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Everything posted by Skai

  1. R.I.P. PRINCESS CRUISES 1965-2021 "Monkeys at the helm"
  2. You do you. It's pretty easy to take this stance when a London to Barcelona/Lisbon flight is a 2-3hr flight in the same time zone. It's a little bit further for us Americans (especially those that reside on the West Coast). How many times have you been to the West Coast of the U.S.? If so, did you spent the majority of your time sitting in a bar, soaking up the atmosphere?
  3. Traffic in Seattle can be absolutely horrible. It could take anywhere from as little as 30 min. to 1 hr.+ to travel to SEA-TAC to/from the port. It can be smooth-going or a slog, depending on conditions. I would prepare for a 'slog' FWIW. That stated, a 12:30p flight departure is more than enough time to allow for one to be at the airport 1.5-2 hrs. before your flight (and one may need that much time to clear airport security). Provided that you're walking off of the ship before 9a, you ought to be gtg.
  4. A $29 cover charge seems rather expensive for a Panda Express menu, No? That better be the best General Tso's, or Mongolian Beef that I've ever tasted.
  5. Skai

    Hotel In Rome

    I would suggest looking for lodging in the area by the Piazza Navona/Campo de Fiori/Pantheon/Largo Argentina. It's about as centrally located as one can be; also near bus stops that can take one to the Colosseum/Forum/Palatine Hill, and/or to the Vatican/St. Peters.
  6. I'll second this. When cruising the tropics, Dirty Bananas really hit the spot when looking for something cool and refreshing. Much better with real frozen banana, but in a pinch; banana syrup may suffice. I enjoy Pina Coladas too - However the Pina Coladas on board the ship tend to be a little on the too sweet side.
  7. Mmmmm.. Yes.. An excellent Bushwacker!
  8. We had a similar long port day scheduled when we were there. In addition to walking the walls first thing in the morning, we did our own self-researched (DIY)GOT filming locations tour -- which also included hiking up to the Lovrijenac Fortress(outside of the old-city walls). We also did a bit of strolling around down inside the walls; visiting a few spots. While DW did some shopping, I took advantage of checking out some of the sites included with the Dubrovnik Museum ticket. The Franciscan Monastery/Apothecary and Maritime Museum are both interesting places worthy of a look. After lunch in the Old Town, and having already purchased all-day city bus-passes at the port, we took a bus to Lapad Beach to spend a couple of hours. The beach was nothing special, but we did take the opportunity to imbibe a few afternoon drinks to 'cool off' and relax a little during the warm afternoon hours. Upon returning back, we took the bus to the Dubrovnik Cable-Car to take in the sunset high above the Old Town<----This is really worth doing, as the view was spectacular. After heading back down, we stumbled across a pizza joint that was pretty good outside of the Ploka Gate, but there would have also been plenty of time for a nice sit-down meal in the Old Town (as we were there in Sep. and sunset was around 7:00p). As it was, we had a little more time to stroll the Old Town some more, and as mentioned ITT already; it was quite a pleasant atmosphere at night w/ the bulk of the day-trippers gone. Other than breakfast, I wouldn't plan on having any other meals on the ship, to maximize the enjoyment of one's long day in port @Dubrovnik.
  9. I will add our personal experience here (which may concur with other advice posted). As with anywhere frequented by an insane amount of tourists (especially smaller locales visited by cruise ships disgorging thousands of passengers ashore any given day).....The early bird gets the worm. That means for a tender port(such as Santorini), to beat the crowds(DIY), one has to plan on being on one of the earliest tenders to shore(if not the 1st). For Oia: I absolutely recommend taking the water taxi to the base of Oia, and taking the shuttle bus up the steep hill to the town itself -- The fastest route there(DIY). At the top, make sure to reserve a time for the return shuttle-bus back to Fira -- if wanting/needing a specific (early afternoon)time to return. Upon returning to Fira, unless one is disabled/mobility limited, I would avoid the cable-car, and hike down the stairs back to the tender dock. It's kind of a neat stroll to walk down; minding the presents left by the donkeys of course. In Oia, the crowds will eventually show up mid-morn, however, it is still possible to get away if one is willing to get off of the beaten path(s), and walk down a little ways to the less frequented walkways -- providing great views of both the caldera and the buildings hugging the hillsides. For Rhodes: If staying in town, in addition to exploring the Old Town, I would recommend visiting the Palace of the Grand Master of Knights. We arrived fairly early and almost had the place to ourselves. The parklike atmosphere around sections of the old moat/outside the city walls(Gate D'Amboise) down to Liberty Gate/St Paul's Gate is also attractive. For lunch/afternoon bites, I would recommend finding a nice rooftop restaurant. Lindos Garden near the Suleiman Mosque/Medieval Clock Tower is where we went. The food was nothing to write home about, but the scenic views made up for it. For Corfu: This a great place to rent a car. We rented one right at the port, and drove to the West side of the island. Starting in Afionos; where we took a nice mid-morning hike down to the Porto Timini Beach overlook. From there, we drove through Agios Georgios; hiking up to the fort ruins @Angelokastro. We then stopped for a bite and some ice cream in the hilltop town of Lakones to soak in some views; before heading down to Palaiokastritsa, and spending some time wading in the water at Rovinia beach(Gefira). Upon driving back, we had about 45 minutes to stop in Corfu town; to walk a little around the park near the Venetian Fortress/Museum, before returning the car at the ship dock. For Katakalon: Having already visited a fair amount of ruins/historical sites, we decided to forego Olympia and instead took the tourist-train(motorized) to Agios Andreas(about 20 minutes from port). The tourist-train does a loop from Katakalo which includes a stop at the Mercouri Estate winery, and Agios Andreas beach. There is a restaurant there called Vriniotis(we didn't partake), instead opting for a later-lunch back in Katakolo and a stroll down to the beach cafe/bar by the pier. As stated, there's not much to do at this port stop if one is not wanting to visit the ruins Olympia, so it could provide for a nice beach day (if desired). We had perfect beach weather the day that we visited.
  10. It seems like the OP has it figured out... I would only like to add to the thread from personal experience (to potentially help others that may also read it): Of our three separate (cruise) port-days @ the BVIs. Our 1st visit was docked @Tortola --- Beach Day at Virgin Gorda-The Baths/Devil's Bay Beach via Speedy's ferry @Road Town<-->Spanish Town/Safari Shuttle(RT). Our 2nd visit was docked @Tortola --- Beach Day @Jost Van Dyke/White Bay Beach via ferry @West End<-->Great Harbour/Taxi(RT). Our 3rd visit was anchored @Virgin Gorda --- Beach Day @Spring Bay Beach/Little Trunk Bay Beach via Safari Shuttle(RT). The point that I'm trying to make here is that it may be better to avoid the Clark Griswold (try to fit it all in one day) type of thinking, even if one believes that they may only visit the BVIs once in their lifetime. If one cruises frequently enough, chances are good that there will be other opportunities to get to the BVIs, and do something different than the previous visit. We had pleasant days, with plenty of time to relax and enjoy our visits on all three separate occasions. I don't think trying to fit both The Baths & JVD in one day @port (off of a cruise ship) would be very relaxing; with so much time involved in transit.
  11. But outside of the newest Royal Class ships(too many pax for me), HAL's ships are predominately nicer (layout/design/cabin quality) than Princess ships. One classic example of such is that one has to be in a mini-suite(or above) to even get a loveseat/couch on Princess...And don't get me started on the clingy shower-curtain. Despite the lacking cabins, Princess used to have a lot of nice things going for them that set them apart from comparable lines. At one time, one could have considered Princess as a 'Premium-Lite' line (along with HAL and Celebrity). FWIW, An example of a 'Premium line' would currently be Oceania or Azamara (where ironically, the majority of both fleets are actually former Princess ships). Over the years, the steady degradation of cutbacks and nickle & diming policy changes has firmly planted Princess as a Mainstream line; with any semblance of 'premium' long gone. I think for some that are finally deciding to jump ship is that it really has been a death by a thousand cuts. Newer cruisers will never know how it once was, and Princess is banking on this. What incentives are there for these same newer cruisers to ever become loyal repeat cruisers? They've put their eggs into the Medallion program to be their "wow factor". -- Which has been nothing short of an absolute disaster since its overhyped pre-release, to its stumbling rollout, 'til this day; where they still haven't worked out all of the bugs. Where Princess has really dropped the ball is that they've failed at understanding consumer psychology. Studies have been done in restaurants where it was found what diners preferred in how to absorb the rising costs of food and supplies. What they found is that customers would rather pay more for the same, than pay the same for less. IE. When a 10 oz. steak originally cost $10, they would rather pay $12.50 for that 10 oz. steak than pay the same $10 for a smaller 8 oz. steak. Loyal customers don't like things taken from them in the guise of adding something. It's insulting to one's intelligence.
  12. Princess has made a number of questionable decisions over the years. The bean-counters have certainly been busy. We're most likely done with Princess. Nor do we feel comfortable to recommend them to anyone else(over any other line). It's a shame. Princess originally played a big part in us falling in love with cruising. There used to be certain aspects of Princess that made the line unique; inspiring us to loyally select it as our preferred cruise-line. Princess has changed, our preferences haven't. I honestly don't see Princess surviving much longer at this pace.. Not with the current crop of decision makers at the helm.
  13. Any guess as to what the distance from the mouth of the Mississippi River(Gulf of Mexico) to New Orleans is? What Pacific Coast cruise itinerary is embarking in Seattle, visiting Astoria, and then continuing down the coast to California? I'm familiar with an itinerary the embarks in Vancouver B.C. and disembarks in San Pedro, or vice-versa -- Neither of which ports in Seattle.
  14. It takes a big man to admit that.😏 Portland could build a cruise terminal North of the Willamette river bridges, or even in the Columbia. However, as I laid out in my previous post ITT, it would not make practical sense for a few different reasons. That stated, sailing down the Columbia at sunset would make for some neat scenic cruising; as would various winery and brewery tours nearby, and in the city proper. FWIW, there are few major cruise ports that also have bridge-clearance issues related to the newly built Mega-ships. Vancouver B.C.'s(Lions Gate Bridge) @200' and Tampa Bay's(Sunshine Skyway) @175' come to mind. So perhaps it is Princess' newest builds (req. 205'+) that is limiting its port/itinerary options, not the other way around. Personally, I have less desire to cruise on ships with 3500+ pax ---- Ships designed to obscure the senses that one is actually on a ship...ships that can't dock where smaller ships can. To each their own.
  15. Apparently you missed my above post mentioning the fact that large ships are serviced in the city of Portland at Swan Island. The Ruby Princess is scheduled for an upcoming drydock there. Yes. It's a known quantity that Portland is not a major cruise port, but your statement that Portland "can't" accommodate large ships is false. I simply wanted to "clear" that up for you. EDIT: Here are a couple of pictures of the Grand Princess @drydock in Portland a few years ago...
  16. Thanks for "clearing that up". Although, I'm not sure what your point is, as Portland is not "pretty much inland", it is inland. You know what other ports are located on rivers that ocean-going major cruise ships port at? New Orleans(Mississippi river), Montreal(St. Lawrence river) and Manaus(Amazon river) immediately come to mind. Of note, the nautical distance from the mouth of the Columbia river to Portland is shorter than the distance from the mouth of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, through the Puget Sound to Seattle -- from what could be considered as 'Open Ocean'.
  17. Princess abandoned the concept of 'exotic' itineraries when they decided to get rid of their small-ship cruising sector. One of our most treasured cruises was on the previous (R-Class) Royal Princess; a RT 10-day to/from Papeete. 2000+ pax is too big for the Society Islands if you ask me. That is an excessive amount people disembarking, and stressing the carrying capacity of the small islands.
  18. Yeah, Civic Stadium was a pretty cool spot to watch a baseball game. Our own historical Civic Stadium (longtime home of the Emeralds) burned down a few years back. It was a sad loss for the community.
  19. Fixed it for ya😉. The Portland waterfront could be a viable cruise-ship stop for small ships. However, the Fremont(I-405) Bridge is not tall enough to accommodate for mega-ships downtown. As for being a viable turn-around port of Embarkation/Disembarkation (located North of downtown); it wouldn't make economical sense for the cruise-lines. There is not enough local population in Portland (and the immediate surrounding area) to provide for the numbers needed to consistently fill large ships. It deserves noting that Portland is not as much of a tourist destination, nor does it have the tourist infrastructure in place as do S.F. and Seattle. A cruise port in Portland would not be able to offer anything that the cruise ports in S.F. and Seattle (and their accompanying larger population bases) already offer.
  20. What??? Portland regularly dry-docks large cruise ships for refurbishment @ Swan Island. In fact, Vigor's shipyard has the largest floating drydock in North America. The Norwegian Star, Grand Princess, Carnival Legend, Carnival Inspiration and Radiance of the Seas have all recently been serviced there. Smaller cruise ships can dock right on the waterfront.
  21. Closed-loop(AKA round-trip) cruises from/to a U.S. port allow for a stop at a 'near foreign port' to satisfy the PVSA. Cruises departing from one U.S. port and arriving at another must visit a 'distant foreign port' to satisfy the PVSA. All North American/Central American, and most all Caribbean ports are considered as 'near ports'. In the (Continental)Americas, a ship would require a stop at a South American port for it to be considered 'distant'. For example, the ABC islands(Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao) are considered as South American ports. That is why they are often included in one-way 'Panama Canal' and 'Repositioning' itineraries, as well as port stops in Colombia.
  22. Yes. There is a fair amount of angst at the decision. Not so much from locals, rather other (land-based) tourists to the island that seem to consider it as their own personal private spot. I can understand the thinking from both opposing sides. It is a pretty, pristine beach; considered as one of the nicest on the entire island. However, the revenue from the sale, as well as providing a few more jobs to the locals will provide a positive economic impact.
  23. That is Lighthouse Beach on the very Southern end of Eleuthera.
  24. What 'science' are you referencing? The fact that a significant portion of Floridians and/or visitors to the state are by-in-large super-spreaders ignoring the science? https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/florida-adds-5143-covid-19-cases-30-resident-deaths-wednesday/2413422/ The desired threshold in most states is a <5% positivity rate, in others <%3. For example, California is currently averaging @ 1.6%, New York's @ 3.3%. Florida's positivity rate is currently averaging @ 6%. Texas is @ 6.9% The full list is here (it's almost like a who's who of states that base stuff off of the science vs those that base stuff off of YouTube videos and Social Media political memes) https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/public-health/states-ranked-by-covid-19-test-positivity-rates-july-14.html
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