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Everything posted by Thejuggler

  1. Indeed, ask on board. Some of the tax back systems now have an app, such as Global Blue. To show how things change our first fjords cruise was in about 2010. We were told about the VAT refund system and I made some purchases so took advantage of it. Before we left port there was a desk in reception with a Norwegian Tax officer who checked the paperwork and paid you back in cash!
  2. Reports are that Iona now sails from Hellesylt past the entrance of Gerainger fjord and that is your lot. Avoid that trip if you want to see Gerainger fjord in all its glory.
  3. It is 70 miles to Edinburgh from Greenock, and on days other than Saturday the tattoo ends after the last train leaves Edinburgh for Glasgow. There are however Citilink coaches all night between Edinburgh and Glasgow so that is a workable possibility, you'd need a taxi from Glasgow to Greenock - a 25 mile trip. Other options are a private driver or a night in the Edinburgh area and travel back to ship next morning, but that very much depends on when the ship leaves port.
  4. Visited Lewis for a week 2 years ago. Not much in Stornoway and cruise passengers probably take a tour around the island, Callanish Standing Stones, Gerrannan Black House village are attractions on an island not offering much to see (the beaches are however amazing). Stornoway itself has Lews castle, plenty of shops selling Harris Tweed and the The Crown pub where a 14 year old Prince (now King) Charles was caught drinking underage!
  5. A few options by train. Southampton to London Waterloo, transfer by tube in London to Kings Cross and train to York. Takes about 4.5 hours. Southampton to Birmingham, change to a York service. Takes about 5.15 hours Southampton to Reading, Reading to Paddington, Paddington to Kings Cross, Kings Cross to York. Lots of changes, takes 4.15 hours if all goes to plan.
  6. Depends which dock you use. We were docked at Stadsgarden very close to the city centre and there was a free shuttle to the Opera House. From there it was easy to get around and in a day we did Old Town, Vasa, City Hall and the main shopping area all on foot before taking the bus back to ship.
  7. Some stations have lots of stairs, but also have lifts (Covent Garden), others have escalators and then steps to street level, some are step free. If there are four of you the minimum underground fare will be about £11 depending on time of travel. With this in mind taking a taxi (I'd use a black cab in central London over an Uber) it can be cost effective for the occasional trip. A 2-3 mile trip (which is most of central London) is typically £15-20 depending on traffic. Don't dismiss the buses which are plentiful and cheaper than the tube.
  8. Part of the 'fun' of the tube is getting on the wrong train! There are however lots of signs before the platforms and screens on platforms with details of the next service. There are also plenty of staff. It really isn't an issue if you do go the wrong way, you just get off at the wrong station and go back (there are route plans in every carriage), if you don't leave the station it doesn't cost anything to back track. One word of advice if you aren't alone is to have a plan should you get split up getting on a train (which can happen at very busy times). My advice is whoever is on the train to get off at the first stop and wait for the other group to catch up. I was on the tube a few weeks ago and a teenager had got split from her friends, they had a plan in place to meet at a station, but she was worried she was on the wrong train, she wasn't. As regards your first trip why the change at Hammersmith or Baron's Court? Do you need to go there? If not take the district to Green Park and then a Jubilee to Waterloo.
  9. If you want to see where on the network a service is the Traksy mapping is excellent.
  10. All beds I've used on ships have been light frames so suitcases can be stowed underneath during the trip.
  11. The Gormley statue trail (Broken Column) in Stavanger is a bit of fun, even if you don't find them all you'll see lots of the city.
  12. UK weather is quite poor and has been since April. The jetstream is been to the north pulling air from the Arctic, rather than more typically from the Med so it is below average temperatures and lots of low pressure so plenty of rain, Yesterday there were also 40-50mph winds, which for July is not normal.
  13. If twilight luggage drop off is an option it is worth taking advantage of. You are then only queuing for security on the day and not check in followed by security.
  14. On a Sunday morning cab would be quick enough and of course door to door, but £60 could be low end of price. Moving between lines on the Underground with luggage can be a pain due to steps and escalators. Some stations and interchanges aren't step free. Consider a half way house so no underground interchange. Black cab to closest Elizabeth Line station from your hotel (probably Liverpool Street) then a direct service to Heathrow.
  15. All UK rail tickets can be purchased at any time. Buying before travel is not necessary for anytime tickets. Pre purchase is advised for Advance tickets because numbers at Advance fare prices are limited, but this fare isn't an option for your journey. There is no problem buying a Groupsave ticket on the day of travel, even at the station if you prefer, as it will be the same price.
  16. Saturday is usually off peak all day. Click the 'i' above the fare class for more detailed information. Flexible means you aren't tied to a particular train, that restriction is with Advance tickets.
  17. Celebrity used to tie in freedom dining with the requirement to pay gratuities up front at time of booking. We have done two GTY cruises with them, first one offered freedom, second didn't as we were very late booking and we ended up early sitting 5.30pm. This was far too early, some afternoon excursions did not arrive back until 5pm! This now appears to have changed, We have been allocated late sitting for September cruise but have no issue with 8.30pm. We will however be making enquiries at Concierge lunch about options for freedom dining.
  18. If there are be careful. The ones in Funchal were a complete rip off as quoted price was per person, not per trip.
  19. Unless you are a night owl and want to be up and about as late as all the other revellers avoid a hotel on or just of La Rambla. There are narrow streets in the area and all the sound travels upwards. L'eixample is the area just north of La Rambla, full of expensive shops, lots of bars and restaurants, walking distance of La Rambla and a great area to stay in.
  20. Just checked app for my upcoming Apex trip and its in the same place.
  21. Daughter and a friend went to Amsterdam for a day trip a couple of weeks ago. They had no issue booking on one of the many canal trips at the quayside as there are so many. You just need to decide how long a tour you want.
  22. I'm just back from a 4 day visit to Belfast. Incredible place and offers as much as Dublin. We didn't use the HoHo bus, but in a day may be a good option if you want to see the main sites briefly, but nothing in depth. Over 4 days we did City Hall Tour Black Cab tour Crumlin Road jail Botanic Gardens Ulster Museum Gasworks quarter Titanic and Nomadic Walked miles, but refreshed at many local pubs. Duke of York, Robinsons, the Crown Liquor Saloon and my favourite The Sunflower (not for the faint hearted!) The Black cab tour of the Shanklin and Falls Road left us with more questions than answers. Driver was very knowledgable, but I'm not sure its possible to find a completely neutral driver. Within minutes it was obvious our driver was from Shankhill Road area, but that worked for me as I have a colleague whose father grew up in the area. Well worth doing such a tour if the history of Northern Ireland/Ireland relationships from the 1600s is of interest.
  23. The extra time is getting to, from the centre and the time to get between the different sights. An hour at Vasa really isn't enough if you want to appreciate it.
  24. 30% off for Apex in September has been offered to us for weeks. Still too expensive,
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