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Old 7 Sep 21, 01:51 PM  
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Melanie R
Join Date: Jul 09
Location: Lancashire

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Pages Created: 2
Love Boat to Belfast

Welcome to my pre trippie for cruise number 2 of 3!

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Mel – probably having something of a mid-life crisis since I hit my 50’s and finally managing to have some holiday fun now that covid restrictions have eased somewhat!

Like many of us on the forum, I had various trips booked, rescheduled and finally cancelled in 2020 due to the restrictions in place thanks to the covid pandemic and so 2021 saw me with a bucket load of annual leave (30 years service in the NHS gives me a lot of leave to play with!) and a larger than usual holiday budget as my 2020 allocation was still sitting in the bank burning a hole in my pocket.
I had intended that my next holiday adventure was going to be a Kenyan safari and I also had plans for the following trip to be a return to Canada & Alaska as I fell in love with Vancouver on my last trip and wanted to spend more time in the city, but obviously neither of these trips were looking remotely possible early in the year, and my personal view was that I didn’t want to book anything further and have the disappointment of having to cancel, so I have absolutely no plans at all to book anything leaving the UK until more restrictions are lifted and the world feels much more normal (if we ever get to that state!)
I’m in no way judging those who have trips booked and have the optimism that they will go ahead, but for me after the cancellations of 2020 I can’t live with the uncertainty, so won’t be booking!

Back in April when the cruise companies announced their plans for a “Seacation” itinerary which wasn’t leaving the UK, I was all over it and was very quickly comparing the various offerings and prices! I was double vaccinated and traveling solo so no issues there, the main driver was going to be price and length of cruise – it’s quite a journey to Southampton from the North West, so I wanted a reasonable length cruise to make it worth it.

I quickly ruled out Disney – too short and way too expensive for me to find them value for money (and yes, I know many on here will totally disagree – just my personal view!) and had narrowed it down to Princess or Royal Caribbean – at the time of booking, Princess edged it as they were offering a 6 night cruise including all tips, Wi-Fi and drinks package at a price I was comfortable with, so I booked – sailing on 22 September. I marked it in my calendar, booked the leave and as it was months away put it to the back of my mind – until I started thinking that 6 nights wasn’t really much of a break, and maybe I could do a back to back cruise to extend the trip – I still had lots of budget and leave days to play with, so in May I booked a second 5 night cruise on the same ship, sailing directly before my 6 night one! Within a matter of days, it was pointed out to me by someone on the forum that Princess didn’t allow back to back cruises (no idea why!) and I checked the terms & conditions and realised they were correct – yet I had managed to book both of them direct with Princess! I debated what to do at this point, and in the end I decided to do nothing – policies were changing all the time and at this stage I had only paid a deposit, so I would wait and see what happened – and nothing did! It reached July when I was due to pay the balance and on checking the terms again, although they had been updated with other changes, back to back cruises still weren’t allowed – but there was still over 2 months before I was due to sail and things were changing all the time, so I decided to pay the balance on both of them and again play the waiting game.

I knew from experience in 2020 that if I needed to get a refund they were very quick to process, so had no worries about tying up the money and hoped by paying the balance it would at least trigger a decision by Princess – but nothing!
I held my nerve until August when I knew I had to start sorting my overnight hotel and travel arrangements, so had to now be certain what I was doing, so I bit the bullet and actually called Princess – not an easy thing to do and I spent over 90 minutes on hold before finally getting through to them and explaining my position. I was then told I wasn’t allowed to do a back to back cruise (kind of why I was ringing!) and in the end they cancelled my 5 night and arranged to refund the money – this was back in my bank the same week.

I was then back in the position of only having a 6 night trip (I know, first world problem!) so I had a look at other options and came across a Royal Caribbean 6 night cruise leaving on 23rd August on board Anthem of the Seas – even once I added in the price of Wi-Fi and deluxe drinks package, I still had change from the cost of the cancelled one, so within minutes this was booked and paid for!

I had an amazing time on this cruise, and having the next one to look forward to has certainly helped the post cruise blues – I even managed time to book a repeat trip for October and write up a trip report! (Anthem Adventures)

So now that the first one is over, I can start to look forward to the second one and think about my plans for it – which are basically a repeat of my last one – chill with cocktails!

This cruise visits Glasgow which I didn’t visit with RCI, and now we are allowed to leave the ship independently, I hope to have a wander into the city while I’m there, and I’m also visiting Belfast – where I actually do have plans which have inspired the title of the trip report! For those of us old enough to remember the 70’s, the tv programme “The Love Boat” was actually filmed on a Princess ship and as I mentioned earlier, since I hit 50 I have undergone some form of mid life crisis and now take the view that life is for living! I lost a lot of confidence when I split from my ex 5 years ago, but since my trip to Alaska and Canada which I took for my 50th, my confidence has gone from strength to strength and I don’t let anything stop me doing what I want to do – including at the start of 2021 deciding I was ready to start meeting new people and so signed up to an online dating app.

As a result of some alcohol inspired swiping on my last cruise, I’ve been exchanging LOTS of messages with a guy in Belfast and as a result we have arranged a date for my stop in the city – the plan so far seems to include bars – just hope I manage to make it back to the ship!
20 x DLP, 8 x WDW

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