Site Changes/Updates

As mentioned in last month’s update we went travelling for a substantial chunk of it and the combination of that along with the post-travelling blues (more on that in a moment) means there’s nothing much to report. A few new portfolio posts have gone up from our October cruise to Asia aboard Diamond Princess so if you’ve got any interest at all in seeing what we got up to in Hong Kong then why not take a look?

Post-Travel Blues: Technology Edition

Ah, those post-travel blues! The problem with working for a living is that working for a living isn’t particularly enjoyable. The problem with having a really, really good holiday is that it comes to an end. Combine those two and the post-travel blues can hit you really hard. Add in a devastating glitch with technology that sees you lose all the videos you took on your phone and it was a hard, hard, hard few days after the end of our recent South and Central American cruise.

When we’ve been travelling we haven’t really taken a great deal of video, preferring still photography in the main. With the improvements in technology we see year-on-year it’s become easier to record video as well and on this last cruise in particular I made a concerted effort to record far more than usual. The main equipment I was using to record videos on our last cruise was my phone as it records in 4K and in very good quality too (as opposed to my cheap GoPro knock-off which does a good job for the price but a noticeably inferior one). I am very much a Keep Things Backed Up person so the settings on my phone are set to automatically copy pictures and videos to the cloud but only when connected to WiFi. While I was roaming when abroad I wasn’t on WiFi very often so very little was copied off the phone until I got back home.

Getting back home and on the home WiFi connection my phone started to do its thing automatically while I took copies of my DSLR’s photos and GoProEsque’s videos and backed them up to the network drive and the other network drive and sent them up to cloud storage.

And the following morning all the photos were synced. But of the videos, only four of several dozen made it. At some point overnight the cloud backup had stopped working. In itself this wouldn’t be a problem but my phone then also deleted everything on its internal storage. All I had was the cloud copy of the photos and practically no videos at all. My phone doesn’t have removable storage so I couldn’t mount the card and perform a sector scan that way. Even worse, the only way to perform a sector scan to see if the deleted files could be recovered is to get root access to the phone, an act that triggers a self-defence security mechanism in the phone that causes a hard erase of the storage.

Bottom line: videos lost. So, no dolphins or turtles in the ocean. No pelicans diving into the water. No monkey eating fruit next to me. No captain’s magic trick. No fountains light show from Lima. No footage of the fabulous band on the ship. No deck parties. No fumaroles venting around a volcano’s crater. So many things I wanted to show my niece and share with the world, all lost.

Is there a lesson in all this? Well, it’s just a reminder that shit happens, I suppose, but I’m going to have to seriously consider picking up an SSD that I can back up footage to from the phone on a daily basis when travelling in future if I want to reduce the chances of this happening again.

Upcoming Cruises

Whenever we cruise with Princess Cruises we pick up Future Cruise Deposits on board. It’s like free money. The deposit counts as the deposit towards the cruise anyway plus you then get onboard spending depending on the length of the cruise. If you don’t use the deposit within two years it gets refunded. You can’t lose.

We picked up two FCDs on our last cruise and we now have none left as we decided to use them to book a back-to-back cruise for the first time ever, this taking place in late 2020. Still some way off but the two cruises will only eat up ten days of our annual holiday and, very importantly, will take us to fifteen cruises with Princess and that very desirable Elite status. The cruises will be on Crown Princess, a ship we know very well now, and other than Guernsey will be hitting all new ports in Europe for us.

We still have plenty of 2020 to fill in.

The next cruise on the horizon is coming up in a few weeks and will be a taster trip aboard Celebrity Silhouette. While we almost always pick a cruise for the itinerary this is one of those rare occasions where we’re more interested in the cruise line and the ship itself, having never cruised with Celebrity Cruises before but having done Amsterdam on P&O Azura a few years back. We’re still looking forward to Amsterdam, particularly as they will be celebrating Liberation Day and there will be a free music festival taking place on the outskirts of the city during our time there, but the ship’s features, its service, and quality of food and drink will all come under the spotlight.

And it won’t just be us taking a keen look at the ship as we know of three other cruise bloggers who will also be going and who we might even have to show our faces to and talk to in person. Can you imagine the horror!? For them too. They are:

Based on current backlog of cruises and trips to cover on this site you’ll probably find reviews of this cruise appearing on one or all of their sites or social media platforms long before one appears here.

Celebrity Move Up

One interesting development in the past week regarding this upcoming Celebrity cruise was the arrival of an email offering the chance to bid for an upgrade to the cabin we’d been allocated. When we’d booked this cruise it was as part of a special deal so the price we paid was very good indeed but we were initially told we wouldn’t be assigned a balcony until a few weeks before the trip. That assignment was handed out a lot earlier than expected and we were perfectly happy with what we’d been given.

Apparently new for the UK market, having existed in the US market for some time I understand, the Celebrity Move Up offer is given out to some passengers and allows them to pick an improved type of cabin and say how much they’d be prepared to pay for it. We had a standard balcony which meant our upgrade options were for Aqua or Concierge class cabins, or for suites. To be perfectly honest, as people who hadn’t cruised with Celebrity before and who hadn’t chosen a cabin for this cruise we weren’t even aware of the different classes so had to do some quick researching. Certainly for the ship we’ll be on the standard balconies tend to run up as far as deck 9, then Concierge class take over, before Aqua class at the top. Concierge adds some niceties such as daily delicacies, a bottle of fizz, and priority embarkation; Aqua targets the health and wellness people (urgh!) with water and spa access although the rooms appear to be beneath the pool and main deck area. Both have extended room service menus and some differences in what’s provided in the cabin but otherwise there isn’t a whole lot to distinguish the three classes and that seems reflected in the typical price differences you can find on the site. Indeed, looking at the current price for this upcoming cruise the price difference for a standard balcony and a Concierge class one is just £10. I hope everyone who’s put in a bid has checked these things out for themselves and bid sensibly.

I’m not sure how I feel about this bidding system. I wonder how many people will get caught out overbidding. I would guess it should only be offered to people who have previously booked without specifying a class or cabin as other people will know what they want and by the time the offer is made the price will invariably be far more than had the person booked the class they’re bidding on at the start. That said, from discussions I’ve seen on Facebook that doesn’t appear to be the case. Perhaps it’s all just really random. It does look like you could theoretically get a bargain upgrade but I suspect this cabin upgrade auction will work better on a longer cruise; this three-nighter where one of them can be spent off the ship entirely doesn’t seem like the ideal time to decide if the upgrades are really worth it.

In any event, we’re very much looking forward to this cruise. We’ve heard good things about Celebrity, we’ve taken a nose at some videos, and they’ve got some itineraries we’ve got an eye on for early next year; we’re waiting to see how this cruise pans out before making a commitment there.

On The Internet

And the usual conclusion to these very almost reliably regular updates comes along as I select and share a few things that have caught my eye online over the past few weeks.

Cruising is generally stress-free once you’re aboard. It’s why we like to cruise. However, though rare, it is possible to run into problems, especially ashore. In A day in Bangkok, our worst ever day ashore and the lessons we learnt! you can read about a non-ship-organised excursion in Thailand that very quickly became a shakedown for extra money with fears of arrest and missing the ship thrown in for good measure.

And carrying on with the Horrible Things That Happen On Holiday theme I’ve got going here, an account of something far worse in So, I Got Stabbed in Colombia from Nomadic Matt.

Kathryn Flett, writing for The Telegraph (I know, but what can you do?) tells us about The cruise for people who don’t consider themselves to be ‘cruise ship people’, an account of how she and her partner took their first tentative steps to being cruise converts. On one of the newer Edge class of Celebrity ships too.

In the video below Gavin and Luke will take you on a full tour of the MSC Bellissima. MSC are another line we’ve not cruised with yet but they’re on the list, somewhere.

Finally, The Complete Three Week Buenos Aires and Patagonia Itinerary is something I found nostalgia-inducing and very interesting at the same time as we’d managed to hit a lot of those itinerary points in Argentina ourselves in the course of just a few days on Star Princess in 2016 (see: Argentina). Of course, we wouldn’t have spent anywhere near as long in each of them and every experience is unique but it was good to note that we didn’t appear to miss out on too much that Jonathan and Sarah found worthy to mention.

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