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SMNYCruise

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  1. It’s been a tough few weeks in Cairo with protests and lockdowns. I hope things settle down soon. We decided to cancel our river cruise there and switch to Europe. Just not willing to take the risk that the trip will be suddenly cancelled or that the itinerary will be effected (as well as the flights). We were hoping for continued peace in the region but it’s not looking good.
  2. Yesterday Lufthansa and British Airways abruptly suspended flights to Cairo. While the suspension is only for a week, it does concern me about the safety of travel to Egypt. Viking and Uniworld have almost sold out their 2020 river cruises to the region. If this suspension continues, it would be devastating to Egypt's tourism industry.
  3. Personally, I would not pay for a visa or for a tour in Maputo. Fellow passengers, even those on organized ship tours, did not feel safe there. The shore excursion guide told me he had to intervene several times to assist passengers in getting away from aggressive vendors.
  4. Very sad to hear about the latest incident. There was a similar incident in December. Tourism is so important to Egypt’s economy. This might hurt the recent uptick in tourism there.
  5. In Cape Town, we took a private full day tour to Cape Peninsula with Rob from Cape Convoy. Happy to beat the tour busses and crowds with an early start. Rob knows all the less touristy spots including an empty beach with penguins. He was happy to cater the tour to our needs (seeing as much wildlife as possible) and after a full day, he dropped us off at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens where we had a late lunch. Just a word about Table Mountain Cable Car...it shuts down due to weather frequently so if possible leave an alternative day to do this. The cable car was closed two days before our visit and the lines, at times, were several hours long. We got there very early (before opening) and still had to wait an hour. It is, in my opinion, a "not to be missed" attraction. We took the HOHO bus to the beach and had lunch at a seafood restaurant. Another restaurant we liked is called Willoughby & Co. Its in the mall at the V & A Waterfront, so ambiance isn't great but the food (sushi) was good. Don't let the line scare you away...it moves quickly. Hope this helps.
  6. Not sure about the Insignia, but we were on the Nautica in January and I was very happy with the internet. Called home from South Africa using WhatsApp and it was very clear.
  7. The first thing you do when you board is to walk to the tables set up in the lounge and leave credit card info and get your key cards. After that, you will make your specialty restaurant dinner reservations, sign up for the spa and/or beverage plans, check out the excursion desk, and then head to lunch. I love how easy Windstar makes embarkation!
  8. Thanks for all your responses. I have returned from Africa with 1000 wonderful photos thanks to the Panasonic FZ1000. It has a steeper learning curve than expected, but I was happy with the videos and photos.
  9. I was surprised when comparing the Viking to the Uniworld 12 Day Egypt and Nile trip. I always thought Viking was the "cheaper" alternative. Turns out that Uniworld was $1,300 per person cheaper (we got a pay in full promotion), and includes transfers, even if you don't book their air. Trips are very similar. Uniworld uses the Four Seasons Cairo at Nile and has a brand new ship., S.S. Sphinx.
  10. Uniworld Egypt 2020 dates and itinerary are available for booking now. No information about pre or post cruise trips. Looks like they just changed the name of the new ship to S.S. Sphinx.
  11. I have heard that November-March is the best time to go. We just booked a trip to Egypt in January. I prefer to tour in cooler weather. As far as the above post by bubbulz...the State department has a four level rating system to provide advice on traveling to every country. Egypt is at a level 2 which means travelers should use extra caution. Other countries at level 2 are Belgium, Antarctica, Belize, Denmark, France, Cuba, Germany and so on. I'm sure if the situation in Egypt changes, the tour companies will make adjustments. Everyone who reported back from their recent Egypt trips felt safe.
  12. We refused to buy the Mozambique visa on our last cruise. Oceania and our TA sent several forceful emails about needing the visa, but the Maputo consulate confirmed that we did not need one if we weren't going ashore. After hearing back from many passengers who did not have a good experience in port (very aggressive vendors and not much to see), we were happy with our decision to save the $200.
  13. Just got back from a three week trip to South Africa including a cruise. Happy to answer questions. Johns advice was spot on. I would strongly recommend you take a safari either before or after the cruise. Day trips to "game reserves" during the heat of the day will not give you a safari experience. We stayed at the Bush House in Madikwe Game Reserve. Highly recommend this lodge and its malaria free.
  14. Stickyshocker: I would love to see some of your East Africa Safari pictures! I have purchased the FZ1000. Aside from the more difficult than expected learning curve, I am thrilled. Its not weather sealed, but that wasn't a deal breaker, and I have purchased a $7 rain/dust guard which will help with dust and splashes.
  15. Decision made: Panasonic FZ1000. Thanks again for all the advice.
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