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About Petra_Cruising

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  1. Just back from Borneo. Was it a good trip - absolutely! I saw lots of pygmy elephants, orangutans and proboscis monkeys while travelling upstream or on jungle hikes. My daughter and I stayed at many different places, though the Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Danum Valley was a knockout. The food was just sensational, the accommodation in stand along chalets accessed from a boardwalk just lovely and the guides were all expert in their knowledge of the flora and fauna to be found there. Sadly the coral reef off the east coast is looking very sad - at least the part I visited and much of the prime growth rainforest was logged years ago, replaced by palm oil plantations. At least deep within the jungle, you can still find a lot of wildlife. I would recommend going there, to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah is the easiest city to access and from there head eastwards. More next week once I have recovered! Thanks for reading my blog!
  2. It was perhaps the worst 24 hours in my life. My family were all away, and when they are, my dog gets anxious. So do I. Neither of us sleep well at all. But last night I'm doing a Google search for a boutique store I remember visiting in India. I click on what I think is the site, and 13 Trojan Horse viruses enter my computer. Last time this happened, my documents, my photos, in fact almost everything that I hold dear to me was lost. But Microsoft was onto to it this time. For 1.5 hours I waited while it scanned my computer looking for badness. Then at 3am a neighbour knocks at the door. I am having a heart attack she says. Take me to the nearest hospital she says. Your son? I ask. Turned off his phone she says. So off we go. She frets, she panics. No heart attack. She is given a sedative. Just feeling very anxious at being on her own the doctors say. I go home. My dog is frantic. While I was with her not a thought enters my head about anything else. Just her yells for her son and cries for help. A truly horrible, horrible night. But when I open my front door, I see my uniform and sign and then it all comes back to me like a huge wave. There are 5 messages on my phone. Where are you? I missed my meet and greet and 10 clients were left without anyone to meet them this morning. I will feel wretched for weeks to come, hoping for some kind of forgiveness that will never come, while they will perhaps forget their unfortunate beginning to their trip to Australia pre cruise. The drivers eventually found them all. As for me, tonight my dog keeps barking at the slightest noise and is sitting by my feet. I have been asked to lead a tour next week but have as yet received no paperwork. I can't reconfirm any of the arrangements until I get this. Perhaps they are trying frantically to find another guide instead. It has happened before many times. You have your bag packed, you reschedule your life, and then they call to say not you anymore. For the meet and greet this morning, there was meant to be a reminder call last night. It didn't happen. They phoned the wrong guide instead. In two days time I have another meet and greet at the airport. I don't know any details as yet. Most days when I do a meet and greet, I don't know the details. I just turn up and someone hands me a list of names and the flights they are on, and I take it from there. My dog could not do the work that I do. To the ten who arrived in a foreign city with noone to meet them, I am truly sorry.
  3. For my last entry, I referred to a client who was gearing up to make a complaint against me for having been kept waiting, even though the other clients that day had waited for much longer than her. While I am sure I haven't heard the end of it, so far, I've heard nothing further. That night though, after my day at the airport had come to an end, I received an email requiring my urgent attention. Another female client HAD complained. The issue was this. There were several ships in Sydney that day. The Diamond Princess was departing later in the day, the cruise cost may have been higher and the ships belonged to different companies! Clients at the airport joining the Diamond Princess were transferred to a hotel where they could rest, recuperate, freshen up and a hospitality desk was there to provide them with information. The other ships didn't provide this, with clients being transferred straight to the wharf. She knew this perhaps from speaking to those Diamond Princess passengers who were on her flight, a possibility, since they had been in transit for two hours in Hong Kong. When I greeted her, she asked why wasn't she going to be taken to their hotel. That night her husband put pen to paper, and his letter of complaint was sent from the ship to my manager and onto me. They demanded compensation. Wine with lunch and dinner and a bottle of champagne to be delivered to their cabin every day for the duration of their cruise to make up for their considerable distress by me not treating them as SPECIAL! What I recall was that I had explained that anyone joining the Diamond Princess that morning would indeed be taken to a hotel to freshen up. I also explained that anyone joining the cruise they were on were not provided with this. All clients on their cruise did not have a hotel to go to. She believed she was deserving of special treatment, of being treated differently to the rest. And how often do I find that! So I'd like to share with you an experience I had last week. On Christmas Day I attended mass at my local church in Sydney. We sang, we shook hands, we mingled and then departed. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just like any other Christmas Mass. In Sydney at present, we have a very well known person staying with us. Bill Gates and his family were there with us in our church. It was to his credit that he blended in with the rest of us. Just as he has gone unnoticed playing tennis at our local tennis club. A reporter from Adelaide, another city in Australia reported on this, otherwise noone would have known. Perhaps there is a lesson for us all there.
  4. Last week I worked at Sydney International Airport meeting clients joining a two week cruise. Now all of us when we fly to a foreign country arrive tired. Sometimes we arrive with a problem. A man had lost his suitcase and was understandably distraught. A woman had her scooter damaged. Neither were my clients. They approached me needing to express to someone, anyone, how upset they were. In my sometime role as a tour guide, while I wait with my cruise ship sign, people approach me for all sorts of reasons; to ask for directions, advice, tell me their problems. I help them, I sympathise with them, I am reasonable, but I need to draw the line sometimes. Like when crew ask me for a transfer to the ship. They get transferred by a different coach company I tell them and they know this. Ok, so once I gave a crew member a transfer. He spoke little English, had only 3 Euros to his name and burst into tears when I told him how far it was to walk to the ship. I said he could sit at the back of the coach, and would need to help me load the bags onboard. But the entertainer who insisted on a limo, the male ballroom dancing partner who asked for a transfer to another companies' ship, the ship's Priest who asked to use my mobile to call back home, for them I drew the line. I also draw the line with passengers. Passengers approach me without having booked a prepaid transfer, but ask for one anyhow. I can take them, surely there must be room! Like everyone else, they need to pay. But what about a discount they argue. Clients arrive without local currency and argue with the airport bank teller that the fee is too high or the rate is too low. I have even had clients ask for a "loan" of $10. All this I can handle, but what really ruins my day are the clients who are out to get me. Like one of the three men who were travelling together. The older two approached me, asked where should they wait and were very obliging. They told me their younger travelling companion was causing them headaches already and had disappeared to the rest room. Half an hour later, the coach arrived and I had all my clients, but the guy in the rest room still hadn't come out. Then from behind I get a tap on the shoulder and a "Where have you been, I have been looking for you everywhere! You are meant to greet me! What is your name, I will have to report you!" His two companions rolled their eyes. He was destined to ruin their holiday. The coach left. I went back into the terminal. The next six clients exited customs and immigration and waited for their transfer coach for 1.5 hours. How awful. The coach arrived. I put them on and then went back into the terminal building. The last flight of the day was a Singapore Airlines flight. Two of my clients on an Air Canada flight were still unaccounted for. Did they miss their flight, cancel, get delayed I wonder. We can't ask the airline due to privacy issues and the ship doesn't necessarily know of last minute cancellations. Then a very angry looking couple approach me. She is yelling. They emerged over an hour later than scheduled. She demands a transfer immediately. We will go just as soon as I get my last two clients off this flight I say. Not good enough. She demands a taxi and says I need to pay for it. She tugs at my name tag, screams, and says I am to do as she says, or else! That sounds like a threat I say. Sure, she says, she is going to report me. We hop on the coach and call into the domestic terminal to pick up several clients requiring special assistance. Where to now she screams. I will make sure you get reported and lose your job. If you have any cause for complaint with your transfer to the ship or while you are onboard, please refer it to the ship's purser, but remember that you are on holiday. She wasn't in the mood for one, and by the time they got off the coach, her partner had his face buried beneath his hands. He had had enough. Problem was, it was going to be a very, very long cruise.
  5. What's the best way to manage jet lag is a commonly asked question. Adrupt changes in time zones can upset our natural rhythm, to which many of our bodily processes are timed. Jet lag can make you tired, sleepy, irritable and less able to concentrate. Appetite and bowel habits may be affected and insomnia, headaches, dizziness, clumsiness and a general feeling of not being well are also symptoms. There is no cure for jet lag but there are ways to minimise the effects. How? Well for starters, try to get enough sleep in the lead up to your departure, since an existing sleep deficit will only make things worse. Exercising beforehand also has an impact. I generally walk for several hours each day anyway, and whenever I fly, I always ensure that I've had a big walk so my body feels tired. While waiting to board, I always do a few exercises also. Move while you can, because at least in coach where I'm always to be found, that little seat doesn't allow for much movement! Now theory has it that travelling west is kinder and I agree. It is easier to stay up a little more, allowing your body to then adjust to the new bedtime. If your trip involves travelling across more than five time zones, consider a stopover. For my Tour Guide work doing airport meet and greets, I see clients arriving from London who have flown for more than 24 hours to reach Sydney, Australia. They are exhausted. I also see clients arriving from Dallas, Atlanta, New York etc who have travelled for almost as long. My very strong recommendation is take a day or two in the arrival city before joining your cruise. While you are in the air, a few tips will help you greatly. Minimise your intake of caffeine and yes it's hard, but limit the wine, beer, spirits and champagne. Get up frequently for a stretch and walk. This annoys the flight attendants enormously but it really is good for you, and keep your intake of water up. Airlines limit the amount of water they hand out these days to keep fuel costs down, so I always carry an empty water bottle and once airborne, I walk to the back of the plane to the galley and ask for some bottled water to fill up with. As soon as you can after take off, change your watch to the new time. Really important this one. Get yourself in sync with your new time for meals and sleep. Now a confession. 9 hours is my limit in the air. I just can't stand being confined for so long in such a teeny weeny seat. Even so, I always find it hard to adjust. I find it preferable when flying east to west to stay awake for the flight and try to catch a flight that leaves by noon. On arrival it's late Sydney time, but no later than if I'd gone to a late night show. I can deal with this. Coming home, I fly during the night. I've tried melatonin but the tablets don't seem to work for me. Some believe it aids with getting your sleep back to a normal pattern. If it's daytime when you arrive, get exposure to the sun, since this stimulus will help to reset your body clock. Although you might feel like going straight to bed, try to stay awake or limit your sleep to a short one only. I recently picked up 4 couples from London. They stayed at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney and all had been on the same flight. Three couples did it right. On arrival, they showered, went for a walk and then became hungry. This we called lunch, since in Sydney it was lunchtime. I recommended a healthy salad sandwich, which they enjoyed. When I met with them the next day, the three couples were all fine. The forth couple had gone straight to bed and had slept thru the entire day waking up at 8 pm on the first day. I met them again one week later. They were the only couple who had battled hard with adjusting and had not enjoyed their holiday because of it. Now a word of caution. Ok, I admit, I did have a brief time when I had a fear of flying after a horrific flight. I resorted to medication. I no longer take it. Avoid it and all other sleeping tablets except herbal tablets, because you will soon become dependant on them as a sleep aid, and because they affect your ability to function. Last week I met a couple who had flown from Ohio to reach their cruise. 3 flights and many hours later. She had taken sleeping tablets because she wanted to get as much rest as possible before she joined the cruise. Everytime she woke up she said, she would just pop a few more she said. Lucky she had a partner, because she was doing things that were just sloppy. Like withdrawing cash and dropping some of it. Then missing a step as she got on the coach. There are not too many downsides to cruising that I can think of, but jet lag is one. Any tips - share them with us! Talk more next week or send me your comments in the meantime.
  6. Just a brief postscript to my last blog: Our arrival in the city of Patna, in West Bengal, India, drew considerable media attention. A cruise upstream on the river Ganges onboard a small cruise ship, is quite a momentous occasion, since almost no tourists have taken this route since the 1940's. Our Naturalist/Guide was asked to name the foreign dignitaries onboard for a photo. He told me later that he remembered my name, since I often spoke to him, but had difficulty recalling the names of certain of the foreign dignitaries since they had largely ignored him. Lady S who had been so rude during the journey, even tut tutting if we spoke on the observation deck while she was playing a game of bridge, was displeased yet again. She requested not to appear together with me in a photograph. Her wish was granted; she was left out. If you can make it there some day, India is a country of endless fascination, and perhaps on the river Ganges most of all. Thankyou for all your comments. Attached is a press clipping from one of the newspapers that featured the story.
  7. Kevin was not happy. We had met several days earlier in Kolkata and were looking forward to joining a cruise upstream on the Hooghly and Ganges rivers in India onboard a luxury cruise ship, quite a momentous occasion, since almost no foreign tourists had taken this route since the1940's. It was our welcome dinner at the gracious Oberoi Grand Hotel in Kolkata. I had entered the dining room late, having made a quick dash to collect my new shirt from the tailors. Seated with Kevin were two English couples. "You know what gets up my goat,"said Kevin, "Its people like that. You know what she said? And where do you come from Kevin? Australians how very unfortunate!" Then I recognised her. It was Lady S whom I'd met earlier in the lift who gave me such a disapproving look as I stood covered in the pink dye that is so liberally tossed about during Holi, a festive occasion in India, which was why I was so much in need of a new shirt for dinner. Next morning we departed Kolkata in a cramped bone rattling bus, the English tour group of 24 having departed in a hurry after securing the superior bus with air conditioning and 48 seats while ours had an inside temperature gauge that swung between 32 and 37degrees Celsius or just below 100 Fahrenheit. When asked to walk down a meandering pathway to the jetty for the short ride to our boat, a large Englishman with a booming voice called out to our onboard Naturalist. "Come here. Now lift up your arms."And with that, he uploaded him with several large duffle bags on each arm. When I asked him what hewas doing, he replied "He is an Indian you know a Pukka Wallah, a servant, but let me tell you, you don't know what you're talking about, you come from a land of prisoners. I've been polite to you so far, but I'm not going to be anymore!" And he was true to his word. I realised how important social acceptance is, when I witnessed the consequences of having it denied, in a confined space shared with 50 other passengers. Lines were drawn and as Australians, many refused to acknowledge us. Some nationalities chose not to speak to each other. Reserved signs appeared on dining tables, towels and books were placed on deck chairs, many sought preferential treatment. The beauty and enchantment of the journey we were on was overshadowed by the dramas onboard. This year I simply had to return to undertake the journey once more, in good company,on the Assam Bengal Navigation's Sukapha, which I find not dissimilar to travelling with friends. This is how such a memorable experience should be, in the company of Germans, Americans and the nicest English couple one could ever hope to meet.
  8. Last week while doing my tour guide duties, I met Bill at the International Airport. While he was due to depart on his cruise that afternoon and had no intention of doing much at all until boarding time, he had arrived on an early flight and would have at least 6 hours to fill in. When he finished the cruise, he would have 10 days. Where are you staying when you come back I asked. I'll find something he said and off he went to a tourist stand, collecting a handful of brochures offering not the best places to stay at. I had work to do, meeting other passengers, but Bill would come and ask me questions about Sydney. I really wasn't able to give him much of my time because I was too busy. I then met John and Dianne off a flight from Dallas. They said a man infront of them had held up the queue because he had put no fixed address down for where he intended to stay while in Sydney. Upon further questioning, he said the Hyatt, but the Hyatt has been closed for some time undergoing a major refit. That's him they said, pointing to Bill. As we walked towards the waiting coach, Bill continued to quiz me about Sydney. Where do you start when someone hasn't done any preparation, doesn't know what is on offer that might appeal to them and wants to explore some of Australia during that time. Where do you start? As I said my goodbyes, Bill yelled out, where do I get that rental car from again? But the coach was on its way. Whether Bill ever went on the Sydney Bridge Climb, visited the Sydney Opera House to experience a concert there, visited world class restaurants, went on a harbour cruise, visited Bondi Beach, Paddington and Woollahra for the beach, boutiques and cafes, who can say. And that's just Sydney. Of all the passengers I meet, only a handful have read a guidebook, have a map, or know how to fill in the time before boarding. It is a wasted opportunity to explore and enjoy. And please, I'd love for you to share your thoughts.
  9. This week I'd like to offer some tips on keeping your valuables safe and organising what you will need when you arrive at the airport and cruise ship terminal. In preparation for your flight, keep your valuables - passport, camera, cash, mobile and credit cards close to you. Recommended is a bum bag, preferably with a wire cord running through it. Securely fastened around your waist with a padlock, you will be less likely to be targeted by pickpockets. Carry your completed outgoing passenger card, boarding pass, airline ticket and the documentation you will need when you arrive at your destination. The documentation will include for instance the transfer voucher for the coach, and either your hotel reservation or booking details for the cruise ship. You'll need to wear a watch, but get one with a locking device, or wear a cheap one. I met one traveller in Vietnam who insisted on wearing his Rolex. Not a wise thing to do. I always leave my jewellry at home in a safe place and wear plastic and imitation instead. I take small amounts of cash in two currencies, such as Australian and US dollars and convert the one that gives the more favourable rate, though if ATM's are available, they are a good alternative.Try to carry a small amount of cash for the country you will be arriving in, to cover small incidentals. Consider using a Debit card loaded with only enough cash to cover your expenses. Let your bank know your itinerary. They will then monitor your transactions. Consider taking a tote bag or small back pack that you can carry everywhere, to hold items such as antiseptic hand wipes, pen, small notebook, sunhat, reading glasses, map and those essentials you will need for your flight including earplugs, toothbrush,paracetamol and other necessary medication, magazine, travel sickness tablets etc and an empty water bottle. Once through Airport Security, use a purified water bubbler to refill it and keep well hydrated during the flight. On arrival at your destination, once you have cleared Customs and Immigration, remove those airline checked in luggage tags and replace with your cruise ship luggage tags. Do this only on arrival at your destination so that they don't get damaged or lost inflight. Arrange your travel documents. You will need a detailed itinerary of where you will be each day. Give a copy to your family and if you are going to a destination with any element of risk let your relatives know so that they can arrange for you to be contacted if there is an emergency. Pack maps of the cities you will visit and details of your hotels to show to taxi drivers or if you get lost and need to ask for directions. Take a copy of your passport and visa, debit card and bring a few spare passport photos. Bring emergency contact details, 112 is the internationally recognised emergency number. Organise your emails, so that you can readily access flight and hotel bookings if your documentation gets misplaced, but don't ever have any information stored electronically that may compromise your identity, such as credit card information because of the risk others can misuse it. Internet cafes and airport internet kiosks are notorious for this. Never leave your luggage unattended, never carry anything for someone else and always pack your own suitcase. And if you require assistance, ensure that it has been noted on your booking. Otherwise it may not be available for you. If you have a coach transfer, look out for the tour guides who will be holding a sign of your cruise ship. They will tell you what to do. They will probably say that your bags will go straight to your cabins, in which case you will need to keep your valuables, necessary medication, documentation for embarkation, coach transfer voucher and passports with you. It there is a change in climate, make sure you either rug up or take off a layer. Depending on the time of your arrival, you may have several hours before you can board the ship. Make sure you maximise the enjoyment of this time. More on that next time....
  10. Hi Conchy, Thankyou once again for your comment. We should take this up as a future topic - how to stay well while travelling. A coach driver once told me that cotton wool in one ear helps with balance.
  11. Two days ago I returned home after a few days in Melbourne, an hour's flying time south of my home town of Sydney. Our flight had been delayed and it was already after 10pm. I was tired and sent a text message saying "stuck on tarmac, be home late," only to realise my error - I'd sent it to one of my business associates, not my family. I was lucky to have flown at all. The next day, the entire Qantas fleet was grounded. I was at Sydney International Airport to meet and greet those passengers joining the Sea Princess. Four passengers on a Qantas flight from London did not make it. Their flight had been cancelled. A family reunion would not happen, since two members were stuck in Singapore. Over at the Domestic Terminal, passengers who had managed to catch a flight with another carrier were relieved, some in tears, and some visibly shaking. One woman had organised for 15 family members to meet, only to then spend hours waiting for Princess Cruises to advise her that flights on Virgin Australia had been secured for her and her family. I don't know how many people approached me during that day frantically asking for advice or assistance about what to do. With the ship' imminent departure at 16.00, what chance did many passengers have of joining their cruise? There are several lessons to be learnt from this. The first is that when you are tired, anxious or upset, you make mistakes. From minor, such as with me making an error with my text message to Ted who couldn't recall where he had left his reading glasses, to Yvonne who left her bag with her necessary medications someplace, she thought at home on the kitchen table and without it wouldn't be able to travel. The lesson here is to take extra care. Check and double check your documents and belongings and the actions you take. Secondly, never, everfly on the day that your cruise is due to depart, and if you absolutely must, make sure the arrangements become someone else's responsibility, not yours, if things come unstuck, whether your travel agent or cruise line. I would encourage booking pre cruise accommodation for a night or two, just to give that extra buffer of protection against disasters happening as well as allowing yourself a bit of time to adjust to what might be a new time zone and climate. When you have a trip planned, I'd always suggest just jotting down what you might need to do just in case you need to revert to Plan B.
  12. As I stood waiting in line for an International flight recently, Gerard, the elderly man in front asked if I could help him and his wife lift their bags to be checked in since they were unable to. They were flying business class and while they may have been entitled to a generous amount of luggage, might not they have given better thought to what they actually needed? While he expressed a few sympathetic ums and ohs as I struggled to lift their 5 bags, with his wife shouting at me to "bend the knees," there was one bag I could not budge. The man next in line assisted. It weighed in at 93 pounds. How were they going to manage during the course of their trip I wondered. When cruising, it pays to pack right and pack light. Here's how you can do it. Consider your itinerary. What will you be doing and where will you be each day? What will the climate be like? Is there a dress code, whether smart casual or that you will need to dress formally each evening? Tip all your possible clothes onto your bed and begin the process of mixing and matching your outfits. Base your selection on what you will need and on colours that go well together. Consider how your clothes will be laundered. Some cruise ships provide laundries for guests , others charge per item and costs soon mount up, avoided if you wear drip dry clothing that will dry in your bathroom with no need for pressing. Stripes and patterns, dark and khaki, all disguise wrinkles and stains. Never pack items "just in case." On days when I fly to and from a cruise, I wear jeans with a jacket. On days when I go on onshore excursions, I wear robust, comfortable loose fitting pants, long sleeved shirts, sandals with good traction and a hat. On my last 5 week trip that included a 6 night cruise, I took 3 shorts to mix and match with 6 shirts and got by with several outfits that I mixed and matched for evenings. I also packed swimming costumes, pj's, a raincoat and one pair of dressy sandals. No one ever notices if you wear the same outfit twice or three times over. To pack your clothes, button shirts up and lay face down on a flat surface. Smooth away wrinkles. Cover with a sheet of thin plastic or tissue paper to avoid creases. Fold in at the shoulders and lay arms flat along the body so that you have an overlap on each side. Fold up a third of the shirt from the bottom to form a neat rectangle. Fill gaps along the edges with underwear. Once onboard hang everything immediately to prevent further crushing in day of wear order. Bring A4 size zip lock plastic bags and when you fly home, roll up your dirty clothing, sit on the bag and the air compression will squeeze your clothes tight. When choosing clothes consider if you can leave some behind further reducing bulk. Organise your toiletries and medication to fit in the front pockets of your bag. Pack these in see through plastic zip lock sandwich bags in case of spillage and sort into purpose. For example a utility bag for your mini torch, alarm clock, calculator. First Aid bag etc. Have medications in their original packaging to cover every conceivable illness you risk contracting and ensure none contain a prohibited substance such as pseudoephedrine that could land you in trouble in some counties. For prescription medication, carry a signed and dated letter from your doctor stating it is for your own personal use. Ensure all liquids, aerosols, gels and pastes in your carry-on luggage are in teeny containers, and that they are clearly visible in a plastic zip lock bag. Items include creams, gels, lipstick, lip balm, perfume etc. You will need to show this bag at the Airport Security screening point for international flights. For checked-in luggage, while there is no size restriction, it makes sense to take only the amount of gels, liquid etc that you will use while overseas and travel size containers are all that you will need.Taking teeny containers reduces weight and bulk considerably. Next week let's try to better organise your travel documents and what you will need to have ready for embarkation. But for now, I need to pack, I'm off to Melbourne.
  13. I agree that holidays may not be as perfect as they were intended to be - as you say things can happen - bad weather, necessary changes to the scheduled itinerary and excursions, fellow passengers and the attitude of the crew can all make a difference. But in the course of my work as a tour guide, I have met some people who just see the negative in everything, so matter how hard you try to please them and they demand more and more. For these people, a cruise could be absolute perfection, but they would still find fault. I think for them the problem lies within, and when I travel on my own, I try to avoid them and share my time with happy travelers.
  14. Hi Rogue, I had a similar experience on an expedition cruise ship. I was upgraded from a cabin with two portholes, to a cabin that was much more spacious with a large window. While onboard I asked to see the standard of cabin I was originally intended to occupy. Now that I am in the process of booking another cruise with them, I am finding it difficult to weigh up cost saving = two portholes or pay more = that sense of wow each time I enter my cabin. It makes good sense for companies to upgrade if possible because once the bar is raised, it becomes harder to go down. If you know that the cruise you have booked on has space availability, ask nicely about the possibility of an upgrade and once onboard ask if you can see a few cabins that are unoccupied so that you can decide on the one that will suit you best the next time you hop onboard. Thanks for your comments, Petra
  15. Hi John and Jackie, Thankyou for your response. Thirty cruises is a lot! My favourite cruise lines - I have many on my list! Having said that, I prefer finding my way around and I enjoy smaller ships because of this I think. Also I struggle to remember people's names, so seeing familiar faces makes this easier. What are your favourite cruise lines and where in the world do you like to visit most? Cruising is perfect both for those in perfect health and for those who need to take things a bit easier. I hope you can share some of your tips with us. Regards, Petra
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