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  #1  
Old August 26th, 2013, 10:19 PM
TxnAquarian TxnAquarian is offline
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Default Machu Picchu

Has anyone done the Celebrity 3-day excursion to Machu Picchu? We booked it on our upcoming FLL - Valparaiso cruise, and we're curious how many people are in the group and how X handles the tour.



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  #2  
Old August 26th, 2013, 10:37 PM
HappyTvlr HappyTvlr is offline
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There were 8 people in our group and we stayed at the best hotels in Lima and Cusco. We had local guides at each location, and were treated like royalty. Sadly we didn't make it to MP because the rails were knocked out by mudslides, but we did everything else out of Cusco such as the Sacred Valley. We just didn't get the train ride and of course the highlight of MP. We felt that Celebrity handled the substitution beautifully with a 5 hour drive to take a flight over the Nazca lines. This is something we never would have considered, but it was one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. We did this trip as an extension of a Galapagos tour, but I would love to book the land only portion when we get the opportunity to actually get to MP.
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Old August 26th, 2013, 10:45 PM
TxnAquarian TxnAquarian is offline
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Originally Posted by HappyTvlr View Post
There were 8 people in our group and we stayed at the best hotels in Lima and Cusco. We had local guides at each location, and were treated like royalty. Sadly we didn't make it to MP because the rails were knocked out by mudslides, but we did everything else out of Cusco such as the Sacred Valley. We just didn't get the train ride and of course the highlight of MP. We felt that Celebrity handled the substitution beautifully with a 5 hour drive to take a flight over the Nazca lines. This is something we never would have considered, but it was one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. We did this trip as an extension of a Galapagos tour, but I would love to book the land only portion when we get the opportunity to actually get to MP.


Thanks very much for your reply. It sounds like a great trip! We can't wait.




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  #4  
Old August 26th, 2013, 11:05 PM
boogs boogs is offline
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Has anyone done the Celebrity 3-day excursion to Machu Picchu? We booked it on our upcoming FLL - Valparaiso cruise, and we're curious how many people are in the group and how X handles the tour.

Michael
We considered doing Machu Picchu as an excursion during our South America/Panama Canal cruise in March 2009, but because of the cost and time away from the ship, we decided to take an extra week and do it on our own. Our cruise was in the opposite direction from yours, starting in Valparaiso to FLL, but a similar itinerary might work for you just as well.

For less than the cost of the three day ship's excursion, we had a full week in Peru and Chile. We flew into Lima, Peru and changed planes to Cusco, the most often used transfer point into Machu Picchu. We stayed at the very nice Libertador Palacio del Inka Cusco for three nights to get acclimated to the elevation of 11,200 ft (our hometown is close to sea level). While there we wandered around this wonderful city, and enjoyed a private tour excursion around the area one afternoon.

Early on the fourth day we took the Hiram Bingham luxury train to Aquas Caliente, the town at the base of the mountain that Machu Picchu is on. The train ride is truely spectacular, and this train is very luxurious. With less than 90 passengers, gourmet food, drinks included, and lively entertainment, the train trip itself was certainly worth taking.

We visited Machu Piccu that afternoon with a private guide and after watching the sun set, we went back to Aguas Caliente and checked into the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, another beautiful hotel with a nature preserve as part of the property.

We rose early for a second day on Maccu Picchu, including watching the sunrise this time, and in the early afternoon we caught the train back to our hotel in Cusco before catching an early plane the next day to Santiago for some sightseeing and a one night stay at the Radisson Plaza Hotel. This hotel was just OK, so I won't recommend it.

The next day we headed out to Valparaiso - where the ship docks - and stayed at the Hotel Manoir Atkinson for one night, a small seven room boutique hotel overlooking the bay. If you stay here, ask for room #7, the "Magie et Horizons (Magic & Horizons)" suite. With a private balcony with views on all three sides of Valparaiso and the harbor, this room was a wonderful way to get ourselves ready for our cruise.

All flights, transfers with private cars, hotels, private Cusco excursion, round trip train ride, and two day Maccu Picchu visit with private guide, was organized by our TA. The total cost for these seven days was less than the ship's excursion - and we didn't miss out on three days away from the ship and our stateroom, which you still pay for even though you aren't aboard, plus missing shore visits at two interesting port stops.

Last edited by boogs; August 26th, 2013 at 11:13 PM.
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  #5  
Old August 27th, 2013, 12:13 AM
TxnAquarian TxnAquarian is offline
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Boogs, thanks for the information. That's a great plan if you can swing all that time off. Unfortunately, it is already tight for us fitting this 15-day cruise into our schedule, so our only option is to do the excursion from the ship. Yes, it is pricey. It is costing us about 7 grand for the 2 of us to do the ship's tour....but we wouldn't sail all the way down there and not see it. That's great that you were able to add an additional week to your trip.



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  #6  
Old August 27th, 2013, 02:06 AM
boogs boogs is offline
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Originally Posted by TxnAquarian View Post
Boogs, thanks for the information. That's a great plan if you can swing all that time off. Unfortunately, it is already tight for us fitting this 15-day cruise into our schedule, so our only option is to do the excursion from the ship. Yes, it is pricey. It is costing us about 7 grand for the 2 of us to do the ship's tour....but we wouldn't sail all the way down there and not see it. That's great that you were able to add an additional week to your trip.

Michael
Michael, based on our experience, I would save Machu Piccu for another vacation opportunity when you could give yourself more time to visit, perhaps even next year. Save the money you'll be spending on the ship's excursion and go later. All you will need is a week off - the money would already be in the bank. You could do an entire week for 7 grand, including airfare (We both live in the Bay Area so your travel costs would be the same as for us). More time for Cusco and other sites nearby such as The Sacred Valley. We're planning on going back again next year without a cruise involved, it was that amazing.

My wife and I just finished watching an hour long Nova PBS special titled Ghosts of Machu Piccu. It's an amazing documentary covering why it is there and how it was built. You can view it online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient...hu-picchu.html

Regardless of when you do go, I have no doubt you will have a wonderful experience visiting a truly spectacular place.

Here is a photo I took during our visit in 2009:




Last edited by boogs; August 27th, 2013 at 02:16 AM.
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  #7  
Old August 27th, 2013, 02:21 AM
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but we wouldn't sail all the way down there and not see it.
That's what my wife said when we booked, until we saw the excursion cost. I have co-workers who for less than the excursion price flew to Lima, visited MP (they did a 3-day hike there), and flew home.

We ultimately decided to do a future land trip since we also want to visit Buenos Aires (4hr flight away from Lima). While you're gone from the ship, can I have your MDR meals?
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  #8  
Old August 27th, 2013, 08:38 AM
4774Papa 4774Papa is offline
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Originally Posted by TxnAquarian View Post
Has anyone done the Celebrity 3-day excursion to Machu Picchu? We booked it on our upcoming FLL - Valparaiso cruise, and we're curious how many people are in the group and how X handles the tour.



Michael
We had the option to do that excursion on our repo in 2011, but the price was more expensive than if you took a one week four of Lima, Cuzco and MP that included airfare from the USA.
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  #9  
Old August 27th, 2013, 11:13 AM
BosoxI BosoxI is offline
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Boogs, thanks for the information. That's a great plan if you can swing all that time off. Unfortunately, it is already tight for us fitting this 15-day cruise into our schedule, so our only option is to do the excursion from the ship. Yes, it is pricey. It is costing us about 7 grand for the 2 of us to do the ship's tour....but we wouldn't sail all the way down there and not see it. That's great that you were able to add an additional week to your trip.



Michael
Years ago, I traveled through Afghanistan, the Khyber Pass, Pakistan, having stopped previously for a delightful time in Iran. That was years ago. If you haven't got my drift, times change and the world shrinks for many Westerners. You are wise to make hay while the Peruvian sun is shining. It's a wonderful country and its people are delightful, but who knows what it will be like in the future. Heck, America has changed so much in the recent past, who knows what the USA will be like in the future?
DW and I took a similar tour off a Princess ship four years ago. I would think the two lines would offer very similar products. Ours was absolutely first rate everywhere we went. Had a great time and only two problems arose, neither having to do with the tour itself. First, it was a rainy day at MP (two weeks later the floods hit big time) and second, H. Stern conveniently located a shop at our gate in the airport. You might be interested in knowing that 18kt gold replica Incan nose ring necklaces are sold only in Peru and they cost more than the price of the tour for one person.
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  #10  
Old August 27th, 2013, 11:33 AM
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While you're gone from the ship, can I have your MDR meals?
That is another thing to consider. You will be off the ship for 2-1/2 days, including two nights and a full sea day,so you will be away from the already paid for cruise for about 15% of the trip. Assuming that you are spending $5,000 for the cruise, you are throwing away $750 of the cruise cost by being away from the ship. That makes the excursion cost go up to $7,750 since you are paying for food and lodging twice for that same time. Plus, the $7,000 cost of the excursion doesn't include airfare to South America. That is an additional expense to get you back home for just the cruise portion, while the cost of a separate non-cruise related trip includes round trip airfare.

Also consider that you will be at Machu Picchu for less than four hours, so you need to consider the travel portion just as important as the visit itself. If Machu Picchu is the only reason to take this excursion, that's a lot of money and time spent for a 4 hour visit.

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Years ago, I traveled through Afghanistan, the Khyber Pass, Pakistan, having stopped previously for a delightful time in Iran. That was years ago. If you haven't got my drift, times change and the world shrinks for many Westerners. You are wise to make hay while the Peruvian sun is shining. It's a wonderful country and its people are delightful, but who knows what it will be like in the future. Heck, America has changed so much in the recent past, who knows what the USA will be like in the future?
As for the world changing and using the strife in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran for a reason to not put this trip off, those areas have always been volatile and have always been at risk of becoming parts of the world to be cautious about, while Peru and Chile have been much more stable and not as prone to the same problems. I would expect these areas to stay quite safe for the foreseeable future. Machu Picchu has been unharmed by nature and man's influence for 500 years. I think that it will stay put for a few more years at least.

Last edited by SantaFeFan; August 27th, 2013 at 11:49 AM.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 01:01 PM
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While I appreciate everyone's concern for the amount of money that we are spending on this excursion, my original question wasn't whether we should go on the tour or not. I was looking for feedback from those who have done with excursion. We are doing the tour to Machu Picchu. Yes, it is expensive and yes, we will be off the ship for a couple of days. But this is a part of the world we don't have much desire to return to. There are too many other places to cruise and countries we want to visit while we are still young.

If anyone else has done the Celebrity excursion and can provide feedback, we'd love to hear.

Thanks everyone! =)



Michael
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  #12  
Old August 27th, 2013, 03:16 PM
BosoxI BosoxI is offline
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.



As for the world changing and using the strife in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran for a reason to not put this trip off, those areas have always been volatile and have always been at risk of becoming parts of the world to be cautious about, while Peru and Chile have been much more stable and not as prone to the same problems. I would expect these areas to stay quite safe for the foreseeable future. Machu Picchu has been unharmed by nature and man's influence for 500 years. I think that it will stay put for a few more years at least.
I was citing countries I had visited which are no longer open to me. There are others I hadn't visited which are not particularly friendly places, so I have missed the boat with them unless radical changes occur and soon. Peru has had its share of upheaval in the recent past, which you have chosen to ignore, the Shining Path and Tumaru Amaru (sp) being foremost. BTW our guide at MP pointed out an area of decay caused by the heavy rains which hit the area consistently. It isn't going to be in the gorge any time soon, but it certainly hasn't been unharmed by nature by any means . "Make hay while the sun shines" If you can afford it, do the tour. You can always return on your own if you fall in love with it. Finally, you might be off the ship, but you'll be seeing lots more than just four hours at MP. The ruins at Cuzco are fascinating, as is the city itself.

Last edited by BosoxI; August 27th, 2013 at 03:22 PM.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 07:08 PM
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BTW our guide at MP pointed out an area of decay caused by the heavy rains which hit the area consistently. It isn't going to be in the gorge any time soon, but it certainly hasn't been unharmed by nature by any means . "Make hay while the sun shines"
Do yourself a favor and watch that online Nova special mentioned in an earlier post. There you will discover how Machu Picchu was designed and built, and you will be relieved to learn that the site is doing surprisingly well due to the foresight of the designers. It's amazing how they factored in the heavy rains, about 70 inches per year, and took some well thought out steps to deal with it, including significant drainage systems, and the design of the terraces to prevent erosion by guiding the water back into the ground below.

Machu Picchu's well-designed drainage infrastructure is one of its most remarkable secrets. It is also one of the keys to its longevity. They built for permanency. They didn't go halfway. Perhaps the greatest testimony to their success is that the city still exists in such good condition.

The gravest danger to the site is the 2,500 tourists per day that visit. They are gradually wearing down some of the stone paths. However, climate hasn't been a factor in it's 500 year existence, and it still isn't today. There is no doubt from archaeological experts that it will easily outlive us all.

Last edited by boogs; August 27th, 2013 at 07:12 PM.
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  #14  
Old August 27th, 2013, 07:29 PM
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While I appreciate everyone's concern for the amount of money that we are spending on this excursion, my original question wasn't whether we should go on the tour or not. I was looking for feedback from those who have done with excursion. We are doing the tour to Machu Picchu. Yes, it is expensive and yes, we will be off the ship for a couple of days. But this is a part of the world we don't have much desire to return to. There are too many other places to cruise and countries we want to visit while we are still young.

If anyone else has done the Celebrity excursion and can provide feedback, we'd love to hear.

Thanks everyone! =)



Michael
One thing no one has brought up-AMS (altitude sickness). You are going from sea level to about 11,000 feet in just over an hour. CAN YOU HANDLE IT???? Those quickie shore excursions leave A LOT of people in their hotel rooms sucking oxygen and missing their entire trip to MP.

I go to South America 4 times per year for business. I also run a very small import business from Cusco and Juliaca (even higher than Cusco).

You cannot believe the amount of people I see GASPING for breath, having unbelievable headaches and other signs of AMS. SO many miss what they have long waited to see-Machu Pichu. Our close friends ended up spending 2 days locked in a Cusco hotel sucking oxygen and fighting off the horrendous headaches. IF you have never been at "altitude" before, you don't know what you are getting yourself into with these short trips. I wouldn't do it if it was FREE. And I have been there at least 20 times.

Are you ready for all this? How old are you and what kind of physical shape are you in? IF younger than 50 and in good physical shape, go for it. IF not, REALLY, REALLY think about where you are going and what you want to do. And think about going back for a week where you can take your time and ENJOY instead of being RUSHED. Climbing ruins and up and down MP is very detrimental to your health if you are not in good shape and want a RUSHED 3 day trip. FORGET the money. Think about your health.

Enjoy-whatever you decide to do.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 07:42 PM
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Are you ready for all this? How old are you and what kind of physical shape are you in?

We are both in our early/mid 30s and very active, so I don't think AMS should be much of a problem. We are still taking all the precautions that we have found through our research, though.



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Last edited by TxnAquarian; August 27th, 2013 at 07:43 PM.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 07:48 PM
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Years ago, I traveled through Afghanistan, the Khyber Pass, Pakistan, having stopped previously for a delightful time in Iran. That was years ago. If you haven't got my drift, times change and the world shrinks for many Westerners. You are wise to make hay while the Peruvian sun is shining. It's a wonderful country and its people are delightful, but who knows what it will be like in the future. Heck, America has changed so much in the recent past, who knows what the USA will be like in the future?
DW and I took a similar tour off a Princess ship four years ago. I would think the two lines would offer very similar products. Ours was absolutely first rate everywhere we went. Had a great time and only two problems arose, neither having to do with the tour itself. First, it was a rainy day at MP (two weeks later the floods hit big time) and second, H. Stern conveniently located a shop at our gate in the airport. You might be interested in knowing that 18kt gold replica Incan nose ring necklaces are sold only in Peru and they cost more than the price of the tour for one person.
While I can't get you into Iran (US law), I can sure get you over the Khyber any day of the week. Do you want a job???? I work in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait all the time. There are jobs available that will get you over the Khyber any day of the week into Pakistan. If you want a job in Pakistan, EASILY done because no one wants to get stuck there. DOD currently has over 30 positions in Islamabad and more in other parts of Pakistan.

Shining Path (what is left of it) is FAR from MP. My brother is the head environmental scientist for one of the world's leading mining companies. They have mines all over Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, etc., etc. etc. He has to visit them periodically to check on their environmental stuff. He goes with body guards, armored vehicles and his company has a HUGE kidnap ransom policy on him. HE is subject to kidnap from Shining Path more than anything. But you are speaking about the JUNGLE, NOT the tourist areas.

He has accompanied me to MP at least 3 times. NO bodyguards, no armored vehicles. Just me and him on a train to MP and to the market in Pisac where I buy a lot of native stuff.

Quit scaring people.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 07:59 PM
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We are both in our early/mid 30s and very active, so I don't think AMS should be much of a problem. We are still taking all the precautions that we have found through our research, though.



Michael
Then go for it. But for the amount of money you are going to spend and what you ARE NOT going to see, it is FAR from a good solution. As everyone has said, you would be SO MUCH better off getting on a plane on a very long weekend and flying to Lima/Cusco and THEN go see MP.

Your choice but I think you will kick yourself in the butt with what you miss. Diamox can make you sick if you are allergic to sulfa drugs and EVERYTHING you taste or drink tastes like crap. I swear by coca tea and coca leaves but if you have to drug test at work, that can be a detriment. Enjoy!!!

Last edited by greatam; August 27th, 2013 at 08:01 PM.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 09:29 PM
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Then go for it. But for the amount of money you are going to spend and what you ARE NOT going to see, it is FAR from a good solution. As everyone has said, you would be SO MUCH better off getting on a plane on a very long weekend and flying to Lima/Cusco and THEN go see MP.

Your choice but I think you will kick yourself in the butt with what you miss. Diamox can make you sick if you are allergic to sulfa drugs and EVERYTHING you taste or drink tastes like crap. I swear by coca tea and coca leaves but if you have to drug test at work, that can be a detriment. Enjoy!!!

I am actually very allergic to sulfa. Thanks for the heads-up!

In regards to the coca tea and leaves, how long will that stay in your system? I am a flight attendant and get drug tested regularly.


Michael
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  #19  
Old August 28th, 2013, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by greatam View Post
While I can't get you into Iran (US law), I can sure get you over the Khyber any day of the week. Do you want a job???? I work in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait all the time. There are jobs available that will get you over the Khyber any day of the week into Pakistan. If you want a job in Pakistan, EASILY done because no one wants to get stuck there. DOD currently has over 30 positions in Islamabad and more in other parts of Pakistan.

Shining Path (what is left of it) is FAR from MP. My brother is the head environmental scientist for one of the world's leading mining companies. They have mines all over Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, etc., etc. etc. He has to visit them periodically to check on their environmental stuff. He goes with body guards, armored vehicles and his company has a HUGE kidnap ransom policy on him. HE is subject to kidnap from Shining Path more than anything. But you are speaking about the JUNGLE, NOT the tourist areas.

He has accompanied me to MP at least 3 times. NO bodyguards, no armored vehicles. Just me and him on a train to MP and to the market in Pisac where I buy a lot of native stuff.

Quit scaring people.
Thank you for your kind invitation but I never asked to return to Pakistan. I do expect people to comprehend what I've written and not completely twist and misunderstand my words. Far from scaring people, I clearly (I thought) was encouraging people to seize the current day and travel when the opportunity presents itself, as the world changes very quickly nowadays. Sorry you didn't catch that. Oh, and I served my country for 30 years, thank you, and don't feel any particular need to re-up.

The OP is going to MP; they are young and healthy and will have a wonderful time, I'm sure.
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