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  1. Agreed that there are usually at least two onshore or zodiac excursions every day, so the time spent sitting about during the day is limited. I remember two half days where I was either on an early excursion, or did not do the additional kayaking where having a balcony would have been nice. However, the one reason I regretted not having a balcony was getting the swimming costumes dry. Having brought rash vests (and they were welcome for the additional warmth in the cool waters of the Galapagos), they just did not dry fast enough in the suite/bathroom. I found the guides very cons
  2. We did this itinerary on Silversea, not Seabourn, but I imagine that things would be similar. The ship dealt with all of our visas on board. There were no complications. US dollars were acceptable as tips and for small purchases (only made one of these). I work extensively in Africa, so am up to date with advice - you should have all of your jabs, but, in general, you only need to think about malaria prophylaxis if the ship is overnighting in a malarial area. If it is sailing between dusk and dawn,it it generally not necessary to take malaria pills. Would agree that ship's tours ar
  3. If I recall correctly, there were three major snorkelling opportunities on the Western itinerary. Two of the three were set up so that less strong swimmers/inexperienced snorkellers could enjoy the unmissable experience as well as those who were more accustomed to it. And as those included swimming with turtles and sealions, they are one of the core Galapagos experiences. Only the third one was more challenging, with a long distance in a strong current, and as that one included swimming with penguins. 'Gentle' hikes were generally offered to all passengers, but where they were a little mor
  4. Definitely doable by yourself, if there are things that interest you. Depends where you dock - you can be quite far out. Taxis reasonably plentiful, but not if there is one of the big ships in, especially if there are a lot of changeovers. Picasso museum is very good, and right next to the cathedral, which is a lovely typical Spanish gothic. In relation to modern art, the Musee Pompidou has a very good branch right at the end of the usual docking space. And if you interests are 19th century art, the Carmen Thyssen is also excellent. We were stuck in Malaga a few years ago, when the Cloud
  5. Can only help with three of the ports. Siracusa is a lovely little city, and you could do worse than walk around the town, and visit the market (where they may do Shopping with the Chef) and also the cathedral. Looks like standard Italian baroque outside, but once you get in, you realise it is a fully intact Greek temple, with the gaps between the columns filled in. However, the tours to the Greek and Roman theatre and the mines/caves are worth doing. Some way from the city, although you might find a taxi. Think some people reported favourably on the tours up into the small baroque
  6. On Quest last month we just asked for sandwiches, and no sweet things. The staff were very happy to do that, and jsut give us the sandwich tier.
  7. We loved it, although it was a few years ago now and before Silver Cloud became an expedition ship. Nice combination of sea days and ports. Plenty of interesting places to visit and we had lovely weather. Also, the cruise attracted some really interesting people as guests – most of them experienced cruisers with Silversea experience, but skewed rather younger than usual; professional and interesting companions. I can’t locate your cruise on the website, so not sure what the ports are. We found that the tours were expensive, but there are limited alternatives, and it is normall
  8. Ponza is a charming, but small, upmarket Italian resort town. I'm sure there. Some of the beaches are beautiful, and from the map the magnificent Chaia di Luna beach is pretty close (other side of the island but a very narrow isthmus). however, we took the round island boat tour, which was fascinating, as they took the boat into the caves containingg the Roman fish farms (reputedly owned by Pontius Pilate). But it helps to have an interest in geology. It was possible to swim off the boat. Agree that, from Trapani, Erice is lovely. Some of the Greek archaeology (e.g. Segesta
  9. The Boi Bumba show in Paritins is rather different to the experience of carnival in Rio. It is a very small town in the middle of nowhere. The show (which is developed each year from the local Boi Bumba at carnival time) is delivered by locals in the local community centre. You are right in the heart of the action, close up to the performers, and able to appreciate the quality of the dancing and the costumes and scenery. One of my travelling companions said it was the best excursion he had ever been on.
  10. Did a similar cruise a little while ago, but carried on to Punta Arenas. The first few days - Lima and northern Chile - is pleasant, dry, but not over hot (cooled by the Humboldt current). Usually cloudy, even misty in the mornings, but clearing by midday and a sunny afternoon. The sun is strong once it does come out. Then some warmer days in central Chile. If you are disembarking in Santiago, you should be fine. Really heavy rain is unlikely - we did not get any until we were further south than you are going. Waterproofs for the zodiac transfers or tours - I did not take any.
  11. I agree that it was not cold (maybe cool) wearing a rash vest. I took two and was glad of them. A couple on our cruise had brought surfer’s swimming leggings, and those seemed a very good idea if you are susceptible to cold.
  12. They are both good. Western itinerary is the volcanically active part, and the one with penguins and flightless cormorants. North and Central is to the older, more eroded islands and the only one where you will see albatross. The rest of the wildlife (boobies, sea lions, giant tortoise, marine iguana etc) you will see on either itinerary .
  13. My experience is that there is a problem common to all the older ships, of a build up of sewage smells in all the public toilets in the back half of the ship on all floors, and a particular build up in the Bar. I assume that there is some design issue with odour traps. My experience is that Whisper is the worst, followed by Shadow, and that Cloud does not suffer unduly. However, as there is no opportunity to empty tanks when in Antarctica, there might be a similar build up on longer expedition cruises. I have never experienced problems of sewage smells in the corridors with suites.
  14. The average rate worked out to V1/V2, whereas we always book V5 on the Odyssey class. But as we were going for a reduction on a much longer cruise, we just agreed what they would subtract from the total - which was still a very good saving.
  15. The issue that tends to complicate things a bit is when a proportion of your days were on the ‘little sisters’. When I attained the milestone, 50% of my cruises were on the little ships, and the room classifications were lower than their equivalents on the Odyssey class. It was still a very big discount , and allowed us to do 22 days in Alaska - all the way up to Seward and back. Of course, this issue is becoming less common as time elapses.
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