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CruzR887

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  1. I would defiantly hire a private transfer to get you to the cruise terminal. You don't want to waste even a few minutes waiting in a taxi cue. It takes about 30 mines from airport to cruise port so even if it takes an hour to get your bags and go through customs you have a reasonable shot at making it if your flight is on time. Good luck and try not to get too anxious.
  2. If you travel light and can haul your luggage 15-20 minutes you can take the train from Civi to Rome. This is what we do. The easiest way to get to Rome is with a private transfer. Rome Limo is a company often mentioned. I'm sure there are others. It's not as inexpensive as the train but less than a taxi.
  3. mtmorrisgirl if you are asking the the OP (me) no we could not. But that was due to bad wx; rain, wind, cold or any combination on all but one she day. Ironically I think our balcony issues would have had a larger impact on our cruise if we would have had to deal with the too small space daily. Only the last sea day was a sunny and pleasant balcony day.
  4. We were not sure what to expect as we've sailed only on Grand Class ships since our 1st Princess cruise in 2005 on the Grand (Galveston to Rome). We have earned Diamond on RCL, Elite on X and we're nearing Elite on PCL. We've also recently started cruising HAL. I offer this only to let you know we've been around the harbor a few times. Of all the ships we've sailed all lines the Princess Grand Class are our favorites. Not only because of the Promenade Deck and the aft terrace but also because we prefer aft cabins and the Grand Class almost perpendicular sterns are the best for aft cabins. We spent two days in Berlin pre cruise. It was our first time time there and we had a lovely two days. The day of the cruise we took the train from Berlin to Hamburg where we changed for the train to Copenhagen. That train leaves Germany by driving onto a ferry for a 50 minute ride to Denmark. Pretty cool. A taxi to the ship and we were quickly on the Regal for the first time. Our previous preference already stated we were pleasantly surprised by how we liked Regal. The Horizon Court layout was a very good design. Very easy to check out what was on offer without bothering others. The selection and the food were very good. We gave up dining room dinners a number of years ago so it's buffet eating morning noon and night for most meals. We also like that you can get espresso drinks not only at the IC but also in Horizon Court and outside Princes Live (which by the way is a very poor substitute for Explorers Lounge). The Medallion internet was very fast, the on demand movies were plentiful and the flat screen in from of the bed was nice. The Pub Lunch and the $10.00 p/p High Tea we great. We did not do any specialty dining as our last meal at the Crown Grill was a big disappointment and the Sabatini new menu was not appealing to us. Time now for the "but"...But the too small balconies were a major disappointment. We knew about the size of course but were not prepared for how much we did not like it. So much so that as we look for future cruise we'll check Princess Grand Class cruises and then X and HAL before considering a Royal Class ship. This is because we spend a lot of time on our balcony, eating, reading & relaxing. It is our favorite spot on any ship and Royal Class comes up short. Another very big negative for us (and this PCL in general) is the truncated Enrichment Lectures and Port Talks. 25-30 minutes. The Port Talk guy was the worst. He raced through a script, no questions, little information and he was out of there. One enrichment lecturer (if memory serves) and that too was pared down. Princess used to have the best Port Lectures at sea! But of course they don't produce revenue so... To get a seat that wasn't at the margins in the theater you had to be seated 45 minutes ahead of time. Because we ate in Horizon Court this was not a problem for us but many people were foraging for the rare available seat 15 minutes before showtime. The shows and guest entertainers were the usual mix of good to okay. We did all our excursions on our own with most booked through Viator. One had to be canceled because we were late leaving Kristiansand, Norway and Viator refunded our money before the tour company notified us of the cancellation. In Aarhus we rented a car and drove to the lovely town of Ebeltoft. We got there early enough to pretty much have the town to our selves before the tour busses arrived. Not much to do in Kristiansand so we walked to a nearby park and then around town. A nice but not a knockout day. The canceled tour was in Glasgow so we took a train from Greenock to Glasgow and had lunch and a walk-a-round. In Dublin we did a tour of the city and Glendalough which was very nice. Because we were on Cobh until 10pm we were first off the ship and on a train to Cork for a 10 hour tour of the Ring of Kerry. Fantastic! In Halifax we did a walking tour that was very interesting and we had pricey but delicious lobster rolls for lunch. We took a cab from Brooklyn to Penn Station, and Amtrak had us home before the last passengers were off the ship. All in all we did have a good cruise and no ship is perfect and all classes have their good and bad points, but for us when it comes to ship's balconies, size does matter. Rod
  5. Amtrak ticket prices vary greatly depending on day of the week, time of the year and how far in advance they are purchased. A roomette is very tight for two small people but we have done it. All meals are included and the food is pretty good most of the time. Service also varies depending on the crew, but it is generally good. I’ve never been on the Empire Builder (Chicago to Seattle) but on half a dozen other routes and love traveling by train. We’ve done Houston to LA for a couple of cruises. The only tracks Amtrak owns are in the Northeast. Everywhere else the tracks are owned by freight lines so maintenance and other issues can make trains run late, but the schedules are padded a bit so they can and do arrive early sometimes.
  6. Lisbon has built a new Cruise Port just east of Black Horse Sq. It is only a few blocks walk to the Sq and tram stops. Easier then ever to enjoy Lisbon on foot.
  7. Use ATMs to get euros. They offer the best rates. You may have fees for each transaction so the fewer times you use the ATM the fewer fees you will pay. Check with your bank it may reimburse fees. You could also open a Charles Schwab checking account. Schwab reimburses you for all ATM fees.
  8. We have used Viator all over Europe and have not had any problems. That is not to say problems can't occur. They do and can with all companies. And yes sometimes there can be no remedy to a problem even with ship's tours. Many of the local tour companies you can find on your own, use Viator for bookings. It is just a booking agency. Prices are most often less than a ship's cruise and I've never been on a tour that used a 50 passenger bus. Remember, when you get your confirmation voucher read every word. Some tour companies want you to contact them for exact times and locations, some just want a personal confirmation from you. Most won't need anything, but when traveling always triple check and do it again. Your confirmation voucher from Viator will usually name the company conducting the tour. Chers, Rod
  9. Anyone know if we will need a Visa to get from the ship to the airport and to exit Russia? We will not need a visa for our tours, just wondering about flying home. Is a ship's transfer to the airport the easiest way to get there?
  10. One bit of advice. Make sure the bus is going to the proper terminal. We did the Princes Transfer in Southampton last spring and it worked out very well, one of the few locations where a ship's transfer is worthwhile. However our transfer ticket had us getting on the wrong bus. There are several busses loading at the same time for different terminals. Our ticket was wrong. As you load your luggage double check with the driver about his destination. Rod
  11. We've used Viator a lot, mostly in Europe, and have had excellent tours. Never a problem. I believe Viator is a wholesaler and books with private companies.
  12. A quick point about the GE card. You don't need it at most entry points. Once your interview is completed you have GE. It is linked to your passport. My interviewer at IAH said most entry points don't asked to see the card, but it's a good idea to carry it just in case. We've reinterred the country in Houston and Chicago so far and no card has been Also with GE you don't have to fill out the form flight attendant pass out on return flights. Those questions are asked on the GE screens after inserting your passport. Another nice feature is that if you have GE but the kiosk rejects you, there is a dedicated agent to quickly approve you. My wife's fingerprints don't scan properly and the GE slip of paper the kiosk dispenses has had a big X on it both times.
  13. My DW and I had a similar unpleasant experience with a Holyhead tour. We booked a tour with Country Lanes in December and a week later, after paying in full, we had to cancel this very cruise, more than four months in advance. Country Lanes did not refund anything and did not respond to any of my emails asking for an explanation. This was the only time we ever paid in advance. We learned our lesson.
  14. Hi Shogun, Here's my bit of befuddlement.... The first time we sailed out of Civitavecchia I could swear we took the train from Rome and while walking to the port saw and took pictures of the giant statue of a sailor kissing a nurse. The next time we were there we left the port to walk to the train station and...no statue! Did they remove it? Don't know. Am I losing it...? There is evidence... Cheers, Rod
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