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barante

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About Me

  • Location
    Baltimore, Md., U.S.A.
  • Interests
    The world, humanity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Bermuda, Europe

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  1. We have booked a cruise with a stop in Ocho Rios. All I read about the Bob Marley tour prepares me for a weed-filled ripoff. But, hey, this is Jamaica, and I'm thinking of doing the tour mostly for the scenic ride. My partner uses a cane/rollator. Would she be comfortable on the museum grounds, or is it too hilly? Of course, she could fly, but the weed sold to tourists is inferior to what we get in U.S. dispensaries.
  2. Two things are keeping me from cashing in my FCCs and booking another Princess cruise after two canceled ones. One, I am petrified that if I fail a pre-cruise Covid test, I will be left eating the expense of a fully paid cruise and air for two people. How do others handle this insurance dilemma? The second holdup concerns Covid tests on arrival, say, after a trans-Atlantic. Will the final test on board satisfy the airlines so I can fly straight out, or do I have to stay extra days in country X to have a test performed there? Please share your wisdom. Thank you.
  3. "air Canada has nice premium economy seats." Yes, but we have to make it to Canada first. And all feeder flights from BWI/IAD are in extremely tight commuter economy, which is undoable for us.
  4. I have these Princess FCCs from a canceled South America cruise. With a deadline to meet, I began weighing my options: I wanted a trans-Atlantic in October, 2022, that includes Lisbon. And since my partner has mobility challenges, I wanted everything to be simple. Lots of sea days; a mini-suite with a big balcony. Departure from a city with predictable and decent business class (or premium economy) airfares. Princess cruises departing Rome were out because of air and transportation costs and complications. Air is one example. It's not only about the fare in premium economy but the near-impossibility of finding flights that offer premium economy all the way. We are too big for regular economy. That left Sky Princess , out of Southampton. We could get a good premium economy flight on Virgin out of IAD. But the more we looked at Sky Princess options, the less we liked it. Mini-suite balconies were miserly small and shallow and my partner vetoed the bathtub/shower combo as too difficult to navigate. She wanted a shower. But all handicapped cabins were taken, all six of them. Yes, regular balcony cabins have showers but we felt the cabins themselves were not big enough, again with miserly balconies. We spend so much time on balcony, Sky didn't make us comfortable. Out of curiosity I expanded my search. Looked at HAL, but Rome was again problematic. I haven't made any final decision but I am thinking of swallowing hard and chucking my Princess FCCs, and book a Carnival TA with my own dough. For little money I can get an extended balcony with a shower and a comfortable, big balcony. And since Lisbon is the departure port, we can spend some leisurely time in that wonderful, hilly city. I want to go listen to fado, a night-time offering that is difficult to schedule due to a ship's departure time. So this one cruiser's tale. Princess's FCC deadline is not the only deadline I face--I also know that this will be one of my final cruises. I just want to be comfortable, and disregard the service level difference between Princess and Carnival. Am I stupid, or what?
  5. Yes, but only three mini-suites altogether and three deluxe balcony cabins, all taken. And the shower in regular balcony cabins, themselves smallish, in very tight.
  6. My partner prefers showers because they are easier to negotiate. But Sky Princess mini-suites come only with a bathtub that you have to climb into in order to take a shower. She was ambivalent after seeing youtube videos about that bathtub. Has that posed a challenge to anyone who actually cruised o the Sky?
  7. A somewhat new wrinkle? Got my deposit back for 2 PAX, then the cost of the cruise back for 2 PAX. But the promised 100 percent OBC was given only to me, the lead passenger who paid for the cruise, and not to my partner. I have been meaning to call Carnival to understand this logic.
  8. Where does one find the form? I canceled my cruise but never heard from Princess.
  9. When I was in Limon several years ago, I explored the town's connections with Marcus Garvey. That Jamaican-born creator of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, the first black mass movement in Americas, worked in Limon as a United Fruit timekeeper. I went to see his Black Star restaurant--and an abandoned meeting hall upstairs. The sign outside promised fried chicken in English, although Spanish is the main language of the multi-lingual town. The attached link describes the fire that destroyed that building. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g309264-d3961699-Reviews-Black_Star_Line_Restaurant-Puerto_Limon_Province_of_Limon.html
  10. We have done trans-Atlantic on HAL, Princess, Carnival, Celebrity and MSC. I prefer the eastbound crossing, from Europe to the U.S., which has most port calls in the beginning and then lots of sea days for rest. Because of time changes, a number of 25-hour days. We have had all kinds of cabins--from inside to mini-suites. Pros and cons in each case; book whatever you can afford and are comfortable with. (If on HAL, see whether the ship has huge category L insides on the Main deck. The Noordam type ships have them). Currently we have an Oct. 2020 sailing booked on the Carnival Legend from Barcelona to Tampa and Oct. 2021 from Barcelona to Baltimore. Different ports, affordable prices and lots of sea days which we love. On both of those we booked premium balcony cabins. There are only six such cabins in that category. For several hundred dollars less than a suite, you get a huge 230 sq ft cabin with an oversized balcony. When should you book? Since these crossing occur at the beginning and end of the Mediterranean season, bargains may be had if you monitor prices and wait. The downside in doing that is that your preferred category may be sold out. In March, we are taking the Coral Princess from Buenos Aires to FLL, an 18-day cruise that is not a trans-Atlantic but will be warm and nice, with sea days galore. Have also taken the Pacific side cruise from San Antonio (Valparaiso) to the West Coast. Loved visiting Antigua and Corinto but thought much of that itinerary was a bit too chilly.
  11. Even though ther HAL Westerdam also overnighted in BA at the conclusion of our cruise, we, too, checked out the previous night. Didn't want to participate in the morning madness. We made the right choice. One challenge in disembarking in BA is finding a cab big enough for you and your luggage. Some of the cabs are just too small. With Argentine economy being what it is, I cannot see too many cabbies refusing US dollars. But, again, do agree on the price beforehand.
  12. Thank you. Salvador Bus seems no longer seems to be offering service. I will be in Salvador in March, my third visit. My partner has mobility issues so walking to/from the elevator is out of the question. I will contact a couple of guides and see what they may be able to offer.
  13. Has anyone taken a hop on/off bus in Salvador? Recommendations? A key question: Is there even a hop on/off bus operating these days?
  14. On my last visit saw the museum in Niteroi. In March hope to see this latest addition, Museum of Tomorrow. (Or, as they say: Brazil is the country of future where future never comes . . .)
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