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Posts posted by obsessionr

  1. The price drop happened to me on an upcoming MSC cruise. I haven't made the final payment yet. I talked to my travel agent, and she said I would have to cancel the actual booking and rebook it. I did this and got the new price. In your case you would have to cancel and repay full price of cruise and wait for refund on existing booking. I only had to pay a new deposit. I always book balcony guarantee so don't care about the location of the room. As long as I am on the ship it is the same experience. I think if you are not picky about what rooms are available after you cancel you can get the new price. Just have to understand that you may not get same category or room. 

  2. We are visiting Jordan on an MSC cruise. We would like to visit Petra preferably with a private tour company and know I will need a visa. My question is does MSC provide the visa if we go on their excursion? Can I get one with the ship even if go on a private tour, or do I have to apply ahead of time on my own for either situation?

  3. We used discover-japan-tours.com The owner of the companies name is Yoskee, and he will pick you up at the port and give you a tour of whatever you would like to do. We had him give us a tour of Yokohama for the day and then drive us back to our hotel in Tokyo. The next day he picked us up at our hotel and gave us a tour of Tokyo for the day. To cut down on the cost, we found another couple on our roll call to join us, and this brought down the cost considerably. We happened to be staying at the same hotel. Check out his web sight it worked out well for us.

  4. We were on Holland America Volendam, and booked these excursions about 9 months in advance. They did ask for deposits, but with both companies I stated that I would reserve the date, but asked not to pay the deposit until 1 month before the actual tours. This was not a problem with either company. I do know that BKK tours in Thailand runs 2 groups, but they are small, and both filled up quickly. If you want to use them, reserve the date. I also posted these tours on our roll call, and got so much response that I had to close the tours. I kept Bangkok to 6, but in Vietnam the groups ranged from 11 - 29. We did have 2 buses because I wanted to keep the tours to a maximum of 15 per vehicle.

  5. We were in Ho Chi Min, Nha Trang, Da Nang and Halong Bay. Each excursion was anywhere from 8 to 10 hours long. So there was so much to be seen. It hasn't been that long since I am back, and haven't been through my over 4,000 pictures yet. I know that in one port we went to a floating market which was fascinating, and Halong Bay was beautiful. Each port was different. Ask Ngoan to send you the tour descriptions. They were all great.


    In Bangkok the Grand Palace and a long tail boat ride were highlights. We did have an overnight so got to do many sights. Another standout was the traditional market that was on a train track. Several times a day the train actually comes right through the market. Merchants remove their food and goods from the track, people scramble to get off the track and the train runs through. A few minutes later it is business as usual.


    All I can say is that Bangkok, Cambodia and Vietnam were my all time favorite places to visit. Whatever I saw I was fascinated by.

  6. Just back from Asia a few days ago. We had fantastic guides in Thailand and Vietnam. In Bangkok, Thailand we used bkktours.com. We spent 4 wonderful days in Vietnam in different ports. Here we used www.travelauthenticasia.com you can write to Ngoan. She is very responsive in her email, and she will set up unbelievable tours for your that are very, very reasonable. We loved every tour she arranged. Great guides, food and sights. We started out on the roll call with only 2 of us and the response was so great we ended up with 2 small groups going. Each with their own van. So much cheaper than the ships tours. I can't say enough about each of these companies. Please mention Annette when you write to Ngoan.

  7. Another thing we do when on a cruise is use a hand sanitizer after handling the serving utensils at the buffet. Before we eat and every time we get additional food we use our hand sanitizer again. It only takes one person who is sick to pick up the serving piece, and you follow them in line. Next thing you know that piece of bread you picked up with the tongs goes in your mouth. A few days later your sick. I think most of the germs come from the buffets. This won't stop us from cruising.

  8. We were on a 5 week cruise to South America and never used any foreign currency in any port. Every port, including Falkland Islands took US dollars or credit card, and we paid in US dollars on all private tours without a problem. Check with your tour operator before you exchange money. No problems with US dollars in stores either.

  9. Thanks again for everyone's advice. I will ask the 4 & 5 star Mariners to join me when we ask for early tender. Obviously we won't ask for first. The good thing is the ship only holds 1,400, so it shouldn't take that long no matter how many tenders go. We will make it work.

  10. It is a change. I think it was earlier this year, that ship officers will no longer attend the M&G. I don't know if that also includes the Cruise Director.


    This is what I had heard. I read that they have a big ship to run, and to take them from their jobs for a small group of guests is something they will no longer do. I'm sure I can speak to someone on the ship and ask for assistance.

  11. Thanks for all of the advice.


    The first tender port we are in is Koh Samui, Thailand. We are only there from 8-3 and naturally the guide would like us off at 8:00. I have let him know this was probably not possible, but he did say that we would work out the tour and see what we could. There are 16 of this tour, but 5 have priority tender. We should be able to make this work as long as everyone is on time to pick up tickets.


    The next tender port is in Halong Bay, Vietnam. This tour will be a little more of a challenge since we are a very large group of 29 (2 buses). There will be 6 on the tour with priority tender. The good news is we are in port from 7am-8pm. The tour is supposed to be 11 hours. Again, the guide has said try to get off at once, but I'm sure the tour can be adjusted as needed.


    The first thing I do when I get on board, is take everyone's advice. Be nice a pie and speak with whoever will listen. I have been told that HAL's meet & greet is not like other lines. They do not have officers come talk to the group, so probably will not get to meet cruise director or hotel director at this time. I will make every effort to contact them at least before the Halong Bay port. This port is 12 days into the cruise, so I should have a definite answer before.


    Again, thanks to all that answered. I must say Cruise Critic is an amazing website, and the people who took the time to answer were a great help!

  12. I was doing the meet and greet so that person knew we had a large roll call and invited me to talk about any arrangements.


    From what I have found, if you can determine who is in charge of the tenders (Culinary staff sometimes), you can discuss with them. HAL is not as negative to private arrangements as some may think ;)


    Thank you. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I am in charge of our Meet & Greet, and we have over 75 already. This is a 28 day cruise and luckily only 2 tender ports. I will to talk to whoever is in charge.

  13. It seems to depend upon the ship and the cruise.


    I had our group meet us (over 20) for our transfer to Mont St Michel but I was allowed to go and get the tickets for the entire group on the P'dam and then we all waited as a group.


    Thank you that sound promising. Did you have to speak to anyone specifically to make happen?

  14. We are a group of 10 who have organized our own private tour excursion at a tender port. We will be sailing on the Volendam. I was wondering if 1 or 2 of us can pick up the tender tickets for the group, or do we all have to get in line and each pick up our own individual ticket. Thanks for the answer in advance.

  15. Have a tour booked in Koh Samui with elephant trek for February. The website is http://www.tourskohsamui.com Just go on their sight and look at 4x4 trekking. The jeep takes 8 people max. You will have to put down a deposit to reserve the vehicle and guide, but the cost was about $45 per person including elephant trek and lunch. What a steal compared to ship tours. Have read great reviews on cruise critic about this company.

  16. We are going to be in Hong Kong docking at Ocean Terminal. We would like to take the hop on hop off bus, and would like to know how to get from the terminal to a place to pick up the bus. Thank for the advice.

  17. We dock at 10:00 and tour guide wants to start at 10:30. Tender takes 15 minutes, and I know RCCL tours get off first. This may mean we don't get on a tender to close to 10:30. So all I can do is wait and hope to get off asap. Will get to tender ticket hand out early and wait it out. Hopefully can get off on one of first open tenders.

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