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About Me

  • Location
    West Chester, PA
  • Interests
    Golf, travel, cruising, reading, knitting, Mah Jongg
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    all of them

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  1. Thanks for your detailed cruise/tours/and general comments. We'll be taking the NCL Jade 12 days Italy and Greek Isles cruise (although not all the same ports) in April 2020 and starting to research private small tours. I made note of the tour groups you used. Thanks for sharing. Rita & Michael Lee
  2. Yikes about the mule ride! I will make sure to leave plenty of time for the cable car.
  3. Thanks for your information. Interesting about FB groups being the go to spot looking for information and private tours rather than Cruise Critic that has a roll call for your specific cruise. After recently reading this, I did join the FB page for NCL Jade. Until someone creates a specific page just for our cruise, it's a jumble of information from everyone on those ships that stop in ports around the world. We look forward to visiting the Greek Isles 😎 Rita & Michael Lee
  4. Thanks for sharing your tours/adventures. In March 2019, we did a 12 day NCL from Singapore to Hong Kong. And then Holland America 15 day from HK to Tokyo. Both had over 85 people interested in the Meet & Mingle and many private tours posted on the google doc I created. In previous years and prior to knowing about Cruise Critic, we always took the cruise tours. Once you have the comfort level with private tours with small groups, going to places busloads can't go and lower cost, it's hard to take a cruise tour. Enjoy your next adventure. Rita & Michael Lee
  5. We too do the same with envelopes labeled ahead of time which helps organize our money. For those using ATMs and all of us travelers who may not, please watch this video of situations you probably don't encounter in your home country. Knowledge is power 😀 Prepare for pickpockets - they’re everywhere, at all public places, and in crowded areas including the churches in Rome. “Rome, Naples, Barcelona, and Madrid are the Pickpocket Capitals of the World.” https://www.bella-toscana.com/pickpocketsinitaly.htm#.W1Xu_9JKhPY
  6. Ashland, Thanks for the details of the Santorini port tour. I'll definitely look into it. We will be traveling on the NCL Jade in April 2020. Right now there are only 2 of us on the Roll Call I started, very disappointing. I'm hoping it picks up like the other cruises we've been on. I research and plan private tours, advertise on CC for others and even create a google doc to keep all the details in one place. I'm searching for tour companies that offer small group tours for Kotor, Montenegro; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Corfu/Athens/Mykonos, Greece; Naples/Pompeii/Florence/Pisa, Italy and Cannes, France. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you. Rita & Michael Lee West Chester, PA
  7. Cleobella, Here's an example of Xuan's tour of Ho Chi Minh City. We also did the one in Danang and Hoian with him. For our cruise in March 2019, I created a google doc and requested fellow cruisers sign up so we could decrease this amazing tour. I won't reiterate the glowing reviews that myself and others have written. 2 persons: 340 USD. 4 persons: 440 USD. 6 persons: 540 USD. 8 persons: 640 USD. 10 persons: 740 USD Time "Pick up at 08:00am at outside of port gate - 700 meters from a dock with a sign of your name. Return to the port before 6pm. (We dock at 7am and depart 9pm)" Details "- Visit a local fresh market (fruits, vegetables, fish...) in small alleyways to see local life. - Visit a Thien Hau temple in Chinatown. - Trishaw ride 45 minutes through local markets - Driving along a canal to see a huge contrast between poor stilts houses and high rise apartments. - In downtown: walking around Dong Khoi & Nguyen Hue streets to visit some historical sites like post office, notre dame cathedral, city hall and CIA building where one of the last American helicopter landed on the top for evacuating in fall of Saigon 1975. - Have lunch at a good local restaurant (pay by your own) - Visit war remnants museum ( or Independent palace). - Shopping at Ben Thanh market if you wish to see and buy local souvenir. The tour includes a comfortable van Ford Transit (16 seaters), a tour guide, all entrance fees, 45 minutes trishaw ride in Saigon, bottles of water. Meals, tips and personal expenses are excluded. And i will recommend you some great local restaurants during the trip. Rita Lee
  8. I started researching Vietnamese tour companies a year prior to our cruise. Tours by Xuan was highly recommended by many cruisers. I started corresponding with Xuan and others prior to making our decision. Xuan has an International guide license since 2012 and he has been working for a big travel company in Ho Chi Minh city for many years. Like many individuals starting out, the last couple of years he has been a local guide for Toursbylocals, mostly private tour & small group tours on his own. Xuan still works for a travel company in Ho Chi Minh City as freelance guide. Since he is an independent freelance guide with a tour guide license and doesn’t own any travel company he doesn’t need any bonding. He feels confident to conduct the tours with full legal documentations as behind him is another travel company where he has been working for many years. There are many good guides & travel companies in Vietnam and I and others have given Xuan excellent reviews. We are not saying anything negative about other guides and companies. Everyone will make their own decisions by reading and exploring the many options available. Happy Travels!
  9. In March 2019, we too went on tours with Xuan to Danang and Hoian. Since he was busy with another tour, we had an associate of his for Ho Chi Minh City. I concur with your assessment of Xuan and the tours and HIGHLY recommend him and his associates for tours. The highlights were the 45 minute Trishaw ride in Ho Chi Minh City and the restaurant off the beaten path where only locals knew about. It's wonderful to only have 8 people on a tour that is so reasonably priced.
  10. Laem Chabang/Bangkok: I contacted Mike, www.bangokasiatravel.com, for a private tour for 8 of us after reading many positive reviews. He was responsive to my numerous questions and I thought gave us a very fair price for the tour. We made a $50 deposit thru PayPal and paid the balance in USD the day of the tour. It takes about 2-2.5 hours to drive from the cruise port to Bangkok, since there is a great deal of traffic closer to the very clean city. Mr. Chi, our tour guide, was informative and professional on our ride to the city and throughout the day. Our visits to the Wat (temples) both men and women need their shoulders and knees covered with shoes off. If you don’t like walking on hot walkways or with no socks, bring a pair to put on when you go into the temples. Walking thru the flower markets watching people making the beautiful decorations/arrangements along with the intoxicating smell of jasmine and other flowers was wonderful to experience. Mr. Chi was thoughtful to purchase local fruit to share. The Grand Palace was an area that was extremely crowded with people and many beautiful buildings and other statues, etc. My favorite was the beautiful mosaic building that shimmered in the sun. We had lunch at the Navy Club, included with our tour except for beer, served family style with many options and sat outside overlooking the busy river. My favorite was chicken with cashews which had a delicious sauce and there were many options from soup to dessert. There were many other fabulous stops, sights and smells of the day we all got to enjoy! I highly recommend contacting this company for a tour of Bangkok.
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