Exploring the World

Rome

Europe Spring 2022

My first spring trip to Europe started in Venice, then continued up to Lake Garda, Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, then over the alps in a private helicopter to Lucerne, another wonderful stay at the Burgenstock Resort, and then a flight from Zurich to Naples, Italy for a MSC Seaview cruise through the Mediterranean. Post cruise and departure from Rome, Italy.

ORD FRA Lufthansa 747 Business Class Spring 2022

Hilton Stucky Hotel in Venice Italy Spring 2022

Venice Day Two Spring 2022

Piccola Vela Hotel and Lake Garda Italy

Desenzano and Lake Garda Spring 2022

Hilton Como and Lake Como Italy

Lake Como Italy and Mandarin Oriental Spring 2022

Eden Roc and Lake Maggiore in Ascona in Ticino Switzerland

Swiss Helicopter over the Alps from Lugano to Lucerne Spring 2022

Radisson Blu and Lake Lucerne Spring 2022

Burgenstock Palace Hotel Suite 2402 Easter Spring 2022

Burgenstock Palace Hotel Suite 2402 Easter Weekend 2022

MSC Seaview Cruise Spring 2022

MSC Seaview Ship Review and Pro Tips

For More Info…

Burgenstock Resort Website

Private Helicopter Charter from Lugano to Lucerne, Switzerland


Apple AirTag installed on my luggage

Using Apple AirTag for Travel

The Apple AirTag is a small electronic device which allows you to track where it is. It occurred to me that this would be perfect for luggage, so I bought a set of four with optional holders.

The key features of the AirTag are that if it is paired with your recent iPhone (11 or above) it can give you precision directions to the item using FindMy app, beep on command, or put into Lost mode to allow other iPhones to send you anon updates, or even assign a phone number to it to help locate. The Bluetooth device (5.0) is estimated to have a range of 800 feet.

May 2022: Now traveling to Switzerland and the UK and will update after the trip...

For More Info…

Apple AirTag Website


MSC Seaview

MSC Seaview Spring 2022 Cruise

MSC Seaview cruise through the Mediterranean. Departing from Naples, then to Messina, Malta, day at sea, Barcelona, Marseille, Genoa, and back to Naples. Post cruise and departure from Rome, Italy. This is my first cruise since the MSC Bellissima in December 2019.

MSC Seaview Cruise

MSC Seaview Cruise: Messina

MSC Seaview Cruise: Malta

MSC Seaview Cruise: Barcelona

MSC Seaview Cruise: Marseille

MSC Seaview Cruise: Genoa

MSC Seaview Cruise: Disembarkation Day and Train from Naples to Rome for Evening in Rome and Departure

MSC Seaview Ship Review and Pro Tips

For More Info…

MSC Cruises Website


Charity shaming is the new twist that cruise lines and resorts are billing you for funding their charities

Overbilling and Product Shorting - the new Norm

Overbilling and product shorting is ramped. It has been around for the past decade, but became the norm starting with the pandemic, when suppliers starting losing profits and needed to fill the gap.

I first started noticing this at the Conrad Hilton Maldives, where it was crazy (everything from additional island flight charges to misc fees). After feeling really ripped off in the Maldives, I became much more aware of how overbilling and product shorting is the norm and day-to-day business with many resorts.

Always check your bill. You'll be surprised what shenanigans are going on behind the front desk.

Even the Four Season's has a trumped up charged called Employee Wellness fund, that is tagged on your bill at checkout. I guess they don't pay their employees well, so you have to cover the balance. It's what I call shame overbilling. The same exists with MSC and how they automatically charge you for their charity contribution, and other resorts with Eco funds, etc. Basically, you are paying for their lack of payment.

Keep Reading…


Burgenstock Resort above Lucerne Switzerland is my Favorite Resort in the World

Top Pick for World's Best: The Burgenstock Resort

This is my all-time favorite resort, located above Lake Lucerne in Switzerland.

After undergoing a multi-hundred-million dollar facelift and renovation, the result is nothing short of spectacular. The staff is the best in the world.

The views, food, atmosphere and wonderful feeling will leave you spellbound. The hiking and views from around the resort are world class and provide stunning vistas of the alps and nature.

Updated after Easter visit at the Palace Hotel 2022.

Burgenstock Palace Hotel Suite 2202

Burgenstock Palace Hotel Suite 2222

Burgenstock Palace Hotel Suite 2309

Burgenstock Palace Hotel Suite 2402 Easter Spring 2022

For More Info…

Burgenstock Resort Website

Private Helicopter Charter from Zermatt Matterhorn to the Burgenstock Resort via Air Zermatt


Matterhorn in Zermatt Switzerland. The Riffelalp is my second favorite resort in the world. A must-see in Europe.

The Best Kept Secret in Europe

Welcome to the Riffelalp Resort. With the Best View in the World The Riffelalp Resort at 2222 meters  above Zermatt, Switzerland.

The most amazing view in Europe, of the iconic Matterhorn. Resort is above Zermatt. Located half way up the Gornergrat, it has the best view of the western sky and sunset than anywhere in the region.

The Matterhorn is in the foreground. Please follow the link below to read about this epic resort.

Updated after September 2021 stay in Room 102.

Most recent visit during July 2021 (Room 501)

Keep Reading…

Riffelalp Resort Website

Riffelalp Room 501

Riffelalp Room 102


July 2021 Sunset from the Riffelalp Resort

Riffelalp Resort July 2021

The most amazing view in Europe, of the iconic Matterhorn. Resort is above Zermatt. Located half way up the Gornergrat, it has the best view of the western sky and sunset than anywhere in the region.

Keep Reading…

Riffelalp Resort Website

Riffelalp Room 501

Riffelalp Room 102


Conrad Bora Bora Nui is the best resort in the Western Hemisphere (and Pacific) and tied for second best resort in the world.

Conrad Bora Bora Resort February 2021

February 2021: Just returned from a wonderful trip to French Polynesia and the Conrad Bora Bora Nui. The Conrad has now reopened as of May 2021 (mostly to Americans who are more free to travel due to the huge drop in Covid cases due to the vaccines).

Bora Bora Travel Review

Conrad Bora Bora Nui Website


Rigi Cablecar

Tour of Weggis and Vitznau Switzerland Area

Currently my favorite area in Switzerland is what I term the magical valley. Extending on the north eastern portions of Lake Lucerne, this area extends from Weggis down to Sisikon. From wonderful sunsets, cloud formations, rainbows, and peering Swiss mountains, this area is stunning. Hiking trails abound, along with cogwheel rail, cablecar, and lake boats to see some of the most beautiful sights in this little known part of Switzerland.

Vitznau is near Weggis, and at the base of the queen of mountains, Mount Rigi. Vitznau is where you can take a train up to the mounting, but also on lovely Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstrattersee). It is also the gateway to what I term the enchanted valley part of the Canton of Lucerne and on the edge of Schwyz and Nidwalden. The lake winds around the beautiful terrain with many instagram villages like Sisikon and Fluelen. This is nestled around Stoos, Rigi, and Fulen. Some of the prettiest mountains in Switzerland.

Keep Reading…


Burgenstock Resort in Winter

Burgenstock Resort November 2021

The Burgenstock Resort above Lake Lucerne, Switzerland remains my favorite desination in the world. This near holiday visit brought out the snowy outdoors and the wintry beauty in the region.

While the Felsenweg hiking trail was closed due to ice and snow (it is closed in the winter), other trails were open displaying the incredible winter wonderland.

Keep Reading…

Burgenstock Resort Website


Air Zermatt offers sightseeing and charter flights for the Matterhorn and transfers to other airports and resorts

Air Zermatt Fall Tour 2021

After staying at the wonderfull Riffelalp Resort at 2222 Gornergrat above Zermatt, Switzerland we decided to do a fall tour from the helicopter. Our original goal was a transfer directly to the Burgenstock Resort above Lucerne, but they were in a cloud that day, so we did a quick tour of the Matterhorn and surrounding alps, then over to Visp, where we landeded and took the train for the rest of the journey.

For More Info…

Riffelalp Resort and Spa

Air Zermatt Helicopter Flights and Charter

Burgenstock Resort and Spa (including the Burgenstock Hotel, Palace Hotel, Waldhotel, and Taverne 1898)


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Email: greg@cruisingreview.com

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My Experience With Covid

I got it. Not traveling, but by staying at home.

Hard to believe, but true when you live in a high-rise condo building.

Read more about my experience below.

For More Info…


Beautiful Lake Como Italy

Tour of Lake Como Italy

Tour of Lake Como, Italy.

Keep Reading…


The Chedi Andermatt

The Chedi Andermatt

The Chedi in Andermatt, Switzerland is one of the newest and hottest sensations in the Swiss alps.

The food is the best in Europe. I would say that it ties or a very close second to the Burgenstock.

The rooms are the best I've ever had, for a European hotel in this class. Even better than my loved Burgenstock. Price point is similar.

The Andermatt is easily accessible from the Swiss rail system (SBB), car, and even helicopter (albeit you have to land outside the village down the valley). I chose to arrive by Air Zermatt Helicopter (about 3500 Euro) from Zermatt, which the most incredible flight I've had so far (at least 10 in the past few years). Please see photos of the helicopter flight towards the end of the page.

This amazing hotel offers the best in dining and is the destination in Andermatt. If you want better visuals, then I suggest the Burgenstock, which overlooks Lake Lucerne, Mount Pilatus, incredible sunsets, and Lucerne.

More…

The Chedi Andermatt Website

Andermatt Weather


Beau Rivage in Weggis Switzerland at the base of Mount Rigi

Beau Rivage in Weggis Switzerland

The Beau Rivage is a wonderful and affordable hotel at the beginning of what I call the magical valley part of Lake Lucerne. This hotel is a perfect place to base your tour operations and is located at the base of Mount Rigi and next to the lake boat transportation terminal with direct access to Lucerne train station via boat, and beautiful sunsets. The Beau Rivage is one of my favorite picks for the area with clean and recently updated suites and bathrooms. It has the best water pressure and showers that I have found in Europe so far.

Vitznau is near Weggis, and at the base of the queen of mountains, Mount Rigi. Vitznau is where you can take a train up to the mounting, but also on lovely Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstrattersee). It is also the gateway to what I term the enchanted valley part of the Canton of Lucerne and on the edge of Schwyz and Nidwalden. The lake winds around the beautiful terrain with many instagram villages like Sisikon and Fluelen. This is nestled around Stoos, Rigi, and Fulen. Some of the prettiest mountains in Switzerland.

For More Info…


The Burgenstock is the perfect area to see fall colors in Switzerland

Burgenstock Fall Colors Palace Hotel Suite 2202

The Burgenstock and Lucerne, Switzerland area is a fantastic fall colors destination for October.

For More Info…


Vitznauerhof in Vitznau Switzerland

Vitznauerhof in Vitznau Switzerland

Vitznauerhof in Vitznau, Switzerland.

Vitznau is near Weggis, and at the base of the queen of mountains, Mount Rigi. Vitznau is where you can take a train up to the mounting, but also on lovely Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstrattersee). It is also the gateway to what I term the enchanted valley part of the Canton of Lucerne and on the edge of Schwyz and Nidwalden. The lake winds around the beautiful terrain with many instagram villages like Sisikon and Fluelen. This is nestled around Stoos, Rigi, and Fulen. Some of the prettiest mountains in Switzerland. Keep Reading…


Radisson Blu in Andermatt Switzerland

Radisson Blu in Andermatt Switzerland

Radisson Blu in Andermatt Switzerland Suite 3361.

Keep Reading…


Zermama

Zermama is a charming modern boutique hotel in charming Swiss village of Zermatt, Switzerland.

Centrally located just steps away from the SBB main rail station and Gornergrat rail station, it is the perfect location for all your mountain fun.

The staff is amazing.

Keep Reading…

Zermama Hotel Website


Hilton Lake Como Italy

Hilton Lake Como Italy

Suite 514 at the Hilton in Como, Italy.

Keep Reading…


MSC Bellissima Persian Gulf Cruise

Cruise News

This section will be for current travels, upcoming flights and cruises.

The big news of the day is moving the website from WordPress to our own proprietary web site generation program we developed using FileMaker database, which allows us to use all of our past cruise ship reviews from 2001 onwards.

Trip Advisor

For More Info…

Instagram Link for Pepe.G6

YouTube Cruising Review Channel

Chase Bank United Visa I used for Awards Travel


AirBNB Yacht:

Over the past year I’ve been developing a AirBNB renewable powered (solar PV) multihull. The basic concept is to provide a lake (or river) based yacht which has income potential from AirBNB, or similar business model.

In Europe, real estate is so expensive, you could literally build a yacht for much less money, and cruise the many large waterways. Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) in Switzerland is one example.

The 60 ft. yacht will be a unique trimaran, with three carbon fiber hulls and all-systems and living quarters above the waterline.

The unique design will be a paddle-wheeler, to reflect traditional European lake and river cruisers. More important, the paddle-wheel was chosen over all other designs for ease of build, cost, durable, and dependable service. Built in modules, the vessel will be shippable via ocean freight container.

Lac Léman is a crescent-shaped lake shared with France and Switzerland, with views of the alps. The swiss city of Geneva, is on the southern tip. Évian-les-Bains is on the southern side. On the northern side is the Swiss Riviera which stretches from Lausanne to Montreux. Much of the northern side is covered with wine vineyards.

Currently we're looking for investors in this project.

More information can be found at our dedicated E Ship site

Email: Contact for ElectricShip AirBNB Lake Yacht Project


Imanta: Paradise Lost. The Good. The Bad. And the Ugly

Imanta Resort is the most architecturally stunning and wondrous natural setting in Mexico. It’s like a Mayan temple has risen from the forest to meet the ocean. The rolling pipeline surf provides a relaxing white noise as the sea comes ashore. I've been there three times, and the third will be my last. Follow the link below to find out why.

Imanta Resort Review

Imanta Resort


United Airlines is now demonetizing your flight credit to half value by doubling the fare when you try to use that unused ticket.

What Happened United Airlines Demonetizing flight credits and impossible to get refunds. July 2021.

I recently booked a trip to Paris in July 2021 with unused flight credits from last year during the pandemic. Remember when United canceled their change fees ? Well they have something better up their sleeve.

If I did a search for a standard economy fare (basic or standard) my fare was $1,300. But when I tried to use my $2,800 (Business Class fare) unused ticket to Europe from last year when the flight was canceled, the fare that pops up is $2,600. So basically United has decided to use a pricing model that demonetizes your paid fare by half. That's 100 percent profit. Upgrades have similar issues.

Even worse, last year the original fare was for Business Class. Now I can barely get Economy. So they did not honor the class booked. Now Business Class is $5,000-$10,000.

Clever.

To make matters worse, United offers a cabin upgrade offer, for 20,000 miles and $421 from Chicago to Paris. When I took the offer, United deducted 40,000 miles and $421, and did not even declare the miles deduced on the receipt. Go to the website (after waiting 1.5 hours on hold with United customer service) and the agent suggested to go to United/Refunds on the website. Unfortunately, you can't even file a complaint or refund request until the flight has already passed. I tried calling again today and after another hour on hold, I gave up.

Feeling screwed yet ? Yup.

I love United (pre-pandemic). The new United puts profits ahead of customer experience and has now gone down the rabbit hole of deceit.

The pandemic has spawned a littany of trumped up fees, and other expenses which they pass on to the customer, but which is pure profit to the company.

Remember that fuel surcharge ? How about employee wellness programs ? How about add on fees after you have shipped something ? Or better yet, how about that nice tip you charged on your bill for the fantastic spa massage or other experience (like drink tips). Yep, you guessed it, it goes directly to the owner or company. It's all profit mongering and greed. Next time ask where the tip goes, and you'll be surprised.

United, time to step up to the plate and treat your customers better. We love travel, let us spend money and travel, without the hassle of trying to figure out how you're demonetizing our hard earned money. We want you to thrive, but now at the expense of greed and deceit.

@unitedairlines

For More Info…

United Airlines Website

Refund Policy

Email Scott Kirby CEO - Chief Executive Officer


Travel Blogger Software

Need to get organized ?

We are now making available our software apps to travel bloggers. Based on Filemaker platform (Mac, Windows, and Mac IOS Filemaker Go), we have developed some industry specific apps that will increase your efficiency, reduce time, and give you valuable heads-up time while doing reviews, blogs, and video blogs.

Travel Blogger Software Page

Digital Nomad Course offered by Chantal Patton


MSC Bellissima: Beautiful ship but a cruise to avoid

MSC Bellissima: Beautiful ship but a cruise to avoid (December 2019)

Ever wonder what is too big for a cruise ship ? Look no further, it’s the MSC Bellissima. While a beautiful new ship, it’s overcrowded without the staff to support the 4,500 passenger load.

Antiquated card based POS systems only make things worse, especially when trying to incorporate the medallion RFID system.

Unsure if it’s the Italian way of doing business, or the staff is overwhelmed, but the organization is fraught with problems, inefficiencies, and has the potential for very unsanitary operating conditions, especially in the buffet area (no soap or sanitary lotion many times).

MSC Bellissima: Cruise to avoid (pdf)

For More Info…


Charter Jet from Barcelona to Zurich OKJFA

Why Charter A Jet

On a recent cruise, our group chartered a small business jet from Barcelona to Zurich.

Not only was it super convenience, but an amazing experience.

Most locations in Europe are an easy 1.5 hour flight or less point to point. Chartering a jet provides a very economical way for 6 people to travel First Class, avoiding airport hassle of long lines and waits. It also provides a customized service to your destination direct. In this case, we were leaving the cruise ship on a Sunday, and wanted to spend a few days at the Burgenstock Resort near Lucerne, Switzerland. There is actually an airport next to the resort, but unfortunately closed on the weekends, so we had to fly into Zurich, then take a van (weather was not good enough for a helicopter transfer) to the resort.

D Jet Charter

Email: Charter Jet Request Quote

Charter Flights and Luxury Business Class Travel


Swiss flight from Zurich to Chicago

Zurich to Chicago aboard Swiss B777 Business Class 12D Flight LX008 September 2021

The Swiss flight from Zurich to Chicago went smoothly with incredible Business Class food service and really good menu choices and quality.

The check-in process was awkward. I tried to pay for a upgrade from Economy to Business, but was informed that a ticket purchased using miles was ineligible. I was directed to the Swiss customer service desk where I was able to purchase an upgrade for around $1,200. During check-in, I was asked for a passport, and Covid test result (entire pdf or paper form) for either PCR or antigen. With two carry-ons, I was informed that if my small wheeled carry-on was more than 5 kg (about 10 lbs), it would have to be checked. I quickly scrambled to remove my MacBookPro and keys, then checked the bag to Chicago. That is a first.

Egress through the Zurich airport was smooth, and exit immigration was smooth.

Briefly visited the Swiss Business Class lounge (which is so much more amazing than the United lounge experience), and then proceeded to the gate.

At the gate, documents were again checked, and a entry form was also requested (see end of this post) for entry into the USA.

Boarding the flight was orderly and fast.

The seating area was comfortable, until about 2 hours into the flight when my foot recline and seat cushion inflation comfort level stopped working. Annoying, but not a disaster.

The food was the true gem of the flight, with excellent service.

Bistro Menu for the Swiss Flight

For More Info…


Conrad Bora Bora Nui is the best resort in the Western Hemisphere (and Pacific) and tied for second best resort in the world.

French Polynesia Covid Entry Updates as of 2022

All resident and non-resident travel eligibility to French Polynesia, including French Polynesian citizens, is now dependent on your vaccination status and your country of departure. In addition, a health surveillance fee must be paid by all travellers aged 6 years and over.

New pre-flight testing requirements are now in place. See below for details.

Fully Vaccinated Travellers

Fully vaccinated resident and non-resident travellers aged 12 years and over, as well as minors who accompany these vaccinated adults, can travel to French Polynesia without needing to justify the reason for travel or complete mandatory quarantine provided they have stayed continuously at least 15-days on the French Territory, United Kingdom, USA or a designated Green Zone country before their departure to French Polynesia.

If you are not vaccinated, you need a Boarding Authorization Certificate issued by the High Commissioner in French Polynesia, and do a 10 day mandatory quarantine upon arrival.

All travellers must register and submit documentation on a web-based Electronic Travel Information System (ETIS).

French Polynesia ETIS

COVID-19 Travel Policy for French Polynesia as of 10FEB2022

Entry and Stay Conditions for French Polynesia 10FEB2022

Entry and Stay Conditions for French Polynesia with Stopover in USA or Transit 10FEB2022


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