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lovestx

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About lovestx

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Boston area
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Santorini

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  1. Thanks for the honest answers to this question as we do like to add special tips to certain staff (in addition to autograt) and always fear that we are tipping too little. On our recent 14 day trip on Solstice, we tipped our cabin steward $40, the head and assistant waiters in Blu each $40 and the sommelier $20 (I think). They all gave us excellent service and were deserving of recognition. And we (our travel group) all feel very fortunate to be in a position to give a bit extra. A great story: we never 'met' our asst. cabin steward but would see him often. Towards the end of the cruise, I said to my husband that I wasn't sure he ever serviced our room but couldn't be sure (not realizing that Celebrity no longer had asst. cabin stewards). So on the last full morning, I gave this man $20 for a tip. He said that I should be giving it to my cabin steward. I responded that I did give him a tip. Later that day, this honest man came to me and said "I am not your cabin steward and haven't worked in your room." And gave me the money back!! I thought that was incredible integrity and made sure to comment on this to his superiors. So refreshing to know that there are honest, good people still in our world!!
  2. Having spent hours (okay, more like months!) researching what to do in NZ before our 14 day cruise in March/April 2019, I thought I'd pay it forward by sharing our abridged trip report. We thought NZ was beautiful and the people just lovely. travelers include hubby and two friends we met cruising the Galapagos in 2014. We booked on the Celebrity Solstice that embarked in Auckland and visited Tauranga, Wellington, Akaroa, Dunedin, the Sounds, Hobart, Melbourne and disembarked in Sydney. Pre-Cruise: Days 1, 2: Queenstown Hotel: Hilton Queenstown Activities: Dart River Boats, TSS Earnslaw Dinner and Sheep Demonstration, town visit Days 2,3, 4: Wanaka Hotel: Wanaka Haven Activities: Bungee jump viewing, Arrowtown Museum and Lunch, Drive to Haast via Blue Pools, Day trip to Mt Cook Days 5,6: Christchurch Hotel: Rydges Latimer Square Activities: Mosque Memorial, Earthquake Museum, Canterbury Museum Days 7,8: Auckland Activities: Waiheke Island Wine Tour, Auckland War Memorial, lots of walking including to Ponsonby our plans for much of this trip changed when record-breaking rains (which eventually caused a road bridge to wash away and landslides to close roads) were predicted. So we cancelled our Franz Josef hotel (Rainforest Retreat) and visited Christchurch instead. happy to answer any questions if it's helpful
  3. Hey Cathie! We are just now flying back to Boston from a five week NZ and Australia tour that included 14 days on Celebrity Solstice. Great trip though not nearly as warm as the Eastern Med!! we loved Bonorong when we visited Hobart. We didn't do Mt. Wellington but those who did said it was very cold. And it seems like it would be a long bus ride....I think there is a hop on hop off that goes there... sorry not to be more help!
  4. We visited the Giants House a few weeks ago (were on Solstice with OzKiwi) and I would say it's a 20 to 30 minute walk. We did it on our own and we're glad we arrived at opening time (11) so it was a bit less hectic. The walk is a steady incline up from the port area and then a very steep climb of about a block up to the stairs. and I would highly recommend the one hour tour of the Sydney Opera House!
  5. We plan to self-disembark this Friday off Solstice in Sydney. The Celebrity Today yesterday explained that we could wait in public areas starting at 7 a.m. My big fear is getting an elevator on disembarkation day. Any tips? I was thinking that we would try to get out of our cabin by 6:45....maybe ahead of the rush....and then go for breakfast at CAfe al Bacio or Blu (if they are open).
  6. While preparing for our March 29, 2019 cruise on Celebrity Solstice out of Auckland, I found little information about the embarkation on these boards. so I am now going to Pay it Forward for future cruisers. Celebrity Solstice docks right in Auckland CBD using the pier adjacent to the Hilton Auckland (where we stayed on points). About 2 weeks in advance of our cruise (and several times afterwards), we received an email from Celebrity telling us that we would be embarking by groups and laying out the time slots for each group (Aqua, Suites, Concierge, etc.). We were AquaClass and were assigned the first time slot (11:30 a.m.). On the day of embarkation, it was chaotic around the Hilton as passengers were disembarking and grabbing cabs, tours, etc. We had been told that we could probably check our bags in early and then go off to explore more of Auckland. This was true. The port authority has a great ambassador system as there were many workers around the pier willing to help. We were led to a somewhat hard to find area where several port workers were accepting luggage. We dropped all of our items off (being sure to keep our paperwork and passports with us for check in) and went off to the Auckland Museum. We arrived back at the port around 1:30 p.m. and joined the queue for checkin. While it looked chaotic, Celebrity had the process well-oiled and we were checked in and onboard in less than 15 minutes. It clearly didn't make a difference that we checked in after our proscribed check in time. And our suitcases were waiting for us outside of our stateroom. It was odd to embark right into the Martini Bar but Deck 4 has often been used for the Gangway on this cruise. Happy to answer questions now or later.
  7. I am currently on Celebrity Solstice cruising towards Hobart. We received our immigration cards in our cabins last night in preparation for our arrival in Hobart tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. We have been assigned group numbers and will be called to meet with immigration by group number. I'm guessing it will be a slow process...will try to update actual process after tomorrow.
  8. In case it's helpful, we are cruising fjordland today and it's magnificent!! Blue skies and cool but we feel very lucky!! Rough seas overnight coming around the southern tip of NZ. On Celebrity Solstice
  9. Like others on this board, I am very sorry to hear that Carol is gone. I, too, have enjoyed reading and benefitting both from your blog and your posts on CC over the years. Clearly you two knew how to live each day to the fullest and the memories you made together will certainly envelope you with warmth and love as you go through the coming days. May she rest in peace.
  10. May I tag onto this topic started by a fellow Solstice cruiser? Can someone tell us if Celebrity would allow us to check our luggage in sometime prior to noon and then let us embark later in the day? We understand from others that once we board, we cannot leave the ship. So we are thinking that we would like to check out of our hotel (Auckland Hilton), get rid of our bags and then do a tour during the afternoon. Before I book a tour, it would be great to hear from others if this is possible. If not, we will ask the Hilton to hold our luggage.
  11. I haven't read your entire report yet but have loved the parts I've read! Great sense of humor and great sense of family!! And had to call out this section regarding St. Croix... We have visited STX for 23 years and, for the past five years, have spent the winter on her. Needless to say we love her. And we are glad you enjoyed your port stop. Rhythms and Rainbow Beach are at the top of our list for great times at the beach. Of course, we avoid going on cruise ship days when it is less crowded. And the island is much more low-key than many with less shopping, etc. And Frederiksted is the smaller of the two towns and was hit hard by Hurrricane Maria. Definitely com back for a longer vacation. And, if you do, take a look at staying at the Buccaneer. It would be a perfect spot for your family.
  12. If gecko still offers a quad bike plus jet ski experience, your kids would love both. Mine did as late teenagers!
  13. I love both beaches and have been to each many times. If you are renting a car, then consider Isaac Bay. If not, Sandy Point is AMAZING. just make sure your taxi will return to pick you up and know that there are no facilities and barely any shade there so 2 hours will be enough
  14. For what it's worth, I have done a lot of hotel looking in Sydney for mid-April 2019 and have been surprised at how inexpensive it is for a big city. I haven't booked anything yet but am leaning towards the Shangri-La on their Horizon Club floor. That will probably cost us upwards of $400 a night but I'm willing to splurge as this will be the last stop on a five week cruise/land tour of NZ and Australia. Go to Tripadvisor or Booking.com and put your dates in and see what you get. Intercontinental, Grace, Shangri-La all might come up under $300 a night.
  15. Thanks, all. We'll probably go for it. I realize there are risks but we're quite adept at managing airports 🙂 We will budget an hour for getting and taking the taxi. Thanks for the realistic advice.
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