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Everything posted by aqua

  1. We were very happy with Hotel Jazz. The room was nice and the location was great. We took the Aerobus from the airport to the hotel. There is a Metro station close to the hotel that makes visiting sites such as la Sagrada Familia very easy.
  2. We were on Oceania last June. We visited some vineyards and also took a private walking tour. Here is a link to the info I posted We loved Bordeaux!
  3. Hotel Jazz has a great location. It is near the metro and Las Ramblas. Our room was very nice and well priced. We booked a Superior Room with an excellent breakfast . We were very happy with it.
  4. Barcelona is easy to see on your own. Please take the advice of MeHeartCruising and reserve La Sagrada Familia in advance, including downloading the app with the visitor guide. We learned that the hard way when we could not get into the cathedral on our first visit to Barcelona!
  5. My husband and I were on the Barcelona to London part of ChadnKate’s B2B cruise. I agree that Dottie was great! We were a little concerned because Sirena is so small but we loved her.
  6. KirkNC, Would you mind saying what ship and itinerary you are you sailing? Three ports seems like a lot to miss. I’m interested for future reference. You might check with your travel insurance. When we missed a Swedish port on the Marina in 2019, our AAA travel insurance gave us $100. We missed ports on Sirena this summer but we had different travel insurance and were not reimbursed.
  7. Hi Ruth, We did not have to wait in Vernon. The ship arrived in Bordeaux at 9:00 AM on day 1 and departed at 7:00 PM on day 2. It was still daylight for the sail away and the views were lovely. I do not remember a museum at our docking location. We were a short walk from the beautiful fountain at the Place des Quinconces. It was wonderful to be in the city instead of a distant pier. We thought it was very easy to get around by foot and by tram. My husband does not drink but he loved Bordeaux. We really enjoyed trying the canele’ and dunes blanches pastries that are sold at special bakeries.
  8. Petoonya, I’m so sorry. Best wishes to you and your husband.
  9. We stayed at the Hotel Jazz in May. We booked a superior double room with breakfast. The room was very nice and the breakfast was great. It was easy to get to the hotel from the airport using the Aerobus. The hotel is on Las Ramblas and is very near a metro station. The Hotel Jazz was a great choice for us.
  10. We were in Bilbao in May. Our ship (Oceania Sirena) had a shuttle that dropped us in the Ensanche area of Bilbao. I believe it was about a 20-30 minute drive from the port to the town. We walked around Bilbao for a while and saw several beautiful churches. We also walked around the outside of the Guggenheim. The building and surrounding art were fun to see. On the shuttle back to the port, we saw a beach that was near the ship. If there had been more time before all aboard, we might have walked to this beach. I’m not sure if it was especially scenic but it seemed busy on the Sunday we were there.
  11. I went to tea twice on Sirena in May/June. The carts had several sweet and savory selections but there were only one or two decaffeinated teas available. Overall it was a lovely event that I enjoyed attending. I think it is very nice that they hold it daily.
  12. I was mad at the taxi and at myself. However, the fact that I won the dispute gives me hope that the taxi company realized they made an error. I hope you have a great trip!
  13. In May, we took a taxi from the Hotel Jazz to the Barcelona port. The taxi took credit cards however the driver told me that my card was rejected. I gave him cash for the fare but did not get a receipt. When my Visa bill came, it had a $25 charge for the taxi. I am happy to say that I disputed the charge and won. I was lucky and need to remember to get a receipt for whatever method of payment I use.
  14. According to the flyer I received from AAA and Emergency Assistance Plus, EA+ will "cover expenses for medical transportation, medical evacuation and companion assistance." They do more than just arrange transport. I purchased a policy a few months ago after speaking with an agent. As with any policy, there are exclusions and hoops to jump through. I always buy traditional travel insurance when I go overseas, but I thought this was a good policy to have because it covers us when we travel in the United States.
  15. It sounds like there are many different opinions about cruise directors. I am sure that all of the CDs on Oceania are very skilled and have passengers who are fans. My husband and I found Dottie to be hard working and friendly. We had two ports cancelled due to weather so Dottie had to scramble to change the daily schedule. We thought her announcements were helpful, especially since we sometimes missed notices that were in the "advertising" insert of Currents instead of the main body of the flyer.
  16. Here are the Celebrity requirements for Europe as of yesterday. However, they could easily change. We sailed on Oceania from Barcelona in May. The cruise line pre-test rules became stricter a few days before we flew to Spain and we had to change our testing plans. Good luck! https://www.celebritycruises.com/healthy-at-sea/europe-travel-requirements
  17. Oceania Sirena docked a short walk from the city center. Lisbon is hilly but we walked through much of it without a problem. However, we decided to take a tuk tuk tour to see the more distant Belem area of town, including the Jeronimos Monastery. We arranged the tour at the port and paid $150 for 4 people for a 2 hour tour. The tour was good but I wonder if we could have negotiated and paid less. There were tuk tuk vehicles all over the city.
  18. I was just on a cruise that had 2 ports in Portugal. (The cruise originated in Barcelona.) We had to carry proof of vaccination but did not have to test to go ashore.
  19. Hank, Thank you for your kind words. I would love to explore the area more thoroughly!
  20. Dottie Kulasa is on Sirena. I thought she was outstanding.
  21. My friend and I wanted to visit a chateau when our ship was scheduled to overnight in Bordeaux. When we tried to find information about different options, we ran into multiple roadblocks including emails that were never answered. We finally decided to visit Margaux and had a wonderful day. I thought I would share our experience to help other travelers. Oceania Sirena docked in the city of Bordeaux. We made the short walk to Quinconces tram station, purchased tickets at the machine, and took Tram C to Gare de Blanquefort. At Blanquefort, we purchased round trip train tickets to Gare de Margaux. The actual travel time from Bordeaux to Margaux is less than an hour, however the train from Blanquefort to Margaux does not run often so the train schedule needs to be factored in. It is also important that you purchase round trip train tickets because the train stations may close early. From the Margaux train station, we walked to Château Marquis de Terme, where we had reservations for the "aperitif at the Château." It was a short walk but we used Google maps to direct us. We loved visiting the winery. The presentation of the food was beautiful, the staff was friendly, and the wine was delicious. We especially enjoyed sitting outside. After the tasting, we walked around Margaux and stopped at Chateau Marquis d'Alesme, where we enjoyed a glass of wine in their lovely garden. We walked back to the Margaux train station and returned to Bordeaux on the train and tram. On our second day in Bordeaux, we took a 3 hour private walking tour with Sophia from "the bordelais." She was very knowledgeable and fun! We visited historic landmarks, saw places where the local people gather, and sampled wonderful pastries. After the tour, we used the time before all aboard to further explore the city. Bordeaux is now one of my favorite port cities. The city center is easy to see by foot and tram, the architecture is stunning, and the surrounding vineyards are amazing.
  22. We just disembarked Sirena in Southampton. We were in the second group to leave the ship and were off by 8:45 or so. We took the Oceania bus to Heathrow and arrived in plenty of time for our 14:05 flight. Transfers were included with Oceania Air but could also be purchased for $79 per person. Yesterday United Airlines posted that there is currently a worker shortage at Heathrow and they are advising international travelers to arrive 4 hours in advance! Hopefully that is a short term problem.
  23. Harters, I’m so sorry and hope you are okay. I just disembarked from Sirena’s Barcelona to Southampton sailing. A few days before the sailing , the testing rules changed. We had to get a PCR. test “3 days” prior or an antigen test “1 day “ prior. My TA called Oceania who said the requirements were for 72 hours/ 24 hours before embarkation. Because we were flying out early, we had to schedule Inspire testing from the hotel in Barcelona. We are home now but our friends are still in England. They tested positive at the end of the cruise. Only the American citizens on the ship were required to test negative to return to our own country. I have emailed the White House and my representatives to request an end to this policy. I hope other travelers do the same.
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