– 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)
The Goldring Travel 2009 Food & Wine Cruise had a number of moments that made this cruise something truly special, even as compared to the normal, excellent experience, one has on Seabourn. Each suite was provided with a host of no-cost extras:
1. A travel book on the cruise area;
2. A culinary book focused on the cruise area;
3. An exceptional walking wine and food tour in Venice, Italy before the cruise;
4. A private galley tour with a special wine and caviar;
5. A private trip to the Fonda aquaculture farm in Slovenia;
6. A high quality wine tasting (5 wines and a grappa) at Santomas winery in Slovenia; and,
7. My being available to deal with whatever issues come up along the way whether it be how to cost-effectively get from the ship to the airport in Venice or making last minute arrangements for an extended stay in Venice when the city was effectively “sold out” to, say, finding a little place to enjoy an espresso or a couple of bottles of wine.
I am pleased that each of these provided my group with some real added value, both economically and experientially.
One thing that really stood out for me was that, unlike what I am reading more about on other cruise lines (such as Regent Seven Seas), there was absolutely no sense of a particular waiter or bartender being “the best”, but rather there was a desire to enjoy the styles and personalities of every waiter and bartender, purser and stewardess. Each person mentioned they loved Arnold or Hein, David or Heidi, Leigh or Jeremy, but there was never a concern that there would be a drop in service…It simply never happened. And from Captain to Hotel Manager to Chef, the Seabourn senior officers were omnipresent.
Another thing I appreciated was the cuisine was consistently excellent. There was almost nothing that was just OK. In reality, “excellent” was the norm and “very good” was the exception. I did notice a significant difference in variety between the Seabourn Spirit and the Seabourn Odyssey in the casual dining area. While I always found something to my liking, there is no question that from presentation to methods of cooking, the smaller yachts have their limitations…but Seabourn has a way of working with them so that the culinary product is merely different, not of lesser quality.
I started the cruise with a designed and concentrated effort to utilize Seabourn’s tours. The concept, for me, failed miserably. The first tour was a struggle (especially having to be compared with our Venetian Wine Walk the day before), the second tour was cancelled due to Shopping With The Chef, the third was cancelled due to a lack of interest, the fourth was a wonderful wine tasting overshadowed by a overwhelming guide and local music and, by then, I just couldn’t be bothered with the fifth, so I did my own thing…and found a little bit of heaven.
While I enjoy learning more about the history of a port and seeing more of its countryside than can usually be accomplished without a tour or guide, for me, personally, focusing on wandering the town and finding that special restaurant or shop or scene or person is just more of what I prefer my travel to be. Such an approach is unnerving and/or unfulfilling for some, but alas that is why they make chocolate and vanilla ice cream. And I do enjoy both, but definitely have more vanilla than chocolate. In other words, I am not “anti-tour” I just think I need to be very selective in what they are.
All in all, the 2009 Goldring Travel Food & Wine Cruise on the Seabourn Spirit was a great success. We enjoyed many different wines and while the foods were not nearly as varied as in the past, they were very much enjoyed…especially the fish. Most importantly, as we explored four countries in seven days, we had fun. We had lots of fun.
It was “The Best”!