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About Jacqueline

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Katonah,NY, USA
  • Interests
    Traveling, Cooking, Diving, gardening

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  1. I agree that they have some very interesting itineraries. I have indicated an interest to them in the Inspirations 2021/2 sailing to the Kamchatka peninsula. Very few options here on a ship that’s not an old icebreaker, Silversea runs here now and again, but they aren’t really genius at expedition cruising, especially outside the polar regions and Galapagos.
  2. In terms of food, let’s keep in mind that sources food products is not always that easy! Onboard kitchens will not always be able to provision fresh produce. We were on a 20 day cruise to Antartica then onto Brazil. how they managed salad is a wonder. Hapag Lloyd did an amazing job and did not repeat a menu.
  3. I’m not sure where the “do not expect the same level of service “ came from. Regardless of the nationality of the staff, it is the training that counts. I was on an A&K ship and the service was terrific. Local people. Just fantastic. Warm and caring.
  4. It is free and called Che Bateo. Download it before you leave and set the language to English.( You will need to now where you are departing from and where you are going first.) It will tell you which line(s) to take, how soon they are coming, to duration of the journey and the number of stops. It also will provide the platform letter which is important at busy stops near the cruiseship piers and at San Marco. Locals recommended this to us on our first day and during our two weeks, I have used it several times a day. its very intuitive but you can save your mental energy by playing with it at home.
  5. We visited the site of the new museum back in March. That area is pretty heavily covered by security, too. i guess all I can say is you just never know. A local girl was killed in the Sri Lanka bombings, and I was at her wake last week. She passed away on May 4 as a result of injuries sustained. She was at the hotel with other member of the US Commerce department having brunch, when the attack occurred. She just finished two years or so in the Peace Corps inTanzania. If I had to bet, her parents were probably more worried when she was in a moslem majority country with a history of terrorism than in a catholic country which up until then had been peaceful. i really don’t know where is “safe” anymore. I had a little girl from South Africa ask me why American kids shoot each other at school. (BTW the hotels in Cairo have bomb sniffing dogs and scan all luggage before it enters the hotel. At least the two hotels we stayed at.. the Marriot Mena House and the Four Seasons.)
  6. NotThe Monkey, exactly. i don’t know why we can’t just leave it at that. This post has dragged on and on. Who cares what some company says on their website? If people are going to be dropping thousand(s) of dollars a day on a cruise, I think they can dive a bit deeper, especially now that we have the internet.
  7. I think Berlitz makes a good stab at it, with a methodology, Just like Michelin starred restaurants, there can be a difference of opinion. And for wine ratings, Robert Parker prefers a style of wine. It is impossible there to be a totally subjective ranking of these products, but it does give one an idea of a category. Once in the boards I heard it said that Berlitz is a language company, how can they review ships. And I would answer, Michelin is a tire company!
  8. To your point, when I met a little girl from Johannesburg, she asked me why children get shot in school in the USA.
  9. I just want to chime in and encourage anyone on the fence to go to Egypt now. We had put the trip off for quite some time and are glad that we did it before all the crowds are back! Also had the opportunity for many hotel upgrades, early check in land late check outs along the way. in our case, we opted to do the Sanctuary Sunboat IV as part of an independent trip arranged by A&K who is the owner of the ship. (As in I am not recommending a travel agent, but booked through the owner of the river boat, like booking directly thru vIking, Uniworld, etc). The main advantage was that for all the before and after cruise stuff, we moved with our own guide, driver and air arrangements. We booked AbuSimbel in advance, for example, and had great flight times and connections. For example, we stayed on the plane back from Abu Simbel to Aswan and went directly to Egypt. And our outbound flight was at 10am, meaning no early morning flights. I was able to modify and change our plans as well. We had booked extra days in Cairo and did not have to jam so many things in one day. We had a nice long museum visit and then a long lunch, with just a little touring after that. We added the new restoration center for antiquities called GEMS and where we got to see them working on treasures from King Tuts tomb, up close as well as amazing other finds never on display. As I would text the manager in Cairo, I would get responses like, “I am here to make your dreams come true”.
  10. We are looking to go next January! Still investigating the ship and whether we should do four or seven days on the boat, due to the low water levels.
  11. Having returned from nearly three weeks in Egypt the only word I would say is GO. As you noted, the state department has no trouble with us on the Nile River. We also traveled to Sharm el Shekh which was fanatistic. The four seasons there is mind blowing. i DID NOT want to go to Egypt, ever. I was sure I would get sick, be disgusted by the garbage and poverty and crowds. All I can say is, I would return, when the new Cairo museum opens and also hit a few places we missed. Security is excellent everywhere. Each airport we were patted down twice and our bags xrayed twice. All hotels used dogs, and security screening. all tourist sights are very closely patrolled and guarded. Best of all, while tourism is picking up, the famous sights are not so overwhelming teaming with people. You will get upgrades and lots of extras, if you worked through Abercrombie and Kent like we did. We booked an independent journey through them at the same price and we had amazing service. Upon landing you are guided through costumes, bags are picked up guided to a driver. Guide and driver to hotel. They check you into your hotel and straighten you out (we got early check in, late check out, suite upgrades and even spa credits). No crappy early morning flight times. I left clothing behind in Sharm and they got it to me in Luxor for free. I could go on and on. my best advice, use A&K so you aren’t on a big group moving around from place to place with a lot of old people!
  12. In fairness I did just go to the Crystal Cruises website and they do say that they have six star service. It’s a fact, not a bash.
  13. It’s probably easier to identify what not a top level cruiseline! Its fair enough to say that there are certain minimum requirements for a luxury line and within that category, it is all personal preference. Some people prefer AI’s others don’t. Some like included excursions, other don’t. Certainly with food there is a level of quality of the product itself, but preparation and so forth leads to differences of opinion. And then there are the intangibles that create a feeling or vibe within a brand!
  14. Thank you so much for your suggestions. Once we return from this years big trip, I will focus on planning 2020. We will be in Egypt/ Botswana for most of March. Egypt has been delayed and rescheduled on our part, but it looks like we are finally going. We are spending a week on the Sanctuary Sunboat IV.
  15. New ships can be a headache. Last year the Silversea ship didn’t make the maiden/first trip to Antartica due to engine problems,. They had some problems on the transatlantic that they thought had been worked out and then there was the bad weather that they tried to blame things on. At the end of the day, it’s a pretty disappointing to get all the way to Ushuaia and then have to go home.
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