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CarolandNate

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About CarolandNate

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    MA
  • Interests
    Sports Politics, Music, Food
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Alaska, thus far

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  1. Oh, oh. We "older", I think. But everything I hear about this is good. Interesting what you say about Panama City. While the city and the locks tours may be educational and a chance to see the canal from a different perspective, we really want to do something different. I figure we will get a lot of educational stuff as we go through, not to mention on the ship the days before the transit. What I don't want is to do a city/locks tour the day before and then go through and be told basically the same things. The Embera tour really looks different than your typical tour and we also got to see a short piece on TV with one of the many streaming travel channels. So thanks
  2. Sounds good. That's what I am hearing, especially about Emberas. Hadn't been seeing too much good or bad about Nicaragua. There were three volcano tours, but only one that seemed to spend a decent amount of time at the volcano itself. Sounds like we made the right choice. Thanks
  3. I agree. My situation is different, in that I am not looking for the stay before for anything more than a night to crash, eat without a lot of hassle, be nearby and drop off a car that I will have had for three or four days. There is a lot of good stuff to see, but I have seen it. Aquarium should be seen, but only if you have time. I see Torrance as a place in the middle where you could go in either direction.
  4. The breakfast thing at Residence is actually pretty good. Probably not as impressive as DT, and certainly nothing like one at Westin, but it's more than a lobby buffet, a little of everything, including a waffle maker. And it's included and since I don't even pay for the room....... Westin is nice and there actually is a Westin in Long Beach (similar to Renaissance) and it is a Marriott now. Their buffet in Vancouver is one of those "whoa buffets" and being right there in the hotel was great. We left our luggage at the room, went to breakfast, and waited for the bus to take us over to the dock. There was actually another Westin across the street from the dock. Just check around Long Beach, San Pedro, Torrance. I had a list of about 16 hotels and that was just the ones where I could get a free night. I have Hilton points, but not enough and that would have required opening a new credit card to get enough intro points. I am already there with Marriott and Choice. Then check out all the rentals in the proximity. And if you don't car about being an hour from the dock or so, there more near the airport.
  5. Ah Montreal. One of my favorite places. Son was going to go to McGill before he decided elsewhere and I have a cousin who has been a professor there forever. Actually love Canada. In the 70s, we honeymooned in the Maritimes and a couple of years ago got back to PEI after 28 years. Love your country !!! Crowne Plaza is expensive. It is literally across the street from Enterprise, isn't it. The DT looks nice. We want a place with free breakfast and Residence Inns have a decent buffet and since we have Marriott Points and free anniversary nights, seems like a logical place to go. Also have Choice points and there is a brand new Ascend, which are the more upscale Choices in Torrance. Called the Bluestem and it literally opened a couple of months ago. It also is getting great reviews. There's also an Enterprise a mile or so away from it. Getting back to the breakfast thing, we don't want to go hunting around for breakfast that morning. When we went to Alaska, we stayed at a Westin through Princess and they had a buffet. Made life easier to eat and go and then tide us over until we get on the ship, where the serious eating begins. I like to think, that I know the LA area reasonably well for an east coast person. Daughter is out there and my son did an internship near LA when he was in college. When and where are you going on Princess.
  6. Lot of options. There is an Enterprise of San Pedro and it is about a mile from the Best Western, about two from the Hilton Double Tree. That Enterprise is 15 from the Long Beach Cruise terminal (Carnival). As far as going to Santa Monica, one night there and one in Long Beach, that is a good option as well. If you have never been to Santa Monica, it is kind of cool on the pier. If you want something to do near the cruise terminal in Long Beach, the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific are right near it, very close. If you think you would want to do the aquarium, you need the better part of a day. It is huge. There are a lot of hotels and car rentals to choose from. You might even want to consider staying in between, like in Torrance, which is a half hour from Santa Monica and the terminal. There are a couple of Enterpises in Torrance and an Uber from Torrance to the terminal is only about $25-30. We are going in December on a Princess, whose dock is on San Pedro. Right now, our plan is staying near Pasadena to the east until the day before (family). Then drive over to Torrance or Long Beach, where there are several Choice hotels and Marriotts. Get rid of the car the morning of and Uber over to out terminal. Since the Torrance and Long Beach car rentals are not too far, we are planning to uber from LAX to one of them to get the car for several days . FWIW, it is cheaper to Uber and do a round trip car rental there than a one way from LAX to a rental return in LB or Torrance. Check out Costco, if you have membership there. Hope that helps
  7. Yes be careful. Once you let something like that get into your system, what can follow could be really bad. You open yourself up to malware or a number of bad things. You can try to filter out, but it is a real pain. Good luck
  8. Like FB or any other social media, this kind of posting can and will happen, unfortunately. If you go to this person's profile, there are at last count 39 of the exact same wording to others on CC. Looks like they joined a couple of weeks ago and have been doing this since. Reporting is fine, but the best thing to do is just ignore it. Do not, I repeat, do not reply by email. You would just be letting this person know you are out there and it would result in getting a lot of spam. The admins on this board can probably block people, but you don't want to have do this in the outside world. That would be a lot of work, filtering.
  9. I assume you are referring to the one from Lucy Watson !!! Monica Brown !!! or whoever. !!!! At first I thought it might be what I wrote, but the broken english kind of gave it away that this was a spammer.
  10. Our Panama Canal Cruise for December 3-18 on the Emerald Princess from LA to Ft. Lauderdale has opened up the excursions for booking well in advance of the 120 days, that is on website. It is even a lot earlier than the 180 that I had heard about. Given that we booked four of our six days in port. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico--Las Caletas Private Beach Getaway ($105) 6 1/2 hours. We wanted to do some beach and PV seemed like the best place for that. There were a couple of other beach options, but this seemed to be the best because there is no bouncing around from place to place and spending time getting there. A catamaran takes us to this private beach and we spend four plus hours in one place with several things to do. beach, eat, drink, hike, eat, kayak, cooking lessons, did I mention eat. Four hours later they take us back. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua--Nature Experience, Masaya Volcano, Apoyo Lagoon, Granada ($100) 7 1/4 hours. Volcanoes are the big thing in Nicaragua, so I hear. There were three options and each was the same price. This was the middle between an 8 1/2 and 7 hour excursion. All three visit the Masaya. This one also also takes in Mombachu from a distance. It also takes us to Granada and gives us more free time there to walk around. Didn't want to wait and possibly miss out, so we jumped on it. Puntarenas, Costa Rica--Rainforest Aerial Tram, Tarcoles River ($180) 10 1/2 hours. Rainforest is Costa Rica, right? There were several and this was the priciest. There was one that was just the Rainforest , but it was pretty expensive as well, at $155. For $25 more, we get to do a river cruise and see crocodiles (hopefully). The only issue we had, is that it iis a lot of time in bus getting from the rainforest to the river and then back to the ship. Heard from some that there are things to see on the bus part and when we put it together, it seemed like the best deal. Could blow up on us, but we'll chance it. Fuerte Amador, Panama--Embera Indian Village. ($100). 5 1/2 hours. Going east, the port of call is the day before the transit. I am assuming there will be a lot of educational stuff on the ship throughout the trip and then more on the day of. Most of the excursions for Panama City are lock/canal related. And while I understand that from land, it is a different perspective, I wanted to see something different, totally different. I was lukewarm about this over the months, but then several people on cruise critic wrote that this excursion was the highlight of their trip. That meant something. I also saw an eight minute thing on my streaming travel channel on it. Like I said, it's different. We have not and probably will not book the other two, Huatulco, Mexico and Cartagena, Colombia until we get on the ship. Cartagena is really about the city and there are something like 15 variations of city tours. There are minor differences between them. I am assuming that I can wait and not be shut out. There are also options that are on our own or we can just cab in or even walk from the pier. If I detect that things are filling up by the summer, I might book ahead. Huatulco has various options of different types of excursions. There are some interesting options, but none make me say, "wow, gotta grab one". That could change as I observe people on Cruise Critic and their comments over the next couple of months. The city, which apparently has some points of interest is not very far and could be cabbed to or even walked to. So for now we are booked and I don't have to obsess over choices over and over again for the next however many months. Well I'll find something to obsess about.
  11. So I thought when you pointed that out in an earlier post. I called to make sure. The issue is not that they can be cancelled, it is that something booked with OBCs which they determine not to have refundable cash value, they won't even insure it. Not insuring it is not an option. Anything booked prior to the trip would have to be accounted for and over an additional $50-75 of premium, I do not want to risk blowing the whole pre-exist clause. I would have to have paid for some by CC anyway as I don't have enough OBCs to cover everything. It is more of I can pay now or pay later. I put it on a credit card that gets me airline miles. As far as using airline miles, same deal with TG. Airline miles have no dollar value to them. If I cancelled, I could get the points back for forever use, with a $150 penalty, but the $150 would have to be accounted for to TG. I can, however, use the booking up to a year from when I made it and pay no penalty. I assume I will use it.
  12. Just a little something on that. I see that some people want to use their OBCs to book as many excursions as they can as opposed to using their credit card and saving the OBCs. I also assume you are insuring your trip in some manner, so I would check with the insurer as to how they handle excursions that are booked with OBCs. I am insuring through Travelguard, which is very strict about how one accounts for everything and maintaining a pre-existing conditions clause. If I add anything, that is non-refundable, it has to be accounted for within 21 days of booking. This is relevant because onboard credits from the cruise line are considered to have a dollar value and thus there is no refund to be had. With no refund to be had, they don't even allow you to insure OBC items. If you want to insure an excursion, you need to have form of payment. In the end whether you pay via OBCs or CC does not really matter. If you don't use them for excursions, you'll likely have them later. If you use them up for excursions, then at some point, you will be going to your credit card. Also TG puts its premiums into bands depending upon the total insured. It is possible, maybe even likely that $600-900 worth of excursions will jump you from one band to another. The difference is usually, $50-70. I chose to go that route. The small $50-75 as well as putting it on the CC now is worth it as opposed to not insuring or blowing the Pre-exist clause. . Airline points work the same way. Can't insure a flight booked on points, but in my case my points are still usable up to a year without putting them back into the account, which would trigger a penalty. Just check things out with your insurer.
  13. That's funny !! FYI, I passed 50 times awhile ago. I have charts and charts of my charts. I make notes, create links, set up maps. Clearly I have too much time on my hands. Now that they are actually out there for the taking, I can move to the next phase and that would be obsessing as to what I will do the rest of the time at said port of call. Fortunately, one will have a 10 hour excursion out of the 12 hours we are there. Doesn't leave a lot of time for anything else, maybe get back to the ship and crash. I'm good with rainforest in Costa Rica and beach in Puerto Vallarta and we have them narrowed down to one. Research pays off. Of course that does not take into account the ones that have three or four hours of "free" time when not on an excursion. Planning every minute is just something I do. I can't help myself. There is also one place where there are three from which to choose, Nicaragua and volcanoes. They are each the same price. Oh the pressure !! I was hoping to get some more feedback from people on Cruise Critic to help my "research", but it looks llike I'm on my own. I got help with Panama and got swayed by people saying that the visit to an Indian Village was the highlight of their trip. Also saw something on TV about it as well. And finally there are the two ports where I am going to wait until we get on board. Cartegena has something like 15 variations of city tours. I am guessing one is as good as the other and can wait. Huatulco has different things like city or countryside or nature or bay tours. We can wing it. Actually I find this stuff to be fun. Hope you do too.
  14. Obsessive is so...... OK obsessive works. 490 days, so what are you going to do with yourself after you book. I know that once I book, my obsessiveness will need to be fed. And I only have about 300 days.
  15. That may be true. Travelguard does not or at least I never asked them, because in my case with American or Southwest, there would be no fee. If you redeposit, there is a fee. With American, if I was unable to go on the given date, I would still be bale to use the ticket for up to a year from when I made the reservation, as long as my destination was the same. So if I got tickets to LAX for 12.5K, I would be able be able to use that ticket to LAX. If the only tickets available at the time of the make up were 20K, I would have to make up the difference. Southwest has the same one year thing, but they put the points into a an unused section of your account and you can used them for anything. You're not restricted the location. Knowing that I did not even ask about the redeposit fee, because it is not relevant.
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