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Everything posted by nuneham

  1. We recently returned from a land tour in China & think that you will enjoy both of these activities. The wall is really wide & easily accommodated all of the cyclists & walkers. We particularly enjoyed our early evening visit to the Muslim Quarter, the food choices were impressive. There is also a night market closer to the wall which is very popular with locals. In both markets you will find souvenir stalls but it's the food options which may tempt you more. We used the bullet train twice - from Beijing to Pingyao, & from there to Xian. We had first class seats, which were comfortable & the carriage was clean. An easy & relaxing way to travel. Our first stop was Beijing & we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. It gave us a good introduction to the country & the people. We weren't with a group, but we did meet some Viking travellers. They were enjoying the trip, thought the hotels & guides were good. There were a few mutterings about the early starts. Enjoy China! I think your independent travel will really enhance the experience.
  2. I have used this service on my 5 Regent cruises to date. The postcards of the ship are in the stationery folder. Our grandchildren like to see the ships so I hand them in at Reception & they have always arrived.
  3. I think the refit is scheduled for 2020, our Japan cruise is planned for 2021. Should still be looking good. I very much like Regent & Silversea but we are also trying Viking for the first time later this year. If we don't like it we shall still enjoy the holiday. Oceania I think I shall like. I hear the food is very good. Trying more lines should give us greater choice of itinerary. I keep a journal on every holiday so read the one for the South Pacific again in order to answer your question. We loved the friendly people, the softest white sand & the warmth, even in the occasional shower. We were there in January/February & there was some motion in the ocean at times, we actually missed Samoa on that account. Champagne Bay was unforgettable, standing in clear water looking back at the curve of white sand when several piglets dashed out of the trees & back. Our day in Port Vila when we managed a jetboat ride around the bay, an off-road buggy ride & a walk in the rain forest all in one day. Very impressive cascades & waterfalls. We also had an amazing day on Savala Island from Lautoka, Fiji. I would warn that 5 years ago the local transport was not the most comfortable, in fact they had a wide variety of ways of shaking our bones, but nothing that we couldn't cope with. The approach to Bora Bora is a dream - a rim of white waves lapping around a truly turquoise lagoon, with the land rising steeply from the coast. Tahiti was more developed, we like it less than other places we saw. You may find parents encouraging children to sing to welcome you! We had been warned - poverty & unemployment are big problems. I had taken other small things to give - pencils, small books - & others had sweets or toiletries. I noticed Regent toiletries & pens supplementing the gift bags, but I still wonder what the lucky recipient thought of the contents of the Virgin Business Class overnight bag he received! I think you will love it - I am envious.
  4. Hi Terry. You kindly shared info about your NZ trip, which we have planned for early 2020, & some visuals of Hong Kong. We are just back from our land trip to China & Hong Kong - most enjoyable & you would enjoy the photo opportunities. We seem to be following each other about - we have booked our first with Oceania (Nautica to Japan in 2021) and were in the South Pacific with Regent 5 years ago. So far, this is the only cruise that we would like to repeat just as it was. I think you will have a great time. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
  5. Sorry, Terry, I mean the mental back-burner. We begin our China & Hong Kong trip in about 5 weeks, but the Singapore, Australia & New Zealand trip is booked for January/February 2020. Both require research & planning to make the most of the opportunity. Thank you for your advice.
  6. It may not have been you, Terry, but I remember thinking that someone looked cold. I have made a mental note to pack layers. We have been to Australia before, prior to a South Pacific cruise, & were keen to return. A trip to the island is pencilled in & we have another full-day tour booked. This one must now go onto the back burner as we have a land trip to China in the very near future. Amazing possibilities!
  7. Just what I feared. A professional critic, perhaps on CC, said a disco would be better after 11pm. We don't party beyond midnight - usually! But we are on holiday. We'll enjoy the cruise whatever & make our choices from then on. Many thanks for your input. It really does help to settle expectations.
  8. We very recently booked Sydney to Auckland for next January. We're staying in Singapore (Mandarin Oriental) pre-cruise & then have 3 nights in the Four Seasons in Sydney. Post-cruise we're having 4 nights in Auckland. Any insights welcome. I found your blog very interesting, Terry. Particularly that you looked so cold! We have 2 stops in Tasmania - it seems I will need them to adjust to the rough seas & the temperature.
  9. I share these reservations about our first Viking cruise later this year. We are not really party people, don't like the casino & have usually retired before midnight, but I do like to dance after dinner - & to something more recent than the Beatles. Liked the Beatles back in the day, but my mother still likes them & she's in her 90s. Will try the whole experience with an open mind. If this is not our niche, we'll move along. Have sailed previously on Azamara, last 10 on Regent & Silversea.
  10. French 75 - lemon juice, gin, sugar & champagne. I like it without the lemon juice, gin & sugar!
  11. Thank you for the information. I won't cancel the cruise! This will be our first Viking cruise & I don't really understand why they exclude champagne. There are reasonable champagnes available for that price per pour. Just asking. It is, after all, the drink associated with celebration & good times.
  12. Yes, we are! Very reassuring to know. It's a birthday cruise & decent bubbles are non-negotiable. Thank you.
  13. Thank you for the information. I thought there may be a decent cava, but I shall certainly look out for the Romer & probably try to buy Veuve ashore. An indirect flight from the UK limits our options.
  14. Is there no dry sparkling available on the package? For me, that's a serious omission. I knew that Champagne was excluded but was hoping for a reasonable (dry) substitute.
  15. On our first Viking cruise in November & have bought the Spirits package. Most recently we have cruised on Regent & Silversea & we know we would have missed their alcohol policy. We both care about what we drink. Just one question, are there no champagnes available unless you pay more than 15 (dollars or pounds) per glass?
  16. That's the one! And also considering 3 days pre-cruise in Tokyo. I appreciate your insight.
  17. Considering the 2021 itineraries & would appreciate input from anyone with previous experience. Thank you!
  18. Also doing this itinerary on Explorer next month but staying overnight in Nice. We like the drive along the coast from Nice to MC. Enjoy your cruise.
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