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DavidH

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DavidH last won the day on January 4

DavidH had the most liked content!

About DavidH

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    Lieutenant

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Notts
  • Interests
    Travel, sport, music, theatre, wine, dancing.

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  1. DavidH

    Spirit of Discovery

    So true, OWT. I've spent hours on the internet organising how best to get to and from Heathrow to spend a month abroad in November/December 2020 without leaving my car at the airport for that length of time. Finished up renting cars for the trips down and back, with an overnight hotel before we fly. Very disappointed to find out how much more expensive car hire becomes once over 70!!!! But still a cheaper option than taxis and, with luggage for 4 weeks away, a better option than train travel, in my view. Incidentally, the trip is 4 nights in Lisbon before Azamara cruises to Rio de Janeiro via Madeira, Canaries, Cape Verde Islands and then on to Buenos Aires. Just wish Saga had an itinerary of interest. DavidH
  2. DavidH

    Ijmuiden - location and excursions

    Hi BanburyBlue, Unfortunately, I have no personal experience of porting in Ijmuiden to offer you but you may find it helpful to check out the information on "www.whatsinport.com". Clearly, the only reason to spend 2 days in Ijmuiden is to afford passengers the time to visit the wonderful city that is Amsterdam. Having visited many times, though never from a cruise ship, I would suggest you spend as much time in the city as possible. Strolling the canals and visiting the Flower Market, with a canal side lunch and a beer (try the Calf And Bloom just across the canal from the Flower Market) are essentials in my book. Hope that helps, if only a little. DavidH
  3. DavidH

    Happy New Year

    Yep!!! Tesco's have a prominent display of Hot Cross Buns and Mini Eggs. Pleased to say we'll be in Japan at Easter this year. DavidH
  4. DavidH

    Spirit of Discovery

    Looks good but the itineraries seem to be "same old...same old". Or, am I wrong? DavidH
  5. DavidH

    Happy New Year

    Thank you, gentlemen. Beautiful and spectacular, in that order. A Happy and Healthy New Year to you both and to all on the Forum. DavidH
  6. DavidH

    Where is everyone

    Hi OWT, Very best wishes for 2020. Having only fairly recently submitted a review of our most recent cruise (albeit, a TUI ship) I can honestly say that the reaction - or, more accurately, the distinct lack of reaction does not serve as encouragement to make the effort again. "This parrot is deceased", me thinks!! DavidH
  7. As it's very wet and windy outside, I seem to have a bit of time on my hands so thought I would report on our recent cruise on Marella Discovery. Our cruises over the last couple of years have been very port intensive (thank you, Azamara in the main and Emerald Waterways) so when we saw that the itinerary for this two week trip would allow us to tick off two bucket list visits (transit of the Suez Canal and visiting Petra in Jordan) whilst offering plenty of relaxing sea days in between, we decided it was definitely for us. Having previously sailed on Discovery II, we were aware that Marella's Grand Suites offer generous accommodation at a value for money, all inclusive price. No disappointment there, then, I love to be outdoors but need to be very careful in the sun, so sea days spent mainly on the well proportioned balcony suited me, whilst finding a sunbed for one proved much easier for my wife than if we were searching for two together. The early morning (06.00hrs) flight from Birmingham was testing but checking in was pretty well organised, though the layout at Naples Airport meant we seemed to walk miles trundling our luggage to where the coaches were parked and ready to whisk us off to the ship. With priority boarding, we were in our suite in no time and luggage followed swiftly, allowing us to spend the whole afternoon and early evening in Naples itself. We visited the San Carlo Opera House and the amazing Bourbon Tunnel underneath the City. The food on board, in general, was very good - not Azamara standard but, hey, we were not paying Azamara prices. We dined in all of the venues available (not all at once, you understand) and found the Speciality venues to also be good value. Surf and Turf steak house, Kora La for Asian cuisine and a super experience watching our chef prepare our Sushi in the Sushi Bar added variety to the Main Dining Room, the Italian Gallery 47 and The Glass House options. Breakfast invariably involved a brief visit to the Buffet Restaurant on the deck immediately above our suite to pick up food to eat in the privacy of our balcony, though we did tend to eat lunch in the Buffet Restaurant itself. We had pre-paid for the Premium Drinks package and found that, as on Discovery II, this met our needs very nicely. The entertainment was pretty good, with an excellent in house team supplemented by a Comedy Magician, a Singer Comedian (they overworked this guy a bit too much), a very good Dance Couple and two Classical/Crossover Singers. Much of the daytime entertainment thankfully passed me by as I was either reading, doing my beloved Killer Sudoku, or snoozing on the balcony. I did participate in the odd table tennis competition (with "odd" being the most appropriate word) and we deck walked a fair bit, using the well equipped gym on the odd occasion it was too windy for walking the track on deck ten. Being regular social dancers, we dropped in to the evening dance sessions most evenings before dinner but didn't do much dancing as the floor in the Atrium was, as usual, too small but was also very sticky. I invariably wear dance shoes in an evening on cruise ships but the suede soles made it almost impossible to move on this particular floor. I think they had put down a non-slip surface to avoid accidents but non-slip is exactly what you do not want on a dance floor!! No matter, the bar tenders in the Atrium soon knew exactly how my wife likes her Margaritas and I, my Pernod and water. In preparation for our two full days docked in Aqaba, Jordan, I had done a lot of internet research and we had concluded that, to maximise our time, a private 2 day tour was likely to be the best solution to avoiding tedious hours on a coach and in a large group. Booked through an agency called Petra Nights Tours, we could not have been more pleased with our trip. We were picked up at the quayside in Aqaba at 08.00hrs on day 1 by our driver, Osama and, with a brief coffee stop offering fantastic views over the mountainous terrain, we dropped our bit of luggage at our hotel, the excellent Petra Guest House Hotel at around 11.00hrs and were introduced to Sammy, our guide for the next 4 hours through the amazing Petra site. Despite all the walking and my wife's dodgy knee, we returned for the candlelit Petra By Night experience that evening. According to her Fitbit, she walked some 28,000 steps that day. The evening was rounded off with a couple of drinks in the Cave Bar at the Hotel - converted from a 2,000 year old tomb. Osama collected us from the Hotel at 07.00 hrs the following morning and transported us to Wadi Rum for an unforgettable 3 hour private Jeep Tour through this awe inspiring landscape, followed by lunch. The climb up a massive sand dune to admire the views, dragging a wife with an increasingly dodgy knee, just about finished me off but what an amazing experience. Back in Aqaba in plenty of time to board before the evening sailing, Osama gave us a brief driving tour of his beloved city before dropping us back at the quayside. He invited us to his wedding next year but, as we explained, we still have so many places to see and a diminishing amount of time in which to see them. The one word that sticks in my mind from our 2 day experience in Jordan is "Welcome". We heard it said on so many occasions. Sailing down the Red Sea, we picked up our security escorts for peace of mind through the possibly risky bits into the Gulf of Aden but then had not one but two unplanned calls due to medical emergencies, one into Djibouti, the other into Salalah. This meant we were considerably delayed in docking in Fujairah but our flights from Dubai were re-arranged and I was subsequently grateful for the decision to take out late return insurance when booking my airport parking. We were able to remain in our suite until 17.00hrs on the day of departure, then to have a relaxing final dinner on board before our airport transfer. Well done to TUI and Marella. All in all, we enjoyed a great holiday. Would we sail with Marella again? Most certainly, we would consider them - but they have to be going where we want to go. Next stop - Japan in April!! DavidH
  8. DavidH

    Christmas

    Tree up. Might as well put lights on it today as it's not fit to venture outdoors. Incidentally, visited Belton House, near Grantham, last Thursday evening to see the amazing lightshow in the gardens. Great atmosphere and spectacle. DavidH
  9. DavidH

    Jordan Visa Requirements

    With just a couple of weeks to go, Marella have communicated the following:- "As a precaution we have taken the decision to avoid sailing through the Straits of Hormuz and into the Arabian Gulf as tensions in the Straits remain high and the safety and security of our customers and crew is our number one priority." We will instead be leaving the ship at Fujairah, with a 90min coach transfer across the peninsular to Dubai Airport for our flight home. Seems like a sensible decision to me and, having visited Dubai on numerous occasions, including several overnight stays, it's not an issue for us. I wonder what the ship will be doing after that? Might just have a look on their website. DavidH
  10. DavidH

    Where is everyone

    Best wishes, Davybe. DavidH
  11. DavidH

    Where is everyone

    Hi PP, Still alive and kicking here. Looking forward to our November cruise. Regards, DavidH
  12. DavidH

    Jordan Visa Requirements

    Thanks to all for your responses. This morning I received an email from TUI which, amongst other things, provided a link to Visa information not previously available. Apparently Marella Cruises use CIBTvisas service. The specific information for Jordan reads as follows:- "If you're a British Citizen you can obtain a visa free of charge on arrival". To quote the words of the great W S Gilbert - "My mind is set at ease" 5 weeks and counting...…... DavidH
  13. DavidH

    Jordan Visa Requirements

    Thanks Jenjen, How recent was your visit, please? DavidH
  14. DavidH

    Jordan Visa Requirements

    Hi Andrew, Yes, the Holy Land is definitely worth a visit, if you can get the timing right. We were booked to visit with P&O in 2016 but they pulled out because of the unrest at the time, so we did it exactly 2 years ago with Azamara. 2 nights in Ashdod, from where we visited The Dead Sea and Masada on day 1, Jerusalem and Bethlehem on day2. Then 1 night in Haifa, which allowed us to also visit Nazareth. A fantastic trip with a few Greek Islands thrown in for good measure. So many places to see and so little time...……………………………………….!! DavidH
  15. DavidH

    Jordan Visa Requirements

    Hi Andrew, We board in Naples, not leaving until 23.00hrs. Given that we're due to land around 10.00am, we should get to spend some decent time in the City itself (not our first visit). We then have some two and a half days at sea before entering the Suez Canal, the transit scheduled to take some 16/17hrs. Another sea day before arriving in Aqaba. After that, it's 5 more sea days before disembarking in Dubai. 14 nights all told. Our two most recent cruises, one with Azamara and an Emerald Waterways river cruise, were so port intensive we arrived home feeling the need for a rest. Hence the attraction of this Marella trip, with a couple of "Bucket List" attractions (Suez transit and Jordan visit) thrown in. Fingers crossed for safe passage through the Straits of Hormuz!! By the way, TUI's advice is to "contact the relevant Consulate or Embassy" re Visa requirements - not particularly helpful. DavidH
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