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grayjay

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About grayjay

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    Germany
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity

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  1. Unfortunately we won't have much time before and after our cruise starting in Dubai except a one-night hotel stay. As we will be visiting several ports during this 11-day cruise I wondered about the many different currencies we'd need, for example Omani Rial or AED Dirham. Of course we can draw some money in each country as soon as we arrive but I wonder if we could get by with credit cards for admissions and such ( we won't be haggling in any souks and aren't interesting in shopping) and using US$ for tips.
  2. grayjay

    Flight out of FCO

    We have flown out of ( and into) FCO lots of times and let me add a few snippets of advice: As Lufthansa is our home carrier we often use them and the FCO Lufthansa personnel is very efficient. Their counters, though, are at the very beginning of terminal 1, and the coach transfers from Civitavecchia leave you stranded at the end of terminal 3 which is quite a walk. As I have walking difficulties I have sometimes requested assistance and the service is much better now ( November 2019) than it often was in the years before. They whisk you through security and customs quite quickly. As the airport is so huge and service is sometimes efficient, sometimes distressfully chaotic, I'd certainly try to leave the ship as soon as possible. We were on "Celebrity Edge" just now and coach transfer started as early at 7 o'clock ( even if passengers were dumped at terminal 3 if they wanted or not). Rows and Rows of pre-ordered taxis and vans were waiting for their passengers and they were able to drop of their passengers in front of the terminal building they wanted to enter - definitely a good choice. We saw long lines both at the counters and security lines of the outbound US carriers. They do have special lanes for direct flights to the US .
  3. yes, please and thank you for both - the Spain Intensive Cruise is one we wanted to book and as I still don't get e-mails I was too late for the last special. It was there on my travel agent's website and gone the next day - and DH and I were still discussing whether to book at once or later on board "Quest" ... On the other hand, as I'm still smarting about having paid 40% more for the imminent cruise we had booked in early spring compared to prices a few weeks later and were still deemed "ineligible" to bid for an upgrade right now perhaps I shouldn't and buy a land-based holiday in Spain for half the price.😉 On the other hand, we haven't been on "Pursuit", yet...
  4. Hi Bonnie, is that also true for the previous Quest cruise, ending Dec. 10th. in Dubai? No AzAmazing evening theme or date shown as yet on the cruise planner. We wanted to finalize our shore excursion bookings and I simply don't want to book an exhausting day in the desert or wherever before another wonderful AzAmazing evening. Perhaps in Muscat also? Thank you.
  5. What terrible smoking policy? There are only one or two hidden corners on the ships plus a closed room for cigar smokers we have noticed. I'm not sure if there are still "smokers's nights" in the Casino or whether HAL has stopped that practice, as well. The restrictive policy regarding smokers is one of the reasons why we prefer Holland America, Celebrity and Azamara for our favourite cruise lines, but avoid MSC and Costa as well as the German cruiselines. Regarding HAL's pricing policy it's often quite good at the time when the new cruise schedules appear which is perfect for early bookers. We avoid promotion times when the product seems to go up in price... Good again after final payment but then you often have to pay in full and the whole payment is non-refundable! ( at least here in Europe)
  6. I have just read that Hurtigruten is obviously trying hard to reach Valparaiso in time, there was ( possibly) a fuel stop in Mexico on their way down from Vancouver and the ship is obviously rushing down the coast as fast as she can, burning up a lot of fuel at 15 knots or so... I'm keeping my fingers crossed for all those who have booked the cruise out of Valparaiso!!
  7. Very interesting review! We have been on Holland America ships ( small to big - from Prinsendam - gone now - to Koningsdam and back) as well as on Celebrity ships numerous times and have enjoyed all of them. We, too think that both lines are really comparable and we'll gladly sail on both again, depending on the itinerary which nowadays if the most interesting incentive to book for us. Prices quite often are a bit better on HAL ships especially regarding (junior) suites or specialty restaurants as well as drinks prices , service and food we also find comparable but better in HAL's buffet restaurants. The best perk for loyalty cruisers we find free laundry ( on HAL ships 4*Mariners and upwards) or Celebrity's free bags once a week. Have a lovely time and say Hello to New England... We fondly remember our cruise on "Summit" a few years ago and we might go again in 2020 on "Zuiderdam"...
  8. This is true and there are some who have ( for example) booked on Hurtigruten's Norwegian site without trouble. But on the one hand by your booking you also have a contract under Norwegian law ( as in the case stated), and , on the other hand, I'm afraid I wouldn't try to book in the UK at the moment as another poster suggested. Quite often prices and perks regarding many cruise lines are much better than "on the mainland", but without getting political - The UK is on the brink of leaving the EU....
  9. I have followed this thread through the first pages and then stopped reading. So I'm sorry if this has already pointed out but Cunard was forced to use this complicated concept of tipping voluntarily by form instead of auto-gratuities because the German Supreme Court decided that cruise lines could no longer NOT include gratuities in their pricing. To lower catalogue prices, many companies like MSC, Celebrity or Cunard had quoted a price and included a sentence that gratuities were automatically added on board but you could have them taken off even you were not satisfied with the service. This was not allowed any more. German cruiselines like AIDA or TUI-cruises have always included grats in their prices or, as small Phoenixreisen, still hand out envelopes to give tips voluntarily. We have never opted out of paying tips that were automatically booked onto our onboard account. But I personally would prefer to either have companies like Azamara where tips are included automatically - even if you can give more if you wish - or that Cunard included gratuities world-wide at the risk of having higher prices. What I don't find amusing though is the fact that Cunard's management ( as other cruiselines do as well) hands out different prices and incentives to different countries ( see the examples given France/Germany vs. UK or Australia vs. US or Canada). We, for example, were never given free wi-fi or drinks packages - sorry if I'm shown green with envy or looking at sour grapes here... And no, we are not allowed to book in the UK as far as I know.
  10. The same thing happened to us a year or so ago when we booked a cruise round the British Isles where the cruise out of/to Southampton was much more expensive than the one out of/ to Rotterdam. As it doesn't matter to us whether we fly to London or Amsterdam we of course chose Rotterdam. We also noticed that Cunard offered the same cabin categories but different decks for booking, for example deck7 ( Rotterdam bookings) vs. deck 6 in the same cabin category.
  11. I still don't get ANY e-mails, neither to invite me to spend money on another cruise or shore excursion, nor to inform me of surveys or specials, despite me having signed up numerous times in the correct way or even after I wrote to our LCV ambassador with no reaction at all. Sadly I think back to the times when there was a Nicole where each and every e-mail was promptly answered and it was easy to get information because it arrived in time in my mail's in-box. Strangely enough, I get news from parent company RCL by mail even if we sailed with them only twice or so.
  12. We're on Quest first half of December going out of and to Dubai. But I'm not sure if they'll decorate the ship that early because Quest is chartered out in Dubai for the week between Dec. 10th-17th. It might depend on who chartered the ship, and it being a Muslim country they might do the decorations later, on 17th. perhaps? By the way, last year we did a pre-Christmas cruise on Cunard's "Queen Elizabeth", and I must confess that the decorations were absolutely stunning - lots and lots and very tasteful.
  13. The passengers supposed to board in Lima were just simply told a few days ago that the journey was cancelled - no more information since then from Hurtigruten. They are waiting for days now for further information that was supposed to come later - they had booked B2B and of course wanted to know whether to re-book or cancel their flights , whether and when they'll be refunded because everything was fully paid etc. Does anybody know whether the 300 travel agents and officials were allowed to board the ship in Vancouver? I just hope everything goes well from now on after that drydock and that all journeys can take place .
  14. I usually do on ships like you do - put passports and extra money in a safe in my cabin - but there was none even in the suite we had on one of the newly refurbished ships.
  15. Yesterday somebody right on board Roald Amundsen wrote that the ship is docked now in Vancouver, Canada Place but no more information was offered.
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