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Freshycat

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About Freshycat

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Alberta, Canada
  1. Freshycat

    Special dietary needs on NCL Getaway?

    Thank you! That's very helpful, thank you! I will be calling them asap.
  2. Freshycat

    Carry on only?

    That's a great idea! I tuck gloves into ski boots, but never thought to tuck things into regular shoes. That's way better than just squishing them really flat as I've been doing.
  3. Hello, my family group of 14 is travelling on the NCL Getaway's Aug 18-27, 2019 Baltic Cruise. We have several and various food issues in our group: - My nephew (21) has a severe peanut allergy. He's used to handling it and travels with an epi pen. - My DH is gluten sensitive. - Several members are sometime vegetarians. - Several members are lactose intolerant. - My sister is an organic foodie. The only real medical concern is the peanut allergy, but dealing with the other options would greatly enhance everybody's enjoyment of the cruise. On the other hand, we don't want to cause a big headache for the staff and don't want a lot of special meals made (especially because they are sometimes awful). Is there clear food labelling? Does anybody have tips on how to handle it that will make it easiest on us and the staff? I booked directly through NCL online and didn't use a travel agent. Should I call them up now or wait until we're onboard to deal with it? Also, does anybody know the policy for bringing food onboard? My DH loves his coffee but usually drinks it with lactose-free cream. If we can find some in Copenhagen I'd like to bring it onboard. (I found the policy that says no food aboard to store in their kitchen, but we could put the LF cream in our mini-fridge.) Thanks in advance for all replies.
  4. Freshycat

    Carry on only?

    Haha, true, but bathing suits are small. You can get a lot of them into a carry-on. :) It's the extra shoes and multiple jackets, sweaters and jeans that will kill you.
  5. Freshycat

    Carry on only?

    I hear you! Between DH's kids and our own, we used to travel as a family of 7. It was a lot easier to keep track of baggage when everybody had just the one carry-on! Every time you look at a kid, he better have his bag somewhere close at hand. I suppose that's another reason I've learned to travel light -- it's hard to squeeze luggage for 7 into a single vehicle if they all start bringing extra bags.
  6. Freshycat

    Carry on only?

    Haha, thanks, champagne123! I forgot to add my newest love -- my cheap Chromebook, which is so small and lightweight I actually carry it in my purse. It works just fine as a laptop in a pinch. My purse holds my Chromebook, smartphone, wallet, the family's travel documents and a bottle of water once I clear security. My carry-on holds clothing, 2 pairs of shoes (the Crocs heels and sneakers) and my toiletries bag. I always have room left over, which is good because my kids are always asking me to carry stuff for them.
  7. Freshycat

    Carry on only?

    No judgment of anybody intended or implied, but I love to travel with just a carry-on. I suppose it's because I've had a few bad experiences. Once, the airline mis-routed my checked bag for a 3-day houseboat trip for somebody's anniversary. I was forced to spend the weekend in clothing purchased at 9 pm from the grocery store and looked and felt awful in the photos. Another time, we almost missed our int'l connection because we had to reclaim and re-check baggage. Since then, I've tried to master the art of carry-on and travelling light. I like how nimble and adaptable it makes me feel. You're quick off the plane, quick to the cab, get first-in-line access over fellow travellers and can change your plans on a dime. Frankly, I also think I look better under the carry-on philosophy. Before when I filled a large suitcase, my focus was on quantity and variety. Now, knowing I have to be extremely selective with what I bring, I focus on a few high quality, classic and versatile pieces and don't feel shy about paying big $$ for quality gear because I know the items will be well-used. My current travel go-tos are: - a Burberry shawl in burgundy and rose tones I alternately use as a blanket on the plane, a neck scarf for dressing up an outfit, and a shawl paired with an evening gown. Weighs a few grams and tucks into my purse. - 3-inch Crocs heels that look great with a business suit, but which I can also walk in comfortably for a whole day of city sightseeing. - a silky little black dress, which I dress down for plane travel and sightseeing and dress up to use as a cocktail dress. Makes me look like a million bucks. - Icebreaker clothes in 100% merino. Incredibly lightweight, warm and comfortable. It's anti-microbial so stays fresh without washing for quite a long time (mountaineers tell disgusting stories about going 30+ days without washing their Icebreaker, but truly the stuff does not smell). I have a hoodie that is my light jacket, which I also use for an extra warm layer. Also a few shirts pretty enough to be blouses, but can also be worn under shirts. And a pair of pants that work as regular trousers, but can also be used for light workouts (eg x-country skiing), or as a baselayer for skiing. A t-shirt is about $100 and the hoodie $300, but it's so useful it's worth it. Really easy to wash/hang, everything folds quite small, and wrinkles can be shaken out. And OK, I'll admit that it's so warm and comfortable I use them as pyjamas in a pinch. On a recent 3-day work retreat with a formal evening event, business meetings and 2 casual outings, I only filled half my carry-on, yet got compliments all weekend on my "fashion" and "style," which made me chuckle. People's eyes bugged out when I rolled up with my little bag, and they looked on with envy when they had to wait 40 minutes for their stalled luggage to come out on the conveyor while I walked straight from the plane into a cab. Does anybody have favourite travel go-tos they'd like to share? I'm always on the lookout for great ideas/items.
  8. Freshycat

    Confused want-to-be first time cruiser

    Haha, I love the sound of your travel agent.
  9. Just in case anybody is on this cruise ... I noticed a price drop of $1,109 on our $8,322 cruise so I called the number on my confirmation and they issued an immediate price adjustment. I didn't have to cancel my room and rebook or anything like that. I just called up and said, "I'd like to take advantage of the price reduction" and she said, "OK, give me a moment," then told me the new price and issued me a new confirmation with the lower price. It took about 30 seconds. I'm in Canada. I understand this works in the U.S. as well, and you can keep doing price adjustments right up until final payment, 120 days before sailing. Not sure if it's just this cruise (I'm guessing people may have jumped ship after they swapped Stockholm for Gdansk) or whether there are a lot of sales, but if you haven't reached final payment, it might be a good idea to check for November price drops on your cruise. Happy cruising!
  10. I'm convinced, we will stay local and explore the towns nearer by. Thank you to everybody for sharing your experiences. That sounds great! Do you recall the name of the tour or tour guide?
  11. Tipping is such a contentious issue. I travelled in Europe as a teenager with my class and insisted on tipping generously in restaurants (because my parents always did in North America). I knew it was not expected, but thought it was nice. However, one waitress did not seem particularly pleased to receive the tip (she said it was "not necessary" and I said, "I know, but I would like to leave it as a token of our appreciation"), and I found out afterwards that some people are actually offended because it implies that they are low-wage workers when they see themselves as trained professionals. Now I inquire into the culture, try to be flexible and check my judgment at the door. In York, England, I noticed that there was no auto gratuity on the bill for our hotel restaurant (unlike in London), but I was also told that tipping is not normal in England so I confirmed with the maître d' and asked if I could add a tip. He looked surprised but pleased and said, "Yes" and "thank you." I don't think there is a "right" answer. There are different cultural practices. I think the default is you follow the practice of the locale, or, if you want to depart from it, then tread delicately and recognize there's a bit of negotiation involved. I don't think we should just impose our practices on others without asking first. Sorry, I have nothing helpful to say about the Splash Academy workers, except maybe inquire discreetly with a manager whether it would be acceptable to tip them. I'm sure you will be told it's fine, and then you can tip whatever you want since it's not the established practice.
  12. Freshycat

    "If only I'd brought..."

    Haha, it sounds like you have to go old-fashioned on a cruise ship. I've read people saying "bring sticky notes and pens" so you can leave messages for your cabin mates. Maybe another alternative is to get a chalkboard or whiteboard vinyl sticker and use it to write messages to each other (and the cabin steward??). Amazon has them for about $5 to 10 and they come off easily, leaving no marks. Would the Cruise Ship protest anything on their walls, though?
  13. Sarcasm or no, I appreciated the info. I looked up "shipping lanes" on Wikipedia after it got mentioned, but I wasn't sure how big they were and was imagining all of these ships sticking to this tiny imaginary "road" on the sea. 50-100 miles makes more sense! Thank you!
  14. Freshycat

    "If only I'd brought..."

    ... Only what will fit into a single carry-on. I haven't checked luggage in over a decade, and the only thing I checked was a child's safety seat, since there were no guarantees I could get one where we were going. Otherwise, anything beyond a carry-on slows you down like crazy, especially on international flights. Unless you're going off-grid, there are usually pharmacies and shops where you can pick up whatever you need, including at the airport. Even if the prices are higher, you have to factor in the value of your vacation time waiting for your checked bags and extra baggage fees. So: passport, wallet, smartphone, essential toiletries (e.g., glasses/contacts, prescription drugs), a little black dress, a cold weather outfit, a warm weather outfit, a couple pieces for layering, appropriate outerwear and a fine scarf or necklace to dress it up. Best if everything can be mixed-and-matched. Lol, I forgot to even bring the above when we went to England for a week earlier this year! I was in such a rush due to last-minute work details I left half the clothing I intended to take in the dryer. Other than the clothes on my back, I only had underthings, 1 pair of capris, a dress and 2 light sweaters in my suitcase. It was OK, I got the hotel to do some laundry and bought a shirt. But when the weather turned cold, I had to put on most of my wardrobe! The more you bring the more you have to keep track of. Mostly I worry about passports, phone, wallet, glasses and children. The rest should be optional / dispensable, and DH can take care of himself. :)
  15. Thank you for the insight, everybody! That is very interesting! Are the routes just this crowded, or is there some reason that ships try to sail as a pack?
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