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Everything posted by FauxNom

  1. What a great travel log! Thanks for doing all the work while I sit on my veranda getting sunburned. What an amazing turnaround in the weather!
  2. PXL_20240304_173056082.TS.mp4 I very much enjoyed the hike to devils nose; felt like I was roaming the desolate moors in some British novel. It was an easy walk for about 95% of the way and those who couldn't manage it jumped on the land Rover to return. Peter Harrison (the Pied Piper of birding) encouraged people to head out to the cliff to see the albatrosses at eye level as they returned from their fishing expeditions. It was amazing--though not as amazing as the morning visit to the huge colony where I benefited from Peter's narrative on albatross behavior. He's a true asset. At devils nose, I think the birds got stressed by a lack of crowd control. The Apex birders group seems a bit more aggressive than typical expedition guests; many plant themselves in their preferred spot to take photos and the rest of the group has to clambor around. That makes for some chaos. The trail to get closer to the colony unfortunately was closed when I was halfway there; I can see the wisdom in that if some birds were stressed. One passenger broke her tibia on the morning walk, sadly. She's staying onboard and plans to have PXL_20240304_173056082.TS.mp4 surgery when she gets home to South Africa. I've seen several other falls on the muddy, uneven and steep trails we encountered that day. It's definitely an expedition! I'm a novice but will try to add a few images of that day. My video of parent feeding chick seems to be located weirdly. Sorry! PXL_20240304_173056082.TS.mp4
  3. Amazing pics, as always. And those are some really crazy numbers - so many staying on for the crossing and so many newbies! I hope your good karma maintains its strength for the c2c; I'm getting pretty excited about joining you! Is Michael the EL? It will be good to see Matt again.
  4. Thanks, all, for the reports on the poles. I nearly always take my collapsible trekking poles on expedition cruises - but now I won't when I cruise on the Endeavour. @southerngoose If you buy some decent poles I can't imagine they would be of lesser quality than the rental variety. In the PNW, people of a certain age use them for all kinds of local hikes, and they are great for travel.
  5. Can someone who's recently sailed on the Cloud tell me if there are trekking poles (hiking sticks) to borrow? It's always hard to jam them into my small suitcase so I was a little encouraged when they were provided on the Endeavour last August. Maybe the Cloud has them too?
  6. Thanks so much, Wes! Any clue about who will handle the Cape to Cape (Walvis Bay)? Michael was fantastic in the Arctic and I'd love to sail with him again.
  7. There are definitely wet landings in the Arctic - at least on the two expedition cruises I've done there.
  8. I did the Endeavour itinerary you mentioned last August and I am crazy about the ship. (The pool is covered with a temporary floor during meals so it's not weird at all to eat there. ) The restaurants are lovely and were uncrowded when I went; the ship was about half full. The main bar was much nicer than that on the Wind. Outdoor dining didn't happen when I cruised but I imagine they sometimes open up the grill if the weather is fine (ours wasn't). The Endeavour's definitely a cut above the Wind, which I also like a lot. The Endeavour itinerary was interesting enough to lure me in, despite having cruised on the Cloud from Kangerlussuaq to Canada a few years ago. There were some repeat stops, but it didn't matter. On both cruises the itinerary was a bit flexible by necessity; weather and seas can really impact getting to stop in every scheduled harbor. I thought the Pond Inlet cruise had more spectacular scenery and we saw more varied wildlife than on the Cloud (polar bears, walrus, narwhal, seals, whales, birds of all sorts). The Canadian Arctic is unforgettable!
  9. True in that you don't need insulated boots. But you will need tall rubber boots for wet landings if you are on an expedition cruise that uses Zodiacs.
  10. I had to improvise when I did this in January. I found an Indian travel agency that sells Silversea cruises and used their contact info. Nobody noticed the agency had nothing to do with my cruise.
  11. And then there's the wine stuffed into the boots for the trip home 🙂
  12. Fairmont Queen Elizabeth in Montreal for my recent Endeavour trip
  13. The paired suites have a small hallway behind the first door, which changes the layout a bit. Compared to 663, the un-paired suite (see my other post for photos), the bathroom is superior, I think, because the WC can be accessed from within the bathroom and from the main part of the suite. The WC is much more spacious than the somewhat cramped little room in 663. The walk-in closet in 663 is huge and contains a large cabinet for hanging wet clothing (i.e. parkas). The other suites have a smaller cabinet located outside the closet on the opposite wall. 663 does not have a desk; that space instead houses the fridge and other stuff under the TV mounted on the wall. The other suites have a desk in addition to the vanity along the main wall; the fridge is on the wall by the coat cabinet and is set up as a drawer. I like this design slightly more than that of 663. If you don't mind being at the stern end of the hall, the un-paired suites are great. Layout is fine and the balcony is open to the rear of the ship for prime viewing. All the suites seem to be very quiet and well-appointed. I don't think there are any bad choices!
  14. Yes. The head of the bed points to the bow.
  15. Thanks @spinnaker2 and @highplanesdrifters! The narwhals are super hard to spot so I take no credit! If I'm being honest I saw only the bubbly aftermath of their surfacing. But it was fun to charge around in the Zodiac following their trail!
  16. I'm on the ship currently and absolutely love it. With a beautiful ship, terrific crew, and only 66 passengers, what's not to like (other than the weather)? We all feel lucky that we got out of Iqaluit on the appointed day. There was a lot of suspense as we waited for fog to lift so we could fly. The problem was not taking off but the fact that the people disembarking the ship had nowhere to go. Flights couldn't land in Iqaluit so Silversea wasn't about to drop us into a crowd of stranded folks in Pond Inlet, which has minimal airport facilities. After about 6 hours' delay we got permission to travel. The only problem with our flight was that we had to circle for 25-20 minutes because the tarmac was crowded with stranded planes. We cheered as we watched the disembarking passengers take off, headed to Iqaluit. We've since experienced 4 days of mixed weather but some great excursions. All but 1 were zodiac-only; a hoped for hike was cancelled because the clouds were too low to allow for polar bear scouting. Yesterday we had a beautiful walk on shore, mainly admiring the tundra but also checking out the remains of a Thule village/camp. We've seen a goodly number of polar bears, pods of narwhals and beluga whales, seals, and birds of course. Our cruise is 16 nights -- I think a longer cruise is a good insurance policy when traveling an itinerary where changes are inevitable. I can heartily recommend this cruise.
  17. I hadn't noticed -- too busy to turn it on!
  18. I'm in 663 right now! It's a terrific suite. You can go down a staircase right outside the suite and you are at the grill. No noise at all and the end of the balcony has a wide open view. Adding a photo of the suite just for fun.
  19. I think the Shadow is wonderful, but there are places around the central stairway that sometimes smelled icky to me, like the carpet wasn't quite as fresh as one would like. But I have an acute sense of smell, so that might be an issue you wouldn't notice. Definitely no issues that would prevent me sailing on her though!
  20. Sounds great! I love those expedition ships.... One tip: at some point you might find the buffet offering up eggs or meat that's not hot. If so, and if you have time, don't hesitate to order from the waiter. I'm not hard to please, but once I figured out that I could ask for almost anything, the dining experience became even better than it already was. How old are your kids? I hope they are enjoying being onboard.
  21. I find it so inconsiderate when the folks with obvious respiratory viruses insist on frequenting all venues, but this really exceeds anything I've seen on a ship. Acccck!
  22. Happy anniversary to you two! I'm (as always) really enjoying the pix and descriptions, so thank you.
  23. The menu always starts with a sort of "chef's recommendation" theme menu with a cute name. I don't think it's meant quite as literally as you might suppose. 😉 You can choose all or some of those courses combined with others from the rest of the menu (or off menu if you ask in advance).
  24. You can have a preview main menu delivered to your suite the day before--helpful for people with diet restrictions. On the Explorer recently, a friend with Celiac was able to request modifications, such as "please make the crab cakes without bread crumbs". They also post all menus on the TV the day of.
  25. You sound most interested in the classic ship experience, but you might want to consider an expedition cruise if you like more enrichment and outdoor activities. The clientele skews younger on these small ships, so you would be among a higher percentage of age-peers. As for investment, consider a repositioning cruise; these itineraries can be quite interesting while also less expensive relative to super popular destinations. That's how I tried my first Silversea cruise, and I was hooked. Now I tend to have 2 or 3 future cruises booked at any given time! While my travel is itinerary-focused, I do love the crew's attitudes. To a person, they always work hard to make sure the passengers have a great experience.
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