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    Westerville, OH USA
  • Interests
    Genealogy and writing

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  1. We took a wonderful tour with Magic Steps Travel. We went to the House of the Virgin Mary which was moderately interesting only to witness how certain Christians view things (no real archaeology that is compelling as the site was determined through a German nun's vision.) We visited Ephesus and the Terrace Houses which were amazing. In addition we were also toured St. John's Basilica in Ephesus and the site of the Temple of Artemis. If you could get your guide to drop the House of the Virgin Mary and go to the Fortress, that would be ideal. It was closed for renovation when we were there. We also went to a Turkish buffet restaurant and enjoyed all the food. Save time for Kusadasi. We were the last cruise of the year and the shop owners were really discounting items!
  2. Guided Tours Israel did a customized tour for our group of 12 that included: Akko (Acre, the Crusader Fortress), Baha'i Gardens, Caesarea Maritima, and a short stop at the aqueducts. We never felt rushed and had a lovely lunch in Acre. Highly recommended. From Haifa.
  3. I mentioned it above, but here it is again. Highly recommended: Guided Tours Israel, a favorite of cruise critics.
  4. As of now (OCT 2021), you can visit ports on your own. That can change anytime though so keep current. Although the private island IS private, it is still in the Bahamas and can be impacted if the government sets up new rules.
  5. It is a twelve hour experience to visit Masada from port. Most cruises offer the tour and assure you will get back in time.
  6. For those of you hoping to go to Israel on a cruise, be aware that you are taking a gamble during covid. We took a fantastic cruise in Nov 2019 with three days in Israel. We then booked a Nov 2021 cruise with a similar itinerary. Knowing that the cruise line could just cancel the Israeli port stops at any point, we decided to cancel before final payment since Israel was going through a surge. Good thing! The cruise line dropped the two ports in Israel less than a month later. If Israel is your goal, take a land trip.
  7. I think the decision has a lot to do with your time in Europe. A spring eastbound trip allow you refreshed and ready to tackle travel in Europe. If the goal is primarily for the cruise and little European travel, then a fall cruise makes more sense. As a retired person, I can rest when I return home after that arduous flight with jetlag. I prefer getting my body clock adjusted before European travel.
  8. And they only work on weekends. I can't count the number of times I have been told a glitch would be cleared up after the weekend.
  9. The CC person who posted this didn't name their source. I suppose time will tell.
  10. Has anyone heard this? I heard that a cruise blogger reported that Royal had cancelled all their 2022 to Australia/New Zealand and that other cruise lines were going to follow. I can still access my Oct 2022 reservation, but if I search for the sailing as a new booking, I can't find it.
  11. I'd like to know the procedures for COVID testing in between the B2B.
  12. I booked an MSC cruise today and the MSC agent was very efficient and knowledgeable. I verified everything I learned on CC with her, too. That said, I spoke with one last week who was as you describe. I think in the future, I'm going with my gut level feeling about an agent and just excuse myself and hang up on them and try again with a different agent.
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