Here’s what happened when one traveler told his Virtuoso travel advisor he’d left something very important in a different hemisphere.
Avid cruisers Andrew and Kate Buchanan have traveled all over the world. Andrew’s short list of favorite destinations clocks in at 13 countries (including Jordan, Colombia, and Cambodia). To get to the ports of their dreams, the Buchanans rely on Virtuoso travel advisor Lisa Maddox. Here, Andrew discusses the couple’s vacation style, destination wish list, and the time Maddox went way above and beyond to make sure they had a seamless trip.
Silversea's Silver Whisper.
In the last 12 years, we’ve been seduced by cruising and all its advantages. You unpack once but experience a great diversity of countries and ports. Our favorites have been Silversea expeditions to Antarctica (three times!), the Russian Far East, the Galápagos, and the Kimberley in Western Australia. We like the variety of restaurants on Silversea ships, and the staff go to any lengths to make your voyage highly memorable.
When we’re in a new place, we find time to sit in a café, have a coffee, and observe. It helps capture the mood and nuance of a village or city. The more you examine and evaluate local communities, the more you appreciate their uniqueness.
My travel ritual is my early-morning swim, whether on a ship or in a hotel – it’s essential to start my day, winter or summer. I also collect an old bell from each destination I visit. When I look at my collection, it brings back vivid memories, like those of our visits to Hiroshima or the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia – undoubtedly two of the most moving experiences I’ve had.
Dream hotels: Four Seasons Firenze, set in spacious gardens within easy walking distance to the city center. And on my next trip to Marrakech, I’m determined to stay at La Mamounia – a favorite of Winston Churchill’s.
The planning process with Lisa, our travel guru, is always detailed, informative, and thorough. She makes sensible recommendations based on her extensive experience and advice from ground operators around the world. She knows the type of hotel we appreciate, our favorite style of room or suite, the aircraft we prefer, and that we avoid early-morning departures.
Andrew and Kate Buchanan.
Courtesy of Andrew Buchanan
One of our most memorable trips was on the Silver Whisper, which we boarded in Buenos Aires. We sailed to Antarctica, then up the Chilean coast and across the South Pacific to Sydney – right before Covid closed everything down. I’m paralyzed on my right side, and I wear a brace that enables me to walk. Normally when I travel, I pack a spare brace and a fiberglass leg that I use for swimming and showering. When we arrived in Buenos Aires from Sydney and opened our suitcases for a two-night hotel stay, I discovered to my horror that I had accidentally left my fiberglass leg behind.
I texted Lisa, and within an hour she had a plan: Her husband, Mark, would fly from Sydney to Buenos Aires with the leg and deliver it to us at the Four Seasons. I was thrilled and impressed, with a tinge of embarrassment, when Mark showed up in the hotel lobby with the leg. We shared a delightful steak dinner together before he returned to the airport homeward bound – all during the Australia Day long weekend. I jokingly told him I wanted royalties every time he retold the saga when colleagues or friends asked how he spent the long weekend: “I flew a fiberglass leg to Buenos Aires – and returned alone!”
Up next: We’re looking forward to seeing Greece from the Silver Spirit and Senegal from the Silver Shadow. We’re also planning a week in Berlin and a barge trip outside Frankfurt, plus a South Pacific cruise on the Silver Explorer. In fact, Lisa recently came to the rescue again by procuring visas for these trips. That’s why I admire and value her so much – not to mention her trusty husband!