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Paul S

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Everything posted by Paul S

  1. I left my tripod at home, as we were tight to our bagagge allowance on the internal flights. I didn't miss it, but one of my cameras and several of my lenses have stabilisation, which needed to be turned off when the shop was moving a lot. The tripod would have been of no use when the ship was moving around, and I found a fast shutter speed to be more important. I have travel and full size tripods, both carbon fibre, but the travel tripod isn't very stable in wind or vibration with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 100-400mm zoom plus tele converter (though it's supposed to be!).
  2. My wife is plus size with wide calves and swollen ankles, but Hurtigruten had muck boots and a jacket which fitted her. I can't speak for other lines.
  3. I can't speak for flying from BA to Rio, but we have spent a few days in BA pre-cruise and in Rio post cruise plus an independent 2 week visit to Rio flying in from London. Our son has spent a few years in Rio, is a samba and choro musician and speaks Brazilian portuguese. he flew in to meet us off the ship and stay for a few days, and the other time I was visiting him. We found it best to stay away from the tourist strip at nightand certainly not go on the beach in the dark, eg we stayed in Flamengo, easily accessible to most parts of the city, to avoid dressing or looking obviously like tourists (no ship's logo clothing, no flashy jewellery, no big cameras though we took ours and kept them in backpacks till we wanted to use them, no walking round with guide books or maps open), try and blend in and be streetwise, which is easier coming from a big city. Avoid the beach areas at night. We found BA had similar issues. They didn't affect us, but two elderly women in our hotel were mugged and jewellery ripped off, and our guide told us not to wear flashy watches or jewellery, one of his clients had a watch stolen off his wrist. In both cities, with our big cameras on view locals tried to warn us off, and we had the same thing in Santiago. Despite the above we had a great time in all three and hope to back in BA in 2023 ahead of a second Antarctic expedition.
  4. Posted too quickly without text!. Sunset on the River Adur, Sussex, UK
  5. Don, I guess it depends on the depth of your pocket. My son is an ex-Scout used to camping and hostels, and some fifteen years on is still happy to stay in hostels. I was never a scout (stopped after Wolf Cubs), didn't enjoy the one night of camping I did, and have never stayed in a hostel. We've nevertheless done our time on economy packages, but at our stage of life DW and I are lucky to have and enjoy budgets sufficient to let us travel in what we regard as relative comfort, though we do manage to source good deals to keep the cost down, and generally fly using loyalty points. If our pockets were shallower I guess we would have to reconsider how we travel or stay at home. Paul
  6. We are booked for the RA Atlantic Circle trip for 2023. We did Chilean Fjords, Antarctic and Falklands on RA in February 2020, including a landing on Cape Horn, and thought we got a good price via our TA. The number of landings and inflatable cruising were OK for us, we are not energetic outdoors people, and we appreciated having the extra level of comfort for the time we did spend in the cabin. We wouldn't have gone if we had needed to share the cabin or toilet and washroom facilities. We docked at Port Stanley, and got an interesting talk about the war and life on the Falklands generally on our excursion down to see the penguins, and as Brits were glad to have been able to visit Stanley, but I found the two days on the other islands more interesting in terms of the overall expedition. We didn't notice any speakers with the giant screen, and though we were fairly close to the elevators and restaurant didn't notice any noise issues at any time during the trip.
  7. We were on Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen last year, with around 400 passengers. It was highly organised, with polarcirkels (like Zodiacs) constantly going backwards and forwards, overlapping so there were never more than 100 ashore at a time. This gave us up to 2 hours ashore depending on what else was planned for the day. There were also non landing rides, with no maximum number off the ship at any one time. Adding in the time spent standing in line to leave the ship, leave the shore and that spent in the polarcirkel shuttling back and forth, meant the total length needed for the excursion was considerably more than just the time on land.
  8. We were on Roald Amundsen to the Chilean Fjords, Antarctica and Falklands February 2020. I’m still post-processing the photos including from 4 days pre and 2 days post in Santiago.
  9. We booked with BA on Avios points 360 days out but could only get reward flights for Avios with Iberia on a codeshare via Madrid. However, I checked every day and BA reward direct flights came up a couple of months before so we switched. We wanted to avoid having to change flights on the journey where there would be another opportunity for our baggage to go astray.
  10. We’ve made a gallery on the wall of our entrance hall. Nice to look at and brings memories each time we walk by, and get’s lots of interest from visitors too.
  11. Just the one week cruise then! 😊
  12. We were in Santiago a year ago pre and post tour, and found it to be a fascinating place. I can recommend Chile Dream Tours. We did a private 1 day walking tour, and a separate private day tour to Valparaiso, also well worth visiting. They have a range of other tours too.
  13. I respect donaldsec's view, but we clearly had different experiences. I've only done one trip so far, though with a second booked (same cabin as previously, with a balcony). I spent hours out on the front observation deck, and there was a nice camaraderie amongst those of us who did, both with other passengers as well as with leaders of the expedition teams, but I also spent quite a bit of time shooting from the balcony. We got quite a long way south, just beyond 70 degrees, but I didn't see so many birds flying overhead, they were mostly to the sides or across in front of the bow. I have countless bird images shot from the balcony of birds which flew alongside and then veered off, or swooped down to skim the water by the side of the ship. After strenuous expedition landings there were times we wanted just to sit and rest for a while, and the balcony was a great place to be to read, have a cup of coffee, but with my camera at the ready. If the sea is very rough there is a huge amount of movement at the front on the observation deck. Though I found it exhilarating, not everybody did, and in those conditions the balcony might be a better place to be, BTW, I also got some great views and photos through the panoramic windows of the sauna, especially as we sailed through the pack ice. It's got to be down to your pocket and preference. If I can afford a balcony cabin I will always go for one, but I'd sooner have a window cabin than not go at all.
  14. My wife and I both have a strong interest in photography and each of us carries quite a lot of gear, which means we don't have spare allowance to take a laptop onto a plane as part of our hand luggage. I have had a card fail on me during a trip, so that has made me very cautious. The current setup for backing up is a pair of wifi enabled 4Tb WD Wireless Pro portable drives with SD card slot, which we back up to alternatively on a daily basis and keep in the hotel or cabin safe unless in use or being charged. We can view, edit and delete the photos from our tablets via wifi. Full cards are set aside and not cleared off during the trip. When we travel back the full cards are carried separately to the two hard drives. When we are back home I transfer photos from the cards to a dedicated drive on my desktop computer used for audiovisual files, labelled eg South America cruise 2019-02, and then loaded into Lightroom for processing. My wife does similarly on her desktop. I have two portable drives, each 4Tb, and back up my AV drive on the desktop alternately to each. LR backs up to a different drive from the one containing the catalogue. The most recent AV backup is kept in a safe and the older is kept separately elsewhere in the house. I should add that the desktop is located in a separate building at my home. This should cover most bases.
  15. Not sure it's "Necessary", as on our Antarctic expedition I spent a lot of time out on the open deck at the front. Nevertheless, we loved our balcony and made good use of it. The balcony was fairly sheltered and at times I sat outside relaxing, reading and photographing. I guess it depends on the depth of your pocket. Be aware not all balconies are equal. On Roald Amundsen deck 9 we had a glass sided balcony. I understand some of those on deck 8 have the balcony enclosed not by glass but by the metal red band on the side of the ship, and you would need to stand to see over it. I expect Fridjof Nansen would be similar but you would need to check.
  16. I can support Bella0714. DW and I sailed on Roald Amundsen in February 2020 Punta Arenas-Antarctic-Falklands-Punta-Arenas, which I believe was the last uninterrupted sailing of the season. We had been apprehensive having read the early reviews, but loved the ship, and found everybody friendly and helpful, and the captain and senior officers were often seen round the ship and happy to chat. We were in a suite, and ate most days in Lindstrom, which we thought very good, but enjoyed the food in Aune when we ate there. On every trip there are always niggles, and most of ours related to the organisation of travelling and transfers Santiago - Punta Arenas and then back at the end, which could have been much better handled. A tip for LATAM flights to and from the port - the food is dire, so if you have the opportunity to buy something beforehand and take it with you, do so. Some supplies didn't get loaded in Punta Arenas, but it didn't really affect the passengers other than that some wines and bar drinks weren't available (though there were plenty of alternatives) and some items were missing from the shop, most noticeably camera cards. Though nobody said this explicitly, putting together snippets we heard around the ship my suspicion is that it wasn't really ready to go on the initial sailings, but there was pressure to go ahead because of the number of missed sailings. I guess it's always a bit of a risk to go on the first few departures of a new vessel, especially one as technically complex as this. To back up what I said about loving the ship, we've booked another expedition on Roald Amundsen for January 2023!
  17. We had a starboard cabin and had good views sailing into Stanley. For the other Falklands destinations I believe they select which ones nearer the time, so you wouldn't know in advance which side might be better. In any case, whichever side you see coming in you will probably see the other side going out unless you are taking a different route out, following the coast, but you won't know when you book whether it will be port or starboard facing the land. Either way there will be great views!
  18. We have just booked an expedition on Roald Amundsen for January 2023, and have been offered a drinks upgrade package for £653 per person on a 16 night sailing. This will give access to an enhanced wine package plus drinks from the bar. I can't find a bar price list from our February 2020 expedition, but have been advised that a bottle of beer would be around 6-7 euros (I guess that will depend on which beer).
  19. You will see the sights from either side. Sometimes the views are better from one than the other, then vice-versa. You never know which side will have the whales, dolphins and penguins, they could pop up anywhere and any time. Despite having a balcony, much of my time was spent standing out on the front observation deck, going from one side to the other and back as the photo opportunities appeared.
  20. My DW and I were on the filmed expedition. It was the last uninterrupted one before COVID lockdown. The following excursion was kept offshore for a few days before being allowed to dock and disembark the passengers. At the time we were around 60yo, not particularly fit and I'm a very poor swimmer (don't like being out of my depth or getting my face under water). The first time in the Polarcirkel (not Zodiac but similar) inflatables was to head out to Cape Horn. There was a very heavy swell, the inflatable was going up and down very significantly and we had to stand and wait for the precise moment when the side of the boat was level with the boarding platform. DW initially was terrified and refused to board. Eventually she was persuaded to do so, and after that "baptism of fire" realised if she could get on and off in those conditions she could do so any time on the trip, which proved to be the case, and didn't have any more problems with the inflatables. The crew on the inflatables were great in holding on and helping us to board and to leave. I often climbed on and off (at times in heavy seas) with two large cameras and lenses, backpack, and sometimes with a video gimbal and microphone rig too! There were passengers who were older and/or even less fit than us. Some had disabilities/mobility problems, but the crew coped magnificently with all of us regardless and nobody fell in. I also suffer from back problems, sometimes worse than at others, and had been apprehensive. However, you lean against the soft side of the inflatable, with a rope along it to hang on to. The soft side cushions the worst of the movement. We loved it all so much that despite it being a once in a lifetime trip for a special birthday we are now in the process of booking to go back in 2023. happy to answer any questions.
  21. Fabulous! Arrived back one week ago and still catching up on work. When I have some time free I will write a review. In brief, I will give 5 stars. I wouldn't belittle the issues on the early dates, but the teething problems appear to have been sorted.
  22. Just back from Antarctica on Roald Amundsen, the sister ship. There are 3 restaurants. One is fine dining, free to suite guests but 25 euros for everyone else.
  23. We did a day’s private walking tour in Santiago on Tuesday plus a private tour to Valparaiso yesterday, both guided by Estaban. We highly recommend both him and the company.
  24. We are booked on private tours for next week in Santiago and Valparaiso with Chile Dream Tours. http://chiledreamtours.com/en/home/ They were very helpful in organising the trips for us.
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