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CCJack

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Everything posted by CCJack

  1. We also did this, and it is was a great hike, and very cost effective. The tram was crowded but once you start hiking above the tram we pretty much had the mountain to ourselves. You can hike as far or as little as you want up there. It was a bit windy, however. The views down are spectacular.
  2. It looks like the big difference is if you want to see Northern Norway or the traditional Fjords (Flam) plus coastal cities like Bergen. I have not been to these Northern ports (but they look like fun!), but it seems many people would want to see one of the long fjords like Flam on a trip to Norway. Also, I would guess flying to Tromso / Reykjavik would be a more expensive airfare than the Reykjavik / London option. This decision may also depend on if you have been to London or want to spend time there. Have fun... !
  3. They both look like great trips. I like that they emphasize Norway (which is a better cruising destination) but give you a taste of Iceland (for perhaps a future land based Iceland trip.) I would vote for the first. 2 long Fjords plus more daylight. The sail into the Fjords is beautiful, but sunrise time can be important. As an example, if you dock in Flam at 7 am, you could be entering the Fjord at 4 am or so. I would get up at sunrise (maybe 5 am in July ?) to enjoy the scenery. More daylight in the evening doesn't hurt either. Have fun....
  4. Flights would certainly be easier/ cheaper to Montreal and a big city would offer lots to do. Old town quebec city is a beautiful place however, i would try to include that as a port stop if possible. Of course, another option is to drive between the two and see both before a cruise.
  5. My first priority would be Quebec city as embarkation or debarkation port. Then spend a night or two there. I agree with you to include Saguenay. That was our favorite stop. The sail in / sail out of the Fjord is beautiful. However, I don't think it is a good stop for walking on your own, there is not that much around the ship. We took an excursion to the national park in which you hike up a trail to see the fjord from above. It was a very nice hike.
  6. When we docked in Belfast, there were a line of taxis at the cruise ship dock right next to the excursion buses. We had no issues taking the taxi to the Titanic Museum and then after the museum we walked downtown. Then taxi back to ship. In your case, however, you are looking for a taxi to take you on a longer excursion, that may require pre booking with a taxi company.
  7. My experience with NCL website and excursion booking has been frustrating. Missing excursions, no excursions listed, wrong languages listed, etc. However the excursions themselves once on board went off without any issues and were managed well I thought.
  8. I would also not necessarily rule out ship's excursions. consider all options. We used to do exclusively independent excursions but for the last couple years we have been migrating back to ship's excursions for some ports. I have found the price difference is not as great as it used to be. Also, each of our last 3 cruises had at least one port where there was a "problem" with getting off of the ship. Too long of a story to write here, but an example is gangways that don't fit the ship and they had to travel get an alternate gangway (unbelievable !). In any event, in these cases, it was 1-2 hour delays to get off ship and priority was given to people with ship's excursions booked, and it was enforced. I just feel that cruise lines are stating to do more of this - giving perks and priority to their own excursion customers. (Sort of like Disney World allowing guests at Disney resorts to book their spot for the new Star Wars ride beginning at 7:30 am but everyone else can't log in until 8:30 am at which time reservations are all taken!)
  9. We have been on only 2 whale watching excursions... One in Iceland which was a bit of a bust due to poor weather and few whales. However our whale excursion out of ISP was fantastic. We got quite lucky... we first saw Humpbacks from medium distance, but then ran across transient orcas feeding on a seal. Our captain followed all the rules and we were watching from a distance with engine off, but the orcas would send one over to dive under our boat and then return to the group, then another would come over. I think they were telling us to keep our distance from their meal. I could have reached over the railing and touched the orcas (but didn't!) Even without our luck at finding the orcas, I thought the excursion would be well worth it. Captains talking with other captains on the radio, and asking the passengers to keep quiet, look and listen. It was the challenge of finding them that made the excursion fun.
  10. Very walkable and very beautiful. You really don't need an excursion. However, I would recommend the 2 hour walking tour of the old town which we booked through Tours Voir Quebec / Immersion Quebec. It was a great walking tour with a guide and then you can go back on your own and explore. I was under the impression this was a private tour company, but you start at the city visitor center and you check in inside the tourist center, so this is somewhat of the "official" tour I think. In any event it was very nice and reasonably priced.
  11. On our RCCL cruise our tour guide on the bus asked once we boarded the bus who wanted to upgrade. Actually, they encouraged everyone to upgrade who had not, and I think everyone did. Not sure if Princess is same, but it appears it can be done once you get on your tour as a backup plan.
  12. We went with https://www.touringmalta.com/ and were very pleased. Note we were there for one port stop day on Christmas day a few years ago. So finding a tour guide was difficult. The primary tour guides from this company were unavailable on Xmas but they were very helpful and finding a guide for us and just ran it through their company even though it wasn't one of their regular guides. It was a great tour.
  13. I just made a reservation with them for a September tour via email. We were not asked DOB and home address.
  14. We stayed at the Hilton and were very pleased. It is a big place but has great views of the old town and just a 1 block walk to a gate through the wall.
  15. The joy had two $10 blackjack tables. But they paid 6:5 blackjack. We had no trouble getting a spot at the $10 tables.
  16. Same for us.....for our Sept. 2024 cruise there is nothing listed for Kusadasi. We have booked an excursion through ephesusshuttle as recommended by others on cruise critic. They were very prompt with email replies, etc.
  17. I agree. I would try to simplify this as much as possible. Note you will have to negotiate the hills and slopes in QC no matter what (likely taking a taxi to the ship). Also note that flights to QC can be limited. Our cruise was delayed from 5 pm departure to 9 pm departure (announced well before the cruise) because the cruiseline was having a hard time scheduling the people to booked their air through the cruiseline into QC on time. Many of those people ended up flying to Montreal and they couldn't get them to QC in time for a 5 pm departure.
  18. CCJack

    Binoculars

    Before our Alaska cruise I bought a pair of Canon Image Stabilization binoculars. they stabilize the image and prevent the shaking of the image. I was hesitant as I typically buy good quality without bells and whistles that could go wrong. However, these are fantastic. I could never go back to non-IS binoculars. I use them for nature hikes, football games, all kinds of activities. They are also not too bulky. Downside is they are expensive.
  19. Probably too close for my comfort as well, but my guess is 95% chance you will make it. One thing to keep in mind is if your airline changes your flight even by 10 minutes, get on the phone and maybe negotiate another flight. They may even agree to put you on another airline. Our 1 pm flight from Athens to Detroit next September got moved to 11 am on our day of debarkation. That won't work. AA said they would consider moving me to another airline, but not 9 months out. Only as the travel gets closer, as they could have additional changes between now and then. For now, I changed to the 11 am flight on the next day as another night in Athens isn't necessarily a bad option. Good luck.
  20. We have found Civi to be an efficient and quick debarkation. One reason is many of the big ship lines book overlapping med cruises. As an example, you can book Escape for 9 day cruise out of Rome on July 18, then they have a 9 day cruise out of Barcelona 5 days later on July 23. In other words, when you disembark in Civi, not everyone is ending their cruise and getting off with luggage like you are. My unofficial guess from our cruises is that more people book the Barcelona roundtrip rather than the Rome roundtrip, so maybe 40% of the ship will be disembarking with you in Civi. As others have said, allow for traffic and travel time to airport.
  21. I am assuming you have not been on a Rhine River cruise (such as a 7 day Viking cruise or similar). If not, I would recommend a day cruise on the Rhine. There are lots of options, they run some of those boats similar to hop on hop off bus, and you can get on and off the boats at different places. . Just make sure you do the stretch with the large concentration of castles. I think this is the stretch starting in Rudesheim then going North towards Cologne. I think this is one of the most beautiful sights in Germany.
  22. We stayed in one of these cabins on the Joy. We did hear some music from the theater but it was not enough to bother us or keep us awake. My personal opinion, however, is that I did not care for the large balcony, they are very large but deep and skinny. So when standing in your room looking out the glass door your view of the ocean is really restricted, you are looking through a tunnel. Of course it depends on size of your group, weather and destination. For just my wife and I, I would have preferred a regular balcony size improving the view from the room, but still allowing us to sit on the balcony when the weather allowed.
  23. In Stavanger we docked in town and could easily walk to the blue Rodne Lysefjord excursion boats. There were 2 or 3 Rodne boats. One was for the ship's excursion but you can easily book your own ticket on one of the other boats. As long as you are docked downtown it is a very easy walk. The long Fjords you sail into you will see spectacular views from the ship for a long while during sail in and sail out. Probably no need to book another excursion on water that goes through the same fjord. Perhaps a land based excursion to hike, bike or train on the fjords to see another viewpoint.
  24. We also took a taxi, and I remember the cost being very reasonable. For 2 people I remember it being the same cost as 2 tix on the shuttle bus, so taxi worked great. Just ask the taxi driver where the best place is to find a taxi downtown for the return trip. there was not a lot of taxi's driving around downtown but there were some. There is a sign that says taxi stand near the main park downtown.
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