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About Hlitner

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    New Cumberland,PA, USA
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    International travel (77 countries at last count(
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  1. It looks like you are on the Caribbean Princess so needing Passports does not make a lot of sense. That is a closed-loop cruise to islands that have always participated in the WHTI agreement. If any of the islands backed out of the travel deal it would be big news across many cruise line boards. The OP does not give us much info. We are curious as to who sent them this "Passport required" notification. Princess does not require Passports on qualifying closed-loop cruises. In your situation we would call Princess. You also should post this issue on the Princess board (here on Cruise Critic) and make sure you use an eye catching Subject such as :Princess requiring Passports for Caribbean! . You will get a lot of attention. Hank
  2. Hlitner


    Bank ATMs are the way to go, and there are some at BCN (not far from the luggage pick-up area). There are also other ATMs operated by private companies (such as Travelex) which do not give favorable exchange rates. Personally, we never bother to purchase Euros in the US...and just wait until we are in Europe. Since you already have some Euros you should be fine waiting until you get to Europe. If you are going directly to the ship you might want to get some Euros at BCN. Otherwise, you could use a credit card for a taxi to your hotel (if you are going to the hotel) and later get Euros in town. Hank
  3. Most of the shuttle buses will take you outside the port to a small transfer station located at Largo della Pace. The more convenient port gate, located near the fort and closer to the train station, is not generally used as a drop place...although some have reported times when the bus drivers would take them to that more convenient gate. Hank
  4. 10:20 is a bit early for our taste. They could do it if they were on their way (from the port) by 7am. This means they would have to do express disembarkation which means getting all their luggage from their cabin off the ship and to the transportation. They would need to do this on their own. If they can handle it, they might consider arranging a private transfer via RomeCabs.com (we recommend them because or our own first hand experience). If they were on the road by 7, they should be at the FCO terminal by 7:50. While allowing 3 hours at FCO is the suggested time, 2/12 should be fine. As to Customs and Immigration, there generally is none at Civitavecchia. The ship docks, is usually cleared by the authorities in about 20-30 min...and then express disembarkation begins. Once off the ship there are usually no additional formalities. Hank
  5. Is it good? No. How do they make it....I have no clue. Without the coffee card you cannot get good coffee for free...anywhere on the ship. On our recent CB cruise (last month) I was a little disappointed in the coffee at the IC which I thought was a little on the weak side, but this is one of those personal taste issues. It was properly brewed. Hank
  6. I guess they go on Celebrity :). I must admit that there is a huge advantage to the stinky casinos on Princess. There is no way I will spend time in those areas...so I never lose a penny gambling. Hank
  7. On the CB I asked a bar tender for a bucket of Lagunitas. No problem getting a bucket and the beer, but no discount :(. Hank
  8. We have been retired about 14 years and manage to travel (internationally) about 6 months a year. There are a few cruisers that nearly live on ships (there is a couple on Princess and there used to be a lady on Cunard). And there is also The World which is a cruise ship/condo vessel where folks own their own condos (very large multi-room cabins). We do buy an annual medical policy but it is only good for the first 70 days of every trip....which keeps our trips to 10 weeks. But that works well since we need to get home, from time to time, to see physicians, deal with our snail mail, etc. As much as we love to cruise we have found that our limit seems to be about 120 days a year. We want to keep in fresh and exciting so we cruise on many different lines (16 to date) and various itineraries all over the world. RCI is no longer a line we enjoy and would never be our choice for longer cruises. The long cruise market is somewhat different and many find themselves driven to lines like HAL, Oceania and Princess....all of whom have quite a few longer itineraries. The advantage to being on a long cruise is that you get to know many members of the crew as well as form some great relationships with other passengers. In our experience the people make the cruise.. Hank
  9. When you use a ship bus transfer you cannot be sure of the time the bus will depart. The truth is that the bus you board will not leave until it is full (and the luggage loaded). If you are lucky and it fills quickly (or you are among the last to board) you will be on your way quickly. If the bus does not fill you could sit in the bus for 30 min. We also prefer private transfers or Uber (less money then a cruise line transfer). Another issue with bus transfers is where the bus ultimately stops at the airport which may or may not be anywhere near you need to go for your airline. When you use Uber/Lyft you will be dropped at the proper terminal and door. Hank
  10. When it comes to booking international business class on US carriers, it really is important to check the actual aircraft type and seating configuration (there are some good sites like seatguru.com). For example. United is still phasing-in their Polaris Class and some aircraft have upgraded seats and others do not. Even when we book foreign carriers we do some research on aircraft and seating configurations. Some good airlines still have older aircraft with lousy seats and configuration. Our goal is to get lay-flat seats where every seat is on the aisle. When flying overnight to Europe we do not get too concerned with the quality of food...but tend to put more stock in the airport lounge. So, for example, if you book business/Polaris on United from ORD to Europe you would get access to the highly rated Polaris Lounge at ORD. You can go in that lounge, enjoy decent booze and wine, have a nice sit-down meal (or the buffet) and head to your flight well nourished. Air Canada also has a fantastic "Signature" Lounge at Toronto that is a nice way to start a Business Class flight to Europe or Asia. Hank
  11. I posted a story (probably a year or two ago) about two fellow passengers on a Celebrity Silhouette cruise that had their passports, wallets, and other stuff snatched off the beach in Tel Aviv, Israel. What makes this story interesting is that the man is a NYC Police Detective as is his wife :). True Story...as we met this couple on the ship, and needless to say they told us they felt like fools. Hank
  12. It is possible to take the Vaporetto #1 or #2 from in front of the train station to Piazale Roma, but you might consider that it is just one stop. Many folks simply walk from the station to the P. Roma area, although that does mean dragging your luggage (and yourself) over the large pedestrian bridge that crosses the Grand Canal from the train station side over to the P. Roma. But if you enjoy walking and can roll your luggage you will be fine. Also keep in mind that unless you plan on purchasing a timed Vaporetto Pass (such as the 24 hour pass) it would cost you 7.50 Euros per person for that short 2 min vaporetto ride. Hank
  13. Actually, EZAIR is the exception to the rule. Princess will cheerfully deal directly with those of us who use cruise/travel agents...only when it involves air. We do this all the time and have never had an issue. In fact, our favorite cruise agent/agency (we use several different agencies) does not want anything to do with air. The problem is that there are just too many air options and relying on a third party (such as a cruise agent) to handle air becomes difficult. Consider that because of where we live, when booking international flights we can depart from Harrisburg, BWI, IAD, PHL or EWR and even JFK. So we tend to look at all those airports and evaluate all the Business/First Class options. There is no way our cruise agent can perform that function and make the quick decisions necessary to book. Hank
  14. We have been able to get connected to the EZAIR folks (this is a separate air travel company that handles air for Princess, HAL and Seabourn). But there is some resistance on the part of Princess reservations clerks to give you the direct number or connect you to that company. Apparently the Princess reservations agents have been instructed to try and handle the EZAIR issues and only transfer if absolutely necessary. But we have had good luck by being somewhat insistent. The irony is that once we have reached the real EZAIR folks (who have always been very helpful) we have been told that they do not understand why the cruise lines try to "protect" them from customers :). I should add that we have not had luck in using flights not listed in the online software. An EZAIR agent told me that the contracts (which are cruise line specific) are negotiated long in advance and there are restrictions on the flights, number of slots per day, airports, airlines, etc. Folks should consider that it is first come first serve on snagging the best deals (especially for International Business/First) so it is wise to book flights ASAP using the Flexair option. You can always change or cancel those flights (up until about 45 days prior to your cruise) with no penalties. Hank
  15. We also love EZAIR (HAL uses the same travel organization) when we book International First/Business class. Domestic has generally not been particularly good, but those international fares are sometimes amazing. Our air strategy is quite simple. Soon after we are within 330 days of the disembarkation day we will check the Princess online site and snag our preferred air flights. We then continue to watch the Princess EZAIR site (usually about once a week) for changes, additions and/or fare changes. If we later find better flights, better airlines, or better prices we simply change our flex air booking. For folks that do not understand airline booking systems, the cruise line's software will not let you book any flights until your returning flight (on disembarkation day) is within the 330 day airline booking window. Hank
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