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Northern Aurora

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About Northern Aurora

  • Rank
    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Fairbanks, AK
  • Interests
    reading, quilting
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    the next cruise

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  1. Phil: Last night we watched the Maasdam leave the Port of Honolulu from our 27th floor hotel balcony. A US Coast Guard cutter was also at anchor in the harbor and left just after the Massdam. My birdwatcher husband always travels with at least one pair of binoculars, and he could see the upper decks lined with folks. I certainly wish the Maasdam well and hope they have a smooth crossing. And to Beachin2 and all of the others on the Eclipse: Those of us on the Solstice were following your situation while on our March 10th cruise. The Solstice docked at the OPT in Sydney the evening of March 19, but all remained onboard until the 20th. The bulk of passengers on our QANTAS flight from Sydney to Honolulu were from either the Solstice or a Princess ship, and there was great relief as we taxied down that runway, followed by chapping when we landed in Honolulu 9+ hours later. Now we are waiting for our Alaska Air flight out of Honolulu tomorrow, while we practice our social distancing skills — and from what we are observing from our hotel balcony, a number of folks seem rather fuzzy regarding what they should be doing.
  2. Of the three times we have stayed at the Hotel Barcelona Universal twice we were in the large terrace rooms (these rooms have their own private terraces) mentioned by George C. While the two we stayed in were very differently configured, both were very large.
  3. The name is the Hotel Barcelona Universal. Great location, but not in the touristy Las Ramblas area (but close enough you can walk to Las Ramblas). Multi-lingual staff. Entrance to the Barcelona subway right out the hotel main entrance. We have always booked a rate which included their buffet (hot and cold items) breakfast.
  4. We have done six full PC transits, and there is no “best side” for the transit as there will be interesting sights on both sides. And narration during the actual transit will be broadcast through the ship’s public lounges and outdoor areas during the actual transit. So the best “side” to be on during the transit, which will take hours, is to roam as already mentioned. Also, if the weather is nice, which means hot and humid but not pouring rain, the help-pad will most likely be opened. All of our transits have been on Celebrity ships. In our experience there was a destination speaker with expertise on the PC who did lectures to prepare folks for what they were going to see. And to clarify, the canal itself has not been widened. New additional locks have been added to accommodate cargo ships which are too wide to go through the original historic locks. The historic locks are still in operation. Celebrity M-class ships go through the old, original locks, and barely fit through those. Even with the wider new locks much of the freight goes from one ocean to the other via the Panama Railroad. Containers are off loaded, placed on the rail cars, and then reloaded on another ship. ”The Path Between the Seas” by American historian David McCulloch is essentially a “must read” for those transiting the canal. In addition to exhaustive discussion of the American construction, it also covers the earlier French efforts. On the Caribbean side you will see an old section of the French effort.
  5. Thanks for the diversion from the virus threads! We have done three Cape Horn crossings — two on the Infinity and one on the Eclipse, and never felt we had the “full experience.” All three were rather anticlimactic, so guess it is time to book another future South American cruise.
  6. At least in the past I believe they have used the Captain Cook.
  7. In Skagway there are also two berths along the edge of the canal. This is the other side of the port from the industrial dock. Along the waterline at these two berths there are a number of paintings as through the years it was tradition for ship crews to paint the ship name, often with a logo and date, on the large boulders. Through the years some passengers have commented that they find it odd, but the scene certainly says "Skagway" to me. Much of Skagway is second growth timber as the trees were cut during the height of the Klondike gold rush. That second growth timber hides some painted advertisements which were done by Skagway merchants. For example, there is a painted advertisement for a jeweler which, if you know where to look, sometimes from across the valley you can barely see part of it.
  8. For me your limited time is an argument to do the trip to Denali on your own. A significant amount of time on the cruise tours is spent waiting for buses and shuttles to fill. And I wonder how two adult sons in their twenties will enjoy a HAL cruise tour. So easy to fly into Anchorage, rent a vehicle and head north. Gives you so much more flexibility and makes it so much easier to navigate the park area. Regarding the tours in Denali you are considering, as someone who lives in interior Alaska, I think that folks who don't go into the park as far as Eielson Visitor's Center shortchange themselves. The EVC location is spectacular on a clear day, there are a number of interpretative displays and programs such as ranger led hikes. Reading the trip reports, organized by year, at the top of the forum index page may be the most efficient use of your planning time. Doesn't require much time as you have decided on HA as your cruise line so you don't care what the person thought about how the buffet was organized, food quality and so forth of the other lines.
  9. Both of those tours have been offered for years, if not decades, so the odds are pretty good that the excursion will be offered next year.
  10. Thanks for the photo. So appropriate. We are packing today as we leave Wednesday to fly to Honolulu for a few days before flying onto Auckland to board the Solstice.
  11. Through the years we have done six full transits. Our experience has been that we booked when the itinerary was just released, and the prices never went down -- just up, up and up. Most folks find canal transits really interesting, and it is a nice combination of sea days and ports.
  12. With the exception of Zenith members Captain's Club loyalty status is not relevant with Celebrity disembarkation procedures. Anyone can do self-disembarkation, and the line is not organized according the "status." Those passengers able to manage their own luggage are in the first group off as they do self-disembarkation. Zenith Captain's Club members and those in suites receive red luggage tags, and their luggage is organized in a specific area of the baggage hall.
  13. Years ago when the now departed Century was doing sailings from San Diego to Hawaii we were on during Halloween. We also were somewhat of a rarity as the vast bulk of the passengers had either driven to San Diego or had taken the train. We were surprised by the number of passengers in costumes. Some had cleverly combined clothing items to create costumes, but a number of folks were in elaborate costumes and some were quite bulky in size. Some costumes were so large that they would have entirely filled a suitcase. We assumed that the wearers had driven. The ship was nicely decorated, but not as elaborately as we have seen as the ship prepares for Christmas.
  14. We have tendered at Bora Bora three times on Celebrity ships. Generally the last tender is scheduled to leave shore about 30 to 45 minutes before sailing time. So with a 9 PM departure from Bora Bora there should be no issues with a whale watching tour which returns you to the pier at 6 PM.
  15. I don't understand the "24 -48 hours before your cruise"statement. Folks can cancel with no issues not 24 hours before the cruise, but 24 hours before the excursion.
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