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About sattva

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  1. We have an early departure from Barcelona El Prat, so am looking for a hotel near the airport. Don't see anything right on site. Can anyone recommend a hotel near the airport? Thanks!
  2. Cruisemom makes some excellent points about the pros and cons of cruising in a location-rich area such as Europe. Back in June, we were on Prinsendam's final voyage for HAL. That allowed us to visit ports such as Honningsvag, Narvik, and Tromso that would have been much more difficult to reach on a land tour. But that may have been our last cruise in Europe because we are very concerned about the ecological damage cruise ships do. We thoroughly enjoyed sailing in and out of the Bay of Kotor ten years ago. These days, with 450 ships bringing more than half a million passengers, the Bay is an ecological disaster waiting to happen, especially when Montenegro (not an EU country) has lax environmental protections. We hate to see the Adriatic coast go the way of the Caribbean and Southeast Alaska. We think it best not to participate in this degradation.
  3. Will be in Naples next spring (8 hours). We've been to Pompeii and the archaeology museum. This time, we'd like to go to Herculaneum and the villa at Oplontis. We're mid-seventies, intellectually curious, but creak and have some mobility problems. Are these two locations a reasonable DIY or do we need a tour? If a tour, can anyone recommend a reliable one that isn't grotesquely expensive? Thanks in advance for any advice!
  4. If you're thinking of a day-trip or two from Venice (Padua? Verona?), then consider staying in Mestre. We stayed at the Hotel Bologna right across the street from the train station. Nice business hotel with a good restaurant at around $85/night. Clean, modern, helpful staff. Mestre itself is nothing much, but it's on the main line to the rest of Italy. The train takes 10 minutes to get into Venice; trains run about every 10-15 minutes. And you can easily get a taxi at the hotel to/from both airport and cruise port.
  5. Thanks to sailco and Ashland for the helpful advice!
  6. Am considering Celebrity cruise with an overnight in Cannes during the film festival next year. Not particularly interested in the festival but looking for a base for tours around Riviera.. Is Cannes extremely busy last week of festival? How hard will it likely be to arrange tours or DIY to Nice and Antibes? Any advice from travelers who've been in Cannes during the festival would be appreciated!
  7. Getting back to the original topic: recently back from two weeks in Norway with every day and port fascinating. Would also gladly go back to Charlottetown and St. John's in Canada, Kotor or almost any port in Croatia, Valletta, Amalfi, and Venice.
  8. We never get off to go to Rome. We know the city pretty well from 50 years of visits, and it's much too huge and rich in sights for a one-day stop. We've been to Tarquinia and Orvieto from Civitavecchia but now just stay on the ship.
  9. Got a good deal on Reflection for Jan. 10-20 but have not been on Celebrity, this ship, or to the Caribbean (6 cruises in Europe, though). Usually cruise on smaller ships and are just looking for ten days in the sun and a winter break. We're mid-70s; enjoy books, good food and wine; never go to floor shows, pool parties, or casinos. So five questions: How crowded is Reflection likely to be at this time in January? Lots of kids? Lots of noise? Any thoughts (pro or con) on cabin 6236 or nearby? Anything good or bad about the ship for older travelers? Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice!
  10. Vancouver is a favorite with us. Thanks to miserable trains from London, we don't depart from English ports any more.
  11. sattva

    Offbeat Rome?

    Have been in Rome many times and seen the major sites. A couple of those is all one can do on a port stop. But if you have several days in Rome, what's worth looking for off the beaten track? I recommend three; please add some more: 1) Basilica of San Clemente: 12th century church (stunning mosaics) with a 4th century church underneath and ancient buildings (including Mithra temple) below that. 2) Centrale Monte Martini Museum: ancient Roman sculpture on display in a now disused 1920's power station. Just amazing. 3) MAXXI Museum of 21st century art in an award-winning, post-modernist building with lots of contemporary art inside. What else can traveler's suggest?
  12. I notice on a major on-line agency that prices for Marina's May 3-17 cruise from Barcelona to Rome are significantly below Oceania's published "cruise only" rates. A B3 is listed at $4,104 instead of $5,399 with no perks. There are almost a hundred cabins with prices cut in the 20% range. Does Oceania generally cut rates this sharply about three months ahead of sailing? Might affect what I reserve for 2020. Is it a better deal to buy this rate with no perks or look for a TA offering the published rates with good perks? Thanks!
  13. This is a fascinating thread; thanks to all who are participating. I sincerely hope the contributors who think there is an American market still for mid-size ships visiting some smaller ports are right. My wife and I started traveling in "Europe on $5 a Day" era and are still "low frills:" cruisers. For the Caribbean, Celebrity Reflection is ideal for us as a floating resort in January. Otherwise, we are itinerary-focused cruisers. We prefer the Med and have been happy with HAL's smaller ships. We're on Prinsendam to Norway in June because of ship size but, even more, thanks to new-to-us ports such as the North Cape, Trondheim, Narvik, and Tromso. But we'd never go on a mega-ship or a super-luxury line. Couldn't stand the former nor afford the latter. Whether there really are 15,000 travelers like us, as OlsSalt envisions, is a good question. British lines such as Fred. Olsen and Saga may be on the way to an answer. Many of their passengers are older Brits who are content with small cabins, little glitz, and modest entertainment. We enjoy this kind of travel--and had a fine river cruise in Portugal last year with a British outfit.. I'm looking now at a Fred. Olsen cruise that goes from Tenerife to Cape Town with stops along the coast of Africa and at St. Helena and Ascension Islands. For about four weeks in an ocean-view cabin, the cost is around $4500 per person or $175/day including drinks and gratuities. Economies of scale will probably prevent American lines from continuing to provide the kind of cruising we like at a price we can bear. But some European lines may be answer for now.
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