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sofietucker

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  1. Hilitner said "if you visit St Barts from St Maarten"...which is Dutch! And this very common day trip often departs from the St Martin/French "side" of the land mass too. I replied that we left from St Martin (the French side of the dual -country island known as St Maarten Dutch, and St Martin--one must pay in euros on this "side"), to the also French island of St Barts. My supposition about our not being required to show passports* at that time is that perhaps it was because we went from one French island to another French island. *We also did not have to show passports when we stopped there on the Prinsendam, but I expect that was--as with many cruises--becuase the ship provided a manifest to the port.
  2. good to know! We've gone over from "France" (St Martin side) but that was long ago, lol.
  3. We love St Barts. Fun to tender in to the port and admire the mega yachts, hop on a catamaran to the marine preserve and snorkel with the turtles. The *best* excursion ever! In addition to the reef, foodwise, they served champagne (not sparkling wine) in lieu of rum punch and brie and baguettes instead of jerk chicken and macaroni salad. Best of all? they threw noodles in the water and we all drifted around the boat listening to lovely French tunes, champagne glasses in hand--none of that safety vest and dolladolladolla stuff. We then pop into Hermes to grab a bottle of not-to-be-found-elsewhere fragrance--and maybe a scarf, then wander into Gustavia proper. Relaxed and low key, all the way around. (PS--You can do this from St Martin too...)
  4. Heh. I was trying to choose shorex in the eastern Med a couple of months ago--before we had to cancel the Azamara cruise--and they had an exciting tour of an ancient oracle's site in Turkey. Gorgeous pic with it. Only, it looked really familiar... I had to compare photos. Yep, it was unmistakably the Tholos at Delphi in Greece, on the other side of the Aegean. You'd think SOMEONE would be a fact-checker/photochecker, right? And BTW, I saw that photo on the brochure too, and said, "Didn't we go to Portofino?" Because I couldn't remember it looking like that.
  5. We love the Baltic. What a wonderful itinerary you have! Oslo: Viking Museum is good; there are also a couple of art museums right off the pier, and you can take a stroll through downtown that takes you to the palace. There's a hilarious Youtube video of the royal guard dancing to Thriller... Stockholm: Plenty to and see walkable from the pier, if you are in the main harbor or catch a variety of transport. Go to the Vasa Museum (it's a 17th c. war ship raised from the harbor, in excellent condition)! Next door is the ABBA museum. Across the street from that is Skansen, wonderful (huge) open air museum featuring buildings, homes, etc, from all the times in Swedish history. Like a version of Colonial Williamsburg. There are also reindeer and Baba Yaga's house. The National History museum is astonishing--Vikings, etc. Ans contemporary Art Museum on another island. Plus Gamla Stan or Old Town, not to be missed, on yet another islands (all in the small harbor, all walkable). Have not been to Kotka. Have done a 2-day SPB in SP; be sure to go down into the subway to look at the art! Slabs of precious stone... Or go to the Hermitage 2 days in a row! Tallin: Very charming, a favorite. You can climb the hill to the top of old town, and wander down past parks, shops, restaurants, markets. This is where the Singing Revolution began. Not been to Riga yet, nor Visby. In Gdansk, don't miss Copernicus' house, near the red brick cathedral. We saw Lech Walenksa and spoke with him on the street... Get some amber. Copenhagen: Tivoli is the classic. A big art museum across the street, Hans Christian Anderson statue on the next block, etc. Something different: going to Christiania, a neighborhood that has a free economy (barter) and a free attitude... Warnemunde: to avoid a long train ride to Berlin, you might like a local visit to the town of Rostock, a boat ride on a lake, visiting a castle. All very nice. Not been to Aarhus yet... We usually go into AMS a few days early to play--there is so much to do and see! There are more museums here than anywhere else in the world. The Rijksmuseum--also nearby are the Van Gogh museum and the contemporary art museum. The big concert hall (Concertgebouw) at the end of the meadow (Museetplain) features free concerts on a weekday afternoon. You can wander the streets along the canals--or take a boat ride, to orient yourself. The floating market. The old & new churches (Nieuwkirk, Oudenkirk), the city gate (the restaurant across the square has free jazz every day at 5). There's a cat museum. The big flea market. The zoo and botanical gardens in Plantis neighborhood... Whatever you do, enjoy!
  6. Right; we were booked on an October cruise to Greece that we canceled after it changed its itinerary to eliminate Turkey--a country we love--and some Greek ports. Added a sea day, etc. Due to Turkish regulations...
  7. DH did it, didn't care for it because it was very impersonal, no connection at all between the patron and the staff, rough (did not feel good, in fact it hurt), but most of all, seemed very unsanitary! Actually grungy.
  8. We started out with OBC for OLife; our TA, in conversation with her O counterpart, determined that the shorex would be by far the better deal. We got 3 free shorex--the algorithm deletes the cost of the 3 most expensive ones you book-- and then all the others are 25% off. But the OS ones you still have to pay for (the helicopter to the pyramids, etc.).
  9. Great--and a very helpful link; thanks! (Haven't seen a pink squirrel on a bar menu in a looonng time, lol)
  10. Being new to O, we are trying to decide on bev pkg vs bringing a bunch of wine and ordering a couple of predinner cocktails. On other lines, we just get the premium/ultimate bev package (since they limit the wine you can bring aboard and no booze).Can anyone give us a ballpark on say, a top shelf margarita? Thanks.
  11. Cruises in December are always ridiculously cheap--until Dec 25th. Check again: usually any cruise that involves being aboard on the 25th will be significantly higher priced, and stay that way until after Jan 1. If you disembark on the 24th, you're fine. The word "holiday" in the cruise name will be the key. Notice there's a 11-night cruise to the ABCs that leaves on Dec. 13 for $711.The very same same itinerary on Dec. 24th is $2015! The cruises in Dec are cheap because 1. Everyone already traveled for Thanksgiving or will do so for Xmas. 2. Kids are still in school--and universities are in exams--until the 3rd week of Dec. But for us, this is the perfect time to cruise in warm waters because it's past hurricane season and not yet the "high" season which extends until March...Plus low prices and less crowded. What's not to love?
  12. Did y'all see her instagram posts last spring, when she wore a mermaid tail at the private island (before cruising resumed)? Fantastic. We had a trivia quiz all about her cat Bug Naked on the Edge's first sailing in June... @captainkatemccue
  13. Guys. Azamara's Journey stops in October in Crete at Agios Nikolaios, where we've never been. So we researched, found a beach excursion to an offshore island, Spinalonga, which features the "Tourist Exploitation Drinks Bar." I kid you not. We were so pumped to go there! But sadly have had to cancel that cruise. They fixed the signage on Google maps photos but weren't able to remove the 215 reviews rating it a 1.9 on that site... Here ya go, though: https://gr.revieweuro.com/crete/tourist-exploitation-drinks-bar-1074143
  14. Early October. The gazillion European tourists will be gone by then.
  15. Yep. And no need for reservations; just show up. Or have your butler--i mean, retreat host--make the rez. On the Edge in June, we ate in the Tuscan and other MDRs 3 nights because Luminae was like a magazine: issue after issue... waited forever to place our order (they forgot us); brought wrong entrees with no backup (that is, not just switched); he had a terrible "ribeye" that was all fat--and when they cleared our table, no one blinked at the pile of fat left on his plate; and they asked me very rudely, when I didn't finish my meal, if I was on a diet! Unbelievable. Tuscan Grill was fantastic and excellent service! That's where the sommelier introduced us to Caymus. Now we're ruined, lol.
  16. Clairol, I also poked around some on the boards whose ships should have stopped in Turkey lately & couldn't find much. But Celebrity Apex--which was supposed to sail out of Israel all summer but switched to Athens and an all-Greece itinerary--initially had Turkey among its ports and cut it. Also, very interestingly, the Greek line Celestyal which we've sailed and which *always* stops in one or more Turkish ports--has recently cut both the Istanbul overnight and Kusadasi, replacing it with Patmos. Things might change by October. But we just cancelled our October Azamara cruise, for FCCs good thru spring 2023...
  17. From Azamara Journey--it says "restrictions"..."while abiding by the local regulations": Dear Travel Partner, We're writing to inform you of some important changes regarding your clients 12-Greece Intensive Voyage scheduled to depart on October 13, 2021 on Azamara Journey®. Due to current local restrictions in Turkey, we've had to make slight adjustments to your clients itinerary. We have done our best to keep the itinerary as planned while abiding by the local regulations. Unfortunately, this means we have had to remove Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey and Nafplio, Greece from the itinerary. Instead, we have added a day for your client to relax aboard your boutique hotel at sea followed by a stop in a new port on this itinerary: Paphos, Cyprus. Although the entire town of Paphos was named as a UNESCO World Heritage site, guests connect with more than its ancient fortresses and palaces. Wine with a history that dates back to the wedding of Richard the Lionheart, haloumi or "squeaky" cheese, and other Cypriot foodie favorites are equally as pleasing as the natural beauty of the beaches or the Roman mosaics, some of the best in the world. Would you expect anything less from the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite? Additionally, we have altered the dates your client will be in port in Patmos, Greece and Mykonos Greece. Your client will now visit Patmos, Greece right after they embark from Athens (Piraeus), Greece and before their final overnight in Athens (Piraeus), Greece your client will stop in the beautiful city of Mykonos, Greece. Your client will still embark out of Athens (Piraeus), Greece on October 13, 2021 and disembark out of Athens (Piraeus), Greece 12 nights later, as planned. We apologize for any inconvenience that results from this change and hope you will understand that when planning so far in advance, sometimes circumstances may arise that require us to alter our sailing schedules." Nothing more solid about what those Turkish " regulations" are...
  18. On the first sailing of the Edge last month, we had a brand new (that is, never sailed before) steward for our suite. Would have thought the crew were cherry picked... I tried to rate her well, but it was clear that she had been coached to constantly talk to us, even chasing us down the hall just for conversation. Pretty exasperating. The last day she she asked for the eval, but also "I cannot say the word out of my mouth." So I suppose they were forbidden.
  19. Funny how all the person stories come out on the last day. We once learned that our butler's wife hated to travel--in fact she was terrified... The crew who hadn't been home in 10 years! The children cared for by relatives, etc.
  20. Does anyone know why stops in Napflion would be cancelled--in October? Our Greek-intensive cruise has just changed itinerary, to remove Turkey due to "regulations"...They added a sea day and replaced Kusadasi with Paphos, though Cyprus is still half Turkish with a porous border... But Napflion would have nothing to do with that! Thanks for any info.
  21. Restrictions are back on. We're in Mykonos in October, and--yes, that far out--we'll be restricted to ship's tours (Azamara). Maybe go back to Delos for a third time, lol...
  22. Does anyone know why--2 months prior to the cruise--the Greece-intensive itinerary would have replaced Napflion with a sea day?? (They also eliminated Kusadasi, Turkey and replaced with Paphos, fine. Albeit Cyprus is still half Turkish with a porous border, lol.) Do you suppose it's anything to do with the fires? Napflion was our deciding factor on choosing this itinerary...
  23. Holy guacamole! That would wreak havoc with my carefully curated cruise bracelets, lol.
  24. I think we had those too... No one actually explained them when they were applied at; because they were paper, like the ones for concerts, etc. We figured they were supposed to be temporary. .
  25. Good for you. The two times we've booked a GTY (again, NOT this cruise line), we got: 1. a stateroom up against the front bulkhead, with an obstructed view, rust around the balcony door, and a moldy odor. Went to have it switched and were told the ship was sold out. Fortunately one couple didn't show before sailaway and were were able to upgrade--paying, not gratis--plus we got their chocolates and floral arrangement (albeit with their congrats card). Summit. 2. an obstructed view near where the tenders are lowered; those made an ungodly racket going up and down. It was an all-tendering-ports itinerary, so we were woken especially early. Again, a sold-out ship. Prinsendam. Category doesn't seem to matter either: An aft Neptune suite we wanted proved to have a permanent steel constuction with a ladder, catwalk and a winch, literally affixed to the balcony. Didn't book it but each time we walked past on the pier, we'd shake our heads for the poor folks who had to watch the guys painting, etc. Koningsdam. So nope: we look very carefully at the deck plans and photos of the ship and staterooms: what's next to them, above them, below them. We love afts but on some lines, we've experienced that their balconies collect soot (HAL). And on some ships, the aft balconies are stepped, so the folks above you (plus the Lido/buffet/cafe) will have a view of your balcony. I got to see a guy below us shaving his chest once! Again, nope, never again. And ya know what? Why would the ship offer some of their best staterooms for cheaper than the rest? They save the least-preferred unbooked ones for the GTY. That's why the last two on that Equinox cruise I mentioned above --fully open view to the balcony next door--were available: canny folks knew not to stay in them. Any time we are booking and there are only one or two staterooms left, we don't spring for the cruise--there' something wrong with those. The bottom line is, if you book a GTY, you need to be sure you'll accept every stateroom in the category.
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