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Tripmaven

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About Tripmaven

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  1. Though far from an expert on this subject, I will give a vote for the Duke of Wellington. We had dinner on a Saturday evening last year. The food was good, but the hospitality was terrific. We did make a reservation and they gave us a very nice table near the bar and fireplace. We later found out it was a special table for regulars, but everyone said "out of towners" deserved the best. Very nice people.
  2. We have used National Express also. On one occasion, after a few days in London, we took it from London's Victoria Coach Station which is adjacent to Victoria Station. On another occasion, we took it from the Central Bus Terminal at Heathrow. Their website has more information. It is very inexpensive. The coaches are comfortable and it was, for us, a pleasant 2 1/2 hour ride. If you go direct from Heathrow, timing is important. We allowed 3 hours from the time we landed until the coach left. This gave us time for immigration and luggage collection. We went on one occasion direct to the ship from the Southampton coach terminal and, on another to a hotel for an overnight. I am sure others will have their preference. The good news is there are many ways to get to Southampton from London.
  3. We have had Anytime Dining since we began cruising with Princess, except on the small ships when it wasn't available. We have always taken advantage of the early reservation system for AD by calling in the morning for that evening. Recently we were on the Star Princess and the reservation times were unavailable. No problem, we would go to the dining room and see what happens. We had dinner early and when we left close to 6 pm, the line for waiting outside was unbelievable. It wrapped around the area by the Pursers Desk. I asked some of them if they had pagers. The answer was NO. The next day, I went to the purser and asked if the dining rooms used pagers. They said there were no pagers used. I was naturally confused. We avoided the dining room for several days by using the specialty dining and buffet. We were not happy, but managed. Two nights before the cruise ended, we decided to give the dining room a try and, surprise, surprise, pagers magically appeared. Not sure when they surfaced.
  4. The National Express is about 2 hours, depending on traffic. We went on Sunday and I thought traffic was lighter.
  5. I am reluctant to advise a "Londoner", but we did a short visit a couple years ago. We flew in on a Thursday and made our way to the West End, staying at the Every Hotel. Very quirky, but comfortable and well situated for shows. The theater showing Book of Mormon was literally next door. Other theaters were nearby. We saw a Saturday matinee, stayed the night and took the National Express Coach from Victoria Coach station to Southampton the day the cruise left. We did use taxis to get to Victoria Coach station, but it was not that expensive. The Hop on Hop off leaves across the street from the Every Hotel. We used that to get to a couple places on Friday.
  6. My DH and I are also fans of San Juan del Sur. We spent a week there 5 years ago at the Pelican Eyes Resort. Many people don't know that it has a significant population of US retirees living in the area. The retirees are very active in helping the local people, specifically the school age children. Pelican Eyes employs the locals and gives them an opportunity to learn a trade and, of course, improve their English language. You also may remember that the TV show Survivor was filmed in the vicinity for 2 or 3 seasons. Is it completely safe? What country can claim that title? Common sense rules apply. So, if Princess decides to keep this as a place to visit, I wouldn't have concerns.
  7. There is also a yellow HOHO company. I would suggest you research all three "colors" and look at the subtle differences.
  8. On one of our first cruises (forgot the cruise line) about 25 years ago, I went to a skin care seminar in their spa. I ended up buying two skin care products for $25 each for a total of $50. After taking the time to try them out, I decided they were nothing more then a common lotion with some coloring added. I keep them in the bathroom cabinet and look at them before we take a cruise to remind me of how easy it is to be duped.
  9. You can purchase tickets when you get off the ship shuttle. It can get a bit crowded around the bus, which was our experience, but it was manageable. If you purchase online, I believe you get a bit of a discount. We were hesitant to purchase ahead of time because you never know if your plans will change.
  10. There is also a yellow HOHO Bus tour. When we took the ships shuttle to the Dublin city center, all three HOHO companies were waiting. We chose the yellow tour because they have a live commentator who is separate from the driver.
  11. We did a 47 day cruise a few years ago. There were a lot of sea days, which seems to be a "game changer" for some people. We are very low key and find just enjoying the ship, lectures (if they have them), movies, good books, conversation and the ever popular staring at the water is enough for us. The surprise came as we ended the trip in San Francisco on day 47. I woke early and as my DH slept, went out on the balcony to see the ship go under the bridge. I started crying and thought I might jump and swim ashore. Obviously, being home was important. Except for that little episode it was great!
  12. The ship you are referring to is the Caribbean Princess. We were on it for a back to back in Sept./ Oct. with a British Isles and Transatlantic. There was no BYOB for either and I was told it was the same for the previous cruise.
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