– Avalon Myanmar – Myanmar River Cruise – April 2017
*Azamara Club Cruises – Azamara Journey – Singapore to Dubai (April 8, 2018)
* Azamara Quest – Southeast Asia and Japan (February 2015)
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Part I
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part II
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part III
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part IV
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Some Final Observations and Thoughts
– The Prologue to the Travelogue
– The Adventure Begins…With a Bump or Two
– Settling In Made Easy
– Luxury Touches Here, There and OK, Not, Everywhere…But There Are Lots of Them!
– Asian Flair Onboard and On Shore
– Private Tours, Israel and Conflicts in Perceptions and Perspective
Celebrity Equinox 2009 – Egypt…Impressive and Depressing
– Dining With the Captain and the Reidel Wine Seminar
– The Last Dinner (Tuscan Grille) and Disembarkation
– What Happens When A Class Act Meets Highly Discounted Cruise Fare
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part I
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part II
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part III
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part IV (Food & Wine!)
– Princess Cruises Doesn’t Treat You Like Royalty; Celebrity Cruises Does! Which is a Better Value for the Upscale Cruise Guest? Part I
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. -Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part II: The Standard Veranda Staterooms
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part III: Treating You Right From The Start
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part IV: The Wine Lists Speak Volumes (As Do The Beverage Packages)
Regent Seven Seas Voyager – August 2017
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part I
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part II (Getting There, The Stateroom and First Impressions)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part III (“You Can’t Teach Five Star Service” and Bonafacio, Corsica)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part IV (Calvi, Monaco, Portofino, Porto Azzurro…and Stale Bread)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part V (My Last Day…and How The Chef’s Team Makes It Happen)
I promise I will not bore you with the minutia of taxi rides and pre-cruise meals in this travelogue, but rather will try to give some perspective from a travel agent’s and a parent’s points of view as I venture back into the world known as mass market cruising. On Sunday I will be boarding Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas settling in a Grand Suite on a sold out Caribbean cruise as Tropical Storm Fay just departs.
As my family is rather jaded from all of the cruises they have taken – and where they have traveled – it took until last night for them to show any real interest in the cruise. My wife asked about the specialty restaurants, forgetting our discussing same weeks ago when I pre-reserved two nights each in Chops (steaks and fish) and Portofino (Italian). My kids, after first stating they were not that excited because we wouldn’t be getting off the ship much (2 sea days and Jamaica), realized that for the first time in a couple of years they would have a “real” kid’s club…and now that they are getting older, some real independence.
As for myself, I am trying to look at my cruise on this behemoth much differently from any of my prior cruises…as I remember my ship inspection of the Explorer of the Seas thinking negatively: “Shopping Mall”. (My kids, of course, hear my complaint and shout with glee, “Cool!”)
My last Royal Caribbean cruise was in 2001 in an owner’s suite on the Nordic Empress (then Empress of the Seas and now gone from the fleet as too small and unique). I do admit that once I got over all the blue-green glass and brass I found the crew very enthusiastic and I did have a good time (though the food was marginal). I will not, however, forget my tablemates: a very nice couple albeit he happened to be a cook at a youth jail somewhere in Pennsylvania. Ya’ never know!
I will be taking some time on this trip to work on some plans for two of my next ones: The Seabourn Spirit on September 27, 2008 (Athens to Istanbul) and my son’s Bar Mitzvah Safari in August 2009. I am sure that somehow some comparisons…and hopefully some good ideas…will be generated while on this cruise.
So after a few days in Florida visiting my mother, and the Kennedy Space Center for lunch with an astronaut…and, of course, rain predicted for every day!…we will board and I will let you know.
Goldring Travel LLC
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