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Now included in the British Library Sound Archives. Get in Touch Say hello. Witchy Red — Dr. Presley — J. Mama Ho! Protector — L. Roll Up! Stream the sessions at www. The tip of the iceberg Songs Of Our Native Daughters. Sheila K Cameron. Dylan Walshe. Matt Fryers. The Little Unsaid.

Katie Spencer. Lizabett Russo. Hamsa Quintet. My Tip Number 1: 'hold on to your passport until you see the Purser on board! In the cruise price is a fully waitered-service restaurant for main meals not set sittings as well as a self-service restaurant offering around-the-clock cuisine, from a positively sumptious selection; beleive me there is a dish for every pallete and the Maitre D' will ensure special dietary needs are met or get you a table reservation of the Haute Cuisine restaurant for any special occassions.

There is usually one Formal Evening per cruise; this is completely at each passenger's disgresion and non-compulsory - so you need not worry if you dont use all your baggage allowance! My Tip No. The Celebration has a full entertainment team who are professional, extremely talented and enthusiastic; if you have opted fro a fourteen-day cruise, panic-not as the entertainment programme is nicely tempered over two weeks so you will never be bored.

The Cruise Director and his team will ensure all activities go with a bang, down to popular TV style games shows or cash-prize Bingo! The Cabaret Show each night are a delight on the eye and ears. The Destinations desk will give free advice, as well as town maps. Conclusion: I thoroughly recommend the Thomson Celebration to all: Ship offers much to passengers of every age, the food is extremely good, itineries well thought-out and interesting; is great value for money when Brits actually barter.

Marmaris is beatiful in itself, and the trip in and out of Marmaris Bay, is positively breathtaking. The service is great although we did feel as if the service was slightly better on the 05 cruise, but this could be that it was our 1st trip and everything was new to us. Although you may not be interested in some of the activities, there is always something to do even if it is just relaxing. The shows are excellent and some names appear like Dougie brown, Dianne canon great yorkshire comediane , Carl strong very funny American guy and Sid Little my wife met him in the lift when he first boarded got chatting as you do and asked "you look familiar, who are you?

This stops people getting up early and saving sunbeds with a towel for later in the day. Once or twice there was no-one to do this service but they were quite busy, as this service was mainly used on days at sea. The room steward kept our room spotless and was very friendly especially Lou on our first trip and even left a chocolate on each pillow in the evening. Shops and casino are closed when in port but If you fancy trying your luck in the casino but are not sure how to play, then go in during a quiet time usually during the day, when at sea and have a word with one of the dealers and they will teach you the game.

I tried it on the 08 cruise but only came out even. You might lose. There are 11 Bars Including a night club on the ship and I have had a drink in all of them except the smokers bar I am not a smoker but the staff in each of them were great. If you have kids with you , its worth getting the unlimited soft drinks option, for?? Like lots of cruise ships, no cash is used on board but a card is used to pay for drinks and shop bought stuff and this is added to your final bill but if you want to, you can pay your bill up to date at any time by going to the pursers desk.

The bar prices were not as expensive as i expected. One tip - If you are going to prebook any trips using princess or you may book when on board. Then take a printout of the price list and any confirmation before you leave home as you cannot access your online princess account once the holiday has started. We had a dispute over the price but we managed to get it sorted because we had a printout of the prices advertised.

The Sea Princess has Formal nights. But if you dont feel like dressing up, thats ok but it does meen that on those night you are a bit restricted as to where you can go. The staff also join in the dancing on some formal nights and its great fun.

Escape on the High Seas (Tales of the Starpeople)

A couple of nights will see the steak house open. We tried anytime dining in 05 and fixed dining in Anytime dining is great for those who just want to eat whenever they want but we found that fixed dining was much nicer and if you wanted to do something different on one night like steak bar or buffet , just let the restaraunt know that you won't be there and its ok. The promenade deck has a path running all the way around, this path is one third of a mile per lap, so its ideal for early morning joggers of which there were quite a few.

The open air Movies are something you must try. Lying or sitting on the open deck on a warm Carribean evening sipping a cool drink watching a film on a huge screen is wonderful feeling, I only wish some of the cinemas back home had this atmosphere. The ship has self service laundry rooms auto washers and ironing on most cabin decks. Ther are photographers especially on formal nights and you only buy the photo's if you like them.

There is Internet access not free. If you do go on the sea princess or any other princess ship then ask about future cruises - this is a system where you give your details and you receive a confirmation that you will get a low deposit and some onboard credit if you book your next cruise with princess within the next 4 years. All in all the ship is well worth a visit. I was on the Independence of the Seas in May this year for a 10 day Canaries cruise.

This ship is absolutely amazing and the luxury excellent. Cant praise the staff enough for their attention. Have already boooked for July and cant wait to go back, this time for a 14 night med cruise. Would recommend it to anyone. Nothing was too much trouble for our cabin attendant, Imran and alos our Head Waiter Sergio. Entertainment was very varied in the evenings and as good as I have seen in the West End. We ate in the Saffron Restaurant and found the food delicious and the service second to none.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Ventura to all my firends and family and have already booked up for ! Mr Gareth Gronow recommended this ship. I stepped on board the brand new Norweigan Pearl for her launch celebrations and was very impressed with my first experience of an NCL ship.

The facilities onboard are excellent and would keep all the family entertained for the duraton of the cruise. One of the key selling points for NCL is their freestyle dining concept and the range of choice on board was very impressive. There was a very relaxed feel in nearly all areas of the ship and the choice and quality of the evening entertainment venues was probably the best I have seen on a ship.

A good choice for those who enjoy a more relaxed cruise environment. This is the largest, tallest, longest ship in the market at least until the Independence of the Seas launches in This is truly an experience featuring ice rinks, boxing ring, climbing wall and the revolutionary wave rider. This ship is never ending and has many areas where you can get away from it all and escape from the other passengers. This was undoubtedly the best family holiday we have had! We spent two weeks onboard Oceana on a Caribbean cruise sailing from Barbados. From the moment we checked in at Cardiff airport and deposited our bags, not to be seen again until they were delivered to our cabin, we had a fantastic trip.

The ship was warm and friendly with great facilities to suit families and couples. We took full advantage of the many fantastic Caribbean Islands we visited taking a taxi at the port out to one of the great beaches in the morning coming back to the port or local town in the afternoon. Each island offered something very different and our favourites were Tortola and Dominica. What we really liked about a cruise holiday was our very busy days taking in lovely tropical islands and by night dressing for a family dinner enjoying wonderful food and wine served by very friendly waiters.

My husband and myself went on our first cruise on the 3rd march for 7 nights on the Costa Pacifica. We found the whole cruising experience amazing. I was a little worried after I booked when I read different reviews. To my amazement the ship was fantastic and spotless. The food was beautiful and plenty of variety. The staff were very friendly,efficient and extremely helpful at all times.

Anything we requested was quickly delivered with no fuss. Our cabin was spotlessly clean and very spacious, at times we forgot we were on a ship. Our Stuart was lovely and always on hand to advise or help in whatever way he could. The cost of this cruise was very reasonable and for anyone reading this review I wouldn't be put off by bad reviews. I think you would have to be an extremely fussy person to find fault with this ship. It is great not having to worry about having cash on you as your cabin key card is also your onboard credit card and every purchase is charged to your card.

It is very easy to keep a track of your account as you can view all your transactions on your tv in the cabin. You sign and get a receipt for every transaction. The only fault I found was the Internet charges were a little pricy. But once off the ship mobile phone worked so that wasn't too bad.

Overall it was a lovely cruise and I would have no hesitation booking another cruise with Costa. S Ireland. We were 11hrs late leaving Southampton, due to propeller repairs incomplete. The captain pulled back 10 hrs. After one day out cabins on C deck had major water leaks the occupants could not be moved due TO lack of empty cabins 4. Stavanger to Alta uneventful 5. Leaving Alta we stopped for about five hrs. We were scheduled to leave Tromso for Bergen at am but our stay was extended until 2.

Our trip around Tromso was changed from pm previous day to the next. Rubbish and on a visit to Sorrento, we waited over an Hour for our main course due the dropping the meals. Most of the ships staff were fantastic trying to cope. A wonderful ship one of the Best cruises I have taken.

Still high standards in all departments. The staff on this ship are brillant. Never got taking care like this before in my life. The range of food, drink enternament was excellent. This was best and most relaxing hoilday i have ever been on, would go back to the Allure of the Sea tomorrow. As usual, Fred did not disappoint and another great cruise, albeit only 5 days.

We were allocated a However, we had to sit in the car for no more than half an hour or so but by around Amazingly, the staff made up time and although we were certainly not the first to embark, we were still on much earlier than expected. The luggage was at the door so unpacking was started and afternoon tea beckoned. Safety drill was on time and we sailed much earlier than we thought and probably pretty much on time. Second sitting dinner was in the Avon restaurant and we were served by the same waiter, Jefron who looked after us last time.

At the table we met Geoff and Rita hello Geoff, hope you arrived home ok who were great table companions. It was a fun table with lots of laughter. The first day was a sea day as we headed for Liverpool and choppy waters stayed with us all day. We saw the homes of Captain Smith from the Titanic. A lady called Rose lives ther now and it was her, who gave name to Kate Winslets character Rose in the film. We saw Ismays home and many homes of various officers. We had the choice of returning to the ship with the coach or to stay at the Maritime Museum and make our own way back.

This was definitely the thing to do as we were able to stroll around Albert Dock and take in the ambience of the area. A very enjoyable day and we were even more delighted in Belfast. The Titanic Belfast Visitors Experience was fantastic. We were in there by just after 9am so dodged all the queues expected for Good Friday and were able to experience the virtual attractions and ride without any delays. Once back on the coach, we had a city drive for just over 2 hours, Stormont was unbelievable and fortunately for us, the gates were open so our driver was able to take the coach right to the top of the hill.

Belfast is a beautiful city and we plan to return there in the not too distant future. As usual, the staff on board were friendly and attentive without being intrusive and full praise must be given to Captain Robert Bamberg and his team of Officers and Staff. This cruise was carrying passengers from many overseas countries as well as the UK and there were more kids on board than we have seen before but they were as good as gold. Prais to the Kids leaders for obviously occupying them so well. So yet again, our sincere thanks to all concerned.

I recently cruised with you, booked on the Royal Caribbean, Allure of the Seas ship and stayed in the Bahia Mar Hotel in Florida, it was brilliant and what we found great was there was a walk-way to the beach from the hotel which meant we didn't have to walk on the road. It was very safe and was perfect for us. Also, the staff on the Allure were brilliant and couldn't do enough for us so thank you all for a great holiday. Travelled on this ship three times in past 18 months.

Food has deterioted now at its best could be described as average canteen even in restaurant. Fish is not as advertised sole is cobbler cod is take your pick. Seem to be doing to a price not quality.

Jazz Beyond Category...from Straight to Smooth

Complained to Thomson who said most cruisers were happy. I must be the odd one. Just One Word Go And See For Yourself. The cruise was excellent in every respect. Obviously Celebrity is a cut above the rest, this is reflected in the price. Would certainly travel with F. We had read some reviews before going on this cruise. They said that embarkation and disembarkation were slow and in general they were not happy! We do not know what they meant by that.

The review concerned us slightly as it would. However, not one word of this was correct! Everything was excellently organised with attention to detail spot on. The coral princess was fantastic. The staff, food, entertainment was all second to none. This cruise was amazing and we would recommend this to anyone, it is a must. We cannot put into words what it was like because you thought you were dreaming it is so brilliant in Alaska. The places you stop at Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan are fantastic.

It is like being in cowboy and Indian country in Ketchikan. All of these places have lots to offer and see. Overall this cruise we do not feel can be beaten. Yes drinks are expensive but you are on a cruise. However we felt the shops on board were very reasonable. We would certainly recommend a cruise to anyone and with Princess you cannot go wrong. You are treated like royalty. One thing to think about take the next size up in clothes because the food is fantastic! Highly recommend this cruise for all ages because it caters for all ages. Very highly recommend the level of service from all staff and the level of cleanliness.

I would recommend to have the alcoholic drink package if they are still doing it, they have had it on a trial basis for otherwise drinks can be very expensive. The food onboard ship is out of this world to much, so take some loose cloths by the end of the cruise you will put weight on. First of all thanks to cruise nation for constant contact prior to flights due to gatwick closure, now down to the cruise, Ventura is a beautiful ship, the staff were as you would expect and service was as good as any five star facility, the rooms were compact fortunately we had a balcony which gave us somewhere to chill in privacy, the captain should have been on the stage as he was by far the best entertainment on the ship, the on board entertainment was no where up to normal, even when some of the acts reached the ship that were delayed they weren't anywhere near as good as our previous cruises, the ship should look at it's smoking policy as on numerous occasions when sat on the balcony we had cigerette smoke come across our noses, and considering we were on riviera deck we thought we would be out of the way as well as the constant wheeling of trolleys in the waterside restaurant above us creating noise through the cabin at all times of the night.

The middle two pools was like a smoke haze on the starboard side, and in some cases would infiltrate in to the waterside restaurant whist you were having lunch. We dined in the white room and East restaurants and both experiences were worth the additional cost, however the food in the bay tree restaurant was also very good. Photographs seem to be expensive in relation to other lines and no bulk buy packages were available for the whole cruise. Butlins seemed to exist in the main pool, but that is a personal observation and that's what some people go on holiday for, just not me, fortunately there were a couple of other pools that were quieter.

Overall the ship with people on board was cramped, especially at meal times and trying to get a sun bed, as with other lines they should police these as then it stops possible passenger confrontations and then people will not take the Mick out of leaving towels on beds for hours, the ship was very well kept and luxurious in public meeting areas such as bars and clubs on board, I wouldn't be quick to return on board the Ventura.

This visit was to be quite a special one, as it was a ship, and indeed a cruise line to which I had never experienced before, and for the fact that it is very rare to be able to visit any ship from the CCS Brands in Scotland, so I was quite enthusiastic to attend. So, on arrival on a typical cloudy and wet Western Scottish day, I was greeted with the wonderful contrasting black, red and white livery, to which I had only saw once before when it docked beside us in Istanbul in October , only the weather was somewhat different.

For this fee, the guests receives additional value of pre-production desserts and coffee and wine in an exclusive lounge, before being escorted to your private box by a Cunarder Bell Boy. During your viewing of the production, the guest then gets a further half carafe of wine or champagne for their enjoyment. In nights other than the Royal ones, guests can accommodate the Royal Boxes free of charge, on a first come, first served basis. I thought this was a great idea due to the fact that you can get traditional pub grub style food as an alternative dining venue, and entertain yourself in the daily pub quizzes as you are eating.

Very cosy, I thought! This signature room spans two decks and boasts cantilevered balconies to where you can look on at elegant ball room dancing. And at night, the versatility of the Queens Room is further portrayed when it is transformed into a Themed Ball Room Dancing, complete with accomplished orchestra and glittering dresses and penguin suits dancing the light fantastic until the bewitching hour.

We were then transported to Decks 9 and 10, to have a look at the outdoor facilities and swimming pools. There we visited these Grilles private eating and relaxing areas. These are wonderful areas for the premium paying Cunarders, many small details and enhancements that make a Cunard cruise that little bit more special.

As we were visiting the Queen Victoria mid-cruise, we were unable to see any staterooms, due to the fact that the cruise was fully sold out. But apparently this was a cruise to commemorate the th year of Cunard, so I could see why this sell out was so! As we were merely travel agents, we had lunch in the inferior, compared to the grilles Britannia Restaurant, and what a feast was served before us.

I was especially pleased because instead of wine for lunch, we were treated to jugs of orange juice and water. For starters we had lovely…well I am not sure how to describe it, but it was a small sliver of slightly toasted bread, with a tomato paste, surrounded with vegetables and a lovely creamy sauce. Main course was an absolutely sublime tender cut of beefsteak, done fairly rarely as it was very pink in the middle, a medley of vegetables and the smallest amount of mashed potatoes you have ever seen smeared on the middle of the plate.

I was tempted to ask if there was a potato shortage on the ship, but I did decide against it. The sweet however was delicious, caramelised apples, with a thin shortbread base and a scoop of ice cream. Yum yum, followed by tea of coffee. So, in conclusion this is a very lovely, stylish but understated ship, finished to the highest detail, lots of lovely wood and perfect for the discerning of cruisers of a maybe higher, but maybe middle class positioning.

There are some scope for children on board, a cruise in August has got over children booked on it , but in the mainstream, probably best for adult cruisers only. If you like formal evenings to be a priority for cruising pleasure, then Cunard is probably a good choice for you.

Thank you very much for reading this review, please do not hesitate to comment on anything that you may agree, or indeed disagree on. This would have been the end of this review, but for the fact that I had a something a little bit special planned for the evening of this ship visit. The Waverley was built in as a replacement for an earlier PS Waverley of that took part in the WW II war effort as a minesweeper and was sunk in while helping with the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk. The new tonne steamer was launched in October at builders A. Inglis, Glasgow, and entered service in June In nationalisation of Britain's railway companies brought the steamers under the control of the Caledonian Steam Packet Company CSP , a subsidiary of the Railway Executive, and the funnels were repainted yellow with a black top.

In a Scottish red lion rampant was fixed to each side of both funnels, and her hull was painted monastral blue until After a revival of pre-war fortunes in the s, the s saw a gradual change in holiday habits leading to a decline in passenger numbers, and the closure of many of the small piers. We paced along her past Gourock, Wymess Bay and Skelmorlie until when we were adjacent to Largs, we again exchanged fog horn salvos, and the Queen Victoria peeled away into the distance and round the north of Scotland to its next port of call in its UK Voyage.

It was really quite something to see, sailing no more than feet away from the Q. It is interesting to note, that the Waverley will be making her way down to Southampton in October to usher in the brand new Queen Elizabeth into port as part of her maiden celebrations. If anyone is down there at that time, then I would strongly recommend a nostalgic sailing on her, Yours truly, John Mair Please contact John Mair at GoCruise Ayrshire on , should you wish any more information on this ship, or indeed information on any other ship and cruises. With an array of owners and operators, including In October , after the conclusion of the Falklands War, the ship was chartered for 6 months by the Ministry of Defence, to support troop movements between Ascension Island and Port Stanley whilst the Falkland Islands airfield was being reinstated.

But, back to the present day, and first impressions of this ship were very favourable. The Ocean Countess is positioned in the market as a 3 Star cruise ship, and is aimed at the 60 and pensioners age group, and to perfectly honest, I can see why. We boarded the ship and were escorted to Hamptons Lounge to have pre-tour refreshments, before being shown around various cabin categories.

The cabins very well appointed, and were very spacious indeed, compared to ships of larger capacity. Also, we saw some Outside cabins, both in lower decks with portholes and also upper deck with larger picture windows, all of which were again airy and spacious. The only thing of note is with the bedding arrangements, where only twin configurations are offered, until you move up to Suite Categories where large double beds are offered and look excellent considering the very generous cabin space offered. So, with regards of cabin space, this is a definite thumbs up, but the whole range of accommodation that I saw, the same thought that flagged up at me in every cabin that I witnessed was the basic finishing.

Everything looked ordinary. Comfortable granted, but average all the same. After the Cabins Tour, we got on with seeing the rest of the ship. The Lido Deck, 9 was packed with an array of things to keep you amused. Also through the daytime, the Tower Bar doubles up as an observation lounge, and also a quiet area where there is also a library and Card Room incorporated into the space. And of course, no ship visit is complete without Lunch, and I have to say for the standard of the ship, the cooking really does punch beyond its weight.

For starters, I had Beef Broth, which was very tasty, followed by my obligatory Steak, which again was absolutely delicious, with seasonal vegetables and potatoes, then for dessert I had Vanilla Ice Cream. All of which cannot be faulted. All chargeable items on Cruise and Maritime Ships are in Pound Sterling, and drinks on board are maybe slightly above average compared to land-side. In conclusion, this ship pretty much does everything it says on the tin. Who does this Ship aim for in terms of passengers? Please feel free to have a look at my pictures to which accompany and further illustrate this Ship Visit.

I look forward to hearing from you This is an account of our holiday, when in October we spent 16 wonderful days, split between 7 days in Kissimmee in a wonderful Villa, owned by our friend Mike Davies, and then 7 nights aboard the amazing Oasis of the Seas on a Western Caribbean Itinerary, followed by a post cruise stay in Fort Lauderdale. We thought so we went ahead and booked it! Even then the Splendour of the Seas, sitting at no more than 70, G. This ship had everything, 2 pools, one indoor , endless entertainment, free flowing food and four star attention to detail.

Queen Mary 2. Nobody wanted the holiday to end and everyone was reluctant to go home. This is when it struck me how good cruising was, and how I wanted to find out more about it. This was the year that we got married and decided that this was how we wanted to spend our honeymoon, and this time it was Navigator of the Seas. I am a bit of a techno geek and I wanted to try a bigger ship and heard that this , G. We had our cruise later on in the year in October from Southampton doing the Canaries and flew down from Glasgow.

There was no sinking feeling though as we boarded the ship. My first memory was embarking, and going up the aft lifts to Deck 8. I got out and was just taking everything in when I looked to my left I just stopped in my tracks. Before me was the Royal Promenade and it was massive and just something that should not be present on a ship! When on the Navigator we heard talk from the likes of the Dining Room Waiters and various other staff on the ship buzzing about this brand new and amazing massive ship that Royal Caribbean had in the pipelines.

I came off that cruise excited about everything cruising and want to find out much, much more about different cruise lines, what their ships had to offer and sample as many as I could. After it got launched in December , I kept an eye out on the fares hoping that I would get even an inside stateroom at the right price, but combined with the flights, it was an absolute fortune.

This was for cruise only, so I had to package my own flights and accommodation. By this time I had coaxed 3 other friends to come with us to share this experience. To make this the best holiday ever for the 6 of us, I had an idea where to spend the first week in Orlando to visit Disney and Universal Theme Parks, then drive down to Fort Lauderdale to join the Oasis on the second week of our holiday, and this is exactly what we done.

This I would recommend to anyone who would like to cruise from Florida in the future. The first week was amazing, but the second week was what I had been waiting for, for about 2 years, and all my expectations were about to be realised……. I was immediately wowed, and bearing in mind that our three friends were all first time cruisers, you could imagine the sense of excitement in the car.

I thought it would have been bigger than that! The purpose built embarkation building at Port Everglades was amazing, and it lived up to its boast that it could check you in and have you boarded within 15 minutes — and bearing in mind there were passengers sailing on this cruise, that is quite some feat! Then it was time to board the ship! Where do I start to describe this amazing feat of engineering?

Deck 3 is where the innovations start with the Studio B Ice Rink, and following the lead from the Voyager and Freedom Class, Royal Caribbean Ships being the only ships at sea that can offer this. Again wonderful productions were offered and revered by everyone. Unfortunately, unless you are American, I very much doubt that you will find any of the comedians funny.

Some of the other passengers however, were a scream! There was one woman sitting not far from us absolutely peeing herself and slapping her hand on the table.

Tales from the high seas'

Obviously she was American.. Deck 5 now, and the Royal Promenade, wider and more expansive than ever. In here you will find the usual features, such as Guest Relations, the English Globe and Atlas Pub where you are allowed to smoke in and is very smelly , Champagne Bar and a host of other familiar venues. New venues such as the On Air Sports Bar, which has an abundance of Plasma Screens with major Sporting Viewings on, and at night it turns into a Karaoke Mecca for all those budding singers! Also in Deck 5 is the amazing Rising Tide Bar. Really good fun! There is also another first at sea, Carousel Ride to which I do admit to having a shot of, much to the embarrassment of my companions.

From Deck 15 you can fly diagonally over the Boardwalk with nothing below you except fresh air. Totally unbelievable! You think that is all that there is to be said about the Boardwalk? The seat Aqua Theater is found on deck 6, at the aft end of the ship. The Aqua Theater has both a daytime water show called "Splish Splash", and a night time show called "Oasis of Dreams". Its foot, 9-inch deep pool. Three pool lifts, lighting, and underwater cameras enhance the shows. The divers use 3 different locations--the 3 meter springboards and two spots on the huge towers--one at 10 meters and the other at 18 meters.

Guests can watch the show live and on its two huge video screens. This is one of the best and awe-inspiring performances that I have ever seen at sea, and anywhere else for that matter! The Central Park neighbourhood is a beautiful outdoor park area. Flanked on both sides by inward-facing balcony staterooms overlooking the park, shady Central Park features winding pathways, flower gardens, quiet seating, and tropical trees.

On our cruise, as we were leaving Haiti, a massive thunderstorm of biblical proportions was occurring, and it was just surreal that we were in our balcony, overlooking the Inside the ship, with rain pouring down onto a tropical park, 3 decks down. And if you are in a buying mood, the Central Park is also the location of the Parkside Gallery, full of fine arts, and also for the discerning lady, the famous COACH Brand has a shop full of the latest fashions. The next major feature of Oasis of the Seas is the Pool Areas of Deck 15, which boasts 4 different Poolside and relaxing experiences. Firstly we have the Main Pool, which is pretty much a standard looking area, and to what you would recognise on any RCCL ship.

Here was where entertainment such as water volleyball, basketball etc, and water aerobics were held for the health freaks, and was enjoyed by many on our cruise. Again another very clever option. Lastly, the H2O Zone, where with our 3 year old we spent the most time. Calum absolutely loved playing here, and we were here at least a couple of hours every day where he had a number of water features to play with, including a large whirlpool where water jets propelled the occupants around for hours on end, and also water guns to where I was terrorised frequently with him, and other children spraying me with water.

But in addition to all that at the Aft of the ship, we had not 1 but 2 Flowriders! This was the first time I had been on a ship with such apparatus and it was great fun. Being a novice at both surfing and boogie boarding I was regularly unceremoniously thrown off the boards into the surf, but it really was the best fun I have ever had on a cruise ship! As there are a lot of positives about this amazing cruise ship, but it has to be said that for a ship of this size there are bound to be some negatives. And the main one for me is the fact that you have to pre-book every headline show on the ship.

Which in theory is a good idea, but when you have booked to watch Hairspray at hrs on a Sea Day when the sun is splitting the sky and you are relaxed at the pool, this gives you no motivation to get packed up, dressed and make your way down to a dark theatre to watch even a show as spectacular as this showpiece.

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In my opinion these shows should be shown at traditional times at night when you are ready to see such a production. At this point I am going to end my ship review. There are surely a raft of other things that I have not mentioned or even brushed upon the subject. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information. But in the meantime I have taken many pictures to give you visual appreciation of this wonderful ship to complement the review of above. Please take a look and I will be happy to hear your feedback!

Then in the January of , by complete fate, a franchise opportunity e-mail popped into my inbox, and amongst them was a franchise where I could get to go on numerous cruise ships, AND sell cruises and make? The rest, as they say, is history. Better than a mediocre Inside Cabin, so we snapped it up. Just to let you know we enjoyed our first cruise very much. Hi Vasco. We are just back to freezing Ireland from the Caribbean. Here's a report as promised. Firstly; American airlines are an excellent company and their seats quite roomy and their food hot and acceptable.

Going through Philly was probably foolish. We should have gone aer Lingus Dublin to Orlando - even if we had stayed in Orlando area. That was our decision and we enjoyed Ft Lauderdale - definitely how the other half used to live. Hilton Marina was a lovely hotel. We were in the east wing and had a good view of the waterways. Pegasus 2 in particular could be a problem. Advise was to avoid breakfasts there. Yes it was expensive but first class and great service. The general ambience of the hotel was a bit cold and bar food was ridiculous. The water taxi stops in the hotel grounds - a big plus.

The cruise was excellent. Some days were rough and most days were choppy. We had a lot of cloudy days and even wet days. I would probably go a little later in future although those experienced cruisers say one can get wet weather any time of the year. Food and service excellent. The formal nights were confusing. They certainly turned away those in casual wear but the men varied from full dress suit with dickey bow to casual suits withy open neck shirts.

Women were either over dressed looking or just in their usual dinner wear. We had a slow boarding of the ship as there was extra checks on it due to it having crossed the Atlantic and due to the situation with the Carnival ship that lost all its power the previous week. When our ship was powered down it wouldn't power up the computers for awhile so we all roasted in the terminal.

But no one complained - obviously very few Irish about! Many thanks Anne. We had a wonderful holiday loved every minute of it. Their sole experience of taking to the skies was a twenty- minute spin around Worthing Pier in a biplane sometime after World War 2. I myself have never witnessed a premier division football match, and only within the last year or two have I dipped my toe into cruising.

Leaving things late seems to be a family trait. First for me in was the Queen Mary 2, transatlantic and with all the frills. Now some cruise companies own their own vessels, train their own crews and are only beholden, when publicly owned at least, to their shareholders. Others such as Cruise and Maritime claim very few assets and simply lease a ship, lock stock and smoking funnel- captain, crew, the whole shebang.

So our vessel of choice started life as one of five built in Germany for the Russian navy, all named after famous soviet poets. The Ms Marco Polo saw the light of day first as the Alexander Pushkin and after twenty- five years of heavy Baltic duty was just about ready for the knackers yard.

Flood Stories from Around the World

Rescued in by an enterprising English entrepreneur, one Gerry Herrod founder of Ocean Cruise Lines , she was divested of all her aging Russian garments and reduced to her steel underpants, a bare skeleton of raw metal. Painstakingly a Dutch engineer and a Japanese interior designer reconstructed her. Still with her magnificent hull, ideal for an ice-battering Baltic patrol, her aesthetically satisfying and technically expert superstructure allows her to ride through comparatively narrow gaps, but as it is over forty years from this original refit, she is showing signs of rust and age.

Day 1. But then the party was called and the geriatric queue wound its way slowly towards the waiting coach. Still time to cut and run, or to join it? At Tilbury we were shunted on board in double-quick time and immediately left to our own devices. A foretaste of what is to come? Surely not. Day 2. Cherbourg, from whence The Titanic set out on her epic voyage.

A hint of things to come, maybe? Here I realised, on waking to various announcements about coach party B and so on, that on a cruise such as this, one quickly becomes a second class citizen if you opt out of the guided tours organised by the company.

Glancing down the pole I see resting at its foot a pile of steaming horse dung. Shuttle bus? Forty minutes beyond this we are proceeding at barely walking pace though an industrial estate and Carrefore carparks on a circuitous route into town the main bridge being closed for repairs. Time just for a brief coffee followed by a geriatric jog back to the boat, narrowly avoiding second day abandonment on the dock.

Day 3. At sea through the Bay of Biscay. Our cruise representative, Leah who previously worked for The Disney Corporation, now clearly prefers brigades of the elderly rather than screaming children to deal with. Day three marked my decision to observe the behaviour of the mainly eastern European crew in their attitude towards the passengers. For example, on arrival at the Waldorf! As I gazed at him in incredulity he continued, upping the volume somewhat in the belief, I presumed, that I was hard of hearing.

On reflection I can only think that the waiter thought my dinner neighbour of the previous night was actually my wife. But this was an outrageous assumption- I may have been gay, or recently widowed, and this incident reflected extremely badly on the training of at least one particular crewmember. A promised glass of champagne with the Captain turned out to be a forty-five minute wait clutching a cheap glass of sweet sparkly. Was this a comment on the performances, I wondered? So it is about this time that the effects of seasick passengers seem to segue into he unmentionable norovisus.

Cruise Ship Information

The virus is the bane of cruise operators as this highly contagious and violent combination of sickness and diarrhoea can sweep through the enclosed environment of a ship at sea like a forest fire. It must have been a nightmare in the below-decks hospital area to separate Bay of Biscay refugees from the genuinely ill. Soon the rumours were circulating, someone had died, three ambulances had arrived to meet the ship at Vigo, members of the crew were abandoning ship we are all doomed!

What was certainly true, as the company issued no information to us about any of these rumours be they founded or unfounded, was that certain cabin windows were marked with a large taped white cross and their doors were sealed with substantial bands of sticky tape. And we are barely a third of the way through the cruise! Day 4: Vigo. Tanoy calls for all the moneyed passengers who had coaches booked for Saniago de Compostela leave us plebs facing a faulty gangplank and subsequent tardy arrival on the quay to see the two-hourly local shuttle bus disappearing in a cloud of diesel fumes.

It is clearly the policy of cruise operators to keep passengers in the dark about available local bus services as an alternative to the scheduled coaches. They want you to book their expensive tours instead of helping you into town, even if all you want to do is just to potter around it. A tidy source of additional income requiring merely the hiring of a local coach for half a day. So for the rest of us a lengthy trek over concrete and macadam and then a vertiginous climb up and through a literally collapsing town. In Vigo many buildings seemed simply to have been abandoned and left, inwardly disintegrating and broken-toothed, to the elements.

A practical expedient to keep things in place for perhaps another decade, but after that, what then? On return and at a basically inedible lunch of luke-warm plaice covered in brown sauce? Not it appears from pure zeal on behalf of the waiters, rather a severe lack of stock, hence the need to keep all utensils on a circuitous move- from table to mouth, mouth to dishwasher, dishwasher to table, etc. Day 5 Lisbon. A storm seemed to be following our progress down the Spanish coast and our arrival in Lisbon was marked by strong winds and horizontal rain.

I raced to the comparative safety of the quayside coach, ready for almost any off-ship experiences. Our coach stopped for the obligatory twenty minutes at each spot designated to be of potential interest to the visitor with two hours to spend in town. In many cases our departure was entirely dependent on the gradual forward progression of the twenty or so charabancs ahead of us in the designated parking places. Ah well, when in Lisbon…. Day 6: Cadiz. A night of furious rocking as if attempting to sleep on a motorised waterbed saw us, come the dawn, sailing majestically up to the magnificent city of Cadiz.

Its proximity to the ocean meant that it was subject to frequent raids and sackings, mostly by us British. To realise that the total population numbers not much more than , souls, and that the prevailing feeling of friendliness, cleanliness and wonderful Mediterranean ambience of al fresco living adds immeasurably to the charm of its already exquisite architecture. Like Lisbon there is evidence of neglect of some great buildings, but the new lady mayor has apparently galvanised the local populace into action on many new renovation projects. Of all the many cities in Spain specifically Andalucia and Portugal , this is by far the one I would chose to live in, or return to soon.

Earlier that day, over a perfectly ordinary dining-room breakfast, I counselled opinion from the sundry guests seated at my table. Without prejudice, two out of three would not choose to travel by C and M, and Marco Polo, again. He told me he had worked previously for P and O who own their own ships. This, according to Matt, means that there are some fundamental differences in the chain of command between people like him and Heads of Department up to, and including, the Captain himself.

In fact he gave me the distinct impression that the Captain in our case was much more difficult to approach than would be the case the case with P and O and Cunard. However Matt was happy with the working conditions and very much liked the smaller ship, which gave him the chance of really getting to know both crew and passengers. He was full of praise for his employees and although I was tempted to feel that he was being naturally guarded in his remarks, his natural enthusiasm was infectious and from this point on I too started to see the positives as well as the negatives of the voyage.

Day 7: Gibraltar and Tangier. Oh dear, Gib. In the quayside terminal building it announces its presence in sculptural form as a large, mud-coloured, bare and inhospitable rock. Which, I thought, it pretty much what it is. With rain teeming down four unfortunate tours headed for the sights rock, monkeys all hidden in masses of low cloud. Time to wander around this time capsule of old Britain unhassled and unaided.

I was expecting to hate everything, but once one leaves the central drag of fish and chip shops and discount stores, there were indeed some pleasant sights to be seen. A Catholic Church opposite an Anglican Chapel, each doing good Sunday business along with the odd police car looking for all the world as if it had just completed its morning M25 duties.

All this together with spacious squares, decent sized trees and lush vegetation, alongside red pillar-boxes and helmeted bobbies- plus the cheapest Camel Lights in Europe! Still locked into day eight, we set sail at lunchtime amid squalls, scudding clouds and rain-lashed decks towards the topknot of north Africa- exotic Tangiers. As we pull into dock I see a series of hastily erected stalls all lined up on the quayside flogging the usual dodgy mixture of handbags, cheap leather belts, kaftans and assorted colourful riff-raff.

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Astonishingly many passengers choose to make do with this as their only taste of Tangiers, but I decided, thank God, to invest this time in a coach tour of the city and environs, with a highlight walking through the medina and Kasbah. Now this mantle has passed to Marrakech, home to Hollywood stars and starlets, nestling conveniently at the foot of the Atlas Mountains.

However to my mind Tangiers is by for the more attractive place, resting on cool hills and surrounded by lush green forests. A magnetic, magic place indeed, and all packed into four hurried hours, before it is back to the boat. Day 8: Portimao, Portugal. Now we come, so to speak, to the fag end of the cruise. In fact our designated mooring point seems to be marked by a single buoy bobbing some mile or so offshore and with a swell rapidly rising from four to eight feet within minutes of our arrival. After about an hour of shouting, pulling on ropes and general water-based cabaret antics, it is perfectly clear to all that our elderly and infirm passengers would tumble one after the other into the ocean if they were to attempt any manoeuvre from gangplank to lifeboat.

Then comes the inevitable announcement that we are to amuse ourselves for the rest of the day and that all excursions are hereby cancelled.

Guide Escape on the High Seas (Tales of the Starpeople)

Day 9: At Sea. On a scale of the votes ranged from 1 to 7 with a mean average of exactly 4. Specific complaints roughly in order of length and strength of comments were as follows: 1. Poor food, frequently served luke-warm or even cold. Hurried and overpriced on-shore tours. Drastically bad inter-cabin sound insulation. Overcrowding of on-board facilities, especially during days at sea.

Cessation of free hot drinks by 8. Surly and unhelpful staff attitudes. Overpriced bar items. Constant circulation of photographers leading to overselling of prints being the subject of a revolving display in public areas. No attempt to relay via the ships GPS systems world news on any kind of regular basis.

Age and condition of vessel. One of our group said that the previous evening he had been obliged to lock his cabin door as a result of a violent altercation in the corridor concerning TV noise levels, not in adjacent but in opposing cabins. This escalated to a physical confrontation, which had to be broken up by crewmembers. Only by asking these kinds of questions of fellow travellers did I mange to piece together a proper picture of the voyage as a whole, which apparently included the decamping of some of the crew at Cadiz as a result of poor working conditions, along with some unhappy passengers too.

It appears there was an unexpected death on board as well, and three ambulances were seen to be waiting for us at one of our ports of call. And were we briefly stuck on the mud in Gibralter? There was certainly a great deal of muddy water-churning and unexpected delay in leaving. Day Gijon, Spain. Just time to stretch ones legs before another hour rush for home. I sensed a general feeling of deflation and dissatisfaction amongst many of the passengers alongside a strong desire for a speedy return to home and beauty.

Apart from providing a brief unrocking base for a short walk, Gjon seems to have nothing whatsoever to recommend it at all. Day Last Day. She was making sure she popped hers into the box well after 8. Nearby a card room of similar size used occasionally for craft-type activities, which again stretched the available space beyond sensible limits. On the upper deck tucked somewhere under the eaves a stuffy and hot Internet Room. My one attempt to log-on involved a complicated and completely impossible to initiate password system. Get a Blackberry! All untested by yours truly, but one middle-aged guest very pleased with her on-board hairdo.

Quite a number of passengers have returned to the Marco Polo for this cruise as a result of previous experiences when the ship was under different managements, and almost without exception the consensus was that C a M fell far short by comparison.