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Old 12-03-2014, 04:28 PM   #1761
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Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
Little decision help please.


I have never been to Europe. It is not (nor ever has been) on my list of things to do. Viking River Cruises has a "2 for 1" sale on their "Grand European Tour" sailings. I am, for some reason that escapes me, considering such foolishness.


My question: If you have allocated 15 days of your (entire) life to see Europe would this be a wise choice. If not, what alternative(s) would you suggest? (I am thinking in the $15,000 range but not locked in)


Grand European Tour - 2015 Amsterdam to Budapest - Cruise Overview
If you are looking for a rich cultural experience I think you should absolutely go for a European river cruise. It's a great way to immerse yourself in the landscape and culture while coming "home" every evening to great company and cuisine. I cruised up the Danube this year on Avalon; the service was exceptional and the panorama suite was comfortable, open and airy. However, I have heard mixed reviews about Viking, including one couple (experienced travelers) who did the exact same cruise that you are looking at, who said it was awful. Older ships, inconsistent service. Perhaps if you are ambiguous, you might consider a shorter cruise.
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Old 12-03-2014, 04:40 PM   #1762
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This is $1000/day which is quite high for 2 adults (did you include airfare?).
I did... but would be receptive to excluding it. My original estimate was for the $12,862 Explorer Suite sailing of May 15, 18, 20, or 21.
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Old 12-03-2014, 04:48 PM   #1763
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Older ships, inconsistent service.
The Brochure says "The first six of Viking's revolutionary Longships debuted in 2012." That doesn't seem so old... or maybe it's because I am so much older.

In any event, the video featuring our preferred ship shows a very modern ship (IMHO).

Yeah, "inconsistent service"... I have, also, been guilty of attacking everything based on isolated incidences. I have since, however, come to realize that companies don't last very long with truly "inconsistent service."
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ABC and Panama Canal
Old 12-03-2014, 05:31 PM   #1764
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ABC and Panama Canal

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Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
A couple years ago, we took a MSC Cruise Lines sailing to the Southern Caribbean that included the ABC Islands, Panama Canal (up to that lake in the middle), and Costa Rico. I would do it again in a heart beat.
Good to hear since it sounds like I have the same itinerary with a different cruise line: Holland America for me this time. It will be my first time with them; but, I have heard good things although plenty of warnings about being the youngest person on the ship (which is fine with me).

Any must see's/do's for my time off the ship?

Also, any advice about getting around on the ABC islands (taxi, rental car, scooter, etc.)? I am considering some snorkeling from a beach and general wandering around town.
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Old 12-03-2014, 06:19 PM   #1765
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
Little decision help please.


I have never been to Europe. It is not (nor ever has been) on my list of things to do. Viking River Cruises has a "2 for 1" sale on their "Grand European Tour" sailings. I am, for some reason that escapes me, considering such foolishness.


My question: If you have allocated 15 days of your (entire) life to see Europe would this be a wise choice. If not, what alternative(s) would you suggest? (I am thinking in the $15,000 range but not locked in)


Grand European Tour - 2015 Amsterdam to Budapest - Cruise Overview
This is probably a great way to do such a thing if you've never been to Europe before, and beats the heck out of bus tours, IMO. Most people I know have been quite satisfied. It's definitely an "overview" - but that is perfect for a first time visitor.
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Old 12-03-2014, 06:29 PM   #1766
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Good to hear since it sounds like I have the same itinerary with a different cruise line: Holland America for me this time. ...

Any must see's/do's for my time off the ship?

Also, any advice about getting around on the ABC islands (taxi, rental car, scooter, etc.)? I am considering some snorkeling from a beach and general wandering around town.
We have been on three Holland America cruises (first in 1985, last in 2007) and have been pleased with each of them. They do cater to an older clientele but all that means is more sophistication, fewer children and less "rah rah." You will be happy with your choice.

Well, we took an excursion to a native village in Panama. It was quite interesting to travel up river (for an hour or so) on canoes manned by the aboriginal folks. It was quite something to see the primitive conditions in which they lived -- WARNING-clothing is quite minimal. They fed us an amazing meal of fish that the women caught while we were there and then took us back to "town." (I suppose I should post photos but they are NSFW and I don't need any more Moderator hassles.)

I (and DW) absolutely fell in love with Costa Rico -- I couldn't believe how cute Sloths are.

On the Islands there are (seemed like) hundreds of taxis and tour buses lined up at the dock just waiting to take you anywhere. My experience is that the drivers are very good at finding exactly what you are looking for... TIPS required, of course.
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Old 12-03-2014, 06:40 PM   #1767
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We have been on three Holland America cruises (first in 1985, last in 2007) and have been pleased with each of them. They do cater to an older clientele but all that means is more sophistication, fewer children and less "rah rah." You will be happy with your choice.
River cruises have quite a different atmosphere from the big ocean cruise liners. Because you are always close to shore, there are no sea days and no need (or space for) extravagant on board activities. Instead, you dock at the riverbank, walk off the ship, and many times you are right there in the centre of a fascinating city like Budapest or Nuremberg. Or you watch the ups and downs of the locks, explore a pretty village like Durnstein, or hop on a bus to go to Salzburg....... Evening engertainment is low key (e.g. Soloists from the Bratislava state orchestra, or wine tasting) and much of the entertainment is camaraderie with your interesting travel companions, quite a few of whom you will get to know because it's a much smaller group. It's all more intimate and relaxing, though I must say I made the most of the of the excursions, which often ventured far from the ship. Also, no storms, no seasickness!
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Old 12-05-2014, 03:28 PM   #1768
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A big "Thank you" to everyone that responded to my European River Boat trip enquiry. They (the suggestions) are (and will be) very helpful (if not necessary) in my decision-making processes.

(yet another example of how valuable this Forum is.)
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Old 12-05-2014, 03:34 PM   #1769
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A couple years ago, we took a MSC Cruise Lines sailing to the Southern Caribbean that included the ABC Islands, Panama Canal (up to that lake in the middle), and Costa Rico. I would do it again in a heart beat.
CoolChange, I was mistaken. It was the same Holland America cruise you are speaking of -- in 2011. (This also means there have been four HA cruises.) Nevertheless, I meant what I said about doing it again.
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Old 12-07-2014, 04:47 PM   #1770
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We are looking at booking an 11 day Celebrity Cruise to Alaska. Departs Seatlle, returns to Vancouver. It is the last ship of the season, Sept 11. Too risky for snow?
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:40 PM   #1771
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The issue for an Alaska cruise at that date might be rain.

Alaska cruises are always subject to rain-in all months. We had a fabulous cruise with great weather. The cruise prior to us had rain, and lots of rain, every day.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:55 PM   #1772
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We did a Holland America cruise at the same time once -- also last one of the season. The entire time was cold and rainy, but we still had a good time at the ports we visited. Unfortunately, we also got an altered itinerary because the sea was so rough we had to change course and we missed one of the scheduled ports.

If cold and rainy doesn't bother you, you'll probably get a very good price at that time.
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:21 PM   #1773
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We are looking at booking an 11 day Celebrity Cruise to Alaska. Departs Seatlle, returns to Vancouver. It is the last ship of the season, Sept 11. Too risky for snow?
We've sailed to Alaska twice, with gorgeous weather in May, when it still should have been rainy, and rainy weather in August, when it should have been slightly less rainy. As both captains said every morning when giving the day's weather report, "Take Alaska for what Alaska is . . . rain, sunshine or snow."
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:34 PM   #1774
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Thanks everyone. I know about the rain risk - I don't think you can avoid it other than to go early like RetiredAndFree and we can't go early. I guess we will just risk it. My biggest concern is for my DH who loves outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking, etc. Hopefully he can do some of that.
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Old 12-09-2014, 06:17 AM   #1775
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When we went to Alaska during June we bought all new rain gear(never rains in AZ), never used it.

ice floe.jpg
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Old 12-09-2014, 06:47 AM   #1776
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We are traveling for about a month over Christmas: business + pleasure + medical. We were able to find a live-in housesitter for free on housecarers.com for our kitty, so that freed us up to do a more extended trip.

It also inspired us to see if we could do a housesit for someone else while we are on the road - we've always thought when we retire how fun it would be to incorporate that into our lifestyle. Well, we just arranged to housesit for a nice couple in Brooklyn over Christmas for 10 days. Looking forward to spending some time with two little doggies (we haven't been able to have dogs with our cats) and also being able to hop a train into Manhattan and explore the city more.
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:52 AM   #1777
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onism - n. the awareness of how little of the world you’ll experience

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onism - n. the frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time, which is like standing in front of the departures screen at an airport, flickering over with strange place names like other people's passwords, each representing one more thing you'll never get to see before you die-and all because, as the arrow on the map helpfully points out, you are here.
Or, instead of the above Link... go straight to the YouTube video:

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Old 12-20-2014, 09:56 AM   #1778
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I'm traveling to the Wet Coast for Christmas and decided to re-price my rental car. The price has come down $90 from my summer booking. Easy money!
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Old 12-20-2014, 02:00 PM   #1779
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I'm traveling to the Wet Coast for Christmas and decided to re-price my rental car. The price has come down $90 from my summer booking. Easy money!
You'll need a boat not a car.
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Old 12-20-2014, 02:20 PM   #1780
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I am currently in the Puerto Vallarta area enjoying the sunshine and sea breezes and looking forward to Christmas Eve dinner on the beach.

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