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Everything posted by lynncarol

  1. Yes our daughter is vaccinated too. I am excited to learn that independent excursions are allowed. Thank goodness for cruisecritic responders as Royal Caribbean has never answered any of my inquiries about these issues nor have we received any notifications about them.
  2. Wow! Never expected such quick responses. Thank you all! It is an Oct 31 sailing and we do know about the Covid test requirement, planning on getting Rapid Antigens for all of us before leaving home. One more question, please since you folks seem to have the latest answers. Are independent shore excursions in Mexico allowed? I think our daughter would do better if it were not a ship tour.
  3. I apologize if this topic has been discussed before, but I remain very confused. We have an upcoming October cruise on Odyssey going out of Fort Lauderdale. Originally the cruise line sent us information that seemed to indicate both vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers would be allowed. Now I read that all Royal Caribbean cruises require vaccinations. This is fine with me as all of us have both shots, but I really would like some clarification if possible. We are taking our grown disabled daughter with us and she remains worried about Covid breakthroughs. I would like to be able to give her some reassurance. Thank you
  4. We really liked our Celebrity Cruiseline experience in the Baltics with its two night stay in St. Petersburg. However, we did all our land tours either independently or with a local tour agency ( at St. Petersburg). If we had been forced to only go ashore on ship excursions, I know our experience would have been diminished. My concern about all cruises now, is when can independent land touring resume?
  5. For sheer beauty, I like the dramatic north/northeast coast of Barbados: Bathsheba with its lovely sandy beaches and huge chunks of coral formations in the water, and Little Bay with its rugged cliffs and fingers of land stretching into the sea that have been carved into magical shapes. Grab a cab or take a tour to these marvels. Disclaimer. 40 years ago I would have said the British Virgin Islands where, in a rented 50 ft Morgan sailboat, we explored for 10 days. However, now I understand they are developed and touristy.
  6. Thanks for all the replies: valid points made by everyone and Brillohead, your comments made me laugh out loud so hard my husband came downstairs to see what was so funny. I do worry that even when the Covid crisis is over, cruiselines may continue to forbid private shore excursions which are obviously a loss of revenue to the ship. We have taken ship excursions on occasion, but the ones that we remember most fondly are inevitably those we have done on our own.
  7. It's been six years since my husband and I spent several days in Istanbul on our own prior to a Black Sea cruise. We absolutely loved the city and found it very easy to get around. I would also like to say that each time we took the local tram, at least one (if not more) folks jumped up to offer me (a senior citizen) their seat. PS When I take public transport in Pittsburgh, only rarely do I see that kind of behavior.
  8. Am I the only one who is bothered by the decision to force all land excursions to be only those sponsored by the ship? I understand the rationale, but that is my line in the sand. Guess I won't be cruising anytime in the near future.
  9. Got a kick out of this. My folks used to drag us 3 kids to Hollywood Beach Florida from eastern North Carolina each summer for 'vacation'. Cruisemom: did you have siblings on those long trips? My folks had to put tape dividers on the back seat as we kids squabbled (and roasted without air conditioner) for the entire 11 hours. We tried quietly reading but it just made us car-sick. If one child sprawled after falling asleep, the others complained that we were "over our line'. All of us still harbor unpleasant memories of those trips.
  10. My husband and I have loved every city we visited throughout the world until hitting Verona, Italy. It definitely disappointed us. At the time we were traveling in Italy independently and disliked this city so much we paid an extra train fare to leave the next morning, instead of the following evening. It was very hot and filled with tourists. Their Roman colosseum was tricked out for an entertainment event and none of the public bathrooms were open. We were also charged 6 additional euros (in addition to our coffee) because we sat at a table and drank it. Oh yes, and I forgot to mention our hotel that assigned us a room that turned out to be already occupied, a fact we learned only after stripping down to our underwear to cool off.
  11. My husband and I did the Spencer Beach Tour several years ago and really liked it. They supplied snorkeling gear (not sure if this will be the case after Covid) and their lunch was delicious. Nobody has mentioned this, but by law all beaches in St. Lucia are open to the public and the snorkeling/lounge-chair area at Sugar Beach is adjacent to the very ritzy Viceroy resort. While you can not get off the beach to enter the resort grounds (they have security guards) you are certainly allowed to stroll along the pristine sand and swim in the water in front of the resort. Much much less rocky and crowded than the area where Spencer's tour sets up.
  12. I can empathize with your girlfriend as growing up near the coast of NC, I loved to collect the shells (as well as the fossilized shark teeth) found on our coast. But when I mentioned my hobby years ago online, I was informed it is illegal to collect shells on many islands, even if they contain no critter. I still see folks beach combing in the Caribbean but I would suggest you check out local ordinances first.
  13. If money were no object, the Viceroy Resort at Sugar Beach in St. Lucia. Gorgeous place, great beach and of course the view of the Pitons. (Don't know about their food, as I only had a tour of the place, and didn't stay there).
  14. When I spoke to the agent about redeeming the future credits, he said that the expiration date on them referred to the last date to book another cruise. From that point, I seem to recall him saying that we had until mid 2022 to sail.
  15. Just wanted to say something positive about Royal Caribbean. We had booked two cabins out of Venice sailing October 10. 2020. I decided to cancel the trip before making final payment and feared, since I had non-refundable deposits, I had no chance of getting any of that money applied to a future cruise. However, when I called RCL to cancel, they told me I would be getting an email giving me vouchers for future-cruise credit of my deposit amount. Two months passed, and I had almost given up but just yesterday an email arrived with a Future Cruise Certificate number for the entire amount of my deposit. So hang in there...Royal Caribbean seems to be trying.
  16. I have to admit having a soft spot for Nassau as that is where my husband and I went for our honeymoon 54 years ago. Since then, we have been back a number of times as part of Caribbean cruising. You don't have to restrict yourself to the main tourist activities. Once 4 of us went by local bus to the Retreat Gardens, an 11 acre oasis featuring rare palm trees just outside the city. Another time we took our young grandkids to Ardastra Gardins, and they got a big kick out of the flamingos. On a different cruise we went on a snorkel expedition. (The coral is nothing special but there were lots of colorful fish). I wouldn't wander around the island at night off the beaten track, but none of us has ever felt unsafe.
  17. boatbuilder Your optimistic depiction of Florida's method of dealing with the virus is certainly not shared by our numerous relatives who have lived in Florida for most of their lives. This includes our family in Orlando, Jacksonville, and Sarasota.
  18. Hope you don't mean a timeshare purchase. That's a whole other story and not, by most all accounts, a very pretty one.
  19. Loved our time in Ephesus Turkey. We took a private tour, zipped off the ship right after docking and were the first people admitted after Ephesus opened that morning.
  20. In January of 2018, a southern Caribbean cruise on Celebrity leaving out of San Juan Puerto Rico ended up departing 4 hours late but still without almost 200 passengers who had missed the embarkation. What was the problem? A big cyclone bomb had hit the USA east coast 1 day earlier and over 6000 flights were affected. Fortunately, my husband and I had booked a flight to San Juan from Orlando, where we had been staying with family for almost a week. Our southwest flight left on time, but it was completely packed, leaving behind 33 standby folks who never made it on the plane. Folks were catching up in Barbados and St. Lucia but I understand that over 100 cruisers just gave up, as it was only a 7 day cruise.
  21. This has also happened to my husband and me, twice, when we were seated at a table for 8 where nobody else ever showed up. Luckily, both times had happy endings. During that first experience, we subsequently met 3 other folks on an excursion traveling together who had been seated at the end of a table for 10 where everyone else was a different ethnic background and totally ignoring them. We asked the 3 to join us at our empty table and thoroughly enjoyed their company for the remainder of the cruise. The second time, again at a table for 8 where nobody else ever appeared, by the 3rd night (of a 17 day transatlantic cruise) we asked another couple in a similar situation several tables away to join us. We liked them so much we remain in touch to this day.
  22. Our favorite port that we cruised to was Odessa Ukraine. We were on a Vantage Black sea cruise right after Russia annexed the Crimea. Since Yalta was then cancelled, Vantage gave us three nights in Odessa- an absolutely gorgeous city overlooking the Black Sea. Plus, the locals were thrilled to see us. Second favorite is probably St. Petersburg. I can't really count all the other port cities that we love as we had traveled there independently (spending much more time than the one day that cruises usually allow in any particular city). This, of course, amps up our appreciation of the place.
  23. Bonvayagie- Our cruise was in Sept. 2014, so I started making arrangements in Jan. of 2014. After our one week Princess cruise ended in Whittier, we took the ship bus shuttle to Anchorage where we hopped out at the convention center and walked 3 blocks to pick up our rental car at the downtown Avis office (much cheaper than renting at the airport). During initial planning, the four of us had discussed our priorities for the land portion and number one goal was to see Denali. To that end, we allotted 3 nights there to maximize our chance of good weather (and it worked: 2 of the 3 days there wasn't a cloud in sight). We stayed in Healy at Alaskan Spruce Cabins, only a 15 min. drive from the park itself. From there we originally planned to drive the Old Denali Highway to Copper River, but that was thwarted by the flat tire. Instead we diverted to the paved Glen Highway but ended up running out of daylight. Fortunately we got the last two cabins at Sheep Mountain Lodge and liked this place so much (nice accommodations, good on-site restaurant, great hiking and Matanuska Glacier) that we spent another night. Then back to Girdwood where we had reservations at Bud and Carol's BnB. (Since there were four of us I had rented their entire two bedroom apartment). In Girdwood we accessed the Alyeska Sky Resort's lift for great views and trails. Later that day we dropped off the other couple at the Anchorage airport, returned our rental car downtown, and walked to our overnight accommodations at Comfort Inn at Ship Creek. The next morning my husband and I caught the Alaskan RR train to Seward. The train station was very close to the Comfort Inn and they provided free shuttle service. Loved the train...we were a few cars back from the front and it worked out perfectly. Train got to Seward around noon where I had previously signed up for a Kenai Fjord boat tour, the highlight of which was an encounter with a huge pod of orcas. Spent the night in Seward at Windsong Lodge, explored Seward the next day (aquarium and Exit Glacier) and caught the 6:00 evening train back to Anchorage and the same Comfort Inn. The final day, the Inn kept our luggage while we explored Anchorage's attractions and that night we took the Inn's free shuttle back to the airport for an 8:00 pm flight. I can recommend all of our accommodations, which I had chosen thanks to TripAdvisor and guidebooks. Oh yes, I almost forgot our big splurge during the cruise stop in Ketchikan. Probably 10 months earlier I had booked reservations with Island Wings (which fills up quickly) where we were flown to Traitors Cove, and saw a number of bears fishing for salmon. Only 12 visitors at a time are allowed at that particular vantage point so we had the place almost to ourselves.
  24. My husband and I, along with his cousin and her spouse, all of us in our seventies, rented a car in Anchorage and spent a week post cruise on our own. It was a wonderful experience and we saw Denali in its full glory with nary a cloud in sight. The only problem we encountered was a flat tire on the old Denali highway. Fortunately, we were able to use the doughnut to get back to civilization and repair the car's tire. When we reported this to our car rental agency, they were completely unfazed, and told us 'this happens all the time'. Just something to think about though.
  25. CruisemoM42....I am not disputing your statement that folks over 70 are twice as likely to die from covid 19 than the next younger age group. But I believe that is because so many older people also have other medical conditions. Death data was examined in China and found that the majority of the population who died were older men, not women. A suggested explanation was that in China most men, but rarely women, smoked. So once again, mortality rates and comorbid conditions seem to correlate. Unless you are willing to require everyone to certify they are in good health, I feel discrimination based on age alone is unfair.
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