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About Captiveguru

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  1. I do not know if you can buy GRT tickets at the rail station. We bought ours at our Lucerne hotel. More here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g188064-d267683-Reviews-Mount_Pilatus-Lucerne.html
  2. I think AMA has lost control over the dining room. While the food was good, the general lack of decorum from our fellow passengers and the complicity of the crew has us wondering if we will ever cruise on AMA again. See this thread for more: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2673125&highlight=open+seating
  3. This is a no-brainer. You definitely want to fly out of Zurich. 1. The trains from Lucerne to Basel and Zurich each take 75 to 75 minutes, but the Zurich train puts you within a 5 minute walk to the ticket counter. Basel train requires taking a cab or Uber from the rail station. 2. More and better flight options from Zurich. You might want to search this board for DIY info on Lucerne.
  4. My point was that it was very clear that anyone entering Russia needs a visa. Best to assume a visa is required until you can confirm otherwise. Again, a good TA is indispensable.
  5. What strategies did the experienced river cruisers use?
  6. We visited St. Petersburg while on an ocean cruise with Costa three years ago. Costa "warned" us that the cost of thier shore excursions included the necessary Russian visa. Through our research we learned that all licensed tour operators can and will issue the necessary visas. I have since decided that a good travel agent is the best strategy. The cost of going direct vs using a TA is the same.
  7. Based on your preferences you will not like AmaWaterways. Breakfast and lunch are buffets, but there are no tables for two, except for some booths which are actually designed for four. Also, you could do "light lunch" in the lounge, and sit alone there. Same food. Dinner is open seating. Tables for four and six.
  8. Not sure very many want to read about the pros and cons of various statistical tools on this forum, but... I agree, the median is a better tool when extreme values can have a significant impact. But when the range of ages is limited either tool will do. Example: Assume a ship with 150 people and an average age of 65. Swap four 65 year-olds for four 100 year-olds and the mean (aka average), will increase to 66. I am a terrible judge of ages, but my wife says the average age on our recent trip on AmaStella was 55 to 60 years old. Just one data point...
  9. I think the average age would be a better indicator than the median, at least for this purpose. Better would be the percentage of passengers in various age groups: 50 to 55 56 to 60 61 to 65 etc...
  10. We stayed at the Hotel Ameron in Lucene. A four-minute walk to the rail station. Has AC and a great staff.
  11. Not sure if it is possible to reserve seats on short runs like Lucerne to Zurich. SBB Mobile does not allow it. You can buy tickets in advance, but they are good for the designated day of travel on any train going from your departure point to your destination. You might have been planning on taking the 0700 departure, but if you over-sleep you can get on the 0730 or 0745 or ???? Or you can take an earlier train on the day of the ticket, if you get up early. I think the only way to reserve seats on a specific train would be to go to the ticket counter. The app does have a cool feature that shows the expected occupancy for each class of service (low, high or very high), on each train. We were spending thousands on our river cruise, so it was easy to justify the upgrade to 1st Class. On our two trains (Zurich to Lucerne and Lucerne to Basel), there were only 3 or 4 other passengers. That made getting on and off the train with luggage very easy. And on the Lucerne to Basel train they had "table service." It was great to have someone bring a beer to my seat.
  12. We flew into Zurich last month and took the train to Lucerne. We had no checked luggage, but still had to go through immigration and customs. Still, we were on the train platform within 30 minutes of stepping off the airplane. I would definitely spend the night before in Lucerne. BTW - There are trains that do direct to the airport and ones that require a change. You should download the SBB Mobile app before you leave and check out the train options. You can also set up an account and then be able to use the app to buy your tickets. I used the app to buy our tickets while walking through customs... We took the train from Zurich to Lucerne and spent two days there before taking the train from Lucerne to Basel. Train travel in Switzerland is low-stress.
  13. We love Cunard! Sounds like you did the transatlantic round trip? How did you get to Budapest?
  14. On AmaWaterways I suppose you could show up "late," but you would most likely be joining a table where everyone had already started thier meal, unless you arranged to "reserve" a table by bribing a waiter to break the rules. More on that that strategy here: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2673125
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