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About califsealion

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Bay Area, CA

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  1. I am much looking forward to reading about your trip! A transatlantic is on my bucket list. A lot of cruises are on my bucket list, I'll confess...
  2. I did find the whole excursion choosing process with my mom difficult. I was specifically going for the seated tours, but there were times the other tours (the level 1 and 2 tours) almost sounded easier on paper. One of our seated tours turned into a level 2 tour once we were on the ship. I had a difficult time getting an answer about why the change took place, I guess I should have talked directly to the manager. In the end, it was cold that day, so my mom opted to stay behind...
  3. Thank you for the tag team live postings! I thoroughly enjoyed following along.
  4. I'm filing a medical claim for my mom from a cruise and she only has Medicare with no supplemental. I have to get the denial from Medicare for her travel insurance to consider covering it. Just wondering, do they send a denial letter by snail mail or electronically? I was looking on Medicare's website and found how to file the claim but unsure how the denial of gets sent. Thanks!
  5. I just came off a cruise on the Seven Seas Navigator and they did have a "solo and social traveler" meet up every night before dinner in one of the bars, then the group would go to dinner together. I think they do this across the fleet, but I can't be sure. I didn't happen to be traveling solo on that trip, but I talked to one of the solos and she said they had a solid group of seven-ish that got together every night for dinner.
  6. @Mudhen We did meet at the meet and mingle part briefly, as well as chatting a bit in one of the hot tubs one day, but there were a lot of names and faces to remember! If you are thinking of trying expedition cruising, better to try one sooner rather than later! That being said, I did an Antarctica trip last year and there was an 87 year old woman across the hall from my friend and me. She needed to bag her last continent. I think she enjoyed herself as much as any of us, though she wasn't able to do as much. I was trying to finish up my last post when suddenly I had co-workers who decided if I actually had free time on my lunch at work, it really meant I wanted to sit and chat with them. It reminded me of when I sit on the couch to read and suddenly my dog thinks it is play time. Anyways, I was trying to sum up by saying, I did really enjoy the trip. Not sure how my cruise plans are going to look in the future. I'm not sure I'll be able to cruise for a bit as my mom ages and I'm the responsible party involved. But once I start again, it's one of those things, do I do an expensive cruise every couple years on a Regent ship or an expedition ship? Or do I try a mainline cruise line because maybe I'd rather go on a couple cruises a year instead? I have been on a short Holland America Line cruise a few years back, and enjoyed that cruise also. That was before my Regent cruises, though. Hopefully I'm not forever spoiled! I won't totally vanish from the boards - I plan to keep reading the live threads so I can continue to live vicariously through others! So if anyone else is still listening, keep posting those live threads! 😃
  7. I'm not surprised the little ship didn't handle the open water well! I'd be worried about that. I'd definitely consider the little ships in the Great Lakes, though. That they don't offer a better lunch for people not wanting to do an all-day excursion, that is a bit disappointing. As they are likely catering to an older crowd, I'd imagine several people would stay behind rather than being away from the ship all day. I appreciate your review! I think my mom and I have decided not to use this line, mostly because we really like the hop on/hop off option on AQSC, but there is a chance my mom is done with travel anyways.
  8. Sorry to totally slack off on my thread, but glad others were able to pick up where I left off! One day out from Bermuda, the weather had nicely warmed up and I was finally able to enjoy my margarita by the pool! That was pretty much my goal for the whole trip. The pool temperature was just about as perfect as I could have asked. Too warm if you wanted to do lap swimming, but amazing for just paddling and floating. I did enjoy a little hot tub time, but really, the pool was great. We did the tour of St. George in Bermuda. They threw us into 6 person taxis, it went really well. It was nice to have the tour a little more personalized like that. My mom decided to just stay in the taxi with the driver after the first stop, and apparently his running commentary did not end once the rest of us got out at the stops. She really enjoyed that. The second day, I did a short wander with my mom, then I did a longer walk out to Tobacco Bay. I didn't bother bringing stuff to swim because I didn't want to stay out too long, but I went up and sat on some rocks above the bay and could just see these amazing huge colorful fish from up above. Snorkeling will definitely be in my plans next time I make it to Bermuda! Also stopped at a local bar/restaurant for a Dark 'n Stormy, per a friend's recommendation. Our last day at sea heading home, my mom ended up in the medical center with really bad motion sickness, despite wearing a scopalamine patch. She also has some memory problems outside her normal routine and so had been forgetting to take her blood pressure medication, so that was too high. She spent a couple hours there until she felt better and the doctor felt better about her blood pressure. The nurse down there was great. The doctor was a little on the stern side. Make sure you know what medications the person you are traveling with is on. The doctor was very annoyed that I knew my mom was on blood pressure medication, but was unsure the exact kind. Having her most recent EKG on my phone did not get me enough brownie points to make up for that mistake. Still waiting to hear if insurance will reimburse those costs. 😑 This was my second Regent cruise and I really enjoyed it! Not sure if I would travel Regent if it wasn't for my mom. This was her "one last nice cruise" (per her words). I love expedition cruising, and this is what I usually do for my solo cruises. I do love the pampering, and spoiling that is part of the Regent experience.
  9. We were on the Empress in September 2016, and unless it has changed, you are assigned a table when you arrive for mealtime. The host will ask if you'd like a table for 2 or if you would like to share with others. The Duchess was the same last year. On both those trips, there was a large group traveling together, and I believe the groups had some large tables that were reserved especially for them.
  10. Glad others are chiming in! Yesterday was Halifax. My mom opted to stay onboard as it was cold and there was rain off and on. I wandered down the boardwalk to the Maritime Museum and then up to the gardens and back. It never did rain hard, just that misty/rainy combination. We are at sea today and tomorrow. The captain assured us we are going at full speed to keep ahead of the storm. We are enjoying the lectures while we are underway. I have also enjoyed the two dance classes they have had so far, the swing and the waltz. We were required to do social dance in school as part of PE, but that was many many years ago. It was a good refresher. I was surprised that I have enjoyed both the magician and comedian that are onboard. I geeked out that the magician used the theme to "Police Squad" as his opening and closing song. He was geeked out that I was geeked out about it. It was pretty funny. For those who are not doofuses like us, "Police Squad" was a TV series made by the people who did "Airplane" and "Naked Gun". I believe it lasted a whopping 6 episodes. If you enjoyed "Airplane" and "Naked Gun", I recommend hunting down those few episodes. Oooo, also last night, I had just turned the lights off and realized the ship was slowing down. I realized it was probably the pilot leaving, so I rushed out on my balcony to watch. We are mid ship, so he debarks just under our room. I caught it just in time! Quite an impressive feat. Last night we enjoyed dinner at Setti Mari with a couple two doors down that we met during the block party. So if anyone has any hesitation, go to the block party and meet people! I'm an introvert, but still enjoyed it. Another sea day of relaxation tomorrow!
  11. Greetings from beautiful Portland, Maine! This was not in our original plan. Due to stormy weather, we had to drop Boston and Bar Harbor. We spent yesterday "at sea" which was really a "shelter in place" day, as we holed up in a bay north of Boston with the Norwegian Dawn. The night before, we had some exciting rocking and rolling with surges up to 15 feet. The captain called it the "mystery cruise" because we would wake up and not know where we were and neither would they! Anyways, they told us the first night of the cruise of the change of plans, it really wasn't much of a mystery. Our first stop was in Newport where we did a lovely scenic drive of the town and past the mansions. My mom is not very fast and I was grateful that the handicap seats on the bus were unclaimed! I'd heard sometimes those get snapped up. Not only does my mom not move fast, but she also gets motion sick, so these were helpful. Last night my mom and I enjoyed the orchestra before dinner. We have enjoyed both production shows so far. We always find the shows good fun, just a little cheesy. We've really enjoyed the lecturer so far as well, with his talks about the local areas we are visiting. We even enjoyed his lecture on Boston, even though we missed that port. Today in Portland we just did a little wandering on our own. They did organize a bunch of tours, so we weren't left high and dry. I found a cute donut shop that makes donuts with a mashed potato base. That could have probably been my lunch, not just the dessert! Anyways, I had vowed to myself that I was going to try and post live. My mom has taken a bit more of my brain space than I expected, so I've not managed to far. So these will be sporadically live posts. 😀
  12. Thinking about it, Memphis to New Orleans you may get more time in port because the boat is going to travel faster going downstream. Means you'd get from point A to point B faster. We did the New Orleans pre-cruise excursion and enjoyed it. We went an extra day early and spent a little time in the French Quarter and got beignets at Cafe du Monde(?). Also that night went to a jazz show at Preservation Hall. That was quite fun. We didn't do the post-excursion of Memphis, but really just because I was meeting a friend in town. Otherwise we would have considered. The visit to the Angola Penitentiary in St. Francisville is supposed to excellent, but we didn't do that one. We did do the Civil War battlefield excursion in Vicksburg, which was good. If you want to see the battlefield, I think it was too far from the boat to do on your own. I did enjoy the hop on hop off buses and just poking around the little towns. Some had more to do in town than others, like the Columbia River. The river is definitely doesn't have the amazing scenery of the Columbia River. The river is brown and the land around the river is very flat. But the riverbanks are green and pretty. I went one day and picked up a banana in the snackie room and literally sat at the front of the boat, banana peel in hand, for an hour just watching the river go by. My uncle (mid-70's) was bored. He said it all looked the same. I think he's more the type that needs something to do. I enjoyed the relaxation of it all.
  13. We did New Orleans to Memphis, but purely based on the dates, not because we were trying for that direction. Did they say why they thought one direction was better than the other? We also took the Duchess. I chose that boat purely on the small size. My mom has mobility issues, so I figured the smaller size would be easier for her. I haven't been on the Queen so I can't offer a comparison of the two. Fun for us, it worked out in our favor because two of the bus driver we had on the Columbia River trip were on our Mississippi River trip also! They had migrated over when the Duchess launched. I'm sure the Queen would be fun, too.
  14. Congrats on the upgrade and hope you will come back and report on the trip!
  15. My question is, have you started planning a cruise on the Mississippi? 😀
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