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Host Jazzbeau

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About Host Jazzbeau

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    New York
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    Jazz, food, wine
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    the next one
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    Farther
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  1. I will concede. I guess I have just numbed myself to overlook the rampant sloppiness in the Press these days [cue Paul Lynde singing "Kids"] – does anybody under 50 understand the proper use of the apostrophe???
  2. Many river cruise lines offer Tulip Time cruises. Triple occupancy cabins are rare – but AMA offers a cruise in 'late March 2020' [Mar. 30] on AmaKristina, which as one of their newest ships does have triple cabins – and that sailing is presently offering 'free air.' It will probably cost more than your canceled Vantage cruise, but it is an option. Ama has three ships on this route [so three sail dates every week] – only AmaKristina has the triple cabins, but you might be able to get 2 'Aquarium class' cabins on any of the ships at a reasonable fare.
  3. It isn't just cruise lines either – so many itineraries for land trips count your overnight flight to Europe as Day/Night One. If the deal includes 'free' air, I suppose that's legit. But most of the itineraries I see expect you to pay for 'Day/Night One' on your own dime! But I do prefer counting itineraries by nights, rather than days – so that they're not also taking credit for the last day when all they do is hustle me off the ship before I'm fully awake...
  4. I agree that most river cruises are generally similar, but the devil is in the details. Most new river ships are 443ft long and 38ft wide [the limit of the locks on the rivers]. Viking puts 190 passengers on, AMA only 156, Uniworld about the same as AMA, Crystal only 106. Cabin sizes and especially the size of public spaces are directly impacted by the number of passengers that have to be fit into the same total space. As to price: individual sailings may have special sale prices, but in general Crystal is the most expensive and Viking is the least, with the other two in the middle. IMHO a clear case of 'you get what you pay for.' One other similarity between Windstar and AMA: just as Windstar has the James Beard Foundation link, AMA is a member of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.
  5. New article on Cruise Critic: Viking River Cruises to Deploy 4 New Ships on Seine
  6. Meanwhile a Chilean military transport went down over the Drake passage – during the height of the cruise season to Antarctica. Should all cruises to Antarctica be cancelled? Travel has always been dangerous [ask Saint Paul]. Adults should be free to make their choices – and bear the responsibility.
  7. JP and Chris – this is perfect timing for me too, because we are planning a similar trip next summer. Our plan is to spend several days in Porto [sans car] including day trips to Braga/Guimaraes and the Douro Valley, then rent a car and drive to Coimbra, Alcobaca/Batalha, Tomar and Sintra, and finally return the car in Lisbon where we will spend a few days and board a Windstar cruise to Barcelona. I'm not worried about traffic in Porto (because we will follow the GPS from Avis straight out of town), but wonder about driving the mountain roads to and from Sintra – did you do that stretch?
  8. I'm not aware of any river cruise ship that has assigned tables at meals. Uniworld's decor is indeed over the top [the best description I've heard is that 'it appeared that Marie Antoinette had exploded in our bedroom'!] I haven't sailed Windstar [until next summer], but I have sailed Azamara and Crystal – and I recommend AmaWaterways river cruises. Set time for dinner but open seating – and happy hour free drinks in the hour preceding dinner [along with free flowing wine and beer at meals]. AMA also has a very robust schedule of included shore excursions – always several choices each day and often timed so you can do one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and sometimes one after dinner [on the Rhône cruise we went to a boulangerie after dinner and 'helped' make the next morning's baguettes - what a hoot!]
  9. At the cost of the ship's excursion for 3 people, you could consider hiring a private guide to take you around Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula. We ended up booking a pre-cruise extension that will bring us directly from Queenstown to the ship in Dunedin, but when we were considering a DIY pre-tour I had decided not to do the train because Otago seemed more interesting [Larnach Castle, Royal Albatross Centre, Yellow-Eyed Penguin Preserve, and other sites]
  10. It's hardly as if Azamara was the only cruise line offering this excursion – or as if this was the only dangerous excursion/activity available to travelers. White Island is offered on my upcoming Ponant circumnavigation of New Zealand, "Depending on the level of volcanic activity and sea state, guests will have the opportunity to land on White Island and take a guided walking tour through the crater and around the ruins of the old sulfur mine." Nobody was forcing anyone to sign up – but now all the nannies are piling on to take choice away.
  11. Here is Cruise Critic's article on the eruption: Cruise Passengers Injured and Missing After Volcano Eruption in New Zealand
  12. Here is Cruise Critic's article on the eruption: Cruise Passengers Injured and Missing After Volcano Eruption in New Zealand
  13. Here is Cruise Critic's article on the eruption: Cruise Passengers Injured and Missing After Volcano Eruption in New Zealand
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