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Everything posted by barante

  1. The Sea Walk on Sky is somewhat different design from other ships. Still, would you book a mini suite on Sky directly under the Sea Walk? Please only comment if you actually experienced those Sky cabins.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. "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.
  5. 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?
  6. 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.
  7. 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?
  8. 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.
  9. Where does one find the form? I canceled my cruise but never heard from Princess.
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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?
  15. 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 . . .)
  16. I am looking forward to the March 19 Coral Princess sailing from Buenos Aires to FLL, while dealing with a family health crisis. Today I bought Princess Vacation Protection coverage--which must be contracted before the final payment deadline--in case we need to cancel close to the sailing. Very affordable, and you may cancel for any reason. The Princess Vacation Protection package is not insurance per se and does not cover trip interruption, lost luggage or other features often included in insurance policies. As a Ruby level cruiser my coverage cost $157 and was upgraded free of charge so that in the event of cancelation before the sailing I will get 100 percent reimbursement in future cruise credits that must be used on Princess within a year. (The basic coverage for lower tiers reimburses 75 percent in credits). Please note that if you are interested, you must buy coverage through your cruise agent who owns the booking made in your name. This is what I learned after trying to buy it directly from Princess. I have 75 percent reimbursement (in cash) for the flight to Buenos Aires, if that needs to be canceled. But that is not through Princess. Hope all this will work out.
  17. Just a heads-up: As of Nov. 2021, the Pride will be homeported in Tampa, with the Legend moving to Baltimore. And I you want to cruise on it to Baltimore in style, take the Oct. 31, 2021, trans-Atlantic sailing from Barcelona to Baltimore. I will. Just booked one of the six premium balcony cabins, which offers suite size (230 sq ft plus 80 sq ft balcony) for several hundred dollars less than a suite.
  18. Here is more about the shift Djptcp reported: https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/21921-carnival-legend-to-europe-then-baltimore-pride-to-tampa.html
  19. Baltimore is my hometown. That's why I excitingly booked a rare premium balcony cabin on the Carnival Legend's Oct. 31, 2021 fourteen-day trans-Atlantic from Barcelona to Baltimore. The itinerary includes Cartagena/Spain, Cadiz (Seville/Spain), Funchal/off-shore Portugal, Ponta Delgada/P, Praia da Vitoria/P, Baltimore. Baltimore is the homeport of Carnival's Pride as well as of RCL's Grandeur of the Seas. Its strength is that it is within a vast catchment area that runs from the MD/DC/VA area all the way to Ohio and New England. Motorists can reach it with overnighting only in Baltimore before the cruise. As a result,, sailing pricing on these relatively old (but well-maintained) ships is often quite aggressive. Another of Baltimore's attractions is its hub status with Southwest Airlines. Legend will be the first mass-market liner to end its TA run in Baltimore. By comparison, its pricing is most reasonable, even for suites. I have done a dozen TAs, both on freighters and cruise ships. The Legend is an old friend: Several years ago we took it from the continent to Iceland and Greenland, and then on to Boston, a wonderful voyage complete with northern lights and John Heald. Here is the rest of the story: The 2021 Legend cruise will be preceded by another TA-- from Barcelona to Tampa in October, 2020. That TA's itinerary is totally different. We just love sea days! I have been to Barcelona before, but I want to see more of it and find out why people think it is so wonderful. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed after all the build-up. .
  20. We spent several days during the New Year in the antarctic waters on a HAL cruise. Found out that the freezing temperatures did not materialize and that we overpacked. A few comments: --Where are you going to find Goodwill stores in BA or Montevideo? You sure they even exist. --Unless you have language skills that I don't, you will waste time and get frustrated. What we do in these kinds of situations is to wear our outerwear on the plane. Admittedly we fly from point A to point B, without intermediate stops in other places. But taking along the heavy clothing (ie what you would wear in Canadian winter) seems advisable. Unless you know the shopping scene, you will be wasting money. Then there is the question of sizes which may or may not be the same, or the availability of a particular size. Which is the reason I increasingly buy off-the-rack stuff in the U.S. on the Internet because I don't want to go to physical stores only to find out they don't have what I want. Your vacations should be stress free.
  21. Can anyone recommend? We'll be on the Coral Princess in March. Because of my partner's disability we would need a tour with minimal walking. Does not even have to concentrate on tourist attractions as long as we get to know the kaleidoscope of Salvador. (I have been in Salvador twice before).
  22. Check out business class fares for Avianca and Copa. I was able to get a good price from IAD (Washington) to EZE (Buenos Aires). It's an overnight flight so might as well be comfortable, even though neither business class offers flat beds.
  23. In South America, H. Stern is a Cheap Charlie cruiser's best friend.The Rio-based luxury jewelry empire operates free shuttles from the pier to its store in many countries. I have used H. Stern's free shuttles in Rio, Salvador, Recife and Fortaleza. In each case they represent a splendid alternative to taxis because they take you to well-located stores. And they tolerate this Cheap Charlie's tendency to briefly look around, then wander off and ultimately return for a ride back to the ship. All stores are air-conditioned so they also serve as cooling-off points. Some may offer a cool drink. When we took our first South America cruise, from FLL to Buenos Aires, an H. Stern representative joined the ship in Barbados and sailed all the way down. He made deals with tour groups and coordinated everything. The company was started by Hans Stern (1922-2007), a German Jew from Essen who was able to flee to Brazil after Hitler came to power. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Stern The youngster began in the gem business in 1945 and opened his first store four years later. Naturally, he located it near ship terminals, as ships were the main--and often only--way to reach Brazil. Jetliners would come more than a decade later. I am going to South America again in March. Undoubtedly I will renew my acquaintance with H. Stern. If you end up at the Rio headquarters in Copacabana, take the free factory tour. It's interesting, with audio headsets available in a dozen or more languages.
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