Cape Town Airport Hotel


Part 2 – Cape Town to Rio on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner

Arriving at 1 AM, we weren’t looking for anything fancy in a hotel, just a place to sleep until we could board the ship the next day. I had reserved a room on line at Cape Town Airport Road Lodge. It was inexpensive by Cape Town standards. The hotel charged 30 Rand (about $5) each for their shuttle from the airport which only took about 3 minutes. however we were arriving about 2 hrs, late and it was wonderful to see a very nice gentleman waiting for us with a sign with our name on it after we had been travelling for so long. The room was small with 2 twin beds. I was a bit worried since the sheets looked yellow and worn out but must admit I was too tired to care. I couldn’t find my toothbrush and called the front desk to see if they had one. They said yes, the price was 10 R (about $1.50)”plus tip,” which I thought that was pretty funny. As it turned out they were out of them anyway. You couldn’t stand in the shower for more than a few seconds before it filled up with water and overflowed. Had to get creative – washing one arm, leg, at a time, etc. We slept too late for their continental breakfast (50R).

I went to the front desk to inquire about their shuttle or a taxi to the “waterfront”. The receptionist was on the phone and as I waited I saw a cab pull up. The man came in and also stood at the front desk. When I finally got to telling the receptist what I needed of course the taxi driver said “Oh was just stopping in to see if anyone here needed a cab”. Sounded too good to be true to me! He asked for 250 R so I asked what the hotel’s shuttle price was and she said not that much. We ended up paying 180 R which the receptionist said was a better price than their shuttle. The receptionist also called the cab company to verify that this driver was legitimate (he was). The driver was very nice and of course tried to get us to book a tour with him for later in the day, which we declined.

Overall, the Cape Town Airport Road Lodge offered minimal amenities in a very small room, but was fine for an inexpensive place to crash for a few hours before resuming our journey.

Cape Town Flights


Part 2 – Cape Town to Rio on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner

We chose the Regent Mariner for our first Luxury Cruise. This decision was based on Internet research, the dates we wanted to go, and itinerary. I must admit my first impression after making the reservations almost led me to cancel the whole trip. It seems that when you book your air with Regent you don’t find out your air arrangements until much later. Our cruise started on December 3 with an overnight aboard the ship and sailing on December 4. The air with the cruise line had us arriving after 11 p.m. on December 3. When I said this was unacceptable since we would be missing the whole first day aboard the ship AND be arriving in the wee hours of the first full day, I was told, “No problem. You can change the air by paying the $100 deviation fee for each passenger” I tried to say that just wasn’t right. Not only would we be missing part of the experience, but if we got to our cabin so late we’d hardly be eager to be boarding a tour bus a few hours later. Nevertheless, we were told this was the only option. We paid the fee and arrived 24 hours earlier than Regent’s arrangements.

As it was we arrived just before midnight. We flew from Houston to Amsterdam (9 hrs) then Amsterdam to Cape Town (11 hrs). Arriving in Amsterdam in the middle of a snow storm, we had to wait for snow plows to clear the gate area. We got off the plane in Amsterdam, jogged to the gate for our next flight, and found it was boarding. Our flight was a bit late leaving, but we fared better than those fliers who were on some of the many cancelled flights.

Clearing immigration was a relatively short wait. Collecting our luggage took a while, as the slow pace of delivery to the carousel suggest that a single person was doing the unloading. We finally got our bags, and quickly cleared customs

Now remember, had we taken Regent’s air we would have arrived on the 4th at about the same time with a tour scheduled for 8:20 a.m. on the 5th! The entire trip getting there took 24 hrs. We would not have been in great shape to go touring.

The biggest problem with the proposed Regent schedule was the possibility of even bigger problems if there was any problem with the Amsterdam connection. Missing that Cape Town flight would provide few opportunities for us and our checked luggage to reach the ship in time. On the day of departure, we encountered tired-looking passengers boarding just before the Mariner was due to sail. We later found that other cruisers had missed the ship in Cape Town and had to join the cruise in Walvis Bay, Namibia.

We flew KLM economy all the way. The first flight was a bit cramped but the second flight had more empty seats and everyone was comfortable. The food was just fair but it did seem like they were always feeding us. As on most international flights, you didn’t have to pay extra for wine or beer, a welcome change from domestic flights which have abandoned just about all amenities. Both KLM flights featured a decent in-seat entertainment system with movies, TV, and games on demand. That certainly helped consume a few of those long hours in the air.

Regent Cape Town to Rio de Janiero Cruise


We’re live-blogging (well, semi-live) our cruise from Cape Town, South Africa, to Rio de Janiero, Brazil. We’re on board the Regent Seven Seas Mariner, and will blog about our experience on this ship and the ports it visits.

Regent is a premium cruise brand (the Mariner is an all-suite, all-balcony ship), and we’ll be letting you know how it measures up to its reputation. Just about everything is included in the cruise price: food (including the two premium restaurants), alcohol (excluding only ultra-premium brands), most shore excursions, fancy coffees, gratuities, and so on. Theoretically, we’ll be able to complete the cruise without ever pulling out our cruise card or signing a charge ticket.

The itinerary is:

Day 1 – Cape Town, South Africa
Day 2 – Cape Town, South Africa
Day 3 – At Sea, International Waters
Day 4 – Walvis Bay, Namibia
Day 5 – Walvis Bay, Namibia
Day 6 – At Sea, International Waters
Day 7 – At Sea, International Waters
Day 8 – St. Helena (Jamestown), United Kingdom
Day 9 – At Sea, International Waters
Day 10 – At Sea, International Waters
Day 11 – At Sea, International Waters
Day 12 – At Sea, International Waters
Day 13 – Vitória, Brazil
Day 14 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Day 15 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Watch this space for updates!