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Posts posted by gilliansp

  1. 10 hours ago, Lois R said:

    Just got my luggage........came even quicker than expected!👍.  I paid way more than 130.00 but it was worth every single penny!!!!!!

    More convinced than ever that its the only way to travel with luggage at the moment!

  2. 3 hours ago, megr1125 said:

    I think I paid around $130 for a medium size bag, up to ~60 lbs I think.  It went from NJ to London.  I was in Dublin a few days and didn't need my huge bag.  The older I get, the more I'm willing to spend a bit more money to make my life easier.  

    Yes, a similar quote to the one I have and i personally feel its money well spent for peace of mind. After waiting so long to be able to travel again we just want to fully enjoy our holiday without any unnecessary worries.

  3. 2 hours ago, Lois R said:

    i JUST DID IT🙂...oops sorry for the caps...........I was in Barcelona and shipped my checked bag home via "LUGGAGE FORWARD"........the process was quite smooth and to be honest, I decided on the ship due to some unforseen circumstances..........I am now able to follow along to track it and looks like it will be here between Wed and Friday this week.  (I got home from my trip late Friday night).

    This is  the year to try out these companies! Just hope our luggage arrives in Anchorage at the same time as us!

  4. On 7/9/2022 at 7:55 PM, llhillman said:

    We were just talking about doing this today. Also transiting through London from the US and onto Italy.

    We have friends who have used both. We are shipping items to the hotel we are staying at in Rome before starting our cruise.


    https://www.luggagefree.com/ and https://www.shipgo.com/

    Definitely going to use this service this year. We have 2 changeovers on our London-Alaska flight and if all the news re airports is to be believed it is impossible our luggage will make it!

  5. 2 hours ago, megr1125 said:

    I used sendmybags.com but from the USA to the UK.  They were great and not too much.  Not cheap but they're aimed at university students so they were a bit less.


    Bag left my home a little over a week before I did and got to my London hotel with no issues.  I got tracking updates every time the bag moved and at every step of the way.  I'd use them again and probably will next spring. 

    Sounds good! Will check it out. Thank you!

    • Like 1
  6. Because of airport chaos worldwide, and especialy in London, I am considering using a luggage transport company to make sure our luggage arrives at our final destination. I am worried that with 2 flight changes, possible delays etc our luggae will get lost in transit. Anyone used any reliable luggage transport companies from Europe to US?

  7. Because of airport chaos worldwide, and especialy in London, I am considering using a luggage transport company to make sure our luggage arrives at our final destination. I am worried that with 2 flight changes, possible delays etc our luggae will get lost in transit. Anyone used any reliable luggage transport companies from Europe to US?

  8. 1 hour ago, Cali Viajera said:

    We stayed at the Metropolitan Hotel on Howe street, very centrally located. Very nice!

    Cafe Medina! Oh, my gosh, the waffles with caramel topping and maple syrup! To live for! I made the reservation when we arrived in Fairbanks-online only and two weeks ahead. Thank-you Martincath for the reservation tip😀Peaceful restaurant for Chinese was so delish too!

    Blarney pub in Gastown-lunch of Bangers and mash with a Harps, out of this world!
    HOHO on first day gave an excellent view of the city. Clean, diverse city, looking forward to visiting again.

    Thanks for info. was considering HOHO bus as well, seems sensible thing to do in a new city.

  9. 11 minutes ago, worldtraveller99 said:

    PS Don't even mention the worry re the airports (and baggage coming with us?) - our flight to Vancouver has been consistently 2 - 3 hours delayed over the past 10 days on the BA website!


    A delay is better than a cancelled flight - my biggest fear! 

  10. 5 hours ago, bbstx said:

    There is a free app called “Visit a City.”  It has suggestions for a 2 day intensive visit to Vancouver.  The advice you are getting here is probably better, but Visit A City will put the sites in the most time efficient order.  I used it for Venice and Florence and was very pleased.


    I have stayed at the Hyatt Regency and the Sutton Place hotels both on Burrard.  I’ve also stayed at the Fairmont Waterfront and the Fairmont on Georgia St.  I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them.  However, the 2 on Burrard always felt more centrally located to me.  

    Hi, thanks for the tips. Finally booked the Wedgewood Hotel, but will check out the city app you suggested.

  11. 11 hours ago, martincath said:

    You're welcome - and I definitely concur with @cruiseryycthat a trip to the island is a very poor choice given your limited time. Our first visit to Vancouver we had a whole week, spent one day in Victoria (floatplane both ways, so as efficient a trip as possible) and one up in Whistler and while we enjoyed both we felt like we would have probably been better just sticking to Vancouver instead of either!


    Stanley Park and the Seawall are pretty much the most Vancouvery things about Vancouver, so in terms of must-do sights they do deserve to be right at the top of the list - but even assuming a fairly whistle-stop visit is done that only eats up your half day, the two full days still need some careful curating to maximise your enjoyment. However much I might know as a local, our tastes could still be widely disparate - so my optimal two days might not overlap at all with your own.


    Rather than say 'do not miss X' or 'avoid Y' the best advice I can give, hands down, is to point you at TripAdvisor rankings. You know you - so I'm confident that you have a reasonable idea of where your own tastes run compared to 'Joe Public', which means if you read through the list of top-ranked activities you should pretty quickly be able to cull the items which are not your cup of tea. Yes, there are a lot of fake reviews - but for the popular sites with thousands of reviews the relative ranking of each can be safely assumed to be correct. There are also a lot of suggested itineraries for one day and two day visits that might spur some ideas.


    Once you have a curated list (add a few more than you think you have time for as you might need to cull it further) that's when us locals can be really useful - you might want to visit places where the time of day makes a real difference to e.g. traffic for getting there, or places which are on all of the Pre- & Post-cruise ~4 hours in a bus excursions so get slammed by coachloads of cruisers during specific hours.


    Plus, if you're a family or even a couple it's unlikely your tastes align perfectly with all your travel companions. If you each make your own list of say top five things to see and do and only compare them when they're done you'll immediately see which sites overlap and which don't - maybe doing a different thing at the same time then meeting up again for lunch/dinner after will work, just like folks tend to do while on cruise ships (especially with how close together many of our downtown sites are). Plus, free city WiFi network (#VanWiFi broadcasts all over downtown and many other spots too) means you can message each other to keep in touch if you don't have free data or voice over here.


    Given your lack of Chinese food availability it does make sense to grab it while the going is good - so a few more spots, especially local chains, for you to maybe try and get lunch in while out and about:

    • Peaceful is a chain with three locations in Vancouver proper. Hand-pulled noodles are a draw for many, and it's likely you won't even have heard of many of the dishes - lots of lamb, some Middle Eastern influence via the Silk Road and China's native Muslim population the Uighurs are part of this 'Northern' cuisine, which has a lot more wheat and less rice than the Cantonese you are likely most familiar with.
    • ChongQing has two branches - one on Robson in the core, another on Commercial Drive - and is one of our popular local Szechuan restos. A specific-to-Canada dish is Ginger Beef, invented in Alberta - if you have any British Expat places near you in Spain, you might know 'deep fried crispy beef with chilli or garlic sauce' already - if so, this is a similar preparation but in a sweet & spicy ginger sauce.
    • While it would be a dang pricey lunch, you could have even have 'Peking Duck' at one of China's top restos Quan Ju De (Vancouver is quite often the first location for a Western branch of an Asian chain).
    • Dinesty only has one Vancouver branch, but it's conveniently downtown on Robson so might work well on any given day of pootling around downtown. Dumplings are the big winner here.
    • Lastly, a dinner only option but one of the few really good restos in Chinatown that is actually Chinese, Bao Bei remains extremely popular - Shanghai and Taiwan are the flavour inspirations, but the vibe is very modern almost Tapas-esque, with either small nibbly plates or big ones to share. Custom cocktails are well worth indulging in. Several other places have tried (and mostly failed) since they opened to offer a 'modern Chinese cocktail bar' experience but BB was the first to make it work and the most successful.

    Once again, thanks so much for taking the time to give me so much great info. My

    best wishes to you!

    • Thanks 1
  12. 7 hours ago, martincath said:

    Then I'll give you a few nicer and more interesting spots to check out, things that might be very hard or even impossible to find elsewhere.


    For a top-notch breakfast, I still think that Medina remains the place to beat - a vaguely 'Middle East meets Belgium' vibe overall with the best waffles and accompanying sauces in the city, and one of the very few good things to come out of Covid is that they finally take reservations - otherwise you'd be joining a block long queue they consistently had since they opened over a decade ago.


    For dinner, a truly unique dining opportunity - at a remarkably good price - can be had at Salmon & Bannock. It's the only sit-down Indigenous resto in the area, one of only a handful in the country. You won't find better priced bison or a wider variety of salmon dishes - and since they are the only resto with access to several species that can be hunted by our First Nations but not sold to anyone, the 'free samples' that get given out with the main dishes are the only way you'll be able to sample e.g. sea lion.


    Chinese - some of the best high end restos in the region are actually in Vancouver proper, despite Richmond's justified reputation as the local municipality with the most Chinese restos and population. Dynasty would be my overall pick, swanky dim sum, posh feast menus, but you could do a lot worse than Kirin which is more likely to be walkable from whichever hotel you pick.


    On the Thai front, I can't say that I have ever found a real standout locally - so I'm going to point you a little sideways to Phnom Penh which has a mostly Vietnamese/Cambodian menu though you'll find quite similar dishes to Thai places. This is one of the seriously longterm local spots, still has queues outside even forty years later. Beef Luc Lac, Chicken Wings, and Butter Beef remain probably the most popular dishes - if you're a couple, one of each is probably enough for a good size meal. Not remotely fancy - shared tables, plastic tablecloths, brusque service - but probably has more celebrity pics & autographed menus than anywhere else in town.


    Back into the fancier fish & meat menus - if you haven't visited Quebec (or you did and you loved it) St Lawrence is worth making a reso well in advance for. They rotate menus seasonally, changing every month or two, often with a regional French menu as well as their regular Quebecois staples. The pies are just ridiculous - theoretically simple, peasant fare but executed to perfection.


    L'Abattoir is a Gastown staple for French style food using local produce, and does particularly well on their bar program (a lot of award-winning cocktails and mixologists, wines unique to the resto, that sort of thing). The regular resto is unfussy - but staff know their stuff, you can ask any server for wine reccos to match food. They also offer an occasional seriously high end set menu in their function space Gaoler's Mews - that's probably the hardest ticket to get in town as the seats are few and even at $300+ it sells out in minutes when a meal is advertised.


    The Mackenzie Room has a constantly-changing, very local menu - it changes so often that even before Covid they rarely bothered with paper menus, it's all on a big chalkboard on the wall. If you can find another couple to go with, this is one of the places where throwing yourself at the Chef's mercy is the way to go - 'I Want It All' brings all 12 daily dishes to your table with plates for sharing! They will do smaller combo menus for couple though, at the same price per head ($69 most recently, a helluva deal for the quality).


    Barbara is possibly the most pedantically-plated resto in the city - it's a one man show, very few seats, all food prepped and dished by Chef Hennessy himself (and that man does love his tweezers!) Tiny resto, tiny wine list, tiny menu (3 tasting trios of dishes - veggie, meat, fish/seafood but you can pick and mix between them - and a couple of extra dessert options), and pretty tiny portions but absolutely everything is Just So. When they opened at $50 for the tasting menu they were insanely cheap - even now at $70 you can see every dollar on the plate. Sit at the bar rather than the handful of wall tables if you can, as Chef H is happy to chat.


    The above four are some of the spots I was thinking of when I asked about your tolerance for resto surrounding streets - if you're used to urban grit you should be fine, it's not so much dangerous as perhaps guilt-inducing that you're walking past folks living on the sidewalk when you're going to enjoy a fancy meal...


    Lunch-wise, dang near impossible to make specific suggestions as so much depends on what you are doing that day - much more efficient to eat anything decent that's in a convenient location. Aside from inside large Parks & Gardens, which have few food franchises operating, you'll generally have a lot of options nearby any of the tourist attractions. One general concept we have a lot of is food trucks - so many that you really need to keep track of who is where on the app!


    If you are near a Japadog cart, truck, or resto that's worth a definite lunch stop - a local legend and damn tasty. Personally I tend to always come back to the kurobuta pork terimayo dog, but I honestly haven't had a bad option.


    Hope that's enough to get you going!

    Wow! Soo much interesting, useful info! Def going to check all these places out. Lreally love the suggestion of Salmon and Bannock - so completely different and your Chinese suggestions as well. But will look at them all. Not enough time to try them all out.We live in Spain and decent Chinese food is impossible to get.


    We have 2 and a half days in Vancouver. Since yoiur knowledge of rerstaurants is so amazing I am going to pick your brains on things we must do and see, Obviously Stanley Park is a must visit. Was also considering Vancouver island -yes or no? 


    Many, many thanks

  13. 2 hours ago, martincath said:

    @gillianspyou may not realise that the cruise pier, with the Pan Pacific on top, is slap bang in the downtown core - and about 90% of the city's hotels and tourist attractions are also within the core (airport hotels are actually in Richmond, a different city, there are only a handful of Vancouver hotels anywhere outside the core and almost all of those are neither boutique nor fancy). There are more central hotels then the PP - obviously since the pier is right on the water, hotels about halfway between it and False Creek on the other side of the core are most central -  but the difference is only about half a mile;-)


    Personally I'd rather have a wider range of restos within a couple of blocks, so I'd be looking along the Robson corridor - nearer the western end if you see yourself spending a lot of time in Stanley Park, the eastern end if you'd rather hang out in Yaletown or Chinatown. Listel or Hotel Blu should cover you for boutiquey at each end - but Blue Horizon has large rooms, all corners, and high floors have stellar views for a more moderate cost very close to the Listel.


    On the really upmarket side, Shangri-La is slightly more central than the PP with even better service (one of only two 5* hotels in the city, the other is the Fairmont Pacific Rim).


    As to restos... budget, preferred/detested cuisines, dietary issues, and tolerance levels for, shall we say, less-than-salubrious streets around the resto would really help narrow down what to recommend for you... I could probably give you a different resto for each meal on all three days within five blocks walk of any hotel you choose if you have a wide range of food likes and a big budget, but if you're all gluten-free vegans who want to stay under fifty bucks a day things get trickier!





    Great info - thanks! Guess we are pretty easy with food, decent meat and fish as opposed to fast food. Maybe a  Chinese or Thai restaurant as well.

  14. 26 minutes ago, em-sk said:


    I like the Fairmount Waterfront (it is across the street from the PanPacific).  The Fairmount Pacific Rim is also quite nice, it is just down from the Fairmount Waterfront. 


    Restaurants all depend on what you like.  Vancouver has a lot of very good Asian restaurants.  


    Thanks so much.

    26 minutes ago, em-sk said:


    I like the Fairmount Waterfront (it is across the street from the PanPacific).  The Fairmount Pacific Rim is also quite nice, it is just down from the Fairmount Waterfront. 


    Restaurants all depend on what you like.  Vancouver has a lot of very good Asian restaurants.  


    Will check it out, thanks.


  15. Hello! Our cruise line has just cancelled our Vancouver post cruise tour, literally after receiving final payment! So now planning it myself, looking for accommodation suitable for sightseeing, restaurants etc, either upmarket similar to Pan Pacific or boutique style. Recommendations for sightseeing and restaurants appreciated as well. 3 nights mid-September. Many thanks!!

  16. On 6/16/2022 at 1:45 AM, Tiggerontheseas said:


    I think that's a little harsh.  I'm Canadian and have used the ArriveCan app many times but I completely understand the frustration and confusion surrounding having to submit multiple trips like this.  Heck, as familiar as I am with the app I am still stumped on how to complete the Northbound cruise to Alaska when there is no marine entry into Canada.   I'm flying back from Alaska a week after our cruise and am fine with how to submit that trip three days before arrival home but honestly don't understand how to fill out the cruise departure trip.  

    Hi, I am a little confused with the ArriveCan ruling as well. If our cruise terminates in Vancouver and we are staying extra days in Vancouver do we have to do complete ArriveCan docs or not?

  17. Hello - we are doing our own pre-cruise land tour in September, and have it pretty well organised. For part of it we will be driving Talketeena - Seward, with an overnight stop in Alyeska. We also plan to visit the Wildlife Conservation Centre and stop off on the must see places on the Turngain Arm. However we are unsure of whether these stop-offs are between Talketeena and Aleyeska or between Alyeska and Seward. 

  18. 16 hours ago, BOB999 said:


    When I've flown out of Montreal heading to the US I haven't had to claim my luggage going through US Customs/Immigration, the officer was able to pull up a picture of the luggage.


    In Chicago you will arrive in T2 as if you were on a domestic flight and your luggage would be checked through.  Depending on gate assignment it's a 5 to 20 minute walk to your next flight in probably T1.

    How wonderful and modern -  if we don't have to collect our luggage - makes everything so much easier. Thanks for the info.

  19. On 4/1/2022 at 11:35 AM, Globaliser said:


    On a quick search for 2-stop alternatives, there are a couple that would keep you on your booked AC861 from London to Vancouver (arriving 1125), both taking you on to Anchorage via San Francisco.


    - AC566 from Vancouver to San Francisco, departing 1325, arriving 1556.

    - AC3555 from San Francisco to Anchorage, departing 1830, arriving 2218.


    - AC4568 from Vancouver to San Francisco, departing 1446, arriving 1714.

    - AC3555 from San Francisco to Anchorage, departing 1830, arriving 2218.


    Other alternatives that came up:


    - AC867 from London to Montreal, departing 0930, arriving 1140.

    - AC8695 from Montreal to Chicago O’Hare, departing 1330, arriving 1456.

    - AC4372 from Chicago O’Hare to Anchorage, departing 1610, arriving 1956.


    - AC851 from London to Calgary, departing 1105, arriving 1255.

    - AC8647 from Calgary to San Francisco, departing 1500, arriving 1651.

    - AC3555 from San Francisco to Anchorage, departing 1830, arriving 2218.


    You will have noticed that three out of these four alternatives have you ending up on the same flight to Anchorage (which is operated by United Airlines - some of the other flights are codeshares/similar too). I see that the Air Canada website also has suggestions via Denver that haven’t shown up on the quick searches that I did elsewhere.


    As I understand it, whichever of these routes you take, you will still clear inbound US immigration and customs at the Canadian connection port. The second connection (whether Chicago, Denver or San Francisco) would be a domestic-domestic connection.

    Thanks for this. After a lengthy discussion with Air Canada I opted for the option via Montreal. Does this mean we have to collect our luggage in Montreal, to go through US customs and immigration, and then not have to collect our luggage again in Chicago - just a domestic flight change? Hopefully our luggage will then arrive in Anchorage with us.

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