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tetleytea

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Everything posted by tetleytea

  1. I just looked it up. The eclipse shadow moves at around 1500mph. A cruise ship moves what, 25 knots? I heard planes were able to achieve 74 minutes of totality yesterday, but a cruise ship just can't do that. The best you can do is position the craft. I was looking into whether an eclipse cruise looked interesting. If the ship's course cannot lengthen the totality, that makes it less so, but the physics of it is just not there. A ship's speed can't compete with a celestial body's.
  2. How much time of totality did the HAL ships get? Did the pilots make any attempt to track the eclipse path, so you would get just a hair more time?
  3. That is true. While you CAN do Fairbanks to Seward in 4 Alaskan summer days, it is better to slash part of it and focus on a smaller locality. Seward+Anchorage in 4 would work.
  4. After all the rigamarole with boarding and waiting, walking it does not take that much longer than the bus.
  5. The alternative is we don't go. I have to work.
  6. I'm seeing some buzz online that the Royal Caribbean internet is reaching a point where remote work on the cruise ship is starting to be feasible? Is that mostly accurate? For my work, I basically need to navigate a remote "Windows" screen (really Linux) stateside with a mouse, and hold Zoom calls. Are the ships' internet now at a point where I can reasonably do that now?
  7. When we visited Turks & Queso (as I was told to call it), I looked up an operator online and reserved it. It turns out it was this guy's only golf cart. He was not well off financially, and our business was his world. The cart was a clunker, but it got us around the whole island. I've had easier places to navigate (as in Skagway, Alaska. There is only one road), but we only got lost very briefly. It was okay. I felt very safe there compared to, say, Jamaica or Dominican. I think we paid for everything with credit card.
  8. Get a party of 4 and rent a car. Cost effective in both ports. Even with the absurd rental car price in Skagway.
  9. tetleytea

    Ward Cove

    Those cruise line buses in Ward Cove are horrible. The lines to get into town are terrible. And to get back to the ship, you have to return 1 1/2 hours early--and for a NCL round-trip Seattle cruise, that port stop in Ketchikan is already very short. Taking the public bus the opposite direction to Totem Bight sounds like a great idea. Or an excursion, or pretty much anything that lets you not have to take those buses. We did Ward Cove twice: one time we did the Zodiac excursion (which was awesome), and the other time we hired a driver who dropped us off at Ward Cove--quite a bit after all the bus passengers had boarded the ship already. That bought us an extra hour of actually touring stuff.
  10. We went on a late train departure, so it was not sold out. It did not matter which side you sat on--if you wanted to switch seats at any time, you could--or even go out back. However, wildlife was probably also less plentiful, because we went later in the day.
  11. You've got to love when you read all those excursion blurbs in the listings, and it says, "...and then you will enjoy a scrumptious lunch, catered by our tour guides." You go on the excursion, and it's this ice chest containing sandwiches in plastic bags. (p.s. which I don't mind--I just find it hilarious how they oversell it)
  12. I don't know whether it is unusual or not, since I've only taken one non-independent Princess excursion ever, but I will say that if they bait-and-switch what the excursion is after you've paid for it, AND it is not unusual to issue OBC instead of a refund because you no longer want to go on that excursion which Princess just changed, then I would say we have here a very bad thing. And I am glad that I have gone independent. edit: I will also add that I booked independent NON-refundable excursions for a Princess cruise before, which we were unable to actually cruise on because United Airlines ended up unable to fly us to the port. The independent tour operators offered us REFUNDS on their NON-REFUNDABLE tours, because of those circumstances beyond our control.
  13. I noticed that mileage may vary. Sometimes they want $80 for the carts, but we got it for $60. It seems who charges admission, who gives free stuff, etc. can vary depending on high season.
  14. Renting the cart comes with free admission to all the beaches they are working together with. And at Krazy Lobster, it comes with a free margarita. For a group of 4, it totally makes sense to rent one. Parking wasn't really an issue at any of the beaches--you just park in a Mexican parqueo (a.k.a. that patch of dirt over there). And there are a couple stops on that pink road that you normally would not go to unless you got a cart. Including $2 cervezas. I think I remember Barbanegra as El Capitan, and it wasn't so much a beach as it was a restaurant that happened to be by the beach. And since we were coming off a cruise ship, we didn't find sampling local restaurants a priority. Chunky Monkey I remember as being quieter, because it is off to the side and away from the vendors, and also as far as you can drive your golf cart without going out of range. Krazy Lobster is like the first beach you will pass. Chunky Monkey is the last. Their problem was, you have to walk about 40 yards away from the beach and into/near their restaurant in order to pick up any respectable Wifi signal. And since I'm coming off a ship with no internet plan, I kind of want that Wifi. Other beaches had good Wifi that was right on the beach. Krazy Lobster's was good, but they were also very busy (including--especially--their Wifi. As in, you couldn't connect). People may talk & stuff about wanting to disconnect on their vacation, but I happened to find lounging on a beach chair with Wifi a perfect fit.
  15. To be honest, I thought all the beaches were more-or-less the same. We rented a golf cart for the day, and we decided to beach-hop. We didn't have to pay anything, and I think part of that was because we had rented a golf cart, and those guys must have some arrangement with the beach guys. After visiting well over half the beaches there, I think I like Krazy Lobster the best. Chunky Monkey and Playa Lunas were the quietest--especially if you wanted to disconnect from Wifi, since Chunky Monkey's Wifi simply didn't reach all the way to the beach. But really, I can't imagine what exactly a single cruiser would want that truly differentiated the beaches from one another.
  16. Here's a map. I took this tour in Costa Maya, and this came with it. Cruise ship is on the lower-right, beaches are all on the left half, and the vendors are mostly right behind the beaches. All the black, in the lower-right corner--that's the cruise ship pier. You walk up, just past the black--that's where independent operators rent out golf carts. I rented mine for $60 for the day; in peak periods they want $80. It can seat 4. The vendors are all in the center of the map, right behind the beaches. There is a "road" there (more like a big pedestrian walkway), where they all set up shop. But there are also a few good vendors in the upper right center of the map, as you take that pink road winding over to the beaches (I find that the vendors who see the least amount of traffic tend to offer the best deals, and the ones on the pink road certainly see the least amount of traffic). The exchange rate when I was there was 16:1 pesos/US dollar. But if you do credit card, they raise it to 20:1--which means a good, solid markup of 25% for using your credit card. On the road with the arrows on it, there's a BBVA bank which has an ATM and it seems fairly safe to use it, but they wanted 175 pesos for an ATM transaction fee--i.e. over $10 transaction fee. Costa Maya can really gouge you at times. I am much happier shopping in Cozumel over Costa Maya, but like the OP said, if somebody is selling something local and specific to Costa Maya, then that makes sense. I don't remember anything that particularly fit that category, though.
  17. We just cruised. I used the old app; my SO used the new. I had the better experience.
  18. On the insurance, yes: I accept the insurance in Mexico, whereas in the US and Canada I usually do not. The price of renting a car with insurance is about in the $110 range for the day. Expensive, but compare it vs. the other excursions you could be doing. However, what kind of hassling walking through town? We had merchants harass the tar out of us. Nothing like Montego Bay (Jamaica), which was terrible. But Costa Maya and Cozumel, we had merchants hassle us a lot--once we left the immediate cruise ship port area. The ports are all Americanized: prices in dollars, no haggling, cruise ship tourist prices. But then you step out into the actual streets, and it's Mexico; with Mexican culture. Even in the port, I saw another cruise ship passenger literally, but gently push a merchant away, whom he didn't want to talk to.
  19. tetleytea

    Vanilla?

    I really like the supermarkets in the Mexico ports. It's like going to Walmart in Anchorage or Ketchikan and buying your tourist stuff there. They're for the locals, so it's harder to single stuff out to buy because they don't just market it like, "hey, this is a touristy thing, you want to buy me," but that is a good thing. And then they were selling bananas at below $0.25 a pound (after you do the math in your head--they sell it in pesos per kilogram). You hungry? Just buy a bunch of fresh bananas for practically free and snack. Can't bring bananas on the ship, but plenty of other foods you can bring on with no issue. I'm still working on finishing my Mexican salsa and vanilla from there.
  20. I read an incident on here of this in Skagway, and that cruise port is the U.S.. I don't remember much what happened, but the guy got stuck with loss-of-use fees from the car agency.
  21. What about Punta Sur? All the rocks seemed to be down there in the south.
  22. LOL and I don't even drink. 😄 The others in my party loved the samples--and one of them quickly just had to down my sample, too.
  23. My understanding is that the CC insurance only works in the US and Canada. Also, all the red tape that goes with claiming on insurance is the last thing we need during a cruise. If the CC works and there's a way to get back on the ship without compromising your case, I am definitely interested.
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