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CCJack

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  1. Although we did not stay at this Hilton as we walked past it I thought it would be a great place to stay for its location. It is really nice up by the castle area. We did walk down from there to the river , it is a very nice and easy walk.
  2. I like your idea of leaving the ship after an early dinner..... We found Venice to be very charming in the evening after the crowds have left - I wouldn't miss the chance to walk around in the evening... There is more to Venice than St. Marks, so don't limit your plans to that. Are you walkers? It is walkable to go from P. Roma to St. Marks - a very pleasant walk in the evening.
  3. I agree with all these posts, we tendered and it went pretty well. However on our stop we were scheduled to tender (we were on Cunard QE) and a Holland America ship was scheduled to dock. However, the QE was ahead of schedule so our ship docked for about 20 minutes, let people off, then backed off and started tendering (making way for the HA ship to dock). Unfortunately, Cunard only let off people at the dock who were booked on early excursions sponsored by the ship. We were biking on our own, so we could not get off even though we were ready and willing. I was a little upset that they would not let us off. So just be cautious if you are pushed for time, then the cruise line could give priority to those who booked excursions with them.
  4. Yes, this is a subjective question.... which direction are thinking of cruising (ie, sailing west from Budapest, thus likely stopping in Vienna, or sailing west from Vienna thus missing Budapest altogether??) I would definitely recommend an overnight in Budapest - our ship spent the night there so we did not do a pre or post cruise there (we did our pre cruise in Prague) but we spent an evening in Budapest on ship. The night time cruise after dark (which our Viking ship did while docked we took a special night city cruise for a couple hours) was truly spectacular. The government buildings lit up after dark in Budapest is really beautiful. That said, Vienna although more expensive, may be a slightly cleaner city, off the beaten path at least, and maybe more to do for a few days. I would definitely not skip Budapest altogether, however.
  5. We were in the same situation on MSC disembarking in civi and going to hotel. I arranged driver for 9;30 (arranged before the trip). We were assigned one of the last exit times which was 8:45 or so which worked out fine. Technically you could probably stay on board later but I am not sure I would want my luggage by itself in the claiming area. Self debarkation means you would have your luggage but you won’t have a cabin. They are going to change the locks early on your cabin. Have fun....
  6. We were on MSC in the Mediterranean in Dec. 2018. Water was included however it is bottled water and required a charge to the room (with signature) then a deduction from the account, etc. A bit of a hassle. No ice. We were told coffee was not included but could be specially ordered from the bar. I agree with the poster that it was met with confusion. When I looked around the dining room I saw not one table with coffee after dinner any of the nights. So if you insist you may get some but I doubt it is included.
  7. GBR !! We went on MSC (Mediterranean) this last winter. Far more similarities to other cruise lines than differences. I think most of these lines have settled into the recipe that works and they are almost the same. So I would not hesitate to go on MSC. A few differences, but really not that many, in my opinion.
  8. We have been to both cities and can recommend them both. However, one thing to consider is pre or post stay. I much prefer pre cruise stays. First you get a chance to adjust to time differences before your cruise. Plus on our viking Danube cruise (with Prague pre cruise stay) the airlines lost my wife's luggage but not mine. They were not able to deliver it to the Prague hotel until 2 full days after we flew into Prague. Without the pre cruise stay we would have been on the boat. I have to think delivering the luggage would be that much more complicated if you are already on the boat and traveling down the river. Of course there are also flight cancellations to consider. Just my thoughts.... Have fun
  9. I think it was 16 Euro on board for show and cocktail. I was disappointed in the cocktail, I was expecting to order a premium cocktail, however when you enter the theater they have a table of pre made drinks and you get to choose one of four. A fruity rum drink, a gin and tonic, a non alcohol yogurt drink and one other I don't recall. None really appealed to me.....
  10. I agree. providing tap water and ice at the tables is an inexpensive thing for the cruise line to do and they prevent really making people mad. Cruise ships are a diverse group of passengers and many will not be used to paying for water. Especially since all other lines provide water even when cruising in Europe.
  11. No it was not on the table. I missed the ice water a lot. Ice water is hard to come by in Italy and on the ship. Actually, I think if you asked your server for ice, they would bring it. Then you can pour your bottled water in it. At least for the kid's sodas we asked for ice and they brought it. Have fun....
  12. For Genoa we had an excellent private guide through GoGenova tours. gogenova.com ... I can highly recommend. In Palermo we did on our own. We walked to the Theater Massimo (Teatro Massimo) - we took the 8 Euro guided tour of the theater - it was very interesting. We did not pre book just walked up. Some scenes from The Godfather were filmed there. We then walked to the Cattedrale di Palermo (cathedral). For 5 Euro or so you can walk to the roof of the cathedral. It was beautiful up there. All in all a cheap day but one of our favorite stops. The walk from ship to theater is about 20 minutes: safe but uninteresting. The walk from theater to cathedral is interesting as it goes through the tourist and busy pedestrian / shopping areas - a great walk... maybe 35 minutes . Just stay along Via Maqueda or close to it and there will be plenty of shopping. Then right on Via Vitorrio Emanuele and it will be a nice walk as well to the Cathedral. Then retrace your path back to the ship.....
  13. We had two formal nights, however it seemed far fewer people dressed up as with other cruises I had been on. I think you would not be out of place in the Main Dining room if you chose not to dress up but that is a personal preference. Our formal nights were Palermo and "at sea" day. We also stayed in central Rome and walked everywhere... We had pre arranged tickets to the Colosseum and the Vatican however. I do not recall seeing an all entertainment package what includes bowling and formula simulator. I recall the bowling was 30 Euros per hour.
  14. We did not visit the spa, but I understand it is very nice... I can tell you the hot tubs around the ship were warm and not hot - so I did not use them either ( I am a hot - hot tub kind of person !) I have most of the daily planners if you have any questions... English was the primary language on all signes, etc. on the ship but not a majority language. Announcements were always given in several languages. No real problems with communications however. I would expect less than 20% of the passengers were American. Enjoy your trip !
  15. sure, can you send me a note my address is 21jackj at geemail and I will reply
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