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Everything posted by Firstin87

  1. Thank you, @fruitmachine! I was planning on using it to book tickets to one of our early activities in London in hopes that would trigger their system. Now I can feel more comfortable about not getting our card denied. Everyone on this thread has been so very helpful. I really appreciate it!
  2. Very helpful information! Got all the credit cards in Apple Pay and it sounds like I don't need any GBP. I'm worried about Chase bank declining my Visa the first time we use it. Both online and on the automated voice when I call say you don't need to let them know that you're travelling, they'll know and will accept your card. Not sure how confidant I am about that. Don't want to have a problem paying for dinner when the first night.
  3. Thank you @Island2Dweller! All cards we're bringing are 'contactless'. Got Apple Pay set up to use on the Tube and I guess the buses, as well. I feel like I should have a few GBP for a small purchase? tipping the chambermaid? I also think having a couple of paper bills with QEII's picture will be a good souvenir, as they are transitioning to KCIII over time.
  4. Thank you all for the great advice. Perhaps the single day HOHO and use my free afternoon the second day (second day a.m. is Tower of London) to return to other sites. The third day is Westminster Abbey (hoping to get a vespers tour) and a self-guided walking tour of that area. Excited that the Abbey currently has a Notre Dame exhibition. I understand that England is 'very cashless', but I'm wondering how many GBP to have on hand and am nervous that our Visa will actually work. Heard that it's a common credit card taken, but our bank says we do not need to let them know we are travelling, they'll just know and won't block our card. I'm not confidant that they'll know I'm in England (from Calif.) and fear having the card declined at first use and calling the bank to straighten it out at .25 cents a minutes for a call will be a headache. Also have an AmEx and debit cards, so can get GBP at ATMs fairly easily, it sounds like. I know things will make more sense when we're there, but planning our first trip is somewhat anxiety ridden - lol.
  5. We are visiting London for the first time for four days post-cruise in mid-May. I've booked us to visit the Tower one morning, Westminster Abbey another morning, and Kensington Palace our final morning. I'm thinking of buying a 2 day HOHO bus pass for Day 1 overall tour, get the lay of the land, and Day 2 after our Tower visit doing the river cruise that comes with the HOHO bus and possibly using the HOHO that afternoon to return to places we didn't get a chance to see on Day 1. Both Big Bus Tours and City Sightseeing look good - pick up right outside our hotel, almost the same route; the only difference is that Big Bus gives us a couple of walking tours included, which is nice but not a deal breaker. Anyone have any experience with either company and can recommend or discourage one over the other? Thank you!
  6. Wow - what an experience! So glad you were quick to yell out and that security responded so fast. Just goes to remind everyone that you are on vacation with strangers and perhaps not everyone is an honest person.
  7. Had O do our laundry on a cruise last year. Sure enough, took 3 days and it came back practically vacuum packed, so very wrinkled. Was glad the laundry room had an ironing board. The reason the laundry room is closed later at night is to be considerate of cabins nearby. The loud door slamming and possibly sound of the machines would not be welcomed by passengers who are trying to sleep.
  8. Thank you, thank you! Really appreciate the advice! Will look into the phone plan, which I hadn’t thought about. The YouTube videos sound very worthwhile, too. Thanks so much!!
  9. Just happened upon this thread. thank you markeb for the advice. We'll be in London for four days post-cruise this May for the first time and I'm planning what to do on our 3 full days there. Definitely going to Westminster Abbey and seeing the Notre Dame exhibition. Have been told to plan for 2 hrs. there. Am working on how to do that on our own (so am not rushed), then seeing the Parliament Building (hopefully doing a tour inside). Also want to see the Tower, of course. Also, on our own so not rushed. Heard that could take 3 hrs., but I plan on skipping the Crown Jewels, which I know is crowded and time-consuming. I assume my best bet is to do ticketed sites in the morning, followed by non-tick2eted sites in the area. Best not do to the Abbey and Tower the same day, correct? We're staying at the Clermont Hotel at Victoria Station. Does my planning approach sound correct to those who have been to London?
  10. Since it was an NCL excursion, they should have made some type of breakfast arrangement for those participants. Even a continental breakfast in a lounge before the meeting time would have been reasonable. Sometimes, they don't things through very well.
  11. Sounds like a good plan for your first cruise. Want to let you know that if there is something you really want to do in a port, book in advance. Excursions can fill up and you could miss out if you wait. You might want to look at YouTube videos of the ports you’ll visit. My favorites are Paradeejay and David and Ben, but there are many who do a good job acquainting you with what is at each port.
  12. Just off the Jade's Feb. 7-18 sailing. As mcmommy said, Jade is clean and easy to get around. Three elevators per deck (except Deck 14). I recommend reviewing the ship guide and getting a sense of where locations of interest are before you sail. You don't mention when you are cruising, but with it being a 10 day through the Canal, there will probably not be a lot kids onboard. NCL will have a local guide come aboard and talk about the Canal as you go through. This lecture can be heard on the TV in your room, over the PA system, and in person at the venue (probably Spinnaker lounge, Deck 12, Forward) where the speaker is. Food, which is subjective, is good. Loved the choices and quality in the buffet. NCL is not known for their desserts and cookies are no longer available, so if you have a sweet tooth and are used to Princess' desserts, you may be disappointed. Jade ahs a Brazilian steakhouse restaurant called Moderno that is different. If you're not familiar with Brazilian steakhouses, a large variety of meats are brought to your table throughout your meal for you to choose from; sides dishes (same for everyone) are at your table; and grilled pineapple is the dessert. If you go to Moderno, you prepare as you would for Thanksgiving - lol. Personally, we are fans of Cagney's steakhouse and LaCucina (Italian). LeBistro is OK, but I'm allergix to seafood so my choices there are limited and we tend not to find it worth using a specialty dining there. LaCucina and LeBistro have an additional charge for some items (fillet's, I think), so if you have Free at Sea specialty dinings, you'd have the upcharge (noted in the menu) still to pay. Crew is friendly, helpful. Venues are not overly crowded. You only need to get to Bingo pretty early to get a seat, but other activities you can arrive maybe :15 early if you want a particular spot or are meeting friends. One 'negative' to be aware of is that the shorex staff coordinating tour departures at the piers is very disorganized. No signage for each tour and communication between the shorex staff at the pier is minimal to non-existent. Arrive a few minutes earlier than your tickets states, ask a shorex staffer for directions, then ask fellow passengers already lined up to find your tour group. We didn't go to the Shorex Desk onboard, so I don't know how helpful they are in that situation. You'll have a great time transiting the Canal!
  13. We've often enjoyed the Great Outdoors on sea days. Funny experience - on a Caribbean cruise in spring of 2023, there was a sudden torrential downpour, as often happens in that area, and almost an inch of rain suddenly fell. People sitting in the Great Outdoors, including us, just lifted their feet up and kept on eating and chatting. The water drained and evaporated fairly quickly. Once you get settled in the Great Outdoors, you don't want to leave - lol.
  14. Totally agree. We've found on the smaller ships that hold events in the atrium that include using a microphone to be very disruptive. Not enough space for those who want to attend, the volume is sooo loud that you cannot conduct business with the departments in the atrium (Guest Services, CruiseNext, etc.). I don't know how the people who work at those desks stand it. I've often found that on the smaller ships that do this, there are other venues for hosting said events (lounge, bar, theater during the day), so it seems like poor planning by whomever is in charge of that.
  15. If you are doing excursions through NCL, timing is not a problem. If you are doing them 'on your own', this might help. You'll be able to disembark soon after the ship docks and must be back on board :30 before sailing time. Private tour vendors are aware of this and have you back on time, but I highly recommend researching your vendors. Just off the Jade and if you are doing excursions through the ship, our experience was that the shorex staff were very disorganized and there was no/poor communication between them at the pier. No signage about where to meet for each tour. Asked a shorex staffer, they pointed "over there", and when we got 'there', we asked another staffer who told us our group had not lined up yet. Ha! A few minutes before our tour was to depart, that staffer came and took us to the bus that was full of people waiting for us. Had the vendor not been doing a head count, we would have been left behind. So, ask staff for where to meet, ask other staff, and ask other passengers in lines what tour they are on until you find your group.
  16. Just off the Jade and that was not the case. "Deal or No Deal" was played in the theater in the afternoons. I have noticed on past cruises, though, that it is done in the atrium. This is a poor locations for such a highly attended event and I think it ends up costing NCL in the end as less passengers will buy the cards. Hopefully, this was not the typical scheduling.
  17. Thanks for the advice. Sounds like Amsterdam 'on our own' is a good option. Sarnia432, I'm sorry your HOHO in Copenhagen was such a mess. I'll keep that in mind if we ever get to Copenhagen. Hope the other ports went smoother.
  18. Tickets for a canal cruise. We have American Express and I'm not sure if canal cruise vendors take that form of payment. Based on your advice, I'm looking at self-guided walking tours in Amsterdam. Our cruise line has a "Waterways of Amsterdam" excursion that lasts 1.5 hours, so maybe a walking tour, then that excursion?
  19. Thank you for the advice. Do you happen to know if I can use a US credit card to buy the tickets or should we get some Euros to pay?
  20. Yes, they probably already know. Passengers just won't know until the Freestyle Daily comes out the day before we dock. I've read that most ships dock at the Passenger Terminal, so I'd guess that's most likely where we'll be. Just hoping they don't skip the port. As we all know, Amsterdam is starting to greet fewer cruise ships, so... fingers crossed.
  21. Thank you. I assume we'll be docking at the Passenger Terminal, but we don't get that specific information until, I think, the day before docking. We're on NCL's Prima. We'd like an overview of Amsterdam and are especially interested to cruise the canals. We've done HOHO's in several other cities and have always enjoyed it as a 'Day 1 get your bearings' tour. We'd do the bus and boat combo, for sure.
  22. Hi, I'm reposting this from the Baltic board. We will be in Amsterdam on May 9 for the first (and probably only) time. We're looking at doing a HOHO (hop on hop off) bus and boat for the day and are wondering if anyone has any experience with City Sightseeing Amsterdam. Thanks, Cyndy
  23. Thank you so much! We plan on doing the combo, as well. We haven't been able to find a current map of the boat's route, so I'll email them and see if they can send me something. We found a map online, but it appears to be outdated and incorrect from what we've read. Can you confirm that both the bus and boat pick up at the cruise port? I was unsure which board to post this on, so I'll repost it on Western Europe now. Thanks for that, too!
  24. Hi, We will be in Amsterdam on May 9 for the first (and probably only) time. We're looking at doing a HOHO (hop on hop off) bus and boat for the day and are wondering if anyone has any experience with City Sightseeing Amsterdam. Thanks, Cyndy
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