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varoo

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  1. The policy, for some strange reason, seems to vary depending upon one's nationality, or by the country in which you book the cruise. Americans are permitted to change to any other available cabin in the same category, but some Brits have reported that they were not allowed to do so. I have no idea what the policy is for New Zealand , but you may want to check and find out before making your decision, or maybe someone else who posts here will know. Good luck!
  2. It can very depending on who the Captain's Club host/ess happens to be on that particular cruise, or even on which method is the most expedient at the time. Sometimes they just put a sticker on the seapass card of the roommate, and other times they issued the roommate a special additional card good for admission to the Captain's Club events. In any case, it is a good idea to go see the host/ess at the beginning of your cruise to explain your situation and find out which way s/he prefers to handle it. They usually have a desk or counter set up in a public area on the ship to chat and answer questions, so it is really much better to do it there in advance instead of waiting to explain your situation at the entrance to the first Captain's Club event.
  3. Whenever you want. If you choose to arrive early, you may need to wait around until they begin boarding and then wait until your group is called. The "scheduled time" is merely a suggestion; their attempt to try to spread out the arriving passengers, but in reality passengers arrive whenever they want. If you arrive later in the day, you can usually walk right on board and have full use of your stateroom immediately with no waiting around at all.
  4. Yes, you could board even without the Xpress pass. We have been cruising for years and never print the e-docs. On the rare occasions when they include vouchers, we print out only the vouchers. However, I would be extremely unhappy if I ever needed to be on a cruise ship without at least my carry-on bag, which has all the essentials I need and enough clothing for several days.
  5. Trying it for yourself really is the best way to discover how much the suite extras are worth to you; which features you enjoy most and which you can do without very easily. Then for future cruises you will have a much better idea of how much extra you are willing to spend for a suite. It is hard to make such decisions based on the opinions of strangers as we all have different preferences and value different things. We found that some of the suite "benefits" other people were raving about were things that didn't matter to us at all. Conversely, on some cruises we are willing to pay even more to upgrade to a higher level suite to get features that are not available in the sky suites.
  6. That's the way we prefer to do it as well. It gives you the most freedom and flexibility. It is a very easy, scenic drive. For more than 2 people, we like to rent a van (and reserve it in advance). There is a good chance of seeing bears along the way and you can pull off the road beside them to stop and watch them for as long as you like. (Just keep your windows closed.) They appear to be very used to tourists as they just glance up briefly and then ignore us and go right on eating. If you have any passengers who want to do the train ride, they can buy one-way train tickets and ride the train from Skagway up to Fraser while you drive the car up to Fraser and wait to pick them up at the train station there. But drive very slowly and stop to take photos along the way because the car gets up there long before the train does, so you will just be sitting around at the station up there waiting for the train to arrive. Then you all continue the ride from Fraser up to Carcross and Emerald Lake together in the car. We like to bring along a copy of Murray's Guide to the South Klondike Highway which tells you all the places to stop and things to see along the way. (This site won't accept the link, but you can google it.)
  7. It seems to vary depending on who you are dealing with. Sometimes we have been asked for proof and other times we haven't. But we always keep that DD214 handy. Some travel agents have asked us to fax them a copy before they would officially accept the booking.
  8. For us, it depends on the price they are charging for the suite for that particular cruise. Prices for the exact same suite can vary greatly from one cruise to another. Sometimes the suite benefits are worth it to us, and other times they are not. We also consider the value of whatever perks are included in each offer, (how much those perks are really worth to us, not how much the cruise line claims they are worth). We are pretty much "do it yourself" types so having a butler is of no importance to us, although it may be a major consideration for someone else. Some of them do go a bit overboard with their fawning, obsequious behavior, although we realize that they mean well.
  9. That is an excellent suggestion and could be a great solution here, if the weather is nice that day, and if the OP is physically able to climb up to the top of a double-decker bus (preferably one with an open top). The unobstructed views and photo opportunities are so much better that way than trying to take photos through the window of a car or van or limo or even a street-level bus, and it would spare the OP from the physical exertion of walking around. Depending on the timing, they may even be able to stay on the bus and go around the circuit more than once that day. If they can snag seats on the back corners of the upper deck on both sides, they can shoot photos and/or video off the back of the bus as well as to the sides. The obvious downside is missing the tours of the interiors, but there are many wonderful videos of the interiors of the various monuments and buildings available that can be viewed in seated comfort from one's own home, avoiding the lines and crowds.
  10. It just depends on the location and the circumstances involved each time. Sometimes we book tours on our own, or with a group, and sometimes we book the ship's excursions, while other times we rent a car or use public transportation. There are some locations where we prefer to go off exploring on our own without taking any tour. A great "tour guide" does not necessarily have to be a live person who goes with you. If you have several people in your party, often renting a car can save you a lot of money compared to taking a commercial tour, and it gives you a lot more flexibility. An important consideration in deciding is always the location of the next port and ease of catching up with the ship, just in case. It makes a big difference whether our next port is five days later on the other side of the ocean, or only a short ferry ride or train ride away. One of the main reasons why we will sometimes book a ship's tour instead of a private tour is if we have a lot of non-refundable OBC to use up. Another is if we are in an unfamiliar location where we do not speak the local language and have not had sufficient opportunity to research the various touring options available, or if it involves going off into a remote wilderness area. But in general, we do prefer to take private tours, or just head off on our own. When we have the time, we find that lots of good information is available from travel books and websites like TripAdvisor, as well as by visiting the various port forums here on Cruise Critic and the websites of the different locations themselves.
  11. Thank you for checking and letting us know, lizinindy. I just put my large, flat inflatable ball back into my suitcase. Since the official word is that we are more than welcome to bring them onboard, maybe they will get the message if there are enough of us lined up at Guest Relations asking to have them inflated at the beginning of every Celebrity cruise.........
  12. This was so wonderful of you, tjunmin, and greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us!
  13. Even when the ports provide them, the wait can sometimes be quite long, especially at a long pier if they have only one vehicle going back and forth that day and there are a lot of passengers wanting to use it.
  14. Excellent point! Maybe it could just be set to vibrate. But one of the things we like best about cruising is escaping from the problems of the everyday world and not having people constantly trying to contact us. I really dislike needing to carry a phone around with me everywhere I go, despite realizing that there are times when it is necessary. How did all those previous generations ever manage to live their entire lives without cell phones? 😁😉 Luddite
  15. The same thing happened to our friends. They had taken their own photos and thought they had sized them correctly and uploaded them, but when they got to the cruise terminal, they took their photos there again.
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