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  #1  
Old August 6th, 2012, 03:13 AM
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NorbertsNiece NorbertsNiece is offline
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Default Solo in Singapore / Shanghai

Hi everyone,

I am looking at a B2B which starts and ends in the above ports.

I would be really grateful for any advice on being a Solo Traveller in the Far East and in particular in Singapore and Shanghai. This would be one amazing adventure.

Your thoughts are much appreciated.

Linda
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Linda
--------------------------------------
Where I've been :
Not called a blog but it is one :
Day visit to Celebrity Eclipse July 5th 2014 here
Legend of the Seas - Ultimate Scandinavia & Russia – June 18th 2014 Bit of a blog here
Adventure of the Seas - Westbound Transatlantic - 4th November 2013 Bit of a blog here
M/S Chardonnay : Cote d'Azur - Paris : 1st August 2013 Bit of a blog here
Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean - 17th March 2013 Bit of a (surprise) blog here
Adventure of the Seas – B2B in the Caribbean – 18th November 2012 Bit of a blog :here
Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean - 26th November 2011 Bit of a blog :here Link to pics : here and here
Adventure of the Seas - 5 Nights out of Malaga - 8th November 2010
Bit of a blog : here
Radiance of the Seas - Alaska Cruise Tour - 31st July 2010 Bit of a blog : here Link to Linda's FB pics : here Some of Darran's pics are here
Jewel of the Seas - Panama Canal - 2nd March 2009 Bit of a blog : here
Link to pics : here
Independence of the Seas - Treasures of the Med - 20th Sept 2008 Bit of a blog : here

Where I'm Going :
Oasis of the Seas - 18th September 2014 : B2B : Barcelona - Barcelona - Rotterdam
Rhapsody of the Seas - 3rd May 2015 : Singapore - Dubai
Celebrity Solstice - 14th February 2016 : B2B : Auckland - Perth (Fremantle) - Sydney
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  #2  
Old August 6th, 2012, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorbertsNiece View Post
Hi everyone,

I am looking at a B2B which starts and ends in the above ports.

I would be really grateful for any advice on being a Solo Traveller in the Far East and in particular in Singapore and Shanghai. This would be one amazing adventure.

Your thoughts are much appreciated.

Linda
Linda, I have not been to Shanghai but I have been to Singapore. Singapore is a beutiful clean city and is quite safe. I toured the orchid gardens there and they are very pretty if you enjoy that sort of thing. The cuisine in Singapore is also very good. Its kind of a mix of Chinese, Malay, Thai, and Indian food, so you can find a lot of variety. I really enjoyed Singapore and I think you will too. Neil
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  #3  
Old August 6th, 2012, 02:48 PM
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Thank Neil, really appreciate the response.

Linda
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Linda
--------------------------------------
Where I've been :
Not called a blog but it is one :
Day visit to Celebrity Eclipse July 5th 2014 here
Legend of the Seas - Ultimate Scandinavia & Russia – June 18th 2014 Bit of a blog here
Adventure of the Seas - Westbound Transatlantic - 4th November 2013 Bit of a blog here
M/S Chardonnay : Cote d'Azur - Paris : 1st August 2013 Bit of a blog here
Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean - 17th March 2013 Bit of a (surprise) blog here
Adventure of the Seas – B2B in the Caribbean – 18th November 2012 Bit of a blog :here
Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean - 26th November 2011 Bit of a blog :here Link to pics : here and here
Adventure of the Seas - 5 Nights out of Malaga - 8th November 2010
Bit of a blog : here
Radiance of the Seas - Alaska Cruise Tour - 31st July 2010 Bit of a blog : here Link to Linda's FB pics : here Some of Darran's pics are here
Jewel of the Seas - Panama Canal - 2nd March 2009 Bit of a blog : here
Link to pics : here
Independence of the Seas - Treasures of the Med - 20th Sept 2008 Bit of a blog : here

Where I'm Going :
Oasis of the Seas - 18th September 2014 : B2B : Barcelona - Barcelona - Rotterdam
Rhapsody of the Seas - 3rd May 2015 : Singapore - Dubai
Celebrity Solstice - 14th February 2016 : B2B : Auckland - Perth (Fremantle) - Sydney
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  #4  
Old August 6th, 2012, 05:47 PM
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Been to both cities, though not on a cruise. As a city dweller, I think you'll find a lot of things to be familiar in Shanghai and Singapore. The ports might be more more distinctively historic Asia than these big cities, though Shanghai and Singapore have excellent food and shopping. Singapore has good local food in Hawker Centers (giant food courts) and the blend of cultures makes for some interesting combinations.

Bring your own medications including things for upset stomach and be sure to get plenty of rest as you won't have a co-traveler to take care of you if you don't feel well. Many over the counter meds in UK, USA, CA are prescription only in Singapore and I'm assuming you don't speak Mandarin to get by in Shanghai drugstore? Depending on when you go, be prepared for humidity. I'm from a drier area and humidity tires me out quickly.

Ignore pushy touts in Shanghai. There don't seem to be many during the day at major tourist attractions but I did see some gypsy cabs preying on non-Chinese at the Maglev station (from the Airport). I haven't encountered the Tea House scam but it is out there http://www.shanghaiexpat.com/phpbbfo...m-t109952.html The metro in Shanghai is manageable in English and cabs are plentiful but get the address written down in Chinese in case the cabbie doesn't speak English.

You can use the ATMs to get local cash as needed.

Last edited by travelpeon; August 6th, 2012 at 05:55 PM.
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  #5  
Old August 6th, 2012, 05:56 PM
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NorbertsNiece NorbertsNiece is offline
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Thanks travelpeon. I'm trying to figure out why I'm more nervous about going solo to the Far East than I am about going to Europe. I'm looking at June next year and the alternative is Baltics (no fly) which is extremely expensive in comparison. It's to do with culture and language differences I think.... need to work on this.
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Linda
--------------------------------------
Where I've been :
Not called a blog but it is one :
Day visit to Celebrity Eclipse July 5th 2014 here
Legend of the Seas - Ultimate Scandinavia & Russia – June 18th 2014 Bit of a blog here
Adventure of the Seas - Westbound Transatlantic - 4th November 2013 Bit of a blog here
M/S Chardonnay : Cote d'Azur - Paris : 1st August 2013 Bit of a blog here
Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean - 17th March 2013 Bit of a (surprise) blog here
Adventure of the Seas – B2B in the Caribbean – 18th November 2012 Bit of a blog :here
Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean - 26th November 2011 Bit of a blog :here Link to pics : here and here
Adventure of the Seas - 5 Nights out of Malaga - 8th November 2010
Bit of a blog : here
Radiance of the Seas - Alaska Cruise Tour - 31st July 2010 Bit of a blog : here Link to Linda's FB pics : here Some of Darran's pics are here
Jewel of the Seas - Panama Canal - 2nd March 2009 Bit of a blog : here
Link to pics : here
Independence of the Seas - Treasures of the Med - 20th Sept 2008 Bit of a blog : here

Where I'm Going :
Oasis of the Seas - 18th September 2014 : B2B : Barcelona - Barcelona - Rotterdam
Rhapsody of the Seas - 3rd May 2015 : Singapore - Dubai
Celebrity Solstice - 14th February 2016 : B2B : Auckland - Perth (Fremantle) - Sydney
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  #6  
Old August 6th, 2012, 06:40 PM
travelpeon travelpeon is offline
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Does it help that Singaporeans speak English and often speak at least two languages? It is a very cosmopolitan business oriented city and quite safe. I saw plenty of non-Asians in the grocery stores and the street signs are in English.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore#Languages

Shanghai is a little harder to communicate in English and you may have to be a bit more assertive to get where you're going because of the sheer amount of people. You can get around some of that with a tour or asking the hotel doorman for a taxi. It is perfectly fine to order things by numbers if they're on the menu or to just point at which one you want. There's still plenty of conversation done with pointing even in Mandarin and the middle finger is sometimes used as the pointer (though don't do this yourself of course, just be sure someone is trying to give the three finger salute rather than pointing).

Culturally, Singapore is kind of like going to a co-worker's home. Be polite and eat what's put in front of you. Don't bring up politics or religion and don't chime in with your own opinions on those two topics.

In Shanghai, it is similar except stand your ground, politely but firm, if people get pushy. Personal space isn't nearly as large as I'd think a New Yorker or Londoner would give and you could get edged right out of a bus or not even get on one if you're not assertive. It is a densely populated city and manners aren't the same. Use the restrooms in hotels, upper end restaurants, and shopping centers. They're cleaner. Eat at clean upper end restaurants and don't be surprised if you still get a bit of tummy trouble.

I think the biggest difference might be local food. There is a wise rule when you grow up in a Chinese household pertaining to food - don't ask what is in it, just eat it if they put it on your plate. State allergies upfront.
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  #7  
Old August 6th, 2012, 06:58 PM
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My experience with Singapore is that it's a very clean, safe and friendly city and everyone spoke English that I ran into. Although I wasn't solo on my one visit, I would have no qualms about returning.

Shanghai can be a little more of a challenge, especially if you don't speak Shanghaiese or Mandarin. In addition, be very careful when crossing streets in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai on foot. You may be in the crosswalk and have a green walking signal, but pedestrians there don't have the right of way, which I found out in a hurry.
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  #8  
Old August 7th, 2012, 01:04 AM
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I agree with everything people have posted about Singapore. I was there with a friend for three days but she loves to walk and I have bad knees so I have to rest more so we did alot on our own. I never had any problems getting around, talking with people in stores/restaurants/etc. Beautiful city.

I was in Shanghai 24 years ago so things have likely changed a great deal. It was the most "western" of the Chinese cities we visited.
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  #9  
Old August 7th, 2012, 02:37 AM
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Gosh.

You guys have been awesome with your replies. So very much appreciated. I do feel like something of a pioneer even considering this itinerary but my 'bucket list' insists that I visit new ports of call!

If you've cruised RCCL in this neck of the woods how are the menus altered to cater for the local market? I've no real concerns as I used to eat anything and would try everything but am lately Gluten Free !! Are announcements on board multi language? I'd quite relish an 'immersion' cruise.... best way to learn a language!!
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Linda
--------------------------------------
Where I've been :
Not called a blog but it is one :
Day visit to Celebrity Eclipse July 5th 2014 here
Legend of the Seas - Ultimate Scandinavia & Russia – June 18th 2014 Bit of a blog here
Adventure of the Seas - Westbound Transatlantic - 4th November 2013 Bit of a blog here
M/S Chardonnay : Cote d'Azur - Paris : 1st August 2013 Bit of a blog here
Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean - 17th March 2013 Bit of a (surprise) blog here
Adventure of the Seas – B2B in the Caribbean – 18th November 2012 Bit of a blog :here
Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean - 26th November 2011 Bit of a blog :here Link to pics : here and here
Adventure of the Seas - 5 Nights out of Malaga - 8th November 2010
Bit of a blog : here
Radiance of the Seas - Alaska Cruise Tour - 31st July 2010 Bit of a blog : here Link to Linda's FB pics : here Some of Darran's pics are here
Jewel of the Seas - Panama Canal - 2nd March 2009 Bit of a blog : here
Link to pics : here
Independence of the Seas - Treasures of the Med - 20th Sept 2008 Bit of a blog : here

Where I'm Going :
Oasis of the Seas - 18th September 2014 : B2B : Barcelona - Barcelona - Rotterdam
Rhapsody of the Seas - 3rd May 2015 : Singapore - Dubai
Celebrity Solstice - 14th February 2016 : B2B : Auckland - Perth (Fremantle) - Sydney
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  #10  
Old August 20th, 2012, 05:59 PM
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I just saw this thread, and having lived in both Singapore and Shanghai (and several countries in Europe), I can honestly say that you have absolutely nothing to worry about. While in China, I could have walked naked down the middle of the street at 3 am with RMB plastered to my body and nothing would have happened. I would have gotten a few stares, but any western woman over 5'4" and 85 lbs stood out there. Singapore is very very easy, the taxi drivers are the least fluent english speakers I met, but it is clean, relatively compact, and easy to get around. In Shanghai, I would recommend stopping first at one of the many Dragonfly locations for a combo reflexology and chinese massage. They outfit you in fun pajamas, serve lovely tea, and you can't beat the massage. Most locations of Dragonfly and international hotel chains will have a free That's Shanghai or equivalent expat magazine, which will have restaurant/shopping reviews and addresses written in Chinese.

An absolute must (imho) is a stop at Din Tai Fung- there are locations all over Singapore, China, and Taiwan, and they make the most amazing xiao long bao (soup dumplings)- try the crab and the mini red bean for dessert. You won't be disappointed!

Feel free to ask any specific questions- I did two cruises a year and a half ago which either started or ended in Singapore. The cruise terminal is very conveniently located and very very efficient!

Jami
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  #11  
Old August 21st, 2012, 01:59 AM
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Thanks so much Jami. I really appreciate the time you took to let me know your thoughts. Next year is still very much up in the air cruise wise but this itinerary appears ideal for me.
__________________
Linda
--------------------------------------
Where I've been :
Not called a blog but it is one :
Day visit to Celebrity Eclipse July 5th 2014 here
Legend of the Seas - Ultimate Scandinavia & Russia – June 18th 2014 Bit of a blog here
Adventure of the Seas - Westbound Transatlantic - 4th November 2013 Bit of a blog here
M/S Chardonnay : Cote d'Azur - Paris : 1st August 2013 Bit of a blog here
Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean - 17th March 2013 Bit of a (surprise) blog here
Adventure of the Seas – B2B in the Caribbean – 18th November 2012 Bit of a blog :here
Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean - 26th November 2011 Bit of a blog :here Link to pics : here and here
Adventure of the Seas - 5 Nights out of Malaga - 8th November 2010
Bit of a blog : here
Radiance of the Seas - Alaska Cruise Tour - 31st July 2010 Bit of a blog : here Link to Linda's FB pics : here Some of Darran's pics are here
Jewel of the Seas - Panama Canal - 2nd March 2009 Bit of a blog : here
Link to pics : here
Independence of the Seas - Treasures of the Med - 20th Sept 2008 Bit of a blog : here

Where I'm Going :
Oasis of the Seas - 18th September 2014 : B2B : Barcelona - Barcelona - Rotterdam
Rhapsody of the Seas - 3rd May 2015 : Singapore - Dubai
Celebrity Solstice - 14th February 2016 : B2B : Auckland - Perth (Fremantle) - Sydney
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  #12  
Old August 31st, 2012, 02:47 PM
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Hi - you really must do it next year 2 great cities to visit. The only tip I would add is when you are in Shanghai make sure you have the cruise terminal details written in Chinese to hand to a taxi driver in case you get lost. If its any consolation I'm more nervous about travelling Solo in Europe than in Asia.
I'm doing my first Solo cruise in October - cant wait!
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  #13  
Old August 31st, 2012, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hktrav View Post
Hi - you really must do it next year 2 great cities to visit. The only tip I would add is when you are in Shanghai make sure you have the cruise terminal details written in Chinese to hand to a taxi driver in case you get lost. If its any consolation I'm more nervous about travelling Solo in Europe than in Asia.
I'm doing my first Solo cruise in October - cant wait!
Thanks! So much to do..... time and money now being the main factor!
__________________
Linda
--------------------------------------
Where I've been :
Not called a blog but it is one :
Day visit to Celebrity Eclipse July 5th 2014 here
Legend of the Seas - Ultimate Scandinavia & Russia – June 18th 2014 Bit of a blog here
Adventure of the Seas - Westbound Transatlantic - 4th November 2013 Bit of a blog here
M/S Chardonnay : Cote d'Azur - Paris : 1st August 2013 Bit of a blog here
Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean - 17th March 2013 Bit of a (surprise) blog here
Adventure of the Seas – B2B in the Caribbean – 18th November 2012 Bit of a blog :here
Navigator of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean - 26th November 2011 Bit of a blog :here Link to pics : here and here
Adventure of the Seas - 5 Nights out of Malaga - 8th November 2010
Bit of a blog : here
Radiance of the Seas - Alaska Cruise Tour - 31st July 2010 Bit of a blog : here Link to Linda's FB pics : here Some of Darran's pics are here
Jewel of the Seas - Panama Canal - 2nd March 2009 Bit of a blog : here
Link to pics : here
Independence of the Seas - Treasures of the Med - 20th Sept 2008 Bit of a blog : here

Where I'm Going :
Oasis of the Seas - 18th September 2014 : B2B : Barcelona - Barcelona - Rotterdam
Rhapsody of the Seas - 3rd May 2015 : Singapore - Dubai
Celebrity Solstice - 14th February 2016 : B2B : Auckland - Perth (Fremantle) - Sydney
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  #14  
Old September 19th, 2012, 05:46 PM
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I am going to Asia, solo, in 2014 and share some of the concerns. Mostly, I think, it would be nice to share some of these amazing places and experiences. This will be my second solo cruise, my first was to South America and Machi Picchu.
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Old October 2nd, 2012, 04:00 PM
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Macchu Picchu - aah! That's a place I'd love to go to. Was thinking about it for next year but the flights just too far from the UK. Now looking at California Coastal cruise on my own - but I mentioned to my son that I would like to add a few days in Vegas - now he wants to come. I kinda liked this idea of solo cruising!
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Old October 14th, 2012, 11:19 AM
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Hi, Linda! (I'm Linda, too!).

I travel worldwide, solo. I've been to Singapore & China (albeit, not Shanghai) many times, recently, & upcoming in Dec 2012.

I got lost, at o'dark early, in Singapore's Little India. I walked the dark back alleys trying to find my way. People were very kind & helpful. Yes, lots if stares that I was a western woman alone, but people were helpful & didn't ask for anything in return. Good idea? I wouldn't do it again, just as I wouldn't wander about late at night anywhere else. I ate alone in restaurants & was always treated well & service was great. Pls note that as you go farther north (in China), the food is "gooey" (probably a lot of gluten), salty...very unpalatable for a westerner (at least me!).

I also got lost in the hutongs of Beijing (though more smartly during the day). No one even gave me a 2nd look, but were extremely helpful when asked. No, I don't speak Mandarin: Maps & gestures work great.

Oh, my only word of warning: Don't chew gum in Singapore! It's illegal. ;-)

Have a great trip whatever you choose to do. :-)
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2003: HAL Ryndam (Rio - Valparaiso (Falklands))
2005: HAL Noordam (Europe, Norway)
2006: NCL Pride of America (Hawaii)
2008: HAL Rotterdam (Brazil, Africa, Europe (Canaries))
2010: NCL Jade (Mediterranean (Turkey, Egypt))
2010: Azamara Quest (Dubai, India, Thailand, Singapore)
2011: Princess Diamond (Alaska, Hokkaido, Russia, S Korea, China)
2012: Swan Hellenic Minerva (Sri Lanka, India, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore)
2013: MSC Sinfonia (S Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar)
2014: HAL Amsterdam (Aus, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia)
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  #17  
Old October 14th, 2012, 11:25 AM
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An I forgot: in Singapore, if I recall correctly & others pls chime in, around 5pm & 9pm, it's virtually impossible to hail a taxi away from major areas. If I recall correctly, something @ "shift-change?"

As everyone else suggested, when in China, have your directions/info written down before venturing out.

Note, too, taxis are disallowed (at least in Beijing) from picking-up/dropping-off around major sites (most memorable: Forbidden City/Tianamen). I always take the metered taxis not the tuk-tuks, as the metered cabs are usually cheaper (go figure).
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Earlier cruises: HAL Amsterdam & Rotterdam (South America & Transatlantic)
2003: HAL Ryndam (Rio - Valparaiso (Falklands))
2005: HAL Noordam (Europe, Norway)
2006: NCL Pride of America (Hawaii)
2008: HAL Rotterdam (Brazil, Africa, Europe (Canaries))
2010: NCL Jade (Mediterranean (Turkey, Egypt))
2010: Azamara Quest (Dubai, India, Thailand, Singapore)
2011: Princess Diamond (Alaska, Hokkaido, Russia, S Korea, China)
2012: Swan Hellenic Minerva (Sri Lanka, India, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore)
2013: MSC Sinfonia (S Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar)
2014: HAL Amsterdam (Aus, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia)
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  #18  
Old October 14th, 2012, 11:58 AM
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Hi, Hktrav,

Have you returned from your Oct cruise?
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Earlier cruises: HAL Amsterdam & Rotterdam (South America & Transatlantic)
2003: HAL Ryndam (Rio - Valparaiso (Falklands))
2005: HAL Noordam (Europe, Norway)
2006: NCL Pride of America (Hawaii)
2008: HAL Rotterdam (Brazil, Africa, Europe (Canaries))
2010: NCL Jade (Mediterranean (Turkey, Egypt))
2010: Azamara Quest (Dubai, India, Thailand, Singapore)
2011: Princess Diamond (Alaska, Hokkaido, Russia, S Korea, China)
2012: Swan Hellenic Minerva (Sri Lanka, India, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore)
2013: MSC Sinfonia (S Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar)
2014: HAL Amsterdam (Aus, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia)
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  #19  
Old October 14th, 2012, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hktrav View Post
Macchu Picchu - aah! That's a place I'd love to go to. Was thinking about it for next year but the flights just too far from the UK. Now looking at California Coastal cruise on my own - but I mentioned to my son that I would like to add a few days in Vegas - now he wants to come. I kinda liked this idea of solo cruising!
If you are interested, you could take a reposition from California down to Valpariso and fly up to Cusco and then to Machu Picchu. I did that in reverse so only had the long flight down, albeit not as long as yours would be. It would be a shame to be relatively close and not see it.
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Old October 31st, 2012, 03:35 PM
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Back from my first Solo cruise - fabulous!
Had great weather, good itinerary, ship much better than reviews and met some lovely people. Seen a couple of cruise Med bargains for Nov/Dec and just wondering how I can fit one in before Christmas. Or, should I just save for big trip next year.
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