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megavfm

Shadow, Dubai to Piraeus, 26 April-11 May

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34 minutes ago, MBP&O2/O said:

Re the flying fish ... when on the 0400 x 0800 watch the Indian lookout used to go for his break and whilst gone he went on deck, collected the ‘still flapping’ flying fish, gave them to the Indian cook who had them popped into the tandoor, and served on the bridge with a fresh chapatti or two.

I miss those impromptu breakfasts ☹️

 

🙂

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I do sometimes wonder if the opportunity cost of taking time to post would be better spent doing the laundry/ironing (I haven’t as yet witnessed any argy-bargy over the washers or dryers) or by the pool or in the bar. So, I’m grateful for the appreciative responses.

 

No flying fish yet sighted on the menu, but there was catfish at the buffet lunch the other day.

 

We did a galley tour (deck 4 level only) yesterday, which was quite interesting. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of my memory, but for the 363 pax onboard, I think the numbers were ~90 dozen fresh eggs are used each day – that excludes the frozen pasteurised eggs (we weren’t aware they existed) that are used for the scrambled eggs or omelettes at the buffet (a risk management process so that lots of pax do not get salmonella), ~50lbs chicken breast per day, ~40lbs rib eye per day, etc. The utility of the tablet ordering system that the waiters used was also fascinating, especially the data gathered about passengers and individual preferences and favourites. The best part was seeing the faces of the tour group when the executive chef, Grant said they have so much data that they print out for each guest at the conclusion of the cruise their total calorie count consumed…..................................…..but he was only joking.

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23 minutes ago, megavfm said:

...but he was only joking.

Thank goodness!  My count would be unbelievable.

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Posted (edited)

Haha Stumbles.

 

Not a good way to start the Petra excursion; my wife’s favourite sunhat blew off when walking down the gangway to board the coach. Of all the places it could have flown off to, it chose the gap between the dock and the ship……RIP sunhat.  Well so we thought. Amazingly and unexpectedly (well to us at least) on return from Petra, the crew gave my wife her precious hat back because a crew member went to the effort of retrieving it after witnessing what happened.  Brownie points for SS.  BTW; Petra was stunning - could do with 2 full days there (and the Movenpick hotel where the SS tours have a late lunch at ~14.30 would be a handy place to stay; just across the road from the entrance gate).

 

For those visiting Petra with the next SS voyages to the region you might be pleased to know that the Petra Museum (located just above the main entrance) opened just a few weeks ago and the price is included in your Petra entrance ticket (mind you, nobody bothered to see our entrance ticket when we went into the museum). A nice new and fairly compact museum. Parts of some of the friezes and statues from various Petra sites are on display. If you want to read every detail then maybe 45+ mins to go through or if you just skim through then maybe 15 mins or so.

 

Regarding the Safaga dock photo; wind turbine blades in the foreground and an old Luz Air L-1011 Tristar fuselage in the middle distance just behind Queen Nefertiti ferry; our guide said it’s due to be dumped offshore as a dive wreck.

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Edited by megavfm

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I should make it clear it's the Tristar that will be dumped offshore not the ferry!

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Luxor was oven-hot yesterday, but we survived (might write a synopsis tomorrow). Today, we woke up to a very windy day with quite a bit of pitching in our forward cabin (seemed less severe in Panorama when we visited). According to TV Channel 1 we were in the southern part of the Gulf of Suez and the wind speed was 87km/hr. Took a shot of a wave over the bow of the oil tanker, Katsuragisan (Pic1). Then went up to deck 10 to see what might be happening on the Shadow. The wind was so strong I couldn’t walk past the glass windbreak on either side of the observation lounge. Settled for going inside to the sanctuary of the Obs lounge.  Currently anchored off Suez city waiting to begin our journey through the canal.

 

We had a bit of a cheat’s way of experiencing La Dame (not the usual food though, just the room!) by signing up for a “Lunch and Learn” session held earlier today with chef Anne-Mari (there were 2 such sessions during this cruise and us laggards ended up on the waiting list for either session – we were eventually successful. Pic2). There were also 2 cooking demos in the Show lounge. Lunch started off with Duo of hummus with crispy Falafel & Asabi Gulash, followed by Spiced Arabic lamb rack with labneh stuffed fig & coucous and finally Rose water poached apricots with pomegranate flavoured ice cream. I’m not a Falafel fan, but the rest of the meal was great. The meal was accompanied by matching wine. I’m not a wine connoisseur, but they tasted ok to my uneducated palate. I've noticed pictures of wine is not uncommon in the SS threads - it's a bit wasted on me, but maybe someone might appreciate or provide informed commentary on the wine we had, Pic3.

 

PS. the Shadow ran out of gin today - unbelievable.  Interestingly, after we boarded in Dubai we had a late lunch and I asked for a GnT and was told there was no gin then. They said it would be available the next day when bonded stock could be accessed after departure......and now its run out already?!

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Anne-Mari is our favorite SS executive chef.  Nice to see her on the Shadow.  Glad you enjoyed the wine.  Nothing fancy or collectible about any of them, but it sure is nice to have a pretty dramatic variety in styles to pair with the food.

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Lovely photo of the Katsuragisan .. makes me feel quite nostalgic. I used to love sea days like that ...

Quite a size as well ... 311000 dwt ... I never got to sail on anything even near that size .... given the choice I always went for the smaller ones.

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On 5/4/2019 at 5:05 PM, Stumblefoot said:

Thank goodness!  My count would be unbelievable.

 

Game on, Stumbles! See you next January; hope your liver is warmed up!

 

Hi megavfm, enjoying your thread quite a lot. We visited Jordan and Petra as a pre-Egypt add-on back in 2012,and I will enthusiastically second your opinion about the Moevenpick Petra. We did stay one night there and loved it!

 

Do I read correctly that both Anne-Mari and Grant are on board? Two executive chefs? You must be eating well - sure sounds like it.

 

We drank G&Ts like water all throughout our September 2018 cruise on Silver Wind. Guess we must have put a serious dent in the stocks - would have thought that they'd have bounced back from that already - sorry about that! Hope they have some in stock on the Cloud for us in August.

 

Enjoy the rest of your trip and keep on posting, when you have time.

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4 minutes ago, jpalbny said:

Game on, Stumbles! See you next January; hope your liver is warmed up!

Haha JP!  Warmed and ready.  Just started snowing here today and we're expecting up to 8" before it's all over.  May is the absolute worst month in CO IMHO.

 

Have a safe trip this Friday and throughout your stay.  Don't want the Russkies to start any coups while you are over there.

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Thanks for sharing Mega, Hope you're having a fantastic time. Extremely disturbing news re the Gin! I'd be utterly bereft. I think I'd have to don full mourning wear and sit at the bar weeping.

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Great reporting and pictures, megavfm! And thank you especially for the tips on Petra.

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On 4/30/2019 at 6:59 AM, megavfm said:

Thanks for the tip TTS. I’ve been using MS Paint to resize on my tablet; I’ll just further downsize.

I’m not too sure whether I will post after Salalah, as Aqaba & Safaga have been well covered last year by Silver Spectre’s Athens to Muscat thread, TLCOhio’s Live/Nautica’s thread and Randyk47’s blog – they were all a great source of pre-cruise info.  Also, I’m not sure if the web really needs more photos (from me at least) of Petra and Luxor.

 

Appreciate ALL of your postings, pictures, details, comments and follow-ups. Nice above mention about my live/blog and the other very good postings.  BUT, yes, love to see more visuals from Luxor, Petra, etc.  Always good to review more and bring back such nice memories.  Will keep filling along with your postings and details.  

 

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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Thanks Stumbles; the sommelier said he chose “lighter” varietals to complement the spicy and aromatic Arabic flavours……..made sense to me.

 

I’m glad you liked the photo of the Katsuragisan MBP&O2/O

 

Yes JP, both Grant and Ann-Mari onboard (Pic1). An Arabian buffet lunch in the MDR was held today with a whole roast lamb, whole baked Garoupa and a chicken shawarma station amongst plenty of other items.

 

Bumped into Peter the head barman who confirmed the gin outage.  Poor chap, he looked like he had been chewed out by a few people given he’s usually quite jovial.  He said they plan to re-stock in Rhodes – the day before we disembark in Piraeus!  But, yes Daveywavey70 we’re having a great time; having too much fun trying other spirit options.

 

Ok Terry, a photo from Petra.

 

Today was easy calm cruising through the Suez canal; so easy we got into Port Said ~3 hrs earlier than planned for our technical stop to collect the mid-voyage land tour people.  Kirk and the destination lecturers had managed the pax expectations about the Suez canal informing us not to expect locks and lush vegetation like the Panama or sheer vertical walls like the Corinth canal, but expect to see lots of sand everywhere.  I didn’t think it was quite that featureless, but then again I haven’t cruised the Panama or Corinth canals.  Met someone who had been up since 04.00 to witness entering the Suez canal and then stayed awake until journey’s end and docking in Port Said – what a sterling effort, lucky we were ahead of schedule!  Pic7 – Suez canal peace bridge (or choose from half a dozen other names………), Pic8 – docking in Port Said

 

Have now hit the Med and it’s getting a bit pitchy again up front with wind speed 40+ km/h.

 

Safaga/Luxor excursions: Private vs SS excursion. I made mention in my May 3 post of the two SS excursions offered in Luxor, but It’s difficult to do a direct private vs SS comparison, as it’s bit like comparing apples vs oranges.  We went with Ramassides, as they appeared highly recommended in CC and booked their standard itinerary out of Safaga. As advertised on their website, our guide was waiting for us dockside. We had a minivan although we noticed another party with Ramassides had a regular sedan. Chilled water was provided during our journey. The +ves were we far more agile in being able to move from site to site owing to being only a group of 3 compared to scores in the SS groups and we also didn’t have to struggle to hear the guide’s commentary; we managed to stay ahead of the SS groups at Karnak & Valley of the Kings. Lunch was included at a restaurant that overlooked Luxor temple. Soup, salad, mezze and main meal of chicken, sausage and rice were flavoursome. Drinks were extra and the fresh mango juice was very tasty, however, a sour taste was left when the price charged for the drinks at the end was different to that initially quoted despite the intervention of our guide. The difference in price was 5, a triflingly amount, but it made for 2 expensive juices and was still quite surprising given the amount of business Ramassides must bring through to restaurant. The journey time to Luxor city and back seemed pretty similar between SS who ran coaches (half full for comfort, which seems to be SS’s usual practice) fitted with toilets so they could drive straight through and us because we had a toilet stop each way. The negative for us were the customary stops at a perfume shop and alabaster shop, which took time away from Karnak; we had 45mins there whereas the SS group had about 90mins according to the SS pax we spoke to afterwards. I understand one can say upfront to the guide that you’re not interested in their shopping visits, but my wife did want to buy a few souvenirs (which she eventually did at the various stalls set up in front of the entrances at all the attractions), just not at the 2 places we were taken to. Further, we weren’t sure if our experience would still be similar if we declined the shopping stops. However, our guide was very good overall and said he had studied Egyptology at university. He also helped facilitate the souvenir shopping with the stall holders and also with the various toilet attendants; unlike Jordan/Petra, one has to pay to use the toilets (~EGP1) at the various stops and attractions. It was challenging for all the guides, as it was the 1st day of Ramadan, but ours held up remarkably well.  The fast broke during our drive back to the ship and we were impressed with how caring the Egyptians were to one another by random people lining the highway and streets around sunset offering water, juice and dates to all the people travelling, which was also shared with us.

While the private tour was significantly cheaper than SS and both tours visited Karnak temple, Valley of the Kings and had a photo stop at the Colossi of Memnon, we actually walked around the Mortuary Temple
of Hatshepsut and learnt about her interesting history on-site whereas the SS group only had a photo stop there. However, in SS’s favour, the SS excursion visited Seti’s tomb and Nefatari’s tomb, both major attractions, which no doubt contributed to the SS tour’s higher cost. Ramassides did provide us a quote to visit Nefatari’s tomb and also Luxor temple, but even if you skipped the shopping stops, I think it would be difficult to do adequately given the time constraints to get back. It’s not only the ship’s departure time that limits your time in Luxor, but according to our guide the authorities close the road to tourists between Luxor and Safaga after 5.30pm (I couldn’t readily find confirmation if this is correct or not).

 

As I was writing this up my conclusion was that the SS Karnak excursion had more to offer for its price, but later wondered if we had done the SS tour whether we would have craved the more agile and far less crowded private tour.  Each has their pros and cons. Just bear in mind the SS tour itineraries might change for your voyages. Also, the only comment I can provide regarding the SS Luxor temple tour is that Luxor temple is a lot smaller than Karnak and we drove by it twice and had lunch overlooking it during our private excursion. If one had to choose between visiting Luxor or Karnak temples, I’d recommend Karnak.

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25 minutes ago, megavfm said:

Ok Terry, a photo from Petra.DSC_0970.JPG

 

YES!!  Appreciate this nice and creative picture/angle from Petra.  Plus, ALL of the other visuals, details, comments, etc.  Brings back wonderful memories from sailing through the Suez Canal.  Nice bridge!!  Glad you did a private tour for amazing Luxor.   Lots of fun and good food on the ship.  Keep it coming!!

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

AFRICA?!!?: Fun, interesting visuals, plus travel details from this early 2016 live/blog. At 45,435 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

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2 hours ago, megavfm said:

An Arabian buffet lunch in the MDR was held today with a whole roast lamb, whole baked Garoupa and a chicken shawarma station...

WOW!  That lunch sounds absolutely incredible.  Never seen anything like it.  Bet it was incredible.

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Great trip commentary. Not only informative but a valuable resource for those of us doing a similar itinerary in the future. 

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16 hours ago, megavfm said:

 Kirk and the destination lecturers had managed the pax expectations about the Suez canal informing us not to expect locks and lush vegetation like the Panama or sheer vertical walls like the Corinth canal, but expect to see lots of sand everywhere.  I didn’t think it was quite that featureless, but then again I haven’t cruised the Panama or Corinth canals.  

 

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Oh, what a feast you enjoyed! Thank you for the pics and description.

 

I also love how you say the crew managed pax expectations. Like you, I've not seen the others, and will be beyond excited to pass through the Suez. Well, probably not excited enough to wake at 4 am ....

 

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I thought I’d upload a wide angle photo of how they cleared out the centre part of the MDR to install the food stations for the Arabian-themed lunch yesterday (Pic1); deserts in the foreground, Garoupa stall at right, shawarma stall at left and the lamb stall at the back. Centre island were salad items, cold cuts and mezze varieties. Anne-Mari was up early again this morning cooking up a storm at a separate crepe stall for breakfast in La Terrazza (Pic2).  Burritos (huh, how does that fit with the Arabic or Mediterranean themed food during this voyage?!) for lunch on the pool deck today with a red & white wine sangria station too.

 

On 5/4/2019 at 11:40 PM, megavfm said:

(I haven’t as yet witnessed any argy-bargy over the washers or dryers) .

Well, I was premature in my comments about no laundry argy-bargy. It was very hot and dusty in Petra and Luxor and like most we returned on both days with dust covered and sweat-infused clothes & shoes (thanks Ray for cleaning the dust off our shoes without even asking) so understandably there was quite a demand for the laundry facilities over subsequent days. I overhead some discussion/debate about someone hogging two out of the three washing machines at the same time while people had their dirty laundry baskets lined up or were physically waiting in line and further talk about how long one should wait to remove someone’s completed washing/drying or if it’s ever right to do so……..I kept my head down and continued imbibing my Jack Collins (would’ve been a Tom C, but they had run out of gin…………oh dear, I’m sounding like a broken record. Time to refocus and just be grateful that one can afford to cruise on a line like Silversea).

 

I might add that after our late return from Luxor that there were freshly prepared sandwiches and cut fresh fruit waiting for us in our cabin. It was so appreciated, as we were just too tired to go to one of the eating venues or bothered to order and wait for room service.  I spoke with a number of other pax who also received the same reception. We think it was great that SS treated all the pax equally, especially as we didn’t do one of their excursions. I think I had read somewhere on this forum that some pax have returned with a hot bath ready – would’ve loved that, but probably would’ve turned cold by the time we got back.  Quite content with the sandwich & fruit gesture.  It was enough for some revitalisation and a later brief visit and dance at the pool deck dance party, aided by Peter serving up white chocolate martini or expresso martini at a separate stall from the bar……….slept very well that night.

 

A couple of sky-gazing shots of the Siq and at Karnak temple. Regarding the earlier Petra Treasury shot; I had to hike up a goat track to get the required elevation for the photo and bumped into one of the SS shore excursion team members as I started my way back down. She recognised me and expressed surprise to see a SS pax where we were (I think it might have been a polite millennial way of saying “what’s an old codger like you doing here?”!). I managed to elicit a smile when I replied that she needn’t worry as I was sure I had signed a waiver.

 

BTW Unibok; you probably wouldn't be alone if you got up at 04.00 to witness the entry into the Suez canal. The person I spoke with said there was about 10 hardy souls! The downside was that she said no one came up to the Obs lounge with coffee until ~06.30 🙁

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Great Shots!!!

And I so appreciate your commentary, all the hints, information and wise words. I have wanted to travel to Egypt since I was a little girl, and that was a very very very long time ago.

Thanks so much!!!

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Posted (edited)
 

Thanks very much Megavfm, for the exceptionally well written posts complemented with your beautifully framed photos.

 

Megavfm, sincerely appreciate how you frame your photos too accentuate your subject (people or places (esp, that terrific shot of Petra--had not seen Petra from that perspective before).  When we visited Petra, I took the normal (slug shot directly in front of the Treasury).

 

Dougburns and I were also fortunate to have sailed with Grant and Anne Marie last month on the Shadow (Singapore to Singapore).  Anne Marie's coveted crepes were a hit during breakfast during our Shadow voyage too.  Grant made two dishes in La Veranda at lunch that our palates still remember well; Caviar and Salmon blinis with fixings that Grant made in the half/plate size blinis,  and (my fav) Pasta finished inside a parmigiano reggiano cheese wheel--delish.

 

82A22FC5-7EAC-4F73-BC2D-BC87CD0EE487.thumb.jpeg.f2b55a3937e7f9756d3a58559386124e.jpegSorry to hear about  the Launderette niggle but kudos for your patience enhanced with Jack C.

Edited by WesW

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On 5/8/2019 at 12:58 AM, megavfm said:

Luxor was oven-hot yesterday, but we survived (might write a synopsis tomorrow). Today, we woke up to a very windy day with quite a bit of pitching in our forward cabin (seemed less severe in Panorama when we visited). According to TV Channel 1 we were in the southern part of the Gulf of Suez and the wind speed was 87km/hr. Took a shot of a wave over the bow of the oil tanker, Katsuragisan (Pic1). Then went up to deck 10 to see what might be happening on the Shadow. The wind was so strong I couldn’t walk past the glass windbreak on either side of the observation lounge. Settled for going inside to the sanctuary of the Obs lounge.  Currently anchored off Suez city waiting to begin our journey through the canal.

 

We had a bit of a cheat’s way of experiencing La Dame (not the usual food though, just the room!) by signing up for a “Lunch and Learn” session held earlier today with chef Anne-Mari (there were 2 such sessions during this cruise and us laggards ended up on the waiting list for either session – we were eventually successful. Pic2). There were also 2 cooking demos in the Show lounge. Lunch started off with Duo of hummus with crispy Falafel & Asabi Gulash, followed by Spiced Arabic lamb rack with labneh stuffed fig & coucous and finally Rose water poached apricots with pomegranate flavoured ice cream. I’m not a Falafel fan, but the rest of the meal was great. The meal was accompanied by matching wine. I’m not a wine connoisseur, but they tasted ok to my uneducated palate. I've noticed pictures of wine is not uncommon in the SS threads - it's a bit wasted on me, but maybe someone might appreciate or provide informed commentary on the wine we had, Pic3.

 

PS. the Shadow ran out of gin today - unbelievable.  Interestingly, after we boarded in Dubai we had a late lunch and I asked for a GnT and was told there was no gin then. They said it would be available the next day when bonded stock could be accessed after departure......and now its run out already?!

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Wow, that top shot is pretty scary

 

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2 hours ago, spinnaker2 said:

Great Shots!!!   And I so appreciate your commentary, all the hints, information and wise words. I have wanted to travel to Egypt since I was a little girl, and that was a very very very long time ago.  Thanks so much!!!

 

YES, liking the continued very good postings, pictures, etc.  For Spins, it should "Mission Accomplished" given your upcoming cruise schedule that you will satisfy your "little girl dream" to be visiting Egypt, etc.  Right?

 

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 245,745 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474

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On 5/9/2019 at 2:14 AM, Stumblefoot said:

WOW!  That lunch sounds absolutely incredible.  Never seen anything like it.  Bet it was incredible.

+1

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