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About agabbymama

  • Rank
    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Los Angeles
  • Interests
    Travel & Reading
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Alaska & Yukon
  1. agabbymama

    sitka vs skagway

    That's too bad, I was misinformed by the bus driver, that the Alaska Pioneer Home in Sitka took in the homeless and broke. Looks like that was how it started, but over time has changed drastically. Thanks for the link, it was interesting reading.
  2. agabbymama

    Do We Dock or Tender???

    We missed the port of Mykonos entirely also on an October cruise due to high winds. We sailed slowly on to Athens. Big disappointment.
  3. agabbymama

    Room keys

    The cruiseline really does care who is in what cabin. For Muster and in the event of an emergency. The passenger manifest is what they use. If you want to make changes to your cabin assignments (key cards), please go to the Purser's Desk and make the changes.
  4. agabbymama

    McDonald's in central Rome.

    Absolutely nothing wrong with McD's. I'm not a very adventurous eater, nor do I like spending a lot of money for meals. Besides the U.S., I've visited McD's in Great Britain, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Greece, & Hungary. It's the one place you can rely on to know what you are getting, and after 3 to 4 weeks in another country, it was definitely a nice change. And as another poster mentioned, they have restrooms that don't cost any money to use.
  5. agabbymama

    Land Tour Host Gratuities

    Not sure what cruiseline you are on, but HAL did recommend in their paperwork. It's been a few years since we went, but I think we gave the Tour Director $5 pp per day and the Driver $2 pp per day.
  6. agabbymama

    Murano and Burano

    Not sure when you are going, but we were there the end of October, and it was stormy and rainy. We made it to Murano, but all vaporetto to Burano were cancelled. It took us twice as long to return to San Marco as the outbound trip took. The lagoon was so choppy, that little vaporetto was really chugging in the wind. We were disappointed, but if we had followed Hank's scenario, we would have been stranded on Burano. So just be aware of the weather. When we left San Marco, there was no information that the trip to Burano would be later cancelled. But at least we had a couple of hours on Murano. We were eating lunch at a canal side pizza place when the heavens opened. The varporetto came and we left back to San Marco. It was a bad time to visit Venice, as the flooding was really bad that year. Hope you have better luck and enjoy your visit.
  7. agabbymama

    14K Gold Jewelry

    In my 7 trips to Europe, the only place I found Gold jewelry to be cheaper was Hungary. Italy (as you noted usually has 18K) so usually costs more than 14K here in the U.S. and if anything were to happen to it, returning it or exchanging it would not be easy. If it's a major purchase, I'd do it closer to home. JMHO.
  8. agabbymama

    Currency Exchange

    All depends on you. Are you interested in saving $ or convenience??? You are going to pay some fees for the currency exchange, no matter which way you do it. Some charge more, some are less. My ATM card doesn't go with me on my travels. I've had two experiences close to home where the machine kept my card. If that were to happen in Europe on a one day stop, how would you retrieve your card. And if a hacker were to get your info, you might not discover it until you returned home and started seeing charges to it. Your bank account could be at risk. Are you a AAA member? They do offer small packets of currency. We purchased 75 EUR here for just such contingencies as taxi, bus, etc. for our first day in Paris and Rome. And another poster (some time ago) suggested opening a travel bank account and using that card for currency withdrawal. That way your main bank account is not at risk, only the money for travel allowance would be at risk. I have done everything from travelers checks, to cash for each country, to taking US cash and exchanging in a local bank. I just consider the exchange fees part of traveling. It's more convenient for me to get the foreign currency needed before leaving home. It was interesting to note, that in a small village in Turkey, I was interested in a small Jade pendant, but I didn't have enough local currency for the purchase. The salesman knew I was American, so he offered to take US $. Once he did the exchange and named the price, I paid him in US currency. Have a great trip, whatever you decide is best for you.
  9. Australia also has the tax included in the price tag. As an American, I found it strange that folks would trust the merchant that the correct amount of tax was being charged (and no gouging was going on). If it's all inclusive, you have no way of telling if the correct amount of tax is being charged. It is true that the US charges tax on top of the price tag, but I find it easy to determine if I add 10% to any price indicated, that way you know the amount of the item and the amount of the tax separately. There are a few States that charge more, but most charge less. California charges 10% so it's easy here to know the amount of tax being added. Would be a little harder in States that charge 13.5% or 8.5%, but rounding it to 10% would give you an idea of the total cost of something.
  10. agabbymama

    Tipping on Princess Connoisseur land tour

    On our HAL 8 day cruisetour I believe the amounts recommended by HAL was $4 pp pd for the tour director and $2 pp pd to the coach driver. Princess will probably recommend amounts in your cruise paperwork, but it is ultimately up to you if you want to raise the amount or lower it.
  11. agabbymama

    Seas going to/from Seward to/from Inside Passage

    Just look at a map of Alaska, and you will understand why the sea from Seward to the Inside Passage can be rough at times. The Gulf of Alaska is a pretty wide open body of water that can be influenced by the open ocean. Our May Southbound cruise from Seward was pretty rough throughout the first night. The next day, we had smooth sailing the rest of the way to Vancouver. Good luck and hope you have a great cruise!
  12. agabbymama

    Withdrawing Non Refundable OBC?

    Last night of my cruise on Star, I still had $200 of my purchased (refundable)OBC and $100 of NCL (non-refundable) OBC. I went to the Casino cashier and paid the 3% to get my refundable OBC, but the cashier told me she COULD NOT give me the non-refundable NCL OBC. I stopped at the watch shop on my way back to my cabin and purchased a Guess watch that was $99. Others have reported they were able to receive both refundable and non-refundable, so it might be new rules, or luck of the draw as to who handles the transaction. Just be prepared with a couple of scenarios, so you don't lose the OBC.
  13. Have a plan "A", then also a plan "B" for when "A" falls apart. And then still be prepared to go with the flow in the event plan "A" and "B" both fall apart. After 18 months of planning, actually arriving on scene, we had it happen a lot. Take half the clothes you think you need, and twice the money. We had planned $4500 for our 21 day trip, and it ended up costing us $6000 pp. We had a lot more days with hotels & meals than you will have, but just be sure to have an emergency fund (if needed). Only 5 days will give you just enough time to know you want to return. My husband and I spent 30 days driving Italy, and it still wasn't enough. Have fun planning, then taking your trip!
  14. agabbymama

    Tip amount

    IMHO, the (DSC) Daily Service Charge is all that is necessary. There has only been one occasion I felt the steward deserved more. We had purchased new wallets while ashore in Bar Harbor. When we returned to the ship, my friend immediately emptied her old falling apart wallet and started placing items in the new wallet. She tossed the old wallet in the trash. We then dressed and went to dinner. Upon returning to the cabin, the wallet was on the desk. I picked it up and asked if she had decided not to throw it away. An insert fell out with all of her store reward cards. She was so happy to have them, but said she hadn't removed it from the trash. I then started looking through the wallet and found three $100 dollar bills tucked into a small hidden pocket. I asked if I could have anything I found in the wallet, and she then remembered the stash of emergency cash. She was so happy not to have lost the cards & cash, she rushed out and found our steward to thank him and gave him $20. He was very appreciative and became very attentive for the rest of the cruise. Then at the end of the cruise, we each gave him an additional $40 for his honesty. In 7 cruises, this was the only time we felt the need to add to the DSC.
  15. agabbymama

    Duty/taxes question

    And most times, they never question what you have on the form. The only time I was questioned was my 21 day Med trip. The guy asked me if I was sure I only purchased $800 of merchandise, (smiling and raising his eyebrows) and I replied yes (I pulled out the receipts), the trip itself was so expensive, I didn't have much money left over to spend on items. He let me go with no further questions. And as a couple, you are allowed $1600, so when I travel with my husband I get his $800 and my $800, as he doesn't buy anything other than food. In approximately 25 trips out of the US, I've never had to pay any additional fees. Another tip, take receipts for your camera, laptop, etc (even if you purchased at home), they may think large purchases were done abroad.