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Stone - Answered a Question by Kelly (03 Feb 09 09:30)

I'm also on this cruise, flying in from Gatwick to join the ship on 5 March. By now you should have had your book of shore tours and if you haven't I suggest you phone Fred Olsen on 01473 292200 and ask for the Tours Department. Tickets and full details about the cruise normally arrive about three weeks before your departure date. I did a similar cruise last year and we docked about 7.00am and were off the ship by 9.30am. A tour of Miami was arranged for those passengers leaving on the evening flight back to Gatwick. We were dropped back at Miami airport quite a few hours before the flight left, so not ideal. To be perfectly honest I vowed never to travel through Miami airport ever again, as the airport has very few facilities and I found it most unpleasant. In addition the flight was delayed by six hours. However, the cruise was great and having been offered a deal I found hard to resist I'm once again travelling to and from Miami. I must be a glutton for punishment! Booking a day room isn't something I've considered, I usually travel as a single and I'm quite happy to go with the flow and join an excursion. As you've booked with Virgin Cruises it may be that your flights have been booked separately and I suggest that if you haven't yet had your flight timings, you contact them for details. Happy cruising - Jan .

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Kelly - replied to Stone (04 Feb 09 05:57)

Thank you for your comments. Yes I have had the book of tours. I will book a day room in a Miami hotel as I have done this on previous cruises. Of course on the other cruises Guest Relations would do this for you but as I am getting little or no info either from Virgin or Fred Olsen I will not leave this to chance and book before I go. On booking Virgin told me I would be in Rui hotel on South Beach which is a 4* however on my invoice I am booked into The South Beach Hotel which is a 2* they do not reply to emails and when I ring I am put on hold for ever and when I do get through I am in the wrong department. I will never book with them again. Hopefully all my problems are now behind me so I will try to look forward to this cruise. Maybe I will see you on board I hope so. Thanks once again.

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Newman - Answered a Question by Kelly (03 Feb 09 23:32)

We were on the Braemar in January. From when we docked it took about an hour and a half to unload the luggage and disembarkation did not start until it had been stacked in the holding area. We were then called in groups to disembark. The passengers booked through Virgin were as I remember one of the first groups to leave the ship, this was probably because Virgin passengers had to make their own arrangements to get to the airport. Disembarkation in our case took over an hour from ship to transit coach as we had not, as programmed, called into Key West where our immigration details would have been processed. Day rooms were not available on the ship as it was explained that all passengers, including those staying on for the next cruise, had to clear the ship before the embarkation of new passengers. As Stone said tours of Miami were arranged, finishing at the airport. Bear in mind that these tours would need to have your luggage on the tour bus. As for Miami airport, it is not a nice place with its soulless lounges, meager narrow escalators and well hidden information boards (it's at the far end of the main lounge behind the wall with the telephones). A hint for those flying into Miami, when joining the queues for immigration use the far left one next to the cabin crew queue, it splits into 4 half way along, reducing our wait to just under 3 hours. You will love the Breamar, well we did anyway.

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Kelly - replied to Newman (04 Feb 09 05:47)

Thank you for your comments. I have travelled through Miami airport on many occasions so I know what to expect. I am sorry I booked through Virgin as they are the most unhelpful people I have ever dealt with. I did book a day room in a Miami hotel on a previous cruise so I will do that again as I hate hanging around airports. I think it is the lack of information that is worrying me as I am one of those people who like everything done and dusted.

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