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canadjineh

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Everything posted by canadjineh

  1. Hi alwalaska: It kind of depends on what time of year you are going... Huatulco and Fuerte Amador can be superhot during our springtime (we just got back from Huatulco in mid March and it was 35C & blue skies every day - people we met off a Princess ship that were on a Panama canal cruise said it was in the low 40'sC there.) I would suggest a beaches cruise in Huatulco, it's too hot to do any of the other 'active' things you mention. That would likely be different at the end of the wet season in Huatulco, say, November/December. Things would be much greener at least. It's been quite a few years, but we really enjoyed El Charro Ranch horseback rides out of PV into the hills along the river for some good views and a lovely waterfall (again, depending on the season you are going - possibly no falls if it's very dry.) They treated their horses well and they have been in business for over 30 years so they are pretty good. You need to take money with you for a lunch out in the Sierra Madre mountains, and a tip for your guide of course. We loved it, and were lucky enough to be the only two on the 'tour' with a private guide. https://www.ranchoelcharro.com/ Hope that helps a bit :)
  2. We loved renting a car and driving out to Cabo Pulmo Nat. Park https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabo_Pulmo_National_Park We also enjoyed going to the natural hot springs within the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere north of http://www.loscabosguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/miraflores-300x200.jpg Cabo especially El Chorro (in the river.) https://www.loscabosguide.com/natures-hot-tubs/ It's a very cheap trip especially if you can get a group of 4 to share the car rental. Very easy driving too.
  3. We are taking the Grand Princess circle tour from LA late Feb/25. We have been to the Islands quite a few times and have camped in Volcanos Nat Park and at Punalu'u black sand beach, hiked through Kilauea crater (on a quiet year, although a Park ranger took a few of us who had good hiking boots out to the actual lava flows - dip a stick in and it's like fiery taffy). A great cultural site is at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau - a national park on the Big Island. https://www.nps.gov/puho/index.htm Stayed for a week on Molokai in a little rental condo one time and enjoyed real Hawaiian culture and the most beautiful empty beaches in the Islands. Have been to the Surfing finals on the North Shore of Oahu in early Dec twice. Last trip two years ago (stayed for 2 weeks) we did a cultural focus and went to Iolani Palace (2nd time) https://www.iolanipalace.org/ and the Bishop Museum https://www.bishopmuseum.org/ The Bishop museum had an amazing temporary exhibit on "Tatau: Marks of Polynesia" exploring the beauty of Samoan tattoos by traditional artists and new up-and-coming younger practitioners. They always have lots of interesting exhibits there. We spent a full day, and packed a picnic for lunch in the grounds under the trees. I suggest the volcanos and the cultural sites - beaches you can get on almost any cruise - unless you surf...in that case take a lesson/rent a board and get out on the waves. 🤙 'Ike Loa (We are all here to Learn & Grow in Greater Harmony)
  4. Yep, Paul is 'famous.' We missed out on getting on one of his tours because I left things too late (3 months before our cruise last Sept.) I don't think you'll have a problem getting that tour filled.
  5. If you are 'lucky' enough to have to pre-order meals the day before due to, in my case, celiac disease, you could ask the chef to make you up almost whatever you wish. Once I have been a few days into a cruise and knew they could feed me safely, I would give the chef free rein some nights, just suggesting the protein and see what he came up with. I've had some really amazing dishes that way, although the Princess MDR menu is the dullest of all the cruise lines we've tried. Mainly boring 'white bread' choices that pretend to be some other cuisine.
  6. The Sun I can certainly see never booking on, what an ugly behemoth with too many people on it, plus too many charges for new class divisions on the ships - the stuff that used to be included. (Back to HAL for us.) Is it just because of the age of the other ships? Or some other reason you don't like them? Curious, as this upcoming cruise in Feb 2025 will only be our second Princess cruise.
  7. This is our main wish!!!! I need pitch black to sleep (partly why we often pick interior cabins) and those bloody floor lights that flash on every time you stick your foot out of the duvet along with that closet light that is sooooo bright just kill me. I have a senior husband who hits the washroom a few times a night (I know, TMI 🤐.) On our first Princess cruise our cabin steward rigged up something to cover the sensors for the floor lights at least but we/they aren't allowed to fiddle with the closet 'emergency' light. Also can we please opt out of all the lanyard crap if we've already got one? Think of how much money they'd save.
  8. Can we still bring a bottle of wine on board each, or are they changing that too? We've never bought the packages on any cruise because it's just not cost effective for us and we aren't interested in a lot of the inclusions. We do use the coupon book when it's included as part of the deal and have had great meals with free wine at Sabatini's, free professional photography, etc. but it's kind of like taking advantage of those timeshare companies that give you a bunch of gifts to go to a presentation. We don't feel inclined to buy so we just get the 'gifts' we want and go away happy without them making extra money off us. Now if we had to pay for a bunch of stuff we never use to get a couple things we are possibly interested in - not gonna happen when we can just pay a la carte and it's way cheaper. For us the ports are a very important part of our cruising - it's a way to explore someplace and decide later if we really liked it to fly there on another vacation and stay for a couple weeks for in-depth exploration. A cruise is mainly a hotel room & inexpensive food and cheap transport to interesting places, with the added benefit of great musicians and shows.
  9. I hope the Grand will still be in decent shape in early 2025. We are booked for LA-Hawaii-LA on Feb 25th. We had an interior cabin near the stern on our Canada/New England cruise on the Caribbean Princess this past Oct. and I think it was one of the best areas on the ship. Very few people hung out in the lounge and deck areas back there, they all crowded up front I guess. We had the rear hot tub all to ourselves as we sailed down the Saguenay Fjord at sunset with a couple of nice drinks in hand. We picked another interior cabin on Caribe deck toward the stern port-side for this Hawaii trip on the Grand so I hope it's a similar situation. I'm hoping to have the Terrace Pool deck all to ourselves, lol. 🤞
  10. We found more octopus as we went further south in the country...lots of good choices available in Huatulco, but less when you head up along the coast. Restaurant Guru has worldwide restaurant reviews and is a good place to look. Here is their website link for a decent choice in Mazatlan. Tacos Capeados Carmen It's a good inexpensive outdoor-seating taco stand that specializes in shrimp and octopus. It's fairly popular, so can get busy. Lots of good local reviews. Only open for breakfast and lunch til 3pm-ish. They are on Facebook and Instagram too. Sorry I can't help if you are looking for a fancier joint (i.e. a nice indoor dinner.)
  11. We love Mazatlan too, it may not have the best swimming beaches, but all the people we met were awesome and we just ran around cheaply on the buses (very easy to figure out.) After our very first cruise stop there, we decided we wanted to spend 12 days there in a hotel with kitchenette, and we shopped locally at the Soriana across from the Home Depot with a branch of our home bank just next door - so perfect. That was last year's anniversary (41st) - we'll be back.
  12. Hi, here's a repost of my comment on a great tour in Mazatlan (the first time we were there - on a cruise a couple years ago. We spent 12 days there this past year in a hotel since we found out we really like Mazatlan.) "We've used johann & sandra tours in Mazatlan to go see the oceanside petroglyph park and a home cooked meal with a local family. Google Las Labradas tour. We went with them March 2020 just before Covid shut everyone down. We had a great time with a professor guide and student assistant." The Petroglyphs on the seashore were awesome, also a little museum there to go thru. UNESCO website on the site: https://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5785/
  13. We did Quebec City to New York (port stop in Boston) in late Sept this past year. The port in Quebec City puts you right below the historic old city and Citadel, the Boston port is in a huge industrial area - UGLY and expensive to get out of and see the sights that aren't 'the Freedom Trail.' I'd pick QC any day for your preferred hotel stay dates. Technically if your fairly able-bodied (it's quite hilly) you can walk off the ship with your luggage (if you aren't a take-it-all person) and up to your studio apartment or heritage hotel right by the Citadel and walk everywhere in the old town. Foliage was very late this past season and really no difference between the two areas in that respect.
  14. Friends of ours use the local version of Uber called DiDi when they are in Mazatlan. Cheaper. They go often and help at orphanages there. We just take the local buses and pay approx $1 USD/$15 MX to get into Centro or all the way thru to the Golden Zone. Air con if you flag a newer looking bus. No transfers though as the different buses are not affilliated but have separate contracts. Price is all the same whichever one you take tho.
  15. There's nothing at all on a Google search about civil unrest in Ensenada since Aug 2022, so maybe it's the tick-borne disease that's the issue. I doubt it's a problem if you stay away from dogs (ticks are commonly found on them) and stick close to the beach, instead of going on a hike or similar.
  16. Wow, I guess I've lucked out on having absolutely no problems with lost luggage in 51 years of flying. Yes, we do travel often 3-4x/yr. Only probs were once I left my packpurse with wallet under a table in a dark Costa Rican restaurant. Forgot it for an hour, drove back and it was still there tucked under the table. Another time I left a small but important bag on a Philippine taxi back seat when getting out. After trying to figure out where we had left it, I had our little hotel call the taxi company and we immediately got it back...nothing missing. - Hubby and myself also cross pack, and I am very careful about removing all other tags/barcodes from previous trips off our luggage. - We also split our credit cards and I only take what I absolutely need from my home wallet switching it out to a mini makeup bag with a leather cardholder inside it. The little leather cardholder is also a perfect place to stick that little parking ticket for your long term airport parkade so it doesn't get lost or mangled somewhere on the trip. - One thing to note...if your phone/laptop/tablet doesn't have your picture on the main screen, you might want to switch it to that for your trip. This saved a friend of ours who has a very expensive phone - he left it at a site in a port city (not on a ship excursion) while on a cruise and they refused to give it to him by description only. He said tap it open and voila! a lovely picture of himself & his wife. They had to give it to him then.
  17. Ooo yeah! I so agree with you there....on flights to and from the ship people had to be asked, then forced, to check their 'carry-on' luggage as most of them had slightly too large overstuffed bags that when tested did not fit the carrier restrictions. Plus some borderline cases had to be pushed and jammed into the overhead bins, and then their 'personal item' was usually a largish rucksack that could barely squish under their seat plus all their jackets, etc. We were delayed getting out of our gate at JFK airport for almost 1 hour a few days ago because of these travellers. When younger and healthier, my spouse & I used to travel with only our carry-on and personal purse/tote/daypack, so it's not like it can't be done properly....it just seems like people are trying to get away with stuffing everything into one bag, when they need to pare it back.
  18. I forgot to bring our heavy duty magnetic hooks for our cabin walls this last cruise... this meant that the desktop was always under a sea of papers, tickets, 'tomorrow's events' and other paper detritus that you just know you will need as soon as you throw it out and your cabin steward empties your bins. We usually use one to post items we need to see prominently on one wall. I also like to hang our provided robes on them right beside the bed, for when I get up in the morning. Unfortunately, Princess (this last cruise) didn't provide robes. I may switch back to my favorite cruise lines for the next cruises, but will remember to bring the hooks. Also we usually take a couple of those little electronic tea lights to stick in the bathroom for midnight visits without having to turn the bright ones on. Another reason to not cruise Princess....their lights turn on with movement and the full-on hallway light goes on, blinding you on the way to the biffy at 2AM. It's way darker in our home bedroom at night than in an inside cabin on Princess. I can even read my non-illuminated watch in an interior Princess cabin at night. Almost forgot to add: a pack of proper medical face masks, and extra hand sanitizer for when the stations at the buffet run out.
  19. That's what my husband & I do. He needs to take certain medical supplies now that he is older and has had a few surgeries, but that means I get to throw in more shoes 😍👡and fancier dresses that I wouldn't be taking if we were still in our pre-cruising days with just carry-on and a largish purse/tote. Besides, once he uses up most of his supplies we can fill that space with gifts & souvenirs.
  20. Hey JVes: We just got back from a 10 day Princess cruise (our first on that line) along the Eastern Coast of Canada & Northern US. One thing I will say is try to get to all the musical acts on board - their live bands are terrific and their invited musical entertainers were awesome, as were the theatre song & dance productions. That being said, their food in the MainDiningRooms is DULL - no interesting international menus like on Holland America. My only two meals there out of all the dining we did were tough and overcooked - even veggies like eggplant/aubergine. If you want to vary your drinks w/o paying for a soda/or alcohol pkg. I suggest buying those fancy packet cocoas before you get on the ship to make flavoured mochas with the included Lavazza coffee or just a hot cocoa in the evening - we took quite a few like mint, raspberry, orange, 'Irish Cream', and banana cocoa. Other than that, all the included herbal teas, decent coffee, unsweetened ice tea, lemonade, orange and apple juice were enough for our drink purposes besides the two bottles of wine we were allowed to bring aboard for our cabin. If you get the chance and can afford it, pay for the specialty dining in Sabatini's one night, especially near the beginning of the cruise. It's emptier then and even more attention from your serving staff. And come hungry - multicourse wonderful Italian food (and I'm Italian.) On our ship it was very hit & miss on the quality in the Crown Grill according to a straw poll. We also found the MDR extremely noisy - bad acoustics echo and amplify everyone's voice when it's busy. Lots of people on our ship got quite dressed up - some gorgeous iridescent long gowns, amazing jewellery (real or not, who cares), men in beautiful classy suits and even an actual tux or two. Also some ladies in very fancy young & trendy pant ensembles. However you choose to do it, just own it! We saw all sorts of shoes from teetering high heels (don't ask me how they didn't fall on their face, or twist an ankle) to lovely little flats and wedges. Maybe you can dress up your shoes with shoe clips or lacy anklets or whatever. If you want to do anything Spa, book for a port day - it's cheaper. Have Fun!!! Oh, and please check back on this thread to fill us in on how things went when you get home.
  21. We've decided to go it on our own in Bar Harbor. At Recreation.gov we bought our hike/cyclist passes ($20.00 each) for the entrance fee. Going to pick up the Cadillac Mtn Summit Shuttle (you can Google it) for $10 pp each way - pay on the shuttle bus - goes up on the hour, back on the 1/2 hr. For $40 each, or less if we decide to hike down instead of ride both ways, we figure that will leave lots of money for a good lobster dinner after. BTW, low tide on Friday Oct 6 is at 10:54 if anyone wants to walk over the sandbar to Bar Island. (sandbar is doable for approx 3 hrs) I checked the tide tables online yesterday. Looks like tons of good trails in the park and nice walks around town too.
  22. I do enjoy the convenience of having both a USD account and a EUR account at my Canadian bank, since I can buy when the rates are more favourable to stock my accounts for use on our next trips. Only thing I wish is that I could get the money from my EUR account at any of my bank's branches worldwide, instead of only having it available at my home branch. Maybe that will come in time...
  23. Hi, we were in for a short port call on an early Sept Alaska cruise. Google 'live music in Victoria' for a schedule of a little private club downtown that has great blues bands in a small venue. They started early and were done by 9 or 10. Not sure about Sunday tho, but def. worth the google search. We were in quite late and only caught the last song, but they suggested a 'dive bar' immediately next door - it was lots of fun, everyone very friendly, and we had a wild couple of hours of karaoke. I'd return to both places when in Victoria. Sorry so vague, but I'm at work in a firecamp security detail in my province right now and don't have access to my info at home.
  24. Wait til you hit the Maritimes and go for an Alexander Keith's instead. Labatt's is kinda the Budweiser of Canadian beer, lol.
  25. Yes, indeedy! Very common in Washington state where some communities are extremely dependent on cross border shoppers, especially for gas, groceries, and start-of-school kids' clothing promos.
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