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  #1  
Old January 25th, 2013, 07:29 PM
DragonOfTheSeas DragonOfTheSeas is offline
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Default Has anyone combined a river cruise with a transatlantic ocean cruise?

We are veteran ocean cruisers. However, we are looking at taking a European river cruise. It looks like combining it with a transatlantic cruise back to FLL would be the best use of our travel $$ and we would get to see the most places.

We have done our research and narrowed it do a 7 or 8 day Rhine River cruise between Basel, Switzerland and Amsterdam. [If someone feels this is not a good cruise please let me know.] We like the itineraries that arrive in Amsterdam and spend the night there before disembarking or spend a day before embarking. This would give us Amsterdam time without needing to organize lodging and tours.

Transatlantic cruises are the most budget friendly cruises that there are. We have talked about taking one before. Last year the airfare was out of sight. I did a dummy booking and JFK to Basel is $634 pp, a flight from Amsterdam to Barcelona is $110pp, and Royal Caribbean TA from there to FLL starts at $749.

If you have done this is it just too much travel/commotion to be enjoyable? Would you do it again?Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Everyone has something good to say about the companies they have cruised with. We are looking at Viking, AMA and Avalon for this itinerary. Which would you choose and why?
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Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Grandeur of the Seas –June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean.

Last edited by DragonOfTheSeas; January 25th, 2013 at 07:31 PM.
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  #2  
Old January 25th, 2013, 07:42 PM
Barrheadlass Barrheadlass is offline
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I think it sounds like a wonderful idea! In 2010 we took a 2 week Rhine/Moselle cruise, Amsterdam to Basel with Uniworld...maybe it was 10 days...I've forgotten! We didn't go a day early, but that would be easy to arrange. We've since cruised with Uniworld again and really enjoyed it.
We have a TA booked for 2014, Miami to Barcelona. Don't have the funds/time to combine 2 trips like you are suggesting, but would do it in a heart beat if I could.

River cruising is very relaxing, as I assume the TA will be...
please come back and tell us about it if you proceed! Enjoy!
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  #3  
Old January 25th, 2013, 07:54 PM
DragonOfTheSeas DragonOfTheSeas is offline
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Originally Posted by Barrheadlass View Post
I think it sounds like a wonderful idea! In 2010 we took a 2 week Rhine/Moselle cruise, Amsterdam to Basel with Uniworld...maybe it was 10 days...I've forgotten! We didn't go a day early, but that would be easy to arrange. We've since cruised with Uniworld again and really enjoyed it.
We have a TA booked for 2014, Miami to Barcelona. Don't have the funds/time to combine 2 trips like you are suggesting, but would do it in a heart beat if I could.

River cruising is very relaxing, as I assume the TA will be...
please come back and tell us about it if you proceed! Enjoy!
We are looking at October 2013. Will let you know what we decide.
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Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Grandeur of the Seas –June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean.
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  #4  
Old January 25th, 2013, 08:07 PM
CasaM CasaM is offline
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We did something very similar last year. We flew into Barcelona and did a 12 day Mediterranean cruise, then flew from Barcelona to Paris for 4 days, then took a train to Trier, Germany and did a 7 day Viking river cruise. Then we took a train back to Paris to fly back home. We were gone for about a month.

We had a great time, but the train travel was very hectic for us. And we were on the river cruise in Nov and it was just too cold for us.

For fall 2013, we are again doing a combined Med and river cruise but starting a little earlier in Oct so hopefully the weather will be better. We will take Carnival Sunshine out of Barcelona and ending in Venice. We'll spend a few days visiting Venice and some towns like Padua, then fly from Venice to Basel and do a Viking Rhine cruise from Basel to Amsterdam, then fly home.

We've never done a transatlantic as we like getting off at the ports and not spending so much time on the ship. But if you like the ship time, then that would be a good option for you.
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  #5  
Old January 25th, 2013, 08:18 PM
DragonOfTheSeas DragonOfTheSeas is offline
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We are looking at the river cruise around October 20th and the TA leaving around October 30.

Did you go in early November or late Nov?

I am trying to decide if late October is going to be too cold on the river. We average temps for the TA ports are pretty good.
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Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Grandeur of the Seas –June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean.
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  #6  
Old January 25th, 2013, 08:22 PM
Talisker92 Talisker92 is online now
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Being from the West Coast, the flights to Europe are quite long for us. We have been combining trips to cut down on the flights (and the costs).
This year we are doing a Russian River cruise with Vantage then a Holy Land cruise with Princess.
Last year we spent a week in the Bernese Alps then did a river cruise through Burgundy.
In 2011 we cruised from Rome to London then spent a week in Cornwall and a week in London.
In 2010 we did a Vantage cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam, then flew to Copenhagen to do a Baltic cruise with Princess.
It takes a little bit of coordinating to put the trips together.
The problem with the TA cruises, is they are repositioning cruises at the beginning or end of a cruise season. Only Cunard makes regular TA crossings. Frankly, unless you are willing to pop for Grill Class, forget it.
Also, some cruises take 14 days from Basel to Amsterdam. By doing it in 7 or 8 days, you are missing out on many stops.
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  #7  
Old January 25th, 2013, 08:47 PM
CasaM CasaM is offline
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Last year we did the river cruise on Nov. 10. In 2011, we did the Danube, also in Nov and it was also cold, but for some reason the cold really just got to me last year. Our river cruise this fall will be Oct. 25. I know Oct here in the northeast can be unpredictable - either a late season warm spell or an early cold spell. I just looked at the temps last Oct. 25 in Basel and it was 61 high and 44 low.
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  #8  
Old January 25th, 2013, 09:22 PM
DragonOfTheSeas DragonOfTheSeas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CasaM View Post
Last year we did the river cruise on Nov. 10. In 2011, we did the Danube, also in Nov and it was also cold, but for some reason the cold really just got to me last year. Our river cruise this fall will be Oct. 25. I know Oct here in the northeast can be unpredictable - either a late season warm spell or an early cold spell. I just looked at the temps last Oct. 25 in Basel and it was 61 high and 44 low.
Thanks--I looked at the average temps for that time of the year and they do not look that cold. But, you are correct. You never know what weather will be.
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Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Grandeur of the Seas –June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean.
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  #9  
Old January 25th, 2013, 09:27 PM
DragonOfTheSeas DragonOfTheSeas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talisker92 View Post
The problem with the TA cruises, is they are repositioning cruises at the beginning or end of a cruise season. Only Cunard makes regular TA crossings. Frankly, unless you are willing to pop for Grill Class, forget it.
Also, some cruises take 14 days from Basel to Amsterdam. By doing it in 7 or 8 days, you are missing out on many stops.
I realize the 7-8 day river cruise would not stop at all of the possible sites. However, this would be our first river cruise. Although everyone raves about them--we are not willing to take the longer cruise [they are pretty pricey] until we decide it is something we like.

I am not sure what you are telling me with the comment regarding Grill Class. Can you elaborate?
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Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Grandeur of the Seas –June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean.
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  #10  
Old January 25th, 2013, 09:41 PM
Steamboatin Steamboatin is offline
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Default We had such an arrangement booked

We booked a TA in the Spring from Ft Lauderdale into the seaport serving Rome. We would have overnighted at a hotel very near Rome's airport and the next morning fly out to Basel, Switzerland. In Basel board a Uniworld vessel for a Moselle and Rhine cruise into Amsterdam and flying back to the US from there. Our local Travel Agent that we have used now for 30 plus trips made all the arrangements.

Unfortunately only a few, around 3 days if I remember correctly, we had to cancel because of a sudden medical issue. Fortunately we had very good trip cancellation policy and we were refunded in full minus naturally the cost of the insurance. Our local travel agent was a great help not only in arranging the b2b but also in assisting us in the trip cancellation refund claim process as well. A local travel agent is extremely important when you have a big travel problem. Something to consider as well.

Something else to think about in planning your trans Atlantic cruise. The weather in the Spring is better in both the Atlantic as well as warmer in Europe. Whereas, the Fall TA is in cool to cold European weather and the possible hurricane storms in the Atlantic in the Fall.

It is possible to do so go for it.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 11:59 PM
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We are flying to Amsterdam, arriving on Oct. 3. We'll spend a few days there and embark on the Viking Sun for the Oct. 6-13 cruise of the Rhine River, arriving in Basel, Switzerland. Couple of days in Basel and then on Oct. 16 fly to Barcelona for four nights.

We'll leave on Oct. 20 onboard the Norwegian Epic for its 13-day transatlantic cruise to Miami, arriving on Nov. 2.

We're were on the Epic this past December for a week and you DEFINITELY need more time than that for the Epic. We are really looking forward to the whole adventure.

Kathy
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  #12  
Old January 26th, 2013, 03:52 AM
the english lady the english lady is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DragonOfTheSeas View Post
I realize the 7-8 day river cruise would not stop at all of the possible sites. However, this would be our first river cruise. Although everyone raves about them--we are not willing to take the longer cruise [they are pretty pricey] until we decide it is something we like.

I am not sure what you are telling me with the comment regarding Grill Class. Can you elaborate?
Grill class is the top class on QM2 (cunard). I guess the person means if you go in one of the non grill class cabins you will not enjoy it so much. Have to say Grill classes are very expensive, you could easily go cheaper and still enjoy yourself. If you go for one of the enclosed balconys, you could even enjoy a balcony what ever time of yesr you do the transatlantic.
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  #13  
Old January 26th, 2013, 09:33 AM
DragonOfTheSeas DragonOfTheSeas is offline
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Steamboatin: Your plan is very good. I have heard the spring is a better time to do this. [although I have read the river levels can be too high in the spring. ] However, we already have an ocean cruise scheduled for this spring.

Kathy: Your plan sounds more like what we would do. Although we are looking at a bout 1-2 weeks later we tend to sail Royal Caribbean and the TA we like leaves Barcelona on Oct 30. [We prefer the ports of call to be in Europe rather than thee Caribbean. We have done most of those already].

I looked up the Cunard sailings. Since they are true TA's with no stops we would not want that. We want to see as many places as possible.
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Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Grandeur of the Seas –June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean.
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  #14  
Old January 26th, 2013, 09:49 AM
Talisker92 Talisker92 is online now
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If you look at the Member's Cunard reviews, the food in the MDR is average at best. The Grill class has its own dining room. The ship is a 2 class ship, and there are places you cannot go unless you are in Grill Class.
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Old January 26th, 2013, 12:15 PM
beverlyjack beverlyjack is offline
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Having been on several of each, but not on the same trip, the biggest problem is luggage. Traditional ocean cruises have several dress up evenings, requiring a relatively large amount of luggage, where river cruises have limited luggage space and are relatively casual. You would have to compromise.
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Old January 26th, 2013, 01:32 PM
DragonOfTheSeas DragonOfTheSeas is offline
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Originally Posted by beverlyjack View Post
Having been on several of each, but not on the same trip, the biggest problem is luggage. Traditional ocean cruises have several dress up evenings, requiring a relatively large amount of luggage, where river cruises have limited luggage space and are relatively casual. You would have to compromise.

I had thought of that. Not only the formal nights, but the bathing suits, cover up etc. We would not need those on the river [too cold at that time of year] But, some of the stops on the TA are in warmer climates.

You are correct. We would need to bring 1 sports coat, 2 shirts and ties for DH and I would go with Black pants and sparkly tops. My DH gives me grief about the # of pairs of black pants I own. I take them on my trips to save room. Shoes and accessories all mix and match= less luggage.
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Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Grandeur of the Seas –June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean.
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Old January 26th, 2013, 01:37 PM
DragonOfTheSeas DragonOfTheSeas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talisker92 View Post
If you look at the Member's Cunard reviews, the food in the MDR is average at best. The Grill class has its own dining room. The ship is a 2 class ship, and there are places you cannot go unless you are in Grill Class.
I do not like that. Suite guest on most cruise lines have a special lounge. But, there are not too many differences in the experiences. I would not like to feel as if I had booked steerage. That makes me think of the Statue of Liberty and huddled masses.
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Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Grandeur of the Seas –June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean.

Last edited by DragonOfTheSeas; January 26th, 2013 at 01:37 PM.
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  #18  
Old January 26th, 2013, 11:10 PM
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we're sailing away.... we're sailing away.... is offline
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It sounds like a great idea ..
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  #19  
Old January 30th, 2013, 01:58 PM
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MarkBearSF MarkBearSF is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talisker92 View Post
If you look at the Member's Cunard reviews, the food in the MDR is average at best. The Grill class has its own dining room. The ship is a 2 class ship, and there are places you cannot go unless you are in Grill Class.
Yes and no. Yes, they have their own dining rooms and a small lounge. Importantly, (at least in the past) they encourage off-menu ordering. So, yes - the dining experience can be significantly different. (However the food in the Britannia Dining Room is quite good, and is easily the equal of the best food in the main dining rooms on Celebrity or Princess)

Besides these private spaces, there is little separation. Interestingly enough, the biggest class separation these days is on the exact opposite end of the spectrum, the villa suites on NCL!

In any event - we were fortunate enough to get upgrades to Grill Class in the past and it was wonderful - but standard Britannia class is just fine for us, and we've enjoyed those trips immensely.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DragonOfTheSeas View Post
We would need to bring 1 sports coat, 2 shirts and ties for DH and I would go with Black pants and sparkly tops. My DH gives me grief about the # of pairs of black pants I own. I take them on my trips to save room. Shoes and accessories all mix and match= less luggage.
We've solved similar problems (in our case land trips prior) by having a suitcase stuffed with clean cruise clothes delivered to the ship. Many lines have an arrangement with these providers and offer a discount (We've done it on Cunard and Crystal)
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