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Les Picantins

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About Les Picantins

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    culinary arts
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  1. I am in the process of modifying my July reservations and need some help with hotel recommendations in Venise. We live in one of the hardest hit Covid areas in France and will exercise the same precautions in Venise as we do when we go to our local bank or supermarket. I’m hoping to experience Venise in the summer without the mass cruise population. Our inter-Schenghen borders should be opening on June 15. My 3 choices are The Bauer Palazzo (Seabourn partner hotel), The Danieli (3 x the price of the Bauer) and the Gritti Palace (almost 6 x the Bauer). I’d like some insight as to why the huge price differences. If some of you have previously stayed at The Bauer Palazzo and had a fantastic experience that would make the decision very easy. I’m hoping this will take your mind’s off of current events to more pleasant memories. Thank you in advance for any insight you may offer. The past 3 months have been exhausting and I am looking forward to better days.
  2. As I write this, I am sitting at my juliette balcony overlooking one of the main streets in my town of 40 thousand habitants.Today, there is a little more movement as a drive through COVID-19 testing pop-up was installed a half a block away. This time 2 weeks ago all I would see from this same spot were ambulances, hearses (some carrying 2 coffins), domestic food delivery vans and desperate people popping in and out of the pharmacy across the street. Occasionally people pass while walking their dogs, since that is one of the few justifiable reasons to be out in public on the streets of France. For me, 3 months ago this virus was one of those tragedies that only happens on the other side of the world. A few weeks later it was ravaging our neighbors and cousins in Italy. It still didn’t hit home until BAM -on February 26th our mayor was on national news. The first COVID-19 death in France was declared and the victim had just been transferred from our local hospital to Paris! I totally understand that waiting around for information about refunds or future cruises is very frustrating especially considering the substantial sums involved. I also understand the fear that those working to process those refunds and massive inquiries, are facing. Are they risking their health by showing up for work, maybe taking public transportation to a job that may be on the line? I too have a cruise scheduled for this summer which has not yet been canceled. When the first wave of sailings were stopped, I waited several weeks before bothering my TA figuring she would be drowning in frantic calls from others like myself. When I finally made contact last week she had just finished arranging for her last clients to make it home safely. I hadn’t even imagined those travel nightmares trying to return to their country. This situation is AWFUL for EVERYONE worldwide. I guess the moral of all this is it’s better to be waiting around for a refund than waiting around for a loved one to hopefully make it home from the hospital. I have so much more to say, but this has been long enough. I can only hope that Seabourn makes it through this storm, everyone stays safe and we can all return to a life as it was just a few months ago as soon as possible.
  3. The recent problem on the website has been fixed but still no news on the 2021 itineraries. I have friends onboard one of the Ponant ships at the moment. They sent me a message warning me that there is lots of buzz about the cruise I have been considering on the Laperouse to the Maldives in January 2021. Considering there are only 92 cabins on that vessel, I gave the go ahead to my TA to lock in my reservation. I’m afraid to wait any longer. Sorry Seabourn, « you snooze, you lose ».
  4. That happened to me too yesterday. Maybe once the circle stops spinning, the 2021 cruises will FINALLY be released.
  5. We are now in August and still no news. I’m leaning towards an itinerary to the Maldives on a different cruise line (January 2021) with limited capacity. I’ve been patient up until now, but I’m worried that if I wait too long... I understand the complications caused by the Cuba situation, but all the cruise lines were confronted with the same challenges, yet most have managed to get it together. I’ll wait a few more days. Longer than that, I might miss out on the other option.
  6. The Crystal pre-cruise hotel is in Dubai. We chose to make the most of our time on in the Seychelles and will be arriving on Tuesday for a Saturday sailing. We opted for the H Vallon hotel for pre-cruise and then a day-use at the Eden Blue on debarkation since our flight home is in the evening. Whatever hotel you choose, make sure you can have the room early in the morning. What dates are you sailing? We are on the January 25th itinerary. I didn’t start a roll call because I didn’t think it would get any response. Maybe I should.
  7. The complimentary soaps (Occitane, Hermès and the bumpy green) have been discontinued or are in the process of being phased out. Seabourn is going green and they are eliminating plastic emballage (straws, to go coffee lids etc.). At least this is information given by staff. I didn’t ask if there were plans to replace all of the Molten Brown products.
  8. Our cruise finished yesterday in Piraeus. My TA offered us a private taxi transfer who showed up 45 minutes late due to a timing miscommunication. Waiting with us were a handful of other pax in similar situations (wrong terminal). We had plenty of time to kill so there was no panic, but had our flight been earlier, we wouldn’t have hesitated to take one of the many available taxis waiting outside the terminal. The majority of meet and greet chauffeurs were in taxis. Regular taxi fare to the airport is 50€, while pre-reserved taxis are 100€. If you are not on a tight schedule, relying on the available taxis is not a gamble.
  9. We had a very good experience with Civitavechia Cab Service. Raphael was our driver. He was more than a chauffeur but acted as a tour guide as well, with both knowledge and enthusiasm. The prices were very reasonable.
  10. If it matters to you, the seas will probably be much calmer in June/July than in late September. The Atlantic can be very angry at different times of the year especially around Lisbon and the Brittany region in France.
  11. If your itinerary stops in Ilhabela, I highly recommend covering yourself with insect repellent before catching the tender. There are giant flies that leave nasty bites if you are not protected but will leave you alone otherwise. Personally I was warned prior to my cruise by a Brasilian and only encountered one on the pier on my way back to the tender. It did a nose dive down the front of my dress. It didn't bite, but I almost ended up in the water.😎
  12. A little off topic - if Komodo Island is what is motivating you to take this itinerary, I remember hearing that it will be closed to tourists for the next year. I don’t know the details, but you may want to look into this.
  13. I hope this is true as Montaudon was the included champagne on Regent a few years ago and is a better choice, however, sometimes Seabourn has a different selection for a special event and will continue to offer it until the stock is consumed. Is it possible that they brought on a different brand for the GP event? Time will tell.
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