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Everything posted by Neaxan

  1. Just pick your must sees depending on what you're interested in most. I'd say less is more so you can really enjoy what you want to see and don't feel rushed. Glasgow and Edinburgh alone need 1 day each. Btw if you want to visit Edinburgh castle make sure you buy your tickets in advance.
  2. 10 days is not much. For comparison, we had 3 and a half weeks and didn't make it round Scotland. We just made it to Ullapool and then backtracked via Inverness, Aberdeen and Dundee to Edinburgh. But we lost a few days to get there and get home and we went hiking a few days. If you want to do Scotland and Ireland, you might feel quite rushed. Again for comparison, we did a 3 week vacation for Northern Ireland and got from Dublin to Galway, also a 3 week vacation for the South of Ireland from Dublin to Galway. You can be faster of course, but it includes quite a bit of driving. For our 10 day honeymoon we did the South of Ireland from Dublin to Clifden. This was with a rental car in B&Bs, so you didn't have 2 days to get there and 2 days to get back. The other vacations were in our RV.
  3. We did Scotland with our RV in 2019. St. Andrews is cute but not very big. If you're into city trips, I'd recommend Edinburgh and Glasgow - we were pleasantly surprised by the latter. If you're planning a roundtrip, I'd also recommend Dumfries, Fort William, Neptune's Staircase, Glen Coe, Isle of Mull with a trip to Staffa and Iona, Tobermory, Mallaig & Glenfinnan (for the Harry Potter train), Isle of Skye, Corrieshalloch Gorge, Aberdeen, Dundee, Crail, South Queensferry, Falkirk Wheel. For Dan Brown fans Rosslyn Chapel is a must see. For the 'castle and gardens' experience, we liked Culzean Castle. There's so much beautiful nature in Scotland and so many roads that are worth your time - and you'll need the time because many are single track. Not to worry, we managed with 2 RVs so you'll be fine with a car. And if you have time to venture out of Scotland, we visited York on our trip to the ferry in Dover - I'd say it's my favourite city in the UK, but I might be biased because of Harry Potter. I've also been to Ireland and Northern Ireland a few times and therefore through England and Wales, mostly with our RV but we did our honeymoon in Ireland in B&Bs. I'd say if you plan a roundtrip B&Bs will be your best option. There will be agencies specializing in that kind of vacation, so they can lay out a plan based on your time, they should also be able to recommend special accommodations like castles or mansions.
  4. Unfortunately not in Germany so I'm hoping for next year. Got tickets for an Avatar concert in February.
  5. Hope festivals and concerts will be back in 2022. I have a 3 year festival ticket for Summerbreeze that'll be in its 5th year in 2022 My favourite bands are Avatar, Parasite Inc., Amon Amarth, Jinjer, Children of Bodom (RIP), Caliban, Parkway Drive...
  6. We lift & shifted to this cruise. Really looking forward to this.
  7. You can feel it, though I think it's less noticeable compared to smaller ships. Feeling the pitching was nothing compared to seeing the real extent, especially on the jogging track looking back to the Aqua Theatre.
  8. I only had this once - after a week-long Med cruise where we didn't get off the ship in any port. Land sickness lasted for several weeks, I felt horrible. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure it was due to the ship (AIDAperla) as I had no problems after the Symphony TA - that had way more movement and we were onboard for 8 or 9 days straight.
  9. If you do Lift & Shift, you won't get any FCC (neither for the cruise price paid nor for your cruise planner purchases). You'll keep your original cruise price and get 100$ OBC for the cruise you shift to. The October Holy Land cruises are quite expensive at the moment, so if you booked for a favorable price, Lift & Shift should be the best option. If you're looking at the October cruises, you couldn't use your FCC for them anyway as the rules state that the FCC is only good until September 30th, 2022 sail dates.
  10. Apparently we're the only ones affected who are happy with the decision ? Our September 19th (Holy Land) cruise has been cancelled, but that gave us the opportunity for a lift & shift to October 7th 2022 with a waaay better itinerary. Keeping our old price is amazing as we've just saved about 1900 euros (2300 $) - that's UBP, UDP and a few shore excursions ?
  11. My Odyssey September 19th 2021 has just been cancelled. According to the e-mail, Odyssey will NOT be homeported in Civitavecchia, but in Haifa instead and will only allow Israeli residents. At least we were eligible for lift & shift and have just switched to Odyssey October 7th 2022.
  12. This is what you get when combining two words in one - although 3 consonants is due to the spelling reform of 1996. Before that, it was impossible to have 3 consonants in a row and you just dropped one when combining words - pronounciation is the same anyway. Oh the 'joys' of the spelling reform. I was in 7th grade when this started so I had to learn both. I still can't be bothered to write Delphin (dolphin) with f instead of ph.
  13. The two bridges are usually the most iconic spots. Friesenbrücke Weener will be first, followed by Jann-Berghaus-Brücke Leer at noon. The dam (Emssperrwerk) is too late (0.30 am) and the shipyards lock is just too early (4 am).
  14. It's a pity this won't be the event it normally is. We had planned to have a short vacation and watch the conveyance on the spot. Sadly, overnight stays are still forbidden, even in our own RV - and it's too far for a one day trip. German public-service broadcasting offered a live stream for the Spectrum conveyance, but I guess that's out of the question for the Odyssey conveyance as everybody is trying to keep the date quiet.
  15. I'd take a Baltic Sea cruise over a Med cruise any day. Bonus point: even Royal has longer itineraries there (up to 10 days). You could even do a Baltic Sea cruise and a Med cruise - or a Norwegian fjords cruise. Flights from Stockholm to Barcelona or Rome take about 3 hours and flights in Europe are quite cheap if you don't need any bells and whistles.
  16. It's Schiffstester Matthias Morr. He has also posted a VLOG of this cruise, that might be interesting to watch even if you don't understand German.. And you're correct, most drinks are included with TUI - here's an example of a bar menu to give you an idea. Btw, gratuity is also included and I'd rate TUI's MDR higher than Royal's. Can't comment on speciality dining as I've never seen the need to try it on TUI ?
  17. Passengers were mostly compliant with the rules - way more compliant than you'd see on land. A few outliers here and there, but the only real problem was the meeting of the 3 "sisters" - the upper decks were quite packed. 1.5m distance wasn't always obeyed at that time and not everybody was wearing a mask as they were outside. Haven't seen any passengers with face shields, most likely because you had to have a medical exemption to use them instead of masks. Don't see many advantages for a face shield because you only had to use a mask where you couldn't keep a distance. Seating at bars and in restaurants ensured the distance, so once you were at your table (or at your lounger at the pool), you didn't need the mask. This also means you only wear the mask for short periods of time, so sweat shouldn't be too much of a worry. There is no smoking in the casino on German ships - just a dedicated smoker's lounge and dedicated areas on the upper deck. No different to other areas of the ship - masks when not distancing, not necessary at your table as they are already set at least 1.5m apart. Not sure about the whirlpool rule - hard to check as a passenger ? I know for a fact that people who weren't in the same travel group sometimes sat together at bars or restaurants, but TUI never stated an explicit rule about that. Don't see much of a problem there, as in Germany you're currently allowed to sit at a table with members of 10! different households - be it in a restaurant, a beergarden or in a bar.
  18. Finally, as promised, a recap of Schiffstester Matthias Morr's conclusion video: - Boarding times were enforced (usually TUI Cruises doesn't assign boarding times). Masks had to be worn in the terminal and in the queue in front of the terminal. Health questionnaires & temperature check for check in. B2Bs are currently not allowed. - Muster drill: when on board you went from your cabin to your muster station. Explanations were given in small groups. - Ship sailed at around 40% capacity (= 1200 guests), max would've been 60% (=1400 guests), 800 crew. Possible difficulties in selling the cabins might've been short notice and comparably high pricing - there were no discounts and no interior or ocean view cabins, only balcony & suites. - Crew was quarantined on ship 14 days prior to the first cruise. They were very happy to be back working. Crew have to wear masks or face shields while working in contact with passengers - irrespective of social distancing. - Every passenger had to do a daily temperature check by infrared camera. Hand washing and use of disinfectant was enforced. - Masks were only mandatory where you couldn't keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres (about 5 feet). Masks were provided in the cabin on arrival, people with medical exemptions had to use face shields (not provided). - No seats at the bar - either service at a table or queuing with social distancing (TUI has waaaaay more waiters at bars compared to Royal, so not a problem). Buffet was available, but no self service. Also no full show ensemble, only solo performances. No party (sail away, pool party etc.). Sauna is currently closed but this might change soon. Whirlpools could only be used by members of the same travel group at a time. - Audience: younger than TUI's normal average, apparently no first time cruisers, many regular customers of other cruise lines (mainly AIDA and MSC) - Staggered disembarkation times were enforced (usually no assigned times). - Most important: no cases of COVID were reported! "Fun" facts: - A few German media companies contacted passengers to try and get pictures of passengers not obeying social distancing rules. That's the state of the German press for you... - Mein Schiff 2 met with Mein Schiff 4 and Mein Schiff 6 while at sea - a bit like the meeting of the 3 sisters (Oasis, Harmony and Allure). If you've got any questions, feel free to ask. I'll try to find an answer - might be easier for me as many sources are in German only and Google translate is a train wreck.
  19. Just to clarify again - crew tested positive was for AIDA ships, not TUI. These cruises to nowhere are now starting for 3 German cruise lines: TUI Cruises (50% Royal Caribbean, 50% TUI), AIDA Cruises (belongs to Carnival) and Hapag Lloyd Kreuzfahrten (German luxury cruise line, owned 100% by TUI). Safety measures should be quite similar on all 3 lines as they were negotiated by the German branch of CLIA. Looking forward to a conclusion video by one of my favourite Youtubers - he's on Mein Schiff 2's first cruise. The video is scheduled for tomorrow, 8.30 pm (CEST). I'll report back anything interesting.
  20. TUI Cruises is starting July 24th with 3 and 4 night cruises to nowhere from Hamburg. 60% capacity - they only offer balcony cabins, junior suites and suites. Masks only where social distancing (1.5m) isn't possible. Sadly have no leave days left, otherwise we might have used the opportunity to sail on Mein Schiff 2 for the first time.
  21. Guess I'm a mix of Ghost and Go-Getter. To be fair, crew on German cruise lines just isn't very chatty. Good morning/day etc. usually sums up the conversation so being on a Royal cruise was a steep learning curve. Go-Getter could be anyone, FOMO is a real thing ? On Symphony I had a spreadsheet to make sure we went to each restaurant and bar at least once. I think we only missed Jazz on 4.
  22. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but apparently all Pullmantur ships will be dismantled in Turkey ? https://www.elrincondeltripulante.xyz/2020/06/pullmanturs-ships-will-be-disposed-in.html
  23. I doubt that Odyssey's new inaugural has much to do with the rest of the fleet. I'm guessing even if they could speed up Odyssey a bit more, that wouldn't help much because a late transatlantic and shortened Caribbean season just isn't financially viable. Cruise lines also tend to avoid Mediterranean sailings in winter. So the only valid winter option based on weather and distance would be the Canary Islands and it might be difficult to fit Odyssey in the port schedules on a short notice. Maybe they'll add some earlier cruises for Odyssey once they're sure of Meyer Werft's progress and COVID restrictions.
  24. Depending on forthcoming cruising regulations Royal might even be happy about a delay. Delivery means the remaining 80% of the price must be paid - also crew and port fees on top of that. P&O and Saga Cruises are currently doing everything to not have to accept delivery of Iona and Spirit of Adventure.
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