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Everything posted by NantahalaCruiser

  1. Apparently BA Pilots will be on strike on September 9, 10 and 27 - best of luck if you are flying with them on those dates. https://www.foxbusiness.com/industrials/british-airways-pilots-strike-first-time-ever-september
  2. True However, Guest Services is a great place to exchange any leftover foreign currency back to USD - although it's not a great exchange rate, it's easier and cheaper than trying to do so with your bank when you get back home.
  3. Here's one with RCI http://www.royalcaribbean.com/shoreExcursions/product/detail/view.do?sourcePage=shorexByPort&ProductCode=MJR1&DestinationCode=
  4. Just depends - roll call for our Sept 6 cruise currently has 151 members with 2437 posts; 175 signed up for the M&M. And one member created a spreadsheet to keep track of our small group shore excursions - currently has over 50 shore excursions listed!
  5. Yes, we also had the overnight on the Millenium in Kobe and enjoyed 1.5 days in Kyoto. Stayed at the ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel adjacent to the Nijo Castle. Chose it since they have non-smoking rooms, was centrally located and was very close to a subway station. The train system in Japan is excellent. We initially used it pre-cruise to get from Narita to Yokohama. You can purchase pre-paid Suica smart cards - to use for your train fares - near the train station at Narita. It is much more convenient to merely tap your cards at the train gate than to have to purchase individual tickets - and the fare card works for both inter-city trains and the transit systems in both Kobe and Kyoto. If necessary, you can add funds to the Suica card at any train station or even at some pharmacies/convenience stores There is an automated transit system (Kobe Port Liner) to take you from the port terminal in Kobe to the train station in Kobe, where you transfer to a train from Kobe to Kyoto. You then have your choice of taxis, subways or busses to get you around in Kyoto. The rail trip from the Kobe port terminal to Kyoto Station is about 70 minutes and costs only about 1300 JPY pp one way (equivalent to about 13 USD.) And reservations are not required. Here is a great website to search for train service (schedules and fares): http://www.hyperdia.com Enter Port Terminal in the from box and Kyoto in the to box - along with your date and approximate time - then click on search. The Kobe Port Liner takes you from the Port Terminal to the Sanno Miya Port Liner Station where you transfer (short walk) to the adjacent Sanno Miya JR Station. The best connection from Kobe's Sanno Miya JR Station to Kyoto is a JR Special Rapid Service train without any change of trains and only about 5 intermediate stops (including the main train station in Osaka.) Note: the bullet train between Kobe and Kyoto leaves from a different station in Kobe and it takes longer to get from the port to that station (requires an additional subway train ride) - thus the total time from the port to Kyoto is about the same or longer (depending on the bullet train schedule) but the fare is about three times as expensive. We had no worries about our return since rail travel in Japan is very reliable and almost always on time (a 5 minute delay is considered a tragedy!) We left Kyoto around 5:00, got to the ship before 6:30 - in time for dinner - and the ship was not scheduled to depart until around 8:00. Just be prepared by knowing what train you intend to take out of Kyoto (time and departure track) and check out where that track is when you first arrive in Kyoto so that you don't get lost and miss the train. (If you tend to be concerned, then also get info on the next available train as a backup plan.) Have a great cruise and a wonderful time in Kyoto! Larry PS I thought I had planned the loading of the Suico cards well so that we would use up all but a few yen at the completion of our trip - but I miscalculated and had to add a couple of yen to the cards before it would allow us to exit from the Port Terminal Station! Took us about 5 minutes to figure out how to do it - so don't play it as close as I did.
  6. There is a large online TA with a search engine that allows you to rank cruises by price per night for a limited choice of cabin class: cheapest (essentially inside), balcony or suite. That may not give you exactly what you want; but it also allows you to easily change from cheapest to balcony to suite with simple clicks. The engine allows you to search across all cruise or across a list of cruise lines.
  7. A few years ago the smoothies were covered on the Classic - but then they were taken away, even though the price for a smoothy was less than the Classic ceiling price; so at least they will now be equally consistently inconsistent!
  8. When you are in an EU port you will also be paying the VAT - automatically included in your purchase price!
  9. One meal at a time for a particular restaurant for a particular day and time. Any agreed upon discount is noted in your reservation and honored. Of course, although there is a reasonable chance you can get discounts for a couple of dinners, there is no guarantee. Even so, the $129 3-dinner package, is not a good deal. If you pay the standard prices of $50 for Murano, $45 for either Tuscan Grille or Lawn Club Grill and $30 for the Porch, that's only $125! And your 10&12 year olds, will probably enjoy the outdoor Lawn Club Grill and Porch (a seafood restaurant) more than Murano (French.)
  10. Suggest you not bother purchasing the 3-day package - $129 is not a great deal unless you are planning on going to Murano all 3 times - onboard negotiated deals will probably be better.
  11. Thanks all - will definitely go for a double on our next cruise.
  12. If you do not have a drink package, then you can enjoy a glass of wine in your cabin or also generally pour yourself a glass in the cabin and then take it to a common area.
  13. Has anyone successfully ordered a double scotch or other whisky?
  14. If someone wants to open a TSA lock, they can make copies of the 7 TSA master keys using a 3D printer and patterns readily available online - here's an article about them: https://techcrunch.com/2016/07/27/security-experts-have-cloned-all-seven-tsa-master-keys/
  15. If you are looking for the least motion on the Reflection, then 3172 is the most central cabin with the least motion. Central is not just about forward & aft and up & down - it's also about port & starboard - so an inside cabin has less motion than an outside cabin.
  16. Sorry, you are correct. In fact brandy is often added to other wines to "fortify" them.
  17. Obviously a personal choice - which I have no problem with. But I note that an average of an additional $1.5 on a $10 drink is 15% on top of the included 20% - not something I would choose to do. Many perspectives out there. Happy cruising
  18. I guess I would frame the question of good/bad deal with a different perspective - Is the extra $406 a reasonable or unreasonable cost for a refundable vs. non-refundable deposit? I would be interested in knowing what percentage the $406 is of your NR-0 fare per cabin. I took another look at R-2 vs NR-0 differences for a variety of cruises - randomly chose July 2020 and randomly selected 6 cruises in different regions with from 6 to 14 nights. Found that the differences were about $45 to $50 pp per night - which is consistent with your $90 per night per cabin. After subtracting Gratuities and OBC the effective cost of R vs. NR varied from 3.5% for the 6-N to 8.6% for the 14-N. So I personally could only justify the difference for the shorter cruises if I only valued Gratuities and OBC. But since my value is placed on the Classic Beverage Package plus whichever is greater of Gratuities or OBC, I always come out ahead with the R-2 perk. Anyway, my best to ya - happy cruising. Larry
  19. Hi Den Yeah, the mountains are beautiful - glad you enjoyed them! We have a townhouse in Franklin, about 35 minutes from WCU and also a lake house at 3000 feet up on Lake Nantahala about 40 minutes west of Franklin. Enjoy both, but we have the lake house up for sale now since it got a bit too remote for us as we reached the mid-70's. Nice to be able to enjoy both land and sea - happy cruising. Larry
  20. The aft A2 cabins (1621-1647 & 1624-1650) also have cabins above and below and are in better locations than the aft C2 cabins on decks 11&12; of course aft C1 and slant hump C2 cabins are in a much nicer locations!
  21. Unfortunately NO - that was the one thing we missed when we took the Caribbean Princess around the British Isles several years ago.
  22. I'm sure you would enjoy a cruise to either location; so I will just make a suggestion for each: Bermuda: Find a cruise that includes at least two overnights in Bermuda - a day and a half is just too short. Alaska: If you wish to visit Alaska for the scenery, instead of the round-trip from Seattle, consider one of the southbound cruises from Anchorage (actually Whittier) to Vancouver that cruises at both Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay National Park - enjoy the train ride from Anchorage to Whittier and cruise through the two most acclaimed glacier locations.
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