I decided to go back on a cruise after months of hiatus. Once all the arranging was done and close by the cruise date I went for my PCR COVID test at CVS pharmacy. I was nervous, but it was not a big deal a couple of swabs later I was done and then In just a little over 24 hours I had my results.
When checking in there was more things they asked for, but it was still a quick process. Once on board I went to a little station that talked about your muster station and that was it so easy and better than before. It was uphill from there things could not have gone any better. Royal Caribbean had the right amount of cleanliness without going over the top. Masks were required inside unless you were eating and it was a V event which there was plenty of those.
The buffet was more pleasant you just grabbed a plate and they put anything you wanted on it. The ship was only 1/3 of the way full so I never had to wait long in lines or at the elevator. The staff was amazing so personable I even became Facebook friends with my head waiter something I have never done before.
Getting off the ship and clearing customs was so easy one look at my face and I was done. I felt so secure even more so than I feel at home.
I would not hesitate to do a cruise with Royal Caribbean and I am already looking forward to a new adventure with them.
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I traveled to Dubai from October 4th – 12th, 2021. This was one of my favorite trips ever, as I was able to take a group of 12 people on a once-in-a lifetime luxury vacation experience!
We had a few hiccups getting to our destination due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions. Our departure was on a Monday, which made our PCR testing challenging over the weekend. Some of us had to pay $ 250.00 to get a second test done at the airport the day of departure, because we did not receive our test results on time. The results were actually received a week later, when we were already in Dubai!
Dubai is one of the few cities in the Middle East that are very open to welcoming tourists. It is one of seven municipalities comprising the United Arab Emirates. It has a perfect mix of cosmopolitan city, with traditional aspects of the local culture. It is such an amazing destination, with so many unique attractions, that you need at least a month to see and do it all! It is impossible to try everything Dubai has to offer in one single trip!
Dubai is considered a safe travel destination. They are very strict with regards to community regulations. There are definitely some different laws, and we should adjust our behavior as a sign of respect to local customs.
The historic area is relatively small, but it is fascinating! It is recommended to take a tour. You can start with a visit to the Jumeirah Mosque, one of the few mosques open to non-Muslims. Cross the creek by traditional “abra” (water taxi) to soak up the aromas of the spice souk. Visit the souks and the Dubai Fort. The souks are small compared to those in Istanbul or Egypt, however, one can usually spend several hours strolling the alleyways and be stunned by just how much gold it is possible to wear!
There is so much to do, that you could be skiing on real snow one minute then riding sand dunes the next. Some of the Must Do activities in Dubai are:
A highlight of this trip, was the opportunity to attend the World Travel Expo 2020. We were able to visit several pavilions from 190 countries represented, featuring their achievements, culture, art, technology, etc.
This was definitely a trip of a life time! If I could change anything, is going when the temperature was a little bit lower. Even going a week later in October would have made a difference and it would have been more enjoyable!
All the best,
Morris Murdock Travel - Salt Lake City
Recently I sailed on the Seabourn Odyssey’s seven day, Southern Caribbean cruise. We embarked from Bridgetown, Barbados on an amazing itinerary through the Caribbean. Because this ship was small and intimate, with a capacity of only 450 guests, we were able to enjoy the smaller ports on the islands of St Lucia, Antigua, Tortola, St Kitts, and Bequia. This particular sailing could be extended to a 14-day trip with visits to several more island.
Seabourn specializes in a luxury sailing experience, with a nearly 1:1 ratio of guest to staff, their focus is entirely on the client experience. It wasn’t long before the staff knew our names and our dining preferences. Even though this was my first time on a Seabourn cruise, I immediately felt like part of the Seabourn family. I was impressed with the number of passengers who had sailed on many previous Seabourn sailings.
All cabins in the Seabourn fleet are ocean front suites. I enjoyed the comforts of the Veranda Suite which included a full bathroom with separate tub and shower, walk in closet, spacious sitting area and baloney with bistro table and chairs. It was a complete treat to wake each morning and enjoy the vista of a new Caribbean island from the convenience of my balcony.
The food on board is exceptional. On the Odyssey there was the option of a formal restaurant, a more casual buffet experience with daily chef specials, the intimate Thomas Keller Italian Grill, the outdoor bar and grill by the pool, and of course in suite dining. Each dining experience was unique and delicious with a large variety of choices. One of my favorite treats was the afternoon English tea in the observation lounge. A beautiful and yummy selection of tiny English sandwiches, cakes, and scones with a wide view of the open sea.
Additionally, Seabourn is a genuinely all inclusive experience with no added costs for gratuities, drinks, or specialty dining experiences. On-board WIFI is also included. The on-board entertainment was classy and enjoyable. Our sailing had a young, talented pianist that could conquer any type of music. There was also an archeologist historian who gave nightly lectures on relevant topics like ancient buried treasures and the pirates parading around the Caribbean. My favorite evening event though was the ship dance party held on the pool deck one beautiful night under the stars.
The highlight of this cruise for me was the unique, small ports we were able to visit. Even with the restrictions of covid, the experience was exceptional.
Rodney Bay, St Lucia
Because of the intimate number of passengers on our ship, those that wanted to go ashore could easily tendered to Rodney Bay for shore excursions. I chose to the Creole experience, where I enjoyed dancing, food, and a tour of a local family farm. Afterwards, a trip up the steep hills to an island estate with a beautifully manicured botanical garden.
St. John’s Antigua
Normally St. John would be a busting cruise port, but Covid has put a temporary damper on this. We were required to stay with our tour operator at all times. We enjoyed a sea kayaking experience around a mangrove filled island followed by a snorkel and private island beach visit. The snorkeling was amazing with plenty of coral and colorful fish to enjoy.
Road Town, Tortola
I choose to take another snorkeling adventure today, the Caribbean is generally a perfect location for this kind of activity. In addition to the coral and colorful fish we also saw a sea turtle and a giant sea bass. Our excursion ended with a relaxing visit to another private beach.
Carambola Beach, St. Kitts & Nevis
After a morning visit to the UNESCO site of Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, an early military fort that toggled between ownership of the French and English, we spent our afternoon on the beach. Today we enjoyed one of Seabourn’s signature events - Beach BBQ and Caviar on the Surf. We smiled as the captain arrived at the beach aboard an inflatable raft waiving a Seabourn Flag. The crew had already prepped a surf board with crackers and caviar. We marveled at their skillful attention to passing out caviar and drinks without being swamped by the surf.
Port Elizabeth, Bequia the Grenadines
We toured this tiny island in the back of small pick-up trucked - lined with benches and a protective canopy. This was a great way to see the sights. Because of Covid restrictions and the inability to interact with others on the Island, after the tour, Seabourn arranged a visit to a private beach where we could relax for the afternoon.
We had a late afternoon flight from Barbados back the US, so opted for the shore excursion and transfer to the airport this morning. We took a scenic drive around the island hugging the coast and enjoying the colorful store fronts and scenery. The tour concluded with a relaxing lunch on a hilltop over looking Bridgetown and the coast.
All the best,
Morris Murdock Travel - Salt Lake City