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Posts posted by dszrew

  1. Having been to Naples several times over the years, we have watched things steadily deteriorate to the point that we will not go again. Our last time, we were followed, harassed and cursed by beggars, sellers, migrants and street people of all types.


    Only when we got deeper into the neighborhoods was there a break from this frenzy.


    Perhaps your experience shows that the city may have been cleaned up and it may be possible to visit again.


    I didn't notice anything unusual for a city center, although I tend to just ignore things and walk on past. But definitely sounds like it wasn't as bad as what you described. We barely saw a small part of what's in the city so I can't speak to everywhere, but didn't notice anything unusual in the places we went.

  2. Naples

    Having been to Sorrento and Herculaneum, we spent the day in Naples. My wife likes to collect nativities, so the big agenda item was go to Via San Greggorio. Walked off the ship and had offers of taxis to tour the day, but when I told them I just needed to go downtown, and said No to their offer to drive me for the day downtown, they just smiled and walked off.


    Just outside the port on the main road, off to the left is the place to book ferries to Capri and other places. There's a taxi stand there and they are happy to take you wherever you want to go.


    Just let me say, of all the things I do when I travel--I hate taxis the worst!


    I researched the "fixed prices" to specific points in Naples. We got in and to his credit he started the meter right off. When I said "tariffa predeterminada", he quoted me 13 despite the fact I knew it to be 9. Then his buddies told him it was 15, and despite pointing to the fare sheet hanging from his seat, he insisted that did not cover all of the downtown area, just one specific spot. I went back and told him OK, 13 and he agreed.


    After waking downtown and being tired, we tried to catch a cab on the street. Took us a while to get someone, and we were just happy to be getting back to the ship. He didn't start the meter and I didn't ask. Within 2 blocks the wind moved the predetermined fare sheet a bit and he shifted it to the front, pretending to get it out of my way. I was curious what he'd charge. Back at the port he told me 15 which I paid, having not agreed to anything different beforehand. At least it seems they are consistent in their fixed pricing. Rather than trying to get the "right" or a "best" price, perhaps I won't try so hard and just pay what they ask. It still beat trying to sign up for a tour and paying their prices.


    Accompanied my wife back to the ship, then went back out, walked to the metro, and for 1.10Euro went to the archaeological museum (what is technically an 11Euro taxi ride but would have probably cost me 20). Took the metro back, then walked up to Piazza del Publiscito for the view of Mt Vesuvius and a walk back to the ship.


    It was a decent day in Naples despite having to take a taxi. Liked walking through the narrow streets, found a nice nativity (although a bit pricy and the price was higher the second time we went back to ask). I'm not a pizza fan and wasn't impressed, although not a foodie either. Gelato at Guy Odin was nice dark chocolate with cocoa chunks!

  3. We got good deals on Delta too, half the price, was able to reserve our seats, and even got frequent flier miles at full rate. Had one KLM code share which I had to pay $5 for reserving seats ahead of time. It pays to check and at least with Delta seems to be virtually what you'd get booking direct.

  4. Dining

    We booked the Silhoutte specifically for the specialty dining. We did Aqua class last time and thought Blu was OK, but really wanted to try the specialty dining. Booked a veranda cabin and got on board credit which we used for specialty dining. Booked a 4 dinner package, but thought of maybe booking another 4. When their packages went on sale, we changed to an 8 night package. So cabin + specialty dining worked out to be much cheaper than Aqua class as our onboard credit covered most of the extra charges.


    As soon as we got onboard I went to make reservations for each night. No problem getting any of my choices for all of my days, although was told Murano only had 6 pm on our second night, but that was OK because we always go early anyway.


    First night--Lawn Club. Been wanting to try this ever since I heard of it. Was on the Reflection last year but didn't spend the extra to try it then so we came hungry. Really enjoyed the waiter, the view as the sun went down, just a little cool (we'll bring a jacket next time). Everything was good, although I'm not a foodie. Had the rib eye and while not prime it was sufficiently tasty. Only problem with the steaks is they were slightly "charred" on the outside which added a bitter taste. Glad I didn't get the filet as I doubt with it being thicker they could have gotten it done without adding too much char. Didn't want to cook myself and I suspect very few do that as they barely mentioned it and didn't push at all and no one took them up on the offer.


    Finished up with the chocolate chip cookie and ice cream. First thing my wife said was "I'm glad we're not sharing". Overall a good meal, and I didn't leave as stuffed as I expected.


    With the 8 night package, and spending 1 night off ship in Jerusalem, we will only be 3 nights at most in the main dining room. Thought about changing to select dining, but decided to keep our table and time. Just got back from our second night in the main dining room. Was surprised to see the left menu was all extra charges for drinks (don't remember that last time), and the 3 courses (starter, salad, main) was cut down to 2. Bread basket didn't seem to have the same assortment as previously, meal was OK but nothing spectacular. Service was OK, just a little slow getting started and I was hungry after walking all day. Really nothing impressive about the food; it does seem to be they are pushing the better quality you used to get to Blu and specialty dining. (Can't comment on Luminae as we don't pay suite prices.)


    Looking forward to getting back to the Lawn Club as well as the other specialty dining venues.

  5. Figured I'd post my review as it happens, because from past experience the review will never get written.


    We've cruised Celebrity 5 times (counting this time) and Celebrity is our line of choice when we have to pay ourselves. First 3 times in Concierge class (for the cabin locations), last time in Aqua. This time just booked a Veranda to save money and see the difference. We booked this cruise mostly for the Israel ports. We hadn't been to Naples and wanted to stop there, but have been to Rome, Athens, and Mykonos previously.


    Used Choice Air, getting a great deal, nearly half off from booking direct with the airline. Was able to sign in and get seat assignments. Flight was perfect and arrived a half hour early in Rome. Even got frequent flier miles for the flight despite the cheap price.


    I'm not going to say much about Rome other than we arrived a day early, arranged private transfers, did a night golf cart tour, and had a two-hour driver in Rome the day of the cruise before heading to the port. Arrived about 12:30 where we were driven to the ship, walked straight in line without waiting (unlike the priority suite line which had a line) and were onboard in less than 10 minutes.


    Some have commented about the constant selling, and right onboard even before we got to the elevators a girl was trying to sell drink packages, yelling out--drink as much as you want. Sounded a little odd, possibly because English likely isn't her native language and it made it sound that if your goal was to get good and drunk you could certainly do that. We went up to get something to eat and were asked about 3 more times if we wanted to purchase a drink package. (Haven't been approached at all now the second day, although I must admit we spent much of the time today away from people.)


    Rooms were ready right at 1:00pm. Had a visit from the room steward, but had to ask about the extension cord and water for cpap machines despite emailing and filling out forms ahead of time. They arrived before dinner.


    Room is on deck 6 forward, and we found out a 9:45 above the theater where a show called Junk was going on. We were too tired to attend, but could hear thumping and muffled music from below. I have two teenagers who are right below me at home, and this was not worse. They know to stop before 10 because I sleep early. This didn't keep me awake but my wife had a little trouble falling asleep. Tonight's a comedian so I don't expect to hear much noise.


    Room has the couch first as you come in--first time for that and I think my wife likes that.



    Signed up for Internet and 25% Captains Club discount applied automatically. Seems to be faster than what we got a few years ago off the S American coast. It used to be you could sign out of one device and sign in on a different device, but that didn't work for me this time. Good thing I didn't sign up on my phone first otherwise I'd be stuck and not typing this right now. Maybe you still can but I haven't had the energy to figure out if I can switch devices (kind of doubt it).

  6. you can go to: https://www.celebritycruises.com/special-needs?cs=vanity&vanity=SpecialNeedsForm

    but the document has its problems. you have to print out the form, then scan it and send it to the email address in the form.

    faster response can be from emailing CelebrityOneTouch@celebrity.com with your request. they will note your request but ask you to fill out the form too. that celebrityonetouch email gives you good response. they took care of me and even called within a day I think.

  7. I have both participated in Roll Call arranged tours and arranged a few over the years.

    I appreciate VTCruising's suggestions so much... We had almost 60 people taking the tour with 10 passenger vehicles.


    We didn't have a horrible experience, but we joined a CC group once. They ended up with two vans and a bus. A few people got off the ship early, took the vans, and off they went without waiting for anyone else. We were then left to squeeze everyone else into the bus after figuring out what was going on and starting late. The tour was OK, barely made it back to the ship on time.


    Since then, I think I will not join a ship tour that is more than 4-10 people. I can't imagine having to plan a tour with more than one vehicle for a bunch of people I don't know just to save a little money. For our recent cruise, we've pretty much decided to go it alone because we might have some mobility issues and I don't want even a small group waiting for me, and I'm more and more wanting to do what I want to do, not what a group decides it wants.

  8. The way I figured out to do it was to make sure you are logged in. Click on "Check-In" this will take you to the "old" reservation page. Click the link for "Check for Luggage Tags" Then scroll down the page and there will be a button to "print luggage tags" but right above that is a link to "order them here".


    For me the Check for Luggage Tags link doesn't work. It takes me back to the home page, and after that even looking up my reservation has problems. Two different browsers, same problem.

    I can certainly see how to print my own luggage tags, but prefer the ones they send me. Guess I'll have to resort to email or phone call with the website not working. :mad:

  9. I too have found no way to order them online, although it seems some have done that. online I can find what appears to be a link to order luggage tags by mail, but the link isn't active. perhaps it's not supposed to be a link, or perhaps it's just a website issue. there is also another link in another location titled something like "check on luggage tags", but that takes you to the home page, not any luggage tag specific link.

  10. 20+ years ago the discussion on tipping for nearly every cruise line tended to be towards no tip. It was the minority who tipped, and the amount was small compared to what you're talking about today. Being "old school" that's still my default--no tip.


    I would imagine that if tips were expected, the cruise line would include them in their tipping suggestions. They have recommended tips for several positions based on a daily amount. If tipping for room service were a strong expectation, I'd expect that to be stated as explicitly as their other tipping policy or even added automatically to the order (with the option to remove it) much like other tips are already automatically charged.


    Seeing as they do not do this, my opinion is that tipping is not expect or required and is up to what I feel comfortable with (and I should not feel uncomfortable if I decide not to tip).


    Is the person who delivers the room service someone who is already getting a daily tip from some other source (such as your room steward or a wait staff that already receives tips)? If so then tipping for room service seems to be on top of what they are already being compensated for. We don't tip at breakfast or lunch because the daily tips go to the same people working those venues.


    We have a habit of getting ice cream at night in the buffet area. One cruise it seemed to mostly be one guy helping us, so at the end of the cruise we tipped him for his cheerful service...

  11. it's all about the rewards from the credit card. 2% through Celebrity is better than what my main credit card normally gives me. but recently I got another card that gives me 3% back on travel purchases, making it a better card than the Celebrity visa. so I'm likely to drop the Celebrity visa completely.

  12. thanks for posting this. it's more comprehensive than the list I've seen other places. we will be there in 2 months and knowing the fixed price will help us be more confident in taking a cab without worrying about the price.

  13. I didn't believe Choice Air could get me anything better than I could find myself. I had planned on using miles to pay for my wife's ticket, and then buy my ticket through the airline. Checked Choice Air and found I could basically get both tickets for the same price as just one. Not sure if I will get any mileage credit for the flight, but it cost me the same and I didn't have to use my miles. (Flights were round trip to Rome.) It doesn't hurt to check.

  14. I'm assuming that when a ship spends two days (overnight) in a port that you can pretty much come and go at any hour? Or does that depend somewhat on the port? For example, could we just walk off at 6am the second day, or are there restricted hours (we will be in Ashdod).



  15. We are doing something similar, although driving farther and being more ambitious. Mostly driving through the countryside and stopping for brief pictures and then hit the road again. Europcar was definitely the cheapest option for us too. No additional one-way fees, and from what I can tell close to the cruise terminal (Budget is close as well, Hertz farther away.) Much of the information about the location of the rental car places relative to the cruise terminal is outdated as they've changed where you enter and exit for the cruise.


    Google maps is a great way to see the street view and locate parking in these little towns. Be aware that in many towns you can't drive through the old part of town without getting a ticket, so make sure you research where it's allowed to drive or not. I like to plan obsessively so I know where the parking is, how far a walk it is to get to the sites I want to see, etc. I also plan several alternatives so if we decide to stay somewhere longer or see something different, we can deviate based on how we feel that day.

  16. It does take a little time to post to your account, so don't wait until the day before your trip. I can't remember but I think they need a week, or 10 days, or 2 weeks?


    also, I think if you apply the credit to your cruise too early, and then cancel the cruise or want to change your credit, they might have a penalty, or it might be once transferred to a cruise it can't be transferred back to credit or another cruise? I researched this once before. Just be careful you don't transfer it too early and then want to change your mind.

  17. We just had our flights change so much that we could no longer use them (thanks a lot Air Berlin) and had to rebook. Ended up going through Choice Air. Only 2 weeks until our trip and we are booked through a TA. I just entered in the info on the CA website and was able to book no problem.


    Exactly what I needed to know. We've never booked a cruise onboard before, and normally don't book more than 6 months in advance. But it's possible to book a cruise far enough in advance that air schedules aren't available yet, and if I have to transfer my cruise to a TA within 60 days we could end up transferring before we can even book flights. Just wanted to know my options.

  18. My latest cruise I booked on Celebrity's website. Then a few days later found a good deal on airfare through ChoiceAir and puchased that. Then I transferred all to my TA.


    Just wondering if it's possible to purchase ChoiceAir after having transferred to the TA? For example, if I book a cruise onboard, then transfer to my TA, then several months later decide to book ChoiceAir, can that be done? If so, do I book it direct or have to go through the TA (and potentially pay a service fee for them to do it)?

  19. What a good deal!

    Just used $400.00 of our OBC to pay for the 9 night dining pkg for the 2 of us, and booked all of them in Murano!

    I'm gonna have to get in a lot of morning steps this year!


    I wasn't aware you could actually book the restaurants, just buy the package. Is this something you can do online or do you have to call to book specific times and locations? All I see is an option to choose the time for the first night but nothing more.

  20. great information. I had previously booked a 4 night dining package, then was thinking I'd maybe like 8, but there was no 8 available so I was considering booking another 4. this 20% off special showed up for my sailing with an 8 and a 9 night package discounted by 20% so canceled what I had and booked the 8 I wanted. I looked and there didn't appear to be any other discounts for shore excursions, but this was pretty much what I wanted for a price better than I could have hoped for.

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