Author Archive Rick Deutsch

ByRick Deutsch

Tips on sailing out of Southampton, United Kingdom Part 1

Many European cruises begin at the huge port of Southampton. This is at the southern end of the United Kingdom.  As a trivia item, the Titanic set sail on its fateful maiden voyage.

Typically, your Baltic, Med or North Africa cruise may begin out of here. Another large port is up north at Liverpool (home of the Beatles).

Ok, let’s give you some advice.   Most people fly into London after a 5 – 10 hr flight. You will be zoned out upon arrival. Try and get some sleep and don’t watch movies the whole time.

Try the Caribbean – post hurricanes.  Prices are cheap. Read the story.

Tip 1. Heathrow is the airport to fly into. It is very convenient to get into. But – it is huge. It has 5 terminals and they have to be 5 miles apart! Good luck on finding signs. They seem to keep a secret on how to get between terminals. You will be recognized as a Yank – we stand out.  The men over there are wearing what looks like “too small” suits with tight pants…and those Wizard of Oz pointed shoes.  Americans tend to wear baseball caps, tennies and a college sweatshirt.   “Hollister?”  I live near Hollister California. It’s funny when I see people with them on – “You from Northern California?”   Huh?

Druid monuments

See Stonehenge on your way to Southampton

Get a hotel.  You will really appreciate it.  I highly recommend the Hilton. The hotel is right in the airport. Warning: You need to get to the hotel in Terminal 4. Heathrow is huge…I mean really big.  It’s not a walk. No tram. You need to take a bus….but they don’t advertise how to get to it.  You are going to have to ask for most everything.  The bus is actually a commercial transit…but if you are going from your landing gate to Terminal 4, it’s free.

Tip 2. Rent a car to get from the airport (even if you are not staying there)  Be aware. They drive on the wrong side of the road. Actually – it’s the left side. And manual transmissions are the rule. In the USA, stick shifts are very hard to rent. Automatic shift rentals are a LOT more money to rent.  Be careful – it will take you a while to get used to it. And LOOK BOTH WAYS.  You will instinctively look left….but cars are coming from the right! Renting is way cheaper than a bus – it’s only 90 minutes away.

See you next week for more handy tips on getting to the English dock.

Drop us a comment – we’ll help YOU get a cruise out of Southampton.


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ByRick Deutsch

Norovirus is still hitting ships – 5 reasons why

We’ve talked about the Norovirus  many times on this blog.  It’s an easy topic to write about. It continues to happen.

You may want to refresh on the topic if you forgot or if you are new to this site.  Bottom line, it’s the gastrointestinal illness that is spread from e-Coli contaminated objects.

Norovirus common on cruise ships

Norovirus is no fun

I won’t mention any cruise lines by name, but did you know that one ship has had six (6) norovirus outbreaks since 2010!  A different cruise line has suffered through 18 cases of GI sicknesses reported to the CDC since 2010.  A very recent ship had almost 10% of the pax get sick!

Here are some thoughts. Five simple ones on why:

  1. While every passenger has to sign a form that asks if they have had diarrhea or  other sickness in the last 30 days. Gee, guess what happens if you say yes?  Forget that cruise you paid big bucks for. You may not be allowed on.  So will people really tell the truth? I doubt it.
  2. People don’t wash their hands enough. Think of all the people using the handrails up and down the staircases – Oh, did that man just sneeze into this hand?
  3. Many just blow by the hand-sanitizer machines. Heck, they are there for other people – not me.
  4. Everyone shakes hands. That is a killer. We feel obligated when we meet someone new.  Yuck.  How about a fist bump instead? Maybe we should wear rubber gloves all day!
  5. When using the toilet – they don’t wash their hands. And if  they do, they then walk out the door and grab the handle. Use a towel to grab it!

If  person gets sick, he/she will be vomiting and otherwise spewing fluids.  Guess who gets to clean it all up? Yup, the same crew that has all their other work to do.

The CDC monitors all reports of incidents. Cruise ships participating in the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) are required to report the total number of gastrointestinal (GI) illness cases evaluated by the medical staff at least 24 hours before the ship arrives at a U.S. port.  If the GI illness count exceeds 2% of the total number of passengers or crew onboard, separate notice must sent.  The CDC may send staff to investigate.

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ByRick Deutsch

Richard Branson’s new Cruise line to cater to adults only

Cruises with a gaggle of kids can make for an unpleasant cruise for older people. Many millennials and grandparents bring kiddies on the more economical trips. Like the Caribbean or end-of-season reduced price re-positioning voyages. The ambient noise level rises to 120 dB with children who have no home training.

In an effort to focus on older, retired people on vacation, the new Virgin Voyages enterprise by Richard Branson, the Brit with the bucks, will roll out a new industry offering. No children. The cut off age is 18.  Branson is trying something new. Heck, there are gay cruises, nudist cruises and eclipse cruises!  Why not target the “adult” market and go after it hard?

The unnamed first ship in the fleet just had its keel laid in the Genoa shipyard; it will roll out in 2020.

Imagine the peace and quiet with a tad over 2,800 pax and no tweens.  The plan is really fuzzy, but Branson hopes to sail first out of Miami (after getting the ship from Italy) and ply the Caribbean.

Artist conceptions are out for what Virgin will call “Lady Ships.” They show silver paint with red highlights. A red-headed mermaid is the logo.

large new cruise sh ip

Richard Branson’s adults only ship

Passengers are not called “passengers” nor “guests”….rather “sailors.”  Aye, Matey.   No word on entertainment or other fun attractions, but “most rooms will have balconies.”  We’ll let you know about any opportunities for enrichment speakers.

I like Branson. He and Elon Musk are doers….ala Tucker and Edison.  Just ‘git ‘er done.

More to read – Learn about our Coaching program for fledgling speakers.

Oh…”Adults only ” is not a wild Club Med type of free for all….no hanky panky on this one.

We specialize in getting speakers on ships for free. Free as in no cost for the cruise. Note – you will pay an agent fee for them to market you..but not another penny to us at SpeakOnCruises. We are not an agency – but we get you ready to sail.  There is a process to getting gigs – and we share it.

Drop us a line.


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