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D C

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  1. I read somewhere that the first Ranger made it to the top of the cliff in 90 seconds. Insane. Granted, the circumstances of war going on would be very motivating to NOT be on a rope ladder on a 100ft cliff, but still. Amazing.
  2. Excellent advice, John! Planning for the trip and time can be very different depending on whether one has preferences for sights, museums, or both. Arromanches, for example, has the visual remnants of the mulberry harbour that the British built just after D-Day. At low tide, you can walk out among the caissons. The museum at Arromanches is very well done, with further explanation of the harbour, what it took to build it, the war effort, and more, including a video presentation. One could easily spend an hour or more in the museum, if that was their focus. In contrast, the Longues sur mer gun battery is without a museum, but is a stark reminder of the war. Four casemates, guns still in place, sit amid a farmer's field, back from the lookout post that is atop the cliff. You can walk in and around the structures. The non-museum type person might spend as much (or more) time at longues sur mer as in Arromanches. Pointe du hoc is, perhaps, the most prominent location along the coast where it still looks like war happened. Bomb craters abound, concrete bunkers and gun emplacements sitting as destroyed remnants. The US Army Ranger's D-Day assault on Pointe du hoc (they climbed the 100ft cliff with rope ladders) was depicted in the movie "The Longest Day". No museum here, but plenty to see. The American Cemetery at Omaha beach has an undergound museum which includes a couple of short films. One could easily get lost for an hour or more in the museum. Many people bypass the museum and head to the cemetery. Note that you used to be able to walk down to the beach from the cemetery, but they closed that off a few years ago. You need to drive down now, or walk from the parking lot. It's easy to spend a lot of time in these places. On our first trip, we set off from Bayeux to Arromanches around 8 or 9 am. We pulled into our hotel in St Malo (2.5 hour drive from Pointe du Hoc) after 10pm. No stop for lunch. We stopped at Arromanches 360 (a 360 degree film atop the cliff to the east of town), the mulberry harbour, Arromanches museum, longues sur mer battery, american cemetery, walked down to omaha beach, pointe du hoc.
  3. Is it ALL Celebrity, or just the Summit? I've been to SJ on 7n Eastern cruises from Florida, and they stopped at the Old San Juan pier. Edit: Found this site with helpful info: https://sanjuanpuertorico.com/cruises/ Sounds like cruises that originate from San Juan use the Pan American Terminal, where cruises in transit generally use the Old San Juan piers.
  4. I would also suggest renting a car and seeing the sights on your own. It's a nice area in which to drive. What sort of timeline are you on that day? Do you have a flight to catch, or a hotel reservation in/around Paris?
  5. Guernseycruiser's list above is excellent! Having spent a fair amount of time on Guernsey as a tourist, I've been thinking about how I would go about planning for a short day in Guernsey. One important thing to consider is opening times (“hours” to Americans ) which was touched on above. Particularly for those ships that get into port as early as 6 or 7AM, if you’re fortunate enough to tender early, you’ll find that a lot of attractions aren’t yet open. You’ll pass Castle Cornet on your tender ride. You may think that it would be quick and easy to pop over and see it first. However, it doesn’t open until 9:30 (July & Aug) or 10:00 (other months). Likewise with Victor Hugo’s Hauteville House, which opens at 10, I believe. And the shops in town don’t open early just because there’s a ship in port. This may seem unusual, particularly to Americans. We’re used to being able to shop for groceries 24 hours a day, 364 days a year. We would almost naturally expect these attractions to jump at the chance for more visitors. However, “Ship’s in at 6? Let’s open the castle at 7” is NOT how things are done in Guernsey, or many parts of Europe for that matter. This means you need to plan a bit if you’re an early riser, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND being an early riser for Guernsey, if for no other reason than to see St Peter Port awash in the morning sun. As you look through Guernseycruiser’s list, you’ll see a number of “no entrance fee” attractions. These are also “always open”: The Little Chapel. If you do go there after 9AM, walk back to the unaffiliated Guille Silver Shop behind the chapel, browse a bit, and grab a single-serve mini-tub of Guernsey ice cream. You'll thank me later! Pleinmont Gun Batterie (German fortifications) Fort Hommet (German fortifications) Cliff walks. This link is my favourite walk from town. I time it to be able to have lunch at Fermain Beach Café, which opens at 10AM. https://www.visitguernsey.com/see-and-do/walking-routes/forts-cannons-lookout-towers/ Candie Gardens St Peter Port. Walking around before shops open does let you enjoy the quaint seafront town without crowds. Note that Pleinmont and Fort Hommet also have restored bunkers that are open at selected times during the year. They may or may not be open on the day you’re in port. If they are, they will likely have opening times similar to other shops. Before you go thinking that you’re not special for arriving via cruise ship, you certainly are. And there are some attractions that do open early, or exclusively for cruise visitors: The Petite Train starts running at 9AM on cruise ship days (vs 11 on other days) The Guernsey Explorer bus ride, mentioned above, is exclusively for cruise ship guests. For £10, you receive a 90 minute tour of the island with stops: https://www.icw.gg/guernsey-explorer I’ve not done this tour, but I expect it to be far superior to the round-island 91/92 bus trips around the island that Guernseycruiser mentioned above. Those round-island routes can get very crowded on cruise ship days. Those bus trips are not narrated, unless you happen to be “lucky” enough to have an American tourist who knows just enough to be dangerous happen to join you along the way and point some things out. I’ve done that, and if I’m the best guide you have, let’s just say that you can do better for a few pounds more. LOL So if you’re planning to hire a taxi for a few hours, and will be ashore much before 10AM, you may want to consider putting those “no fee” items first, or perhaps ask for a round-island tour of your own to start with. The changes in scenery as you circle Guernsey are amazing, from the steep hills of St Peter Port, to the lowlands and beaches to the north, the rocky bays to the west, and the cliffs to the South. It’s all fantastic.
  6. Excellent advice on Guernsey. I need to remember to look at it from the perspective of only having a few hours on the island. A taxi would be much better than the buses, though the buses can be managed, I think. I've read many times where people wait until late morning to tender ashore. I would be on deck, ready to go, as the ship pulls in (can't beat the view of St Peter Port at sunrise!) and be first in line to tender, as well as the last person on the last tender back to the ship :) Some of the stories of the occupation from friends and relatives on the islands are incredible. A friend on Sark was in kindergarten at the time, and told stories of how the children couldn't play in certain areas because of the land mines. My family left Guernsey for the US in 1912, long before the occupation.
  7. Yes, the German Occupation Museum is in Guernsey. It's near the airport, not too far from the pier where you'll tender ashore. You would proceed to the town terminus for a bus, which is immediately across from the pier, and look for buses 91, 93, 94, or 95 (please check when you're there to be sure). When you board, tell the driver of your destination, and he'll be sure to drop you at the proper stop along the road. And it will be a stop along the road. I don't believe there is a proper sheltered stop at the museum. If you're interested in the German Occupation, and enjoy fantastic scenery, consider continuing on to Pleinmont. The 91 bus is likely the best option in that case, and there will be some walking to get to the site of the German emplacements, but it's worth the walk for the clifftop scenery. There are some German observation towers in the area, as well as a restored gun emplacement. Back near the Occupation Museum are a couple of other popular sites, the Little Chapel, and the German Underground Hospital. The hospital consists of the series of tunnels that were cut into the hillside by slave labour. The site is rich in preserved (not necessarily restored) tunnels with some museum-type artifacts. This map shows the relative position of all of those: https://goo.gl/maps/xmnVE6Mra5kAqjv66
  8. I also recommend doing Guernsey on your own. Whether you stroll around town (St Peter Port), take a cliff walk from town (the walk from town to Fermain bay is a favourite of mine), stroll around Castle Cornet (perhaps not the grand "castle" of your imagination, but it played important roles in the island's history), or hop on one of the many buses and wander elsewhere on the island, there is plenty to do. The island isn't very large, the bus system works well (and fares are only £1), and there is a lot to see. In Town: Castle Cornet Victor Hugo's house Candie Gardens Shopping Dining Victoria Tower - get the key from the Guernsey Museum Beyond town: Cliff Walks Old churches - Guernsey is broken into 10 parishes The Little Chapel German fortifications German occupation museum German underground hospital and plenty more If you fancy an introductory tour of the island, which starts and end very near the tender pier, consider the Guernsey Explorer from Island Coachways. It's only £10 for a narrated 90 minute tour of the island. Then you're free to spend the remaining time as you wish, whether in town or beyond. https://www.icw.gg/guernsey-explorer
  9. We're on that cruise too! 😄
  10. Key words, "really good". There is a lot of emphasis placed on design that is purely for visual appeal, and not practicality or functionality. This might not be considered "really good" by the masses, but that doesn't stop the designers from liking it and continuing their practice.
  11. Costs? Not much at all, except for any museums you go to. Figure $10-15 per museum, and those are the only places that charge. Everything outdoor is at no cost. Aside from the obvious need to drive, the major difference between a tour and self-driving is the lack of a narrative when on your own. If you're comfortable looking and learning on your own, Normandy can be done very inexpensively. A museum or two, lunch, and the car rental & gas should be it.
  12. That would be my recommendation as well. I've stayed in Bayeux on a couple of occasions, and it is very convenient to the D-Day beaches. We stayed at le Castel http://www.hotel-chambres-hotes-bayeux-lecastel.fr/ and at Hotel Bayeux. Of the two, both DW and I would choose le Castel a second time. Cute little guesthouse. Or, you might consider staying in Arromanche. We've stayed at the Logis Hôtel de Normandie. Clean, comfortable, not too expensive, and literally across the parking lot from the beach. Bayeux is home to the Notre Dame de Bayeux cathedral, which is nearly as large as, and older than Notre Dame de Paris. Not to mention almost devoid of tourists. It makes for a nice, peaceful evening stroll on your arrival day. There is also the Bayeux Tapestry which depicts the 1066 Norman Invasion of England. I would suggest that for another trip, honestly. Do you know what you would like to see? Anything on your tourist checklist for the area? I would assume that the American Cemetery is on the list, and very worthwhile, if not almost mandatory. I was actually just going through my map of points of interest from previous trips, thinking about how they could be tackled for someone on a cruise. I put together this map with POIs: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1WDXYCwzdCmuYkGrpTzY6tSczcM8&usp=sharing Note that I've not been to any of the sites to the East of Arromanches, nor have I driven to the port. Hopefully this helps to give you the lay of the land. If you have any questions, let me know.
  13. That's quite sad. 2nd time for the Ventura this year. The FB posts I've seen of the harbour at St. Peter Port this afternoon looked relatively calm.
  14. The "last call" time for tendering is merely the time you need to be on queue, correct? If everyone were to return to the tender pier just a few minutes before that time, tenders should run until everyone is on board.
  15. It's funny that considering how much major work they DID do, having a few guys go around with a drill and hooks wasn't among the things they accomplished.
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