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Everything posted by BarbinMich

  1. Interesting article, but question how appropriate some of the recommendations are for those who cruise. For example, who wants to lug a tripod with them on a cruise and carry it around a port? These days, it seems like many people are happy using their smartphones which appear to do a decent job for most folks. I've had an SLR for many years and do have a tripod, but rarely use it and never take it on a cruise. I'm happy with my photos which are sharp to my eye, but may not be good enough to publish. While I enjoy others' photos posted on CC, I rarely post my own. I take photos to commemorate what I see in a far-off port, not to publish them here. Finally, the key to good photos is composition, which is not even mentioned in the referenced article. Landscapes are the easiest photos to take assuming the photographer is standing on land and not a moving vehicle or ship and has a decent camera.
  2. I had read several books set in Venice before we started our WB TA from there in 2011 so I felt like I sort of knew the place. It's an entertaining way to get acquainted with any place, but especially with Venice which is so unique. Donna Leon has a series of crime novels featuring [Detective] Guido Brunetti. John Berendt penned "City of Fallings Angels," which I enjoyed very much and I used his important sites (such as the opera house, La Fenice, which is very beautiful) as sort of a guide of what to see beyond the "biggies" like St. Marks. American cookbook author Marlena de Blasi visited Venice, fell in love with a local banker, married him and they lived out on the Lido (island east of Venice where there is a beach on east side and lovely homes on the west side). I spent some time out on the Lido during our pre-cruise stay in Venice; it's accesible by Alilaguna boat.
  3. After reading all the posts on here, guess we've been lucky on our two cruises involving the western Med and our one in the eastern Med as the seas were calm. Also, had calm seas passing by the Bay of Biscay. Two of these cruises were in the fall (Sep., Oct.), one was in the spring (May).
  4. Ports in Greenland have very few residents, hence lack of "tourist infrastructure." Nanortalik in particular. In a way, that's part the attraction of visiting Greenland. The entire population of the island country is under 60,000. There are 18,000 folks in Nuuk, 1,400 in Nanortalik, and 3,000 in Qaqortoq. Those are the 3 places cruise ships stop (and usually tender at). We visited there in 2009 and 2010 as part of WB TA's from the UK in Sept. Missed Nanortalik (on 2009 itin.) due to an iceberg "parked" where Capt. wanted to drop anchor. We were able to stop at Nuuk in both 2009 (there was snow on the ground) and 2010; stopped at Qaqortoq in 2010. Scenery is beautiful at all. These very small towns have colorful houses, didn't have souvenir shops back then, but a few trinkets could be had at their grocery store. Pretty little church. I understand there are more tourist opportunities now as there is more cruise ship traffic and some ships are going there in the summer.
  5. We have often left the "frozen north" to fly to FLL for a January cruise. We're fortunate that our son drives us to DTW so we can leave our winter coats in the car where they stay til he picks us up when we return. And we always fly down the day before the cruise leaves. An alternative would be to wear several non-bulky layers (long underwear + turtleneck + heavy sweater + jacket e.g.) which can be removed and stashed in one's carry-on luggage once you're in the airport.
  6. In 1999, we drove out to NE-Canada years before we did a cruise there. Before that trip, I had read a lot about the tides as well as the "tidal bore". Definition: "a large wave caused by the funneling of a flood tide as it enters a long, narrow, shallow inlet." We timed our arrival near where we planned to stay in NS so we could see it. Unfortunately, I can't remember where that was. On our way there we had stopped at St. Andrews (I think) near the US-NS border to go whale watching. Definite tidal change while we were away from the dock. The next day we stopped at a cove in NS also known for its tidal change; i.e. the water completely leaves for a short time and you can walk out into the cove. Alas, I was using slide film back then so hard to produce photos for sharing on here.
  7. When we were on the Crown P in 2009 or 2010 on a WB TA, we went above the Arctic Circle for a short time one night. Folks could ask the front desk to awaken them at 2 am (supposedly the optimum viewing time). We did so. It was extremely cold and windy out on deck (after all, the ship was moving, it was night and we were very far north). And in the end all we saw was a dim green "curtain". Disappointed to say the least. As for star gazing programs, I've attended several. At least the sky is very dark in the middle of the ocean, compared to our suburban back yard and it's a lot warmer in Jan.! Unfortunately, the knowledge of the cruise staff is usually not particularly great so it's best if you're already able to identify the common (in the northern hemisphere or southern, as the case may be) constellations like the Big Dipper, Orion, etc. Course it depends on the time of year, too. The staff person is usually up there with their cell phone on an astronomy site and trying to locate the well-known constellations. At least Princess lets you go up on that high point of the ship once during a cruise.
  8. Perhaps Bermuda does not want the any more large ships on a regular basis. They already have a number of large ships visiting: Carnival has 5 ships from various ports visiting Bermuda on 4-8 day cruises at least during the summer and perhaps at other times. Ditto for Royal Carib. And perhaps all those cruises satisfy the demand. Didn't check Celebrity, but I believe the Summit goes to Bermuda in the summer.
  9. Just wanted to add that the street shown ending at the water is very steep to walk down--your transport will stop near the highest buildings you can see in this shot. Good walking shoes or sneakers highly recommended! When we were there, for balance I occasionally reached out to the buildings we passed and I'm short!
  10. Will you docking in Naples? When we did that a few years ago, folks on our roll call arranged a small-group private tour which stopped at Herculaneum (it's on the coast but also suffered the same fate as Pompeii), Sorrento (lunch there), and the Amalfi Coast in the afternoon. It was a wonderful trip!
  11. It's about 1.5 hr from Livorno to the south end Cinque Terre so would be a full day. We did a private tour thru our roll call to C.T. and I believe we had also docked at Livorno, so it's doable.
  12. The first time we were in Amsterdam, we had a lovely lunch at a small place near the bourse. I ordered the mustard soup not sure what to expect, but it was delicious! A cream soup to which dry mustard had been added for flavor.
  13. I can confirm the response above. The train is just across from where the ships dock and the trains to Cork are fairly frequent and inexpensive. We did it a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed our day in Cork!
  14. We've been to Cobh several times as we like to do TAs and Cobh is the first stop on a WB TA, at least for Princess ships. We also put in there unexpectedly on a TA that wasn't scheduled to stop there; capt had heard the weather was deteriorating west of there and he'd been advise to "lie low" in Cobh. It gave us the opportunity to take the train over to Cork, which we hadn't been to before. I also just love walking around Cobh: there's a beautiful neighborhood up above the dock---there are stairs near the dock to access that area. The last time we were there, I walked along the shore in front of the town and enjoyed that as well, lots of sea birds. Then stopped in a cafe for a cup of tea. Low key, but a memorable experience.
  15. We stopped there (for the first time) on a TA that departed from Houston in April 2014. We stopped at FLL in between to pick up more pax. Loved Bermuda even though we never got far from the Royal Naval Dockyard where the CB docked. Lot of history out there. Guess I need to go back to see the rest of the island!
  16. So cruise pax are only a small of their "problem." Guess I shouldn't be so surprised that more visitors arrive by some means other than a ship <g>. On a personal note, I've been meaning to mention that I have some roots in Columbus on my dad's side of the family. On a "genealogy tour" of my own, I spent some time there a few years ago driving by and/or visiting their home from the early 1900s, the nearby Conservatory, and Green Lawn Cemetery where they all reside now.
  17. IMHO, there are more interesting /dramatic places to observe tidal changes on a Canada-NE cruise. In Nova Scotia, generally on the Bay of Fundy (opposite side from Halifax), tide differences can be as much as 10 ft or more. We did a tour from Halifax on our cruise and had lunch at Hall's Harbor on the Bay of Fundy, where we were able to witness the turn. There's a webcam there where one can watch it from afar: https://www.novascotiawebcams.com/en/webcams/halls-harbour-1/.
  18. I think that happened because the medication is "bonine".
  19. PandaBear62, did you enjoy Glacier Bay? I don't believe you've mentioned it, but perhaps I missed that post. Or had you visited it on a prior cruise? It's usually the highlight of an Alaskan cruise for most folks.
  20. We've been on the Star 3 times: Jan 2006 (7-nt western Caribbean), Apr-May 2010 (18-nt EB TA from FL to Copenhagen), and May 2014 (11-nt RT Alaska from SF) so a total of 36 nts. That's probably more nights than on any other Princess ship. The Star was the 3rd grand-class ship (after the Grand and the Golden, both of which we've sailed on). The Golden and Star are both slightly bigger (+1,000 GT) than the Grand, I believe, with a larger atrium, but are otherwise similar. All three carried (or could carry) 2,600 pax. I prefer the older ships like the Star, etc. better than the Royal/Regal "model", probably because it's smaller although the R/R have a much larger buffet "spread" than the older ships. Dining rooms are probably comparable, but we rarely eat in them so not the best judge of that. I would certainly not hesitate to sail on her again. Interesting to hear she's doing the Sea of Cortez; didn't realize Princess was doing that itinerary.
  21. St. John's NF is an interesting place--been there once. I'm not sure they could make it to Iceland (approx 500 mi from southern tip of Greenland) and Faeroe Islands (about 150 mi east of Iceland) in the time frame of this cruise.
  22. Funny story about staying in an IE cabin on one of the upper decks of the Royal: we usually book OV on Plaza, but Royal/Regal doesn't have those (spa is there instead). So on our last Royal cruise we booked an IE (aft on an upper deck). The first night we had trouble sleeping because of an annoying noise. Front desk moved us to a different cabin that was available only because a number of people missed sailaway because of wintry weather between them and FLL. The next day was chagrined to find that the noise was caused by soda cans a previous pax had put in the fridge on their sides. Since we were high in the ship guess there was enough motion to keep those cans rolling back and forth! [we never use the fridge]
  23. Learn something new everyday here on CC! Thanks everyone. In the past we usually booked direct with Delta our dominant carrier (DTW) and we often have FLL at one end or the other of a cruise or both ends. Thus, we're FF on that line so not a lot of incentive to try a different airline. Only time we did was to fly to SFO for an Alaskan cruise. Used Frontier with a change in Denver (beat Delta's price) and wouldn't you know we had a snowstorm there (May!). Everything worked out, but I would have rather flown over that weather <g>.
  24. BarbinMich


    FWIW, I believe the "bunks" on HAL ships are above the ceiling when they're not going to be in use on a given cruise or maybe hidden during the day even when used at night. We almost always book OV on Plaza deck on Princess on the pre-Royal ships and equivalent on HAL ships. The latter has deeper cabins so there's a sofa bed in addition to the double (or twin) beds so I think there's only one "hidden" bunk.
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