Bonnie B

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Bonnie B

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Aug022013

Tour/Activity

Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor and Punchbowl Sightseeing Tour

Waikiki, Oahu

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

The tour was very informative and well organized. Our driver/guide was "cousin Coco". He provided a great deal of factual information with a humorous bent. The Punchbowl Cemetery was very sobering as was the visit to the Arizona Memorial. I particularly liked the half hour movie describing the events that led up to the attack and the entry of the US into war with Japan. The seating and ticket distribution is well controlled and limited by time stamps. No purses, backpacks, bags or anything that won't fit in your pocket is allowed when younenter the property. Also interesting are the submarine USS Bowfin, torpedoes, and memorial of the names of those who died in the attack. This is a not to be missed tour. Bus pick up at our hotel was smooth and on time. There is a very extensive bookshop with videos, posters, photo books and biographies and other souvenirs.

Aug012013

Tour/Activity

Oahu Shark Dive

Haleiwa, Oahu

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

Water was very choppy. Several people popping Dramamine. I think that due to the very windy conditions they condensed the number of dives from three to two which made the cage very crowded. Also the divers who were going to purchase the $75 video were given preferential space on the side of the cage where the majority of the sharks were. Other than that the dive was quite good and I would certainly do it again. As a side note, the driver who picked us up was great despite being a half hour late. I wish I could remember his name. He was very entertaining and gave us a lot of information about the area.

Jul282013

Tour/Activity

Golden Gate Park Segway Tour

San Francisco, California

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This is a must! Don't bother with the what appeared to be a bit hazardous tour at Fisherman's Wharf - do the Golden Gate Tour. The Park is beautiful and the traffic on Sunday when we went was minimal due to the closing off of the main road thru the Park. The training session which is pretty serious as it should be. By the time they were done with us we all had good control of our Segway. So it is a something even the novice can do. Our Leader took us through the Park on a grand tour. I believe we were out and about for at least a couple of hours. The Staff provided gloves and windbreaker jackets since it was windy and cool. We had to take two busses from the Wharf to get there but that was no big deal. Also we had a bit of a challenge finding the Segway area - walking through the Park was a bit confusing trying to find them since we had never been to the Park before but one of the Staff actually talked us in. We will do this again when we return to San Francisco.

Jul272013

Tour/Activity

San Francisco in One Day: Alcatraz, City Tour, Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Cruise

San Francisco, California

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review

City tour was ok - the driver left the Palace of Fine Arts without all of the passengers being on board. Thank goodness one of the people (there were only 7 of us) on board asked if he knew that they were not in the van. He did go back and get them. We managed to see quite a bit of the city and he took us to some out of the way places. We drove the Golden Gate Bridge which left us in Sausalito. This is where the problems started. We had tickets to go on the 3:00 Alcatraz tour which meant we had to be back on the Wharf at Terminal 33 a half hour before the Ferry left. Leaving us off around noon in Sausalito did not synch up with the Ferry schedule. We would have had to get off of the van and just go to the Ferry without seeing Sausalito in order to get to the Alcatraz Terminal by 2:30 (they wanted us to be there a half hour ahead of time) There was a later Ferry which would have pushed the time limit. We decided to take the later Ferry and take our chances. What we did not realize was that the immediate Ferry took us to Terminal 39 which is comfortable walking distance to Terminal 33. The later Ferry dropped us off at Terminal 1 which requires additional transportation to get to Terminal 33. We only had a half hour to get there once we got off the Ferry and did try to briskly walk it but did not realized how far it actually was. Had we known we would have grabbed a cab. There is a trolley that runs up and down the Embarcadero but we did not see one and were afraid to waste time waiting. We found one of the bicycle guys and he took us to Terminal 33 after we had walked about 4 blocks and realized that we were not going to make the Alcatraz Ferry at our allotted time. If you take this tour be aware that leaving you in Susalito at noon is going to cause you some logistic problems based on the time of your Alcatraz tour. The tour company set the time for the Alcatraz tour - they should have taken the Ferry schedule into consideration or told us,

Jul262013

Tour/Activity

Monterey, Carmel and 17-Mile Drive Day Trip from San Francisco

San Francisco, California

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

Good way to get a taste of the area then go back on your own. Bus driver was a hoot - we had a small crowd so things moved a lot faster than on a full busload and the driver was able to interact with us on a more personal basis. Certainly knew his stuff. This is an 8 hour day and it covers a lot of territory so as would be expected you don't stay very long in any one place and the driver is on a tight schedule. We had lunch in Monterey and walked around the stores then back on the bus for the 17-mile Drive which was nice - beautiful homes and Golf courses, then on to Carmel. We arrived at 5pm just enough time to walk around since most stores close at 6. So if you want to see Carmel, rent a car a go there on your own. Only negative was the controlled chaos when we were trying to board find our bus. I had to work my way through a crowd of people trying to find out where we were supposed to line up. I grabbed an Agent who was being mobbed by people asking the same question. Also, I would recommend arriving early since there was no one in line when we arrived to get our Vouchers and within a half hour the line was out the door and up the street. Once we were on the bus though it was a nice trip.

Apr202013

Tour/Activity

Santiago de Compostela and Viana do Castelo Day Trip from Porto

Porto, Portugal

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Tour is very good. There were just three of us and the driver/tour guide was wonderful. She made a couple of stop to show us some historical sites and gave us a comprehensive history of the area. We just missed the swinging of the incense burner at the Santiago Cathedral, which is unfortunate. I think the time spent in each location was sufficient to get a lay of the land and then to go back on your own. Would highly recommend the as a great day trip.

Apr112013

Tour/Activity

Keukenhof Gardens and Tulip Fields Tour from Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

I took the half day trip which was enough especially since it was cooler out and most of the flowers were not in bloom. The Willem-Alexander hot house was fantastic. Hundred of tulips and many other varieties were in full bloom. This is where most of the people were concentrated. I went in mid April and it was rainy and chilly. I understand that the flowers finally came out around the beginning of May. To get the full value of seeing the flowers in bloom you almost have to watch the weather around the Amsterdam to see if there has been a cold snap and then book your trip accordingly. I wish I had waited until the beginning of May because my whole trip to Amsterdam was centered around seeing the Gardens. The tour itself was nothing more than a ride from central Amsterdam to the Gardens and back with a few comments on the landscape from the guide. Certainly an easy way to get there and it included the entrance price. Coaches are typical European - clean and efficient. Love riding on the top deck - great views of the countryside. The half day tour was ok under these circumstances but if the Gardens were in full bloom a full day would be recommended. Lots of walking, nice shops, and a few pretty good places to eat and of course, the glorious flowers!

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