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About kochleffel

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  1. One caution: we experienced a lot of latency in GPS, both on Apple and on Android phones. That is, instructions to turn often came slightly too late for us actually to turn in the right place.
  2. We rented a car and, following Marazul's advice in this forum last year, went to Tourrettes-sur-Loup for lunch before driving to Vence to see the Matisse chapel (Chapelle du Rosaire). The chapel isn't included in any standard tour, partly because of limited parking, although a private tour operator could add it if you book the entire tour.
  3. I've done it with luggage and would do it again, especially when I had no one with whom to share the cost of a taxi or van. I would probably take the express train next time, because the regional trains, although cheap, can be very crowded. Or Metro from hotel to Termini, if you're near a Metro station. And local bus for €2 from the Civitavecchia station to the port entrance.
  4. It's possible to walk from the port entrance to the train station. Walking from the ship to the port entrance, however, is AFAIK not allowed -- use the free shuttle for that. There is also a local bus from the port entrance to the train station. It's not free; it was €2 when I took it last year. You would buy a ticket at a shack near the line for the bus. In the other direction, it's possible to buy a ticket in the convenience store in front of the train station.
  5. It's typical for a tour company to tell you when to be ready, based on their knowledge of the ship's docking time, when your booking is part of a group. If you will be the only participants in the tour they can be more flexible but in that case I would still ask what they recommend.
  6. Cocoa Beach Shuttle quoted me a fare from Port Canaveral to Sanford Airport that was even higher than Uber, so I used Uber. The shuttle fare might have been the same regardless of the number of passengers--I was alone. I don't recommend a rental car, because the rental agencies are small and very congested on embarkation/debarkation days, and sometimes they can't assign a car to you until one is returned by someone headed to the ship.
  7. Yes. My train from Rome was packed beyond the gills from Termini to more than halfway to Civitavecchia. While it may not be worth the extra cost to save a few minutes with the express, I think it is worthwhile to be sure of having a seat.
  8. I boarded at Rome (Civitavecchia) about a year ago. One interesting thing on Cruise Critic is that every sailing has three overlapping roll calls, so I also participated in those for the two Barcelona embarkations that were before and after mine from Rome. The Barcelona roll calls tend to be more active since there are more passengers embarking from Barcelona. The one for the sailing before my Rome departure was the first of the season and had an especially active roll call, probably because it followed a transatlantic sailing with many B2B passengers.
  9. I've sailed twice on the Epic and have a third cruise booked. I haven't tried to book on the Epic again and again; it was just a coincidence that the itineraries suited my work schedule, but I wouldn't hesitate to choose the Epic. The two cruises were quite different, not only in the itineraries (western Med with 1 sea day/eastern Carib with multiple sea days), but also the demographics of the passengers. I was alone both times and the bathroom setup didn't matter. In the western Med cruise I was frequently annoyed with the crowds and waits for elevators, but that didn't occur on the Caribbean cruise. On the other hand, in the first cruise there was no problem with access to entertainment of any kind, but during the second any entertainment except shows in the theater for which reservations were taken was nearly impossible to get into. Food and dining service were equal on both and generally good. (The only recurring dining problems I've experienced on NCL were on the Gem where the configuration of the MDRs didn't match the needs of the passengers and some of the food preparation seemed careless.) Cabin service was better on the first Epic trip, satisfactory on the second, but neither was as good as I had on the Gem.
  10. I couldn't choose between Sitka and Skagway, and I wasn't sure that I would have time for a 14-day cruise including both, so I booked a one-way itinerary that has Skagway (train enthusiast) and will visit Sitka by air. My booking doesn't include Glacier Bay.
  11. kochleffel

    Ncl alaska

    The itineraries are different. The Bliss and the Joy are on closed-loop itineraries from Seattle, while the Jewel is one-way northbound or southbound between Vancouver and Seward. There are also differences in whether a particular sailing includes Glacier Bay and whether it calls at Skagway.
  12. Make sure that you understand the difference between "sailaway" and "guarantee." Sailaway rates are offered right from the start of the booking period and are discounted and carry no promo offers, but you can't choose your cabin. You are most likely to get one of the type you paid for but occasionally someone gets a better one. Sailaway cabins are sometimes the first type to sell out. Guarantee cabins are not further discounted, keep their promo offers, and are more likely if you book late, when all or nearly all cabins in the category are already booked. In general you can't choose a guarantee--when you get to cabin selection it will be the only kind offered. You may see this, for example, if the only remaining cabins of that type are accessible cabins. The only similarities between sailaway and guarantee are that you can't choose a specific cabin and might get a better one. Very late bookings are sometimes available at rates lower than sailaways early in the booking period, but this can't be counted on.
  13. I have two cruises booked on RCI, one each on HAL and NCL. The last one is in 2021.
  14. I don't know the layout of your ship, but in general terms, if noise is a concern and with a child, you'll want to avoid being directly above or below public areas. Entertainment venues and the fitness center are obvious to avoid, but there can be cleaning in any public area, including the dining rooms, during the night, so a deck sandwiched between two other decks that are all cabins is the best bet.
  15. Rome, because it's easier to fly to Rome from where I live than to Barcelona and embarking a few days later fit my work schedule better (it was the first cruise of the season on this itinerary). No problems getting off anywhere but Cannes, which is a tender port. Because the entire western Med itinerary is within the Schengen area, there are no customs or immigration checks at any port. I had reservations for the shows I wanted to see in the theater, and had no trouble getting into Headliners - I didn't happen to go to the Cavern Club. However, on a Caribbean cruise this winter, also on the Epic, it was all but impossible to get into Headliners for anything whatsoever unless you went more than an hour early (there were even long, long lines to purchase bingo cards an hour before the bingo game would start), and I heard that it was also difficult to get into the Cavern Club. The Beatles band made one appearance in the theater and there was no difficulty getting in for that. Same with the Headliners comics - two shows (early rated PG, late rated R, I'd say) in the theater and no difficulty getting in, even though no reservations were taken for those. I attribute this to the differences in itineraries (the eastern Caribbean itinerary had as many sea days as port days) and demographics. The passenger profiles were quite different.
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