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About Me

  • Location
    Ontario, Canada
  • Interests
    Travel (obviously....) - love the planning as well as the actualy experience!! Quilting, gardening,
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Most river cruise lines - although Avalon "fits" us these days....
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    I love any trip that takes us to Budapest....

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  1. Judy - we did Egypt/Israel/Jordan a year ago... In fact, we visited the Baptismal site in Jordan a year ago today!! Awesome trip... The gentleman that planned (and escorted) our trip is planning to do another one in November. He is cautiously optimistic that it will proceed as planned. Keep your fingers crossed!! Fran
  2. We have just this week put a deposit down with Emerald for February 2022 - 17 day package, from Hanoi (including Halong Bay) to Siem Reap They currently have an amazing sale on - but, I don't see that they have any specials for solo travelers. That may change going forward... You could always call and ask?? I picked Emerald for a couple of reasons. The first is the great sale they currently have on. But their Halong Bay portion is what caught my eye. Many that I have reviewed do have a day sailing on the bay, but with Emerald, you actually sleep on a boat for 2 nights (some companies put you up in a hotel). I think that Uniworld has the same type of package - but at a higher price. When you add in the fact that Emerald includes airport transfers - and gratuities - it seemed like a natural choice for us. Their boat is on the bigger side - 42 cabins - but I am OK with that. Here's hoping things settle down, and we can go as planned!! Fran
  3. I took courage in hand and put a deposit down on a Mekong cruise for February 2022. The deposit is transferrable, so think that it is pretty safe. I am not going to look at air for a bit of time yet --> I want to see how the vaccination schedule goes. Our Prime Minister dropped the ball on securing doses, and we now have a shortage - which means my hope for vaccination for DH and myself by the end of the summer (as originally promised by our PM) has pretty much disappeared. I do like to plan - and like something to look forward to - so decided to book something --> if only as a bright light at the end of the tunnel!! Fran
  4. Where my daughter lives, they don't close for temperatures, but they won't let the kids out for recess if it is too cold. One day last year - as the kids were getting on the bus to go home - she did the "throw the water up in the air and see it freeze" experiment that was circulating around You Tube... She said it was pretty awesome - and the kids were impressed. Fran
  5. Hi - I have a plan through Medoc Insurance... I was able to get it as I am a retired nurse, and still have friends who are working - so I can access through "Friends of ONA/Healthcare". They don't offer to everyone - but if you check their website, you may be able to sign up. Our friends are with them as well --> he retired from Toronto Hydro - another group that can access the plan. Good Luck!! We are pleased with the plan - and the price is very reasonable. Fran
  6. Yup... We call it Winterpeg. She is ok - as her loving parents bought her a Canada Goose Parka when she moved north. She was only supposed to be there for 2 years (she is a teacher...) - but is now in her 5th year, so the parka has gotten lots of use!! Fran P.S. She has had days with the wind chill where she was dealing with -40C!! Better woman than me...
  7. Thanks, gnome12. We are looking at doing this with Emerald - for a couple of reasons. One is the price --> currently about $2k less than anyone else for a similar trip. And that is before you take into account the fact that gratuities are included. Second is that we get 2 nights in Halong Bay - on a boat. Finally - they are only asking for $250/pp deposit - and they guarantee that. We can move the deposit to another date, or keep it "on file" for another cruise if we decide to cancel. Or - if the vaccination schedule here gets pushed back again, and we have to delay due to not having the vaccine. And, with the price difference, we can go to Hong Kong for a couple of days before. That means we can get a direct flight - and have a couple of days to get over the jet lag before starting on the trip. I think we should be able to get a regional flight to Hanoi to join the tour. The Emerald boat on the Mekong is roughly mid-sized from a passenger number standpoint --> 42 cabins. They also sail right into Ho Chi Min city. They do have 4 Aquarium class cabins - and I normally would book these - but think we will go up one deck to get the full window/french balcony. If we sail during the day, I hope we will be able to see lots of interesting things in the country side. Fran
  8. We are looking at booking a trip to Vietnam & Cambodia in 2022. We usually book Aquarium class, as we will head top side if we want to look at the scenery. However, I am wondering if it might be worth moving up a deck for this cruise. I struggle with extreme heat - and this cruise is pushing me to the edges of my comfort zone. So, I anticipate that I might want to retire to the cabin to put my feet up if the heat gets to me. If we are up a deck, I can still watch the scenery go by as I would have a French balcony. I am assuming that there will be lots to see as we sail by... Is this a reasonable assumption?? Also, is there any value in port vs starboard side on the Mekong? Or, is it the same as on many rivers - and it doesn't matter that much. Any thought/comments/suggestions on this itinerary are greatly welcomed. We are taking a leap of faith and booking as there is a great sale on, with a reduced deposit - and the deposit can be moved or held for a future cruise if we decide to cancel. Fran
  9. Guess I am lucky... I purchase an annual plan. I am covered for any number of trips per year - up to 17 days each trip. Although, I can increase the plan to cover 35 days/trip if necessary. I just have to be "home" for 24 hours prior to my next trip. This covers trip cancellation or interruption AND out of country medical. I would never travel without it!! Fran
  10. Thanks for this article... I found it interesting. Our biggest issue at this time is the lack of vaccine. Large scale vaccination centres were opened here in the Toronto area - only to be closed when we ran out of vaccine. First Pfizer cut off supply - calling it a temporary situation as they do construction to ramp up production in Belgium. Then Moderna cut our shipment by over 20%. On top of that, I heard a rumor (not sure if it is true....) - that officials in the EU are questioning the shipment of vaccines produced in Europe to countries outside of the EU. If that happens, it puts us behind yet again. Last I heard, Canada stood 20th in the list of developed countries when it comes to percentage of the population that has been vaccinated. Epic fail... IMHO Our Prime Minister makes assurances that all Canadians who want a vaccine will have one by the end of September - but I now think this is just another empty promise. I keep visiting the Vaccination Calculator tool to see where I stand. I will be 65 this year. Originally, the calculator said I should get my vaccine between mid-July to late August. Then, it was moved back to early August to late September. Now, I am on the list for late September and mid-April 2022. I was just getting ready to put a deposit down on a cruise for late February 2022... and I am now rethinking that. My mother is 90 years old - so she is in the first phase and her vaccination date is now between the end of February and early July. NOT impressed with our Federal Government. At least they (finally) cracked down on air travel coming into the country... Fran
  11. My daughter calls us "wimps" when we complain about weather like this... She is in Northern Manitoba - where the weather is often -29C *without* the windchill... Fran
  12. We generally have not had any issues with groups on any of our river cruises. On one trip - there was a large group (think 30+ people) - and their tour escort asked if they could have a dedicated bus, designated tables in the dining room and a space in the lounge. The cruise director shut that down immediately...
  13. Santa was declared "essential" here - so he doesn't have to abide by the lock-down restrictions the rest of us are facing. Fran
  14. They have stopped flights from the UK to Canada for the next 72 hours... not sure why that time frame? Unless it is to give them time to come up with a "better" plan... We have been informed that we are going into grey zone/lockdown on December 26th (Boxing Day for us here...). All non-essential businesses will be closing. Southern & Eastern Ontario for 28 days --> Northern Ontario for 14 days. School break is extended until January 11th - with the older kids (secondary school) doing remote learning for another week after that. The dates do hinge on Covid numbers of course... lockdown may be extended if our numbers don't improve. Vaccinations have started, but we don't have the number of doses that other countries currently have access to - so our vaccination process will take longer. I know that this is December... But, in some ways (except for the weather...) - seems like we are stuck in March 2020!! Fran
  15. Is this the cruise ship port in Amsterdam?? Or is that just too easy? 🤨 Fran
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