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SargassoPirate

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Everything posted by SargassoPirate

  1. We have had wonderful tours all over the world through Tours By Locals. Highly recommend them. We have not used them in Kusadasi, but I see that their website lists 10 tour guides to choose from. Hopefully this link will work or you can cut and paste. https://www.toursbylocals.com/TBL/WebObjects/ToursByLocals.woa/wa/mapclick?type=guide&region=62&area=235&wosid=T4TPsQqUIfMxFfuRYKEGHw
  2. It reflects their confidence in seeing the northern lights. If you don't see the northern lights, they'll give you another cruise. I read several threads on the Hurtigruten board to get a feel for what the coastal cruises were like and also watched several videos on YouTube.
  3. Here are the details from the Princess website. You have to search for a particular cruise before you can find out the details of the sale. This is a cut and paste. Best. Sale. Ever. With drinks†, wi-fi‡‡ & gratuities included‡ Wi-Fi Package Premier Beverage Package With Tips Full Onboard Gratuities Included N/A N/A Full Onboard Gratuities Included N/A N/A N/A General Terms (applicable to all portions of the Offer) – ONLY available if all guests in a stateroom elect to participate in the Offer. Offer expires February 29, 2020 and is only available to residents of 50 United States or D.C., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Offer and its parts are non-transferable, is not redeemable for cash at any point, and may not be combined with other offers or other onboard credits. Offer’s Drinks, Wi-Fi, and Gratuities are only available on board the ship (not applicable to land portions), may only be used on a single voyage, and expire at the end of such voyage. Offer available on select voyages sailing starting on March 26, 2020. Offer is only available on cruises indicated as “Best. Sale. Ever.” Offer is capacity-controlled regardless of availability. *Fares are per guest and apply to minimum lead-in categories on a space-available basis at time of booking. Fares are non-air, cruise- or cruisetour-only, based on double occupancy and apply to the first two guests in a stateroom. Fares and other values quoted in USD. †Premier Beverage Package applies to guests booked in all stateroom types. It is valid only for all guests in a stateroom who are 21 years or older. Guests who are under 21 years of age at the time of sailing can still book the Best. Sale. Ever. pricing, but will receive the Premier Coffee & Soda Package and will not receive any refund or otherwise for that portion of the Offer. A daily limit on alcoholic beverages will apply. ‡‡Wi-Fi included for one device per guest. Wi-Fi details will be delivered pre-cruise or in the stateroom. All internet usage subject to Princess Cruises’ standard policies, which may limit browsing of sites due to network security and bandwidth usage. Applications that use high bandwidth may be blocked and offerings subject to change with or without notice. ‡Gratuities included are in the ships onboard currency. Amount of gratuities paid on behalf of guest may vary based on stateroom type. This amount is paid on the behalf of all guests in a stateroom. Gratuities do not include gratuities added to bar charges, dining room wine accounts, or Lotus Spa services. Offer valid: December 11, 2019 - February 29, 2020 on select cruises sailing starting on March 26, 2020. Deposit of $100 USD per guest is refundable. Full Suites require a $200 USD refundable deposit per guest. Cruises under 6 days require a $50 USD refundable deposit per guest. Deposits are required for guests 1 and 2 only. Reference promotion code: NZ* SPECIAL OFFERS AVAILABLEInteriorOceanviewBalconyMini-suiteSuite
  4. Our pullman bags have wheels and are no worse than pulling the next size smaller bag. Or are you saying we should leave all of our bags with the porter - even the carry on size?
  5. Order a room service breakfast the first morning and keep the coffee pot. Then one of you can refill it at the buffet coffee station in the morning. Be advised, tho, Princess coffee is made with coffee syrup and is swill. We switch to tea for the duration of the cruise. Also, if you book a standard balcony, you will only have a desk chair to sit on, so you may want to bring an inexpensive folding camp chair if you don't want to bother with bringing a balcony chair in and out.
  6. We recently booked a Hurtigruten roundtrip coastal cruise out of Bergen to see the Northern Lights. They offer expedition voyages which are more like traditional cruises and cruises on their coastal ferry boats. We chose the coastal ferry just for the adventure of it. For cruises after October 1, they even offer a Northern Lights Guarantee. There are some good Hurtigruten videos on YouTube.
  7. We are able bodied and often roll our Pullman-sized bags onto the ship ourselves. We have had shoreside staff try to tell us that we have to check them because they are not carryons and when that happens I ask to see a supervisor. On those occasions, the supervisor has confided that they try to discourage people bringing bigger bags through the check in process because some will bring several bags and expect staff to lift them onto the conveyer. They are the same ones who try to self disembark with a wheelchair and a steamer trunk. 😄
  8. She Who Must Be Obeyed sometimes chooses not to go on a particular cruise, so I have cruised solo several times. I love it, but try not to gush about it when I tell SWMBO about the cruise. I like the independence of not traveling by "committee". What do you want to do? I dunno, what do you want to do? I like eating when and where I want, and if all I want is a drink and a few hors d'oeuvres as a dinner, there's no discussion or negotiating. I like staying on the ship on port days instead of another group ABC tour (another blasted castle, another blessed cathedral) because SWMBO doesn't want to miss anything. I like avoiding the over-amplified production shows without another negotitation. One can be alone, but not lonely if you are not afraid to strike up a conversation.
  9. Since the thermostat on the wall is apparently a placebo, we always pack a small electric fan in our checked bag. We pack it in the original box and have never had an issue with the "naughty" room police.
  10. The cutbacks will continue until cabins go unsold. Fortunately, there are many cruise lines and many ships to choose from. Most of them even include chairs/sofas in standard balcony cabins.
  11. I see several sides to this one. One side is the people signed a waiver. Another is that the tour operator apparently ignored warning$ about an uptick in activity by the volcano. Another is that personal responsibility falls by the wayside when there is an opportunity to sue - it must be somebody's fault and not mine. Engage in risky behavior and what outcome can reasonably be expected. You hope it will all turn out ok, but it's still risky.
  12. That pretty much sums up any cruise line's market approach. Fortunately, there are many cruise lines and many ships to choose from. She Who Must Be Obeyed and I choose ships with a wrap around promenade, adults-only ships or when school is in session to reduce the number of feral children on board, comfortable standard balcony cabins, and an interesting itinerary. We don't need over-amplified production shows and, for the most part, don't need to be entertained.
  13. Agree. We've run into this several times at Port Everglades and other ports as well. We show up with our Elite, Diamond Plus, Mariner, Suite, or whatever boarding pass and are directed to the special line. I ALWAYS take a look at the non-status line and often find it shorter. We hustle on over to the short line! It's not that we are in that big of a hurry, but just dislike standing in line if we don't have to
  14. Agree. I remember a boss who had a poster on his wall that said "Poor Planning On Your Part Does Not Constitute An Emergency On My Part" Those who fussed are trying to trying to transfer accountability to the cruise line since somebody else must be responsible - not them.
  15. We are with you. Why cruise if you are disconnected to the ocean? She Who Must Be Obeyed and I have cruised on one mega-ship - the Oasis -mostly just to see what it was all about. We had a good time, but after it was all said and done, it's not an experience we would repeat. Our deal breakers nowadays is a wrap-around promenade, a comfortable balcony cabin, and an interesting itinerary with as few tender ports as possible. We don't need a floating amusement park. Fortunately, there are many cruise lines and many ships to choose from.
  16. Publix near Total Wine also has a good selection of wine and when I buy four bottles they always throw in a nice canvas carrying bag so the bottles don't clank together.
  17. We often build in a land tour before or after a cruise, so we pack as light as possible. On most evenings in the MDR, slacks and a polo shirt works for me. On more dressy nights - whatever the cruise line chooses to call it - I wear a pair of black slacks, a black ribbed T-shirt, and a black sport coat. Other than the sport coat, everything else gets worn multiple times throughout the trip, so the sport coat is the only "extra" for the cruise. The sport coat adds less than two pounds to my bag. As long as I am more dressed up that the guy who wears shorts, a wife-beater, and a backwards ballcap to dinner, I'm good.
  18. The Mexico of today is not the Mexico of 30 years ago when I would cross over to Tijuana for a good restaurant. Nowadays, if a ship I am on ports in Mexico, I enjoy a quiet, uncrowded day on the ship. I don't get off the ship in other ports as well. My cruise, my life, my decision.
  19. Value is relative to what one wants on a cruise. Fortunately, there are many lines and ships to choose from. We've never been a fan of onboard production shows because they are over-amplified. We never choose a cruise based on entertainment, but rather the things that are important to us - the itinerary, the promenade, a sofa or comfortable chairs in the cabin, time of year (fewer feral children running loose) and the price. A six-thousand passenger floating amusement park during spring break is not for us at any price.
  20. It would never work for me to try to talk She Who Must Be Obeyed into any trip that she is not interested in. And the reverse is true. While we love to travel together, there are times when we have taken trips without the other. For example, I sometimes take extended solo motorcycle trips. SWMBO went on a photo safari in Africa with a longtime girl friend. I took a solo cruise around South America a few years ago. We have agreed that when it's time to take up the rockin' chair that we are not going to have regrets about things that we wished we had done. To that end, when I broached the subject of a world cruise, SWMBO said that she had no interest in being on a ship that long. I told her I would miss her while I was gone, but if I didn't do a world cruise I would regret it the rest of my life. After several years of research, I finally put a stake in the ground and have my solo world cruise booked for 2022. A solo world cruise will cost more since I'll be paying the single supplement, but I booked an inside (which suits me just fine since on previous solo cruises I book an inside).
  21. I am probably in the minority, but if She Who Must Be Obeyed and I never had to sit through another over-amplified production show, I would be a happy cruiser. Sometimes, when the show is too loud and the singers are screeching, we leave and take a few turns around the promenade and preserve the hearing we have left. We don't cruise for the entertainment, but rather to enjoy being at sea on an interesting itinerary. Our next cruise on HAL is about a year away, so we'll see what's changed by then and how we feel about it. In the meantime, a bad day at sea is still better than a good day at the office.
  22. Wahooo! Thanks. I was thinking that on our previous HAL cruise, the fine print required that it be consumed in the cabin. No way to enforce that anyway.
  23. Correct me if my memory has faded, but here is what I recall about specialty dining over the years. When specialty dining was first rolled out, the extra charge was billed in the sales pitch as the gratuity for the crew working the specialty dining area. We signed the bill for the upcharge amount and that was it. The food and the service was well worth it. Then, another 18 percent mandatory gratuity was added. A gratuity plus a gratuity. We signed the bill and that was it. The food and service was still worth it but, as the popularity of specialty dining increased, starting to slip in its appeal. Then, the bill presented at the end of the meal included a line for us to write in another gratuity amount, over and above the original basic gratuity and the mandatory 18 percent gratuity. Our last few experiences with specialty dining has been less favorable than the MDR and a regular waiter. That's a gratuity, plus a gratuity, plus a gratuity. Not worth it anymore.
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