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Jim Avery

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About Jim Avery

  • Rank
    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Valley of the Sun, Arizona
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    SeaDream, Viking Oceans
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    A day of cruising anywhere is better than a day at work.

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  1. Andy, I can illustrate what you are saying with an example from the Inaugural WC. There was a ship's tour overland for several days to Angkor Wat. As happens with flying these days flights were cancelled. Part of the group were left behind. The ship maintained schedule and a few days later our happy band of brothers arrived back on board none the worse for wear, other than wearing clothes that had seen more than one dance. Most praised Viking's handling of everything and their accommodations. The main complaints were lack of communication but then when things go awry in the Third World, information can be hard to come by. My point is that if on a ship's tour, they will eventually get you back to the ship at their expense. We take lots of private tours and are fully aware that problems that might occur would be ours to solve and at our expense.
  2. Andy's advice is spot on. Having run ships in that part of the world I would add that May is the traditional driest month. Additional bennies for early season travel is much fewer crowds with less kids as they are still in school. Also, the locals are eager to see you and sell you stuff. By the end of the season not so much. Disadvantages to early season is it can be cold. Also bears might not be awake yet. Some whale areas not fully active. Face it, if you live in Alaska, you really don't like crowds but put up with them to be able to afford the rest of the year. DW calls me a "misanthrope", says I should move to somewhere like Alaska. No thanks, worked there a few years. They have this major temperature problem. But then you want Alaska to be chilly, otherwise go to the Caribbean and be warm.....😎
  3. Hi Contessa, Countess? No, that implies sensible shoes and a big funny hat. I can attest that pals on SeaDream pronounced you "Contessa". And we know what happens on SeaDream stays on SeaDream......🍸😎 All lines have their plusses and minuses. For you VO is not up to expectations. For us VO is a perfect fit. But then we only know VO through the lens of 120 days on the Inaugural World Cruise. Truly all inclusive and the best crew ever. We have discussed shorter VO cruises but don't want to give up all the WC benefits and service. Like you we are glad for all the choices and opportunities. Sail on Contessa..😘
  4. Andy, as you know I used to run ships up that way. Not passenger ships but we always called at Ketchikan both Northbound and South. You are right on with the Harbormaster. Nothing moves in the Ketchikan harbor area without his approval. Once I docked at the appointed pier (right in front of what is now the Tongass Trading big box store) but was not positioned just as he wanted. Had to scoot forward about 30'. Picky picky. But to put it in perspective, there are simply too many big ships calling Ketchikan. I suspect there will be some restrictions a la Venice plans in the near future. For the ships anchored, I can only tell you that tendering across the seaplane "airport" would be like taking a ship's tour bus and driving across an active runway at LAX. I really see a ban on all anchoring ships at Ketchikan before too long. Overtourism is a real problem for all of us.
  5. Right. I recently received a brochure from them advertising "Kids sail free". 🍺
  6. this reminds me of a SD cruise back in '06, '07, or '08, can't remember as they eventually cancelled it for a charter. They offered a MIA r/t and we booked it. At the time we lived in FL so a direct short domestic flight and a cab ride was really appealing. The itinerary, as I remember, was a couple of stops in the Keys then on to the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson. Then one of the Bahama Out Islands for the Splash. I would do that itinerary if offered again.
  7. What to replace Cuba with? Any wish lists?
  8. Oddly enough, every time I showed up at the TOY Bar you were already there....🍸
  9. We had it bad after the Inaugural World Cruise so took the only cure and booked another cruise.😎🍸
  10. As usual you and I mostly agree. However, I always miss my bartender....🍸
  11. I can see no tours in Dutch Harbor. Used to be a regular stop for my ship delivering goods to there and the Pribiloff Islands. The local saloon was the high point. Interestingly, the airport runway, which is short by most any airport standards, was built for US bombers in WWII. There are a number of concrete bunkers in the hills around the airport. Some are "homesteaded". Not sure I would want to live in one, especially in the Aleutian winters....
  12. Come on now, this is Cruise Critic. Plenty of venues to vent over the idiots (both parties) that run our county so ineptly. Nothing new about stupid politicians so I prefer to come to Cruise Critic to hear about someone's great cruise and fave bartender. 🍸😎 And yes, vote them all out....
  13. Right you are. Yes there are some that go cold places for holiday. I was speaking for myself having run ships above the Arctic Circle. And I did not mean to infer SD passengers only like the Caribbean. We have sailed SD in Mexico, Costa Rica, Mediterranean as well as the Caribbean so even I like more than the Soggy Dollar Bar.😎 I do think SD need to closely monitor their competition's inclusions if they are to make it with Innovation. I certainly wish SD and especially the onboard crews all the best.
  14. Sounds like we are pretty much on the same page.🍸
  15. Yes. By that I was referring to "take it or leave it" so to speak. Viking will not give any compensation to booked guests for any price drops, Viking tells Travel Agents what they can and cannot give to their clients, Viking flat out lied to Inaugural WC guests about our "special events" in Shanghai. And this is in great part to Viking being so popular and selling so well. Not many other lines could get away with demanding full pay a year out. So that is some of what I was referring to. If the onboard experience with the excellent crew was not so right up our alley I am sure we would have made different choices. We all weigh our options and make our decisions. 🍸
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