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Our Christmas Cruise

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    Our Christmas Cruise

    Back in October before Omnicom was even mentioned, we felt things had started to get back to at least a bit of normality and gave us a bit of confidence to start thinking about cruising again. Liaising with Wilba and Mrs W we had talked about doing something at Christmas. When I read on a topic that Topdeck had noted that Marella were repositioning a ship out of the Caribbean back to the med I knew some bargains were abound. So upon checking and seeing the prices within 24 hours we had decided this was it. Whilst the prices of regular balconies were very reasonable I could not believe the price of the Royal suite (Formerly Celebrity Century Penthouses) also a bargain that I could not resist. It was either regular balcony or the Royal suite, nothing in between would be worth considering. There are only two on the ship and both were available. What sold it to me was the extra large balcony with its own spa hot tub and loungers. Any fear of mixing or being on top of other people on deck, any signs of an outbreak on board, and at least we could have our own private secluded space. If we felt the need to keep ourselves to ourselves then at least we had the luxury of our own private lounge, dining room, exceptionally large bedroom and everything else that came with it. Unfortunately apart from a continental breakfast in bed on a morning of your choice and pressing of 3 items of clothing there are no other perks at all with the suite, so Alas no Butler but tbh I don’t know if I had one what I would have wanted or needed him to do other than fetch and carry drinks!

    Little did we now that Omnicom was approaching and once this became prominent it did start to cause us some concern, but we had no choice but to go with the flow. We left ordering the covid tests until as late as we felt comfortable as the rules were changing all the time. To be fair Tui did make it easy as doing this through their own provider meant they sent the pack appropriate to your cruise. The rules changed too regarding testing before returning to UK but Tui wrote to advise us they would do this on board at no extra charge the day before our flight home and provide us with the necessary certification.

    Nevertheless in the days preceding the cruise the testing and paperwork form filling seemed to dominate our thoughts; Test after 9pm the day before we fly out, Spanish Locator form & QR Code Getting insurance Docs ready and in place, filling in UK Pass Locator Forms, preparing and keeping active so we didn’t have to repeat fill later as it expires after 7 days if you don’t return to it. Flight Check in, Cruise Boarding passes; Printing everything as we are not tech savvy. Sounds straight forward but the reality is its time consuming. OH had no option but to buy a new upto date phone; it all adds to the pressure, so with this consuming our thoughts very little planning or thoughts had gone into where we were going, what we were doing or port planning as we usually do.

    So 9pm the night before approaches sitting with our phones at the dining table taking our preboarding tests (note these tests are to say you are allowed on board whip and nothing to do with flying to Spain). Looking at the tutorial video the day before seems simple enough 10-15 min and should be done. Reality is numerous phone calls back and forth between us and the Wilbas what does is this, what do you put here, what does this mean – an hour and half later before we can breathe a sigh of relief and get into bed. To be fair I think once you have done this and got the hang of it, it would not be so hard next time. You take the test, upload a picture showing negative result and within a couple of minutes you get your certificate back. It was the printing and downloading that was now causing us issues, I could download mine on my phone, My OH downloaded his but we didn’t know where it had downloaded it to! So I managed to email them to our computer and printed them!

    The process at the airport was fluid, someone at the check in queue, checked we had done the Spanish Locator form and the covid test and checked our vaccination certs and negative result from the previous night.
    It made us look at each other in amazement when the cabin crew not only announced masks must be worn at all times except when eating and drinking but wait for it under no circumstances were you allowed to sleep on the floor of the aircraft – wait did I hear this right, yes no sleeping on the floor of the aircraft, well that’s a new one on me.
    Things again flowed through at the other end, having gone through border control where Spanish Forms were checked, then off to another area to have temperature taken and vaccination certs checked.
    Baggage collected and onto the coach to the port. Two areas of check in, one to check Insurance docs, vaccination certs and then another to check passports and boarding passes. Another desk to book you in for the two sitting Christmas dinner and we were on board.

    I had not told my OH that I had booked the top suite, it was my Christmas present to myself and I had kept it totally secret from him. When we walked in I could fully see the expression on his face as we had to have our mask on, but he thought we had gone to the wrong cabin. It was very much our taste of décor and felt very comfortable there for sure.

    I have taken a great video starting from the marbled entrance with the fully marbled guest toilet, through to the very large sitting room with a sofa, four large comfy chairs and footstools, writing desk big tv, coffee table and complete with Christmas tree. Onto the dining room with large dining table with 6 chairs, tea, coffee making area with tassimo coffee maker, then the butlers pantry with sink, wine cooler, microwave, extra-large American fridge and its own door to the corridor. Then onto our bedroom which has a king sized bed, large tv large footstool, two lovely comfy soft chairs, more drawers and cupboards than you could ever dream to fill even if you were on a world cruise. A large bathroom with twin sinks and jet powered bath, onto a separate shower round space with blingy tiles, another toilet, Then to the other side my private dressing table and an extra large walk in wardrobe, more drawers and cupboard and mirrors.
    Now realising I only have the video and no still images I have no idea how to upload onto here!

    I was really pleased to see they had taken the effort to put a Christmas tree in the room and so with my half a suitcase full of tinsel, bows and decorations I was able to give the cabin a good Christmassy feel.

    More will follow about the cruise in next couple of days...........

    #2
    Nice move on the suite.
    i still smart at the premium with no perks.

    ​​​​​​

    Comment


      #3
      Excellent report Bradders and always an enjoyable read.

      Space is rather addictive and very fortuitous for you given this new headache chucked into the Covid pot. Pleased you enjoyed the holiday and even more pleased you missed being off loaded anywhere. Gives hope for the rest of us with cruises booked later on in the year.

      Comment


        #4
        I know what you mean about the paperwork taking the shine of things, but it's such a huge relief when it is all completed.

        The suite sounds amazing, I'm looking forward to hearing more .............................................Carol

        Comment


          #5
          I rather liked Explorer 2 when we did a short Shetlands Island cruise last summer. We had been booked to go to Norway on a land of the Midnight Sun cruise with her but sadly that was cancelled. Would have thoroughly enjoyed it. Nice size ship, not too big.

          Shame Marella ships aren't cruising from the UK for the forseeable future. Like lots of folks I'm not ready for flying for the next few months.

          That suite sounds fabulous, much better than a balcony. Looking forward to hearing more.

          Comment


            #6
            Great start to your blog Bradbury, looking forward to reading the rest and if possible your video of your fab sounding suite.
            don't want to work, just want to cruise.

            Comment


              #7
              Your Royal Suite


              P1050932 by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150945402@N02/]


              P1050946 by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150945402@N02/]


              P1050934 by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150945402@N02/]


              P1050936 by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150945402@N02/]


              P1050939 by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150945402@N02/]


              P1050941 by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150945402@N02/]
              Wilba

              Comment


                #8
                Good, comprehensive information leading up to the cruise, Bradbury. I agree suites are amazing, and have been invited by 3 lots of 'rich' friends into viewing theirs in the past. But, for me, I couldn't justify the cost (no matter how much of a bargain it was per se) as I am, and always have been, quite happy with an inside cabin, bearing in mind I only ever use it to shower and sleep in. Happily we can all choose what suits us. Look forward to hearing more about the cruise proper in due course.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Gill Nickson, Albox View Post
                  Good, comprehensive information leading up to the cruise, Bradbury. I agree suites are amazing, and have been invited by 3 lots of 'rich' friends into viewing theirs in the past. But, for me, I couldn't justify the cost (no matter how much of a bargain it was per se) as I am, and always have been, quite happy with an inside cabin, bearing in mind I only ever use it to shower and sleep in. Happily we can all choose what suits us. Look forward to hearing more about the cruise proper in due course.
                  Believe me this was a bargain too good to miss at a very minimum at least £1000 pp less than the usual price and only a few hundred £ pp more than the lead in balcony for me a no brainer, a one off never to be had again price.
                  I love a bargain and it was only the fact that it had its own outside jacuzzi that sold it to me, that along with the fact that should we have felt cramped with covid we had our own space to chill. I would never dream of paying for a suite under any other circumstances and felt very privaleged to be able to do it.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Bradbury, Coventry View Post

                    Believe me this was a bargain too good to miss at a very minimum at least £1000 pp less than the usual price and only a few hundred £ pp more than the lead in balcony for me a no brainer, a one off never to be had again price.
                    I love a bargain and it was only the fact that it had its own outside jacuzzi that sold it to me, that along with the fact that should we have felt cramped with covid we had our own space to chill. I would never dream of paying for a suite under any other circumstances and felt very privaleged to be able to do it.
                    Your suite looks fabulous Bradbury. It feel great to bag a bargain doesn’t it?

                    Thanks for posting the suite photos Wilba.
                    don't want to work, just want to cruise.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Although I did a good video myself, just to save me the trouble of finding out how to upload it.............. someone had already posted on you tube an excellent vidro of my exact cabin 1049
                      just google Marella Explorer 2 Royal Suite Cabin 1049

                      If you want to see all of it then take a look

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Issyalex, Glasgow View Post

                        Your suite looks fabulous Bradbury. It feel great to bag a bargain doesn’t it?

                        Thanks for posting the suite photos Wilba.
                        It was perfect for us , we're missing it already

                        Comment


                          #13
                          By the way I finished the jigsaw puzzle which was in a state of being half finished at the end of the cruise and carefully packed back in the box in dissected pieces. Reassembled at home and finished Monday!

                          Comment


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