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About coljack

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    Cool Cruiser

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  • Location
    Colorado Springs
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Regent SevenSeas
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. Three years ago, we stayed for three extra days after disembarking in BCN. We stayed at a smallish, boutique hotel right on La Rambla in Placa Reial. It is the Hotel DO Placa Reial. We knew we were in a good place when we were comfortably seated and given glasses of Cava as we were checked in. We loved it though it is one of the priciest. Excellent restaurants on site, including breakfasts. You can find the details on TripAdvisor.
  2. Thank you for the question, and thank you, Grey Eagle and Hambagahle, for your answers. We are booking excursions next week for the NYC-BCN crossing that docks in Cartagena. We had passed up "Roman Cartagena" but it was our second choice. Thanks to your excellent comments, we have moved it to our top choice. Hurray for cruise critic posters again!
  3. We almost always book our own hotels and take the credit. There are a number of reasons to do this, but most important to us is location. One example is Montreal, where the Regent hotel is in the financial district, not the French Quarter. One major exception is the Danieli Hotel in Venice which is a marvelous place to stay, beautiful, and a great location on the Grand Canal, very close to St Marks. Also, it is an expensive hotel and it is financially a fair offset to the Regent credit.
  4. We took our first river cruise in the US in June on the Empress on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. We are luxury ocean cruisers (Regent Seven Seas) and wondered if we would be disappointed in AQSC--we were not; we had a great time! I remembered that I had seen the question asked on this forum about which direction to do this cruise, eastbound or westbound. I would like to weigh in on this question now, because my wife and I and our two fellow travelers have a STRONG preference for westbound. Here are several reasons why. You will have a two to three hour bus ride between Spokane and Clarkston--the only question is whether it is southbound at the beginning of the cruise or northbound at the end. It is not exactly fun, even though the bus is very nice and well appointed. It seems better to do it at the beginning when everyone is excited to be headed for the ship, rather than at the end when the vacation is essentially over. A more important point is that Spokane is a very nice, one night and one morning experience, but not a place to have a long post-cruise add on. The Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane is a wonderful experience in itself and a great first impression of AQSC and you can choose to take the premium excursion the next morning or explore on your own. On the other hand, Vancouver WA/Portland OR/Mt St Helens is a great place to spend some time, whether on the sponsored post-cruise extension or on your own. Lastly, it seemed really neat to do the river in the direction that Lewis and Clark did it. Westbound made it easier to imagine you were with them on their magnificent journey and adventure as you discovered each part of the journey in the same manner as they did.
  5. One other plus for Voyager over the two new ships is the access outside on deck, fore and aft. I love to watch the dolphins play in the wake and a "scenic" cruise like Norway or Alaska is not the same on Explorer or Splendor. I loved Explorer, but, for this reason, Voyager is my favorite.
  6. Thanks, everyone, for your replies. They were very helpful. IndiTravler, especially thank you for your comments on the ease in driving in Spain. We will give that serious thought. Also, Cruiseluv, thanks for the idea of flying from Barcelona to Seville. We were planning on taking the train, but flying sounds like a good plan. Maybe the best plan is to fly to Seville and travel between the cities in Andalusia by rental car after that.
  7. We are booked for an Atlantic crossing on Splendor in April of 2020 ending in Barcelona. We are planning to stay in Spain for a week or two afterward and want to spend most of that time in Andalusia, particularly visiting Seville, Granada and some of the sites in between. We have reached an age where we are uncomfortable driving in a foreign country so a rental car is out. Although this is not directly a cruise question, we know many of you are seasoned travelers as well as cruisers, so we are asking if anyone has advice on a particular tour company or if you have personal experience traveling in southern Spain and have some tips. Thanks for anyone who can advise and to all of you regulars for your wonderful advice in the past.
  8. We are cruising on American Empress for the first time. How are gratuities handled? Is there a common pool or are all given directly or is there a charge added? Thanks.
  9. Thank you, Surmy! That was very useful info and we will do it as you suggested. Always wanted to see Hells Canyon, drove near it several times but never had time to stop. This is our first river cruise in the USA--always been an ocean cruiser or on European rivers. I always found Cruisecritic to be very useful in the past, but there don't seem to be nearly as many users of the boards for USA cruises. On the Regent boards, if someone asks a question, there is frequently a raging battle of opinions within a few hours. (-: Thanks again.
  10. I would appreciate any opinions on this tour. Is it a wild ride? I saw a video from one company that looked pretty wild. If it is, how long is the wild part; the overall tour was six hours--surely not six hours of that pitching and yawing? Also, how does it fit into the American Empress cruise? I know it is offered as optional but we are considering getting to Spokane a day earlier and taking it then on our own. If we do that, will we be twiddling our thumbs the first day on the ship? We are on the June 2, Clarkston to Vancouver. Thanks in advance for anyone taking the trouble to answer.
  11. I am quite tall and was very uncomfortable on tenders from Mariner and Voyager. I recently sailed on Explorer and didn't give comfort a thought when shuttling on the tenders. I do believe they were a little roomier than the others. I see that some disagree and they may be right, but it seemed better to me.
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