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  1. Pricing clearly depends on the time of year, destination, length of cruise, etc. But even if you get a reduced rate for the 3rd person, there will be full taxes and port fees and there will be no reduction for the gratuities.
  2. HA! Love your response, Bookbug!
  3. I agree with the recommendation to use 3rd party sites such as InsureMyTrip, Squaremouth, etc. to purchase travel insurance. (I have used InsureMyTrip many times and have been pleased with the way they respond to questions I have had about policies, terms, etc.) You need to read the terms of the policy to determine whether you need to include the airfare and other costs when you state the value you want covered. Many policies require that all non-refundable costs of the entire trip be included in order for coverage. That being said, the additional cost of the airfare should not appreciably increase the amount of your premium, but it will significantly increase your benefits. I have purchased travel insurance for every cruise and expensive trip (e.g. safari) that would have been a financial hit had I needed to cancel. The only time I had to file a claim was for a medical situation that I could have had treated at a walk-in clinic in the US for a $10 copay. But since we were at sea, the visit to the ship’s doctor was around $250 — and all covered by my insurance.
  4. You’d need to contact the individual boat companies if you are doing a private excursion or check the details on the Shore Excursions section of your cruise ship’s website if you plan to take a ship’s excursion. I just finished booking our snorkel trip in Cabo as a ship’s excursion with Carnival and they all had a minimum age of 8 years old.
  5. If you cruise itinerary says your port is “Warnemuende”, then you will be docked close to town. If your itinerary says “Rostock”, then you are at some distance from Warnemuende (and hopefully your cruise ship is offering transportation.) In any event, on our Baltic cruise, we spent half of our time bicycling from Warnemuende into the countryside. There is a great bicycle trail that hugs the coastline and you can get some nice views along the way. There are a couple of bike rental shops in Warnemuende that will get you set up. (Check before you go if your passport is required for a rental—ours were.) After our ride, we had fish sandwiches in Warnemuende and walked around a little before catching the train (S-Bahn) to Rostock to tour the Stasi Prison Museum and to walk through the pedestrian shopping area. I assume you will have a long stay in Warnemuende for those passengers who are doing the day trip to Berlin. If so, you’ve got plenty of time for both Warnemuende and Rostock if you so desire.
  6. There aren’t hotels near Oceankaj which is mostly an industrial area. I recomnend looking for hotels near Nyhavn or Tivoli and then use public transportation or cabs to get to the port.
  7. We did the Reef, Rays and Beach Excursion. We had plenty of time at the Reef for snorkeling and at the Rays area to interact with the rays. I did not feel rushed at either site. (FWIW, the boat trip to both locations was short.) The beach stop was very pleasant. We had loungers facing the water with nobody in front of us. It was much more pleasant than the area near the dock. You could order food and drinks, but they didn’t pester you to do so. (And while we could walk back to the ship from the beach area, Carnival also offered a free shuttle for those on this excursion.)
  8. Were the “water bottles” that you taking something like the cheap plastic bottles of water you buy at the grocery store or were they something like a reusable drinking bottle? I plan to take my good reusable drinking bottle next month and I don’t want it confiscated.
  9. Last September our cruise to Bermuda was diverted at the last minute to the Bahamas and Grand Turk due to a hurricane, so we had no time to book any private excursions as we usually do. So we ended up booking our snorkeling trip on GT with Carnival and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was! The number of passengers on our excursion was not excessive—maybe 20 or so. The year before, we had booked a cruise that went to GT and were not able to snorkel because the operator we had chosen decided not to go out that day. Our ship, the Carnival Pride, was the only ship in Port that day and it turned out that we were the only ones who had booked with him. (FWIW, the operator was one recommended by others here on CC.) This is the only time that we have had a problem with a private tour operator, but it does happen.
  10. My favorite attraction in Melbourne was the Old Melbourne Gaol.
  11. Skip the excursions offered by Carnival and book with Peat Taylor. You will find lots of posts here from people who have toured with him and had great experiences (myself included). You'll get a better range of tours at better prices with Peat Taylor than Carnival.
  12. NCteacher, I think you made a great choice. We did a partial Panama Canal cruise on Princess several years ago in the month of April. We had a fabulous trip, but be prepared for it to be hot and humid in all of the ports. Cartegena was my favorite stop and we did a private city tour there which was not particularly expensive considering what we saw and did. (Unfortunately, I think our guide has retired, but we found him here on CC, so maybe you can find a similar tour.) We saw some of the ship’s excursions and there were way too many people on those! For the day of the partial transit of the Canal, I recommend doing one of the small boat tours that goes through the remaining locks. It’s such a fascinating experience to see the Canal from the perspective of a small boat. And the guide who provided commentary during the transit was so informative. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll have an amazing cruise.
  13. I agree with JB—you are unlikely to find anyone who has done tours with both SPB and Alla. But based on the many reviews of both companies that I have read, I don’t think you can go wrong with either. (FWIW, we chose Alla and were happy with our choice.)
  14. Very useful information from Shaded Lady regarding multiple legs. I would aim for a one-stop flight at the most. I did my Alaska cruise with HAL and we departed from Vancouver. So, if Carnival departs from a Canadian port (as opposed to Seattle), pay close attention to the airport where you enter Canada. Toronto's airport is, according to various surveys and statistics, the WORST airport in Canada. I had read a lot of horror stories about the Toronto airport before we booked our flight from D.C. to Vancouver and while there were several flights that first went to Toronto, we opted to take a flight whose first entry point in Canada was Vancouver. Vancouver was a great airport and our flight on WestJet could not have been better. (FWIW, we did have some scheduling problems that arose before our flight and WestJet handled them quickly and in a friendly manner to my complete satisfaction.)
  15. They are listed as separate ports because they are in the same general area, but not located close to each other. I would definitely consider them different ports for sightseeing purposes. (Take a look at Google Maps for Port of Rostock.) If you dock in Warnemuende, you can get right off the ship and see the sights in town. And if you want to go to Rostock, it’s an easy train ride to get there. However, if you dock in Rostock, you have to take a bus/train combo to get to either Warnemuende or to the town of Rostock. It’s not as convenient as docking in Warnemuende. We were lucky on our HAL cruise which docked in Rostock that they provided free ferries to Warnemuende and free buses direct to downtown Rostock. (But they did not tell us this in advance, so I was prepared with the bus/train info.). Your parents may not be as lucky on NCL, so you should get online to find the bus/train info or tell them they will need to take a taxi to either Warnemuende or Rostock. (As I recall, you’d take a bus from outside the Rostock Port to Luetten Klein Station and then take the train to either Warnemuende or Rostock.)
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