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Everything posted by elaine5

  1. Mid-March wasn’t too bad: 2 days each way-2 mild rocking, 1 smooth as glass, 1 quite rocky, but nothing falling of the shelves. Overall, much better than expected.
  2. No experience for Taste Tour, but we did “Fullers vineyard tour” last week. Easy and fun with Vouchers for 3 good wineries. You can hop on/off as much as you want. Ferry pick up right by cruise port. Hop on bus is outside of ferry exit. Waiheke is a lovely island. Ferry ride is beautiful.
  3. I think 8am is the departure time and were told to depart the ship 15 minutes in advance. Once off the ship, we got our luggage, gave to bus to store, boarded, and left fairly shortly after that. They were selling shuttle tickets in the middle room by elevators on 6/7/8(?) a few days before the cruise ended. I bought in person, as I wanted to ask those same questions. Check in the navigator day 4+ of the cruise for details.
  4. Here is a schedule from spring 2023. We were on Explorer in Sept. and it was similar. Shuttles were on time--they are not on demand. We took a shuttle to Ravenna and then traveled to Bologna on a VERY crowded standing room only train. I'd go to Bologna via shuttle next time. If you took the 8am shuttle, I'd say 10am Bologna train is good, 10:30 would give you flex in case of any delay. The station is very nice with a lovely large quick service coffee/cafe where you can sit and wait for trains. We were also headed to Florence.
  5. This is the pedestrian bridge just past Santa Lucia train station. You have to be able to carry your own luggage and there are a lot of steps--but they also have porters (for a fee) to carry it up. After that, cross the street to get to People Mover (tall white/glass bldg far right corner). You purchase a ticket inside the People Mover bldg from the machine. I believe it's the last stop, not the middle one.
  6. There are post about Venice shuttles on Italy forum and also on royal carib forum. Information should be similar for Celebrity, which is owned by RCI. We took the shuttle from Tronchetto in August. Shuttle is for cruise guests. You book via travel agent or cruise line. Agents will have a list with your name to check in. FYI-no bathroom on 2 hr ride, but stop for bathroom midway. Have euro change.
  7. Wondering how strict Princess has been on post-Covid sailing for wine brough onboard at ports? As AU/NZ has lots of wineries, we'd like to bring wine onboard from some of our port stops. Whether we could drink onboard vs. only retrieving at the end of the sailing would impact how many bottles we purchase. And, does it matter if the wine was purchased on a Princess winery excursion? Thanks, Elaine
  8. I use this when picking OB OV. Views vary greatly--assume you'll not get one of the good ones. But, for $20PP, I'd certainly go for that and bid over--maybe $32-$52 range. For July 2025, OB OV is $100PP over Inside regular pricing. https://www.cruisedeckplans.com/ships/ov.php?ship=Sapphire-Princess&cabins=C106-C109
  9. Info from September—We took shuttle to Ravenna and then took train to bologna and then onto Florence, but could’ve continued to Rome. We booked our Ravenna-Florence train tickets in advance. Booked shuttle to Ravenna onboard.
  10. Our Air2Sea on RCI got changed to 11:05am. Sat in July-tons of ships in port...we'll do self-assist debark at 7 (or whenever we can) and get a taxi. No other option without big increase in fare.
  11. We also walked the Paseo A Maritime. Lovely, safe walk.
  12. If it's you're only option (including any future possible trips) to see Florence, I would go. It's much smaller than Rome and beautiful. [When DD17 wanted to see Paris--it was 3 hours on tour bus each way. We had only a whirlwind 4 hours to (literally) run around Paris, but she loved it.] Florence can be a very enjoyable walk-about with out even having any museums, etc. reserved for 4-6 hours. Viewing the outside of the Duomo (esp the bronze door scenes), walking by the "fake" David in the square, walking over the bridge, stopping at a cafe for a snack/drink, and meandering down the little side streets doing some leather shopping is a wonderful day. With that said, Cinque Terre is one of the most beautiful areas in the world-small cliffside villages in an incredible setting. It's very close to La Spezia.
  13. Also, you can prebook tickets for Basilica and Doges Palace. Doges advance ticket is likely not needed for May. Basilica is free for most parts, but we still did prebooked just to make sure we got in without a wait--but that was August.
  14. Yes. That assumes there’s no delay in departing as independent guests. But I think 8:30 is “safe.” You have to make sure to get early departure tags-8am ones. If they give you later ones than you requested, just go to guest services and swap them out.
  15. If you carry off your own luggage and do self-disembark, I'd say 7:30 to be safe. If you need to collect bags AFTER you disembark, then you have to wait until your group is called. Private transfers likely go after early ship transfers. So, I'd say 8:30. Here is last year's schedule for the transfers, which would give you an idea of when you can get off the ship.
  16. Thank you for the detailed post about your ordeal. We have 4 young adult kids traveling with us this summer--they'd think, "Mom, you're being a tourist, don't worry..." In the past, we have avoided Rome and Barcelona's metros for pickpocket reasons. But, over the years, I've gotten a bit lax and I've carried our PP in carryon bag. And, I told my friend in August in Italy that PP in her crossbody bag was fine! This time, it'll be in the under the shirt necklace. Thanks for "real travel" reminder. Also very impressed with your level head, knowledgeable and "can do" attitude, which made it work out for you.
  17. When I book a European cruise, here are my considerations: Bucket list-must see destinations Time constraints--dates, season, length Budget--and priorities (fine with inside cabin, at least OV, must have balcony, etc.) Ease of travel to/from destination. For 1st time Europe, I really like a cruise that has different embarkation/return ports (ex. Barcelona to Rome, etc.) to get to see more of Europe. I would fly in/out of 2 different cities (which is normally not any ore expensive than RT as long on same/partner airlines).
  18. $58 is one way transfer pricing. We did it V-Ravenna in August. Santa Lucia train station is just over a pedestrian bridge once you get off the People Mover. You have to be able to carry your own luggage and there are a lot of steps--but they also have porters (for a fee) to carry it up. This is photo of walking down the bridge from SL train station towards People Mover. I think I saw some taxis in this area (maybe next to people mover bldg (tall white/glass bldg far right corner) or line of people to left in photo).
  19. Are BIRG still available with the new 2024 online check in process for regional trains? Is it possible to purchase a BIRG tickets in advance? And, if not, how crowded is the line to buy them at the bar/tobacco stand (in July)? Is tobacco store BIRGs still a "secret" strategy (haven't gotten one in 10 years) to get a quick train ticket or does everyone do this now? And, do we need to validate the BIRG or will it be dated when we buy it?
  20. I’d suggest also into Rome out of Venice or vice versa. If you fly into Rome add 2 extra days, then fly out of Venice the day after cruise ends and take celebrity bus transfer to Venice for ease. You’d get that afternoon to walk around V. Of course, more time is great. But even a 1/2 day in Venice is great. V is amazing for architecture, scenery, but I don’t need as much time as for Florence or Rome. Taking cruise transfer makes it easy logistics to/from V. We just did the reverse on RT Ravenna-into V for 2 days, out of Rome, via 2 days in Florence.
  21. Ravenna is a bit of a pain to get to. I’d pick Rome if all else is equal.
  22. Bus shore excursion. The drive looks a bit harrowing. We might just hike around Lyttleton that day up the hill.
  23. We are from East Coast USA. We're flying to Hawaii for 3 days beforehand, where we'll just veg and recover from jet lag. We are then flying from HNL-SYD the day prior to our cruise (arriving SYD early evening). As we then have 2 sea days, we should be able to adapt by the time we get to the 1st NZ port. We've decided to keep original schedule--it's quite inconvenient to fly any earlier. Thanks for all who responded.
  24. Lyttleton-what to do? Is this a good excursion (with great scenery)? We are on 13 day cruise, likely our only trip to NZ. We are active, early 60s, day prior is biking wine tour, so not super exhaustive stuff for this port. Arthurs Pass with Lunch & Farm tour, to Springfield (at the foot of the stunning Southern Alps), then ascending the Porter Pass to Castle Hill, Continuing to Arthurs Pass village, traverse through peaks of the Arthurs Pass National Park, to Otira Gorge, Otira village, return to Christchurch via the Southern Alps and Alpine Passes. We will also visit a sheep farm. Other option is to go to CC or just DIY hike around Lyttleton. Thanks, Elaine
  25. We have found that All the mainstream cruise lines have made cost-cutting changes: Less included, rising drink and speciality dining pricing, lower quality food, cutbacks in entertainment, etc. but we still prefer a cruise vacation over other options and usually find excellent “value” for OV or balcony. We cruise 2-3x/year, (diy) land in europe, no all-inclusives. We sailed Celebrity over 15 years ago and went on C again to ABCs last spring. Great cruise, loved it. We are food/wine people, but are fine in MDR, but noticed a change from what we’d get 10 years ago. Celebrity is now our fav cruise line for just DH/me. As a couple we also like princess, but C just seemed a bit cooler and hipper than P and more upscale than Rccl. We tend to still pick P over C due to pricing. For ex, 13 day Balcony AU to NZ was much less than 12 day OV for similar dates:ports. I also do not like C’s higher fare for refundable deposits, P is usually the same. For the last 15 years, We sailed Rccl and Disney with our kids-now young’s 20s. We’ll sail Rccl this summer with them-it has the “stuff” they like and are not foodies. If celebrity is trying to attract families, I’d say they need more fun/active stuff, slides, escape rooms, more sports. The new Sun princess would be on our radar if our kids were teens.
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