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david,Mississauga

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About david,Mississauga

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Mississauga, Canada
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    Transatlantic

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  1. Some people have done very well with a guarantee, but I have not. The best I have had is a one-category upgrade which was just a few staterooms closer to midships. One time we booked a P2 on board the QM2 for a voyage more than a year away. We were persuaded to take a guarantee because the rep. said we would have a good chance at an upgrade to a P1 or maybe even QG. A fortnight before the crossing we received our assignment: the second-most forward of the PG staterooms. We have, however, been honoured with three fabulous upgrades and a couple of minor ones. One was from a Deck 8 balcony to a P1 and twice from PG to QG. All of these ugrades were from staterooms which we had specifically chosen and were assigned at the time of booking. As "TheOldBear" said above: the upgrade fairy moves in mysterious ways. Based on my experience I will no longer book a guarantee unless that is all that is available.
  2. West Quay has a Marks and Spencer, something not available in Canada for about 20 years. I need not elaborate about the many delectables that we purchase to bring home. It is also a good source for reasonably-priced Champagne, etc, for the return crossing. Although we have not yet done a B2B as such, we spent a night in Southampton prior to a w/b crossing and did go into London for part of the departure day many decades ago. The QE2 had a delay and boarding was put back to 9:00 p.m. Cunard arranged complimentary coach tours to a variety of destinations, but we had a day left on our Britrail Pass so we went into London on our own. We would not have done that if the departure was the usual 5:00 p.m
  3. The QM2 has the Britannia Club (A1 & A2) cabins forward and high as can be on Decks 12 and 13. We were very fond of the new cabin on Deck 13 despite it being far forward. It was bumpy - but for barely a day out of the week.The bathroom, with a swinging glass door for the shower, was very attractive compared to the non-renovated ones elsewhere. Several years ago the Princess Grill cabins were designated P1 through P4. The first time we travelled in PG there were only two designated P4. The deck plan showed they were the furthest forward. Our TA said that designation was used for guarantees. The P3s were the next closest to the bow and a few years ago they were "promoted" to P2. The P2s closer to the stern became P1s.
  4. Yes, I should have mentioned in my earlier comment one advantage of Princess Grill on the QE and QV is that they are all midships. Twice on the QM2 we had a P2 (the first time it was called a P3, a category no longer used) and they were too far forward on Deck 10. Both times there was a full day and night which was very bumpy.
  5. We have done that route twice: from Quebec to New York - and on to Southampton. We enjoyed it very much but people shouldn't expect to see a lot of the autumn colours from the ship. The views are excellent leaving Quebec because the St. Lawrence River is fairly narrow at that point. The Saguenay fjord is reportedly stunning, but unfortunately it is traversed almost entirely in darkness. Northbound, arrival in Saguenay is at first light and there will be some light for an hour or two after the late afternoon departure. Most of the time the QM2 will be far from land. But I still like the trip and wouldn't hesitate booking it again even for next year. But because of the government advisories in Canada and the travel insurance implications I can't book anything at the moment.
  6. I have heard several people mention the issues with the Deck 8 cabins. A few years ago we chose a cabin on the QE on Deck 6 which was a good location. Because PG cabins are just longer versions of Britannia cabins the balconies are small. Anyone familiar with PG on the QM2 will be disappointed. Last year we had a Britannia cabin on the QE which was considerably larger than the PG balcony we had previously. It was one of those with a view to the bow or stern in addition to the side. We would not book PG on the QE or QV primarily for the stateroom. They do offer a small bath tub, which Britannia cabins do not, but we used it only for the shower. (As Mrs. Richards said to Basil Fawlty: "You couldn't drown a mouse in that tub.") We do prefer the PG restaurant, deck space and the lounge (admittedly a bit small) on those ships over the QM2, but the cabins on the latter are superior - mainly because they are wider.
  7. Although not running until November this year, in peak season - May to October - VIA Rail's Toronto - Vancouver train the Canadian is essentially a cruise train. (Considering the fares for a sleeping car cabin range from approximately $2500 to $5500 pp for four days it can't be considered basic transportation.) Three sittings are required in the restaurant cars, except for breakfast which is open seating. The dinner sittings are 5:00, 7:00 and 9:00. Not surprisingly, the most popular is 7:00. Not being able to get one's preferred sitting is the biggest complaint from passengers. I can't see three sittings on Cunard being popular. Getting back to the original topic of this thread, I did a fare comparison between two autumn crossings this year - which are likely to be cancelled - and the closest equivalent next year. The 2021 fares are approximately $200 and $300 lower for Britannia balcony and $300 and $900 lower for Britannia Club. Princess Grill is $1000 and $2300 lower and Queen's Grill is $280 and $2650 lower. These fares are in Canadian $, but they are normally set at 30% above the U.S. $ fares. If it weren't for the advisories by our federal government and the travel insurance conditions I would be tempted to book something now.
  8. We cancelled that crossing several weeks ago, assuming it would not take place. We had booked that as a continuation of the 14-day e/b crossing of 31 July. We cancelled that one first, prior to the payment due date. Cunard susbsequently cancelled it. In Sep. and Oct. there are two scheduled voyages of Southampton-NY-Québec-NY-Southampton. With the ban of cruise ships carrying over 100 passengers in Canadian ports having been extended to the end of Oct. these voyages cannot take place. Of course, Cunard could re-schedule their voyages for late summer/autumn. But my guess is they will simply cancel everything until at least the end of Oct. I noticed that this voyage is still for sale this morning and the fare for our cancelled stateroom has increased by about 50%. There have been many cancellations of various categories since I last checked the fares.
  9. The first closure of Canadian ports announced in mid-March was to the 1st of July, yet Cunard continued to sell Alaska cruises for the first part of the season. Other lines were even worse, though. Princess and Holland America were slow to cancel Alaska cruises for April, May and June. Even their cruises from Seattle were still on sale, even though that port was closed until further notice.
  10. Unlike the previous ban on cruise ships at Canadian ports, this one applies to "Canadian waters." https://www.canada.ca/en/transport-canada/news/2020/05/minister-garneau-announces-updated-measures-for-cruise-ships-and-passenger-vessels-in-canadian-waters-up-to-october-31-2020.html It is also a disappointment to many that VIA Rail has cancelled all long-distance trains until at least November. That has disrupted my plans for train trips to both Halifax and Vancouver as well as a Cunard voyage.
  11. About eight months in advance of that 2009 crossing we booked an 8-Deck balcony stateroom (not the obstructed view type). Two or three weeks in advance the TA was informed we had been upgraded to a P1. The recession was still causing problems with the travel industry at the time of our 2010 crossing. The upgrade from Princess to Queens (Q5) came through about the two weeks before the sailing. In 2011 we again booked Princess close to a year in advance, but a deal came through about four months before: pay for Princess and get a guaranteed Queen's Grill. Being in Canada (under US fare rules) we were able to get that deal. That was the end of any substantial upgrades, but of course I'm not complaining.
  12. We have crossed the Atlantic about 16 times - always on a traditional (express) crossing of between five and nine days to or from New York or Montreal or (once) Halifax. I don't know if HAL has an arrangement with the UK immigration service as Cunard does, but having the inspections during the crossing is most civilised. Upon arrival in Southampton we simply step off the ship. Despite the advantage in gaining time on a westbound crossing, we have to deal with the arrival palaver in New York which can be a horror, although certainly not always. So if we can go only one way by ship it is eastbound.
  13. Cunard often releases high fares well in advance, but will lower them on some voyages - often susbtantially - closer to sailing date as required to fill the ship. This happened a lot in 2009 and for a year or two later. For three crossings we booked a Britannia stateroom well in advance and received an upgrade to Princess Grill for the first of those. When the rates tumbled we paid to upgrade to PG on the next two crossings. With so much uncertainty around COVID-19 and the possible changes in the on-board service I think there will be many voyages that won't fill up at high fares.
  14. Further details are here, amongst other sources: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cruise-ship-october-1.5589821
  15. We had a similar stateroom on the QE to Alaska last summer. As you can see from the deck plan it is unusual in that it is longer on one side than the other and therefore the door/window for the balcony is on a sharp angle. The extra space both inside and on the balcony was appreciated. The balcony was noticeably larger than the one we had in Princess Grill on an earlier QE cruise. The stateroom we had was an upgrade from a standard balcony room. If asked if I would pay for the larger room I would answer yes - but only if the difference wasn't too much. There are identical staterooms (Deck 5 or above) where the balcony provides a view forward or aft in addition to straight out.
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