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About iancal

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  1. We have been using Santander ATMs for the past month in Mexico. No ATM fee. If you are not a scotiabank customer do not use their ATMs. They are a ripoff. Scotia and BVDA charge about 85 pesos for an ATM withdrawal. Most other banks are 20-30 pesos.
  2. You are quite safe with a VH. Really, the worst will be an obstructed OV vs a verandas with metal vs opaque glass. And only four of them on the ship. This was a no brainer. Good for you. Smart move. Your chances of a higher category verandas are excellent.
  3. We will be in Southern Europe in mid Sept to early Nov. We will consider a late booking Med cruise if the CV issue is in hand in Italy and if the price for a verandah cabin is attractive.
  4. Playa Condesa Hotel Elcano. Right on the beach. Great pool area,spotlessly clean, large king room w/balcony overlooking the bay. Just about on the middle of Playa Condesa. i believe that the sight of police armed with semi automatic weapons puts some people off. Same with army personnel We find this a common occurrence in many countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. There were some outside a bank last night as we walked home. If anything we felt safer for them being there! Saw lots of them in Greece last fall as well. When we visit LA we avoid East LA. I am sure it is the same fore other cities like Philly.
  5. We are in Acapulco now. Staying for 5-7 days on independent travel. We have been travelling for a month and have three weeks to go. Another few days here, then Ixtapa and PV. Going down to the front desk to see if we can extend our stay by two days. We are not staying in the old town or near the cruise ship dock. Hotels along the bay are huge. Lots of restaurants and people out for dinner at night. We started in Cancun. Have been to Merida, Playa del Carman, Puerto Morelos, Huatulco, and Puerto Escondido. Travelled by bus and by air. 9 hour by bus to Acapulco two days ago. We have never felt unsafe or threatened. Opposite is true but...we are a couple of geezers in our late sixties. We are not our in clubs or bars at night. Frankly, we felt safer in places like Merida, Puerto Morelos, Huatulco, and Puerto Escondido at night that we do in many US cities. Only been in Acapulco for two days but so far so good. We have done a couple of Mexico cruises in the past plus numerous AI’s. This is our second independent trip. We did two weeks in late 2018. Enjoyed it so much we decided to do a longer trip.
  6. Never, ever had an issue with any cruise line on the ‘new bookings’ statement. It is a little silly. The rates dropped because of unsold rooms. After all, you can always just cancel and the have a so called new booking. Do the math on the the inclusive. Cabin location should not be an issue. They did not drop the price because the cabins were selling like hot cakes. On one Med cruise we cancelled just prior to final payment and re booked a month or so later in the final payment window for a substantial savings. Prices might be good this year since some people are reluctant to cruise because of the CV issue.
  7. We only ever have a bottle of wine in our room. We typically look at HAL, Celebrity, and Princess first. That line up could be changing. They all seem to be going downmarket a little. But I have to say, of those three cruise lines, HAL is giving us fewer and fewer reasons even to consider their ships. And we are in their demographic...both in our late sixties.
  8. We usually book inside the final payment window. Always a balcony cabin, often a gty. On several cruise lines including HAL. We have never been disappointed with our cabin. In fact, we have had excellent assignments with regard to location, size of balcony, et,p. You .have nothing to loose and everything to gain by making this request. Do it quickly though.
  9. We spent a week in Corfu this past Sept. opOn the day we went into town there were four ships docked. A fifth was tendered. We parked, went into town for ten minutes, then left. It was bedlam. Went back a few days later where was only one ship in port.
  10. Some of our best trips were those made to destinations, where at the time, some nervous nellies were reading far to much into State dept. advisories and watching far too many CNN and Fox News clips. Greece, Turkey, London, Thailand, Mexico, etc. Some more than once. One reason they were so good was because there were fewer tourists. Accommodation, cruises, air were all less expensive and easier to obtain. Thank you CNN and Fox!
  11. We view a cruise as a commodity item. Once we decide on ship/cabin/itinerary the only thing left are price and service. To date we have been fare better off price wise, dealing with our on line TA. Plus, we get independent advice from her.
  12. We are currently into week four of an eight week independent tour of Mexico. We have a two month trip tentatively planned for Morocco, Spain, Portugal in the fall. Next winter we are planning to get back to Thailand for a month, then Oz/NZ for the second month. Plus some last minutes in between. No cruises planned but who knows. We tend to cherry pick last minute opportunities. No point in staying home. I suspect that our chances of being hit by a bus or struck by lightening at home are higher than getting CV and falling off our perch while travelling. We get our free flu shot at Costco each Nov. and we are good to go. Why stay home?
  13. The green/red system has been in place for many countries for years. If I’d very good. Once you clear passport control you only need to see customs(red) if you have something to declare. Great for us because we travel light and very seldom have something to declare. People selecting green are subject to random checks. In some countries all arriving guests have their bags scanned right after passport control.
  14. I believe that HAL has been ‘a day late and a dollar short’ on all aspects of this issue. My sympathy lies with the luckless cruisers, not with HAL.
  15. Based on your comments we would select Princess. Found your comments very balanced...especially the Service comments. We have found the service on HAl, Princess, and Celebrity to be very good and very similar in quality. We do not see much difference.
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