Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sea Day #4: Q&A -- Answers

Did they have a passenger talent show?

No. They did karaoke... although one night it was offer with a live band accompaniment.

Quality of jewelry offered on bus tour? Better places to purchase?

Up front, let me say that I'm not an expert on jewelry. On land, I mostly shop for Libby's jewelry gifts at the higher-end boutiques. I'm sure that I pay a premium, but I know what I'm getting with, for example, Chopard. That said, I'll offer the following thoughts on the tour bus shopping options. First, I thought the quality is acceptable for the price (silver cartouches run in the 25-40 euro range; gold are more expensive – starting at 150 or so euros, if I recall). Second, most folks seemed to go with silver or perhaps silver with some gold overlay... and at those prices, the risk was minimal and everyone seemed happy. Third, this is really the only game in town. The tours are structured in such a way that it would not be feasible to buy a customized cartouche by any other means. So, you either go with them, go with nothing, or take an independent tour (and maybe arrange for the purchase in advance at a high-end jewelry shop in Cairo, assuming such a place exists). Bottom line: I'm 100% certain that if you really want the “best” then “buying on the bus” isn't the way to go. That said, everyone is flying coach on these tours and at least you know you'll get to the destination.

What was the weather like?

Most days (Barcelona, Palermo, and all four sea days) were fairly cool (upper 50s / low 60s), often cloudy, and occasionally rainy. Athens was pleasant... sunny and in the mid to upper 70s. Rhodes ad Malta had weather similar to Athens. Cyprus was a little cooler (upper 60s) due to overcast skies and rain. Egypt was also remarkably temperate with highs in the upper 70s or low 80s (though it was 90+ the day before with a sandstorm, we were told). I think all of this means that you should probably be prepared for a mix conditions.

Some days were fairly windy too. The forward speed of the ship gives you roughly a 20 knot wind, which is windy but manageable. On at least one day, however, they closed the outer decks due to wind (which reached nearly 50 knots after combining the vectors of the ship with the actual wind speed).

The seas, however, have been very smooth throughout. Thankfully, I might add.

Have I seen any DECT phones aboard the ship?

Nope. I have not.

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