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About tvmovielover

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    North Florida
  • Interests
    Cooking and Travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Viking River Cruises
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Europe and Asia
  1. tvmovielover

    Into the Midnight Sun

    The Midnight Sun cruise is a great itinerary but the included tours were not the best in most places so do look into private tours as mentioned above. Also in most of the Norwegian ports, you could take a local bus to some of the places the ship tours were going for much less and see some different views. Anybody who has not been to Edinburgh should think twice about the included tour. On our cruise, there were problems tendering so that the tours started late. The included tour had a rest stop at Holyrood Palace (not a visit), a quick ride on the royal mile and a stop at Greyfriar's Bobby before letting those who wanted to stay get off and heading back out of town. There is so much more to see and do even on a one day tour. OTOH, the Shetlands were great on included, paid extra ship tours and private tours. There are at least 2 good threads from last summer-do your research and enjoy.
  2. tvmovielover

    Thomas Cook and Condor Flugdienst Airlines

    We took Thomas Cook airlines from MCO to Glasgow and back in 2017. They are restrictive about baggage (1 checked) and food and drink served on the plane. Dinner was a usual airline dinner with either 1 hot or 1 cold drink. Before that snacks and drinks were offered for a price-no free drinks except with dinner and breakfast (just okay). I knew about that so made do but I did not know the seats do not recline-I had a backache for 2 days afterwards. DH got the tickets because it was a non-stop 8 hour flight not because of the price which was not way less than some 1 stops. I made sure to eat a big breakfast and bring water on the return flight. Not sure I would use them again but they seemed stable at the time and left and returned on time.
  3. We are taking this cruise in Dec of this year despite what we read about the inaugural 2017-2018 cruises. We saw a small Amazon tributary in Ecuador a few years ago and would like to see a little more of the Amazon before we get too old to travel. We lived in South America for a few years when we were young and did not back pack but did go to some of these places (Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil-all of South America is worth a detour!) on trains, buses, etc. You cannot get those experiences from an ocean ship in one day or an overnight but sometimes that is the only way to get to see a little of some other place. We have enjoyed ocean cruising the last few years but it will never replace land trips unless all you want to do is check off ports on your personal map. I do like Viking but when planning a trip I think you need to keep in mind that the included trips do not work as well on the ocean as on the river and are more impersonal even with good guides. Their paid extra tours are better but still not as good as private small group tours so thanks Vinyard View, I will be looking for those Tripadvisor recs. When we hired guides in these exotic places when we were young, we just did it when we got to a new place, now there are so many tourists, you have to book ahead. Look at the birds, butterflies and plants too!
  4. tvmovielover

    Tips for flying with Spirit Airlines

    Thanks to pcur and this thread, our recent FLL-BOG flight on Spirit went okay. I do not know if I would risk it again (we went one way on Spirit with return on Jet Blue because pre-holiday Dec Florida flights to Bogota were mostly booked by Aug) but I would definitely use Spirit for a short flight if I did not need to arrive exactly on time. Our flight was on time and as said above, once you are on the plane-they do not care much what you put overhead or under seat and the flight attendants were nice. We did bring food, drink, and entertainment so did not care about their offerings. Jet Blue for the similar 3 hr flight charges less for 1 checked bag and gives chips and a drink with slightly more comfortable seats but costs more. The only reason I would hesitate to take the international flight again is that they really did only have 1 flight a day and maybe could not have given a flight the next day if this one did not go. Still in a pinch, it does not hurt to give them one chance. What did Jet Blue do better? They gave announcements in both English and Spanish while Spirit said almost nothing in Spanish and the attendants did not speak Spanish unless forced. They should fix this for the South American market as there is reliable competition that is not that much more expensive.
  5. tvmovielover

    Reviews of Oceania

    We loved our Nautica cruise around the Iberian Peninsula in fall of 2017 that we chose for the itinerary. The cabins are small and the showers smaller (if that is important and you do not want a suite, the R ships may not be for you no matter what the itinerary). I thought of the decor as old fashioned rather than tired. What is wonderful is the intimacy of these smaller ships. On the Marina (also wonderful but different), the area around the espresso bar does not really lend itself to an interesting conversation but the more open area near the MDR on Nautica did. We hit at a time when the crew had been together for some time and that worked well in all the dining areas as well as with the rest of the staff-that is just luck and may be a difference between one cruise and another. I would love to cruise on Nautica again with the right itinerary. At the end of our cruise, Nautica stayed in port a few days for some cosmetic work so they do try to keep things updated when possible. Maybe try Marina or Riviera if you are worried. I like the O ships and Viking but what I really keep checking for is another cruise we would like on Nautica.
  6. tvmovielover

    Travel Agent Rebate

    Re: Shopping for a good TA. We happened to see a great offer on a cruise we were interested in on another line about 3 years ago. The TA was part of a group that specializes in cruises. She got us many perks we never got before and was able to get us good prices and a hotel for a pre-cruise land visit. We left our old rebate TA who did not specialize in cruises and have been happy with this one ever since. There is something to be said for using cruise specialists if you cruise a lot (we like land as well as sea travel so were late to find out about this). Within cruise specialists you probably do have consult more than one to see who suits you best. Our rebate specialist only had a working relationship with one cruise line and it was not the one we wanted to cruise on.
  7. tvmovielover

    Size of portholes on Nautica

    :) We so need a "like" button for posts like this!
  8. I read both the Regatta and Nautica threads from beginning to end. I am so glad this cruise went as might be expected. This thread was a joy to read even though we have been to many of the ports visited. It brings back good memories and points to this particular itinerary being a real bucket list special. It especially brings back memories of our much shorter Nautica cruise last fall. Nautica is my favorite O ship. Thanks to all from this cruise who made such interesting posts.
  9. tvmovielover

    Torn Between Two...

    We took the Remich to Nurembourg portion of an Avalon trip in May. This cruise is very flexible going either way. You can add pre or post Paris or London or Prague depending on which way you go and stay on the ship to continue to Budapest or do a day in Prague tour or Nurembourg before the cruise continues. We took a high speed train from Paris to Luxembourg (about 2 hours and tickets can be gotten online for either direction before you leave for the trip) and the next day (we wanted to see the city on our own though Avalon offers a tour of the city the next day) took the bus to Remich in the afternoon. You pay 2 Euros when you board the bus and it takes something like half an hour and you get off at the last or second to last stop. We took this cruise for the Moselle which was really pretty and quieter than the Rhine. The Rhine (3rd time in scenic part) was not as busy as it will get as summer comes and the Main/Danube canal was also pleasant despite many locks. In other words, early May was a good choice this year. We took the Avalon Visionary which is a smaller older ship with the cheap down by the water rooms-fine for us as the viewing really was better in the public rooms. Our cabin was very nicely decorated and the crew in housekeeping, dining, and bar were wonderful and seemed happy. The walking tours and specials were good. One highlight was a wine tasting at Bernkastel. We were allowed to taste what we wanted of different Rieslings-dry, medium, sweet-with at least 40 choices (skip the reds). We are not great fans of Rieslings but came away with a real appreciation of the wine and some new favorites. For the Moselle part alone, this is a great cruise but the options for more travel make it even better. I would choose Avalon again the right itinerary. It was good value for what we paid.
  10. tvmovielover

    How many ports have you missed?

    +1 on not counting on a cruise for a bucket list destination-stuff happens. River cruises are not always better-we just had too short a time on a bucket list river cruise destination-damn the locks and sometimes low or high water. On O, we missed Hiva Oa in 2014 when O was first cruising French Polynesia etc. They were able to substitute Fakarava on that cruise and by the next year were no longer trying for Hiva Oa. Sometimes a port is not doable-I too would never try for Pitcairn Island after what I have read here.
  11. We also have just returned from a river cruise where our small bathroom had a glass door instead of a curtain-I love Nautica and the more intimate size but a glass shower door would be nice. Incidentally, on our Iberian cruise on Nautica last fall, the casino was used (even by my DH) which was not the case on our Marina cruise. It must depend on the mix on a particular cruise. I think DH went in because there were actually more people there. The current Nautica cruise sounds wonderful and the reporting is terrific.
  12. tvmovielover

    Viking Sun World Cruise ongoing review/comments

    +1 Wagnerite. I do not enjoy going to ports where the main sight seeing place is not a secondary sight. You cannot really see places like Rome or Florence in a day or really even see any of the main attractions in these places well (luckily there are some interesting "secondary choices" near both of these ports. On a world cruise, it must be difficult to choose since it may be the one chance to see some of these things. The current world cruise's most recent ports are all worthy of more than a day so I hope all who took ship or private tours saw all they wanted. Land trips are best in these places but a private tour may be better if going for a day from a ship. We did a land trip to Egypt on a small group tour but some of the sites involved bus rides anyway.
  13. tvmovielover

    Wintergarden Tea

    +1 On getting there early (do not know if you need to go a whole hour early). We went on a sea day toward the end of tea time and there were almost no seats and very little food left. We squeezed in and had a tiny tea but I am not sure I will bother if it is that crowded on our cruise this summer.
  14. tvmovielover

    Be Considerate When Flying

    At 5'1'', I really cannot reach the overhead compartment a lot of the time without standing on the seat (the one I will sit in) which I do. I never ask for help but am very grateful if it is offered. I do act like lice and stand ready to be one of the first to board for my group. I do it specifically so that my luggage will not be behind me when we disembark. The little weighing devices that make it possible to stay within the 7-8kg range are an inexpensive way to be sure you can keep your bags with you. Often, there is not enough time between connections to be sure your bag will get on your next plane. Like other traveling retirees, we travel lighter every year. You really do not need all that stuff.
  15. tvmovielover

    Bergen Questions Answered 2017

    Thanks for the information ShipsinBergen. I cannot wait to see your city.