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cruisemom42

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  1. cruisemom42

    Hotel Cinquantatre

    The rates on offer at Hotel Cinquantatre are pretty low for Rome. For about $30 more per night, I can recommend Hotel Smeraldo, which is very well located just to the south of Piazza Navona and the Pantheon and it has gotten good reviews from friends and from others here on CC. https://www.smeraldoroma.com/en/ The hotel is small and it does book up well in advance. Another option, one that I've stayed in, is Hotel Navona, which is located on several floors of an old palazzo (with columns in front that date to Roman times). Rooms are small-ish but all very modern and the location is excellent, tucked into a quiet street between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. If you book in advance and get their discount code, the cost is only slightly more than the Hotel Cinquantatre. https://www.hotelnavona.com/index-eng.htm (My comparisons are based on a regular double room on the dates you listed...)
  2. cruisemom42

    Two new mid size ships starting 2022

    I think there is a segment of mid-age to younger cruisers that prefer "experience" over "luxury". My image of the type of ships under discussion is more of an 'adventure/expedition' type line -- sort of what HAL is trying with Maasdam. It's all about expectations -- yes, sometimes I want a really great hotel (or cruise) with luxurious furnishings and a great restaurant. Other times I am more interested in the destination and if it's interesting or unusual enough, I don't mind roughing it a bit -- that's part of the experience. Caveat: Under no circumstances must 'roughing it' involve nonfunctional systems. That should be a given. I would be thinking of something more like the Hurtigruten experience. Their ships aren't luxurious but they are well-designed, well-kept, the food is good, and they serve their purpose. Is that HAL? I'm not really sure that it is. I think Carnival would be better off creating an entirely new division if that is something they wanted to pursue. I agree with this. With Prinsendam leaving the fleet, there are now ports that none of the remaining ships can visit. And ironically, smaller ships may become more desirable in future as places like Venice and Santorini struggle with the number of cruise ship passengers arriving during the heavily trafficked summer season that now extends from April through October. These places (and perhaps more to follow) are looking at various ways to limit cruise ship size and/or total passenger load. So there may come a time in future when, if you want to see Dubrovnik, say, you have to go on a "small" (or at least "smaller") ship.
  3. cruisemom42

    Hotel Cinquantatre

    When are you planning to be in Rome? Hotel prices vary greatly by season. Or give me a range you'd consider and then I could provide better suggestions.
  4. cruisemom42

    Hotel Cinquantatre

    Small rooms are the norm in Europe and most hotels (other than American chains and suites) have them. I wouldn't let that put you off; how much time will you really spend in your room when you are in Rome? I haven't stayed there, but it's a bit of a hobby of mine to consider various Rome hotels and locations. Rome is a place where an okay hotel in a good location would almost always trump a great hotel in a not-so-great location. This is mainly because Rome is all about exploring on foot, if possible, and the central historic area is very easy to get around by walking if you are well located. I will just suggest that saying this hotel is close to Trevi Fountain is a bit misleading. It's actually about a 15-minute walk at a reasonable pace and there are many closer (and more central) hotels.
  5. cruisemom42

    Update on Koningsdam Library

    Full disclosure, I have not sailed on any HAL ship larger or newer than the Vista class. I don't like the big'uns. I am not suggesting that having such spaces isn't desirable -- but I have not had any problem finding spaces quiet enough for my needs on any ship, include Regal Princess, which is a pretty noisy ship, and those spots haven't been in the library. At any rate, I have a lot of traveling and cruising still to do and I would not want to limit/narrow my choices to such an extent, given that libraries are going to be increasingly rare. Just not something that's high up on my 'that is a deal killer' list....
  6. cruisemom42

    Update on Koningsdam Library

    Are library spaces the only quiet spaces aboard ship? I haven't found that to be the case. Personally, if I am reading aboard ship I like to be somewhere with an expansive view. Preferred location on a covered outside deck in a comfortable deck chair. But any comfortable and relatively quiet place will do. I don't need library-level quiet.
  7. cruisemom42

    Alternative Naples ideas?

    What 'hot spots' have you already done? A visit to the Roman ruins at Baiae (where the Roman rich and famous had their vacation villas built) and/or to the amphitheatre (which has a far better preserved underground section than the Colosseum in Rome) and other Roman ruins at Pozzuoli are very interesting and a bit off the beaten path if you like ruins: Pozzuoli: https://www.google.com/destination?q=pozzuoli&safe=active&rlz=1C1GGRV_enUS760US760&site=search&output=search&dest_mid=/m/03ksn0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiyvZey4_LfAhVinuAKHYwlCvUQ6tEBKAQwAHoECAIQBw#dest_mid=/m/03ksn0&tcfs=EhoaGAoKMjAxOS0wMi0wMRIKMjAxOS0wMi0wNQ Baiae (the subject of several recent documentaries): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grWdjcmhUV0 (The video focused on the sunken ruins, but there are also plentiful ruins that can be seen on land.) These could be combined in a single day but you'd probably need to hire a driver. If you just wanted to see Pozzuoli, you can easily get there and back via the metro.
  8. cruisemom42

    Update on Koningsdam Library

    I'm sure HAL is looking at many data points in their decision making. While having a library may be a 'make or break' deal for some, I suspect it will not be for many. I would never cancel a cruise solely because of the lack of a library -- I bring my own library with me when I travel, in the form of my Kindle. The ability to bring all sorts of books with me (and at virtually no added weight) and not be at the mercy of the choices of others is delightful -- and liberating. I can and do have extensive references at my fingertips -- not only on board the ship but anywhere I go. If I want to pull up a particular section of Marguerite Yourcenar's haunting description of Hadrian's villa while I am actually AT the villa, and read it, I can. I still fondly remember my tour guide in Tunisia borrowing my Kindle to read Livy's description of the Battle of Zama (between Carthage and Rome) to the group as we approached the site, about how "(t)he two most famous generals, the two most powerful armies of the two richest nations upon earth, came to do battle, destined either to double or destroy the countless battle honours they had previously won." Sure, it's nice to browse a library for titles to read. But I can do that at home in my local library (or more likely, online). And it's certainly not going to make or break a great itinerary for me.
  9. cruisemom42

    Florence/Pisa 1st time

    Pisa is easily reached en route to Florence. If you take the train, it is one of the stops between Livorno and Firenze. Are you going to be doing it on your own? While I personally agree with the above poster that it would be better to focus just on Florence if you only have a day, there are a number of people who do both, albeit in a very limited way. (Usually easiest done with a private tour.)
  10. cruisemom42

    Two new mid size ships starting 2022

    A very concrete example of what I mentioned (a couple of pages ago!) regarding the economies of scale when building new ships.
  11. cruisemom42

    Help selected another cruise line

    I think you made a good choice. Just my own opinion, for what it's worth but: Royal Caribbean: fun, active, many entertainment options downside: large, so-so food options Celebrity: sophisticated, relatively good entertainment options, great decor, good food (esp. in specialty dining or alternative dining areas) Princess: sailed with them a lot in the past but not fond of their newer, larger ships. They feel crowded compared to HAL or Celebrity. Lots of 'crowd participant' game show type entertainment, very short evening shows.
  12. cruisemom42

    Two new mid size ships starting 2022

    Regarding Fred Olsen -- there are plenty of folks on that board complaining about the price not being good value, especially comparing accommodations between the older, smaller ships in the FO fleet versus new, bigger (and cheaper) ships now readily available for UK cruisers. Yes, they are a standalone line and yes, they have smaller ships that appear to be profitable, but the fares are higher than HAL's and their ships are quite a bit smaller than the R and S class ships: 3 are under 30,000 tons and the fourth is around 43,000 -- so think Prinsendam size and smaller, at a higher price. In the US market I've thought for years that most people who've come to cruising in the 1990s and especially in the 2000s have been indoctrinated with the idea that the latest ship -- newer, bigger, with more bells and whistles -- is the greatest, and that old ships are far less desirable. The cruise industry has run with that and you can't put the genie back in the bottle. Remember that old triangle of possibility, with the three points being 1) cost, 2) itinerary, and 3) ship condition and amenities, where the takeaway is that you can't have all three at once: affordable cost, great itinerary, and excellent facilities (dining, entertainment, cabin size, etc.) aboard ship. Well, perhaps except for those really, really great deals that come along every so often....
  13. cruisemom42

    Venice Suggestions

    If you can, give yourself three days ahead of your cruise to see Venice. You will be a little jet-lagged on your first day there. Because of Venice's unique situation on the water, transportation options can be a bit confusing. I suggest looking at a good guidebook or website to help you make decisions on how to get from the airport into Venice and from your hotel to the ship. You'll probably want to buy a vaporetto pass for at least part of your stay, as it's usually the quickest way to get around -- but it's also worthwhile to do some exploring on foot. Good transportation info: https://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/vi-transport.htm Where to stay is a personal preference. It is easier to stay in the main transportation hub around Piazzale Roma, as it is the main terminus point from the airport and also the starting point for transport to the port itself. However, it's not my favorite area of Venice. I like to stay in the area between the Rialto Bridge and San Marco, and there are a number of good choices here. Last year when I was in Venice for four days, we stayed at the Sina Palazzo Sant'Angelo, which is very handy -- it is right on the Grand Canal, it has an Alilaguna stop just steps from the hotel entrance (making it very easy from the airport with luggage), and it also has a vaporetto stop. It was a perfect choice for us -- loved being in an old palazzo, the staff were very friendly and breakfast was extensive (for Italian hotels!). It's also very easy to walk to San Marco or Rialto. But there are dozens and dozens of good choices in Venice; have fun sorting through them all!
  14. cruisemom42

    Two new mid size ships starting 2022

    I'm glad your party got a good deal. However, I'll point out that as a solo, an inside cabin is still much more affordable than a veranda, even on the ships with many more verandas available. Case in point: I recently booked a round-Japan 14-day itinerary on Westerdam in 2020. I was able to book an inside cabin with a slightly less than 100% single supplement, and the difference between that and even the lowest level balcony cabin was $2850 (or nearly double the inside room).
  15. Not all cases of traveler's diarrhea are caused by the norovirus, which is a specific virus. There are many other causes, but the most common is actually enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), which is a bacteria.
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