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roaming_kiwi58

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    Christchurch, New Zealand
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    whatever cruiseline has the right itinerary for us.

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  1. No, we did not wear another jacket underneath. If you layer you can adjust for the weather, Depending on weather we had either short or long sleeved tshirts, then a fleecy jersey, then the Fram jacket. Also gloves and hats. You are going to Svalbard, which I have not visited, so I can't comment, but certainly Antarctica is not as cold as you might expect. Some calm sunny days it got relatively warm! But the wind could be very cold, if it was windy. We were quite happy with the shampoo on board. Water, tea and coffee was available any time - help yourself from the machines by the shop. Water was provided with meals. All other drinks you had to pay for. Rather than single glasses, we bought bottles of wine and you could drink a glass or two and they would put the rest of the bottle away for another meal. The lower grade cabins are extremely compact, so you certainly don't spend more time in them than you have to. And anyway, you have to be somewhere to see the views. The Observation Lounge at the front and top of the ship is a nice space and a good viewpoint. But it is not the place to be if the seas get rough! If you need to be lower down the ship in rough weather, there is quite a nice space by reception, but it is not that large. Hope this helps!
  2. Thanks for posting all this info. This is a really useful thread, with great detail! Particularly as we rather fancy this itinerary!
  3. We did a trip on Fram to Antarctica this last December/January. When we were issued the jacket we were a bit disappointed, as it seemed quite flimsy. However, it turned out to be an excellent jacket - light but warm and comfortable to wear. It did a very good job on our trip. It is bright red in colour, with a fluro yellow hood! I have worn mine a lot here at home this autumn, but my husband won't wear his because of the colour!
  4. You will not regret an expedition trip to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands, or even just the Antarctic Peninsula if you don't want to do the full 3 week trip. Though I would strongly recommend including South Georgia if you possibly can. It really is the trip of a lifetime...no doubt about that! I can't imagine for a minute how anyone could be disappointed with the scenery and the wildlife!
  5. Hi Fogfog & Bella0714 On the expedition trip you get much closer to the scenery and in particular, the wildlife. The scenery on the drive by is pretty good along the Antarctic Peninsula, and that really wowed us when we did our first trip down there with HAL. You do see some wildlife, but not closeup. On the expedition trip you really get up close to the scenery and the wildlife! The literally hundreds of thousands of penguins are just amazing (disclosure – I am a penguin fanatic!). They are very curious and not scared of people. We were not allowed to walk up close to them, but if you just stand there they will voluntarily come up to you. We also saw lots of other birds and different seal species and whales. You just don’t see the wildlife in that detail on the drive by. To our surprise, we considered South Georgia to be the highlight of our expedition trip. The scenery is great and the wildlife is beyond imagination! Of course what you see is very weather dependent. And the weather can change extremely quickly. On the expedition trip they did try to find alternative landing sites where possible, and this happened several times. But on the last day near the Antarctic Peninsula we had 2 landings cancelled because of too much ice for the polarcirkel boats to operate. As there was ice everywhere there were no alternatives and we just cruised around for the day, admiring the scenery. Our expedition cruise to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica (22 nights with Hurtigruten) was three times the cost of our drive by on HAL, a 21 night cruise from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires. I would love to do the expedition trip again, but it is just too much money to spend on one trip which we have done before. We are thinking we might do the drive by again in a few years time. I would love to return to South Georgia again on an expedition trip, more than the Antarctic Peninsula. When we booked our expedition trip there were actually a few trips that did the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, without the Antarctic Peninsula. Having done all three now, I would be interested in doing the Falkland Islands and South Georgia again, but I haven’t seen any of these shorter trips lately. On the HAL drive by both crossings of the Drake Passage were very smooth. On the expedition trip it was very rough between South Georgia and Antarctica, and a lot of passengers and crew were seasick. We also had it very rough across the Drake Passage returning to Ushuaia. Crockery and cutlery in the restaurant was flying everywhere and it was difficult to stay upright when walking. I have started a full review of our expedition trip for Cruise Critic, but have been very busy and have not found the time to finish it. I will try and get back to it! If I don't do it soon, then it will be history! I can give you more information on our specific itinerary for the expedition trip if you want it, bearing in mind that every trip is different. Hope this helped answer some of your queries!
  6. If the information is of any help to anyone, we walked from Osanbashi cruise terminal to the Nihon-Odori Station, where we caught a train to Yokohama Station, then a train to Narita. It was fast, comfortable and easy. But I know the OP is asking about the Skybus rather than the train, and not sure you mean the Osanbashi terminal.
  7. Totally agree! We just returned last month from a trip with Hurtigruten to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica. We had previously done a sail by with HAL to Antarctica, also stopping at Stanley in the Falklands. We decided we had to do some landings in Antarctica before we get too old! If you are doing an expedition trip to Antarctica, then adding South Georgia and the Falklands is a must, IMO. The wildlife is just beyond imagination! Literally hundreds of thousands of penguins as far as the eye can see. We loved the wildlife in all three places, but I think South Georgia was probably the most impressive. Would love to go again, on another expedition cruise, but the cost has to be considered unfortunately.
  8. Hi Mary Getting off the topic of the original post, but if I can just add in here, as I was reading this thread... Having done both Erice & Segesta, I would also recommend Erice. Segesta is spread out and a bit like many other temples we have seen elsewhere. Erice is in a gorgeous position (yes, hope for a nice day!) and there is a wider variety of sights, depending on whether you are interested in architecture, churches, museums, souvenir shopping, scenery...or whatever. We had a great day in Erice. You can get a ticket which will get you admission into numerous places of interest at a reasonable price. Definitely a more interesting and varied day in Erice.
  9. We were in Montevideo a couple of years ago. It is easy to walk from the cruise terminal. Lots of interesting buildings. We actually walked as far as the monument in Parque Batlle, which is very impressive. But we are big walkers - it is about 8kms each way from the cruise terminal. The majority of the interesting part of town is not that far out!! There is a lot to see quite close to the cruise terminal too. We enjoyed our DIY walking tour of Montevideo.
  10. Today is the day we were due to fly to Bucharest from London, where we have been for a week. When Uniworld told us the cruise was cancelled we made other arrangements. When they came back a day later to say they may reinstate it, but could not decide for another few days we had already cancelled our flight to Bucharest and made other hotel bookings, so were not interested in having to wait to see what they were doing. We are picking up a rental car today and going down to Devon & Cornwall for 4 nights, then flying to Budapest for 5 days. Then continuing on as previously planned from Budapest. As I understand it the cruise prior to ours was cancelled, so there would be no boat to start our trip from Bucharest anyway. Uniworld promised a full refund, but no costs towards changed flights. We have insurance so can claim. We deal with a TA so the advice of cancellation came through our TA.
  11. We were booked on Uniworld Bucharest to Budapest 27 August to 5 September. Yesterday we were advised that it has been cancelled. We are in the process of reorganising flights and accommodation to do something else. Have just been advised that they are thinking about reinstating it, but won't decide until Tuesday. Apparently there is rain expected over the weekend. We are sticking with our reorganised plans. If we reinstate plan A they could still decide in a few days time to re cancel if the expected rain does not arrive!! We are in New Zealand and due to leave for Europe this Sunday. I realise water levels are beyond their control, but this inability to decide whether they are operating or not is no good for the travellers!
  12. Hi Bella0714 My husband in particular is into cruising because he loves the fact you only unpack once while visiting so many destinations. I still think land tours have their place, and there are many places a long way from a cruise port I would like to visit! But I have a battle each year trying to persuade him to stay on land sometimes! And it is me that has to do the packing and unpacking all the time! We do not cruise for the on board experience either. We are not into the games and often the shows are not to our taste. We always prefer to dine on our own. The exception being that in the last 3 years an older single Australian friend has sometimes travelled with us. So you will never find us on a large cruise ship which has lots of entertainment etc available on board. We prefer the smaller ships (Azamara being our favourite cruiseline) which are usually port intensive itineraries. We are not lovers of at sea days! We like to be ashore investigating a new (or a favourite old!) place. Where practical we like to do our own thing ashore, walking a lot in a day if necessary (record 30kms in Georgetown, Penang! Getting too old to beat that record, I think!). But if transport is required we will often do ship or private tours. The HAL Zaandam trip had quite a few at sea days, but they had so many lectures about Antarctic related topics and the lecturers on our cruise were all very interesting speakers, so attending the lectures really filled up our days. And the Antarctic scenery was so surreal, just amazing. Yes, we were smitten! There are some aspects of HAL we are not impressed with, such as the food, which we find very bland and boring (and we are not foodies). But, we travel with them for the itinerary, which is our number one consideration. Falklands was definitely also a highlight. And we enjoyed Ushuaia - we just wandered the town on our own. Montevideo was another port we were able to walk the city and see a lot. Porto Chacabuco was probably the least memorable. It did not help that it rained most of the day. We did a ship excursion into Coyhaique City, which was okay, but I wouldn't repeat it if we ever ended up back there. Castro we did on our own - it is an interesting town, with a really spectacular wooden church - you have to see the inside of it. The area is famous for numerous wooden churches, but most you need transport to get to. Anyway, all this was no doubt in my report. I just don't think you can go wrong with the HAL Antarctic cruise - unless you are unlucky enough to get a lot of poor weather. Falklands is often cancelled due to bad weather, and we had one day in Antarctica when it was so foggy we could not see anything at all and the fog horn was going constantly. But a bit of clear weather and the views are just amazing, unforgettable. Whichever itinerary you decide to do, I have no doubt you will enjoy it!
  13. We did the HAL trip a couple of years ago. The onboard lecturers were superb. The Chilean Fjords were totally underwhelming. (We have better ones here in our home country of NZ.) The day at the Falklands was amazing - we did a private tour to Bertha's Beach and were lucky enough to see King Penguins as well as Gentoo Penguins. Time in Stanley to do the great souvenir shops! The captain really made an effort to avoid some bad weather and we got to Antarctica early, to get some truly amazing sights. I can't comment on the Princess one, but the HAL trip was brilliant, and I would do it again. That is, if we weren't doing an expedition trip to Antarctica, Falkland Islands & South Georgia this coming December! I know a lot of people say "do the expedition cruise to do Antarctica properly", but the "cruise by" is truly amazing and surreal too. We were pretty happy seeing it without landing. The expedition trip is extremely expensive and if we were not in a position to do it I would certainly be more than happy to repeat the "cruise by", with HAL. You certainly would not be disappointed in the HAL cruise (provided the weather co-operates). Don't know how the Princess one would compare.
  14. We missed Heimaey, Iceland last year on a Prinsendam voyage, due to weather. They replaced it with Scrabster, Scotland. But then the seas were too rough to get into Scrabster, so that was cancelled as well! We moved on to our next port of call, Kirkwall, and arrived the evening before we were due. Had to wait for another ship to leave before we could dock there for an unplanned overnight.
  15. I have been able to get Diet Sprite on several Azamara cruises, sometimes but not always Sprite Zero.
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