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ural guy

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About ural guy

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    Cool Cruiser

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  • Location
    United States
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    New York

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  1. We took the train to Basel from Lucerne last November, and from the Basel station to our hotel by bus. They have workers stationed by the ticket machines to help. If you have your hotel reservation printed out, and check in is that day, then the bus is free, as the above poster pointed out. There was a festival going on in town and we had a blast. Due to low water, Vantage kept us in Basel for the first 5 nights of our cruise. Weather is unpredictable. We had great weather, to include our extension in Belgium (we stayed overseas until after Thanksgiving). It was only towards the end that we had bad weather. BUT, we're about 30 miles from Canada, so our comfortable is others cold. Enjoy.
  2. Rad Reisen does bike and canal boat tours. I saw one of their boats on the Rhine when I was walking along the river. I took a picture so I could remember the name, and looked them up for my daughter. It looks like fun, just not for me. Motorcycles have spoiled me. https://en.radreisen.at/ Between our 2016 to 2018 cruise, both on Vantage River Voyager, they went from 4 bikes to about 15 on board, including 2 e-bikes. The 2018 cruise, twice I skipped day tours so I could explore and went around 35 miles each day, all on the e-bike. One of the highlights of my trip. The bike paths along the Rhine and Mosel were beautiful to ride on, great signage, and neat towns every fews kms it seemed. Plus, you can ride one way and take a train back (in some spots). The train cars had big symbols on them so you know which ones you can take your bike on. And that's one of the great things about river cruising, my wife was happy on the provided tour while I was out and about.
  3. I know it's not French Vanilla, but a bottle of Baileys goes great with coffee, and no refrigeration concerns. Much cheaper than in states.
  4. Sammiedawg wrote- "There are are too many passengers on board for the size of the ship, 190. They brought in folding chairs for the evening meetings or lectures." That really is amazing to me, and I know you are correct. We tried sitting forward of the lounge and have the CD turn on the sound up in the Aquavit lounge, and he wasn't able to make it happen. Especially in July, way too many people for that room, and we were just looking for some space. Regarding bikes, I did get a chance to ride twice on our last Vantage cruise, and it was really enjoyable. On their 14 day Rhine/Moselle sailing they have a free day, docked in historic Schweich, having a bike made it easy to return to Trier and explore.
  5. I use to wear ball caps a lot, but never at the dinner table, and now, rarely indoors. That is kinda odd for a cruise With the solid color T-shirt and jeans in Ireland, w/ my red beard, I look kinda local, esp as I'll keep quiet and sit to myself. Once I speak, they typically take me for a Canadian, as I'm from 25 miles from the Ontario border and Upstate NY speach does lean more Canadian. They are especially surprised when I tell them my county has more cows than people. and we are over 500kms from the Big City. My wife says my 'look' is trying to remain anonymous. I do wear a shirt with buttons on a cruise for diner, even though we mostly eat in the second dining room, which are casual on VIking and Vantage.
  6. Solid color T-shirts are the way to go. For whatever reason, I don't notice many tan slacks off the boat, tons of 'dress jeans', a lot of them in black. I have a pair of tan golf pants, super comfortable, don't weigh much, great for dinner...but they do stand out a bit when I'm wandering the town. And I don't care, as when it is 90 degrees, they don't have to be washed every other day like my jeans.
  7. We did Bud-Buc a few years back, I think just because it was cheaper? I always wondered though, if you're going downstream, do you sometimes get a bit more time in port, or do they just throttle back on the engines, and the transit times between ports are about the same?
  8. If you really want to avoid rafting, Budapest to Bucharest is the lesser traveled route. I never rafted there, nor on the Moselle. Bud-Buc is also a very different experience than gliding along and being among all the pretty castles. The lower Danube isn't as scenic as the upper Danube or Rhine. The history was fascinating to me and my wife on the lower Danube in a way that other places can't match. Also a place where being on tour helps out. I can manage in Germany, Austria, etc. Romania and Bulgaria, that would have been trickier. A few days afterwards in Transylvania would be a nice end to the trip.
  9. Lucky enough to do this twice, once arriving in Budapest with Viking, once departing with Vantage. It was beautiful both times, but considering the circumstances, an understandable decision. To a non-boater, it looks very crowded on the river, and as fast as the current can be, problematic. If future cruises have the time, there are plenty of the small boats you could try on your own, they aren't that expensive. I would think that some of the 'fancier' lines would include this, as it is such a great experience.
  10. Got2Cruise- Thanks for the great write-up. I did an independent trip to Portugal in April with my oldest daughter and her husband; liked it so much, taking the 2 youngest daughters and wife back in November over Thanksgiving. Next to Romania, it is the least expensive European country I've traveled to. People are super friendly, food is good and Ginja is delicious. JP- In November, the 2 hour day cruises are still running from Pinhao, and is supposed to cover the most scenic area. You are going to love the public transportation in Lisbon, it goes everywhere, easy to figure out. If you get up early, ride the 28 tram from start to finish, very nice when it's just locals heading off for the day. I think I got on at 0715. Later on you're packed in pretty good. Lastly, if you have a chance to overnight in Sintra, I highly recommend it. We started our trip there, and it was a good first stop to get over jet-lag. You can rent a little electric car for the day, and the GPS takes you on a guided tour. Very easy to park them close to Palaces, so you can maximize time on site, or head all the way out to the Atlantic and check out the beach and lighthouse..
  11. We did Volksmarches frequently when stationed in Germany; they're fun to get out into the countryside. It's either a 10 or 20 km route, you decide. $6 or so (10 dm back then?) and you were registered, received a ticket, and off you went. The route would be on paths or farm roads, as scenic as the region could offer. You got your ticket stamped along the way, typically with soup broth or tea at the checkpoint. Somewhere would be the split for the 20 kms one, which was better to clear hangovers. My spouse would state she was doing the longer one, I could do whatever I wanted, and I would lamely tag along. At the end, you would get a decorative mug, wine glass or plate. The steak or sausage sandwiches, ten different types of home made desserts, a beer...it really made for a great start to the day. All delicious. A good fun day. Thanks so much for posting this trip report!, very good read, we did this route with Vantage last year.
  12. I've ridden them a few times, including on our recent Vantage cruise. I'm in my early 50's, decent shape, but I love them as they let me increase how far I can adventure away from the boat. I've made 75 km trips, on a regular bike maybe 30 km's before I'd be done for the day. They do go faster, on most the electric assist stops at 25km/hr. They have better brakes to compensate, usually disk. Typically they have several levels of assistance, at the highest you are probably doing 20% of the work and the motor is doing the rest. Rented one in Killarney, Ireland and was able to climb the Gap of Dunlow, and have enough energy to do the Muckross House loop. Never would make it that far on a regular bike
  13. I try and leave some as a tip, whether on the boat or the last hotel stay. If on ship, they'll be some Euro bills as well after that long a stay (and we're typically well taken care of by the maids). AND, I always bring home 100-150 Euros. Not sure if I'm in the 1%, but I am lucky enough to know I'll be going back to Europe. If you use public transportation from the airport, it's great to know you can get a ticket even if the ticket machine doesn't like your card.
  14. Sounds pretty good and the passenger mix sounds pretty interesting. On Vantage, a fellow passenger came over to introduce himself 'to the guy who tried to bring the average age down a bit'. At 52, I really was wet behind the ears compared to the rest of the passengers. Nice to hear the owners are on board.
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