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About CruisingGems

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    Cool Cruiser

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    traveling, computers
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Viking (river and Ocean), Windstar, Azamara, barges
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    French canals

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  1. Nippy Sweetie, I sure hope I didn't give offense with my suggestion. We are certainly looking forward to enjoying local food and drink in other Scottish ports, it just seems that the opportunities to do that will be slim on this tour because of time, distance and rural locations we're visiting, we thought we'd try for a picnic instead of a sit-down meal.
  2. Yes, I'm planning for a private tour out of Invergordon. After an early stop in Inverness, we will get on a boat for a Loch Ness cruise and then time in Urquhart Castle. By then we will be in the country and I think some ways from restaurants. I thought it would be fun to "brown-bag" it on our mini-bus or at a picnic spot while we do the rest of our country tour. Your other suggestions are fine if we cannot get the ship to make lunches. Our tour will be about 8 hours. Our guide indicated he could find someplace for lunch if we couldn't get packed lunches. I agree that a more leisurely lunch might be nice, but I think we're trying to maximize our touring time. Your other suggestions seem good as well. Thanks. On our previous V.O. cruises we were impressed with the lengths the restaurant staff went to for everything. The person in our group with a food allergy (the least speck of a peanut will literally kill her) was treated exceptionally. We were always seated at the same table, no matter when we showed up for dinner so that our waiter knew of the allergy. The head chef came to our table every night and gave her a copy of tomorrow's menu so she could choose an entree which was prepared separate from all others. Most wait staff all over the ship knew who she was and were careful about things like bowls of nuts. All-in-all, the V.O. staff on the SEA responded with truly exceptional care and professionalism on this matter. And I'm certain they would want to assure that she was provided with appropriate food on an excursion. On a previous V.O. cruise I saw bagged lunches prepared for a group that was doing a private fishing rrip all day. I suspect they don't mind at all as long as they don't get a huge number of requests.
  3. We have a private tour planned for a group of 12 on the Sun in Scotland in Aug 2018. Who can I speak to to arrange for "Packed Lunches" for the travelers? Do we need to wait until we board and speak to the Restaurant Manager? I know that at least one person has a severe food allergy. Thanks for any advice.
  4. I received the following message from Orkney Tailor-Made Tours in response to my query about the possibility of a 12-person tour and questions of refund-ability: --------------------------------------- Hello,Gary Just managed to secure a minibus (can take up to 15 passengers + driver + guide).What follows answer your questions - satisfactorily, I hope. My fee for the day with English guiding would be £700 including all guiding, coach hire and planning. The extras would be admissions and lunch etc. I ask for a non-returnable deposit of £50 once you see the Tour Plan and the balance a month before your arrival. I attach my booking terms - the main point is a 25% refund in the last month eg in the unlikely event of the ship not docking. I invoice either by conventional bank invoice and transfer or by PayPal. In the case of conventional bank transfers, I ask for all fees to be met by you. I won’t apply the PayPal surcharge mentioned in my terms. I hope this is acceptable. Please let me know as soon as possible. On the itinerary, much will depend on how booked Skara Brae and the Italian Chapel are. I suggest admissions are added to the final invoice amount. What is your preference on lunch - free time,included with/without access to local beers etc. --------------------------------------- I'm thinking I will reply that the group is now planning to tour on our own using the Stagecoach Bus and we're no longer interested. So, my bus schedule says the T11 runs from 10:00 to 1:35. Does it then repeat that route like every 4 hrs? I note they have 1.5 hrs at Skara Brae and 30 mins at Stenness (The Ring of Brodgar) but no time at Scapa or Stromness. If we want to do them, we need to do them on our own?
  5. I was also looking for a private tour in Kirkwall and became leery of difficult cancellation policies. I then found out that there is a double-deck, open-top Hop-on/Hop-off bus from Stagecoach that only costs £12 and you can pay onboard. Look at https://www.stagecoachbus.com/promos-and-offers/north-scotland/discover-orkney#tab7. They also have multiple other routes that visit different parts of the island. Gary
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