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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

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I think it would be useful to collect the frequently asked questions into this topic. That way newcomers can search this topics posts or we can refer back to it. If we keep discussions off this topic and post them separately it should make it more readable. ;)

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Whether booking direct or via a TA you will be given a choice of cabin grades.

 

There are several categories on both ships:

 

Inside - Double/Twin

Inside - Family (3/4 passengers)

Outside - Porthole

Outside - Restricted view (near the lifeboats)

Outside - Window

Outside - Balcony (solid/clear front)

Outside - Suite.

 

The grades are allocated AA (Suites) - NN (Inside)

 

Both NN and II (lowest outside grade) have smaller cabins.

 

If you want to book a specific cabin then you need to ensure that you don't tick the box to accept upgrades. By ticking that box you are not guaranteed to get an upgrade but you are accepting that OV can move you up to departure to another cabin of the same or higher grade.

 

NB: Beware that JJ (an inside on deck 11) to II (which on OV2 is Bunkbeds on deck 4 with a porthole) is considered an upgrade.

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Flights will be allocated officially a few weeks before departure but often OV can give you some indication of times if you contact them. However there is occassions when this varies!

 

The Flights are charter flights (Thomas Cook, Thomson, First Choice). All the flights include a meal.

 

Your tickets tend to arrive 2-3 weeks before departure in a booklet form. Often accompanied by a Purple Wallet!

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On all cruises the cruise port is a short distance away from the airport.

 

In the Caribbean:

Your luggage will be checked straight through to the ship so it's important that your luggage tags clearly show your cabin number and are securely fastened. They will be delivered to your cabin door up to 3 hrs after you arrive on the ship.

 

In the Med:

EU regulations mean you have to collect your luggage as per a normal flight and pass through customs where OV reps will be waiting. In Majorca its a bit of a trek to the baggage reclaim area.

You'll normally be directed to a coach for transfer and ensure that you give your case to the driver for loading. At the other end it will be handled up to your cabin as per the Caribbean.

 

Embarkation:

Fairly harmless procedure but can take some time in the heat if several flights arrive together. You'll collect your cruise card from a desk where you'll be asked to confirm how you are paying onboard/ swipe of your credit card. Sign your card per passenger.

If your unlucky the ships Photographer will take your pic whilst waiting to go through the metal detector and hand-luggage screened as per airport security.

Up the gangway and then you'll have your photo taken again to go onto the Ships security system to stop anyone else using your cruise card to get on/off the ship.

 

You're cabin usually is ready around 2-3PM with the door open and a key in it with extra keys on the desk inside.

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A safe can be found inside the top of the wardrobe.

There are loads of drawers and then a long rail for clothes with a few hangers.

Tea (Tetley) and coffee is provided and replenished daily along with OV biscuits (very morish!)

Hair dryer is available in one of the desk drawers.

The TV will be set to the ships camera/safety video on arrival.

There is a phone and often only one UK style socket.

 

Bottles of water are provided but are not free, you can sign the slips and the cabin steward will collect the slips and replace the bottles and its charged to your onboard account. However the onboard water supply is Potable!

 

Bathroom facilities - sink/walk-in shower and the incredibly noisy loo (like they have on airplanes). Shower Gel and soap is provided, the suites get extras.

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They are only small but as a guide.

 

No Port Left in the bottle. Starboard is Right.

 

Cabins on the Port side are Even, Starboard side are Odd.

 

If the cabin numbers are increasing you are heading towards the back (Aft) of the ship, decreasing you are thus moving foreward. For new cruisers you will realise why I mention this when on board!

 

There are three lift shafts. the centre one does not go above deck 11 to the open decks so you need to use either forward or aft lifts.

 

These lifts face aft so when you get out turn right for Port, Left for Starboard.

 

the Centre lifts face Foreward and so its left for Port. You'll often end up in these after coming back from the Tenders!

 

All the main ents are on deck 7 starting with the Marquee, then the Village square, then Connexions, then the Casbah/Oval before reaching the Waterfront Restaurant at the aft of the ship.

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Breakfast is served in the Plantations (deck 12) and Waterfront (deck 7), the times vary according to arrival times at port but it tends to start with continental, then both Continental and cooked, then for late risers Continental again.

 

Lunch is in Plantations if your are onboard except for one day a week they tend to shut Plantations for a deep clean and Waterfront is open. Sea days tend to feature a deck BBQ. La Luna opens for Lunch with most dishes free.

 

Evening meals are Plantations for "world foods" - Normally two choices - an Asian / local themed (i.e Italian/Greek etc..). Waterfront is traditional English with a Carvery each night. Menus are posted outside the entrances after lunch so worth checking or sending the other half/kids to view for some quiet time after getting back to the ship from going ashore! :D

 

The Bistro and La Luna are also open for waitered service at the cost of a cover charge per person, tables can be pre-booked by ringing them or via reception.

 

 

Standard Tea/coffee is available 24/7 in Plantations as well as in your cabin. More expensive Coffee derivatives are available to buy from Charlies opposite the reception on deck 5.

 

Fruit juices are available at Breakfast. After that all drinks are chargeable to your onboard account! Kids can get a pre-paid strip for soft drinks (pints from the mixer tap / refills of the included sports bottles).

Edited by Single Cruiser

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Evening entertainment is focused around the two main events lounges of Connexions and the Marquee.

 

The Marquee features the tribute acts / stage shows which are repeated each evening. One starting early around 8-8:30PM and one later around 10-10:30PM with the main events starting after a warm-up by the onboard singers!

 

Staggered around these times in Connexions are the Comedian nights normally 3 per week alternating with a quiz night / Karaoke.

 

It is possible to see all the evening events as these tend to be 9PM /11PM

 

For traditional pub fare the Oval/Casbah and also Blue Bar on Ov1 are the quieter pubs to have a drink or chat. The Village square also tends to have acrobatic displays and late-night singers.

 

Once a week weather permitting they do the deck shown on top deck.

 

Both ships have Casinos, OV1 has a Nightclub on deck 14, OV2 has a late night bar next to the Casino.

 

OV1 also has a cinema (which is free) and shows recent releases from about Midday through to Midnight. The schedule is posted outside.

 

Daytime entertainment tends to be quizes, ice/fruit carving, demonstrations from the Spa team, a fashion show of what can be bought in the shops and then either music played or appearances by the resident singers!

If you fancy a free bike-ride action ashore they also do a challenge for balancing on one of the mountain bikes within a small square.

 

Transatlantic sea days included interviews with celebs, the ships captain and a cook-off between the chefs of the Bistro and La Luna.

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Action Ashore provided by OV tend to appear on the website 8 weeks prior to the first cruise of the season. You can pre-book/reserve and change anytime online until about a week before you sail when your online account is locked.

 

If you have pre-booked then you'll find an envelope in your cabin/cabin door with your tickets. If you are on a 2-week cruise you'll only get week 1's as they treat each week as a separate cruise, week 2 tickets will arrive the following week.

 

Points to note: The time stated is the time it leaves the quayside, you will often need to "meet" up to 0.5hr prior to this time :eek: for those not early birds!. The times are posted each evening in the ships magazine.

 

Usually if there are lots of trips then they'll request that you attend the Marquee and gain a sticker for your tour. Then you'll be called down a group at a time.

 

If meeting on the Quayside the tour guides tend to hold OV placards with the tour code on.

 

Most tour guides will hint at tips towards the end of the excursion, these are at your discression although traditional in European and Caribbean culture! however the amount you have paid OV is mostly OV profit and only a fraction goes to the guides. Handy to keep some loose change, low denomination notes.

 

If tendering in then all action ashore passengers get priority and other passengers have to wait in Connexions with a ticket system.

 

Tenders move a magnitude more than the ship so if you are susceptible to sickness worth taking a remedy if a long distance tender operation.

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As soon as you board your cruise card becomes your "charge card" with anything charged to your onboard account. On embarkation you'll be asked how you wish to settle any balance at the end of the cruise and they take a swipe of your card. All onboard accounts are in £ Sterling.

 

Most things can be charged to your onboard account: Action ashore, bar drinks, waitered meals, ice creams, SPA treatments, shop purchases and Casino chips / Bingo Cards.

 

Each passenger in the cabin is given a unique ID so on the bill it might be something like B116-1 for lead, B116-2 for the other half, B116-3 for the kids.

 

Things that you might need some sterling for are: local Stamps available from Reception for those Postcards, pound coins required for the laundrettes. You'll also need some sterling after 1AM on the final day as your account is closed for processing, most bars will then take cash.

 

On the last day if you have spare cash / currencies you can use some of that to pay off part of the bill with the balance going to the card. Ideal also if you have kids you can tell them there balance they have to pay! :cool:

 

You got a preliminary statement about 2 days before the end of each week to allow you to gulp at how much you have spent and check that no one else has accidentally charged something to your account which has been done to me a few times.

 

The system is not full-proof when people just say the cabin number and so most will ask that you present your cruise card to ensure the correct cabin number is entered. You then just print and sign and give the top copy back to the waiter/barman/shop keeper etc.. Same applies if you "purchase" the water bottles in your room.

 

Tips:

 

Basic Tips are included, there is no option to add on a per bar purchase basis. The waiting staff are effectively on commission to earn their salary and have to meet targets. The cost of buying from a waiter is the same as going up to the bar, often if you do the bar staff will call over a waiter to book your order.

 

At the end of the cruise you can reward your cabin steward/favourite waiter/barman if required in cash. The restaurants also put out a tips box at the entrances on the last day which is divided amongst all the restaurant staff.

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Ocean Village is casual. During the daytime its shorts/t-shirts/vests or swimwear if in and out of the pool. The top "sun" deck is usually designated as the only deck for topless sunbathing.

The rule is that when entering the restaurants/eating area you need to be covered up and wear suitable footwear. It's worth noting that the lifts at the rear bring you up through Plantations so if you have to dash back to the cabin then the lifts/stairs at the front of the ship.

 

Most passengers tend to switch to smart casual in the evening for dinner (trousers/jeans and shirt/jumper) for the guys and lightweight dresses/blouses for the ladies. That said a few passengers will wear shorts/ 3/4-length trousers and a lot of the children tend to stick in shorts.

 

The lounges tend to feel cooler in the evening even though the aircon is on all day round so some of the older passengers tend to carry jumpers/cardigans. of course if like me you've probably burnt during the day you'll feel hot and grateful that you can step out to the promanade on deck 7 for some cool air! ;)

 

Don't forget if you're going ashore that any religious attractions require knees and shoulders to be fully covered!

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The sad part of the holiday. During the course of your holiday you'll be asked to fill in a envelope with the details of people flying home and the number of suitcases etc. you will be checking in. You don't seal this envelope but post it back at reception. The day before the flights home this envelope will be delivered back to your cabin with luggage tags/boarding cards and instructions on how to tag your suitcase etc.

[NB this is for Caribbean and Crete. Majorca occassionally implements standard check-in at the airport].

 

You'll be asked to leave your cases outside your cabin by 11PM the night before so they can be collected and stored in the hold for off-loading in the morning. You are also told to vacate your cabin by about 08:30 AM on the day of departure as this allows your accommodation team member to dop a deep clean of each of the cabins. If you speak with them this is quite important as until they have done all there allocation they don't get a break! and they are the ones who will then drop the suitcases outside the door of the next incoming passengers.

 

You can store hand luggage in the Marquee however this is not a secure area so keep your tickets/passport with you. Alternately a few "day cabins" are available for purchase. Shower facilities are available in the SPA areas on the ships.

 

Any purchases onboard during the day are cash sterling so make sure you have a few pounds if you want a drink or two. The food serveries are as usual to stock up for the return journey.

 

Tips:

Make sure all liquids are packed in your suitcase.

Save some small bottles of toiletries that can be thrown away to allow you to wash/clean teeth etc in the morning.

Pack two hand luggage bags, a small one that can hold Passport etc that will fit into a larger one that can contain a change of clothes.

 

You will be called off the ship about 3hrs before your flight is due to depart. In the Caribbean and Crete your luggage is already sent direct. In Majorca you may need to collect your luggage from the quayside to take it to a coach and then at the terminal check-in as per a normal flight.

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Just to add another tip,they usually drop you off quite early at barbados A/Port you have your boarding tkts,so just have to go straight to departures,but there is a pleasant open air covered area with bars and seats ect. and is much better than the very crowded dep. lounge,so don't rush thro.

 

I'm off on O.V 1 tomorrow M/chester 0930 see anyone else going over there:)

 

Mike

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Each Cabin has a Telephone with direct dial capabilities. This is charged to your account and available 24/7 however it's always over the satellite link so your talking £1s per minute!

 

Mobiles when in port will roam to the local networks provided you have a fairly recent handset and have enabled roaming via your contract provider.

 

When at sea the Ships have a micro-cell onboard which allows your mobile phone to roam onto the ships network and then via the satellite link. I used this a few times last year and was reasonable compared with standard international roaming. However due to licensing regulations they can only turn it on when several miles from port/land so there is a brief gap in coverage from leaving port until at sea.

 

Both ships have a cyber cafe with Internet access that can be purchased in time values from the reception. At the moment it appears to be anything from 21p/minute through to packages of £7 per half hour / £12 1.5hrs.

 

Some ports will also have Internet Access in cafes/terminal buildings.

 

If you are lucky to be in a suite/balcony cabin you might be invited to use the exclusive lounge (at a premium cost per person each week) but that gets you free Internet access as well.

 

Wifi was only normally available near the reception/cyber cafe area and you are then prompted for payment as per fixed terminal access.

 

For snail mail like Postcards you can buy stamps for these at the reception in cash sterling and then post them in the postbox and they'll post them either before the ship leaves or at the next port if late in the day.

Edited by Single Cruiser

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Both ships have Laundrettes. On OV1 they are situated Deck 10 foreward and deck 6 Midships. On Ov2 its deck 10 midships. They have coin operated (pounds sterling) washing and drying machines and free irons.

 

The ships also offer a next day dry clean and press service. You'll find the bag in your drawers and your accommodation team member returns it next day and it gets charged to your account!

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Ov's Smoking Policy is changing in 2009. As it stands:

 

From 9th April 2009 on OV2 and from 5th May 2009 on OV1 Smoking will be banned from cabins except on Balconies. Smoking will still be allowed in designated areas in one of the bars/casino and in designated areas on the open decks/ Starboard side outside on deck 7.

 

From 18th November 2009 on OV1 (the only one left) all Smoking indoors will be banned as per the UK policy and only allowed in designated outdoor areas.

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Appreciate having all the frequently asked questions in one sticky thread like this. Usually you need to go through several threads to get to the nitty gritty, so thanks for collecting all the information.

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