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Posts posted by Pernilla

  1. Thank goodness for HAL! A friend of mine, an active. fit, healthy 77, is embarking on her first European cruise next month on RCL. Much to her dismay, she found that RCL banned her from the excursions she desired (basically anything that required walking or climbing stairs) because she was over 75.


    As a suggestion, she might look at Tours By Locals and WithLocals. WithLocals is mostly walking tours -- we did a couple in different places and the guides always took into account our physical condition.


    Tours by Locals usually have guides and drivers. We've also used them in several cities and were taken exactly where we wanted to go. Again, the guides are very accommodating.


    Since both companies plan their trips based upon the desires of the person(s) booking the tours, they give you what you want. We have been very happy to have private tours, usually at about the same price (or less) than HAL's tours.

  2. There’s been prices like that on all the cruises since she came across the pond. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen such low prices, this consistently, on a new ship. It’s a little concerning to me that HAL is having such trouble filling their ships.


    I'm not sure that HAL is having trouble filling its ships -- I think the fact that there are such low rates on the Kdam is an indication that big ships don't appeal to HAL passangers. I was just on the Veendam for a 49 day cruise and met many people who were taking that itinerary on whatever of the ships did it (used to be the Maasdam) for 5 or 6 times.

  3. Our stop was the worst - a fur coat shop. The shop did not make a sale.


    When Russia first became Russia again, I was looking forward to buying a fur coat in Moscow. I looked, and I looked -- and while many of the Russian women were wearing furs -- I found only one furrier. I finally asked one woman, who was wearing a particularly nice coat, where she had purchased it. She said, 'Greece.' It turned out that Russia exported the skins to Greece where they were made into coats. Perhaps that is still the story?

  4. I just checked the tours offered by HAL on our trip this fall. We're not in Piraeus as long as you apparently will be, but they do not offer a tour to Delphi. Our cruise has a very active roll call, with tours privately arranged in almost every port. Many of the companies being utilized have guarantees to get you back to the ship on time. Most of the tours are far less expensive than the cruise-line offerings. I'd suggest you join the Roll Call for your cruise and see what's there.....

  5. Thanks for the info. Yes, we all have our own risk tolerance. Since we are older with some health issues our tolerance isn't great.


    It sounds like you got a good deal with lower price worth the risk to you.


    Now you have the excitement of planning a wonderful family cruise!



    Sent from my iPhone using Forums



    We're also 'older' -- and we purchase travel insurance. Health issues are covered under most travel insurance. And, since my Medicare (our primary health insurance) does not cover us outside of the US, the medical coverage provided by our travel insurance make it worth the purchase price for us. You can find all sorts of policies online -- more policies than I could count.

  6. We packed our laptop into our carry-on. We flew from Savannah to Sand Diego, via Houston, on United. The plane from Savannah to Houston was quite small and our carry-on was placed in the hold. When we unpacked at the hotel in San Diego, we found the screen on our laptop had been broken. Naturally, we reported it to United and were told that they are not responsible for electronics packed in luggage. So, be certain of the type of plane you'll be on, and where your carry-on will be. Don't assume that carry-on WILL be carried-on.


    Incidentally, since we're retired and have the luxury of time, I no longer fly anywhere. I have learned, over the years, that I can be abused for free almost anywhere. Why should I pay an airline to do it?

  7. We sailed out of Miami in September -- to Cuba on Fathom. We parked at the port, at the parking lot in front of the departure area for our cruise. There might have been a dozen cars in the lot. However, when we returned, we came into a different pier, tugged our luggage outside, got on a bus, got dropped off at the parking lot where we'd left the car, and wrestled the luggage back into the car. Not a horrible experience, but a nuisance. I suspect that because its a new line, they didn't have a pier of their very own and were sort of fit in where there was room. But parking space was definitely not an issue.

  8. I'm looking at hotels in Fort Lauderdale and I'm finding most of them do not have safes in the rooms. I have not traveled in a very long time. What do you do with passports, boarding passes and cash while you are exploring the area?


    Those in-room safes are also known as "the maid's safe" because guess who gets to open them when somebody checks out and hasn't left the same open?

  9. Yes, we have found HAL to be slipping -- a little more with each cruise. And that's upsetting having almost gotten to free laundry! We took the Holiday Cruise on the Statendam. The food was fair -- though the menu was quite repetitive. It seemed to us that the staff was far fewer in number than we've experienced in the past. The air conditioning in the cabins was a problem -- while some cabins were too warm, others had their occupants wandering the halls looking for someone from the north so they could borrow a coat. Often, the bathroom facilities were not functioning -- I rarely saw the Ladies' room outside of the dining room open. The odor in some areas of the ship was rather strong. Illness spread like wildfire. I blame part of this on the fact that the concern for illness had changed. For years, during the first 3 days on board, passengers were not allowed to handle the serving utensils on Veranda Deck. This wasn't true on this particular cruise. When I inquired about that, I was told that the health authorities told them that makes no difference. Personally, I think it takes more staff and that extra staff is no longer available.


    Entertainment now consists mainly of "Dancing with the Stars" (I've probably got the name wrong). That is effectively, a long version of a talent show -- often with very little talent. It made me miss the talent show with more variety when passengers could choose where their talent lay.


    This was the first time on any ship, on any line, that I have seen the ship run out of beer. (And no, I'm not a beer drinker.) They restocked with what was available on a Polynesian Island, but also went cabin to cabin, removing the beer from the fridges.


    We paid a ridiculous amount of money (almost $20 per bottle) corkage to bring wine on board. This was wine to be consumed in our cabins (when you pay corkage, you may consume it anywhere). We did bring one bottle to the dining room -- that bottle was lost for more than a week while in the custody of the wine steward.


    We are aware that the Statendam will be transferred to P&O this year and that perhaps they are avoiding maintenance so that it comes from P&O's budget instead of from HAL's. That does not change the fact that the ship is in need of some TLC.


    We're going to try HAL once more -- different ship -- before we give up entirely on what was our favorite line. We're hoping the Statendam cruise was just badly staffed and that a change of on-board management will make a difference.

  10. Traveling on the QM2 was a real delight. Everything about her makes you feel warm and cared for:). The food and the service were top notch. Most men wore tuxs on formal nights and the ladies dressed as well. High tea in the afternoons was a grand way to break up the afternoon. They had at least one, maybe even 2, real balls in the ballroom. There were a lot of daytime activities if one chose to participate. We didn't miss not having port days.


    We planned to sail her again until some of DH's health issues put the brakes on that dream. :( We planned to take the QM2 ,eastbound, spend time touring Europe by train and then sail her back to NYC.


    I believe you'll really enjoy the experience ... because, to me, that's what it way ... a delightful experience.


    Have you travelled in Europe by train before? I ask because we find train travel in Europe and luggage to be a poor match. Elevators are usually available only by finding the 'keeper of the key' to operate it. And baggage porters are non-existent. And there is no such thing as checked luggage. Admittedly, it has been several years since we've travelled by train in Europe -- but are planning to do so this fall. We're taking advantage of Cunard's White Glove Service and shipping the large suitcases from Southampton to Copenhagen. It was a trick to find a hotel that will accept the luggage (in Copenhagen) when we will not yet have arrived. And now that I think about it, with the latest difficulties in Copenhagen, the hotel may no longer be willing to do that. Here I go again.

  11. My eyes are crossing from reading all these great tips -- so I may have missed what to me is a huge benefit. If you own 100 shares of Carnival stock (parent company for many lines), and you fax your most current stock statement to the appropriate cruise line, you will get a cabin credit (amount varies with length of cruise) on your cruise. You certainly won't get rich on the stock, but over the years, we estimate we've gotten about $1000 worth of cabin credit -- and a whopping 10 shares more of stock as dividends. You can only claim the credit when you've booked your cruise and faxed the required information to the cruise line. For more information, go to the Carnival Corp. website and look for Stockholder Benefits.

  12. A shame they've closed. At one time or another, I must have bought everything in their catalog. I was at Passport Health yesterday for our travel shots and found they carry some of the same type of stuff -- the insect repellants, the money-things-that-go-around-your-neck. If you have a Passport Health nearby, perhaps you could try there.

  13. In 1969, I was a brand new just out of school travel agent. The American Society of Travel Agents offered a course called "School at Sea" -- teaching new agents about cruises, ship travel, ports, etc. The course was held on Grace Line's Santa Paula (I think it was the Santa Paula -- they had three identical ships, all Santa somethings). The cruise line didn't last long after that; it was sold to Prudential cruises late in 1969. Unfortunately, I didn't learn what a 'normal' cruise was like. Grace Line was a combination cruise/freight line. It called at ports that the regular cruise lines rarely saw. The cabins were huge -- I seem to remember there were 2 double beds in our cabin. Dining was very elegant -- more silverware than any 18 year old was able to deal with. I ordered whatever the person sitting next to me ordered so that I could watch which spoon to use! It definitely spoiled me for any other cruise line -- even the QEII didn't come close to the elegance of the old Grace Line.

  14. What walkie talkie works best on a cruise? Also, if anyone can help here-we have two Motorola ones now but are not that smart as to figure out how to use them with regards to what channel to use etc.... if anyone can help. Thank you!


    We've taken a pair on every cruise we've been on for the last 5 or 6 years -- and never use them. There are only so many channels available and we find we're always listening to somebody else and can never reach one another. We do use them, however, when we're within a mile or so of home and have forgotten something. . . :)

  15. wow - they ran out of supplies!!! Talk about poor, poor planning and inexcusable as HAL knows how to stock for long cruises with the 3 Grand cruises and world cruise. Have been on long cruises (>70 days) and never seen this except for some fresh fruit now and again - oh and bar napkins once as lost in the cavernous storage room but these were found again a few days later.


    Note to self: pack boxes of Wet Ones.

  16. Hello knot head. What is Hebredian's kid policy? You know why I'm asking! From the web site it looks like the meals are very formal is that true? We are intrigued but perhaps 50 is too small particularly if it is on the formal stuffy side both staff and guests. Input would be helpful as we explore various options.


    Several years ago, we sailed on another of Hebredian's ships. Absolutely everything was included. We sailed up through the Hebredes -- if we wanted to visit a castle, a crew member came along to pay everyone's admission. One day, we called at an island with two ports -- they dropped us and a bunch of bicycles at one port, and moved the ship to the other port. Half-way across the island, they had rented a village hall, set up tables or lunch -- we're talking cloth tablecloths, china, crystal, silver -- and enough wine that not everyone navigated those bicycles the rest of the way.


    Hubby is a single malt drinker (which is why we chose that cruise) -- no additional charge for good whiskey on that ship!


    But yes, for Americans, the dining room is stuffy. If you're British, it is what you'd expect at a fine restaurant.


    Hope that information is of some value to you.

  17. I rather liked the drink card DH had on our last cruise. While not discounted - it was so much nicer than all those danged pink slips floating all over the place.


    Maybe they should give up on the blasted receipts every time they charge me a nickle for something and they'd save some money without having to charge us extra!! :D

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