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About ljandgb

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  1. Absolutely do the south coast. You could consider Into the Volcano for day 2, that would probably really appeal to the kids, though it is not cheap. You could find a highlands tour perhaps, that will be a very different sort of scenery. I've been to Iceland twice and still haven't been to the Golden Circle. It's the "go to" tourist tour but everything I've read says it's not as majestic as the south coast or north. There are geysers, though, which the kids may like. The BL is nice, but might be pretty boring for the kids after a short while. It's a spa, not a recreational pool, and loud frolicking would be looked down upon. For the cost, it might not be worth it. I keep hearing good things about the Flyover Iceland show. Reykjavik itself is nice, but I would absolutely skip it and see the countryside instead.
  2. If you plug Isafjordur in the search box, several threads come up. There will not be a lot, as it's a small hamlet. Plan early if you want to do something not offered by the ship.
  3. We did a Steel Donkey bike tour. It was a great way to see a LOT of the city with minimal effort. The city is flat and has many pedestrian/bike only streets. They even have eBikes if you don't want to pedal much at all.
  4. Don't forget that in July you will only have minimal "night" so could push a tour to a very late finish time.
  5. Reykjavik and Akureyri have big bus tours, like Grey Line, that will go out to the main sites, and tour providers with smaller groups as well. For the smaller ports, you may be stuck with what the ship offers as those hamlets have little infrastructure for the few cruises that come thru. Definitely search TripAdvisor and the travel forum there. You'll get a good idea of what's available in the main towns and if there's anything at all in the smaller ones. I've not cruised Iceland so can't comment on how close to shore you are.
  6. In a different vein, we went to the Opera House and saw the Paris Opera Ballet. It was excellent, and we ended up sitting about 20 feet from the Queen. The free walking tour is a great way to get oriented to the city. It is eminently walkable, and once you know the landmarks very easy to navigate.
  7. I have no issue with a non-local TA. In some ways, that makes it harder to pick one, since I have pretty much the entire country to choose from. We're awaiting brochures and we have lots of time. Once I get a selection of cruises to choose from, I'll make the group pin down which line they like best. We'll go from there.
  8. Not angry, more sardonic. I live in a small rural town 90+ minutes from any large city. There are definitely no evening TA programs happening. More like the seasonal 4H livestock auctions and church picnics. :) If I need anything I can't get at Wal-Mart, TA's included, it's going to have to be online. I've ordered brochures from several different cruise lines and will let the group decide what level of inclusiveness they are comfortable with price-wise then go from there. The youtube recommendation is a good one. Between that and contacting the specific line I'm sure we'll find someone at least decent.
  9. As a person who lives is a very small rural town, what we lack in amenities we more than make up with a strong sense of community. It's a great place to raise kids. For the OP, it sounds like you'll be happier not getting off the ship. There's much more to "do" onboard.
  10. That's just it, I don't have any "well traveled" friends that come to mind to ask. I have friends here that haven't even been out of the state. I was in the military, lived overseas, and by and large am comfortable arranging travel for our family. The one time we used a TA for an Oceania cruise, via an old military friend, it was not a good experience. You guys are killing me by dangling "I love my TA" in front of me. Good info about crowding in Oktoberfest. I'll pass that along to the group. We for sure want to travel in the Fall either way.
  11. No need to disparage the small hamlets that make up almost ALL of Iceland's villages. At 12,000 Akureyri is the second largest "city" in Iceland. It all gets smaller from there. But that is exactly why I think an Iceland cruise is the wrong way to see the country. There's not enough in each little port to do much, and there just isn't enough infrastructure to support 2,000 people/day during the very short cruise season.
  12. I understand we aren't supposed to mention agents here, but I'm not sure how to go about finding a good one. We are looking at loosely organizing up to 6 couples to go on a Danube cruise Fall of 2021. My husband and I are experienced travelers and have never really needed/used a TA. Most of the others have never left the country, and I'd rather someone else help/manage the other other couples. We live in a very small town, far from any city, though in this internet age that probably doesn't matter. I just don't know how to pick a reliable one based on a google search. We haven't picked a line or specific itinerary but we're interested in working in Okotoberfest as part of the trip, understanding that's a Munich add-on.
  13. We were in Barcelona this summer at the end of a land tour. It was, for me, an unexpected gem. It's a beautiful city, very easy to navigate, with friendly locals and great food. Definitely try to spend a few days there. The subway and bus system is very easy to use. I'd take a taxi to your hotel, but pick one near a metro station and once you are luggage free, can move about the city easily. Avoid Las Ramblas. It's the worst part of the tourist area (crowds, trinkets, etc.) Sagrada Familia is beautiful, but also crowded. We went to the Hospital de Sant Pau, a UNESCO site just a couple blocks away. Significantly less crowded, and beautiful on its own. If you are at all confident in your ability to navigate a bicycle, consider a bike tour. Barcelona is mostly flat, with wide pedestrian/bike only promenades. My doubting husband proclaimed afterwards that was the best thing we could have done. If you are not confident of your fitness level, many companies have electric bikes. We used Steel Donkey tours. Take a tapas tour and see the local food culture. Have dinner at sunset at one of the beach front restaurants. We went to Gallito, at the far end of the beach. It was wonderful. There's an app called Moovit that will tell you how to use public transportation in pretty much every city I've ever been to.
  14. We used Steel Donkeys and really enjoyed it. I'd definitely recommend them. The city has many, many pedestrian/bike only streets, and wide sidewalks. I never felt unsafe. As most of the city is very flat, it was also very easy, even though the entire tour was almost 4 hours. We stopped mid-way for a coffee and snack. We had a guide at the front of the group and would stop whenever she stopped so she could relay information, but I also picked a tour with a small number of people. We were 8 people. I would not have wanted a much larger group, especially around Las Ramblas where it got harder to thread through the crowds.
  15. Barcelona is very easy to navigate on your own, but if you'd like a little intro to the city, we did a bike tour with Steel Donkeys. The city is flat and has many, many pedestrian/bike only areas, so it was a very easy tour. We saw a huge amount of city, stopped for a mid-way sandwich and coffee, and really enjoyed ourselves. If you are hesitant about pedaling, they have e-bikes also. Honestly, I wouldn't stay near Las Ramblas. That was my least favorite area, as it was wall to wall people. We stayed near the Arc, at Catalonia Born, just 5 minutes from a metro station and train station. Super easy to get around, several restaurants and a bakery near by.
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