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About SimplyMarvie

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    All Over
  • Interests
    While cruising: Food, photography, non-cruiseline excursions, sitting in a lounge chair and reading
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    I approach cruiselines like pokemon -- gotta try 'em all.
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean and the Med. One day I'm gonna get to Pitcarin Island, though...

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  1. Yep, it doesn't bother everyone -- when we were getting vaccinations for work, my class of 65 had about a 30% rate of people who were hit by it, and everyone else was like "What are you-all complaining about...?" But that's a higher rate of weirdness than any other vaccine that's commonly available for travelers, so I think it's reasonable to be cautious.
  2. It's not required and not needed, and I wouldn't do it out of an abundance of caution either. Yellow Fever is a stone cold jerk of a vaccine -- you should get it if you need it, but the after-effects are the worst of any commonly-available vaccine. In addition to feeling pretty lousy, things can get moderately hallucinogenic... usually in a bad way. If you don't need it, I'd skip that one (despite being 100% pro-vaccine otherwise.)
  3. This option sounds like it might be perfect for us -- we've got enough Spanish that we don't really need an English speaking driver, and we've got a reasonable idea of what we'd like to do (sloth sanctuary and maybe the canals...?) and some strong opinions about lunch. My only worry is that we're a family of five. Is there a chance they'd have a taxi big enough to fit us all, or is that a bridge too far? And about how much were the prices -- per person/total?
  4. I live overseas and so travel to places with different currencies regularly. I always get money out of the ATM. Usually, there's an ATM surcharge, but my bank refunds those... and using the ATM I get the bank rate of exchange, which is almost always better than the rate offered at a currency exchange booth. (Some ATMs, especially in Europe, will offer to charge you in dollars. So, for example, you get 100 euros but the charge to your card is the dollar equivalent. Always say no to this... the rate is worse than the rate you'd get for your bank at conversion.)
  5. It's a pity that you're not going to be on our cruise -- we're bringing a bag of board games. We're a family of 5, and it will give us something to do out of our cabins that will be fun for everyone... and hey, maybe someone else will want to join us? We're thinking about bringing: * Travel Edition of Catan * Exploding Kittens * Gimme the Brain * Love Letter * Flux * Various varieties of Munchkin ... and whatever the kids talk me into between now and December. As far as classic v. 'new' games, while I have one budding chess wiz, none of my kids have much interest in traditional boardgames. Having grown up on new board games, they feel like a lot of the traditional games are either too easy (Sorry, etc.) or too slow play-style wise.
  6. How early is too early to start booking excursions -- especially if you're looking to do something outside of the cruise-line? I'm torn between leaving it until later, and the stress-relief of having everything all tied up neatly in a bow so I don't have to worry about it. We're not cruising until December, so I can't decide if it's still a bit early or if I can start already.
  7. We had a similar question with our family of five, and it was one of the things that I really appreciated having a TA help us with -- booking online we couldn't do two cabins in one booking and had to book one and then go and try to book another close or next door, which is hard because putting different numbers of people in the cabin changed the availability (or everything was sold out in the two minutes it took to complete the first booking? Who knows, but it was a right pain.) The TA was able to run the numbers and check various alternatives and found us the perfect combination of outside cabins -- an inside is fine, but if you've got kids who are afraid of the dark, it might be tough for them. Those cabins get DARK. I love it... my seven year old, not so much. The price was only a few dollars more, and we're right next door instead of down the hall -- plus, she did all the work! 🙂
  8. We went on a HAL cruise for our honeymoon, and were 1/3 the age of the other couple at the table. (And no, we didn't marry that young... we were well into our 20s.)
  9. Nope! We cruise about once every 3-5 years, but take tons of land-based vacations in between. At the moment we've got one cruise planned (December) out of four trips booked and four more planned but not booked yet, including a big African Safari next fall. Cruising fills a very specific niche for us -- when we need a break, but I'm too busy/stressed to enjoy planning a big trip and really need to decompress. That said, as work gets more and more crazy and the kids get older I can see us dipping into that well more often. 🙂
  10. Yep. Although we're still trying to figure that out since it's a new itinerary for RCCI and they've already changed whether it's a partial transit or a port call. It'll be awesome either way, but it'd also be nice to know.
  11. I was mainly thinking about Summer Work and Travel Js, where they do have a 30 day grace between the program end date and the time they absolutely have to be out of the US (or process an extension or change of status) which is what is supposed to comprise the 'travel' part. I worked with SWT extensively in my last job, and had a number of kids who took closed-loop cruises and were not allowed back into the US during their grace period. But I think the point is that while you're admitted for duration of status for any specific admission, CBP does not have to allow you back into the US for a NEW admission, just based on duration of status. Your status for that admission ended when you left the US -- now you're knocking on the door again, and with an expired visa, that's less likely to go well for you. Sometimes there's some leeway if you're, say, an F with a new I-20 specifying continued attendence, but even then... CBP has much wider discretion since the policy changes last year and my experience has been that they're using it.
  12. Jerusalem in particular, but a lot of Europe and the middle east, are just not optimized for cruise travel. The closest you could get would be Haifa (or maybe Ashkelon?) and you're talking about a 2-3 hour drive to get to Jerusalem, and then a very limited view of the city. You'll have really similar problems in some places in Europe, and with the Pyramids. Maybe consider some land trips to your major destinations, where you can stay in one place for a while and do day trips out into the hinterlands. We're serial expats and have been since our kids were small, and there is a big, big difference between seeing a place as a port of call, and having the opportunity to live somewhere, where you grocery shop, meet people, and explore. I'm not saying one is better or worse than the other, they're just different. But if you're really looking to raise well-rounded globalist children, giving them both experiences is key.
  13. They'll need a passport, which they already have, so that's easy. Check the visa requirements of the countries you'll be entering just in case. They're probably talking about the I-20 form, which your student should have with their passport. They should probably check with their certifying official at the school and make that their SEVIS status is current and updated before they leave the country and that their visa is VALID. A number of people on F and J visas have grace periods for various reasons at the end of their visas where they're okay to remain in the US after the visa has technically expired. The thing is, during those grace periods if they leave they cannot return and a closed-loop cruise counts as leaving.
  14. I just did this with our December booking -- booked through Royal, and then transferred to an agent. We're US-based, but live overseas and trying to deal with RCCI's customer service with a 45 minute hold time at an 8 hour time difference was making me crazy. It was a FANTASTIC choice. We got an extra bit of OBC for doing it, and the TA was able to fix our two issues (I mis-spelled my own name on the booking, (d'oh!) and a cabin assignment question) with one e-mail. She took the initiative to get us an upgrade on the second cabin from an inside to an ocean-view for a song because I'd mentioned my youngest kiddo was afraid of the dark. She'll also monitor for price-drops for us, or when it might be advantageous to upgrade our booking, but to be honest even if she does nothing else for us in the next 3 months I'm still happy not to sit on hold with RCCI.
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