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Tromso, Norway to Svalbard and Iceland cruise does sound like a special cruise.  One of our speakers on Fram had lived on Svalbard and she shared her passion for the place.

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9 hours ago, MMDown Under said:

plus Natchez.  I like the South of US.  Did you have live music on board?

Yes, live music. Good entertainers.

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3 hours ago, lyndarra said:

Yes, live music. Good entertainers.

The best live music I experienced on a ship was the French ship CTMA Vacancier from Montreal to the Magadelen Islands. 

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On 4/10/2021 at 9:18 PM, OzKiwiJJ said:

NZ might be relatively small but it has a lot of fascinating places to visit. I lived in NZ for 40+ years and was lucky to have parents who enjoyed travelling to various parts of the country for holidays. Since I moved to Australia I've taken my husband on a few trips around NZ but we're getting older so over the past few years we have just been doing cruises to catch up with folk there.

We are small next to Australia but not small if we were in Europe.  It's all about context I guess.  It's hard to envision how big Australia actually is.

XX27Y3LKFGSOJW37MSZYLADZC4.jpg

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1 hour ago, onlyslightlymad said:

We are small next to Australia but not small if we were in Europe.  It's all about context I guess.  It's hard to envision how big Australia actually is.

XX27Y3LKFGSOJW37MSZYLADZC4.jpg

You are bigger than Luxembourg, lol.

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2 hours ago, onlyslightlymad said:

We are small next to Australia but not small if we were in Europe.  It's all about context I guess.  It's hard to envision how big Australia actually is.

XX27Y3LKFGSOJW37MSZYLADZC4.jpg

Thanks for the interesting map.  I've never seen a map overlay of NZ over Europe. I remember returning a hire car to Paris, where we drove through five countries!  We had meandered through Europe for 5 months prior.

I have loved all our car tours of NZ, with North Island being our favourite island.  

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3 hours ago, onlyslightlymad said:

We are small next to Australia but not small if we were in Europe.  It's all about context I guess.  It's hard to envision how big Australia actually is.

XX27Y3LKFGSOJW37MSZYLADZC4.jpg

It took three full days to drive from Sydney to Adelaide without going through Victoria. The South Australia border was closed to Victoria, otherwise it would have been two full days driving.

 

NZ is bigger than many overseas visitors realize though. I remember someone from the US telling me they were going to drive from Auckland to Wellington next day and expected to be there by lunchtime so would have all afternoon to see Wellington. Ah, no! 

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I would enjoy doing many of the cruises around the world again but I would definitely do the Antarctica cruise again easily, by far the most stand out cruise I have ever done.

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Thinking of the cruises I've done, I realised it would be easier for me to say what cruises I wouldn't do again.

  • MSC's Poesia - Kiel, Germany to NY.  3,000 passengers with multi languages was too big for me.  I haven't cruised on a large ship since.  
  • Angelino Lauro - Sydney to Perth, which turned me off cruising for 30 years.
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21 minutes ago, MicCanberra said:

I would enjoy doing many of the cruises around the world again but I would definitely do the Antarctica cruise again easily, by far the most stand out cruise I have ever done.

My first cruises were on world cruises to and from London.  These set the benchmark for future cruising.  Agree Antarctica stands above all others for uniqueness - excitement, atmosphere, wildlife, scenery.

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41 minutes ago, ilikeanswers said:

 

It is probably from this website. It is quite funny to see how country sizes are distorted on maps:

 

The True Size of...

Thanks - When you type in Australia, you can see on one map comparison in distances between Argentina and Antarctica and Aust and Antarctica.  

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The cruise that I'd desperately like to do again is the one that leaves Sydney about 4.00PM, and doesn't return for at least 10 but preferably 14 days.

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1 hour ago, Russell21 said:

The cruise that I'd desperately like to do again is the one that leaves Sydney about 4.00PM, and doesn't return for at least 10 but preferably 14 days.

I'm sure you'll find that one in the future.

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1 hour ago, Russell21 said:

The cruise that I'd desperately like to do again is the one that leaves Sydney about 4.00PM, and doesn't return for at least 10 but preferably 14 days.

Not long enough! 20 days minimum for us! 🤣

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20 hours ago, Aussieflyer said:

Hard to pick my absolute favourite but Tromso to Svalbard and back to Iceland was pretty special on Solversea Prince Albert (now Explorer I think). It was only 16 days but full on and a wonderful experience. Would go for it again. Bu then Antarctica was amazing as well though it was on Ponant and if we went again it would be Silversea; better product IMO.

Interesting! 

We did exactly the same, Tromso/Svalbard/Iceland with Silversea in 2019 and Antarctica with Ponant in 2017.

While we would do both again, Ponant would be our choice over Silversea, one because Silversea tend to be about 20% more expensive, we found the ships to be much older and darker, and the Silversea captain didn’t go out of his way to make the expedition special, sailed right past whales and polar bears without so much of an announcement! We loved how the Ponant captain went round and round in circles to make sure everyone saw everything, (i do believe it was our silversea captains first expedition cruise, so it may have made a difference)

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42 minutes ago, gogo65 said:

Interesting! 

We did exactly the same, Tromso/Svalbard/Iceland with Silversea in 2019 and Antarctica with Ponant in 2017.

While we would do both again, Ponant would be our choice over Silversea, one because Silversea tend to be about 20% more expensive, we found the ships to be much older and darker, and the Silversea captain didn’t go out of his way to make the expedition special, sailed right past whales and polar bears without so much of an announcement! We loved how the Ponant captain went round and round in circles to make sure everyone saw everything, (i do believe it was our silversea captains first expedition cruise, so it may have made a difference)

Friends of ours did a Silversea Kimberley expedition cruise and were very disappointed with it. They said they felt like Siversea was only paying lip service to being an expedition cruise and didn't meet their expectations.

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1 hour ago, OzKiwiJJ said:

Not long enough! 20 days minimum for us! 🤣

Same here young Julie, 3 to 6 weeks is ideal.

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, OzKiwiJJ said:

Friends of ours did a Silversea Kimberley expedition cruise and were very disappointed with it. They said they felt like Siversea was only paying lip service to being an expedition cruise and didn't meet their expectations.

We definitely felt Ponant did a better job from the expedition perspective, in saying that we booked Ponant for the Kimberleys, we considered Silversea, but there was nothing that drew us back there. I wouldn’t not sail with Silversea again, if they had the itinerary we wanted we would definitely consider them, but they wouldn’t be aour first choice for an expedition.

I have to say Silversea will find it more and more difficult selling their expedition itineraries with the older ships, with Ponant having beautiful ships, and now crystal, Viking, Greg Mortimer, Hurtigrutin, Quark and Scenic all building stunning expedition ships they will have some serious competition.

Edited by gogo65
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3 hours ago, gogo65 said:

Interesting! 

We did exactly the same, Tromso/Svalbard/Iceland with Silversea in 2019 and Antarctica with Ponant in 2017.

While we would do both again, Ponant would be our choice over Silversea, one because Silversea tend to be about 20% more expensive, we found the ships to be much older and darker, and the Silversea captain didn’t go out of his way to make the expedition special, sailed right past whales and polar bears without so much of an announcement! We loved how the Ponant captain went round and round in circles to make sure everyone saw everything, (i do believe it was our silversea captains first expedition cruise, so it may have made a difference)

It is interesting - we thought the food on Ponant was abysmal (wine was pretty good though), cabins were tiny and the quality of the expedition staff sorely lacking. Lectures in English were very poor (the ones win French were 100% better). On our Silversea cruise we had excellent top class lecturers and expedition staff actively searching out bears, walrus, whales etc.

I think a real disappointment on the Ponant cruise was when the captain pushed the ship into the sea ice and left paint scrapings etc, just so that they could have champagne on the ice. Wantonly destroyed the pristine area.

I would sail Ponant again but my expectations would be much lower.

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7 minutes ago, Aussieflyer said:

It is interesting - we thought the food on Ponant was abysmal (wine was pretty good though), cabins were tiny and the quality of the expedition staff sorely lacking. Lectures in English were very poor (the ones win French were 100% better). On our Silversea cruise we had excellent top class lecturers and expedition staff actively searching out bears, walrus, whales etc.

I think a real disappointment on the Ponant cruise was when the captain pushed the ship into the sea ice and left paint scrapings etc, just so that they could have champagne on the ice. Wantonly destroyed the pristine area.

I would sail Ponant again but my expectations would be much lower.

To add to this though, I agree that newer expedition ships from other lines would  be something we would look at seriously. Not wedded to Siilversea, though the Muse is lovely.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Aussieflyer said:

It is interesting - we thought the food on Ponant was abysmal (wine was pretty good though), cabins were tiny and the quality of the expedition staff sorely lacking. Lectures in English were very poor (the ones win French were 100% better). On our Silversea cruise we had excellent top class lecturers and expedition staff actively searching out bears, walrus, whales etc.

I think a real disappointment on the Ponant cruise was when the captain pushed the ship into the sea ice and left paint scrapings etc, just so that they could have champagne on the ice. Wantonly destroyed the pristine area.

I would sail Ponant again but my expectations would be much lower.

We found the food equal, although breakfast was better on Ponant (and the bread!) the alcohol better on Ponant, although we liked having bottles of spirits in our room on Silversea. Yes, the cabins were smaller, but very efficient. We didnt care for the butler on Silversea and the cabins while larger were very old.

Expedition staff excellent on both, lectures interesting on both and never felt we missed anything on Ponant. All the lecturers and expedition staff spoke fluent English.

We also loved the open bridge with Ponant.

I have a photo where a whale breached right on the Silversea bow, i was the only one around, the captain nearly ran over it, yet they never mentioned a thing, that was my big disappointment moment with Silversea.

our silversea captain also pushed through the sea ice, to get to the highest point in the Arctic a ship had been that season, maybe its something they all do??

I’m also not tied to any company, we had a 25% credit from a cruise cancelled by Ponant (Ponant didn't deal with that well originally and we booked the Silversea cruise in its place) and a 10% credit from Silversea for cutting our Arctic cruise short (we also bought one of there deposit certificates on board)

When it came to booking our Kimberley cruise we had the credits from both, but choose Ponant due to the ship, price and our previous experience.

Will be very interesting with the Ponant Kimberley cruise being all Australians how they manage that, at least announcements will only be done In English 🙂

Edited by gogo65
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Posted (edited)

What cruise to do again is so hard to pick.

 

I'd probably do our first again even though in many ways it was a wild ride. I sometimes see that particular sailing mentioned here on CC boards as the infamous sailing. It was the first passenger cruise of a new ship with all the bugs needing ironing out you'd expect and then some, and we hit some awful weather. When we hit the bad swells in the middle of the night a bunch of pax got thrown out of their beds on the upper levels so breakfast the next day was full of pax sporting new slings for sore arms and shoulders as a result. 

 

Still we made so many good friends we still chat with and have cruised with a couple of times since. The food was great, our room steward took the best care of us, and everything was new and clean. They gave out free wine because the electronics to charge us for it failed. We discovered we don't suffer from motion sickness and we were too new to know half of what should have happened that first cruise. It has led us to do a lot of cruising since. It probably helped we were low in the ship and not so affected by all the weather, too. 

 

I'm not certain if my husband would pick our cruise on Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas out of San Juan, Puerto Rico or our ferry from Scotland to Ireland, though. Both really had boarding and disembarkation down to an art with us walking practically straight on and off with no muss or unnecessary fuss. The ships were clean, everything during our stay was handled very efficiently, the food was pretty good, and we had a great time the entire cruise. He is a bit shy so although he likes our friends from our first cruise he's more into quite, calm cruises whereas I love the meeting people and the adventure.

Edited by CoolNickname
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