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Everything posted by kctwinmommy

  1. I agree. While I find many things interesting, I can still get tired of reading all the same stuff. And I know I got burnt out, or maybe even overloaded, in the war rooms. Yes, there were some really interesting and neat things, but I also thought some things were done backwards. I have to take breaks sometimes just because of reading so much. We just went to the WWII museum in New Orleans last month and we were there from the minute it opened until the minute it closed. But I had to take breaks and sit for awhile. Not because of any physical reason, but more mental. We spent the entire day there though because of our son (big WWII buff).
  2. It was pretty busy when we went, not awful, but we still could hear the whispers. It was pretty cool!
  3. Got it! It sounds like you're getting some plans in order to at least give yourself some idea of what and where you want to go. And John Bull gives such great advice to really help! As I said, we weren't a fan of the HOHO bus as it took way longer than it would have been if we walked it. But, it did start to drizzle a bit and we had been on our feet a lot, so the rest was nice. Oh, and we didn't do a tour at St. Paul's, but our London Pass got us the audio headset (same as Westminster) which was good for us. And definitely do the tour at St. Paul's ALL THE WAY to the dome! It's so cool!!
  4. So, for Day 1, you can do more than that. If you read my review, you'll see what we did, and we went to almost all the things you have listed. We walked everywhere even, never taking the HOHO bus or the tube. And we saw Buckingham Palace, part of the guard ceremony, the horse guard museum (drawing a blank on the proper name), walked by 10 Downing, lunch at a pub, Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms, the London Eye, and dinner, before walking all the way back through Trafalgar and Piccadilly. Although now I remember, I think, that you're coming in that morning and will hit the group running. In that case, you may want to cut things back on the first day and do more on the second then. We had already done our cruise before our 4 days in London. But honestly, we did a lot of the things you're asking about, so read my trip report. We used the HOHO bus one day to get from the British Museum to St. Paul's and it's not the best way to get around. The tube was much better, way faster and smoother. Traffic in London is very heavy, way worse than Chicago (as I see you're from there). Oh and yes, definitely be at ToL a little bit before it opens and go right to the Crown Jewels.
  5. Here's what we did in our 3 full days in London. I also agree that your itinerary sounds a bit heavy. You're relying on everything to go super smooth and have no delays or traffic. Our first day was our busiest for sure, and we saw several of the places you have mentioned. But it was a LOT! Just scroll down in my post a bit, the first part is our overnight stay on the coast in Tintagel.
  6. Some will say yes, others will say no. We thought it was worth it. You won't be able to fit everyone and they may say something if you're all there at once, I believe they're supposed to be for 4 people. They're not that big. We had 7 people between 2 families at ours. But we knew the 2 dads & sons would be at the beach or pool most of the time, and they were. Myself and the other mom, plus their 20something daughter hung out at the cabana. It worked out great for us because the other wife had recently been diagnosed with cancer, and she needed to limit sun exposure and couldn't go in water more than her waist. So for us, split between the 2 of us, it was totally worth it!
  7. Yikes! You seem to be taking it all in stride! Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip. It does seem that it's easier to get sick sometimes on vacations. All the flying and close quarters with people, it can happen. I had a slight cold on like our 2nd or 3rd day of our European cruise. It was mostly a sore throat, so I grabbed some of the lozenges at the shop onboard, which really helped. But on our Alaska cruise, my husband got sick in the evening, it wasn't pretty. But as soon as he threw up everything over like 15-20 minutes, he felt totally fine. We're thinking just a little bad sushi and thankfully they didn't ask anything else (we had to have the room steward come to bring a new garbage can). 😜 🤢
  8. Yes, we rented a car from Enterprise and returned it the morning of our cruise. They have a shuttle to take people to the pier from their location downtown. Nice and easy!
  9. Not surprising at all. When we were there in 2017, we went right into town, getting there early in the morning. We spent a lot of time walking around and saw a lot of things. But by the early afternoon, it got really crowded. The canal boat rides had a line of like 30-40 minutes (our mistake for not doing it earlier in the day). I know, that's not horrible, but it was much less crowded earlier. And the plazas were really packed.
  10. You can check the France ports section of these boards to find more info. We also did Overlord tours, they're the best at this for sure! We had a great tour, it was a group of 8 of us that we coordinated through our roll call. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/462-france-ports/
  11. We got a good price in July, 2015 at the Four Points Sheraton near Seattle Center. It was great because we wanted to see some of the things up there (Chihuly, Space Needle, although we didn't want to go up in it, and the EMP museum). And then it was cheap and easy to take the little monorail to get more downtown to see Pike Place and places for dinner.
  12. I'll be honest, there aren't any tips since they run these trips so well and smoothly. Our guide was there when we got off the ship, ready & waiting. I guess the only thing is make sure you talk with your guide in case you want to skip something or spend more time at one place. He let us kind of guide the timeline a bit, but still making sure we had time for everything. We were also there on Friday, July 14th, so the holiday before a weekend. He was concerned about traffic heading that way for the holiday weekend. So he did get us back a little early, just to be safe. I was also able to pull up Google maps on my phone (with the traffic overlay) to let him know if there were any delays on the way back. We probably could have spent another 30-45 minutes out by Bayeux, but we all appreciated his concern about time. No need to have a great day and then cut it close or miss the ship!
  13. Yeah, we had like 20 minutes to run in and see the tapestries, so we did it since we were there. But I could have just skipped them too! These tours are really more about the D-Day sites, IMO. Yes, the tapestries are neat too, but just a totally different thing to see and that's not what I was concerned with at all. We enjoyed lunch instead, sitting in a cafe, chatting with our guide. That was way more enjoyable to all of us.
  14. Yep! I've said it many times, I would have paid the price if it was just the 3 of us!! But we did have 8 people and a few of the people were a little on the larger side, and at least 1 needed a little extra help, but still had no problems getting in and out. The van is way better than the bus! Better conversations with people, better climate control, etc...
  15. Oh yes, I knew that. I just meant that sometime people think it's somewhat cliche because it's so old. People want to see the new and edgy shows that are out. But it's been my favorite since I was a teenager! I even declined a Prom offer as a freshman to go see Les Miz in Chicago! LOL! And you know back then, you had to go to the box office to buy tickets, or by phone, and my dad got lucky enough to get us front row, center balcony!! It was amazing! So seeing it in London was just as awesome!
  16. I get what you guys are saying, but I HAD to see Les Miz when we were there!! LOL! I saw it when it made it's debut in Chicago back in the 80s, and then saw it when it came back a year or so ago. But I love it and it was just so awesome to see it in London!
  17. Yes!! We were there for 4 days and we did use the London Pass, which worked well for us and the things we wanted to see. I had priced it out and it did save us money. Plus it had the early access for ToL. But it did include a 24 hour HoHo bus pass. So on the day we went to the British Museum is was drizzling a little bit so we decided to use our bus pass that day. We walked to a restaurant not too far from the museum and then hopped on the bus to go to St. Paul's cathedral. We could have walked there faster than the bus ride. It was so busy and lots of traffic. And we didn't really see much on the bus trip either. It's a lot easier to walk places, or take the tube to get to and from far distances.
  18. You're welcome! I wasn't sure if that's the info you were looking for! I know some people don't like tours and prefer to do it on their own. But without having a lot of time, it was nice to have someone give us the highlights and points to see. If we ever made it back there, I would probably do it on our own now, and read a lot of books. Although I've read quite a few. LOL!
  19. Well I have never been to Normandy before, so I can only talk about our specific tour. I couldn't say how it compares to being on your own. I do know that seeing the big tour buses filled with people meant they couldn't take the smaller roads around the area. Our guide took us on back roads, showed us neat little things further back from Omaha Beach, etc... Then after the beach, on our way to the cemetery, we stopped at a few of the little monuments. It also gave us the opportunity to decided how much time we wanted at places. There was another couple, as well as a woman with her parents, then ourselves with our 13 year old son. The guide was also really good with our son, being younger then everyone, just very engaging. And our son wishes he had been more into this history back then. He loved it, but he knows so much more now. We were able to sit at a cafe in Bayeux and just chat with our guide about things local. Our guide gave us a lot of information about the area. He had also done unique traveling himself, so it was interesting to just hear about his adventures while we ate lunch. The whole trip never felt rushed or pushed. I'm sure it's like that when you go on your own as well, but that wasn't an option for us. Maybe one day we'll get back though and then we'll go on our own.
  20. Yeah, I do get it. That sucks that it's so much. Our would have been like 900 I think. I'm sure you'll still have a good time, you'll get to see some of those sites and they're amazing! We just came back from the WWII museum in New Orleans, we got to see a section of the Atlantic Wall that they have on display there, so it was cool to have that full circle kind of experience.
  21. It really was worth it, when I saw where our ship got. For some people, they'd rather save their money for other excursions, and I get that. We did this trip as a once in a lifetime thing. We have no intention of going back again. We went, had a great time, saw amazing things, and we're good. There's just so many other things in the world we want to see, and limited time right now. Maybe when we're retired. But with a HS kid in private school right now, that limits some of the funds, as well as time. But he loves to travel too! LOL! We just got back from a week long trip in New Orleans, drove down, walked everywhere (almost 30 miles in the week), saw a lot, did as much as we could. But I'd love to go on another cruise soon, just a Caribbean one. Low key and relaxing!
  22. I would personally recommend paying the higher price for the Overlord tour if you can do it. I'm not kidding, it cost us I think like 400 for the 3 of us, which was cheaper than RCI's excursion. But I'm not kidding, I would have paid the 900 for the 3 of us, if I had to. It was so worth it! Overlord does the private small groups, like 9 people, and then they have the larger bus tours, like 60-80 people I'm guessing.
  23. We loved taking the small boat excursion for sure! On our Carnival cruise, the ship didn't get super close to the glacier, so it was totally worth it. We got to experience the calving of the glaciers, with our boat rocking a bit, see the wildlife on the sides, and a neat little waterfall. Not all these things would be seen from the main ship. This cute guy kept coming up to our boat! The glacier was calving for the entire time we were there! This is the view from the ship once we got back onboard. Little bear on the side.
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