“Hello and welcome to the blog. In the event you have landed on the wrong page don’t worry, the latest edition to the blog is a review of Solent Richard’s recent cruise… on the World’s highest rated cruise ship, Europa 2, has recently been published…
You can also skip the next introductory paragraph by clicking the following links to the latest updates: though it really is recommended reading in order to understand the broader history and aspects of this particular forum.
Once regarded as the Uk’s most popular web based cruise related forum with thousands of members and a reasonable array of cruising experience spanning most cruise lines, Cruise Dot, as it is commonly referred to, has degenerated into a shadow of it’s former self while it is being seriously challenged by more progressive,slicker and certainly more informative sites. (see Bolsover Cruise Club Forum via the site menu)
Run as a commercial venture it nevertheless led the way in UK ‘cruise chatter’ and on many occasions shared invitations to visit ships with its members: as opposed to other cruise travel agents who pass similar invites solely to their staff. A number of complimentary cruises and ship visits are also often offered on an irregular basis in return for a ‘daily’ blog though recently the cruise blogs are being more frequently subscribed by staff.
Off topic subjects are allowed and they have in the past been both lively and healthy. Unfortunately it is now the ‘off cruise topics’ that really dominate the site – a measure of either a general lack of cruising knowledge and experience or, a more likely explanation, because so many members rely on it as their social life blood.
The forum certainly appears to be drifting towards becoming another ocean going version of Facebook similar to the UK’s Cruisingmates site – with the only difference being it has a slightly larger regular core, around 25/30 members, making the running. The casual visitor may be forgiven for thinking that it is another branch of NHS Direct: such is the number of ‘ailment‘ and ‘medical sympathy’ seeking contributions.
Moderation appears flexible though is sometimes erratic, not helped by staff changes and rotations. Technological issues have led to continued membership frustration. It is all well and good claiming to allow a high level of freedom of content but this, in reality, is not always the case. When a recent comment by a ‘one issue’ member contained strong criticism of a rival internet cruise agent, attempts to respond to the criticism, by a member of the abused agency, was met with an administrative measure that effectively blocked any further response or defence . Highly unethical in the opinion of this blog.
The forum started with such promise but, in the opinion of this blog, failed to live up to initial expectations. This has led to a strong core of experienced cruisers heading for alternative forums and a number of dedicated ‘closed’ facebook pages like ‘Cruise People’…
…and ‘The Original Cruise Lovers Connection’
…and ‘We Are Cunard Fanzine‘…
Meanwhile the CD site continues with technical problems and, despite numerous complaints from the membership, including some pretty powerful ones…
Clicking the following links will direct the reader to specific topics…
Neil’s continuing Conundrum
One can always tell when the gaps between the cruises of the forum’s patriarch are getting longer. There is a tendency to introduce all sorts of threads either haranguing the sites Admin for this or that reason or complaining about the ‘comment useful buttons not being used correctly to afford him the adulation of the cruising public.
The latest craze is to regurgitate, yet again, a discussion on home security which in reality is a veiled attack on those thousands more users who have forsaken boring cruise forums for Facebook….
As usual the thread went ‘off topic’ somewhat with a walk down memory lane recalling forum members who no longer post. Of course months go by and no one misses these folk and then the flood gates open.
An interesting interjection by Pennbank who obviously suffers from a severe dose of envy and has little in his arsenal but attempts to denigrate other people with his pathetic comments.
Certainly Solent Richard knows what his little game is and what his attraction with Cunard is in particular. But also remember that this is the creep that, on numerous occasions, has joined roll calls and then never turns up. Well, he turns up but keeps a discreet distance from the group and never identifies himself. All the hallmarks of a professional stalker if ever there was.
Rumour has it that the membership are eagerly anticipating his views on Malcolm’s latest thread…
…though Solent richard will wager he will resort to type and stay well in the back ground.
So there you have it. The evening of Sunday the 5th March, one at 9.19 pm the other at 11.45. What a wonderful existence they lead.
Of course in The Spud’s case there are more holes in her rant than there are in Gordon Ramsay’s colander. Older forum members will recall it was she who implied that they owned the place in Windsor, and another one on the Gower when they were actually being rented because her old man worked away from Jarrow.
What is more to the point of course is that this was her first post since
Nothing since the 25 January? And this is the ‘Mega-Excited’ Blingy walking stick owner who supposedly should have only returned from an Azura cruise on 4th or 5th March and at time of writing this update (19th April) the world still hasn’t heard a peep on what happened – Not even the cruise Community forum where she raised such a fuss about her excitement…
TO BE CONTINUED WITH A PENNBANK RIGHT TO REPLY
Followers of this section of the blog can also update themselves on the antics of the CD forum’s most ridiculed member.. A socialist dinosaur and natural born loser who amuses and entertains the membership with crack-pot political rants.
Why not take a peep at the latest update with ‘Life on Planet Widnes’…
Sometimes you couldn’t make it up…
2017 What does the future hold?
That’s a good question. It certainly didn’t take long for the forum’s Patriarch to start a thread…
“Are we so overburdened with life’s troubles?
Has the Christmas/New Year Malaise set in?
Have we nothing new to add to this scintillating Forum?
Nine of the current threads on the page of fifteen threads, before I added this one, are “Word Games” which probably makes it the dullest page for years.
Maybe it is a good thing that we have these games, I never thought I would ever see me write such a thing, but what the dickens would it look like without them.
So well done all you Word Game Admirals of the Fleet for at least sustaining some interest in cruising albeit in a roundabout way. …..Neil”
Of course the question could be asked of Neil… “when was your last cruise and are we getting a review?”
In reality though its the usual old thing, what started as a decent cruise forum has been hijacked by a small coterie whose lives have become dependant on this forum for their daily bread and butter. While cruising happens to be a common link there is little in the way of serious cruise discussion.
Whatever happened to the brave new world heralded all this years ago by Lizzie Lymington? A quick check reveals dear lizzie hasn’t been around for a while…
Of course there will surely be an award ceremony along soon that will generate an inordinate amount of back-slapping led by the Matriarch herself. But CrusieDot aren’t the only web based Travel agents to win awards.
Solent Richard’s latest TA, Six Star Cruises…
And what price loyalty these days. The grapevine is hot with news of those past customers moving their business to the more likeable and popular John Campion…
Even better if your a member of Facebook, John is on hand to offer a personal service…
2016 End of Year Report
The year continued in a similar vein as previous years with the usual moans about problems with the website and moans about games players dominating the forum. Unfortunately CruiseDot isn’t immune from the fact that the majority of its members lack any broad or serious cruising experience, are usually interested in cost cutting and cheap choices, and of course, lack any real meaningful life, social or otherwise. The amount of drivel, game players and off topic subjects amply supports this theory.
Indeed, a fine illustration…
“My friends relative has just won this years Apprentice.
She actually messaged me this morning to thank me for being so nice…”
Of course, this let the cat out of the bag for poor Nick _C of Worthing…
…who had the audacity to complain.
You guessed it. The sisterhood, lead by the forum matriarch, sprang into action…
“You have just been rather unpleasant to one of the nicest members of the forum” she wrote.
Poor Nick, lesson learn’t, don’t tangle with the sisterhood.
Meanwhile, on a not too dissimilar theme, congratulations to my old mate jc for his perception in exposing that old fraud and Glaswegian weirdo, Annie…
Good to see someone not just paying attention but being prepared to challenge. The lad is obviously better at spotting frauds than playing politics, as his webpage will testify…
And hey, no sisterhood response. Kinda tells a story really. Illegitimi non carborundum
2016 Festive Round-Up
Not unlike a clutch of other UK cruising forums the level of genuine cruise related activity on the CruiseDot site remains woeful.
Hence a recent appeal by the forum’s self styled father and Patriarch figure, Neil Down, bemoaning the fact that the level of new topics remains abysmal…
That 6th line probably hit the nail on the head because slowly but surely the majority of members who possessed a modicum of real cruising experience have long abandoned this particular forum and there really is a limit to what budget cruisers can talk about.
A prime example was a recent report of a cruise on board Viking Star by Harry, Hastings. A great report albeit one year after Solent Richard’s review on the same ship…
…and of course, well out of the range of the majority of members: hence the little response.
On a brighter note it would appear that two members have returned to the fold having abandoned the even duller Cruisingmates forum. High expectations are expected from Wansbrough who cruises to a high standard though the forum can brace itself for Smith7’s, aka playmate Jolly Jill, 77 day ‘porthole’ review on Boudicca: providing of course this cruise isn’t curtailed as the last one was…see 2016 Festive Round-UP on…
Otherwise the only excitement to report in this festive update is the matter of a certain member (Islandgirl) having the audacity to challenge the patronage of the Forum’s Matriarch…
No doubt the ether was all abuzz with PMs and emails flashing hither and thither between the sisterhood, all discussing this Island upstart.
How dare she refer to a Queens Griller as being bitchy. Tut,tut.
By way of a casual observation, one would have thought that the matriarch’s time could be better spent getting on with organising the 2017 Forum Cruise. It’s definitely gone a little quiet on that front.
It’s surely a trifle ironic then that while the CruiseDot forum continues it’s downward slide one past member with an exemplary cruising record has seen, since his departure from the forum, his blog move from strength to strength and has now received an award from…
Congratulations also to Duncan whose ‘Duncan Writes’ also features in the awards.
And finally a very Merry Christmas to all my readers from the CruiseDot Forum. Stick around for forthcoming ‘live’ reviews from Queen Mary 2 and P&O’s Oceana: plus a return cruise aboard Europa 2 and something a little different, Star Clipper.
Happy Cruising Christmas…
Who do they think they are?
Imagine Solent Richard’s mirth when he arrived home from his Seabourn Sojourn cruise to a fellow conspirator’s email alerting him with a link to yet another CruiseDot Forum member’s most recent – in a series – of moans regarding the Administration of this once good forum.
Step forward the forum’s patriarch, the indefatigable Neil Down…
“I have often felt that what is said and the concern with which some articles are written on here, The Forum, show that we care but that we are just chuntering away to ourselves”.
Spot on there Neil. One can only wonder however why it has taken so long for either you or any other member with any real cruiing experience, to work that out.
Any semblance of serious debate and discussion long left those pages as they became a playground for games players, the odd troll and a few women who have nothing else in their lives other than chat with a degree of anonymity from behind a keyboard.
The Cd forum has gone the same way as the playmates forum…
who don’t even bother to list who is online at any given time: the figures are that dire while the Cruise Community site offers little better, a group of a dozen who spend more time ‘off topic’ than they do on cruising.
Thank God for Cruise Critic and the Facebook groups.
Send for the Samaritans
September saw shock waves reverberating around the forum when a member reported that agent John Campion was leaving. The first that was heard of this monumental event was when clients of Agent John received emails from other agents informing them their accounts had arbitrarily transferred to agent xyz.
Well done ‘All at Sea’ for the prompt OP which obviously caught one or two of John’s loyal supporters who are still reading from the other staff hero departure first reported on this blog…
<a href=”#James1″>Come back James</a>
but not discussed on the open forum
For two days (22 posts) the expected and usual tea-towel platitudes were forthcoming. Poor Mrs M must be devastated: at least 5% of her myriad of offerings sang the praises of CruiseDot’s equivalent of the ‘special one’.
Then there were the other hilarious snippets.
Smith 7, aka Jolly Jill on Playmates, (remember her calling the CD Admin ‘desperate’ from the safety of CM’s lounge?), who recently admitted, following a Wendy Woo costing exercise and revelation on this blog, that she had paid well over the odds for her Far East cruise in November. One can only surmise Agent John’s glee as he banked the commission.
Of course there is a possibility that the luvvies could soon be re-united with Agent John: word reaches Solent Richard that GoCruise may be a place to watch. Remember, you heard it here first.
Then the Spud -u-like with her offering….”I was exchanging emails with John all morning yesterday.” One wonders whether Agent John was the same agent that spuddy has been vilifying on the ‘cruise Community’ forum having got her Azura fly-cruise air preferences all wrong?
And then that little gem from the OP regarding the Forum cruise that doesn’t seem to be happening…”Thanks Mrs M for your answer, seems Cunard are missing a trick”.
Cunard missing a trick? They’ll more likely be thrilled not to have to watch all those wine boxes being embarked and the subsequent bar sales increase.
Talking of the Forum Cruise, there must be a very limited choice if Cunard and P&O are out of consideration. All the others will confiscate the wine boxes. Somehow one detects a distinct lack of enthusiasm. Anyone offering odds on it not happening?
And Agent John’d departure looks as though it isn’t the only subject that will keep the Samaritans busy.
Anyone who wonders how such a promising cruise forum fell from grace so quickly, they need look no further than this little gem…
WHO IS WATCHING
“Hi Every one
I just wondered, who all the people are that view a thread, but don’t comment. Some threads have over a 1000 views but only 20 or 30 comments.
Political threads seem to get the most response, with cruising threads often getting the least”.
Well, Er yes.
Aptly summed up of course by one of the more brighter members…
Comment # 2…
“A good question.
The forum went through a phase where some people thought things were too robust or argumentative, but the numbers contributing were much higher when that was the case”.
One prime example is of course this question that recently appeared…
Private excursions in Bali, Indonesia.
“Hi everyone. We are doing some research for our forthcoming S.E Asia cruise next month.
We like to book private excursions with local people if we can and wondered if anyone could advise on excursions in Bali.
We have found a company online called ‘with locals’ who do a 2 day package but only charge for the driver, leaving us unsure about how much cash we will need during the 2 days.
Any advice would be most welcome. I am asking on the forum rather than the Q & A pages because it’s easier.
Wow, 660 hits but only 9 responses: of which 3 were from the OP herself.
Perhaps Jolly Jill should ask the question on Cruise Critic where one of their members could have offered a comprehensive response. After all, Solent Richard has visited bali twice in the last 3 years and is scheduled a cruise visit in 2017…
That’s him on Kuta Beach. There is so much to do and see on the island of Bali but of course, you do have to put your hand in your pocket.
The 2016 Forum Cruise
Congratulations are due on the unmitigated success of the 2016 CruiseDot Forum Cruise on Queen Mary 2 earlier this month.
And a big well done to the Forum’s Matriarch, Mrs M, for her steadfast perseverance in plugging the event to the extent the pre cruise hype reached a staggering 32 pages (316 comments) before ending like a damp squid with just 5 post cruise comments.
Equally of importance was the fact that the UK’s self proclaimed largest membership forum managed to increase their attendance over last years ocean going soiree by a whopping 12.5%: or in simple terms 9 members as opposed to 8 last year.
So one can well understand however that a thread by Hawkinsmg, proclaiming that she had become a grandmother (? Does that pass the ‘so what’ test on an essentially cruising forum), proved far more popular amongst the membership.
Of course the purists on the forum will declare that there was a ‘review’ elsewhere and thanks must go to the well respected blogger Duncan for that for, without him, little would be heard of the high time on the high seas. That at least hit the 60 comment mark which included Duncan’s live blogs from the cruise.
Equally interesting to note was that on another forum, who actually had three members attending this cruise, the same Duncan thread reached over 40 comments plus separate reviews of the stateroom and remastering.
Any reason for this? Well a clue to the answer may just be hidden on a rival forum with a comment…
“Yes, sorry. Mrs. M warned me that Plunky is anonymous and I wasn’t sure whether to mention him or not!”
Mrs M warned? Anonymous? Really? The Matriarch taking on the role of censor. How many other attendees did M arbitrarily airbrush out?
You couldn’t make it up.
Of course, on that other forum someone with an axe to grind couldn’t resist a swipe at the Matriarch…
“Mrs M? Who is Mrs M? Is she a member of CM?”
Good old Tomvet, The gift that keeps on giving.
Meanwhile, and well worth a mention because it is linked with the original thread, was a comment by the forum’s resident trot and all round dimwit, jc…
“Have a good cruise everyone.Keep an eye out in Le Manche on Sat night for Britannia.
I’ll be on the top deck waving my little Union flag.
Not the sharpest knife in the box is the member for Widnespewl and obviously geography is another subject he ain’t hot on.
As can be seen from the two ship’s comparable courses on that Saturday early evening, there was zero chance of any mutual flag waving.
Wakey Wakey CruiseDot
Yet another sign that all is not well over on the CruiseDot with the Forum’s patriarch, Neil down, openly calling for action…
Bizarrely Neil and many other members obviously still live under the illusion that this is ‘their’ forum and that the company actually pays attention to what they say.
WRONG. It is a marketing tool and always has been, hence nine pages and 89 comments later the Admin continued to ignore the thread.
Even more bizarrely some of the membership even believe that they would maybe be entrusted to act as moderators. Can anyone imagine these anonymous folk, afraid to even show their true faces, be entrusted to invigilate others comments?
Needless to say one or two brave members produced comments somewhat unfavourable towards the Admin and, quick as a flash, the forum’s resident matriarch, the rather fragrant Mrs M, sprung to the company’s defence…
…followed by a full blown ticking off to those who dared air a comment…
Well done Annie, Glasgow and Topdeck for having the gall to question the system.
Meanwhile of course this was the same matriarch who, on 5 May, commented…
“…blogs are an integral part of the forum…”
Really? Would that be the same Mrs M who in June sailed around Britain on Queen Elizabeth, no doubt in a Grill Suite, and though she was posting almost daily on the forum, never once mentioned anything about the cruise or life onboard, let alone dining with Cunard Facebook Fanzines while visiting Liverpool.
Truly incredible …and unlike Mrs M to be shy.
While on the subject of Admin not giving a hoot, readers may recall the case of the banned member Tomvet returning under the new Pseudonym, FamilyGuy Bailemagash. He then volunteered and was selected for the visit to MSC Splendida. Solent Richard understands that a number of members raised objections and eventually Administrator Rachael removed him from the list while giving the assurance that FamilyGuy would again be banned. Despite those assurances FamilyGuy’s screen name remains on the board as a full member.
Stop Press: (15 July 2016) In another example of the power of the internet, and after a degree of pressure by this blog, it is pleasing to report that the CD Admin have at last taken action and Tomvet, aka the troll FamilyGuy, has once more been banned…
About time too.
Come back James
An interesting rumour has landed on the desk of Solent Richard. It concerns the possible use of a sock puppet- not unusual for a number of members – by a member previously banned from the CruiseDot forum.
It transpires that today, 31st May, the CruiseDot forum announced the winners of their MSC Splendida Balcony competition and that possibly a banned member, using another sock puppet was selected.
Information received, and Solent Richard stresses it is still an infant rumour, indicates that a certain ‘Familyguy’ may just not be all that he seems…
That’s him last on the list. Watch this space folks because who do you think is predicting a Splendid cruise soon?
Yes, you’ve guessed right at position 14) – none other than the cruisingmates/playmates Walter Mitty character, and previously banned member Tomvet. The lad even had the gall to announce it on the CM Forum…
CruiseDot Splendida competition update: 2 June...
Well what a difference 48 hours make…
Oh dear. It would appear ‘Familyguy‘ has been replaced by a TBA.
Presumably the acronym for ‘To be Avoided‘
Solent Richard has often remarked on Tomvet’s limited intelligence so did he really imagine he could pull this off. As long ago as November 2014 the Irish meat inspector, and part time bag carrier for EU officials, had been sussed out…
And thanks again to Wilba, with the support and assistance of Mrs M, Annie, Tracey and other ladies, Rachal at CruiseDot in sussing out another cruisingmate sock puppet who had already been banned for his female harassing comments. Looks like a quick edit may be required…
Solent Richard is really looking forward to the conversation between Mrs M and Jolly Jill on the QM2 in July when the subject of JJ’s Facebook friend Tomvet crops up. After all, what was that Mrs M posted on the MSC Splendida thread…
One can only assume that Familyguy will not be reviewing MSC Splendida soon, if ever, and particularly not on CruiseDot’s forum. Now what was that about “being the gift that keeps on giving“?
Indeed, with Tomvet as an example, one sometimes wonders how do you get to be a playmate?
Is there some sort of exam you need to fail?
Now we come to the crux of the matter though. Had James Crossland still been running the show Familyguy (aka the banned Tomvet) would also be showing a ‘Banned Member’ status under his screen name.
It would appear that Rachel is somewhat hesitant in taking this action which is puzzling. She knows who Familyguy is: what’s keeping her.
Even more puzzling is that to date there are no comments on the thread regarding the changes.
Have members been subject to an embargo notice?
Watch this space.
Never one to resist a side swipe at CruiseDot, though always from a safe distance, member Smith 7, aka Jolly Jill of playmate fame, had a go…
Solent Richard is curious as to the difference between ‘dross’ and ‘drivel’ but at least it has now been officially recognised.
But has it. ‘The man who took my booking’?
Hmnnn, funny that on ‘home ground’ the Queen of Drivel chose to name that man…
Double standards? You couldn’t make it up.
What is infinitely more amusing though is that she who claims to be so careful with the pennies and thoroughly researches future cruises, and assuming she paid the £4,999.00 flyer price for a sky suite, fell for that somewhat overpriced package obviously seduced by the ‘whistlestop’ pre-cruise element. Excellent piece of marketing by CruiseDot though should have tried Cruise Nation…
Sky Suite and 2 night Singapore stay….£2,099.00
Wendy Wu 12 day tour Vietnam and Cambodia…£1890.00 (less UK flights of course)
Stay tuned folks…
And so back to the complaints. Yet another thread started by the old sage and forum veteran, Neil Down…
Be careful what you wish for Neil. It could all be about children, grandchildren and what ailments one now has – I guess you know where I’m talking about.
Of course the real problem with some of these so called forums is they don’t have the genuine cruising membership anymore and have become virtual ‘social talking shops’ for those who don’t have a real life. The real cruisers have all upped sticks and joined the Facebook cruising groups where trolls are eliminated by virtue of the fact you need an identity.
This site has seen such a fall in numbers online it had to adjust the parameters of ‘how many members are online at any given time. Where it used to be ‘actually’ online it now logs them in for 24 hours to give the illusion there are greater numbers online. Two screen shots from earlier this morning (09.24) prove my point…
There is no way 809 members were ‘currently’ online as the superimposed example shows.
It’s a similar story over in Whitstable. Your old mate Dave has been reduced to completely removing his members online statistic box, so embarrassing were the figures.
Having said that one particular thread over there appears to be getting more than its fair share of attention and is making ‘headlines’ on Facebook. One wonders how long the ‘Master & Commander takes before removing it..
Probably due to the nature and stupidity of the the member who deprived another cruiser of their luggage.
May Quote of the Month
Solent Richard and many Facebook friends have been rather amused followers of Duetto Staines‘ daily CD Blog while he has been on board Queen Victoria on her World Cruise. It’s hardly been riveting stuff compared with another blog on the same full World Cruise…
…which additionally contains hundreds of excellent photographs.But hey, it’s provided considerable degree of mirth.
So it was more than interesting to see another CD member and old chum of Solent Richard, JohnR, Chippenham start a thread entitled “Time for a New Slot”…
Just 17 minutes after it started this little gem appeared…
“…blogs are an integral part of our forum…”
Really? One wonders at the mysterious silence that reigned between Hong Kong and Capetown on the same cruise. You couldn’t make it up.
No fond Farewell
Breaking News. 17 March 2016
It has been brought to Solent Richard’s notice that James Crossland appears to have jumped ship from the CruiseDot and has moved to https://www.jtatravel.co.uk/profile.php.
Interesting times. Did he jump or was James pushed? Having been at the helm of the CD forum during its fall from grace heaven knows what the company’s corporate bankers will demand next.
Even more disturbing is that James, ever popular amongst the forum luvvies, has had no forum epitaph, no fond farewell and no good wishes. Infact the square root of FA as if the poor chap has been air-brushed from history.
In the immortal words of Windsor Davies…“Oh dear, how sad, never mind“.
One thing is for sure though. James certainly knows where the odd skeleton is buried and might just be inclined to share a few secrets with you know who.
“Another current and noticeable absence from the ‘friendly community site’ is any mention of a meeting between two of the friendly forum’s most prolific posters, one notable by absence for some time from the forum while Duetto is regularly making daily updates on his world cruise but no mention of any invitation yet for drinks in a Queens Grill suite with the fellow member or members of Solent Richard’s We are Cunard fanzine. How odd”.
The power of the internet is truly amazing and to a lesser extent, this blog. Incredibly, less than 10 hours after posting the above comment, a cryptic message appeared on the next days blog effectively confirming the above comment had been passed on.
Even better, 24 hours later, the Queens Grill silence was broken on the arrival at Cape Town.