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deefer

Live from Singapore to HK on the Jewel-March 10th 2018

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Wow, this vacation has finally started! We (my hubby and I) booked this in Oct of 2016.

 

We are currently sitting in one of Cathay Pacific lounges in HK awaiting our connection to Singapore. We flew from NY to HK (just over 15hrs). The flight was very pleasant but we were in business class where there are flat beds. We are both in our 50’s and healthy but I honestly don’t think I could have done this flight sitting upright for the duration. We used points to pay for the flight - if we had to pay cash I would be in coach (and grumpy) or not going. Kudos to those manage these long haul flights and still are smiling!

 

I tracked the price of our cabin from the day we booked. I was hoping bc we booked so far in advance that we could take advantage of a price drop and rebook. Did not happen. The only price drop happened after final payment. And after I crunched the numbers we would have saved about $400 pp if we booked after final payment (but that’s bc in our free perks when we booked we had free gratuities). If you didn’t have that perk then the savings would have been more.

 

With using points to book flights waiting until after final payment to book the cruise for us would not have worked. But if are looking at going to Asia and have flexibility, the best deals were after final payment. Keep in mind though that for a long time our cruise was fully booked, cabins only opened up closer to final payment as people’s circumstances changed - but it could have easily stayed sold out.

 

I have learned so much from these boards, and am happy to give a little back. Please feel free to ask questions about anything!

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Posted (edited)

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Okay, not an exciting picture - but I’m just practicing - this will be my first picture post. Hopefully you can see it! This is my coffee in front of the couch we are sitting on in the airport lounge.

 

Off to in a few minutes to catch our next flight!

 

 

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Edited by deefer
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[ATTACH]415884[/ATTACH]

 

Okay, not an exciting picture - but I’m just practicing - this will be my first picture post. Hopefully you can see it! This is my coffee in front of the couch we are sitting on in the airport lounge.

 

Off to in a few minutes to catch our next flight!

 

 

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[emoji106] hope you keep posting!!

 

 

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Am looking forward to reading your posts as I am on the Jewel in December. Enjoy your holiday. Its so exciting when the holiday starts!

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Following. We will be on the Jewel transpacific cruise May 6~26, 20-day Tokyo to Seattle. Can't wait!

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Interested to see what you have to say, We were on the Jewel from Honolulu to Sydney last year and will be back aboard starting on April 1st.

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Wow, this vacation has finally started! We (my hubby and I) booked this in Oct of 2016.

 

We are currently sitting in one of Cathay Pacific lounges in HK awaiting our connection to Singapore. We flew from NY to HK (just over 15hrs). The flight was very pleasant but we were in business class where there are flat beds. We are both in our 50’s and healthy but I honestly don’t think I could have done this flight sitting upright for the duration. We used points to pay for the flight - if we had to pay cash I would be in coach (and grumpy) or not going. Kudos to those manage these long haul flights and still are smiling!

 

I tracked the price of our cabin from the day we booked. I was hoping bc we booked so far in advance that we could take advantage of a price drop and rebook. Did not happen. The only price drop happened after final payment. And after I crunched the numbers we would have saved about $400 pp if we booked after final payment (but that’s bc in our free perks when we booked we had free gratuities). If you didn’t have that perk then the savings would have been more.

 

With using points to book flights waiting until after final payment to book the cruise for us would not have worked. But if are looking at going to Asia and have flexibility, the best deals were after final payment. Keep in mind though that for a long time our cruise was fully booked, cabins only opened up closer to final payment as people’s circumstances changed - but it could have easily stayed sold out.

 

I have learned so much from these boards, and am happy to give a little back. Please feel free to ask questions about anything!

Why did you fly Cathay Pacific? We have flown HK to NYC and NYC to HK 5 times.

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Why did you fly Cathay Pacific? We have flown HK to NYC and NYC to HK 5 times.

 

Only 100,000 points pp return in Business Class from North America to Asia

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So today we land in Singapore.

 

On the plane they handed out one customs form per person. There were lots of customs agents in the airport, you approach them one at a time. Process was quick and efficient. Had our bags, stopped at the atm and were in a cab within about 20 minutes.

 

Took a taxi to our hotel, Royal Plaza on Scotts. It’s in the Orchard Rd district. Cost of the taxi was $22 SGD. We paid cash but the driver said most accept credit cards.

 

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This is the lobby to the hotel

 

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A couple of room pics - the room is nice, clean. No complaints. I picked this hotel from reviews on the Asia Board and TripAdvisor. A lot of reviews raved about how amazing this hotel is. Maybe I’m just a little jet lagged - but right now to me it’s just a hotel.

 

All the rooms in this hotel come with complimentary wifi, Nespresso coffee maker, mini fridge and snacks - all included, no extra charge for drinking that Diet Coke in the fridge. Here is what you get...

 

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We are in a “club” room which includes lounge access & breakfast buffet. The buffets is supposed to be one of the best around. I will let you know tomorrow! If we actually go to the lounge I will snap some photos.

 

We did make it down to the Marina Bay District this afternoon but will post about it tomorrow - I think the jet lag is really kicking in and do not want to subject you to incoherent rambling.

 

 

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Exploring Marina Bay

 

We booked a tour of this area with Monster Tours. It was about a 2 hour walking tour of the Marina Bay Sands area & the Garden by the Bay - then we explored on our own. The tour was on the “light” side but it was an okay introduction to the area.

 

We arrived at our hotel around 1pm - quickly refreshed and were meeting our tour guide at 3pm. Our initial plans were to explore during the afternoon and then stay for the light show, but jet lag got in the way and we did not make it to the top of the Marina Bay Sands for a drink and the light show. It’s $23 SGD pp to go up to the top.

 

Here’s the Marina Bay Sands

 

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...and from the inside (looks a little like the Luxor in Vegas from the inside for those who have been there). It’s hard to see in this photo but there is this huge spider web like steel sculpture hanging from the ceiling

 

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Fyi.... if you want to go onto the casino floor (either to look around or gamble) you have to show your passport. Otherwise there is a $100SGD admission - residents of Singapore have to pay this or for a year membership of $2000.

 

We then proceeded through the Gardens by the Bay - which highlights the three main cultures of Singapore (per our tour guide) - the have a Malaysian, Chinese and Indian Garden. It’s a very pretty walk.

 

In this photo you can also see the Singapore Flyer (Ferris wheel) in the background - it was not running as it was very lightly raining.

 

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And of course the super trees - these are man made “trees” that use the suns solar energy to light up the garden at night. I’m hoping we don’t flake out and make it back tonight.

 

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On the property of the gardens are also the flower dome (which has flowers from every continent except for Antarctica) and the Cloud Forest - there is a charge to explore each one, I’m sorry I didn’t get the cost, it was included in our tour. But I can’t imagine it’s that much as our tour only cost $43 USD for the both of us and it included these admission fees.

 

Flower dome

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Cloud Forest (the man made waterfall)

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Gym in the Hotel - Royal Plaza on Scotts

 

So I got up crazy early today - no surprise, I was asleep by 7p, so decided to hit the gym - it’s open 24hrs - for those considering this hotel - its small but has good quality machines

 

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Breakfast at Royal Plaza on Scotts - Carousel Buffet

 

So the buffet is quite impressive. A ton of selections, I forgot to snap a photo of the Indian section, the dim sum station and the cappuccino maker but I think I got the rest. My husband said that the “North American” breakfast items were a little on the cold side - I didn’t have any - I only sampled the local flavors- my guess is the standard North American cuisine doesn’t turn over as quickly so it gets cold.

 

The price is $32 SGD per person. Would I go there if it wasn’t included in the price of the room .... undecided.

 

Surprisingly the automated cappuccino maker makes a very good latte.

 

 

Some of the hot Asian selections....

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A few of the hot North American dishes

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Cold cereal selection (also have a hot cereal)

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Pastry section

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Fruit/yogurt and juice section

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Can you do a USD-SGD conversion for us?

Nice review so far. Take care of the Jewel...I’ll be cruising on her in Alaska in July. [emoji1]

 

 

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Can you do a USD-SGD conversion for us?

Nice review so far. Take care of the Jewel...I’ll be cruising on her in Alaska in July. [emoji1]

 

 

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Of course the exchange rate changes daily but as an example we withdrew $100 SGD today from an atm and $76.12 USD was taken out our account.

 

We have yet to pay a service fee to withdraw money in Singapore. Usually there are 2-4 atms next to each other (like in the underground train system). If you find that a atm wants to charge you a service charge, cancel the transaction and try the one next to it. The first atm we tried this morning wanted to charge us $5.

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Exciting especially with the pictures. I will be on the Jewel in May so subscribing to this thread.

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Have fun! You've got to love points + business class = flat beds.

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Have fun! You've got to love points + business class = flat beds.

 

 

Well said :)

 

 

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Day 2 in Singapore

 

Day 2 was yesterday - writing this the next day again. I am happy to report that today I woke up at 4am - yesterday was wide awake at 2am. Making progress. It’s actually a nice way to start the day - reminiscing about the previous day’s adventures while sipping coffee.

 

We booked the HippoTours HOHO (hop on-hop off) bus with guided 2 hr tour of Chinatown & Little India. The cost was $43 SGD pp.

 

We started the day by taking the metro to ChinaTown - it is super easy to use and inexpensive. It was $1.60 each on the metro and a cab would have cost about $10.

 

Do not be intimated in using this system - there are “hosts” at every ticket machine to help you purchase your tickets/explain how to get where you want to go.

 

We bought our HOHO tickets at their booth in Chinatown but you can purchase on any bus - they have many, many different packages - take a look on line ahead of time for what will fit your needs.

 

Our tour guide for Chinatown was Aaron - there were 24 in our group, a little large for me but Aaron had a microphone so easy to hear. Very good tour - would recommend it.

 

We were able to see a prayer service in the Buddhist Temple

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Then jumped on the HOHO bus. I am not usually a fan of this type of touring - my experiences have just been okay - but I have to say this this time I actually enjoyed it. The guided tour on the headset was relevant, easy to hear.

 

I found the architecture of this city amazing - I’m sure this contributed to me actually enjoying the bus portion of the HOHO

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Chinese New Year was last month - the year of the dog - so you will see sculptures of dogs scattered about the city

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We got off the bus at Kampong Glam (Muslim district) and visited the Mosque

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Stopped and had the best blueberry tea ever - husband had a SIngapore Beer - the cost for these 2 items was $20. I think we were in a “trendy” area which was reflected in the prices.

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Only 100,000 points pp return in Business Class from North America to Asia

 

Wow...that is good! Did you have to search long to find those flights?

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Lounge at Royal Plaza on Scotts

 

Got back to the hotel after a full day of touring and dropped into the lounge - as promised here are some photos

 

It was “happy hour” so free alcohol and some snacks were out.

 

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Samy’s Curry for dinner

 

We had dinner at Samy’s Curry (highly recommended by a coworker that was here last month)- unfortunately it was not on the metro line - we did have the option of a bus - but was starting to get tired again and did not feel spending 30mins on a bus to go 3km and after a full day of walking - could not muster another 3km out of my feet.

 

The cab ride was $24 SGD (return) - dinner was $54 with beer - it was delicious.

 

I took one photo, then started to eat and took no further pictures (sorry was hungry and forgot! Middle aged and new to this blogging is my excuse)

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Samy’s is very simple - almost like a cafeteria but you do have table service - no table cloths, nothing fancy -just great food served on your bamboo place mat. Too cool. The address is 25 Dempsey Street for those who want to check it out.

 

Well today we board the ship - hope to get tour of Little India in before we board.

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Posted (edited)

Embarkation day

 

Sail away was 5pm. We grabbed the metro to Little India this morning and did some exploring.

 

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I have to say that people in Singapore are incredibly friendly. If you look at all confused someone stops and asks if you need help. We had the equivalent of 2 full days - in retrospect I could have used one more full day in Singapore - unfortunately can only take so much time off work!

 

We grab a taxi to the airport - $12 SGD. Arrive around 2pm. Dropped our bags curb side and went in.

 

1st stop is security. Prior to clearing security you are given a health questionnaire (for those who have sailed with NCL before, it’s unchanged). And also you fill out a customs form for Thailand.

There is no line for security.

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What makes this cruise different is that not everybody is embarking in Singapore - we are only doing 11 days but there are people who are doing the full 40 day cruise (I believe it started in Sydney). That is why I think the lines were all so short.

 

After security, check in

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And again line is reasonable

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We are in a suite (non haven) so checked in the suite/haven check in.

 

A nice little lounge - we didn’t wait at all but if we had to wait it would have been comfortable.

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Your passport is collected at the beginning of the cruise and given back to you at the end. We have never been close to missing the ship but I asked Bruno (the concierge) what happens as we always bring our passports “just in case”. If by chance you miss the ship your passports will be handed over to the port authority. Hopefully I will not be reviewing my experience with this procedure in a later post!

 

As Canadians we do not need a Visa for Thailand but they did collect our customs form (1st port of call is Thailand). I believe the same is for American citizens.

 

We do need a Visa for Vietnam - the ship will do this for you if you don’t want to do it on your own ahead of time. I know that this is true for USA & Canada - check if you are a citizen of another country. We took advantage of this service - one less thing to do ahead of time. We filled out the forms and our room account will be charged $69pp.

 

My husband filled out the form, I only glanced at it but I saw there was a charge for assistance with Thailand Visa - if you are from a country that needs a Thai Visa - look into it.

 

Then we board the ship. Because of immigration procedures we were not allowed to be escorted to our room - instead they stuck a big VIP sticker on your lapel and this would bypass any line you encountered. There was one fairly short line just before the gangplank where passengers who use general boarding were handing in their passports/Thai customs forms. As we had already handed our in we walked right by right onto the ship.

 

 

 

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Edited by deefer

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Wow...that is good! Did you have to search long to find those flights?

 

 

This is the standard award cost when booking with Alaska Airline Mileage program. We didn’t have to “search” per se, its just what the cost is through Alaska’s program. But seats are very few - we booked as soon as they became available, about 10 months out.

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The Cabin

 

We are in an aft penthouse. I think we’ve done about 12 cruises with NCL and we bounce between balconies to suites. The biggest perk of a suite to me is priority tendering/disembarkation in ports. Gets us off exploring ASAP. We tend to book suites for the “overseas” cruises, the ones that are more port intensive for that reason.

 

So the Jewel is going into dry dock for a refurbishment soon and our room does need it. I knew this going in from doing research but even if I didn’t I would have been okay with it. It takes quite a bit to ruin a vacation for me. The room is worn and tired looking BUT very clean and we are pleased with the space. The balcony is big.

 

Here’s some photos - only snapped a few but happy to take more if you want to see the vanity/bathroom area.

 

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Still have the lavazza espresso maker - love making my own lattes, my understanding is this will be replaced with an nespresso machine with the refurbishment

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We did have the opportunity to upgrade through the bidding process - for us the minimum bid for the haven courtyard penthouse was $400pp. This would have given as a bigger cabin (which is always nice) and access to the haven area. For us, on this cruise, it was not worth it. We did have offers for the other suites also but sorry cannot recall what the minimum bids were.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Freestyle Dailies

 

I do have the pictures of the Freestyle Daily but did not know if anyone would be interested in them - if you are, let me know and I will post them.

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The Freestyle Dailies

 

I do have the pictures of the Freestyle Daily but did not know if anyone would be interested in them - if you are, let me know and I will post them.

 

Thank you for the fantastic trip report. I was looking for a recent suite experience on NCL Jewel trip report and could not find one. Can’t wait to see the rest of your journey.

 

I will sail on the Jewel in May, and would love to see the Freestyle dailies. Thank you :)

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I can't see the photos, is it just me?

 

Photos work here for me, safari on mac

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Internet

 

Usually the 250 minute free internet is enough for us. This time we upgraded to the unlimited because my 81 yr old father recently learned how to use FaceTime and I now FaceTime him everyday!

 

We were not sure if it would work on the ship - happy to report it does!

 

You get a $125 dollar credit towards the unlimited plan - for the 11 day cruise it was $204.93 for the upgrade. The rate was 29.99/day. Bruno (the concierge) arranged this for us - otherwise you just have to go to the Internet cafe when the internet manager has office hours to get this done.

 

The speed of the internet on the cruise is incredibly fast compared to our previous cruise experiences. Almost as fast as on land - not kidding.

 

I’m guessing that’s because many of the passengers are on this cruise for 40 days - and unlimited plan would cost $1200 - that cost may be prohibitive for many. Also the age of the cruises on this trip is older, many I am assuming are retired so don’t need to email for work etc. So overall I’m thinking less users means faster speeds.

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Enjoying your trip so far! Please include as many pictures of the Jewel’s common areas as you can!

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Day 2 - Sea day

 

So yesterday the sea was a little rough - walking like you are drunk. I really do mean just a little - I’m sure others would report not rough at all. Unfortunately for me I am a lightweight with motion - I did take medications and did venture out. The ship was incredibly empty - maybe others felt the same way.

 

So I spent most of the day in the room - when I lay on the bed I feel fine. We really aren’t sea day people - usually just eat, hang out in the casino, have a spa treatment of some sort & go to the thermal spa. I find the sea days a day to recoup/relax - maybe even a little boring.

 

We have a thermal spa pass - but I have learned from previous experiences the front of the ship is the worst place for me when feeling this way.

 

I am typing this at 5am on day 3. Sitting on the balcony in the dark - happy to report seas are calm - no issues this am with motion sickness!

 

Food so far:

It’s strange but I am not eating Iike I normally can - I think the time change is still playing a factor in this. Today wide awake at 430am so getting better.

 

We had dinner on Day 1 at the Azure dining room. I had the meat lasagne & my husband had 3 appetizers as his meal, salad, French onion soup, & the beef slider. He was hoping the beef slider would have been like the one they used to have at Cagneys - it was not. My meal was satisfactory - at an Applebee’s level for those in North America as a reference.

 

Day 2 - because of the motion sickness missed breakfast and had a late lunch/early dinner at the Great Outdoors around 3pm. It was delicious!! I made myself a sandwich, the bread was so fresh. I’m forgetting to bring my iPad with me - will try to remember for pictures.

 

 

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Today is day 3 - Koh Samui

 

We have a tour planned and will report back at a later time but I just wanted to share this amazing summary sheet that what given out with the Daily on day 1.

 

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This makes it so much easier to organize what documentation is needed for each port.

 

 

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Loving your review - thank you for taking the time to bring us all along on your cruise. I am loving all the photos, dailies & descriptions of food

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Day 3 - Koh Samui

 

Breakfast

 

The buffet is very full this morning at 7am - we headed to moderno’s and cut through. It would have been a challenge to find a table.

 

I had a light breakfast, just a muffin from the self serve area.

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My husband had the waffles with fruit.

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We both enjoy the French press coffee

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Tendering

 

1st tender was supposed to be at 8am. We had arranged to meet our tour guide at 830am so needed to be on the first tender. This is the best part of being in a suite for us - met at the designated spot & time and we were on the first tender - the tender took about 20 mins.

 

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I am typing this review while laying on the stone chairs in the spa and just realized only have 4% left in my iPad battery - signing off and will continue with the actual tour later.

 

The view from my heated stone chair

IMG_1520844111.437050.thumb.jpg.3241f19dea7a7f2de7178b6d0ad52ac1.jpg

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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