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GradUT

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  1. Keep walking past where you see those chairs in the photos and you will find a few loungers all alone. On our last trip to HMC, we did this and it was if we were on a private beach. Yeah, you have to walk a bit further for food and drink but it was WELL worth it to us.
  2. If it were a choice between an OV and an interior, I would only choose OV if the prices were the same AND if I were someone who required a lot of light. Personally, I prefer a dark cabin for sleeping and I just go on deck to get my sun.
  3. In Catalina, we took the bus (fare -$1) to the Wrigley Gardens and the hiked the Garden-to-the-Sky trail. Here’s a link to a very good description of it: https://catalinaexpress.com/blog/the-garden-to-sky-hike-a-perfect-island-adventure.html We then ate ice cream, shopped and played Minigolf. Absolutely nothing about Ensenada appealed to us, so we stayed on board and took advantage of the Serenity area, the water slides and no lines for food.
  4. An Australian ETA is valid for 12 months from the date it is granted. A New Zealand ETA is valid for 2 years. So if you are sailing in Nov/Dec, you can safely apply now. Whatever you do, do not wait until the last minute to apply. While the vast majority of applications are granted within minutes, you could be one of the unlucky ones requiring additional scrutiny. No ETA—no boarding flight or cruise.
  5. I’ve been to Australia as a tourist many times and even lived there for several years. And while I visited every state and territory in the country, I never went to Brisbane because there isn’t anything that interests me there. But that’s not to say there isn’t something that might be of interest to you. However, Sydney and Melbourne are more iconic cities with some world-class attractions—both cultural and natural. So, if your cruise doesn’t include multiple days in either Sydney or Melbourne, I’d recommend spending time in one of those cities prior to your cruise. Every place wi
  6. What to do (if anything) for 5 days around Brisbane depends on your interests. And note that it’s going to be pretty darn hot and humid there in February. TBH, I’d think about flying into either Sydney or Melbourne and spending 3-4 days there and then flying up to Brisbane just in time to board.
  7. +1 for this advice. That’s exactly what we did on our Baltic cruise. That Rick Steves book is a great resource for DIY.
  8. For a group of 9 with YTD, I would allow at least 90 minutes, but it could easily take longer.
  9. You can see the 2km route on Google Maps if you enter “Mazatlan Cruise Terminal” and “El Clavadista”. We did it with no problem. The divers are there only when there is a large enough crowd to make it financially viable. Most cruise visitors are gone by mid-afternoon, so don’t expect to see them after then.
  10. We sailed in the Splendor in October 2019 just before it went to Australia. It was a great ship—excellent crew and amenities—but the decor is so bad that it’s laughable. The pink and silver color scheme is super-tacky and the 1920’s-style pictures of people doing various activities which lined the stateroom hallways were pretty odd. Now you’ve got to sail it just to see for yourself!
  11. Also, AAA will have the foreign currency delivered to your door, so no need to schlep to a bank.
  12. We found some great juniper trivets (hot pads) at the Sweater Wall for much less than they were being sold in the souvenir shops. They made great gifts to bring home since: 1) they were representative of Estonia, 2) they were flat and easily packed, 3) they are useful and 4) they smell great (and still do after a few years).
  13. According to Carnival’s website, you must be on board the ship by the time printed on your boarding pass. You can access your boarding pass 90 days prior to sailing. The final time for boarding is generally 1 hour prior to sailing.
  14. We booked online well in advance of our cruise.
  15. We did a Segway tour In Mazatlan when we cruised there in October. We booked directly with the company and did not do a ship-sponsored excursion. Our 2+ hour tour cost $55 each. It was a ton of fun and a great way to see the Old Town and malecon.
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