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About cruisemom42

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  1. It's been noted by several HAL cruisers in the past year that several group activities that HAL was previously willing to include in their daily calendar of events were no longer being included, by HAL decree. One can argue whether or not this is a direction HAL should go in at the higher level, but I'm not sure one can argue that there is any specific discrimination absent something above and beyond what has been presented here.
  2. cruisemom42

    Sat. and Sun in Rome, Vatican as the focus

    Happy cruzer, thanks for returning and letting us know how it went -- it's always good to hear about what worked and what didn't. Sounds like you had a busy but ultimately pretty successful visit. More and more recent reports on how crowded the Vatican museums are. I wonder if they will eventually institute some stricter controls on the number of visitors per day...?
  3. cruisemom42

    Tender Unloading Accident on Maasdam

    I could be a curmudgeon and say that yes, to put a fine point on it, there has traditionally been a distinction between saying these two things. HOWEVER, in mitigation, I offer that the use of 'killed' is also modified by the way in which it is used. It is one thing to say "He was killed by the shooter." (clear implication of blame), and it is something entirely different to say "He was killed in a car accident." (no clear implication of blame). I think it is a bit silly to try to split hairs on this. It's not a court of law nor the Harvard Review. As stated by someone else, it was someone writing informally and colloquially, as is common custom on message boards.
  4. cruisemom42

    Tender Unloading Accident on Maasdam

    I have to disagree with your assertion that the original CC post was either inappropriate or unnecessarily inflammatory. A woman was killed Thursday on Maasdam, -- verified by HAL's own statement. rumored to be from an accident stepping from the tender to the ship’s dock. -- it's also been verified that such rumors do exist, so how is this statement of fact inflammatory? Maasdam was in Rarotonga, Cook Islands at the time. -- also true according to HAL's statement. Surprised to see no reports on CC yet. -- simple expression of OP's feelings at that time. Seems to me to be in the same category as reports of persons overboard, medivacs, etc. that are frequently seen here. I think we can (and should) let the moderators determine what is "inappropriate" and "inflammatory". As to all the early head scratching on why this was not being reported, search engines often do a poor job of picking up news in odd locales if the 'local' news sources aren't intensively followed/indexed. It can take quite a bit longer for stories from the "Picayune Times" to appear in searches versus those from the Washington Post. In addition, news outlets may have delayed reporting while the family was notified of the incident.
  5. cruisemom42

    Hotels in Rome near attractions.

    I'm very happy to read your report. It's a hotel I've looked at many times but have heard mixed reviews and so wasn't sure whether to recommend it or not. I prefer hotels like this with local character and it's always good to have alternatives in mind...
  6. cruisemom42

    Scavi questions

    You should be able to do what you've planned. I'd allow a little more time than you normally would to get by taxi from the Pantheon to the Vatican museum, but the museum entrance is fairly well separated from the square in front of the basilica and the driver should know how to avoid the worst traffic. (Plus, most of the folks wanting to see the Pope will probably already be there by 8:30-9:00.) The audience is usually over by 11:00 so again, you shouldn't have a problem going from the Museum to St. Peter's. There is a cafeteria not far from the entrance of the Museum; it's nothing great but if you need to grab a quick lunch without going out of your way, it's an option... I can't help with your other question regarding substitution of guests for the tour itself as I've only ever done it as a solo so I have no idea whether they have all of the names and check them off or just have "party of four". Hopefully someone else will remember.
  7. cruisemom42

    How light can you pack?

    For some reason this tends to be a hot button topic, not sure why it bothers some people that others like to pack light... I personally don't care what others choose to do, so let's just say my philosophy isn't packing light so much as packing 'right'. 'Right' for me means packing lighter, for many reasons -- so I can handle my luggage as a solo traveler, so I can be highly mobile given that I travel by train in Europe, by cruise ship, by low-cost air carriers and regular cost ones too. Also because I don't like to spend a lot of time packing or unpacking -- I want to be enjoying my vacation, not hanging up clothes or figuring out outfits. For me, those are the prizes and they aren't easily come by -- I'm constantly re-evaluating what to take, what I can trim, what combination of small bag and carry-on is best for any given trip. I like variety in clothing, so my 'compromise' is that I pack very little else in that space other than clothing and shoes. You'll not find me bringing a pop-up hamper or a travel mug or a blowdryer or an over-the-door organizer (don't need one as a light packer, lol) or any of the other two dozen things people put on packing lists. On longer trips and especially cruises I take one 24" slim but sturdy suitcase and one small size carry-on (i.e., no bigger than a backpack). For shorter trips and some longer land-only trips I can get by with a 22" suitcase and small carry-on. Regarding wheels, I'm not a fan of the four-wheel bags for the many times I'm handling my bags in areas where the surface is rough, bumpy (cobblestones) or where there is no paving at all. Eagle Creek does have something similar to an "all terrain" wheel on some of their 2-wheel bags -- I have found them sturdy and workable for most situations. (Also, my suitcases are wheeled, but I still use the word 'drag'. They don't roll themselves.)
  8. cruisemom42

    Passport theft-warning

    I believe neck pouches and waist belts are secure when worn as intended (under clothing). I use what's often called a "secret pocket" -- you can either pin it inside your pants/skirt or secure it through a loop in a belt (which I don't generally wear) and it's worn INSIDE your clothing. It's pretty easy to unobtrusively "flip" it out if there is a need to retrieve something, but this is better done inside a building or store and not on the street. Looks like this: https://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Creek-Travel-Undercover-Hidden/dp/B0054IH9UC . I prefer this to a neck pouch or travel belt as it is more comfortable to wear. I carry a few small bills, generally, in my purse to use as needed -- usually they are carried loose in a zipped pocket inside my crossbody bag (which is also zipped and mostly carried with my hand over the zipper pull). Edited to add: I also never take my passport ashore unless it is required.
  9. cruisemom42

    Pier Runners

    Some were listed already in this thread. Here are some additional ones. I've been around these forums for more than 10 years and I don't read every forum but I certainly read about at least 4-5 passport thefts per year, at a minimum. And of course CC only represents a small proportion of cruisers...
  10. cruisemom42

    Ischia, Procida, Capri Help, especially ferries

    I've taken the hydrofoil from Naples to Capri roundtrip; Sorrento to Capri roundtrip; and Sorrento to Ischia roundtrip. I do not recall seeing any lighthouses, although coming out of Sorrento (if you know what you're looking for) you can see the remains of some ancient Roman villas that were built along the coast.
  11. cruisemom42

    Advice on choosing a multi-generational cruise?

    Having been on a Celebrity holiday (New Years) cruise, I can recommend Celebrity very highly. Their ships are classy looking (the newer HAL ship might be somewhat comparable). Celebrity seems to add additional entertainment during holiday cruises, which is nice and gives a variety of options. HAL activities are sparser, even on a newer ship, but there are some nice venues for music. We tried Princess, just as an FYI, for the same period/holiday cruise last year (on Regal Princess) and we were not impressed -- it did not compare favorably with Celebrity in terms of dining experience, decor, or entertainment and the ship always seemed very crowded. I just throw this in as Princess is a line that seems to attract a lot of multi-generational family cruisers.
  12. cruisemom42

    Uffizi Galleries

    Unfortunately the Uffizi and the Accademia are two of the busiest sites I know of, and it is frequently recommended on these boards to avoid the Uffizi on a port day due to the difficulties you mentioned. One option if someone simply MUST visit the Uffizi is to purchase the Firenze Card (available at some Info Points in Florence including the one across from the train station). With this card one is simply scanned in and can enter with very little wait. However, it's not cheap...
  13. cruisemom42

    LIVE from ROME! November 1-5, 2018

    This is half true. While you cannot walk from the main cruise port gate to the cruise ships, you CAN walk if you go through the entrance at the Fort (which used to be the main entrance) and IF your ship is in one of the closer berths. For most people, I would not recommend trying to walk it with luggage. However, some folks who take the train into Rome and back on a daytrip may want to walk it to get an early start if their ship docks very early before all the shuttles are up and running. Personally, I do enough walking during the day in Rome (sometimes up to 10 miles) that I don't sweat it and use the port shuttle + public bus to the train station and the reverse when returning.
  14. cruisemom42

    Tips on packing? Early October Greek cruise: RCL

    Knees should be fully covered in Orthodox churches. If using public transportation or in crowded, touristy places (like the Plaka), you should definitely guard against pickpockets. Do not carry money or valuables in outside pockets; if carrying a purse or backpack, hold it in front of you especially on the metro. Regarding photography, you can take photos in most places but do look for signs (or ask first) in churches. Many museums allow photos but only without flash.
  15. I'd say they were clean and professional. Were they wearing dark suits and driving Mercedes vans, no. But I'm one that only needs safe, hassle-free transport. I don't require a personable driver fluent in English or a fancy ride. I know some feel different and that's fine -- it's their vacation. I've used romashuttle several times, as noted, and also arranged them for family going from Rome to the port. So far I am satisfied.