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cruisemom42

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  1. On a ship of more than 1,000 souls, isn't it likely that you'll always be subsidizing things used by others that you don't use? And also likely that others may be subsidizing things you like/enjoy/appreciate? For example, I have not been in a pool on board a cruise ship since probably 1997. I haven't utilized the children's programs on a ship since 2008. Does that give me the right to say I am "sick and tired" of subsidizing those things just because others choose to cruise with their children or enjoy a dunk in the pool? Moreover, I pay for two people every time I sail solo. Do I enjoy subsidizing the cruise line's model of how revenue onboard is generated? Of course not. But I accept that "it is what it is" since it is unlikely I can change it. I don't get why this has to devolve into finger-pointing and petty comments.
  2. To add further to the comments above -- I can fit a 20" bag on the upper racks on Frecce trains, but they are not very wide or deep. Possibly a 22" bag would fit. Anything more than this size is at risk of falling off, IMO. Also, be sure your bag isn't extra wide (e.g., if you have an extra zipper on your bags that allows the bag to be packed fuller, and you've opened it, the bag may not fit. As Eurocruiser says, I've always found room at the end of the car for larger bags. On the express trains, the threat of luggage theft is less, but I'll usually try to get a seat nearby (you can do this if you reserve in advance online), or go stand nearby at a stop if necessary.
  3. Oh I am getting too excited about my upcoming Yokohama departure (next spring -- cherry blossom cruise).
  4. There is some info on transportation at the bottom of this article on the Civitavecchia port website: https://civitavecchia.portmobility.it/en/national-etruscan-museum-tarquinia It appears you can take the train and then a local shuttle bus that runs in accordance with the railway schedule. Or you can take a bus from Civitavecchia to a point very close to the Archaeological Museum. I believe the bus is an easier option but unfortunately it is difficult to find info about it -- I did this some years ago but I am not sure if the pick-up point in Civi is still the same or whether you can purchase a ticket from the bus driver (used to be that way) or have to purchase one elsewhere first... The museum is well worth seeing and it is on the outskirts of the historic area, so there is plenty to see if you want to walk around. You can also get another shuttle from the bus depot (where you are dropped off) that will take you to the FABULOUS necropolis with the painted tombs. If you are really interested in the bus info I can try to find it or perhaps euro cruiser has it handy....
  5. A lift is an elevator in Europe. Unfortunately many parts of Europe are not geared for those with mobility challenges. The Amalfi coast particularly -- what makes the towns so pretty is the way they spill steeply down the slope of the cliff toward the sea. Not easy to negotiate with a scooter. You will get to appreciate the famous Amalfi Coast drive. Your driver will likely stop at a point along the way so that you can appreciate the view of Positano from above. I found these reviews on the accessibility of: Herculaneum: https://www.sagetraveling.com/wheelchair-friendly-roman-ruins-herculaneum Sorrento: https://www.sagetraveling.com/accessible-cruise-ports-sorrento-italy For Positano, I'd encourage you to search online for photos of the lower town and see if you think it would be worthwhile.
  6. ....or history, or food, or beautiful scenery, or architecture Florence doesn't shine its brightest as a cruise stop. But it is a wonderful little city. Especially if one goes in November when tourists are much fewer. I took my adult son to Florence and Venice last November. He's always wanted to go to Venice and I thought we might as well toss Florence in too. (He's been to Rome...) It turned out that he liked Florence far more than Venice, to my surprise. He was taken with the history of the Medici family and loved climbing up all the various towers for views of inside art or outside scenery... One of the best gelaterias in the world is in Florence. They also have the famous bistecca Fiorentina from their huge happy white cattle. DS and I split one, grilled with fresh rosemary wands and sea salt and then kissed with the fresh new olive oil brought in the day before from the annual harvest. The Mercato Centrale is an amazing place to nibble your way through, too. I think the Baptistery is one of the most perfect Romanesque buildings I've ever entered and was one of the inspirations for the development of the Renaissance style.
  7. Hmm, if I am only considering ports: Istanbul -- One of the few 'great' cities that is also easily accessible by ship -- you dock and you are right in the action. Naples and Ephesus -- both offer so much to see and do in the immediate area that one could visit on five back-to-back cruises and still do something different each time. Rome -- any day I get to Rome is a good day. There are many other ports in the Med that I could visit happily every few years but maybe not every year. Same with Asia. Twice in Alaska was plenty for me -- it is way too crowded now and can't compare to my first cruise visit in 1977. I've all but given up the Caribbean; maybe once every 4 years or so for a 'relaxation and sun' holiday. I did enjoy Havana a lot and would have been happy to go back there again....one day....😒
  8. The Hilton Garden Inn is also on the FCO property, but not as close (e.g., not connected to the airport). HOWEVER, they have shuttles that pick up from the terminal outside baggage claim and take you directly to the hotel door. I find it is more convenient than the regular Hilton, but YMMV.
  9. The Albergo del Senato has excellent triple-glazed windows. With the windows closed there is virtually no noise. (I've had a room facing the piazza 3 times). Of course, that means you don't sleep with the windows open, but the A/C and heat function well. I like to hear the noise from the piazza up until I am ready to close my eyes and sleep. The difference in the sound level with the windows closed vs. open is amazing. If you are very noise intolerant, it's not impossible that you'd hear a siren tearing across the piazza, or one of the ubiquitous garbage trucks emptying the trash cans of accumulated bottles at 5:30 am if they are especially noisy (a common problem at virtually every place I've stayed in Rome). I'm not sure anything could block those out. But for the most part, you won't hear sounds from the piazza. Albergo Santa Chiara was also fine. I've only stayed there once since they've renovated many of the rooms, and I do not recall noise. They are around the back of the Pantheon rather than on Piazza della Rotonda. I might ask for a room that doesn't face the busy street on which the hotel entrance is located, since the view isn't particularly a "wow". Hotel Smeraldo is not 100% noise proof and sometimes you can hear from below. But on the other hand, it IS right next to a fabulous bakery (Roscioli).... Of the three places, it is definitely the most "budget" hotel; don't expect the same level of decor or service as at Santa Chiara or the del Senato, but the price is also more modest. (I just snapped up a low rate at del Senato in late November and a cheap Delta airfare -- I'm going back to Rome for a long week....)
  10. I have to agree with edinburgher that Palermo is not any more "unsafe" than other large cities. The area near the port is not terrible; it is actually very close to the historic part of the city. As has been mentioned, take normal precautions and you will be fine if you want to explore on your own. As far as highlights, I've been to Palermo several times and the mosaics in the Cappella Palatina blow me away every time. I think they are truly the most "must see" thing in Palermo. http://www.wondersofsicily.com/palermo-palatine-chapel.htm
  11. Positano is on a steep hill and the only way I know of from top to bottom is via many steps. If it is true that the van drops off at the top in Positano and picks up at the bottom, I would ask if it is possible for you to stay on the van, have them take you to the bottom after dropping the others. This way you will be able to enjoy some of the town. As for Sorrento, it is not worse than many other Italian cities with regard to the paving. The main (upper) street is relatively flat and has sidewalks. There is a large lift that takes people from the upper part down to the lower level, if you wish to do that. There's a small charge for using it -- 1 or 2 euro.
  12. How did you discover that HAL will not have any lecturers? I was under the impression that they still offered lecturers on cruises longer than 14 days and on TAs. I've not had much luck being on any HAL cruise with lecturers, but this is what I've read consistently on the HAL boards. Did you find a way to confirm (or not)?
  13. Thanks Jacqui -- very promising. I hope to give it a try on Westerdam next April.
  14. The biggest itinerary loss if you went in April would be Venice. Quite a few of the ports are the same. And on the other cruise you'd pick up Naples which is a wonderful port with a lot of options.
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