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Posts posted by GradUT

  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. 

    • Like 1
  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:  



    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 will be warm in Australia in February, but the further north you go, the hotter and more humid it gets.  So Brisbane will be more unpleasant than most places. 

  6. 3 hours ago, dogs4fun said:

    Tallinn & Helsinki are easy to DIY. If you get a copy of Rick Steves Northern European Cruise Ports, this will give you info on DIY in your ports of call. You can purchase a copy or get one from your local library. Can't speak to Visby - hopefully someone with Visby experience will post.

    +1 for this advice.  That’s exactly what we did on our Baltic cruise.  That  Rick Steves book is a great resource for DIY. 

  7. 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. 

  8. 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!

  9. 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).  

    • Like 1
  10. We went to some of the sites which are part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park and got tickets for one of their ranger-led tours (which was great).  Then we did some of the area hikes.  We had a great day away from the crowds and spent just a few dollars for the ranger tour.


    Our traveling companions did a guided tour to a place where they train sled dogs and they really enjoyed it. 

  11. Since they were able to remove the charge immediately ("as a one time courtesy"), it's clearly something that can be done and should be done immediately.   There's no logical reason why a 10--day waiting period should be required to remove "Vacation Protection" after you book. 


    And for any future cruises, I suggest you continue to book your trip insurance  through 3rd party sites.  I have always found better coverage at lower rates than what Carnival offers through InsureMyTrip.com.  As is true in many cases, easier is not always better.



  12. Yes, you can walk to the Southernmost Point from the cruise port.  It's about a 30 minute walk.


    There's lots to do in Key West -- it just depends on your interests.  You can do HO/HO bus rides, self-guided walking tours, visits to the Truman Little White House and to the Hemmingway House, shopping, eating key lime pie, etc. 

  13. If you don't want to walk, grab a taxi or a pulmonia (open air vehicle like a golf cart).  They are everywhere and the fares are not expensive.  The drivers may quote you a rate in USD, but they will also take pesos.  (And note:  the quote they give you is per vehicle, not per person).

  14. Apply for your ETAs before you book any non-refundable airline tickets or accommodations.  It's rare that there are problems with getting an ETA, but it does happen.  I have read posts from plenty of people who waited until the last minute and had a problem.  Guess who wasn't getting on a plane to Australia or New Zealand? 

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