Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

GiannaD

Members
  • Content Count

    591
  • Joined

Posts posted by GiannaD


  1. Advantages....disadvantages. I'd like to hear opinions...we have a hump cabin booked, deck 7 port side, mid ship. We've only sailed once before so I'm only somewhat familiar of how ships are laid out.

     

    It's a great location. You are right by the mid-ship elevators which are convenient to everything but the cabin is very quiet because there is a wall between your cabin and the elevator lobby. You also have a great view with no lifeboats directly below your cabin. Enjoy!


  2. The problems with terminal 25 cannot be put off on Immigration staffing....Although it was minimal for awhile & no one there from Celeb.to or port to help sort out the lines the problems have more to do with layout, organization or lack thereof, & location.....

     

    Terminal 24/25 was a nightmare after a great cruise .... the long outdoor walkway/ line to get to the luggage area is not acceptable; and the space inside to claim luggage is way too tiny for a big ship.. Then there is no space for immig lines-- and then a huge back up for taxis and vans...too small a staging area...

     

     

    I agree that the inadequate size of terminal 24/25 is the major factor in the debarkation and to a lesser extent embarkation problems experienced at Port Everglades. We sailed the Equinox twice and had no problems because it uses the state of the art terminal 18 that was built for the Oasis and Allure.

     

    Using two terminals (24/25) with long walks from the ship to the luggage area is difficult and then the waiting area for immigration and customs is much too small for a ship the size of the Eclipse. As others have said the debarkation problems started long before the sequestration.

     

    Adding to the debarkation difficulties is the fact that the terminal is on a narrow dead end spit of land with one road that becomes clogged with traffic and the taxi/incoming luggage staging area is a small loop that is shared with another large ship on the opposite side of the spit of land. (You can see the docking area on the satellite view on http://www.portevergladeswebcam.com.) The access road becomes clogged with taxis and trucks so even once you are out of the terminal there can be a very long wait for transportation to the airport, hotels or parking areas.

     

    Basically the docking area is inadequate! By contrast terminal 18 is a dream.


  3. Did you also do any other sightseeing with her besides Jewish sites? we've booked with her in 2 weeks and I was wondering if there is anything else on Curacao we can ask her to show us .

     

     

    We basically did the Jewish sites but also went to the Curacao Distillery which is Jewish owned but an interesting sight for anyone. We rode through Willemsted and saw the floating market and other things along the way. We did the synagogue last and I chose to remain in town and look around on my own. I crossed the pontoon bridge and walked back to the ship. Along the way there is a mall in an old fort and a street market with typical souvenirs. It is a fairly long walk to the mega port but pleasant.


  4. We would like to have a tour with Gigi in April while cruising on Carnival but I am hvaing hard time reaching her via email. Can you suggest a better way to contact her ?

     

     

    I contacted her about 3 weeks before our tour and she responded quickly. I had read on the boards that she was sometimes slow to respond to her e-mail because she does not always know her schedule. Her e-mail is gigischeper@hotmail.com.

     

    The phone number I have is +(5999) 697-0290. I don't have the country code. Hopefully you will be able to contact her. Her tours are wonderful.

     

    Gianna


  5. Gianna,

     

    Thank you so much for the reply, I read your post and it sounds like a wonderful tour--I appreciate the details about the walking as well. I'm especially glad to know that it is an interesting tour irrespective of one's personal religion as not everyone in my group is Jewish.

     

    Thank you again!

    Daisy

     

    You are welcome.


  6. Hello all! I will be in Curacao next month on the NCL Sun and I would really like to do some sort of Jewish Heritage tour with my group (probably 7 would go), normally I would just book the NCL tour as it seems fairly comprehensive and not terribly expensive, but I'm taking my mom on this cruise and she has fairly serious breathing issues--such that a long walk as part of a group would be out of the question. She can take a walk just fine, she just needs to take breaks and probably would not be able to keep up with an organized group walk.

     

    My question is, has anyone done the NCL Jewish Heritage tour, and if so, was there a lot of walking, any walking? The description on the website doesn't mention walking and it is classified as a "Level 1 - Low Activity" but I've been on a few classified the same that had a fair share of walking.

    Thank you in advance, I appreciate any feedback (or suggestions for alternatives)!

     

    We did a private Jewish Heritage tour with Gigi Scheper March 6 and it was wonderful. Two in our group used canes and there was very little walking involved. The only challenging place was the cemetery where the area was uneven so some in the group remained at the gates. We parked right by the synagogue and the pace on the rest of the tour was great for those who needed a bit more time to walk. You can find my post under "What was your favorite thing to do in Curacao?" It is #13. Please let me know if you have any questions.

     

    Gianna


  7. We are just off the Celebrity Eclipse and did Gigi's Jewish heritage tour on March 3. She was absolutely wonderful and gave us a real understanding of the role of Jews past and present in the development of Curacao. The Mikve Israel Emanuel Synagogue was the highlight of the tour. I would highly recommend her. gigischeper@hotmail.com

     

    I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.


  8. Beautiful piece! I posted the one we won on the Eclipse in 2012 on page 1 of this thread, I think ours was by the same artist, Carl Seigler. Sounds like you need to catch the ship he is working on.:D

     

    We had befriended an officer and when we told her that we had won a piece and asked where we could find bubble wrap, we were surprised with an awesome Celebrity bag filled with bubble wrap, tape, beach towels, tee shirts and other goodies. We wrapped the vase in bubble wrap and the towels and put it in our carryon and it made it home in pristine condition.

     

    Yes, the piece was by Carl Siegler. He was amazing.

     

    I hope he is on our upcoming Eclipse Cruise.


  9. I was lucky enough to win a glass bowl on the Equinox in 2011. The artist was leaving the ship and raffled off many of his pieces at the last glass show. The frequency of the raffles seems to depend on the artists who are on board at a given time.

     

    As for packing, I wrapped the bowl in many layers of dirty laundry and put it in the middle of my suitcase. It arrived home without breaking.

     

    The glass shows are marvelous.

    364072157_GlassBowlEquinox2011.jpg.c1161e85b3469ac0948d25f01632ee7c.jpg

    1860971051_ArtistWithBowlEquinox2011.jpg.b578fc3b18f9906b75aa62398c9461ed.jpg


  10. Is the train booked through the cruise or can it be done independently? If so, is there any savings?

     

    The train is usually booked through the cruise company. I don't know if it can be booked independently. Our car was entirely from the Equinox.

     

    I would do the train but am not at all certain that the dome car is worth the extra money.


  11. Did you check the seat arrangements in regular coaches? I would want to be sure they are not just as cramped before making a decision. If, in fact, they are more spacious I will take your suggestion. P.S. I think guides are just "luck of the draw". Thanks.

     

    The dome car seats were basically wooden benches on a platform with a table between the benches like a cramped restaurant booth. You could not get up and walk around to stretch or view the other side of the tracks.

     

    I would definitely do the canal tour rather than one that concentrates on Panama City. The canal is unique in all the world and a must see. You can see the countryside, new construction and the locks. The bus on the return trip does not ride along the canal but gives a view of the isthmus.

     

    Once again, a ride through Colon on the bus or a quick trip to the shops on the dock is all you likely want to do.


  12. Bigbenboys, I'll still a bit confused, so I hope you'll indulge me.

     

    I thought aft cabins were in the very back, so I guess I'm confused. Are these verandas larger and not windy.

     

    If they are windy, since this is a transatlantic crossing, perhaps we should start eating more NOW instead of waiting to get on the ship so we can hopefully avoid being blown off into the middle of the sea. :p;)

     

    In all seriousness, should I stick with 7286 or go back to the aft cabin I originally thought of. I like a large balcony and this I thought was one, but I also don't want to be blown off.

     

     

    Thanks for any answers

    We were in 7286 on the Equinox in 2012. It is on the aft angle of the hump not on the aft of the whole ship. It has the bed by the balcony.

     

    The balcony is huge compared to the other balconies. It was covered by the balcony above and looked down on a small boat rather than a lifeboat. The view straight out was great. Wind was not an issue. On sunny days you could sit in the sun or sit near the doors in the shade. The room is quiet but very convenient to the stairs and elevators. You don't have to walk down any endless halls. (On S-class ships the aft elevators are at the hump and it is a long walk from them to the stern of the ship.)


  13. I have been trying to find pictures of river boats interiors and have not been successful. Any suggestions

     

    Check Vantage's web site for ship interiors. They have recently added new ships and updated others so the photos I have are out of date. Their older ships were great and immaculately maintained.

     

    If you list a specific ship you may be able to get photos from recent travelers.


  14. We did the "Dome Car" excursion with Celebrity in February 2010. The dome car was not worth the extra money. It was very cramped and our guide thought he was entertaining but was just plain annoying. That being said the ride along the canal in the train was interesting but I would go for the standard train cars. As stated above Colon is nothing to see and you do not go into Panama City but view the skyline from a distance and stop for shopping and a snack break.. We also drove through the former US Military base near Colon and to the Miraflores Locks. There was a video presentation at the locks and then we had time to watch a huge container ship transit the locks. That was the highlight of the trip.


  15. This won't even slow a thief down if your suitcase has a zipper, which is what most of us have! Watch this video and you'll see that anyone can get into a suitcase that has a zipper. I tried this on my own suitcase and was successful the first try: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf-DGKUNffI

     

    I agree with Sloop-JohnB. The only protection you have with this type of luggage is to not pack anything valuable.

     

    Wow! Unbelievable video!

    Looks like zip ties and TSA locks are only for honest people and to prevent the zippers from accidentally being opened.


  16. In regards to using the Alligator clips for drying out on your balcony, it was well publicized that leaving any items on the balcony were a fire risk. Because anyone who might toss a cigarette overboard could cause the items on the balcony to catch fire. This happened a number of years ago on the Star Princess and a good portion of the ship caught fire and had to be brought to dry dock and rebuilt. I believe it was later found that the cause of the fire was from smoking material carelessly discarded overboard by another passenger up above and the wind carried the smoking material back onto someones balcony and caught their personal effects left on their balcony on fire.

     

    During our recent muster drill they reminded everyone not to leave anything on their balconies when they are away. They stated that fires are a major concern at sea and leaving any thing that might be ignited would be a hazard.

     

    So PLEASE do not leave any ignitable material out on your unattended balcony.

    __________________

    Thats too funny....my bathing suit is gonna catch fire and burn the ship down....ROFL

     

    Celebrity does not permit smoking on balconies.


  17. The safe on the Equinox is in the cubby above the frig. The top shelves in the closet were as described but I only remember one hanging rail in the closet which went the full length of the closet and there were no cubbies. The above the bed storage was spacious but hard to access for a short person. We kept some items in a suitcase under the bed and rotated them out as we wore clothing which went into a suitcase designated for soiled garments. The bathroom had great storage and the nightstands were really small. We loved the ship and didn't find the limited storage a real problem.

     

    There is no retractable clothesline in the bathroom so it is helpful to have some plastic hangers for bathing suits etc. There were some hooks in the bathroom and two hooks on the wall opposite the bathroom. The attached photos should be helpful.

     

    The cabins alternate with the bed near the balcony (as pictured) and the bed near the closet. Otherwise the standard cabins are the same.

    IMG_9754.jpg.060a578c98dbc384997f351d4eb7e7de.jpg

    IMG_9757.jpg.d8aa246549a1852d3ca6f3d136570bab.jpg

    IMG_9759.jpg.0a597da983c2ce55989ef8ce5e6ece45.jpg

    IMG_9762.jpg.f4ca64b4e5f24c6f30602e37303f73c9.jpg

    IMG_9765.jpg.0b31f0387a256a3e4c68a41f570957a1.jpg


  18. Hi Gianni

     

    I'm booking the two tours you mentioned as they sound great. Other tours offered are: Hungarian Countryside Puszta, Holloko, and Hungarian Folklore Evening. Have you heard anything about these tours.

     

    Do we have time to book the Amsterdan candlelight tour at night & would it be easy to get there from the ship?

     

    Thanks again for all of your info

     

    MaeLin

     

    The only tour I know about is the Hungarian Countryside tour. The Puszta is a type of horse farm where they give a demonstration of the amazing horsemanship of the Hungarian "cowboys." I will do that tour soon and can respond later.

     

    In Amsterdam the ships are docked all over the harbor usually somewhere near the main train station but it depends on the dock master so the lines never know where they will be docked. You will have to ask your program manager about that tour.


  19. Gee I hope you are wrong at least for 2012. I do know people that went in April this year and said they did see Tulips but not at full bloom but they also mentioned that they had the coldest spring in a long time. I'm going beginning of April of 2012 and I know it is still quite chilly. Being from Florida that scares me :eek:. However I know, Tulips or no, I will have a great time.

     

    Linda

     

    We did the Vantage Tulip cruise April 8-18 in 2009. There were hyacinth and some tulip fields blooming north of Amsterdam. We were at the Keukenhof Gardens April 17 and the tulips were magnificent. The daffodils were mostly finished around Amsterdam and the azaleas and rhododendrons were just beginning. Many of the tress were also flowering at Keukenhof and in the Amsterdam area. It was amazing.

     

    We live near Washington, DC and I think the tulips are like the cherry blossoms in that they bloom according to the weather and it is hard to predict when they will peak.

     

    The weather was chilly but not cold some places and surprisingly warm and sunny in others. We had very little rain which was unusual. Just pack layers and you will be fine.

     

    We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise.


  20. We are booked on the Vantage Castles of the Rhine and Danube (Budapest to Amsterdam) beginning on November 4. Does anyone have insight into weather at that time of year or suggestions for outerwear (winter coats? boots?, etc.)

     

    I agree with the above poster that it will be cold and foggy sometimes and sunny at others. We did the Castles on the Rhine and Danube from Amsterdam to Budapest September 28 to October 16 and it was already quite cool and foggy during the night and early morning with bright sunny fall days by afternoon. In many places the flowers were already dead and the palace gardens had been cleared for the winter. The vineyards were turning a lovely yellow and there were still leaves on most of the trees. We had frost on the decks one morning. We did not have rain which is more typical in November.

     

    Your best plan would be to take layers that you can add or remove depending on temperature changes during the day and from day to day. A waterproof shell paired with a fleece, warm sweater and turtleneck will work out well. (A winter coat is OK but you may find that it is great in the morning and evening but too warm in the afternoon-layers are the way to go.) You would also be wise to have hats scarves and gloves. You will find being on deck while sailing quite cool to cold but lovely if you have the right clothing. You need very comfortable, sturdy walking shoes. Vantage usually has umbrellas available. Since you are sailing north it will get colder and and the days will get shorter as you go along.

     

    We sailed in the Netherlands and Belgium in April on a Vantage tulip cruise and the same type of layers were appropriate.

     

    You have chosen a great itinerary during an uncrowded time of year. Vantage will do a lot to brighten your days even if the weather is dreary.

     

    Enjoy!


  21. I'm not sure what optional excursions are offered on your itinerary this season. Let me know and I can comment on the ones we have experienced.

     

    As I said above we did the Heurigen evening in Vienna and Jewish Heritage tour in Budapest.

     

    The Jewish Heritage tour in Budapest is wonderful because it includes an inside visit to the Central (Dohany Street) Synagogue which I believe is the largest in Europe. It has been magnificently restored and its history especially during WWII is very moving. The ****s took the building over and created a ghetto around it where many Jews died. Their markers are in the courtyard and there is a memorial to them on the grounds along with a memorial to the righteous who helped the Jews during this terrible time in world history. This option was interesting for Jews and non Jews alike.

     

    The Heurigen Evening takes you to a wine house outside Vienna where you have dinner and local wines. They usually serve traditional foods in a courtyard (heated in November) and there are typical singers and musicians in costume doing Austrian folk type music. It is touristy but fun.

     

    I would recommend both but your choice depends on your preferences.


  22. We did this tour in October 2007 and will be on our third Vantage river cruise this month. You have chosen a great itinerary and should enjoy it very much.

     

    It will be cold on the rivers in November so you should pack warm clothes with layers and take your most comfortable walking shoes. A hat and gloves will also be useful.

     

    You will enjoy the included Vantage excursions and should consider the optional Jewish Heritage tour in Budapest. The Dohany Street Synagogue was one of the highlights of our last visit. A visit to a horse farm in the country is also very interesting. The riders are truly amazing.

     

    You should check out Eyewitness Travel guides from your local library. They will give you an idea of the sights in each city and you can choose those that interest you most. They have lost so photos and suggested walking tours.

     

    Evening entertainment on the river cruises is low key (not at all like the big ships) but we found it enjoyable. Vantage usually has a port talk before dinner and then some sort of activity after dinner. You may have a folk group performance, swing band, local singing group or performers, crew entertainment, dancing, demonstration, or other game show like activity.(You will pass through many, many locks and the local groups get on at one lock and then get off several hours later at another lock.)

     

    There is a piano player in the lounge after the evening program which ends about 10:00 to 10:30 and the bar is open until the last guest retires. You can also watch movies which are usually classics related to upcoming ports on your TV. The itinerary is port intensive and you are usually up early so we were happy to be back in our room by 10:30.

     

    Enjoy your trip.

     

    Gianna

     

    Gianna

     

    Thanks for the info. What time of the year did you go? Did you do any optional excursions and did you book before trip?

     

    Thanks again

     

    We started in Amsterdam September 28 and ended in Vienna October 15. The weather was cool with some fog on the rivers in the early morning. The afternoons were crisp and sunny. We had early morning frost on the decks in Vienna October 14.

     

    Most excursions are included with Vantage with 2 choices in some ports. We did all the optional excursions which included the Heurigen evening in Vienna, the canal cruise in Amsterdam and the Jewish Heritage tour in Budapest. We booked ahead. You can take your chances and book on the ship if there is space available but it is best to book ahead if you really want to do a particular excursion.

     

    There was free time after many of the Vantage excursions to do things on our own.

     

    Gianna


  23. **********************************************************************************************************

    Just read and enjoyed your pictures of your Ireland trip. It really sounded like you had a great trip. I will look at some of your others too to include your river cruises. Thanks for sharing.

     

    We're booked on Budapest to Amsterdam cruise in Nov 2011. Thanks for sharing your pictures & stories. They are wonderful. This is our first river cruise and wandered if it gets boring at night? We did pre option in Budapest & post option in Brussels and have never been to either city. Would appreciate any must sees & restaurants. Thanks New Orleans:)

     

    We did this tour in October 2007 and will be on our third Vantage river cruise this month. You have chosen a great itinerary and should enjoy it very much.

     

    It will be cold on the rivers in November so you should pack warm clothes with layers and take your most comfortable walking shoes. A hat and gloves will also be useful.

     

    You will enjoy the included Vantage excursions and should consider the optional Jewish Heritage tour in Budapest. The Dohany Street Synagogue was one of the highlights of our last visit. A visit to a horse farm in the country is also very interesting. The riders are truly amazing.

     

    You should check out Eyewitness Travel guides from your local library. They will give you an idea of the sights in each city and you can choose those that interest you most. They have lost so photos and suggested walking tours.

     

    Evening entertainment on the river cruises is low key (not at all like the big ships) but we found it enjoyable. Vantage usually has a port talk before dinner and then some sort of activity after dinner. You may have a folk group performance, swing band, local singing group or performers, crew entertainment, dancing, demonstration, or other game show like activity.(You will pass through many, many locks and the local groups get on at one lock and then get off several hours later at another lock.)

     

    There is a piano player in the lounge after the evening program which ends about 10:00 to 10:30 and the bar is open until the last guest retires. You can also watch movies which are usually classics related to upcoming ports on your TV. The itinerary is port intensive and you are usually up early so we were happy to be back in our room by 10:30.

     

    Enjoy your trip.

     

    Gianna

×
×
  • Create New...