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About westcoasttech

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    The Olympic City of Vancouver
  • Interests
    Travelling and planning my next trip!
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    I'll tell you once I've tried them all!
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Tahiti and her islands

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  1. westcoasttech

    Great Barrier Reef Tour

    Check out: https://www.seastarcruises.com.au/ And see if they have anything that fits. I had a similar problem - travelling on NCL Jewel which has an overnight at anchor (tendering), but the ship schedule has it arriving too late on the first day and leaving too early on the 2nd, to fit a lot of the private tour schedules. Seastar is actually putting on a group tour for our ship that leaves later (on our Day 1) - it's a shorter tour with only the one stop rather than the full day tour - but it fits both from timing and pricing and several from my ship have signed up for it. It might be worth dropping them an email, if they can get a full group from your ship they might adjust to suit. [I travel in February next year, so can't give a full review yet.]
  2. Thanks! The news just popped up on my phone and I'm doing a happy dance! Okay, will admit that it's mostly for selfish reasons in that I can now take the Overland for my extended Aussie trip - but am also happy for the towns and communities (and employees) on the route that the service has got a reprieve for at least one more year! It should also be noted that the person who started the petition on change.org is continuing to fight for increased services on the line.
  3. So, I've read the latest news reports that the federal government has pulled the funding for the Overland .... They still seem to be saying that it "may" not be running come January so I'm still holding off booking the flight instead. I've got all my connections and hotels based around the dates, so I have to get from MEL to ADE somehow or other on Jan 26, and really don't fancy going through the airport on Australia Day weekend! There is a petition on Change.org to save the service - which I've added my name to - if anyone else wants to check that out. I know that travelling by train is very old fashioned these days, and everything is centred around the $$, but feel sad for the communities that will lose one more option for transit. As an ex-brit, who used to take the train alot in the UK, and who now lives in Canada (another big country with very little useable train system) I'm also sad that a lot of the "new" generations will never have the feeling of taking the train and watching the countryside change around them. Flying may get you there quicker but you don't get to see anything but the inside of a tin can and I think you totally lose the perspective of distance travelled too!
  4. I'm on the NCL Jewel which is overnighting in Cairns with a tender service to/from Yorkey's Knob. You would think there was plenty of time to do a full day snorkel, however we don't arrive until 10 am on the first day (too late for the full day tours) and leave at 6 pm on the second. I have found an operator that offers a full day snorkel that "kind of" fits for Day 2. They are scheduled to arrive back at Cairns Marina at 4:15 - 4:20 pm (but don't guarantee it!), it appears to be a 30 minute trip (by taxi?) back to Yorkey's Knob from the marina. With a 6:00pm sailaway, tenders should be running to at least 5:30pm, so in theory there is about 30 minutes "wiggle room" in the timing. So ... am I crazy to consider this tour? (I'm normally one of those that allows plenty of time to get back to the ship before sailaway, especially when tenders are concerned.) Would you take the "risk"? (After Cairns the ship has 2 sea days before it ports in Darwin, so that would be a lot of time to spend with just a swimsuit and a towel, if I did miss the ship!) Advice and experiences please?
  5. I see it listed that Bella and Fantastica classes can pay an upcharge to use the Aurea "private" sundeck (aka Top 16/18/19 etc). What is this charge? Is it a charge for the whole week (or length of cruise)? I've seen the list of prices for a sunbed either per day, or half a day - is this the same thing? Or is it a weekly pass like the POSH/VIBE pass you can get for the "away" class and above ships in NCL? Like many others trying to work out the value of booking Aurea, as access to a slightly quieter area is important to me. Thanks!
  6. Well skings, I hope all went well for you. I didn't rush back here to post a review as the board was down until after you needed to know about it! For the sake of anyone searching the forum in future times, I going to post a link to my previous review (comparison) of the V2V and BC Ferries, which can be found here (see post #7 on this thread): https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2548361-have-booked-new-v2v-ferry-with-bogo/?tab=comments#comment-54951248 This time I did a similar trip, but took the BC Ferry on a Thursday afternoon (instead of the Friday before the long weekend) and booked the "Royal" class on the V2V as a bit of a treat for the return trip of Victoria to Vancouver on the Sunday afternoon (I had to work on the Monday!). BC Ferries was much the same as the first time, a bit quieter as it wasn't the Friday, and I went to Pacific Buffet (C$26 per person) on board instead of the White Spot (burgers). I can recommend the Buffet, great roast beef, but go there immediately when you board, it fills up and they end up turning people away. For the V2V, the Royal class was nice, but to be honest you don't get much for the upcharge. I think there is more included luggage allowance, if that applies to you, but for a quick weekend away I only had an overnight bag this time. One free alcoholic drink is included in the Royal class (but that wasn't actually explained until I heard someone behind me ask about it). Unlimited tea/coffee/soft drinks - the attendants will come around a couple of times, but you can go and ask for more at any time. The included "meal" was really only a snack, a small salad, a choice of sandwich and chocolate truffles (yummy) as a desert. The seating is on the upper deck of the 2 decks, but type of seating is the same as the lower deck. There did seem to be more vibration from the engine on the upper deck than I remember being on the lower deck - but that might have been my imagination. We saw some Orcas and the V2V stopped to watch for a few minutes - that's something that wouldn't happen on BC Ferries! One of the crew was very knowledgeable about the whales and talked about them while we were stopped to watch. As it was October it was dark by the time we came under the Lions Gate Bridge but it was pretty to see the downtown lights (even on a rainy October evening!) They had swapped around the timing of the V2V with the Vancouver to Victoria run being in the AM and the return Victoria to Vancouver leaving Victoria harbour at 4 pm. I actually didn't mind this - it worked for me and I understand their reasoning, as tourists can now use it as a day trip to Victoria from Vancouver. (The morning run arrives around midday and then you would have about 4 hours to explore Victoria before catching the evening run back to downtown Vancouver). If you were to pay the full $120 (standard class) each way, that would be somewhat pricey, however if you can catch the 2 for 1 (or 50% off, as they were recently offering), then that is quite reasonable for a full day trip. I still think it is a good product and give them a 👍 for the service. If you can catch it with the discount then it's a great way to travel! (Just don't go for the Royal class unless you have money to spare...)
  7. Yikes! Don’t tell me it might not be running, I’m really looking forward to the train ride! I’m also planning on taking the XPT Melbourne to Sydney later in the trip. But I decided the Indian Pacific route was a little too pricey. Fingers crossed for the Overland!
  8. Many thanks for making the call Big M! Good to know that it’s not just the computer being picky. I’ll check the site in November. I’m presuming they don’t often “sell out” but I am hoping to travel Australia Day weekend so want to get it booked. Thanks so much!
  9. Is advance access to the Overland train tickets limited? I can see tickets up to the end of December, but would like to book a ticket for the end of January and I cannot get to them - it just gives me an error message "cannot access journeys" or something like that (I'm using Chome to access). I know in the UK and Europe you sometimes cannot see tickets more than 3 months in the future, is it the same here? I sent an email to an "agency" that handles Aussie train travel and they are willing to sell the January ticket to me - for a $40 extra charge! - so would prefer to book it independently (obviously!) BTW ... I know it is a very l-o-n-g trip but, hey, I like travelling by train, and on this occasion I have the time, so why not! Many thanks for any advice.
  10. I am looking at "jigsawing" a few cruises together around and from Australia that could leave me with about two 10 day "gaps" between cruises. I would like to do a multi-day tour, preferably a "small group escorted" type tour, that includes time at Uluru and Alice Springs. I know that both are a long way from anywhere, so would probably include flights - I would like to use the Ghan train, but not sure with my restrictions on dates if that would work. The dates would be at the beginning of March or beginning of April next year. (BTW, I don't drive so hiring a car and DIY doesn't really work.) While the cruises mainly go from Sydney, I am hoping to spend some time in Melbourne and possibly Adelaide so could use those as a starting point too. Can anyone make any recommendations or reviews of that area and provide me pointers for any good companies that might offer such a thing?
  11. westcoasttech

    MSC Seaside in South America - is this not bookable from NA?

    Oops meant to be Seaview in the title, not Seaside ... guess I can't get into that to change it?
  12. westcoasttech

    YC "Drinks on Us??"

    As mentioned above when you are YC you can order anything from any of the menus (or that you can think up) as long as it doesn't have a 2* mark on their list (which as I remember is a very few high end ingredients). They have a specific list of YC cocktails in the YC lounge - I tried quite a few, the Pear Mule is very good, the Caipirinha with chili and passion fruit was not! The good thing was if you don't like it you just order something else! It wasn't till the last day I tried the pear and ginger martini (on the martini lounge menu) and realized that should have been my drink all week! As long as the YC bar has the ingredients to hand they will make anything from any of the drink menus on the ship (or that you can think up!) There is a short wine menu on the YC lounge menu (which includes the Chateau St. Michelle that I like), but they will also have other wines by the glass available in the restaurant on a daily basis (something I didn't realize until very late in my trip!) (All the above applies to the Seaside - haven't tried the other ships ... yet!)
  13. Just clicking around trying to jigsaw together a trip at the end of 2019. Seaview has a transatlantic from Italy to Brazil listed in November 2019 (at a pretty good price) and I wondered about adding on to make it B2B. However nothing seems to be listed for the Seaview after that until Spring 2020. Presume Seaview is doing South American routes through the winter, but are they not bookable from North American sources? Just curious...
  14. I would consider them all walkable. The order you've listed them is pretty much closest to farthest away, but even the Hyatt Regency is only, maybe, 5 blocks away (but is just a little bit uphill). You may want to add in the new Exchange Hotel which is on the next block up from the Auberge - don't know what price that might be coming up as. From your list I do like Le Soleil, but it's a few years since I stayed there, so can't give you a recent report. My least favourite from your list would be the Delta Hotel, but that's just personal preference, no strong reasons and it's the one that's kind of on the Eastward side of the city centre rather than strictly central. Which ever gives you the best rate or you can use any points at or a free breakfast, I would say! [sorry if that's not too helpful!]
  15. OP here - coming back to report post my "test" first cruise with MSC. Overall it's a thumbs up and I did enjoy the cruise a lot! On the first day I just told any crew that asked that "my roommate couldn't come", it was only asked about a couple of times, (and I'm pretty sure I wasn't fooling anyone, nor was I trying too). With any fellow passengers I made friends with along the way, I was honest and said I was travelling solo [and got a few "oh, aren't you brave" remarks:D!] The YC doesn't seem to mind solos, sometimes I ate with fellow cruisers I made friends with, sometimes by myself, the YC staff just roll with it. Whether I got a "good" table by the window or not seemed to depend on what time I went to dinner rather than whether I was eating with fellow cruisers or not - the majority of the YC window tables are two tops anyway. I did notice a couple of other people dining solo, but they seemed to keep to themselves and there's no forced sharing of tables in the YC! I would report there didn't seem to much of anything organized for solo travellers - there was one "get together" on an evening 2 or 3 days into the cruise, which a handful of people showed up for, but I didn't see anything else. Not a big deal for me, organized events can be nice, but I've cruised enough to be independent, and I seem to meet up with people at trivia events more than anything else. I did talk to another solo lady at the solo get together - she reported that in the MDR she had started off at a two top, but the maitre'd had noticed and asked if she wanted to move to a sharing table and it had all worked out well for her - which is nice to note! Would I do the "fake roommate" booking again? Yeah, if I have to (but obviously would prefer to be able to book at the 150% solo supplement!) It was annoying to have to pay double for an "all inclusive" rate, and I know that it really wasn't economically smart in any way! But that's a good thing about travelling solo, you only have to convince yourself and I'm at a point where if I want something enough I'll go ahead and do it! My next MSC booking is in the Fall of 2019 on a smaller ship so no YC anyway - this time it's Aurea level at the 150% supplement and no fake roommate! If anyone has any specific MSC Seaside questions I'll be happy to try and answer them.