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cruisemom42

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  1. Since you are asking about a specific tour offered by Royal Caribbean, I suggest you also post this on the dedicated forum here for RCCL -- you may be more likely to find someone else who has taken it.
  2. This is one of those questions I feel should come down to personal preference. If someone prefers a shaving kit or make-up bag over a zip-lock option, so be it. I have used zip-lock bags for short trips (e.g., business travel) but I find that they get beat up pretty easily. If it gets a hole, then there goes any 'protection' from leakage. I generally carry a spare or two and end up using it for the return trip home. That said, for longer trips I have a small toiletries kit that I prefer. It is two-sided but packs flat and works for me, plus I can use it comfortably during the trip -- whether that's a cruise or a land trip. It keeps everything contained, visible, and it is easy to stow in whatever space is available. I use travel-size bottles for things like shampoo, lotion, sunscreen; everything fits. I make use of random small spaces in my luggage for other things -- socks, corkscrew (very important!), adaptor plugs, a few power bars, etc.
  3. Are you talking about hiring a private boat or about taking the local ferry?
  4. This sounds like a very interesting development. Is there more info available somewhere?
  5. If you need it, then you need it. I don't need to have water constantly available, unless I am really working hard and/or perspiring excessively.
  6. With the Vatican museum/Sistine chapel/St. Peter's you can get a bit of everything. The Vatican has an excellent collection of ancient Roman sculpture, as well as other priceless art. Be sure you ask to include it (it will eliminate the need to visit the Museo Nazionale also...). Just be sure, if you go with a private guide, to tell them what you area interested in seeing. (For example, I could easily skip the map room and the tapestries, but others love them....) The Sistine chapel of course is iconic and I'd think would be a must for an art history fan.... In a longish day, given the constraints of the holiday, I'd think perhaps I'd recommend you do the Vatican first, then spend the remaining time seeing the Pantheon, enroute to the area of the Colosseum and Forum for external visits only. It's unclear to me whether the private tour you are considering includes transportation to/from the port. If so, then $100 per person is a very good price. And you MIGHT have time later for an inside visit to the Colosseum, if that's also very important to you. I just caution that, based on my experience a couple of years ago, it does take the crowd a while to disperse. Not sure how close a driver will be able to get you to those sites (Colosseum/Forum).
  7. I've traveled around the world with my parents from a young age. "Back in the day" no one carried water bottles everywhere with them, and folks were not keeling over from dehydration. We were in Egypt and Jordan in August, for goodness sake, and no one had water with them. This was in the mid 1970s. These days I only carry a water bottle when I know I won't have access to any water or other beverage for an extended period of time. I have a collapsible one that fits in my larger crossbody purse -- but it is still not large by the standards of many that I see... As for onboard ship, I don't bring an insulated mug. My hot beverage of choice is espresso; consumed quickly while hot.
  8. What's wrong with a "fancy top with black pants"? To me it's the equivalent of your LBD. Not everyone prefers to wear a dress...
  9. I hope you find another line that is a better fit for your preferences.
  10. We are all different. I understand your priorities, but I personally would rather sail on an R class ship in the lowest category cabin if the itinerary is just what I want. I am hoping I will find other like-minded people on the R class ship I will be on.
  11. Keep in mind that getting from the port to Rome proper will take longer than an hour, whether by train or car. I have often recommended to people that a 3-day stay in Rome is needed: one day for the Vatican and associated sites, one day for "ancient Rome" and one for sites like the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, possibly a museum. Private tour guides also have been advising (in recent years when crowds have steadily increased) that an inside visit to both the Colosseum and the Vatican may not be possible in a single port day. So do keep your expectations reasonable. The Museo Nazionale of Rome has several branches, but the most outstanding one is near Termini rail station. From there, the Borghese museum is not far. But to do both of those things would probably NOT leave you enough time to do more than have an outside visit to the Colosseum (and don't forget the Roman Forum next to it, also worth a visit...) The Museo Nazionale is normally not very crowded but I can't vouch for June 2. The Borghese Gallery requires a timed reservation in advance.
  12. I feel there's a prevailing climate of cynicism now that isn't particularly healthy. People dissect things much more than is necessary. Especially online. Yes, everything in life is a trade-off, no matter how small. But the focus on what you're giving up versus what you're getting is kind of demoralizing, in my view. Sometimes what you have to give up (as calliopecruiser points out) is pretty small in order to receive an unexpectedly large "return". Take a library for example. Yes, you have to pay taxes to support the library system. But you have to pay them whether you use it or not, and certainly checking out books and reading them for no additional cost beats paying $20.00 per book. Books are an unalloyed pleasure -- they can take you away to a completely different place, teach you things that you'd otherwise never know, and provide you with a common context to understand many different types of people and cultures. To bring the discussion back to travel, I agree sometimes you can get caught up in the "value for money" equation. Sometimes it's healthy to step back and think about things like what vacations can do for your overall health: for your body (relieve stress, for example) and your mind (stimulate you to learn new things, keeping your brain healthy).
  13. I also recently redeemed points and yes, there seem to be fixed redemption amounts -- I think these may be in $50 increments. So perhaps you had just slightly too few points to get up to the next level?
  14. Read books and movies set in Alaska (not just guide books). I always try to do this before a trip to a new place.
  15. My comments weren't so much about Oceania cancelling ports more often that other lines, or for no reason. Many cruise lines cancel ports and there are a lot of compelling reasons to do so. What bothers me is when that information is not communicated in a timely way or when an itinerary is offered that cannot be "run" as is because someone was sloppy in doing their research. Both of these things speak to the care for passengers and level of attention to detail that I expect from a cruise line, especially one where the fares are not exactly bargain basement....
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