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Silver Travel Book Club - Book of the Month - March 2018

Hello again @SA-Takkies – many thanks for taking the time to post another thoughtful and interesting comment. What a brilliant cruise itinerary that is, sailing from northern Italy through the Suez canal and down the east coast of Africa. How long would that take?

But what a shame that ‘exotic’ destinations are sometimes accompanied by an element of danger, as is the case to some extent with this month’s book ‘Do Not Become Alarmed.’

It is certainly advisable not to travel to Madagascar at the moment. I believe Zanzibar is another ‘Spice Island’….perhaps that could be a slightly safer substitute on your exotic cruise itinerary?

Good luck, if you decide to take the plunge!

Just thought I would add to my earlier comment on a cruise that I would love to go on. This is one that some friends have been on – starting from Genoa and stopping in Naples and then going through the Suez Canal and calling in at various ports of call along the eastern countries of Africa – stopping off in Egypt, Kenya and then on to the Spice Islands of the Indian Ocean, including Madagascar. So, this would have been my first choice of an exotic cruise but I heard fairly recently that there were big security and health issues on Madagascar, so did not want to recommend it and be blamed for any mishaps or bringing deadly disease back to the UK – it you get what I am saying. The fact that we use so many of the spices produced on those Spice Islands in our baking and cooking, seeing where they come from and how they grow would be fascinating in themselves – apart from the sheer beauty on each island and the friendliness of the people. Oh well, maybe when things have settled down there it would be an option?

Thanks @Silvertravellerfan for sharing your cruising dream. I guess that’s one of the main attractions for boarding a ship – it gives you access to beautiful places and experiences, both from afar and when you venture on land via excursions. But then you can return to the luxury and comfort of your ship, to be as active as you want, or just find somewhere quiet and pick up that book.

Good luck finding those polar bears….

Crikey @Sue_95 – you must be very good at competitions! Thanks for sharing the cruising experiences that you’ve won, all very interesting. I wonder if you can give us any insight at all into what happened on the Hamburg cruise, just in case there is any cross-over with what happens to Maile Meloy’s characters in ‘Do Not Become Alarmed’…..?

Thanks @SA-Takkies for such a lovely summary of your cruising history – what an interesting mix of itineraries and experiences. The slightly premature sailing from Istanbul sounds a bit too close for comfort though!

Good luck with making your cruises to Portugal & Madeira happen, and I hope that – if you win a copy – reading about what happens to the characters in ‘Do Not Become Alarmed’ doesn’t put you off cruising!

Thanks for your contribution @whitbyranger – that’s some itinerary!

Which of those South American destinations did you enjoy best…and how did the balance of cruising and onshore excursions work for you? Have you ever been to Central America, where the characters of ‘Do Not Become Alarmed’ disembark for their ‘interesting’ excursion?

I have been lucky enough to travel on three cruises, the first with Saga took myself and partner Steve around several of the Baltic ports including Tallin and St. Petersburg all the ports of call were wonderful, interesting and exciting but I think the two days spent exploring St. Petersberg were my favourite, so much history and culture and so many memories to bring home with us.

The next cruise was with Hapag-Lloyd and took us around the Mediterranean, again to beautiful historic destinations which we loved. Hapag-Lloyd is a wonderful cruise line very luxurious with wonderfully attentive staff. It is a company based in Germany and fairly new to the British market, most of the passengers were German or Austrian with English speakers very much in the minority (although all the staff spoke excellent English.) There were excellent talks about each port we were about to visit given by a very knowledgeable Dr. Knut which made the trip so interesting.

Our most recent trip was with MSC from Hamburg to Southampton, it was very different from the previous two trips and was so disappointing, perhaps the least said the better!

The most wonderful thing about all three of these trips they were all prizes won from my hobby of entering competitions!!

I have been on 3 cruises, the first of which was called the Cape Educational Cruise. This was for teenage schoolchildren and we were boarded on the Edinburgh Castle and sailed from Cape Town, calling in at Port Elizabeth, East London and ended in Durban. We spent a couple of days in each port and went on excursions to various attractions such as ostrich farm, vineyards, Addo elephant park and in Durban round the port on a tug. All great fun.
The second cruise was around the Greek islands in 1980. This was a prize won by solving a crossword and consisted of flying to Athens where we spent a few days before boarding our ship called the Argonaut and went to Santorini, Knossos on Crete, Rhodes, Kusadasi + Ephesus, Istanbul then back to Delos, Mykonos and back to Athens. We then flew to Rhodes for 2 weeks where we spent a glorious holiday at the Sunwing Hotel and partook of various excursions. We often hired bicycles from the hotel and rode around the island, or caught the local buses to get a true flavour of the country and the people. Istanbul was on the verge of another coup and as we wandered about, I said to my husband that the soldiers epitomised the saying “angry young men”! We left port earlier than planned but it is as well because we heard via our American friends at breakfast the next morning, that it had all kicked off shortly after our departure.
Our third “cruise” was a wonderful 4 days in 2011, in England on a narrowboat on the Kennet & Avon canal from Hilperton near Trowbridge to Bath and return. This was with our extended family who were visiting from South Africa. We had such an enjoyable holiday that we still talk about it as one of our best holidays ever. We plan to take our sons and their families on a similar trip some time soon.
Now to the question about where I really would like to take another cruise. My absolute dream would be to visit Portugal or Madeira when the almond blossoms are out in full bloom – it must be extraordinarily beautiful…
The book sounds a very good read indeed by an author I am not familiar with, so would love to get my hands on a copy..

I have been on some great cruises, but my favourite so far has been the Cruise and Maritime cruise on the Marco Polo which went from Southampton (should have been Tilbury!), crossed the Atlantic and went down the east coast of South America calling in at Rio, Buenos Aires, Montevideo and the Falklands. An amazing experience!

Unfortunately @Silvertravellerfan you won’t see polar bears in Norway. You need to head further north to Svalbard. You will also have difficulty seeing them on a cruise in Canada – you need to travel overland to Churchill…

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