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Bimmer09

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  1. Welcome most esteemed Sir! Long haul indeed as we had a jam-packed adventure. Norris
  2. It's about time for another Gentleman's Seafaring Journal and luckily I have something to report - a Cruise to the Norwegian Fjords on my favorite ship. Here's the itinerary (well almost as gremlins have been at work since we (Norris and Carol- not the Royal "we") arrived home from London yesterday afternoon. There was a sea day to get back to Southampton and then a day spent in London before flying home to Chicago Monday September 9th- yesterday if my math is correct. Photos from those days will be seen once I can free up space on my laptop. So that's where we will be going as this unwinds day after day.... Norris
  3. Dana, as a lover of Greek food these are some delectable looking plates in a nice looking restaurant and you didn't pay a King's ransom so kudos on taking a chance on Milos. We still haven't picked places to eat apart from that Fish and Chip shop. I am lobbying for the restaurant in our hotel (Royal Horseguards hotel) as I like to be near a bed after a heavy meal with wine. I also wanted to eat in a Gordon Ramsay restaurant but that's a major spend and it's only one meal to stop the stomach caving in-we have been known to go 13 hours without eating a morsel on holiday. Our hotel also has a garden with outdoor dining that will be the setting for my first Guinness and cigarette after check-in. Carol has heard me raving about the little British bakeries with hot sausage rolls and Cornish pasties etc. I want some of those. I just reminded Carol we only have two more nights of sleeping in Chicago....she said "yikes!" Fantastic review of an amazing vacation! Norris
  4. Yes Dana, I am leaving on Thursday of this week. Bars in NJ where I came ashore back in 1986 were single story buildings with no exterior decor and were very dark inside and had TVs showing football (November) . Those British pubs vie for business with their name, their exterior and interior look and since I lived there-their food offerings. Bangers mash and beans was pretty much the cuisine when I frequented those pubs 33 years ago. 17 years ago when I was last in N Ireland my sister took me to local pubs with really good food with a wide variety of options so I know that the pubs have woken up there. In N Ireland people can spend the whole day in the pub. They are totally wasted by the time comes to go home of course. I can't follow in all of your footsteps-you guys pack so much energy into a day whereas I, given my druthers, would sit at a cafe with a drink and a pack of cigarettes and be happy to watch the world go by. Carol booked us for the Churchill War Rooms as we are both big Churchill fans-she from the tv series starring John Lithgoe and me from reading his book The Second World War so many years ago. She booked the Mamet play in the West End whereas I would have sat on a bench staring at the Thames for 2 hours. We love Mamet's work and I like the idea of visiting an English theater. We can't do it all in a couple of days. I lived in London from 1970 to 72 and from 1974 to 1986 and saw a lot of the sights and enjoyed the Museums etc but that city's treasures are so vast that it's hard to see them all and definitely not in a short space of time. Living there I drove over Tower Bridge many times and passed Buckingham Palace etc but they were just things I passed by on my way to somewhere else. I never took pictures or delved into the history. It was just the city I was living and working in. Now I am excited to be seeing it again , after 25 years when I lasted visited it for a day and credit goes to you and your husband for activating my anticipation. Norris
  5. Dana, you have me very keen to step into a London pub again with all your pub visits. I haven't been in one in 25 years but remember the crowds outside with their pints on warm summer evenings. Some interesting and inviting exteriors and names above the doors and a cosy feel inside. Service was always an issue though and after living in Nuremberg for a few months when I was 20 the British beer was a poor excuse for a beverage and I could only rely on Guinness, which I still love. Your fish and chips always look good although the mushy peas are stingy portions. We are dining at a fish and chip shop on our first night called The Rock and Sole Plaice (Rock being a cod variety). We have tickets to the Churchill War Rooms on our only full day in London (August 31) so you'll hopefully see pics of that in my X review. That afternoon we are seeing a new David Mamet play in the West End. I will have a "Full English" breakfast which you passed on so there will be a photo of that. We are doing a Big Bus tour soon after we get there and as you know I will be up early each day wandering with the camera but we don't have a tight schedule (at my request). Great trip report. I am sure your head is still full of Paris and London! Norris
  6. Dana, most of the fish and chips I have ordered in the USA have been little 4 inch strips of "cod" which is unlike the British full fish-shaped filet as shown above. The fish should never be placed atop the chips though as that adds grease below to the pillowy potato with crispy edges. There should be more mushy peas (the green stuff) for maximum pleasure. I have lived in the USA for 33 years and only once have had British style fish and chips and that was in Ontario, which is in Canada, just over the border from Detroit in Sarnia- a place called the Wharf which serves up the kind of fish and chips I crave from my days of living in N Ireland (Ulster). More and more American restaurants are offering Malt Vinegar (Heinz or London Pub) and that is a small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind. Norris, fish and chips gourmand. By the way-there are not enough chips on that plate....
  7. Dana, I am anticipating an amazing cruise-the ship is a stunner- Celebrity Silhouette, my favorite until I sail one I like better and Norwegian Fjords will be a new experience for us as we'll be very close to land for much of the sailing. We have excursions in 4 ports and I will get to do my favorite thing which is eat ashore in a harbor setting. You are already making me drool over your London pictures. It has changed so much since I lived there-tall buildings were rare indeed then. I like that your husband wants to enjoy as many London pubs as he can. Yes, they have history and character in spades and can certainly draw a crowd, especially after work. You may be home now- I didn't pay attention to your travel dates so you are probably already home-but I hope you stopped into a British bakery shop for a cornish pasty or a hot sausage roll. I do miss some British foods that can be found nowhere else. I no doubt will be having a "Full English" breakfast when in London, but that even pales to an "Ulster Fry" (Ulster being N. Ireland, home of Game of Thrones). Looking forward to more of your London experience. I love that you both had the idea for this itinerary. You only live once and you guys know how to live! Yes I will write a review- I have reviewed every cruise I have taken since 2011 and this will be #14 I think. Celebrity Board, September 9th for the launch. Links will be placed on the Princess and Azamara boards. Cheers and toodle-pip! Norris, Brit who thinks Brexit is more than slightly silly.
  8. Dana, this is an epic that many should bookmark if they are considering either of these must-see cities. You have -as you always have-really done your homework, made your spreadsheets and organized like there's no tomorrow and I admire you for the energy you put into your trips and your recounts that we all get to share. I personally would avoid these tourist magnets like the plague in high season as off-peak is my middle name and the temperatures these cities are experiencing these days in summer are very off-putting. I haven't lived in London since 1986 but back then a 77F degree day brought forth a picture of a bikini-clad girl in the Sun newspaper, (good for wrapping fish and chips in)licking an iced lolly with a headline- "Whew, cor Blimey! What a scorcher!" Crowds and heat are 2 things that can mar my day-hence I am heading to Norway in a couple of weeks. You guys are a well-suited pair who roll with the punches and always have big smiles and an upbeat attitude. More power to you. Norris, with thanks.
  9. Alison, we will be on Celebrity Silhouette on September 1 for just 7 days. Just 4 ports. The review will kick off on the X board September 9 when I get home. It will be a very long review, that much I know, as we will be in London before and after and we are both excited about that. The Silhouette is also our favorite ship to date and I have a better camera than I had on my first trip on her and a better grip on taking pictures. So I am psyched! Thanks for the kind wishes! Norris
  10. Your love shows in the photos and thanks for being so generous in sharing. You are showing me some parts of Norway I won't get to see in 3 weeks when I visit Bergen, Flam, Alesund and Stavanger but I imagine it won't be "one and done" for us as far as Norway is concerned but a cruise longer than our 7 day trip will have to wait until retirement. I am very much enjoying following along on this fantastic adventure. Kudos! Norris
  11. Dana, thanks to one of my undercover agents, Crystal- (damn! I've blown her cover!) I am here reading along as I am (a) going to be in London in 3 weeks and (b) lived in London for a total of 14 Earth-years and (c) have never been to Paris even though I am the biggest Francophile I know. I would never ride a bicycle without wearing a beret, a blue and white hooped shirt, a fake mustache and a baguette under my arm. I even had a period when I smoked Gauloises Disque Bleu which smell like a burning mattress. Keep the details and the stellar photos coming. Norris
  12. Trip I am just on page 2 and see that already you are finished by page 4! LCG is one of my favorite places at sea and that fact that only the Silhouette and Reflection have it means I will be less likely to sail on the other 3 S-Class ships. Also they don't have the Alcoves which we rent in warm climates and enjoy although they are lame compared to the Sanctuary on Princess. I have zero interest in the Edge class- some dim-bulb ideas in designing and furnishing that, but would sail an M class if the itinerary compelled. I very much liked the Azamara experience but Cuba had a part to play in how memorable that cruise was. Outdoor dining or drinking is my favorite thing ever and the LCG location can't be beat! Norris, who will be armed to the teeth with cameras and lenses come September.
  13. Hi Trip and thanks for the link to your new review! Have to agree that Maarten is a fun cruise director as we enjoyed his enthusiasm on the Reflection in 2017. Thanks for so many great pictures included. Those skies as you left Ft Lauderdale-yikes! I am following along and am particularly interested in your food comments, especially the MDR selections. We will mainly do Specialty dinners on our upcoming Silhouette cruise but will hit the MDR for breakfast and a sea-day lunch or two. Lawn Club Grill will be our first dinner aboard as we leave Southampton. Norris
  14. Trip, thanks for the link! I'll be on the Silhouette in just 3 weeks bound for Norway. Sunset verandah, just like you. Cheers! Norris
  15. Thanks for pointing this out HGC as it gave me a chance to re read this and remind myself how much we enjoyed the MDR on Azamara Journey. It was the best MDR food we have enjoyed at sea. We are sailing on Celebrity in 3 weeks but expect to eat a lot of specialty restaurant meals. (Murano and Lawn Club Grill are favorites). Norris, Norway-bound.
  16. Carol, here is the link I see in the intro that we canceled a Norway cruise to do this one. We are sailing to Norway in 30 days on the Silhouette and a review will follow September 10. Hope you can tune in! Norris
  17. I sure will, even though it's not an Azamara sailing but it's Norway and it's a beautiful ship if ever there was one. I am sure I will find something interesting to photograph and have a tale to tell. The review should set sail by September 10. I am looking forward to London as a bookend city! Cheers! Norris
  18. Thanks for taking us along on this great itinerary! A very enjoyable, interesting and detailed read. Norris, Norway bound but on Celebrity.
  19. That is a more than fair, non-gouging price. If one purchases a pack of Marlboro in a shop in Chicago the price is $14.90 and when you ask for a pack the shopkeeper dips down behind the counter and when he resurfaces with the pack he is wearing a Lone-Ranger mask and pointing a gun. I drive to Indiana where they are a dollar more than Azamara charges. Norris, who enjoyed the company of Cuban cigar smokers on the Journey.
  20. Sunset from Azamara Journey between Havana and Cienfuegos, Cuba January 2019 Norris
  21. Royal Caribbean hardware...in Nassau Enchantment Norris
  22. From my kitchen window with fog Trump Tower (center) obscured by fog The fog lifts Norris
  23. Lipizzan Horses at Tempel Farms, Wadsworth, Illinois Norris
  24. Michelle, I'm glad you enjoyed the Cuba review. It was a very different Caribbean experience and we really loved Azamara Journey. Our hotel in London is by the Thames-the Royal Horseguards near Trafalgar Square. There are so many sights to experience there and I won't kid myself that we will see a fraction of them. I am not intending to rush around as we only have a day and a half before sailing and a full day after. We can go back another time hopefully. I spent 13 years of my life there and really took the sights for granted as they were just part of the backdrop to being young and working in London. We have only dined in a Celebrity MDR once-on Silhouette on our last night as I was curious and it was very poor, food and service wise as my review detailed. We hope for better this time around but I foresee a bunch of Murano and LCGrill dinners and Indian lunches for me in the OVCafe. The Suite life on Silly and Reflection (2016/2017) cost us about $7400 in the Caribbean for 7 days. The S1 Norway was just over $11,000 for 7 days which got me thinking of a Sunset Verandah and putting the savings towards another cruise. That 11K has now paid for 2 cruises in lesser accommodations (with the same view) and with fewer perks. Our last 3 cruises in fact were in balcony cabins as aft suites were all gone when we got interested in booking and we don't want suites anywhere but aft. We found that we aren't in the cabin much at all-just to sleep, nap and bathe, get dressed. Will we miss Luminae-oh yes. Michaels?-a little. Butlers? Not at all. Reserved seats in the theater? No, we always get there early. Tune in September 10th.... Norris
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