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TLCOhio

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About TLCOhio

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    Columbus, Ohio
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    Travel, photography, history, nature, home improvements
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    The cruise line we are getting ready to board for our next sailing, adventure
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    Too many "star spots" to be fair in trying to list all of these great locations!!
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    www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2591474

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  1. Below are a few additional "eye-candy" visuals related to the Nautica, its look, the food, interior samples, etc. Many more samples and examples are posted on the full live/blog. THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio AFRICA?!!?: Fun, interesting visuals, plus travel details from this early 2016 live/blog. At 44,979 views. Featuring Cape Town, South Africa’s coast, Mozambique, Victoria Falls/Zambia and Botswana's famed Okavango Delta. www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2310337 Here is how nice and shiny the Oceania Nautica looked while we were in the harbor in Rhodes. Having sunshine helped much for enjoying parts of our day while visiting this large and historic Greek Island. Second is the colorful graphic/logo on the front of the ship. Third is a view of the middle part of the ship while docked in Patmos.: (Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!) After we docked in Cyprus, here was the welcome as we exited the ship by some Greek-style dancers. You can see the Nautica in the background.: While traveling along Egypt's Suez Canal, here was the view of Nautica pool area.: From having dinner at the Polo Club special dining location on the 10th floor, here are some low-calorie visual samples. The pictures are very low in calories. The actual food was excellent and we had a total of three reservations at this very nice setting with great personal service. Very impressed by dining here!! Plus, at the Italian-style dining star.: From the ship's first production show, here are a couple of visual samples for this 1920's-style musical program based on the "Gatsby" era and style. It was a fun and energetic cast and program!!:
  2. Below is part four from my detailed Nautica summary. Northing major in the positive or negative categories. Just sharing various ideas and options to consider. OTHER, MISC. ITEMS: 1. Personalizing your cabin: We brought along 8x12” pictures of our two grandsons and put them up on the walls to keep those great memories fresh. On a 20-day cruise, you need to be organized and having good "personal" touches in your room that adds to the enjoyment. 2. Currents: The ship's daily schedule and info sheet worked reasonably well, was colorful and mostly interesting with various port and ship background. Of special interest was knowing the entertainment coming up for the next evening. 3. CPAP machine: Yes, Oceania had distilled water available for use in my CPAP machine. You need to let them know in advance. Most cruise lines seem very good in understanding these "needs" for those of us with such CPAP machines. 4. Future booking: Yes, we considered doing a future booking with Oceania and getting a small, additional discount. BUT, for personal interests, especially in the key January-February winter periods to escape the Midwest’s cold winters, there were not any major, must-do options available from Oceania. Our top priority is to get the right/best itinerary for our personal interests. We are not just in “sailing for the sake of being on a boat”. That’s nice, but not as high of a priority for us. 5. Private Tours?: Yes, our private tours made such a significant difference for key locations during this cruise. This includes for Athens to Delphi, the famed historic site about two-and-a-half hours north of Athens; our two days/overnight in Jerusalem, the two days/overnight for Luxor/Egypt, our one exciting day in Jordan for Petra and Wadi Rum; doing the surprisingly wonderful options in Muscat/Oman and finally putting the “frosting on the cake” with our day and a half of private touring to sample Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Why? First, was price and value. In many cases the costs for the four of us was cheaper than options offered by the ship for the “fun” of being slowed on a bus with 20-35 other people. Second, it was all about quality. We picked our private tours carefully and being with a good guide where you are having a “conversation” makes THE difference!! Just being on a bus listening to a canned, memorized speech is not always that enlightening. Plus, having the schedule being our personal priorities is also super vital and rewarding!! On private tours, you can also cut out those time-wasting “sales stops” at places doing the kick-backs to the tour operators who are bringing in the captive customers. More info needed? Happy to answer any and ALL questions. Don’t be shy! Am able to share much more, if needed in any areas. THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio SE Asia/Mekong River, Etc.! Live/blog from early 2018, first adventure through SE Asia, stops in Hong Kong and Bangkok, before exploring all over Vietnam and Cambodia, seven days sailing on the Mekong River. Now at 46,005 views. www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2591474 Here is a visual from the Terrace Cafe buffet area that has not been posted previously. Make you hungry thinking about being there for lunch?.: (Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!) Here are three evening dining room treats that have not been posted previously. Ready for dinner now?.:
  3. Here is my summary for some “hits-and-misses” and/or ideas/suggestions for improvements that Oceania could consider or do in the future. This is not a huge or long listing, but I just wanted to share that there are always opportunities for changes and upgrades to consider by management. Fire away!! Agree or disagree?? Happy to respond to any added questions, comments, insights, etc. NEEDING ATTENTION, IMPROVEMENTS, CHANGES?: 1. Excursions/Pricings?: These offerings tended to be high in price, plus not always the best in “value” compared to doing private tours. We did have the Olife excursion option of four “free” tours each. These were “OK”, somewhat and maybe??!! One tour day was very marginal and we were fortunately able to skip the last scheduled Oceania tour in Muscat, Oman, and do a much better private excursion. I realize that some local tours are limited by what is available to Oceania in each port. It is not totally under their control. But, overall their pricing is high and lacking in value. Fortunately in traveling with another couple and with advance research/planning, we did private tours prior to our cruise in Athens, plus in Jerusalem and Luxor overnight, for Petra and Dubai/Abu Dhabi, etc. These private tours were super and made such a positive contrast to what Oceania offered/provided. 2. Menu variety?: In the Grand Dining Room, the biggest complaint was that the choices for the first two courses before the main entrees got rather old and very repetitive. There was a serious need for more creative and wider options with this initial part of their GDR menus. Yes, we were on a twenty-day cruise and we did not expect a “totally new” menu for each of these different evenings. BUT, Oceania could do much better as to their menu offerings with those first two evening dining choices. 3. Lobster bisque?: In both the Polo speciality dining and main dining rooms, they offered what they called a “lobster bisque”. But, there was not much lobster taste. Sorry! It seemed more like just a general seafood soup with a darker color. Maybe you could call it “OK”, but I think that Oceania could and should aim to do better. After you have had good lobster bisque, having a weak “knock-off” is not nearly as enjoyable. 4. Wine on board?: On this cruise, we knew that wines and alcoholic drinks would be extra. We were prepared accordingly. BUT, on the ship, the total cost for a glass of wine was not exactly cheap, especially after the service fee of 18% was piled on top of the base price of $10-12. We brought on to the ship a couple of bottles of wine purchased prior to boarding and paid the $25 corkage fee to have it served in the dining room. That worked out OK. The staff was very good when we ordered a bottle, used about half of it on the first evening and then would finished the bottle the next night. Fortunately, we are not big drinkers and we made it all work out. If you are not carefully, however, your beer, wine and liquor tab could escalate up . . . and UP, quickly! You will have fun drinking in that manner, but do not be surprised by the bill when you get at the end of your cruise. As background, if you purchased a package for beer, wine and liquor beverages, it would run $40 per day per person for the basic quality level. To move up to the better or “Prestige” stuff, it costs $60 per day per person. With these packages, the gratuity is included. Given the number of busy port days and/or doing a couple of days off of the ship doing overnights, the “value” did not work for us. You had to buy these packages for every day of the cruise. You could not selectively pick it for just a few of the more sea-day focused dates on the schedule. 5. Excursion protocol?: There was confusion, especially as we were seeking to exit the ship at Haifa in order to do our private tour for the overnight in Jerusalem. The reception desk kept insisting that we could not depart in the morning until ALL of the ship tours had exited. Then, they tried to blame it on the Israel shore officials. That was not the case. The ship General Manager later confirmed that we were given incorrect information and that it delayed our departure from the ship in this highly-important port stop. 6. Room/bath sizing?: Our basic balcony room (even as a Concierge cabin) on this ship was a little smaller than what we have previously done with Silversea, Celebrity, etc. The balcony and large glass opening helped much to give a little better sense of “room” and space. During this 20-day cruise, we survived!!?? BUT, the room can get a little challenged at times, especially when two people are preparing in the evenings for dinner. The old joke in the shower is that you can put the liquid soap on the wall and then just rotated your body around. This bath is tight and the shower curtin set-up is not the best. Sorry to be blunt, but it is true. On this age of this R-class ship, larger cabin and baths were not viewed at the time of design and construction as a priority. Times have changed, but this is not a “fix” that be changed or done differently now. Fortunately, being on a smaller ship, you can escape fairly easily to certain more roomy public areas on the ship and have options to stretch out with some more or added comfort. Yes, we could have spent a decent amount more for a Penthouse Suite, etc. BUT, that was not affordable given our personal priority for doing shore excursion in a first-class, immersion manner. 7. Terrace Cafe being busy/crowded?: As mentioned earlier, we mainly used the Terrace on the ninth floor for breakfast and lunch. It was fairly fast and easy. But you did feel a little crowded during certain peak lunch and breakfast periods. This area and the set-up was a little narrow and it felt challenged/competitive at times. This was especially true if the weather/wind outside made setting on the back, open patio deck not possible. Some of the evening buffet offerings seemed to be creatively themed and interestingly planned. Several sounded interesting, but we did not have the time to try. Or, we just got very “comfortable” in using the Grand Dining Room and liking that option/service best? 8. Advertising/sales pitches?: It’s been worse (such as on the Princess ship going through the Panama Canal), but it is still frustrating to see too many sales advertising pitches stuffed into the “Currents” daily activities summary. And, the tables up in the main lobby for their “Special Sales” got a little tiring. Be forced to think about drink specials, jewelry sales, spa treatments, etc., are not my prime or secondary interest for a vacation/escape. Oceania was not, overall, too bad in this area. BUT, personally, I would like these “distractions” be dieted down to a big zero. A final wrap-up for additional tips and ideas will be posted next. Hope this is not too much information, but I wanted to be detailed and specific. THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio Sydney to NZ/Auckland Adventure, live/blog 2014 sampling for "down under” wonders. Exciting visuals with key highlights. On page 23, post #571, see a complete index for all of the pictures, postings. Now at 219,815 views. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139 As a refresher, here is a map from Oceania that illustrates our various port stops on this twenty day cruise on the Nautica.: (Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!) Here are four pages of the "CURRENTS" daily summary from our first full sailing day on the Oceania Nautica. A cover on the second day is also shown below. You will notice on the front, they have the next day's expected weather, plus a highlight for the next evening's entertainment program. Most days, the front focuses on the next port destination and its key history/highlights, etc. On the third page is a "plug" for the next evening's entertainment offering. On the fourth page is a summary on hours/opening for the next day, plus a highlight for the next day's drink special, plus a listing at the bottom of the page for the locations that day for each of the other five Oceania ships.:
  4. Below is part two of my various comments, reactions regarding Oceania and the Nautica. Hope these are of help. Happy to share more and/or answer any questions. Then, I will be offerings some of my suggestions and ideas for change/improvement. There is always room to make changes and do certain areas in a little better manner. THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio Barcelona/Med: June 2011, with stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Great visuals with key highlights, tips, etc. Live/blog now at 245,507 views. www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474 OCEANIA PLUSES, SURPRISES, POSITIVES, LOVES, TIPS, etc. (part two): 11. Elevators: Worked well!! There was a reasonable number available in both parts of the Nautica. No major challenges with long waits, floors not being marked well, etc. 12. Pool: Given the combination of busy port schedules and/or whether that it was not that hot during most of the cruise, we did not use this area that much. But, the pool and seat seemed good enough if that was your interest. It was always nice to walk through, above or around the pool area. That gives off a nice “vibe” for what cruise ship resorts are all about in offering. 13. Air travel arrangements: Our coach air arrangements were included with our cruise cost package. We also paid a little more to be able to do some adjustments in order to get the exact dates, airlines, timings, etc., that we desired. That worked well for us, even if it cost a little more. And, it was worth it to be able to tie in with American Airlines where we would get the added Frequent Flyer miles, plus pay to AA a little additional to get the extended leg room seats. We did not just take what was offered for air flights. You can and should do added time before and after your cruise’s timing, plus customize your flight to be fit your personal interests. 14. Horizons Lounge: For afternoon tea, especially on sea days, this was an excellent setting. What was not to like with the live music, including their string quartet, nice food and service, etc.? We watched the narrated and interesting passage through Suez Canal from this location. The string quartet also played each night in the great hall area that was enjoyable to sample as we pass through that part of the ship. 15. Passengers on-board: As expected, the largest group was from the United States, but there was a sizable number from China and Asia. We were surprised to see that wider diversity on this cruise. A few times, some in these larger groups from Asia got a little “excited” in enjoying themselves. That could be a little “distracting” in the main dining room, but we all adjusted accordingly. 16. Concierge cabin: Is it worth it? Maybe? Maybe not? Much depends on your budget flexibility, what you can afford, etc. One of the favorites that we gained was the three free bags of laundry. On a twenty-day cruise, that was very helpful!! The spa terrace on the R ships is available to concierge category passengers. We did not use this feature that much, but it was an option and is a nice area. Maybe with Concierge we had better, more experienced cabin staffing. Do not know if that is actually true, but we were super pleased with our two cabin stewards. 17. Weather/timing/fellow passengers: Great timing for this part of the world. Not too hot or excessively cool here by choosing to cruise at this time of the year in the Middle East. In the summers, it would be rather too, too warm for many of these countries. At this time of the year and for this long of a cruise, the passengers are older, mostly retired and few children were seen. Those demographics made us seem just like “middle-agers”!! Not older folks. Nice comparison? 18. Internet: It's a ship at sea. It's never going to be super fast and perfect like at home or work as if with true, high-speed wiring. BUT, overall, things worked reasonably well for my personal needs. I did much on the web, including for posting the live/blog, surfing news stories and doing many picture up-loadings. Yes, for early mornings and some later evenings, the Internet might work a little better. At most locations around on the ship, the wireless seemed to work fairly well. A couple of times, there was a challenge logging on as I had not previously logged out properly. That was easy to solve. As a part of our OLife package, we had unlimited web access, but we did not need or desire to pay more for being able to do the higher-speed video connections. With this regular Internet on the ship, you cannot do streaming video. It would be nice to have that higher level of access, but it is not worth if, for us, to pay that extra up-charge. As this was the college football season when on this sailing, we were able to follow along via ESPN and a couple of different Ohio newspaper to get nearly real-time updates for key games, including Ohio State vs. Michigan and the Big Ten Championship. Our team won both!! That made it much more fun for following along!! 19. Other Angles/Views: From our very experienced travel agent, she had not previously sailed with Oceania. She just completed in the past month being on the Oceania with a sister ship to our Nautica in the South Pacific. She sailed on the Regatta, also an R-class cruise ship, that was built in 1998. Among her first impressions and summary likes/comments: “Fresh berries and freshly-squeezed orange juice daily. All the lobster you can eat in many different recipes including the best lobster mac and cheese. Ship-made sorbet and ice cream daily, about 10 different flavors including macadamia, rocky road and pear tart. All the Wagu and Angus beef you want, from hamburgs to filet mignon and beef Wellington. All the premium bottled waters you can drink, including Perrier and San Pelligrino. Milk shakes and malts made to order, frothy and just like the old days in a soda fountain. Drinks and wine, however, are somewhat expensive! A special menu only for selecting Balsamic vinegars and Italian olive oils. A few more clues: Takes 13 laps to walk a mile. Their ‘older’ ships are classics in their time, with furnishings that antiquers love (fireplaces and cushy chairs, painted recessed ceilings and gilt framed paintings on the walls, oriental-style carpets, etc.) are being replaced with silver and aqua tones, lighter and brighter interiors.” From the closing staff recognition program, this first picture shows the very capable General Manager speaking with the Cruise Director at his immediate left, plus a couple of the performers, etc. The second visual shows more of the crew with the CD talking. Well-deserved recognition for the hard-working staff!!: (Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!) Here is view of the pool from the upper level vantage point. Nice and sunny this day, but this area was not too crowded.: Here are a few additional Nautica visuals. First, in our room, I liked these soaps and other items with the great Italian-brand connection. Not sure if all rooms had this brand. We did as being in a Concierge cabin. Second is the wonderful Terrance outdoor dining area that we super loved for many nice breakfasts and lunches!! Yes, you can see a couple children in that one picture.: Here is a little sample of the Waves menu options offered during our Nautica sailing. Tasted good in a nice setting. But, it could get a little crowded and confused at times there during busy sea days. Second is an example that hand sanitation was pushed and justifiably encouraged for us while on the Nautica.:
  5. As noted earlier, I much appreciate the wide range of great comments and excellent earlier follow-ups about Oceania and the Nautica. Very helpful to be prepared for this trip and to maximize the experience during this cruise. Some might have noticed, others could have missed it, but I did a detailed live/blog that is connected below. To "complete the loop", I thought I would I also share here the many details, opinions, background and insights as to the various pro/con factors we experienced in doing our first sailing with Oceania. Plus, just a few pictures below and later. Below starts part one of my detailed comments as relates to Oceania, etc. Hope these items are of help. More to come!! Plus, some suggestions and areas for improvement. Overall, YES, we enjoyed Oceania and the Nautica. We would sail with them again, if it was the right itinerary, good timing and value, etc. THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio OCEANIA PLUSES, SURPRISES, POSITIVES, LOVES, TIPS, etc. (part one): 1. Oceania staff: After doing eleven different cruises on six different lines, we expected the staff with Oceania to be good or better. BUT, our actual experiences on this 20-day Oceania Nautica sailing were much, much above any reasonable or normal expectations. For our two cabin staff members and in the dining areas, the crew did not just seem or merely “act happy”. But, they were genuinely so positive and helpful that it added up to be a major plus on this first sailing with Oceania. The Captain during a Q&A session discussed their staff training, promotions from within policy and encouragements for the crew to aspire to the highest levels of service. It’s true!! Not just some company hype, spin and/or BS. Earlier on our live/blog, I posted a number of pictures of the excellent staff we encountered. It was a big PLUS with the great staff that made our trip so much more enjoyable. Most all of them were very experienced, helpful and so totally hard-working!! 2. Ship itinerary: In trying Oceania for the first time, the main attraction was this great Athens to Dubai schedule that included two-day port stops in both Israel and Egypt. Plus, this schedule offered so many very good and interesting other locations and potentials for those of us who enjoy history, culture, scenic locations, food, architecture, etc. All worked well!! With a smaller ship like the Nautica, they can visit some different and unique places in the world. Cannot say enough about this long, but great schedule for us to be able to do our first visit in some of the world’s best and most special locations. AND, we accomplished these objectives all in one cruise, plus the opportunity to have added time prior in Greece and post-cruise to explore the fast-evolving United Arab Emirates. 3. Favorite “hide-away” location/Library: For my interests, I really loved the library on the 10th floor of the Nautica. It has very comfortable seating, offers a classic styling/setting, was close to our elevator bank and was never very busy or crowded. This was especially great for me early in the mornings to allow my wife to sleep a little later and give me time to review pictures, do live/blog postings, etc. Several times while there, the ship General Manager walked through and I was able to ask him some questions, gain added information, share my comments, etc. While I did not use the library for getting specific books, it seemed to have a fairly large and varied collection. As others have mentioned, get there early for books to better satisfy your personal interests before their collection gets too picked over. 4. Speciality dining: Which one was best? Toscana and Polo are both so fabulous with their classy settings, wide-ranging menus and nice staffing. However, these specialty restaurants did not change their menus during our 20-day cruise. Did that cause a problem? No! Why? Each of these two menus are so big and the options are many!! Clearly these locations need advanced reservations. We were fortunate that our traveling companions, Amy and Milt, had a Penthouse Suite and those reservations can be made 75 days prior to sailing. We made three reservations at each location stretched out over our long cruise. Only one of the available reservation was later in the evening than when we desired. Later on the ship, we were able to get that time adjusted and all worked very well. 5. Dining quality/times: YES, the food with Oceania is very good, but it, however, can be challenging to avoid gaining too much “width” while on the ship. Eating too much is another question for another day. All, however, was not “perfect”, if that is possible with Oceania food. I have some suggestions to be made in the next posting if the CEO of Oceania called and asked for my detailed ideas as to their menu options on a long cruise. Nothing major. Just sharing that food over a twenty-day cruise can be a little bit of a complex topic. Among the “stars” are their breads and baked goods. In the main dining room, having the dining timing flexibility is a major, very important plus for us. Hate it on some ships that require you to fit and adjust to “their schedule” for doing either a fixed early OR late seating time. We generally on this Nautica cruise dined in a location near the back of the ship in the MDR and had the same, excellent staff members serving us each time. Worked so well!! Over the 20 days, we dined in the MDR about 12 times. Two of the evenings, we were off of the ship doing overnights in Jerusalem and Luxor/Egypt. The other six times in the evenings, we were not in the MDR because of using the speciality dining venues. We did not do any evening dining in the Terrace buffet area. In the buffet, they offered some interesting special nights, but we were very happy with the main dining area and/or enjoyed being in the speciality areas. Plus, after using the buffet for most breakfasts and lunches, it was good have more variety of location in the evening. 6. Terrace dining: For most breakfasts or lunches, we headed to the Terrace dining area. Worked very well. At times, however the Terrace would get fairly crowded and super busy. But we tried to adjust accordingly. Ideally, there would be more room there in the Terrace. While using the Terrace, our super favorite was to enjoy our meals while out on the patio. Super location and views. And, it got us away from the “congestion” in the main parts of Terrace interiors. Great fun, fresh air and sights being out there on this open-air area. There was decent variety through this buffet, but at times, I would have desired a little more for “creative options” of with the various desserts. But, we did not starve or go hungry. 7. Entertainment: Overall, most do not rate Oceania that high for entertainment. That’s understandable given that this is a smaller ship and you cannot economically support doing big production shows as done on ship with three to five thousand passengers. But, overall, there was a decent range of evening programs/options and I enjoyed, mostly, these various offerings. The five young singers/dancers had good spirit and energy, plus reasonable talents. The Cruise Director, as I had mentioned earlier on the live/blog, did a very good job, was very active around the ship, etc. Liked her fun Aussie style, energy, talent and activities. 8. Ship speakers?: As detailed earlier on this live/blog, the two ship speakers on the ship for this type of long journey worked very well. Both were very approachable, interesting, skilled, knowledgable, etc. They had presentation with nice visuals and video clips that aided so much in understanding these historic and significant areas that we were visiting. On this cruise, these two speakers were major pluses!! 9. Surprise location/stop?: Petra/Jordan was our biggest surprise location/stop. We knew in advance that Jerusalem and Egypt/Luxor would be super major and impressive. They were!! And, much more!!! But in Jordan, we were blown away to be riding on the “Silk Road” or King’s Highway in order to reach Petra. Yes, I mean that “Silk Road” known as so significant in ancient history of connecting the East and the West. Plus, then in Jordan to do Wadi Rum, etc., added to the amazement for this exotic region. 10. Great, Skilled Captain: Our Nautica Captain was very impressive, especially in hearing when he was doing a wide-ranging and interesting Q&A (question and answer) session for us as passenger during our sailing down the Red Sea. Also, running into him and talking with him during our overnight in Dubai was fascinating as he was coming back from doing a bike ride during this final stop. I felt very comfortable that this Captain was a strong, capable leader who communicated well and understood the passenger needs/interests. For latest live/blog, see “Holy Lands, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Dubai, Greece, etc.”, with many visuals, details and ideas for the historic and scenic Middle East. Connect at: www.boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2607054-livenautica-greece-holy-lands-egypt-dubai-terrypix’s/ In Greece, we started with a day at Delphi, where the Oracle was consulted about important decisions from throughout the ancient classical world.: (Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!) From Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection. here is one interior view. Second is a procession along the historic Via Dolorosa. Third is my connecting at the Western/Wailing Wall in the most holy site for the Jewish faith.: In Luxor’s Valley of the Kings, we explored the tombs of Egypt rulers from 3300 years ago plus Karnak's night glories, statutes and columns.: In front of Petra’s Treasury in Jordan, we found this cute camel as a "co-star". Feeling the spirit of Indian Jones here!: We finished with the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and the sandy beaches of Dubai having its unique modern architecture in the background.:
  6. Excellent that you like that kind of weather. After our Midwest winter, I much prefer sunshine and warm (but not hot) temperatures as we are experiencing right now. Am out on our screened porch with the ravine, wooded views, listening to the birds, seeing Spring greenery coming out, etc. Nice to have your Butler bringing nice treats. Sounds like great fun and very enjoyable. Here at home, I've got to be my own Butler to go fetch the "goodies". THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio
  7. Agree 100% as to our hopes and plans to explore in and around Saint Lazaria Island. As you properly note, being on a smaller boat allows more flexibility to get closer to the "action". But, much during our time in Alaska, will depend on the weather!! We'll hope for the best. In July 2010, when at the top of Norway and Europe above the Arctic Circle during a Silversea Silver Cloud trip as detailed/linked below, we did a similar type of smaller craft that went out to an incredible "bird island" that was such an amazing experience. There, in Norway, we saw tens of thousands of puffins!! Plus, so much more. It was totally amazing!!! My notes/summary: Saint Lazaria Island is a nesting bird colony located twenty miles west of Sitka and a part of Alaska’s Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Its direct exposure to the Pacific Ocean makes it ideal for birds to inhabit. Most likely the island is remnants of an old and eroded volcano. This would make St. Lazaria an older volcanic cousin to the adjacent Mount Edgecumbe (3,201 feet in height) on Kruzof Island. Saint Lazaria itself is low with broken terrain due to its volcanic origins. Its highest point is 160 feet above sea level. There are many cliffs that can get up to 90 feet tall and shoot strait into the ocean as well as sea-level caves that can be explored on a calm day by thrill-seeking individuals in small craft. Just about all the wildlife on St. Lazaria is birds. On the island, per Wikipedia, there are: 250,000 breeding pairs of fork-tailed storm-petrels and Leach's storm-petrels. 4-5,000 common and thick-billed murres. 1,500-2,000 breeding pairs of tufted puffins. 1,000 breeding pairs of rhinoceros auklets. Other less populous species include: pigeon guillemots, glaucous-winged gulls, ancient murrelets, Cassin's auklets, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and black oystercatchers. In nesting areas on the island, the bird density can reach 7000 birds per acre. The only trees on the island are Sitka Spruce which are located at the highest points of elevation. Saint Lazaria Island is just south of the much larger Kruzof Island, named after a Russian Admiral and a size of a 23 miles by eight miles Glad to know you will be traveling along "vicariously" with us during this adventure. I plan to do a live/blog as we travel during this upcoming late July trip. THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise from Copenhagen, July 2010, to the top of Europe. Wonderful scenic visuals with key tips. Live/blog at 234,818 views. www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923
  8. Too bad, Spins/Candy, about the weather challenges. Hope these things and conditions improve, etc. Appreciate the added details as to the "ship vibe". Yes, the kids will enjoy the Easter Bunny! Keep up the nice postings with the many interesting visuals, etc. THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio Lisbon, NWSpain, Bordeaux/Brittany: Live/blog, June 2017 from Portugal to France along scenic Atlantic Coast. Now at 28,041 views. Many interesting pictures, details for history, food, culture, etc.: www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2511358
  9. YES!!! On Tuesday, July 30, at 9:30 am, we will be going out with Captain Paul Davis of Gallant Adventures for three hours exploring these nearby scenic areas, looking for wildlife, birds, nature, coastal sites, etc., etc. Appreciate so much the various visuals and details from JohnGinPBG as to what you experienced during your excursion with Captain Paul. Great sharing by JohnGinPBG. Our excitement level is rising. Higher and higher!! We'll hope for good weather and positive luck to maximize our sights on that day near Sitka. THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio Lisbon, NWSpain, Bordeaux/Brittany: Live/blog, June 2017 from Portugal to France along scenic Atlantic Coast. Now at 28,041 views. Many interesting pictures, details for history, food, culture, etc.: www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2511358
  10. For the name of our lecturer, here is the email address for the Special Services folks at Silversea that I contacted: specialservices@silversea.com I wrote them earlier this month about the need for making sure that I would have distilled water for my CPAP machine, plus an electric plug-in. Also, wanted to know the know the name of our guest speaker for our July 25 Silver Muse cruise from Vancouver up to Alaska. Wrote them in the morning and heard back promptly later in the afternoon. Quick and responsive!!! Our skilled Travel Agent asked a contact at SS for the name of our Cruise Director on this sailing and if there would be a formal night on this seven-night cruise. Not all requests for a certain, specific beers or liquors can be satisfied. BUT, ask!! If possible, Silversea has been good in trying to set-up for your requests, within reasonable potentials and possibilities. Appreciate from Stumblefoot saying: "All 7-day Alaska voyages are formal night optional, meaning you will have a formal night, but are not required to dress accordingly in the normal formal venues. Odd, yes, I know." This added background and perspective is very helpful. For this likely "formal night optional", we should be in the La Terazza dining venue. Will have a dark blue sport coat along, but not planning to bring a dark suit, tie, etc. Good luck to pasca in making your reservations. THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio For latest live/blog, see “Holy Lands, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Dubai, Greece, etc.”, with many visuals, details and ideas for the historic and scenic Middle East. Connect at: www.boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2607054-livenautica-greece-holy-lands-egypt-dubai-terrypix’s/
  11. Here is the email address for the Special Services folks at Silversea: specialservices@silversea.com I wrote them earlier this month about the need for making sure that I would have distilled water for my CPAP machine, plus an electric plug-in. Also, wanted to know the know of our guest speaker for our July 25 Silver Muse cruise from Vancouver up to Alaska. Wrote them in the morning and heard back promptly later in the afternoon. Quick and responsive!!! Agree that requests for a certain, specific Aussie beer and some specialized items might not be as easy, quick and simple. BUT, ask!! If possible, Silversea has been good in trying to set-up for your requests, within reasonable potentials and possibilities. THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio For latest live/blog, see “Holy Lands, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Dubai, Greece, etc.”, with many visuals, details and ideas for the historic and scenic Middle East. Connect at: www.boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2607054-livenautica-greece-holy-lands-egypt-dubai-terrypix’s/
  12. Appreciate these great comments, background and follow-ups from syesmar, catl331 and Moriah. Very helpful and interesting, especially with the visual. Yes, this glacier looks very, very BIG compared to this large ship, etc. Keep it coming. Excellent sharing!! THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio Sydney to NZ/Auckland Adventure, live/blog 2014 sampling for "down under” wonders. Exciting visuals with key highlights. On page 23, post #571, see a complete index for all of the pictures, postings. Now at 219,785 views. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139
  13. Appreciate, travelberlin, these great comments and this nice follow-up. Our transfer from the Reverie Saigon to the river boat boarding was handle through the Avalon staff. From when we landed in Bangkok at the start of our adventure to when we finished in Danang, all of these "details", including transfers, were all a part of our package deal/arrangements. That made logistics much easier and very simple. I am sure you could easily get a cab from the hotel to your ship. Taxi's are fairly inexpensive in Vietnam. Any other questions or info needs? From the Rough Guides in the past week, they had this headline: “Vietnam or Thailand – which one should you visit first?” with these highlights: “Vietnam and Thailand are likely to feature on your hit list. Both destinations offer variety of pleasures, from fabulous coastlines with idyllic islands to mountainous regions and breathtaking natural wonders. Thai food has all the classics known the world over, like pad Thai or massaman curry, and is heavy on the coconut milk and shrimp paste. But Vietnamese cuisine is gaining in popularity too, thanks to its simplicity and healthy nature – try bánh mì (sandwiches) filled with raw vegetables and sweet minced pork, or enjoy a comforting pho (rice noodle broth). Both Thailand and Vietnam have fascinating culture, but the Thailand’s temples win out for their sheer splendour. Bangkok’s Grand Palace is a striking introduction to Buddhism for any first-time visitor. If getting outdoors is your bag, head to Vietnam. This country’s natural beauty is astounding, from the astonishing karst rock formations of Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long.” Full story at: https://www.roughguides.com/article/vietnam-or-thailand-which-one-should-you-visit-first/ THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio AFRICA?!!?: Fun, interesting visuals, plus travel details from this early 2016 live/blog. At 44,957 views. Featuring Cape Town, South Africa’s coast, Mozambique, Victoria Falls/Zambia and Botswana's famed Okavango Delta. www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2310337
  14. YES!!! Aspiring that my speculation/hope works out correctly. Will count on Unibok to "handle" these "arrangements" during your earlier sailing. Just explain to the SS Captain and others on the ship that we would love to do such an "adventure" from the Silver Muse in late July while in this super scenic Hubbard Glacier location. Am I assuming correctly that the zodiac craft on the Silver Muse will look somewhat like the one shown below that we super enjoyed In June 2017 while doing our Silver Spirit sailing from Lisbon to Rouen. That zodiac was run by a local operator in Guernsey and was super fast, fun and exciting. THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio Lisbon, NWSpain, Bordeaux/Brittany: Live/blog, June 2017 from Portugal to France along scenic Atlantic Coast. Now at 28,009 views. Many interesting pictures, details for history, food, culture, etc.: www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2511358 Here was a zodiac craft we super enjoyed while doing a Silversea excursion in June 2017 while visiting the island of Guernsey.: (Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!)
  15. Appreciate the interesting details and background from this thread. We are getting ready to do our first Alaska cruise in late July from Vancouver to Steward. Our seven-day cruise includes time at Hubbard Glacier. It sounds like BOTH are good options, but that with our timing, there will be much to see and experience in and around Hubbard. Any other key tips, insights, suggestions, etc., in order to maximize the sights and photography opportunities at Hubbard? Is my understanding correct that Hubbard is the largest tidewater glacier in North America and with a calving front that is more than six miles wide? Plus, that iIts ice cliffs are about 400’ tall? And, that it is growing and nicknamed the "galloping glacier"? Other comments and insights for preparing to visit Hubbard from 8 am to noon on August 1, 2019? THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio For latest live/blog, see “Holy Lands, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Dubai, Greece, etc.”, with many visuals, details and ideas for the historic and scenic Middle East. Connect at: www.boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2607054-livenautica-greece-holy-lands-egypt-dubai-terrypix’s/
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