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About jamieandsam

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Edmonds, WA (Seattle area)
  • Interests
    travel, photography, beaches, reading
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Galapagos Islands
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  1. I've done a lot of cruises, mainly in the Caribbean, a little South America, and the Mediterranean. In January will be traveling on Regent Seven Seas cruise that includes New Zealand, Australia, and many Asian countries. Regent Seven Seas is arranging for the necessary visas although there aren't many. I was just reading in some forums that in many Asian countries you have to go through immigration when you arrive, with long lines and long delays for getting on shore. I've never had to go through immigration in a cruise port before (even in Cuba), so this surprises me. Is this the norm? Is it only for Asia? If the ship has arranged for the visas, will that reduce issues? Any feedback or experiences greatly appreciated. Jamie
  2. Thanks for this feedback, it’s very helpful.
  3. Will be booking shore excursions soon for Regent Seven Seas Voyager that stops in Ho Chi Minh City. There are 2 different Mekong Delta excursions and I'm not sure which to take. I'm pasting descriptions below. Feedback greatly appreciated. The first tour is included at no cost - the 2nd tour has a cost of $149. Looking at maps, it seems to me that the first tour might not have much time on the actual river but I'm not sure. Any advice greatly appreciated. Thanks, Jamie Tour 1, no cost, 7 hours: Departing the pier, drive to the delta port of My Tho where the exploration on the Mekong River begins. One of the great rivers of the world, the Mekong begins in the Tibetan Plateau and tumbles 2,795 miles to the Mekong Delta and the South China Sea. In Vietnam, the river divides itself into dozens of tributaries and becomes the Cuu Long or Nine Dragons that fan out into a rich delta, covered with green rice paddies and orchards of coconuts, mangos, pineapples and bananas. Upon arrival in the provincial town of My Tho, visit the 150-year-old Vinh Trang Pagoda, with its interesting combination of Asian and European architecture. Continue your drive to the Mekong river bank. Upon arrival, board a boat to begin your trip down the Mekong River. Pass fruit orchards, stilt houses, fish and shrimp farms, small canals and all manner of boats. Pause at Thoi Son Island, with its tile-roofed houses and fruit trees bearing plums, mangoes, and lychee-like longans. Walk around the village and stop to taste the local fruits and honey tea and enjoy some local folk music. You’ll stop for lunch at a local restaurant where you have a chance to taste local dishes such as elephant ear fish, spring rolls, rice balls, grilled pork and steamed shrimp. After the lunch, continue to walk into the village for a sampan ride within a small canal bordered by fruit trees, villages. Most sampans are made of wood and are used to carry fruits and people in small canals. Afterwards, cruise back to My Tho, where you'll re-board your coach for the return drive to the ship. Tour 2, $149, 8 hours (the extra time is driving time): Explore everyday life on the Mekong Delta during this picturesque visit to Cai Be, and a boat ride on the Mekong River. Depart the pier in Ho Chi Minh City for the 2-hour drive to Cai Be. Along the way, you will pass through miles of flat rice fields, small villages and highways bustling with bicycles and oxcarts riding to and from the market. You will have numerous photo opportunities to capture life in the country, including rice threshing and milling, vegetables drying on the flat, hot roadside and children caring for their water buffalo. Upon arrival at Cai Be, located in the heart of the Mekong Delta, you will see the century-old floating market, where people living along the canals exchange goods from their boats and display their wares on long bamboo poles protruding from the boat. Across the way is a French-built church that provides a scenic background for more photo opportunities. Next, you will embark a private boat for the highlight of the day: a chance to discover the day-to-day life of the friendly locals living along the Mekong River. Your trip will take you through a maze of canals, past many boats, and on to one of the many islands in the Delta to visit the traditional homes of fruit farmers and fishermen. You will stroll in a mandarin orchard, and visit an ancient teakwood house located within the orchard. You will be treated warmly by locals offering tea and garden fruits, then see where they make coconut candies and rice paper. After sampling some local fare, you will take the boat back to town, and rejoin your coach for the 2-hour return drive to the pier and ship.
  4. I will have 2 days where we are docked at Laem Chabang in Thailand, which is a good 2 hour drive to Bangkok. I've been to Bangkok before (and loved it), but for at least one of the 2 days would prefer to do something closer to the cruise port. Not finding a lot from googling or ships's shore excursions. Any suggestions or experiences? Jamie traveling on Regent Seven Seas Auckland to Hong Kong Jan 2020
  5. Has anyone done the shore excursion to Cape Kidnappers? Is it worth it? Can you describe the experience please. Thanks. Jamie traveling on Regent Seven Seas Auckland-Hong Kong Jan 2020
  6. jamieandsam

    Komodo Island

    Saw this article yesterday. https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/indonesia-closing-island-protecting-endangered-komodo-dragons I'm wondering if the cruise lines will be affected by this as the only way to visit Komodo Island when you're ship passenger is on an organized tour. Komodo Island is one of the ports I'm most looking forward to on my Regent Seven Seas cruise in 2020. Jamie
  7. Thanks everyone. Decision made, doing the Voyager in January, Auckland to Hong Kong. Jamie
  8. I'm debating about a cruise on the Navigator or the Voyager for Jan. 2020. I'm wondering what your experience has been with solo travelers on Regent. Are there many? Are non-solo travelers welcoming to the solos? Thanks, Jamie
  9. I've been following a number of the Oceania boards and the reviews seem to lean negative. Old ships, cancelled ports, decreased quality. I'm booked on the Insignia in 2020 but am considering switching to the Nautica instead for the itinerary. Insignia is being refurbished this year but Nautica won't be until after I would cruise in 2020. I'd love to hear people's thoughts on the ships, and particularly some positives as I've read a lot of negatives already.
  10. I'm considering a 2020 trip on the Orion from Sydney to Tokyo. If you've been to Australia or Asia with Viking would love to know your experiences with the following questions: --How far the ports typically from the cities? For example, I'm pretty sure in Bangkok, it's an hour or 2 from port to Bangkok. --How are the included shore excursions? Are they mainly just overviews? If you paid for excursions, what were the prices like? --Are there many overland tours available? --What does "privileged access" mean on a shore excursion? --If you're not in the suites category where you can book excursions for in advance, are you still able to get excursions or are they typically sold out? Thanks, Jamie
  11. I am on the 2020 RTW. There are 2 China overland tours that really excite me, Hometown of the Giant Panda (which is Xiamen to Shanghai) and Ancient Capitals of China (Shanghai to Beijing). Which would you recommend, or would I be crazy to do both back to back?
  12. I'm trying to decide which ship to do world cruise in 2020. I'm leaning toward Oceania Insignia 162 days SF-SF or Holland America Amsterdam 128 days Ft. Lauderdale to Ft. Lauderdale. Am open to others if cost is not prohibitive. If you have any experience with world cruises, I'd love your answers to these questions. 1. HAL is much less expensive than Oceania but Oceania has more inclusions such as pre-paid gratuities, unlimited wi-fi and laundry, and cabin credits/shore excursions. Does anyone have experience on HAL that could give me an idea of what laundry and wi-fi for 4 months would run? 2. HAL is the only trip that includes Antarctica but there's no going ashore, just 4 days of sailing and seeing the views. What are those days really like? Does it get boring after day 1? Is the water rough in both the crossing and in Antarctica? 3. I hear the shore excursions on Oceania leave a lot to be desired. How are the excursions on HAL? 4. I've heard the showers on Oceania are tiny. Is that the case? How are the showers on HAL? 5. I really like the Crystal Serenity trip but don't like dressing up that much. And I'll be traveling solo. Do you think I'd fit in? (I'll be 56/57.) 6. I love Viking's world cruise but that cost is ridiculously high. Is it worth it? Any other feedback, thoughts, suggestions? Thanks, Jamie
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