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About jpalbny

  • Rank
    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Albany, NY
  • Interests
    Adventure travel, wine, food
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Silversea, Oceania, Uniworld
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Wherever I am going next!
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:
    http://jpalbny.smugmug.com, https://www.blogger.com/profile/01909358205846920309

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  1. Oh, darn. Was looking forward to pics from Nanortolik. Have been there twice on cruise stops. One time we walked all around the mountain behind town, looking for the trail up to the top, but never found it. I agree though, it didn't look too inviting today. What's next for you?
  2. Rich, not at all. No rant detected. Didn't know that Barbara is GF but that's pretty important not to miss. I have a relatively trivial issue in that I'm allergic to kiwis (the fruit, not the people 🇳🇿). I got a letter in the suite at embarkation, asking me to come to the MDR to discuss my "special diet" with the Maitre d' that afternoon. Gilbert looked me up and we had a laugh..."Just avoid the Kiwi fruit at the buffet," he said. But I don't want to trivialize food allergies, so they definitely need to be more careful. Rachel, I think the LCD might be lower on Cloud. Just a hunch. It may also be itinerary-driven. I remember on our 2013 Panama Canal expedition, people were totally unprepared for easy zodiac rides in calm conditions. Panama Canal is apparently code-speak for easy cruising.
  3. Rachel, I do think you've hit upon a limitation of Silver Cloud which is less of an issue with Explorer. Pretty much everyone knows that Explorer is an expedition ship. Most (but not all) who don't want that will stay away. It's still less obvious with Silver Cloud, IMO. It's more "expedition light" and may attract a slightly different demographic, so that the average "ability" of an Explorer passenger probably is better than that of a Cloud passenger. Also, just because you and I would feel comfortable jumping on a bobbing zodiac, the crew can't really decide who can and can't do it. I suspect that they simply have to play to the lowest common denominator, and if they determine that the least able bodied passengers can't do it safely, then they shouldn't offer the landing. In other words - they can't just offer the landing to some, and tell other passengers that they can't do it. So it's an impossible situation - cancel and annoy those of us who want to try anyway, or offer it and have someone potentially get hurt. I also think that it is less of an issue to get 130 pax on/off when weather is potentially deteriorating, vs. getting 240 on/off in a similar situation. If stuff hits the fan it takes a lot longer to get twice as many pax back safely. Your Plan B scenarios make a lot of sense. And I agree that some of them seem very feasible. I agree that Stykkisholmur didn't seem all that bad and we were also very disappointed to miss that stop. We'd been looking forward to revisiting that area since we were last there. It sounds like Dom did try to arrange some alternative scenarios, but perhaps on too-short notice. He is relatively new in the Expedition Lead role, I believe? But te bottom line is, that storm was just nasty. The weather was awful - by far the worse we've seen in those parts. It was nicer in January! Oh well. Hopefully South Georgia will be better!
  4. Being away for 10 days led to lots of ripe tomatoes upon our return. Surprisingly, very few overripe ones! I have two varieties of heirloom tomatoes and three cherry tomato vines, also heirloom varieties. They are all doing well. We are catching up with the surplus. Today's lunch-time snack. The basil is from the garden too. Heavenly. The Icelandic gin and tonic is an odd pairing, but it seems to work. 😂 Happy rest of the weekend all!
  5. The parkas are very warm (to us). We would wear a long-sleeved T-shirt underneath, and maybe one other thin layer (thin sweater, or I'd often wear an Eddie Bauer synthetic button-down shirt as my other layer. I can't remember the exact name of the shirt but it's the nylon/poly shirt which dries quickly. That was warm enough for pretty much anything we encountered. For example, when we docked in Husavik, it was about 40 degrees and windy, with horizontal rain. We bundled up like that and walked into town, about 15 minutes at a moderate pace. We were a little sweaty underneath all of that stuff when we arrived. The parka has a shell and a removable liner. The shell is nicely water-resistant; during that walk we didn't get wet at all. With the liner removed, either component can be used as a lighter jacket. Really a nice design. Looking forward to getting many years out of it as a winter coat up here in the Northeast. *** Some interesting talk here about service and food. It is amazing how subjective it is. Chris and I thought the food was pretty good. There was only one dish I wasn't pleased with, and that was the overcooked (by my standards) lamb in La Dame. It was still tasty so I didn't complain, but it wasn''t perfect. The rib eye steaks on the grill were delicious. Agree their burger is so-so but it's a frozen preformed patty so it is what it is. Their "sizzling jalapeno steak" special that they had on day one was superb. La Terazza lunch buffets never failed to please; we ate there every day. Their pizza is really delicious. We make our own pizzas at home and they really do it right. LT for dinner is an interesting contrast. They have a ton of delicious appetizers and pasta dishes, but I find the main course offerings to be fairly limited. I did not try the duck ragu this time after I was disappointed in it a few years ago. That time, they ground the meat and disn't braise it for hours like they should have. I have a recipe at home that tastes better. The MDR is good and I think they've expanded the menus. There are definitely a lot more options than there ever were on Silver Explorer, and more than I remember from last year on Silver Wind. Which reminds me, I have to scan in the menus at some point. But they had an always-available portion with about 5 appetizers and 5 entrees, then a few items that changed every night, and a four-course suggestion which changed every night. And you could mix&match from among all of it. So, we thought the food was pretty good to excellent at times. I will say that the wine selection seemed a bit limited, with comparatively few different wines making the rounds during the 9 days. On past cruises it was rare to get a repeat wine from night to night unless you asked for it. While we did like all of the selections, I sensed less variety than in the past. (And yes, I know we could have asked for something different if we'd have wanted). Question for my fellow cruisers - who was the rude server in MDR? Never encountered her, but we only ate there on 4 nights so we certainly could have (luckily, it seems) missed out. Agree that we had some which were not great, but plenty were, and I didn't notice a real drop-off from past cruises. Perhaps that's because Dara, Richard, and Myhala always kept our wine glasses so full, that we didn't mind waiting for food! I wonder if the decline in MDR service is due to the reconfiguration? In the "old days" they had small serving stations all over the room, including several in the middle of the action. So when the servers were at their stations, they could still keep a close eye on all of the tables that they were serving, and would notice things very quickly. Now, there seem to be only four stations, one in each far corner, and they have high glass walls around them. So the servers (IMO) seem isolated from their tables when they're in those stations, preparing plates, etc. Just a thought. We are still really excited about the January cruise, and nothing that we experienced here has changed our mind. Less than 5 months to go!!!
  6. Right, but you can sign in on your phone using his credentials, at least temporarily, when you need to grab an authentication code on your phone. True, it's a pain, but it's a workaround. It would temporarily disconnect him while you logged in on your phone, but then he could log in again when you're done and disconnect you. Also, I remember back in the days when I had Verizon, I could access my text messages through their website, once I'd logged in to my account. That would be a workaround for you , so you could use a laptop to log into a 2FA website, and get the text message code on that same laptop, while only using one WiFi connection. I haven't tried that with T-Mobile yet - haven't needed to as I use my phone for everything. Lastly, you can sometimes modify the 2FA requirements so that your code is sent via e-mail instead of via cell phone SMS. Even easier, as you can get the e-mail on the same laptop, and do it all with one connection. Not all 2FA sites may offer that option, but for those which do, could be another workaround. Thanks for posting. I'm sure the 2FA requirement is something that people don't always think about until they're stuck in the middle of the Baltic. 🙂
  7. Glacially slow! OK for email etc. Pathetic for uploading pictures. It took me about an hour to post more than a few pics on CC for our report on the previous segment. Rich did well to post so many on this one so far!
  8. Wow! Your weather is simply awesome. And the pictures too. Guess we were the "Jonahs" on the last cruise. Once we disembarked, the weather got nicer for you. Fingers crossed that it continues for you.
  9. Wow, that's some news to wake up to. Sorry to read everyone's bad fortune from yesterday. DW, I am glad that it was not worse for OH and you. Hopefully the would-be thieves will be apprehended before anyone is seriously hurt. M, was the prospective buyer "marking his territory" so to speak? That's pretty crass behaviour. I'm with Stumbles; when did we become such an unrefined and impolite society?
  10. We love Explorer. And Antarctica. You are going to have a great time! Will be interesting to see if we love it on the Cloud as much. After 9 days on Cloud in Iceland, I am confident that we will. Though there are some subtle differences between Explorer and the larger Cloud. The expedition crew is twice as big so we didn't get to know all of them, like we did on Explorer. It was odd to have trivia, and both a pianist and a keyboard guy on board. Fun, but odd. And it's a little weird to have all these great restaurants on an expedition ship. It didn't seem real to us to be in La Dame during an expedition, after so much time on Explorer. The Explorer has a rustic vibe that marries well with expedition cruising. It may take us a few more times to get used to Cloud in that role. But we will just have to make that sacrifice! Just bought RT tickets to Santiago for January, so it just got real!
  11. We're not all living in the Wild West, Stumbles... 🤣 It sure seems that way! 😠 How was work today, BTW? I think I managed OK. We'll see if anything is out of place tomorrow.
  12. Great job DW! Cool camera equipment and fantastic scenery too. Looked like a nice excursion. Love Hot Rocks. Just ate there on Tuesday and I miss it already. That apple cinnamon rose dessert is tasty. And the surf & turf. Back to bread and water for now, I'm afraid. Need to shed a few pounds before the next one.
  13. Nope, just a "random" selection for extra screening. TSA is mum about why they "select" those that they do. Chris has been "randomly" chosen a bunch of times and many were not on cruise trips.
  14. Have a great time, Rich and Barbara! We flew over Greenland yesterday on our way home and got some nice views out the right hand window. I posted them on our thread from the last journey. There were not too many clouds until we got beyond Greenland. Hope they stay there, or blow over quickly.
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