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About Zukini

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  1. Zukini

    Fascinating Istanbul, A DIY Photo Review

    Ssislandgirl, thanks for a wonderful review. It bring back many memories or our stop there. Unfortunately, the review I had written at the time had photos hosted by Webshots, which is now defunct, so all the photos I had posted are lost. Pvavalides, while I appreciate your passion, which is evident in the photo review you linked to, I think that it's unfair to expect an average tourist to have an in depth knowledge of the intricacies of Greek Orthodox Churches. To be fair, the church IS built on the principles of the Roman (pre-Christian) basilica...that is to say an open rectangular space supported by a row of columns on each side, with side aisles. In that sense, Aya Sofia is for all intents and purposes, a basilica, though not in the church hierarchy sense of the word.
  2. Zukini

    Our day and a half in Istanbul

    Thanks. I actually need to get it updated with our most recent trip to Venice, Florence, Amalfi, and Rome...lot's of pictures to sort through. Again, very nice job on the photo blog/review!
  3. Zukini

    Our day and a half in Istanbul

    Thanks for another great photo review. Brings back memories of our stop in Istanbul on the Star Princess in 2011. What a great city!
  4. Zukini

    Day in Athens Review

    Great photo review, I really enjoyed it. Thanks for posting!
  5. Zukini

    Istanbul Tour Guide?

    I can very highly recommend Fatih Copuroglu. We used him in 2011, and felt that he was an excellent guide. His contact information is in the link, and if you would like to read details about our experience with him, you can find a review in our travel blog, linked in my signature.
  6. Zukini


    On another thread, the OP said he got it resolved...his email provider was automatically tagging any email from overseas as spam, so the confirmations from Trenitalia were just going into his spam folder instead of his inbox.
  7. Zukini

    Istanbul tour

    I can very highly recommend Fatih Copuroglu, a private guide in Istanbul. We used him in 2011, and he was really wonderful. We got connected with him through Ephesus Deluxe, but you can book directly with him by contacting him at fatih @ copuroglu.com , and you can read about our tour with him on my travel blog at http://zukini.travellerspoint.com/17/
  8. Zukini

    Views of Italy from ship?

    Pictures speak a thousand words. Here are some views from our 2011 Princess cruise. Our Captain kept us fairly in toward shore for some scenic cruising on our outbound and inbound passages through the Strait of Messina. This is a view of Ischia seen leaving Naples: This is a view along the Calabrian coast: Fireworks at a village a little further north: Stromboli Volcano: The "tip of the boot" passing through the Strait of Messina:
  9. Zukini

    Skipping Pompeii?

    Ha ha, I would actually reverse that. Touring Pompeii was a walk in the park compared to the workout we got on the coast! Cruisemom, I know your love of ruins, but don't think of the Amalfi Coast as just shopping and scenery. I think you would really enjoy exploring the footpaths above the towns. A real sense of history of the glory days of Amalfi as a naval power, as well as the ruins of ancient Saracen watchtowers like Torre dello Ziro. We did a walk from Ravello (a beautiful place, by the way) to Amalfi this year, and we enjoyed that so much we're going to plan our next trip specifically around the trails through the mountains there. Check out the "Walking from Ravello to Amalfi" entry in my travel blog (linked in my signature) for a photo journal to get a taste of it.
  10. Zukini

    ATM location at VCE?

    The Bancomat at VCE is after the baggage claim area. Just a heads up. We just returned from a non-cruise trip to Italy. Contrary to our past experiences with Bancomats, no Bancomat in Venice would allow us to withdraw more than €250 in a given day against a single debit card. It didn't matter which bank the machine was affiliated with...once I had withdrawn €250 from ANY machine, all the rest would say that I had reached my international banking limit. I checked with my debit card company (CapitalOne) and this limit was not imposed by them. In order to pull enough cash for my apartment rental, I had to use a second card (my wife's), and then fall back to a secondary debit account I had put some cash in before the trip. This is a new development, as far as I know. I don't know if it's limited to Venice, or is a new change affecting all Bancomat machines in Italy.
  11. Zukini

    Piraeus Terminal A from Term B

    When we were there in 2011, we were docked at the furthest pier in Terminal B. It's almost exactly a mile from the gangway of the ship uphill to Terminal A from that point. Due to a shuttle bus strike, we walked it, but I wouldn't recommend it while pushing a wheelchair.
  12. Coral, just to clarify a few things: The materials handed out made it clear that reporting gastrointestinal illness was mandatory. Upon reporting my illness, I was told to report to the infirmary that evening. It wasn't optional...they wanted to verify if I had Noro or not. The charge was a lot more than the $40-$70 being bandied about, and I had no idea I would be incurring it simply by reporting my illness. It really is in their vested interest that passengers DO report. The ship isn't making money if the virus spreads and people are confined to their rooms drinking broth rather than at the casino, specialty restaurants, bars, and shore excursions. Again, reporting is mandatory, and not reporting is a violation of your cruise contract. Once reported, you are not just confined to your cabin until you're feeling better, you're confined for 24 hours BEYOND that, to ensure you don't infect others. I totally agree with you on this, and I think it's the single biggest change that would greatly limit norovirus outbreaks if it was practiced consistently instead of only during a "code red". After our illness, but before the "code red" was declared, I became painfully conscious of the way people act in the buffet line. That included: Licking fingers before handling tongs.:eek: Reaching into crocks of raisins with bare fingers, scarfing them, then reaching in for more.:eek::eek: Picking up bacon that had fallen ON THE FLOOR and returning it to the serving pan.:eek::eek::eek: To amplify what the original poster mentioned, staying in your cabin for the duration of your illness is not sufficient to contain an outbreak, as you remain contagious for up to 24 hours after the "symptoms" stop. The special cleanup team also needs to be assigned to your cabin so that your steward is not passing the virus along to the other cabins he services. The only way to achieve both of those goals is to encourage full reporting of illness. Passengers are already reluctant to report because they know they will endure a confinement and miss part of their vacation. Getting hit with a medical bill just for picking up the phone to report your illness doesn't help encourage compliance.
  13. Prior to experiencing it for myself, it had always been my impression that treatment for norovirus was free, and I remembered specific cases I'd read here on CruiseCritic that confirmed that. Unfortunately, when my DW and I contracted it during our 2011 cruise on the Star Princess, we were charged quite a bit. I'm in agreement that it's a disincentive to report, and I spoke to both the purser's desk and the Captain's Circle Host. The Host, Debbie, went so far as to ridicule me, said it was crazy to expect that I wouldn't be charged, and insisted that no cruise line she had ever heard of or worked with ever waived charges for norovirus. For what it's worth, here was our breakdown. I got it first, then my wife. New consultation, night - $130 Pulse oximetry - $15 Loperamide Tabs - $8 Codeine + Paracetamol tabls - $12 Follow up assessment, night - $50 For DW, Acute Gastroenteritis Consultation, night - $80 Injection - $10 Pulse oximetry - $15 Promethazine Hydrochloride inj(2) - $12 Injection Supplies - $5 Follow up Assessment, Office hours - $30 Injection - $10 Prochlorperazine Inj (2) - $12 Injection Supplies - $5 All told, that's $394 in fees, which eventually was reimbursed through insurance. For the record, no where in the all of the health advisory literature that they handed out during the cruise did they mention that the mandatory call to report gastrointestinal illness would incur charges. Also for the record, my wife would have paid 10x that for the relief she got from the Promethazine injections.:)
  14. Sure, I think you'll find him to be very friendly and responsive. Do you need his email address?
  15. Yes, the transportation was mainly back and forth from the cruise terminal to the Sultanahmet neighborhood. From there, we did everything on foot, although the van would have been available if had needed it or had mobility problems. I don't remember how we dealt with payment for lunch, but I know we did not have any Turkish currency with us, so either the restaurant accepted Euros or our guide (Fatih Copuroglu, who I highly recommend) paid and we reimbursed him in Euros. Sorry, I just don't recall, but I don't think there's any need for Turkish currency unless you're going to the Bazaar. Our tour was indeed scheduled for 7 hours, and we were supposed to finish up with a visit to either the Grand Bazaar or the Spice Market, but my wife was still recovering from the illness mentioned in my review and was just exhausted, so we cut things short by an hour and went back to the ship. The rug factory was really optional, and Fatih would have skipped it if we had insisted, but it actually turned out to be an interesting stop. There's a bit of "theater" to the showing of the rugs, and they are very beautiful, but terribly expensive. Don't get me wrong, they WILL try to sell you a rug or wall hanging, and WILL try to overcome every objection you might come up with, but they were very polite about it. The place we went was a complex that also included a jewelry shop and a ceramics shop...we did buy a hand painted and glazed piece there that we have displayed on our mantel here at home. At Ephesus, our guide made a half-hearted attempt to get us to stop at a rug factory or a leather outlet, but she didn't push the issue. I had mentioned that we weren't crazy about the Ephesus guide, but I understand she is no longer being used by Ephesus Deluxe, so I wouldn't be concerned.