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Isklaar

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About Isklaar

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Scandinavian living in UK
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Seabourn

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  1. Complimentary Wine Selections - Extended Holiday sailing - Sojourn 10 December 2019 - 4 January 2020 White La Scolca, Gavi, Piedmonte, Italy Santa Margarita, Pinot Grigio, Valdadige, Italy Maison Louis Latour, Grand Ardèche Chardonnay, France Sebastiani Chardonnay, North Coast, Calif. USA Virgina Dare Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, Calif. USA Gruber Roschitz, Riesling, Niederosterreich, Austria Clarendelle, Bordeaux Blend, Bordeaux, France Feudi Di San Gregori, Greco di Tufo, Campania, Italy Paco and Lola 'Lolo' Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain Mahan Sauvignon Blanc, Nelson, New Zealand Flanagan 'Riley's Row's' Sauvignon Blanc, North Coast, Calif. USA Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand Red Canepa "Finisimo" Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chile Betz Family Vineyards L 'Elegance, Columbia Valley, Washington State, USA Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County, Calif. USA Bodegas LAN, Rioja Crianza, Spain Trivento Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina Gerard Betrand Nature Merlot, Southern France Masi Poderi BellOvile Serego Alighieri, Tuscany, Italy Castello Banfi Chianti Superiore, Tuscany, Italy Chateau Latour Camblanes, Bordeaux, France Intipalka Reserve Cabernet, Petit Verdot, Peru Terlato and Chapoutier Shiraz/Viognier Australia 9 Hats Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington, USA Cardwell Hills Pinot Noir, Willematte, Oregon, USA Sparkling/Rosé/Sauternes Mautadon, Champagne ,France Centine Maschio, Prosecco, Italy Beringer Main and Vine White Zinfandel, USA M. Chapoutier Belleruche Rosé, France Roquesante Provence Rosé, France Domaine Sichel Sauternes, Bordeaux, France. I definitely prefer the new champagne to the NF. I like my champagne a tad more dry than the Mautadon, but it's far gentler to my palate than the rough NF and it does not give me heartburn as the NF did so it's a win from me! As ever, I was able to find several wines that were perfectly drinkable (for my taste) amongst the included wines.
  2. I plan to post a couple of the new MDR menus at some point in the coming week along with a list of the included wines.
  3. Smaller ship experience much more inline with previous, although there was IMO, a period when the small ships seemed to have their own blip as staff were moved over for the Encore launch. Ovation is a beautiful ship, but for several reasons I am now extremely reluctant to cruise on it again, unlikely to try Encore for the same reasons. I do have concerns about there being another blip as staff are moved over to the two upcoming new ships, hopefully a short time after Venture is launched things settle down again. You can ask for brand water, Perrier and Evian appeared to be the ones most often available.
  4. I believe I'm repeating myself, but I never did get used to the taste of the water. It was ok sometimes but mostly I found it unpleasant. It seems to be a case of what one is used to, ie taste quality of tap water at home. Friends of ours living in London had no issue with the taste of the SB water. Where we live the tap water is very different to that in London, I can drink it without needing to use a filter, plus I spend a lot of time in Sweden where the tap water also has a very clean taste. Not being precious here! We spent a few days in Miami before and after the cruise and as always, we were happy enough with the regular tap water offered in restaurants.
  5. Thanks cruiseej and auldlassie for sharing your thoughts about the internet issue. I'm in agreement that it's very likely to be due to proximity to a router/wireless access point. auldlassie, thank you for adding the information about the new MB toiletries bottles. I asked two different people and received two different responses.I didn't notice whether ours had been refilled the night before disembarkation but certainly the delay in Key West could have been the reason yours were done earlier rather than later.
  6. Heard this from our friends who were on Ovation. We were on the same holiday cruise in 2018, also problematic.
  7. Just back from a cruise on Sojourn which covered the Christmas and New Year period. We had fewer kids on the ship than any previous holiday cruise. Just one, maybe two, under 10 years old and a few teens. All were well behaved and there was no negative impact on our cruise at all. In previous years there have been more kids, this time was unusual in our experience.
  8. A few more thoughts now that I'm back in the UK, sadly the holiday is already becoming a rather distant memory! Captain - Tim Roberts Hotel Director - Theresa Haughey Cruise Director - Emma Able, Assistant CD was Jessica We had a great cruise, the crew can't be praised highly enough. Lots of them were new to Seabourn, on their first contract, but they were doing a great job even though IMO they are now too few to provide a seamless service especially in MDR. The ports were mostly ones we've visited previously. We hadn't planned to take a cruise in 2019 but circumstances changed mid-year and so we booked this cruise in early July, by which time the itinerary had been changed from the original Cuba itinerary. I had a huge file of notes and advice from fellow guests about the Caribbean ports which I'd hoped to add to but unfortunately it's lost on a broken hard drive which I discovered about 2 weeks before we started our holiday. This meant that I couldn't refer to it for our own planning and we were both far too busy with work before departure to do much research. I decided to just take a few ship's excursions but actually once we boarded and I had time to read about them, none of them were very appealing or we'd taken the same excursion previously. Overall I was disappointed with the selection of ship tours, we've taken plenty before this cruise and they've usually been fairly good, but in the end this time we didn't take any of the ones on offer. For us this was a 25 day cruise, not a B2B. The cruise was divided into two - an 11 day and a 14 day. Ports, from memory, were as follows - not in chronological order : Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Isla Margarita, Dominican Republic - Caviar in the Surf and beach BBQ held here Gustavia, St Barts. - I was pleased to revisit St Barts after a few years' absence. The island is recovering well from the hurricane of 2017 St John, Antigua Fort de France, Martinique Ile des Saintes, Terre de Haut, Guadeloupe - this has been a favourite Caribbean port for me in the past. Unfortunately on the day we anchored here I was tied up with work and couldn't find a free hour to head ashore. Oh well, there's always next time! Cruz Bay, USVI I will add the remaining ports in a later post. Internet - fast enough on open decks but painfully slow in our suite. I had the most problems with my iPad. iPhone was faster, Mac Airbook was adequate. In the suite, where I set up my office, it was so slow and unreliable (constantly cutting me off) that this may be a dealbreaker for future long cruises before I retire. We were on deck 6 midships, a location we're very familiar with but this was the worst internet service I've experienced on SB, with the exception perhaps of an infamous Odyssey cruise a few years ago. Food - generally very good to excellent. We had Chefs Lindsay and Jes onboard the whole time. I had anticipated Jes leaving in San Juan which was the turn around day for the 14 day cruise but he stayed on. I do plan to post some copies of the new MDR menus but they're in a suitcase which is currently in Norway (my car key nearly ended up there too!) so can't be posted until I can retrieve them. We noticed a definite improvement for seafood lovers, plenty of selection of fish as well as crustaceans. Scallops and shrimp seemed to be on the menu most evenings. There were always two choices suitable for vegetarians. I didn't see anything specifically labelled as vegan. We ate lunch in the Colonnade most days and dinner was usually in MDR or the Colonnade. We had 3 bookings in TK Grill, food and service there was as good as I remembered it from previous cruises. We only dined at Earth and Ocean a couple of times on this cruise but as on Ovation last Christmas the food was very good. We found the service at E&O to be not so good as elsewhere, although we ended up with the same server both times so that could be the one person who isn't quite up to standard rather than the whole venue! We felt very rushed, even though we asked for a pause between courses. The final time we ate there we were eating our dessert whilst a table for two that was seated at least 30 minutes before us was still finishing appetisers. Antonio was the F&B Manager and was always around to chat or to hear feedback. The MDR was usually open for breakfast and lunch on sea days. In port it was closed. This is in line with our experience of previous Caribbean cruises.
  9. Agree about those who insisted on staying in their room after 8am. So unfair on the cleaning crews and stewardesses who are always very busy on changeover days. We left at 8.05 because I had misplaced my car keys and was searching for them, I had let my stewardess know just prior to 8 that I would just take a couple more minutes to find my keys. We chose the MDR for breakfast and were seated by 8.10am. After breakfast we were told it was ok to wait there, and as we waited we saw lots of people leaving from deck 4 rooms much later than 8am! Friend we met onboard still claiming that some in transit guests were held ashore for a couple of hours. I'm wondering if those guests made a mistake and disembarked at 9.30 in error only to find they were unable to reboard until those who were leaving the ship had actually left ? Markham, if you get the opportunity could you find out what the object was that we watched being unloaded from a shipping container that arrived one a huge truck at around 1130pm on Friday evening? We were told by crew that it was a temporary replacement before the divot could be fixed. Seems we were misinformed but now I'm intrigued to know what it was! Enjoy Key West today, and of course the rest of your cruise. ps car key was in my suitcase😳
  10. I just heard from someone we met on board who said that some in transit guests had a problem today and were held ashore for two hours plus. Ship still in Miami too,
  11. Hi SLSD, not sure about immigration checks, but the ship was delayed out of Key West yesterday. I couldn't quite understand the Captain's announcement but it sounded like they had done a routine stress test on a wire that lowers the tender and the wire failed the test. The ship was unable to sail as there would not be enough lifeboat capacity without that tender. So, we were delayed almost 6 hours until a replacement temporary lifeboat could be delivered. We watched it arrive to the dock just before 1130 pm. We arrived at port Miami this morning around 9.30, however bags were not all unloaded until around 11am so that is when we were able to disembark. Anyone who had kept their bags to self disembark was able to walk off the ship much earlier, as saminina said. Some guests who had morning flights out of MIA left the ship in Key West yesterday evening and travelled by taxi to Miami so they could make their flight.
  12. Thank you Julie. I will take this opportunity to say that my thoughts are with all of you in Australia. I have been following the news and what is happening there is awful. So, on our departure from Cayman Brac, the same was repeated. Ten blasts of the ship's whistle. Again requested by locals. I also learned an improvement to my English from Captain Tim. The ship's whistle gives a blast, not a blow as I wrote earlier 😄
  13. Happy New Year to all! We had a very enjoyable NYE dinner and deck party last night. The party appeared to go on later than usual, in previous years we've stayed to the end but last night we gave in to tiredness and returned to our suite well before it ended. Anyway it was great fun, everyone was having a wonderful time. Today we're at anchor in Cayman Islands, this island is called Cayman Brac. Sojourn announced her arrival to the locals this morning at approx 9.30 by giving ten blows of the ship's whistle. (Captain Tim did say that the locals had requested it). We're "resting" in recovery from last night so we didn't venture ashore but other guests said there are some stunning beaches here. I believe this port and the one we visited yesterday were both scheduled for the original Cuba itinerary that had to be cancelled. ,
  14. SLSD, sad to read that other Seabourn cruisers on a different ship are experiencing unpleasant behaviour by fellow guests. I've never before witnessed this sort of thing on a Seabourn ship. I feel sorry for the crew who have to deal with it. We may just be turning up in the wrong place at the wrong time, as one set of our friends haven't witnessed anything out of the ordinary. So today we're in Port Antonio, Jamaica. It's a beautiful spot. In fact the port information sheet provided at SB Square tells me that Errol Flynn, the actor, stated that this small bay was "more beautiful than any woman he had ever seen". He built a house here and the small marina is named after (for) him. Hoping it stays dry tonight for the NYE deck party. And lastly for now, I really cannot praise the wonderful Sojourn crew highly enough.
  15. Apologies to anyone who had been anticipating an ongoing, engaging 'Live From' thread, I just don't have the patience to waste my precious holiday time battling with poor internet signal ! (Just now am outside Seabourn Square where signal has been consistently good but it's been very poor in the suite.) I will upload menus and some Heralds when I'm back at home. This, for me at least, has been somewhat of a Tale of Two Cruises, will write more detail at some point. We're at sea todat en route to Port Antonio, Jamaica. (Somewhere I've never heard of).It's the Seabourn Club get together this evening, followed by Chef's Dinner in MDR. I've found the crowd overall to be less friendly on this segment since San Juan. Also encountered some disturbingly boorish behaviour which has been disappointing but I believe is a reflection of how society appears to be changing. As a British friend of mine often says "manners cost nowt" but it no longer seems that way! For samamina- Yesterday I finished the box of tissues in the bathroom. I replaced the old box with a fresh one from the pile under the sink. Fresh box is Kleenex, but is the last. The others are a brand with which I'm not familiar and are made in China.
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