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Everything posted by CCJack

  1. Well between Budapest, Venice and Rome, you have a great start on a nice vacation... those 3 are all great cities to visit. I like at least 2 nights in Venice first, in that way you have one full day. Venice can be crazy crowded mid day but mornings and evenings it can really empty out. I would suggest a hotel in Venice proper so you can walk in the morning and evening. 3 nights in Rome post cruise would be good. We have been on all 3 of those cruiselines in Europe and they are more similar than different. I would base my decision on itinerary and price, all 3 of those would work for me. Celebrity maybe a step up in food quality, etc. If you are considering 7-10 day maybe do the 7 day cruise and use those other days as land based stays on the front or back end. Have fun...
  2. re-reading this thread, I am surprised no one has mentioned the book "the day the world came to town".... this is about all of the jumbo jets coming from Europe that had to land in Gander Newfoundland on 9/11 as the U.S. airspace was closed. The small town had to deal with thousands of passengers for many days. So much you don't think about.... Local Pharmacists overwhelmed trying to fill all of the Rx as people's luggage was on lockdown in the planes cargo holds for days due to terrorist concerns.... also local vets trying to rescue the dogs that were in those cargo holds. Plus, feeding and housing all of the visitors. Very interesting true story.
  3. Thank you. I am concerned there may be something else going on such as NCL considering dropping the port altogether. Let's hope not.
  4. EliseL can you give me an update if NCL finally posted Kusadasi excursions for your June cruise. We are on NCL for Sept 1. and there has been no Kusadasi excursions posted ever since we booked 10 months ago. When I call they say that Kusadasi is a port that sometimes it takes longer for them to secure excursions. Not sure if that is true or not. It seems that for your June trip they should have something posted by now. thanks.
  5. For sure they will. Also since Delta was mentioned in this post, note that Delta has 5 classes for transatlantic flights, whereas other airlines still have 3. You will get class #5 from Delta. NCL does have a "new" option to request class. I am not an expert, but I did call them and inquire (about 6 months ago, things could have changed).... I was told that you tell NCL what you want (class, times, etc.) and they will come back in a few days with a quote. It has nothing to do with the BOGO price, essentially you are starting over and they are quoting you current market prices just like a travel agent would do.
  6. A couple thoughts. We took the Celebrity Apex on the Iceland / Ireland cruise. It was great. Apex is fantastic. Many people recommend a land tour over a cruise for Iceland. After cruising there (and having a great time) I do see the rational in that recommendation. In Iceland many of the interesting sites are inland. You spend quite a bit of time traveling by road inland, and the views from the ship are not nearly as spectacular as Norway, for example. One option is to consider Iceland for a future land based vacation. A Scandinavia cruise remains on my bucket list, so I cannot comment. You can't go wrong with either of your options. Have fun.
  7. I can recommend floating-amsterdam as well. That is who we booked with. It was a great canal cruise.
  8. agree canal cruise. I would recommend the smaller boat tours. There are several companies that offer a boat for about 10 or 12 people. Typically they have a bar (actually a cooler) with a server and then the captain does the live commentary. These are not the big long boats you will first see near the city center that have the many seats and headphones you plug into recording. You may need to research and prebook a small boat company at 2x the cost of a big boat but i think a much better experience. I have done both. Have fun.
  9. At least for viking, our included tours were great. Typically a short walking tour of port city, then we could go back on our own to spend time in a particular area that interested us. That is typical but not always the case. Some might be a bus ride to a site outside the port city and thus a longer excursion. Be careful with private excursions and DIY as it is possible they could move the boat during the time you are off and s private tour would not know that. Typically they should be very clear about that before you leave in the morning however.
  10. I believe we just hailed a taxi from a streetside downtown. I don't recall it being difficult to find one.... You could also ask the taxi driver on way to the museum where downtown is a taxi stand.
  11. A good DIY hike in Juneau is take the tram up the mountain, then hike the trails at the top. Beautiful views, inexpensive. However i can also say that juneau (and ISP) are great whale watching ports. Not inexpensive, but our ISP whale watching was fantastic.
  12. Agree, the wilderness tour increases chances of seeing wildlife. Plus, unlike other national parks Denali is not easy to experience on your own with just a couple hours. It is very vast. We did have a nice 1/2 day hike near our lodge but that was just outside of the park.
  13. When we were on the joy last September you could reserve comedy shows, etc. after boarding. You pretty much needed a reservation as well, all shows were at capacity from what i could tell.
  14. There are lots of threads on this topic... you can read the pros and cons for days..... Personally, I disagree that it is the way to go for Europe. I would be much more inclined to let someone (or a computer) chose my flights for a domestic trip than for an overseas trip. For a trans Atlantic trip, I would much rather pick my flights, seats, class and most importantly layover times.. No question, however, you can save some money. Good luck.
  15. If time is not an issue, it is great to explore a new city on your own. However, in this case, time is an issue. I like the idea of a local, highly rated, private guide that spends all day with you. I have rarely regretted hiring a local guide in our travels. They will know all of the small things... best walking route between sites, time of the day when lines are shortest, when to walk vs. taxi or subway, where the restrooms are....etc. End result is a much more efficient day (not necessarily "hurried", but more efficient.) If this is the travelers only time in Rome, it would be money well spent.
  16. all good advice.... Note that our cruiseline (Cunard) said nothing to us about FJord schedules, etc. I was the only person on deck at 5 am. It was likely the most beautiful part of the trip. Of course you sail out as well but the evening sail out could be worse (or better) due to weather, winds, sun, and of course dinner plans....
  17. They would not let us use non-refundable OBC for Starbucks gift cards or Starbucks merchandise (mugs, etc.) You could use it for food or drinks from Starbucks (we were on the Joy in Sept 2023). I had similar non-refundable OBC that I had to spend. I ended up purchasing phone charger cables in the ship's store. Reasonably priced and you can never have too many charger cords!
  18. You may want to download a marine navigation app on your phone.. Install the necessary sea maps before you leave. In that way you can track your ship real time on your trip. Note, sometimes I have to be on my balcony or near a window for the GPS to update. I have found that using these navigation apps makes the trip more interesting.
  19. I can't add much, I have only been there once. However, for our stop (Celebrity cruise - only 1 ship in port) we had no wait for a taxi from port to downtown and also no wait for the return. I seem to remember a shuttle bus (not HOHO, and not city bus) that was also waiting at the port and there was no line. We could purchase tix for the shuttle bus on board the ship. Good luck.
  20. Hard to say for sure, but it sounds reasonable. I typically say self disembark puts you off of the ship 1 hour after posted dock time. You are giving yourself 3 hours before the flight which sounds reasonable with some wiggle room for the unexpected.
  21. I agree... I think we spent 2 1/2 hours there. I am sometimes skeptical of Titanic venues as they seem to be everywhere, however, this is a really nice museum. Gives you a good idea of what life was like in Belfast in the early 1900s - I almost think this is more of a Belfast museum than Titanic museum. We took taxi from ship to museum, then after the museum we walked downtown which was a pleasant walk.
  22. correct, the statue is on the port side for the sail in and starboard for the sail out. Saguenay was our favorite stop of our cruise (next to embarkation at QC). The sail in and sail out of the fjord at Saguenay is very nice. We took the excursion to go hiking in the national park which was very nice as well. All that said the view of the statue from the ship was a bit underwhelming, not saying it was not an impressive construction, but from the middle of the fjord you are a ways away. Also for us, we passed the statue right at dinner time (however we were dining outside on starboard side coincidentally.) Enjoy your cruise, we really liked ours.....
  23. I agree. Marseille and Majorca would be my votes to skip if you want / have to skip. I would skip Marseille 1st and Majorca next just because you can take a short walk off of the ship in Majorca and have a nice 1 hour walk if you just want to stretch your legs. Not so much in Marseille, it is a big city and you need some sort of excursion planning.
  24. Ditto on the positive energy...... I wish you the best on your Norway cruise and hope you have a great time. My two cents worth of advice on a Norway cruise is this... if you are traveling down any long Fjords (such as ports Flam or Geiranger) do a little homework ahead of time and figure out about what time in the morning your ship will be entering the Fjord. It may be early like 4:30 am (it may be sunrise about this time) and the sail in could be several hours. On our cruise I was the only person on the deck at 5 am for over an hour before others showed up - it was really beautiful. Note that our ship told us nothing about fjord sail in schedules... Have fun....
  25. Will you be seeing a glacier elsewhere on your cruise? If so, consider skipping Mendenhall. If not, probably worth seeing, but I think 90 min or 2 hours would be enough. We took the tram up to Mt. Roberts and then did hiking at the top of the mountain, a really inexpensive excursion with great views....
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