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  #1  
Old February 5th, 2013, 07:08 PM
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hubbledouble hubbledouble is offline
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Default AMA vs Uniworld Tulip Itinerary

Am about to book one of these for their Tulip & Windmill cruise. Slightly different itineraries. Can anyone give me some feedback on the advantages/disadvantages of the two trips as far as the cities visited.
Thanks in advance

AMA goes to Amsterdam,Volendam,Edam,Arnhem,Nijmegen,Antwerp/Brussels,Ghent/Bruges,Willemstad,Kinderkdijk,Schoonhoven,Utrecht,Keukenhof

Uniworld hits Amsterdam,Zaandam (Keukenhof Gardens/Zaanse Schans),Hoorn,Enkhuizen,Nijmegen (Groesbeek or Nuenen),Rotterdam,Kinderdijk,Dordrecht,Veere
Ghent/Bruges,Antwerp
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  #2  
Old February 5th, 2013, 07:35 PM
franski franski is offline
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Hi -

Did Tulip Time with Scenic - so can't speak to those companies, but can speak to some of the stops.

1) Look at the time spent in the Keukenhof.... It is truly a wonderful day (and a huge reason many take the Tulip Time Cruises) so look at how long you have to spend there. Ask if you have the option to stay a bit longer, and come back on a later bus.

2) See how long you have in Amsterdam. And, what the included excursions are. There is so much to see and do there - that is another stop that you want as much time as possible.

3) Bruges is a wonderful city... I would be looking to see if one of these cruises includes it --> instead of having to pay to go there.

4) Antwerp is also great - and very easy to walk around after you get off the boat. Again - having extra time there is a good thing. Also - make sure you have enough time to walk under the river there (St. Anna tunnel) - it is really a unique experience. Your guide should be able to show you where to enter.

5) What does the stop in Kinderdijk entail? Do you actually get up close to the windmills - or is it a sail by? We just did the sail by....

6) We had a visit to the Delta works included - and we both really enjoyed it. You see a brief movie about the project, and then get a tour. Maybe not that interesting if you aren't into engineering - but I am glad we went.

Just my 2 cents worth here...

Fran

Last edited by franski; February 5th, 2013 at 07:45 PM.
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  #3  
Old February 7th, 2013, 11:42 AM
jbtimetotravel jbtimetotravel is offline
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Hi Fran,

I remember your posts from Russian river cruise last year. We went on Uniworld in June on the Volga. We loved our time in Russia.

We are doing two cruises this year, back to back.

Fly to Brussels and take Tauck river cruise to Amsterdam. We have 5 days on our own in Amsterdam and then Uniworld river cruise to Basel. Castles along the Rhine.

We are really interested in the tulips. We are going to be in Amsterdam mid April. I have booked hotel in the city, but I think the tulip fields and Keukenhof are outside the city.

We will like to visit the park more that once. How far from the city is Keukenhof? And do you know anything about transportation to get there?

We are staying two days in Ghent and three in Bruges. We are flying in to Brussels early AM and will take train from Airport to Ghent. Do you do any train travel on your own while there?

I don't know anything about the Deltas works.

Any information you might share on this trip will be appreciated.

Judy
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  #4  
Old February 7th, 2013, 02:22 PM
franski franski is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbtimetotravel View Post
Hi Fran,

I remember your posts from Russian river cruise last year. We went on Uniworld in June on the Volga. We loved our time in Russia.

We are doing two cruises this year, back to back.

Fly to Brussels and take Tauck river cruise to Amsterdam. We have 5 days on our own in Amsterdam and then Uniworld river cruise to Basel. Castles along the Rhine.

We are really interested in the tulips. We are going to be in Amsterdam mid April. I have booked hotel in the city, but I think the tulip fields and Keukenhof are outside the city.

We will like to visit the park more that once. How far from the city is Keukenhof? And do you know anything about transportation to get there?

We are staying two days in Ghent and three in Bruges. We are flying in to Brussels early AM and will take train from Airport to Ghent. Do you do any train travel on your own while there?

I don't know anything about the Deltas works.

Any information you might share on this trip will be appreciated.

Judy
Hi Judy -

We also loved our cruise in Russia... So glad we went last year. I understand that the Kremlin armories are closed for renos this year and that was a great excursion. I would have hated to miss it.

We did not do any train travel when we were in the Netherlands. However, somewhere here on cruise critic there was a "dialogue" between 2 or 3 couples about going to Keukenhof on their own. I didn't pay a lot of attention, but I think they said that there is a bus or train that makes the trek a number of times/day. Perhaps if you start a new thread and ask the question you will get some further details.

We sailed the Rhine with Uniworld for our Christmas market cruise. We started in Cologne and ended in Basel. WEetook the train from Frankfurt to Cologne (Rail travel is so civilized in Europe...). We loved the cruise, but both my DH and I agree we would like to go back again in warmer weather. We opted for the Technology Museum in Speyer (instead of going to the markets in Heidelberg...) and it was really interesting. It was only a short walk from the area where the boat docked - and there was LOTS to see.

The Delta Works is really quite an amazing project. In a nutshell, they built a number of cement "gates" that can be closed to protect the area if it looks as if there will be flooding. Here are 2 links that explain it.

http://www.deltawerken.com/23

http://www.english-online.at/environ...st-the-sea.htm

Enjoy your cruises... We are doing 2 - but not back to back. We are doing Bucharest to Budapest with Viking at the end of April - then back to Budapest in Sept to cruise up to Nuremberg with Scenic.

Fran

Last edited by franski; February 7th, 2013 at 02:26 PM.
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  #5  
Old February 7th, 2013, 09:41 PM
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hubbledouble hubbledouble is offline
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Fran,
Thanks so much for the quick response. You reinforced our thoughts that we wanted to spend as much time as possible at Keukenhof as possible. Both the itineraries stop at Kinderdijk. However, the one seemed to us to be a little less "frantic" - more time in some of the cities. As a result, have decided to go with Uniworld.
Again, thanks for the help.
Randy
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  #6  
Old February 7th, 2013, 09:57 PM
franski franski is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hubbledouble View Post
Fran,
Thanks so much for the quick response. You reinforced our thoughts that we wanted to spend as much time as possible at Keukenhof as possible. Both the itineraries stop at Kinderdijk. However, the one seemed to us to be a little less "frantic" - more time in some of the cities. As a result, have decided to go with Uniworld.
Again, thanks for the help.
Randy
Randy - Always glad to help...

We booked with Scenic as we got a smoking deal with them... but had looked seriously at Uniworld. We have cruised 3 times with Uniworld - and enjoyed each one.

So much to see on this itinerary... Enjoy!!

Fran
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Old February 8th, 2013, 10:55 AM
jbtimetotravel jbtimetotravel is offline
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Thanks for sharing, Fran. I would love to hear your thoughts on the differences between Viking and Uniworld. I have not heard of Scenic. We have done only two previous river cruises.


We traveled from Budapest to Prague on a Tauck boat. It was really called "Perillo 50th Anniversary Tour", but Perillo bought out the Tauck boat for the one week cruise and the staff and tour directors were Tauck. It was a very excellent cruise. We stayed in Budapest a week before cruise and in Prague for four days after.

Our next river cruise was Uniworld to Russia last year and it was also wonderful. The rooms a little smaller than the Tauck boat and the food seemed a little nicer on Tauck boat.
I don't know if the was because it was a special tour for Perillo or just the norm for Tauck. Everything is probably a little bit more difficult in Russia as far as getting supplies.

I get a lot of promotions from Viking and AMA, but I don't know much about them. I am under the impression that Uniworld is a nicer line than the others. I think I got that impression from our TA, but I have nothing to base it on.
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Old February 8th, 2013, 11:14 AM
jbtimetotravel jbtimetotravel is offline
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Hi Fran,

It seems you have traveled with the companies mentioned above.
Do you have any thoughts to share on the above post about the various cruise lines?
Thanks
Judy

Printing out info on Delta Works now.

Last edited by jbtimetotravel; February 8th, 2013 at 11:21 AM.
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  #9  
Old February 8th, 2013, 01:01 PM
franski franski is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbtimetotravel View Post
Hi Fran,

It seems you have traveled with the companies mentioned above.
Do you have any thoughts to share on the above post about the various cruise lines?
Thanks
Judy
Hi Judy -

Have not travelled - yet- with Viking. We are booked for our first cruise with them this year. We are flying out April 25th - doing the Passage to Easter Europe - Bucharest to Budapest... I plan to post along the way (WiFi willing...)

I haven't travelled with Tauck - but there are a number of people here on CC who have... I have never heard a negative post about them. We find that they are pricier - and since we travel lowest category (can travel more often if I can travel "on sale"... ) I do look at them, but then move on.

Scenic isn't well known in the US. They are an Australian company - but have an office in Canada - so are pretty heavily marketed here.

There are many similarities in the cruise lines. I do think that the importance of the differences are quite subjective --> so, something that bothers me may not be an issue for you. And vice versa.

IMHO, one of the biggest differences is the Cruise Manager. And, you have no control over that - even within the same company.

Food is also subjective - and what pleases me may not please the next person. I am not a foodie - nor a wine connoisseur - so while the chef is important, I find the wait staff more so.

I think your comments re: Uniworld vs Tauck aren't really a fair comparison to make - given that you travelled Uniworld in Russia. Uniworld leases - not owns - the boats there - and everywhere in their literature they are very clear that the experience may not be up to their standards in Europe. We were expecting spartan accommodations - and lots of potatoes/cabbage/"basic" meat for our meals. We were VERY pleasantly surprised. We travelled lowest category - which meant no elevator - but a very spacious room. And the food was very good.

We have always been very pleased with the food on Uniworld - and have travelled with them 3 times. I expect the food on their Tulip Time cruise will incorporate local cuisine.

While I have enjoyed my other cruises very much, any time I travel with Uniworld, I remember why the experience is so great. They have an amazing attention to detail, their local guides are top notch, and there are a number of "extras" that they include. However, they can be pricier - and their best prices are always "pay in full". I am not always able to "pay in full" when I book. Their decor can be a bit "over the top" for some, but decor isn't really a factor when I book. Again, this may be important to some.

I look for itinerary, then dates and prices. I do not expect perfection - but do watch to see how the company deals with any of the glitches that occur. To date, when planning for a trip, I have yet to end up with an itinerary or cost that is so close that I would have to choose between 2 companies. There is usually something that makes the choice for me.

We have just put a deposit down for a cruise with Avalon in 2014 - for the south of France. Everything aligned -->this will be our 1st trip with them... We convinced people we know to try a river cruise - and they cruised Avalon. They had an amazing trip... (I was sort of worried - hoped that we hadn't convinced them to take a trip they didn't enjoy!!!) So - no concerns about booking with them.

Not sure if this helps at all.

Fran

Last edited by franski; February 8th, 2013 at 01:07 PM.
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  #10  
Old February 9th, 2013, 09:06 AM
jbtimetotravel jbtimetotravel is offline
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Hi Fran,

Thank you once again for your input.
Your information is very much appreciated.

You are so right about the cruise director. When we docked in St Petersburg, I had developed an awful cough(like many others on the boat).

We asked cruise director for directions to a local pharmacy.She not only supplied directions, but wrote out in Russian the problem and what we needed. I was very thankful for that. Hope you have a wonderful time on your Viking cruise.

Judy
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  #11  
Old February 10th, 2013, 08:01 PM
Second seating Second seating is offline
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Default Tulips and Windmills

The Uniworld part I can answer. I did this cruise in April 2012 on the River Duchess and it was great!!!!! This was my 3rd Uniworld cruise and the River Duchess is my favorite ship yet. The curise was wonderful from start to finish. Just make sure you take some warm clothes and rain gear, some people did not.

Second seating
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Old February 11th, 2013, 01:35 PM
jbtimetotravel jbtimetotravel is offline
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Second Seating--
Thanks for suggestions about clothing and rain gear. i heard that there would be a fair amt. of rain, but then looked up weather and it looked like 2% precipitation. I don't want to take too much clothing, but want to be prepared.
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