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  #1  
Old June 11th, 2012, 03:33 PM
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RachelG RachelG is offline
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Default Silver explorer: Reykjavik to longyearbyen June 13-25 live

Sitting in the airport at Tulsa getting ready to fly to Boston for the trip to Iceland tomorrow. Since icelandair is the only airline serving Iceland from the US, and since they only fly a few places in the US, we have a choice of JFK, Boston, Orlando, Minneapolis, or Seattle as the place to start the Iceland portion of the journey. Boston or JFK were the obvious choices for us, and the Boston schedule worked better. Plus, I like Boston.

We will spend the night at the airport Hilton. The plan for tomorrow am is to visit the arboretum. Icelandair flights from the US to Iceland used to only be at night. Even if you were in business class, it was pretty uncomfortable as their business class seats are the same as regular domestic first class on American. Now they have added afternoon flights from bostonand JFK, so it is much better. You arrive at about midnight, but this time of year, it will still be light. And with the time difference, I won't be ready for bed yet.

I don't know how much posting I will be able to do once onboard and north of Reykjavik. From previous experience, I know that the satellite Internet connections are pretty iffy once you get that far north. But I will give it a go. We do have a nice onboard credit at can e used, if I can get online.

I have never packed so much stuff for a trip--multiple pairs of gloves, fleece, long underwear, rainwear, boots. But we were under the weight limit, so ok.
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  #2  
Old June 11th, 2012, 04:09 PM
SusanNJ SusanNJ is offline
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Eat before the flight. They will hand you a bottle of water. The food they offer for sale is nothing you would want to eat, but you'll make up for it on the cruise.
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Old June 11th, 2012, 05:35 PM
Stumblefoot Stumblefoot is offline
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Have a great time Rachel. Looking forward to your perspective on SS, as well as Iceland Air. IA just started non-stop service to DEN, so they may be a future option for us cruisers locked in the Colorado mountains.
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  #4  
Old June 11th, 2012, 07:15 PM
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Hope George and you have a terrific Antarctic Exployer voyage, look fwd to your posts.
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  #5  
Old June 11th, 2012, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colonel(Ret.)Wes View Post
Hope George and you have a terrific Antarctic Exployer voyage, look fwd to your posts.
You are close Wes, they are going to an area startiing with an A but, it is the Arctic as they start in Iceland.

Arctic, Antarctic, not much difference, lots of ice and snow.
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  #6  
Old June 11th, 2012, 08:23 PM
txladycruiser txladycruiser is offline
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Looking forward to your reports, Rachel!



Karen
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  #7  
Old June 11th, 2012, 11:11 PM
Ms Understood Ms Understood is offline
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Bon Voyage, Rachel. I am also looking forward to your reports since we are Silver Explorer-bound next year, Churchill to Kangerlussag (?)
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  #8  
Old June 12th, 2012, 03:21 AM
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Enjoy your trip. I will be looking foreward to your reports, as we are doing Reykjavik to Churchill on the Explorer next year. Did you spend anytime in Reykjavik ??
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  #9  
Old June 12th, 2012, 07:51 AM
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Sitting in the exec lounge at the Boston Airport Hilton sipping my green tea.

Totally fine flights on AA TUL-DFW-BOS. We hit a little bumpiness between DFW and BOS, ironically as we were flying over TUL (as we had to fly south to fly north), which caused the captain to have the flight attendents stay seated for a while, but nothing bad.

Highly rec the Airport Hilton in Boston, esp if you are Hilton Honors Gold or above. We got an upgrade to the exec floor (11th floor) with a great view, and the lounge has a pretty good continental breakfast with pastries, lots of fruit, cereal, boiled eggs. They have a free shuttle between the airport terminals, or you could walk (it would be a ways with the luggage).

Helen, we are signed up for the Churchill cruise next year too.

Rojaan, we have been to Reykjavik before and enjoyed it. This time, we will only have the overnight there before embarking. But we have 3 ports in Iceland, all along the northern coast. We have explored the central and southern parts, so this is new stuff for us. Iceland is so beautiful, and I am excited about the Arctic too.

George forgot his sunglasses, so this am we are off to get some and explore the arboretum.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 10:22 AM
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Looking forward to your posts, Rachel. Have a dandy!
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  #11  
Old June 12th, 2012, 01:44 PM
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Sitting in the virgin Atlantic lounge in Boston. Icelandair uses this as their contract lounge. Over the top amazing. Great food to order. I had just some tomato veg soup plus cheese and crackers, but George had a panini with turkey and cheese, clam chowder and salad. All great. I had a little bite of the sandwich. All sorts of beer, wine, drinks all included. And hardly anyone here this time of day. We have one waiter to ourselves, and he is searching for stuff to do for us.

It was worth the extra cost of Saga class just to avoid the huge, going on forever line at checking at Boston Logan. The coach class line went forever. I am happy to sit here, drink wine, and relax till the flight.

We did have to go shopping this am as George forgot his sunglasses. I took him to Faneuil Market. He was amazed at my knowledge of the Boston subway system.

The afternoon flight in icelandair is definitely the one to take. There was no wait at all at security.
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  #12  
Old June 13th, 2012, 04:43 AM
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Default The flight over and night at Hilton Reykjavik

Icelandair flys 757son their long hauls. Saga class (business class) is about the equivalent of domestic first in the US. Seats are comfortable, but do not recline much. They have the built in entertainment in the setback, with several movies, but I had seen all of the ones that I would ha e been interested in. So I read my book.
Champagne offered before take off, then drinks and some packaged snack mix. Dinner was choice of lamb, chicken stuffed with spinach or bacalao. I had the chicken--ok, but a little dry. George had the fish. He ate it all, so I guess it was ok. Starter was a smoked meat pate. No salad. Fruit for dessert.

Reykjavik airport is very Scandinavian looked with light wood floors and lots of glass. Zipped through customs. Luggage took a little bit.
I had pre booked a car and driver through Icelandic taxis as I knew we would be tired. The other options would be renting a car (which we did previously), finding a taxi on arrival, or taking the fly bus. The fly bus is a good deal for 1 or 2 people cost wise, but you have to wait till the bus is full to leave the airport. That could take a while. Plus you would have to deal with the luggage.

It is quite a ways from the airport to Reykjavik. No traffic and it took about 30 min. Taxis here take credit cards.

Hilton is outside of the main downtown, but not too far. I can see the harbor and the regent voyager from where I am sitting in the exec lounge. There is another smaller ship that I can just see the top of-- I suspect that is explorer.

The Hilton is very modern looking, again with lots of glass, Scandinavian furniture,etc. The bathroom however has one of those really high step up bathtubs with the shower in the tub. I am not that short, but I hate those as I always fall or try to fall getting out.

Breakfast in the exec lounge is adequate. They have skyr which is my favorite Icelandic food. Wifi is extra for everyone except Hilton gold and diamond, and the prices look high.

We will walk around town this am. Boarding time is 3.
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  #13  
Old June 13th, 2012, 05:34 PM
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Default Day 1--June 13

Day 1--June 13--embarkation

, I was wrong, as the explorer was not the ship that was beside regent voyager. *George and I hiked downtown from the Hilton to have a look around, and there was our ship at the dock in the old harbor. *That is really nice because it means that you can get right off the ship and shop or walk around the downtown area.

We had lunch at 2 places actually. *We had our first course at the Sea Baron, a very basic place that specializes in lobster soup. *Then we went across the street to Icelandic Fish and Chips where we had steamed Icelandic lobster and oven roasted potatoes. *Very messy but good. *Then a good hike back to the Hilton to collect the luggage.

Embarkation was a breeze. *We just walked up, they took the luggage, and we went onboard where we were offered sparkling wine, *got our key cards and had our pictures taken.

Melissa, our very capable butler from south Africa, was right there to show us to the cabin. *We are in an explorer cabin which means we have a picture window. *There is one category below ours, same size, but with portholes. *The room is pretty small, but I was able to find a place for everything. *Closet is really small, which is bad because of having to take so much bulky clothing. *Bathroom is also very small, one person at a time for sure. *The tub/shower is combined. *Nice Bulgari toiletries.

Bed is queen size. *It is too low to be able to store our larger suitcases under, so Melissa is trying to find somewhere to put them. *Outlets in rooms are European, so Melissa brought us an adapter.

Safety briefing was quite thorough, with everyone in the theater. *We did have to wear our life jackets out to the lifeboats.

There are 2 other Oklahoma couples on board, one from OKC (go Thunder) and another from salpulpa which is right by Tulsa. * That is really weird for such a small ship.

Sail away at 6. *On deck with drinks. *Voyager sailed away at same time. I waved though doubt anyone saw me. *Then briefing for tomorrow followed by dinner. One of the waiters thought we were return silversea people. *Turns out he knew us from Regent navigator. *He was really pleased to see us I think.

Dinner for me was quite good. *A starter of chilled beet soup, followed by a light salad then a local cod main dish. *All excellent. *George did not have such good luck. *His shrimp starter and cannelloni intermezzo were good, but the pork he ordered came out very rare, actually raw as on blood dripping out. *Not a good way to serve pork. *They were very kind and offered to get another dish, but that throws off the entire meal. *Anyway he had plenty to eat. *We did notice that the table next to us had the same dish but much more well done. *
One thing I did notice about the dining room is that the tables are extremely close together. Almost impossible for the waiters to pass through at some points.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 06:05 PM
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Thanks Rachel, wonderful first on board report, look fwd to more please.
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  #15  
Old June 13th, 2012, 06:39 PM
Stumblefoot Stumblefoot is offline
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Originally Posted by Colonel(Ret.)Wes View Post
Thanks Rachel, wonderful first on board report, look fwd to more please.
I agree. Look forward to more as we are considering this ship for the future.
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  #16  
Old June 13th, 2012, 10:34 PM
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I luv reading live blogs...thankx very much RachelG for taking the time to write. I'm really enjoying it.

Cheers
Jennifer
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Old June 13th, 2012, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RachelG View Post
Day 1--June 13--embarkation......
We had lunch at 2 places actually. *We had our first course at the Sea Baron, a very basic place that specializes in lobster soup. *Then we went across the street to Icelandic Fish and Chips where we had steamed Icelandic lobster and oven roasted potatoes. *Very messy but good. *Then a good hike back to the Hilton to collect the luggage.

That all sounds great Rachel. I am taking notes for when we are in Reykjavik August 2013. We are staying at the Hilton too for a few day pre-cruise. But we will hire a a car as it will be our one and only time there.

Are you spending anytime in Longyearbyen ?

Ann
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IBERIA 1969 Sydney -Fiji - Sydney
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SIKUMI 2006 8 day Inside Passage Alaska
ATHALA II 2008 8 days Galapagos cruise
ORION July 2009 Broome - Darwin
PRINCE ALBERT II August 2010 Arctic
ORION December 2010 Antarctic -Mawsons Hut
SILVER SHADOW July 2011 - Incheon to Anchorage
SILVER WIND July 2012 - Black Sea -Istanbul to Istanbul
SILVER CLOUD November 2012 Barbados -Amazon -Barbados
SILVER EXPLORER March/April 2013 Capetown to Accra Ghana
SILVER EXPLORER July 2013 Reykjavik Iceland to Churchill Canada

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  #18  
Old June 14th, 2012, 04:49 PM
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Default Day 2--June 14

Day 2--June 14 2012--grundarfjordur Iceland

No worries about oversleeping here. *At 6:30, there was a loud grinding sound as the ship came alongside the pier at grundarfjordur. *We are not at anchor, so not sure what that was about. *At any rate, it was time to get up to "a glorious day". *Bright and sunny, no wind, temp about 45.

On one side is a small neat village that reminds me of Norway. *In the background are snow covered mountains. *We are indeed in a fjord, and if someone just put me here and asked where I was, I would swear Norway. *Lots of seabirds all round. *There is a big waterfall quite close. *If we were in the US, that alone would be a huge tourist attraction.

They have pastries, proper tea, coffee in the observation lounge in the am, as well as breakfast in the dining room or room service. *I opted for a nice cup of tea and did a couple of laps around the ship outside on deck 6 which is the closest thing to a walking track there is. *You wouldn't really be able to run well there, but I walked pretty fast just to stretch my legs. *It is sort of like being on a hamster wheel, but will have to do. *The exercise room is tiny, with only 1 elliptical and 1 treadmill. *Not sure how that is going to work when we are further north if I can't workout outside.

Anyway, everyone went on the same excursion today. *They had 3 buses, and we went all the way around the snaefellsnes glacier, getting out at various spots to hike a little. *Saw some amazing lava formations, a lot of birds, the glacier from all sides. *We had lunch of cream of mushroom soup, followed by cod, and a sort of apple crisp for dessert. *The soup was amazing. *All done at a local hotel. *Then we went to a farm where they make the dried putrified shark. *I had a bit--not terrible, I could eat it if I were starving, very salty with sort of a urea aftertaste. *A pretty good excursion though I would have liked more hiking.

Captains reception tonight. *Last evening, I was a bit concerned as I felt there were a lot of people inappropriately dressed after 6 pm. *It was casual, but that means no jeans. *There were a lot of jeans. *However, tonight was much better. *Everyone I saw was wearing appropriate attire--lots of nice dresses, *some men in jackets but none with jeans.

Dinner was quite good. * Lobster, filet, lamb or the vegetarian option of polenta. *George's beef was cooked as ordered. *I had a taste, and it was pretty good. *Not as good as beef from our ranch, but we have very high standards.

I am writing these reports on my iPad then cutting and pasting to avoid huge charges. *Excuse the typos. *I try to catch them, but miss a few. *Definitely type better on a regular keyboard without spellcheck.

Thanks for all your warm wishes. *I do check the cc website from time to time and will address any questions. *Rojaan, no we aren't spending any extra time in longyearbyen. *Not sure what we would do as they don't allow you to Roam around on your own.
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  #19  
Old June 14th, 2012, 04:50 PM
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I don't know what is going on with all the asterisks. I am not putting them in there!
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  #20  
Old June 14th, 2012, 05:33 PM
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Dont worry about the asterisks Rachel.This is really whetting my appetite for our Reykjavik to Churchill cruise next year.Keep up the good work.
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ORION - December 2010 Antarctica- Mawsons Hut
SILVER SHADOW - May 2011 - Incheon to Anchorage
SILVER WIND-July 2012-Black Sea
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