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Old 12-22-2012, 08:29 PM   #781
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Just returmed yesterday from a 10 day Oceania Riveria trip to the western Carib. We had a blast. Kind of felt BAD that it was TOO warm some of the time. Wonderful trip. Did some snorkeling, got to "swim with the sting-rays", went Cave Tubing. Oh ya... there was good food too. lol. Only thing is... NOW I need a vacation!!!!!
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Old 12-27-2012, 11:02 AM   #782
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Just got back from a 3.5 week cruise with elderly mother and my brother up the Amazon River -- had spent quite a bit of time in upper Amazon tributary systems in Ecuador many years ago, but this was my first visit up the main stem -- very interesting!!! The itinerary also stopped through Devil's Island (Papillon!) and a few Caribbean ports on the way up and down, and had a ton of relaxing days at sea to boot, so all in all a great trip.
The real bonus for us from a financial standpoint was that the ship (ms/Prinsendam) was just coming out of drydock and they didn't finish all repairs,etc. before this trip left, so there were a bunch of maintenance issues they had to deal with during the cruise. This caused a lot of whining on the part of some passengers, believe me. While we had some (in my mind) relatively minor issues in our cabins, this did not materially diminish our enjoyment of the trip at all. But I have to admit the collective complaining did yield us all a nice financial benefit from Holland America to compensate for the hassles! In total we got: two free bottles of wine, $750 in cash the last day of the cruise (to use towards our tips/shipboard accounts, and the balance paid to us with a check), some free photos, and a credit towards a future cruise equivalent to 15% of what we paid for this one (worth about $3000, which we will apply to another world cruise portion cruise with HAL we're doing in early 2014)!
So now I'm hoping that every future cruise we ever go on has similar maintenance or service 'issues' so we get a similar windfall! (Maybe I'll start tracking drydock schedules or something! ).
(Reminds me of the way I and many other young folks used to game the system with that old discount air carrier People's Express back in the 80s, where it was 100% certain that they would overbook like 50% of the flight, so all you had to do is arrive sort of late in the check-in process and you would be guaranteed not only a replacement flight for the one you 'missed', but also an additional ticket to compensate for your trouble! Not a bad ROI, even if a bit ethically questionable!! ).
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:07 PM   #783
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On a recent visit to Houston we took a very interesting tour of the Houston Ship Channel. No cost, on a beautiful boat~nice way to spend an hour or so. I recommend it to all that have a photo ID.

One interesting note is that when we drove into the area to board the boat we all had to show a picture ID at the Homeland Security gate and we also had to haul out our IDs again when boarding the boat. I say this to remind myself that even tho Texas passed a law that requires a photo ID to vote the law was later stopped by the feds.

They check you twice to ride the boat, but not allowed to do so to vote.
Amen!
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:15 PM   #784
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Just booked our summer trip. We're going to fly from Ohio to Tampa, FL. There, we will stay in a rental on Indian Rocks Beach, taking 2 days during the week to visit Busch Gardens in Tampa. My kids will be 16 and 13 by then, and they both love roller coasters. I do too, so I will ride a couple of them with them, but my wife is no longer a roller coaster rider.

We've been to Florida twice with the kids (Sanibel Island in 2008 and Amelia Island in 2010), but we've never been to Indian Rocks Beach (just south of Clearwater). Should be pretty fun.

Might be the last time we take such a family vacation for a while as next year's travel time and budget may be spent on taking my daughter to college visits.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:16 PM   #785
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Originally Posted by smurray5991 View Post
Just got back from a 3.5 week cruise with elderly mother and my brother up the Amazon River -- had spent quite a bit of time in upper Amazon tributary systems in Ecuador many years ago, but this was my first visit up the main stem -- very interesting!!! The itinerary also stopped through Devil's Island (Papillon!) and a few Caribbean ports on the way up and down, and had a ton of relaxing days at sea to boot, so all in all a great trip.
The real bonus for us from a financial standpoint was that the ship (ms/Prinsendam) was just coming out of drydock and they didn't finish all repairs,etc. before this trip left, so there were a bunch of maintenance issues they had to deal with during the cruise. This caused a lot of whining on the part of some passengers, believe me. While we had some (in my mind) relatively minor issues in our cabins, this did not materially diminish our enjoyment of the trip at all. But I have to admit the collective complaining did yield us all a nice financial benefit from Holland America to compensate for the hassles! In total we got: two free bottles of wine, $750 in cash the last day of the cruise (to use towards our tips/shipboard accounts, and the balance paid to us with a check), some free photos, and a credit towards a future cruise equivalent to 15% of what we paid for this one (worth about $3000, which we will apply to another world cruise portion cruise with HAL we're doing in early 2014)!
So now I'm hoping that every future cruise we ever go on has similar maintenance or service 'issues' so we get a similar windfall! (Maybe I'll start tracking drydock schedules or something! ).
(Reminds me of the way I and many other young folks used to game the system with that old discount air carrier People's Express back in the 80s, where it was 100% certain that they would overbook like 50% of the flight, so all you had to do is arrive sort of late in the check-in process and you would be guaranteed not only a replacement flight for the one you 'missed', but also an additional ticket to compensate for your trouble! Not a bad ROI, even if a bit ethically questionable!! ).
Thanks for that great review. I have been thinking of taking a HAL cruise to the Amazon. What port did you depart from?
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:43 PM   #786
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We've been booking various pieces of this summer's vacation and today we booked the journey to and from the UK.

Out will be an 8 day cruise from New York to Southampton on the Queen Elizabeth starting March 30th.

Back will be the same route but on the Queen Mary, starting on September 3rd.

While there we'll attend a wedding and visit relatives in April, plus we have now booked:

a week in a pub in Malham, Yorkshire, end of April
2 different cottages in Ireland for 4 weeks in May
followed by a week in a house in Newquay, Cornwall
2 different houses, a week each, in France, in the Ardennes region
a house on the cliff top, near Dover in Kent for a week.
to be booked will be a 7 or 10 day trip to Spain in early July

Then we expect to be hanging out with friends and relatives in England and Scotland for most of the 6 week peak holiday period from end of July through August.

Also planned but not booked, finishing up with a 10 day cruise to Norway and Iceland end of August.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:46 PM   #787
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...plus we have now booked:

a week in a pub in Malham, Yorkshire, end of April
Wow, that sounds like one hell of a bender!
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:49 PM   #788
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Wow, that sounds like one hell of a bender!

Yep, DW's relatives have been drinking there since the 1830's (she traced a direct ancestor as being a landlord there for a while)
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:29 PM   #789
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Hi MickeyD --

The trip left out of Ft. Lauderdale, passed through St. Lucia, then Devil's Island (French Guiana), and entered the Amazon at Macapa. Stops up and down the river (Santarem/Alter do Chao, Boca de Valeria, Parintins, Manaus). Then return via Barbados and Aruba. The nice thing about a Ft. Lauderdale round trip for US passengers is that you don't spend a lot on international air travel at cruise start or end. I think Holland is doing a version of this cruise in 2013 with a few more days (27?), and more Caribbean ports included.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:59 PM   #790
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Deer hunting this weekend.
San Antonio for golf and the Hill Country in late February.
New England from Maine south in the fall.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:24 PM   #791
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Just purchased tickets for six weeks in the Western Balkans during May and June. I'll fly to Zagreb and recover from jet lag on the coast of Croatia's Istria peninsula. Next stop is Venice where I'll stay until I run out of 'Wow!'s or bust the budget, whichever comes first. Backtrack to Slovenia for a few days. Ease on over to the Croatian coast and follow it south, island hopping at the speed of whim. Repeat for coastal Montenegro. Turn left to inland Montenegro then return to Zagreb by train via Belgrade, Serbia.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:09 AM   #792
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Don't miss the island of Krk. It is a major destination for Europeans and quite inexpensive.

Are you staying in Pula? It is rich with Roman ruins.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:58 AM   #793
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Just purchased tickets for six weeks in the Western Balkans during May and June. I'll fly to Zagreb and recover from jet lag on the coast of Croatia's Istria peninsula. Next stop is Venice where I'll stay until I run out of 'Wow!'s or bust the budget, whichever comes first. Backtrack to Slovenia for a few days. Ease on over to the Croatian coast and follow it south, island hopping at the speed of whim. Repeat for coastal Montenegro. Turn left to inland Montenegro then return to Zagreb by train via Belgrade, Serbia.
This sounds like a great trip and I would really like to see some pictures and/or a trip report if you ever find the time after your return.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:47 AM   #794
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Don't miss the island of Krk. It is a major destination for Europeans and quite inexpensive.

Are you staying in Pula? It is rich with Roman ruins.
I have a list of highlights but haven't narrowed it down to a list of musts yet. Both Krk and Cres are appealing. The Roman ampitheter is Pula is a must. I don't know if I'll be using towns as hubs for day trips, changing locations a lot or a mix of both. It's all about the whim and what I learn after boots are on the ground.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:55 AM   #795
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This sounds like a great trip and I would really like to see some pictures and/or a trip report if you ever find the time after your return.
I just put a note in my trip planner to post links to my trip reports. In case I forget, or if anyone wants to see trip reports and photos for Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand they are part of my blog: Four Letter Nerd. Photos not part of blog posts are under the 'Photography' button on the menu bar. The links there have not been updated in a long while so one has to use Photobucket's folder navigation.
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:19 PM   #796
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I just put a note in my trip planner to post links to my trip reports. In case I forget, or if anyone wants to see trip reports and photos for Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand they are part of my blog: Four Letter Nerd. Photos not part of blog posts are under the 'Photography' button on the menu bar. The links there have not been updated in a long while so one has to use Photobucket's folder navigation.
Tres Cool. I'll add your blog to the blogs I follow. Have you done the road from Mae Sariang to Mae Sot? I did on a songtaew and it was a highlight of my trip. I wish I would have taken a couple days to stop in the villages and visit the karen refugees. Malaria (others had gotten dengue though...) was no problem for me in the area or Myanmar. I usually keep some Doxy on hand, even when going to places like West Africa and South America, but just douse my self in deet and hope for the best. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:46 AM   #797
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It's all about the whim and what I learn after boots are on the ground.
There is a ferry to Rab from Krk. We missed it because the day we were to go was too rough. Rab is supposed to be rich with history and a must see. The islands off the lower coast have towns built in 1000 AD when water travel was ubiquitous.

Don't miss Mostar in B-H.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:47 PM   #798
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Leaving this Saturday to fly to FL and leave on a cruise to the eastern Caribbean on Sunday with 3 friends.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:53 PM   #799
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We've been booking various pieces of this summer's vacation and today we booked the journey to and from the UK.

Out will be an 8 day cruise from New York to Southampton on the Queen Elizabeth starting March 30th.

Back will be the same route but on the Queen Mary, starting on September 3rd.

While there we'll attend a wedding and visit relatives in April, plus we have now booked:

a week in a pub in Malham, Yorkshire, end of April
2 different cottages in Ireland for 4 weeks in May
followed by a week in a house in Newquay, Cornwall
2 different houses, a week each, in France, in the Ardennes region
a house on the cliff top, near Dover in Kent for a week.
to be booked will be a 7 or 10 day trip to Spain in early July

Then we expect to be hanging out with friends and relatives in England and Scotland for most of the 6 week peak holiday period from end of July through August.

Also planned but not booked, finishing up with a 10 day cruise to Norway and Iceland end of August.
Nice summer. Just curious as to what site you go to book your houses in the foreign countries, if you don't mind sharing?
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:33 PM   #800
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Alan, I like a few beers as much as the next person, but don't you think a whole week in a pub is just a bit excessive?

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