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Everything posted by califsealion

  1. I have not done a Tauck tour, but we were on a trip that included a group of Road Scholars (I think previously Elder Hostel?) Again, I was not a part of that group so am just an outside observer. They had their own separate lectures by someone they brought along. They also had separate tables at dinner that were set aside for them. I believe they had their own organizer that traveled with them organizing the group as well. I suppose one benefit is that you are traveling in a smaller subgroup, so may get to know people better (but on the two AQSC trips I've done, I did not find it an issue meeting people). And maybe more in depth information/lectures? I didn't really feel like I was missing out.
  2. I haven't sailed on ACL, so I can't give you that comparison. I landed on AQSC when I was looking at cruises on the Columbia River. The thing that sold me on the line was the hop on, hop off buses. I liked being able to see the sites at my own pace and made it easy for my mom to do her own thing. We did two trips with them and I'd do another in a heartbeat.
  3. I hope you are all planning to post live cruise blogs so we can live vicariously on your trips!
  4. I have done the the MP extension as part of my Galapagos trip, it was end of October, beginning of November. I haven't done the Amazon trip. Machu Picchu was definitely worth a visit. Ours was a 4-day extension, not sure how long yours is, but we were definitely on the move every day. Once we got on the ship, we joked that we would keep putting our bags outside our cabin every night out of habit. We had some rain in Peru, but the temperatures were mild. The altitude was challenging, but everyone did okay.
  5. I have done the following in different situations: 1. I have a pair of swim shorts with a zippered pocket if I just want my key card 2. I have a fanny pack that has a waterproof pouch 3. Sometimes I just decide to be trusting and keep my phone and key card in a purse/backpack/something like that on my lounger or under my lounger, especially if I can keep it in view
  6. Dinner is totally casual. On one of my cruises, I can't remember how it was worded, but suggested to bring something slightly nicer for the last night, but it was still a recommendation.
  7. I'd say it was an oversight. They should have luggage tags in the pre-cruise hotel you can use.
  8. Your trip sounds amazing! I look forward to the day I can do trips like that. Definitely plan to layer for the cooler climates. Plan for laundry - whether you sink wash things or let the ship's laundry take care of it for you. Feel free to come report back on your experience and share the tips and tricks you learned from your extended vacation!
  9. My first Lindblad cruise was on the original Endeavor in November 2011(!) The water temperature is in the mid-70's. I've done a handful of Lindblad cruises since then, so they've all sort of melded together, but I think in general - breakfast is a buffet, lunch is "family style" where they bring dishes to the table to share, and dinner is a served meal. For dinner there is usually 3 entrees to choose from, one of which is vegetarian. Someone with more recent Endeavor II experience may be able to confirm or deny my recollection. I'm a little hazier on the drinks. I know they had a "drink of the day" they tried to steer people toward. Lindblad always has various naturalists giving lectures during free time. There is always a recap before dinner where they serve appetizers and do a short talk, often about something that we'd seen during the day. This is also when they would talk about what we were likely to see the next day. Hopefully someone that has been to the Galapagos in the past 10 years can give you more up to date information! It is definitely somewhere I'd love to go back to.
  10. I have to agree with you on those maps. I was fantasizing about future cruises and also found them very confusing. I like the labelled map and the complete itinerary all on one page. Much easier to follow along.
  11. I still daydream about those cronuts (though I didn't realize they had a name!). They were amazing.
  12. There is a really long Empress thread with a lot of questions and answers from a pre-COVID trip: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2552943-american-empress-9222019-sailing/ That may be a good place to look for more information as well.
  13. The other thing that will make these river cruises in the US cost more is that they have to hire a mostly American crew/staff and so will have to pay them higher wages.
  14. My mom and I did a trip the New Orleans to Memphis trip on the Duchess in October 2019. I loved that little boat! If you go outside to the front of the boat just outside the fitness room and Perks, there was a couch there with no rail in front of it because there are stairs going down right there. I could have sat there all day and watched the scenery go by. Feel free to come back and tell us all about the trips!
  15. Thanks for posting about your cruise! I enjoy living vicariously on trips.
  16. Somewhat cruise-related, is anyone else having dreams about being on a cruise? I have been literally having cruise dreams once a week, and I've been on a fraction of the number of cruises that most of you have been on. My mom is getting less able to look after herself, so it will be a while before I am on a ship again. I think my brain is trying to go on vacation without me. I am anxiously looking forward to reading cruise journals once you all start cruising again!
  17. I listen to a travel show on the radio on Sundays, and I swear they said AQSC was starting up again March 15th. I expected to see something about that on the boards, but since I don't see anything, I'm wondering if I heard right. edit to add: I went back and relistened and they definitely said AQSC, but don't see anything on their website or anything.
  18. The common areas on the boat were on the cool side. I think they keep it cooler to help with the humidity from that region of the country. It also feels cool because outside is warm/hot and humid. I just took a cozy sweater for the evenings.
  19. I'm so sorry for all of you that were supposed to go on this cruise. I was looking forward to traveling vicariously with you all.
  20. I appreciate your posting about your trip! I loved my trip on the Duchess.
  21. I'm not aboard the Explorer right now, but Zqueeze1 has a live thread going on that cruise and it looks like business as usual. Maybe you can go ask there about specifics?
  22. We went down the Antarctic Peninsula. Our trip crossed the Antarctic Circle, but apparently it was the first time they had managed it that season. We went in mid to late January. Everything is dependent on weather conditions. There was definitely one stop they usually do at an old abandoned camp we missed because of ice.
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