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About comcox

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Silver Spring, Maryland, USA
  • Interests
    Genealogy, travel and reading
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Fred Olsen, Holland America

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  1. Are you staying in the same cabin for both parts? If so, that make sit easier as there is no packing up and moving that day. If you do need to relocate, your cabin steward should help by bringing you a luggage cart. As to other requirements, it may depend on the port in which your turn-around happens. Some ports require you to exit and go through immigration/customs (mind you without luggage at least), and then you would recheck in when you come back to the ship, usually through a special lane for those who are back-to-back. Some ports you just check with the Guest Services desk to see if you need to re-activate your key card. I have been on just a couple of back-to-back cruises and at least once the ship actually offered a few tours for that day. Mostly, though, I've just wandered around the town wherever we were. It's also a nice time to enjoy the quietness of the ship's facilities such as the pool.
  2. The Shore Tours office at FO do know the port times. I wrote in inquiry to them about just one of my husband's tour and they sent me a printout of all his tours times, which just happened to indicate the exact port times as well.
  3. I am departing tomorrow for a sailing out of Southampton on Thursday, but I have not received my luggage tags from Fred Olsen. They said they mailed them back on Oct. 10th. Does anyone know if they have blank tags at the port where you can fill in your cabin number?
  4. Thanks Edinburgher. Fred Olsen has said shuttles won't start until 8:30 or 9:00 am so I will need to do tram or taxi. I use Rome2Rio all the time in planning. It's a great website.
  5. We will be docked at pier 2 in Bremen and I would like to get to Bremerhaven to visit the Emigration Museum there. Can one walk out from Pier 2 or is it one of those commercial piers where you have to take a shuttle? How easy is it to find a taxi at Pier 2 (which is next to the big shopping center with Primark) to get to the main train station in Bremen early in the morning? We will docked overnight so I can head out early. Which would be the best stations to use at each end of the journey? Thanks for any advice.
  6. I never dress up for dinner. Depending on how long your FO cruise is you will have one or more scheduled formal nights, but the rest are "smart casual" for the main dining room. And FO has a buffet restaurant as well for dinner that does is smart casual every evening so slacks and colored shirt (polo is fine) for guys and slacks/skirt and blouse or a simple dress for women. As for the cuisine, I just look at it as a chance not to gain wait on a cruise ;)
  7. I have sailed on both cruise lines and live in the U.S. I always wanted to do an Arctic cruise and a few years ago looked at prices on HAL's Viking cruise, but for a solo cruiser the price was astronomical. And then I spotted that Fred Olsen offered a similar itinerary at a much better price as they had solo cabins; even with the round-trip airfare to the U.K. I would still save money so I booked. And I loved the cruise so much I sailed with them again later that same year to the Canaries and Cape Verde. So for the comparison: HAL has much larger ships which means they have larger everything from cabins to dining spaces to fitness facilities. FO has smaller ships with simpler cabins and fewer facilities. Fred's cabins tend to have twin beds, some of which can be narrow, but that varies by ship and cabin. So if "bells and whistles" are important to you, HAL wins hands down. That said there are some advantages to those smaller ships. They can go places the larger ones cannot, such as sailing up some rivers or docking closer into town or to some unusual ports that just cannot handle larger vessels. Disembarking in port is so much easier with fewer passengers. And Fred's shore tours are better priced than HAL's. The food on each ship varies by sailing, but in general FO serves very British food so be prepared for barely cooked bacon, lots of rice/bread puddings and curries--which not all Americans appreciate. But Fred often offers a kettle with tea and coffee makings in each cabin--something you won't find on HAL. But quite frankly the beds and the food are the only downsides I've ever encountered on FO. What is much better on their ships is the lack of constant selling and so many stupid games. Fred offers wonderful lecturers, a nice library, art lessons, etc. Fred's daily gratuity is far lower than HAL's and they often offer drinks inclusive packages if that is important to you. But what stands out for me most is how wonderful and welcoming the fellow passengers are on Fred's ships. It's a comfortable, intimate atmosphere so meeting people is so easy and everyone is so polite and friendly. So at this time I continue to sail both cruise lines. However, HAL's recent move to eliminate libraries on most their ships has me very angry as I'm an avid reader. Given a similar itinerary I would choose Fred Olsen over HAL; however, HAL does have more ships and more itineraries to choose from. If you have any other specific questions, I would be happy to try and provide answers
  8. comcox

    How to book best

    I just got a much better offer by calling Fred direct than they had on their own website for a November 2018 cruise.
  9. These descriptions have been wonderful to read and something to look forward to for my January Maasdam cruise. I had been looking at a later 2019 cruise, but had dropped the idea when I counted up the number of sea days--maybe I'll reconsider as I love lectures.
  10. comcox


    On some of the smaller British cruise lines (which always have wonderful libraries), it is often the spouse of the guest speaker who is assigned to keep the library orderly (the couple receive a free cruise in exchange for their services).
  11. Both I and another couple had made advance reservations with Enterprise Rental Car for our port stop in La Baie, Saguenay; the reservation confirmation showed the La Baie office address about 2 miles miles from the port. Furthermore, I had telephoned the office a few weeks before departure to reconfirm my reservation and to arrange a pickup. The three of us waited quite some time for our pick-up which seemed odd as subsequent phone calls that morning assured us the driver was on his way. We were then further confused when the pickup driver just kept driving beyond La Baie and on to the highway. We tried asking what was happening, but the driver spoke no English. About 40 minutes later we were delivered to the Enterprise office in Chicoutimi, which for me was in the complete opposite direction from which I had planned to travel that day. I asked why we were not informed in advance that we would not be getting our vehicles in La Baie as our reservations stated, but I was only told there were no cars in La Baie. Because of the loss of about an hour and a half travel time and the fact I had not printed out any maps that would direct me back to this other location, I lost the opportunity to do my planned excursion that day. I was only "saved" when the other couple kindly offered to let me come along with them to a different attraction which was in the same direction we had already traveled. Fortunately they had brought along their own GPS so we could get safely back to this new location. I have never previously ever had a bad experience with Enterprise, but I feel this location switch without prior notice was inexcusable especially as they could have said something when I called before the cruise to arrange a pick-up. I would not recommend anyone using this company at this location.
  12. comcox

    Disembarking at Dock 30 in Quebec?

    The Port of Quebec website shows we are at Dock 30. Adventure of the Seas got pier 22 and Seabourn Quest got pier 21. But I suppose things may be subject to change or maybe they will move us overnight as the Adventure departs at 5 pm on the 18th. Here's the port's schedule: https://www.portquebec.ca/en/cruises/vessel-schedules/seasonal-schedule I've emailed the Port to ask for confirmation.
  13. The Norwegian Gem is scheduled to be at Dock 30 (the commercial port) when we dock on 18 September and we then disembark on the 19th. I know the dock requires passengers to use a shuttle because it's a working dock, but how will the luggage be handled? Has anyone disembark from here before and know the procedure? I had hoped we'd be berthed at the main Cruise Terminal which provides storage for bags until 5 pm the day of disembarkation. I was going to use this as I'm not flying out right away.
  14. comcox

    Milk Shakes

    So can one get real milk shakes on board? Where and what is the cost?
  15. I've been assigned cabin 8512 on the Norwegian Gem for an upcoming New England/Canada cruise. Has anyone sailed in this cabin before? How much up/down movement is there this far forward in the ship? Is there any noise from the stage which is below the cabin? Would really appreciate any input from anyone with experience in this location or nearby.