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About wassup4565

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Ottawa, Canada
  1. Thanks for all the suggestions here so far. I am particularly interested in Belize. On our first stop here, we booked a small group open-boat trip to Caye Caulker. This was mainly for people snorkelling, but for non swimmers, we had the option of being dropped off on the Caye itself for a couple hours, then rejoining for the boat ride back. We chose this tour because the shuttle boat to Caye Caulker departed too early for our ship arrival including tendering time. First, the tour operator was about 45 minutes late picking us up. On the way back, the boat broke down, and we had to wait for the guy’s buddy to come and get us in another boat. We barely made the last shuttle to the ship. Caye Caulker was nice enough but not very interesting. We rented a golf cart and drove around the very tiny community, which seems to be mostly made up of diving guys and gals and people seeking a laid back alternative lifestyle. The community is mostly small shacks and cottages. Both the boat and tender rides were very long and somewhat rough. This would be a bad day for someone prone to seasickness. The excursion to the Mayan ruins sounds like a better choice for us. Caye Cailker - meh.
  2. wassup4565

    Windjammer for Dinner

    WE like the social experience of dining at a large table and meeting new people, and you can get that in the MDR. However, we’ve also ended up with some table-mates that were not interesting, and even more unpleasant, with people who have strident opinions they insist on imposing on others. If my dining companions are pleasant and interesting, I really enjoy the MDR experience. The WJ is a great alternative if we’ve had a long shore day or if we have been assigned to a table where we have nothing in common with table mates. The food is not a repeat of that at noon, and usually some of the evening’s choices from the MDR evening menu are available in the WJ. I prefer the salad choices in the WJ, as I can choose the variety of vegetables and quantity of dressing. Finally, if If I am travelling with my daughter, the WJ is ideal, as she can choose exactly what is best for her limited diet required by a medical condition. In the MDR she often has to consult carefully about the ingredients of some dishes and ask for special orders to have her food cooked differently. She can always find what she needs in the WJ.
  3. Sherri, thank you for this info. We will be in St Maarten in Dec, and really want to go to Orient Beach, one of our favourites. Glad to hear that we will be able to get a taxi and some food and chairs at the beach.
  4. Correction: I see that what I wrote about the south coast drive is confusing. To clarify, the drive is about four hours each way, for a total of about eight hours.
  5. Kiwi Cruiser, a lot depends on the dates you are visiting and how much time you have in port. Please let us know this info so we can help you better. I just came back from my third trip to Iceland. The first was a day and a half in port in Oct, and both other trips were multi-day trips on land. Unless you really don't want to drive, the best method is to rent a car as this allows you the flexibility to use your time best. Your second choice is to book an excursion through a local company. There is really very little public transportation in Iceland and taxis are horribly expensive - neither of those is an option. The Golden Circle is a road trip in the shape of a loop, so you can drive it without wasting time re-tracing your steps. You start out and end up near Reykjavik, and the entire route can be driven comfortably in about five or six hours. The road is excellent, drivers are polite and you get a taste of many unique Iceland sights - waterfalls, a geyser, horse meadows, distant glaciers, volcanic shapes and landforms. If you only have a day this is your best bet, either by car or tour. The south coast is amazingly beautiful, but it takes at least four hours driving and you will want to stop many times to sightsee. Part of that time is re-tracing your route, as this is not a circle and there is only one road there and back. If you are travelling in summer when the days are long, this is a lovely route. The Blue Lagoon is famous and very, very expensive. It costs about $70 a person, so it is not worth the cost unless you love warm geothermal water and want to spend several hours there. It is very pretty with turquoise water, but although people call it a spa, it's not what I think of as a spa - there is only one huge pool of one temperature, and any treatments cost over and above the basic admission. It is also always crowded, and you must book well in advance of your trip - you cannot just walk up. If you want to experience geothermal waters like Icelanders do, go to a public pool for about $10 a person, and enjoy many different heated tubs as well as swimming lanes etc. There are nine public pools in Reykjavik, but there are also pools in most small towns and hamlets. Google maps shows them. No matter what you choose, Iceland is gorgeous, so get out there and enjoy it! Wear warm clothes even in summer, and bring a good waterproof coat. The weather changes every few minutes, and you won't escape the cold rain!
  6. wassup4565

    Spencer Ambrose issues?

    Thank you for the update. We took the excursion with Spencer's company in 2016 and really enjoyed the experience. I have booked it again for four of us in December, and I'm glad to hear your experience was good.
  7. wassup4565

    Mud baths

    Just for the record, I did not like the mud baths at all. Yes, it is very crowded. But my biggest problem was that I found the water far too hot for me to enjoy, even with trying to ease in. I gave up on submersing myself, and just put some mud on my face, arms and legs. There are a few open showers available to rinse off, but I found the mud wouldn’t come off and I ended up with a lot of it still on my skin. It seems very oily, so maybe you need strong soap to scrub with - there was no soap available that I could see. I also ended smelling very strongly of sulphur, and my towel and bathing suit reeked of it all the way back in the van. I was very glad I didn’t get the mud in my hair, as I saw others doing. As it was, I couldn’t get the grit out from under my fingernails for two days, even scrubbing often with a nail brush. That was my experience, and I didn’t care for it. Just thought people might want another view.
  8. wassup4565

    Car Rental in Reykjavik

    I've rented cars three times in Iceland, and also read extensively on the Trip Advisor site. Its hard to say whether Icelandic car rental outlets are gouging, devious tricksters, or whether renters are careless dimwits, or whether both sides misunderstand each other. To avoid problems, you should inspect your rental car carefully before you take delivery of it and also photograph ANY damage on the car. This includes tiny chips in the paint anywhere on the car; pits or scratches in the windshield; bumps, dents, or rubs on the body; dirt, scratches, or gouges anywhere on the interior of the car. If this seems like a waste of time, a repair of a small dent and restored paintwork could easily cost you several hundred dollars, and if you can't prove you didn't do it, you will be charged for it. It's a beautiful country, the people are lovely, and you should absolutely rent a car to see it - it's the best way. But inspect that car carefully before you take it under your contract.
  9. We were there for four days in June/18 driving Route 1 near Reykjavik. The road is asphalt in excellent condition, one lane each way, paint lines well-marked, narrow lanes and also narrow shoulders, with a sharp drop off of several feet beyond the shoulders. Drivers are polite and follow the rules. Visibility depends on the weather. If there is rain driven by wind, it will be difficult.
  10. One of our most wonderful times in San Juan was discovering the area where the "Save a Gato" cats live. It was amazing to see the kitties lolling around on car roofs, sunning themselves on doorsteps, and even stretched out on low tree limbs looking down on us. Is there any word on how the cats are doing? I also saw on the news that store owners in Old San Juan were bringing street dogs inside to safety during the peak of the hurricanes. I know there are many terrible stories about how the people of PR have suffered. Just wondered if anyone knows about how those animals are doing.
  11. wassup4565

    San Juan Forts

    Oh, and even if the trolleys are working, they are real bone-shakers! They have hard wheels that rattle and bump over the cobblestones. The noise is so loud you can't hear the tour commentary. Once was enough for me! Taxi to El Morro doesn't cost much.
  12. wassup4565

    San Juan Forts

    For people considering walking to the forts, consider this. The forts are not very far away from each other. You reach both forts by turning right from the pier and walking up the hill. First you come to San Cristobal, and then after a further walk uphill, at the top, you reach El Morro (the larger of the two). A single ticket, by the way, gets you admission to both forts. The uphill walk is pretty steep, and as others have said, the air temperature is often hot, so it can be a sweaty, tiring walk all the way up to El Morro. Here's a suggestion. Take a taxi to El Morro first, and have a look around it. It's a really big fort, with many beautiful views. As well, there is potable drinking water in the fountains and the bathrooms are clean and peasant. After El Morro, walk down the hill toward the pier and stop in at the smaller fort. It's about halfway, and the same ticket gets you in. Enjoy the cool interior spaces, and use the drinking fountains and bathrooms there. Then walk the rest of the way downhill to the pier. The forts are very well-run and maintained, with many signs and other information. The most amazing thing about them to me is imagining those long-ago military men, far from home, building the forts largely by hand in the hot conditions. Waiting for an attack from the sea, wondering if they would ever see home again. What a life that would have been.
  13. Yes, sorry, I am asking about Jewel. The most recent list indicates the CD on Jewel during the summer will finish around mid-Oct., with a "?" as to who will take over.
  14. Still nobody listed as CD past mid-October. We sail on her starting Nov. 6 for the TA ending in San Juan.
  15. wassup4565

    This is crazy

    These ports have been devastated and badly damaged, but that doesn't mean the sun doesn't shine or the ocean doesn't still throw waves onto the beach. Our plan for Feb has always been to go to Orient beach in St Martin. It's a beautiful place, and even if changed, will still be beautiful. If the many vendors are not fully re-established, there will be many there selling and doing what they can. Even if all they can do is sell me a hot dog off a barbecue and a rum punch out of a cooler, it will taste delicious, and orient Beach will still be there to walk along. As for fears about security, please. There is not a person on that island who does not want to see happy tourists visiting. They have a well-functioning government, a police force aware of the issues, and citizens who will not be amused if some little creep disrupts the recovering economy. Believe me, the locals want to make sure you are safe and have a lovely time, even more than you do. NTheir future depends on it.