Cruising Mates



John 11.17

….“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live….”

Well that would appear to be the wish of a certain playmate troll, masquerading under the name of Hazel Mansfield,  who has brazenly contacted  the UK’s most popular blogger seeking to exonerate two former playmates, Jolly Jill and Tomvet, from fair exposure.

You really couldn’t make it up.

One can only imagine this is one more desperate attempt to airbrush history, one more last throw of the dice, to save the faces of two of the worst possible humbugs known to cruising.

For many years Solent Richard has been  a well known exposer of these types of trolls. Usual suspects, multiple sockpuppets and email addresses (Usually gmail to align with their budget cruising status) and not to mention their wild accusations.

This particular creature even sought to suggest that the Met police had visited the home of SR at the request of the onerous Jolly Jill: aka Smith 7 in her new life form over on the equally abysmal CruiseDot site. Of course, the actual circumstances were somewhat different and I believe  ‘the worm’ was actually told to cease wasting police time.

Regular visitors to this particular section  of my blog will of course recognise Jolly Jill as the champion of cancelled cruises – remember the Celebrity cruise Singapore to Bali that got abandoned cos poor Plunky wimped out with a dose of Deli Belly caught in Vietnam? It is therefore with considerable curiosity that we hear she has put down a deposit on a 93 night Fred Olsen extravaganza…

Probably stands more of a chance actually as ‘the wimp’ isn’t going.

So that leaves us with the second of ‘Helen the Troll”s nominations, Tomvet, aka Tom Kennedy. One does wonder whatever happened to him. Banned from most forums and under final warning for mysogyny on playmates, those girls will soon be old enough to do google searches and what a shock they’ll get when they discover his lies and deception on the CruiseDot site.

Do keep your emails coming Helen: do give us a clue as to which playmate screen name you hid behind: all such veritable balls of fire in the cruising world they were. Ha Ha ha.


It is with deep regret that Solent Richard has to announce that Whitstable Dave (The Master & Commander) has, as predicted on this blog, finally abandoned ship.

Alas,  –  more popularly known in the cruising community as ‘playmates’ –  has slipped its moorings for the final time and been committed to the deep without trace…

The playmates must be devastated. Not even Dave’s somewhat hollow past reassurance that advertising revenues were stable could save playmates from the breakers yard…

Spare a thought folks for those who had invested so much of their cruising credibility in supporting the ‘revolutionary’ cause…


Solent Richard can’t wait to join the frantic e-Bay bidding war for what will obviously be a fire sale of collectors item T-Shirts from one or two cheapskate cruiser’s collection of memorabilia that didn’t pass the ‘so what’ test.


More to follow folks: Stay tuned to share the crocodile tears flowing out of Albox (God, not another road washed away?) and learn more about stalwarts Tomvet, TobysGranny and Gillsajoker as they look to the Samaritans for assistance.

A warm welcome to all visitors to this section of my cruise blog. Please note that there are  a number of quick links a few paragraphs  below the opening ones – they refer to updates on the cruising mates antics and are in chronological order.

Second Lockdown Edition Update

A good amount of water has flowed under the bridge since the last Playmate’s update, as has events on the UK’s most over promoted ‘Friendly Cruise Forum’. Most noticeable though is that In cruising terms the membership can now be counted on one hand while the proprietor,  Master and Commander Dave, has completely deviated while pursuing  his latest vanity project, ‘walking the world’.

The AWOL list continues to grow with the most prominent casualty still being the ‘Playmates’ one and only  Walter Mitty character, Tomvet.  My word how he is being missed in the satirical world along with the comments of that old bat (Octocruiser?) who constantly fawned  over the ‘family from hell’s MSC adventures. The nearest it now gets is the rather monotonous tones of the ex pat non cruiser, Gillzajoker as she follows the Judge’s budget cruising adventures (More about those shortly).

Readers may think that a somewhat slightly unfair synopsis of the ‘Master & Commander’ because of course he has made two particular incursions/posts of cruising interest over the last 9 months. Firstly, in July we had a heads-up that something wasn’t quite right…

“Much as we love doing a Caribbean cruise at Christmas, we can’t see us going ahead with this next one. :(

TUI hasn’t said anything about this cruise yet and seems to be working on the assumption it will be going ahead. However, it appears likely that even if the cruise does go ahead, there will be restrictions and inconveniences that we’re not prepared to take a chance on.

So, unless by some miracle everything goes back to the ‘old normal’, we’ll cut our losses and forego the £500 deposit we’ve paid rather than spend a further £3500 or so and have a miserable week away.”


Oh dear, surely the love affair with Thompson/TUI/Marella wasn’t about to hit the buffers? 


Well we didn’t have to wait too long to find the cause of this unusual announcement and, here on 27 September, all was revealed…


“We cancelled our TUI Christmas cruise today. :(

We had no choice but to accept the loss of our £500 deposit because, as of today when the final ‘request’ for overdue payment was made, the cruise had still not been cancelled.

We had hoped that TUI would cancel the cruise before the final payment was due and return our deposit, but we can’t blame them for cutting their losses as best they can.

Oh well, c’est la vie! We’re planning on spending our windfall and a new treadmill / inline trainer!”



Now add that little lot to the previous loss encountered when they missed their Queen Mary 2 East Bound Trans Atlantic voyage due entirely to their failure to apply for the necessary visas, and the ‘Master & Commander’ is not that far behind Jolly Jill on losing cruise money.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed though that one member has been making a valiant effort to keep the ‘Playmates’  boat afloat.

Step forward Judgegeoff who has been delving into his photographic archives, as far back as 2006, to bring us an illustrated  series of his cruising experiences…

… with some 9 cruise blogs and 2 travelogs.

The Judge is to be commended for his perseverance and dedication to the cause: particularly when not one of his eleven adventures  received any form of compliment or  accolade from the forum’s owner, Master & Commander Dave.

That’s really odd and may well be due to the fact that one regular member, whom ‘Master & Commander Dave’ cannot stand, also makes daily comments of appreciation – well if you can call telling someone that their photographs are wonderful ,  when in many circumstances they come across as  basic and average appreciative – then you know that the forum’s expat Yorkshire lass and avowed budget cruiser, Gillsajoker, is just being her boring self. (She actually followed the same practice on the now defunct Silver Travel Advisor Forum – any wonder it folded with support like hers.)

Now the Judge certainly appears to have a  varied and good cruising record although one can easily understand  how he came to  be a member of what is an essentially budget level cruising forum. And in all fairness, Solent Richard does admire the Judge’s pluck and honesty in telling it how it is – warts and all so to speak.

But, one does have  to question why a retired Nuclear Power Station Project Construction Manager would feel at all comfortable travelling the world, on cruise ships, accommodated in ‘Inside Cabins’ with poor facilities and barely enough room to swing a cat.

And even more mind boggling is why would anyone book an hotel for a pre-cruise stay without a B&B deal: effectively necessitating having to walk out of the hotel each morning to find a cafe for a cheap breakfast?

And as if to illustrate the gap in differing peoples cruiseing styles it transpired that while cruising with Voyages of Discovery’s Voyager…

…they called into the port of Volos. The port is well known on the cruise ship circuit as the hub for excursions to the amazing rock formations in central Greece hosting one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries, The UNESCO World Heritage site at Meteora.

So it was fascinating then to read the Judge’s views on other ships in Volos at the time, including ‘The beautiful and luxurious ‘Europa 2’ because it so happens that Volos was a port that Solent Richard also visited when he cruised on “the beautiful and luxurious Europa 2’….

Interestingly and unfortunately for the Judge, it transpired that…

…”If we were ever to return to Volos again, especially on a Sunday, we would make sure we booked a ship’s excursion”.

And there lies the difference in two styles cruising. Yours truly, having done a little research, had booked a ship’s excursion to…

…yes, you guessed it, Meteora.

And what a fabulous excursion it was…


Some monasteries required a ‘Gondola’ to access….

…which was well worth the experience…

For those readers who may wish to make a comparison between two similar itinerary cruises here’s two links. The first was the Judge’s Voyager…

and this next one, Solent Richard’s Europa 2…

Europa 2 – Raising the Bar

(Well worth comparing the cabins/accommodation photographs) 


So well done JudgeGeoff and thank you for your efforts. There is though just the one issue that remains unexplained. It was noticed early on the Judge wrote…

“…as our departure gate always seems a long walk away, we decided to get wheelchair assistance. It was quite a long wheel to the Assistance centre where we had to wait for a buggy to take us to Gate No. A10 for our British Airways flight…”

Having noted previously this was a favourite trick of the Playmates’ expat Yorkshire lass and avowed budget cruiser, Gillsajoker,  one does wonder what’s going on. All a bit like a Curates Egg really: needing assistance at an airport but suddenly at ports, according to the accounts,  capable of walking miles…Just a few examples, Antalya, Volos, and Kusadasi where, at the latter,  the whole corniche was covered; a distance well in excess of Heathrow’s main runway.

Oh well, the end of Lockdown 2 isn’t that far away and we will then maybe brighten spirits with a Festive Update. Stick around folks.

Easter 2020 Update

First a dedication is in order to the AWOL member from the Republic of Ireland, the forum’s out of touch Walter Mitty character who masquerades as a Vet, even using the screen name Tomvet.

Solent Richard’s gratitude to Tomvet is immense as he proved the inspiration for SR’s most recent excellent cruise experience on an MSC ship, the Preziosa…

MSC Preziosa – Yacht Club Experience

Don’t you just know that if the Playmate’s regular ‘tightwad’ found cruising with MSC a bit of a pinch financially then two weeks in MSC’s ‘Yacht Club’ was going to b a great experience. And so it proved, even to the extent of the Solent’s booking another for 2021. We are now also…

…and Tommy will be delighted to know that the Pizzas …

…are delivered free to Yacht Club Suites.

Thanks again Tommy.

And welcome also to Lockdown which appears to have a serious debilitating effect on the few remaining members. The love affairs with Fred Olsen and Saga are falling apart…

Carwalsick writes…”With an imminent final payment and having lost all faith in Saga getting a grip, I have cancelled. I have a choice of losing my deposit or carrying it forward to a new booking made within the next couple of weeks. In the circumstances not a great deal.”

…while Arizona writes…It is unacceptable to keep taking on new passengers only for them to have a miserable experience.

…and even the Expat Joker has opted not to publish  her review of the Boudicca Cruise on another site, Silver Travel Advisor, for fear of upsetting Fred Olsen apologists.

Meanwhile, this is all rather strange…

The Playmates flag carrier Judgegeoff having a moan about Iglu and MSC. But why Iglu?

Solent Richard, like many readers, has always been of the impression that CruiseSelect was the Playmates preferred Cruise Agent.

Obviously loyalty is not a factor where finance is concerned.

While the font of all cruising knowledge, Gillzajoker,  has the gall to add…

“That is very bad customer service from IGLU, Geoff.”

…after her experience with ‘Ahoy Cruises’.

You couldn’t make it up.

On a brighter note Playmates can rejoice in the fact that at least they have not had to put up with the ‘Queen of Drivel, aka Jolly Jill, during the lockdown period. As an embarrassment she has exceeded her own low levels over on the CruiseDot site where she sought sanctuary after falling out of favour with the Playmates Forum. You can read an update on all Jolly Jill antics here…

…but to whet the appetite, when she wrote…

“I remember doing a harbour cruise in Southampton, just after the fleet returned from the Falklands was. QE2 was requisitioned a s a medical ship. Maybe Cunard could spare one of their Queens to do a similar job to relieve the pressure on the NHS, should it become necessary”.

“QE2 was requisitioned a s a medical ship.”?

This of course was total nonsense and Solent Richard is surprised no CruiseDot member picked up yet another of her blatant examples of misinformation.

The Cruise ship that was requisitioned as a hospital ship was in fact the P&O cruise ship, Uganda…

…which never went near Southampton during the Falklands War – she disembarked her passengers in Naples and headed for Gibraltar where the conversion to hospital ship took lace including the fitting of a flight deck.

While Solent Richard  doesn’t understand Jolly Jill’s specific kind of stupidity, he does admire her total commitment to it.

As stated, the Playmates forum have had a lucky escape.

Brexit Update

For those regular followers there still does not appear any recognition or a favourable comment for the Expat Joker’s (aka Gillzajoker) Fred Olsen Boudicca review. She’s definitely not been forgiven for those porkies on her maximum cruise spend.

And meanwhile, for those who may have missed the detail of her post cruise hotel-bound stay in the Seychelles, Solent Richard can enlighten you with one of his ‘One Way to do…’ articles…

One Way to do Mahe, Seychelles.

Now who on earth would have missed a trip up to the ‘Missionery Lookout’ while spending time on the Seychelles island of Mahe?

Solent Richard is delighted to report of ‘rumblings’ amongst the playmates Saganauts. First we had Lesley KHKate moaning about the fridge shelves and now we have Ruth (rdw123) having a good old moan having gone down with Norovirus. It would seem that’s a virus that the playmates have a great interest in. Remember Jolly Jill and the Plunky’s confinement  on Fred Olsen…

Don’t worry if the photographs have been eroded, that’s because Jolly Jill hasn’t paid the fee to photobucket.

You couldn’t make it up.

But probably the most outstanding statement made came from Ruth who calmly accused Saga of failing in their ‘duty of care’ when confining her to her cabin with ‘confirmed’ Noro.

Nothing of course mentioned about the personal ‘duty of care’ like using the sanitiser and washing one’s hands regularly.

But there you go, some folk do have a misplaced sense of entitlement.

And that’s not all, since the previous update the UK’s most popular cruise blogger has done a second trip along the Mekong River, this time the upper reaches that pass thought the fascinating country of LAOS. Join him on this amazing adventure…

Fifty Shades of Green – Laos Mekong River Cruise

And still no news of Tomvet: Truly a mystery disappearance that was mentioned in the Spring 2019 update…

‘The absence of Walter Mitty, aka Tomvet, was mentioned in the November update but it is now getting on for in excess of 3 months since a single post. Truly mystifying indeed: not only have the punters been anxiously awaiting the family adventures on MSC Opera but also there’s not been a dickie-bird of a mention about the much heralded Christmas Market Cruise’.

That’s well over 15 months of absence. Surely that ban hasn’t been reimposed or has the playmate’s very own ‘Teasock’ done a runner?

It’s not only Tomvet who appears to be permanently AWOL. The list gets longer and longer as the months go by. Rosemary Avid Cruiser, Sue Spud, Jimmy the One, Jolly Jill and Wansbrough to name but a few.

Oh dear, whatever could have gone wrong?

Festive Update 18 December 2019:

Knowing that Saga cruises have proved popular with the small number of playmates remaining on the forum no doubt they will truly appreciate the excellent and popular review recently written by Solent Richard – Spirit of Discovery 16 Night Cruise in the Mediterranean…

Saga’s Spirit of Discovery A 16 Night Cruise

Strange then that the experience of Solent Richard appeared to be considerably more enjoyable  than that of Lesley, aka Khkate,: but of course, this wasn’t on a standard cabin ‘guarantee’ booking.

After all, who else but a seasoned moaner would make a song and dance about the impracticality of the standard cabin fridge not being able to store champagne: when either common sense or a question to the cabin steward would have revealed that to fit larger bottles, including Champagne, all one needed to do was adjust the ‘adjustable’ shelves…

Oh dear, how sad, Never mind. 

And at last the greatly anticipated ramblings of the ex-pat Joker’s Fred Olsen extravaganza on Boudicca has  eventually made an appearance: albeit a review with more whitewash than in Santorini.

And any wonder that…“The following day we met up with people who had been posting on the Cruise Critic Roll Call but only 8 out of 17 turned up.”

Perhaps some were not as keen to enjoy the company of the budget obsessed Yorkie Maid.

“I did approach J in the buffet, but he denied all knowledge of this site so I ‘made my apologies and left’!”

It would also appear that not all playmates enjoyed the review. To date just 6 comments have been added and most notably missing is one from ‘The Master & Commander’.

All a little odd one might think as the joker spends at least half her time on playmates posting compliments to ‘Our Dave’ on his excellent photographs and walking reviews. You do have to laugh.

And still on the Boudicca bonanza, who in their right mind would book a cruise, with so many transfers (None in fact),  in order to save a few bob?

And who would fall for the ‘free'(?) Port Elizabeth shuttle to an out of town Mall when a short walk or taxi rise would have offered  the historic centre of the town…

You really couldn’t make it up.

And finally, just in case any interested playmates missed the Joker’s Seychelles expense, here’s a far superior effort with lots and lots of photographs…

One Way to do Mahe, Seychelles.

Sympathies must however go out to the Joker’s travelling companion Marie whom it would appear has now lost TWO cruise deposits but still well short of Jolly Jill’s record number.

Autumn Update:

No doubt members of the Playmates forum and other readers of this section of Solent Richard’s Cruise blog will be interested in his latest review, a 24 night P&O cruise to Canada. For those who have not yet read the amazing review, here is a link…

Arcadia’s Canadian Round Trip

Solent Richard is once again grateful to a friend for passing a link to the playmates site that no doubt will not amuse the Master & Commander. However, congratulations to the playmates on their recent new recruit Cumbrianwizard who, surprise surprise, kicks off with his maiden contribution – on a supposedly cruise orientated forum – with a ‘contact’ request to a member who hasn’t been active for umpteen years…

How deeply disappointing that as at 18 December, some 48 days after the comment, the response remains blank.

You couldn’t make it up.

Obviously yet another playmate who seems to have some sort of psychological hangover from their potty training days.

Meanwhile it has also come to Solent Richard’s attention that two members have not been entirely happy with their latest cruises. Un-used to criticism it transpires that a regular Saga cruiser took a little incoming flak over on facebook and, not being used to that level of comment, the toys were thrown out of the pram. One means to say, you book the cheapest ‘guaranteed’ cabin and you hardly have many grounds for complaint as to the size and whatever storage space is available.

And obviously not being the sharpest knife in the box who’d have thought it either wise tor prudent to complain about the practicality of the fridges in a Spirit of Discovery Standard balcony Cabin? Particularly when one continually espouses the fact ‘they don’t drink’ and take the complimentary champagne home with them.

All will soon be revealed with yet another illustration as to why the playmates aren’t too good at cruise ship reviews.

It’s not just Saga either. The ex-pat Joker, currently sailing on Boudicca, certainly doesn’t appear to be the canny Yorkshire girl she makes out. Good old Fred certainly saw her coming with transfers not included and hotels so way out in the sticks it will certainly be costing a little over budget once again. Booking a hotel/ airport transfer in Cape Town at R350, when an Uber fare comes in at 25% cheaper,  is not good practice.

Readers of this page will no doubt be positively salivating at the thought of the next Joker’s ramblings.

End of Summer Update (September 2019)

It would certainly appear that the Master & Commander has let The Joker’ wriggle off the hook on her false claims regarding her cruising budget being always  ‘under £2,000’ : exposed further down the page as a real Yorkshire porky for which she is well renowned.

Indeed, having bust the budget on both the Holland America and Fred Olsen cruises (details further down this page) a co-conspirator now informs Solent Richard that a March 2020 booking on MSC Fantasia has blown another large hole in the illusionary expat’s budget boasting…

A quick check on Fantasia’s deck plan will reveal that Cabin 5042 is an inside cabin on Fantasia Deck (Deck 5) and directly below the casino on Deck 6.

And, as the above illustration shows, that’s £369.00 above budget: or just a slight 20%  over budget.

Meanwhile it has been good to note that the playmate’s resident Walter Mitty aka Tomvet has made a cameo appearance after months of absence…

…to remind anyone who cares that he know that he too has visited the Iguazu Falls, albeit some 20 years ago. No doubt a lot of water has passed over the falls since then Walter.

While on the subject of missing persons there was certainly something missing from the ‘Master & Commander’s’ most recent walking adventure which included a drive through Scotland on a Highlands and Islands expedition….

“The adventure is underway!

We arrived in Stirling after a nine-hour trouble-free drive. The Stirling Highland Hotel is old, big, very pleasant and typically Scottish.

we headed down to the city centre to find dinner. We had Vegan Aioli wraps in a rather scruffy Subway and they were delicious! :-)

Tomorrow we’ll be driving to Ullapool to catch the ferry to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. We’re sleeping over near Stornoway before driving to Harris and the first cottage”.

Does any reader have any clue on what is missing from the this part of the stirling account?

Well it would appear that our Dave passed right through including an overnight stop in Stirling and completely missed the occasion to meet up with Jimmy Five Chins, a one time prolific bore of a contributor to playmate cruising.

Whatever could have gone wrong one wonders.


With Easter comfortably out of the way it’s apparent the playmates are now turning their heads to Summer.

Well you may have thought that but apart from one member declaring that she is on the new Saga ship’s maiden voyage the remainder of anything remotely linked to travel is the ‘Master & Commander’s’ summer walking exploits.

Indeed, to an outside observer the only daily forum activity extends to ‘The Joys of Walking’ and the rather moronic efforts of ex-pat  Joker Gill  (aka screen name Gillzajoker) and her daily contribution, ‘Joke of the Day’.

And talking of the Joker, the world still awaits that promised ‘selfie’ at the Taj Mahal.

Oh well, here’s one of yours truly who was also there in December last year and isn’t afraid to publish his…

(There, see, after all those promises of a photo by some ‘joker’ it’s down to good old SR to come up with the goods)

While on the subject of ‘The Joker’ one really should address the question what is it about playmates members that make them  exaggerate where they live: particularly at  coastal locations.

Readers will remember Solent Richard’s earlier expose of Jolly Jill moving to the ‘Seaside’ which of course was a total fabrication on her part and so obviously her silly vanity got the better of her.

The other candidate for coastal exaggeration is Gillzajoker, the UK ex-pat domiciled in Albox in the outbacks of Spain. But the good old joker would have you believe she’s actually domiciled on the ‘Costa Almeira’. 


Well a quick google search will reveal that Almeria is some 103 km from Albox (or a 1hr 20 min car journey) while Villaricos (also on the coast) is some 48 km (or 45 minutes by car) from Albox.

Sometimes you just couldn’t make it up.

Coming Soon: the not so canny Yorkshire woman and her Cape Town taxi adventures. Not to be missed.

But enough of the Joker for a moment. Solent Richard’s travels continued and for those interested in a classic crossing of the Indian Ocean maybe his latest review will be of interest…

Queen Victoria Singapore to Cape Town

Regular readers will of course be saddened to hear,  as of this update the first week in May 2019, that the Playmates’ Walter Mitty character, aka Tomvet the Irish meat inspector, still hasn’t surfaced with any of his Phoenix-Reisen contributions. What on earth could have gone wrong.

And neither has the Master & Commander’ risen to the bait offered in the Winter and Spring 2019 update and challenged the ex-pat Joker on her budget cruising porkies.

Indeed, since that December cruise which blew a hole in the claim of cruising under £2,000.00 co-conspirators have passed on TWO more snippets, both of which holed the Joker’s claim below the waterline.

Readers can always quickly scroll down to the latest update…SPECIAL NOTE 27 May:

Maasdam in an outside Cabin???….

Whoops, a whopping big hole and one coming up, which doesn’t appear to have been heralded in the cruise section yet, a Fred Olsen Cape Town to Seychelles, again in an outside cabin…

That’s with a starting price, inside cabin, comfortably breaking the budget figure, of £2299.00.

Fred’s own pricing on an outside must be eye-watering down in Spain…

An Ocean View at £4249.00

Oh well, you can’t win ’em all.

SPECIAL NOTE 27 May: Well, well, well. Just 18 days following the above update and mention of the Joker’s October Fred Olsen cruise above,  the Joker decides to come clean and announces to the playmates what Solent Richard had known since February….

The cruise, booked through Ahoy Cruises, offers accommodation in Cape Town at the “Onomo Inn on the Square – apparently very central”  according to the Joker.

Solent Richard can’t wait to read the review: particularly regarding the district of the rather budget Onomo Inn:  not exactly in a position that it is safe to venture out at night. Oh dear, you do get what you pay for.

AND, as if by magic, following the SPECIAL NOTE 27 May, up pops the Master & Commander with this beauty…

“(BTW… did you get an enormous discount? I ask because the cruise costs a lot more than £2000! :lol: )


Well not quite. The joker did respond with a dainty piece of prevarication…

“As you know, Dave, my ‘ceiling’ is usually £2,000 for a basic inside cabin on a long-haul cruise with flights and any pre- and post-stays included. This particular offer came along to include the aforementioned but in an Outside cabin and with an All-Inclusive Drinks Package for……. £2299 – so I ‘pushed the boat out’. Do you think it’s a bargain?”

(page 2 posted on 28 May)

Except that the £2299 price just happens to be the ‘From’ price which all seasoned cruises  would recognise as the price for the lowest grade ‘Inside cabin’.

A co-conspirator has informed Solent Richard that other folk booking this same cruise are paying  £5198.00 and £5378.00 for two persons in an ‘Outside Ocean View cabin,  though the latter, to be fair, included a small supplement from a Northern airport. Now that it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to work out that the per person costs come to more than £2500.00 and, interestingly, doesn’t include any foreign transfers.

Sounds from where I’m sat that there is a bit of Yorkshire bullshit being written on the playmates site.

Hilariously, the membership just soak it up but you can’t pull the wool over Solent Richard pet.

You really couldn’t make it up.

Winter / Spring 2019 Update 

At the time of writing this update (March 2019) it is now 4 months since old Walter last made an appearance. (see Previous update below).

This really is serious as such a lengthy period of absence hasn’t been witnessed by our hero and, despite numerous banning orders, it will surely be a job for the Samaritans if the situation continues.

Unfortunately there isn’t too much of any humour or relevance to report on as the playmates site continues to stumble along rudderless.

Even the ‘Master and Commander’ missed a trick earlier in the year when he stumbled on another member subject to a few possible porkies…

“Presumably the whole adventure cost under £2000 then, which is pretty incredible!…….”

Now wouldn’t you have thought the boss would have pursued that line, particularly as there was no direct response from the original poster.

Anyone with a little nous about them would have soon concluded that the famous, and  oft quoted,  total budget figure was well breached on that ‘ cruise package booked through ‘Imagine Cruising’…

…as will most definitely the follow-up ‘outside’ cabin cruise on HAL.

It would certainly appear that the joker isn’t the only member being questioned on what they pay…

That little thread also became a little heated when ‘figures’ were brought into question with the net result the ‘Master & Commander’ stepped in, admitting even that playmates could no longer be referred to as a ‘friendly’ forum…

“I left out the word “friendly” because I have to admit that one or two of our members were anything but”!

Really!! Who on earth could they be. Surely not the AWOL Walter Mitty chap?


What’s a more serious issue is the continued absence of a number of playmates and surely the Master & Commander should at least be declaring a national emergency.

The absence of Walter Mitty, aka Tomvet, was mentioned in the November update but it is now getting on for in excess of 3 months since a single post. Truly mystifying indeed: not only have the punters been anxiously awaiting the family adventures on MSC Opera but also there’s not been a dickie-bird of a mention about the much heralded Christmas Market Cruise.

Surely not? It didnt happen? Looks like we’d better dig up that old ‘Missing Person” Poster…

Of course Tommy isn’t the only once regular mate to go AWOL and it was most refreshing to spot the old ‘Queen of Drivel’,  aka Jolly Jill, making a cameo appearance on another members ‘Boudicca’ thread. Mind you, only one post in months and that was to remind the faithful that she had in fact accumulated the equivalent no of nights equal to 9 months cruising on Boudicca…

Now that’s the kind of statement that another AWOL playmate used to bore folk with across the internet: whatever did happen to the AvidDiva who hasn’t been cruising for in excess of 3 years now?

To be fair to old Smiffy though, some of her experience came in handy when, over on the Cruisedot site,  she was able to offer another absent playmate, Wansbrough, advice on insurance and cancelling cruises…

Comment # 27

…Well, she certainly has more experience in those fields than most.

And finally for this update it did appear that the ‘Master & Commander’ had caught one member telling a few porkies…

“Presumably the whole adventure cost under £2000 then, which is pretty incredible! I remember Celebrity’s wi-fi prices and it seems they’re still outrageous…”

Needless to say his comment wasn’t acknowledged.

November 2018 Update:

As the winter months set in and we say farewell to the Remembrance Day services time to reflect on one or two playmates who have definitely gone AWOL.

Is there anyone left other than the daily Joker, Dave the boot and an odd few others.

Most notable of the AWOL candidates has to be the Irish meat inspector, aka Tomvet.  A disaster beyond the imagination if this colourful playmate has up-sticked  even if his views on  Brexit and Irish meat dumping in the UK were not appreciated.

The genuine disappointment though will centre on not having a review of the leprechaun’s take on their much heralded October cruise on MSC Opera. Surely all that fanfare over the booking announcement wasn’t wasted…

…especially after…

“I’ll write the review, if you’ll tune in and read it!”

Fingers crossed folks.

Second up in this AWOL section is that veritable forum flip-flop enigma, Jolly Jill. There must be a prize for anyone offering an explanation as to the loss of her ‘moderator’ status and the toys leaving the her pram?

Having successfully airbrushed her previous rebellious departure from CruiseDot she now appears to be a leading light once again over on that particular forum.

One does suspect however that she will miss the bucketful of sympathy that would be naturally poured over her on the playmates site at the news of her most recent vacation cancellation.

Our Jill certainly is going for the record in the cancellation stakes. That’s FIVE now including the most recent Oz adventure, The Fred Olsen world cruise after discovering how much the insurance cost, the Thomson cruise to Haifa which still went there and the real clanger, the Celebrity cruise Singapore to Bali over poor Plunky’s upset tum.

No doubt her insurance company has now marked her card. One can hardly contemplate the premium increase at the next renewal date.   Ouch.


And so the long hot summer comes to an end and it’s time to reflect back on what’s been happening with the Playmates.

Indeed, the Master & Commander has announced that future cruising will henceforth be limited to Marella Caribbean cruises though whether or not these will be extended from the usual one week to two remains to be seen.

It has become clear that Whitstable Dave’s cruising vanity project has fallen flat and that his attempt to diversify with a ‘Walkingmates’ bolt-on section is proving just as poor. What with Snowdonia now becoming a popular spot for hikers it’s probably a good opportunity for Walkingmates to adopt a musical interlude…

On a more amusing note, two interesting cases of Schadenfreude  were spotted.

The first involves the retired postmistress and  fragrant doyenne of luggage Carousels whom it would appear has experienced a taste of the old karma…

“…Also she lost a case someone took it by mistake…”

Well done Sparkiethecruiser for bringing us that little gem. Readers will of course remember the story of Tobysgranny lifting someone else luggage at Miami airport and not noticing for three days while they were onboard.

The second Schadenfreude case really involves our friend Walter who has gone incredibly silent of late: no doubt now realising what a plonker he and his latest cruising escapades are after reading Trace’s review on how to take a young family on a proper cruise.

Meanwhile Solent Richard notices that a number of members are occupying their time considerably more over on facebook. Now who’d have guessed that.

Whatever next, JollyJill, aka Smith 7,  becoming a stalwart poster on cruisedot. Now that’s a turn around.


It’s never been really clear why the playmates most prolific cruise blogger, Wansbrough, suddenly did an up-sticks and departed some 2 years ago: though one could speculate that at the centre would have been the mates’ resident Walter Mitty character, aka Tomvet,  the Irish meat inspector.

So the odd playmates that do enjoy good cruise blogging, why else would this particular blog be so popular with them, can now have direct access to Wansbrough’s latest quality live blog from MSC Seaview by clicking on this link…

MSC Seaview (Inaugural Cruise) Preamble


Please note that there are  a number of quick links a few paragraphs  below the opening ones – they refer to updates on the cruising mates antics and are in chronological order.

Currently, the latest is a Jolly Jill Trio Tribute, just click on the link to go directly to the most recent update…

When is the Seaside NOT the Seaside

But first an apology to my regular readers of this lampoon section for a period of absenteeism. All due to being on a number of  trailblazing cruises, a first time cruise with Princess Cruises. You can read about it here…

Star Princess Hawaiian Islands Adventure

While not forgetting all you admirers of quality blogging, the TWO previous  reviews by  Solent Richard feature a most UNUSUAL adventure on Star Clipper sailing from Bali to Singapore…

Star Clipper – Java Sea Limited Edition Cruise

Playmates Jolly Jill and Gillzajoker will surely be more than interested in Solent Richard’s  visit to Bali…

…and sailing into Singapore’s Marina Bay Cruise Terminal…

Both experiences not to be missed.

While not forgetting the playmates resident Irish meat inspector, a subtle Bali reminder that couldn’t be resisted…

…and a cruise on the World’s highest rated cruise ship, Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2…

Europa 2 – Asian Island Explorer

When is the Seaside NOT the Seaside

Amid tumultuous fanfare September 2016 saw an exciting announcement that Jolly Jill had up-stiked from Crayford and was now ensconced 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”.

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 –  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.

Poor Jill, who in better days over on the Playmates forum was their resident haberdasher and actually had responsibility for selling the playmates own branded lanyards.

One often wonders how much use the Diva18 – aka Avid Cruiser – has had out of hers now that cruising seems to have dropped off her radar.

And to complete Jolly Jill’s triple whammy the drivel queen managed another of her glorious statements…

“Do people read letters that are left in the slot outside cabin doors”

The clock doesn’t have to be switched back too far for an answer.

It would appear our Jill has had a serious memory lapse on this subject…

“I went for a walk along the corridor and took a sneaky look at other cabin’s bills”

As blatant a breach of passenger’s privacy as ever there was, perpetrated by Jill’s friend Tomvet. All fully condoned by Jolly Jill who at the time was also a forum moderator (whatever happened there).

No action taken, the post remains there today: you couldn’t make it up.

So March 2018 passed and so did the anniversary of the ‘Mega Excited Spud’s Azura cruise. But still no mention of what happened as the Geordie girl appears to have gone AWOL…

…and not just from playmates either. Whatever could have happened on Azura after such an mega-exciting build up? 

The Master and Commander.

Despite regular persistent denials to the contrary it would appear that the forum’s ‘Master & Commander’ –  aka Whitstable Dave – has been taking a keen interest in Solent Richard’s latest cruise…

Carnival Dream – A very pleasant surprise.

Just 48 hours after publication of the Carnival Dream’s Caribbean cruise, which contained a photograph of beaches in Montego Bay…

…bingo, the follically challenged one opened a new thread on the playmates site entitled ‘Doctor’s Cave Beach,’…

Dave wrote…

Doctor’s Cave Beach comes highly recommended. This is from Wikipedia:

Doctor’s Cave Beach Club, Montego Bay (also known as Doctor’s Cave Bathing Club) has been one of the most famous beaches in Jamaica for nearly a century.

It is noted for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and near-white sand. Its sheltered location provides calm waters.

Well yes, having been there before Dave should know all about it.

What’s even more amazing is that despite being ‘keen’ walkers our hero opted to taxi there and back from the cruise terminal and  pay an admittance fee ( kiss good bye to $42) when, 500 yards nearer to the ship there is an equally ideal choice between One Man Beach and Dump-up Beach…

You can even see the cruise terminal in the distance.

Mind, you’d never get such extravagance from fellow playmate Gillzajoker.

Here’s one joke it appears she played on some poor member of a Cruise Critic Roll Call…

Never mind, one can but  expect its all down to PM fraternising with the odious Tomvet.

You really couldn’t make it up.


Well Solent Richard certainly say that one coming. How many times has the issue of the ‘cost’ of Dave’s  vanity project been raised on these pages and how many times has there been a denial from the Master & Commander that he doesn’t read this blog?

It reads:

I removed that panel a couple of weeks ago, and I also removed the ads from forum pages. Both the ads and the panel made demands on the hosting requirements and those demands required an expensive level of hosting. With so little activity on the forum nowadays I can no longer justify spending almost £50 per month to have it hosted; by removing those features it should be possible to reduce the cost of hosting to about £10 per month – an amount I’m happy to spend even if no one posts anything!”

Well, well, well. What a surprise.

Of course, no blame attached anywhere but isn’t it just curious that three of the early ‘mutineers’ who abandoned the CrusieDot site have now suddenly almost become leading lights back there.

Even Stan the Preacher has rebranded himself in an attempt to be accepted, well done Stan: or should that be Cruisewidower of Pontefract?  You couldn’t make it up, you really couldn’t…

Of course it would be most unfair to dear Stan to single just him out for re-inventing himself on a more popular forum. The latest playmate to join the re-invention stakes is none other than the carousel luggage lottery queen, Tobysgranny. 

Not exactly much imagination from Joan as she morphs into …FREDDIE’SGRANNY.

Announcing a November booking on Queen Victoria. Oh dear, one does hope the personal hygiene has improved since the last Queen Victoria cruise…

It is noted that  the only worthwhile cruise blogger to leave playmates was Wansbrough and his recent posts from Celebrity Eclipse are excellent, complete with live photographs being streamed daily. Maybe he never did really fit into the ‘budget’ mentality of the playmates site.

Talking of budget mentalities, so interesting to note that Jolly Jill, Wansbrough’s fellow ex playmate, hasn’t made a comment on any of W’s threads. Bitchy or what?

And finally readers will recall that the end of last year report featured the village idiot’s best shot at winding up Solent Richard. Remember this…

Of course we can forgive the meat inspector who thinks he’s a vet, especially on his gender analysis recognition. As a lesson in this is obviously necessary and in view of this bloc’s hand in his exposure at cheating to get a cruise visit on CruiseDot, this directional sign may be more appropriate for the rather faux family man and certainly gender appropriate…

Ha ha ha.

End of year Update

The Playmates forum continued to bump along in relevant obscurity throughout 2017 as the band of revolutionary followers  dwindled further and it now occupies the permanent bottom of the ladder of UK cruise sites.

Good to see however that one of Solent Richard’s factual observations touched a nerve with Ireland’s self styled Intrepid cruiser which prompted yet another crude and banal response on the playmates site…

“Is there something wrong with or is it a reason to belittle someone for cruising mass market / low to mid budget cruise lines?

Do most folk understand that ‘normal’ families take their children on foreign holidays to recognised resorts, beaches and other recognised areas of interest to children? Some will even recall taking theirs to the Algarve and even to Malta

The Oracle certainly thinks so and speaks out of both sides of his mouth :roll:

I also found out where he lives!” 

The usual befuddled scribblings of the playmate’s resident Walter Mitty character. A  proven cheat and liar twice banned from the UK’s largest cruise forum and responsible more than any single other member for the exodus of other playmates from the site.

Two  follow up comments from female playmate members,  including the Albox joker,  were  obviously those members  with little sympathy for the victims of the meat inspector’s Misogyny : the likes of Hazel on the playmates site and Lizzie of Lymington on CruiseDot; little wonder Joker Gill doesn’t show her face on the open forum anymore.

And this is her response to the chap who exposed the liar and cheat…”Just accept that he is a pathetic, odious little man with delusions of grandeur and ignore him!”


That’s a little rich coming from the playmates resident joker who openly admits to fraudulently simulating mobility issues at airports in order to receive favourable treatment while, in the meantime, scavenging other passengers used water bottles on Costa cruise ships, all  while claiming to be a canny Yorkshire lass. Somehow she doesn’t appear in the same cruising league as that true cruising Yorkshire lass, MaggieMou, another member who was on the receiving end of Walter’s mysoginist abuse.

Can one logically assume the joker shares one thing in common the meat inspector?  Well apart from their dislike of the UK’s favourite cruise blogger they certainly appear to budget cruise without their partners.

And as we close this 2017 edition a tough please for mate SPUD-U-LIKE who has now gone 10 months since her Mega-Excited Azura Cruise without a single word of appreciation.

How very strange.


Whatever has  happened to the ‘Friendly’ Forum of which  so much hubris has been spoken in the past?

A recent post, by the forum’s resident joker,  informing the friendly members of her freshly cancelled Costa cruise…

…posted at 13.03 on the 15th November…

…was completely ignored by none other than the ‘Master & Commander’ himself as he pursued a different direction on his personal vanity project…

at 18.32 on the 16th November. No offers of sympathy etc as the boyo sought to promote his personal Youtube link: and similarly nothing from the next consecutive visitor, Granny M, posted at 19.44 on the 16 November…

…completely ignoring the joker’s appeal for sympathy over a period extending past 24 hours.

Tut Tut. The Friendly Forum?

They’re ‘avin a laugh.

Meanwhile as winter approaches there is still no news of the Spud-u-Like, now absent for 8 months and no sign of that Azura review. Oh dear, something must have gone seriously wrong for the north-easts larger than life cruise forum troll who was sooooo MEGA Excited about her cruise last March.

Another missing member is jc from Liverpool – at least that is close to Widnes – appears to have given up on the playmates. His adventures pocketing food on departure day in order to save money on the journey home are now well documented over on CruiseDot, as is his continued sneering at the Royal Family.

Readers can always catch up on the latest jc putdowns over on his own dedicated web page…

No such inhibitions from another missing playmate, Sevenseascoaster, aka Wen, aka Seacoaster of Hampshire. Having reversed the revolution with Jolly Jill,  Wen is now recording her cruises back on the CruiseDot site…

Neither has there been any word from the forum’s Queen of Drivel, aka Jolly Jill, who has been nearly a week on her APT river cruise. With free wifi onboard this really is a shocking negligence on her part.

Nothing so negligent as the remaining members wait with considerable anticipation for the Family from Hell’s forthcoming Christmas markets river cruise. Oh, but wait a minute: are the whole family on this river cruise? Rumour has it that a major cutback has limited the number of cabins: watch this space to find out who gets left at home.

Christmas Cheer on Playmates.

As predicted on these pages the playmates resident low-wattage Irish meat inspector and part time milk maid, continued his adventure with Europe’s leading budget river cruise line, dedicated to the German market.

While doing his utmost to put a positive spin and a drop of gloss on  what is essentially a product well below the average for European river cruising. As also hinted, economy enforced the long suffering missus to give this one a miss.

With all the hype of a shillelagh shaker one can read how our intrepid hero led his young family along the Cologne waterfront, in pouring rain, to join a river cruise that has such high standards they’d even failed to tell their passengers where they’d be moored.

Needless to say our hero, displaying the usual level of Irish intelligence,  was heading in the wrong direction. You couldn’t make it up, even when your Irish.

So shades of the frog march through Genoa again: nothing so extravagant as a taxi fare from this plonker, so the children get wet: unbelievable?

And what’s even more unbelievable is the fact that none of the half dozen members who commented thought of raising the issue.

Desperate to be seen as a serious cruiser and so riven with toxic anger at a certain cruise blogger – who incidentally exposed him as both a liar and a cheat over on the CruiseDot site – our hero attempts to curry favour with the few remaining playmates who will listen to him, and turns his wrath on said blogger, accusing one Solent Richard  of being jealous at his ‘Walter Mitty’ cruising style and  levels…

Hmmmmmn, well yes,two comparative levels of Accommodation on Rhine cruises in 2017…


Oh dear, never mind.

And even more wilder statements concerning his ‘envious’ record as a family man and ‘Intrepid’ cruiser…

“He just cannot deal with others that are as intrepid as himself”.

Well, there you go then. Walter Mitty, the ‘Intrepid’ cruiser who, when it comes to climbing the cruising tree he’s up there in the Clematis league. Yo ho ho. CruiseDot folk will really be wetting themselves over that one.

And of course on a final note on the subject of family travel. Most folk have always understood that ‘normal’ families take their children on foreign holidays to recognised resorts, beaches and other recognised areas of interest to children. Some will even recall taking theirs to the Algarve and even to Malta when, as a service family, one wouldn’t expect meat inspectors to understand ‘indulgence’ flights.

They certainly wouldn’t have dreamt of taking them on cheapo jaunts where, to quote, …“the customers are mostly of an advanced age”.

Meanwhile the mates are truly diversifying into a social media jamboree. To add to the ‘Master & Commanders’  prevalent  ‘walkingmates’ theme the ethernet is now being treated to spooky  ‘Tales from Cleckheaton’ and  Part 1 of ‘Weddings-R-Us’.

Meanwhile it would appear that the ‘forum(?)’  is having a welcome respite from the rather tedious ‘Joke of the Day’ contributor. No doubt all will be revealed soon enough. Unless of course…

Still, not at all bad for a dedicated cruise forum.

Grumbles & Lepers

Renaming Ceremony Invitation

As predicted on this  Cruise Blog in April this year…

Post Easter Bonanza

…the master & Commander has now (26 July 2017) formally announced the official  ‘leveraged appropriation’ of the ‘Playmates’ by the ‘Walkingmates’.

Of course the normal formalities of courtesy and consideration to the membership went out the porthole and it was up to Sagalout member khkate to raise the issue on the open forum.

OMG. It would appear not all the playmates are on the same page.

Clicking on the above link will go directly to the relevant articles.

You’re either with Solent Richard or you’re behind him.

However,  to have some idea of what cruisingmates and their history is really about it is advisable to skip to the first full paragraph, entitled…”Whether you have an specific active interest ” below the series of links:-

In December Solent Richard sailed on Queen Mary 2’s trans Atlantic Christmas voyage…

Queen Mary 2 Remastered -Trans-Atlantic

He had been looking forward to meeting up with playmate Adogap on that voyage. What a shame it didn’t happen. The playmates certainly have a record when it comes to cancelling cruises.


Don’t forget all you admirers of quality blogging, the latest TWO reviews by  Solent Richard feature a most UNUSUAL adventure on Star Clipper sailing from Bali to Singapore…

Star Clipper – Java Sea Limited Edition Cruise

…and a cruise on the World’s highest rated cruise ship, Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2…

Europa 2 – Asian Island Explorer

Coming soon, more revelations including the playmates ‘missing person’ list, Jolly Jill in Rehab and the strange case of the Welsh Policeman’s lot in our ‘Post Easter Bonanza… But, in the meantime why not read Solent Richard’s latest Viking River cruise review with the  upgrade of the year…

Viking Eir – Rhine Getaway April 2017

Post Easter Bonanza

You Couldn’t make it up

Welcome to 2017

End of Year Report

2016 Festive Round-Up

Hello, is there anyone at home?

All’s not well on the ‘Friendly Forum’

Mystery & Suspense

So quiet you could hear a pin drop

A Splendid(a) Occasion

The Clock is Ticking

Olympic Level Comedy Gold

Mystery & Suspense

All is not well in Tombstone

Question and Answers

Tales from the Crypt

Playmates Political Fallout

One word from Solent Richard

Achtung, Achtung – Midsummer Madness

Canapes and Drivel

The Rumour Mill

His Masters Voice

Stop Press added Monday 8 February and Thursday 11 February

Stop Press Thursday 18 February – Tomvet: the truth comes out

Further evidence that all is not really well

May Update – now you see her: now you don’t


Just One Cornetto

It would also appear that one particular playmate’s stupidity is receiving a well overdue amount of attention. Check out the level of hits on…

(One wonders how long it will be before WC (Whitstable Control – the beating heart of cruisingmates) has it removed. How embarrassing for the playmates)

Whether you have a specific active interest or have followed a prompt  from a cruise forum out of sheer curiosity, again welcome. I do appreciate the publicity afforded my blog by playmate trolls  masquerading as members of other forums albeit under different screen names. As easy as 123 to spot them and the recent spat attracted a further 5 followers – that’s 612  followers now registered by September  2017.

Please remember that  every quote and  screenshot used on here are  facts: nothing  has been made up or taken out of context. Only highlighting has been added to aid recognition.

First,  a little about cruisingmates in order to understand the logic behind this section. The site owner is a chap called Dave, otherwise known under the Avatar ‘Master & Commander‘ or, in his administrative hat, Arkangel. Dave, incidentally, has a record of ‘throwing his toys out of the pram’ when it comes to other forums: the Silver Travel Forum is a prime example.

Cruisingmates  was conceived when Dave became a very unpopular figure on a larger cruising forum, run by a cruise travel agent. This unpopularity stemmed from the fact that many members of the said forum received invitations to be at the Christening ceremony of the P&O ship, Azura, complete with an overnight stay onboard. Having himself received and accepted one of these coveted invites Dave and his wife failed to turn up: thereby depriving another member and spouse of the opportunity to attend this rather prestigious event. What’s more,  Dave didn’t even have the courtesy to apologise, either to the travel agent who handed out the invitations or to his fellow forum members.

Having set up cruisingmates Dave openly coaxed and recruited a number of members from the travel agent’s forum to join his. Those members openly referred to themselves as ‘Mutineers’ who had participated in a ‘revolution’. It is of course a matter of opinion but those who did join cruisingmates were hardly a loss to the CruiseDot site. It could also be claimed that most were of an ilk that disliked being corrected when they made stupid statements on cruising and other matters. At one stage, following its initial conception, those few members actively joked and offered ‘betting odds’ on who of the ‘big hitters’ from the CruiseDot site  would follow them. Real cruisers like Neil Down, Wilba, PG of Accrington, Mrs M and of course Solent Richard.

Needless to say none did as no one with any sense of value wanted anything to do with Dave and his cruisingmates aka playmates. In those early days it was even mooted that the cruisingmates  ‘revolution’, one assumes against the CruiseDot site, would replace the CD site in popularity. Six years later there still remains little hope of that prediction bearing fruit.

One of the features of the ‘cruisingmates’ site is its ability to use a section of the site hidden from open view – a kind of a private members lounge. To enter one had to sign up for membership. From this facility a number of playmates conducted a rather tawdry campaign of criticising not just other cruise forums but also their individual members – assuming, wrongly, that they could not be observed, or that more decent members would report back to those who were the subject of their vilification.

Cruisingmates, in an attempt to  boost its membership numbers,  allowed the forum to become home for a number of members and trolls banned from other cruise forums. Others, while remaining members of the CD site, changed their screen names (sock-puppets) in a pathetic attempt to hide heir true identity. They were allowed to make thinly veiled barbed comments criticising non members, often taking personal themes aimed at those non members families, wives and friends. All pretty distasteful for a site that claims to be ‘friendly’ but desperate to keep its numbers up. Of course not all members are tarred with the above brush and I’m always happy to acknowledge that some members do have a good cruising record.

Interestingly Solent Richard had little to do with the reasons for Dave’s departure from CruiseDot. Indeed, Solent Richard was quite pleased to see the back of those few members who were generally rated by many CD members as a pretty boring bunch. Of course the attraction soon wore a bit thin and the possibility of the CruiseDot site offering future freebie ship visits encouraged a number of the revolutionaries to return to CD. Others of course returned with the sole purpose of causing disruption. (In a similar manner the same playmates have joined other cruise Forums in an attempt to disrupt Solent Richard’s activities).

So enter Solent Richard. Never one to mince his words, and always happy to ‘put the record straight’, he added this section to his blog to remind anyone who may be interested the history behind cruising mates who, incidentally, are very keen to airbrush these facts out of existence.

So let’s be frank here, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. By the way,  583  followers can’t all be wrong.

There is always an attraction, and an opportunity for some humour, in highlighting not just the double standards and hypocrisy of the playmates, but some of the truly outrageous antics and input the membership of this website get up to and write. After all…

So welcome to this website that will not only put the record straight when it comes to the so called ‘friendly forum’ but will hopefully provide a degree of humour and mirth to those who know what cruising mates is really about.

Most importantly, please remember that  every quote and  screenshot used on here are  facts: nothing  has been made up or taken out of context. Only highlighting has been added to aid recognition.

It’s always nice to see my opponents tying themselves up in knots of their own devising. Those who claim absurdly that they are the ‘friendly forum’ rather than facing the fact that they are actually the home for a number of internet trolls.

Witness the recent attempts on another cruise forum to goad Solent Richard into a reaction that would see him be possibly banned: what a veritable feather that would be; something to endlessly crow about. Talk about back-firing, at least three cruising mate members found themselves banned: SueSpud, 132LK and Zalando (caught using multiple sock-puppets)

Solent Richard of course is truly flattered at the  time and effort these morons put in, creating sock-puppets, one assumes with additional email addresses, plus the research they must undertake stalking his every post and comment; a truly sad bunch.

Information reaching this blog suggests the ‘Master & Commander’ is himself not amused either, Solent Richard being given the opportunity to publicly reiterate how he instructed his kickboxing daughter on a stalking mission on board Britannia.

No doubt Dave of Whitstable had an ulterior motive. Why else, knowing full well that Solent Richard’s home address became public knowledge some time back, would he deliberately publish the fact that Solent Richard was at the time cruising in the Mediterranean and that his property, to all intents and purpose, was unoccupied.

How callous was that.?

Talk about backfiring though, that was the equivalent of at least a dozen eggs on the face. Indeed, it was so embarrassing  that it would appear D’Arkangel has deleted some of those photographs of Solent Richard from the playmates site. Too late mate, screenshots are now safely saved in SR’s archives.

Whose stalking who now?

His Masters Voice.

A recent post on the cruising mates forum, by the ‘Master & Commander’ himself,  has been brought to Solent Richard’s attention…

It concerns a recent playmate thread designed to pour scorn on Solent Richard and his blog and basically gave his somewhat reduced flock a degree of leeway over their continued abuse of that popular blogger.

Needless to say there was the usual garbage lines attempting to airbrush the history surrounding the reasons for the inception of playmates and the usual drivel from Dave…“I’ve not looked at his blog for 14 months”.

Obviously the few remaining playmates will swallow anything  –  they certainly did when Tommy, aka Walter Mitty, told them the internet in Limerick was down as the reason for his absence (when actually he had been temporarily banned).

And that really is the heart of the matter. Dave knows very well that Solent Richard has challenged him to confirm either way whether Tomvet received a temporary ban. By claiming he doesn’t read the blog he thinks he can circumnavigate the issue.

But as we know, other playmates besides their resident Walter Mitty read it very closely. So here’s another challenge. Any one of you ask Dave the question and see if ~Solent Richard’s claim was true or false. 

Cue the usual onslaught from the few including, as highlighted above, Granny M, aka Marie Troon from the CD forum who was herself vilified for breaching ‘Private Message’ protocols. She is certainly a playmate who deserves her ‘granny‘ pseudonym…

Granny writes on 2 June 2015…”A note about Celebrity and P&O among others. We will not book or even look at their cruises…”

While on 17 October the same year Granny writes a review of, guess what ship…P&O’s  Britannia …

You couldn’t make it up.

Talking of loosing one’s marbles here comes the next little gem from the most feared traveller yet to be seen at a luggage carousel…

Never to cruise with P&O again? Thousands of regular, and not so regular, fly-cruise passengers will heave a great sigh of relief over that then.

And while still on the the ‘missing marbles’ theme, more abuse aimed at yours truly…

Totally barking? This from the silly old bat who couldn’t be bothered to read the health instructions when joining a recent Fred Olsen cruise and when she went down with the Norovirus symptoms and was ticked off by the dedicated medical staff proceeded to abuse their physical stature, appearance and ethnicity…

The only surprise here is that Jolly Jill & Plunky didn’t leg it down to Bexleyheath Nick and file a racist complaint.

Just for good measure the Gloucester seamstress then tells the world that she once was a ‘pub landlady’ and… “knows how to deal with troublemakers“. Well I never: and does that include medical staff who dare to chastise passengers for ignoring medical instructions?

Octane has, it appears,  called it a day. That’s excellent news for those registered to cruise on the new SAGA ship, including Solent Richard, and of course the Saga medical staff.

So one now wonders what famous hostelry the old bat ran? Maybe ‘The Slug and Lettuce’ or the ‘Silly Old Cow’. Whatever the name its hoped she practised better  hygiene than she did on Braemar.

No update would be complete without a mention of Tommy…

Good to see Tommy attempting to make light of Solent Richard’s popularity and innovative allocation of appropriate names. Having already questioned Tomvet’s intelligence on an earlier update it would appear the lad’s limitations are even less than first thought.

Quoting Cruise Critic as a way of getting at Solent Richard is not a good idea Tommy. Here is what at least one other member of that forum thinks of you…

“For me you have lost all credibillity. Stay on your high horse and just rise off into the setting sun”.    Comment # 24

And of course, having 612 blog followers must be around 50 times the regular posters you have on playmates.

Meanwhile in an attempt to discredit Solent Richard’s figures on his frog-march between hotel and cruise terminal he failed to appreciate that the distances between said hotel and terminal were included on his map and the train station, for the post-cruise march was even further…

And he couldn’t even copy that distance correctly. Oh well, no doubt that’s why he remains a meat inspector with a self help clip board.

Grumbles & Lepers

Summer has come and gone and many a cruising opportunity has passed. Not a problem on the ‘walking mates’ forum as the fast dwindling membership (Anyone seen Dame Edna lately) were really entertained by the Master & Commander with a full on running commentary with a Hebridean Adventure walking holiday. That ran to 10 pages which ain’t bad considering this is a cruise forum.

The membership were delighted to be festooned with many pictures that can only be described as a re-run of Nanook of the North.

But we digress. The real gem of a post from the Master & Commander  can be found in the ‘Grumbles’ section…

“I suppose that the Grumbles area is a suitable place to post this. :think:

I liked this article on the BBC News website: How companies’ poor customer service has led to boycotts because it reminded me that I’m not the only one who boycotts certain companies! :D

My own list is very long, but I’ll pick just one example…

I began my boycott of P&O more than seven years ago after we’d done a Caribbean cruise on Ventura. We smoked back then and a very nice cigarette lighter with great sentimental value was confiscated from us at Barbados airport on the way home. (The sentimental value was to do with it being given to my wife by her father.) No other airport ever confiscated a lighter from us before or since, and there was no warning on the ship or relevant websites that this might happen. I contacted P&O and pointed out (most politely!) that they might have warned us about the Barbados airport policy – especially since they were selling souvenir lighters on board Ventura. (I wonder how many lighters they sold to passengers only for them to be confiscated at the airport.)

Anyway, the point is this… P&O weren’t interested – not their problem. Now, if they’d sympathised and sent us one of their souvenir lighters as a goodwill gesture (costing them only a few pence) then I’m sure we’d have been delighted and booked further cruises. Instead, the boycott continues…”

To quote a well known international tennis player…” You can’t be serious”

Oh yes Dave is. He really believes that P&O should make individuals aware of those everyday facts that any normal air traveller would accept as the normal standards for airline safety and security.

But of course, the ‘Master & Commander’ has form when it comes to blaming and boycotting cruise lines when it’s patently obvious that the real problem is Dave. 

We all remember the Cunard New York to Southampton voyage cancellation. Poor Cunard got the blame when it was obvious that it was Dave’s fault all along because he failed to apply for the correct ESTA.

Enough of the Master & Commander for a while though as we take a look at another remarkable comment from none other than the queen of sock-puppets.

Step forward the Avid Rosemary with this little gem…

“We have friends, recently returned from a holiday in Crete where they visited, on my recommendation, Spinalonga,(an old leper colony), very much brought to life by…”

Well Avid certainly knows about life as a Leper. She’s been ostracised from just about any worthwhile social group.

Meanwhile she’s over on CruiseDot mainlining her favourite narcotic: victimhood.

I haven’t bothered with writing a review for a long time since a comment was posted, using my forum name, which was not made by me, and when I was away on a cruise. That’s the mistake the imposter made… I don’t post anywhere when I am on a cruise, just the once on a blog on a worldie many years ago. It was a detrimental comment to another review. Thankfully, due to anther forum member seeing this, they reported it, BUT, it took a long time for me to be vindicated as to not being the poster of the comment. The reviews site is open to all sorts of abuse and posts by trolls. Thankfully some of them are now long gone but they reappear in other guises”.

Come on Pet, you’ve got to go on a cruise to write a review and you certainly know about ‘different guises’ with all your sock puppets that Spartan & Solent Richard gleefully expose.. Meanwhile the playmates and Cruise Community are still waiting for your last two reviews and are getting a little impatient with the constant trawling for sympathy on numerous fronts..

Still,  the Prime Minister must be delighted that she is no longer having her time wasted with frivolous letters.

WATCH THIS SPACE FOLKS: Will the playmates site explode with faux distress when the Irish meat inspector, and part time  Milk Maid, finds his November flights to Europe have been chopped…

Renaming Ceremony Invitation

KhKate wrote…

“Seems like the cruising element of the forum is starting to take a back seat. Only just noticed that the forum header has an additional element. Soon, no doubt, that element will become the main header with CM just as a sideline!”

To which the Master & Commander replied…

“So what’s with all the stuff?”, I hear you ask. :think:

Please allow me to share my thinking…

A number of things have changed over the last several months. A fair number of previously active members have drifted away from the forum or look but rarely contribute any more. So the amount of new cruising-related content has dwindled considerably. At the same time, my interest in cruising has faded as other types of holiday and travel have become more appealing. For the last 13 years we’ve done cruises almost to the exclusion of other types of holiday, whereas now only one of our three currently booked holidays is a cruise.

Like many others, I’ve posted a great many reviews and contributed to countless topics on Cruising Mates, so I’m not prepared to close it down and see everything disappear into the ether as if it had never existed. But keeping the site going is quite expensive (I’ve just paid about £250 for hosting for the next 6 months) and I need to maintain my involvement and interest in order to justify the cost.

My current love is walking – planning a route, packing my rucksack, exploring the countryside, and… writing about it afterwards. It seems to me that what I’m doing isn’t unrelated to why I enjoy cruising. Cruising for me was never about the food or drink or entertainment – it was about seeing as much as possible of the world as I could.

So I think it makes some kind of sense to incorporate this other kind of travel and exploration into the existing site. I’ve bought the domain but it does nothing but link to Cruising Mates. The reason I did that is because walkers are more likely to visit the forum via that name (or link) than one which suggests it’s only about cruising. The benefit for me of a ‘broader’ travel site is that it gives me somewhere to regularly and frequently post new travel-related content. The benefit for everyone else is that I’ll keep paying about £500 per year to keep the forum going! ;)

I’ll be delighted to answer questions or explain my thinking further…

So there we have it, Dave’s vanity is now costing him an admitted £500 annually. Now, bearing in mind that, with a generous estimate, there are around 10 regular contributors the Whitstable benefactor is subsidising each to the tune of £50.00 per annum: a far cry from the heady days of the revolution so enthusiastically fanfared by StanDupp and his revolting friend, Jolly Jill. 

It is however hardly surprising that as a ‘cruising’ forum the playmates site has experienced a bit of a demise: they are not alone.

The three other UK sites also have very limited appeal and rely on a small coterie of contributors hardly representative of the cruising world at large. With limited cruising experience they have all evolved into talking shops where off topic subjects and games now take priority. Small coteries of rather vain members actually spend more aggregated  time ‘chattering’ on line than they do actually spend on cruise ships.

And one can easily see why the more discerning cruiser avoids forums like the playmates. An example of a truly riveting contribution…

“we were sorting out the cruise clothes not packing just looking to make sure we have everything if we need anything else etc. Me and Emma are in my room and we having a discussion about how I cant find my pool shoes or my pool shorts you know the stuff I wear over my costume going to and from the pool so that I’m not walking around in my bathing costume. She goes you were shorts and shoes in the pool. I was like erm no I then explains what they for. I can hear her older brother giggling in the next room as he obviously listening in. I then was sorting out underwear and she says just put all the pants in just in case you never know I might wet myself. :shock: I was like and when was the last time you wet yourself and she was like probably about 12 years ago but you never know. I heard her brother in the next room choke on the can of pepsi max he was drinking (serves him right it was mine lol). She is something else “

Can anyone imagine sharing a dinner table where the  conversation  level was on a par with that?

One member who is now on the absentee list is ‘Toby’s Granny’. One can only imagine the relief of the travelling public that Toby’s Granny did announce that 2017 would be a cruise free year. Regular readers will remember the hijacking of the wrong suitcase from Miami airport…

“We left home very early on the morning of the 14th April in order to catch the 5.15 am coach to ?Heathrow. The journey started off on a nice comfortable coach but we had to change at Exeter onto one of Nat. Express’s somewhat older Coaches which was very uncomfortable for the rest of the journey to Heathrow. We arrived at around 10 am and didn’t have too long a wait for our Virgin Atlantic Flight to Miami at 1 pm. We had booked Premium Economy seats but like the coach the plane was somewhat elderly and not very comfortable for our 8.1/2 hour flight. By the time we arrived at Miami we were both exhausted, but we soon retrieved our luggage and made our way to the car rental place on the rail link. Although the hotel was only 2 miles from the airport it took us ages to get there. We had three pieces of luggage, one each and a shared one to take into the hotel. The other two pieces of luggage we left in the car.

We were so exhausted by this time we decided to just eat in the hotel restaurant which was Mexican, not my favourite but I just couldn’t be bothered going anywhere else.

Friday was spent going for a drive up along the coast road from Miami towards Ft. Lauderdale when we eventually stopped at Bal Harbour and had a very nice lunch. In the evening we decided to go across the road from the hotel for something to eat and just as we left the hotel there was a huge crack of thunder and it started pouring down. We never did get across the road and ended up eating in the hotel once again as we had a terrific thunder storm.

Saturday morning we set off for Ft. Lauderdale and we had breakfast in One of our favourite places to eat there before heading to the Port to drop off our luggage before returning the car to the airport and getting the shuttle back to the ship.

We were on the ship very quickly and soon made our way to our cabin (9430) on deck 9. We then went to the buffet for lunch before returning to our cabin to have a rest and wait for luggage before the drill at 5 pm.

It was nearly 6.30 when two of our cases were delivered but there was still no sign of Richard’s before going to dinner. We had a couple of drinks in the Concierge Lounge before making our way down to the MDR around 8.15 pm. we had opted for My Time Dining. After a very nice dinner we had a wander round the ship and then headed back to our cabin as we were still pretty exhausted. Fortunately the missing piece of luggage was there. As it was late Richard decided to leave unpacking until the morning.

Next morning Richard lifted the case onto the bed to unpack when he discovered it was not his case. It was identical to his. We then had an email from Virgin saying our case was at Miami airport and some poor woman had gone on a cruise with no luggage. We were horrified and I quickly checked with Guest Services to see if she was a passenger on our ship but she wasn’t.

To Be Continued………”

Further updates to continue shortly. Coming soon, Solent Richard’s walking adventures along the Hampshire and Dorset coastlines and a new venture, Cosham Country Walks plus the New Adventures of the Irish Milkmaid…

Solent Richard has always considered that if there is one thing that popping into the playmates website provides, it is the guarantee of amusement and a plentiful source of spiffing satire material. He is also  both flattered and grateful at the amount time and effort the playmates place in supporting his blog.

There really are two guiding criteria for its success and that is generally measured in the ‘number of followers’, (currently 600) and the total number of hits the website takes. (currently 339,000)

And being a rather professional website the cruise blog is proud of the availability of statistics, once so ardently quoted by the  ‘Master & Commander in the playmates hey-day, that irrefutably show what support comes from said playmates…

Or could that perhaps be other readers who just love to read of the latest playmate antics?

And so we come to the one person who devotes so much time and energy trying to put one over Solent Richard.

Having been truly shafted by Solent Richard over his lying and cheating escapade to win a place on the CruiseDot freebie to MSC Splendida, tomvet, aka Family Guy, more commonly  known as Walter (Mitty),  is so obsessed with attempting to put one over the said Solent Richard, that his judgement becomes excessively clouded and exceedingly erratic.

Indeed, this is the guy who single handedly perpetuates the often repeated tales of  Irish intelligence.

In the Public Interest.

The latest poorly choreographed offering from their very own recently demoted Irish milk monitor is no exception. For years it’s been apparent that at some point,  probably early in the week, a series of ‘private messages’ are exchanged,  between a number of playmate members,  with the sole purpose of giving Solent Richard something to write about.

Indeed, this is the guy who single handedly perpetuates the often repeated humorous tales of  Irish intelligence.

So having learnt that Solent Richard is no longer a nominee for a magazines poll for ‘Blogger of the Year’ the milk monitor bursts into print as if it was the greatest one-upmanship event he has ever achieved.

Alas poor Walter blew it. Of course Solent Richard was nominated and of course after the usual efforts of the playmates the nomination was withdrawn. But the real triumph for Solent Richard is that the rather stupid playmates, who spend an inordinate amount of time claiming his blog is worthless, actually felt such action necessary because they feared, despite their puerile vitriol against the UK’s most popular cruise blog, that might, just might, have snook in.

A modicum of knowledge would have told them that individual bloggers, as opposed to those who write professionally in national newspapers and magazines, don’t have a hope in hell’s chance. To support this point one only needs to look at a comment by another respected blogger who some time ago abandoned the playmates due to their continued support for the likes of the milk monitor…

There you go, you can’t argue with that.

But wait a moment. Needless to say it wasn’t that long ago that another contestant, CruiseMiss, aka Danielle Fear, joined the playmates and cajoled them for votes in the same poll. And needless to say, once having garnered their votes, left them high and dry. What fun; the playmates are always good for that sucker punch.

So, In the public interest, let’s have a look at what the playmates gave as offerings to Tommy’s expose:-

First up the obviously paranoid ‘Master & Commander’

I have noticed the blogger browsing this forum though (under another pseudonym of course) on the rare occasions that I’m up early enough, so I’ve wondered if he still trawls for material. I rarely think about him any more but at times such as these I love the idea that he might still be wasting his time writing stuff about me that I’ll never see”.

Don’t you just love Dave’s often repeated denials which of course no one believes. Funny how, in the period mentioned, when Solent Richard  exposed his antics of getting his daughter to photograph said Solent Richard on P&O’s Britannia, that the most obvious photographs were removed from the forum. Not before the malicious issue was fully aired on Facebook though.

However, there, tucked away in Dave’s comment, is a line that, had there been an award for the ‘Most Paranoid Forum Owner’ the follicly challenged one would have won hands down…

“…I have noticed the blogger browsing this forum though (under a pseudonym of course) on the rare occasions I am up early enough…”

Surely not. Is the Master and Commander really, seriously,  saying that he has allowed Solent Richard to invade his privacy and be able to read all that claptrap that is talked about ‘behind the scene’ and available to members only?

You really couldn’t make it up or perhaps you can when your a playmate.

As always on playmates you can guarantee a contribution from the Spud on Sticks whenever the ‘enfant terrible’ is the subject of a discussion: which as it so happens is quite often.

What makes amusing analysis though is that this comment is her first post in 6 Months following the mysterious ‘Mega Excited’ cruise on Azura. What’s even more interesting is that on the cruise community website, in one short post, the spud declares that “We are looking to book another cruise soon, but with a different cruise line”.

Whoops, whatever went wrong with the mega excited part time cruiser then.

Another cracker was the mysterious appearance of another playmate, one by the name of Yardarm.

Who is the mysterious ‘Yardarm’?

Well it doesn’t take a super sleuth to spot that Yardie joined on 9 August 2014 and made their first comment, an abusive one,  towards Solent Richard on…..yes, you guessed it,

the 4th August 2017.

And needless to say that as this response is being written on 5 September the ‘yardarm’ has made no further contributions.

Of course, one can only suspect that ‘Yardarm’ is one of those sleeper sock-puppets of other members created to give the impression of a larger forum that it actually is. And as most puppet masters aren’t that bright this emergence is all the more embarrassing.

Coming soon/ watch this space: playmates Jolly Jill and the Avid rosemary are up to their old goading tricks over on CruiseDot

Plus, SR’s take on the comedian in the midst of cruisingmates…

Out of 6 comments 4 were from Walter. Hardly a ringing endorsement of the lad’s popularity there then.

and talking of endorsements for Walter, here’s an interesting post…

“As we are tiring somewhat with cruises”…

Which when translated,  is Tomspeak for ‘Now we have to pay for the children its all getting too expensive’. Not bad considering how Walter told anyone who’d listen before he was banned from the CruiseDot site what a high earning high flying vet he was.

You couldn’t make it up

Post Easter Bonanza

One could be forgiven for thinking this one time cruise forum had morphed into something called ‘Walkingmates’. Devoid of any recent cruising experience the Master & Commander, in a rare attempt to summon up more forum hits, embarked on a series of adventures along coastal paths and bluebell fields.

Of course the real irony is that most of the playmates with any decent cruising experience have actually gone ‘walkabouts’ themselves:  in a nutshell AWOL.

How many of these missing members can be put down to the ‘Tomvet’ fault line is hard to tell though of those remain less than a handful will comment or respond  on any of his threads. Hmnnn, one did return though. Having thrown her toys out of the pram over being stripped of her moderator status the Queen of Drivel bounced back to offer a modicum of support to the Irish meat inspector.

Then there is the case of the ‘Spud on the Sticks’. You really couldn’t make it up. Days after Solent Richard raised the issue in the last update, that 7 weeks had elapsed since the return of ‘Mega-Excited’ there was still no review or acknowledgement that she had actually made it to Azura.

Then, as if by magic on 12 May…

“Better late than never…!!!! Family commitments, elderly father in law, grand children..etc take priority on my time.
We had a wonderful cruise thank you, Azura ,was everything we wanted it to be.
From The Cliff Beach Club in Barbados.. WOW……to spending a few days in The Retreat…all the speciality reatuarants, our amazing balcony……it was sooo good. We did lots of tours, loved them all.
Flight was good, Luggage allowance was plenty…in fact the whole experience…was amazing.
We loved it all and it was great to be cruising again after such a long time.
We are looking to book another cruise soon… :D but with a different cruise line.”

Hardly a ringing endorsement from someone who usually has so much to say for herself. Just doesn’t pass the ‘so what’ test, does it?

And what about Spud’s mate, the Avid Diva. She is still around trying to harvest bucketloads of sympathy only now with a new ploy…Human rights for criminals.

Surely not? Not the daughter? All the PMs flying about and threats of letters to the Prime Minister.

Now if she has a real issue regarding transition of diseases to policewomen perhaps she ought to raise the issue with her other convenient mate, jc.

The forum’s favourite Trot is full of praise for Team Corbyn and therefore Diane Abbott, the shadow Labour Home Secretary: Her historic opposition to police being protected from infected criminals went down like a lead balloon at the Annual police Federation Conference in Birmingham this week.

And accusations including the use of the word ‘scum’. Well well, remember the Bella incident on the CD forum, the Welsh doctor who had cancer. Now there was a real piece of scum finally exposed by a bit of Solent Richard detective work..

Back to the missing persons. Where on earth has Tobys Granny disappeared? God forbid someone didn’t mistake her on a luggage carousel while Sparkie the Cruiser is another one who appears to have taken the hump. Oh dear, how sad, never mind…

On a brighter note there was a good review of a river cruise by one of the members, the Judge. There actually was another but that was more akin to something out of ‘mumsnet’ and effectively was a  moanfest, mainly about the weather.

Needless to say, if one will make a booking when the fares are logically low then one must respect the reason why those fares are lower: there is a risk of poor weather; after all, this is Europe.

For the sake of saving a few pounds, or Euros as this case was, just think what improvement the view Vienna from the Wiener Riesenrad  would show in June, July or August…

And as this blog is such a mine of information perhaps SR can save one playmate a little research for her Danube cruise, its here…

Solent Richard catches a Viking Maiden

Good to see Solent Richard’s level of pre-cruise accommodation getting a mention from the meat inspector. One can only guess the envy as Tommy checks into his Cologne doss house which even their website describes as a ‘hostel’. Meanwhile his vanity gets the better of him again as his price quotes aren’t all they seem.

On the subject of researching ports of call, once again the Queen of Drivel has surpassed even her low standards. Two days in Buenos Aires for any good researcher would have uncovered…

One Way to Do Buenos Aires Part 1

The icing on her cake had to be when questioned about Eva Peron’s Tomb……”No we didn’t Tom. Others from the ship did and told us how crowded it was, which put us off. Apparently the cemetery was quite a sight even without her tomb.

Utter Drivel! She never had planned a visit. and, for the record of course it would be crowded when an excursion coach arrived. But the cemetery is easily walkable and for most of the day pretty deserted…



Finally,  from the missing list, playmates shouldn’t fret over the lack of jc postings. Labour’s useful idiot thinks he’s having a ball over on CruiseDot with his usual nonsense. Fortunately its all repudiated here on his very own pages…

You Couldn’t make it up

No doubt playmates and regular followers of this blog have been wondering why updates have been in abeyance for a few months.

The simple answer is that Solent Richard has been doing what he does best, Cruising, and where better to make a return to the top rated Hapag-Lloyd Europa 2…

Fourteen nights circumnavigating the South China Sea with extensions shoreside in Singapore and Hong Kong.

And it was in Singapore that Solent Richard gave a passing thought for one particular playmate. Having booked a Grand Club Room at his favourite Singapore hotel, the Marina Bay Sands…


…imagine the excitement of enjoying a cocktail at the ‘Club 55’ one evening and watching a Celebrity cruise ship departing the nearby Singapore Cruise Terminal…

What a grand site and experience that must have been: sailing with Celebrity from Singapore. Who on earth would want to miss it?

But enough of Solent Richard’s cruising style for the moment, What’s this all about…

“WHERE ARE YOU?  :wave: 

I’m feeling awfully lonely on this Forum these days. :cry: Please come and join in again! :D

One could reasonably ask the question of the ‘joker’ where has she been the last 12 months?

Apart from being the  cringe inducing poster of ‘Jokes of the day’, insipid and brainless humour guaranteed to scare away your average cruiser,  has it not occurred to her that there has been a reverse revolution going on over at Whitstable Control and that most members have abandoned ship following the antics of the Irish misogynist.

Meanwhile the dire jokes continue. And not just on the playmates forum…

Life in Albox must be a real wow: especially while the old fella is out on the tractor.

And how telling that, having instigated the thread, there is no sign of a response from the ‘Master & Commander. Hissy fit or sense of humour failure?

Meanwhile a follow up thread, again nothing to do with cruising…

Instigated by the Queen of Sockpuppets who rarely bothers to post these days, she questions…

“Where would be your ideal retirement destination and what would be your top/ideal/minimal requirements there?

Mine would be sunshine for most of the year but with a seasonal difference,(I would actual miss the rain and cooler temperatures, but only at times), and good health facilities for us both, just in case, as we get older.

Perhaps some of you have already retired to your ideal place?”

“Mine would be sunshine for most of the year”

Not at all bad from the super troll so often given to boasts of great achievements and not a bad wish list from someone stuck on the mudflats of the River Loughor: still, a summerhouse always helps.

Funny that one found time at a quarter to midnight to post when the world still awaits the story of surviving a 21 nights’ cruise with just 3 jackets.

As expected we get the usual nonsense from the Irish pariah and part time meat inspector, suitably supported by the ‘judge’

“Would anyone recommend Lee-on-the-Solent?”

Silly question really. Lee on the Solent is obviously well beyond the budgets of the playmates.

But how interesting to see the ‘judge’ offering succour to the forum’s Walter Mitty. The very same ‘judge’ who stands head and shoulders ahead of the pack for a personal feature in the jokers ‘Joke of the day’ following this cracker…

“The Travel Agent rang us back this lunchtime and offered us the last cabin on a Viking river cruise from Avignon to Lyon aboard the ‘Viking Heimdal,’ a two year old boat, at an extremely attractive price.”

And it gets even better…

“a Travel Agent phoned us and offered us the very last cabin on the ship at a very good rate, but we had to make up our minds there and then, as she said that she had Viking on the other line.”

You really couldn’t make it up. To quote P T Barnum, there’s a  “sucker born every minute”.

Apparently the masterful Travel Agent even sold the Viking cruise with “As it included an excursion in every town (and two in one), complimentary wine or beer with lunch and dinner and free WiFi,”

Funnily enough, with 5 Viking River Cruises under his belt, Solent Richard has always assumed those specifics were included in the price anyway.

Oh well. The world will no doubt be looking forward to the review of the last cabin available on ‘Viking Heimdal’ and maybe in the summer an opportunity for a Viking cabin comparison: when Solent Richard sails on Viking Eir.  Further speculation exists on Cabin 101 where one assumes guests are given the opportunity to rid the world of their pet hates. LOL

Of course the Judge could have saved himself a lot of bother and read Solent Richard’s review of the same itinerary last year…

Viking Hermod – Portraits of Southern France

The Judge would further have found out about Viking’s ‘ Limited Mobility’ programme which again could have saved considerable worry. Oh well, the words nose, face and cut spring to mind.

AWOL Notice: It would appear that the Avid Diva is not the only playmate a little reluctant to review her most recent cruise. With Jolly Jill now home on Terra Firma, and actively posting on CruiseDot,  the playmates surely would expect news of the marathon length Boudicca adventure and enlightenment into Fred’s cutbacks.  Hardly too dramatic if the absence of towel animals led her list on that other site.

But the big surprise is really the missing Spud-u-like. Over three weeks have passed since returning from Azura and not a peep from old ‘Mega Excited‘…

Surely the blingy walking sticks didn’t give up under the weight? Not even a comment on the Cruise Community site and they’re all waiting: all 12 of them.

STOP PRESS:  18 April and SEVEN weeks have passed and still no word despite logging in on CruiseDot at 5.35pm on 16 April. Perhaps it should be ‘Mega Silence’.

Another current AWOL is the cruising world’s resident Trot and part time socialist.

Never gifted with intelligent writing the one time Thomson cruiser has been infesting the CD forum instead of the friendly one: no surprise there then.

Readers of this section can always catch up with the jc antidote by clicking on the following link and catching up with ‘Life on Planet Widnes’…

You have to admit, the boy is a guinea a minute when it comes to laughs.

With socialists like jc WTF needs to vote Conservative?

Welcome to 2017

Regular readers will surely join Solent Richard in congratulating the ‘Master & Commander’ who has dug deep and coughed up the site rental:  thus ensuring another years writing space for his dwindling flock and a harvest of humour for the United Kingdom’s favourite cruise blogger.

On past estimates that works out at around £60 a head for the less than a dozen regulars. But what price the vanity project to The Mutineer.

You can read all of SR’s most recent adventure here…

Oceana 35 Night Caribbean Round Trip

Now that was a close shave, that cruise. For one dreadful moment Solent Richard thought that he would have Jo and Gavin as fellow passengers but it turned out they had booked on the shorter Ventura Caribbean cruise

There appears little chance of a reconciliation between a number of the ‘old school’ playmates. Hazel has well and truly upped sticks after her spat with the Irish Misogynist, Jolly Jill has taken the hump and spends more time over on CruiseDot (when not peering through her Boudicca porthole) and probably the cruiser with the finest record of all the playmates, Wansbrough, is becoming a bit of a legend over on CruiseDot…

…which has to date hit 11 pages.

Those playmates not wishing to break ranks with D’Arkangel’s   moratorium on the CruiseDot website can always head to Wansbrough’s blog directly…

With D’Arkangel’s love of statistics one is entitled to wonder just how many of ‘the original mutineers’ now remain on the cruising mates site. Answers on a postage stamp please but note that the moronic Irishman cannot be included as he was banned well before the mutiny and had nowhere else to go.

Meanwhile the Playmates continue with their budget cruising strategy. The Judge is splashing out on a Viking River cruise and heralds a good deal. Actually, most Viking customers get good deals including £1,000.00 off, as part of the marketing strategy.

Typically though was the announcement that only one of the ‘optional’ tours was going to be taken – suitably echoed by the ‘Master & Commander’. Readers may like to note that there is a charge for these optional excursions hence the playmates reluctance to take them on.

As it happens Dave and Solent Richard did this very river cruise that the Judge has booked. Solent Richard’s account is here…

Viking Hermod – Portraits of Southern France

In fact the ‘optional’ excursions are excellent value and it really is madness to miss out having paid for the main cruise.

From memory Solent Richard did  4 optional excursions. These included…

Visits to Saint-Paul Asylum, Saint-Rémy and Les Baux-de-Provence. 

An afternoon at the timeless hilltop town of Pérouges.

The medieval Abbey at Clun

and the I opted for the Pont du Gard, featured in the above photograph.

Playmates though shouldn’t take too much to heart. Across on CrusieDot a river cruise debate or two is going on…


“we had two small porthole”

“A water level cabin with windows high up the wall’

You really couldn’t make it up. All those complaints when they all chose the cheapest cabins, ships, and itineraries. What is it about failing forums and cheapskates?

Roll on the review of Phoenix Reisen’s  M/S Sofia and Viking Eir later this year: fingers crossed for comparison pictures.

And finally another AWOL report. The resident Trot appears to have joined Wansbrough and Jolly Jill on the CruiseDot forum. Of course he never really fitted in with playmates, especially now he has renounced Thomson cruise for P&O. Followers can always find a useful antidote to the trot’s inane ramblings, including the latest ‘Confused of Widnes’ edition,  here…

End of Year Report

And so we come to the End of Year Report. A difficult one this year particularly with many members going AWOL, the absence of many members,   and then the usual poor attendance by others.

It certainly looks as though the long awaited Avid Rosemary’s review of her latest P&O cruise isn’t going to happen. Strange that ‘Wolfie’ doesn’t feature that often on other forums either. Life’s never been the same since the queen of trolls was exposed by SR and Spartan.

FOOTNOTE 23 FEB. – “You couldn’t make it up”.

Since the above paragraph was written am 22nd February, out of the blue our intrepid troll Rosemary Avid posted once on playmates and once on the ‘Cruise Community’ forum, both at her usual witching hour. Obviously Rosemary and Tommy are avid readers of these pages. Quell Plonkeurs.

Rosemary’s friend ‘Spud-u-Like’ is another missing person on playmates. Since her banning from the Bolsover forum she has also been intermittently active on the even more poorly supported Cruise Community forum. Where else could folk learn that the Spud has treated herself to a pair of ‘bling’ walking sticks. Looks like carrying all that weight has taken its toll: and no amount of airbrushed photographs will alter the fact.

‘On a bright note the membership and visitors were pleased to see the forum’s resident Walter Mitty, aka the Irish meat inspector, aka Tomvet, making an appearance to report on his continuing budget behaviour cruising with the equally unheard of Pullmantur Horizon.

All the usual Irish waffle from our Irish cruising hero except that, surprise surprise, Tommy boy has started posting photographs again.

And praise be to the Lord for that otherwise we’d never have guessed what dreadful cabins that Pullmantur ship offered.

So what on earth was all that about? Regular readers will recall Walter throwing his toys out of the pram and blanking all his photographs…


Surely it hadn’t anything to do with his misogynist manner of commenting on other peoples wives and possibly fearing some retribution in kind?

The only other event of note other than Tommy’s photo rethink is at last the forum’s awol member for Hampshire, Jolly Jill, finally confessed elsewhere, and not before time,  that norovirus has struck.

It is with regret that Solent Richard’s New Year take on playmates will be somewhat delayed. Two reasons, firstly he is heading off on a 35 night cruise in January and secondly, there is always speculation that the ‘Master & Commander’ will decide that his little vanity project is no longer worth the £600.00 plus rent he pays for the site. Time will tell.

2016 Festive Round-Up

…..Except there’s hardly anything festive to cover over on the Playmates cruise forum.

Just when you would have thought that it couldn’t get any worse it has – and Solent Richard can only offer his sincerest apologies for the lack of creditable humorous updates on the carry-on that is  cruisingmates.

Previous reports indicated the activity level plummeting and it is now a regular occurrence to see whole days pass without the front page showing any activity or  change – well, apart from good old David Barrowman playing games and jigsaws and the Joker Gill updating the ‘Joke of the Day’.

Past stalwarts Jolly Jill and Wansbrough appear to have jumped ship and  returned to the marginally more active CruiseDot forum; the playmates resident ‘Trot’ has all but abandoned them for CruiseDot though readers can get an update on what the Widnes Bell End is up to here…

…while the semi-literate Sparkie upped sticks after taking  umbradge over another members valued opinion: out of the pram went the toys.

Which is all a bit sad really as the playmates have now missed the opportunity of hearing first hand details of   Jolly Jill’s curtailed  Celebrity Far East cruise.

All a little strange that.   A somewhat ‘disingenuous’ explanation did appear on the CruiseDot forum: but not a whisper on playmates.

Cutting  short a cruise is not an easy decision by any stretch of the imagination. And certainly not when you’ve stumped up £5000.00 a head for a grossly  overpriced ‘bucket deal’ while ignoring  good advice from a seasoned Far East traveller and reliable cruise blogger. Normally one could expect considerable sympathy but alas even that hasn’t been  forthcoming. On a thread which attracted a mere 32 comments 9 were from Jolly Jill herself and four were repeats by members who had already commented. Still, the much lamented ‘Agent Campion’ laughed all the way to his bank having trousered his share of the commission.

Interesting to note that of those 9 responses by the OP not one attempted to correct members misconception that ‘Plunky’ was JJ’s husband: hang on, did we miss the wedding?

For those playmates who are regular readers of this section of Solent Richard’s blog, here’s a synopsis of events…

The Q of D wrote…

Rising to Neil’s challenge of posting a new thread, we are back early from what should have been a 3 week Bucket List package courtesy of Cruisedot.

The first part was an escorted land trip in Vietnam and Cambodia with a company called Wendy Wu.

I have never been to the Far East and had always wanted to visit Vietnam. What we didn’t realise was that the itinerary was quite so full on. We had to be up and out of the hotel very early every morning to either see the sights or transfer to an airport in order to fly to out next city. Including the flight home, we did 7 flights in 8 days.

Although we enjoyed the trip, our group (24 of us) were very tired at the end of every day and were looking forward to the cruise that started from Singapore last Sunday.

Unfortunately, my OH was struck down with what he called ‘Ho Chi Minh’s revenge’ just before we reached Singapore.

He was feeling so poorly that we decided to cut our losses and flew home from Singapore rather than transfer to the ship for the cruise.

The experience taught us a lesson i.e. no more long haul flights and to stick to leisurely cruises”.

Surely the Q of D isn’t attempting to lay any  part blame at CD’s doorstep?  Surely the highly praised Agent Campion didn’t fall short on this one. This is an interesting line…

What we didn’t realise was that the itinerary was quite so full on”.


Isn’t this the same Jolly Jill speaking who never ceases to tell anyone who will listen that she… ‘fully researches all her cruises?

The itinerary, according to the CruiseDot mail shot, which Solent Richard also received was pretty clear…





No real need to continue, looks pretty detailed as a ‘busy’ programme and surely not too difficult to grasp.

Mind, this pair have a bit of form when it comes to cancellations and loosing deposits.  November 2014…

After much deliberation, we have just cancelled out Thomson Spirit cruise in March 2015”.

and February 2015…

“The problem seemed to be a combination of 115 days and P’s age. I could get cover easily enough.

Sometimes, things happen for a reason and at least we have another great cruise to look forward to.

Fred Olsen’s policy is that you can move your deposit to a different cruise provided the fare it is at least 75% of the original booking.

They also charged us £100 pp for the privilege but hey ho, nobody died and it will teach us to look at the insurance details more closely in future”.

And finally on this subject the final straw…

Unfortunately, my OH was struck down with what he called ‘Ho Chi Minh’s revenge’ just before we reached Singapore.

He was feeling so poorly that we decided to cut our losses and flew home from Singapore rather than transfer to the ship for the cruise”.

Ho Chi Minh’s revenge is of course another name for ‘Delhi Belly’ and ‘Maltese Dog’:  diarrhoea in other words or even Norovirus which again this pair have form with…

The other pic I thought might interest/amuse you was when we were both quarantined in our cabin for 24 hours during a Norovirus red alert”.

All the more dissapointing was the fact that Solent Richard was at the very same time himself travelling in the Far East on his annual Asian beach holiday…


…and again would have only been too pleased to offer advice.

Now who would have thought such well travelled cruisers hadn’t taken the simplest of precautions when travelling in the Far East…


Surely anyone with an ounce of character having arrived at the departure port of the Celebrity Millennium would have joined the ship with the intention of at least resting up and re-charging the batteries for a few days rather than give up entirely.

And now to  confessions from both the ‘Master & Commander’ as well as the resident Irish pariah that future cruises are looking a bit thin on the ground.

Fully accepted from Tommy, aka Walter Mitty, aka Tomvet. It was well known that the high flying Irish meat inspector wasn’t all that he made himself out to be and funds now appear to be very limited for this particular budget cruiser.

But what of this hogwash from D’Arkangel…”For next summer, we’d considered a couple of possible cruises but hadn’t been enthusiastic enough to book one”  and…”Our booked holidays for next year are all land-based. I did try to find desirable cruises but, like for you, nothing really appealed that much. Or perhaps I should say that nothing seemed worth the cost, because I’ve been feeling more and more that cruising isn’t as good value as we once thought it was.”

Would that be yet another coded message for ‘it’s all getting a bit expensive when I haven’t got a job’?

Playmates of course could be thankful that activity from certain members has become more limited. Take for example their resident multi troll Rosemary Avid Diva. While the world still awaits the Oriana Review her usual midnight dalliances are now reduced to…”When do you cook your Christmas Roast?”

Riveting stuff when you’ve nothing to add by the way of a cruising life while her mate, the Spud-u-like, having been banned from the Bolsover forum,  provides amusement over on the equally boring ‘Cruise Community forum…

…extolling the virtues of Christmas cakes and arthritis: the latter obviously a result of spending too much time keyboarding her bile.

It’s surely ironic then that while the playmates forum continues towards  oblivion subject of so many of their  personal attacks has seen his blog move from strength to strength and has now received an award from…

Top 90 Cruise Blogs, Websites & Influencers in 2020


A very Merry Christmas  and a Happy New Year to all my readers…


Hello, is there anyone at home?

Solent Richard apologises to his regular readers for any recent absence of comic cuts from the ‘Friendly Forum’. Two reasons: firstly SR has himself been off cruising having taken a leaf out of the Queen of Budget Cruising’s book…

Seabourn Sojourn – Yachtsman’s Mediterranean

…and secondly because, quite frankly, there has been such a dearth of activity over on playmates that good comical material is proving hard to come by.

Take for instance the 7th of November…


Yep, twelve minutes past five in the evening and the sole contribution was to ‘Joke of the Day’ – You couldn’t make it up.

Obviously there are a few tantrums being played out. The forum’s only true cruiser and fellow blog writer, Wandsbrough, has parked his bus over on CruiseDot: as has the Queen of Drivel, aka Jolly Jill.

So no Digital Postcards for the Millennium far East cruise? She really is taking the withdrawal of her moderator status to heart and such a shame, the world was waiting with baited breath to hear about the stay at the Siem Reap airport hotel.

Not to worry, a quiet time can always be enhanced with one or two chestnuts that were kept in abeyance. Take for instance this little gem from the bogs…


Don’t you love that last line…” – he posted a comment to a cruise review I made months ago pointing me to his excuse of a blog’

Would that be the blog with over 264,000 hits and over 465 followers?

Poor Tomvet, another unhappy playmate not unlike his mate Jimmy, who also features in the above screenshot, and another time waster at his local nick…


That must have been a dreadful experience that cost the lad …“a lot of money”. Poor Jimmy and his rambling rantings continue to be a source of considerable amusement. A bit like those of the playmates resident trot and all time loser…


Trump that one playmates.

All’s not well on the ‘Friendly Forum’

Never one to dwell on pure speculation,  Solent Richard does however detect a distinct aura of frostiness on the playmates website. What has been perpetually billed as ‘the friendly forum’ has virtually split into a number of distinct groups.

Regular readers of this column will recall the subject being first broached here…

The Clock is Ticking

It would now appear that events have deteriorated and some members have taken leave while others limit their input.

Some even appear to have taken umbrage at certain events. Jolly Jill for instance has diverted her drivel back onto CruiseDot since loosing her ‘Moderator’ status on playmates…

…while dear old Walter Mitty, aka Tomvet, has really thrown his toys out of the pram and, one assumes in a childish tantrum at being placed on another warning, , blocked all his photographs from appearing on the site…


A Mumsnet blackout?   You couldn’t make it up.

Meanwhile the Master & Commander himself is being far from courteous. Hibernating for days on end he lacked even the good grace to welcome the P&O review by new member Mago. Almost as if there was disapproval at someone daring to say they had a good time on Ventura.

And then the announcement from the ‘Master & Commander’ himself that there would be no Digital postcard theme to the mid-term Balmoral cruise with the rather weak excuse that Fred Olsen’s wifi charges were extreme.

Really? From someone who regularly pays in excess of £600.00 rent on his personal vanity forum? You couldn’t make it up.

It would however appear that Podophilia has become all the rage on the playmates forum. Obviously Dame Edna set a precedent…


…while a rather untidy Balmoral cabin continues the theme…


Podophilia rules OK.

Mystery & Suspense

Good morning playmates and regular readers of this section of Solent Richard’s blog.

Apologies for the absence of recent updates due entirely to Solent Richard enjoying a Scenic river cruise, a review of which can be found here..

Scenic Diamond Beautiful Bordeaux

The good news is that whilst enjoying that particularly high quality river cruise line he also took the opportunity to research another line that also plies the waters of France…

…while keeping track(?) of playmate activities at home on the excellent en-suite information systems…

Hmnnnn. Not that that took up too much time with so little activity going on there (see previous ‘pin drop’ report)

Hence the title of this update. There are a number of mysteries that no doubt regular followers will be intrigued by.

Firstly was the absence of the Master & Commander who appeared ,or didn’t as the case may be, to be on a 3 week mega sulk and didn’t have the decency to acknowledge the sterling work of Duncan’s Splendida reporting.

The next great mystery was of course self generated. With considerable hype and fanfare the mates’ very own queen of drivel announced that ..

We’ve moved from London to the Seaside!

Wow: but,  with a most  uncharacteristic manner, the ‘mouth of the South’ has kept all,  but a close coterie,  in suspense as to just where ‘on the seaside’ she has moved. To be fair, the avatar was  amended to  Hampshire which gives a clue: albeit that, as the crow flies, Hampshire’s coastline is some 34 miles long.

Only a fool would not recognise that this ruse was a rather pathetic attempt at avoiding comment from Solent Richard who, quite frankly, couldn’t have given a toss until the creep Jimmy ‘6 chops’ from Stirling jumped in and mentioned Lee on Solent. How peculiar is that.; obviously the lad is in awe of prime seaside residences.

And of coarse, with her propensity for spouting drivel it would only be a matter of time before the drivel queen could resist  a few more gems that would eventually point to a more specific location.

In the meantime it is fair to say that most folks idea of the ‘seaside’ is just that: the sea side…

As one would expect, hardly a week passed and a number of snippets appeared indicating that the ‘Seaside’ was actually a 15 minute drive from what is obviously a downsizing exercise to a Hampshire retirement complex no doubt as a vehicle to provide future cruise funding.

Fifteen minutes drive from the seaside? Kind of makes that initial headline somewhat ridiculous when some folk only have to open their balcony door to sniff the sea air.

Of course the big mouth also solved a mystery over on the CruiseDot site where currently Jolly Jill seems to be making more regular appearances, since loosing her ‘moderator’ status, than she does on  playmates.

Would anyone believe that fellow playmate and ‘revolutionary’ leaver, Stan Dupp, has returned to CruiseDot under another sock puppet name. Straight from the horse’s mouth so as to speak and if anyone believes that garbage about loosing log in details they’ll believe anything. You really couldn’t make it up.

Perhaps the queen of drivel should take a leaf out of the book of resident  playmate jc and, like him, keep her head below the parapet.

There’s a good article on the Liverpool Pathway here…

The fourth mystery involves once again the playmates moronic Irishman. Having successfully  split the few members over his abusive remarks to the rather sensitive Hazel, he too is posting less often. It’s anyone’s guess but the once temporarily banned serial mysogynist  is now provably on his last warning from the Master & Commander and like him, is having a sulk.

What is even more amazing about Walter’s continued presence on playmates is the memberships acceptance of his serial lying. Reported earlier was his second banning from CD after he was exposed using the sock puppet ‘Familyguy’ and removed from the CruiseDot freebie to MSC Splendida.

Undeterred Walter then splashes this comment on playmates…


“…makes up for the disappointment of having to cancel our Splendida cruise at the Autumn mid terms”

Did the mates really swallow that bullshit?

Solent Richard hears that the CD member who took his place, Pippa Kernow, told friends that it was poetic justice and she was delighted at being chosen: particularly as she had been one of Tomvet’s female  victims of abuse.

And finally about the suspense. Solent Richard hears that across a number of forums members are eagerly awaiting the review of Oraina from the multi sock puppet Rosemary Wolfie Avid Diva.

In particular information on how one can survive a 21 night cruise with P&O taking only 3 jackets. Would that be a falling in P&O standards or personal standards.

Keep tuned folks. There’s always a laugh to be had with your mates.

So quiet you could hear a pin drop

Solent Richard apologises profusely for the lack of updates which is entirely due to his  recent gastronomic vacation in Bologna last week…


That’s no excuse however for the playmates to stop posting. So dire has it been that one could cover every comment in less time it takes to brew a cappuccino.

As luck would have it SR’s homebound BA flight offered an ideal view over an equally quiet Whitstable: what on earth is going on;  or not going on as the case may be…


The resident Irish pariah appears to have gone to ground with only a handful of rather innocuous comments over a whole week: surely the lad isn’t on another asbo warning?

And talking  of warnings it couldn’t go unnoticed that the CD member who took cheating Tommy’s place on the Splendida – Yes folks Tomvet still hasn’t confessed to his playmates being caught out using yet another sock puppet – just happened to be Pippa Kernow. How fitting as one seems to recall she was yet another  female who suffered abuse from the misogynistic meat inspector.

No need to despair though as at great expense there is something on the horizon to look forward to. Next month a perfect opportunity will present itself  to compare river cruise suites, in particular  between a Scenic ‘space-ship’ and the offering ‘under the stairs’ on CroisiEurope’s Seine Princess.

Tune in for the October update folks

A Splendid(a) Occasion

Solent Richard is always happy to give praise where praise is due and he is delighted to give fellow cruise blogger Mike Wandsbrough a well deserved recommendation for his blog account of the Cruisedot sponsored soiree aboard MSC Splendida between Hamburg and Southampton…

Splendida Blog page

Shame the playmates best blogger and by far their most discerning cruiser isn’t sharing his adventures with the mates:  though on this occasion as it is a freebie, provided by a TA,  prudence may be the watchword.

Prudence of course isn’t the watchword for another playmate who only 3 months ago claimed he to would be on this very same Splendida cruise…

We are back on Splendida shortly so it will be interesting to see how we cope with that size ship again”.

Needless to say the ‘Irish meat inspector’ hasn’t had the balls to confess to the playmates that, having lied and cheated and trolled his way onto the originalCD list,  he was then stitched up by the very CD members who still consider him the forums worst and most disliked pariah.

And he has the gall to criticise Costa Cruises customer relations; with lying customers like him they need to be alert at all times.

Hypocrisy is of course alive and well amongst the playmates. Here’s another fine example of a seasoned hypocrite…

Back on track, again offering praise, what a good selection of photographs of Azura produced by  Andy Simons. That guy knows how to handle a camera which is more than can be said for many others.

And finally a big thank you to those playmates who have contributed to Solent Richard’s blog hit list which this weekend passed the Quarter of a Million mark while attracting two more followers to reach 450.

The Clock is Ticking

There can be no doubt as to the continued dire performance of the cruising mates (Playmates) forum which appears to be currently on ‘life-support.

If ever there was a chance to pin a member or members responsible for this situation, including the poor uptake of membership and the continued  reluctance of registered members to contribute, one can guarantee that one name that would come out of the hat would be the forum’s resident Irish Mysoginist.

And when a certain member posted the following…

Reluctance to post ever again

“…My reluctance to ever post in CM again.”...

…there could only be one member that that referred to.

Up to his usual tricks, the forum’s social outcast and Walter Mitty character,  has form when it comes to berating females. Indeed, he was banned from the CruiseDot forum for that very offence though of course some members of playmates are in total denial as to why he was banned despite cruising on several occasions with one of the CD motivators.

Thanks for support

Strangely that was hardly a spontaneous outbreak of sympathy and support for Hazel from the membership with only the following members commenting…

Granny M, Jolly Jill, Gillzajoker, Avid, Meg50, Trace, Jimmy the One, Adogap and Graham R.

A couple of notable absences then (and a degree of hypocrisy from both Jolly Jill (the meat inspectors greatest supporter on the site) and Jimmy ‘Six Chops’ Stirling (who not so long ago was welcoming Tommy back with open alms)…

Tomvet nice to be back comment

So it was reasonably good news to see the playmates sisterhood rallying to the cause though in member Jolly Jill’s case this is airbrushed with a dose of hypocrisy: one wonders how long she can continue supporting Walter.

And as if the membership hadn’t conclusively made their feelings clear, Walter turned his wrath on yet another female member, MaggieMou…

Botox jibe at 0240 am

The usual Tomvet signature referring to Botox. Where else was that used by a string of sock puppets on the CD forum before Tomvet was banned is the answer.

And  did you notice the time of the comment?

It was made at 2.40 am – what is the middle of the night for normal folk – surely the pariah wasn’t sent packing from the marital bed again?

As if by magic the comment was later removed: though fortunately not before a screenshot was taken by  Solent Richard. One can only assume Tomvet’s favourite blogger was up and about before the  ‘Master & Commander’; who incidentally still hasn’t found the gonads to inform his membership that he has already banned Tomvet once and, very foolishly, then allowed him back.

Curiously it appears that Tomvet’s greatest supporter on the forum, Jolly Jill, has had her forum status reduced somewhat…

Moderator to Non Moderator

For the uninitiated, Dave’s moderators have a ‘status’ coloured name: in this case green.

Is the clock ticking before Tomvet faces yet another ejection from a cruise forum? Solent Richard certainly hopes not as where else would fifty percent of playmate laughs come from: and we haven’t yet experienced Phoenix Reisen: ‘auf wiedersehen’.


Judging by the number of quotes the ‘meat inspector’ uses from Solent Richard’s blog it is fair to make a number of observations. The first is of course is that he obviously spends an inordinate amount of time on said blog while secondly he has either an unhealthy obsession with good blogging or is completely in awe of, and aspires to, Solent Richard’s cruising record.

While it is generally acknowledged that Walter isn’t the sharpest knife in the box if he is going to continue to use Solent Richard’s famous quotations, particularly “you couldn’t make it up’, then he really should endeavour to set it in the correct context.

Otherwise it just makes himself look even more pathetic than he really is.

Olympic Level Comedy Gold

In the same period that has seen Great Britain collect a record number of medals at the Rio Olympics a little noticed group who contribute to a rather dire UK cruise forum deserve at least some recognition for their contributions to entertainment and comedy in the medals table.

Stepping onto the podium then, in reverse order, is our Bronze winner, none other than the master and Commander himself, Dave.

Dave is certainly a master in the art of obfuscation and regularly tends to not tell the whole story. Having brainwashed the playmates  not  to ask embarrassing questions, Dave often gets away with some pretty cynical statements…

Of course, what Dave failed to mention was the fact that CroisiEurope offered transfers, at an additional cost,  on disembarkation day from Paris back to Honfleur. In good playmate budget tradition Dave looked to save a few bob by making his own transfer arrangement and ended up out of pocket with an unplanned taxi fare between Deauville, where they missed the connecting bus,  and Honfleur.

Next up on our podium is the playmates very own Irish meat inspector and Walter Mitty character, Tomvet.

Walter’s Silver medal is purely based on his ingrained dislike of everything British and he couldn’t resist the odd jibe at denigration of Team GB’s efforts

Walter of course also suffers from the odd bout of obfuscation happily in the knowledge that  playmates aren’t programmed to challenge other members remarks. If they had have they would undoubtedly have indicated one ‘sport’ where an Irishman excelled in Rio…

‘Police in Brazil investigating illegal Olympic ticket sales have arrested the head of the European Olympic Committees, Irishman Patrick Hickey’.

What is it about the Irish lying and scamming?

Come on Walter, the playmates are still waiting for you to ‘fess up’ on the September Splendida cruise you lied to claim to be going on: the one that was so spectacularly blocked when the liar and cheat was well and truly sussed on the CruiseDot forum.

And finally to our Gold medalist. Step up Jolly Jill with a particular  piece of mischief making in yet another attempt to turn opinion against the ever popular Solent Richard’s Cruise Blog…

And how fascinating that the resident busybody went on to further state …“I know from experience that wordpress and youtube will not remove offensive posts on request, which is why we need this new police initiative”

She knows from experience? Really?  Not a case of the Crayford Censor strikes again?

Surely with so much time on her hands it would be better spent researching why CruiseDot have charged such a massive premium on her upcoming November cruise to the Far East.

Of course the mischievous idea backfired spectacularly, and for a number of reasons. Not least that the article quoted is really dealing with hate crimes, racism and the tracking the identity of unknown trolls: nothing to do with satire and the occasional lampooning of rather silly people.

As the first comment indicated, the thread didn’t please the Master & Commander either. Having been involved with the Animal Liberation Front, whose personal attack methods make rather disgusting reading, that would be the last reminder Whitstable’s famous son would need reminding of.

And don’t you just know Solent Richard is onto a winner when the trolls roll out the spud.  In fact one could have set one’s stopwatch with the

…what a perfect description of what the spud sees everytime she looks in the mirror.

Funny old internet world. The proven bully crying wolf.

You really couldn’t make it up. Or could you…

“Morning all … Police Twitter squad here. I’m Sergeant Farnsby..

Had a report of some anti Transgenderist comments and some Anti-Democrat talk..

Now..I’ll let you all off with a warning this time..But be aware that some discussions can lead to disagreements..And disagreements to bad language..and name calling and before you know it, someone’s feeling have been hurt. And then you’ll be down the station facing a five year stretch for hate crimes against humanity.

My advice is to stick to non controversial topics. Gardening is a good one. Talk about veg and flowers instead, eh?

If you really must indulge in opinion comments than remember to use ‘allegedly’

i.e. say –

The man holding the axe and the bloody, severed head is “allegedly” a lone-lone wolf, Norwegian, of German citizenship, who has ‘Allegedly’ committed some criminal act of an unspecified nature, that may, or may not have anything to with said man..

Alright? Enough said ? 

I think so..Good day.”

(with thanks to Guido Fawkes & Bill Quango)

Mystery & Suspense

Nothing is guaranteed more to elicit interest in the hidden goings on at playmates than a bit of mystery, suspense and drama.

Spotted this last week of July was a real giveaway on a review of Tui’s Discovery and in particular the ship’s visit to Cadiz. Such a coincidence then that two playmates had the opportunity to meet up, having sailed on different ships…

Now who can the mysterious and secretive playmate be? Well a quick scan of her usual forum haunts will reveal that one part time member and Avid cruiser has been missing since 16th July. Funnily enough the Oriana sailed from Southampton on 17th.

And talking of mysteries, Solent Richard has always found it rather strange that one of a group of three, that migrated across from the now defunct P&O Forum, namely Dancing Queen, never appeared to join her two mates Avid(aka Diva18) and the Spud-u-like on the playmates site.

All rather strange really when they were such bosom friends on CruiseDot and still are over on that other rather dull forum Cruise Community.

Surely it’s unthinkable that Jo has joined playmates under a different pseudonym.

Update 10 August: 

Right on Cue the UK cruise forums ‘kiss of Death’ and celebrated sock puppet queen, Affid,  bursts back onto the scene post the Oriana cruise (Remember, you heard it first on this blog) with this little gem…

Not quite sure who ”my friends’ are (she certainly has more enemies than friends) but they obviously are keen and regular followers of this blog: can’t be all bad.

Solent Richard  will join the general expectation and wait the review of yet another P&O cruise without pictures and will resist the temptation to yawn too loudly.

 Readers will recall an earlier prediction regarding a northern member of a certain troll Coven and the cancellation of a much trumpeted cruise on Azura in 2017. Remember you read it here first and what a surprise it is to note that little sympathy has been forthcoming to Bella’s best friend.


And what about this for keeping us all in suspense…

“We’re not sure we’ll use CroisiEurope though. There are cons as well as pros that I’ll talk about in the review.”

OMG, after all that research and hype and booking the only suite(?) on the ship?

Not to mention the past sneering when he had a cabin on a Viking river cruise ship on a higher deck than a well known cruise blogger. Only now to find himself on the waterline. Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

Talking of water, what an amazing photograph of Whitstable’s most famous blogger soaking up the atmosphere while lunching on a Parisian street complete with  ‘Croque Veganne’ about to be washed down with a glass of tap water. Tightwad or what? You really couldn’t make it up.


While at least one mystery appears now to have been resolved. Walter Mitty has acknowledged what the members have been too embarrassed to ask.

“The parentage results come through next week.”

And what about this little gem more recently from the playmate’s very own Queen of Drivel…

Jolly Jill appears to be “….moving down to the South Coast very soon…”

Now that really is a bit rich referring to a certain ‘Troll’ when this is the woman who is only second to Avid Rosemary for operating internet forums with multiple sock puppets ( Tumbling on Bolsover, Perismo on Cruise Critic and Smith 7 on CruiseDot)

Still, one thing is for sure, the local nick at Bexleyheath will no doubt heave a sigh of relief to see the back of a certain time wasting nuisance.

…While Jimmy ‘Six Chops’ Sterling speculates the coastal move could be to Lee on the Solent.

Sorry to disappoint Jim boy but  not a hope in hell. One can of course dream but far too expensive for a Fred Olsen cruiser. Cunard yes, and maybe P&O but Fred, no chance. There’s not much call for shingles either: far too up market.

One could of course speculate that its all part of downsizing to release a little cash for future cruises (especially after paying over the odds to CD for the Far East Celebrity package) though one could also hazard a guess that a certain one bedroomed semi detached bungalow in Waterlooville could still be snapped up for around £170K – albeit that its 11 miles from the coast.

One more playmate where

Watch this space for another update as time allows.

All is not well in Tombstone

Following weeks of inactivity the playmates suddenly came alive thanks indirectly to another failing cruise forum.

Yes folks, you guessed it, a number of playmates joined up with CruiseDot’s matriarch, aka Mrs M, on a four night Queen Mary 2 cruise to Hamburg. One says ‘joined up’, but to be fare the playmates made up 33% of the 9 attendees. hardly a ringing endorsement of numbers from an outfit that claims to have the highest UK cruise forum membership.

No doubt readers of the ‘mates edition’ will no doubt be intrigued at the amount of wine boxes stashed in Jolly Jill’s cabin which one assumes was the beverage of choice for the pre-dinner rave-ups typically exuding the quality one associates with budget forum cruisers.

And what an amazing way to experience such an iconic ship. With so many first class venues to savour the traditional Cunard ambiance, plus pre-dinner musical entertainment, our intrepid cruisers chose a cabin  squat with wine boxes: all to save a couple of dollars no doubt.

And what’s this one hears, The Matriarch dictating censorship over the playmates forum in addition to CruiseDot…

“Yes, sorry. Mrs. M warned me that XXXXXX  is anonymous and I wasn’t sure whether to mention him or not!”

To which Walter Mitty replied…

Now come on Walter, you know full well who Mrs M is. Let this blog remind you that it was Mrs M in league with Lizzie of Leamington that used their CD influence to get you banned from that forum. Inconvenient it may be but Jolly Jill has copied up to Denise on a number of occasions now and has all the facts.

Before moving on to the next subject praise where it is due is always given on this blog. So well done Cruisingmates and in particular Duncan for managing 5 pages of comments on the CD cruise: CD, after all the prior hype covering 32 pages could only manage 5 post cruise comments on the main thread. So again, if it hadn’t have been for Duncan a blink would have missed it.

Returning quickly to the forum’s very own Irish meat inspector and Walter Mitty character. The lad is beginning to show signs of mental illness, or certainly a case of ADHD. Commenting online at 2.00 am is all very well but trying to book three different river cruises, with the same company, and before one has even be tried, smacks of pretty weird behaviour. There maybe a link to his avatar picture,: mad cow anyone?

One cannot be sure whether or not the onset of his condition  is due to Walter being frozen out of conversations by the ruling sisterhood, orchestrated no doubt by Dame Edna: in a week he has only received two return comments, one from old Stirling chubby chops and one from another female, Gillssomejoker.

Yet another setback for the playmates was the final confirmation over on the CruiseDot site that another of their trolls has now been exposed and banned after a little pressure from guess who. Step forward once more Tomvet, aka FamilyGuy, not the sharpest knife in the box: the mates membership must be really proud of him, banned yet again…

Meanwhile the sisterhood can be observed drowning in their own drivel over in the Health and Beauty section (there’s a misnomer if ever there was one associated with the playmates).

The poor postmistress had her renewal of her ‘blue badge’ turned down. What a saga and quite right too the decision was. Yet another playmate abusing the systems in place for the genuinely disabled.

You couldn’t make it up.

And now to the Master & Commander himself.

Where is Dave?

Nearly two weeks and not a peep from the boss yet he is clearly logging in every day. Are the wheels coming off his vanity project? No one believes that nonsense that advertising is paying the forum rent and with just 6 months to go to the anniversary date one wonders if the plug is about to be pulled. One can get some reasonable cruising in for £600.00 a year.

Watch this space…

Two other members are noted by their recent absences. The Affid Avid rarely makes an appearance now except for the odd occasion to remind the readership that she completed the shortest world cruise ever. No doubt the Welsh Dragon is missing her mate Spud-u-Like who also appears to have been lost in the ethernet. One would have really have thought Rosemary would have joined in the ‘Blue Badge’ saga, as she has recently been attempting to harvest sympathy by the bucket load on other forums.

And where is jc? Having ditched Thomson for P&O readers can always catch up with the adventures of playmates resident trot in the latest edition of ‘Flying the Flag with Citizen Smith’…

And finally for this update, commiserations for the Seamstress aka Dame Edna. The Dame’s gorgeous feet with one all bandaged up may well get the members flocking back but it looks as though the bandage has blown her chances of appearing in Jim Davidson’s Panto, Sinderella…

While one realises members of cm aren’t allowed to criticise others errors there are a few minor corrections needed to the QM2 reviews though. Wen, the Winter garden was never a buffet and Chris (Adogap) Carinthea is spelt as in the past Cunard ship: not as in the canal.

Stop Press 14.50 Monday 25 July

Well would you believe it? a bare 90 minutes after writing the above update the ‘Master & Commander’ burst onto the scene and made three comments in succession at 10.07, 10.09  and  10.30. Welcome back Dave, the playmate who never visits this blog.



Tales from the Crypt

So poor has the attendance and comment count become over the last few weeks any visitor to the ‘playmates’ forum would be forgiven for believing there is more life in a crypt. With the exception of the ‘Joke of the Day’  thread a daily check would reveal little or no activity from the remaining few members.

What activity was on offer seemed to circulate mainly around ‘planning meals’ and how egg & chips were top of the list in Cumbria when Gavin was away on missionary work:- 3 pages of pretty normal playmate drivel including the manner post offices’ parking problem all down to the hairdresser next door. You couldn’t make it up.

And the Master & Commander’s answer?

Splash, bang, wallop…

Followed by…

In a desperate effort to generate some, well any, cruising activity Dave moved a thread concerning an upcoming cruise from the private members lounge, (where incidentally it’s not on public view) to the open forum.

Of course, Dave is well aware that to rally the troops anything that pours scorn on Solent Richard will bring our the comments. And the mates never disappoint…

Cue the obvious planted question…“Just pure curiousity of course but why is a topic about booking a cruise on Balmoral inn the Forum Members Lounge section and not in the cruise chat section? Obviously hiding from someone, maybe?!”

Apparently the Master & Commander was in fear that Solent Richard would follow him onto Fred Olsen’s Balmoral cruise in October.

Is this guy serious? Solent Richard is well aware that the ‘Master & Commander’ is so in awe of him but to expect that the feeling is mutual really takes the biscuit.

Did Whitstable Control (WC) really believe SR would follow him on Balmoral out of Southampton in October 2016?

In a nutshell Dave was afraid Solent Richard would stalk him.

As illogically dissembling as ever, what Dave failed to mention was that it was he who initiated an episode of stalking when he arranged for his kickboxing daughter to stalk Solent richard while on the 14 day Britannia Maiden Cruise.

So he now wonders why Solent Richard takes great delight in sticking a  yardbrush up the playmates’s posteria

What’s more did WC really think SR didn’t know about his  Balmoral cruise even though it has been talked about ‘privately’ behind the parapet wall since early May 2016. 

And doesn’t this just completely expose what Solent Richard has been saying for years. The nasty forum remains active and operates behind the curtain of the ‘Member’s Lounge’, spitting their bile at whoever takes their fancy.

Playmates Political Fallout

What a great week to be following the Playmates. The remaining hardcore surrounding  Dave’s ever failing forum venture are among some of the best sources of satire and amusement the cruising world has ever produced.

With so little current cruising drivel to spout, our heroes have turned to non cruising subjects  to brighten their obviously dreary lives. Indeed, for the purpose of this update, and to maintain a nautical theme, ‘drivel’ would be better substituted by ‘bilge’.

From politics to sport, the playmates have it all covered…

And where better to start than at the top. Step forward WC aka Whitstable Control or ‘Call me Dave‘ to the playmates.

“How can anyone hijack a petition?”

An interesting question but one that the membership would not expect from the man who claims to be such an internet and computer nurd.

Strange that the Master & Commander isn’t au fait with the use of filter bubbles on internet sites, particularly on Facebook.

But not to worry, the hijacking of the said petition was easily proved when, as of last Sunday more than 40,000 signatures came from people who said they live in Vatican City – a tiny state with just 800 residents”.

Nuff said on that one then’

Next up from Dave…

Well there you go. “I’m very ordinary” and I spent “many years in the wilderness” Nothing seems to change there then…

Elsewhere Dave mentions he paid the £3 fee so he could vote for the labour leader. One wonders where he got that idea from. It’s probably the only expenditure Dave shares with Solent Richard. The latter of course believing it has produced the best value political entertainment outside of forum  comments made by the playmates resident Trot, jc. Members can always catch up with the latest comment ‘Out of Touch, Out of Europe’ edition one  particular serial liar and all round  idiot here…

Meanwhile we hear from another playmate that “My money will be on Theresa May also”. Home Secretary to PM is a common route”.

Really? While Theresa may is currently ahead in the Conservative leadership what kind of judgement is that based on?

You’d have to trawl back to 1911 to find one of the two Home Secretaries that actually made Prime Minister of the United Kingdom having previously served as Home Secretary. Winston Churchill and James Callaghan are the only two of the last 12 Prime Ministers to have held the position of Home Secretaries.

Never mind, the judge appears in good company: no one else noticed.

And so onto the fringes of the United Kingdom where you can always guarantee a laugh. First up the gift that keeps on giving: the playmates very own Walter Mitty character and Euro meat inspector, Tomvet.

This from one of Irelands  best (?) the day after the Brexit vote…

Sterling falls to a 3 decade low. 137£bn wiped off the UK stock market within 11 minutes of opening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. 
That is not good. The world economy was fragile. This is not going to help anyone”. 

7 days later the Stock Market was higher than pre Brexit day and sterling had recovered 30%

While also excelling himself with…

“I am sure the city of London may be fretting. This may be an opportunity for Ireland – we already have a Financial Services Centre in place, we are in the EU with the access to 450million people, we speak English (badly ) but more critically in combination with all of the above we have a justice system based on Common Law”.

A Financial Services Centre?  Now that is really stretching the blarney somewhat. Do the Irish really believe their German paymasters would entertain a rival financial centre to challenge Frankfurt when London exits the EU?

Ireland was in fact bought off to take a second Irexit vote, after initially rejecting the EU, with permission to continue with their lower Corporation Tax. How long will that last?…

Another disaster for Irish finances linked as they are to European bureaucracy was in September 2008 when Peter Sutherland, a former Irish EU commissioner, was Chairman of Goldman Sachs International and strongly advised the naively led Irish government to buy up bank bond debts at the Irish taxpayer’s expense.  For a total cost of some €85 billion or 37% of GDP these proved the highest per capita cost of the credit crisis in Europe. Sutherland’s advice will have saved Goldman Sachs billions in losses on the firm’s bond holdings. It will take the Irish people generations to pay off the debts Goldman Sachs advised their politicians to take on.

Irish financial prowess Tommy?  ‘Suckers’  fit better.

If ever proof were needed of an inability to engage brain before hitting the keyboard, here’s another cracker from the Irish meat department…

Tomcat’s limited intelligence has never been in doubt but how can anyone miss a population figure by over 30%?

Tommy’s mouth has always been ahead of his brain and one wonders how long before that comment is edited as the mortgage final date was recently…

Stay tuned for rolling updates to this section. Next up Troon’s very own  Granny Krankie and the answer  Nicola Sturgeon  got from the EU.

 One word from Solent Richard

With the culmination of the Playmate’s resident Queen of Drivel’s  Oceania cruise it would appear normal service is being resumed on amongst the mates – the mortuary is now open.

So what better a time than now to add a second opinion of the Marina which just happens to be the sister ship of Riviera on which Solent Richard sailed for 12 nights back in January…

Oceania Riviera – Mayan Mystique

…and as an avid follower of this blog, we will know she took a keen interest in.

Congratulations are due to any cruiser who fulfils their aspiration to cruise at a ‘luxury’ level: if only when facilitated by a last minute price drop deal and it was good to note that ‘Jam and Jerusalem‘ managed a suite that actually offered  a double bed  –  so much better than singles.

Equally good is the fact that a self confessed budget cruiser can indeed see how well so many other cruisers do it in style.  But why oh why so many reminders over the week that it was a bargain last minute job and could not normally be afforded: Does the woman really suffer from such a low level of self esteem? Solent Richard ran out of digits counting the number of occasions we were reminded.

Yet again, as if proof were needed that playmates are addicted to this blog, one word from SR, regarding excursions from St. Malo, resulted in an almost immediate Crayford response, complete with a 28 year old photograph, and an editorial confession to the effect… “I wish I were that slim again” – fish fingers have obviously a lot to answer for.

Proof reading one’s views is of course an art as we know. One particular mate, , the now Bolsover Forum departed 132LK, often delighted in it. Never one to sit tight and not offer a fair proof reading service, Solent Richard would like to make a few corrections regarding Oceania Marina as written for the mates.

Firstly, Waves Grill is not quite ‘Al Fresco’ dining in the true meaning of the phrase…

…or at least that’s the name and  interpretation of dining in the open air. No doubt the debate will rage that one can freely walk into Wave’s Grill from the pool deck, but completely covered by a roof/ceiling does not make it ‘Al fresco’.

One realises it’s quite normal to retire to one’s suite to play cards after dinner but then one doesn’t get to savour the full atmosphere and ambiance of evening life onboard. And as a result one tends not to remember which venue/bar is which. So once again Solent Richard would offer the advice to edit the name of the ‘Casino Bar’: wrongly labelled ‘Martinis’...

So, the bar in Martinis…

…and the Casino Bar…


While in ‘edit’ mode it may be a good idea to take a look at this particular piece of drivel…

Has been with the bank for some years? Hmmmnn.

Mind, not all drivel can be attributed to Jolly Jill and ‘Edit’ buttons can come in handy except, of course, when there is a paper trail.

So, on the same ‘One word from Solent Richard’ theme, the Irish gift that keeps on giving obviously picked up on an SR comment regarding his mortgage forecast.

Now would one credit it. The meat inspector felt the need to change what was another of his periodical fantasies…

Original quote made on 4 October 2012 with the update coming up on 14 February 2015.

You couldn’t make it up.

As stated in a previous update, “you can take the man out of the bog, but you can’t …”

Achtung, Achtung – Midsummer Madness

It would appear the playmates very own intellectually-challenged character has surpassed even his own low standards in the world of cruising.

Having booked what appears to be probably the tackiest river cruise, on an ‘all German’ speaking cruise ship,  he is now trying to waffle his way on the playmates website by claiming that the rather ancient MS Sofia is the sister ship of the MS Amelia – an altogether more modern ship…

Now here is the spec for the very old Sofia…

…and here we have Amelia’s…

Or pictorially, can you spot the difference…

And look which playmate fell for it hook, line and sinker…

“It all looks great Tom – and thanks for the video. The ship is very similar to the two European ships we’ve been on, although I haven’t seen a swimming pool on a river cruise ship before. The cabins look small, but I like the French window shown in the video”…

WTF gives this utterly  deluded  Irishman  the notion that he has  the intelligence and ability to offer advice to the cruising world?

Solent Richard’s generosity knows no bounds Walter, here you go…

Meanwhile, what a tragedy that the scourge of  foreign nationals and  Tatler  wannabe, Octocruiser,  felt the need to hide, from public view, a pair of photographs of her latest eBay creations.

Not a problem for the more astute internet operator: a quick google search for …“Dame Edna in Pink’ will provide a pretty reasonable substitute.

Though one  does wonder whether the Cotswold set are ready for Dame Edna and her catwalk accessory, the portable electric fan heater (in the corner).

You couldn’t really make it up.

However, all is maybe quite not what it seems between the above two members. With Tommy sending pm’s and making cryptic comments in Octo’s direction  concerning the ‘o’ word, which one assumes to be orgasm related, and his Facebook friendship with the older lady mates, it begs the question whether the boy has gerontopheliac  tendencies.

And still the ‘Master & Commander’ refuses to confirm or deny Tomvet was banned for a period.

You can take the man out of the bog but ….

Funny how some people are forgiven!

The real tragedy here is that such is the entertainment from the playmates Solent Richard  keeps running out of popcorn.

On a slightly different note Solent Richard is pleased to announce he won his bet. She that places so much store in ‘itineraries’ didn’t make one excursion. Again, you couldn’t make it up.

Canapes and Drivel

It is only fair that Solent Richard congratulates Jolly Jill on her choice of sailing with Oceania: albeit on a reduced fare almost last minute deal. Marina is the sister ship of Riviera on which SR sailed earlier this year…

Oceania Riviera – Mayan Mystique

…which completed a total of 5 weeks onboard two of Oceania’s ships, all at penthouse level.

And what good news to hear that Oceania had offered an upgrade but on a different cruise: that certainly opened the drivel floodgates on playmates with some cracking lines of the order…

Considering that we have sailed in probably the smallest inside cabins, outside, balcony and suites, The B4 on marina will be fine for us”.

“I guess they offer these deals on a guaranteed cabin basis and then overbook, like they often do on aircraft”.

“It’s all a matter of what lights your bulb Pete. Most of the extras don’t interest us in the slightest, except maybe for the free wi-fi.”

…and the real gem…

Actually Peka, we stopped our steward bringing canapés when were in a suite a while back and so did our fellow table mates on Boudicca who were in a suite. We all though them surplus to requirements”.

What a difference 3 days make. Surprise, surprise and Oceania eventually gives our heroine an upgrade to a Penthouse Suite: that’s one level up by the way.

All of a sudden the excitement becomes unbearable. Everything that was previously poh poh’d now becomes wonderful. We can now read lists of what comes with a Penthouse Suite, the ‘tote bag’ becomes a treasured possession, access to the ‘Executive Lounge’,  and all of a sudden one would think ‘Jam and Jerusalem’ had won the lottery.

Of course the biggest laugh was the comments on Fred Olsen’s Canapés. Did one so experienced at cruising really believe there was going to be any comparison between a FO canapé and an Oceania offering?

Oceania of course offer a Canapés menu…

…and are tasty delicate offerings more tune to the quality of the food…

Combined with all the other delightful additions Fred Olsen will never be the same again. Unless of course…

Even more drivel with the ‘speculation’ that Oceania had oversold their Veranda category. On the contrary, as is common practice with this cruise line they offered the lower category at an even cheaper price and upgraded those that had already booked. It’s called marketing.

Oceania also provide luxury bedding and their seven zone mattress offers an exceptional sleep…

One looks forward to the suite review in the ‘Cabin Review’ section. The excitement is really unbearable: will it be a photograph of a suite with single beds?

Talking of these wonderful ‘Prestige’ mattresses, Oceania does actually promote their sale…

The UK distributor is Websters of Brighouse. Solent Richard recently ordered his while visiting Yorkshire to check out Harrogate during it’s annual Flower Show.

Meanwhile, with reference to the following article ‘The Rumour Mill‘ it would appear Walter Mitty hasn’t yet informed the playmates of his Splendida cancellation. You couldn’t make it up.

The Rumour Mill

An interesting rumour has landed on the desk of Solent Richard. It concerns the possible use of a sock puppet- not unusual for playmates – 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 two playmates were selected.

Of course one definite selection is well deserved. Fellow blogger Wansbrough, who stands head and shoulders above the mainstream playmate cruisers, is a well deserving choice.

Information received, and Solent Richard stresses it is still an infant rumour, indicates that a certain ‘family guy’ 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 – none other than the playmates Walter Mitty  character, Tomvet…

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.

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 moronic scumbag had been sussed out…

And thanks again to Wilba and the support of  Mrs M and Tracey for assisting Rachal at CruiseDot in sussing out another playmate sock puppet who had already been banned for his female harassing comments.

CruiseDot Splendida competition update: 12 July...

Nothing like getting a mention on this blog, the Admin of the CruiseDot forum have now eventually got around to doing their job properly and Tomvet the Troll, aka FamilyGuy, has now been officially banned once more from that forum…


Of course he’s not the only one. Bolsover Forum has a number including Fudge (aka Tintop), Tumbling (aka Jolly Jill) and 132LK (now banned) plus many others.

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 Tom 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?

Another example…

Cracking piece of English reporting that.

Questions and Answers

As time allows Solent Richard will be delighted to provide an answer to the member who wrote…

…other than to say I find it most odd that after 5 years the man still actually cares enough about anything any of you bunch of crazy people has to say…”

May Update

Now you see her: now you don’t.

It would be very remiss of Solent Richard not to show his appreciation towards the playmate who is his most avid follower. Lets face it, if it hadn’t have been for SR’s snippet about Cruise Select pricing the Queen of Budget Cruising would have completely forgotten the 5% discount Cruise Select offers to members of the playmates forum.

A note has now been placed on Facebook Cruise People Group regarding this so the playmates may soon see a sudden rise in membership levels. Either that or Cruise Select will  suddenly be inundated with business from duplicate screen names. What fun.

The central plank of this update however – Now you see her: now you don’t – regards a series of comments on various forums made by the same Jolly Jill.  Take for instance Jam and Jerusalem’s inclusion of a cabin picture on Boudicca following her, and Plunks’, quarantine.  Leave aside the interesting twin bed arrangement for now, the fact that staff would only venture into the cabin dressed in Contamination suits does tell a story…

Now compare that report with the complete lack of any contribution to a thread on the CD forum…

…which highlighted what quarantine meant on another ship. Really odd then that Jolly Jill missed the opportunity despite commenting elsewhere during the same 72 hour period it remained highlighted. How odd, unless of course there was a degree of embarrassment over either being in quarantine or at the standard of a Fred Olsen ‘Superior Outside’ cabin.

On the subject of accommodation it was good to see at least one playmate with a high level of quality cruising following in Solent Richard’s footsteps and staying at the Grand Hotel Savoia in Genoa…

Well done Skier Pete: especially on your upstaging the meat inspector in Genoa.

And finally for this particular edition a challenge for the playmates resident Walter Mitty. The world awaits the account and photographs of the Irish tribe’s  all conquering assault on St John’s Castle at Kotor…

One Way to do Kotor

Where SR goes others follow, obviously including the sun (in May)

Just One Cornetto?

Good to see the greatly anticipated review of Captain Cheapskate’s Costa Mediterranean (Or should that be Meditterrania) …

…particularly as the internet hype  pre-cruise was of epic anticipation…”I have no doubt it will be a great cruise because no matter, we will make it a great cruise”! (again, see link above)

This was of course a cruise described as ‘going for a song’…

Now who would have thought the lack of ice cream would have such an impact on a cruise – Just one Cornetto – Read on dear friends.

Word reaches Solent Richard that in certain playmate quarters it is not considered good form to use metric and imperial measures in the same comment. Surely  somewhat hypocritical given that both systems appear in the illustration of the tightwad’s route map between the Trieste hotel and the cruise terminal…

…over which he frog-marched his family, presumably pulling their luggage, all to save a single digit Euro taxi fare. But what is equally amazing is that not one member of cruising mates (well, of the dozen regular posters left) dared to question the time the Cap’n reckoned it took him.

7 minutes?

You’re ‘avin a laugh Tommy, just over half a mile and 8 streets to cross. As they say in Limerick’s campanologist circle: pull the other one Tommy.

Not satisfied with saving his euros  joining the ship the tightwad then repeated the frog-march to the central railway station on the ship’s return: which incidentally was  almost double the distance of the march between the hotel and cruise terminal.

And it doesn’t end there.  Would you credit it that,  having been travelling home, the best part of 15 hours, on arrival at Limerick captain Cheapskate dispatches his long suffering missus to walk home and collect the car: but maybe that was to the town house and not the farm. (see below). You couldn’t make it up.

Obviously you can take the man out of the bog but ….

So what about the cruise itself? Not as successful as anticipated by all accounts: tantrums over ice creams and toys leaving the pram: and that’s not the children’s either.

It certainly appears the staff on Costa had the upper hand over the cruising world’s favourite leprechaun and it’s pretty clear that Tomvet will always leave some kind of impression on cruising society, even if it was only a skidmark.

Meanwhile it is understood that the meat inspector’s numerous references to ‘short legs’ is proving very unsettling for another playmate, Jolly Jill.  Of course Tommy’s problem is that he is short in the arms department and with his deep pockets that proves a problem: which is all rather ironic given that before he was banned from a major UK cruise forum he (Walter Mitty) perpetuated the myth that he was a high earning veterinary and even produced a faux Land Registry plan claiming tone the owner.

It also appears that the Cap’n is also a little short on powers of observation…

Obviously the gift that keeps on giving.

And talking of powers of observation. Still no word from the ‘Master & Commander’ to confirm or deny whether or not Tomvet was banned, albeit temporarily, from playmates…

It would appear that this last comment hit a raw nerve. What further proof that the Irish meat inspector follows this blog with daily monotony than this appearing on playmates less than 24 hours after it was posted…

Jealous? JEALOUS ? Of some peasant who pulls two suitcases half a mile just to save less than 10 Euros. You really couldn’t make it up.

Meanwhile word  reaches Solent Richard that Tommy…

My intelligence is on the case ………….  :o  :o  :shock:  :shock:  :shock:

…of whether or not Solent Richard is on Oceana’s current Mediterranean cruise.

Now intelligence is not one of Tommy’s strongest subjects…

Anyone could post a list of future cruises he says followed by the ‘Master & Commander’ stating that ‘anyone can claim almost anything‘.

Very true Dave. Do you remember this little gem from Walter Mitty…

Yes folks, Tommy claiming on the CD forum, before he was banned, to own a farm.

130 acres of land

Christmas Day …”My sister offered to do the needy so I could spend time with her

Yes Walter, you couldn’t make it up.

And still Dave won’t confirm that you weren’t banned, albeit temporarily.

It hasn’t escaped Solent Richard’s attention that the concept of Digital Postcards has been lost on Walter and Jill and the skinflints have taken to texting their inane dross to each other for posting on the playmates without the usual headed  graphic postcard image.

One wonders why, but not to worry. Always  generous by nature to the less well off, and maybe to hand out an olive branch,  SR has given of his pre-breakfast entertainment time to provide one, at least for Oceana…

Solent Richard is open to offers as to what to add to the basic design shown above…

No doubt everyone is looking forward to the full review. Apparently someone onboard with access to the internet has already started the ball rolling…     Comment # 26

We are coming to the end of two weeks on Oceana, in sunny Corsica today. We have eaten every evening in the Adriatic Restaurant, club dining, second sitting. I must say we as a table have thought that the food was certainly good and sometimes excellent. I have had the sirloin steak on several occasions, always ask for it rare and it’s been really juicy and tender. If people want more vegetables, potatoes or whatever they only have to ask. I had a really good fish dish of halibut which was excellent. On a couple of occasions I have found it difficult to choose, sometimes because I can’t eat cheese, and on those times have had the steak. The waiters seem determined to make sure our puddings are fantastic, they are bringing extra ice cream around every evening. We had the gala menu a couple of nights ago and I had the Beef Wellington which was excellent.
I do wonder if there is any difference between club and freedom dining – some people have said they think the food on club is better – same menu. I don’t know about this as we’ve only ever done club. I certainly don’t think anyone from our table would want to go up to the buffet because they are hungry, most of us have found it difficult to find room for the little extras at the end, even some of the truffles were left!
We have enjoyed our cruise, I’ll post a fuller review when I get home”.


February 2016 Update

Really odd that, one would think it a golden opportunity to prove Solent Richard ‘makes it up’. Unless of course…

On a separate note, isn’t it amazing that when one is desperate to make the forum look busy one member is reduced to poaching ideas from a cruise forum he was banned from…

Carpet poacher

TCB? (Tommy Carpet bagger) and part time budget cruise text blogger.

April Update

How embarrassing!

Solent Richard has often commented on the failing membership numbers on Dave’s playmate website. As with most forums  there is usually a panel on the front page which indicates membership numbers, who is actually online (Registered Users) , and other statistics pertaining to the forum.This screenshot is a prime example and as can be seen, on this occasion there were more internet spy-bots onboard than active members…

And here is another from the archives with 6 spy-bots and 13 members…

Being reminded of the poor membership activity has obviously got right up the nose of the ‘Master & Commander’ and it would appear that he has ‘pulled the plug’ on that section of the playmates front page…

There! Gone! Now how embarrassing is that? One does wonders why Dave didn’t take a leaf out of the Cruise Dot forum – another site with failing numbers – and adjusted the ‘Registered members’ online to cover a 24 hour period.

Who knows what the ‘Stats’ bar would look like with the playmates favourite Nocturnal Couple clocking up the score…

Nocturnal Edition with Tomvet

One thing is for sure,  despite denials to the contrary it looks as though Whitstable Control (WC) does visit this blog. What next? A confirmation that Tomvet was actually banned for a while. Pigs might even fly. The truth will eventually out we are sure.

Cruising mates appear to have a cosy relationship with a travel agent despite the ‘Master & Commander’s’ frequent denials regarding sponsorship. That maybe so however that certain agent also appears to be taking a rather handsome 7.1% loading when Solent Richard made a recent comparison (Wednesday 27 April) …

Cruise Select Fifty Quid Difference£100.00 on a cruise for two means a lot to a budget cruiser. And not for the first time. For some strange reason SR is on that same agents mailing list…

Cruise select price comparisonOh dear. £182.00 per person difference on that one.

Further evidence that all is not really well…

over on playmates is the latest notable absences of probably the only two quality cruisers on the site, Wansbrough and Skier Pete. God knows when they were last seen posting: indeed it would appear to the casual visitor that the latter,Skier Pete, has  not been around since he was the subject of harassment by Tommy over on CruiseCritic.

Solent Richard is more than happy to report that the speculation above regarding the absence of member Skier Pete was just that, speculation.

As if by magic, 24 hours after scribing his concerns, Skier Pete wrote a review of his 28 day cruise on MSC Orchestra…

What an excellent review from a true cruiser. The Playmates must be overjoyed with such quality input and photographs.

Meanwhile it would appear that dear  Tomvet has been well and truly neutered. Very surprisingly he has refrained from letting Jolly Jill know just how much she has been overcharged for her November Celebrity cruise and Vietnam/Cambodia add on. Unbelievable that one normally so astute with her pennies went down that route for a chance to see Vietnam and Cambodia. It’s one thing trying to play catch-up…

Siem Reap, One way to do…

…but another to pay a quid short of £5K  even though there is a suite on Celebrity Millennium. Should have gone to Iglu, at least the drinks were included.

And on the subject of Jolly Jill, no surprise to spot her using yet another sock-puppet screen name on the Bolsover Forum…

Tumbling? You couldn’t make it up. And here she is stalking Solent Richard’s profile on that forum on 7 February …

Well I mean to say, who else would take the cheapest option to get to Wadi Rum...

Yep, you couldn’t make it up pet.

And while talking of making it up, how’s about this cracker from the Queen of Drivel…

As Solent Richard has stated on the Cruise.Dot section of this blog, he’s never quite understood the difference between drivel and dross so it was good to see official recognition from an agent.

And exactly the double standards one has come to expect from Jolly Tumbling Smith. Here on playmates she actually names the ‘man who took her booking…

Quelle Plonkeur.

March Update.

Winner of this month’s ‘You Couldn’t Make It Up‘ award goes to Playmate Spud – banned again recently from yet another forum. In yet another futile attempt to goad Solent Richard into a reaction on another forum.

In response to an SR Comment that he was…”flattered that she found time so late in the evening – (Friday night 11.03 pm on line to be precise) – on your much heralded Valentine Weekend to comment”

This was the Spud’s response…“oh don’t flatter yourself….we were waiting for a taxi…and I was simply passing time..till it arrived”

As you do of course…

Taxi queue Bolsover surfer

In all my time exposing internet trolls have I seen such a weak, wet and altogether pathetic excuse for being online late on a Friday nigh. You couldn’t make it up, truly.

It also now appears that the said ‘Suespud’ has parted company with another forum. As one of the playmates make-believe rottweilers and a part time kamikaze member, one has to laugh at the content of some of her posts around the bazaars. Of course one expects little else from someone who hasn’t cruised for God knows how many years.

The sheer audacity to vilify those ladies  who choose to have ‘botox’ treatment is astounding…

Botox comment

As a friend recently wrote to Solent Richard, botox has to be a better option than having one’s photographs professionally airbrushed before they can be shown on the internet. LOL

March is also an exciting time as we welcome home Jolly Jill from her Fred Olsen cruise. Anticipation is rife and certainly Solent Richard is looking forward to the post mortem on Fred Olsen’s internet connectivity,  hearing how Bexley Heath police are going to handle the case of the African urinating against the tree and  the inquest on how  Meg50 slipped in a link to FO’s Facebook page where Jolly Gill’s mini rant was exposed to the world .

Maybe even a Boudicca cabin review (but don’t hold your breath) after the worm’s futile attempts to be upgraded on a one third empty ship.
Even more interesting the episode brought to the fore that another banned member from the CD forum is now resident with the playmates. Welcome on board Tintop. What fun to see Tintop, now morphed into Fudge, joining with Dancing Queen in a rant against Solent Richard. You really couldn’t make it up. Of course most folk know that  the usual troll master is pulling the Fudge puppet strings?

Anyway, here’s a dedication to all playmates…

February 2016 Update

Talking of absence it has been noticed by your intrepid reviewer that it would appear another unexplained  absence may be affecting the number of posts, especially those of a nocturnal nature.

Playmates will recall that it was Solent Richard who first broke the news of other long absences, those of  the forum’s resident Trot jc and that of Gordon Rees when none of the so called ‘friendly forum’ membership had missed them: let alone knew the poor man had been dead for three months.

Let’s all hope a similar fate hasn’t befallen the playmates favourite pariah, Tomvet. A browse through playmates this morning,  1st February, reveals that  he appears to have been absent from the forum for in excess of 11 days…

Most unlike Tomvet not to be on the airwaves which is of some concern to Solent Richard. Surely the Irish government’s best known meat inspector hasn’t been banished to some third world country for longer than a week?

Not to worry folks, SR is on the case…

It would certainly be a tragedy if dear Walter wasn’t around to celebrate the 5th anniversary on 24 February. Which now begs the question how soon will D’Arkangel be before he reminds the flock of how much he pays for the privilege of running his own forum. Indeed, no doubt the £600.00 annual rent is already winging its way to the real site owners. That’s one hell of a fee just to massage a pretty small ego, one wonders whether Fred realises the number of baguettes that would buy or even coffees on Celebrity.

Happy anniversary anyway folks and a big thank you for the joy and mirth you give so many of my readers.

STOP PRESS Monday 8 February:

Good news folks, over the weekend the ‘meat inspector’ returned to the mates fold.

Solent Richard can only speculate as to the reasons for this ‘unusual absence’ but, knowing Walter as the supreme bullshitter and serial liar he is, you can guess any one of the following will be proffered:-

a. Mystery cruise – unlikely due to love of budget bragging rights.

b. Meat inspection duties in some third world country – possible but internet is always available.

c. On a mission to rescue livestock from ISIS slaughterhouse – topical but never in those ridiculous shorts.

d. Interruption of internet services in Ireland – possible farmyard animals ate the cable or telecom bill not paid.

e. SR’s speculative shot, a temporary ban for abusing female members – Tommy has form here.

But not to worry, the lad is back and you can guarantee that the ‘gift that keeps on giving’ will be the source of considerable mirth on  this blog for months to come. Welcome home Walter, SR missed you if no one else did.

STOP PRESS Thursday 11 February

STOP PRESS Thursday 11 February

No official word has yet reached Solent Richard as to the strange 11 day silence of Walter Mitty though  above items (a) and (d) can now be discounted as well as possibly item (b), due to the fact that the meat inspector was spotted making comments  on Cruise Critic between 31 January and 2nd February…

Indeed, it transpires that on 31st January Tommy was having an altercation on Cruise Critic with  a member of playmates, Skier Pete…

The plot thickens – would Walter voluntarily absent himself from playmates?

The answer may lie in a comment made by Walter on his return…

…Firstly, I would have thought that any posts that are reported would be dealt with in a confidential manner…”

What’s going on? Especially a reference to “…reporting would not be disclosed on the open forum…”

It’s all here…

…and the follow up comments from other members would indicate that someone has been a naughty boy. Who on earth could that be?

There is a suspicion that someone maybe have dug a hole that he can’t climb out of. Knowing Tommy’s propensity for telling ‘porkies’ and a disposition to ‘Bullshit‘, some more digging by Sherlock Solent is needed.

STOP PRESS Monday 15 February.

Oh dear, word is reaching Solent Richard that the forum’s Walter Mitty character has made a statement about his absence but unfortunately placed it in the ‘Members Lounge’ where, conveniently, it cannot be seen by the general public. Now one wonders why he chose that way?

Solent Richard remains on the case and will dig a little more in the coming days, meanwhile if the meat inspector is reading this here is a fair warning…

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

Keep tuned folks, this story won’t go away.

Stop Press Thursday 18 February – Tomvet: the truth comes out

Solent Richard is most grateful to the friend who forwarded information regarding the strange issue of the disappearing Tomvet and Solent Richard’s efforts to ascertain the truth behind it.

Regular readers will recall that the Playmates have an area on their forum where comments are made that cannot be seen by the casual visitor to the site. The so-called ‘Chat Room for ‘emboldened members’

So why on earth, fully in the knowledge that not only Solent Richard was onto him,  would Walter want to place the following truly lamebrained and implausible excuse for his absence, where he knows it is hidden from public view?…

All the more ridiculous when he has already been shown to have been online on the Cruisecritic forum arguing and berating  another cruisingmate’s member, Skier Pete…

Tommy has some explaining to do don’t you think? 

One thing is truly for sure though, Tommy’s town certainly needs a sewerage system upgrade with all the crap that is emanating from his computer.

What’s even more amazing is that the membership, well a certain few, have swallowed Walters amazing storyline hook line and sinker. Of course no surprise that Jimmy Five Chins offered support: he’s never forgiven SR for exposing his crass ’emergency station’ faux pas. Equally one can always expect a comment from Rose who must be in contention for bull-shitter of the year with her amazing stretching of an 80 day cruise into 4 months.

Of course the ‘friendly’ forum is hardly likely to challenge Tommy but SR has no fear of doing that.

So just to prove SR is just a ‘theorist, hows about Tomvet showing the membership the paperwork for his cancelled/diverted flights and Sarajevo conference?

Or perhaps D’Arkangel could make a categorical statement, in response to a members direct question, as to whether or not Tomvet was administratively ‘excluded’ from playmates. 

Solent Richard’s best guess at the moment is that Tommy was excluded but a fear that  SR would make hay while the sun shines changed a mind or two.

Though doubtfull, (there’s probably more chance of seeing Dave on a Cunard cruise),  would it not be  prudent to put the record straight, make a statement, and not let Chinese whispers abound. Come on Dave, where’s your gonads?

Whichever side you view this storyline from one thing is for sure: Walter isn’t as popular with the ladies as he thinks he is.

Rather than log in again this month may I take this opportunity to wish playmates a Happy 5th Anniversary next week…

It’s been fun following you.


One member, in an attempt to goad Solent Richard (the same member who was banned from the CD Forum for persistently harassing females) with crude comments about SR’s wife’s appearance, hair and clothing. (all sanctioned by the so called site moderators)

And of course, the classic from the site’s owner who, knowing Solent Richard’s affinity for Cunard, substituted the word ‘Cunard’ with a French word, similar in spelling and sound, that was a disgusting and vile innuendo.

But that’s the playmates. Desperate to put one over Solent Richard and obviously their ‘street’ fighters are out and about under sock puppets, sadly disrupting decent forums such as the Bolsover Cruise Club forum. The same clique played a big hand in the demise of the old P&O site.  Hopefully Bolsover will stand up to their antics.


One could hardly resist a wry smile at the utter nerve of the Playmates legendary ‘Master & Commander’. Talk of having a brass neck, Dave really took the biscuit when he complained to another website regarding the ‘poaching’ of some cabin photographs from his site.

This from the owner of the website that pioneered the theft of other peoples photographs: remember this?…

Needless to say Solent Richard has taken the opportunity to email cruise deck plans himself to pass on the above snippet. You really couldn’t make it up.

And you never know, despite their denials, whose watching you from behind the curtain…

Always music to Solent Richard’s ears to read that the Master & Commander does not read the hottest cruise blog in the UK…

As he states…“I stopped looking at the blogger’s blog some months ago…It’s all a bit sad though, because I won’t be reading anything he writes or looking at his photos”

Maybe so, but the Master & Commander’s acolytes certainly stream across to see what is hot in the cruising world. Why, even that cowardly chap from Widnespewl only last Monday, the day after it was written, quoted one of the blogger’s quotations…  

Scroll down to see the proof below. Once again, ‘you couldn’t make it up’.

It is of course no surprise that the Master & Commander wishes to refrain from reading this blog.

Where else would he be exposed for:-

* Lying to Celebrity staff members in order to obtain a free speciality coffee.

* Cheating Celebrity staff out of their gratuities by not paying for his drinks package.

*  Happy to see his wife mis-appropriate educational facilities because he either ran out or couldn’t afford printer ink.

* Once again show his cruising acumen  by failing to research visits to Zeebrugge: and then blame Celebrity. Here’s a little present to add to the playmates book store…


Solent Richard is a firm believer in ‘What goes round, comes around‘. And so it did in Brugge this morning. My readers will recall earlier on how Dave Whitstable, aka the self styled Master & Commander had his ‘stalking daughter’ pursue me on the Britannia Maiden cruise when he took delight in publishing them on his boring forum.   Well guess who I spotted this morning? How could anyone miss that shiny top even with the attempt to hide behind the glasses…   Paparazzi Speech bubble in Bruges

Looks like Mr Grumpy hit town. Nothing to do of course with having to buy a drinks (non alcohol) package. You couldn’t make it up…The Premium Package that SR is on offered unlimited water as well, Evian etc. All included in the price of $57.00 a day. Watch out for the sunglasses in Cafe Bacio, coming to a fun blog soon. Nice one Dave, and $12 Euros each for the shuttle bus? Didn’t Jolly Jill tell you about the Tram and the free shuttle to the Dock Gate? A warm welcome to all those who have chosen to view this particular thread on my blog and a personal thank you to those members of the ‘playmates’ forum for making the effort to drag yourselves away from such a riveting and globally recognised excuse for a cruise forum. Solent Richard appreciates the patronage while fully understanding the attraction of the blog with its  ground breaking format of only reporting actual cruises  and port visits – avoiding speculation, gossip and copies of other sites cruise news. There is no love lost between Solent Richard and the bulk of the playmates membership. Some visitors may not fully appreciate the tittle-tattle on this particular thread. That is due entirely to the fact I use it to respond to some of the more ridiculous outpourings from the playmates website.   End of May review May has been a particularly quiet period over on the playmates site. The reality is sinking in that this is a rather dull cruise forum and while the membership creeps slowly up at a snails pace it is more common that newer members are either plainly seeking to promote their own media or websites. Whatever happened to Dr. Dave from Sun Diego? Working hard recently in an attempt to salvage a little bit of self esteem the Master & Commander added a ‘Buy Books by Members’ link. Unfortunately no one told Dave that Dennis the Menace, aka Dennis Richards has been withdrawn from sale. Missing of course from the booklist is probably the most important work for aspiring trans Atlantic Cunard cruisers…

If ‘playmates’ were a patient there is no doubt that it would now be on ‘life support’….

Outnumbered by Spy Bots May is upon us already  and so I guess it’s time to do a round up of April activities over on playmates .

Still nothing from Stalking Daughter on the Britannia Cruise. It’s now over a month since our return and the promise of a review and more photographs is ringing as hollow as the Carillon of St Nikola. Which does seem a little strange when one understands photographs were email from Cadiz Cruise Terminal free wifi facility. Highlights of those playmates who did cruise this month centred on Costa Cruises and included reports on  how to collect empty water bottles from restaurant tables in order to save a few Euros and Jolly Jill’s ‘text adventures‘ around the Mediterranean.  You couldn’t make it up. May of course should be fun after the Avid one commented elsewhere…

Now that should go down really well with D’Arkangel, Jolly Jill, Tomvet and MaggieMou, to mention a few. Now that has to win an award and, perhaps the most fitting place for it is at the top of the pile, Prune of the Month Rosemary…

Talking of cameras, why wouldn’t you want to hold one in such exalted company as  Carol Marlow in the Planet Bar of Azura…

A little careless of one or two members if one is going to criticise other folk who hold cameras.

Similar photographs of the same meeting on board Azura appeared recently on two of Facebook’s top closed cruising groups and some members were very keen to identify members of a now ‘shut-down’ forum.

Beware the Ides of March‘ springs to mind.

Special Update post Britannia Cruise – 0830 Saturday 28 March.   As the saying goes ‘What goes around comes around’ and it certainly did yesterday evening. Having been ‘stalked’ by Darkangel’s daughter around the ship and ports in the Mediterranean  (is she really as sad as her ‘old man’?)’, there at the final show yesterday evening  my Personal photographer was presented to me on a plate. Here  are some of the pictures she took and which Dave then published on the ‘playmates’ forum, Yep, she followed SR on board…

  Note my camera on the subbed. Always silly to shoot into the sun. …and followed SR ashore…

Ably assisted by the bearded chap who one assumes is Dave’s son in law. Dad had obviously briefed her and needless to say  he took delight in publishing pictures of Solent Richard on the dullest cruise forum  in the UK. Alas Ms Kickboxer was a little overcome at the thought of having the tables turned. One would be forgiven for not wondering why her stupid father would also place her picture on the same forum thread if he didn’t want her recognised. Or, as they would say in France…”…parce que ce best raiment tres stupide” Sticking with the Britannia theme it is safe to say Dave isn’t the only stupid member of playmates. Step forward member Octocruiser with this little gem… “I am very surprised at the ommission of stairs in the central area – on any deck . I would have thought Elf and Safety would have clamped down on that. What happens if there is an emergency situation where lifts are taken out of use ? Do all passengers in the central area at the time stampede to the distant stairs ? ” SR has already put this stupid observation to bed on a number of websites. As with all larger ships emergency access is available via the crew’s ‘SERVICE’ stairwell. This was the route used on SR’s January cruise on Queen Elizabeth and more recently on Britannia when, seeing the access doors open and not wishing to wait for a lift to the gangway, it was an obvious route. Never mind Kath, break out from Saga and spend a few bob, there’s a world out there.

Now witness the desperate attempt to hide behind a Union Jack when SR was spotted raisin  his camera…image

Too late pet, at least it was all pretty in the open…


Oh dear, the dress standards of these budget cruisers: guys with V- neck T-shirts: whatever happened to those ultra-naff  playmates T-shirts and lanyards? It later got so much better when after the show we had the opportunity to meet in one of the lifts. Observing my wife and I approaching the open lift door, they we’re leafy inside, they did a runner and we had the lift to ourselves. Time to face the music sweetheart, like father like daughter: no guts when the chips are down.

One photograph she appears not to have captured was Solent Richard supporting another forum that Dave of Whitstable doesn’t see eye to eye with. (bless him)…

Silver Travel Advisor Forum, the lad threw his toys out from there as well. PS. If Dad is coming to pick his girl up why is his forum light on. No doubt trying to give the impression that the playmates are a busy forum: shades of CruiseDot.   …more to follow when I disembark. LOL A week since the Britannia Maiden cruise disembarked at Southhampton and the playmates must be waiting with bated breath for the ‘Stalking Daughter’s proxy review. It is to be hoped that it is given with a little more accuracy than the second hand account of the coach transfer in Civitavecchia. Coaches there are provided by the Port Authority and the continued poor service resulted in not only Solent Richard missing one train, but all those who paid for the second transfer to the railway station. Hardly a major disaster for SR. Only a really stupid Irish prat (well he was banned from an internet forum for harassing females) would assume that everyone who gets on a train at Civitavecchia is going to Rome. Obviously SR gave the ‘Stalking Daughter’ the slip at Ladispoli Station when he alighted and headed for Etruscan Necropolis at Cerveteri. Culture of course that pre-dates Rome by some 600 years. All that is left then is to decide on a title for the Stalking Daughter’s  review. Any advance on ‘Britannia on a Budget‘ or “The stalking of Sr Richard’. You couldn’t make it up. Wednesday 8 April TWELVE days have passed since disembarking Britannia’s Maiden Cruise and still no sign of Stalking Daughter’s review. How disappointing is that. Perhaps she is too busy minding the shop… …thought that face looked familiar on Camden High Street. Thursday 9 April THIRTEEN days have passed since disembarking Britannia’s Maiden Cruise and still no sign of Stalking Daughter’s review. Ah, but can it be tomorrow. A day to bury bad news?   Good morning playmates and thank you for tuning in. Oh dear, naughty Solent Richard has gone and upset the playmates again. And now Arkangel himself is yearning to be awarded a ‘Malapropism Award’. Don’t you fret Davey Boy, its on its way. Arkangel and the ALF? Hmnn, things are about to  become most interesting. Who’d have thought of that link? And what about the statistics that we regularly have floated on membership and numbers posting when,  all the time,  Davey Boy has been signing up the ‘family‘ and acting as a surrogate reviewer: you really couldn’t make it up. How pathetic placing playmates on a par with the CruiseDot Forum  who also need to fiddle their member’s ‘on line numbers’ data to justify their own self publicity. As for being the first forum to have live pictures from Britannia’s Maiden Cruise, well that certainly appear to have dried up as soon as the ship sailed out of range of the UK’s mobile network. Budget cruising no doubt. LOL   One cracking comment on Playmates comes from their resident semi-educated trot from Widnespewl. This is the really brave keyboard warrior that ran away from every debate/argument with Solent Richard because he lacked the intelligence to put forward a meaningful case.   “Hi alI I’m afraid if that apology for a man had take my photo and shouted ‘yes’,with a raised fist. He and his camera would have ‘accidentally’ got very very wet!!!! A ‘gutless’ man if ever there was one. JC” The same ‘all mouth and no trousers’ individual that resorted to lying and cheating in an attempt to get SR banned from the CD forum. Gutless? The plonker is obviously spending too much time in front of the mirror. Either that or he would be relying on his thuggish union mates to assist him.   And on the subject of jc making stupid statements: what about this cracker from the CD website… “Hi all I like to read the comments on these stories in the Mail. Usually the comments section is full of right wing nutters,but now and again a nugget shines through. I scrolled down and found this short,but to the point gem. “Let’s talk about the Royal Family” ps,Scroll down further and you come to the Kellog story,more important than this load of Daily (hate) Mail tripe. JC” Isn’t that a bit rich that this socialist joker uses and praises a travel agent’s forum that was the subject of a private equity takeover when Risk capital Partners acquired a majority stake in So much for his socialist credentials. Bit like flying with Ryan Air and having a wife who worked for Asda. You couldn’t make it up. Header for SR Blog   March Update and Awards

Joyeux Noël 

Just when one imagines that the festive season was drawing to a close, Santa had called,  and there were no more presents to open,  up pops the ultimate gift of the year. Good old super playmate John Pennbank’s attempt to trump SR on another forum, by posting a link that SR didn’t know about,  and all of a sudden it was as if all SR’s Christmases came at once. Yo ho ho. A link to a website to lampoon the master lampooner. Seemingly blind to the irony and in true playmate tradition, there are more holes in it than there are in a Gordon Ramsay colander: a veritable farrago of lies.  Riddled as it is with inaccuracies the real gem was another of Solent Richard’s photographs, with a little bit of Photoshop help…   …and about the most inaccurate ‘smoke and mirrors’  statement from the Master & Commander himself regarding the inception of the playmates website…

Bless him and his wooly hat. Solent Richard loves a good lampoon and with this latest gem – courtesy of playmate’s North Somerset member I presume – considers he also now has  a ‘carte blanche’ licence to use playmate photo media: after all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Who does Davey boy think he’s kidding with that ridiculous statement? The world and their dogs know that Dave was vilified  out of the cruiseDot forum when he, having accepted an invitation to the Azura Christening, failed to turn up, failed to tender an apology to members and, what was worse, deprived another member of the privilege of attending. Totally disgraceful behaviour. The real irony of this latest playmate outburst though is the crass attempt to taunt Solent Richard by using the CruiseDot website. It may have escaped some of his acolytes that Dave’s toys coming out of the CruiseDot forum was the first of three such tantrums with other forum: the boy has form! This is part of an answer given to him by Seamus Conlon, a director of CD,  when Dave complained about comments on the CruiseDot site “I believe in part that there has always been a degree of a clash of personalities between individuals on the site and that the manner/comments posted at the start of your forum did not help. Subsequent postings by your members on our site, your site and members lounge etc, and postings by our members on our site has not helped”. Oh dear! That well known phrase springs to mind, “People who live in Glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” Reading through the FoCM (don’t you just love the acronym) Solent Richard was delighted to have his suspicions confirmed as to who ‘attempted’ to spread malicious lies to the admin of another cruise forum: as with the CD complaints it didn’t work despite the use of a few sock-puppets. You couldn’t make it up. Happy New Year everyone and thanks Pennbank: a perfect playmate.       End of Year Festive Report What goes around comes around. And what sweetness to observe during the festive season that he (None other than The Master & Commander himself) who has spent the last five months sneering at folk, who use wide angled lenses to enhance their photographs, is now the proud owner of one himself. Well, a somewhat cheaper item that will work underwater as well. Excellent news, we can now look forward to a whole new world of sea creatures outside of the Whitstable fish pond. Maybe not quite of the quality others would demand from higher specification equipment…    

(the Sony Cybershot is also capable of taking video)

    …that may or may not provide the playmates with a glimpse of the adventures of Whitstable’s answer to Jacques Cousteau. Anything from a Caribbean Lobster… …to a Manta Ray…   …to a Titan trigger Fish…   …or the equally dangerous Scorpion Fish…   It sure is a fascinating world underwater, I’m just surprised it’s taken old Davey Boy some 9 years to follow in SR’s footprint…

(emerging from the wreck of the Japanese Submarine Depot ship Heian Maru in Truk lagoon, Micronesia)

No prizes for the missing bit of kit on the playmates picture. All will be revealed in due course. You couldn’t make it up. One is reminded of a comment I spotted on another forum – that has also fallen in expectations over recent months… “Just mention the two words, ie Solent Richard, and see how the thread expands immediately”. BB Now it would appear that my last update ruffled a few feathers over on playmates. What a surprise. But, Tis the season of good cheer and perhaps in the light of recent comments an ‘End of Year’ Report is called for. You and I are Shipmates There is obviously a cloud of insecurity hovering over Whitstable. Why else would the self-styled ‘Master & Commander’ feel the need to constantly re-assure the troops regarding the number of hits the pathetic forum receives? Is there any chance of an  answer to the real question often posed: If it is so popular why is it that without the spy bots the ‘online’ count of members very rarely reaches 20? Next of note is the same said ‘Master & Commander’ and his rather puerile tirades about the certain use of  ‘wide angled lens’ photographs.  Surely far better to ‘get the more inclusive picture’ and nothing whatsoever to do with making internal photographs more spacious than they are.  Perhaps if the lad hadn’t lost so much money on that aborted QM2 Atlantic crossing who knows, some decent photo equipment may have headed down the road to Whitstable. Meanwhile, sticking with the ‘Master & Commander‘, surely it was a little disingenuous to denigrate a review on the grounds of ‘cabin space’ while choosing to compare river cruise ships against ocean going cruise ships. Even the dumbest of cruisers are aware they River cruise ships smaller accommodation areas and to attempt any comparison is both misleading and positively desperate: but that’s the nature of the playmates. More desperation when one is prepared to grasp the thinnest of straws  in a sad attempt to put one over the master of criticism. One wonders will Davey Boy tell his audience how much more he paid for the same size of cabin as Solent Richard had on the same Viking Clara Schumann. Even more fascinating when he who cannot get his visa checks correct,  and blames everyone else bar himself, trawls through the CD Forum,which he claims he has nothing to do with anymore, to find some old report by Solent Richard. On a similar vein it is obvious from other comments he makes he trawls through the Bolsover Forum: where he recently selected comments on ‘novel creation’ and ‘innovation’ and then proceeds to attribute them to SR for his own silly ends. Bless him. Let’s move on to the SR initiated Malapropism award which seems to have generated a degree of comment. Obviously one or two playmates are of the opinion Solent Richard has nothing better to do that design awards for the multitude of rather pathetic individual playmate faux pas. The malapropism award was always meant to be a kind of catch-all award, initiated in the first instance by the total stupidity of one particular member: the second time it was awarded it went for a piece of typical drivel. As the saying goes, if the cap fits…. No surprise to see the playmates have returned to their old ways when they pored scorn and criticism on other forum members mistakenly believing they were safe in their secure lounge area. The only difference now is that they make them on the open forum. It is always heart warming when  one is being abused by the likes of the Acid Queen – aka Avid Rosemary, Wolfie, etc. ( why do playmates still call her Avid, they know her name is Rosemary? Perhaps they also know her record for trouble) As regards to being a wally I don’t particularly think anyone suits the description more than her.  Let’s face facts, did she really think she could get away with so many sock-puppets on different forums.? You can only fool some of the people some of the time pet and Solent Richard is proud of the fact he was amongst the team that exposed her. And talking of being a Wally, here is the perfect classic Avid response to a thread I initiated following the news of the death of a forum member, Gordon Rhys of Chester. On 29 January 2013 Avid under the sock puppet Diva18 added a comment… “I shall miss your PM’s Gordon. Sleep well dear friend”. Dear Friend? The poor guy had been dead 3 months when I initiated an RIP thread on the site. How crass was that. (Interestingly Gordon was also a  member of playmates and the ‘friendly’ forum only picked up on his passing following Solent Richard’s original post on another forum) And who sparked Octocruiser into life with her rather venomous outburst, dripping with the usual envy,  on sharing a table on a cruise  with Solent Richard? Not a chance pet. Not a table, not even a cruise. Some of us do have a bit of pride you know. This is of course  the playmate, from Fred West’s old territory, who moans that her life is a misery due to the fact she cannot use her balcony because of neighbourly ‘smoke’ pollution. Now if I were Octocruiser I’d be keeping Davey boy at arms length. He’s just the type of inconsiderate smoker you’ve always yearned to have on the next balcony. Maybe, just maybe,  it hasn’t yet occurred to the playmates that the ‘Master & Commander’s’ current love affair with Costa and Thomson rests on their currently respective policies of allowing smokers on balconies at sea. And finally for this festive message,  was it any surprise that Jolly Jill was declined entry into the King’s Palace at Casablanca dressed like that? So Merry Christmas Playmates. Keep the humour coming. Solent Richard is really looking forward to a repeat of the Aerial Pictures of God’s Golden Solent Acre as a Thomson charter flight speeds its way to the Caribbean,  and the new promotional T-shirt for HerpesMates.       Update 12 December 2014 Well some of us have been to foreign parts far afield over the last 4 weeks and with such an exciting itinerary who’d really waste valuable time with the playmates site: even though it generally generates a laugh.   Well a quick scan revealed one or two candidates for December’s ‘Mates Malapropism of the Month Award’…   Malapropism of the month award brushed up   Runner up and only beaten by a close ‘whisker’ was  Avid Rosemary who displayed a cracking insight into ship knowledge when she wrote in her Arcadia review…   Avid A26 Convenient for Aft Lifts…were soon comfortably installed in cabin A26 which was very convenient for the aft lifts” Now I think most folks understanding of cabin numbering has lower numbers Forward and higher numbers aft. Makes you wonder sometimes. You couldn’t make it up.   So step forward Jolly Jill, now triple consecutive winner of the  Mates Malapropism of the Month Award’ for this little gem of a cabin description…   Cabin was spacious Not by any stretch of the imagination can approx 150 square feet be described as spacious. Unless of course…. Meanwhile of course I note this blogs ‘spam’ box has a few additions. Now I wonder which Tsarina hasn’t got the message yet. So a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to Playmates. May 2015 bring as much fun and jocularity as did the past year.   Update 12 November 2014 It has been very interesting to observe over the last week that SR’s Blog has been ‘troll’ free. One of two possible reasons. Either his policy of confronting and exposing these idiots behaviour has paid dividends or, probably more likely, the absence of one particular troll this last week has offered a brief respite. Must be on hard times when one can’t afford the odd internet time. A bit of a tough call for this November’s  ‘Mates Malapropism of the Month Award…   Malapropism of the month award brushed up In joint second place were Tomvet with his… “…We are not ones to fawn in the shadows of the bar either! We use the time to change nappies”! I think most folk know that Tomvet was never potty trained.😃😃 …and Tobysgranny with her…   “…although overlooking the Ocean, leaves a little to be desired”.   So for the second month running the award goes to Jolly Jill for another cracking piece of drivel…   Where you are staying looks lovely Jolly J “Where you are staying looks lovely Dave” Certainly does Jill.😃😃😃   ************ Good to see the Ireland’s answer to  Walter Mitty, currently resident on Cruisingmates since his ban from CruiseDot, follows this blog so closely. ( check out the Irish flag count on the front page) Less than four hours after the last update he’s fawning over a cruise spend that he’ll never achieve, not even though his mortgage (?) is due to complete this year. Poor Tommy…   Tommy bite on CD lost business …another who will always live in the shadow.😃😃😃😃 Not quite a week since the last update on Playmates though sadly the torrent of abuse from one of their members continues, targeted I guess through this site, though at another playmate, because I assume her other avenues have now been blocked… Wordpress attemt 29 Oct Redacted What is it with these members that they feel the necessity to spend time sniping when they must know their efforts are futile. No different from the Irish moron who made two attempts in 5 hours….   Irish IP Address on WordPress.and different locations…. Irish IP address on WordPress 1 Then of course there is the that other member of playmates Eloise99. Now come along Jolly Jill, even you can’t be that naive not to know who this was before she was banned from CD. I’ll give you a clue: ask your chum Rosemary. And that brings us once again to the playmates resident Trot. Still denigrating folk that don’t subscribe to his dinosaur politics and  spreading his bile across on another forum with his pathetic political statements. It looks as though they have him sussed though and it was pleasing to see  that this blog isn’t the only one to quote how much jc is laughed at…   Laughing at JC Bill Board on CD highlighted   “I often take a print of your posts for a laugh to the local golf club, and the response is always extremely gleeful”. “You are still the sort of person that the Labour Party would be better off without”  Solent Richard would of course disagree somewhat. With jc spitting bile he is the best recruiting sergeant that UKIP have ever had. 😃😃 Take a look at the rest of the lad’s hypocrisy… Now that’s one link that James Crossland will not be deleting. But hey, a bright note to end this week’s update. D’Arkangel and Solent Richard have something in Common – apart from not being afraid to post pictures of themselves and their good looking wives. A certain cruise agent that runs a rather dying forum appears to have lost business from both Davey boy and Solent Richard. Probably a slight disparity in the levels of spend but as they say at Tesco, every little helps…   CD lost business from SR £74,000.00 business gone missing. Wow. (Future cruise dates and ships in above table redacted and jumbled for personal reasons). What price loyalty? 😃😃😃. Talking of loyalty what on earth has happened to the Digi Postcards from Oasis of the Seas. Nothing heard since 18 October. Obviously there is a budget on internet spend. 😃😃😃. Thank the lord for Duncan’s live blogging.       Update 28 October. It just gets better.   Confronted last week with the fact that they had once both harboured and welcomed with open arms one of the internet’s most deranged and despicable trolls,  the ‘playmates’ site became a hive of activity as they attempted to airbrush their crass error and set in place a few smoke screens. No error really: they have always welcomed applicants who have been banned from other cruise forums despite the trolls identities being brought to their attention. It would appear that there is no other reason for this other than to get their membership count up. The troll mentioned above was none other than Tsarina, aka Esmeralda, who completely took in the more naive playmate members with garbage like her review of Independence of the Seas and of course her take on being stalked One would expect Maggiemou to have a view on that. So good to see Jolly Jill amongst the naive once again. Remember this little cracker… walk among us and come out at the weekend to play”.  😃 Now take a look at posts 7 and 8. of that link. You couldn’t make it up. Go even further and another playmate GrannyM, she who divulges the contents of ‘private messages’ without approval, has to say…”I for one was completely taken in by Bella”. Now ask yourselves the question playmates, who do you think Bella was? And please Jolly Jill spare us from that little bit of whitewash… “Me too Neil. Let’s bury this subject once and for all”   “They walk among us” And finally on Tsarina for this session. A rather puerile attempt was made to place a malicious comment on this blog last week…   Wordpress attempt blocked redacted   Perhaps D’Arkangel can check out that IP address against his database. One ‘smokescreen’ that did amuse was the usual garbage that one often sees every now and again when someone, usually  with an insecure  or inferior character, starts a thread attempting to denigrate others – nothing new for the cruise mates – while detracting of course from their own inferiority. Step forward Jolly Jill, aka Smith7, with her take on ‘class’. Not exactly a resounding success as far as threads go – 12 comments of which 6 were from 3 members – but what an open goal.   Talking of ‘class’ it occurred to Solent Richard, aka Lord Haw Haw, that maybe a revamp of the awards system was needed. And where better to start than with the playmates who regularly offer the world a fine selection of malapropisms. How does this look? Malapropism of the month award brushed up   There can be no  doubt about this months winner of the Malapropism Award. Step forward Jolly Jill. With these two contributions there was no one else even under starters orders…   “Thanks for the great incite into Jerusalem in…”   Incite thanks for the great incite Jolly Jill   and   ” I hope you had a good time on your Oceana cruise,  which is a cruiseline on our ‘to do’ list”.   Oceania or Oceana



What an incredible turn of events. Barely 24 hours after my previous update, which included an extract from D’Arkangel himself,  and the mentioning of the internet troll Tsarina being a member of the playmates forum, a truly amazing comment came to my attention…   Amazon Comment Diva It reads… “I’ve taken a look at the spat on Amazon.   One of the people involved was banned from Cruising Mates well over a year ago for unacceptable behaviour. The other would never be permitted to join Cruising Mates because of their outrageous behaviour on other forums. So at least that embarrassing nonsense has nothing to do with us“!   Why the sudden change when 24 hours previously this was in place… “...I believe that’s what happened to Tsarina. She had found a refuge on Cruising Mates but used us to respond to issues elsewhere. I recently deleted such a post on the grounds that it made no sense to our members because it referred (in very strong terms) to activity on another forum”.     Obviously the embarrassment known as Tsarina, who of course is still a member ,though under a different screen name, suddenly gets banned: or at least it is made official  by the self styled  ‘Master and Commander”. And obviously fully expecting the matter to rest there with the final sentence…”So at least that embarrassing nonsense has nothing to do with us“! Not quite Davey boy, not quite. The troll Tsarina made one or two statements during what D’Arkangel  refers to as that ‘little spat’. One of course was against a playmate member, MaggieMou, who has recently written a rather ‘fun’ book which, incidentally, is reviewed fully on this blog. But the Tsarina comment that interests Solent Richard most is the reference to another playmate who made a rather personal, disgusting and very derogatory remark concerning Solent Richard’s wife’s hair. The comment is of course complete nonsense and was yet another attempt by the moronic Tomvet to agitate a response through levelling false, totally guff  and sordid comments. That Playmate, of course, was none other than the their resident Walter Mitty character who, as everyone is aware, was  banned from the CD Forum for harassing women. Obviously the boy has a bit of a problem with women. Inadequacy springs to mind and not only with women. The fact that his remarks were obviously condoned by the owner of the site and the so called moderators is disturbing, particularly as they are currently discussing ‘class’ and it would appear that personal denigration of others indicates a lower level of the latter.  You couldn’t make it up. Disgraceful, but of course, but clearly showing the cruising mates so called ‘friendly’ forum have reverted to their true colours. While on the subject of D’Arkangel’s comment and attached screenshot, the follow-on  comment by the multi troll Rosie, aka Avid, aka Wolfie and aka so many other trolls, once again illustrates the cruising mates nasty side. She really should get her facts right when she writes…”As they are both banned, from just about every forum, I suppose it was an opportunity that they couldn’t resist…” Solent Richard, one to whom she refers, was of course barred from the CD forum because he stood up for one cruise  agent against another (Iglu – whom the CD Forum blocked responses from when they were the subject of a trolls rant). The incident is well documented. Solent Richard is an active member on many other Forums including Silver Travel, Bolsover Cruise Club – where he is currently the recipient of the highest number of ‘approval’ ratings, and Cruise-Community: to name but a few. So one Ban Rosie which is far less than the number of occasions you have been removed under your various sock puppets. Now about that “Copyright protected’?  See you in court pet.✌️✌️ Now that will be in a class of its own.       Update 15 October 2014 Interesting to see a one time member of cruising mates now actively abusing another member elsewhere on the internet – The abuser the troll called Tsarina and the abused, the cruise author MaggieMou. What is it about these trolls that they find a refuge on such a ‘friendly’ forum. Makes you wonder when you read a comment like this… “...I believe that’s what happened to Tsarina. She had found a refuge on Cruising Mates but used us to respond to issues elsewhere. I recently deleted such a post on the grounds that it made no sense to our members because it referred (in very strong terms) to activity on another forum”. Somehow I get the feeling there was a little more to that. Funny old world isn’t it?   Well well well. Just when life appears to be a little quiet along comes one of those gifts that Cruisingmates are so renowned for. I see an old friend of mine, Toptraveller, has migrated over to the Playmates site. A veritable case of history repeating itself? Certainly the words pram, toys and leaving immediately spring to mind,  though I expect the Playmates will be thrilled to have on board such a veritable self promoted ‘ #cruise expert’  and ‘PR Guru’…   Toptraveller Twitter page cruise expert   I certainly hope the standard of answers improve as time passes… Coolcreature Question… “Hi, We have just booked a Viking Ocean Cruise for April 2016 and need to take out travel insurance. Can anybody point me in the direction of a company that can offer us insurance this far in advance??? What have other people done??? Best regards Michael”   Toptraveller response… “What would be the cost to you if you cancelled between now and April 2015? If there would be no cost to you, which would seem reasonable, then there is nothing to insure at this stage. If flights are involved then airlines do not issue flight details and prices more than eleven months prior to departure so this should not affect the issue as they cannot be booked this far in advance”.   Hmnn. What would be the cost to you? Well, just for starters,  anyone worth their salt on a cruising forum would know that making a booking with Viking incurs a 25% deposit, or, as has been recently advertised as a promotion, £250.00 per person     😃😃😃   Oh, and Viking Ocean Cruises, like their river cruises, aren’t exactly budget level. ****************************************************** Having been away cruising recently it was with considerable interest that I popped into the various forums to see how they were doing. Of course little had changed. Cruisingmates continue to bump along the bottom of the rankings as it would appear there were no obvious benefits derived from the promotion of ‘lanyards and T-shirts’ on the recent Queen Mary 2 multi forum cruise. Now that was a particular shame because old Lord Haw haw had been keeping a weather eye open for a glimpse of those much revered  promotional pieces. Neither alas did Solent Richard get the opportunity to congratulate and buy ‘Plunky’ a drink.  The man surely deserves some reward for his outstanding ‘call of duty’. Of course it was noted that HMV, aka JC the wannabe scouter was once again up to his master’s bidding over on the CD Website…   JC dogging on CD The script reads…”Hi Neil. I only comment to correct your miss-information. In your mind a clique may not have existed,but i have rather different memories. And as for never being named,i was challenged to name them,,,,and did so,often,,,,again my memory differs to yours. I actually named them,and even changed the 5 names as one or two dropped out,and a couple of wannabies came in. No doubt your post will be used by an ex (banned) member (one of the clique) on his blog,as an earlier one by you complaining about the forum not stimulating you enough,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,to continue his denigration of this great forum. Not your intention,i think!!!!but it will happen though,as you are an elder statesman. JC”   A brave attempt at his usual manner of ‘dogging’ interjections. The laughing stock of the CD forum completely screwed it up again. I bet the follically challenged one had steam coming out of his ears referring to CD as ‘this great forum’. And of course typical of the wannabe Scouser to make bold statements knowing full well the membership are two neutered to challenge him. He wasn’t so good at being the hero when he was challenged regarding Dave Whitstable’s bullying of Brian Swinton. Just all mouth and no trousers our wannabe scouser. Meanwhile of course we continually hear of what a fine example of technology the playmates website is. Shame they can’t get their photographs into better focus or, on the odd occasion, the correct way up…   TobysGranny Upside down QE Theatre You really couldn’t make it up.   While it is always good to see playmates around the web drumming up support for their rather lack lustre forum surely it would be good practice if a system of ‘proof’ reading were in place..   Mant Mumbai review in Cruise Select Now knowing Rosemary, aka Avid, very well and acknowledging the fact she didn’t quite have a full teaching career, one would really expect a little better. What on earth are ‘Mant Shanty Slums’? Nonetheless, it does give credence to the fact that a qualification for membership of playmates relies on one not completing normal full vocation in the field of education.   Meanwhile of course I’d be delighted if the self styled  Master and Commander would care to repeat his comments, made on his playmate review of the Costa Spa cabins, over on the Bolsover Forum. Or maybe the lad doesn’t like a bit of robust debate. The offer is open. I’m sure the playmates have read my latest review… …just in case it has been missed. Now I know they love small intimate ships, real wooden decks and even the ability to smoke on one’s balcony. But I do believe there may be one small factor that will keep Europa 2 playmate free. Any guesses?   Having recently spotted this rather pathetic piece by none other than the self styled ‘Master & Commander’ on the ‘playmates’ site…   SR THE RECRUITING SERGEANT   …it occurred to me that I should exercise my right to reply. So here goes… Dear Dave. I know it’s an inconvenience for you to be constantly reminded of a few facts: facts that when they don’t suit you your usual style is to  spend hours trying to airbrush them out of history. You will no doubt recall your particularly disgraceful and selfish behaviour over an invitation to a ship’s Christening when you were a member of the CD Forum. By not turning or having the common decency to provide any notification to the organisers you single handedly deprived another member of the opportunity to attend a most prestigious event. For that you became a bit of a hate figure on the CD forum and it is a fact that you continue to be held in contempt by most of those members who remember the incident. I would also  speculate that the atrocious bad manners shown on that occasion was the reason that Seamus gave you short shrift over your cynical and pathetic attempt to have me silenced on that forum. In the same vein I recall you became the butt of the ‘anti-smoking lobby’ and  rightly deserved the criticism. It is, after all, a  rather disgusting habit as one of your flat dwelling balcony members has already expressed. Of course, being one who cannot take criticism, you have a record of throwing your toys out of the pram. Hence your departure from CD under some cynical pretence that quite frankly no one bought other than the few that followed you: most returning when they realised what a loser you are. The CD forum wasn’t the only toy throwing incident either. Silver travel seems to ring a bell where things didn’t go your way. Quite frankly I don’t give a toss about your squalid little forum. I have earlier written on how it recently morphed back to its old ways of launching personal attacks on anyone who doesn’t agree with it’s ethos (?). That latest edition was a pathetic attempt to rebrand Solent Richard as Lord Haw Haw. As usual it spiralled into crude innuendo with the usual culprits clambering onto the bandwagon. Just like old times only this time it was in the open and not the old assaults on other’s integrity behind closed doors. I do of course recognise your desperation to keep up the pretence of your forum being popular. Allowing so many known internet trolls and banned members of other forums on board just degrades any semblance of seriousness though. Now, I’ve said my piece there but do allow me to correct a number of your factual errors:- I didn’t start my blog after leaving CD, My blog commenced in March 2013: my last post on CD was 23 September: do keep up old boy. If you honestly believe that you have scored so many as  67  points against me then you have obviously inherited the fantasy mantle from that Irish Walter Mitty character: dream on sunshine. Claiming that Solent Richard  is your recruiting sergeant is also quite laughable as is the 500 Million hits. Either an obvious attempt to placate your acolytes or a rather pitiful attempt to antagonise me. Let’s just look at the facts again. The playmates site, despite God knows how many attempts to draw attention themselves on other forums, through silly t-shirts,  out-dated  lanyard gimmicks and various other campaigns, have singularly failed to muster any more than 20 members, excluding ‘bots’,  online at any one time. You are in good company and I’m surprised you haven’t followed the CD Forum example of expanding the criteria to cover a 24 hour period: so poor was their hourly count. On second thoughts I can understand why not. Nothing would change and the same names would remain. I think that has covered most points with one exception. I noticed some time ago when you couldn’t resist telling the playmates how generous you were towards them, though it smelt like a begging bowl to many others. Accepting that it costs you just over £600 annually in fees to have the site and the fact that there are less than 20 regular users, a quick calculation tells me that you are subsidising each regular mate to the tune of £30 a year. What price an ego? Have a nice weekend, mine’s just got better. Solent Richard P.S. As a slight aside,  I’m fascinated by the Scottish Independence Referendum and can’t wait for the results. I do however suspect that your favourite Jock, Jimmy Sterling,  is already in the lifeboat. You couldn’t make it up.   PPS. Keep up the Costa cruising ( I appreciate the real attraction is that they still allow smoking on balconies). My Carnival Quarterly Dividend hit the bank yesterday: I thought of you       Update 11 September 2014. Well, well, I hear the Playmates slipped back into their old ways since my last update. On this latest occasion the personal attack, as normal against anyone who doesn’t agree with it’s ethos, was against the writer of this blog. This latest edition of course was a pathetic attempt to rebrand Solent Richard as Lord Haw Haw and,  as usual,  it spiralled into crude innuendo with the usual culprits clambering onto the bandwagon. So much for the ‘friendly forum. Just like old times only this time it was in the open and not the old assaults on other’s integrity behind closed doors.   And what’s this… Lord Haw Haw 4 Dave comment cropped   “By contrast, Cruising Mates has received around 500 million hits over the same period…” A bit laughable really. Even if that figure were genuine its generated by either a small bunch of saddos who frankly don’t have a life outside of the playmates community ( ‘What did you do today’ and ‘What’s the weather like where you are’ spring to mind or, there are an awful lot of swingers googling cruise mates in an effort to swing. And still the membership is relatively stagnant. You really couldn’t make it up. Perhaps Dark Angel is set on being the UKs answer to the Irish Walter Mitty. In the meantime Solent Richard snuffed out another attempt by a playmate troll to gain access to the ‘We are Cunard Fanzine’ Facebook group ( More active members than playmates by the way) …   Whose a Wally Now Affid?   And finally for this update do call back in the next 48 hours folks, there is an open letter to the Master and Commander on the stocks.   *************************** Let me start this week’s CM update by thanking the playmates for supporting this, the UK’s most popular ‘Authentic’ cruise blog where cruises and port visits are recorded first hand through personal experience. It’s certainly good to hear so many diverse organisations and individuals are prepared to spend so much time on this valuable source of cruising information: well done one and all. Not so sure I can agree with Jolly Jill though about needing to go to Specsavers. Solent Richard certainly didn’t have a problem spotting the roots needed a little attention before this weeks Cunard trip: after all, this is Cunard. Similarly the old eyesight didn’t have a problem spotting the semi-educated leprechaun referring to ‘Sea Loins’ during a recent circus visit. Perhaps Tommy would be better employed in a circus, there are no other bigger clowns around. And of course, that was Walter Mitty continuing his fantasy Vet world when, in the same breath as Sea Loins, telling any dumbhead who would listen that he was writing a paper on beef safety. Beef loins Tommy? To be sure it’s the way I talk and what a wonderful thing education is. The ‘Saturday Night Fever’ also appears to have scored a direct response from up the valleys: God bless you Blodwen.   Saturday Night excuses   The fact is Rosemary, it doesn’t matter what night of the week it is, you are out there trolling because that is your life: except of course the very popular ‘Cruise People’ and ‘P&O Cruises’ Facebook groups, both of which have excluded/banned  you and your two other sock puppets. Cruise People facebook heading   P&O Facebook Group header   Still, good to know Rosemary has booked their next annual cruise. Something to look forward to during this long winter nights up the valleys when there is no TV to speak f: or of course thinking up some excuse for cancelling the cruise; old habits die hard. Shame Lizzie of Lymington has declined the CD Forum cruise. One less home truth to be told. But there, she was never going anyway: Grills through and through. Not to worry, the instigator of the Tomvet is a social misfit comment remains on the list. Should still be an interesting table conversation. Talking of conversations, the Cunard Fanzine Facebook group are in hysterics over the forum meet for a cup of tea. You couldn’t make it up.   Finally, knowing the playmates enjoy a good read perhaps they may wish to catch up on another hero’s antics…             The countdown begins. Solent Richard is about to cruise with a playmate for the first time this year… QM2 4 September 2014   Are we excited? You bet we are. Amazingly for someone who incessantly tells us of her preference for small ships is about to embark on a 2,600 passenger Ocean Liner, albeit for a short ‘ferry ride’ as Walter Mitty describes these sailings. Talking of Walter, SR can’t wait to learn how Jolly Jill skirts around the problem of how Walter was banned from the CD forum for harassing the ladies: At least one of the subject ladies will be at the table.   If ever there was a reason as to why Cruising mates can’t seem to achieve the membership numbers they crave,  or a regular attendance of more than 20 members at any given time, surely the finger must point at comments of this nature on their so called forum…   The comment, made by the cruising mates resident Walter Mitty, the same  member who was banned from another cruise forum for harassing  ladies,  who was described loosely as a generally insecure Irishman and all round social misfit. (not by me I might add,but one of those ladies). It reads…. “That said I have never bought anything as ridiculous as a Buddhist shrine or a grey coat with white reindeers trotting across it – even if the matching hat did suit my wig – if I had a wig!!  It is of course a rather puerile and immature attempt to score a point against this blog site. I having produced a photograph of the Thai Spirit House we brought home with us on Aurora’s World Cruise… …(incidentally Thai spirit houses are not Buddhist shrines either – of course we wouldn’t expect anything better from the Irishman whose IQ is exceeded by that of his faux Rolex) and a more recent purchase for my wife from Bergen while on the Celebrity Infinity… If only the moron wannabe would realise that the more he spouts garbage the more Solent Richard knows that he has got right up his nose.    Meanwhile of course he continues to become the playmates unchallenged No 1 embarrassment and a right one to preach about anyone’s standard of dress when he publishes photographs of himself wearing this ridiculous pair of shorts. Truly a grade ‘A’ Plonker….     Cruising Mates certainly has the format of a forum but in reality it is little more than a cross between an ocean-going version of Facebook and a nautically flavoured Mumsnet. A happy-clappy, mutual appreciation society who claim friendliness but in reality is the preserve of a small inner circle of budget level cruisers. It’s major problem is its cliquey nature and the fact that one has to actually join to ‘get behind the scenes’. A casual observation of the forum page reveals little activity on a daily basis and one suspects that the carrot to see more ‘inside’ is merely a tactic to boost membership through curiosity. Statistics as to ‘views and visits’ are often quoted as a form of morale boosting gesture. However, with two of the largest subscribed threads being the riveting  ‘How’s the weather where you are’ and ‘What did you have for Dinner’, those figures are hardly surprising. Indeed, on the rare occasions the ‘members on line’ count hits 20 you can guarantee that 6 of them are various ‘bots’ and not members at all. Constantly claiming to be a popular and friendly site it is in fact the least significant UK cruise related website.  Update 14 August One or two amazing observations during the week. Firstly, following my expose of Jolly Jill’s pathetic remarks on cruise staff having ‘ideas above their station’ I note that she has initiated a ‘damage limitation’ exercise on playmates. You couldn’t make it up. Next observation is of the playmates very own ‘Walter Mitty’ taking the bait and swallowing it hook, line and sinker. Perhaps I should donate the refund received  on Solent Barbara’s recent Norwegian purchase so the lad who thinks he’s a vet can invest in a decent pair of shorts – those flowery ones look plain ridiculous Tommy. Another great social event at Solent Towers last friday saw amongst the guests Fred Olsen’s No. 1 onboard lecturer, Jeff Roberts. An old friend,  Jeff earlier this year did a 4 week lecture engagement on Fred’s Black Watch world cruise and, more recently, a baltic cruise and later this month he will be lecturing ‘around Britain with Fred. Jeff also regularly lectures on more upmarket ships in the Cunard and Crystal fleets. And finally for this update was the amazing recognition by ‘Cruise Select’ that the playmates are ‘Savvy’ cruisers. They obviously haven’t heard  the non Cunard visa saga or the emergency station rebel story. Of course the suggestion  was immediately negated by our friend Tommy again and the SR shadow Rosemary who, in their eagerness to have a dig at Cunard,  completely misinterpreted the purpose of short cruises to Hamburg. No surprise there then, neither have any real cruise experience. Keep ’em coming my nocturnal admirers. …and Saturday Night Fever. Chilling out with a few Forum friends at a local wine bar the night after our party the subject inevitably came around to the playmates. Amongst much mirth the challenge was thrown in as to how many playmates would be on board at this late hour on a saturday night? SR named 6 guaranteed and so the wager was on. A quick check on the mobile and a saved screen shot. Bingo, all six and plus a few more. Sad old life some folk lead, internet chatting at 23.26 on a Saturday night, especially her from up the valleys…   Udate 4 August 2014 Well it just goes to show, doesn’t it? The playmates, and particularly my old friend Jolly Jill, certainly took the bait from my last update. “I am posting this to remind members that you all have the opportunity to create your own blog on Cruising Mates. They are useful for members who might want to inform others of something that may be of interest to some but not necessarily everyone. It also gives members the opportunity to respond to any verbal attack that finds it way to Cruising Mates members, myself included, from undesirable characters who are not welcome on this forum”. Cue the opening of the playground. Firstly Dave the Wave still desperately trying to airbrush history with rather pathetic excuses regarding the interpretations of online words, then the coordinated response of the queen of trolls and her chums suespud  and Meg50 – the trio most responsible for the trouble that closed the old P&O site( You couldn’t make it up), and then of course, Jolly Jill herself. But something else from  Jolly Jill actually took last month’s ‘Egg on the Face’ Award. Step forward once more Jolly Jill, who declared of the Princess Cruises recent documentary…’ That man ( Dan Apleby, the Deputy Cruise Director) has ideas above his station’ What a surprise then that, on the round-up at the end of the final episode, it was announced that Dan had been promoted to Cruise director. Says it all really. Drivel in and drivel out and a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. Hope to see you on QM2 soon Smiffy, and don’t forget to ask Mrs M her opinion on ‘teaching assistants’. Boom boom.   Now I know Dave the Wave loves statistics and Solent Richard’s Cruise Blog will miss his daily trolling over the next week or so while he is away. But with over 60,000 hits and 115 regular followers there is hardly a requirement for any panic measures. Fortunately even playmates cruising on Costa has its advantages. Carnival shareholders just love the dividends gained from their popular cruise lines within the group. Meanwhile perhaps the playmates may wish to take a look at Solent Richard’s latest cruise…     Update 30 July 2014 Well, well, well. You really couldn’t make it up. Turn my back and head off for nigh on a fortnight while taking in  another excellent Viking River Cruise and what are the ‘playmates’ up to. Hot on the heels of ‘Dave the Waves’ efforts to rebrand playmates the ‘pathetic mates’ you can always guarantee Jolly Jill to give support. Scheduled to visit Israel on a Thomson cruise in March 2015, some 8 months away, the queen of drivel has now taken to spending hours on the telephone to Thomson. I bet they just love her. Don’t you just love it when cruisers who miss just one port suddenly declare it was the only reason they booked the cruise: pathetic And talking of being pathetic, didn’t I just love her attempt at placing a ‘playmates’ link on the CruiseDot forum, comment #16… Comment #19 is hilarious… “Oh dear, that’s a shame. Maybe admin have blocked the link because it’s to another cruise forum – sorry“. So you should be. And all that supplemented by Octocruiser (?) openly admitting poaching threads from another forum while the resident Trot from Widnespewl, who continually declares that ‘facts are sacred’ obviously cant even copy correctly: The USS Vincennes  is Ticonderoga-class Aegis guided missile cruiser JC, not as you published on two separate websites, an Aircraft Carrier. But we shouldn’t let facts get in the way now. They’re ‘avin a laugh. Update 18 June 2014 A prime example of the stupidity of these claims was recently posted on the playmates website…   Are we Sponsored Obviously in the world of budget cruising ‘sponsored‘ relates to pecuniary matters. Dig that old dictionary out D’Arkangel, you might learn something from the Oxford Version…

noun: sponsorship; plural noun: sponsorships
  1. the position of being a sponsor.
    “the company’s sponsorship of the tournament”
    synonyms: backing, support, patronage, funding, financing, promotion;

and while we are on the subject of ‘Oxford’, someone give a grammar and punctuation lesson to the lady. Who is the clown now?   However, the highlighted text reads… “Cruising Mates is the UK’s most popular independent cruising forum” Really? What a load of old tosh. You really couldn’t make it up. let’s have a look… …with 1447 members and has been running for less time. and… Another exciting ‘Independent’ UK cruise site with 1959 members including playmate ‘Dennis the Menace’. …to name but two. Neither of the above Independent sites specialise in any form of drivel either.   So yes D’Arkangel, “I prefer to ignore insults and to focus only on correcting misinformation wherever it appears “. Whoops. It’s good to know the Administrator of Cruisingmates takes an interest in this blog. Shortly after the above reference was made to other ‘more popular’ Independent cruise Forums Davey Boy posted this comment on his forum…   “Perhaps we should change our tag line so as to reflect the activity of our members? :think: :geek: Divide the total number of posts by the number of registered members to get the average number of posts per member. The figure for Cruising Mates is 188.7 posts per member”. Totally incredulous. To attempt to compare other forums membership comment counts with one whose largest contributions range from ‘What did you have to eat tonight, through ‘What did you do today’ and ‘How’s the weather where you are’ is just plain bunkum. Indeed, considering such a futile excuse to claim popularity has given Solent Richard new scope for a whole new website. Watch this space for a stand alone satirical take on ‘Cruisingmates,’ and their antics,  that will guarantee to have you rocking with laughter. Coming to a Cyber Site near you soon. No surprise to see the playmates are up to their old tricks once again. Lifting photographs from this and other websites seem to be a natural pastime. The budget theme continues apace with  their recent competition on who drives the ‘smallest’ car and what mileage one can get from a 1.3 Mitsubishi (?). My congratulations to Skier Pete for having the courage to break the mould with a decent vehicle input. Bit like his cruising really.   Spot Update. Within hours of my writing the above paragraph I hear the Master & Commander had it on his website. I’m absolutely thrilled and flattered that someone with such a ‘popular’ forum to run spends so much time over here. I shall certainly look forward to your patronage of the new satirical cruisingmates blog in the fall. But this month’s ‘true playmate’ award goes to the Irish Social misfit whom it would appear is up to his old tricks once again on the CD website. You guessed it, harassing the ladies under a new sockpuppet if the accusations are to be believed… (FamilyGuy, Bailemagash – you’re ‘avin a laugh)   Now that really is naughty, especially as the lady he was harassing on the CD site is also a member of cruisingmates. Funny old world isn’t it.   Rumour has it the Queen of Drivel is about to try Cunard. One wonders if this is the 4 night short cruise in September booked through the CD site. Knowing Jolly Jill’s penchant for ‘creating a fuss’ when prices drop after she has booked, a whole £140.00 last time,  if memory serves me correctly,  I pity Cunard Customer relations now. Would you believe it? Having organised a forum cruise on the Cunard Flagship and taking many bookings CD dropped the price in May… July 2013 offering…   May 2014 CD Flyer price…   Whoops! £120.00 pp reduction. Apoplexy breaks out in Crayford? Here’s the number for the local Samaritans…..020 8301 1010   And finally for this update it’s good to see Rosemary Avid is still living in SR’s shadow and trailing by about 5 years in experience. As I said Rosie, always in my shadow… and nice to see you on a proper blog. Rosie said…”We have been on board a P&O ship well before noon many times. Although we arrived at 11.15 am for our recent Celebrity cruise we waited almost an hour an half in crowded conditions before we were called to board”. Bless. No class. Playmates, as cruisingmates are colloquially known,  has also become the home of a number of people that have been banned from other cruise related websites and a few trolls attempting some form of justification to their existence. No surprise then that ‘Bella’ makes a regular appearance though she is generally kept at arms length by the inner circle. Neither can the advice given always be trusted…   Two of Solent Richard’s last three Viking cruises were booked through a Travel Agent. Yet another example of the drivel one has come to expect from Cruisingmates.   As if proof were ever needed as to the rather pathetic nature of contributions to this website, this one really takes the biscuit. Written by the ‘Master and Commander’ himself it is a classical illustration of forums inbred envy of certain cruise lines and cruisers…   “It seems to me that hardly a month goes by without a fanfare for the Three Queens – they always seem to be together somewhere. Might it just suggest that Cunard has a rather limited set of itineraries? Followed by an equally ridiculous statement from the same guy who boasts he would go straight to the lifeboats in an emergency… “Wash your mouth out with soap to suggest such a thing.The Cunard banner police will be on your case“.   Well in recognition of these clowns contributions I’ve put up a prize each for them.   Whitstable Dave collects this highly recommended publication…   .

Lyndon B. Johnson: – It’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.


11 responses to “Cruising Mates

  1. ps; My blog will be updated soon, was away for awhile and now have some health issues but I look forward to reading yours as you do bring a wealth of knowledge and experience

  2. moderators work is never done I see 🙂
    Anyhow your blog is getting a plug on Facebook and as I’m a moderator on some have left all intact.. funny clip I have to admit

  3. We have an area on Cruising Mates Forum specifically for cruising links and I added a link to your blog as a courtesy and because I thought it might be of interest to our members. I moved the comments to another area of the forum because they were not really appropriate for the links area. By the way, is not showing my comments on your blog a form of censorship? 😉

  4. “When I decide to launch it ‘officially‘ – called pushing the boat out in naval parlance- then it will get the hit rate and recognition that it will be due.” I thought I’d pop in to see how things are going. Have I missed the official launch? By the way, despite Cruising Mates having “…little activity on a daily basis” we’ve had well over 30,000,000 hits in the same period that this site has had 4,000; and 80,000+ visits compared with fewer than 600 here. Still, it’s early days and I’m sure your attempts to promote your blog will bear fruit in time.

    • Good afternoon Playmate.

      Thank you for your comment, the content of which has been noted.

      As always I am happy to provide answers. As this blog was a new venture, my original preferred intention was to launch the blog when I had completed 30 – 40 posts. Unlike some folk I know, I don’t spend almost every hour of the day working the internet, and getting this blog ‘up and running’ satisfactorily was not a speed challenge. Unfortunately, one of the serial stalkers, that I seem to attract, spotted it’s presence on the internet and couldn’t resist using the message facility, thereby alerting me that it had actually ‘gone live’.

      Of course, the number of hits a website receives is immaterial to me, particularly when the website’s name is easily mistaken for a well known brand of condoms or, even funnier, It is the content that matters.

      Similarly, gauging visits by numbers on a ‘cruise’ related website, that has a thread entitled ‘How’s the weather with you’ receives 14,000 visits and attracts over 4,000 comments, is something I certainly would be embarrassed by.

      As always, my ethos remains quality over quantity, no matter what the environment I operate in.

  5. Personally if I was the moderator of this site I’d remove any comments that smack of insults between two blog owners. It is one thing to post ones thought of a blog and quite another to display to your visitors what looks like a verbal dialogue of venom.
    This is not what I believe Solent Richards .Blog is about nor the content expected for the future.
    Leave to your discretion.
    Cheers / Rob

    • I know what you mean Rob but I allowed it in order to illustrate the puerile nature and basic insecurity of that particular website’s administrator. And of course, I wouldn’t want to be accused of stifling debate.

  6. Loved the lampoon Richard. Very apt as are most of your observations.

    Good to see your blog is such a hit.

  7. Been searching for you Richard! Disgraceful conduct by!
    Help! Would love to be on one of Cunard’s Queens in Liverpool 2015 who is the best person to contact re booking and do any of us Brits stand a chance against the Americans? Always had my doubts about Irish Walter Mitty as I lived in Ireland for 10 years. Farmer/Limerick! Vet/always going on cruises! There’s a lot over there like that.

  8. Was reading this older blog today (October 7th 2014) and was amazed at the CM site remarks of recording 500 million hits over a 18 month period. That is 27 million a month still amazing .
    I can only assume every click is recorded as to reading , navigating . typing , correcting , browsing pages.
    Course I wonder if this includes the nightly robot access by bots like Google , Bing, Yahoo, et cetra as these bots access all posts and activity not previously recorded
    From a blog count, to my mind, my WordPress site records how many visitors I had, where they came from , what topics were looked at which to me is a true count of blog activity. Everything else has no meaning at all. Just my Blogger view…
    Again,,,, Amazing how statistics are used , one should always know the source 🙂 / Rob

  9. Pingback: | Solent Richard's Cruise Blog·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.