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JimChar

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Posts posted by JimChar

  1. 3 minutes ago, MVPinBoynton said:

    Thanks so much for the info.  I have seen som before, but nice to see in one place.  I know I can use Grab, but is there a good transfer company to use from the airport to Marina Bay Sands?


    Seriously, there is no need for the so-called airport transfer unless you wanted a Merc 300L or a RR for privacy, style & class. But if you want, there is Maxi cab for a fix fare (i can't recall how much, but I will never use them as I lived about 5 stations away from the airport).

    Just use Grab/GoJek app will do. I use a few such app, for price comparison as Grab prices can be crazy at times. 

  2. 56 minutes ago, FlaggMary said:

    We are coming in on the Oceana Riveria in January. We just have one day in Singapore before we get off the ship and fly home. How far will Gardens by the Bay be from where Oceana docks?

     

    By taxi, it is less than 10 minutes but you will get slap with a terminal pick up surcharge of S$8. Use the Grab/GoJek app (our local version of Uber) instead. 

    Walk, possible, 30 mins.  - seen cruiser doing that. Streets are paved, with traffic lights and all. 

    Is there any luggage storage on site? I recalled some coin lockers near the enterance driveway - you have to ask the staff for the exact location. 

    image.thumb.png.491b5b208d682728aac0406736486631.png

     

    • Like 2
  3. Singapore cruiser here. Reposting what I have shared in a roll call about Singapore

    Basic Information about Singapore.

    For those with pre & post cruise plans

     

    Where to exchange foreign cash  ? Money changers everywhere in Singapore for this. Best rates in Singapore's Chinatown as there are plenty of competition there. If you forgot, at the cruise terminal has a booth there too. Local food centers, a highlight for my visiting friends, are mostly cash. The local cashless system requires a local bank account, so unlikely for you.
     

    Most supermarket, restaurants and bars in Singapore will accept your Visa / Master card. Public transport i.e. subway and buses, also accepts your card - tap to get in, tap to get out. 

    Is there Uber here ? No, but local version of this ride hail GoJek, Grab & Tada. 

    How far from airport to cruise terminal ? By taxi 35mins+, by subway 1 hr (Marina South Pier station & a 10 mins walk under the shelter). Yes, you can bring luggage onboard the subway. Signages are in English and we all speaks English, so no worries about getting lost.

    How far from hotel to cruise terminal ?  Depends on your hotel location. I guess it's about 15 - 30 minutes depending on traffic. 

    Free Wifi ? At the airport, cruise terminal, most major shopping malls and your hotel

    Public toilet ? We are better than Italy, free public toilets are everywhere (not behind the bush). In the malls, food center (which may charge you 20cents per entry), subway stations etc. 

    Duty free imports to Singapore ? None for cigarettes & cigar. The alcohol part, see the chart. Booze & cigarette are expensive here due to the taxes.

    image.png.b9763a83628e3169ed1a6739f7f8795e.png

     

    Personal use recreational drugs / vapes ? Don't even think about this. It could be a nasty fine, jail or even death sentence. 

    Plugs & Power socket

    The power socket for Singapore is UK type 220V. Adaptors for your appliances easily available at the local stores for about a $1+ each. If you're buying, get the ones with the fuse (13A) for safety.

    Singapore / UK plug
    image.thumb.png.7a1c487b4688e1608cca3b862ec2004c.png

     

    • Like 1
    • Thanks 2
  4. This applies to my 26 Dec 2023 Diamond Princess New Year cruise. This could change depending on the size of your size and the cruise company's arrangements, so check with them as well. Hoped the port addresses are helpful to your planning as well. If you have been to other ports in Thailand & Vietnam, feel free to add to this list. Cheers

     

    Da Nang/Hue (Chan May),Vietnam   

    Chan May Port
    Loc Vinh Commune, Pho Loc District, Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam

     

    Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Vietnam

    Interflour port
    Phuoc Hoa Commune, Tan Thanh District, Baria - Vungtau Province

     

    Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Thailand 

    Laem Chabang Cruise Center, Berth A1
    288 Moo 3, Laem Chabang Port Road, Tambon Thung - Sukla, Sriracha District, Chonburi Province 20230, Thailand

     

    Ko Samui, Thailand ( WATER SHUTTLE REQUIRED )              

    Nathon Pier via the ship's tenders

    Moo 3, Angthong, Amphur, Koh Samui, 84140, Thailand

     

    • Like 2
    • Thanks 1
  5. @hallasm Thanks for the inputs. Here is our schedule.
     

    Seems OK. Just that on the 2nd Day in Alta - a bit hard-pressed to find something that will end in time for our departure. 

    We are unsure if Princess has a shuttle for us in Tromso between the port and town center? And if taxi is easy to get late at night as our tour ends at 2300hrs and the ship departs 2359hrs. The tour company refused to pick/send the 20 of us from port instead. 
     

    Place Tour
    Stavanger Fjord cruise Lysefjord & Preikestolen
    Place Tour
    Tromso Tromsø: Northern Lights and Husky Experience with Dinner
    Place Tour
    Alta -
    overnight
    Day 1 -  TOUR Aroura
    Day 2 - no plans (departing 2200hrs)
    Place Tour
    Lofoten islands Gravdal port, Gimsøy, Henningsvaer, Kabelvæg, Svolvær, Eggum, Aalan gård goat farm (or similar, if closed), Haukland beach, Skogstrand beach, Ramberg beach, Nusfjord (optional), Hamnøy, Reine, Å I Lofoten, Gravdal port
    Place Tour
    Alesund No plans
  6. On 2/26/2022 at 1:59 AM, DesertGirl28 said:

    We will be on this cruise with you. I've started my research for the port calls. So far I booked a fjord cruise from Stavanger thru Rodne Fjord Cruise. It looks like a yacht type boat and it takes the Viator and ship's tour people. By booking directly it was half the price of Viator's. Here's the link https://rodne.no/en/booking/?r=Stavanger&t=2282&d=2022-10-09 For Tromso it lools likely we will do a ship's cruise Artic Ctr, Museum & Cathedral. In case you need the link for the Roll Call https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2773684-oct-07-2022-search-for-northern-lights-island-princess/ 

     

    Thank you for the link .
    I just made the booking. 🙂 I heard that the meeting point is about 250m from the cruise terminal and this should give us sufficient time to roam about the city on return. 

    So, i still have these 3 places to plan for. Such a waste that Tromso, we depart port at 11pm as most tour liked us to stay longer for the lights.

     

    Tromso, Norway (9:00am - 11pm)
    Alta, Norway (morning 11am - overnight - next day 11:pm)  
    Alesund, Norway (8:00am – 5:00pm)


    Looking for suggestions here. 
     

  7. On 2/26/2022 at 1:59 AM, DesertGirl28 said:

    We will be on this cruise with you. I've started my research for the port calls. So far I booked a fjord cruise from Stavanger thru Rodne Fjord Cruise. It looks like a yacht type boat and it takes the Viator and ship's tour people. By booking directly it was half the price of Viator's. Here's the link https://rodne.no/en/booking/?r=Stavanger&t=2282&d=2022-10-09 For Tromso it lools likely we will do a ship's cruise Artic Ctr, Museum & Cathedral. In case you need the link for the Roll Call https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2773684-oct-07-2022-search-for-northern-lights-island-princess/ 

     

    Thanks for the info. I will have a read on this. 
    Looking forward to seeing you on the cruise.
    Do you intend to arrive Southampton early and do a tour or self drive around, we're still thinking about this part. 

  8. On 1/25/2022 at 8:32 PM, John Bull said:

     

     It might be an idea to brew a coffee or pour something stronger before wading thro this up-date😉

     

    Covid rules for ENGLAND are being relaxed on 11th Fub., after which fully-vaccinated visitors will not be required to test at all.

    Fully-vaccinated means two doses of an approved vaccine (or a single dose of an approved single-dose vaccine like J&J) from an approved source. I'm pretty certain that most countries' vaccines & sources are approved.

    The second (or the only J&J) vaccination must be at least 14 days before travel in order to qualify as "fully-vaccinated"

    A third or booster dose is not required.

    Those aged under 18 do not have to be vaccinated, they are treated the same as being fully vaccinated.

    Proof of natural immunity is not acceptable - Novac Djokovic please note 😉.

    Un-vaccinated visitors must test before and after travel, but do not have to quarantine unless they test positive.

    Regardless of vaccination status, foreign nationals who have been to a country on England's Red List in the previous ten days will be refused entry. But there are currently NO countries on that Red List.

     

    These rules are for England - other parts of the UK have their own rules, though they broadly follow England's rules, often a little later.

    If you enter the UK via Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, check their entry requirements (linked on the website at the foot of this post). But once in the UK there are no checks or restrictions on travel between UK countries, altho' there may be minor rule differences within each country eg mask-wearing & crowding.

     

    The Irish Republic. UK countries & the Irish Republic form a Common Travel Area (CTA) - kinda like a mini-Schengen.

    But there have been Covid travel restrictions to the Irish Republic even from the UK, including mandatory quarantining. The quarantining ended last September, but if you plan to enter the CTA via the Irish Republic (some North American visitors fly via Dublin) or to visit the Irish Republic from the UK you need to check their requirements (Currently Round Britain cruises call at Irish ports, so hopefully its not an issue)

     

    I've tried to provide the basics in this post, but please don't shoot me for any errors or omissions.

    The full details are linked on the govt website below below, but are a little confusing because they reflect current regulations with links to the 11th Feb changes. If it's too heavy for you, bookmark the page & check it out after 11th Feb.

     

    Also bear in mind the rules & requirements of your own country, your airline & your cruise ship.

    And rules change frequently depending on changes in circumstances, so do try to keep up-to-date.

     

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-to-england-from-another-country-during-coronavirus-covid-19#changes-to-international-travel-rules-from-11-february-2022

     

    JB 🙂

    Thank you. I will review this topic again within the time we book our flights (usually 3 - 4 months in advance) 

  9. Hi Everyone. Many thanks for the inputs. I had misplace the link to this post until I check old notifications email.


    At the moment, we are still watching youtubes and googling the places to visits and along with friends to meet. It was nice of them wanting to catch up, we just have to plan this carefully to avoid back tracking. Meanwhile, I am watching the UK arrival requirements on the ART / PCR topic. 

    Sadly, i got retrenched 2 weeks ago and now have to plan carefully, what i can afford or otherwise. But the cruise will continue as planned. 

  10. 17 hours ago, Hezu said:

    I can't give any hints specific to these locations on Norwegian coast, but here is few tips on northern lights photography in general:

     

    There isn't really any specific aurora observation sites, you can do that almost anywhere, you just need reasonably clear view to the northern sky. It also helps if there is not much light pollution, so somewhere outside cities is often better choice of location. Also further north the chances of this phenomenon occuring is more frequent. And of course, if there is thick cloud cover, there is no hope seeing any auroras regardless how good or bad space weather is just then.

     

    For photographing auroras, you want long exposures and thus the tripod is a must. And on a moving ship tripods sadly keep the camera stable only in relation with the deck rather than the horizon.

     

    And since photographing northern lights is activity taking place after sun has set and in October the weather will start get colder (albeit on the coast the warm sea may moderate temperatures a bit), be sure that you have enough warm clothing as getting cold can ruin any photography session.

     

    And it depends on your interests whether it is worthwhile to bring the long telephoto, October could be still decent time to see some birds for example.

    Thank you for the information 🙂

     

     

    15 hours ago, hallasm said:

    A  northern lights display can span a large portion of the sky, so when looking for the perfect focal length there is no doubt you should be looking for a wide-angle lens.

    If using lenses with aperture of f/2.8 or f/4, it forces you to use a very high ISO that can leave your images looking too grainy or using very long  shutter speed.  

    You might use a shutter speed from 1 to 5 seconds - between 15 and 20 seconds the stars in the night sky will be clear and without star trails and difficult if taking photo from a moving ship.

    A tripod and timed trigger to ensure a stable camera

    Also bring extra batteries to ensure that the camera  has enough power in the cold winter where the capacity of batteries is greatly reduced.

    The best lens for shooting the aurora is a lens with a wider maximum aperture such as f/1.4, f/1.8 or f/2. This makes the 24mm focal length (likely a 24mm f/1.4 lens) the perfect choice for northern lights.

     

     

    Thanks for information.
    Unfortunately, my largest f-stop is a 20mm/2.8 CSJ. the 1.8 (50mm) or 1.4 (85mm), i doubt will be useful here ?. 
    Will bring all 3 batteries and the powerbank for the smart phone. 
    Tripod / cable / app /light sticks (whatever that is called) / torch lights 

     

    14 hours ago, TheOldBear said:

    The 'visit Norway' site has a Northern Lights page https://www.visitnorway.com/things-to-do/nature-attractions/northern-lights/ 

     

    Also a photography page https://www.visitnorway.com/things-to-do/nature-attractions/northern-lights/how-to-photograph/

     

    It looks like during your overnight in Alta, either a ship's excursion or a local operator  'northern lights chase' will try get you to clear sky & a likely vantage point.

     

    I did some research about northern lights 'chases' from Tromso for my upcoming cruise [overnight November 6 - 7]. Some of the operators provide thermal coveralls - but require that you bring your own warm footwear. Camera tripods are usually available from the local operators [one less thing to pack].

     

    Have you joined the 'roll call' for your sailing? Has there been any discussion there about tours?

     

    As for me, I'm bringing a mechanical, manual focus wide angle lens for my Olympus OMD EM1.2 body [7.5mm f/2 or 10mm f/2 ] supplementing my usual zooms.  I have not made a decision between the Cunard tour and one of the local tour operators [I'll be looking for feedback on my roll call thread before deciding]

    @TheOldBear Thanks for the info.

    I had joined the roll calls for this B2B. It is not that active yet.
    Only had 2 suggestions for Lofoten Islands &  Lekens (somewhere north but unsure which port) from a fellow roll call member.  If there is any recommendations for Alta, I'd appreciate it and we can have more choices. 

    While I have an 8mm samyang fish eye, it's f3.5 or a 20mm f2.8 . Both manual focus. 
    I am hesitant to bring the 150-600 along. It is a very heavy beast and in this cold, I might not last that long. BUT.....

  11. On 11/10/2021 at 5:47 PM, hallasm said:

    Interesting itinerary -  however ‘Gravdal’ is misplaced at the map - assuming Gravdal at Lofoten islands located southwest of Tromsø and not Gravdal southwest og Oslo.

    Happy New Year and Thanks for highlighting. I missed your reply earlier.

    Here is another map. Perhaps this is the correct one ? 

    Map shows port stops for Search for the Northern Lights. For more details, refer to the List of Port Stops table on this page.

  12. @Norwaylady & @kaisatsu

    Happy New Year.

     

    Am excited that we're heading for our Northern Lights trip in Oct 2022 (after cancellation and rebookings). 


    Am wondering if the Northern lights requires travel far from the port to view ? If we can do it by ourselves or book a local tour ? Places covered includes:

     

    Stavanger, Norway (10:00am – 6:00pm)
    Tromso, Norway (9:00am - 11pm)
    Alta, Norway (morning ? - overnight - next day 11:pm)  
    Lofoten Islands (gravdal), Norway (8:00am – 11:00pm)
    Alesund, Norway (8:00am – 5:00pm)
     

    Suggestions & recommendations appreciated. There may be a few others in the roll-call that may be interested in joining the private tour too. 🙂

    Thank you very much 

  13. Will be heading for a northern lights cruise in October 2022 on Island Princess and covering these places.

    Stavanger, Norway (10:00am – 6:00pm)

    Tromso, Norway (9:00am - 11pm)

    Alta, Norway (morning ? - overnight - next day 11:pm)  

    Lofoten Islands (gravdal), Norway (8:00am – 11:00pm)

    Alesund, Norway (8:00am – 5:00pm)

     

    What lens and accessories should I bring along ?

    Will there are a lot of hiking / walking to the sites for good aurora photography ?
    Tied taking aurora pic from the cruise ship  ? 

    Any resources that I can readup or youtube that I can refer to ? 

    Besides arouras, is the long (and heavy) zoom lens needed ?

     

    I have Canon 5D mk3 and a few lenses (150-600 G2, 17-40, 7-200, 24-105 etc). Will bring a carbon fiber tripod along
    Appreciate all suggestions as I am from the tropics and this is as exotic as I can imagine within the 7th wonders. Hence will prepare in advance as much as i can. 

    Thank you very much


    Thank you in advance 

    • Like 1
  14. Have a trip with Island Princess in Oct 2022.

    I have a wild idea in mind. 

    Can I rent a car from Heathrow, visit nearby places, stay over for a few nights here and there, return the car at Southampton before our cruise.
    We have about 4 to 7 days, depending on flights.

    If you have done it, please share with me the rental agency used, route taken and places visited. We are 1st timer in that part of UK and drives on the same side of the road

    🙂 Thank you 

  15. Have a trip with Island Princess in Oct 2022.

    I have a wild idea in mind. 

    Can I rent a car from Heathrow, visit nearby places, stay over for a few nights here and there, return the car at Southampton before our cruise.
    We have about 4 to 7 days, depending on flights.

    If you have done it, please share with me the rental agency used, route taken and places visited. We are 1st timer in that part of UK and drives on the same side of the road

    🙂 Thank you 

  16. Just recently confirmed our Northern Lights cruise on Island Princess Oct 2022.

    In super panic mode now as we have no clue what to expect except the Northern Lights part and it will be deep freezer cold (we're from always warm tropics).

    Keen to find out what tours can we join at the stops. We do have an overnight in Alta (11am to 11pm next day). 

    Any suggestions are utmost welcomed. Thank you

     

     

    Norweign F.PNG

    Norwegian Fjords (7-24 Oct 2022).png

  17. 10 hours ago, Expat Cruise said:

    Sorry to miss you on this trip. You should look at it maybe Princess is giving away Cabins at very low prices,  you can book from $650 USD including port fees. We are on the 2020 Back to Back Christmas & New Years Trip.  It can be booked as a 7 day Hong Kong to Singapore or Singapore to Hong Kong. On the Diamond Princes Dec 23 2020 and December 30th.

     

    Will look at that next year

    Hopefully Our vacation time can match

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