Reviewing the Summer Silly Season
As the summer silly season draws to close, or has it, maybe time to reflect at the goings on over at the UK’s most overrated cruise forum.
It would appear that the dust has settled in the aftermath of what was universally agreed as the ‘best yet’ forum cruise though judgement by outsiders is a little more circumspect: particularly in view of the absence of any photographs of any of the attendees appearing. Looks as though the Matriarch wields considerable power and what a difference from the more popular facebook group cruise soirees where of course the sensitivities of a matriarch don’t hold sway.
It’s long been accepted that the majority of UK cruise forums have been hubs for chatter generally amongst budget level cruisers and CruiseDot is no different.
Indeed, no subject more dominates the level of threads or conversations than the costs of cruising and ways to save the odd shekel on this, that or the other expense.
And if there was any doubt as to the validity of the above statement, and the monopolising of said forums by the true budget brigade, then two recent threads on the CruiseDot forum typify the philosophy of the majority of the membership…
…”We are happy to pay a fair price to begin with for a good quality cruise but do not expect to then pay extra for any and every ‘extra’. “
“On my last Cunard cruise (last year), I felt as though I had been mugged when I bought a round a of drinks and the service in the bar was poor too”.
…and so it goes on while here…
So fed up of the cut backs – which line should I try next?
“The cruise I just came back from had turned the free deck ice cream machines into a pay-for service 2.90 per pull + 15%grat,”
“Cut backs are rife everywhere…The Bean-counters are to blame as well but cut prices and addition of free this and that all play their part”.
“Yes they are getting expensive & the quality of the ships’ food varies significantly”.
To be fair to CD members, and as stated in the opening paragraph, other UK forums paint a similar budget level cruising mentality. Scroll through…
“Of course drink prices and anything else that’s not included is extortionately expensive,….”
“…The tickets for the bus are ridiculously expensive – we can’t believe how much we’ve spent so far…”
While another thread offers…
…”We usually have an idea of what we’re prepared to pay, although it is becoming difficult to get anything in our price bracket in view of the seemingly constantly rising prices…”
Well there you go then. A lot of unhappy bunnies with the cost of cruising.
So time to lighten up a bit on a satirical look at one or two of the characters involved in this everyday comedy of cruising tales.
First up has to be the weirdo Glaswegian spinster, Annie.
Solent Richard thanks his friendly co-conspirator on CD for the prompt sending of the link to this real cracker…
No one can possibly have ignored the spinster’s constant barrage of her vitriol against the dreaded ‘SOTON’. Indeed – given a quid for every time she’s mentioned ‘SOTON’ as some kind of pariah, and stated she’d never dream of sailing from there, it would pay for the odd short cruise.
So how odd that the same co-conspirator also spotted elsewhere that on 24 October this year, ‘our Annie’ will be departing from – yes you’ve guessed it – SOTON, onboard Celebrity Silhouette for a repositioning cruise to the States.
And what about her above quoted ‘4 lost days travelling o’from the med?
Well would you believe Celebrity Silhouette just happens to have 7 full sea days (8 sea nights) transiting SOTON to New York.
Of course the weirdo Glaswegian spinster won’t be mentioning her Celebrity cruise on CruiseDot.
You really couldn’t make it up.
Not far behind the spinster in laughs comes our old friend and one time playmate Smith 7 aka Jolly Jill of ‘I’ve moved to the Seaside fame’ (scroll down for that particular piece of genuine satire).
Many thanks to Judith Cooke of Ashby for raising the question ‘First Drink on Boarding’…
Of course Judith being one of only two higher end cruisers who need the comfort of CD for their in between cruising social lives, really wanted to promote the availability of unlimited champagne on her favoured Seabourn cruises and as did most comments on the thread consider it to be an alcoholic related question.
However, a quick scroll down to comment # 11 and up pops our Commodore Jolly Jill with…
“For me it would be a cup of tea”
What an absolute cracker. Solent Richard will wager our smudge is a right social ball of fire on her cruise table, Ha ha.
Of course the CD cruise experts are never really challenged anymore as to the accuracy of their statements. One particular one springs to mind coming from some chap called John Haworth of Wokingham stated on…
Comment # 5
“…in bad taste was the Gotcha, when the Argentinian submarine was sunk”.
Surely it’s hardly credible criticising a newspaper’s embellished story when you can’t even get your own facts correct?
The Sun’s quotation ‘Gotcha’ actually referred to the Argentinian Navy light cruise ‘General Belgrano’ being sunk by a British submarine, HMS Conqueror.
The guy John obviously reads the Guardian.
Time for a health warning.
On no occasion should anyone dare to criticise the company.
What a mistake to make when Cruise fan, Truro, dared point out on the open forum that she hadn’t received decent aftercare service…
And it would appear this wasn’t the first occasion either as, as Mags, Cardiff wrote at Comment # 19…
“I no longer book with cruise.co after they messed up a major booking big time. i wont relate the sorry saga here. Sorting the issue and acknowledging our complaint was also no easy matter”.
And of course there are those whocomplainjn on facebook cruise groups bu the luvvies wouldn’t know about those.
Of course the Mags, Cardiff comment was conveniently ignored and it became open season on the OP, a new member, who’d had the audacity to raise an issue.And so the issue rolled on over 6 days and 5 pages of comments with the usual suspects leading the charge against the complainant.
It would have rolled on longer had the OP not got the measure of the three protagonists when, at Comment # 59 Cruise Fan stated…
“This will be my last post on this forum as there are three people and they will know who they are, who are being deliberately provocative by unnecessarily and repeatedly going over old ground, and bordering on belligerence”.
like a red rag to a bull that remark galvanised the Matriarch into further action with a sneering and condescending…
‘I’m sure CD will eventually get over the loss of your business and as for negative publicity, I think many folk will realise a story has two sides and fair’s fair, we’ve only heard yours…However, as a positive, you never know, your experience might be used as a training exercise!”.
One couldn’t help but smile at a final riposte from the OP…
“‘Training exercise?’ That statement has just confirmed my suspicions!”
Et tu Mrs M.
Of course while all this was unfolding there was no sign of any comment from the CruiseDot Admin or company reps. Amar’s head kept well below the parapet following the forum cruise clash with the Matriarch?
Except that out of the blue something a trifle more than suspicious appeared.
Up pops a certain Clive Freke from Kidderminster making his First post ( in August 2019) since site joining in March 2018. Now to any worldly wise forum contributor worth his or her salt that looks suspiciously like a CD employee.
Now how far is Kidderminster from the Redditch HQ of CruiseDot one wonders?
While of course the third member of the belligerents that Cruise fan identified was ‘Topdeck’ who even carried the abuse across to another thread…
…with a rather unsubtle dig at Cruise fan’s predicament.
Interesting especially as elsewhere Topdeck himself is in the habit of promoting CruiseDot’s rivals, and one of Solent Richard’s favourite last minute agents, Cruise Nation…
No doubt that went down well at Head office.
COMING UP SOON
Stay tuned to hear about the demise of the Forum Cruise and Solent Richard’s take on the offer of a ‘Freebie’ cruise that no one wants to take.
Coming soon to the cruise blog you love to hate.
The Friendly Forum
Meanwhile the friendliness promoted not so long ago by the fragrant lizzie of Lymington appears to be wearing a bit thin…
Comment # 6 1fifthavenue
‘I looked at an Oriana cruise earlier today for November. £80 pppn ocean view including flights.”
Followed by Comment # 11 written by Lucy of Sutton…
“Oriana will not be operating at all in November as it will be on its way to China, so not sure which cruise you were looking at. Last cruise with P & O is about to end this week”.
Followed by response by 1fifthavenue at Comment# 15
“Earlier today there were multiple cruises for sale on Oriana. This was late November after our MSC Grandiosa cruise. There was also stuff on offer for the same time as that cruise in early November. Unless, dear Lady you assume I’m inferring something that’s not true? And of course the P&O website plus the agent I enquired with were mistaken I bow to your knowledge”.
Of course the chap was obviously confused as most likely the ‘claimed’ agent he enquired with was.
The ship in question was really P&O’s Oceana and alas there has been no apology to either Lucy or the membership for the chaps complete balls up as yet.
Talking of Lucy Sutton once more, what a rather intriguing exercise she mounted over two threads. Certainly made one chuckle and more than likely gave a few laughs to the beleaguered staff at Carnival House Southampton…
“I reported on a separate post that my recent cruise on Oriana had a delayed sailing from Southampton overnight and we were not informed.
I have gone onto the ABTA website and come across this:…”
…”My thoughts are, this is the principal. I am not particularly bothered about money, but the acknowledgement that we as customers did not get the cruise we booked and for that a recognition of this and some recompense”.
Finally drawing to a close with Comment # 32…
“We are with Saga and I think the claim would be about £35. To me, that is not worth bothering with.
P & O referred me first to my insurers and then to ABTA and gave me the contact details. I cannot believe the disregard for their customers. They are really not bothered about whether their customers are angry or not. They just want your money and when they have this, then care and customer service is non existent in my opinion”.
Certainly Solent Richard was amused by one or two comments on this most recent of the regular ‘lets knock P&O Fests, but the one that really caught his eye was…
“I vote with my wallet everytime”.
And of course, as the opening paragraph of this latest update alludes to, if the wallet doesn’t extend to cruising at P&O prices then its all rather academic exercise anyway.
And it just gets better. Coming up and following considerable debate, the 2020 Forum Cruise…
What a fascinating evolution the cruise.Dot forum has undergone over the 10 years it has been in existence. Once top of the leader board for UK based cruisers (though it never remotely got near the popularity of Cruise Critic) its membership has dwindled in rough alignment with its lack of genuine core and quality cruising debate.
Indeed, the small coterie of regulars that remain – no more than two dozen on a rainy day – spend as much time waffling on about non-cruising, off-topic subjects as they do discussing actual cruising matters.
But of course they are not alone. The advent of Facebook Cruise Groups, for both cruise lines and cruise ships, has seen all the UK cruise forums haemorrhage membership.
In fact those forums reliably surveyed and lampooned on this cruise blog are all generally viewed as being on life support in one form or another.
The fact that Cruise.Dot has in the past offered the odd ‘freebie’ obviously retains an appeal to some but those days are really in the past and the membership are now, with a few exceptions, reliant on the group for their main social life activity.
Hence the recent threads on free TV Licences for the over-75s…
…have outpaced comments on genuine cruise reports like the excellent ones written by Bradbury, Wansbrough and Duncan.
Not that one should complain, particularly as there is always material for a good laugh hidden amongst some contributions. Take for instance the absolute cracker from the weirdo Glaswegian spinster who says at…
Comment # 71…
“I am watching less TV now than at any time”.
The only surprise there is that no one has beaten Solent Richard to a riposte in the order of…
Well one would have thought that’s been pretty obvious for many years. Especially when one considers the times of day and total hours she actually spends waffling on any number of cruise forums.
She certainly seems to live on them and use them as her only form of social life.
Meanwhile IT’S OFFICIAL…
This blog would like to congratulate Smith 7, aka playmate Jolly Jill, on her self anointment as an experienced cruiser. Well who’d have guessed…
Certainly she is, as mentioned previously, experienced in cancellations.
The Event of the Year
As we draw closer to what has to be considered as the event of the year, The Forum Cruise, a 3 day short cruise onboard P&O’s Arcadia.
It’s definitely not all gone smoothly and poor Amar incurred the wrath of The Matriarch by daring to suggest and take the lead by suggesting a meet up on the first evening…
Good God, didn’t he know nothing must be arranged without The Matriarch’s prior approval? Just thank the lord the poor boy hadn’t mentioned a group photograph. She’d have gone apoplectic.
Of course an organised meet up on essentially a booze cruise is going to be difficult as the bars will be pretty packed with punters having a bit more to spend than CruiseDot’s rather over generous £10 pp OBC.
One could be forgiven for thinking that the much heralded Forum Cruise didn’t quite live up to expectations. As Arcadia returned to Southampton posts and comments from the participants on the ‘cruise ‘ thread hardly managed 38 comments, a fair proportion of those being from members not actually on the cruise and a definite lack of photographs.
One can only surmise that the membership weren’t prepared to invest in P&O’s internet time though amusingly Comment 39…
…appeared once the ship was safely berthed back in Southampton and regular iPhone data was available.
Is it any wonder that facebook groups, members of whom have no qualms or worries about posting photographs and comments, have taken over from cruise forums?
Solent Richard did hear, from a co-conspirator on the jaunt, that poor Amar wasn’t too happy to be reminded of his poor judgement over selecting Halfpintuk, Chester for the freebie on MSC Bellissima…
…which incidentally clocked up 115 comments (three time that of the actual Forum cruise)
Having lapped up the free cruise nothing has been heard of Half-pint since 30 April: not even a summary and thank you.
POST FORUM CRUISE REPORT
With 5 days passing since disembarkation one would have thought that, in the absence of any real onboard reporting during the cruise, there would be an outpouring of congratulatory praise and plethora of reports on the success of the event.
Not so. A splattering of threads by one or two individuals some even with a degree of malice aforethought. Goodness gracious, memo to Amar: Please ensure Duncan and Wansbrough are available for future Forum cruises.
Of course the one thing that can be deduced for certain was the grip of ‘the iron lady’, aka the matriarch Mrs M, who ensured that there would be NO photographs of and member attending the event. What a surprise and well done Trace of Yorkshire for being the only active forum member to question the photo embargo.
Even the normally photogenic Wilba was restricted to photographs of the ship’s interior and devoid of all life.
Winter/Spring 2019 Update
A happy New Year to all my followers from the CruiseDot Forum, all of whom I know look forward to the odd lampooning this blog offers.
Apologies also for the lack of regular updates over the festive period, due entirely to a rather adventurous river cruise programme along India’s Ganges Holy River…
…and a winter beach resort break in Thailand.
Not to worry though, there have been a few cracking snippets picked up over the period as the pantomime season continued over on CruiseDot, a number of scenes of which will be included in this particular update over the next few days.
But first warmest congratulations are extended to the latest member of the ’24 CLUB’, Spud from Newcastle. It would appear the not so popular ‘Mega Excited’ Geordie has now joined the Patriarch and Diva18 in membership of this exclusive grouping.
How Dare They (1)
But let’s start in chronological order and up pops another of my keen followers, the OP and member for from Wokingham, who couldn’t resist having a moan at those cruisers who have the temerity to voice an opinion of their own and, what’s more, challenge the perceived wisdom of the self appointed World’s cruising experts…
And so they rallied together in some force as their cosy little enclave was being challenged and pre-conceived views come under scrutiny. Yet another reason why UK cruise forums now have such dire membership levels.
How dare these upstarts question the forumites perceived cruising wisdom.
Even the matriarch appeared shocked to the core. She piled in, to let all who would listen, to know she had written reviews (ostensibly about life in Cunard’s Grills) under a pseudonym. You couldn’t make it up.
How dare They (2)
As is their want every now and again CruiseDot offers place or two on one of the larger cruise ships sailing out of Southampton.
So when, on 31st January this offer appeared…
…there were a number of subscribers willing to sign up.
Eventually deadline day, February 1st, arrived and the lucky draw (?) was made to select the two members who would sail on MSC’s news ship, Bellissima and at 3.17 pm the forum administrator announced that the two winners have been contacted via personal message.
Tension mounted as hopes sprung eternal while the two winners were given time to confirm their availability (?). One means to say, for ostensibly the largest cruise forum in the UK there were only a grand total of 9, yes NINE, volunteers.
And so at 4.19 pm Amar confirmed the winners were Duncan aka dst87 Falkirk and Halfpintuk, Chester.
Well yes, who was this Halfpint that had only joined the forum the same day, some 4 hours after the offer opened..
And that certainly didn’t please the more parochial members one bit. An interloper who obviously upset the cosy set-up of the ultra cliquey CruiseDot member’s coterie.
Indeed, one would have thought a tsunami had hit the forum such was the outcry when it was discovered that one of the chosen ones had only joined the forum on the day the offer commenced.
The Matriarch was the first up in arms…
“Excellent winner. Quality blogging comes naturally to you but as it appeared to be offered to members of the forum, it’s a shame there wasn’t a minimum number of forum contributions in order to be considered for the experience.
Pot hunting pays”
“I dont know who halfpint is. I do think its a shame that it didnt go to one of the other forum members as its those that keep the forum going with regular contributions, that make this forum what it is.
“No Sour Grapes from me”
“I echo Mrs M (The Matriarch for those not in the know) in that to encoursge membership in the case of freebies…”
“I agree Garfie,
I am, and have been on other forums (not cruise related) that require a minimum number of posts before privileges can be gained.
Maybe Cd should consider this for future events,,,,,,,,,,,,,,”
…before the Matriarch pitched in again less than 30 minutes after her somewhat biting and spiteful initial comment…
“Yes, names in the hat but as it’s a forum offering, then names in the hat should be ”proven” forum members, not those who see a freebie and apply for it rarely to be seen again. That has always been my feeling about forum freebies and I won’t change my mind on that score”.
Some folk do really have a sense of entitlement, don’t they?
Interesting and subtle comment (#56) by Halfpint …
“Well this isn’t the most welcoming of starts is it? I’m sorry some of you have felt that I didn’t deserve this opportunity. However, whilst I may be newly registered I have been a lurker following the forum for a while, particularly on behalf of my Mum who is a huge cruise fan. This forum has been a great source of information, tips and tricks when she has been on her travels.
I haven’t contributed in the past as I haven’t been fortunate to go on a cruise myself before, so had no personal experiences to add. I’m really excited that I will now be able to share this adventure with you even if it may be through a fresh pair of eyes”.
Interesting times then and this column can’t wait to see how the Bellissima blogging turns out.
Of course, no problem for the other winner, Duncan has no hang-ups about being photographed.
It remains to be seen if Halfpint is equally bold.
COMING UP – Jolly Jill aka Smith 7 and the incredible Double Airbrush attempt…
“Hello and a warm welcome to all my avid followers from the CruiseDot forum. In the event any of you have landed on the wrong page don’t worry, one of the latest editions to the blog is a review of Solent Richard’s recent cruise reviews…
…both highly unlikely to be seen on the cruiseDot site:
a 14 night adventure of Star Clipper…
…sailing from Bali to Singapore.
…and earlier in the year, on the World’s highest rated cruise ship, Europa 2: here’s the link…
2018 FESTIVE ROUNDUP
Today being December 1st, in theory the Season of Goodwill is upon us and what better time to produce an update on the carrying-ons of the membership.
Without any further ado, Merry Christmas folks…
…though judging by most comments not many will be enjoying Christmas at sea and certainly where CruiseDot is concerned another festivity has been put on hold for another year…
For the second year running Cruisedot was well beaten by Bolsover and one of Solent Richard’s favourites got the Silver award.
No doubt the Samaritans have been in touch with the Matriach.
This blog has always accepted fairness as a guiding principle and one has to give credit where credit is due. Hence one really has to admire the self belief of the small coterie of members (less than 20 on a good week) that really believe that they are the one and only authority on cruising and are fully representative of the cruising community as a whole.
This couldn’t of course be further from the truth and one would only need to do a short comparator between the level of cruising and cruise subject debate on Cruisedot and Cruise Critic to realise where they are coming from.
Of course one member, Smith 7, aka jolly Jill to her playmate friends can probably muster more expertise in one particular subject than any other member.
If there was an award for ‘most cancellations’ our Jill certainly is in a league of her own and heading for the record in the ‘cancellation stakes’.
Including the most recent Oz adventure that’s now FOUR in almost as many years. The Fred Olsen world cruise went down the chute after discovering the cost of insurance cover; the Thomson cruise to Haifa was a real clanger, especially after it transpired the reason for cancellation was a false alarm and the port of Haifa remained on the itinerary; and then the Celebrity cruise Singapore to Bali went ‘out the window’ when poor Plunky(?) contracted Wendy Wu tum.
No doubt her insurance company has now marked her card. One can hardly contemplate the premium increase at the next renewal date. Ouch.
With the exception of the previously mentioned Cruise Critic, the CruiseDot forum is now level pegging with the other UK cruise forums where where every conversation is distinctly levelled around ‘budget’ cruising.
A random selection to make the point…
“For years I yearned to go on an Oceania Cruise, but could never come to terms with justifying the cost, preferring to do three cruise a year for the price of one.
So when a visit was on offer from Cruisedot to lunch on the then brand new Oceania Marina I jumped at the opportunity, even though it meant a 450 mile round trip!!
The ship was stunningly beautiful with quality oozing out of nook and cranny. As to be expected the lunch was outstanding and would have put a Gala Dinner to shame on many mass market lines.
I came away with my enthusiasm flat lining as it came across as the emphasis on the ship was to spend heavily on the fine dining and drinking and little else when it came to entertainment.
Since that day I never been tempted to look again at Oceania. Not unless I come across a weeks cruise with them for a few hundred pound…………”
Reading this thread the message comes across load and clear. For the majority of CD members that level of cruising is way out of their financial reach…Quote…
“The thought of booking a weeks cruise on an already expensive ship and not spending every night wining and dining in those additionally overpriced restaurants would be a complete waste to me. An additional expense I can live without”.
Interestingly Solent Richard and his wife were also on that same ship visit, enjoyed it and have since spent 5 weeks on two Oceania cruises…
…and is happy to correct a certain CD comment…
” Regardless of which of our restaurants you select, there are no dining surcharges”.
And the next…
“I read on cc that the 2020 schedules have been released and the pricing is ouch!!!!!
9 day cruise Sept 2020 SOTON departure inside cabin solo price exceeds £300 per day ! Oceanview cabin £400 per day!
I daren’t check other routes or dates”.
“I am a Celebrity fan but there is no way on this earth I will pay that. Their loss!”
“Because Celebrity is or was our line of choice Tony, That’s why we are trying other lines, To compare with our favorite. I do agree that some prices are eye watering but that applies to lots of other lines too. Jan.”
“We love celebrity but will not pay the ridiculous prices they’re asking at the moment. At £300+ per night I’d rather book one of Oceania ships”.
There you go then. Looks like Celebrity will be sailing empty ships in 2020. You couldn’t make it up.
Well, that could only come from the forum’s very own Queen of Drivel, aka Smith 7…
“Nowadays, I enjoy wine with a meal but not usually more than a couple of glasses, except for the odd occasion when I will admit to being tipsy in company. (As some of my forum friends have witnessed)I also enjoy a G & T and have been known to enjoy the cocktails on offer on our more expensive cruises in days gone by. We used to enjoy a pre-dinner drink at home but for some reason got out of the habit. These days,we never drink at home alone.
OH is a real ale drinker and enjoys a pint with a meal in preference to a glass of wine”.
Really back to the old affordability again…
I have made many a comment on how I’m a cheap date, drinks wise! My husband is the same.
My theory on booze, hotel or ship or anywhere, is just because it’s ”provided” [won’t say free because hotel or ship, it’s paid for in some form or another], it doesn’t have to be drunk and I say that with having ”free” alcohol on tap on many an occasion.
As for our children, in my experience, I think they drink far less than we used to”.
“Which is my point really. If I paid a fortune for a DP, I would also want my money’s worth and that could amount to a large daily consumption of alcohol.”
“Alcohol isn’t a part of my life, hasn’t been a part of my life for over 20 years. I don’t even like the smell of it now”.
Glad I won’t be sharing table there then.
Well there you go, there are 5 pages and time is just too precious to list the better ones however they currently end with this cracker…
“Like you Tracey, I only have one kidney and I try and moderate the amount of alcohol I drink. As much as I love Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc I find that if I leave the unfinished bottle in the fridge it tastes yuk after a few days”.
And finally for this update it’s Competition Time Folks…
One doesn’t get to hear about the odd social get-togethers that used to happen in Solent Richard’s day which is a surprise considering hoe ‘friendly’ the forum has become. Or maybe it’s that the real social folk have abandoned anonymous forums for the more active Facebook cruising sites.
Solent Richard recently came across an photograph of a CruiseDot social event at Solent Towers some years back…
It was actually an event celebrating P&O’s 175th Anniversary sailaway but what puzzles Solent Richard is that one guest, second right behind Wilba, appears to be going to some lengths to avoid having her identity seen by hiding behind a union flag.
Who on earth could that be?
Answers through the ‘comment’ section of this blog and the lucky winner will receive 2 weeks complimentary car parking for their next cruise.
Correct answer from member ‘T’ from Yorkshire. Yes, it was the Matriarch herself, Mrs M.
You couldn’t make it up.
As the long hot summer draws to a close it’s worth noting that over on CruiseDot the Pantomime Season is already in full swing.
This weekend saw the long anticipated ‘Forum’ cruise onboard Sapphire Princess which is obviously a rip roaring social success as there has been no reports from the ship back to the forum: and certainly no photographs: though that may be entirely due to the Matriarch slapping yet another embargo on photographs.
However, Solent Richard thought he would do the decent thing and add a photograph of Sapphire Princess as it sailed past Solent Towers Saturday evening…
UPDATE: Solent Richard’s earlier prediction regarding her embargo on personal photographs was spot on. Not one photograph with any forum member enjoying themselves appeared on the Forum. Fortunately though there were many that found their way onto Facebook. A picture speaks a thousand words.
Regular readers of his section of SR’s blog will know he has often commented on CruiseDot forum administrators disappearing without a bye or leave to their adoring membership. The most recent, Jordan, has followed the same pattern as that of Dave, James and the odd females.
Notwithstanding this remarkable turnover CruiseDot then produce the most unbelievable piece of cognitive dissonance yet seen, appointing a new forum administrator, Amar, who amazingly has never, prior to his appointment, had not experienced, sailed or visited a cruise ship…
Well done Bradbury for flushing out that little gem.
Then of course we had the usual issues with the software and the classic toys leaving the pram syndrome, aka Carol ‘Bowing Out’…
“Hi Everyone,The forum doesn’t seem to work for me any more. I would like to start a new thread, but can’t do paragraphs, so it makes it annoying to read. I can’t reply with quote, that becomes annoying too. I can’t access any other part of the site. So I will still look in, and I will post the occasional comment, I would now like to post the emoji knocking its head against the brick wall, but that doesn’t work either ………………………………………….. ………Carol”
That was at 7428 posts to Carol’s credit on 30th April. There followed 5 pages and 70 odd comments, many sympathetic and many urging Carol to stay…
Don’t give up, as frustrating as it may be.
The fact the ‘admin’ rarely join in these conversations suggest that they don’t read them or just ignore them.
BUT, the good news is, and I guess we all knew this, Carol never gave up and left, indeed, as this update goes to print her comment count has hit 8158.
Meanwhile one wonders who is using who. It certainly appears the CD sales department are treating folk on their mailing list with large degree of contempt.
Do they really believe customers would fall for this marketing gimmick...’IT’s ALL ENDING’…
Then bang, 8 weeks later…
…All Inclusive’ miraculously reappears and continues for the next TWO Months as well…
As they say in Redditch campanologist circles, “pull the other one CruiseDot”
Meanwhile it would appear the CD team of agents are taking over, pushing more of their so called deals in the ‘New’ Topics column. A handful of protests are generally being ignored…
One has to laugh, in amongst the CD agents sits a thread from ‘Agent Tosh’, the forum’s bad loosing Brexit Remainer still foaming at the mouth while venting his usual left wing bile, drivel and Fake news.
Don’t these folk have a social life? One of his posts on the thread was made at 9.35 pm on a Friday evening.
Maybe those CD agents need the business. One missing Forum thread during 2018 has been the regular hyperbole surrounding the Travel Agent Award season. In keeping with the forum’s slide of regular membership it would appear that CD has been relegated somewhat…
…behind the considerably cheaper and better packaged CRUISE NATION.
Talking of social lives, the odd early morning weekend screenshot reveals an intriguing array of non cruising posters up late at night ‘playing’ games…
But it’s not all bad news folks. Solent Richard is pleased to announce that once again there is a ‘Golden Opportunity’ for aspiring ‘seaside dwellers’ to own one of the prestigious apartments in Solent Towers…
Full details here…
Watch every cruise ship arrive and Depart from the comfort of your own lounge or balcony. No need to drive from Cosham or Waterlooville to spend time at the seaside. Sociable and fun neighbours. An opportunity not to be missed.
Stay tuned for all the fun of the Forum cruise, some cracking one line half truths from the Matriarch and Jolly Jill, aka Smith7 and a quick satirical look at the forum’s resident Trot and his leftie Brexit hating sidekick who speaks such a load of tosh.
There would appear to be an omission on the current forum pages.
A member who is normally in the habit of writing excellent live reports and blogs has gone AWOL which is a great pity as Wansbrough is without any doubt the top blogger on the cruiseDot forum.
While another member is currently on the MSC Seaview Inaugural cruise his offerings are not of the Wansbrough standard of live reporting.
CruiseDot members who wish to catch up with Wansbrough’s excellent daily pieces are invited to follow the link…
For years SolentRichard has suspected that a series of ‘private messages’ are exchanged on Monday mornings, between various CruiseDot members, with the sole purpose of giving Solent Richard something to write about. Hence the latest editions to this popular lampoon series…. How Dare They and ‘What is the Point‘
In Praise of Garfield – the Outing of Neil Down
Following his close shave with neighbour Smith7 aka Playmate JollyJill, Solent Richard’s old sparring partner, Garfield, is to be congratulated in following in the shoes of the said Solent Richard.
While rumours and questions abounded on the Q&A site as to the forum patriarch’s recent cruising record (and questions seemed to be regularly avoided by you-know-who) it was left to garfield’s mischievous streak to go full on with the question on the open forum…
Garfield initially wrote…
“Neil, clearly you’re sulking as your post has not received the response that you’d hope for. Perhaps it is clear that a good number of users on this forum are fed up with posts that aren’t relevant to cruising, and when politically themed threads happen anyone who doesn’t agree with a core group of left-leaning, remain supporting writers they are effectively shouted down and attempts are made to belittle them”.
…followed by the cleverly if sarcastically worded…
“Poor old Neil…
I shall call you Don Quixote from now on as you’re intent on tilting at windmills.
I think maybe we should start crowd funding on the forum to send you on a cruise as it would seem you haven’t been on one for a while.
A very concerned Garfield”
Now that really touched a nerve and 35 minutes after garfield’s crowdfunding post all was revealed…
“Ida and myself have not been well enough to cruise since April 2016….”
My word, that’s two years past and who’d have thought that Neil Down would have something in common with the Sockpuppet Queen, Diva18 who also seems to have given up on the cruising world.
When is the seaside not the seaside?
One can only imagine that CruiseDot were truly grateful when Smith7 took the hump from the rebellious ‘playmates’ forum and decided once again it grace a forum she once criticised so intensely.
Particularly, as if one would believe, she is now a member of the ‘seaside’ community in Hampshire.
As Jolly Jill we had the tumultuous fanfare announcement heralding the abandonment of Crayford (no doubt much to the delight of the local constabulary) and her and Plunky’s new ensconcement at the seaside…
“Well thanks to our fellow cruising mates sevenseascoaster aka Wen and her hubby, we have made the giant leap from being city dwellers to living near the sea”.
CruiseDot members will of course recognise ‘Wen’ as Seacoasters, Hampshire.
Five pages of drivel followed, including the usual sarcastic comments about the possibility of the move being to Lee on the Solent: the likes of which regular readers have come to expect from the mates Stirling resident bore, old Jimmy 5 Chins.
For months readers not on the ‘Private message’ circuit could only speculate where this particular seaside haven along the Hampshire coast actually was.
As we all know you just can’t keep the Queen of Drivel down and when a co-conspitator sent SR a link 17 months after the famous move, all was revealed…
Yep, Garfield… “especially as we are practically neighbours”
But, Garfield claims to live in Waterlooville which is almost 12 miles from the nearest seaside.
What on earth can the girl be on?
Well if that revelation was embarrassing the next one just piles on the old proverbial.
When CruiseDot’s Carol from Welwyn Garden, opened a thread on ‘Lanyards’ little did she realise the mirth it would give this column
Step forward Jolly Jill’s new bestest friend, and the CruiseDot forum’s resident Matriarch – aka Mrs M – to offer an early rebuttal with a glorious statement only she could make…
“I’m with the ”tacky” brigade I’m afraid”
Lymington Lizzie wasn’t much kinder either. Splutter, splutter, Solent Richard’s coffee all over the keyboard.
Are the Natives are getting Restless?
Well it would certainly appear so. A relatively small band of members have such a reliance on the website for their social life that any disruption almost borders on a call to the samaritans.
Witness today, 30 April 2018, kicking off with threats to ‘Bow Out’ over the antiquated format of the site.
CruiseDot should thank their lucky starts that the weirdo Glaswegian spinster is the other side of the world: she’d definitely have something to say in Jocky Japanese.
But not is all lost. There is a new forum on the Block. Well, one that is being rebuilt with modern technology and which specialises in proper cruising chat and not just JollyJill type drivel. Dedicated cruisers should give it a try…
“What a load of Tosh”.
Regular followers of CruiseDot may well have noticed that without warning a thread, that was originally sat between the ‘The Adult Aurora’ topic initiated at 10.13 0n 21 February and the ‘Tool Cruise’ topic initiated at 09.51 0n 22 February, suddenly disappeared.
Solent Richard was reliably informed that the said disappearing thread had been an assertion by an obviously sensitive soul that the forum rules had been broken and launched a rather vitriolic attack on member ‘Garfield’…
Needless to say the Admin, while removing the thread from the ‘Topic List’ but failed to remove it from the inner system. It can be found here…
And Garfield’s crime? He’d apparently questioned whether or not Toshtosh, aka Tony, had been a teacher.
In all probability he probably was. One can only imagine it was in needlework judging by the easy manner the poor lad was offended.
Of course that wasn’t the end of it and while subsequent comments, before the Admin woke up, indicated that poor Tony wasn’t as popular as he thought he was. As one half of the forum’s ‘Leftie Love-in’ he’s not averse to dishing it out himself but is obviously averse to a little ‘robust’ debate. So having backed himself into a corner a short 5 day sulk ensued while the toys were reinstated to the pram.
Meanwhile there were some interesting comments written before the thread was closed. The best humorous one being from the forum’s only real cruise blogger Wansbrough…
A snowflake just about sums it up while it was good to see Donna hankering after the SR days.
Coming soon…. Neil Down’s delusional nightmare and the Jolly Jill question of the year…“When is the seaside not the seaside”
Readers 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 that spanned most cruise lines, Cruise Dot – as it is commonly referred to – has degenerated into a shadow of it’s former self. On a good day CruiseDot is capable of giving the likes of the ‘playmate and Cruise-Community forums a run for their money but this is generally due to the incredible amount of non cruising (Off Topic) irrelevance produced by its members.
Alas even the challenge of the more progressive and slicker Bolsover Cruise Forum has failed to generate any worthwhile challenge to the all dominant Cruise Critic and various Facebook cruising group sites.
Run as a commercial venture CruiseDot 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…
How Dare They
Oh the impertinence of Scandic of Harrogate who dared question the management on open forum…
“Anybody else owed a Berlitz Guide for writing a review?
I’ve been trying to get mine for weeks now, but all requests are just ignored.
Is this just another scam”?
It certainly didn’t go down too well with the Patriarch who was onto Scandic’s case almost immediately…
“No it is not a scam. Quite often these books are sent out in batches so if you have just missed a deliver it can mean a longer wait. I have known times when they have waited for the new edition so that you get an up to date version. On the whole they are worth waiting for and the information in them is pretty good with sometimes a mistake that some of the regular cruisers will find.
I have had at least one guide since 1996 and even had my ugly face on a few versions so I am a little biased. Anyway just hang on or drop a hint to the workers and it will arrive. …..Neil”
There you have it then. The Patriarch has earned at least one guide in 21 Years. And still he hasn’t answered the Q&A site question ...”when did Neil Down last cruise”
Of course it’s all very well for the Patriarch to criticise the CD management and Admin…
…but woe betide anyone other upstart. Not sure about the afore mentioned Abysmal Quality but certainly abysmal hypocrisy abounds.
Here’s another classic from the Patriarch – or should it be ‘Mystic Meg’…
“So it was easy to predict that the Loyalty section would soon stand alone and on its own feet and I, for one, look at what has happened with a smile and a lot of interest. …..Neil”
Can anyone point out where the Patriarch made this prediction? No, neither can he.
Talking of hypocrisy what about member Haworth of Wokingham’s valiant efforts to report back from his cruise onboard Viking Star. He’s the first paying forum member to sail Viking Ocean even if he’s 2 years behind Solent Richard…
…and apart from the odd favourable comment on the ship and its entertainment there is little else other than sneering remarks.
The fact is of course that, stand fast maybe two members who cruise Cunard Grills and Seabourn, the remainder would find Viking Ocean well out of their league and certainly the quality beyond their comprehension.
While one can always guarantee ‘off topic’ subjects to be more popular than cruising ones, you can also guarantee the forum’s resident ‘Trot’ will find something to sneer at.
And so it was with the announcement of the Royal Engagement. Up pops the Widnes dinosaur with his usual brainless comment…
“Another one jumps on the Royal gravy train!!!”
Really? Here we have a Royal Prince who has served his country well as an Apache helicopter pilot in Afghanistan and is in the forefront of rehabilitating wounded servicemen, engaged to a self made American female with littler no airs and graces who herself does immense charitable work.
Of course it’s just typical of what we have come to expect from Mr Widnespewl: the man who removes food on the last day of his cruise to save a few bob at a motorway service station.
Maybe he would prefer to see his kindred socialist spirit, Emma Dent Coad, in Buckingham Palace. Read about it here…
What is the Point
Or of course this update could also be entitled…’What is the Purpose?’
Regular readers will not be surprised when Solent Richard once again turns his attention towards the ‘Queen of Drivel’, aka Jolly Jill, aka Smith 7, aka Perismo: all depending which cruise forum one reads.
November on CruiseDot just happened to kick off with this little gem from my favourite playmate and Hampshire neighbour…
Yet another post in the long series of CruiseDot regular moanfests that the world has come to expect from that backwater of budget cruisers, where it is plainly obvious the owners of CruiseDot don’t give a stuff for the vanity of the small circle of their core members.
Jolly Jill wrote
“After years of the odd news bulletin from cruisedot, I have recently been receiving them on an almost daily basis.
The problem is, they are a total waste of time for those of us that can’t access any of the links.
It makes no sense does it”?
…and Judith Cooke responded…
“I posted a review this morning. It would not allow me to put in name, address and e-mail. Their way of not sending the guides”?
Meanwhile B&D of Shepton Mallet wrote…
“This has been a bone of contention for some time now…….”
Certainly has dear and pretty fascinating it is too. Of course the management are well aware of the hold they have on the core membership – a small band of some-time cruisers who evidently don’t enjoy a normal life in the real world and are totally reliant on the site for their social life while they find safety and comfort in anonymity and mediocracy.
Frankly they’d be better off playing a recording of ‘Paint Drying’.
One could question what on earth is the worm on in that final clip above…
“I have booked more than 15 cruises with Cruisedot. I phoned a few weeks ago to alert the sales team to the problem with links (for some of us) on the forum. Unfortunately, my usual TA wasn’t available and the person who answered my call hung up when they realised that I wasn’t calling to book another cruise”.
OMG, They hung up. How dreadful. Cause for a police complaint there Jill. In the meantime it is hoped that the team from Jolly Jill’s Cruisingmates most favoured cruise agent, Cruise Select, don’t get to see that admission – 15 cruises booked: Wow.
Nevertheless, Solent Richard will soon be delighted to inform Jolly Jill of the delights of a cruise visit to Bali which he knows she will most gratefully appreciate…
Oh Dear Never Mind
Having highlighted, in the earlier ‘Welcome to Vanity Fair’ update, the membership’s gratefulness, vanity and untiring belief that everything about the CruiseDot organisation is so so wonderful, it must have come as a terrible shock when they learnt that the 2017 Cruise Awards gave top place as Best Cruise Agency to Bolsover Cruise Club…
while a check of other winners…
…reveals that in the great scheme of things CruiseDot could only manage FIFTH place out of 7…
Wow, down to 5th place: quick, phone the Samaritans, the membership will be devastated.
One cannot of course help thinking that apart from the terrible technical issues – that account for upwards of 20% of Forum activity – the forum also suffers from the attendance and demented scribblings of one or two semi literate socialist dinosaurs.
Here’s a recent offering from the initial sake of the great man himself…
He writes…“Momentum is made up of thousands of disillusioned young ones (not thugs)…”
In the eyes of the wannabe Liverpudlian momentum are obviously angels and not socialist thugs. No doubt the boyo believes it was the wicked TOOOORIES who bricked Angela Eagle’s Merseyside office when she challenged Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership…
And one wonders who was responsible for the human images hanging in Manchester at the start of the Conservative Conference last week…
Of course the guy has form when it comes to untruths. A bit like many of his socialist cohorts. But to try and make out that Momentum is full of youth really takes the biscuit: this kid is in total denial.
But there, nothing surprises particularly coming from the empty headed big gob with FA to say about real life. Surely he would be better employed selling big issues outside Morrisons in Widnes: strewth, what a halfwit and serial loser that guy is.
Perhaps he should change his avatar, here’s one recommendation…
Don’t forget, you can always catch up on the jc antidote store…
Welcome to Vanity Fair
It’s been some time since this section of the blog has been updated, mainly due to the fact that the CD Forum has become so mundane that little material of any satirical value has been forthcoming.
The usual pattern continued with the forum patriarch pursuing his weekly rant at the quality of the website, the Matriarch laying down the law while re-afirming her loyalty and the bulk of threads and comments directed less and less towards serious cruising topics and more towards current affairs and game playing.
Then, all of a sudden, as if all Solent Richard’s Christmases had come at once when the forum equivalent of the relief of Mafeking occurred: Member Bradbury opened a thread to celebrate the forum’s 8th birthday…
What followed was nothing short of an amazing exercise in self promotion vanity from a handful of members covering 7 pages or 63 actual comments.
Not that that the total number of comments can be taken at face value. The Matriarch actually registered 8 of them, 6 went to Smith 7 aka Jolly Jill and the OP managed 5, while the overall winner was Diva and Jolly Jill’s fellow playmate, Tracey from East Yorkshire. You couldn’t make it up.
Of far more interest of course was the discussion regarding ‘old’ members who had disappeared. Lists were made and names added of those old ‘stalwarts’, most with valuable cruising records, who no longer use the forum.
Funny that the majority left around the same time as Solent Richard and even more interesting that the majority are now active members of various Facebook groups where the chat is about genuine cruising matters and stories rather than the day to day drivel of life.
Talking of drivel and its place on a cruising forum, two recent threads rank highly in the drivel stakes have to be from the drivel queen herself, I hear Thunder…
What a scoop….“I was rudely awoken at 12.30 am by claps of thunder…” and of course, thought her forum friends would like to hear about it.
Meanwhile the second entrant was a fascinating look into the life of other members being openly offered for discussion with a hypothyroidism thread…
The only surprise being that the Spud didn’t find time to comment on what most folk consider obesity.
That completes this little update as SR has used his allotted time for a bit of satire for this week. Do tune in again to read his take on the CD Members views on Jane McDonald’s TV show from Viking Sky, Neil Down’s faux pas call for an embargo on visiting Myanmar and jc’s bloomer on Singapore.
It’s all here on he UK’s favourite cruise blog site
They just don’t Get It
It’s relatively easy to see why the CruiseDot site has diminished in popularity. Apart from the appalling technical issues that pervade so many of the membership’s comments there is also a real dearth of what could be referred to as ‘serious active cruisers. Can anyone remember when the Patriarch last cruised? Neil certainly goes to great lengths to avoid the question over on the Q&A site.
The fact is that in reality there are greater discussions on the individual cruise line pages of Cruise Critic than there is for all subjects on the CD site.
And of course not all the information, when it is offered is valid.
Again, even straying from cruising subjects some individuals are just plainly way off course…
” …BoJo isn’t actually all that popular with party members…”
Needless to say the day before, Thursday 28 September, YouGov published a poll…
Hammy, 1fifthavenue is obviously as up on his politics as he is on cruising.
Then we have the Faux Pas of the month from our old friend the Forum’s patriarch. Who else could sally forth with a remark that has to be embarrassing and rather tactless on a forum owned by an company that actually sells river cruises in Myanmar…
‘We are just ordinary people but one thing we can and, in my opinion, should do is to advise any and all possible vacation visitors to that country not to do so. ……Neil”
Of course, in truth there aren’t that many, if any, forum members who could actually afford to take a river cruise along the Irrawaddy. There was one though…
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, led 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.