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About cruisemom42

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  1. cruisemom42

    Santorini/Oia/views from ship

    The truly breathtaking views you are thinking of are from Oia, I believe (like the one below). You cannot see them from the ship or from the tram. Thira is not as striking.
  2. cruisemom42

    Dress Code Question

    This is current information on HAL website, under the FAQ regarding "Is there a dress code: Q: Are jeans allowed? A: Jeans without holes, tears or embroidery are welcome on most evenings in all restaurants, but on Gala Nights jeans are only allowed in the casual dining restaurants. Personally, I never even travel with jeans, but there is no need to create #FakeNews when the facts are readily available.
  3. cruisemom42

    New Club Orange

    For the record, Luminae was also a retrofit (on all ships except Edge, which just launched). The restaurant was carved out of the MDR space on Celebrity ships. It was not introduced until April 2015 -- and at that time Celebrity's newest ship, Reflection, was already 3 years old.
  4. cruisemom42

    Koningsdam - Get your flu shots!

    Unfortunately, unlike norovirus, the flu is mainly spread by aerosolized droplets that you breathe in following a sneeze or cough from (or even just while talking to) an infected person. According to the CDC those droplets can travel as much as 6 feet following a sneeze from an infected person. Touching an infected surface can also spread flu but is considered a secondary method of spread. So definitely count me among those who would rather see someone stop a sneeze or cough by whatever method (hands, elbow, tissue) than do nothing to stop it.
  5. cruisemom42

    Where to stay in Venice?

    Yes. All of the larger ships do.
  6. cruisemom42

    Is a cruise a good way to see Greece for the first time?

    Because seeing Greece involves visiting some of her islands as well as various parts of the mainland, I feel cruising is a good way to get an introduction to Greece -- perhaps more so than many other places that cruises go. I would advise looking at itineraries on a variety of cruise lines, don't just stick with MSC. Itinerary is the most important factor in this kind of cruise.
  7. cruisemom42


    If you only have a day and think you may not get back, by all means see Florence. The history of the Renaissance is right before your eyes in Florence's buildings and art. (The city-states were where it was at, not the countryside, lovely as it is....) Get advance tickets to see Michelangelo's David at the Accademia, but skip the Uffizi Gallery. Go into the Duomo (cathedral) and the Baptistery. Wander around outside the Palazzo Vecchio and look at the sculptures and the architecture (go in only if you have time), and of course see the Ponte Vecchio. If you stay in Florence, having an air-conditioned vehicle will do you little good, as the center of the city (where you will be) is pedestrian only.... If I was advising a friend, I'd say -- get to Florence by the quickest possible route and stay there as long as you can before heading back to the ship.
  8. cruisemom42

    Underwhelmed by HAL

    I feel you are HAL's target audience. Particularly for the newer ships. As always, you get a variety of responses on threads like these. Some HAL loyalists can't bear to think HAL would make the tiniest misstep, ever. Others think HAL can't do anything right. Obviously the truth is somewhere in between. I feel that service on a new ship takes a few months to really become smooth, but I also don't disagree with the original poster that decanting a wine shouldn't have been an issue, and is not a rare or exceedingly fussy request, as some have opined. If you think you're a good fit, the only way to tell for sure is to give it a try. I am not a HAL 'loyalist' -- there are some things I feel other lines do better, based on what I like -- but I do like the general direction HAL is headed in lately, especially with music onboard and more focus on destinations (although HAL has always had interesting itineraries).
  9. cruisemom42

    Venice Hotels Post Cruise

    We thought our room was very nice, do not recall thinking anything seemed old or in bad shape. Keeping in mind it is housed in an old palazzo, the rooms are of various sizes but I found it very charming. My mother and grandmother, a good many years ago, used to stay at the Savoia and Jolanda, and we considered it, but I felt there was more variability in the rooms there -- some are fine but others (in an annex) seemed much less desirable...
  10. cruisemom42

    Vatican Timed Tickets ?

    They may give you a little wiggle room before or after your schedule time (say 15 mins), but no -- you cannot show up at 3:30 pm if your tickets are for 9:00 am. The tickets are an attempt to control the crowds inside, and they expect you to show up at your ticket time.
  11. cruisemom42

    Train Station in Rome from Port

    To the OP: There are a couple of ways to make this simple. Most of the other posters haven't mentioned the fact that there are a few high-speed express trains from Civitavecchia to Roma Termini for your first leg. The benefits of taking this type of train (rather than the slower Regionale trains) are: 1) you have an assigned seat on a comfortable train with no stops between Civitavecchia and Termini (therefore less worries about your luggage), and 2) the train will arrive at Termini on the main tracks NOT the far-away supplementary tracks where the Regionale trains from Civitavecchia arrive. These trains (called Frecciabianca on the route from Civi to Rome) currently are scheduled at 9:16 am and 11:16 am. From Termini, you want another of the fast trains -- on this route they are called Frecciarossa -- to Venice. So you could book: the 9:16 FB to Roma Termini, which arrives at 10:03 am, then take a 10:35 FA to Venice (Venezia - S. Lucia station). This timing interval should be fine. The Frecci trains generally run very close to schedule. There is a similar possible combo with the later (11:16 am) train but I don't see any reason to wait that long to get started.... ANOTHER POSSIBILITY... The biggest hassle to me is getting myself and my luggage from the ship to the Civitavecchia station, which involves two transfers (port shuttle to port gate, then local bus to station). Plus, once at the station, you may also have to go down and up a flight of stairs to reach the right track. No elevator or escalator. It would cost more, but you could arrange a private transfer from the ship to Roma Termini station. Cost for two people would be in the range of 120 euro. Then it is a simple matter to get on your train bound for Venice. Just something to consider....
  12. cruisemom42

    Venice Hotels Post Cruise

    About a year ago we stayed at the Sina Palazzo Sant Angelo and loved it. Based on what you're looking for, I can highly recommend it. See my comments here regarding its location and why we liked it: We didn't pay extra for a room with a canal view, but the room we had was very charming. Breakfast was good, and staff were friendly. Not only did it have both an Alilaguna stop (good if you are leaving by air) and a vaporetto stop, but it is well located between San Marco and Rialto, easy walk to either.
  13. cruisemom42

    Choosing Cruise - Open to Suggestions

    I understand you're concerned about timing, but there are a lot of other variables. What are the itineraries of the cruises you're considering and which one appeals to you the most? Is it more important to you to have more land time in Italy (in which case the shorter cruise) or would you rather have a longer cruise and fewer land days? One thing I will say is that MSC would not be my first choice of cruise lines. They cater to a more European audience and tend to have shorter days in port (together with Costa) than the more US-focused lines like NCL.
  14. I can't help with any positive recommendations (not a big fan of Civitavecchia), but I would advise you to read the link here with recent discussion regarding the Hotel San Giorgio (and avoid them):
  15. cruisemom42

    Which ports are tenders

    The small ship I have cruised multiple times in the Med has twice tendered in Dubrovnik, but I think it is only an option to smaller sized vessels. (It is a plus because you are dropped off right in town.) . Mykonos may be a tender port or your ship may dock. The dock space is very limited. Again, tendering here may be a plus as you are dropped at a central point in town. (If docked, you will probably need to take a shuttle or a taxi-boat to reach Mykonos town.) Santorini is tender only. I think Corfu is dock only -- never seen or heard of ships tendering there. Can't help with the remaining two.