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  1. Different cabin categories come with their own unique perks. Depending on when a person books and the demand level for different categories, AQ might not always be pricier than concierge, but even if it is, it comes with its own unique perks. Obviously, if you prefer the concierge perks, book that category. If you are otherwise happy with your cabin selections and eating lunch together on embarkation day is of utmost importance, your kids can always forego that perk and you can all eat together elsewhere. The kids probably won't care one way or the other where they eat. And some people are fine with it. Maybe they eat as a family every other night of the year and want to let their kids do their own thing while on vacation. When my kids were younger they liked the "grown up" experience of dining with us in the MDR or specialty restaurants, but now that they're teens and older, they have little interest in a long, drawn out multi-course sit down dinner every night. They don't want to do OUR thing and eat in that manner any more than I want to do THEIR thing and grab pizza every night. I'm sure that that technically they CAN, but the OP prefers her daughter to have some privacy and apparently they can afford it so have opted to book the kids in multiple cabins.
  2. I live in the Charleston area. Those hotel options are fine. They are at the northern end of the touristy/historic downtown area where you will want to spend your sightseeing time, so without relying on Uber/cabs you'll probably walk a good bit to go back and forth, i.e. you sightsee during the day, go back to rest/freshen up, go back out for dinner etc. Many of the popular sightseeing areas that are further down and closer to the port area include Waterfront Park, the Battery, Rainbow Row, the starting point for the carriage rides, the city market, and many of the restaurants though these daysthere are quite a few restaurants further up toward where your hotel is as well. Your hotel will also be adjacent to Marion Square and there are often activities, events or festivals of some kind taking place there. The hotels are also relatively close the SC Aquarium, and from there I believe you can also catch the ferry to Ft. Sumter and over to Patriots Point Maritime Museum in Mt. Pleasant, which are some additional popular tourist activities. Although I've lived here 25 years I've never cruised out of the Charleston port so can't advise for sure on arriving on foot, but I'm almost certain you can. Many people who stay in hotels closer to the port probably just walk over. ??
  3. Thanks, I didn't notice the dates, but this type of itinerary and related packing question is seen often, so hopefully can help someone else planning a multi-week trip with similar weather conditions. (Baltic cruise, British Isles, Alaska etc.)
  4. About 40 miles, and 45 min to an hour depending on traffic
  5. Just a note in general about high fares to Australia... flights to Australia are very long and someone that might figure they can suck it up in coach to fly across the US or to Europe might well say no way to flying coach to Australia. For that reason, business is often in higher demand that many other international itineraries and high demand means you can expect higher prices. Even elite level frequent flyers who often have hundreds of thousands of miles to blow and/or other means to upgrade inexpensively (free upgrade certificates) due to their airlines status, often bemoan the number of miles needed to avoid paying cash, and the lack of upgrade inventory available to use the aforementioned upgrade certificates.
  6. Relatively easy itineraries that could still possibly be booked on one ticket include any city that is a hub for a US airline that flies internationally, or that partners with airlines that fly internationally. You could also book as two separate tickets if it's cheaper, just understand the caveats of connecting on flights that are on separate tickets. Common choices would include: Atlanta, New York and Detroit for Delta/Sky Team partners Charlotte, Philadelphia, DC and Miami for American/One World partners Houston, Newark, Chicago, and DC for United/Star Alliance partners Your transatlantic flight might be on a Delta/AA/US or any of that particular airline's alliance partners, into the US arrival cities listed above and then you could typically get a nonstop from the international arrival point back to DFW on DL/AA/UA. There are more international arrival cities in the US if you go further west, but that means longer flights and backtracking so I didn't list those.
  7. Just be sure he has an official birth certificate. If he's 80, it's quite possible that whatever he has for his BC, is not considered official by today's standards. An official one would generally be issued by the state or local government municipality or vital records office, and include either a raised seal, stamp or watermark. If he only has a BC issued by a hospital, it won't be accepted.
  8. Any time you return to the states from abroad (unless arriving from Ireland or a few select other places where you re-clear US immigration and customs before departure) you will have to claim your bags, go through customs, recheck your bags and then go through security before continuing on to your domestic connection flight. So you would have had to do all that regardless of whether you had limoncello to stash in your checked bag or not.
  9. Super, now your daughter can see the Louvre as you and she had hoped! Hopefully you are putting everything behind you so you can enjoy the day instead of dwelling on what it took to get to this point. ;)
  10. Yes, MOST of the time MOST people make it to the cruise when they fly in the same day. But it doesn't always work out that way and it only takes once to decide it's a stressful situation that you don't want to repeat. As for Celebrity making sure you get onboard if you book air through them, yes that certainly helps. Just understand that if the delay is severe, they won't be holding the ship for an indefinite period of time, so making sure you get onboard might mean getting you to the next port, i.e. you still miss a portion of your cruise.
  11. Another option, re: dining... have a frank discussion with your kids about their expectations. Our teens have RARELY been interested in dining with us. They make friends and/or hang with each other and are perfectly content, and prefer, to go to the buffet by themselves or eat pizza every night, lol. We do usually pick 2 nights that we tell them we expect the entire family to eat together and in this situation I'd just make specialty reservations for those nights. If your kids DO have an expectation of eating with you every night, plan to join them in the MDR. It really isn't fair to ask Luminae staff to make an exception every night for guests whose room doesn't give them that perk. As for room switching, if you can't "officially" change yourself to the suite I wouldn't sweat it; you can just get an extra key for that room. You'd have to be with your husband to go to Luminae/Michael's but you'd likely be planning to be together then anyway. I can assure you that no one in Luminae is going to question who your husband's guest is when he shows up with you instead of a teenager. Probably the same for Michael's though I can't speak to that from personal experience. Ditto if your husband makes a specialty dinner reservation for cabin #1234; the staff at the restaurant couldn't care less who his dining companion is SUPPOSED to be (based on room reservations) vs. who ACTUALLY shows up with him.
  12. So you have 2.5 weeks pre-cruise, and then the cruise itself. I'd still use the old formula of pack enough for 1 week and plan to do laundry. With 2.5 weeks pre-cruise, I would imagine you can easily find a day or two to do laundry, somewhere around the end of the first week and again just before or after heading to Dublin. Talk to your hotel staff at the places you stay or if using AirBnb places, inquire ahead if they have a laundry room. Otherwise, just strike up a conversation with someone in the local pub about where to find a laundromat; locals generally love to be helpful! If all else fails, take some things you can rinse in the sink and hang to dry. Lots of the newer technical fabrics dry in no time. As for the weather, take layers and try to avoid super heavy things that you may never end up needing. Layers are more versatile...add more for really cold weather or wear fewer for unseasonably warm weather. If it was me doing this trip, I'd take a couple of pair of "trekking" pants for pre-cruise. They are lightweight so fine for warmer days, then take 2 pair of leggings or thin (silk or technical fabric) long johns to layer underneath if the chill warrants that. You can wear the pants multiple times before washing, and they can be hand washed and hung dry if needed. They often have lots of pockets which is convenient for excursions, so will double as good daytime pants during cruise excursions. Perhaps add a skort or two in similar, washable fabric for exceptionally warm weather; you can always pair it with leggings as well, or dress it up with a nicer top for casual dinners on board. Add maybe 2 pair of nicer pants for dressier dinners, a well as a little black dress that can be dressed up or down and that should be plenty for "bottoms." For tops, I'd take a couple short sleeved and a couple long sleeved tees in lightweight, washable fabric to layer for pre-cruise and cruise excursions. Add 2 lightweight/thin sweaters to layer over top as needed. One additional layer for warmth like a fleece pullover or compressible down vest and a lightweight, waterproof rain jacket plus a hat and gloves. Add 3-4 nicer tops for cruise dinners and nicer dinners pre-cruise. Good walking shoes, water resistant ankle boots and a pair of nice sandals or ballet flats that work with both the dressier pants, dress etc. and you should have plenty of combinations to mix and match for various weather conditions and varying levels of dressiness, and should all still fit easily in your one checked bag plus your carry-on or large tote.
  13. I believe the OP is confusing the term "boarding pass." OP: What you print out at home is a "set sail pass." This is what you use to check in at the start of the cruise, so might be considered a "boarding pass." At that point you will turn over that piece of paper and in place of it you'll receive your "Seapass" card. That's a credit card sized room key, that also serves as your charge card for drinks etc. It will also become your "boarding pass" for re-entering the ship at subsequent ports of call, although technically you have to use it to both leave and re-enter the ship so they can keep track of who's onboard and who's not. (You may also need government issued photo ID to re-enter the port area at some ports of call (this would be prior to actually reboarding the ship), so take that along with you when you explore ports.) Some people put their Seapass in a clear plastic card holder attached to a lanyard to wear around their neck for convenience. Some go to guest services to have a hold punched in it so they can attach the card directly to a lanyard, no clear plastic holder needed. Others just carry it around in a pocket, or a wallet/purse. Any of these options are fine.
  14. if the goal is just to make it to the ship, I'd arrive at least one day early. No way would I ever consider arriving the day of if I have to fly across a continent or to another continent for the cruise. If you actually want to sightsee in Rome prior to the cruise I'd arrive 2 days early minimum, but preferably 3. You could hit the hightlights with just 2 nights pre-cruise, but you'd be going pretty nonstop.
  15. This is all pretty normal. Marmite and peanut butter can be considered to all into the the "liquids/gels/creams" category at security. It's often a crapshoot as to whether things like that will be confiscated or not. As for wine, the only way to get wine bottles through on a connection if it you're at an airport that allows duty free liquids purchases to go through if they are still in the sealed package from the duty-free store and that hasn't been tampered with. As I understand it, some airports may allow that but some do not. If it's not in duty-free packaging, there is no allowance for bringing wine or other full size liquids through airport security.
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