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Everything posted by sherrihall128

  1. Loving your review! You really lucked out with Seattle weather that weekend. It's been extraordinarily wet this season so far. Isn't it beautiful here? I'd highly recommend coming back and visiting the west side of the water to Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo, or adventuring to Olympic National Park. I didn't grow up here, but I find every day here beautiful.. even the gross, dark, rainy days. I'm loving your review. I'd probably enjoy a solo cruise as well, especially reading about your positive experiences!
  2. What a trip! Can't wait to see all the things you do. Also, the owner's suite looks amazing!
  3. This is good to know! I had an Israel to Istanbul cruise in 10/2024, and I just cancelled yesterday. I'm glad that NCL is planning ahead for their cruisers.
  4. We live near Seattle.. so we were looking at this itinerary to get to Japan as it looks interesting but super long. Excited to hear about your trip!
  5. There are millions of olive trees on Corfu, so we bought a couple of things from there. We bought pure Corfu olive oil. It is liquid gold and tastes so good! We also got olivewood utensils, and I wish I bought one of their salad bowls. They are beautiful and so cheap! Also, we saw this in Corfu, and we decided not to buy it, and we regretted it because we couldn't find something exactly like it. It was a fancy chess set with the 2 different sides being different kinds of Greek/Mediterranean warriors, like Spartans vs Trojans. If you know someone who loves chess and history, it's the perfect gift.
  6. Which cruise line are you using? We are cruising out of Haifa with NCL on October 9th next year. I am not as familiar with Jewish holidays like Rosh Ha shana, although my grandma was from Israel. She mostly celebrated the big holidays like Passover and Hannukah with us. We plan on arriving in Israel after sunset on the 5th of October (which is a Saturday, so I'm aware of the restrictions before sunset). Is there anything different that I should expect?
  7. We stayed at the Embassy Suites, which was only a few blocks away from the port. We walked there on embarkation day. It was a decent price, good location, and the breakfast was pretty good. I'd definitely recommend.
  8. I'd highly recommend the Rick Steve's Mediterranean cruise ports book or Kindle book. It gave me a lot of info and confidence to navigate the ports with excursion recommendations, or ideas to do our own tours.
  9. We were not able to activate our bus pass at the bus stop right outside the cruise port. I didn't know that a bus driver would have been able to activate the digital pass on the bus itself. That would have been nice to know as we ended up buying a one-way ticket to Old Town from Port Gruz. One tip with the Dubrovnik Pass--we ended up walking the walls first, then we went to the museums, and lastly decided to go to the Fortress... which was closing in 5 minutes. Make sure you verify the hours for the places you want to go.
  10. We bought the Dubrovnik Pass: https://www.dubrovnikpass.com/included-section . It was ~$35, and it included admission to the fortress, walking the walls, the city museums, and also included a bus ride to/from Old Town. If you want to DIY the city, walk the walls, and avoid any tours, this is the best deal. The only frustrating thing about it was that you could only activate the free bus tickets at certain stops, and it is NOT the bus stop right outside Port Gruz (it delayed us an additional 20 minutes with a frustrating conversation at the bus stop with an employee, and we had to buy a one-way ticket to Old Town). Other than that, a great deal for the day. I did miss hearing about the history of the city from a guide, but we did read a lot about it in the museums.
  11. Dubrovnik is a $15pp shuttle to/from the port and Old Town, but you can take the same bus run by the city right outside the port gate for maybe $3. When we were coming back from Old Town, everyone was standing in line for the NCL shuttle, but we had no line for the city bus that went to the same place. Malta--no shuttle as you park right next to the town. Same with Naples. We went to Corfu, but I'm not sure if there was a free or paid shuttle.
  12. Do you have to plan ahead, or can you just show up at the dock? Also, do you know the latest time of the cruise? Thanks for the tips!
  13. We went to Corfu last year in early November. We had sunny weather in the 60s-70s. We did this tour with Viator: https://www.viator.com/tours/Corfu/Shore-Excursion-Leisurely-Small-Group-Tour-of-Corfu/d4279-21019P2 It was low-key and saw many of the sights on the island. We had the option to go on a short boat ride around the coast at Paleokastritsa Beach (my husband's bucket list item for Corfu) to caves.. or you could take the option for a short hike up to a monastery overlooking the bay. We had some time to go around Old Town at the end of the tour.
  14. Luckily, I have a cruise that ends in Istanbul next year... otherwise, I'd be finding a flight and packing my bags right now! I love your pictures. The city looks so safe and walkable. I can't wait to go visit. Also, lucky for me, Turkish Airlines has non-stop roundtrip flights from Seattle (where I live) to Istanbul, so the 12 hour flight won't be so bad. So excited! Thanks for sharing your trip with us.
  15. We went on the Breakaway (Getaway's sister ship) during spring break this year. The main pool was incredibly full. We went in it once, and were limited to a tiny corner. It wasn't a deal breaker for us, though. We did the slides, ropes course, and the kids pool during other times, and were happy with those options instead. There were a lot of people and a lot of kids on the ship during spring break! I can't comment on the access for wheelchairs, though.
  16. You can make reservations online or through the app 21 days ahead of time. You can also show up for standby. On our fully booked Caribbean cruise, there were plenty of available seats at the 7:30 PM shows for standby guests. However, if you want to attend the comedy shows, you can only make reservations once you're on the ship. We didn't know that about the comedy shows, so we missed it as all of the shows were booked as of day 2 or 3.
  17. I have not been on the EPIC, but I would still consider it for a family Mediterranean cruise. I think it has enough activities like the water slides, arcade, rock climbing wall, and the kids' club to keep them occupied. Since a Mediterranean cruise tends to be more active with longer tours, I would be less concerned about having all of the things on RCL ships like the ice skating, golf, etc. After a long tour compared to a beach day on a Caribbean cruise, I doubt my kids would have enough energy to do all of the activities on a RCL ship. We have youngish kids (they will be 8 and 14 on our next cruise), and we plan to take them on a Med cruise next fall on the Getaway, which has similar activities to the EPIC. Also, choosing a less hot time in the Med (like May or October) will be more kid-friendly as well. Hope you have fun with whatever you choose! Edited to add: EPIC tends to have better deals, so it is definitely a more economical choice! We are looking at Northern European cruises for 2025 on smaller ships, and WOW, what a price difference.
  18. We had 2 hours there. We practically ran to the Greek theater (highly recommend), did a little bit of shopping, and stopped for a quick lunch (which is tough in Italy!). Our tour group only wanted 2 hours, but 3 would probably have been better. We were back to the ship 90 minutes before it left the port.
  19. My 7 year old daughter and 12 year old son both attended the Splash Academy every day on our Caribbean cruise on the Breakaway. They had a variety of activities, including crafts, active games (like gaga ball), and video games. Our kids loved it and asked to go every day. I wouldn't hesitate to send them again. They also separate the ages somewhat in the kids club. Our kids weren't in the same age group.
  20. Same! We had such a good time in November that we booked another Mediterranean cruise for October 2024. Hope you catch a good deal too. 🙂
  21. I am a monster when it comes to it being too hot outside, and I am not patient with long lines, so the beginning of November was literally perfect weather-wise with less crowds. I also didn't care about going to the beach, so it was a good time to go. Plus, the price could not be beat for a fall cruise! It was sunny and 60s-70s most days. Florence was 60s and cloudy, so a little more chilly. Venice was mid 60s and sunny. We did these stops: Trieste (Venice), Dubrovnik, Corfu (Greece), Malta, Messina (Sicily), Naples, Livorno (Florence), Civitavecchia (Rome). I also looked at average weather at the various places on this website: https://www.holiday-weather.com/
  22. My 2 cents after taking our first and only (but not last!) Mediterranean cruise in November 2022. We did use the BOGO flight offer, which saved a ton of money. For the flights, you and your friends are not guaranteed to be on the same flights. If you're ok with that, then you can proceed. Also, know that you may not get your flights until 30 days prior to departure. If you're ok with that, you can proceed. Lastly, know that once the flights are assigned, you can't make changes to time or days. IF you have tight layovers, NCL says "sucks for you--hope you make it". We had great experiences with our flights, even though we only had a ~90 minute layover in Paris (it gave me so much anxiety--I studied the CDG airport maps to optimize our time and make our flight to Venice). It saved us a lot of money, and I'd do it again if only 2 people were traveling (aka not with my kids). However, you can definitely read a lot of other people's bad experiences as well. If a flight is cancelled, NCL will not book it for you, and then you may have to rely on travel insurance or the flight company itself to fix things. I also highly recommend Rick Steves's book! Prior to reading the book, I thought I had to stay with the cruise line excursions. After I read it, I got a lot of confidence on how to navigate in various ports, what to see, etc.. So I cancelled the cruise line tours and booked my own or did our own thing. There's also a website that is super helpful, as is this cruise forum. https://www.whatsinport.com/ One more thing: if you have the time and budget, arrive 2 days before the cruise. It'll give you some time to acclimate to the new time zone and give sightseeing time. We also stayed 2 additional days after. Hope you have a great time! We absolutely had a blast.
  23. You have to go through how you booked it. If you booked straight through NCL, you'll need to call them. If you booked through a website or travel agent, you have to call them. They'll also be able to see if you have any unused CruiseNext certificates on your account.
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