Malta: We parked the “Bougainvilla” in Malta right behind our favorite ship the “Wind Surf”. Viking is also in port. We went to an archeological site never visited by Tauck before, and then visited Mdina, a walled ancient city. Then we went to lunch at a classic Maltese restaurant with great entertainment. We are now at the Malta Marriott Bonvoy in an ocean view room that charges a lot for extras in spite of Tauck covering most everything like internet and portage. The Points Guy recently had an article about why he had crossed Marriott off of his list. The Intercontinental in Marseille was a much better hotel, and did not nickel dime you for everything. We do have a nice room with a great view of the bay and the ocean.
We have now spent two days in Malta. I made an earlier post with pictures, but it apparently did not upload. Probably too big. We learned a lot in Malta, and the people are among the nicest in the world. We do our farewell dinner tonight, then tomorrow is a free day. Our flight requires a thee AM pickup, so we are staying an extra day in order to enjoy the farewell dinner. The Malta Marriott is a nice hotel, but the employees are a bit rusty. We are the first Americans they have seen in two years. View from our balxony:
Sealord - It's a nice picture (the Malta harbor view from your balcony), so seeing it twice is OK.
Sorry. That post had disappeared on my end. We had dinner last night at the Knights of St. John. It was a spectacular end of a great trip. We spend one additional night in Malta due to our early morning departure tomorrow.
Sorry about the orientation of the above pictures. I don’t know how to fix that. Our ‘dining room’ was built for the Knights of St. John in the 1500’s. It was originally a hospital. The dinner was catered so it is not a regular restaurant. The people of Malta are incredibly friendly, and they love Americans. At lunch yesterday the musicians were playing a lot of American music, so I jokingly asked them to play “Hotel California”, They said they didi not know it …. then they played it. I have modified my opinion of the Malta Marriott a bit. They charge five euros to bring ice to your room, but the prices of food and drinks are pretty reasonable. No forty dollar hamburgers like the Intercontinental in Marseille. I get my own ice buckets at the bar. Those of us spending an extra day were supposed to get covid tested at the hotel this morning but the test outfit did not show up, so we all took a couple taxis to their office and got tested there. No problem.
I love the white outfits! It is nice to see people dressing up a bit for dinner. Safe travels.
Great pictures Sealord
After our Treasures of the Mediterranean cruise from Istanbul to Athens in 2011, we flew to Sicily and rented a villa on the water in Catania for a month. Rented a car and traveled all over the island. Wonderful trip. Had some friends come visit us for a week and hit all the major, and many minor, cities and sites. Driving was an experience. Lines on the highway are only suggestions, as are the speed limits. We could sit on our patio and look at Mt. Etna and watch smoke escape, swim in the ocean or pool, shop in small markets for fresh fruit and vegetables, and enjoy some very nice wine. We also met some wonderful local folks and attempted to converse in two languages. Lots of hand gestures.
It was a great trip. Only 28 Tauck guests ‘made it’. We are very jet lagged. I’m up at two in the morning eating ice cream cuz I ‘crashed’ at five in the evening unable to stay vertical any longer. But, we have our puppy.
We were the first Americans to visit the Malta Marriott in two years. They were happy to see us. Everyone in Malta was extremely friendly. Actually, everyone everywhere was extremely friendly. They were really happy that we had come to visit.
We are taking this cruise October 2022 and wondering what is the maximum number of Tauck guests?
Tauck sometimes charter s the entire ships on their tours. Our two small ship adventures have been all Tauck
Actually, our TD said one of the next trips (next year) had 115 bookings.
Sealord -- Tauck's Facebook page had several photos from a recent trip. You might be in one or more. Please confirm.
On Instagram too, but I didn't see him...
You need to send a link. I rarely go on Facebook and I don’t know how to find it.
Sealord, I will look for it.
I just bought our flights to Africa in June. We are doing Antarctica and Africa next year six months apart so we should have a good comparison. I think we have ‘outgrown’ coach seats for international travel. Business class is now just a necessary part of the plan. The Tauck price was not competitive. The delayed payment is attractive, but the total cost is not. We are doing premium economy using miles to Argentina for the Antarctica trip, but that is probably our last non-business international trip. Artificial knees do not like coach seats.
Thanks Sealord, It's nice to know... I was planning on using Tauck for my next trip.. I better start shopping.
Sometimes Tauck prices are better, sometimes not. It also depends on your starting point in the US. So many things to decide. Right now, I’m booking flights with Tauck much easier to cancel when it’s you that cancels and not Tauck
Sealord here are the pics from Tauck
As British discovered and I just confirmed- flights to the southern Africa tours are not as readily available or as convenient as they once were. Just using a Google Flights search, many of the international flights have layovers of 10, 15, 18 or more hours and total flight times exceeding 30 hours! Many use Ethiopian Airlines for the flight into Victorian falls (via Addis Ababa). You can fly into Johannesburg and fly out of Cape Town on Delta/KLM and a few other carriers, but getting into Livingstone (LVI) or Victoria Falls (VFA) from JNB can be problematic. SAA/Airlink (formerly subsidiary of SAA but may now be a totally separate regional carrier) is flying to both places from Johannesburg but most flights appear to have 2 or 3 stops and total flight times of 30 or more hours and huge layovers!!! In 2019, the flight from Johannesburg to LVI or VFA on SAA or BA/Comair used to be a 1+40, non-stop flight!!! I have no idea about the status of SAA as a regional and international carrier. The SA government, which owns/owned it was considering selling it or just shutting it down.
A sample flight for next July on Qatar Airlines (which has a great rep and service) from Dulles: IAD - DOH - CPT - VFA. The total enroute time is 57 hr 35min!!!!!! The last leg is provided by SA Airlink. It has a 9+ 15 layover in Doha and a 22 + 45 layover in Capetown. Yikes!!! The flight home enroute time is only 26 + 45. Where are the Star Gates when you need them.
The quickest I've found is on Sealord's favorite carrier, Ethiopian Airlines.
Emirates has a flight that departs at 4:00 am from Dubai ( after 8 hour layover) & gets into Johannesburg around 10:15am ,not enough time to get on the BA direct flight, which departs at 11:00 am- (1hour ish) flight to Livingstone... I will have to stay overnight ( inter-Continental-TAMBO Airport hotel- .
I do know Emirates will re-stablish about 200 flights to South Africa, so hopefully they will bring back the 11:30 pm flight -..arriving into JHB at 6:....... am with plenty of time to get on to Livingstone.
Keeping fingers cross.
all 200 or so.. Emirates flights will start Oct. 1st
I heard today that people are not booking as far in advance, which is understandable. If the world is in a better place next year...here's hoping...flight schedules will likely expand. Still I understand the 330-day rule/tradition, but I'd suggest waiting; in any case, check the fine print re changes.
MarketArt, not sure if you are referring to Mediterranean or our Africa tour, but our date is sold out next year. After discussing with Tauck we felt we had to book the flights with them, apart from the internal African flight which if they cancel they will reimbursed us. Right now, even if vaccinated, Americans have to quarantine in Zimbabwe, so if nothing changes, the tour will be cancelled but it’s clearly too early to tell. My hubby thinks that things will be the same 😕
I usually do my own flights, so was just speaking in general, given all the uncertainties.
We usually book our own flights, but right now, we don’t want to fork out thousands of dollars on the three long haul tours we have booked with Tauck next year, we would rather pay just before hopefully the tour goes, we don’t want hassle trying to get money back or vouchers from airlines.
You need to ‘shop’ your trips. Booking on our own for K&T was a couple thousand dollars cheaper. One stop each way with minimum ground time. I can appreciate that getting to Livingstone right now is probably a challenge. I had to talk to a human to get what I wanted, and even then they offered the opportunity to visit Seattle or Detroit, but I said I wanted one stop in Amsterdam each way, and the agent produced the requested product. I’ve done it a couple times before, so I knew they had it. Anything but terminal five at Heathrow. (;-)
And yes Alan. I would not fly Ethiopian if you gave me a first class ticket for free.