Jump to content
  • Deals
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Cruise Tips


  • Posts

  • Joined

Everything posted by dawnvip

  1. Both Princess website and my TA's website indicate the Jan 28 cruise is sold out. My guess is that you are on standby in the event someone cancels in the next few weeks. Fingers crossed for you!
  2. On our latest trip, we found the Lido pool bar was our favorite because we struck up a good relationship with one of the waiters. By day 3, Andry had remembered our names, our drink preferences and was always walking by at exactly the right time to order another round. We typically head down to the Pinnacle or Ocean bar for a cocktail before dinner, and staff were circulating to take drink orders but were often very busy. I was surprised (having been a server loooooong ago) that the waiters didn't seem to have specific sections assigned. The overlap meant some seats had plenty of service while others were lacking.
  3. We took a tour/transfer with the German Pirate. It was a great choice for us with pick-up at the cruise terminal, see Valparaiso, Vina del Mar and the Casablanca valley before being dropped off at hotel in Santiago. Check your departure port, as I don't think there are many cruises from Valparaiso any longer. San Antonio is an industrial port, but seems that most cruises stop there now. It is at least 1.5 hr drive from Santiago to San Antonio, and about an hour between Valparaiso and San Antonio. Personally, for the extra time in Santiago and so much to see and do, I would stay there.
  4. If you fly business class out of Dublin, the fees are 1/10th the cost Heathrow's
  5. Agreed, there are a few seats available along the low faux-stone wall in domestic arrival luggage area. There are six carousels, 1,2 and 3 for Westjet and 4,5,6 for Air Canada, separated by an open hallway. As long as you know which airline your sister is flying on, you will be fine.
  6. Just arrived home after 17 nights on Oosterdam. We really enjoyed the cruise and can say HAL is comparable to Celebrity and Princess: - food in MDR excellent in terms of quality, presentation and quantity. We ate mostly breakfast and dinner in MDR, and only had 1 bad experience on the first night. We had anytime dining and never had to wait more than 5 min to be seated (by ourselves or at shared table). No issue with timing of courses either. On par with Celebrity, better than Princess. - Cocktails were inconsistent. It really depended on the bartender making the cocktail whether we got the correct recipie. Beer and wine selection decent. I was sad to see that Courvoisier had been removed as that is my go-to cognac. Celebrity and Princess better for consistency, on par for selection. - Entertainment was OK. Not the big shows that Celebrity and Princess put on, but good small local acts that we enjoyed. We did not enjoy the house band in the re-branded Rolling Stone lounge. - Ship life depends on what you enjoy doing. There were many offerings for painting, origami, bridge and other activities that we aren't interested in. Pools, hot tubs and spa were great! Hope this helps. Dawn
  7. DH and I are back home after a 24 hour travel day from Santiago to Vancouver BC (whew!). We really enjoyed Santiago and would have no problem going back and exploring more of the city and surrounding area. While we didn't do much of the things listed in the article, here are some thoughts: - Santiago is a large sprawling city, with some areas of town much cleaner and safer than others (just like any other large city) so do your research and pick the spots you want to visit. - We did the free walking tour leaving Plaza des Armas at 10 AM every day and really appreciated MJ's history descriptions, details, enthusiasm for her city. Tour lasted about 2.5 hours and covered approximately 1.5 miles. - Inexpensive funicular to the top of Cerro San Cristobal was an excellent opportunity to see much of the city from a bird's eye view. No line-ups when we visited around 1 PM. Or you can hike up/down for free. - we never tried the completo, but did share a mote con huesillo. Its a drink/snack all in one with rehydrated wheatberries (not corn as the article states), peaches and sugarbeet nectar. Sweet and tasty. - We spent one day touring Valparaiso, Vina del Mar and Casablanca valley. These coastal areas are completely different from Santiago in both feel and climate. Highly recommend. 1.5 to 2 hrs each way. - We also spent one day touring Maipo valley and El Yeso resevoir. Great to be in the Andes and see the beautiful natural wonders of the area. However, there isn't much infrastructure or amenities so be prepared before heading out. 2 hours each way. Dawn
  8. Thank you all!! There are 52 CC'ers signed up for the meet and mingle on this cruise, with many aboard already and many more carrying on until Buenos Aries (DH said no! - too close to Christmas). We are in FL now, enjoying a few days of warm weather and beach time before boarding the Oosterdam. Oddly enought, except for embarkation, every port is new for both DH and I. We are especially looking forward to the Panama Canal transit ( half-way not good enough for us!) Lima and Santiago (OK, all of SA is wonderful) along with meeting everyone from the roll-call. Dawn
  9. My bet is that is it a YVR issue more than a CATSA problem. All US security were the old style scanners and walk-through basic type of screening. No new fancy stuff at that end of the airport yet.
  10. Verified traveller includes Nexus holders, police, airport workers (with a RAIC), military, and a few others. I guess I was just surprised that domestic flights (I've done 3 so far this year) included the verified traveller "priveledges" while the flight to the USA did not. The USA must not trust anyone flying out of Vancouver LOL
  11. Flew YVR to MIA today for our cruise leaving on Wednesday (yahoo!) Used the verified traveller line for US security and was glad to see a shorter line than normal screening. However, was shocked to find that all of the other verified traveller perks are NOT included for US flights: shoes off, liquids and electronics out of bag, belts off, coats off, everything out of pockets. When questioned, the CATSA agent said "its US requirements". Ugh
  12. I think it was mentioned above, but you can definitely get better priced rooms if you stay near the airport as opposed to downtown Vancouver. If your plan is to come in the evening before embarkation, Richmond (where YVR is located) hotels are a great option. Just ensure the hotel has free airport shuttle included (many do). Then its an easy return to airport the next morning and a 40 min skytrain ride right into town at the waterfront. There are a ton of great responses/discussions on the west coast departures board for other hotel options in Vancouver.
  13. Taxis from the airport to downtown are flat rate $38 as shown here. Uber is also available, depending on time of arrival could be more or less. The limo company that used to operate out of YVR is gone, but you can google Vancouver Limo's and get a few companies that still offer the service. I have no idea on price! Dawn
  14. Agree whale watching in Juneau is awesome - pretty much guarantee sightings. Doubt you will see any salmon though. We found it hard to get a private tour operator (most are tied to the cruise lines) but check the Alaska port of call board for more info. Ketchican is easily done on your own. There is a bus stop right beside the port that does a loop around town for $1. If its raining, one of the bus stops is right at the Native totem pole museum (about an hour to see everything). Also stops at the old time boardwalk, great for shopping, seeing what it was like back in the day. Then wander back towards the port and you have a nice easy day!
  15. The underlined words "tour guide" in the first paragraph is a link to the company
  16. Same with Canada. Most plastic is recyclable, including that used to make water bottles, and is converted into all sorts of things. https://recyclebc.ca/what-can-i-recycle-2/#1576187830689-9a446819-0c25 Some Canadian cities have banned single use plastic bags (like grocery store bags), and a recent trip to Kenya was an eye opener for us as the whole country has banned plastic bags. Even the duty free plastic bags were confiscated at the airport customs desk.
  17. Hi Jo, Greatly enjoying your blog, as I will be on the Oosterdam in a few weeks for a similar (but much shorter!!) itinerary. You're giving great info for us in preparation and its appreciated! I do have a few questions though - do you keep small bills of local currency for all of these ports, or stick to USD and hope for decent exchange rates? Also, I have heard different opinions about Lima private excursions, especially as the port area is considered unsafe. How did you find the Haku tour in terms of arranging pick-up drop off from Callao / security? thanks! Dawn
  18. Barcelona is one of the cities that have decided to limit number of cruise ships, as well as prohibit cruise ships to dock in their downtown port (next to Barcelonetta), so all cruise lines will be located at the industrial port about 20-30 min from the centre of town. The last time we cruised into Barcelona, we had to arrange a private shuttle with 10 other cruisers thru the roll call, although it was not with HAL. YEMV
  19. Hmm, my Amex doesn't have any offer for HAL but a new offer for Oceania cruises, and the details say that I have to book directly with Oceania, not through a TA!
  20. This is concerning as we're only a few weeks away from embarkation and I have'nt heard anything about it. Just googling it, looks like a copper mining dispute .
  21. Thanks Terry! DH and I have exactly 36 hrs in Santiago post-cruise so this is perfect!
  22. Hi @GeorgeCharlie do you think its a good idea to get some Peruvian Sol currency, or are we OK with USD? Dawn
  23. Great report, thanks! Glad you enjoyed Vancouver. Met hotel and Diva at the Met are one of my favorites!
  24. I for one won't be flying those other airlines full of self-important, disrespectful, rule-breakers. Not very Canadian at all.
  • Create New...