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roaming_kiwi58

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About roaming_kiwi58

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    Christchurch, New Zealand
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    travel, history, reading
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    whatever cruiseline has the right itinerary for us.

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  1. Yes, I am sure you will have a great trip! A trip to Antarctica is something you will never forget!
  2. FYI Here is the link to my full review of our Fram trip: Fram Review by roaming_kiwi58
  3. We have done 6 Azamara and 3 Oceania cruises, and this month are due to do our 7th Azamara. Tried many other cruise lines too. In our opinion Azamara are ahead of Oceania in all respects. But we have only sailed in Oceania's R ships, and not tried the O ships. Every time we do an Oceania cruise I am bemused as to why people say their food is so good. We are not foodies, but we have had many very ho-hum, even poor meals on Oceania. We love the variety of food on Azamara, with their themed buffets, when they have one of the meals also available in the MDR. We have had many changed ports on Oceania, usually not advised until the day of embarkation, even though they obviously knew weeks before sailing (eg some of the Egyptian ports). We have also had ports dropped because of weather – understandable, but no effort to replace with something else – just an “enjoy your day at sea”, announced very late, when everyone had worked out we weren’t going to be docking anywhere. Poor communication. On Azamara when we had a port dropped due to weather they rejigged the itinerary and put in another port to replace it. We do not care about interaction with officers, but prefer the general ambience on Azamara, compared to Oceania. Itinerary is a big driver for us, so if Oceania have an itinerary that attracts us, we will book them, but they are certainly not our first choice. Fortunately everyone is different, with different likes and dislikes, so we are lucky to have so many choices for cruising!
  4. Hi Christie On the Fram we were in a Polar Outside N2 cabin. I am not sure what the floor area is and how it compares with the size of the inside cabins. Our cabin was "cosy". Definitely the smallest cabin we have ever had on any ship. The beds are quite narrow. There is little room for moving around in the cabin. One of the beds is folded up against the wall during the day. This gave you a bit more room to get dressed for your shore excursions - getting your waterproof trousers and muckboots on. Our suitcases did not fit under the beds. We just left them at the back of the space where they leave the tray that you sit your muckboots on. There were no drawers in our cabin, just a couple of shelves and the compact wardrobe. I really missed having at least one drawer for small items. You get used to the size of the cabin. We spent so little time in our cabin that it didn't matter that it was small. I would have booked an inside cabin if there had been any available when we booked, but they were all taken. I have been very busy and have so far not got my review of our trip finished to submit to Cruise Critic, but did just manage to get back to it a couple of days ago. I hope to submit it within the next few days. If I don't get it done soon it will just be history! If CC don't accept it I will post here. Hope this helps.
  5. We did Hong Kong to Singapore with Azamara a couple of years ago. Azamara attended to the visas for Vietnam. We were given a landing card which was stamped at the first Vietnamese port, then sometimes checked, or not, at each subsequent port. The cost charged to our onboard accounts was minimal. Enjoy your cruise!
  6. There is no predicting how any individual person will react to the altitude. Being fit and healthy is not necessarily an indication. As has been said, Cusco is higher than Machu Picchu. We did just notice the altitude in Cusco, but it was not a bother at all. We made sure we kept drinking water and we were fine. It was nothing like the 3 days we had in Lhasa, Tibet, where we felt as if we had an elephant sitting on our chest, particularly at night - sleep was difficult. Machu Picchu was no problem at all, for us. Don't want to scare anyone, just being realistic. Our guide in Peru belittled altitude sickness, saying it was all in the mind. An irresponsible attitude! Definitely do not underestimate the possible effect of altitude sickness, which is unpredictable! A few years ago our neighbour died of altitude sickness in Machu Picchu, despite having had a medical check before leaving home and getting the all clear from his doctor.
  7. We are from NZ. It sounds as if we are on the same cruise as you next month. NZers do not require visas for Turkey, even if staying in the country. However, we have been on Azamara before on itineraries that had 1 or 2 stops in Turkey, and there was no requirement for visas for any of the passengers. I am not aware that has changed.
  8. 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!
  9. Thanks for posting all this info. This is a really useful thread, with great detail! Particularly as we rather fancy this itinerary!
  10. 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!
  11. 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!
  12. 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!
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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