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Everything posted by PelicanLvr

  1. Does the cruise line offer a "transfer to Paris". We have done these in Rome and Granada, Spain. It's just a bus transfer there and back with free time in the city. That way you are on a ship tour and a bit less concerned with "getting back" on time. Just don't miss the departure time for the bus back to the ship. Otherwise I agree that you should save Paris for another time. There are some interesting sites closer to the port.
  2. Thank you for the very informative & balanced review. Would appreciate your thoughts on a cruise vs. land tour of Japan. Did the cruise allow you to experience the culture sufficiently? Thanks (in advance) for your thoughts and insight. PL
  3. We experienced the same problem with the specialty restaurants on Sirena in November, 2023. They open at 6pm (with lines waiting to get in) and are closing down by 9pm. If you go after 8pm it's a rush-job to get you out fast! We like to eat later around 8:15 - 8:30 and we couldn't go anywhere except the MDR. Specialty dining rooms were dead and the buffet closed at 8:30. Fortunately, the Maitre D in the MDR was "Alex" and he took great care of us. He helped us "make the best of it."
  4. Another good travel ins site is: Insuremytrip.com I know they had an option for pre-existing coverage if purchased before final payment. I needed that once too. Expensive, but was available.
  5. About 5 years ago when we first renewed Global Entry we had been to Cuba. Both DW and I were called in and interviewed again (separately) and all they wanted to know about was "what were you doing in Cuba". We fortunately had been on a US government approved trip and had all the needed paperwork so it was no problem. Have to renew again this year....hoping for an easier go-round.
  6. Jim - Be sure to look for the "large book" option at the top of the passport renewal application. You will get the most pages possible. Same fee. Just sent our in for renewal.
  7. OP - Welcome to Cruise Critic. I see this is your first post. If your budget permits I really recommend two cabins. X has insides directly across the hall from balconies, which might be a good solution. 4 people in a non-suite room is alot....one bathroom. Tight...not "comfortable" at all.. Even a smaller suite would be crowded at times. Tip - One or more can use the spa locker room showers/sauna before dinner. I always head there while DW has the stateroom & room-shower to herself to dress for the evening. Spa is always quiet at that time, bigger showers and a sauna too! Don't let my secret out!
  8. Was last in BCN in November. Great City. Rick Steves has two good self-guided walking tours on his free app. Sagrada Familia is a must-do. Book early and book going up in one of the towers. Great view and you get up-close with the facade. Picasso Museum is also outstanding as Pablo was a young artist there. Madrid for the day will be a long tough outing. Suggest you reconsider unless there's something there you can't miss. Enjoy BCN, it's our favorite city in Spain!
  9. Suggest you speak to the dining room Maitre D on a night before you arrive in Aruba and make a late dining plan. That way, they can't say you're too late as long as you follow "the plan". OR Aruba has some lovely restaurants and a late departure makes dinner at one a great possibility. We have done that in Aruba at Passions on the Beach. Toes in the sand dinner. Great fun!
  10. We always travel with a multi device charging station. Neater and lots of ports to use!
  11. Since the OP has an evening flight, think about a shore excursion excursion that ends with an airport drop-off. Years ago we did an Everglades tour and airboat ride on departure day with a drop off at FLL.
  12. Think about taking a cruise that starts already in the Caribbean. X used to do departures out of San Juan and many still do. Also some lines use Barbados and St. Martin etc. Embarking already in the Caribbean means lots more ports in a 7 day cruise with a younger demographic. Just a thought......
  13. Rick Steves is a great source of info. Almost as good as us! LOL Seriously, Rick Steves has a great free app with excellent pod casts. Check them out!
  14. Agreed. Dubrovnik also is a small very-walkable old town.
  15. First, WELCOME to Cruise Critic. Lots of great info here! Transportation company in Rome = Romeinlimo. We have used them for transportation and private tours and they are highly recommended on these boards. Great company & very reliable. Good for your transfer from ship to Rome. Port of call Boards are located under "categories" on these boards. Also, check out the "roll call" for your specific sailing - also under categories. This is where people from your specific cruise talk, exchange info, and set up private tours etc. Since you are a large multi-generation group, you will really benefit from private tours as they will be much cheaper per person & a smaller total group. Much more personal attention. Another suggestion in Rome and Venice - Walks of Italy. Excellent walking tours to places not open to the public in places like the Coliseum. We also took their after hours tour of the Sistine Chapel and that was outstanding. See it without the crowds! Check out their site. Hotel - How many rooms do you need? - With that group, you should really think about an apartment. We have rented apartments in both Venice and Rome and it would be great for you. So much more space for everyone and yet you could all be together with a living room etc. Just a thought. OK, that's enough info for now. Happy planning!!
  16. More limited choices......"to serve you better".
  17. My understanding is the obstruction is the life boats and the structures that hold the life boats. Also, I believe some staterooms are more "obstructed" than others. I have seen photos on these boards, so I suggest you keep looking before booking.
  18. I strongly suggest you make a "Plan B". You wouldn't want to be closed out with no plans. Also, this could be a huge positive for you, as many of us stay away from ship tours as too large and slow-moving. Once you go on independent tours.....you won't go back to ship excursions. OP (btw, that's original poster), I see you are brand new to CC today. Welcome! This board, your sailing roll call (do you know what that is?) and the Board on the ports you're visiting are probably full of great independent tour suggestions and reviews. Enjoy planning some great days in Port! PS: OP, Where are you going? Some ports you can even do on your own and don't need a tour....Dubrovnik comes to mind.
  19. When a serving team works hard to make a meal an outstanding experience, I want to make sure they are rewarded for the effort. In that instance, I tip over the X imposed tip amount collected when booking the specialty dinner. I wonder how much of the 20% amount actually goes to the staff that waited on you. A small amount extra means alot to those hard-working folks.
  20. Highly recommend the BCN to Canary Island itinerary in November. Just did it a few months ago (11/2023) and the weather was perfect. Sunny with temps in the 70s. The Canaries has some of the most perfect year-round weather on Earth. Europeans love to vacation there....just too far for us USA folks. Also the weather in the ports in Southern Spain has cooled off from the extreme summer hear and are delightful. Sitting in the sun on sea days was lovely as long as you were protected from the wind.....like around the pool. Open decks were a bit chilly for that. Do not hesitate to go!
  21. I believe it boils down to: deeper balcony (Hump cabins) vs. wake view (SV). Which do you prefer?
  22. Yes, we have done the "Ultimate Dining Package" multiple times on 14 night cruises on M class ships like Connie. Even before some suites got specialty dining for free, there were always several people like us that were there every night. If you like a "nicer & slower" dining experience, it's great! The MDR is just too crowded, busy and chaotic for us. We are not likely to go to "the show" at night and a nice dinner is our evening's entertainment. In our experience, after a few nights, they will cook (within reason) off the menu for you with a day's notice of what you would like. So even with just one restaurant, it was a pleasure. We asked to sit in the same area and have the same service-team each night and that was no problem. Did this last for 12 nights on Summit in 2019. We ate only (12 nights) in Tuscan grill (not LPC fans) and it was great. Had the same table and wait-staff every night. Really got to know them...which is nice. Things have changed a bit in the "post-covid" years....so I can only rely our experience. If you think you would enjoy eating in the specialty dining rooms each night...go for it. Highly recommended!
  23. As someone once said to me: "Cash is always in good taste".
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