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Cruisen Elf

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Everything posted by Cruisen Elf

  1. I would say it depends on what you are hoping to see and do on the particular cruise, and if you have visited either country before. DISCLAIMER - I have not yet been to Australia or New Zealand, but have booked a cruise & cruise tour for Nov. 2021, with fingers crossed! Since this will be our first and probably only trip to the area we wanted to see as much as possible that our limited time (and funds!) would allow. With that in mind, I would choose Itinerary B because it includes an additional port in Australia (Melbourne). I would also encourage you to arrange a few extra
  2. With a cruisetour, some tours are already included. The cruisetour description should specify which ones are part of the package. You can do some things on your own, but in Alaska, my experience was that you usually had to book tours through the cruise line as Princess, at least, seemed to have an arrangement with the tour operators to handle it this way. I would recommend booking any tour you really want to do ahead of time, as many are sold out well in advance of your arrival at the lodges. Here is a link to the Alaska boards, which is filled with loads of great information:
  3. Another thumbs up for the forward viewing areas on these decks. We enjoyed our time in Alaska from the forward Caribe deck.
  4. Well, we booked a new cruise for November, 2021, for destinations that have closed borders currently. I think that's optimistic! We already have all our cruise accoutrements. We did get new passports in March of this year for a May cruise that was cancelled. Does that count?
  5. Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts and experiences! We were lucky enough to secure an assigned cabin when our Travel Agent called Princess to book the cruise. They gave only a few options from which to choose, but at least I know our location, which will be much less worrisome. I did request no upgrades in order to forestall any surprises, as recommended. Like many others, we prefer a deck with cabins above & below. And as mentioned, a larger stateroom with balcony space is ideal should we be confined to quarters. We selected a mini suite (our first!) A402. Here
  6. What have been your experiences when having Princess "choose for you?" We are looking to book a deluxe balcony or mini suite on the Royal Princess for a sailing over a year away, but are unable to select a cabin for either of these categories. The only option available is having them reserve a stateroom. This has never happened before. I like to select our location and have never done a guaranteed stateroom on any cruise line. Is it worth the gamble? Or should I expect to end up in a noisy location or in the worst cabin? Thanks in advance for any information you can share!
  7. Another vote to consider the "obstructed" ocean view cabins. These are often priced similarly to inside cabins, and if you check the link Thrak provided you can see that many of the Emerald deck cabins are not really obstructed at all. (Thank you, Renmar!) You can see what's outside without spending the extra money for a balcony. While a balcony is nice for Alaskan cruises, you will want to go up on deck to see as much as possible from all sides, especially when viewing glaciers or spotting whales and other sea creatures. For me, I would enjoy the cruise more if I were in affordable accom
  8. When we did our cruisetour in 2016, we had to book it with Princess through our Travel Agent.
  9. I realize this is an older post, but hopefully you are still planning to visit Italy and Europe in the future! Most Mediterranean cruises are very port intensive, so I think the itinerary is more important than the ship or cruise line. You will be spending most of your time ashore, and won't have the time (or energy!) to do a lot of on-board activities. As mentioned, the smaller ships can go into more ports than the huge ships. We had a wonderful Mediterranean cruise on one of Royal Caribbean's older, smaller ships. Happy planning!
  10. We arrived in Fairbanks in the wee hours, and Princess had a bus available for us, as there were a lot of folks arriving at that time. Be sure to look up at the sky as you depart the airport. We were lucky enough to spy the Northern Lights. Quite the welcome to Alaska!
  11. Whether the Connoisseur guided tour is "worth it" is totally dependent on your preferences and budget. We did an Alaskan cruise tour with Princess in 2016, but did not do the Connoisseur tour. At that time it cost several thousand dollars more, and I was able to price out would have been included, and we were able to do all of our meals and extra excursions at a much lower price. We do not feel we missed out on anything. Our room locations and travel between the lodges and cruise ship were fine, even without the deluxe tour version. It is nice to have everything arranged for you, and paid
  12. You described my feelings exactly! But I am lucky in comparison to those experiencing illness or loss of livelihood. Definitely hope to re-book a similar itinerary at a later time when things are less uncertain. Thanks!
  13. Sorry that I won't be able to post about the tour that visits both Pompeii and Herculaneum. Our cruise was cancelled by the cruise line, so I had to cancel the tour. 😢 Safe travels to all!
  14. We have booked a small group tour through Greek Travelling that provides boat transportation from the dock to Oia, and a van up to Oia. We also will tour parts of the island and a winerey. Upon our return to Fira, we have the option of the cable car down, or walking/riding the donkey trail. Haven't been on the the tour yet, so I can't recommend it, per Cruise Critic guidelines, but I did hear about it on Cruise Critic. Just sharing the information in case you are interested. They also provide private tours according to their website, as do many other companies. Check out "things to do" i
  15. I do apologize. I thought the Viator website mentioned the tour provider, which is Askos Tours. Their website is: https://www.askostours.com/ I did book it through Viator because at the time, the Askos website did not show prices, and I did not want to wait for a reply from the tour company. My DH and I had a lot of back and forth before deciding on a tour for that port, and I just wanted it settled! 😉 Also, Viator has a great cancellation and refund policy should our plans change.
  16. I'd like to share information about a tour that includes both Pompeii and Herculaneum. I cannot recommend this tour because I have not taken it yet, per Cruise Critic guidelines. (I have booked it for May.) It offers a transportation option for an additional cost that provides port pick up and drop off and transfer between the sites. Here is the link in case you are interested: https://www.viator.com/tours/Pompeii/Explore-Pompeii-and-Herculaneum-with-an-Archaeologist/d24336-23258P129
  17. There are several threads here in the Greece Ports section that mention positive experiences with PK Travel's Athens tour. Here is a link to one. If you scroll down the page you will see the most current reviews: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/1878569-pk-travel-greece-shared-shore-excursions-in-athens-question/page/5/?tab=comments#comment-56560856
  18. I have never been on HAL, so I can't speak to what they may or may not offer regarding Hawaiian themed onboard activities. I did sail on the Star Princess 15 day round trip to Hawaii in Nov. 2016. There were many enrichment activities offered, including (but not limited to) lei making (several varieties), hula dancing instruction, ukulele lessons, Hawaiian dance performances, and Hawaiian cultural and history lectures. The folks taking hula and ukulele lessons performed in a show near the end of the cruise. There was always something to choose to do - or not - as you pleased. We were nev
  19. Another recommendation to check out Barcelona Day Tours. If they don't have an afternoon tour listed on their website, they still may be able to arrange something or refer you to another company that does. We did their 1/2 day tour on our last visit and enjoyed very much!
  20. I went on a Discover Scotland tour last September and enjoyed it very much. We visited, Loch Lomond, the Trossachs, Stirling Castle, and lots of great scenic places along the way. We even saw some "hairy coos!" Based on my experience, I would recommend the company. They were less expensive than several other options I considered, and had the smallest group size.
  21. We stayed at Duke's in Bath for 4 nights last September, and really enjoyed it. They have a variety of rooms to suit various budgets and needs - small to suites, lower to upper floors. As mentioned earlier, the older hotels or bed & breakfasts do not have elevators or air conditioning. We considered all the stairs as training for the port intensive cruise! It is a few blocks from the city center, but only took about 5 minutes walking to reach the historic Abbey area. The staff was friendly, helpful, and professional and the breakfasts were scrumptious! We were able to tak
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