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Everything posted by Zacharius

  1. To me, a short stop in a location is also a good litmus test for determining if we want to visit for a longer land-based vacation. St. John for 6 hours is great...St. John for 6 days is way better.
  2. Do what makes you happy. It's your vacation and you're paying for it. If you want to sit on your balcony for 7 days and never leave, go for it. If you want to spend every minute possible off of the ship in the ports, go for it. Plenty of people do both, and most have a great time.
  3. Frankly, having done American, United, Delta, BA, Aer Lingus, Iberia, TAP, Swiss, Lufthansa, KLM, Brussels, LOT, Air France, Austrian, and SAS longhaul all in economy within the last 5-7 years, they're all the same - inconsistent.
  4. US Pre-Clearance @ DUB (and Shannon) is not specific to any one airline. As far as I know, every US-bound flight from DUB uses the Terminal 2 US Immigration/Customs Pre-Clearance facility.
  5. I'm not a huge fan of putting a third party in between me and my air or hotel, but I understand how it could work with a TA cruise due to price advantages...with regards to the airfare. What I don't get is how it gives any advantages to the hotel. Are you attempting to book this all together for ease or because of an assumed price break on the hotel? If the latter, I would urge you to do your research and look at hotel prices directly, as an increasing number of hotels around the world give price breaks for booking directly with them...including many hotels in London. There's also some fantastic Airbnb locations in London that offer reasonable prices. As always, do your research, and if you feel booking it all through the cruise line gives you a big advantage, go for it...it's your money.
  6. A couple of things - what is your citizenship, what terminal are you arriving in, when are you arriving, and do you have any priority? (For example, BA gives expedited immigration access to premium class passengers) I'm going to make an assumption you're a US citizen, without priority, arriving in the morning (such as on an overnight flight from North America), with an unknown terminal. If you have a passport with a chip (likely if you're a US citizen), you can use the e-gates to enter the country, or you can go to the immigration officer. Either way, give yourself 30 minutes to be safe during the morning rush...I've seen it take 60 minutes, and I've seen it take 5 minutes, but 30 seems safe. Then you get your luggage, if checked, and then customs...which is an easy "Declare" channel and "Nothing to Declare" channel that you walk through. Likely, you'll have nothing to declare, so while there's a chance you may get stopped randomly, odds are you will just walk through it. You'll then be dumped in to the public area with ground transportation access. All in all, from aircraft door to customs exit, give yourself 60 minutes including walking, immigration, luggage, and customs...though it make take 30 total, and it may take 90 total. Again, the terminal of arrival matters too, because for example T5 widebodies usually require a train or walk from T5C or T5B to T5A for immigration/customs, which adds some time.
  7. Stayed at the Decanter last summer, was a great location and reasonable price.
  8. This is my thought. If OP saw "several" people using the old ones, that means there were inevitably many, many more using the old ones that they didn't happen to see. So it means either lots of people took old cups on board just hoping they would work, or the ship was running through two different stockpiles of different looking cups. To me, it seems obvious it would be the latter.
  9. I travel for a living and am always in weird and bizarre places, so trying to navigate the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Area is easy and straight forward to me. Plus, returning the car at the port there is super easy...took all of five-to-seven minutes last time to drop the car, get on the bus, and be at the ship.
  10. I have no personal experience with that one, but I just want to throw out that I personally like being a bit away from the port area. We usually fly in, grab a rental car at the airport, stay wherever we want in the area (generally cheaper and offsets the car rental/gas), and then have a car to go wherever we want. The next morning, we drop it off at the port and the shuttle takes us straight to the ship. The flexibility of having the car and going wherever we want is awfully nice, and as a result we never really have a desire or need to stay near the port.
  11. While I would personally never fly in the day of (if I can't get in the day before, it's not the trip for me), it's a little inaccurate to say airlines don't have the best track record. In 2019, US airlines have so far been on-time 76.18% of the time (and keep in mind, that number will likely go up as there has been a lot of bad winter weather earlier this calendar year that would have impacted that). 2018 was 79.16%. I'm not saying 20-24% delayed/diverted is the greatest thing in the world, but it's also not as bad as many people think.
  12. Interesting, I've never heard of a work visa having 10 years validity, seems shocking to me. Business visa, sure, as I currently have a 10-year business visa since I am no longer eligible for (nor want) a work visa, but yeah...definitely interesting.
  13. Does she have a business visa or a work visa? I'm guessing it's the former...they're quite different (business visas allow you to conduct business trips to China; work visa allows you to hold employment in China). I was always able to get a business visa without going, but my work visa required me actually going. That being said, I worked in China almost 10 years ago, so that may have changed too.
  14. I cannot address the first part, but I can address the second - no, it's very unlikely you would physically need to go to a Chinese embassy or consulate unless you wanted to. In the UK, US, and other countries, there are visa services that will take care of it...for example, send an application and your passport (and a fee, of course) to a broker who then deals with the embassy/consulate, gets the visa, and sends it back. It's usually more expensive than just going to the embassy/consulate, but of course reduces the time and expense of actually going there. My colleagues and I all have Chinese business visas and none of us has ever gotten them at a Chinese embassy/consulate (Back when I worked in China for two years, I had to go to the Chinese consulate for a work visa, but that was, of course, a very different scenario).
  15. Fair enough. And even though OP is based in USA doesn't mean their first flight is nonstop to USA, I didn't see that info anywhere in their post but I suppose I may have missed it some other place on the site.
  16. To be clear, you absolutely do not need to be checked in at 12:55. I'm not aware of too many airlines or airports that require three hours of check in (it exists, but it's rare, and unlikely at BCN). OP doesn't state the airline or route, and that would help if there's any question as to when they should check in, but there is also a chance that the check-in counter may not even be open three hours in advance, especially if their first flight isn't longhaul or "international" (by that I mean leaving Schengen).
  17. Good choice. I've never cruised in/out of Sydney but I stay in the immediate area of the port fairly frequently and even then, when taking the train or taxi, I would give myself three hours for an international flight if at all possible...and that's not counting having to get off of a ship and clear those formalities.
  18. Americans have been going to Cuba on US or other passports for years. For those of us with two passports, even one of them being the US, it's pretty easy to get to Cuba. Sure, you're technically breaking laws, but it's somewhat hard to get caught if you're smart and don't use that US passport. It's likely going to continue to get harder with technology, though. I'm not saying I have ever done this...
  19. Easy, just grab another citizenship and boom...Cuba is back in the picture. Just have to get there a different way ?
  20. Sounds like a customer service rep just trying to make you happy. There is absolutely zero way they can say this with any confidence. Even with a 12:30pm landing, you can still miss the cruise ship via several ways: late aircraft, broken aircraft, late crew, sick passenger, aircraft diversion. Yes, some of these are obscure (I travel for a living and have only been diverted three times in the last 12 years), but they happen...and the first three on my list aren't all that uncommon at all. And yes, these things can still happen the day before too, but that gives you more time and more options to be re accommodated. This is better...but there's absolutely no way anyone can tell you months in advance that there's no possibility of you missing something when, in fact, there's still at least a decent chance for, if nothing else, a large amount of stress on the start of your vacation.
  21. I was part of a group of friends in NYC who decided to meet up for a booze cruise at sunset, and one guy accidentally took a cab to the secondary departure port of the cruise company and then tried to rush over to the primary departure port but literally got there as we were pulling away. We have great video from us on the boat looking back at him, but also him looking at us churning away. A year later and we still give him a hard time about it constantly.
  22. Also worth pointing out that they're not going to push anyone off of a flight to get you on, so if you're going to a popular location during a popular time (let's say, for example, Caribbean during spring or winter break), there may not be the right number of open seats to get you there on that specific date. This of course becomes more difficult as your group becomes larger (requiring more seats), and your destination becomes smaller (thus having fewer flights or smaller aircraft).
  23. Also important to note the word order in that they don't even guarantee to get you to the first available port, but they guarantee they will work with their airline partners...if they can't get you there, they can't get you there, and they offer absolutely no guarantees that they will. Many, many people mistakenly think there are guarantees when there aren't.
  24. It's pretty much a worldwide norm for customs and/or agriculture to not allow food like that to enter or leave the country. It's one thing to bring packaged foods; it's another thing entirely to bring fresh foods.
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