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  1. Hmm. It isn't hard to walk TO the falls, but definitely tough actually in the water. It also depends on where you approach? We went from higher up, and there were lots of stairs but it was fairly easy to negotiate, but I don't know how hard they would be for folks. But in the water itself, they definitely would struggle!
  2. Right? It seems like it would be impossible! Thank you all for the suggestions, the MDR sounds perfect. I was hoping something like that would be open!
  3. Hey all! First time on NCL and so thankful for all the great info I have picked up here! We're heading to Alaska on the Jewel with a multi-generational family group of 10, and I'm trying to figure out our best plan for lunch on embarkation day. I'm thinking a buffet or something like that isn't such a great option, as it tends to be hard to find a large enough table and the kids need help getting their food, etc. Any suggestions on what would be a good spot for us? Is one of the MDRs open for lunch on embarkation?
  4. We just did a Panama Canal trip in November, and it stated in our pre-cruise documents that passports were absolutely required for the stops in Colombia and Panama. Plus I think with this not being a closed-loop cruise, you need one anyway? 🤷‍♀️
  5. Hi @LB_NJ! Hopefully I can help! To buy our tickets to the fort, we just used our debit cards. We were in the same boat, hoping to not have to get local currency in every port. We were able to use debit or Apple pay for everything we needed, even snacks! I feel like other countries are so far ahead of the US on this issue. We used Uber just because I hate negotiating a taxi, and again, were trying to avoid getting cash in local currency. I'd much rather just know what it is going to cost and pay the going rate. Also, because we were kind of off on our own a bit and in some less touristy areas, it was nice to be able to call them to come pick us up right where we were. I'm sure you could use a taxi and have a great experience! We spent about an hour at the fort, which was plenty for us. It was literally us and one other family while we were there, so that made it easy to see what we wanted to and get photos, etc. I'd imagine you'd need a bit more time if you went later in the day when it was super busy. Hope you have a fantastic time!
  6. Hi all! Visiting Alaska for the first time on Norwegian Jewel and need a little help in Ketchican. We are a large family group of 10, so we are mostly doing things on our own because we have varying ages and want folks to be able to head back to the ship if they want to. We are really interested in visiting Totem Bight park, but I wasn't sure how far outside of town that is? It sounds like we are docking at Ward Cove, which as I am understanding it, is a bit outside of town. It looks like it's not too far away, but I wasn't sure if there are shuttles, Uber, etc. that could get us there? We've got reservations for the lumberjack show that afternoon, which I'm assuming is more in Downtown Ketchican? I wondered if we might be better off going to Saxman Native Village instead with that in mind. But it sounds like that is a little more involved? Anyway, I'd love opinions on which is better, and how to get to either one. Thank you so much! This forum has been so helpful!
  7. Thanks @njhorseman! I agree, the fort is not great for someone who has a lot of issues walking. It is pretty steep and made of awkward stones that require more sure footing. We walked A LOT, but we don't mind it. I think you could still get around pretty easily using Uber to get to the places you want to go, but the one walking might have a tough time at anything in the old city. I wonder if your person could use a scooter or wheelchair? They wouldn't be able to go in everywhere on the fort, but might be able to see more than just looking from the outside? Sorry, I wish I could be more helpful!
  8. I believe they all dock in the same area, so you should walk through the sanctuary on your way out to the city! It was really cool, I hope you enjoy it! And if it seems busy, it will probably be less crowded on your way back to the ship. A walking tour also sounds cool! I probably would have done something like that if I didn't have the kids - I just wanted to have the option to bail if needed! But they really enjoyed it and were engaged with everything (though they did complain about the heat and humidity - we're from the Rockies so it is dry here!)
  9. Thank you all so much! I would definitely prefer to do this on my own, but my mom is taking the whole extended family (10 of us), and so since she is paying, she decided the itinerary! But I am helping with shore excursions and such. I appreciate all the help!
  10. Recently back from a Panama Canal cruise and wanted to share my thoughts on the excursions we did, since I found these forums so helpful in planning. In Cartagena, we couldn't find an excursion that went to see everything we wanted, so we decided to venture out on our own. It was amazing! We had a great experience and I would highly recommend doing the same. We had plenty of time to see everything we wanted and got everywhere easily using Uber. Here's a little more detail: Our ship (Ruby Princess) got into port fairly early, and since we knew the day would be warm, we tried to make it off as soon as we docked. The port has a really cool bird sanctuary/nature walk that you pass through on the way out, which was awesome. My kids (two girls, 10 and 15) could have just stayed there all day! It is a bit of a walk, especially if you don't take the shuttle from the ship, but it wasn't bad at all, especially in the cool morning. We called an Uber to head to the fort of San Felipe de Barajas, and managed to get there while it was EMPTY. It was probably a 15 minute ride, and cost about $5 US for all of us. Totally the way to go, IMHO. Admission to the fort was about $20 for the whole family. We spent some time exploring the fort and had a great experience clambering through passageways and such before the crowds showed up. We timed it perfectly and were just making our way out when the giant tour groups showed up! So that was perfect. We called another Uber, and made our way over to the Palace of Inquisition. This time the ride was about $4. We paid our admission and went to look around the museum. I can't remember for sure, but I want to say admission here was slightly less, around $15 for the four of us. I think my kids were expecting to see lots of torture devices and such (they're a little macabre, probably because I listened to too many murder documentaries or something while pregnant). Instead the museum is mostly focused on tolerance and how we can avoid having events like the Inquisition pop up again, and how we need to avoid "othering" folks who differ from us. It was a simple museum, but a really cool message, and I enjoyed it more than expected. The day was getting hot and we'd been up early, so we decided to do some shopping and head back to the ship. We decided to check out Las Bovedas, and realized it was less than a mile away and would give us a chance to walk through the old city, so we headed out to do that. We stopped at a little cafe and got some delicious meat or cheese filled pastries (I have no idea what they were, but they were kind of like an empanada filling, but in a square of puff pastry?) and some drinks. We got about 6 pastries to share and sample, and a cold soda or iced coffee for everyone for about $12. We then continued our walk through the neighborhood until we reached the old city wall. Each building we passed was cuter than the next! Once up on the wall, my 10 year old decided it was super cool walking up there, so we took that all the remainder of the way to Las Bovedas, stopping for some photos along the way. At Las Bovedas, we did some shopping and checked out the cool crafts on display. I really liked that some of the shops didn't carry the same old stuff you saw everywhere. You had to poke your head in and check it out a bit, but it was worth it. There were some vendors who were a little more pushy, but a simple "no gracias" was enough to dissuade them. We spent way more time here than I had planned, because we kept finding cool things. By this time it was heading into the afternoon and we were HOT, so we called an Uber to head back to the ship. That one was about $5 again. Once there, we went back through the aviary and hung out there for a while, getting to see a ton of different tropical birds, along with two species of monkeys. It was delightful, and we could have stayed longer but we were getting so hot that I started to worry about getting dehydrated (we'd brought water with us, but had long since drunk it all!) We got back on and hopped in the pool for a swim. Overall, it was an awesome day! We all loved the historic charm and cool old colonial buildings. The food we ate was great, and the attractions were uncrowded. And we spent less for all four of us than we would have for one person to take a shore excursion, that didn't go as many places! We all felt absolutely safe the entire time, and were completely charmed by the city. We all hope to go back and explore more!
  11. We used Uber to to to the Fort and Palace of Inquisition, and each ride was about $5 for the 4 of us. Everywhere we went either took cards or US dollars, so it was super easy!
  12. This was our experience as well. No big deal, and a simple "No gracias" was all we needed. We certainly had plenty of people offering things, but no one was particularly pushy. And I had my two kids, 10 and 15, with us, and felt absolutely safe the entire time. Cartagena was actually our favorite port on our Panama Canal cruise, we absolutely loved it and thought it was so interesting! And we didn't do a tour, we just used Uber and got around on our own.
  13. Hey Katie! We did wear water shoes, and some of us had better luck than others. I wore my Birkenstock EVAs and kept losing them! The rest of my family was fine with a more sneaker/sandal type shoe. So something like a Keen, etc. would be great. We had a great experience at Scotchie's, but I do know there are two locations. The other thing I noticed is that many of the folks around us who were with a large group got kind of a "boxed lunch" type of meal - one meat and one side, and they would come out in giant piles on trays and get passed around. So I don't know if that has impacted the reviews, and their lunches had been sitting around for a while? We asked Oneil what he suggested ordering, and we got a chicken and some pork. The chicken came right off the grill and was so hot we had to wait to eat it for a few minutes! My pickier eater really liked the chicken. It wasn't spicy, just kind of a different take on a rotisserie chicken if you didn't put the sauce on it. My kids both really liked the rice (which had a few kidney beans in it as well) and these things called "festivals" that are sort of like a hush puppy? Both my kids wished we had ordered more of them, they were REALLY delicious. They also liked getting to try the local soda, and said the pineapple flavor was fantastic. Oneil was wonderful though and I'm sure he'd be willing to take you somewhere else if you prefer! He was so accommodating and kind!
  14. Hi all! First time on NCL here, and also our first time doing a cruisetour. We're sailing on the Jewel on the Denali by Rail Explorer 12 day this June. We're all set for when we are in port, but I'm having a hard time telling how much of our day will be occupied during the land portion. Do we need to plan some excursions, or are the included activities taking up most of the day? We'd love to do some things like white water rafting in Talkeetna, etc. but from the brochure they sent us, it doesn't seem like we'll have a ton of down time? Apparently we won't get the detailed itinerary for that portion of the trip until about 30 days out, according to the Norwegian rep I chatted with. So just wondering if anyone has been on this previously and can give some insights? Thank you so much!
  15. Realizing I forgot to share their website! https://oneiljamaicaexcursions.com/
  16. Just back and wanted to share some reviews of the excursions we did. In Grand Cayman we booked with Captain Marvin's for the Stingray City and Two snorkeling stops to Coral Gardens and the Barrier Reef. We had an AMAZING time and I would highly recommend this! https://captainmarvins.com/product/three-stop-stingray-snorkel-tours/ When I booked, we were told that as it was conch season, we'd actually be doing a conch dive session instead of one of the snorkel stops. I was sad, but when I told my kids, they were THRILLED. I had no idea what this even was, but it ended up being so much fun! So just know that if it is conch season when you visit (which I admit I don't have any idea when that actually is, though we were there over Thanksgiving) you'll get to do that instead of the two snorkel stops. We walked off the ship with plenty of time to spare, and made our way over to the Captain Marvin's office, which was less than a block away. So super easy and convenient. We then hopped in an air conditioned van for a short ride to the marina/canal where we boarded the boat. There were about 15 people booked on the tour for the day, which was a perfect number - I've done Stingray City before and had the boat absolutely swamped and had a hard time finding a place to sit! This was perfect. The crew were great and kept offering us water and making sure we were comfortable, while also getting us all fitted for fins and snorkel gear. We arrived at the first stop for conch diving and got a quick lesson in choosing which conchs were good, versus which had been harvested already. Then it was time to dive! We all hopped in and were able to harvest about 10-12 conchs in the time we were there. We didn't want to take too many, so we quit at that number, but still enjoyed the gorgeous water. We then moved on to the Coral Garden, which was absolutely stunning! Our guides cleaned the conch while we snorkeled, and used the extra bits of conch to chum the water a bit to get us tons of fish! We even had four rays swimming with us! They were so excited to see us, and my 10 year old ended up exclaiming "The stingray just hugged me!" We honestly had just as good of interaction with these as we did in Stingray City! We then moved on to Stingray City, and our guide found his favorite ray, "Emily". I thought he was joking, but he showed us her markings and she really did seem to know him! She was a total ham and let all of us hold her and take photos, and even let the guide show us her stinger, her mouth, and a full anatomy lesson. She was so patient, and of course we rewarded her with lots of squid after! All the rays were delighted to see us and my kids just had a blast feeding them and holding them. Then it was time for lunch, and we sailed to a little beach on one of the outer islands. The food was INCREDIBLE. Fish, chicken, red beans & rice, pasta salad, salad, etc. We also had a delicious ceviche made from the conch. We ate and ate, and left so happy and full to hop back on the boat and lay out on the front for a cruise back to the marina. Overall just a fantastic day and one that my kids will remember forever! Would absolutely recommend this tour to anyone heading to Grand Cayman!
  17. We did a full day with Captain Marvin's just last week, and my 10 year old loved it. We did the tour #4 here: https://captainmarvins.com/product/three-stop-stingray-snorkel-tours/ I was originally worried because they informed me when I booked that instead of the two snorkel stops, we'd be doing a conch diving stop instead. But my kids were THRILLED. They got to go out and dive for conch, and then each got to take home their own shell! The guides were wonderful and kept us all safe and happy, and then the lunch we had was AMAZING. So delicious. Highly recommend!
  18. I just wanted to hop on and write up a review of our excursion with Oneil. He was absolutely fantastic and I would totally recommend booking with him! Not paid or anything, just a satisfied customer. We cruised to Montego Bay, but really wanted to see the Blue Hole. Oneil arranged to pick us up and take us back, with a stop for lunch at Scotchie's. He was there right on time in his clean and blissfully air-conditioned van, and was so kind and engaging. He was able to connect with my shy 10 year old and let my 15 year old have a Taylor Swift singalong while we were stuck in traffic. Even though it was a long ride, he made sure we could relax and shared info about the things we were passing. Once at the Blue Hole, Oneil hooked us up with a couple of friends of his, who escorted us through the falls and helped us over the rocks. It was really nice to have them there and it allowed me to focus on hiking (which is not my strong suit), and know that my kiddos were safe with them! They held our stuff, helped us on the rocks, and even took photos for us! We tipped them at the end, and it was well worth it. We felt like VIPs compared to so many of the other folks who were struggling. This ended up being a theme - everywhere we went Oneil seemed to know everyone, and they were happy to help him give his guests a wonderful experience. When we were happy and hungry after the Blue Hole, he took our lunch order and called ahead to Scotchie's so they would have our food ready when we arrived. He made recommendations and they did not disappoint - the food was delicious! And while the restaurant staff was busy with all the tour groups who had stopped in, we had one staffer all to ourselves who saw to our every need. Outstanding service, fantastic food, and they even helped find things for the pickier eaters! After lunch Oneil got us back to the ship with plenty of time to spare, with some photo stops along the way at some of the gorgeous overlooks. Overall just a really great experience and I will absolutely be getting in touch with him next time I'm in Jamaica!
  19. We just went to the Blue Hole with Oneil last week and he was fantastic! I was actually coming on here to write a review and share what a wonderful experience we had!
  20. I was just there last week! We booked with O'Neil Jamaica Excursions, and he was amazing. We did the Blue Hole and lunch, and he took fantastic care of us and had us back in plenty of time. I felt completely safe the whole time we were there. We almost never book excursions through the ship, we go on our own and have always had a great experience. In many cases, we end up on the same excursion that everyone from the ship is on, but with a private transportation and knowing we paid a lot less!
  21. We're on the same sailing! Ours finally posted, I think last week? But much later than I had expected. I just had to keep checking. Annoying, but thankfully they did show up! But I agree, it was a little odd, they have always been available much further out when we've cruised before! So hopefully the Dec. 30 sailing will show up soon, too!
  22. I've been teasing my husband about the same thing! It seems a very "dad" thing, like his desire to show up just a little earlier at the airport each time, lol. That said, my husband is a civil engineer, and it's been a life-long bucket list item for him. I'm normally in charge of planning and he's easy going, so he usually goes along with whatever scheme I come up with and enjoys whatever engineering marvel we find along the way (Pyramids, Great Wall of China, etc.) We'd always planned to do this trip when we were older, but the pandemic definitely left us feeling that we should do things while we can! So here we are, in our early 40s, dragging our daughters (10 and 14) along and making them watch documentaries before we go! We've told them the rest of the trip is for all of us to have fun snorkeling, zip lining, etc. but the day in the canal is for Dad!
  23. Thank you all so much for your help! It sounds like we won't have as much time I as I feared, so that is great. If we do, I'll have a couple of backup plans ready based on how much time we've got. I so appreciate you all sharing your experience!
  24. Hey all! We're headed to the partial transit of the Panama Canal on the Ruby, and we've booked an excursion on our canal day. It's the Panama Canal Locks & Transit by Boat, which takes us over to the Pacific side through the canal and then back to meet the ship in Colon on a bus. My question is, the excursion is supposed to end at 2:30, and the ship isn't supposed to arrive until around 5. Is there anything to do in that area other than duty free shops? Would we have time to go to the visitors center at Agua Clara, for example? Happy to grab a taxi or whatever we'd need to, just wasn't sure what the rules are and if we would have time, etc. My husband is a civil engineer and the canal is his life-long dream destination, so I'd love to see and do all the canal things while we can. My kiddos, however, may be done by that point in the day and could use something else to do. Anyway, would love to hear about your experiences and what you might recommend! Thank you so much!
  25. That's exactly the info I was looking for! Thank you so much! If I end up doing it, I'll just get Plus for the two of us and then buy a separate soda package and gratuities. Mostly just wasn't sure if they were included in the price the website was quoting me, and if so what that included. Thank you so much for your help!
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