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kitkat343

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  1. Thanks for the updates. This was an amazing cruise and I’m glad some lines will be able to visit Flåm and geiranger.
  2. no it's absolutely not possible to drop off early. Princess kids club close for only one hour for lunch and dinner each so there were a lot fewer logistical problems with the kids clubs on their ships, and I believe Celebrity also only closes for an hour for lunch and dinner. NCL's two hour closure created long lines on the Star if you show up right at 7 pm when they reopen.
  3. does anyone know which cruise lines will be able to continue sailing into Geiranger and Flam?
  4. Flam and Geiranger were two of my favorite ports (and actually were the two we used as a basis for finding a cruise). We also loved Olden. I haven't sailed your new ports, so I don't know how significant the change is.
  5. I’d love the surprise, but I’d agree with everyone that we can’t really predict how your wife will feel
  6. We've taken our children on several cruises, and have always chosen independent excursions so we can return to the ship easily if things don't go well. We've taken our children all over the world, including St. Petersburg and Cartagena, and our only excursion disaster was a princess excursion. In Panama, the Coral Princess docks at Gatun Lake and only allows passengers who have signed up for a Princess tour to leave the boat, as per Panama Canal Authority regulations. The boat returns back through the locks and then docks in Colon, where passengers on Princess cruise tours are able to reboard. We signed up for a short tour Gatun Lakes Cruise and Locks so we would be able to give our son a nap before he got overtired. Unfortunately, we were not informed until the day before Panama when it was too late to switch tours that there would be a substantial gap between when our tour ends, and when we would be allowed to reboard the ship. We were told at the end of the tour that we would be allowed back on the ship in an hour when it docked. The ship arrived on time one hour later, but no one was allowed to board for another hour, and the Panamanian authorities would not tell us when we would be allowed to board. That led to two very long hours standing outside of an elevator at the port in Colon with a screaming toddler who needed to nap. If we had known about this gap ahead of time, we would have either chosen a longer tour with the Embera Indians or simply disembarked in Colon and taken a cab from Colon to the nearby Gatun locks (although if you are planning this, please check the operating hours at Gatun locks, since I don't know what time they close, and the docking time for the Princess boats at Colon can vary based upon canal traffic). People without children who take short Princess tours in Panama are not likely to experience significant problems with the delay in reboarding the ship, since there is a very affordable supermarket and several restaurants with free wifi in the Port of Colon. The Princess Gatun lake cruise that we took was not very good, since there was very little wildlife (two monkeys and one sloth) and no other ships on Gatun lake. Wildlife and ship traffic are not guaranteed and on another day people might have more luck seeing interesting things on this tour but overall we were disappointed that our only Princess tour was the most disorganized tour we took on this cruise, and we would not want to utilize cruise tours in the future. Alaska is perfect for independent excursions, since everything is pretty close to the port and there's little risk of missing the ship. Harv and Marv do an excellent whale watching excursion., although their ships are small. You'd be able to walk around a bigger ship with the cruise excursion, although I'm not entirely certain whale watching is an ideal choice for young children. Please see my Alaska cruise review - it was the cruise I was pregnant with my first, so the only one without children present. The Bering Sea tour is amazing, but doesn't allow young children. The helicopter to dogsled on mountain is also amazing but gives no discount for children, so its a really pricey excursion, but a once in a lifetime opportunity. Please also note that on Princess you can take a child under 3 to the kids club with parental supervision. The kids club staff was amazing with my 24 month old, and they helped him do all the arts and craft activities like the older kids. According to Princess website, they will bring puppies on board on Alaska cruises so I'm sure she'll love that.
  7. We did the Flam railway in the morning, and it was amazing. If your afternoon is free this tour was wonderful too: In Flam, we had a lovely afternoon visiting a goat farm, exploring the beautiful town of Undredal (the inspiration for the movie Frozen), and then eating local cheeses (including brown caramel goat cheese) and a delicious lunch that was organized by Flam Guide Service ( http://www.fjordsafari.com ). Fjord Safari's booth is located about a minute away from the Flam railway platform, so you will have no problem finding your tour. You can combine this tour with a hike and boat ride along the fjords if your group is all physically fit. It was a very pleasant and enjoyable excursion, which I would highly recommend. We traveled in May, before the goats move to their summer farms so this excursion had to be individually arranged. Flam Guide service stayed in contact with us and gave us updates as they worked to book this reservation, and they also helpfully provided car seats for our children. Our tour guide was highly knowlegdable and helpful and this tour was one of the highlights of our cruise.
  8. I stopped in Montego Bay, so I don't know that I can really help you. I did want to say that I've been to Jamaica twice and felt completely safe both times on private tours. The first time was before kids at an all inclusive, and the people from our resort who went on an excursion that dropped them off at an outdoor shopping market did not feel safe, but on my tour to waterfalls and water rafting was completely safe. So it might not be the best island to just wander around randomly by yourself, but if you have a planned excursion and guide it will feel completely safe. Our second trip with a 2 year we visited Dolphin Cove, a really nice place for small children located right across from Dunn's rive falls. You can hold your kids while a dolphin comes and give them a kiss, feed birds by hand and pet stingrays. I'm not sure it's worth the 60 minute commute from Falmouth though, but it is a great stop for families in Montego BAy. We also had an excellent lunch at Scotchies, which is a chain all over Jamaica and serves great jerk chicken.
  9. If you don’t know for certain if they are banned, I don’t think it’s cruel to ask them. Honestly, given the fact that it was marijuana, and if it’s been a long time since their offense, maybe they can write to ncl to try to appeal the ban if they call ncl directly and are told they are still banned.
  10. Is that over thanksgiving? We left on january 8, and there were only 9 kids on our cruise. The previous cruise over New Years had 200. Please check my signature line if you are doing the 10 day round trip - we found a lot of great private vendors and had a wonderful cruise.
  11. Laguardia is in queens, and jfk is on Long Island so depending on the traffic/your exact destination they’re not necessarily any faster to manhattan than Newark.
  12. Have you also posted to your cc roll call? Best of luck to you.
  13. I’m glad they are notifying everyone clearly ahead of time. Prior to the change allowing cruise lines to let their passengers off first, the private tours would start earlier on day one and later on day 2. Because we are going on a private tour of just our family with a 3 year old, one tour company recommended just starting later on day one and then earlier on day 2 to avoid all lines even before the disembarkment changes were made. So it’s possible to spend the exact same amount of time in St. Petersburg and avoid lines, you just need to rearrange your schedule.
  14. I’m so glad everything worked out!
  15. "One other thing I find annoying is that all of the cruise lines are charging premium $$ for the Cuba cruises and are using their ships that are ready to go to drydock for refurbishment. " I have small children, so right now the thing preventing me from booking a cruise to cuba is that RC ships with nurseries aren't sailing to Cuba. When I spoke to RC about another cruise, the RC agent stated that the problem is that the port of Havana is too shallow to accommodate more recently built cruise ships. As the cruise lines bring in more new ships, I 'd expect eventually someone would put a newer ship in Havana if the port can accommodate it (that seemed to happen in the Baltics, where the ships all used to be older but now there are a bunch of newer ships on that route that can't all sail into stockholm directly) but I have no idea if the phone agent was telling me the truth.
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