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Posts posted by Afterward

  1. We booked a 3-day private tour with Best Guides for September 6-8, and though we booked it a long time ago, I have had to make significant changes to the arrangements at a relatively last minute, because I recently broke my foot and therefore can't do all the intensive walking we had planned.  Natasha has been astoundingly helpful and efficient at not only rearranging the itinerary, but also making arrangements for a wheelchair rental AND someone to push the wheelchair!  I will report back after our return but I am so pleased at how helpful she's been, even going to the trouble of consulting the various museums about what the likely reception to a knee scooter might be (cut to the chase: not good. A wheelchair is the way to go inside the museums.)

  2. Oh, wow, Beagle5, that is really great information! It's been hard to track down info about Visby.  We really want to visit some of the stone burial ship sites, and you have given me hope we will be able to do so after all. Thanks!

  3. Great, thanks.  This really helps. We had no reservations for excursions on Visby and I was debating about whether or not to try to book a driving excursion in advance given my slower mobility. But I think we will just play it by ear and see what's available via Uber or whatnot on the day we arrive, assuming I can make it to shore.



  4. For those of you who have tendered from the Marina or Riviera before, can you describe how one gets on and off the lifeboat tender?  Reason for question is I broke my foot and am getting around on crutches and a knee scooter. Our upcoming trip on the Marina has a tender stop at Visby and I am trying to get an idea of what to expect so as to rearrange our plans efficiently.  Specifically, are there many steps down and back up getting on and off the boat? I inquired with Oceania but they didn't have the information I needed, other than to say that the lifeboats are used as tenders and wheelchairs can't be accommodated, which is irrelevant for me because I'm not in a wheelchair, just a bit hobbled.




    Beth Pirkle

  5. Hi all,


    I am looking to purchase--or possibly rent--a knee scooter that can travel to Europe with us in a few weeks. There are many models but it's hard to decide what features are most important.  Trip is 11 days in Stockholm/Ice Hotel (KIruna)/Copenhagen, then two week Baltic cruise.  Can begin weight-bearing near the end of the cruise.  Considerations will be cobblestones (Tallinn) and gravel pathways as well as sidewalks. Also rain.  Any recommendations on brands, pros and cons of lightweight versus all-terrain, reliability etc.? Anyone with experience traveling with a knee scooter who has some good tips/secrets/suggestions?  


    Thank you for your help!



  6. Danish viking, thank you SO much for this thread and your helpful replies.  


    My husband and I are in Copenhagen for 4 nights before our September 3 cruise departure.  We'd really like to make a day trip to Stevns Klint.  My research so far has left me a little confused about the best way to get there and back again.  Must we rent a car? We'd rather not if there is a reasonable alternative but  I understand from the Stevns Klint website that a shuttle bus that ran last year is not running this year, so I am not sure about the best way to go.



  7. I signed in just now, just to see. No problem.  Signed in at home from my MacBook Air.  I did it by going to Oceania home page, clicked on Manage Reservation, and my sign-in page showed up.


    Not sure it helps much but at least you know the site itself is not down.



  8. On 7/1/2019 at 6:12 AM, roothy123 said:

    When we were there 4 or 5 years ago there was a shuttle from the ship to the center of Gdynia.  In Gdynia there were taxis lined up, but I don't know how much they charged to go to Gdansk, which isn't horribly far but not right around the corner either.  In Gdynia you could exchange money, do a little bit of exploring/shopping, or go to the small train station.  We exchanged a small amount of money so we could use public transportation.  Poland was not on euro then (& may still not be).  Exchange was fast and easy, and we didn't even need a passport for our small transaction.  Then we walked about 5 minutes to the train station and took an old but fun shortish train ride to the Gdansk train station.  From there we took a tram to get within a block or two of Gdank's beautiful old town/river area.  I walked around, took another tram to a lighthouse, and came back to Gydnia. It was a little complicated, but oh so much fun!


    But the basic answer to your question is no, there was no shuttle to Gdansk. An excursion might be best.

    Thank you, this is exactly the info I was looking for.  We booked a Tours By Locals excursion on the strength of your advice. Much appreciated!



  9. About 10 years ago I had a patient who contracted typhoid fever while in Cuzco.  She thought she had been immunized but confused her tetanus vaccination with typhoid fever vaccine.  Typhoid fever is preventable via vaccine, and treatable with antibiotics but can make you quite sick; this young lady ended up in the hospital there in Cuzco on IV antibiotics for a few days.  Typhoid fever is usually transmitted by food preparers who are carriers.


    Beyond the stray case of typhoid fever, there are lots of other bacterial cooties that circulate in an internationally famous site such as Cuzco/Machu Picchu , which draws travelers from around the globe as well as providing employment to many local folks who don't have access to the greatest healthcare in the world. Good handwashing is essential; if ever there is a time to carry along alcohol gel, this is it.  


    I strongly encourage anyone with a Peruvian itinerary  to see a travel health provider a couple of months before embarkation, even if you don't need malaria medication or yellow fever vaccine for your particular land excursion.

  10. 31 minutes ago, Paulchili said:

    OP - please explain.



    Hi Paulchili,


    Thanks for asking for clarification.  The reason I asked the question is because we are cruising "noobs". At home we are late diners, out of necessity more than choice as neither of us is home from work before 7:30pm, so we are used to eating dinner at 9 or even 9:30.  Our trip on Marina in September will be our third cruise ever (first with Oceania). 


    On our previous two cruises we ate in the specialty restaurants quite a bit, but both cruises were shorter (one three nights, one seven). We usually made reservations for around 8 or so.   But I have noticed that cruise ship dining seems to be a lo-o-o-ng drawn-out ritual and though we enjoy special meals, a 2+ hour dinner every night started to feel...exhausting.  By the end of a meal we both found ourselves squirming with back pain from having sat so long in seats that were comfortable for the first 90 minutes and then got logarithmically less so over the subsequent half-hour or 45 minutes.  The food has, with one exception, been decent but not good enough to distract us from wishing we could just finish up and go.


    Usually we just ate and went right to bed because evening entertainment was over by the time we finished, except for late-night dancing, and in any case we were too pooped to do anything but fall into bed anyway.  We had made all our reservations in advance--and paid, as the other lines had supplements that we didn't mind shelling out for--and there were times when we would have liked to have moved a reservation up, especially on a sea day when a particular performance that we would have liked to attend conflicted with our dinner reservation.. OTOH seatings at 6 or 7 often felt really early to us--we wanted to get cleaned up, relax with a cocktail, etc. and an 8pm dinner time was fine.


    With a two-week cruise, I expect that we will eat more meals at the Terrace, so we won't be stuck for long drawn out dinners every night. But I am also wondering if eating earlier some evenings might make a difference in terms of the fatigue/back pain issues.  Maybe it's the same no matter what time you eat? 


    I guess what I am saying is that I am feeling some pressure around making specialty reservations, not knowing what we really will prefer.  Our cruise isn't until September so we have plenty of time to research, but I am not at all certain what our "cruise dining style" really is yet. Hence I am interested in how others approach this, and what makes for a satisfying evening for people.  I am hoping for a range of opinions, and even for explanations on why folks make their choices, so that I can think about how to schedule us.  


    Plus, I just like hearing about what things people enjoy about cruising.  Just nosy, I guess 🙂

  11. Ahoy all Oceanians,


    When making your specialty restaurant reservations, how do you decide what days and times to book? Do you like to top off a fabulous port trip with an evening at Toscana, or do you rejoice at Jacques after a relaxing sea day? Do you like a late dining time as an exclamation point to end the evening, or do you book a reservation that allows for some nighttime frolicking before bed? Do these preferences vary depending on whether it's been a day on the water or a port of call?  All biased, passionate and varied opinions welcome here 🙂



  12. Hi there. As a 40+ year resident of the San Francisco Bay Area who works in and commutes to San Francisco every day, I am somewhat perplexed by this "poop" issue. Yes, there are homeless, and it's a tragedy with no good solution. But it's not like one goes trip-trapping down the sidewalk dodging needles and poopoo at every step. I encountered way more #2 in Manhattan this past April.


    Fleet week is not the huge event it used to be. There still are sailors in town but the crowds really don't arrive until the weekend, because that's when the Blue Angels perform. If you are lucky you might see some practice flights--though again, I think those are usually more midweek than at the beginning.


    I pass HOHO buses on my way to and from work most days, and I must say I don't often see a lot of cheerful-looking passengers on there. Uber and Lyft and Flywheel are your friends, in my opinion.


    The tough part is deciding what you DO want to do and see, and that really depends on you. Are you a museum person? The DeYoung Museum and the Palace of the Legion of Honor are closed on Mondays, but SFMoma is open. Visit the Presidio and walk Andy Goldsworthy's outdoor installations if you like that kind of art/nature meld. If you are a foodie, get yourself to the Ferry Building for the marketplace. Watch the light show that is the Bay Bridge at twilight and into the evening. Do you like Alfred Hitchcock movies? Vertigo was set and shot here--go see Lands' End and Mission Dolores. Go to the Exploratorium. Go to Coit Tower. Do a caviar tasting at The Caviar Co, or a cheese tasting at The Cheese School, or a chocolate tasting at Dandelion Chocolate, or a beer tasting at Fat Angel or...you get my drift. If you are a crafty-lady type, get yourself down to SCRAP SF. The wonder and the beauty of San Francisco is that whatever your passion is, there is someone here who shares it and probably has an organization you can visit. Unlike most of the other cities on a West Coast itinerary, San Francisco is small and dense--roughly 7 miles by 7 miles, so you can get anywhere in the city without too much difficulty.


    In any case, I would NOT recommend going to San Jose, or driving to Monterey. One thing that is probably not exaggerated is Bay Area traffic. I live 12 miles from my job and my commute is routinely an hour and a half each way. And I work different shifts: 8-5,9-6, and 10-7. There is no such thing as a reverse commute anymore, and you are going to be here on a Monday. Traffic is heavy from 5am to 9pm all week, with minor fluctuations here and there. Don't get me wrong, I love Monterey and the aquarium is world-class. San Jose is a more or less generic big city, the tech museum is great if you have kids to entertain, but you have one precious day. Don't waste it stuck in traffic, unless you really want to feel like a local :-)

  13. I am getting us ready for our upcoming Alaska cruise in September, and reading this thread and then looking over my last several trips I realized that I have developed a core packing list that I always take with me. I don't always take the same items every trip, but I take something that fits each category. The categories/items are: 1) A black-and-white skirt. 2) A striped T-shirt. 3) A heathered-gray linen long-sleeved button-down shirt. 4)A white top. 5) A patterned top that has black and white in it somewhere. 6) Blue denim bottom--usually jeans, but sometimes shorts or skirt 7) Black pants. 8) A black dressy top. 9) A cardigan sweater. 10) A swimsuit. 11) A sporty top. 12)A coat or jacket.


    For any trip that is 4 nights or longer, I usually choose a color for the trip, and the rest of the items are in that color theme; the patterned top, the athletic top and the cardigan sweater may fit into the color theme as well. I chose shades of coral for last year's trip to Europe; this past spring I took purple tones, and for Alaska I am packing aqua tones. These colored items usually number about 4-5 pieces, mostly tops but sometimes skirts or dresses, depending on what the trip activities and/or weather will be. The tops might be T-shirts, sweaters, cardigans, etc. If it's going to be very hot


    Everything goes with everything else. I mix and match as needed for whatever activities are on the the docket.


    I am plus-sized so I cannot depend on being able to find an emergency replacement if I forget something. I think that's partly why I always pack so that I have options no matter what activity or plan develops, even if it's a short trip.


    I usually also throw in one piece that is not part of the color scheme at all, to break up the monotony; for Europe it was a baby-blue v-neck pullover sweater; for New York it was a bronze metallic skirt. I haven't decided what the piece will be for Alaska; I usually decide at the last minute depending on my mood.


    I take 4 pairs of shoes. I keep trying to cut back to three but have yet to succeed. I always take walking shoes, black flats, and flip flops. The fourth pair has been water shoes (protection again sea urchins in Croatia), Toms, sandals, heels...it really varies. But I don't permit myself more than 4 pairs. Shoes take up so much space and weight that I always resent them when they sneak into my suitcase, but somehow I am always glad to have them at destination. So. Yeah. 4 pairs come with me.

    But everything fits into the carry-on, or it doesn't come along.

  14. Tops on my list of What Ifs is a course of prescription antibiotic to treat a UTI. My doctor happily obliges when I call for the Rx. Plus AZO to make the first day bearable. Maybe this is TMI, but I well remember my darling husband spending a good part of an afternoon in Puerto Vallarta on our honeymoon searching for a pharmacy/doctor that could help. He spoke no Spanish. He finally came home with something and I have no idea what it was but it helped. That was 30+ years ago and I sure knew he was a keeper, but I decided not to put him through that again. That standby Rx has come in mighty handy over the years.

  15. I have various cubes from the Eagle Creek Specter line, the plain (not compression) kind. I like them because they are sturdy yet thin and light, so they don't add any bulk or weight to my packing. I have become a convert to carry-on travel, so I find that the medium and small sizes are most useful for me--I have accumulated a lot of random little bags over the years to the point where the extra-small size isn't really needed, but my first set came with that size so I still have it and do use it on occasion. I just noticed that Eagle Creek is selling a set that has a small, medium, and medium "structured" cube--the structured one has a folding board. If I was buying my first set that is probably what I would go for, since it allows for one cube of rolled and one of folded items, and the small bag for undies.


    I should add that when I first tried packing cubes I used the original EC Pack-It line, but found them too bulky, stiff and heavy and never used them after the first time or too. I stopped using packing cubes altogether until last year when my DH and I took a month-long trip to Europe in May that included a conference in Barcelona, leisure travel in Croatia, and a 5 day stay in Stockholm, meaning I needed to pack like I would for an Alaskan cruise, with hot, cold, and business-casual wardrobes, and because I was determined to travel carry-on only I had to keep my bag under 10 kilos, including the weight of the suitcase. I was so happy to find the Specter cubes and they have become part of every trip I have taken since. I am currently planning our 10-night Alaska trip in September, and they are definitely coming with me. My husband, OTOH, does not use the cubes. But then, he is a minimalist who always packs the night before we go anywhere, whereas I already have my packing list set for Alaska and the trip is still almost two months away. :-) Of course, when on the trip and he asks "Do we have any (sunscreen, lip balm, bug spray, ibuprofen, etc)?" I always answer, "Why yes, yes WE do!" LOL.

  16. Someone on, I think, the Alaska board recommended Oboz, and I just ordered a pair from REI--I have quasi-wide feet too and find that sometimes an 8.5W works and sometimes a 9M is fine. Anyway, I ordered the Oboz Sawtooth Low B-Dry (ie, waterproof) hikers and just got them yesterday. First thought out of the box is they are very comfortable, but I am going to try them out for a good month or so and will report back if they are no-goes (though I hope they aren't--we sail Sept 1 and I don't want to break in another pair so will go with my New Balance sneakers if these don't work out.) My old hikers of many years finally bit the dust and I am enjoying the excuse for a new pair. Also, I think they are pretty! (Well, for hiking boots) I got them in Mineral Blue, and they aren't as flashy as the online pic shows. They look nice with all my seaglass green, aqua, and turquoise blue clothes that I am taking on the trip.

  17. I am going to sound like a Negative Nancy with regard to show recordings, and for that I do apologize, but the following info is intended to help inform your planning process, not to throw cold water. Shows that record in front of a live studio audience that includes members of the general public have postings on their websites explaining how to request tickets and, to some extent, what to expect. Check to see where the show records, as many are not shot in LA. There is often a strict minimum age limit which is around 10-12 years old, or even older. Weekly shows are not recorded on Mondays; they are usually shot at the end of the week, as the beginning of the week involves readings, rehearsals, set-building and so on. Many daily shows, such as game shows etc also shoot once a week, recording multiple episodes in the course of the shoot. In addition, the likelihood of a live audience show, especially a child-friendly one, being taped on a federal holiday is almost zero.


    The other thing to consider is that Burbank and Hollywood, where shows are recorded, are in the opposite direction from Anaheim. The distances are not terrible but the traffic can be, so take that into consideration. Under perfect travel conditions you will be spending an hour and a half in the car to drive from Long Beach to Hollywood and then back down to Anaheim. LA traffic conditions are rarely perfect, and you might easily be spending 3-4 hours round trip in the car instead.


    In short, during this trip the Aquarium may be a better bet for your young family. When your kids are a little older, you can use the info above to go about planning a trip that allows you all to enjoy "Hollywood magic".

  18. We live in the East Bay and work in San Francisco, and our "staycations" have usually been spent at Hotel Griffon, which is on the Embarcadero, almost directly across from the Ferry Building (which is a foodie delight, btw). The trick is to book a "View" room; the hotel is quite small and similar to the small hotels we've stayed at in Europe. But the View rooms have truly spectacular views of the bay and the Bay Bridge, including the light shows at night. If you can't book a view room I wouldn't bother because the rooms though immaculate are quite small. Of all the view rooms, the View Suites on the top floor are the best rooms. I think there are only two of them but if you can snag one they are very nice. The hotel like many in San Francisco gets pricey during the week because it caters to business travelers, but weekends are often much less expensive. I don't think you can web-book more than six months out but if you call you can probably arrange something. Hotel Vitale is nearby and has the same spectacular view from some of it's rooms, is a larger hotel and has a few more amenities; we have never stayed there but have heard good things from friends whose family has stayed there on visits to San Francisco. Again, insist on a view room, otherwise it's nothing particularly special. Hotel Vitale is also a little more spendy, I think.


    We usually eat dinner at Boulevard, which is about two doors down from Hotel Griffon. San Francisco has a bazillion great restaurants, each more trendy than the next, and all worthy of a visit, but we keep going back to Boulevard because the food is consistently great, and it's lovely to stroll back to the hotel and collapse in bed after a fine meal, without having to bother with cabs, pay for parking, or worry about how much good wine the driver drank at dinner. The Embarcadero BART station is a short walk if you want to get out and see the sights; it appears to me that every tourist on the planet heads to Union Square or Fisherman's Wharf, but if you want to get a real taste of local life in San Francisco, I recommend you take BART to the Mission District: get off at 24th St. and walk up to Valencia street to stroll the shops and galleries, have a beer at Monk's Kettle, find a taqueria for a Mission District burrito (there is a thread on every San Francisco forum on I know of that devolves into an argument as to which taqueria is best, so I say, go find your own, and then join into the debate) and finally swing by Tartine for one of their outrageously delicious tarts for dessert. You can get off at 16th Street BART too but that stop can really force you to run the gauntlet of aggressive panhandlers that are an inevitable part of the BART scene, and 24th Street feels a little quieter in that regard.


    April is the start of the baseball season so if you are fan and the Giants are at home, you can snag tix and stroll along the Embarcadero (or take Muni) to AT&T Park, which is a truly spectacular place to see a ballgame.


    Alternately, if you'd like to pay homage to an American foodie institution, hop on BART in the opposite direction (across the bay) to Berkeley, then walk or take a cab to Chez Panisse, where all foodies should eat at least once in their lives, in my opinion. Chez Panisse accepts reservations a month to the day from the day you want to eat there, but if you can't get a reservation, call the day you want to go because cancellations happen. If you don't want to go as far as Berkeley, check to see who is playing at the Fox Theater in Oakland that night and if the music takes your fancy, take BART to 19th Street Oakland, eat at one of the yummy places in the neighborhood and then enjoy the concert in the beautifully restored theater. Just check the BART schedule so you don't miss the last train back across the bay; BART stops running around midnight, which is just way too early IMHO but what can ya do. In any case, enjoy your short stay in our beautiful Bay Area!

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