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Everything posted by edinburgher

  1. Brummijam, if anything I actually OVER reasearch. This one actually came about by chance. Saw the advert in the paper, recognised that the namet APT was a quality company, looked online at Amaverdi and the itinerary, almost everything was included including flights from our local airprt (rare from here) Had excursion choices in most ports and several included "special" events at destinations. and the price was a fair bit lower than the norm as they were selling the last 6 or so cabins on that particular sailing Decided just to go for it. APT is primarily for an Aussie market and we were 2 of only 10 or 12 Brits amongst the Aussies, so it was a genuine offer and we are so pleased we did it as it was a really good trip. FRED GermanWaterways was good too but in a different way. Especially enjoyed the Keil Canal transit on that one and the sail in to Hamburg. Found major advantage on an ocean going vessel was that we could view from upper decks as otherwise we could have struggled given the number of trees alongside some waterways. From above we could see for miles.
  2. Having done many many ocean cruises wih several lines, we booked our first river cruise without knowing much at all about the differences between ocean ond river cruising and especially having no idea of the extent a trip could be impacted by water levels.. We went with APT on AmaVerde on a 15 day Magnificent Europe from Budapest to Amsterdam and actually enjoyed much of the entire trip without feeling "regimented". Yes, you go off with everyone else once docked, but that is the same as ocean cruising arriving into ports. And yes, you do have to be onboard before sailing away but that too is normal. As we were used to fixed timings like that, we dd not feel "regimented".and we quickly adapted to the fixed meal times which were timed just about right for us. Loved the meals, usually a choice of buffet or off the menu for that meal, (could mix and match)and we really enjoyed the opportunity to sample dishes local to the countries and even the areas we were in at that particular time. And wines and beers from each country. Who knew that Austrian wine was as good as this? Also loved the close cruising, (a bit of a novelty for us) and mostly being docked in a central location rather than further out. And the scenery on that itinerary was lovely too. Being able bodied, "rafting" didn't affect us much although it is true that isn't ideal for anyone, and we did get woken sometimes during the night as we passed through locks of which there are many on that routing. Disappointing too was the entertainment as it simply isn't possible to offer the same variety as on ocean going ships. We did spend time on the open top deck, but we were mostly ashore in the daytime and sailing at night so not too many opportunities. Having had a good trip we thought of doing another, but researching this time showed us how lucky we had been not to be impacted by too high or too low water levels so we decided we would not risk another as the cost is high compared to ocean cruising.. We skipped a couple of walking tours to do our own thing and others enjoyed cycling tours. What we would advise is that it is not actually essential to book an expensive balcony cabin. Being docked most days means you don't really see much especially if you are rafted with one or two others on one side or both. And you need to keep your curtains closed for privacy. And if sailing late evening or overnight when it is dark, there isn't much to see then either. Those tv ads showing couples enjoying fabulous views from their balconies as they sail make us quite cross! More aware at this pointthat that point of "things which could go wrong" we instead booked ,booked a Fred Olsen German Waterways itinerary which had the advantage of being onboard a smaller ocean going shop (Balmoral) on rivers, so we had the advantages of an ocean going ship combined with the close cruising and easy docking advantages of river cruising. Fred used to offer Swedish Waterways too and if still offered, we may try that one too.
  3. If you want to get out of the city, you could consider a side trip to either Sitges or Tarragona, both easily accessed by train from Barcelona. Sitges is only around 40 minutes, Tarragona a little longer . Info on RENFE Ttrain info such as timetables and ticket costs should be found on the RENFe website, and timetables will be especially important for Sunday travel as there will be fewr rcompared to eg Mondays to Fridays, although the Sitges service is usually still very frequent as it is a popular weekend day trip from the city. Info on both towns online. We have stayed in and enjoyed both. Which you choose will depend on which appeals most to you once you read about them.
  4. I don't think Marella are alone in not planning more regional departures. Nicola's ban on cruise ships calling into, or even embarking or disembarking passengers in any Scottish port until quite recently certainly did not help any line with forward planning. FRED had to cancel the few Rosyth sailings thay had already planned for their ships which had been laid up in Rosyth. And Azamara had three ships laid up in Glasgow until this last week but didn't take on any passengers when two of the three sailed away. It would have been an opportunity for those closer to Glasgow than Southampton to have an easy start to a trip. Perhaps they are undergoing restart trials. Maybe by this time next year, the "new normal" will have more regional departures for several lines and this could include more regional flights over winter instead of "the same old". Fingers crossed.
  5. As mentioned above, the church is worth a visit. See TA reviews and photos, but unfortunately on the day of our visit it was closed due to a funeral service taking place. It sits in one of the most picturesque and colourful pizzas just off the seafront on Piazza Caprera.,which is a really pretty area to linger for a while. It is only a 2 minute walk from the Tourist Info office in the gardens on the seafront. We wandered a little in the area of the church, enjoyed a coffee, then headed up to the VIlla Durazzo through the gardens which are not that attractive IMHO although it isn't that much of a climb and the paths are easy but the views and photo ops at the top are worth going up for. (look for the signage to the entrance at the lower level or ask someone) We came down a different route, using the downhilll staircase (in front of the church to the left of the villa as you look at it) to the seafront (passing the tiny church of the fishermen which was open so we popped in) then strolled back through some of the little streets just off the waterfront and promenade. That was all we had time for before our tour had to meet at the ferry dock to cross to Portofino. Overall it is an attractive place to while away a couple of hours so you may not feel the need to go to Portofino. It is also cheaper than Portofino for coffee, ice cream etc. and lots of lovely restaurants to choose from. Whatever you decide to do, I think you will enjoy your time.
  6. it is also possible to walk between the two if you feel up to an approximate 5 kilometer walk. There should be info on this online if you search eg "walking path between SM and Portofino" And the short ferry ride if the timtable works for you. This is really scenic as you see both places from the sea and the arrival into Portofino is really pretty. We actually liked SM a lot more than we did Portofino and would have preferred more time there. Portofino is really tiny and and an hour might be all that would be needed there..
  7. As mentioned by John Bull, the clocks in France may or may not go back an hour in late October. Regardless, your daylight hours will be shorter and you should take that into account when you plan longer days out as it could be fully dark by 1700 or even slightly earlier, with poorer light before then as dusk arrives. A quick internet search for something like NORMANDY SUNSET TIMES IN NOVEMBER should help.
  8. After the train ride and the switch to coaches, we stopped at Caribou Crossing for lunch. It was BBQ chicken and either potato salad or coleslaw, but I cannot remember which. There was also a cookie or donut if I remember correctly. Serving lunch there was a well practised drill and it was impressive to see just how quickly the servers could plate up for that number of cruisers. i remember the lunch being OK, not really WOW but decent nonetheless, but perhaps folks who visited more recently could add something?
  9. We visited both ISP and Juneau (the latter 3 times). We did two trips at Juneau and saw humpbacks and one time, also saw a pod of orca. ISP we just loved. Saw lots more humpbacks and were closer to them and also saw a number of otters swimming alongside. It was the whales and otters which came to our boat, not the operator going to them. We went with F.I.S.H.E.S. at ISP but I believe the owner retired since our visit. At Juneau we just made our way to the spot the tours leave from and took "first available" but they all communicate sightings with each other. It is fair to say that Alaska is expensive no matter what you decide to do, or where you decide to do it and you need to prepare for that.. Folks there have only a short summer window to earn enough to see them through winter and with very few roads, most things there need to arrive by barge, boat or plane, which brings additional costs.
  10. We visited as part of a return tour we did (by rental car) to Portage Glacier from Anchorage. When we swung by Alyeska, the lift was closed due to high winds which had not been evident anywhere else along the route that day, apart from at Portage. It was a stunning drive nevertheless.
  11. Not too helpful I know, but Lisbon is a major capital city with a wealth of sights, and with only one day there you will need to miss more than you can fit in. You need to find the sights which appeal to you personally. Can only suggest you read as much as you can about Lisbon,including reviews, as that will help you focus on what is most important and of interest to you. Remember to check if your interests will be open on the day of the week you visit. And take into account the high temperatures often to be endured in Lisbon and the steepness of many of the streets. Once you identify your interests, it will be much easier to plan your day, but Lisbon is a lovely city and I am sure you will enjoy whatever you decide to do..
  12. Two favourites for us, Valencia and Seville.
  13. We love HAL and sailed several of their ships. As others have already said, food, staff etc are usually great, and we especially like the options for scenic sailing as we have usually found vantage points without any difficulty. And they also sometimes open up outdoor viewing spaces and bring round hot soup or hot chocolate, but they are definitely quieter in the late evenings. Much will depend on your itinerary.and if it is port intensive or not. As an example, a Med cruise with ports for further away destinations such a Rome, Florence, Seville and others could have these on consecutive days and they are long days with early starts..(10 or 11 hour touring is not uncommon).Shorex and DIY touring when the distance from the port can be around 2 hours each way, with sightseeing time in addition often means that folks are tired after a few of these days and perhaps have another long one the following day, so they are more likely to have a few earlier bedtimes than threy would usually want. So, depending on your itinerary I would give HAL another chance.
  14. Thanks for the tip although we hope we none of us find ourselves in a similar situation in the future. We didn't think of that at the time, but should have. Only thing is for us, is that travel insce was only one of a few of the "package" contents and we had wanted the others for the period from March to September when we cancelled.
  15. Thanks to all for your helpful replies. Really appreciated that you took the time to do that. Hoping all goes well for you and that the international advisory is lifted before next year, as we still have a tiny concern that, were a claim to be made (and we have never yet made one) , insce companies may not pay out if we have travelled against a government advisory. We had also wanted to book a couple of short land trips for next year in addition to a cruise or two, (having spent zero on holidays in 2020) but think we might hold back on these too just for another wee while until things are less muddled. For years we had insce through our bank account (and think we can restart at some point) but we cancelled it back in September 2020 when it became obvious that we had been paying a monthly fee for several months and there was still no indication of being able to travel for some time to come. At the same time, we took out a separate breakdown cover policy as that too was part of the package.
  16. TRAVEL INSURANCE QUERY. Hi after a lomg absence. We were lucky in that we had not started to book for 2020 when lockdown #1 came in March 2020 due to a passport needing renewal mid Feb 2020.. Although not yet ready to cruise or go on any land holidays this year, we were looking forward to browsing itinieraries for next year (and hopefully booking) until a friend told us at the weekend they had to change one they had booked due to not being able to get travel insce. It appears that the FCO has never amended their "do not cruise" advisory from when it went on in March 2020 when cruise ships were hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons Until that is either amended or removed, it could be almost impossible to buy travel insce, as companies will not cover if against Government policy. It has only (so far as I know,) been updated in relation to domestic UK cruises, with the International advisory still in place. Our friends had been booked on one next month which included a couple of stops in Iceland, but had to switch to a UK only sailing when they could not get travel insce anywhere. They even tried two brokers, both of whom told them it could not be done due to the advisory, so at that point they switched itineraries. As we are not willing to travel without cover, if anyone already booked for 2022 managed to find insce, could you please share where you found it? Thank you.
  17. Warrnemunde is a suburb of Rostock. We took a suburban train the short distance to Rostock for the morning, returned for lunch onboard and spent the afternoon enjoying Warnemunde. It is a popular weekend and short break destination for Germans. It is a pretty little town with many cute little cottages, lanes and many flowers., a promemade and the beach. You should be able to find many pics/images online. We liked it a lot. Warnemunde is an easy one for small children as it is a seaside town with a long beach. If it is windy, you can rent wicker beach chairs there which can hold more than one person. So easy to reach from your ship if it docks in Warnemunde and not Rostock. Only a 5 minute walk to the train station. Walk through it and you are in the town.Cross the bridge and head to your right towards the lighthouse to reach the beach. Other than the beach for kids, I can only suggest you search for something like "Warnemunde for children/kids" For best results, note the spelling of Warnemunde.. I
  19. Mt Dalsnibba where the view was spectacular We did the same shorex to Mt Dalsnibba where the view was indeed spectacular as we were fortunate to have the most wonderful weather that day. And it isn't only the views as the drive was also spectacular..
  20. Just to add my two pence worth. Having visited both the Amalfi coast and Naples several times, there is no way we would even think bout driving in either, as Naples in particular is manic and parking would be a nightmare.
  21. Another option is to take the round island circular bus (#91 or #92) which follows the coastal route. We did not get off, just sat for the full circle to see as much of the island as we could.in a very easy way. We then pottered around the town and sea front until it was time to get our tender. You can get off the bus at stops for any attractions or sites you may want to visit along the way, but be sure of bus timings to return to St P P. You need a day ticket for this.Timetables and ticket pricing are easily found online.. Be aware that(at least in our experience) Guernsey is not always easy to anchor or tender into and you may find yourselves elsewhere or with a day at sea instead. Out of 4 itinweraries, we only got there twice..
  22. Our transport had nothing to do with either the ship or the port. We went by public bus from the bus station in Chania to the bus station in Rethymnon. Both bus stations were central to both towns. At that time, the bus timetables were easily found online and we had no difficulty. it was an interesting contrast as Rethymnon Old Town is quite different from Chania, so we thought we saw the best of both..
  23. I have the same issue as post #30 (B170 Having experiened difficulty logging in and thought that was sorted, I now have the opposite issue in that I cannot log out. Whenever I go onto the site I find I am already logged in despite not having done so. And the page jumps around, one minute showing me logged in, the next showing logged out (when I am not). It flickers between the two. I do not know if this has anything to do with it. I am UK based and using a pc with Microsoft. At the top of the home page I see this message which to my mind makes no sense. Welcome Aboard! You are visiting www.cruisecritic.co.uk. Continue your visit at www.cruisecritic.co.uk In the past it read that I was visiting on cruisecritic .co.uk- continue to visit on cruisecritic.COM
  24. Thanks turtles for the helpful info. I did manage to log in earlier today (hence this post) and remakably I didn't get logged out until I myself logged out-or thought I did, because just now, when I came on to the site and expected totry logging in again to post this, I discovered that I was actually still logged in , I assume from earlier (despite thinking I had logged out) Is this a new issue or did I have a "senior moment" or have others come across this before. IE thinking you had logged out only to find you had not?
  25. You could also take the public bus (right outside the port gates) to Cavtat. Sit on the right side facing the direction of travel for the scenic ride. Once there, do the pretty walk around the peninsula (begins at the bus station) then enjoy drinks around the port watching the superyachts before returning again by bus or by boat from alongside the bars, cafes.. The boat drops you in Dubrovnic Old Town Harbour perfect for the start of your city sightseeing. Cavtat Tourist info is at Cavtat bus station and can supply a map of the walk although it isn't really necessary. Very scenic alongside the waters edge for the most part and flat for walking with plenty of benches along the way. I highly recommend this. We have done it three times and enjoyed it each time.
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