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  1. I like The Bistro. We'll all probably need reminding not to actually discuss Crystal 🙂
  2. Jim, have a look on the Silversea board at the thread "Silversea Water Cooler: Welcome!" On page one, post one of the 5200+ posts, moderator LauraS gives the terms and conditions. If Silversea can do off topics, why not......
  3. I've mentioned this one recently: Ephesus in the evening for a classical string quartet concert.
  4. To clarify the smoking policy: (edited to ocean vessels only) Connoisseur Club Crystal Serenity, Crystal Symphony VIP Casino on Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony (during play, upon request) Decks 10, 9 and 8 Aft on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity Deck 11, aft Crystal Serenity Seahorse pool area, port side only Promenade Deck, port side only Basically, it's a few areas outside, the Connoisseur Club and the VIP casino. Personally I've never been bothered by the smoke and neither have our friends who are particularly smoke sensitive. If that's a deal breaker, c'est la vie.
  5. https://www.crystalcruises.com/ Absolutely! We are thinking of booking one for November. On the "Find a Voyage" tab search for cruises in October, November or December of this year and choose the Serenity. Crystal is "all-inclusive." Before the quibble begins, no cruise line includes literally everything. However, you will not pay gratuities, for most alcoholic beverages (yes, you will pay for JW Blue or Opus One, etc., but you won't pay for Talisker or Botanist for example), specialty dining in the Nobu restaurant and the Italian restaurant, specialty coffees, unlimited wifi, 24 hour room service and there's probably more. If you've ever thought of trying a luxury line, this is the time to do it. One more thought: every cruise line has its proponents and its detractors. Filter through the noise and find what's right for you. Bon voyage!
  6. In addition to previous suggestions, I'd recommend adding Windstar to the mix. https://www.windstarcruises.com/ Explore the website and get a feel for the personality of the cruise line. Actually that's good advice for every line that you are considering. Some highlights: Voted 2019 best small ship cruise line Partners with James Beard foundation for cuisine Ships have a sports platform that lowers in back for water sports in safe harbors In some ports you can accompany the chef to local markets for dinner shopping The bridge is open -- stop in to chat with the Captain and bridge officers about the charts and technology and more... We have sailed on multiple lines -- and Windstar is one of our top favorites.
  7. Port of Dubai now closed to cruise ships. https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/5097/?fbclid=IwAR2_IfAbIY0GtWEFKCYGjA6TQO3sr1aygAE4UI2BLkrHe15aYkeE7BPc2gM Our cruising may be over for this year.
  8. This again? The crew loves money, and would never make a sour face at getting a silly $2. They know how to fake a happy smile. Whatever floats your boat.
  9. Actually, there are a few more. I keep track for the lines we cruise, and then just tried to see how many I could find. For your bookmarking pleasure: Crystal https://www.pinnacletds.com/Crystal Silversea https://www.pinnacletds.com/Silversea Regent http://visacentral.com/tourkits?bookmark=1&login=rssc Celebrity www.visacentral.com/celebritycruises Seabourn https://cibtvisas.com/tourkits?bookmark=1&login=105788 HOLLAND AMERICA https://visacentral.com/holland-america Azamara http://visacentral.com/tourkits?bookmark=1&login=azamaraclubcruises RCI http://visacentral.com/tourkits?bookmark=1&login=royalcaribbean Oceania https://visacentral.com/tourkits?bookmark=1&login=44997
  10. You might save a few dollars, but for us, the convenience and certainty that the visas meet all the necessary legalities is worth letting the ship arrange them. If you arrange your own, be very careful to use only official visa websites - there are fraudulent websites that claim to arrange visas, but.....caveat emptor. On our most recent trip to Vietnam we flew into Saigon airport, aka Tan Son Nhat (yes, that same one), so were eligible for a Visa On Arrival (voa). At that time, entering by cruise port was not acceptable for the voa. Even so, there is much to be arranged pre flight for the voa. We also used a voa flying into Siem Reap, but don't remember the details other than it was simple.
  11. If you are on the Feb 15, 2020, cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore, Crystal will arrange for your Vietnam and Cambodia visas and charge your on-board account. See: https://www.pinnacletds.com/tours/tour.aspx?agency=3&tour=2596 Unless your private tours will necessitate additional entries/exits from the two countries, the ship arranged visas should suffice. If you have additional questions, you may inquire with Pinnacle (Crystal's contracted travel document provider.)
  12. Cruises are wonderful. However, you do only get to visit the coast (and as far inland as a day trip on bus excursion can get you.) Tauck is the best of available land tours of the British Isles to see what you'll never see from a traditional cruise ship. For more independent travel, trains and ferries. Have a look at The Man in Seat Sixty-One to get a sense of the extensive train service in the U.K. (and the rest of the world) (And yes, ferries from Northern Ireland to Scotland. Google is your friend.) Or combine trains with a tour here and there, like Rabbie's Tours of UK and Europe. Which reminds me, doing a Rabbie's Whisky tour of Scotland is still on the bucket list.
  13. Delta long haul flights from Asia to the US (and vice versa) in a 777 are pretty much fungible. You are a metal tube, in your designated class of service with the accompanying amenities. The major difference between originating in Japan or originating in Hong Kong (as we will soon) is that one will have some Japanese speaking flight attendants and meal options and the other will have Chinese speaking flight attendants and meal options. Go to youtube and search for "Delta business class 777" and get exacting detail about your upcoming flight in business class. Start here:
  14. Depends on your priorities. In the Med your child will experience some of the great ports that feature the early history, culture, and cuisine that developed into western civilization. That cruise could possibly stimulate a lifelong curiosity and joy for travel, not just tourism. OTOH, you can focus on sitting around a crowded pool deck.
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