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About GradUT

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  1. GradUT

    Alaska Cruises

    You might look at other cruise lines to Alaska, even if it means you only go for 7 days as opposed to 11 days. When we cruised to Alaska a couple of years ago, only Princess and Holland America were allowed into Glacier Bay, one of the highlights of an Alaskan cruise. If going to Glacier Bay is a "must" for you, then you won't be able to do it on Carnival, unless the rules have changed. Also, as much as I enjoy Carnival for Caribbean and Mexican Riviera cruises (we were on the Splendor for its last Mexican Riviera cruise a couple weeks ago), I think a cruise line like Princess or HAL is better suited for Alaska.
  2. We just got back from PV and we went to the Westin Resort and Spa for the day. The day passes (which can only be purchased on the day if the hotel is not at capacity) cost 800 pesos per adult and give you access to the beach and pool and a 300 peso credit for food and drink. The beach was good; the pool was amazing and our 300 peso credit covered the cost of lunch (burger/fries/soda). Everyone at the hotel was super friendly and informative. The cost of our taxi from the port to the hotel was 150 pesos.
  3. Take the train to Luebeck. Luebeck is an old Hanseatic town with a lot of great history, architecture, etc. It's an interesting town to walk around and was one of the highlights of our Baltic tour.
  4. Since your friends have never cruised, do them a favor and tell them to leave the auto-gratuity on their bill and tip extra if they are so inclined. They are obviously unaware that the auto-gratuities cover many people that work behind the scenes for their comfort and enjoyment. And waiting in the long line at Guest Services to remove the auto-tip will be a BIG waste of their precious last day on board ship. P.S. ObstructedView2–I love it!
  5. That seems expensive to me when the per bag cost of my Twinings tea is just over 10 cents each.
  6. I have emailed the Maitre D’s on my last 3 cruises, including one that I took just 2 weeks ago, and they have all responded quickly and accommodated me as requested. I find e-mailing 2 days after the cruise just before my own departs works well—you don’t want to email too early or on a departure date when they are super busy. I would try emailing again according to my method. If you wait until you are on the ship, you’ll likely have to wait in line instead of enjoying the ship. Plus, if you wait, you may get the size table you want, but it could be in an undesirable location, e.g. right next to a service area.
  7. Yes, yes, yes. Although we are able to do self-assist debarkation, we stopped doing it several cruises ago. The leisurely breakfast and shorter lines for debarkation/Customs makes for an infinitely more pleasant morning.
  8. It took a bit of research on my part (and help from other CC'ers) to come up with some ideas for excursions at our Mexican Riviera cruise ports that did not involve ships excursions. Hopefully the following will give you some ideas: Cabo San Lucas -- This was our first port and we had booked a snorkeling tour but it was cancelled due to high winds. So we spent the day on the ship and had a good time being on an almost empty ship. Mazatlan -- We had been in Mazatlan many years ago and wanted to see some of the places we remembered from then. We started out by walking from the ship to the malecon and then along the malecon for quite awhile. We had hoped to eat lunch at our old favorite, El Shrimp Bucket, but it was closed for renovation. We then took a pulmonia (100 pesos) to the Playa Mazatlan Hotel in the Zona Dorado for a cool drink in the restaurant adjoining the beach. It was quiet (early in the season) and we had an enjoyable time. From there, we took a pulmonia back to the area near the Shrimp Bucket for our Segway tour with Baikas. The tour lasted about 2 hours and covered much of the Old Town and part of the malecon. Our guide, Carlos, was excellent and we had such fun riding the Segways. http://www.baikasmazatlan.com/ Puerto Vallarta -- We wanted a beach day and I found a brochure on this forum with information about all of the various hotel properties and their day passes. Few, if any, of the hotels sell day passes when the hotels are at capacity, but we were there in early October when things were quiet, so we had no problem. We chose the Westin Resort and Spa based on their price (800 pesos with a 300 peso credit for food and drink) and the reviews of the beach and hotel. This turned out to be an excellent choice. Buying the day pass was easy and we were soon on our loungers on the beach. There were a few vendors who passed by, but not many. I wouldn't say the beach and water were the best I've ever seen, but they were good enough for us. At lunch, we chose to eat at the beachside cafe rather than the main hotel restaurant and we had excellent service and delicious food. The 300 peso credit for food easily covered the cost of a large hamburger/fries plate and a soda. After lunch, we went to the huge pool which was really nice! Taxi fare to/from the cruiseport cost about 150 pesos each way.
  9. Danish Viking (and others) may not like the business model of the Copenhagen Free Walking Tours, but it's a legitimate business and the tours are not at all "dodgy". In fact, the tour that I took with them was one of the highlights of my entire Baltic cruise. DaffyRaffy, you can be assured that there will be a group if you do one of the free walking tours as they are very popular.
  10. No problem at all (including on our cruise last week). The servers will just bring you a pot of hot water.
  11. The link that Ine posted to the hotels with day passes is an excellent resource. Based on the information in that brochure and some posts I had read on this forum, we chose to go to the Westin Resort when we were in PV last week on a cruise. I had contacted the Westin by email in advance and was told that normally they require prospective day guests to contact the hotel a day in advance to see if day passes are available. (As Ine said, if it’s busy, they don’t issue day passes.). However, in our case since they knew it would be a quiet time of the year, they assured us day passes would be available. (But don’t count on that being the case in November!) We thought the Westin was great! The taxi ride was less than 10 minutes and cost about 150 pesos. We had access to loungers and umbrellas on a quiet beach and loungers around a beautiful huge pool. Although we were not traveling with young children, I noticed a playground next to the pool. The day pass cost 800 pesos for adults with a credit of 300 pesos for food and drink. For this amount of money, I got a huge hamburger and a soda at the beachside cafe. There is also another restaurant open for lunch on the premises.
  12. If each adult can handle his/her own luggage, then it’s cheap and easy to get from Oceankaj to the airport using public transportation as outlined by Lagerta in Post #3. That’s what we did and it only cost 36 DKK per person. For more info, see: https://www.visitcopenhagen.com/cruisecopenhagen/copenhagen/transportation-and-cruise-terminals
  13. Here's a link to the official Australian government website for obtaining your ETA: https://www.eta.homeaffairs.gov.au/ETAS3/etas The application is done online and the ETA is generally granted within minutes. The cost is AUD 20.00. The ETA is electronically attached to your passport, but you can print up a copy of your confirmation if you like. Here's a link to the official New Zealand website for obtaining your NZeTA: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/about-visa/nzeta The NZeTA becomes required beginning October 1, 2019. It's similar (but not exactly the same) to the Australian ETA in cost and how you apply. All of the pertinent information is on that website. I strongly recommend that you apply only through the official government websites. There are many other websites which may purport to be able to obtain your ETAs, but they won't protect your personal information like the official government websites do. And while some of these sites charge a little less than the official sites, some of them charge appreciably more.
  14. This just may be the best response I have ever read on one of these boards. Hot Tamales -- what an innovative solution to this problem!
  15. I'm Free Walking Tours (green shirts) operates out of both Sydney and Melbourne. Free Tours (orange shirts) only operates in Sydney. The Free Walking Tours (both in Sydney and Melbourne) have over 2300 reviews on Trip Advisor with an average of 5 stars. Free Tours Sydney has over 1000 reviews on Trip Advisor, also with an average of 5 stars. I think either company will give you an excellent tour and I would just choose the one with the tour and/or tour time that best suits me. FWIW, while I have not used either company in Australia, I have taken many free walking tours in the US and overseas and every one of them has been excellent. And just to make a little more difficult for you, there is also a service called "Sydney Greeters" and "Melbourne Greeters" where a local volunteer will meet you and take you around parts of the city. This service is completely free (no tips accepted) and the guides participate because they love showing off their city. Again, I have not done these tours, but I find it an appealing concept. Note: Unlike the I'm Free Tours where you can just show up, these "Greeter" tours require advance booking. For more info, see: https://sydney.greeters.info/ https://www.visitmelbourne.com/regions/melbourne/travel-information/visitor-information-centres/melbourne-greeter-service
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