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Everything posted by kctwinmommy

  1. For this part of your question, I'm not sure you'll save any money with the London Pass. If you're only there for 2 days. Plus, check what it currently allows. When we were there in 2017, we had 4 days in London, so I priced out the pass and found we would save money getting it for the things we wanted to see. And at that time, it offered the skip the line option at the TOL. However, I believe they no longer offer that. I will recommend getting to the TOL about 30 minutes before they open and get your tickets and get in line. Then head right to the Crown Jewels. We did this, and when we left the jewels, the line was already about 30-40 minutes of wait time just to get into that building. We stayed near Hyde Park and walked to Buckingham Palace, then went past all the things near there (Downing St., Cavalry Museum) before hitting Westminster, Churchill War Rooms, Big Ben (just a walk by), then the London Eye, then walked back along the river, through Trafalgar, and back to our hotel. It was about 10-11 miles that we walked for all that! But we wanted to see all those things, so the tube wasn't the best option. However, the other days we took it to get to where we wanted to go, then walked around that area.
  2. Like others have said, Seattle doesn't have all those things in the locations you want. We opted to stay at the Four Points Sheraton because it was a good price. Plus, it was close to the things we really wanted to see. Then to get downtown, we just took the monorail. While we didn't use the hotel shuttle, they had one. The hotel was nice, clean, no problems. And we used Already There town car service to get to our hotel and back to the airport post-cruise.
  3. We've been on a few cruises with our teen who was in Circle C (or the equivalent on RCI). He always went on the first night to meet the other kids. On a few cruises, the group was small. But the 2 summer cruises had way more teens. So he found kids he liked and connected with, then they hung out. A lot of times they'd meet up in the club, then hang out there, play video games, or go out swimming, etc... They always had a schedule for the week, but a lot of times the counselors would change things if the teens in the club didn't want to do those things. But he always had fun! 😃 And to answer the other question that Circle C first-timers also ask, be sure to set your rules for your daughter before you go. Like no going in other's rooms, nobody in your room without you there, staying out of non-public spaces, basic common sense safety things. 😉 The club closes for dinner every night too, so you don't have to fight with your kid about going to dinner. LOL! And as far as curfew, it's later with the club, it could be midnight or 1 a.m. depending on the night/activities. But we also set our own sometimes. Mostly on RCI (because we were sailing in Europe with long days and early mornings) and on our Alaska cruise, for the same reason, really early morning excursions. Hope she has fun!
  4. Like it's been stated, layers is the key for sure. We're from Chicago and cruised in July. We understand cold weather. I didn't pack a winter coat, because I thought that would be too heavy, for wearing and definitely packing. So I did bring some other jackets, including a waterproof one. And then, once we were there, I found that I was colder than I thought I would be. I ended up buying a somewhat warmer jacket on the ship (good sale price!) that had a lighter fleece lining and more of a windproof outside (it's actually reversible). It was great to have that one more layer! And I will also say, I'm one who gets cold more easily than others! You can see our son in a sweatshirt, and me bundled up...
  5. Yep! That's what we're trying to do for sure. We already know that the things on the north coast, and the west coast, are really high on the list. I have to say, my biggest problem is talking with my 2 friends who are FROM Ireland. They'll be like, "Oh, and this is great, and try to see this, and maybe this!" LOL! They're just trying to give ideas. Our problem is having too many ideas, not enough time! And yes, maybe again in the future. I mean, we didn't think we'd be back to the UK this soon again, we were just there 3 years ago. I thought we'd get to Germany instead, but that's still on the list for sure. But that trip will need way more time!
  6. Yeah, my husband drove for the 2 days we had a car on our trip there in 2017. It took him like 20 minutes to feel totally normal again. He did it for 3 years when he lived there. But I had NO desire to even try it! LOL! Have a great time on your trip! I'm not a GOT fan, but I know we'll still stop by the sites, because it is pretty cool looking, plus we'll be right there.
  7. Thank you for all the info. I'm still planning and replanning! LOL! It turns out, my husband does want to spend a little time in Dublin, so we'll spend our first night there. I guess he thinks our teenage son should "experience" the Guinness brewery! 😏LOL! And our hotel is also close to the Jameson tour as well, for my husband. So we'll see some things there before heading up to Belfast in the afternoon/evening. We may end up scraping a little bit on the south end of the country, we'll see. We know we can't see all that we want, but it is what it is. It would be great if we could spend 2-3 weeks there, but the reality is, we can't. My husband only gets so much time off and our son can only be away from swim training for so long during his summer season. And because we have plans in England, that limited our time in Ireland. Heck - we were considering Germany for the other part of our trip! LOL! That's going to have to be a vacation on its own! I'm pretty sure we could lose our WWI/WWII history loving teenager in that country! It may be a HS bucket list trip to be honest. Again, thank you for all the replies, I do appreciate it!
  8. We stayed at the Four Points Sheraton, near Seattle Center, and it was about a 10-15 minute walk to the things you want to see. Plus they had a shuttle to the port, although we didn't use it. https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/seafp-four-points-downtown-seattle-center/
  9. When we went 3 years ago, they had shuttle buses right at the side of the ship, and you paid 20 Euros for a R/T ticket. They were right at the side of the ship, then dropped us off near the train station in Bruges. It was an easy 15 minute walk into town then. No need to reserve anything before hand.
  10. Our teenage son always slept on the sofa bed, on Carnival and RC. When we tried the pullman, he got up there and hated it. LOL! He was always comfortable on the sofa bed.
  11. Thanks for the replies so far. I know we're putting a lot into our trip, and nothing says we're sticking with it. I do know we're not staying in Dublin for more than over night though, just not what we want to see this time. And there are a few things we do want to see, even if they're considered "touristy." We're traveling with our teenage son too, so that plays into some of this. My husband lived in the UK for 3 years, so the driving doesn't bother him at all, and we've done really long road trips here in the states. But thanks for the tips you all have provided so far. I know it may not be the way others would do it, but I am trying to get us the most info to help us plan it for the way we want to go. So thank you all for the ideas!
  12. Yeah, days are already set, so we can't really change it to stay in Dublin any longer. I know we're doing things shorter than what everyone says we should, but that's the reality of what time we have. And I don't spend much time in the car, so that doesn't bother me.
  13. Thanks! My SIL recommend Westwood Country House. But we'll check them both out.
  14. The other issue, as I did look it up, is the cost. Flights are running about $5-600. The ferry would be about $120. I have anxiety when it comes to flying as well, so it's a lot harder for me. 😥
  15. Airfare is already booked. And yes we understand the roads. My husband lived in the UK for 3 years. So he's familiar with the driving.
  16. I don't want to fly... I understand that would be the fastest, I just don't want to do that.
  17. Yep! That is who I would recommend 100%!! This would be your best option with them, a personalize tour. We did this exact one, there were 8 of us as well. And it says they can do the British or Canadian locations as well, although we did Omaha. This has been one of the best things I've ever done! https://www.overlordtour.com/product/tours-from-cruise-ports-9/
  18. So we're not taking a cruise there, but we are visiting Ireland this summer and will be there for 6 full days. I know there are some amazing people on these boards with first hand advice, so I wasn't sure where else to ask. 😀 We're going to come over from England (after 5 days there) on a Sunday, taking the ferry over to Dublin. We're planning to take the faster ferry too, from Holyhead. We initially thought we'd have 8 days, but due to flights and work, we can only do 6 full days. I was thinking that we'd get our car that afternoon in Dublin, and head to Belfast to get there in the evening. That way the next day we could do the Titanic Museum (which is on our must see list). After that I had thought we'd go up to Giant's Causeway to see that the next day. When we leave there, we wanted to head over to the west coast, to see Cliffs of Moher (and I know that would be a long drive). From there, head south. Now, not sure that we could do Killarney and get to Blarney as well. We have to be back in Dublin the following Sunday morning for our flight and return the car and such. I know we're packing a lot in, but we're good with that. I understand there are "better" ways to do it, but it's what we can do. Between jobs and a son's busy school/swimming schedule, we're already going as long as we can. We will be in England for 5 days before coming over, and have to be there before because we have a specific event we're attending on the Saturday before we come over the Ireland. So if you have advice on things, that would be great. My biggest concern is the amount of time and driving that Giant's Causeway will take, since it's really the farthest "out of the way" to other things in some ways. But I guess Blarney could be too. Just looking at the map I printed out for the circle going around the island to hit these things. As we're not really familiar with what driving is like getting around these areas, it just helps to know from people who have done this. We just need to nail things down since there's 3 of us, and we need to book hotels. My SIL already gave me a great farmhouse to stay at near the Cliffs of Moher, so we'll contact them. Plus a beautiful B&B in Blarney if we go there. Thanks in advance for all your help!
  19. We used Almost There Car service and had a town car both ways. We had a fabulous driver on our arrival, who took us to our hotel (we spent 4 days in Seattle pre-cruise). He gave us a ton of great info. On our trip back to the airport, from the ship, we had another really good driver. We were all tired, so not much talking, which was perfect.
  20. We were in Aruba and Curacao and my husband, son, and friend and his son snorkeled in both places! Our son had became an excellent swimmer, so he really enjoyed both places way more than when we went to Key West like 2 years earlier. I can't speak to Bonaire, but the other two were great they said. In Curacao we did a little excursion to a resort, so they boated us over there, we had drink tickets, chairs/umbrella, and stayed there until sunset, then bused back. In Aruba we just grabbed some taxis and went to the beach that was over by the airport. Just hung out there, no crowds, etc.... and they saw a ton of things! And in both places, they didn't have to go that far out. This was in Aruba, there were very few people and they didn't go that far out. But saw a lot!
  21. Yep! Like the others have said, they're as safe as most other things you'd go with teens. And like the others, just have rules in place. No one in our room, no going in other's rooms, and yes our son was always back for dinner. However, the teen clubs close up for a few hours during that time anyway, so it's not much of an argument. As far as curfew, we set it depending on what we were doing the next day. When we did our Alaska cruise, our activities were very busy/strenuous, so we did have him back a little earlier. But on a Caribbean one, we basically go to the beach, so if he stays out until 1, and only gets 6 hours of sleep, so be it. LOL! We also know let him know that we may see him at any time around the ship, so act like we would expect him to. No crazy horseplay, being silly is one thing, but acting out of control or disruptive to everyone else isn't tolerated. And we would run into him a few times during the day. And if he was going to do any activity out of the ordinary (like the Flo RIder on Royal Caribbean) then he'd come find us, just so that we knew. Oh, and yes, have them go on the first night so they can meet all the kids and just see who they'll vibe with. Mine would find his group that first night, then hang out mostly with them the whole week.
  22. For us, we don't want the hassle of carrying any 12 packs on, plus we don't usually make the time to get to a store (no car when we come). I make sure I get my moneys worth too, so when a soda gets warm or watered down, I go get another one. I wish I had a cruise scheduled too, because I'm totally a Pepsi girl! LOL! So I would really get good use of it.
  23. We took our teen when he was just shy of 14, so right around your teens age. Now at the time, he wasn't much into his cell phone, thankfully, although it didn't matter. There is so much to see and do for sure. But no, it's not the relaxing, sitting on a beach Caribbean style vacation. We did pretty much all glacier related excursions, because that's what we wanted to see. And they were all different and amazing. Our son had a blast hiking on one, after our helicopter landed on it. He did something that not many of his friends, if any, have ever done before. And yes, it's expensive, compared to other cruises. But it's worth it and a chance to see something different. And on our cruise, Carnival, there were a ton of teenagers. And they were pretty much all off the ship during every port, so there isn't much chance to just hang around. We also found that the excursions we did, the guides were very engaging with any kids/teens on the trip. I have my trip report in my signature, so you can read that, since we did take a teenager, at the age you're asking about. It's good to make kids try new things and push their level of comfort! I say do it and have fun!
  24. There's a search bar at the top of each page, so you can try that. Or honestly, there are 2-3 posts on just about every page that are titled "Seattle hotels" or "Seattle transportation" that will have answers.
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