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About wassup4565

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    Ottawa, Canada

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  1. Be careful to ensure your steward knows that you want the wash and fold special. On a recent cruise we stuffed the bag for the wash and fold special announced in the Compass. (We also had a $10 discount as Diamond category). There was a misunderstanding, and the laundry came back on hangers and in some cases seemed to be ironed, and with a price of over $70. I straightened it out with Guest Services, but would rather no have had the issue at all. We have often used wash and fold in the past, and as long as you don’t include delicate fabrics or saturated colours, the results are just as if you ran the load through the hot wash and dry cycles at home. Very handy for long cruises, and it helps to reduce the amount you need to pack. We have a bachelor friend who always gets the wash and fold just to ensure he arrives home with mostly clean laundry!
  2. Thank you all so much for this information. We won't be going for several months, but I have a much better idea of how we can can plan our time in this wonderful place.
  3. I’m relying on my visit to Santorini a few years ago, so take this for what it’s worth. First, you have to tender the short distance to shore. Then you must take the cable car/elevator up from sea level to the top rim of the volcanic crater. Depending on lineups, that could all take you an hour or so. At the top, you are immediately in the busy town of Thira. I’m not sure where Vichada is in relation to Thira, but you will easily find the public bus terminus not far from the cable car depot. Buses run from there on several routes. I took one to a beach bay on the other side, and it was about a half hour ride. You would have to repeat all these steps in reverse on the way back in time to make the sailing time. Surely the catamaran people can give you some advice?
  4. I’D like to buy packages of ground Puerto Rican coffee to bring home, but not at souvenir prices or in fancy packages. We are docked in San Juan from 1 pm to 10 pm on a Tuesday. Is there a grocery store within walking distance of the pier? Or would they sell coffee in the CVS drugstore near the pier?
  5. Ha ha, we have the same itinerary - Adventure, Feb 15! Here are our plans. i never get tired of those beautiful forts in San Juan, and you get into both for the same price. We take a taxi up, because the free trolley is slow, and a real bone shaker. After taking in the views from El Moro, we walk back downhill. If you keep an eye to the left, you can follow a curving road through an archway, and into an amazingly beautiful historic cemetery. Then get back on the Main Street and continue down to the smaller Fort for a visit. Keep going down, and get a drink and a snack before reboarding. As an alternative, you can walk along the shore below the old city walls, and the re-enter at the gate that leads to the “cat” street. Ask me if you want to know more about that! Gotta like cats for this place. Labadee, as has been mentioned, there are local craft vendors that are restricted to one area, and they are very pushy! However, there are some unique Haitian crafts there. Don’t touch unless you are serious - they assume you’ve bought the item. The beaches are indeed rocky except for the farthest one, which is mobbed. The barbecue is tasty. I think I’ll get off for lunch and then go back aboard to hot tub. St Thomas, Megan’s Bay beach is one of the ten best in the world. It s a nature reserve, so if you like birds, look for seabirds close up. My daughter saw a sting ray in the crystal clear water. the farther you get from the beach store/resto, the less crowded the beach is. There is apparently a hike and a historic mahogany forest, but all I want to do is paddle and wade in the gorgeous water - the bottom is smooth sand. You take a cheap jitney ride to the beach and back, and there is a small admission fee for the park. Food, drink and chair prices are reasonable, but the employees are veeeeery slow at business. This could be your bargain day. St Maarten, Maho beach is a taxi ride away, and it’s small and steep. Watching the huge planes scream in overhead just before they hit the runway is the big attraction. Once was enough for me, but the kids will like it. You could then go back to Phillipsburgh where there is a lively bar, resto, beach scene, and also crazy cheap shopping on Back Street, one street back from all the Cartier and Lancôme on the main drag. Buyer beware, but there are knock off purses and cheap,electronics, and everything is tax free. Hope this helps. What ship and what date?
  6. Mary, you posted the same queries on other threads. Might be good to tell people you’ve asked the same questions elsewhere.
  7. Have you been to St Maarten before? The roads are narrow, two-lane, with twisty hills and corners. Also, as others have said, the road back to Phillipsburgh can get very jammed up at afternoon rush hour. However, I would not book an overpriced cruise excursion (which did once, and it was a huge bus that crawled along. It stopped a couple of times, and it took forever to get everyone off and back on, not to mention the latecomers who held everyone up.) We have arranged private small small group tours twice on St Maarten, with companies that provided a guide and seating for about a dozen. These have been fine, and give you a good sense of the island. You can find these companies listed on trip advisor or via google. They will get you back on time - their reputation depends on it. We have also taken a taxi to Orient beach, reasonable price, lovely place. Have a great cruise!
  8. In San Juan, If the two national park forts are open, those would offer a great history lesson to your kids. You can walk, but it is uphill and a good distance, so take the free tourist train if it is running, or grab a taxi. You can walk back downhill from El Moro (the big Fort) to the second smaller Fort halfway back. Then grab a bite in a restaurant near the dock. If you are leaving at 2:30, you won’t have much time on the shore to do much else. St Kitts has very nice beaches not far from Basseterre (the town). We asked a crew member, and he recommended the beach the crew goes to, so try that. It was great. There is also an excursion train ride that is not cheap, but our friend liked it. Look for a bar with free WIFI and get a drink near the ship. Maho beach on St Maarten requires a taxi ride, and other than the planes landing, it’s not much of a beach. But the planes are fun! Ask the crew or your taxi driver if there is a regularly scheduled big aircraft that will be landing - that’s what you want to see. Make sure you head back toward the ship in good time, because the only road gets traffic jams at afternoon rush hour. There is a lively beach with lots of bars a short water taxi ride from the dock. have a great cruise!
  9. There was a devastating hurricane which hit the island a couple of years ago, and beaches were hard hit. You can take a taxi to Orient Beach (probably about $25 or $10 pp if you share with others) a half hour or so drive from the dock, located on the French part of the island. That beach was wiped out by the hurricane, but posts here and on Trip Advisor say that a few beach restaurants have re-opened. They will rent you chairs and umbrellas, sell drinks and food, and offer washrooms. The beach itself is fabulous, long, smooth, with a gradual slope into the water. Part of the beach allows nude bathing, but ask the driver, and you can choose. Arrange for the taxi to come back and pick you up later. The other popular spot is Maho beach, a taxi ride from the airport. This is a narrow, small beach with a couple of bars. People go to watch the planes come in right over the beach just before they land on the runway. There might still be a big KLM jet that zooms in right overhead around mid-afternoon. The beach itself is not much of an attraction other than the planes. There is a ton of duty-free shopping right in Phillisburgh, a brief cheap water taxi ride from the dock. You can also buy every kind of knock-off purse, electronics, linens, etc. Buyer beware, but great bargains. Also where the water taxi lands is a lively, noisy bar/beach strip. The island is not pretty. It is naturally a “desert” island, with no rivers or water sources other than sparse rain. You can get a taxi to take you on a tour - expect to see a lot of colourless succulents, iguanas, etc. No matter where you go, leave a generous amount of time to get back to the ship, because there are often traffic jams in the afternoon rush hour. Hope this helps.
  10. Yes, and the vehicles were parked very nearby outside also. Make sure to ask how to return the keys when you get back. I think there was a slot we had to throw the keys through or something. The agent was long gone. Please let me know if I can help further. I am just planning a land vacation with a rented car in nearby Brittany, and then to Paris for a few days. Not an expert, but I am learning a lot.
  11. When we rented a car in Le Havre we ran into an unexpected farmers’s protest shortly after leaving the city. Several dozen tractors and farms vehicles had arranged themselves bumper to bumper in all the freeway lanes, making a blockade. They were travelling at tractor speed. We exited at the next opportunity and fell back on Plan B, lunch in Caen and a drive back along the coast on secondary roads - one gorgeous old village after another all the way to le Havre ( pronounced Le Av). Have a Plan B if you try your excursion.
  12. Check with the rental company, but when we rented two years ago, two or three companies had a set-up a short walk away from the dock. No need for a taxi, we walked off the ship and into a huge hangar-like structure, and found the companies there. Easy to find, easy walk. The agent was not exactly on time, and showed up a few minutes late, but once he did, we and the others waiting were on the road pretty quickly.
  13. Sorry, I do not have that info right at hand, but you can google Magen’s Bay and find the official website, which is very thorough. I remember seeing price lists on that official site. Don’t forget you also have to pay a modest admission cost to the park (I think it’s $5 US)
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