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Everything posted by colourbird

  1. The Icon i've seen is beautiful. Can't wait to sail on her.
  2. The Icon class was originally going to be smaller than Oasis, so these new ships will probably end up much larger than Icon once they try and fit everything in them.
  3. That's what I thought when I first saw her in December, but after about 10 minutes grew to like her looks and i've come to realise she's the most beautiful ship i've seen. Sailing past her today reinforced that view.
  4. No, but I always sing this song when i'm in a tender:
  5. That's early, are there any others around? I'm not up till 4 am on a ship and it's usually fairly quiet then.
  6. I thought it might have been the currency conversion, but the app was still showing the original price. Not complaining though!
  7. We were on Edge recently and I had trouble booking specialty restaurants on the app / web so I just called them and the booking was done for me very quickly and for some reason a bit cheaper too.
  8. Not when we were recently on our Panama Canal cruise. We had one stop in the Cayman Islands at George Town and visited the local market near the tender port. We found some jewellery my wife liked and tried to buy it. The seller wouldn't accept any of the payment methods we had on us. Credit card, debit card, US dollars and Aussie dollars were rejected. She only accepted Cayman Island dollars! It's unbelievable sellers in a tourist market near a cruise port won't accept anything but their local currency. It wouldn't have hurt to have accepted our $US40 along with everyone else's money and taken it to the bank at the end of the day to exchange it. She would have lost a lot of sales as nobody would have changed money to CI$ for a half day port visit.
  9. Some markets here accept cards. We mainly buy food at our markets and only use cards. The sellers have little devices attached to their phones. Even the buskers have QR codes to help with donations.
  10. I'm in Sydney and haven't carried a wallet for a few years since our drivers licences went digital. I haven't needed to use cash anywhere and there are some places that don't accept cash. We found when touring Western Australia a lot of the tourist shops we visited only accepted cards. Unfortunately some businesses add a small surcharge usually up to 1.5% for cards. Credit cards can be used on public transport around Sydney. We were on a NZ cruise last month. I had NZ$80 but only used $12 to support a seller in a market at Port Chalmers. I used my credit card for all other expenses (didn't use public transport though). A lot of banks in Sydney will only change currencies if you are a customer. Travelex is usually the best for foreign exchange. There's one in the Queen Victoria Building which is a pleasant 20 minute walk up George Street from the Quay or around an hour if you want to go the scenic route via Barangaroo.
  11. The business owners must be making a large profit as the cost of most things we bought was higher than comparable items in Australia. They should have enough to pass on to the staff. It's crazy that you see all the prices and they don't relate to what you end up paying.
  12. On most of our tours we were taken to stores where we were expected to make our purchases. The guides received their commissions at the end. At one of the larger stores, each busload was given a different number sticker to wear so the cashiers would know which guide got the commission.
  13. Yes state taxes varied and some food items didn't attract the tax, but that seamed random and made it impossible to work out the final price. I ended up with a bag of small coins (lots of 1 cent pieces) as i'd have my coins ready to pay, but the price was often higher and I had to just hand over a note. On our last day I wanted to get rid of the coins so just got them all out and used them. It delayed the queue of people behind me till they opened another checkout. It took ages to pay as their coin denominations are not obvious and I kept getting mixed up. We are going back to the USA this year. I'll use up my leftover notes and then use my credit card for all other expenses. I won't bother getting hold of more US currency before we travel.
  14. Another problem in America apart from tips was prices displayed on menus or in stores never showed the full price as they added tax at the time of payment.
  15. When we were in the USA in November 2023 18% at restaurants was pretty much the minimum with some having the default tip set at 20% with an option to go higher. When we checked into our hotels we asked how much to tip and were told not to give tips to staff at the hotels. They automatically added 20% for drinks and meals though. Some fast food restaurants added a tip and the only service was the staff member passing our items over the counter. A milkshake ended up costing A$26 after tax, tip and currency conversion.
  16. They were saying only one person was inconvenienced, so people with flight may have had enough time to get to the airport. They could have got there by 12 noon.
  17. Luckily everyone flying out had flights the next day! Apparently one guy was not happy as he had a meeting that morning.
  18. When it was announced that one of our cruises would be 5 hours late coming into port there were so many happy people (me included) as we were getting an extra morning on the ship and didn't have to rush off after an early breakfast.
  19. I didn't bother with cash tips in the USA. I couldn't work out the amount the Americans were giving guides, drivers etc... as every note looked the same so I just walked past and said "seeya". I didn't want to give too much or too little. Anyway if 50 people were on our tour these guys were making a fortune.
  20. We were in America in November and had 6 $100 notes. We used one in a fast food store and the guy at the counter looked at it as though he'd never seen one before and went out the back to get the manager who also had a close look at it. They asked us why we were trying to pay with it. We said we just arrived in the USA and didn't have any smaller change. They ended up accepting it. We changed our other notes for smaller denominations back at the hotel. The woman at the desk drew a line across each one with a brown texta. We queried this and she said the marking changes colour if the note is fake. I had noticed a couple already had these lines on them and I had thought it was strange that two had been vandalised in this way, but it must be common. When we were in New Zealand last month, I had some coins from a previous trip and tried to use a 20 cent piece. The shop assistant said they don't use them anymore and showed me a new smaller one. She got me to show her my change and said my 5 cent pieces were no longer valid either as 10 cents is the smallest accepted. The old 5s and 20s can only be used back in Australia as the New Zealand banks and stores won't accept them.
  21. No Celebrity did free shuttles from Lyttelton Port to Christchurch and to the township of Lyttelton as well as free shuttles from Port Chalmers to Dunedin.
  22. Yes, my wife and I walk all day long. When on a cruise, I start at 4.20am and walk around the ship till breakfast each morning. Then walk off all the food for the rest of the day. I sometimes make over 45 kms a day. I walk to and from work each day as well which is 7 kms each way. We walk to the shops, the city, anywhere. On our NZ cruise we had one and a half days in Auckland and as we've been there before had no tours booked, so spent most of the days and evening walking around the city to various spots we wanted to visit. In fact, I get a bit anxious if i'm not doing a lot of walking.
  23. There's a really good library in Lyttelton with free wifi. As long as you aren't there on a Sunday, the library will be open. Saves having to travel into Christchurch.
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