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About Route6A

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  1. My husband and I toured Athens with Jordan Daioglou. He has a very comfortable Mercedes sedan and is a charming, knowledgeable resident of Athens. Jordan met us at the port in the morning and took us to important sites before the busloads of tourists arrived. I recommend him highly. This is a comfortable, pleasant way to tour Athens. We visited in the fall, when the weather is pleasant. You can check out Jordan's reviews on a number of Internet review sites. Hope this helps someone in planning. Enjoying your review. Your children are very good travelers as is our son.
  2. Over the many years I have been reading reviews on Cruise Critic, I have never encountered one any finer than yours. Thank you.
  3. Another vote for Oceania over HAL. The decline in food quality and the general cost-cutting caused us to leave HAL three years ago. Oceania offers truly excellent food, attentive service and generally a most pleasant experience. My only advice is to book a Penthouse level stateroom or above, even on the larger ships, because the space is very cramped in the entry-level staterooms. We also sail with Regent, Cunard and Silversea, which we feel offer excellent quality. On our first Oceania cruise on the Marina, we learned there were over 1,000 repeat passengers, a vote for quality indeed.
  4. I live in the Boston area and have done a number of New England/Canada cruises. One of our favorite ports is Bar Harbor, and recently I booked an Arcadia Park tour with a local company named Acadia National Park Tours. I reserved with them ahead, and paid the day we took the tour. Their phone number is: 207 288-0300. From the company web site: " My grandfather Sonny Cough, and his brother, Jimmy, started this Acadia National Park Tours in 1955 setting the standard for land tours in the Bar Harbor area. The company has remained family owned and operated ever since." Our guide/bus driver was a local fellow, who is a history teacher, and he was simply a grand guide. Our ride was a new, school bus style bus, not the usual high rise tour bus. If you want local color and a local guide with personality, this is the tour for you. The charge was $30 per adult. I highly recommend this tour. ( I hope giving the specifics of the tour does not violate the rules of Cruise Critic. It it does, please remove this post.)
  5. I bought the unlimited Internet package on Marina, and was able to text through the Internet on my iPhone to other iPhones. Sometimes, I was unable to initiate the texting, but I simply e-mailed the party with whom I wished to communicate, saying, "Text me" to start the sequence. It worked flawlessly. The Internet connection worked well and was faster than on other cruise lines. I tried to refrain from using the Internet at peak times, when traffic was higher, and that minimized cut offs. I was quite pleased with the Internet service on the ship.
  6. Thanks to all for the information, which I need as I have my first Oceania cruise ahead. I might add that in a pinch, put your iPad by your bedside and open it to use as a light source. Additionally, an iPhone has a flashlight feature, which requires more attention to use.
  7. I booked two obstructed view cabins a couple of years ago when the prices were amazingly low. They were an alternative to flying to the UK to continue by air to Venice, where we began a Mediterranean cruise. We loved the cabins and still congratulate ourselves on the inexpensive and very enjoyable way we crossed to Europe. We have also sailed in the Grills and in sheltered balcony cabins on Queen Mary 2. We make our choices based on price, and really don't mind missing a view on a crossing as we are always so busy enjoying the ship's many interesting activities. For other itineraries, we like a better view.
  8. Late at night works for me. I think traffic volume slows the speed.
  9. I do hope that the outbreak will not impact those of you on the next voyage. Crew infections as well as contaminated surfaces are the issues after the current passengers depart. Fortunately, my husband and I are not boarding until mid-October, but these outbreaks can last a long, long time.
  10. To answer your question directly, yes. We sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam in 2011, and noticed a decline in food quality and a reduction in staffing that affected service throughout the ship. The stewards were as gracious as ever, but the staffing ratios made it impossible for them to deliver the level of service we had experienced on Holland America over many years. We "jumped ship" even though we were four-star Mariners, and have not sailed with Holland America since. We can find better value for money spent on other lines now, especially Cunard when we book after final payment. Although we have fond memories of some lovely cruises with HAL, we will not be sailing with them again.
  11. I don't really consider the ratings of cruise lines when making my travel plans, because I simply love the experience of sailing on Queen Mary 2. Having sailed with many of the mainstream and luxury lines, I have chosen Cunard as my favorite for my own reasons. Others find smaller ships, ships with inclusive pricing, ships with ice rinks and climbing walls more to their liking, and that's fine. If looking for inclusive pricing, for example, Regent is a good choice. If I were to list what I like about sailing on Queen Mary 2, it would be a long, long list. It's wonderful that there are so many different sailing experiences from which to choose. A real wealth of choices today. Happy travels to us all!
  12. I have read previous reports of the Queen Mary 2 losing power, once during the night while most passengers were asleep. The problem was said to be a computer related issue. Queen Mary 2 is my favorite ship, but I do worry that if this should happen in very rough seas, it could be a serious problem.
  13. I have not posted on the HAL board for a long time, because we are no longer sailing with Holland America for many of the reasons mentioned on this thread. Perhaps HAL will read this thread and realize that many longtime HAL passengers are choosing different lines. We began sailing with HAL way back in the 1970's and stopped after a cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam in 2011. We are happy with Cunard's Queen Mary 2 at the moment, and also sail with Celebrity but only on their newer ships.
  14. I, too, find the redesigned site extremely difficult to navigate. Previously, I would search for sailings fairly often,with an eye to good pricing. I never visit the site now, and I have no sailings booked. I wonder if there has been a decrease in online bookings since the introduction of the new site.
  15. Just took a look at the newly designed Cunard web page. Sorry to say, I do not have the time to figure it out. The old one was so easy to use, and I would often take a look at fares and book a crossing as a result. (I am a longtime, computer literate passenger.)
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