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Everything posted by karatemom2

  1. We did our 360 experience on a formal night, so everyone in our group was quite dressy. But on non formal evenings smart casual would be fine. There is no dress recommendation for the event.
  2. We used EC Minibus last year. We did a transfer that visited Stonehenge on the way to Southampton and on our transfer back to Heathrow after the cruise we visited Hampton Court Palace. Another company that provides the service is International Friends. We used then the year prior for a transfer to the ship from our London hotel that stopped at Windsor Castle on the way. Here are the links: https://www.internationalfriends.co.uk/london-heathrow-to-southampton-via-stonehenge.html https://www.ecminibus.co.uk/blog/portfolio/shore-excursion-central-london-via-stonehenge-southampton-cruise-terminal/ You can also check Viator: Southampton Excursion: Pre-Cruise Tour from London to Southampton via Stonehenge https://www.viator.com/search/5528PRTLON_STSO?mcid=64243
  3. Here’s a link through Viator. You are in small buses. Chilkoot Wilderness and Wildlife Viewing https://www.viator.com/search/37841P6?mcid=64243
  4. Another good option for Stonehenge if you are on a tight schedule is to combine it with your airport transfer which is what we did last year using EC Minibus. Worked great to get us off running and fight the jet lag on our arrival since we were determined to make the most of our time. We had about a two hour stop there on the way to our Southampton hotel.
  5. I know from following your thread on the Alaska board how much time, planning, and anticipation went into this cruise. I hope it exceeded all your expectations. Thanks for sharing your review!
  6. Ditto this. You will be there at an optimal time to see brown bears feeding on salmon. Lots of eagles too. It was one of our favorite excursions in Haines.
  7. Thank you! Those were all taken with my IPhone. You should see the shots my son in law got with his really fancy Nikon. Stunning!
  8. The cruise referenced here is 7/26/24 - not July of 2026. I could see how you might get that from the title. But it will be during the Paris Olympics.
  9. If you decide on a balcony, try to choose one on the Starboard side. That’s the land facing side for most of the cruise. We were blessed with great weather on our cruise with just one day of rain on our last precruise day in London and a bit of rain in Edinburgh - which only added to the ambiance! We enjoyed really lovely sailaways on our balcony with some nice castle spotting opportunities. Be sure to bring a pair of good binoculars. My son just finished up three years of law school in VA last year and we enjoyed visiting him while he was there. It’s a beautiful state.
  10. We absolutely loved our British Isles cruise with Princess - one of our best ever cruises! We did have a balcony and definitely enjoyed it. Although it’s a port intensive cruise, you do hug the coast quite a bit so having the balcony, especially heading in and out of ports was nice. We had a beautiful view of the White Cliffs of Dover on the sail by. That being said, given how port intensive this cruise is, we did use our balcony less than on some other cruises. We don’t really drink much alcohol at all and don’t drink coffee, so for us Plus just isn’t of interest. We just buy what we want when we want ala carte onboard, pay our gratuities in advance, and get 1/2 off our WiFi because we are elite. That works great for us, but if you enjoy a few cocktails each day or specialty coffees and like the casual dining restaurants, Plus might be nice for you. It definitely gives that all inclusive feel. Personally I would pick the balcony, but you might get a better experience with Plus depending on how much time you think you would spend on your balcony. The ports are amazing. We primarily did private excursions so I’m happy to share what we did: Guernsey: (private guide Jackie Ward) Castle Cornet WWII Sites and Museum Cobh: (Princess tour) Rock of Cashel Dublin: (Princess tour) Glendalough Monastic City Avoca Woolen Mill Christchurch Cathedral Belfast: (Odyssey Tours) Giants Causeway Dunluce Castle Titanic Museum Liverpool (tour to Wales) : (Busy Bus tours) Conwy Castle Snowdonia Park Pontcysylite Aqueduct Invergordon: (private tour Dougie MacLeod) Dunrobin Castle Cairn Liath Falls of Shin Dornoch Cathedral Glasgow: (Discover Scotland tours) Sterling Castle Doune Castle Village of Luss Loch Lomond Trossachs National Park Edinburgh: (on our own with Uber) Edinburgh Castle Royal Mile St. Giles Cathedral Royal Yacht Brittania Le Havre: (Overlord Tours) Omaha Beach American Cemetery Bayeux - for Cathedral and Bayeux Tapestry Honfkeur Hope this provides some inspiration - you will love this cruise! Edited to add: We ended up cruising during the last summer Olympics and to be honest, you don’t get much of it. NBC is not one of the channels offered and mostly you will be able to grab highlights via MSNBC news. If that is a super big priority for you, you may want to look at alternate dates. My DH is a big Olympic fan and he was very disappointed to miss a great deal of the coverage on our cruise.
  11. This is a lovely idea, and I concur that it’s spectacular and the one place in AK we have spotted moose, but given that MIL is disabled and in a wheelchair it could be pretty challenging unless one of them could push her chair on the trail. It is paved. But still might prove difficult. If you just want to get a nice overview of Anchorage, the trolley tour is a low key way of seeing the city highlights. The Native Alaska Cultural Center is an interesting place to visit as well.
  12. While renting a car can be great and we have done it a number of times in Skagway, I wouldn’t recommend it for a first or only trip. The train really is a unique experience that can’t be duplicated by driving yourself. Also, truly seeing the sights and getting your bearings to really understand what you are seeing the first time is so much better with a guide. Then on subsequent trips driving feels familiar.
  13. Personally I look at Glacier Bay as more than just “glacier viewing”, which yes, you can get at other glaciers. They are all spectacular in their own way. What I appreciate about Glacier Bay is the full national park experience, the abundant wildlife, the natural beauty everywhere beyond the glaciers you see. It’s a full meal!
  14. Classic Soda Package: This package includes all sodas, fruit juices, mocktails and smoothies. The Classic Soda Package is $14.99 USD* per person, per day plus 18 percent gratuity.
  15. Will the excursion wait for you if it takes a little longer to get off the ship then you anticipate? My advice, find out the lounge where tickets are being provided for people with independent plans, and get there at least 30 minutes before it opens. We have seen people lining up an hour early, so you want to make sure you are toward the front. Also, make sure your entire party is with you. They won't give you your tickets until your full group is there. If you do this, chances are you will be among the first groups exiting the ship.
  16. Sure you can. Most places serve them both ways and you have a choice. I definitely prefer the butter and lobster only version of the roll. DH likes the Mayo version.
  17. We love Sitka - one of our favorite ports, but I think @Heidi13 makes and excellent case for the back to back 14 day cruise. We have been to Alaska many times, but I think one of our favorites was the B2B we did on the Diamond Princess many years ago. Believe me, there is more to do in every port than you could ever do on two visits. We loved having the extra time in each of these places and did something different each time. One idea for your second Skagway visit is to use it as a jumping off point to visit Haines if you want to fit in another really cool Alaska port. We loved having the turnaround day in Whittier and spent the day visiting Anchorage - our only AK visit where we saw a moose! Still memorable to this day. The extra scenic viewing days was great as these places are always changing and give different experiences each visit and even at different times of the day. We probably witnessed the most amazing calving we have ever seen on our second day at College Fjord - so very happy to have a repeat visit. Either way, they are both great cruises, but I would give the edge to the 14 day turnaround trip.
  18. I would choose a combination like that offered by companies such as Chilkoot Charters - train up, bus back. You get the best of both worlds. The scenery and ability to stop and visit spots along the way is great, but nothing takes the place of the actual train experience, IMO.
  19. It sounds like a wonderful cruise. We have been on the Emerald a few times, most recently for a British Isles cruise in 2022 and found her as lovely as we remembered. You mention that you like far aft cabins, so you might want to consider balcony cabins toward the back of the Riviera deck. That is a favorite spot for us as you can easily pop out the backdoor and be on the aft deck where the Terrace pool is located. It's a quick hop up the stairs to the buffet for snacks and Outrigger's Bar. If still available, the last two cabins aft on Riviera have slightly oversized balconies that are also quite protected, so very nice to enjoy even when the weather is less than perfect. We have one of these cabins booked for our Alaska cruise in September on the Ruby. The numbers are R747 and R746. We have never found the Terrace Pool area loud - quite the opposite, it tends to be a lot quieter then the main pool area and even with a balcony, it's nice to have easy access to open deck space if we want to get a full viewing opportunity. Not sure what ports you are visiting, but if it is a Med cruise you can find a lot of great information on the Europe section of the ports of call board. We did a Med cruise from Southampton on the Sky last summer and had a wonderful time. Edinburgh is a great city - we have visited only once and spent a long port day there and wished we had more time. It's definitely someplace to which we will return. We visited Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, St. Giles' Cathedral, the Real Mary King's Close, and the Royal Yacht Britannia. I'm sure you will love it!
  20. Just to clarify, this is true for Ketchikan only. In all other AK ports, NCL uses the same docks as other lines. One of the reasons we would not choose NCL in Alaska is due to its remote docking location in Ketchikan, but in fairness to NCL, just wanted to note that is the only port where this setup exists since this comment makes it seem like it’s the case in all ports.
  21. Lobsters are harvested year round in Maine, with peak season tending to be through the latter half of year so you will be fine. Fall colors and lobster - lucky you!
  22. Any lobster you get fresh in port in places like Maine or PEI will be better than the lobster served onboard. You might want to try a lobster roll for lunch while you are in PEI or any New England port - very delicious! I don't know where Princess sources its lobster but it will be frozen, not fresh, and they are not your typical Maine lobster with the big tails. More along the lines of langostino size. Still not saying it isn't good - but not as good as fresh lobster. All seafood tends to taste better when it is freshly prepared within a short time from being caught.
  23. Yes, still served in the MDR on one of the formal nights. The tails are fairly small, but usually they are good. I believe they are charging now for extra servings. My DH is a commercial lobster fisherman, so I'm rather spoiled, but what they serve is fine, nothing special. You will find larger tails and better quality in the specialty restaurants onboard like The Catch and Crown Grill. Still not as good as what I get at home straight from the Pacific Ocean, but pleasant enough if you like lobster.
  24. Six was spectacular as well. Really Broadway quality shows. I wish Princess would take note and do something similar.
  25. The Choir of Man is amazing! Honestly, I think I would rank it as the best show I have seen on any cruise. We love Princess, but we enjoy NCL as well and one place where NCL definitely outshines Princess is in its entertainment.
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