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WeBeGone

March 22,2011 - B.V.I. - Royal - 11 days booked

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So excited ! We just booked this 11 night trip for our 30th anniversary and my 64th birthday. I'm sure as we get deeper into planning I'll have lots of questions. We've read all the posts and looked at all the amazing photos. We've never sailed before, even on a private boat, so this will really be an adventure!

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Finally put our money down so it's final. We're in cat 4, cabin 114. Any thoughts on that location? The Clipper agent said this cabin is larger than the other cat 4 cabins.

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We were in 114 for the Grenadines trip in March - location is great. Quiet area, not a lot of motion (just enough to rock me to sleep :)). You can go directly into the dining room by following the hallway to the end. You'll have a great time!

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I can't seem to find any details nor pricing for the shore excursions.

Help please ?! :confused:

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I can't seem to find any details nor pricing for the shore excursions.

Help please ?! :confused:

 

You can't find that information because they haven't posted the 2011 excursions on their web site. They only show the "Summer 2010" excursions right now.

 

Please note ... this is a new itinerary for Royal and past passengers may not be available to tell you anything about this itinerary. Also, please keep in mind that all charges aboard Royal will be in Euros and excursions, when posted, will be listed with a price in Euros.

 

Enjoy!

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We (from England) are very much looking forward to meeting you as we are also booked on the same trip as you. We have been on the Royal Clipper 8 times and on the Star Clipper 3 times (there are others who have done much more than this!). Repeat passenger rate is usually about 50 - 60 per cent. About 5 years ago we met an Australian couple on the Royal Clipper when we did Venice to Rome and we are still in touch. They are coming on this trip too. As I sometimes say, relative to the Royal Clipper, in the world in which we live you can live the life and you can dream the dream. Starting on the 22nd March you might, just, for 11 days live the dream. The BVI's itinerary takes in most of the 7 day Windwards itinerary. We have been on the Windwards trip and, when we meet you, we can, if you wish, let you have our opinions about one or two of the excursions and, perhaps, one or two suggestions for things to do under your own steam.

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Just looked today and the shore excursions for this winter are now listed. Go to website and to bottom of page!!

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Jobake - looking forward to meeting you too. We just got home from Paris so am catching up on cruise critic reading. I see you've just joined cruise critic. Welcome.

 

We've been to Barbados and Tortola but mostly this itinerary will be new to us. We love to snorkel and explore new places. I'll be celebrating my 64th birthday whilst on board.

 

Do you think they will have the pirate night? We have costumes to bring.

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Yes. They usually have a pirates night - so suggest you bring your gear. I have now had a look at the deck plans for the Royal Clipper, and so far as one can see from them, cabin 114 could well be the largest (or one of the largest) in category 4. Some category 4 cabins (as well as in some other categories) have a third berth - but your cabin does not - which is a plus for you. Looks as if your agent has done well for you.

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Well I'm glad you think my agent did a good job as I'm the agent. Not the Clipper agent, but a travel agent. :D

I'm the manager/owner of a large internet agency so I'm glad my research paid off. We usually only book the "mainline" cruise lines so this one was totally unfamiliar to me. We're flying in a day early from Miami but so far haven't settled on a hotel yet. The prices Clipper wants is outrageous so we'll just book our pre-night ourselves.

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Sorry to burst your bubble on cabin size but they are all about the same size in each category and not too dissimilar between cats. Those closer to the bow, stern and stairs do have some configuration differences. It really should not matter as you will want to enjoy the ship on deck anyway. They are all beautiful boats.

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Sorry to burst your bubble on cabin size but they are all about the same size in each category and not too dissimilar between cats. Those closer to the bow, stern and stairs do have some configuration differences. It really should not matter as you will want to enjoy the ship on deck anyway. They are all beautiful boats.

Well the fact that some have a fixed 3rd bed makes a huge difference. But you're right, we'll only be in the cabin to sleep.

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Well I'm glad you think my agent did a good job as I'm the agent. Not the Clipper agent, but a travel agent. :D

I'm the manager/owner of a large internet agency so I'm glad my research paid off. We usually only book the "mainline" cruise lines so this one was totally unfamiliar to me. We're flying in a day early from Miami but so far haven't settled on a hotel yet. The prices Clipper wants is outrageous so we'll just book our pre-night ourselves.

 

We stayed on Barbados both pre- & post- cruise. Hotel rates are just plain high and quite a few have two or three night minimum stays. As you research the hotels for your pre-cruise stay, look to see what events may be taking place on the island as that may affect availability. We arrived just after the Caribbean Cricket circuit had left the island and were told that there wasn't a room to be had while the teams & fans were there.

 

Additionally, Royal drops anchor where most cruise ships could only dream of stopping. As a result, the typical tourist infrastructure that is normally in place for the big ships doesn't exist in most places where you will stop. We happened to have a rather poor Cruise Director when we sailed on Royal. She only provided information about the ship's tours that were available. No information of any kind was available for the town and surrounding area where the ship's tender would take you ashore. (As a general rule, the ship provided tender service to a beach and a dock near a local marina/yacht club. You were pretty much on your own once you got off the tender.)

 

Do not assume that the ship will drop passengers to "play tourist" just because they list the city as a stop. St. Kitts is a good example.

 

The itinerary lists Basseterre as a stop along with South Friar's Bay. Things may have changed in the last year but when we sailed on Royal, they only dropped ship's excursion passengers at Basseterre and immediately moved to South Friar's Bay. A few passengers made a big stink and were allowed to get off at Basseterre but they had to make their own way to the Bay before the ship sailed in late afternoon. (We took the Sugar Train excursion while at St. Kitts. This ship's tour included transportation to the ship's location down in the Bay.)

 

I wish I had done more in-depth research on our destination stops rather than "assume" the ship would hand out a "port briefing sheet" like you get on the mainline ships. I would sail aboard Royal again in a heartbeat. The lack of real port information was just a little surprise as the tourist information books we had didn't really cover the locations where Royal dropped anchor.

 

 

Enjoy!

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I have already begun making my pre-cruise notebook as I have done for all our cruises. A folder per port with printed research, maps etc. Yes I'm an excessive planner. :) It looks like Clipper sort of "forces" you into buying their excursions if, in your example, only excursion people get off "in town". We normally go on our own but we'll see......

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Not to belabor a point but the 3 bed is not a fixed bed in the sense that it is set up on the floor. It is a drop down from the wall. I suppose it would make a difference if you were using it.

I have never had them restrict going to port only for excursions that they have. My thought would be that they would have indicated that they were at that location to leave off passengers that were going on those excursions and those excursions knew that they were relocating to a different port and would know to bring the passengers on those excursions to the new location. Otherwise you would be on your own to make it to the ship. We are going to be on St. Kitts and have arranged a tour on our own so I hope I am correct. Star Clippers does NOT "force" you to take their excursions. Manny manny passengers go off on their own and I have never seen ANY sort of restriction. The only caution is that if you prebook an excursion with another company there is no guarantee of time of arrival or sometimes able to go to that port because of weather conditions.

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.... I have never had them restrict going to port only for excursions that they have. My thought would be that they would have indicated that they were at that location to leave off passengers that were going on those excursions and those excursions knew that they were relocating to a different port and would know to bring the passengers on those excursions to the new location. Otherwise you would be on your own to make it to the ship. We are going to be on St. Kitts and have arranged a tour on our own so I hope I am correct. Star Clippers does NOT "force" you to take their excursions. Manny manny passengers go off on their own and I have never seen ANY sort of restriction. The only caution is that if you prebook an excursion with another company there is no guarantee of time of arrival or sometimes able to go to that port because of weather conditions.

 

You are essentially correct. The point(s) I am trying to make:

 

Some of the initial stops at a given island are for the express purpose of dropping off passengers that were taking ship's excursions. Passengers could get off and "do their own thing" at that city but it was made clear that the ship was not staying there. Tender service to/from that original location and the ship's final anchorage location was not going to be made available. Passengers were literaly on their own.

 

Passengers were free to book their own excursions, independent of the ship. The rub will be knowing the ship's arrival time at any given port. I'm sure you have noticed that there are no posted arrival/departure times for your itinerary. You will not know the projected arrival/departure time for any given stop until the day before arrival when the ship's newspaper is printed. This can make it very difficult to book an excursion on your own.

 

Some (most) of the stops were at locations well removed from the normal cruise ship (tourist) infrastructure. Very few, if any, taxis were awaiting us and the cruise director had no interest in telling us anything about the location where Royal dropped the hook.

 

I am suggesting that it would be in your best interest to know as much as possible about each "port" before you board the ship.

 

Enjoy!

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Anyone know the cost of getting from the airport to the Accra hotel? Star Clippers wants $25pp.

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Anyone know the cost of getting from the airport to the Accra hotel? Star Clippers wants $25pp.

 

Barbados has set rates for transport between common destinations. Here is a web site that lists taxi rates - http://www.barbados.org/airport/barbados-airport-taxis.php

 

Accra resort is located in Rockley. The charts says the rate for the taxi ride is supposed to be $17 US or $34 BDS. As the web site indicates, make sure you confirm the rate and currency that you will use BEFORE you get in the cab. It is common practice for taxi drivers to tell you a rate in Barbadian dollars in the hope you pay that amount in US dollars. (ie: The trip is 34 dollars. Withour saying he wants $34 BDS)

 

If somebody hasn't said so already ... The people in Barbados work hard Monday thru Friday and cherish their weekend. Don't expect very much to be open, other than restaurants, on Saturday and even less on Sunday.

 

Enjoy!

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Reference your question about taxi fares we have used taxis in Barbados several times over the last 20 years and the figure of $17 researched by MSN Travelers looks about right to me. The exchange rate between US $ and Barbados $ is fixed and 1 US $ = 2 Barbados $. There is usually a very good supply of waiting taxis at the airport in Barbados and, in our experience, the taxi drivers are pleasant and courteous and are happy with the correct fare plus a tip of 10% or a bit more. The taxi fares quoted are per vehicle.

 

After you have gone through immigration and customs when arriving in Barbados porters will offer to carry your bags on their trolley - it is only a shortish distance out to where the taxis are - if that helps you in deciding whether or not you wish to avail yourselves of that service.

 

We have already received our Christmas Card from our Australian friends and, as you might expect, we reciprocate to them their message to us - "See you soon" - and extend it to you.

 

Regards,

Jobake

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