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John Bull

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About John Bull

  • Rank
    10,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Lee-on-the-Solent, England
  • Interests
    vintage & classic vehicles
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Voyages of Discovery
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. We've driven from Barcelona to Andorra - out on the N-260 taking in a tiny corner of France, then back on the C-16. Total about 260 miles, 6hrs 30mins driving. For much of the day the scenery was excellent, but the roads are slow, twisty and tortuous - even if you take the fastest route. Andorra is very pleasant & laid-back, but has nothing special to offer (other than duty-frees). If, like us, you drive for the journey it's worthwhile, though if you drive back in the dark it's no fun at all . If you drive for the destination, it's not worthwhile - especially if you dislike driving. BTW - if you use GPS, make sure you enter Andorra as a country There's a village in Spain called Andorra - about the same distance but in a totally different direction. JB
  2. Yes, ships anchor in the caldera - exceptionally well-sheltered by islands. https://goo.gl/maps/J6AyF4LQEFa2DYqu5 JB
  3. Thanks for the link, Babs. But hmmmmm.............. The article says that there were 217 passengers and crew on board "the ship" as it followed Shackleton's route to Antarctica, so clearly it's a small expedition ship. It doesn't name the ship, but the only photo (which heads the piece) is a stock photo of P&O's Arcadia (2500 pax & 866 crew) All of which is a great shame, because well over 3000 is a good sample size whereas 217 is way too small. The Telegraph article mentions "screening for symptoms" and "temperature checking", which naturally can't detect asymptomatic carriers, thus making a mockery of the article. The study from which it is taken gives a lot more detail, but still doesn't clearly say whether proper coronavirus testing was done before the ship reached Montevideo, or whether all 217 were properly tested. Here's the study paper in full.............. https://thorax.bmj.com/content/early/2020/05/27/thoraxjnl-2020-215091 What I need to know is how many folk out there are currently a risk to me. Recent test sampling of the general population in the UK (rather than those hospitalised and health workers) suggests one in 400 is currently infected (this would include asymptomatic carriers). But that figure has an accuracy range of over 100. Am I the only one who is confused by contradictory information & advice? And by selective statistics? JB
  4. Thanks for that - I'd been thinking it was a different "R", but I'd never come across correlation coefficients. My confusion now resolved. JB
  5. Your 3 days in Rome make sense, as does visiting Rome pre-cruise. Rome to your ship at Civi. is far easier than from Florence, Naples or Venice, and gives you wiggle-time if there's a foul-up in your flight out - you won't miss your sailaway. Florence is quite easy (though some distance) from Livorno. Or Pisa is very easy for your Livorno port-of-call day, so you could leave Florence til post-cruise. Naples has that wide choice of places to go, but if only one (perhaps a rushed two) of them interested you then the port-of-call day would suffice. But on a port-of-call day, the Amalfi Coast can only be done by private / shared tour because the limited local buses and ferries make it impossible in the time-scale, and renting a car creates problems of parking and the driver seeing only the narrow, tortured, twisted and busy pavement of the scenic high coast road. So Florence or Naples are both good candidates for post-cruise. At over 300 miles, Venice is twice the distance, twice the travel time. But if Venice beckons .......... I don't think the crowds will be much different at any of those places, but your dates are before the main part of the season. So it boils down to what interests you most. JB
  6. Hi, Donald, Your post has left me totally confused. Is the "R" value a different animal in the USA? In Europe the "R" value has nothing to do with health parameters or comparisons, it is only to do with infection reproduction rates (hence the "R"). Before lock-down measures, social distancing etc, one person might infect as many as, say, 5 others (an "R" figure of 5). Those six each go on to infect 5 more - that's now 30 people who each go on to infect five more making it 150, then 750, then 3.750, then 18.750 etc. That's the sort of infection rate we saw throughout the world, including China, Europe & the USA at the start of their pandemic - the numbers doubling every 3 days. Preventing any spread is impossible once the numbers get so high, but countries set their measures to reduce the spread to a factor below 1.0 (ie one person infects one more), which keeps the spread manageable. So an "R" factor of up to 0.5 is excellent, and any factor below 1.0 is acceptable because it sees the infection rate drop. This doesn't tally with the figures in your post, nor do diabetes or obesity or other factors which make the risk of death greater for some folk - it refers only to the speed of the spread. Hence my asking if the "R" rate in the USA mean something completely different? JB
  7. Your cruise may well include Naples as a one-day port-of-call. When you research what to do on that day you'll find yourselves having to choose just one, perhaps a rushed two, places to go, including....... Pompeii Herculaneum Capri The amazing Amalfi coast (Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, etc) Vesuvius Sorrento Ischia Naples itself. So the Naples / Amalfi area is well worth a week or more, let alone a couple or three days. Naples is a little over 2 hours from Rome by road or frequent direct trains. From the main road there are great views of Monte Cassino (and mebbe worth a diversion to visit), or there's the much slower but scenic coastal route via Anzio. Probably glimpses of Monte Cassino from the train If you choose to travel by train, Naples (between station & port) or Sorrento give you the best local travel options. If you rent a car, perhaps base yourselves somewhere like Ravello or Sorrento (but wherever you choose, check out the parking) Not sure if there are convenient direct flights from Naples to the US. Rome itself is worth a bare minimum of two, preferably three, full days. Just MHO as always JB
  8. I doubt that you need advice about when to wear or not wear gloves, Don, but for those who've not given it a lot of thought, gloves are generally not advisable. Just like hands, gloves can pick up the virus from things that you touch and transfer it to your own things. Think of a simple operation like using a gas pump.......... I remove my gas cap & insert my credit card, then sanitise my hands before touching the pump's buttons, pumping gas and returning the pump to its holster. Then I sanitise my hands again before retrieving my card and replacing my gas cap. I may have to do the same again if I pay at the kiosk. So very much safer and easier to use the sanitiser several times than than to take gloves on and off several times or, as one should, to use fresh gloves each time. Gloves only make more sense when you are working in a potentially contaminated area or handling potentially infected items, but should be removed & properly disposed-of, then hands washed or sanitised when leaving that area. CDC says much the same thing https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/gloves.html Masks have their limitations, but one additional benefit is that they prevent you from touching your face - something which folk do on average 16 times an hour !!! JB
  9. That's the krunch with air-travel & cruising. Not a lot different to folk feeling the onset of norovirus. "I've spent a fortune of flights & cruise (or I need to get back home from foreign lands), so I'm not going to admit to feeling unwell" Understandable but incredibly selfish. And any means of preventing those folk from mixing & spreading, no matter how limited those means, should be used. BTW - a swab test which gives a result in 20 minutes, without the need for laboratory analysis and with a very high accuracy level is currently being trialed in the UK. And didn't I see, several weeks ago, a video of a similar test with equally quick results - in the USA, the guy drove through a test centre & was given the all-clear. (IIRC he should have booked on-line, but chanced his arm & wasn't challenged about a booking when he showed up). JB
  10. OK, so it finds only 30%. But it's quick and easy, needs only basic training for any employee with half a brain to operate, and there's no mention of false positives (thus no unnecessary refused entry / quarantining, etc) So because it finds only 30%, is that not better than finding none at all ?? Or would you suggest that for instance everyone should have been held at an airport for 48 hours or probably longer waiting for results of laboratory tests? I stepped off an airplane into 30+ degrees C in Tanzania, & was held in a line outside the airport building in direct sun for 20+ minutes, feeling very hot & bothered & the sweat was running into my eyes. When I reached the guy with the gun. I told him I was very very hot. He looked at the gun & said "no, you're not" (I thought "ahh, that's what my partner keeps telling me ) so certainly in my case perspiration didn't show a false positive. No doubt in due course there will be quick-and-easy tests for everyone, but as a stop-gap I don't see temperature-checking as useless and certainly not just theatre. JB
  11. NOT THE BEST JOKE IN THE PUB But certainly the most tasteless !! JB
  12. Firstly, while shuttles aren't included in the saver fare I suspect you can simply buy shuttle tickets on-board for a few pounds for any port where they'd be useful. I'm pretty sure we've done that a time or two.You're sure to get answers to that on the P&O forum https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/22-pampo-cruises-uk/ That's an interesting itinerary with some unusual ports, I can only comment on the common ones. Helsinki The centre isn't walkable from the port. We took Aurora's shuttle - we've never paid Select fare, but that might have been before the two-tier pricing. Certainly there'll be taxis, pretty sure the local hop-on/hop-off tour bus calls by the port though you may not want to do that tour. Might be local buses, if you don't get answers to that here give Google a whirl. Tallinn. Ships berth about a 15 - 20 minute walk from the nearest point of the walled old-town, a squat tower with the unflattering name of Fat Margaret. Centre of old-town is 10 minutes further. If you take a taxi, get the driver to drop you at the highest point of old-town - it's so much easier to look around that part & then walk DOWN to the centre. A hop-on tour bus isn't worthwhile in Tallinn, they tour the rather bland & boring modern city and aren't permitted in the steep narrow streets of old-town Stockholm Important - check the ship's itinerary. Does it say "Stockholm" or "Stockholm (Nynashamn)"? Nynashamn is a port on the coast, about an hour from the city. If the ship ports there, not only do you have that journey by road or train, you also miss the amazing sail-in through the archipelago of islands so close that you feel you can reach out & touch the trees - one of the world's best sail-ins. P&O's smaller ships - Aurora, Arcadia, Oceana, - port in the city, Azura & Ventura might be too large for the archipelago, their new ship Iona is even bigger. If you berth in the city it's likely to be either at Stadsgarten (spelling?) which is ideal or Frihamnen which needs a short taxi or local bus ride. You can get around the city by a combination of bus or hop-on boat and Shanks's. St Petersburg To avoid the need for a Russian visa (which is a lot of hassle & cost, especially for Brits) you do need to pre-book a tour. But, as per posts by Heidi and cruisemom, you don't have to book a ship-sponsored tour. Local tour operators have the same visa-free tours. The tour ticket (handed to you on the ship for P&O tours, or e-mailed to you by local tour operators) gets you through immigration without a visa. Local operators use 16-seat minibuses, 1000 times better than ships' tours which are in large coaches, and they're usually cheaper. Google Alla Tours, SPB Tours, TJ Travel, Anastasia Tours, Red Oktober and there's a dozen more. I've never heard a bad word about any tour operator in St Petersburg, you can't go far wrong with any of them. P&O are, I think, are the only cruise line which also offers tours in 16-seat minibuses as well as in cattle-herding big coaches. If your ship offers those minibus tours, do consider them. If they're a shade more expensive than booking through a local operator you may feel it worth the extra cost for the peace of mind, altho there's no need. P&O's minibus tours are operated by those local tour operators Is your St Petersburg visit a one-day port-of-call or is it at least two days, overniting in port ? The city is well worth two days (a 2-day tour). And consider an evening in the city - ballet, or fun "feel yourself Russian" show, or a number of private options like dining in a restaurant or with a Russian family. Your tour operator can arrange these - as per Heidi's post you'll need a tour ticket appropriate to the day / time of day to go thro immigration, so you can't fix up that sort of thing independently. You can DIY pretty cheaply in other ports, so don't skimp on St Petersburg, the jewel in any Baltic cruise. Select tickets are seriously expensive, especially compared to late-late deals. Free shuttles are no big deal, the real advantages are being able to choose a precise cabin and to choose 1st or 2nd sitting or anytime for evening dining. But IMHO the cost difference is way too big for the advantages Great part of the world for cruising, have a good one JB
  13. Judging from comments on Princess forums, that joke may have been prompted by a genuine and intentional incident JB
  15. Ooops, duplicate
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