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About GastroGnome

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  1. DD has a premium non alcoholic package - she's never been charged for anything she has ordered and she has a fair run at the virgin cocktails! I've only had an alcohol package myself so no personal experience - but from watching DD I think you'll be fine.
  2. There is no lock out or anything on the till - it is just to stop abuse with passengers ordering for someone who should be paying for the drinks - or is not permitted to drink. As long as the server is satisfied for themselves that you are only ordering a drink for yourself they will allow you to do so. But if they think you are sliding the drinks over to someone who should have paid they will report you. And fairly so.
  3. We always try to book the ones on the slant because of the bigger balcony..
  4. We're booked for June 2020..... guess she'll have been "revolutionized..." by then. We'll make the most of our next two cruises on her as she is!
  5. Both DM and DS prefer the aft cabins on Sihouette - DM prefers the corner CS with the large balcony. DS prefers a SS. (We (DH, DD and I) tend to opt for the RS or the CS mid ship on the buldge) We've cruised both Silhouette and other X shifts with these preferences and never had a problem. But others on this forum advise that the SS directly below the restaurant can suffer from noise. And personally I would not want one of the SS where your balcony is clearly visible from the Oceanview outside eating area. But that is my preference.
  6. Premier inn are a good reputable basic chain. I use them a lot when traveling on business. Safe, secure. Good with lone travelers. Clean. Possibly a tiny bit soulless - but as a place to crash well priced and to my mind ideal. Better than the Doubletree chain who I find a bit hit and miss -some are good. Some really are not!
  7. No DVD library - no DVD players! If you bring an HDMI cable you can connect your lap top to the TV and watch through that. There are movies available on the in room entertainment.
  8. Its really difficult to judge what someone else might find acceptable in a hotel. It is definitely on the budget end of the options for London. The location is great if you want something close to a train station. I'm not a fan of trip advisor as the ratings can be so easily manipulated but most review sites agree it is slightly above the mid point of any chosen range - which for a budget hotel is fine. There is no restaurant or bar; and it is in a more residential type area so there won't be loads of options for dinner nearby - but it should be easy enough to get a cab or catch public transport. Breakfast will be continental only (no kitchen!) I doubt the air con will be what our US Cousins consider air con. (You see the warning on all the X Europe excursions too...). It is not likely to be something that cools the air - but rather just moves it about. And heats it for winter. Which is what we tend to be more concerned about in the UK - at least until recent years! If cooling air con is a deal breaker then that might be worth further investigation. Although bear in mind not many hotels at that price point will have cooling aircon either. It just isn't that common in the UK.
  9. I haven't been in Istanbul for a few years - cruises ships didn't stop there for quite some time because of the security situation. I'm glad they have re-started! Its the most amazing, vibrant (sometimes scary!) city. I never used to tour company - but if you ask your hotel for recommendations they will help. They will also tell you which taxi services they consider to be safe. Don't pick up a roadside cab without knowing the company and agreeing the fare in advance. (I keep a track on them using goggle earth too...) The Grand Bizarre is amazing - keep close close watch on your possessions, don't carry more than you need. But the energy and bustle is wonderful. Aim to have mint tea in one of the garden courtyards for a rest. I love grabbing street food from the stalls too - but I know some are more wary. If the Grand Bizarre is a bit full on try the smaller market behind the mosque on the far side of the galata bridge. Its a "women's market" where the women will go to do food shopping so the stall holders are less "in your face". Do walk the Galata bridge. (If you are female I find you get on better in relatively modest dress - 1/2 length sleeves and trousers rather than strappy sun stuff. (I am female in case anyone thought I was just being repressive or weird!)) Bargain for everything - aim to pay half the ticket price and you'll be about there. If you have local currency you'll get a better price than trying for GBP or USD. Don't be afraid to just ignore a hawker or stall holder. If they are persistent tell them to go away and they mostly will. A neat trick I found it to tell them to go away in a language not your own (I use French or German mostly - but Spanish or Italian works as well. For some reason - possibly my accent - Dutch doesn't). They will then waste their time yelling after you in that language which I personally find easier to ignore! Wonderful city. Take sensible precautions and you'll have the best time! Oh sorry Yes - loads going on even at 4pm. Markets etc tend to stay open until 7 or 8 at least. Mosques, tourists sites etc all stay open. If anything they close down more in the middle of the day to avoid the heat - especially in summer.
  10. You can bring a case of water on board. Just tag it and leave it with the rest of your luggage.
  11. They have done. Like Karli I also have the old email confirmation stating that all prints are included. In fairness I have always been a bit mixed about the number of prints and the potential waste of paper / ink. But I do think changing it without even telling us is a bit off. Actually no - very off. Karli - if you get a resolution let us know. We sail on the 11th. In the meantime I'll contact Shoreside and if I get a resolution I'll post.
  12. Timely post... off to check my cruise planner. We booked - and paid for - unlimited prints 8 or 9 months ago for a cruise due to sail in 10 days.... Yep -it switched. Digital only. Not entirely pleased......
  13. Northern lights are actually present throughout the year - but very difficult to see if the sky is light which it is all through the summer. Closer the time you can use the Aurora forecast here http://www.aurora-service.eu/aurora-forecast/ This will give you reasonably accurate predictions and an hour's notice. The Iceland specific forecast tool is here https://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/aurora/ Better for general guidance - but not as accurate.
  14. Go to the top of the main page (So Boards - Celebrity...) then underneath the thing advertising the special sub forum you will see about 4 hyperlinks. The bottom one is "find your celebrity roll call" click that and a new window will open with the roll calls -you just select your ship and date.
  15. Some hotel mini bars do have sensors detecting when an item is moved - its to prevent drinks being consumed and then topped up with other liquids. But X ships don't. X do reserve the right - and fairly so - to add charges to your account if room items are missing after disembarkation. Not for a moment saying it is the case for any poster here but I'm sure several someones have thought to empty the mini bar on their way off ship having settled their account. Or removed slippers / robes etc (at least if the amount of them available on ebay is anything to go by!). But the overwhelming majority of the time it is just an error and easily sorted.
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