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About Markanddonna

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Westerville, OH USA
  • Interests
    Genealogy and writing

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  1. Research the current rules and status of any ship. Things change and what was available or the correct procedure may have changed since the last time you were on the ship or cruiseline. That's why even "accurate" and well intended advice can be wrong.
  2. Bella does not guarantee your choice of dining time, so if you request the early dining in the Caribbean, you might be assigned late dining. Europeans often prefer dining later, so a Med cruise is often different. In the Caribbean, it might also depend on how many Europeans are on the ship. I'd say go Bella!
  3. The train or bus station is easy to use. Lucky you to be traveling to Krakow, my favorite city in the world (rivals with Sydney!)
  4. We used a tour company for Auschwitz that picked us up at our apartment in Krakow. It was a rainy day and we were glad we made those arrangements. We took the bus to Zakopane which was easy peasy. Check out my website for info if you are going to Krakow. www.DonnaGawell.com Look under "travel to Europe and Australia." There is a section on Krakow and a few articles. Don't miss the milkbars (they are restaurants.) We did a WWII research trip there in 2018.
  5. I am going on the Grandiosa in November and have been doing a lot of research. You can check out my website for travel ideas in all these ports: www.DonnaGawell.com Look under "travel to Europe and Australia." Also, I believe there is a shuttle from the ship to town in Marseilles. BTW- all the above advice is very good. I'm stuck on Genoa and Marseilles. My plans will be weather dependent.
  6. I am a writer and much of my travel is for research. I also give lectures on budget travel, genealogy travel, and history. Here is what I do: I set up a 1/2" wide binder for each upcoming trip, make a planning calendar with the itinerary and put it in the front view pocket. I use lightweight plastic sheet protectors for copies of reservations and Google planning maps and other info. I carry this 1/2" binder with me and also have a zippered pouch for receipts. I often throw away the paper documents as I travel to lighten up my load, so to speak. I also set up a folder for each trip on my computer and save a copy of all my document it the folder and then send it to my Kindle device in docs. I keep this digital folder for future reference. I usually journal on my trips, so I also have that. For simple trips to the Caribbean (7-14 days), I'm much more relaxed since I'm not researching and interviewing. Most of my trips are rather complex with several countries and multiple cities, flights, trains, buses, hotels, etc.
  7. I live in Ohio and discovered that Florida is often too chilly and not worth it for expense, so we book Caribbean cruises. It is a lot cheaper than staying at a hotel.
  8. I don't think the OP is a complainer, but simply suggested that this issue is frequently discussed on the CC boards. I made a similar decision in booking the NCL excursion to Paris knowing that my trip in Paris would be very brief. It was shortened even further by NCL's policies, but I don't regret taking it as I likely would never have been to Paris if I hadn't taken a crunched, mediocre excursion. BTW- I didn't see that NCL was blaming the tour company. Things like what you experienced are common. One reason we prefer private excursions!
  9. I am pretty sure the answer is no for a one day cruise port visit, but this was the description on the website: "While you do need to have a passport when traveling overseas, special arrangements are made by the large cruise lines to facilitate their passengers’ shore excursions. These special arrangements eliminate the potential for loss or theft of passengers’ passports while shopping and touring, and eliminate the need for passengers to obtain individual visitor visas from Turkey. U.S. citizens do typically need an e-visa to enter Turkey, but cruise ship passengers are permitted to come ashore without a visa for day visits by special arrangements." So, my question is: what does "by special arrangements mean?" I see many CC'ers go on private excursions, so I guess we don't need a VISA for those?
  10. Did you do your research about a trip to Butchart Gardens? We have been to Victoria three times and only considered a tour of the gardens when we were there for an entire day. I read lots of comments/complaints about how disappointing it can be to arrive for an evening visit. It takes a while to get there. Another example of disappointing ship excursions paired with a lack of research. The cruise line isn't going to reveal the issues- check CC reviews!
  11. Consider what it means for the cruise line air to promise they will get you to your cruise on time. Let's say you booked Air2Sea with three days in Rome before the cruise and there is a hurricane. If you miss the flight because of weather, they will try really hard to get you to Rome for your cruise, but you may miss out on the three days you wanted in Rome before the cruise. That almost happened to us, but Air2Sea was overwhelmed and let us take control of the booking. We called the airline direct and they changed our first flight which let us make the final flight out during SuperStorm Sandy. There were about twenty Americans who didn't make the fall TA.
  12. I'm in the minority as I prefer springtime or eastbound TAs. Here are my reasons: - More daylight in the springtime for excursions at ports or in Europe. I like mid-April TAs because you arrive in May. Europe is so beautiful at that time, fewer tourists, and usually comfortable weather. - As far as the 23 or 25 hour days: you are going to have this jet lag issue somewhere in your travel- on the front end or on the back end. - With eastbound TAs, you have a gradual chance to reset your internal clock and are ready to "hit the ground running" when you disembark in Europe. - I don't have to deal with the possible interruption of hurricane issues. I went on a Fall TA in 2012 and had to deal with flights being cancelled due to SuperStorm Sandy.
  13. There used to be a good price tracking site that gave the history of a cruise's price, but that is not functioning anymore.
  14. You are right. They typically cruise in the Yacht Club.
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