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  1. Years back, we did a cruise with Princess and were only in Maui for one day and we did take a tour up to Haleakala and it was by coach bus. I actually felt pretty ill coming back down and my ears would not stop popping. Driving ourselves this time in a large SUV was fabulous and we were able to stop and smell the roses up and down the drive!!!. I truly do not like bus tours. So, yes, when we do it again, hopefully, in a couple more years, we will drive once again.
  2. There was never a time when HI and H2 were not without wall to wall traffic. Traffic always, at all times of the day!@!!
  3. So many better things to do in Honolulu other than going all the way up through the centre of Oahu to get to the Dole Plantation. So very overpriced as well. If you are driving the Northshore in your rental car and want to stop in for a few minutes, fine, but really, don't make an express trip for that place. If your first time to Honolulu, sure rent a car, there is an Enterprise on Ala Moana, just google Enterprise. You will have to take a cab to the car location, however. You could rent a car and perhaps just drive up the East side, pop over to Diamond Head, climb it and then proceed to Hanauma Bay, visit the fish and then go on to any of the lovely beaches above Diamond Head as far a Kailua and then head back and ditch the car and get to your ship. The Highways to the West after leaving the cruise ship are nightmarish in terms of traffic. We were in Honolulu several days prior to our last cruise and there was NEVER A TIME when HI, H2 were wall to wall traffic. So best advice, pick a couple of things to see closer to town or one thing like the lovely lovely beach at Kailua Kona and just chill and leave the Plantation to a time when you will be spending several nights on the island. Just my thoughts having just returned from Hawaii.
  4. Were were at the Hawaii National Volcano Park this past May and a lot of the park area roads were closed.
  5. Remember the drive up there is long. I mean 2 hours long with many many switchbacks. By the time we got up there, the last thing we wanted to do was go on a hike!!! We did take a gazillion pictures and it was truly breathtaking and very very bright. The air up there is thinner. And depending on your age, hiking can be taking on one's system after driving two hours up in increasing altitude to 10,000 or so feet. For the young ones, fine. But anyone middle aged or older has to watch themselves. Then it was another 2 hours down the hill, round and round and round we went. Also, when Enterprise says they close at 5, they mean it. So have your car back way before and for us, we just went with their little gas deal where you bring the car back to them and for a small fee they fill it up.
  6. Shimizu is a port that you can do on your own. Which is what we did and it cost us so very little. Did everything the cruise ship tours did on our own. Went to the beach, got the requisite pic of Mount Fuji, from the beach saw the weird tree there on the beach, saw the temples, and on and on. No tour needed at all. Toyko, no tour needed there also. I see that the ship is Toyko to Toyko round trip. We spent four days in Tokyo prior to our cruise and saw it all and I mean all. We had a Japan Rail pass and we were able to use it for travel on the JR lines within the city as well as outside of the city. I see that your itinerary also has an overnight in Osaka for Kyoto. That is fabulous. Again, avoid tour groups. Take the ever efficient trains and subways. In Osaka where you dock, the subway is just a couple of blocks away from the the dock. You can choose to stay in Osaka and roam around or take the train to the Kyoto station and then grab the bus right at the Kyoto station and go see the Golden Temple and then catch another bus to the Silver Temple. You could alternatively take the train from Osaka and go to the Himjei White Castle (fabulous). Again, all of these spots on your own!!! And be it for a fraction of the cruise ship tour costs. Many many English language directions everywhere and everyone in Japan wants to practice English and help tourists. The only spot we did a tour was Busan as the language there was a bit spottier and the bus to get to the temple by the sea (big long name) would have been a big hassle to use so we went with the overpriced tour !!! Also, it was bloody hot and the public buses did not have air con. Our ship did not go to the other places on your itinerary so no comment on those.
  7. Hi, we will be arriving in Sydney on a Monday morning and looking to get downtown to the Kings Cross Station. What would be our best bet. There will be four of us with each one of us having a large suitcase and a back pack. Cost wise, should we simply cab it to the hotel which is basically across from the King's Cross Station or should we board the airport train (sounds pricey - for a short train ride to Central (somewhere around $14 AUS) and then have to pay another fee to board another train from Central to King's Cross). I was reading about the OPAL card and saw something that made mention of : Daily Travel Cap* – Pay no more than $16.10 per day for adults and $8.00 a day for a child to travel anywhere in the network Weekly Travel Cap* – Pay no more than $50.00 a week when travelling on all modes of Opal enabled transport from Monday to Sunday Does anyone know if the above two caps include the Airport portion of my proposed journey. I am going to be in Sydney from Monday to Saturday and will want to take the public transportation all around Sydney as well to Katoomba. $50.00 for a week sounds almost too good to be true!!! Advice please.
  8. Thanks to everyone for the great responses. Thanks OzKiwiJJ for the Ho Ho Bus link.
  9. Thank you to all who have replied. I think we will forgo the car and take the train to the Blue Mountains for the day. Will look into where the ho-ho bus goes exactly and whether it is worth the expense or perhaps as there will be four us perhaps a taxi can take us to the Blue Mountains from the train depot at Katoomba.
  10. With respect to the Non Refundable Deposits, we book a lot of cruises with RCL and the little thing that I have learned is all of those prices that are offered are basically just a hundred dollars less because of the non refundable deposit. So if the price you are looking at on line is let's say $775 plus tax for whatever cruise, just give RCL a phone call and you will see that the fully refundable price is only about $100 to $125 more per person. Don't be pulled into booking something with a non refundable price tag. Do like we do, pay a bit more and be able to change your mind ten ways to Sunday!!!! There is always some deal going on, it totally drives me crazy which is why I have opted out of receiving two emails a day from RCL. Now I simply check the website every couple of days to see if something interesting is happening and I do not have to be reminded twenty times a week of this sale and that. So very annoying!!!!
  11. Going to be arriving in Sydney 5 days prior to our cruise in early March 2020. Have decided not to fly to Cairns to do Great Barrier Reef, as I do not snorkel and I really have no interest in watching others snorkel and I do not want to spend loads of money for a airplane or helicopter tour of the GBR. We will spend our time in Sydney and surrounding area. We are interested in seeing the Blue Mountains. I know we can take the train from Central and get there in a couple of hours. My dilemma. Should I simply rent a car and make our way there that way and then have the freedom to stop along the way. We are from Canada and I know that Australians drive on the other side of the road. We have been to UK and are accustomed to driving on the other side. But our issue concerns the cost of the rental car and specifically the insurance that we have to buy extra. Wondering if other Canadians have rented cars in Australia and New Zealand and how they fared in this regard. Was car rental very pricy including extra insurance! Normally, our credit card will cover our insurance or our personal car insurance would cover the insurance however not for Australia and New Zealand we have been told because of high risk of car accidents in Australia and New Zealand according to our carrier. I hate taking tours and would much prefer to drive ourselves. Can I hear from Canadians who have rented cars in Australia and New Zealand.
  12. We travel with a vaccination certificate (it notes all the dates of recent immunizations, e.g. tetanus should be updated every ten years). Just like our passports, Nexus cards, and insurance papers (travel), all those items accompany us on our travels to other countries. To find out whether you are protected against hepatitis, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis for example, just get the requisite blood test. And if you are not protected, get the vaccination and protect yourselves as well as others. Also, even thought there are of course going to be different strains of influenza each and every year, an updated flu shot is also something we also get. We also have gotten the shingles vaccine to boot,
  13. We did everything ourselves prior to boarding in Yokohama. Spent 10 days touring Japan with a Japan Rail Pass. So simple!!!! No hassle of a tour bus with countless bathroom and shopping breaks. Waiting for this one and that one. Japan is a country that does not need a tour guide. Buy a guide book and off you go. We had a wonderful time. We could spent countless hours at all locations. Then, when we boarded the ship, we also avoided tours and did everything on our own once again. One quarter of the cost of each and every tour offered by Princess. So absolutely fabulous on our own. For us, that is the only way to go!!
  14. When we were there, we simply grabbed the City Bus a couple of blocks away from where cruise ship docked.
  15. Hmm. we have traveled to many countries and always brought canned salmon and whole wheat bread with us in addition to packaged granola bars and small bags of cookies, pre-packaged apple sauce, almonds, pecans (so essentially a variety of snacks) so we have munchies on plane (coming from North America) to Sydney. Am I reading the various posts correct, one has to declare our snacks to customs when we arrive in Sydney? Could we be turned away from entering country if we have snacks in our carry on bags and in our checked luggage. We are always are so bone tired upon arriving after travelling 16 plus hours on these flights, that we like to have our own little stash of food to eat in our hotel room at our ready so we can enjoy our own comfort food prior to immersing ourselves in the culture of the foreign land. Are we not allowed to bring the above food items into Australia? Obviously, we do not want to break the law. Please advise.
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