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42trvl

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About 42trvl

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    Cool Cruiser

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    New York
  1. Love cruising out of NY (just a 20 min. taxi ride from home...) and really looking forward to doing it on DCL. I would probably feel differently if I had to expend the energy to fly to a port, but I kind of like the idea of a five day trip. It's more like a quick getaway as opposed to a major vacation - and with teenage kids, that's about all we're able to fit in these days...
  2. Just booked our first cruise out of NYC in a couple of months after many cruises involving flights. We are very much looking forward to the 15 minute cab ride over to the port (and then back home) and the easy packing and on/off.
  3. Just ask at your hotel for some suggestions. We were just there and under the same impression as you, but had no problem eating at our more "accustome to" time. In fact, the places we ate were quite full by 7:30-8:00.
  4. We had hired a private driver/guide for Florence and he took us to a really great gelato place. We liked it so much (and we had gelato every place we stopped and have some great places here in NY also, so felt like we could really compare), that I took their card for when we go back. It's called Gelateria La Carraia at P.zza N. Sauro, 25r. It's in Florence proper, but just on the other side of the Arno River (it's right on the river) from where all the museums are. Very local, made on premises and very good.
  5. We've been in connecting cabins on the Summit on the 7th and 9th decks - they were identical. The door is in the wall between the tv cabinet and the full mirror facing the bed. I don't think you lose any space as there would not really be room to put anything else there - just a wall. You do get noise from the connecting cabin though, so would only advise doing this if your own family is in the adjoining cabin.
  6. I don't know if it's different on different ships, but we were on the Summit a couple of days ago and the coffee was pretty bad - my husband remembered it being bad a few years ago also, but thought this was even worse.
  7. We may be talking different excursions here. It would be best to check carefully just what the one you are thinking about entails. Ours allowed only 30 minutes in Eze before lunch, which was no where near enough time to really enjoy the village - you would basically have time to run up and back down with a couple of very quick stops. It's a nice village to have some time to explore. As for Monaco, our excursion did not include entrance to the casino - the excursion description should specify whether or not iyours does - so if people wanted to go in, they had to pay separately. There was less than an hour for the first stop, and while we did go into the Cathedral little time was left for much else - The ticket line alone for the Oceanography Museum was over 20 minutes long.
  8. We just ate there last week and loved it - excellent quality and quite reasonably priced! After a very disappointing dinner the next night, we all agreed that we should have eaten there a second time also. The Sangria was real good too:)
  9. We just did this excursion on our Celebrity cruise. I'm assuming they will be the same, since it's the same company. It started off pleasantly enough. From the ship we got a nice tour of Nice and had some time on our own there. Then we went to Eze, which is a very charming village and they also provided lunch here. The lunch was "okay" but we felt quite rushed in Eze and that too much time was allocated for a so-so lunch. There were enough cute places in the village that we could have eaten at on our own. The ride from Eze to Monaco was tough - very scenic in the beginning, but then we hit awful traffic which we were told is the norm there. We did not feel that Monaco was worth our time at all. Out of curiosity, it would have been nice to drive through just to have seen it, but we wasted a lot of time there doing nothing aside from hearing the guide go on and on about Princess Grace and the rest of the family and how rich everyone who goes there is. The two stops made in Monaco were quite useless and blew our whole afternoon. It would have been much better to spend more time in Eze or even the village the ship docks in. If you are interested in Monaco and the Grand Casino, then you would be much better off doing an excursion that focuses on that. Otherwise, other than an "oh, that's interesting" we did not think Monaco was worth an entire afternoon - we also had bad traffic leaving.
  10. We just returned from a Venice to Barcelona cruise and considered both the cruise line's package and doing it ourselves for both pre and post cruise. Basically, I first decide the type of hotel and location I want then do the comparison between the two since something you can get real cheap directly is not necessarily going to be as nice or as conveniently located. One thing to keep in mind with Venice, regarding transfers, is that the water taxis are quite expensive, so if you add that on to your hotel rate, then the cruise line's deal may not be too bad and there is something to be said for the convenience of them handling everything. If you travel light, then public transportation may not be too bad, but transporting luggage on and off boats (and it's a bit of a walk from the aiport terminal to the boats) is a bit more challenging than it might be in other cities - it was amsuing at times watching people with large suitcases trying to get on and off packed public buses (boats, in Venice), which were rocking quite a bit. For us as a larger family, it was much more reasonable to do the hotel and taxis on our own (we stayed at the Westin Europa & Regina - very nice), than the per person charged by the cruise line. But for two of you, it may not be too bad to do their package - especially if the convenience is worth something to you. Also, not sure when you're going, but it can be real hot and uncomfortable there in the summer and it's nice to have someone else handling your bags and not trying to find the right roads and buses.
  11. We just got back from a Summit cruise. It was our third time on the ship and we were really looking forward to it as we also think it is a beautiful ship. Unfortunately, we did not have such a great experience this time. I'm pretty sure that the dry dock was more mechanical. It certainly did not look like anything else was attended to. Our room looked quite worn (it had not aged well since four years ago when we last sailed) - bedspreads were pilled, carpets stained, bathroom moldy with lots of rust and pieces around the door missing. We were in concierge class and it was not just our cabin - other family memebers in the same category cabins had the same issues in their rooms. Generally speaking, things seemed tired. While we came across many nice and helpful employees, there also seemed to be a high level of discontent and definitely lower number of staff. It was acknowledged that they are having more trouble getting and retaining good employees. I could go on and hope to post a review soon (mentioning the positive as well as the negative), but met several people on the cruise who also felt that things had slipped since their last sailing on Celebrity. It is really too bad, because it is a lovely ship, but it just doesn't seem to be maintained well - we have been on older ships that looked much better. We also had a real issue with cleanliness which really bothered me - several times they had out dirty utensils in the buffet area. There were times you couldn't even find a clean spoon or coffe cup, no matter how many stations you went to. And, yes, this is the ship where they ruined the Revelations lounge. I don't understand why at the very least, they couldn't clean up the ceiling of the lounge which still has a very ugly (in my opinion) decor left over from the Cirque du Soleil days.
  12. We just got back yesterday after spending two nights post-cruise in Barclelona. We were very happy with our stay at the Hotel Arts. A little off the beaten path, right on the water at Port Olimpic. Huge, modern and comfortable rooms with great views of the city and Mediterranean. Barcelona is fairly small, so getting around by cab was very easy and not too costly. Frankly, we were not too impressed by the La Ramblas area and happy not to be staying right there.
  13. I've lived most of my life in major cities, have traveled extensively (family owned a travel agency for many years) like my independence and am very comfortable getting around on my own. I am fairly negative on large organized excursions (we just returned yesterday from our Med cruise on Celebrity Summit and did not particularly care for the couple of ship excursions that we did). However, practically speaking, when you are in a city like Rome only for one day and the city is as far as it is from port, it is not all that efficient to try to do it on your own. People make it sound a little too easy on these boards sometimes and if you've been there before or are in a port that you can easily and quickly get into the city then it may be possible to enjoy - we've done it many times. The fact is, it does take a little time to get familiar with where you are, find the public transportation, get your bearings straight, etc. Add to that the fact that many of the more popular sights tend to be crowded and have long lines and it's hard to imagine that you are going to accomplish all that much on your own in only one day when your eye is on the clock to make sure you have enough time to get back to the port. While I was not thrilled with our ship's tour in Rome, we still got to see and do more than we would have been able to had we tried to figure it out on our own.
  14. Thanks for the welcome home. I'm surprised myself by the fact that I'm function, but in a way, it feels so restful to be home after all the traveling and running around we did. Regarding your other questions. We decided to check in when we did so that we did not have to store luggage at the hotel and worry about our carry ons and valuables. We found it easiest to enjoy the morning, check out at noon (our hotel's check-out time) and take our things directly to the ship. By the time we got to the port and through the check-in process, our cabins were ready and we were able to offload our carry ons, lock valuables, have lunch and then head back out. I'm sorry I don't know when the maitre'd would be there to betther help you with your timing. For the shuttle they took the number off our seapass card and charged the $20 U.S./person directly to our account. I liked having a few Euros on me when we first arrived in Venice in case we needed to tip porters. I had exchanged some money at my bank here before we left. Once in Venice I used the ATM right by our hotel. I don't think that anywhere the exchange rate is going to be different by more than a few cents, so I would do whatever is most convenient for you. I'm almost certain the first night was open seating, but we had stayed in Venice and met a friend for dinner so I was not too focused on it. The formal nights were rather oddly timed in my opinion. Only one was on a sea day - the second formal night on the second sea day. The first formal night was the night we left Dubrovnick, and the third formal night was the night we left Florence. This was a bit challenging for us early diners and resulted in a much less formal formal night. People were still neat, but I can't say that most were especially formal. It appeared to me that peope for the later seating were somewhat more formal. Just an observation and I think that having more time to prepare probably makes a difference. I'm not sure if the same schedule is followed on every cruise, so maybe yours will be different. They did have the buffet on the pool deck - I think it was called Flava? and they requested people to wear white. Many did, but there was a good mix. I thought it was after our day in Santorini, but maybe it was Athens - definitely Greece, though...Sorry, I used to keep everything, but being that I work from home, I just can't handle any more paper than absolutely necessary so I no longer save the information from the ship. Good luck with the preparations - I assume by the time you go, you will be fortunate enough to avoid the huge school break crowds we encountered. The ship was inundated with families/kids (we had our own, but they tend to the "quiet" and well behaved side - our ship had many who enjoyed running up and down halls all through the day/night shouting out to each other. Unfortunately, can't say that many of the adults with them were much better...). But the weather was great and will hopefully stay that way for you!
  15. We just flew back from Barcelona yesterday after completing this cruise. I can answer some of your questions. We boarded the ship on Sunday, 8/3 about 12:30. We were in Concierge Class cabins so had no check-in line at all and about 5 minutes to get through security. The other check-in line didn't look too bad, but then it appeared they were giving out numbers and having people sit and wait, so can't really say how long they were waiting. The shuttle to St. Mark's Square was $20 for the day, no matter how often you rode it and ran every 20 minutes until 11pm. The next morning it ran from 8:30 to 1ish, I think. It was a boat that left from very close to the front of the ship and left you in a good central location in Venice. At $20, it's a bargain since water taxis are extremely expensive and you have limited options. I had a few Euros on me prior to leaving NY and then got some more at an ATM in Venice (we arrived a couple of days prior to the cruise). Never used the FOREX on the ship, so can't speak to that. Can't help with the maitre'd question - sorry. I do know that the later seating was very much in demand and many people were waitlisted. We know a few that were able to be accommodated. Best suggestion is pace yourself...this was a very tiring itinerary. We enjoyed the stops very much, but the crowds and heat get to you. Also, choose your excursions carefully. They were very misleading about the intensity of walking, climbing, standing. Fine for us - in our 40's with two teenage kids, but difficult for my mom who was with us and some others with mobility issues. Feel free to ask any other questions.
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