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cft8

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  1. Thanks. When they changed the arrival time, they made a bit of a big deal about it, sayin that it was "for the convenience of the guests" and the only way I thought that might make it convenient for guests is if the disembarkation process started earlier (that sounds inconvenient to me personally, but I'm not a 'get off the ship asap' person). But, it sounds like the pier staff's schedule hasn't changed, and therefore the disembarkation timing hasn't changed either. The 6:45am start is what I've seen on the disembarkation instruction flyers that have been posted from sailings this year (I don't know if I can link to them, as they were posted on another site). That's also where I saw that the last tags, at least officially, are scheduled for 9:50. I don't plan to base our disembarkation time around that late of a time, as I'm aware that tags often get called earlier than scheduled.
  2. Back before the Alaska season started, I’d mentioned that our Ovation sailing is scheduled to return at 4:30am. Since this was a new time for them, and it seemed like the sailings were split between 4:30am and the usual 6am arrivals, it wasn’t clear how that was going to impact the disembarkation schedule. Have there been any sailings yet that returned that early? Did disembarkation start or end earlier? I am mainly curious if it ended any earlier; we are getting ready to finalize our pick up time and I don’t want to end up having to be off the ship earlier than I expect and end up having our group waiting around outside for the pickup. The departure sheets I’ve seen posted have the last tags at 9:50, but I think they were all sailings that arrived at 6am.
  3. The Newark Airport Marriott is the one hotel that has shuttles from the terminal. It doesn’t seem to get many mentions on here, but we had a good stay. I’m not sure how the price compares to the other hotels that have been mentioned; we stayed as part of a group booking. I wasn’t the one that did the research or picked the hotel. They do have parking, though I’m not sure if they allow you to park for the week.
  4. I think that Craigdarroch is worth seeing, but I love historic homes. We went last time we were in Victoria and are going again. It’s not very big, though, so if you can get off right away and grab a cab, you probably have time to get there and see it before they close. Then you could get a cab to the inner harbor and get dinner and walk around.
  5. We're on Ovation in September. Our excursion in Juneau gets back too late to make our MDR seating, so we decided to try the Solarium Bistro. Right now in the cruise planner the only time I can get for our party of 3 is 5:30, which we won't be able to make. Do they open more times on board?
  6. I don’t like fizzy drinks very much, and I still get the Refreshment Package because of all the other things - the fresh OJ is so much better than the regular one they serve, and I like a specialty coffee in then mornings and a decaf latte at dinner (I don’t think the regular coffee is very good either), plus I drink a fair amount of water. I have never really kept track of whether I break even on cost, but it’s nice to just order whatever I want and not worry about it. My first cruise I didn’t get anything, but I thought the coffee was so bad that I got the coffee punch card for my second, plus my mom and I shared the bottled water delivery. I didn’t think I saved with that because on Serenade they did two punches per espresso shot and so every drink I got was two punches instead of one like I thought it would be. Last year, since DH joined me, and he likes soda, sparkling water, and coffee, so the package made sense for h and I figured I’d give it a try myself. Now that’s probably what I’ll always do.
  7. Well, I read the whole thread to see how it turned out. I’m glad that they honored the price, it seems like they right thing to do. I’m just bummed that I didn’t see this thread in time to check my 2020 cruise. I’ll just have to wonder what might have been and hope that the Refreshment Package (what we usually get) goes down to $18-20 at some point before then!
  8. We're in Juneau on a Sunday on the Ovation of the Seas. Our excursion (Whale Watching & Mendenhall) leaves as soon as we arrive in port, and returns at 5:45, but all aboard is not until 8:30. Will there be anything significant open later in the day (I'm thinking more of museums or historic sites than shopping or eating)? If not, I'm thinking of just trying to book a spot on the NorthStar for when we get back on board. I see that the Mt. Roberts Tramway stays open until 9, but if we can get the NorthStar, we can get a decent view for free!
  9. If you're looking at restaurants with a great view instead of a dinner cruise, I'd add Duck and Waffle (https://duckandwaffle.com) to that list. We did breakfast there, but my co-worker says the dinner is fabulous, too. For a unique afternoon tea experience, I highly recommend the B-Bakery tea bus: https://b-bakery.com
  10. Thanks! I probably showed my passport in hopes of getting a stamp (which they evidently did not give me, because I don't have one 😊).
  11. Did they check passports when you disembarked in Victoria? Personally, I have one, and I'll be bringing it. But, there's a person in our group who does not. I don't know her well, so I don't know the details on why, and really they're not important. I'm just trying to help her figure out if she can join our excursion in Victoria. I remember going through an immigration kiosk last time we called there, and showing my passport, but it was 3 years ago, so I could be misremembering.
  12. For my mom’s birthday, we also just told them in the MDR it was her birthday and they decorated a slice of the chocolate layer cake and brought that out with a candle. We didn’t specify what kind of cake we wanted, so maybe if you have a certain request, just talk to your waiter or the head waiter for your section the night before.
  13. That sounds much better! If you plan to go in Westminster Abbey using the London Pass admission, I’d get there just before it opens. The entry line was long when we went in at 9:30 and even longer when we came out around noon.
  14. Add me to the list of people who are exhausted just looking at that list! If you have not already purchased the London Pass, I would reevaluate it. Make a more realistic list and figure out if it will really save you money. I decided it wouldn't when I evaluated for our trip. I can speak to a few specific items you have listed. Westminster Abbey - the London Pass allows you to skip the ticket-purchase line, but not the entry line. The entry line gets long, fast. If you don't already have the LP, you can purchase tickets on the Abbey website. You get a discount and they allow you to skip the entry line. You enter the Abbey right after security. We had Abbey tickets for 9:30 and Queen's Jubilee Gallery tickets for 10:45. We could have used at least 15 more minutes in the Abbey; I didn't get to look around Poet's Corner as much as I would have liked. There's an audio guide and of course you can skip parts, but I'd plan a minimum of 1 hour. Buckingham Palace - we did the full Royal Day Out ticket, which includes the Queen's Gallery and the Royal Mews. We had the earliest entry time for the Royal Mews, at 9:30. We left the Palace sometime between 2:30-3:00. Your entry to the Queen's Gallery and the Palace are timed; you can do the Royal Mews between those two, or after. Kensington Palace - we got there just before opening time, and there was no line to speak of for ticket purchases. We had a Historic Royal Palaces membership, so we got straight in the entry line. We were about 15th in line. It was not crowded and we got through the whole thing in about 2 hours. I am a pretty detailed museum-goer, and read as much information as I can. It's probably possible to do it faster. We were also there when the exhibit of Princess Diana's dresses was on, and I spent a good 45 minutes or so in that. I'm not sure what their special exhibition is now. Tower of London - we got there around noon, and skipped purchasing tickets with our Historic Royal Palaces membership (but there wasn't really a line at that point anyway). We did have to wait in line for 20-30 minutes to enter. We were probably there for 4 hours, including walking all around the battlements and looking at the exhibits on the way, waiting in line to see the Crown Jewels, and touring the Fusiller's Museum. We did not go up in the White Tower; I'd had knee surgery about 5 months prior and did not think I could handle all those stairs. We were there for 9 days and while we saw quite a lot, we still didn't see everything on our "must see" list. In order to accomplish that, I'm going to need to win the lottery and go live there for a year (or in two 6-month stints to avoid visa problems). And that's just for London. Don't get me started on the rest of the UK. Here is my very long trip report, but at the start I list out what we did each day which can maybe give you some ideas on grouping things.
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