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Old 02-24-2012, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Fairfield, CT
5,842 posts, read 8,602,375 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Podo944 View Post
Are cruises a good way to travel to see different cities?
Are the day trips at each port enough to get a good overview, or is cruising really about what you do on the ship, like the food, activities, shows etc.
Also, is it rare to get seasick on a cruise because the ship is so big?
I'd love to try it some day! Very interested in Alaska, because I would imagine you'd see some beautiful landscape right from the ship.
Also interested in a Baltic Sea cruise to see the northern countries and especially would like to see Helsinki. That's where my family emigrated from 4 generations ago!

Thanks for any feedback!

Do the Baltic Sea cruise. I did it the last two summers, and absolutely loved it.

Whether a cruise is about the ports, or what to do on the ship, depends on the person and also the itinerary.

For a Caribbean cruise, it's about life on the ship, for the most part. Seen one tropical paradise, you've seen them all.

But on the Baltic cruise, it was all about the ports, the history, etc.

Cruising is a great way to see different places because the ship provides lodging, transportation and meals. It allows you to have fun while you're traveling, which really wouldn't be possible if you were sitting on a bus or a train to get to different destinations.

The downside is that you tend not to get enough time in the places you really want to see in depth. That's why I did the Baltic Sea cruise twice.

One thing I would suggest is getting to the embarcation city several days prior to the cruise, and spending some time touring it. I did that with Stockholm and Copenhagen.

Finland is a beautiful country and I hope you get to see it. I was struck by the Russian influence in Helsinki's architecture. It looked a lot like St. Petersburg in a lot of ways, and nothing like Stockholm or the more western cities. Very interesting.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:49 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,225 posts, read 14,924,345 times
Reputation: 14983
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldengrain View Post
May I ask what the problem was with the agent?
Oh let me count them.

1. cost - everything she found us was higher priced than what we had found on our own before consulting with her. She used our links to book.

2. Location for hotel stay - There was another couple booking the same cruise with her and she booked their hotel out at the airport making it way more difficult and expensive for them to see much at all of Barcelona. We ran into that couple on embarkation day and they were livid. We ignored her advice on which hotels to stay at for the very reason they were too far out of the city and/or 5-star hotels which would have cost us 3-4 times the amount we told her we wanted to spend for the extra nights. We booked at a B&B right smack dab in the middle of Barcelona. It was a beautiful place to stay, albeit not 5* luxury. And 5* luxury is NOT what we wanted, we told her that, we showed her the 4/5 hotels/B&B in Barcelona city limits we were considering and her recommendations were none of those - only the more expensive ones nearer the airport.

3. We gave her 1 criteria for booking airfare - we needed/required assigned seating AT THE TIME OF BOOKING, not upon arrival at the airport. She ignored that one, the most important criterion (we told her this, it was in writing) and booked us on an airline she knew would not assign seats.

We had missed the deadlines for getting our less expensive airline and cruise prices by going with her, her fudging around for days not paying attention and could not understand why I was upset with her. I wound up talking with the owner of the agency and threatened to file protest with our credit card company for having booked the air fare against our requirement, to instruct my credit card company to not pay them for any charges; to sue the agency for the difference in cruise prices because I was so upset with her ignoring our requirements and was booking everything for ourselves. We wound up with the owner contacting the airline and getting assigned seats (against the airline's written policy), we accepted the cruise reservations (that was actually the one we had found) and we booked our own B&B.

What is the point of a travel agency if you can do better on your own, cost-wise and preference-wise? Never again - the aggravation was so not worth it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dazzleman View Post
Do the Baltic Sea cruise. I did it the last two summers, and absolutely loved it.

Whether a cruise is about the ports, or what to do on the ship, depends on the person and also the itinerary.

For a Caribbean cruise, it's about life on the ship, for the most part. Seen one tropical paradise, you've seen them all.

But on the Baltic cruise, it was all about the ports, the history, etc.

Cruising is a great way to see different places because the ship provides lodging, transportation and meals. It allows you to have fun while you're traveling, which really wouldn't be possible if you were sitting on a bus or a train to get to different destinations.

The downside is that you tend not to get enough time in the places you really want to see in depth. That's why I did the Baltic Sea cruise twice.

One thing I would suggest is getting to the embarcation city several days prior to the cruise, and spending some time touring it. I did that with Stockholm and Copenhagen.

Finland is a beautiful country and I hope you get to see it. I was struck by the Russian influence in Helsinki's architecture. It looked a lot like St. Petersburg in a lot of ways, and nothing like Stockholm or the more western cities. Very interesting.
Absolutely, positively, I agree. We did that with Barcelona, my #1 city to return to and one of the 2 places that I would live in. On our next Med cruise, we will stay even longer.

We also did that with Miami one cruise - actually, we stayed the few days on the back end.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:12 AM
 
8,188 posts, read 11,905,691 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
What is the point of a travel agency if you can do better on your own, cost-wise and preference-wise? Never again - the aggravation was so not worth it.
Absolutely agree, which is why I always book my travel directly with the providers rather than use a T.A. as an intermediary.

BTW, for those who are considering booking a cruise through a T.A., there is another reason to book directly with the cruiseline and not use a T.A. If you book your cruise directly with the line, then you can call their 800 number anytime you have a question about your cruise, or even more importantly, if you see a price drop before your cruise and you want to see if you qualify for the lower price or onboard credit. If you book through a T.A., the cruise line will not talk to you at all about any issue whatsoever. If a lower price is possible, you have to call your T.A., tell them about it, and ask them to call the cruiseline and inquire on your behalf.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
Absolutely, positively, I agree. We did that with Barcelona, my #1 city to return to and one of the 2 places that I would live in. On our next Med cruise, we will stay even longer.
I agree with you about Barcelona. My wife and I actually visited Barcelona on three separate occasions last year; twice on cruises that stopped there for one or two days, and once we flew there directly a few days before boarding another cruise that embarked from there. We stayed at a hotel just a couple of blocks off of the Ramblas and thoroughly enjoyed walking around the city (with the help of the HOHO bus).
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Old 02-25-2012, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
12,408 posts, read 16,473,051 times
Reputation: 8776
Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
Oh let me count them.

1. cost - everything she found us was higher priced than what we had found on our own before consulting with her. She used our links to book.

2. Location for hotel stay - There was another couple booking the same cruise with her and she booked their hotel out at the airport making it way more difficult and expensive for them to see much at all of Barcelona. We ran into that couple on embarkation day and they were livid. We ignored her advice on which hotels to stay at for the very reason they were too far out of the city and/or 5-star hotels which would have cost us 3-4 times the amount we told her we wanted to spend for the extra nights. We booked at a B&B right smack dab in the middle of Barcelona. It was a beautiful place to stay, albeit not 5* luxury. And 5* luxury is NOT what we wanted, we told her that, we showed her the 4/5 hotels/B&B in Barcelona city limits we were considering and her recommendations were none of those - only the more expensive ones nearer the airport.

3. We gave her 1 criteria for booking airfare - we needed/required assigned seating AT THE TIME OF BOOKING, not upon arrival at the airport. She ignored that one, the most important criterion (we told her this, it was in writing) and booked us on an airline she knew would not assign seats.

We had missed the deadlines for getting our less expensive airline and cruise prices by going with her, her fudging around for days not paying attention and could not understand why I was upset with her. I wound up talking with the owner of the agency and threatened to file protest with our credit card company for having booked the air fare against our requirement, to instruct my credit card company to not pay them for any charges; to sue the agency for the difference in cruise prices because I was so upset with her ignoring our requirements and was booking everything for ourselves. We wound up with the owner contacting the airline and getting assigned seats (against the airline's written policy), we accepted the cruise reservations (that was actually the one we had found) and we booked our own B&B.

What is the point of a travel agency if you can do better on your own, cost-wise and preference-wise? Never again - the aggravation was so not worth it.
Thank you. It seems as though they hire inexperienced people who do not stay on top of things. I wonder why people use them?
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Finland
1,149 posts, read 906,894 times
Reputation: 1603
Quote:
Originally Posted by Podo944 View Post
Are cruises a good way to travel to see different cities?
Are the day trips at each port enough to get a good overview, or is cruising really about what you do on the ship, like the food, activities, shows etc.
Also, is it rare to get seasick on a cruise because the ship is so big?
I'd love to try it some day! Very interested in Alaska, because I would imagine you'd see some beautiful landscape right from the ship.
Also interested in a Baltic Sea cruise to see the northern countries and especially would like to see Helsinki. That's where my family emigrated from 4 generations ago!

Thanks for any feedback!
Please note that you can also take flight to the Germany and travel from there to Finland with high-standard ferry:
STAR-class vessels - Finnlines (http://www.finnlines.com/ferry-trips/ships_service_onboard/europalink_nordlink_finnmaid_finnstar_finnlady - broken link)
From Helsinki you can cruise to Tallinn and Stockholm(Via Aland and Finnish archipelago) and from there you can take cruise to the Riga and from there to Denmark, exsample...lot of options available!
Tallink Silja
Here is some video what kind of traffic is between Sweden and Finland, via finnish archipelago:

Silja Galaxy Silja Europa Amorella - YouTube
Anyway, using plain,ship or what ever,welcome to your roots!
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
12,408 posts, read 16,473,051 times
Reputation: 8776
You've probably read by now about another emergency on a Carnival/Costa cruise. There was a fire onboard. For three days, no showers or light or toilet. How do inside cabins cope? Ninety degree weather.

This is a reason to get a balcony.
You can sleep outside and air out the cabin after using the toilet.

Food was being airlifted down to the ship. It was being towed by a French boat that would not give their position up to faster tugs because of hopes of payment for the service from Carnival.

They have arrived at the Seychelles. Seventy percent of the guests have elected to continue their vacation there, free of charge, compliments of the cruise company. The others are being flown home at no expense. All cruise costs are being reimbursed.
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Old 03-03-2012, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
12,408 posts, read 16,473,051 times
Reputation: 8776
It appears as though that captain of the Carnival/Costa crashed cruise ship had crashed another ship prior to the current episode.

Costa Concordia Captain Francesco Schettino had already crashed ANOTHER cruise ship | Mail Online


. . . former Costa Cruises employees told prosecutors investigating the Concordia disaster that officers 'took drugs' while on duty and molested female staff members.
. . .
'To prove it all you need to do is carry out an examination of their hair.'

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Old 03-04-2012, 10:52 AM
 
8,188 posts, read 11,905,691 times
Reputation: 17958
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldengrain View Post
You've probably read by now about another emergency on a Carnival/Costa cruise. There was a fire onboard. For three days, no showers or light or toilet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldengrain View Post
It appears as though that captain of the Carnival/Costa crashed cruise ship had crashed another ship prior to the current episode.
Is there some point that you're trying to make by referring to Costa as Carnival/Costa? This can be misleading as some people will think that this has something to do with Carnival Cruise Lines rather than Carnival Corporation. Although both Costa and Carnival Cruise Lines are owned by Carnival Corporation, they are both run independently from each other. Just as Holland America, Princess, Cunard, and Seabourn (among others) are independent cruise lines owned by Carnival Corporation.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
12,408 posts, read 16,473,051 times
Reputation: 8776
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadManofBethesda View Post
Is there some point that you're trying to make by referring to Costa as Carnival/Costa? This can be misleading as some people will think that this has something to do with Carnival Cruise Lines rather than Carnival Corporation. Although both Costa and Carnival Cruise Lines are owned by Carnival Corporation, they are both run independently from each other. Just as Holland America, Princess, Cunard, and Seabourn (among others) are independent cruise lines owned by Carnival Corporation.
When there is a lawsuit the parent/owning company is also often named. They may be responsible. People may believe they have allowed Costa to operate without as much oversight as it should have, and can reach their own conclusions about the rest that they own. That's all.

Sorry. I did not mean to upset you, but that is my take.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:43 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,847 posts, read 30,349,542 times
Reputation: 22356
Quote:
Originally Posted by Podo944 View Post
Are cruises a good way to travel to see different cities?
Are the day trips at each port enough to get a good overview, or is cruising really about what you do on the ship, like the food, activities, shows etc.
Also, is it rare to get seasick on a cruise because the ship is so big?
I'd love to try it some day! Very interested in Alaska, because I would imagine you'd see some beautiful landscape right from the ship.
Also interested in a Baltic Sea cruise to see the northern countries and especially would like to see Helsinki. That's where my family emigrated from 4 generations ago!

Thanks for any feedback!
I have been on several cruises. The one thing I really did not like about them is that *everything* about getting off the boat, is geared toward the early riser. Shore excursions often started at 9 am, if you did not want to get up early to go with the group, you were stuck on the ship all day.

If you want to get off the boat and go explore the town, there usually isn't enough time because you have to be back on board by 3 because the ship usually shoves off at about 4:30 to be at sea for the next destination.

I would have loved to be able to sample the "night life" of some of the destinations we visited, but it never happened. I also was not happy about the room steward knocking on the door at 9 am to see if the room was available for cleaning. They did not have "do not disturb" signs, so about three days into the trip I made a paper sign in the computer center so that they would stop bugging me. Even so, when I finally woke up at 11:30 or so, I could tell that the room steward was not happy that she had to wait for me to get out of the room so she could clean it.

As for the stops, usually they are "tourist traps" and most of the reason for people going to them is to buy things. On St. John, the timeshare salesmen swooped down on us as soon as we were off the boat to offer us "free rum" in exchange for a timeshare presentation. Fortunately, I don't care much for rum LOL so we weren't interested.

On board the food was good, but you were limited when you could eat. There was no food available after 10 pm, which stinks. My understanding is that on some boats there is food available 24 hours a day, so that would not be an issue, but when I went, it was not available so I had to get food earlier and stick it in my stateroom for later. Since there was no microwave available I either had to get something cold (like a sandwich) or eat whatever I had cold. That was ok some times, but as we all know, cold french fries are the pits.

I did not like "formal night" because I am not one to get dressed up. So I stayed in the stateroom (feigning illness), and had someone bring me dinner, which made me mad. Also, we had to put our alcohol in coke bottles to bring them on board because they won't let you bring in your own alcohol. Since we like to drink, it was annoying to have to take your "drink" back to the room to put in the booze and then go back up to the bar to drink it. Also, the casino was not open except when you are at sea.

The entertainment was ok, but not really my cup of tea. I am very particular about what kind of music I like so there were a lot of things I didn't go to.

The boat we were on did not have any children on board, many of the cruise lines do have lots of children on board which I would not be crazy about.

What I loved about cruising is the ocean. It was wonderful to be out in the middle of it. And I also loved going to foreign countries, which, since I don't fly is something I would never have experienced otherwise (except Mexico and Canada, of course). We went to Columbia, Curacao, Cozumel, and the Virgin Islands.

I would definitely take another cruise one day, but I would look for one that was more flexible with their departure hours and one that offered flexible eating times.

20yrsinBranson
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