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About ILoveScotland

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    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Southwest Florida
  • Interests
    travel, reading
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity, Royal Caribbean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Mediterranean, Transatlantic

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  1. I just got off the Allure this past Sunday. I'd never cruised on one of the mega ships and while I'd never say never, I will say that I would prefer to cruise on a ship no larger than the Freedom class. Part of the problem was that we had 6200 passengers on board with more children than I could never count, so it felt crowded at all hours. I was also in a forward balcony almost under the bridge which meant I had to walk a lot. That's not too bad in general, but it's a chore if someone simply needs to retrieve something from their cabin. All in all I just felt like I was in a crowded mall at Christmas. Did I enjoy the cruise? Of course. What's not to like when on the sea? I just prefer smaller ships with 2500 passengers with lots of open spaces. That means my favorite class is the Radiance class with the huge windows and the balcony cabins on the hump. I think I may be in the minority, but that's my take on the Allure. One positive for a TA is that you probably won't have a full ship and few, if any, children. Beth
  2. I visited St. Martin/St. Maarten on a private tour that allowed a lot of flexibility in 2011 and while it was not my favorite port of that cruise, I did enjoy having going to Maho to see the airplanes, having a drive around the island that included a couple of hours in Marigot to have lunch and explore the town a bit. Last week I took a ship's tour and felt very sad as we saw the devastation that remains after Hurricane Irma in 2017. The island is coming back, but we saw many buildings still boarded up, but it was Marigot that made me very sad. That lovely town remains and is rebuilding, but it has a long way to go. I would still encourage anyone whose cruise takes them to St. Martin/St. Maartin to tour the island, buy lunch or perhaps a few pieces of clothing or jewelry or whatever suits your fancy. It is still a lovely place that will eventually return to its former status. Beth
  3. Okay, thanks. That's helpful. I'll plan accordingly.
  4. \ Yes, this is our itinerary: Sail from Miami, 2 sea days, St. Maarten, San Juan, Labadee, 1 sea day, disembark Miami. So, does this mean formal nights will be first and last sea days? Thanks, Beth
  5. Homerody, when are you cruising? My cruise was in mid March a few years ago. I don't remember any rough seas as such even during our time in open waters, but that may just be my memory not working properly. The bottom line is remember a Hurtigruten cruise is like none other. If you want formal nights and many menu options at dinner or if you want a theater with entertainment each night, or if you want a casino or lots of options for having a drink in the evening, well you get my drift....if you want all of those things, you will not enjoy Hurtigruten. However, if you love a cozy cabin, good Norwegian food, beautiful scenery for your entertainment and a laid back atmosphere, you have found the right cruise. I found it magical and hope to return one year if at all possible. Beth
  6. Does anyone know which nights are formal nights on the Allure OTS? I'll be on the January 27th cruise and want to make some spa appointments on a non-formal night sea day. Thanks. Beth
  7. Thanks for all the replies. Are there other food options at Labadee? Or, does one need to return to the ship if she/he doesn't want to eat at the buffet? Beth
  8. I will be on the Allure in a couple of weeks with a day at Labadee. Does Royal Caribbean provide a picnic on the beach while there? If not, what are the options for food while off the ship? Thanks, Beth
  9. A few years ago I stayed a few nights in Old San Juan post cruise. I had one of the days to myself and asked the guy at the desk of the small hotel where I was staying about a local restaurant that had authentic Puerto Rican food. He recommended Raices. I went there and had a great lunch. A couple of years later I was in port for the day and went back. I was not disappointed the second time. I can't vouch for the authenticity, but the decor is great, the food was very good as was the service. It's an easy walk if your ship docks near Old San Juan. Do a search for Raices Restaurant San Juan. The website will come up in Spanish, but the site can be translated. I'm going to be in San Juan again next month, and if I don't do an excursion I think I'll return to Raices.
  10. I understand that ship tours are often drive-thru excursions, but here is the overview of this particular excursion: Experience the lush beauty of San Juan's National Rain Forest two ways, with a scenic bus drive and picturesque nature walk. Marvel at the tropical greenery on a narrated bus ride to Juan Diego Trail in the rainforest lowlands. Then grab your backpack, explore the sights, refuel with a snack, enjoy a swim or sounds and smells of nature on foot, if weather permits. After walking back, take a short bus ride to Yokahu Tower for scenic views, photo opportunity then a stop at La Coca Waterfall for sightseeing and photo opportunity, before returning back to the ship. The excursion is listed as having an activity type as "Active Adventures" and an activity level of "Strenuous." It lasts 4 hours and 45 minutes.
  11. I will be in port on the Allure of the Seas next month and am looking at shore excursions sponsored by the ship. One is called "Wild and Scenic Rainforest Nature Walk to Scenic River Adventure." Has anyone done this excursion? I ask because it looks like something I'd enjoy, but the information says the activity level is "strenuous." I'm curious what that means especially for people like me who can easily walk a fair distance but am not a hiker as such. So, I'd appreciate any advice or experiences others have had.
  12. I went in mid March a few years ago on the RT out of Bergen. It was bitterly cold at times but worth it. I took thermal underwear and also crampons which I did use in port a few times due to ice on walkways. I took the excursion to North Cape which I 100% recommend and needed the crampons there as well. I was part of a tour group of about 40 people so we had daily sessions with our tour guide which I liked a lot although the tour cost was higher than the regular fare. Unless it's changed you can take your own alcohol on board and drink it in your cabin. However, since what I usually drink is gin and tonic I soon discovered that I could get a cup of ice and since the G&T is clear, it just looked like I was drinking water. I seem to remember we had a piano player a few nights in the one bar on the ship - the Polarlys. However, as others have said the real entertainment was the scenery. I haven't cruised as much as many people on CC have, but if I could only cruise one more time I'd do another Norway Coastal Cruise. I truly loved the informality, the food, the service but especially the beautiful Norwegian coast.
  13. The Hurtigruten ships are working ships that carry passengers. The ships serve as a ferry with vehicles in the hold. They transport various goods to the small villages along the coast. I think they still carry the mail but may be wrong about that. There are day passengers or overnight passengers who sleep in one of the lounges. Meals are good with no choices except there are vegetarian options. Most of the food is local seafood, meats and vegetables. Breakfast is a buffet. There is no dress code, formal nights, etc. There may be a pianist in one of the bars, but mostly the entertainment is the scenery outside the large lounges with huge windows. Cabins are small but adequate. Large luggage is taken to the hold for the duration of the cruise. So, yes, lots of stops with some being in the middle of the night, but I never woke up during those stops. Other stops are a few hours. This always seemed enough since the areas visited are small. I did do one of the excursions mentioned above when I got off at one port, has a drive through the countryside and joined the ship again at another port. It's been a few years since I went on the cruise, but I loved every minute because it was such an adventure.
  14. I saw the Northern Lights in mid March 2013 on a 12 night RT out of Bergen. We saw them briefly as we headed north but had good view one night on the way south. And, yes, it was still very, very cold, but my friend and I loved the cruise and all the snow. We were part of a 40 person group tour so had daily sessions with our tour guide which was very helpful in learning about Norwegian history and culture. We also had some excursions included in the tour price. However, one excursion I would encourage you to take even in the cold is to North Cape. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.
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