Six Week Adventure!
How do I begin to thank so many for so much? On our six week journey, we worked with 5 different supply partners, were on 12 flights with 7 connections on 6 different airlines and everything went without a hitch! We were searched, sniffed, swabbed and patted down, but no flight delays or lost luggage...and with 53 hours of flying time, I think that is quite remarkable. So our thanks to Southwest, Singapore, Air Link, Ethiopian, British and American airlines!
Now for the supply partners. We began the trip in Perth where Swain Destinations arranged a full day tour for our group and transfer to the ship. Great guide and tour! Then it was on to 21 days aboard Crystal Serenity as we sailed to Cape Town. More than half the cruise was sea days, so we had plenty of time to enjoy all the onboard activities. Our group enjoyed massages, personal trainers, yoga classes, knitting classes, miles walked on the wrap-around promenade. We went to the movie theatre, listened to lectures from awesome speakers and really loved the new FUNdamental creative learning classes, which included learning to make imovies on our phones or pads and lots of tips and tricks. The cruise was perfect in every way!
Next was a 3-night safari at Tintswalo Game Lodge. Alexander + Roberts took amazing care of our group and we saw all the big five—more than once! The lodge was beautiful and the safari guide and tracker were too fun. The tracker even gave us a lesson on “poop!” He collected several different kinds of animal droppings and asked us to identify the animal. It was very interesting and his eyesight was off the charts...really amazing the hoof/paw prints he could identify from a moving vehicle.
At the end of our African Safari, Doug and I flew to Ireland where we met friends who joined us for a 6-night private car and driver tour of Ireland.
This was booked through Boutique Escapes and again the arrangements were flawless. The 7 passenger Mercedes van was spacious and our driver was humorous as well as knowledgeable. There were many highlights as we circled the southern part of Ireland, but partaking in the Falconry program at Ashford Castle was certainly at the top of the list. Also outstanding were the Cliffs of Moher, Dromoland Castle, Ring of Kerry and Blarney. Thinking back, it is hard to believe we saw so much in so little time. Certainly a trip I would highly recommend. We got a great kick out of our guide who said he had three adult “kippers” at home who had been unable to find the front door! These are Kids In Parents Pockets Eating Retirement! I am sure many of you can relate!
Phase 5 of our journey took us to Vienna where we boarded the Crystal Mozart sailing to Budapest. I didn’t think I was a big drinker, but when we boarded the Mozart it was early evening so we went directly to the bar area. As I got close to the bar, the bartender asked if I was ready for my lemon drop martini! Turns out he was the bartender on our Christmas Markets cruise on the Crystal Mahler in December and he remembered me! That’s Crystal for you! The service is just unsurpassed. They love making friends with everyone and it shows.
All in all, every part of our trip was memorable, enlightening and full of insight to share with clients!