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Everything posted by fabnfortysomething

  1. language issues in Barcelona I suspect are more of a pretence on part of [some] locals we had a local tour guide who explained that the Catalan dialect is similar but not same as pure Spanish and as Catalonia is attempting independence from Spain some refuse to reply to pure Spanish taxi drivers I have found are a law into themselves-I am sure they pretend not to understand English if the fare is too short Trying to get taxi from Pl Catalunya back to ship was an exercise! write down your destination and show to driver
  2. I assume this is your "treat yourself" cruise after your recent trauma with your ankle sugery go for it and tell us all about it in a review
  3. we used them last year and they are one of top recommended companies most St Petersburg private tour companies do a great job-they have to-with the visa free tour they cant afford to get it wrong or their reputation would suffer
  4. I know its a typo but I had to chuckle at the cursing the British Isles-you certainly will be cursing the weather re unpredictability! layers are the way to go and yes bright colours by all means Princess tends to be a more dress up line so will need more formal outfits for at least a couple of nights
  5. any of the frequently mentioned tour companies would put together a private tour for you based on your needs-question is do you want to find enough like minded people on your roll call to make up a group yourself to bring costs down most popular tours incorporate Amalfi coast as that makes most use of private driver being further away from Pompeii and taking in coastal views Italy tour guides cant accompany you in to sites such as Pompeii or Herculaneum-you would have to hire a private guide at entrance if you don't want to explore ruins on your own there are taxis available at dock which have fixed fares to and from ruins with 2 hours there before they meet you-you may be able to negotiate with one to give you longer but they prefer standard 2 hours as means can pack more fares into the day
  6. luggage storage is main issue but meeting up las Ramblas or Pl Catalunya area for catch up sounds like a plan if you don't want to organise a sightseeing tour if its a catch up that wont be needed as you will be too busy talking if anything like our meet ups with USA friends I'd look into hotels near above mentioned areas where you could do the equivalent of high tea whilst surrounded by your luggage before you get a taxi to port and check in for your cruise
  7. forgive my ignorance but I thought it was only if you are squeaky clean you are eligible for the visa waiver status if you have a criminal record or profession such as journalist[not suggesting 2 are linked!] wont you will be denied ESTA and have to apply for full visa? didn't a UK celebrity get caught out a few years ago when tried to enter USA for a family holiday and was denied because of a drug conviction?
  8. yes you will need to make your way to the top to meet the tour the geography of the port means no vehicles can get down to where the tender drops off the exception is the ships tours which tender to a different location along the coast where tour buses can get down to sea level I would also check with Viator that it is truly a private tour for your group of 18 as mentioned they are a 3rd party booker so don't actually run tours themselves I wouldn't be surprised if you found yourselves on a large 60 seater bus with other people who booked with them separately
  9. thanks am going to book Wheelchair assistance for husband so that may also help
  10. we will be sailing Southampton to New York on QM2 next year plan is to fly to see friends several hundred miles North on day ship docks How is immigration handled for UK citizens-on board ship or at terminal? I know when flying into USA we can be stuck in long immigration lines and wonder whether can expect similar arriving by ship just trying to plan timing of flight
  11. that's very unusual about taxis there can sometimes be a long line but taxis on a continual stream into and out of port and employees vetting the lines were there an usually high number of ships in port? we once experienced a long wait for the port shuttle buses with a 30 minute wait for one to arrive-however the taxi line was continually moving
  12. we have had 2 Baltic cruises and used private guides both times first time in 2010 we used Anastasia for our party of 3-arranged shortened days to allow for my husbands walking difficulties in between hip repacements 2018 we used TJ tours for party of 5 with itinerary covering sites not seen first time Both times I contacted several tour companies with my requirements and went with the company most receptive to my needs
  13. we have booked Alibrandi Palace and they offer transfer from FCO airport to hotel with local taxi firm for 130euros and a small additional fee for shared shuttle to ship next morning hope we have made right choice
  14. last time we sailed out of Southampton there were big signs on wall saying tipping not expected
  15. Below is description of the full day taken from my cruise notes.I'm afraid I cant remember cost as my rucksack was stolen with notebook on final day We found our guide Carlos from Tours from Cadiz waiting for us outside ship .I have to say this is probably the best private tour guide we have used. Carlos had a 5 seater saloon car and expressed concern whether we had enough room for 4 of us and could change to a larger vehicle but reason for smaller car would be our first call-narrow streets -cozy but we not that heavy so said we were fine Drive from Cadiz to hilltop village of Arcos de la Frontera And the reason for the smaller car=really narrow streets and local cars apparent by their scrapes on body work! Entertainment watching a delivery van trying to scrape through an archway only an inch wider then van and that was with side mirrors retracted! Carlos had arranged a guide for us at no extra cost-Sonia who met us at the viewpoint overlooking the plateau below and gave us interesting history of the town Carlos included in his tour a “photographic package” where he would take photos of us to be emailed later As we were on viewing platform a group of people wearing NCL shore excursion stickers arrived so we realised was time to move on Carlos brought us to his favourite café in centre next to convent and apparently where he brings all his guests/taximates Included in price bread/coffee water and chance to chat Until the previous NCL tour group turned up and the tour guide in strident voice amplified by microphone gives talk on history on convent As they passed on we breathed a sigh of relief and Carlos and Sonia quietly repeated the relevant info whilst continuing to chat We were then guided around the narrow streets with Carlos and Sonia Sorry to say goodbye to Sonia as it was time to get back in taxi and our next stop the equestrian training school in Jerez de la Frontera.It was a bit surreal seeing this large park area in middle of busy city and the horse training stables. Carlos stayed with taxi and met us back once we had a look around and watched the horses being trained. We were then driven to a local tapas bar as our timed entrance for Sherry factory wasn’t for almost an hour. It was a bit early for regular eating-obviously locals don’t east lunch as early as 12.45! However Carlos had a word with owner and suggested a few tapas dishes and we also had a local beer .Cant remember cost but it was very reasonable .We took opportunity to just chat more. At the Sherry factory a “jobsworth” security guard was being awkward about letting Carlos park in front and as there was an admission fee anyway we decided to pass on this part and Carlos took us back to Cadiz where he could drive us round and show us his favourite parts. Dropping back off at ship he took a a final polaroid photo of us with his details on back and promised to email us the other photos he had taken during the day He was as good as his word and 6 arranged to send back those he had taken This is one guide we would not hesitate to recommend and would be worth a repeat visit to Cadiz just to meet him for a coffee as he suggested!
  16. we used Carlos for taxi tour of white villages and he arranged for a tour guide colleague to meet us at Arcos highly recommended he is a keen photographer and will take photos of you during the trip and send to you afterwards www.toursfromcadiz.com email carlos@toursfromcadiz.com tell him Lyn and Ian recommended him
  17. there are a lot of private tour companies recommended on here who would pick you up early morning and escort you round Rome and drop you back at port in plenty of time they will tell you what is achievable
  18. you will find that most posters on cruise critic are fans of DIY or private tours and know to avoid the ships excursions which have 50 plus people on a big bus and if more than 1 stop involves delays as there are always stragglers who turn up back at the bus long after suggested time to the aggravation of fellow passengers I know you say you are only interested in ships shuttle but from your requirement for a most direct least troublesome method be aware there will be lots of taxis lined up in Naples port offering fixed fee transfers to Pompeii-I think current price is around 100 euros which may work for you
  19. it seems that trip advisor is trying to act as intermediary for booking tours OK it was on a UK round cruise so perhaps not directly relevant on this forum However 2 private tour companies-one in Orkney Islands and one in Southern England said they had been pressured by trip advisor to sign up for guests booking via them [taking commission of course] didn't sit well with me-I look to trip advisor for reviews but want to book directly through company not a 3rd party
  20. I would contact a local taxi company in advance and ask for their recommendations Oia is always seen as primary attraction therefore packed with crowds but there is so much else to see on the island-black sand beach and houses built into sandstone cliffs that many tourists miss amongst others
  21. I've had a couple of occasions where had VIP status in a standard cabin and had the daily "treats" dropped off which I assume are the same as suites get and their butler delivers I have absolutely no idea who actually delivered them as were in room when we got back and it wasn't our room steward
  22. had to cancel October cruise on Star and only lost £100 deposit-check what your loss would be And join us on April 9 cruise from Civitiveccia Greek isles and Italy!
  23. amazing how this show polarises people have seen London West End, Film with Tom Cruise and on board ship enjoyed all of them however multiple warnings that not suitable for kids-same for Priscilla Queen of Desert but people still disregard and then walk out in a strop minutes into show causing disruption for rest of audience
  24. there are several steps to get under the rail racks which can be tricky with luggage apparantly there is a wheelchair accessible route but we couldn't find it
  25. agree with John Bull avoid ships tour as their large coaches mean they are inaccessible the last part of the tip where Apes are and its a long uphill walk! getting off ship ASAP and joining other cruisers to fill one of waiting taxis which will take you on tour including the main sites key is to get up to top before the tour buses so that means leaving before 8.30am
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