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Everything posted by terry&mike

  1. We just booked SD II last week for December 13th sailing. We are going to be flexible and just go with the flow. We went to Portugal and France for 3.5 weeks, departing in late August when the E.U. was changing all of it's rules in regards to Americans again. We figured we just go forward until we couldn't and try to be flexible. We were pleasantly surprised that we had no issues with flights, with independent travel, with visiting sites, with the river cruise in the Douro Valley, or with the one in the Bordeaux region. We have decided to take the same approach and see what happens.
  2. Hello, no questions, but will be reading your posts. Just booked Sea Dream II yesterday for San Juan r/t, December 13-19, 2021. Excited, as this will be our first time on Sea Dream
  3. I'm sure it will be wonderful!
  4. Oh nice! Yes, I was talking about Jordan in the first half of that post. I didn't realize it was a river cruise you were doing, and was thinking it was land so was thinking you wouldn't post here. We have done Egypt on a river cruise several years ago, along with some land touring in Egypt and really loved it. We are headed to Jordan, Israel (if it opens up), and Cyprus in late January. We have a land tour in Jordan, and then will be doing Israel and Cyprus on our own. I'll be looking out for your posts.
  5. We are headed to Jordan (and hopefully Israel if it opens up) in late January. I know it's off topic and and off brand for cruisecritic but would love to see a quick update, maybe under this thread, of how your trip went. We booked the Scenic 7 night cruise with the 3 nights land in Siem Reap (because I like their program in SR). Then we are doing Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Hoi An on our own beforehand so I can get exactly what I want. For example, in Halong Bay we are actually booking a boat that sails in Lan Ha Bay, the less touristy area with fewer ships.
  6. Good morning, We recently returned from 3.5 weeks in Portugal and France. Before we departed I stressed a lot about all of the requirements, at the end of the day it was not as difficult as I had set it up in my head. I worked with United's Travel Ready Center, your airline probably has a similar function, and made written notes for each individual flight of what the requirements were. We then located a private testing lab through the internet that would guarantee results within a few hours and made appointments for testing on the day before departure from the US. This test got us through boarding our international flight, transiting in London, and checking in to our hotel in Lisbon. The cost was $159 pp and we had to drive an hour each way for the test, but it was worth it to have peace of mind that it was done right and met the time frame. We purchased BinaxNow tests to bring with us as they meet the requirement to return to the US, in case we needed them, but we found options for testing along the way. As to if you could test positive and get stuck in quarantine along the trip, that is something to consider. We knew it was a reality and were hopeful it did not come to pass, and it did not. But we did know it could happen and were willing to roll with it.
  7. I just booked a Mekong sailing yesterday for December 2022. In studying the weather, I was focused on mid-November through end of February, to try to avoid the rainy months and get (somewhat) cooler weather. I found the prices to be slightly less in December than the other months, likely due to people not wanting to be gone over/to close to the holidays. As we like being in an international destination on holidays this worked in our favor. We booked with Scenic, as we just sailed their Beautiful Bordeaux itinerary last week and loved it. Also, their start in cabin is very nice, being a small suite with wide picture windows and balcony, and a separate sitting area from the bedroom.
  8. Your summation of country club casual is on the nose.
  9. And the funniest part of all is that my French Pass Sanitaire just came through!!!
  10. Just landed Chicago, all went amazingly well transiting through Brussels with no problems. Comfortable flight in business, and getting ready to board our flight to Tampa. So happy we went on this trip! Any questions, please let me know.
  11. I’m guessing this must be the wonderful Mary - she and her hubby Steve elevated our already exceptional experience! I’m guessing you made it home well. We flew from Bordeaux to Paris this afternoon, only needed a vaccine card (or Pass Sanitaire) for this short domestic flight. Checked in to the handy Ibis Styles CDG, settled in, and had a great dinner at their restaurant. This hotel is accessed by taking the airport transfers train (CDGVAL?), which is free, to Terminal 3, and walking out the exit door where it is directly across the road.
  12. Today is disembarkation day, we are in Bordeaux, France. The ship has arranged transfers, which are complimentary, to the train station or airport, at the appropriate time for guests. Our transfer is to the airport at 11:35a for a 2:35p flight to Paris. We need to have our luggage out by 8:35a, and out of the room by 9a. We can relax onboard for our transfer if we like. Breakfast is being served in the dining room today, as well as a light lunch for those still around.
  13. We docked in the town of Blaye, France today until 2p. We had signed up for a long bike ride down the Captains Road, but when we saw nice the town looked, we changed our to the Active Walking Tour. This turned out to be a great tour through the very interesting Citadel, around some vineyards and walking paths on the edge of town, and some alley lanes in town. Just after lunch we received our negative Covid tests back, and the wording looks sufficient to get us through from Paris to Tampa, transiting in Belgium, on Thursday. Tomorrow we will fly on a mid-day flight from Bordeaux to Paris.
  14. Today we had a full day tour to the town of Cognac, and a visit to Remy Martin for a tour and Cognac tasting. In the town we were given a brief walking tour, and then free time for 2.5 hours. Scenic gave us each 20 euros to buy our own lunch, or do with it what we liked. This evening was a disembarkation briefing (for Wednesday), and a Gala Dinner.
  15. On AMA we paid 20 euro pp for antigen tests (and had option of paying 80 euros pp for PCR test). On Scenic we were given PCR tests for free.
  16. One thing to keep in mind is the size of the boxes. We are generally light packers, usually bringing one roll aboard size suitcase per person and one personal bag per person (backpack or purse) for most any trip. We already had some extra items that needed to come on this trip, and then the tests arrived in the mail and we had to factor those in as well. We brought along 6 tests, and each is a bit larger than a boxed VCR tape. You can’t consolidate them by unpacking the boxes, as each box must be opened when instructed by the person on the app at the start of the test. We still didn’t do too bad on the packing, with each bringing one 30” rolling duffle and one personal bag, (about 27 pounds each), but still more than we usually like to have to allow us to get around easy.
  17. Last night Covid tests were left in our rooms to do this morning before we head out to Cognac for the day. The test are by Gargtest, and are what is called spit tests often. Scenic is providing them for free. Our results should be back Tuesday night. Today is Monday, and this will work for most passengers who are flying out after disembarking on Wednesday. We are flying out on Thursday, so it should still work for us for flying out, but we’ll know for sure when we actually see the results letter. If not, we’ll use the Abbott tests we brought along for back up.
  18. We were able to make an appointment with a private same day PCR test results company for the day before we left home. It cost $159 pp, but got us through boarding international flight, transmitting London, and check in at the hotel in Lisbon. The test that AMA gave, for 20 euros pp got us from Portugal to France and on board the ship here. The test that Scenic is giving out today for free will get us back to the US. We brought along 6 of the Abbott tests for back up, but haven’t needed them. We have also seen several places a person could get tested along the way.
  19. The ones we purchased are also the proctored ones, that we would use through the app.
  20. Today we joined the excursion to Arcachon, France, a charming beach town on the Atlantic Ocean (far west of France). It’s about an hour drive each way, and we had a brief tour, and then 1.5 hours of free time to roam around on our own. Delightful day. There were several other tour options including a visit to the Cite de Vin (wine museum), climbing a giant sand dune, or a visit to a former submarine base that is an art exhibit now, or free time in Bordeaux. We returned to the ship at 1:30p, had lunch, and then I took myself on a long walk, making it back just before 3:30p, the all on board time. We are now sailing away for the day.
  21. We purchased 6 of them to bring on our trip with us. We have not needed to use them thus far, but aren’t done yet. They are an accepted test for returning to the US. The Points Guy has an article on his experiences with them.
  22. Scenic includes a laundry concierge service with each booking. This entitles you to 1 kg of laundry in one laundry bag per cabin per cruise washed complimentary. DH wanted a few of his active wear clothes done as we’ve done a lot of biking and hiking. He sent out about 10 pieces on Friday evening and they were delivered back cleaned, folded, and wrapped in tissue Saturday evening. Very nicely done.
  23. We woke up docked in Bordeaux and to rain today. We cancelled our bike ride, and had a relaxed morning. We then attended an onboard cooking class of beef steak cafe’ de Paris, and a dessert featuring a marshmallow type pastry. After that, the rain had cleared and DH took a long stroll, and window shopped along Rue St Catherine. We stopped at a brasserie for some wine when a rain shower came up. We were asked for our Pass Sanitaire, Mike showed his PS and I showed my vaccine card and all was well. When the rain cleared again we headed off for some more strolling, and then made our way back to the ship. They are bringing on fresh oysters from the coast at 5p, so I’ll try to catch that.
  24. Tonight was our dinner seating in L’Amour and it was very good. We had 6 courses (5 scheduled and an extra one) paired with a sparkling, white and red. Afterwards was music trivia in the lounge, but we decided to turn in and relax after 2 active tours today.
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