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About iancal

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  1. You simply do not know. The most enjoyable four days we have ever spent in Rome were in mid November. The weather was perfect, the lighting was perfect, and the tourist crowds were non existent. We went out in the morning wearing light cotton sweaters. By 10:30 we had removed them. It could have just as easily been cold and wet. We have had mid-late beach and swimming days in Crete, Sicily, etc. and we have also had periods of rain. Prepare to dress in layers. This past Oct the weather was fantastic.
  2. I believe that it has more to do with what 'the traffic will bear' than anything else. Last time we booked an Australia/NZ cruise we saved just over 30 percent by calling the RCI office in Sydney vs the best price that our NA on line TA was offering. Adjusted for currency of course. RCI Australia were aware of our country of residence since they brought up our details from past cruises. DW did exactly the same by booking her Baltic cruise with a UK agency. Last month we booked five nights at a seaside hotel in Cyprus on a UK site. About 40 percent less that we could find from the usual NA booking sites. Had the same experience booking Aerolineas flights to Iguazu-saved about 30 percent by calling the Aeroplineas call center in BA vs buying on line. It took all of 10 minutes. When we shop for travel we always shop the international sites. It is not often that the NA cruise price is less but it does happen. But, we have enjoyed considerable price differences by booking hotels, air, and tours on out of country sites. Now we do this as standard practice when we are shopping for overseas travel products. We use a credit card that does not charge an admin fee for currency exchange. We end up paying the Visa rate of about .35% over the prevailing market rate at time of settlement. Our other credit cards would otherwise add 2.5 percent to this rate.
  3. Some people are very unreasonable. They actually expect to get what they paid for. Just as some cheerleaders will dismiss any negative comment when it did not happen to them and in most cases they were not on the ship. Not certain why this is.
  4. We have done numerous land and cruise trips in the Med in early -mid Oct over the years. One of our favourite areas. The first part of the month has always been good in the Cyclades, on the Turkish coast Bodrum, Antalya, etc, on Crete. Same for Sicily and Malta in our experience Good enough to swim and sunbathe. After that it is a crap shoot. You cannot predict the weather. We have had beautiful sunny days thought to November. On one trip we had some cooler days and intermittent rain. In Sicily mid Oct we rain in the Aeolean Islands (eastern Sicily) with wind that prevented us from going by boat to other islands. A week later we were swimming and sunbathing on a beach near Erice on the western side of Sicily. We have experience similar weather in Crete.
  5. You could also try googling ‘90 day ticker’.
  6. Our TA gives us good OBC. More importantly, she has provided impartial feedback from her customers. In one instance that feedback stopped us from booking what was apparently a 'dog' of a ship at that time. She has also told us about other more competitive offerings that we were not aware of when we were about to book inside the final payment window. We would not get even one of those three benefits if we were booking on line OR booking with a cruise line employee.
  7. Not certain where you plan to go in the Med. We have often traveled in Sept/Oct. We we spent much of this past Sept/Oct in the area. A month in the Ionian Islands and two weeks in Cyprus. Weather was excellent there as it was in Athens. We had two half days of rain on Zakynthos. Otherwise it was perfect. Our time on Cyprus was fabulous, right up until departure in late Oct. 30-34C on the beach, 20/23 in the mountains. In past trips we have sunbathed and swam in the ocean on Naxos, Crete, and Sicily to name a few. But....weather can change. We tend to favour spring or mid Sept-Mid Oct. We would never recommend a July/Aug trip to the Med. You are right. Too crowded, too hot, too everything.
  8. Leather sandals or hand tooled leather belts, purses perhaps. We do not really buy souvenirs so this is all that I can think of.
  9. Late booking cruise opportunities is one of the reasons why we focus on the ship and itinerary rather than the cruise line. Any benefits that accrue for frequent cruiser programs pale in comparison to some of the late booking cruises that we have been able to take advantage of. Plus, we have experienced some cruise lines/ships that we might not have otherwise experienced.
  10. IF you opt to get a 30 day visa from a consulate pay extra attention to the dates. Ensure that you use your actual anticipated day of entry and not the date you are requesting the visa. Prior to getting ours we read of several people who had not paid particular attention to this and had issues as a result.
  11. You can get some very good last minute fares through the various cruise air programs. On our last med cruise was a last minute. We were ending in Sicily with no air home. We had some options. We then saw an extremely attractive offer on a Rome-Barcelona cruise four days out. The even larger bonus for us is that we were able to secure cruise air home from BCN at a great price on BA with excellent connections. Saved us casting around for other one way air home options or having to resort to an LCC flight to London or Paris in order to catch a reasonably priced one way flight back to Canada. Bottom line....cruise air is well worth looking at in a late booking situation.
  12. It might depend where in Corfu you plan to go. We spent a week in Corfu this past September. We could see four ships in port on the day we went into Corfu old town. It was a zoo...so busy we left after a little while and returned the following day when there was only one or two ships in port. Huge difference. Both times in the afternoon.
  13. Everyone has a different interpretation of 'better'. We use an on line TA and are very happy with the agency.
  14. IF our only choice was either a cruise or a guided tour we would most definitely take the guided tour. You will see and experience far more that you would on a cruise, IMHO. But...they are two very different animals.
  15. On one occasion we cancelled a cruise just prior to final payment and re-booked it several weeks later. Our TA gave us a heads up that it was not selling well so we took a chance. We realized a substantial saving over our initial booking cost. That helped to switch us on to late bookings when possible. Sometimes it isn't depending on the itinerary. We shop based on ship instead of cruise line. That widens the field for us plus we get to travel on several cruise lines and appreciate the differences between them. We do not really care what name is on the funnel.
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