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About simplyrubies

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  1. Vancouver is an extremely multicultural city, and food from around the world can be found in Vancouver. In particular, Vancouver has a great Asian food scene. Downtown Vancouver has a great variety of restaurants to choose from, but some of my favourites include Yah-Yah-Yah Ramen or Marutama Ramen (Japanese ramen), Medina Cafe (Moroccan & Middle Eastern) Peaceful or Dinesty (Chinese, specifically Northern - dumplings & noodles), and Meat & Bread (close to the cruise port, yummy sandwiches). The ramen restaurants and Meat & Bread are more casual, fast dining options but exceptionally yummy. If you're a fan of Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, Peaceful and Meat & Bread were featured on the show, though it may not be the exact location that Guy visited. Vancouver is well known for its authentic Chinese food. Sun Sui Wah and Kirin are at the higher end - I like to think about them like banquet Cantonese restaurants. It's where our family will take out of town guests for a nice meal. With the size of your group, I would definitely call ahead and make a reservation and try to get an estimate for price because king crab is typically served by the pound, to avoid a nasty surprise. If you're thinking about dimsum for lunch, my personal favourite is Golden Ocean Seafood Restaurant in the neighbourhood of Kerrisdale. You'd have to navigate public transport or take a taxi to go there, but it's one of the few places left in the city that serves dim sum on carts and is often frequented by locals. Again, make a reservation but they are very used to accommodating large size groups. They are a much more affordable and reasonable price than Sun Sui Wah king crab... I will ditto Stanley Park, Granville Island, and Capilano Suspension Bridge!
  2. I can't speak for Corsica, but I haven't seen any gluten free bakeries or goods in the town where I'm currently living (Le Havre), which is a decently sized port city. I would not count on being able to find gluten free goods in a normal bakery but you would be able to find it in a specialized shop. This Pages Jaunes site lists two bakeries which have << sans gluten >> in the description of their products. This website (in French, unfortunately) is a page explaining where one can eat gluten free in Corsica and recommends gluten free restaurants. A Google search of Ajaccio sans gluten will bring up further options. I would recommend that you look up restaurants and bakeries ahead of time because to my knowledge, labelled gluten free items in regular bakeries and restaurants are very uncommon in France. Another option would be to look for items that are already gluten-free. This website provides some examples of foods your daughter can have and foods to avoid. Macarons would be a great gluten-free option!
  3. I would also recommend that you ask for your hotel to call a taxi for you. They are quite reasonably priced and the best option for car travel since we don't have Uber. The airport is also a fairly popular destination for taxis, so you should be able to find one quite easily from the taxi stand at the airpot if you don't wish for the hotel to arrange a taxi for you. If you are open to using public transportation, one option could be to take the Canada Line from the YVR station to the end of the line (Waterfront Station). It is about a 30 minute ride and comes about every 10 minutes. However, you would need to walk from the station to the cruise ship (about 10 minutes), so it would not be as convenient or comfortable as taking a taxi. It's about $10 per ticket, so the price would not be better than a taxi if you have more than 3 or 4 people in your travel party, so I would not recommend this as your first choice.
  4. What is the price for this tour? I remember reading somewhere that it was $150, but I can't remember where I read this and how accurate that estimate still is today. Thanks all.
  5. We did 58 Tour Eiffel for dinner this summer. In comparison to Jules Verne, the price is much more palatable but I have heard that the food at Jules Verne is better. We ate around the time of sunset but the sun set so quickly that it was not much of a beautiful experience, and to be honest, it wasn't the primary reason why we went to eat so it wasn't something we were looking out for. You can book a seat right by the window with a view of the Trocadero if you want, but this does cost extra. We did not purchase this option, but were seated very close to that window so it was not worth purchasing for us. However, when we went deeper into the restaurant, we found that some tables were quite far away from the windows in the centre of the restaurant, so it's just luck of the draw. The dinner was good, but not as fine as we were hoping. Of course, part of the reason why it was so expensive was because of the location, and we thoroughly enjoyed that. It came with a welcome glass of champagne, a glass of wine (and we were offered refills or multiple glasses of different types), three courses, and mineral water as well as the ticket to the Eiffel Tower, with access up in a special elevator so we did not have to wait nearly as long as everyone else. Service was good, but we did notice that meals were not "made to order" but rather, cooked cruise-style as we would receive our order in a matter of minutes. Good for a hungry stomach, but a sign that the restaurant was not incredibly fine.. All in all, we had a good experience and felt it was worth the price for a once in a lifetime experience. We probably would not do it again and spend the money "on land" for a higher quality brasserie, but I would recommend that if you can, you should do it once. Make reservations soon though, because this restaurant only does 2 seatings and places fill up quickly. The metro in Paris connects the city quite well, so we took the metro in from the 1st arrondissement (where we were staying). It's about a 20 minute metro ride from where you are staying, which is quite manageable.
  6. There can be many differences even within the same line when it comes to the types of cabins or amenities involved. With your requirements, if you are considering through booking a travel agent, I would highly recommend that you speak to one in order to help you further match your requirements to the appropriate ship, line, itinerary, and price. It sounds like Royal Caribbean may be a good fit for your family. It is very likely that other kids will be on board, but even if they do not partake in the kid's club, there are lots of other amenities such as a variety of pools, rock climbing, ice skating, etc. that are available on several ships for them to enjoy. However, chair-hogging may be an issue (as it is a mass-market line), but honestly, this is an issue that you will find on any line unless you book a separate cabana area (available on many lines) and therefore book your own private space. In order to avoid crowds, consider looking at a smaller ship. Family cabins should be available, or at least quad occupancy rooms. In order to avoid a party cruise atmosphere, I would avoid choosing any itinerary that is between 3-5 days particularly if you're looking to travel to the Caribbean. 3-5 day Royal Caribbean or Carnival cruises in the Caribbean are almost always guaranteed to be booze cruises.
  7. If vedettes1 stops in Victoria prior to disembarking in Seattle, wouldn't that fulfill the "distant foreign port" criteria as Victoria is in Canada?
  8. Local news is starting to cover the event. There is a short article from CTV here. The body of the article is as follows: "An early-morning collision between two cruise ships in Vancouver's Canada Place left both vessels with minor damage Saturday. In a statement, Holland America Line the MS Oosterdam and MS Nieuw Amsterdam collided at around 6:50 a.m. while docking stern-to-stern. No injuries were reported. The Oosterdam received minimal damage, while six rooms with verandas on the Nieuw Amsterdam will require repairs. According to the cruise line, guests staying in those rooms will be re-accommodated. The cause of the collision remains unclear. The Nieuw Amsterdam will set off on a seven-day Alaskan cruise on Saturday. The Oosterdam is set to sail to Seattle overnight. From there, it will depart on a week-long Alaskan cruise on Sunday. The collision has not affected either itinerary, Holland Cruise Lines said."
  9. When I was their age, I used a small cross-body purse, but deep pockets should suffice. If it makes them happier, fanny packs are actually come back into fashion, and there can be many fashionable options found at fast fashion shops nowadays if looks are a concern of theirs! A lanyard for their Seapass to wear around their neck would work great. It's not so fashionable, but a neck wallet/pouch could be a good place to store their phone. It would always be around their neck, so it'd be harder to lose. I don't think they will need a drink cup. They can always retrieve it from the room if they're interested, but you can also get drinks by the glass around the ship so it shouldn't be necessary. And to reply to 1025cruise: not all tweens (or kids, for that matter), enjoy the kid's club. At their age, I certainly didn't. I didn't like having to make friends quickly with strangers and generally didn't like the activities offered. I preferred to do my own thing or hang out with family. I was allowed to explore the ship with my cousins after clearly communicating plans with parents and staying in touch as often as possible. Many kids love the experience, but many kids don't. Each kid and family is different.
  10. I definitely agree with you. We like being able to get to know our waitstaff and tip them accordingly at the end of the trip. By the end of our cruises, it was very nice that our waiters were able to remember our preferences. It was a little detail that definitely made our cruise better, but it is also one that I'd be fine without. If our preferences changed (eg. I wanted a different soda, we wanted to leave a bit earlier for a show), we could inform the waiters and it'd be no problem. We liked being able to sit with other people... provided that they were people that we could easily get along with and enjoyed having dinner with. If you don't like your stablemates and you're stuck with them every night for fixed dining, that wouldn't make for a good experience. With flexible dining, you can eat any time you like within the time frame, which is very convenient. Our dietary restrictions are not severe enough that they need to be communicated ahead of time, and we don't mind telling our waiters the day of. That being said, some waiters have been better than others - eg. waiters who could recommend the best lactose-free dessert options vs. waiters who just knew what the lactose-free options were. Flexible seating allows for choice. Though, I am fine with either.
  11. RCL will be a great option! The kid's clubs offer good programming - though, based on their age, I'm not sure if they will be allowed to be in the same club as one cohort is 3-5 and the other 6-8, as I have heard that they are quite strict on this policy. It's important to note that not all kids are fans of the kid's club (I certainly wasn't!), but RCL offers lots of other family friendly activities that your kids will enjoy. August is a bit hot for cruising, and the area will be very busy. If it's possible, I would recommend that you go in May or June instead. I can get back to you after our Greek cruise (in May), but to be honest, any of those sites sound like they would be great. It all depends on what you're looking for in your vacation, but I think those ports would offers something that everyone can enjoy. Personally, I prefer to be able to see flight options before we leave so we have an idea of how much it costs, flight availability, and etc. but if the price is good and you know there are frequent flights to your point of departure, it may be worth it to jump for the sale!
  12. This was one of the questions we asked the HAL agent. They said that anyone in the stateroom should be able to use the card, it isn't locked to a particular person.
  13. That is the same soda card we inquired about with HAL (the discounted one). Perhaps we were not clear enough when speaking with the agent? After doing a quick search on CC, other members are reporting that they were able to buy the discount card on board, but maybe things have changed since then/on different ships?
  14. Crusinagain - that’s very strange that they told you that because we called HAL customer service to ask if we could purchase soda cards onboard a while ago, and they said yes. Another example of uninformed call center reps or is it customer service who is uninformed?
  15. I would agree with TheCruisingAccountant. Traffic in the city can vary based on what day you're looking to fly out at, the time, and if there's any other events going on in the city. Sometimes, it can take 30-40 minutes for us to get from our house to downtown by car - and we don't live by the airport!
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