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Everything posted by Lindancer

  1. Maybe, but the awe factor is gone when you've already seen all the castles in the Loire Valley that were on the next day's agenda! And since this was a Loire Valley extension, there was no debating among choices.
  2. I have been on 4 Grand Circle river cruises, 1 with Gate 1 and 1 with AMAwaterways. Grand Circle was by far the best. And it is all because of the GUIDES. Your personal guide (and there is usually one guide for every 25-30 passengers) will call you at home before you leave to ask if you have questions and then of course your number will be in his/her phone. I once got lost in Antwerp and when I dialed our guide, she picked up saying "what's up Linda?" The guides are also from the area in which you are traveling and extremely knowledgeable. My AMAwaterways cruise was in the Bordeaux region of France and our guide was from IRELAND, currently living in Hungary. He knew nothing about the French or their customs and embarrassed us by sending us into a full cafe in the middle of their extremely short lunch hour window, among other shortcomings. He also had 160 passengers to deal with, although AMA sends you off with a local for whatever tour you picked. His idea of a port talk the night before a stop was to show you photos of what you were going to see the next day - hello, can you say spoiler alert? GCT doesn't make you pick your one shore excursion - they simply take you everywhere of interest you need to go. Occasionally when there is an optional excursion offered, for which you do have to pay additional. I also thought the food was quite good. I haven't sailed with GCT since 2018, but I doubt that they changed their modus operandi. L. Conrath
  3. I'm sure you can get your own ice and, unlike ocean cruises, AMA doesn't care what you "sneak" onboard. As I recall, they have a daily happy hour where drinks are free for an hour so that might be all you need. Yes, someone will certainly come in daily to clean and make your bed.
  4. Anyone know of a river cruise (or other cruise) that also takes people to Munich for Oktoberfest? The only one I can find is with Tauck and the price is WAY out of my range. Thanks in advance. L. Conrath
  5. When we booked, the ship was supposed to stop at Amber Cove, but switched to Samana instead. Anyone have any info on this port? I get the idea that there will be nothing there if we just walk off the ship? Probably need to book an excursion? Any info would be appreciated!
  6. We'll be in Bonaire on December 22 and our ship's sunset cruise is sold out. That being said, not sure I want to pay $109.95 pp (and there are 3 of us) for a 2.5 hour sail anyway. Just wondering if there's another sunset sail I could book through a local. Thanks for any info.
  7. I thought I saw a swimming pool last time in Grand Turk,but didn't know if it was for the use of cruise ship passengers. Does anyone have any info? Sometimes we're in an ocean mood and other times we just want to lounge by a pool with a drink. Our stop at Amber Cove was changed to Samana, DR so won't be doing that there! Thanks in advance.
  8. My husband and I were in Bonaire in 2010. I remember we really enjoyed a particular beach where a lot of people were windsurfing. The water was very, very shallow and you could walk quite a long way out with the water barely higher than your knees. There was a bar and restaurant. Does anyone know the name of this beach? We will be stopping in Bonaire this December and want to go there again. Thanks!
  9. Well, don't use booking.com like I did. I paid for an upgrade at my hotel so the price would be over $250, which would give me a free taxi ride to my hotel. Well, the taxi never showed up so we hung around the airport for way too long, tried to contact booking.com (headquartered in the U.K.), and ended up getting our own cab. After much ado after we got home, submission of receipts and at least a monthlong wait, I did get reimbursed for my taxi fare. But that did not make up for such an inauspicious start to our trip, the time wasted, the aggravation and I will never use booking.com again. We stayed at Athens Gate and the location was perfect. Breakfast with the Acropolis in the background wasn't bad either!
  10. Ha. Not after paying $537 for this excursion, for 3 of us!
  11. Yes, in Santorini we sat on a hot bus (after being on a sweltering tender) for 2 hours before we got going anywhere. It was awful.
  12. I hope you can. I'd love to hear about a good one. I did have a great excursion in Sorrento/Pompei with a great guide named Roberto, but that was back in 2006.
  13. I rarely see any reviews. Personally, I don't think they publish the negative ones. Most of their shore excursions are overpriced crap and I do not hesitate to tell them that in detail when I return. (I usually book shore excursions with locals, on my own, but I do seem to end up on an HAL excursion every now and then for one reason or another).
  14. Last summer on the Oosterdam, the Neptune Lounge had a complimentary cocktail hour every day from 4-6, I think. They said it was an experiment. We would have a drink and then make another one (or they would make one for us if they were free) to take into the dining room for dinner. We were glad we didn't bother buying the drink package, especially since I also get free drinks while in the casino. I have not heard anything about the Neptune Lounge continuing this "experiment". They will be a gathering the first day or so where free drinks will be served and people get acquainted. On the Oosterdam last summer, it was held late morning the first full day of sailing so mimosas and bloody marys were there for the taking.
  15. We have a stop in Freeport in 2 weeks and HAL isn't even offering any shore excursions there!
  16. Ha, we were on the Eurodam's first cruise after Covid, out of Athens. It was IMPOSSIBLE to get a drink in the MDR. So we started stopping at the bar outside the Pinnacle and just getting a drink to carry in to dinner.
  17. No, my most recent one was a couple of months ago and expired yesterday on March 8. It was a literal a page and a half of Alaska cruises, and a small list of Europe and Canada/New England sailings.
  18. From their website: There are no Shore Excursions available to be booked for this port at this time. Please check back later. For now, there is still plenty to experience on board.
  19. Strangely, my Holland America cruise isn't offering any shore excursions in Freeport the day we are there, end of March. I wonder what' going on.
  20. It has to be a "closed loop" cruise - leaving from a US port and returning to a US port. Google this - do not just take someone's word for it, because it depnds what specific cruise you are on.
  21. We were in a Neptune Suite on the Oosterdam last July going from Venice to Rome. The Neptune Lounge was "experimenting", as they said, with having a Happy Hour in there every day where drinks were complimentary for 2 hours. I was hoping that this "experiment" was successful and that they would continue this tradition henceforth. But reading everyone's comments here, well, I guess not. Although they may still do it for European or longer cruises! We will be on the Nieuw Amsterdam in 2 weeks so I guess I'll see for myself.
  22. Just my two cents. We are usually a party of 3, so it is NOT AT ALL COST-EFFECTIVE to use the ship's transfers.
  23. Wow, we are going on a cruise out of Port Everglades in March. We are flying in the day before but our flight gets in at night, and there will be no time to do anything in the morning before the cruise. So it is killing me to see all these hotels asking $350 - $500 (by the time all the charges are factored in), because we won't be there long enough to enjoy any of their amenities. Does anyone have any suggestions for a place more reasonable, anywhere in the area? Will possibly end up at the Harrison Hotel in Hollywood for sentimental reasons but it's getting bad reviews these days and will still cost us about $240. Thanks in advance.
  24. Yes. We have been traveling with our grandson, who gets a much lower rate as the 3rd person in the cabin. So, along the same lines as this discussion, if my husband or I were to back out, my grandson would become one of the 2 primary travelers and (assuming we have insurance) would only get a refund on the 3rd person's lower rate. This make sense, otherwise people would be pulling this trick, too, hoping to end up with a cheaper fare all around.
  25. I am on a Holland America cruise leaving from Trieste July 16. Same as for NCL, it appears, I will need a negative Covid test taken no more than 72 hours prior to embarkation. Will try to get one at the airport when we land on July 14.
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