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Everything posted by Milhouse

  1. We always try to make reservations for our select dining somewhat sooner than later and try to tailor it to port times and making the late show. We don't sail as much as others on the board but have experienced more desirable time slots (earlier) sometimes being fully booked ahead of departure, particularly on formal nights. As mentioned above, you'll still be able to get a table as a walk-in but may have a bit of a wait. But it's kind of hard to know what the demand is versus how many people may want to skip the MDR that night. I find that you can generally get in right at opening if you're ok eating that early. They also seem to try to seat you in the same section nightly so if you tell them you're open to sitting in another section for the night, that might help too.
  2. There's also a lot of regional celebrations with music, entertainment, and displays. If you are staying downtown, the event around Canada Place is definitely the biggest and easiest. However, if you are inclined to check out a few within reasonable distance, there should also be events taking place on Granville Island and the Shipyards area just across the inlet. Yep, unfortunately, many of the fireworks displays (and parades) have been cancelled due to funding. There are still fireworks (and parades) happening at some of the regional events but probably not practical for you to go to. There was one year back in the day, when we went to four parades across town which was pretty fun.
  3. Compensation for the services TA's provide is kind of complicated IMO. Breaking down the OP's original post: Service fees include: booking domestic - international air $50-$100.00 pp; As CDNPolar mentions, I also do not think TA's get a commission for booking domestic flights (save for business class possibly??). So if they help you book a flight, they won't earn anything from the effort unless you book something additional that does provide them with a commission. changes to booking - $25.00 pp for hotels, transfers, shore excursions, etc. File cancellations are $100 pp Again, I do not think TA's get compensated for any work they do beyond the base booking commissions such as changes and cancellations. One perspective is that you kind of hope that everything can be baked in and averages out in the end. I suppose the other perspective is that there's no free lunch and TA's should be compensated for specific asks. I don't know what the right answer is.
  4. This is a bit dated but we ended up in Falmouth as an alternate port of call (hurricane) during a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2017. We walked to St Peters Church, ate some Jamaican patties at a shop, and checked out some markets. Personally, I think we felt safe enough walking around the town. YMMV. Inside the port gates was obviously fine. But we had mixed interactions with locals. The couple of folks in the tourism industry we chatted with were great which I suspect is in no small part, from them benefiting from tourist dollars. On the otherhand, we got sworn at from a random group of kids when we declined their request for some dollars. And a rando made small talk and walked with us a bit before also eventually indirectly asked for some money but beat it when we passed by a cop. We didn't feel scared/unsafe by the interactions but it was uncomfortable. Yet, I can understand it as well. On a previous cruise, we docked in Ocho Rios and had a somewhat similar experience. Had a great experience eating lobster on the beach from a friendly guy that was probably raking it in from tourists visiting his shack. Also got sworn at, at Dunns Falls by one of the trinket hawkers when we declined his somewhat manipulative sales pitch. Anyways, Jamaica is a beautiful island overall but it's my least favourite ports of call because of the mixed interactions. If we ended up there again, we'd probably do a tour to be sheltered a bit by the guide.
  5. The only parts I would question are the western part of the loop that I think goes along Pipeline Road which would be a bit of a stretch of walking through a forested area (though that's what you might want to do) and checking out the lighthouse at Brockton Point which the tour seems to shortcut from. The carriage tours obviously need to stay on the road while you have access to trails and the seawall on foot. If going counterclockwise, I'd prefer to start looping back at the spray park/Lumbermen's Arch area. And then once south enough (roughly by the aquarium), take a trail back towards Pipeline Road if you want to see the Pavillion, Rose Garden, etc or turn earlier (roughly by the Japanese Canadian War Memorial) if you want to see the miniture train (but check to see if it's running because it's had on again/off again mechanical issues).
  6. Pretty dependent on personal parameters but at a rough equivalent of $30-35CAD/year going forward, I think it would still provide enough value for me. Between the number of road trips to Bellingham/Seattle/Portland and trips involving flights we take, it averages out to costing about $5/trip/pp for us (it'll be less when I renew this year because I have a cc that has the Nexus benefit). For us, $5 is pretty nominal to save some travel friction. While I hate to admit it, it's becoming apparent that as the missus and I age, we're getting a bit softer in our travel decisions and are willing to pay a little bit more for comfort and convenience.
  7. We took it once during a trip in 2019. Thought it was fine. Comfortable ride. Felt safe overall. Typical mini-effort trying to figure out how to buy the ticket from the machine but not rocket science. We're heading to Paris again this August and would have taken it again to get into town but we're staying near Gare du Nord this time in order to easily hop on the train to our cruise departing from Rotterdam. So it's just simpler for us to take the RER B.
  8. Add me to the curious list too! ๐Ÿ™‚ Also just saw it on our cruise planner for our August cruise in addition to a "Taste of Argentina: Hands-on Steak Class."
  9. We're debating which train to take to get us into Rotterdam at different times: 11:32am, 1:32pm, or 3:32pm. There's a slight/neglible price difference but we're also trying to factor in how early we want to wake up and balancing a bit of the morning in Paris versus enough time to see a bit of Rotterdam. ie How much time/priority to give to Markt Binnenrotte; which is likely falling low on the list based on the feedback. We did see the Euromast on various lists. But it didn't make the first cut because it was a bit further out from where we wanted to initially explore. If we're able to get up early and explore the next morning before we board, we might jump on the metro and go a bit further afield and visit the broader areas of the Euromast, Delfshaven, and Heemraadspark. It's really going to be dependent on how we feel (might still be a bit jetlaggy).
  10. Beat me to the punch but just to top up: The Canada Line cars have "normal" 2x2 seating on one end and a more open area (kind of for bikes, etc) on the other end. Travelling with large suitcases in the normal seating area and door area is kind of awkward IMO. More comfortable in the open area. I forget if the set of four across from the open area are designated seating for the elderly, etc though. Grabbed these photos off the internet which are a good view of the open area I mention. https://buzzer.translink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/img_0623.jpg https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3328/3444306028_b34f7b3ea8_b.jpg
  11. Grabbed these photos off the internet. https://buzzer.translink.ca/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/img_0623.jpg https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3328/3444306028_b34f7b3ea8_b.jpg
  12. The long term lot at YVR is one the cheaper options, it's pretty safe, it's pretty easy navigate, and it's a simple option. However, it is starting to get pricier and the value prop starts to dimish a bit when you factor in transportation costs between YVR and downtown. Eg. One week of reserved parking (~$120), YVR to downtown on Skytrain for two during offpeak (~$16.30), back to YVR offpeak (~$6.30) = ~$142 For base comparison, there's a parking lot by the sea planes that is about a 10min walk to Canada Place for about $177 for a week. That $35 gap narrows if there's four instead of two travelling and if your take the skytrain during peak hours. Note: Parking at Canada Place, as you may have researched, is kind of ridiculous. I forget the specific price but our jaw dropped when we checked the long term parking costs recently. Maybe search for lots on Easy Park which is a major parking operator in Vancouver. Or on Parkopedia which I find is a good initial resource but requires further follow up. I caution that some parkades are not open 24x7 so you might not be able to get your car out at all times, some do not allow overnight parking, some are in sketchy areas, etc. Hence why the YVR long term lot can be a good simple option.
  13. Similar thoughts. From my perspective, I'm not sure if there are any must do's per se but there are a few iconic areas and landmarks. My favourite stretch is also basically by the totem poles and Hallelujah Point with a classic view of the downtown Coal Harbour waterfront. Just for timing context, I occasionally do a 2.25-2.5 hour walking loop (steady pace but not really brisk) that kind of hits or gets near a lot of the bigger sights. The path is roughy: Start at Starbucks on Denman Denman to English Bay Seawall to Second Beach. Path that runs the north side of Lost Lagoon (I occasionally do the south loop too) Under the causeway to the Rose Garden/Shakespear Garden Past the Stanley Park Pavillion towards the Aquarium Before the Aquarium, hang a left towards Lumbermen's Arch Take the seawall towards Brockton Point and around back to Coal Harbour. The seawall will take you past: the Girl in Wetsuit statue, the totem poles, Brockton Point Lighthouse, Nine O'Clock Gun, Hallelujah Point, Deadman's Island/HMCS Discovery, Yacht Club, Rowing Club, near the Robbie Burns statue, and near the Lord Stanley statue. It's fairly flat except for a somewhat slight incline from under the causeway to the Pavillion. With this route, you're missing out on Prospect point and a great view of the North Shore & Lions Gate Bridge or under the Lions Gate Bridge if you went along the seawall, the Hollow Tree, Siwash Rock, Third Beach & the Teahouse, and Mini Railway, and Beaver Lake. Again, debateable how desireable each of these are to you. As martincath mentions, there are various ways to visit these other areas but it's an effort/reward thing.
  14. Maybe check out APA hotels to see if the brand fits what you are looking for. It's a chain of business class hotels with multiple locations in Tokyo (and Japan). We've stayed at a few of them during previous trips to Japan. While I find them modern, they are kind of basic (eg. Generally not much of a lobby area) and the rooms are fairly small. A few reviews for some locations aren't flattering but we've never had any issues. YMMV of course.
  15. Follow up question! We will be in Rotterdam on a Tuesday and see that the the Markt Binnenrotte seems to be happening nearby the Markthal. We've pulled up some youtube videos and reviews on it but was hoping for some additional commentary to determing if it's worth it for us to try to arrive into Rotterdam earlier to visit it. Thanks!
  16. We had a slight issue with that (seapasses accessible outside the cabin) on our last cruise. Someone incorrectly entered our stateroom (seapasses are obviously right there), yucked up the washroom ๐Ÿค and kind of gave the cabin a bit of a lived in feel before likely realizing they were in the wrong room and got the heck out of Dodge. (Would have been nice to have told the attendant they messed up so he could have quickly redone the room though, yeesh.) Anyways, we kind of figured something was a bit off when we saw the envelope containing our seapasses was already torn open. Our stateroom attendant and his manager were great though. Cleaned and reset the room with nice follow-up with us.
  17. FWIW, for two previous visits, our itinerary showed we were tendering but we ended up docking at the port. On our most recent visit it said we were tendering and we did tender to the old bus station (versus the pier in town). Tendering to these areas does save having to take a shuttle (bus or boat) from the port to Chora/Mykonos town. (It is walkable and I've seen people do it but doesn't seem very enjoyable IMO.)
  18. Personally, we try to visit both Kyoto and Osaka whenever we travel to the Kansai region of Japan. But the variables are obviously kind of different with an overnight port of call. On the surface, I kind of find it ambitious to try to do both (particularly if DIY and possibly struggling with transportation) but not impractical, particularly if this is going to be a rare visit to Japan. If you are arriving in the morning and departing late afternoon/early evening the next day and really want to visit both, consider heading to Kyoto your first day. On your return, maybe try to hit up Dotonbori/Namba in Osaka at night before heading back to the ship. Then on day 2, you can hit up the rest of the stuff you want to see in Osaka. I prefer to spend more time in Kyoto because I find it more pedestrian friendly and cultural. Whereas, I find Osaka has more of a big city vibe (though both are big cities). It's also kind of influenced by where we like to visit in each city. In Kyoto, we love visiting Nishiki Market and Teramachi covered shopping street/arcade, Gion district to catch a glimpse of maikos/geisha and check out the architecture, Pontocho alley, the Arashiyama bamboo forest, etc. In Osaka, my main goal is to revisit the Dotonbori/Namba neighbourhood at night. It's just a really vibrant area at night with shopping, restaurants/eateries, classic neon signs, a waterfronty canal area, etc. There are other attractions of course (castle, Kuromon market, etc) but with limited time, I'd prefer to spend it in Kyoto. YMMV of course.
  19. I suspect the extra foot traffic around Canada Place may slow vehicle flow slightly more than usual from the terminal/parkade area out onto Howe Street but there are typically traffic control cops in the intersection coordinating things. Also, IIRC scheduled events typically don't get going until later in the morning (11'ish). Canada Day celebrations in downtown have kind of been scaled back in varying degrees over the last few years (eg Parade and Fireworks dropped) mainly due to a lack of funding so it can be a bit of a guess in terms of what ends up year to year. However, Canada Place road is typically closed to traffic for a block party from Jack Poole Plaza to about the entrance to the convention area in Canada Place, roughly leaving the driveway of the Fairmont Waterfront and entrace to the Canada Place/Pan Pacific's parkade (down to the cruise terminal) open/accessible. (There are also events normally happening in Jack Poole Plaza and around Canada Place's promenade that should not impact traffic.)
  20. Some great options. One update though: Daisy Garden I believe is permanently closed. Google Maps shows temporarily closed but I think there's a For Sale or For Lease sign up now.
  21. Yeah I think the multiple locations to get onshore can be confusing. On our most recent visit last year, we were tendered close to the Old Port Bus Station which was close enough for us and many to hoof it into Chora. On previous visits, we docked at the cruise port way further north and shuttled (bus or seabus) into Chora. And we've previously seen tenders right to the dock in Chora. In terms of navigation in Chora, I thought Google Maps worked fairly well but not perfect. A lot of the lanes are fairly narrow and some can lead to dead ends. (I also find this makes walking around the laneways in town in the morning a bit of a chore with the crowds and delivery vehicles.) However, the town is small enough that if you have a general sense of where the water is, you can walk in that direction, reach the water, and reorientate yourself. Kind of hard to get too lost.
  22. Do know where the Vista will be docking? I know there's a small harbour/marina right by the old town but wouldn't think it would be able to support a cruise ship. We were in San Sebastian for a few days in 2019 and agree that most of the town and vicinity is very walkable though. We stayed just outside of the old town and walked in. Fairly flat (apart from Monte Urgull that overlooks the old town) and pedestrian friendly including neighbourhoods beyond. Reasonable bus system too.
  23. Thank you for sharing your experience. We'll be in Lisbon in the summer. Always a good reminder to exercise caution and try to always be aware.
  24. We'll eventually hit you up on that as we enjoy eventually sailing on the Royal Caribbean's latest mega ships out of one of the Florida ports. ๐Ÿ™‚ One more area likely to be avoided I forgot to mention was Granville Street (roughly between Robson and Helmcken) on Friday and Saturday nights which turns into a pedestrian orientated bar/club/lounge scene but leans towards a younger crowd. There's occasionally some disorder but there's also a reasonable police presence to keep the peace. And there's also appears to be a football game at BC Place stadium Saturday night. They typically have a free "street party" along the plaza by Robson Street. Definitely not as festive as games in the US though. So you'll get some volume/crowds at the venues around the stadium pregame (4pm) and postgame (7pm).
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