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  • Location
    Chevy Chase, Maryland
  • Interests
    Cruising, Bridge
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  1. What I figured out today is that when you insure the trip, you need insure the cruise fare only. Taxes, fees, and port charges are returned by the cruise line if you don't get on the ship or leave prematurely. The difference between the fare and the total charge can mean a lot in terms of the insurance premium. Linda
  2. Great idea. We have four friends - single ladies - who booked 4 cabins after I shared the incredible news about the low single supplement. I'm tempted not to share a cabin with Mr. Whystayhome for this adventure 🙂 Linda
  3. Could not believe the price for double [$1449 each ] and particularly single A1 cabins [$1594] , so we booked the B2B and got 3 or our friends to join us. Am I missing something? It seems to be selling quite briskly, but I am a little concerned about the requirements to board, given the array of ports involved on this very interesting [ for the Caribbean] itinerary. Your thoughts? Deposit not due for a week. Sometimes when things look too good to be true... Linda AKA Seabourn Refugee
  4. You’re welcome, Keith. Yes, it is nice to have choices. The dilemma arises as an offshoot of loyalty programs. We have a lot of perks on Seabourn, including earning a free week on board, making it hard to start virtually all over again with another line. However, as Stickman1990 pointed out “all the other luxury lines are on our agenda to try - why die wondering?” Linda
  5. Hi Catlover 54. I enjoyed your Iceland cruise report very much. We were on the March 2020 interrupted SB Australia cruise and am very grateful we got home safely. We haven’t been on SS in nearly 10 years, but enjoyed it very much when we sailed with them. As we all know, size DOES matter. Given the significantly smaller size of the Crystal balcony cabins, I expect Seabourn will continue to be our go-to cruise line for the most part in the future. All I have booked for the next year is 3 weeks around the Baltic and up to the North Cape on SB to replace the same trip we had booked for this summer that was cancelled. In place of a cancelled Greek/Turkey cruise cancelled last year and rescheduled for this October, which we booked after Alaska trips were cancelled two summers in a row, we booked an Israel/Jordan land tour, but I expect that will be cancelled any day now. At this point, I am grateful for anything we can do and am so happy we made it through 2 weeks on the Serenity unscathed.
  6. Taste is subjective, but I agree that dinner in the Vintage room approached 3 Michelin * level and Uma Umi was incredible - and I am generally NOT a fan of Japanese food. For those who like caviar [not me], the nonstop Seabourn caviar service is a real plus. I was not particularly enchanted about dinner at Silk, although I had the Chinese chicken salad and dim sum for lunch there more times than was probably good for me. Lunch in Market Place seemed rather repetitive. Churrascaria did not turn me on particularly, aside from the lamb chops, but my husband thought it was great. So, to each his or her own. I also think that with subsequent Crystal cruises, we will get a better handle on what the ship has to offer and sample a wider range of on-board activities than we did on this voyage. For example, after we got home, my husband expressed regret that he had not taken advantage of the golf lessons. This was a wonderful cruise and we were so grateful after 5 cancelled Seabourn cruises in the past 16 months to be able to get away, relax, and be treated like valued guests. I would definitely do this itinerary again. Linda
  7. Thank you for this wonderful - and not sugar-coated - report of your Icelandic adventure. The photos were great and brought back happy memories of a land tour we took there about 10 years ago. We got back from 2 weeks on Serenity in the Bahamas yesterday and I didn’t even microwave a lean cuisine for dinner. I am giving myself two more days before I make myself get back on the scale. There will be a lot of work to do! Linda
  8. Yes. I can’t imagine anyone who is not vaccinated would elect to sail on the Serenity, given the on-board restrictions that will be imposed. Linda
  9. No problem in Nassau airport this morning. (See live from Serenity for full story). Linda
  10. A crew member told me today they are picking up 52 people in Florida later in the week and they are ALL vaccinated.
  11. THURSDAY. My first choice would have been to return to Long Island’s exquisite Gordon’s beach, but Mr. Whystayhome wanted to see Dean’s Blue Hole, so we took the shuttle for the short ride over to that beach. The shuttle driver recognized me from the previous week and asked why I wasn’t going back to Gordon’s! Dean’s Blue Hole, with a depth of approximately 660’ is a favorite with divers. We missed a recent diving competition in which the winner descended to a depth of about 400’. The surrounding water is waist deep or less and is the usual clear, light blue Bahamas water and then it abruptly funnels down into a solid dark blue world that is a cross between royal and almost a navy blue. I went snorkeling around and across the hole and saw what people told me were sergeant majors, blue tangs, and unicorn fish, mostly around the periphery. The hole is interesting to look at from afar and to look down into while swimming across, but I still think that Gordon’s Beach has more to offer in terms of natural beauty. Another great Chinese chicken salad at Silk and then some time to read/snooze on deck before the afternoon’s enrichment. Jay Wolfe’s story about the slave trade in the West Indies focused on the role of sugar/molasses in making slavery profitable. Enslaved Africans were brought to the Caribbean to grow the sugar cane which was made into molasses and shipped back to Africa to make rum. Once again, his talk was a pleasure to listen to. After cocktails and chatting with friends in the Crystal Cove, it was time for another fabulous dinner at Uma Umi, followed by yet another hilarious show with John Joseph. FRIDAY. Sea day/packing day. We went for breakfast in the dining room and then settled in for the day’s enrichment activities. Unfortunately, Jay Wolfe’s story this morning was a repeat of last week’s talk about Cuba. Ken Walsh’s lecture today described the private residences of a number of US Presidents, from Mt. Vernon to Crawford, Texas to the Trump palaces. There were a lot of amusing anecdotes accompanying the photos of the Presidents relaxing in their homes. For example, during John Adams’ tenure, he spent 9 months at his private residence in Massachusetts, Congress ran amok, and he had to rush back to the capital to prevent war with France. Abraham Lincoln was rather sickly, so he moved into the Old Soldiers’ Home to recuperate. Ken entertained us with stories about the idiosyncrasies of more recent Presidents, and the hour passed quickly. After lunch, we played bridge with the bridge teachers for several hours and continued to learn a lot from them. Cocktails in the Crystal Cove, where we had a nice time talking with the magician, and then a pre-ordered lobster and filet mignon dinner in Waterside where unfortunately, the cherry crumble was once again on the menu, rounded out the evening. The ship had made a bunkering stop in Freeport and we were there for hours waiting for the Bahamians to refuel the ship. According to the Captain, for the first time in his 43-year career at sea, the shipping agent told the fueling station that the ship would be arriving for fueling at the time the Serenity had expected to leave Freeport, so when the ship made port around 1:00, there was no fuel available. The Serenity wound up leaving for Nassau at 2AM - 6 hours behind schedule. SATURDAY. Disembarkation. Because of yesterday’s bunkering disaster, the Serenity got into Nassau three hours late, even though the Captain confided, “We drove the ship like we stole it.” By some amazing coordinated effort, all the luggage was offloaded by about 15 minutes after we made port. We started to get a little nervous, as our flight was at noon and we were still sitting on our airport transfer bus at the dock at 9:30 and we had read about the zoo at the airport. The bus driver zoomed to the airport and we were in line with our luggage a little after 10. I couldn’t get VeriFLY to work, but it took only about 20 minutes until we were able to drop off our bags. Walking over to security, we noticed that there were a zillion more people in line to check in for AA, so it was a good thing our bus driver hustled. Then we lucked out because the Nassau airport has just instituted TSA pre-check, so we skipped the line of hundreds of people waiting for screening, got through security in a few minutes and didn’t have to take out electronics or liquids or take off our shoes. Next up, Global Entry and once again, we were able to bypass the hundreds of people waiting in the customs and immigration line. The CBP agent who checked us in said that people don’t understand that the Bahamians are in charge of everything you waltz through before you get to US border patrol and take out their anger on the CBP folks. Sometimes, people become aggressive, the police are called, and immigration is shut down altogether. The agent estimated many people would be missing their flights today. We waited in the Priority Pass lounge for our flight. Once again we were fortunate - there was no line to get in. We decided we did not need any more alcohol after our two-week idyl on the Serenity and had virtuous diet Cokes to wash down a surprisingly tasty lunch. There was no silverware, but the plates were decorated with doilies. Although this cruise was a fill-in for a cancelled cruise to Norway and the Baltic, we had a fabulous time and I wouldn’t mind doing it again! Linda
  12. 660’ Dean’s Blue Hole, another crazy Crayola seascape, and a band on the tender dock on Long Island
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