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Everything posted by milepig

  1. The cruising days haven’t changed and all but one have no options listed. They also told me that they “may” add yours for some of the non-cruise days. Meanwhile I’m looking for options.
  2. On the cruising days I don’t think independent excursions are an option? Do they pick you up when the ship is underway? I still have no satisfactory answer from WS about where all the excursions went, and suspect a big group is the issue.
  3. Ironically. I just found a copy of the Eclipse glossy brochure in our recycling room and brought it upstairs out of curiosity. I was then curious about actual experiences and that brought me here and many pages of posts later my eyes are tired! I sincerely hope that the August dates hold for all of you who are still booked. I did notice that in the brochure the prices are only marginally discounted, but haven’t looked online. We’re on a Windstar itin in August and recently watched our itin fill up within the span of about a week and we got a massive upgrade to the owner’s suite. Maybe coincidence or maybe people who moved to WS to not lose their vacation. I’ll check back in mid August and hope to be able to read some true shipboard reports!
  4. There’s a long thread on this already, but CC indexing is so profoundly broken that I can’t find it.
  5. I think the only stress point is “where do we depart from”. Individual ports are just what they are and at the end Of the cruise whatever transport you’ve arranged seems to find you. Even mid cruise independent tours you’ve arranged seem to find you. I get that the uncertainty about the embarkation point can add stress the first couple cruises and we’ve certainly had cases (like Istanbul) where our cab started to go right past the ship on the way to the main cruise port while we screamed and pointed and made sail shaped motions. We got there. But tools have gotten better - our last two cabs had an app that showed the actual berth, and if you use marine tracker the day before or even in the morning you can see what berth the ship is headed for.
  6. I sorted out the Midbakki vs Miobakki question. They are one and the same. The d/o character that we see interchangeably is an Icelandic letter that has no equivalent on our keyboards (well, maybe if you know the character code, but who has time!!) so you sometimes see it transliterated as a d and sometimes as an o. I think it’s an eth, but now we’re approaching linguistic geek land.
  7. I just clicked on the link to check and it looks like the Midbakki anchor disappeared. It's essentially right across 41 from the Volcano House Iceland.
  8. Unless there is actually something this similar, the name is actually Midbakki. his was a dream embarkation, except for the drizzle which wasn't WS's fault. It is right in the middle of town, and an easy walk downhill from the city center. Just a few minutes. You don't go into the port area at all - this is on the edge, right by the main road. The Borg is very easy. Just head out the front door turn right and head downhill toward the port and when you reach the main road (41) look toward the left and you'll see the ship. As an aside, your hotel is right across the street from the square where the city walks leave from. The walk was great, and well worth the time. This little port area is shared with the Coast Guard and when we went past with a tour one day the driver joked "Look, 2 ships, the entire navy is in port." There is zero port facility there, just a chain link fence beyond a parking lot and a place where taxis pull up. They took our bags and we were done. There is a little "hut" where the WS folk check you in and, IIRC, a passport check, but really nothing formal. It's a VERY short walk from the restaurants on the pier if you want a last shot at that amazing seafood before you depart. We actually dropped out bags and took a short walk beyond the pier to the Whales of Iceland Museum, which was more informative than we expected. Right at that same spot are a couple supermarkets - Bonus, and um, Not Bonus, if you want to stock up on a few supplies. Bonus will have all that licorice, chocolate, lava salt, and other stuff for much less than you'll find in the tourist shops. Here's the dock on a map. Not really a "dock" the ship just pulls up along shore. The area has that sort of "we're just waiting for someone to develop this" feel about it. But very convenient. https://www.google.com/maps/search/reykjavik+midbakki/@64.1522733,-21.9446232,16z The pier, and the "Whales of Iceland" can both be seen along with the Bonus store.
  9. Sorry, ducklite. You weren’t the OP here.
  10. In any case. There don’t seem to be many vehicle access points from the south bank and this site makes it sound like you take a water taxi from the north bank: https://www.cruiseline.co.uk/blog/exclusive-tower-bridge-cruise-port/ Why is this such a concern to you? Do you have a tight connection? The two spots are probably a UK10 cab ride apart, if that.
  11. This thread that you started was about San Juan. Now we’re back to London??
  12. And, here's the answer from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_member_state_territories_and_the_European_Union French Polynesia is a French Overseas Territory, not a French Overseas Department, and are not subject to EU VAT. Confusingly (to us, probably not to them, LOL) they are considered French Citizens and are part of the EU, vote the EU elections, etc. They have their own currency, but it's tied to the Euro. They also follow French Law but have their own court system. French Polynesia has it's own VAT: From here: https://tahitinuitravel.com/destination/the-cost-of-living-in-french-polynesia/ The value added tax (VAT) in French Polynesia has 3 rates : The normal rate of 16% which applies in a general way to the operations of importation, sales and deliveries. The normal rate of 10% which applies to all services except those subjected to the reduced tax. The reduced rate of 5% which applies to certain products and services of which hotel establishments, cruise ships, professional charters, passenger transport. So, it could be 5%, but as I said above I didn't notice it on my ship's shop receipt, but didn't really look either.
  13. Aaaaw, Gee. Blush. When we sailed in French Polynesia we bought the package before the trip, so I can't say about VAT. We did buy some things in the ships shop, and I don't remember seeing VAT appear on the statement, but I can't say I looked for it either. I'm now out of my depth, but this very useful charts shows the VAT status in various areas. It say the the French "territories" are outside the EU VAT zone. but is a "territory" the same as a "protectorate"? My head hurts. We certainly paid VAT on things purchased on shore in FP, but that could just as well have been a French Polynesia VAT and not EU VAT. It's possible that FP doesn't require cruise ships to collect it - again, I'm out of my depth. All that having been said, French Polynesia is magical and everyone should go - pop for the 11 day trip, 7 isn't enough. Even better, do a back to back and do it twice? I don't care if I pay VAT, just go!
  14. Congratuations! We're doing most of that same route in reserve at the same time on the Breeze. We depart from Reykjavik, but arrive in Edinburgh We'll both be in Lerick on the same day, but it looks like you'll be arriving as we leave. We;ll wave to you. We found one local tour that seemed good and fairly priced for Kirkwall. Her name is Marlene - and the email is marathomson@btinternet.com. We told her our port times and a general idea of the things we like to do and she set up a custom tour for us. The Pride holds a special place in our hearts. We took her out of Singapore on one of the first itins after she came out from the first wave of renovations. WS had done about half the job, and you could walk around and see what had been done and what hadn't. The other two ships were then fully done and then the Pride went in for the second round. It appeared that WS "inherited" that set of itins from Seabourn, and was to a certain extend playing it by ear as they hadn't really previously cruised in that area, but they made up for it with the best crew, hands down, we've ever had before of since. The Pride was rough and everyone from WS was complaining about the deplorable condition Seabourn turned her over in, but everyone from the legendary Captain Alan (Allen?) on down was crackerjack. We had the WS President on board along with a bunch of WS contractors. We also had a very light load and got tons of personal attention. We were on our way in India, and spent many afternoons at sea having a Bollywood festival in the lounge, complete with popcorn.
  15. It's there. Windstar or your TA will have sent you (mine was an email attachment) a "Detailed Itinerary Confirmation". This is NOT the same as the invoice but a separate document. The file name on the PDF begins "Itinerary (non-financial). I just checked my files, and I receive this, along with the Invoice, when I made the booking. In the middle of the page, on the right there's a box for: Port of EMBARKATION, The first line is the port and there is a line right under it that lists the dock. For our upcoming departure it says: Reykjavik, Iceland Midbakki This tells me that it's the port in the center of town, not the new port that's further out. If you haven't received the Detailed itinerary Confirmation document you should ask for one.
  16. I'm with Strenz. You'll have plenty of time, but do let reception know that you'd like to be first off. From our experience they'll ask you to keep your bags with you rather than leaving them outside your room and to be at a certain place by a specific time. They'll then make sure you're off ASAP, but really this isn't even necessary. As an aside - we actually have come to just keeping out bags with us anyway, really nice to have all your stuff in the morning before you leave.
  17. You are exempt if you buy the drinks package before the trip. The same is true for anything else. VAT is not charged for things purchased through Seattle. Never mind that all the onboard charges are billed through Seattle as well, this is just the way the world works.
  18. I think of upgrades as those random events that are great, but never count on them. I don't think that booking through a TA makes an difference, but I suppose it could. They have access to a special group of WS agents, and our current one came through shortly after another question would have caused WS to open my reservation(s). They have have taken the time to look things over and decide to push the button on the uprade. there's no way to know. The pattern I've seen is that WS tends to book up the sort of second level cabins first - not rock bottom necessarily. Then, when those fill fill and the more expensive cabins are underselling they upgrade people to open up more of the sold out cabins. I guess doing this rather than reducing the price on the more expensive cabins accomplishes two things - they're rewarding repeat customers and they're selling more cabins that people are willing to purchase. It is almost certainly a place where being a repeat customer matters. I don't think we had an upgrade during our first 10 bookings, and now they're fairly common. Sometimes they're minor - something like a better cabin but on the same level, etc. Our recent upgrade to a Classic Suite is massive for us, and in this case I'm sure the agent notices that we already had it booked on the next leg and it was empty on the first, so they just did us a favor by combining the two - saving us the move and them from coordinating it. They now have a balcony suite to sell to someone else.
  19. Our upgrade for August just came through. We’d needed to book a back to back in two segments due to pricing issues. We were on a balcony suite for leg 1 and a classic suite for leg two on the breeze. I thought it might, but the stars aligned and now we’re in the same classic suite for both legs. All that space and no need to change cabins halfway through. I just did a little happy dance.
  20. Is this one of cases where in some locations you pay VAT if you buy it on board?
  21. most of our waits have been at lunch when multiple tours return at about the same time.
  22. We’ve also experienced some who weren’t having a good time. We’d talked to the couple a bit and on maybe day 3 or 4 they sat behind us within talking distance on Veranda. I just asked how things were and they said they “hated it”. I think bad match. At the moment they were upset that they had to wait for their breakfast table. I looked around and almost all the tables had two people at them and I know many would have shared. Oh well.
  23. We’re saying the same thing. Venice is really special and isn’t for big groups. Even the view from the water doesn’t need a big ship. Hire a water taxi to the airport and you’ll have the lagoon to yourself. And the fake glass isn’t just on Burano, which, BTW is also magical. It’s everywhere.
  24. I wouldn’t say “none” but children on WS are scarce. We were in on itin where an extended family had around four kids in that age range. But an old style grandmother had them in her beady eye at every moment. They even appeared at each dinner in ties and navy blue jackets. I’d think kids would mostly be bored. I also don’t recommend this.
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