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Everything posted by olemissreb

  1. My mom and I stayed at a Hilton not too far from Faneuil Hall...sorry can't remember the full name of it right now. We were just a few blocks from the Marriott where the water taxis come in. We took an Uber up to Warren Tavern for brunch and then walked over to Bunker Hill and the US Constitution before taking the water taxi back to the Marriott where we had a couple glasses of wine before walking back to our hotel. It was a full day of walking for my then 82 year old mom. but she enjoyed it. The next morning, we checked out and got an Uber to the cruise terminal...15 minute drive (if that).
  2. In 2010, I was on Adventure out of San Juan with my then 10yo and 14yo. While I love Celebrity, for the age range you have, I'd go on Freedom. My 10yo loved the Adventure Kids Club and my 14yo loved the video games in the Teen Club. Adventure was nice, but I think Freedom has even more for the teenagers/young adults/young at heart to do. In 2013, I had the kids on Celebrity Millennium for an Alaskan cruise (the youngest one had a broken foot) and while they had fun, there wasn't as much for them to do and so they didn't enjoy the ship as much as Adventure. Of course my youngest discovered ping-pong on the Alaska trip and had a hole in the heel of his cast by the end of the cruise. His orthopedist loved that!
  3. I used to do only ships excursions, but then I discovered Cruise Critic and booked my first independent excursion and was hooked. It was so much more personable and we always were "one step ahead" of the big cruise buses so we got to see/do more at each stop. Wish I had had more courage to book all independent on that cruise as 2 of our 3 cruise excursions were canceled and we ended up just walking around the cruise ports. Nice and relaxing, but didn't give us a great look at the islands. Now, I book nothing but independent. As others have said, sign up for your Roll Call as you can get ideas there and possibly get on with others who are doing a tour that interests you. Check out the Ports of Call section here on Cruise Critic for more ideas and some reviews. Also, check out Trip Advisor for ideas and reviews of vendors. I often start in the library or book store and get a travel book on the places I will be going. While many of them are typically for land based vacations, you can still get some ideas for excursions as well as places to eat or even where to rent a car and explore on your own if nothing else appeals to you (my mom and I just did this in Halifax, NS last Sept.). The biggest thing you have to be careful of is making sure you get back to the ship before sailing and I always try to make sure that I'm back within walking distance of the ship about 2 hours before the "all aboard time". My sister was a little nervous that last time she sailed with me that we would miss the ship, but once she saw that I had planned accordingly, she totally relaxed. Enjoy!
  4. Back in 1991, my then husband was working a lot of long hours and traveling a lot. Seemed every time we took a vacation, his boss would call him with questions - almost every day he was out of the office. So we got to thinking about a vacation where he couldn't reach us and cruising came to mind. So my then hubby contacted the company travel agent who booked us on a Princess cruise out of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean. It worked! My former FIL got the name and phone number to call shore to ship and the boss got my FIL's phone number. And yes, the boss did call FIL and try to get the number of the ship, but FIL told him his "emergency" could wait. Yes, we were probably the youngest ones on the ship, but we had a great time and my love of cruising was born. My last cruise was just last Sept/Oct with my mom to New England/Canada and I'm itching to book another one. Hopefully, I'll get to book one as a college graduation present for my youngest son for 2023.
  5. I think it all depends on how rough the seas are and whether you have to go through customs before tendering. My mom and I had to do that last Oct. It wasn't a big deal to go through customs and we had booked our first excursion for 10:30am. Tendering to Bar Harbor took maybe 15 minutes and we got there with so much extra time to spare that we had a really great breakfast across the street from the tender dock. Coming back on the other hand took about 30-45 minutes because the seas had gotten so much rougher. Some of the waves were crashing over the top of the tender! If you tend to get seasick, make sure you take your Bonine or Dramamine just in case. I'm sure glad I had it in my system or I might have gotten sick.
  6. Chengkp75 mentioned the Portland Fire Engine Co. as an excursion and I second his recommendation. My mom and I took this excursion. If you book the first run of the day, they will pick you up right at the (well within a block) of the cruise terminal. They finish the tour downtown at their usual pickup/drop off point. We had a great tour and then were able to walk around the downtown area for a bit. Got a coffee at Starbucks (and used their restroom). Spent way too much money on cookware for myself at Leroux Kitchen (if you are a cook, you will LOVE this place). We also took a Lighthouse Lover's cruise and saw all the lighthouses Cheng mentioned, but maybe a tad bit closer than on the cruise ship. It was fun getting out and hearing about the "Ellis Island of the North" and other interesting tidbits that you don't get on the cruise ship. Both of those excursions took up our morning and so we started heading back to the ship and stopped for lunch along the way. It was a bit of a hike for my mom to get back (she's 82 and not as nimble as she once was). It's not all that far, but for her and her bad back and knees, we had to make a couple stops for her to sit and rest. Not a big deal since we had all afternoon left to get back to the ship.
  7. My mom and I booked 2 Oli's Trolleys tours. The first one was a tour of just the downtown area and started at 10:30. It was a 30 minute tour. Then we had another tour booked at 1:00 - the 2.5 hour Acadia National Park Tour. Just late enough in the morning to take the tender and get some breakfast (there's a restaurant right across the street from the tender dock that was really good - sorry can't think of the name right now) and then just enough of a break between tours to walk around a little and get some pictures and some lunch (or in our case a glass of wine since we were full from breakfast and to toast my Aunt who had passed...we got word just as we exited our first tour.) If we had to do it again, I would skip the downtown tour as much of it was also covered on the 2.5 hour tour. Other than that, I would highly recommend Oli's Trolleys.
  8. My mom and I were on Royal Caribbean this past Sept/Oct and the tender to Bar Harbor seemed pretty quick...10-15 minutes or so. We had booked our own excursion for about 10:30am, so that left plenty of time for us to tender and get some breakfast before our first excursion. No line getting off the ship either. Coming back was totally different. The seas had kicked up so the tender back took 30-45 minutes. Waves were crashing over the top of the tender. I thank my lucky stars that I had been taking Bonine at night for about a week prior to getting to Bar Harbor so I didn't get seasick, but if I hadn't, I probably would have. It was that rough. As for customs, we had to go through customs on the ship prior to tendering in Bar Harbor. It wasn't a big deal at all. They started really early and when your number was called, you got in line with your passport and simply walked passed the custom agents showing your id. Easy peasy and then you went on your way. Those with ship excursions were in the first groups so they could get off the ship right away and on to the tender to their excursion. Easiest customs I've ever been through.
  9. My mom and I stayed at the Faneuil Hall Hilton (the one on Broad Street?). Loved it. I thought it had a lot of charm. I had hoarded my Hilton points and so we were able to stay free - relatively speaking. I requested an upgrade to a suite for $145/night and received it, so essentially, we stayed in a suite for $290!!! We were able to walk to a few places and just ubered to others. We ubered to a tavern (can't remember the name now, but really great food!) up near Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution. We did end up walking to both those places and then took the water taxi back to the area where the hotel is. It was really nice. The water taxi dropped us off near the Marriott and we were able to sit and have a couple drinks and talk before walking the 3 or 4 blocks (maybe 5 or 6) back to the hotel. Our stay was at the end of September 2019 and I booked it probably a year in advance. Originally we were staying at another Hilton property, but I was notified about 3 or 4 months out that that property would no longer be in the Hilton family and was "moved" to a Hampton Inn that did not meet our needs. So I was able to find the Faneuil Hall Hilton and able to book it then.
  10. My mom and I stayed at the Hilton near Faneuil Hall. It was very walkable if you are in good shape. It's also not too bad a walk to the ferry which is by a Marriott. Mom can't walk long distances any more (she's 82), so walking the Freedom Trail was out for us. We did take an Uber up to Warren Tavern for brunch and then walked over to Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution - she was exhausted by the end of that. But then we took the ferry back and then had a couple glasses of wine at the Marriott before we walked back to the Hilton.
  11. My mom and I had an aft cabin on our cruise this past Sept/Oct on the Serenade. We loved having it. It was a bit cool, but we still got out there for sail aways and as we were coming in to port. It was really great being out there as we sailed away from Portland, ME and we could see Portland Head Lighthouse. I got some great pictures. Of course I'm a balcony girl - I just have to have one or I don't sail!😂
  12. Saint John, New Brunswick you can take a 2 hour tour on one of their City Transit buses for $25 US. Harold was our driver/tour guide and he was a fount of information. It was a great tour! In Bar Harbor, we actually did 2 tours with Oli's Trolley. The first one is of the downtown area for 30 minutes and cost $15. The second was the 2 1/2 hour Acadia National Park tour which was $40. In Halifax, we rented a car and drove up to the Wolfsburg area and toured a winery and had lunch there. We also drove to a couple of the Titanic cemeteries. All totaled, I think it was about $125 for car rental and gas (which I just had them refill since I didn't want to drive around finding a gas station - way more expensive or I could have done the entire day for about $100).
  13. We were in Bar Harbor on 10/4 and the tender to town was nice and smooth, but the tender back at 3:30pm was rough. There were waves that we hit that broke over the top of the tender and water came in through some holes. The people that were sitting up front got so wet. It took almost 30 minutes to get from the pier back to the ship because of the rough water. I was so thankful I had taken my Bonine or things could have gotten really ugly.
  14. Just an update - we made our flight with plenty of time to spare. We did not do self-assist, we were in Group 3 & 4 which was right after the self-assist, suites, and those with RCL status. That being said, we had some luck in that a group from Atlanta that were on the same flight as us let us cut in line so that saved some time. They had said they were in line for an hour when our group was called. The other thing that saved us some time was that we got a porter to take our luggage to the taxi area and we were able to bypass that line as porters got priority status from the guards. We made it to the airport and were through security by about 9am. Would I do this again? NOT EVER if I can possibly avoid it. It was just too stressful - although some of that could be the angst I felt from my mother.
  15. Could be. I haven't responded to it. I just didn't want to take chances that it also might be legit if someone did actually lose something. Yeah - well I am an Ole Miss Rebel for a reason I guess! :)
  16. This is a long shot, but I just received an email about an item found in Cabin 9256. I was in this cabin 9/29-10/6. The item is not ours as my mother nor I lost anything. If you were in this cabin and lost something, here is the email I received: Thank you for choosing to sail with us on your recent cruise vacation. We hope you had a wonderful time! Our records indicate that an item has been found on your recent cruise that might belong to you. If you left an item(s) when you disembarked, please visit www.chargerback.com and create a Lost Report, providing a detail description of your lost item(s). This will initiate the mailing process of your lost item. Please note, in general ships store found items for 30 days. Thank you for cruising with us and we look forward to welcoming you back again in the future. Sincerely, Lost and Found Team Royal Caribbean International CONFIDENTIALITY NOTE: This message may contain confidential or legally privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution, or taking any action in reliance on these contents is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by responding to this e-mail and then delete it from your system. Hope you can get your lost item returned to you. Cross posted on the Roll Calls for the 2 cruises prior to mine and the one after mine.
  17. Not sure if it's the best, but my mom and I are doing a Lighthouse Tour in Portland through Portland Discovery Tours. Guess I'll find out in October if it's the best port for tours.
  18. My mom and I are doing a tour of Portland on a fire truck. Check out portlandfiretours.com. We are then going to eat lunch and then take a Lighthouse Tour through Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours (portlanddiscovery.com). In Saint John, NB (I assume that's where you are talking about) we are doing a tour on one of the city transit buses. Check out thinktransit.com. It's only a 2 hour tour, but we're going to play the rest of the day by ear and just see what we can find to do. As someone else mentioned, Trip Advisor is a great resource for finding tours such as this. It is actually where I found these tours. No they aren't private, but they are also not a cruise ship excursion so they are much smaller.
  19. My mom and I are doing this tour this fall. I can come back in October and let you know how it was. As for websites, try thinktransit.com and then click on City Tours. I found the tour via TripAdvisor. They don't take advance reservations and payment is only via cash, but for $25US, mom and I thought it was worth trying. The pickup/drop off point is "just up the street from the cruise terminal on Water Street".
  20. Guess I'm going to have to build in a little extra time to turn in my rental car and get back to the ship then. Might have to cut one of the Titanic cemeteries.
  21. It was 9 years ago that this happened, and I thought I had read somewhere that back then there was no priority boarding for Jr. Stes. I know Coastal Kitchen didn't exist on the AOS 9 years ago. Good to know for future reference though if I'm ever sailing with other friends or family.
  22. I was thinking the same thing. Maybe they are "loosening the purse strings" a little more trying to keep shareholders happy.
  23. But mine was a refundable deposit! I wanted the refundable deposit because my mom is 82 and "just in case" something came up and we had to cancel. So far so good, doesn't look like we'll have to cancel. In fact, my mom is renewing her passport so hopefully we'll find ways to use it over the next 10 years! 😀
  24. Gosh I hope so! We continue to be shareholders for a reason. I would think they would make it worth our while...even if we don't sail with them often.
  25. I originally submitted via email about 6 months before the cruise and then again via snail mail 5 months before the cruise. I guess you could submit right after you book the cruise if you wanted.
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