AlexT4

AlexT4
Third Mate

Hometown: New Castle, DE
Joined: 07/11/2012
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3
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39
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About AlexT4



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AlexT4's Past Cruises

Explorer of the Seas

April 2010 - Explorer of the Seas to Caribbean

Amazing Cruise

We had an an amazing time on the Explorer of the Seas. This was our 5th cruise but 1st on such a big ship so we were a little nervous about it being crowded. We were surprised to find we never felt crowded at all. In fact, we had no wait times to leave the ship in any of the ports of call. We just walked right off the ship each time. What ever they are doing they are doing right considering the stampede we have seen on other ships. The crew was amazing on this ship from servers to cabin stewards.

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Jewel of the Seas

August 2009 - Jewel of the Seas to Europe - Northern Europe

Amazing Cruise

The Jewel is tastefully decorated and has a great layout that makes it easy to get around the ship. The centrum is absolutely beautiful. The staff were amazing and very friendly. I think since Royal Caribbean still allows you to pay tips in cash vs. being automatically deducted gives the staff more incentive. The shows on the ship were top quality and we were surprised by the intricate sets and range of performances. We fell in love with this ship and how well it was designed. Unlike other cruise lines that pack in multiple fee charged restaurants the Jewel had only two well placed ones. This left more room for open areas and created a more community atmosphere on the ship.

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Volendam

November 2008 - Volendam to South Pacific - Australia

Wonderful cruise!!

We just returned from a 14 night cruise to New Zealand and Australia aboard the Volendam. The ship was very well kept and had a great layout. The decor was warm and inviting and not over the top like some cruise ships. The staff kept the public areas and the rooms very clean and fresh. Embarking and disembarking ran smoothly and fast. The ship had plenty of lounges where you could sit and relax. We never felt crowded on this ship which is 61,000 tons although we have been on smaller ships and larger ones where we have felt some crowding. The ship also has coin operated washers and dryers so you don't have to pack 2 weeks worth of cloth. Overall a wonderful ship that we enjoyed very much.

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AlexT4's Tips

St. Petersburg, Russian Federation - Take a ship excursion to avoid having to get a time consuming visa. Peterhof is not to be missed plus the Winter Palace (Hermitage). We loved our walking tour of the historic center on day two
Helsinki, Finland - Take shuttle to city center and then you can easily walk to the Rock church and then just walk around the main historic area near the train station.
Stockholm, Sweden - Take the shuttle to the city center and again walk. It is a beautiful city.
Copenhagen, Denmark - First, skip a ship excursion. Copenhagen is easily walked from the ship. Plus bikes are free to use in this city everywhere so grab one and bike around the city. The Mermaid is right near where the ship docks. Walk along the water and the canals.
Oslo, Norway - Again, easy to get around. Ship docks right by the castle and city hall. Tram number 12 a 3 minute walk from the ship takes you right to Vigeland Sculpture park. Return to city center and you can walk to every other major site. A ferry takes you to the Viking Ship Museum.
Tallinn, Estonia - Skip the excursion and walk 5 or 10 minutes to the old town. Then just explore and enjoy. This was the highlight of our cruise. What a beautiful place and we were so glad it was on the itinerary up against better known places. You will be amazed here.
Valletta, Malta - We took the hop on hop off tour bus you catch right after exiting the port. 15 euro for almost a 3 hour tour around practically the whole island. It stops in a few places but recommend you stay with the same bus. Sit up top in the open air. A lot less expensive than a ship excursion to one or two sites and you learn a lot about Malta. We left the cruise in Malta as we found a flight to Barcelona the next morning for about 49 euro probably 75 euro or so with tax. It gave us a night in Malta and an extra day in Barcelona vs. sitting around a pool on a ship. You are in Europe so we wanted as much times as possible. We stayed at the British Hotel in Malta, not 5 star but view is exceptional overlooking the port and staff were very friendly. Also some of the film Munich was shot there. We then flew Ryanair to Barcelona and stayed at the Regina. Excellent hotel right by Rambla.
Izmir, Turkey - We did a ship excursion but know now that you can book an independent excursion. Look on cruise critic message boards. Ephesus is a must but the carpet factory tour was a waste of time. Would rather have gone to see another site or something like people did who got independent tours.
Alexandria (Cairo), Egypt - We booked a private tour through www.egyptdailytours.com. Rasha El-Ashmawy runs this tour company and was exceptional. We paid the same as a ship excursion for a private tour of the Pyramids, National Museum, and Felucca boat ride with lunch on the Nile ($175). We also got to see the market as it was added at the end. We had a private van, driver, and tour guide. You can lower the cost by having a larger group but it was well worth it to us. Nora our tour guide was exceptional. Be prepared for driving in Egypt. They have no traffic control at all, no signals nothing. It is an experience so buckle up maybe have a drink or two.
Piraeus (Athens), Greece - Forget the ship excursion and take the train into Athens. It cost 3 euro for a roundtrip ticket plus 12 euro to enter the Acropolis site. 15 euro total vs. the ship excursion cost. Once done at the Acropolis walk around the Plaka, shop and get a few drinks. The train station is a good 20 minute to 30 minute walk from where we docked so you may want to grab a taxi. The walk was nice for us.
Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy - We had been to Rome a few times so we rented a car at Hertz right outside the port and drove to three small Italian towns. Had a wonderful day.
Melbourne, Australia - An beautiful city with so much to do without going on a shore excursion. Just walk around the city go to a museum or any of a hundred things to see and do there. We wish we had longer here though.
Wellington, New Zealand - Wow what a windy city. I think the said the wind gusts were 124 kph or 77mph when we were there. Has a great museum right on the harbor which is wonderful to walk around if you don't get blown over. We took a cable car up the one hill and had amazing views, plus nice botanical gardens there.
Christchurch, New Zealand - Beautiful place that we loved. A trolley will take you around the main sites and give a history. Went punting, or a boat ride, which was wonderful and informative. Took a funicular up I guess a mountain for amazing views. Hint, take the funicular later in the day and then take a bus from there back to the ship. Easier than going all the way back to town.
Napier, New Zealand - Had excellent art deco buildings and a lot of shopping. Very nice port.
Picton, New Zealand - Nice little port with a quaint town. Public library has free internet access for those who bring a lap top. We actually left our video camera in restaurant and didn't realize it till we got back to the ship. The locals greeting us called the restaurant for us like they were calling a relative and sure enough it was still there and we were able to retrieve it promptly after lunch.
Burnie, Tasmania, Australia - We loved Tasmania and especially the shore excursion to Wings Wildlife Refuge. We were able to feed and pet kangaroos including one with a baby in it's pouch. We also were able to pet koala bears. The staff are amazing and all the animals take your breath away.
Port Chalmers (Dunedin), New Zealand - We were lucky and got to see all these school children celebrating safety with bagpipes and all. The train station is nice too. Again, somewhere I would probably do a shore excursion if I went again.
Tauranga, New Zealand - We arrived on a Sunday morning and most places were closed. We opted out of any shore excursions so may be a good port to do one. Friendly townspeople though.

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received a helpful vote on their Volendam cruise review - Wonderful cruise!!

received a helpful vote on their Volendam cruise review - Wonderful cruise!!

received a helpful vote on their Volendam cruise review - Wonderful cruise!!

received a helpful vote on their Volendam cruise review - Wonderful cruise!!

received a helpful vote on their Volendam cruise review - Wonderful cruise!!

received a helpful vote on their Volendam cruise review - Wonderful cruise!!

received a helpful vote on their Volendam cruise review - Wonderful cruise!!

received a helpful vote on their Volendam cruise review - Wonderful cruise!!

received a helpful vote on their Volendam cruise review - Wonderful cruise!!

received a helpful vote on their Volendam cruise review - Wonderful cruise!!