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About flamomo

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    Reading, crossword puzzles, word games, working in the yard
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  1. Depends on how strong your need is to be in control of your planning and your trip. Used a TA the first few times I cruised, and was frustrated by the necessity to get in touch with the TA anytime I had a question or and issue with the booking. Besides, by the time I booked, I had already researched everything I could and decided everything I wanted about the booking. So I decided to go it alone and book directly with the cruise line, and am much happier as a "do-it-yourselfer". By the time I am ready to book, I already have decided exactly which cruise and which ship I want, what specific cabin I want, what type of dining I want, etc. All I need to do is pick up the phone and call the cruise line (in my case, Princess). I don't need a 3rd party to do any of that. Of course, I have gone on the cruise line's website and have done thorough research. After the booking is made, I monitor the cruise line's promos frequently, so if there is a decrease in the fare, or a better promo then what I booked under, I can pick up the phone and get my cruise re-fared at a lower price or get the additional perks offered by getting it switched to a new promo. I book flights to/from the cruise port using the cruise line's online air program (with Princess it's called EZAir) and get much better fares that I can find booking directly with an airline, especially for international flights. Again, I keep checking the air fares available on EZAir every few days, and can cancel and rebook if there's a lower fare or one with better connection times. AND I don't have to pay the airfare until the final payment for the cruise is required to be made. Only you can decide how much control you want/need to have.
  2. If you cruise multiple times a year, you might consider looking at MedJetAssist. For the cost of the annual membership, they will come get you wherever in the world you are( … there are a few caveats or situations where they won't/can't), if you are hospitalized 150 miles or more away from home. When your condition is determined to be stable enough for you to be transported by medical jet, or commercial air, with a medical professional accompaniment, if your condition permits, they come get you and deliver you to the hospital of you choosing in your home area. And this is at zero additional cost to the member. I have read their reports in their monthly newsletter of transports they have actually done, and the costs (if they were billing the pax for the entire cost) are huge. Annual membership is around $400 per person, and a little cheaper if done thru AARP. I think it is better than insurance for the coverage it offers, though I do always take the Princess coverage because I get any medical expenses due to having to visit the ship's medical center reimbursed. I've had to use that a few times. MedJetAssist does also offer coverage for an individual cruise too, but I don't know what the membership cost is for that.
  3. http://www.orvieto-info.com/ Sounds really interesting. It's someplace I'd like to visit because I love seeing historical sites.
  4. Last year we (4 family members) stayed at a La Quinta Inn near the airport for a reasonable cost for our rooms. We arrived the afternoon before embarkation, and took the hotel shuttle from airport to hotel. There were restaurants in the immediate area, as well as a liquor store very nearby (so we were able to purchase wine to take onboard on embarkation). They offered the usual free morning breakfast buffet. The rooms were comfortable, and the hotel staff was very pleasant and helpful. We used the Seattle Express shuttle to go the port. Definitely less pricey than a cab or car service. And our shuttle driver was great … he even gave us a mini-tour of Seattle, complete with narration, enroute to the port. We had pre-booked the shuttle online, and bought r/t fares so that was also our transportation back to the airport at the end of the cruise. We'd certainly do the same thing if/when we go back to AK. IMO, the fact that when you use hotels booked thru Princess, the room rate is per person, not per room, is a deterrent to using their hotels, even if they do include the transfers. One can do much better booking hotels and arranging transportation themselves.
  5. In my experience, when you re-fare a cruise for which you already have EZAir booked, it's not like you cancel the original booking and rebook the same cruise as a new booking. You're just getting the fare lowered under a promo. I have done this a number of times and the EZAir reservations I had in place were unaffected. Recently I did it for a cruise next Spring, and saved us over $700 apiece on the base fare. I book directly with Princess, so all I have to do is call them and request the re-faring. I don't recall ever being refused as long as it was before final payment.
  6. Check with Princess. I know that on some ships they have a 2 bedroom "family suite", that has a common "living room" area, and , I believe, 2 bathrooms.
  7. If for no other reason, booking using EZAir's flexible schedule leaves you the option of changing your reservations up until 45 days out from the date of the first flight. So if fares later, but before 45 days, go down, you may want to take advantage of the opportunity to pay less. Or you find EZAir flights with some other advantage like a better schedule, you may want to cancel and rebook. Once you book direct with an airline, you are locked into the booking and have to pay for it at the time of booking. Not so with EZAir, as the air portion can wait till final payment to be paid. But then, you know all this stuff, having used EZAir for international flights. JMHO, but using EZAir for both domestic and international flights makes the most sense, even if the prices are the same as the airline's.
  8. Can the Ocean whatever be downloaded to my Samsung tablet, rather than to my cell phone. The phone goes into the safe upon boarding, and not taken out till the end of the cruise, but I frequently tote my tablet (it's only an 8 inch) around with me on the ship, and use it to stay in touch with family back home via email.
  9. As a Princess cruiser with 46 completed cruises, and numbers 47, 48,and 49 already booked, all I can say is that if Princess didn't provide to me what I consider a great cruise experience on every single cruise I have taken, I would have switched to another cruise line long ago. Try not to allow the "negative nellies" to make you wonder is you have made a mistake by booking a Princess cruise. Only you can determine whether Princess is the cruise line for you, so do your best to go into it with an open mind and expect to have a wonderful time. Chances are very good are you will do just that.
  10. Bottles of vino are HEAVY and may put you over .the airline's weight limit, resulting in a hefty extra charge for a checked bag being overweight. I use Wine-To-Go containers to transport wine when flying home from a cruise. They are essentially double wall plastic "bags" with a plastic screw-on cap that does not leak. You can find them on Amazon. I have had mine for several years and found they are definitely worth the price of around $10 each for the convenience.
  11. Except for formal nights, I wear my trusty lanyard to the dining room. I don't care if other PAX might think it looks tacky. I do it for my convenience. On formal nights it goes in my evening bag, at least until after I leave the dining room.
  12. I have cruised on the Pacific a number of times, and will be again soon. The dinnertime options are: the Club Dining Room ( traditional), the buffet, and Sabatini's and the steakhouse (the last two are open on alternating nights). Room service is also available, and probably also the burger grill on the pool deck. All passengers get assigned to a table number in either early or late seating in the Club Dining room. (However, this MAY not apply to PAX in Club Class mini-suites, as I believe they can show up for dinner in their special area of the dining room whenever it suits them.) It's that simple.
  13. Same here. Had a sudden brainstorm which sent me to the Travel Summary, and there it was!
  14. We cruised to AK on the Grand in early September and were very happy with the itinerary, the ship and the crew. I cruised on the Coral 15 years ago as my very first cruise ever, and on her sister ship, the Island, a couple of times in the intervening years. Never been on any of Princess' version of a mega-ship so far. For the cruise you are considering, I would definitely choose the Coral. The primary reason is because she is smaller (originally the Coral and the Island were specially built to fit thru the Panama Canal, so are narrower.) At least 1000 passengers less than the Grand, and even more "fewer" passengers than the Royal.
  15. Thanks. That's good to know. The loveseat will be welcome.
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