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rialannah

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About rialannah

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    Australia
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    travel, public affairs

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  1. Good call. I was reacting just on the basis of the cruises listed in the just received Oceania promotion for the Mediterranean and completely forgot to check the cabin status shown for those cruises. I hope the indicator remains reliable and that the dry dock proceeeds.
  2. I see from the current cruise schedule for next year that Nautica has sailings scheduled right through June and July. While there are doubts as to when cruising will resume in Europe, this does suggest that the previously identified window in July 2021 for the 'NEXT' refit might no longer be the case.
  3. We took a pack of $1US bills with us, which I think was pretty standard. In addition we took pens/pencils and notebooks which seemed to be well received. We had some of those left over which we left at the school. While some cruisers found all of this offensive and thought it shouldn't be encouraged, there are only about 10 ships a year that call at Boca da Valeria so it is hardly a dominant part of the kids' lives. We were quite comfortable with it.and enjoyed the interaction. The boat trip up river - circa 30 minutes - was about $5 per person I think.
  4. We did this cruise in 2016 on Regatta. This might have been an advantage as the number of passengers descending on each port was only half compared to what will be the case with Marina. We thought that the cruise was excellent, with the Amazon the absolute highlight. However, the earlier posts are a fair reflection of the range of attitudes of passengers generally. Of all of the cruises we have taken, this one provided by far the greatest payoff for research leading to arranging independent tours, but at the same time required a very large investment of time devoted to that research. In general, those of us who participated in independent tours really felt really positive about the experience, whereas those who had not made advance arrangements and left the ship to wander around the ports (which can work on many other itineraries) were quite negative. Those who took the ship tours fell somewhere in between. For Alter do Chao and Santarem we located a really outstanding young man who had not previously taken shore excursions, but was experienced in multi-day eco-tourism. We had two memorable days with him (a group of about 12 of us), on the water in Alter do Chao and on land in Santarem - including an excellent visit to Belterra, one of the old Henry Ford settlements. Unfortunately recent attempts to help friends engage with him for subsequent cruises has revealed that he has moved on. However, I expect that there will be others out there. Boca da Valeria involves a wander through the tiny settlement, usually accompanied by the local children ($ expected). As an indicator of living conditions in Amazon villages it is really worthwhile as is the trip upstream with one of the local men in a vessel of often interesting heritage. We had two days in Manaus with a local tour group whose name I do not recall. The first day was spent with a very extensive tour on the water to a range of sights around the Amazon and Rio Negro which was thoroughly worthwhile (we had a group of around 40 in 2 boats). The second (shorter) day was spent within Manaus itself, with the superb Opera House the highlight. For Paratins, the Boi Bumba seems to be the only real choice. We enjoyed the color and movement and the energy of the performers. This can only be arranged as a ship excursion. I hope that you find these observations about our experience to be helpful. Mike
  5. I participated in the Australian version of the webinar today. The comment was made that O was waiting for CDC requirements, but cruising with 70 - 80% of capacity might be expected.
  6. I participated in an Oceania webinar today. I asked the question when would the Nautica NEXT refurbishment occur. There were two company representatives who responded. One said it would be in July 2021. The other, I believe, said something to the effect that it would be next year with the date to be determined in the next couple of months. So still no certainty at this stage.
  7. Nautica's NEXT makeover is scheduled to commence on 8 June at the CNDM facility in Marseille, the same place that the Sirena refurb was done.
  8. I certainly hope that they proceed with the refurbishment. No doubt a challenging decision pitting the desire to limit the cash drain by curbing capital expenditure against the need for the ship to be enhanced to the same standard as the rest of the fleet. Nautica is currently still docked in Dubai. The drydock is scheduled for June 8-21 in Marseille. Reports indicate that the French dockyards are slowly returning to operation, but possibly with reduced capacity due to Covid-19 restrictions.
  9. According to news reports Argentina continues to permit countries to arrange repatriation flights for their stranded citizens. The following report relates to the most recent flight to Australia: This weekend will see charter flight QF7028 from Buenos Aires pick up more than 150 Australians, along with 20 New Zealanders, who have been stranded in South America for many weeks since the coronavirus outbreak. Staffed by a volunteer crew, the Boeing 787-9 will depart Buenos Aires at 2pm on Saturday April 25, commencing a 15 hour, 11,600km trek back to Melbourne for a 7.30pm touchdown on Sunday April 26.
  10. We far prefer to bring wine onboard. If your stop in Maui is Lahaina, Tamura's is a really excellent wine store. Likely prices will be higher than Costco but the range will be wider. We used the store a couple of months ago.
  11. We missed ports in both Greenland and Iceland due to weather but still were able to get a good taste of both. Our lecturers were good, especially one who concentrated on the Viking influence. The Nautica 2020 itinerary includes both Torshavn in the Faroes and Lerwick in the Shetlands which we thought were really excellent, based on our independent tours experiences.
  12. Terry Thanks so much for your very helpful advice and such prompt responses. Mike
  13. Hi Terry Thank you for that helpful, and reassuring, information. We are already dealing with Jordan Horizons for our tour in Petra. We are travelling on Nautica in May 2020 Singapore to Rome, visiting many of the same ports. We have engaged Ofir Horne for Haifa and will stay at the Three Arches and likely follow a similar itinerary as you. Which company did you use for your time in Luxor? Thanks Mike
  14. Terry Thank you for all of the excellent information you have provided on this thread. We are travelling on Nautica next year, Singapore to Rome, so will be visiting many of the ports you have discussed. We have already engaged or enquired of some of the guides you have mentioned. We have one specific question that I hope you can help with, and apologies if you have already addressed it and we have missed the reference. At Petra, the walk through the Siq to the Treasury appears more challenging than we are capable of. The horse and carriage ride would not be a first preference. We read about golf buggies being available. Did you see these in operation and do you have any intelligence on whether they can be reserved in advance and whether there are enough of them to serve the demand? Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Mike
  15. Avalong, I think that you have identified a significant contributor to the problem. While 'O' Life is clearly a factor, the Roll Calls have not been the same since the modifications to the website. With numerous O cruises under our belt, and being the organiser of multiple private excursions on each one, the appetite for private excursions seems to have almost dried up. There are a few active exceptions, but in the main the interest on most threads is pretty desultory. It is not clear what might need to occur to change this. Very disappointing for those of us who have a strong attachment to private excursions.
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