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About GastroGnome

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  1. It applies in the UK - although we don't have quite the same separate concept of "vet" that the US does. We have serving or retired / released. Discounts also apply to any law enforcement or emergency services personnel with a Blue Light Card. ETA: You have to ask for the discount and it only applies if you book direct with X. You can't get it through a TA. Not sure if that is the same for the US.
  2. Be different! Dublin still has a viking duck tour using the old amphibious landers. Really fun! You get to learn about the viking history and the city layout for later wandering. https://citysplashtours.com/Dublin Also check out the Clockwork Door https://www.clockworkdoor.ie/ They have 2 escape rooms and a gaming room with loads of board and card games. So much fun and so welcoming we actually reschedule our day 2 activities to go back! Also Vaults Live https://www.vaults.live/ I won't say its the best history lesson but it is fun and very atmospheric. The Bram Stoker scene in particular is great. We had 2 days in Dublin about 6 weeks ago and it was the unexpected highlight of the Irish portion of the cruise. Oh... and the museums are all free entrance - we had meant to get to the Natural History one but had to go back and play a second escape room instead!
  3. The beverage package is 7 x 69 = 483. Plus 20% gratuity total: $579.6. That makes the total cost of the 4 perks package for a single individual $1245.6. A benefit of $65.6? But math not always my best feature - happy to be corrected!
  4. Echo that. On a UK based CC - as long as you have one of the ones for traveling abroad that uses the day rate without a fee - it is better to have your CC card charged in dollars (or the relevant currency if on shore) and allow the card to convert. I know from other posts on CC that there are a few US credit cards which offer the same service. But if you have a CC which charges it is really just a question of which is lower. The ship charges 2% - what does your CC charge?
  5. We're not booked onto this one (may well be by summer 2020) but have done similar itineraries in 2017 and next week. (incidentally we are 50 and 56..) The age demographic is very much older than usual. This is a very cheap cruise (in the UK anyway!). Kids are back in school. The itinerary isn't culture heavy. Last minute summer sun. You won't loose anything by being - fairly significantly - on the younger side. But the behavior of folk on that cruise isn't typical either. (We've cruised X many times - all out of Europe.) You will get the same wonderful food, theater experiences, entertainment etc. You will also get your feet run over by any number of buggy wielding mafia. Learn to love the stairs. It is a very different feel. Don't judge X by the behaviour - or age demographic - of these itineraries.
  6. I have a large range of funny (to me..) T shirts - usually of the geek / nerd variety and have never had any adverse comment about them. Interesting to learn about P&O. Add that to the reasons not to sail with them - I'd have no daywear left! Absolutely take the point about nothing offensive etc. of course. That's just plain manners. Plus - its a holiday. Not an opportunity to get in a row. Not with strangers anyway....
  7. Silhouette is due for re-fit in February 2020. So hopefully it will be after that. But right now.. no.
  8. Ships always have used the Giudecca Canal to get to and from the sea. Do try to ride on the Grand Canal - it's picture postcard Venice Quite right of course! Mis - typed.
  9. No. I looked at the list of sailings for 2020 to Norway. Reflection wasn't listed. Having been on both Silhouette and Reflection - as well as a fair number of others- over the years my perception was that Reflection was bigger. Presumably because of the greater number of cabins. Reflection has always felt bigger. She isn't listed as an option on the front page of the Norway cruises but if you click though she does appear. (Possibly because I am looking at the UK site - who knows with X!) Flam still isn't listed - but she sails out of Dublin and calls at Belfast on her way home. Having been to both I don't think Belfast is a decent trade for Flam. Sorry.
  10. Can't see Reflection as an option? She is quite big for the Fjords. We did the 8 night in late August on Silhouette last year. If you opt for May your flights will be cheaper - but there will be very few kids on board. (That may be a blessing or a problem depending on your point of view!). If you opt for May check the kids club will run if yours are the only ones of that age group and bear in mind that they close kids club if the sea is rough - which is slightly more likely in May. Only the late August option includes Flam which is a truly lovely port. I think one of my favourites. Coming from the US, if you have an option, I would choose that itinerary over the other two. Its one of those trip of a lifetime things and Flam is really worthwhile. Apex is an Edge type ship - views are mixed on those. Sihouette is an S class but will have been re-fitted in Feb 2020 so will be all shiny and new. To be honest I think that comes down to personal choice. Which ever you choose this is a stunning itinerary (with and without Flam!). You'll have an incredible time.
  11. Lovely itinerary! The only ones which actually matter (and that not much to be fair..)which side are going to be Kotor and Venice. (And the latter depends if you can still sail the grand canal at that point.) For most ports either side has lovely views - and you'll see both sides, one on the way in (which may be in the very early hours of the morning) and one on the way out. You can't gaurentee which side of the ship is facing land when docked - other than possibly Valetta which tends to dock facing outward toward the harbour mouth putting the port side to land. The sail in / out from Kotor is incredible which ever side you are on (and you will see each side as you sail down the channel one way and come back the other.) But to get the full experience I would recommend going up on deck to watch that either from the front (We sailed out of Kotor on the helipad one year - stunning!!) or from the oceanview deck. You really won;t see the full panorama from a cabin unless its one of the aft ones. Venice - you really want to be on the port side (IMO) assuming you can still sail down the Grand canal. But you are sailing in to dock at 2pm so everyone will be out on deck I would think. Some of my favorite ports. You'll have a wonderful time!
  12. You might get more responses if you post on the destination boards? Sounds like fun though!
  13. We've done a mix. We tend to opt for ships tours when we are in port for a short space of time, where we want to go is a distance or if we are somewhere unusual. If there is a problem the ship will wait for the ship tour - but not for a private one. There are also some places (for example Flam in Norway and the Blue Lagoon in Iceland) where the cruise ship books all the best tickets and you'll get a better experience with the ship tour. We've joined in with others from the roll call for tours - and I think had our best tour group experiences that way. And we go it alone a fair amount. We do use trip advisor - but there are a lot of fake reviews out there. You can post on the destination boards for recommendations too. Always check your provider has the insurance cover to get you to the next port if necessary.
  14. It is routinely in Michael's. Your butler will bring it if you ask. But it is more fun to choose for yourself which sandwiches etc. Not necessarily something you want left in your suite for you. We tend to go to Michael's for tea - but ask for hors d'ouvres to be be left for us if we are off ship.
  15. We've been on Connie out of Venice too - I think we boarded (private transfer) at about 10.30. If you get the ship provided transfer you will inevitably have to wait at the airport for everyone to assemble, then arrive at the check in at the same time as at least 48 other people. That will inevitably make for some element of delay. If you want a quick and easy boarding I would opt for private transfer and try to get ahead of the provided coach. Re-reading - I'm not sure if your reference to boarding time is an allocated time? X does allocate times to try to keep congestion in the check in area to a minimum but they won't turn you away if you are earlier or later. Anything that avoids you arriving at the same time as the cruise buses from the airport will be quieter. If you want transfer suggestions post (or just search) on the Italy Board - loads of folks will help.
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