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Everything posted by Thejuggler

  1. If I wanted a day trip to Berlin I wouldn't start from Rostock! We did morning in Warnemunde and then an afternoon trip on the Molli train along the coast. Very pleasant and we had a great young guide who explained what the area and life were like when it was part of East Germany (something most on the tour had forgotten about). The only downside was the tour arrived back 20 minutes before our set dining time.
  2. Call direct, as anything above 8 can be dealt with as group booking.
  3. Sounds like the system worked. We had passengers in the queue who were tight for flights departing around 11am (we were in the queue at about 10am), but airport staff were very good at calling out destinations and prioritising passengers with tight connections.
  4. We did pre clearance for a NYC holiday in August 2022 and compared to the arduous process which is US customs in NYC (which can take hours) it was fantastic and a choice I'd make again. We flew to Newark NJ from Leeds via Dublin and the following is the process at the time. As soon as you enter Dublin airport terminal you will be directed to pre clearance. Lots of staff around showing you where to go. As there are many US flights within a few hours you will be in a queue of hundreds, but it flows quite quickly. You eventually reach an escalator with a US customs officer at the top who scans boarding cards. Once you descend the escalator you are on virtual US soil and under US jurisdiction and border force laws. You then join another queue for formal US entry approval. Passport, ESTA checked, photo and fingerprints taken. Whilst in the queue the staff will call for passengers on the earlier flights so they don't miss them. Following this you go through the usual airport security scanning. You are then airside in the terminal. The whole process is very efficient and takes 60-90 minutes. At Newark from leaving the aircraft to picking up luggage and getting our taxi was 30 minutes. Had we not had to wait for luggage it would have been about 5 minutes.
  5. As long as its near a metro station getting to sites won't be a problem. If you are struggling to find somewhere I can recommend the Hotel Exe Cristal Palace, north of Placa Catalunya in L' Eixample, the heart of the upmarket shopping area and 5 minutes walk from Las Ramblas. Its on a quieter cross street so no traffic noise disturbance. Passeig de Gracia Metro station a short walk.
  6. About the only time you will spend less than £5 on anything in London are public transport fares and they are cashless anyway. Buses you just tap the reader when you board as its a flat fare, the tube you tap on entry and on exit so the fare can be calculated. Most readers are on the ticket barrier gates at the station. Some stations don't have barriers, but you are unlikely to venture to them if you are staying central. As a result the majority of people use cards or apple/google pay. I'd certainly set up every card on a phone as its a useful alternative.
  7. The trick with Celebrity is to book when they have an OBC offer. You can then use that to upgrade to the full drinks package and the cruise becomes almost all inclusive.
  8. HOHO are great for an overview and the commentary is always useful if you get a knowledgable guide as there is so much history in London. However to get from one area to the next public transport is better. Underground for longer trips, but for shorter hops use the buses. They are plentiful, have a flat fare of £1.75 per trip (regardless of distance) and a daily cap, you just need contactless or Oyster payment cards (one per person). It needs some planning to know which bus and which stop, but Citymapper app can provide all this information. My last visit I took a seat on a bus and happened to be sat near a guide who had some visitors. I had a free HOHO experience between the Tower and Trafalgar Square as he explained what was being seen along the route! Joolz Guides is a fantastic youtube channel if you want to know interesting facts about different areas of London.
  9. Rabbie's are a long established tour company that do dozens of tours every year. I am surprised they have not told you where you need to meet them.
  10. Le Verdon. Not seen it on a trip for a long time. Nothing worth getting off ship for, but after a day at sea you may want to. Small town and huge beach. Cartagena smaller Spanish town, Barcelona and Cadiz offer more.
  11. The tour you have quoted was once called 'Norway in a Nutshell' a and it's the trip we did in about 2010. This may be a contentious opinion but the poorest part of the whole day for me was actually the Flam railway! The coach drive through tunnels, along valleys and alongside the fjord was far more interesting. Voss is not a particularly attractive place, being quite modern, but it is a main centre for outdoor pursuits. Its built on the edge of a lake and on our visit there was barely a cloud in the sky, lots of paragliders, even had a floatplane land on the water. The buffet lunch in a local hotel was brilliant. Had we paid it would have been about $80, so probably nearer $100 now (hence the price of the trip). The train from Voss climbs up the valley side to Myrdal before you change trains for the descent into Flam on the railway, a lot of which is in tunnels and avalanche shelters which reduces its impact. On our visit the trip ran in both directions, so some did the Flam and Voss trains first before lunch and then returned on the coach. The day is expensive, but with a $100 (ish) cost of lunch it is well worth doing as you see so much more than the Flam railway in both directions,
  12. As an alternative catch the local bus. Bus station is next to the railway station in Sorrento, tickets are cheap and its great fun. First part is cross country over the headland, you then hit the coast road down into Positano, then on to Amalfi. The full trip takes about 90 minutes. https://www.sorrentoinsider.com/en/sorrento-to-positano-bus-schedule
  13. As someone who spends many hours of winter outside coaching and watching rugby its all about layering rather than brands. Merino wool baselayer, both top and bottom. Thin long sleeve sweatshirt or t shirt Fleece or hoodie Then either a down jacket if its dry or a rain jacket in the wet Fleece snood for the neck and a decent thick woolly hat Fleece inner gloves and waterproof outers. Thicker outdoor down trousers with a pair of waterproof outers, Thick long skiing socks. Darntough, Bridgedale are a couple of brands. Now is a good time to buy as many stores will be having end of season sales. TKMaxx is worth a visit. They had lots of outdoor gear on sale a few weeks ago as its end of season. I also rate Decathlon if you have a store nearby, Helly Hansen has been my go to brand for outdoor coats for many years. Sale on their website at the moment.
  14. No problem. The car rental offices will be landside you just need to get yourself there and pick up as normal. I once had a courtesy car following an accident and pick up was my local UK airport.
  15. P&O Ferries successfully argued the UK minimum wage legislation doesn't apply to them and had very bad publicity until the day after they took the decision to sack everyone, they are still operating ferries, The UK Equality Act will be no barrier as they aren't a UK land based company. They are getting bad publicity for being useless at vegan food so a day or two of bad publicity for removing it probably won't affect them too much.
  16. Its a few years since we cruised, but the food court style buffet set up on Celebrity Eclipse was outstanding and streets ahead of similar sized P&O and Princess ships.
  17. Providers need to make a choice. If they are going to state vegan food can be catered for it needs to be and be done well. An excellent menu would have dishes which are so tempting even non vegans would choose them, as is the case with an Indian restaurant I visit regularly and I'm not vegan. They are 100% vegetarian and over 50% are vegan dishes. However if the vegan option amounts to little more than variations of boiled rice with a few pieces of veg take the bad publicity and stop offering it as an option.
  18. Both Flam and Gerainger are many many miles from the sea (Flam is on Sognefjord which is almost 130 miles from the coast at the furthest point!) as soon as you leave the North Sea you are therefore entering the fjord and will usually be cruising overnight, although depending on time of year it may not be dark for long. Get up as early as possible. Head to buffet, coffee and enjoy the slow cruise to the port.
  19. I can understand why it is difficult on a large bus to do both as a Vatican visit can be 5-6 hours if you do everything. We visited Rome for a few days and had a 4pm Vatican tour, but even then had to meet at 3pm as it took an hour to walk to the ticket office and get through the ticket office 'quick' line! That leaves little time to go inside the Colisseum which is also a couple of hours, more if you want to see all the levels. A private tour will probably be the only way, signing up to the roll call may offer opportunity to join other passengers on smaller trips.
  20. I have never had need for cash in Norway, Sweden or Denmark and our first visit was 12 years ago. Even the street sellers were cashless, which wasn't the case in the UK back then.
  21. Our first Norwegian cruise was almost 15 years ago, plenty of wi fi available. Just follow crew members who have a day off to find it!
  22. We hired a car for two days on a 7 day holiday to Sardinia during late May about 10 years ago, but we were in the north near Alghero not around Cagliari. We covered a few hundred trouble free miles and saw plenty. General thoughts was driving isn't as chaotic as the Italian mainland. It was easy enough, plenty of motorways, roads not busy, roadsigns in towns pretty hopeless so satnav is required, Traffic police were everywhere checking speeds, which is also an issue as speed limit signs are sporadic, so know the limits before you travel. We hired our car from the hotel, but I'm sure you will find options online.
  23. The sail in and out of Oslo and two days in Stockholm is difficult to say no to. Both lovely cities with plenty to see and do. Gdansk and Visby are places I'd need to really research and be convinced they offer more than those two do. Its so easy to get from Rotterdam to Amsterdam so I wouldn't see that as an inconvenience. Trains every 5-10 minutes and only a 45 minute trip.
  24. I've visited a few times. Town is small, walk along the front to see the coloured houses, stroll up the hill behind the main street and there are walks along the headland to the lighthouse which takes about half an hour each way, Distillery is in the town centre and interesting to fill an hour, but go there first and book a time slot for later in the day as numbers are limited on each tour. If you want to see more there is a public bus service to Craignure or Calgary Bay (which is stunning if the weather is good).
  25. Rome2rio is the site for all public transport queries. We have used the train from Sorrento to Pompeii and it was easy enough. No need for Italian as the ticket staff are dealing with thousands of passengers a year from all over the world asking for the same tickets. The trains on the line are old, busy, no aircon and not that reliable, but its a nice trip. Pompeii is huge, its all in the open air so take plenty of water and snacks, a hat and sun lotion if visiting during the summer as it could be 85+ degrees. Don't try and do it all, you will know when you have had enough!
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