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Posts posted by loriva

  1. 3 hours ago, Canal archive said:

    Loriva May I suggest checking the included excursions and on board bits and pieces. I know we’ve only traveled with Scenic but this is the reason why we have repeated three of their cruises. You could call it variations on a theme as things have been removed and others added. With, in two cases the added bonus of being greeted by on board staff by name and with open arms as your friends maybe more river cruise savvy ask them you could put together a wish list of places not visited or wanting to visit. Good luck!


    Very hesitant to try Scenic again as we were affected by the hack on the company's IT system in early 2022.  It was a nightmare getting information for months after the hack, including right up to our sailing.  And they missed our pick-up at the airport in Vienna.  It was nice after that, but not as nice as our first river cruise with Crystal (RIP).


    That said, I'm intrigued by their chef-led tours in France and their Asia tours.  By 2026, the pain of dealing with them may have faded enough to try again.  

  2. 8 hours ago, capriccio said:

    We did a two week B2B Seine - Rhone on Uniworld in 2016 and loved it.  They also offered a three week B2B2B Seine - Rhone - Bordeaux. I'm not sure if those itineraries are still offered but worth checking.


    The French rivers are probably the highest on my wish list next.  And I like the idea of a B2B (or even B2B2B).  The biggest problem is finding somewhere my sister and her husband have not been--they started river cruising long before we took our first three years ago,

  3. 9 hours ago, twototravel said:

    @loriva What about the barge cruises in France or England? I've seen a lot of ads lately for them. They look really nice. Also, as others have mentioned - Asia, although most are cruisetours. Don't forget the good ole USA - Mississippi River, Snake River, Puget Sound, etc. 


    We'll definitely do the Columbia and Snake River one day.  I grew up in one of the ports on the Mississippi River cruises, so that one is also on the list for "one day."

  4. 9 minutes ago, JordanF said:

    We just returned from a land tour of SE Asia (with Gate 1), primarily in Vietnam.  This was a terrific place to see.  There are tours of the area that include river cruises on the Mekong River.  As you note, it is far to get there, so I would make sure the total trip was at least two weeks.


    Thanks!  My own rule is a minimum of two weeks when I have to fly to Europe and a minimum of three for Asia or Oceania.  It takes about half of that time just to adjust to the jet lag!  (It's a pain getting old--but still better than NOT getting old.) 

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  5. So many great ideas--always love to hear from the great minds on CruiseCritic!


    Bordeaux is one that has been on my mind.  And what I've heard on the Moselle makes that a contender as well--especially a route that combines some rivers into a grand voyage.


    So many choices, so many decisions--but all good ones!

  6. We're getting ready to embark on Viking for a trip from Budapest to Bucharest.  And next year we're doing the Douro with AMA.  We've also been on the Danube from Budapest (really Esztergom) to Vilshofen (with Crystal river (RIP--but could try Riverside)), the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam (Scenic), and the Elbe from Berlin to Prague (well, close by those cities with Viking).


    What would you experienced river cruisers recommend next?  We still have a few of the major rivers yet to cover before we branch out to @notamermaid's smaller ships and areas, so looking to focus on those next.  Thinking European but would consider other regions as well (did the Nile years ago, so not that).  Would love to hear your thoughts on rivers as well as your experiences with various cruise lines.


  7. On 5/13/2024 at 7:48 PM, notamermaid said:

    I mentioned the shallow section from the Danube bend to Budapest. That is a slightly rough explanation as I do not know the exact kilometre from where the river may be regarded as too low typically. What we know is that the port that river cruise ships use as an alternative to Budapest and from where you will be taken by coach to the city is Komarom. Komarom is a town but also two towns in that it is divided by the Danube and in two countries with two different languages, hence the two versions of the name: Komárom and Komárno. Famous for the fortresses, the cooperation between Slovakia and Hungary has just seen the completion of another renovation project: https://hungarytoday.hu/fort-igmand-in-komarom-renovated-in-cooperation-with-slovakia/


    Here is more information on one of the two: https://visitkomarno.eu/en/sightseeing/fort-igmand/





    When we faced low water in that section in October 2021, the Crystal Ravel sailed out of Esztergom, Hungary, instead of Budapest.  The ship actually made it to dock near the Elizabeth Bridge in Budapest--where we saw it and snapped some photos--but it sailed there only with crew to pick up supplies then turned around and went to Esztergom where we boarded.

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  8. On 4/29/2024 at 3:02 PM, saminina said:

    Great news for all fans of disco music.   Should please entire Crystal demographic.  Irony of ironies, "I will survive" being her hit recording.


    Edit.....Gloria Gaynor.  I was too excited.


    Which ship and exact dates?

  9. On 4/2/2024 at 3:57 PM, snorkle lover said:

    Any suggestions as to how we would go  about getting a couple of six packs of diet caffeine free coke in our suite. We sail in a couple of weeks.

    Thank you


    We put it on our butler request form on Explorer and it was waiting in our fridge when we boarded in Sydney.  If not in a Penthouse, I've also emailed Regent Guest Services (GuestRelations@rssc.com) 90 days before sailing with special requests.

  10. 3 hours ago, CDNPolar said:


    Look on your Viking Invoice.  You should see the OBC there if the TA has applied it to the booking.


    Typically any TA OBC can be used in advance and will be applied against any excursions booked in advance of the cruise.  These are generally not restricted to ship board use only.


    No, there is nothing--only the disclaimer statement from Viking I posted.  Maybe the credits we receive from our TA are SBC only?  (As I said, nothing on the invoice from our first Viking River cruise--but credits appeared when we boarded.  Same thing on the invoice from the upcoming trip.)

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  11. 3 hours ago, CDNPolar said:


    Understand not for CDN Passports, but does this allow you to go through the eGates in any European city or just FRA?


    Only FRA.

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  12. On 3/23/2024 at 5:32 AM, CDNPolar said:

    Because you booked through a Travel Agency and are Canadian (this may be different in the USA) you will NOT see the OBC in MyVikingJourney (MVJ) unless you book optional excursions, pay gratuities in advance, or purchase the Silver Spirits package.


    You will see the OBC on your invoice from Viking which the TA should provide to you.  Our TA applies the OBC to our booking on first call with Viking and then the invoice that comes shows the below.


    Ours shows up on page 2 of the Viking Invoice and there is a box for each person:




    NOTE:  This shows on the invoice as SBC or Ship Board Credit, but that includes OBC.  


    SBC and OBC have different rules for use.


    Typically OBC will be used online if you book optional excursions, buy the Silver Spirits package, or pay Gratuities in advance.  YOU can book optional excursions on your own without the TA and they require immediate payment. If you have OBC then that credit will be applied to your checkout on MVJ.


    Typically SBC is different and is applied on the ship for purchases when on board.


    Ask what is the difference if you have SBC and OBC or one or the other and how they can be used.


    These are general statements from OUR experience.


    Hope this helps.




    Our invoice from Viking, through our TA, includes the following statement "Shipboard credits on this booking, if applicable, are not included in the amount above."  We've only been on one Viking River cruise previously, but credit from our TA showed up only when we boarded.  We could spend that credit for anything we wanted on board--in our case it covered the vouchers we purchased for a future (the upcoming) Viking River cruise.  (At least that is what our end-of-cruise statement showed.  Gratuities and the SSBP ended up being covered by optional tours we had booked and paid for in advance that were cancelled and refunded.)

  13. On 3/25/2024 at 4:47 PM, HSBC said:


    Have you ever fly from Canada, via Frankfurt airport, then took Lufthansa to another European country?

    I want to know whether you have to go through Security control or Passport office in Frankfurt prior to board Lufthansa flight?



    On 3/25/2024 at 6:39 PM, CDNPolar said:

    We have flown Lufthansa through Frankfurt many times from Canada and connecting to another European country.


    You must go through passport control when landing in your first European country and then you will also go through security again before boarding your next flight.


    This is the same if you fly in on Air Canada, and then connect to Lufthansa, or go Lufthansa all the way.


    Your bags however will check straight through to your final destination.


    Make sure if you are going through Frankfurt or Munich that you have sufficient connection time. The line for non-European passports can be long.  We have waited more than 30+ minutes to clear passport control then you will potentially have security lines as well.


    We don't generally fly through Frankfurt or Munich with less than 2 hours to 2.5 hours connection time.  We have learned that shorter connections are often stressful and not worth the time saving when you are the one running down the concourse at final call for the flight.


    The caveat first:  Unfortunately, this is not available to Canadian passport holders.


    For U.S. passport holders, however, the German Federal Police offers a service whereby you can register to use the eGates to pass through border security as easily as Schengen passport holders.  Details on the free service are available on the Frankfurt Airport website:   https://www.easypass.de/EasyPass/EN/EasyPASS-RTP/rtp_node.html


    The only downside is you need to travel to the Federal Police office in FRA to register.  The office is outside of security, so you'll have to do the arrival process and then pass through security again to board your connecting flight.  We had a four-hour layover when we registered, so it was not an issue.  It has worked great on our subsequent connections through FRA.


  14. 2 hours ago, CDNPolar said:


    I did this same river cruise port to port.  I researched the currencies.  There were too many for me to purchase at home, and some of them were not available through my bank.  Sorry, I am not going to go to a ATM with my bank card and buy currency in each country.


    My understanding and the direction that my favourite cruise line has given me is that the American dollar in Europe is easily exchanged at the banks and the guides and drivers are good to receive American dollars.


    I have gotten off excursion busses where 80% of the people on the bus are American and they are all tipping with American bills.


    What we should not do is tip in coins because banks will not exchange coins as a general rule.


    Additionally, it seems fairly well known that they like to receive crisp, clean, new American bills and at my bank in Canada, it is easy for me to get brand new bills.


    17 hours ago, CastleCritic said:

    If you look at the inside the eurozone, its lazy maybe, I dunno about insulting.


    but take the last river cruise I took, Hungary to Romania

    Hungary, local currency

    Croatia, euro

    Serbia, local currency

    Bulgaria, local currency

    Romania, local currency.


    We spent an average of about a day, sometimes 2 in each country.  Do you really expect people to have prepared or even pull out of an ATM the correct currency in each? thats not realistic.  Almost all the guides\bus drivers got tipped in dollars or euros and they were clearly fine with that (or at least used to it). In fact at the very end when I broke a local Romanian large bill with the Romanian tour guide who had spent 3 days with us, he did it with a euro bill.


    We will be taking this itinerary in May.  We have euros left over from previous travel.  The question is some are larger bills.  Does the guest services desk on Viking have change?  If so, one and two euro-denominations are coins.  As the tip suggested by Viking is two euros for the guide and one euro for the driver, will those in the countries not on the euro (everyone except Croatia, in other words) have difficulty exchanging the euro coins for local currency at a bank?


    On our recent travels, finding an ATM--especially on a shore excursion--has been challenging.  Hungary will not be a problem as we're staying three nights before we board.  Ditto for Romania at the end.  But I don't know how viable this will be in Serbia and Bulgaria and doubt our local AAA or bank will have U.S. $20 of these currencies.  Hence, thinking euros is the way to go but worry about the coin issue.

  15. 12 hours ago, screwsmcernst said:

    Thanks, everyone.  We will be doing the Christmas markets cruise.  Will we be able to go to the markets in the evening?  Or will it be available in the daytime, or both?  


    All of the answers you gave are exactly what I was thinking.  The friends we are going with are asking these questions, and I wanted to make sure I had the correct answers.  


    Have not sailed with Ama Waterways, but on Viking there were three nights where we stayed in port late enough to return to the Christmas markets in the evening.  Most lines follow similar patterns so you might find the same.


    Have you tried searching on the Roll Call board?  If you can find a roll call from a previous year, you might find some details.

  16. On 1/14/2024 at 5:27 PM, notamermaid said:

    Hello everyone,


    here is the thread on the Danube for 2024.


    We will look again at the weather and most importantly the river levels. Join us again this year with your comments and tips and share your excitement about cruising on this European river that flows through many countries on its long journey East.


    Safe travels.





    @notamermaid -- Thank you for another year of following the Danube.  We'll be setting off for our second sailing on the river--this time downstream from Budapest to Bucharest to complement our previous Budapest to Vilshofen sailing--in May.  While I realize your report focuses on the German parts of the river, I always learn so much from your posts.


    Thanks again,


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  17. 17 hours ago, BBWC said:

    I am not familiar with the Indonesian visa process, but I am wondering if it is similar to what Brazil is doing. In that case, to get a visa you have to set up an individual account and then pay for your visa through that account (the same applies to the Australia ETA as well). So Regent would not be able to directly pay for your visa. Instead, after you pay for your visa, Regent will give you refundable OBC in that amount. 


    That is how the Indonesian e-visa works.  It is a fussy process.  It seems like you can obtain it without setting up an account first, but we (including those who reported on the process on our Roll Call) found not.  Set up your account first.

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  18. 10 hours ago, wcsdkqh said:

    Like Dave said, if you don’t deviate and you aren’t in concierge or above, you will usually arrive on embarkation day and depart on debarkation day.


    And Concierge and above only allows you to fly in the day before the cruise if you take the included one-night pre-cruise hotel and then you need to depart the day the cruise ends.  Those dates shift if you are doing Regent's pre- or post-cruise included tour, if there is one.  But any travel dates except those directly tied to the cruise or Regent packages will include the deviation fee (and possibly upcharges if the contracted itineraries do not fit your desires.)  Only those who have achieved Platinum status or above in the Seven Seas Society have the deviation fee waived.  (Maybe those in Grand Suites and above also have a waiver, but never sailed in one of those so cannot tell you.)

  19. 22 hours ago, snorkle lover said:

    We are not big drinkers, DH enjoys scotch and I am more of a mixed drink gal ( gin, vodka). We will be cruising in the Caribbean in a couple of weeks. Can anyone suggest a girlie kind of  drink that they really enjoyed.



    I'm surprised no one has mentioned the signature cocktails Regent has created for each ship.  That is my boarding ritual--drink the ship's signature cocktail and get an order of lobster nachos (with extra lobster!) from the Pool Bar and Grill.  The RSSC.com menu, https://www.rssc.com/experience/cuisine/pool-grill, doesn't show the cocktail for the Grandeur (presuming that's the one you're on) yet, but here's the EXPLORER cocktail's ingredients as an example:  Aperol, Apple Pucker, Pomegranate Juice, Sweet & Sour, Mint.


    And almost any cocktail from the Meridian Bar will probably fit the parameters you cited.  Also, we've found they have shifted to a lot of ice, little booze in the cocktails in that bar, which also makes them a lighter choice by default.

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  20. We just had one excursion cancelled (the Tiger Brewery in Singapore is no longer offering tours) and tours for a changed port on our itinerary departing from Sydney just opened up yesterday.  I tried to book a replacement excursion for the first excursion when we were notified of the cancellation last week, but the RSSC system would not let me get past the "Confirm your Tours" page--it just kept returning me to that page and would not book the excursion.


    I asked our Regent agent to try to help and he said he had booked the tour for us, but it never showed up on our excursion summary.  (He kept saying we had a conflict with another tour--but we did not.) When I tried to book tours for the port that opened yesterday (Cooktown, AU) I had the same problem.


    Not sure what the problem with the software was, but I finally figured out a fix.  For some reason, the system kept trying to apply some of my OBC to the tours--even though both were included, not extra charge Choice excursions.  I noticed an "edit" button on the payment area, clicked it, reset the amount to $0, and tried checkout and then confirm your tours again.  And, voila, it worked.  Booked the new excursions, received a confirmation email, and they are on my summary.


    Offering this up in case anyone else runs into this.  And notifying @mikemoore of something his team might want to look into.


    Many thanks,


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  21. On 12/13/2023 at 9:29 AM, FL Wolfpacker said:

    Booked our first cruise for next July from Rome to Monte Carlo.  Called the first of December to get the flights.  Every one of my requests required at least a $2K pp fee.  The best they would offer without a fee is a 2 stop flight via Swiss Air arriving in Rome near midnight.

    We are flying out of RSW (Ft Myers FL).

    Totally disgusted with the whole process.  Thinking of cancelling the cruise and trying the new Ritz cruise.


    Did you look at itineraries out of Tampa, Orlando, or Miami?  We also have a smaller market airport in FL as our home airport, but find itineraries always involve two stops at a minimum.  Also, if you find a non-stop from TPA, MCO, or MIA to a major airport in Europe (FRA, LHR, etc.) the connecting flight to Rome (from Monte Carlo) might be in business class.  (Although that doesn't mean the same as first class in the United States.)

  22. On 12/9/2023 at 2:10 PM, sanne said:

    We will be on Regent for Christmas… first time at this time of the year for us … do they put Christmas decorations on the dining tables in Compass Rose for Christmas Day dinner? Just deciding whether to bring some. 


    I haven't had time to look for a photo, but I recall they did have some sort of seasonal decoration on each table.  Nothing big, just a pick in the bud vase or maybe a floral ring around the base.


    And, yes, there was eggnog!

  23. On 12/5/2023 at 9:42 AM, MissPhoeb said:


    Very excited to be sailing on Regent Seven Seas for the first time in fall 2024.  Will be my first time on a cruise that offers so many options for included excursions.  I can begin booking excursions the end of this month and have found it totally overwhelming with so many choices.  I'm interested in hearing from travelers, preferably those who have sailed on Regent, on your favorite included (free) excursions in the following ports:  Salerno, Sicily, Ephesus, Santorini and Mykonos.  I've found it so overwhelming with all of the choices that I'm tempted to pass on booking anything and just "wing it" on our own, but I don't want to miss out on anything.  I'm traveling with my husband and another couple.  We're in our 60's and 70's and slightly mobility challenged so we wouldn't want to do any level higher than "Moderate" activity.  We are not first time cruisers (this will be our 12th), but newbies to Regent, so any other tips or recommendations you can add would be most appreciated!


    You might also want to check tour destinations on Google Maps.  Some ports are located a long way from the sites, so you'll face a long bus ride.  And Regent is not always good on remembering its demographic and including rest room stops.  Some buses will have a toilet, but not all.  And even on those that do, you'll find it locked and the driver and guide will discourage use unless in an emergency.  Destination Services won't know the details of the schedules, but you can always ask the guide when you board the bus--and maybe get them thinking of a stop if none is planned.


    And another reason to consider an upcharge "small group" tour.  Regent does not always pay the local tour companies to include an QuietVox-type system for guides so it can be a struggle to hear what they are saying when in a large group.


    As others have said, guides are the luck of the draw.  Some are great, some not so.  Since all cruise lines use local companies, this is not any different from any others you may have experienced.


    Something that might be, however, is Regent's mid-cruise survey.  If you experience any issues, take some quick notes and then put them on the survey sheet you receive in your cabin.  Ship management does pay attention to these and respond, although Destination Services remains the department registering the largest number of negative comments on these boards.

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  24. On 11/25/2023 at 5:38 PM, jeb_bud said:

    We are working on a Southampton to Southampton cruise.  We will probably be arriving in London two days before embarkation.  We are planning to book a F1 Suite now that we are SS Gold and will get multiple wifi logins.  However, after glancing at some hotel prices in London the premium for Cat E might not be as much as I thought it would be after factoring in the hotel and transfer.


    I did some searching and scanned a year of topic titles and I didn't find much information about pre-cruise hotels in London or Southampton.  Where are the pre-cruise hotels for Southampton departures, London or Southampton?  What hotels did Regent put you in and what was your impression?  I will appreciate any advice you can provide.


    We booked our transfer from LHR and hotel for two nights in Southampton independently for our British Isles circumnavigation in 2022.  We used Just Airports for the former and the Moxy for the latter.  We've used Just Airports for many years when in London.  The Moxy is a Marriott property--not fancy (and the new design where there is no closet) but serviceable and an excellent location.  Southampton was a nice place to walk around with Roman ruins and Tutor buildings and a good gastropub and Indian restaurant nearby the hotel.  We also took the ferry over to the Isle of Wight and spent a day circumnavigating it with a local guide. 

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