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About sippican

  • Rank
    3,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Wht Mts, NH - Gulf Coast, FL
  • Interests
    hiking, skiing, traveling, photography
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    We cruise for itinerary, not line
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    The next one planned!

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  1. Thanks for that! It does answer one question about the 16 licenses, stating that Xploration will stay in service for the time being. This will allow them to accommodate the "overflow" from Xpedition, once approved, while not having the licenses go unused. So those worried about being bumped due to the reduction in capacity on Xpedition can rest a bit easier. Having done the trip before, I'd certainly be happy to take the reduction in cruise fare for the smaller ship! My guess is that they will continue to work on getting an exception to the law, which will allow the combination of the licenses so that Xpedition can eventually sail with the planned 64.
  2. Yes, it is important to compare apples to apples if you want a comparable tour. I'm sure you'll find something that works for your needs and wants. If your final decision is to go with Celebrity, I'm sure you'll be very pleased.
  3. We did the extension in November. We had 24 participate, and were divided into two groups in the vans, and even smaller groups for the actual tours of MP and SV. Accommodations were made for all mobility levels. No one held anyone back and no one was pressured to do more than they felt capable. I have bad knees, and almost opted to go with the easier route, but, my guide encouraged me and said he knew I could do it from observing me at SV and other places. I am so glad I listened to him. There were many opportunities to stop while the guides talked and to take in the wonder of the site. I agree that only you can decide how long you want to spend at the actual MP site. For extended time or a repeat visit the next day I recommend the one and only hotel on site - Belmond Sanctuary. Any other place and you need to factor in transportation time up and down the mountain. You'll also need to find a guide who has access to extra tickets as the access time slots are strictly regulated (one is 6 hours, one is 5 1/2), and the number of visitors is retstricted. We felt the time we spent onsite was perfect and do not regret that we did not have more. Seeing sunrise at the MP site is my only "I wonder if" and even that is unsure with the new restrictions and weather. We originally booked the cruise only as we are avid DIYers who hate canned bus tours. I compared the Celebrity tour to a number of other recommended providers. To duplicate the same 5 star hotels, all meals, transfers, guides, entrance fees, train rides (Hiram Bingham was great) and flights would have cost the same or even more. Every single experience was exceptional and interesting. I am so glad I added the extension and feel it was worth every penny. You can absolutley do a private tour for less money, but if you want first class all the way, X may be for you.
  4. Take a look at Maps.me or HereWeGo to see if they'll meet your needs.
  5. I can chime in here regarding out experience aboard the Xpedition (not sure if it varies from ship to ship). When we traveled in November, we felt the shortie wetsuits were more than adequate and we were quite comfortable. The water felt a bit chilly upon entry, but we were never actually cold. There were a few long -sleeved suits but I saw none with complete coverage provided by the ship. You will go to be fitted for equipment the first day aboard, and they place all of your equipment in a bag on a hook with your cabin number. I do not recall that they were still wet for the next snorkel. We did bring our own personal snorkel and mask but used the ship's fins and wet suit. We also brought our fin socks for comfort and to avoid blisters (we already had the snorkel equipment). Truthfully I am very glad with our decision to not purchase and bring wetsuits as we were fine with the provided ones and I saved packing room. It is a personal choice for everyone. You can find tons of other suggestions and info on the "Recently Back" thread on the Xpedition Roll Call forum.
  6. The four ships in play are not comparable in amenities. So if you paid for an oceanview on Xpedition and are placed on Flora (which is all suites) for no additional charge, you should be very happy. If you paid for an upper level suite on Xpedition (there are only 2) and are placed in a basic suite on Flora - that is not equitable. If you are placed from any category on Xpedition to Xpereince or Xploration, it is not comparable in amenities, condition, etc., and I would expect a refund of some sort. FWIW - the Xpedition suites are no better than a balcony cabin on any other older ship (we've sailed in one). So unless you have paid for either the Penthouse or Royal Suite on Xpedition, you'll be very fortunate to be transferred to any suite on Flora with no compensation.
  7. I had asked a similar question on another thread. After an extensive search, it seems that Australia is very gluten-friendly. That being said, after a very frustrating search for stores, which wasted a good deal my valuable time, in another country, I will be bringing some of my own familiar packaged snacks. They will be unopened, and I will declare them. There's nothing worse than being stuck in an airport, on a plane, bus, or tour, and being hungry. This has happened a few times in "glutei-friendly" environments and I want options because I tend to get very "hangry". https://www.coeliac.org.au/travelling-to-australia/
  8. FWIW, to those in the planning stage, there is only one hotel at the Machu Picchu site, the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge. During the busy seasons it can book up many months in advance. If you stay in Aguas Clients, you must ride the bus approxiamtely 1/2 hour each way to reach the site so plan accordingly. We felt the time allotted was adequate but if I had one regret, it would be to not have seen the sunrise from the site. Usually this is not possible unless you are on the Inca Trail as the earliest entry is 6:00 am. New rules have recently been implemented so if you engage a private tour and wish to spend extended time, be sure they have access to tickets for more than one session. Entrance slots are limited and only allowed according to the following schedule: Morning shift: entry from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. Afternoon shift: entry from 12 pm until 5.30 pm, so your maximum time on site is 5 1/2 or 6 hours. You must be accompanied by a licensed guide during the your entire initial visit. You can purchase a sencond day ticket and access the site the second day without your guide (if there is availability). Whichever way you choose to see Machu Picchu, it is truly amazing!
  9. Thank you. And I do agree with your point that the key is communication, which has been greatly lacking, and even non-existent, to travel agents and cruisers. IMHO, that is why the subject has been, and contiues to be such a sore subject. I think the question arose on the LLP thread out of pure frustration and desperation.
  10. I agree that they are probably currently in process to get the 48 licenses transferred or reinstated to Xpedition. But I am doubtful it will make sense in the long run to continue running Xpedition, at half capacity and sell off the Xperience. The acquisition of Silver Sea might come into play in the Galapagos also, as they have a brand new ship coming out next year.
  11. Bookings made on Xpedition after Flora's debut were being held at 64 (not the previous 96) as that was the number of licenses that were expected to transfer to Xpedition after Xperience and Xploration were taken out of service. So they can accommodate 64 passengers on Xperience and Xploration combined until the issue is resolved. My understanding is that Xploration has been put back into service with Xperience.
  12. For those whao are currently dealing with a cancellation of their Xpedition cruise. I just want to put it out there that there are currently "displaced" passengers on the Flora who were given that upgrade for free. This is reported on Celebrity's Captains Club FB page by a passneger on the current Flora sailing. The CC article linked aboved states that the Flora is offered at a cost increase. Seems like the compensation for the inconvenience is not consistent.
  13. Yes, there are options. Some not on the same day as the original booking. The Xperience can not hold the 64 passengers booked on Xpedition. Last I understood, Xploration has not even been sailing, nor being offered. Yes, it is out of their hands, but they can do the "right thing" by being forthright with both passengers and TAs. But would you not agree that being told that there are no problems, and "your sailing is not impacted" are untruthful at best when they have no idea when, or even if, the license will be restored? There are still hundreds of cruisers out there that do not have a clue that their plans may be impacted, even in the next few weeks. Do you think it is ok to be taking bookings with such an uncertain future? Celebrity broke a law, and it seems the government made an exception that was not well-received (to say the least) by the people of the Galapagos. The Galapagos forums on other boards report that their environmental license was also revoked (an issue separate from the passenger capacity issue). FWIW - when a cruiser was told by X the issue had been resolved, they sent a tweet to the governmental office in Ecuador and received a contrary reply. Seems strange they wouldn't be communicating with X! I am a big fan of Celebrity but IMHO, they have been trying to sweep this issue under the rug.
  14. The Galapagos issue is huge for those who are awaiting cruises on the Xpedition. For most, this is the trip of a lifetime, and costs more than any other trip they might ever take. These cruisers and their travel agents have received no advance notice of any type (typical notification of this issue has been a week to 10 days) that these cruises have been cancelled. In fact, most travel agencies are completely unaware that the Xpedition has been out of service due to the revocation of its license to operate in the Galapagos. I think most would agree that it IS disrepectful to give a weeks notice for such a trip. Heck, I've seen cruisers have temper tantrums over cruises that are cancelled months in advance. This is not an unexpected emergency, this has now been going on for over a month with no resolution in sight. Her answer was to watch the boards for updates (there has never been info posted by X on this issue). When queried further, the answer was changed to - cruisers will be notified. Sorry, but that is not respectful and if you are one of the cruisers impacted, or wondering if your cruise is impacted. I think you'd agree. Acting with integrity would be to let all booked Xpedition cruisers know that there is an issue that may impact their sailing. Integrity would be to give them choices now, not a week prior to sailing. Integrity would be to notify all travel agencies of the potential issue. Integrity would be for the Galapagos Desk representatives give correct up to date information. Integrity would be to stop taking bookings on a ship that has no license.
  15. Thanks for the link. Perhaps the posts on the LLP thread sparked some interest in commenting on the issue.
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