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Bimmer09

Celebrity Silhouette, Norwegian Fjords Sept. 1 2019

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Have been following this post with excitement since we will be on Silhouette to Norway next June. Your pics are awesome. I liked your description of growing up and sailing on ships with your father. Your comments about the sailors shoveling coal to the boilers to make the "steam" for the ships reminded me of a line from my favorite song, A Pirate Looks at Forty by Jimmy Buffet. It goes "Mother, mother ocean, I have heard your call, wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall. You've seen it all. I watched the men who rode you switch from sail to steam."  And I have found it's true, the ocean gets to you and you can't stay away. 

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Sunday September 8 2019

The room stewards are preparing for turnaround. We have to be out of our cabin by 8 a.m

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Our disembarkation time was 8.30. We like to wait in the Hideaway where it is quiet

We've both had a buffet breakfast for expediency sake so we can meet the cabin exit deadline

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the coffee machine can't be used this morning, alas

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You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned our next Celebrity cruise.Unlike our previous two X cruises we didn't book another on our last day to take advantage of the perks. We didn't even discuss it. We already had two cruises booked ahead-in January and October of next year and have to do some land trips at some point. We apply for tickets to the Wagner Festival in Germany each year. The last year we got tickets was 2013 when we had to cancel a Med cruise, so there is a good chance that 2020 will see us in Germany. It will also mark 17 years since I was in Northern Ireland to see my family back there. So we may have to give up some sea time.

 

The main reason for me though not to bring up the subject on board is the future Edgeification of the Silhouette. The Edge class doesn't call our names really in its current iteration. Carol said "Azamara" quite a few times in Norway and even "Seabourn" (out of curiosity). She likes to relax on her cruises and to find quiet places to read but it wasn't so easy this time. The weather didn't help as we love to be outdoors when sailing. Time will tell.

 

We'll get off the ship soon and find our luggage and then go through customs. I had booked Smith's Car Service to take us to London and we'd meet them at 9.30. So an hour cushion which seemed prudent.

 

While Carol read her Kindle and made more trip notes I visited some nearby rooms...

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the Library

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my favorite elevators at sea

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another popular room on sea days

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Our luggage number is called and we grab our carry-ons and camera bags and make our way to deck 5

we say bye bye to the quirky art

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and to the forlorn tree

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there's a final "ping" as our ship cards are read at the gangway and then a long zig zag walk down to terminal level. What? No customs? Yay! We are traveling from one EU country to another (temporarily). We wheel our luggage outside into the warm Southampton morning.

We'll have to wait for Smith's as we are early but it's a lovely English morning with not a hint of rain. There's a place to discard any foreign currency you don't need as you leave the terminal and the proceeds go to charities. We add Norwegian coins to it. Great idea!

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Hi Norris! Just checking in to say it is always a joy to read your reviews. I am not able to travel for various reasons and the quality of your pictures and banter combined with Carol's notes always make me feel like I am on a mini vacation too. You are one of the very few reviewers I actively seek out every time I need my 'fix' and of that group definitely my favorite. So thank you so much for the work you do!

 

Hope you & Carol have a great fall foliage road trip and a pic or two snuck into this review would not be a bad thing at all! 🙂  

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Just a quick note to say that after coming home from work at 11pm last night and hitting the hay at 1 a.m after a midnight dinner  I am up and packing for a 300 mile drive to a most scenic place in Michigan so will be away from the computer all day. 

 

Fall Foliage will be at peak on the Mission Peninsula, north of Traverse City.

 

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&tbm=isch&sxsrf=ACYBGNQDBXsPZSh-h-xr3RnxI7YpXDwMMg%3A1572348539820&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=639&ei=eyK4XdPuL4Wb5gLE3oDwDw&q=mission+peninsula+michigan&oq=Mission+Peninsula&gs_l=img.1.2.0l2j0i30j0i5i30l5j0i24l2.2744.6868..14054...0.0..0.199.2274.0j17......0....1..gws-wiz-img.p1w59y2cExg

 

Carol will be taking notes and buying apples and cider from farm stands along the way.

 

Road Trip!

Back soon...

Norris

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42 minutes ago, Bimmer09 said:

Just a quick note to say that after coming home from work at 11pm last night and hitting the hay at 1 a.m after a midnight dinner  I am up and packing for a 300 mile drive to a most scenic place in Michigan so will be away from the computer all day. 

 

Fall Foliage will be at peak on the Mission Peninsula, north of Traverse City.

 

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&tbm=isch&sxsrf=ACYBGNQDBXsPZSh-h-xr3RnxI7YpXDwMMg%3A1572348539820&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=639&ei=eyK4XdPuL4Wb5gLE3oDwDw&q=mission+peninsula+michigan&oq=Mission+Peninsula&gs_l=img.1.2.0l2j0i30j0i5i30l5j0i24l2.2744.6868..14054...0.0..0.199.2274.0j17......0....1..gws-wiz-img.p1w59y2cExg

 

Carol will be taking notes and buying apples and cider from farm stands along the way.

 

Road Trip!

Back soon...

Norris

 

 

Have a nice trip . We stayed not far from there on Lake Michigan near the Sleeping Bear Dunes .

 

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Still following along and so enjoying.  I have heard good things about Seabourn.  And of course Azamara is on my radar.  Still getting lots of booklets from Oceania, with their weird pricing.

 

Cannot wait for the rest of your review and see your time back in London.  

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"Road Trip!" Two of my favorite words ... along with "Sail Away". We just got back from 4 days on the Oregon Coast. Enjoy your time in Michigan.

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Norris,

I just loved your review and pictures of Norway.  We have a trip to Norway planned for next year.  Were most of your excursions private or booked thru Celebrity?

I also followed your review of Cuba. We were on Azamara Journey in March and Cuba was our first port. Both threads were just excellent and very informative. 

Maybe we will sail together in the future.

Evelyn

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Wonderful review and your pictures are fantastic.  I have never seen such vivid shots of a show on a ship not to mention the outdoor rain variety.  I am looking forward to the London part of your trip.  Michigan looks awesome in the fall.  I have never been to that part of our country other than an unplanned overnight at O'hare airport.

 

One more thing, I believe my love of cruise ships originated at the age of 4 when my parents took us from Honolulu to LA on the SS Lurline.  My DH, who really does not share my love of cruising since he is retired Navy and has seen many of the ports I would like to visit, is not happy about my obsession with cruising.  He has agreed to Norway, the Panama Canal and another Alaskan cruise with an extensive land portion since these are not places he has cruised to or through.  

 

Edited by JaniceB

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On 10/29/2019 at 3:07 AM, LisaNorthseadreamer said:

Hi Norris! Just checking in to say it is always a joy to read your reviews. I am not able to travel for various reasons and the quality of your pictures and banter combined with Carol's notes always make me feel like I am on a mini vacation too. You are one of the very few reviewers I actively seek out every time I need my 'fix' and of that group definitely my favorite. So thank you so much for the work you do!

 

Hope you & Carol have a great fall foliage road trip and a pic or two snuck into this review would not be a bad thing at all! 🙂  

 

Hi, Lisa and thank you for all the kind things you say!

We are just back from the Fall Foliage trip. I drove 960 miles and the last 350 of those today were in rain and snow but we stopped half a dozen times at rest stops and still managed a 50 mph average with speeds from zero to 100mph on smooth and potholed roads. 

 

I took some pics and will drop a couple in once I have looked at them. My camera is drying out as we speak. We ate in 2 favorite restaurants and had a picnic or two in scenic spots and in the car today as we had six hours of non stop rain and snow. Winter is here.

 

I'll get back to the review in a minute or two.

 

My computer has been turned off for over 2 days which is a first!

Apologies therefore for the late response!

 

Norris

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Southampton and it is sunny. We are unexpectedly early in finishing our disembarkation and now have an hour to kill while waiting for Smith's Cars to take us to London.

 

Carol waits indoors with our luggage and her Kindle and I am outdoors awaiting a driver holding aloft our names on an iPad or piece of paper. There's a smoking section with some cheery Brits to pass the time with.

 

There's also this food stand selling bacon sandwiches (baps), coffee and I can see a listing for something that makes my British heart beat faster- Sausage Rolls! 

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"We just sold the last one lovey" said the lady at the counter. I feigned weeping as I banged my forehead on her counter. I haven't eaten a real one in 16 years and was usually good for one a day way back when. The idea is similar to pigs in a blanket but the pastry is flaky and the sausage is more like a soft warm stiff mousse of sausagey goodness with a little herb help and they are 5 to 6 inches long. I'll have a coffee then said I ruling out the gigantic bacon bap. I told the lady I was on my way to London and she said "Greggs have the best sausage rolls there".  I tipped my coffee stirrer to her and was on my way with a surprisingly good cup of Italian coffee.

 

It is a well organized terminal without a taxi scrum and people are leaving the area swiftly taking taxis, reserved limos and transfer busses or having friends pick them up

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One last look at the Silhouette...

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Since last week I have been made aware that during the Edgeification of the X fleet, the grass by the Sunset Bar, which is where I live, will be going away and sofas and chairs will take its place.

I will wait and see how that turns out but I am glad I didn't make a future booking when onboard.

If they tamper with the Lawn Club Grill by removing it then no more Silhouette/Reflection for us.

If they add a dozen toss pillows to the bed then that's really it! Dining room chairs that make you lean forward to reach the table to eat- more daftness. Upper decks with no shade from the Caribbean sun...ah, no, think again Einstein! 

 

At the appointed hour I see a guy in a black suit looking for people. Looks like a limo driver to me. He's holding a piece of paper with both our names on so he must be our guy! He is.

He doesn't have a car with him so I ask him to go fetch one and he does.

 

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He jokingly asks if I want to drive and I thought about it for a minute as I (a) have driven many a Mercedes (b) know the way but (c) I haven't driven on the left in 16 years so I said No which was the answer he really wanted to hear. It was his own car and not a fleet car as that's how they operate. He had driven from his home in Portsmouth to pick us up and deliver us to the Royal Horseguards in Whitehall. He invited me to sit in the front seat. He was a very bright Romanian guy in his 30's  and will be heading back there after 7 years in the U.K. A good talker and careful driver.

 

The M3 is a motorway (Highway) without tolls and is dance floor-smooth and a salute to British road building. I have driven it many times but always in a company Ford and never in a classic German-engineered car. 

nice day for a drive

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silky smooth well-signposted highway

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lush rolling countryside

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I am familiar with all the places on the map-as well as having a day job that took me to them I also played in a band that visited them on weekends

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M3 to M4 to A4 and in an hour or so we were in the outskirts of London...

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The drive into London from the West is so familiar to me even though so many years have passed since it was a regular occurrence. In 1970 when I first moved to London with my mother's blessing I lived in Wembley Park, Golders Green and then Kensal Rise where I rode the  number 6 bus to Selfridges where I worked, on Oxford Street.

 But in 1974 when I returned after brief stints in Germany (Nuremberg) and Northern Ireland I found myself in South Kensington which is where these photos begin. And yes they are car window shots, taken randomly.

 

In 1974 I lived in the basement flat of a building that looked like this. Mine was on Warwick Road in Earl's Court, home to many Aussies. The traffic noise meant that playing drums in my flat was no problem. My next door neighbor who could hear the drums through the walls was Annette Peacock, a fabulous American jazz singer who invited me over and became a firm friend. We later shared a house together in leafy Chiswick, where I found my next door neighbor was a hero of mine-Mike Giles, the drummer from King Crimson. You never know who your next door neighbor is in London! Before I met Mike I had a long letter writing relationship with Robert Fripp the King Crimson guitarist. Halcyon days!

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a museum shot-maybe Victoria and Albert?

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Harrods, the sandstone edifice and a stunning store if ever there was one

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I worked for Texaco, across the street from Harrods and occasionally bought a bite to eat in the amazing Harrods food hall

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London is cranes

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Mandarin Oriental hotel, Hyde Park

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no idea

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Trafalgar Square says we are almost there...the Royal Horseguards Hotel

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more soon!

 

 

 

 

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On 10/29/2019 at 12:33 PM, Walt fan said:

Still following along and so enjoying.  I have heard good things about Seabourn.  And of course Azamara is on my radar.  Still getting lots of booklets from Oceania, with their weird pricing.

 

Cannot wait for the rest of your review and see your time back in London.  

 

Thanks for sticking with it as it begins to wind down. I have spent less time on writing this due to techno difficulties and a heavy workload. Three days in Michigan-which we had to book a year ago due to the popularity of the winery we like to stay at, has also put me behind schedule.

 

I too get Oceania offers almost daily but dislike their pricing where they will halve the "brochure price" which has nonsensical dollar numbers. We will continue to consider other lines-Viking Ocean is one that might fit us well. Carol likes smaller ships now having sailed Azamara.

Norris, pressing on

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The ‘No idea’ building is St James’s Palace. We were once fortunate enough to have lunch there with Princess Anne at a Save the Children event. 

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On 10/30/2019 at 1:34 PM, NJ Gal said:

Norris,

I just loved your review and pictures of Norway.  We have a trip to Norway planned for next year.  Were most of your excursions private or booked thru Celebrity?

I also followed your review of Cuba. We were on Azamara Journey in March and Cuba was our first port. Both threads were just excellent and very informative. 

Maybe we will sail together in the future.

Evelyn

 

Evelyn-give my love to Edison NJ which I once called home.

Our excursions were all Celebrity on this cruise which was the opposite on the Cuba one.

I always have our cruises planned well in advance so who knows we might pick the same ship and itinerary at some point . So far it has only happened once that I sailed with a CC friend- screen name needtocruisesoon (AKA Ron) on the Regal Princess. It was fun meeting him and we have since had lunch together in San Francisco.

 

Thanks for following along!

Norris

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11 hours ago, cinnamon said:

The ‘No idea’ building is St James’s Palace. We were once fortunate enough to have lunch there with Princess Anne at a Save the Children event. 

 

Thank you Cinnamon! 

What a class experience to have lunch with Princess Anne and for such a worthy cause!

Norris

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Big Bus Tour

Our room wasn't ready when we arrived at the hotel but we were able to drop our luggage off.

 

 A selfie while I waited for Carol prior to our bus tour

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Good to be back in Whitehall Gardens 

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Carol had bought the tickets back in Chicago, I think? So we just had to walk a few hundred yards along Victoria Embankment to a Big Bus stop. We would be taking one called the Red Route which would take us West to Green Park and then loop around through Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square then over East to St Paul's and Tower Bridge before bringing us back to the start again. It would last a couple of hours

No Bus Window shots!

We sat upstairs in the open air part of the bus near the back

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we had disposable ear buds plugged into the seatback in front so we could hear the very witty and very informed guide. He should do stand-up comedy

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the streets are deserted 

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on Westminster Bridge

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the black metal barriers prevent would-be terrorists driving trucks through the crowds. A sign of the times

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I am not going to pretend that I know the names of all the buildings we will pass today.

I was focused on taking pictures from a moving bus and was twiddling dials and had one chance to get a decent photo or the moment was gone

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Maybe Lambeth Palace? Home to a Bishop? Nice digs!

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more

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looking West

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This building was undergoing a facade renovation and had a trompe l'oeil scrim hanging down to cover the work taking place behind. Nice touch!

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nothing to see here. Return to your homes!

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London is scaffolding and cranes

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beautiful properties

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a sister bus

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the back of Buckingham Palace's grounds

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The Grosvenor Hotel

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it's a beautiful day!

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On Buckingham Palace Road

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a restaurant with Roast Grouse on their specials board for 35 Pounds

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Maybe the trash men were On Strike? Same thing in Whitehall gardens...

 

Green Park underground station entrance 

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Here, a surprise -we have to get off and change to another bus! Bah humbug!

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We get good seats so no harm done

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we now turn Eastward. Did I mention the cranes?

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to be continued..

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the bus tour continues

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a man taking a nap on a sheet of cardboard

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is this the Ritz Hotel or the Savoy?

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Burlington Arcade

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Piccadilly Circus up ahead

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entering Trafalgar Square

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Yes - the picture you labeled Lambeth Palace is Lambeth. It is the home to the Archbishop of Canterbury - and therefore the center of the Anglican Communion. (It is basically like the Vatican to Roman Catholics.)

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