that is the definition of a pandemic. The sort of sensible and educated people that Viking markets to will understand that just because a case is identified on a ship it does not mean that it was contracted there. Cases on ships will need to be taken seriously and dealt with appropriately but testing is now easily available which makes that much more possible than it was at the start of the outbreak. Another of the advantages of what Viking are proposing is that we would never be far away from our wonderful National Health Service should the worst happen. Agreed! The cost will need to be kept down too because the UK is a fairly small place that residents can get around relatively easily anyway. We would be paying in the main for a stay at a Viking "hotel" but would certainly consider that. That said, it could be seen by the company themselves as a test and "shakedown" of new antiviral protocols and procedures and priced accordingly. As you say, we shall have to wait and see.......🤔 fingers crossed though 🤞
  15. Forgot to comment on this before....... I am planning to retire at the end of the year so the MkIII will "see me out" as a pro. If I was staying in the business though I would certainly make the move to mirrorless. You could keep your current lenses as it seems that the adaptor is a simple one, really just a spacer to replace the mirror box area that the new cameras obviously don't have. A quick search showed that it is even included for free with some models at the moment. While I will keep the 5D for as long as it lasts, my main travel camera recently has been a Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX7. Though it is a few years old now I could not be happier with it, it is so compact and yet fully controllable. My plan is to eventually upgrade to the LUMIX DC-LX100 MkII which is the latest version on the same camera. Well, I say that, but that might not be quite true... As a retirement gift to myself I am tempted to get the Leica D-Lux 7 which is exactly the same as the LUMIX but has the Leica name on it. It would be extra money just for "the brand" but it would be nice to be able to own at least one Leica product in my life! A bit like you yearning for one of the Rallysport Escorts 😀 As I said before you have a great eye for photography and I look forward to seeing more on the blog.
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