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iancal

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  1. Twice.... my spouse only used her married name-the name on her passport. She has no alias that I am aware of!
  2. Crystal Med cruise. One of our first. It was an employee reward cruise chartered by my employer. Incredible shore excursions highlighted with an open air amphitheatre concert in Ephesus. No expense was spared, on and off the ship.
  3. Get a hotel for one night. You will not regret it. Lot's to do and see in Bangkok.
  4. We spent eight days in Tasmania this past March. It was so different than other parts of Australia...and colder too. You do need a car, in our opinion, to really see the island. We could have spent another week there. We flew into Hobart and flew back to Sydney from Launceston. There is so much to see outside of these cities. We enjoyed every day. So glad we went. Highly recommend it.
  5. We spent two days in the Mekong with a homestay and a guided tour. I would pick the second tour hands down based upon our experience. We were not on a ship though, ours was independent land travel with added tours here and there.
  6. Not us. We travel frequently but since retiring we primarily do last minute cruises that complement our land travel. In fact, a few months ago we got a refund on a future cruise deposit that we had placed, in a moment of weakness, on our last Princess cruise. We select cruises based on ship and itinerary. Not so much cruise line.
  7. The proof will be in the application and verification of an airline's stated reason for delay. Westjet was just fined $25K for lying to customers about the reason for a very long flight delay.
  8. Our experience is that anything can happen with a price or cabin availability a week or two prior to sailing. Last time we were in Florida we booked a cruise three days prior to departure. We booked a gty balcony and were told that there were only two unsold balcony cabins available. Both were fine, we booked. A day later we got our assignment but did not look too closely. Turned out that it was not one of the two remaining, but another balcony cabin, fabulous location, and higher cabin class. Pleasant surprise. We assumed that the previous assignee was upgraded to a suite.
  9. We have noticed this as well. We were thinking of picking up a last minute cruise while traveling in Europe this fall. The prices seem incredibly high. So, we will pass. Agree, there have been a few times where we paid less for our Med cruises, on a per diem basis, than we would have paid for our Caribbean cruise. We are doing far fewer cruises lately in favour of other modes of travel.
  10. Our experience, after spending five of the past seven winters in Thailand is that January seems to be getting progressively more rainy days- at least in the southern part of the country where we primarily travel. To the point where last year we did not leave our winter weather until the third week of January. Our hosts in various areas have made the same comment to us. Not constant rainfall though, often simply outbursts in the afternoon with lots of water running down the streets. There is a reason for those deep gullies along some of the streets. I would not be too concerned about your dates.
  11. Our bottom line is rather simple. Is there a significantly better chance that we will be pick pocketed, robbed, or otherwise loose our passport when gadding about in Rome, etc. than there is if we leave our passports locked up in a hotel or cruise ship safe. My answer to that question is what we will do. We are not anal to the point of following every rule known to man or beast regardless of whether it makes the least bit of sense. Carry a copy in your camera, your phone, or put a hard copy of the first page in you back pocket if you feel that you must.
  12. Traveled on business most of my career. Extensive personal international travel. We have never locked our luggage. Never had anything stolen. Best luggage I ever had was a 21 inch Kirkland brand roller from Costco. It was far better that any of the more expensive brands that we have had in the past. Price and brand are not necessarily an indication of quality. A number of years ago I took a leather briefcase to be repaired at a luggage shop. It so happened that this shop did all the repairs on damaged luggage for a major airline. The owner gave me a quick education on how/why not to select based on brand and price. Stick to wheels, zippers, etc, including an explanation of how the major luggage manufacturers produce two lines of product that can appear to be identical. One for the usual outlets, the other for the discount stores, factory outlets, or dept stores that typically offer product at 50 or 75 off list. What astonished me was the number of bags that were there because one or more of the spinner wheels had been broken of shaved off completely. His message....select your luggage on the basis of quality and how/where you travel. Brand name can be very misleading. Since we switched to carry on only, luggage is fortunately no longer a real concern for us.
  13. We have no issue with a cruise line or a tour taking our passports. It is for our convenience. In many countries we are asked to provide our passports at checkin. Some keep those passports for a few hours and we pick them up later or the next day. These may be unusual procedures to people in North America but certainly not to those in other parts of the world or to those who do a fair amount of international travel. We have spent weeks in Italy, and other countries, without carrying passports on our person. Never an issue. We are always a little surprised that some people seem to not want their passports to leave their possession or their sight. This is not how it works in many countries.
  14. Perhaps a late booking inside cabin. A late booking trip after US Thanksgiving and before Christmas. Or March. Air might be the issue though.
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