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Everything posted by IWantToLiveOverTheSea

  1. We are to do a daytime transit throught the Canal on Oceania after visiting Costa Rica. The next day we will be in Panama City tentively until 6 PM, with a day at sea the next day, to go to Peru. There is no port listed for the day in Panama City. Would anyone be willing to guess whether we will be visiting Panama City from the newish cruise terminal in Fuerta Amador or someone else? And would we likely tender? Our itineray doesn't indicate that, but I saw an old port review that stated tendering was involved.
  2. I think someone on this thread or another asked me for contact info on the driver I used in Saigon. If it was you, could you please ask again? I didn't answer right away (sorry!) and now I'm having trouble finding the request. Also, if anyone is going to Singapore and wants a guide, we thought the one Oceania used for some of its pre-cruise extension tours was great. I can provide info on that guide. I think he guides for both groups and private individuals.
  3. $30 probably was too much. I'm just not into bargaining much, so I took the easy way out. And if I had bargained with some of the folks closer to the port, I imagine I could have gotten a better price compared to deciding to use a tuk when I got to the park. I didn't really look for things to do in Manila, as I had been a little afraid of the traffic, and and the fact that it was Saturday, and right before Lunar New Year (people EVERYWHERE all throughout SE Asia). I had considered walking to the river to take a boat up (or down?) the river from Intramuros just for something different. But then I read the closest stop was not open due to renovation or whatever. And I considered the American Cemetery (with my spouse), Bamboo Organ, and Imelda shoes at the museum cross town, but never made it. I also considered walking south from the port to the waterfront to see what was there (some kind of promenade). And I knew there was a jitney bus that came near the port, but wasn't feeling very adventuresome that day.....so I just decided to take it pretty easy that day.
  4. I'm about to sign up for a cruise that goes to Manta. So if anyone has more recent comments, I'd love to hear them! Thanks.
  5. We were in Manila last month on a Saturday on Oceania Riviera, and docked where you anticipate docking. Before my cruise, I looked at Marine Traffic when I knew a ship was scheduled to dock in Manila, and the 3 or 4 I saw all docked there. (It's the Eva M cruise terminal, Berth 15 in South Harbour). I walked out of the terminal intending to go to Intramuros (old city). I had a map excerpt, plus I had my phone with me, pre-loaded with Philippines maps. But I didn't want to look like a tourist (which is stupid, because it's so easy to look like a tourist when you get off a cruise ship) so I didn't use a map. I ended up at one edge of Rizal Park, which I had also wanted to see, so it was OK. But then I decided I would prefer to see a bit of Intramuros, and was afraid it was too far to walk from where I was. There were tuk tuk drivers at the park, so I asked for an hour or so tour of Intramuros. The person wanted more but settled for $30 and took me around there, stopping at the cathedral and fort so I could visit each for a short while. He took me back to the port entrance, with a very short walk to the port terminal. In very early February the weather was not all that hot/humid, at least in my opinion -- and especially compared to Singapore, where my adventure started. The traffic was also not as bad as I had anticipated. I ended up going back out that afternoon on the shuttle to a mall, and walking a bit more in the city - not bad. And while there were lots of assertive vendors in the city once you left the gated port area, I felt safe everywhere. I just had to ignore politely and say no thank you a lot. Early on, one kalesa (carriage) driver followed me on the street for three or four blocks, trying to convince me to go with him. But I wasn't looking for a ride at that time. He tried hard but was not threatening in any way. I'm not sure how long it took to walk from the ship to one side of Rizal Park, but I'm thinking maybe 15 minutes or so. To Intramuros it would be more, however. There were no taxis or tuks at the port terminal itself, but plenty of eager vendors outside on the streets. There were also lots of people who I believe might have been waiting for crew members to come that way. Our ship had 100 people either going home after completing their contracts or being allowed to visit people for a few hours outside the port. Other info: The tuk driver accepted USD; I imagine many others do in the Philippines. There were vendors in the port terminal selling reasonably-nice souvenirs (accepting both USD & P pesos). Manila was certainly not my favorite port on this cruise, but it was really nice to be able to just walk off the ship and find things to do and see. Many SE Asia ports are not like that. I didn't take a lot of pictures but they are here if you'd like to look (no sign in needed):https://pbase.com/roothy123/manila_for_a_day_feb_2024&page=all
  6. Wow, thank you. That's great info. I'm not going to Japan, but it's on my bucket list, so I copied the links to my packing list in case I go sometime in the future.
  7. The brochure I got has prices in red or black for each stateroom/suite category listed for each cruise. For a few cruises, the French Veranda for Vista is priced higher than the veranda stateroom. Is this (possibly) because a lot of people are interested in trying this new type of stateroom? And there are a few places where the price of an inside stateroom on ships other than Vista is actually than a veranda room. I've never seen that before, and I've never really known Oceania to lower prices. But it's a new game out there, so anything's possible. But in any case, I'm now wondering what that red color means. The cruises in this brochure are all European cruises ones coming up soon. The outside cover says select sailings are 40% off, and offer expires March 31, but I don't know if that has any relevance to the pricing structure. And I didn't read the fine print or scan the QR code, so I suppose it might be explained somewhere. Does anyone know more?
  8. Blogs are always helpful. And whatsinport gives very basic info on where ports are located. But Tom's guides, while they didn't cover the whole world, were the best.
  9. I think this is the Boston guide. Obviously it's old, but may still be helpful. I went to Wayback Machine, played around, and found a link to Tom's home page. I tried something there other than the "Guides" tab, and found something which Tom had written about New England/Canada ports in general. My pc shows the url for Boston as https://web.archive.org/web/20211110152131/https://www.tomsportguides.com/uploads/5/8/5/4/58547429/boston-04-21-2013.pdf Good luck. I'll see if I can find more. Edit: Sorry. I guess Boston is reachable from the "Yumm" link above that was posted by Lyn (?? maybe). And I looked at that site and there are one or two other New England or Canada guides there too. If anyone is looking for Asia (which Tom never covered) I found a link to a site that has some guides. There aren't that many cities represented, or in as much detail as Tom's, but at least it's a start. And I think the person was working on more when I looked last year.
  10. Hi achalker21. When we were there last year (after I posted the info above), our ship (Oceania Sirena) cruised the river and tied up in the city. We had about 3 hours in LeVerdon, but it was just a stop due to tides with nobody getting off. In Bordeaux, we tied up on the river, right in the heart of Verdon, and were there for the rest of the day and I think until mid-day or late afternoon the next. People were free to go off the ship, and there was a tram that went up and down the river that was convenient for people wanting to go farther than just the immediate area. I walked about and had a great time. There was maybe a 3 minute walk from the ship to where you could get outside a little barricade where the ship was (for security). Then once out, you walked another minute or two to get to the large buildings along the waterfront. I know there was a tourist info center up that way, but I didn't try to find it when there. I just walked around. The famous wine museum Cite du Vin was a very short tram ride away or you could just walk maybe 10 minutes. I took a little boat back that I found behind the museum. But of course, this my experience was on a smallish ship, and NCL's are pretty big. So your experience may be different. But I think one of Oceania's larger ships (Marina or Riviera) had already been to that same spot on the river before us, so at least it's apparently doable by more than just the ship I was on. But if a ship can't, I suppose they might offer an excursion that's just transportation, leaving 4 hours or whatever in a city to do as you want on your own. Oceania sometimes does that when the port is quite a ways from the city of interest. So that might be an option if NCL can't tie up on the river. https://pbase.com/roothy123/bordeaux__le_verdon_france&page=all is a link to photos I took. The pictures and captions may give you an idea of what's within walking distance of where we were assigned to tie up. And there are a few more here: https://pbase.com/roothy123/bordeaux__le_verdon__more&page=all
  11. Pre-Covid, I'd say maybe $75 US a day, which might include gas, parking & port admission, but not other admissions, lunch, or (optional) tip.
  12. I got back a month ago from Riviera in Asia. I noticed a few small things that had changed, or I suppose that could be called a decline. But they were small. Overall, the service and food were great. The excursions seemed a little more ample and varied than before. The wifi was solid, though of course there are always some places in the world, or some people in the world, that aren't happy about cruise line wifi. The ship was beautiful and my room quite comfortable and quiet. The entertainment was OK. The activities and lectures were great. I didn't take a lot of ship excursions, but the ones I did take were quite good. The ship was more crowded than I had experienced it before. But the whole world is traveling now, and the cruise was sold out, so what can you do? At least I didn't get Covid, or Norovirus, or anything like that, or get it after I got home, despite being face to face in Asia with a WHOLE lot of people for almost 20 days. I had a wonderful experience. And while I absolutely love the smaller O ships like Sirena, I have to admit that Riviera kind of won me over.
  13. Whether you might get a call asking if you'd like to upgrade (for a price) depends a lot on how full the cruise is, plus how full those upper category rooms are.. We often get upgrade calls when we book lower priced rooms (inside and oceanview). However, on our last cruise (late Jan.) there was no offer. But the ship was almost entirely full (and had been listed as sold out for months) plus I had booked (for once, unusual for me) a veranda room. So my guess is that there just weren't many rooms available a week or two pre-sail, and especially not suites, which is why we received no offer. But if you hope to get an offer, and use a travel agent, I'd make sure your travel agent knows your cell phone number, and that you pay attention to your cell phone in the weeks pre-cruise! The offers don't last forever.
  14. Magster, I was always too hot and tired to do much at night, and the time change (12 hours later) probably didn't help things. If you're on the ship (rather than staying at a hotel when you tour), I'm not sure what to suggest. There isn't a whole lot around the port, I'm afraid. And Ubud is a good hour away, or I'd suggest some things there. I'd probably ask Dewa if he knows of anything that might be close by and worthwhile. He lives in Ubud, but probably knows the bottom half of Bali fairly well. I know the beaches are basically west, and so is Tanah Lot, a popular temple with (possibly) a fire dance/show at night. Or maybe another temple or cultural center closer to Benoa has a dance/performance at night. We went to one during the day, and while it certainly wasn't my favorite of the things I did in Bali, it was at least interesting. I remember that there was a big cultural/almost amusement park somewhere down in the southern part of the island that interested me a little. But I didn't make it there, so can't say if it would be worthwhile. Sanur beach isn't too far from the port, but I don't know whether that would be worthwhile, and/or whether it will even be light long enough to make it worthwhile to go. But maybe there's a nice restaurant out in the rice fields that wouldn't be too terribly far to go from Benoa port. I considered one outside Ubud (a place in the dark, with candles and 3 course meal!) I would have needed to reserve in advance, and then on the day off, get a taxi there. In the end, I decided maybe I'd rather just relax...
  15. Last month I used a Tours by Local person named Sharmay for a tour of certain places I wanted to go. Our ship (Oceania Riviera) tendered, so we walked a little way to meet her. (Sorry, I don't remember where it was, other than the fact that we anchored in the south part of the city with a view of the overhead cable car that runs over to the Vinpearl amusement park. Once off the tender, we walked a little to a place which where vendors were meeting people (or offering tours) outside two beachy/modest outdoor coffee shops. There was a street nearby but I don't know which one!) Sharmay took the 4 of us, as I had requested) to the Ponager Towers just north of the city and to the Long Son pagoda in town. Then, by agreement of the four of us, we went for an hour long massage at a place with a name I've forgotten, but has Trip Advisor ratings. I'm not a massage lover, but the other 3 were quite pleased with the massage. Then we went for lunch at a (I think) vegetarian restaurant, and lastly to a fishing village just south of Nha Trang. (If you like boats and photography, hire Sharmay and ask her about going there - I took lots of pictures.) There is also a beach in Nha Trang, a few interesting buildings and monuments and whatnots. We really enjoyed our day there.
  16. There isn't much of anything close to the port terminal in Benoa. And when we were there in 2019 (embarking the ship), there wasn't even much in the terminal itself. We went to Bali early, stayed in Ubud, and hired a driver to take us around for a few days. My favorite places were near Ubud - Jatiluweh Rice Fields, and the Monkey Forest not far from Ubud. There's also one right in Ubud, though I didn't go there, so can't compare. Ubud itself has lots of things to see, and I think it's about an hour from Benoa, so doable on a port day if you start early or take a ship's excursion. My pictures will give you an idea of what we did, although we did all of what's pictured there by walking (while in Ubud) or by using a driver. But I agree that Ubud is a great place to go. And if I went to Bali again, I'd probably want to at least see Tanah Lot. There's a large park not terribly far from Benoa that has a lot of cultural things. But I don't remember the name, and didn't go. So I can't say if it's worthwhile. If you give us an idea of what excursions you can choose from, I might have opinions on some of them. But of course it's one person's opinion, only, and I suppose it depends upon what you're interested in. And also to a lesser extent, it may depend upon how much you want to do in one day. I love touring, and going to the cultural places, but I found Bali quite hot and humid, so I had to spend a bit less time touring than I anticipated, especially since a lot of what I wanted to see was outside. And we had just gotten there, so the time difference made it hard for me to enjoy as much as I would have liked. Anyway, my photos are here if you want to take a look (no need to sign in or anything, but make sure you push tab for "All" photos): https://pbase.com/roothy123/bali_for_3_glorious_days
  17. We were scheduled to be there 10 AM to 6 PM, with onboard time 5:30. Originally we may have been scheduled to arrive or depart a bit earlier/later though. On our cruise there was some condition which caused the ship to have to change a few arrival times early on in the cruise. My spouse thinks it was engine trouble, but we never really explored more than that. But in any case, at least a day or two prior to our Puerto Princesa stop, the scheduled arrival time was stated as being 10 with departure at 6, so 8 hours, not counting getting to/from the meeting place. The ship's excursion was scheduled to meet in the lounge at 10:15, so I suppose their timing was similar. It's a long day with a lot of driving, however you get there. And it's a very popular place, with only so many boats allowed into the cave at a time. Corazon filled some of that time by having us eat lunch nearby while we waited. Even if the timing of an excursion doesn't work with your schedule, I'd still contact the vendor to see if they think they can work with you on it. If you can get others to join you, maybe it will end up being a go. Certainly there are others wanting to do the river excursion some way or another. Roll Calls these days aren't too helpful, and not everyone joins Facebook groups. But if you can find others interested, that will likely help.
  18. Just to close the look on this. I visited Sihanoukville on my cruise last month and had a great time there. I never made it to the fishing village in the south part of the area. But I did visit 3 beautiful wats (temples), including one that was either being constructed or heavily reconstructed. I ended up taking a ship's excursion which visited Wat Otres, where we received a water blessing from a monk, Wat Leu, a stop at a beach (forget which one), and a stop at Psar Leu Market (crazy place, anything from shampoo/blow dry to durian fruit). Later in the day I took the short shuttle ride to the port exit and was surrounded by taxi and (mostly) tuk drivers offering to give me a tour. I ended up finding a taxi driver who would take me to Wat Krom, wait for me to take pictures, and take me back. I negotiated a price. There was also a shuttle to the market, but I figured it would be best to just find someone outside the port to take me to Wat Krom. I didn't see as much that day as I would have liked, but I saw enough to make me very happy. And yes, that included seeing a lot of third-built highrises and casino-sized buildings - sad.
  19. Well, here's how I convert a jpg that I have on my desktop computer to a pdf on my computer. I don't know if the same process works on a phone, but theoretically it should. It's basically a matter of "printing" it to Adobe, not converting. It can be used on documents, spreadsheets, photos, screenshots and more. If this doesn't work, you might need to try something else, or maybe send the JPG to a computer and work from there. Also, I think I have Microsoft on my computer, so I suppose it's possible this won't work for you if you don't. And it's also possible you may have to load [usually] free Adobe pdf software (or Microsoft?) onto the device you're using. In any case, this might be worth a try. (I hate paying the cruise line for something I can do myself. Oceania charges a LOT; not sure about Viking.) -Pull up JPG of passport page or other document -Pretend you want to print it, so select "print" -I get a choice of "printers" from which I select "Microsoft print to PDF" (There's also a choice of PDF software; but I didn't try that.) -You may have to check a box saying it's OK for an app to change your printing preferences). If so, check box -Name your document ("PDFd passport Jean" or whatever) and select where you want it to be saved (file) You'll then need to find that PDF file - usually not hard, but if in doubt, look under "All files" or something like that. The document will end in .pdf and will likely have a red pdf Adobe symbol on the document if you display thumbnails of your documents. (The red block won't appear on the pdf'd document, just the thumbnail.) By the way, if you need something that's in landscape format (like one page of passport), making a PDF will help as you can specify whether you want to "print" the document in landscape or portrait orientation. And I believe it makes the file size a lot smaller, which is often helpful.
  20. Hi. I just googled excursions on Oceania in Seydisfjordur. They DO list the "In the Footsteps of the Elves" excursion that we took when on Viking in 2021. Being described there doesn't mean they will definitely offer that excursion on your cruise. But I'd keep an eye open for it! The harbor is called Hafnarholmi.
  21. I did an Iceland circumnavigation on Viking maybe 2 years ago. So I don't know what excursions are available to you on Oceania. And other than in Reykjavik, of the ports we went to, there didn't seem to be very many opportunities to book your own tours/excursions. Some of the best sights were a coach tour away from where we docked, and that won't change on Oceania. If you want to see puffins, the best place I saw, in very early August, was on a strangely titled ship excursion called something like In Search of the Elves. It went to a harbor whose name escapes me, but the sightings were close up and wonderful. You can look at my photos for more info if you like. Going mid-July is a great time for puffins. We only saw a few at Vigur Island, a very popular destination from Isafjordur. There are boats going over to it from right near the cruise dock, but on the day we were there, they weren't offering any trips as the cruise line had booked up all of the transportation there. So I took a ship excursion there - interesting, scenic place, but few puffins when I went. Still worth it, though. In Akureyri, we took an excursion called Iceland's Natural Beauty - went to smelly but very colorful sulfur fields (great for photography), and other places. In Djupivogur we went to the glacier; wonderful, not hard to get into the zodiacs, not freezing. Required some time on the road, but I found the landscape fascinating so didn't mind. In Heimaey (warning: only maybe 60% of cruise ships stopping there make it in due to sea/weather conditions) the volcano museum in town was excellent. I also walked partway up a huge hill (mountain). I just took a short "included" excursion which ended at the museum, and the hill was reachable from a path out the back. I walked back to the tender place, but it was a little hard to find the way. I'm not sure how available taxis might be there at the place where you'll likely to be tendered. But you might want to ask the ship's concierge for help (not the one who's available to Concierge veranda cruisers). If he has stopped in Heimaey he/she may able to at least tell you what you might encounter. (When we were on Sirena almost a year ago, the concierge helped me a lot in buying train tickets in a small place in Spain we visited. Until then, I hadn't really known what he might be helpful for!!) In Heimaey, I just walked around a little, close to the tender spot. We saw SOME puffins on a short boat ride (excursion) around the island in the afternoon,and the boat went into a couple caves. That excursion was only so so in my opinion. But maybe it was just too late to see puffins, or the ones there in early August were staying too far away. Bird behavior is hard to predict! In Seydi, I took the "Elves" excursion, and it was a highlight. But Seydi is also a very cute little town that merits at least a walk around. And the port is close to the town, so that's a plus. In Isafjordur, you'll dock within walking distance of some things in town. But I didn't have time to do that, so can't say if anything there is worthwhile. In one port I enjoyed walking up to see some artistic eggs (yes, eggs), but I forget which port that was. In Reykjavik, unless you go early you won't likely be able to see a whole lot. But the little island across from the port always intrigued me. Yoko Ono had a light installation built there. From the port you can get a small boat to take you over - not far. Easy. In general, I'd say don't be cheap about what you do in Iceland. Lots is outside the city. The Ports of Call section here on Cruise Critic might be worth a look. And if you're on Facebook, you might want to look for a Viking Cruises Fan page & then search for Iceland posts. Many people commented on what they saw and did. And look at my photos with captions. Here's the folder for Isafjordur. When done, go back to my home page & find the next folders (galleries) for Akureyri, Heimaey, Djupivogur, Reyk & Seydi: https://pbase.com/roothy123/iceland_aug_2021_isafjorder
  22. We cruised in the South Pacific on Oceania (Marina, one of the larger ships) some years ago. I remember lots of tendering and slow internet on sea days when we were way out in the middle of the Pacific. I guess those things haven't changed. But cruises after that were better. I think to a fairly big extent, the whole cruising experience can be better or worse depending upon where in the world you find yourself.
  23. Not sure about getting it at port. The cruise line we use the most offers to get visas for us, but at a steep price. But what do you need to convert to a jpg? What format is the photo or whatever? Maybe I can point you in right direction.
  24. I can't really answer your question about overnighting on the ship, as we used Dewa for the days we spent in Bali before the cruise. However, my thoughts on what I might have done/experienced are as follows: I absolutely loved waking up (very, very early, I'm afraid, due to 12 hour time difference) and walking around several very quiet Ubud streets. I felt very adventuresome, and felt safe, and I think I'll remember those feelings for a long time. We stayed in a small Ubud hotel, nothing fancy, but located in a great location in which we could easily walk around. In the evenings after touring with Dewa, I was pretty hot and tired and usually my spouse and I didn't really feel like doing much for dinner and beyond. (We were in our late 60s at the time; I'm finding that these days the lesser activity after a day of touring is pretty typical for us. But you may be different.) I had, however, looked at a couple restaurants right outside Ubud that we could apparently have a nice several-course meal out in the rice fields that sounded pretty nice. And I suppose we could have enlisted Dewa or other driver/guide to provide transportation. Or we perhaps could have attended a night time dance/acting performance in Ubud. I believe there is at least one every night somewhere in the Ubud area. But we ended up not doing anything special at night, and for dinner chose local places we could walk to. We stayed at a small, modest hotel off one of the main streets in Ubud. (I'd say center of Ubud might be considered by the Saraswati temple, which you can probably google.) My cousin had recommended the Ibah Hotel on the western side of Ubud. It was a little pricier than I wanted, however, but probably a decent price for most cruisers, and looked wonderful. Of course you can go crazy looking for hotels in Ubud. They are everywhere. Then again, going back to the port (assuming you're going to Benoa; I hear some cruises now stop at a second port) is not a long drive from the Ubud area. And you may find some things you'd like to visit down that way that could be visited before being dropped at the port. Uluwatu temple comes to mind, although of course it's kind of touristy. But there are other things down towards the southern part of the island near the port and airport. I'd probably stay away from the beaches over there, however, unless you're a lot younger than me, or just really like relaxing at a beach. We did spend one night after flying in at Sanur Beach, which I enjoyed. It's a little less known for partying, which was fine for us. But as for doing anything on the ship at night, there isn't anything around or in Benoa port, so you'd likely be just enjoying dinner and a show or drinks or casino or whatever you normally do on a cruise ship. Going back out is probably possible, but you would need transportation. And while the port would likely be open all night, I'd suggest checking to make sure that's true before you go! I probably mentioned this before, but if not: I'd suggest preparing for for hot and VERY humid weather in Bali. I found I could do less sightseeing than I anticipated wanting to do. Dress modestly but lightly, and take a hat, even if you don't like them. Many of the things I wanted to do were outside. But there are also waterfalls, swings for photo opps, museums, and other things to explore that may cool you off. Enjoy it all.
  25. We did a pre-cruise extension in Singapore in late January. The guide we had, arranged by Oceania Cruises for the extension, was this man ("Tiger"). We thought he did a great job for our 2 plus days of adventures. We didn't hire him, but got the impression he was available for private tours for individuals. So you may want to contact him.
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