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  #1  
Old December 18th, 2013, 02:59 PM
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Default Pre/post stays - book through river cruise line or not?

We have always arranged our hotels rooms and transportation for the days we arrive before or stay after the cruise on our own versus using the river cruise line's package, primarily due to cost savings.

Curious how others handle pre and post extensions - do you book the river cruise line's land portion or arrange pre/post days on your own?
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Old December 18th, 2013, 03:30 PM
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The cruise we are on has a hotel stay prior to the beginning of the cruise. We would save a TON of money by booking separately, but will book through the cruise line as I'd rather not have to change hotels should they opt to use another one. If not for that reason, I'd book separately.

Something that varies by individual is the amount of planning you wish to do. we are capable and rather independent, so booking ourselves is not a concern. My sister on the other hand, would rather have someone else do all the legwork and let her just show up.
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Old December 18th, 2013, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oysterdam View Post
We have always arranged our hotels rooms and transportation for the days we arrive before or stay after the cruise on our own versus using the river cruise line's package, primarily due to cost savings.

Curious how others handle pre and post extensions - do you book the river cruise line's land portion or arrange pre/post days on your own?
Hi Oysterdam, in my wild and impestuous youth I booked everything on my own and had some wonderful and exciting adventures! But, I am older and wiser now and quite frankly prefer living in a stress free environment....so I have booked my pre and post trip extensions with the river cruise company. This is the same reason I usually book my air through them as well. I like not having to change hotels; worry about transfers or late flights and the first day is usually spent on a city tour which gives me a good idea of where things are and what I want to go back to during the free full or half-day that is built in. I also like not having to worry about transferring my bags from the hotel to the ship and while I do pay more, the hotels and tours have always been worth the price paid IMHO. As an added bonus (but low on the list of importance) is that I get to meet fellow cruise mates in a smaller group and it's fun getting on board and already knowing some of my traveling companions. Of course, that only works on pre-trip extensions.
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Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Cruises, 2006
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Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, 2009
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Turkey
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Old December 18th, 2013, 03:52 PM
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We've always booked our pre/post and our air on our own - have more control of how long we're in a city, where we stay, airlines used, etc.

However, I'm beginning to feel a bit like Hydrokitty! We just returned from a fantastic Rhine River cruise with Viking. We booked our air with them - paid extra to choose our flights - and completely enjoyed having our luggage handled by them going to the airport! (Our flight to Europe was 2 days early and we didn't use their pre-trip so then we were responsible for our own luggage.)

I think its a very individual situation - everyone has their own way of traveling and you have to choose what's right for you. And as we're getting older I'm seeing that ajustments also have to be made! We're beyond the age of "back packing" through Europe and are now looking for comfortable beds!!! If only we could do without the luggage!!!!
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  #5  
Old December 18th, 2013, 04:49 PM
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We've only done one river cruise (last month). I know that I could have done better price wise with the hotels maybe, not the airfare, and could have picked more interesting hotels, BUT I choose to go with the Viking airfare and pre and post extension packages. It was completely turn key. I didn't have to do any research and did not have to worry about transfers and I felt more carefree. I thought it was worth the extra money. I could not match the airfare Viking got us. The best I could do was about $150 more per person round trip.

I probably would do it the same next time - I liked the one stop shop concept. Dealt with the TA and she handled everything with Viking.

Oh, and as Hydokitty mentioned we already made friends with some of our fellow cruisers on the ride from the airport to the hotel, and the tour included with the pre-extension package in Prague was excellent.
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  #6  
Old December 18th, 2013, 05:03 PM
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Got2Cruise Got2Cruise is online now
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I think it depends what you are looking for in a hotel. We prefer small boutique hotels in convenient neighborhoods. I do not wish to stay in a large impersonal businessman's hotel. jmo. The cruise lines are not able to offer such hotels because of the large amount of guests that are housed. There really is no big deal about transfers. In any large city, having the front desk call you a cab is common place. Same thing goes for the River boat cruises. Then you have personalized service, are not herded like cattle, and it really doesn't cost much more than the bus transfers.

I really sound like a broken record when it comes to the cruise air, but if you realize that you are not treated the same by the airlines if something goes wrong, then you might think twice about booking through the cruise line. The Cruise Air board here on CC explains it all. That is where I learned about it.
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  #7  
Old December 18th, 2013, 06:37 PM
Talisker92 Talisker92 is offline
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We spent a few days in Amsterdam after our river cruise. Booked a convenient hotel through hotels.com, did our own tours and paid about half of what the cruise line wanted.
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  #8  
Old December 18th, 2013, 08:13 PM
LIer LIer is offline
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With so much information available on the internet regarding hotels, flights and attractions a lot of money can be saved. We did our own arrangements prior to and after our Rhine cruise this summer and were able to extend our vacation with the money saved.

It will take a little time but planning is part of the experience of the trip.
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  #9  
Old December 18th, 2013, 11:49 PM
jiminyC_fan jiminyC_fan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydrokitty View Post
Hi Oysterdam, in my wild and impestuous youth I booked everything on my own and had some wonderful and exciting adventures! But, I am older and wiser now and quite frankly prefer living in a stress free environment....so I have booked my pre and post trip extensions with the river cruise company. This is the same reason I usually book my air through them as well. I like not having to change hotels; worry about transfers or late flights and the first day is usually spent on a city tour which gives me a good idea of where things are and what I want to go back to during the free full or half-day that is built in. I also like not having to worry about transferring my bags from the hotel to the ship and while I do pay more, the hotels and tours have always been worth the price paid IMHO. As an added bonus (but low on the list of importance) is that I get to meet fellow cruise mates in a smaller group and it's fun getting on board and already knowing some of my traveling companions. Of course, that only works on pre-trip extensions.
I agree whole heartedly! Use to do it on my own but now loving the stress free approach. Also agree about meeting a few people before boarding the ship makes it fun.
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  #10  
Old December 19th, 2013, 05:58 AM
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We did a combo of both. We arrived early to Lisbon prior to our Duoro River Cruise and booked an extra night at the hotel we would be staying with Viking through them. Could not beat the price doing it ourselves. Since we hadn't booked air with Viking we arranged our own transfer from the airport to the hotel

At the end of the cruise we stayed an additional day/night in Porto and booked our own hotel. Viking arranged transport between the ship and hotel and we arranged our own transport between the hotel and airport.

For our upcoming Rhine Cruise, we will stay on in Amsterdam for 2 nights and plan to make our own arrangements.

Whatever works for you. I like planning and researching, so I enjoy the process for now.
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  #11  
Old December 19th, 2013, 07:57 AM
cole cole is online now
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Default Pre & Post stay

Quote:
Originally Posted by oysterdam View Post
We have always arranged our hotels rooms and transportation for the days we arrive before or stay after the cruise on our own versus using the river cruise line's package, primarily due to cost savings.

Curious how others handle pre and post extensions - do you book the river cruise line's land portion or arrange pre/post days on your own?
We would prefer to book our own pre and/or post stays, but just have booked the Elbe on the Vantage for 2015 (yes, that far ahead ) and they do not give us that option. I wish! We have already toured Prague and would prefer to skip that at the end of the trip, in fact we will probably opt to return home at the end of the river cruise, but there is no reduction in the cost if we do. Doesn't seem quite fair, but who said the world was fair.
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Old December 19th, 2013, 08:12 AM
Riversanddale Riversanddale is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Got2Cruise View Post
We prefer small boutique hotels in convenient neighborhoods. I do not wish to stay in a large impersonal businessman's hotel. jmo. The cruise lines are not able to offer such hotels because of the large amount of guests that are housed. There really is no big deal about transfers. In any large city, having the front desk call you a cab is common place.
We're sitting (happily) in a great boutique hotel in Lisbon on a 3-day pre-cruise stay about a block away from the hotel included in our Douro cruise. We love it here - personal, friendly with lovely decor and rooms, etc. We always do our own air (cheaper and more control over unexpected changes due to weather/equipment, etc.) and do our own pre and post cruise stays. We pick places we want to see or explore to enhance our cruise - sometimes a few nights at each end or preferably several places and nights. We do our own train connections, too, from the comfort of home pre-trip. The air fare is paid so we see what we can each trip. Love it. Small hotels are friendly and helpful and usually cost less and the folks go out of their way to make sure you enjoy your stay. We choose them by location and Tripadvisor comments. We've had great choices all over Europe & Sydney, etc. We also do our booking directly through Viking with good results. We have a 24-30 hour trip to get to Europe so we always allow at least an extra 2 (prefer 3-7) days ahead to change time zones and see some sights. The extra expense is well worth it for us and it's good value when you've already paid air and cruise. One note, we've found local guides have really enhanced our experiences (Lisbon, Netherlands, Belgium-Bastogne, France-Normandy) with information and places we would never have found or enjoyed as much without their help.
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  #13  
Old December 19th, 2013, 09:44 AM
caviargal caviargal is offline
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We prefer to plan our own hotel stays and flights, transfers, etc. We enjoy the freedom to choose exactly what we prefer and our trips generally include a week or so in Europe, often in cities other than where we arrive and debark from on a river cruise.
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  #14  
Old December 19th, 2013, 10:58 AM
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CaroleSS, Hydrokitty, Cary Cruiser, Fotopeg (or anyone else who cares to answer),

Your reasoning for booking with the cruise line for the pre/post makes alot of sense. I can definitely see the advantages of peace of mind and not having to worry about the logistics as well as making friends early on your trip.

Just curious, if you had to guesstimate, what percentage of your sailing booked their pre/post with the cruise line like you did?
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Old December 19th, 2013, 12:37 PM
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We ended up booking our flights on our own....because once we added Viking fees for picking dates AND airline the cost was close although transfers will not be included.

We have booked our own in Budapest because we wanted 3 nights and Viking could not do that.

Anyone have any great Amsterdam hotel suggestions. Seems to be much more expensive than Budapest. We will be there 2 nights post cruise not sure which area will be best. Don't think Vikings Movenpick will be most convenient?
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  #16  
Old December 19th, 2013, 01:23 PM
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We did Rhine cruise with Viking ending in Amsterdam. We made reservations on our own with Moevenpick, cheaper than Viking's price. It was a short walk to the Hotel form where Viking docks.

From the Moevenpick it is about a 5 minute walk to the Centraal Train station of Amsterdam. At the train station you can catch any number of trams to take you all over the city. There is also a canal boat station nearby. In front of the station there is an information store. It is also a short walk to the center of the city.

If you are staying a couple of days I would suggest you get a CITY Card. There are many museums that give free admission and there is a free canal boat ride. I do not remember the price but when we stayed there 2 days we saved quite a bit of money and you do not have to wait on some lines for admission.

If you want to see the Anne Frank museum I suggest you go go their website and order tickets online. You skip the wait for tickets and when we went the line was very long.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old December 19th, 2013, 02:41 PM
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We opted to do our own air for our trip. The flights/connections offered by Avalon for our trip weren't what we would like, so for less money we booked our own. Granted we had to pay for transfers, but even if we had purchased through Avalon (and did an extra day in Munich before hand), they would have charged us for the transfers in Munich....to the tune of $52 EACH!!

We'll be taking the S-train for less than half that - for both of us!

The last river cruise we did, we did opt for the associated air as it was significantly cheaper than doing it ourselves. Each trip is its own personality and we go with the flow of each, no hard and fast rules.
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Old December 19th, 2013, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeDC View Post
We ended up booking our flights on our own....because once we added Viking fees for picking dates AND airline the cost was close although transfers will not be included.

We have booked our own in Budapest because we wanted 3 nights and Viking could not do that.

Anyone have any great Amsterdam hotel suggestions. Seems to be much more expensive than Budapest. We will be there 2 nights post cruise not sure which area will be best. Don't think Vikings Movenpick will be most convenient?
I agree with LIer. We have stayed at the Moevenpick twice before cruises. Trams # 25 and#26 run right in front of the hotel allowing easy access to the city center. The hotel is modern and we were able to upgrade to a large junior suite which included access to the executive lounge with wine , drinks , snacks, and free full breakfast for 69 euros just last month. A standard room is usually about 200 usd but I have booked a couple of rooms at the Moevenpick for 80 usd per night by bidding on a 4 star hotel in the city center on priceline two years ago. Good luck and have a great trip.
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Old December 19th, 2013, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by oysterdam View Post
CaroleSS, Hydrokitty, Cary Cruiser, Fotopeg (or anyone else who cares to answer),

Your reasoning for booking with the cruise line for the pre/post makes alot of sense. I can definitely see the advantages of peace of mind and not having to worry about the logistics as well as making friends early on your trip.

Just curious, if you had to guesstimate, what percentage of your sailing booked their pre/post with the cruise line like you did?
It varies so it's really hard to say. When we went to Holland there were about 20 of us took Brussels, but there were other extension cities and some took those instead. I think London was one but we lived in London so we chose Brussels. When we went to Egypt there was a pre-trip to Israel and a post-trip to Jordan and I think it was about half for each. We took Jordan because of Petra. In Russia about 20 of us did the pre-trip to Kiev and about 30 were doing the post trip to Baltic Caps. It depends on so many variables like how much time you have; what your interests are and what your finances allow....but if you're concerned about "being the only one who didn't do the pre trip" don't be.....I don't think it's ever even close to 100%.
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Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Cruises, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, 2010
Alaska, Holland America, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, 2013
Columbia and Snake Rivers, American Cruise, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, 2014

Other:
England
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, 2015
Elbe: Berlin to Prague

Bucket List:
China and Yangtze River Cruise
Australia and New Zealand
South Africa, Odyssey
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  #20  
Old December 19th, 2013, 07:08 PM
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FotoPeg FotoPeg is offline
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oysterdam ~ this was the first time we ever booked our air through any cruise line. I laugh now at my reasoning, but who could have guessed at the weather a year ago!! First I checked the air prices and what Viking was offering at the time was a good value. Second, we had never taken a "winter" cruise/flight before and I was nervous about what the weather might be in Europe, figured if we ran into snow then it'd be Viking's responsibility to get us to the ship - after reading a thread here on CC maybe that would never have happened! The only snow we encountered was at JFK when we landed home in NYC!!!

Even though we had Viking air we did Basel on our own - we thought that would be better than Lake Lucerne in the winter.

I have no real idea of how many people did a Viking pre. I know at least a few did since we talked with 2 couples who had been in Lucerne. As for a Viking post - there were 2 buses for a local hotel announced with embarkation list. So I guess they had a fair amount of people staying with them.

Since we had purchased our air through Viking it included the airport transfer - delightful, fo a change, not to worry about out luggage - just put them out by 8:30am and retrieved them at the airport - I sort of liked being spoiled for once!!! (BTW ~ if it hadn't been so close to Christmas we would have stayed a few days n Amsterdam - but then we've also been there 3 times!)
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