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nova_gal

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  1. Like
    nova_gal reacted to FionaMG in Recommendations for 2021 Mediterranean Cruise   
    @rshov, here are a couple of other suggestions for you.
    Marseille: I do like the city and if you prefer not to venture farther afield there are a few things you might like to do.
    First of all, know that the ship does not dock right in town. There is (or at least used to be) a free bus service from just outside the port gates but to be honest, there are loads of taxis and the last time we were there it was about 20 euros each way in a taxi. There are marshalls organising the queue so it's not a free-for-all like you find at some ports. If you take a taxi, you want to tell the driver to take you to the Vieux Port (which means Old Port) and you will be dropped at the taxi rank there, which is nicely central and from which you have several options.
    There is a free walking tour from the top end of the Vieux Port which my daughter has done and said was very good. No pre-booking was required for this pre-Covid and there were normally two separate daily tours, one in English and one in Spanish. However, at the moment you do have to pre-book and there appears to be only one bilingual tour. Anyway, you can browse their website here: https://marseillefreewalkingtour.com/marseille-free-tour/
    Right by where the taxi would drop you is the terminus of the Petit Train (Little Train), which covers several routes. The one we did takes you around the port area and up to the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica on a hilltop overlooking the city. This is not a HoHo service. Everybody has to get off at the Basilica and then you catch another train to complete the circuit. Tickets for the train can be bought from one of the agents working the queue. I can't remember how much it cost us but it wasn't expensive and it was an enjoyable trip.
    Here's the Petit Train website: http://petit-train-marseille.com/en/home-7/ 
    Unfortunately the Basilica's website is not working at the moment but you can look it up on Google and you'll get hits from the big travel sites like TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet, etc.




    If you enjoy museums, MUCEM (Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean) is also very close to the Vieux Port. They are currently closed, again because of Covid, but you can see their website here: https://www.mucem.org/en/your-visit
    I don't know if you know, but Marseille is famous for its soap (savon de Marseille) and there is a soap factory/museum (Musée du Savon) on the opposite side of the Vieux Port from where the petit train departs. Unfortunately, the website appears to be only in French, but here is the link to it anyway because it has a short video of the museum on the site: https://www.savon-de-marseille-licorne.com/le-musee-du-savon-de-marseille-vieux-port-de-marseille
    My daughter visited this too. There are three options: just visit the factory shop - no charge, pay only for what you buy; visit the museum - entry fee includes a bar of soap; visit the museum and the factory - entry fee includes your own personalised soap (you can see them doing this in the video).
    Here's a photo of my daughter's:

    So that's it for Marseille.
    On now to the other port I have a recommendation for and that's La Spezia.
    Yes, you could go to Florence from here but it's a long way. You'll be spending ages on a bus and when you get there you won't have time to even scratch the surface, let alone do the city justice so, unless you're really enthusiastic about architecture and history and know you won't get another chance to visit, I would recommend giving it a miss.
    La Spezia is the gateway to Cinque Terre: https://www.cinqueterre.eu.com/en/ and Cinque Terre is unmissable.
    If you're reasonably mobile you can skip the expensive cruise line excursions and do it yourself by train. You can walk from the port to the train station in about 20 minutes. Inside the train station there is a dedicated Cinque Terre ticket office with very helpful English-speaking staff. They will sell you the train tickets and give you a free map and timetable. There are reduced fares for (if I remember right) 65 years and up. You can also buy souvenirs or a little guide book like the one in my pic.

    You must validate your ticket by sticking it into one of the yellow machines on the platform and then you're good to go.
    It works a bit like a HoHo bus; you can get on and off the train at the different stations along the route, spend some time in each village and get back on the train again at the end. We have done this twice. The first time we got off the ship quite late so we didn't make it to the last village, Monterosso. The second time we used a different strategy. We visited the first village, Riomaggiore, which had been our favourite on the previous trip, and then went all the way to Monterosso, where we spent a bit longer and had a tasty panini lunch at a beachside restaurant. If you enjoy beaches and think you might want to spend some time there, it might be worth sticking a towel in your bag and wearing a bathing costume under your clothes.


    Doing this had an additional benefit. The trains get quite busy in the afternoon with people making their way back to La Spezia. Since Monterosso is the last of the five villages, it's the first one on the way back, so we got seats on the train. From the second village onwards, it was standing room only. That said, the total journey time is only about half an hour.
    Anyway, apologies for the length of this post, but I wanted to give you plenty of information in the hope that it would help you in your planning. Feel free to ask any questions; if I know the answers, I'll be happy to respond. 
  2. Like
    nova_gal reacted to AnnetteJackson in Goodbye from some friends   
    This pandemic has made for a lot of changes in the cruising world from cancellations, lift and shifts, FCCs and everyone’s least favorite topic … REFUNDS!  It definitely has made a lot of people take a new look at life and that is exactly what a few agents at MEI-Travel have done.  Danette LeBlanc after 7 years with Mei-Travel is stepping away to spend time with her family.   Her father has terminal cancel and she wants to spend all the time she can with him and the family at this time.  Prayers to her and her family as they navigate this incredibly hard time.  Also, Stephanie Hudson after 15 years has decided to take some time to step away and enjoy her new home on the coast of NC.  While this is not her retirement home, I am sure after all this time a little break to put her toes in the sand is what she needs at this time.  Wishing her all the best (and a little jealous).  MEI-Travel is working over the next week to contact their clients with a new agent that is stepping into very big sets of shoes to fill, but the new agents can do it.  It does take a little time to ensure that the new agent has everything and both Danette and Stephanie will be working thru June 30th to help with the transition of their clients.  To say that this was a very hard decision for both of them is an understatement.
    Also, I want to thank all of you for allowing me to work with you all.  Being able to chat with your guys almost daily for the past 5 years or more has helped me grow in knowledge of Royal and cruising.  There is no way I can think of this group without thinking about all the group cruises – the laughter, the tears, the burning bus, the exploding toilet, the first stop at Perfect Day, St Patrick’s Day and the most expensive Guinness beer or two I have ever paid for… and the memories go on and on….. SHOTS!  How could I not mention the SHOTS!   But more importantly, Matt.  The countless hours of planning for group events, looking up changes and many possible group cruises that never happened, there is just not enough time for me to write up how special my relationship with Matt and his family is.  All of this made it very hard for me to make this change, but I am stepping away from MEI-Travel to pursue a new opportunity.  This new opportunity will come with new challenges and a chance to spread my wings a little.  I hope our paths cross on a cruise some day or maybe in the Orlando area some time (This time without my suitcase with me!).
    MEI-Travel has a team of agents that work with Matt and they work together to provide great service to you all.  I know with cancellations coming in the very near future you might be concerned with all this change, but the team is there to help you all.
     
    See you on a cruise!
    Annette Jackson
  3. Like
    nova_gal got a reaction from WAAAYTOOO in Vacation Protection Plan Refund Question   
    My TA confirmed with Royal that the vacation protection plan fees will be refunded because Royal cancelled on us. Still waiting for those refunds from the March, May and July cancellations...😒
  4. Like
    nova_gal got a reaction from S.Marie in If you could ask Michael Bayley one question. . .   
    My question would be "Many of your customers are confused why refunds (for cancelled cruises) are being issued in several partial payments spaced over several weeks (months). Please provide some insight to why this is the case so that your customers' expectations can be adjusted accordingly."
  5. Like
    nova_gal got a reaction from RWDW1204 in If you could ask Michael Bayley one question. . .   
    My question would be "Many of your customers are confused why refunds (for cancelled cruises) are being issued in several partial payments spaced over several weeks (months). Please provide some insight to why this is the case so that your customers' expectations can be adjusted accordingly."
  6. Love
    nova_gal got a reaction from Neesa in If you could ask Michael Bayley one question. . .   
    My question would be "Many of your customers are confused why refunds (for cancelled cruises) are being issued in several partial payments spaced over several weeks (months). Please provide some insight to why this is the case so that your customers' expectations can be adjusted accordingly."
  7. Love
    nova_gal got a reaction from HeWhoWaits in If you could ask Michael Bayley one question. . .   
    My question would be "Many of your customers are confused why refunds (for cancelled cruises) are being issued in several partial payments spaced over several weeks (months). Please provide some insight to why this is the case so that your customers' expectations can be adjusted accordingly."
  8. Like
    nova_gal got a reaction from JLMoran in If you could ask Michael Bayley one question. . .   
    My question would be "Many of your customers are confused why refunds (for cancelled cruises) are being issued in several partial payments spaced over several weeks (months). Please provide some insight to why this is the case so that your customers' expectations can be adjusted accordingly."
  9. Like
    nova_gal got a reaction from Baked Alaska in If you could ask Michael Bayley one question. . .   
    My question would be "Many of your customers are confused why refunds (for cancelled cruises) are being issued in several partial payments spaced over several weeks (months). Please provide some insight to why this is the case so that your customers' expectations can be adjusted accordingly."
  10. Like
    nova_gal got a reaction from bossdog421 in If you could ask Michael Bayley one question. . .   
    My question would be "Many of your customers are confused why refunds (for cancelled cruises) are being issued in several partial payments spaced over several weeks (months). Please provide some insight to why this is the case so that your customers' expectations can be adjusted accordingly."
  11. Like
    nova_gal got a reaction from Ogilthorpe in If you could ask Michael Bayley one question. . .   
    My question would be "Many of your customers are confused why refunds (for cancelled cruises) are being issued in several partial payments spaced over several weeks (months). Please provide some insight to why this is the case so that your customers' expectations can be adjusted accordingly."
  12. Like
    nova_gal reacted to Crazycruiser50 in The KEY on Sale!   
    I know some of you love it and some of you hate it, but it’s on sale for $16.99/day for our Oct and Nov cruise.  (It’s been $26.99 for a few weeks)
    DX and dining packages are still high, but I’ve never seen the Key that low and jumped on it.
     
    Figured I would give you a heads up for those waiting for it to go on sale.  
     
    Enjoy your day!
  13. Love
    nova_gal reacted to Ian T in Next round of cancellations, when?   
    This prompted me to check my 6th Feb sailing on Anthem and I was pleased to see that the cost of the Beach Club pass has dropped from £90.44 to £60.04 since yesterday, so I snapped them up. Thanks so much! ❤️
  14. Love
    nova_gal reacted to Crazycruiser50 in 125% Cruise Planner Credit... finally!!!   
    I just got an email for our certificates for our cruise planner 125% credit.  62 days since email submitted for credit.  Amounts are correct from what I calculated.  Phew.  Problem is now all the sales ended for what I had in my cart.  Guess I won’t be calling them in just yet.  
     
    We have to call a cruise advisor in order to use the credits.  There is no way to use them online.  Bummer.
    Here are the details and FAQ from the email...
    Please keep this email for your records as this will serve as proof of your credit when you're ready to use it on a new booking.
     
    To apply this credit to your booking, please contact your Travel Advisor, or please contact us using the below information:
    United States and Canada: 1 800 256 6649 United Kingdom: [email protected] or call 0344 493 4005 Australia: [email protected] or call 1800 754 500 New Zealand: [email protected] or call 0800 102 123 Singapore: [email protected] or call +65 63050033 If you live elsewhere, please click here to obtain the email address for your local office - just select the country flag at the top of the page.  
    Here are some details about your credit to know:
    Your credit is based on the amount paid for Cruise Planner purchases for the guests on your cancelled reservation. Transactions onboard Royal Caribbean International are conducted in USD, so we've provided your credit in USD for your convenience. This credit is good for use on Cruise Planner Purchases and onboard as an Onboard Credit. This credit is valid only for Royal Caribbean International sailings booked on or before December 31, 2021 that sail on or before April 30th, 2022. If the credit is not applied to a valid sailing by December 31st, 2021 the credit will expire and will have no value. Valid on new bookings or existing bookings on Royal Caribbean International sailings and are not valid on Complimentary cruises, Incentive bookings, and Charter sailings. The credit amount is non-transferrable and non-refundable once it is issued and the entire value must be used on a single sailing. Any remaining balance not used by the last night of the sailing will be forfeit. Royal Caribbean International reserves the right to void the credit amount if the guest named above receives another form of compensation, including a refund of Cruise Planner purchases and claiming through our travel protection. Additional terms and conditions apply.  
    Since this program is new, we have some FAQs listed below to help you answer any questions you may have. Thank you for your continued support and understanding! We look forward to welcoming you back onboard in the near future.
    Sincerely,
    Royal Caribbean International

     
    FAQS
     
    What can I use this credit for? 
    This credit can be applied to your reservation and used on purchases made through Cruise Planner or for purchases made once you're onboard.
     
    If I only use a portion of the credit pre-cruise, how soon can I use it onboard? 
    Any remaining credit will be available to use once you're onboard. Feel free to check your SeaPass through your RCI App or through your iTV, where available.
     
    Why is my credit in USD and not in my booking's currency?
    All transactions onboard are conducted in USD, so we've issued these credits in USD. Cruise Planner will automatically convert your amount to your booking currency for pre-cruise purchases.
     
    Do I have to use this Onboard Credit on the same reservation where I apply my 125% FCC? 
    Only if you want to! This Onboard Credit can be applied to the same sailing or a different sailing from your 125% FCC.
     
    Can I split the Onboard Credit between two sailings?
    Each individual credit must be applied to one sailing. You have until December 31st, 2021 to apply your credit to a sailing that departs on or before April 30th, 2022. So, you have plenty of options!
     
    I know I can request a refund of my cruise instead of the FCC, can I also request a refund of my Cruise Planner credit?
    Once you opt in for the Cruise Planner Credit and it's issued, it is non-refundable. So, we'll be unable to honor a request for reimbursement of this credit.
  15. Like
    nova_gal got a reaction from Shari in Recieved refund update email on 5/6 like promised. Updated 5/14 refund mostly received.   
    Received the same email for our cancelled April 4th cruise from my TA yesterday. Checked my credit card this morning and the refund (most of it) is there! There were 2 deposits - one for the fare and a separate one for taxes, fees & port expenses. The refund on the fare is $39.40 less than what I paid. Also there's no refund (yet) for Royal's Vacation Protection Plan for which I paid $397. I'll be inquiring about this with my TA. At least this is some good news.
  16. Like
    nova_gal reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Airfare   
    I booked Air2 Sea air for my upcoming Symphony in August.  I rarely do that for domestic flights but I did it for 2 reasons:
    1.  We are flying in on cruise day.  This is, of course, a big no-no, but since it’s a Saturday departure, we didn’t want to waste a day of leave to travel down on a Friday, so we booked same day air.  There is an added bit of protection, booking through A2S.
    2.  I am not particularly confident that we will be cruising by August.  Booking through A2S will make it a 1 stop operation to get air and cruise refunds if this cruise is cancelled.
    Prices weren’t great but not terrible. We paid an extra $10 PP for booking A2S which wasn’t a show-stopper for me.  I knew ahead of time what the fare should be and they were dead on.  It’s worth $20 for the convenience and peace of mind.
  17. Like
    nova_gal reacted to deep1 in Still a big nope   
    Not from me... Its good t know the perspectives from our fellow cruisers in lots of different places...
  18. Like
    nova_gal reacted to RCIfan1912 in This could get cruises going again!   
    Could definitely see this used for cruises. I mean we get to the port super early and usually sit for 30 minutes anyway. If its just a prick of the finger, no big deal. I don't want that stick up my nose into my throat but prick of the finger, no big deal at all. I just want to freaking go!
  19. Like
    nova_gal reacted to RCIfan1912 in And just like that rebooked! Thank you John from MEI!   
    Holy Cow what a deal! John Ames from MEI just emailed me with a crazy new price on our Sept. 6th cruise. Now I don't know if we are gonna sail but this price is just nuts. We booked a Central Park balcony and the price was 1,791 and now today its 1,355. That is for 3, our 7 year old son. Please lord we have to sail now with this price. After the FCC is applied we are gonna have 900-1,000 bucks in more FCC for next year. I am in total awe of John Ames at MEI. This guy does not stop, he continually keeps looking for price breaks and deals. 
  20. Like
    nova_gal reacted to Matt in Don't do any of these things   
    Hi everyone, I know we get heated debating which dessert is the best one to order, or if a balcony room is worth it, but let's keep these basic rules in mind when chatting here.
    No profanity No personal insults No political discussion No debating religion Keep your posts relevant and accurate to each specific thread. We can all have our little fun within each thread but please make sure the information you're putting out there is correct and current.   Topics not related to Royal Caribbean may be removed. Posts or comments encouraging cruisers to break any Royal Caribbean policy is not allowed and will be removed.
  21. Like
    nova_gal reacted to WAAAYTOOO in 30 Day Extension on Cancelled Cruises   
    My goodness.  As if most people weren’t already confused enough with the FCC, now they include Cruise Planner items in it.  I wish they would just make a plan and stick to it. I guess it shows that they are REALLY trying to save cash.  Wow.
  22. Like
    nova_gal reacted to Ray in Italy is in hell right now from this virus   
    All lies !!!!!!!!!!!
    According to a guy at work who spends FARRRRRRRRRRRRR to much time on the dark web this is all a conspiracy going back as far as mankind evolved, it's all to do with JFK, Disney, Tom Hanks, Royal Family ( The list is endless )  and we will all find out the truth soon enough!!
    Am i concerned about Covid - 19? not really what will be will be!
    am i concerned about guy at work ? OH YEAH .......
    The world has gone absolutely crazy and where and how it started should be left to the experts to work out and deal with! we should not listen to rumours or random shit on the internet that NO ONE can confirm or deny because doing so may just create more issues 
     
  23. Like
    nova_gal reacted to RiveraCruise in Sint Maarten / Saint Martin - Private Driver - Leo Brown   
    April  24, 2019
    A week ago we (a family of four) were fortunate enough to visit Sint Maarten (Saint Martin) for a third straight year.  And for a third straight year, we hired Leo Brown to be our private driver.  Three years ago, we looked into booking a tour through the ship's excursion office.  Now, there's nothing wrong with booking an excursion through RC but we wanted more.  What we got was a lot more.
    We decided to research a few months before on how to hire a private driver.  We found  Leo Brown on the internet.  He was recommended by previous travelers.  We called him up and hired him for the day.  The idea was that we would pay him the same amount that RC was going to charge us for their excursion. However, hiring Leo Brown has more benefits:
    a)  You are helping the economy directly.  All money you spend is going into local's pockets. Booking an excursion means that RC gets a percentage.
    b)  More time on the island.  The RC excursion will bring you back to the ship hours before it's set to sail.  With a private driver, you get more time on the island for the same amount of money.
    c) You choose where you want to go.  If the kid's wanted to go snorkeling, Leo Brown would take us to a great beach... if the kid's wanted big waves, Leo Brown would take us to another beach... when we got hungry, Leo Brown took us to the French side for delicious food cooked in a local and authentic island restaurant... Want amazing views for the family picture?, Leo Brown will drive you to one of the highest parts on the island so you can take that picture. 
    d) Leo Brown is proud.  The first time we met Leo Brown, he drove us around the entire island (Dutch and French side).  He is a proud lifelong resident of Sint Maarten and it shows.  Needless to say, we also learned quite a bit about the island through Leo.
    e) If you hire Leo Brown, you are it.  No mini-bus filled with other passengers going to the same place where you will then have to wait in line and keep your eyes on the time in order to get back in line to board the mini-bus and get shuttled back to the ship. With Leo Brown, you are on "YOUR TIME".  You tell Leo Brown what time the ship leaves, and he will have you back.
    Like I said before, this is our third straight year visiting Sint Maarten and hiring Leo Brown.  Unfortunately, our plans for next year do not take us back to this wonderful island.  However, if you are planning a trip to Sint Maarten (Saint Martin) via cruise ship or flying in, we HIGHLY recommend hiring Leo Brown.
    Leo Brown: (721) 553-4290
    note:  if you arrive by cruise ship, you will need to walk out of the cruise pier area to meet Leo Brown.  There is a taxi area inside the pier terminal but Leo will be waiting just outside.  You will see many passengers exiting here because it is a short distance to the town area.
     
    The attached picture is Leo Brown and his wonderful wife and daughter along with myself and my two kids.

  24. Like
    nova_gal reacted to HeWhoWaits in Bermuda Effectively Closed to Tourists   
    Hoping that both Baltimore and Bermuda are open for business in time for our May 9 Grandeur sailing to happen.
  25. Haha
    nova_gal reacted to SteveinSC in Question about room service??/   
    Carbs don't count on cruises....calories, sugar, nothing....
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