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Everything posted by CCJack

  1. We took an independent Golden Circle Tour (Our ship docked in Reykjavik for 2 days) - note that our excursion was 2 hours late returning to Reykjavik due to a traffic jam. A lot of the excursion driving is on 2 lane highways and I would not have expected traffic jams in Iceland, but it doesn't take much to have a long backup on a 2 lane highway. I am sure we were the exception and not the rule but something to keep in mind. I likely would not opt for a big excursion that goes far from Reykjavik but I would look for a smaller excursion closer to the city.
  2. We have cruised in Norway and also Iceland. IMO Norway is a perfect cruise destination. The Fjords from the ship are spectacular, and you spend most of your excursion time in coastal cities or not far from the coast. Iceland is a lot different than Norway. Many of the geological sites in Iceland are inland and you spend a lot of time driving inland. Many people recommend a land vacation in Iceland rather than a cruise. Iceland is very unique and very interesting but not as beautiful as Norway and not as good of a cruise destination... Both are great trips however, have fun....
  3. Do you know if you walk into the airport from the hotel, are there any restaurants in the airport before security check? In case you want to to wander over the night before your flight?
  4. When we were in Flam, our ship docked and allowed only cruise excursion passengers off. then they backed out and everyone else tendered (another ship was waiting to dock). Tendering was not fast, would not have made a close connection as suggested by the OP. Also, I have noticed lately that more cruises are starting to prioritize embarkation at ports for their own cruise excursion ticket holders first....
  5. A little too tight for my comfort level as well, but people are different when it comes to this. Have you talked to the airline about options? We just had the exact same thing happen for our Sept 2024 flight out of Athens - they moved it from 1 pm to 11 am. I called the airline to discuss options. I asked if they would consider moving me to a different airline... they said perhaps but since we were 9 months out they advised to wait and see if there would be even more changes to flight times. They were hesitant to go the "different airline" route this early, but didn't rule it out as trips gets closer. I ended up changing to the following day 11 am, same airline just so we have a workable option booked for now. I just hate being rushed during debarkation and transport to airport knowing that everything has to go smoothly to make a flight.
  6. I loved our Amalfi Coast independent excursion. Sweeping views of the coast during the drive and the coastal city / stops had beautiful views as well. Personally, I was underwhelmed with our CT ship's excursion. We visited only one village and it was very crowded. I was used to seeing the beautiful photos of the villages which are taken from the ocean or a helicopter, but when you are in the village, of course you don't see that view. Perhaps if you have more time there and hike I may have liked it better. We did a ship's tour to Pisa as a last minute add, since we missed our originally scheduled excursion (mix up on meeting point in ship, and thus we were a few minutes late and they left without us!) The ship re-booked us on the Pisa excursion as it was the only one with openings, and I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the field of miracles was beautiful. Florence is good too. I understand the concern about 2 big cities in 2 days, but if you have the energy, you can't go wrong with Florence. Good luck.
  7. I am not sure, I know they sell SB gift cards, but not sure about coffee cards. I do know that the NCL basic (free) coffee can barely be called coffee ! Pretty bad. We spent the $ for a SB coffee each morning even though typically I am not a SB fan, (I like Tim Hortons or Dunkin). !!
  8. I would guess yes... because they sell SB gift cards at least on the Joy SB they did. Note, you can not use non refundable OBC to purchase SB gift cards on board, however, you can use NR OBC to purchase SB drinks and food. So there is some special rules concerning the gift cards and NCL / SB business deal. So I am not 100% sure, but I would guess if they sell them there, you could use them there even if you are bringing the SB GC from elsewhere.
  9. we did a walking tour..."Historic Halifax by Foot" by TayMac tours... We were pleased it was a great tour.
  10. Do you know if airlines will allow re-booking on a different airline if they changed our flight to an unworkable time? We are booked on American and they changed our flight from 1 pm to 11:30.
  11. We are on an NCL cruise ending 9/10/24 in Athens. We booked a flight out at 1 pm. Unfortunately, the airline has moved us to a 11:30 am flight. That is tight but I am thinking we could make it. Ship shows 7 am arrival, our last NCL cruise we self carried off but they didn't let people off until about 7:45. Is transportation readily available at port? Would be be faster to pre book a transfer? Airline is giving us the option of changing flights, but there really are no good options for later that day and the next day options aren't that good either. Anyone have experience with time to airport? thank you.
  12. We did hear music from the theater below only one time on our cruise. It wasn't enough to bother us however, it was pretty subtle. Plus, I would guess the big Theatre is typically done by about 10 pm most nights unlike the casino or clubs. It may make a difference on which of those cabins you are in. Guessing further forward may be closer to the stage noise...
  13. We stayed at the Holiday Inn and were pleased. Breakfast good, and we walked with luggage to ship. One busy street to cross but otherwise an easy walk.
  14. for sure the colosseum would be a nice stop... big and open and kids would love it. I am also thinking to make a stop into St. Peters in the Vatican. Kids may not be that interested, but you could make a quick stop of it and see this beautiful structure at your own pace from the inside and leave when you want. The Vatican museum may be a different story. That is more of a half day commitment, very crowded and I am not sure kids that age will appreciate it. Not necessarily an easy place to exit the flow of people as you walk through,.... Have fun....
  15. We were on a Club Balcony Suite on the joy. As others have stated, you are going to get a larger bathroom, 2 sinks, a nicer shower, and the ability to book dining reservations 5 days before others. That is about it, the other perks like cookies delivered to room aren't that valuable to me. That said, $200 is not much and may be worth the upgrade. Note that we were on Joy, Deck 8 Club Balcony Suite with the large balconies. Personally I would not book those large balconies again. They are very large but deep and skinny. That means that when you are in your cabin looking out the glass door you have tunnel vision and greatly restricted view of the ocean (of course at the balcony railing you do not have restricted view). They do have club balcony suites with normal balconies which I would prefer.
  16. a couple things to consider.... We took ships excursion and it really is just transportation there. We were one of the first buses there and we got in line to go up Blarney Castle and the wait was only 15 minutes. However, 10 minutes after we got in line, the line grew to well over 1.5 hour wait. Point is, getting there later in the morning probably isn't good, even a few minutes later. Your plan of train then bus may get you there but probably later than the cruise bus. That said, even if you don't climb the castle, it is a nice place to visit, the grounds are very nice. Also, note that shortly before our cruise we were notified that our ship was being moved from Cobh to Ringaskiddy. From what I can tell, nearly every cruiseline advertises they are stopping at Cobh but many are changed to Ringaskiddy (less desirable) ... Not sure who or when or why these decisions are made, but that would complicate your train and bus plan. Perhaps a ships excursion is a safer bet.
  17. We have sailed both cruiselines and i agree. On the NCL Joy, as an example, there is a ton of real estate on top decks used up by kid's activities (go carts, laser tag, water slides.) This leaves much less area available for common areas (pools, tracks, etc.) We were on a Canada N.E. cruise in September on Joy and there were very few kids, that left those kid's areas mostly entirely unused, and the remaining pool outdoor areas very crowded with adults. It is almost better to have the kids on board to use those areas and having slightly fewer adults on board than on an adult only cruise. Plus, having kid's on board has never bothered us.... Go Big Red.
  18. We were on the Joy last September QC to NY, it was a great cruise. If you have not been to QC that should be a don't miss port for you. We stayed 2 nights pre cruise in QC. Our 2nd favorite port was Saguenay, particularly the national park there. Saguenay is a deep fjord ...perfect for cruising into. Our ship didn't stop in Maine or Boston, but of course those are great places too.... will likely do land based vacation to Maine soon. Have fun.
  19. When we were there I do not remember seeing any waiting taxis in Dunmore East. You may want to pre arrange a taxi to pick you up and take you for a ride.. You can spend a little time in Dunmore East. It is a small seaside village and ... you can walk from tenders along sidewalk near the coast, a couple of ice cream shops a local park, etc. It is nice, but probably not more than an hour there.
  20. Congratulations.... and Vancouver is a great embarkation city... Have fun.
  21. No. the parliament building is on the SE side I believe, although that is a great view as well, some may prefer that. The parliament building is very close to the Hilton and you see the building from above with the corresponding park and fountains. The old town is on the NE side of Hilton and you don't see any buildings as close as the parliament, but you see the wall and then all the roofs in the old town, the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac and of course the cruise ships. We requested nothing and were upgraded to a corner room which has floor to ceiling windows on both NE and SE walls so we saw both. You can't go wrong with either, probably choose old town (NE) or corner over parliament if you get the choice, but both are very nice.
  22. Yes, you could easily get a cab, however the Hilton is only a block away from old town. The front door is on the opposite side of the hotel, so more like a 2 block walk to get to hotel entrance. If you are a Hilton Honors member request a room with a view of the old town, the higher the better. Plus the executive lounge on the top floor has outstanding views.
  23. Just received a similar offer in the mail. Is there a catch or is this really a free cruise....? Thanks
  24. I posted a number of photos and more details of our bike ride down in this thread below. You need to scroll through the responses to find those that apply to the bike ride. let me know if you have other questions about it.
  25. thank you for posting, I am interested in booking this. Also, did this tour take you to the terrace houses? thanks.
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