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berkshireboy

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About berkshireboy

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Berkshire, UK
  • Interests
    Genealogy
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Azamara, Fred Olsen

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  1. On our most recent visit to Dubai we also stayed at the Arabian Courtyard and dined in the English pub each evening. Found it to be good value and a great location Would use it again. On a cruise at the moment and having problems with CC, hope that this makes sense!
  2. Have put a note in my "to do list" to say hi to Jean in the Bookmark Cafe from you. Have also noted your comments about Chris in the entertainments team and will ensure that we go along to see him.
  3. I don't mind the fixed time dining too much, especially as show time is worked around it. I also love the anytime dining on Azamara so I'm not difficult to please [my wife might comment on that statement!] We are back on Braemar in a fortnight on the Greek Islands and Corinth Canal cruise when Braemar will be the largest cruise ship ever to pass through the Corinth canal. We booked this two years ago when it first went on sale and it has been fully booked ever since.
  4. We have an inside cabin booked on the Quest, Dubai & Emirates cruise on 29 November. At 97 days out we received an [unsolicited] email asking if we wanted to bid for an upgrade. However, we could only bid on a restricted view outside or a Club Continent Suite, not on a veranda cabin. We have made a minimum bid offer on a restricted view outside but will not be concerned if we do not get an upgrade. At this point in time there are no inside cabins and only 2 outside [including 1 disabled] available. There are numerous veranda cabins still available. Seems to be there will be a lot of juggling with inventory before we sail!
  5. You clearly enjoyed your cruise! Braemar is our favorite Fred ship but we enjoy cruises on all four. Being the largest of the fleet your cruise on Balmoral will be different but I'm sure that you will enjoy it just as much. The crew on all four are superb.
  6. Hi Lottie So pleased you have enjoyed Fred - I was a little concerned that you might not think it was for you. And yes the urge to win one of those Fred Olsen key rings can be cut throat at times!
  7. Is that the Corinth Canal cruise? If so we are also booked on that - and counting down the days. We love Azamara but also love Fred Olsen.
  8. We always decline coffee with the meal in the MDR and have it in Mosaic afterwards. After a couple of evenings we found we didn't even need to order - as soon as we sat down [always fairly empty in the evenings] our coffee was delivered to us exactly as we like it.
  9. The BBC have put together a very interesting summery of the proposed changes to Komodo Island next year, including evicting all the islanders. When it reopens the entrance fee could be $1000 [valid for twelve months] against the current $10. Looking to attract the very rich [not us I'm afraid]! By comparison the fee to enter the Galapagos National Park is $100 “The Komodo is not being protected,” says Laiskodat. [The Governor] “Too many people are coming in - they are paying next to nothing, and that means anyone can enter,” he says. The current charge is about $10 (£8) a person. For his new vision he would charge a much higher price. “People will have to become members and pay $1,000 [£790] to enter for a year. I think that’s cheap. So if we let 50,000 people in we will have $50m [£40m] a year.” Living Among the Dragons is on BBC iPlayer and on BBC World on Thursday 25 July, 09:30 GMT, and Friday 26 July, 08:00 GMT. Maybe the existing arrangements will will still be in place when we visit on the 21 January next year. If not Rinca Island looks like the only viable option [1049 dragons as against 1727 on Komodo Island itself].
  10. It's easy to get anywhere in Singapore! It looks like we will dock at Marina Bay Cruise Centre which is a little further from Sentosa than the Singapore Cruise Centre but there isn't much in it. Have you thought of going across by the cable car - definitely worth it if you haven't done it already. For anyone wanting to try the true Singapore Sling, Raffles is due to reopen next month.
  11. I doubt that they will add more tours. The ones listed are the same as those we had with both Azamara and Celebrity in the past. I remember with Celebrity there was a tour that visited a local family in their home which I haven't seen since but it must have been part of a longer tour. That was back in 2015. I looked back at our Cruise Critic Roll Call for our most recent visit - April last year and, although it was on Azamara where there are usually many private tours the only one I could see being organised was an 8hr "Yangon Highlights". This was with a company called Shore Excursions Asia and the price was from $100 pp for a minimum of four. There is no feedback on the roll call as to how good this tour was. However, the tour doesn't look any different to the ship organised ones. One couple did book an hotel in Myanmar for the duration [two nights rather than the one night on Fred] to avoid the daily journey to and from the port. Our Roll Call was organised by uktog and I'm sure she wont mind me quoting from what she told us [she is a frequent visitor to Myanmar on business. "This is a nice country but lots of drawbacks. Lovely people but sadly an increasing number "cashing in" on tourists. My main advice would be (and this is from one who is very critical of them) take the ships tours. Be aware unless you personally know someone recommending a provider on a site (e.g. Tripadvisor) it is very possibly not entirely genuine. (That info came from reputable official sources). The ship will be docked about an hour from Yangon. Whilst taxis into Yangon might be inexpensive finding one to return could be a challenge and do not rely on the driver coming back as "promised" This is in a country where the infrastructure does not readily include aircon. So be prepared. Also you are unlikely to find wifi off the ship. As I say lovely country no Starbucks, Costa or Golden Arches but also no effective tourism infrastructure- they are trying and I know having been working with someone from the tourism ministry they want to get it right. With that in mind they requisition the best people to provide support to visiting cruise ships in terms of drivers and guides." uktog" Hope that that helps.
  12. Probably your best bet then. The journey will probably be much faster in a taxi and, once in Yangon, there will be no waiting around for other passengers to rejoin the coach. And you can specify exactly where you want to go. I don't know the frequency of the shuttle to the port gates but it's not far so may even operate on demand. Good luck anyway!
  13. Yes, I noticed the distance quoted as well and it did seem much further than that to us. I looked at the ports of call section on Cruise Critic but there is not all that much there. The two reviews that mentioned distance between the port and town say - "The road to Yangon was very crude and subject to traffic jams. Our return from Yangon took about 2 1/2 hours" "Again too long a bus journey from the port to anything and the Port itself sadly was basically a concrete slab in front of what appeared to be a Bus Graveyard." Again it must depend on time of day and time of year. Our most recent visit was with Azamara and the Azamazing evening on that cruise was to celebrate the Water Festival in Yangon so likely to be busier than normal as this was a public holiday [probably the main one of the year]. I was also reminded that our trip on that occasion was in a fleet of 14 modern air conditioned coaches so they do exist! The tourist industry in Myanmar has been built up from scratch in recent years so obviously conditions are improving steadily. Viator does quote a 10 hour taxi excursion from the port gates as being from £65 per person but when I entered the dates we would be alongside, the price became £216.44 for two. To be honest it doesn't seem much different to Fred's Yangon Delights excursion at £96 per head [with a further 5% discount depending upon your Oceans loyalty level]. I thought that maybe there were other cruise ships in port that day to inflate the prices but nothing is showing other than Boudicca I would emphasize though that Yangon is a must see destination and well worth the journey. Please don't be put off by my saying that the journey into town was a bit fraught for us - it may have improved immeasurably by now and I wouldn't want to spoil your experience.
  14. Hi Barbara, Couldn't agree more. Alan
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