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Grand & Nana

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About Grand & Nana

  • Rank
    3,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Texas
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean, Celebrity & NCL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Barcelona & Florence

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  1. I was so happy to find your thread. I've been researching our alternatives from Florence to Civitavecchia. When we booked our flights, our plans were to book the high speed train to Roma Termini, then connect with the regional train to Civitavecchia. I was aware of the long walk from one platform to the next in Rome, but as long as it was on ground level, we would be fine. Then I saw pics of the steep steps (at the Civitavecchia train station) after someone from our CC board brought it to my attention. Between these two obstacles it was an easy decision - do we save $ or risk injury to my back. Today I decided on the train (www dot trenitalia dot com) from Firenze SM Novella to Roma Termini, then book a transfer with Stefano's Rome Cabs (www dot romecabs dot com), from Roma Termini to our hotel in Civitavecchia. Yes, the train is far less $, but is it worth the inconvenience and risk factor, no. We'll pay for a transfer from Rome @ $130...injury to my back would cost far more and could potentially ruin our 10-day Greek cruise. I've learned, there's a time and place to be frugal - this is neither the time nor the place. BTW, I wasn't sure if CC would block the printed websites, thus typed as is. Point being, after reading these posts, you confirmed my decision was the right decision. You erased all doubt. :halo: Thank you. Nancy
  2. BTW, I read driving in San Juan was easy - so if big city driving doesn't stress you out, you may enjoy it. Personally, I think your window is too short to go through the hassle of renting a car. See what Viator dot com has to offer - it may prove to be less stressful:) Nancy
  3. Please keep in mind, we fly into SJ on a Thursday afternoon and our ship departs @ 8:30p on Saturday. I'm currently working out the logistics - Natural Wonders and PR Tour Desk (pre-cruise). Bio Tour / Rainforest (off the beaten path) & Sunset Culinary Walking Tour, followed by a Segway Tour the day we embark. On the day we disembark, we'll roll our bags off the ship, then take a taxi to Barrachina where we'll store our luggage (free). We'll tour the area, then enjoy our 12:45p lunch reservation before we retrieve our luggage...then head to the airport for our 4p flight. I'm trying to make the most of our time in Old San Juan. I treat each visit to a new port as if it may be the last :) Nancy
  4. I believe the focal point for most (first timers) is Old San Juan - where you won't need a car. I considered a rental car for the outskirts of town (e.g., the rainforest), however; when reading the opinions of others, I decided it was better to go with a private tour. Nancy
  5. Hi Amy, we're on the same ship:) We have a 4p flight out of San Juan so I began looking for options myself. Have you found anything else? I JUST began my search for things to do on the day we disembark and the best options for all day Friday and part of Saturday (pre-cruise). I know El Yunque Rainforest, Segways and fort tours are on the agenda - just need to coordinate the timing of each small group tours:) LOL...and a stop at Marshall's (close to our hotel:) Thanks, Nancy
  6. Thank you for writing such a useful tool for other DIY planners!!! Nancy
  7. Finally, informative information to get me started on our DIY travel after we disembark in Seward in 12 months... Thanks! Nancy
  8. Hi! I see no one responded. In case you haven't found the answers: On the CC website, in the upper right hand side, select "Boards". Go to the section titled "Roll Call". Now select your applicable cruise line, now select your ship's name, followed by searching for the thread for your sail day. There you will find cruisers on the same ship you have booked. This is where you communicate with fellow cruisers and find group tours that may be forming. If someone posts a tour and is recruiting others to form a private tour, you simply click on 'Quote' to reply to the post, with the information requested (if any). By selecting 'quote', it shows everyone on your board what post you are replying to...which makes it so much easier for viewers to link a response with the applicable post. Post Reply is only used to create a new post! In your case, if you want to form or join a private group tour (after reading what has been posted to date) - create a new post. You'll catch on quickly!
  9. I'm booking through viator dot com You can prepay in US$ and print your voucher from home. I've used them on six previous occasions for tours in Barcelona - if you have any questions, call their toll free number on their web page...the tour group through Viator meets next door to where our ship docks...another plus. They haven't been a disappointment yet...their prices are normally the same as at the door and no upcharge. It's a start, but it's always good to verify for yourself. Good luck! Nancy
  10. Nicely written. Please be sure to copy and paste this post under Bodden Tours, on Trip Advisor. Your experience needs to be known by future travelers who rely on such reviews to avoid becoming a victim of unsafe excursions or unacceptable business practices. I realize this is a new port in an undeveloped/poor area of Honduras, but from what you've described, this is not acceptable (in my books). Trujillo is truly a beautiful area...I wish the (local)people much success...and the majority are willing to earn it!!! By the way, Victor Bodden is an independent tour operator from Roatan (I believe)...they just recently setup shop in Banana Coast.
  11. When we were in Trujillo we had booked a day at Tranquility Bay Beach Retreat. You can buy a day pass or rent a cabana for the day. We prepaid transportation and a boat was waiting to take us from the center of town to the retreat. Two excursions in one. We had a beautiful day on a private beach where we could horseback ride, snorkel, paddleboard, etc. They also have a small restaurant and a tiki bar on their well manicured property for refreshing pina coladas. Best massage I've ever had - only $40. This was a private retreat that I didn't want to leave!!! The wonderful owners (Larry & Linda) are from Canada and so down to earth - they were perfect hosts! Highly recommend!
  12. Thank you for the tips to find Larry & Linda. I heard if you tender before 8:30a, a ticket is not required in Belize or Banana Coast. Where do you get the tender tickets and how early did you go to get your tickets? I have a group of 11 and we want to keep everyone together, if at all feasible. The ship offers a cave tubing excursion so we'll know rather quickly if the caves are closed. A portion of our group is doing ATVing & cave tubing with Butts Up...and the other half of the group is going with cave tubing.bz If the caves are closed...I may just go into port to stretch my legs on land...look for some 1 Barrel Rum (a product of Belize)...then return to the ship. I look forward to your response! Nancy Thanks, Nancy
  13. Thank you....I've been waiting for a reply from a past cruiser... Did you have any problem finding the restaurant to meet Larry and board the boat? The restaurant belongs to Larry's son and I've told it's under construction. Did you walk along the beach or walk the street to get to the meeting location (I'm trying to get a visual). Yes, the tender process does sound interesting. We're early birds so we plan to be at the staging area by 8a. How did the tender go in Belize...I hear this tender is very timely, since they anchor 5 miles from the shoreline? Any recommendations at this port? I was hoping to meet our cave tubing guide by 8:30a, is that unrealistic? Thanks again for sharing! Nancy
  14. I was lucky, I stumbled across Tranquility Bay Beach Retreat (TBBR) months ago. I had all but given up on an excursion until I started communicating with Linda & Larry, owners of TBBR. We're really looking forward to a day at their retreat. Over time, as the port becomes established, more private tours will become available. I haven't searched myself, before replying on the board, however; you may want to Google Victor Bodden to review what his reputation and customer service is rated in other ports. I know he's one of the first to offer a private tour @ Banana Coast. The only other option is booking something through the cruise lines. The cruise lines currently have a contractual agreement with the majority of businesses in town or they've created excursion opportunities. What surprised me was that there is a park with a nice beach that is normally a minimal fee for the general public, but closed to the public on the days that ships are in port, at which time it becomes an exclusive for ship excursions. Have a great day! Nancy
  15. I've heard good things about Victor Bodden when searching for tour operators in other parts of the country, but I've not personally used them. If you Google the name, you can search various websites for reviews to determine if they provide good service and have a good reputation. I base my choice of tour operators on reviews - by weighing the negative comments or throwing out the meaningless reviews that some people post. You'll get more personalized service with VB, than through the ship; however, the ship offers first tender and if sick, you can cancel without a penalty...unfortunately, you have to do your homework and evaluate what's important to you. We may go (by boat) when in Banana Coast (Trujillo) ourselves, from the retreat we're visiting. We'll go 'only' if the water is not rough. Listen, we're cruising on the day you return...if anyone can post the 'tender' process for cruisers who are NOT doing ship excursions...please tell us the protocol in your post. You'll have wifi in most areas, such as Cozumel. No one is posting the tender process...do you have to get up at the crack of dawn to get a ticket from the service desk the day of each tender??? Help!!! Thanks, Nancy
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